Tom and Rachel's Journey (as written by Rachel)

April 29, 2015
"It honestly is with great honor that I share our story/journey with you..I thought it would be best that I just write from the start and then you can edit as you want to bring our 2 stories together.  I actually just had someone message me that my story and constant FB blogging has given her the strength and hope to get through a recent loss @ 20 weeks and she just  heard the healthy heartbeat today of her baby boy due 2/21/14.  I thank you greatly for allowing me to share this with you and for also capturing our true love for each other and our son.

Tom and I met prior to really meeting in person.  I knew of Tom??™s grandfather from where I worked at in highschool and college.  He was always trying to convince me that I needed to meet his grandson Tommy and this was when I was 16.  Fast-forward 5 years and he was still at it.  Coincidently, I bumped into Tom out over a Spring Break and we began our college days together.  Tom was 20 and I was 21.  Then our romance grew and we graduated and decided to move in together but in NJ where Tom??™s job had taken us.  We then were engaged on May 18th, 2004 and married on July 30, 2005.  I  went off of birth control in 2006 to see what happened but nothing happened and after calls and visits to the doctor, they said this was “fine and normal.”  Who was I to question them??  Right, no wrong!!  Fast forward again and now I was starting a new job in King of Prussia and through relationships and talks with moms at the center I ran, I learned about Mainline Fertility.  That is when I made the call to Mainline and only wanted to meet with Michael Glassner.

We started at Mainline in 2007/2008 and my diagnosis was that I did not ovulate and really never would.  They suggested just starting with clomid and other injectables but also discussed IVF.  It was a lot for us to take in and so we wait until 2010 again to go back and see them.  Then we really started our fertility journey.  We opted to go right to IVF since at this time, I was 32/33.  We went through all of the preliminary tests again and then were able to start a cycle in September/October 2011.  I was 33 at the time.  We had an amazing first cycle of IVF and came out having 16 eggs with 12 fertilizing.  We decided to transfer 2 embryos on Day 5.  8 days later I hyper-stimulated and was put on bed rest for extreme swelling.  They did an early pregnancy test and confirmed that I was pregnant but with a very high level.  This was a sign that I may be pregnant with twins.  It was confirmed that we were pregnant with fraternal twins.  Then @ 7.5 weeks, we were told that one of the babies was not developing and most likely would not develop a heart beat.  Then to our shock, they looked at the other baby and it had split.  We were now pregnant with Identical Twins and originally had been pregnant with triplets.  We were mourning the loss of one baby but also wrapping our heads around the other blessed news.

Once we were released from fertility our journey began with them. They suspected that they shared the same sac which is the most complicated twin pregnancy and still to this day we do not have a definitive answer. Then we had our Anatomy Scan @ 18 weeks and at the time named Baby A, was diagnosed with a missing vessel in her cord so we knew that she would have some growth restriction. Then 2 days later we had an elevated Screening which showed that both girls may of had Trisomy 21 so they strongly encouraged an amnio. It was against what I always had believed in but we knew that if they both had downs syndrome, it would not change anything for us for the pregnancy but we would want to ensure that we had the supports and resources for them. Then my results came back normal and we thought all was fine. That is when my water broke 3 days later and I was 20w,4days. I was getting ready for work and noticed that I had started bleeding.  I drove myself during AM rush hour traffic to Abington Hospital b/c Tom was already in NJ and I was hysterical the entire time. Once I got to the hospital, they made me sit in the waiting area of Labor/Delivery.  Finally they took me back to triage and after examination, told me that they could see the sac of Baby A.  Tom arrived shortly after and then 10 minutes later, my water broke.  I will never forget the look on the doctors/nurses faces at that time.  They all told me that I would most likely deliver within 24 hours.  They put us in room 410 where patients are placed who they expect to deliver a loss of a preterm baby but my girls and I proved them wrong.  My contractions slowed down over the next 2 days and I was then transferred to the Labor wing.  We were then discharged on the 5th day b/c the risk of infection was greater at the hospital than in my own home.  Tom had a hospital bed delivered to the house and my new room was set up in the living room.  I was on complete bed rest from here on out.  I then started to notice that I was feeling different 2 days later and called the doctors but there was nothing they could do at the time.  I then had a visiting nurse come out on the 5th day I was home.  She told me that I was not contracting and we listened to their strong heartbeats.  After she left, I knew in my heart that something was terribly wrong.  I had my MIL take me out to the hospital and I was contracting ever 10-12 minutes but they said there was nothing they could do in my condition so they sent me home.  By the time we got back home, the contractions were stronger and coming every 6-7 minutes.  By the time we made it back to the hospital, my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and Baby A??™s heartbeat had gone from 154bpm to 30bpm.  They told me that I was going to have to deliver Baby A and they would try to save Baby B.   Abbie (Baby A) was born stillborn and I lost her during the delivery.   Brynn, Baby B was born strong and weighing 1pd, 5oz. She was with us for over an hour.  Tom, my MIL and I held our daughters and comforted them during this time.  I cherish the time I was able to have with them and the strength they have given both Tom and I to get through anything together. They have changed my life forever and will always be my precious girls. They were born on 4/11/12.
I have never felt deeper grief and loss than what I felt on the morning after they were born.  I remember looking out my hospital room window and thinking what is that world out there and how do I go on?  Our daughters were also named for their nicknames – Baby A is Abbie Elizabeth after Abington Hospital and Baby “A” and Baby B is Brynn Elizabeth after Bryn Mawr Fertility and Baby “B.”  They days, weeks and months to come were hard but we then met with the doctors in May/June of 2012.  We wanted to know what options we had in moving forward when we were ready.  We knew that we would only transfer 1 embryo at a time and they could not give me any answers as to what and why we loss our girls.  Tom and I went away for our 7 year Anniversary and we started our 2nd round of IVF in late July/early August.  The cycle was a complete disaster and cancelled.  3rd cycle was another disaster and only produced 2 embryos and then nothing to transfer on Day 5.  We opted to unfreeze one of our frozen embryos and transfer.  2 weeks later, negative pregnancy test.  4th round of IVF was a bit better but again nothing to transfer on Day 5 so we transferred a frozen embryo and 2 weeks later, negative pregnancy test.  Then we started having other discussions around egg quality ad my age.  At this time, we were confronted with an adoption and we began to pursue this.  Then the adoption fell through.  We attempted a 5th round and I tested early at home before their test.  The test was negative so I had wrapped my head around that.  Then we get the call from the nurses, saying that my test was positive but the beta was low so I may lose the pregnancy.  I ended up and lost this pregnancy @ 6.5 weeks.  I was defeated and needed a break.  I was also meeting with other Fertility Specialists to get other opinions.  Then after meeting with Glassner, we decided to just try an IUI.  I was on meds for yes, 15 days and at the last appt, they told me I had produced too many and we would either have to cancel our cycle or transfer it over to IVF.  We followed our hearts and went for our 6th round of IVF.  I had my retrieval on 2/4/13 and they retrieved 14 eggs and 12 matured/fertilized.  We made it to Day 3 with still having all 12.  We decided to wait until Day 5 and only transfer 1 embryo.  On Day #5 we went in and had 3 remaining.  #11 was transferred and I knew this one was different.  I also carried my girls hospital bracelets during all of  my procedures b/c I knew they were watching over us.  I got the call on 2/21/13 that we were in fact pregnant!!!

Tom and I have always wanted a family and now after 7 years, we are embarking on the welcoming of our son. We fought through a total of 6 IVF full rounds, the loss of a baby @ 7.5 weeks, the loss of our daughters @ 22 weeks, another loss @ 6.5 weeks and an adoption that fell through.. We just continued to follow our hearts during the process and pray to our daughters to watch and guide us. Tom and I know that we can get through anything together and will shower our son with the love, strength, empathy and compassion that we live with every day!

I apologize for the length but i just want to give others hope that you can overcome anything!!! "
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