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    Posted April 8, 2015 by
    utskaggs
    Location
    Celina, Texas
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Infertility stories

    Life and Loss...The Journey to Build Our Family

     

    Our infertility story includes IVF, international adoption, domestic adoption, birth, death, and even a donor. On our journey we experienced joy, heartache, excitement and anticipation and we wouldn’t trade a minute of it, because those experiences made us who we are today and created one beautiful family.

     

    IVF #1
    When we decided to start our family, we tried the good ol’ fashioned way. After about a year of trying to conceive naturally, we decided to seek-out the help of a fertility doctor. After some blush-worthy questions and some embarrassing appointments, we decided to undergo a round of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

     

    In September of 2008 it was time to start our long-awaited IVF cycle and get pregnant. I’m not certain we 100% understood what an IVF cycle entailed, but we undoubtedly got a crash course. Multiple daily injections, large fees, and more doctor’s appointments than we had ever been to in probably our entire lives all added up. It was all going to be worth it when we were pregnant, but it was an emotional, physical, and financial strain.

     

    Hearing we weren’t pregnancy is sort of a blur, but we remember being absolutely heartbroken our cycle had not worked. Somewhere in the conversation our fertility doctor said we could try again with another round of IVF, but a possibility for the infertility was “bad eggs.”

     

    Our Adoption Journey
    The next 2 years of our life involved the expensive and timely process of preparing a dossier for an international adoption. A year and a half while still waiting, our adoption agent notified us of a local young lady who would be placing her baby for adoption. It was the answer to our prayers.

     

    We were regularly engaged with our birth mother and Amy accompanied her to her pre-natal appointments. Unfortunately, the pain we felt in our fertility doctor’s office was soon to be relived. In July of 2010, Amy went in with our birth mother for a regularly scheduled sonogram and there was no baby, she had miscarried. We were heartbroken again.

     

    With the failed IVF cycle, international adoption still in limbo, and failed private domestic adoption, our dream of starting our family and becoming parents started to seem hopeless.

     

    IVF #2
    It was time for Amy’s annual check-up with her OB/GYN. She called to make an appointment and was informed her doctor didn’t have any availability soon, but they had a new doctor in the practice who had availability. Little did we know, that appointment with Dr. Marcia Taylor was going to change our lives.

     

    During the appointment, Amy mentioned she wouldn't need birth control because we were still in the process of the international adoption and based on the last IVF cycle we were told she might have “bad eggs.” Dr. Taylor recommended getting a second opinion.

     

    When Amy got in her car to leave the doctor’s appointment, she got on Facebook and noticed one of her friends had just posted a sonogram picture of her twins. At the top of the sonogram picture it said, “Dallas IVF.” She messaged her friend and asked her about her doctor and her experience.

     

    We discussed setting up an appointment with her friend’s doctor and decided, “what do we have to lose?” During our next few appointments, Dr. Brian Barnett ran some tests, reviewed our history and previous IVF cycle. There were some things he said he’d do different, thought we were good candidates for IVF, and ultimately said he’d love to give us another shot at a biological child.

     

    We couldn’t believe we were about to open ourselves up to this level of vulnerability again, but we were eager for the opportunity and we had complete faith in Dr. Barnett and his team. With financial help from our family, we started another round of IVF.

     

    Finally, Prayers Answered
    We had prepared for disappointment yet again, but prayed for excitement and a different outcome. On December 3, 2010, we heard the words we had so longed to hear. Our very first IVF cycle with Dr. Barnett was a success and Amy was pregnant, and we were having twins!

     

    We knew the pregnancy was going to be difficult because Amy is so tiny. There was only so much room that Amy could expand to have two growing babies inside her. Our twins were truly our miracle babies.

     

    On April 22, 2011, the day we reached viability (24 weeks gestation), Amy let me know we needed to head to the hospital. After 5 full weeks on complete hospital bed rest, and a few false alarms, the twins decided they had enough and were ready to come into this world. Leighton Sophie Taylor and Jaxon Cohen were born on May 26, 2011. At only 28 weeks and six days gestation, both babies were barely over two pounds. They were tiny little fighters. After one week they were both off of CPap, and after two weeks they were doing well enough to no longer need additional oxygen. We just knew we were on our way to taking home our healthy miracles!

     

    Nothing Can Prepare You
    Our world was rocked at 12:30am on June 16, 2011 with a phone call. Leighton had an unusually high fever for a preemie and it was quickly diagnosed as Late Onset Group B Strep (GBS). The infection took over her little body and she was in the arms of Jesus within 48 hours.

     

    After Leighton’s passing, we wanted to create her legacy at the only home she ever knew – her hospital. “Leighton’s Gift” a 501(c)(3) public charity was born. It is our mission to turn a tragedy into something positive. We are currently installing webcams into the NICU so moments and milestones can be shared with families in real time even when they might not be able to be physically present. It is our sincere hope and prayer that “Leighton’s Gift” helps families who are faced with the difficult situation of a child admitted to the NICU feel more connected and comfortable.

     

    Even though we lost Leighton, Jaxon was still in the NICU and we had to be strong for him and get him home. After a long 74 days in the NICU, we finally brought Jaxon home on August 8, 2011. We finally had our family; one baby on earth and one in heaven.

     

    IVF #3
    With the twins pregnancy, we thought our family was complete, but with the loss of Leighton, we felt strongly that we wanted Jaxon to grow up with a sibling. We were ready to endure another round of IVF. Unfortunately, that next round was unsuccessful due to an extremely high FSH level. Dr. Barnett recommended if we wanted to get pregnant again, we look into an egg donor.

     

    Donor Style
    We looked into a few agencies and received logins to their donor databases until we found an agency we were comfortable with. God bless these women who give families like ours the chance to carry a baby.

     

    We wanted to find a donor who had similar features as Amy and preferably a previously successful donation cycle. We signed the contracts and again put all our hope into the process. Our donor had a stellar stimulation cycle and produced several healthy eggs which gave us another opportunity to add to our family.

     

    We were once again thrilled to find out Amy was pregnant with another miracle baby. Amy had a fairly uneventful pregnancy; however, the fears and experiences from the last pregnancy were always just a breath away. Amy developed polyhydramnios later in the pregnancy. With the help of a few weeks of hospital bedrest, she was able to remain pregnant until 37 weeks gestation.

     

    Our rainbow baby, Olivia Sophie Skaggs, entered the world on November 25, 2013 and our lives have never been the same.

     

    Lessons Learned
    Throughout our infertility story, we learned tremendous lessons in patience, humility, unconditional love, persistence, determination, advocacy, understanding and strength. Was our path to build our family conventional or easy?…not by any stretch of the imagination. Do we look at life a little bit different?…without a doubt. Are we a stronger family and couple because of everything we went through?…absolutely!

     

    Our infertility story is still being written. We have frozen embryos from the donor cycle. To be continued…

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