Clarke Adoption Journey
This is just a short version of our journey, which started in 2009, a few years after unsuccessfully trying to have a baby on our own we ventured out to seek the help of a fertility doctor. A journey that became a 6-year roller coaster. We started with a year of failed IUIs because we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility.” We were both young and on paper there was no reason why we should not be able to make a baby.
The next step the doctor advised was IVF, so naturally we were on board not knowing what was involved, injections, medicines, doctor visits, blood work (every other day almost) and not to mention money. We did two cycles of IVF. During the first one did not produce a lot of good quality eggs, so we decided to try another round of meds and do the process over. This time we produced quite a few eggs and were excited to move forward. During the routine ultrasounds to prepare for the IVF procedure the doctor saw some fibroids. He believed that might have been the cause of the “unexplained infertility” and called it endometriosis. So before trying again I decided to have the robotic surgery to remove the endometriosis. The recovery time after this surgery was 4 months. We were also notified that we had maxed out our insurance coverage for IVF and they would no longer cover any procedures.
This now brings us to January 2012. We were ready to do the next round of IVF (now out-of-pocket) and to our surprise we found out it finally worked and we were pregnant! This happiness was short lived. We went for our first sonogram and the doctor heard not one, but three heartbeats! The doctor had never seen this before, one egg split twice making rare identical triplets. This was an occurrence that never happens (1 in a 1,000,000 chance I believe the doctor said).
We saw many specialists in Manhattan and they said it was very “high risk.” One doctor at NYU said such horrible things to me - the babies would likely be born with cerebral palsy or very premature and I could need a blood transfusion while giving birth and that my best bet would be to terminate the pregnancy. She scared the living crap out of me and I ran out of there hysterical. How could they expect me to terminate the pregnancy that I waited years for. I felt that God gave me these three little ones because I had waited all these years to be a mom and I was going to take my chances!
As shocked and scared as we both were, we saw a high risk doctor once a week for the entire 18 weeks I was pregnant and all was going great. We even found out we were having boys!
Until the worst day of my life happened…I went for my routine checkup and was rushed to the hospital. My cervix could no longer hold the babies and I was in labor. Unfortunately, I said goodbye to my three little boys the next day after a long night of labor.
I took some substantial time off from work to grieve but I eventually had to pick myself back up again, if not for me but for my marriage.
We had the remaining eggs frozen so we decided to try again in September of 2012 and I made it to 7 weeks and had another miscarriage right before Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012. Went in for my first D&C and as I was grieving yet another loss, Hurricane Sandy hit and I had to cope with losing my whole entire house and everything in it as a result of that storm. I know you really can’t make this up.
While dealing with going to meetings about what was going to happen with our house and our neighborhood, we decided we could not give up on our dream and decided to try again. I mean the bad luck had to end soon.
In January of 2013, we decided to use the last remaining embryos. This resulted in a positive pregnancy test but my levels stopped rising and I was diagnosed with my first ectopic pregnancy (something new now). Had to undergo chemo shots to help me terminate the pregnancy. The doctor recommended a blood test to check the quality of my eggs. Something new to the world of IVF (in case you were wondering why this hadn’t been done in the beginning) and it turned out I had very poor egg quality and that could be the cause of the multiple miscarriages. He mentioned donor eggs and I thought no way, I want my own baby! After much debating, crying and heartache we realized that we can either try IVF with my poor quality eggs for $25,000 plus and probably not have success because of the quality or use a donor egg for $25,000 and have a much better chance of success. This was not an easy decision. Finally, we decided it was the best thing to do.
We worked with an agency in Manhattan and we found a perfect donor. This was a long process – we had to wait for her cycles and my cycles and what seemed like a lifetime but we were finally ready in late 2013. This was it!
After moving in to our new house, we were ready to make it complete and we did our first donor cycle IVF. This ended in a negative pregnancy test. It did not take at all. How could this be? More heartache. Doctor told us each cycle was different and there should be no reason why the next cycle would not be a success. January 2014 and ready to start the new year right. Had another IVF with the frozen donor eggs. I was going to win this battle and become a mother! This resulted in another positive pregnancy and I was so happy. Mike and I wanted to finally move on from this nightmare and live our lives again. Made it to 8 weeks and then the horrible news - no more heartbeat, devastated yet again. Back to the hospital for another D&C.
The same doctor now notified us that there was this new process that allows you to genetically test the embryos to make sure they were viable before you transfer them through IVF. Although costly, I was willing to do what it takes to never have another miscarriage. We tested the 4 remaining embryos and we were ready to implant two in May of 2014 and we started yet another IVF process hoping this was the answer. To my shock, the result was a negative pregnancy test. I was ready to give up (as most people reading this are probably wondering how I had not already given up) but after all the money and time and not to mention our dream to become parents we were determined to use the last of my 2 genetically tested embryos and get our happy ending.
I wanted to do everything in my power to ensure I had the best success rate for my last try so I went in for a procedure to check for any additional scar tissue or endometriosis that might have developed since all of these D&Cs and procedures. I decided to take some time off and wait until the end of the summer to use my last 2! My body needed the rest.
It was now late July/August and I was ready to begin…I was so tired of waiting…the years were flying by and I was just stuck waiting for something that felt like it was never going to happen.
I was just waiting for my cycle to start and make an appointment to start my last attempt at IVF when I realized that I was over a week late…not thinking anything of it, since… well you read the previous paragraphs so I don’t have to tell you why it was not even a thought in my mind. Mike said maybe you should just go buy a test and make sure. I told him he was crazy but I went out and bought a test to humor him. OMG! I was pregnant ON MY OWN. Can this be? All these years and God finally blessed me with my own! Went directly to Quest to get a blood test and it was confirmed: I was pregnant! I was so happy but scared at the same time. We went for our first sonogram to see this little miracle and the doctor was taking extra-long. He said, “I don’t know. I hear a heartbeat but I don’t see the pregnancy.” He was scared it was ectopic since I did have a previous ectopic with one of my other attempts. He sent me to the hospital for a more extensive sonogram because he believed it was not only ectopic but it was interstitial ectopic which is VERY DANGEROUS; it means it is half in your tube and half in your uterus and it can rupture and cause internal bleeding and I could possibly die. My miracle was turning out to be another nightmare. Had to be monitored for the next few weeks I went back at 9 weeks and there was no more heartbeat. Went for my routine D&C to remove the pregnancy and I came out and was told that there was actually two babies, one in the tube and one in the uterus. They had to remove both pregnancies carefully so it did not cause damage to my uterus. They had never seen this before and I had to stay overnight to be monitored. I believe they said I was now in medical textbooks.
After picking myself back up again BARELY, I was told that I would have to have my tube removed because it was severely damaged during the removal of the pregnancy and was infected. If I wanted my best chance of success with IVF on those last two remaining embryos, it would have to be removed and it was now also a health risk. How much more can one person take?
I went for the procedure in November 2014 because I truly thought that this was going to be the answer for success in the next IVF. My tube was very infected and the doctor was hopeful that the infection could have caused the numerous miscarriages because it secretes a fluid to the uterus, which does not allow the embryo to stick.
It was time to recover again and after the holidays I would try my last attempt. They were genetically tested embryos and I had no more infection. No brainer-it was my time.
It is 2015 and I was ready to start with some good news! Went for my last ever IVF procedure in early January (believe it or not still very hopeful). I got the call and my number was very high and the doctor believed both might have took. Twins!!! He actually said congrats and I told him no congrats until the babies are born. Went for blood work every two days and my levels were doubling nicely. All was great and they scheduled me for my first ultrasound. But then I started bleeding. Doctor said that it was normal and to come in for an ultrasound. All looked good on the ultrasound. We saw a heartbeat and the baby measured well. He said I might have lost the twin but all looks good and just to be safe stay on bed rest for the week and come back for another ultrasound. No work for the week. Just sitting there thinking and thinking. Finally, the day came for my ultrasound: no heartbeat. 6 years earlier, all of our hopes and dreams existed in that doctor’s office and in that moment they were gone.
How could this happen again? What did we do to deserve this? I was even more crushed than ever knowing that it was truly OVER. All those attempts but we always thought in the end it would be worth it.
We were officially broke and mentally and physically exhausted.
We lost all hope and were in a very dark place. No money, no embryos!
We started researching adoption and it made our heads spin! Costs totaling in excess of $40,000. Who has $40,000, especially when they spent a small fortune on IVF procedures in the last 6 years!!!
I decided to call an adoption attorney. I talked with him for a while and he actually got me out of my funk. He said, “just think no more needles and medicines and with adoption you will come out with a baby in the end.” He said in some cases it takes less than a year and we were great candidates because we were young and had no other children. We had a shred of hope again. Then reality sunk in. His retainer is $3,000 and his consultation is $1,000 and that was just the beginning. We realized that our hope also needs money.
We are going to look into loans and borrowing but my husband said to maybe do a “GoFundMe” to raise some money. He said people are very successful and do it for all sorts of stuff. I was so not for it. I don’t want the world to know my life story. It’s embarrassing and I hate asking anyone for help. However, I started to write this and just posted it on the GoFundMe website and did not post it on Facebook or send it to anyone. The website recommends sharing your story on social media and said you will not have a good result without doing so. I just couldn’t imagine other people reading this. I had such a hard time writing it and I keep thinking about what people will think when they read it.
However, I had to suck up my pride and not care what other people think because what I care about more than what people think of me is a little baby to call my own and really in the end nothing else matters.
Every little bit helps bring us closer to our dream and ending this nightmare. We thank you in advance for even taking the time to read our whole story.
If you can share on your timeline that would also be great.
We would like to thank everyone for their support and generous donations without your help this would not have been possible. Thank you for making our dreams come true! Mike and I could not be happier he truly is our miracle!
We have completed all the necessary paperwork and are now at our favorite part of all – the waiting process! We would not have been able to get this far without all your help and will be forever grateful for all your support!
I was going to close the account but decided to leave it open so I can give updates as our journey progresses.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
Please keep sharing xoxo
Some of you have reached out to ask if there are other non-monetary ways to help. There are! Word of mouth is powerful. While you may not know someone directly who may be struggling with an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, someone that you may know may know someone who is. Have you ever played Kevin Bacon's six degrees game? We are all connected somehow. Please reach out to doctors (especially obgyns), social workers, pregnancy testing centers, and any other places that may have contact with pregnant women and share and spread our story. We gladly accept calls from women considering adoption directly at 1-888-279-8055 or if she would prefer to reach our attorney directly, he can be reached at 1-800-447-5527. Just have her mention that she's calling regarding Jackie & Mike.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for helping us complete our family through adoption.