Making Baby Flaherty

As many of you know, Ray and I have been trying to get pregnant for a while. We tried on our own for almost four years. In June 2012 we went to the doctor. After many tests, procedures and lots of blood work we were told our only hope to get pregnant would be IVF (in-vitro fertilization). They gave us the brochure with the prices. He told us the total at the clinic alone would be $11,500. This price did not include medications, which can run anywhere from $3,500-$7,000. Sadly, infertility is not something covered by insurance. We were disappointed, but we were determined to have a family. I had surgery in August 2012 to clear my endometriosis. After surgery I began a medication to keep my endometriosis from coming back for 6 months. Shortly after this medication we finally got the news we would be starting the actual IVF medication.

In late February 2013 I began the IVF medication. It was a strict regimen of multiple shots and pills. We did our egg retrieval and embryo transfer in March 2013. They were able to retrieve 4 eggs from me. After fertilization however, we only had one surviving embryo. We were a little discouraged, but as they say, "It only takes one".

Two weeks after embryo transfer we got the blood work back that we were pregnant and my numbers were extremely high, so twins were a possibility!! We were so happy. Two weeks after my initial blood work is when our first ultrasound was scheduled. Patty, the ultrasound technician, immediately found the heartbeat. It was strong and she was very pleased. I asked her if she saw another baby because my beta levels were extremely high. She said no. She started to end the session when she made the discovery of TWIN B!! "AHH! The embryo split, we now are having identical twins!" was all I remember saying. At this point, we were over the moon with joy. After all this time, we were going to get two sweet babies to love!

One week later was our next ultrasound. Twin A's heartbeat was good and strong. Unfortunately, Twin B did not make it. We were sad, but very happy we still had a baby coming our way in November 2013.

Everything was going great. We graduated out of Nashville Fertility Center and onto regular prenatal care. We had an ultrasound at 10 weeks and baby was doing great. On May 30th (about 14 weeks) an ER doctor did an ultrasound for me. There was nothing wrong; I just wanted to see my baby. I work in an ER, so he was happy to do one for me. The heartbeat was good, baby touched its face. I got to see the feet and toes. It was amazing.

Our appointment to find out the gender was set for Saturday June 8th. We were so excited. This was going to be huge, after waiting for so long, we would finally know boy or girl! I laid down and the ultrasound technician started moving the wand over my belly. Baby was sleeping and it was looking as if we were not going to be finding out the sex, because baby was not turning. She had me bounce on a ball to wake baby up. When she tried again, she said that she was having a hard time finding the heartbeat. She said it may be the position. She recommended we call our doctor, get checked out, and we could reschedule the gender appointment.

I called the doctor on call and he said we need to go to the ER and get a proper ultrasound. I called the charge nurse at Vandy and she had a room waiting for us. After telling the triage nurse what happened, she hugged me and said she was sorry. Immediately this caused panic in Ray, because I don't think he realized what was happening. I think in the back of my mind I knew, but I was not going to give up hope yet. The doctor came in and did a portable ultrasound. He was unable to find the heartbeat. He said he was going to order a formal ultrasound. Patient transport took us to ultrasound and the waiting was killing us. When she began, she was very quiet. She only asked us to tell the story. I tell her the shortest version possible and she was still quiet. After she took about 15 images of the baby, I asked her, "You can't find the heartbeat either, can you?". Our entire future was hanging on her response and then she finally said "No, I can't find the heartbeat."

We were heartbroken. Devastation is a light description of what we were feeling. We woke up that morning prepared to go pick out paint colors for the room and just like that our baby was gone. The OB resident came in and gave us our options. We chose to be induced and deliver our baby. I was admitted to labor and delivery around 10pm. At 11pm, I was given the first dose of medication to induce me. I was given my second dose at 3am and another at 7am. I was having contractions, but not as many as they would have liked. Around 10am, the doctors came in and said they would like to try one of two options to speed things along. I told them, they could choose, whichever they feel would be best. I'll spare you of all the gory details, but after a painful hour of trying the first method, they opted to try the second method. The second method immediately worked and the contractions began coming much more frequently.

I received my epidural around 7:30 pm. This eased my pain quite a bit. At 9:17pm, I delivered a sweet baby boy. He was so little and frail. We held him and loved on him. I sang him a song and Ray talked to him. The nurse took him away briefly to prepare us some mementos that included pictures, hats, booties, wristbands, and a card with his name, time of birth, height, and weight. We named him Raymond Stanley, after Ray and my late grandfather. We said our goodbyes and told him we loved him one last time. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing we've ever had to do.

After all the pain, stress, heartache, and disappointment we are still hopeful to have our family. We have decided to try IVF again. Unfortunately with my endometriosis, we must start the process much sooner than we would like. If we wait too long, medicine will not keep my endometriosis away and I will have to have surgery. With that being said we are asking for your help. Our last cycle of IVF cost us a little under $20,000 after everything was said and done. We paid the last cycle with our savings, two HSA's, money from Ray's mom, money borrowed from my Nonny, and the rest on zero interest credit cards. We know that times are hard and understand if you can't donate, but we ask that you please share our story with your friends and family. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, prayers are so important to us too. We thank you in advance for your help; your contribution means more than you will ever know.

With Love and Thanks,
Ray and Devin
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Organizer

Devin Cox Flaherty 
Organizer
Nashville-Davidson, TN
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