The struggle with infertility is different for every person. When a friend of mine posted that she was expecting I couldn’t have been more excited and shocked for her. Read her story and see why I was so excited and how she is really going to have her hands full.
Written by April Gardner:
We have been married for over 18 years (Dec 1996) and we have two daughters, Rilee 18, Whitlee 13, and one son Jaxton 2. We currently reside in Prattville, Alabama because my husband is active duty Air Force and stationed at Gunter AFB in Montgomery, Alabama.
With three successful pregnancies, it may seem as if infertility was not an issue for me. After our first successful pregnancy with Rilee, we struggled to get pregnant with our second child. During these 5 years, I struggled with endometriosis, had two laparoscopies and one miscarriage before finally having Whitlee.
After my second successful pregnancy with Whitlee, many more unsuccessful pregnancies followed. Over the next 11 years, I had another laparoscopy, two D&Cs (also known as dilation and curettage, a surgical procedure often performed after a first trimester miscarriage), diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) and suffered three more miscarriages before finally seeking help from both ART fertility clinics in Birmingham and Montgomery, AL in 2011.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between one in 10 and one in 20 women of childbearing age suffers from PCOS. The condition currently affects up to 5 million women in the U.S. For more information on this, click here.
People have always made comments about how far apart in age our kids are. It didn’t really bother me since I know people ask out of curiosity hoping I’ll elaborate on the situation. I just usually tell people jokingly, “we planned it that way so we could have built-in babysitters before we had another child.” LOL. I actually got quite a few comments when I was pregnant with our 2 year old son Jaxton. Because of the 11 year age difference between him and my second born Whitlee, and not knowing the struggles with infertility I had been through, people thought Jaxton was an accident. I just responded with, “no he was very well planned he just took his time getting here”.
With help from the fertility clinics, I was prescribed follistim and progesterone injections to help my body ovulate and sustain a pregnancy. Even then, I still suffered two more miscarriages before we had our third successful pregnancy with our son Jaxton in 2013.
In 2015, we decided to try one last time for another boy to give our son Jaxton a sibling that was closer to his age. Therefore, we decided to go back to the fertility clinic and start the process again. This time it only took two months and we somehow ended up with six fertilized eggs.
While I was getting my first ultrasound, I looked at the screen and immediately I noticed two sacs and said to the Dr. “twins?” She said, “actually I see triplets.” As the ultrasound progressed further, she said “wait…WOW there is another one number 4!” Finally, by the time the ultrasound was complete, the Dr. confirmed 6 babies in total. I just busted up laughing and said, “is this some kind of joke?” “Am I dreaming…somebody pinch me please!” “I’m lucky to get one healthy egg, so how did I end up with 6 fertilized eggs”? On the way home from the doctor’s office I couldn’t wait to call my husband who is deployed to Tampa, FL, to tell him the news and ask him “how are we going to do this?” Even with the fertility drugs, I totally did not expect this result, especially considering all the issues we had with infertility in the past.
Babies A-D all progressed at the same rate, babies E & F did not progress and remained stagnate. Eventually, E & F were non-existent during my weekly ultrasound, and that is how we ended up with our quadruplets!
Though we knew that multiples could occur with these injections, based on my prior history and previous results, we never thought multiples were a possibility for us. When I had Jaxton, he was the only egg my body had produced during that cycle. Therefore, we feel very lucky to have him because many times when we did have 1 or 2 eggs develop during any particular cycle, we were always unsuccessful.
Though, we are now down to the quadruplets we are grateful for any and all the babies we’ve been blessed with. We are now on our way to becoming a family of 9! What a miracle!
Do you want to continue following April and her growing family? Follow along on their journey head over to their Facebook page here.