The Fertility Diaries: Friends and Mothers
By Gina Shaw
3 women, each trying to build a family, have been waiting on
some important — and nerve-racking — developments. Will Jody's latest fertility
treatment succeed? Will Carrie's labor go smoothly? Read about their latest
challenges and triumphs.
In this installment of the "Fertility Diaries," REDBOOK revisits
three Cleveland area friends, each of whom has taken a different path to
parenthood. Jody Urbas, 33, begins her first cycle of in vitro fertilization
(IVF), following a miscarriage and several failed attempts to get pregnant
using other assisted reproductive methods. Jenny Taylor, 27, who had baby Nora
with the help of fertility medications barely a year after the tragic death of
her newborn son from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), now copes with that
memory and her anxieties as she cares for her second child. And Carrie
Brainerd, 31, who became pregnant just as soon as she started trying, eagerly
awaits the birth of her baby.
Some people celebrate the new year with a glass of champagne. Jody Urbas
rang in 2007 with a shot in the behind.
She had spent the week between Christmas and New Year's getting daily
injections of two fertility drugs — GonalF and Repronex, both designed to spur
egg development for the in vitro fertilization process she was about to
undergo. Almost every day, she'd visited her reproductive endocrinologist — a
doctor specializing in fertility — to have her hormone levels tested. "I
was there on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day — pretty much every
day except Christmas Day!" says Jody, a teacher of the hearing impaired.
Her surging hormone levels helped the doctor estimate how many eggs she would
likely produce and when it would be time to trigger ovulation.
That time came at 8:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Celebrating at home, Jody
asked her friend, a medical resident, to give her the "trigger shot"
(human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG). "The injection has to be timed
precisely, so that they know exactly when you should come in for your egg
retrieval," Jody explains.
On New Year's Day, already feeling a heaviness and bloating in her ovaries,
Jody returned to her doctor for an ultrasound and blood work. He confirmed that
she could return for egg retrieval the next day, January 2.
Jody: "I went in at 6:15 a.m. I'd already taken Valium and
Vicodin at 5:30 a.m. like the doctor's office told me to, because although it's
minor, egg retrieval is a surgical procedure. They say you're usually not
completely out during the procedure, but you don't remember anything. I could
hear voices and I remember them saying, "We got one egg!" Then around
10 or 10:30, my husband, Scott, had to give his sperm. Because not all of
Scott's sperm are normal, the doctor used a process called ICSI —
intracytoplasmic sperm injection. He selected the best sperm to inject into the
eggs. They fertilized three good eggs using ICSI, and we had to wait five days
while the fertilized eggs developed enough so that the doctor was sure that
they were viable. Some clinics will put the eggs back in at three days, but
five days gives a higher success rate. I was afraid they'd tell me that none of
the eggs made it. That was my nightmare. But all three made it until day five —
the day they transferred them back into my uterus."
After the egg transfer, Jody was sent home with instructions to stay on bed
rest for two days — no showering, getting up only to go to the bathroom, and
sitting up only to eat. Twelve days later, her doctor would do a pregnancy
test. Until then, all Jody could do was wait.