We met in St. George, Utah, while Dane was attending Dixie College and Lorena was attending Southern Utah University. After our first date we never dated anyone else. We were engaged nearly two months after our first date and married five months after that on June 14, 1997. We moved up to Provo, Utah, so that Dane could attend Brigham Young University. We both love children, and after being married for two months, Lorena went off of the pill. A year later we had still not gotten pregnant, so we went in to see our family doctor, Dr. Steven Berry. He wanted to check Dane's sperm count first. We didn't think that was the problem so we put it off for a month. We were shocked to find out in September of 1998 that Dane's sperm count was less than a million. (A count of 100-200 is considered normal.)
Having personal experience in the matter, Dr. Berry referred us directly to the University of Utah. We met Dr. Carrell, andrology, and he gave us our options. Basically, the only way we could have our own biological children was through in vitro fertilization with ICSI.. We were crushed because we knew that we could never afford the $10,000 per attempt. We had already checked out our church's adoption services and were prepared to adopt. Dr. Carrell then informed us that there was a couple, who wished to remain anonymous, that was donating the money for a few young couples to attempt IVF. We were stunned and excited that someone would be that generous and decided to apply for the funding.
Our first step in the application process was to have an IVF consult. At that appointment in December of 1998 Dr. Peterson, reproductive endocrinologist, did an examination on Lorena and a trial run of the embryo transfer. Everything looked great. We then went home to wait to receive the application.
The application arrived in January and we filled it out and sent it off the next day. We were so excited!! In May we received the news that we had passed through the first stage of the application process. We then had one more stage to go. In July we found out that we had been accepted and Lorena started monitoring her temperature for IVF.
After 10 days of Lupron (a hormone injection that interrupts communication between the brain and the ovaries, allowing the ovaries to produce several eggs without the brain stopping the process) Lorena went in for her first ultrasound on August 8, 1999, and started stimulants that day. The first ultrasound was just to make sure that her ovaries were quiet, that they were not producing any follicles on their own, and to check to make sure her lining was thin. Everything looked OK.
The shots for Lupron were easy. They were about the size of diabetic needles and each one got us closer to our goal. Lorena did have 3 days of the 1-1/2 inch needles in her hips for stimulants, but that was over quickly as well. By the time she got to her 8th day of stimulants, she could tell something was going on in her ovaries. They did another ultrasound and sure enough, she had a lot of follicles. However, they were not yet lsrge enough, so she had 2 more doses of stimulants. We went back the next day and she was ready for the hCG shot.
36 hours later we were back in Dr. Harry Hatasaka's office. Lorena was thinking she was going to explode. She doesn't remember much about the retrieval. She was on loopy drugs, but does remember that it was painful. They got 18 eggs. Dr. Hatasaka remarked that he would have been happy with 6. Lorena took work off from the time of the retrieval to a week after the transfer. She just relaxed. The night of retrieval we began progesterone in oil shots--they are not fun!! It is a 1-1/2 inch needle in the hips, and the medicine is thick. Dr. Hatasaka recommended the injections over the pills, considering them the best to sustain the pregnancy. Dane gave her one shot per night from the time of retrieval until the 10th week of pregnancy.
The next day, after laying around, we got the call that 13 of the 18 eggs were mature and 12 of those had fertilized. Once again Dr. Hatasaka was pleased and surprised that such a high percentage fertilized. The day after that we received another call telling us that our eggs were all dividing very well. Two of the embryos only made it to two cells. The rest had, at that point, reached 7-8 cells.
We went back the next day and Dr. Hatasaka showed us a picture of our three best embryos and gave us the option of putting back 2 or 3. Lorena really wanted 3, because had we put 2 and not gotten pregnant, she would have always wondered if that third embryo would have implanted. We signed consents to have our others grown to blastocyst and then frozen.
The transfer was a cinch, for Lorena anyway. It was over very quickly. We just sat there talking about baby names for an hour and then went home.
Lorena sat in a recliner that Dane had purchased at Deseret Industries, a thrift store, for a whopping $7 (it was extra-reclined as Dane had put some books under the front legs) and thought positive thoughts. She spent two days in complete rest and then took it easy the rest of the week.
The 2-week wait was the worst!! Lorena did take a home pregnancy test 4 days after the transfer, because she just wanted to see. It was a faint positive. So, 9 days after the transfer Lorena bought another HPT and it was positive, and not on first morning urine. She then proceeded to take one every day until her blood test. Basically, Lorena could be described as a little psycho, perhaps even off her gourd, during that time.
The beta hCG came back at whopping 1848. Dr. Hatasaka's office indicated to us that it was probably more than one baby, being that they were looking for a result that was 100-300. Lorena had begun to feel pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea.
When we were 5 weeks along Lorena thought she was miscarrying. We went to the ER and they did a stomach sonogram and we saw three sacks. It was too early for heartbeats so we did not begin telling people that we were expecting triplets.
We had the viability ultrasound at 6w4d and we saw 3 HBs. They all measured bigger than our dates, 6w6d, 6w6d and 7w0d, and were doing great. We then made it somewhat public that we were expecting triplets.
We continued to have ultrasounds at least once a month through the pregnancy. Lorena grew very quickly. At her first OB appointment when she was 8 weeks along she measured 18-20 weeks along. At the end of her first trimester, Lorena became very tired and cut her hours at work down to 30 per week. In November, when Lorena was 16 weeks along, she was put on home rest. Three weeks later, when she was 19 weeks, Lorena started feeling weird and called the OB's office and told them of her symptoms. They did not seem overly concerned, but had her come in to be monitored. In half an hour she had 4 contractions, and when her cervix was checked it was dilated to a 1. Strict bedrest started then. That next week we went to see our perinatologist, and after a cervical ultrasound, he told us that something had to be done to save the pregnancy as 1/3 of Lorena's cervix had thinned, or effaced. He told us that we could do a cerclage, a stitch in the cervix to keep it shut. The procedure is commonly used for incompetent cervix; it is not always recommend this late in the pregnancy because of the risks associated with it. Those risks include infection, hemorrhaging, and possible miscarriage. There was also the risk that the needle could puncture Baby A's sack and we could lose him. That night we got on the Internet and informed ourselves about it. We talked and prayed and both felt that we needed to do the cerclage to give our children a chance. If we ended up losing them and had not done the cerclage we would have always wondered if it could have made the differnce.
Dr. Kari Lawrence did the surgery on December 23rd. It went great! Lorena stayed in the hospital overnight and then came home to bedrest. She was started on a drug called nifedipine to control the contractions. We printed out a calendar and posted it in our bedroom to count down the days until it would be safe to deliver our babies. We had quite an exciting two months with appointments and trips to Labor and Delivery. Each cervical ultrasound showed that the cervix was thinning out more and more. An ultrasound at 26 weeks showed that the cervix had completely thinned out and the only thing holding it closed was that stitch. Almost two weeks later we were delivering our miracle babies.
We feel truly blessed to have been given such gifts from our Heavenly Father. We hope to help anyone who is experiencing similar trials.
Click here for ultrasound pictures of the babies
Click here for pictures of the babies
Click here for the daily log udating the babies' progress
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(c) Dane Seeley, 2000