We are overjoyed to welcome Alexander Charles! This is my blog about Sienna and F.O.P., but adding an entirely new family member to the mix is definitely worth a posting, and could be helpful to other rare families hoping to expand their broods. It turns out I had so much to say, this will be a three-part post.
Part 1: Miracle Baby!
Rare Dad and I each have wonderful siblings and always hoped that we would be able to give Sienna at least one. But when she was diagnosed with F.O.P. at age 2 in 2012, the diagnosis overwhelmed us. She was a wobbly toddler who now had to be kept safe from any injuries (which could cause flare-ups and permanent loss of mobility). That alone was a full time job! We slowly regained our footing and by 2014 we decided we were finally ready to grow our family. So we started trying again. And waiting. And hoping. A few heartbreaking false starts. But no luck, for more than 3 years. And during those years of trying, my eggs and I continued to grow older.
Finally, last spring we decided to try IVF. We figured if we were willing to enlist the most advanced medical technology to cure Sienna, we should also be willing to try it to have another baby. It was a grueling cycle – administering my own shots was terrifying, and the headaches from the medication were no picnic either. Halfway through, I wasn’t responding as well as they’d like so they doubled my medication. After all that, the cycle resulted in only two eggs retrieved, which was a pretty disappointing outcome. The eggs needed to make it through fertilization and then develop for 5 days, at which time they are tested for a whole list of genetic conditions. Note that you cannot test for F.O.P. unless one of the parents has it, since it is a spontaneous genetic condition. We also learned that while there is a roughly 1 in 2 million chance of having one baby with F.O.P., once you have one child with it, it is a roughly 1 in 500 chance of having another. I don’t understand why, but that’s what the doctors told us. Those are close odds considering we had already hit 1 in 2 million. But we were confident in the state of the research that Sienna and others with F.O.P. will be ok, and would be thrilled with whatever baby we could make.
After our disappointment in the retrieval, we had renewed hope after learning that both eggs fertilized and one made it to the testing/freezing stage. After another few days’ wait (some of the longest days of our lives! All of our eggs (*egg*) were in that one basket…) we were thrilled to learn that we had created one healthy embryo! I later learned that it typically takes about 10-15 eggs retrieved to expect a healthy embryo, so I was encouraged that our baby dreams were meant to be!
We planned to do the embryo transfer in early September. I was ready to go, but my cycle was late. I called the fertility clinic and said “Argh, what should I do? My cycle is late.” The nurse asked “Hmm… Have you taken a pregnancy test?” I laughed and laughed! “Wouldn’t that be nice?!” But when we were still waiting two days later I took a pregnancy test and it lit up positive right away… Alex is NOT that embryo! He surprised us by arriving naturally all on his own, the cycle before our planned transfer! We couldn’t believe it. He is a true miracle!
With this pregnancy, we told no one except our doctors until we made it through all the week 13 tests (and Alex passed them all with flying colors!). Sienna was the very first person we told. She was thrilled and completely surprised! It also helped that we gave her a gift from Alex along with the news. (An American Girl doll – we needed to make sure she loved the news!)
Yes, that’s apple cider.
Then Sienna called our families to share the news. I think we shocked everyone – when your first child is almost 8 years old, most people assume you are done having children!
(and we can share this picture now – ha!)
Alexander Services – Deliveries? Really? Should I just ask the driver?
Stay tuned for Welcome Alex Part 2: Hello, Alex!