Monday, October 29, 2012

The Pizarro's

We are Erik and Natalie Pizarro and we have decided to share our journey of parenthood by way of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). For those unfamiliar, IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the process is combined with a procedure known as embryo transfer, which involves physically placing the embryo in the uterus.

We arrived at the decision of IVF after many failed attempts to get pregnant naturally. Natalie's first pregnancy occurred back in July of 2009. As any first time parents, we were thrilled to learn that we were about to become parents and shared the happy news with all our family and friends. Natalie made it through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy; however, when we returned for an ultrasound that September (this was to be the day we were going to hear a heartbeat for the first time), we learned that there was no development. The doctor advised us that Natalie had a blighted ovum. Basically, cells develop to form the pregnancy sac, but not the embryo itself. An emergency D&C procedure had to be performed to remove the undeveloped sac from Natalie's uterus. As you can imagine we were completely devastated. The doctor advised Natalie to take a few months to recover and then start again. Approximately 6 months later, we learned that Natalie was once again pregnant; however, our elation was somewhat reserved. The initial loss of Natalie's first pregnancy was still fresh on our minds and we did not want to get our hopes up in case there was another loss. This time, we kept the news of Natalie's pregnancy to ourselves, as we did not want to "jinx" ourselves. 4 weeks into pregnancy #2, we once again learned that Natalie had another miscarriage. No D&C was needed this time around, as Natalie was still early in the pregnancy. Once again, the doctor advised Natalie to take some time to recover before trying again.  Natalie began to question herself and started asking, "what is wrong with me?" Less than a year later, Natalie was pregnant for the third time. Natalie barely made it through 3 weeks, when we learned that she lost another pregnancy. After the 3rd miscarriage, the doctor advised us that it would be best to consult with an infertility doctor before attempting to get pregnant again.

We wasted no time and made an appointment to see an infertility specialist to try and understand the reasons for the miscarriages. The infertility specialist was insightful and provided us hope. We were given a crash course on the various causes of infertility and how these miscarriages could be overcome. We both had a blood screening done, Natalie had about 37 vials of blood drawn from her; whereas, Erik only had about 5 vials drawn. Natalie also underwent a couple of ultrasounds and various other screenings. Once the doctor completed his analysis, we learned that Natalie has a chromosomal abnormality. Our response was, ¿como?.... So what we learned was that chromosome 4 and chromosome 15 were inverted. Due to this chromosomal abnormality, Natalie's uterus was rejecting the pregnancy. Alas, we found an answer as to what was causing the miscarriages. The doctor advised us that the only course of action would be if we considered IVF. We decided that we wanted to get a second opinion. We met with another infertility specialist whose advice was completely different. After meeting with Natalie and reviewing her medical history, this doctor told Natalie, "getting pregnant is like playing poker, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Keep trying and come see me when your when your exhausted." Needless to say, we were not thrilled with this response and we did not return to see this doctor. At this point we were stuck. We weren't sure whether to try getting pregnant again naturally or pursue IVF. Not much thinking was able to get done, as we soon learned that Natalie was pregnant yet again, #4. This time around, Natalie barely got through 2 weeks before having another miscarriage. This was the last straw. Natalie was not only physically drained, but also mentally exhausted. The emotional high of learning of being pregnant always seemed to be defeated by the devastation of learning of the miscarriage. We decided that if we were going to have a baby, IVF would be our best option.

As we have learned about infertility and the causes, we have come to realize that there are so many other couples out there that are going through similar situations, Statistics. We have been fortunate enough to have such a wonderful support group that includes our family and friends. We want to share our journey and provide support and hope to those couples that are also going through the same journey. We also want to educate those unfamiliar with IVF and infertility. So, get your reading glasses and get ready to laugh, cry and go on a journey... The journey of "Growing the Pizarro's."