After some time to think and recover from our loss, we decided to transfer another female embryo. Duchenne muscular dystrophy almost never has effects on girls, the greatest risk for them is being carriers and that one day they would have to screen their own children for the condition.
After another series of medications and injections, the day scheduled for the second transfer arrived (April 20, 2022). We did the same thing, we traveled the night before, slept in Indiana and went to our appointment. The doctor we knew couldn’t be there because he had surgery on his knee and a different doctor did the procedure. This time it went way smoother since we knew how much water to drink. After the procedure, we asked the embryo to let us meet her. We returned to the hotel and the next day went back home.
We began to consider the name Abby, derived from Abigail, whose meaning is “father’s delight.” Another two long weeks of waiting for the pregnancy test followed, and meanwhile more medications and daily injections. The day before the scheduled blood test (May 1st), Dessireé couldn’t wait any longer and took a home test in the middle of the night. That’s how we found out we were going to become parents. The truth is, I was still nervous and I didn’t want to get my hopes up until the blood test results. Dessireé on the other hand was super happy that our embryo had survived.
On the morning of May 2nd, they confirmed the excellent news. The pregnancy hormone had a high level (1641 mIU/ml). We didn’t tell almost anyone because they say that the first trimester is dangerous and because a second test had to be done to see if the level of the pregnancy hormone doubled day by day. The second blood test was done on May 4th, and it confirmed that the pregnancy hormone was increasing (4765 mIU/ml). Between May 2nd and 4th, we did two home pregnancy tests with positive results. In the meantime, the medications and injections had to be continued until the placenta could take over and continue producing the hormones the baby needs to develop.
During that time, we had two ultrasounds to confirm her heartbeat, one at six weeks pregnant (May 18th) and one at eight weeks (May 31st). In the first ultrasound, the heart was beating at 108 bpm, and in the second it was already beating at 167 bpm. The result of the first ultrasound revealed bleeding from the placenta (subchorionic hematoma), which we were told was normal in cases of IVF pregnancies, but it worried us. However, we were very happy the embryo had a heartbeat. Dessireé thought she saw the embryo move her little hand during the second ultrasound and she compared our baby to a gummy bear.
After the eight week appointment, everything went well. We passed the indicated time of the injections (10 weeks) and “graduated” from IVF. No more injections needed! And from that moment, the follow ups were almost the same as for any other pregnancy, with only some extra check due our status of “high risk” (several factors: IVF conception, old age and being carriers of DMD). At 3 months we started telling everyone, we were very happy! And things were going normally.
The first trimester brought some nausea, but no other symptoms to worry about. At 14 weeks, even though the placenta was toward the front of the womb (anterior placenta), we began to feel Abby’s movements.