Keegan's Birth Story
Tom and I were married on July 31, 1993 and wanted to have children right away. I even bought a baby outfit before we were married. We both love children and were looking forward to having a family. We thought we would get pregnant on our honeymoon and were disappointed that we didn’t. It took us eleven months to get pregnant and we were so elated. We told everyone right away. A few weeks later I started spotting on my 28th birthday and miscarried on the same day that my younger sister delivered her first baby. We were crushed. The doctors told us miscarriage is common and that we could go ahead and try to get pregnant again. Eight long months later, we found out we were pregnant again. The feeling wasn’t quite the same because we had already lost one baby. After a few weeks, I had a terrible intuition that something was wrong and had an emotional meltdown. My husband brought me to the doctor’s office and we went to the hospital for an ultrasound. We found that we were pregnant with twins and that one of the babies was no longer viable. We were shocked, sad and still had hope for our remaining baby. Two weeks later, we found that our second baby was no longer living. We were devastated.
We started to wonder if we could carry a child to term. We decided to have every test available to avoid another loss. Our doctor told us that the tests are not covered by insurance until after 3 miscarriages. We found out that since we had only two pregnancies, that they did not consider us to have three losses. We started to get very frustrated with the system and decided to go to a reproductive endocrinologist in the cities. It was a two hour trip one way for us, but we decided that it was worth it. We ran every test possible and found that I had an elevated prolactin level. I went on parlodel and we started clomid and inseminations. We found that my husbands levels were not where they wanted them to be and he was diagnosed with varicoceles. He had surgery on both sides and they expected to find one varicocele on each side and found 4 on one side and 6 on the other. After the waiting period was over before we could try again, we wanted to go right back into inseminations. The doctor highly recommended trying naturally and I displayed my “infertility assertiveness” and told them that we had waited for so long, that I didn’t want try naturally. I was in tears because I just couldn’t bear waiting anymore. A week following my temper tantrum at the doctor’s office, we found out that we were pregnant, naturally of course. Boy was I embarrassed! We were cautiously excited as we went for an ultrasound. Once again we found that the baby was no longer viable!! We just could not believe it! Four babies, years of heartache and no resolution in site! We had a couple more tests run and found that I was APA (antiphospholipid antibody) positive. It was around that time that I found Resolve. What a difference it made in my life! I was not alone in the pain, anger and frustration. What a relief to know that I was normal!! I also found the internet and began countless searches for recurrent miscarriage. I found a Doctor in Chicago who was having wonderful success with people who had three or more losses. There was also an article on him in People magazine. I contacted him by email and had a response within 4 hours!! He said to send blood to his lab and they would test us. The test results were amazing. He has 5 levels of patients and we were level 5 which was the worst. They told us that Tom and my Dad were too similar genetically and that my body does not form the protecting antibody around the baby. Instead my body sees the baby more like cancer and attacks the tissue. The treatment was to try to trick my body into forming the protecting antibody. Three times they injected 40 million of Tom’s white blood cells into my forearms. We also did heparin injections in to my tummy two times a day, calcium pills, baby aspirin and insemination. We found out we were pregnant and again miscarried. We then found out that I had formed an allergic reaction to progesterone which is needed to sustain a pregnancy. We then started progesterone injections. They tested us again to see how I was responding to the treatment in Chicago. I did not respond well. They then decided I needed a donor as well as Tom’s white blood cells. We made 4 more trips to Chicago while they injected 80 million white blood cells into my arms. The procedure was growing more painful because they inject it into the same location every time. Again, the results showed that I did not respond very well and so we did IVIg treatments. A nurse had to come to our home and administer the IV. We continued with all of the injections and inseminations. We tried two full cycles spending about $3,000 per cycle and we could not bear the roller coaster anymore. I know in my heart the treatment works, it was just taking too large of a toll on us emotionally and physically.
Shortly after our last miscarriage we saw Turning Point, a news show that did an hour segment on surrogacy. It was amazing to us and we thought it was something that might work for us! We told my Aunt about the show and that we were looking into finding a someone to carry our child for us. We started researching it on the internet. The following day, my cousin called. She said, ‘They can’t let a stranger carry their baby!’ She offered to carry for us. It turns out that she was a perfect candidate as she has three children of her own, two girls and a boy, she was 25 years old and had very easy pregnancies. We made the decision to pursue gestational surrogacy with my cousin on July 19, 1997. Within two months we had completed all of the physical and psychological screening, legal contracts, arranging our finances. We had decided to go with the gestational carrier warranty so that we would not have the added stress of only one try. The process was invitro fertilization and instead of transferring back to me, we transferred to my cousin. The retrieval was September 28. I responded really well to fertinex and 35 follicles were retrieved. We had 12 fertilized embryos, decided to cryopreserve 6 and allow 6 to continue. Three of the six embryos were perfect and three had fragmented. We transferred three embryos to my cousin on October 1 and waited, and waited for the pregnancy test. On October 10 we found out that we were pregnant!! Our confirmation ultrasound confirmed one baby with a really strong heartbeat! We were so excited. We went to every doctor’s visit and enjoyed the experience so much! My cousin is our incredible angel and an amazing person. She had to endure the progesterone shots which were the hardest thing for her. She never complained or made us feel guilty. She was such a trooper!! At the end, we camped out in their driveway in my Aunt & Uncle’s motorhome waiting for the baby to arrive.
On June 23, 1998 our son Keegan Ray Binsfeld was born! It was such an amazing experience. My cousin was a trooper through the whole birthing process. I cried the whole time because she was enduring this pain for me!
In Minnesota, the state recognizes the person who delivers the baby to be the Mother. There are two options, either do a step parent adoption or to pursue a “Maternity Suit” similar to a paternity suit. We were the first parents to pursue the “Maternity Suit” which basically requires genetic testing of the baby and the biological parents. My cousin and her husband as well as my husband and I had to all sign declaration of parentage papers. We submitted the information to a judge and he would rule on the case. If he approved, he would then issue a judgement to get my name on the birth certificate. Since it had never been done in Minnesota, there were no guarantees that it would work so we had to be prepared to continue with step parent adoption. Two days ago, we found out that we got the judgement and that my name will be on the birth certificate as the Mother of Keegan. This case will set a precedence in Minnesota so it will be easier for other intended parents to get their names on the birth certificate.
Keegan is now 3 1/2 months old and growing every day. I know that our struggles with infertility were so difficult and I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone. But the amazing thing is that my husband and I have a much better relationship that we probably would have if we hadn’t struggled with infertility and I know that I will treasure every minute that I get to spend with my son. We have truly experienced a miracle!
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