Dear No One,
I headed into January with so much hope and excitement. In December, I read a bunch of blogs, researched IVF, and connected with others on Instagram. I got myself in the most positive state of mind I could. I was ready. I was so excited. This was our shot. I was feeling so positive, I even thought we may be that couple that gets a ton of healthy embryos, have everything go perfectly, and get pregnant the first round.
There is a lot (I mean A LOT) that goes into the process of IVF. Let me break some of it down into some of the simpler steps.
-I took birth control for 3 weeks and antibiotics for 2 weeks to prep my body.
-I went in for a baseline ultrasound and blood work to make sure my body was ready to begin. Basically, they were making sure my ovaries weren’t producing any eggs on their own.
-4 days later I started taking IVF meds. One shot in the morning, one shot in the evening. And lots of other pills to prep my body (prenatal vitamins, steroids, Vitamin D, etc.)
-After 3 days of shots, I went in for another ultrasound and blood work.
-2 days later, I went in for ultrasound and blood work.
-I went in for ultrasound and blood work the next day. Added another shot in the evenings.
-2 days later, I went in for ultrasound and blood work. Stopped all current shots. Took “trigger” shot that evening to help eggs mature and prepare for egg retrieval.
-The next day I went in for blood work.
-The next day I went in for egg retrieval. You are put under light sedation and aren’t allowed to work that day.
Ok. Was that schedule crazy?? Yep! But would you believe me if I told you that shots were the easiest part of IVF for me? Did I hesitate the first few times before sticking a needle into my body? Yes, but I got use to it.
Symptoms? Almost none for the first week. Didn’t sleep well (thanks to steroids), but I was feeling amazing for the first week. Then Sunday hit, and I was extremely tired and my belly was getting sore and swollen as my ovaries went from the size of walnuts to the size of oranges. Honestly, though, I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I thought I would going into this process.
How the last couple days before egg retrieval looked. Tired mama! (and a very understanding baby)
What was the hardest part(s)? After my ultrasounds and blood work, a nurse would call me in the afternoon to update me. When I went to my day 5 ultrasounds and blood work, I was told my estrogen levels had jumped really high. Therefore, they adjusted my meds and made a next day appointment to see how my body responded to the changes. On my day 8 ultrasound and blood work, they called me that afternoon and told me a few things.
One, my body was ready for egg retrieval in two days, so I had to take my trigger shot that evening. Yay!
Two, my estrogen had continued to climb too high, and the typical trigger shot was dangerous for me to take at that point. Therefore, they sent a prescription for a different shot to a specialty pharmacy downtown. When I got there, they said they didn’t have it. Then we were sent to another pharmacy 20 minutes away to get the ONE shot they had left. Cue anxiety.
Third, the nurse told me that we had to cancel the embryo transfer due to my high hormone levels. Embryo transfer is typically done 5 days after the egg retrieval. Instead of the possibility of finding out we’re pregnant in a couple weeks, we have to put the embryo transfer off for at least 6-8 weeks. This was very disappointing for me. I medically understood the reason. The nurses were concerned I could get Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which can be extremely painful and lead to draining fluid out of your abdomen. Obviously I didn’t want that, and I was thankful that they were staying on top of my health. Does it take away the desire to want to be pregnant? Nope. We have now been trying over three years. The first part of the IVF process already took 6 weeks. My dream of being pregnant just keeps getting pushed back. I have learned patience through infertility and the adoption process, but I’m not perfect. I am a planner. Hearing another delay hurt, but we decided we should just focus our prayers and energy on getting good, healthy embryos.
Egg retrieval day. We got 16 eggs! 16! Yay!! That’s a great number. Then we wait until the next day to hear how many eggs fertilized overnight.
Three. Three out of sixteen eggs fertilized. That number drop was terrifying. We wouldn’t hear another update for five days. Those little embryos needed to make it to day 5, then they would be frozen until my body is ready for the transfer. Come on, little babes. I didn’t know I could feel so connected to embryos that weren’t even in my body. This was THE hardest part of IVF for us. Waiting. Waiting to hear if any of our embabies made it to day 5.
Two. Two embryos made it. They are now frozen. Waiting for their mama to get ready for them. Best news. We are so very thankful that we have two embryos. Two opportunities. Two embabies. There is not a day I don’t think about them.
I have lost track of the amount of hurdles we have had to jump over to get to our children. This round of IVF was a big hurdle. I went in thinking I was going to be the strongest woman who ever went through it. Take it like a champ. I ended it crying myself to sleep the night before we heard how many embryos made it to day 5, as the thought of losing any of them was too much for me to handle.
Was it easier than I thought it would be? At times. Was it harder than I thought it would be? At times.
It’s not over. We have more hurdles to get over before we have any pregnancy announcement, but I thought my supporters deserved an update. We are doing really well (especially now that my hormones have leveled out! Poor Marcus).
If you made it this far in this long post, thank you. And thank you to the wonderful, beautiful souls that took my hand and walked through every step with us. Whether you text, called, gave us care packages, babysat, or prayed for us, we are forever grateful.
All my love,