Ok, I keep putting this post off because it brings up bad memories/thoughts/too many feelings/sadness/confusion etc etc… I am going to just rip the band-aid off and go for it.
We started the IVF process in January 2013. You have to put on birth control (haha crazy right?!) for a month to time out your cycle and to pretty much quiet your system/hormones down for the process. Once you do get your period, you have an appointment with the doctor for an ultrasound and bloodwork to make sure there are no cysts and to check your levels. THEN, the madness starts. A large box arrived at our door filled with shots, needles, alcohol pads, bottles of serum, pills and hershey kisses. Yes, the pharmacy knows what we are going through and sends some chocolate along! When my mom saw everything lined up on our kitchen table she cried…it was extremely overwhelming.
On 1/24, I started taking one shot a day (Lupron) in the lower part of my stomach. Dave was the best and learned to give me my shots so I just had to stand there, breathe and pray! On 2/8 I started my “stimming shots.” Stimulation shots make more follicles, which equal more eggs. I think at that time it was 3-4 shots a day, all in my stomach and all done by the hubby. They weren’t too bad and actually only one hurt (Menopur) because it would sting as it went in. During this time I was getting up almost every morning to be at the doctor’s by 7am for an ultrasound and blood work (about every 2-3 days at this point). And TMI- but the ultrasound is trans-vaginal– look it up…not too fun. On top of this you are growing more follicles so you are getting very bloated and uncomfortable.
Once you get further along in the process and your follicles are growing (the ultrasound measures the follicles), you are going to the doctor every single morning for blood work and an US. Thank Goodness they only take a vile a day of blood- it started to get me extremely tired and not feeling quite myself to lose so much.
Shot wise- after every morning appointment I would wait for my phone to ring and they would call that afternoon to tell me my numbers and to increase/decrease the meds. We spent probably over $3500 for the shots throughout the process. The crazy thing is they up the dosage a lot, which I did not know, so you have to constantly keep track of how much you have of each shot and we had to order more a few times. We had to go through a certain pharmacy and were lucky they delivered next day..but guess what? You had to have the prescription in by 4pm and half the time the nurse didn’t call me until after that. Twice my sister had to go to the office for me after they closed to get me some extra serum they had from someone who donated it to them. (Yes, medicine is so expensive and amazing women who have gotten pregnant donate what they did not use to the office). A good friend of mine also went through IVF and mailed me some medicine overnight– it is so amazing how anyone who experiences infertility is willing to help and support each other. Without that, I don’t know where I would be. This whole process is a big mind game.
Egg Retrieval day! AH! (It ended up being almost a week later then we first thought because we were not aggressive enough with the stimming shots and had to up everything, so it took a few more days) Here we go– I was so nervous about this but made jokes all morning how I felt like a chicken to my family. (hehe). They do put you under for the retrieval and when I woke up the doctor told me they were able to retrieve 14 eggs! Yay!! 🙂 I rested at home and while I was in a lot of pain, I was so excited to hear from the nurse on how many were able to be fertilized. We were able to have 9 fertilized and 5 embryos were growing! 5!! OMG Dave and I said- we have 5 little ones growing!!! My mom cried and Dave and I were just so thrilled. (We used ICSI which is where they directly place Dave’s sperm into the egg so it is more likely to get fertilized and helps the process…more $$, but they thought that was the best route for us).
Transfer Day: Day 3 after the retrival. Here we go…I had to drink 24 oz of water or juice and have a full bladder for the embryo transfer. Not very comfortable but I was so ready to do this. We decided on having 2 embryos transferred…I cannot begin to explain how cool this process was. They had our 2 embryos on a TV so we got to watch the doctor place them in a tube and then on an ultrasound screen- right into me 🙂 Dave and I held hands and were a little emotional at what we were witnessing. After that, I had to lay down for 30 minutes and be on bed rest for 2 days. My dad took Bradley so we didn’t have him jumping on me and my mom made tons of meals and helped out around the house.
Then came the worst part of the whole thing for me: the 2 week wait. 2 weeks where you feel and think over every little cramp or twinge. 2 weeks of hope. 2 weeks of crying that it didn’t work. 2 weeks of wanting to take a pregnancy tests but knowing not to. 2 weeks of what ifs. 14 nights of restless sleep. 2 weeks of hell. 😦
Finally it was the day to get my bloodwork aka pregnancy test at the doctor. At this point, I was trying to remain positive but I did cry to Dave I felt it did not work- I just had such a feeling. I had the phone in my hand all day and finally around 4pm, she called.
“You are pregnant….BUT it is a low pregnancy.” Um…excuse me? My HcG level was at a 10, which is considered pregnant but extremely low- which most of the time would mean the pregnancy is not good and will most likely end in a miscarriage. (I know people whose HcG was in the hundreds or even thousands on their first test…so yes, mine is very, very low). BUT it could also lead to a healthy pregnancy, it has happened many times before. They wanted me to come back in 3 days to see if it triples- if so, the pregnancy is sticking and moving along. So we go in for the next test and they call back…..Congrats! Your numbers have gone up to a 54!! OMG! They more then tripled- we couldn’t believe it. The nurse was excited and said it is doing what is should be and to come back in once more before they set up an appointment for an ultrasound. I almost fell down the stairs going to tell Dave it went up- we were still so weary because the number was still so low- but it went up and that was all we could ask for.
At this point, I jumped the gun. I downloaded pregnancy apps, saw I was 5 weeks pregnant so yay..the baby is as big as a poppy seed. Ah if it is a girl..what will we name her? We have waited so long for this, we were ready to jump into celebrating and planning.
Sadly though, we got too excited, too quickly…..