My IVF Journey

At one point I contemplated back and forth whether I was going to ever share any of this with anyone. While going through this journey, Rudy and I didn't open up about this with many people. Only a very select group of family and friends knew what we were going through/doing. After months and months of keeping this kind of a secret, I feel it's time for me to use my voice in regards to this topic. I am finally ready to share and openly talk about mine and Rudy's journey with IVF.

Not many people know nor have heard of the term IVF which stands for In Vitro Fertilization, so let me explain exactly what it is. IVF is a series of complex procedures used to help with fertility where an egg is fertilized by sperm inside of a lab (outside of the body). Then the fertilized egg which becomes an embryo is then transferred to the uterus in hopes of pregnancy. I'm going, to begin with, our consultation with our Doctor. I'm basically going through my journal and rereading everything I wrote down, so I'm going to kind of transfer those words here. Every event is in this journal and every emotion and feeling are as well. It's hard for me to even reread the words I wrote down without breaking down. It reminds me of everything I went through to be where I am today. This will definitely be a lengthy post so let's begin.

July 10, 2019
It felt like I was waiting for an eternity for this consultation appointment since we had it scheduled since early May. Our appointment went great, I loved and was so happy with our new Dr. We discussed all of our past tests, and he went over my x-rays of my HSG. He told me from the images he didn't believe my tube had any blockage. He went over what exactly an IVF cycle looks like and told us that he was so hopeful IVF was going to give us that baby we've been waiting for. We were all set to have a referral sent to get cleared for our cycle except I had one more procedure I had to do in order to move forward. I needed to do a Saline Sonohysterography. This procedure is done by inserting a fluid into the vagina and is watched through an ultrasound to make sure the uterus fills up properly. This was a painless procedure. Like most things in the fertility world, this has to be done on day eleven of your cycle, and lucky us I was on day eleven of my cycle. My Dr was great that he offered to take the time to prep a room for us if I wanted to get this procedure done and out of the way so we can move forward with IVF. I was so thankful for this and felt it really showed how great of a Dr he was.

Everything looked great! Once the procedure was done we met up with him once again in his office and he went ahead and added us to the IVF list. He said our cycle probably wouldn't begin until September-October but we were finally on the list and moving forward.

August 1, 2019
I finally received the call I had been waiting for, we were cleared for an IVF fresh cycle! I was given starting dates to choose from for when our cycle would begin, and of course, I chose the first available one for October 12, 2019. It felt surreal that we finally had a start date/week for when we would begin our cycle. We've been truly lucky that Rudy's insurance covers IVF, however, we did have to pay a deductible along with another cost since our Dr chose for us to do ICSI which was costly. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, "ICSI", is where the strongest sperm is injected straight into an egg with a needle for the higher success of fertilization. When it comes to IVF any and all payments must be paid in full. Now that we were set with our date all I had to do next was call them to let them know when I begin my period.

What's been on my mind? A whole lot is the answer. I'm wondering when the time comes to doing an embryo transfer how many should we transfer? I only want one baby, but should we transfer two in case one doesn't stick? But what if they both stick? I definitely don't want multiples and my Dr is very cautious about transferring more than one embryo as he tries to avoid multiple births.

August 26, 2019
Today is day one of my cycle, aka my period, is that too much information? My case manager is having me begin Birth Control tomorrow until September 14, then stop for two days and resume from September 17 - September 29. The end date may change depending on my IVF calendar!

Things feel like they're slowly but surely falling into place and at this moment I am so happy, anxious, and excited to get things started!

September 11, 2019
My case manager gave me a call today to let me know that my IVF Calendar is finally completed! I will continue birth control exactly as they last instructed. Rudy and I are scheduled to take an IVF class on September 24, our birthdays. My medications are scheduled to be delivered on the twenty-fifth and boy that is a lump sum of money for hormone medications. I will begin injections in October and I'm extremely excited!

Immediately after the phone call I was nervous and overwhelmed and broke down in tears. I just feel like a whirlwind of emotions is hitting me. I am so scared of doing all of this, mostly injecting myself with medications. I want this to work so badly I honestly don't know what I would do or what will happen if it doesn't. I try not to let myself think that way but I feel so much pressure not only because I clearly want this so badly, but we don't have that kind of money to continuously dish out for cycle after cycles if this doesn't work. I'm also still upset that this is the route we have to be on in order to try and have a baby of our own. I thought I accepted it but I still find myself struggling with it. I'm so used to only getting negative home pregnancy tests, it's all I know. When will that change? How much longer will this fertility journey go on for?

September 17, 2019
Mine and Rudy's two year wedding anniversary!
I got my IVF Calendar and paperwork in the mail. As I was going through all of the paperwork I felt extremely overwhelmed and sick to my stomach. I don't know how I'm going to get through all of this. I know that I will get through this but geez, when will it get easier? I hope that once we have our class and begin injections things will feel less stressful. Especially once it becomes apart of our routine. Right now I am trying to enjoy these last two weeks before starting injections.

September 24, 2019
Happy Birthday to Rudy and myself!
We had our IVF class today and it went really well. I found that it was very informative and really helped, even though I felt like I personally didn't really need the class since I have been doing a crap ton of research since July. Consent forms were signed and turned in! We're getting close!

September 25, 2019
Baseline Appointment!
The first stop was the lab for some blood work. This was a very quick appointment. Dr came in and did an ultrasound to make sure everything is looking good. I was kind of nervous leading up to this appointment because I wanted everything to look good, this is the appointment that you either get the green light to go forward with your calendar or the red light which would postpone everything. Everything looked great and I even had a few more follicles from the last ultrasound he did back in July. He gave me the green light to continue following my calendar! Afterward, I met up with my case manager where she went over instructions, continue birth control until the 29 then begin injections next week! My medications were delivered today too. We're pretty much ready to start.
It felt great hearing nothing but great things. I hope this is all good signs. I keep thinking will I finally be pregnant by the end of October?

October 2, 2019
Stims Day One!
It's day one of injections holy crap! I woke up ready to take on my first injection which I will be doing myself since Rudy leaves for work super early. I was pretty excited to start. My sister came over for support which was great. The morning injection is the Follistim pen which I found would be the easiest for me to inject myself with. When it came down to giving myself the injection I was surprised at how much courage I had inside of me. Just before injecting, I found myself being a little hesitant and before I knew it the needle was in my belly. It was so easy and guess what, I didn't feel a thing!

PM shot!
Since my morning shot went so well I thought I would try giving myself my Menopur injection. It was planned that I would give myself the am shots and Rudy would do the pm. Turns out that was a big mistake. Immediately while I was prepping the injection I was feeling weird, nerves maybe? When it was time to administrate the injection, I was frozen. I just kept staring at the needle then broke down. I didn't want to do this anymore, like at all. Rudy ended up taking over and it wasn't bad at all. I did feel the medication going inside my skin unlike the Follistim but it was fine. Man, I felt so drained afterward I really hope things get easier.

October 3, 2019
Stims Day Two!
Injections went so much better today. Morning shot was a breeze, and the afternoon one I prepped and Rudy administrated it. Before I knew it we were done!

October 6, 2019
Stims Day Five!
Today I had one of many ultrasounds I'll be having this week to track the growth of my follicles. I will be going in for blood and ultrasound every other day until surgery. Dr said everything was looking great and one of the larger follicles was measuring at 12mm. Dr even said I was measuring a day ahead of schedule! He guessed if all continues to go well I will be having my egg retrieval surgery on October 13. Tonight we are adding another shot into the mix, Ganirelix. I am to administrate it tonight and then beginning tomorrow I would continue administrating it in the morning alongside the Follistim injection. Since I was going to have to give myself this shot in the mornings I decided to try and give myself the shot all by myself tonight. I'm happy to say that I did great administrating the shot myself and I know I will continue to do great with these injections.
Bloating is very very real at this point. I can definitely see a huge difference in my belly. My jeans are fitting me way snugger. Also, there's a lot of bruising going on my belly from all these shots.

October 8, 2019
Stims Day Seven!
Back again for blood and ultrasound. Dr said my follicles have grown a lot since Sunday's appointment as he showed me my chart. He said it was great stimming! Dr is having me order one extra Ganirelix injection and said I might even be pulling the trigger shot by Thursday. I'm so happy that I continue to hear nothing but great things.

October 10, 2019
Stims Day Nine!
Day nine ultrasound and Dr is very happy with how my follicles are looking and growing. The largest follicle is 18mm. Dr would like me to go one more day with injections so that the smaller follicles can hopefully catch up and that means egg retrieval surgery is set for October 13. He wants me to go back again tomorrow for blood and ultrasound, and that will be when my case manager will go over instructions for the trigger shots.
I'm definitely praying for quality over quantity when it comes to my eggs. I hope we're able to get a good bunch of eggs. Right now I have no idea if I even have good quality eggs and what if that's the reason why we've never been able to get pregnant? I'm pretty uncomfortable because of how bloated I am. It's nothing painful but there's some discomfort for sure. I can't believe how bruised my belly is. It's a reminder that this is all worth it.

October 11, 2019
Stims Day Ten!
Things went so well at today's appointment. One of my follicles from yesterday went from being 18mm to 23mm! What a jump. I met with the case manager after my ultrasound and retrieval is set for Sunday at 9:30 am and we will have t be at the hospital at 8:30 to prep me. I'm taking my last Menopur at 5:30 pm and trigger shots are to be administrated at 9:30 pm on the dot. I'm excited and ready!

October 13, 2019
Egg Retrieval Day!
The surgery went well, we retrieved a total of 23 eggs! Wow, I wasn't expecting that much. After we left the hospital I was feeling a little crampy which is to be expected especially in the woman that they retrieve more than twenty eggs. Once we got home I slept a lot and as the day went by I was becoming more alert. I've been putting a heating pad on my tummy to help with cramping which was helpful.
October 14, 2019
I'm feeling a lot better today, a bit sore and still cramping. I'm still pretty bloated and constipation is real due to all the hormone injections and surgery! I got a call from the hospital to give me an update on our eggs. Twenty-three were retrieved, nineteen were mature, twenty-one were ICSI'd and twelve were fertilized! Wow, twelve is such a good amount. Hopefully, we don't lose many by day five, that is when they should turn into blasts. Friday we will get another update on the "embryos" and that is also when we go in for our transfer!
I will begin taking two medications for our fresh transfer. One is an Estrodial tablet three times a day and the other is Endometrin suppository (a Progesterone) also three times a day at least until BETA. BETA is the day you go in to check the levels of the hormone HCG in the blood to find out if you're pregnant along with checking the levels of the pregnancy.

October 18, 2019
Transfer Day!
One of the days we've been waiting for! We had to arrive thirty minutes before our appointment and I had to arrive with a full bladder. We didn't have to wait too long before the nurse called us into a room to check my bladder and lining.  The nurse said my lining was looking good and thick. We then waited for the embryologist to come in and update us on our em-babies. Once the embryologist came in she told us we had a total of twelve embryos! Six of them were looking really good and the other six were slightly behind for the five-day mark so we were going to give them until day six before disposing of any.

I wanted to mention that we chose not to PGS test our embryos. PGS testing is a genetic screening that is done prior to an embryo transfer to test for chromosomal normalcy. We chose to opt-out of this screening for a few different reasons. One being our Dr was not for it. He said the percentage of this test isn't high enough for him to recommend it to us. Another reason being Rudy and I both are still young with no reason as to why we cannot get pregnant, and lastly, it was another additional cost out of pocket. Every reason is personal to each couple.
We were told the embryo we were having transferred was graded a 4AA which we were told was one of the best gradings for an embryo. It left me with a lot of hope that this embryo was going to attach to my uterus. I was pretty emotional, I mean how could I not be right? We watched the embryo get transferred via ultrasound and it was incredible. It was a quick and painless procedure and we got a photo of our embryo to take home. I couldn't stop starring at that photo the whole drive home. The BETA test is set for Monday the 28th, as excited as I am for it I'm also extremely nervous. I'm scared the test will be negative. I'm scared that I'm going to get my hopes up. I'm scared that I'm going to let so many people down. I just need to relax and think positive.

October 23, 2019
Five Days Post Transfer!
For the last few days, I have been feeling cramping which is normal after transfer. I have also been feeling pretty nauseous and tired! I'm trying not to let myself think that these are possibly pregnancy symptoms because the medications I am on give off pregnancy systems as side effects. We'll find out if I'm pregnant in five days.

October 28, 2019
BETA Day!
The test came back negative. I'm not pregnant. I am crushed. I feel so defeated. How didn't this transfer work? Why didn't that embryo attach?! Next, I have a phone appointment with my Dr to discuss what our next steps and options are.

October 29, 2019
I've been a complete mess since I got the negative results yesterday. All I do is stay in bed and cry. I cry until I fall asleep. With my history of depression, I can already feel depression consuming me and I just don't care. I think that getting pregnant and being a mother just isn't in the cards for me. I give up. I no longer want to continue this "journey" on trying to conceive. What's the point anyway.

We have reached the end of this post. Again, I would like to say thank you for reading this post and joining me on this journey of mine and Rudy's. If any of you are struggling with infertility I know exactly what you are going through. It's hard and at many times you feel alone but you are not alone. Please know that I am only an email away and would love to chat with you. Part two of my IVF journey should hopefully be posted within the next few weeks. These posts take a lot of time so keep an eye out!

Comments

  1. I’m really loving reading about your journey. You’re so brave and amazing <3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Cam! You're such a great supportive friend.

      xo

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