So, now what? What is next on our infertility journey? We went thru 2 IUI’s with no success, and I could feel my eggs shriveling up (cue dramatic music). I did what any girl would do, cry, scream, laugh and pray. Then I got up, put my big girl panties on and we made an appointment to go see Dr. K. We needed to understand what the best next step was. That’s when I heard the three dreaded letters I.V.F. This stands for In Vitro Fertilization in case you didn’t know. This meant shots in the belly, in the butt, meds galore, invasive procedures and mood swings out the wazoo. #shitisabouttogetreal
After careful consideration of our time and money, we decided this was the next best step in our quest to be parents. Lucky for us, my insurance has been amazing. So, the stresses of money that a lot of couples endure have been limited. I thank my lucky stars every day that this is the case, or we may have not been able to continue.
IVF 101…The first step was to get a baseline of my hormones. How you ask? – a vaginal ultrasound and blood work. This has become a very regular occurrence. Probes, needles and blood, OH MY! My estrogen and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) were all in normal ranges. We were given the green light to start our first round.
Mid- November of 2016, I went on birth control. I know, I know. I am trying to get pregnant, yet I went on birth control? This is how they keep you leveled out and prepare your body for a massive amount of hormones. Yay, more hormones!
The next few days I played 20 questions with the nurse. Can I get my teeth cleaned? Is working out ok? What foods should I eat and which shouldn’t I eat? What should I expect? What are the odds? Going thru IVF is almost like being pregnant in what you can do and not do. My anxiety was running high, and the unknown scared the bajeebeez out of me. Not to mention, during the BC period, I was so nauseous that I had to switch pills. And then, the other pill gave me a cyst. Luckily, it dissolved quickly after I stopped taking the pill.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, and the real fun began. On November 21st, I had a baseline (blood work and ultrasound). This was to ensure that birth control did its job by suppressing my normal cycle. On November 27th, we were to start the shots. Let me start by saying that shots in my 20’s have a very different meaning than shots in my 30’s. I had one in the a.m. and one in the p.m.; plus oral medications. I wasn’t as terrified for the shots because of the experience with the trigger shot from the IUI’s. However, I could not give this to myself (wimp). So, Trent was up to bat twice a day, every day for a few weeks. Also, every 2-3 days, I was in for vaginal ultrasounds and blood work. I was totally bruised (literally), moody and exhausted all while trying to stay positive.
This regimen goes on for about 15 days with dosages and meds changing as needed based on hormone levels. Then, we got the call from the nurse that we will need to trigger and come in for the egg retrieval. This was happening. We were going to be parents.
I remember the trigger shot so well because it was the night of Trent’s 40th birthday, and we had to do it at 7 pm sharp; just when guests were arriving of course. It was in the booty and it hurt a lot more than the tummy shots because it has to go into the muscle. It still wasn’t bad though. It’s always way worse in my mind vs. reality.
We had 24 hours, and then we were off for my egg retrieval at 5 am that following Monday. We showed up and they escorted us to a pre-surgery room. I got to change into a lovely blue, gauzy gown with socks and a special hair net. I looked gorgeous. LOL! The nurse then came in to walk me through everything that would happen that day and moving forward. I was really nervous. Not because I was going to be put under, or that it was an invasive procedure, but because we would find out how many eggs we were working with.
Once Dr. K was ready for me, I went into the surgery room and was asked what type of cocktail I would like. I said champagne of course, and next thing I know I was waking up back in the pre-surgery room. They had a sprite and some saltines waiting for me. Trent was there of course. I was super loopy, and I was quite entertaining to all. Or, so I hear.
A few minutes later the nurse came back in with the egg count that they retrieved. “6”, she said. My stomach sunk (even in my drugged up state) as this was not a lot.
The next step was to wait and see how many fertilized and make it to day 5 or 6 for freezing. Oh, side-note, during my procedure, Trent got to go to the “special room” to prepare his sample. We went home, and I rested for the remainder of the day. I was anxiously awaiting the phone call that would tell us how many we have remaining.
The next day came, and we heard from the nurse bright and early. 5 of the 6 eggs fertilized and we would now wait and see how many days they made it. The next day, we got a call that only 3 had made it to day 2 so they wanted to do a fresh transfer. Technicality- a fresh transfer is what happens 3-5 days after the egg retrieval. A lot of doctors like to let the embryos get to day 5-6 maturation and freeze them. This usually works when you have a good number to work with. We didn’t.
Trent and I rearranged our schedules and went in the next day. The transfer procedure is pretty quick and painless. They give me a Valium about 45 minutes prior to the procedure, because, they want everything to be relaxed when the transfer occurs. We also had to make the decision on how many we wanted to transfer. We chose 2. For the third embryo, we would wait and see. If it made it to day 5, then we would freeze it.
When going in to the procedure I was good and drunk (Valium). In the surgery room, there are about 5 people all there hanging out while your legs are in stirrups spread eagle. Seriously, all humility is gone. Dr. K uses a catheter and the embryos flow through that into my uterus. That’s it. Our “embabies” were in! Now, the 2 week wait started. Can you hear the jeopardy music???
Ok, needless to say, all of you know that we are not pregnant nor do we have a newborn. So, after that 2 week wait was up, it did not end up in our favor. 🙁
Time for round 2…