IVF Take Two (part 4)

IVF take two…I hear as I sit sipping my coffee and picturing the Hollywood clapboard snapping down. I am seriously wondering how many more takes for the “IVF” show.  The more I read, I realize this is a numbers game. Number of tries, number of eggs, number of sperm, number of shots, number of embryos; it all comes down to numbers. But there is only one number I care about – just one. Give me one baby. With that, I’ll share with you now round 2 of IVF.

This time my protocol on my medications was different. No suppression of hormones in hopes that I would produce more eggs. Now, for the sake of not keeping you in suspense and moving this story along, I did produce a lot more eggs.

I still had all the shots, pills and potions; truly a human pin cushion with hormones that could make even Donald Trump cry (bad joke?).  But, it was all worth it when we were told that they retrieved 14 eggs! That is double the amount from the last cycle. Now, we just needed to know how many fertilized and made it to day 5/6. That’s technically blastocyst stage.

Out of the 14, half of them made it to day 6. We were beyond thrilled. This meant that we could freeze them and have them for now or the future.  It also meant no fresh transfer and that my body could calm down from all the hormones. At this point, my body was over stimulated, which can become dangerous and is not a good environment for implantation.

The next steps were to wait about a month, and then they would start preparing my body for an FET (frozen egg transfer). All of my “embabies” were now on dry ice waiting patiently to be put inside of me.  It’s really wild to think about.

The one thing I was clueless about were the amount of shots that came with a frozen transfer. They don’t want you to ovulate.  So, they start giving you progesterone to mimic the pregnancy environment. This is when I had to start learning to give myself the shots, because I had to travel for work. You guys, I never thought I would be able to do it. In this last IVF cycle, I had to have my friend Kristen stay with me while Trent traveled. We trained her how to give me the belly shots (even letting her give Trent a shot with saline solution to practice). So needless (needless has the word needle in it lol) to say, I was freaking out.

I remember getting back to the hotel and thinking to myself “you can do this, so many other women do it themselves”. “Don’t be a wimp, Melanie”. I prepared the shot (you do that all yourself), and decided I am just going for it. I pinched my skin, poked it into my belly, and boom…that was it. It was SO easy! I literally felt nothing. I decided I liked doing them myself better, and I now always do them.

So, now we move on to other progesterone shots. These progesterone shots were different. I went from using a fine little needle to a large intramuscular needle. FML! I had experience with this before, but it was only once for the “trigger shot”. This bad mammajamma was every day for about a week leading up to the transfer and then after as well. Trent administered the shots every day, until came the dreaded day he had to travel.  I sucked it up, iced my butt cheek and pinch…quick injection. Ok, not gonna lie, not so bad at all. The hard part is finding new spots to do it. Imagine being super sore after a workout and then having to get a shot in that spot every day.  Ouch!  Oh, and lest I forget, at this point I am alternating 4 hormone patches every other day while taking other meds too.

So, now we go in for the transfer. I was seriously so excited and optimistic. This was it. I felt it. We were going to get pregnant.

The procedure itself is pretty easy. You decide how many embryos you would like transferred a few days prior (we chose 2), they thaw them, we come in, I drink a ton of water, I take a little valium, head into the surgery room and they use a cathedrae to transfer. I feel nothing. It is really cool as they do show the embryos on a TV screen, and you can watch the whole transfer on the ultrasound. Trent is in the room with me, and we are both in awe.

Once the procedure is over, we head home and it is couch potato mode for me. It was the same type of wait that it was the last time. Only this time, it all felt different.  I knew after a few days that it worked.  I don’t know how I knew but I did.

They tell you to wait until the beta test (blood work) and not to test at home, but are they kidding?! I am one of the most impatient humans on the planet, and also more excited for this than anything else in my life ever! I test and….2 lines appeared. I am in shock. I am pregnant. Wait, what…I am pregnant. It worked. It finally worked. I am going to be a mother. Trent and I were so happy. After all of the emotional ups and downs, the shots, the money, and the stress, we are finally getting this beautiful gift. This was literally worth it all and I was forever grateful. My mom cautioned me not to get too excited. Maybe the hormones are giving me a false positive (I knew they weren’t). So, we waited until the blood test to know for sure. Over that week though, I think I took about 10 pregnancy tests…ooooppps. All still 2 lines and going strong.  I went in for bloodwork about 10 days after the transfer. Later that day, I received a call that I was in fact pregnant (4.5 weeks along) and to come back 3 days later to re-check my HCG levels.

This was the best news in the entire world. Tears of joy when I heard that I officially had a bun in the oven. Trent and I started planning and thinking about the timing of everything.  I was looking at nursery ideas, signed up for pregnancy apps, was eating really well for the baby and was feeling great! We told his kids, my family, and some of our friends. I know we were supposed to wait. However, everyone is so hyper aware of what is going on because I am so open. 

But, then the migraine headache started and deep in my gut, I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t take much medicine and basically had to wait out the worst migraine of my life. It was completely excruciating. I was reading blogs and read that migraines can get worse in pregnancy, but still, I felt like something was wrong.

Thursday morning blood draw came. Nothing could have prepared my heart for that call at 12:59 on May 4. I was told that my HCG levels were falling, and I was having a very early miscarriage. I burst into tears and called Trent who was traveling with his brother to lay his father’s ashes to rest. Talk about timing. But we never thought this would happen. Ever!

Going thru IUI’s, 2 IVF cycles, and a frozen transfer, I thought it was finally my time.  The emptiness I felt and pure loss is hard to put into words. It just felt like a huge piece of me was missing. There was an ache and a sense of heaviness that I couldn’t shake. I felt like a failure and that my body was fucked (excuse my language, but it’s how I felt). And I was mad at God. I was mad at the world. Why is this happening to me? Why can’t it be my turn to finally have this happiness and joy? I know people who have been through miscarriages, and who have had them much later than me.  I never understood that pain until that moment. The moment when what I thought was finally my future (even if it was only a couple of weeks) was now gone.  I felt defeated, drained and depressed. It was and is one of the worst days of my life. My heart (and Trent’s) was broken. We’d have to start all over, again. 

I know now that so many of you have faced your own hardships with IVF, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and more. My heart goes out to each of you. You are not alone.

There is more. I am nowhere near done telling my story. I hope you continue to follow along. Praying for a happy ending very soon.

If you’d like to read my entire journey, you can do so here.

With Love, Melanie