Chapter 7: The Long IVF Journey starts

Once you accept the fact that you need help getting pregnant, it is a very overwhelming spot to be in. There is research and data and opinions and decision all being thrown at you. Where do you start? Who do you trust? How long will this take? What will this do to my body? Is it worth it? This was the beginning of our IVF journey.

We started with a full blood workup, a physical for both my husband and I, he had to test his “swimmers” and I needed a bunch of uncomfortable tests. There was nothing that was glaringly wrong, except that my egg count was a teeny bit lower than normal. Our Doctor suggested we start with a medication called Clomid, which would give us the ability to time my ovulation. For anyone that has ever tried Clomid, you know. YOU KNOW. Clomid makes women absolutely bonkers and I would go from laughing to hysterically crying within the same minute. For real. No joke! My husband actually was worried to make my mad, for fear that I would put a pillow over his head in the middle of the night. We tried this for a couple months to no avail and then we tried IUI, which is intrauterine insemination and the sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a speculum. SUPER romantic. With these medications and procedures, your chances of conceiving multiple babies at once is high. Remember Octomom?? yikes. We did NOT want 8 children at once and our doc had some tough conversations with us about the “what if” and we learned about terms like “selective reduction.” We agreed that we would chance it and leave everything in God’s hands. If He wanted us to have 8 babies at once…it was to be. None of those cycles worked and we decided to dive into the world of In-vitro Fertilization (IVF).

The first meeting with the IVF Doctor was with a Chicago Clinic.

It was a bit like a cattle call when you walked in. Multiple patients there at the same time, everyone given a clipboard to fill out all the paperwork. We were then all called at once, lined-up and shuffled into different rooms. We had sent over my history to the doctor prior to the appointment and were planning to get all the answers when we met with him. He was very robotic and gave us statistics, the “how we work” conversation, which was clearly memorized. We asked how they would change up the process to fit US?? We were all different right? Wasn’t this our individual IV Journey? His answer was that it was a bit of timing, a bit of medicine and a bit of luck. Hmm… They could not guarantee to get us pregnant, but that they would do everything in their bag of tricks to achieve a successful pregnancy.

We then met with one of their nurses who went through everything and we nodded along as we saw the list of medications, shots, blood draws, ultrasounds, etc… that were coming to our lives in the near future. We left that appointment and immediately went for margaritas. Wow. To say we were overwhelmed was an understatement, but we both felt that this was going to happen. It was going to be challenging, but we wanted this. We would be parents! But first, deep breaths, nachos and margaritas.

We started everything the following month. The daily shots, the hormones pulsing through my body, the research of what to eat/not to eat, no alcohol (for me), the excitement, the tears, the anger…all of it. We were doing this.

The first month, our doctor decided to pause on the egg retrieval, as he wanted to see more follicles. Insert frustrated tears, a couple margaritas and getting ready to do it all again next month. This month, things were looking a lot better! Better timing and luck this month! Now, we needed medicine to do it’s part. We were able to do the egg retrieval and ended up with 12 eggs! The next steps are for those eggs to be fertilized and then GROW STRONG! 9 of the eggs fertilized and were now embryos! This part is brutal. We received a call every couple of days to see how are embryos were doing. Each embryo received a rating as they grow and you can also choose to have the embryos tested for any genetic abnormalities. We ended up with 4 embryos and we were ready to implant them into my uterus. We did not know if they were boys or girls, but we loved each one of them and felt very confident.

The following month, we got my body ready for the transfer and decided to transfer 2 embryos.

This is truly a medical miracle, as you can watch on the screen as the doctor implants 2 embryos into your body. You can witness the moment your child/children settle into your womb. I was crying happy tears and praying to God to help us keep these miracles safe. Now…you wait. It is truly the hardest week or 2 of your life as you wait. This is all part of the IVF journey.

2 weeks after the implantation, we went in for our pregnancy test. The doctor came in and we knew immediately it was not good news. I was in fact pregnant. but the HCG numbers were very low. Too low to make sense for a normal pregnancy. Definitely not twins and he told the odds that the other embryo making it, would be very small. He told us to prepare for a miscarriage. I could not believe it. We had done EVERYTHING by the book. WHY? We were beyond sad. We were devastated. As the doctor suggested, I did miscarry a few days later. We took some time to grieve, but we also knew that we would not give up.

We would try again in a few months. We had 2 more embryos waiting for us.

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