Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our IVF Journey {egg retrieval}

Well, it's been quite awhile since I've written anything here. Every time I go to write, I just don't know where to begin! I guess that's what happens when you stop blogging... life happens and then there is just so much to say, you can't figure out where to start! Last time I wrote was 8 months ago and that's just ridiculous. A lot has happened since then in our infertility journey. A LOT. A whole lot! So I thought I would start blogging again by updating you. If you want the bullet point version, feel free to click at the infertility tab at the top of my blog; I have updated it! But here I'll give you the long-winded version. :)

The last time I wrote about our infertility story was in April 2015. We had done 3 IUIs and had gotten pregnant on our third one after 3 years of trying to conceive. We were heading back for more treatment the last time I wrote. I did continue with IUIs, because honestly that is all we could afford. IVF was financially out of the question. And since our third IUI worked, we both felt strongly that it could happen again. So we did three more IUIs in the summer of 2015, and they all failed.

(IUI = Intrauterine Insemination. To put it simply, this is when they get a sample of the husband's sperm & inject it directly into the wife's uterus when she is ovulating. More details here.)

IVF consult, July 2016

Fast forward to October of 2016. At this point, we had been trying to conceive for over five years. I was seeing a new doctor since mine had retired. When he told us my chances of success with IVF versus IUI, I started really desiring to do IVF - for the first time in our entire journey. I wasn't ready before, but suddenly I was, and God provided a way for us to do it at the same time. A few days after our consult, a close family member offered to pay for a round. To say this was a blessing is a huge understatement, and I definitely do not take it for granted! My insurance doesn't cover anything infertility-related, and it was hard enough saving money for each IUI. I know plenty of people who have had to take out loans, but that really wasn't an option for us. So we are truly thankful! We did end up paying a nice chunk of it out of our own pockets, but we never would have even gotten started if it wasn't for this person. So grateful! I fully believe this was God's plan for us, so He made it possible.

(IVF = Invitro Fertilization. This is when the eggs and sperm are put together and fertilized in a lab. That is extremely simply put because that's not what this post is about. I just am usually asked the difference when telling our story, so I thought I would include a quick definition. If you are interested, it explains it in more detail here.) 

Surgery Day, October 3rd

My doctor has his patients do a saline ultrasound before an IVF retrieval. At mine, a polyp was discovered on my uterus. He told me it was best to remove it surgically because it can interfere with implantation. Well, by all means! Don't want anything interfering with that! I had the surgery on October 3rd, and it went very smoothly. In surgery, he found multiple polyps that weren't seen on the ultrasound, all of which he removed. The surgery experience start to finish was a very positive one. I had never had surgery before, so I didn't know what to expect, but the nurses that took care of me were outstanding!

Shots Shots Shots! (Preparing for egg retrieval.)
Lots and lots of monitoring appointments to make sure your body is responding to the meds as it should.
I had planned for Brad to give me ALL my shots, I just didn't think I could give one to myself! But I had to work late once so I brought it to work with me! I was excited & proud of myself for getting it done without any trouble! Ha!
Brad was a champ in all of this! He gave me the majority of my shots & he always mixed up the menopur for me (shown here). I couldn't have done all of this without his help & support!
I once had to give myself a shot while at support group. I got my friend Lauren to join me for some moral support! And honestly, to make sure I was doing it right! I believe it was the menopur which requires mixing powders and such.

In late October, I had my egg retrieval after weeks of shots! I was so nervous about it because at this point I was 38 years old, and I was well versed in how your age affects your eggs - both quantity & quality. My body had been responding so well to the drugs, but that didn't guarantee good eggs. So I was incredibly overjoyed and grateful when my doctor retrieved 15 eggs. When I was wheeled out of surgery in a wheelchair, my doctor was waiting & he said, "15?!!!" and gave me a high five. Felt good knowing he was as excited about that as we were!

Exciting night - I got the trigger shot. This is done when your body is ready for ovulation. The shot causes you to ovulate at the exact right time so that your eggs are being released when the doctor goes in to retrieve them.
Egg socks for egg retrieval day! :)
Retrieval day!
The next few days were full of anxiety and hope, as I waited to hear how my embryos were doing. And it's not like I was busy at work; my retrieval was on a Friday so I took the weekend to rest. So I was home with not a whole lot to do besides wait for the phone to ring! You cannot even imagine how this feels unless you have been through IVF. Not just infertility, but IVF. It's a whole new ballgame. I am not downplaying the emotions that play into IUIs because they're certainly real and intense too. But good grief. Waiting to hear results on your precious embryos is, in a word, terrifying. Those are your BABIES, and I don't think you realize the fullness of that until you are at that point. I remember they told me that I would hear from them on Saturday. When I didn't, I basically went hysterical. Ha. I laugh now but it's true, and it's not just me. They called me early Sunday morning at which point I cried from relief. It took five days to get our final results, with updates about every other day. Nerve-wracking is putting it lightly. But we ended up with eight high-grade frozen embryos. We were both thrilled with that number, and so incredibly grateful.



To Be Continued...

Sorry to end abruptly, but this is too long already and it's a good stopping point. Everything leading up to our egg retrieval went very well. Next I'll tell you about our first embryo transfer. Stay tuned!