IVF Journey: The Beginning

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a life update on here. So much has happened, I have so much to share! The last time I talked about pregnancy/fertility was when we found out that I did not have a molar pregnancy, and that our timeline of waiting was going to be much shorter than we thought.

A few weeks after that, I scheduled a consultation with a fertility specialist at Houston Fertility Institute. That day we discussed our previous miscarriages, health history, and all of the potential options, which ranged from trying again naturally with closer monitoring to IVF. To start the process, I had 26 vials of blood taken to check for any genetic/chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal levels, etc. Over the course of 2-3 weeks, all of the blood work came back in normal for both myself, and for Kevin. On paper, we were extremely healthy. On November 20th, I went in for an ultrasound to check on my uterine lining, ovaries, and follicles. At that time, we learned that I have a ton of follicles and again, am completely healthy. We also discussed what we should do next. Our doctor gave us several options, from the most conservative to the most radical. For our absolute best shot at conceiving without miscarriage, we decided to start the IVF process, with PGS (preimplantation genetic screening). I’ll discuss that more in the future, but essentially, our embryos would be frozen after growing to a 5 day blastocyst. Then, a sample of the cells would be removed and examined for any chromosomal abnormalities, to further reduce the risk of miscarriage. We had prayed about this for months and felt this was the right choice for us. We just wanted our absolute best chance.

The last few weeks of November consisted of ordering injections, fighting with our insurance company for coverage, and doctor’s appointments. On Dec. 1st, my mother and I went in to get trained on how to mix and administer the injections. The first injectable medication was Menopur, which basically encourages the growth of the follicles. About a week in, I added an additional injection of Cetrotide, which makes sure that your body does not ovulate prematurely. Every other day we went in for an ultrasound and blood work to ensure that my hormone levels were increasing properly and that the follicles were growing at a healthy rate. Initially, I was going to trigger ovulation using Ovidrel, but since my estrogen levels went above 3,000, my doctor decided to switch me to a Lupron trigger to avoid ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

My trigger date was this past Sunday, Dec. 13 (mine and Kevin’s 1 year anniversary!), and my retrieval was Monday, Dec. 14. Going into the retrieval, I felt extremely bloated and could physically feel my ovaries getting ready to drop eggs. It’s a bizarre feeling, but I was happy to experience it, because I knew we would be getting plenty of eggs. Everything went well, I was asleep for about 30-45 minutes, and before we left we were told that they had retrieved 26 eggs. Since they had retrieved so many, the recovery was a bit rougher on me than I had anticipated, and I’m still not at 100% as I write this.

On Tuesday, we found out that 20 of the 26 eggs had fertilized. 20 embryos. The next steps are to wait and see how many make it to 3 day blastocysts, then 5 day, and then they are frozen and the genetic testing occurs. By the end of December we should know how many healthy embryos we have waiting for us, and the transfer will occur sometime in the beginning of January. Early next week, assuming everything goes as it should, we will start prepping my body for the transfer. Luckily, that involves much less medication than the egg retrieval, so I’m excited for the little break from injections.

I wanted to write this because these types of blogs have been so helpful to me as I’ve gone through this journey. It’s nice to hear other women talk about their experience. It helps me feel more normal in this completely surreal process. I’m beyond grateful for the prayers, well wishes, and encouragement I’ve received from so many in the last several weeks. Most of all, I’m thankful to God for guiding us through this process. Though I’ve had doubts and questions as to whether this is the right path for us, I now feel peace and comfort. I know that while this is unconventional, this is our path to beautiful babies that we will get to hold so very soon.

Please ask questions if you have them. I know how overwhelming all of these terms, medications, and procedures are to grasp. I want to help as many people as I can understand the IVF process, and that though it isn’t an ideal situation, you can get through it with grace and moral integrity.

XOXO.

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