I realize that while I may have intended to truly blog about my IVF journey, I kind of fell short. There’s a lot that I have not mentioned on here. I really want to give an accurate picture of what this whole experience has been like for a variety of reasons. Hopefully someone that may end up going through this process one day will find this helpful. And maybe others will just get a little enlightenment.
We started the IVF process back in November of 2015. Initially, there were blood tests on top of blood tests done to determine if there was any cause to the multiple miscarriages we had throughout last year. There wasn’t a “reason”, at least not a medical one, that could be found. We were given a few options: try again naturally under my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist)’s supervision (with additional medication once I became pregnant), try again with Clomiphene to speed up conception time (not really an option for us, since we were already conceiving within 1-2 cycles) or IVF. IVF was the most aggressive choice. The “We’re ready for kids now” choice.
I don’t think I ever went into why we made the decision to be so radical. You could argue that maybe it wasn’t necessary. After a lot of prayer, counsel, and discussion, Kevin and I realized that we just couldn’t try again naturally and face the now higher chance of another loss occurring. We didn’t want to put ourselves through that, or my body, since I had to go through two D&Cs within 6 months. I know that I don’t have to defend our choice, but I feel that we’re in a somewhat small group of people that is forgotten about in the infertility community. Most couples in their mid-twenties do not go through with IVF, most of them wait. Some wait for years and years. This could be due to financial reasons or a feeling that they’re jumping the gun a bit. I just want to speak to that and say this: Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t feel an urgent need to be a parent. Those are completely valid feelings.
At the end of November, I started the medications for the egg retrieval (which I talked about at length in this post), which went extremely well. I responded to the medication beautifully and had no adverse reactions, thank God. To summarize: we retrieved 26 eggs, 20 fertilized, all 20 made it to day 5, and 16 made it through cryopreservation (freezing). Because we did not know what was causing the miscarriages, our best bet was to ensure that we first implanted only the “healthiest” embryos, so all 16 underwent PGS (preimplantation genetic selection). Of the 16, 9 were normal and 7 had various abnormalities that would likely not result in a viable pregnancy. Of the 9, we implanted two.
The next stage is to transfer the embryos, which is a quick but precise process. Mid-January I started the following medications: Estradiol 2mg 3x per day, Minivelle patch rotated every 3 days, and 100mL of Progesterone in Oil (intramuscular injection) 1x per day. The day before the transfer I added in Prednisone, to suppress the immune system (so that your body doesn’t attack the embryos, since they’re a “foreign object”). We had our FET on January 30th, followed by 3 days of bed rest (for me, not Kevin, haha). In addition to all of the other medications, my doctor recommended that we also do 1mL of Heparin (blood thinner) twice a day. There’s a lot of research that indicates blood thinners help with recurrent miscarriages and since there weren’t any obscene risks to taking it, we decided to go ahead and try it. I continued (most of) these medications until I was 10 weeks, in addition to Synthroid, baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins, and Folgard.
The transfer went amazing. Within a few days I felt implantation cramping, aches, and pains, which was a great indication that it had been successful. That is another important bit of knowledge I’d like to pass along to anyone reading this: IVF is not a guarantee. Everything can be done “right”, and just like with natural ovulation and conception cycles, it can still fail. We chose to implant two embryos to boost our chance of ending up with one baby, and in our case this “worked out” (I say that with quotations, because there is still a level of disappointment that we lost one of the embryos shortly after it implanted). Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds of IVF, thousands upon thousands of dollars, and months/years of putting your body through the stress and strain of fertility medications. It’s a blessing that it worked and that I’m here typing this at (almost) 20 weeks pregnant.
As always, all questions are welcome! XO’s.