What a wild ride 2018 has been! We have endured the financial, physical, emotional and mental stress that comes with both child loss and infertility. We had many unsuccessful clomid rounds (the fertility gateway drug) and 4 failed IUI’s (Intrauterine insemination) and 2 cancelled IUI’s in this past year and have now arrived to IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), still trying to bring home a living, breathing, healthy baby.
The IUI’s brought hope but we were never convinced. After two failed, it began to feel like we were banging our heads against a brick wall. In my heart, I felt like I knew it wouldn’t be the way we brought home a baby. Moving on to IVF is a tremendous decision. It’s wildly expensive, it’s time consuming, it’s taxing on the body as you have to pump your body full of hormones, yourself, at home, with lots of needles. It’s something many will say they will never do, until they realize, it’s what has the highest chances of allowing you to carry a baby. That’s what happened to us. Even though we had a hunch this is where we would end up, it still wasn’t an easy decision. It’s scary, you never think you’ll be the ones this stuff happens to. But it does. It happens to so many people. Infertility affects over 6.1 million couples, 1 in 8 couples. It’s affected us, but we’re doing everything we can to bring home a baby. Which is what brings us here, to IVF.
Here is a breakdown of our IVF cycle so far:
12.1.18 – First day of birth control
Seems counterproductive, right? The birth control helps suppress the ovaries, decreasing the chances of any cysts getting in the way, as well as helps manipulate the timeline of the process. Because I’m doing my student teaching, we wanted to manipulate the timeline so that most of the process would land during winter break.
12.18.18 – Sounding & Suppression Check
The sounding, or sometimes referred to as a mock embryo transfer, is a quick procedure where the doctor guides a catheter into and through the cervix into the uterus to measure the opening and to make sure there’s no crazy turns in there or anything so that the actual embryo transfer can go as smoothly as possible. It was quick and painless and much easier than an IUI or Pap. The suppression check confirmed that my lining looked great, there were no cysts, everything was shut down and ready for stimulation medication. I had light spotting after the appointment and that was it.
12.19.18 – Last day of birth control
Today was my last day of birth control and also the start of a period. Yay! (Read with sarcasm).
12.22.18 – First day of stims
The day we’ve all been waiting for!! Or the day I’ve been anxious, nervous, and poop your pants scared for. I will be taking two different shots, Gonal-F (337.5 iu) and Menopur (75 iu) each night for about 10-14 days. Our time window for taking these is between 7-9 p.m. So naturally I waited until like 8:45 to do it because I was so nervous. The first night was easy peasy, I didn’t feel the Gonal-F at all and the menopur just pinched a little. We are feeling excited and hopeful and grateful that we have the option to do this. And I’m thankful for my husband who is willing to administer all the shots!
12.23.18 Stims Continue
Gonal-F is still easy peasy, menopur felt like fire being pumped into my stomach.
12.25.18 Merry Christmas
A very infertile Christmas indeed. We picked my parents and my brother up from the airport this afternoon and had a great day cooking, relaxing, eating, and hanging out. My family is all in the know about what we are doing, and the distraction is welcomed! My mom wanted nothing to do with watching my injections happen.
12.26.18 – Day 5 monitoring appointment
Today we had our first monitoring appointment to get an idea of how my body is responding to the medication. I had my blood drawn to get my estrogen levels and an ultrasound to count and measure the follicles starting to grow. They said everything is growing “beautifully” and they’d call me later once they compare the blood work with the ultrasound to let me know if my meds need to be adjusted or anything. I have 5 follicles on the right and 5 follicles on the left measuring over 10mm. There counted 11 more under 10mm on one side, and 12 on the other under 10mm that they are hoping most of will catch up. When they called back they told me my estrogen shot right up in the 900’s which means there’s lots growing in there and is great news. I was told to continue Menopur as is, but decrease my Gonal-F to 300iu nightly and to start Cetrotide on Friday.
I have no symptoms so far, but the Menopur injection seems to get more painful by the day. My mom decided she wanted to try and watch the injections tonight and take pictures but her sound effects were making me nervous and I kicked her out of the room. 😉
12.28.18 – Start Cetrotide
This morning I started Cetrotide bright and early at 6 am. It burned going in and was crampy and continued to burn for about 5 minutes afterwards. It left quite a mark on my stomach as well. Pro Tip: Icing it afterwards helped relieve the pressure I was feeling. Cetrotide is an antagonist medication to prevent ovulating prematurely. I’m now taking one shot in the morning daily and two in the evening daily.
I still don’t really have any symptoms. I will randomly feel bloated or a little crampy in my pelvic area during the day and at night I’ve been restless.
12.29.18 – Day 8 monitoring appointment
We went into Seattle today for our Day 8 appointment to see how we are progressing. This nurse was not as informative as the nurse on day 5 but she said everything looks “perfect but not quite ready.” Lining is looking great still. The nurse measured 11 follicles over 10mm at this point (5 on one side, 6 on the other), and then an additional 18 follicles less than 10mm on one side and 11 follicles less than 10mm on the other. I honestly have no idea what is to be expected at this point but it sounds positive! The nurse called back with blood work and said to continue all meds as is and to come back in Monday morning for another monitoring appointment.
One of my injections really bled tonight. :/
12.30.18 – Symptoms starting
Today is the first day I’ve really noticed my body reacting to all the medication. I dropped my parents off at the airport and went home and back to bed. My pelvic area feels really heavy, full, bloated, and crampy. We took Phoebe (our dog) for a walk after I woke up and it felt good to be moving but it was a SLOW walk. I’ve spent most of today on the couch relaxing and listening to my body tell me it’s time to slow down. I’ve also had heat flashes like you wouldn’t believe today! Someone turn off the heater!! (Said no one in Seattle in December ever).
12.31.18 – New Years Eve & Day 8 monitoring appointment
This morning we had our last ultrasound appointment. We have a good amount of juicy follicles ready to go and my estrogen levels are in the 4,000’s. I had my last acupuncture appointment before retrieval and we pulled the trigger at 8:30 p.m. tonight. I have a blood draw in the morning to make sure my body absorbed the Lupron and we are ready to go for retrieval Wednesday morning, January 2nd!
This year started and ended with fertility treatments. What a way to end the year with a trigger shot and we’ll start 2019 with our egg retrieval.
2019, please be kind to us. We’re ready for sunny skies and sleepless nights.
Happy New Year!