So yesterday I left off at IVF #1. This was certainly something I never bargained for. I think the thing that bothered me the most was dealing with ethics of it all. Yes, I am Catholic and you guessed it, the Catholic church is not exactly for this type of thing. So I struggled a lot with the decision as to whether or not I wanted to do this. I thought long and hard, and of course prayed about it and decided to take my chances. I thought about all the possible outcomes. That is how I go about every tough decision I make. What are all the possible outcomes that I can think of that could happen in each situation. Yes that seems a bit crazy on my part. And I tend to worry about things more than I should, because I tend to think of the worst possible outcome first.
Anyway, we decided to go ahead. I think aside from all the medications, the consent forms were the scariest part of it. All the things that could go wrong, what happens to the eggs, embryos, sperm, etc if you or your spouse dies, or you divorce, or you just decide you don’t want to try anymore. I won’t say that I came into this process with rose-colored glasses, thinking that IVF is a walk in the park, but there is certainly a lot you don’t ever think about when you decide to go through with it.
So we signed the consents and did our blood work to make sure we didn’t have any communicable diseases. Great one more thing to freak out about. We were both fine, but geesh! And the next part…sticker shock!!! Unfortunately we do not have insurance coverage for IVF. So we are paying completely out-of-pocket. I think it helps that we are “older” and have been able to save up money longer than some couples who are in their 20s. But I can’t help but feel envious of those who have insurance coverage and can do as many IVF’s as they want. We have limited ourselves to 2 with a small possibility of a third (hopefully we won’t even have to talk about it.)
So once we “paid the piper” (oh yes they want it all up front!) we were ready to go….but wait! That IVF money that we just paid does NOT cover the medications or surgery center fees for when we do the Egg Retrieval (ER) and the Embryo Transfer (ET). So we had that to look forward to!
Once I received all my medications the nerves started setting in. For IVF #1 I was going to be taking Follistim, Ganirelix, Medrol, Doxycycline, and Endometrin. Not to mention I had to be on birth control pills (BCP) for a month before I even started the meds for the IVF. I have never been on BCP before and thought it was ironic that here we are trying to get pregnant and I am taking pills to prevent it. Oh well!
Once the day was here for my baseline appointment at the doctor’s office it all seemed to move pretty quickly. The blood work and ultrasounds. The injections and the hormones. All told, I stuck myself in the belly with needles, 16 times over the course of 10 days. From what I have seen on other blogs, etc. that doesn’t seem like too many compared to others, but my belly had enough by the 7th day. But I kept telling myself, this is for something special. I can take using my belly as a pin cushion if it meant that in 9 months I would be holding a little miracle.
The day of the ER I was so incredibly nervous. I knew what to expect from what I was told and what I had read, but it doesn’t really help until you actually go through it yourself. They were able to retrieve 8 eggs. Of those 8, 6 were mature and we got 4 of them to fertilize. I was thrilled. Right off I decided that we would implant 2 and save 2 for a later date. Trying to be optimistic about everything. Well, obviously the 2 we implanted did not latch on and unfortunately the 2 we had left over did not make it to freeze. At first I was very sad when they told me that they did not make it (at this time I figured I had a baby growing inside of me). I actually cried. Then 2 weeks later I got the dreaded call that we were not pregnant. I was home alone and my husband had told me to call him. I left him a voicemail which I absolutely hated to do. I was a mess, broken and lost.
You go through so many emotions. No I was never pregnant, but I felt as though I suffered a loss. As if I had been pregnant and miscarried. I had already attached myself to those little 8-cell embryos even if they had not attached to me. It is hard to imagine how you can feel a loss of something that you never had to begin with, but it is a loss nonetheless. And I feel that only those women who have gone through it can truly understand. I am in no way discounting the feelings of women who have suffered miscarriages, etc. I know that would be devastating. But I will say, at least you have been pregnant. I have never been pregnant and often wonder if it is actually possible for my body to get pregnant. I am optimistic that it will happen. I have to be.
So after picking up the pieces, we decided to go for round 2. And that meant back on the BCP for a month before we start injections. The doctor decided to keep things the same as my body responded pretty well to the medications the first time, for someone my age. Ouch! And this time it was responding pretty well again. I think a lot had to do with my attitude. It was very different this time. More positive. I just knew this was going to be the one (I still do). More blood work and ultrasounds. Medication and hormones. Timeline-wise I was actually ahead of where I was in the 1st cycle, by 2 days. Unfortunately the day I was triggering, my follicle count went down from the day before. From 8 great looking follicles down to 5. Apparently these things happen. Oh ok, no problem! 😦
And to top it all off, they noticed a polyp in my uterus while doing the ultrasound. MANY tears later, calls and discussions with the doctor, we decided to go ahead with the ER and then postpone the ET until the polyp could be removed. I just hoped and prayed that we would get 3-4 great embryos out of this because we decided this time to transfer 3-4 since it would be better odds for someone “my age”. I am happy to report that they retrieved 4 eggs that were all mature and 3 of them fertilized. I now have an 8-cell, 6-cell and 5-cell embryos on ice.
So a little over a month after my ER, I finally had the polyp removed ( one week ago tomorrow). I am supposed to start my Lupron injections tonight and then Wednesday I will find out if we are actually getting the go ahead for the November transfer or if we have to wait until December. The doctor who did the retrieval (not the polyp removal) is going to review my chart and let us know. I really hope it is November. I have already prepared myself, mentally, emotionally (the best I can) and also just scheduled “life” in general to coincide with everything.
I do know that God has his plan and if my body isn’t quite ready for these embryo’s to latch on in November, then December it will be. I think it is hitting me that I will be turning 40 in November and I certainly never thought I would be trying to get pregnant at 40, or 39, or 38… Isn’t life funny?
Thanks for reading! 🙂