story: our IVF journey.

I wrote this post a few days after our first failed IVF process, and it's been sitting in my drafts for months.  I decided to finally share it for no reason in particular other than to just share our journey so far.
This is our IVF journey and our feelings and our story, and may be different from other people's journey or stories.  Please be kind.
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Today I'm sharing our IVF journey thus far, or a nutshell version of it anyways (it's long and complicated).  It was our {mutual} decision to be open about our fertility issues, so some of our family and friends may know some of this already, but I wanted to share the details and our experience.  A story of sorts.  In case you're interested but more because we want to bring awareness and understanding to what it's like to go through this.

us on our birthiversary-taken 4/2/16.
Where it all began.  A little back story.  We found out during the summer of 2015 that we actually had fertility issues.  Prior to that, we had been trying to conceive since 2012.  Not religiously at first.  We were like other "We're trying to have a baby" stories.  Stop preventative measures.  Get all excited because finally you don't have to use anything!  Then month after month goes by and nothing happens.  Since we were still super young and hopeful, we decided to just let it ride.  By summer of 2015, we already did the "fun" trying to conceive things like tracking ovulation schedules and trying during certain times of the month, using a Basal thermometer to track ovulation temperature spikes, and reading "The Impatient Women's Guide to Getting Pregnant."  One of the first suggestions in the book is to have the male tested, as a precaution, after at least 6 months of trying.  "Usually the male passes, but this is just the first step just in case."  Well...the male didn't pass and that was where the adventures of our infertility began.

Funny side story to this:  There was a mix-up at the lab and the results of Alex's first sperm test came back as a post-vasectomy patient.  "Yes, there's still sperm present."  Um....yes, there's supposed to be!!  Ooops.  (We should have known then that was a sign for all things CRAZY!)

us-summer 2015, at wedding #4.
So, during the summer of 2015, which was our crazy wedding season (6 weddings), we were also in the midst of our fertility testing.  Blood tests, ultrasounds, a dye test, and several sperm samples.  Fast track a few months to meeting with our doctor and we find out we both have issues: Alex has unexplained low sperm count and I have ovulation issues.  Great!  We're really a pair.  (In all honesty though, Alex and I were both equally happy to learn we both had issues.  It put us on the same playing field and it was equally both our faults!  This is one thing I have been so happy for throughout the whole process: we have been in this TOGETHER, literally, since the very beginning).  Our doctor decided we were the perfect candidates for IVF.  He explained that he doesn't always fast track patients straight to IVF, but we needed to pick the best sperm and put it with the best eggs for a good chance, so that's what had to be done.

special delivery-fertility medicine.
Welcome to IVF.  We made the first call to start the IVF process on February 17th.  It began with birth control (which we find so funny since I've never taken it before in my life and now I had to to try and get pregnant).  We seem to have such great timing for everything.  The day our fertility medicine was delivered to us, March 2nd, was the day before our little Murphy passed away.  When we began the IVF process, Murphy wasn't as sick and we thought he just might need a surgery.  By the time we realized that he wasn't going to make it, we already had the IVF medicine ordered and there was no going back.  So while we were grieving over our little Murphy, we were starting a long grueling process to try and start a human family.  Talk about tough shit.

all of the medicine for one IVF process.
We started our first shots on March 21st.  Before shots, I was on several medications and both Alex and I were on a 10-day antibiotic that kicked our asses (to try and kill any bacteria that could be potentially transferred during the process).  It gave us both bad stomach aches and we felt overall like crap.  I've heard lots of IVF patients say different things about the shots.  The reality for me is I don't like shots.  Who does?  But they weren't too terrible.  I used ice packs almost every time and I cried a few times (I'm a very emotional person, and have cried alot because of infertility), and we had a handful of times where we drew blood.  But overall, the shots weren't that bad.  One of the things I am grateful for the MOST out of this process is how willing Alex was to assist me with shots.  I knew I couldn't do my own shots (I'm a klutz and again, the emotions) and I owe him a million hugs for administering them for me.  It was not easy.  The first 9 days we only had one shot, at night.  Not too bad.  On March 30th, we had two shots in one day, then on March 31st, we had 3, one in the morning and two at night.  The three shots a day continued until April 8th.  By then, both my thighs were pretty sore and my left one was black and blue.  The abdomen wasn't too bad.


Here we go.  We administered the HCG trigger shot on Saturday, April 9th.  It was scary because it was the biggest needle and "this was it!"  Alex was terrified to administer it, but thanks to our amazing nurse, who drew a circle on my butt, we had the right area.  Yah!  Our retrieval was Monday, April 11th.  We both took the whole week off of work for this.  This was it, our first chance, and we wanted to do it right.  We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.  The retrieval was very short, maybe 1 1/2 hours.  While I was sedated, Alex provided his sperm sample.  After, our doctor told us he was able to retrieve 10 good eggs from me.  He seemed a little disappointed, but we were ecstatic.  10 good eggs!  (We found out later that the reason for the slight disappointment is because the higher the number, the more he has to work with and the greater the chances of frozen embryos).  On Tuesday, the 12th, we got the call that 8 eggs were fertilized using Alex's sperm.  This was such a load off for Alex, as this was one of the things he was most nervous about.  Wednesday we had a free day where we went and hung out just the two of us for a bit.  It was a beautiful day and we went to the local outlet mall and bought new dishes and had dinner together.  Super nice and relaxing! 

2 little embryos transferred!
Thursday, April 14th was our transfer day!  Yah!!  We arrived at the hospital at 9:30 a.m. and had another quick procedure.  I was also sedated for this procedure (which isn't always typical but was necessary for me due to my tight cervix).  Afterwards, we took the happiest of photos that still makes me tear up.  Two little embryos transferred back into us!  Two little "me and Alex combined" embryos!  All of our hard work led up to this moment.  The doctor told us that everything "was perfect," and we were so excited!  After the transfer, I was on bed rest for three days.  It sounds lovely to lots of people, but gets really old after the first day or so.  But we were so afraid of messing up the process that we did everything the doctor told us to do: don't shower for three days, no bathtub for five days, keep your legs up, don't get up and do anything except go to the bathroom.

My last blood test=our negative pregnancy test.
And here we are.  Who sings that song "the waiting is the hardest part?"  Just like if you were waiting to see if you're pregnant naturally, there is waiting for IVF.  I went to the doctor on Monday, April 18th.  Four days after my transfer, for testing.  Then again on Wednesday, April 20th.  Then a final time on Monday, April 25th.  During this time, we tried to be as hopeful and positive as possible.  We talked alot about the possibility of twins.  We talked about the "babies" that were inside of us.  We laughed as much as possible.  We tried to be happy about everything we had gone through to bring us to this point.  We had come so far!  On Monday though, I just didn't feel as hopeful.  All day, I was nervous but tried to chalk it up to nerves and anxiety.  In the end, it came down to a call I received at 2:14 p.m., that started with the words "Unfortunately..."  It's amazing to me that so much of the process leads up to a moment that could end it all in just 6 minutes.  You go from being at the doctor every other day for weeks, taking tons of pills, and scheduling your life around shot times, to weaning yourself off of medicine and going on a waiting list for a consultation.  It ends that abruptly.  And that is where we are at.

The last photo of our first IVF process (after lots of crying).
What's next.  We don't know alot about what went wrong.  Most of that will be discussed at the consultation we have with our doctor in a month or two.  What we do know is that the embryos didn't latch on and my HCG level was never high enough to indicate a pregnancy.  I failed the first blood pregnancy test we took, on April 25th.  For now, we get a much needed break from it all, while we wrap our heads and hearts around what's next, and try to go back to a semi-normal life.  We're not exactly sure what's after that.

xoxo

17 comments:

  1. Omg kelster, your story is a lot like mine! I teared up looking at that last photo of you from crying. I was exactly there. Hopefully the doctors will gain some sort of information about what went wrong, no matter how small, to help them figure out what to tweak for next time. And even if not, you still have just as good a chance at it working next time as anyone else. It's like a flip of the coin. I'm so sorry! Don't give up.

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    1. Thank you so much Alycia! I read your stories alot over the last year and it has helped me so much. (It also could be said because of you that we decided to be open about our issues). Thank you so much for that! We are testing for implantation issues now, before we do another FET, probably in the fall. When I wrote this post, I was so hurt and upset and it really was how I felt. I'm doing better now, but of course you know how the emotions of these processes go... Thank you so much for replying to my post! It means so much to me.

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  2. Hugs and prayers to both of you! Thank you for sharing your journey.

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  3. Wow Kelly! Im so sorry to hear of your troubles. With just the short time that I was around you and Alex,I could tell you were awesome people and so good together! You deserve to share your love with a child and I hope and pray that one day soon your dreams of motherhood will come true. Hang in there and take care of yourselves! Michelle

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    1. Thank you so much Michelle! We appreciate it so much!

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  4. Hugs dear. I will keep you in my prayers.

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  5. So sorry you are going through all this ... thanks for sharing your story with us!

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    1. Thank you Julie! I appreciate your comment.

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  6. I'm so sorry, my friend! Even though I have never had to deal w/ this, I have friends who have and I understand how tough it can be!
    ((HUGS)) and best wishes to both you and your hubby!

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    1. Thank you so much dear! I really appreciate it!

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  7. Oh Kelly! I'm so sorry. Your post made me cry. {{{{hugs}}}}

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    1. Oh I'm sorry Amanda! I didn't mean to make you cry! But thank you so much for your comment and the hugs! :)

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  8. Aw, Kelly-- lots of hugs coming your way! I can't imagine having to go through all that for everything to just fail. I hate needles too, so I kinda had to skip through those pics! Lol You're one brave gal. :) Love you!

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    1. Aw thanks dear! Sorry about the photos. I should have posted a warning at the top! Yes sometimes life is tough, but we get through it somehow. Love you too!

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  9. Oh, you can't imagine how much I understand you! My husband and I also tried to have a baby when quite young. 3 years and nothing, so starting all the tests: ovulation problems for me (actually, almost NO ovulation), and same than you, low test for my husband.
    I had to take medicine for ovulation during several monthes, but my body didn't react well (didn't react actually, so weird). After that, starting shooting... Oh well, I did them myself for one month!! The doctor told us that we needed to go through IVF, he even told us that with such bad results with shooting and both our problems, we'll probably never be parents...
    But we were so fed up with all of that, we needed to find again ourself and our couple. As I don't drive, things were very difficult with all the testing, anyway.
    So we dropped out everything. Great, said people! When you don't overthink, then it happen! Nothing happened. Each time we moved, went on vacations, and so on, people used to say, it will happen now, but nothing.
    I wanted to adopt. My husband didn't at this point, he kept saying to be patient. Well, 5 years, isn't it being patient enough?!
    Finally, I started to realize that you COULD be happy without children. Of course, I still wanted being a mother more than anything else! But I accepted that being without child didn't condamn me to be unhappy. Had I any choice, anyway?
    Time continued to pass, and one day, a day with nothing particular, no move, no vacations, nothing, I felt weird. It was long and hard to realize that I was REALLY pregnant, but I finally had a child... And 2 years after, another one, and another one 3 years more after! The last two with no waiting, how weird is life?
    But I'll NEVER, never, never, forget what it looks like to feel this emppty belly and wanting to tear it up. Never.
    I hope with all my heart that you'll have a child. Hugs.

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