Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Don't "Get" Pregnant

In the IVF world, we don't say "get" pregnant.  We use the phrase "achieve pregnancy".  And believe you me, that action verb "achieve" is 1,000% percent more accurate than "get".  How I have longed for the ability to just "get" pregnant.  To decide it was time to try, and then within 12 months or less, you're there.  It makes it even more frustrating to know that even after all of the extensive testing and procedures we've been through, there's still no explanation for why we can't "get" pregnant and maintain a pregnancy without help.  But I've learned to be ok with the fact that "achieving pregnancy" is the hand I have been dealt.  I'm an over-achiever by nature...so maybe this was just what was supposed to be all along!

Let me just give you a small snapshot of what the following 6-8 weeks is going to look like for us:

Every day (currently):
400 mg of CoQ10
Daily Probiotic
Daily 5,000 IU of Vitamin D
Inositol (Vitamin B8) Supplement
DHA Supplement
Prenatal Vitamin (AKA horse pill...)
Cyclafem birth control (I actually don't mind this...I lost 8 pounds last time on this pill.  So far I've lost almost 6 this time and I've got a solid 3 more weeks left of it!)

In about 2 weeks:
I'll continue the above supplements but add an injection of Lupron once a day right in my belly.  Lupron injections don't hurt *too* much, but they are usually accompanied by a pretty gnarly headache which I will try to stay ahead of this time...

About 2 weeks after that:
I'll drop the birth control and add 2 more types of injections.  Yep you read that right.  Three needles to the lower belly once a day.  Ouch...  One of this medications is called Menopur.  It's made with the urine of post menopausal women.  There's a fun fact for ya!

About 2 weeks after that:
I'll drop the Lupron and add Follistim which is the drug that stimulates my ovaries to crazy produce.  Meaning my ovaries go from being about the size of lemons to what feels like basketballs.  I will go in every other day for blood work and ultrasounds, and then eventually every day until it looks like my ovaries are ready to be triggered...

About 10 days later:
I take a shot in my belly (which smarts with the fire of a thousand suns) called Novarel to trigger my ovaries.  24 hours later I go in for my egg retrieval...

Egg Retrieval Day:
We go in at zero dark thirty and they put me under general anesthesia.  They send Jonathan back to collect and I go into the procedure room where they basically pierce my ovaries with a needle and aspirate out all the fluid (and hopefully eggs) from each mature follicle.  Last time we had 11 mature eggs.  Dr. Hansen is shooting for about 15 this cycle by changing up my stim drugs a little in the beginning.  Then I go home and sleep on the anesthesia and stay ahead of any cramping with Tylenol.  I also can drop all my supplements except for the Prenatal Vitamin, the DHA, and the Vitamin D.  I also get to add a lovely shot of Progesterone in oil right in my butt.  Every day for hopefully the next 13 weeks.  While I'm snoozing, the embryologists are performing a procedure on my eggs and Jonathan's sperm called ICSI (rhymes with pixie, but stands for Introcytoplasmic Sperm Injection).  We do this because our infertility is unexplained. One of the causes of infertility is the incompatibility of the sperm with the shells of the eggs.  This procedure basically eliminates that as a possibility.  More on that in another post...

The Next Day or Two Later...
Connie, our nurse, calls to tell us how our embryos are growing.  This is SUCH a high anxiety call to answer!  Last time we had 7 of the 11 eggs retrieved fertilize successfully.  Conceivably, you can expect that about half of the eggs you retrieve will fertilize, and about half of those will be viable embryos for either transfer or freezing.  Dr. Hansen is shooting for closer to 15 mature eggs retrieved this time in hopes that our outcomes will be the same or better as they were the first time.  So essentially we are hoping for 7-9 fertilized embryos which would leave us 3-5 viable for transfer or freezing...

Either 3 or 5 days after Retrieval...
I go in and they bring us pictures of our "embabies"!!  They prep me for what looks like a basic pelvic exam, but they also to a trans abdominal ultrasound so they can watch the catheter thread right into my uterus.  Then the embryologist comes in the room from the lab with a syringe which contains our embryos.  We will transfer 2 (assuming we have that many viable).  We watch as the embryos are transferred into my body.  It looks like two little balls of light being transferred on ultrasound!  Then I stay lying down for about 30 minutes, and then I leave...

14 days after Retrieval...
I hopefully take a positive pregnancy test!!  This is literally the longest 10-12 days in the history of time.  No guarantees but a WHOLE lot of hope! Also in this time period we are informed if any of our remaining embryos (if there are any) are viable enough to freeze...

Whew!  Is your head spinning yet??  Mine is!  It's a ride y'all.  And its WORK.  But we also know that there is a divine component to all of this that we have absolutely no control over.  It's in God's hands.  The outcome, the embryos, the procedures.  He's got it all in His hands.  So while it's incredibly scary, it's also exciting.  We get to see how God creates pregnancy from a literal front row seat.  Here's the reaction we are hoping for about 4 weeks after that retrieval day when we see our sweet little one's heart beat for the first time...






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