IVF Update

We’ve hit the ground running so fast that I’ve been too busy to update you guys! But here I am to share the good news that we met with the fertility specialist I mentioned about six weeks ago and fell in love with her. She took so much time to speak with us, get to know us, our story and my medical history that it was a no brainer, especially considering her success rates. Jake and I decided immediately after our consultation with her that she was our doctor.

A few days later we began my natural cycle monitoring. Basically that means I had to go in every two days for blood work and ultrasounds so the doctor could understand my cycle timing and my hormone levels. I was monitored through ovulation. Once I ovulated and the doctor reviewed my hormone levels and ultrasounds, she told me my follicles were a bit asymmetric (meaning they varied in size a little more than she would like) and I was put on estrogen patches to try and even things out. I was instructed to switch out the patches every two days and once I got my period to remove them and I did just that. I went back to the office on day two of my period as I was instructed for more blood work and another ultrasound. You learn very quickly with fertility treatments thats timing is EVERYTHING and apparently period day two is the best day to get a good understanding of follicle quantity/quality.

I had roughly 27 follicles which is a great number and I found out that night I was to start my IVF shots. The reality of the situation set in when I was given my demonstrations of the two shots I was going to need to inject myself with every night. One was a pen that was pretty straight forward (Follistim) and the other was a bit more complicated because it involved mixing powdered medication with saline via a syringe (Menopur). Ask anyone who has been through fertility treatment – they all know the names of these meds by heart and soon enough they ask how much Follistim and how many Menopur, its crazy! These meds are all just hormones your body produces naturally but they essentially hyper stimulate your follicles so you produce a bunch of eggs in one cycle instead of the usual one that is released in a natural cycle. The science in all of the this in absolutely incredible and Jake and I barely scratched the surface in our understanding of it all but we are certainly humbled and grateful for it all.

That night was a little overwhelming to say the least. I usually have no issue with needles, but having to do them yourself without the assistance of a medical professional was a little daunting. I decided I wanted to inject myself (a wise friend who’s been through it said to try to do it myself because its empowering and it was!) seeing as all shots were in my lower abdomen and easy to reach myself. Jake was with me in our bathroom, we watched several youtube instructional videos to be extra careful we were doing everything correctly. I then loaded the pen with my first shot. I was about to do it and it hit me, I felt a little wheezy and overwhelmed but I took a deep breath and did it. Next up was the mixed meds which proved to be a little more complicated for me (I think it was because I was nervous) and I had trouble getting it mixed properly but eventually I did and injected myself again. We decided going forward Jake would mix the Menopur for me to make it a bit less stressful but man that one BURNED. Thank god they told me that in the office otherwise I would have panicked I did something wrong. The injection sites hurt for a few minutes, then completely subsided. I did it!!

From that night on I took two shots to the lower abs like clockwork. My doctor texted me every night letting me know if the dosage was staying the same or if they needed to be tweaked a bit. She decided all this based on the blood work and ultrasound results I was having every other day (better know as “Morning Monitoring”). The fertility center quickly became my second home that week and on day six of shots we added a third, Ganirelix. This is the drug that stops me from ovulating naturally so we can keep growing my follicles. That needle was a little bit bigger than the other two so naturally it hurt more but it was quick – the only caveat to this one was it needed to be done at the EXACT SAME TIME every night, no pressure, right? I continued with the three shots for four more nights and office visits every other day. On day 10 I was told no more Follistim, just the Menopur and Ganirelix and that my trigger shot (I’ll explain this in a second) was going to be on day eleven (today). I went in this morning for my monitoring and I “look fabulous and I am ready”! This means tonight is the night I trigger. The trigger shot makes me ovulate so my follicles that we’ve been growing are ready to release eggs. This means I will need to have my egg retrieval surgery within 35-36 hours of the shot which brings us to this Thursday! Now here’s where timing is everything comes in to play again. My doctor is going to be calling me tonight to tell me the exact time I need to take the shot as it will be timed perfectly with my surgery, it could be 10pm or it could be 1am we have to wait and see! I currently have two large “targets” drawn on my lower back (near my love handles to be exact) which is where Jake gets to inject me this time. The difference with this shot is it need to be injected into muscle (because, science) so the needle is longer. Damn near passed out when I saw it during my demo but I will get through it.

Over the past 11 days there have been some tears from the anxiety and stress of it all, some tears from the shots because they freaking hurt and now mostly because I am super bloated and feel like I am walking around with grapefruits for ovaries. Because I have so many follicles ranging from 14mm to 24mm, I am very uncomfortable and it is only going to get worse after egg retrieval for reasons that are above my pay grade. I will be put out for surgery (which is outpatient) and it is a relatively quick procedure but it is still scary none the less. Despite my anxiety, I am just trying to keep my eye on the prize for now. I’ve been through a lot already and I know I can get through this. We are hopeful I will get a nice amount of embryos that fertilize from this retrieval. Once we know how many fertilized successfully we will have them genetically tested to avoid a situation like my most recent miscarriage. Our hope is to have my transfer in the new year.

I will keep you updated post egg retrieval and let you know the results but after that I will be going dark and playing transfer and its timing close to the chest. I would like to maintain some ounce of normalcy and an element of surprise before we (hopefully) announce a healthy pregnancy sometime in 2022. Until then…



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