Friday, July 26, 2013

Our IVF Experience

Many of you know that Andrew and I tried for awhile to get pregnant.  We began this adventure in May 2011.  After a year of no success, we began looking into fertility.  Our fertility doctor began by running tests on each of us to see if there was a medical reason for our apparent infertility.  All of the tests came back normal, so the doctor diagnosed us as unexplained infertility.  This is such a frustrating diagnosis.  At least if there had been something wrong, we would have known what to do to fix it.  Unexplained infertility, to me, simply meant "you should be able to do this on your must be doing something wrong." 

Our doctor then went over our options.  He talked about Clomid, but didn't recommend it for our situation. IVF and IUI were also suggested, as was a fourth option I don't really remember.  Andrew's and my primary concern was to avoid having multiples.  We both agreed that we really only wanted one baby at a time, so in an effort to avoid that, we decided on IVF.  We made his decision back in October 2012.

Before we could proceed, the doctor first wanted to run a couple of other tests on me just to be certain. One was a dye test to check my fallopian tubes and another was a water test to check my uterus.  Both tests can back normal, which freed us to move ahead with the IVF.  However, we began putting it off.  In my mind, IVF became a back-up option because, in theory, we should be able to do this on our own.  It became a "let's try one more time this month and if it doesn't work, then we can do IVF", only instead of being one month, it turned into several. 

Another problem we had (initially it was only Andrew, but I came around to his way of thinking) was that IVF would mean throwing away fertilized eggs.  Andrew wasn't comfortable with that and it opened up some good conversations between the two of us.  Needless to say, I came around to his way of thinking and we approached our doctor with our concerns.  He was wonderful and extremely understanding and willing to work with us.  He suggested doing a reduced dose of the meds and then only fertilizing 2 eggs.  Assuming the fertilization took, we would then implant both eggs and see what happened.   By this time we had decided that we really only wanted one baby, but if God gave us two we would manage and it would be fine.  The doctor said we could boost our chances by fertilizing 3 eggs, to which we quickly said no.  We said, if God wanted us to have two babies we had enough faith to say ok, but we didn't have enough faith for three!

We waited until after the holidays to begin our IVF adventure.  Andrew went and picked up all of the meds and I started them in February.  Andrew is so wonderful!  I couldn't bring myself to give myself shots, so he administered all of them for me.  Throughout this process, I had to go to the fertility center about once a week in the beginning, and more frequently towards the end, so that they could do ultrasounds and check how the meds were affecting my eggs and follicles and determine when best to administer the final injection before retrieval. 

The egg retrieval was done on March 7, 2013.  It was a Thursday morning.  The procedure didn't take that long once they began, but it required an IV and the nurse had a lot of trouble sticking me.  She tried one arm for a while, but couldn't find a vein.  Another nurse tried my other arm and my hands before going back to my original arm.  Finally, they were able to find a vein and put the IV in.  The procedure was quick because they only retrieved one egg.  Afterward, we went home and relaxed on the couch (me with a heating pad) for the rest of the day.  In the evening, I got up to go pee and realized I couldn't.  After some phone calls and a few trips to the urgent care, they finally gave me a catheter and I had relief.  Later that night (probably around 2am) I was uncomfortable and noticed that the urine in the bag was bloody and I was a bit freaked out, so we went back to the urgent care.  They couldn't do much else for me, so they referred me to the ER and we went.  I spent the night in the ER and basically they finally decided that the procedure must have nicked my bladder, which caused the bloody urine and the meds in the IV probably contributed to my inability to pee.  The catheter was left in through the weekend until the egg transfer on Sunday morning, March 10. So. uncomfortable.

At the egg transfer, they first removed the catheter (thank goodness) and then transferred the egg.  The doctor said it looked really good, it fertilized well, and that basically it was the best it could be at this point.  We even got a picture of the fertilized egg on day three.  After the quick procedure, I had to lay there for about 20 minutes or so.  Then we were free to leave and wait.  We had to wait two weeks to find out if the egg implanted or not.  It was one of the longest two weeks of my life.  Two Fridays later, we went to the fertility center and I had my blood drawn that morning.  Then, I had to wait almost ALL DAY to find out the results.  I babysat that morning to try and keep my mind off of it and make the day go by a little faster.  Around 2:00 that afternoon, the amazing call came in telling me that I was pregnant!  Such an amazing day. 

We are so blessed, especially in these circumstances.  This baby is certainly a gift from God - IVF generally takes a few tries, and we did it on the first try with only one egg.  Baby Jackson was meant to be.