ivf journey

Like any new you thing, you feel scared, unsure of what is going to happen or how you might feel.  I remember specifically being worried about how I would feel with the hormones and stress related to IVF.  In order to help those of you deciding whether or not IVF is for you I’m going to explain how my journey was, for me personally, and what I would suggest for those of you considering IVF.  

It started with a phone call while we were sitting on a beach in Hawaii. She explained to me, you’ll call us this day, come to the clinic this day, do your ultrasound this day then if your baseline is okay, you’ll start your injections for IVF.  I was so confused, seriously. My blood was good, my ultrasound was good, I was ready to begin.  I left with a bag full of meds had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with any of it.  Within 3 days I began starting my injections.  

Now, they honestly weren’t so bad at all.  I had to do them myself because Tim had an incident once when I was giving in a vaccination so ever since then I couldn’t trust him with a needle (Sorry, T!).  I was taking anywhere from 3-5 shots depending on the amount and what as left in the preset needles.  It sounds very complicated but once you get going things start to make sense.  My response to the meds was fine. I had zero side effects other than some slight bloating.  People usually stimulate for 14 days-ish but after day 6 they wanted me to come in for my retrieval. I was pretty worried why I wouldn’t stimulate as long as the other girls, but it seemed like my dominant follicles were the size they needed to be for retrieval.  They predicted anywhere from 10-13 follies, which is good because they didn’t want to over stimulate my body.  That Tuesday (Feb 2) we came in for my retrieval.  I felt awful as it was Tim’s birthday and it seemed to be all about me, but boy were we excited.  It felt like after so many years of struggling we were finally getting somewhere.

In the OR…ok where do I begin.  I was completely conscious and my nurse and Doctor were beyond amazing.  I remember the doctor was so hands on and helped me get on the table and once I was laying down she told me if my oxygen drops she wanted me to do my yoga breathing and then made me practice with her a couple times.  Yoga breaths..my speciality.  I was a bit nervous that I was awake but I was so grateful.  They gave me an anti anxiety of some kind and some pain meds.  She  started on the right side where they injected a needle through the vaginal wall into the ovaries and basically sucked the little eggies out. There was a big screen television to my left where I could see all the little eggs! I was so fascinated. I kept crying saying, “I’m just so grateful!”.  Then, she went over to my left side…this is when the going got tough.  I started SCREAMING. So unsure of why the pain felt so severe.  I felt nothing on the right and she explained to me she had only touched me with the probe…alarming, I know.  The nurse ran with more pain meds and pushed them through my IV where the doctor begged me to stay still before I lost all the eggs on that side.  I was dead still. I wasn’t going to risk losing my little eggies.  Just like that it was over.  They put me in a wheelchair and rolled me out. I remember I couldn’t stop bawling (honestly, a response to the meds) and kept repeating over and over, “I am just so grateful”. There was another girl just about to go in and her eyes were like WTF did they just do to you and I explained to her I was just so grateful, of course I did.  I just want to be honest because everyone I spoke to said the egg retrieval was super easy so I was a bit caught off guard. 

They had me in the recovery for about 1 hr, gave me some cookies they promised were vegan (processed goodness) and some water.  She said once my pain was controlled and I was able to void they would discharge me.  Everything went as planned 10 minutes before discharge, then I got this extreme pressure on my left side and couldn’t stop crying.  The nurses weren’t able to provide me with any more meds and the Doctor had gone into another procedure so we literally had to sit there and wait for her.  Poor Tim was helpless, he couldn’t touch me, or comfort me in any way and the nurse wasn’t sure what to do either.  They checked for bleeding, put my heat pad back on and tried to encourage me through it (through what?  I don’t know, but it hurt like hell).  About 7 minutes later (which felt like 70) the Doctor came in and just like that my pain was gone.  She figured it might have been a pocket of gas or something because I responded very similar with the probe in the OR.  Once that all settled I was ready to go home.

Tim and I just rested all day together and gave my body some time to recover.  I felt pretty good after that, just a little bit of pressure the day of the procedure.  She gave me a prescription of Percocet because she explained that in her 27 years of experience my pain tolerance was quite low….hmm okay she might be right.  I only ended up needing the T3’s the first day post op and then after that I refused to take anything because I swear my nausea from not having a bm was way worse than the pain so I wanted the narcotics out of my system.  

The next morning they called us with the numbers.  We had 13 follicles, 11 mature and all 11 fertilized.  I was so relived.  I knew how these numbers worked, they start so high then they drop and drop and drop. Every morning they called us with an update about how our little babies were doing.  I was frustrated because they can do a transfer on day 3 with two not so strong embryos but for some reason ours did really good until day 6.  They didn’t updated us for two days between day 3 and day 6 and I knew something was going on. I just felt confused why they didn’t put two in and save them on day 3 where they are better able to survive inside of me, but I had to stop trying to figure it out and let the professionals do their job.   

By day 6 most of them didn’t survive, which we are completely understanding of.  A women without fertility issues doesn’t get pregnant every month because the eggs aren’t always 100% healthy, we understood the ones that didn’t make it weren’t meant to be our babies. It turns out that with the number we were left with, was completely normal.  This felt completely devastating.  You put all your eggs in one basket (literally) and then come to the understanding that another cycle of IVF might be in your near future.  It’s so hard to comprehend. Not only the financial investment (zero coverage for fertility in Canada) but the emotional stress that comes with it too. There is so much fear and worry surrounding infertility that it’s next to impossible not to feel scared to death.  I keep reminding my self–all you need is one.

Tim and I are so nervous and we still have a very long road ahead of us, but we won’t give up.  I just wanted to update you guys for now.  Right now we are just taking it super easy, trying to reduce our stress and enjoy one another.  I just felt like I had to tell you guys how the IVF process went and I truly hope that you guys can find strength in the process.  It is worth it, I know it.  Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones and be tried in ways well beyond our comprehension in order to grow and understand and love more.

If you are considering IVF this is the answer for a lot of couples.  It can offer them what they’ve been longing for, for so long.  I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest thing, but I definitely don’t think it’s harder than living in so much pain everyday.  I hope anyone going through this knows that I think of you guys everyday, without even knowing you.  I pray that our hearts can be healed and our pain can be lessened and we can find the strength and courage we need to keep on.  I love you guys, more than you probably know… xo E

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