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IVF... Here we go

After 3 years of trying and 3 pregnancy losses, we’ve decided to take the plunge and go for IVF. Several things played into our decision to finally start the process: 1. My low AMH (ovarian reserve), 2. It’s been 6+ months since we last conceived, 3. All 3 of our pregnancies have ended in heartbreak, 4. IVF allows us to test the embryos (via Preimplantation genetic screening - PGS – testing) so that we hopefully don’t have the chromosomal issues we’ve had with 2 of the 3 pregnancies, 5. It gives us a little more control over the timing (if that’s such a thing) and 6. We don’t know what the anti-rejection medication will do to Reid’s fertility once he has the liver transplant.

At first, I was sad that we got to this point. Last year when we made the tough decision to start IVF, we came to terms with it, and then found out we were pregnant on our own the day before we were to start the process. So in the back of my mind, I hoped and prayed that would happen again. But it didn’t. I think Reid has been okay with IVF for far longer than I have. In his mind, it is less risk since it allows us check the chromosomes of the embryos before they are transferred. In my mind, it was admitting defeat. And, quite honestly, I have been scared to death of the process. I don’t like shots (I mean, who does?) I don’t like the idea of pumping my body full of hormones. I don’t like the idea of spending $20,000 to get pregnant. I also don’t like that we will go through all of this and only have a 60-70% chance that it works, and then have to start all over again. 

But here we are. Now that we’ve started the process, I actually have a sense of peace about it for once. We had our teaching appointment a couple weeks ago, where they show us how to inject the hormones and explained the process, and it didn’t overwhelm me. I walked out of there thinking, “Okay, I can do this!” It definitely helps that we have some amazing nurses and doctor… the nurse even gave me her cell number in case I need anything after hours.

I’ve learned a lot about the process recently, and I think it’s interesting, so I’m going to share… if you’re about to go through this process or know someone who is, hopefully it will help.

Our IVF "stimming" process is as follows:               
  • Two weeks of birth control (it ended up being a little longer with Hurricane Harvey hitting)
  • Baseline bloodwork and an ultrasound (this happened on Thursday, August 31st)
  • Injections start today, September 3rd (Holy crap! I’m excited and scared all at the same time)
  • 10-12 days of injections between 6-9 in the evening
    • Menopur and Gonal-f Injections - one shot a day for 5-6 days in order to increase the size of my follicles and force my body to produce an increased amount of eggs
      • During this time, I will be having bloodwork and ultrasounds about every other day
    • Cetrotide Injections – once I have a good number of eggs and my follicles have grown, then my body will try to ovulate to release the eggs. Cetrotide will keep my body from ovulating, so I will add that shot for 5-6 days
  • Once we have good sized follicles (around 18 mm), then they will set up my egg retrieval appointment. Once that appointment is set, they call and tell me what time to do my “trigger” shot of Ovidrel
  • I will do the trigger shot at a certain time, which is set for 36 hours before the egg retrieval. This shot will cause my body to ovulate 36 hours later
  • We go in for the egg retrieval, an outpatient procedure where they put me under, and extract the eggs from my ovary
  • They will then fertilize my eggs with Reid’s sperm
  • The day after, we will know how many eggs were fertilized and became embryos
  • 5 days later, we’ll know how many embryos made it to freeze
  • They will take samples of each of the embryos to do the PGS testing
  • Once we get the test results back, we’ll know how many “healthy” embryos we have

That is where the process will pause for us for about 6 weeks. Some couples go straight into transfer shortly after that process, but I have a big project at work around that time and don’t want to be stressed (even more so) during this process. In November (barring a change in Reid’s situation on the transplant list), we’ll start more hormones and prepare for the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). Sexy, huh? Not exactly the way I pictured us having babies, but we’ll take what we can get at this point!

If you’ve been praying for us, please say some extra prayers for Reid… he is quite nervous about me having extra hormones raging through me. I mean, I can be quite a handful with the hormones I already have in my system. I’ve also read that my ovaries will feel like footballs, and I won’t want to wear anything other than stretchy pants. So please forgive my appearance over the next couple of weeks.

Thank you all for your support… we’ll keep you posted during the process. I think it’s super interesting, so I may be sharing more information that you’re wanting to know. But hopefully it helps you to have a better understanding and make IVF a little less of a taboo topic in my circle of friends. Have questions about the process? Please don’t hesitate to ask me.  

Also, thank you SO MUCH for all that have donated to our YouCaring site. It helped us to start this process right away as opposed to having to wait months (which may have been difficult, given Reid's situation). We appreciate ALL of your support, emotionally and financially. 

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