I hope you’re having an amazing week. Wherever you’re reading this… at home, at your desk, running around, or on a walk, I’m just grateful that you’re here and we can connect.
I first want to thank you for sharing your stories, messages, and love.
For a little backstory, between two pregnancies, I was pregnant for almost half of 2020. I was also pumped up on progesterone for 5 of the months and underwent two D&Cs. It was the most traumatic year (a total mind f*** to say the least) . There were some days that I wondered if I would be feel ‘normal’ again or if our story would have a happy ending. What I didn’t realize, it was just the beginning of our journey. And we’re still on it today.
After suffering two miscarriages and one chemical pregnancy, we spoke with our doctor and we were told we would be great candidates for IVF. It was a glimpse of hope.
I’ve received a lot of questions why we went straight for IVF and didn’t try other options to get pregnant. Keep in mind, all fertility journeys are different and unique to each couple. For us, we could get pregnant, but our embryos weren’t ‘healthy’ (I’m 37), so I couldn’t carry them to full term. Our second miscarriage was due to Trisomy 16 and if I had the chance to carry the baby all the way through, we would have lost him shortly after. Do we wish we had the chance to meet our son? Of course. But, we also know it would have been a lot of suffering for not just us, but for him. We’ll never know the answers to, ‘what if’, but we know we’ll be okay.
As soon as we decided to go through with IVF, things moved pretty quickly. We received all of our fertility drugs and instructions for at home administration.
Side bar- I still can’t believe we do this on our own at home! It’s a lot of needles, vials, and complicated instructions. Brian and I will have to do a story time on this, because he accidentally gave me triple the dose of one of my drugs one day, so my doctors had to increase my dosage so my body didn’t react all crazy… literally a long story that we will have to share-maybe on the podcast. So if you find yourself scratching your head looking at everything saying WTF… you’re not alone. We promise.
Here’s a video of our journey
This is the start of swelling and bruising…
Once everything looked good to go, we went in for our egg retrieval. I was so nervous, but excited. I literally looked pregnant (see the left picture below) and felt like a hen holding all of her eggs. It’s the heaviest feeling in your pelvis. BTW, between your follicles being so large and all of the swelling, it’s also totally normal to waddle.
So here I was, waddling into the operation center of Reproductive Partners to meet with my nurse who would be taking care of me. I looked up from my bed and she had a butterfly clip. I immediately asked her if she liked butterflies and turns out she had a mini butterfly farm. For all the reasons… it put me at ease. It’s funny how we look for signs when we need them the most.
They put me to sleep and when I woke up we had good news…. they were able to successfully collect some eggs * tears of joy even when I think about that moment *. I won’t be sharing how many eggs we had, because I find this to be so individual to each woman. I also never want it to be a game of comparison- which can set us up for disappoint. I think it’s best to go in knowing you can’t control the outcome and to show up as the strong, resilient, amazing woman that you are. If you’re going through IVF too… you’ve got this. If you need more than one egg retrieval or an egg donor, your journey is unique to you and it’s totally normal. Hang in there <3
After the egg retrieval, we just waited for a call to see which embryos made it to day 5. It breaks down pretty quickly. Here’s what ours looked like:
80% of our eggs were fertilized. 54% of them lasted until day 3 and just 50% of those made it to day 5. Those remaining embryos were sent for genetic testing and 40% of them were abnormal/inconclusive.
If in the end you hear a small number compared to your total eggs, it’s very common. Under 20% of my eggs made it to the end as ‘healthy embryos’. I’m so grateful that we were able to do this and for the support of our community, friends, family and our incredible doctors and nurses.
If you’re considering IVF or any assistance in your fertility journey, I just want you to know you’re not alone. I know it’s heavy on the heart… and your relationships. Keep your head up, your heart open, and take care of your mental health. Sending you all my love.