Since completing our IVF and sharing that it failed, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends about the process. I really enjoy your questions and your interest about our journey towards Baby Best! So I figured I would write a little review about the process.
*Disclaimer* I am not in the medical field so these are just my experiences. However, I am qualified to offer some great oral health advice! 🙂
Step 1: Birth Control Pills
I know, it seems silly, right? Why would I take BCPs when we have been trying 19 months to conceive?! But they actually serve an important role. The BCPs get my body ready for a cycle that my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) can have complete control over. They “quiet” your body down in a sense. It’s also the easiest part of the process.
Step 2: Hormone Stimulants
These stimulants come in the form of injections. Yay, shots! (Just joking). But they help your body produce more eggs than what it would in a normal month. Way more eggs. I was on a concoction of Bravelle and Menopur that I would mix up and inject nightly (later on they added a 3rd- Ganirelix). I give patients injections at work so it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me. The needles are tiny so it doesn’t hurt too bad. I gave myself nightly injections for around 11 days. Everyone’s Stim phase is different according to your own body. Others may end up injecting more or less days than I did. I actually had to reorder my meds twice, which was no fun because they aren’t cheap. To add a little enjoyment to my nightly injections I bought myself Hello Kitty Band Aids. It’s the little things!
*Side Note* during my Stim phase we had tickets to a Garth Brooks concert. Since the concert time coincided with my injection time I had to bring my shots with me. And shoot myself up in a parking garage. Talk about feeling like a druggie! I had John be my lookout so we wouldn’t have to explain ourselves to anyone.
During the Stim phase you have Monitoring appointments. There is a fine line between producing too many eggs and developing Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). They also monitor you so you don’t ovulate early and ruin the whole process before they can retrieve the eggs. Towards the end of my 11 day Stim cycle I went from every other day monitoring appointments to everyday appointments. Shout out to my wonderful and totally understanding Boss and office staff! The bloat and discomfort of developing so many eggs really didn’t bother me until the very end. But man! Once it hit, it really hit! I felt like a Chicken about to lay a million eggs! Your very last shot is a very time specific injection that causes you to ovulate so the RE can retrieve the eggs.
Step 3: Retrieval
I never thought I would be so ready for a surgery! The Retrieval day seemed like it would never come. But finally we reported back to my RE’s office. Since its surgery I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight the day before. Which caused low Blood Sugar and caused me to almost pass out during the multiple attempts to place my IV. Finally an Anesthesia Nurse was called to help and she got it in place. After some fluids I was wheeled into the Operating Room in my super fashionable surgery garb, and they helped transfer me to the Operating table. HOLY STIRRUPS! Ladies- the stirrups at your OBGYN’s office have nothing on the ones for an egg retrieval! Talk about awkward- I was basically on a pedestal and exposed to a bunch of strangers. I just kept praying the sedation meds would hurry up and take effect. Suddenly I was asleep and then awoken by my RE who informed me they retrieved 19 eggs. 19! No wonder I felt like a big puffer fish!
They wheeled me back to John and my mom for more fluids before I was discharged. During this time my Husband had already went to do his “business”, and my eggs were given to the Embryologist to be fertilized. We were finally able to go home so I could rest and down some serious Gatorade for the next 5 days (to also prevent OHSS).
Step 4: Transfer
During the 5 days between Retrieval and Transfer we got daily updates on how our embryos were doing. Out of 19 eggs, 17 were mature, and of those 12 fertilized successfully. Unfortunately some of the embryos will always become non-viable so we ended up with 4 perfect and viable ones.
I got some wonderful Valium for the Transfer day and headed back to the O.R. Thankfully, no IVs this time. The Transfer went smooth and the Embryologist and the RE put back 2 beautiful embryos. John was able to be in the O.R. with me and he did a great job of holding my hand and rubbing my head. He saw the RE pray before the transfer and we both really appreciated that. After the transfer we went home and I was told to take it easy for 2 days.
After that it was just a 10 day waiting game to see if the embryos would implant. We prayed a lot, and I read, and colored (yes, colored) to take my mind off the wait.
Unfortunately, you all that have been keeping up with us already know that this “fresh” cycle failed. We didn’t end up pregnant. However, we still have 2 beautiful frozen embryos. The process is long, hard, and nerve wracking but it’s also miraculous. John and my personal relationships with God have never been stronger. And our marriage has never been better. We have had to support each other in ways that most couples will never have to. We are still hopeful that our baby(ies) Best will come eventually!
P.S. Please join or consider donating to our Baby Steps 5K team! By joining or donating you will help us win a chance at a $10,000 family building grant! You also help keep Sarah’s Laughter (a Christian infertility support group) open! Our team name is Hoping for a Best! Click here to join or donate!