Full Circle

The past three weeks have been a blur to say the least; but they certainly complete the circle of this long journey for us.  On March 21, 2014, I gave birth to our son, Hudson.  What I remember the most was when they placed him skin-to-skin on my belly.  He cried a little and then contently lay awake and alert.  I watched him crawl up my body and feed for the first time.  We spent over an hour skin-to-skin and we had our own little bubble of calm in the chaos that was going on in the rest of the room.  Those moments and those emotions I felt made me feel like it was just myself and him.

When I look back at our IVF procedure and then I look at this perfect little person, all of the injections, appointments, blood work and ultrasounds were worth it.  We know how incredibly lucky we were to have a positive result with the first cycle.  Out of 16 eggs, then 9 embryos, and then 2 transfered blastocysts and the knowledge that we had nothing to freeze for future cycles – we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a perfect baby boy.  Sadly, our results are not typical and there are countless couples who have suffered emotional and financial heartbreak too many times.

So, would we do IVF again?  Together as a couple, Nick and I have decided that we will not do IVF again.  It’s emotionally draining for both couples.  It’s also expensive.  We would not have been able to do IVF if we did not ask for help (which was a tough thing to do).  If we magically conceive naturally then that’s incredible and amazing, however if we don’t then we are perfectly happy with our sweet baby boy 🙂

Just yesterday we found out that the province of Ontario announced that they will publicly fund the cost of one cycle of IVF for all forms of infertility.  They will be doing single embryo transfers to reduce multiple birth rates and high-risk pregnancies.  This is amazing and a step in the right direction.

A few days ago I received a FB message and friend request from a friend of a friend.  She said that her and her husband just found out that they need to do IVF and she asked if she could ask me some questions of she needed to since she didn’t know anyone else who had gone through the procedure before.  I told her that I would be thrilled to be part of her support circle and that it was so important to at least be able to talk to someone who has gone through it.  Even though our overall experiences and reasons behind the infertility might be different, I hope to help her feel as normal as possible through her journey to parenthood.

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Last Dose – 8 weeks 3 days

Today is my last dose of Prometrium.  It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s also exciting because if you’ve taken Prometrium you know how gross it is!  I’ve done my fair share of Dr. Googling which causes one to go from calm to crazy and back again all within the same search result!  I’ve done my last bit of research this morning and I’m glad I did because I found this article about a study that was done on IVF cycles using ICSI and also specifically Prometrium.  The study concluded that the P4 supplements could be withdrawn safely at 5 weeks gestation because the results were similar enough to stopping at 8 weeks.

Since there are many different types of progesterone supplements that patients get prescribed for the many different treatments that can be done, it can be overwhelming to google what should be done in your own case.  Some patients stay on until 12 weeks, others stop right after the positive beta.  Everything involved with ART is a case-by-case basis and no one is going to have the same treatment.  Sure, I’m nervous and yes I will be checking for spotting and everything else, however it’s important to trust your doctor because he/she is not Dr. Google.

Anyways, hopefully soon I will be hearing from an OB that the clinic is setting up for us (we don’t have a family doctor and haven’t for years).  Also, we are pretty close to telling our families and friends that we are pregnant!

Retrieval Eve

Last night was a bit horrendous.  It was the most uncomfortable I have been yet!  Pressure and gas and nerves – not fun!  At least I got to sit on the couch and relax because it really did help calm me down (and I got to watch my show, “Lipstick Jungle”).  I was nervous about the shot but also nervous about the doxycycline antibiotic.  I was the most nervous about the doxycyline because the nurse specifically said “take it with food or you will throw up immediately”.  Barfing scares me.  It’s the whole lack of control thing and feeling like you can’t breathe.  But I took it with dinner and a huge glass of water and everything was fine.  The shot went fine too. It was great knowing that it was the last injection 🙂

Today will be the last with all of my little follicles.  Good that the discomfort will be gone, but still filled with intrepidation about the next steps.  My friend T has forewarned me that I will be in a lot of pain – and to eat fresh pineapple for the next 5-6 days to help prepare the uterus for transfer and implantation.

Anyways.. no eating after midnight or else I turn into a Gremlin!  Hope to write tomorrow if I’m not too out of it.

Day 5 of stims.

Tomorrow will be exciting because it’s an ultrasound day and we’ll get to see how the FSH has been working.  I’m excited to see if any more follicles have started or anything.  Monday morning after my blood work they told me to increase my Gonal F to 300 units a day (instead of 175 units).  Today I felt a bit of very mild mild mild tightening in my abdomen.  It was the feeling that I would get a few days before I would expect a period, except much milder – so the drugs ARE doing something!  It felt kind of weird, but I’m sure I’ll feel weirder as the treatment goes on.

I haven’t felt any major side-effects since starting Gonal F and Menopur.  Maybe some slight hot flashes, but they go away quite quickly.  Today I felt a tiny bit nauseated only because of the dosage increase (I believe).  My Lupron headaches have gone away thankfully!

Its crazy to think that this time next week we will (hopefully) be very close to retrieving eggs.  It’s best not to think to far ahead though.  One day at a time.

The first post

So this is the first post of many for our IVF blog.  I hope to journal this journey out – to both be memorable and to be cathartic as I’m sure there will be many ups and downs.  My reason for blogging besides the above statements is to be a resource for other couples going through the same process, procedure, struggle and emotions.

Today is day 5 into my first IVF cycle.  It’s surreal.  It hasn’t “hit” me yet as to what I’m actually doing.  I don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch but I still want to remain positive and hopeful that this first cycle will be successful.

My story is this.  I’m 32 and my husband (“N”) is 33.  We’ve been married for almost 10 years and have been trying to start a family for the past 7.  We only finally decided to get things checked out a little more in depth January of 2012.  My cycles are textbook and my charting showed no problems.  After some blood work, they discovered a prolactinoma on N’s pituitary gland which was suppressing testosterone and making his prolactin levels skyrocket.  After some treatment they discovered that his sperm count levels were dropping instead of increasing.  They still don’t know why or what is causing this.  The fall of 2012 we made the decision to have a sample of his frozen.  That was a tough day for us.  The realization of the chances of a spontaneous pregnancy were basically zero. Our only option is IVF and since I am still young enough we wanted to start the first cycle of it quickly.

We are hopeful that since I don’t have any fertility issues that this first cycle will work, however we both are realistic about it failing.  I feel like I’m in a daze about this because I know it’s not a sure thing.  People around me are very excited and positive about it but it’s hard for me to feel like this will work the first time around.  I am taking each day one at a time and not looking too far into the future.