It worked – it actually worked (this is what I have to keep telling myself because there are days when it still doesn’t feel real)! The last three months have been quite the roller coaster for us. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support from our friends and family.
We started the testing process back in the fall to make sure everything was okay to move forward. January 5th was the day of my first injection to start IVF. The injections weren’t as bad as I had thought they were going to be. I was lucky to have Brent by my side every night – I’m not sure I would have been as calm without him. Every 2-3 days I had to go back to the clinic for blood work and an ultrasound to make sure that everything was progressing as it should. I also had acupuncture twice a week at Mirvana to help with the stims and progression of my follicles. My stomach was definitely large and swollen after a few weeks of this – I felt and looked pregnant.
Finally, we were set up with my retrieval date – January 19! Brent had his duties to tend to while I was sent to the operating room. I was given anesthesia so I don’t remember much about it other than it being cold and lots of people surrounding me. When I woke up, the doctor came by to let us know that they had retrieved 14 eggs (during normal ovulation women typically only release 1)! I was so excited but at the same time slightly disappointed because I knew that they wouldn’t all make it to the stage that we needed. I joined a bunch of Facebook groups when we started this process and had read about women with 20+ eggs being retrieved – some as many as 40! I had to remind myself many times what my very dear friend told me, “quality over quantity”.
The next day we received our phone call (at 6:30 at night….talk about the longest wait ever) to let us know that 8 had fertilized…8 out of 14. Again, I was excited but still disappointed because based on my research, I knew that only 50% would make it to freezing. We had another 5 days of waiting. During this time, I had a lot of pain, cramping and even nausea – I felt horrible. There were a couple of nights when I woke up in cold sweats due to the extreme cramping that I was feeling. I knew that this was a sign of OHSS and could possibly delay our transfer (which was scheduled for the 21st). I scheduled an appointment with the doctor and they had me come in right away. He did say that there was some fluid build up and that I needed to continue to stay hydrated and to take it easy. He also told me to take Colace (a stool softener – an unfortunate side effect of anesthesia). I was so sick and in so much pain the day before the transfer – Brent ended up having to call the on-duty nurse. Again, I was instructed to take more Colace and to pound the water, prune juice, apple juice, and to use a heating pad on my stomach. It finally subsided. Brent’s mom arrived late in the evening that Friday to help us out because of my transfer the next day and the required 3 days of bed rest (Brent had to leave that Monday for San Francisco). I was so happy to see Sue. It had been quite intense in our house for the last few hours and she helped calm everything down. She and Brent went to the store to see if they could find me a TV stand (not sure if those things even exist anymore – we ended up with a boppy pillow). They also picked up some food for the next few days (pineapple and avocado – foods to help with the transfer).
The transfer the next day was much easier than the retrieval – no anesthesia was given just valium. Brent went into the OR with me to pinch my ears while the transfer was taking place (I had pins in my ears from my previous acupuncture appointment to help the transfer take). They used an ultrasound to help place the embryos in my uterus (we had 4 make it to this point so we chose to transfer 2 and freeze 2). After about a few hours we were sent home. I was officially PUPO – pregnant until proven otherwise!
The two week wait – it was torture. Sue stayed with us for the entire week – I was so thankful because I wasn’t feeling great. I was really tired and still had some cramping – especially around days 5-6 after the transfer. This worried me because it felt like I was going to start my cycle – the cramps were the exact same. I still had to go in to the clinic for blood work every few days but had to wait for my HCG test. Finally, 13 days after the transfer they tested my HCG. I had to wait for the call later that day and I missed it. Seriously!? Talk about luck! Fortunately, I was able to call right back and get a hold of the nurse. That is when she told me that I was pregnant – like super pregnant, my numbers were really really high. She said that my next appointment was going to be an ultrasound because of my numbers! Everything that we had been doing, eating, avoiding worked! I was so excited, I called Brent right away!
Unfortunately, with Brent traveling for work he wasn’t able to make it to the first ultrasound. But I had my good friend, Jen join me. Brent asked her to video it but only after we saw good news. I remember that day clearly – that’s when we found out there were 2 sacs, meaning fraternal twins. I was immediately in love! I have continued to go for ultrasounds every week; the first few times I had two a week. We have been spoiled by our clinic with the amount of pictures that we get to take home. Yesterday was my official graduation day from the Houston Fertility Institute (HFI) and from Dr. Williams. I will now be treated like a normal twin pregnancy and won’t see another doctor for another 4 weeks. I am hoping that at our next appointment we will find out their genders!
I do want to make sure that I point out that most couples struggling with infertility have to go through the IVF process multiple times before they get their big fat positive – and my heart goes out for them. Brent and I were very lucky. It is an extremely challenging emotional and physical experience that most people tend to keep private. We made the personal choice to talk about ours to maybe help anyone out there who is struggling silently. We have made some wonderful friends who have shared similar experiences and it has really helped us get through this much easier. I personally, never knew how common infertility was until I decided to talk about it. If you have any questions about our experience, please feel free to ask.
We want to give a big shout out to the staff and doctors at HFI, Sonya at Mirvana (who has been an amazing with everything she has done (needles, food suggestions, vitamins) but also her sincere dedication to us), and all of our friends and family who have supported us throughout this process. We love you all and couldn’t have done it without you.