First off, let me apologize to you, future readers. This post will be a long one. I feel I need to provide a little history to set the stage for this blog. Todd and I began down the path of trying to start a family in 2004. We had gotten married the year before and knew we wanted a family right away. My cycles had never been regular so we figured right from the start that we would need some assistance. We went to my OB/GYN and engaged her. She ran some tests and had us do some intrauterine inseminations (IUI’s) with Clomid. After about 5 failed attempts, she told us that we needed help that went beyond her expertise and referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) at the Cleveland Clinic. We did a few more cycles of IUI’s before the doctor recommended that we move on to in vitro fertilization (IVF). We spoke to him and got information about the procedure and the costs (!!!). We knew this was the next natural step to take if we really wanted to have biological children of our own, however, that was a lot of money and I hadn’t really loved my experience with that doctor. I did some research and found a clinic in Akron called Reproductive Gynecology, Inc.
We liked the doctor we met with and liked the facility and decided to sign on with them. In June of 2008 I did my first fresh IVF cycle.
I was given injections for a few weeks to stimulate egg growth. One of the things you have to be concerned about with IVF is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). What happens is that your abdomen fills with fluid and this can become life-threatening.
When your ovaries are being stimulated, they get enlarged. They go from being the size of your thumbnail to being the size of your closed fist. Seriously think about that for a minute. Look at your thumbnail. Now make a closed fist. Think about something in your body going from one size to the other.
It fucking hurts. The day before my egg retrieval I was in serious pain. I called my doctor and they had me come in for an ultrasound. He informed me that my lower abdomen was filling with fluid. It was not life-threatening yet, but if I wanted, they could admit me to the hospital and drain the fluid. However, if I did that, we would have to put off transfer.
No. Chance. In. Hell. I went home and sucked it up and the next day was back in the office for the retrieval. For this procedure, they knock you out with mild anaesthesia, which is a good thing, because it hurts like a son of a bitch. I woke up in excruciating pain. They had retrieved 25 eggs! That means that a needle was inserted vaginally 25 times, poked into a follicle and extracted the egg and fluid. Twenty five times!
Out of the 25 eggs that were retrieved, 22 were mature, and 19 were fertilized. Normally they have one egg per petrie dish and put sperm in with it and it is survival of the fittest. Maybe it will be fertilized, maybe not. For us, we had intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is injected directly into a single egg with a needle. They showed us a video of the embryologist doing this and it is simply amazing.
A few days after retrieval, we did the embryo transfer.
The day of the transfer and for at least 2 days after, you are on strict bedrest. This is to give your little embryos the best chance of implanting, or attaching, to your uterine lining. This is THE MOST crucial part of the whole process. It is also the one part that modern science cannot help you with at all. Why can’t they develop some kind of little suction cups for these suckers? I mean really.
Anyway, once you do the transfer, you enter the dreaded two week wait. That is how long you have to wait before your pregnancy test. On the day of, you go to the doctor’s office in the morning, give some blood, and wait. WAIT. Until about 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon when they call you with the results. Torture is not even close to being descriptive enough for what you go through that day.
So, as a quick wrap-up, I did one fresh cycle and then 4 frozen cycles. On my last cycle, in April of 2011, I got pregnant. And then had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. On the same day that I had an ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat. Click here to read the letter I wrote to my baby after that happened.
So now it is October 2012 and we are ready to do this again, and this blog is meant to document the process, from beginning, to hopefully, successful end.