Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our IVF Journey

After years of trying and failing and after our recent failed adoption, Brandon and I have decided to turn towards In-Vitro Fertilization to try and complete our family.  This was something that was on the table a long time ago before we even started the adoption process but with the high cost and no guarantee, we decided to go the adoption route.  Obviously, that paid off since we have our amazing Jordan and we wouldn't trade her for anything!!  But now we feel like this is the path we must take to get our next child and grow our family.  I plan to use this post like a journal and not publish it until I am nice and ready.  So here is our journey......
Dec 16, 2014 -  Today is the day we went and saw Dr. Gelety.  We used Dr Gelety back in 2010 so we kinda knew what to expect.  He is a little different and is one of those, you either hate him or love him kinda people.  I was excited about going in today and hopefully finally getting the answer of if this is what we are supposed to be doing.  Our meeting with him was great!!  He was very attentive to us and our questions (although we liked him last time we went to him, he always seemed so rushed) he explained everything and then we went and did an ultrasound.  He said everything looked good on the ultrasound and my lining and ovaries were beautiful.  Kind of a weird thing for someone to tell you.  Ha ha!  He told us if we felt like this is what we wanted to do to that we could come back in a week and start everything!  Wow that was fast!  I was concerned if he would want me to have surgery again for my endometriosis since it has been almost 2 years but he didn't seemed concerned about it.   He wrote us all our prescriptions for all the medications we would be taking and then took us to see the finance lady so she could go over everything with us.   Now IVF is pricey but Dr. Gelety is one of the most reasonably priced places I have found and I know several people who have used him and now have children so he knows what he is doing.   One thing I love about his office if they give you some options of ways to save money on some of the meds.  Fertility medicine is not covered by insurance and can be VERY expensive in the US.  One of the meds called Menopur runs $100 a vial here in the US, and I had to get 36 vials.  But we could go to Mexico and get them for $29 a vial or you can order them from a pharmacy in Turkey and pay $39 a vial.  Obviously going out of the country is the way to go but can also be a little scary.  We knew that we were not going to be going to Mexico any time soon so we decided to order the Menopur from Turkey.  The other meds I needed are Lupron, HCG Shot, Progesterone in Oil and a Prenatal Vitamin.  So we will start working on getting all these meds and look forward to our appt in a week!
Dec. 23, 2014 - I was super excited to go back in today and get this process started.   I have been working on getting my prescriptions.  The Lupron and HCG I could get from the dr office so I decided to do that since no pharmacies carry that stuff.  We ordered the Menopur from Turkey.  That was an interesting experience.  The company contacted us and we had to wire money to a bank in turkey and when I say money I mean $1500 so it wasn't a small amount .  I was super nervous doing it but he received the money and processed it for shipping and it should be here today so I will be glad when it is in our hands.  The progesterone in oil has been a pain so far but Walgreen's has ordered it so hopefully it will come in soon.  And then getting the pre-natal vit was not problem. 
Anyway, the appt was fast and easy.  They just did some blood work and then did an ultrasound.  Everything still looked good on the ultrasound and they called me this afternoon and said my blood work looked good so I can start the Lupron.  The Lupron is an injection that I have to take every morning and it is just a small shot of 20 units just right below my belly button.  Thankfully I am able to do these shots myself since Brandon is sometimes at work in the morning.  I will do injections of 20 units a day for 14 days.
Lupron Medicine and needles
 I had him do it a couple times at first but then I realized it was just easier to do it myself.
Jan 5, 2015 - I have been on the Lupron for 14 days today.  Everyday it gets a little easier to stick the needle in me.  I don't feel any different which I say is a good thing since you never know what medicine will do to you.  We did get the expensive Menopur so that was a relief.  I had to take that with me to the appt today so they can show us how to use it.  So far I have only been able to get 1 of 6 vials of the progesterone.  Walgreen's has it back ordered and have no idea when they will get more so that is frustrating. But I have called a couple places in Tucson so hopefully we will get our hands on a couple more vials soon.  The appt when good today.  Ultrasound still looked good.   They did more blood work
Blood work.  Lots and lots of blood work
and called and said everything looked good so I can start the Menopur.  Taking this med is quit the procedure.  You have to mix the water with 4 vials of medicine and then it gets injected into my backside :/  This one I can not do by myself so Brandon has to be here to help me every night.
Menopur.   This is the expensive medicine!
That is a lot of meds and needles!!
I will take the Menopur for 9 days and then come back for my next appt.  I will also continue taking the Lupron but I will only take 10 units each morning now.  so far everything is going good.  I am feeling good and I just hope things continue this way!
Jan. 9, 2015 - Back to Tucson!  I feel like we are here a lot but it is all worth it!  Again, the appt was fast and easy and everything looked good.  I have 3 follicles on each side so a total of 6 so far.  They dropped my Lupron again so I will continue taking 5 units of Lupron each morning and then my Menopur at night and then continue my daily pre natal vitamin.  My next appt is on the 13th and hopefully everything will still look good and we can schedule the egg extraction date!! 
Jan. 12, 2015 - I just have 2 more days of the Menopur.  And I know I haven't explained what the meds do but the menopur is a stimulation drug.  It is helping me grow lots of follicles so we can get hopefully a lot of eggs.  And I can tell you I think it is working cause there is a lot of activity I can feel down there!!  Ha ha!  I am anxious to go in tomorrow and see how everything looks and hopefully schedule the extraction appt and then the transfer appt. I am getting excited and just hope and pray that everything works and that I can be pregnant soon!!!
I am getting a lovely bruise by my belly button.  Which is funny cause I do the shot in a different location every time.  You can see all the little dots everywhere.  Good Times!

Jan. 13, 2015 - My dr appt went good today.  I was sick to my stomach most of the way to Tucson which is never fun but we got there on time and everything looked good.  My lining was at 10mm which they said was good and I have 5 good size follicles on the right side and I have 2 good size ones and 3 smaller ones on the left side.  Tonight I will take my last Menopur shot so hopefully they will grow a little bit more and we will get a good number of eggs on Friday.  They gave me my HCG shot to take home for me to inject tomorrow.  Then we will go back in on Friday at 8:30 for the egg retrieval and assuming we get some good eggs and some of them fertilize, we will go back in on Monday for the embryo transfer!!  So exciting!  
The girl couldn't get any blood out of my arm today so she had to do it in my hand and that kind of hurt!  I also finally got all my Progesterone today!  That has been an ordeal trying to get it but Walgreen's Specialty pharmacy was finally able to ship it to me so I have all that ready to go to start taking after my extraction on Friday.

Jan. 14, 2015 - This may be TMI for anyone reading but HOLY OVARIES!!!  Being someone who has tracked my body as far as fertility goes and who has done years and years of fertility treatments, I am very aware of my body.  I know when I am ovulated on a normal month with no medications so now that I am on stimulation medicine that is making lots and lots of follicles, I am VERY aware.  Ha ha.  There is a lot of discomfort going on down there!!  I am sure it will probably get a little worse after my trigger shot tonight but I am thankful that retrieval is on Friday!! Of course any and all pain is worth it if it results in a baby at the end so I am not complaining!  :)
HCG shot.  Pre-Filled Needle ready for my hiney!  ;)
Jan. 18, 2015 - I am a couple days behind but I wasn't really up to posted after the retrieval on Friday.  So Brandon and I went down to Tucson on Thursday night since my appt was at 8:30am.  My dad and Chris were kind enough to keep Jordan for us.  I was pretty uncomfortable on Thursday.  The only way to explain it was that I felt full. Which my body was making lots of eggs so I was a little full.  I was ready and anxious for Friday to hurry and get here!  Once Friday finally came it was time for the appt.  I was so scared I was going to go in and they were going to be like, oh sorry you already ovulated!  Blah.  It is timed pretty good with the trigger shot so that shouldn't happen but you never know right.  Anyway, once we got there we had to go back and give an arm and leg for payment and then return to the waiting room to wait and wait and wait.  I was starting to think they forgot about us!  With this needing to be so timed and you usually have about 36 hours after your trigger shot before you ovulate, I felt like the clock was ticking loudly at me.  we are heading into hour 34 so I was getting anxious.  Finally they called back and we had to sign about 6 different papers just about the procedure and the medication and harvesting phase, etc.  Once we signed them all they had me go to the bathroom and sent Brandon to the waiting room.  Then I went back to the room and undressed from the waist down.  I thought it was kind of weird that Brandon wasn't allowed back there.  Anyway,  they hook me up to the machines and put my IV in and started prepping the room.  Marta came and said she was going to give me the first dose of the sedative and said let me know when you start feeling light headed.  It only took about 10 seconds when all the sudden it felt like my mouth went numb and then I felt light headed.  Ha ha.  And that is the last thing I remember.  I vaguely remember waking up at one point and being in a lot of pain and knowing that they were still doing the procedure of extracting my eggs but I quickly fell back asleep.  Then I kind of remember some one getting me dressed and I was kind of just in and out for while.  They eventually went and got Brandon cause he was in the room when I was really starting to come to.
I did not want to wake up!!
  I was still pretty out of it but Dr. Gelety came in and said that they got 10 eggs!!  I was happy with that number.  I know some people get a lot more but some people get much less so I was happy with 10. 
10 eggs!!
They had us stay there for almost another hour just so they could monitor me and make sure I was doing ok.  I was still kind of just in and out of it so I don't really remember to much of that time but I know that she showed Brandon how to give me my progesterone shots which I started on that day and will continue to take for the time being.
Progestrone and all the needles

I got pretty nausea shortly after we left but lucky I had some Zofran in my purse so I took one of those and got my pillow and slept the whole way back to Safford.  I was pretty sore but I was feeling ok.  We stopped at Kainoas for lunch before going and getting our baby Jordan.  I did have to take some Tylenol when we got home cause I was hurting pretty good.

For those who don't know anything about IVF, in order to extract the eggs they basically take a needle type things and poke it into your ovaries into the follicles and drain the follicles to get the eggs.  So basically each of my ovaries were poked 5 times each since I had 5 follices on each side.  That is why I was sore and in pain. 
Going to the bathroom the first time was interesting and a little painful but I survived.  I pretty much just took it easy the rest of the day and rested on the couch.  On Saturday I was still alittle tender but for the most part was pretty good.  I did try dancing with Jordan just out of habit and that hurt pretty bad so I just have to be careful of  certain movements.  Then today is Sunday and I feel pretty great today.  There is still just a tiny bit of tenderness but I think I am pretty much recovered.  I am so ready for tomorrow.  It is kind of weird to pray every night for your little eggs and sperm to do what they are supposed to do but that is what we are praying for.  We are hoping that a good number of them fertilized this weekend and that we will have a good number to transfer tomorrow.

Jan. 20, 2015 - Yesterday was our transfer!  I swear I was more nervous yesterday to find out how many fertilized then I was on Friday for the extraction procedure!  I was just so nervous we would end up with like only 1 fertilized egg or something!  But we got to the appt and we had to wait for a little bit for Dr. Gelety but he finally came in and said that 8 out of the 10 eggs fertilized!  I was happy with that number!  However, they weren't all in fabulous shape.  5 looked really good. 1 was looking okay and 2 were not doing to good and probably wouldn't continue to divide like they should.  But we have 5 maybe 6 really good embryos!  They showed them to us on the big tv.  Then Dr. G. asked how old I was and I told him 28 and he said, "oh aw humm."  Umm okay!  What the heck does that mean?!?!  ha ha.  But then he just explained the if I was 22 then they would  automatically transfer 2 embryos.  Or if I was 32, they would just automatically do 3 but then there is this gray area of age were there isn't really a right or wrong answer so he was leaving it up to us if we wanted to transfer 2 embryos or 3.  Blah!  This was a hard decision.  We kinda of went in thinking we were just going to do 3 cause that is kind of what we had talked about in our consult but now we had to decide.  And you have to take into account the chances of multiples and high risk pregnancy, etc.  So he gave us a couple minutes to talk about it while I undressed and we were still having a hard time.   Putting 3 in would give us a better chance of achieving pregnancy but then we had the chance of twins or even triplets.  Which isn't necessarily a bad thing but multiple babies at one time usually comes with some complication during the pregnancy and after birth.  On the other hand if we just transfer 2 then we are lowering our chance of getting pregnant and well, I have spent a lot of money and achieving pregnancy is our goal here.  I think we both wanted to do 3 but didn't want to seem irresponsible so finally Brandon said hold up the number you want to transfer behind your back and I will do the same and I'll count to 3 and we can show our fingers.  Well we did that and we were both holding up 3 so 3 embryos it is!!  (Real mature way to make such a decision I know!  But it worked)
When you do the transfer you are supposed to have a full bladder and I did!  So much that I was scared I was going to pee on the Dr once they started!  Ha ha!  But they got me all ready and Dr. G. told Dr. Wu, who is in charge of all the embryos, that were were going to do 3.   Well the whole time Dr. Wu. if getting the catheter ready with the embryos, Marta the Nurse had the ultrasound paddle thing on my stomach cause that is how they guide the catheter into the uterus.  I seriously did not know if I was going to be able to hold my bladder with her pushing on it for so long!!  Ha ha. But I did thank goodness.  Anyway, Dr. Wu. finally hands Dr. G. the catheter through the little wall opening and we watched on the screen while he guided it in and all you see is a little flash of light and that was the embryos leaving the catheter into the uterus.  And just like that we are done!  All the work for the last couple weeks and that was the last step that the Dr's could help with.  From here it is all up to my body.  They had me lay there for a few minutes and then I was able to get dressed and finally use the restroom. 
I know the embryos can't fall out but I was a little scared to move!  I want these babies or at least 1 baby to stick!!!  So that's it for now.  I go back in on Friday for them to check my progesterone and make sure they don't need to adjust my injections and then I will go back in on Feb. 2nd for a pregnancy test.  I am just hoping and praying and praying and hoping that it is positive!!  That would be so incredible!!  So i have just been taking it easy yesterday and today and then he said I could resume normal activity on Wednesday.  Hopefully I can suffer through this 2 week wait!  I have felt very gassy and bloated today but if it is leading to pregnancy then I don't care!  :)
3 little embryos!
 Feb. 4th - Well I survived the 2 week wait. It was rough but I made it.  I had to go in on Jan. 23rd for them to test my Progesterone to make sure they didn't need to up my daily dosage but everything looked good so I will just continue injecting 1cc every day.    After that I thought my next appt was supposed to be on Feb 2. to test the HCG for pregnancy but they ended up scheduling me for Jan 30th instead.  I thought this was maybe too early and I questioned it but they still just scheduled me for the 30th.  So we drove to Tucson so they could draw my blood and then we had to wait several hours to hear back from the Dr.  I really thought I would be more anxious then I was but I had a suspicion that it was negative so I think that's why I wasn't super anxious.  Not that I was being negative about the process but I think my body just knew.  So we went to the Wildlife Museum and then headed home.  On the way home Dr. Gelety called me and said that the test did come back negative but that he wasn't saying for sure that I wasn't pregnant because we actually did the test 3 days early.   Surprise Surprise!  I knew I wasn't supposed to come in til Monday but his front desk ladies thought differently I guess.  So he asked me to retest on Monday Feb. 2nd so we would know for sure.  So I continued the progesterone through the weekend and went back and tested on Monday.  Luckily they just send the request to the local lab so I didn't have to drive all the way to Tucson again.  But as suspected that test too came back negative.    I wasn't super upset cause like I said, I think I already knew.  I didn't feel pregnant and I guess my gut was right.  So I stopped the progesterone and now I just have to wait for my period to start so I can go back in and talk about round 2.   I am glad we still have a couple frozen embryos so we can do another round.  I figure there was no point in getting sad when we still have another chance. :)   We were kind of stressing about what we would do if we got pregnant the first time and had left over embryos cause we both kind of feel like there is just one more child for us.  So maybe this is the way to take those stresses away.  Round one didn't take so we will transfer the rest of the embryos this second time and won't have any left over.  Praying and Praying one will stick this time around. 

Feb.10, 2015 - We went back in to see Dr. Gelety today.  Well we saw Marta but same thing.  We found out that we actually have 4 frozen embryos!  We thought we were only going to have 2 maybe 3 so that was a surprise to find out that 4 made it to be frozen.  We had 2 options for our frozen transfer.  We could do a natural round where I don't take any meds and just wait for my body to naturally ovulate and then do the transfer.  The downside to this is I would have to go in every couple days for an ultrasound and blood work and just hope that my body actually ovulates.  Or we could do a more predictable route and I could start on a new med and only have to come in once for an ultrasound and do more progesterone injections.  Obviously the only downside is being on more meds but I am all about predictability and not having to travel so much so I started on Estradiol today and I will go back in in 1 week for an ultrasound for them to check everything and if everything looks good they will schedule my transfer for the 20th or 21st.  We plan to transfer all 4 this time so hopefully at least one of them will stick! 

Feb. 17, 2015 - Had another appointment today.  It was nothing exciting.  They were just checking to see how everything was looking and how my lining was looking.  I will continue taking the estradiol and I will also start my progesterone shots again on Friday and then we go in for our frozen embryo transfer on Monday. 

Feb. 23, 2015 -  We stayed in Tucson last night so I didn't have to be worried about getting sick while traveling so that was nice.  We went in for the transfer today.  We met with Dr. G. first and the embryologist showed us under microscope our last 4 embryos.   All 4 survived the freezing and thawing process so that was good.  One was not super well developed but the other 3 were good.  We went and got prep just like last time and they loaded all 4 embryos into the catheter.  It was nice to know what was happening this time around.  So everything was the same as last time.  Quick and easy.  We are home now and I am taking in easy.  I will go in for blood work on Friday to test my progesterone and then on March 9th I will go in for my HCG testing to see if I am pregnant!  Fingers crossed and lots of prayers cause this is it!!

Our last 4 little embryos!  Hopefully one of those will turn into a baby!

Feb. 27, 2015 - I just had to go in and get my blood drawn to get my progesterone.  It came back at 79 and they said the is perfect so I will take their word for it.  :)  I am still taking the Estridol pills twice a day and my progesterone shots once a day in the back side.  So much fun! :/  But if it helps produce a baby I am not complaining.  I go back in next Monday on the 9th to test my HCG and see if I am pregnant.  Fingers crossed and lots of prayers that this wasn't all for nothing!

Mar. 9, 2015 - Well today is the day.  The 2 week wait if over.   I went in first things this morning to do my blood work hoping I would get the results quicker but after waiting 9 hours and not hearing my Dr and assuming he wasn't going to call since it was after 6pm, I went and bought a HPT.  I know they say not to do that but my anxiety was getting the best of me.  Sadly it was a big fat negative.  And then about 45 minutes later my Dr finally called and he confirmed that after 2 months, $10,000+ spent, 15 Dr Appts, 6 different medicines, 10 blood draws, 62 self administered shots, 1 surgery and 2 transfers, it was indeed negative.  My heart hurts right now.  I am a bit confused and I think I need a night to process my feeling before summing up this post.  And it is a little hard to see the screen through tear filled eyes.  I am kind of glad Brandon is not home tonight.  I need time to just cry alone.

A night of crying can be good for the soul and an honest open talk with our Heavenly Father.   This journey did not end as I had hoped or thought it would.  I really thought this was the answer to adding that one last person that I feel is missing right now.  But once again I am reminded that I am not in charge of my destiny.  After the failed adoption I was so confused but then we put fertility treatments back on the table and I thought well maybe it took that failed placement to get us to this point again so we could be blessed with a pregnancy.  But I guess not.  I wish I knew His plan for us.  I wish I could see a small glimpse into the future but all I have is my faith and I have to believe that it will get me through this.
A part of me feels really guilty for essentially "wasting" such a huge amount of money on these treatments.  But at least I won't have to wonder, "what if" my whole life.  I now know that I have literally done everything in my power to expand our family and the rest is up to our Heavenly Father.   Will I ever know what it feels like to carry a child inside me? I don't know.  Will I be able to witness the amazing miracle of adoption again?  I don't know.  But I do know that I will be comforted and uplifted and I can be happy if I chose to be.  
At the end of the day I know I am a very blessed women!  I live in a beautiful home in a great community.  We have money in the bank and food on the table.  But most importantly I have the greatest husband a women could ask for and I am lucky enough to be called Mommy by the sweetest, most beautiful little girl in the world!  So as hard as this feels at this time I will count my blessing for I am blessed!