Getting pregnant is supposed to be easy. It’s in our biology. Infertility is not part of the plan. No one really thinks it will be them, especially when it seems like everyone around gets pregnant “on accident”.
When my appendix ruptured in 2011, we all knew it was bad. The infection had spread throughout my abdomen, having at least 48 hours to do so. The surgeon did his best, which was great, and the broad spectrum antibiotics did their job, too. But it wouldn’t be surprising if some other damage was done — damage which isn’t life-threatening, but still life-impacting. Basically, it was silly to think I would walk away from the whole ordeal with only a five-inch scar and a new outlook on life.
Something spontaneous, scary, and completely out of my control, which happened four years ago, is what I believe to be the primary reason we haven’t been able to conceive. Doctors can speculate about PCOS, endometriosis, and call it “unexplained infertility” ’til the cows come home, but I feel in my gut there is scar tissue from December 2011 hanging out around my fallopian tubes.
Our two best options moving forward were to try IVF, or do a laparoscopy. During a laparoscopy, my doctor would be able to determine if I do indeed have scar tissue and/or endometriosis, and attempt to remove as much scar tissue or endometriosis as possible. However, there is no guarantee there will be anything removable, how much, and it may grow back in the future. We didn’t even know if a successful laparoscopy would allow us to conceive. Additionally, a laparoscopy is a full-on surgery, and I was not interested.
Once our first IVF cycle began, we were faced with a new challenge: NEEDLES.
After dropping some serious cash at the pharmacy, we organized the vast amounts of medication, and I begged Tim to do the honors. Now, Tim has a serious fear of needles (as I’ve noticed many, many men do), so he was not excited about it. I normally take blood draws and shots like a champ (thanks to my extensive medical history), but I could not stand the thought of injecting myself at home. I had to do one injection of lupron (which prevents me from ovulating) in the morning, and a mixture of Bravelle and Menopur (which stimulate my ovaries to make lots of big follicles — where the eggs live) in the evening. We did this for about a week and a half before we were told to do our last round of shots, along with a trigger shot to make me ovulate at a specific time. We did a happy dance after the last shots on Wednesday. Overall, Tim did a great job. I only bruised a couple of times, and a few shots didn’t hurt!
We found out on Wednesday our egg retrieval would be Friday morning at a lab about two and a half hours away. It was recommended we spend the night at a nearby hotel, so I didn’t end up ovulating in traffic. With a one-day warning, we booked a hotel room, dropped Twilight off at my parents’ house, and started our mini-trip.
The egg retrieval was a little scary. I chatted with the anesthesiologist quite a bit (because I was nervous) until I fell asleep. The doctor removed as many eggs from my follicles as he could, and I woke up to some pretty great news.
16 eggs! What a wonderful number. After all the reading and connecting with others undergoing fertility treatments, I’d heard so many stories about retrievals resulting in just a handful of eggs. Granted — it only takes one. We drove home after I happily ate a cheeseburger. The recovery after retrieval varies for everyone, but I was very, very sore for a few days. And emotional, and nervous, and hopeful.
The next day, our nurse called to tell me 12 of my eggs were fertilized, and 10/12 had progressed to the next stage (2 PN). Again, this was wonderful news! It’s normal for some of the embryos to stop growing, so the more we had to begin with, the more (hopefully) we would have by day 5.
Once transfer day arrived, we left our house at 5 AM to make the trip. I put on the same hospital gown, and was led to the same room as my retrieval. This time, however, Tim was allowed to come with me, and I was going to be awake. We found out an update on our embryos beforehand:
The transfer went well, but I was still nervous. The thought of having an embryo hanging out somewhere inside me freaked me out, and the realization I could actually do something to make this not work terrified me. I knew all I could do was rest and wait.
Unfortunately, our first transfer didn’t work. We will soon be preparing for a frozen transfer.
Thanks for all the support,