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The beginning of my IVF journey…

Filed in: Personal

If you have followed me for some time you will already know that my husband and I have struggled with infertility for the last 5 years. Well a couple years ago we finally decided to see a specialist to have some tests done. We found a couple things here and there but nothing drastic or explanatory as to why we couldn’t have a baby. After taking some time to think our options over we started our first round of IVF this past November. My doctor suggested going straight to IVF versus other treatments due to my history with endometriosis.

Well November came and I started my first IVF treatments. For those that haven’t experienced IVF first hand it consists of quite a few doctor visits and stimulation medications that have to be injected. So at the beginning of November I went for my baseline visit with my doctor which consists of blood work and an ultrasound. Everything came back good and I was cleared to start my first round of stim medications the first Friday.

During this season my husband was out of town on a project for work and only able to come home every other weekend. Luckily he was able to come home for the first round of injections. When I got home from work that Friday I could feel my anxiety creeping in. I’ve never been one who likes the idea of getting  jabbed with a needle so the thought of having to do it without a doctor present seemed like a really bad idea.

My husband was a trooper though and was able to do the injections for me. I was too nervous to do them myself! I also kept having flashbacks to college from my general medicine rotations of watching shots being given and then almost passing out. I was sure if I attempted it myself I would surely pass out! My mom told me to do them while sitting in bed so that if I did pass out I’d be comfy. Which I have to admit was some pretty good motherly advice!

I was on two stimulation medications, Menopur and Follistim. These medications are to encourage follicular growth and hopefully egg growth as well. Menopur is a bit tricky to administer until you get the hang of it. It comes in viles as powder that you have to mix with saline to get the correct dosage. Follistim is done in a pen form where all you do is turn it to the correct dosage. From my experience Menopur is the worst of them all, it stings a lot! I also think the needle is slightly bigger for that injection so I make sure to always do it first to get it over with. The good news for those is that at least once the injection is over so is most of the pain from them. After being on those medications for about 4 days I started one other medication, an antagonist, called Ganirelix. This medication is to counteract the stim medications so that the eggs don’t grow too fast. Its a fine balance to get multiple eggs to grow but to also allow them the time to mature. The Ganirelix actually hurt the least of them all at the time of injection but about 10 minutes after the injection I would start to feel some discomfort and it continued for about an hour and would then dissipate. I should mention here that I would ice my skin prior to the injections to help numb the area and this is honestly one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give to others going through lots of injections as well!

About half way through the stim medication protocol I was advised to switch the injection site from my stomach to my tricep area of my arm. At one of my check-ups they could tell I was reacting to the medications but not as quickly as others might be and apparently there is some research to show that absorption might be better in the arm. I need to take a moment to recognize my friend Melissa here. Remember how I stated that my husband was out of town for most of this and I pass out from needles…well the only way I was going to get this medicine in was if someone else was doing it. Well thank goodness for Melissa! She stepped in like a trooper. I was still doing the stim meds at night and the Ganirelix in the morning and she was happy to help. I went to her house or sometimes we met at work but no matter what she was a rockstar and really helped me through all the medications! So thank you, Melissa, I literally couldn’t have done it without you!

I was on meds for about 14 days before I had my trigger injection. The trigger injection is the one that triggers your body to release all the eggs its been making, and it does so 36 hours after the injection. The trigger shot as to be timed to the minute because 35 hours later you have to have your egg retrieval procedure done.

I woke up early the Saturday before Thanksgiving to have my scheduled egg retrieval at 7am. I was nervous but everyone was amazing and made me feel right at home. My doctor came in after the procedure to tell me they had gotten 5 mature eggs and that she was happy with that. Once I was mostly alert we were allowed to head home. I had some fairly intense cramping after the procedure but luckily nothing that couldn’t be managed with some tylenol and rest.

The next day I received a report from the embryologist stating that they were able to inseminate 3 of my eggs and that there was a 30% chance that they would grow.

One week later on a Saturday morning I received a call from my doctor…she said it wasn’t good news. None of my embryos had grown past day 1. They didn’t know why…

So there I was (in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot) in complete and utter shock and heartbreak. Something that was supposed to help me make a baby had failed. I didn’t even get to complete a whole cycle, it was cut short right after the first half. I have to admit I felt hopeless. I also felt like I had lost something I had never even known.

Sadly, I don’t think I will ever forget that day. I have hope though that as we continue on our journey that things will eventually work out.

Stay tuned for round 2…



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