Our IVF Journey

Before Bryan and I got married, we knew the only way we’d have children was to go to a fertility specialist. Since we both had heard it takes people a long time, we started the process in February, right after we were married. First off, we didn’t know whether or not having kids was even a possibility, but we weren’t going to say it wasn’t until we went to some specialists and they told us that.

We selected the University of  Utah because they have one of the top ranked programs. We figured they have the highest standards and the best technology since they are a medical school. They also were more reasonably priced than some of the other places we researched in Utah.

At our first appointment, they sent us both down and had us get labs. The doctor seemed so confident that we’d be having a baby in no time. Bryan had to go  to a different doctor and then we had to wait and see what the other doctor said. I felt very positive and confident that they would be able to help us have a baby.

Then my lab results came back. They were not good. 😦 Apparently I have almost no eggs in my body. The doctor even mentioned an egg donor or donated embryos. Then the doctor told Bryan news that was also discouraging. But we were determined to try for our own baby. Bryan’s part came first. They gave us a 50% chance of success. I felt very good about it and very hopeful.

We had success with the sperm part. We were both so thrilled. Then we had to start the egg retrieval part. It was actually a very long process. I had to go to get all these tests and things done before we could even start. Like most doctor tests, they were not fun or enjoyable, but had to be done. I had to have at least 6-8 eggs they could find to even start. They could see 14, so we could start the process.

Then came the medicines. Since I was the worst case scenario, I had to have the highest doses of medicine that they could give me.  It also cost the most. I was giving myself 4 shots in the stomach every morning. It really sucked. Two of the medicines were powder that I had to mix with these other solutions. And one of them really hurt to give myself. It would leave giant spider bite itchy welts on my stomach.

IMG_0405The photo above is what 5K worth of medicine looks like. It may not look like much, but I’ve never been so glad to finish up a pile of medicine. I was taking Saizen, Luporn, Gonal-F, and Repronex.

The medicines made me feel very sick. Kinda like being pregnant, but it also gave me horrible headaches and I felt super bloated. I just wanted to lay on the floor at work every day because I felt so sick and miserable, but I couldn’t, so I just worked away. I wasn’t allowed to exercise during this period, but since I felt so sick, I guess it didn’t matter.

At a certain point in the medication, your eggs are mature enough that they can harvest them. Then I had to give myself a trigger shot in the leg. Below is the size of the needle. I had to poke it all the way into my leg and then pull back and make sure I didn’t hit a vein. It was super hard for me to to. The tummy shot needles weren’t as long or thick. I just kept praying that I could give myself the shot because it wasn’t something fun.

IMG_0424

 

After the trigger shot, I had to go to the IVF doctor exactly 36 hours later to harvest my eggs. I thought it would be very interesting to watch, but they put me to sleep. Apparently it works best if you are asleep. I guess maybe some women would freak out if they were awake. My best understanding of the retrieval process is that they poke this giant needle into your ovaries and suck out the eggs somehow. Bryan had to wait in the waiting room, he didn’t get to watch either.

When I woke up I found out they were able to retrieve 8 eggs. 5 of them were mature enough to fertilize.

I felt totally fine, just drowsy, the day after the egg retrieval. The next day I decided to go to work. I was feeling a bit drowsy and sore. By halfway through the day I went home because I was hurting. The next day, I really hurt. I had to lay around and not do anything because I was sore and miserable.

Once they had my eggs, they had to use a special method to fertilize them called ICSI. They actually inject the sperm into the egg. Then it is cultured and they wait for it to turn into a 5 day blastocyst.

On day 5, we went back to the IVF doctor to get two embryos implanted in my uterus. I was very nervous on how it would go. Usually there is a 50-60% die off of the fertilized eggs, so we didn’t know how many we would end up with. The doctors warned us before the procedure that we might only get 1 embryo and that most likely we would not have any to freeze. So, we really didn’t know what to expect.

When we went there, there were 4 embryos alive! They were actually surprised that so many lived. Only one died. They gave me some medicine to make me relax and then took me back to the procedure room. Bryan got to come for this part. By that time, I was half out of my mind from the medicine and very loopy. I was sitting in this chair that had all sorts of buttons that I decided to push. I somehow made it so my chair was dumping me out and couldn’t figure out how to get back in the chair. Bryan had to fix it.

I really liked the doctor who put the 2 embryos in my uterus. He went over everything with us and said that if I were his daughter, this is what he would advise me to do. He also said he we would be in his prayers. I really felt like he was a very caring and spiritual doctor.

They gave us a 50% chance of the procedure working and me getting pregnant. Then if it did work, we had a 40% chance of success. There was a minimal (like 1%) chance of triplets.

After that, I had to be on bedrest for a few days. Bedrest is very boring. I can  only watch so much tv, read, and play on the computer so much. I wanted to get up and run or walk, or just get out of the house. But I didn’t. I stuck to it.

Then I had to wait a few weeks for a pregnancy test. The night before our test, I decided to take one of those home tests. It came back positive. I really felt confident that the test worked for reals and it would be a positive result. The next day we went to the doctors for our blood test.

The called us a couple of hours later to tell us the test was positive. My HCG levels were 852. The nurse said it was a really good number. Then I was supposed to  go back in a few days to make sure the numbers were increasing. The next time I went in, my numbers were like 2000. They said it was really good. Then we had to set up an ultrasound for a few weeks later. They said to check on the baby and to determine if I was having twins.

As a side note, apparently those HCG levels were quite high. But every woman is different, so there really isn’t a way to determine multiples by just a blood test.

A few weeks later we went back to the doctors for our ultrasound. The first baby popped up on the screen and it was so cool to see the tiny baby. Then the next babies came up and the doctor said “one split”. Turns out, we were having triplets! So cool to see all three babies on one screen. Bryan and I were both surprised. We knew twins were a possibility and I thought maybe we were having twins because I felt like my pants were getting too small, but triplets never crossed my mind.

Right before the ultrasound Bryan joked that we should tell everyone we were having triplets. I told him we should stop joking about that in the waiting rooms because there were lots of sensitive hormonal ladies around.

After the ultrasound, we called family to tell them the news. Because I like to joke around, some of my sisters thought we were kidding. Bryan had to talk to one of my sisters because she really didn’t believe me.

The nice IVF clinic gave us three baby hats. Some ladies who have been there for treatment make them for all the women who go through the process. I thought it was super nice.

We are now at 12 weeks and just starting our second trimester. Bryan and I can’t be more excited about our three little babies. We both know that it is a miracle and that Heavenly Father is blessing us with these children. Triplets are so rare, even in the IFV area, and we are the 1%. That doesn’t happen by chance.

The other cool part about triplets is that every time we go to the doctors, we get an ultrasound. It’s super fun to see the babies growth every two weeks or so. We have lots of nice pictures of our babies already.

We are due in March, but the doctor doesn’t think I’ll make it more than 32-33 weeks, so most likely our babies will be born in January and spend a few weeks in the NICU. I also have to have a c-section. But it will make me tough and I’ll get a really cool scar. Course it will most likely be somewhere I don’t show off, so you’ll just have to trust me that it will be cool.

Thus far, I’ve felt sick and miserable. Much like taking 4 shots a day, but without the tummy welts and bruises. I also eat a million times a day and sleep a lot. I think I wake up to pee about 5 times a night, and I have to keep a snack by my bed because I wake up in the night sick and have to eat. I can’t run any more, but I’ve been walking. My tummy is about the size of a womans who is at 20 weeks pregnant with 1 baby.

But hopefully we’re almost through with the nausea period. Bryan has been so loving and helpful. Each day when I get home from work and lay on the couch, he figures out what to feed us. Before bed when I’m too lazy and tired to go downstairs, Bryan will go get me a snack and bring my my gallon of nightly drinking water.

I really hope one or two of the babies look like him. And it would be nice if they have his kind temperment. He is one of the kindest, most Christlike people I know. I am a better person because I have him in my life.

 

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