In nine days I will have beat infertility because in nine days I will be checking in to the hospital to have my scheduled c-section. John has called this last month my Victory Lap because it’s not about worrying any more it’s about winning the race we’ve been in for the last eight years. Cue my tears.
Pregnancy is by far one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. Everything just agreed with me and even at 37wks and 4 days I still feel amazing and I’m sad that the pregnancy is coming to an end but I’m excited for what the rest of our lives have in store for us as parents.
As people found out I was pregnant I was more open to share my story because quite truthfully I’m tired of people not talking about infertility and I’m tired of being embarrassed and ashamed of what I’ve had to go through to get to this point. I’m honest and tell people it took us eight years, which included 5 losses, 6 surgeries and multiple rounds of IVF. I sometimes tear up as I tell my story and I’m ok showing emotion because this is one of the hardest and loneliest journeys I’ve ever been through. Last week there was a woman who works down the aisle from me that came over to tell me she had no idea I was pregnant (which I get a lot from work people) and to congratulate me. She then shared that her two children were IVF babies and in that very second of her sharing with me, we became IVF sisters. We compared our journey’s and cried together because those infertility feelings are raw no matter how much time has passed.
I reflect on what 3/20 will hold for me and I don’t think there’s any way for me to comprehend it, put it into words or truly know the emotions that I will feel that day. I’ve been trying really hard to live in the present and enjoy the little and big things that this pregnancy has given me. I’ve been saying this since the day I found out I was pregnant, this is the baby that chose me to be it’s mom and it’s a title that I will never ever take for granted.
Now that people know I’m pregnant I get asked if I’m going to find out the gender. My answer has always been no even before I was pregnant. When you go through fertility treatment everything is so planned, I lived by cycle days, dr appointments and calendars. Everything was written down and there were no surprises so I feel like this is going to be my one BIG surprise. Sure it would be amazing to plan ahead and have a nursery decorated for either a boy or a girl and have a lot of the clothes already bought but you know what is also going to be amazing, not planning. We had 14 eggs that were retrieved. Out of those, 4 made it to day 5 and were biopsied and flown to Colorado for genetic testing. 1 embryo came back genetically perfect and that 1 embryo is who chose us for its parents. Whether it be a boy or a girl does not matter to us what matters is us getting to be its mom and dad and that fills my heart with so much love.
I’ve had my 20wk ultrasound, how can it be that I’m half way there already. I remember all of those 2ww’s and they were some of the slowest possible days of my life and now that I’m pregnant I would so embrace a slow day. It has been 2-months since we’ve seen baby so this ultrasound was a big day for us. Everything looked absolutely perfect but they do want me to come in for another one at 28-weeks because the way the baby was laying we couldn’t see the tail end of the spine. No arguments from me on that decision. I met with the doctor after my ultrasound and we talked about labor and I just casually brought up having a c-section because I was already considered high risk because of my age and he completely agreed and said he was ok with it. I guess I wasn’t expecting him to be on board and now I almost feel guilty for bringing it up. I know I’m crazy but I feel like it’s a cop out from truly experiencing the whole labor experience. I know in the long run I have to do what’s best for the both of us but since this is the only pregnancy I’ll ever experience I don’t want to miss out on any of it.
Next up on my calendar: getting ready for the holidays, patiently waiting for my 24wk appt, registering, house hunting and possibly purchasing and baby showers. March will be here before I know it and with a c-section they will take the baby at 39wks. So much to be thankful for!
I never thought I would make it to this point, my glass has been half empty for so many years that this all still seems so surreal to me. I did it…we did it, we graduated from my fertility clinic and I get to see my own dr. I didn’t think I would get as emotional as I got but I formed relationships with these people. The ultrasound tech was with me from transfer to the final scan, she was my absolute favorite and I made sure to tell her. I hugged her hard because she is now part of my story. During one of my blood draws I shared my journey with the lab tech, he was in awe of everything I overcame and he hugged me before I left. I will never forget him either because he’s also part of my story. I realized years ago that if someone comes into my life that has somehow impacted me In a way I never could imagine I tell them. I’ve met some amazing people by doing this.
So here I am, 11wks and l feel freaking Amazing! I haven’t been sick at all, I’m not tired or I should say not any more tired than I usually am. The only thing I struggle with is heartburn and constipation, ugh I can’t believe I just shared that. Lol! That struggle is Real!!!
I haven’t told any of my family yet so that will be happening this weekend. I’ve gone back and forth with how to tell them and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’ll share a picture with you all after this weekend.
I’m truly grateful and blessed for these past 11 weeks and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for me: Telling my family, telling my co-workers, growing my bump, wearing maternity clothes. Exciting times ahead!
I stayed strong all 9 days and didn’t test early. Last Thurs was my blood draw, I hadn’t been feeling anything and I thought for sure if I was pregnant I certainly must feel something. Right?!?! My appt was at 7:45 and by 9:00 the clinic was calling me with the results. I was at work so I found an empty cube where I could talk and have a little bit of privacy. The nurse asked what I thought it was and I told her I thought it was negative and she said I couldn’t be more wrong, I was pregnant. My beta came back at 95. I was crying and babbling how this had been the hardest 9 days and how I didn’t feel pregnant. Nurses really do see the best and worst of you when you’re going through infertility. Two days later I went back in for another blood draw and my numbers rose to 228. The clinic called me on Mon and I have my first ultra sound scheduled for Aug 6th. So what do I do in the meantime? Keep being pregnant without knowing if it’s progressing like it should be? I’ve definitely started to feel bloated and my boobs are sore. I keep waiting for the nausea and the tiredness to hit me but so far nothing yet. I think once that happens I’ll relax and know my body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, growing my baby. I’ve been here three times before and when we went in for the ultra sounds there was never a heart beat. So Aug 6th is a huge day for us. I made another appt for acupuncture at least that will help me feel like I’m doing something. I’m trying to take one day at a time but it’s hard. So my win for today is being 5 weeks pregnant…cue the tears in my eyes!
This might actually be the very last day that I take all of these meds. Tomorrow I go in for my blood draw to see if I’m pregnant. The transfer was perfect I did everything right leading up to the day. I did acupuncture before and after transfer. I was on bed rest for two days and stayed in bed almost the whole time. I had another acupuncture appt four days after transfer because that’s what my acupuncturist recommended. This is it for me, seven years in the making has led me to this exact moment. I’m scared and I’m sad. I don’t feel anything even though I’ve googled myself pregnant every day since transfer….it’s self torture I don’t recommend it. I want to be positive but infertility has ripped that ability away from me, it’s turned me into a jealous and bitter person and I hate that part of me. I’m going in expecting the worse so when the call comes maybe the news will hurt less because it’s what I’ve known all along. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why this path was chosen for me. People tell me that I should have peace knowing I did everything that I could. I think when your heart wants something so badly nothing gives you peace.
Dr appts everyday this week.
2 snowstorms which made trips and traffic to the dr appts horrible.
I had a 2-hour job interview because really why not throw in a little more chaos to my week.
I ran out of meds twice because my transfer was pushed out because those follicles were taking their sweet ass time growing. We have one pharmacy that fills fertility meds and round trip it takes about an hour and 30 mins from start to finish and remember we got 2 snowstorms this week so again not fun with the driving. I can seriously see why couples get divorced over infertility because this shit is stressful! Thank god I’ve got one of the good guys because he’s been nothing but amazing through this entire process. He’s picked up the meds, gotten up before the sun to mix them and has shot me up every single time only drawing blood once or twice. He’s the one that keeps me balanced and he calls me a Warrior….hardly!
I have to be a the clinic at 7am tomorrow morning, I’m so ready to be done with this. I want my body and my emotions back. I want to feel normal for a few weeks with absolutely nothing in my system. I’m not nervous or afraid, I’m going into the retrieval with no expectations I have no idea idea how many eggs they will get or how many will make it to day 3 or day 5 and then how many will make it through the genetic testing. It’s all out of my hands and I know that I did everything possible for this to be successful. I’ve been taking my supplements for 8 months and in the last 35 days I’ve been to the gym every.single.day. and because of that my name is #7 on the biggest user wall at the gym! I feel healthy. Considering everything I’ve been through I’m going to chalk that up as a huge win.
Tonight we’re having a dinner date at Portillo’s because John always likes to do something special before I go in for what he calls crappy stuff. Cheers to this chaotic week ending on a positive note.
It’s in my blood to overthink and it’s just not about one thing or another, it’s about everything. When I went through my first IVF I wrote down that I was going to “Enjoy the Journey.” That didn’t work so well for me because I ended up not being pregnant. This time around I felt like I needed another phrase to focus on and it came to me when I was furniture shopping. I walked into the store and saw a pillow with the words in big black letters, “Don’t Overthink.” I’m not a huge impulse buyer but I walked out of that store with a $25 pillow and you know what, I didn’t overthink that purchase for even a second….the couch and loveseat I also ended up buying did cause me a lot of overthinking stress though….baby steps!
So things are getting real for me as I start the prep work for IVF #2. Leading up to this point we’ve had a few bumps in the road because naturally why wouldn’t we. It started with the clinic experiencing a security breach meaning all of our medical history ended up compromised, this was not a good first impression with our new clinic. I swear nothing is safe anymore. Then I got a letter stating the doctor I had been working with decided to leave the practice. Ugh…Seriously. I felt like she knew our story, showed us the compassion that made me feel good and was going to do everything in her power to help us make a baby and now she was leaving us. I had since met the other doctor who actually opened the clinic and she is just as amazing so I know I’ll still be in good hands. I’m finally at the point where CD1 starts, I have my baseline scheduled for the next day and I swear I can’t even make this up, I wake up with the flu. Like the kind that had me out of commission for 4 days. I was too sick to even cry about it, best diet in the world though. lol! Things get postponed another month only to have the nurse forget to tell me to start my priming meds. Again it’s hard to get mad because really what good would it do and I make mistakes at my job too even though I don’t have a job that affects someone’s life! It sucks that it got delayed but I want to be in a position where I know I’ve done everything possible to be successful. So I’m about a week away from CD1 and I’m hoping for an early April retrieval with no more bumps in the road. In the meantime I’m going to try really hard not to Overthink!
Last Friday I went to a funeral for my Auntie Grace. I like to think I got my flair for being Fabulous from her because she was the true definition of Fabulous and losing her has hit my family hard. If you really want to put your own life into perspective attend a funeral; a million thoughts raced through my mind as I sat through the service, mostly what would my older version of me look like without a child/children. Who would be sitting with me when it was time to say goodbye; totally depressing I know but it was a sad day already so why not. My Auntie Grace’s legacy wasn’t about her money or possessions it was about the 2 rows of people sitting in the front of the church, her husband of 59 years, her 3 children and her 6 grandchildren. I may never get to experience half of what she had but I promise myself I’m going to try to my hardest and pray that this round of IVF will be successful and at my end I will have the legacy I have fought so hard to get.
This morning I had to attend an IVF class that my clinic puts on as an overview of what to expect during the IVF process. Even though we’ve already been through IVF we still had to go because this is a new clinic for us. I had a rough weekend, I think the holidays are getting to me and I’m just so angry that each month we continue to try for a baby on our own and each month we’re not successful. On top of all of those feelings, plus having to be at the clinic at 7:30 this morning and knowing that the clinic just recently had been hacked and all of our medical records and personal information have been compromised I wasn’t in the best of moods going into this. It turned out to be a really positive appt, we sat through the overview which was just a nice refresher and then I met with my case nurse who was absolutely amazing! She listened to our concerns, answered our questions and was so compassionate. She shared that she had been through IVF as well so she gets it. I love connecting with people who actually get it and after the appt I gave her a big hug and thanked her for sharing her story with us. It’s so nice to be at a clinic that actually cares and I’m super excited to start the protocol, it’s so different than the first one I was on. They start by prepping you for about 3 weeks prior to injections so hopefully I’ll start that sometime within the next 8-10 days. If all goes well the retrieval will be the end of Jan with a transfer in late Feb/early March. That seems forever away but I know in reality it will be here before I know it. So here we go again….
I knew in my heart that when my cycle in July failed that I wasn’t done. I found a new clinic to work with and my experience has been so different with them. I’ve had to start from scratch with all of the testing but it’s been worth it because I feel like they’ve been more thorough and they have a different approach on treating me due to my history. I had an appt earlier this week to talk about all of my lab results so we could determine if my levels were still good enough to use my own eggs or if we should consider donor eggs. All of my lab work came back within normal range which is pretty amazing consider I’m almost 43. This doctor is completely ok with me using my own eggs. The protocol would be a little different than I did last time which may or may not improve the amount of eggs that they retrieve. We talked about the option of using donor eggs and what would be involved if we went that route. I will admit that I was starting to think donor might be the way for us to go because it’s been 6 years and even though my levels are within normal range we’ve either miscarried or had tubal pregnancies. I felt like we had a pretty big decision ahead of us and the dr was very supportive and told us to take the time we needed to think it over. All that changed when we met with the finance person, I feel like once again the wind was knocked out of me. She showed us the pricing for doing an IVF cycle using my own eggs. My insurance will cover almost all of one IVF cycle minus the cost of medications which I would have to pay for out of pocket. My insurance will not cover donor eggs and the breakdown from start to finish would cost between $27k-$29k out of our pockets.
I can’t fathom paying $27k but I also can’t fathom going through another IVF cycle, ending up with one good egg and not having it work. Nothing about this journey has been easy and once again this decision we need to make solidifies that.
Ugh what to do…what to do….
On a side note, I read on someone’s blog this morning that today is IVF’s 40th birthday and over 5M babies have entered this world after being conceived with the help of medical intervention. It prompted me to google IVF and to read up on the history, it’s some pretty amazing stuff that happened 40 years ago and is still happening today. So if you’re one of those 5M in one capacity or another celebrate it! I may not be a mom yet but I’m still going out tonight to get a cupcake because if it wasn’t for those doctors and the Brown family who took a chance I wouldn’t be where I am today. Maybe this journey is all about taking chances…..and praying that the chance is history changing.
Nothing prepares you for a failed transfer. It was the darkest of days, I closed myself off from my family and my friends. I cried hard and was angry with everyone and everything. I believed with all of my heart that I was pregnant and then the dr called, “I’m sorry you’re not pregnant” no emotion just the facts. It was like a sucker punch. It’s been six weeks since that phone call and I’m healing.
A few months ago I was asked to judge a pageant and I really think being a part of the pageant world again helped heal my heart. The events filled my calendar and no matter how much I dreaded getting all dressed up, doing my hair and putting on make-up at the end of the night I felt good about myself again. I re-connected with old friends, made new ones and was honored to be able to give two lucky girls a title and a crown that they will forever hold in their hearts. The whole experience was life changing and was presented to me exactly when I needed it the most and for that I feel very grateful.
So now the question I keep asking myself is “where do I go from here.” I’m fighting with my insurance company because they denied my claim, they told me that I was out of network so I’m in the process of appealing that. There is no way I’m getting stuck with this $14k bill. The #1 reason we were even able to do IVF was because my insurance increased my coverage to $20k and I never would have used a clinic that wasn’t in my network. They make you jump thru so many hoops in the hopes you get discouraged and give up but I’m in this one until the very end.
I’m meeting with my ob/gyn in 2-weeks for a few reasons. 1) she’s amazing and has a passion for women’s health specifically fertility issues. 2) I’m going to see if it might be beneficial to go in for laparoscopy to get my endo cleaned out again. 3) This last one is my own selfish reason, I just want to go see a dr who actually gives a shit about me. We hated our infertility clinic so much and I want to go back to the clinic, the dr’s and nurses that made me feel safe and cared about me.
On 10/4 I have an appt to meet with a new infertility clinic who I’ve heard really good things about….I wish I would have known about them months ago. We’re just going to be gathering information we’re not sure if we want to go through another transfer or not. That’s where we’re at for now, no decisions have been made we’re weighing all of our options first. Call me crazy I just don’t feel like my journey is over yet.