Our fertility doctor is amazing. All the staff at the clinic are. Today I had a scheduled appointment to figure out our best next steps. The good news – we’ve come to the top of the waiting list for IVF. Different people have different views on IVF. We’d prayed about this and figured we would give it a try. In Ontario we are fortunate that I was eligible for one free cycle. Like with the other treatments we had to pay for the drugs, although fortunately our various health care plans covered around 85% of the total cost.
October = Paperwork!
I thought I knew quite a lot about IVF but there was so much more to learn. Before we could even start the process we had to watch videos, sign forms and waivers and meet with different doctors and nurses. It was very educational and every eventuality was covered. It’s hard to listen when they talk about risk of multiple births. Right now I want a baby so much, I’d happily take two, or three! Yet I’m constantly reminded that risks are heightened in multiple births and I do want any child(ren) we conceive to survive pregnancy.
November = Preparing my body
To prepare my body I had to wear estrogen patches for the last week of November. Apparently it regulates everything (or something like that). I don’t know if it’s the drugs or not but I felt so good this week! Really calm and relaxed.
December = No exercise, alcohol or sex!
Day 1 -10
Once again I’m injecting myself. I’ve got so relaxed at this that I even managed it on a train on my way back from a work meeting! They’ve changed the advice and you no longer need to keep the drugs cool which makes it so much easier! The dose is much much higher this time which is why I can’t do any exercise as there’s too high a risk of ovarian torsion. In all the education I missed this part and for someone as active as me it’s tough. I can walk but only at a leisurely pace. No cycling, only gentle swimming, no skiing. For weeks!! More ultrasounds and blood work. Lots of waiting around at the clinic for the results so we can see how long I need to keep this up for. All seems to be going well.
The first big day has come. Today is my egg retrieval day. We arrived at the clinic having already taken a mild sedative first thing. I get more drugs later! While I was waiting I found a French magazine which had the Psalms in them which was really encouraging to read. We changed into scrubs, I was given an IV and waited for the procedure while they monitored me on the screen. Incredibly I’m not nervous – this is all so new and exciting.
They had told me that it would hurt slightly as they place an ultrasound probe into the vagina and then pass a needle along it, into the ovary. I didn’t feel anything as the drugs had really kicked in! As they collect the eggs from the follicles you hear them calling out numbers as they’re counting them. I just lay there, probably not looking very dignified with my legs spread apart, but everyone was so kind and professional I didn’t even notice. Then back to the waiting room to be monitored. The first bit of good news – they gave me a warm towel to wrap myself in! The second bit – they’d retrieved 20 eggs! I didn’t have that many follicles so this was a real gift from God. I feel disappointed for the lady next to me who only had 6. Tomorrow I’ll find out how many embryos.
They called me on the bus. 20 eggs, 17 were mature and 11 had formed embryos. We couldn’t have asked for more. This is great news. So exciting. God is good. We should definitely have some to freeze now. We could use them for a second child. We might even be able to donate some to other couples who are struggling. 11 embryos! Wow! Thank you God!
I also have to weigh myself every morning and monitor how much I’m peeing. I know so much about my body now!
Depending on how the embryos are doing they either do the implantation on day 3 or day 5. Today they called to say that although some had died as expected, the others were still growing well and so implantation would be on day 5. That gives us the best chance of it working. Thank you God!
Our second big day – embryo transfer day. Full of hope and nervous expectation we changed into our scrubs and waited for the doctor who would up date us on the status of our embryos. Now came the bad news. Of the 11 initial embryos only 4 are still alive. One was considered “ok to good”, one was “ok” and the other two would probably die before the end of the day. None were good enough to freeze. They will implant the best two but if that doesn’t work there isn’t a plan b. We will have to start from the beginning. Deflated. That’s the only word I can use to describe how I feel. 20 eggs, 17 mature, 11 embryos and now only 2 chances.
I was also desperate for the toilet! That’s the worst bit of this procedure – you need a full bladder and I took that instruction seriously. Mine was full. Very full. And then they have to press on the bladder with the ultrasound probe. Boy did I need to pee! Praying that they would implant successfully we watched the screen and saw our embryos – our potential babies – in my womb. They’re just dots on the screen but they are there. My womb is no longer empty.
Day 18 onwards
Waiting. Waiting is hard. I have to insert progesterone cream into my vagina every morning. That makes a mess! Waiting. More waiting. Waiting, and hoping and dreading. And still no exercise. Still no alcohol. And now no sex either. Just waiting.