As promised, I am starting my IVF series today and over the next several weeks, I will be sharing all of the details of our IVF cycle. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would ever share this story. It’s so personal and it’s a topic that no one really talks about publicly. But that is one of the reasons I eventually decided to blog about it. As Chris and I opened up to family and close friends about what we were going through, we realized more people in our lives have struggled with infertility than we originally knew. Several stories of “We did IVF” or “So and so did IVF” came out of the wood works.
Infertility is not something to be ashamed of and quite honestly, it is something that a lot of people don’t understand. All too often I was met with “Be positive” or “It will work out” or “Everything happens for a reason” and those are not the words anyone in this position wants to hear. We want to hear that you acknowledge the pain and fear we are feeling, even if you can’t understand it yourself. We want you to ask us questions instead of brushing it off as “no big deal”. We want your love and support.
I have found comfort in connecting with other people that have gone through what we’ve gone through and hearing about their journeys. Their boldness in sharing their stories has inspired me to share ours.
I’m not going to go into the specifics of why IVF was our only option to have biological children, but I will say that it wasn’t completely unexpected. Chris and I were told a few years ago that there was a high likelihood we would not be able to have children naturally when the time came. We held out hope that when we were ready for children, something would have changed, but after undergoing fertility testing last year, we found out that IVF was the only way we would be able to have children. Even though we knew it was a possibility, we were both heartbroken.
I skipped ahead a little bit, but I want to go into the testing we went through in case anyone reading this is wondering what exactly that looks like. Chris and I had a consultation with our fertility doctor and he ordered a series of tests for each of us so we could form a treatment plan. Chris’ testing was “easy” and consisted of a semen analysis. My testing was more involved.
The timing was very specific and all of my tests had to be scheduled during a certain point in my cycle. I had to get blood work done and have an MRI between cycle days 2 and 4. Then I had to have more tests between cycle days 6 and 10. First up was the HSG test which is when the uterus is filled with dye and x-rays are taken. The purpose of this test is to see if the fallopian tubes are open. I was very nervous going into this test because I had heard it could be painful. And I’m not going to lie, it was painful. But thankfully it was a quick test, so it was over in a few minutes. The next day, I had a Saline Sonohysterogram which is when the uterus is filled with saline and an ultrasound is done. The purpose of this test is to see the shape of the uterus and if there are any polyps that could interfere with implantation. This test was a little uncomfortable but much better than the HSG.
Our doctor did both the HSG and the Saline Sonohysterogram and he told me the results on the spot. After all of our testing was complete, he told Chris and I that our best option to grow our family was IVF and that he thought we were great candidates. He gave us the all clear and said we could start as soon as we wanted. The IVF process for one cycle from start to finish is around 3-4 months and you need to stay local during that time. It begins with stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, followed by an egg retrieval. Then the eggs are fertilized and hopefully they grow to become embryos. Several weeks later, an embryo is transferred back into the uterus and that hopefully results in a pregnancy.
Chris and I had a vacation booked for the following month so we agreed to start IVF when we returned from our trip, which would be about six weeks later. That gave us some time to prepare financially, physically, and emotionally as best as we could. We had a great time on our trip to Alaska and we hoped that it was our “last hurrah” before becoming parents. We got all of our ducks in a row and when my next cycle started, it was time to begin IVF.
Stay tuned for more details on our IVF journey coming soon.