Friday, January 20, 2017

IVF Round 1: Egg Retrieval

1st we stimulated my ovaries with medicine to try to get a ton of mature follicles... Next I had an injection to cause ovulation... Then the doctor retrieves the eggs. The egg retrieval was quite the process, and I'm not going to go into all the details. I'll just let you know that I survived and it was successful! After my eggs are retrieved, they are combined with Lee's sperm and watched over the next 5 days as they grow into embryos.

Our doctor told us the day of the retrieval that with my last round of blood work, one of my hormone levels (progesterone) was elevated. Because of that, he would prefer to freeze the embryos, and transfer them later, once my hormones have leveled out. This way, we have the best possible chances to achieve pregnancy. The thing is, we didn't know at that time how many eggs fertilized, how well they would grow, etc., so we made a tentative plan: If they embryos appear to be strong enough to survive a freeze and thaw, then we will want to transfer them during a later cycle. If they do not appear strong enough to survive a freeze, we will go ahead and transfer them with this cycle and pray for great results. 

Fortunately, we got great news that our embryos appear to be strong. So, they are now frozen. Our plan is for me to start some medication with my next cycle to prepare for the transfer. This time around, the medication will hopefully be much lighter than all of the injections we did prior to the egg retrieval. We will get more info about our next steps in the process sometime next week, so I'll include all of that in my February blog post. My plan is to write a blog post in February letting you all know how the medication went with the next cycle, and how the transfer was, and hopefully in March I will give you all an update on the results of our embryo transfer. 

Please be praying in the meantime that our embryos are healthy and survive the freeze and thaw, that they implant, and that we are able to achieve pregnancy. 

I think that now is a prefect time for me to remind myself, and share with you all, that regardless of the outcome of this procedure, God is good. Everyday, all the time, He is good. It's easy to praise God when things go our way, and we get what we want, but its also important that when we don't get what we want, to still praise God. God has a plan for us. He already knows the outcome of this procedure. He knows when our children will be born, and how our family will come to be. He has the perfect timing, and we must trust Him. I often have to remind myself of this, because its easy for me to get wrapped up in my own plan, and my own idea of how I think things should play out. So now, we are praising God for all of the good that he is done, and we know that the results of this IVF cycle will be good whether we achieve pregnancy or not, because it is all part of His plan. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

IVF Round 1: Stimulation

IVF Round 1....This has been a post I have started and saved in my drafts for several months. We are finally here. If you've been reading along for the past year or so, then you know this is something that Lee and I have gone back and forth with. After 6 IUIs, we knew we needed a break from fertility treatments, and during that break we tried Natural Family Planning, various supplements, etc. Although we did notice some positive differences with those options, we did not get pregnant as hoped. December 2016 marked 3 years since we started trying to get pregnant. After all this time, we still remain unswayed in the fact that we want to have children. We desperately want to have a family of our own.We have spent a lot of time deciding whether not IVF was right for us, and finally came to a conclusion that we want to move forward with this treatment.

One of the things I was not looking forward to with IVF was taking birth control in order to get my timing for the next cycle just right. Thankfully, I only had to take the pill for about 9 days. After those 9 days, I stopped the pill, and a few days later went in for my baseline blood work and ultrasound.

Thankfully, my ultrasound and blood work both were normal this time (as opposed to when we tried to get this process started in October. You can read more about that here). We got the green light to start the injections, which have been patiently waiting in our fridge for over 3 months.

We started out with 2 injections, which Lee gave me nightly for 6 nights. During those 6 days I had blood work done twice and an ultrasound to monitor my response to the medication. My body responded very well, and on day 7 we added in the 3rd injection. Lee gave me the 3 injections for another 3 nights, and I had an ultrasound and blood work during that time. After 10 total days of medication, I was ready for the trigger shot. The trigger shot is an injection that forces my body to ovulate. Once the trigger shot is given, my body prepares for ovulation, and the egg retrieval is done about 36 hours later.

So now, we await the egg retrieval. This is a procedure in which the doctor will retrieve all of the eggs that my body has matured with the help of medication over the last 12 or so days. After my eggs are retrieved, they will be combined with Lee's sperm in a lab and will grow for several days into embryos.

Once the embryos are ready, I will have another procedure done to transfer the embryos into my uterus. Our doctor will transfer a safe amount of embryos, and any left over will be frozen for future transfers.

Lee and I are feeling pretty good about this process so far, and are looking forward to completing it. This round of fertility treatments has been more uncomfortable physically than the others because my ovaries are super stimulated. I will take that any day though, because emotionally, it has been fairly smooth.. I've had a few cries here and there (mostly over something irrelevant like a sad part in Gilmore Girls, haha), and 1 rough night after the trigger shot. Overall,I have not felt the intense impatience, frustration, hot flashes, mood swings, etc. that I did during our IUI cycles. Lee and I both are so thankful for that.

So overall, this cycle so far has been pleasant, and I'm excited to finish it up. If you are praying for us, our prayer requests right now are that the egg retrieval be quick and painless, and that we have strong embryo growth. I will hopefully be able to write another blog post between the egg retrieval and embryo transfer, and give you all an update! Thanks for reading, and as always, thank you for your love and support.