I don’t know what to title this …

… but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m back, I guess.

After our last cycle failed I had to take a break from all things infertility related to preserve what little sanity I had left and survive what I consider the most difficult semester of nursing school. I won’t lie, that last failed cycle was a blow I was not prepared for in the least. It rocked me in a way that previous failures hadn’t and I needed quite a bit of time to recover from it — which was just as well because we didn’t have to financial ability to pursue IVF (our recommended next step).

Nursing school is winding down now — I’m in the home stretch with only 5 weeks left! And my sanity has returned to normal, if you could ever call it that. So of course the only logical next step is to test my newly normalized sanity with some more infertility treatments. Long story short, thanks to the help of special friends we’re moving forward with IVF. In fact, we’re a couple weeks into the process.

We won’t be sharing the exact timeline of it all because we want to maintain some privacy throughout this entire thing — mainly we don’t want family/friends to constantly ask well-meaning-but-ultimately-prying-and-anxiety-inducing questions. And we want to be able to announce a pregnancy (or lack thereof) on our own terms, which would be tricky if everyone already knows the exact timeline of everything.

BUT — I will be sharing my experiences because I think they’re worth sharing and can be beneficial to others. In fact, I can give you a basic outline of what will be coming up. First I have to take birth control (BC) for a while. Sometime during the BC phase I’ll have a mock embryo transfer so the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) can get an idea of my anatomy and discover any problems that may affect the transfer process. Taking BC seems counter-intuitive when you’re trying to get pregnant, but there’s some logic to it. BC helps everything calm down in preparation for the next step: stimming. Stimming is the process of injecting myself daily with various hormones in hopes of stimulating my ovaries into producing a lot of eggs. The stimming phase ends with a trigger injection, which basically pushes the follicles over the edge into maturation & then they’re ready to be retrieved by my RE. The retrieval (or harvest, as Andrew calls it) is an outpatient procedure involving aspirating the eggs out of my ovaries with a big needle. Sounds fun, right? But after retrieval is when the fun REALLY begins! The retrieved eggs are fertilized and sit around for a few days under supervision — the embryologist keeps an eye on the fertilized eggs to make sure they’re developing properly into cute little embryos. After a few days the best one (or two) embryos are placed in my uterus & then we wait to see if it (or they) sticks. Of course, ultrasounds and blood work are sprinkled in throughout most of the process.

That’s whats in store for me in the coming weeks. It’s exciting and terrifying and daunting and a lot of other things. I’m nervous about the effects of the hormones — mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, headaches. I’m scared of the possible pain associated with the retrieval. I’m worried that we won’t have any embryos to transfer. I’m excited to finally have a real chance of getting pregnant but I’m hesitant about being excited because I don’t want to get my hopes up if it doesn’t work. It’s a lot to deal with. But, I think, the chance of finally starting our family is worth all of it. And more.

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