So if you’ve scoped out my FB or IG within the last week, you’ve probably figured out our news. If you haven’t, here it is: Andrew and I are expecting the arrival of TWINS in August. What? We’re excited (and terrified) and totally over the moon!
But I still want to share with you how we got here!
After our first round of IVF didn’t result in a pregnancy, we were able to go right into a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) since we had plenty of frozen embryos (11)! The protocol started off in a fashion fairly similar to that of IVF: with a pack of birth control pills and then a cycle day 3 baseline appointment. The baseline appointment, as always, consisted of an ultrasound and blood work to make sure all was quiet on the western front. Or whatever.
Everything looked good at my baseline appointment and I was given the go ahead to start hormone injections that day. This is where the process started to veer from my previous experience. With IVF I had to give myself 2 shots in the stomach every day, with a third shot added to the mix after a week or so. The hormones I was taking then were to stimulate my ovaries into producing a whole lot of eggs. With an FET, stimulating my ovaries was unnecessary; we didn’t need the eggs because we already had the embryos we were going to transfer. Instead of daily subcutaneous injections in my stomach, I only needed one intramuscular injection of estrogen every 3rd day. And instead of stimulating my ovaries to produce eggs, the estrogen was stimulating my uterine lining to thicken up and make a safe place for the embryos to implant. In other words, the estrogen was simulating what my body would be doing naturally leading up to ovulation.
Because the least painful IM injection site happens to be the butt/hip area, and because the needle was 1.5 inches long and there was no way I was going to be able to stab myself with that, Andrew (and sometimes my mom) had to take over the administration process. Kudos to them both for being able to stab someone they love without batting an eye (wait, should I be worried it was that easy for them?). Those injections started on 11/24 and continued every third day throughout the entire process. I’m actually still taking the injections now and will continue to do so until my 10th week of pregnancy.
After about 2 weeks of estrogen injections it was time to head back to the clinic for another ultrasound and some more blood work, this time to check that my lining was up to snuff and my hormones were all in line (it was; they were). The ultrasound tech said my uterus looked “perfect and beautiful” and later that day my nurse gave me the go ahead to add daily IM progesterone injections to the mix. That was on 12/7 and my FET was scheduled for 5 days after on 12/12 (the day after my 28th birthday). The progesterone injections were viscous and left big bruises and knots in the muscle, and they continued throughout the entire FET process and into my 7th week of pregnancy. That wasn’t necessarily the most fun I’ve ever had! BUT, they were necessary to simulate the conditions in my body produced by ovulation so that my body would be perfectly in sync with the day 5 frozen embryos we transferred.
The day of the transfer was exactly the same as with IVF, except with transferred 2 embryos instead of one, and the clinic was backed up by about an hour, which is a long time to wait with a full bladder.
I found the FET process to be a lot less taxing than IVF was, even though it certainly still had it’s ups and downs. There were fewer shots, fewer unpleasant side effects (though I still suffered from headaches, decreased appetite, weight gain, and GI upset), fewer monitoring appointments, and it was a much quicker process. All in all, I’m happy to have that part of my life over with for now. Infertility doesn’t go away with a positive pregnancy test, and we still have a long way to go before we have two healthy babies to snuggle, but for now we’re choosing to let go of a lot of the fear and anxiety during this sweet time and enjoy ourselves as much as possible (and all-day sickness will allow).
I’m going to continue blogging about infertility and it’s effects on this pregnancy – I hope you’ll continue to follow along!