Friday, June 5, 2015

IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization)

Steve and I have been trying to get pregnant for nine years.  Two & 1/2 years ago we decided to pursue IVF because we had exhausted all other fertility avenues. This was the next & final step. We filled out some paperwork & made an appointment for our first visit with an IVF doctor.  Immediately after our appointment was set, we both felt confused, lost & that we weren't doing the right thing.  That was the first time that we both felt right about adoption. I cancelled our IVF appointment and instead filled out & submitted our adoption paperwork.  Five months later, we brought home the most perfect baby boy. To read Sawyer's story, click here:

When Sawyer was 18 months old, we started to think about baby #2.  I had never given up on the dream of being able to conceive and carry a child, I always felt that we would be able to have children.  With those lingering feelings, we made an appointment with the Utah Fertility Center.  We met with Dr. Foulk and he thought that we would be great candidates for IVF.  I said "Great, lets get started ASAP!"  Months beforehand, we started to save the $15,000 that it would take for our IVF procedure.  I started a small business of making clothes for babies and kids and diligently saved every dime for our medical bills that I knew would be coming our way, as our insurance doesn't cover anything to do with infertility. We finally had enough saved through lots of support of friends, family & strangers.

In the following weeks, we received our medications & I started injecting myself daily with hormones. I'd make the 6 hour round trip drive to the doctor so they could check my hormone levels and monitor me via ultrasound. More injections, more blood draws, more driving back & forth. 

March 18: It was finally my egg retrieval day! This is the day that they extract all the eggs that I had been growing with the help of all the hormones. They were able to get 17 eggs! 17! I was so ecstatic!

March 19: Of the 17 eggs that were retrieved, 16 were injected with Steve's sperm & 15 of them had become embryos. The nurse was very pleased with those results.

March 23: Transfer day! Of the 15 embryos, they took two of the biggest and best and implanted them in my uterus.  The other 13 remain in the incubator and will hopefully grow enough that we can freeze them for future use.  We were SO excited about these 2 little miracle embryos and were praying that they would both attach so we could have twins.  After they implant the embryos, I had to lay very still for about 15 minutes.  Steve took Sawyer out of the room to let him run around and as the doctor was walking out of the room, he laid his hand on my stomach and pointed upward saying "Its all up to Him, now." As I was alone with my thoughts, I completely broke down realizing that I had no control over this situation. I prayed, begging my Heavenly Father for this to work.  I wanted both of these babies.  We would find out in 10 days if this worked, queue the longest 10 days of my life.

March 24: Got the call from the doctor's office that none of my other embryos progressed to the point that they'd be able to freeze them. Zero. That was our safety net.  If this time didn't work, at least we'd be able to dip into the freezer and try again.  But that backup plan is gone now. I sobbed, was inconsolable. 

March 30: Today I prayed harder than I think I'd ever prayed in my life. I begged the Lord to send me the souls of these 2 babies that were inside me. I want them both. They are my children that I was afraid I'd never have, and now they're inside me, and all I want to do is hold onto them. Both. Please, please, please let me keep these babies.  But if not, please help me through it. Ultimately, I know that Your plan is better than my dream.

April 2:  Its been 10 days!! Today is the day! We got the call, POSITIVE!! My HCG number was over 400 which is very high. High enough to support my hope for twins. It happened! I couldn't believe it, we were going to have our two babies that we've been praying for.  We won't know for sure till our 7 week ultrasound, but I was so sure they were both still in there.

April 24:  Today we had our very first ultrasound. The nurse came in and right away found a baby. The cutest little blob I've ever seen.  She asked me if I had had any bleeding. I told her that I hadn't and that I had been feeling great, just a little tired.  As she continued to look at the screen, I asked "Is there just one?" She immediately responded "Yep, I only see one in there and here's the heartbeat."  Such a flood of emotion came over me. I felt like I had lost a child, but at the same time I'm listening to the most beautiful heartbeat.  She then informed me that I had a Subchorionic Hemorrhage and that I needed to be on 'pelvic rest.' I asked "Wait, what does that mean? Subchor.... hemorrhage, what? What is that? And what does pelvic rest mean?" She let me know that it was a small pool of blood between the placenta and the uterus and that we shouldn't have intercourse, I shouldn't be working out and I shouldn't lift more than 10 pounds... and with that tidbit of info, she left the room.  Immediately I became unglued.  I realize that this may sound ungrateful, but I was so sure that both of our babies were there. I prayed and begged God for these babies, I was so hurt that He didn't answer my prayers. And not only did I lose a baby but now I'm scared of losing the other one due to this bleed that was inside.  On top of everything, I had completely ruined this experience for Steve. This was the first time that we had heard our baby's heartbeat and I was completely devastated. It was such a hard day for me, and I was feeling so guilty for not joining Steve in his excitement. I was scared to be happy, I might lose this baby.

May 2:  Started bleeding for the first time, I was so sure I was miscarrying.  We spent the whole day waiting on doctors & nurses, and then the rest of the day in the ER.  This was the first time that I witnessed Steve's fear and vulnerability during this whole process. We were scared that we were losing this baby we'd waited so long and worked so hard for.  We finally got back to the ultrasound room at the hospital and heard a heartbeat! The baby was fine, but my bleed had grown and was active and now bleeding out.

Over the next few weeks, I was on bed rest. I only got up to go to the bathroom. I couldn't pick up Sawyer, I couldn't even walk upstairs to his room to say his nightly prayers with him.  It was incredibly hard when all I could do is lay around feeling sorry for myself.  During this time, I had amazing friends and family members step up to the plate, taking Sawyer every day, bringing us food & offering to clean my house. Seriously, its truly humbling to be in that situation, unable to do anything for yourself or your family. I'm truly blessed with the most amazing friends and family members. Thank you so much, you know who you are. I'll never be able to repay you.  Steve brought his A game and took over all the mom duties after each day of his own work. Sawyer and I even stayed a week at Steve's parent's house and everyone pitched in there watching Sawyer and feeding me.  My mom flew out and stayed for a week which was so great.  So many acts of service from so many incredible people.

I graduated from the Fertility Center and was released to my OB which was such a big step! My bleed had gone from 5cm down to 2cm. Dr. Foulk reassured me "Just make it to 12 weeks. If you get to 12 weeks, your chances of miscarriage drop below 2%"  Less than 2%?! I'll take it!

May 28: First OB appointment: I had my 12 week ultrasound today!! We see the heartbeat and that sweet little baby dancing around.  I made it! My first milestone! My bleed has gone down to 1cm now, so its still continuing to shrink and heal. He says I don't need to be laying around anymore, I can get up and walk around. However, I still need to be on pelvic rest till my next appointment which is in 3 weeks. Those dreaded words. Steve's not going to be happy, add those 3 weeks, that makes 9 weeks of this 'friendship' that we've had...
I'm able to keep Sawyer home with me now which is such an amazing blessing. I've missed fighting him to change his diaper & cleaning up after his messes. Its funny how things are put into perspective when you have bigger fish to fry.

We are still taking things day by day, I panic just a little every time I have a cramp.  We are so grateful for getting this far, though.  I feel better now that I'm 13 weeks, but still feeling like we aren't quite outta the woods. 

I am so incredibly grateful for this baby that I get to grow.  I know there's a reason that both the embryos didn't attach. I don't know what that reason is, but I'm okay with that. After all, I know that His plan is better than my dream.