I can’t begin to tell you how much of a relief it is that I am not keeping this cycle a secret.
Honestly, it has made the process so much easier! In the past, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to share it with others. I was scared. I didn’t want others to go through the lows of the cycle that I have to go through. I didn’t want to “tell to untell.” BUT the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed the support. I needed to be able to be open about why my workouts were changing. Why I would have early morning appointments in Seattle. And, like I said before, the power of prayer, positivity, love and support, and compassion go a LONG way.
The support I have received since I began sharing my story about IVF has been amazing.
I’ve been really open about our past experiences, but now more than ever as I share our PRESENT — the two nightly shots. My exhaustion as a result. The changes I’ve made with my workout routine. The support and love and messages and comments I have received have meant the WORLD to me. And now I get to share my blogs in real time. WOO!!!
You are making this easier for me, and I truly cannot thank you enough.
I began shots on Sunday night, March 3rd…
And as I type that out, I realized something: #3 was my lucky number growing up! It was my high school and college soccer number. And we began our IVF round 3 on 3/3. That gives me a lot of peace.
I sat there and stared at them (the meds, needles, my calendar) for a while. I read and re-read the instructions and dosing. I watched the videos multiple times to remind me how to draw up and inject the medications. And you guys — I’m a freaking nurse practitioner. I was a floor nurse for years before becoming a nurse practitioner. And this is NOT my first time doing this. This is IVF round 3, and we’ve also done 2 frozen embryo transfers. So, what the heck?! Hahaha! I was jittery. I was nervous as all get out. I was sweating bullets. And to be quite frank, though, I don’t too often share the cost of medications, when you realize that if you waste any amount, it’s literally pouring money down the drain, it’s even more stressful.
And I share this because I want you to know if the drawing up of the meds, the actual GIVING of the meds is slightly (or incredibly) intimidating to you, too. It is so normal! I also want you to know that it gets easier.
By night two, my stress level had significant decreased!
The song that’s stuck with me.
When I first started my infertility journey my friend introduced me to a song, and it’s something that’s helped me a lot. It’s something we played every night that we did injections during my first cycle, I played it through all of my deliveries (my sweet sister in law made me a “Labor CD”). And now, I like to play it again.
A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
It makes me cry everytime!
My husband doesn’t do too well with needles, but he is so incredibly sweet that he offered to do it for me. I politely declined (I don’t really want him to pass out! HA!) But am so grateful for his support.
I’m pretty lucky in the fact that I don’t typically have huge symptoms or side effects (at least not yet!) from the meds. I’ve been exhausted all week, however, and maybe that’s in part due to the fact that we are getting over two weeks from you know where in our house health wise. Thankfully I’ve been spared -- but my daughter had strep twice in the last month. In the last two weeks, though, she, my husband, oldest son, nephew & nanny were diagnosed with Strep. My youngest son was diagnosed with a viral rash. And to top it off, my husband had a 24-hour stomach bug.
So… am I tired because of that or the meds?! I’ll never know, I suppose.
And Saturday I headed in for my first checkup.
They’ve checked my uterine lining to make sure it’s thickening appropriately. They’ve check to see how my ovaries are doing. Are the follicles growing appropriately, at a similar rate, and how many are growing? And also a blood draw to ensure my estrogen levels are rising appropriately.
With my last two IVF cycles, I never got a ton of eggs.
I should actually know the exact number, but I want to say it was 11 and 10. Thankfully, though, I’ve been fortunate that our embryos were always of high quality. We ended up with three embryos from each of the two IVF cycles.
To say I was anxious or nervous about the first check is an absolute understatement.
With my first two IVF cycles, my body always responded more slowly than normal. The first time, my doctor wasn’t sure if we would be able to proceed. But, thankfully, my body then began to do its job and we ended up with those three embryos. IVF round 2, I’m not even joking, had a nurse say to me after the first check, “I’ve never seen anyone not respond like you.” She essentially told me we would probably be canceling the cycle. I was devastated. I cried. But we didn’t cancel and we ended up with three beautiful embryos, and two of which are my boys, Jameson (2.5 years old) and Madden (1-year-old).
I know my body can do this.
But there is still that little voice in the back of my head that, “what if.” My husband helps me turn it off. My friends and family help me turn it off. I’m currently wearing the same necklace I wore throughout the last cycle that has “faith” inscribed in Ogham, the first written Irish language.
As best I can, I hold on to hope and look at the sweet faces of my three kiddos and know this is possible.
After my checkup, I got to head out for a girls’ weekend in Walla Walla for wine tasting. If you saw my stories/post, you’ll see my fertility doctor gave the thumbs up to do this. “Have fun,” she said. Obviously, I will be limiting it, but hoping that in just a few short weeks, I will no longer be drinking wine.
For those that don’t know a lot about infertility, I wanted to share a few acronyms, definitions that are common in the fertility world.
IUI: Intrauterine Insemination, aka, artificial insemination
We did two attempts of this before we started IVF, and were unsuccessful. But I’ve had many friends who had great success with this!
From Mayo Clinic: “Sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. Older types of artificial insemination placed the sperm in the vagina. While this was easier, it was not as successful as the current procedure. The hoped-for outcome of intrauterine insemination is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg, resulting in a normal pregnancy. Depending on the reasons for infertility, IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.”
IVF: In Vitro Fertilization (Round 3 for us!)
From Mayo Clinic: “is a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child.
During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks.”
Many people have asked me what is my specific infertility diagnosis. Because there are MANY. So many causes of infertility included the ever-present “unexplained” which I KNOW can be so frustrating…
Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism: This is my official infertility diagnosis.
According to MedlinePlus, “Hypogonadism is a condition in which the female ovaries produce little or no sex hormones. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HH) is a form of hypogonadism that is due to a problem with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. HH is caused by a lack of hormones that normally stimulate the ovaries or testes. These hormones include gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).”
So, here we go!
Looking forward to and hoping for good news as the results come in. Thank you again, for all of your love and support! And don’t forget, I have an AMAZING (private) support group on Facebook for those who would like a little more support in your own fertility journey.
If you ever have questions for me, never hesitate to ask. I am happy to answer them in my blogs or in my Instagram stories and social media posts!
Have you been diagnosed with infertility or know someone who has?
I want to invite you to join my Fertility Health & Support Group on Facebook. It's a safe environment for those who struggle with fertility issues — whether that is in the past, present, or you know you will endure it in the future.