Going public…

The plan for a while now has been to go public with our infertility struggle on our transfersary (a year from the date we did our third transfer, resulting in our beautiful baby girl). And we just did! Yikes! It’s a scary thing to be so open with so many people about something that has been such an emotional process for us, but ultimately, we wanted to be able to get the word out about infertility, and hopefully, help someone going through the same thing.  So… This is what I just posted on Facebook! Again…yikes!

 

One year ago today, I became pregnant with our miracle baby, Emily. We know this because she is the result of our third IVF procedure. For most couples, getting pregnant with a take home baby takes about three months. For us, it took three years, two months, and twenty-one days. It took about a hundred doctors appointments, hundreds of injections and blood draws, hundreds of pills, multiple surgeries, and tens of thousands of dollars. Along the way, we had countless heartbreaks. Far too many negative pregnancy tests, but the positive ones were harder to see, as they always ended in loss. We lost 6 babies to failed IVF’s and miscarriages, including Emily’s twin. These losses will always be with us.

Infertility is something that is not spoken of often, but should be. It is not a condition limited to those who pursue children later in life or who have a major medical condition; I was 26 when labeled “infertile.” Healthy, doing everything right, but just not able to get and stay pregnant. The emotional toll an infertility diagnosis takes is incredibly devastating, and is made more challenging because of how isolating it generally is. And to add insult to injury, infertility is not recognized by most states as a condition to mandate insurance coverage for (only 15 states require insurance to cover it), leaving those struggling with infertility to pay for any treatment entirely out of pocket. By “coming out of the closet” so to speak, we hope to be able to help friends talk more openly about their own infertility stories/issues, to encourage our friends and families to sign petitions for state representatives to mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatment, and most of all, to make others aware of how common it is to be dealing with infertility, so it does not remain so taboo to talk about it.

Today is our transfersary, the day we transferred two beautiful frozen embryos to me, Emily and her twin, and is the day we chose to share our story with you all 🙂

To learn more/get involved with infertility research, legislation, etc.- http://www.resolve.org

McGinnis twins update

We went for our follow up ultrasound yesterday, the 11th, and saw our babies again 🙂

Baby A’s heart rate was 164 beats per minute (great!) and Baby B’s heart rate was 154 beats per minutes (woo-hoo!). Both heart rates were just where they needed to be, and we were officially “graduated” from the Reproductive Endocrinologist to a regular OB!! Still doing progesterone injections daily (ouch!!!), and taking estradiol and progesterone pills to help support the pregnancy. I have to have blood draws each week to make sure my levels remain in the range they are supposed to stay in, but now that I know we’re pregnant (and with twins no less!), I am more than happy to be a pin cushion again. I just look at pictures of our little babies snuggling in, and that makes the shots not so bad 😉

2WW

Pregnant!When you’re trying to conceive (TTC), the two week wait (2ww) sucks. It’s that time in between ovulation and your period’s due date, when all you can do is wait to take a pregnancy test. When you’re undergoing fertility treatments, it can be even more frustrating. In general, you’re on multiple hormone supplementation medications, which essentially mimic the side effects of pregnancy (nausea, sore boobs, tiredness, etc.). So you do your best to ignore these symptoms, but it’s pretty damn hard to do that!

With this cycle, my 2ww was very different than in the past. First, I was on strict bed rest for the first few days, then modified bed rest for a few more days (thank goodness for amazing friends, S and V, for coming to help me out during this time!). I started to get sore boobs and feel super tired fairly quickly, but was also LOADED up on hormones (estrogen pills and patches, and progesterone pills and injections). These were the injections I had been dreading since starting the IVF process- daily intramuscular injections of an oil. The needle is huge, goes deep in your hip, and leaves a knarly lump of oil that you have to attempt to rub in to your muscle. Not fun, but totally worth it if it helps us bring a baby home!

My transfer was on a Monday, and the whole week was spent lying on the couch or in bed, eating warm foods/drinks, pineapple core, and brazil nuts (all supposed to help with implantation). That Saturday, I went to a football game with my in-laws. About 30 minutes into the game, someone near me got nachos. I got crazy nauseous, and went running from the stands J

The next day, nausea still all-consuming, I peed on a cheap internet pregnancy test, mid-afternoon. It was positive. Faint, but positive. I continued to pee on a variety of sticks (different brands, digitals, etc.) until my beta hcg blood test that Wednesday. It was positive, at 188 (at least 50 is a sign of a healthy pregnancy)! I went back on Friday for another draw to see if the numbers had doubled; they had, and were at 400! After 3 years, 2 ½ months, thousands of dollars, hundreds of injections, and dozens and dozens of trips to the doctor, we were…Officially pregnant!

Third time’s the charm!

We are in the midst of round #3 of IVF. New clinic and doctor, new protocol, lots of different things this time around!

We did our egg retrieval this past Wednesday, and they were able to get 13 eggs. Next step was fertilization…in which 7 of them fertilized. One of the things we’re doing differently this time around is waiting to freeze the embryo’s until they are (hopefully) 6 days old, not the 3 days we did last time. This gives them a chance to mature a bit more, and get past the blastocyst stage…

blastocyst_transfer

(the above picture shows a pretty accurate visual for the process). By waiting, we’re hopefully giving our little embryo babies a better chance to stick and make me a very pregnant lady! We got a call yesterday with our day 3 embryo report, and had one 12-cell, four 8-cell, one 5-cell, and one 4-cell embryo. Now we just wait and hope we don’t get a call until Tuesday morning, which is day 6 (if we get a call sooner, it means our embryos aren’t doing so well, and they need to freeze earlier than day 6).

Another thing we’re doing differently is freezing all the embryos so that I can take medication for a few weeks-a couple months to calm down my endometriosis. Then we’ll thaw the embryos and transfer them back into me, and hopefully end up with a sticky, lasting pregnancy! There really is nothing more in the world hubby and I want in life than to be parents, and we’re really hoping the third time’s the charm!

January 2013

So…Christmas miracle didn’t happen :( Our test came back negative.

Since that point, we’ve moved to Colorado for my amazing husband’s job, and fortunately, the #1 fertility clinic just happens to be located here. So we are trying again, with another fresh round of IVF. Our doctor here has a very different approach to IVF, and the process will be very different for us this time, which is exciting, as what we did before didn’t work. While we are really excited to be trying again, it is also incredibly scary. IVF is emotionally and physically draining, and the fact that it costs tens of thousands of dollars for each cycle doesn’t exactly help. While I am trying to be optimistic about this cycle, and envision it being successful, the realistic part of me can’t stop thinking about what will happen if this doesn’t work. The reality is that we probably can’t afford another cycle after this for at least a year. We’re still paying off the last cycle, and starting to pay for this cycle, and have already opened a new credit card to help pay for it.

When you start fertility treatments, you never think you’re going to get to the next step. Throughout the whole process, I’ve thought whatever we were doing would work. Trying naturally, I thought we’d be fine. Then it wasn’t happening, so we went to IUI’s. During IUI, I never thought we would get to IVF. IUI’s didn’t work, so we started IVF. Now we’ve had 2 unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and I’m starting to really understand that it might not work. And if it doesn’t, we really only have two options- a gestational carrier or adoption. And that is terrifying. We want a child more than anything, and ultimately, will do whatever it takes to get there. But the thought of not carrying our baby, not feeling it move, not feeling the pain of delivery? It absolutely crushes me. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do to experience a pregnancy and birth. I feel like it is the most natural thing a woman does, and is almost a god-given right. And I can’t do it.

There are actually statistics that say that women going through infertility have a higher rate of depression that cancer victims. While that may seem odd, I can totally understand it. Not to belittle those with cancer (as I know how difficult it is, and how crushing it can be to those around it), but I feel like dealing with infertility can be so hopeless and without a clear treatment plan, that those statistics seem completely true.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with this next cycle, but I will keep hoping that our prayers will be answered and we will be blessed with the opportunity to bring a child into this world.

November 13, 2012

So…I’ve been a human pin cushion the last couple days, trying to make sure my progesterone levels were high enough to schedule our next embryo transfer. My levels yesterday were only at 1.29; the doctor wanted them to be at least a 3. I went back today, and my levels were just over 17!!! So good, but also a little scary, as I don’t know if that big jump in numbers was due to my body being awesome, or the fact that I started progesterone supplements yesterday. I’m trying really hard to look on the bright side, and believe that my body is happy and doing what it should do 🙂

Transfer will be Thursday, and we’ll test about 2 weeks after that. EVERYTHING crossed for a BFP!!!!