After almost 5 years of trying to conceive and working with doctors, plus 4 failed rounds of IUI we looked at the thought of proceeding down the journey of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Neither Bryce or I had anything medically wrong that prevented us from having children or impacted the process, it just simply wasn't going to happen on its own.
In August 2018, we decided to start the journey towards IVF and prepare my body to have my eggs retrieved.
This involved me becoming quickly comfortable with needles and learning how to inject myself into my stomach up to 3 times a day over a period of 12 days. From carrying around a sharps container to timing each injection every day to trying to figure out where on your stomach wasn’t bruised or sore from the previous injections are just a few of the pieces that happen behind the scenes during one's IVF journey.
After 12 days of injections, many doctors’ appointments, countless blood tests, and now one sore and swollen abdomen... September 1st we headed to Vancouver to have my eggs retrieved. We showed up for our doctor’s appointment to be given a nice mix of drugs leading up to the retrieval process. Part of this included putting an IV in me (this was almost the most painful part) IVs normally go in your hands... but mine would not go and ended up in my arm.
They were going to retrieve eggs from my ovary follicles which had been hyper-stimulated from all of the injections. The goal was to create as many follicles as possible with the goal being as many eggs as possible.
We had amazing retrieval results and couldn’t have been more blessed.
- 24 eggs retrieved
- 21 eggs were mature
- 16 eggs fertilized by the sperm overnight
- 12 embryos in total were frozen by the end of day 6/7
To end up with numbers like this was shocking. Some people need to go through this process 3 or more times to end up with this many viable embryos. We were extremely grateful for how things were progressing at this point. We choose to freeze all of our embryos and let my body recover from the intense stress that it was just put through.
My recovery from my egg retrieval involved me sleeping off my mix of drugs for a number of hours. When you needed a loving husband to take care of you throughout this process and one who needed to make sure you got back to your hotel room and all settled in. It doesn’t leave much fun for him. Thankfully he brought along the Super Nintendo to keep himself occupied for hours while I slept. I am grateful to have him by my side throughout our journey and couldn’t have asked for a better partner who was patient, understanding and stood by my side throughout everything. It took several weeks for my body to fully recover from the egg retrieval.
In October we started to prepare my body for the embryo transfer (putting it back in). This involved Bryce needing to learn how to give me injections into my hip every 3 days around the same time every time. Now we were both experts with needles.
Once the doctors said my body was ready we headed back to Vancouver for the transfer. They pick the best of the frozen embryos and thaw it in preparation for our appointment. We decided to only put 1 embryo in at this time.
The embryo transfer takes all of 15 minutes and then we headed back to Kelowna where we now had to wait impatiently to see if it took.
About 12 days later we received the most devastating news, that it did not work and that we were not pregnant. The heartache and sadness that we experienced after all of that will never be forgotten. It was like we failed again. Thankfully we had each other to find comfort and strength in.
Our biggest learning around this process was keeping it private as so many people knew we were going to Vancouver for the transfer that afterward, we kept being asked if we were pregnant or if it stuck. This was again devastating to share with our friends and family
Fast forward to the end of November where we had prepared my body to try again. We headed off to Vancouver, in secret this time, but this time we worried about the roads and our travel.
We again decided to put 1 embryo back in to see if it would take. We waited another 12 or so days to receive news that the results were positive!!! We were elated but nervous as we now had to wait to see if our results would continue to increase. This included more and more blood tests and the numbers kept climbing each time. We were pregnant! Something that we were never able to achieve on our own at all before.
Fast forward to January where we were able to meet with the clinic in Kelowna to confirm we had an embryo that was progressing into a fetus!
This is one of the toughest journeys that we’ve been on but it has given us a completely different outlook on our pregnancy. We are extremely grateful and positive to be where we are today and mindful of others in our lives who haven’t had success in their journeys. I take every ache, pain, and feeling in stride as I reflect on how grateful we are.
You are not alone. Infertility sucks. Find strength in yourself and others for your journey <3