The blood draw to find out if I was pregnant!!
FINALLY pregnant after so long!!
Cozy basics to get you through:
I’m not pregnant in this photo…that’s Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome so lots of fluid in my stomach!
One of the IVF schedules
After one of the egg retrievals…still drugged up!
Doing a trigger shot at the Marriott Center before egg retrieval the next day at exactly 10 pm. You gotta do what you gotta do!
Lots of bruising! So many shots.
Apparently I was concerned… 😉
Hello, friends! Many of you have reached out to me with questions about infertility and IVF. It’s hard that so many people have to go through this trial, but I also think that one of the reasons we are given challenges is to help us learn and grow. I think another reason is that we are then able to help others through it. Infertility was extremely challenging for me, both physically and emotionally. Your family is the most important thing in this world, so when you have problems conceiving, it can leave you feeling stuck in your progression. I’m grateful I experienced it though because I grew SO much as a person and I absolutely love and cherish being a mother.
First, please read this post here. This was the post that I was terrified to publish. I proofread it, I had friends and family proofread it, and I proofread it again. I guess it was such a vulnerable post and so close to my heart that I didn’t know if I could handle any judgement. Instead, I got an outpouring of love, support and encouragement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that.
I also documented our entire 3rd round of IVF here. If you start all the way to the beginning posts, you’ll see my medication regimen and ups and down of the doctor’s appointments, shots, egg retrieval, OHHS or hyperstimulation and everything in between.
Now, on to the Q&A! I was very humbled reading your questions to me. It really made me want to reach out and give you a big hug, because I know if you’re reading this, you are struggling. You are in the thick of it. Your body and your mind are trying to be so strong. Please remember that you’re not alone and that there is an army of people who have made it to the other side!
INFERTILIY Q&A PART 1!! I got so many questions that I’ll publish part 2 on Monday.
1.What is the total price for IVF and how did you afford it? Unfortunately I can’t answer this for you because literally every clinic and every state is difference. We are extremely fortunate because I had incredible insurance through the global software company that I worked for at the time, EMC. It paid for a very large majority of the 3 IUI’s and 3 round of IVF that we did. This is very rare and I can’t even tell you how grateful we were and are. You will need to call the clinic that you are looking to do infertility treatments with and discuss pricing with them. If I didn’t have the good insurance that I do, I would have chosen a clinic that guarantees success or you get your money back if I felt good about the doctor. There are clinics here in Utah where you pay a few thousand dollars more for this option, but they will give you your money back if it doesn’t work after a certain number of tries.
2. How did you deal with the heartbreak of the treatments not working? How did you stay upbeat? I told myself this, “you only have one life.” I didn’t want to waste my life feeling sorry for myself and then look back and regret not enjoying everything that was happy and good and joyful. There is always something good to look for. I also did things that I couldn’t do if I was pregnant or as easily if I had kids…like buy a dirt bike! Yes, I’m serious. Tyler and I took a break over the summer after 5 infertility treatments because I was physically and emotionally exhausted and went dirt biking almost every weekend. We saw lots of movies at the theater. There is always something positive to focus on and I didn’t want to be sad all time, so I wasn’t. This talk is INCREDIBLE and I love this quote from it:
“There is enough that doesn’t go right in life, so anyone can work themselves into a puddle of pessimism and a mess of melancholy. But I know people who, even when things don’t work out, focus on the wonders and miracles of life. These folks are the happiest people I know.”
3. How did you stay hopeful after 3 failed IUI’s and 2 failed rounds of IVF? I had hard moments where I was scared that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to carry my own child, but I always reminded myself that God has a better plan than my own. He loves me, and He loves you. This is firm conviction deep in my soul that keeps me going each day, even now, when I have hard moments. Looking back, I can see His hand in every moment that led up to this experience and throughout it and I have learned SO much through it. I am more patient with others and have more empathy because I remember that I don’t know what struggle they are experiencing. I know that if someone is rude to me, it might not have anything to do with me at all, and everything to do with a battle they are fighting that I know nothing about. This experience has been invaluable to my future happiness.
4. What did you do differently the 3rd round of IVF that resulted in pregnancy? All of the details about that are HERE in this post!
5. When did you make the decision that it was time to see a doctor about your infertility? I had been off birth control and we were consistently trying for a year. I think it’s pretty standard to try on your own for a year before taking the next step.
6. Was your infertility given a diagnosis? I have poor egg quality. During the egg retrieval, I would get a lot of eggs, but only a few were fertilize. When we did human growth hormone shots, I got 3x the embryos (from 3 to 9) and we still have 7 frozen. When we drive by the fertility center, I tell Harris and Goldie to wave to their family members ha ha!
7. Did any of your IUI’s (artificial insemination) result in a pregnancy? No.
8. Do you feel like you understood what the lab was talking about any time we talked to you? (this question came from one of the embryologists at the clinic I went to!) Yes, I understood it all because they were easy to talk to and I felt very comfortable asking questions.
9. Did your IVF protocol change after the 1st 2 failed IVF before you got the 3rd successful IVF round? Yes, my protocol and what we did differently in the IVF round that worked is here in this post.
10. Do you have embryos stored? Yes, we have 7 frozen embryos! We pay $500 each year to keep them frozen. When I drive by, I say that our family is just “chillin'” in the fertility center. Makes me laugh every time.
11. What side effects were there? Whew, this is a tough one to answer! It will also be very different for everyone depending on what specific medications you need to take. My joints hurt, my back hurt, I had night sweats, I got extremely bloated because my ovaries were huge before egg retrieval, I was tired, I was emotional…um…it’s a fun time!
12. How did you survive 12 weeks of progesterone shots after you were pregnant? The shots just keep coming and coming! I wish I could say that you get used to them, but you just don’t. I was scared every time. But, you do what you have to do for your children and you pull that strength from the deepest, most strong part of your soul and you make it happen. And that’s why I think mothers are the toughest creatures in the world. You sacrifice.
13. Did you do PGS? (That stands for preimplantation genetic screening for aneuploidy is a powerful genetic test that may be performed on embryos during IVF treatment to screen for numerical chromosomal abnormalities. PGS is performed on a small embryo biopsy prior to transfer and identifies which embryos are chromosomally normal) No, we didn’t.
14. How did you manage stress? This is a hard one because the whole process is stressful. I tried to rest as much as possible, read, watch movies and shows that I liked and give myself a break and not try to accomplish so much. I tried to remind myself that growing a baby is a big job and I shouldn’t feel guilty about just relaxing for a bit! Oh, and LAUGH!! Laugh, laugh, laugh. It’s the best medicine. It’s hard and serious, but being uptight and miserable isn’t going to help. In fact, it will do more harm than good, so try to do things that you enjoy and laugh with people you love. My husband is hilarious and kept things light for us. Life is hard and honestly, just plain SUCKS sometimes! If it’t not one trial, its another. We can be miserable or we can be happy. Our minds are more powerful than we can even imagine and I learned how much control I have over my attitude throughout this challenge.
15. Do you plan on having more children? Would you have to do IVF again? Or does it work naturally once it worked once? We are planning to have more children in a few years! We want to enjoy Harris and Goldie right now but will probably try again when they are around 4-years-old. I’m on birth control right now, though! Just because you struggle conceiving the first time, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will again, and two babies is enough for me right now 😉 If we need to do IVF again, it will be a lot easier because we already did the egg retrieval and have the 7 frozen embyros. We would only implant one embroyo this time, however. To be honest, I like raising twins, and I could do it again, but carrying them is a whole different conversation. It was really, really hard on my body and I had preeclampsia which caused my organs to start shutting down. Carrying twins is a much higher risk for complications like that.
16. How do you deal with the anger of not being able to have a baby, yet everyone around you is getting pregnant no problem? How did you handle other friends/family/acquaintances expanding their families while you were in the midst of infertility? Luckily, this wasn’t terribly hard for me (of course there were a few moments of sadness) because I had the mindset that we all have trials. Nobody’s life is perfect. Not a single person’s, despite what it may appear on the outside. Each person has heartache. We all struggle and have challenges, and this was one of mine and I needed to make the best of it and learn from it. What was I supposed to learn? How could I help other people because of this?
17. Did you do fresh or frozen transfers? I did one fresh transfer and 2 frozen transfers. I did one egg retrieval where I got 3 embryos and transferred 1 embryo during a fresh cycle which means that the embryo is never frozen, and then two frozen embryos a month and half later. I got pregnant the second time but my HCG levels weren’t going up quickly enough so I had a miscarriage on an airplane that was sitting on the runway in China. It was a real dream come true 😉 We did another egg retrieval that fall and then I got OHSS, where my capillaries started leaking fluid into my abdomen and it looked like I was pregnant. It was hard to breathe and so uncomfortable, so I had to get an IV because I was dehydrated (all of the fluid is going into your abdomen instead of other parts of your body) and get the fluid drained from my abdomen by my doctor. I had to do a frozen transfer the following month because of this, but my doctor said that he sees a 10% higher success rate with frozen transfers which TOTALLY makes sense. Your body is a mess after embyro transfer! I think it is really smart to wait for it to heal and then give it a chance to accept the embryos a month later to grow a baby. Growing a baby takes a huge toll on your body without just having gone through IVF.
18. What was the best thing a friend did for you while going through IVF? I have some really thoughtful, incredible friends. My favorites were surprises on my front porch like flowers and little IVF survival kits with candy and snacks. I think it’s the thought that counts, so any gesture is extremely meaningful. Knowing that people are supporting you and loving you is so special.
19. Where did you do IVF and what doctor did you see? I went to Utah Fertility Center in Pleasant Grove, Utah. I saw Dr. Conway for the first 3 IUI’s and first 2 rounds of IVF and Dr. Foulk for the 3rd round of IVF that worked. I LOVED Dr. Foulk. He is innovative and does things (listed here) that are more nontraditional that work.
20. How old were you when you had your babies? 29. I’m still 29 but turn 30 next month!
21. We are starting our IVF process and are currently in the early stages prepping for the egg retrieval. Any ideas or feedback to plan for the 2-week waiting game finding out if it worked? Relax as much as possible!! Do NOT do dishes, clean your house, do anything stressful or strenuous for 3 days after embryo transfer. Limit any and all stress. Your JOB is to help that embryo stick. Watch movies, eat good food, sleep…just try to enjoy yourself. It’s hard because you’re really wanting to find out if it worked or not, but relax and enjoy some down time. Your body has just worked really, really hard.
22. How did this affect your marriage? Was there any blame or hurt? Luckily my marriage was stronger than ever and we grew together. We lifted each other up and made each other laugh. I think a lot of this had to do with my sweet husband, Tyler. He is so upbeat and kept me laughing. I would cry sometimes, then finish laughing. I think it’s important not to blame anyone and to rely on each other’s strengths to lift each other.
A HUGE resource that I want to make sure to share with you is FertilityIQ.com. It is an incredible resource where you can learn all about cost, diagnosis and what others have thought about their doctors so you can make an informed decision. I talked with Jake and Deb, the creators behind this site, and they said that by FAR the single most important thing is for patients to anonymously assess their fertility doctor, nurses, clinic and billing department on their site.