I figured this would be better than clogging my Facebook with all of the IVF updates. I will be sharing a link on Facebook each time I create a new blog post, but the actual updates will be here on the blog.
So… where do I begin? I guess I can start with a little backstory for those who have no idea how this all has gone down so far. This will be very general information, but in future blogs I’ll break down the more technical infertility stuff. Hell, I may even blog about non-fertility/IVF stuff from time to time. I guess we’ll just see where this goes.
So, many of you know that we are about to begin our third IVF cycle. Wait. Backup… do you even know what IVF is? Ok, I’ll tell you. IVF (in vitro fertilization) is when the eggs are taken out of a woman’s ovaries, and combined with the sperm of her partner (or donor, or whatever) to make an embryo. This is done in a lab, and after the embryos have a few days to grow they are transferred to the woman’s uterus. Sometimes they’re transferred “fresh”, and sometimes they’re transferred after they’ve been frozen.
This is different from IUI (intrauterine insemination) where they simply take the man’s sperm, “wash” it (meaning they separate the actual sperm from the semen), and then basically use a turkey baster (ok, it’s a little more scientific than that) to insert the washed sperm into the uterus. With IVF, they are creating embryos in a lab. With IUI they are just hoping that a sperm will find an egg inside the uterus or fallopian tubes and an embryo will be created.
Prior to IVF, we had six IUIs. None of them resulted in a pregnancy. Our first IVF cycle resulted in the retrieval of seven eggs, all of which they were able to fertilize. Because some of my lab values weren’t favorable for a fresh transfer, they ended up freezing the embryos to be transferred the following month with a new cycle.
For the first transfer we thawed three embryos, and two were good enough to transfer, so we transferred both. This resulted in a BFN (big fat negative) pregnancy test. For the second transfer we thawed four and had two good enough to transfer, so again we transferred both. Here’s where things get tricky. I did get a positive pregnancy test from this transfer, and though my HCG numbers (the hormone they test to determine if you’re pregnant) doubled properly in the beginning, they eventually started bouncing all over the place and then falling altogether. Some people would refer to this as a chemical pregnancy (CP); others would refer to it as an early miscarriage. I think the difference is whether or not the embryo was even viable to begin with, but with such an early loss (and without having the embryos genetically tested before the transfer) there is no way to tell. Was it a good embryo that couldn’t attach to my uterus for some reason? Or was it a genetically abnormal embryo that never would have survived? We’ll never know.
What I do know is that it absolutely wrecked me. After several years of trying naturally, followed by all the IUIs, and now with our second embryo transfer, I was finally pregnant! And then I wasn’t. It was the most shitty experience of my life, and it dragged on for almost two weeks. Trust me, I’ve had some really shitty life experiences, which I may or may not elaborate on at some point… but this one took the cake.
Several months after this, we had our second IVF cycle, meaning they went in for more eggs to make more embryos. This time they got four. Three fertilized, but only two were decent enough to transfer. This time we did a fresh transfer (they weren’t frozen), but again we got a BFN. This was in July 2015, so it’s been almost two years since we’ve done an IVF cycle.
This time I feel really good about our upcoming cycles, for several reasons. Things are very different this time. When I tell you the stars are aligning for us, I mean things really couldn’t be going any more perfectly than they are right now. I will explain more in the next post, but right now it’s after midnight and I have an early doctor’s appointment in the morning. Fingers crossed I have good news to share!