IVF Journey #1
Shots! Shots! Shots!
Holy sh** I have never been so overwhelmed in my life. IVF you take the cake. I look back now, and it is all an IVF blur. Luckily Nick and I documented a lot of the IVF journey so we could reflect on how in the world this miracle happens.
August 2017 we loaded up and headed to Iowa City. For all that don’t know Iowa City is one of my favorite places. Absolutely love it. Love the food, people and art. That was my silver lining at the time. At least if I have to make a ton of trips for IVF, I would be going to Iowa City. Good thing too because in the end, I can’t even count how many trips we had to make. I wish I could have made more. The appointment where they explain to me all the drugs I will be doing to boost those ovaries for my egg retrieval should have been a few days. We sat there during that appointment just nodding and grinning. Oh yeah ok so I fill this syringe with this but then I mix it with this thing, and then I inject?? Shoot not mix, shake. Got it. Oh, wait for the pen thing I use myself it can run out mid shot? So then I have to stab myself twice? WTF! Ok, Nick has to give me a shot on my back every day at the same time. Dear god help me. The day I picked up all the meds it came in 2, count them 2, Hy-Vee brown bags and costs thousands. I had thousands of dollars in meds I had no clue on how to use. So I started popping pills and stabbing myself. Well, it took a couple times for me to get down giving myself a shot. Here’s the unedited video of my first attempt at the shots for IVF. Figured I’ll be raw with you and let you see me in all my glory. Warning it does show the shot going in at the end if you’re squeamish of needles don’t watch the last 50 seconds.
Also took Nick a while to get used to giving me the progesterone shots. Actually, I still don’t think he is used to doing it even though he has had to do 100+ times. Ask Nick about the time he injected the shot, and I screamed, so he pulled the syringe back out. He pulled the needle back out before injecting the progesterone! Which means we had to start all over and redo the shot. I almost killed him. Love the man, but at that moment I could have strangled him. Or how about the time we took a vacation with friends to Florida, and I had to have these giant circles on my back! Thankful for high waisted swimsuit bottoms. (Yes I have a lower back tattoo. Young me was so trendy.)
After what felt like years of giving myself shots in all kinds of random places. We reached egg retrieval day. From my meeting with the doctor, this is a simple procedure, and you will be in and out. Very few people have complications. That should have been a red flag for me to prepare for the worst. If you haven’t caught on by the title of my blog, yet I tend to have a bit of bad luck, and generally, all the worst case scenarios happen to me. That is precisely what happened to me on October 2, 2017. I went into this appointment being all joyful. My ultrasounds had shown my ovaries were working overtime and had produced a good amount of eggs. YAY! Finally, something was going right. I got all dressed in the most beautiful hospital gown, for real can’t someone come up with a better hospital gown, and was wheeled away to the operating room.
There I went into a blissful sleep. The procedure went great. In fact, the IVF team managed to get 34 eggs! OMG! Exciting! Until I woke up. I tell you I haven’t been in that much pain in my life. Not to mention I was barfing nonstop. I couldn’t stop crying. I just kept looking at Nick, who was totally freaking out and being like help me. HELP ME! We checked in for my procedure early morning and didn’t get to leave the hospital till late afternoon/early evening. When they mentioned that I might have to stay the night. I forced myself to get up and go to the bathroom. NO way I am staying. Not so much the in and out like they had told me about.
I had Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. I spend the next 5 days at home monitoring my temperature, fluids in and fluids out. I was so bloated I looked 6 months pregnant. I was so sore I could barely move. But all the pain and suffering was worth it. So I am supposed to say because we got 34 oocytes, 27 were inseminated, 20 fertilized, and 5 were good. Once again WTF! Out of all those eggs I worked so hard to produce and struggled to get out we ended up with 5 embryos! How out of all those little eggs did we end up with 5! We initially were told we had 6. Psych you have 5. I know I shouldn't complain. Especially since there are a lot of people out there, who end up with one or none. That totally breaks my heart. I know the pain and suffering you go through for those little eggs and to end up with none would be devastating. I just feel like the numbers game with IVF doesn't get talked about enough.
Saturday, October 7th 5 days after my painful retrieval I went in for a fresh embryo transfer. Oh, happy day! It was a home football game, which meant Nick would be tailgating and my Mom and I would have to fight traffic to get to UIHC. We suited up in our scrubs all excited, again. Took photos to document the day. Joked about how my Mom was going to be there when we conceived our first kid. All was good. I mean I still felt like complete crud from the egg retrieval, but I didn’t put my body through all of that to not do a fresh transfer.
There are conflicting articles online about which is best fresh or frozen transfer. Once again they usually go back to everyone's body is different. Even though IVF has been around for quite some time, they are still learning things. So they say. It was funny. I had a radiologist tech checking out my ovaries one day when she informed me she was born in the 80s and was an IVF baby. Once again it got me thinking about how many people go through IVF but don't talk about it. I have always been an open book in my life. That is why I am doing this blog. If someone who is going through infertility can gain a sense of other people are battling the same things as me. I got what I wanted out of this blog. Hopefully, you can laugh at how my infertility battle was not glamorous. I am putting this out there for you to do that.
Into the tiny little room, we go. And then we wait….and wait...and wait, which we all know when waiting in a doctors office slows time like no other. 5 minutes feels like 5 hours. Finally, the nurse and ultrasound tech come in. They get me all prepped and ready for the doctor. The doctor comes in, and we get down to the business of knocking me up!
Where do babies come from? Good question. For us they come from here!
This is one of my favorite photos. Someday when our kids ask where do babies come from? We can say a little door in the wall. LOL. For real. They open the door to the lab, and a lovely lady is on the other side. She proceeds to say I have an embryo for Kelly…..how do you say your last name? I don’t want to mess this up on your day. We tell her how to correctly say Hueneke, and she hands over our kid. IN A TUBE! Weird. In the kid goes and off we go to live about our typical day. Nick heads over to Kinnick to cheer on the Hawks, and I go get pizza from Lincoln Wine Bar with my Mom. Totally weird. IVF is the strangest thing ever. I go about my normal life maybe pregnant maybe not? I guess that is what it would be in a natural pregnancy. Just you don't know your pregnant at the 5-day mark, and I did. Brings up another IVF fact. The embryo going in is 5 days old. I guess that is the magic date for when the egg will attach to my uterine wall? Ten days after the transfer I head up to Medical Associates lab to have blood drawn to see if I am pregnant. I opted to have UIHC leave a message for me on a voicemail system I call into. That way Nick and I can be together when we get the news. I called that number all damn day waiting to hear “ You have 1 new message.” When I finally heard that I hung up, which took all the power in the world to not continue to listen and called Nick. We met at the brewery to listen to the message. The second the nurse started talking. I knew it wasn’t good news. I had a feeling I wasn’t pregnant. I don’t know how but I just knew. Nick and I cried there for a bit then dusted ourselves off and went back to work. I sat there just staring at the screen for some time before I started googling can a pregnancy test be wrong? What percentage of a pregnancy test is wrong? I wanted to be pregnant so bad. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards this time.
We scheduled a follow-up appointment with UIHC and went back to trying to live a normal life. Trying to act like we didn't just lose a baby was hard. Especially with IVF because everyone in our family and friends group knew we were going through it. In a way that was good and bad. Everyone asked for the results but also everyone was there for support. Going through infertility, IUI, IVF and all that jumble you really need those loving friends and family to talk to. At the followup appointment in October, they basically said everything at the time of the transfer was all good. Why it didn’t work who really knows. We set up with them to do a frozen transfer in December. Dealing with infertility is the world's longest waiting game. At that time December seemed like light years away. But we had no choice, so we waited till December. But when December came and my period showed up late (typical me fashion) we once again got pushed back. Pushed back to January.
To end all my IVF posts, I say this. I wish I had a mentor for IVF. I wish I had someone to call and be like HELP and is this NORMAL??? So to those who are reading this and want to talk more in-depth about IVF reach out. I am more than willing to go through the whole process with you and share the things that helped me get through it. Like a lavender pillow and singing while Nick stabbed me in my back. Literally. ;)