Friday, January 25, 2008

Finally Pregnant!

Jan 2007- we started the long journey down one of our last options to conceive, the IVF journey, otherwise known as in vitro. After trying on our own for a while, then enduring a year of other fertility treatments, starting in March 2006--including 6 months of clomid, a laprascopy for endometriosis and then 4 IUIs (intrauterine insemination or artificial insemination), not to mention the litany of tests...........we finally bit the bullet and decided to do IVF.

The overall process is 6 weeks of shots, pills, raging hormones, huge medical bills and more. It isn't a cake walk, that's for sure. But we made the committment and started our journey. The first 4 weeks are birth control pills to give your ovaries a break/rest. I also had to inject lupron nightly into my thigh to suppress ovulation. Then aunt flo made her lovely visit, and for once in my life i was happy to see her. It meant we were that much closer to our goal of doing IVF. Next step was to torture myself further by injecting 2 more shots a night- menopur and follistim. Alan helped by doing some of the injections and mixing them for me. They really weren't bad, and I became used to being the human pin cushion! These shots were 'stims', designed to stimulate ovulation and growth of more than just one egg (which is what a normal woman has each month). Ideally they are looking for you to produce multiple eggs of good quality. I went in for the countless doctors appointments, I felt like i could use his office as a secondary address, I was there so often for sonograms to monitor the growth of my eggs. Things looked good- I had 13 eggs. Only 7 appeared viable- meaning they would be the right size/maturity.

So on Feb 15th, the day after Valentine's day, i was ready. We went in for the 'egg retrieval' and I was put under. It is a quick day surgery where they remove the eggs from me and transfer them to the lab to be fertilized and grow. We expected 7 eggs, they removed 8 that were viable! I was in some pain after, but recovered at home for 2 days. The next 5 days were critical. Now it was up to the egg and sperm to do their job under the watchful eye of the embryology lab at Presby Plano. We got the call the second day that all 8 of my eggs fertiltized on their own. That's a big step and a great percentage. Usually only 75% of the eggs fertilize. We had 100%! Alan's boys did their job!

The lab lets the embryos grow for 3-5 days depending on how they are developing. Ours were doing great, so they went with 5 days. The goal is for each fertilized egg to continue having its cells split more and more. Each day you should have more cells- by day 3- 8 cells. Ours were looking good and by day 5, all were still alive. Many die or stop growing during this time. We still had all 8 on day five, but only two of them were good quality blastocysts. A blastocysts is what you want- it has the most cells and is ready to be implanted into the uterus. We had 2 grade B blasts. So on day 5, Feb 20th, we went back in for the embryo transfer. I was not put under for this and Alan was allowed in the room. he had to gear up in smock and all, since it is a clean room and they have to keep the embryos totally sterile. They then proceeded to implant the 2 tiny embryos into my uterus. The embryologist comes in and the embryos are microscopic of course and in a little tube used to implant them. A few minutes later and I was officially pregnant- meaning I had 2 embryos in there. Now it was up to them to 'stick' and implant, another challenge on the road to becoming pregnant.

After you are 'implanted' and are waiting to take a pregnancy test, they call it the 2WW or the two week wait. You can't really test until 2 weeks after ovulation (which was the date of my egg retrieval). Otherwise, you won't get an accurate result. So i finally tested at home, I couldn't wait until the scheduled beta blood test with the doc on March 1st. and it came up positive- or a BFP- big fat positive! the March 1st doctor's test confirmed it- I was officially with child after many years, many negative tests and many tears. My beta level as like 132, about average for an IVF pregnancy for that point. It didn't appear so high that they thought it might be twins- it was more along the lines of a singleton pregnancy. Our first ultrasound at 7 weeks along confirmed it was just one baby. Alan was relieved! so now the real journey begins........

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