December is upon us and that always means time for reflection. 2017 was a difficult year on our road to Baby and we ended it on a bit of a sad note. 3 failed IUIs, our first IVF cycle which resulted in our first ever pregnancy (albeit short lived) and a failed frozen embryo transfer (FET). I hated Christmas last year. One of the positives we took from it all is we ended 2017 knowing we had more options (new clinic, new doctor, adoption consult) but still without a pregnancy or a child.
We completed the rest of our re-testing in January of 2018 with our new doctor at CReATE fertility in Toronto and by the end of that month we were officially back in a full IVF stim cycle. I had been medication free since our last failed frozen embryo transfer (FET) in October and injection free since July of 2017. By CD (cycle day) 9 we were ready to trigger and move on to egg retrieval #2 (or, #1 with the new clinic). We yielded much better results than my first IVF cycle and that brought us 3 beautiful embryos. Shawn and I had previously discussed wanting to have 4 embryos to send off for genetic screening so it meant we would move forward with a third and final retrieval cycle. I took a quick break after the retrieval to go visit my best friend out west and then quickly hopped back in to my final cycle at the end of February. That cycle really took a toll on me both physically and emotionally. It also took a toll on us financially. You see, we had planned for one out-of-pocket cycle this year, not two. Add in the cost of meds to one of those cycles and it was a lot. I remember around CD5 of my third retrieval cycle I wanted to stop. I wasn’t progressing well and I was an overall miserable mess. With an amazingly supportive husband, who is very good at talking me off ledges, we carried on with this final cycle. Notwithstanding the fact that I was already $3K deep in meds after 5 days, we knew there was still time to turn that cycle around. Well, I’m glad we (I) kept at it. It was our most successful cycle out of the 3 and we ended up (to everyone’s surprise) with 7 beautiful embryos. It was at that time we sent all 10 off for genetic testing. After the heartache we went through in 2017 from the chemical pregnancy and a flat out negative from our FET we wanted to make sure we were only transferring genetically normal embryos this time. The cost was high but ultimately, worth it. After what felt like years of waiting we received the call that we had 7 PGS/PGD normal embryos. We were thrilled. It was also at that moment that we took a hard break before moving forward with a transfer.
I learned a lot from my first IVF cycle. Personally I don’t think we should have proceeded with a fresh transfer. My body was under a lot of stress. I was at risk just days before my retrieval for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and while it corrected itself somewhat through the retrieval process I had a rough couple days of recovery and then boom, they transferred an embryo. I wanted to make sure I took the time to fully recoup this time around. Given I did two back-to-back egg retrieval’s, my body my pooped and confused. We went on a trip to Bahamas which was exactly what we needed. I then went on a girls trip to NYC in advance of my 35th birthday.
After 3 months of regulating cycles, taking time for ourselves and doing lots of celebrating, we were ready to move forward with our FET. On June 4, 2018 we transferred one of our beautiful embryos and it stuck.
Pregnancy after infertility is a total mind f*ck. I suffered from some of my worst depression and anxiety in the early months but have really been enjoying the second half of this pregnancy. I am 30 weeks today and with less than 2 weeks until Christmas we can finally say it will be our last one with just us two (so I should sleep in, right??!!)
While 2018 is ending the way we wanted to, it has still be one of our most challenging years yet (have I mentioned we are building a house too? More on that another day). I am grateful for our clinic, my OB, our Doula, all of our friends and family who have stood beside us through thick and thin and Shawn. None of this would be possible without a circle of love and support and our cup overflows with that!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy new year no matter where you are in your journey. I know it may not be a merry one for a lot of my friends still in the wait but I’ve been there and what I can say is do you. If you don’t want to go to that holiday party or brunch at your Aunts, don’t. Protect you heart and yourself this holiday season because your feelings matter.
Much love XO