Road to Baby Valentine

Welcome back, everyone! I apologize for my absence these past few months, but I promise the reason why will have made the wait worth it:

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

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Even typing this out brings tears to my eyes…I mean, what doesn’t these days? Hormone city over here. But honestly, we wished for and wanted this baby for so long, and now we’re here! We did Disney last weekend and we were able to announce with some cute pictures.

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These past few months have been a little cray cray, a tad stressful, and immensely rewarding. We are due to have our second child in July of this year, and we are over the moon deliriously happy to be pregnant. Is it weird to say ‘we’re pregnant’? Since obviously I am the only one with child? Anyway, woo hoo!

Some of you know how long of a journey this has been for us. And for those who don’t, buckle in as I try and give the short of how we got here.

We were diagnosed with secondary infertility a few years ago, after we tried unsuccessfully for baby number 2. We tested a few things out over the years (pills, IUIs, ovulation tracking), none of which worked. Shelved the idea of having another baby for a year (‘Oh it’ll happen as soon as you stop trying!” cool, thaaaanks! Please know that for people who are diagnosed with infertility, it most likely won’t happen naturally. It’s an ignorant thing to say). Cried some and did a lot of Googling. Anyone who has struggled with infertility will tell you that it’s not a straight line from point A to point B, rather a rollercoaster with pit stops in-between. This past September, we decided enough was enough and visited the Reproductive Science Center in San Ramon.

Heading into our first appointment, we knew we wanted to move forward with IVF. We had put it off for so long and wanted to do a procedure that would give us the best chances. Since we are both still young, our Doctor was very optimistic about our odds. We were all set to start ASAP, but due to some travel we already had planned, we couldn’t get things going until October.

In all honesty, I wasn’t worried about IVF. I did some light Googling paired with the handouts from my Doctors, and felt like I knew everything I needed to. I wasn’t going to let IVF define me and I didn’t see myself as an ‘IVF Warrior’ (more power to the woman who have gone through multiple rounds) and I was definitely going to stay off the message boards. I did browse some IVF blog posts, but found a lot of them to be un-relatable. I wanted to share our story in case another person out there feels the same as me, and was looking for a post just like this. You aren’t alone!

If you aren’t familiar with IVF or don’t know too much about it, here’s a breakdown of the process:

COST. Cost is obviously a big part of IVF, and varies from clinic to clinic. Our clinic had a range of 18k-35k, depending on how many rounds you pre-paid for. Buy more, save more. Let’s not forget this is a business as well!

  • First, you do a bunch of blood tests and ‘special samples’ to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • A saline sonogram comes next, to check out your uterus for any abnormalities. They’ll inject your uterus with saline so it will show up on the ultrasound monitor.
  • Next up is a Mock Embryo Transfer, where they practice the path they’ll take for transfer day. These last two involved a catheter, fun.
  • After you get results from all of that, you’re clear to move forward with your calendar! Your case manager will create something like this for you:Screen Shot 2019-01-24 at 8.54.24 AM.png

This is your life, haha.

  • You’ll start birth control, which seems completely backwards, but they need to make sure you won’t be miraculously pregnant before you start treatment.
  • SHOTS. I’m sure if you know anything about IVF, you know some injections are involved. Depending on the results from your tests, you’ll be prescribed a bunch medicines that’ll optimize your results.
  • For me, I did 9 days of two-three injections a night paired with endometrin tabs.  Menopur BURNS going in, but other than that, easy peasy. (I do remember going to give myself my first shot, and I physically could not inject myself, so my husband took over)
  • After the first 4 days of injections, you’ll start going in every day or every other day for blood work so they can monitor how your body is reacting to the hormones.
  • What are the hormones for? To plump up your ovaries with mature eggs!
  • A lot of blogs had me scared about the injections and their side effects, but truth be told I didn’t have any side effects. No two patients are the same, and this was my experience.
  • IVF has a tight timeline, so once your eggs are mature enough, you’ll do a ‘trigger’ shot. This gets the eggs right where they’re supposed to be for retrieval day.
  • Egg retrieval is outpatient surgery, but be prepared to be put under. I didn’t know what that all entailed, honestly, until an episode of This Is Us when Kate goes through this.
  • Once they get your eggs, they’ll let you know how many they were able to grab, and then they might give you updates on how they’re doing. Which ones have matured enough, and how many fertilized.
  • After the fertilization report, they will select the *best* embryo for implantation day.
  • Implantation is a repeat of the mock embryo transfer, except this time it’s the real deal. We got to watch on a monitor our little embryo making it’s way to it’s new home. Very cool, very surreal.
  • 10 days after that, you’ll take a blood pregnancy test. That 10 day wait was killer.

Like I said earlier, each patient and each treatment plan is different. So if yours didn’t look like this, it’s ok! I recognize we had a fairly straight forward process, I was able to get a lot of eggs and a good amount of embryos as well.

Every IVF cycle doesn’t come without some struggles, and I wasn’t an exception.

During that 10 day wait, I tuned into my body and tried to figure out if what I was experiencing were early pregnancy symptoms. After doing enough Googling, Dr Jessica (me) confirmed I was indeed pregnant. I knew it in my heart and my uterus I was with child. Now, to wait for the blood test. The day finally came (a few days after my birthday!), and I walked out of that office with a huge smile on my face, knowing the call would have good news. Bobby had been out of town all week and was going to come home to the best news that night, I had everything planned out. A handful of our family and friends knew today was the day as well, and I couldn’t wait to call them once I got that call. My phone rings, and it’s our doctor. Right away, there was something in her voice that was unsettling. She said she had gotten the results back, and that unfortunately they were negative.

Negative. I heard the word, and kind of spaced out. Negative. No. There’s no way. “Are you sure? There has to be a mistake”. Our doctor kindly explained that there was no mistake (stay tuned LOL), and that there was zero HCG in my blood. We’d try again with another transfer in a few weeks. Now, I’ve been sad before. I’ve experienced depression and loss, but this was something else. I was so sure I was pregnant, and the news that I wasn’t was completely devastating. I stayed curled in a ball for an hour until I was finally able to call my Mom to let her know. I didn’t know what to do.

To just really confirm it on my own, I wanted to take a couple of at home pregnancy tests I already had. I had to see it for myself. 2 minutes later, I received my first positive test. POSITIVE, HCG was in my body…confirmed. I took another one later that day, and when I got another positive, I called my Doctor. Sent an e-mail. No one got back to me until 3pm the next day. They wanted to confirm I took at least two different brands of test, that I waited the full 2 minutes (as if it’s that hard to pee on a stick), and only then did they offer for me to come back in for another blood test. That was positive. The one after was positive. And it wasn’t until 2 weeks after all of this that they confirmed a mistake was made in the lab, I was pregnant from the start.

Obviously some time has passed, and we have a healthy baby to be thankful for…but. Wow. That was really disappointing. Mistakes happen, human error happens. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of my mental health, taking away all those happy phone calls and announcements. All that’s in the past now, and we are just thankful to have a healthy baby on the way.

So there you have it, the long + short of how we got to baby Valentine. If you have any IVF related questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Cool mom, traveler, creative being.

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