I got follicles on the brain


Boy the fertility center was packed on Saturday.  I looked around the room at all the different couples in the waiting room.  It was so cool to see people from all walks of life – younger couples, “older” couples (“old” in fertility years.  they say a woman’s success rate goes down dramatically at 35 years), same sex couples, and then us.  We, fortunately, would still fit in that “younger couple” group.  Anyways, there were so many people there.  So many people going through the same journey as we are.  Some just beginning down this infertility road and some probably nearing their end.  It really gave me a sense of normalcy for once.  I’m not alone.  Infertility is so common.  I wanted to go around to each couple or woman and pick their brain and ask them about their story.  Ask them how they got here, ask them how long they’ve been trying.  I wasn’t going for the crazy-lady-look tho so I kept my mouth shut but I wanted so bad to hear someone else’s journey to make me feel reassured we can do this together.

We got to our appointment a little early cuz we didn’t know how long it was going to take to get there and what the parking situation would be.  This was the first monitoring appointment Brandon was able to be at and it was nice having him see what these appointments entail.  They called me back for my ultrasound with a group of other woman.  I told Brandon it felt like we were herding cattle.  We were led to a second waiting room.  A second waiting room?  That’s how big the Chicago office is.  So many people and so many waiting rooms.  Brandon and I sat down and just as I was thinking “gee I wonder how long we’ll have to wait in this room for” I heard the nurse yell “Antonia G”.  Sweet, first in line!

I laid on the exam table with my feet up in the stirrups, a position I’m oh so familiar with, and was introduced once again to my new best friend, the vaginal probe.  Oh, hello old friend good to see you again.

With my nerves pulsing I quickly asked the nurse if she was still seeing 6 follicles on the right side to which she replied “I don’t know dear, I just started”.  :::Ok, calm down Toni.  Give her a chance to do her job:::

So I sat there while she measured and measured and Brandon was watching the screen probably wondering what the hell he was looking at.  When she was done she gave us our numbers.  The moment of truth.

3 on the left and 7 on the right.  10 follies ranging in size from 8.8mm-16.9mm.  A good size follicle for ovulation is 18-24mm.  So while I’m happy with the amount of follicles I’m still praying for them to reach a mature size.  See there’s just so many things to worry about and over analyze!

When my nurse called later she informed us of the ultrasound results again and said that my estrogen was trending good at 649.  “Uhh, ok is that good?”  I asked her.  She said that it was and my last estrogen level was 250.

So me being me I googled “estrogen levels during IVF” as soon as I got off the phone with her.  I read that each mature follicle should be producing an estrogen level of 150-200.

Cue Toni freak-out-mode.  Here are the thoughts running through my head:

  • If each follicle should be producing a level of 200 and I only have 650, does that mean I only really have 3 good follicles in there?
  • Why would my nurse say my estrogen is trending well? 650 sounds like a horrible number now that I’ve asked Dr Google (cue palm to face).
  • This IVF cycle is going to be a bust.  This is all for nothing.  I bet they’re not going to get even 1 good follicle.  My body sucks.  I can’t believe I thought it had potential to do this.
  • I’m definitely gonna have to do 12 more rounds of IVF to get a good number of follicles.

Yeah.  I’m absolutely insane, I know.  Insane is probably an understatement.  Bat shit crazy? Yeah that’s more like it.

After talking myself down from my mental break-down I proceeded with my normal life.  I’ve managed to take my mind off of it (at least until I go in again tomorrow for my next ultrasound/blood work appointment).  Med protocol is the same for now – still 3 shots a night.

Today helped keep my mind occupied on other things.  We had my niece, Lyla’s baby dedication ceremony.  Here’s me feeling pretty and letting my mind be free of IVF worries.  Anyone know where the bathrooms are in this place?



Stimlulation Station

February 28, 2017

So I’m currently on Day 5 of taking my stimulation shots to grow all the follicles! I’m on 225 IU of Gonal F and 5 units of Lupron.  It’s been… interesting.  I had a full on mood swing this weekend where I thought Brandon was literally scared of me (once again, poor guy).  This morning I felt absolutely awful with nausea and stomach pains but it wore off through out the day, thank God.  I can definitely feel something going on in my ovaries that’s for sure.  20170228_203217Brandon has been helping me with my shots which makes it nice cuz we can do two at once which kinda makes it feel like it’s just one.   This picture is after work on Monday night.  He likes to give me the Lupron.  These are the things were bonding over now-a-days!

I went in this morning for my first follicle check since starting the stim shots. I have 5 measurable follicles and 12 in the “background” waiting to grow.  Whoah, if I feel swollen now how will I feel when I could potentially have 17 follicles in my ovaries. Huge, I’m guessing.  When my nurse called with my numbers she said things are coming along but my doctor wants to add in Menopur to help increase the number of follicles and help them mature.  The new plan is Lupron 5 units, Gonal F 150 IU, and Menopur 150 IU. 3 shots a night, yay. 20170303_115121

Holy hell does the Menopur sting.  I hate it.  I dread it.

I go back on Thursday, March 2nd for more monitoring to see where things are at.

March 3, 2017

Brandon and I took guesses on how many follicles would show up on my ultrasound yesterday.  He guessed 9, I guessed 8.  I was right, obviously.  Although I wish he was, I’d take 1 more!  I’m happy we have 3 more showing up since my last ultrasound but I’m just getting a little worried that we won’t make it to over 10 by the time retrieval comes.  My nurse said they like to see over 10 but will go in with as little as 4 but that is a very low number.  She assured me that there is still time for growth.  I just need to talk myself down from the anxiety I’m feeling over only having 8 at this point.  I worry way too much, I know.

I’m not experiencing too drastic of side effects right now.  Definitely have a sore tummy tho.  I’m running out of areas on my belly that don’t hurt or aren’t bruised.  This statement has never been so true – the struggle is real.

I’m still doing 3 shots a night and I go in tomorrow for blood work and ultrasound.  Since it’s a Saturday we have to go to the Chicago River North location.   So tomorrow morning we’ll wake up bright and early to head downtown for our appointment at 8:45.  Please, please say there are more pretty little follicles in there!


Doin shots

The past week or so hasn’t been too exciting with news to share.  I guess the fact that we got to start the shots is pretty exciting in itself tho.  I started the Lupron February 16th at 10 units every night.  They aren’t too bad but for some reason it takes some extra effort to actually get the needle to pierce through my skin.  The first night I did it I was standing there trying to push it through my skin and the needle wasn’t budging.  Brandon was watching me yelling “push it in already!” to which I replied with a loud “I AM!!”  What’d ya think I liked standing there with a needle poking me but not actually going through my skin?? Uhh no thank you!

So I continued with the Lupron injections everyday until they told me to come in again (which would be today, February 24th).  I didn’t experience too many side effects just overall moodiness and I’ve been very bloated but this could be related to my period occurring at the same time.  I’m sure it was probably the combination of the two.  I’ve been making it a point to make my gym time longer during this past week because I know I can’t run anymore once the stimulation shots start.  This bums me out cuz I feel like my exercise routine is the one thing I can actually have some control over. Does anyone have any suggestions on safe work-outs while going through IVF? I’d love to hear them!

Today I went in for another ultrasound/blood work appointment.  My nurse just called and gave the exciting news that we can start the stimulation shots!! WOOOOHOOO!!!! Let’s start growing those eggs!!  This is a huge step!  The plan is to decrease the Lupron to 5 units and start the Gonal F at 225 units for the next 4 nights until I go in again for ultrasound and bloodwork on February 28th.

If I thought I was bloated before I wonder how I’ll feel once my body starts growing all these precious eggs.

But hey, it will all be worth it! Right?


Textbook Uterus

So a lot has happened this week in our little infertile world.  Brandon went to Chicago on Tuesday to freeze a sample.  He explained it to be as awkward as I imagined it would be and then some (leather couch, TV on the wall, doorbell to ring when your “finished”).  I was dying when he was describing everything from the uber drive there to the nurse coming to collect his sample fully gowned up.  Finally, he’s the one going through a horrifying experience! Poor guy but he’s such a sport through it all.

You know how much it cost to freeze sperm? 500 dolla! Can’t we just put them in an ice cube tray in our freezer for free?? On a serious note I’m happy we decided to freeze a back-up.  I’m reading a book about a a couple who went through IVF and the guy couldn’t produce a sample the day of his wife’s egg retrieval. images So as hours and hours passed his wife’s poor eggs were dying.  She went through a month of IVF hell and then her dang husband couldn’t even keep up his end of the bargain. I think it’d take everything in me to not kill Brandon if that happened.  Hence, the freezing of the sperm.  I don’t wanna have to kill him that’d just be inconvenient for everyone.  We decided at our consultation that we were going to freeze some spermies and reading this chapter just solidified the decision.  500 dollars didn’t sound so bad after all.  A fresh sample is the best and we’ll still shoot for one the day of my egg retrieval (no pun intended) but in cases like these you gotta have a back-up.  It’s just not worth it to take that risk.

Also, I really would recommend this book to anyone about to go through IVF or going through it now.  It gives a really cool perspective from both the man and woman’s side.

The next big thing is my meds came yesterday! I kept saying I wasn’t going to believe our insurance was covering them until I had them in my hand.
Well our bank account isn’t cleared out and the medications are sitting on our table (some are also in the fridge next to some beer and cheese).  We spent a little over $200 on thousands and thousands of dollars of medications.  I think this is a good time to mention how thankful I am.  When it comes to insurance coverage, I realize how fortunate we are.  I am not taking any of it for granted.  Yes we were dealt a shitty hand when we became an IVF couple in our 20’s but we were also dealt a really good hand with our insurance.  I know there are plenty of couples out there who have little to no coverage for any of this so believe me I know how lucky we are.

Did I mention how big the box was and how many meds were in it? Talk about putting things into perspective.

As scary as all those medications look I cannot wait to get started.  Like I said before, each medication is just another check off our list to getting closer to our ultimate goal.  I’m ready to break open these boxes.  I’m ready for the pokes and bruises.  I’m at a really good place with all of this.  I hope I can keep up this positive attitude once all the hormones start getting injected into me!

The final thing to talk about this week was my mock embryo transfer/saline sonohysterogram.  I was not looking forward to this cuz I was assuming it would be like the HSG procedure I had done back in September which wasn’t THAT bad but also wasn’t that good.  I was ready for it to be uncomfortable and painful.  I stopped at Walgreen’s on the way there to get some Ibuprofen.  I took 3 in preparation.  When the nurse took me in the room she asked me if I ever had this procedure done or if I knew anything about it.  I told her I had an HSG and she responded with “this is nothing like that.”  Well that was reassuring.  She told me I may experience some slight discomfort but it won’t last long.  The doctor and nurse performed it together – my doc passed the catheter through my cervix and into my uterus and the nurse was in charge of the vaginal probe.  I fixated my eyes on the ceiling and let my body relax and then after what felt like a minute it was over.  I couldn’t believe it.  “That’s it?” I asked the doctor. It was in fact over and I didn’t feel a thing.  I let out a big sigh and told them that the HSG was way worse! My doctor responded with a “told ya so!”

I looked over at the ultrasound machine to see the pictures they took not really knowing what I was looking at.  I asked if that was my uterus on the screen.  Doc responded – yep you got a textbook uterus, things look great.

Awww yeah, did ya hear that – a textbook uterus. 20170210_211945

He assured me that things should go smoothly the day of the embryo transfer!

My nurse called later in the day to check how everything went and tell me the next step is blood work and ultrasound on February 16th to see if we can start the Lupron injections.  We also have to sign some paperwork saying we haven’t and won’t be traveling to any Zika areas in the coming months.  They will not treat us if we do.

Fine with us.  We have no plans to do so.

Anyways, did I mention I have a perfect uterus?


the journey has officially began

So I officially started taking the pill a few days ago.  This is the beginning of it all.  I laughed when I took my pill tonight.  1 tiny pill, once a day won’t get me pregnant but numerous shots, pills, blood draws, ultrasounds, surgical procedures, and an embryo transfer MIGHT get me pregnant.  20170201_211627Hilarious.  I’m feeling nervous and excited.  Each day that passes were closer to checking one medication off the list and getting started on the next.  I’ve never wanted time to go by so fast! This process has made me the master at the waiting game because that’s all you have to do when you go through infertility treatment- waiting for your period to start so you can begin the next step, waiting to move on to another medication to see if that works, and the dreaded two week wait to see if all the hard work paid off.  WAIT WAIT WAIT!  The worst part is you don’t know if all this waiting will pay off in the end.

I’ve been asking myself a lot lately if we’re doing the right thing.  Is this really what it’s going to take to have a family?  Should we just keep trying a few more months and see if it happens on its own?  Am I ready and strong enough to endure this journey that will probably be one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through?  The only answer I have for myself is – I don’t know.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that we’re moving forward with IVF and I may or may not be pregnant in the end.  I’m taking this one day at a time.

Oh and Beyonce is pregnant with twins.  Why was my first thought “I wonder how much fertility treatment she had to go through to get twins?” sigh, this is the way my brain works now.

Stay tuned

Infertility · IVF

Science is seriously cool


I just got home from our IVF consultation and all I can think of is – wait, what just happened?  Information overload! Props to the doctor and nurse for covering everything and anything but holy shit that was a lot!

What will you do with the leftover embryos?  What will you do with them if you die? What if your partner dies?  What if you both die simultaneously? What if you get divorced?  Will you donate them to research? Destroy them? Keep them forever?

Geez Louise.  I went in there feeling so prepared with my list of questions nicely typed and printed out.  Luckily the doctor covered 99% of the questions I had on my list without me even having to ask.  I felt like everything I’ve been preparing for the past few weeks went out the window in those 30 minutes I sat in his office.  I felt like a sponge trying to soak up every last piece of information he was throwing at us knowing as soon as I walk out I’ll forget everything! I better jot this down while it’s still fresh.  To sum it up this is our plan:

  1. When my next cycle begins I will start by taking birth control. Yes, birth control.  This allows everything to shut down and gives the medical team control over what my body does in the weeks leading up to IVF.  The goal of birth control is to prevent spontaneous ovulation and hormones from interfering with stimulation.  The last medication I thought would help me get pregnant was birth control but it makes sense now.
  2. During the birth control phase I will also be giving myself daily injections of Lupron which prevents a premature LH surge that would cause ovulation of the eggs from the follicles before egg retrieval.
  3. Stimulation aka multiple injections a day to make lots of follicles (my doctor expects me to make 14-17.egg-818191_1280
  4. Shot of HCG to mature the egg in the follicle and get it ready for retrieval
  5. Egg retrieval – eggs are surgically aspirated from ovaries.  This is the part I am most nervous for.  Just looking at this picture scares me. Like seriously, what.the.hell. That needle is giant.78cd771578d83a1c21398a6afb9bc937
  6. Fertilization – Brandon’s favorite part of this whole process cuz ya know.  Well, you know…
  7. Embryo culture – growin those babies in a petri dish
  8. Embryo transfer – ideally the embryos are strong enough to last until day 5, if not doing well then transfer on day 3

After consulting with the doctor we sat with nurse who had us sign A LOT of paperwork regarding the care of our embryos and the agreement that we understood the risks of multiples.  Yes. We understand.

The best news I received tho was our chance of success given my age, health, and diagnosis.  Drum roll please…


For the first time in a very very long time I have hope you guys! Not just because of this percentage but because the wonderful and amazing things people have said to me since “coming out” with our story.  The words of encouragement, the personal testimonies of successful IVF, and even the “hey I have no idea what you’re going through but I’m here for you” comments.  All of that is what is pulling me through this and for that I am beyond grateful.

Another great piece of news I received was regarding our insurance coverage.

A little bit of history regarding our insurance:  our insurance company is generous enough to cover 90% of all the procedures and monitoring but we have been fighting with our prescription coverage to cover the injections.  You call one day and they tell you the medications are covered and you call 10 minutes later and you’re not. We ended up not getting coverage for the medications during our IUI.  We were lucky enough to get 08fec784448bb651671d6f7368f0d99eFollistim samples through our fertility center but we had to pay for the HCG injections out of pocket.  These medications are extremely expensive without insurance.  IVF meds are like IUI meds on steroids – the list is a lot longer which = $$$$. I was really worried over the idea of paying out of pocket for all these medications (we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars).

Anyways, the good news is that by some miracle of God, everything is covered! I feel like the stars are starting to align for us.

Things are finally starting to go our way.  We’ll be starting our journey through IVF in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!



for those who don’t know me…

  • My name is Antonia but I’ve gone by Toni my whole life
  • I live in the burbs of Chicago
  • I’m a CVT (Certified Veterinary Technician)
  • I have two pitty mixes who are my world – Eden and Janet

edenmarie  janetlouise

  • I have two sisters, Gina and Sam, who are my best friends

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  • And they both made me the Auntie to two of the sweetest angels in the world, Grace and Lyla

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  • In my free time I like to work out, be with friends and family, hang out with my pups, and watch trashy reality television (it’s a really unhealthy addiction, i know)
  • My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July.  It’s kind of a big deal in our house

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iui #2

It was nice that we were in Michigan when we found out the result of our first IUI because it kept my mind occupied.  We were with my family who, at the time, had no idea about our infertility struggles so I didn’t get bombarded with questions of whether it not it worked.  It was nice to be around my family during this weekend.  They have never have asked me when were having kids or even made comments suggesting they want another grand baby.  They know these are inappropriate questions to ask (unlike most of the world who feels your reproductive system is their business). This is exactly what I needed.  I needed to escape the rejection.  Here are some memories from that weekend:

When we got back home a few days later it was just about time to jump into the beginning phases of our next IUI.  My doctor decided to try this cycle on lower doses of Clomid and Follistim in hopes that the my uterine lining wouldn’t thin out.  I took the medications as directed and we went in for our second IUI on December 15, 2016.  This day was pretty significant for Brandon and I.  It was the day we met for the very first time 7 years ago.  I was hoping this was a good luck charm.  This IUI was later in the day which was nice for both of us.  We went through the same motions as before when we got there.  Brandon’s numbers were even better this time and I was working with 2 good follicles.  When they were ready for us we went into the room and I laid down with my feet in the stirrups.  The nurse came in to perform the IUI and when she went to turn on her light it wouldn’t go on.  It’s obviously pretty important that she be able to visualize where things are being inserted so we had to have a light.  It was quite a sight to see everyone scrambling to get it to work while I lay there with no pants on waiting to be inseminated!  I was also holding on to our sample between my two hands to keep it warm since the IUI was being delayed due to all this.  At one point Brandon was laying on his back on the floor trying to see if he could fix it for my poor nurse who told us she had no idea how to do it since this rarely ever happens.  It was entertaining watching this unfold.  No one could fix it and we ended up having to switch rooms.  The picture below was the second room with a working light!


We all laughed at what had happened and my nurse said hopefully this would be a good story to tell in the delivery room.  Fingers crossed it would be!

We went home and proceeded with the next 2 weeks like we did before.  Progesterone was consistent with ovulation again! The day I got my progesterone checked (7 days after our IUI) I started to spot very lightly.  I knew this was different than every other time I spot before a period.  I’ve never spotted this early in my cycle and all the research I’ve done has said that implantation bleeding happens right around this time.  For the first time I was actually excited to be spotting and thought this could be our month.

Implantation spotting, at most, only last a a few days.  The spotting I was experiencing was going beyond that.  I was confused what was going on so I took a home pregnancy test 2 days before I went in for my blood pregnancy test.  It was negative.  I was crushed again.  I dealt with it the same way I dealt with the first unsuccessful IUI but this one I took a lot worse.  I cried even harder and hated myself even more.  I told Brandon I was sorry.  I was sorry because if he ended up with someone else he could have had a family by now.  He told me I was crazy for saying something like that and he only wants a family with me but I couldn’t help but have thoughts like these.  I decided that I couldn’t continue to deal with this pain.  I just couldn’t even bear to think about going through 2 more IUIs that wouldn’t work.  The success rate of an IUI for me was 15-20%.  This is the same success rate for an average couple who try to conceive without infertility issues.   The rejection from these IUIs was taking so much out of me.  I made a decision to do what was best for me.  I needed a break and I didn’t want to put myself through anymore when the success rate wasn’t even that significant.  I told Brandon I didn’t want to jump into another IUI next cycle and he wanted to do whatever I thought was best for me.  I wanted a break from the world of infertility for a month or so.  I was ready to move on to IVF.

I went to have my blood pulled 2 days later even tho I knew what the result would be (or so I thought).  I had to work that afternoon but kept my phone out so I could talk to the nurse when she called.  I wanted to tell her that we were ready to move on to IVF.  When the nurse called she started asking me if my home pregnancy tests were negative.  I was confused why she was asking this and wondering why she just wasn’t telling me the result was negative.  She then told me my HCG level was above 5 which technically meant I was pregnant.  She started to explain what was going on but I didn’t hear anything she was saying.  I stopped her. Whoah whoah wait, did you just say I was pregnant????  She could tell I was in shock and also confused.  She went on to explain that any HCG level above a 5 means pregnancy.  My level was an 8.  Wayyyyy to low to be a healthy and stable pregnancy.  She said I was having a biochemical pregnancy. A what? What the hell is that?  What I came to learn was that an egg was fertilized but for whatever reason my body rejected it.  She told me to come in 5 days later to have my levels rechecked but to not get my hopes up.  It wasn’t a good pregnancy and I should expect to get my period over the weekend.  Without me even bringing it up she said our doctor was OK with us moving on to IVF.  This made me feel more confident with our decision.  I fought through the tears on the phone with the nurse and managed to schedule an IVF consultation with our doctor in the upcoming weeks.  Remember this whole phone call took place while I was at work.  Not ideal but it’s a good thing everyone at my job knows what’s going on or else it would have been very hard to hide the tears and disappointment.  They embraced me with hugs when I explained what was going on.  They know by now that nothing can be said to make it better and a hug is the best form of support.

I went in 5 days later to have my HCG rechecked.  I had gotten my period in the mean time and everything was confirmed that the pregnancy didn’t stick.

Our IVF consultation is January 23, 2017.


iui #1

Our first IUI was on November 18, 2016

The 2 weeks leading to the actual procedure were not as scary as I thought they’d be.  The injections of Follistim that went in my tummy weren’t all that bad.  Sure they stung a little going in and it took some self-convincing to poke myself but after it was all said and done it was easy breezy.  The nurses and doctor monitored my follicles and blood levels and would call me each night to direct me how on how much Follistim I should be giving myself.  This cycle I ended up administering 75 units for 5 straight days.  The idea was to produce 1-4 follicles each time that were big enough to potentially produce a healthy egg (ah-ha that paperwork on multiples made sense now).  This is where IUI’s and IVF differ.  The idea with an IUI is to control the amount of follicles produced to a small number whereas with IVF they want you to make as many follicles as possible with the idea of making a lot of embryos.  IUI has a higher chance of multiples because they can’t control how many of the eggs would be fertilized and IVF they know exactly how many embryos they are transferring back into the woman.  It sounds confusing if you don’t live in an infertile world.  Here is a basic explanation of what the difference is.

I ended up making 3 good size follicles during this cycle.  And… NOW WE’RE PREGNANT WITH TRIPLETS!

Just kidding

3 follicles was a great outcome for someone who was struggling to produce 1.  When the doctor got the result from my ultrasound that these follicles were the appropriate size he decided it was time to induce ovulation with an injection of HCG, yay another shot! This injection was a lot more intimidating.  The needle is scary big and you inject it in your butt muscle but I had to do what I had to do.  Acutally I didn’t do it at all.  I knew that there was no way in hell I could psych myself into injecting myself with this huge needle.  So I did what any normal person would do and asked my friends at work if they’d give it to me.  Thank God I work in a place where we give multiple injections a day so this stuff is second nature to us.  My good friend (and co-worker) Ashley volunteered and it still makes me so happy and honored that I have friends like her who are more than willing to help me with weird infertility shit.  I was so brave tho. NOT. I fa-reaked my shit out.  I like to believe I’m a pretty strong person and a lot doesn’t scare me but something came over me right before Ash injected me.  I had a full on panic attack.  I started sweating and crying.  Honestly I don’t think it was just because the size and look of this needle.  I think it was a combination of this and all the emotions I was feeling.  All the hormones I had been injecting into myself probably didn’t help either.  Either way I was not in a good place.  My other friend at work let me hold his hand while Ashley stabbed my ass.  I think I squeezed and dug my nails into his as hard as I could.  I hyped this up to be the worst experience of my life.

I barely felt a thing.

This video still makes me cringe.  The pathetic whiny sound in my voice, ba gross.  What a baby I was.  I honestly would rather do these shots then the tummy shots any day.  That’s how painless it was.

I went in the following day to officially be inseminated.  Our appointment was really early in the morning.  Poor Brandon had to wake up ready to go and ready to produce his sample.  Ah, how awkward this all was for everyone involved.

We showed up an hour before the procedure in order for them to do the “sperm washing”.  Again, I know, so weird.  But this is the world we live in now!  This process weeds out the weak, slow, or abnormal swimmers and leaves us with a concentration of the best of the best.  After the “washing” they tell you the numbers you’re left with and how they compare with what is ideal.  A good number is above 10 million, we had 17 million.  The motility they want to see over 50% and I think we had it in the 70’s (can’t remember exactly).  So we were working with some good little guys.  Yes! One more thing that was helping us towards making a baby!   To put it all together we were working with Brandon’s great swimmers and my 3 follicles.  Good odds in scheme of things.  Remember all it takes is 1 sperm and 1 egg.

The insemination wasn’t too bad.  Some mild discomfort but nothing awful.  I was told to come back in 1 week for a progesterone check to make sure I ovulated and a week after that for a blood pregnancy test.  We were going on a mini vacation to Michigan the day we would have to get the pregnancy test so we scheduled it in the morning before we got on the road.

The TWW (two week wait) is always the worst.  This is the period where I over analyzed every little thing.  Every thing I felt I wondered if it could be a symptom of pregnancy. In the mean time, the nurse called with the good news that my progesterone was consistent with ovulation.  Yay!

And then the morning came where I began to spot.  I knew it was over and it hadn’t worked.  I remember calling Brandon and telling him on my way to work.  He is the sweetest man in the world every month we go through this.  He always tries to tell me I could still be pregnant.  Well, after trying for this many months I knew that my body was telling me it wasn’t going to happen this time.  I began to hate that he’d tell me this.  Believe me I know he was just trying to stay positive and help and keep the faith but it was harder for me that he just wouldn’t accept that it wasn’t happening this month.  It was like a false hope he would give me when in reality I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  I remember this was the first month where I finally told him to stop saying things like that and that it only made it worse for me.  He understood.  I went home from work that day and skipped the gym to take a nap, I needed it.  When I woke up, the reality of what happened hit me.  Brandon still wasn’t home from work and I remember feeling so alone.  I started to sob uncontrollably.  That kinda cry where you can’t catch your breath.  I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself I was a failure and my body sucked.  I was a in a really low place.  I hated myself.  I hated that I had no control over what was going on.

Like I said before – we went in for the pregnancy test right before getting on the road to Michigan.  They would call me later in the day with the result.  I knew what the result would be anyway but when my nurse called and confirmed it was negative it broke my heart.  Unless you have gone down this road you have no idea the heartbreak that comes on this journey.  You hope and pray each month that this will be it.  This month was a lot different than all the others months we tried to have a baby.  It was harder to accept the negative result with all the assisted help we got this month.  The clomid, the shots, the blood work, the ultrasounds, the IUI – all of it for nothing.  It was a huge blow to my confidence.  For the first time on this journey I had a thought I never had before.  I thought this might never happen.



doctors, ultrasounds, and needles OH MY

I took the first steps to getting some answers by making a general check-up with my gynecologist.  Well, what would be my former gynecologist (they were awful).  I told her my symptoms and she ran some baseline tests (blood work and ultrasound).  Everything came back normal and in this clinic’s mind that was the end of the story.  My problems with my cycles and difficulty trying to conceive didn’t seem too important to them so I moved on to another office.  This doctor was a lot more receptive.  She also ran some blood work to make sure everything was OK and even had Brandon take a “test” to make sure his uh, things, were functioning normal.  She wanted to make sure everything checked out before starting me on Clomid (a drug used to stimulate ovulation).  She was assuming the abnormality of my cycles was related to anovulation which is when a woman goes through a cycle without ovulating (this assumption ending up being correct). The only abnormality she found in my blood work was low levels of Vitamin D which isn’t uncommon especially for living in the Midwest.  She told me from the beginning that I would do a max of 4 rounds of Clomid with her and if still no pregnancy I would have to see a specialist (a reproductive endocrinologist).  I was certain it would work since I knew a good number of girls who had gotten pregnant on it and I was excited to get started.  I think Brandon felt like he was on pins and needles the months I was on Clomid.  I felt like a woman going through menopause on it.  Horrible hot flashes and cranky mood swings.  My doctor was really good about monitoring me while on it.  She would do an ultrasound to check the number and size of the follicles growing (to lower the risk of having multiples) and then I’d get a progesterone check to make sure I actually ovulated.  My body wasn’t responding the way we wanted it to and before I knew it I was already on my 4th round and as you can probably guess it didn’t work.  I only ovulated 2/4 times.  I balled my eyes out when my doctor told me it was time to go see a specialist.  I knew that this was going to be a whole new world that I wasn’t sure I was ready for.  I think I was so upset too because it made it really real.  It was like I officially had a stamp across my forehead that said INFERTILE.


It worked out that I wasn’t ready to see a specialist just yet because it took me about 5 weeks to even get in with one.  My appointment was September 19, 2016 (a day short of our 2 year anniverary ♥).  The day of my appointment I had no idea what to expect and Brandon couldn’t make it due to work.  I had so many thoughts and questions bouncing around in my head.  Are we doing the right thing?  Maybe we just have had bad luck and we should keep trying on our own.  Do we start treament right away? What will “treatment” be?  Do they care? Are they nice?  It turned out that the appointment was a consultation with the doctor where I sat in his office and we talked about my history, what we’ve tried already, and what the very next step would be.  He didn’t go too far into detail about what the plan of action would be because it all depended on how my blood work came back.  Yes, more blood work but these tests were a lot more elaborate than what I’ve done before.  They tested me for everything and I mean everything.  Brandon even had blood pulled too.  I think they drew about 6 giant tubes of blood on each of us.  I also had an HSG performed which pretty much just makes sure my “plumbing” works.  Finding out the results was another waiting game.  I had to wait til my next cycle began for the appropriate time to have my blood drawn and then had to wait another 3-4 weeks to get in with the RE to go over the results with us.

These appointments with the RE are all on their timing and convenience, not ours, which I totally understand but it makes it hard with 2 people who work full time.  My work has been understanding of what is going on and has let me take the time off that I need for these appointments.  We were able to work it out so we could go on a weekday that Brandon had off but the only catch was that our doctor was in the city on the day we could see him.  So to Chicago we went.

The day of the appointment brought a lot of nerves and excitement.  I was really looking forward to hearing what our plan would be and for the first time in a while I was feeling hopeful that something might actually work for us.  He started by going over our blood results – everything on Brandon’s end was normal and mine was pretty normal overall but some of my numbers did reflect that I have irregular cycles (nothing we didn’t know already).  He then explained that the best step for us to take would be to try an IUI (intrauterine insemination).  This included taking more Clomid and injections, BA!  I’m ok with needles and I’m used to using them everyday at my job.  I’m ok with all the blood draws and I was never one of those people who was scared of needles and I’m still not but the thought of injecting myself with said needles just creeped me out.  The doctor laughed when I made a face and reminded me that I’m a vet tech and I’ll be just fine giving myself injections.  Brandon, being Brandon, wanted to clarify his role in all this and in so many words asked the doctor if he just needed to “go in a cup” the day of our IUI.  Him and the doctor laughed at how easy his part is in this process and it felt like I was sitting in the room with 2 frat boys talking about sex for the first time.  This lightened the mood but at the same time I wanted to slap both Brandon and the doctor!  The doctor said he would have me do up to 4 IUIs before moving on to IVF – of course depending how my body was reacting to the medications.  After we were done talking with him we met with his nurse who sat us down and had us sign paperwork.  The paperwork was pretty much an agreement that we understood the risks of multiples by going through this procedure.  This was a scary part of this whole process.  I started to envision myself as Octo-Mom.  That’s not what I was signing up for!   In all reality that couldn’t possibly happen with all the monitoring they put you through but still it was a tad unsettling thinking of myself with more than one baby at a time when I’m not sure how I’ll even handle one!

We left that day with a plan and that plan was an IUI.  We waited for my next cycle to start and we began what would be the next big step down a long road.