a 16 month break
The last time that I sat down to write, or even look at this blog, I’m sad to admit, was March 13… 2017. I never meant to intentionally abandon this space that brought me so much cathartic relief, but I needed my head to be free and clear of all things fertility as I approached the next chapter… and that’s exactly what I did.
In my last post I mentioned that I was about to embark on a quest towards health. After my run in with my doctor, my husband & I still weren’t fully ready to go back down the road of needles and 6am ultrasounds quite yet, so I decided to continue to work towards what I could control - enjoying life and getting my health in check.
I started a modified version of the fertility diet, spun 4-5 / week (thank you @Peloton), went to acupuncture 2x / week, took a bevy of au naturale herbs, went to therapy weekly, enjoyed time with my husband, friends & family, & really appreciated the sweet and well behaved students that were bestowed upon me during that school year.
By mid April I started getting the itch - we went to see my dr. and as promised, we were going to tweak my protocol: try a new and “experimental drug”, and change the dosage of the meds. I was ready to start this again and felt relaxed as we were about to embark down this road for yet a third time.
It was May 5 & I was on a bachelorette party with 5 other girls - my closest friends from high school - 2 of which were pregnant. This was hard for me as they embraced their growing bellies as I was shooting HGH into my stomach. This bachelorette party, which thankfully was a much needed spa weekend, reinforced the fact that I have a great support system, and that I would embrace whatever would come my way with this next round.
The next few weeks continued on as all of the other cycles had - morning visits of being probed for a lovely internal scan and pricked several times in each arm for blood work. I felt like a zombie going through the same exact motions that I had come to know (& hate) but something felt different about my headspace as I constantly reminded myself that this was not something I could control. On Thursday, May 18 my doctor called and gave us the go ahead to do the trigger shot - and as luck would have it, my husband was scheduled to be out of town that weekend. We were now REALLY relying on the magic of science to help us get pregnant, as my husband and I were in two different states - talk about romantic.
My mom came with me to my egg retrieval, as I was greeted by faces too familiar - the OR staff who had given me such hope in prior attempts. My doctor wasn’t doing the retrieval and I was very disheartened to hear the low number of eggs that were ultimately retrieved. I repeated the mantra “all it takes is one good egg” over the next few days in order to try to maintain a positive headspace. Day 3 finally rolled around I got the phone call I had so dreaded - we were going to need to do a day 3 transfer. I knew this wasn’t great news as we had hoped for at the very least, a day 5 transfer, IF we didn’t make it to genetic testing. My doctor’s reassuring voice told me that she had sat with the head embryologist and together they poured over my history and felt that embryos would do better in me, rather than in culture… so I called my husband, and back to the OR we went.
It was May 23, my husband’s 33 birthday, and we were doing a day 3 transfer. I’m not a numerologist but I felt like this was a good sign in some weird twisted way. Attempting to push my luck, I asked my dr to transfer 3 embryos, just ya know, to keep things all aligned. She laughed, and said absolutely not, given the fact that my brothers are triplets. I slipped into that too familiar itchy hospital gown, kissed my husband goodbye, took a very deep breath, and walked into that sterile operating room, quickly greeted by those familiar faces: smiling & hopeful. Within a few minutes it was all over, my doctor hugged me, (which was sweet but also super awkward considering my half naked state), and we wished for the very best.
The next ten days were greuling, I felt nothing - no different than I had felt before and was losing hope in spite of keeping up with therapy and acupuncture (I actually switched to acupressure at this time). By the time it was the day of the blood test, I was not feeling too pessimistic, there was definitely a small part of me hanging on to some hope.
Within a few hours of being home we got the call. I was pregnant. My mind went black, I grabbed my husband, buried my face in shirt and we both just began to cry. We had been down this road before with a positive pregnancy test, but never with IVF and while we were thrilled and elated beyond words, we remained cautiously optimistic. And that became my new headspace, cautiously optimistic, for the next nine months.
On February 2, we welcomed our beautiful, healthy, baby boy into the world, and I still count my lucky stars every single time I look at him. Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure this is not a dream - that all that hard work and heartache finally paid off. We had reached the end of the tunnel.
This blog is not going to become a space for me to talk about motherhood… for those of you on the fertility rollercoaster, hearing about the joys (or worse, woes) of being a mommy is the last thing that you want to hear right now… & I get that. Part of my inspiration for even beginning to write this blog was because every fertility blog that I stumbled upon resulted in a happy ending - and with each new page, I was greeted by a bright eyed baby, a painful reminder of what I didn’t have.
I can sit here and write out my exact cocktail for success- dosage of each drug, acupuncture points, dosage of herbs, etc. that worked for me… but to be honest, it won’t help you. I remember when I started taking CoQ10 it was because someone swore that's what had helped them get pregnant. If you leave here with nothing else please remember this - each journey is unique. While similar in the pain and heartache we endure on our journey to motherhood - our diagnosis and our bodies are vastly different. I distinctly remember googling what cocktail of medications had the greatest success for IVF; I consider myself a smart girl & yet found myself hanging onto every last word that google provided. It took a really, really long time for me accept that my journey was unique & that what would ultimately make me a mother would be unique too.
I do desperately hope to give my baby boy a sibling someday, so I still consider myself very much an active part of the fertility community knowing full well that I too, will be back on that roller coaster in no time.
Until next time…