Tuesday, December 2, 2014

IVF in Three Pictures

Some readers have expressed interest in knowing more about what the IVF process is like. My hope is to explain a small piece of what its been like for me in three pictures I took over the past 3 weeks.

There's a lot of medicine:

In the heart of the gearing up for my egg retrieval, I was giving myself 3 shots and taking 5 pills everyday. This went on for a week, one rough week, which brings me to my next point...

There are a lot of doctor's visits and blood draws:

I was going to keep track of the number of blood draws and ultra sounds I had to do this time around, but during that one week, it was four. I should count my blessings, it could have gone on for much longer and been much worse. I got the majority of this 400 page book read while waiting for doctors, ultra sound techs, and registration staff to call my name.

There are a lot of follicles:

These are my ovaries. The small black circles you see are all follicles.

Let me try to explain this the best I can (I'm not a medical professional, this is just how this has been explained to me). Every woman has follicles during her cycles. One follicle houses one egg. In a typical cycle a woman would produce one follicle. If that was mature enough for fertilization, the follicle would burst and release the egg. You know the rest: fertilization by a sperm with the egg. Bam! Baby.

In IVF, all the medication I took was designed to have my body produce as many follicles as possible. Our magical number was 19. Fifteen of those 19 were mature enough for fertilization, and after the doctors put Nick's and my "stuff" together, 10 of those 15 were sent off for genetic testing based on how well they developed over the course of 6 days.

Okay, that was a lot of numbers.

Currently we are in the three week waiting period after the egg retrieval (November 17th), while our 10 embryos are having genetic tests run on them. On Tuesday, December 9th we're going to have a phone conference with our doctor and he is going to tell us all about the genetic makeup of each embryo. We'll know a lot more about what implantation may look like after that meeting. After that, we have to wait about 5 more weeks before I can have our doctor impregnate me. Somewhere around the last week of January, but again, we'll know more after this meeting with our doctor.

Any questions?

It has been crazy, and I would not be exaggerating if I said that if I never had to stick myself with another needle it would be too soon. But let me tell you, my love for my husband and my children has grown tremendously through all of this. Nick has been so sensitive to every sleepy comment or hormone induced criticism. I have felt more pain and uncomfortableness in the past few weeks than I ever have before and Nick has encouraged me and been patient with me and tended every need of mine or our children's. He is even more amazing than I ever knew!

During the past 3 weeks I haven't been able to thoroughly play with my children or do any other type of jarring physical activity (like running, horse-back riding, or jumping on a trampoline). I had to treasure different, quieter moments with my children. This trial, while I hope to never have to do it again, has helped me recognize how committed I am to my children -- both the ones already here and the ones for whom I'm desperately trying to prepare.

You'll get another update in a couple weeks. In the meantime, love on those babies of yours!


★ThE mAd HaTTeR★ said...

Thanks for sharing. The whole process is very interesting. I read that your area has one of the best fertility clinics in the country, so you must be in really good hands :)


Jill said...

I've been through 5 IVF's so I know what you are going through. The worst pain I ever had was after one of my egg retrievals, I had ovarian hyperstimulation and couldn't walk for 3 days. We have 2 beautiful daughters through IVF. I feel a personal bond with other women who have gone through what I've gone through. Good luck to you on your embryo transfer day!


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