Hi friends! It was about two years ago when I first opened up and talked about my infertility journey on our blog. I shared that my husband and I were going to take the steps towards moving forward with trying our first in vitro fertilization cycle (IVF). We were trying to save up money and it was our goal to start the cycle in the fall of 2016.
Well, God had other plans in mind, because two months later we found out that we were pregnant with Cal! This was the first time we had ever gotten pregnant on our own, without any fertility meds/treatments. You can read more about my semi complicated/stressful pregnancy here.
Fast forward to January 2017 when we got to meet our miracle boy! Cal has been SUCH a blessing in our lives. He's everything we could have ever dreamed of for a baby (but not, at the same time, if that makes sense - this is a perfect analogy that makes me tear up every time I read it and explains what I mean perfectly). Cal has a special light about him that even strangers comment on. He is the SWEETEST boy. He hardly ever whines or cries, laughs all the time, learns new things every day, loves people, and is super social. He's been sleeping 10-12 hours a night since he was about 5 months old, and is honestly just a dream baby.
As grateful as we are that Cal was born and is doing SO well, we know he has a long road ahead when it comes to his mental, physical and cognitive learning abilities. He is so smart, and has made so much progress, and we will never put ANY limitations on him, but it's just a reality that things DO come much harder and slower for him than any other "normal" baby. Something as simple as going from the sitting position to leaning on one hand and on to all fours take a LOT of effort for Cal (as well as some assistance from us), and you can hear in his heavy breathing and grunting how difficult it is for him.
My point it is, we know his life is not going to be a walk in the park, and that we, as his parents will probably never be out of the woods when it comes to Cal's medical and physical needs.
We don't want to put another baby through what Cal has and will go through in this life, and to be honest, I don't want to put my body through any more miscarriages. Cal is literally a miracle, and was born, even though I was only given a 3% chance that I would carry him to term. Prior to him, I had 3 miscarriages due to the babies having the same chromosomal abnormalities he has.
So we decided to move forward with our first IVF cycle right after Cal's first birthday. We did the egg retrieval, fertilization, and genetic testing of the embryos, and I want to share my experience for anyone interested, or going through something similar.
I am only 26 years old, and I wanted to do my egg retrieval while I was still super young and had a high egg reserve and (hopefully) good quality eggs.
For 10 days I gave myself shots morning and night to stimulate my ovaries, and prevent ovulation. I was super nervous about the shots. It took me about 20 minutes to give myself the first one, but after that I realized it wasn't too bad (although I hear frozen transfer shots are way worse - not looking forward to those!).
I have heard so many stories about other people who did IVF with PGD (genetic testing) for the same reason I did and not being able to get ANY healthy embryos. We were spending so much money to do all of this, and I didn't know if we'd be able to do it again if it didn't work the first time, so I wanted to do anything and everything I could to help it be a success. My doctor sent me over his "Super Supplements List" and said he recommends his patients taking them all a month before starting IVF.
I started taking them all 2 months before, haha. I've heard conflicting opinions on whether or not taking supplements makes a difference during IVF, but I didn't care. It helped me to feel like I was doing everything possible to help get us our healthy embryos.
The supplements below are three that I really liked, and ordered through Fairhaven Health.
The first is one my husband took. No shots and only one supplement for him...guys have it SO easy.
I get my prenatal vitamins from Fairhaven Health and LOVE them. They never make me feel sick and somehow smell and taste good?!? They don't have that nasty vitamin taste :)
One thing I had heard about IVF that definitely proved to be true is that it makes you super bloated. The two pictures below were taken the morning of my egg retrieval. My stomach looked and felt the same as it did when I was about 15 weeks pregnant, and it only got worse the following days after the retrieval!
I had my egg retrieval surgery on January 17th. The recovery was much worse than I expected. I was super crampy and had to walk hunched over for about 3 days. I didn't feel totally back to myself until about a week and a half after the surgery.
The eggs were fertilized the day of the retrieval, and we got updates on how our little embryos were doing on days 1, 3, 5, and 6 after the retrieval.
I had 30 eggs retrieved!!! We were so happy. 25 of them were mature, and 22 fertilized. On day 3, 17 of them were still looking good, and 11 made it to day 5 and 6, which is when they are able to take little biopsies to send to the lab, and freeze all of the embryos that made it to that point. Of the 11 that were sent for genetic testing, 4 came back healthy/normal.
So now we have 4 little frozen embryos waiting to be transferred until we're ready!
Modern medicine and technology is truly amazing. We feel so blessed to live in a time where this is all possible, and we are excited to grow our family and give Cal some siblings! He is going to make the best big brother! As for right now, we are going to enjoy Cal being an only child until we are ready to try for number two.
I'd be more than happy to answer any questions for anyone going through something similar. Feel free to comment below, or email me!