Inducing Labor

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how people (me) and things change over time, whether good or bad.  Around this time last year, I was angry and bitter after a failed IVF cycle.  I had SO many feelings.  I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to be alone, and I distanced myself from the Lord.  The feelings of my heart floated around like endless ripples in the water.  The thoughts in my mind crashed like waves on the shore.  I was in no position to help anyone because I was the one that needed help.  I needed to change my attitude then in order to accept the change I embrace now.  Now, a year later, my life has undergone an irreversible change…being a parent.

Inducing Labor

As the days drew near to our babies’ delivery, I knew the plan was to induce labor.  The doctor wanted me to make it to 39 weeks, if baby didn’t come before then.  With twice/week appointments and NSTs plans seemed to change frequently.  Everything depended on my doctor appointments and exams.  In the meantime, I decided to read up about inducing labor to prepare me for that process.  At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3 cm and my doctor was hopeful for my scheduled induction.  My uterus was “ripening” well so my doctor recommended pitocin to induce labor.  A week earlier he recommended pitocin and a vaginal tablet.  Sorry, can’t recall the name of that medication right now.  The tablet is inserted vaginally and used to help the uterus soften to prepare for delivery.  But, since my uterus was “ripening” I didn’t need the tablet.  Lucky me.

Week 39 arrived – my scheduled induction.  My husband and I had a leisure morning, ate lunch at Zippy’s, and then headed to Queens with all our stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean baby’s car seat & 1 bag – full of clothes for both of us, clothes to dress the baby upon discharge, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, and whatever else we felt was necessary.  I had been warned to eat a good lunch because I wouldn’t be eating anything until after the baby came out.  (I would’ve been fine except being induced took WAY more time and energy than I ever expected.)

Anyways, so once we got there, we got our room, got hooked up to baby monitors, IV, and pitocin…the inducing started.  My husband and I pretty much just cruised in the delivery room until it was time to sleep.  We watched TV, looked at our phones, texted family members with updates, and stared at each other.  Lol.  Actually, it’s REALLY hard to do anything in the hospital.  A nurse or 2 would come in every hour to check the monitors, medications, ask questions, do a vaginal exam, etc.  My doctor came in the evening (and was in consultation with the nurses and doctor on shift) to check on me.  He reminded me that inducing labor is a really slow process.

About 14 hours into the process (3am) I decided to have an epidural.  I was really hesitant about having an epidural because then I would be bed bound and reliant on a catheter to use the bathroom.  I asked the nurses and residents about the specific process.  I was SO tired but I couldn’t sleep because I was uncomfortable.  It’s funny because every time there’s a new shift a new nurse would come in and ask me what my level of pain was.  For me it was low (2-3) because of the excess fluid made it almost impossible to feel any contractions.  You’d think that since I didn’t feel any contractions, I didn’t need an epidural.  But, I agreed to have an epidural.  Apparently Queen’s was really busy that night and I had to wait about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t long to wait.  I suppose if I was farther along in the process, 15 minutes would feel much longer.  Lol.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained the process of an epidural and what to expect afterwards – possible side effects.  At 3am my husband was already sleeping but was awoken by the bright lights that needed to be on.  The anesthesiologist talked me through every thing, step by step.  She was really good, I hardly felt anything.  To me, if I can barely feel the needle – you’re good.  I’ve had blood drawn that’s hurt more than getting an epidural, honestly.  The anesthesiologist also explained the button…an additional boost of medication that should only be pushed as needed.  Once you push the button, you’d have to wait at least 10 minutes before pushing it again, if you needed to.  Well, you could keep pressing the button but it wouldn’t release any medicine.

The epidural was nice!  I was definitely able to feel comfortable and get minimal rest.  I didn’t feel the contractions before I got it and sure didn’t feel them after either.  Lol.  After that things were pretty mellow until the morning.  Mellow as far as progress for the baby.  The nurses and residents continuously come in and check on you…but at least at night they use the low light so you can a little rest, or none if it bothers you.  Lol.

In the morning, around 7am, now 18 hours into my scheduled inducing, my doctor came to check on me.  He, along with a couple of nurses, pricked my water bag so it would slowly drip out.  He made a few holes using a very thin needle.  I happily didn’t feel anything because of the epidural.  My doctor noted progress – I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was great news to me because I thought we were nearing the birth of our baby.  Technically I was in active labor but couldn’t feel it.

In the early evening my doctor came to see me again and I was still dilated to 6 cm.  I had so much fluid and the baby was still now dropping so the doctor decided to let out a little flow of fluid to help guide the baby down and help me dilate more.  He made a few more pokes to let more fluid drain out.  The nurses changed the padding under me as needed.

Evening went fine, well maybe fine isn’t the right word for it.  I was hungry, tired, and confined to the bed.  We watched TV, talked and cruised in the room.  We got a visit from my sister-in-law and 2 nieces, who brought dinner (for my husband of course).  My sweet husband ate outside the room so I wouldn’t have to smell any of it.  We chatted and then they went to visit someone on another floor.

Everything was pretty calm…until about 1 in the morning.  (I had been at the hospital for 36 hours now.)  My husband was sleeping on a fold up bed near me.  I started to shake and shiver as if I was cold.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  After 10-15 minutes, I decided to call the nurse.  Unfortunately, the remote had fallen to the left of the bed and it was hanging down that side.  I tried to reach for it a couple times and almost got it.  I felt the shaking getting stronger and out of control.  I called my husband a few times but he didn’t hear me.  I reached one more time for the remote and got it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that besides having the IV on my right hand, the epidural tube came up my right shoulder, I had an oxygen mask on, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, AND I couldn’t feel from the waist down.  The blood pressure cuff went off every 20-30 minutes.  SO, reaching for the remote to call the nurse was much more difficult than it sounds.  Lol.

I finally called for the nurse.  When she came in, I told her how I felt and she told me to try and relax.  She asked if I wanted some medicine for nausea.  I agreed to take it – via IV.  But before she could give it to me, I threw up on myself and the gown I had on.  My husband awoke to me throwing up and helped the nurse clean me up.  I got a new gown and a warm blanket, literally.  When the nurse left to get the nausea medication, I asked my husband to give me a blessing.  I didn’t know what was going on with me.  I was shaking and shaking.  I couldn’t stop myself.  My husband gave me a blessing before the nurse came in with my nausea medicine.  My regular nurse for the evening came in and checked my temperature.  The thermometer read that I was fine but the nurse didn’t believe it and quickly obtained another thermometer, which showed I had a fever.  I took deep breaths to help calm me but that didn’t always help.  I got the nausea medicine and my shivering slowed down.

It was 2:15am…My contractions plateaued and I was over it.  I wanted the baby out.  I still had a fever and shakes (intermittently).  The nurse called my doctor and a c-section was in the works.

Next post: Cesarean Delivery


Day 10

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Sorry, I’ve been slacking on my posts!  This time of year tends to be like that.  Well, thank you for your patience!

Between our unsuccessful FET and now, I’ve been able to take a step back and relax.  Which is good, right?  Of course.  Ooh, before I forget, the FET completed our first IVF cycle…even though we started in May and got postponed until September.  Not sure if I mentioned this before.  Sorry if I have and you’re reading this again.  Lol

Alright, Day 10.  When I scheduled my exam with my IVF coordinator, I knew Dr. F would not be there.  Instead, I would be seen be his wife, also Dr. F and an OB/GYN.  It would be my first time meeting her.

On Day 10 I went in for my exam.  As I waited in the exam room I wondered how the appointment would go.  I hoped the lining of my uterus looked good enough so we could gain further insight on the best treatment for the next cycle – of whatever we decided.  Remember our 3 options?

After a brief waiting time, the female Dr. F came in.  She did the ultrasound and appeared to be enthralled at the lining of my uterus.  This both intrigued and worried me.  She did note that my uterus was a little different, but that it did appear to have its own trilateral pattern.  I didn’t know how to interpret what she said.  I was kind of at a loss for words.  I felt she was honest with me and I appreciated it.  I had so many questions in head.  I wondered if that meant I would be able to carry a baby or not.  As my exam continued and she looked at my ovaries closer, she recognized my endometriosis.  That explained the difference in the look of uterus.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Well, she took screen shots for Dr F to review and that was it.  After she left, I spoke with my IVF coordinator about our plans.

I was under the impression that we had 3 options.  As we talked, I realized that our options were limited to 2…FET or IVF cycles.  I thought that the fresh cycle with a little medication was a separate option.  But, it’s not.  It’s a fresh IVF cycle.  Lol.  I felt so dumb for not getting it before.  I did get a good laugh though.  Although our options were lessened, it doesn’t change the fact that we still have options…which is good.

Anyways!  In my discussion with my IVF coordinator, she requested that I give her 3 months notice before we start anything.  In previous conversations and emails, I told her that we wouldn’t be starting anything until January, at the earliest.  We laughed about how I would have to tell her now because in 3 months it will be the beginning of February.  We left it at that because we both were unsure of what Dr. F would recommend.  We decided to wait until Dr. F could review the images and then my IVF coordinator would contact me.

Within a week, my IVF coordinator called.  Since we plan to wait until January/February we have time to consider our options.  She instructed me to call her in January on Day 1 of my menses.  Dr. F has requested to do another SIS.  Fine with me, as long as it helps and allows Dr. F to continue to provide the best treatment for me.

Another factor in the process is that we will be switching medical insurance effective January 1st.  This is definitely a change but it also opens the option to a second IVF cycle, covered by insurance.  (I’ll talk about this again in a later post.)  In January, we will confirm our decision and take the necessary steps.  In the meantime, we wait… and read.

Next post: Endometriosis Diet


Considering the Options

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Well, understanding and considering all the options available to us takes a lot of time.  I don’t know if I can adequately express or explain the amount of time and thoughts involved in this process.  In my last post, I explained the options and costs:

1.  FET

2. IVF

3. Natural Cycle with meds

You know, my husband & I have spent many hours discussing the options…the costs, the time, the what ifs, etc.  You name it, we’ve talked about it.  Of course, this also includes the consequences of each option as well as reality.  One of the realities of each option is that it may not be successful.  It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being thorough.  Being thorough is necessary because if you can’t deal with an unsuccessful pregnancy, FET, or IVF cycle…it makes it more difficult to cope with.  It’s already hard as it is, you don’t need more pain to deal with.  You need to talk about the possibility of things not going the way you plan or desire.  Here’s the thing about being thorough, you need to consider all the options, whether you want to or not.  Of course, you always hope that everything works out good but that is not always the case…believe me, I know…just read my last few posts.

I never thought I would experience all 3 of the options available to us.  Honestly, considering these options with experience in mind, was just a tad bit easier.  Having had experience helped because I knew the processes and what to expect.  Two of the important factors for me were cost and pain.  Lol.  I truly had to wonder if I wanted to do injections again and actually, I was ok with it.  Most people cringe when I explain the injections to them, but in reality, it’s 10-12 consecutive days at the most.  In the big picture, I feel like it’s doable.  You may think I’m crazy but it’s really not that bad.

The prices for all the options was a hard decision for us.  Spending $4K is quite an expense, considering it’s not covered by insurance.  Plus it’s only a little bit more than a fresh IVF cycle (covered by insurance).  The other thing we considered is that a FET can be done whenever you want…with at least 2 months notice.  The embryos are frozen, you can thaw them anytime you want.  We have the option of thawing them for an FET cycle years from now.  I hope that makes sense.  The option is good, the price is ok – meaning affordable, and long term – it’s a good option because the embryos are still the age of retrieval.  So, for example, if I was 35 when they are retrieved, then they will be 35 five years later when if we decide to do an FET then.  Of course, I’m not that age, hence it’s an example.

With all that said, we knew and still know all the options for us.  It’s a matter of waiting for when we’re ready to do it.  It also matters what Dr. F recommends.  So, this means I will call on Day 1 and schedule a Day 10 exam.  Based on that exam, we’ll go from there!

Next post:  Day 10


Now What?

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since my last post.  I’m sorry for not posting earlier.  I’ve been quite busy with a variety of projects.  I’m planning to post them on my other website soon.  Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well. 🙂

Coincidentally, the last post I wrote was the day I met with Dr. F to discuss our options.  Prior to our meeting, here are the options I thought we had:

1 – Do another FET, which FYI, insurance does not cover.  It’s an out-of-pocket expense that costs $4,000.

2 – Do another IVF cycle, which I estimated would cost another $3,000+.

and 3 – Nothing.  Take a break from all the medication and wait.

In my last post I mentioned that I was done and I didn’t want to continue trying anymore.  I felt that way because I was so hurt and the process is time consuming.  I recognized that a break was necessary but I didn’t want to take it.  Honestly, I wanted to do another FET but I knew what I needed to do…option 3…Nothing, at least for a little while.  Choosing to do another FET right away would have been more draining.  I knew my body needed to rest from all the medications and the emotional stress I experienced.

Doing another FET seemed to be only option but the price was not inviting.  Plus, money is always considered, whether or not I’m working outside my home.  I knew that we could afford to do another FET but I really had to think about whether that would be a smart decision.  I thought about the options we had and was still usure of what to do.  My husband & I discussed the options and decided we would wait until next year, 2013 to do anything, whatever it would be.  Of course, our decision also depended on Dr. F. recommendations.

The night before the meeting I wrote a couple of questions in my phone so I wouldn’t forget to ask them.  I really didn’t know what the objective of the meeting was and I didn’t know what to expect.  I figured we would discuss the FET and options, obviously, but other than that I didn’t know.

The day arrived for my follow up appointment with Dr. F.  I went by myself because my husband had a work meeting and was unable to attend.  When I arrived, they were apparently busy.  I knew I would be waiting a little longer than usual.  It wasn’t a problem because they have a TV and I have my phone to do shopkicks on.  When ready, Dr. F. and I walked to his office.  He shut the door and then talked with me while looking through my folder.  He allowed time for me to ask questions.  I only had 2.  The first questions was in regard to my endometriosis and if I should consider removing it.  I don’t remember the entire answer but I remember him explaining that removing it would be helpful if I experience a lot of pain.  I remember thinking that I do but I didn’t say anything.  I just thought about it.  The second question I had was about my menses.  I wanted to know why I didn’t get it prior to the blood test results.  Dr. F explained that during a normal menstrual cycle, a drop in progesterone levels would initiate my menses.  So, because I was still taking the progesterone I didn’t get a period until after I stopped the medication.  I was like, “Oh!”  After that I felt dumb because I felt like I should know that.  Lol.  After answering all my questions, we carried on with our discussion.

Dr. F. apologized for us not having any success.  I didn’t know what to say.  I felt he was genuine and I played it off by telling him, “it’s ok.”  That was awkward for me.  It wasn’t ok but I knew we both recognized that success was important.  Instead of dwelling on the lack of success, Dr. F focused on the embryos.

Dr. F used an analogy that helped me understand his perspective in the process, including our options.  I’ll call it…The Olympics.  He showed me pictures of our remaining 5 embryos and compared them to the olympics.  Seeing the embryos renewed my strength, hope, and purpose.  I completely understood the analogy and was again reminded of the risks involved with every step.  To make it to the freezing, each of the embryos are really good.  They’re the best athletes!  When it comes to the day of competition, you hope for an elite performance but never truly know how they will perform.  I may have exaggerated a little more than Dr. F, but you get the point right?  Dr. F. explained that he would expect 3-4 babies from the 7 embryos we originally had and with the 5 left, he still has that same expectation.  I know each embryo must meet a specific criteria so it was intriguing to me that the same expectation applies to the 5 remaining embryos.  Pretty cool actually!

We continued our meeting by discussion our options.  I was pretty accurate in my guesses for options.  Dr. F reviewed all the options, including the ones I thought about.  Dr. F, he’s so nice.  One more than one occasion, he’s told me I’m young.  Lol.  Sometimes I don’t feel young when I think of trying to have my first child at thirty-something.  But I am young! 🙂  Just a little note here…if the Dr. tells you you’re young, soak it up!  Lol.  Anyways!  Here’s a brief description of what we talked about:

1) FET.  Cost: $4,000   Begin: whenever we want.  This option is always available as long as we have frozen embryos…and we pay the storage fee.  Ya, I know, it reminds me of the all the storage facilities that have popped up on Oahu over the past 5+ years.  Except my embryos require much less space.  Lol.

2) IVF.  If we switched insurance companies we would get another “free” try.  Dr. F office would not charge us a copay for this second cycle.  Not sure if you remember but the copay price begins at $3,000.

3) Natural cycle with a little medicine.  I was not expecting this to be an option.  I told Dr. F that we weren’t planning to start anything until next year, end of January at the earliest.  He was respectful of that, which I really appreciated.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think we talked about how much this option would be.  I’m assuming that it is much cheaper than the other options.  I’m guess it’s like an IUI, which is a few hundred dollars.  Dr. F requested to do an ultrasound after we finished our discussion.  He wanted to see what the lining of my uterus looked like without medication, during a regular cycle.

Our meeting was done.  We walked out of Dr. F office and into an exam room.  I had a few minutes to change before he and my IVF coordinator knocked and came in.  During the exam, Dr. F inspected my uterus and remarked that it looked good.  What a relief!  I was hoping it would look ok.  I was so enthralled that Dr. F could tell I ovulated by the looking at my uterus.  It was amazing to me.  Dr. F wanted to see the lining of my uterus at different times during a normal cycle.  So, I have to call to schedule a day 10-12 exam.  Looks like the natural cycle is an option for now.  Yeah!

Well, those are our options.  I feel good and comfortable with them.  Another good thing is that I didn’t feel pressured from anyone to do anything.  The decisions were and are completely ours.  You know, after the FET was not successful, in some ways I felt like our options were limited to FET or IVF.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. F.

Still not sure what option we’ll choose.  We’ll see.

Next post: Considering the Options


Our Results

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It’s been 3 weeks now, since I got the results of our FET.  I guess it’s about time to share it.

I drove in to town for blood work on the morning of Sept. 20.  I was already home when my IVF coordinator called  me.  It was less than 2 hours after my blood work.  When my phone rang, I took a deep breath and answered it.  Once I heard my IVF coordinator’s voice asking me how I was doing, I knew what the results were…negative.  She confirmed that as we talked a little longer.  She explained that the results were not what they wanted and I asked her what that meant.  I felt the answer was pretty vague.  I wanted a straight forward answer – positive or negative.  She then explained that the test came back negative.  I went silent.  We scheduled a follow up meeting with Dr. F and then she offered support.  I assured her that I would be ok.  Immediately after our conversation ended, I took a deep breath and called my husband.

When I gave him the news, I knew from his response, that he was just as frustrated and hurt as I was.  I felt bad giving him such junk news while he was at work…and it was only a little after 10 in the morning.  We hung up and then I tried really hard to think about what just happened, without tearing up.  Ya, that didn’t happen.

It only took a few seconds before tears began to stream down my face.  I didn’t know what to think.  I thought about the risk and wondered if we had made the wrong decision.  Nope, we didn’t.  Just because taking that risk didn’t result in pregnancy didn’t make it a wrong choice.  Well, that’s what I think.

I thought, what now?  I was so hopeful that the FET would be successful.  I knew what other options we had, I just didn’t want to do them.  Then I wondered whether I should continue to try to become pregnant.  I truly felt like giving up that desire simply because the process is draining – financially, physically, and emotionally.  I say “I” because my husband didn’t share those same feelings.  To tell you the truth, I was done.  I didn’t want to do this anymore.  It hurt.  My heart ached for relief and tears continued to flow down my cheeks.  I kept telling myself I would be ok but I didn’t feel ok.  I wasn’t ok and I didn’t know what it would take for me to be ok.  My tears subsided and tried to do things around the house, aka cleaning.  Just FYI, dishes is not a good one to do.  But I did them and found it difficult to wipe my eyes because obviously my hands were busy.  While I was doing that my sister-in-law called.  I programmed my ringtones so I knew she was calling, in fact hearing her ringtone caused me to start crying again.  I couldn’t answer the phone, I just couldn’t.  Not only were my hands soaked in dishes, my mind, heart, and mouth were not working collaboratively.  I wasn’t trying to avoid my sister-in-law, I just knew I was in no position to talk.  I again felt bad, for the second time that day, and decided I needed to leave the house.  I left a little while later to take a drive and to get some shopkicks.  (Shopkicks is an app that gives you points for walking into stores as well as scanning items.  You can redeem your kicks for gift cards.)

I went to Pearl Ridge – Macy’s, American Eagle, Best Buy, Waikele – Old Navy, and Fabric Mart.  Needless to say, I got a lot of kicks!  Lol.  I spent a lot of time at Fabric Mart looking for material for a couple of projects.  A friend of mine, after seeing my reupholstered chairs, gave me her outdoor patio set.  I searched for material for that but didn’t find what I was looking for.  I did, however, find material for a skirt I’d been wanting to make.  While I was at Fabric Mart, my sister-in-law called again and my mom.  I talked with both of them.  By then I still felt hurt and sorrow, but I was ok to talk.  My mom & I talked for over an hour.  I walked around the fabric store with headphones in one ear.  At times I held back tears so other customers wouldn’t see.  My mom was trying to encourage me and help me.  I know it was hard – for her and me.  The pain and grief I felt was stronger than any words of encouragement, understanding, and love.  My mom tried really hard to help me.  After we talked I felt a little better.  I ate a little something at Waikele Jamba Juice and then sat outside on the bench, thinking…what now?  I stayed out for at least 4 hours before returning home.  I quickly realized that this was not like a pill I could swallow to remove the anguish I felt.  It would take much more than I was willing to give.  I canceled dinner plans for that evening and decided to stay home.

The pain I felt ran deep.  I felt so alone and knew there weren’t a lot of people that could relate to what I was going through.  Not that there aren’t people that understand, I just don’t know a lot of them.  I wasn’t looking for sympathy, I was seeking relief.  By the end of the day, my tears dried up and anger penetrated through everything.  This wasn’t going to be good.

I was SO angry, I went into an extreme mode.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  Maybe more like defiant.  I had reached my breaking point through this entire process and I wasn’t having it anymore.  Most of my frustration was centered around the fact that I wasn’t pregnant.  It was unbelievable to me.  I just shook my head in disgust.  I remember telling my husband, “I’m done.”  I felt like we never get a break and decided to take my own break.  I was so hurt and angry I didn’t want to pray or read my scriptures.  So I didn’t.  I wanted to take a break from being faithful every time.  I didn’t even want to go to church.  I didn’t want to be around people.  I felt as though the Lord had forsaken me.  I know, that sounds bad but it’s the truth.  This was a huge thing for me, especially because I’m not like that at all.  That’s how appalled and mad I was.  I just didn’t care.  This attitude of mine lasted about 4-5 days.

As much as I didn’t want to do things, I still did.  I still went to church and spent time with friends even though I didn’t feel like it.  But I knew I wasn’t over it yet.  One night I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend.  I was asked about how the FET went and results.  I told my friend it didn’t work and she apologized.  I told her she didn’t have to be sorry.  When I got home that night I mentioned it to my husband.  I told him, “It’s like I’m numb.  I’m so mad I don’t have any feelings.”  Which was true.  I knew exactly what I was doing.  I acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but it was.  Apparently I had a good facade.  Lol.

A little over a week after we got the results, I was praying and reading my scriptures again but sporadically, whenever I wanted to.  There was also the General Relief Society Broadcast, which is an annual church broadcast for women 18 and older.  In its entirety, it’s about 1.5 – 2 hours long.  There’s usually a lunchoen and activity connected with the broadcast.  I didn’t want to go but I did want to watch the broadcast.  Instead, I went to watch 2 of nephews soccer games and my oldest nephew’s baseball game.  I sat down to watch it a couple days later.

I remember, it was a Monday morning and my husband had already left for work – it was his birthday!  I put the broadcast on.  There were 4 speakers.  They were ALL great!  The 3rd speaker was Sister Linda S. Reeves.  As she spoke and shared experiences, I just cried.  She explained some of the feelings she had as she endured a couple of trials.  I knew exactly what she was talking about and felt the need to cease my anger.  I needed to stop this “adult tantrum” I was having.  Following the broadcast, I went into the bedroom and prayed earnestly to the Lord to calm my trouble heart.  I didn’t like being angry but I felt I was justified in my frustrations at the time.  It was hindering my growth.  I included my husband in my prayer too.  I knew that this took a toll on him as well.  This is a “we” thing, not a “me” thing.  Our pain was the same but our methods for dealing with it were different.  I knew my husband needed comfort too.  I received the peace I desired, which allowed me to start to move forward – little steps at at time.

As the weeks have gone by, I’ve noticed a change.  When I first got the news that I wasn’t pregnant, I wondered how I would get over it.  Now, 3 weeks later, I know I don’t need to get over it.  I just need to move forward.  To me, when I hear about “getting over” stuff, it represents the need to forget about it and never look back.  Maybe in certain situations, that’s true, but for in this circumstance, no.  I don’t need to get over it.  It’s a part of who I am, an experience I will never forget.  Something I know, will strengthen me.

You’re welcome to watch or read the talk by Linda S. Reeves here! (It’s good!) 🙂

Next post:  Now What?


Embyros & Answers

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After all that, I forgot to explain how the eggs are retrieved.  The eggs are retrieved vaginally, guided by ultrasound.  A very thin needle collects the eggs like a vacuum.  Not all the follicles that grow, produce eggs…that’s why it’s important to have the ultrasound.  Well, that’s a quick version of how the eggs are retrieved.

In a previous post I wrote about a crucial decision…ICSI or no ICSI.  We chose not to do ICSI and now was the time see the result of that decision.

Around this same time, there was a story in the news about ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).  The news came out of the UK addressing birth defects as a result of ICSI.  Here is a link to the article, check it out.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9248899/Birth-defect-link-to-IVF-injections.html

The article was definitely not something I expected to hear about while I was preparing for my egg retrieval.  Even before I knew how many of our eggs were fertilized, I felt our decision was validated.  Still, there was the uncertainty of not knowing, yet.

So the day after my egg retrieval, I called the doctor to find out the # of eggs fertilized.  I knew there were 12 eggs, but I didn’t know how many were fertilized, which I REALLY wanted to know.  I felt as though everything weighed on that #.  Each step/milestone in the IVF process has its potential risks and you try your best to be prepared.  In reality it was important to know but it wasn’t everything.

It was after lunch while I was at work, that my IVF coordinator called.  I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect.  She said that 10 of the (12) eggs were fertilized.  I got teary eyed as she spoke to me.  I felt so blessed.  I immediately knew two things: 1, the Lord answered our prayers and 2, we made the right decision.  Right after we hung up, I called my husband to let him know.  He was just as happy as I was.  When we discussed it again later that night, I did a fist pump.  It was one of those things that I was SUPER excited about.  I knew that despite all the pressure I felt to do ICSI, it wasn’t necessary. The Lord saved us $1,500.  I felt so many things…blessed, relief, grateful, and hopeful.  I felt so good that I didn’t change my decision and I didn’t conform to the pressure to do ICSI.  I was grateful most of the eggs were fertilized and relieved that that part of IVF was done.  To me, it was successful and I was hopeful for the next step…the # frozen embryos.

Next post: Frozen Embryos


Egg Retrieval Day

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Ever feel like there’s not enough time in a day?  Well, that’s how I’ve felt the past couple of weeks…hence, the delay in my post!  I apologize for taking SO long to write another post and not keeping you updated on what’s going on!  Yikes!  Thank you for your patience!

The day before the egg retrieval, I went in just for blood work.  So, by that day my arms were pretty poked up…well, at least I thought so.  That night I made sure I knew what to expect the next day.

Instructions for Egg Retrieval:

I was not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight.  On the day of the retrieval I was to dress comfortably, leave all personal belongings, including jewelry at home, and not wear perfume.  My nose is pretty sensitive so, no perfume – not a problem.

Also, both my husband and I were instructed to take Doxycycline, an antibiotic the night before (the egg retrieval).  As a precaution I was notified about possible side effects such as bloating, bleeding, tenderness, and weight gain – the week after the retrieval.  I could take Tylenol and Metamucil as needed.  Tylenol for the pain and Metamucil for constipation caused by a combination of the IVF and pain medicines.  I was also encouraged to keep hydrated and drink juices such as Gatorade, etc.  I reviewed a paper with instructions and information about Ovarian Hyperstimulation.  This syndrome may happen as a result of the injections, 5-9 days after the egg retrieval.

I was instructed to arrive an hour before my scheduled time.  My egg retrieval was scheduled for 9:00am.  This meant that I would have to arrive at 8:00am and…traffic.  We arrived a few minutes late but it was ok.

I drove there and my husband drove home.  I had to arrange for someone to drop me off and pick me up, as part of the preparation for the egg retrieval day.  My husband took the day off to be with me.  Plus, the egg retrieval day is also the day his specimen was needed.  So, he kind of needed to be there anyways.  Lol.

If I were doing the embryo transfer 2-6 days later, I would have been taking addition medicines to prepare my body for that, such as Estrace, Medrol, and the Crinone gel.  But, since my embryo transfer was postponed, I only needed to take the Doxycycline.  Make sense?  Ok.

Egg Retrieval Day

I slept ok the night before the egg retrieval but I was still tired.  I felt bloated and had to wear loose fitted clothing.  If not, my ovaries hurt.  I knew it was because all of the injections and at that point the goal was to grow and mature the eggs.  It was now time to retrieve the eggs.

After traveling through traffic we arrived for my egg retrieval.  While we waited I was called to do blood work.  My poor arms – 4 days in a row.  Then I read through some things to expect and shortly thereafter, it was my turn!  We walked all the way to the back where there were 3 rooms with long curtains (no doors).  I was given instructions to change into the hospital robe…you, the one that ties in the back and you have to hold it otherwise it’s open.  I changed and laid on the bed.  My husband was called for his specimen.  In IVF, the day of egg retrieval is the sperm are needed, for obvious reasons…fertilization.

When my husband returned, he sat on the chair and we waited for the anesthesiologist.  I think it was just a few minutes.  When the anesthesiologist came in, she introduced herself as Dr. Wong.  She asked me a lot of questions, like my height, weight, medications and history, and then explained everything she was going to do.  Since my right arm was used for the blood work, she used my left hand.  She tied a rubber strip near my wrist to look for my vein.  She slapped my hand a lot, maybe she was trying to stimulate my blood or veins or something.  Lol.  I think that’s what caused the huge bruise I had later, but maybe it could have been the needle.  Anyways.

She cleaned my hand with an alcohol prep.  She first injected something to numb my hand before she inserted the IV needle.  She was good!!  I only felt a little pinch when she inserted the needle to numb my hand.  When she put the IV needle in I didn’t feel a thing…probably because my hand was numb.  Lol.  I didn’t have a best view of what she was doing because I was lying down.  She taped the needle in place and then hung the IV bag on a hook.  She explained that I would be sedated but I would still be able to hear everything around me.  She told me that right before the procedure she would given me the anesthesia.  Right after she left my husband told me, “Whoa, that was a big needle.”  I laughed because I know he’s not real fond of needles and blood work.  He had a good view of everything the anesthesiologist did.

A few minutes later, my IVF coordinator asked if I needed to use the bathroom before we go into the room.  She escorted me to the bathroom, carrying my IV bag.  She hooked it on to the door and then closed the door.  I went to the restroom, careful of the IV and the long tube attached to my hand.  I went back to my room and we waited until I was called to go in.  I knew the procedure would not be long because I heard the lady in the next room go and come back.

(Deep breath)  It was now my turn.  I left my husband waiting in the room and walked with my IVF coordinator to a different room.  I was instructed to lay on the bed.  I lifted each of my legs over these stationary poles, so my knees were bent.  I don’t know what they’re called but they were pretty comfortable.  The anesthesiologist was already there along with a MA (I think that’s her title).  I never meet her before.  They helped me get situated and comfortable.  My IVF coordinator asked me to verify my name and date of birth which was on a screen to my left.  Then she let the doctor know I was ready…he was in another room.  The doctor came in while the MA was taking my blood pressure.  Since I didn’t sleep that great the night before, I figured I would relax.  I took a few deep breaths and then I felt the surge in my hand from the anesthesiologist.  I fell asleep.

When I got up, I was laying on the bed in the room.  My husband was looking at me asking me how I felt and if I wanted water.  I told him I was ok and that I didn’t want water.  I rested on the bed for a little while and then one of the IVF coordinators came in and removed the IV.  She bandaged me up and then I changed.  I put a pad on just in case there was additional bleeding.  I felt tired but good.  It was time for us to head home.  We were there a little over 2 hours.

One the way home I pretty much rested with periodic checkins from my husband.  I think the anesthesia wore off because my abdomen started to hurt when we got home.  It was sore but I didn’t want to take anything for it so I just rested in bed…that lasted almost 2 hours.  When I got up, I felt SO much better.

My sweet husband prepared lunch for me.  I was starving, of course, because I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the night before.  While we had lunch my husband expressed his desire to record me when I came back from the egg retrieval.  I was confused at first, I didn’t know what he was talking about.  I just remember falling asleep and then waking up on the bed.  I asked him how I got on the bed.  He said my IVF coordinator told him they helped me up and I walked to the room (with guidance).  Then he said I was so funny because I was so expressive and I asked everyone if they were the embryologist.  We had a good laugh!  I told him, “Oh my goodness, that’s so shame.”  I had no recollection of that, I still don’t.  But it is funny.  Lol.  My husband confirmed that the procedure was fast, 15-20 minutes.

I inquired about the eggs.  I didn’t remember being informed about the number of eggs that were retrieved.  My husband told me that my IVF coordinator came and told us.  I didn’t remember that either.  Lol.  There were 12 eggs retrieved.

I wondered…how many of them would be fertilized?

Here is the evidence of my anesthesia…I’m all bandaged up!  I rested & went back to work the next day.

 

Next post: Embryos & Answers


Are You Serious?

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Where was I?  Oh yes, my next appointment.  I think I may have mentioned this but each time I went in for an appointment, I had blood work.  So, not only was I injecting myself, I was being poked in the arm every few days.

Anyways, getting back to my appointment.  I was still bleeding and I made sure to ask the doctor about the pain I felt over the past few days.  He attributed much of the pain to coming off birth control (having been on it for almost 2 months).  I just went with it, even though I felt like something was wrong.  What were they going to do?

The ultrasound revealed at least 10 follicles growing.  I can’t remember the exact number.  I was quite amazed to see all of that.  The doctor would call out numbers that confused me…I didn’t know what some of the numbers meant.  For example, if the doctor said “one twelve, two tens.”  What he was doing was counting the follicles and measuring them at the same time.  So, one twelve meant that there was one follicle that measured 12mm.  The same for two tens, that meant that there were 2 follicles, 10mm in size.  Make sense?

After the ultrasound, the doctor talked to us about the lining of the uterus.  It wasn’t doing what they want it to do…grow!  At my first appointment the lining of my uterus was thick, that was before I got my period.  At my second appointment the doctor expected me to get my menses.  At this third appointment I was still bleeding and the lining of my uterus was not cooperating.  So, the doctor discussed the option to freeze the embryos after the egg retrieval and transfer them at a later date.  It wasn’t part of the plan, but it made sense.  If the doctor transferred the embryos the probability for pregnancy would pretty much be zero.  The lining of my uterus was not thick enough to support an embryo transfer…they wouldn’t have anything to attach to.  It would be a wasted IVF cycle.  The decision wasn’t finalized, we just had a discussion about it.  We would have to see how the next 1-2 appointments go before deciding.

At the end of this, my third appointment I was given further instructions by my doctor and IVF coordinator.  I was going to start a second injection…Ganirelix.  If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you would have seen a picture of this injection.  It is in a clear glass syringe and pre-filled.  The purpose of this injection is to prevent ovulation.  Oh boy!  Now I had to keep track of both injections!  It’s not that hard, but 2 injections in one night?  Oh dear.  One is already enough.  Having to take 2 would be much more interesting.  Since my follicles were growing it was important that my body not ovulate on it’s own and release and unknown amount of eggs…hence the Ganirelix.

My next appointment (4th) was scheduled 2 days later.

Before I get to that appointment, I want to talk about the Ganirelix injection.  The Ganirelix shot was so sore!  I haven’t figured out why yet.  The box says that it’s the same sized needles as the other injections.  It hurt and caused bruising…not fun.  Since I had the other injection, I did that one first and then the Ganirelix.  I alternated sides, not injecting anything into the same side or near the same injection site.  So, I had to do the same thing…pinch the skin about 1-2 inches to left or right of the naval, alcohol prep it, and then inject.  I took a deep breath between the injections!  The Ganirelix injection needle hurt going in, but injecting the medicine didn’t hurt at all.  That shot was the most painful injection.  I knew that I had a limited supply of the Ganirelix injection, phew!  After that first Ganirelix injection, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make through 3 more!  Yikes!  Luckily, I only did one more Ganirelix shot!  It hurt the second time too!

There was something else going on…the lining of my uterus.  So, despite having to do all the injections, the lining of my uterus was going crazy!  I didn’t know what was going on!  At random, the lining of my uterus would shed…and I needed to be near a bathroom or my clothes would be completely soaked in blood.  I first noticed it at the end of my work day (in between my 3rd & 4th appointments).  I was in a meeting and I felt this surge of blood.  It was weird.  My meeting ended soon after and I went to the bathroom…where a huge chunk of the lining of my uterus came out.  This continued at random for 2 more days…with the same pattern, a surge of blood and then a chunk or more of the the lining of my uterus.  I didn’t know what to do.  I thought it was a side effect of the all the medications.  Since I was scheduled for an appointment the next day, I decided to bring it up then.

So, I did.  At my 4th appointment the doctor confirmed that it was most likely a side effect of the medications.  Just as I suspected.  When the doctor did the ultrasound I couldn’t keep up with the number of follicles, there were just SO many…I gave up counting.  I was reminded to take the injections one last time…one more Ganirelix and one more of the Bravelle and Menopur mixture.  It was at that appointment that the doctor decided we would freeze the embryos on egg retrieval day.  We would instead focus on the follicles.  On top of that, I was scheduled for an appointment…the next day.  That was not on the schedule.  I didn’t expect to have an appointment the next day but I just had to go with it.  Like I’ve mentioned before…flexibility.

I wasn’t too happy about having to postpone the embryo transfer because I knew that meant I would have to wait longer to know whether the IVF cycle was successful or not.  I was frustrated though, only because I had to wait.  I felt as though I’d waited for so long already.  I thought, “You have got to be kidding me!”  There’s really nothing I could do about it.  The follicles and the lining of my uterus were the new focus and priority.

So, that night after my appointment, right at 6:00pm I did my last 2 injections!  Well, not exactly…but close enough.  I knew I still had 1 more injection, the HCG shot.  The Ganirelix still hurt but I was relieved to be done with that.  Up to this point I had done 8 consecutive days of injections, 10 total injections.  The last 2/8 days were 2 injections each.

Ok, the next day I went in for my 5th appointment.  It was a Sunday and due to the time of my appointment, I was unable to attend church.  Just in case you’re wondering, we went after we came back.  Getting to the appointment was little different.  The building where the doctor is located is closed on Sundays.  So, we had to call so they could let us in.  I think it’s more work for the employees because they have to run around everywhere and be available for the next client coming in.  We made it and everything went smoothly.

The ultrasound went well and I still lost count of the number of follicles.  I didn’t care at that point, I knew it would be enough when it came time for the egg retrieval.  We left with more instructions and injections.  The doctor made me a special dosage of HCG and added a second injection of Lupron.  While he made those for me, my IVF coordinator talked to me about the antibiotic (Doxycycline).  My husband and I were given the same instructions to take one pill each that night and the next (2 days total).  It was an antibiotic to prepare us for the egg retrieval.  The doctor gave me the 2 injections with instructions to refrigerate them until it was time to inject them at 9pm.

Here is a picture of the antibiotic Doxycycline (left), and the alcohol prep pad.  I used an alcohol prep pad for each injection.  A little further down you’ll see the last 2 injections.

  

The HCG shot makes you ovulate and it is given at a specific time, 36 hours before the egg retrieval.  Lupron is used to treat endometriosis, which I have.  So, at 9pm that night the shots were injected one at a time.  I have to say, I think the needles were smaller.  I didn’t feel anything.  No pain, nothing!  That was awesome and such a relief after the Ganirelix injections!

Below you will see the 2 injections.  The injection on top is the Lupron and the one on the bottom is the HCG.  They are not labeled so I’m guessing here. But I’m pretty sure I’m right because the one on the bottom is a higher dosage (75 units), exactly what I was prescribed for the HCG injection.  The one on top is a thinner syringe that has 35 units.

The next day I went in again just for blood work.  I also brought in my HCG shot.  Since the doctor made one for me, I still had one at home.  He said I could give them mine, so I did.  That was one less medication to worry about.  The lining of my uterus stopped shedding.  I believe it was the Lupron injection that stopped the random shedding for 3 days.  That was a blessing and very helpful.  We took our antibiotics that night and reviewed the instructions for the egg retrieval.

As promised, here is the video!!  It shows how to mix the injections.  I’m just going to apologize in advance, it’s a long video.  I’m not a professional.  Lol.  I hope you have a better idea of how it’s done.

Thanks for reading and watching! 🙂

Next post:  Egg Retrieval Day


Our Decisions…

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Do you ever wonder what will become of the decisions you make?  I do, that’s why I find it necessary to contemplate, pray, and wait for an answer.  And when you get an answer, trust it!

In my last post I went over all the costs and time that would be associated with IVF.  Well, when it came to deciding whether to do ICSI or not, it was a tough one.  I understood the repercussions of choosing ICSI or not.  Of course, I wanted the best possible chances, but we needed to make the best decision for US.

We decided to do the regular IVF cycle, which did NOT include ICSI.  So, we paid the $3,000 and waited a month until our IVF cycle was scheduled to begin.  We felt confident about our decision and were determined to stick to it.  In the meantime I was still taking the birth control pills.

The other decision we needed to make was about freezing our embryos.  Although we were not sure how many eggs would be retrieved or fertilized, we decided that we would freeze whatever we had left.  This would cost $1,500 but not until embryo transfer day…we had a couple of weeks to pay for it.

It seemed like some of the hardest decisions were made and I was looking forward to the next steps.

During the month, I was reminded by my IVF coordinator that the doctor had recommended ICSI.  I was also reminded that my success rate would be low, meaning less eggs would be fertilized, because I chose not to do ICSI.  At first I felt bad, but then I thought, no, we made the right decision.  I wasn’t about to back down or change my decision, especially when I knew in my mind and in my heart we were right.  Plus, we’re the ones paying for it.  It was around that time that I realized, this is a business too.  It made me wonder whether ICSI was recommended to every couple.  I don’t know the answer to that, but I DO know that we were not going to change our decision…no matter the consequences.  We would live with it.

The month seemed to trot along slowly until about 2 weeks before my baseline ultrasound.  My IVF coordinator called and requested that my husband do a semen analysis, which would cost $95.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s still an important part in the journey.  I guess the 1 year old semen analysis was not sufficient or current enough.  Well, my husband did the semen analysis and two days later, the embryologist called me.  She reviewed the results of the semen analysis with me over the phone and I recorded as much information as I could.  Everything was good, until she mentioned “morphology,” referring to the shape of the sperm.  She said that for IVF they would like it to be 14%.  My husband’s was at 11%.  She continued to explain that it was normal and that I should not be alarmed or worried.  After our conversation ended, I quickly went into research mode.  I found that the shape of the sperm was unrelated to fertilization or that eggs were still fertilized with less than 11% morphology.  As I read more, I learned that for IVF there is a higher expectation for sperm.  That sounds funny.  Lol.  I also learned that there are a variety of semen analysis tests and different criteria for those tests.  I’m not exactly sure about what test was used for my husband’s semen analysis.  I’ll admit, I was still a little worried that I may get a call and be recommended again, to do ICSI.

Well, my IVF coordinator called giving me instructions to pick up the rest of my medications.  We briefly discussed the semen analysis and she asked if the doctor called me.  I told her he did not, so she informed me that the doctor recommended ICSI.  At this point I was quite annoyed.  I listened to what she said, but our decision was made and like I said, that decision was not going to change.  I was getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over again.  It’s almost like a guilt trip, except it wasn’t working on me…instead, it was annoying me.  The purpose of her call was about the medication, which I picked up the next day.  Here is a picture of the medications I picked up!

I know, it’s crazy!  I wasn’t expecting to take all of that out of the pharmacy…good thing I brought reusable bags!  In my next post I’ll go over all the medications, their purposes, and how much their worth…leading up to my baseline ultrasound!

Ooh, I’ve added a picture….what do you think it is? (Sorry if you think it’s disgusting.)

Next post:  ALL the medications


The Calendar, Timing, and Costs of IVF

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One of these posts, I’m going to catch up…it’s just not going to be this one!  I have SO many thoughts right now, I’m not quite sure where to begin.  I think I’ll start off with this…

I’m going to apologize beforehand, if anyone is offended by what I’m about to say.  I don’t intent to offend anyone.

One of the original purposes for starting this blog was to inform and help others.  I’m not trying, at all, to sugar coat the IVF process.  This is not something I’ve dreamed of doing, nor is it a result of something I’ve done wrong.  I get asked a lot of questions pertaining to the “hows and whys” I’m not pregnant.  People assume many things.  I’ve had some say that I’ve put my career ahead of my decision to have a baby/child/family.  I’ve had others wonder why I haven’t had a baby after being married for more than 7 years.  Yet others assume that it’s easy for everyone to conceive just by having intercourse.  If it were that simple, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Everyone’s experiences are very personal and individual.  I recognize that to some degree, if you haven’t experienced IVF, you will probably never fully understand what some women have to go through to become pregnant.  It’s difficult to explain how personal this is.  Even though IVF is a process, there is a tremendous amount of emotion, physical pain, and unexpected events that accompany it.  I hope that as I describe the steps and experiences I’ve had, that you will gain an understanding.  I don’t think I can really explain everything.  I’ll do my best.

The Calendar

Like I’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of dates to remember.  Since I already wrote about the birth control, I think I’ll bypass that this time.  My calendar contains at least 2 weeks of intense activity, meaning appointments, ultrasounds, blood work, and injections.  Of course, all of this activity is tentative and subject to change, depending on how the uterus and ovaries look.  So, you have to keep your schedule open during that time.  My calendar included specific dates for my egg retrieval and embryo transfer, which I will discuss in more detail in upcoming posts. Oh ya, I forgot to mention another important date.  The calendar gives an exact date for when I will be starting the shots.  One month prior to starting the shots (while I take the birth control), my IVF copayment is due.

The Timing

IVF requires frequent monitoring, which is why timing is so critical.  Although I followed my calendar, I understood that I could be asked to come in for another appointment, the next day.  I could have an appointment anywhere between 1-3 days or more, in other words, flexibility is a requirement! 🙂

Costs of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Oh my, take a guess!  How much do you think IVF costs with or without insurance?  I’ve mentioned a range in previous posts.  Since this is our first time doing IVF, insurance will cover a majority of the costs.  Phew!  That’s definitely a good thing!

We had over a month to review the costs and make a decision about IVF before paying our portion.  There are a few options available to couples doing IVF.  For me, the copayment would either be $3,000 or $4,500 plus some additional fees that, if we consented, would be paid at a later time.  The options include the following:

1.  With or without ICSI.  ICSI stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.  Choosing to do ICSI ultimately means that after the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, each egg will be individually fertilized with a single sperm.  When I first heard of this procedure, I was amazed!  It’s very precise and pretty much guarantees that each egg retrieved will be fertilized, thus slightly increasing your success rate.

Choosing “without ICSI” means that the eggs and sperm are on their own.  They are placed together and then responsible for fertilization.  I’m not sure if you can still consider that “natural” but it kind of is.  It’s just not happening in your body.

The cost: Without ICSI = $3,000     With ICSI = $4,500

Without insurance, IVF would cost around $18,000-20,000.  That’s right!  Thinking things through is a MUST!  You want the best chances you can get with the least amount of variables or factors.

2.  Cryopreservation of the Embryos.  This is one of the additional fees to be paid at a later date.  Agreeing and paying for this means we would be freezing our embryos, which will cost $1,500.  There is also a fee for storing the embryos.  After the first year, keeping the embryos frozen will amount to $600/year, which equals $50 per month.

3.  Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle.  If per chance we decide to freeze our embryos we have the option of doing a frozen embryo transfer cycle.  Say the IVF cycle did not result in pregnancy and we’d like another chance.  We can use the frozen embryos and have them transfered into the uterus rather than complete the entire IVF cycle again.  Or, say that the IVF cycle was successful and we wanted to increase posterity.  This same option would be available to us.  The cost of this cycle is $4,000.

These are all HARD decisions to make.  I’m grateful we had a sufficient time to review all of these options.  The first difficult decision, for me, in the IVF process, was whether to do ICSI or not.  The $1,500 additional charge was difficult.  Paying for it wasn’t the problem, not that we’re swimming in money!  I thought about this decision for a LONG time!  My husband and I had many discussions about it…still no definite answer.  We weighed the pros and cons, pondered, and prayed.  What was really going through my mind was this…is it necessary?  I didn’t feel comfortable paying for ICSI because I felt that it was for men with low sperm count.  From what I knew, there weren’t any issues with my husband’s sperm through semen analysis.  Then there were the “what ifs” that popped up in my head.  Like, what if only a few eggs are fertilized?  We were encouraged to do ICSI but in the end, it was up to us.  It took weeks for us to solidify our decision.

The second decision we contemplated was whether to freeze the remaining embryos or not.  My husband read a lot of articles that say that many couples become pregnant naturally after IVF.  We have NO idea if that would be the case for us.  How would we know?  We just speculated.  Regardless of that, we had to discuss and decide.  We didn’t need an answer yet but the time would approach quickly.

Decisions, decisions…

Next post: Our decisions