Our Infertility Story | The Beginning
Last week I opened up about our transfer day, which was quite possibly the most important day of Our Infertility Story. By starting at that point, it left a lot of grey areas as far as why we were there in the first place.
I promised to share our story; the WHOLE story. The road that lead us to the transfer (to IVF in general) is a long one but I’ll do my best to share as much as I can.
Let’s start from The Beginning.
April 29, 2014. That was the date of our first appointment at the KU Medical Center, Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.
We had been referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist by my gynecologist at home after she realized something was ‘off’ with my estrogen levels and I wasn’t having periods. She had given us a couple of rounds of birth control followed by Clomid; a medication that increases the chance of ovulation. (They don’t mention this…but it also makes you completely insane at the same time.) A few months went by…
It was time to move on.
I think, perhaps, this was the first moment (of many to come) that I truly second guessed my self worth.
What was wrong with me?
In high-school you go through sex ed classes. An instructor teaches you about why you shouldn’t have sex…and in the event that you do, how to prevent getting pregnant. Nobody ever teaches you about what happens if you can’t get pregnant. They don’t prepare you for the life-altering condition that is infertility.
I was in denial.
I was sad.
I felt broken.
I don’t think I will ever forget our first visit. Jesse was gone working so my mother-in-law, Staci, and my momma made the trip with me. I can remember exactly how I felt as we reached the Olathe city limits.
I was so scared.
I wanted to cry.
This wasn’t happening…not to me.
We arrived at the office building and made our way inside. I signed in and offered up my insurance information. My measly little insurance card turned out to be completely pointless because insurance companies (9 times out of 10) cover 0% of infertility treatments.
Not. A. Dime.
I’m used to a decent wait in any doctors office but this particular wait seemed short. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for all of this?
We were called back through a maze of offices. We went over all of the normal new patient info and then met with our nurse, Jeny, and our Doctor, Dr. Milroy who were beyond fantastic. As soon as we met them I felt at ease.
They gave us hope.
They gave us a plan.
We left the office optimistic.
The plan was to try to help boost my estrogen levels with medications (shots to the stomach…yay…) which would lead to having a period which would hopefully cause ovulation and then a baby! This was going to be easy! A piece of cake!
I began the medications and no response from this good ol’ body of mine. Keep in mind that the cycles of meds don’t just occur over the course of a couple of days. We spent weeks and then months just trying to get my body to respond to the medications.
In the beginning I just couldn’t handle giving myself the shots; so my sister, Kirsten, did them for me every night. She is a labor and delivery nurse so there were nights when I would have to visit her at work for the shots. That was really hard.
It seemed like there were babies for everyone…but not us.
I remember one night in particular that Kirsten and I were at our local aquatic center with my two nieces and it was shot time (they had to be done at the same time each night) so we went into the bathroom to do it. A couple of girls walked in and saw what we were doing. Talk about an uncomfortable situation…I’m pretty sure they thought we were doing drugs.
Eventually I had to have shots multiple times a day, so I started doing them on my own. At restaurants, at home, at work, it was the new normal.
Each cycle went as follows: Start each cycle with an baseline ultrasound and bloodwork. Start meds on cycle day 3. Take meds for 5 days. Go to KC for blood work and an ultrasound. Change dosage of meds based on the results. More blood work & another ultrasound 3 days later. This would continue on for up to 20 days at times.
I would wake up for each appointment at 4:45 am, leave the house by 5:30 and get to the offices by 7:20 for my 7:30 appointment.
There were times when I would have two, sometimes three visits in a week’s time. Some mornings I would pull over and take photos of the sunrises because they were so beautiful.
I think that it was God’s way of helping me push through.
I was tired.
I hated that drive.
I hated my body.
But I really loved the color of the sky at 7am.
Another God send was our team at KU Med. Every morning I was greeted with a smile and “Good Morning!” It was like we were all a family. Everyone understood how taxing the experience was and so they went above and beyond to be kind and compassionate.
At each appointment I would go back for an ultrasound. I dreaded these in the beginning. It was so embarrassing for me…but eventually you get used to it. My mom told me that my sense of modesty would go out the window in a hurry. She was right.
They would look around for follicle (egg) growth. Usually nothing…it was so disappointing. They would take me into the lab for a blood draw to check my levels and then sent me on my way.
I would drive home, go to work, and wait for the call from my nurse to give me the results. “Hey lady!! It’s Jeny! How are ya!?”….”Well it looks like your levels and follicles (eggs) didn’t respond so we’re going to increase your dosages by X amount and see you back in three days!”
She was so sweet.
She was our cheerleader.
She wanted this just as much as we did.
Your body can only be on shots for a certain amount of days and if the magic little egg doesn’t grow by then, they cancel your cycle.
Month after month; canceled.
Finally, one month everything fell in place. An egg grew! This was it. I was going to hatch a little egg and we were going to make a baby! I took my final round of shots followed by a ‘trigger shot’ that would cause the egg to release, fertilized the egg, and poof!…We were having a baby!
I can remember the day I took the pregnancy test. I made my mom and sister come over because I just knew we were going to celebrate! I peed on the stick and we waited.
So we waited awhile longer.
My heart broke that day in ways I can’t explain. I thought that that was the end. Maybe I just wasn’t supposed to be a mom. I felt hopeless. Completely devastated.
I called Jeny the following Monday to let her know. We tried one more month. They really got aggressive with the meds and my body responded by growing up 6 mature follicles (potentially 6 hatched eggs and therefore 6 babies.)
Again we were heartbroken. My body either did nothing or way too much.
Soon after that my best friend, Mandy, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was a miracle baby. Mandy also had fertility issues and received help from Dr. Milroy to conceive their first child. She was one of the only people who truly understood how I was feeling and what I was going through. When she got pregnant on her own the second time around it was so exciting.
Now up until that point I avoided babies pretty much all together…but this was different, I needed to see her…needed to hold her. I remember at the hospital (and even the months following) I would hold her for hours and cry wondering if I would ever have one of my own.
That little girl saved me from the darkest parts of infertility which only those who have been through it can understand.
She gave me hope.
Something to dream about.
It was going to be worth it in the end.
At the end of February 2015, just a month after our last failed cycle, we met with Dr. Milroy to go over our options. It seemed as if my body was an egg making machine with the right amount of meds. She said that we were great candidates for Invitro Fertilization. A lot of eggs is ideal for IVF.
We didn’t need to think it over; we decided at that moment in the office that if this route was going to give us a baby, we were going to do it.
She wrote up a new game plan; a new shot routine. We talked cost (ouch) and when we could get everything started.
This was it.
The start of another chapter.
A chapter entitled IVF.
More on that chapter next week…