When I was little I used to say "I want 5 kids" .. As I got older and saw the struggles my mom endured with 5 kids, I changed my mind. Maybe 4? Or 3? Then you get married and you have another opinion you have to take into account. Thinking back, I never could have imagined the pain, the heartache or the money that it would take just to get our number 1.
We have spent the last couple weeks going through all of our options. Thinking about how they will effect us in the long run, even trying to think of other options. And the thing is, it was really hard. It was really emotional. I cried for an entire week. I had a busy work week and cried all the time. I cried in the car, I cried in the shower, I even cried in front of Starbucks while drinking coffee with friends (Daily Rise was not an option so yes I admit I had Starbucks).
I cried because I knew what I wanted to do, but I wasn't sure how we would make it happen.
If you read the last post we weren't stuck with many options but here is what we have had to consider -
- IVF - here at home
- IVF - abroad (Prague most likely)
With IVF here at home we would have the support of friends and family close by and that is unbeatable. However, the cost is quite a bit larger than our other options.
IVF abroad is a great alternative, especially with the lowered costs. It would cost us about half of what it would here in the States, this is including flights, hotel, procedure costs and medications. But we'd have to be there for 2-3 weeks, without friends and family.
With waiting, i'm not talking like a few years, basically it would be waiting to see if maybe Alec stays on this medication if it will help. Maybe it just needs a little extra time to work, we will for sure be waiting at least 2 months to see if this happens before moving forward. This is my own theory, our doctor doesn't believe that it would help much. But miracles happen every day right?
Adoption is such a beautiful thing, but its just not right for everyone. With our set we feel we can make it happen with IVF. It is nice to have as an option if IVF doesn't work for us in the future.
With this being said, we are moving on with IVF. We have a start date in August, which really means we start end of July. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, I've fought with myself for the last couple weeks back and forth. But no other decision has sat this well with me, it doesn't make me nauseas with anxiety, or emotional from the thought of waiting even longer. This is what we have decided is best for us now, and our future family.
Our dear friend Megan, from Portraits by Meg has graciously offered to do a fundraiser for us. For every photo session done in June, her profit will be donated to our IVF fund. Megan is one of the sweetest, most talented people we know and we are so honored to call her our friend.
*This next part may contain TMI
Many people don't know the process of IVF so i'm going to try to break it down. It's really an extraordinary science and I don't know who the heck thought of this but they're genius (and rich).
The cycle before the IVF treatment is scheduled, I will be put on birth control pills. This may seem backward—aren't you trying to get pregnant?
Actually, using birth control pills before a treatment cycle has been shown to potentially improve odds of success. Also, it may decrease the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and ovarian cysts.
Sometime during this same time, the fertility clinic will have me start taking fertility drugs. These are injectable drugs. These allow my doctor to have complete control over ovulation once treatment cycle begins.
The first official day of the treatment cycle is the day I get my period. This is why I say our treatment will technically begin in July.
On the second day of my period, our doctor will order (more) blood work and an ultrasound. These first-day ultrasounds and blood work are referred to as baseline blood work and baseline ultrasound. This is to make sure my ovaries are “sleeping." That's the intended effect of the first round of injections.
Ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs is the next step. Depending on my treatment protocol, this may mean anywhere from one to four shots every day for about a week to 10 days.
During ovarian stimulation, our doctor will monitor the growth and development of the follicles.
The next few days are filled with injections and ultrasounds. Monitoring is very important at this stage. This is how our doctor will decide how to adjust my medications.
The next step in the IVF treatment is triggering the oocytes to go through the last stage of maturation. The eggs must complete their growth and development before they can be retrieved.
This last growth is triggered with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Timing this shot is vital. If it's given too early, the eggs will not have matured enough. If given too late, the eggs may be “too old” and won't fertilize properly. The daily ultrasounds at the end of the last step are meant to time this trigger shot just right.
About 34 to 36 hours after I receive the hCG shot, the egg retrieval will take place. Before the retrieval, a light sedative is used, which will make me "sleep" through the procedure. This isn't the same as general anesthesia, which is used during surgery.
Once the medications take their effect, our doctor will use a transvaginal ultrasound to guide a needle through the back wall of the vagina, up to the ovaries. He will then use the needle to aspirate the follicle, or gently suck the fluid and oocyte from the follicle into the needle. There is one oocyte per follicle. These oocytes will be transferred to the embryology lab for fertilization.
After the retrieval, the follicles that were aspirated will be searched for oocytes, or eggs. Not every follicle will contain an oocyte. (Who knew right?)
Once the oocytes are found, they'll be evaluated by the embryologist. If the eggs are overly mature, fertilization may not be successful. If they are not mature enough, the embryology lab may be able to stimulate them to maturity in the lab.
Fertilization of the oocytes must happen with 12 to 24 hours. A semen sample will be given the same morning I have the retrieval.
Once the semen sample is ready, it'll be put through a special washing process, which separates the sperm from the other stuff that is found in semen. In our case of severe male infertility, ICSI (pronounced ick-see) will be used to fertilize the eggs, instead of simply placing them in a culture dish. With ICSI, the embryologist will choose a healthy-looking sperm and inseminate the oocyte with the sperm using a special thin needle. (This is insane to me!)
About three to five days after the retrieval, the fertilized eggs will be transferred.
*TMI ALERT* (do you guys even need this at this point?)
During the embryo transfer, a thin tube, or catheter, will be passed through the cervix. Through the catheter, they will transfer the embryos, along with a small amount of fluid.
After the transfer, I'll stay lying down for a couple hours and then head home.
If there are "extra" high-quality embryos left over, we will be able to freeze them. This is called embryo cryopreservation. They can be used later if this cycle isn't successful, or they can be donated, or we can save them for our next baby round.
On or after the day of your retrieval, and before the embryo transfer, I'll start giving myself progesterone supplements. Usually, the progesterone during IVF treatment is given as self-injection. (More shots!)
During this time all we can do is wait the two weeks and see if pregnancy takes place.
After the embryo transfer they consider you "pregnant until proven otherwise".
About nine to 12 days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is ordered. This is usually a serum pregnancy test (more blood work) and also will include progesterone levels testing.
And that's it - and thats a pretty lame way to wrap all that information up .. ha