Our IVF Journey, the beginning. First, we were 2 and now we are 4!
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
We got married back in 2013, and we knew from the get go we wanted to have kids, and build a family together. The funny part was that in my younger years I really did not care much for kids, nor was I sure I really wanted them, quite on the contrary, I was not interested in losing my independence and putting that much effort to raise a child.
But something changed when I met my now husband, Mauricio and I had a very strong passion that bonded us from the beginning, and the more serious we got, it became clearer to me as I wanted to have kids with this man.
At the beginning I would make jokes while we were living together, about, What would happen if I stopped taking my birth control pills?, which I did just to tease in the secret hope of a pregnancy, but after a year, I found it quite strange that nothing had happened.
We decided to seek out medical advice, at the time we were living in Costa Rica and decided to go to one of the best Sexologists and OBYNs, he diagnosed me to PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome, and told me I had reached infertility, and was not going to be able to have children.
That same year we got married as planned and got relocated to Houston, Texas, on my first visit with my new OBYN she referred me to an Infertility Clinic. I was in absolute disbelief, Why she would not even attempt any treatment?, not to mention that the chemistry, patient-doctor just wasn’t there. I remember I saw about 3 more OBYNs, and all of them gave me the same freaking card, a referral to an Infertility clinic.
Then it had been about 3 years of marriage, to which I never used any contraception method, so the reality was to clear to deny, the clock was ticking, I had just turned 30, and if we wanted to have kids, we needed to start now!.
I called in to get our first appointment with the Infertility Clinic, thinking, how is this even happening to us? Why me? Why us? Are we doing something wrong? There were just too many questions, and no answers.
We started the consultation with a wonderful Doctor, Dr. Josh Skorupski, at Houston Fertility Institute, and I don’t regret having taken that step, because it led us to where we are now. After a lot of different tests for me and my husband, he immediately told us, the option for us was IVF. Turns out my husband had very low sperm count on top of Diabetic type 1, and combined with my PCOS, it was very unlikely that we would get pregnant naturally, and the other options like intrauterine insemination (IUI) were very unlikely to work for us.
He made very clear that time was of the essence and explained all of the procedures to us, he gave us the percentage success ratio we were looking at the moment, and how it decreased each year. Action needed to be taken, but as many of you know, the process is not exactly cheap, and it all depends as well on your insurance and Company benefits.
After the consultation with Dr. Skorupski, we went right into the financial advisor. The numbers for the whole cycle, the meds and each embryo transfer were no joke! We were not prepared to pay that amount of money, and we needed to wait to see what benefits our Company offered as well.
We decided to work on our finances and come back more prepared, we needed to choose better insurance, and start saving and canceling the debt. So we worked on that for almost 2 more years.
We went back when I was 31 turning 32 and started the IVF adventure. I could pretty much do an article on each part of the process to be exact, it was full of hope, stress and even heartache, but we pulled through it!
I remember my husband getting the meds mixtures together and giving me the injections in the arm, every day. The liquid burned! It was not fun, and then the side effects are no joke either, but that is a topic for another post, it is incredible how much we are able to do, if we put our mind and heart to it.
I have most of that process documented on YouTube in case you are interested, I will leave the link at the end, if you want to check it out.
Link to my Youtube Channel and IVF Videos Click Here
The cycle process to “produce” the eggs was tough! , as the days went by I remember how the discomfort grew in my pelvic area, to the point that by the last 3 days I was in a lot of pain! It literally felt like I had grape clusters hanging from each side. The day of the retrieval I could barely sit in the chair, while I was waiting for them to put me under anesthesia and take them out! I was so ready to be over this!
I do plan on expanding on each specific topic separately, but I do want to finish the story. We did one full cycle from which they were able to retrieve 19 Eggs, 16 got fertilized and 11 were viable embryos. From those 11 fertilized, 5 were categorized as A Embryos and 6 as B embryos. The suggestion from the doctor at the time was to transfer 2 embryos, since we did not do PGS (Preimplantation genetic screening) testing.
Sharing a little bit, we were aware that we were using technology and medicine advances to archive our pregnancy, but we wanted God to be involved as much as possible in the process. That is why, we did not run the Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), and why we decided not to pick up the babies gender. In our mind, that was a part of the process, that if being natural, we would have no word in it, so we decided to leave it up to God to choose.
We understood from the beginning that, regardless of the best doctors, technology, and procedures, it all came down to God, allowing the miracle of life to happen. If he would not have allowed it, I would have never gotten pregnant, no matter how many tries I would have attempted.
The next part was the transfer, we were going to do a frozen transfer instead of a fresh one, I had already researched all of the pros and cons, as well as the possibilities on each one. We had to work on getting the uterine lightning nice and sticky! And that was another process of around 2 weeks.
I want to mention that one thing that I personally believe was key, on the success of both of our babies, was the positivity I had, I was very excited and happy about doing IVF, I knew that it could fail, I was aware of that, but I did not focus on it. My focus was on having the right mindset and positivity to create the right environment for an embryo to want to stick!, The way that I saw it was, evolution wise, embryos are more likely to stick on good environments, where they know the “host” in this case the mother, is in a good position to upbring him. So I wanted to be as happy, excited and positive as possible.
I was also very open about my process, everybody knew I was doing IVF, my family, friends and coworkers. For me there was no such thing as taboo or shame, we do what you need to do to get what you want to get. In our case we needed to do IVF to get pregnant, and there was NOTHING wrong with that. We got so much positivity and support, that I also believe that helped a lot.
When my body was ready for the transfer, we got a date, and went into the clinic for the embryo transfer. We were so excited!, it all seemed from a Science Fiction movie! Once the embryos were transferred, I followed each instruction the doctor gave us for the two week wait period, we stopped by a McDonalds to get food and our famous French fries 😁🍟and went straight to bed for the next 3 days.
Time was going very slow…. At about day five, I remember that I started to feel uneasy, I got chills, and I was very very tired, I went to bed super early that day, and when I woke up that night, I remember having some tiny spotting. I cannot guarantee it, but I believe it was implantation bleeding.
I took the first home pregnancy test about day 7 and it was negative, I was already setting my mind for the sad news, but I also knew it could be early to show on a home pregnancy test. I took another test at 9 days post transfer and there was a super faint line… I was both happy and scared at the same time, I had never seen a positive test before, I did not even know how faint of bold that freaking line should look like! So I went online, and I got no answers, we needed to wait for the blood test and that was all that we could do.
I remember getting that call the day of the result, I was overjoyed with happiness!!! I was pregnant!!
From there on we embarked in the pregnancy adventure of our baby number one, and there is a full story to that pregnancy! I promise I will tell you guys that story too!
All I can say is that my baby number 2 experience was very similar, the only difference was, I already knew what to expect, and I had a toddler in the mix that made things a bit different. To start I had to go into each part of the process alone, as my husband waited with our toddler outside. Us being alone in Houston, leave not much room for help in regards of taking care of our toddler. So I went into the transfer room alone! But still very happy and positive this was going to be a success story once again.
Another difference was that we decided to transfer only one embryo this time, given the circumstances of my first pregnancy, it did not overweight the risk of a potential complication, and I am very glad I did. But, it also decreased the chances of success for about 4-5%..
We had already contemplated the possibility of having to try one more time, and that was all we were willing to do. If after a second transfer we did not archive pregnancy, we would count our blessings and monetary loss, and be happy with our one child. But, it turned out that it worked!.
The doctor explained to us that given that our first try had been successful, and they had transferred one A embryo and one B Embryo, logic dictated that the A embryo was our baby Emma sitting on the couch next to us. So he suggested to transfer the next best A embryo, and that’s what we did.
Now, I have to say that each pregnancy developed very differently with its own ups and downs, and unique complications. But the process itself was very similar. I did have to use Progesterone Oil instead of the Vaginal Suppositories with my second transfer, my body just did not react the same.
If you can take away something from my story is, start your process with a positive mind, try to stay as relaxed as possible and don’t let your brain trick you into all of the possible outcomes that could go wrong. Try to provide the best mindset and environment for your baby to start life, and as difficult as it sounds, enjoy the ride!. Not many people have the unique opportunity to see their babies develop week by week via ultrasound, from the embryo stage! It is a total blessing and gift, so soak it all in, have the mindset of mind over body, and keep in the back of your mind that you may need to try again, but that is just another opportunity for a successful pregnancy!