A person’s a person no matter how small

I’ve struggled for awhile on how to put this all into words.  IVF, In-Vitro Fertilization….I keep saying those words and it is still so surreal that this is real life for us.  Mayo Clinic defines it as“…a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab.”

It all sounds so very clinical, simple, and unemotional.  Well, that first part can be true, but the rest is far from it.  This has been the most difficult, emotional, expensive, trying, beautiful, scary, exciting, exhilarating experience of my entire life.  The first time we met with our Reproductive Endocrinologist he walked us through the process of diagnostic tests that we would need and gave us our options moving forward.  Hearing IVF made my stomach tie up in our knots, but I never truly believed we’d have to go this far.  IVF is just something someone else does…lots of people get pregnant from IUI/Superovulation, right?  By the time that our 2nd round of SuperO failed and we put down the deposit to reserve our start date of 24 NOV it started to hit me, but it wasn’t until we went to our orientation that everything hit me.  Seeing the many, many drugs arrive on top of what we had done, reading through the file of documentation/paperwork/releases and having slips to get tested for all kinds of different diseases so that our embryos wouldn’t possibly be infected or affect others is just so much to take in.

Pretty much everyone I know in real life that has been through infertility did super-ovulation (like we did first) or IUI’s (similar to super-ovulation, only instead of intercourse, the sperm is placed inside the cervix to naturally fertilize any eggs) so I didn’t even have a community of people who understood.  Thankfully, I found an online community/support group of AMAZING women who understand and are going through/have gone through the same path that we’re traveling and understand all of the emotions.  Infertility, and especially IVF is very isolating.  While we had so many distant friends and family that were so supportive, we dealt with so many insensitive comments.    A few people even made us feel even worse by invalidating our feelings because it’s not “as bad as cancer or real problems”.

The first part of the process, the “Stimulation Cycle” was pretty close to what we had been through with our 3 superovulation cycles with a few new drugs.  However, it was definitely more intense.  There was so much riding on each of the appointments and we were much more nervous to make sure that my body was progressing the right way.  Plus, I was more sore since we had to have many more eggs than before (in superovulation, you only want one or two eggs to release).

The toughest part came after the retrieval “surgery” when I came off of all of the drugs.  My body had NO IDEA what to do going through withdrawals from all of the hormones and the wait to find out if we had embryos/would they make it/would they be healthy/would he have some left to freeze…the whole week was unbearable.  I also had some pretty insensitive comments directed toward me, but I guess many people just don’t think and empathize what someone is going through.  It was extra hurtful though being that I wasn’t in my right mindset either.

IVF is just so much to wrap your mind around.  The idea that your embryos are being created in a lab is a lot to come to terms with and be okay.  What I wasn’t expecting was the need I felt to protect them and be close to them.  After my surgery I missed my babies that I didn’t even know I had…I just wanted them back!  It’s like my maternal instincts kicked in automatically.  Poor Ryan had to deal with a few emotional breakdowns that I had that week, but he’s always the best at calming me down and getting me through it.  I can’t imagine the gut wrenching pain of losing babies that have been implanted back in you.  No matter how early it’s still the same or close to the same pain of having a miscarriage.  While many might disagree…our babies were our babies before they were ever put back in me.  I can’t explain how thankful we are and how blessed we truly are that they are both still with us!

It’s still hard to think about PCS’ing and having to leave the other babies behind until we can use them again, but i’m still thankful that we have some left for the future.  I still feel like it’s all been a dream and I can’t believe it’s finally our turn and it finally worked!!!

~Melissa Grim, IVF Twin Mommy


IVF Embryo Transfer!!! – 11 DEC 2015

I don’t even know where to begin.  I’m still on such an emotional high and keep crying off and on after the most beautiful, most emotional procedure I’ve ever had in my life!

We arrived at the clinic at about 7:40 (after taking a few pics, of course) and were able to speak to my Doctor about where we stood on everything.  He said that our embryos looked very, VERY good and he was confident in our chances.  He also gave us the opportunity to elect out of the 2 embryo transfer since we had pretty good chances anyway.

Transfer 1 embryo: 40-45% chance of the embryo resulting in a successful pregnancy with a very slim chance of it splitting into identical twins (I can’t remember the exact number).

Transfer 2 embryos: 70-75% chance of the embryo resulting in a successful pregnancy with a 35-40% (pushing 45%) chance of twins if we stuck with the two.

We elected to still proceed with the two embryo transfer to better our chances and we really want twins anyway!  (Come on, Twins!!!!)

After that, Ryan gave me a good luck kiss and I was escorted back to the pre-op area (right outside their private O.R.) to get into my gown and ready for the transfer!  The embryos can’t be out of incubation for more than 3 minutes (MAX) so it’s important that I was set up and completely ready before the embabies were brought out.  Another perfect design of our doctor is that he built the embryology lab directly attached to the OR so it’s easy to bring them in and out.  I was put on the bed with my upper part of my body tilted down at a crazy angle and my favorite nurse checked me with an ultrasound (a normal abdominal one this time) to see if we were ready to proceed.  Next, my Doc came in and got everything in place for the transfer.  It’s all very specific exactly where the embryos go into the uterus and the catheter that’s used has to be in the exact right spot.  Finally he was able to bring in the embryos and get those embabies settled in there!!!!  My nurse was so great and she turned the screen to me so that I could see the little babies on the screen!!!! (They’re microscopic so you can only see a “flash” where the fluid is, but they were in there!)  My only wish was that Ryan could have experienced it with me, but I wore his green army socks (under my surgical booties) to have a piece of him with me and it’s safer for the OR/embryos to have as few people back there as possible.

The whole thing was so incredibly surreal!!!  I was officially/unofficially pregnant!!!!  To actually see something in there and know that there were two 5-day old babies ready to grow and make me a mommy was the most beautiful moment!!!  That moment alone made all of this worth it.  Every tear we cried, every doubt, every fear, every pain I felt when I saw someone else get pregnant or have a baby or get pregnant AGAIN in the time we were trying ALL became worth it!!!  To have this incredible joy and to experience the beautiful nature that is IVF and the science that God has given us is so incredible.  I’m so thankful that we understand the true value of this and just how incredibly precious life is!!!

I was officially pregnant at 9:50 am on 11 DEC 2015!  How cool is it that I know the exact moment that I got pregnant??!

As an added bonus, Doc took my phone back into the lab with the flash turned off and surprised us with pictures of the embryos before we got started!!!!   It was a total surprise that he did for us because he knew had badly I wanted one.

Once we were done I layed on the stretcher and chit chatted with my nurse until my 20 minutes were up and was able to get dressed and grab Ryan. 🙂 🙂  Once we got in the car, I surprised him with the picture of OUR BABIES!!!!!  He totally wasn’t expecting it and it was such a precious moment to share with him and watch his reaction!  A moment that i’ll never forget…and another blessing of doing a procedure like this.

Also, my two week wait cut down to 10 days was then cut to 8 to take my Beta blood test.  Then Doc said I could come back in in exactly one week to see if i’m officially pregnant!!!!  We’re so thankful that everything went great and are confident that this is going to work.  We love these sweet babies so much already…I can’t even believe it! 🙂 🙂  We hope and pray that they both get buried in there and make themselves comfortable to stick around for 9ish months!!!

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Embryo Report: Also, we already have 3 frosties (frozen embryos for the future) and 5 more waiting to see how they do so we might be able to freeze even more 🙂

UPDATE: We had one more embryo make it to freeze, so we’re hoping for future siblings! 🙂

~Hopeful mommy to be,

Melissa Grim

IVF Egg Retrieval – 06 DEC 2015

On Friday, we received the go ahead from our doc to do our last night of injections and add in the “Trigger” HCG shot at 8pm!!!  The HCG shot helps your follicles to complete their final maturing process and exactly 36-39 hours later you ovulate.  Everything is extremely time sensitive as you can imagine, so we were scheduled to be at Dr. Blohm’s office on Sunday by 0730 to prepare for an 0800 egg retrieval time.

We arrived at Dr. Blohm’s office a few minutes early (Ryan always has to be there 15 minutes prior to the 15 minutes prior) and got settled in.  It was a little weird not having a coffee or water since I was NPO (nothing by mouth) from midnight the night before, but so worth it!

I was taken back to the pre-op area that was connected to the OR (all private for my Dr.) to get changed into a hospital gown and ready to go.  My anesthesiologist was already in there waiting with my nurse and she got the IV started for me.  After I asked when Ryan could come back she looked a little surprised and said he wasn’t allowed back at all.  I was a little upset that I couldn’t give him a hug and a kiss before the procedure and give him my jewelry, but she gave me my phone so I could text him and even took a pic of me all ready to go.  She was so awesome and constantly made me feel relaxed and in good hands. 🙂  Besides, he had a very important job to do himself! 😉  Finally I was taken back into the OR and transferred to the operating table for the procedure and the anesthesiologist got me started on the good drugs. LoL  I don’t think I was awake for another minute after that and didn’t wake up until I was back in the pre-op/post-op area.

I was told that I did great, but my eggs were a little difficult to get out of my follicles in my ovaries.  The procedure took at least twice as long as it should have normally, but we were able to get 13!!!

Again, after hearing that so many people get between 20-30 it seemed like a small number, but I was confident that they would all fertilize  and we would have “Quality over quantity”.  We were also doing a procedure called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) where the sperm would be injected directly into the eggs to up the chances of healthy fertilization.

I was still groggy, but ecstatic while I was getting changed.  My nurse, of course, had to take me outside in my stylish wheelchair and Ryan already had the Xterra pulled around to get me. 🙂  I stayed on bed rest the next 1 and half days partly due to the doc’s orders and partly since I was so sore.  Having needles jammed into you to get out stubborn eggs isn’t always the most pleasant.  The most important part was that it worked and everything was all so worth it in the end!!

We would soon learn that the hardest part of the whole thing would be the wait between the Retrieval and the Transfer.  We had to wait two whole days to find out if and how many embryos we had.  With the procedure that we were doing (ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), the sperm would be injected directly into the eggs to ensure the best chances of conception and pregnancy.  Finally, late in the afternoon on Tuesday, Dr. Blohm told us that we had 10 4-cell embryos left!!!!!  10!!!!!!  We were so ecstatic that I just started crying…it was such a blessing.  He told us “I’ll be honest with you, Melissa, I didn’t think you’d have any good eggs with as hard as it was to get your eggs out.  It would be easier to pull your molars than it was to get these eggs.  I’ve been doing this for 25 years and it’s an absolute miracle that you guys are here right now.”  GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!  He was also confident that we could do a 5 day transfer instead of a 3 day…which was also our prayer.  It’s better to see how well the embryos survive in the lab to transfer the ones that will have the best chance of sticking.  The next few days were spent in MUCH prayer and hope that we would receive more good news on Friday during our Embryo Transfer!

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