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