I am so excited to have the opportunity to share our journey with you. I absolutely love this series Sydney is doing, and I am happy to be able to share our struggles and successes with all of her readers.
Robbie and I were married very young and were in no hurry to start building a family. We both come from families of five children, so we just assumed we would wait until we were ready, and boom, we'd start a family. We initially thought we'd wait about 5 years and then we'd have kids. Well after about 2 years of marriage, we'd had enough with birth control side effects and I was starting to get the baby itch. So I stopped birth control and we went for the whole, "not trying but not not trying," thing.
About 6 months after I went off birth control, I picked up a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It's a great book, and I highly recommend it. I learned everything there was to know about my cycles, and became a charting fool. I knew we were definitely having intercourse at the right time, but nothing was happening.
After a few months of charting I went in and talked to my OBGyn. She ran a couple basic blood work tests, and everything came back normal. She suggested a semen analysis. It took me a while to get Robbie to agree to a SA, but we finally did one. The results were below normal, and my OBGyn suggested we see a urologist. Before Robbie went to see the urologist, I had an HSG done to rule out any tubal and uterine issues. All was clear there, so we continued trying and hoping for the best. The urologist was pretty much a waste of time other than the fact that they confirmed below normal numbers.
I took a while before we were both ready to have a consult with a reproductive endocrinologist. After speaking with the RE, we were told we had a less than 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on our own, and it was advised to us that IVF was our best option. We weren't quite ready to pull out the big guns yet, plus we couldn't afford it, so we agreed to try IUI first. It was recommended that I have a hysteroscopy done before we start any treatment, so I had that procedure done, and we had our first IUI the following month.
Our first IUI, a natural IUI, was met with negative results. The following month we did an IUI with Clomid. When it came time for insemination, the post wash numbers for count and morphology were so low, our REs office wouldn't even charge us for the procedure. Needless to say, that procedure yielded a negative result too.
I was pretty heartbroken because I knew we were going to have to do IVF. I knew how expensive it was, how invasive it was, and I knew we were still a long way away from being able to pay for it. We continued trying on our own and praying for a miracle. I was interview for jobs that offered IF coverage in their insurance packages, but none of the interviews ever turned into a job.
It was about this time that Robbie started a new job. We live in Indiana which does not mandate any infertility insurance coverage. Lucky for us, his new job was headquartered in Illinois where there is a infertility insurance mandate. A great one! 3 months after he started his new job, we had infertility insurance coverage. We started our first IVF cycle almost immediately after his coverage began.
We were beyond lucky to have a successful first cycle. They retrieved 20 eggs. 19 fertilized. We transferred 2 grade A blastocysts and had 3 remaining to freeze. Both embryos took, and I carried a healthy twin pregnancy until 37 weeks.
Before Brooke and Harrison were even born, we knew we weren't done with treatment. We had frozen embryos and we planned to use them. When the twins were about 20 months old, we met with our RE again and started toward a frozen embryo transfer. A saline sonogram showed my uterus looked great, and we were given the green light for the FET.
We made it through the monitoring and were all ready for transfer. Our RE has an office where we live, but their main location, where they do all retrievals and transfers, is a two hour drive. We were half way there when we got a call that was supposed to be the embryologist telling us how our embryos were progressing. Instead it was our doctor telling us none of our embryos survived and that our cycle was cancelled.
We were devastated. We were prepared for an unsuccessful cycle, but not having a transfer hadn't even entered our minds. It left a lot of unanswered questions and tons of uncertainty as to where we were in our journey.
I met with our RE a couple months later and discussed our canceled transfer and what it might mean for future cycles. Robbie and I had already decided before this visit that we would be willing to go through one more fresh cycle. We talked numbers and began saving right away. We have zero insurance coverage for the procedure or meds this go round, even though my husband is with the same company. We had tests done last month and are set to start injections in late March. If all goes according to plan, we'll be transferring two embryos mid April. Although as anyone who has dealt with infertility can tell you, things don't always go according to plan.
If you want to follow along on our journey, I blog about life with our toddler twins and our IVF journey over at Our Little Miracles. I feel like this will be our last fresh cycle. Although I also said we would only go through IVF once. There's so much uncertainty and so many emotions involved, it's hard to say what will or won't happen. I do know that we were lucky to be have a successful first cycle and that we are beyond blessed to be able to afford a second go round.
I am happy to answer any questions about our journey or lend an understanding ear. firstname.lastname@example.org is where you can hit me up. To anyone reading this, I hope you find peace in your journey. Whether it's through successful treatment, adoption, fostering, or child free living. Know that you are not in this journey alone, and that there are others on the same emotional roller coaster you are.