Today was the big day. Dayne and I met with our fertility doctor, the great Dr. Shane Lipskind. I had an ultrasound and a progesterone blood draw to make sure I ovulated last week so I can start my first round of shots tomorrow.
I was nervous sitting in the waiting room, bag full of meds and needles. Dayne kept making jokes about how every time the grandfather clock went off (every 15 min) someone was giving a sperm sample. Oh, this guy.. Not sure I could’ve made it through the day without him making me laugh. From suggesting we lock the ultrasound room door while I was undressing for the ultrasound to cracking jokes about how good looking our doctor is, he made this much less stressful. I was surprised at how much attention to detail he had when the nurse was showing us how to mix the medication.
After we figured out how to mix what, when and how and what angle to insert the needles (I don’t care how little the nurse thinks they are, they scare me) we went over the over 60 pages of paperwork given to us to take home and fill out. I never thought I would have to sign a paper stating what to do with our embryos if one or both of us died. Deciding what tests to do, what not to do, to freeze eggs first round, have a round two then fertilize all at once.
We decided to do fertilize and freeze round one. We can’t afford to do two rounds back after back.. we can barely afford to do one round. We have paid total, as of today $4966. Not counting the retrieval, it will be $2900 for genetic testing to find out if our embryo (pending we get a good one) is normal chromosomally normal, $1900 to cryogenically freeze it and $550 a year for storage (pro-rated obviously) and ladies and gents that puts us at a total of $10,316. We will need $5.350 due by March 15 and any other medical procedures (the IVF itself etc.)
Trying not to stress about more than one thing but that is easier said than done. Those needles look big but my hope is bigger.. for now.
I can’t say that I am super surprised. They say “at my age” you’ll have less eggs than someone that is say, 28. Diminished ovarian reserve; a fancy way of saying you don’t have a lot of eggs left. All I hear is all the times I heard “your biological clock is ticking”. Why is fertility so weird? So biased? Yes, I said biased. A man can have children well into his 80’s, do you ever hear diminished sperm reserve?
My doctor said this was to be expected and while it is low it isn’t “very low” and we will just order more Menopur. What is Menopur you ask? Oh, so glad you asked. It is one of the injections I will be using to “stimulate follicles and stimulate ovulation”. Basically trying to put as many eggs in one basket as we can. Added hormones and added cost. We ordered my medications for “stim week” today for a grand total of $3818.89. This of course was before we have to order more Menopur.
I worry, I’ve questioned if we should do this. What if we go through all of this and we get nothing. No eggs fertilize and turn into a 5 day blastocyst? Then we have gone through all this trouble, all this money, all this time and hope to come out with nothing to show for it. Then my sweet husband looks at me and says “then we have done it together, you’re my teammate and we will get through it together.” That’s all we can do is try, pray, hope we can get 1 good blastocyst, just one… two would be AMAZING. Meds will be here in exactly 7 days and in exactly 14 days we go to the doctor to learn how and when to inject them. If we could do this on faith my husband would get us through on his own. I just wish I had his optimism.
People always ask “when are you going to have a baby? When are you going to give Liam a brother or sister?” Not knowing how hard we have tried, how hard we have been trying. Months and months of nothing. Not knowing that you went to one of the best fertility doctors in the country and being told no. No, you can’t carry. Its not safe, for you or a baby. Not knowing that your body can’t do the one thing you wish it could.
I always wanted to be a mom. I remember carrying around my dolls, insisting that they had to come with me wherever we were going, despite my mothers insistence they stay at home. I would play the games with the other girls that would tell you how many kids you would have and who you would marry. I never imagined it wouldn’t be so easy. One stillbirth and a micro preemie loss later I had a healthy 5lb baby boy, Liam.
Fast forward to 2018. Dayne and I had been together for three years, married for over a year and ready to add to our little family. Knowing had an insane amount of scar tissue I made an appointment with a fertility specialist. Hopeful but weary I went to that appointment thinking “we can still do this, it may be difficult but we can do it”. It took all of 10 minutes to crush that dream. Because of my history, it wasn’t going to happen. You should look at surrogacy or adoption. Its too dangerous for you to carry, for you and any potential baby. I went home and cried, I laid around for months depressed. All the while people would ask, “when are you two going to have a baby”. Smiling through the awkward “we’ll see”.
January 2019 a longtime close friend, who for her privacy will remain anonymous for now, messaged me asking about how gestational surrogacy worked. Thinking nothing of it I explained it to her and she said something that literally brought me to tears. “I would love to have your baby for you”. My heart nearly exploded. How did I get so lucky to have such a great friend to do such a selfless act. Allowing me to borrow her body so Dayne and I could have a baby. Immediately I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment. I could hardly contain my excitement. When the office clerk asked what the appointment was for I yelled “WE FOUND A GC!!” She congratulated me and made my follow up appointment. I’ve gone in, had my first ultrasound, meds ordered and I have our tentative IVF schedule.
So there you have it! We are attempting IVF. We have a long way to go. Lots of finances to go through, as it is very, very expensive. But this is our chance to expand our family. Our chance to have a healthy baby with no risk to my life. I plan on documenting this journey. If it can help anyone understand what we are going through, if it can help one person not feel alone, if it can make someone else’s struggle a little less scary. It’s worth it.