4 years of trying everything we could to get a baby and nothing worked. 4 years of tests, ultrasounds, bloodwork, injections, meds, tears and more tears. We were at a fork in the road. Either Adoption, or IVF. Both extremely expensive- both extremely time consuming. As Colton and I would talk more and more about which direction we were going to go it was very apparent to us that we had not exhausted ALL of our options of trying for our own. We did not feel that adoption was right for us- at this time. Colton and I came to the conclusion that EVENTUALLY- not right now- we would try adoption. So we began our IVF journey after many tender mercies, and the unwavering love and support of our incredible families. I cannot tell you what their faith- and support meant to us buoying us up when we wanted to give up. We had not anticipated switching doctors until we were serious about doing the IVF route. We wanted to be ABSOLUTELY sure we were with the right Doctor and clinic. While we loved the staff at the Reproductive Care Center- there was just something with Dr. Foulk at the Utah Fertility Center that struck a cord with Colton and I. After our first consultation with him WE KNEW he would help us get our baby. Maybe it was his confidence in his work? Maybe it was his surety of what he was doing? Maybe our personalities just clicked. I don't know- I'd like to think that if a doctor is booked 3 months out until he can get you in for a consult- it means he is in high demand- and VERY GOOD. Well we were right. We met with him July 27th for that first consult. With how my cycles were we wouldn't be ready in time to be in the August group for IVF. I know it sounds weird haha how they do it in groups but the reason for this is: They want all the women are on the same time frame. We all start our meds, we all get ultrasounds, we all do our retrievals and transfers the same weeks/days. Because Dr. Foulk is so busy it is easiest to get everyone on the same schedule. He also works in Southern Utah at a clinic 1 week out of the month so everyone has to be right on point.
So they got me going on birth control- to clear out/ reset my system from any meds and restart my cycle days to when they wanted my body to do its thing. It was so smooth- We were set up with a IVF Coordinator, Chelsee, who I swear I talked to on a daily basis. Chelsee was the ULTIMATE organizer. She ordered all my meds and Colt's meds (yes he had to take a few), and got my IVF calendar in place. She went through the calendar with me explaining EVERYTHING and setting up all my appointments, bloodwork, and ultrasound visits. This process would have been near impossible without her. Another reason I LOVED Utah Fertility Center. They were incredibly organized- and made me feel like I was their #1 concern which doesn't hurt ;) . Now everyone's bodies are different- I have talked to a few other women who have done IVF the last few months and we were all on different meds, and different dosages, even if we were at the same clinic or doctor. Your calendar and your meds are catered to YOU and YOUR body- looking at my history Foulk knew exactly what I would need and how much- another reason he is a genius, just sayin ;)
We officially started injections in August- but really hit the ground running in September. Here is our IVF calendar- Color coordinated and all (Thanks to Chelsee ;) ) In the beginning I was only doing 1 shot a day by the 12th of Sept. I was starting to do 3 shots a day-- Until our Egg Retrieval.
The day we got our meds felt like Christmas- I couldn't believe ALL of this would be injected into my body- but the ultimate prize would be WELL WORTH IT! I was so overwhelmed when I started getting it all out. Poor Colton came home to a VERY emotional wife that night- it was so scary!
2 of my 3 shots. It was insane how many viles of powder meds were mixed into the fluid in one shot! Colton was SUCH a trooper! Between him and my big sister I didn't ever have to inject my own shots- there is no possible way I could have, I am a wimp who REALLY hates needles.... As time went on they began to get more and more painful- because of the hormones my stomach began to bloat- got really tender, and was covered in bruises. Now a normal person makes 1-3 eggs a month. With IVF you are trying to make anywhere between 10-20 - SOME not all people get even more than that. So injecting all of this into your body to produce more eggs can take a toll. Colton and I figured out that if I iced my stomach before we injected I couldn't feel the sting near as bad when I was initially poked..
My tentative day for my egg retrieval was scheduled for September 22nd on our calendar. But my body responded so well that they bumped everything up a day. On our last ultrasound before the egg retrieval I had 16 good looking follicles (eggs) that they would be able to retrieve, and my bloodwork was on point. Dr. Foulk was pleased with this so we went a day ahead of schedule for the rest of the process. On Monday September 21st we went in for the retrieval. It was a painless procedure- they put me under anethsia so I was asleep for it. The next thing I knew I was woken up to Colton and the doctor in a recovery room. They had retrieved all 16 eggs and things were looking good. Colt drove me home and I slept the remainder of the day. I think the worst part of the whole process was after the retrieval. I was SO hormonal from all the meds, my stomach hurt wicked bad and was so so tender. Its amazing what your body is capable of!
You can only draw blood in one of my arms... I tried telling the nurse- yeah she didn't listen and blew one of my veins in my arm that won't draw- it hurt sooooooo BAD and was only more amplified with the hormones in my system. ;(
We had 3 straight days of ultrasounds and bloodwork before we could be cleared to do our egg retrieval so we took advantage of being down town SLC and went to temple square... Thanks to the family who let us stay with them so we didn't have to go back and forth!! :)
Sorry for my nastiness, you are not allowed to wear makeup, hair products, or anything with a smell so I look like a gremlin hahaha oh and my ugly socks ;) haha
After the egg retrieval we wait 5 days to see how many eggs fertilize with Colton's swimmers. Each of those days I got a call from the lab with my egg report. We went from 16 to 12 to 8 to our final 5 embryos. I am amazed at the science in this part of the whole process.... We were right on schedule for a 5 day transfer. So our Transfer was Saturday the 26th of September. Since we had 5 good looking embryos we decided to Transfer our 2 best and freeze the remaining 3. Weird to think our future family were all conceived at the same time, in a dish, under a microscope haha :)
The day had finally come!!!
Our Embryo report
The transfer is really quite cool. They gave me a pill to relax me, and I was awake the whole procedure. Your bladder has to be full- which was the hardest part- and you watch the entire thing on a ultrasound. I am a IUI pro- and the Transfer is much like that. They insert the tube and you can see it on the screen and then the Doctor slowly inserts each embryo through the tube. You can see two little rice grains pop out of the tube and all of the sudden you have two embryos in your uterus! It was soooo COOL! And just like that you have officially done a round of IVF.
You have to be EXTREMELY careful the 2 days following your Transfer. They actually call them "Princess Days" No joke. haha You are placed on strict bed-rest- not allowed to even empty a dishwasher or have any sort of physical exertion- NO STRESS. Since our process was all moved up a day I was fortunate to have a extra princess day. My Mom came to Logan to take care of me while Colton worked- and between her and my sisters I was literally treated like a Princess ;) Haha Colton and my family MADE me stay in bed that 3rd day because why not- I had already requested it off work and we hadn't anticipated everything being bumped up a day. I firmly believe these three days were the most crucial in the process as far as the embryos sticking to my Uterus.
My little buddy stayed right next to me for 3 whole days.... Mmm I love my furbaby!!!
The following days were so hard just because we were so anxious. You wait 10 days following the transfer and then you go in for bloodwork to confirm pregnancy. I was so blessed with amazing friends, and my sweet young women visiting me, and bringing me treats!! We have never felt more loved than in did in this two week wait!!
My Best friend Sam brought me this cute bag of sunshine :)
I had never spent so much time at the temple as I did during this 10 day wait. I was desperate for peace and comfort no matter the outcome. The minute I felt anxious or a glimmer of doubt off to the temple I went. I cannot explain the comfort it gave!
Most yummy cookies EVER! Thanks to my Young women!
What are the odds that our bloodwork was on our Anniversary?! Talk about nerve racking..... I couldn't wait and the day before on October 6th I took a pregnancy test... We had held out- and right before Colt left for work he was like JEN DO NOT TAKE THAT TEST!!!!! But the waiting was KILLING me..... So I gave into the dark side ;) haha lo and behold the FIRST positive pregnancy test I have EVER gotten in our 4 year battle with infertility. I was so excited I couldn't even handle it- I called Colton immediately------ hahaha I think he was secretly glad I took it... and he was SO EXCITED! EEK! The next day I went in for bloodwork and it was confirmed. We were offically pregnant!!! We have never felt that magnitude of joy in our lives. It was the BEST anniversary EVER.
The journey of Infertility is a crazy one. We are totally different people now then we were before. We are both so humbled and grateful that the IVF process worked for us the first time. Alot of times it takes multiple tries before you can achieve that positive test. We are so fortunate. Our hearts still hurt for our friends or family members who are going through what we went through- and we are much more aware and empethetic towards them than we were before we went through this trial. We learned so much through this process- and although it worked this first time- we will most likely struggle to get all of our children- so the battle isn't entirely over. For now we can be happy with the outcome and just take it one day at a time. We never thought we would be able to be parents- and here we are finding out the gender of this baby in two days. We are so incredibly blessed.
I don't know what I would have done without Colton. He was my biggest cheerleader and shoulder to cry on. His countless priesthood blessings brought so much peace to me and our home during such a stressful time. It is amazing how love grows with you through your experiences and trials in a marriage. I never could have comprehended the love I could possibly have for this man today- on our wedding day- it is immeasurable. I am so excited he can finally be a daddy- a day I have wanted for him for so long!!! He will be the best, I just know it ;)
Wow we really need to update some pictures..... The other 4 people that we could have NEVER done this without were our parents. We talked to all of them EVERY DAY. They were most definitely our biggest cheerleaders- with us EVERY step of the way. When we would leave an appointment- we would always would call My Dad, and then Jayne (since my mom and brad work during the day) to fill them in on the latest and progress as it went. Colton and I both have some pretty awesome parents, and we are so thankful for all their wisdom and insight throughout this process. Lastly I am so grateful for my Big sister. She was here EVERY DAY with me- helping me with injections, or in any way possible. What can I say we are blessed with the best :)
And just like that we are on to our next phase in life- whatever it may hold. We are going to soak up the here and now with our little gummy bear while we can. Thanks for all the prayers on our behalf- we feel the love and support and appreciate it greatly!!! Love you all!!!!
6 Week Ultrasound :)