As much as writing my previous article about secondary infertility, “Morning of Truth” felt healing, I also thought about how I was a little bit anxious about unfolding the possibilities of my fertility journey to actual readers. When I sent the article to be published I thought, “Ok. That’s it. I’m really doing this. I’m going to tell my story no matter what the outcome, and here’s hoping it’s a happy ending! No chickening out!” So, here I am, and following is how my fertility journey, my life, is beginning to unfold…
At 4:30am, over a week after implantation, I found myself lying in my daughter’s bed because she woke and couldn’t find her lovey. Mom to the rescue! I found the elephant and then was invited to lie in her bed until she got back to sleep. She was quickly out cold, sweet as a button, and breathing softly. And then there was me, wide awake and thinking about one thing only…FRENCH FRIES!!! That’s got to be a good sign, right? This was the morning of my first pregnancy blood test of my first IVF cycle. I’m pretty relaxed, believe it or not, because I’ve been pregnant so many times before, but only once successfully. My husband has a chromosome disorder which means that together we often create embryos with unbalanced chromosomes that don’t continue to grow past 6 weeks. Statistically, we have a 1 in 8 chance of the embryo having the correct amount of chromosomes, as in the creation of our daughter. To increase our chances of having a successful pregnancy and to try to put an end to two years of disheartening and frequent miscarriages, we were recommended IVF with genetic testing by a fertility specialist.
We had one cell of each of our 15 embryos of our IVF cycle tested by a lab to determine the number of chromosomes. I found out that very next morning that 3 out of 15 embryos were chromosomally fit for implantation after the testing. Unfortunately, one of the 3 stopped growing. The doctor said that even though it had the right amount of chromosomes, the genetic material behind it may not have been right. So, I had 2 good embryos out of 15 by the day of implantation. You must think I’d be disappointed. NO WAY!!! Our genetics counselor had previously explained that 20% of couples in our situation come up with no embryos fit for implantation after the chromosome testing. We have TWO!!! And we were so graciously thankful. We went with the doctor’s recommendation and had both implanted. After implantation, the doctor’s orders were two days of bed rest and then 5 days of light activity.
So, that’s the clinical part. Now on to the good stuff, the word of mouth recommendations I received from other moms who have been through this before. One mom told me that she thought watching “The Secret” on DVD by Rhonda Byrne helped her IVF cycle be successful. I had read and liked the book before, but ordered the DVD up straight away on Netflix. Another mom, who had success at IVF, told me to drink pineapple juice to help the embryos stick and avoid eggplant because it helped labor. I headed to Whole Foods for some organic pineapple juice, and avoided eggplant for the time being. Several moms swore by acupuncture to complement IVF, so I checked with my doctor and made appointments. Someone could have told me to suck my big toe to make my embryos stick, and I probably would have done it. I was determined to make this work!
Did I ever think I’d be in this fertility situation? Never. But unless you have found yourself in my shoes struggling through early miscarriage after miscarriage for over 2 years, make no judgment. I repeated my mantra over and over, “My first IVF cycle will be successful”. By the morning of my first blood test, I think I had convinced myself that I was pregnant, hence my calmness. Good thing, because guess what? I found out a few hours later that my HCG levels were 144, which I was told could mean 1 or 2 babies, but it’s too early to tell! And two days later, I had my second blood test and my HCG levels were 273. The nurses said my levels were rising nicely and scheduled me for a sonogram two weeks later. I just want to know that after 6 weeks and beyond that the pregnancy will continue.
In the meantime, I have had nights of having to get up from bed, not once, but twice, to get a snack before I can get back to sleep. Just yesterday I was so hungry and too tired to cook or wait for my husband to come home from work, that I took my 3 year old daughter out on a date to Houlihan’s (of course, she insisted on sitting on the same side of the booth as me). I felt nasty hungry — I ordered 2 meals for myself, and had to stop myself from eating both. I LOVE vegetables, but I am craving protein BIG time! And, here’s hoping these are signs of pregnancy and not tape worm! So, now you know all that I know. We’re caught up. My sonogram is in less than 2 weeks now, and I want to know what’s going on in there! In the meantime I will continue saying, “My first IVF cycle will be successful”, and write again soon…
Your positive thoughts, wishes and comments are helping, and they keep me going. Please don’t stop leaving them! Thank you!
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This is an original Jersey Moms Blog post by Veronica.