Hi friends, are you ready to learn all about our IVF journey?! If you’re not familiar with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), you can learn more about it here. I’ll admit, doing IVF was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It was scary to think we could be spending thousands of dollars and lots of emotional energy on a procedure that may not work. But I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to do it because I know that’s not an option for many people. And I knew that even if it wasn’t successful the first time, God would use it for His glory!
As you read through the blog today, think of a time where you faced something that seemed insurmountable. How did you handle it and how did it change who you are today? I’ll come back to this in part 2 of our IVF journey.
Warning: if you get woozy with any mention of needles I do mention them a few times but will try to keep the details to a minimum!
After many phone calls with pharmacies, insurance, the IVF clinic in New York, and my OB’s office, we were finally ready to start treatment. I got the go ahead after my baseline appointment (first bloodwork and ultrasound) on a Wednesday and was instructed to start the stimulation medications (stims) on Friday. Matt helped me organize all the medicines and needles and prayed for my anxiety as I absolutely hate injections. The medication protocol can vary depending on each clinic, but I think I had about 18 medications, 9 of which were injectable!
Friday rolled around and my anxiety was at an all time high. I spent time with a friend who encouraged me to give my emotions to God and write a letter to my future child on their birthday. I was having trouble imagining having an actual baby after so many disappointments, but I decided to write a letter to my child on their first birthday as an act of faith. It helped me have perspective and start off the week on the right foot!
Another blessing was that I got matched up with a prayer partner from my Moms in the Making Bible study who had already been through IVF. God was so intentional in bringing us together and I was thankful to have her friendship and prayers as she knew what I was going through and we could support each other in similar ways.
In the evening, we started the first stims – two in the abdomen. Matt was very patient with me as I was stressed to time it just right, since we needed to do it at a consistent time every day. Thankfully, they didn’t hurt too bad and we had a comedy show lined up to help me relax! I even gave myself the shots a few days later, which I thought I would never be able to do!
After about a week, we added a morning injection that stung pretty bad. I started to feel like a pincushion but knew I had a long way to go and was getting a little discouraged. I wrote in my journal: Completed 1 week of stims. It seems like a small thing, but to me it’s big because I had so much anxiety over it. I’m simultaneously so thankful that I have the opportunity to do IVF and receive these medications, and struggling that this is the path we are on to conceive. As I was struggling this morning with the injections, I felt such tension between grief and gratitude, and it reminded me that tension points toward heaven. We exist in the already and the not yet, but in heaven we will have no tension because we will be in perfect peace in God’s presence.
We drove from Virginia to our clinic in New York to prepare for the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. I was hoping to do the retrieval on Mother’s Day to feel like I was making some progress, but my clinic wanted to do one more monitoring appointment to let the follicles grow before doing the retrieval. On our drive we stopped in Scranton, where my favorite show The Office takes place, and we ate at the infamous Cooper’s (the “fancy” seafood restaurant). They had a whole Office-themed gift shop, and I made my first ever baby purchase – one pink and one blue onesie that said “Assistant to the Regional Manager.” It was a really fun bonus to stop on our way to the clinic!
Father, help my faith be bigger than my fear. Even though IVF and all its complications and implications seem huge to me, it is nothing compared to your power and love. You have given the blind their sight, made the lame walk, healed countless people, searched souls and made the dead come to life. You are a God of miracles and unfathomable love and grace. I love picturing our babies in your hands, ready to be made earthside soon. I thank you for each precious baby you give us. Lord please bring my mind and body in submission to you. You are in control, not me or the medicine or the doctors. Only you create life. Let us have however many babies you want us to. I ask for peace in place of anxiety, for healing and wholeness for my body that has been put through so much the last few days. Thank you for giving me your strength and resilience in my weakness. May all the glory and honor go to you, Lord.
A verse that encouraged me this week was James 1:2-6: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
The next few days went relatively smoothly. I was able to do my last monitoring appointment at the clinic and everything looked good except for elevated estrogen levels, which are a precursor for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. I was especially afraid of OHSS as it could lead to hospitalization in severe cases and could prevent our ability to do a fresh embryo transfer in a few days. I prayed and prayed that my levels would be low enough to still do a transfer, because if not, we would have to wait at least a month and we were already on a tight timeline.
To save you from reading a novel, I’m going to end on a bit of a cliffhanger today! You can read part 2 next week 🙂