Hi friends, I hope you have some great Christmas plans coming up with family and friends! Today I’m sharing part two of our IVF story and I can’t wait to share the ending with you (if you missed the first part, you can read it here).
As a reminder, my prompt from the last post was: 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?
Day 15 – Retrieval Day!
We got to the clinic early in the morning for my egg retrieval. I felt tired but peaceful. When the nurse came in, the first thing she said was: “OK, so we are doing a freeze-all retrieval today!” meaning the eggs would be collected, inseminated, then the embryos frozen for use at another time. It was one of those scenarios where I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I clarified that we were here to do a fresh embryo transfer, and the nurse said that because my estrogen levels were still pretty high, usually the doctors wouldn’t allow a fresh transfer, but that she would confirm. I was devastated. As I changed into my gown for the procedure, with tears streaming down my face, I prayed that God would give us the number of mature eggs we needed and that if there was a potential of losing a child that I would not be allowed to do a fresh transfer in a few days, even though it would be difficult to wait a month and do the trip again.
After waking up from the procedure, the nurse told me the doctor said I could go ahead with a fresh transfer! I was so relieved! The next day we got a call with how many eggs were retrieved and fertilized and we were very happy with the number. Usually, embryos are monitored until about day five, when they reach the blastocyst stage or stop developing. Then one is transferred and the rest are frozen for future pregnancies. I prayed so hard that each one would make it to day 5.
These were some looooooong days. I started two new injections, one of which was administered intramuscularly and caused no small amount of panic the first time (let’s just say they were much scarier-looking than the previous ones). Thankfully, we distracted ourselves by exploring the area and even drove to do the Maid of the Mist boat tour at Niagara Falls! Seeing the falls reminded me how big, beautiful, and powerful God is. I made a conscious effort to put my hope in God and clung to this verse: “This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Day 20 – Transfer day!
I was so excited for our transfer day. I finally got to wear the “preggers” shirt I had bought 2.5 years prior because that day it was finally true. We ended up getting the doctor who started the clinic group, which was very fun. All of our embabies (embryos+babies) made it to the blastocyst stage where we could transfer or freeze, which was seriously a miracle! We got to see pictures of them all which was so special.
The transfer was quick and painless, and we got our first ultrasound picture of our five-day-old baby! We took a picture with it in front of the coffee shop we had frequented during our stay in New York, and a lady saw us and told us congratulations. I absolutely lost it on the way to the car – I just couldn’t believe this was finally happening. After getting some fries (an IVF post-transfer tradition), we drove back to Virginia. I was so grateful for all the texts and prayers we received from our family and friends that day! I started writing to the baby every day in the journal that had previously been my infertility journal, and have continued to do so ever since.
Though technically pregnant, I still had a two-week wait to confirm the embryo implanted. On the morning of day 29, I did my beta blood test to confirm my HCG level (which is what standard pregnancy tests detect). I had stayed strong and not taken any pregnancy tests until then because I knew the level of HCG was the important number, not the detection of it. But once I got home, I took one since we would find out in a few hours, and I finally saw a positive! It was such a surreal moment as I had wondered if I would ever get to experience that. Later in the afternoon, I got a call from a nurse at my clinic, who asked me if I was sitting down. She then confirmed: “Congratulations, you’re pregnant!” I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Getting to share the news with our family that the transfer was successful was so special.
A few days later, I celebrated my birthday. Matt gave me a mom locket to carry a picture of our embaby. Then I opened the most special birthday gift ever; my best friend in Virginia had secretly been working with Matt to raise money for our IVF costs and we got enough money to cover the whole thing! She made a frame with the names of everyone who donated and pictures of our little embabies. It was the sweetest blessing to not have to be stressed about how we were going to pay for the procedure, appointments, and medications. I felt so overwhelmed by God’s provision and the amazing people he had put in our lives to support us during such a difficult season.
It’s hard to put into words how the long and difficult journey of infertility changed me. While I wouldn’t choose to go through it again, I am grateful for what God taught me in it. I know that I will be a better mom because of it and I don’t ever want to take one moment of a pregnancy or child for granted. In the midst of suffering, God brought so many moments of sweetness as He showed me how to lean on and trust in Him. Even though my prayers didn’t get answered in the time frame or how I wanted them to, I know that God heard every single one and His plan was better than mine. I learned so much about the kind of Father He is – one that is always present, gracious, kind, and good. I can’t wait to tell my daughter about how God made her and how even though my mama heart loves her so much, it will never match the depth of love that God has for us.
Thank you for reading about my infertility journey. I hope that it blessed and encouraged you in some way. Again, if you’re struggling with infertility, please reach out to me as I would love to pray for you. I’m taking a blogging break to enjoy some time with family, but I will still have a few blogs in the new year about infertility so I hope you’ll come back for more in 2023!