We know that those last 15 blogs were a lot to follow. But we wanted to fill everyone in on what we have been through throughout this fertility journey. We wrote each of those blogs as we went, and were waiting to publish them until we were pregnant. But here we are, three tries down, 10 months into our journey, and no bun in the oven. We decided to take a different approach and to involve our families and friends because we didn’t want to keep everyone in the dark anymore. The more Love and Positivity, the better.
Our current update:
We chose to switch fertility doctors and try a different approach. We met with the Center for Reproductive Medicine and we were very impressed with our new doctors’ approach. She is very focused on nutrition and the role that it plays when it comes to fertility. Steph has been Gluten-Free for almost a full 90 days at this point. We have been much more active, calorie-conscious, and just more aware of the things we put into our bodies.
This new doctor is switching everything up. Instead of Femara, Steph will be taking Clomid (pray for me during her mood swings) and they will be combining that with the Gonal F injections at a higher dose. They are changing up her trigger shot (to trigger ovulation) to one that is 4 times as effective as the Ovidrel apparently (probably more expensive and I will let you know the name once I know it). And then the day after insemination, they will start her on progesterone as well to be sure there’s as much “sticky dust” as possible!
She also required us to go to a counseling session so that we could discuss how we would handle different conversations or scenarios because we are using donor sperm. We found an awesome therapist and the whole experience was actually really interesting because it just showed how much we truly are on the same page.
We are so ready to get things moving again and are just waiting on Steph’s cycle to start.
Our emotions are alllll over the place. We are excited, nervous, impatient.. all the things. But we are so ready to be moms. We also discussed having all of the tests run on me during this cycle so that we know what we are working with if me carrying ends up being our next option. At this point, I’m totally up to it as long as it means we end up having babies at the end of all of this.
Right now, we know more things about the human body and fertility than any average person knows. I have gone down more research-rabbit-holes than what would probably be deemed healthy. And the only realllll thing this journey has been teaching me is patience. (which I apparently very seriously lack).
Second opinion appointment at Center for Reproductive Medicine: $65 (co-pay)
Total baby-making cost to date: $5363.71
We had our second appointment on Monday (CD13) and I have 2 follicles on my RIGHT side, which is new since the last 2 times have been on the left. One is measuring 18 and the other is measuring 19. These are the largest I’ve had going into IUI, which I’m hoping is a good sign. Also, if I can remember right, I think my HSG test (from one of the 1st blogs) revealed that my right fallopian tube was much more open than the left side.
We are getting inseminated on Wednesday (CD15) and then the 2-week wait happens again. Crossing our fingers, meditating, holding crystals, praying, and putting good vibes into the universe.
TWW Edit: This two-week wait has been pretty similar to the last two. Some things that are definitely recurring are the feeling of being full, bloating, and the PMS symptoms around day 6-8. Some differences (or things I’m just now noticing that I didn’t last time) are this time I’m noticing a lot of nose related issues. I’m having to blow my nose a bit more than usual and there’s some blood in my mucus. My digestion has also been very different this time around and I’ve been gassy, which isn’t like me. I’m not eating any gluten and haven’t for 2 weeks despite REALLY wanting pizza. We got a cauliflower pizza the other day that was GF – California Pizza kitchen frozen pizza that we found at Publix, but we are sure you can find it anywhere at this point! Other than that no major changes.
Ultrasound #2: $250
(luckily our sperm was covered because of that whole mix up last month)
Total baby-making cost to date: $5233.71
After our second negative test, we geared up for our third run. Now, because we’ve been to the fertility office so often, they pretty much know how I react to the meds and can nearly pinpoint when my follicles will be ready without an extra ultrasound midway (yay for saving $250!). I went in, no cysts, they gave me the 5 days of 2 pills, then we skip a day, and do 3 days of injections. Those end on Friday (CD 10), and we go back in on Monday for our ultrasound to see where my follicles are at size-wise.
After that, we get an insemination date and do this whole thing again.
There’s such a huge difference between the details in our first blog posts with the first IUI vs this third one. If you’re looking for more details, go back and revisit our first try! It’ll give you a way more in-depth blog about the whole experience. At this point, I think we are both exhausted and trying to be as patient as possible. Also, I have a bunch of physics homework that’s keeping me busy.
Last week we went to our local “witchy” store called Avalon, which has pretty much anything ranging from incense to tarot cards, to books on Greek mythology, crystals, jewelry, herbs, oils, and mediums. It’s a really neat place to visit. Sam did some research about which stones and crystals can help with the fertility process, and we picked out a few things. At this point, nothing can hurt. Going to school for Aerospace Engineering requires me to take Chemistry and Physics classes, which just furthered my knowledge of energy. I also filmed and edited all the meditation videos for our local Yoga studio (Warrior One) so I learned a bit more about chakras and meditation from that as well. #shamelessplug #notsponsored
If that scene is not for you, that’s totally fine. It’s also okay if you don’t believe in any of the energy stuff. I come from a religious background and throughout my life my faith/religion has altered and grown with me. My personal faith doesn’t keep me from wanting to learn about other things. That’s something I truly admire about Sam and I and our relationship is that we are always learning, growing, and teaching each other things. This is our personal journey and I’m trying my best to share it with people who are trying to have babies in case anything works for them. Hopefully, this works for us!
Ovidrel : $53.50
Gonal- F Pen: $170 (thank god for our 50% discount)
Ultrasound #1: $250
Total baby-making cost to date: $4483.71
(do we get to count the crystals too? lol those were optional though sooo probably not)
Okay, so we made it through our second ultrasound. They measured my follicles and I have 3 that are looking decent after all the pills. They’re measuring 11, 12, 13 respectively.
The hardest part of this is all the guesswork and scheduling. The Dr. Prescribed the Gonal F shots again, but this time 3 doses of 75mL (instead of 2). I don’t know if it’s mL or not. That seems like a lot, but I know I set the dial to 75! lol. I gave myself a shot this morning right after we got home from the fertility office (Sam had to go to work). It hurts more when you watch it, lol. They’re having me come back Friday for another ultrasound ($250 we hadn’t planned for) to see if I need to go to the Jacksonville office this weekend to get inseminated, or if they’re still not big enough, we come back Monday and do the insemination then!
Everything seems to be going much faster this time around. Probably because now I know what to expect more so. We briefly hit on the fact that my egg reserve is low (this could explain why they’re slowly growing). Normal AMH range for my age is over 1ng/ml and mine is 0.80ng/ml, so I’m in the low normal range. We also talked about the “what ifs” in case this time doesn’t work. Of course, we are both crossing our fingers and saying our prayers and throwing all the good vibes out, but there’s still only a 20% chance of it working.
We discussed the possibility of IVF regardless if this one sticks or not. IVF is a procedure where they give me a TON more meds to make way more follicles mature, then they go get them, fertilize them, let them grow into embryos, then freeze them until we are ready to have babies. When you’re ready, they pop a few frozen ones into your uterus and because they’re already fertilized, it increases your odds of becoming pregnant (and you have leftover frozen ones stored for later!). Overall IVF is way more expensive ($12-20k), our insurance doesn’t cover it, so that’s not our first plan of action. Because of my age, my egg reserve, and the fact that we want to have a big family, that might be a solid option to look into eventually. That also presents the opportunity for Sam to carry if she wants to, although I don’t know all the testing she’d have to go through for that. We also have the option of Sam carrying or using Sam’s eggs if it ends up working that way!
Overall lots to think about, but we are taking it one step at a time.
I have 2 more days of shots, then we go back in on Friday (it’s Tuesday today) and see if we get inseminated Saturday or Monday!
$250 for Ultrasound number 2 this go round!
Total baby-making cost to date: $3207.10
I figured, that maybe you should read something from my side of things for a bit.
THIS PROCESS!!… Has been an absolute whirlwind! Between researching every single piece of information I can possibly find, reading god knows how many blogs, keeping secrets from everyone we love, watching EVERYONE announcing that they’re pregnant, dealing with all of Steph’s “Symptoms”/”hormones” from all of these drugs, and figuring out where all of this money is coming from… My head has been SPINNING!
But Steph was made to be a mommy, and there is nothing in this world that I want more than to watch my Beautiful Wife care for and raise our babies. (A tiny human with her smile is going to be the death of me.) I will do any and everything that I can to make this happen for us. It’s a killer to sit here and kind of feel helpless through all of this. I watch her nervous and excited face every time we are on our way to the doctor’s office, and it’s a terrible feeling to know that this is all completely out of my control and that all I can do is be her emotional support through all of this.
We are now starting our second round of IUI and this time feels soooo different! I feel more calm, and not new at this anymore. I know what to expect and what the odds are. We know the process, how much everything costs, how the drugs make Steph feel, (grumpy and emotional to start) and that I am DEFINITELY not allowed to watch This Is Us or anything remotely emotional for that matter lol! Let alone trash TV because she would rather do dishes than watch Empire.
Steph decided to start her period a FULL week early! Soooo all of my financial planning went RIGHT out the window!
We went for the first Ultrasound yesterday (05/07/2019, day 2 of her cycle) to see how many follicles we could be working with and to make sure that Steph doesn’t have any cysts so that they could start her on the Femara. (I also learned that apparently, if they do not check for cysts before starting Femara, the Femara will basically cause the cysts to grow at a rapid rate, which no one wants. Obviously!) All was good in that department and so they had Steph start taking the Femara last night. This time, they doubled her Femara dose and she takes 2 pills a day. They also called in the Ovidrel shot so that we have it for next week. The Process as of now (best case scenario) is, she takes the Femara for 5 days, we go back for an ultrasound 7 days later (our appointment is at 7:15am on 05/14/2019) to check how big her follicles got with the hormone help, and if they are the size they want them to be, we order the sperm on Wednesday so that its there in enough time for those little swimmers to thaw. And then we would trigger her Wednesday night for a Friday insemination.
Pray for our bank account!
$250 for Ultrasound number 1 this go-round!
$53.50 for the Ovidrel (we still get the discount Yay us!)
$3.10 for Femara (I have no idea why it was cheaper this time for 10 pills instead of 5)
Total baby making cost to date: $2957.10
Sidebar: I had everything worked out financially this month and figured out whereeeeee on earth this money is going to be coming from, and then Apollo (Our handsome Great Dane) decided to get an Aural Hematoma. (basically, a giant blood blister on his ear flap!!).. so that vet visit last night was an extra $115 I wasn’t ready for! JUST when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the universe throws a wrench into things lol but my budgeting skills are something serious, and we are still all good! YAY ME!
After last week’s visit, the team ruled that my follicles were still not big enough so they gave me some “liquid gold” shots of Gonal F which was to help my follicles grow.
We switched to the shots from the pills because the pills you have to take for 5 days, and we didn’t know if that would be too much time for my follicles to become TOO large. The shots allowed me to come back after 4 days instead of 6. The shots were on Wednesday and Thursday night and it really wasn’t too bad! Sam’s becoming a pro! LOL. I had some nausea on Thursday morning (just in time for calculus class) but it only lasted a few hours and got better once I had something to eat.
This weekend we went to Birmingham to see Mumford in Sons in concert. It was honestly just really nice to get out of the house and go on a mini-vacation and really enjoy the nice weather. We went exploring and visited a few of our favorite places and drank delicious coffee.
I haven’t been stressing too much over all of this fertility stuff, mostly because all of my tests have come back normal and there’s nothing more I can do but simply wait it out. My biggest recommendation for anyone would be to keep yourself distracted so you don’t get to ask yourself the “what if”s. We both strongly believe that whatever happens, happens. We would much rather be going to concerts and living our best lives than worrying about what we can’t control.
*I DID take a few ovulation tests recommended by the nurse just to make sure my body wasn’t going to ovulate on its own. All 3 tests from over the weekend were negative, which is good.
We were back in the office Monday morning for another ultrasound. They measured my follicles again to see how they were growing. I have 2 on one side measuring at 11mm and two on the other side. One is measuring at 14mm and 17.5mm. The minimum they want is 18mm and they would like me around 21mm before they trigger my ovulation. After about 14mm they begin to grow at a rate of 2mm/day roughly. That would estimate the two 11mm at 15-16mm, the 14mm at 18, and the 17.5 at 21-22 before the trigger shot. Sooooo our chances of multiples are for sureeeee up there! But we will be happy with whatever number the universe gives us! All we need is at least ONE to take!
We have a plan of action.
Wednesday night around 10pm(Day 17), Samantha will give me another shot – this time the shot is called Ovidrel which will trigger ovulation, which is when the mature follicles release the eggs. Click HERE for an animation explaining it a bit better. My body will then release the egg within 24-36 hours. After that, the egg will be viable for 12-24 hours. (everything is sooooo TIME sensitive). We had the sperm shipped overnight to be there by Thursday so that when we go in Friday Morning (early) for the actual IUI procedure the sperm will be thawed and ready to swim their final marathon!!! So Friday is when the actual insemination will happen. After that is the 2WW (two-week wait) followed by a pregnancy test on day 16, which is April 14th! (we can’t test any earlier than that because we could end up with a false positive and that would just be disheartening) and WHEN (putting positivity into the universe) that test is positive we go in for a blood test to confirm!
I probably won’t write another update blog unless I start feeling any weird symptoms, so I’ll see you in about 2 weeks!!
4 follicles total: 1 follicle measuring 17.5mm, 1 measuring 14mm, and 2 at 11mm (these are too small to count really, but they’re still present so we’ll see what happens!)
Fifth appt. (day 19) – INSEMINATION DAY!!!
Third ultrasound: $250
Fairfax Shipping to ship our baby juice: $280 (priority overnight was required)
Ovidrel shot: $53.50
– – – – (a discount card that we applied for through EMD Serono Compassionate Care Program saved us 50%)
Total cost to date: $2150.50