While I was pregnant with Nolan or after he arrived, I can’t remember, I was told by someone that didn’t know about my infertility journey that I had it easy. I kind of giggled. You know that super uncomfortable giggle when you totally don’t believe what was just said. I had it “easy.” I guess. If you can ever call an infertility journey easy.
After 5 months of trying to conceive on our own, I made a doctors appointment. At my age it was recommended you contact your doctor if you are still trying after 6 months. So I lied. I was so ready to get the show on the road and so sick of waiting each month to see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test. I guess you could call that easy, as we didn’t try like some couples for years.
After months of testing, blood draws, ultrasounds, appointments and consultations, we finally had a diagnosis. We had a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant naturally. We would not be successful trying any less invasive procedures either. I guess you could call that easy as our absolutely only chance at getting pregnant was the most expensive, most invasive option. In Vitro Fertilization. (IVF).
We had our first consultation in December. I remember asking the doctor to tell us more about the IVF timeline. She said that if we were successful, we would be pregnant in 7 months. To us it felt like a lifetime when so many people around us were getting pregnant on their first or second try. I guess some people can call that easy as they have waited for years to conceive.
After a couple of months of research we chose our clinic and doctor. We were extremely lucky to have some infertility benefits that would pay for a portion of our treatments and we didn’t end up needing to borrow money like we had originally thought. We also found out that we have amazing prescription drug coverage so the cost of medicine was much less than anticipated as well. I guess this is where my giggle came from. This was the easy part.
(I’m not sure how much you know about the IVF process, but here is a quick run down. A HUGE box of drugs arrives at your house. You have a drug schedule that you are required to follow to a T. And I mean to a T. Sometimes you have multiple shots a day and different times of the day. Some am, some pm. You take a pill for this and a pill for that. Sometimes your shot has to be given within a 3 minute window of time. And if it is a day that you have a blood draw, you have to have all of your medicine in your system 2 hours before the draw, so you better set that alarm so you can wake up for your shot at 4 am. They have it down to a science, literally. All of these drugs are used to mature as many eggs as they can possibly can. After daily blood draws and ultrasounds they surgically extract the eggs. The eggs are then fertilized, monitored as they grow until day 5 or day 6. They take a small biopsy from each fertilized eggs to send for genetic testing and then flash freeze the embryos. You then wait several more months until your body is ready to transfer the embryo. At that point you go through a series of testing. Cue the shots, patches, and pills again, as you need them at this point as well to trick your body into thinking it ovulated, which it didn’t and fake that you are already pregnant before they gently place the thawed embryo back inside.)
My body seemed to react pretty well to the medication. At each ultrasound they were monitoring about 26 eggs. Imagine that. You typically have one mature egg a month, I had 26. They ended up extracting about 24 eggs at the retrieval. When fertilized, about 10 made it to the desired stage. On day 5 we received a phone call that only 1 embryo had reached the necessary state to be frozen. Our hearts broke. But there were still a few more developing. The next day we received a better phone call, 3 more had advanced. So my 26 eggs had now created 4 embryos. After genetic testing we had guaranteed 3 healthy embryos and one that they just weren’t quite sure about. My 26 eggs became 3 embryos. Again, some may call that easy. But to be certain, I am still giggling.
Months later we were finally ready for our first Frozen Embryo Transfer our FET cycle. And after about 120 more needles, multiple blood draws, ultrasounds and acupuncture, on the first try, it worked. 9 months later and through an uncomplicated pregnancy our arms were no longer empty and sweet baby Nolan made his appearance on Leap Day. We did have it easy. He was here. He was healthy. He made our dreams come true. We loved him more than we could have ever imagined. He was everything we had always wanted and so much more. So yeah, I guess in that exact moment, we had it easy.
I wonder what that person thinks now.