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Shooting It Up: IVF-Style

Kelsey is just beginning her journey to motherhood. She’s a genetic carrier for Fragile X Syndrome, so she’s chosen to go through IVF and PGD. Read more about her story here

I began the month very anxious and nervous about the shots. We got all the meds (sooo expensive, by the way) delivered to our house, and when I saw some of the needles I was NOT excited, to say the least. After reading through some of the instructions on what to do with each med it seemed less daunting, but still scary nonetheless. I’m a fairly healthy person and pretty conscious of what I eat and put in my body, so I was nervous about how my body would react to the meds. I’m not one to just throw my body off with meds and hormones, ya know?

My husband, on the other hand, was excited to “stab me” with the needles. I was grateful that he was willing to do this part for me, as I’m not fond of needles and had NO desire to stab myself. And though he gave me all my shots, I could not have asked for a better partner in all this. He was so willing to step up and do what he could to participate in the process.

I started with one shot in the morning for a week to 10 days, and then I moved to three shots total … the same one in the morning and then added two in the evening. The morning one was fine; no trouble there although I was extremely nervous the night before. It was the evening ones that hurt and that I didn’t like. I got a couple of bruises after all was said and done, but one in particular stung and I never liked that one at all. My husband did his best to get them all over with quickly, but they still hurt every time. I had more stab marks than I ever thought I would have in my life.

I did the shot cycle for about two weeks. I went to a lab and sonogram appointment what felt like every other day. They had to monitor my hormone levels and how many eggs I was growing. Ideally, in my situation, they wanted me to grow 12 eggs because as the process continues, the odds of having what we needed dwindled by about 30 percent through each phase. So the more eggs the better. I made good progress, but ended up with 10 eggs at retrieval time. All in all, that was exciting though, because a couple days before I went in, they thought I might only have eight mature eggs.

After retrieval, there was not much more I could do to help anything, which was nerve wracking. They fertilized eight of the 10 eggs that were mature enough to grow. Of the eight eggs, six fertilized normally and after five days of growing, only two embryos grew well enough to freeze. Now you see why they want 12 eggs? In my case, it wasn’t that I did anything wrong; it’s just that not all embryos grow at the same rate or normally at all. And this is with multiple embryos, not just the one that women produce each month. It really puts things in perspective of how amazing it is to have a child. I can’t imagine what FBG Jenn was going through after she found out she was pregnant following many struggles. Congratulations again, Jenn!

The doctors froze the two good embryos we had and shipped them to California to the company that does the PGD testing. This was the time when my husband and I had to sit and really decide if we wanted to go through all this again or if we wanted the embryos tested right now. We talked to the people at the company and essentially it would be a 50/50 chance that one embryo would be normal, with the gene I carry. We weighed our options and decided to hold off on the testing for now and go through one more round of IVF in hopes of getting AT LEAST two more good embryos and hopefully more.

Through all of this I sat and thought about Jenn and her story and the many women I encountered who were all in various fertility situations. No matter their story, similar to mine or not, we were all on this journey together to have a healthy child. Before you begin, you tend to think you are in this situation alone until you run across other people who are doing the same thing and then it doesn’t seem so foreign. I guess you never know until you go through it.

So for now, I am taking it easy and back to normal life until I start the process all over again in a couple months — still expensive, but hopefully worth every penny in the end.

I will be back to keep you updated on how the rest of my journey goes. Just know that if you are going through anything similar that you are not alone in the situation … there are more people in the world than you think who have to or choose to go about having a child differently than most. —Kelsey

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