We have definitely had some ups and downs in our trying to conceive journey. After trying for a year, and not using any form of contraceptive for almost 2 years – we knew it was time to get help.
Last week we had our first appointment with Dr David Moore, a fertility specialist from Eve Health. He looked at our previous test results and we had further testing – including an ultrasound. In the ultrasound, he counted my follicles and there were a LOT. (For those who are unfamiliar, follicles are fluid filled sacs, in which an egg develops. At ovulation, the ‘dominant’ follicle, will release an egg to be fertilised… so having a lot of follicles essentially means there should be a lot of eggs).
We also went through our history and I explained that after having ammonorehea due to low body weight last year, my periods had returned in January. They are somewhat irregular, but through temp tracking, symptoms and positive ovulation tests – I am ovulating – it’s just happening a bit later than usual. Dr Moore seemed to think it didn’t really matter that I’m ovulating later – as long as it’s happening – however, MY irregular cycles (combined with male factor issues) means that our odds of conceiving ‘naturally’ are very low. He said that whilst we could potentially conceive naturally, it could take 3, 5, 10 years – it’s hard to say.. If you’ve ever tried to conceive or if you have struggled with infertility – then you’ll know the feeling of wanting to be pregnant YESTERDAY – not in months or years. He suggested we go ahead with IVF with ‘ICSI’ where sperm will be directly injected into my eggs – starting as early as next month!
Nervous but excited, we got the relevant quotes and booked our information session with Queensland Fertility Group. Today we had that information session.
How did it go? Overwhelming. Terrifying. I could have cried after I was such a mixed bag of emotions.
I don’t think many people really know what IVF involves because it’s usually quite a private thing. I did a fair bit of research, but having the actual appointment and feeling the reality of it all sink in was quite challenging.
Here’s the general gist of what’s going to happen… Over the next month I will have to do self-injections of hormones to stimulate egg growth, these injections will be often – sometimes twice a day, and othertimes at very specific set times (think waking up at 3am to inject yourself in the stomach, nice!).
I’ll also have to go into the clinic every few days for scans and blood tests to track how my follicles are going. Once my follicles look ‘ready’ I will have day surgery to retrieve my eggs. Although it is only day surgery, there are risks – and there is a risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which is pretty intense!
Following egg retrieval, the lab will fertilise my eggs to create embryos. These embryos are then monitored closely for 5 days and at the end of the 5 days, provided the ‘conditions’ are correct (i.e my uterine lining is thick enough, hormones are OK etc) an embryo transfer will take place and the remaining embryos will be frozen. After embryo transfer, I’ll have to supplement with progesterone (which she said can cause me to be quite emotional/depressed) and then we’ll have to wait for two weeks to see if the cycle has resulted pregnancy.
Obviously, not every cycle is successful and after a long financial, physical and mental investment – we have to be prepared for that too. The nurse did say our success rate would be roughly 50%, which is much higher than our odds now, and if we don’t try – we’ll never know.
I don’t doubt that the next few months will be challenging for me. More challenging than anything I have done. I’ve already adjusted my training and diet to make my body ‘pregnancy friendly’ and I’d say I will be taking training even easier and potentially only walk post embryo transfer. If I could wrap myself in bubble wrap post transfer – I’d probably do it.
When I left the information session today this is what I honestly thought – “I don’t know if I can do this”. A good friend of mine reminded me that I AM mentally strong. She’s right. I have done SO many things in my life that I once thought were impossible – and this is the next.