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It’s been an emotional journey these past several months as we’ve embarked on our IVF journey. There’s been excitement and optimism and also many tears and feelings of discouragement that have made me question whether I would be able to physically carry our next baby. But finally, after 3 more weeks of medication where my doctor doubled my estrogen dose and mixed up my meds protocol, my doctor finally deemed my body “ready” for our embryo transfer.

Finally, we’d get a real shot at this.

As I put Chloe to bed before our big day (AKA transferring the embryo into my uterus) the song “Let it be” came on. It was the reminder that I needed to help ease my nerves….

“And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be,
There will be an answer, let it be.”

I thought about our journey and everything we went through…

I have done everything I can.

I have tried my best.

I’ve given it my all.

Now – the rest is left up to fate.

Let it be.

I carried that mentality into the surgical office as I waited for our turn to go in. I was surrounded by women in the waiting room – all of whom I knew were in the same boat as I was. You could see the nervousness all around; we all desperately wanted this to work.

The process was simple. They brought us back to a hospital-like room and made me get dressed into a gown. Bill also had to wear his own version of a gown to protect the sterile environment. They asked me to chug water and go into the procedure with a full bladder – this was painful, as our wait time seemed like forever.

Finally, our turn.

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They took me back to a surgical room, and there was my RE and the embryologist who showed us an image of our embryo. We signed formal papers acknowledging which embryo they were inserting, including the gender which we selected. We had 2 embryos that were deemed “best” so we went with their recommendation and selected one. I then hopped onto a table, and Bill and I were able to watch them insert the embryo into my uterus on the ultrasound screen. It looked like a shooting star was heading up there and mid-way it stopped. The whole procedure was under 15 min – very quick – but the wait from there would be the hardest and longest yet.

Now, we wait and pray the embryo implants… Fingers crossed!

The embryo is in!

 

Due to the sensitivity of the topic, these blogs are not being posted in real-time. However, I wanted to share this experience and my continued journey with MS for others who may be struggling or are in a similar position. This problem is relatable for many and something that needs to be vocalized. I know how helpful it can be to learn and hear from others.

Gratitude (#6)

The more I go through this experience the more grateful I feel.

Grateful? During infertility treatment? Yes. Grateful.

Let me explain.

One of the most special gifts I have ever received was this notebook from a dear friend that helped me shift my perspective and re-focus my energy during my fertility treatments. While small and blank inside, it holds a weight in my heart that has helped me through this process.

Its purpose is quite simple: to share what I’m grateful for.

Read more

Let’s go get some eggs! (#5)

Finally – retrieval day! My emotions are running high and I am equal parts terrified and excited to be at this stage in the process!

Today is our egg retrieval surgery, where they put you under to surgically remove the eggs from your ovaries with a long, pronged needle. (See below for a better idea of how it happens)

The hormones I have been taking for the past two weeks have increased my egg count so we’re hoping today to retrieve as many eggs as possible. Even though the doctors have been monitoring my follicle count for days, there really is no way of knowing how many eggs they retrieve or the quality of the eggs they’ll get but we do have an idea.

Fingers crossed we get a bunch!! Read more

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We’re in the thick of it – AKA “Stims”.

What’s “stims”, you may ask? “Stims” refers to the hormone injections that start the IVF process or that “stimulate” your ovaries to produce lots of eggs – when typically you would only produce one or two. Your body essentially gets tricked into doing this with hormones that stimulate your ovaries for up to 14 days. The goal is to develop as many eggs as possible so you have more opportunities for eggs and sperm to fertilize and then create embryos. The more embryos = the more opportunities for a baby.

This part of the process is what people typically think of when they think of IVF – the shots – because there certainly are a lot of them. You typically start with morning and evening shots, and add a few more a day as time goes by. In addition to shots, you also go in to the doctor’s office for blood tests and ultrasounds every two or three days so they can see how your body is responding to the medications and to monitor your progress. It’s a lot for your body to take in – especially when mixing in Tysabri, my MS medication, into the mix. (Note: I was told to stay on my MS meds until pregnant)

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Originally written May 2018

I don’t believe negativity, complaining or feeling sorry for yourself gets you very far. It’s the antithesis of how I choose to live my life and tackle the challenges I face; BUT, I am human – and this is really hard – so forgive me for a second while I bitch.

(If you missed my previous posts, you can read them 8473574796 and here)

Infertility sucks. It really, really sucks. It sucks so much that sometimes I cry randomly, overreact for no reason, or simply don’t feel like doing a damn thing (very out of character for me). But it’s all part of the process, I hear. Or perhaps, the hormones taking effect? Probably a combination of both.

Honestly, at times, I feel angry that I have one more thing to manage, another problem to tackle, and can’t help but want to scream from the rooftop, “isn’t having an incurable illness enough?!” Since I’m continuing with my venting theme, I feel like I have played my hand with MS to the best of my ability, I’ve tried to make a negative into something positive and to now have infertility problems as a result of the disease, is just hard for me to digest.

But what’s perhaps the most difficult for me to swallow is that I didn’t know that MS could’ve affected my fertility – that I could’ve or should’ve been trying sooner. That I could’ve had my younger – healthier – eggs frozen ages ago and possibly avoided this. Perhaps I would’ve done things differently if knowing this sooner. polysiphonous

“MS Has Aged Your Eggs” (#1)

I will never forget sitting across from my fertility doctor, with Bill by my side, as he delivered news that seemed much like a scene out of a romantic comedy movie gone terribly wrong: “MS has aged your eggs,” he said.

We both sat there staring at him in disbelief. “What?! How could that possibly be?” we asked.

“The progression of your MS has deteriorated the quality of your eggs, which is common with severe autoimmune diseases,” he continued.

Fast forward an hour and our conversation concluded with me asking one final question, “If I were your family, your loved one, and desperately wanted another baby, what would you recommend?”

He responded, “IVF, without a doubt. And sooner rather than later.”

Well, there you have it.

Just like that, our fertility journey had kicked into overdrive. Neither of us knew what lay ahead in the months to come, but we knew we had to act. Read more

I know, I’ve been MIA. Here’s why.

The last time I posted a blog entry was in May, which I guess was about 5 months ago. Wow, it’s been a long time.

The truth is, our life has been anything but “normal” since then, and after much debate, I’ve decided to finally open up about what’s been going on.

Let me first say that life isn’t always rainbows and smiles. Yes, we all know that – and all experience ups and downs – yet it almost seems socially unacceptable to post about anything other than cute babies, delicious meals, or wonderful vacations. I’ll be the first person to admit that I am guilty of that too. I think we can all agree that it’s easier to focus on the good, right? The truth is that talking about personal topics can be painful and even borders on socially inappropriate (some things are just private.. right?). But in the spirit of continuing my transparency around my MS and authentically telling my story in the hopes of helping others, I’ve decided to share this less than “like” worthy news. So here it goes. Read more

Read This If You’re Newly Diagnosed with MS

Congratulations, you’ve joined the club. You know, the one you never wanted to be in – the MS club, that is.

You’ve just got hit with the news and still, even weeks later you can’t believe it.

Terrified. Angry. Confused. Your emotions are running high and well, let’s be honest – they’re flat out out of whack. You likely haven’t wrapped your head around it all. I mean, how could you? You just got diagnosed with an incurable illness.

Well, let’s cut to the chase. You do have MS. So, do I. And you know what – I’m okay and you, my friend, will be too. Read more