Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Inside IVF

So...I'm going to do (or at least attempt) a blog series.  EEK!

As Michael and I were talking through our next IVF cycle and what that means for us, I told him I wanted to do something special with this - our final - retrieval.  What we landed on was a series of videos and posts that will give you a glimpse inside IVF.  Our hope is that this will be a resource for couples who are getting ready to start (or are already in the middle of) an IVF cycle.

When we first stepped into this world of IVF, it felt lonely and scary.  If it weren't for our amazing IVF nurse, I don't know how we would have survived.  Our goal for the series will be to walk future IVF patients through the process we've experienced and make the road (hopefully!) feel just a little less lonely and scary.

In the meantime, Bear decided he (like his mommy) loves ice cream!  It's looking a lot like summer to me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Fear can be debilitating.  It's Satan's trump card for bringing me emotionally into captivity.  If I allow my mind to go to that place of darkness, my list of fears is unending.

I'm afraid that I won't be a mother.
I'm afraid we will have spent this insane amount of money and end up empty handed.
I'm afraid my husband will resent me.
I'm afraid I won't be able to have a biological child who looks like me.
I'm afraid of losing more babies.

I'm. Afraid.

But the Lord has not called me to be a slave to fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

He has given me power over Satan and over my fear.  He has given me a sound mind, which He calls me to renew daily (Romans 12:2).  When I find myself falling back into the captivity of fear, it's at that moment more than any other that I must renew my mind with God's Word.

My pastor says that when we command our thoughts, our emotions will follow.  So when I command my thoughts to trust Jesus no matter what, eventually my emotions will follow.  When I remind myself who I am in Christ, I no longer have to be a slave to fear.

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What I Wish I Knew Then

If I could just go back three years and start this whole thing over again, here's what I would do differently.

1.  Fight for a diagnosis.
When we started this journey no one was able to give us a diagnosis for our infertility.  The more tests that came back as normal, the more resigned I was to the idea of not having a diagnosis. Michael, however, was not satisfied.  He insisted on a diagnosis.  I kept telling him that from what I was reading, 25% of women with infertility have unexplained infertility and that we should try to be okay with that.  Boy am I thankful that he refused to be okay.

What our doctors in Kansas City couldn't tell us, my doctor in Colorado could.  Over the phone.  After looking at the exact same test results that my RE here in town looked at.

He gave us a diagnosis, and with a diagnosis, a method of treatment.  There is no other medical condition that doctors begin to treat without first diagnosing.  Don't let your RE proceed without a diagnosis.  If he/she can't tell you why you're struggling to get pregnant, get a second opinion.  Or a third.  Or a fourth.  If we had done that from the beginning, we would have saved two years and $10,000 on treatments that were never going to work.  Fight for your diagnosis.

2.  Be specific with your goals when talking with your doctor.
As amazing as our doctor is (he's top 10 in the country), he didn't fully understand our end goal of IVF.  We want a big family.  We have no intention of stopping at one baby.  Maybe we just assumed he was on the same page as us.  Maybe we told him and he just didn't hear us.  But the bottom line is, we weren't as clear with him as we obviously needed to be.  We want a big family.  Had Dr. Schoolcraft fully understood our end goal from the very beginning, it's likely we would have followed a slightly different course.

3.  Be knowledgeable.  Study up.  Read, read, read.
When we started our infertility journey, we took one recommendation from a coworker to find our Reproductive Endocrinologist.  That was our first mistake.  We did absolutely no research on her.  We learned the hard way that the RE and clinic you choose is absolutely key.  Do some reading about infertility and clinics.  There are tons of books out there.  I recommend books by Dr. William Schoolcraft (my RE) and Dr. Sami David.  The bottom line is that you need to know as much about infertility as you can before you start.  You also need to research your clinic and your RE.  Not every doctor is the same. Not every RE practices medicine the same way (which makes absolutely no sense to me!).  Trust me when I tell you that you don't want a mediocre doctor making decisions that will cost you tens of thousands of dollars and invaluable time.  Get someone good.  Be as informed as you can possibly be.

4.  Ask a BUNCH of questions.
Here are things I think you should ask and your RE should be able to answer:
Why can't I get pregnant on my own?
What's the protocol for my diagnosis and why?
What's the chance I get pregnant from this protocol?
What's your success rate for live births with women my age?  What about with women who have a similar diagnosis as me?
How many different IVF protocols does your clinic utilize?
How is my egg quality (FSH)?  How is my egg reserve (AMH)?
Do I need to do multiple retrievals and bank my embryos?
Do you do chromosomal testing on embryos?
How many embryos will you transfer at one time?
What process does the clinic have in educating you (the patient) on whatever course you are proceeding with?
Will I have a fresh or frozen embryo transfer?

Michael's final suggestion for all struggling with infertility?  Play the lottery.  You're gonna need some extra cash, and a lot of it!