The day had finally arrived when we would find out whether or not our first round of IVF/ICSI had been successful. Were we having a baby? We sure were dying to know! I’d had a blood test that morning and then played a bit of phone tag with the clinic nurse that afternoon… she was ready to tell us ‘the news’ but hubby wasn’t home yet and I desperately wanted us to be together. So there I was waiting, waiting, trying to keep myself occupied, and had absolutely convinced myself that the result was going to be negative. I thought I was seeing tinges of ‘pink’ which I believed would lead to a period over the coming days. So I was preparing myself for a letdown.
Finally hubby arrived home and we made the call. You could have knocked me over with a feather when she told us that I was, in fact, pregnant. What a relief! And yet a very bizarre, surreal, unusual feeling. There were no screams of excitement or tears of joy, mostly chuckles of astonished bewilderment. We honestly couldn’t believe it. We enjoyed a nice dinner out that night to ‘celebrate’, with a lemon lime & bitters for me, but I wasn’t 100% comfortable or convinced due to a discharge that I just wasn’t feeling good about. It could’ve just been related to the crinone gel I was on and at the time of giving us the news the nurse wasn’t concerned, but over the coming days it turned into more noticeable bleeding. I had to go back in for a blood test to confirm my pregnancy (hormone) levels were still going up, but received a call that afternoon to advise that they were on the decline instead. This confirmed my thoughts and it appeared that the pregnancy hadn’t taken. By the weekend I was experiencing what to me was just like a normal period. I was frustrated and more than a little ‘annoyed’ I guess because I wished I’d never have found out that I was, in fact, pregnant. I wished they’d have just let my body do it’s thing and that I could ‘find out’ as I normally did, via a period. The only reason I knew that I was ‘pregnant’ was because they told me I was. This made hubby & I wonder how many times in the past could I possibly have been ‘pregnant’, but lost the baby almost immediately, just thinking I was having a normal period, particularly when I wasn’t always that regular and sometimes significantly late. This first attempt was labelled as a miscarriage. I’m very grateful though to have not gotten further along and then for it to end the same way.
The nurses seemed surprised, being that my initial levels were very good, but we really just took it all in our stride. I guess in a way we felt it was almost too good to be true…
As a somewhat means of compensation, I jumped aboard last minute for a trip to the snow with hubby and some friends for a weekend that I hadn’t initially planned being a part of! A great way to let the hair down!
The beauty was, I still had 4 frozen embryos to use, and we were keen to continue ASAP. As wonderful as the whole process had been for me, with no side effects, it was still nice to know that I didn’t have to go through the injection or egg collection phases or anything else this time around.
Whilst we were hoping to try again the next month, I had to be monitored to make sure my levels returned back to zero. I also had to meet with the Doctor who basically gave me a counseling session I didn’t want or need, but had to pay for! Because my cycle was pretty regular, they wanted to use my ‘natural’ cycle for the next attempt (by regular I mean I had a monthly cycle, even though it was never very predictable). Basically, they wanted to target my body when it was naturally ready to conceive and carry a baby. So I had to call them when my next period started (the following month), and then began some serious observation! Again though, the fabulous nurses at the IVF Clinic were absolutely amazing! In a space of 10 days I had at least 8 blood tests – talk about feeling like a pin cushion! But they’d open early for me if necessary, were always on time, and I was in and out within minutes. They were waiting for me to ovulate naturally, which the blood tests would indicate. In the end, I think I ovulated a couple of days later than they were expecting, but it all worked out fine. Once they’d worked out when I had ovulated, they then calculated Day 5 of my cycle, which is how old the embryos were at the time of ‘freezing’, and that’s when one would be inserted. My only concern was that, seeings as they had used the best ‘AA quality’ embryo the last time (they’d all been labelled in terms of their apparent strength/quality) and it didn’t work, how likely was it that one of these would work given that they were potentially of a ‘lesser quality’ and had to go through the freezing and unthawing processes? Surely you’d have to be strong for that?! I was assured not to worry though, that this had nothing to do with the success rates (and later I heard that potentially the success rates could possibly be higher from frozen embryos).
Our embryos were transferred to our local clinic. On Day 5 we headed into the clinic, and interestingly this time there was no special protective clothing or sealed off rooms or anything like that. They only unthawed the embryo that morning (it doesn’t take long) and were pleased to see that in the short time since unthawing and before inserting it had already started to grow – of course something only they could see through a microscope but I guess it was the cells continuing to multiply, which they said was a positive sign. The implantation process was again all very quick and easy and we headed straight to a weekend filled with motorsport!
Again it was time to wait the 10 days, actually even a little longer, but this time I probably felt more like it was going to work, I guess because it did the last time. The question though was… would it continue?
Hubby and I again took the call together when he got home from work and received the positive news that yes, again I was pregnant! There was no dinner date that night – we were both dealing with such mixed emotions!
A few days later though another blood test confirmed my levels were continuing to rise… so much so that we were told there was the possibility of a multiple pregnancy! If that was the case, they’d be identical twins because the egg would have split after inserting. (I’d told our Doctor several times that he was allowed to insert more than one embryo, but they don’t seem to do so that often these days – it was IVF Australia’s policy not to). The nurse then confided that, even though my levels were very good last time, they were much higher this time, right from the beginning.
We were flying out to Bora Bora a few days later and she had no issues with that. She just said to be very careful of what I ate and not to drink the tap water. It was bizarre… technically I was ‘5 weeks pregnant’! Provided everything went smoothly, the next step for me/us was a 7 week scan at our obstetrician’s clinic to confirm a ‘viable’ pregnancy… at which point he would resume my care.
Bora Bora was such a blessing! Firstly, we were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, and of course were also very much hoping it was our ‘babymoon’. It was everything we’d ever hoped it would be – exactly like the postcards and travel brochures you see, and it was so nice to get away, just the two of us. We had our ‘secret’ and we just had to keep assuming that everything was going well and moving forward so long as I wasn’t bleeding. This time I didn’t have to use the crinone gel (slow release progesterone) as they were letting my body do everything naturally, and I had no signs at all of any bleeding. We did plenty of activities and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I at least don’t think I focused on the pregnancy as much as I would have if I were at home.
By the time we got home, we only had to wait another week until our 7 week scan. When the day came, we were seen by a sonographer. Normally she said she would do an internal ultrasound but because I was already on the bed (keen much?!) she said she’d try through the belly first. Well, as soon as she switched it on, there was our baby!!! The moment we’d been waiting for! I always thought I’d burst into tears, especially seeings as I’d get a bit emotional looking at an ultrasound of my empty insides in anticipation of what the future held, but I didn’t. The first thing I said was “Is that a baby?!” quite incredulous, and she replied: “That’s a baby!” She was absolutely wonderful and made us feel so special. Of course he/she was only tiny, a blob really, but he/she was there, alive & kicking, inside of me and that was enough! We had her check thoroughly to ensure there was only one, which there was! (Hubby’s visions of being a dad of 10 had returned when he learned the possibility of twins!).
We still had 5 weeks to go though until bub was technically ‘safe’ and it was like I still wasn’t allowing myself to really believe it. I always thought once I’d seen a scan it would feel real. Well, it did for the time I was in there, then quickly disappeared again. I was trying hard not to live in fear, I think it was more just really struggling to believe that we were actually on this path, that it was actually happening. I was trying to protect myself I’m sure, not getting my hopes up too high. I know I certainly dampened hubby’s spirits about it all and as such he didn’t feel he could truly express how excited and happy he was… he was certainly more understanding this time about keeping our secret until 12 weeks. My parents knew from the beginning (but even they were very subdued about it all, especially after the first attempt) and we told hubby’s parents after this 7 week scan but swore them to secrecy.
I reached the 12 week mark with no issues, complications, scares or even morning sickness! Our appointment though wasn’t for a few more days and this made me feel a bit safer anyway because some people say you should wait until 13 weeks to announce. We saw the same sonographer and she was as wonderful as ever. This time we got a really good look at our bub and were told we had a very attractive baby 😉 She even flicked the machine on to 3D and that gave us some really good images and videos.
Bub was misbehaving though and lying upside down… she was trying to get all sorts of measurements including of the base of the neck for the nucal translucency test and bub was not making it easy on her! She tried a few tactics with me to get him/her to turn and I even went into the bathroom and did a handstand (don’t tell anyone!) but nothing worked. In the end though she seemed happy with what she’d gotten and everything was fine.
So here we were! After all this time! Bub was safe, strong, healthy… and we could make it ‘official’!!!
That’s when the real fun began!!! Announcing the news!!! We are blessed with a hugely supportive community of family and friends and the fact we were trying to conceive was certainly no secret… though the IVF journey we had decided, on this occasion, to keep considerably on the down-low… probably purely because it was all brand new to us and we didn’t want to get our own hopes up, let alone anyone else’s. Plus I figure there’s not many, all be there some, who tell those around them exactly when they’re going to try to have a baby naturally lol! So we didn’t feel the need to divulge details either. As time has gone on though I have become much more open and eager to share my journey with anyone genuinely interested (note: there’s a difference between sticky beaks and people who just want to know what the ‘problem’ is or, more specifically, who’s ‘fault’ it is (the infertility), and those who genuinely care and/or are interested in the process).
But I digress. For those of you still wishing, hoping, praying, believing… oh I hope with you with all my heart that these deepest desires of yours would be fulfilled. Sharing the news with those dear to us was a wonderful experience. There was applause, screams of disbelief and excitement, squeezes soooooo tight, tears, spilled beverages… it was so much fun! And finally, finally, it all sunk in and we could believe it was real. This truly was happening. We had arrived. We were going to be parents!
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