Feeling positive transfer morning
Guys, we made it to Friday! WOO HOO!
I don’t know about you but I am thrilled to see the end of this week although this weekend may be a long one. We are going to attempt the ‘no pants’ potty training method so pray for me and my furniture! Hopefully I’ll have some positive updates soon.
Today, I wanted to dive into our experience with IVF the second time around since I had been receiving a few questions about it and in case any of you may be going through the same thing. If you are new around here, I have shared a lot about our past experience with miscarriage, IVF and my most recent trip back to Denver.
After I polled you all over on Instagram, I thought answering your questions may be the easiest way to go about this and will try to expand as much as possible. If you have any additional questions feel free to leave them in the comments!
At what point did you realize you needed to go the IVF route?
I expanded on this much more in my original post about IVF but we had been trying naturally for over a year without any success and I felt something was off. Trusting my gut was important and if you are wondering about your fertility, ask your doctor! You are your own best advocate and know your body.
I believe medically speaking, OB’s will refer to reproductive endocrinologists if you have been trying for a year and are under 35 years old or 6 months and over 35 years old with no success.
What is your fertility issue?
We were diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility meaning all of our lab work and testing came back normal but for some reason we just weren’t able to get pregnant.
Did you go back to Colorado this time?
I did! I shared a post a little while back all about my most recent trip back. Since it had been over a year since I had been seen at the clinic I had to go back for the initial workup again. Mostly just testing and lab work! Once that was done and the results all came back within normal limits, it was up to us to decide when to move forward with a transfer calendar.
How did the doctors decide what tests to do?
I think every clinic and doctor has a series of initial testing and that’s what I had done. If you look at CCRM’s website I believe it outlines what all will be done. I’m sure outside of that it’s based on personal needs but I never had anything additional done.
Can you share the Transfer process and protocol?
It’s different for everyone! Every patient uses different medications, has a different calendar and schedule so I’m not sure I can share much that would help. In general, you will take birth control to control your cycle one month, start medications the next and transfer the following once your body is ready. The entire time you are getting routine lab work and ultrasounds to track everything and things are kind of fluid depending on those results.
How much time should you take off around retrieval?
I’m not sure whether this meant retrieval or transfer. Both of my transfers stayed pretty true to course so I only took the days off I absolutely needed to, which was 3 or 4. However, my job is more flexible in that I don’t submit days months in advance. If you do need to, I would suggest taking a few days off before and after you think you will be transferring.
If we are talking retrieval, that somewhat depends on your clinic. CCRM requires you to be local 7 days before your expected retrieval so I ended up spending nearly 2 weeks in Lone Tree waiting to trigger and have my procedure since your daily lab work will determine that.
Did you do a mini stim or standard build up?
I did nearly the exact same protocol this time as I did with Zain which was an Estrogen/Progesterone build up and Lupron trigger.
Were the progesterone injections painful?
Umm, YES. No one forgets about the progesterone, ha. The gauge is large, the oil is thick and an IM shot never feels good. I usually had Trevor ice the spot before and walked funny for several weeks. You just have to remind yourself why you are doing it and get moving right after.
Did you use any vitamins or supplements?
I didn’t take anything but a prenatal vitamin!
Did everything go smoothly?
Not nearly as smooth as the first time with Zain. I felt like medications had to be added more often than they did previously and my cycle was almost cancelled in the middle. We were scared I had ovulated through my medications because of a lab result and had to wait it out over a weekend to see how to move forward. Luckily, the next lab result stayed within normal range so we moved forward but that weekend was brutal.
Did you know the gender with IVF?
As a rule, my clinic does not share gender information with patients which we respected. I believe it was a decision made by the physicians at the clinic and Trevor and I were actually happy about it. IVF takes away so much of the process of getting pregnant, we had no desire to know more than we needed to.
We did the genetic lab work at 11 weeks like most people do and that’s how we found out the gender both times! I will be sharing a bigger post about my first trimester next week along with how we found out the gender 🙂
Did you transfer a previously frozen embryo?
We did! I did a retrieval when I went through IVF with Zain and we transferred one of those frozen embryos this time around. Both of our transfers have been frozen since we elected to do genetic testing, this one just much longer than the the first.
I decided after the first stimulation round with Zain that I would never do another retrieval. I know a lot can change but overall we felt very lucky and thankful IVF worked for us the first time and even though we had very few embryos, I never wanted to go through that process again. I spent a bit of time in Denver while stimulating and I now can’t imagine being away from Zain that long.
We both went into this round at peace that if it worked, we would be ecstatic but if it didn’t that it would likely be the end of this IVF journey for us.
How painful was it?
IVF is a brutal beast emotionally and physically. Not only does it seem to consume your whole life but the onslaught of medications, injections, emotions and hormones can be a lot. Overall, I just kept reminding myself it was temporary and that I endured much more the last time around.
Personally, stimulation was the toughest for me and I knew I didn’t have to go through that this time. The constant monitoring, medications and waiting for results was excruciating. So, I kept that in the back of my mind and tried to remain calm and positive.
How did you balance IVF with work and Zain?
It’s not easy when your IVF clinic is out of state! The first time around the owner of my dental practice was very understanding and allowed me time off when I needed it. For the stimulation part of IVF, I spent almost two weeks in a hotel in Denver. It’s a huge reason why I could never imagine doing that again!
This time was a tad bit easier because it required less trips and less time. I flew out alone for just a day to do my work up and then flew back alone the day before the transfer. Trevor was able to meet me the morning of the transfer and we flew home together. So, in total I was gone only about 3-4 days and my mom was able to stay with Zain thankfully.
As far as the medications and shots with Zain around, he caught on quick which I knew he would. He knew I was taking a lot of ‘mes’ which is what he calls medicine and would help Trevor with my bigger shots. He wanted to be involved and as much as I thought about hiding it from him, I was delighted at his empathy. His would always use the alcohol swab to pat my injection site and rub it to feel better and was constantly doting on me.
Did you stop drinking caffeine?
I did not. However, I do drink very weak coffee overall so it’s nothing crazy and have still been consuming one cup of 1/2 caff a day!
Did you workout during that time?
I followed my clinic’s protocol which I believe was working out up till the transfer and then taking two weeks off after. I slowly worked my way back in and honestly the first trimester of pregnancy was so miserable this time around, I just recently started getting back to it.
How was your CCRM experience?
CCRM has always been a wonderful experience for us and it’s no secret that I have a very special bond and love for Dr.Kondapalli. I wrote much more in detail about my past experience here and this time was mostly the same.
I will say, my previous nurse Monica who I love had moved to part time since my last visit and I didn’t particularly love the communication methods of the person I was dealing with this time around. I actually chatted with the nurse manager and Dr.Kondapalli about it and was happy it improved. If I’ve learned anything through this process it is to be your own advocate!
Key questions when choosing where to do IVF?
As you know I expanded on previously, I was initially seen at a clinic in Chicago where I did IUI. Despite the results, the clinic was not right for us and we knew it. I think you need to be an advocate for yourself, make sure you are getting the questions answered you want and most importantly feel comfortable with your doctor and the staff. This is a rough journey and you don’t need any additional stressors than you already have!
How did you choose which embryo to transfer?
There wasn’t much of a choice for us since we didn’t have a lot of embryos from my previous stimulation. In general, they ‘grade’ your embryos based on a few different factors and we always went with what Dr.Kondapalli recommended which was the highest grade.
Any transfer tips?
Try not to overthink it and relax if you can! I know both of those things are hard to do when going through IVF but I just tried to be positive, stay healthy and relax. There really is not much you can control about the process and we can only take our bodies so far. I followed all of the clinic’s suggestions post transfer and really tried to take it easy! Definitely save a bing worth show for those weeks to keep you distracted.
Were you on bed rest?
I was. CCRM recommends 48 hours of bed rest following transfer which I followed before flying back to Louisville!
How did it feel different this time around?
I think there was a little less pressure this time around. Trevor and I were both very content and happy with where our family was and we didn’t necessarily feel like something was missing. We would love to expand our family obviously but I feel very lucky to have Zain so it felt much different to me this time around.
The first time we were terrified. Could I get pregnant and stay pregnant? Would we ever have a family via IVF? There were so many big questions at hand which weren’t there this time around.
Did it work the first time?
Yes. I have had two transfers, one resulted in Zain and one with this pregnancy. We feel very lucky!
IVF clinic recommendations in Louisville and around?
I have heard that there is a new IVF clinic in Louisville but I don’t personally know much about it! Most of my friends that have sought fertility treatment that live here have gone to the clinic in Cincinnati (IRH) and had success.
As far as other CCRM clinics, I believe they now have satellite locations all over the US. For us, we knew that the Lone Tree location was the original and had an amazing laboratory. I’m sure they replicate that everywhere but we wanted those amazing lab results so we went to the source.
Does insurance cover it?
I have several friends who did have fertility treatments covered by their insurance, ours never has. It’s a big reason why when we weren’t happy at our clinic in Chicago we started to explore other options. We knew we would be paying out of pocket for our treatment no matter where we went so wanted the best fit we could find.
Ours did cover some things this time around like routine lab work and ultrasounds but did not cover any of the main procedures or costs. I believe CCRM has a financial breakdown on their site to give you an idea of costs. It tends to be so different based on someone’s needs, how much medication you need, etc.
This last time around was much less costly since we were just doing the workup and transfer which requires a lot less medication. The specialty medication is costly and takes up a huge portion of your costs.
If you can find insurance coverage for treatment and a clinic that accepts it, it’s a great option. I’m actually very happy my doctor is lobbying for coverage for this type of treatment because it really isn’t elective and people shouldn’t have to choose between trying for a family and paying bills. Hopefully with awareness comes change and always be sure to look into every option you have!
So it begins.
Arriving at the clinic!
We couldn’t believe there was a bizarre snowstorm that morning since it was 60 degrees the day before! We took it as a good sign 🙂
Trevor enjoyed repeating this photo again 🙂
Hope this was insightful and/or helpful and if you’re struggling to conceive or navigating infertility in any way just know that I am sending you lots of love and hope to always be an open book. Reach out anytime via email!