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[Back Track] 👈 How Did We Get Here?

It's been a minute, friends. We needed some time to process the outcome of our first IVF egg retrieval and I just haven't felt up to writing about this.

It's devastating - still. It didn't go how we had imagined. I mean, we didn't even make it to the genetic testing part of this process, let alone the transfer. Read on to find out how we got to this point.


So, where were we?

We left off with a post on June 30 - in this post, Brian did a video demonstration of how to mix one of the injections (Menopur) and I added some cheery music and written commentary to it.

We have to have a little fun where we can, right?!

Everything moved really quickly after that. I had my final ultrasound in West Des Moines on Saturday, July 2. We were one follicle short of having our retrieval on the 4th of July - instead, it was scheduled for 7 a.m. Tuesday, July 5 in Iowa City.

This meant we would continue on the meds and do the trigger shot at exactly 7 p.m. Sunday, July 3. It was very important that we do this shot at exactly 36 hours before retrieval.

What IS a Trigger Shot?

Well, I'm so glad you asked! Besides being the longest needle so far (see pic), this shot is also the only one that is administered into my hip muscle rather than abdomen. On Saturday at my ultrasound, the nurse drew a circle on my hip in permanent marker so Dr. Brian new exactly where to inject the trigger shot.

All of the injections leading up to this were the hormones that stimulate ovarian follicles to produce higher-than-normal numbers of mature eggs. The trigger shot is what is used to release those mature eggs (hence the precise timing).

Trigger shots release the hCG hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). This hormone is commonly recognized as the pregnancy hormone and is what home pregnancy tests look for. The hormone is produced in the body when it recognizes an egg is fertilized. As a trigger shot, however, hCG acts more like luteinizing hormone (LH), which is made in the pituitary gland right before ovulation.

In IVF, more than the normal levels of hCG are injected to signal the body to release the multiple mature eggs awaiting in the ovaries.

The needle for the trigger shot was much longer than what we were used to....I don't know who was more nervous about this one –me or Brian!!

Fun Fact: I had to take a digital pregnancy the morning after the trigger shot was given. The result must be "Pregnant" – if it's not, the trigger shot didn't do what it was supposed to. Luckily for us (we're used to bad news), the shot did as it should.


Egg Retrieval Day

Tuesday, July 5

We have to be in Iowa City at 6:45 a.m. Now, that's definitely not a stretch for tailgating before an Iowa football game, but this is different.

Way different.

I didn't sleep a wink all night (literally). I was a bundle of nerves and fear.

  • What was this going to be like?

  • Would I remember anything?

  • What if they don't get any eggs?

  • What if we get eggs but then they don't do what they're supposed to do?

We were showered and on the road by 3 a.m. I did catch a few zzz's on the way (bless my husband for always driving everywhere we go!!).

We were the first retrieval on the schedule and it literally felt like we were the only ones there (besides the doctors and nurses!).

It was almost go time! Our nurse, anesthesiologist, and doctor all came in and took turns getting me ready for the procedure. I was:

  • Adorned with a beautiful hospital gown

  • Covered in warm blankets (best thing about surgery)

  • Provided a cap for my head so you can't see what kind of hair day I was having

  • Told about the anesthesia they would be using (it would be deep sedation rather than general anesthesia - comparable to what you'd have for a colonoscopy)

  • Given warm fuzzy socks

  • Kissed goodbye by Brian

  • Wheeled off to the OR

I hate that I remember getting onto the table and situating my body so my legs were up in the air, exposed for all to see.

I hate that it doesn't even bother me that much anymore because I've been through it so many times.

I hate that sometimes my body doesn't even feel like it's my own.

Next thing I know, I'm waking up in my room with Brian and the nurse by my side. Groggy and disoriented, I begin crying, worried they aren't going to find any eggs.

The doctor comes in and lets us know they got 6 eggs. I start crying all over again because 6 is a low number. The average number of eggs gotten during retrieval is 10-20 (I've done my research).

How did I only have 6 eggs? What did this mean for fertilization? Is there something wrong with me because they only got 6 eggs?

Brian took my hand in his, gave it a little squeeze, and said,

"We only need one, honey. We only need one."

I slept all the way home, all day and all night. If nothing else, as least I was rested!


The Next Week

The following 7 days can only be described as a horrible, scary roller coaster ride. Up then down, up then down, up then....

flipped upside down


reversed the other way

shot straight up

spun in 12 circles

spun in 12 circles the other way

shot forward

dropped straight down




all the while screaming

at the top of your lungs -



Wednesday, July 6

We found out the day following egg retrieval how many of our eggs fertilized.

We got four.

"We only need one, honey. We only need one."


Thursday, July 7

We road-tripped to one of our favorite places: Hochatown, Oklahoma.

Brian is so wonderful at anticipating when I might need a distraction, so he planned this getaway to happen while we were waiting for our embryo results.

We rented a cute little cabin in the mountains. We explored, drank good coffee, sang karaoke, watched a lot of Netflix, played backgammon, sat around the fire, challenged each other in PacMan, and snuggled on the deck swing where we allowed ourselves to dream.

We talked about our 4 embryos and what they would be like when they grew up.

We imagined how different our lives would be in 9 short months.

We dreamt of a day when our infertility journey would come to an end.

We even bought a freakin' Hochatown onesie for our baby.

We got excited.


Sunday, July 10

Today, we found out that 3 of our 4 embryos stopped developing.

We cried.

"We only need one, honey. We only need one."


Monday, July 11

It was time to drive back home.

After about 10 minutes on the road, we got the call we had been waiting for.

But not the news we had hoped for...

"I'm sorry, but your 4th embryo stopped developing."

We cried and cried and cried.


I don't think we've stopped crying yet.


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1 commentaire

Lorrie Zellweger
Lorrie Zellweger
03 août 2022

Thanks for sharing your journey. My heart is breaking for you as well. (Lord God, you know the pain of this loving couple. I pray you will bless them with a child that will be loved beyond measure! Amen!)

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