Hi friends - just a quick note to let you know that we're still here 👋 and still fighting for our family. I know we've been a lot more absent than usual on the blog. To be honest, it's gotten really hard to write about infertility and our numerous fails over and over and over. I feel like a broken record!
We're going on four years of this and each day is harder than the last. Each pregnancy announcement, each first-day-of-school picture, each family photo. Life continues moving (at a very fast pace) all around us and we are left with a huge gaping hole where little hands and little feet should be. It's so hard.
IVF - Take 2 🎬
On Tuesday, August 16, we went into quarantine and started injecting hormones for IVF Round #2. If you remember, Round 1 was a complete bust--we only got 6 eggs and just 4 fertilized, but none grew into viable embryos (you can read all about that here).
It's important to note that we didn't just dive right into Round 2 with the same protocol and hope for a different result. Our team of doctors at the U of I discussed our case in a team meeting immediately following our failed round, and called us literally two days after we learned of our non-viable embryos with recommendations to move forward.
You all know me pretty well by now, so no one should be surprised to hear I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and numb. While I appreciate how quickly the doctors discussed our case and got back to us, I needed a moment wrap my head around what we had just experienced, how I felt about it, and how we were going to move forward.
I mean, we were looking at starting injections for Round 2 just a few days after learning of our "4 little embryos that couldn't".
For our mental wellbeing (and to give my body a break), we waited one cycle before starting our next round of IVF with two recommended changes:
1. Introduce a new hormone to our line-up of medications
2. Prepare for a fresh transfer rather than frozen
A Sign of Hope?
My grandma died in 2010, and I have managed to keep this peace lily from her funeral alive for over 12 years. It rarely blooms, but this started a couple days before we started hormone injections!
A sign for good things coming? I thought so.
Shots, Shots Shots!
Injections began on August 16. We started with a new hormone called Leuprolide (AKA Lupron), which was administered both in the morning and at night.
What is Leuprolide?
This is an injectable medication which reduces the production of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) by the ovaries. It works by blocking the effect of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone on the pituitary gland in the brain.
The result of Lupron therapy is to create a “temporary menopause” condition which treats problems like ovulation disorders, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and some types of cancer. It's used in IVF cycles to improve the number and quality of eggs available for fertilization.
On day three, we added in the Gonal-F which is another nightly injection that we did during our first round.
Houston We Have a Problem
After checking the estradiol levels in my blood on Sunday, August 21, we added yet ANOTHER injection at night -- Menopur (this is also one that we did during Round 1 and is the medication that Brian has to mix; if you missed that How To video, check it out here!)
So, if you're keeping tracking, that's one injection in the morning and three at night.
Well, on the second day of the newly added hormone, my doctor (Brian) accidentally gave me my NIGHT shot rather than my morning shot.
That was a bad morning in the Morgan household. Fortunately, our nurse and doctor at U of I said it wasn't a big deal and just adjusted my meds for that day. Whew!
Moving Right Along
So many shots. So many jabs. You'd think I'd get used to the anticipation by now, but I didn't. Plus, I had a LOT more bruising this time around than I did the first time. The left side of my tummy was BLACK and PURPLE for the longest time.
Things kept moving, and my bloom kept growing! I went in for more lab work on August 23, had an ultrasound on August 25 and another on August 27. My follicles were growing much better this time compared to round one, and I had more of them. All a good sign!
I was scheduled for egg retrieval in Iowa City on August 30.
After our last egg retrieval, I told Brian that if we ever had to be in Iowa City by 6 a.m. for a procedure again, we were going to stay the night in Iowa City so we didn't have to be on the road by 3 a.m.!
We found out Sunday, August 28 that I would be the first retrieval again. Brian got us a room at a cute boutique hotel with a swimming pool so he could practice his handstands (he is quite a fish, ya know!!) and a ping pong table so I could kick his butt.
I enjoyed a tasty mocktail at the bar and was excited to wear my Tommy John pants (only the most comfy pants you'll ever feel!!) to the clinic for retrieval the next morning.
*Shoutout to my friend Cat who lives in California! She sent us a box FULL of comfy goodies that truly felt like a huge, long-distance hug! Love you, girl!
Lucky Retrieval Socks + IVF Got a Badass Wife Shirt
The pics speak for themselves - we were ready for a SUCCESSFUL retrieval...
...and it was successful!! Very successful!
We got 12 eggs - twice the amount we got the first round!
Be sure to watch for IVF Round 2:Part 2 to hear about our eggs, the new injection we introduced, and all about the transfer and everything that happened after.