Booking In To Make A Baby.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

In 2014 I found out something that completely flipped my world upside down. In 2015, my life changed again. Gone were the ideas of a natural conception, the "trying" to have a baby (ie. sex) and peeing on a stick to see those two lines appear. Instead, we were looking at a two year journey full of blood tests, things being poked up my vay jay jay, self injections and a whole lot of trying not to get our hopes up.

Our first appointment with Fertility Plus was 30th April 2014. It was just a sit down to discuss our options and find out how the whole process worked. We had to do some preliminary tests and there was correspondence with Australia so we knew it was going to take awhile before we'd actually get the IVF all rolling. A year later, the tests were all complete and we began to make a plan for how we were going to move forward. We were actually planning our wedding for later in 2015 and were on the waiting list so we were looking at probably getting started in 2016, once we came back from our honeymoon. It was a pretty crazy thing, to be planning our first baby before we had even gotten married (and at only 23 years old) but once we learned how long it can take and how uncertain it is to even be successful, we wanted to get started as soon as possible.

10th August 2016 was when we had our first IVF orientation appointment. During this, I mentioned how I hadn't had my period in nearly two years which led to more tests and finding out that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This kinda threw another spanner in the works. Obviously, a lot of women have IVF because of fertility issues (often PCOS) so we were in the right place, but it complicated things a bit. It meant that when it came to the hormones they'd be giving me, they'd need to ensure the dose was just about perfect because if I was overstimulated, I could end up pretty sick and potentially in hospital. What we had thought was going to be kind of straight forward was getting a bit more complicated.

I really wish I had kept track of dates etc so I could really give you an idea of how long it took but I think I was just trying to go with whatever happened (and never really had any intention of sharing our journey) but I'll do my best! Basically, there are two kind of phases in IVF. The first is to get as many eggs as possible that will then be fertilised (hey Rob) and left to see how they progress and if they'll develop into a suitable embryo to then get put back in. The second is to create your cycle (or go off your natural one) to make sure that when they put the embryo back in, your body is in it's prime condition so they're successful.

The first stage sucked. It was definitely the most emotionally and physically draining. First off they get you on the contraception pill, to stop your body from ovulating. Then, it's all go and you start injecting yourself with hormones daily to kinda kick start everything and get your body creating as many eggs as possible. This is where I was at risk of OHSS so they had to make sure that I was feeling okay but also still going to produce enough eggs. Then, once your ovaries are the size of oranges (literally) and you feel like absolute shit, they book you in for your egg collection. Mine was on the 7th October, 2016.

I gowned up, had a bit of anaesthetic and rocked on into the operating room where they proceeded to collect the eggs.Actually, they suck them out. Seriously, they shove this syringe/needle thing into your vagina and suck the eggs off the wall of your fallopian tube. And I had 18 of them. Which is amazing (and a lot more than we thought), but I was in there for 45 minutes and it was awful. Whenever I'm stressed out I get the worst spasms in my bum (I think it's an IBS thing) - it literally feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife up the bum, and this happened the whole time. And for the next couple of days afterwards too. 

So anyway (enough about my bum) they sucked out the 18 eggs, Rob popped out of the room to collect his contribution (yaaaaassss) and we were good to go. They were going to be fertilising all of the eggs today and we'd find out tomorrow how many made it through the night. The next day, 14 of them had survived. We then had to wait until day 3 to find out how many had made it to the blastocyst stage and they called us to let us know we had 8 embryos. We actually couldn't believe it. Here we were, planning for the worst, hoping for the best and we had 8 embryos! It wasn't over though.. As I mentioned before we were in contact with Australia and there were still tests to be done so they were frozen and flown all the way there. From there, we had to wait two weeks to find out how many we would have. This was the hardest. So many ups and downs, waiting for phone calls and hoping that we'd at least get one! We got the call. Five. We had five embryos that were frozen and ready for whenever we wanted them. Insane.

No seriously. Rob and I had come to terms with the fact that we weren't going to have a baby. We knew that IVF wasn't a sure thing and because of these extra tests we had to do, we had a success rate of 30-35%. So we were realistic. We'd talked about it. We'd both agreed that we would try the two cycles that came funded but after that, we were just going to make the most of our lives and enjoy it. But here we were on the phone with our lovely nurse, finding out that we had five shots at a baby. Or even five babies (hahahahaha no). 

So now we just needed to decide when we wanted to put this baby in. Christmas was approaching and I had a trip planned for Australia in the new year so we thought it might be good to wait until then. And also, they needed to base the implant around my natural cycle so wanted to see if I would get my period by myself. That didn't actually end up happening so once I came back from Aus in February, we were back at Fertility Plus getting all the drugs I needed to get this cycle going. This time, it was just a matter of manufacturing my period so after a bit more experimenting with doses, I was ready to go and lying on another bed with my legs in the air - ready for a baby! Thankfully this time round was a lot easier so they basically just inserted the embryo into my uterus (we even got to watch the little air bubble) and from there it was really just a waiting game. 

That was the 20th March 2017. Seven weeks later, we went in for an early pregnancy scan. And there it was. Our little blip. This cute little button. Together, and with the magic of science, we had created a little babe and I was pregnant! Honestly, it was the dream result and one we did not expect at all. It was seriously the biggest emotional rollercoaster either of us had been on. So many ups and downs. What ifs and maybes. Re-evaluating our lives and plans "just in case." The injections, the drugs.. The hormones being pumped into my body.. Waiting for phone calls. Following strict schedules as to when to take this and what time I have to inject that. It was a massive journey, and one we are so thankful have made to the end and with such an incredible result. 

IVF can really be the most amazing or heartbreaking experience and I totally get why people keep it under wraps. We did. We went at it mostly alone. Having no idea whether we were going to have a positive or negative result, we only shared the journey with a few close friends and family because if it didn't work, we wanted to grieve by ourselves. It's hard enough processing your whole life not panning how how you planned without carrying everyone else's emotions too. We wanted to be able to just deal with it as we needed, and share the good or bad news when we were ready. 

And I guess we are ready. We were one of the few couples where it worked. Jackson is the sweetest little miracle baby and we are so thankful for him. It was the dream outcome, and the fact that we can potentially give him a little brother or sister is beyond anything we'd ever imagined. Because I hadn't really planned on sharing, I didn't do the best job of keeping track and it probably wasn't as in depth as it could've been, but it's probably an accurate representation of how it worked for us. Since finding out some shitty news in 2014/2015, we've learned to just go with the flow and to make the most of each day so we didn't dwell too much on the dates. On the doseages. We were just forever hopeful that it would all work out, and ready to get through it together if it didn't. 

So there it is. A kinda jumbled look into our whole baby making experience that didn't turn out as fun or spontaneous as we had imagined. But it did lead to little Jackson and perhaps, another Key baby later on.

PS. I know that I've mentioned a couple of times about this shitty news that led to IVF and us needing more tests than usual. Please don't ask me what that's about. I couldn't really leave it out, but I'm not quite ready to share... Probably one day. 

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