My IVF Journey: The Road Less Traveled

The two week wait was agonizing. How could I continue to act like nothing was going on? I was possibly creating life in my womb. I was scared yet hopeful that God would be in all that was happening.

I went about my daily life trying to occupy my time and thoughts. Luckily, I was gearing up for my busy season at work, but my marriage took a hit. I thought I was losing my damn mind. Nothing could prepare me for the hell that I found myself in.

I spent so much time crying out to God. I wanted to know why o’ why had He forsaken me? Why did he allow me to be in so much pain? I put my mask back on. The mask of pretending that I was okay when I was in an unfathomable amount of pain.

I was losing control. Nothing in life seemed to be going as it should. I couldn’t let the world see.

The world couldn’t see that I was dying and trying to hold on to my sanity. I am a survivor. I had survived worse, but how much more was I expected to bear?

I prayed that God could hear my cries. I was alone. Trapped in the pain of my mind. The weight of my wedding ring was burning my skin. The  two week wait passed with more tears and numbness than I thought possible.

I got up and went to the fertility clinic. I had survived the two week wait. I had to get my blood drawn. I was used to needles by then. Hated them, but I was becoming indifferent to pain. They told me that my nurse would call me later with the results.

I sighed. I knew the drill. It was probably another negative. I mean how could I be pregnant at this point? I couldn’t think about it. I had to get to work.

Waiting for the call from my fertility nurse was agonizing. I busied myself with meetings and work. I still had a job to do. A job that I needed with so much uncertainty surrounding me.

I was traveling a road that was new to me. Foreign. Was I pregnant? Did I want to stay in my marriage? Am I strong enough?

I checked my voicemail. The nurse had called. I called her back. She was unavailable. I had to wait for her to call me back.

Damn it!

Keep moving. Keep working. Occupy your mind and thoughts.

She called 30 minutes later. She said that my test was positive.

I was pregnant.

Tears rolled down my eyes.

I was pregnant.

I closed my eyes. “Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes, your test came back positive” she said.

I was now a mommy. I was standing at the crossroads in my marriage and I was finally pregnant. God has a strange sense of humor. I didn’t sign up for this. What’s happening to me?

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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My IVF Journey: Back to the Drawing Board

I ignored my husband. The egg number was low as compared to the woman in the other room. Too low. I just closed my eyes and prayed. Prayed that one of those eggs would give us a baby.

We left and I spent the rest of the day trying to clear my head. We decided that we had to be different. This stress of going through the process couldn’t destroy us again.

The nurse called to tell us about the embryos developing. All was good. Five had made it to the blastocyst stage. Good news.

We were scheduled for a day 5 transfer. I was nervous as hell. The same beautiful Indian doctor who did the retrieval was scheduled to do my transplant. Where the hell was my doctor? He was the one who believed that he could get me pregnant again.

She explained how excited that she was to see me again. She said that she remembered me from the retrieval and she had great news about our eggs. They were beautiful and strong. Five made it and she began to discuss the transplant.

If we transferred one embryo the chance of getting pregnant was 32%. If she transferred two Grade AA embryos the chance of getting pregnant was 54%, but the chance of twins was 57%. I stopped.

I mean I had thought about twins, but not really. I thought about how beautiful my babies would be with my husband’s eyes and mouth, but I knew that I would be exhausted…mentally, spiritually and financially. I hesitated. I looked at my husband.

He recommended two. Of course he would. He had no clue what it would be like raising two babies. He just wanted a baby. By any means necessary.

I looked at the doctor and asked “What would you do?” She said “If it were me, I would transfer 2, but it is up to you. Do you think you could handle twins?” I didn’t know if I could handle twins. But, I knew the odds were higher that one of the embryos would implant and give us a baby.

I agreed to transfer two embryos. She smiled and they transferred two beautiful eggs back into my womb. I prayed that one of those eggs would implant. I wanted a baby.

It was now time to wait. The two week process was grueling as hell, but we were determined that we could wait. We had dinner plans with friends and my husband’s birthday was coming up.

I had bought him tickets to watch his favorite football team, the Redskins, play on his birthday. It was a couple of great seats that included parking and a full tail gate pass. I even told him that he could take one of his friends. I hate football, so I didn’t want him to feel obligated.

But, he didn’t care. He wanted to experience it with me. Why? I hate football. It was hot and all I could do to quench this insatiable thirst was drink beer. I hate beer. I still didn’t know if I was pregnant, but I wasn’t going to deny myself alcohol waiting on another negative.

The game was long, hot and I was sticky. I was happy when we got to leave and go home. I was a little dizzy from the heat and beer. There was one more day.

We only had to wait one more day before finding out if the egg implanted or not. I couldn’t take it. I was coming apart at the seams. My marriage was suffering a major set back and I didn’t know how much I could take before breaking.

I didn’t know if being pregnant would have been good at that moment. I had prayed for this baby and I know I was wondering if my entire life was a mistake. What were we doing?

-To be continued-

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Dying Each Day

My cousin wasn’t getting better. I was getting worse. I was feeling like a failure in all aspects of my marriage. I went to the doctor’s and you know how that conversation turned out. I was officially depressed.

Between work and trying to keep the mask of superficiality on my face, I was really going through it. Work became an integral part of my life. I needed to have something to latch on too. Something that felt real.

But it was a farce and continued to be so for many months. Until our anniversary. That night we laughed in an uneasy form, but decided to give our marriage another go. We decided to recommit and focus on us and having a baby.

I was scared as hell. I couldn’t go through this again. The pain. The disappointment. The fear of having no baby.

But, I prayed. I wanted to give my husband a baby more than life itself. The thought of being a mom was one of my deepest fears. I struggled with insecurities about parenthood. What kind of mother would I be? Would my child love me? Would my child like me?

These thoughts were real for me. Parenthood was scary as hell. So, I jumped off that cliff and closed my eyes and flew.

Back through the IVF cycle. The pills, the shots, the bruising, the mood swings. The anger was real bad this time. Those drugs had me saying stuff to my husband that I never thought possible. One day I told him “Will you shut the hell up? The sound of your voice is making my ears bleed?” He didn’t respond.

I was upset. I cried later. He consoled me and said “It’s the medications. I understand.” I didn’t. It was hell on my body. My hair was shedding like a damn cat. I felt as though I was losing it.

The day of my egg retrieval, I woke up and he was right there smiling. I heard a doctor tell the woman next to me that they had retrieved 23 eggs. My husband grabbed my hand. We both wondered would we be so lucky.

A beautiful Indian doctor walked in. She indicated that they had retrieved 11 eggs. I cried. That wasn’t enough. Here we go again.

She asked me “What’s wrong?” I told her “I overheard the woman in the next cot had 23 eggs retrieved. I wasn’t going to ever have a baby and I hated this process.” She looked at me and said “Ms. Thomas, not to give anyone’s medical information away, but the woman in the next room has a medical condition where she is producing more eggs than normal. She said 11 is a good number and it only takes one. I need you to remember that it only takes one to have a healthy baby.”

My husband squeezed my hand and said “See, we did good.” I closed my eyes. I was tired. I couldn’t take another round of defeat.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Blackout

I was in a perpetual hell. Pain. The pain was indescribable. No one knew how bad I was suffering. The excuses.

I made so many excuses for not being present. I became engrossed in work. Always working late or focusing on other things. Hiding the mask of pain for those who knew me best. Those who knew my struggle.

I had other things to focus on. My cousin was dying. He was 9 months older than me. He was my best friend. My life’s purpose became about making sure he was okay.

We talked often. I told him of my fear that I was broken. I told him how I feared that I couldn’t give my husband a baby. That I was scared. That maybe God was punishing me.

He listened. He loved. He encouraged. He never judged.

Even after his radiation treatments or chemo treatments he encouraged me to talk to my husband. To let him know what I was feeling. I couldn’t. I changed the subject.

I made my cousin promise that he wouldn’t leave me. That he wouldn’t die and leave me alone because I had no one. My heart was breaking and I told him that I couldn’t have another organ breaking since my womb was broken. He laughed.

He was tired. He was exhausted. A planned trip to spend some time with him in April was just what I needed. I needed to get home to see my family. To hear the sounds and laughter of those that loved me.

I felt so alone in my house that it was hard to come home. I would smile.  I would make polite conversation. I would go into the room and watch television. I tuned out. I turned my back on my marriage and grew smaller in my shell.

We became roommates.

I told my husband that I needed to go home to Tennessee. I needed to be with my cousin. He thought it would be a good idea. He encouraged me to go. Maybe he was hoping it would help me. A change of scenery. A breath of fresh air in this toxic environment that we were creating.

I went home to spend the weekend with my cousin and his new wife. She seemed nice enough. Surface. I couldn’t see beyond the surface of her personality so I just accepted his choices. He was who I needed to encourage me. He was who I was there to see.

My cousin had baked two pies for me. My favorite custard pie called a chess pie. It was so good. Perfect. Even after his cancer treatments he wanted to do something for me. He told his wife “My cousin is coming. I want to do it for her.” I felt special.

A bond that had formed when I was born this man was the big brother I never had. The father figure. The protector. I ate and slept that weekend. Good conversation, food and family. It was as though my life was reset. I saw value in the things that mattered.

I took my cousin and his wife out to dinner. I bought them groceries. He was on a fixed income. He had to maintain his COBRA payments until Medicare kicked in. She didn’t work. She took care of him. Food stamps helped some. But, she longed for coffee.

Coffee.

That was the least I could do. I called my husband and asked him was it okay that I bought them food. They had little and had given me so much. He encouraged my generosity.

I was at peace.

My cousin decided that he wanted to bake me a couple of pies and a caramel cake to take home. I asked “How am I expected to get this home?” “Ship it.” I laughed.

We shipped 4 desserts back to Maryland packed with ice packs. It was expensive, but I needed it. I needed a piece of family. I needed the love that was in that box. The love that a man who was dying gave me every day.

The next day I headed home. Back to my life. Back to the toxic feeling of failure that was engulfing my spirit. I wasn’t getting better.

I was getting better at hiding my pain.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Great Expectations

It didn’t work. The first attempt at IVF yielded no positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted my baby. I wanted our baby.

Our baby wasn’t growing in my womb. The nurse said “I’m sorry”. I said “Its’ okay.” It wasn’t okay. I should’ve been pregnant. I cried.

I cursed God. I was angry. I was in hell.

Why couldn’t God allow me to get pregnant? Didn’t he know that I wanted a baby? I felt barren and unfit. Unfit to carry a baby.

I withdrew from my marriage. I pushed my feelings inside and threw myself into my work. I needed something to take my mind off not having a baby and I needed to see value in this barren life.

The fertility doctor kept calling to talk to me. I wouldn’t do it. I refused to do it. My husband said “Kee, you need to call the doctor back before he recommends therapy.” Hell, he should have. He did. I was hurting.

After a few weeks of feeling like a failure as a woman because I couldn’t conceive I called the doctor back. He wasn’t available. Oh well. I really didn’t want to talk anyway. He called me right back. He apologized for being in with a patient. He said “I’m sorry.” I shrugged my shoulders and said “I know. It’s part of the process. I knew that there was a probability that it wouldn’t work.” He said, “I think you should do it again. I know that I can get you pregnant.”

I sighed. I couldn’t go through this again. My hair was falling out from the drugs. The bruising on my body. The emotional hell of not hearing that I’m pregnant. I wasn’t ready to be disappointed anymore. I needed to breathe.

“Maybe” I replied.

We hung up. I told my husband what he said. He didn’t respond. I asked him what he thought about it. He said “I think you should do it again. He said that he can get us pregnant.” I walked away.

Silence.

Silence loomed in our house because I felt alone. My body had betrayed me and my husband believed that somehow it was us getting pregnant. It wasn’t. It was me. It was me going through the blood draws, egg retrievals, shots and pills. You can’t understand my pain.

My pain was enveloping me like a thick smoke. I was suffocating. Suffocating in my marriage and in my desire to give him something that I couldn’t give. My womb was broken. I was broken. I was cracking the hell up.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Fertility Window

We were hurting. I was hurting and probably caused a lot of the pain. I didn’t want to discuss the failure of our first IVF attempt. I was embarrassed. Something must have been wrong on my end. Why couldn’t the eggs latch onto my uterine lining?

I felt alone and frustrated. Feelings of inadequacy constantly flooded my mind. I threw myself into work. I was travelling a lot. Meetings. It was good. The anniversary dinner was a starting point towards talking and acting like a couple. But, a couple of days later I was given the news that no woman in her prime wants to hear. Especially at the age of 32.

I was having my annual check-up and my ob/gyn wanted me to get up and have a talk. She explained that my fertility window was limiting. I had to make a choice if I wanted to have children. My fibroids had returned and I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would to have children. I thought I had more time than 5 months since my first failed attempt at IVF. I told her that we had tried IVF and that it had failed. She asked where did we go for treatment. I told her. She said she knew the practice.

“Who is your doctor?” she asked. “Dr. S” I replied. “I know him” she said. “He’s a great doctor. What did he say?” she inquired. “He told me to try it again. He said that he knows he can get me pregnant” I sighed. I didn’t want to be having this conversation again. Not with someone else. It didn’t work. I get it. I wasn’t meant to have children.

I had begun to accept that fact. “Well, if he said he can do it then he can do it. You should try it again” she said. Just like that. Final. I listened and stuttered “We’re in a bad place. We’ve been married 5 years and I don’t know if we’ll make it.” She listened. “Okay, just know that you can’t wait forever.” I shook my head in understanding and got dressed.

I had never felt so alone.

I headed to the car. On the drive home I kept replaying her conversation in my mind. I never wanted children so why the hell was this stressing me out? Was it our marriage holding on by a thread or was it the fact that at that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a mother?

That was it.

I wanted to be a mother. If not with my husband, then someone else. I wanted a baby. I was going to have a baby. I wasn’t going to stay in this perpetual middle zone relationship wondering if he or I should pull the plug on it. Someone needed to make a decision and it needed to happen now. Definitely before my fertility window closed. No more excuses. It was time to woman up!

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Them Damn Drugs

Ordering my drugs was a breeze. I just had to order them directly through the pharmacy and I couldn’t use the one downstairs in the lobby of the fertility doctor’s office. The co-pays were relatively affordable, considering the costs of everything I needed. I wasn’t complaining.

The meds arrived to my house via UPS and I unpacked and put them in the refrigerator. Drugs for our fertility treatments were placed next to my collared greens. It was laughable. But, there was a giddiness and easiness that had emerged between us. We were rediscovering each other. Finding the joy in each other again.

It was weird and different. We were different. I think the desire to procreate (even though it wasn’t naturally conceived) put us at ease. We were one unit coming together to create life. I was finishing up the birth control pills and had to start the Lupron. We added the FSH injection as well and then began the back and forth trips to get the blood work.

The nurse had given a tip to put an ice cube on the area to numb it before the injection. She said it helps with the multiple needle sticks. We tried it. I didn’t feel the pain of the needle as much as I felt my belly turning blue and purple from the cold.

I had multiple trips to the lab and daily calls with the nurse to make sure things were progressing. We were a wreck. After each blood draw we waited patiently to see if our numbers were climbing until we were finally given an egg retrieval day. It became real. The bruising on my belly from the numbness of the ice and the multiple injections was worth it. A couple of days before the retrieval, I had received 3 shots that day.  But, it didn’t matter. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fewer injections. I was finally going to get my eggs retrieved.

We arrived at our appointment time where I was instructed to change. I was told that I would be put in a twilight sleep during the procedure. My husband was led away to do his business so that they could fertilize his sperm with my eggs. I would be alone.

I woke up feeling hazy in recovery and my husband was right there. We smiled. The doctor came in to tell us that they had recovered 7 eggs and would start the monitoring process for transfer. I was discharged and told to take it easy. I still had to continue the injections, but it felt easier. It was like I knew that we would have a baby so I could bear the unpleasantness of the situation.

I laid in bed the rest of the day praying that one of those eggs would give us a baby. Just one. I wasn’t picky. The next day we received a call from the center stating that of the 7, 5 were viable and they were monitoring to see which would be ready for a transfer. They said that it may be a day 3 transfer.

The days passed slowly as we were told that of the 5 viable eggs only 2 were able to be transferred and we were doing a day 3. The transfer occurred and there was nothing left to do but wait. We had to wait. Eleven days after the transfer to see if we were pregnant.

They advised us to not use home pregnancy tests but to wait. We went about our lives having a wonderful Valentine’s Day just waiting. Love was in the air and we were both optimistic that we would be getting the great news that we were having a baby.

– To Be Continued –

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.