Updated: May 12, 2022
I wanted to document my IVF journey as part of the healing process for me. These past two years have been bananas. I'm so grateful to be able to have this process available to me and there's so much more that can be done to make this a better process for everyone involved. I'm lucky that I have amazing friends and family who have been so supportive. It really helps to also be going through this with a friend. We've both had a tough road and having someone know what you're going through at the same time has been really helpful.
My hope is that my sharing this will help educate others, ease anxiety or get some questions answered. There is so much that was left unsaid. All the different emotions, all the time and phone calls, appointments. Trying to stay strong at work as it is crushingly stressful for all sorts of reasons. So know you're not alone and that this experience is the biggest rollercoaster that will continuously prove how strong you are.
May 2020- We can start trying. It’s been three months since our wedding and being in Mexico. We've been in quarantine since March and I got Covid March 12th. Life literally flipped upside down right after our wedding. I’m very excited to begin this journey.
August 2020- Decide to go to Acupuncture to help things along.
September 2020- Get the results back from Modern Fertility. I have a low AMH number that starts to freak me out. I go down a googling rabbit hole and read one too many blogposts about what people did in my position. I discussed this with my acupuncturist who said that it’s worth checking in with a fertility clinic. I was recommended Spring Fertility by them and one of my good friends just started there. They are known as the best.
October 2020- I have my first appointment with Dr. Tran. I have to go by myself due to Covid. Dr. Tran explains the IVF process and I’m ready to jump in. We don’t plan on starting until January when my health insurance on Conor’s plan kicks in. During that appointment, I get an vaginal ultrasound. The first one ever. Dr. Tran discovers that I have a septum in my uterus.
A WHAT?!?!? He explains to me that when I was developing in utero my uterus never fully formed correctly. Why am I finding this out now when I’m 37?!? I was lucky to find it when I did before I got pregnant. A lot of women don’t know they have them and it leads to miscarriages. That’s when it’s usually discovered. Dr. Tran lets me know that there is a surgery to help get rid of the septum. Since I’m still under Kaiser’s health insurance, I call them to see if they can do the surgery. They say it’s too risky and they could puncture my uterus. Um WHAT?!? Dr. Tran says he has no problem doing it and that he can do it easily. We decide to go ahead with the surgery and pay out of pocket since we don’t want to wait to do the surgery until January when the insurance kicks in.
November 2020- Surgery is done in the beginning of November. It was an outpatient surgery but I was put to sleep. Dr. Tran let me know that it was a really big septum and he got about 80% of it. He didn’t want to take more because my uterus would collapse. “OK. Cool.”
December 2020- Spend Christmas and New Years at home on zoom.
January 2021- Start IVF. I’m so excited and ready for this. Insurance is able to cover $20,000 of the cost which I’m so thankful for. We have to buy all the medication on our own. I watch a couple of videos and a fuzzy orientation about how to give myself shots. I feel lucky that I’m still working from home at this point so I can wear comfortable pants during the process of giving myself hormones to plump up my egg supply and that I can go to my appointments without taking off work.
February 2, 2021- I have my egg retrieval. It went really well! I got more eggs than expected. I got 16 eggs. Then 13 of them were mature and 11 made it to Day 5/6 embryos which they say rarely happens. I felt so relieved.
February 4, 2021- I go back to work in person. This was dumb. I should not have gone to work right after the surgery especially when it was my first time interacting with people in the workplace in almost a year. I was SO bloated that I couldn’t button my jeans.
February 6, 2021- I get my first Covid Vaccine Shot. I was so determined to get it before getting pregnant and working in person again. I was very thankful for it and got emotional as I got it feeling like we were on the up and up.
February 8, 2021- I’m told that I shouldn’t do a transfer this cycle because I’ll be getting my second Covid shot in three weeks and they aren’t sure if it would mess anything up.
February 17, 2021- We learn that I have 3 normal embryos and 2 are undetermined because there wasn’t enough tissue for the biopsy. I’m happy with that number as everyone I talked to said that was great.
March 2021- Begin prep for embryo transfer which includes taking birth control for a couple of weeks.
April 14, 2021- Embryo transfer. It was the easiest part of the process for sure. You get valium which also helps with the experience. And you’re supposed to eat McDonald’s Fries after. I did not get the fries this time and went to another place. You learn these things by stalking IVF instagram accounts. I was deep in it at this point. I now have to wait two weeks for a blood test.
April 23, 2021- My back is killing me at work and I notice that I’m super irritable. Thinking that I’m pregnant.
April 24, 2021- I get my period. Conor is away for the weekend golfing. I haven’t felt that type of low. It was so hard. Thai food, my couch and Schitts Creek got me through that. I called the clinic and told them. I started birth control that day to start another cycle to start the process again for my next transfer.
May 31, 2021- My second transfer. I had it with another Dr. at the clinic and realized that I thought I didn’t care about bedside manner but I actually do. I was hopeful this time. I also decided to take the two week wait off of work because it was way too stressful. My body was in fight or flight and I didn’t want to get my period at work if that did happen. I needed to take this time and it felt good to advocate for myself. I got the Mickey D fries after this time. ;)
June 6, 2021- My first positive pregnancy test. Holy Shit, I’m pregnant. I’ve never been pregnant before. So happy and excited! This is what I’ve wanted forever. Trying to stay calm. WIll continue to test. Last cycle I didn’t test as suggested by the clinic and totally regretted it. So I was all about testing this time.
June 14, 2021- I have my beta test which is a blood test to measure the HCG (pregnancy hormone in your blood) It’s at 3,027 which is like very pregnant. Somewhat nervous I’m having twins it’s so high. June 16, 2021- I have my second beta and the number doubles which is the goal. I’m very pregnant. It’s for real! I set up my appointment in three weeks so do an ultrasound.
June 18, 2021- I go to my first in person concert since COVID with my friends. I tell a friend that I’m pregnant which is so exciting to be able to say.
June 24, 2021- I’m at work in a meeting and I feel like I just peed my pants. I go to the bathroom and see blood. I start to freak out and email my clinic while in the meeting. They can get me in but they are close to closing. It’s also two days before my birthday and we are supposed to go to Yosemite after work for my birthday weekend. I go to the clinic’s office downtown and I’m running around trying to find the office. (Prob shouldn’t have been doing that.) I finally get there before they close. They tell me I have a bloodclot (Subchorionic hematoma). They say to take it easy. I ask them if I should go to Yosemite and they say I could go but to take it easy. I decide not to go as I go down a google rabbit hole. I’m so nervous, sad, and depressed the whole birthday weekend. I try to think positively but I’m just feeling super low and worried.
June 28 2021- The day of my ultrasound. We talk about my bleeding it has gotten better. He goes in and within a minute he says, I don’t see a heartbeat. Conor didn’t understand what he was saying as this was Conor’s first time coming to an appointment like that with me due to Covid protocols. It was so heartbreaking. I had plans to host a birthday party the next day and had to cancel that because I was scheduled for a D & C instead.
June 29, 2021- Going in for a D&C was brutal. Everything about it.
July 2, 2021- We flew to Boston to see my parents and family and stay for a month. It was the first time I saw them in a year and a half. I am bleeding heavily from the D & C and have to figure out places to get my blood taken to make sure the pregnancy hormone is going down while I'm there.
During this time, I am now learning how to advocate for myself. I have travel insurance through my credit card and wanted to use it since we had to cancel the Airbnb for my birthday weekend. They say that since I did IVF, my insurance doesn’t cover the cancellation even though I had a miscarriage which had nothing to do with IVF.
August 11, 2021- I get my period for the first time since my pregnancy.
August 12, 2021- I walk by a dog adoption pop up in my neighborhood and feel joy and delight. A feeling that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I immediately decide that I’m getting an emotional support dog. I get the letter the next day
August 13, 2021- I’m on the hunt for a dog and find future pup on instagram @dixiesd00dles.
They are great if you’re looking for a doodle.
September 2, 2021- We get our mini goldendoodle, Lyra. She is named Lyra after the mental health tech company, Lyra because she is our mental health.
September 6, 2021- I got my period. I’m not pregnant. You never lose hope that maybe a miracle happened that month. I have to decide whether to start prep to transfer. I decide that the goal is to have a baby so I’m willing to try again.
October 10, 2021- My second transfer. This time I went in very hesitantly but also remained hopeful. I took work off again and was more open about my journey with coworkers.
October 15, 2021- I’m pregnant. There’s hope that this time will be different.
October 25, 2021- Beta test confirms that I’m pregnant again. HCG 4484.5
October 27, 2021- Second beta confirms that things are progressing appropriately. HCG 7671.3
November 1, 2021- I’m at work and feel like I peed again. Oh shit. I go to the bathroom and I’m bleeding. Ugh fuck.
November 2, 2021- I go to the clinic and it’s confirmed I have another subchorionic hematoma. They say it’s pretty large.
November 5, 2021- We go in to see how everything is doing and they say it’s smaller and there’s a heartbeat. The doctor remains totally hopeful and seems pretty confident all is well.
I take it super easy and try not to do anything too strenuous. Meanwhile, work is SO stressful.
November 11, 2021- I go for another check up and this time Conor doesn’t come with me. He was able to start coming with me to the appointments in the Fall. The doctor has another person (someone in training) doing the ultrasound. There’s not a lot of talk and then she looks at him and he says “We’re sorry. We don’t see a heartbeat.” WHAT THE FUCK. I immediately start crying as he starts talking about all the things he could do but won’t really work and it could be due to my septum but if we do surgery on it it could puncture my uterus so conisdering a genstational carrier may be an option.
I was like excuse me, I can’t process anything you’re saying right now. What are the next steps?
A D & C. We can do it tomorrow.
Um definitely not. I’m not ready for that and I have plans this weekend which includes a baby shower.
November 15, 2021- I get my second D & C. I arrive at the clinic at 530. The receptionist tells me I owe almost $3000 because insurance won’t cover the procedure. I tell them that’s not true and I’m not paying it. She insists it is and that they can’t do the procedure without paying first. They do the pre-op things while trying to get in touch with the finance people. I know that they are coding this procedure under fertility because we used up all of our fertility insurance a while ago. They also should not be coding it under fertility because a D & C has nothing to do with fertility treatments. Finally my doctor comes in and says don’t worry about it. They are wrong and you are right.
During this whole process, I realized what a racket healthcare, insurance and billing is. I spent half my IVF journey on the phone with my insurance company, my clinic’s finance people and others trying make sure things were done correctly. I’m so lucky to have insurance to cover IVF as many do not. I also think it’s a travesty that this is the process. Hopefully more insurance companies will provide fertility benefits.
I took off the full week from work. I was so done with my clinic. I wasn’t happy with my doctor because he is known to have very poor bedside manner but is smart with great results. Well, when you mostly get terrible news, I realized bedside manner is very important to me and that I was very triggered going to the clinic.
I now have run out of my embryos that are tested normal. My doctor says that we could thaw the two that are undetermined and there is some risk to it. I decide that I need more embryos since I went through three so fast. So my next move is going to be another egg retrieval.
December 1, 2021- My husband gets an email saying that his benefits have changed and his company is working with the IVF clinic, Kindbody. Almost everything is covered. I’m very excited about this. It makes the decision to leave easier.
December 30, 2021- I have my first appointment with Kindbody. I was able to get an appointment under regular insurance before our benefit kicked in for 2022. I was eager to get the process started. Their clinic is millenial pink heaven. Crystals, plants and cool furniture. I have a great appointment with one of the sonographers who explains to me what she’s looking at.
January 4, 2022- I meet my doctor via zoom from Kindbody. Love her! I was able to share my experience with her and how bedside manner is really important to me and she gave it. She listened and we made a plan together about my next cycle’s protocol. We decided to start the shots after ovulation instead of after a period. My former doctor suggested it to me and then I told her and she agreed.
January 29, 2022- I start my hormones. I haven’t given myself shots where you mix the meds in a year, I’m definitely anxious and nervous to mess it up.
February 2, 2022- I go in for an ultrasound to see if my follicles are growing. The clinic is under construction and things feel a bit frazzled. They put me in a room and then have me wait in the room for like 20 minutes. Sitting on a table with my pants off and a cloth over my lap was totally triggering me. One of the millennial art pieces on the wall said, “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” Oh just a baby, the person to check on me, a break…
Finally a person who doesn’t usually give ultrasounds came in and offered to do it to speed things up. She then proceeded to tell me how she gives herself vaginal ultrasounds. This did not put me at ease.
February 6, 2022- They say that eggs are ready and that I should trigger this evening which means to time the shot 35 hours before the egg retrieval procedure.
February 8, 2022-It’s my mom’s birthday. We call her as we head to the clinic. The clinic’s pre-op room is just an exam room which I thought was weird. They didn’t have booties so they had me use hair nets on my feet. Um, ok. The nurse tells me the the doctor will be in to see me and she says a name I don’t recognize. Wait, what about my other doctor. Oh she’s on leave and this doctor is now your doctor. What?!? Why didn’t anyone notify me?
Then the anesthesiologist comes in and she seems nice and I ask her about this current doctor and she says she’s great. Then the anesthesiologist says she’s going to set up my IV. I show her my left arm has an amazing vein but since she’s on the right, she’ll try my right arm. She notices how dark the room is and that she can barely see my veins. She then pokes around trying to get my vein. As soon as I feel that, I start getting light headed. She then says that she will try my hand and it feels like she’s driving a nail into my hand. That’s when I ask her to stop and I start sweating profusely and almost faint. She takes my blood pressure and it’s very low.
I’m struggling. We also discover that we both went to University of Maryland and she proceeds to tell me about an art class where she drew a naked man and talked about his penis. Get me out of here.
Then my new doctor comes in and introduces herself. She knows I’m pissed about them not telling me and tries to ease me by saying I was going to say hi to you when you were here are your last appointment but I didn’t have time. Um. Ok.
I finally feel good enough to go and get this procedure. The procedure is done in a tiny room with like 5 people in it. This was definitely not as nice and/or professional as my former clinic. Millennial pink can only get you so far.
So I have the surgery and anesthesia never felt so good. It's always the best nap ever. As soon as I’m conscious and aware, I ask the nurse taking care of me how many eggs did I get. The answer- six. Um what? I got sixteen last time. This was another heartbreak and disappointment. I was absolutely devastated. I just wanted to go home. I was finally allowed to leave and I broke down crying to Conor in the waiting room saying I just want to leave. It was a terrible experience.
The next few days are rough. At my other clinic, there was a lot of communication of how your embryos are doing. I ended up have three embryos and two go to genetic testing. I also had a call with my new doctor who has very little bedside manner. She definitely came into the conversation defensive which did not feel good. We decided to do another egg retrieval and this time do the same protocol as the first time at my previous clinic. I have to wait to get my period and then get another period to start birth control.
February 19, 2022- I get my period and it's really bad. I have to wait to start another egg retrieval cycle when I get my period after this one. I also am dealing with a $400 bill from the anesthesiologist from my D & C. I know this is a mistake since this is my second go around and I wasn't billed before. The clinic outsources anesthesiologists so I have to figure this out on my own.
February 20, 2022- I leave for a trip to Maui. My first vacation since my wedding in February 2020. A reset that I've been waiting for. It was glorious.
March 1, 2022- I talk with my doctor about next steps and we decide that I will get my period and then go on birth control because their lab is closed so I won't be able to get the egg retrieval until it opens up again. We decide to stick with Kindbody because in the end, paying a $20 copay for a $12,000 procedure is too good to pass up. I felt like if I advocated for myself to make sure the things that happened, won't happen again at this procedure, then I'll be ok.
March 18, 2022- I'm in Vegas for my first time. Trying to live it up while I'm not pregnant. I'm supposed to be getting my period today. I take a pregnancy test because it's not here.
March 23, 2022- I finally get my period 5 days late. WTF?! I was thinking some kind of miracle happened and then nope, just my body fucking with me probably due to anxiety and stress. This pushes back my egg retrieval five days as well. Good times.
March 31, 2022- I have the two embryos that were undetermined transported to Kindbody. This cost $1,000.
April 1, 2022- I'm on my spring break from work and go visit a friend that lives an hour away. During that drive, I listen to recordings of readings that I've had from my energy healers. I come to the conclusion that I need to take FMLA leave when I start this new IVF cycle. It's a scary decision but I need to give my brain and body rest.
April 6, 2022- I start my shots again. I'm feeling hopeful and way more comfortable with the shots since I just did it two months ago.
April 13, 2022- My last day of work for 6 weeks. I'm happy I decided to stop when I did because I'm super uncomfortable from the hormones and my ovaries are huge. It's hard for me to walk for more than 5 minutes.
April 18, 2022- My egg retrieval day. This day went SO much smoother than the last time. I asked for a different anesthesiologist and the nurse who stayed with me was the one that I've worked with the whole time and she had amazing bedside manner. I felt very taken care of which was so nice. The doctor was who I expected it to be, I didn't almost faint. It was great. When I woke up from the procedure, they let me know that they got 20 eggs. My doc responded "Better than Spring!" I enjoyed that she was invested in this process and I'm sure she's over me comparing them to my former clinic.
April 26, 2022- Today, I have a phone call with my doctor and she lets us know that from the 20 we have 6 embryos that made it to genetic testing. We will also be sending the 2 from my first egg retrieval to see if they are normal. This is risky to de thaw them. We talked about next steps which would be to try to remove the rest of my septum and see if there is any scar tissue. I find out that a different doctor will be doing the procedure. This doctor specializes in these surgeries which makes me feel good about this since the doctor at my previous clinic said it was a risky surgery right after finding out that I had a miscarriage. This doctor gets me scheduled ASAP which is great. I will be getting this surgery called a hysteroscopy on June 1st. The part that gives me anxiety is that I'll have a balloon in my uterus for a week or longer. I was supposed to go back to work that Monday and will now have to push out my leave an extra week due to this surgery.
May 11, 2022- Just found out the results of my embryos. 2 out of the six we from Kindbody were normal and the other 2 that were previously undetermined are normal. Overall, I'm thrilled with these results. My brain wants to go to what ifs...if I knew those other two were normal, I would be in much different place. Telling myself not to go there. I'm also feeling a lot of anxiety due to timing. My husband and I are planning on moving back to the east coast and it's hard to know if I'll be able to do my transfer here or wait to go to the east coast to do it.