What a week it’s been! Since sharing our exciting news about stepping into one last IVF cycle, the support has been humbling and completely overwhelming in the best possible way. (Need a recap about our journey through infertility or the plan in place? Click to find out more!)
The questions have been steady and I’d love to jump in quickly to answer as many as I can!
What’s the timeline!?
We have already started! Here’s a brief timeline recap:
End of February: Started Provera.
This week: Starting birth control pills for 2 weeks to maintain suppression, our nursing consult, signing all the consents, attending the CCRM IVF training class, completing the mandatory communicable testing lab work, genetic carrier screening lab work, chromosome analysis lab work, a gamete of hormone blood draws for me and an ultrasound to make sure I am clear of any cysts or other issues that would delay things. We will have our final calendar and prescription in hand by the end of the day tomorrow and ready to get this show on the road!
Next Monday: A final regroup with our doctor, reviewing lab results and making final touches to the cycle plan.
End of March (Exact date TBD, but sometime between the 26-30): Starting STIMS!!! (If you are new to this lingo, basically this is the time to develop all of the follicles started during a natural cycle. In unmedicated cycles, only one of these follicle will develop to maturity, rupture and release its egg. During IVF, they “rescue” the other follicles and eggs using fertility injections, on average, between 8 -25 follicles. Yes, this is the time where the SHOTS anthem rings out loud and clear.
Early April: My egg retrieval surgery, which will be anywhere from 9-12 days from the start of the stimulation medication.
Early June: God-willing, if we have embryos that continued to develop, we will be doing a frozen embryo transfer (with ideally 2).
Wait, so are you not doing a fresh transfer?
Not this time! Fresh retrievals and transfers have been hard on my body in the past and we have learned that along the way. This time we are going to give my body a chance to recover (hopefully avoiding the ER this time!) and rest, freezing all our viable embryos, and then starting a frozen embryo cycle in May.
How will the Frozen Embryo Transfer differ than the fresh cycle part?
Our job during an FET is to make sure my body is ready to receive the transferred embryo(s) so that they will God-willing implant. (This is the part where I can’t emphasize enough that it’s ALL God. There is NOTHING science can do to make an embryo implant and get cozy. It’s all Him!)
How will your cycles differ from last time?
(This will be technical without much explaination! If this makes no sense to you, no worries, just skip this section.) We are not doing a Lupron suppression beforehand and will only be on birth control pill for 2 weeks prior vs. 28 days. (There has been concerns in the past that I have been over suppressed). We are going to be using different medication dosage to ensure my hormones are where they should be each day. We’ll use a Lupron trigger shot versus an hCg shot to prevent OHSS. Since we are giving my body a break afterwards, we can be a bit more aggressive with trying to retrieve a few more eggs (since we are hoping our little one will have a sibling some day!). We will be using ICSI for fertilization.
For the FET cycle, we will be doing progesterone and estrogen injections, having an endometrial scratch done during my hysteroscopy end of April and an autoimmune protocol post transfer, including prednisone, Claritin and another medication I can’t remember for the life of me! For my Factor V, we will be doing lovenox injections every 12 hours for the course of the pregnancy (switching to Heparin at the end).
What are you going to do if you have more than 2 embryos?
Our stance has never wavered or changed that life begins at conception, and so, God-willing, if we have more than 2 embryos at the time of our transfer, we will continue to keep them frozen and use all of them in the future. This may mean another attempt for a child if the first transfer fails or in the future for siblings if we are blessed with a pregnancy. We know that God has numbered every single baby and intend to do everything we can to honor those kiddos, even and especially in these early life stages.
What can we be praying for specifically?
1) For continued peace. We feel so calm with this plan, even as overwhelming as it is, and a gentle peace that this is all Holy-Spirit led. We pray that if anything is meant to change, He would make it clear.
2) For all of the testing taking place this week. While we are optimistic, we could learn news that could veer us completely about our health or the potential for a future family. We are praying for good, clean healthy results.
3) For wisdom for our doctor, Dr. Batcheller. (Which is pronounced “Bachelor”, so I assume it was meant to be, hehe!). IVF is a very day-by-day thing and her wisdom is important as the plan will always need tweaking, especially as new results come in.
4) For continued provision. I was able to take a contract job for the last few weeks which has been an incredibly blessing, finance wise. We simply pray for opened doors and continued answered prayers as our insurance doesn’t cover anything.
5) For emotional protection and physical strength. This is so physically testing and strenuous however, the emotional battle is even harder. We know He is in control, but it can be hard to logical when the hormones are raging.
Can I still join your prayer puzzle project?
YES! If you have already joining our prayer puzzle efforts, THANK YOU! Truly! From the bottom of our hearts, we are so grateful that you have claimed a spot in our puzzle. Financially sponsored or not, there is a huge sacrifice of time, prayer, and care. We can’t wait to write your name(s) on the back of our puzzle! (And to those who shared our story on social media too, THANK YOU! We have been floored by the amount of strangers praying with us as a result of a Facebook share! You guys rock!)
Side note: If you ever do something similar, putting together a puzzle that’s entirely white with just a little bit of black is hard. Ha!
But truly, your action has impacted our hearts in a gigantic way.
We still have about a fourth of the puzzle left to cover with the names of our prayer team, so if you are praying, please, share that with us! You can read all about the project here and abbreviated directions are listed below.
Here’s how it works:
- If you want a piece of the puzzle, it’s all yours! Claim a spot here in exchange for prayers! **UPDATE: The link is closed as the puzzle is full**
- If you want to purchase a puzzle piece and support us in this way, first of all, truly, thank you. We don’t take your sacrifice lightly. You can sponsor as many pieces as you would like! ($5 = 1 piece, $10 = 2 pieces, $20 = 4 pieces, etc…) With each additional piece you add, feel free to add a message to your portion of the puzzle scaled to size! We would love words from you etched into the puzzle!!! (This is optional.)
If you choose to donate, you can do so in one of these three ways:
- 1 – Click on the Donate Button and purchase your piece(s) through a secured PayPal link.
**DONATIONS CLOSED AS THE PUZZLE IS FULL**
- 2 – Write a check or donate cash and hand deliver to Josh and/or Chelsea.
- 3 – Mail a check to us (email us at trialsbringjoy @ gmail.com for a mailing address).
In closing …
This is all a lot and we don’t expect anyone to understand it all. Heck, we barely do some days! What we do know is that He is leading the way in all of this. I am so thankful that He doesn’t need us to understand everything in order to trust Him. Pastor Craig Groeschel said in a message a few months ago that “What we fear the most reveals where we trust God the least.” It was so convicting for me then, and now, because it can be really easy for me to become fearful over the many “what if’s” that lie ahead. I am working daily on what it looks like to trust Him COMPLETELY – regardless of what the outcome is. But that’s a whole other post for another day.:)
Thank you friends for caring as much as you do. To Him be the glory!
Interested in learning more about all of this? CCRM has a resource page (that I have not explored fully yet) but you are welcome to investigate this IVF stuff a little more here!