I began following my doctor’s office on Facebook because it is truly encouraging to see them share pictures of babies that were “made there”. Does that sound odd to you? It did to me too the first time I heard it, but now I know that if we have another child through surrogacy, we too will have a baby that was “made there”. But who cares how your baby was made…a baby is a gift from God whether conceived naturally or conceived with the help of fertility treatments!
Recently, Reproductive Gynecology shared this link:
This article has taken a very long, emotional, expensive, faith-testing process and put it into 7 small truths. And although small in number, they are very powerful.
On Friday, I shared this article, along with this post:
Now, I can’t say I have experienced all 7 of these because I am not physically able to carry another child and because we have not reached those points in our journey, but I could potentially face more of these hard truths in the future with the help of a gestational carrier. I would like to share with you what we’ve faced so far…
In My Story, I said we chose to begin IVF after much prayer. It is not an easy decision to make. Are we toying with God’s plan for our lives and family? If we believe life begins at conception, how can we make these babies and potentially not use some of them? How much is this going to cost us? Are we being selfish…we already have one beautiful, healthy girl, some people struggle to have one baby. These were just a few questions that haunted my thoughts leading up to our decision.
I can’t say that there was a moment that clicked and we just knew it was the right decision. I prayed for God’s will to be done throughout all of this and He truly led us through the decision and process. His grace and faithfulness brought us to where we are today.
My IVF process began when I received two huge packages on my door step containing an overwhelming amount of needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, injectable hormones and pills. I organized all of my meds into a plastic storage bin. From the day I began my injections to the day of my procedure it was a total of 13 days.
Daily, I began taking 2 doxycycline (antibiotic), 1 prenatal vitamin, 1 Foltx (folic acid supplement), 1 baby aspirin (to reduce the chance of blood clots), 1 stool softener (fun, fun), and then my husband (thank God for him) injected me each night with 300 ml of Follistim and 1 cc of Menopur. My husband and I sat in the doctor’s office, practicing injecting fake medicine into a “life-like” dummy pad. JJ assured me he was a pro before we left and before he gave me my first injections. These injections could go into my stomach or thigh. I chose stomach most nights.
On my sixth day, a third injection was added: Ganirelix. This one had to be done in the morning, which meant, I had to do it myself! Eek…at least it was a small one. I chose my leg for this one, because my stomach was getting bruised and pretty sore.
I started a homemade sharps container using an old glass baby food jar. Here is a shot at some of my “sharps”.
My Ganirelix injections lasted for 5 more days, so 5 days of 3 injections…I was getting used to it, but also tired of it. At this point, I was going to the doctor daily for blood work and ultrasounds to see if my ovaries were ready. I was over being pricked – once in the morning, then again at the doctor for blood, then twice at night. I often reminded myself of an old teammate of mine, and also a Christian friend who has offered me much support during my struggles, who pricks herself daily for her diabetic needs and who I’ve never heard complain about it during our two years of college volleyball together. If she can be that tough, I can make it a few more days.
By this point in the process, my ovaries were so large that I looked about 3 months pregnant. This was discouraging, as well, because I was watching my stomach get larger and larger, but there was no baby in there, nor would there ever be. My next visit to the doctor brought good news, it was time for my final injection. The IVF nurse drew a circle on my butt in permanent marker and said my husband needed to inject 10,000 units of HCG at exactly 10:30 pm in the middle of that circle.
My egg retrieval was scheduled for two days later at 9:30 am. I was out into “twilight” for the procedure and don’t remember a thing after my doctor walked into the room. My husband was with me in recovery when I came to and I was wheeled out to the car. I was told to drink lots of Gatorade and eat lots of salty food (Yum!) to help prevent Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (which I did end up developing) and to rest for the next 24 hours.
All in all, looking back, the process wasn’t too bad. The recovery with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome was the worst part, and not everyone gets that.
As I mentioned earlier, I truly feel that God led us through this process. Some of the haunting questions I’d ask myself were answered through His will. The one I was most concerned about was having too many embryos and then what do you do with them? At the beginning of the whole process, at our consultation, Dr. Maseellal said that they recommend transferring 3 embryos into a carrier. This obviously left you with the chance of multiples (triplets or twins), but also left you with the highest chance for one baby. I liked this idea because you were giving all three embryos [babies] an equal chance for implementation into the uterus. My doctor was able to retrieve 9 viable eggs; however, we ended up with only three embryos. Coincidence or fate? I truly believe God gave us those three embryos and none more, so that we did not carry that ethical burden that we were so worried about. We now have one shot (once we find a gestational carrier) and it is in God’s hands from there (multiples, one child, or none).
Whatever the outcome may be, God already knows and He is leading us to that point. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.
We will continue to be prayerful in this…and have hope that God will deliver the right person to become our surrogate. If you are struggling with fertility or going through an IVF process, I hope you’ve found encouragement and comfort in my journey. (I also highly recommend Reproductive Gynecology, Inc. if you are looking for fertility specialists and you live in the Akron/Canton area) If you’ve never struggled, I hope you’ve discovered a new understanding and compassion for those who do. If you have any questions about my experience, please feel free to contact me!