I decided to start a new blog for multiple reasons. Basically, Todd and I are diving head-first into the process of In vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to get pregnant.
What I have found is that talking to others that have gone through the process is the biggest help in the world. (I, actually, have 2 girlfriends that just went through the transfer phase within the last couple of weeks. That is the step where they put the embryos back inside the woman in hopes that she will end up pregnant. We are praying for great results from them. On top of that, we have a girlfriend that just had twin girls from IVF in March. They are precious and so healthy!)
What else I have learned is that reading their blogs (Thanks for keeping one, Rachel!) prepares me for what is to come…and helps me realize when I start feeling the symptoms that it really is completely normal. Infertility treatments are no joke. We’ve only dipped our toes in them, and already, we’ve had some pretty interesting and painful experiences.
Also, I figured that blogging might be therapeutic…kind of like journaling but without the lock and key, so you can follow along in our process. Even if no one reads this, at least I’ll remember what all we went through in the future. Once I hit 30, I realized my memory wasn’t quite what it used to be. It drives me nuts not to be able to remember certain things.
What I hope is that this blog can keep friends and family informed of where we stand in bringing another Baby Provence into this world. We are very open about our journey to have a child together, so why not share it with the world-wide web?! So here goes…
The VasectomyFor those that don’t know our story, Todd has three children from a previous marriage. Shortly after our lovable Kamie was born, he had a vasectomy. This was Pre-Laura, so you can understand his lack of judgment. Kidding! If there is one thing I have learned from this, it’s that God really does have a plan for everything in our lives. Anyway, Todd’s vasectomy happened somewhere in 2002-ish.
The ReversalIn March 2010, Todd and I were married. It was a lovely ceremony, and if you missed it, you can see some of the preparation in our other blog (http://provencecrew.blogspot.com/). However, now is the time to discuss babies, not weddings. J In October of 2010, we started visiting infertility specialists and urologists to find out what our options were to get pregnant. The first infertility specialist we saw will remain nameless because I cannot recommend him. He did nothing for giving us any warm, fuzzy feelings about using him to help us in our process. However, we did like the urologist, Dr. Steve Miller of the Tulsa Urology Specialists group. (And yes, he listens to Steve Miller Band during surgery! Reminds me of Phoebe's OB in Friends that was obsessed with Fonzie. Sorry, I digress.) We decided that since his operation was cheaper and only required one of us to have a procedure, we would go that route.
In May 2011, Todd had his reversal. I won’t go into the details of his operation and recovery, but if you haven’t heard him tell the story, it’s nut-, I mean gut-wrenching. J Hee hee! Sorry!! Couldn’t resist. After that, he had check-ups about every 3 months. The first check-up was awful. There were no sperm. We cried. However, Dr. Miller assured us that this was not the end. We could still get sperm later down the road. After 12 months of check-ups, he encouraged us to consult an infertility doctor.
The Infertility DoctorTo say we hit a homerun with Dr. J. Clark Bundren is an understatement. We found Dr. Bundren through two friend referrals. Dr. Bundren is a pioneer in the “sport” of IVF. He was on the team that made the first “test-tube baby” about 35 years ago. Todd and I both think he’s phenomenal. Unlike the first infertility specialist we had seen, Dr. Bundren is also a certified OBGYN (meaning he can deliver our babies and do all of my well-woman check-ups), he’s patient, and he talks in terms we understand. The first appointment (August 7, 2012), he did a full work-up as well as a detailed consultation with us. He didn’t seem hurried at all. We were there for over 2 hours. It was wonderful. We left there knowing that I had a lot of problems we were unaware of, but somehow, we felt comforted that it would all be okay. At this appointment, we learned I had a tilted uterus, a misplaced ovary, polycystic ovaries (PCOS – which I had been told about 5 years earlier), a shortened cervix, and either a large polyp or endometriosis in my uterus. Yikes! Also, I’m very low on my vitamin-D (18/50), so I have to start taking a Vitamin-D pill once a week.
The Laparoscopy and HysteroscopyWithin a week and a half (August 17, 2012), Dr. Bundren had me on the operating table performing a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. This is where he makes 2 very small incisions, one in my belly button and one just a few inches below. He can go in with a laser and scope and see everything inside of my abdominal cavity. At this time, he removed as much endometriosis as he could and burned off some of the cysts on my ovaries. I was under general anesthesia, so I thought it was great…until Saturday.
You see, they fill your abdominal cavity with a lot of carbon dioxide to give them room to move around in there. Well, not all of that gas is emitted before you’re closed-up. Therefore, I had gas moving around inside of my body with nowhere to go. I had about 3 bouts of excruciating pain, the worst I can ever remember feeling in my life. I thought my ribs were cracking and my lung collapsing. It was awful! However, with much back-rubbing from Todd, walking around the house in circles, and flailing my arms about like a bird, Todd finally gave me enough pain medicine to knock-out a horse. J I was able to sleep most of the night with only bad (instead of excruciating) pain. The worst of it was over! However, Todd quickly informed me that he was going to ask Dr. Bundren about a 9-month epidural for when I got pregnant. I don’t know if the tears or screams scared him the most.
The Post-Op Appointment & LupronOur post-op appointment was September 4, 2012. Dr. Bundren reviewed with me everything he had told Todd after the procedure. His nurse went over all of the vitamins and medications I needed to start taking. At this point, I am taking 14 pills a day. Most are horse-pill vitamins, so they aren’t that bad. However, fish oil does not love my stomach, yet. Then, Dr. Bundren told us I definitely have Stage 3 endometriosis. There are only 4 stages, so mine was not good. Between that and my cystic ovaries, I’m completely infertile right now. We had already assumed this, so I didn’t cry. I just kept smiling and waiting for what else I knew was about to come. Then, he told me I would have to take the Lupron shot for 4 months. There it was. The big, fat good news! As if IVF medications aren’t fun enough, some of us future IVF mommies also get to endure a state of menopause for several months. He’s decided only to do 4 months with us because of the situation with Todd, too. I don’t remember his exact reasoning, but we trust his decision explicitly. Anyway, starting September 13, 2012, I will have a Lupron shot every 4 weeks. Then, the fun begins…night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, etc. Everything a woman in menopause goes through, I may, too. Guess this will give me experience for my elderly years…silver lining, right? This will last for 4 months. Todd said he was going to look into getting an upright deep-freeze for the garage with a stool in it for me to sit in when the hot flashes hit. It’s fun living with a comedian!
Explanation: The point in the Lupron shot is to put your uterus into a state of rest, so it can heal from the laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. If it does not heal properly, you cannot carry a child. You can get pregnant, but you will miscarry.
After LupronOnce we are finished the with Lupron shots, we will have Todd tested to make sure his guys are ready for the next challenge. I will go on birth control pills for about 3 months to let my ovaries go into remission from PCOS and to let them rest-up before the stimulation begins. Sometime in the Spring of 2013, we should be starting IVF.
One more thing I would like to mention is that Todd and I now know that the pain he went through for his vasectomy reversal was useless. Even if it had been successful, there was a large chance we would still be going through IVF ICSI (I will explain more about the ICSI part later). Our recommendation is to gather as much information from an urologist and an infertility specialist as you can beforehand. Had we gone to Dr. Bundren from the beginning, all of this would be a very different story. Who knows, we might be announcing the birth of our child right now instead of the beginning of a long process. Oh, well…God’s teaching me patience!
Now, I promise not all of my blogs will be this long. However, a lot has happened so far, and I wanted to make sure I had it all down. Todd and I are both anxious about the future, but most of all we’re just excited and optimistic. We can’t wait to have Baby Provence join our family. The kids can’t either. And for those that know me, you won’t be surprised to know we have settled on a boy name and have a good idea of a girl name. However, I’ll save that for another post, too. I may be a planner, but I’m also fickle!! J
Thanks for reading and following us on this amazing journey of the greatest mixture of Science and God we have encountered in our lives.