Wow. Check out that stunning creature before you. 4 IVF cycles deep, and in that particular picture, 15 eggs lighter. THAT’S RIGHT…15 eggs that round. and a loud cheer falls over the stadium crowd. 15!!!! Anyways, I digress.
15 eggs are a miracle, especially if you know me. I am a fun little treat consisting of an autoimmune disease and poor ovulation. Not to mention, I average about 7-9 eggs per IVF retrieval, but as my favorite embryologist and friend says, it’s about quality and not quantity. #AMIRITE!? I’ll throw my husband under the bus and talk about his less-than-stellar swimmers later.
Anyways, my last few IVF cycles were not entirely what we expected. You see, not only did I get to live and breathe that many IVF rounds, but I also work in the fertility landscape. That’s right, I had the pleasure of receiving and interpreting my own elevated ANA and FSH, negative beta’s, and throw my two cents into my treatment protocol. And no, I didn’t throw my opinion out there for fun-sies, but I started my fertility career as a case manager for a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Jan Friberg, a few years back. Since then, I used my formal training in integrative medicine to give our IVF patients the option for a well-rounded approach to care (by implementing nutrition, acupuncture, and lifestyle recommendations etc).
There are definitely a lot of trade-offs when you eat, sleep, and breathe the fertility world, but as we all know, the lows can be SO stinking low. It took me until now to be able to start unpacking the baggage that it took to start this adventure in the first place.
For me, though, that post egg retrieval picture is a reminder of all the warm and fuzzies infertility can bring. It was the only cycle that I ever felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. All four embryos that were sent out for genetic testing came back as euploid. (And if you’re reading this Mom, euploid is the fancy shmanch way of saying that each embryo contained a normal amount of chromosomes.) Most importantly, at THIS stage of the game, we were weeks away from matching with the woman/gestational carrier who was about to change our lives. CUE the goosebumps, guys!
So, this is REALLLY where the story begins. (I’ll get into my past IVF cycles and my previous failed transfers, eventually). But as for now, there are four embryos on ice and ready to embark on a frozen embryo transfer. My purpose in starting a blog, you ask? Well, it’s two fold. I wanted to be a voice for the female medical community, where infertility affects every 1 in 4 providers. But, most importantly, I wanted a way to remember the bumps and bruises it took to get our happy ending. Please note the use of “our". I know there are some couples out there who dream of having 4 kids, but that reality is just not ours. Everyone’s goalpost varies in the fertility game: and I won’t judge yours, if you don’t judge mine.
So, LEGGGGOO, friends. Let’s do this thing!