Living by the IVF calendar isn’t for the faint of heart

One of the most defining aspects of my entire life has been my low vision because it constantly affects my everyday  life. But being blindish is only one part of who I am as a whole; and for that reason, not every post will be about my being blindish. This is going to be one of those posts.

In recent years I’ve added a second big defining aspect to my life: infertility.

I’ll save the backstory for another time, but we’ve been struggling with infertility for several years. I’ve never kept this a secret, but I’ve never shouted it from the rooftops, either. It’s just part of my everyday life now, and, even after years of practice, I’m still learning how to deal with it.

In case you didn’t know, Jason and I recently went through an IVF cycle. I shared brief updates on Facebook to keep my friends and family informed, but once we had the embryo transfer in mid-December, I made it clear that I wouldn’t confirm whether it was successful for several weeks. We chose this way so we wouldn’t find ourselves in an awkward position, because if it worked we wouldn’t want to announce it too early, and if it failed, we wouldn’t want to discuss it for a bit and would want time to plan our next move.

I will tell you now it was unsuccessful.

What I did not share publicly about the IVF cycle was that we purchased a package from our fertility clinic that gives us up to three fresh IVF cycles and any subsequent frozen embryo transfers at one flat rate. Given my history with failed IVF cycles, we decided this was our best option. The catch is that you have to use the cycles within 15 months, which means moving forward at lightning-fast speeds. Three weeks after the failed IVF I began preparing for a frozen embryo transfer.

I  decided I wanted to move quickly with this because I had a health scare recently where the word “cancer” was tossed around a fair amount. It was benign, fortunately, but I was seriously ill regardless, even needing two intravenous iron infusions, and I was told by my doctor it’s very likely I will develop some type of reproductive cancer later on and to get a hysterectomy sometime within the next several years.

What I learned from this is that, while I want kids, waiting for it to happen is taking a toll on my health and so we decided to have this one last push and if it doesn’t work, then this particular path will end and we will move on. It feels strange to write it out like that, but I feel pretty good about the decision. By this time next year I will know what path I’ll be on by then, no linger standing at the fork in the road and waiting for something to happen.

Now that we’re back to the present, here is why all this is relevant: Our frozen embryo transfer is on Thursday, a little less than 34 hours from now. I’ve spent the past six weeks or so preparing for it. I’ve endured four weeks of injections, and have at least another two weeks of intramuscular injections. That means Jason jabs this long needle into a target area my nurse drew on my backside (I mean this literally; she drew circles on me using permanent marker) and it’s painful and makes me sore, so I hobble around like a little old lady. We’ve chosen to transfer four embryos, which is how many we currently have frozen.

I’m kind of freaking out about it right now.

Four embryos is A LOT. My doctor usually transfers one for someone my age and two for someone in her last few childbearing years. It makes me wonder a little bit what he sees in there to think four is a reasonable number, and it’s almost depressing if I think about it too much. And then I think of potentially having quadruplets and I feel my eyes bulge in my head just a smidge.

FOUR babies. Can you imagine? I try not to, but it happens every once in a while and I find myself picturing it with fascinated horror.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the details of an IVF cycle, here’s my calendar for this month. I had a similar one for January, and have a similar one for March. I also included the syringe for my intramuscular injection, you know, just for fun.

My February IVF calendar
My February IVF calendar

The calendar lists when to start and stop which  medications, and it includes dosing changes, which are highlighted, and appointments. I’ve had to cancel plans or forego opportunities so I could stick to my calendar. People often say it will worth it, but I really think that remains to be seen. Will I think that’s true if we come out the other side still child-free? I prefer the pragmatic approach: I’ll just do what I can, wait and see what happens, then handle it.

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I'm a thirty-something housewife who enjoys reading, yoga, and taking advantage of all the cool stuff Jacksonville has to offer. I'm also legally blind due to a retinal degenerative disease called Stargardt disease.

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