There’s been a change of plans! This is pretty much ALWAYS the case with infertility. Planning is a joke.
Originally we “planned” to do the PGD testing on our Day 5 embryos. If any of them tested normal, we would implant on Day 6. That changed when we got a pretty tough call this morning from our Doctor’s office saying that all 8 of our embies were immature. None of them had reached blastocyst stage which is expected by Day 5. We spoke to the embryologist who said that just in the past few hours 2 of our embies had started to change from Morula (expected on Day 4) to compact, basically starting to change into blastocysts. That is of course promising, but we’ve had this problem before. The embryos don’t mature to blastocysts. In fact last round, they had all arrested (died) by Day 5. My Doctor said that about 30% of the time embryos don’t actually mature until Day 6, so there is still a chance, albeit small, for my little babies.
Soooo this is how we proceed. Wait until tomorrow morning (Day 6) and see if any of the embryos have turned into blastocysts. (Please please please please let that happen! If it does not, then that’s it for us.) BUT if they do, then we’re faced with 2 choices:
1) Go ahead with the PGD testing to see if there are any normal embryos. If there are, freeze them and transfer next month. This choice gives us peace of mind knowing that when we eventually transfer the embryos, they will be chromosomally normal. The downside is that it also puts any embryos that are actually viable at risk because of all the extra handling.
2) Don’t worry about the PGD testing and transfer the best looking 2 or 3 embryos tomorrow. If any of them are viable, they’ll have a better chance of surviving without undergoing the PGD test and freeze. But the downside to this choice is that I could be implanting a chromosomally abnormal embryo only to later miscarry or never even become pregnant at all.
We’ve decided to call a Hail Mary on this one and transfer the embryos tomorrow. Option #2. It’s a long shot, but it makes the most sense to us. So first up, we gotta get some gorgeous blastocysts tomorrow morning. But of course…it’s all up to God.
We’re having faith that one or more of the embryos will be viable without testing to ensure that.
We’re trusting that these little babies will thrive and grow inside me.
We’re hoping that this is finally our time.
We’re praying for a MIRACLE.
Like many couples, my Husband and I live paycheck to paycheck. So when we were faced with the reality that our only chances of having a family would cost us thousands of dollars, we felt extremely defeated. Little did we know hope was on the way.
Dealing with the emotional aspects of infertility was enough of a burden. We started our marriage (in 2009) with strict instructions from the doctor that we needed to try to get pregnant immediately if we wanted a family. The possibility of infertility came at no surprise to me. At 16 years old, I lost my right ovary to an ovarian terratoma. Since 2008, my body has been through seven additional surgeries, a diagnosis of severe endometriosis, countless cysts and a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). As you can imagine, these medical bills have put a great financial strain on us and on my credit. So how in the world would we ever be able to afford IUIs or IVF when our insurance provided zero fertility coverage? With each step in our journey, we were determined to find a way.
It is amazing how TTC (trying to conceive) can be taxing on your bank account even before seeking the help of a RE (reproductive endocrinologist). At least in our case, it was. I had lost my job of five years, leaving this entire financial burden on my Husband’s shoulders. Countless medications, multiple surgeries, doctor visits, and ultrasounds added up; and even those darn ovulation predictor monitors, test sticks and pregnancy tests were expensive. But hey, we would do anything to have a family and we figured that all of those costs would only help us prepare for the diapers that we were bound to be buying one of these days!
After the first two years of TTC, we were told that it was time to see an RE to help us get pregnant. Our insurance (like most) had zero coverage for anything related to fertility. The consultation alone was $350.00. We had just moved to California from Arizona and my Husband was able to find a good paying job, so we were able to put our whole focus on finally getting pregnant. Our RE was optimistic that IUIs would do the trick for us, so we moved forward and thought our dream was finally about to come true. Five failed IUI attempts later we were financially drained. We were told that IVF was our only option and financially that was way out of the question for us. We were crushed.
If you are anything like me, then you understand why I couldn’t give up. The desire to be a Mom was burning so bright, and I just knew we had to find a way. I started by bugging the insurance company to make sure that there wasn’t something we were missing. Of course, they wouldn’t cover anything. I then moved on to talking with our RE. I explained to her the details of our financial situation (probably more than she wanted to know) and I asked her what our options were. She told me that we could write a letter to their board of directors, and they would see what they could do about getting us a discount. To our surprise, we were approved for a discount. Though this was a huge blessing to us, we still had no idea how we would come up with the $7,000 (not including medications) that we would need to do an IVF.
After consulting Mr. Google and Pinterest for “financial help for IVF” we found that there were some options out there. We applied for IVF loans, but the best offer we had wanted us to pay a $380.00 a month payment with 30% interest. On to the next option! There is a website called GoFundMe.com where you can set up a fundraising page, but at the time, I was not ready to open up and share our story. Then I found that there are many non-profit companies that offered grants for fertility treatments. Depending on the organization, there are usually non-refundable application fees, and some are even state or clinical specific (check the fine print before applying). This could be a few months of waiting, and possibly a letter of regret that we weren’t approved and then we would be back at square one.
All the time I spent researching our options, I had this gnawing feeling inside that I needed to speak out and share our journey. With my latest health predicament, it is truly now or never for us to do IVF, so waiting around for months at a time, was not the best-case scenario for us. I took a chance and reached out to Alexis DelChiaro and felt like a crazy person when I asked her, “What would you do if the only thing that was stopping you from doing IVF was money? Would you do something like GoFundMe and ask people for help?” To my surprise, she graciously replied and said “I say do it girl! Anything it takes to be a Mom!” Finally, someone understood me! She gave me confirmation that day that I shouldn’t be afraid and that it was okay to not give up.
So what did I do? I emailed Alexis back after chickening out and told her we were going to apply for a grant and take our chances. I was too scared to ask for help and worried what other people might think of us. After the emotional toll that this infertility had put me through, I couldn’t handle any negative opinions. I also thought that there were too many people that needed help and I simply didn’t feel worthy. I cried on the phone to my sister and said that I needed to move on, but I didn’t know how. She very firmly replied to my tearful plea and said that I deserved to be a Mom and she never wanted to hear me say that I wasn’t worthy. Not 24 hours later, my sister called me and said to go online because she started a GoFundMe page in our honor and that it was time to share our story. My hands shook for the next 8 hours before I finally posted a blog about our journey.
Within 6 days, we have been extremely humbled at the miracles that are unfolding. Our friends, family and perfect strangers have donated and have brought us to 29% of our goal. The kindness that people have shown us (not just in donations) has been amazing. There are so many people behind us, praying for us and sharing our journey. Though we still have a ways to go, we are so incredibly thankful. I never would have thought that we would have gotten this close to our dream and all it took was a few amazing people along the way who encouraged me and pushed me to never give up.
Infertility can be such a dark and lonely journey and the hit to your bank account can make your situation feel that much more impossible. Infertility is something that has brought us heartache and grief…it has brought me shame and embarrassment that my body couldn’t do the one thing that it was made to do. Have children. No women should ever feel this shame because it isn’t your fault. No one chooses this heartache and you shouldn’t blame yourself. You are not alone in this! Be persistent and reach out for help. There are options out there; you just have to find the option that works for your situation. We know there is a possibility that we won’t raise enough money to do IVF, but I will know deep in my heart that we tried everything possible to make our dream come true. We are holding onto our Faith and believe that our story isn’t finished here. I hope sharing our journey gives you the hope to push forward, keep fighting and find a way to build the family you deserve. You never know what is right around the corner.
The retrieval went as good as can be expected. (Please refer to my latest vlog for what really went down. Hehe, thank you very much anesthesia.) This whole process is such a numbers game. We got 15 eggs (my highest number so far) and of those 15, 8 of them fertilized. Yippee! That’s more than half! Now it’s down to those 8 little embies, sitting patiently in a petrie dish in a lab somewhere, hopefully growing and developing and turning into beautiful little blastocysts. So technically, at the moment that makes me the new OctoMom! Ha!
Everyday I picture those little babes; I wonder what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, if they’re playing nicely with the other embryos at the playground. I guess motherhood really starts at conception.
We’ll get a progress report soon to find out the maturity of my little honeys, but the real test will be when we get results from the PGD screening. Last round we had 5 fertilized embryos to work with and all 5 of those had multiple chromosomal abnormalities. Not good. After 3 months spent trying to improve my egg quality we are hoping for a totally different result. If even just one egg was normal, we would be floored. (Obviously in my perfect world all 8 would be normal, but I’m just being real because in my actual perfect world I would have had my baby 2 years ago, therefore sharing the inner workings of my reproductive organs would not be necessary.)
So after the PGD test if we have at least one normal embryo, my Doctors would like to transfer right away. We had talked about freezing for a month to let my body recover after the retrieval and all the meds, but they believe it’s better for the embies to be inside me. In their proper home. Resting comfortably.
In just a few days we’ll know for sure what’s what. I’ve got everything crossed that this is OUR TIME. Our babies are coming. Our babies are coming. But just to be safe, if you don’t mind saying a little prayer for this OctoMom and her teeny babies it would be much appreciated. XO
I gotta warn you, I am not good with anesthesia. To say it makes me emotional would be a HUGE understatement. It’s not pretty. I wanted this journey to be very honest and real, that’s why I am sharing this extremely personal moment with you.
This was the exactly the scripture I needed to hear in church today…certainly not a coincidence. One day before my retrieval, this verse reminds me to give my worries to God. Pray on everything and be at peace. No matter what happens tomorrow, I am at peace. I feel ready and hopeful. I know my babies will be here soon. Thank you Lord for everything.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.