IVF Got This! [Starting the IVF Process]

It's always fun getting packages in the mail, especially when it's a box full of hormone medications and bags of syringes...right? We are officially starting our first IVF cycle and as of right now, our faces accurately show how we're feeling with these first few steps.
If you've been following our story in real time, then you know that we took a break from IVF planning. We had our initial appointment in February and we said that the break would last until about June or July. And lemme just say- it was very much needed! We had a lot of time to just be. We didn't have to worry about appointments, medications, or the stress of how much it would cost. It was really great for me to finish the school year strong (I used to be a preschool teacher) and for us to focus on each other for a little while.
Our four year anniversary was on June 13th and we knew that we wanted to do something special, but we also knew that we were wanting to take a vacation pre-IVF. So we decided to combine the celebration and put it all into one trip. We toured the Shenandoah Valley wine country and it was absolutely amazing. We stayed at The Blackburn Inn in Staunton for three nights and four days while we toured many of the surrounding wineries. We both love wine and learning about different wines made so this trip perfect for us. Not to mention, all of the beautiful views the wineries had to offer. It was a relaxing trip and just what we needed before diving head first into IVF.
I called the Fertility Clinic the week before our trip because I knew that our cycle would be starting soon and I wanted to get an update on what we needed to do. A three minute phone call and small anxiety attack later...I was driving to the clinic for a spur of the moment appointment. Ya see, infertility schedules and appointments are all based off of the woman's cycle and certain days within that cycle. It just so happened that the day I called was the 12th day of my cycle- AKA prime time ovulation time. AKA the perfect time for a baseline ultrasound.
So, I went to the appointment and everything was set to go. The ultrasound was looking good and now I was on a mission to get a medication that I needed to start a few days later. Another fun little thing about infertility is that a lot of the pharmacies don't carry the specific medications at all times. So really it's a hit or miss about whether the pharmacy will have it AND if your insurance will even cover the prescription. Some of our medications have been covered, but certainly not all of them. The specific prescription I needed that day was a nasal spray that tells my body not to pick a dominant follicle. This way, my body will create many follicles (eggs) at the same rate so they can be retrieved at a later date. The nasal spray without insurance was a pretty penny of $2,500...YIKES! But I am so thankful that our insurance did cover it so it brought it down to a beautiful total of about $30. Talk about a major blessing! I found the prescription that day after only needing to go to two pharmacies- which to us, is a lucky day!
We turned in the prescription to get it filled and while they were filling that prescription, our nurse sent over five other prescriptions for them to fill as well. I picked up our order and the pharmacist told me everything I needed to know about how to use them etc. I was a little overwhelmed when I got home and unloaded the bag of prescriptions to show Alex. It's intense to see so many different medications knowing that I'll have to remember how and when to take them.
But we still weren't done. The prescriptions we got from CVS were minimal. Local pharmacies carry the smaller prescriptions, but for the hormone medicine and syringes, our prescription was sent to a separate pharmacy that specializes in infertility prescriptions. We had to complete our order online and the medications were sent to us in the mail. Since the medications were about $3,200.00, they needed a signature upon delivery.
I didn't open the box right away when we got it in the mail. I knew that we were having our medication teaching a few days later so I chose to wait until then. Our medication teaching was held at the Fertility Clinic with the IVF coordinator. Alex and I were waiting in the small conference room when we decided to go ahead and open the box.
Don't worry, the box wasn't just thrown together as it appears here. It actually had a beautiful blue tissue paper over all of the medications with a note from the provider. We skimmed through the letter, barely reading it, but one line we do remember seeing was, "Don't be overwhelmed by the contents of this box." Well, after removing that perfectly placed note and tissue paper, our mouths dropped to the floor, we laughed awkwardly, and said- "Ohhh, boy." But they said don't be overwhelmed, so now I feel better. I'm really thankful that we didn't open that box before we got to the office. If we had, I would've been a HOT MESS for the two days leading up to our meeting.
The meeting we had with the IVF coordinator that day was really nice. She showed us exactly what we needed to do and when we needed to do it. The hormone medication comes in two forms- a liquid and a powder. We use a syringe to pull out a precise amount of liquid to apply to the powder form and then we SWIRL, don't shake, it all together. It was overwhelming, but it made sense and we knew that we would be pros at this whole thing in no time. Overall, all of the medications make sense. The clinic has made it very clear that the embryo is VERY important to each party involved, so they're going to take every precaution necessary to make sure all goes well. Being in that mindset and having that in the back of our minds makes all of these medications much easier to understand.
However, it doesn't make it easier to remember when and how to take all of them, but BLESS THEM. They gave us a calendar of each day's dosage and a space to mark it off. The calendar is a very helpful little pamphlet that has a timeline, dosage, and a link for reference videos in case we need them. As overwhelming as this whole process is, our Fertility Clinic has gone above and beyond to make sure we are all on the same page to make sure we know what we need to do. Having them so organized and strong with communication really helped us ease into this process.
I've still had a lot of fears, though. First of all, I'm not a fan of needles. Well, God is helping me get over that real quick. But you better believe I was sweating bullets when I pulled out a bag of 50 syringes from our box. I didn't have the courage to give myself the trigger shot during IUI's, but I'm really hoping I'll be able to do it at some point during IVF. It's all about baby steps...literally.
I'm not too thrilled about the idea of retrieval day- the day when I go under anesthesia so they can use a LONG, VERY LONG needle to siphon out all of the eggs. That day will be hard, but they said it only lasts about 30 minutes.
I'm not all that ecstatic to be taking so many medications. There, I said it. I'm not big on taking medications, I rarely take an aspirin unless it's much needed. So the thought of being on all of these medicines and hormones that will make me crazy for a few days doesn't excite me.
And, honestly? I'm not happy that we have to go through this. It would be so much easier if sex just worked for us the way it is supposed to. It makes me really sad sometimes that something so beautiful shared between us doesn't work. I wonder what it must be like to get it on the first, second, third...hell, the twentieth time!
But ya know what? God's got us covered.
He saw this day long before we did. He knew we would be on this path long before the day we even said, "I do." He knew this is where we would be and He is with us every step of the way. He will be with me every time I take a medication and through the whole process of retrieval, embryo transfer, pregnancy, birth, and parenting. It's hard to look up right now and see the light when it feels like we are being smothered by darkness. But here's the thing: this won't last forever! And a few years from now when we have our children and we look back on this time in our lives, it will only feel like a blip on the radar.
And because of all that, we will fight. We will fight for our children every day that we have, with every breath we have. We will not give into the darkness because that is not where we are found. We are found in the sight of God, seen as His children- the children that He and all of Heaven will also fight for. You may not agree with or understand our journey and that's okay, but we know Who we answer to and where we have been called to go.
As of now, we feel really good with everything. We're a little nervous, a little anxious, but a whole lot excited. If you have been following our journey, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It means the world to us that you have cared for us the way you have. Many people have asked what we need or what they can do for us through this, and really, the biggest thing we could ask for is prayer. Help us to pray for our children and help us to keep up this fight. Without the community we have had, we wouldn't have made it this far.
As this process continues, we will continue to post updates! Thank you for reading, thank you for praying, thank you for helping us to build a family.
We love you and we are so blessed by you!


Photo Credits: 

Featured Image: Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. from Pexels 

Wine Image: Photo by Grape Things from Pexels

Photo of Alex and Medications: Personal Photo

Prescription Image: Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels