A Happy Ending: My IVF Journey
In late March 2020, I discovered two pieces of bad news.
The initial transfer did not result in a pregnancy. I felt extremely disappointed and frustrated. There was so much happening on a global level with COVID and I felt I had no power in anything. Because of COVID, they were stopping all non-essential medical procedures, which included all embryo transfers for the foreseeable future.
This was the ultimate blow as it meant more time added to our experience with no end in sight.
Second embryo transfer
I waited another month until late April and out of curiosity, I emailed the clinic for an update on their timeline for re-starting procedures. As it happened, I happened to call on the exact day it was determined they could resume embryo transfers and they hadn’t had the chance to call me just yet. I was overjoyed and would be able to start another cycle. Thus began another cycle of regular blood tests at the clinic and nightly injections.
I had my second embryo transfer done at the end of May 2020. One thing that helped protect my head and heart during this second go around was to avoid outside voices and do what felt best for me. An example: the IVF clinic advises to not take a pregnancy test after the transfer since it takes time to show a positive or negative. Doing a test too early can create a false sense of either hope or disappointment.
After my first transfer, I did take a test about a week after my first transfer and felt an enormous disappointment when I didn’t get a positive right away. It might have carried a bit of superstition as well, but I didn’t take one after my second transfer. It helped me a great deal mentally and emotionally—I carried on as I normally would, doing the nightly shots and trying to maintain a sense of emotional neutrality.
The phone call
Two weeks after my transfer, I drove to the clinic for a blood test that would determine whether I was pregnant. I got the phone call around 12 or 1pm that afternoon. I held my breath and knew immediately from the nurse’s tone of voice that it was a positive result. It had worked and I was pregnant. The sense of relief and joy that came over me in indescribable.
As was the case throughout my IVF treatment, timing was everything. I was now two weeks pregnant and had just less than 9 months ahead of me to go in my journey of growing a baby. I had to continue with the shots until I was 10 weeks pregnant, with regular appointments at the IVF clinic to monitor. After that, I would “graduate” to my regular OBGYN practice and to my second trimester.
Because of undergoing IVF and genetic testing, my age, and the need for additional monitoring for a medical condition of my own, as well as the fact that Margo was a small baby, I also began seeing a maternal fetal medicine specialist throughout my pregnancy.
I experienced a relatively easy pregnancy with my second baby. Because I saw the maternal fetal medicine specialist, I got monthly ultrasounds, which I loved because it meant I got to see the baby regularly. Just like her big sister, my daughter Ruby was born at 38 weeks on January 20, 2021.
My hope in sharing my experience with the CF community is that it might answer a couple of questions for people curious about the process. While I can only speak on what our experience was like, I hope the lessons we learned might help another family.
Before looking into IVF and genetic testing, we didn’t know many people who had done it for reasons outside of infertility. It is a long process that is physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. It took a lot of thought and reflection on whether it was the right decision for our family.
In the end, I know that it was.
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