The last 8 months have been quite an experience. In June, we discovered that I have retarded sperm. And not very many at that. They basically swim in circles and twitch like Richard Simmons at gay fat camp.
This was indeed sad news for us, as we both want to grow our family.
In July we visited a urologist who quickly diagnosed me as being seriously defective and he recommended surgery. However, the surgery comes with the risk of complete sterilization. He suggested some simple changes like diet, supplements, and looser clothing. After a couple months of that, I was retested and the results were even more dismal. That meant we had two options; do my surgery and hope it didn’t sterilize me, or do IVF.
Since Nicole was healthy, we decided IVF was the best option, and we embarked on the long, expensive process. Both of us went to IVF class, then began a regimen of medications. Nicole also had to do multiple daily injections.
If you think that didn’t suck, look at this bruise from her HCG shot.
We started follicle stimulation on December 30th, and on January 18th we had egg retrieval.
They aspirated 43 follicles, a record for this medical practice (Nicole is an overachiever). Out of the 43 follicles, they found 22 mature eggs and attempted to fertilize all of them using ICSI (where they literally select one of my sperm and inject it into the egg).
Of the 22, 8 fertilized. We tracked their progress every day and on day 5 we went back for embryo transfer.
As of day 5, there were 5 embryos still growing. We went to the operating room where the doctor transferred the 2 best embryos (expanded blastocysts) directly to Nicole’s uterus. You can see our little embryo on the monitor.
This is a much safer method than a three day transfer because it bypasses the tubes and thus the risk of tubal pregnancy is almost zero. Of the remaining three eggs, two made it to day 6 when they were frozen for future use.
That began the dreaded two week wait. Since IVF requires injection of an HCG trigger shot, over the counter pregnancy tests are not reliable. That means waiting 14 full days till you go for a blood test to see if it worked.
The odds were good. At Nicole’s age, the success rate at this program is 69%. Of the successful pregnancies, 40% are twins and roughly 2% are triplets (one of the embryos splits in the uterus).
On February 4th we finally did the blood test. They said they’d call with the results around 2:30, so I drove to the hospital so I could be there when Nicole found out. I got there just in time. And the test was positive. Her HCG came back at 750. The baseline for pregnancy is 50. Two days later, it was 2500, and two days after that it was 10,500. One week later we went back for her last pre-ultrasound HCG and it had risen to 49,495.
On February 20th we went for the first ultrasound. There was our single little nugget, snug as a bug. And the heartbeat was visible. A lot of people were hoping we’d have twins, but honestly, I was relieved. Twins are much higher risk all the way around. I wouldn’t have slept for 9 months.
Our next ultrasound is March 12th. After that one, the specialist will officially transfer us into the care of Nicole’s OB. Our nugget is due October 11th.
It’s been a trying, expensive, sometimes scary process, but through it all we’ve grown much closer and we are so grateful that we had success on the first try. So many couples are not as lucky as us. We know we are blessed more than we deserve.