After a couple of weeks on birth control to regulate my hormones, we were ready to start the shots (picture the word shots being said in a super scary, dramatic tone of voice and you’ll have a better understanding for how I felt about them!) I shouldn’t be so melodramatic, though, they honestly weren’t that bad. Each evening, Ryan and I would sit down at our kitchen table with our vials of medicine, needles, and alcohol swabs. I would then proceed to give myself three shots in the stomach. It was like ripping off a band-aid; just do it quick and try not to think too hard. These shots gave my ovaries the boost they needed to produce multiple follicles, which meant the potential for more eggs to work with.
Because of my PCOS, I was at risk for something called hyper stimulation. To help prevent this from happening, Ryan and I made daily treks to our doctors office for about two weeks. We’d wake up early, drive an hour for our 7am appointment, and they would test my blood and perform ultrasounds to make sure things were progressing on schedule and not too quickly, or over-abundantly. Thankfully, I remained healthy the whole way through my stim cycle. Healthy, but rather miserable.
I couldn’t have anticipated just how swollen and tender everything would feel. I already looked about 3 months pregnant by the time the stim cycle finished. Sitting and standing made me feel like I would explode. There were times when I could barely handle even being touched. I had a large supply of follicles and they were developing very well (aka, they were getting huge!) Before too long,the stim shots finally came to an end and we switched to the progesterone shots (think a big huge needle filled with thick, syrupy medicine being shot into your butt – thank you, Ryan for being sweet and not torturing me with those, btw!) that would prepare my body for the sweet, little embryo we hoped to implant. And then finally, it was time for the trigger shot that would release my eggs and allow for them to be collected.
The morning of my egg retrieval, I couldn’t help but be nervous. Not about the surgery itself, I was confident that everything would go smoothly; but I was scared that the shots had not worked for me. What if I didn’t produce enough eggs, what if the quality was bad…what if, what if, what if! They took me back to the operating room for the second time and put me to sleep. I woke up hearing that they’d collected around fifty eggs which was an obscenely large amount. The shots had worked!
Within a few days, the nurses called us with more great news. More than 30 of our eggs had begun to develop amazingly and we were all set for a 7 day embryo transfer. On that seventh day, we anxiously arrived back at the surgery center and were informed that we had 22 strong, beautiful embryos. 21 would be frozen, and the 22nd was ready for implantation. They informed us that we could not have asked for a more perfect embryo. The quality far exceeded any of our expectations. They hooked me up to an ultrasound screen and Ryan and I had the pleasure of watching this miracle happen. The sight of that little tiny embryo being placed inside of me took my breath away. We understood that things could still go wrong. There was still that 70% chance our little bean wouldn’t attach, but somewhere deep inside I knew that it had worked.
After a grueling two-week wait and a much-anticipated blood test, the phone rang one afternoon, the nurse on the other line said the most beautiful two words I’d ever heard in my life…”You’re pregnant.” Our dreams were about to come true.
When I reflect on this period in my life, it’s hard to forget the mental and physical strain we underwent, but you want to know something? I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’m so grateful for this experience. Every shot, tear, and moment of self-doubt are worth more than the world to me. You see, all of those things helped get me where I am today. And I’ve got to tell you…today is pretty spectacular.