Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Follow the Yellow-Brick Road"

The journey to Baby Ricci has been quite a long and bumpy road, and we're still on it. It's unmarked, unclear, and unpaved. We thought once we hopped onto the IUI path, it would be a straight shot to a pregnancy. After going through 6 cycles over the past year, we've realized that a new path is coming into view: The Road to IVF.... our Yellow-Brick Road that will hopefully lead us to Oz. 

So here we are, about to jump into the IVF process. I hoped we wouldn't need to get to this stage, but we do. I can't change it, and there's nothing I can do about it. If we want a baby (which, DUH, of course we do) and if I want to be pregnant/carry/deliver (another DUH), then this is our only option. Can't go kicking and screaming through life's disappointments (ok, yes, temporarily, absolutely! But long term, unacceptable). So onward we will go.

(**Note: Positivity only from this point forward. Scott & I have been fortunate enough to have only received positive and genuine support from others, however I am aware that negativity lies out there in the world. I also am aware that IVF is controversial in some corners of the world. I know that some are against it for all kinds of reasons, be it religious, moral, whatever. Please keep those vibes away from our positive bubble. I respect your difference in opinion if you have one, and that's as far as it goes. #TeamRicci is all about positivity, and this is simply a documentation of our journey to have a baby. Thank you for respecting that and our decision to whole-heartedly accept this path in our journey.**)

We have an IVF consultation appointment with our Dr on May 27th. I assume we'll discuss everything IVF-related under the sun- process, finances, timeline, what-ifs, etc. I also need another big round of blood work (like 8-10 vials) because they require it yearly and it happens to be up. I say big round bc anything more than 1 vial is a lot to me. It makes me anxious, I get nervous I'll pass out, etc. I want to rip out the needle if I have to sit there longer than like 30 seconds and sometimes my veins are stubborn. haha. At least Scott will be with me, and I'm asking my fav nurse to call dibs on me bc she is good at distracting me. :) As of this moment, I *HOPE* to be able to jump into IVF on my July cycle. I debated whether or not I could start before school gets out, but the timing of everything is a little off, plus this is my fav time of year at school- I ADORE my class and don't want to miss tons of time during our last weeks together. Scott & I are going on vacation shortly after school gets out, so I hope to start as soon as we return from vacation if all goes smoothly in terms of that. We'll see. My goal is to have a cycle done before school starts back up. But again, none of this is in my control, so we'll go with the flow and see what happens I guess. It's all I can do.

***If ANYONE has any important Qs, things to consider, things to suggest, ask, etc for our consultation (preferably those who understand the process and have been through it or are close to someone who has), please send them my way. I'm building a running list in my mind for our discussion next week.***

I have to admit, a little tiny part of me is excited for the IVF process. It honestly intrigues me big time! The whole process is really SO fascinating and interesting to me. It's incredible where science & technology have gotten us in today's world and I can't even imagine what the future holds in this area.  It would be impossible for me to explain the IVF process correctly without having gone through it, so feel free to check out *this link* or Google another source/site yourself, but here's a quick run-down of my own interpretation and what I'm expecting (in a small nutshell). 

*Wait for your next cycle to start & go to the clinic somewhere between day 1-3 of cycle for blood work and an ultrasound to make sure you're all clear to start. 

*Start meds (pill form for a few days??... AND injections... probably lots of them. The point is to produce a good amount of eggs to extract. You only want a few egg follicles for IUI but you want more for IVF as they are essentially harvesting them to fertilize/freeze for later).  Lots and lots and lots of injections. This is the first part that scares me because although IUI had pills & injections, it was way less. The minor leagues. IVF is the big leagues for sure! Needles, and needles, and needles... OH MY! You also have to keep going to the clinic to check number of egg follicles and how quickly they're growing, sizes, etc. You don't want to ovulate before retrieval- you don't want to go too early or too late, you want Goldilocks to help make it just right! (This means lots of morn visits to the clinic again for monitoring. 50 min drive one way just for a quick 10 min checkup... but it's all for a good cause ANNNND I adore my nurses. Win win.)

*Egg retrieval. When the Drs give the go ahead, I'll do the trigger shot to induce ovulation (just like IUI) and go to the hub of our clinic, the Norwalk CT office (rather than to Danbury) for the egg retrieval. I get knocked out for this (something else I freak out about bc it's more needles/IV) but thankfully once that's over I'm good bc I won't know what's happening and/or won't remember the procedure. They go in and literally extract all the egg follicles from my ovaries. Each egg will be fertilized with sperm that day, on site in the lab, and then we wait to see how many fertilize (usually about half I think), and then they're monitored from there to see how many mature/grow as they should. I'm nervous about this part too just because I would hate to get this far and have something awful happen (nothing to extract, I ovulate too soon, nothing fertilizes, nothing matures, etc.). But we cross those bridges if we need to. I can't control much here so I'll try to stay positive and do what I can. 

*Wait & worry (about all above scenarios)... until the embryologists call with results of how many embryos and what quality. 

*Embryo transfer. Return to the Norwalk clinic (brand-new beautiful office as of a few months ago, by the way.... BEAUTIFUL... I secretly love needing to visit here bc it's all new and pretty) and have 1 or 2 embryos transferred directly into my uterus (prob similar to an IUI in a sense). Then you go home and go through the dreaded waiting period to see if they stick and you're pregnant. If not pregnant, you could go through another cycle and hopefully don't need to retrieve anymore eggs but can hopefully do a frozen embryo transfer (FET) with any remaining embryos from the last cycle in which eggs were retrieved/fertilized. Again, crossing that bridge ONLY if we need to. If no embryos are left, you have to go back to square one and start again, building up eggs to retrieve. 

So, in a sense some things are similar to IUI. In a lot of ways, though, it's different. I know I left stuff out and again I'm only giving a quick nutshell of things I'm expecting. Everyone's case is different and every cycle can be different. Each Dr/Clinic are different, too. 

Another bonus to doing IVF over the summer is obv not needing to take time off from work. I hear egg retrieval can take a lot out of you and expect to be laying low after that. I aslo expect lots of bloating and discomfort. I know how 4-6 follicles made me feel after the last IUI cycle, so I imagine IVF is way worse in the discomfort department so it'll be nice to not have anywhere I need to be. I'm fearful of the meds making me super irritable, bloated, and downright crabby & cranky. I'm fearful of all the extra needles and shots. I'm fearful of summer flashing by bc I'll be measuring it all by drives to CT and cycle days, Dr orders, etc. I'm fearful of getting overwhelmed and depressed. I'm fearful of feeling crummy. Blah blah blah.... BUT (thanks to the advice of a good friend!... also the advice I always give others yet never seem to follow myself until it comes back to me by others.) all I can do is take it one day at a time. I can go for walks. I can eat right (like lots and lots of salads... haha). I can be outdoors. I can get fresh air. I can sleep in. I can watch TV. I can enjoy summer. I can hangout with friends. I can do it. :) 

In the words of  the Little Engine that Could, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." (Yup, I just read it to my kindergarten class yesterday!)... I can get through it. I will get through it. I know SOOO many strong and amazing women who are IVF mamas and they are ALL inspirational. I know I can get through it and it's mind over matter. I felt this way with IUI too and have breezed through 6 cycles. I overcame those needles and felt empowered doing my own injections. I accomplished a lot and changed/grew a lot. I can do this too. It'll take more out of me in many ways, but I CAN and WILL get through it. It'll take time, effort, motivation, and support, but I can do it. I'll certainly cry and weep some days, but I'll fight like hell other days. In the end, I can't wait to tell our child(ren) all that we went through to become their mommy & daddy. That'll be a pretty epic adventure story someday. 

Last time I left you with a pic of me and a puppy. This time I'll leave you with a pic of me and a kid (haha, not a human kid, although hopefully someday soon). 

This sweet little baby goat is just 1 week old and this was taken this morning. One of my school kiddos lives within walking distance of my school and his parents own and run a goat/chicken farm. They had about 30 baby goats around 1 month old, and this little guy was the newest kid on the farm. Made my day. If I can be this happy with a baby GOAT, imagine my excitement with a BABY RICCI!! :) :) :) :) 

Someday it'll happen. Someday. Somehow. Somewhere over the rainbow. Until then, all I can do is follow my yellow-brick road... <3 <3

Just BeLiEvE,



  1. Good Luck Stacy, I am so happy I found your blog. Every IVF blog is from 2+ years ago. I am starting birth control this month then going right into the shots and fun of IVF. I never thought it would happen like this, I just want it to happen!!! I wish you and your husband the best of luck Keep that smile on!!!