*February 7, 1999: We started dating... I was 15, Scott was 16, and we were in the 10th grade.
*June 24, 2005: We got engaged in Niagara Falls, Canada. <3
*July 6, 2007: Married!!! <3 <3 Plan to wait "a few years" to have kids... thought it'd be easy peasy!
*December 2011: went off the pill & started trying for Baby Ricci.
In the meantime.... Lots of stressful months with no results. Just lots of wasted money, wasted time, and unnecessary stress stacked on each month of trying virtually everything to increase odds.
*December 2012: Reached the suggested 1 year mark, so at my annual ob-gyn appointment, I asked for assistance. Sent for lots of blood work (unnecessary needles and blood draws... I HATE needles) and an ultrasound to check hormone levels, ovulation, etc... Slightly elevated prolactin, but nothing that should really make a difference.
*January 2013: Scott had to go for the first of many semen analyses. Waited a full week for results (they should have known sooner and I think they "forgot" to call us, so we were on edge for a week). Results showed zero sperm, azoospermia. We were devastated.
*February 2013: Scott was sent for a second semen analysis to double-check the results. Results were the same, so we were referred to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist, aka fertility Dr.).
*March 2013: Referred to a great clinic (RMACT) and had an initial consultation with our RE. She ordered blood work and some tests for both of us, and referred Scott to a reproductive urologist in Westchester. Scott was also sent for a 3rd semen analysis, luckily this time at a decent place... but still no swimmers.
*April 2013: Met with urologist; Scott had to do a 4th semen analysis (poor guy!!), blood work, and an ultrasound.... Found out he has varicoceles (varicose-veins in the testicles, causing blood to pool, making it too warm for sperm to develop) AND a chromosomal disorder called Klinefelter Syndrome, which causes very low testosterone levels. Surgery recommended to remove varicoceles.
*May 2013: Varicocelectomy surgery done. Scott handled it like a champ and was restricted to the recliner for a few straight days. Followup would be 4-6 months to check for sperm, as it takes that long for sperm to produce and show up in tests. So we started the waiting game. More and more waiting, all through the summer.
*September 2013: 4-month check-up at the urologist. He repeated the ultrasound and we could clearly see that the varicocele was gone (hooray!), but there was still no change in sperm. The same week as Scott's appointment, I went to the RE's office to have a saline sonohysterogram (saline infusion tests of the uterus, to see if all is clear for a future potential pregnancy). This was supposed to be a minor procedure with minor cramping, but it was no walk in the park. Apparently my cervix didn't like foreign objects (the catheter) being forced in, so there were complications and the Dr. had to try 3 times before it worked.... let's just say it was extremely uncomfortable, and Scott wasn't able to be there, so I was not a happy camper. Luckily, results were fine, and I also had blood work, which also came back fine.
*November 2013: 6-month check-up at the urologist... Still no sperm. Scheduled next and final step for Scott, a needle biopsy/sperm-mapping to check for what I call stubborn swimmers. I'm holding out hope for this step, but Scott is worried about it. The process will not be a fun one, as it involves 18 needles in each testicle to take a sample and check for sperm in different sections. It's a quick procedure done right in the urologist's office, and takes about 1 hour. Only downfall is it's only local anesthesia, so I'm nervous for Scott about that one (and all mankind will be cringing as they hear of that). The Dr. said some guys don't feel a thing, but others feel everything... no way to tell really. Ugh.
So now, the next step is to wait until the procedure, which is scheduled for December 9th. The results will take about 3 weeks, which will put us right at the new year. This is our last shot before possibly needing to move to a sperm donor. Our Dr. said that there was a couple in our same situation, where they did the varicocelectomy, showed no results at either the 4 or 6-month checkup, and then when they did the sperm mapping, they found 2 sperm... TWO!! They moved to IVF and got pregnant!! While this is not a common scenario or likely to happen to us, too... it is possible... and that's all I need to hold onto.
*December 2013: Scott had his sperm-mapping/needle biopsy procedure. Talk about painful. He had 30+ needles stuck down there to take samples from diff sections and it was all sent out to a lab in California to check for any sperm. A needle in a haystack? Sperm in testicle samples. We waited about 3 weeks for results, and with the holiday chaos of Christmas & New Year's, we wouldn't get official results until early January.
*January 2014: Scott turned 31 on January 6th, and got life-changing results back 2 days later. January 8th was his followup appointment which showed there wasn't 1 single sperm in any of the samples. He is infertile. All of those painful procedures to come to this~ LOTS of money spent, none covered by insurance, all to show no sperm. We were broken. We were bracing for the worst, but you still hold out hope and it doesn't really make it that much easier in the end. No sperm thanks to Klinefelter's. Officially moving on to donor sperm.
But first, I needed to have the dreaded HSG scan at the fertility office. I had a saline sono (scan of my uterus) in September, when we thought we may do IVF. They only needed to make sure my uterus was in good condition, so did that and it was painful, but all clear. Now, donor sperm means we can do IUI instead, but it means my tubes needed to be checked for blockages. The HSG, Hysterosalpinogram, is an x-ray test that uses dye to check your tubes. It's a quick procedure but I've heard they are ungodly painful. I was prescribed Valium beforehand, totally relaxed, and it was a piece of cake. The Dr. said my tubes were beautiful (lol, they say that to everyone, but thanks, I'm flattered! hehe) and we were cleared to start IUI. Now I just had to wait for my next cycle to start (had just missed this one due to HSG) and we would be good to go!
*February 2014: Waited and waited and waited
*March 2014: Clomid made me feel crazy and unlike myself, but thank goodness it was only for 5 days, and I didn't feel crazy for all of it. Went back to the clinic around day 14 of my cycle for more blood work and another ultrasound, saw 1 really good-sized egg follicle, got an injection of Ovidrel (trigger shot) to bring on ovulation, and had my first IUI procedure on March 8th. Waited 2 long, looooonnng weeks, swore I was pregnant, was convinced I was pregnant, but wasn't. My next cycle started exactly 2 weeks after the procedure, before I went for the blood test (thankfully over a weekend so I could drown myself in tears and not be at work). In a weird way, thankful my body told me before the test did. Felt so low after being so hopeful, but picked myself up once we got to move on to step 2.
Started IUI cycle #2 at the end of March, with the same exact protocol as before. Blood work, ultrasound, Clomid for 5 days (this time it was a bit nicer to me, but just a tad).
*April 2014: Mid cycle, went back for same routines, on day 12 this time, did the injection myself at home that night, and went in for the procedure on April 5th. Waited another 2 long weeks, swore I was out this time again. Felt like I was coming down with the flu, turned out I was pregnant. IUI #2 worked!! Found out Easter weekend and we were over the moon. Couldn't hold in excitement and told all our close fam and friends who knew we had the procedure.
A week later, while away on vacation in Disney for a family weekend trip, I started spotting and bleeding... a lot. Knew I was most likely miscarrying, but held onto a tiny glimmer of hope. We went to the clinic as soon as we were home, had an ultrasound that found nothing in my uterus, and our dreams were crushed. I miscarried at about 5 weeks exactly.
*May 2014: Thought miscarriage was behind us and my levels would drop quickly. Nope. They dropped but then started to rise again. Had injections of Methotrexate to stop whatever was still in my system. A week later, levels started to decline again. So now have to wait for those to keep declining until they reach 0. Once they get down to 0, we can start with IUI attempt #3!!
*July 2014: Start up again with IUI, round #3. I had 2 follicles, but it didn't work. My uterine lining was thin and they felt the Clomid was causing this, so my protocol would change next month.
*August 2014: IUI #4, but new protocol. Femara/Letrozole pills for 5 days (instead of Clomid) and 3 nights of FSH injections, 75iu of Gonal-F pen. 2 follicles, my lining was a little better, but they put me on estrace pre-IUI and for the 2WW, but it didn't work.
Hit a breaking point when this one failed too. I was giving SO much of myself and losing sight of myself and Scott. If I kept going, it also would have likely interfered with the first day of school. As a Kindergarten teacher, that's rough. That's my first shot impression for setting the tone for the year. We decided to back out and take a few months off. The few months turned into waiting until the new year. We took a nice long break. I got back to exercising, enjoying married life & new weekends off with Scott, and just being me & us. It was a happy break.
*February 2015: Back to the fertility clinic to have another HSG test, to make sure my tubes are clear. All checked out, green light to proceed again with IUI.
*March 2015: IUI #5, same protocol I left off with in August (5 pills, 3 injections). I needed one more night of injections at my Day 10 scan, triggered on day 11, and IUI was on cycle day 13. 2 follicles again, lining a little thin. BNF (big fat negative... no go).
*March/April 2015: IUI #6... Same protocol but this time Follistim instead of Goal-F (insurance changed which one they cover, but it's the same drug). At my Day 10 scan, there were 3 follicles at 11mm each. Instructed to do 3 more nights of injections and return on Day 13. Went back on Day 13 to find that those 3 follicles kept on growing, as well as up to 5 others. 8 potential follicles, WAY too many. The Dr. told me to stop meds, come back tomorrow for my Dr. to make the final call, but that there was a high chance of this cycle being canceled. I sent out prayer requests and prepared for the worst. Went back on Day 14 and there, somehow, were only 4 follicles that counted. My Dr. & I agreed to proceed and take the chance. IUI was on Easter morning. 4 follicles (The Cadbury Bunny, as Scott called me) for an egg hunt. My lining was perfect. I was feeling hopeful and optimistic.... but it was another negative cycle. No babies. Feeling down in the dumps and calling it quits on IUI.
Taking another break for a few months and will start the IVF process some time between June and August. Stay tuned & please send some prayers in the meantime....
*May 2015: IVF consult at our Dr's office. She made a few mistakes/comments that made us think she didn't really read our file before sitting with us. The consult was maybe a 10-min half-convo while looking at a PowerPoint on her computer screen of everything we already knew. We met with finance and decided to look into other options for pricing. $15,000 flat out was too much to dish out if we could save money somewhere.
*June 2015: Changed clinics due to an IVF grant fund Scott found for NY residents at NY clinics who meet certain criteria (age, financial income, etc). We met everything and were able to receive some financial assistance. Our end result, out-of-pocket "ONLY" (in comparison!) cost $10,625... big difference from $15K. Also, our IVF consult with the new Dr lasted a good 45 mins. It was way more in depth and informative, and we felt he was really seeing us as people.
- Transferring files from Dr offices is never fun, relying on them to fax/send everything over after bugging them a few times, but it finally happened.
- I needed another saline sonogram to make sure my uterus was ok. It was! :)
*July 2015: Got our sperm vials transferred from old office to new (What a process!). Going over state lines is a no no for our clinic, so it had to be sent back to the original cryobank first and then resent again. This cost almost the price of a new vial of sperm, eek.
I also started birth control this month... Setting us back a few weeks, but all for the best.
*August 2015: Finally!! IVF Round 1!!
-9 days of stims (Menopur 75u & Follistim 125iu... Ganirelix added in on day 6)
-Blood draws & ultrasounds before work
- Trigger shot on day 10
- Egg retrieval (25 eggs retrieved!!)
- Day 1 report: 18 eggs fertilized!!
-Started PIO shots
-Prepare for a Day 5 transfer
- 1 AA embryo transferred on 8/30/15
- 8 additional embryos frozen for future use
- Cycle ends in a BFN (Big Fat Negative)
- Surprise & devastation sets in because everything seemed to be on point
- Wait it out until Dr. gives green light (they want my body to calm down back to its natural state, no hormones and injections, before proceeding with a Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle)
-New cycle began; back to Dr. for baseline ultrasound to make sure I can start FET cycle
-Start taking estrogen injections, 2x a week, and getting blood draws 2x a week to check estrogen levels
-After about 2 weeks, do an ultrasound to check uterine lining for embryo transfer & was given the green light
-Start taking progesterone in oil (PIO) injections, nightly, in preparation for transfer
-Took a few days of antibiotics as well, a few days prior to procedure
-Transferred 2 frozen embryos on 11/9/15
-Continue progesterone for 9 days until pregnancy test (or Beta)
-On 11/18/15, Beta comes back at 282!!! WE ARE PREGNANT!!
-Continue beta checks (745 and 2714 for the following two) & estrogen/progesterone injections
-Ultrasound to confirm pregnancy (identifying location of 2 yolk sacs in uterus... pregnant with TWINS)
-Next ultrasound showed only one fetus with a heartbeat. The second hadn't developed into anything viable. We lost baby A, but Baby B survived & was thriving! Nickname "Baby Bee" was formed!
-Graduated from RE and started at OB. Had initial visit/workup/checkup at OB. Lots of blood work & a flu shot done
-Announced news to our family on Christmas, at 9 weeks pregnant
-First real ultrasound where we heard heartbeat AND saw the shape of a tiny human!! Our baby was growing!! We were almost 13 weeks at this point and announced to the world that we were expecting.
-Found out Baby Bee is a BOY!!!!
-Got an offer on our house & start house selling/buying process...
-Projected to move out of our house in early May and into the new house in late May