I'm an Orlando maternity and family photographer. I want to capture the important moments in your life. Fleeting moments of growth and change.
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We began our IVF journey in 2017. After trying naturally for a year, we were ready to move on. I was tired of negative pregnancy test after negative test. Going in to our first official treatment, I knew it was what we needed to do. The doctors told us that IVF was the next step and I knew this, too. Technically speaking, I was ready. But, looking back, I wasn’t emotionally ready.
To be honest, a part of me was resentful. Part of me felt that it was unfair that we had to go through this. Before this point in my life, I was always able to achieve my goals and reach my dreams by working harder, studying longer, or sacrificing something. My mindset was: if I wanted something enough and tried hard enough to achieve it, I’ll be able to get what I want. Well, baby-making doesn’t work this way. No matter how much we wanted a baby, no matter how hard we tried, it just didn’t happen for us.
From a practical and financial standpoint, I decided that it would be “best” for me to go to Chicago alone (our clinic was in Chicago, we’re from Orlando) and for Joey to travel there on the weekend. There was “no point” in both of us missing work (which would have made the process even more expensive). This ended up being a bad idea. All was well when he was with me in Chicago. But when he flew back to Orlando, I was left in Chicago alone. I had to inject myself alone, go to daily clinic visits alone, and fill the time off, alone. As the week went by, I found myself resenting Joey for being able to continue on with his normal, daily routine while I was getting treatment. I had to pause my life, miss work, and be away from my routine, all while going through IVF.
Our first cycle, we were able to retrieve 12 eggs. Eleven eggs were mature and 8 eggs became fertilized. (These were average numbers). After egg retrieval, we waited 5 days for the embryos to develop and came back to implant the embryos in my uterus. (I’ll be going over, in detail, the process in another blog post.) When we returned, the doctor let us know that only 1 embryo fully developed, the other 7 were “slow developers”. This was very disappointing. She told us that there was still time for the others to “catch up”. The clinic would give them 2 more days to see if they got to the stage and quality where they could be frozen.
It would be almost 1 full year until we decided to do another round of IVF. We knew exactly what to expect this time around. And this time, I decided that it would be best if Joey was with me for the entire process.
Going in to the second round, I decided to change my perspective. I would enjoy the process. I would enjoy the time off from work and cherish the quality time I had with Joey. We would explore the city together. We decided to sprinkle some positivity on our fertility treatment. A few days before we started IVF and during the entire process, we would envision success. Every night before bed, we would lay there, in the dark, and verbalize the process from the start of IVF to the safe birth of our healthy baby, from the number of eggs we wanted to retrieve and even to what my HCG levels were going to be.
So, the time came. We flew to Chicago. We spent 9 days there, relaxing, spending time together, and going through IVF. The injections were just as bad but at least I had Joey to help me. We had coffee dates, lunch outings, park visits, and even scheduled a photoshoot (below)! This round, the time passed quickly and we really enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t think about work, we didn’t think about wanting to be somewhere else. We were in the present and were enjoying the journey. And we continued to stay positive during our fertility treatment.
We retrieved 8 eggs. Five developed in to quality embryos. ( click here for more on embryo quality: Embryo Quality ) The doctor commented on how it was rare to have this many embryos considering that we only started with 8. Although we were initially put off by having less eggs retrieved than round 1, we continued to envision success. When we found out that we were finally pregnant, we continued to verbalize what we wanted. We put out in to the world, what we wanted back. And, we truly believe that the positivity we had during fertility treatment made a huge difference!
There wasn’t much difference as far as medications and dosages between the first and second cycle. We had the same doctor and the same lab techs helping. There were actually more eggs retrieved the first round but we ended up with FAR MORE viable embryos the second time around.
Obviously, there is more to a successful IVF cycle than just positivity but, for us, I think the change in mindset had A LOT to do with our success the second time around. It definitely doesn’t hurt. And it sure does make the journey and process more bearable. It’s hard not have a “victim” mentality but we have to learn to enjoy the process. There is no changing the fact that, for some of us, we have to do IVF to be able to have our dream baby BUT we can change our attitude surrounding the whole process.
One of these below became our baby Braydon!
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