The BIG Mess Up

I thought that was my last shot before retrieval and I thought that was the shot that would ‘trigger’ me to ovulate. 

Maybe I should correct that statement. 

My doctors thought these things. 

My skepticism has been kept at bay for the majority of this stimulation cycle until it came to the trigger shot protocol that was outlined for this round. 

The previous two rounds, the protocol called for a dual trigger shot which is the typical Lupron with the a-typical HCG shot. 

When we were going through our last round a few months back, my nurse was not as familiar with the Dual Trigger because the Atlanta office rarely (if ever) prescribes this protocol. 

I know my Maryland doctor from the first retrieval in 2018 had a reason for me to have a dual trigger so I was surprised to learn that this protocol is A-typical. 

Either way, I questioned the fact that we weren’t going to do a dual-trigger this time. 

I was assured by the medical team that it was not necessary and I believed them. 

Yesterday when I gave myself the single shot, I was leery, but really wanting to trust the medical team so although I asked the IVF retrieval scheduler “what if my bloodwork comes back tomorrow with abnormally low levels showing the trigger shot didn’t work?” She assured me that this rarely happens and if it does then I would just get another shot. 

I trusted her and went on with giving myself the Lupron trigger shot at 9:45pm. 

Twelve hours later, I am being pricked for what I think is the last time to give a blood sample. 

I thank the phlebotomist who I have befriended over these past weeks and wish her well. 

On with my day I go, until I receive a call from the office. 

Dr. B is on the line. 

“Oh no, something is wrong”, flashes through my mind. 

Usually Nurse Emily calls me. The only other time Dr. B called during the cycle was last cycle when she told me we had to push the stim cycle a few more days and to expect low numbers. 

She has the same low, calm, steady tone in her voice. 

“Just rip off the Band-Aid” I wanted to tell her. I knew something was wrong. 

She proceeds to very gently and apologetically explain that the Lupron trigger did not work and in fact I was correct in the first place. 

My body did not produce the HCG needed to trigger ovulation and therefore did in fact need the dual trigger shot. “Duh”, I thought, “my body doesn’t produce hormones period… why would I all of a sudden produce this one?”

Trigger Shots: Need, Importance, Procedure & Side Effects

“Oh no! This cycle is canceled, it’s all messed up” enters my mind. 

Dr. B shares that we need to do the trigger again tonight with the HCG medication and move the retrieval one more day. 

Anger and frustration pulse through my body and I share a bit of this with her. 

She accepts my emotion and apologizes again for not looking more into my initial lab work done many years’ prior at CCRM. 

We walk through the labs and she now sees where Dr. O in Maryland was tipped to see that I needed the dual trigger. Dr. B’s heart is heavy and I can feel her remorse through the phone. 

I understand the mistake and am grateful we can still save the cycle by having the retrieval the following day. 

We say our good byes and I prepare for one more day in this incredibly uncomfortable state of being. 

I’d like to say my mind has been clear since hanging up the phone. 

Quite the opposite. 

  • What if the follicles grow too big over the extra 24-hours and we lose follicles?
  • What if the follicles grow too big and the egg quality diminishes?
  • What if the bloodwork doesn’t come back normal tomorrow and we have to cancel the cycle?
    What if… what if… what if…?

I tell my worries to Hubby and friends and am mostly met with encouragement and solace. 

All I can do is trust in the process and believe that his is not a surprise to God. He knew this all along, right?

I turn my thinking to- what if this is exactly what is needed for a few of those smaller follicles to grow and the eggs to be mature?

What if the very egg God wants to use for the embryo was too small to retrieve and needed just one more day?

I have a choice what to do with my thoughts.
Today, I am choosing to look for the good and believe that God is in the details. 

Medication day 16

Medication: HCG 10,000 at 8:45pm

Amazing Grace

This past month I have been focusing on self-care and loving my body well. I have been relaxing (as much as I can with the realities of life), taking care of my body physically, my mind with emotions and my soul with my spiritual connection.

From a medical standpoint, I switched out .2mg patches every 2 days for the last 30 days added progesterone these past 10 days. It’s the same routine I have been through multiple months before. Same reactions, same sleepy eyes and weird dreams mixed with sensations of hormones racing through my veins at 2am.  

We wait for my body to release all the buildup of the past month for us to begin our next, and possibly final, round of IVF stimulation.

dance with God | The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Dancing with God

I am ready. My body is ready. I have been praying for whatever is left inside of my body to be given up to this upcoming cycle. For my body to release the perfect follicle(s) and for God to show off, once again.

It has become abundantly clear that I am not in control of this process. Medicine is not in control of this process.

There are many nights I think about those who become pregnant when they don’t want to be or when they are not trying to be and think how drastically different my experience has been. I wonder what it would feel like to become sick and take a pregnancy test and be utterly shocked that there were 2 lines starring back at me.

Yet, I find something incredibly beautiful about the IVF process and feel undeniably lucky to have the opportunity to dance so intimately with God in the step-by-step process of bringing a human into this world.

Amazing Grace is playing in the background of my room as I write this. “It is well with my soul”, how true those words feel to me today.

I pray I may carry this same peace as we begin the medications and turn my fears and ‘what if’s’ into prayers of surrender, faith, trust and gratitude.

In the vein of humor, I ordered my medications for overnight delivery because the Gonal-F has to be refrigerated and here we sit 3 days later and the shipping notification on my phone reads “delivery undetermined”. This ol’ cowgirl has been through a few rodeos by this point and am grateful that my reaction is laughter and not fear or anger. I know I will call the pharmacy tomorrow and get it all straightened out. I know there is not much to worry about when it comes to the steps that are ahead. God is bigger than anything that is brought before me and my only prayer is that I may keep him in my sight and front of mind as I experience these upcoming 14-18 days.

Thanks for the chuckle, God.

Little Princess Arrives!

She’s here! Our Little Princess arrived on August 25th and we are overjoyed to have her in our arms.

The story of how she came into this world is not what we thought it would be and we are so very grateful that all are now healthy and healing.

Here’s a general outline:

  • Developed late-pregnancy preeclampsia which put me into the hospital at 39 weeks 2 days.
  • Induced that night
  • Put on a magnesium citrate IV (because of high blood pressure/preeclampsia)
  • Dr broke my water
  • Began Pitocin
  • Labored 15 hours- no epidural
  • Pushed for just over an hour- recalling 3 big pushes that popped her out.
  • Tore my cervix
  • Tore down the birth canal
  • Tore my perineal (2nd degree)
  • Tore my labia
  • Uterus wouldn’t contract to stop bleeding
  • Lost 3 liters of blood
  • Placenta didn’t deliver- Dr had to use her hand to scrape it out
  • The placenta was not completely removed
  • Went to OR for a DNC to get the remainder of the placenta out
  • Discovered I had Placenta Accreta– which can be more common for pregnancies resulting from IVF. It is sometimes caused when the lining is too thin upon conception. Although it’s not said to happen with every pregnancy I have, it is a possibility of recurring in the future and therefore my pregnancies moving forward with be considered higher risk.
  • Dr inserted a water-filled balloon into uterus plus 5 feet of gauze to help with bleeding
  • Received 4 bags of blood (transfusions)
  • Spent 36 hours in ICU
  • Reunited with family and began producing milk! A shock to all since I lost so much blood
  • Little Princess latched wonderfully and feeds well
  • Released from hospital after 48 hours in regular postpartum care

What I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience.

Aside from the scare of the after birth- laboring without an epidural was such a cool experience (that I may never do again) and am grateful to have been able to live through.

Feeling her move through my body with every contraction.

Praying for God to help me through the pain and beliving this is what my body has been created to do.

Being fully present with my thoughts and my feelings as I was experiencing this transition from pregnancy to birth.

Although it did not go according to my “Birth Wishes”, I can see God’s hand in every step of the way.

Hubby was an incredible support and stayed with me through every contraction.

What I thought would be a sweaty, exhausting experience was more of an endurance race for my body… no sweat at all! Not like how they show it in the movies 🙂

My lower back muscles fired with every contraction.

My arms clenched to the side of the bed with each bracing of pain.

My abs and whatever other muscles are down in that area moved naturally to push this baby down into position for birthing.

When the pushing began, I had no control over my body.

It took over and it was my sole job to focus my energy from the loud cry to a deep groan and then into a holding of energy to push fully downward.

A capturing of energy from outward to inward and downward.

Such a beautiful science.

What people didn’t tell me:

  • My expectations (even unconscious ones) held me back from seeing the good in the journey and led me to more discouragement.
  • “She is coming ‘soon’”, does not mean in the next 10 minutes or the next hour, it may mean in the next 4-6 hours. I grew to not like the word ‘soon’ as it was too misleading and discouraging.
  • Having a meal during heavy contractions may not be the best idea. I threw it up within the next hour.
  • Ice chips were a lifesaver in the heavy contraction stage!
  • Dilation takes a longer time than I expected. I was hoping to be in active labor when I was still 4 cm dilated.
  • The pain of childbirth is unlike any other pain I have experienced. It’s ongoing, tiring, repetitive, painful.
  • Hours seem long and patience goes out the window when you don’t know how long you’ll be in that state of pain.

The joys certainly outweigh all the hardship– this is a true statement.

Little Princess was and is worth it!

She is perfect.

Arriving into this world weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long, full head of brown hair and a perfectly round head. I think I pushed so quickly that it didn’t give her head time to reform as it was moving through the birth canal. Her eyes are grey/blue and I’m hoping they stay on the blue side (Hubby has blue eyes) but am ok if she is a brown-eyed girl (like her mama).

I’m not going to say I won’t birth another child. Maybe next time I’ll go the route of the epidural. Part of the reason I wanted to go without was to be able to A) fully experience the feeling of her moving through my body (which I did and it was amazing!) and B) so I could be fully alert with her afterward.

Given that I didn’t get to live out the second half of that desire and still be okay with my bonding and connection shows that in the future, it might be okay to have the pain relief.

Swedish Hospital was an incredible place to have this traumatic delivery. I was amazed at the care and attention of each of the nurses and staff to me, Hubby and Little Princess. I felt completely taken care of and seen as a person, not just another patient.

Huge shout outs to the following nurses: Mackenzie, Becky, Allison, Mel, Callie, (there were 2 in the ICU that I had that I was too foggy to remember), Kelly, Terri, Mandy, Dani, and the lactation consultant Dotti.

Our journey is not over, as it’s simply just beginning.

I am amazed at how in love with this little peanut I am.

Years of wanting her. Desiring a little one and scared of letting go of my independent, self-centered lifestyle.

One thing I know for sure- the writing of my fertility journey may be over for the time being, but my thoughts and struggles, experiences and trials of being a selfless, caring, discerning, trusting mom are just beginning.

For those of you who have read this blog looking for connection in the fertility journey, I do hope you have felt understood. I certainly have not been alone as I have walked this road and found the more open I have been about my own struggles and emotions, the more connection I have felt.

To those still on the journey- know that it is worth it. Each poke of the needle, pop of a pill, inconvenient Dr. appointment, etc… it’s all worth it to have a little tiny human in your arms, loving and needing you.

We are not sure what our future holds with more children. We would like to have another or more but know that it might look more in the form of adoption than another IVF journey. Hey, we are even open to conceiving all-natural! 🙂 We will see what God has in store for us. For now, we are grateful to have this little one.

Hopes for Blueberry

I’m not surprised that each morning for the past 3 days I have stared into that Ovulation test predictor stick without emotion. I have become numb to the “O” glaring back at me. No smiley face, not even a tinge of a possibility that my body is showing any trace of LH hormones. What used to be a frustrating symbol has now become a part of my morning routine. I don’t let it phase me.

Today is the (hopefully) final ultrasound before we are triggered to force ovulation. I am praying for a large enough follicle and although I answer Hubby with 19 when he asks how big I think they are, my heart wants it to be 20+.

We check in to the CCRM ultrasound counter and have a seat to wait for our name to be called. The sunshine warms my back. I feel at ease.

Leaning over to Hubby to share how great it would be if the ultrasound tech from my OBGYN was there today (she’s been doing all my ultrasounds since this first began), I realize I am scared.

What if there aren’t any follicles large enough? Will this tech know what to look for since I tend to have weird little follicles in random places?

Before I can acknowledge my emotions, the door opens. It’s Erica! The tech from my OBGYN office. She works at CCRM once a month, and today is her day.



I feel instant relief and a little emotion well in my eyes as she greets us. I want to hug her.

She welcomes us back and sets us up.

I feel as though I am in good hands now.

She inserts the wand and sure enough, h there are three follicles and one is 22mm!!

Wahoo! Thank you God!

We are ready to move forward with the HCG trigger shot.

Dr. G wants us to change our schedule slightly to help enhance the possibilities of pregnancy and also prescribes a tiny blue tablet (suppository) full of estrogen to help make a cushy lining for our hopeful little one to nestle into. I have to use this for the next 2 weeks and he says it can be a bit messy, blue messy in fact.

At this point, why not? I’ll add it to the list of experiences.


It reminds me of a blueberry and actually began joking about it being just that.Blueberries are to help in pregnancy so why not let this be another opportunity to believe that good will come.

Hubby and I time out the shot correlated with the new schedule. This will require me to wake up at midnight tonight to give myself the shot in order for everything to fall into line after that.

The things I do for this soon-to-be, hopefully-will-be baby.

Let the next two weeks begin today!

Nightly, I administer the blueberry tablet and let it do its thing while I sleep.

I find myself excited and hopeful of what these few slight changes might bring us. We actually could become pregnant.

Hubby reminds me not to be too excited and that we can be hopeful but to keep our expectations low.

I know he’s right.

Living for today and doing all we can do.

I change my schedule for the next two weeks. Creating more downtime, taking things off my to-do list so that I can just relax and not bring too much stress to my body.

God, I trust you… this is all I can say. Over and over.

Act of Surrender

The emotions from 2 weeks ago have subsided and I am into the routine of the new cycle. Dr. G did put me on Letrozole and I experience the same side effects.

Painful acne on my face and neck with my sleepy eyes starting around 8pm each night.

I elected not to work out too much these past two weeks, hoping my body would focus fully on growing follicles.

This isn’t a medical approach, more just how I was feeling I could take care of myself.

Calm walks in the sunshine have been a delight.

The nurse did say to cut down on the crunching and twisting of my waist to allow for the follicles to have a calm, unagitated place for growth.

After 7 days of medication, I went in for a follicle check.

It’s working!

Three follicles in my left ovary, yippee!!

Measuring 13, 14, 15mm. That’s great for day 11 of my cycle.

My lining is the normal thickness too, praise God!

Dr. G is happy with the numbers and wants me to go in for another ultrasound in 2 days.

Skeptical of his approach, I obey. He is the doctor after all. In my mind, I would think he’d want me on the medication until those suckers are nice a large, but who am I to say this?

Day 13 Ultrasound. Let down.

Three follicles continue to exist and are slowly getting larger, but not at the rate they need to be.

Measuring 14, 16, 16mm. Not as great of news as I wanted to receive.

“I told you so” rolls around in my head as I think back to how I ‘could’ have been on medication these past 2 days to help them grow, but NO… the doctor didn’t see it that way.

That’s ok. I’m ok. I trust Dr. G and his expertise in this area.

Sometimes I wonder though…

  • Am I just another number to him?
  • Does he not care that we are paying out of pocket for all these tests and medications?
  • Does he not care that we are creeping towards 40 and would love to have a family in the near future?

I know he does care, otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing.

Sometimes I just wonder if my needs and wants aren’t as important to him and how he approaches the medicated cycles.

Who am I to say though?

He works with hundreds of patients and has for years.

I can trust that he knows what he’s doing. Bigger than that. I trust in an All-Mighty God who is powerful and righteous. I know God is using Dr. G to help me.

He puts me on 2 more days of Letrozole and wants us to come in for a 3rd ultrasound in 3 days.

I go skipping to the pharmacy, hoping this will be the medication needed to help these little ones grow and ‘ripen’.

I can’t help but be hopeful for this cycle and what’s going on inside my body.

I place my hands on my stomach and begin to

With all this medicine, I still am reminded that it’s by God’s miracle that we will become pregnant. I truly believe God is using Dr. G and this medication to work in my body and pray that his healing hand will be in me as we go into this weekend and to the next visit.

I pray that my womb may become open and able and ready to receive a baby.

One that will grow healthy and strong.

I pray for the peace of mind and a relaxed spirit as I lean into God and trust that He is all powerful and all knowing.

God, in your perfect timing and by your perfect creation.

I surrender to you God.

Your will be done.