Before I start writing this, I have to explain that Jake and I are very private people. We are open to sharing our infertility journey because we’ve found it helpful to talk about it with friends, family, and other people who have gone through IVF. Selfishly, it’s very healing to speak up. We also want to encourage open conversations about the struggles that a lot of couples go through silently. If our story can help one person find comfort with their struggles, then it’s worth sharing! We are going to share certain parts but there are some things we would like to keep private and we hope that you will respect our decision!
Everly is the light of our life! She brings us so much joy and we have been dying to give her a sibling. We started tracking my cycle with an app on my phone… then we started using ovulation sticks. Month after month we were getting negative pregnancy tests and I was starting my period. Our OB recommended that we meet with an infertility specialist, so we scheduled that appointment. They recommend that if you are over 35 to try naturally for six months, if you are under 35 to try naturally for one year – and by the way, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get an appointment for something like this in Boston. I was shocked! Finally, after waiting for a few months, we had our first in-person visit with a new doctor. The first appointment was basic testing and questions and a proposal of our options. After multiple doctors visits we were diagnosed with “unexplained secondary infertility”. When we got the news we were both surprised, but kind of relieved because we knew something wasn’t right. It was very easy to get pregnant with Everly and we both are only 33 and in good health, so there had to be something wrong this time around.
The plan from our doctor was to begin Letrozole (similar to Clomid) and stimulate my ovaries to ovulate. We took that for three months with no success. There was one month where my period was super late. Like four days late. We were certain that this was the month. I took an at home test and I could see a faint line. I texted the picture to a friend and she could also see the line. I was trying not to get excited, but I couldn’t help it! When you’ve been trying to conceive month after month it’s hard to not get excited at the first sign of hope. In my head I would start thinking about things like – “If I’m pregnant today then Everly and the baby will be x months apart” or “I’ll be due in x if I’m pregnant today”. I went into my doctor’s office for a blood pregnancy test and waited for a day for the results. They were negative and I was devastated. I was still holding out hope until my period started three days later. This was right around the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak too, so we were more stressed than normal and our fertility clinic let us know they were closing as a precaution because of the virus. This was more devastating news for us. We were unable to continue our prescription of Letrozole and unable to keep up with additional appointments. In mid-June our clinic got the green light to re-open, but at this point EVERY SINGLE person that was struggling with infertility was looking to book their appointments. We had to pull a few strings and thanks to some awesome friends our appointments were put back on track, but would remain virtual unless we needed to go in for testing.
So what does this all mean?
Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby. Who knew that was even a thing? Well, turns out that its more common than we thought. In fact, secondary infertility affects 10% of couples. I’ll spare everyone the facts and research and get to the point.
It’s been a journey to get where we are. The closing of the clinic, bad news on top of bad news, and no answers. We finally made the decision to start IVF (in vitro fertilization). There were a lot of factors that came into play including Coronavirus, our health insurance, and the success rate. The first step of In Vitro is to begin birth control for two weeks to reset your cycle. Then you have the baseline ultrasound and blood work. At the time I didn’t know, but this would be the first of MANY ultrasounds and blood draws. This is when the doctor checks for any abnormalities and gives you the green light to begin your STIMS. The dreaded stims – I’m taking Gonal-F and Menopur. These are two shots that I give myself (sorry Jake) nightly. I’m such a control freak there’s no way I could have him do it for me haha! These are injections that stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs!
Throughout the process there is continued monitoring with bloodwork and ultrasounds. Then… when all of your follicles are ready you give yourself the “trigger shot”. The egg retrieval surgery is scheduled 36 hours later. And that’s the point that we are at while I’m writing this. We will be going in for our egg retrieval on Thursday morning! I’ll be sure to update everyone as best as I can and answer any questions on our journey. We are keeping our eye on the prize — a healthy baby — and thanking God for this opportunity to do IVF.
We had a really fun time taking our family photos with Caroline the Photographer. I knew that I wanted to use a letterboard for our announcement, but I wanted it to be fun and lighthearted. We have had a lot of bad news so far and it has been an emotional rollercoaster. We thought lyrics from Lil’ John would be appropriate to add a little bit of humor! I really hope it doesn’t offend anyone or take anything away from the experience we have been through. I’ve had eight blood draws, six ultrasounds and twenty-six subcutaneous shots, but we are finally at the egg retrieval!
Things I wished I knew before trying to get pregnant with Baby #2
Besides the fact that it is an emotional ride there are so many things I wish I knew. We got pregnant with Everly very quickly, so I wish I knew that it could take a LONG time to get pregnant the second time around. Yes, obviously, there are some people that get pregnant so quickly, but more often then not it takes a little longer than the first. It’s also very time consuming! Tracking ovulation and remembering to pee on a stick at certain hours each month is exhausting! And it’s plain hard! Every time I’d see a new pregnancy announcement on social media, I would be triggered and it would affect my mood. Of course, I’ve always been happy for everyone else, but it’s an unfamiliar, weird feeling to navigate.
To the TTC Community…
Anyone that is struggling with infertility, miscarriage, IVF, secondary infertility or any type of loss. I see you. I’m with you. This does not define you. You are not alone in your journey. Please don’t ever forget that you are strong.
Thanks for reading this post! I will be sharing more on my Instagram page and blog as the journey progresses and I hope you’ll follow along with us and keep our family in your prayers!
the Kokos Family