This time around, Dr. Jaffe was able to do the insemination, which, not gonna lie, felt more legitimate somehow. While we were waiting in the room with our tiny tube of sperm, I asked Sam how long sperm can live at room temperature so she asked google. I can guarantee that her phone has the most random search history. Apparently, some people never took any sort of Sex Education class.. Peep the top questions asked on the google.. lol
Dr. Jaffe came in and we asked her the sperm question – FYI she said sperm at room temp can last a few days when it’s in a solution. We were joking around (because that’s what you do when there are 4 people in a room and one person isn’t wearing pants.. lol) and Dr. Jaffe said that she was going in with a giant Q-Tip to clean my cervix and then busts out with “You’re going to have the cleanest cervix in the room” as she’s down by my feet with my legs in the air. We laughed and then she told me not to laugh because I wasn’t supposed to be contracting my muscles, which made me laugh more.
Usually, the Doctor usually tells me to scoot down (ladies, amiright?) so I assumed that when she said “put your legs down” that she needed me to adjust, but she was indeed telling me to put my feet down because apparently she has a magic touch and was totally done with the insemination. Aren’t I supposed to feel that??
Baby Journey Cost:
Total baby-making cost to date: $12,333.06
After talking it over with Dr. Jaffe and discussing everything amongst ourselves, we decided to go ahead and try one more time with me(Steph). Who knows if I will be able to try again in the future, but losing the last pregnancy at least showed me that it was possible for me to get pregnant.
We also talked to a financial counselor while we were there about IVF and what it would look like IF we decide to go that route. We learned that it’d be roughly the same price whether they use my eggs or Sam’s if I try to carry. It’s also a little cheaper to do a “mini stim” but then we’re only getting a few eggs as opposed to a bunch (but in my case, no matter what, they’d probably only get a few anyway). IVF is still super expensive regardless. (Roughly $25k with our current insurance plans.)
My bloodwork was back to normal by the time CD 1 came around, so we were able to start my round of Clomid and shots of Gonal-F. This month was super weird. Everything this cycle happened very quickly.
We went in on cycle day 2, everything was good, no cysts! And when we went back on CD 11 I had THREE MATURE FOLLICLES. WHAT?! Our doc typically frowns on inseminating if there are more than 2 because there’s a higher risk for having more than 2 babies, but given the circumstances, she gave the “okay” with our permission. The nurse called and said that she needs our permission with the possibility of 3 babies at once being a thing… At this point we will take whatever comes our way, and definitely said yes!
We did another shot of Gonal-F that night(CD 11), and on the evening of CD 12 we triggered with Novarel (because apparently Pregnyl was on back order) for Insemination on CD 14. If you’ve read our previous blogs, we usually do the inseminate closer to CD 16-18. Apparently my follicles were READY. Here’s hoping.
Baby Journey Cost:
Two blood draw copays: $10
Co-pay for Ovary scan: $5
Gonal-F 350 pen: $170 Sperm: $770
Co-pay for Follicle scan #1 and Doctor Follow up: $5
Total baby-making cost to date: $11,983.06
“Miscarriage is such a common thing for women to experience“
I know many friends and family members who have experienced miscarriages at varying stages in their pregnancy. I don’t want to compare my experience with anyone else’s at all. I also don’t want to invalidate my own experience because it happened so early on. The truth is that I had a miscarriage.
I didn’t “feel” pregnant and I didn’t feel a baby kick. We hadn’t decorated a nursery or announced that we were even pregnant. For 2 days I went through a whirlwind of emotions from 100% excited to 300% terrified. I asked myself if I was prepared to be a mom and caught my breath when I realized we were actually going to become moms. The experience was so surreal. We made a list of the things we needed to do around the house (okay, we’ve had the list for a year.. lol), we talked about our future and how the dogs would react to a baby, we pictured our family. For two days we held onto the hope, joy and excitement of what it felt like to know we would be holding a baby in our arms.
I tried to separate myself, to protect myself from the possibility of bad news, so I didn’t let myself fully celebrate the fact that we did it. We made a baby. Finally, after 6 attempts, something else happened other than a negative test. I can’t help but to feel a little bit guilty, though. We were SO early in our pregnancy. Had we not been doing fertility stuff, we probably wouldn’t have even realized we were pregnant. I feel like I don’t deserve to mourn because it was so early, like I don’t deserve to say the word miscarriage because I didn’t experience the same pain as other women going through it later in their pregnancies. This isn’t a club I want to be a part of, and I feel guilty for sharing that experience with other women, other moms, other humans who have lost something so dear to them.
I don’t want to invalidate the fact that I had a miscarriage, because I did. It sucks. Waiting for my period for days SUCKS. Getting cramps sucks. But at the end of all of this, I’m still here. My wife is by my side and I’m sure she’s sharing some of the same feelings of loss and heartbreak. We totally both acknowledge that other women have experienced miscarriage differently and I think for now, I’m just trying to sort of cope with our experience in our own way. I’m okay. What I really got out of all this, was that we can make a baby. My body did the thing, and that gives me hope that it can happen again. I’ve decided to try IUI again, despite our bank account. I am trusting that whatever happens, happens. Side note: I didn’t do anything special at all this last time except that we were on whole30 and I was working out (lightly) on the weekends. I didn’t carry the crystals or do anything outside of living my life normally.
If you or a loved one is struggling with any aspect of their mental health, whether it’s PPD, miscarriage or just life, please tell someone and reach out to a professional. Don’t want to tell friends? Feel free to contact us! Everyone’s journey is different, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid.
Week one has been smooth sailing aside from the bit of nausea from the trigger shot. The first day of week 2 I started getting some cramps and throughout the week getting a little nauseous. I was laying in bed 2 days into week 2 and felt so gross. My hunger has been all over the place, one day I’m starving, the next I’ll eat a snack and pick through dinner. I was hardcore craving popcorn, but that could’ve just been me being hungry, lol. I’ve been freezing also, but the weather in Florida has been in the 40’s and 50’s so that may be why. Symptoms into week 2 are mostly nausea that comes and goes, but nothing else out of the ordinary.
In other news: We bought a new mattress (woohoo adulting!) and I slept like a baby on a cloud! We also got new bedroom furniture which is beautiful and sooo much lighter than the 600 lb solid oak dressers we had in there before.
Day 14 came around without too much trouble. I think that means we are getting better at being patient? We got up at 5:30am – Sam couldn’t sleep anyway, but I have my calculus class super early. I used the last pregnancy test we had from last month and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer went off, I picked it back up and… it wasn’t positive… but it wasn’t quite negative either… The last few tests we’ve taken have been all different brands. This one was + for positive – for negative. There was the faintest little vertical line accompanying the horizontal.
All the other tests had been very solidly negative, like we could look from all directions and shine a light around it and there was NO indication of a positive result. This one is a bit hazy, and it was our last test, so we scheduled an appointment for a blood test after my class, which was actually cheaper than buying a new pregnancy test so win-win! Now we wait until they call us this afternoon. Still trying not to get our hopes up, but we looked up other people’s pregnancy tests online and there’s a big chance we could be pregnant based on that information. This waiting game is serious.
– – –
The blood test came back pretty much inconclusive, but we MIGHT be pregnant! My HCG level was 22.5 and a 25 is “for sure pregnant because you made it past the 5 days thing” whereas anything less than 5 is a no-go. It’s still early which could be the reason for the low level, but we go back on Thursday for another blood test to see if it’s gone up and doubled like it’s supposed to!
It’s Thursday. I’ve been cramping and I’ve been nauseous to the point where I put a trash bin by the bed just in case. It’s crazy how one day I could go from being an adult to being a mom! It still hasn’t hit me too hard yet. I’ve been super thirsty and bloated, which is normal. Just waiting for the test results is KILLER.
– – –
Blood test results came back and my HCG level is 9. We’re not pregnant. The doctor is qualifying it as a miscarriage since we technically did get pregnant. There’s also a chance that my HCG level could’ve been higher than 22.5 before we took our initial test, but had already started to decline.
Basically what this means was that my egg got fertilized and implanted, but didn’t continue developing. With IVF (we did IUI), after they inject the egg with the sperm, there’s a 5 day waiting period to see which ones turn into viable blastocysts before they transfer the fertilized embryos back into the Uterus. In our case, if we had been doing IVF, this one probably wouldn’t have gotten to that stage. There’s no answer as to why, but this was the first positive pregnancy test we’ve gotten, which means my eggs aren’t broken. It just sucks that it didn’t stick. We were both so excited at the thought of us becoming moms and knowing how close we were. For 2 days we were hardcore preparing to be moms. Today is REALLY rough! Now it’s back to the drawing board.
We have a lot to decide on… Idk if I’m going to try again with me. I really want to sit and think about it and talk to the doctor a bit more.
Baby Journey Cost:
Co-pay for bloodwork: $5
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,868.38
Insemination went smoothly. There were something like 47 MILLION motile sperm, which is apparently a lot. We’ve been working out and have been cooking healthy meals and we’ve been doing Whole30 for 2 weeks at this point (halfway to 30 days!). I’m both excited and hesitant about this one. It’s our last attempt with me, but I can’t get discouraged because we do have options. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but I want to be excited about the possibility of making a baby this time.
The doctors at CRM are constantly reassuring us that the first 3 attempts with me “didn’t count” because of several different factors, mainly that they didn’t prescribe me progesterone. The meds they gave me are known to LOWER progesterone levels, which is why I am being supplemented with progesterone now. On top of that, the Dr. at the first place admitted that they missed my ovulation window the first attempt, and the second attempt was the sperm fiasco where basically all the sperm were dead. It doesn’t necessarily make me feel much better knowing I’m still 0/2 (as opposed to 0/5), and it certainly doesn’t make our bank account feel any better, lol.
The Pregnyl made me nauseous again, so I have been drinking diet ginger ale (no sugar) technically not whole30 but I’d rather not vomit, and I need to listen to my body. Hopefully, that wears off soon. We have a Nightly, The WLDLFE, and Sawyer concert tonight – I told Sam it would be really cool if I can tell our kid that they were conceived at a concert. Music runs through her veins.
Here’s hoping this 2-week wait goes by quickly. There might be a Disney adventure coming up this weekend, which will definitely help get my mind off of everything.
Baby Journey Cost:
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,863.38
It turns out 5 wasn’t our lucky number.
Well, this is it, folks! The final countdown. This will probably be the last attempt for Steph since we don’t have the money to cover IVF, so we will be trying IUI with Sam sometime in the months after this one regardless of the outcome. But boy, is our jar of hope overflowing for this one to work.
It’s 2020 as I write this blog. New year, new month, a new cycle, new insurance plan! And a new insurance plan means lower copays!!! Yay for saving money! We hurried up and purchased sperm before pricing went up for 2020 (smart move, Samantha!) which helped save a few hundred extra dollars.
The meds are the same, Clomid on days 4-9, shots on days 5, 7, 9, then I go in on cycle day (CD) 11 for a follicle check. Honestly, school started this past week and we are still in holiday recovery mode so the days are blurring by, so hopefully, that continues through insemination and the two-week wait (it’s always more fun when trying to do calculus homework).
We Went in for the run-of-the-mill follicle check today. We started with my right ovary which has 2 tiny follicles (ut oh) but then she switched to the left and there were 2 HUGE ones in comparison, and they weren’t even that big, lol. I have a 13.9 and a 14.5 and remember we have to get them around 20. I do another Gonal-F shot (75cc, same as usual) tonight and go back in two days on CD 13 for another follicle check, then hopefully they give me a trigger and insemination date!
Side note: Steph has lost 15 pounds or so since we started this baby journey and this month we have been doing Whole30, which is no added sugar, grains, legumes, or dairy for a whole 30 days. We are blogging about that also, of course, so CLICK HERE to see our meal plans and read more about it.
Went in today and had 2 follicles still! YAY! They’re growing slow but everything is on track. We got directions later in the afternoon (while we were at the vet for our 16-year-old cat – She’s fine) to do another 75cc Gonal-F shot tonight, then do the Pregnyl trigger shot Sunday night for insemination on Tuesday morning, which is luckily on the day that I only have 1 class that morning. We’ve been going to the gym pretty steadily still. Sam is 6 days/week and I’m joining her for 3 since my work/class schedule is so hectic.
Ovary scan: $5 (co-pay)
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89
Credit for SMP messing up our shipping last cycle: +$20
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $245 for shipping.
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)
Progesterone refill: $1
Total baby-making cost to date: $10,513.38
This week is by far the hardest week. Staying motivated is SO much harder. The best thing I can recommend for this week is to try to make the meals EASY because at this point you’ll be sick of eggs, and sick of cooking. Lots of easily accessible burgers, tuna salad, chicken salad, salad-salad, etc.
Friday, Jan 17
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs for Steph/Fruit for Sam
Lunch: Leftover Soup/ Leftover mini meat loafs
Dinner: We went through the leftovers and had a random picnic basically.
Saturday, Jan 18
Breakfast: Fruit and a Chomp for Sam/ Smoothie for Steph
Lunch: Chipotle Whole30 bowl (we both get barbacoa)
Dinner: Hamburgers and Fries (Pro tip, get the sleeve of burgers from Sam’s club!)
Sunday, Jan 19
Lunch: Tuna Salad
Dinner: Actual salad with apple, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and Balsamic Dressing
Monday, Jan 20
Breakfast: Fruit (cantaloupe!) & chomps
Lunch: Mini meat loaf (We made a double batch and froze some for us to take to work!)
Dinner: Burgers and Fries with Bacon
Tuesday, Jan 21
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Burgers and fries
Dinner: Baked Chicken (rubbed with bbq seasoning from Sam’s) with green beans
Wednesday, Jan 22
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Chicken
Dinner: Chicken and Veggies (We get the Broccoli Normandy from Sam’s Club)
Oh, the feelings.
I think in order to prepare our hearts, we have begun to almost expect a negative test so that when we finally get our positive, we will be able to be surprised and excited about it.
I thought this one was it. I’ve been way more emotionally and physically exhausted than usual and this time just felt a little different. I can’t really explain it other than having a glimmer of hope. It’s definitely discouraging especially watching my egg count dwindle down with each IUI attempt. Samantha is budgeting to make it so that we can afford to try again this month. That’ll be 6 IUI attempts for me and I think I may call it quits if that one doesn’t work. I can say with confidence that this has been the most mentally and physically draining experience of my life.
We have plans to start with Samantha sometime next year (2020), which will give us a few months to save up again.
2019 has been filled with our greatest hopes and our greatest challenges and I’m sure 2020 will come with its own characteristics that challenge us and shape us into the adults and hopefully the parents we will become. This is a learning curve with both of us, but we are here supporting each other and loving each other through all of it and that’s what matters most.
Total baby-making cost to date: $9407.70
We survived another week down on Whole30! This week was filled with some amazing food. I’ve been taking full advantage of snack packs of nuts since I have class super early in the mornings, then eating my eggs once I get to work. Chomps have also saved me a few times. I had planned on taking some photos of our meals, but I always accidentally eat them first. LOL. Oops. We found some almond coconut milk that I’m excited to try in my coffee too so hopefully I remember to add that next week!
Thursday, Jan 9
Breakfast: leftover Sloppy Jane + eggs (wouldn’t recommend mixing..)
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Sausage and green beans/Buffalo Chicken
Dinner: (banana, almond butter, blueberry, protein powder) Smoothies
Neither of us was super hungry for dinner this day, so we decided to make smoothies!
Friday, Jan 10
Lunch: Leftovers for Sam, Eggs and Guac for Steph
Dinner: Egg Roll Bowls
Saturday, Jan 11
Breakfast: We slept through breakfast…
Lunch: Leftover Egg Roll Bowls
Dinner: Chipotle (Now serving Whole30 Bowls!)
Sunday, Jan 12
Breakfast: Eggs and Oven-Baked no-sugar Bacon
Lunch: We skipped lunch since we had such a huge breakfast/brunch
Dinner: Beef Tips and Cauliflower Mash <<< we used immersion blender for texture
Monday, Jan 13
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries (ras, straw, blu, black)
Lunch: Leftover Beef Tips and Cauli mash
Dinner: Chicken Salad Wraps (wrapped in lettuce) – SEE BELOW
Tuesday, Jan 14
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Salad
Dinner: [compliant] Turkey BLT Lettuce Wraps w/ bacon from ALDI
Wednesday, Jan 15
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Turkey BLT Lettuce Wraps
Dinner: Mini Meat Loafs and Mashed Potatoes
For the Chicken Salad, we started with a whole chicken (We got it from Sams. They sell whole chickens in packs of 2 for ~ $10) and actually used a recipe for this because when dealing with the instant pot, we still get a little nervous with times, etc. It turns out THIS WAS THE BEST RECIPE EVER (Click here). It only took 28 minutes to cook and the meat FELL off the bones. If you don’t have an instant pot, I’m sure you can do it in the oven, it may just take a bit longer!
Pro-tip: we used avocado oil instead of canola and also added half an onion to the inside of the chicken. Once cooled, we shredded the chicken and put it in the fridge overnight. With our chicken salad, we add in homemade mayo, 1 green apple, chopped almonds, Trader Joe’s onion salt, tarragon, red pepper flakes, pepper, garlic, and a few squirts of dijon mustard. The overall rule is to add a fruit and a nut. We usually add cranberries but we didn’t have any. I prefer walnuts but the almonds (from trader joes!) were AMAZING. We’ve also used red apples, but we really like the tartness of the green ones. Feel free to add some peppers too! Sam usually scoops her chicken salad with the mini sweet peppers for extra flavor.
Samantha’s favorite is always the egg roll bowls.
When eating leftovers, add fresh cabbage to make it crunchy again!
My favorite was tied between he mini meat loafs and the turkey BLT! One is super heavy and the other is lighter, so I suppose it depends on if you’re in the mood for comfort food.
Tonight we’re having creamy Gnocchi soup and I am SO excited for that. See you next week! Let us know how you’re doing or if you’re trying any of the meals we’ve made!