I have gotten several (to put it mildly) text messages and Facebook messages of people inquiring as to if we used IVF to get pregnant this time, and ... well ... spoiler alert: God created baby #2.
I'm sure you want more details, you inquisitive people, so read on because we are ridiculously proud to share our story! I may just cry because I am so excited about this journey!
Backstory: When Kensington was born, I had an internal struggle that I never told anyone about. Essentially, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby, but I also really, really... really... wanted my period back immediately. (Hear me out). Your period CAN come back quickly even if you breastfeed, but it's likely to be delayed. My thought process was this: I want my period back more than I want to breastfeed because there's nothing wrong with formula feeding my baby.
I was producing good, quality milk for a couple weeks, but eventually the diuretic I was on (to decrease the my swelling) made my production decrease, and I knew that was my "sign" to go with formula. I literally have had no shame in formula feeding, unlike what I read on blogs/Facebook groups about other moms feeling guilty. No guilt here! My baby is extremely healthy (a serious chunker) and smart as all get out.
Long story short: my period did come back almost immediately (happy dance) and we went on with life. I would not say that we were officially trying to conceive. Not to mention, it's highly recommended to have 18 months between deliveries, especially with a c-section. That being said, we also were not preventing a potential pregnancy from happening. I was proudly on zero birth control.
Fast forward eight months and my period was late. I took a few pregnancy tests even though I didn't feel pregnant. I just wanted to rule it out. They were negative. I was not discouraged, even though I kept thinking how nice it would be to conceive naturally.
I decided to check in with my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) to see if he could figure out why my period was late, yet I had negative tests. Of course, the day of my appointment, February 24, my period came. Go figure. (I just need to point out that God orchestrated all of these things so that I would go to the doctor on that specific day. How cool!)
But, hey, since we were in the presence of the man who helped us get pregnant the first time, we inquired about how much a FET (frozen embryo transfer) would cost. As Ross likes to say, "He is a good sales man." We were not intending to start this process until a couple months later (hi, God!!!), but the timing felt right. A few hours later, I started hormones (that's how determined we were once we made the decision). We knew we wanted to have our kids close in age, God willing, and this was the right step for us.
Because I'm an open book, this is what the price looks like for a FET. Mind you, it's dramatically cheaper than doing IVF because the embryos have already been formed.
- FET cost (includes appointments, ultrasounds, dethawing embryos, transferring embryos, etc): $2,200
- Initial medications (birth control, estrace, lupron, progesterone): $564.72
- Refill of medications; $574.32 to date; however we're expected to need more before weening off the meds. We'll probably have to spend at least $300 more.
- TOTAL: $3,339.04 (to date) + future refills = A lot of money
Honestly, the only reason that I'm bothering to write those numbers out is because (if I'm being honest), there's a little "earthly" piece of me that gets mad that I cannot just do the FUN and FREE thing that happens between a husband and a wife to conceive a baby. Instead, we drag ourselves into debt before we even toy around with the idea of getting pregnant. *BUT* I know that I was meant for much more than simplicity. God is using me, and I am thankful for that!
I also wanted to put the numbers out there to say: when you want something bad enough, you find a way to make it work. Ross and I are by no means loaded. We have a lot of student debt because we both have our master's degrees and I used financial aid for 99.9% of it. But if there's one thing in this world that is worth millions of dollars, it's becoming a mama.
Also, I put those numbers out there because I want my girlfriends struggling with fertility to know that although I'm on the "other side", I still feel the hurt and pain from it like you do and I KNOW how it feels. I don't want to be spending money that could be better suited elsewhere to do what should come simply. But ultimately, I know that God is the only healer for the saddness, the financial stress, and the hurt. The good news is that there will be a day when you no longer hurt over this season and on top of that, if "fertility struggles" (the phrase I use instead of infertility) is your path, God will provide a way for you. God provided us money to have these babies. We owe Him everything!
Numbers aside, we knew we were doing this thing and we were crazy excited. We decided to keep it very confidential (only because we wanted to experience the joy that every "normal" couple gets when announcing a pregnancy). I told three girlfriends from church and 1 fellow IVF friend. Here's a little look at our timeline:
- February 24: Began birth control (this is required of any patient that ever does IVF, just for your information)
- March 21: Began injections
- April 19: Transfer date
- April 24: BFP (big fat positive on 5 days past our 5 day transfer)
- May 3: Beta test confirmed pregnancy
- May 24: First ultrasound and hearing the heartbeat (yes, when you're a fertility patient at my hospital, you get to experience the joys of waiting 3 flipping weeks for an ultrasound after they've confirmed your pregnancy. It's torture!)
When we announced our pregnancy on May 24, we wanted to put everything aside (due date, IVF or natural, etc) just to give God the glory that He deserves. He is the very reason we're pregnant. YES, we used IVF but how would IVF even be possible without God leading the doctors?
Oh hi, beautiful 8 week sono :)
Being on the "other side" for a second time (Kensie Grace + baby #2), I think to myself, "it doesn't even bother me that we used IVF to get pregnant." When I go anywhere with my baby and preggo self, people aren't wondering, "how do you think she got pregnant?" Absolutely not. In fact, people probably assume we've been "busy" since my daughter isn't even a year old yet, and I'm preggers. I am so joyful and nothing can take that away. We are just rejoicing to be pregnant again, all thanks to God!
Good golly, y'all! Hearing the baby's heartbeat was music to my ears. I was crying, of course! The day before the ultrasound, I really let the devil get me down. I was so nervous. BUT, the power of prayer is real. I asked my parents and a handful of people to pray, and I felt an ease. I also learned this new technique that all preggos can use when they worry about their baby: instead of thinking about what could go wrong, just start thanking God for what he's given you and you will LITERALLY not have any time to conjure up scary thoughts that the devil is known for implanting. Try it, because it really does work!
And now for the boat load of pictures that I've been hiding for months! Enjoy :) Oh and because I'm sure you're all wondering, as I write this, I am 8 weeks, 1 day which would put my due date in January 2017, however my doctor is scheduling my c-section for December 28, 2016. I would not be surprised if baby wanted to make their way a day or two early. When I was preg with Kens, I was progressing beautifully at 39 weeks, but of course I was induced at 39w3d since I started to develop preeclampsia. I am praying for another full term baby!