Our First IVF Journey

We had everything planned out from our wedding to our work situation to offer us more flexibility after we have kids. A year into our marriage, we were finally ready to start trying as everything else in our plan had fallen into place. We had the expectations that within a few months we would be able to share some good news with our family and friends, and our plan would continue on its original trajectory.

As a few months passed, our excitement for the future began to grow dim, and as much as we tried to keep our enthusiasm high, we couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room. We started asking ourselves: Is there something we’re missing? Is there something we’re doing wrong? Is there something wrong with us?

That was the beginning of our infertility journey.

At a IVF doctor's appointment waiting for doctor

Not knowing what to do, we did the next logical thing which was trying to find help. We started talking to doctors about our situation and quickly realized that their opinions were mixed. We started sharing our challenges with our friends and family in hopes to gain clarity, and their opinions were also mixed. This totally blindsided us. We couldn’t get any straight answers or a definitive solution on how we can proceed, and we felt really helpless. We remember feeling very stagnant while everybody else was getting pregnant and had the magical formula which we weren’t privy to.

We felt really alone.

In addition, at the time, my grandfather’s health started to decline and there was a sense of urgency to give him a great-grandchild to hold in his arms. I was really close with him and it almost felt like my duty to do this for him before he passed. This added a lot of strain to our marriage, making this stressful journey even more so. This led to us making many rushed decisions in hindsight, leading to poor choices, one of which was not finding the right doctor. We initially assumed all fertility doctors were created equal.

The first doctor we saw didn’t run any tests and prescribed Clomid to us. We followed his instructions for 2 months and did not get any results.

The second doctor we saw ran some tests and recommended IUI with Clomid to start. We did 2 rounds of IUIs and didn’t get any results. This doctor then introduced us to a mini-IVF with less medicine and a higher success rate compared to IUI. She also talked to us about gender selection and asked if we wanted twins, which was all very new to us but it gave us hope and excitement that we were getting closer to parenthood. It was during the retrieval that we realized that in fact, not all doctors are created equal and we needed to start advocating for ourselves. The hospital was a very foreign place to me and it was the first time that I had to undergo a procedure.

Picture of egg retrieval day with IV inserted into Anna's left arm

On the day of the retrieval, I was in my medical gown and had been mentally preparing myself for this day. It was early in the morning and the facility was cold and sterile, and on top of that, I was separated from Jeremy. While on the medical table with my feet in the stirrups, the doctor asked: “How is your alcohol tolerance?” I responded with “It’s pretty good.” She then proceeded to administer anesthesia herself. At the time, I did not think anything of it as I didn’t know any better. But I later learned that doctors usually have an anesthesiologist that is responsible for administering the anesthesia and monitoring my vitals so the doctor can focus entirely on the procedure and not on my heart rate.

What happened next literally felt like a scene out of a movie.

I heard myself flatline.

The doctor started shaking me profusely and asking me to breathe. I can remember thinking to myself that this might be my last breath and I hope they can at least retrieve a couple of eggs. Eventually, my pulse came back and I started to stabilize before they proceeded with the procedure. However, I was awake the entire time which made it even more uncomfortable and on top of that, I was trying to process what had just happened. Needless to say, my first IVF experience was traumatizing so far.

After the retrieval, my nurse rolled me into another room where Jeremy was waiting where the doctor shared that she was not able to retrieve any eggs. Our world was shattered and the tears immediately started flowing and we were completely heartbroken.

Although I came close to death, the most disappointing part was the fact that the doctor was not able to retrieve any eggs. This was the first time we saw how serious the risks can be for IVF. And the kicker? We learned later on that there weren’t any eggs because the timing of the trigger shot was incorrect. To go through all of this and the reason we didn’t get any eggs was because of poor timing?

Our first IVF was such a traumatic experience that our hope was completely crushed. We felt like if we were to continue with treatment, the risks were way too high. Jeremy started to see things differently as he didn’t want to lose me in the process of trying to conceive.

But we weren’t going to let anything stop us from fighting for our rainbow baby.

Couple hugging on beach