WOW, what a year it has been! I can’t believe I made it through five rounds of hormone altering fertility treatments in one year. Hallelujah, I am still sane (I think). Since I didn’t vlog my IVF #5 journey, I wanted to do a post for you girls that gave you a little glimpse of my time in Denver. If you are new to my blog, you can see where it all began HERE.
OK so here we go, I left for Colorado on November 16th, 2015 to finish the year strong with my fifth and final IVF cycle. I was ready both mentally and physically or so I thought. I joined a CORE fitness studio after IVF #4 to get by body strong and free of the extra IVF weight. This class has made me feel more in control of my body. I think IVF invades your sense of self when it comes to your body. Everything is changing, and you are not in control of any of it. Going to a class that is solely about strength and sculpting made a huge impact on how I felt about my hormone induced fat pockets.
I added another element to my travel this time to Denver with the addition of my little French Bulldog. She has become my therapy dog literally through all the ups and downs of IVF. I wasn’t sure how this would go as it was going to be her very first flight and a four-hour flight at that. The morning started out extremely hectic to Miami with a fatal shooting on 95, so all lanes were shut down making a regular forty-five-minute drive over two hours. Thanks to Google Maps we were able to take a detour and arrive just in time to make our flight. With all the stress and limited time, I forgot to give Frenchie a Benadryl so you can imagine how that went see picture below.
We made it to Denver only to be told that there was a Blizzard hitting the city. I couldn’t believe it WHAT? A Blizzzzzzaaarrrrard? Now this might not seem like a big deal to Northern girls but as a native Floridian telling me that I am headed straight into a blizzard is like saying to you “Welcome to Florida you have just arrived in time for our Catagory 5 Hurricane.”
At the rental car counter, the customer service rep told me that I must upgrade my car to a 4×4 to navigate the icy roads. As more panic set in I thought WHAT? How much more? Eight hundred dollars? No thanks, I will take my chances. By now it’s twenty-eight degrees out, and I am throwing our luggage, Frenchie and my Mom in the car ready to high-tail it out of there. I drove straight to a Super Wal-Mart to gather food like a maniac. I left my Mom and Frenchie in the car and ran in like some freak on hormones. I grabbed a cart and was running through the aisles like I was on a Food Network show where you only have 30 seconds to throw as much food as possible into your shopping cart. I started to look around at everyone and wondered why no one else felt the need to run with their heels kicking their butt. Maybe this kind of weather is typical? Maybe the car rental guy just wanted to make more money? Now I was super annoyed that I believed I was “Driving straight into this massive blizzard.” Here is what the “blizzard” looked like the next morning.
In September for IVF #4 I rented an apartment in LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) on 18th and Larmier from AirB&B, which I gave an apartment tour on my YouTube channel. Since I was bringing Frenchie, I had to find another apartment that would allow dogs. I found a fabulous loft from VRBO just three blocks away from my last apartment (just a side note three blocks is a significant difference). This loft was located in a historic building on the corner of 21st and Larmier. It’s one block away from Coors Field. I don’t know, but there was something about the location that just made me feel a little off. Without tons of details, I just didn’t feel safe walking around after 4:30 pm. The loft was gorgeous, and I was able to relax once inside but would I stay there again? No.
The recent Paris attacks coupled with not feeling safe at this new loft created anxiety for me. I have been able to deal with my “IVF not in control anxiety” pretty well for the last year, but everything started to feel very overwhelming. I would wake up each morning to do my injection ritual and started thinking “Should I be trying to bring a baby into this crazy unstable world?” Thoughts like these are highly unproductive, but I couldn’t shake them. You might have seen one of my pictures on Instagram documenting this thought while I prepared my Menopur injection. I received many comments from you girls feeling the same way that made me feel better knowing that I wasn’t the only one contemplating this.
I knew I needed to get out change my thought process and connect with friends. The next morning after arriving in Denver I meet one of my fashion and beauty blogger friends Brittany. She writes on her blog The Cashmere Gypsy. We met two years ago in Palm Beach and have stayed connected ever since. She is an incredible woman and fashion blogger if you want to know the best deals and trending fashion head on over to her blog. I walked in the bitter cold to Snooze at Union Station for some hot cocoa and to get back in touch with what I know best Beauty! We shared all of our thoughts on blogging, beauty, and the latest trends, it brought me back to earth and feeling less anxious.
I didn’t think I would have a hard time mentally going through my last IVF cycle. It started to feel a little sad like I was ending something that was just so consuming all year. I know it must sound strange to feel sad about ending IVF but not really, and this is why. It means that all the crazy injection cycles, testing, looking forward to another chance at cycling, more testing, PGS testing, success, etc. will be over, done, complete, final. You keep yourself in the game when you are doing IVF; it gives you options hopefully. When you stop, it’s like game over when you are in the trenches of unexplained infertility. So I decided to snap out of it and get back to my prayerful mornings. I have been studying “A Life Interrupted” by Pricilla Shirer. I am enjoying this as a self-study right now to keep me busy until my Bible study regroups in January. I also bought another one of Pricilla’s books that just came out called Fervent “A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer.” This is what got me through this last cycle Prayer and lots of it. I can’t do this alone, and it will take a miracle to get another normal PGS tested embryo.
I was testing out a lot of new beauty products also while in Denver. I changed my polish color three times from Deborah Lippmann’s “Lady is a Trap” to OPI “Brisbane Bronze” back to Deborah Lippman’s “Single Ladies.” I tried out Dr. Jart+ BB cream, Bobbi Brown Extra Balm Rise, Dr. Brandt Time Arrest Eye Serum, Dr. Jart+ Smart Gel BB and will be sharing my thoughts on my beauty blog soon.
We did experience some significant snow while in Denver. I was a little nervous navigating the roads with ice and snow but after a couple of days I felt like a pro. I figured out the key is just to go as slow as possible, with my gray hair now it’s par for the course.
My Beat Infertility Podcast went live on November 23rd that was our three year wedding anniversary. I woke up listening to Bobi’s story and then hearing my update. I felt passionate about the information I shared from my mammogram scare this past summer to how we are treated at these fertility clinics. I felt proud of this podcast and hope that it helps one of you girls get empowered and not sit back and just take the diagnosis or report from your doctor. Find out as much as you can and be your infertility advocate. You can listen to this podcast HERE.
Don’t get scared that I went from IVF #1 with only my gray streak to IVF #5 and looking let’s just say a little more gray. I have been this gray for a long time, but it just got so out of control recently that I had just to embrace it and let it go. I am taking it day by day because I have to tell you it’s not easy watching your hair go from black to WHITE almost overnight. Frenchie doesn’t seem to mind.
Frenchie added so much to this last IVF cycle. I felt that we were on the same routine as we are at home just a different environment. Here are some outtakes of Frenchie enjoying Denver.
Egg retrieval was scheduled for November 28th, 2015 and I was so ready to have my last egg retrieval behind me. Everything went extremely well and flew by. We retrieved nine eggs. We decided to change our flight and fly back on the 6:00 am flight the next morning. This just shows you how different egg retrievals are from Florida to Colorado. I was in bed for two days feeling horrible following all three of my egg retrievals in Florida. Both of my egg retrievals in Colorado have been amazing. I feel like I didn’t even have a retrieval. I was up and about going to dinner that night and enjoying myself and maybe a salty margarita (nurse approved). It’s truly amazing how good I felt. I missed the embryology update on Sunday since we were flying so I called this morning to find out how many of our eggs fertilized.
Out of the nine eggs retrieved we had six mature and three fertilized. This is a huge difference from our Denver IVF #4 cycle in September where we had fourteen eggs retrieved, twelve mature and ten fertilized. We made two blastocycts from that cycle both were sent off for PGS testing and one came back normal. With these IVF #5 numbers It’s so easy to get discouraged because right about now I feel like crying.
You never know what the plan is for you so you have to chin up and completely trust God with his plan for your life. I have to keep telling myself this over and over. It’s not easy because right about now I am so emotionally and physically spent. I keep remembering on one of Priscilla’s videos that she says God will squeeze you like a lemon and only when you taste the bitter can you taste the sweet. These three eggs from IVF #5 have to be pushed out to day five to make blastocysts stage and then from there will have to be biopsied for PGS testing. Honestly, it will be a miracle if we have a normal tested embryo at the end of this. I just ran across a quote that I have on my IVF Pinterest board, and I feel it’s speaking to me with how I am feeling right now.
I will be updating you girls with my five-day results, I need as much prayer as possible for my little embryos to be strong and make it through the next five days and PGS testing. Here’s to faith, love and God’s grace.