My Fertility Journey Part Two
Justin and I had been married for 9 months when he was officially declared cancer free. We felt like we had our life back and we were so excited we got a second chance at living it. If you want to read my story you can read that HERE. We spent the following year traveling and enjoying life. We didn’t start the conversations of kids until almost a year after he was cancer free.
We decided before we go straight to IVF fertility treatment we should test his sperm to see if there was a possibility we could try naturally. We never saw the results of that test because a couple weeks later we found out that his cancer had come back. We had to put a halt on our family and focus on Justin and his new rare cancer.
For the next two years we were in and out of hospitals. Justin was a lab rat as doctors tried every possible chemo drug to see which one would work best. We could never find a chemo treatment that would shrink the tumor, just keep it from growing. We got to the point Justin would do chemo every other week for a couple hours and then we would forget about it. He was doing good and the tumor wasn’t growing. We were both working and hoping for the best.
We were so ready to start a family. It was hard to see all of our friends move on from their first baby to their second and we were still at the starting line. We had enough of cancer controlling our future and we wanted to take control. We wouldn’t allow cancer to take one more thing from us. We decided we would start IVF treatments with the sperm Justin had banked before his very first chemo treatment.
We loved our fertility doctor because she specialized in cancer and infertility. She knew Justins story and had worked with us from the very beginning. The only thing bad thing was she worked in Colorado and we were living in Utah. We didn’t want to change doctors so we decided to do everything long distance.
I was an elementary school teacher so during my summer break of 2016 I decided to do my retrieval. Justins cancer wasn’t hereditary, but we thought since we were already doing IVF why not do genetic testing on the embryos as well. With most genetic testing they need to freeze the embryo which means you can’t do a fresh transfer. So that summer I was just doing my retrieval.
Luckily Justin and I are from Colorado so for the first week I stayed with his parents and the second week I stayed with my sister who lived close to the clinic. Justin sadly wasn’t able to be with me because he had to work. Which was really difficult to do without him.
I could never give myself shots. I had to ask neighbors, Justins dad, my brother in law, you name it. I did everything to avoid giving myself a shot. Justin of course could have done it, but he wasn’t with me those two weeks prior to the retrieval.
I don’t remember a lot from my IVF treatments. I think it was so traumatic and uncomfortable my brain has forgotten a lot of it. I do remember thinking the retrieval was the absolute worst part of the whole IVF treatment. They say your ovaries get to the size of grapefruits. You feel so bloated and nauseous as if you were pregnant. I think tv shows and reality shows don’t speak enough about how hard and uncomfortable the process is. They skip past it and it makes it seem like its easy to do. It is not easy!
Justin was still in Utah working and would not be able to be with me during the retrieval. I was an emotional wreck (added hormones) thinking about doing this part without him.
Justin’s mom was with me the morning of the retrieval. We were sitting in the waiting room when I get a call from Justin. He had driven through the night from Utah to be there. The flood gates opened the second I saw him. I didn’t realize how much I needed him there by my side until he walked into the room. They prepped me for surgery and he held my hand as they wheeled me into the operating room.