Not Quite Happily Ever After...Yet

Not Quite Happily Ever After...Yet

For any of you who know my husband, you know that he spoils the heck out of me, every single day, and he has since the day we started dating. He does everything he possibly can to make sure I’m happy, healthy, and taken care of. He works his ass off so that I can stay home and chase my dream of owning my own business. He goes out of his comfort zone to do things that he normally wouldn’t do, just for the simple fact that it’s something I enjoy doing.

matt and shannon

That being said, there has been one thing that I’ve been dreaming about giving to Matt since we got married, and that’s a baby.

I’ve been a nanny practically my whole adult life, Matt grew up around his moms daycare kids..we got this, right? We would be awesome parents!

Well, turns out, its not that simple. In our case at least.

Over the last several months, Matt and I have been going through a LOT, and it’s not something we’ve been public about, like at all. Our close family and friends know, and that’s about it (minus the amazing people I’ve met and connected with online). Recently, I started feeling the very heavy weight of keeping this all in, and after discussing it with Matt, decided that in order to help process it all out, I wanted to write a blog post about it, and share a little about what has been going on. Prepare yourself folks, this post is going to be long, and might not make any sense at all.

In July of this year, Matt and I found out after going through some pretty painful, awkward and stressful testing, that we have less than a 2% chance of having kids on our own. After taking that statistical blow to the face, we learned that our best and pretty much only option at this point, besides adoption, would be to go through IVF. (In-Vitro Fertilization) We wanted to put every effort in to have our own biological child, so after researching every possible thing involving IVF, we signed our life away (kinda literally) during a very intense appointment with the fertility clinic.

paper

The next couple of weeks, we spent preparing ourselves for what we were sure was going to be one of the most challenging (physically and emotionally) experiences of our lives. I read a lot of books, and spent a lot of time on Google (don’t do that if you are going through this…seriously. Just don’t) Matt surprised me with little gifts of encouragement like my Murtle the Fertile Turtle necklace, and IVF themed socks. The day that our meds were delivered, I was literally pacing by our front door waiting for them (I don’t know that the FedEx man knew the importance of what it was that he was delivering) and then we spent a few hours organizing everything so that it wasn’t as overwhelming. There was a LOT of meds! A LOT.

medication

After some more tests, more visits to the Dr. and what felt like 1,000 blood draws, we were finally ready to officially start the process of IVF. For those of you that don’t know in detail what exactly this process entails, I’ll sum it up for you in like one sentence. It’s a lot of injections, a lot of pain, a lot of emotions, a lot of confusion, worrying, waiting (omg the waiting is the worst part) and more tears than I would like to admit.

I had daily injections, in the morning, and at night, and they were not easy to do on my own. Matt became my medication administrator; and let me tell you, there is no way around these injections. You have to do them, typically at a specific time of day, or the entire process is a waste. It’s always fun having to go to the bathroom of a restaurant to give yourself a shot, sometimes two or three. Or to have to excuse yourself from spending time with family to go in a private room so that your husband can help with the difficult to reach spots (booty). It was a long process, and as the days went on, the pain increased (this was a good sign, it meant that the meds were working, odd but true).

meds and books

strong shannon

We went through 11 days of this, 11 long days. I was exhausted. I was emotional beyond measure. I was in a lot of pain. The next step takes us to the most amazing place, and thats IVF of Michigan. It is where we had the procedures that would ultimately lead to us (hopefully) getting pregnant. The staff was amazing, and excited for us as we went through each procedure.

IVF Michigan clinic

For the first procedure, they put me under, and go in to retrieve the eggs that I had been working so hard to grow over the last 11 days. Some people come out of this procedure with 2-4 eggs, we came out with 20. That number alone made me cry, and was SUCH a relief. That just meant that our odds were even better for this to be successful. That hardest part was over, I was SO relieved. We finally had a chance to rest and take a break from all the meds. We headed home, and I did everything they told me to do. That included drinking 47 gallons of Gatorade and eating McDonalds fries…not joking.

mcdonalds

Over the next 5 days, our little embryos worked hard in their little dishes to fertilize and grow. We got the update that we had 8 fertilized and healthy embryos on the fifth day (this is good, they want as many as possible to make it to day 5), another AMAZING number. We set the date for our transfer (this is where they put the embryos back in, and hope and pray that they stick). This was the day we had been looking forward to, for what seemed like forever. We headed back to IVF of Michigan at 6 in the morning and prepped for our transfer!

matt and shannon IVF

The process itself is very fast, but also very emotional. It takes place in an operating room, and Matt got to come in with me. He sat by my side the entire time. We got to see our 2 embryos on a tv screen, and watched as a nurse brought them in the room. Our amazing doctor talked us through every single step, and we got to watch as he implanted them back where they belonged. That was it. The transfer was over. We had 2 beautiful little embryos placed where one or both would hopefully snuggle up and take up residence for the next 9 months.

embryos

Then we waited. We tried to rest and relax and just gave it to God, knowing that there was no longer anything that either of us could possibly do to make this work. 13 days later, I went in for the biggest test of all, and that was the blood work that would determine whether or not we were pregnant. Blood work was at 7 am, I got the phone call at 11 am telling me that unfortunately our first round of IVF had been unsuccessful.

Wait, what?

I had spent weeks planning everything out, we had names picked out, we had plans on how we would tell our parents, and our families, I knew exactly when and how I would tell Matt, we had been so excited and SO hopeful that there was just no possible way this wasn’t going to work. Everything was perfect. We did everything we were suppose to do. We listened to everything the Dr. said. How were we NOT pregnant?

I was absolutely devastated. You’ll notice the pictures stop here because there was nothing more to document.

I didn’t want to have to go through this again. I didn’t want to have to go through the emotional ups and downs that I had been experiencing. I kept thinking to myself ‘what did I do wrong?’ ‘what could I have done to help our chances be higher?’

I cried. A lot. I cried so hard that morning that I could barely get the words out to Matt, who I unfortunately had to tell over the phone because he was back at work and I was home alone. I could barely breath. I had failed. My body failed.

Over the next few weeks, we stopped all the meds (we were still doing a daily injection, and I was taking some oral meds to help keep the the embryos healthy), I lost my job (super great timing huh), we had to tell our parents and the friends that knew that we hadn’t been successful. I looked up EVERYTHING on Google, trying to find answers.

We met with our Dr., who said he was just as shocked because everything had been perfect. He wanted to schedule me for yet another procedure where they would go in and take a look inside my uterus to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong that could have caused the embryos not to implant.

Shortly after, we were at the hospital this time, cool outfits, lots of pain meds and anesthesia and a small sense of humor (hence the gorgeous selfie) all in one. They even put us in room number 9 (Matthew Stafford’s number for those that don’t get it).

Procedure went great, they removed some extra tissue that had built up inside my uterus, and sent us home. We got the news that our 2nd attempt at IVF would have to be bumped back another month, while I healed from the surgery, which brought back the tears, because at this point, I was SO tired of waiting. A week felt like eternity, let alone another month? I’ll push through though, because it’s what the Dr. said is best.

strong shannon

About a week and a half later, I was laying in bed at 5 in the morning and got an email from the hospital that had the results from my procedure (they did a biopsy on the tissue) and it came back abnormal. I was barely awake, but I saw the words that I knew couldn’t be good. “Suspicious for endometrioid adenocarcinoma” I’m no Meredith Grey, but that means cancer. I immediately called our fertility doctor and as suspected, he said they found precancerous cells in the lining of my uterus, and also spots of cancer, and that at this point, we needed to pull IVF off the table until we go and talk to a colleague of his.

How the hell did we get to this point? We were suppose to be celebrating being around 10 weeks pregnant at this point, but instead, we were scheduling an appointment with an Oncologist. I was beyond scared at this point, and had no idea what to think, or say, or even feel. I was pretty numb to anything after this. We met with the Dr., well the Dr. and his team of 6 other people who told us what we already knew, but also gave us the gut wrenching news that not only was IVF being pushed back, but that there was no chance of us even trying again for at LEAST another 9 months. Turns out the type of cancer that I had was not rare, and it is easily treatable, but cancer is still just that. It’s terrifying.

So…here we are. I’m taking things day by day, I’m still in a lot of pain, I’m still worried, confused and sad. I have been carrying the weight (literally and figuratively) of this around for far too long, and I needed to get it out there. We go back in January, and then in March for a repeat biopsy to see if the abnormal cells are disappearing. I haven’t taken to Google this time, I’ve stayed away from researching this because I know that every case is different. I trust what the Dr. is telling me, and I am going to go with the plan of treatment, and be patient as we wait for my body to heal.

I’ve been a part of some amazing groups on Facebook that I’ve been able to share our experience with. I’ve gained some friends that understand exactly what this process feels like. I’ve been able to see them get pregnant, and announce genders, I’ve learned to just accept that it wasn’t the right time for us to take what I know is going to be a HUGE step in our life and to just be happy for those that are reaching that milestone before us.

I still cry. I still get mad. I still question every single thing we did and wonder ‘why us?’ but every day is just another day closer to the day when we will get to start round 2 and hopefully by then we will be emotionally and physically ready to handle it. One painstakingly heartbreaking round of IVF behind us, and many more days of struggle ahead, but being able to open up and share this with anybody who will listen, has been like a breath of fresh air, and its something that I’ve needed to do for a long time.

I appreciate those of you who have kept reading, and for those of you who knew before this, thank you for dealing with my madness.

<3

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