Hey there! I'm Linda! I was born and raised in Maine, spent the last 6 years in Portland, and now call the Boston area my home!
Most days you can find me playing on the floor with my daughter, writing love letters to my husband, and reading with a cup of tea!
I am mostly known for being able to find all the things my husband has lost, making as much food as I can from scratch, my obsession with chips and salsa, and my mad organization skills.
I had told myself I was never going to go through this again. Mentally, physically, emotionally and financially, I just didn’t think I could do this again. But about two years ago I started feeling the pull for another child. It was pretty subtle at first, but by the start of 2019 that was a pretty strong pull. As one of four children, I have SO many amazing memories with my siblings growing up. While I definitely don’t want more than two children, I really wanted Lily to have a sibling.
When we moved to Boston, it became clear to me that the insurance plans in MA were vastly different than in Maine. I found out that our insurance plan was pretty good through Steven’s employer and it actually covered fertility treatments. This was a major difference from our experience with Lily. In Maine we were spending thousands of dollars out of pocket for treatments, and it was a lot. We couldn’t do that again. The insurance piece was a game-changer for me.
This isn’t my first time sharing a post about infertility. Since 2012, I’ve spent a little over 4 out of those 8 years trying to have a baby. It took us 3.5 years before getting pregnant with Lily, and now I am 15 weeks pregnant with baby #2, after an 8 month journey.
We started seeing Boston IVF in Waltham last June. While this time around was just as challenging emotionally, it was far more challenging physically. The first visit we had with BIVF, they did an initial blood draw. I’m no stranger to needles and blood draws, but they took 17 vials of blood and I ended up blacking out about halfway through. Lily was there and thankfully she wasn’t phased by it. Ever since then she’s liked to play doctor and pretend she’s drawing blood, haha.
We did three failed IUI cycles before moving on to IVF. It was terrible. Right before I started my hormone shots with IVF, I was on birth control in between cycles to suppress my cycle. I ended up with a severe stomach bug, and before I actually fully recovered I got sick again from stopping the birth control before starting injections, so I was basically sick for 5 weeks straight.
Nothing went like it typically should for a woman going through IVF. They said that I would do my injections to prepare for egg retrieval for about 8-10 days. I had to do it for 16 days, two shots a day, with a dose that kept getting changed. My body would over-respond, then under-respond. Every other day I was going in for blood work and an ultrasound. It was exhausting physically and emotionally. It was so draining to get a phone call every other day that I had to KEEP going. It was heartbreaking.
Then came the egg retrieval. They said to prepare for a procedure that would last 15 minutes max. I was under for 45 minutes. The day of the egg retrieval was miserable. I was SO swollen and bloated from all the eggs in my ovaries, I couldn’t even bend over prior to the procedure.
Egg retrieval day was also really hard emotionally. I felt like I was failing, again, as a woman. That the one thing I should be able to do easily and naturally just wasn’t happening. I was doing well holding myself together, but when they put in the IV it hurt really bad and I started to fall apart. By the time I was in the operating room and on the table I had started to cry a lot. I just couldn’t believe that I had to go through this. I remember it was cold, and I laid down and they gave me pain meds and the last thing I remember was coughing a ton.
When I woke up in recovery I couldn’t stop shaking, and I was in a lot of pain. It took them a few tries to get it under control. The great news is that they were able to retrieve 51 eggs!! 48 were mature enough for fertilization and 42 actually fertilized. 21 embryos made it to the freezing stage, and I know how incredibly lucky I am to have gotten such good results. My doctor told me that in his 35 years of doing this he has never seen anyone with that many embryos from one cycle. I feel incredibly lucky to have the results I did.
The recovery from the retrieval was really rough. I was so sick and in so much pain, and a few days later I got worse and had to go back in to get checked out. The devastating news was that I wasn’t able to continue with a fresh transfer. My hormones were too high and my ovaries were too hyper-stimulated. It wouldn’t be safe for me. So we had to wait two more cycles before we could do a transfer, which wasn’t part of the plan. I wanted to be done at the end of December, and I was READY to be done. But I couldn’t go through the hell I just went through with egg retrieval to not finish the cycle.
To prepare for transfer I had to do shots every three days in the muscle, take a vaginal medication, and a oral medication every single day. The transfer itself was fine, and (much to my surprise) I found out 10 days later I was indeed pregnant! Then I had to continue all shots and medications until I was 10 weeks pregnant.
If I never have another shot, or blood draw again, it’ll be too soon, haha.
Honestly, I don’t know how people do this without insurance. We had over $55k in claims to our insurance to go through all of this. It was wild. This whole process has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and while I’m so thankful and grateful to be pregnant again, I’ve had a lot of complicated emotions surrounding this pregnancy. It also didn’t help that I was extremely sick from weeks 5-13, and that was super hard, especially while trying to take care of Lily.
I know there are SO many women who are struggling with infertility. It makes me so angry how many struggle silently because it’s “taboo” to talk about it. I know it’s incredibly hard to talk about infertility struggles, but I always want to be open about my struggles, because it can make someone else feel less alone. Infertility really made me struggle with my worth and identity as a woman, and it still does despite having success with treatments. I’m so thankful to the team at BIVF for helping give Lily a sibling. She’s going to be the BEST big sister ever and she’s SO excited!
To those who are still in their struggle, I see you. I’m with you. I hope that one day you’ll get the ending you’ve always dreamed of. Always remember, you are so much stronger than you know.
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