Prepping for IVF Round 3

When I moved back home to Mississippi in November 2017, I was very concerned how that would impact our infertility treatment. I was very saddened to have to discontinue treatment at Arkansas Fertility and Gynecology since we had established such a deep connection with everyone in Dr. Batres’s office over the last three years. So, when Isaac’s Aunt Laura called me one night in January 2018 to tell me how she felt God had laid it on her heart to tell me about “Dr. KK”, I began to feel more at ease.

Aunt Laura raved about her experience with her new ob/gyn, Dr. Kara Brantley. Aunt Laura explained to me that during her visit at the doctor’s office,  Dr. KK described her own fertility struggles to her, and she felt that she needed to share it with me. I knew that I had to make an appointment with an ob/gyn before I could be referred to a new reproductive endocrinologist (RE), so I contacted Dr. KK’s office and met with her a month later.

During my exam, I explained my fertility journey to Dr. KK. She listened intently and quickly suggested that I go see Dr. William Schoolcraft. I was super excited that Dr. KK provided me a referral so quickly, but I was completely surprised to learn that Dr. Schoolcraft’s clinic is located in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. KK explained that she had gone to see Dr.  Schoolcraft when she and her husband were trying to conceive their two precious boys. Since then, she has sent 26 of her patients to him, and 25 of them have had babies. These are incredible odds! As impressive as these odds may be, the first red flag that popped in my head was the amount of money it would cost to fly out to Colorado and complete a 6-8 week IVF cycle.

Dr. KK informed me that I would only have to go to Colorado for one day for my initial workup and about ten days for the stimulation cycle/egg retrieval. Then, I would fly back out there again a cycle later for the embryo transfer since Dr. Schoolcraft only does frozen embryo transfers instead of fresh ones. She said that she would do all of the other blood work and ultrasounds at her office. This opportunity sounded enticing, but I was also skeptical.

After talking to Isaac and doing my research, we decided to contact Dr. Schoolcraft at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) in Lone Tree, CO and schedule our phone consultation with him.

We had our phone consultation with Dr. Schoolcraft in May. The purpose of this consult was for him to learn about our fertility journey. We discussed the diagnosis, my treatments, and my cycles. He was extremely surprised that we have not been able to have a baby based on my medical records. He encouraged us to come to CO to have a workup done at his clinic, so we made an appointment to fly out there in August.

For me, this is where the intense anxiety set in. Based on the research I have done about Dr. Schoolcraft, he is like the Dr. House of infertility. There are eleven CCRM locations, and he founded all of them (the first one in Colorado). He primarily deals with challenging infertility cases, and it was difficult to realize that mine qualified as one of them. So, we booked our flight, hotel, and rental car. Then, we traveled to Denver.

When we arrived at CCRM, we were directed to a conference room for our orientation session. There were four other couples in there for their one day workup, as well. Two of the couples traveled from another country, one traveled from Philadelphia, PA, and the other traveled from Chicago, IL. We were the youngest couple by far by at least 10 years. The orientation was very informative and cleared up almost every logistical question I had regarding how the protocols and procedures would operate with me living in another state during treatment. Then, we were dismissed, and the long day of blood work, ultrasounds, tests, and scans commenced.

After meeting with our IVF nurse (Erin), the genetics specialist, and the finance team, we finished up the day with a face-to-face meeting with Dr. Schoolcraft. He looked over my results from the day and looked very surprised. He told us that before we came out there, he was sure that he was going to tell us that we should consider an egg donor. However, “on paper” there is no reason why I should not be able to have a baby, so he wanted to try. I was astounded! There was honestly a part of me deep down that thought our journey would be over after this visit, but I was wrong.

We did some sight-seeing, climbed Mt Evans in the snow (in August), and came home. Isaac & I had to go see Dr. KK on day 2 of my next cycle to get more blood work and ship it to CO. Those results were perfect, so Dr. Schoolcraft called to let me know that he had written my protocol and sent it to Erin. So, I contacted Erin about our prospective cycle start date.

I am scheduled to begin my stimulation medications (the thrilling hormonal overload) in February 2019. In the mean time, Isaac & I both have been prescribed a vitamin supplement cocktail for the next three months. I have also been accepted into a clinical study trial at CCRM for a new Acai fruit supplement called OvaHealth that has shown to increase egg quality.

Many people ask me if I am excited about our third round of IVF. This is a very difficult question to answer. I am blessed for the opportunity to be under the care of a medical pioneer like Dr. Schoolcraft and to try to have a baby again. However, I am extremely nervous and anxious. It is going to cost us twice as much for this one cycle than it did for one cycle in Arkansas. Many people say, “Oh, money is just money. You can always make more.” That is true, but having to take out a $30,000 loan is going to affect our family no matter how you look at it.

I know I should not be anxious because it is all in God’s hands. He has blessed Isaac & me with really good jobs and insurance. We have recently learned that our medical insurance has a lifetime max of $7,500 for infertility treatment (like IVF) and another $7,500 lifetime max for infertility drugs. This in itself proves that God is providing a way for us to attempt another cycle.

I also believe that God has placed me at my job for this very reason. Three of my co-workers have undergone IVF, so I have a new support system that is very dear to me. Holly, in particular, listened to me cry even when she barely knew me. Her encouragement and kindness is so inspiring!

So, here we are prepping our bodies for our third IVF cycle. We have so many pills to take that I had to purchase large pill organizers! Please pray for us and our family as we continue this journey.

Much love,

KA

Meds

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