Infertility Spotlight - Jenica Parcell
I remember sitting in church one day in primary at the front. It was the fall of 2012. I saw a little girl sitting on the front row with big, sweet brown eyes and something just switched in my mind and I wanted to have a baby. For the first time, I felt like there were children that were ready to come to our family. There was the motherly instinct I didn’t think would ever come. Kind of a relief!
We were in the process of selling our house and building a new one so I talked to Tyler and we decided that we would start trying as soon as we moved into our new house. I stopped taking birth control in June of 2013. We were ready! Now was the time! We figured it would just happen after trying for a few months. After it didn’t, we started monitoring it more and taking the timing more seriously. We would use the ovulation calculators you can find on your phone and try to time it so that we would get pregnant. When that didn’t work, I also bought a thermometer that was supposed to tell you when your temperature was raised a bit which would indicate ovulation. That didn’t work either. After trying this for a year, I decided it was time to call an infertility center. We called them in June of 2014 and started treatments in July of 2014.
When we walked into the office for the first time, sweet Tyler was upbeat as usual. He’s so happy and he spreads that happiness wherever he goes. He doesn’t have a bad day because he chooses not to. I, on the other hand, was feeling anxious and sad.We met with our doctor and ran most of the initial testing that day. My thyroid was a little low and Tyler had a low sperm count. Not crazy low, but low enough that it might contribute to the problem.
We scheduled an appointment to get my Fallopian tubes tested. Everything as far as ovaries, uterus and all of my “insides” (I don’t know how else to say that lol) looked great. The first month, we did artificial insemination without any drugs except the trigger shot 24 hours beforehand. It’s supposed to help time when you ovulate. That didn’t work. The next month, my doctor put me on Femara which is similar to Clomid. They are drugs that ensure you ovulate. It didn’t work on it’s own the first month…or the second.
After three failed IUI’s, and because we have great insurance, we decided to move forward with the big infertility treatment – in vitro.
While I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of giving myself shots, I was kind of naive and didn’t know what I was in for. In fact, when I started giving myself the Lupron injections in my stomach each morning, it wasn’t that bad at first. I injected the Lupron with a really small needle, and I only needed a really small amount of the drug so it didn’t bother me for the first two weeks. I had many people warn me before starting that it was a horrible experience. I had people tell me that they turned into complete emotional train wrecks when they were going through in vitro and that they basically turned into different people. I admit there were a few times when I thought to myself that my friends who had been through it were being a little dramatic when they told me how rough it is and how crazy emotional they got. I thought to myself, “this isn’t that bad! It’s going to work and I’m going to have a great success story and move on with my life! We’ll get that sweet baby here in no time.” Then I started the next set of medications…
It was a Sunday morning when I needed to start giving myself both Menopur and Follistim. Tyler had just left for a meeting at church but I thought I would be fine on my own because I had been giving myself the other shots. I started with the Follistim. It comes in a big pen, like an EpiPen if you have seen one of those, then you put in a cartridge with the drug and twist the dial on the end to indicate how high of a dose you need.
You then push the dial down and the medicine goes into your stomach. Well guess what? When you push the dial down it twists on your thumb making it practically impossible to give yourself without wiggling the needle all over the place. OUCH! That was surprise number one. Surprise number two: Menopur. I have since heard this medication called Satan’s Potion by another IVF patient. I laughed when I heard this because it’s so true! It would have been nice to know that it BURNS when you inject it! It feels like fire is going into your stomach. Immediately after the injection I burst into tears, sobbing. Picture me, in my kitchen in my pj’s, sobbing to myself and crying (literally saying these words out loud), “I don’t want to do this to myself anymore. It hurts and I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this.” It was so pathetic and sad. I went into the bathroom to blow my nose and just keep sobbing. I had to keep giving myself all 3 of these shots every day for about two more weeks. Tyler helped me push the medication in once I got the needles in my stomach which helped a lot.
They did the egg retrieval on a Thursday morning and I called in sick to work. I wasn’t allowed to wear any lotion or makeup. I had comfy clothes on. I walked in and they hooked up the IV so that I could be sedated. After the procedure, they transferred me to a room on the side where Tyler and I could sit and wait for me to wake up. The doctor came in and told me they were able to retrieve 36 eggs! That was a lot and she said that most of them looked to be in really good shape!We got a call a few days later and then every other day with an update with how many embryos were created from my eggs and his sperm. In the end, it was only 3 that were good embryos that were viable for transfer. This seemed really low compared to how many eggs they were able to get. We decided to freeze 2 and transfer 1 to start.
Tuesday was transfer day and we were so excited! Today was the day we were going to get pregnant. I met Tyler at the doctor’s office. The morning was a little hectic because I realized that my pharmacy hadn’t mailed me the Valium that I needed to take for the procedure, so 15 minutes before I was supposed to arrive at the doctor’s office, I called frantic and the nurse called it in to my local Walgreens. The transfer went well and I was supposed to rest for a couple days afterward. Our family and friends brought us dinner, called, emailed and texted us to make sure everything went well. Our family and friends have taken good care of us. I had a busy couple of weeks after that and I was worried that I was putting too much stress on myself, but I was also glad that I had things to distract myself with. I threw a big Valentine’s party for a company, and as soon as everyone left my house, I went to the bathroom and started my period.
There it was. I was kind of in disbelief and so disappointed. I started crying. It was sad. And true. Tyler walked in from cleaning up some of the chairs from the living room and I told him. We just hugged each other for a bit, both with heavy hearts.
So….we started into another round, this time a frozen cycle and the medications were different. I now had to give myself lots of shots in my bum…and the needles were LONG. The first time I did it, I cried and cried because I was SO scared. Then I said a prayer with Tyler. Tyler gave me the shot and when the needle went in, it didn’t hurt very much and I knew it was because my Heavenly Father was protecting me and had heard my desperate prayer.
After all of the shots, transfer day came and it was really hectic because the doctor called me and asked me to come at 10 when I originally was scheduled at 2, so I scrambled at work to finish some things and almost had an anxiety attack but I made it to the doctor’s office where I met Tyler and took my Ambien. They make everyone take an Ambien right before so that you and your muscles are completely relaxed.
The transfer went well and I rested a for a couple days at home. Fast forward two weeks for my blood test and I hadn’t started my period yet so we were feeling hopeful. I got the call that afternoon and they said my HCG score (what they use to measure if someone is pregnant in the beginning) was higher than normal but about half as high as it should be.
I went in and took another blood test two days later and got a call that afternoon with the same results. “You’re pregnant but it might not be viable because the HCG scores normally double every 48 hours and yours have only increased slightly.”
I got the call and the nurse confirmed that my HCG scores were going back down. It appears that the embryos tried to implant but just didn’t make it. I felt completely defeated and absolutely exhausted at the fact that we would have to do the whole process over again…all the shots, the egg retrieval, stomach bloating…all over again. Every shot I had given myself and sacrificed to do had been for nothing. I am fine doing them (even though they totally suck and your life turns upside down) if it had been successful, but it hadn’t been. The bruising, the tears, the emotions going up and down all of the time, the heartache…and I wasn’t pregnant.
We left the next day for a trip to China which was the most perfect timing possible because I just wanted to get away from my heavy life for a bit. It was an incredible trip and I’m so grateful we were able to go. I did have an issue on one of the planes from Beijing to Xian, however. Since I hadn’t started my period (it was about three weeks late), I knew it would most likely be a miscarriage because my body had tried to be pregnant, and technically was for a little while. I started cramping really hard and just felt sick. When we got on the plane, we sat down and I told myself that I would go to the bathroom when we took off. I was sitting next to the window but we didn’t take off and the plane was getting hotter and hotter. I started dripping in sweat because I was in so much pain and started to get really claustrophobic. I’m not kidding when I say that the plane probably got to at least 90 degrees. I have sweat dripping down my body at this point, I am in an incredible amount of pain and I’m stuck on a small airplane with no ventilation and it’s about 90 degrees. PANIC ATTACK ALERT! Ha ha I just kept telling myself to stay calm and that I would get through it. I went to the bathroom and sure enough it was a lot worse than normal.
FAST FORWARD TO JENICA'S 3RD IN VITRO ATTEMPT
To my beautiful child,
This morning at 8 am I went into the fertility center to get the neupogen put in.I have had the neupogen in my fridge for the past few weeks. This medication isn’t covered by insurance because it’s not FDA approved for infertility, but I’ll spend an extra $400 to get you here.Starting today, I give myself the progesterone shots every morning. If I get pregnant, I will continue to give myself these shots every morning for 12 weeks. There is way more medicine in these shots (1 ml instead of .15 ml) so they make the area a lot more sore. Basically, have someone punch you in the butt really hard, and wait for it to bruise a bit.
That’s how my butt feels! We are feeling really great about the transfer coming up on Friday at 1:30. We have done 4 things differently this round than we have done in our previous 2 IVF cycles:
1) I gave myself human growth hormone shots 5 days before egg retrieval to strengthen my eggs. If you’re an NBA Allstar, don’t blame me. 2) Dr. Foulk removed 2 polyps in my uterus. 3) A neupogen wash inside my uterus 5 days before implantation. 4) Acupuncture.
I think that everything is lining up well and we feel very hopeful. I feel at peace with what we are doing and feel that we are making every possible effort to get you here. Now we are putting it in God’s hands. If you are meant to come to us, you will. If now is not the time, we will continue to try and trust that God is guiding our lives as He wants them to be. We love you, baby!! We really do. We haven’t met you and yet we love you so dearly.
You’re worth it!
Thanks for helping us learn so much. Thanks for helping us truly value the role of motherhood and fatherhood.
We wouldn’t change a thing.
FAST FORWARD TO THE MOST EXCITING NEWS
THE PARCELL FAMILY COULD HAVE EVER RECEIVED:
To my beautiful children,I can’t just write to one of you anymore because there are TWO OF YOU!!
Here’s the whole story: The two week wait in having our first ultrasound was a very long wait, especially the last week. We were so anxious to make sure that everything was progressing normally and to hear the heartbeat…or heartbeats 🙂 On the morning of the ultrasound, your dad texted me at about 10:30 and said, “Is it 1:30 yet?” We were both so anxious! We were about 10 minutes early to our appointment so we signed in and sat in the waiting room. We were called back and I undressed from the waist down.
Ashley (my ultrasound tech and friend), popped her head in the room and said, “I can’t wait any longer!” joking with us. Your dad walked down by her and she started to smile really big. Your dad’s head was blocking the screen but I could see it a little bit and I thought I saw twins. I had googled what twins look like in the uterus, but he hadn’t and she was looking at him expecting him to see it. She said, “I’m just looking at the twins” and I screamed so loud!! Another nurse came in and said, “Is it twins? I called it!” Joy filled my whole body! My mom called me when we were checking out and I said, “you’re going to be a grandma of two!” She was obviously so excited. We sat in your dad’s truck and texted the video of me saying, “we are having twins” to our family and then our friends. The texts of excitement came pouring in! It was such a surreal day!! We are BEYOND thrilled to be welcoming two little angels into our home this year. I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have twins one day.
It’s a miracle to see God’s plan for your life unfold, and be even better than you could have ever planned for yourself.
You’re worth it!
Jenica gave birth to
adorable and healthy twins.
To read more on her story
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