IVF The Journey to Being a New Mom at 50


Hospital Video: https://www.facebook.com/timothywsavage/videos/2909618862686811

PIO Injection Video: https://youtu.be/eW4VgExQXaQ

Facebook live 5ish years ago naming Josephine: https://www.facebook.com/timothywsavage/videos/1867404610038125

Transcript:

Well, hello, my friends. How are you all doing to day? Sandi Savage here. I hope you’re having a fantastic, fantastic day and I am so, so grateful for you all just being here, like being involved in our lives, the people that are. Thank you so much. Love hearing from you all. So gosh, dm me.

Get me up in your DMs. I love getting to know you and a love my podcast community. So today I wanted to talk about our IVF journey. I know I’ve gotten a ton of questions, like I’m a first-time mom at 50, and so, you know, how did that even happen? Oh my gosh. What was that even all about?

And you will probably hear my sweet baby girl in the background because she is in here recording with me. She’s got her crinkle books and her Passi and she is very excitable. So first for those of you who don’t know some of my history, you know, looking back at this IVF journey, it really started at this part of the journey started back in 2011.

So Tim and I, my husband, who is amazing, we got married in 2010 and the year after that, we were like, okay, we’re ready. We’re we’ve been married for a year. Let’s start trying to have kids. And so that month downloaded an app on my phone that tracked my fertility and you know, one day it popped up and said,

Hey, you need to do a, you know, the little, the little pink ribbon popped up, do your breast exam. So I was like, oh, okay. So reached out, touched a spot on my breast and found immediately a lump. Like it was like my finger hit it. And I called my doctor that minute and said, Hey,

you know, I feel something really weird. I need to come in. And they were like, let’s get you in immediately. So I went in that week and we did a series of biopsies and there were a couple of cysts in there. And then there was one that was more solid. And so the woman who, the doctor who was doing the testing said,

you know, I was like, Hey, what does this look like? You know, what do I, what do I need to prepare for? Or anything? Is this just another cyst or what? And she said, no, this is cancer. Like before they got the path report back, she was like, this is, this is cancer.

This is a hundred percent cancer. So I was like, oh my gosh, you know, she looked at me and she said, tell your husband, you have cancer. Y’all need to start preparing. And so Tim and I had been married for one year and here I am, we were, Hey, let’s have a baby. And it went from that to,

I think I’ve got to like start chemo and all of that. So that started our conversation. Once all the path report got back and we did a bunch of testing, like we did the genetic testing to see if it was a genetic thing for my cancer or whether it was a hormonal thing. And it was neither of those. I had the type of cancer that’s called triple negative.

And that was something that they have to treat really aggressively because it is an aggressive cancer. And so we did, they immediately went in a few weeks after that and took the actual tumor out. So thankfully that tumor, you know, they took it out. They, the margins were clear, so it hadn’t spread anywhere. Like they checked my lymph nodes.

It hadn’t spread on any of that. And so that I was so grateful, like that meant that I didn’t have to do radiation. So we started looking at that’s when we had our first conversations with the doctors and he said, okay, you need to start looking at egg retrievals before you go into chemo and all that. So our conversation started, we knew that our fertility journey was going to look really different because of that.

And, you know, we just, we looked at each other in the office and just said, you know, we trust God with this. And we trust the timing of this and what the outcome of this going to look like. And we really are hearing that we’re supposed to be parents. So we started the whole process of IVF. And, you know,

if you don’t know the process of IVF, it is lots of meds, retrievals, lots of meds transfers. And I’ll go into that in a little bit. But so that started the conversation. And then there was a few months that we had to take care of a bunch of things within that. And then I would start chemo. So I did some rounds of chemo and they actually did.

We decided to do there’s three different types of chemo that they can give you for breast cancer. And so they said, Hey, we’re going to give you these two because the third one is really hard on your fertility. So let’s, we’re going to stick to these two because you had clear margins and all that. And we had decided to go on and do a double mastectomy and reconstruction.

So we did that cancer. We did those rounds, lost all my hair, all of that deal. You know, that’s a whole other podcast of going through all that cancer journey and then went into having a double mastectomy and reconstruction did that. And then that journey was, was done. And our fertility journey was still way ahead of us. And we were like,

okay. So let me explain what here’s, what a retrieval looks like. So a retrieval, you have like two weeks that you are pumping yourself up with all different kinds of medication. There was one day that no lie because I counted and it was night teen different shots that I had to give myself that was a hard day, but there, there were small needles,

you know, and the actual journey of a retrevial. Isn’t that, that, that challenging, you know, there’s some timing about it. That last shot before the eggs are released is very timed out. Like they tell you the exact minute you’re going into the doctors every other day to test your blood work, to test what your endometrial lining looks like.

So that all that testing, and then you go to your doctor and they do a retrieval once that time shot has happened. And so the eggs are then released. They take a very large needle. I was under for these procedures. They took a very large needle and they go into like right into next to your ovary. And they start pulling out the eggs that are mature and that can be transferred into a little Petri dish to be fertilized.

And so did the retrievals and then the actual, you know, process scientifically what happens after that is, you know, then it’s mixed with sperm in the dishes and then you’ve got the embryos and then they grow out those embryos to three days or five days and then froze them. So now those embryos were frozen. And then you could start looking at the transfer process.

So with the transfer process, that’s actually pretty, you know, comparatively easy of a, not easy within the meds, but easy as far as the actual procedure for the transfer, but the meds leading up to it. Oh my gosh. You, so before each transfer, you have to, again, does yourself up with a lot of meds to make sure that your hormones are correct,

and that you’re, you know, you go into the doctor and you have your lining testing. Do you have lots of trans vag ultrasounds and, you know, sorry for the guys out there for all this info, but you know, this is what it looks like. And to make sure that you have like the best, the best position, so that,

that embryo will say, Hey, I’m going to make my home here. So all those meds, there’s actually a video of me on YouTube giving my first PIO shot. That’s progesterone in oil, and you have to give it kind of in the back of your hip. And that is the shot that everybody is like, it hurts so bad.

It hurts so, so bad, but there are different, you know, in that video on YouTube, there are things that you can do, like applying a heating pad before you do the shot, you know, that kind of stuff to make that progesterone in oil, disperse through the muscle a little bit easier. So leading up to a transfer, you’re giving yourself shots of progesterone and it hurts.

And all during your two week window, after a transfer, you’re giving yourselves PIO shots. Oh my gosh. So you know, and you have to do it at the same time every day. You have to just make sure that your progesterone levels are correct and your body. And let me tell you how much blood is actually drawn in going through IVF.

Oh, a lot of blood draws a lot, a lot, a lot. And let me tell you it’s worth it. It’s so worth it. So for our journey. So there’s where we were. So we started doing a bunch of transfers. I had a fantastic fertility doctor that I went to in Syracuse, New York. He is he’s so fantastic he’s so great and loved our clinic.

And I had multiple transfers and multiple attempts that were not successful. She wants to be on the podcast too. Yeah. Do you want to say hi, do you want to say she’s this back there growl. I’m getting my attention. So I went through multiple transfers that that was not successful right after a transfer. So when you go into transfer, basically what they do is they take that embryo and they put it in a very thin tube and they,

with ultrasound, put that tube up into your cervix. And then it’s, it’s in a medium, a liquid medium. And then they just kind of shoot it up into the right spot. And then it, you know, hopefully implants itself there and you grow a baby for us. The transfers were never successful. So after a transfer, you have,

what’s called a two week window. It’s the two week wait where you’re technically, you know, pregnant, you have an embryo in you, but you have to wait those two weeks to see if implantation happens. And so that your pregnancy test happens two weeks after it. And for me, for us, the transfers just were not succeeding. And we were like,

we’re, we’re going to keep at it. We’re going to keep at it. We’re going to keep at it. And we really heard to be parents and that this was the avenue to do it. And it was long and hard and challenging and emotionally very hard. And physically, it was very hard on me with all of the medication. And there were bouts of depression in there.

Like I gained weight, oh, I lost weight gained weight. Oh, it was just, it was a roller coaster of hard. You all. It was hard because there was this expectation. And then there’s the grief after when you’re like, oh, I didn’t work. It didn’t work. So we were looking, you know, at our last few transfers and my amazing sister-in-law,

so Tim’s, brother’s wife approached us and said, Hey, you know, my husband – Tim’s brother. And I’ve been talking, we talked to their parents and she was like, I, I would like to carry one of y’all’s embryos, will you let me do it? Because my transfers had not been successful. And she was highly, you know,

has two children number own got pregnant pretty easily. And so we prayed about it and talked about it. And we were like, okay, if you’re really, you know, if you’re ready for this. And she was like, yes, I’m ready. Then it began that process of her being our gestational carrier, which is different than a surrogate, because a surrogate would use their own egg and a gestational carrier just uses the embryo of the couple.

And so we, you know, she, that our embryos are transferred into her and she had to go through all of that process also of all of the hormones and injections, even though she was fertile, it all had to be timed out. So we had to go through a set of genetic testing to make sure that everything was okay with us before one of our embryos was placed into her.

And so we did all of that blood testing and she did all of her testing and she started, you know, getting ready and prepping for all the transfers and we would fly to Syracuse. And then, you know, she had a transfer and it wasn’t successful. Then she had another transfer and it wasn’t successful. So, you know, at this point we’re going,

oh my gosh, like with me, no success with a highly fertile person, no success, what is going on? And so then we were about ready to go up for our next transfer and COVID overtook the world. So our transfer was slated for March and we had to put stuff on pause because that was, you know, March 2020,

you know, we, you know, I was booking plane tickets for us to head up to Syracuse again, and COVID just took over the world. So that was okay. We have to wait longer, you know, longer and trusting the Lord in the timing so that we took a, you know, every, everybody took a pause in the entire world.

And then in November we were like, okay, we feel safe enough at this point to mask up hand, sanitize up, get up to Syracuse and do a transfer in the, because they were a medical facility. So they were highly, highly regulated and what they were doing in New York. And we went up on December 7th and did a transfer. And then that two week window kicked in.

So two weeks later we got the best, best Christmas present ever of a positive, the very first positive after all of the transfers, a very first positive pregnancy test. And let me tell you, we were just on our faces on our praising God and thanking him for the fact that we would get to be parents. So then that started a whole other journey.

Now our gestational carrier, my sister-in-law was carrying our child and they are in Cincinnati. And so it started a whole series of runs up to Cincinnati because I was at every doctor’s appointment and every ultrasound and every blood draw and every, you know, so all the things that you would typically get the go through with pregnancy, I got to be a part of,

and it was so beautiful. The hospitals made a couple of exceptions within their protocols. And so when we, when it came time for the ultrasound for us to find out if, if our baby was a boy or a girl, Tim and myself got to go to that and found out that we were having a baby girl, and we flipped our lids.

You all like flipped our lids, you know, five years before that, Tim and I were doing a, just a Facebook live. We were in downtown Lexington, KY. And he was saying, we’re going to trust the Lord that he is bringing our child to us, and it’s going to be a girl. And her name is going to be Josephine.

And when we found out that minute, five years later that we were having a baby girl, we were like, Josephine’s on our way. Josephine was the name of Tim’s grandmother and just a really special person to both of us. And she passed a few years ago. So we knew that when we we’re going to name our little girl, her name was going to be Josephine.

So we found out we were having our baby girl Josephine. And then there’s all the normal stuff that you do as, as parents getting ready to get her nursery ready. We had painting doing all that deal. And it was still really like, it was incredible. And it was really hard because I was not physically present with her all the time. So Alyssa,

my sister-in-law like we would record a video and, and voice, like we recorded ourselves reading books and, you know, talking and singing and all of that. And she would stick little bitty stickies to her stomach so that she could hear, there were like headphones, but like little stickies. So she could hear our voices and get used to us.

And, oh my gosh, you all, it was amazing. Like, we knew that she was going to know us and know our voice and know her mom and dad. And so then, you know, we’re getting close to the time for her being born. Like it was, we had a couple of runs up there, Cincinnati, where it was like,

oh, that was Braxton Hicks, which was fine. We were like, we know the routine. Now we know the schedule. We know where to go. And when we hit the hospital and the hospital staff knows us. And so there’s not going to be an issue if it’s in the middle of the night. And yes, then the time it was TIME,

like it was time. It was one day before her due date and Elyssa went into labor. We went up to Cincinnati, we were in Westchester and it was like, it was surreal, just going. We’re about ready to be parents. We’re about ready to be parents. Like I’m 50, you know, this was a 10 year journey after knowing that I had cancer and that it was going to affect us to now going,

I get to be a mom. And we went in there, gosh, labor was just progressing slowly. Like it was still lots of minutes apart. And we were like, okay, it’s going slow. And Alyssa was such a, just a warrior in the middle of that. And she was like, oh, she’s she was doing great. And I know it was like,

okay, things are progressing slowly. Contractions are not coming any faster. I’m gonna go run and get some food and I’ll be right back. So I left, came back, got a little food, walked into the room. And Alyssa was in full, full labor at that point. Like I crossed the street for food. Oh. And she dilated from three centimeters to eight.

What happened was the Josephine was slightly tilted and in the womb. And so one of the doctors put Alyssa on her side and then put this thing called a peanut. It’s like this great big pillow thing in between her legs. And it, it moved Josephine into position. So it was like, if you’ve ever seen in one of the TV shows or in a movie like doctors running in and,

and kicking equipment out of the way. And that is exactly what it was like doctors started rushing in. So I, and I’ll explain to you what our birth plan was at this point. So they said, okay, you need to, because we, I was supposed to have the first skin to skin contact with Josephine when she was born.

And so they, you know, put me in a gown and I was there beside Alyssa’s head holding her hand. And her husband was down at her legs with her. Tim was waiting outside the door recording there, an incredible video that, that my husband recorded of all of this that you can find I’ll tag it. I’ll I’ll post those links, any links that I’ve talked about in here,

I’ll post it in the, in the transcript. And it was a 13 minute push. Like, that’s it? The hospital was like, that is the fastest birth that is ever happened in the history of our hospital. 13 minutes and Josephine was born. And so she came out, they did a quick wipe on her, and then they put her onto me.

We, I held her there for a little bit, and then they moved us into our room. And I just got to lay there with my little girl for her first hour of life and then skin to skin. And then she did skin to skin with Tim for an hour. And we were just stunned. It was like, it’s so right.

Like here she is. Our little girl is here, Josephine is here. And so that, that day changed our life. That day changed our life. For sure. And gosh, I love being a mom and she is an amazing fierce strong-willed baby girl. And so I just want to encourage you all, you know, that was our, our journey of becoming parents and becoming parents can look very different for lots of people.

You know, we’ve talked about, we still want to add to our family. And what does that look like? And we know lots of people who have adopted, who have fostered and, you know, we’re so open to all of that also. And that we get to sit here with our little girl now is just crazy, incredible. She is a miracle and a blessing.

And I just want to encourage you to, like, we had this placed in our hearts. Like we knew we wanted to be parents to Josephine and we did not stop. Even when it looked like impossible, we did not stop. We said, we’re going to keep going and it’s going to be hard and we’re going to keep doing it. We’re going to keep at it until we actually have her in our arms.

And that’s what we did. And so if you’re called to be a parent, just keep going, like, don’t give up on that. Like, if that is something that is in your heart, go for it, go for it. Don’t let age, don’t let circumstance. Any of that stuff be in your way, because if that is what you are called to,

then you got to go at it. You got to go at it at level 10, you got to keep going after it. And so that’s our story of our little girl. So that was what IVF looked like for us. And if you all have any questions, like if you’re going through some of those struggles too, if you want any more info,

gosh, just dm me. I would be happy to answer any other questions you’ve got. So y’all, I will see you next Tuesday, have a fantastic rest of your week. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. It was so great to talk to you all. Now we will be back next Tuesday as usual. So be sure to follow us and subscribe to this podcast.

Also, if you have any thoughts about what you’d like to hear, you can absolutely email us at podcast@sandisavage.com. or DM me on Instagram would love, love to connect with you. See you next Tuesday and have an amazing, amazing week!

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