This blog is chronicling our journey through Invitro Fertilization.

We are Dave and Sarah Brakke. We met and started dating in February of 2000 while we were both Juniors in High School. We have been together ever since. We went to college together at the University of Minnesota, and graduated in 2005. We were married in November of 2004. After graduation, we moved first to Austin, MN, and then to Richmond, VA in 2007 where we stayed until May of 2012 at which point we moved back to Minnesota in the hopes of starting our own family near our parents. Throughout this time period we changed jobs, played lots of warcraft (among other games), lost significant amounts of weight by changing our lifestyles, started our own free-lance business while Dave still worked in news and started going back to school. We grew together and individually as people. Sometimes it brought us together, and sometimes it pushed us apart. Par for the course, I suppose, as far as relationships go. It is cyclical.

The baby journey actually started in April of 2011 when I hit my goal weight of 125. I had lost 115 pounds (for the record, I’ve maintained this weight-loss within ten pounds of my goal for four years to date). I was healthy, happy, motivated and ready to start what I had been dreaming about since about year two of our marriage. That July, I went in for a preconception appointment as I had not been to a doctor for a physical or anything for about two years – no one had seen me other than allergies or a minor cold since I had been losing my weight. I checked out great -having an abnormal pap smear just that once, which has since always been normal.

renfaireWe continued to try by charting, temping, using ovulation kits, and just really becoming SUPER familiar with my cycles and my body. I continued to be hopeful and continued to do what we needed to do when we needed to do it. When we moved back to Minnesota, a little over a year after beginning our journey, we had to take on our own health insurance, as we moved back without first attaining jobs. This concerned me because they would not cover pregnancy or labor for at least 18 months after being on their insurance plan. Little did I know at the time that it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. In February of 2013, Dave got a job at the St. Cloud Times. We bought a house and moved out of my Grandmother’s basement and up to St. Cloud (we had both had jobs during this time, just not full time permanent ones). We continued our endeavors of pregnancy in vain.

In August of 2013, Dave had a physical and had everything checked out. This included hormones, and a semen analysis. The doctor actually said that there would be no way we would ever conceive without IVF. He proceeded to go to a urologist, and had yet another SA. The urologist told him that sure he had a slight issue with morphology and motility, but they were still within the normal ranges – this would be a constant finding throughout the next two years. At this point, the urologist said that I should begin having myself all checked out. So I had my physical in December of 2013, and then got the first few appointments set up with a NP. I had several vials of blood drawn, and hormones tested. They (even though I’ve always shown that I have ovulated, and they had no signs that I was not ovulating) had a diagnosis of an-ovulation. She suspected low hormone issues (because she had me testing at inappropriate days for my individual cycle). Thus, I was put on Clomid for four months, and Femara for two. We never did get pregnant.

We had our first and only IUI in June of 2014. At this point, (after the procedure) they said that the sperm looked…not good. They would not work with us again until we had another SA. We did. That August. The urologist found nothing of note. Still saying things looked fine and within normal ranges. At this point, as you can imagine, we were very upset. I decided I had had enough. I did not track my cycles again until October. I refused to have anything to do with a doctor, I simply needed a break, as did Dave, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

In December of 2014, we tried preseed and the stork for two cycles. Finally, we decided to heck with it and set up an appointment with the Center for Reproductive Medicine in March of 2015. From there, things have gone very quickly. I started birth control to begin my first IVF cycle in April. We were approved for the Attain IVF program and have been enrolled for three fresh and three frozen cycles with ICSI (as Dave had a sperm assay performed and we found out this was THE issue; they cannot penetrate the eggs). I had several blood tests, genetic testing, and an ultrasound to determine quality of eggs…I also had an HSG to make sure my tubes were clear. I have just started lupron as of yesterday, the 21st of April.