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Are we pregnant? Couple who did live IVF on TODAY shares their news

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By Jessica Menkhausen

Last month, as part of our #BornTODAY series, Jessica Menkhausen and Derek Manion, did an in vitro fertilization treatment live on TODAY. First Jessica had her eggs harvested at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. Following that, Manion’s sperm was injected into Menkhausen’s eggs in a petri dish and implanted into Menkhausen. Here, Menkhausen tells TODAY Moms how she has been feeling since the IVF treatment and the couple finds out: Are they pregnant?

Here goes the hard part: the day we find out whether or not we’re pregnant.

The preparation of my body has continued since the egg aspiration and embryo implantation, which aired live on TODAY last month. We have continued the nightly progesterone injections. Progesterone is a natural hormone that is released by the ovaries to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. In our case, we have to supplement my body with this hormone since it is not being produced as it usually would.

Since I am terrified of needles, my fiance Derek has been giving me the injections. Once again, he proves to me that he has strength where I am weak. Assuming a positive pregnancy test, these progesterone injections will continue another eight weeks until the beginning of December. I have to remind myself that the nightly needle pokes will be well worth the anticipated outcome, which is of course a baby (or two!) in our arms.

Over the past two weeks, Derek and I have remained very positive about the procedure and our chances of becoming pregnant. However, now that it has come down to the wire, there are many more mixed emotions involved. While I’m excited we are finally learning the results, I also have anxiety and angst.

Derek told me his stomach was in knots, and I could empathize. I was nervous to the point of feeling a shortness of breath. Also, the what-if analysis had begun in my head again. What if the IVF procedure did not work? What if the hormones levels are not where they should be? Since we have shared this whole experience and the whole IVF process with everyone, our sorrows would be known by everyone, not just the two of us.

Derek and I have come a long way since our first consultation with Dr. Sherman J. Silber, a world-renowned IVF specialist and director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis. In the beginning both of us had a roller coaster of emotions, from being joyous about the hope Dr. Silber gave us to being terrified about the prospect of failure. I think back to how naive we were to the whole IVF process in the beginning, and now I feel like we are a wealth of information about every aspect of IVF. I joke about being an IVF professional now. Fortunately, we do feel as if we are almost at the finish line. However, we realize that even though we are almost at the finish line, we could still fall down, and in that case have to get back up, dust ourselves off, and begin again.

In our initial discussion about the decision to do IVF, we told each other and some of the medical staff at Dr. Silber’s office that we will only try IVF once. I am fearful of facing the disappointment and of continuing to set myself up for failure. As I have said before, two precious unsuccessful pregnancies left me depressed and very skeptical about my ability to have my own children. However, we have decided that if the IVF does not work this time we will try again. This decision has taken some of the pressure off of us.

This whole process has been an amazing journey for both of us. I am certain that no matter what news we get, together we will be able to endure.  

The moment finally came and we found out: We are pregnant!

Since learning of the positive results, we are absolutely ecstatic. We were both so overcome by emotion that we immediately began crying tears of joy.  

Derek has already begun to pick out both girls and boys names. Even though he says the baby’s sex does not matter to him, I know he would like a boy (or two!). I myself am hoping for a girl and a boy, the best of both worlds I would say.  

I know that the next three months are a very critical time period for the pregnancy, so no more fast food for me. Ultimately were are praying for a safe pregnancy and healthy babies.