Thursday, July 24, 2014

Embryo Transfer for Baby #2!

Here we go!
July 22 was our first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).  We took our daughter to a friend's house, who was such a blessing to watch her for us.  Then we got to the Dr.'s at 10:30.  A little early.  The whole way there and before, I had to drink 32oz. of water.  That's a lot, in case you were wondering.  I didn't have to wonder, because I knew.  I knew when I felt the urge to do the "pee-pee" dance.  I can do a pretty mean "pee-pee" dance.  Well, the reason for the obscene amount of water is that it provides a straight path to where they need to go.  

About 30 minutes before the procedure, I took a Valium.  Doctor's orders.  Not gonna argue with that.  With all the poking and prodding that this whole process takes, I see it as a little bonus.  It made me very relaxed.  But the real reason for the Valium, aside from being a reward for being a human pincushion for a few months, is that when you have that much water, it makes the bladder contract, and the Valium prevents that. 

We watched some "House Hunters" in the waiting room, and I felt giddy.  I looked in my periphery at the other people in the room, and like I always do, I wondered about their stories.  Infertility is a tough journey, and has many origins and many different endings.  I hope their journeys through this fire-swamp end soon, and end happily.

Soon, they called us in to our room.  A room we were familiar with.  It is where I have had many ultrasounds, as well as my egg retrieval.  I like to think of it as the luxury room, as it is at least twice as big as the other rooms.  Boo-ya.  But I still had to sit on an uncomfortable table with a paper drape on my legs.  Not so Kardashian after all.

They brought in a picture of our baby.  I think this one looks a lot like me.  Ok, so it's only 5 days old--at the blastocyst stage.  But maybe this one will have some of my traits?
First picture.  Hopefully the first of many!  Technically, this is the 2nd picture of this baby.
We were stoked that the first embryo that they thawed survived, as sometimes this is not the case.  I think it is somewhere around 75%-90% survival rate.

They kept asking me if I had to pee a little bit.  They'll let you go a little bit, but I didn't really want to mess with it.  It was tolerable.  But they kept asking.  That made me think about peeing.  It was a little irritating!

After all of the talk of Niagara Falls, we had to verify our names and dates of birth and say how many embryos we were implanting and which one.  That way, we didn't end up with someone else's kid or 8 embryos or something like that.  I stand behind that protocol.
Embaby selfie!
So then they used an ultrasound and a catheter to transfer the embryo to my uterus.  The doc said it was "straight as an arrow", so good thing I held it.  When it was all done, he said it went as well as it could!  Now, that statement could be interpreted one of two ways:  If you are a "glass half-full" type of person, it means it was the best ever.  If you are a "glass half-empty" type of person, it means that's as good as it's going to get.  Haha I'm hoping for the glass half-full version!
The white dot in the middle is where the embryo is. 
I had to hang out on the table another 30 minutes or so after the procedure.  Then--and this is the best part--I was free to use the facilities.  It was glorious.
video
(Singing to the baby, working of the rest of the Valium, and trying to distract myself from nature's call.)

Doug and I grabbed a bite to eat afterward, and then picked up our little one.  We headed home where I had to be on bed rest (I know; poor me) for 2 days.  Nora was very cuddly and sweet during this time.  Maybe she knows something we don't?
Do I look pregnant yet? 

We have to wait a week or so for our first pregnancy test.  We will keep all 4 of you readers updated! ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tomorrow, Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is a big day!  Tomorrow we transfer our embryo.  In other words...I'm getting "knocked up" tomorrow (hopefully). 

I'm so excited, as is Doug, of course!  I'm not as worried as I would expect to be.  Eager to get it over with.  Anxious for the waiting to be over.  Like a kid waiting for Christmas, I can't seem to think about much else.  It was nice when we went on our vacation to Alaska, because I was nice and distracted.  But now I'm just hanging out at home with Nora, and I think about it a lot! 

I've been on Progesterone for 4 days now.  It's a little rougher than I remember.  Maybe the estrogen patches are making me more sensitive?  The first one we definitely didn't do in the right spot.  My butt was SORE for a while.  It still is a bit.  It felt like someone punched me hard right in the ol' gluteus maximus.  We figured out the placement for the subsequent injections, which have been much more bearable.  Doug really does a great job with these injections.  I could see him in the medical field if he ever wanted.

Well, I'll let you know how it goes!  Prayers appreciated.  :)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

1 week to go!

Tuesday was a busy day.  We traveled back from Alaska on the red-eye.  We arrived home around noon.  We went home to get some rest, and then had an ultrasound at 4:00.

The ultrasound went well.  My lining in my uterus is nice and thick, which is what they are looking for.  A nice thick lining makes a cozy bed for an embryo.  Then they checked to see that the ovaries are suppressed.  They had trouble finding the ovaries (again), which is a good thing, because they are smaller when they are suppressed.  They finally found them and verified that they were suppressed.  That is a good thing because if I were to release an egg, that would mess up the whole cycle.

During the ultrasound they also found a small endometrioma (sp?) on one of my ovaries.  That is a cyst caused by endometriosis, and I have had many of those in the past.  They said because it is so small, it should not be a problem.  But it does piss me off because I've been on all these hormones to keep my endo from flaring up, and here it goes anyway.

After the ultrasound, I had some blood work done.  Then I went for acupuncture.  I've been doing acupuncture treatments just about every day.  Last time I did IVF, the acupuncture appointments were more spaced out, but due to our spontaneous vacation, we've had to squeeze the appointments in to fit the entire protocol.  I enjoy the treatments, but the office is on the other side of town and I get tired of driving over there.  Just wish I would have started sooner so that I could space the appointments out more!

Yesterday, I got the results of my blood work back.  My estrogen levels were a little low, so in addition to the 4 patches of Estradiol each day, I have to take 1 Estrace pill per day.  Yesterday was also my last day of Lupron--yay!  Today is my first day of Progesterone--meh.

So, hopefully everything will look good by Tuesday, July 22.  That is my transfer day!  We are still set to transfer just 1 embryo.  Please pray for us.  :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Baseline Ultrasound

Yesterday I had my baseline ultrasound.  They wanted to make sure everything was suppressed.  They had trouble finding my ovaries.  Probably because my ovaries are jerks and are in the wrong place because of my endometriosis.  And they didn't have any eggs in them, which is a good thing.  If I ovulate, it could disrupt the whole process.  They don't have to worry about my left side producing anything, cause it's a major jerk, but they had to check.  So it was a pretty uncomfortable ultrasound.  I was sore for the rest of the day.  But nothing terrible.

I have had acupuncture every day this week.  Normally, I enjoy acupuncture.  But now it is difficult to schedule because I have to make sure I have someone to watch Nora.  And having it days in a row is not as enjoyable as having it spaced out more.  Still, it is supposed to help, and everything went smoothly with our first IVF, so I just want to keep it pretty much the same. 

I hope this post was not as boring to read as it was to write.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Dark Side...

All of this fertility treatment, while a miracle, enabling us to build our family, also has a dark side.  Also known as side effects.  The first time I had to take Lupron Depot for my endometriosis, I distinctly remember the doctor turning to Doug and saying something along the lines of, "Get ready for a roller coaster ride."  I think he said it much more respectfully, not to poke fun at me, but to really let Doug know that it was going to be a rough few months.  And it was.  It was menopause at breakneck speed, complete with hot flashes and mood swings.  I hated it. 

Fast forward a couple of years to mid-May 2014.  I unexpectedly had to have a one month dose of Lupron Depot to calm things down with my endometriosis again.  Only this time, it wouldn't be so bad because I knew what to expect.

Aside from the hot flashes, it wasn't a big deal this time.  Maybe because it was only for a month, instead of 3.  I will say that I don't think that it helped my pain from the endo, but it at least stopped my period, so that could help with some of the damage.

So I thought I was scot(?)-free.  Then I started the Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron, but not Lupron Depot).  This is a daily injection that is part of the IVF process.  It shuts down the reproductive system to allow it to be manipulated with other hormones (crazy, right?).

On day 2 of the Lupron, however, the evil Side Effect arrived.  No, not the hot flashes.  I wouldn't even call it mood swings.  Just pure evil.  Ever seen Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde?  Yeah, like that.

It happened 2 weekends ago.  My sister (also my bestie) was visiting, and we were cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast.  I went to put the griddle away, and she playfully snapped my brastrap.

I.
Freaked.
Out.

I'm not even sure of what I said (I know swearing was involved.  Probably the BIG ONE.).  Did I black out?  I don't know.  She said later that she could see it in my eyes.  Like it wasn't even me.  It was like everything that had ever made me mad in the history of ever was there in that moment.  I did it right in front of everyone, even my little niece.  Then, to make matters worse, I went and had some words with Doug for not helping clean the kitchen (so not an issue.  He was busy anyway, and cleans the kitchen more often than I do!). 

I had to go in my room to have a good cry.  I was embarrassed.  Angry at myself.  Angry at the Lupron.  Angry at my ovaries for getting me into this mess in the first place.  I think Doug came in to try to console me, but I was just so upset that I couldn't take it back.

I finally calmed down and came out and apologized to everyone.  I felt horrible.  Everyone was walking on eggshells after that, and I can't blame them.  It made me feel even worse.  My sister was kind and understanding (as always), but they did end up leaving earlier than they planned.  Not that I blame them.  I wish I could get away from myself sometimes.  I feel like the Incredible Hulk, or a werewolf who needs to be locked away.  Now I am afraid of the next time the Lupron Snake (as my sister refers to it) will strike again.  I have until mid-July and then I will be done with it.  For now. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Again!


Here we go again. Our daughter is now 15 months old. We are so blessed to have her. Even with all we went through, it has all been so worth it to have her as a part of our family. We don't want to be greedy, but we do want more children. Both Doug and I have siblings, and we cherish those relationships. We were lucky enough to have 3 embryos left, so we have decided to do a frozen embryo transfer.

Today (June 11), my medication came in. Last time, I was at my sister's house when my meds came in, and my hubby was camping.

The.
Box.
Was.
Huge.

It was filled to the brim with needles. Some very BIG needles. Some small (but needles nonetheless). And lots of complicated medications. I was overwhelmed. I sat on the floor on my blanket of fertility meds and sobbed. I scared my little niece, who saw me crying and ran to alert my sister. I watch the training videos about 20 times, and then my sister and I tried to do the first injection. It was laughable, if it hadn't been so scary.

Today's box was much smaller. Since it is a frozen embryo transfer (FET), there are no follicle stimulation medications. I'm cool with that. There are, however, 56 estrogen patches. That is new to me. This is an insane amount of patches. When women go through menopause, they use 1 patch per month. I'll be using 56 in a matter of a few weeks or so. 

It's so much easier this time, knowing what to expect with the meds.  I'm still not thrilled about the injections and the bruising and the mood swings, but I've been here before. And I'll do anything to bring my babies home. 

I'm trying not to overthink the process and get stuck in the "what-ifs". I also don't want to be naive and assume that everything will go according to plan.  I want to remain hopeful, but thankful for what I have. Because I am. And I am blessed beyond measure. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

37 Weeks Milestone

37 Weeks


We've reached a major milestone this week.  I am now considered full-term at 37 weeks.  I have been blessed with an easy and healthy pregnancy.  After all that we have been through to get pregnant, my fear was that there would be complications, or worse, miscarriage.  I know this is the sad reality for many women who struggle with infertility.

I hope that if you are struggling with infertility that my story has provided some comfort and hope.  I know everyone's journey is different, and not everyone will choose the path we chose, but there are many options out there for starting a family.  Hopefully this blog has provided some insight and perspective into In Vitro and other ARTs.

If you do not personally struggle with infertility, I hope that this blog has shed some light on a subject that is often hidden in the shadows.  Before it was our journey, I had never really given it any thought.  Now I see so many who are going through the same or similar struggles.  Please be aware of the many people in your life that are or may be struggling with the pain of infertility. 

And while I am so so blessed with the life that has been given to us, it is sometimes nerve wracking to think about "next time".  Will there be a next time?  Will we only have one child?  What about miscarriage or failed IVF?  We are so thankful for the child that we have been blessed with.  She is truly a miracle, and we can't wait to meet her.  The "what-ifs" will just have to wait, or quiet down altogether.