Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Transfer Day!

Well, the big day finally arrived!  Today was the day we went in for embryo transfer.  Our appointment was at 2:15, so we spent the day getting groceries, changing the oil in my car, going to the bank, etc. so that we wouldn't have to worry about those things while I'm on bedrest.  We also hit up a thrift store and Lowe's, where we purchased a couple of clearance items on the cheap. :)

We have both been beyond excited today.  Heck, we've been excited since we started the IVF process June 6th!  I made my hair all pretty, like it was a date or the first day of school or something.  Then as we were getting ready to go, we reviewed the instructions, and it said NO hairspray, scented lotion, or deodorant.  Oops.  So after we went shopping we both had to take showers.  No cute hair for me :(  Haha.

We had a nice lunch, and then I had to drink 32 oz. of water in 45 minutes, 45 minutes prior to the procedure.  Here is what that looks like:
This plus a third of this.  I was dancin'.

If you know me at all, you know that "holding it" is not my strongpoint.  I don't prefer feeling like I have to "go".  But, alas, I had to hold it from 1:00 until the procedure was over at 3:15. 

So when we got to the doctor, I took a Valium (doctor's orders; not for recreation, lol!), which helped a bit with the dancing.  At 2:15, they called us back and did a quick ultrasound to make sure everything was as it should be.

Then we discussed how many embryos we wanted to place.  For my age group, the recommendation is 1 or 2, depending on quality of the embryos and the health of the uterus.  We've been reading some new studies that have come out that say that putting one in instead of two is healthier if it's feasible, because having twins can increase the risk for ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, premature birth, etc.  And the doctor said that usually his patients that end up with twins hate him for a couple of years, haha.

They grade the embryos on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the best and 5 being the worst (however, an embryo with a rating of 5 can become a perfectly healthy baby; there is just a stronger chance for success with a 1)  We had one embryo that was a 1 on the scale.  Therefore, he made a strong case for going with one, and we agreed, so that's what we did.
Here is a picture of two of our babies.  The one on the left is the one we transferred today.  The one on the right will be a younger sibling someday. :)
  The procedure was really no big deal.  We had to verify and verify and verify our names and dates of birth to make sure we were the right people, and sign some paperwork.  I was awake for the whole thing and Doug was in the room.  It was pretty emotional, in a good way.  It only took about 15 minutes for the actual transfer, and then I had to lay there and wait.  That was the hardest part, with 10 gallons of water in my belly.  Doug and I cried and prayed afterward, thanking God for all He's done and who He is, and asking Him to continue to grow our baby healthy.  

I have to be on bed rest for the next couple of days, which I have been practicing for my whole life ;)  Doug made a delicious eggplant parmesan for dinner tonight.  My friend made a keen observation that we ate eggplant on the day of our EGG PLANT procedure.  Har har!

All in all, we are SO stoked about all of this.  For all intents and purposes, I am now technically pregnant, something I have never been able to say before in my life.  I will have to take a pregnancy test in the next couple of weeks, so I'm praying that baby holds on and makes itself cozy!
Ok, really hard to tell here, but this is the transfer.  The little whale-shaped white spot is the uterus, and the tiny black dots inside of that are little air bubbles that are on either side of the embryo.  You can't see the actual embryo though.  Hopefully soon!

This process has been hard, and it's still not over, but it's been so cool to see God's grace in all of this.  Even with all the disease that is in my body, my uterus has remained untouched and healthy, praise God!  With only one functioning ovary, I had 8 eggs, a pretty good number, considering!  And even the doctor was surprised about how many of those eggs actually fertilized.  Again, all God!  And to have what he called a PERFECT embryo is so awesome!  God has been orchestrating everything to go so smoothly, and I pray that continues!  But we know that whatever happens, it is part of His perfect plan. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Waiting for Step 2

This has been a very busy, exciting couple of weeks!  A quick update:

As mentioned in the last post, the egg retrieval was a success, and the doctor was able to get 8 eggs from me.  Doug's numbers were much, much, higher ;)  Haha.  So that was on Thursday.  Friday morning, we called to find out how many eggs were able to be fertilized...FIVE!    Don't worry; it's very typical that not all of the eggs were able to be fertilized.  Five is a good number to us; way better than zero, especially considering that all of them came from my right ovary.  We are so happy!  So now we're joking that I'm eating for five and that I'm long-distance pregnant.  Har har.

The doctor was thinking I'd have to do a 3-day embryo transfer (which is usually done in cases where the eggs aren't very healthy or there aren't very many eggs), but we are actually able to do a 5-day transfer.  So Tuesday's the big day!

As always, we appreciate your prayers.  Please pray that the babies would continue to grow healthy and strong, and that my body would also be healthy and ready to receive them.  We know God can work miracles; He's already done (at least) 5 just this week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

IVF Egg Retrieval

Wow!  Today was quite exciting.  Today we got to find out how productive the medication has been at maturing eggs for our IVF cycle.

July 17 at 11:15pm sharp, Amanda was given her HCG trigger shot to finalize the maturation of the eggs for today's retrieval  (I could be a nurse--I did awesome; ask Amanda).  I (Doug) had to be present at the Dr.'s office at 8 am today for my share of the procedure, which is quite the breeze compared to what Amanda has had to go through.  Amanda had to be present at the Dr.'s office at 9:45 am so she just came along. Mind you she had not eaten breakfast or anything since 9:30 the night before.  For those that know Amanda well, she does not skip her breakfast :).

At 9:15am Amanda took her medication for the procedure (Precocet and Valium). 

Within 15min you could tell the medications had set in.  We were sitting in the waiting room and Amanda just started cracking up laughing out of nowhere.  So I asked her what was up she said "I am looking for a 'nerd face'".  What does that even mean?  The receptionist was even laughing at her and asked if the meds had hit. 

She was taken back into a room for prep with an IV.  More giggling...

Not so fun; they tried her hand first with no luck (the needle was too large for her vein).  The second stick they got her in the arm.  By that time another nurse came to get her to take her to the retrieval room.  I had to leave, because they put her under to do the egg retrieval.

I stayed in the waiting room while the procedure was happening.  I must have looked anxious because the other Doc at the practice came out to ask if I was ok.  Anyways, the retrieval was a success,  they were able to retrieve 8 eggs.  Now we wait until tomorrow morning to find out fertilization status and whether the transfer will be Sunday (3 day transfer) or Tuesday (5 day transfer).

Thanks everyone for the prayers and well-wishes!  We'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Crazy Week

So, I keep trying to upload some videos, but with no success.  Ah, well.

Well here's the update.  We are in full swing with the IVF process.  I've been on Lupron since June 7.  I started the gonadotropins (say that five times fast) last weekend (July 7).  Basically, gonadotropins are hormones that make many eggs mature in my body, rather than just one.  Right now, the doctor thinks I have between 6 and 8 eggs that are the right size.  They are all on my right side.  He said that there may be some on the left, but he can't see them.  Some women have up to 20 eggs.  The more the merrier, as far as eggs go!  So he's been monitoring my progress almost every day through ultrasounds and blood work, and while it's not all perfect, so far so good!

Tomorrow, we go in for another ultrasound to make sure things are still progressing.  Hopefully, they will have me do the HCG shot (another hormone that basically finalizes the maturation of the eggs).  Then I get a day off on Wednesday, and then they should be doing the egg retrieval on Thursday!  It's so crazy that this is finally our week!

We are really praying that this is successful, and that we would be blessed with a child.  Thank you all for your kind words, and prayers, especially.  I will try to keep this blog updated, and hopefully will have good news soon!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My First Shot

So on June 6, we saw the doctor for some final tests before we began IVF.  Long story short, the tests results were good, so we were sent to the IVF coordinator, who gave us a calendar which laid out each day of IVF.  I had no idea the amount of shots, tests, and appointments that we would have! 

The doctor put me on an extended regimen of Lupron, which basically shuts off communication from my brain to my reproductive system so the doctor can "drive".  He wanted me to start right away, so he had the medication overnighted.  We were going to my sister's for the weekend, so we had to have it sent there.  Furthermore, Doug was going on a camping trip, so it was up to me to do the first shot myself.

When the package came in, I had a nervous breakdown.  The box was fairly large, and was full of all the injectables that I would have to take.  I just had this overwhelming sense that I was in way over my head.  Doug is usually the voice of reason, but he was out of cell phone range.  I just sat on my sister's living room floor, crying, with all the medication spread out before me.  And this was ugly-crying.  I knew that I was out of control when I heard my 4-year-old niece telling my sister, "Uh, mom, she's crying."  I started to pull myself together, so as to stop freaking my niece out. 

The dreaded meds!  Dun dun dunnnnn!
My sister came downstairs to my rescue.  She helped me sort through the medication, determining what was what, and what should be refrigerated.  She helped me decipher the code of instructions and watched the instructional video with me (that's right.  To teach me how to inject myself with needles, they had me watch a video on my own.  Seems like an effective teaching strategy.  Not.) 

Then, the clock struck, and it was time to get this show on the road.  My sister and I were both nervous, and looked like a couple of dummies with needles.  No one should have allowed us to perform this task.  First, I iced the injection site on my leg.  I couldn't ice it for long, because my hand started getting frostbite.  I sanitized the top of the vial, put the needle into the vial, and injected air into it.  Then I loaded the needle with 20 units of Lupron.  Next, Michele was to give me the alcohol swab to swab my leg (see, she helped), but we were in such a frenzy that she threw it in the trash.  We both laughed at how ridiculous we were being.  At least she had been enthusiastic about throwing it away!

Finally, it was time to do the deed.  I counted, "One...two...three..........four..." I'm not sure what I got to.  But I was probably supposed to stop at 3.  Oh well.  When I got up enough courage (probably at 25 or so), I injected it into my leg.  Not gonna lie; it stung.  But I did it!  When I was done, my sister and I jumped up and down like a couple of doofuses (doofusi?).  We were so proud of ourselves.  Dorks.

Today I will give myself my 23rd shot of Lupron.  I have to say, it has gotten much easier, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be.  One trick is to hold the ice with a towel so your hand doesn't freeze off.  That's helped.  Also, just stabbing it in quickly helps.  I have had a couple of days where I just can't seem to stab it in my leg the way I am supposed to, so I gingerly prick my leg about 3 or 4 times.  I know it's stupid, but it's just some mental block that I can't seem to get past.  The other thing I've learned is to inject the medicine quickly and steadily.  I feel like a pro now.  Tomorrow I go down to only 5 units of Lupron a day, which will be a cake walk.