Friday, December 27, 2013


Big. Fat. (Fill in the blank) Negative. 


I had my beta yesterday and even though it's against my clinics policy Nurse Jenny called to let me know it was negative. I already knew in my heart but it didn't make it any easier to get the call. I have been feeling great lately. I have more energy than I have had in months and absolutely no symptoms. I knew this cycle didn't take, but yet you can't help but to hope.  My HCG was at 1.6 at my first beta 11 days after transfer. I still have to go back on Monday for my 2nd beta. I'm hoping we can schedule our WTF appt with the doctor on Monday and get in to see him soon. 

Jenny and I talked and she mapped out the next cycle for me. Basically suppression starts on Jan 15th. So I need to have my period, meet with Dr. H and he needs to clear us to move forward all before then. I am hopeful we can make that happen. I just want (ok, need) to keep moving forward. I think as long as we can do that I will be ok. But if for whatever reason we get delayed I'm afraid I will completely lose it. 

I can not believe I'm writing about starting round 2 of IVF. I can't believe I'm here, that this is my life.  It just makes me so sad. And angry. It's just so unfair. 

That's all for today. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


It's hard to believe it's been a week since transfer.  In some ways it seems like it just happened and in others this has been the longest week of my life. As we inch closer to finding out our future I am becoming a bundle of nerves. There's obviously a huge part of me desperate to know where we stand and if our little one is continuing to grow. But there's also a part of me that just wants to continue to live in the unknown rather than suffer the devastation if this cycle isn't successful. I alternate between rushing out to buy home pregnancy tests and feeling at peace with waiting all the way until our 2nd Beta on Dec. 30th to find out. At this point in time I honestly have no idea what I'll do. 

As far as symptoms I haven't had any. I had some mild cramping on days 4-6 when implantation was supposed to be occurring but honestly it could have been completely in my head. Otherwise with all the fertility drugs out of my system and just taking the PIO shots I'm feeling better than I have in a while. 

So we continue to take it one day at a time.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Too Much Time To Think

Today is 3dp3dt (3 days past 3 day transfer).  Only.  Three.  Days.  Sigh.  I am basically feeling back to normal.  The bloating is almost gone as is the cramping from the retrieval and transfer.  It makes me nervous to feel "normal" since it's been so long since I've felt that way.  But then I'm sure for the next two weeks everything is going to make me nervous.  Today I hope our sweet little embryo has made it to blast and is hopefully starting to hatch out of it's shell to prepare to implant on days 4-6.  I found this chart online and it helps me to know what *should* be happening each day.  This is perfectly in line with my clinic as they have my 1st Beta set for Dec. 26th which would be 11 days past transfer.  But then I have to wait until Dec. 30th for my 2nd Beta because of the weekend :(   Here's the kicker.  It's my clinic's policy that they don't call you with the 1st Beta results.  I haven't read of anyone that has the same policy.  Logically I know it's because they consider any level of HCG above a 5 pregnant but in order for it to be viable the numbers need to double (or in my case quadruple since it's 4 days in between).  I had originally promised myself I wouldn't test at home.  But now I just can't see how I'll be able to wait that long.  I'd like your thoughts and advice if you have any!

3-Day Transfer

Days Past
Transfer (DPT)
 Embryo Development
 OneThe embryo continues to grow and develop, turning from a 6-8 cell embryo into a morula
 TwoThe cells of the morula continue to divide, developing into a blastocyst
 ThreeThe blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell 
 FourThe blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus
 FiveThe blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation 
 SixImplantation continues
 SevenImplantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop 
 EightHuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream 
 NineFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted 
 TenFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted  
 ElevenLevels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Transfer Day - PUPO (please God)

Well much to my disbelief we made it through transfer and I am PUPO (that's pregnant until proven otherwise for those non bloggers). I feel like I've been waiting forever to say that :) When we started this cycle I remember thinking how terribly far away the actual transfer was IF we even made it to that point.  I am so grateful to report that our little one hung on and we were able to transfer a 8 cell embryo on Day 3. 

As I mentioned the clinic called the morning of transfer and asked us to come in early. We quickly finished getting ready and hit the road. We were both feeling nervous but excited with D really focusing on being positive. He's so great about that. Once we got there and signed in Jenny called us right back. She put us in the exam room with the fancy u/s machine and told us that Brian, the embryologist, would be in shortly to talk about our embryo. D loves Brian (as him and Dr. H are the only men in this joint) so it was nice to have the conversation with someone we are both comfortable with. Brian came bearing the first great gift of the day- a beautiful picture of our tiny embryo

Brian explained to us that on Day 3 they want to see it divided into 8 cells, which ours was (yeah!). He also explained they use a 3 level grading system based on fragmentation. Grade 1 would be no fragmentation. Grade 2 would be some and grade three lots of fragmentation. Ours was a grade 2 but he said it only had 20% fragmentation so it was on the high side for a 2. He confirmed several times it was a good quality embryo. I asked if he could tell us why the other eggs didn't fertilize. He did not have an explanation for us but did say he was very surprised by it. I decided not to push that issue at this time and just stay focused on our little one. 

So after Brian left (and we signed more consent forms) I striped from the waist down and then my sweet nurse Jo came in to get me ready. I had to drink a liter of water to fill my bladder because that helps to push your uterus down. Jo used an external ultrasound to check and make sure my bladder was full. Then Dr H. came in and using the vaginal u/s placed the catheter that would transport our embryo into my uterus. It was so cool to be able to see everything happening. Then Brian brought in the embryo (having us verbally confirm one last time who we were). Then Dr. H told us to watch the screen and we saw the embryo come out of the catheter to the exact spot he wanted it. I was completely unprepared for how emotional the experience would be. I couldn't help myself and whispered "Hold on tight little one" as I watched it happening. Me, D, and Nurse Jo all lost it at this point. Dr H told us this would be the first of many times we issue a similar prayer :) We waited for a few min to make sure it settled and then they took the catheter back to the lab to verify it was clear and the embryo was out. Dr H. patted my knee and shook D's hand and assured us he'd see us soon.  

We then waited 30 minutes, me snuggled in a warm blanket, with all the staff stopping in to check on us. Then I was able to get up and get dressed and pee. We left with our instructions for the next 12 days - PIO shots nightly, prenatals, steroids, and estrogen/progesterone suppositories starting the following night. Our first beta is scheduled for Dec 26 and our second for the 30th thanks to the weekend.  

I spent all day yesterday on the couch only getting up to pee. D took great care of me. However he needed to go to work today so my mom is coming to stay with me. I took today and tomorrow off work just to be safe since I had the time. 

So now begins the dreaded 2ww. I woke up at 3am this morning and couldn't fall back to sleep. I just prayed so hard that our little one is continuing to grow.  I can't believe how much I already love this tiny little organism. I pray there's a way for it to know how badly we want him or her and how much we already love. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holding on to Hope

It's been a rough couple of days as we've suffered some disappointments.  We had our retrieval on Thursday.  My ultrasound on Tuesday showed 10 follicles so I was hopeful for 10 eggs.  We arrived at the clinic for retrieval and as usual everyone was so great.  They took me back to the exam room and I changed into my gown and Nurse Jenny came in to explain the process and take my vitals and hook up the IV.  I met with the anesthesiologist and he explained that process.  As we waited on the doctor all of the staff stopped in to talk with us and say hello.  I really think we are their favorite patients :)  Then they called D to go do his part so we said goodbye.  Jenny stayed with me until it was time to take me to the OR.  Once we got in there everything happened pretty quick.  They injected the anesthesia into my IV and Jenny got me into position.  I remember telling her that I was already feeling foggy and then that's all I remember.  The next thing I knew I was waking up.  For whatever reason I was crying and asking for D.  They brought him back right away and then we waited for a few minutes until one of the nurses came in and told us they got 8 eggs.  I was a little disappointed but it was in line with my expectations so I felt good about it.  We were then sent home to wait until they called us on Friday with the fertilization report.  I didn't feel too bad leaving the clinic but was surprised at the amount of pain I was in Thurs. and Friday.  I took it easy and just kind of laid around all day.  We finally got the call around 1:30 on Friday and the news was very hard to swallow.  Out of the 8 eggs only 5 were mature.  And out of those only 1 fertilized normally.  Only 1.  I was so hoping to be able to transfer two and even have 1 or 2 to freeze.  That means if this doesn't work we have to start all over from square one.  Which is a devastating thought after everything we've been through the last 6 months.

I had myself a good cry and then decided that I wasn't going to give up on the 1 embryo we do have left.  I spent all of Friday and Sat. in a complete panic waiting for the clinic to call and tell me that the embryo had stopped dividing and growing and we were done.  Several times on Sat. I went to call the clinic to check but I was paralyzed with fear.  I finally determined that no news was good news and just chose to live in denial.  We were tentatively scheduled for transfer at 11:30 on Sunday (today).  This morning my phone rang and it was the clinic and my heart dropped.  However they informed me that they were bumping us up to 10:45am and we are on for the transfer!  I'm almost afraid to let the hope in that this might work but I know I have to be positive and have faith in our one little embryo that we have left.  I know all it takes is one.  I asked the nurse if it was still doing okay and she said that it must be if they are moving ahead with the transfer and we'll find out more from the doctor when we get there.

So here we are.  I am a hot mess of emotions......hope, joy, fear.  I know this is out of my control and all I can do is give everything I can to this one embryo with the hope that it is THE ONE.  Please keep D and I and our little one in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No shot Wednesday (kind of)

Good Morning and welcome to NO SHOT WEDNESDAY!

After 20 straight days of injections today is the first (and only) day without shots for me.  Technically we did our trigger shot today since we got up at 1:30am but I'm not counting that.  The trigger shot itself was a piece of cake.  They directed D to give it to my in my arm, which I thought was weird because everyone else seemed to do theirs in the butt.  But it worked just fine and didn't hurt at all.  I was able to fall back asleep fairly quickly and it was great not to have to wake up to an alarm for a shot this morning.  My arm is pretty sore today but I think that's a good thing meaning he got it into the muscle where it needed to go.

So today is my last day of work for the week.  I originally thought retrieval would be scheduled for Friday so I took that day off of work.  We got bumped up to Thursday and I decided just to keep my vacation day on Friday since I have the time.  So I'm wrapping things up here, having lunch with a fabulous girlfriend, and then plan on putting together a couple of dinners that we can warm up easily the next couple of days.  Retrieval is scheduled for Noon tomorrow and they want us at the clinic 45 min. ahead of time. No food or drink after midnight so that will be rough for this girl who loves to eat :)

Please say some prayers for good quality eggs and strong fertilization!  It's so hard to believe that (if all goes well) as of tomorrow afternoon we will officially have babies, made from me and D, growing!

The Art of Baby Making

Last night while flipping through the TV channels I caught some show that was comically referring to sex as baby making.  This got me thinking about our process to (hopefully) make a baby and how laughable it is that some people actually consider sex "baby making".  For the last six months my whole life has been dedicated to making a baby.  From undergoing numerous tests, blood work. and procedures to taking medications, giving up caffeine and alcohol, sticking myself with an absurd amount of needles and trying to keep my sanity in the mix of it all.  Undeniably we have put more effort, energy, time, money, and yes love, into attempting to create a baby.  While I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, I do think that there SHOULD be some effort and thought into the decision and process to have a child.

Yesterday D, who's an elementary school principal, came home from work so upset and defeated.  He had just finished a home visit for a first grader that got sent home with head lice.  He got to the house with the school nurse to find 6 kids 7 and under.  It was a 2 bedroom house with all of the kids sharing 1 room with 2 beds.  The mother basically told them that she didn't have the time or energy to wash clothes and bedding and she would just cut all of the kids hair.  The home was filthy, as were the children, and the mom was just angry and refused any help that they offered.  It's situations like this that just completely blow my mind.  There's so many good, caring people struggling so desperately to have just 1 child and then there's "families" (I use that word loosely) like this that exist.  It just all seems so unfair.  Having a child is the biggest, most important thing you will ever do in your life.  And there's just so many people taking it for granted.  

Although there's so many days when the unfairness of our situation threatens to overtake me, I'm reminded daily by it just how precious the creation of life is.  And I know I will never take what we went through for granted.  My baby making might not be traditional but it may just make me a better person and parent.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's GO Time

This morning started off with another trip to the clinic.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my fertility clinic?  Everyone there is so nice and supportive.  From the tech who draws my blood, to our sweet nurse, my patient coordinator, our insurance coordinator, and even the doctor.  I instantly feel at ease when I walk in there.  Truly like these people are the ones who can "fix" me.  Anyway my labs from yesterday came back good and my estrogen and progesterone levels were right in the middle.  This led to the decision for us to stim for one more night.  So we did the Follistim and Menopur again last night and then had a 8am ultrasound this morning  My doctor does the ultrasounds himself, not a tech, which I really like.  He informed me that we had several 20+ size follicles on each side and I was ready to go. My lining is at 11mm (they want to see it over 8) so that's looking good as well.  We met with Nurse Jenny and she reviewed the process for the trigger shot which we will do tonight (actually tomorrow morning) at 1:30am.  My retrieval is scheduled for noon tomorrow.  Honestly I can't believe those words are coming out of my mouth (or out of the keyboard).  There's such a big part of me that didn't think we'd get this far.  I can feel myself getting more and more excited and the hope building!

So now we wait (again) for Thursday.  I am so anxious to hear how many eggs they are able to retrieve and am hoping for good numbers.  I know it only takes one but it would ease so much anxiety if we had some good quality embryos to freeze.  But for right now I'm going to try and stay focused on this fresh cycle and success.

Monday, December 9, 2013

D Day

This morning I had my first ultrasound since we started the Follistim and Menopur, which was only a week ago, but seems SO much longer.  I have been so nervous about this appointment.  The unknown about all of this is the hardest part for me to deal with.  Since this is my first cycle we had no idea how my body would respond (or IF it would respond) to the meds and I've been struggling all week over anaylising every feeling in my body.  I think I had convinced myself that it wasn't working and was all in my head even though I have been feeling pretty miserable the last few days.  Well this morning we would finally find out one way or another.  The news was overall GOOD.  I had 10 follicles, which I was a little disappointed about.  I was hoping for more, but 10 is a good number considering my elevated FSH.  The GREAT news is that the follicles were a really good size!  I had a 23mm, 2 21mm, 2 18mm, 17mm, 2 15mm and 2 12mm.  I think they want them to be at least 18mm to trigger so that's great news!  My doctor is processing my lab results to check my estrogen and progestrone levels right now.  He said depending on how those come back we could either trigger tonight or do one more night of meds and have me come back for a 2nd ultrasound tomorrow with potential trigger tomorrow night.

So I'm waiting anxiously for Nurse Jenny to call with the news.  I was so scared that the ultrasound would show that the drugs weren't working and this cycle would get cancelled.  I think I had prepared myself for the worse so I'm still a little in shock that not only are we moving forward but looking to trigger much sooner than I thought.  There's still so many unknowns - how many mature eggs we will get, how will they fertilize, will we have good enough quality embryos to transfer, any to freeze?  But at least I know now that my body does respond to the fertility meds so I'll take that win for today.  Thank you all so much for the continued prayers and support.  My heart feels a little rare with all of the emotions right now.  I can't find the words to describe how badly I want this.  For myself, and for D.  And even though our journey so far as been short compared to most, I know that I will never take the gift of being a parent for granted.  I know this struggle will make me a better parent - kinder, more patient and forgiving.  I just pray that I get the chance to put these difficult lessons to use.  One more milestone down.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Poking, Proding, Needles, and Bloating

Happy Wednesday!  This week is going unbelievably slow for me so I am extra happy to hit the halfway point.  We are 2 days into the stim meds and the Follistim shots are going well.  Due to the high dosage it takes D about 30 seconds to inject all of the medicine in.  It burns a little going in but I'm fine right after it's done.  Piece of cake.  I'm still feeling pretty good overall.  Yesterday I felt like I was feeling kind of full in the stomach area.  I'm not sure if it's just in my head or what.  It's so hard not to over analyse every feeling, tweak, imaginary symptom.  I just want so bad for this to be working and honestly there's no way to know until the ultrasound on Monday.  So more waiting.  I should be a professional by now but it's still so hard for me.

I feel like I'm having a lot of highs and lows lately, which can probably be attributed to the hormone cocktails I'm on.  One minute I feel so positive that this is going to work for us and the next I'm almost paralyzed with fear that it will be a complete failure and we'll learn that not even IVF can help us make a baby of our own.  I'm doing my best to block out the negative and the fear but I think it's probably healthy to acknowledge that it's there.  This morning as I brushed my teeth I prayed, yet again, for our family and success with this cycle.  I feel selfish asking God for so much when I'm already obviously blessed.  I feel like I can only ask for the process to work, like I"m not allowed to also ask for peace, strength, and hope.  But I know in order to keep my sanity those things are just as critical.  I try to look ahead and picture what life will be like in Jan. when this is behind us and we'll have an answer one way or another and I just can't see either outcome.  It's like I'm stuck in the present and the future is so unclear.  I know this is because I'm scared of failure and also scared to hope for the best.  So I guess I'll just try to focus on one day at a time and doing everything I can each day to make this baby a reality.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Follistim Day 1

Well ready or not today is the day!  I got good news this weekend as my period starting right on time after I stopped my BCP and my blood work all came back "perfect" according to nurse Jenny.  This was a relief for me as I know if your levels aren't low enough this can delay or even cancel the cycle before it really even gets started.  So one milestone down. Tonight we start the first stimulation injections which for my protocol is Follistim.  If you are wondering what this drug is all about below is a brief description

Follistim AQ (follicle stimulating hormone) is a man-made form of a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. This hormone regulates ovulation, the growth and development of eggs in a woman's ovaries.
So for IVF follistim is used to help produce (hopefully) multiple follicles on each ovary.  In regular ovualation each month one ovary produces one follicle which grows, matures, and releases one egg.  However our goal for IVF is obviously to retrieve several eggs so we need mulitple follicles.  Come on Follistim!  Then on Wednesday we'll add in a drug called Menopur which will help the eggs mature inside the follicles.  I'll continue taking the lupron because it basically tells my brain NOT to ovulate, as the doctors want to control when that happens, which they'll do with a HCG "trigger" shot once the follicles are big enough and they believe the eggs to be mature.  So this week our schedule is as follows

Monday-Tuesday - Lupron (AM injection), steriods, prenatal, Follistim (PM injection)
Wednesday-Sunday - Lupron, sterioids, prenatal, Follistim, Menopur (PM injection)

That's 3 injections a day Wed-Sunday!  Whew!  The follistim is given in a pen that functions just like an epipen.  The needle is tiny and the only side effects I have really read about are the bloated feeling that comes with the growing follicles (which would be a welcomed side effect as that means the meds are working!).  I've heard that you can get so bloated by retriveal that your pants won't fit and you'll be uncomfortable walking.  So I'm prepared to spend this weekend hanging out on the couch in yoga pants.  Sounds pretty relaxing actually!  I've also heard that since the Follistim is refridgerated you should take it out approx. 15 min. before you give the injection to let it warm up a little bit, so I think I'll follow that advice as well.  

Oh- I almost forgot I also started accupuncture last week!  I went twice last week and will continue to go twice a week until retrival and then once a week after transfer.  I have read so many positive correlations between IVF and accupuncture and since my insurance covers 50% decided to give it a try.  The needles don't hurt (especailly compared to what we've been doing) and it's actually a nice break to just lay there and relax for 20 min.  He does 8 needles all around my stomach and I rest for 20 min. and then I flip over and he puts four in back and we wait another 20 min.  The goal is to increase the blood flow to your uterus to help with implantation.  Below is a picture!

If any of you who have been through this before have thoughts/advice for the upcoming week I would love to hear it!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good news or Bad news??

Well we made it through our weekend with no problems or issues.  My mother-in-law and I have taken our relationship to the next level now that she has stuck me with a needle. :)  She was a champ and everything went great.

However, I was thrown for a loop this morning when our hero, Nurse Jenny, gave me a call.  She explained that she had her weekly lab meeting with Dr. H. and that while he was reviewing my case he decided to up the dosage of my Follistim and start me on it a day earlier.  So my original schedule had me starting the Follistim at 300 units on Tues. Dec. 3rd.  and dropping it to 225 units on Dec. 5th.  They now want me to start 450 units of the Follistim on Mon. Dec. 2nd and drop to 300 units on the 4th.

So.  What the hell does that mean?  I asked Nurse Jenny what the doctor's reasoning was.  She explained that he increased the dosage due to my elevated FSH level related to my age  (FSH level is 10.8 and I am 33 years old).  She said to realize that I am still in the "middle" of the spectrum so it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Hers' the thing.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nurse Jenny.  She's been so patient with me and my 10 billion questions.  But honestly I'm not sure how I feel about being in the middle of the spectrum.  And while I'm glad they are being as aggressive as possible to hopefully make this work it's hard not to be negative.  I'm having nightmares of retrieval day where there are no eggs to be found.  Honestly I realize that the elevated FSH signals that I may have an ovarian reserve issue but since it was only "slightly" elevated I was hopeful that my body would respond well and we'd be able to get a semi normal amount of eggs.  With this recent news I kind of feel like I've been fooling myself and living in denial.  I mean the truth is my FSH level is higher than most women who are 40.  And while I do have age on my side and all my other blood tests came back in the normal range it's still a strong signal that this is going to be challenging for us.  I mean, hello we jumped right to IVF.  Red flag number 1 right?  So while I want to stay hopeful and positive for this cycle there's part of me that feels like I've been living in a dream land thinking there's even a chance we are going to get out of the Land of IF (infertility) on the first shot.  I think it's actually hit home that this could be a very long road ahead of us.

I actually feel better having gotten that all out of my system.  So now I will try and focus on it being a GOOD thing that they upped the medicine instead of sticking with the original plan and not getting the results we want and need.  Once again I remind myself that this is out of my control.  I have to put my faith and trust in God and his plan.  So one day at a time.  One step forward.

1 Samuel 1:27  For this child I have prayed  - 

We are taking this to a whole new level........

Friday, November 22, 2013

A new form of packing

Well the weekend is here!  And like most weekends D and I are off to visit family and friends. D will be deer hunting with his brother and dad and I'll be shopping with the girls.

Considering this cycle falls right in the middle of the holiday season I guess we better bet used to the new "extreme" packing. No more throwing a change of clothes in the bag and hitting the road!  Honestly though between my clinic and my own organization we should be good to go. I kept the mini styrofoam cooler that some of my meds were shipped in so I'll transport my lupron that needs to be refrigerated in that. Since D will be in the deer stand well before our 6:40am injection time my mother-in-law will give me the shot on Sat and Sun morning. She, like D, has spent years giving shots to farm animals so it should be a piece of cake for her. :)

So we hit the road with a little more baggage than usual thanks to the meds, but also with a lot of hope for the coming weeks. Bring on the holidays. This girl could use a little magic!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lupron Day 2

This morning was day 2 of my Lupron shot.  This one is a piece of cake, although I heard the side effects can be really bad (hot flashes, migraines, etc).  So far so good, although it's pretty early on.  I also started taking my dexamethasone steroid which is making me STARVING constantly.  I stocked up on fruit and healthy snacks so hopefully that will help.  I'm also taking my amped up prenatal vitamins and continuing with the birth control and baby aspirin.

My husband is giving me the shots and he's doing great.  This is a teeny tiny needle and I can barely feel it going in.  However I am just incapable of doing it myself.  I don't fear the pain of the needle it just makes my stomach turn to watch it go in.  This is true not only for myself but for other people as well.  But as long as I don't look I'm good to go.  So it's my husband to the rescue and he's doing great.  D grew up on a farm raising pigs and cattle and he informed me last night that it's just like giving a shot to a pig.  I'm trying not to be offended :)

The long lupron protocol that I'm on seems to stretch everything out.  Basically we'll keep doing what we are doing now until Dec. 3rd.  Which is only 12 days away but feels a little lot longer.  But on Sunday I take my last BCP then Wednesday I go in for my E2 (estrogen) level blood test and a baseline ultrasound. Then it's the long holiday weekend (I'm off Wed-Sun!) and then it's the week we start the stim meds!  So I know it will go fast.  I'm looking forward to spending time with our family and friends as a good distraction.

Today is also day 2 of no caffeine or alcohol.  My nurse told me that I didn't need to restrict either of these until we started the stim drugs.  However since this is the time we are resetting my body and putting it into a resting state I decided that it would be a good idea to also try and limit the bad things I'm putting into it.  So I've subbed out my morning coffee for green tea and I'm working hard to drink more water and eat healthy at each meal.  I also have my first acupuncture appointment next week.  I just figured for the money we are spending we might as well be "All In".  I just don't want to look back and if this doesn't work think "I shouldn't have done that"  or "I wish I would have done this".

I hope everyone is having a great week.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is struggling through infertility during this holiday season. I hope that we all can find some peace and hope.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I will wait, I will wait for you

We all know what a waiting game fertility treatment is.  And even though I am excited and anxious to get started with my first step of IVF (the lupron injections) as I look at my calendar I realize that the waiting is just beginning.  So this is my theme song for the day as I try to remember that some day, eventually, this will all be worth the wait.  However long that may be......

I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons

"Every Minute Feels Like
An Hour, Every Hour
Feels Like a Day, Every 
Day Feels Like Forever,
But I will Wait Forever
And a Day for You"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here we go!

Good news first....

I got a call from my favorite person, Nurse Jenny, this afternoon to let me know that my auto immune labs came back normal.  I had some additional tests done because elevated FSH levels can be tied to increased natural born killer cells.  If you have more of these cells than you should they can sometimes try to fight off an embryo like it's an infection.  There is a treatment for this known as intralipid infusions.  It's basically a 2 hour IV treatment that I would have to complete before transfer, after transfer and then if we conceive every 4 weeks until you reach 24 weeks.  The good news is that my auto immune labs came back normal!  One less thing to worry about.

In other news this is the big week.  On Wednesday morning we will begin the Lupron injections to further suppress my ovaries.  I will continue taking my birth control pills until this coming Sunday when I will take my last one.  Then hopefully my period starts shortly there after.  I will also begin taking a steroid on Wednesday as well (dexamethasone).

I know that I have 2 long weeks of Lupron injections ahead of me before the actual fertility injections start but to me this is the official beginning of our IVF cycle.  I am looking forward to doing more than just popping BCP pills every night.  And I'm hoping with the appointments that are thrown in during the next couple weeks the time goes quickly.

I think I am doing okay emotionally.  Although I am so hopeful that this cycle will lead to a positive pregnancy test I'm trying to be balanced and cautious.  I know there's a very good chance that the first time won't work for us and although I will be terribly disappointed I'm working hard to ensure that I won't be devastated.  Regardless of the outcome of this cycle we will know more about my body and our challenges after this cycle is complete than we do now.  So even if it doesn't work that's something positive to come out of it.  In addition I have a husband that I adore, who adores me.  I have a strong family and amazing friends to support, distract, and help me through whatever the future brings.  I have a baby girl puppy dog who brings me joy and laughter everyday.  All in all I'm one lucky girl.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No more counting dollars we'll be counting stars

"Lately I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby I've been, I've been praying hard
Said no more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars......"

Okay if you haven't heard the song Counting Stars by One Republic you HAVE to check it out

We were heading to our volleyball game last night and it was one of the rare occasions that I let my husband DJ during the drive.  He started by playing all of the major songs from our wedding - our first dance, the wedding party introduction, the recession song during the ceremony.  Honestly I was super impressed he even remembered.  I ran my choices by him when I was selecting them but it wasn't something he played a big part in.  Pretty sweet actually (he has his moments :)  Then he played Counting Stars by One Republic.  I've been super into this song lately and he commented that he liked it too and felt like this should be our theme song for this time in our life because of the opening lyrics (which are also the chorus).  I couldn't agree with him more!  We've both come to the conclusion that it's pointless to stress and worry about the money.  Our focus should be on doing whatever it takes to grow our family with the gift of a child.  So we will keep praying hard and counting stars - NOT the dollars!

That being said my giant box of meds arrived yesterday!  Which is exciting and a little scary at the same time.  I had a small moment of panic trying to figure out what needed to be refrigerated immediately and what could wait until after mixing, but a quick call to the pharmacy cleared all that up.  Honestly even though I'm not a fan of needles the last thing I'm worried about is the shots themselves.  I'm far more concerned with messing up the dosage and damaging the entire cycle.  Luckily I have my trusty calendar and my Type A mentality so hopefully between myself and D we got this :)

Count down of 5 days until the first Lupron shots!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A few of my favorite sayings

Since this process began I started a list of inspirational quotes to help me through tough days.  Here are some of my favorites

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose (we LOVE Friday Night Lights!)

May every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about

It might take a year, it might take a day, but what's meant to be will always find it's way (I like this way better than "everything happens for a reason" - BS!  This confirms that it WILL happen it's just a matter of time)

No matter how you feel.....Get Up.  Dress Up.  Show Up.  And never Give Up.  (this is my motto!)

Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What to Expect when you are NOT Expecting

1.        Expect to feel like everyone you possibly know IS expecting.
No, this isn’t really the truth but I can honestly say it does feel like it.  Even though currently none of my closest friends are expecting it seems like every acquaintance in my life IS.  My best friend’s little sister’s best friend, my co-workers (ALL of them….well almost all of them).  The girl at my gym in my group class, teachers that work for D, neighbors, extended family members, EVERYONE.  And although I know that it’s not true that everyone is expecting but me, this is how I feel.  I didn’t say it was rational but it is honest. 

2.        Expect that the only thing worse than people who are expecting is friends who are also trying (or worse NOT trying) and beat you to the punch.

 Whenever someone mentions that they know someone who is trying or thinking about trying my first and immediate thought is “I’m sure they will get pregnant before me”.  It doesn’t make me proud that I have these thoughts or the feelings that go with them.  But once again – it’s honest.  I dread the day that I find out that the last of my girls who doesn’t have kids is expecting.  I dread the day my best friend tells me her little sister is pregnant.  But mostly I dread the awful feelings of jealously and bitterness that will come with these announcements.  I am not that type of person.  I don’t want to be THAT person.  And even though deep down I really am happy for these people, who I know are good and deserving and will be wonderful parents, it's sometimes hard to find the sun through the clouds.  But I am determined to keep looking.

3.        Expect the feeling of relief/joy that you used to feel when your period arrived is replaced by disappointment, rejection, and hello again, bitterness. 

For so many years I prayed for my period to arrive each month.  Irrationally panicking days before it was due, beating myself up for taking my pill a couple hours late.  And planning on how I would break the news of an unplanned pregnancy to my family and friends.  I would exchange those years of panic to not have to go one month with the disappointment of having your period when all you want is to be pregnant.  And even though I was disappointed to get put back on birth control to prepare for our first IVF cycle there's a part of me that's been relieved not to have to deal with the disappointment of starting my period these last couple months. 

4.        Expect to lose all control of your emotions…..all of them.
Not only do the smallest problems and issues bring tears to my eyes these days but everything seems so hard to handle.  It’s difficult to care that much about small problems or issues when you are facing infertility.  But life goes on and you are expected to act accordingly.  So when your co-worker is complaining about her crazy mother-in-law you must nod and agree that she really is the worse.  You are expected to continue to function as a normal person, when deep inside your inner voice is screaming that NONE OF THIS SHIT MATTERS.  This then leads to more unexplainable tears.  It’s a vicious cycle.

5.        Expect to lose interest in things that you are allowed to indulge in when you aren’t pregnant. 

 Before we starting trying I remember thinking (and joking) about how hard it would be to not be able to drink once I was pregnant.  My husband comes from a small country town where we love to pass afternoons and evenings gathered with friends having a few beers and a good time.  We go to concerts and sporting events with tailgates and parties.  I recognized that life would not stop when I got pregnant and have watched my friends struggle through being the sober, tired, pregnant party pooper.  However every month when I’m clearly NOT pregnant I find it hard to enjoy the things that I once thought I’d miss so much when I WAS pregnant.  (Yes, I’m well aware I sound like a crazy person)

6.        And finally expect to ultimately figure out that life is not over.  
      You will survive this.  The sun will come up tomorrow.  You are stronger than you think and God has a plan for you.  Life is short and beautiful and precious.  And with each new day comes new hope for the future. 

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."
- St. Theresa

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Battle Plan

One of the analogies that I've read about in the blog world is comparing IVF to preparing for war.  If that is our analogy below is our Battle Plan.  This is the wonderful calendar that my clinic provided us for our first IVF cycle.  This calendar warmed my Type A heart like nothing I've ever seen before!  Dates!  Specifics!  Color coded timeline! A planner by nature (and admittedly a little bit of a control freak) this one piece of paper brought me so much peace and happiness.  You can see we are just 8 days out from starting our suppression meds which for my cycle will be the Lupron.  I've been back on birth control pills since Oct. to begin the suppression.  I can not wait for the 24th when I can take the last pill and officially start working on building some eggs! (fingers crossed)

Is this what a typical cycle looks like for you all?  Any tips or suggestions on how to best handle the next few weeks?

So close but so far away.....

It's only been 4 and a half months since we learned that having a baby wasn't going to be an easy road for us.  I know in the big scheme of things that is such a short amount of time but I can honestly tell you it's been the longest 4 months of my life.  As I've learned first hand and through the blog world, the waiting is one of the hardest parts about this struggle.  I feel like all I've done since this started was wait.  Wait for appointment dates, wait on test results, wait on insurance claims, wait on med orders, etc.etc.  And now just a little over a week away from what I consider the official start of our IVF cycle (which in my mind is the day I start Lupron injections) I find my patience running thin and my fear escalating.  I'm so fortunate not only to have an amazing husband who is so supportive but our families and closest friends have been great as well.  Everyone is so positive and I know their prayers and good thoughts are medicine for my soul.  But I can't help but hold on to the fear of what is to come.  I have learned through this community that there are SO many things that have to go right to even get to retrieval.  And if I am fortunate enough to make it to retrieval I'm so nervous about the outcome.  Will my body respond to the stimulation meds?  Will there even be eggs there to retrieve?  If so, will they be of good quality?  There's so many unanswered questions and while on one hand I am SO excited to get started on this journey that will hopefully lead to the start of our family, I'm also sort of afraid.  No matter what the outcome of this cycle we'll be changed forever.  Whether that change is the blessing of a baby or the grief of failure I know my heart will never be the same.  And if this cycle does fail, as so many do, I know that I'll never get back the same blind hope that I have now.  So I guess while I wait I will live in the present and try to focus on the positive and excitement I have for this cycle.  And the hope of us being one of the lucky ones that this works for the first time.  So the question becomes.....Can the light really chase away your fears?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Run Away Stork

Hello.  My name is A, and I'm an infertile. 

Like most of you never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find myself in this world.  But I'm here primarily due to an elevated FSH level which indicates my ovarian reserve is not what it's supposed to be for a healthy, active 33 year old woman. 

Like most of you in the infertile world I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to be a mom.  Just when I found the perfect man (well he's far from perfect but perfect for me :) and everything seemed to be lining up I had the rug pulled from underneath me in the form of a day 3 hormone panel.  All of my numbers were normal EXCEPT for one - the dreaded FSH.  Due to my age and some other factors our RE's (that's blog slang for Reproductive Endocrinologist) recommendation was to jump straight to IVF.  Basically the chances of success with other treatment and procedures (such as IUI) weren't that promising so rather than wasting time (which is already working against me) and money we opted to march headfirst into IVF.  I know there's so many couples out there that can't afford to try IVF so right off the bat we know we are blessed that with the help from my parents we can treat our infertility as aggressively as possible.

This blog is about our journey.  I've spent a couple months now lurking and reading other blogs wondering if I could be brave enough to speak openly about my own journey.  I've witnessed the amazing support and love that other infertiles have received from this community and am in awe.  One of my biggest struggles so far with my own experience is I feel as if no one really understands.  Even thought my husband and I have decided to keep our experience pretty private we have shared what we are going through with our immediate family and very closest friends.  All of whom have been more supportive and understanding than I could have imagined.  But, everyone has their own struggles and this is one that none of them have experienced first hand (thankfully!).  So i know it's not easy to relate and it's hard to know what to say, because let's be honest, there are no right words.

So here I am hoping that as I open up about my journey I'll find some peace in mind and heart along the way.