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!