Thursday, December 25, 2014

Yet to Come

It's here again. Merry Christmas my dear, sweet friends. It makes my heart so happy to know that so many of you are celebrating this year feeling more complete, with more hope, than you were last year. And while I am so inspired by those of you who manage this journey with grace and unwavering positivity I started this blog to be true to myself and hopefully help other women who are feeling the same as me know they are not alone. 

This has not been an easy holiday for us. It's the 1 year anniversary from our first IVF cycle (BFN) and 3 fresh cycles and 4 transfers later we are struggling with the same feelings and questions. The adorable Christmas cards, the excited squeals of children big and small. It's seems Christmas time is over flowing with constant reminders of the giant hole in my heart. Which always leads me back to the question "Will that ever be us?"  

We are so blessed to be celebrating our second Christmas with my (younger) brother in law and his sweet girlfriend. She and her son have been a wonderful addition to our family. They've taken their relationship slow integrating her son into our family. This is the first major holiday we've gotten to spend with him and it's amazing how much joy and laughter he has brought. And while I adore him it's been so hard to see the longing in my husbands eyes as he plays on the floor with him and his trains.  It's been difficult to watch my beloved mother in law bloom in the roll of grandma. Knowing I haven't, and maybe never will, be able to give her that gift. 

And while my heart is feeling battered and bruised I know I have much to be thankful for. Toping the list is my amazing husband, family and friends. So today o will be thankful for what I do have and know in my heart that the best is yet to come. 

Merry Christmas Friends! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Time of Peace

I logged in to check blogs today and was bombarded by good news.  A donor embryo match for one friend, a graduation to her OB for another.  And a long awaited transfer for a very special girl.  As I was reading all of the good news I felt so full of hope.  For these beautiful, strong women.  For myself.  I haven't had that feeling in quite a while.  2014 has been a rough one for me, but for many of my blog friends it's been the year they've been waiting for.  And while I've struggled with my faith, my hope, and my perseverance this year the success my friends have found continues to fill me.  Their strength motivates me to not give up.  And their grace makes me want to be a better person.  So thank you to all of the strong, amazing women of this community.  For being my strength and my hope when I couldn't find my own.  With the holidays quickly approaching (which we all know is NOT an easy time) I am surprised to find myself at peace with our situation.  No, 2014 was not our year.  But 2015 just might be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Will the Waiting Ever End

Hello blog world.  I am still here.  I am still reading and following and cheering and praying for all of you.  But my story seems to be on pause.  I had my 1 month follow up from the Lupron Depo shot.  I did not get the news I wanted to hear.  While the inflammation has improved the doctor decided to do another month just to be safe.  Now logically I realize that it's ALWAYS better safe than sorry.  And I most definitely want my body to be in the best possible condition for transfer.  So, while my mind knows this is the right thing to do I can't help but feeling so......lost.  You see my clinic is cycling at the end of Jan. due to the holidays.  And since Feb. is a short month they aren't having a cycle in Feb. just early March.  Which means we'll have to wait until March for our FET.  March.

That.  Feels.  Like.  Forever.

Once again, logically I know the time will go quickly.  But emotionally I feel like I can not take one more second of waiting.  This month marks a year since our first IVF cycle and a year and a half since our diagnosis.  I know there's so many of you who struggled for much longer.  But my heart is so ready for this to be over.  I'm tired of waiting.  Tired of watching everyone else get pregnant and have babies while I sit on the sidelines.  Tired of seeing the hurt and want in my husband's eyes.  Tired of feeling broken.

I know I just have to continue to push forward.  To take each day as it comes and get through it.  I'm trying to convince myself that this IS going to work in March.  So I can hold out until then because it will finally be our time.  But that's so hard to believe after everything we've been through.

And what a depressing post this has become.  So let's think about some positives.  I have exactly 10 days of work left for the YEAR!  So I know that the month of December will fly by.  We are heading to Nashville with two other couples at the end of December so that's a nice get away to look forward to.  (PS - I <3 NASHVILLE!).  I survived Thanksgiving without any major meltdowns (yeah me!).  And the freezing cold Midwest weather means lots of snuggle time in front of the fire with D and the sweet baby girl Chloe.  For now, that will be enough.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Journey

This past month I have been contacted by a couple people that are new to this world of infertility.  And upon their requests I've tried to help them start to navigate their own personal journeys.  This has proved to be a very difficult job for me.  What do you tell someone that is just starting out?  I know there's a lot of people who have been on this road longer than I have.  And I know others who's path has been more rocky.  That being said after three fresh IVF cycles, 4 transfers (looking at number 5), one early  miscarriage, and one chemical pregnancy I feel as if I am a Veteran.  I know this process has changed me.  And I look back at some of my early blog posts and I barely recognize that girl so full of hope, so naive, and so utterly clueless about what was yet to come.

How do you educate someone without scaring them?  How are you honest about what to expect without crushing their hopes?  These have been tough questions for me.  The the last thing I want to do is to scare or deflate someones hope, but there is part of me that wished someone would have sat me down and told me what to expect.  Not only about the tests, the drugs, the side effects, the appointments, the timing.  But that this process is HARD.  Not only emotionally, but physically.  It's hard on your brain, and your heart.  Hard on your friendships and your marriage.  Hard on your spirit.

How do you prepare someone to constantly feel like they are being tested, judged, and deemed not worthy.  That late at night as they lay in bed unable to sleep (whether it's from one of the many drugs or just from regular old worry) you'll wonder if it's truly just not meant to be.  That after every failed cycle you will question your doctor, your faith, yourself.  That once you know (or accept) that there's a problem or issue it quickly consumes you.  And reminders that never used to cause you to blink will become all you see.  

How do you tell someone the pain that goes hand in hand with being left behind.  Undoubtedly along this journey there will be others who reach YOUR goal before you do.  Family members, friends, co-workers, even perfect strangers.  And each time you hear that news it feels like a piece of your heart is chipped away.

These are the thoughts that went through my head as I tried to compose an email back to one of these sweet girls.  And suddenly it hit me.  That although I think all of us can say that we've experienced most, if not all, of what I outlined above there's something else that I know, without a doubt, that we all experience.  And that's the strength to go on.  To keep trying.  To never give up.  So instead of telling her about the potential heartache, the stress, the pain, and the worry that lay ahead of her, I told her that she is strong.  Stronger than even she herself knows.  And that her strength will be tested.  But she WILL survive.  No matter where this path takes her there is a destination and she needs to focus on that and believe that she will get there.  I didn't sugar coat it.  I didn't tell her everything will be alright.  Because there will be days when it's not I can almost guarantee.  I simply told her that she has what it takes to get through.  I hope that is enough.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Another Month

Happy Halloween everyone. Another month has past. I haven't written much lately because there just hasn't been anything to say. We've had so many exciting things happening in our community the last few months. And I am absolutely thrilled about that. I have been so filled with hope and so thankful for the amazing miracles that have been happening. However here I am still not pregnant, still no baby, still waiting. Not very exciting and I kind of feel like a broken record. 

Yesterday would have been my due date from my first positive cycle. I mostly just felt numb all day. It's hard to believe that if I wouldn't have miscarried we would be parents right now. Hard to believe because in this moment that seems SO far away. It's also hard not to feel sad today. As I see all of the little cuties dressed up for the holiday I can't help but wonder if we will EVER have our own little one to dress up in adorable costumes and hold my hand as we walk from house to house. Right now it just feels like we are never going to get there. 

On a positive note my side effects from the Lupron Depot haven't been terrible. Headaches and some hot flashes but I can't really complain. I just pray it's doing what it's supossed to. I don't go back for the follow up hysteroscopy until the week of thanksgiving. If everything is looking good then we'll be cleared for transfer in Jan. If my uterus is still inflamed he could do another shot and we'll have more waiting. 

January feels so far away even though I know the time will go fast especially with the holidays. And considering what a crappy year 2014 has been for us I'm a little glad we aren't cycling until 2015. I can only hope and pray it will be our year for a baby of our own. 

So I'm here. Just waiting. Your blogs and good news keep me going on days when I want to give up. So thank you my sweet girls for simply being you and willing to share your stories.  


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Roller Coaster

This week has been a complete roller coaster of emotions.  Thanks to all of you who reached out with advice or to check and see how the consult with Dr. Schoolcraft went.  I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised.  I think I had prepared myself for the worse based on everyone's input.  I'm not sure if I caught him on a good day or if I just pumped him up to be SO harsh in my mind that he couldn't live up to it :)  Either way I'm happy to report back that he was very helpful and patient with us.  As many of you had warned me he wouldn't talk protocol with me at all.  But he did say based on my file he felt "optimistic" that he could help us.  Obviously that opinion will be influenced by my ODW (one day workup) and the results of the tests CCRM would run.  He did say that for us he'd like to also run the Beta-3 Integrin test as well as Karyotype (Chromosome Analysis) for both D and myself.  For me the main thing (and most disturbing) that I got out of the conversation was his explanation of their genetic testing.  At CCRM they do CCS testing on your embryos on day 5.  Then they are frozen and your transfer is a FET.  At my local clinic when we did genetic testing with our last cycle they took the biopsies on Day 3 and we had the results on Day 5 for a fresh transfer.  It was nice not to have to wait another month for transfer but the information that Dr. Schoolcraft shared with me on the Day 3 testing was very concerning.  He basically said when you choose a cell to biopsy on Day 3 the embryos are only composed of between 6-8 cells.  And there's no way to distinguish between the cells that are going to be the baby and the cells that will develop into the placenta.  If they end up taking one of the cells that is destined to be the baby then they are FATALLY damaging the embryo.  Yeah, you read that right.  What this means for us is our grade 1 "perfect" embryo that we transferred last cycle very well could have been damaged due to the testing.  And the two remaining that we have frozen could be the same story.  Wow.

Now while obviously I was VERY upset by this, the small silver lining (if I'm forced to find one) is I was certain there must be something seriously wrong with me in my uterus for our genetically normal grade 1 embryo not to result in a pregnancy.  But basically Dr. S was saying that he thinks it was the damage from the biopsy.  Which also explains why two of our "normal" embryos never developed to the blastocyst stage and arrested.  At CCRM they do their genetic testing on day 5 when the embryo consists of around 60 cells and the outer ones are clearly visible as the "placenta" cells.  He backed this logic up with a series of studies that were done by an independent company.  Ouch.

We wrapped up the conversation by him recommending that we move forward with transferring our two remaining embryos and to call to schedule my ODW if that cycle is unsuccessful.  Which brings me to meeting #2 of this week.  My post-op follow up with Dr. H  from my hysteroscopy at my local clinic.

I thought a lot about what to say (or not to say) to Dr. H. regarding what I had learned from CCRM.  I ultimately decided not to bring up the genetic testing with him.  1.  What's done is done.  2.  I'm sure he has his own studies and logic about why they would do testing on day 3, and honestly no matter what he told me I wasn't going to buy it.  I recognize that there's still a good chance that they biopsied a "placenta" cell in our 2 frozen embies and if that was the case then they would be "normal" embryos that could result in a pregnancy and God willing our take home baby.  However if this cycle is unsuccessful we've already decided to move forward with CCRM as soon as possible.

So when I met with Dr. H he showed me the pictures from my hysteroscopy of the two small fibroids he found and removed.  This part I was prepared for because he had told me about them right after the procedure.  The part I wasn't prepared for was him to tell me that there was "inflammation" in my uterus.  Based on that he wants to throw me into menopause for a month using  a Lupron Depo injection.  So all those thoughts from the night before about how it might not be my uterus went out the window.  On top of that obviously a month of menopause would push our transfer from Dec. to Jan.  Sigh.  I realize in the big scheme of things one month is nothing.  But it's still hard to swallow.

I've talked to a couple other girls who have gone down this path with the Lupron Depo and both were successful in their next transfers.  I'd be interested to hear from the rest of you if you have any thoughts or input.

So roller coaster of emotions.  I'm just trying to remind myself to take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Will Always Wonder



Today is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Day.  As I sit here with tears streaming down my face trying to decide what to write I am overwhelmed.  Today I honor and mourn so much loss.  All of the embryos from my 3 IVF cycles.  The 5 embryos that we transferred that didn't implant.  The 1 that tried so hard, but couldn't make it.  And finally the 1 that I carried for 7 short weeks.  My due date for that sweet baby is just 15 days away.  How fitting that it fall in the month of October when we participant in not only this day, but Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Awareness Month.  

It's hard not to wonder about all of the babies I have lost, especially the one I carried the longest.  For those short weeks I spoke to that child endlessly.  I hoped, and planned, and celebrated and worried.  And I dreamed.  Oh how I dreamed of holding that child.  Touching his sweet face, or her perfect lips.  Seeing my husband hold him or her in his arms and finally see the hurt disappear from his eyes.  But for us and so many other couples our dream, our miracle, ended in heart break.  1 in 4 couples experience miscarriage or the loss of an infant or child.  No, we are not alone.  



In honor of all of our lost babies I encourage you to light a candle tonight between 7 and 8 and participate in the worldwide Wave of Light.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Back Up Plan

If you've been following my blog for a while most of you have figured out that I'm a girl who loves a plan.  Not only plan A, but I prefer to have plan B and C on the back burner ready to go.  I know some people view this as being a pessimist and I've even had people say that looking beyond and planning for the next cycle could negatively affect the outcome of my current cycle.  But for me it eases my anxiety to know in my mind what our next step will be.  It gives me hope to know that we can/will keep moving forward regardless.  That being said I am praying so hard that this FET in December results in our take home baby.  I am NOT discounting this cycle and am hopeful that our prayers will be answered.  But it's my nature to look ahead which is why we have our phone consult with Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM tonight.  

I think I am as prepared as I can be for our meeting.  I have my list of questions and also the knowledge not to really expect any answers at this point.  I've basically come to terms with the fact that this is the first step of many IF we decide to/have to go down this road. 

Tomorrow we have our post-op meeting with Dr. H from my hysteroscopy.  I looked and realized that I never posted about our phone conversation a couple days after surgery.  He informed me he did find and remove two small fibroids during the hysteroscopy.  He biopsied both of them and they came back fine.  While I have a small amount of hope that removing them and cleaning out my uterus could help, I've definitely learned enough to know that I don't think they were the real cause of our issues.  For now I'm looking forward to getting a fresh perspective on our case and hoping for the best.  Big thanks to Jessah  and Aubrey for their CCRM insight!  

Thoughts and prayers with Allison, her family, and baby Rowen.  And please throw out an extra prayer for my sweet Amanda and Suzanne who both have exciting events happening this week!  Sending you both love and support.  


Friday, October 3, 2014

No news is good news?

Is no news good news?  I think that is generally the rule but when you are in the land of IF no news just seems to equal anxiety.  I had my hysteroscopy on Wednesday.  I believe all went well.  I vaguely remember Dr. H. coming in to talk to me as I was waking up from anesthesia.  He said all went well.  He did actually go out and talk to D in the waiting room.  But D (being a man) didn't have a lot of information for me.  Dr. H explained before the procedure that he would take 3 biopsies from the general area of implantation.  If for some reason he found something unexpected he would take action and take several more biopsies.  He communicated to D that he just took the three as planned.  We won't get the results from those biopsies until Monday.  I did send him an email yesterday afternoon asking for a recap of the procedure.  He promises to get back to you within 24 hours so I should have some confirmation by this afternoon.

Providing he didn't find anything during the procedure I believe our plan is for a FET in early December.  We do have a phone consult set up with Dr. Schoolcraft from CCRM on Oct. 14th.  We've had our records sent over, completed all of the online surveys and forms and are all set.  I'm anxious to see what he has to say about our case.  Any of you CCRMer's I'd love to hear from you so I know what to expect during the initial phone consult.

So outside of that it's just normal life.  I have started to write a couple posts and realized I just don't have much to say.  Sadly the fight has become the norm for me.  While I still struggle with all of the feelings that go along with infertility (guilt, sadness, pain, anger, etc. etc). I've basically gotten used to it.  There's good days when I think of our two beautiful frozen embryos and I'm filled with hope.  And there's bad days when I feel like I will NEVER be pregnant and this fight will never end.  But I guess as I'm back in The Waiting Room it's one day at a time.

If you have a few seconds today hop on over and visit my girl Amanda and give her some love.  It's one of those hard days for her and we've all been there.

Even though I haven't had much to say I'm still checking in with each of you everyday and following along.  It brings me so much comfort to know I'm not alone and there's so many wonderful women I can turn to that truly understand what I'm going through and are always there for me.  I'm so grateful for each and every one of you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Call

Well in this case it was The Text but the concept was the same.  Just to give you a little background I'm in an out of state wedding on Sept. 27th.  The bride is a close girlfriend that I work with.  We started with our company at the same time and her and I and another girl became very good friends.  They both got relocated with the company but we have stayed in touch and we travel together 3-4 times a year.  Our other girlfriend was married in May.  She is also in the wedding.  I filled the two of them in about our situation in Feb. when I had to miss her bachelorette party due to retrieval for my 2nd IVF.  So they know what's up and are very supportive but respectful of our privacy.  Long story short the wedding is in two weeks and I will pretty much only know the bride and my other girlfriend.  There will most likely be a few other random work people there but that's it.  And we are both bridesmaids so it wasn't a big deal at all.  Well I got the text from my fellow bridesmaid on Saturday night.  It went something like this.....


I have something I need to tell you.  I didn't want to call and spring it on you but I wanted to let you know that I'm pregnant.  I just wanted you to hear it from me and I didn't want to surprise you at the wedding.

So first of all let me just say that I greatly appreciate how sensitive she was to me and also that she did it over text so I could be composed when I responded.  The fact that in the midst of her happiness she was able to think of me and my feelings means so much to me.  And she is a GREAT person and of course will be a wonderful mother.  She deserves this.  And I am happy for her.

But I am so so sad for me.  Right now I'm having a really hard time envisioning surviving this wedding.  And with the fear of showing my selfish ugliness I'm struggling with thoughts of "Why her and not us".  She's been married for 4 months and she's 12 weeks along.  Which basically means first time is a charm for them.  I can not wrap my mind around that.  I am trying my best to fight this battle with grace.  It's not easy for me to be around children.  Honestly it makes me so so sad.  And obviously it's super difficult to be around pregnant women.  I hate that I feel jealous and so unhappy for myself when I should be feeling joy and happiness for them.  And I do,  It's just buried so deep underneath my pain.

After having some time to absorb the news I know that I can (and quite frankly HAVE to) find a way to deal with this.  The fact that she's a fertile myrtle and I am not is not her fault.  Once again I have a lot to be thankful for in my life.  So I'm going to focus on that and do my best to push aside the ugliness.  I have to keep believing that some how, some way, our time will come.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Friday Friends!  I just wanted to thank everyone for the comments and emails regarding the hysteroscopy.  After hearing from all of you I went ahead and booked the procedure.  We are going to do it on Oct. 1st.  Regardless of the outcome it will give us more information which is always useful.

Shockingly I have other non-IF related news.  I think most of you know that D is an elementary school principal.  The school district he works in is about 40 min. from our house and when he signed his contract they asked him to move into the school district.  So our house has been on the market for a while but we really couldn't find anything in the district that we liked.  The district is made up of several small communities out in the country and it seemed that the houses were either very small and rundown or ginormous and WAY out of our budget.  We've also had trouble selling our house because our backyard is smaller and goes down into a ravine.  This was something that we liked when we bought the house because of the privacy and less maintenance.  But our home is a 4 bedroom two story and it's definitely designed for a family (sigh.).  All of the families that were coming to look at it wanted a bigger backyard for a playground/swing set and the drop off to the ravine made people nervous.  Well we FINALLY got an offer and it was a really good one.  We countered slightly and they accepted!  Our closing is set for Halloween.  And we are officially homeless!  As I mentioned earlier we have been watching the market in the school district really closely and there's just nothing for sale in our price range.  However the day we signed the contract Derek found a house For Sale By Owner out in the country on the outskirts of town.  It sits on a couple acres and it's a really cute ranch house that was built in 2000.  It's over priced but if we like it I'm hoping the sellers are willing to negotiate.  We are going to look at it on Sunday.

Honestly the timing for all of this is perfect.  I won't be cycling until Dec. and hopefully we will be moved and settled by then.  I'm thankful that I'm not going through the stress of selling our house, looking for a new one, and moving when we are in cycle.  And it's a really good distraction that will hopefully help the time go quickly.  I am dreading the packing/moving portion of this but we've been living in limbo for over a year with our house on the market and looking for a new one.  I'm ready to move and get in a new house and start making it our own.

In OTHER exciting non-IF related news - WE ARE GOING TO SEE GARTH BROOKS TONIGHT!  As you can tell I'm a little excited.  This is a bucket list thing for me and I can not wait.  Unless you've been living under a rock (or hate country music) you've probably heard about his tour and that he's doing 12 shows in Chicago.  It's two weekends and he plays two shows Thurs. Fri, and Sat. night.  Our best friends got tickets and invited us and we are super stoked!

I think that's all for now.  Here's to the next few months flying by.   Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking for Advice

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Ours was pretty relaxing which was a nice change.  We spent a lot of time over the weekend cuddled up on the couch and I can say the TLC did both of us good.  We found things to laugh about, other subjects to talk about (outside of infertility) and I feel like some of the sadness is starting to lift from D's eye.  Which in turns makes my heart a little lighter.  I.  Love.  That.  Man.  His happiness is everything to me.

We did have our meeting with Dr. H. on Friday.  As expected he didn't have any miracle answers or suggestions for us.  We talked about how there's still a lot that the field doesn't understand about embryo development which is why the success rate for genetically normal embryos is *only* 70%.  He feels hopeful that we still have 2 normal blasts to transfer and his recommended path is a FET.  We talked about how at our clinic (and a lot of others) their success rates are higher with FET's.  He explained that this is due to the fact that when we stim during a fresh cycle they elevate our estrogen levels way higher than they would ever be in a natural cycle.  This can cause some disruption in the two types of tissue in your uterus.  Basically the increased hormone levels affect them too.  When we do a FET he said they monitor 2 things.  1.  They want your estrogen level between 300-600.  2.  They want your lining greater than 8mm.  Obviously during stim your estrogen levels get way beyond the 600.  So basically he is feeling that doing a FET that is more in line with a natural cycle is a great option for us.

I asked him about running a couple of tests on my uterus.  I've picked the brains of several of my blogger friends and they recommended 2 types of tests.  The first is called an e-tegrity test.  My understanding is that this tests to see if your uterus has the "sticky" stuff needed for implantation.  Dr. H says the results of this test are inconclusive and due to the fact that we've had at least 2 embryos implant he doesn't think that's the issue.  The next is a hysteroscopy.  For my fertile readers this is where they go up into your uterus with a camera to look at the lining for polyps, scar tissue or fibroids that could be disrupting implantation.  Dr. H said he would perform this procedure if I felt strongly about it but he doesn't think it's necessary.  He said he's never seen any signs in all of the ultrasounds we've done that my uterus is anything but perfect.  So he basically left it up to me.

If we elect not to do the hysteroscopy we could transfer at the end of Oct.  If we do it then it will be December before we can do our FET since we have to do the procedure and I have to have another period after and my clinic doesn't cycle in Nov. to give the staff a break.

In other news we've scheduled a phone consult with Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM for Oct. 14th.  I'll be sending him all of our records and we are completing all of the registration and history forms online.  I know that CCRM does a hysteroscopy as part of their ODW (one day workup).  I'm currently feeling like we should go ahead and have Dr. H do the hysteroscopy.  If I transfer in Oct. and it doesn't work I'll still be wondering if it is my uterus.  Of course I'm anxious to keep moving forward but I also don't want to waste the lives of 2 more embryos if my uterus is the problem.  My gut tells me it isn't and Dr. H is supporting that theory, but until we do the procedure we don't know for sure.

That being said how many of you have had this done?   What are your thoughts?  If you were in my situation would you do it or just move forward with the FET?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Understanding

Well as you've probably guessed from my radio silence my beta dropped on Tuesday.  It went from 9 to 5.2.  I went back this morning and it was down to 4.7.  I  have to go back again on Monday and hopefully it's down to zero.

I could sit here and tell you all about how I'm not going to give up, how I trust in The Lord and His plan, how I know that we will be parents one day.  But that wouldn't be an honest representation of what I'm feeling right now.  Right now, in this moment, I've lost hope.  I can't help but to question if we will EVER be parents.  That maybe it's God's will for us NOT to be parents.  My heart is broken, my spirit is crushed, and I am so very tired.  The weight of this struggle is just too much.  I feel like I am drowning in sorrow.  And there's a part of me that just wants to float to the bottom.

The hardest part of all of this for me is watching D struggle.  It literally tears me apart to see him hurting so badly.  And I can't help but feel responsible.  All I can think of is that he deserves better than this.  I hate that he has to experience this and I'd do ANYTHING to take his pain away.  But it's not something I have the power to do.  

So here we sit.  Childless.  Running out of options.  Running out of money, and definitely running out of hope.  We'll meet with Dr. H tomorrow and see what he has to say.  I know he doesn't have the answers I so desperately seek.  Yes, "normal" embryos have a 70% success rate.  So the odds were in our favor.  But 70% is not 100%.  There are other things that can go wrong and obviously it did.  Could it be my uterus?  We've never had any indication but I'll be asking about running some tests to confirm that before our next transfer for sure.  But the fact of the mater is he can't provide me with a reason or explanation of why this didn't work.  And he can't provide me with a guarantee that the next transfer will work either.  There's no peace to be found.  Honestly there won't be until I hold my baby in my arms (if that day ever comes).

I'm grateful that we still have 2 frozen blasts that tested normal.  That's about all the positivity I can come up with right now.  As I mentioned in an earlier post while I'm SO thankful for my frozen babies it doesn't stop the pain that is associated with this transfer.  It's now 6 babies that we've transferred and lost.  Six.  That seems like more pain than anyone should have to bear.  Three fresh IVF cycles, 4 transfers, and still nothing.  We won't be able to cycle again until Dec. which is the month that we did our first IVF cycle.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we'd still be in this position at this point in time.  Call it being naive, but through every step of this process I kept thinking it was the last step.  This journey has changed me.  I'm scarred, damaged, broken.  And regardless of if we ever get a baby I will never be the person I was before experiencing this.  Just one more heartbreak to add to the list.


Friday, August 29, 2014

9

So Beta number one today came in at a 9.  Sigh.  Knowing we were testing at 8dp5dt I knew it would be low.  But my research indicated that somewhere between a 30-40 would have been average.  I was hoping for something closer to 50 for some reassurance.  Obviously that didn't happen.  While I am extremely grateful that hope is not lost, I am also a complete bundle of nerves.  I won't have my 2nd Beta until Tuesday thanks to the long holiday weekend so we need to see that number quadruple.  I thought about getting some FRER pregnancy tests and testing at home but even if my number doubles in 48 hours like it should, it will still be under a 25 which is where it needs to be for the test to pick it up.  Which means it would basically be Monday before I could get a positive.  But honestly I've been getting up 2 and 3 times during the night to pee, so then I start to wonder if I'd even have enough concentration in my urine to get a positive result and honestly it's just not worth it.  I think I'll just wait it out.

So we continue to pray and think positive thoughts.  I'll take care of myself as best as I can and know that I'm doing everything to help our little one.  To all of you that have been praying for us, offered supportive texts, comments, and emails, or even just took the time to read an update - thank you so much for the support.  I'm not sure if this is it for us, but I'm going to remain hopeful until the end and trust in God's plan.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Am I or Aren't I?

Oh the two week wait.  What can I say about it that hasn't been said before?  Not much.  It's a rare form of torture for all women, but those who have invested so much - money, sweat, blood, tears (did I mention money?!) into fertility treatments there's SO much riding on those few days.  My heart breaks for those women who know this is their last cycle.  I can't imagine all of the additional emotions those circumstances drum up.  I'm so very thankful to know that we have 2 frozen embryos in the bank.  However, that doesn't stop the yearning for this cycle to be successful.  It doesn't take away the ache in my heart or the emptiness in my arms. And it certainly doesn't guarantee us a take home baby of our own.

It's amazing to me that one event (IVF) can create such a conflicting, confusing mass of emotions.  Each day I'm filled equally with excitement and hope, fear and despair, worry and peace.  But really when you think about it what other event has stakes this high?  Yes, planning a wedding can be exciting and stressful.  But the outcome is known regardless of what happens during the planning.  At the end of the allotted time, ready or not, there will be a wedding.  The same could be said for a career change or even the loss of a job.  Although stressful, if persistent you WILL eventually find another job.  It might not be your dream job, or you may have to take a pay cut but I truly believe if you try hard enough you can find employment.  Infertility doesn't care how hard you "try".  You can put tens of thousands of dollars towards treatment, have the very best doctors and labs, the very best quality embryos, but there's no guarantee.  At the end of the road the outcome is unknown and uncontrollable.  We've always been taught that if you work hard enough, want something bad enough, and never give up it will happen.  But I know in my heart I couldn't want this any more, couldn't "try" any harder, and that I've done everything in my power to succeed and still - no guarantee.

Today I am 7dp5dt.  I've had some cramping, which we all know could be good or could be bad.  My boobs are bigger and sore, but that could easily be from the progesterone.  That's about all I have going on.  According to Dr. Google implantation should be complete and HCG should start to enter the blood stream.  Every time I feel the doubt or worry overwhelming me I'm trying to stop and pray.  But right now and for the next 2 days there's absolutely no way to know what's happened to our little one.  So one's left wonder Am I or Aren't I?  I am praying with everything I have that I AM.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grace

My sweet friend Amanda has done it again.  Every post she writes touches my heart in a new way and this one was no exception.  She makes me want to fight harder, speak kinder, and be a better person.  I can only pray that God gives me half the grace that he's blessed her with during this struggle.  Amanda I am so thankful to have you in my life and feel privileged to call you my friend.

If you have the time please take 10 minutes to read this post. Grace In The Storm.

I've highlighted some of the statements that affected me the most.

The truth is that infertile women often are bitter... I know I've been bitter often throughout these years. This journey is hard. This storm is fierce. But bitterness (particularly abusive, negative, hateful bitterness) will solve nothing, grace on the other hand will soften hearts.


My goal is to shine a light on infertility, educate people about infertility, and offer support to anyone in need... not to bash people or create an environment where we all sit around and hate on fertile people

I'm proud of the community, proud of my friends; I just want others to see us as I do.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Time

7 days.....165 hours....9,900 minutes.....594,000 seconds. This is the amount of time that stands between me and my first beta.  But let me back up and fill you in. 

Yesterday morning I got a call from the receptionist at my clinic informing me we were on for our 1pm transfer. She didn't have any more information but I breathed a sigh of relief assuming this meant at least one of our 11 embryos came back normal. We arrived at the clinic and I was given some Valuim to help me relax. We were led into the OR where we finally got the information we'd been waiting for. We had 5 total embryos that came back normal. This obviously exceeded our expectations and I couldn't hold back the tears that came. Dr. H explained to us that today he wanted to transfer one embryo. We had one grade 1 embryo and it tested normal so that was the one he wanted to go with. I asked him about transferring 2 but he said he wasn't comfortable with that. The goal is a healthy baby, not multiples. He felt like it would be irresponsible to transfer more than one. 


(As you can see the embryo is starting to hatch out of its shell. Another good sign) 

So our big decision wasn't really a decision at all. We signed the papers and then the nurses came in to check my bladder. I did have some free fluid from the follicles that was pushing my uterus over.  For a minute I was worried they were going to tell us we had to cancel transfer but Dr came in and looked and said he didn't forsee it being a problem. Everything else looked good including my lining which they told me was nice and thick. So for the 4th time we watched as the life we worked so hard to create was transferred into my uterus. For those of you that have experienced it you know how emotional that moment is. After the procedure was done Dr. H wished us good luck and the staff left the room to give us a few minutes alone. I just prayed with all my heart for God to bless this little spec of life.  To watch over and protect it. To help it thrive and grow into a healthy baby. 

(It's hard to see because of the shading but it's the tiny white spot towards the top) 

So now we wait. Technically I think my beta should have been scheduled for next Sat. But they scheduled it for Friday the 29th with the 2nd beta on Tues. Sept 2nd due to the holiday. I'm not really sure what that means for my numbers. I doubt I'll be comfortable even if it is positive until I see it double. Let's be honest I doubt I'll be comfortable this entire pregnancy if this actually works. I'm feeling oh so very hopeful that this is our time. We decided not to find out the sex at this time. I just felt like if I knew and this didn't work it would only make it harder. It doesn't matter to us either way of course. 

They also told us yesterday they were going to let the other 4 embryos go to day 6 and would freeze those that were still growing. I called today and found out they were able to freeze 2 of them. Two more chances. God is so good. 

So now we wait. And pray. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Decision

So we are about 28 hours out from transfer.  I'm feeling......pretty good.  Definitely have some nerves setting in about the genetic testing but overall I'm still feeling hopeful and at peace.  The weeks leading up to this cycle I've just been praying for one normal embryo to transfer.  Based on my history there were days that seemed like a long shot.  But now with 11 embryos on Day 3 it seems like we might need to give some thought to the possibility of having more than one "normal" embryo.  Which leads to THE decision.  How many to transfer.  I'm having such mixed emotions about this.  I mean in an ideal world a set of healthy twins would be everything we have ever dreamed of.  However I've done my research and I know the increased risks of twins.  Some of my girls in this community have just recently been through some scary stuff delivering their twins.  Thankfully everything turned out okay but it definitely could have taken a turn in the wrong direction.  My other concern is my lining.  On my first follicle monitoring appointment on Monday Aug. 11th Dr. H. measured my lining at 8mm.  Which is good since they want it at least 8 or higher.  However on that Wednesday when I went back for my second ultrasound he measured it at a 7.  I questioned him about it then and he said he wasn't concerned at all.  He said that it all depends on where you measure it and with estrogen levels as high as mine he felt confident it wasn't an issue at all.  The following day during my last follicle scan he measured it at a 9.  So my fear becomes that my lining isn't that great and we transfer two and neither implants.  On transfer day it will have been a full week since my last ultrasound.  I've been on PIO injections since retrieval.  I'm hoping that my lining has only gotten thicker but with my first two transfer they didn't do a lining check the day of transfer.  Is that uncommon?

For those of you who have been there I'd love to hear your thoughts on how many to transfer and the lining issue.  I've been doing a lot of research but to me those of us living this are the true experts.  One day and counting ladies!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 3

I just called the clinic to check on our embabies.  The day has gone so slow and I've felt sick to my stomach for the last hour.  But the news we got is good!  Of the 14 embryos 12 were still dividing today.  One of those was a grade 3 and very fragmented so they don't think that one will make it to Day 5.  But they biopsied the remaining 11 for the genetic testing.  We are still on for a 1pm transfer on Thurs. and they will give us the results of the CGH tests then.

I am thrilled that we still have 11 viable embryos on Day 3.  That's way more than we had in our first two cycles combined which is crazy to me!  I know the genetic test are going to make or break us here but I'm feeling really good about things.  For each milestone I had a number in my head.  For retrieval it was 12 eggs....we got 21.  I was hoping 12 of those 21 would be mature eggs - 16 of them were.  For the fertilization report I was hoping for 10 embryos - we got 14.  Today I had the number 8 in my head and we well surpassed that.  Once again the "too good to be true" is creeping in  my head but I'm doing my best to block it out.  This news just gives us another reason to celebrate and believe that this cycle could be IT for us.  I'm praying day and night that's true and one of these beautiful embryos becomes the baby we've been dreaming about.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Miracles

I believe in miracles. I read about them every day in this community. Donors that volunteer their gifts of eggs for no fees, adoptions that come together at precisely the right moment, pregnancies that occur after a doctor has said there's no hope. This weekend I've experienced what I hope is the start of my own miracle. On Saturday morning I went in for my 3rd IVF egg retrieval. As a refresher my first cycle I got 8 eggs, 5 mature, 1fertilized correctly. For my second cycle we got 12 eggs, 10 were mature, 8 fertilized correctly. We transferred 3 (one of which was very poor quality). One implanted but there was no heartbeat at 7 weeks. One made it to 5 day to freeze which we transferred in a FET that was a BFN. Which bring me to now. This cycle we retrieved 21 eggs. Out of them 16 were mature. After 24 hours 14 of those have fertilized correctly and continue to grow. 14. 

I am a complete mess of emotions right now. Obviously I'm thrilled with this number. I'm currently crying tears of gratitude that I can't seem to shut off. I'm so very thankful for each and every one of those 21 eggs that turned into 14 embryos. We'll let our babies keep growing until Tuesday (day 3). At that time they will biopsy 1 cell from the embryos that are still thriving to send away for genetic testing. I'm tentatively scheduled for a 1pm transfer on Thursday (day 5). It will be down to the last min before we get the results of the genetic tests.  

I know there's two ways to look at this situation. The first is to embrace my joy, be thankful and happy and believe that this IS going to work this time. However I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit there's a part of me thinking this is too good to be true. That even though these number are higher than I ever dreamed my body was possible of producing, when push comes to shove we know my egg quality is crappy. I worry about how many we'll lose between now and Tues. Between Tuesday and Thursday. And then even IF we have a genetically normal embryo to transfer there's still a very long road ahead of us. One we've already been down that ended in heartbreak. 

That being said it's my CHOICE to focus on the positive. To give thanks, be hopeful, and trust in God and his plan for us. 14 beautiful embryos.  Let the miracle begin. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Day In The Life...

Lately I've seen several posts on social media about being kind to others because everyone is fighting their own battle. Obviously this hits close to home for someone like me who's struggling with infertility semi privately. Those of my fertile friends and family that do know of our struggle often ask me how things are going or how I'm feeling. I always hesitate before I respond. There's a million thoughts that run through my head but I usually go with something generic and insincere like "I'm hanging in there". I got the idea to write this post at the start of this cycle. I've put it off because I didn't want people thinking I was having a pity party or looking for sympathy. The opposite is actually true. One thing I can't stand, and probably part of my reason for not being more open, is I can't handle people feeling sorry for me. But for those in my camp that I have opened up to I thought it might be interesting to get a glimpse at a day in the life of an infertile. Here's my best shot  

Disclaimer - these are my personal thoughts and feelings. I recognize they are all over the chart, and I basically sound crazy. But it's honest and real. This is not a representation of all women struggling with infertility. Just me. 

6:15 - Alarm goes off. I check my phone where there's a reminder of my 8am appointment at my clinic. 

7:30am - Showered and ready for work. Make breakfast. Wish for coffee that I can't (shouldn't) have thanks to the caffiene. Settle for orange juice. 

7:40am - Morning suppression injection. Pull out a 1cc syringe and (thankfully) a 27 1/2 gauge needle. Measure out the .25ml dose. Obsess for 5 min over the amount. Is that too little or too much?  Is it better to error on the side of more or less?!  Finally determine it's as close as it's going to get. Lift up shirt to this view 

Try to find a spot that isn't bruised but still located below my belly button and the appropriate distance to the left or right. Worry that the chosen spot is too far out of line. Why do they tell you to make sure it's a couple inches below your belly button and to either side?  Which side did I do this shot on yesterday?!  What are the effects if I mess this up?!  Finally pick a spot, pinch some fat, and stick the needle in. Inject meds, pull it out. Why is it bleeding again?!? That's going to be another bruise. 

8am - Arrive at clinic. Sign in and tell all my friends, oops I mean medical staff, good morning. Relish in the attention and affection from being the favorite patient. 

8:10am - Woman enters clinic with a 1 year old. Forced to sit in the waiting room while 1 year old runs around in front of me. Recognize in my head that said baby is probably an IVF baby. Attempt to block out thoughts about how it's still inappropriate to bring a baby to a fertility clinic.  Mean thoughts are replaced with sad thoughts of how much I wish I had a baby and worries of I'll never have a baby of my own. Heart hurts. 

8:20am - Called back. First stop blood draw. Nurse Jenny has same issue trying to find a non bruised spot on my arm to draw blood. Look away during blood draw because needles make me queasy (yes I did just stick myself 30 min ago - don't ask). Blood draw done and head to exam room. Nurse Jo gives me a hug and says "You know the drill."  Yes. Yes I do. I strip from the waist down and sit on the table attempting to cover my bare ass as best as possible with the paper cover they give me. Stare at this site wondering if I'll ever see my baby on the screen. 


Think for the 100th time how much I hate the dildo wand. 

8:35am - Still waiting on doctor. Definitely going to be late for my first meeting at work. 

8:40am - Dr H comes in. Asks how I'm doing and says "let's see what we have going on in there". I smile but internally I am completely panicked that things are going to be not where they should and cycle will be cancelled. 

My friend the dildo is inserted and I watch the screen feeling like I might puke.  At the first site of a follicle I slightly relax. However now I'm studying them and worrying they should be bigger at this point. And there's too much difference in the sizes. Is there any way to tell if there's an egg in there?!  God, I hope they aren't all empty. 

Dr. H counts off follicles and sizes.  I'm comforted with every new one they record. Maybe this will work this time. Heart hurts. 

8:55am - Get dressed, meet with Nurse Jenny. She will call me when my blood work comes back but we'll most likely stim another night. Pepper her with questions about how many follicles total, their size, whether it's a good or bad thing that we are stimming another night. Scrutinize her face when she tells me everything looks great and is going well. Make her promise to text me the second my blood work comes in ( because yeah she has my number on her personal phone). 

9:15am - Arrive to work and attempt to sneak in meeting. Attempt fails. Co worker asks where I've been. Explain I had a doctors appointment. Her response - "Again??"  Yes. Again. 

10:30am - break time in meeting. Everyone mingles at the coffee stand. Wish again for a cup of coffee but grab a bottle of water. Listen to coworkers cute story about his kid. Try to block out sad thoughts and worries. Heart hurts. 

12:00pm - Lunch time. The meeting is catered and they bring in wraps with lunch meat. I know you shouldn't have lunch meat when you are pregnant. Does that go for when you are growing multiple follicles too?!  Stay seated while everyone goes to get their lunch and google "lunch meat IVF" on phone. 

12:15pm - couldn't find anything that said no lunch meat during IVF but decide it's better safe than sorry and have some fruit and chips. Wish for a diet coke. Have water instead. 

1:00pm - Meeting resumes. First presenter hooks up computer to the projector. Presenter's home screen is the worlds most perfect family photo. Try to block out sad thoughts. Heart hurts. 

2:06pm - receive text from Nurse Jenny. Stim again tonight, another ultrasound at 8:45am tomorrow. Type out several responses with crazy questions that I delete because I don't want to be that patient and more importantly abuse my access to Jenny's personal phone. 

4:00pm - Meeting is wrapped for the day. 
Co worker complains about having to go across town to pick up child from daycare. Don't try to block mean thoughts. Heart hurts. 

4:15pm - driving home talking to D. I've already text him all the news from the appointment but he asks all his questions again. Heart hurts to hear the worry in his voice. Reassure him as best as I can even though I have all the same fears as him. 

4:45pm - arrive home and greeted by ecstatic puppy dog. Put on her leash and head out for a walk. Enjoy the sunshine and her great company. Smile and forget to worry. Pass neighbor with their baby in the stroller. Smile and wave. No sad thoughts- is that hope filling my heart?!  

5:20pm - D is home. Smile for the second time today. Talk about our day as I make dinner and he plays with the dog. Daydream that there's a baby in the picture. Heart filled equally with hurt and hope. 

6:00pm - Eat dinner, watch our shows, cuddle and laugh at the dog. Life is not so bad. Heart at peace. 

8:00pm - time for evening injections. Triple check calendar with list of meds and doses. Get all supplies ready and laid out. 


Once everything is all set out call D over. Suddenly get overwhelmed and eyes well up with tears. I willl not cry tonight. Too late - tears fall. D says nothing just holds me. 

8:10pm - Pull my shit together. D starts with Follistim. Have to be poked twice tonight because the cartridge is almost empty. Move on to Menapur. Hate hate hate how this one feels like fire. Medicine squirts out of the vial when filling needle. Worry that the shortage will cause cycle to fail. D talks me off the ledge. Final shot of the night is estrogen inter muscular shot in the butt.  Move this party from the kitchen to the couch. Lay flat on my stomach and pull down pants. Block out thoughts of how unflattering this position is. Wait for D's count and try not to tense up. Tense up anyway and shot hurts going in. Once it's complete D massages the area to rub in the medicine. Block out additional embarrassing thoughts and say a quick prayer of thanks for this man. 

8:30pm - one more night down. Wonder and worry about what tomorrow might bring. Distract myself by looking at baby stuff on Pinterest. Have a fun talk with D about potential baby names. Feel excited, scared, happy, anxious, guilty, and hopeful all at the same time. Comforted by D's smile. 

10pm - time for bed. Get suppositories out of fridge and insert panty liner into granny panties. Awesome. 

 10:15pm - Set alarm for morning and appointment reminder. Say numerous prayers. Prayers of thanks for d, for our health, for our friends and family, for our jobs, for our home, for the baby girl puppy dog asleep on my feet. Prayers for the eggs (hopefully) growing in these follicles. Prayers for good news tomorrow.  Prayers for a successful cycle. Prayers for a baby of our own. 

10:30pm - D comes to bed, wraps his arms around me, and whispers he loves me. Drift to sleep feeling happy, safe, and loved. Despite it all life is beautiful. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ultrasound Update

Hey gang!  Sorry I am just getting this post written. Work has been so crazy as July and Aug are my busiest months. I had my ultrasound on Monday and things looked good. I had 19 follicles and they were all between 12 and 15mm. Last cycle I had 18 but I had a couple that were at 20mm and farther ahead than the rest. So based on that information and my estrogen levels we stimmed again last night and tonight and I'll go back for another ultrasound tomorrow morning. I expect we'll have retrieval scheduled for Friday but we will see. I felt so much better after the u/s. It all just gets in my head and even though I've been feeling super bloated and heavy I started thinking it was all in my head and there was only going to be like 2 follicles there. Since we didn't up my meds just changed up a couple things I think my hope was to have the same results as last time so I'm feeling pretty good. I know several of these follicles will be empty. I know not all the eggs they do retrieve will be mature. I know not all the mature eggs will fertilize. And I know not all of the embryos will survive. Finally I know not all of the embryos that do survive will be genetically normal. That being said I am still just hoping and praying for 1 healthy embryo to transfer. I know that might sound pessimistic but this is not my first rodeo people. I know my body and my diagnosis and will honestly be thrilled and hopeful if we even have 1 to transfer. (And terribly disappointed if there's none...). 

So that's where we are. I'm feeling excited and hopeful for tomorrow's u/s. I'm ready to get this show on the road.  There's been so much positive news in our community lately. It fills me with hope and happiness but also scares me a little. We all know the stats and this can't work for everyone. So selfishly I'm wondering if it's me that's going to get the bad news. But I'm doing my best to block those nasty thoughts and stay positive. This very well could be our turn. We've earned it. (Let's be honest we all have girls). We've put in the sweat, blood, and tears. Suffered the disappointment and heartache. And although I've been down I haven't given up. And I won't no matter what. But it sure would be nice if this was our time. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Truckin' Along

This week has been a blur of shots, pills, needles, vials, and prayers.  I'm not feeling too bad from all of the drugs.  More tired than usual and some ovary area pain (which is a hopeful sign to me that the drugs I'm pumping non stop in my body are actually working!).  Monday morning I go in for my first ultrasound to see how the follicles are developing.  This appointment always makes me so nervous as it's basically the first indication of how successful your cycle is going to be.  We'll monitor every morning next week and make adjustments to the meds based on how I'm responding.  If I follow the trend from my first 2 fresh IVF cycles we'll trigger on Wed. for a Thursday retrieval.  Or I could get pushed to Friday if I'm not responding as well.  Only time will time.  

Surprisingly I'm still feeling pretty calm about things.  I wonder if I'm just that jaded or if I'm now immune to the pressure and stress of IVF.  All I really know is I'm ready for some answers.  I'm still hopeful that at the conclusion of this cycle we'll have at least one genetically correct, healthy embryo to transfer.  Every day is one step closer to that goal.  

I wish I had more excitement or even more feeling to put into this post.  I just wanted to check in with everyone and let you know that you are all always in my thoughts and prayers.  I'm still feeling hopeful and excited.  Doing my best to push aside the doubt and worry.  I know it will probably all get more "real" next week with the daily appointments and pending retrieval.  It does fill my heart to think that at this time next week we could have little embryos growing!  At least one more chance of a baby with D's eyes and my nose.  That thought brings tears of hope and joy to my eyes.  

I'm hoping all of you have a great weekend!  I'll let you know how things go on Monday.  If you have some extra prayers we'd appreciate sending them our way. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The "other" great love of my life

Happy Friday everyone!  This Friday is not a super happy one for me as D is out of town all weekend for a bachelor party. They have headed up north to ride four wheelers all weekend. They will have a great time and are a good group of boys. I just really don't like to be apart from D. Other than the fact that I obviously like him a little since I married him, he's also the stability in our relationship. I tend to be over emotional, dramatic, and sometimes down right crazy (I know you are shocked right?!). He's the calm, the sense, the logic in my world.  However he's currently not easily accessible. And let's be honest after dealing with me the guy probably deserves a break :)

So as of last night it's just me and the "other" love of my life. Yep you guessed it. I'm talking about the baby girl Chloe. 


As I woke up this morning and rolled over to see this....


I thought to myself "What do people without dogs do when their spouse is away?!"  Seriously I know I love this dog more than is most likely healthy (I refuse to look too far into the psychological factors of IF and how that plays into this. I just love her ok?!). But this not so little girl brings me so much peace, comfort, and happiness every single day. And while D is my rock who provides me comfort with his reasoning and words, she just simply loves me unconditionally for being. So I thought I'd dedicate this post to my baby girl. Happy Friday Friends!





(She looks ashamed in this picture but seriously cutest lady bug ever)

(This was during bed rest of my first transfer...snuggler :)




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Filled with Hope

Thanks for all of the emails checking on me.  I realize I've been kind of quiet lately and there's basically two reasons for that.  The first is that there's not much going on in my cycle right now.  I started Lupron for suppression on July 23rd.  I went in yesterday for my baseline tests and everything came back fine.  Today I switched from the Lupron to Ganirelix and I'll start adding in IM shots of E2V tomorrow.  Monday (providing I start my period)  I'll start stims and then things should really start moving forward.  Overall I'm feeling pretty good.  I have been feeling positive and hopeful about this cycle.  I felt like yesterday the drugs were starting to catch up with me as I've been really emotional and weepy.  But that's just part of it.  I'm feeling better today but as I was looking ahead on my work calendar trying to make sure my days of potential retrieval and transfer were clear, I had a small panic attack about not having anything to transfer.  As you guys know we are doing CCS genetic testing on our embryos this round.  If none of our embryos come back genetically normal then we won't have anything to transfer.  However the tests will provide a lot of insight that I think we need to determine how we move forward in this battle with infertility.  So while that thought scares me, I'm trying to focus on the fact that we'll know more after this cycle than we did before.  So right now in the moment I'm just trying to take care of my body.  I'm exercising, eating healthy and trying to stay as positive as I can.  There's a part of me that just feels like this HAS to be it (mostly because the thought of where we go if this doesn't work completely overwhelms me).  I'm excited about the potential of this working and hopefully knowing that we are transferring a normal embryo who has a really good chance of turning into our take home baby.  While IVF cycles are scary, stressful, and overwhelming it also is a time of hope and excitement.  So that's where my focus is.  

The second reason I haven't had much to say is because there's been some major (exciting!) stuff going on in our little blog community with others.  Sweet Jessah is in her 2ww coming off of an amazing cycle.  I have so much hope that this is IT for her!  Her journey has been a long one and her persistence, positive attitude, and hope are such an inspiration for me.  I hope she can feel the love that we are all sending her way and I'm praying with everything I've got for some fabulous news come beta time!  Suzanne has started a new path on her journey and I've been filled with excitement for her and her husband as I read about each step forward they take.  These steps require some big decisions which I know are not easy.  It hurts my heart that she's faced with difficult decisions but she is handling it with grace and faith and I know that her choices are going to lead her down the right path.  We've also had a lot of reasons to celebrate and renew our faith and hope that this process DOES work!  Mrs. LostAllison, and Aubrey have all recently welcomed babies home.  These are three of the first blogs I found when I ventured into the online IF community.  I remember pouring over their posts and getting up to speed on their struggles and feeling such a connection.  These women are my hope for what the future could bring for me and D.

There's so many more of you out there who I follow.  This community is a place I can turn to when I'm feeling like no one understands what I'm going through.  In my darkest hours you all are a light that reminds me I'm not alone and there is hope.

Monday, July 21, 2014

An unusual dream...

Last night D and I ordered out for dinner as we typically do on Sundays.  I usually am exhausted from a weekend of running around and by Sunday night we look forward to ordering food and relaxing on the couch and getting caught up on our shows. This Sunday we ordered some Chinese food and as I was opening my fortune cookie I thought to myself how nice it would be to get a positive message as I start this next cycle. I opened up my cookie and read my fortune.....

"An unusual dream will come true". 

This would be a nice thought if I had any unusual dreams. But all of mine are pretty ordinary. Happy marriage (check), reliable jobs (check) and a kid or two of our own (sigh). I'm fortunate that I do have a good job and we are able to get by even with the costs of IVF. Some months not by much but with the help of my parents we've managed not to go into debt. Yet. But I've never been one that needed the nicest things to be happy. My dreams aren't extraordinary. But yet what comes so easy to most is the struggle and challenge of my life. 

So my edited fortune I've decided reads something like this....

"Your heart's truest dream will come true....in the very near future"

"Your wait is over"

"This is your time"

Or maybe even

"The greatest gift is yet to come"

I'm doing my best to believe all these "fortunes". I'm ready to start this next cycle and determined to be positive, hopeful, and to truly believe this time it will work. I pray that it's God's plan. We are ready. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Your test results are in....and they are NORMAL?!

Over a year and 3 IVF cycles later my clinic decided to test my AMH levels.  This is partially my fault for not asking but I did all sorts of research about Day 3 testing before I had mine done last July.  I made the mistake of assuming that AMH was included in that group of testing.  So last year when Dr. H. called to tell me that all of my tests came back normal except for my high FSH I thought that meant my AMH was fine.  Come to find out after our last cycle (an FET in June) failed that it was not included and they wanted to test it now.  So we did and today I finally got the results back.  My level came in at 2.6 which is right in the middle of the normal range (1.5 - 4.0).  I seriously wish someone would have been taping me when Nurse Jenny told me the news.  I'm positive my jaw dropped all the way to the floor.  I was just sure that it would be low but was hopefully it wouldn't be SO low that my situation was hopeless.

I'm not even sure what to do with this information.  With my FSH only being slightly elevated (10.6) and my AMH being normal it does give me hope that this might (eventually) work for us.  It also makes me question why our results have been so poor so far.  Logically I know that these numbers are only indicators and there's no way to really know what your egg quality is or how many you have left.  And my AMH being normal is an encouraging factor.  So for now I'll just take that for what it's worth and focus on the positive.

Most importantly what these results mean is that we are officially "ON" for Aug. cycle.  My meds were ordered today and next week we'll start suppression.  I think I'm ready both emotionally and physically.  Although the disappointment from the failed FET was intense, compared to the miscarriage it feels more like a bump in the road.  I'm praying that this good news is just the start of more to come in the next couple months.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tough Days and Questions

In life there are good days and bad days.  In the life of an infertile this is also true.  Sunday was my 34th birthday.  I worked really hard all day not to even think that thought in my mind, much less mumble it out loud.  We all know that infertility robs us of so many joys in life and for me the celebration of my birthday is just another thing on that list.  You see that day marked another year that passed where I'm still childless.  Another year gone by where I'm no closer to achieving my dreams of having a family.  The second birthday since my diagnosis where I wondered if I'll ever have a child.  34 should signify me quickly approaching the age where my fertility takes a nose dive.  But in my case we already know that my fertility is much older than my actual age.  I'd give about anything to be a "normal" 34 year old.  But that is not the cards I've been dealt. So although it was a tough day, it's also now behind me.  It's time to look ahead and be hopeful that it's this year, my 34th, where I'll become pregnant with our rainbow baby.

So, with focusing on the future I also got my calendar for this upcoming cycle.  You'd think with this being my 4th round I wouldn't find it so intimidating but I still do.  I also had my blood drawn for the AMH test.  They said it would take 3-5 days to get those results, so I'm still waiting.  I know better than to hope that it comes back normal, so I'm just praying the results aren't terrible.  Like - there is no way this is ever going to happen for you - jump straight to donor eggs.  In reality this wouldn't be the worst news they could give me.  I've spent enough time thinking about it and I know in my heart that would be a viable option for us that we could explore.  But I am also really hoping for one more cycle on our own.  To complete the genetic testing and possibly get the answers we need for closure before moving to that step.  But this is just one more thing that's out of my control so there's nothing to do but wait for the results.

As of now I'm going to be positive and plan as if we are moving forward with this next fresh cycle.  I've been thinking/debating a lot about what I can do differently this cycle.  On my very first cycle I did acupuncture.  I'm not going to lie I did not enjoy it.  Everyone says it's relaxing but honestly all I did was lay there and worry.  Too much down time with no distractions is not a good thing for me.  On my 2nd fresh cycle I did not do acupuncture.  My lining was still good at 11mm and that was the cycle I became pregnant.  (which was pretty short lived as we all know).  I also did not do it for my FET which just failed.  So I'm wondering if I should try it again for this next cycle.  I kind of feel like this is our last shot with my own eggs so it makes sense to do everything we can.  How do the rest of you feel about acupuncture?

Is there anything else you do/have done in cycle that you feel has a positive impact on success?  I'd love to know the thoughts of those who have first hand experience.  You are all my sounding board, my support system, and my hope to keep moving forward and trying.  This journey would be impossible without you!



Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Reason to Celebrate

Happy almost 4th of July!  This is my most favorite holiday and I'm so looking forward to the long weekend.  We are planning on spending it boating on our lake enjoying the water, sunshine, and good friends.  There's also a little thing called my birthday occurring but we are ignoring that this year to hopefully get through the weekend without any breakdowns on my part.

But the future is looking a little bit brighter than it was a week ago.  On Tuesday I miraculously started my period!  Then on Wednesday we had our WTF appointment with Dr. H.  I was relieved that the options he layed out were what I expected.  (As a recap I thought he would suggest another fresh cycle with genetic testing or donor eggs).  His recommended path was to try again with my own eggs.  He said that since we had a "success" (it sure doesn't feel like a success since it ended in miscarriage and we have no baby) that proves that I am capable of producing healthy embryos and no implantation issues.  He feels like it's worth it to try another cycle with my eggs and we agree.  We are going to test my AMH level (evidently they didn't do that a year ago when they did my day 3 blood work?!?) and that will let us know if we stick with the L8 protocol that we did last time or bump up to the L10.  I'm VERY anxious to see what that number is since it's a good indicator of your egg quality.  Since we already know my FSH is slightly elevated (10.6) the addition of this number will give us a better understanding of my fertility as a whole.  I'm just praying it's not really, really low as in there's no chance for you.  Dr. H. doesn't think it will be since I was able to become pregnant once.  

So overall I'm feeling pretty good.  Unless the AMH test comes back with terrible results and we need to reevaluate we are on path for Aug. cycle.  I'm trying not to focus on all of the unknowns and things I have no control over (i.e. - how many mature eggs we'll get, how many embryos will form, what the genetic results will be, etc. etc.).  Obviously it will be disappointing if we get through retrieval and do the genetic tests only to discover we have no "normal" embryos and nothing to transfer.  But I'd rather know at that point than suffer through the 2ww.  How my clinic does the CGH testing is they take 1 cell from each day 3 embryo.  Then it's shipped off for the testing and we'll have the results on Day 5 so we can do a Day 5 transfer if we have any normal embryos.  I'm going to pray really hard that we get as many eggs as we did last time if not more.  

So...for now it's back on birth control and back to the waiting room.  We've got lots of fun stuff happening this summer so I'm going to do my best to enjoy it and just focus on getting my body and mind ready to give this another try.  This battle has taken it's toll on us, but we aren't done fighting yet.  I know in the end it will be worth every tear, every shot, all the pain and all the waiting.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Worries

By now most of you have probably figured out I'm a worrier.  Even in the best situations I can/will find something to worry about.  It's funny because when it comes to friends and family I am a really positive person.  Always being optimistic and supportive, so sure things will work out just fine.  But that's not the case when it comes to my personal "stuff".  I've been wondering lately if I've always been that way or if it's just another way that infertility has changed me.  Whatever the cause, I just can't seem to find my positivity when it comes to this fight.

I stopped taking the PIO shots and the estrogen/progesterone suppositories 8 days ago.  Still no signs of starting my period.  This leads me to believe that I probably have another cyst.  I spoke to Nurse Jenny this morning and she said that if I haven't started by Wed. when we have our WTF appointment that Dr. H. will do an ultrasound during that appointment to check for cysts.  I basically need to start my period by July 18th in order to start BC pills for Aug. cycle.  Why do I feel like that's never going to happen?  Typically getting pushed one month wouldn't be such a big deal.  But our fall is crazy.  I'm in a wedding in a different state at the end of Sept. which is most likely when we would be looking at transfer for Sept. cycle.  Same deal for Oct. - my husband and I are BOTH in a wedding that falls right when we would be looking at retrieval/transfer.  If we were just attending the weddings I'd suck it up and just plan on skipping but that's not really an option when I'm a part of it.  My clinic takes every November off and does not cycle that month so then we'd be looking at Dec.  The thought of doing nothing but waiting until Dec. while my eggs only grow more rotten every day makes me want to jump off a bridge.

Then there's the fact that Dr. H could suggest some sort of surgery or procedure before we move forward.  If that's the case we would also be looking at a delay.  I mean right now I'm only guessing at what his recommended paths will be based on other conversations we've had and the results of the three cycles we've done.  I could be totally off base and he could throw something at us that I've never even thought of.  The worries are endless if I let my mind wander.

There's nothing to do but wait (and worry) until Wednesday actually gets here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be Patient

Thank you so much for all of the kind comments and emails.  I'm very sad to report that my beta was negative.  I tested on 9dp5dt and then again the morning of the beta (10dp5dt) and both home tests were negative.  I knew in my heart before I even saw the results that it didn't work.

I'm doing okay.  I mostly feel numb.  Next month is our 1 year anniversary of our infertility diagnosis.  When we first discovered that there were issues I remember wishing I could just fast forward to a year from now when this would all be behind us.  But here we are - 2 Fresh IVF cycles, one FET, 3 transfers, and 5 beautiful embryos lost.  I long ago lost track of the number of pills and injections I've given myself.  The blood, bruises, hot flashes, headaches, and hormonal highs and lows no longer phase me.  What once seemed like the biggest, most overwhelming experience of my life has become routine.  And here we sit.  Still childless, still heart broken, bleeding money and quickly losing hope.

This most recent disappointment has caused to me really question if having a family is in the cards for us.  I've always been so sure in my heart that I was meant to be a mother.  It's what I've always wanted, what I've always dreamed of.  Even when dealing with the shock and devastation of an infertility diagnosis I still felt confident that I would have a baby.  It just was going to take a little longer than we thought.  And believe me I know there's so many of you who have been fighting this battle much longer than us.  I guess I was just naive enough to think we'd be one of the lucky ones who got out quickly.  It's not looking like that's the case.

We scheduled our WTF appointment for next week.  I think that Dr. H. will lay out two paths for us.  1.  Try a 3rd fresh cycle at the very highest medicated protocol (we were on the 2nd highest last time) and include genetic testing (CCS) of the embryos.  2.  Donor Eggs.

My husband and I have spent a great deal of time over the weekend discussing this.  He just isn't ready to make the jump to donor eggs.  He really feels like we saw improved results (as far as number of eggs retrieved and number of viable embryos) with our last fresh cycle and if we try again on the most aggressive protocol we could possibly even get a couple more eggs/embryos then last time.  He also thinks the genetic testing will give us some answers that will make things more clear.  Which I guess I see his point.  If the genetic results come back and none of our embryos are normal then that's a pretty good indicator that we should move on.  But if we have several that are normal then it would confirm that I have more of an egg quantity problems vs. an egg quality problem.

My biggest thing is I just don't want to waste any more time.  I'm sure part of it is that I turn 34 in 2 weeks.  It just seems like with each disappointment and failure all I can think about is the fact that time is quickly running out.

But I am going to do my best to stay hopeful and positive.  I have a lot to be grateful in my life and I need to remember that.



Friday, June 20, 2014

Are you there?

This morning as I kissed my husband goodbye I told him that I loved him and if Frosty was still in there he loved him too.  This 2ww is passing - we are over the halfway mark - and I guess I'm surviving.  I haven't been in the best of moods but I don't feel like I've given up hope either.  All I really feel like is a crazy person.  On one hand I have what I think of as "hopeful" symptoms and on the other it seems the symptoms I do have could just be chalked up to the drugs and what I'm lacking is a tell tale sign that this transfer was not successful.  All of the over-thinking, analyzing, and ups and downs are enough to drive the most stable person crazy.  But I'm holding on.

I definitely had some cramping during the implantation time - but no implantation bleeding (I did notice this with my last transfer that ended in an early miscarriage).  I now have more of what I'd call a "heavy" feeling in my lower pelvic area.  I'm having some lower back pain and just yesterday I felt like I got lightheaded and/or nauseous a couple times.  However the thing that's really throwing me off is my boobs are not sore whatsoever.  Which is crazy considering the amount of progesterone I'm on, and seems like a dead giveaway to me that this did not work.  Yesterday I did feel like *maybe* my nipples were a little more sensitive but honestly all of this could just be straight up in my head.

For those of you who have been through this I know you understand what a complete mind f*ck this all is (Sorry for the language Mom).  By Beta time I am just ready to KNOW, even if the news is bad.  I can't stand the waiting and wondering any longer.  Just a few more days.  I've been thinking about testing at home just so I can be more prepared.  As of right now my plan is to test at home the morning before beta.  I mean the worse that can happen is I'm bummed out and it turns out to be positive which would be the best news ever.  Right now I"m totally in the zone where some people get positives and some get negatives only to get a positive HPT within the next couple days.  I really don't need to add to my insanity so I'm staying away from that.

So to quote my friend Amanda - Ever Onward.  One way or another we'll have some answers in a few days.  If you are in there little one I hope you can feel how much we love you, how badly we want this.  I'm praying for you every day and you are in my mind and heart.