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 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.