Muddling Through

So of course my main question these last couple of days has been "why, what is wrong with me?" The honest answer is maybe nothing... yesterday a buddy member told me the following:
"There are plenty of reasons why the first cycle doesn't work, most of which has nothing to do with your body. It could have just been a problem with the embryos. A third of all embryos are genetically abnormal, leaving a good chance that neither embryo was viable."

So instead of driving myself crazier searching for tests that I might need done, I have decided to just tell myself that those two embryos we transferred were not viable, and they wouldn't have made it to the 6 days like the one frozen blastocyst did. That answer makes me feel better.

Uggghhh... it is so confusing because if something really is wrong I want to know so that we don't waste more time or money trying again. I have had two amazing friends and an amazing sister in law offer to carry for us. The offer just breaks my heart in how generous and caring people can be, but see I don't know that that is what we need. I am clueless what we need, if anything. IVF is NEVER 100%, but oh my what I wouldn't give to have every test under the sun ran to just know that I am not wasting my time and emotions because if donor eggs or a surrogate is what we need that is what we would do, no doubt about it, but you see the only real way to know that is to get a huge battery of tests done, which insurance doesn't cover or just keep on trying and see what happens. The frozen embryo we know made it longer, but even still if that doesn't take it again still may not indicate a big problem because as we all know this was a TRIAL drug and that could play a HUGE part. Another full round of IVF may give us some more answers, but that option is out for quite some time due to funds and time away from work.

I have decided to believe that this happened for a reason. Through this I have become stronger in so many ways and Gabe and I have grown as a couple. I went to work yesterday, after one of the hardest nights in my life I was able to make it through a day and an evening with some pain, but I really feel that I have been stronger than the old me. I feel I can do that because I now have Gabe right here next to me instead of behind me trying to make me strong, we are making each other strong and muddling through together.

Below are somethings I wrote to my Mother In Law that I thought I might share:

I am doing so much better than I thought I would be, of course I am sad, and the tears have fallen quite a few times, but all in all I am glad to be taking a break and happy that we have decided that NO matter what we will make this happen. Having a plan to move forward makes ALL the difference.

For the first time I don't feel so alone in my pain. Gabe has always wanted to have a baby, but this time it was different. This is the first time that he was right there with me through every step, every tear, every up, and every down, and having him to share it with made the journey and the end result bearable because I didn't feel so alone. Normally he is the one comforting me and being strong, but when I saw his tears and despair I immediately felt his pain, as it is the pain I have felt EVERY month for the last 36 months and for him I couldn't help but be strong and realize that I am not alone in this pain. I see now why he has been strong for me because to see him hurt was just miserable and the reaction is to comfort and be strong and it helped us BOTH SO much.

Don't get me wrong I had my moments of screaming hysterically, crying like a baby, and just pure anger, but it didn't last long because all I really needed at that moment was my beautiful husband. Knowing that we are on the same page and that we both feel the same pain made me believe that we would get through this together and that no more months would be spent just hoping and waiting, instead we will take the bull by the horns and make it happen.

Having Gabe and everyone else by my side through this journey has made such a difference. To know how many people care about us is just amazing, at times I regretted being so open about what was going on, but now I feel content because this is us and this is our life and I am not ashamed nor have I let anyone down. I did my best, but God has something else in store for us.

Some day in the not so distant future when we are parents and up to our ears in diapers, this will all be just a memory because no matter what some how we will have a baby, and if nothing else through this journey my husband and I have become 100 times closer and sensitive to each others feelings, he understands and feels my pain and understanding it makes it easier to muddle through together and make it to the end.


The Ride Has Ended

Beta HCG (blood pregnancy test) was less than one. I am crushed, but actually doing a little better then I thought I would. Gabe and I have been talking a lot and I have decided to adopt the attitude that this is NOT the end. Maybe a snag, but NOT the end.

I think my biggest fear is the fear that it will never happen and that we will never be parents. If someone was to guarantee me right now that yes eventually this will work, I would never give up, but no one can guarantee that so here I sit questioning why us and what now and where will the money and strength come from?

Thank goodness we have the one frozen embryo to try again at no additional cost, granted a large bill for the last three months probably went out in the mail to us today that we must eventually deal with.

We were told that we could transfer the last embryo as soon as mid April, but we have decided against a transfer so soon. Mainly because emotionally I don't know if we are ready just yet and also because we have been planning a trip to Mexico that I really just want to enjoy and we really need to relax and get away for awhile.

Unfortunately May is not a very good month to be gone from work, but I am hoping we can work something out. The transfer of the last embryo involves NO meds, no shots, and no pain. We would have a baseline ultrasound at the start of the cycle, then another ultrasound mid cycle, and hopefully a transfer of our only six day old embryo. It will of course be another roller coaster ride, but maybe not quite as bad.

We will be okay, we have each other and that is the MOST important thing. We are sad, angry, and hurt, but we have grown. I saw today how much my husband loves me and how much he is hurting too. This is the first time in our journey that I saw him shed a tear over this and for him I will be strong and wipe his tears as he has wiped mine for the last three years. We are in this together and no matter what obstacle we will overcome it some how some way.

We want to thank you all for your love, support, and prayers. The ride has ended for now, and I guess we are in some way another step closer to what the lord has in store for us.

I found the below website helpful tonight.


Still Waiting...

So, tomorrow is the day and I am completely nervous. I am pretty sure I can scratch sleeping for tonight. I came into this wait with my excited attitude, but I am having a hard time keeping that attitude up. I keep thinking about the what if's and then the what next's. What next? Seriously..... the funds for another round of IVF are non existent and more time away from work is not an option.

On a really good note I am happy to announce that we have one frozen 6 day old embryo that did well. That was a whole different roller coaster waiting for that information. We waited and and waited for progress, but no one called. So finally I called and was told about the one. We never thought they would freeze without consenting, but they do and they did. In our hearts we were not decided on what we would do with only one embryo as the cost is quite high for freezing just the one, but needless to say it was done and the decision was not ours to make, which was in the end good. Boy am I glad it was done because come to find out... the drug company had agreed to pay the storage fee for one year along with all the costs to prepare and transfer the embryo if need be within one year. I couldn't believe it when I heard that. That is well over $4,000, what a great security blanket for us. Had we known this the $1600 cost of freezing wouldn't even have been an option, how could we not.

As I sit here this morning I am of course analyzing everything I feel... and I feel like me. The pain is 99% gone and the bloating is almost gone, I went back to work, and I feel like me. I don't want to feel like me, I want to feel different. I want to feel confident that something is different, because that non-optimistic part of me keeps drifting into the side of what ifs... after all this and the roller coaster... what if? Uggghhhhh... STOP! No more. I have one more day to be hopeful and imagine the great things and be excited.

My brain is so full of prayers, hope, and fears that it is hard to stay focused on anything else. We want this so bad and we are so grateful for the opportunity to be so close, but I really don't know how I can hold up to another set of bad news. I used to think I was somewhat strong, and optimistic, but this whole infertility journey has made me anything but and I don't want to be that person. I want to be the old me from three years ago, or even better yet the new me with happy news who is glowing from a healthy pregnancy and is no longer nervous about the future because she is optimistic that good things are coming her way, and for once the baby news is their news.

Okay, okay I am done and I have about 30 hours left to wonder and pray and wait for our dream to become a reality. This IVF journey is a LONG one with LOTS of hurdles and looking back I have realized that we have overcome every one of the hurdles. I honestly feel that God is behind us this time and has guided us this far and has something in store. We are so close, and just knowing some of the things I have learned about what a doctor should be, what a good clinic is like, and what HOPE feels like was worth the roller coaster ride. I am optimistic, I can do this, and I WILL be strong! We want for nothing more than to be parents and we will stop at nothing to make that dream a reality.

Please keep our little beans in yours prayers today, and I will post any news tomorrow. I will be strong today, and those prayers will be never ending today.

Thank you all for your love and support.


And Now We Wait

Wow... what a roller coaster it has
been. I apologize for not updating sooner, I just needed to keep my mind in the right place these last couple of days. So, on Friday at retrieval we ended up with only nine eggs. Needless to say after all that build up I was disappointed, but still hopeful. Come to find out, the HCG shot I was given before the retrieval somehow was not absorbed by my body the way they thought it would and the eggs were not ready to be released from the follicles, I guess I needed a higher dose than they thought. After the nine, I just kept praying they all fertilized. Saturday morning the embryologist called to tell us that only four of them fertilized. At that point I was devastated, but decided to focus my energy on hoping that all four did well and made it to transfer day, but knew the odds were slim. The doctor decided on a three day transfer because of our small number of eggs.

Monday morning St. Patrick's Day, (the luckiest day of the year) was probably the most nervous I have EVER been. I dreaded the ring of my phone for fear of it being the hospital and informing us that there was no need to come down. No call... so we headed to the hospital and were set for a 11 a.m. transfer. Finally it was out turn and inside they checked to see if my bladder was full, and of course it was....OUCH! At the point we decided that if they were checking that we must have had at least one embryo that made it. I felt this small feeling of relief as we waited a bit more. Finally the embryologist came in to discuss the embryos... yes that was plural. I could hardly believe it and burst into tears when he handed me a picture of ALL four and said they were all doing well. I was so happy and felt like a fool for crying, but just couldn't hold back. He went on to explain that all were well, but some were moving along faster than others. We had one that was a grade 1 perfect embryo, which had already compacted. We also had two grade 2's and one grade 3, all of which could be perfectly healthy babies (anything grade #1 - #4 could be transfered). After not much contemplation and some provoking by the doctor about my young age and the great quality of the embies we decided to transfer only the perfect grade 1 and the best of the grade 2ers, and the doctor was so hopeful. The other two will be watched until Wednesday and if they continue to do well, we will have the option to freeze them, which of course is expensive, but very worth not having to go through this with baby #2 or #3. Heheheeh.

The transfer went flawless... and now we wait. Waiting is the hardest part. I couldn't decided what I should be feeling or how I should be acting, so I decided to be overly optimistic and talk to the babies liand imagine what could be. I thought about it for a while and decided that no matter how I act right now, a bad outcome will be bad no matter how close I get to the embies and how excited I am the next week and a half. Imagining this working should only be better for the health of the babies today. So I have decided to be excited and not worry about the outcome. I haven't been this close it a LONG time, so we are going to enjoy it and be excited. If something bad happens I will deal with it then, but for now I have two little embryos in my belly and I will enjoy it and NOT worry. I am on strict bed rest for three days, but was recommended to take a week. I am already starting to get restless, but I am willing to do WHATEVER I have to do to make this work. Now grow and stick little babies. Another GIANT step closer!

It is hard to see on the picture, I will try to scan it, but it is a white blob at the top of the black area about 1/2 inch from the top. Or look at the diagonal line on the far left side of the ultrasound and then go straight across to the middle and that is them. I know.. I know you probably don't see it, but we did and it was AMAZING to see it. Today we feel so blessed and so hopeful.


We are a Go For Retrieval!

Appointment on the 12th went well!

E2= 3,112 (Approx. 20 eggs)

Lining = 13mm triple stripe

Right side = 22, 16, 16, 13, 18, 15, 16, 16, 18, 17, 15, 17, 13, 16, 11, 12, and 9 less than 10mm. (total of 16 over 10mm and 12 that are most likely mature)

Left side = 15, 15, 14, 15, 13, 16, 14, 15, 17, 12, and 12 less than 10mm. (Total of 10 and 6 that are most likely mature.)

Grand Total of 18 mature follicles with an E2 showing 20 mature. The E2 # is now where they want it to be. I am in A LOT of pain, having this many follicles is VERY uncomfortable. I was told that I may be over stimulated and I need to watch for signs of dehydration and ovarian hyper-stimulation. I must drink six 8oz. glasses or gatorade everyday and avoid food high in potassium.

We will trigger ovulation with a shot of HCG at 11:30 p.m. tonight which will help the eggs to loosen from the follicle and make them easier to retrieve, after that we are done with shots at home. Yipppeee!!

Egg retrieval is set for 10:30 a.m. on Friday the 14th. The procedure normally takes about 30 minutes, but because of my high number of eggs they anticipate it taking longer. They will aspirate each follicle and retrieve all the eggs. Once retrieved they will be fertilized and monitored. We will know the egg count when we leave the office on Friday, but will not know how many are mature and fertilized until Saturday. For now the transfer date is not set, but should be Monday the 17th for a three day transfer or Wednesday the 19th for a five day transfer.

I will update this blog as soon as I have any information. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, it really means so much to us. We have overcome so many hurdles the last couple of months and couldn't have done it without your love, prayers, and support. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue to overcome the rest of the hurdles in our journey.


March 11th Appointment

Today's Appointment

E2 = 1601

Lining = 13 mm with triple stripe

Right = 15, 20, 12, 13, 14, 14, 18, 14, 15, 12, 17, 16, 17, 14, 15, 13, 12, 10, and 7 less than 10 (total over 10 is 18)

Left = 13, 13, 16, 13, 11, 14, 15, 14, 12, 16, 10, 10, and 7 less than 10 (total over 10 is 12)

Grand Total = 30 +++ little guys, which at this point we don't want growing anymore.

Size wise things are ready to go, but the E2 (Estrogen) should be higher, the slower moving E2 more than likely has to do with the trial drug and how fast things moved along last week.

The number isn't awful it just isn't as high as they thought it would be. The E2 usually indicates the # of mature eggs. Think of it this way.... for each mature egg the E2 should be about 150, since I have 30 + eggs and my E2 is 1601 it could indicate that only about 10 of them are mature at this point. So of course we strive to have most of them mature. With the 75 units of Gonal-F last night my E2 more then doubled. Tonight I am on 150 units of Gonal-F, so if we can get the E2 to double again we would be at 3200, which would mean that about 20 eggs are mature, which is a MUCH better #. It is all a timing game now, if we go too long some of the larger eggs will die, if we go too soon some won't be mature.

So my last stimulation shot is tonight. Tomorrow night will be the HCG trigger shot and then egg retrieval on Friday morning!!!! Yahooooooo!! We decided to get a hotel room closer to the hospital, as Friday's TIMING is VERY important and we can't take any risks with being late.

Another step closer!


March 10th Appointment

Susie was able to tag along at this appointment (thanks Suz for the company!)  My ultrasound showed A LOT of follicles, and hopefully each of these has a mature egg inside.  

I had an E2 level of 774, which I was assured was "Not too high but just high enough!"  My lining measured 10 mm and had a TRIPLE STRIP, which is FANTASTIC and prime for IVF.  My right ovary had follicles measuring 13, 14, 17, 14, 12, 12, 14, 12, 14, 14, 13, 14, 11, 10, (total 14) and about 10 less then 10 mm.  My left side had a 13, 12, 11, 14, 12, 12, 10, (total of 7) and a few less than 10.  Once the follicle reaches 18 mm it usually means that a mature egg is inside and they are ready to be retrieved.  The follicles that were below 10 today will probably never catch up to the others and may not contain an egg.  Having this many and that great lining is a WONDERFUL thing and gives us a better chance, just seeing this put a huge smile on my face. 

The long lasting drug has worn off and since we are not at 18 mm yet I was given gonal-f in a very low dose (75 units) to take home for tonight. I go back tomorrow a.m. to check them out again and see how much they grew overnight.  We want for all the follicles to end up between 18mm and 21mm at retrieval time.  Average growth is 1 - 2 mm per day.

As it stands we could be close tomorrow, if so I will be given another shot called HCG to take home.  It will boost the eggs to final maturity and cause them to begin to break away from the follicle.  Once given the HCG shot, the retrieval will be scheduled for exactly 34 hours later.  As of today, this makes our tentative retrieval the morning of Thursday the 14th!  

Another step closer!



March 5th Appointment

I did my bloodwork at 8:30 a.m., then had my ultrasound at 9:00. I had no cysts and 23 or so resting follicles. Yahooo, and this time I was allowed to have this many!

At 1:00 they called to let me know that FSH, LH, and E2 were all within normal limits and I needed to come back to the office to get randomized to a study group. Group #1 - Gonal-F @ 100 Group #2 - Gonal-F @ 150 or Group #3 - Trial Drug - Long Lasting FSH drug made by Gonal-F. I got the trial drug, all day I had been been praying to get what was right for me, so I had no expectation or desire and when I got it and I was fine with it.

The nurse gave me the shot of the long lasting drug in my abdomen, it was a lot like the lupron needle, but burned MUCH more than lupron. I had to stay for 1/2 hour to watch for a skin reaction. They gave me a long talk about how well this trial drug had been working. I go in on Monday --- YES Monday and the eggs should be close to ready. No joking! She said a lot of that has to do with my age and the fact that my ovaries have so many follicles, but mainly because patients are reacting much faster to this drug.

So we have a check on Monday and retrieval could be Wednesday or Thursday. If I need a bit of a push I would get a dose of Gonal-F (approved stimulation medication) for Monday night to take home, other wise the shot yesterday would be my only stimulation shot.

I am in a bit of pain today. I can really feel some activity in my ovaries and A LOT of bloating, but again IT IS ALL WORTH IT!


Taking A Break

Elianna, Phoenix, and I decided to take a drive up valley last weekend to get out of the house and I really wanted to clear my mind a bit. We had a great time, I love the valley this time of year.