Easter Celebration

Today is the best day.  Today I am absolutely indisputably pregnant.  I have no idea what will happen over the next few weeks/months but today I am celebrating the best gift from God.

The details…

My first beta draw was on Friday, however my clinic does not run the blood that day, but rather freezes it, and runs it with beta 2, which was today.

First Beta (10dp3dt) :184

Second Beta (12dp3dt): 326

Doubling time is 58 hours.

Thank you again to everyone for the support and prayers.  Happy Easter!

Half Way to Beta

Today is 6dp3dt and halfway through the TWW.

The implantation window is 6-10 days post retrieval, which would be from last Friday through tomorrow if any of my embabies made it to blastocysts.

For the most part I have been trying to take it easy. Honestly it’s harder than I thought because I am not great at just laying around, especially when there is things to be done around the house. My husband has been helping out but he just doesn’t do things the way I do (read he does the bare minimum).

Physically the most significant thing I feel is tired. Always. I sleep like a rock at night and don’t have an issue waking up, but I constantly feel tired. I had some significant cramping and bloating that started Friday afternoon and finally went away Sunday morning. I also am having some muscle pain in my legs, mostly the right side, which I think is being caused by the PIO injection. My lower back also aches a bit, but I also think that’s from the PIO. My breasts do feel a little more sensitive than normal as well, but I am trying not to read too much into anything as progesterone really effects my body.

I have a lot going on this week which should help the week go quickly. I am really looking forward to acupuncture on Thursday morning. So far I have no desire to POAS and I am really going to try not to. I know it will get harder toward the end of the week, but I want to try and stay strong. My overall mental space has been good.

On a separate note something interesting happened last week with a friend of mine. Probably a year ago my friend told me she was struggling to get pregnant as well and they were going to talk to the doctor about it. She did a few rounds of TI with Clomid last year, and near the end of the year planned to do one last TI with injectables before trying IUIs. We had a few interactions over email (she lives several time zones away so that is how we usually communicate) about the TI, and she ended up having 5 or 6 follicles. She mentioned that the doctor told them there were risks of going ahead with TI with that many but they did it anyway which was obviously there choice. Right before Christmas she told me that she would find out if the TI was successful and then I never heard another word about it. She and I continued to email pretty much every week ever since and she never said anything, and she didn’t say anything about moving forward with an IUI either. Obviously I assumed she was pregnant and just not ready to tell yet, which I respect.

Here is my issue….over those three months I talked about my IVF cycle several times and she never acknowledged it. Not a word. Her responses completely avoided the subject all together. I was pretty upset about it, especially since I felt like having gone through infertility herself she would be more sensitive than that. I basically decided that I would mention one thing about the IVF meds in my last email to her and then not say another word unless she actually acknowledged it.

Well her response did acknowledge it, but it was like this “Hey I wanted to let you know that our last round of TI worked. I am three months pregnant. I just wanted to make sure I told you. I wish you the best on your IVF. I’m crossing my fingers for you and lm thinking you about you”

While I totally appreciate that she finally actually acknowledged it, it still makes me upset that she wouldn’t do it until she was 3 months along in her own pregnancy. I think it’s great that she was able to get pregnant but I don’t understand why she couldn’t/wouldn’t offer support to me until she was out of the first trimester. So if she hadn’t gotten pregnant would she not have supported me like I support her?

It’s so hard to deal with the constant blows to long standing friendships that comes from infertility. It’s disappointing and exhausting. I can only hope that it has taught me to be sensitive and supportive to other’s struggles.

Part of me feels like six more days to beta feels like nothing and forever at the same time. I am also reminded that getting positive results on Sunday isn’t the finish line. It will be a long road to bringing home a healthy baby and the next few weeks will bring lots of difficult moments and more waiting.

Thank you everyone for the support and love!

What PUPO Really Means

Right now, for the first time ever, I am pregnant until proven otherwise. PUPO is a term I have been familiar with for a long time. It’s a special way to refer to the two week wait after your IVF embryo transfer, when you embryos are placed inside your uterus for growth, implantation, and safe-keeping.

But it’s more than just the factual definition. Right now it is my body’s mission to take care of my little embabies. While the embryologist may have told me that each embryos potential is set at fertilization having them inside of me is a serious responsibility. I feel connected to them. I want to give them a good safe home for the next nine months. No matter what happens, even if it’s for only a short time, they lived inside of me.

When I look at the photo of my little wonders I feel proud. It seems strange to be so in love with a few microscopic cells. They represent hope. A lot of love and science went into creating them. Having them inside of me, hopefully dividing, growing, developing, and making themselves at home, is a privilege. I am celebrating that they made it this far. That is a gift.

Right now every little decision I make is about them. What I do, eat, put in or on my body…..it’s all for them. There is no way for me to check on them. All I can do is pray for them and give them my best. I can only hope it’s enough. They deserve everything.

If they don’t make it there is no way I won’t feel responsible. While logic and science might be able to give me a list of other explanations, my only concern is helping them develop and keeping them safe. I will feel like I failed them if that isn’t possible. I think they call that being a protective mother.

Being PUPO is special. It might be an agonizing two-ish weeks of wondering and hoping they are okay, but it might also be the only time I get with them. There is nothing I can do to make the time go faster, so right now I am focusing on the time I have with them. I hope they are fighting for me like I am fighting for them. If they don’t make it I will never forget them.  For the next few days I will be happy to take care of them.  And I will pray everyday they stick around.

Three is a Special Number—Part Two

Three is a Special Number—Part Two

The night before our transfer appointment I lay in bed, mind racing to what I imagined were all the possible outcomes of the next morning. Obviously worst case scenario was that I would show up to be told none of my embryos made it. Best case would be that they were all going strong and I might even have one to freeze. Eventually I feel asleep and actually slept through the night.

Walking into the clinic on Tuesday morning I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that I did everything I could, and it was out of my hands.

Dr. C, the acupuncturist, met us in the waiting area and headed back to the transfer room to set up for my pre-transfer acupuncture session.

We were called back to meet with Dr. S for our pre-transfer consult meeting. This was the moment. We sat across from him at his desk while he read us the embryology report from our chart. First he went over what we already knew. 5 eggs retrieved, 4 mature, 3 fertilized normally.

And then he held up a photo of our three day three embabies. All of which were still growing and dividing. I was honestly really surprised, and so very grateful that they all made it. All of them. Two of them were 6 cell grade B, and one was 5 cell grade A.

So here is the crazy part. Both the embryologist and the doctor recommended we transfer all of them. Three. This was absolutely not on my radar as a possibility.

The doctor went on to explain that if they were to transfer two, it would be the six cell embryos because they were a little further along than the 5 cell, however the 5 cell was actually a better embryo. Because the 5 cell was lagging behind a bit (they like to see three day transfers at 6-8 cells), statistically it would have a better chance of continuing to grow in my uterus rather than in the dish. Because 8 cell embryos have the best odds of implanting on day three, they advised that we transfer all of them given that the other two were only at six cells.

Of course he addressed the risk of multiples, which he advised that our chances of getting pregnant at all were around 50%, our chances of having twins was 30-40%, and our chances of having triplets was 1%. So we went for it.

We signed the consent forms and the Doctor called the lab. I was taken back to the transfer room where Dr. C was ready for my acupuncture. I also took a valium on the way. I highly recommend acupuncture on the day of transfer. It (along with the valium) kept me very calm and happy.

The transfer itself went very quickly. The only uncomfortable part about it was that my bladder was full. It was fun to watch on the ultrasound screen as my little embabies made their entrance.

Afterwards they make you sit for 10 minutes before you can empty your bladder. Thankfully the embryologist came in to talk to us during that time which made it go very quickly. He basically confirmed everything Dr. S had told us earlier. I also asked him about any observations about egg quality. He reviewed my chart and confirmed that they did not see anything abnormal with my egg quality which was so great to hear. He also said that once inside the uterus 5 and 6 cell embryos can make it to 8 cells in an hour or so once they are settled.

He also mentioned that the potential of each embryo is decided at fertilization. He went over all of the things that could happen from here, from becoming a healthy baby, to chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, and failure to implant. It was just a reminder that it is still a long road after a positive beta. He also strongly advised against taking a HPT before beta, which I am going to try very hard not to do.

After I was able to pee Dr. C came in for my post transfer acupuncture appointment. Dr. C is not my normal acupuncturist but he owns the clinic I go to and I had met him a few times. I was immediately comfortable with him and we had a good chat while he placed the needles.

My clinic requires bedrest for the day of transfer, which I had no problem adhering too. I actually had a wonderful valium induced nap when I got home.

Today I am back at work but really taking it easy. I have also started making myself what I call an implantation smoothie every day with pineapple core, Brazil nuts, banana, coconut butter, and clementine. I have also been having at least half an avocado every day and drinking electrolyte water.

My beta is on Easter, which is the perfect day to find out if any of my beautiful little embabies have implanted.

Again thank you all for the love and support. I am so grateful for all of the comments.

The night before our transfer appointment I lay in bed, mind racing to what I imagined were all the possible outcomes of the next morning. Obviously worst case scenario was that I would show up to be told none of my embryos made it. Best case would be that they were all going strong and I might even have one to freeze. Eventually I feel asleep and actually slept through the night.

Walking into the clinic on Tuesday morning I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that I did everything I could, and it was out of my hands.

Dr. C, the acupuncturist, met us in the waiting area and headed back to the transfer room to set up for my pre-transfer acupuncture session.

We were called back to meet with Dr. S for our pre-transfer consult meeting. This was the moment. We sat across from him at his desk while he read us the embryology report from our chart. First he went over what we already knew. 5 eggs retrieved, 4 mature, 3 fertilized normally.

And then he held up a photo of our three day three embabies. All of which were still growing and dividing. I was honestly really surprised, and so very grateful that they all made it. All of them. Two of them were 6 cell grade B, and one was 5 cell grade A.

So here is the crazy part. Both the embryologist and the doctor recommended we transfer all of them. Three. This was absolutely not on my radar as a possibility.

The doctor went on to explain that if they were to transfer two, it would be the six cell embryos because they were a little further along than the 5 cell, however the 5 cell was actually a better embryo. Because the 5 cell was lagging behind a bit (they like to see three day transfers at 6-8 cells), statistically it would have a better chance of continuing to grow in my uterus rather than in the dish. Because 8 cell embryos have the best odds of implanting on day three, they advised that we transfer all of them given that the other two were only at six cells.

Of course he addressed the risk of multiples, which he advised that our chances of getting pregnant at all were around 50%, our chances of having twins was 30-40%, and our chances of having triplets was 1%. So we went for it.

We signed the consent forms and the Doctor called the lab. I was taken back to the transfer room where Dr. C was ready for my acupuncture. I also took a valium on the way. I highly recommend acupuncture on the day of transfer. It (along with the valium) kept me very calm and happy.

The transfer itself went very quickly. The only uncomfortable part about it was that my bladder was full. It was fun to watch on the ultrasound screen as my little embabies made their entrance.

Afterwards they make you sit for 10 minutes before you can empty your bladder. Thankfully the embryologist came in to talk to us during that time which made it go very quickly. He basically confirmed everything Dr. S had told us earlier. I also asked him about any observations about egg quality. He reviewed my chart and confirmed that they did not see anything abnormal with my egg quality which was so great to hear. He also said that once inside the uterus 5 and 6 cell embryos can make it to 8 cells in an hour or so once they are settled.

He also mentioned that the potential of each embryo is decided at fertilization. He went over all of the things that could happen from here, from becoming a healthy baby, to chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, and failure to implant. It was just a reminder that it is still a long road after a positive beta. He also strongly advised against taking a HPT before beta, which I am going to try very hard not to do.

After I was able to pee Dr. C came in for my post transfer acupuncture appointment. Dr. C is not my normal acupuncturist but he owns the clinic I go to and I had met him a few times. I was immediately comfortable with him and we had a good chat while he placed the needles.

My clinic requires bedrest for the day of transfer, which I had no problem adhering too. I actually had a wonderful valium induced nap when I got home.

Today I am back at work but really taking it easy. I have also started making myself what I call an implantation smoothie every day with pineapple core, Brazil nuts, banana, coconut butter, and clementine. I have also been having at least half an avocado every day and drinking electrolyte water.

My beta is on Easter, which is the perfect day to find out if any of my beautiful little embabies have implanted.  I am hoping for a very calm TWW (by that I am hoping I don’t drive myself crazy).

Again thank you all for the love and support. I am so grateful for all of the comments.

Three is a Special Number

Friday was a hard day.  I was scared. I am still scared. After work my husband and I went out to an early dinner. He and I are very different in how we process things, but we had a good conversation and I was able to relax a little afterwards. When we got home we just relaxed and watched Netflix before going to bed. I have been dealing with some insomnia in the middle of the night and I actually was able to sleep all the way to 5 am, which was amazing.

We left the house at 6 am and arrived a little early to the clinic. As soon as we were called in at 6:30 things went pretty fast. I had never met the nurse on OR duty that day, but she was very sweet and made me feel comfortable. I was feeling relaxed and my husband and I were joking around.

After changing into a gown and getting hooked up to an IV the nurse took me to empty my bladder one last time, and I walked into the OR. I remember a mask being placed on my face and then I woke up in recovery. The retrieval went pretty quickly, which isn’t surprising with only 5 follicles. When I woke up they let us know they were able to get 5 eggs. We stayed in recovery for a while, I had some apple juice and I was able to pee (a requirement for discharge) pretty quickly. They had me stay a while longer to get more IV fluids. They wheeled me out to the car and I spent a lot of the rest of the day sleeping. After how much sleep I had lost over the previous days it felt good to catch up.

When I woke up I felt really sore. I tried to drink as much as possible to stay hydrated so I was having to get up to pee a lot, which was good but also difficult with how sore I was. It was all for the best because I did feel much better on Sunday, but was still a little sore. I started the PIO shot on Sunday as well, in my back side. The shot itself didn’t hurt but over the day my whole right side from my butt down to my foot ached! Thankfully today it did not have the same effect on the left side, and the right is feeling much better.

Sunday morning the clinic called first thing. Of course my phone didn’t ring and they left a message. I couldn’t call back for about 20 minutes when the clinic’s main phone system turned on, and of course (likely thanks to daylight savings time) the phone system did not come on when it was supposed to. So obviously I was stalker calling every minute for like 20 minutes until it finally worked.

The embryologist let us know that out of the 5 eggs, 4 were mature, and three fertilized normally.

She scheduled our transfer for tomorrow (Tuesday). Our clinic does 3 day transfers if you have less than 5 embryos.

Three has always been my favorite number and I am hoping that it’s a good sign that we had three eggs fertilized for a three day transfer and if it works out I will be due on December 3rd. I am also 33, just to throw that in there. I have been praying every day that God is watching over my little embabies helping them grow. While all of the things I have done to help my eggs over the past year haven’t helped my quantity I pray that they had effect on quality.

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post with some much support. I love this community and I am so appreciative of the kind words.

You Can’t Change It (IVF Update)

I am a realist. It’s just who I am to my core. It doesn’t mean that I am negative, but that I like to know every possible way something could go, and what the odds are for each scenario. I also like to have a plan. And a plan B…and C…I do not like to be caught off guard.

There is a huge difference, at least in my head, of knowing what could happen, and actually experiencing it play out in your own life. There was a time, when we first started trying, that I knew there was a possibility there could be an issue, but even as I started to see my OB and my RE I didn’t actually think there would be a problem. Those first few months with the RE, having surgery, getting diagnosed with endometriosis, and experiencing 3 back-to-back failed IUI’s I felt pretty blindsided most of the time. Still with each obstacle or failure I went into the next thing believing that it could be successful. Even though the odds of getting pregnant from and IUI are small it does work for a lot of people, and I fully believed I could be one of them. When it didn’t work out I was disappointed, but not surprised.

When we started fertility treatments I thought we would do 6 IUI’s before moving onto IVF. After the first three failed we made the decision to try one more with injectables. Because the cost was so much higher for an IUI cycle with injectables it didn’t really make sense to try it more than once. I thought, at the time, if that cycle weren’t successful and our next step was IVF, that I would completely breakdown. It had been a long year, changing jobs, my grandpa passing away, and my dad getting sick. When we finally did the IUI, and it failed, I don’t even remember crying. I just felt kind of numb, and went on with life. As much as I wanted it, I couldn’t change the outcome, and the odds were not in our favor.

More than being upset about the cycle failing, I was concerned that I only produced ONE follicle using the more powerful drugs (Gonal F), which was the exact same response I had to taking Femara. During our consult for IVF a few weeks later the doctor assured me that this would not be a concern because I was on such a low dose. For someone my age they expected to get at least 15 eggs.

This is the part where I continue to remind myself that I cannot change the decisions I made, or the way things have played out. If only I had known, right?

We decided to take a year off from treatment. I wasn’t mentally ready to do IVF, and I wanted to be able to pay cash rather than finance the cost. We spent the year (especially me) focusing on improving our health. I lost weight. I purged our home of chemical products. I replaced many plastic products in the kitchen that could be leaching BPA. I changed every single product I put on my body. I started using oils instead of pills when possible. I started acupuncture. I cut a huge amount of sugar out of my diet, learned new REAL food recipes, and as IVF got closer cut out caffeine and alcohol completely. While all of these things are very positive changes and regardless of what happens I will continue to do them for probably the rest of my life, as far as my fertility is concerned, they did not make an impact.

A year later when I walked into the fertility clinic to start IVF, this time excited and ready, I was, again, blindsided by the AMH results and a much lower antral follicle count from the year prior. But I was told by basically everyone that I just needed to be positive. Everything would be fine. I asked the doctor about the result (because she never brought it up to me so I had to ask her about it) and she just told me that it was “kind of low” and she had adjusted my protocol to account for it. The only person that acknowledged that there could be an issue was my nurse, and I honestly really appreciated it. Everyone else, including my husband, just told me to “be positive”.

So I tried to push it out of my head, or at least to the back. I didn’t bring it up anymore because everyone make me feel like I was upset about nothing. I was tired of being told to be positive when I felt that I had a legitimate concern. I knew I couldn’t change what was going to happen, and of course I hope(d) for the best, but I just didn’t understand why no one wanted to admit that, given the information we now had, there could be an issue with the number and quality of the eggs they would be able to retrieve.

The first few days of stims were significantly more difficult for me than the last. I felt pretty crappy and exhausted and I started to feel really full/bloated. And then on Tuesday it all went away. At first I gave my acupuncture credit for feeling so good. My E2 level taken on Tuesday (CD7) was 950 which from what the nurse told me, and what I researched online seemed to be a good number for where I was in stims. Wednesday I started to feel worried because the full feeling I had previously had completely gone away. I actually felt totally normal. I just pushed it out of my mind because I knew if I said something I would be told again, to just “be positive”, and with all of the extra hormones pumping thru my body I might lose my shit.

Thursday I went in for monitoring. I felt a little anxious. I had a hard time sleeping the night before but I was still in a light happy mood. I was sincerely praying for 10 follicles. I thought that seven or eight might be more realistic given my antral follicle count was 10. As soon as she started the ultrasound and went to the right side I started to feel panic. Three follicles. There was another that was about ¼ the size of the three, and one that was so smalls he couldn’t measure it. And then the left side. Two follicles. And another that was too small to measure. So five follicles. The doc also confirmed that they were all mature and that I would trigger that night which was a complete surprise to everyone.

I was honestly shocked. I got dressed and they moved me to another room to wait for the nurse. It took her a while to get everything in order because my retrieval wasn’t expected until next week. I sat there, letting the information sink in. Five. Just Five. I text my husband, and my good friend D who has also done IVF. The nurse and I went over instructions and final medications that needed to be taken, but she had to wait to schedule the exact time until later in the morning. She gave me a hug and told me she would call me later. I called my husband to give him more information about what had transpired, to let him know he would need to find time to clean out the pipes as soon as possible (awkward because it was on a business trip in meetings all day), and to plan what we would do with my stepson on Friday night/Saturday morning since he could not come with us. Our conversation was brief.

I headed into the office and in the 30 minute car ride I could feel the tears welling up. I wasn’t crying because I lost hope or because I thought this was the end. It most definitely is not the end. But after being told so many times to ignore all of the not-so-great things that have happened the past few months in the name of positivity, I needed to acknowledge that this was not good news.

I promise you I totally understand that it only takes one. I am praying that we have one. I know that is 100% possible and I have not given up on that. Two feels like a dream come true.

Tomorrow morning we will go in and see what happens. I know I can’t change it. I can’t control it. I have prayed for it and I have done everything I could do.

For now…To be continued……

Stims Day Five

Hello from day 5 of stims (day 7 of microdose Lupron). I thought I would just give a little update on how things are going 5 days in….

Currently I take 4 shots per day, every 12 hours. In the morning I take Lupron, injected into my thigh, and Gonal-F, injected into my stomach. The Gonal-F injection is a breeze. The pre-filled pens are super easy-peasy to use and the injection doesn’t hurt. The only thing I really notice is that now that I’ve been doing it for a few days, along with Menopur that also goes in my stomach, the needle hurts a little more going in. I think that’s because my tummy is beginning to feel like a pin cushion.

The Lupron hurts like hell. The needle is fine, but the actual medicine being injected is awful. Thankfully after about 5 or 10 minutes it goes away.

At night I take the Lupron again, in the opposite leg, and also Menopur. Menopur must be mixed which isn’t super complicated, but I seem to have issues getting it to draw into the syringe every time. I have tried both the mixing needle and the Q caps. For what it’s worth I prefer the needle to mix. The injection itself hurts, and it is more difficult to inject than the Gonal-F. The pain does go away in a few minutes thankfully.

As far as side effects go…..mornings are the worst. I feel great when I wake up, and then about 10 am I start to feel really groggy. This started the first day I took the Gonal-F. It’s hard for me to focus and I often get a headache as well. I have also had some odd pain in my jaw around this time and right before I go to bed. A few times I have experienced some dizziness, which has only happened when I was being active (going on a walk or doing housework). I am pretty sure this is from the Lupron because the first time it happened I hadn’t started stims yet. I feel bloated and unfortunately this has led to some gas as well. I have also had a few hot flashes.

I spent my weekend away at the Oregon Coast where I was able to relax a lot and take naps. Being at work today has been difficult but doable. I am a little nervous about how I will be able to handle things as the week goes on, but I am just taking things one day at a time.

Tomorrow is my first lab to check my estrogen and Thursday I go in for an ultrasound to monitor progress. Prayers are appreciated!