Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Four

I got my HCG beta results back from my test last Wednesday, December 30. It was a 4. Less than 5 is considered a negative result. I'm finally closing this chapter of my life. It's a relief, but to be completely honest I'm also a little sad. Life goes on and people move on and I still feel stuck in this one moment. Even my body has effectively erased any physical evidence of her existence aside from the gaping hole in my heart. I'm still waiting to stop bleeding, so I can start a normal cycle. It's been 7 weeks now exactly. In the meantime, I have to make the phone call to my fertility specialist to get the ball rolling again. I'm ready to have complete closure, but I'm just not ready for all of the steps it's going to require. I'm emotionally ready to try again, but physically I just don't feel like it. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Evelyn Grace

I have recently been asked a few times why I stopped blogging over on my rainbow blog. I guess truthfully, I felt like what I had to say was becoming a little repetitive. I felt uninspired. Given our recent circumstances, it only seems fitting to pick back up where I left off at this blog.

It's been a busy year. We kicked it off with a family ski trip to Colorado and my husband broke his leg and shattered his tibial plateau aka knee. Getting him through the airport and back home all the while meeting the needs of a 2 year old was trying at best but we rocked it. Grayson was on his best behavior and brought a lot of joy to the trial. Jason had to have surgery soon after we returned home and they placed all kinds of metal and screws in his leg to hold it all together. They weren't sure he would ever even walk again. Thankfully, our family feels exceptionally challenged to overcome odds against us. I mean seriously, tell us we can't and we will show you we can. Even the little one is this way. It was a long recovery but he eventually did walk again, praise God. Some days now I almost even forget it happened. I gained a lot of respect for my husband. I can't call him a big baby anymore, because he was pretty tough throughout the ordeal. He was down for about 3 months.

Soon after that, we dove right into an IVF cycle. We had been hoping to try for another baby a year earlier than we actually did. Between finances and his injury, it just didn't happen. At the beginning of May, we got the ball rolling. I started my birth control pills to get my body on schedule. By July, I was up to my neck in injectable hormones and medications. The cycle itself was the worst yet as far as inconvenience and physical discomfort. There were so many ups and downs. Once, we had 30 minutes to drop everything, pack a bag and rush to Dallas to make it to the office before they closed. It was in order to change a medication to prevent my entire cycle from being canceled due to overstimulation. Thankfully we made it and I didn't end up with a canceled cycle or OHSS. We were able to retrieve the eggs, but because of my risk for OHSS we couldn't transfer any resulting embryos at that time as previously planned. 

Our retrieval was July 22, 2015. At the end, the IVF cycle resulted in 13 eggs. Twelve of them were mature and 7 of them successfully fertilized with ICSI. Out of the 7, 3 embryos continued to develop and were healthy enough to make it to cryopreservation.

Deep breath. Mission accomplished. Pause. Breathe. Go to Turks and Caicos.

Now that we had our three embryos, it was time to start the Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle. More birth control pills to get my body on schedule, more injections, more pills, patches, etc. On September 11, we transferred 2 beautiful embryos. Three days later, on September 14, I got my first positive pregnancy test. 

SIGH OF RELIEF.

The rest of September was incredible. A week after I got my positive test, my best friend found out she was also expecting. Too perfect! Everything was going so smoothly and lab results were all coming back great. My HCG levels were more than doubling. My first ultrasound at 5w2d showed a sac and fetal pole. The very next day I began bleeding. My doctor wasn't very concerned and said its pretty normal in early pregnancy. I was told to put my feet up and call if I started cramping or bleeding heavily. It progressively lightened up until it went away. At 6 weeks, it returned. I called my doctor and they scheduled me for an ultrasound scan at 6w2d. I was nervous but as soon as the baby was on the screen we saw a little flicker. Her heart was beating strong to be so early. We got to hear her heartbeat and the doctor assured us that things were fine. He asked us to return the following week to check things one more time. 

I continued bleeding until the next scan at 7w2d. This time, my doctor was studying the ultrasound screen pretty hard and Jason was silent. After what felt like forever, my doctor turned the screen toward me and I saw what was so baffling. There were 2 sacs. This was a twin pregnancy. However, one of the babies failed to develop. This explained the bleeding. I was sad at the thought of one baby not making it, but I was relieved to hear the strong heartbeat of the remaining twin. We finally had the answer to the bleeding that we had been praying for. 

My final ultrasound with my fertility specialist was at 8w5d. At that ultrasound, the bleeding had stopped and it appeared that the second sac had been "reabsorbed" by my body. Again, our baby had a strong heartbeat. Finally, I took a sigh of relief. After hearing the heartbeat the chances of a healthy pregnancy are 90%. Smooth sailing.

At 9 weeks 2 days, I had my first nurse visit at my OB office. I had labs drawn including the panorama testing. Things were good. I was really getting comfortable with this whole thing at this point.

At 10w1d, I heard her heartbeat with the fetal Doppler. YES! We had made it to double digits. 

At 10w5d, my OB called to let us know the panorama results were in. Everything came back low risk. None of the most common chromosomal problems would affect our baby. Plus, IT'S A GIRL! This was really it. Things were progressing well and the first trimester was almost over with no real risk factors. I took my final sigh of relief.

At 11w3d, my MIL and I decided to go shopping for this sweet new baby girl. We went overboard buying everything pink and girly that we could get our hands on. I scheduled an ultrasound appointment with Julie for that afternoon. She is the one who did all of my scans during my IVF. This was likely the last time we would see the baby before my 20 week scan. We were so excited. 

I got comfy on the table. We were all so excited. Julie started the ultrasound machine. There was radio silence. I had seen my baby's heartbeat three times at this point, so I was concerned when I didn't this time. I thought maybe she was just turned awkwardly so it would take a minute to locate it. I think Julie was hoping the same. I could tell she was desperately trying to find it. She then asked "Who is your doctor?" Too much time had passed and I knew that wasn't a question she would've asked without cause. I knew something wasn't right. I knew exactly what it was. I knew what I wasn't seeing on the screen. I knew my daughter should have been moving at that point too. All I could muster up was a soft whisper. "What's wrong?" She replied with "There's no heartbeat."

STUNNED. I didn't cry. I did nothing. Nothing. I was perfectly still, inside and out. Julie was crying, my mother in law was crying. There I was, sitting there blankly staring at the screen while pure shock took over my body. 

Julie tried for 45 minutes to find any sign of life in our daughter's body. She tried everything. She looked so hard that we even located the yolk sac from her twin that we thought was already gone. There was no blood flow, there was no heartbeat, there was no movement. There was just the perfect profile of a perfectly still baby. My daughter. My baby had died. My Evelyn Grace was more real than ever, laying lifeless inside of my body. 

I was in so much shock that I drove myself home from Tyler. No tears. I just got in the car and left like nothing had happened. I just drove straight to my son's school. From the time I got to his school, which happens to also be our church, God placed the people I needed directly in my path. As soon as I pulled up, I saw a dear friend. I just walked over to her and in my shock blurted out the words "My baby died. My baby is dead." She gave me a huge hug and finally the tears came. They were still not tears sufficient enough for the pain I was feeling, but they were tears nonetheless. She walked me into the school where our pastor happened to be walking out of his office. I asked if we could talk and he prayed for us. When I went into my son's classroom, his teacher (also a lifelong family friend) immediately knew something was wrong so I told her what happened and cried so hard on her shoulder. When I looked up, a circle of support from several amazing women was surrounding me. My son walked over and gave me the biggest hug and held me for at least ten minutes. I know God was with me. 

G and I left his school. I still had the task of telling Jason weighing on me. This wasn't something I could tell him over the phone. Truthfully, I knew this would forever change his life like it already had mine. I wanted to give him a little bit longer to remain oblivious. It wasn't something we could change. I waited for him to come home from work. It was one of those odd decisions I made as a result of my shock. When he came home, I told him they couldn't find her heartbeat at the ultrasound and he said "well that's kind of scary" and I said "No, I mean she died." Then he proceeded to do exactly what I did when I found out. Pure shock. Silence. Blank stares. Grayson hugs. 

...and then we took our son to Chuck E Cheese. Because humans do weird things when in shock. We also had promised him we would that very morning. Completely oblivious to what the day would bring, we made him that promise and we intended to keep it. 

The next morning (Wednesday) we had an appointment to discuss options with my OB. Waiting on that table, it all came crashing down. I had my first extreme panic attack. I started hyperventilating, my chest was hurting, tears were just pouring out. It was terrible. Terrible. My doctor told me it could take weeks for my body to realize she had died and miscarry naturally. WEEKS. News to me. I thought I'd start bleeding any minute. My other losses were early on so it was basically just like starting a new cycle physically. We scheduled a final ultrasound for the next Monday. I went home. I waited with my lifeless baby inside of me. I knew she wasn't with us anymore, but I treasured those last days knowing that may very well be the last time I ever carry another human being inside of my body. I was emotionally numb. Confused.

Monday rolled around and the ultrasound showed no growth, no heartbeat, no signs of life. I opted to go with Cytotec to induce. I picked up my prescription that would end it all. It was $5.30. It felt like such a slap in the face. It takes us months of injections and medications, ultrasounds, labs, being poked and prodded constantly and approximately $20,000 to even have a chance at conceiving a baby. Yet it costs $5.30 to end it all in a few hours. FIVE DOLLARS AND THIRTY CENTS TO END A PREGNANCY.

I placed the medication a little before 3pm. Miraculously, I had no pain. I woke up at about 1:30am knowing that it had begun. At about 1:40 I started shaking uncontrollably and having cold sweats. At 1:49am, our daughter was born in our bathroom at home. 

There was a sense of calm. A perfect peace only God could give in a moment like this.

She was still inside of her sac. I opened it and I cut her umbilical cord. She was three inches long and fit in the palm of my hand. She had a smile on her face. She had perfectly formed fingers and toes. She had eyes, ears, a nose and every vital organ was already formed. Every body part was present. She was a baby, my baby, in every way. I stared at her in awe. I took photos. I held her. I just held her. I prayed. 

In the following days, we said our goodbyes. My son amazed me with how he handled her and the entire process. We had a private gathering with our immediate families to bury her next to my Grandaddy. 

Emotionally, reality finally began to sink in. I won't ever see her again in this lifetime. I struggle. I'm up one day and I'm down the next. I'm unpredictable. I cry. I watch life go on around me and I feel like I am stuck in a moment. I genuinely miss her. I have a craving for her. I could tell you on any given day exactly how old she would be now. Nothing has made me pray "Jesus come quick" quite like this has. 

Yet on the other hand, I know I've been given the gift of perspective. While it's unbearably painful, I know I serve a God who will make good come of terrible tragedies. It has been my prayer from the very beginning of the IVF that God's will be done. I prayed for Him to let whatever would bring Him the most glory happen. I've chosen to be open about this experience like many past experiences in hopes that this helps someone or changes someone's life. No life is too short to make a difference. She was with us for a short time for a reason. Truth be told, if one person finds Christ because of her loss then it's worth it. She's already won. She's exactly where we all want to be. I am so thankful to have the assurance of seeing her again one day. I know she is with our creator and I never have to worry about her now.

In memory of Evelyn Grace:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Rainbow Blog

I have started a new blog to follow the adventures life brings after infertility. To view this new blog, visit: Blissful Blessed Mama: The Bruner Family

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Testimony

For months I have felt it on my heart to share my testimony. I was stuck wondering when and in what way would be best to do so. I have waited for a big opportunity to arise. Suddenly, God made something very apparent. Every single day is a big opportunity to share my testimony. What is a social network or a blog if it isn't a place to share something of utmost importance?

God provided me with the opportunity to speak with and help more women in the past couple of months than I could have imagined. He made our paths cross and opened opportunities for conversation. In our journey to have our son, I chose to be very open about our experiences. I stated that if I could help one woman, that would make it worthwhile.

Little did I know how God was using my heartache and that one day I would find myself thanking Him for that very struggle. I know, it's easy for me to say now, now that I have a child... But what if I told you that I learned how to be grateful for my infertility before my sweet angel was conceived? What if I told you how God used this to teach me how to be grateful and have peace in all circumstances? That's exactly what I'm going to do.

I grew up in a wonderful loving home. I honestly never struggled much with anything other than petty first world problems during my childhood or teenage years. When I was 18 years old, I got the news and it hit me like a sack of bricks. I had always had what seemed to be hormonal issues, but never thought I would have difficulty becoming a mother. After all, being a mom was my life's goal. "Real life" began right then and there in that doctors office. I became consumed with learning all I could about pregnancy and conception. Yes, I was young but when I found out I may not be able to have a child my life and priorities changed.

I had never struggled with anything to this extent before. Anything in the past I had wanted, I could achieve if I put in enough effort. This was out of my control and in God's hands alone. It wasn't long after that I became very bitter. I didn't know how to handle disappointment. I hadn't ever had to rely on my faith and God alone before. What had I done to deserve this? Why me? I had never given it all to God before. Bitterness ate away at the core of my being for years. I was bitter toward God, bitter with my fiancé for not being bitter, bitter toward anybody who was pregnant, bitter toward anyone who made any wrong comment, walked the wrong way, talked the wrong way or looked at me the wrong way. I was angry.

I distinctly remember a wonderful lady who shall remain nameless telling me that one day I would find "peace" regardless of whether or not I became a mother. I could not fathom that thought. I was too consumed with bitterness to allow myself to ponder the idea of peace. Instead, I responded with negativity trying to get her to join in with me on complaints so many of us infertiles have. She did not. This conversation was the beginning of a turning point in my life.

My sister became pregnant with my nephew after struggling herself. I was so thrilled at the idea of becoming an aunt, but so heartbroken of the thought that I still was not a mother. I was also so lost as to why MY battle was continuing on. This was the first time I consciously made the decision to not be bitter. I prayed that God would help my attitude. I couldn't handle the mere thought of looking at my sister and nephew as he grew and not having a relationship with him. I chose to be grateful and loving as I was consumed with self-pity.

This was another turning point in my life. I learned that I had control over my emotions. I found that through prayer God would ease my pain.

Shortly thereafter, I finally conceived via our second IVF only to end up miscarrying. There was nowhere for me to fall but into God's arms. I collapsed on my bathroom floor and cried out to Him. I admitted my anger and prayed that he would help me see things from a new perspective. I begged that if He would not change His plans that He would change my plans. I prayed for the peace that I couldn't comprehend in that moment. Then I got up.

When I picked myself up off that floor I realized something. It wasn't about me. All this time all I cared about was my desires. I was making motherhood my idol. So many people told me I deserved to be a mom more than anyone they knew. I realized that was a lie. None of us deserve to be mothers. Sure, by worldly standards, yes I deserved to be a mom. By God's standards I would never stack up. Thank God for his grace.

I continued praying and growing. When the reality of a biological child seemed to be fading, I prayed more. I prayed that if God had other plans for my life that He would continue to grant me peace and acceptance of His plan. I cannot explain the miracles that He performed within my soul, but slowly and surely I was transforming. After our third IVF failed, I knew it was time to step out in faith.

I felt it so heavy on my heart to pursue adoption. I prayed that God would open my husband's heart and lead us on the right path. Although this wasn't the route I originally thought I would take to have my first child, I was excited and very open to the plan God had laid out for us.

I knew if all 3 of my IVF cycles didn't work, my frozen embryo transfer wouldn't either. In the very beginning, I knew the only way I was comfortable with proceeding with IVF is if all of our embryos received a chance to live. So even though I knew the odds were against us and these final 2 frozen embryos wouldn't make it since even the fresh embryos from the same cycle didn't result in pregnancy, I proceeded anyway with adoption in the forefront of my heart and mind.

We drove to Dallas for our final embryo transfer. The very next morning was our adoption orientation in Houston. Everything went so well and we were certain that the Lord put us on the right path toward adoption. God answered all of my prayers, all I had to do was open my heart to His plan. My heart was so full with the thought of adopting a miracle baby in what would most likely be less than a years time.

Three days later I found out I was pregnant...................

Speechless. Praise God! Because of my experience, I learned how to trust The Lord wholeheartedly and undoubtedly. I feel set apart and blessed in such a unique way that I feel many people could never comprehend. It is my hope and prayer that I can share this blessing with as many people as possible. God used my infertility in the most amazing way. Since then, I have been faced with many challenges, none of which I have questioned Him. I know He is working things out in His time and for His greater plan. I don't have to understand it, I don't even want to understand it. I just want to sit back and continue to be amazed at the work He does. Because of my infertility, I am a better Mom. My son gets a mom that is so strong in her faith that nothing can shatter us. My son gets a Mom that is thankful for every second she gets with him. My son benefitted from my struggles in having him. I benefitted from my struggles in having him. Everyone I come into contact with benefits from my infertility whether they know it or not. I am a better person. I feel His love pouring out of my soul. I want to touch as many people as I can. I am burning to share His love, His true, unexplainable love and grace. His forgiveness for all. His acceptance. He is so misunderstood. God is good, ALL the time. I am so blessed to understand the meaning of that phrase.





Monday, April 15, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

Today is a special day because one year ago, on April 15, 2012, we found out that we were expecting. I was 3 weeks, 2 days pregnant. I have been debating for a while whether or not to write a follow-up post on this blog. Although I know it can be hard to read about pregnancy and birth, I decided to proceed in order for my devout followers that I do not know personally to read how my story unfolds. Even some of you who do know me personally, don't know the full story. If you are sensitive to this kind of post at this time, please bypass this and continue downward to previous posts to discover how I overcame my struggles with infertility.

My pregnancy was beautiful and perfect. And by that, I don't mean that I didn't go through the typical discomforts or experience the things so many complain about. What I mean is, I know what it's like to wish to be pregnant more than I wish to live on another day. I didn't spend my mornings I was hugging the toilet complaining or feeling sorry for myself, I spent them joyful (probably mentally more than physically) and thanking God that I had such a wonderful reason to be sick. I had morning sickness until I was over 20 weeks pregnant. As a matter of fact, I had just about every symptom in the book all the way up until the end.
(34 weeks 1 day)

At 16 weeks, we found out we would have a son. My 20 week ultrasound revealed that my son had what they call an "echogenic foci." This can be an indicator of Down's Syndrome. We were scheduled for another ultrasound at 24 weeks to recheck it and were assured it would most likely be gone and no big deal, but it wasn't. At that point we were sent to a perinatologist to keep an eye on it. My last ultrasound was at 32 weeks. At that point the foci was still on Grayson's heart. We chose not to share this information. I had faith in God that if he gave me a child with Down's, then my life would be better for it. Infertility shaped me, it made me more faithful and more positive (over a great deal of time.) I couldn't bare the thought that people might actually have pity on us for possibly having a special needs child. This was my beautiful son that I had longed for years. I was nothing but thankful that I was finally pregnant, no matter how many chromosomes he had or the challenges we might face.


November 23, 2012 - I woke up not feeling quite right. It was "Black Friday," so doctor's offices were closed. My best friend, Christin, went with me to a clinic to get checked out. Being 35 weeks pregnant and developing an illness of any sort didn't sound good. When they checked my blood pressure, it sounded high to me, but they didn't seem concerned. They sent me out the door with a prescription for nasal spray and allergy medicine. I went straight to CVS, not to fill my script, but to check my blood pressure again. At this point it was 167/119. I knew I needed to get to the hospital immediately. Christin then took over and drove me home to pick up Jason. Meanwhile, I called the doctor on call. We were already on our way to the hospital when Dr. Brazell told us to get there immediately.
(Trying to stay germ free at the clinic)
Upon arrival, they did a lot of tests and it was evident within the hour that I was suffering from pre-eclampsia and was also contracting (I didn't feel them). I had the symptoms of pre-eclampsia (remember that head cold?), but I failed to put it all together until I saw my blood pressure so high. My blood pressure had been excellent my entire pregnancy, and I had just been checked the previous week, so I had no reason to be concerned. My sister, Ashlee, then predicted exactly what would happen next. Shortly after, in came the nurse to confirm what we all suspected.
The next several days came as a complete whirlwind. They threw me into a wheelchair and rushed me down to labor and delivery where I was put on a magnesium sulfate drip (terrible side effects). My doctor was having Thanksgiving with family, so couldn't make it up to the hospital. The doctor on call decided within 5 minutes that I needed to be induced that evening.
At 6:00pm I was given Cytotec followed by another Cytotec at 10:00pm. At 2:00am, they began my Pitocin drip. My contractions came on long and hard. They had to try my epidural 3 different times because every time I would sit up my blood pressure would bottom out and I would lose consciousness. By this time, it was chaotic and everybody was suiting up and wheeling my bed out the door for an emergency-section. My blood pressure was dropping too low and Grayson's heart rate was also dropping too low with each contraction. Finally, they had me lay on my side and the third epidural was placed. Right then, my water broke. There was no time to hook up the medication to my epidural. I felt very intense pressure and told them to hold off on the c-section if they could. When they checked me the first time, I was dilated to a 2. They agreed that we could wait a little longer to see what happened because after my water broke Grayson and I both stabilized. Only 27 minutes later, I was at a 10 and pushing. I pushed for 45 minutes and into the world was born my beautiful, perfect, 5 pound 2 ounce, 18 inch long, God-sent miracle baby.
They rushed him off to check him out because he was 5 weeks premature. They said I started screaming "don't take my baby, bring me my baby," but I have no memory of that because the magnesium drip had me so foggy. I don't doubt that I did. I had waited my entire life for that moment. After a few minutes (which seemed like centuries) they brought him over and laid him in my arms. I think I was in shock. All I could do was hold him so close rubbing and kissing on his fresh little moist face.
(The first time I met the love of my life)

A few short minutes later, they took my son from my arms and took him to the NICU. I was then told I would not be able to see him again until the very next morning at 8 am. This was due to not being able to leave bed because of the magnesium. It was such a long day, I slept most of it away. That evening, my nurse from the night before agreed to let me go in and see him. I was determined to get out of bed, and she had witnessed what I could accomplish out of determination the previous night. I was able to go in and see him for a short while. I was too weak to hold my head up, so I simply laid it down next to his tiny body and held his hand. All too soon, I was whisked back to my hospital room. The next morning, I was taken off of the magnesium drip and was able to spend most of the day in the NICU beside my son where I belonged.
(My first time to see him in the NICU)
I was sent home the next day. The most confusing thing was having to leave my baby there. You should not have to leave your baby at the hospital. At the same time, my dream was here and thriving. I was an emotional mess of gratefulness and elation as well as sad that my newborn could not come home with me. I spent every second that I could at the hospital with him, only leaving to grab a change of clothes and a quick snack. He stayed in the NICU for a total of 8 days and that was more than enough for me.
(First day home)
This entire experience made me a better person and a better mother. Grayson gets a stronger, more optimistic, more faithful and an all around better mom because of how I struggled. I cannot look back on what I went through in trying to conceive him and feel sorrow, because I would not be who I am today if not for that experience. As this 4 and a half month old angel lays on my chest sleeping right now, I am overjoyed. My cup runneth over.
(Four months old)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Weeks

I am now seven weeks pregnant! Now that things are moving along, I don't want to muddy the point of this blog. I want to leave this blog as a tool for others facing infertility. I have always chosen to be open about our struggles in hopes that it would help somebody else struggling feel less alone. I hope that now this can be used as a source of encouragement to provide hope for those who believe they will never surpass the horror of infertility. I want others to be able to look at this and think, if it can happen for this girl who battled this for five years, a girl who went through multiple surgeries and so many treatments (from Clomid to IUI to multiple IVFs to ICSI and finally our *FET* that landed us here), then there is hope for me too. There is ALWAYS hope. Have faith in God, have faith that He is working out your very own plan. As you read this you will see that I have been through the valleys and the peaks and I have navigated the stages of grief. I can't say it was easy, but I can truthfully say that I have found a way to be thankful for this journey. Because of my relentless experience, I know that I will have an appreciation and love for my child that I never would have without experiencing all of these heartache and efforts. For that, I am eternally grateful for this journey.

On that note, I will leave you with my new blog link that will follow our new journey. It is: http://jasonandcourtneeplusone.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5,046

My HCG yesterday was 5,046! We wanted at least 2,386! Haha! Twins? I can't wait until my ultrasound Friday!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More Blood Testing

Last Monday I had another blood test and we were hoping my HCG would be at least 180. It was 298!!! Things are looking good! I have one more blood draw tomorrow morning. My ultrasound is scheduled for this Friday, May 4. I can't wait to find out whether or not we are having twins! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

...and then there was three, or four!

I CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT STILL! How on earth did this happen? What the?! Okay, I know how it happened... if there is one thing I am highly (probably annoyingly) educated on it's how babies are made. But holy cow, MY baby or babies were stubborn little toots. Let me just share where we are.

As of today, I'm 4 weeks pregnant. We found out on Sunday and remained very cautiously optimistic. On Monday morning, I went for my first hCG beta blood test and it came back at a 6.5. (Anyone want to argue that First Response early result tests aren't sensitive as whoop?) Anyway, if anyone was ever "a little bit" pregnant, that was me on Monday. In order for a pregnancy to be considered viable, it is expected that the hCG number will double every 48 hours. Today was my second test and I was hoping for at least 13. My hCG was at a 30 today! PRAISE THE LORD!

Twins perhaps? Highly likely... I figured I wouldn't scare everybody with that news yet! HAHA!

ps- sorry for lying about my test on the 23rd, I didn't want everyone asking me all week. But anyone who knows me knows I would never wait until the date the doctor suggests to pee on a stick. Pfffft please! Like I can't take the few days of negative tests before it turns positive, I've survived at least 5,475,238 negative tests in my lifetime so far.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frozen Embryo Transfer & Adoption Orientation

Hiatus over! I just haven't felt like constantly updating this blog after the last negative pregnancy test. However, yesterday morning we transferred our two remaining cryopreserved embryos from our IVF cycle last July. The embryos looked amazing! They both survived the thawing process and even began hatching from their zona pellucida while waiting to be transferred into my uterus. Now we just wait until my pregnancy test on April 23. Here is a photo of our beautiful babies yesterday!




We have officially decided this will be our last try at trying to conceive at this point. Maybe in the future, as technology improves, we will revisit the thought. As of right now, our goal is to bring a child into our lives to love, nurture and share all the joys that we are so blessed to experience in our lives.

This brought us to our decision of adoption. Toward the end of last year, we met with our pastor John and his wife Jessica who have adopted children themselves.  Back in January, we turned in our application to see if we qualified to adopt. We were accepted into the adoption agency and today we attended an orientation with them in Houston. As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted with huge smiles and HUGS! It was such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. These people truly care for each and every adoptive family and birth family. They have a complete passion for what they do. I immediately felt serene and very excited to be there and Jason did as well.

If you've been following my blog from the beginning, you know that never experiencing pregnancy and a biological child seemed like something I could never accept. I can't fully explain it, but I strongly believe that after a lot of prayer the Lord has laid this method of building our family on my heart. I have accepted the fact that I may never experience seeing a heartbeat on an ultrasound, feeling the kicks of a precious miracle inside of me or giving birth. God has given me the peace I have requested on this. I believe God has so many unique blessings waiting for our family if this is the route we end up going.

When I say we lay this in God's hands, I mean it. If God's plan is for us to have a biological child, I pray these precious embryos inside my womb grow to become happy, healthy children. If that is not His plan for us, we have fully accepted our next step and are very excited to embark on a new journey. Please pray for God's continued hand on our hearts through this experience. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Negative Test #8,879,123,324,354

Yep, negative again..................................... Something's gotta give.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Transfer

Yesterday we transferred two perfect embryos into my uterus! :)
Here is a picture:



We also had two perfect blastocysts to freeze. :)
Here they are:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quick Update

I just wanted to write a quick update with our day 3 embryo report. Yesterday our embryologist called and told me that we have 7 of our 12 embryos that look right on track at 6-8 cells. He said they looked exactly how they want to see them on day 3 and they were the best mine had ever looked at that point. Our other five embryos are developing a little slower with 4-5 cells but they still could catch up. They leave the embryos in the incubator on day 4 so I didn't get another update this afternoon, but they should have been at the morula stage today. Tomorrow morning we are going to Dallas for my embryo transfer. At that point we will find out how many of our embryos have made it to the blastocyst stage which is where they should be on day 5. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

:))))

IVF #3 is looking to be a success so far! This time I switched my medications all up and did Menopur, Gonal-F, and Ganirelix then a combination of Novarel and Ovidrel as a trigger shot. Yesterday was my egg retrieval and we got EIGHTEEN healthy, normal looking eggs. Today the embryologist called with my fertilization report and 12 of the 18 fertilized successfully and all 12 look healthy, normal and good!! No vacuoles, no problems at all. I am thrilled!!! He will call again on Friday (day 3) with another report on how they are looking. My transfer is scheduled for Sunday. :)) Can't believe that after everything I've been through we finally got some healthy eggs!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

IVF #3

I forgot to update after my last appointment. We are going to start IVF number 3 in the beginning of July. We're going to switch up all my medications and try the antagonist protocol to see if my eggs react better to it. Hopefully we can get at least one or two good eggs that stick this time!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We Shall See

Just wanted to post that I'm going to the RE tomorrow for my first visit after my miscarriage. I have no idea what to expect. Who knows if he'll recommend another IVF cycle or other options............. We shall see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Long Time No Blog

I just wanted to post a short update and let you know I'm still alive. I am on my first elective break since beginning this trying to conceive journey. After my miscarriage, I just couldn't pull myself back together quick enough to jump back into everything. Instead, I decided to take some much needed time out for myself. It's been a nice break and I'm in a much more stable place emotionally now. I'm not sure exactly what my next steps will be, but first I have to return to my doctor to discuss what went wrong. I may get a second opinion as well. I'm not in any major rush, but I feel like I will be ready to take the necessary steps to get us closer to having a baby sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fly




Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Miscarrying

The worst thing that could happen, is happening. God took away my Christmas miracle. I found out yesterday that my hCG levels are decreasing. On Tuesday they were at a 24.5 which is lower than usual, but as long as they double in two days it is okay. Mine didn't double. They actually dropped to an 11. My doctor told me I could discontinue my progesterone and estradiol and I would miscarry within a few days. However, I began spotting soon after that conversation ended. I hadn't yet stopped any of my medications but I guess my body just knew.

I don't really have much else to say. I am still in a state of shock that this is actually happening to me after everything we've been through. I have many, many questions and emotions in my head. I will never understand. I thought this was finally over. I thought this new year would offer hope, excitement and the start of a whole new chapter. But here we are, back to square one...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am due September 6, 2011!

Shhhhhhhhh... It's a secret for now! We just found out this morning! I wanted those of you who have followed my blog and prayed for us along the way to know before the public announcement is made. There are no words to properly describe the euphoria I am currently feeling! I always imagined this post to be so eloquently thought out but the truth is my brain isn't even functioning! I'm way too excited and shocked to say much more than "OMG!!!" (Which has come out of my mouth 7,453,742 times today!) I feel so incredibly blessed. God has given me the absolute best Christmas miracle I could have ever hoped for!!

I have decided at this point to discontinue posting at this blog address. I want this to be a resource for those struggling with infertility, that they may find some sort of renewed hope and support in it. I feel like I'm turning a page in my life, so it's time for me to do the same here. I will create a brand new blog dedicated to our little bean in the making and that's where I'll share all of our news to come. I will be sure and post a link as soon as I do.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Transfer Day

Last Friday, we went for our embryo transfer. By day three, we only had one of our embryos left to transfer. It wasn't the news we had hoped for, but we are thankful for that one. It wasn't the best quality embryo ever, but it has potential. It was an 8-10 cell embaby with slightly irregular cell sizes. Ideally, each of the 8-10 cells inside the embryo would be very similar in size. Today is day 5 and our embaby should be a blastocyst at this point, so I'm praying that is the case! Below are two pictures (same embryo) taken before the transfer Friday.


On another note, something has gone horribly wrong with my progesterone in oil injections. I'm having some sort of reaction to them. They hurt pretty bad last time but it's not even comparable to what I'm feeling now. I think I know what it feels like to be donkey kicked in the back (five nights in a row). I have an enormous lump going from my spine to my hip and it hurts to lay, sit, stand, walk or do anything. I have an unusually high pain tolerance, so I know something is wrong here. This agonizing pain led me to call my doctor's emergency line tonight and thankfully he agrees and is going to switch me to vaginal suppositories tomorrow. PHEW!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fertilization Report

Yesterday morning I had my egg retrieval. They retrieved only seven eggs this time. I was very down and out yesterday because I was told that once again my eggs were too dark and very abnormal looking. I pretty much counted myself out for this cycle right then and there.

BUT by some miracle, two of my eggs actually looked normal which is a first!!! So, it looks like I'm back in the game for now. Of my total of seven eggs, they fertilized four of them using ICSI and the other three fertilized by normal IVF. Out of the four attempted to be fertilized by ICSI, one was really bad and incapable of being fertilized. One had vacuoles and is developing slowly. The other two were the normal looking eggs and they both fertilized and are looking great. Out of the three other eggs fertilized by IVF, one had vacuoles and the other two are degenerating which means they are hopeless. So out of the seven total, we still have the two excellent ICSI embryos and the two with vacuoles. The embryologist said the chance of the ones with vacuoles being viable is low, but it could happen. We will do the transfer on day three which is Friday morning. We will for sure transfer the two great embryos and possibly all four if they are all still growing. Like I said, the odds of the two with vacuoles even developing to day three is low and the chance of them developing into a healthy pregnancy is slim to none. They won't cryopreserve embryos with vacuoles so our choice is to either transfer them now or discard them. We're certainly not going for quads here, but we need to give it all we've got.

We are doing a day three transfer this time because of the quantity. Day 5 blastocyst transfer is the better option when there are still too many eggs to choose from on day three. In that case, they wait until day 5 in order to choose the one or two healthiest looking embryos. However, it would be pointless for us to wait until day 5 this time. This is because we have a small enough amount that we will transfer them all back regardless. I feel like the sooner they are back inside their natural environment, the better.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick Update

I just wanted to write a little update. I haven't felt up to blogging every little detail, but I'm nearing the end of my stimulation medications. I was supposed to begin them on December 4th, but I was actually able to a little sooner on December 2nd. I'm at the "I feel like I've been hit by a truck" stage. I have been going to Dallas every other day since the middle of last week. This Saturday, I have another ultrasound. Hopefully I'll do my hCG injection that evening which would put my egg retrieval on Monday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Emotional Turmoil

I hate to be a chronic complainer but if there is anywhere I can get away with it, it's here. This past weekend has been particularly hard for me. I think the fact that my ivf failed and I'm actually doing this all over again has finally hit me. When it failed, I forced myself to suck it up and move on to cycle #2. Everyone was shocked in the way I picked up and moved on, choosing to be happy and in a good mood. I thought that would be the best way to handle it, considering moping around won't change anything. I didn't want people to worry about me. I wanted them to know that I was okay, to view me as a strong woman who could handle it. I can handle it, but it still hurts and I should have allowed myself to feel that. It cut deep, I really expected to be pregnant right now, not shooting up everyday again. I'm realizing now that I had so much of myself tied up in that cycle. Faking a smile got me through temporarily and let me pass up on all the pity, but I should have known at some point the pain would rip through.

I'm not sure if it's the Lupron injections stirring up my hormones or if it's the Christmas cheer kickoff. Perhaps it's a combination. All I know is I'm sick of doing the holidays childless. I'm tired of every Christmas thinking "oh this will definitely be the last one I have to endure childless." Never does my home feel emptier than during Christmas time. I have no desire to decorate or even put up a Christmas tree. What's the point really? I feel obligated to do it though, because I don't want to have to explain to people why I chose not to. I don't want the pity party or the questions. I don't want to be viewed as a whiner. I never thought anything would be so effective at draining me of my Christmas spirit. I hate being this way, but I don't have the energy to do anything about it. I do have my better days of course, but I'm stuck in a funk right now. I just want to cry. I've been crying. I'm sure this sounds pathetic and I know everyone is dealing with something, but I'm just so exhausted. I'm so over infertility. I'm ready for January. January means a fresh start, a new year, a better year... I hope.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Underway

IVF #2 is underway. I began my Lupron injections this past Tuesday. I get to stop taking my birth control pills on the 27th and I'll add in my stimulation injections on December 4th.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Most Painful Time of Year

The holidays are right around the corner... For my own sanity, I've decided to take a break from facebook throughout this holiday season (for now anyway-we'll see how long this lasts). The holidays are an especially difficult occasion for those of us who are not blessed with children. With it being a time primarily focused on family, there are far too many reminders of what I am missing. Additionally, I will be doing my second IVF during this time which will make it even more difficult. I have found that facebook is essentially a place where people enjoy showing off their children. Who can blame them? I'd do the same, given the chance. However, during an already painful time, it has just become too much. I am extremely grateful for the amazing family and supportive friends that I have been blessed with and I want to focus on that instead of the child who I am lacking. I just don't see it happening until I quit tormenting myself with facebook.

A good article was posted on Washington Post's website about being infertile on facebook. Check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/24/AR2010102402642.html?hpid=topnews

I found the following on another blog (The Wayward Stork) so I am reposting here. This describes the angst that accompanies the holiday season perfectly.

For people struggling with infertility, the whole year is just one holiday after another. The calendar year is something to be dreaded as you become more and more isolated and shut off from the world around you.

The year starts off easy enough...

New Years -- This is where we make all those resolutions, or in the case of an infertile, their hopes and dreams and goals for the year ahead. We tell ourselves that this is going to be our year! We are not going to face another new Year's without a child. We are going to do whatever it takes to reach our dreams this year. And we kiss, still crushed from the year prior, but with a renewed hope for the year to come. This is going to be our year -- it has to be.

Birthdays -- Next comes your birthday. But you have nothing to celebrate. It's just a painful reminder that you are another year older, another year has passed without a child. Your chances are decreasing every single day. And you can't bear to blow out your candle, yet again, and make the only wish you have been wishing. Because it still hasn't come true.

Valentines Day -- Finally, a holiday that doesn't remind us of children! It's all about love. Only, we are pumped up on drugs, or so exhausted from treatments, that it's hard to enjoy. Not to mention, in the back of our minds, we know all those other couples, sitting around us, eating their dinner, have children they get to go home to. Valentine's cards to help them write out. Little hearts and chocolates to scatter around the house in anticipation of little excited faces.

March Break -- On the heels of Valentines Day comes March break. Children abound, as families pack up to enjoy a fun week together somewhere. But not you. No, you plough forward, head down, trying not to notice.

Easter -- Next comes Easter. The stores are filled with reminders of children. Everywhere you look is a reminder of what you are missing. Easter bunnies, Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts. Pretty spring children's dresses. Excited little faces and happy families are everywhere. You long to be part of an easter egg hunt of your own, but instead, you close your eyes and hope you just make it through.

Mothers Day -- As if Easter wasn't bad enough, Mother's Day is close behind. A slap in the face to infertiles everywhere. You are not a mother and you wonder if you ever will be. You do not get breakfast in bed, a hand drawn card, a hug from that sweet little child telling you they love you. It's a painful reminder of what you may never have, and what everyone around you gets so easily. It's almost too much to bear, as you watch others enjoy what you long for so badly.

Fathers Day -- Of course Father's Day is right behind. Happy children and their dads, out to brunch, playing golf, fishing, enjoying the day together. You think of your husband and what he is missing. You can't help picturing him as a father, knowing how good he would be. You imagine your own children taking his hand and hopping up on his lap, smiling up at him. Their dad. Their hero. And you can't help from thinking how robbed he is, when you see the pain on his face.

Summer Holidays -- One of the best times of year for family fun. Kids are out of school. Everywhere you look are happy families picnicking, going to the park, the beach. And you long to be one of them. The carefree days of summer are everywhere. Long weekends and camping trips. Innocent times and bonding and memories being created that will last a life time. Yet, you still cannot join in the fun.

Weddings -- Of course, what would the summer be without weddings. You watch, as other couples get married, knowing that soon, their dreams will come true, and they will be blessed with families before you. You think back to your wedding, how excited and hopeful you were for the future together. All the family plans you had, the big house, the fun family trips. And it's painful to watch it come true for everyone else but you.

Baby showers -- Invites to baby showers come fast and furious. You can't even bear to open the envelope. You shop for other peoples' children, holding back the lump in your throat, trying not to breathe, and maybe you will get through it.

Anniversaries -- Your wedding anniversary is upon you, and it's time to celebrate your love. The one thing that keeps you going through all the pain. But unfortunately, it's also an anniversary where you both will mourn another year passing without a child. The family you haven't created.

Back to School -- Back to school has become a season these days. You look around at all the stores, all the little knapsacks, and school supplies. Your nieces and nephews are getting older. Friends children are growing up before your eyes. Life is moving forward without you. You can't help but feel like it's completely passing you by.

Halloween -- As the autumn leaves fall, families are huddled up carving pumpkins together, making candy apples, playing in the falling leaves. And Halloween rolls around quickly. Parents dress up little angels, princesses, and monsters in the cutest outfits you have ever seen. You dread the day as it grows darker, knowing that soon, happy little children will be knocking on your door, saying trick or treat. And you will barely be able to keep yourself from crying. You think about everything you are missing. You long to be taking your own children out from house to house. And you end the night, a puddle on the floor, sobbing your eyes out, wishing you could hide away forever.

Thanksgiving -- The season of family is officially upon you. Happy families get together to share turkey and rejoice in all that they have to be thankful for. Just the thought of another holiday where you still don't have your own family to share it with, tortures you beyond belief. You have a hard time thinking of anything to be thankful for, let alone, sharing the holiday with family and friends who have everything you want. Everyone has a family except for you, and the pain cuts so deep you don't think you will survive it.

Christmas -- The holiday season is upon you in no time. The pinnacle of holidays is finally here. Christmas is the motherload, the holiday of all holidays. The one you have been dreading all year. For it is the season of children and dreams and families and miracles. For everyone but you. Little stocking hanging from the fireplace, ornaments on the tree, hopes of Santa, snowmen on front lawns, Christmas parades, hot chocolate, cold little toes and noses and happy laughter fills the air. The stores bellow out Christmas music. Commercials celebrate families and children. Movies are filled with the magic of family. Christmas lights and Santa sleighs, and nativity scenes are everywhere. Christmas cards arrive in the mail, all those happy smiling family pictures and updates from friends and families. The magic of the season is everywhere, all around you, suffocating you, choking you to death. The pain has never been so great, so real, and so deep. You envy everyone you see. You can barely venture out your front door. It is the happiest season of all, a season you once loved, a season you wonder if you will ever love again. A season that now pulls you under with such grief that you are sure you will die. But you don't die. You survive. As you brace yourself for the upcoming New Year and the whole new calendar that comes with it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perseverance

Today I had my IVF follow up appointment. Because things have become so complicated, I am debating whether or not I should continue blogging. I am going to stick with it for now, but probably won't be as detailed as I have in the past. There is so much information overflowing my brain that it would be impossible to fit it all into anything short of an entire set of encyclopedias. I highly doubt the average person would understand it all anyway, so I'm saving myself the trouble.

So, here are the basics regarding my failed IVF cycle:

Of 16 retrieved eggs, only 25% fertilized normally with 2PN (pro-nucleate.) The other 75% were ≥ 3PN. In English, this means that more than one sperm fertilized each of those 12 remaining eggs. The many possible causes for this can be described by words that google doesn't even recognize (because I've tried) so I'll spare you. Obviously, this results in an embryo with an abnormal amount of chromosomes. These embryos can develop and result in pregnancy and they often do in a natural setting. Sadly, the pregnancy will inevitably end in miscarriage or loss of the infant shortly after birth. For this reason, they are not considered viable and are not transferred during an IVF cycle.


Of the four oocytes that did fertilize normally, who knows what went wrong there. I thought that we had two morulas, but it turns out that there was only one. One of our transferred embryos had made it to the blastocyst stage. I guess there must have been some sort of misunderstanding there. I'm sure that had I heard anything about a blastocyst, I would have remembered since that was the one word I was longing to hear the most. That being said, it was still a very poor quality blast graded a "DDD."


Apparently, I'm a sort of medical mystery. Nobody understands what the problem is... SUPER! There are the obvious problems, but the underlying causes are baffling. Considering the fact that I am so young (if I hear it one more time I'll scream) and had a great response to the stimulation medications, it doesn't make any sense. My FSH levels are fine, my ovarian reserve is fine. There is one more hormone test (AMH) they can do to check my eggs, but my doctor says he would be very shocked if it came back abnormal due to my excellent response to the injections. I said bring it on anyway, what's one more measly little blood test? I'm continuously surprising everyone with my unexpected outcomes, so why not?

AND THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION YOU'RE ALL DYING TO ASK...

...........Yes, we are going to go for IVF round #2. We will tweak a couple of things in my protocol (hCG, possibly add ICSI or 50% ICSI) in hopes of a better outcome, but with no definitive reason for this failure we can't do much. I got my full schedule today and I will be on birth control pills for a while. I doubt that I will be as open about this one as I was with the first. It's hard... very, very hard. I want to thank you all for your continued support and prayers through this time of trial in our lives. One day, one way or another I WILL be a mother.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No-

I'm not even sure how to go about writing this so I'm keeping it short and to the point. The IVF has failed - I'm still not pregnant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Morula Transfer

Yesterday was our embryo transfer. We had hoped by day 5 our embryos would have reached the blastocyst stage, but it turns out that they were all four slow growers. Most embryos are at the morula stage on day 4 and develop into the blastocyst stage by day 5. Two of our embryos had developed into the morula stage by day five. We went ahead and transferred our two healthiest looking morula embabies. My doctor is very surprised that this has happened. Given my age everyone had very high expectations for our embryos.

We let our remaining two embryos continue to grow until today (day 6) in hopes that they might catch up and be able to be cryopreserved for future use. Today, I spoke with our embryologist and found out that one embryo arrested completely at the 8 cell stage which is normally reached by day 3. The other one stalled at the morula stage which should have been reached by day 4. Obviously, that means we have no embryos to freeze for future use. :(

As far as the two we transferred, all we can do is hope for the best. Maybe they just needed their mommy to thrive...? Maybe they're boys and are just going to be slow and stubborn like their daddy...? ;) .........Or maybe this isn't our time either. It's a hard possibility to face, but a very real one at this point. We will continue to pray and hope. I will consider myself pregnant until proven otherwise. As for now, I'm technically pregnant with twins so I am just going to enjoy today and take it as it comes. Below is a picture of our little ones:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 3 Embryos

I just received my second embryo report! The embryologist told me that we have three excellent quality embryos at 8-10 cells each. The fourth little one is lagging along a bit with only 5 cells. Overall, this is great news and we're all set for our blastocyst transfer on day 5. The next two days are critical, but we have every reason to be positive and expect a great outcome! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Four Embryos

I just received the call from the embryologist. It turns out only 4 of the 16 eggs fertilized normally. This is less than we expected and it came as a bit of a shock. They'll will keep those in the incubator until Saturday (day 3). At that point, they will reevaluate them and call me again. On a positive note, the embryologist feels that because of my age these four embryos have a great chance of dividing normally and thriving. He thinks we still have a pretty good chance of doing a day 5 transfer. All four making it until Monday would be a wonderful outcome but the odds of that happening are low. Please pray for these four little ones to defy mommy already and be healthy and strong.

As for me, tonight I begin my daily progesterone in oil injections ((shivers)) and baby aspirin. I'm feeling very bloated and quite uncomfortable today, but hopefully it will get better and not worse over the course of the weekend. Expect another update Saturday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sixteen Eggs

This morning was my egg retrieval! We retrieved a total of 16 eggs! :) :) :) Tomorrow the embryologist is supposed to call with our fertilization report. He should also be able to give us a pretty good idea of whether we will be having a day 3 transfer or a day 5 blastocyst transfer. I'm hoping and praying our embryos are strong enough to make it to the day 5 blastocyst stage because our odds will be excellent if they do.

As far as physically, I feel pretty good. Thankfully, the anesthesia didn't make me sick this time. Honestly, I feel better now than I did before the procedure. The past few of days were pretty uncomfortable with my ovary being so full. I've been told to stay on strict bed rest for at least 24 hours so I'm being a total bum today. Until tomorrow...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Overachiever

YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) Today I had another ultrasound and more blood work. My E2 levels came back at 2621. My uterine lining is at 12.42mm which is fantastic. My ovary went into overdrive since Saturday and I have about TWENTY follicles on my left ovary! Keep in mind, I only have one good ovary. My right ovary has maybe one or two follicles which is a very poor response. A great response for someone with two great ovaries is 8-16 follicles total. That would be 4-7 or 8 on one ovary. I have TWENTY on ONE ovary!!! I'm definitely feeling it!!! This explains the mega bloat I've been dealing with. My left side feels like the combination of a side stitch and having a really full bladder localized at my ovary. Uncomfortable as it is, this is excellent and very welcomed news. My doctor says since my right ovary is kind of a runt, my left ovary has taken the role of "overachiever" and picked up the slack plus some. Below is an image from my ultrasound that shows some of the follicles. The black round spots in the center of the image are follicles.


I am definitely ready to go. I will do my injection of Ovidrel tonight at 10pm. Ovidrel is just a name brand of the hCG trigger shot. Tomorrow I get a whole day 100% injection and doctor free. A one day break!! WOOHOO! lol. My egg retrieval is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10am. I have been instructed to take it easy until then. Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time with my couch and remote control. I've got lots of bed rest in my near future. Company is welcome! :)

Straight from my doctor's website:
"During the retrieval, the anesthesiologist administers intravenous medications (pain relievers and sedatives) in order to minimize the discomfort that may occur . The egg retrieval is performed via vaginal ultrasound (similar to the ultrasound used for monitoring your follicles during your stimulation). Once you are comfortable and relaxed, a tip of a thin needle is passed through the top of the vagina and into the cul-de-sac (space behind the uterus). The ovaries are located near the bottom of the cul-de-sac allowing the tip of the aspirating needle to enter the ovarian follicles and aspirate the follicular fluid from them. The egg retrieval takes approximately five to ten minutes. Sometimes there are ovarian cysts that contain no eggs but appear identical to follicles that do contain eggs. Also, follicles of smaller size may not yield eggs. The number of follicles seen with ultrasound, therefore, may not correspond to the number of eggs retrieved. Ultrasound provides only an approximation of the number of oocytes that one can expect to recover."

I will be on to update with all Wednesday's details as soon as I'm feeling up to it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ultrasound Day

WOOHOO!! Today I finally got an ultrasound along with my regular labs. It looks like I have 9 great follicles ranging from 13.4 to 18.8! My E2 levels came back at a 1,702 today. I'll continue on with the same dosage until Monday. My next (and hopefully final) appointment for more blood work and another ultrasound will be Monday at 10:00 am. If everything progresses how we expect it to, I should be ready for my hCG trigger shot that evening. This will put me exactly on schedule for my retrieval October 6. PERFECT! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Injections: Day Six (CD10)

My lab results came back great again today. I'm still responding well to the dosage of medicines I'm currently on, so no need to change anything there. My E2 level is a 732 indicating some definite ovarian action. I could have told them that, these suckers are on fire! I'm soooooooo bloated. I've never been this bloated in my life, I'm getting a precursor of the (hopeful) pregnant belly I'll be seeing in about five months. Seriously though, it's really out there and I can't suck it in. When I try to suck in it feels like my ovaries might explode, so I'm letting it all hang out. I have all of the expected side effects and moodiness of a woman hopped up on hormones. Each medication came with about 20 pages worth of listed side effects and I think I have most of them. I'm on about 758 different medicines right now so I'll spare you every detail. Nobody wants to read 15,160 pages...

Three injections per day is getting really old, I won't lie. Now that it's been six days, it's hard to find a place on my belly that isn't already bruised which makes them more painful by the day. It wouldn't be quite so bad if I didn't have to wake up before the sun to do the first two. You should see me in the kitchen half asleep, squinting and trying to see clearly enough to mix the vials and read the syringes correctly, all the while I'm dropping stuff left and right. Why are my hands made of butter in the mornings? I'm sure it's entertaining. I really suck at mornings.

But all this aside, I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to put myself through this torture. The truth is I'd do it all for two years if that's what it took. It's amazing what we'll do for our children, even before they're conceived in my case.

On Saturday, I have to be back in Dallas by 9am ((yawn)) for more labs and finally an ULTRASOUND!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Injections: Day Three (CD7)

Today I went in for my CD 7 blood work. I have been doing three injections per day for three days now. My E2 levels looked good at a 198. Because my lab results were where they should be at this point, it looks like we have found the right combination of injections for me so far. I will continue on with 5 units of Lupron, 75ius of Menopur and 150ius of Follistim for three more days. I will then return for another blood draw on Thursday the 30th to check my E2 levels again and make sure I don't need a change in dosing. After that appointment, I will most likely return every other day until my retrieval. We will need to keep a close eye on my E2 levels and do frequent ultrasounds to check my follicle count and size.

As far as physical side effects, there are many, but the most prominent so far is that I've been flat out exhausted! My lower abdomen is super bloated, bruised and sore from all of the injections. Emotionally I've been very moody and a little snappy, but that is to be expected with all of these hormones. Bear with me please. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baseline Appointment

After starting my cycle Tuesday, today I went to the doctor for my CD3 baseline ultrasound and blood work. My ultrasound went great! My lining was nice and thin which is exactly how it should be at this point. My e2 levels are low as well (30). This is all to be expected and it means the Lupron injections are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Tomorrow I will decrease my Lupron dose from 10 units to 5 units until my egg retrieval. On Saturday, I will be adding in two more injections per day for a total of 3. I will do my Lupron injection as well as my Menopur injection of 75ius at 7am. I will do my injection of 150ius of Follistim at 7pm. My poor bruised and beaten stomach.......

Many of you have asked so I will go ahead and explain what the Lupron injections are used for. The drug itself suppresses the pituitary gland. With it suppressed, my body won't take over and try to do things on it's own, therefore my entire cycle will be fully regulated by injectable medications. Basically it forces me into a temporary state of menopause by causing a drastic drop in estrogen levels. This is turn prevents premature ovulation while stimulating my ovaries to create multiple follicles.

The Menopur and Follistim simply stimulate follicle growth. Menopur contains both FSH and LH. Follistim contains only FSH.



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Core Fears

I began doing my morning Lupron injections yesterday. Yesterday's was pretty bad. It was unusually painful for a little subcutaneous injection and took two tries to get it to puncture my skin. Luckily, today's was much better. It must have been a fluke, thank goodness, because I was scared! As far as side effects go, I have been unusually sleepy and not wanting to do much of anything. I've also had a migraine since yesterday which isn't an uncommon thing for me. Here is a picture.

I still don't think it's really set in that it's actually come to this and I'm really having to do IVF. I sort of just feel like I'm going through all the motions. I'm just taking it one day and one step at a time. Hopefully this is what will work for us because I'm barely hanging on to the end of a very thin thread. It's been a loooooooong, long time to wait for a child. Probably a lot longer than most of you realize.

It's finally come to the last resort. Every hope and dream I've ever had is tied up in this cycle. What will I do with the rest of my life if I can't have a child to share it with?.... What if I never feel the kicks of a God-given angel growing inside me, never have that little fear of being solely responsible for another human being, never get to hear my baby's heartbeat for the first time, never get to experience the beautiful moment of seeing my baby's face on the ultrasound machine, never know what it feels like to experience all the joys of pregnancy, never experience that magical moment when my newborn is placed in my arms for the first time, and witnessing my husband's nervousness the first time he/she is placed in his, never know what it's like to breastfeed and bond, never know how it feels to decorate a nursery, or bring my baby home for the first time, never really join in the conversations between mothers in a form other than the giant elephant in the room, never have someone to watch grow up, snuggle with, teach to walk and talk, take trick-or-treating, open gifts on Christmas morning, revolve all the holidays around, start Kindergarten... who's booboos will I kiss? I may never watch my baby graduate high school, get married, I may never become a grandmother. I would deprive my husband of these things as well. These are my core fears. This world is centered around children and families and I'm waiting for my turn. My chance at motherhood, my chance at knowing what it feels to be a part of the most miraculous thing on this earth. It's terrifying.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Holy Tomatoes

My appointment yesterday couldn't have been better. My sonohysterogram went wonderfully and my trial transfer was a breeze. We went over tons of information so instead of setting the world record for longest blog post, I'll wait until it's a relevant time to share each step and detail.

My ivf protocol will be Mid-Luteal Lupron with Menopur and Follistim. As for now, I just continue the birth control pills until September 18. I will however, go ahead and begin Lupron injections on September 14 and we'll go from there. Once we get started it's all going to go at an extremely rapid pace. I picked up all of my medications from the pharmacy yesterday and can I just say HOLY TOMATOES! I'll post a pic of my in-home lab at the bottom of this post! It's a little overwhelming, but I'm trying to take it one step at a time.

My tentative egg retrieval will be on October 6, 2010. If we do conceive, my due date would be June 29, 2011. That just so happens to fall on a great day, my dad's birthday! NEAT! :)

PS - I'll update my side bar with all the IVF lingo and details on the new meds so my blog doesn't turn into a foreign language for all of you non-ttc'ers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IVF Beginnings

I started my cycle yesterday, so we are officially getting started with the IVF process now. I will begin taking birth control pills (ironic, I know) tomorrow (CD3) in order to keep my cycle regulated so we will know the exact dates to schedule injections and procedures. I go back to the RE next Wednesday the 25th for my sonohysterogram and my trial transfer. I will receive my entire IVF schedule then, so I should have a pretty good heads up on when everything will be happening.

Other than that, I've mostly just been trying to keep busy to pass the time. I didn't mean to, but for a while I lost the desire to have much of a social life. I was just too exhausted and I really didn't care because all of my energy has been channeled into this for so long now. I kept myself closed off because it seemed easier that way, but now I realize that I can't get through these things alone. I've been working on mending relationships that I have let slide downward during all of this chaos. I'm trying to rediscover myself in the midst of infertility and find joy in the things that used to make me happy. I think I'm growing stronger and pulling myself out of the slump a little more each day. I finally feel okay... maybe even happy again. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Breakthrough

Thank God! Finally we have a breakthrough and I have amazing news report. Thanks to a generous donation, we will be proceeding with IVF as soon as possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! Since we have to do some testing prior, we will be looking forward to a September/October IVF. I am praying that this will result in a little bundle of joy next summer. If we conceive, it will put my due date in June or July, depending on the exact dates we end up doing things. I just feel so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity. My gratitude cannot be put into simple words. I'm shaking right now and can barely contain myself. The mere thought of being a mommy in a year's time tickles me to death! It's been far too long awaited...

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Doctor

My appointment with my new doctor was today. LOVE HIM! I am a very straight forward factual person and he gave me just that. FACTS! I needed facts, I'm so sick of doctor's beating around the bush with me trying to sugar coat all of this. Nothing about it can be sugar coated. After a long consultation and reviewing my personal medical history, we're all in agreement that IVF will be the best route for us. I pretty much wasted a whole lot of time and money with the other doctor which infuriates me, but it is what it is.

Today I had an ultrasound and was once again told that my one good ovary looked great! That it was big and healthy and basically made up for my little dysfunctional one. He expects it to respond wonderfully. By the way, my cyst is already gone. Figures............... 8-12 weeks? Try 9 days. WHATEVER. I'm so over it and glad to be in good hands now.

I have to wait for this cycle to end then I will go in for a sonohysterogram which will evaluate my uterine cavity to make sure there are no irregularities that would interfere with embryo implantation.

I will also have a trial embryo transfer which allows my doctor to determine the length and direction of my cervical canal to determine placement of the embryos. To clarify, no actual embryos will be in the catheter at that time. We're simply doing a mock transfer.

Anyway, love the doctor, love all of his nifty technology, love the office and I feel good about this. We've officially made up our minds to change doctors and go forward with this.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Clean Slate

I called to make my appointment with the new clinic first thing this morning! I am proud of myself for taking initiative and leaping out of my comfort zone. I'm so thankful that my husband works very hard to provide for us so that I am able to focus on getting pregnant and not be preoccupied by a job. It wouldn't be possible for me to make the many trips to these appointments if I was, because some weeks it requires seeing the doctor every single day for monitoring. That along with a 2.5 hour drive simply wouldn't work out. My consultation with the new RE will be THIS COMING MONDAY, the 26th in Dallas! I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly they are fitting me in and I am very pleased with the courtesy of the clinic. They have a financial adviser to assist couples in their financing options for procedures, as well as a mind-body counseling program to target the emotional aspect of infertility. I'm hoping we can get all of this figured out very soon and get the ball rolling. It's time to get a baby or two in this belly of mine!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

UMM WHAT?!?!

Today I went for my CD2 baseline ultrasound. To say that things didn't go well would be a serious understatement.

First off, I have a 46x38mm cyst on my left ovary. My doctor believes this cyst will take 8-12 weeks to shrink and go away because of it's size. Just like before, this means TTC will be put on hold until the cyst is gone. Luckily, this time I won't have to take birth control pills. I HATE those things, they make me literally nuts.

After my laparoscopy in November, we were told that my doctor had to remove my right fallopian tube. We were assured however, that my left tube was open and along with my left ovary, 100% healthy. All these events can be tracked just by reading previous posts in my blog. At this ultrasound appointment today, while I was asking my doctor questions I was informed that my one "good" tube on the left side isn't so "good" after all. Yes it's open, but apparently that doesn't mean it's healthy. Apparently, it isn't healthy at all. Apparently this little sucker is sick and abnormally shaped. Apparently my doctor knew this back in November. SO WHY WASN'T I INFORMED???????????????

GET THIS! I don't have unexplained infertility. Nope, I have "tubal factor infertility." 

Even worse, turns out our chances of conceiving on injectable medication with IUI are no higher than our odds of conceiving with no medical intervention at all. WTF!!! I mean I guess if you take into account that I had 2 follicles instead of one, the chances improve a little, but basically it would be about the same as our odds if we just tried naturally for two months. If my fallopian tube is a toxic environment for sperm, eggs and embryos, it most likely won't end well even if a sperm does manage to reach an egg. So that's crap and my odds suck. My question is why on earth have I been paying thousands of dollars for monitoring and medicine, not to mention injecting myself in the stomach and ass for the past two months for NOTHING!? I am livid about this. Is somebody money hungry...? Perhaps but I'd hate to point fingers.......

And lastly, because of this sick tube my odds of having a tubal pregnancy increase to about 15%. SUPER!

Now let me tell you what all this information means. Fortunately, tubal factor infertility patients are excellent, if not the best candidates for IVF. Lucky (if I dare say it) for me, my uterus is "beautiful" and my egg quality is "excellent." That I have been told by two different doctors. At least I have that going for me. If you're not familiar with how IVF works, it is the only fertility treatment that bypasses fallopian tubes completely. With IVF, fertilization and early embryo development that usually happen inside the fallopian tube, take place outside of the body in a lab. They then transfer the resulting healthy mature embryos back into the uterus. At this point, it's up to God whether the embryo will implant itself into the uterine lining and result in pregnancy. People are misinformed and believe that this will cause a litter of babies, but that isn't true. Actually, IVF is a lower risk of high order multiples than IUI because they only transfer a certain number of embryos based on each patients individual case. I would assume on me they would transfer two meaning no more that twins at best. That is unless the hypothetical embryos decided to split and create an identical twin, but the risk of that is no more than the average person.

Anyway, IVF is very expensive and not covered by my grand ol' insurance plan so we will be saving up for a while. At the very least it would cost us around $10,000 but usually costs much more. Anyone care to donate? Sadly enough, I'm not even kidding............... I guess I'm officially desperate.

At this point, we agree it would be a wise decision to see another RE for a second opinion. My mom's already done the research for me and found a clinic in Dallas that is among the top 10 in the US. I plan to make an appointment immediately. It usually takes months to get in so I expect to wait a while. Story of my freaking life. I'll probably make an appointment with a mental health professional in the meantime (not a joke). Why the hell not? Pretty sure I'm losing it. Thanks infertility!

I don't even want to talk about my emotions. There aren't sufficient words anyway.