Peace OUT 2012!

December 29, 2012

For those that often read my blog, I always talk about how horrible/unnatural opposites can feel when they collide.  Fire and ice.  Black and white.  Hope and fear.  Basically 2012 has been just that: Joy and pain.

This year has been amazing and horrible.  Only horrible in the sense that so much revolved around infertility, so much money, tears, emotion, hope, loss, pain, fear, stress, anger, and deep deep sadness.  After 7 IUIS (this year) and a POSITIVE pregnancy test after round 1 of IVF all to end in miscarriage basically brought me to rock bottom.  But this is the beauty of fresh starts, a new year.  So in regards to the rough patches, I say "peace out 2012."

But one can't complain about the ugliness without seeing the beauty.  2012 was also amazing.  Darren got to go to Paris for free (incentive through the program I planned our school Spain trip to) and then we went to Spain, Morocco, and Disneyland together. 

Darren graduated!  This was a 12 year process and he walked!

We paid his entire school as he went (22 K) and managed to knock out a whole bunch of extra student loan debt.  When we got married, he had acquired 127,000 in LOANS!! He had made some bad choices as an 18 year old and took out big time debt over the next several years.  However, we have been doing Dave Ramsey and after 3 years of marriage only owe about 30k.  This is a miracle.  (It also made it easier taking out the IVF loan, we are experts with them ;).  Darren just got a 10,000 raise/promotion so God is definitely providing a way to pay our debts.

We've been able to remodel a bit in the house as well which is always a great feeling, and I ALMOST met my goal of reading the whole Bible in a year (I'm on November 27 in the daily year Bible). 

I'm so grateful for the beautiful life God has given us and for such a caring/supportive husband.  I have to remind myself to dwell on these things instead of the heartache.  To be honest though I am at a weird spot spiritually.  I'm not mad at God at all but I have lost some desire/purpose to pray.  I figure, He will do what He is going to do.  I know it's a bad attitude and the Bible says to knock knock knock knock but my HANDs hurt from knocking.  I don't want to say I'm complacent, but I'm so "hard" from all the loss/negatives that I have to guard myself even though every single day I think about our "snow babies" and February.

We do have 3 more tries with IVF left.  As I said before (stolen from a fellow blogger) I'm praying two things:
1.  God's will.
2. My heart's desire and God's will to finally be the same. 

Kicking a Dead Horse

December 20, 2012

So many sayings out there but tonight I am experiencing the "kicking of a dead horse."

I have been surprisingly well since the D&C 10 days ago.  I didn't even have to take any pain pills after the procedure.  I had one rough day (on Friday I had bad cramps and heavier tissue) but other than that smooth sailing.

I've hardly cried since the procedure and I keep telling myself it's all behind me.  I'm moving forward.

But then tonight happened.  I fed my sister's baby a bottle (he's 9 weeks old) and came home to work on projects.  My chest had been sore for almost the entire pregnancy and it recently stopped hurting.  However, yesterday they were sore again.

A few hours ago, I realized I'm producing milk.  I'm lactating.  If I squeeze my nipples, warm, white milk comes out.  Food for a baby that I will never feed.  A strange and painful reminder of what I thought I had possibly overcame.  A wave as sadness hit.  If this isn't kicking a dead horse, I don't know what is.

However, the other part of it made us laugh.  It's almost funny.  It's nuts.  I was only 8 weeks pregnant but Darren just figured since the baby is out, maybe my body thinks I gave birth?  WEIRD.  I was also happy to know that I CAN nurse down the road.  2 cousins that are blood related don't produce milk and I've always wondered if I will be able to (in comparison to infertility that's like the least of my concerns).  But, at least I know I will. 

So I sit here typing, with wet spots on my shirt letting life give me one more little kick.  What doesn't kill us makes us stronger right?  :)

Graduation, 3:40, and Disneyland

December 18, 2012

This weekend Darren and I flew down to California for his graduation!! Darren has been in and out of school since he was 18 (he's 30) and has had the longest journey ever to getting his degree but he made it.  Watching him walk was so so so cool!



The RE's office called me this weekend and we set up a "phone appointment" with Dr. Patton for "next steps."  The phone call was set for 3:40 pm.  It lasted 7 minutes. 

It was kind of an awkward call.  I get they kind of do this in "mass" production and they work as team (I actually had 4 different RE's do something to me).  He asked how the D&C went and then said I could start again in a month when I get my period to call.  I shot off the questions as quickly as I could.  Here is almost word for word our "brief" conversation.

I don't get periods on my own?  What should I do?
If you don't get a period within 35 days, call me.  I'll put you on provera.

What will the protocol look like?
Most likely birth control for a bit and then a drug called Lupron (hello, I know about Lupron)

I had a blighted ovum.  Is there a chance this can happen with the other frozen embryos?
Blighted ovums are random.  There is no reason to worry all the others are bad.

What is frozen embryo success rate?
25%-45% (HOLY CRAP it seems low)

Should I consider doing 3?
Are you open to selection reduction?
No.
That's up to you.  You might it one doesn't survive the unthawing.

What are chances of frozen embryos not surviving the "unthaw"?
low

Should I consider genetic testing?
At this point no, if you have to do a frozen again, let's talk about it.

Okay, I'll call you when I get a period.
Okay, here we go.

I hung up the phone in a whirl wind.  Then ran to look at the calendar.  I want to start so soon but these things can't be rushed.  I'm thinking realistically we are looking at end of February or early March.  I really don't want to complain but I think the hardest part is the "slow motion" build up waiting and process to get to the Frozen Embryo Transfer.  But, this too shall pass.

Lastly, Disneyland.  It wasn't as magical as I had hoped.  It was super crowded and really rainy.  The kids didn't really get to me except once.  We were on Pirates of the Caribbean and the cutest family sat in front of us.  The couple was probably a couple years older than us and they had a 4 year old and 1 year old daughter.  They were clearly a happy family and they did such a good job of prepping their girls for the "hills" and the pretend pirates.  I couldn't help but look at the sweet girls in between the two of them and recognize that there was no one in between (or inside) us.  It stung, just because fear is rooting a bit deeper in my heart and I'm so scared that there will NEVER be even 1 in between us.
Out of the millions of faces I saw, I only remember theirs.

Overall, it was nice to get out of "reality" for a bit and spend time with Darren.  I am so very grateful I wasn't riding alone on that ride and that he was by my side.  When we got home, he had surprised me and hired someone to redo our bathroom counters/sinks into granite!  It was a fun surprise (I LOVE updating our home). 

Now I'm on Christmas break and time will fly because it's vacation.  That will bring me to January...in the words of my short-winded RE "Here. We. Go."

D&C

December 10, 2012

It's funny because out of the trillion blogs/posts/forums/google searches I've encountered in this infertility journey, I always kind of skipped of the D&C.  I didn't really know what it was, and convinced myself mostly likely wouldn't have to "deal" with whatever it was.

What is a D&C Procedure? D&C, also known as dilation and curettage, is a surgical procedure often performed after a first trimester miscarriage. Dilation means to open up the cervix; curettage means to remove the contents of the uterus. Curettage may be performed by scraping the uterine wall with a curette instrument or by a suction curettage (also called vacuum aspiration), using a vacuum-type instrument.


Then, when I found myself in the unfortunate club of miscarriers, I still thought I wouldn't need it since I was losing the baby so early. 

However, for Darren and I it was the best choice.  I found out a week ago the pregnancy was not viable, and haven't started bleeding at all.  The OBGYN that worked with me today told me that she has a patient that has been waiting THREE MONTHS!!  Insane.  Mentally, I couldn't keep waiting. 

It was a weird feeling last night.  Although I know the pregnancy isn't alive/growing, according to HPT, I'm still pregnant, and the baby is still inside me.  I realized that this could be the closest I ever get to becoming a mother (I know that there is still a lot of hope, but I'm a "realist" as well) and it kind of made me feel sad.  I've been carrying the little embryos for over a month.

The drive to Oregon was long with lots of traffic.  I checked in at 8:30 but they said I don't actually go into surgery till 10:45!  I guess I was spoiled at the RE's office with the surgery being really fast. 

For those of you that follow my blog, waiting is the killer for me.  And today my friends, waiting is just what I did.

They took me back to this weird room with lots of curtains and told me to fully undress.  I can usually get away with them letting me where my own dresses but not today.  The nurse put the IV in me like at 9:00.  It was so strange to have it in so soon. 

Darren and I talked while I laid on the bed.  at 10:03 they asked me if wanted medicine to help me "calm down and relax."  Yes please!  Can  get some to go as well?  She said it would make me feel kinda loopy and I wouldn't remember a thing.  Ya, about that.  Didn't work at all.  I did feel a little less freaked, but I remember everything word for word (this is all prior surgery).

At 10:35 the OBGYN who will do surgery comes back to introduce herself.  She is the nicest lady I've ever met.  She is with another OBGYN.  They ask me a ton of questions about dates/IVF/egg transfer and say "the odds are really really low, but since your last HCG did go up last week, do you want us to do one more blood test just to be sure?"

"just to be sure just to be sure just to be sure."  The words echoed in my head.  "How long will it take to get the results?" I ask.  "1 hour" they reply.  I look at Darren.  He give me the why not shrug.

So 'just to be sure" they took some blood and left me for another hour (at this pt I've been in the pre operation room for over 3 hours).  The nice OBGYN said, I don't want to give you any false hope, but I'm sure D&Cs have happened where the pregnancy was viable. 

My own brain didn't even let one ounce of hope in.  I knew it my heart it was over, but I also knew, hearing the numbers would give me peace of mind I'm making the right choice.

An hour later, the BETA came back at 7,000 something.  If things had been doubling correctly since last week, they should have been FAR into the 30,000+  I wasn't even disappointed.  I wanted to get the surgery done with.

So, they gave me the "relaxation" medicine again and rolled me away to the operation room.  It was so cold!  They put the "sleeping potion" in via the IF and it actually hurt more than I had anticipated.  They said once it starts fading I would fall asleep.  I must have instantly.

About 40 minutes later, when they were rolling me to recovery and I was waking up, I was sobbing.  I don't remember that part but the doctor warned Darren that when he came back I would be crying.  That's really what I remember first, seeing Darren and me sobbing.

I've never in my life been drunk but I heard that alcohol can intensify emotions -good or bad.  I have a feeling all the drugs I was "high" on kind of attacked the sadness I've been trying to bury.  It hit me hard that my womb is now empty and it's over.  I did the hiccup type cry for a few more minutes and then was okay again. 
Here's my "lovely" self right after waking up.  Not a good memory but part of our journey for sure :)


The nurse asked if I wanted crackers.  I took some gram crackers.  She said "when was the last time you had gram crackers" and I said "I love them with frosting.  Do you have some frosting?"

Then I put on my clothes and they rolled me to the car, and now I'm home.

I guess I can take a few positives away from all this:

1.  I now have a crazy empathy for women who experience miscarriage. I get it.

2.  Jaden is no longer in my body.  I made the video.  I have closure.  I don't have to "wait" for the miscarriage to start, it's been removed.  I can now start to move forward in our fight for our children.

Found this on a friend's blog.  Makes me sob:

Goodnight My Angel: Video Tribute to Jaden

December 8, 2012

We decided that  a D&C is the best choice for us.  They get me in Monday. Since I have an end date, I decided that it was time to reflect, grieve, and say goodbye.  This video is 7 minutes.  It's happy and sad.

You will get to see my husband's reaction at 4:00 am when I got my first pregnancy test ever :)

I decided to name the baby Jaden (which means God has heard).  It works for a boy or girl, and I will know who to look for in heaven.  Jaden Benson. 

Thanks again for all the prayers and support.  The anger stage is passing and I'm praying for hope for frozen siblings.

You Tube Link for video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9w1YHqCXD8&feature=youtube_gdata

video


 

The Anger Stage

December 6th, 2012

I know grieving has 5? steps?  I never really went into denial.  I guess I'm kind of doing that now, trying to tell myself it's just a period, it's just a period.   IVF in February.  A few more months.  You won't see anything, there is nothing to see.

I don't really get angry.  Honestly, I hardly ever feel "anger."  I always joke that at work in a high school sometimes I should be angry so I "act" upset (aka if kids are messing around) but I'm usually more entertained.  However, when I do feel anger, it quickly turns to deep deep sadness. 

I don't want to feel the sadness, it's too ugly.  Uncomfortable. 

I read on a blog or article that some women need MONTHS to try again while others find the best therapy to jump on the baby makin' bandwagon ASAP.  I'm think I'm option 2.

Here is where the Deep Sadness Anger Stage comes in:

I had to schedule an appt with my normal OBGYN yesterday to discuss miscarriage options.  Of course there was a gorgeous glowing 5 month old pregnant women next to me in waiting room.

I went to check in, and went through the regular, "yes address still the same" and "no, no other insurance" and then the secretary got a sweet smile and looked up at me and said in a really happy voice "is this for a pregnancy?"  For some reason, that was the straw that broke the camels back.  Up till then, I had been really strong (aka no crying) yesterday.  I smiled back sadly and said "no miscarriage" and my voice cracked and I felt the tears.  Just not how I imagined it to be dreaming of being a mommy as a little girl.

I think the most shocking thing about this process is actually understanding the horrors of a miscarriage.  Oh sure, we have all heard of them.  They happen.  A lot.  I just always thought "how sad" and assumed it was a heavier period.  I even expected that with myself, before the appt. I had convinced myself that since the sac is so small, it will pass, naturally, easily.  I had been lying to myself.

The dr. came in and said there was still suspicion of an ectopic (growing in ovaries) due to a cyst on the ultrasound (something different then the sac).  She then asked if they could do ANOTHER biopsy (if you remember, I had a colposcopy about 2 months ago) instantly.  She said they would get some tissue from the lining and use it to rule out ectopic.

Before I knew it, there I was again, in the stirrups, getting pieces cut out.  I was alone.  My legs were shaking and I was staring at the ceiling and that was the first and only time so far I heard myself think "why me, it's not fair."  It is fair.  This happens to 1 in 5 women.  I'm not except.  I guess i had just convinced myself that I wouldn't miscarry out of God's grace since it took us 2 years and 9 treatments to get to the positive HPT.

Besides the biopsy, the worst part for me is the decision in how to move forward.  Here are our options:

1.  See if it happens naturally.  This one freaks me out.  A.  Because they don't know when it could happen.  It might be tomorrow, but it could take WEEKS.  I have a friend who went through it naturally and she said she had contractions (she was  few weeks ahead of me but not much).  We are going to Disneyland next weekend and I don't want that.  I don't want to see it.  I don't want to just wait.  I want to move on.  But the hard part is its natural.  Its at home.  I feel like I owe my body some type of break from all the drugs and treatments.

2.  D and C.  This is a surgery where they go in, put you to sleep and clean it all out.  It's done.  You bleed a bit but it ends the misery of waiting.  However, its a freaking surgery.  More anestia, more missed work.  There is a 1% chance I could have some scrapped too hard and seriously damaged.  there is a chance it could weaken my uterus.  Not exactly a good thing for us during this battle.

3.  Take a pill that helps me have it naturally and speeds it up.

I'm really really sad I'm facing these choices.  I hate them all.  I love my baby, but I am ready to get everything out and move on.  Tomorrow we will decide once we get biopsy results.  I've started spotting from stopping the PIO shots, but that doesn't guarantee the miscarriage is on its way.  They said I could bleed for weeks if I go natural.  The thought of holding on to this and the dreaded waiting kills me.

I'm not trying to scare people.  Friends and doctors alike said its a personal choice.  Some find healing in the passing of it natural where others want to be done.  I just didn't picture myself having to make these choices, and that makes me angry, which makes me so sad. 

For those that follow me, they know I'm not a "debbie-downer" I'm really not.  I've been smiling all day at work and I refuse to curse God.  This is just the reality of where I am now.  I will be better once I can close this chapter and move forward. 

Since this is my anger stage post, I just got to say two more rants:

1.  I was once guilty of saying "at least you know you can get pregnant" to a friend that went through a miscarriage and I even said that to myself.  I know my body can implant an embryo, that is good news BUT for some reason, "at least you know you can get pregnant" coming from non-infertiles stings. Why?  Because I don't know if I can ever just go on and get pregnant.  We have 2-3 more shots with IVF.  Its insanely expensive and the most intense thing I can do to get pregnant.  So in a since, (read sarcastically) ya! great!  I know i can get pregnant . I just have to pay 10k each time.  No big deal...

2.  I know that everyone has their story and their feelings.  I used to be frustrated with women that were miserable and suffering from secondary infertility.  I mean, they have a child!!  My prayer is just ONE God. But I realized it was wrong of me to judge those emotions.  However, 2 people (I think had good intentions), with kids of their own, have tried to relate to me by saying "I had a thick period once and I'm sure it was a miscarriage" and they tell me how sad they felt.  We are talking people that never saw a positive hpt and got a period like a day late.  And you are trying to relate to me?  You know how I feel?  Try sobbing during sex because its so stressful.  Try 100 injections.  Try 8 failed IUIS. Overstimulated ovaries.  Surgery.  Biopsy.  1093839 vaginal ultrasounds.  8786 trillon blood draws. A CONFIRMED pregnancy and 7 weeks later losing it and then having to choose how to deal with the "thick period".  I get you felt sad, but come on.

All I know is that this is over.  There is hope for the future.  I want to move on.  I found this quote and I'm so not into "tupac" or the "f-word" but I love it.  It's almost like tough love.  And yes, my dear readers, don't worry.  I know I can be sad for now. I know I can mourn, and I am.  But there comes a point where you just have to let go and move the #$#% on.  Otherwise you get stuck.

Too Little, Too Late

December 4, 2012

Today God answered our prayers, it was just with a "not right now." 

The line between hope and miscarriage has been so thin, so intense, so scary.  It's caused me to cry, lose my breath, laugh, pray, hope, doubt, fear, trust, shake.

I'm 6 weeks, 6 days today.  And there was nothing but 1 empty sac on the ultrasound window.  The sac was too little, the hcg numbers went up too late. 

There is this song by Pink called "Try" and the lyrics have been stuck in my head: 
 Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
It is so true.  When there is desire, there is flame, and the risk of being burned is high.  I feel like we got burned. It hurts, it stings.  But it heals.  I like the reminder that "it doesn't mean youre going to die."  Sometimes when life is kicking me and I'm feeling depressed (aka now), I need to remind myself I'm not going to die.

First off, I thank God that I was somewhat prepared for this.  I knew it would have to be a miracle but I also knew that things were not looking promising.   I can't imagine walking in all happy and joyful and then seeing the empty sac.  However, that doesn't erase the crazy sting of the words "that's were the baby should be." and "I'm so sorry."

Second, yesterday in my devotions I came across:

"Rather than trying to take control of your life, abandon yourself to My will.  Though this may feel frightening-or ever dangerous, the safest place to be is My will."

I am a Christian so I don't have much choice to trust His plans.  I don't think it's God's will for miscarriage, but we will in a fallen world.  He knew it would happen and He knows the master plan.  I have to rest that He is in control.

Third, I'm actually hoping it's a blighted ovum or chemical (though they don't think it's chemical since the numbers grew).  I don't want to see the baby when I get my period.  I cannot bear that thought.

My heart is really heavy.  I have been pregnant for awhile, for the first time.  I think the deepest fear is never becoming pregnant.  I mourn the loss of these babies, but I also fear that the next try and the next will result in this type of pain.  Amazing how IVF can produce some extreme emotions of joy and sorrow and amazing how in one shot, I've tasted both sides of it.

I'm trying to be strong, trying to look ahead.  Four frozen embryos, future, hope.  But I will also have to deal with the loss I am currently suffering.  I hated telling my husband.  That look of dissapoint is heartbreaking. 

We serve a God who GIVES and TAKES away.  Thank you so much to all of those who have held us in prayer.  We will hopefully be going after our little frozen babies in the early new year.



Love/Hate Relationship With Hope

November 29, 2012

Yesterday I went back to Kaiser EXACTLY 48 hours after my BETA on Monday at 881.  I was praying that

A.  If it's not in God's will that this ride ends and my numbers drop so I can mourn and move on.
B.  A miracle and numbers double.


I cannot begin to explain the anxiety I've had since the day the little babies were put in me.  First, when should I do a HPT?  Second, what is my blood level?  Third, did my HCG blood level double??

When it didn't, that when the craziness began.  It went from 100 to 104 (48 hours) to 134 (72 hours).  As mentioned, I cried and said "goodbye" and even told the secretaries at my work that I was having an early miscarriage.

But then I get the news to wait a full week.  I spotted once and the RE said to stop the PIO shots.  I didn't just in case.  Monday my numbers were 881.  Yesterday they had gone up to 2020!!!  More than doubled!!  I was so sick waiting on the phone with Kaiser to hear my results (I was on hold for 20 minutes).  My heart beat fast, I had the worst headache ever. 

When I finally heard the results I temporally was released from the level of stress.  My own OBGYN (who is now monitoring me) said "this looks great!"  the RE said "still low but lets do an ultrasound in another week".  I go in Tuesday.

I realize how much I love and hate hope at the same time.  I love it because it means there is a chance.  It means miracles can still occur.  It means I might go on to have a healthy pregnancy. 

But I hate it too.  The minute I think "I might go on to have a healthy pregnancy" I realize, the hope is making me more vulnerable.  That if this fails, because I've started to allow hope in, it will hurt worse than before.

The Bible says HOPE does not disappoint us.  I know HE will give me strength no matter what, but He has also brought me this far and been responding to prayers.  I'm guarded, but I so so so HOPE that I see that little beat next week.

Thank you for the prayers.  I would love to personally experience this miracle!

The Waiting Room

November 26, 2012

What a crazy string of emotions it's been since last Monday.  Last Monday, as mentioned, my HCG levels went up (from 104 to 134 in 3 days) and the RE said, "Let's give it a week and to get an ultrasound next Monday (today) to check in."

To cope, I've allowed myself to "mourn" my babies.  Although still inside me, I know things look very very dark.  I believe in a God of miracles but I also believe in a God that does His plans over mine. 

I have always thought it was "weird" to name babies before they are born, but I've done it. 

I have always thought it was "weird" to want to have a funeral or memorial service for early miscarriage.  I've planned one.

I have always thought it "strange" how some people can be so deeply saddened by the loss of babies that didn't even have a heartbeat yet.  I've sobbed, I pleaded in prayer, I have felt like I've tasted death.

Infertility redefines us at the core.

Today I went to Kaiser (my insurance doesn't cover IVF stuff) to get the ultrasound.  It was just a lab tech.  I got my blood work done at Kaiser as well.  I was in the waiting room forever.  Then waiting in the ultrasound room forever also.  I thought "the waiting room" would be the perfect name for an IF blog.

They put my OBGYN on the phone.  She actually seemed hopeful.  She said my numbers are not great but she has seen them develop into normal pregnancies.  The lab tech couldn't detect much but they THOUGHT they MIGHT have seen something in the uterus but too early to detect. 

It's been a week but my levels went up to 891.  They are increasing.  She said this is good although still a "little low."  The RE called and said I'm in the grey area, they are not sure what to make.  They don't think it's chemical because that usually dies off fast...

So many people have recommended Te book "A Jesus Calling" to me and I finally got it.  Here is the first one I read a few days ago when I was at a low point:



I was sure today would be the day I could let go, mourn, cry, sob, and then try to move on.  But the only answer I got was repeat blood test Wednesday.  God could be doing a miracle.  Or He could be putting me through trials to refine me...but for now, I'm stuck in the "waiting room."

Thank you so much for the continued prayers.  Lord, hear us knock, do a miracle, and save the lives of my babies.

Mirages, Miscarriages, and My Moms

November 19, 2012

(Disclaimer, I was 100% I was going to get the pull the plug 'aka progesterone in oil shot" and let it go call that I told everyone at work that knew that i was miscarrying and wrote this post.  However, the roller coaster continues.  They called me and said it only went from 104 to 134 in 3 days.  Still a horrible sign but she said there is a SMALL super tiny chance of hope.  I have to wait an entire week for 1 more blood test and an ultrasound to rule out ectopic.  I'm trying to stay positive: more time to pray and ask for a miracle, 1 more week I get to spend with my little sweethearts.  This post was written before I got the "wait" news.  I want closure and to move on either way. Please hope with us)
I wasn't prepared for the emotions that come with IVF.  I knew positive pregnancy would be crazy joy, and I knew negative pregnancy would be deep sadness, but I wasn't prepared for a "congrats" and "I'm so sorry" within 48 hours.  That one is throwing me bad.

In order of my title, I looked up reasons why I would get a positive HPT and blood test all to have it turn into an early miscarriage.  When I was searching I came across this title:

"Chemical Pregnancy, a Cruel Mirage"
"A chemical pregnancy occurs when an embryo does not implant properly. The embryo produces enough HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, the molecule which is unique to pregnancy) so that it can be detected on the beta HCG blood test and the sensitive uterine pregnancy home tests (hence its name, because it can be detected using chemical tests) , but because it does not develop normally, the HCG levels decline. "

The article goes on to say:
The most difficult aspect of a chemical pregnancy is the false hope that it creates - you get excited that you are finally pregnant - and then you have to deal with the crushing disappointment of having to cope with a miscarriage. For many couples, this can be the last straw which breaks the camel's back. They often find it easier to deal with a negative HCG result ; rather than a result which starts of offering hope by being positive, and then declines.

I couldn't agree more. Cruel.  Crushing Disappointment JUST because I heard congratulations.  I let out a sigh of tension that has been building for years. 

Not to mention the crush of future dreams.  The minute the "ring is on your finger" or you "hold the positive test" you almost hear your baby say "mommy."  It's natural to instantly go to these dreams.

My mom and mother in law were amazing.  My mom instantly prayed for a miracle and told me she already loved her little grandchildren so much.  My mother in law also went to prayer and then reminded me of the positives (hard to see in the moment, but stuff like "knowing an embryo  can stick" and that miscarriages are usually the sign of an unhealthy baby on the way).

A wonderful fellow blogger sent me a little stitched heart with 2 hearts stitched inside representing the embryos (before I knew I was going to miscarry) and I can't let go of it. All weekend, it's been in my pocket, in my shirt, on my chest.

Bad, Bad News

November 16, 2012

I know that it is "idiotic" to celebrate a pregnancy  early.  I felt I could announce it on my blog since my followers are almost all strangers that deserve to know the honest truth of the journey.

My Beta didn't double.

It went from 100, to 104.

The nurse wasn't optimistic but said they are not pulling the plug yet and i have to continue with the huge shot till Monday for 1 more bloodtest.

I'm pretty speechless.  My husband felt like it was time to press in and pray for a miracle.

That we will do, but I need EVERYONE to pray.  Just like in the Old Testament, Moses was at a point where he couldn't hold the rod up anymore because his arms were tired. 

My arms are tired.

We are breaking the news to our families tonight to get them on the prayer wagon.  Not how I dreamed of telling them, but I don't care.  There is a glimmer of hope and I'm chasing it.

In the meantime, I'm preparing for next steps.

A trillion cuss words to you, infertility.

I'm Engaged!

November 15, 2012

Okay, I've been married for 3 years.  BUT, my mind is BLOWN with how similar a "positive pregnancy test" is to a wedding ring.  My sister and I were just having this conversation.

When Darren gave me the wedding ring, I knew the plan was to get married in 6 months.  I had six months to prepare, to plan, to dream.  BUT, many many many engagements end for whatever reason: doubt, fear, timing, insecurity, infidelity, realization, etc.  It's not a guaranteed deal till it's official and I hear those sweet words "I know pronounce you man and wife."  I had an amazing engagement and am blessed with an awesome marriage.  But it would be a lie if I didn't have that little fear creep in that the dream could end, that a date was "set" but not fully 100% going to happen.

Many people warned me that pregnancy is the same.  I think, at least in the beginning, people pursuing ART have it worse.  I mean, when all my friends and sister got the positive hpt, that was it.  They celebrated among close friends and family, rejoiced, and of course looked forward to (and some still nervous) the 9 week ultrasound. 

But with me, it almost feels as if someone told me Darren will propose tomorrow.  Tomorrow is when I go in for the 2nd BETA to make sure it doubles.  If it doesn't double, that's bad.  Most women don't go through this, although they can miscarry, they accept that they are pregnant and move on.  But IVFers and IUIers have lots of mini steps.

I cried when I saw the positive pregnancy test.  I have been fearing for over 11 years I would never experience that moment. 

BUT, when the nurse called to tell me congrats, she was calm.  She said I need to come in tomorrow for the second blood test.  When I got off the phone with here, there wasn't the relief I was expecting.  There was  my automatic "what if."  I have got to completely let go and trust God and know that at this point, I'm on cruise control, but it's bittersweet.  I want to celebrate but I'm in dread of tomorrow. I am so used to NEGATIVE tests (I mean come on EIGHT failed IUIs).

Even when I called to tell my close friends the update it wasn't a celebration.  It was a cautious one step at a time congrats.  Which is healthy and safe...but kind of sad.

Infertility impacts women on both sides of the coin.  PLEASE understand I'm not complaining, I'm just not celebrating, at least not yet.  Tomorrow when I get the BETA, if it's good, I'm going to let go of my held breath.

I follow some awesome blogs.  I'm really inspired by a fellow blogger named Jen (http://theinconceivablehousewife.blogspot.com/).  She pondered keeping her pregnancy a secret till the official 12 week mark but realized, in this moment she is pregnant and she is going to embrace and celebrate each day God gives her with the baby. 

After tomorrow, that will be my new goal.  One day at a time, enjoying the pregnancy and not fearing it.  I think we will tell our families after all.  I want mom and dad and the in laws to get to experience the joy too, come what may.

The funny thing is, another fellow blogger (http://ababyinthemakingihope.blogspot.com/) pointed out, the worrying  over our children will never stop.  It starts with did the embryos stick, to is there a heartbeat to is everything okay with the baby, to them being born.  When they are actually walking around, I've heard its like "your heart outside your body."  I guess the other part better get used to worrying for them and training my mind to turn that to prayer.

Until tomorrow, I feel like I just found out Darren bought the ring.  If the numbers are good, let the 9 month engagement begin.

IVF Results: Wordless Wednesday

November 14, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(BETA came back today at 100.  I have to go in Friday to make sure it doubles, after that, I can relax)

I Want to Meet Them So Bad

November 8, 2012

When I got the egg transfer on Sunday they handed me some "post" instructions.  They said to come back in 10 days (Nov 14) for the Beta blood test.  The paper warned that this may feel like a "prolonged" amount of time.  No @$#%#%^@#^%.

At first I was like, ha!  Ten days?  Piece of cake.  Heck, I've been sticking myself since October 8th, what's 10 measly days?

It's only been 4 days since the transfer and I'm in that crazy zone.  I know I know that HE is the author and finisher and God already knows the outcome, but I don't.  I keep reminding myself to turn my fears to prayers my worries to requests, my doubt to hope.

Google is an evil creature.  I've googled "eye twitch" (but this has been going on since the beginning of IVF), sore legs (my calves are sore), cramps, how early YOU tested on a hpt, etc.  Some are great stories, some are sad.

In a day, I range from I know this isn't it, I'm horrified (it's almost a tough mechanism you develop when you have seen X amount of negative pregnancy tests, guard the hope), but then I'll range to pure excitement, 2 perfect embryos, just 6 more days till I know!  I must be pregnant I just must.  But then, the clinic is only 50%...my brain is a yo yo and my heart is on a roller coaster.  Nobody in the world can make Wednesday come quicker.  I must pay the full 24 hour a day time.

Then I start thinking about Wednesday.  Do I dare take a hpt in the morning to help me "prepare" for come what may?  If it's positive, I'll lose my breath, if it's negative my heart will sink.  I'm really afraid for the pain I know it will bring.  Don't get me wrong, I won't dwell on it.  I'll think about the frozen embryos, the more tries ahead in the near future.  I'll think about all these amazing women that go through this more than once.  But the joy?  Out of this world.  I want it so bad.  I get stuck on that too.  Buying a crib, telling our families!! So crazy how some news can bring such intensely different feelings based on the outcomes. 

The sun rises and the sun sets.  Wednesday will come.  Oh God, grant me the peace I need to make it through.  Grant all of us the peace to wait. 

To my sweet babies:

  I already love you more than anyone can imagine loving little specks the size you are.  But right now, you are real lives.  You are inside me.  And if Jesus takes you sooner than I hope, I'm cherishing these 10 days of KNOWING you are with me, in my stomach and in my heart.  I love you both so much and I pray that sometime I can see you.  Hold you.  Touch you.  I want our house to be full of your laughter.  I want to know you both so bad.  I place you in His hands and say let his will be done.  But know how bad you are wanted. How hard  we are fighting for you.  I love you and I'm going to enjoy the next 6 days with you inside me.  Hang out.  Be strong!  You were the strongest.  Cling on, fight for us too!  We want to meet you so much sweet sweet children of mine.  Hang in there. 

Clinging to the Promise

November 5, 2012

Waiting (so difficult and feels so long).   Knocking down heaven's door. Asking that God breathes His breath of life into my womb.  Praying for grace and mercy and peace despite the outcome.  Here are some "gems" to put my focus on Him.

(Side note update, after all the hype, only 4 little embryos were frozen.  I'm okay with this.  They said they were all great quality but 13 would have been more exciting!)

Lyrics from Ginny Owen's "If You Want me To"
 
'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the darkness if You want me to
 
 
IVF?? So not the way I would have chosen, but after all these trials, I will be closer to You.
 
 
Scriptures I cling to:
 
Psalm 127:3-5         
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Jesus, you say the fruit of the womb are a reward!  God, you say blessed is them an who fills his quiver with them.  Father, I ask, that you make my womb have fruit.  I ask that you choose to bless Darren and I this time, with children.

Genesis 1:28         
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Lord, you commanded us to be fruitful and multiply.  It was in your original plan.  You love to create and you made us in your image!  Jesus, allow us to "create" a child in our image as well.  Please allow us to experience fruitful and multiply

Psalm 113:9 He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.


Father, you PROMISE to settle the barren women.  You cannot lie because you are good and holy.  I pray that this cycle, you fulfill this promise in our lives.  Make me a happy mother of children.  If you want us to pursue adoption, I pray you open our hearts to that.  But Lord, please answer soon.

Genesis 30:22
Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.

1 Samuel 1:19
Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.
 
Jesus, remember me!  Oh God, hear me!  Father I knock and knock and you say in your word you have GOOD things for those that love you.  Jesus, open my womb.

Neh 4:9
But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

I love this!  I was torn for a bit if doing IVF was a sign of "not trusting God" if I went forward with the agressive treatment but then I read this verse.  These people in the old Testament knew they were going to be under attack so they prayed (faith) AND posted a guard (taking action).
 
 
My prayer:
Dear Lord,
First off, I thank you for my beautiful life.  For the hope we have in you.  For your hand on my life and the blessings you have given us.  I thank you for my wonderful husband, for a warm house, for great jobs.  I thank you for a family that loves us so much.  I thank you for health and Jesus.  I thank you for my friends.  I thank you for science.
Jesus, you know my heart.  You know the exact number of tears I’ve cried.  God, just as Hannah, Rachael, and Sara cried out to you over and over again for a child, I cry out to you tonight.  God, in your word, before each women became pregnant, you said “and then God remembered her.” 
Heavenly father, in your holy name, I ask that today you remember me.  Lord, I know that you never promised it to be an easy road, you simply said you would be with us.  God, you have felt so distant these last two years because it has been closed door after closed door.  Broken dream and broken dream.  But Lord, we trust you.  We realize that you are the author and finisher of life.  That you choose when people take their first breath, and when they take their last. 
I realize that no matter how scary this is, no matter the success or failure rate, no matter how many eggs are retrieved and how many embryos are made, at the end of it all, it’s in Your hands.  I want your will in my life and I ask that this be the timing our wills collide. I feel like you have led us here.  In your mercy, in your grace, please Father, grant this request.
In your word you say that children are a blessing.  You wired us to want to create life as we are made in your image and you are the Creator.  Father, we are asking something that is holy and right.  Jesus, I cry out, that you hear me, and remember me.
I am so afraid.  I pray that I feel your peace deep in my heart and soul.  I pray I feel your presence at a level I didn’t know I could.  I pray for no fear tomorrow as I walk into surgery.  I pray for supernatural hope as they transfer the eggs.  I pray that your hand will be on the doctor’s hands and she pulls out eggs.  I pray that your hand will be on the embryologists hand as he injects the sperm into the eggs.  I pray that you are there.
And Father, as much as it hurts, I pray that if this isn’t your will, you will be there when I get the call.  You will hold me.  You will comfort me.  I pray that I won’t allow bitterness and hate and resentment to creep in but at the end of it all, come what may, I can raise my hands and say blessed be your name.
I thank  you for this opportunity.  That we have eggs, we have a chance . I thank you that you heal.  I thank you that you still do miracles.  I pray in Jesus name that you fill us with peace, and hope for the future.  I pray for all my infertile friends going through this valley.  Be with us now.
 
 
 


Kinda Sorta Maybe Pregnant

November 4, 2012

I got the phone call this morning that today was transfer today.  The RE on call told me that there are 2 perfect embryos and a lot more good ones to freeze (she referred to it as a "family").  She was so nice (I hadn't met her yet, OHSU has a team of 4 REs that rotate).  She told me to fill my bladder an hour before so at 9:30 I drank 2 bottled waters for the 10:30 appt.

They were behind so by the time they got me back there (like 11:05) I was dying!  But, I didn't want to risk going "a little" in case I couldn't stop.  The RE talked to me about the risk of OHSS still attacking if I get pregnant, specially with twins.  She asked if I would want to just transfer one (no way) because I still have a high chance.  She said she would check the fluid in my ovaries before making a final decision. Then the embryologist came in and chatted with us but didn't give us a total number because they are waiting to see if some hit blastocyst tomorrow. 

The doctor came back in and did a real ultrasound (on the outside of my stomach). She confirmed bladder was super full (duh) and that there was a little fluid around the ovaries.  She said she felt comfortable with 2 embryos if that's what I wanted. 

The speculum is bigger and wider for transfers, but this was the "moment" all of this has been leading up to.  On the screen we watched as the 2 babies were transferred into my uterus.  She said she thinks they are placed in a great spot.
 
Here is an embryo in the eye of a needle:



Everyone has a different opinion of when life begins.  As a teenager I firmly believed that life begins the SECOND the egg hits the sperm.  I was and am ProLife.  But as a younger woman, I didn't really think about my "opinion" on all this in regards to IVF.  Like I said, please don't be offended if I don't think the exact way you do, but here's where Darren and I stand:

1.  God alone is the author of life and death.  He decides which embryos lives on and doesn't.

2.  We believe that it is a life when the sperm meets the egg INSIDE the body.  The embryo cannot live without my uterus.  We had to think this one through because the concept of "frozen embryos" gets a little intense if I look at them as frozen souls.  I know look at them as "cookie dough" that needs my "oven" to become a cookie.

3.  With all this said, right now, this moment, with 2 little embryos FORSURE inside my body, I'm pregnant.  I've prayed the whole time God guides the right sperm and grows the right embryos and selects the ones He wants right now to be put in me.  If I don't get a positive pregnancy test, I know the REs don't acknowledge it as a miscarriage, but we will.  I believe those little babies will be in heaven waiting for us if they don't make it through.

So, with all this, I guess I'm officially kind of sort of maybe pregnant. 
 
I was so disapointed they don't give you pictures of the embryos, they are so cool!  They did give me this picture though (the screen I watched).  Where the heart is is the fluid with the embryos being placed inside so kind of babie's first picture :)



Again, prayers are sooooo soooo soo appreciated!  I want to knock down heaven's door with prayers.  If the answer from Him is still "no" I'll be sad, but I will still follow Him and love Him. 

New Mantra: Be the Bloat

November 3, 2012

Got a call from the nurse yesterday (day 3) saying that ALL TWENTY are still in the running and that they want to push them all to blastocyst (day 5 or 6).  This is great and scary.  Great because they can identify the "better" embryos at this level and great because my clinic doesn't freeze unless they hit blastocyst.  Scary part is many don't make it that far (I read 40%) but the risk of none is a possibility.  As I said from the beginning is my prayer is ONE (or happily two) healthy babies with frozen "siblings" so I NEVER have to go through all the stims and egg retrieval again.  I'm really hoping tomorrow is delivery day (day 5).  They will call me in the morning.


On a positive note, I feel good today and today is day 6 after the HCG trigger shot.  My RE told me that the severe OHSS usually kicks in 4-6 days after the shot.  The nurse told me that she thinks I'm "out of the woods" but it's no guaranteed.  However, my fears of looking 4 months pregnant and getting liquid drained and throwing up and freezing all embryos is quickly fading.

BUT, this doesn't mean I don't experience mild-moderate symptoms of OHSS.  Most patients get some form of it and when you have E2 levels the way I do and the amount of follicles I had removed (24), I was prepared for symptoms.  I mean my ovaries and freakishly large right now and I have been putting all kinds of crazy medicine into by body since beginning of October.

The worst has been this crazy bloat.  I'm not complaining.  I'm thankful that I most likely have been miraculously protected from real OHSS, but I'm talking about reality here.  The bloat hit bad about day 3.  It felt like a miniature hard ball was in the pit of my stomach.  There were hours where I couldn't stand up straight.  I had to sleep with a heating pad to ease it all.  Not not mention, NOBODY warns you about the insane constipation that follows.  I'm sorry, its TMI, but you need to know!  :)  I go to the bathroom a ton and it's never been an issue.  Ever.  But between the yucky self-injected enema to the surgery to the pain meds, that has played a HUGE role in me not going #2, like at all!!  The first two days I was fine but by yesterday I was getting nervous.  Not to mention that the "bloat" was getting more and more painful.  Finally my sister gave me some left over stool softeners, I drank a tall ice coffee this morning, and I prayed like crazy (yes, God cares about EVERYTHING), I finally went.  Thank goodness!

A friend that has gone through a couple IVF treatments warned me and said "out of everything, the bloating was the worst for me." She even bought larger clothes and borrowed maternity pants!  I (like the other side effects) thought all the stims would make me bloated but didn't learn till recently it happens after egg retrieval.  I emailed her 2 days ago to ask how long it lasted and she said that during that time her new mantra was "Be the Bloat."  Ha ha ha.  I love it.

So, as I wait for my little babies to divide cells, as I pray that angels guard them and that God Himself hand selects the 2 embryos He wants in my body in this time, I embrace my new situation because it leads to dreams coming true and I "Be the Bloat."

The Holy (Bad Word) Shot

November 1, 2012

Today was the day we started the dreaded progesterone in oil shots.  During egg retrieval, the nurse drew 2 big "landing pads" for us with a sharpie.
Today, I googled several "ideas" and "techniques."  I basically found that putting ice on butt 60 seconds before numbs up area (some people said this is bad as it messes with the oil), to heat oil to room temp (I just wrapped it in heating pad for a bit), to dart in and release medicine slowly.  I was nervous but had a "let's do this" attitude as this symbolizes the more downhill part of the journey.  Not to mention, in my opinion this is one of the most important shots as it helps keep my uterus lining thick and welcoming for the little embryos that will be joining. I choose the fattest part in the landing zone and was able to stick the needle in myself.  It took awhile but Darren was freaking me out because he was nervous because he "hadn't practiced." It was painless!  I almost was scared I did it wrong?  Darren did the "check for blood" pull up check and then slowly put the oil in.  DONE!

Here's a pic of my pinkie with the needle.  It's about 1.5 inches.

Unless I get OHSS (which I know is HORRIBLE), I'm starting to realize so much of the "horror" of IVF is the dread and unknown and emotions involved.  Sure, the injections are annoying, but they weren't the end of the world.  I was terrified of the egg retrieval and once it started, I relaxed.  Emotions are tricky because we put our body through poison and hell and torture all for the love of a baby that's not promised at the end.  The recovery from egg retrieval has been bumpy, but I can handle stomach ache and mild bloating...the constipation is getting old (and creepy) but it's not forever.

So far the worst part of all of this has been fearing/dreading next step and the "waiting" to see if I get OHSS.  The Dr. said if I get it, it will most likely hit 6 days after trigger shot which would be Saturday!

I made it to work today and just sat at a table and explained to the students I wasn't feeling well, that I had had "stomach" surgery and that I was just going to teach sitting down.  I jokingly asked if anyone would be willing to carry me to my computer and a student said "I volunteer as tribute."  Lol.  I love teenagers!

Out of all the links/videos, I found this one most useful for "how to" with the progesterone in oil shot:

 

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

October 31, 2012


24 retrieved, TWENTY fertilized.  Come on babies, hang in there!!!

Egg Retrieval, Check!

October 30, 2012

First of, thank you so much to all of you who prayed for Darren and I.  This morning I woke up with a deeper peace and less fear.

We hit crazy traffic there (there was a wreck on the bridge) and I tried to remain calm, but the trigger shot was taken at exactly 9:00 and I wanted to be there on time.  Darren stopped at Starbucks in hopes of giving his sperm one last boost.

The anesthesiologist was very nice and everything went smooth.  I was awake but don't remember a lot of it.  I do remember a few times feeling a little pain, but nothing bad.  It was over before I knew it and she retrieved 22 eggs which is great!  Of course they won't all get fertilized, but I'm hoping for 6 frozen at the end of it. When the RE announced it was over, I guess I asked Darren if "I get a prize" and they all laughed.  I deserve a prize!  After recovery, they rolled me away in a wheel chair.  Here are some post surgery shots, do I look tough? :)



If I get bad OHSS, then I may never do an egg retrieval again.  I didn't feel nauseous, just foggy.

We went downstairs to get the evil progesterone in oil shots and headed up.  I only had one moment of bad sharp pain when I got up to go to the bathroom, but the quickly took an Oxycontin and it left.

I'm really scared of OHSS hitting (if it does, it should come by this weekend), but I'm going to continue to pray and hope that it's only mild.  In the meantime, I'm drinking lots of Gatorade (gross) which is supposed to help.

It's SO CRAZY to think that today is the day we conceive!  The embryologist is at work (with God guiding his hands), as I type. 

No Turning Back Now. CLICK.

October 29, 2012

It's official. Surgery tomorrow.  Again, I'm calling all prayers to pray!  I'm about 18 hours away from having the largest ovulation in my history.  So sexy right? ;)



All my life I have been more of a "worrier" and anxious.  I HATE doctor visits and talked my way out of pap smears (because I was so freaked) till I got married 3 years ago at 26.  Now look at me!  I cannot count on both hands and feet how many times I've gotten "pap smears" so to speak with things up and in. 

I couldn't sleep last night.  I'm not sure if I'm more afraid of the surgery of what can come after.  The positive or negative pregnancy test seems so far off and out of my mind right now.   I know living in fear is no way to live, but I'm being honest.  I'm horrified.  I know many women have, are, and will go through this "mini-hell" in fights of having a baby.  But now that its me, Holly, it's so real.

Funny thought actually.  As humans, we never really "feel" the pain till we go through it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I mean I know my close friends feel bad for me and are praying for me, but I guarantee they are not thinking about it every single minute like I am.  It's human nature and impossible.  Even when my husband Darren (the one I love the MOST) had a kidney stone, I felt so bad for him, and he was in so much pain.  But I didn't think about it at work.  I didn't dream about it at night like I do with IVF.  The only people who come close to understanding are you warriors who have been through this zone a time or two. 

I read a quote that was along the lines of "Do what you need to do, even if you don't, time will still go on." 

I guess I'm a little scared to that I've reached the point of no return.  I can't say "never mind."  I mean, there are like 25+follicles in me that have been triggered to ovualte.  If I don't go through this, I can't have the hope of frozen embryos for future tries.  I can't turn back.

Anyone ever seen the the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler?  It's based off an old fable of a man who gets a magical ball of yarn and anytime life is hard or tough he just has to pull it and he automatically fasts forward a bit.  He gets to skip a bit.  Adam Sandler's movie has more humor (he clicks a remote instead if his wife is nagging or he has to do chores).  But in the end of both, they lose control and the yarn/remote start working automatically and next thing they know, they are on their death beds.

I realize time goes fast and it goes on.  I have never ever wanted to "click" any part of my life away.  I get that God teaches us lessons in the most painful situations.  However, if someone gave me a magical remote, I would click it, just once, to get to mid November when it's all over and I know the result.  Click.


 

Panick Attack #2: Too Much of a Good Thing

October 26, 2012

Yesterday was a great day.  I found out I had a hidden $10 Starbucks cards.  My acupuncturist asked me if I wanted to be a guinea pig for the massage therapist he is hiring at no cost to me to evaluate her.  I happily punctured myself with all the injections assuming today would be the trigger shot day.

I feel so naive.  I have been living the last 8 days in shock that I haven't had any real symptoms assuming I was in the clear.  I celebrated the fact that either A.  God is totally blessing me and keeping me from all the hellish stories I hear about.  B.  I'm one of the lucky few who breeze through (finally, yay!). C. My acupuncturist is a miracle worker or D. All of the above.  Somehow, someway in ALL of my obsessing, researching, blog reading, talking, consulting, etc, I missed one IMPORTANT small piece of information:

Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome doesn't "enter" until AFTER egg retrieval.

WOW!!  How the heck did this slip by?  I for some stupid reason assumed it happens before.  I couldn't WAIT till egg retrieval because I figured it was all down hill from there.  No more crazy injections (minus the huge scary one that goes in the butt), no more monitoring, all I would have to do is wait for the egg transfer which feels like and IUI.  Since I've done 8, no big deal, right? WRONG.

Today as I was getting monitored, the RE looked concerned.  He said I'm super responding and that there are a lot of good sturdy eggs but there are a lot of little eggs.  Those are what cause OHSS he says.  I was confused so I said, "will I know if I get OHSS over the next couple days?" He replies, "Oh, you usually don't know if you have it till a few days AFTER egg retrieval."  I cannot explain the shock and horror that filled my mind.  I'm not out of the woods yet...not even that close.  He went on to say that we will have to play it by ear, but there is a good chance they will just choose to FREEZE all my embryos this cycle and do a frozen egg transfer when things calm the freak down. He talked about a clinic in Seattle that automatically does this if the patients estradiol level is over 4,000.  Mine is at 2500 and I still have to stim tonight and tomorrow before they check again Sunday.  He was bracing my for the fact that I might not get my answer (pregnant or not pregant) for much longer than I had hoped for (aka mid November). He said that I might not get a bad case of it but then he looked a me and said, "you are thin, the bloating will hit you pretty hard."

Of course, I jumped on google to see who is at high risk, here's my findings from the mayo clinic:

Factors that increase the risk of developing OHSS include:
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome — a common reproductive disorder that causes irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and unusual appearance of the ovaries on ultrasound examination
  • Large number of follicles
  • Young age
  • Low body weight
  • High or steeply increasing level of estradiol (estrogen) before an HCG shot
  • Migraine headache
Reading through these I realized HOLY (insert choice word here), I am ALL OF THE ABOVE. I have PCOS, I have sooo many follicles, I'm 10 years younger than their average patient, I'm skinny, my estradiol is sky high and I get migraines!!! God help me.

Today has been really emotional for me.  I fill like I'm walking toward my imminent 8-10 days of scary pain and misery.  I am so afraid of throwing up (I know I know, everyone is thinking and you want to be pregnant?? I think I could handle it knowing a child is in me).  Most women experience some form of OHSS (bloating for a few days), but with me being the perfect candidate for it to hit hard, and the doctor trying to warn me about high chance of canceling egg transfer, I'm scared.

To make it worse, after the appointment I went to the pharmacy to pick up my trigger shot (RE is predicting egg retrieval this Tuesday or Wednesday so PLEASE say a prayer).  While she was ringing me up a woman my age came up to her and handed her the red container they give us to put all our sharps in.  I knew it was an IVF patient.  The pharmacist asked her, "Oh thanks (they dispose them there), do you need an empty one?"

I held my breath for the reply.

"No, unfortunately we don't" said the-I-just-put-my-body-mind-soul-through-a-blender-want-to-be-mom.  Then she said, "I'm so sad."  My heart sunk.  Sometimes things just don't seem fair.

I think the hardest thing for me is the loss of control.  I have to go through egg retrieval no turning back.  Although I know God can curb the chances of OHSS, He has felt so distant for so long.  I feel like I'm walking toward "hell" and know I have to walk through it.  I know people have it way worse, but right now, this is my reality. 

At the end of the day, I'm concluding that I will be a good mom.  I will suffer for my child.  I will do anything for my child because of my love for him/her.  This is just one of the things I have to do.  I'll make it out.




I Hate Your Guts Facebook

October 24, 2012

We all have it.  We all know it.  Facebook.  The new way to connect with the outside world. Social media.  Where all my "friend's" are.

Since we have been dealing with infertility, facebook has the power to act as a bullet to the chest and then the power to fill me with guilt.  Allow me to elaborate:

Bragbook Facebook is a fun way to keep in contact with friends.  When I was single, it was just as painful for me to read about how in love so & so was with so & so.  It seemed like EVERYONE was getting engaged.  People shouted out their undying love for one another while I was stuck at home with Frida (my cat) and a broken heart.  It was hard.  It stewed a lot of secret jealousy (I hid it well).

But, when I got engaged, I kind of forgot about all that and I kind of forgot about all the "facebook pain" I had suffered.  And what did I do?  Posted pics of my fat engagement ring.  Posted songs for our wedding.  Declared my undying love for Darren.  While, in the meantime, single girls may have been logged on despising me or even just feeling like "love" was thrown in their face.  I don't think I did anything wrong, but I simply forgotten how people on the other end felt.

So fast forward to almost 3 years since our wedding date.  I'm high on fertility drugs.  Pumped with them.  My ovaries are obese. Although the side effects aren't awful, they still are rough.  When I sit down, my stomach kills because its sore from the 30+ injections it's gotten.  We want a baby so bad, we are paying a huge chunk of our salaries, a huge chunk of our emotions, and risking my body to carry this child.  I cannot express how painful some facebook "pregnancy announcements" cause me.  I feel no hate or anger towards the pregnant moms, I just feel so deeply reminded that I AM NOT pregnant.  And it hurts.

Don't get me wrong, they are innocent and excited.  Can I really be sad about seeing a growing tummy picture that you take of yourself in the mirror show up on my laptop?  No. Can I really be angry when you and your husband announce the bump in a cute/clever way?  No.  That's where I get mad too because I instantly realize I'm hurt/sad/reminded for no valid reason and then feel guilty, when all I really wanted to do was see if anyone commented on my status in the first place ;)

I'm in a vulnerable spot and need to realize that.  I recognize that I'm more sensitive to baby chatter online.  I usually just "hide" someone when I find out they are pregnant, to avoid myself the pain that comes with the reminder of each update that I am not.  The soreness in my stomach is nothing compared to the ache in my heart for my own child. 

I'm not sure what I will do if/when I get pregnant.  It almost seems weird not to announce it via social media once, but this time around, I'm aware of those secret sufferers.  I'll probably just say something like "After 2 years of trying to get pregnant, 8 failed artificial insemination's, 20k, and IVF, Darren and I are expecting our first miracle."  I'm not going to paint a pretty picture.  This has been ugly, and hard, and uphill.  Maybe when I go "public" with our struggles, I can gain a voice for those of us fighting infertility and create awareness.

 
All of this just because the 7834 billionth announcement just landed on my screen and it hurt.  I felt the pain and hurt and sorrow in my injection sites.  I felt it in my flashbacks to getting blood drawn.  I felt it in the 10th time they go up inside me to monitor eggs.  But, God has a plan for each of us, and my time will come. 

29 Candles, 1 Pink, 1 Blue Left

October 23, 2012

It's been a busy few days since my last blog with all kinds of action.

I got the blood work back from the RE on Friday and they said it was a "go" to start the stims.  I oddly LOVE the Follistem pen.  I look forward to waking up early and injecting it.  It's really easy to do and I know that this is one of the big guns.  I also started the menopur viles at night.  We had a slight panic because the pharmacy didn't give me the needles I needed to inject them!  Since you have to mix powder with the solution, you need a huge needle to mix it all, and then a smaller to inject.  The pharmacy was closed so I went to Target.  They gave me a HUGE needle and we ended up having to use it on Saturday.  It hurt but I held it together.  It stung but I held that part together too.  We rushed the shots in at 7:oo pm then off we went to a Halloween/1 year old bday for my old roommates daughter.  I was little red riding hood and Darren was the big bad wolf:


Sunday I turned the big 29. It was fun.  We went to church and then shopping and then came back at 4:00 for a "family" birthday.  Ryker (my new nephew) experienced his first bday party!  You know the "rumor" or "old wives's tale" about how ever many candles left that you try to blow out means how many children you will have (or boyfriends in other versions)?  I had 1 pink and 1 blue left.  Oh how AWESOME would that be??  I think it's every IVF patients dream to have a girl and a boy because first off, it's 2 for 1, and second, you know you are guaranteed to raise both genders?  However, I'm not even "praying" for twins.  My prayer is one healthy baby which would be thrilling but deep down, the twins would be crazy!  I'll take what God gives me and cherish him/her/them to death anyway.  During the celebrations I had to sneak home to my secret "medical office" of NEEDLES for the nightly injections.  It's so weird to be keeping this a secret.  I just said I had to change and I did but I also did this:



Monday, I got a massage from the chattiest lady in the world!! What ever happened to relaxation?  I knew sooo much about her personal life by the end (and 3 husbands) it wasn't even funny.  She works where I get acupuncture so she knew I'm doing IVF.  She started off by saying:

Lady: "Do you have any kids of your own already?"
Me: "Nope."
Lady: "Do your sibling's have kids?"
Me: "Yep.  Younger sister just had a baby boy 3 weeks ago."
Lady: "Oh wow, that must have been really hard."

WOW!!  Not only do I want a quiet massage, did she really have to twist the knife that I have long ago pulled out?  All this to say, I'm not going to her again!

Today, Tuesday, I had to go in for my second monitoring.  I had to wait a lot longer.  The bloodwork went fine (needles are child's play these days) and my RE before "going in" said, since it's only day 4 of stimming there won't be much to see.  He then followed it with a "Wow, you win the reward for the best response of the day!  You have a ton of eggs!" then "there is a huge sist, did the other RE see this?" to "don't be surprised if we lower your medication dosage" and that was that.  I was with him about 4 minutes.  They call in the afternoon and they are going to lower my follistim a bit so I don't get overstimulated.  Okay.

Praise the Lord, the crazy side effects I've read and hurt about haven't kicked it.  No crazy bruises.  No long stinging shots.  I have turned into to the wicked witch of the west.  Actually, naturally when I would be feeling angry I feel sad and that has gone up a bit.  At the mall Victoria Secret wouldn't let me return underwear I got online and I started crying!  he he.  I've just had headaches, which I can survive with.



I'm in the heat of the treatment, I'm scared of the egg retrieval but at least I'm close!  Come on November!

Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep, Go to Sleep Little Ovaries...

October 19, 2012

So today marks day 12 of Lupron injections.  These are the ones that are supposed to put my ovaries to sleep. 

Last night was the first time it really hurt.  For so reason, the needle wouldn't go in.  Today, was my first "ultrasound" with the RE at OHSU.  They were checking to make sure Lupron was doing its job and had basically shut down my ovaries.  If it had, tomorrow I would start the stem injections.

The trip was short and sweet.  I get a little nervous driving to Portland, but it was fine.  They took my blood and the ultrasound was done in 4 minutes.  Dr. Lee shook my hand, said nice to meet you again, and then got to work. 

He said things looked good but there is one big follicle on the left ovary.  He said we will have to wait till blood test results come in.  The big follicle could be left over sack from last cycle...or it means one follicle overpowered the evil Lupron injections and that that one follicle could mess up the process of calming the hormones.

As far as I understand, worse casanerio is I keep doing Lupron a bit longer and don't start stemming till a bit later...meaning everything will just take a little longer.  He said that the bloodwork will tell him if it's a new follicle trying to ruin my plans or if its a left over.  I'm hoping for left over because that means I can start the scaryier three times a day shots tomorrow and get this show on the freaking exciting road.

It blows my mind how "Time" works.  When I'm on vacation, like our honeymoon for example, 7 days felt like the snap of a finger.  Between Darren's financial scare and waiting till mid-November when IVF is done and we know POSITIVE (please God) or Negative, seems like a billion years from now.  Days feel like weeks.  Waiting oh how I hate you.

On a funnier note, this weekend I turn 29.  We were out to eat with Darren's family and they all thought this was going to be my 30th.  I was so shocked and offended (not really) that they thought I was going to be THIRTY and I was kind of ranting about it on the way home.  Darren laughed as was like, it's not that far off, one year.  Very true point.  In the meantime though I'm embracing the 20's and hoping this is the best year yet in them.

Lastly, I read a fellow bloggers post and had to share what she wrote.  She said she is praying for 3 things:

1.  To get pregnant.
2. For God's will.
3. For the 2 above desires to finally be the same.

I LOVE this and am praying it too.

Yesterday during acupuncture, he asked "how are you doing?"  Honestly, I don't think there is a moment in the day, even in my dreams, when I'm not thinking about or hoping for the current and up coming treatment.  I've used this image before, but it is SO accurate.  All I can think is baby.  I'm trying to turn worries to prayers, fears to hopes, but none the less, it's still baby.

My Bucket List:

My Bucket List: