The Wait…Six Months In

Looking back, I’ve had the realization that, when speaking about our journey to parenthood, I start a lot of sentences with, “It’s hard to believe.”

“It’s hard to believe we’ve been trying to conceive for over a year.”

“It’s hard to believe we’re still doing fertility treatments, 2 years in.”

“It’s hard to believe that, even after IVF, we’re still where we started, nearly 3 years ago.”

The truth is, a lot of things about this journey are hard to believe.  The desire to have a child and how overwhelming that can feel at times (I definitely never thought I’d feel that way), the years spent on fertility treatments which we finally realized were wasted, the money that’s been spent trying to grow our family (and realistically, is still being spent)…all of it is hard to believe at times.

So today, I sit here writing this post, marking the six month wait on our adoption journey, and I thought it my head, “Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been six months.”  Yep, six months…and we’re nowhere closer to having a child than we were six months ago.  That being said, emotionally, I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago (when we realized that our IVF cycle was a complete and utter bust).  A year ago, I felt so completely lost and without hope…we couldn’t even get to a point where we were going to transfer an embryo.  Not even a “well, it must not have stuck” but a “well, there’s nothing here to go forward with.”  That hurt, and the news sucked, and all around it was such a horrible time.

But now…a year later, and six months into our adoption journey, even without the comfort of knowing we are matched with an expectant mother, I’m in a much better place emotionally.  I have hope again.  We’re putting the nursery together, piece by tiny piece, and I know that, eventually, we’ll have a tiny human in there to enjoy it!  I don’t when…but today?  Today, that’s ok.  I don’t need to know when, at least not today.

DISCLAIMER:  Not going to lie, some days are better than others on the whole “patience is a virtue” track.

Overall, we’re hanging in there.  I’m hopefully that, six months from now, our story is quite different and we can excitedly share details about the match, or maybe even our tiny human…but for now, I’m holding tight to the hope.  It’ll get us through this wait, no matter how long it takes.

Much love,
K.

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Reporting back

For those of you who follow the blog, you remember that I just underwent an egg retrieval for IVF last week (a week ago today, actually).  During stims, they reported between seventeen to eighteen follicles, and on retrieval day, they got eleven eggs.

The next morning, we were told that of the eleven eggs, eight were mature.  Of those, seven fertilized, which was great!  I was worried that it wasn’t enough, because I’m greedy like that, but we were well on our way.

As I’m sure you’ve probably figured out from my lack of posting on this…the day 5 report wasn’t great.  Of the seven fertilized eggs, two eggs stopped maturing at the 4-cell mark, so early into the process.  The remaining five eggs were at the stage prior to blastocyst, so they were going to keep an eye on them for another day to see if they matured further.  We were told this wasn’t uncommon, and that hopefully they’d have good news for us the next day.

Monday rolled around (Day 6), and the news was pretty much the worst you can get.  Of the five embryos they were watching, four never progressed past the stage they were at the day prior.  One embryo actually progressed to blast, but it was so abnormally formed that they could neither biopsy it or keep it for freeze.

So…in the end, we have nothing.  Nothing to freeze, nothing to transfer, nothing to even test to see what went wrong.  Sunday (Day 5) I was pretty gutted, but still somewhat optimistic because I have a few friends that this happened to, and resulted in successful pregnancies.  On Monday, I received the call while at work.  I think I’ve been numb ever since.  I can’t help feeling like there is absolutely no hope after this point.  I don’t even know where to go from here, and I don’t know if anyone can even pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

We have a follow-up appointment with my RE on Thursday.  I’m hoping he has some answers on what we can do next, if there are even any options available to us.  Currently, J isn’t overly excited about donor egg/sperm/embryos, but we haven’t discussed it at length yet, and I don’t feel like I’m ready to give up on being pregnant and carrying our child.  I know, logically, that even if we don’t end up having children (biological or adoptive), we’ll still have each other and be very happy and fulfilled, but that doesn’t seem to help right now.

I go back and forth between numb, enraged, depressed, resigned, and just lost.  J is helping as much as he can, but there isn’t much he can do.  I’m just holding tight to the hope that Thursday gives us some answers.

Much love,
K.

Fertilization Report!

Oy…it has been a quick 24 hours!  Later last evening my stomach started hurting more, so I took some pain meds.  The doctor prescribed Tylenol3, which is just Tylenol + Codeine, but it worked really well.  I fell asleep early, and slept well throughout the night, so I called it a win.

This morning, I woke early to say bye to J before he left.  Around 8:00am, the RE’s office called to give me my fertilization report.  Apparently in my drugged up state, I misunderstood the RE last evening.  They ended up getting 11 eggs, 8 of which were mature (not 11 mature in total).  However, that’s still good news!  Out of the 8 mature eggs, 7 fertilized with ICSI!  Because we had a small level of MFI, we decided to go with ICSI to help fertilization.  Thankfully, it seemed to work really well for us!

At this point, now…we wait.  They won’t look at the embryos until Sunday, to see how many made it to 5-day blastocysts.  It’s going to be a VERY long few days until Sunday…so grow little guys, grow!  I probably won’t update until then, but I’m trying to remain hopeful!

Much love,
K.

Egg Retrieval Day!

Bright and early this morning was egg retrieval.  After 8 days of stims, I had 18 follicles that were growing in various stages, and was feeling very much like an overstuffed turkey.  The trigger shot went really well (J was a pro)and I was left to worry about the actual retrieval.  I won’t lie, I was NERVOUS about the retrieval.  I was concerned about the pain, concerned about the unknown, and just overall freaking out about it.

Well…it’s been about 10 hours since the retrieval, and I can honestly say it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.  The hardest part of it all was getting the IV in (unfortunately, nothing to eat/drink after midnight last evening, so I as dehydrated), and that took three tries and two blown veins.  But, after that, it was such a smooth process!

I arrived an hour earlier than my retrieval time.  During that point, I got checked in, got dressed in my uber sexy gown and surgical cap, got my IV put in, and spoke with the anesthesiologist and the biologist who would be doing the ICSI and biopsies for PGS.  Then, I went to pee again (these people are SERIOUS about empty bladders), and strutted my stuff into the surgical room.  I laid down on the bed, and was talking to my doctor while they strapped down my arms, and that is honestly the last thing I remember.  Next thing I know, I’m back in the prep room with Jamie, and working to wake up (very groggy, I won’t lie).

Overall, out of 18 follicles, there were 11 mature eggs (which is more than I could have hoped for).  I’ll get a fertilization report tomorrow morning on how many of those are showing signs of fertilization, which is the first major hurdle.  After waking up, I was really pleased to realize I had ZERO nausea, and only very mild tenderness in my abdomen.

After I woke up enough to drag my sorry butt out of the clinic, J and I went to breakfast.  I INHALED some serious breakfast…an omelet, salad, and toast from my favorite brunch place.  Divine!

So…After all this, I can say we’re coming up on the end of Stage One: IVF.  I have three more days of Ganirelix, to shut down my ovaries, and 10 days of Provera to induce my next cycle, but since we’ll be doing a freeze all cycle, it’s pretty easy and downhill from here.

I’ll be sure to update tomorrow on a fertilization report, but please keep your fingers crossed for good news!!

Much love,
K.

Stims and Trigger

Sorry that I haven’t posted as frequently as I did in the beginning of stims.  To tell the truth, it was more of the same.   The Follistim was easy, the Menopur didn’t really burn (though did start to bruise), and the Ganirelix felt like I was stabbing myself with a spoon.  Overall, not too big of a deal.

I’ve been back and forth every other day for monitoring since Wednesday (it’s Sunday now).  I’ve seen significant growth on my follicles, and now have 18 follicles ranging in size from 9mm to 23mm.  I got a call back from the nurse, and tonight I do a Lupron + HCG trigger.  I was surprised at how exact they were…I am to give myself my first injection of Lupron at 9:15pm, and then the trigger right after that.  Then, 12 hours later (so tomorrow morning at 9:15am) I do another Lupron shot.  I also go in for blood work tomorrow morning to make sure the trigger shot worked as it was supposed to.

Egg retrieval is scheduled for Tuesday morning, at 8:15am.  I’m glad it’s early in the morning, because I know you’re not supposed to eat and I don’t want to be starving before the procedure.  I get the hanger something fierce!  I’m nervous as hell…mostly because I don’t know what to expect.  I’m hoping that I don’t have too much pain afterwards, but they are retrieving a large number of eggs, so who knows.    My boss is completely ok with me taking off as much time as needed, so that’s really good and a load off my mind.  Otherwise, I’m just hanging out.  J practiced with the large needle on an orange, so he says he’s ready to give me the trigger shot (up until now, I’ve done all my injections).  I’m nervous, but one way or another we’ll get it done!

I guess it’s really happening!  Now I’m in the countdown to egg retrieval!

Much love,
K.

IVF Stims, Day Four and Day Five

Day Four of stims went well!  Same old, same old.  I must have nicked something on my thigh during my Menopur shot, because I bruised (first bruise yet).  Overall, I felt pretty good about it!

Day Five – I haven’t stimmed yet, but I did have my first monitoring appointment this morning!  So far, 16 follicles, ranging in size from 6mm to 17mm.  So, tonight I am decreasing the Follistim to 100iu (down from 150iu), and the same dosage for Menopur (150iu).  Then, because my follicles are so large, I will start Ganirelix tonight.

As for trigger, the nurse thinks that I will trigger on Sunday, with an egg retrieval on Tuesday, so the days are really counting down!  I am getting ready for this to get on the move, but also slightly nervous.  Hopefully the Ganirelix shot goes smoothly, tonight!

Much love,
K.

IVF Stims, Day Three

Well, Day Three of stims has come and gone.  I’m finally over the fear that the Menopur is going to burn…it hasn’t so far, so I doubt it’s going to start now.  It’s amazing to me how I started this whole process absolutely terrified of having to do shots daily, to thinking that I was going to have to force J to do it for me, and now to not thinking anything about the injections and doing it myself.  I knew I wanted to try to do the injections myself from the get-go, but was worried that I wouldn’t be able to.  Thankfully, it has been SO EASY to do.  It’s shocking, honestly, but I feel like a total badass now!

So, while the injections themselves have gone really well, I have realized that the other physical aspects are less than stellar.  I am tired EXHAUSTED all the time, my abdomen feels twingy often (that had better mean everything is growing as it should be), and my headaches are raging.  I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a bus!  I’m not sure if I’m coming down with a cold or what, but if this is how I feel after three days of stims, I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel after day 10 or even day 12!

But, all in all, I have my eye on the prize.  So far, this aspect of IVF has gone much better than I was expecting, and I’m very thankful for that.  I’m slightly nervous about egg retrieval, because I have no idea what to expect after the procedure, but if it’s been anything like the rest of this process, I’ll build it up to be absolutely horrible in my head and then it won’t be so bad.  At least, that’s my hope.

That’s all, for now!

Much love,
K.