Mother’s Day

This past weekend was Mother’s Day here in the US, and for the past 3 years, it’s been increasingly hard.  My first Mother’s Day after we started TTC was so soon after tossing the BCP, being pregnant wasn’t even a blip on my radar.  The following Mother’s Day, it was the anniversary of a year since we started TTC, and when I really started to accept the fact that getting pregnant might not be as easy as we had hoped.  The next year was after a few failed IUIs, and we hadn’t moved on to IVF yet as a possibility.

Then, this Mother’s Day came around.  Three years, 42 cycles, 3 failed IUIs, 1 failed IVF.  It’s been a very long road on the journey to become parents for me and the Mr.  Lots of excitement, only to see that turned into heartbreak, and lots of medical tests and procedures which didn’t produce anything.  Lots and lots of money spent with not much to show for it.  It’s hard to think about, at times, just how draining these past three years have been for us both.  My body has taken a beating, to be sure, and we’ve both suffered mentally.

However, there’s hope.  This year, Mother’s Day came with the knowledge that we’ve passed our home study and are now just waiting on our match.  This year came with the assurance that we WILL be parents, so long as we just stick it out and wait.  This year also came with the hope that, maybe, this year will be the last Mother’s Day that I get to watch everyone else celebrate, while sitting on the sidelines.  So far, I’m staying hopeful!

Much love,
K.

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Paperwork, Complete!

In a previous post, I mentioned how much paperwork was involved in the home study.  And, I’ll tell you…it’s a lot!  In fact, apparently it’s enough to crash the agency’s email if you try to send it all in one email, as I did yesterday.  Whoops!

So, as I’m sure you can guess, we finally finished it all.  We’re waiting on two pieces still: our fingerprints to come back and our Dutch background checks to arrive.  Otherwise, we’ve turned everything in and it’s off our plate!  It was such a sense of relief to be able to hit the “send” button yesterday on that email (we’ll still mail in a paper copy of everything as well), knowing that the ball was no longer in our court.  I’ve been paranoid over the past few weeks, worried that we’d forget something, much something up, or just outright lost a key piece of info, but thankfully that didn’t happen.

So now…we wait.  The agency needs to receive those other two pieces before we can schedule the in-home visit, but we’re hoping those come in before we leave on vacation.  It’s a few weeks away, so we have time, but I get concerned when things involve overseas governments.  Oh well, this is just another lesson in patience, one I’m sure God has planned for me to take to heart.  I’ve found, as we’ve been through the past three years of trying to conceive, my patience has grown in leaps and bounds.  I know this is all part of God’s plan, so I am holding to that.

In the meantime, I am now just gearing up for vacation!  I am so excited, can’t wait!

Much love,
K.

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.