Category Archives: FET

Mysterious God

In a rare turn of events, we received a huge refund from the IRS this year. My husband claims he did our taxes properly… he’s pretty nerdy and even reads tax books for ‘fun,’ so who am I to second guess him on that? We were pretty sure we just grossly overestimated our tax withholdings the previous year. Which left us with a large sum. We weren’t really sure what we would do with the money. “Hmm…maybe we could save up for a new car when mine dies?” My hubby said. His car did have over 200,000 miles on it. “Or maybe we could save up for a new A/C in case ours goes out?” I suggested, sure that our A/C was over 20 years old. We threw some other boring ideas out there. None of the options were very exciting. For once, we didn’t seem to have a huge pressing need for income (such as needing to buy a new car, replacing the fridge, etc). It felt odd. So we decided to wait before making any decisions. And we prayed about it.

Little did we know we’d be using that tax refund to buy international plane tickets. Less than a week later, I started bleeding and was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma (SCH). My doctor put me on strict bed rest. We weren’t given an exact time on how long it takes these things to heal, but were told that most heal up by 20 weeks. Well, that seemed a bit daunting as I was only 6 weeks along. I did a ton of research and discovered that the majority of women had markedly improved results from bed rest. There seemed to be a direct correlation between activity and bleeding. So I knew I would certainly be taking it easy. The only question was how much time off of work would my husband need? We still had 14 weeks to get to the 20 week point, with that being the worst case scenario. He had maybe 4 weeks of vacation saved up, tops. We weren’t really sure what the best course of action was. Burn up all of his vacation now? Save some for later? What if things got worse later on?

A day after my SCH was discovered, a thought occurred to me. What if my sister, who lived overseas, was able to come help us out for a few weeks? It seems pretty extreme but the fact of the matter was that everyone in our family has a job (which is a good thing!). My parents and my husband’s parents are all still working. Our siblings all have jobs. My sister who lives locally would have been a great help, but she had recently started a new job, making her free time almost non existent. My sister who lives overseas doesn’t have an official fill-out-a-time-card-type-of-job, per say, but she’s a full time missionary, a home schooler of her 3 children, and she does Bible translation and checking, as well as several other duties. I think she is probably busier than anyone I know! At the same time there was no ’employer’ she would need to ask for time off (other than her family). I gave her a call and set forth my proposition to pay for her and one of her three children’s tickets so that they could come out and help me get through bed rest. I knew I was asking a lot of her. At the same time, I know she wanted this baby of ours to make it just as much as we did. She responded to my proposal by saying that she and her husband would pray about it. The next day, they agreed for her to come and they were able to get tickets that same afternoon. The very next day, she and two of her children (they paid for another one of their kids to come) were en route to the U.S.! We were completely amazed at how quickly they were able to obtain tickets (and for an affordable price)!

My sister arrived pretty exhausted and obviously jet lagged, but I cannot fully describe the blessing she was to our family the nearly three weeks she was here (her kids went to visit their Grandma up North for half of the time they were here in the U.S.). She cooked delicious and hearty meals. When I was nauseous (which was about 90% of the time) she merely placed food in front of me –without even asking me if I was hungry– and I discovered that if I didn’t have to think about food, I could eat it. She cleaned, did laundry, prepared leftovers for my husband to grab on his way to work, and made muffins and cookies for the freezer, as well as extra meals. She also played with Josh, took care of him (did I mention that he loved her right off the bat? It was his first time ever meeting her!) and took him on walks every day. Best of all she MADE me stay on the sofa as much as I could stand it (there’s something commanding about older sisters….). In short, she was a total lifesaver. Literally.

A week later, we went in for an ultrasound. The hematoma hadn’t shrunk or grown. It had changed shape a little. Thankfully, the baby had grown a ton in just a week’s time and was almost twice the size from the previous week.

So bed rest ensued. And my sister continued to labor on our behalf (quite cheerfully I might add). We had my husband’s parents over for his dad’s birthday and my sister did all the cooking and cleaning for that. We celebrated Josh’s birthday with a party (invitations went out before the SCH was discovered) and she did a ton to prepare for that as well. By that time my SCH had shrunk to a narrow sliver- long but almost so narrow that it looked like it was almost healed. We were SO encouraged.

A few days after Josh’s party, my sister had to return home with her kids. I went in for another ultrasound not long after she left and this time, the SCH was no where to be found! My OB said I no longer had any restrictions, but I continued to take it easy for another two weeks. I didn’t want the tear, which had so recently healed, to rip open again. For the past week I have been back to regular life and I am starting to believe that the SCH is forever behind me.

And so God used a shockingly large tax refund, a new pregnancy, and a very scary SCH to ordain a special visit with my sister that I don’t expect to have again in my lifetime. My sister and I are very close– and if you could see the massive amount of emails we have written to each other over the years, the hours and hours of phone conversations that have taken place– you would understand what kind of sisterhood friendship I am taking about. My sister lives overseas, and I don’t get to see her much. The separation feels almost crushing to me at times, as much as I am grateful for the work they are doing. And I think the Lord just happened to heap blessings on my head when this SCH happened. What I thought was going to be the beginning of a miscarriage and a despair threatening to delve deeper than what I have probably ever experienced, instead turned into laughter and joy in having my sister nearby for many deep conversations and times of prayers.

I never thought i would be able to thank God for something as scary as having a SCH threatening my baby’s very existence. But I do. I see now how He has used it to bless me– a blessing I will remember my entire life.

God works in mysterious ways, does He not?

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

 

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It’s Over

My beta came back today at 145. It dropped quite a bit since Tuesday and we officially had a chemical pregnancy. I have to get my beta levels checked in a week to make sure it’s not ectopic (the nurse didn’t think so). We had hoped and prayed for a miracle, but no miracle happened.

And that is okay.

I cried and grieved a lot Tuesday and Wednesday. Today, a few hours after I got the results back, I began to look forward to the future again. There have been sad moments. My empty pill box and huge cardboard box filled with IVF meds made me sad, as I have stopped all medication today. The “Expecting Mother” parking sign I saw today at BuyBuy Baby made me sad, as I no longer fit in that category. My mom asked me what I had wanted for Christmas, and I had excitedly said, “maternity clothes!” Those will no longer be needed.

So much hope and excitement all coming to a crashing halt.

And still it is okay.

I trust the Lord for my future. I started to spiral into fear the other day — worrying that I wouldn’t ever get pregnant again… then what would we do? Would Josh be an only child? I would so love a sibling for him to play with. And then I realized I was just borrowing trouble, and I needed to stop. And focus on the fact that the Lord gives GOOD gifts to His children. That’s me. So I can rest, and be hopeful. Because even though things feel like “they’re over” right now, they truly aren’t.

We don’t know when we’ll do our next FET with our remaining two embryos. I don’t know if I can commit to blogging about it when the time comes. I felt compelled to blog about my experience with this FET, and maybe I’ll never know exactly the reasons why. But I can say that blogging about it has blessed my socks off — so many people have reached out to me, prayed for me, called, come over, sent a text message, made me a meal, etc. I even had a dear friend come over to be with me this morning to give me a huge hug and remind me of truth when I got the bad news today. I have truly felt supported and loved through this rather painful ordeal. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

May the Lord bless you for your kindness and generosity of care for me.

 

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Disappointing News

The roller coaster ride continues.

I got bad news this morning. My hcg level, at 19dpo, was only 216. That’s an increase of 55%. They’re looking for an increase of 75% or higher to indicate a viable pregnancy.

The lab results helped me make some sense of the past two weeks. I haven’t felt pregnant for a single day this time around. Many told me to count my blessings–that maybe I was just having an amazing pregnancy, but I was deeply worried something was wrong. Despite the pieces finally adding up, I still cried and grieved all morning. My husband sounded really disappointed on the phone when I told him. He wanted to know when we could try for another FET (not that we could afford it right away).

The IVF nurse also painted a grim picture for us. Most likely I will miscarry — it could happen at any time. I will still get my levels rechecked in two days just in case a miracle happens and the baby rebounds. If the levels drop or barely increase then I will stop my meds. I will have to get my levels checked weekly after that to make sure I’m not having an ectopic pregnancy.

So for now I am stuck in beta-level-checking purgatory.

I’m reading my Bible today and playing with Josh. He is such an incredible joy to have. Even through tears I cannot help but smile in response to his giggles and grins.

Thanks for continuing to pray. I will update you after my beta on Thursday.

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

2 Corinthians 5:6-7

IMG_20141128_153537

PS Sorry for the abundance of typos lately. I guess that’s what happens when I’m rushing to finish a blog post on my phone late at night. 🙂

 

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Taking a Deep Breath…

I’m so sorry to keep some of you out of the loop about this pregnancy and hcg levels. Thank you for checking in with me.

I discovered that my first beta of 20 was actually done at 11 dpo instead of 12 dpo like I had originally thought. This made me feel a little bit better about it being on the lower side. I discovered that the average beta for 11 dpo is something like 24.

My second beta was done last Wednesday at 13 dpo and was 60. The nurse was very happy with this number, but did mention that I was pregnant “most likely with a singleton.” I definitely felt a sense of relief that things seemed to be progressing like they should.

After my blood test last Wednesday I headed to my parents with Josh to help them get ready for Thanksgiving. On Thursday, we returned as a family to celebrate. What a blessing to be thankful out of overflowing gratitude for this new baby instead of out of obedience had we gotten a negative test. But even then, I know I would have been thankful for this almost 9 month son of ours that brings daily smiles to our faces.

Over the weekend we headed to the mountains for a quick vacation at my parents cabin. Overall I’ve just been feeling… well, normal. Very normal. With Josh I was already feeling very “off ” by this point. But I guess I shouldn’t compare pregnancies. In any case, it’s been a little bit of a struggle not to worry and to just enjoy this period of feeling decent while it lasts.

I did, however, get my next beta test moved from Saturday to this Tuesday. I’m needing reassurance that things with this baby are okay. As you can see… I’m a little bit of a worrier. Not something I’m proud of.

Whether this baby goes to term and we get to hold him or her in our arms, or whether I miscarry and things don’t work out at all like we had hoped for — God is greater still, always working, always faithful.

Today I am 4 weeks 3 days. These are early, early days! Thanks again for your prayers for this little one inside. 🙂

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Deflated Before Test Day

Things aren’t looking so good. 😦

I took a test yesterday and today and both were negative. I’m 5dp6dt. By this time last year, I had a faint positive test with Josh. But the cramping stopped a few days ago and I just feel completely normal. Feeling can lie, but I don’t feel pregnant.

My mom called earlier and I told her the news. We chatted about what I would do if the test came back negative tomorrow. I cried. There is only one trick left up my sleeve that I know of that might help curb the endometriosis. I don’t know if it will work or fail. If it fails I’ll need surgery again.

In any case, maybe God will work a miracle and maybe my beta will come back tomorrow with a surprise. Or maybe our wonderful family of 3 is what God would like us to be content with for now.

Jesus may you give me peace to get through tonight and tomorrow.

Thank you all for your amazing kind words and prayers. It means a lot to me!

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Torture Before Testing

Well folks, no one said this waiting period would be easy.

It’s far from easy. In the infertility world, I’m what you’d call 3dp6dt. That’s 3-days-past a 6-day-transfer, to equal 9 dpo (which translates to 9 days past ovulation). A little early for a home pregnancy test, although some women pregnant with multiples get positives this early. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to our embryo transfer.

Our frozen embryo transfer (FET) was on Tuesday. All in all, it was a rough day. For the first time ever, I blogged in real-time about the phone call from our RE announcing the poor prognosis of one of our embryo. After that blog post, I got an email from my RE. I won’t go into detail because it’s not important. But let’s just say that he was pretty rude and unkind in this quick email. It had nothing to do with the transfer that day, it was a response to an email I had sent him the prior week regarding my thyroid. On any given day, the email would have just made me mad. But on FET day, the day I am injected full of hormones, the day Josh is for some reason out of sorts and threatening to be screaming during our (already stressful) transfer, and most of all the day I hear one of my babies might be dying — well, I burst immediately into tears.

Thankfully, my husband called his mom to babysit Josh and she came to the rescue with 3 minutes to spare! I popped my prescribed valium, guzzled the prescribed amount of water, loaded up and hit the road.

And on the drive to the clinic, I let the email go. It didn’t matter. What was important was getting those babies transferred where they belonged.

When we arrived it was clear our RE didn’t want to transfer in our embryo that was looking less than great (I never did hear what the official “grade” that the embryo was). We went back and forth as I tried to ascertain what the actual status of the embryo was. My RE said that in his opinion, the embryo was a “demise.” A demise? A demise means dead. “Is it dead?” I asked. No, he said it wasn’t dead, but it was as good as dead. “Death is pretty black or white, is it dead?” I asked again. He said it was black or white for him — it might as well be dead. So he wasn’t willing to call it dead.

Because it was not dead.

He stepped out of the room and gave my husband and I a minute to decide what we wanted to do. But we already knew we were transferring in this struggling embryo. We talked about it for about one second. My RE came back in the room and we told him we wanted both embryos transferred.

Ten minutes later, both embryos had been transferred without any complications. He handed us pictures of our embryos, then in the blastocyst (about to hatch) stage. I looked at each embryo with wonder and amazement– these were our children. One of the embryos, the struggling embryo, had some cells that had burst, indicating that things were not good. But there were still cells that were intact. It still had a chance, even if it is a very, very small chance.

As my RE was walking out the door, he said, “This is good. You only want one baby. You don’t want twins. One baby is best.” The door slammed behind him. I couldn’t help it — I gave the biggest eye roll at his comment. Never mind the prior appointments where I told him we were comfortable with the idea of twins. Never mind the fact that it was his idea to transfer two embryos last summer. How wrong he was, and how frustrated I felt with him for not rooting even a little for our struggling embryo. I’m not sure what was going through his head, but he seemed to be wrapped up in the well being of his clinic’s statistics of viable pregnancies.

Then, our lovely nurse (who I adore) asked to see the pictures of our embryos. “Hmm” she said. “They’re not what I’d call great looking embryos, but you never know.” The truth is, I had been thinking the same thing (comparing only with pictures of blastocysts I’d seen on the internet) and inquired further. Why did she think that? I appreciated her giving me her honest opinion. She popped her head around the door to speak with the embryologist. The embryologist explained that no, one of the embryos was of excellent quality (4AA) but it just hadn’t had time to re-expand after being thawed. My nurse said, “Well, the embryologist is the expert!” I breathed a sigh of relief. It was clear that the nurse just didn’t know as much about it, although I know she’s worked at the clinic for a long time.

Lastly, during the thirty minutes that I had to lay still on the bed following the transfer, my husband laid hands on me and prayed over our embryos. There was nothing sweeter that happened that day than his act of headship over our family.

We came home from the clinic and the 3 days of bed rest and waiting began. Within a few hours I felt some tugging and pulling. Could it be the beginning of implantation? It was a little sharp, but didn’t last long. I felt the same thing later on that night and then the next morning. Then more consistent cramps began and didn’t let up for a day. They started again yesterday afternoon and took another break this morning. Then more cramps this afternoon. But none now. I had cramping with Josh so I see it as a very good sign that I might be pregnant. But then when the cramps fizzle out I start to feel unsure again. And the thing is, cramps are not a guarantee of pregnancy. It could be false hope. I just don’t know the outcome, and I won’t know until next week.

So thanks for praying for me. All in all, it’s going much better than last time. I’ve only cried once. But it’s still hard.

I was in the car today, taking Josh with me to Trader Joes to pick up some ice cream and chocolate (um, what else?!) and Seeds of Faith was playing for about the billionth time. The words from Isaiah 41, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” played over and over and the words began to sink in after a while. And I thought: I’m not alone in this. If I don’t get pregnant, He is with me! and if I don’t get pregnant, He will strengthen, help and uphold me.

There is nothing sweeter than that.

I’ll have an update for you sometime next week. I’m not trying to be vague, it’s just that my clinic ordered my beta (blood test indicating a pregnancy or not) for Monday due to the holidays and I really feel that it’s waaay too soon. I’ll only be 12 dpo on Monday. I would hate to get a false negative– it’s like signing up for pre-planned torture. So I may just call the clinic Monday morning and request a later date for the lab draw. I haven’t decided yet.

Again, thanks for your prayers! And thanks for helping to support me through this journey!

 

 

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FET Day

We just got a call from our RE. Already things are not going as planned. They thawed two of our 6-day embryos, and one is looking great, the other is “surprisingly not looking great” (my RE’s words).

My RE’s question: Should he discard the bad looking one, thaw one more and transfer the two, or just transfer the original good one?

My question: Can’t we still transfer the original two (including the “not so good looking one”), even though one doesn’t look like it will survive long?

He said we could transfer both, as long as I understood that it had less than a 15% of survival.

I understand. And that’s what we’re doing. I’m not about to give up on my baby, just because things don’t look good.

Friends, please pray for our embryos. Our transfer is still over 2 hours away. I feel like my chances of getting pregnant are dropping as the minutes go by, but really– there are so many miracles I need the Lord to do in order to get pregnant, and this is just one of them.

He is able. But we need your prayers!

 

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One Week to Go!

Our FET is just one week away!

I’m sort of a nervous, excited wreck as I look longingly at maternity clothes at the store and then shudder with fear when I see all the leftover heartburn medicines sitting on our cabinet shelf… then back again to excited when I sadly boxed up Josh’s tiny newborn clothes; only to be mortified when a new adhesion pain develops in my abdomen and persists for days.

So here’s a recap and update:

–I emailed my RE last Thursday and complained again of the incessant headaches (I already wrote about that). He wrote me back and said it was most likely NOT from the levothyroxine (thyroid meds), but that I could stop it if I wanted to.

–I prayed about stopping it, and some of you prayed for me as well. 🙂 I asked my husband what he thought. His immediate response: “STOP IT IF YOU CAN!” Result: I stopped it. My last dose was Thursday night.

–Saturday was a HORRIBLE day with a migraine and overall weakness. Hard to describe how weird I felt. It was hard to sit and just fold laundry. I figured it was my body adjusting to coming off of the thyroid meds. I went into a catatonic state and went to bed at 8 pm, and then slept for 13 hours (after napping a lot during the day).

–Sunday I was 95% back to normal. No headache! Cautiously optimistic.

–Monday, NO HEADACHE! It’s been 5 1/2 weeks of constant headaches, I’m was beyond excited!

–Today, again NO headache! I told my RE I must have been allergic to the thyroid medicine. I had offered previously to switch to a name brand (instead of the generic) but he was insistent that it couldn’t possibly be the cause of my headaches. Weeks later, he agreed it must have been the thyroid meds after all. To be honest, I have much more energy OFF the medicine and plan to never interfere again with something that is already working just fine! (Lesson learned.)

–I went in to get my estrogen levels checked and the thickness of my lining monitored. Labs aren’t back yet, but my lining is good to go at 11.2 mm (my RE wants anything over 8 mm). When I got pregnant with Josh my lining was at 10.7 mm. Tomorrow night I start progesterone injections. Yippee!

–Next Tuesday is the day! Embryo transfer! Even though this has felt like a very loooong 5 1/2 weeks, I’m still amazed that it’s almost here!

–I have no false reassurance that I’ll get pregnant this time around, just because I got pregnant last time. These sorts of things fail all the time. But I have such a heart to want to know and mother these little embryo babies. I will be (and have been) crying out to God to hear my prayers. Thank you, if you are praying on my behalf!

Well, that ended up being longer than I thought. Now off to a day of giggles, babbling, kicking, and psuedo-crawling with the little guy. And a picture, just for fun. 🙂

DSC_0066

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Injections & Headaches

Injections for our embryo transfer are under way. Gave my first IM shot on Monday! I didn’t even feel it! Since I started the process for the FET on Oct. 2, it feel like it’s been a long month of meds and headaches. I’m so thankful we’ve only got 11 more days to go until they transfer in those embryos! Not that many of my meds will change, and I’ll still have to give myself shots after that (at least until we know if I’m pregnant or not), but this initial period of sorting out my TSH and getting acclimated to new medications will be DONE!

What a huge difference between going through IVF last year and going through the FET this year. I’ve learned so much about the Lord and myself during this space of time. Last year I was a complete basket case. I cried a lot during IVF and during the two week wait (2WW) until the blood test to find out if I was pregnant or not. I could barely hold it together, and I was so afraid to HOPE. But other than feeling fatigued, I really didn’t feel that bad with all the medications I was on at the time. Fast forward a year and some months… this time around I have complete peace about our FET. I don’t know if I’ll get pregnant, but I pray for it daily. I know it’ll be really hard if I don’t get pregnant, though. On the flip side, this round has been very tough physically. I’ve had headache almost every day for FIVE WEEKS. It’s been a total pain! I thought back and I think there have been 3 days where I did not have a headache.

My RE said he thinks the headaches are caused by the Lupron, even though I told him I’ve had the headaches for 5 weeks and I’ve only been on the Lupron for 2 weeks. He gave me the option to stop the thyroid medicine (he said he thought it was doubtful that it was causing the headaches). But it’s the only thing I’ve been on consistently for the last 5 weeks. I feel a little nervous to stop it as the research shows that a higher TSH is linked with miscarriages. But my TSH wasn’t that high to begin with (2.6). So I’m going to pray about stopping it today. Because I’m tired of functioning so poorly with these headaches. My concentration has become very poor.

So that’s the news. Not a lot to report, it’s kind of the same old story: “Blah blah blah headaches blah blah headaches…”

Thanks for praying for us!

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Less Than A Month To Go

My medications came for the embryo transfer! Not sure if I feel more excitement…or dread? Those 1- 1/4 inch IM needles get a little old after a while!

Anyhow, here’s a comparison between FET meds and IVF meds:

FET meds

FET meds 

IVF meds

IVF meds (from last summer)

Last year, when my IVF meds arrived, I was pretty overwhelmed by the sheer number of medications and spent a good part of the day going through everything and figuring out which syringes went with which needles, etc, as well as when to start/stop each medication. Today, when my FET meds came, it was more like, “They’re here! Great. I’ll go through those some other time.” Lol.

There isn’t too much news here. Our embryo transfer is scheduled for roughly 11/18, depending on how my uterine lining looks (if it’s thick enough) and what my estrogen levels are at. I take my last birth control in a couple of days (hallelujah!) and start lupron injections Friday. The lupron injections will continue to suppress my ovaries and make sure I don’t ovulate (which would throw off the timing of the embryo transfer).

Thankfully, the migraines have subsided. Those went away sometime last week. My TSH didn’t go down on the thyroid medication, however, so my RE (my IVF dr, a reproductive endocrinologist) tripled my dosage. I felt decent for about ONE day. The following day I felt like I had been drugged — I became suddenly weak, light headed and foggy. I also could not resist sleep! (This happened right before we were having company over — of course!). And every afternoon since then, I have felt the same, although to a lesser degree. I’ve done a ton of research on levothyroxine, timing and strength of dosage, and I’ve also talked to the IVF nurse about it. Her opinion is that my body just needs more time to adjust to the medication. From what I’ve read, she may be right. But I also feel that I may be overdosed as well. In any case, I’m supposed to go down on my dosage tomorrow and get labs checked Saturday (including antibodies to make sure I don’t have Hashimoto’s). Hopefully time will tell what’s going on!

I’ve dialed back a lot of my life to get through this time. “Not feeling well” has been the theme for me these past 22 days. In the grand scheme of things, it’s totally worth it! But also hard to get the day-to-day stuff done and to be a good mom to Josh. Thankfully, I feel pretty good most mornings!

I’ll try to keep you updated through this process. Thanks so everyone who has email or texted to inquire how things have been going! I sure do appreciate your prayers!

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