Category Archives: Infertility

Day 7 Stims, IVF #2

I’m feeling a bit less optimistic today after my appointment. It could just be this headache that the meds have given me or perhaps my emotions are being manipulated. After all I am pumping hormones into my body right now…

I had less follicles today. On Tuesday I had 8 follicles, and today I had 6. I had 4 follicles that were growing on the left, and possibly 2 that were sort of responding to the medication on the right. There were other follicles, but they were smaller. I couldn’t really tell you what size the follicles were (I think between 9-12mm) but I do know they’re still small-ish and we’re still days away from egg retrieval. I will most likely stim at least 11 days, possibly 12. This is a bummer because I will need to buy more follistim AND menopur. My Dr hasn’t decreased my dosage of anything yet. My estrogen levels were in the 150-200 range on day 5 so they’re fine. My lining is ready to go at 9.2 cm. (At least that is cooperating!)

My Dr said my right ovary wasn’t really responding normally and I reminded him that my right ovary was the one that had the large 10 cm endometrioma on it 5+ years ago. I think I lost a lot of my ovary when it was surgically removed. Or it could have happened when another endometrioma on that ovary was removed; who knows.

I’m definitely feeling the stress and weight of IVF today. I knew this feeling would happen at some point. Thankfully hubby is home now, and his perspective has helped me. He’s choosing not to be stressed or disappointed until all the facts are known. And who knows, more follicles might catch up and join the party. I’m praying the Lord will help me overcome this headache and fatigue so that the kids and I can have a good day today.

Yesterday was a really nice day. My Mom came over and brought lunch, which was great because I was dealing with side effects from the IVF meds (headache, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue) and was barely operational. In the afternoon I perked up a bit and so we went to Hobby Lobby with the kids. We both bought some really cute stuff- what a great store! I was feeling a lot better by the time we got home. I gave the kids a bath while she cooked dinner– isn’t she awesome?!

Thanks for your continued prayers!

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Infertility, IVF

Day 5 Stims, IVF #2

After Rachel cried on and off for 2 hours last night, I peeled myself out of bed this morning before 6 am and gave myself my Follistim injection and then took a shower. Hubby’s Dad kindly arrived at 7 am to watch the kids and I fought traffic for an hour before making it to my appointment this morning. Got my estrodial level drawn and then had an ultrasound. Things didn’t look as great this time around – follicle growth is somewhat slow so far, and only 8 are responding to the medication. It could be worse (much worse!), but still not as great as my last ultrasound (12-13 follicle last ultrasound). There are always bumps in the road when traveling down the IVF path. The follicles ranged from 7-9 mm. My lining was looking good at 6 mm, and thankfully I’ve never had an issue with that aspect in the past.

Another hiccup is the Follistim. When I went through IVF #1, I figured out (at some point, can’t remember how far into the process I was) that my Follistim pen was under dosing me. I believe I was using 600 IU Follistim cartriges at the time, so I probably figured it out after a couple of days (my dosage was 300 IU per day). Because of that, I switched to Insulin syringes and drew up the medication using a dosage conversion chart. It worked great. So this time around, I told my nurse that I didn’t want to use the Follistim pen, because I didn’t trust them. She didn’t bat an eye at that and immediately brought me Gonal-F syringes. She said the volume was same as Follistim and told me to draw up to 300 IU labeled on the syringe. Perfect. So I did that, and after 2-3 days this time around I figured out that I was OVER dosing myself with Follistim- arrgh!! So I called the clinic and spoke to a different RN, and she told me that Gonal-F syringes DO NOT work for Follistim and that I needed to use Insulin syringes and use the conversion chart (like last time). She was profusely apologetic over the other RN’s mistake and said that she would be educating her on this ASAP. As far as overdosing myself – well, it’s not really a big deal because one only responds a certain amount to Follistim and then that’s it. If I didn’t have DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) and was more sensitive to the Follistim, then I could have easily overstimmed on the increased dosage and caused the follicles to mature too quickly. But thankfully I was already on the maximum dosage, so it won’t cause me to be over-stimmed (as evidenced by this morning’s ultrasound and slow-growth follicles). HOWEVER –  the mistake is very costly and will probably cost me (or insurance, not sure if it will be covered) $300-$600 because I will need to buy more Follistim. Each dosage of Follistim is $300! Overall it was a frustrating experience, but it is what it is and people make mistakes, myself included.

As my IVF Dr was walking out the door this morning he laughed and said, “Don’t worry, you don’t want 5 kids, do you?” I almost made some comment about how we’d need to buy a huge minivan, but held my tongue. There wasn’t any part of me that wanted to respond with “no way!” The fact is, kids are a blessing and if God gives us 5 children my hubby’s eyes might glaze over for several consecutive years, but I think I would love to have the opportunity to raise a large family.

Hubby is out of town right now to attend a really awesome Christian conference in Minneapolis. I wish I could be with him! So grateful for this opportunity for him to go. My family is helping me out by just spending time with us, which is a real help. My Dad mowed our backyard yesterday! And friends have been visiting also. God is so kind and gracious to care for me in this way while going through IVF and having hubby out of town.

Thank you for your continued prayers! They are greatly appreciated!

Liquid gold.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Infertility, IVF

IVF #2…. Say What?

Well, here’s a post I never expected to write.

We’re going through IVF again!

(As a recap – to anyone new to this blog, we went through IVF back in 2013 and have 2 beautiful children now.)

I think the year of 2013 was such an incredibly painful year for me physically that IVF has left a few scars on me. I really wasn’t interested in going through it again! I had surgery just prior to IVF (for endometriosis) and then as anyone who’s been through IVF knows that the meds for IVF/ pregnancy are a bit on the brutal side (7 weeks of IM progesterone injections, anyone?), and then I had a horribly painful pregnancy with adhesions ripping apart as baby grew. So, whenever the thought of doing IVF crossed my mind I immediately thought: No thank you!

But then I prayed about it. I love our children so much and I’m so grateful to be a mother. And before long the idea of IVF didn’t sound as terrible anymore. Not only that, we now had an option for insurance to over almost all of the cost, including meds! I broached the subject with hubby, and I can’t remember if he immediately (or eventually) said “no,” but either way, the answer was the same. I actually wasn’t too grieved about it at the time. But I did (sneakily) continue to pray about it. And over time, my husband brought it up again and put the whole idea back on the table! My extremely intelligent, introverted, noise-hating husband said he would love to have more children! My mind was blown.

We moved forward from there and (together) kept praying about it. I kept waiting for the door to close on the whole idea, and if I’m honest I’m still a little mentally there. I just can’t believe we’ve made it this far! I thought the door was closing when my initial labs came back really terrible back in November. My day 2 FSH was 24.7, and my AMH was 0.2. I shook my head when I saw the results – there aren’t many IVF clinics that will even take you as a patient if your FSH was over 15, and mine was way higher! I kept praying. And I did a lot of research. At the end of the day, even if we only had a 1% chance, I still wanted to try. Insurance would be paying for it… and I’m 35 with extremely low ovarian reserve (thanks to too many surgeries on my ovaries) — in other words, this was really our last chance before I hit premature ovarian failure (that’s a code term for ‘early menopause’).

I went to my first IVF appt and I couldn’t believe that my IVF dr even agreed to see my given my lab results. But he did an ultrasound and my AFC (antral follicle count) wasn’t dismal at all – I think I had 12 follicles or so? He agreed to let us give IVF a try! Then he had me repeat my day 2 labs and they came back waaaay better – my FSH was 9.7! I couldn’t believe it!

And so here we are. I’m on day 3 of stim meds, 300 IU of Follistim and 150 IU Menopur. (Same dosage as last time around.) At my last ultrasound there were 12/13 follicles, which boggles my mind. I honestly though that when my FSH levels came in at 24.7 that I would be lucky to have 3 or 4 follicles.

In the meantime I’m happy to have my 2 little distractions and thankful to the Lord for this unexpected opportunity to go through IVF again! Last time I was an emotional wreck (couldn’t even bring myself to blog about it) but this time I am trusting God that His plan for the future is BEST, whether my cycle gets cancelled, or I don’t get pregnant, or I end up getting an BFP. I’ll be pretty bummed if it doesn’t work out… but I know that God is good and that His plans are for the best.

I will try to keep you updated on how it goes. Thanks so much for your prayers for us!

“He only is my Rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62:6

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Infertility, IVF

Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned.  And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! 🙂

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Baby, DIY, Endometriosis, Finances, Infertility, IVF, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Toddler

HSG Results

I am in shock.

The last time I had an HSG done (4 years ago), one tube was blocked with water in it (and then surgically removed) and the other tube was barely open. And when I say “barely,” I mean it! It took a long time to get a little drop of dye through it. When I asked the radiologist if the tube was open, he responded “Well… Not really. But there was a little dye that went through.”

So imagine my shock this morning when I had another HSG test done and my tube was not only open, but VERY open! The dye went through it right away! Wait… what?!

This totally feels like a miracle. I’m not used to getting good news after tests like these! We are rejoicing at the good news!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Endometriosis, Infertility

Our Hope is in Christ

Our kids were both dedicated this morning at our Christian church. Before the congregation, we pledged to pray over and to train up our children in the Lord. This is not a requirement in any way for the Christian parent; it is simply a special time devoted to praying specifically for our children as a church congregation, as well as an opportunity to publicly declare our intention of raising our children to know Christ.

I’ve been looking forward to this day for months. It wasn’t so very long ago that we were wrestling with infertility and the daunting thought that we might not ever be parents. How I cried out to the Lord repeatedly, reminding Him about Hannah and Sarah (as if He needed to be reminded) and some other barren Biblical women who were blessed with children. God certainly doesn’t promise us children, so I didn’t pretend to believe that we would be parents someday. We just didn’t know what would happen, and as the years went by and the likelihood of needing a hysterectomy went up, we lived with a lot of pain and turmoil.

But then God blessed us; not with one child, but two. We don’t deserve children, but He had mercy on us.

How grateful my heart was this morning, thinking that we could have arrived at church this morning still barren. Still fighting endometriosis. Still having surgeries. But we didn’t.

And yet, it’s not all about having children, or raising children, or being a mother or a father. These children of ours are wonderful and grant us great purpose for a time. But children are not our hope– our hope is in Christ! And how we thank him for His tender mercies on us.

DSC08674

Our families came alongside to worship with us this morning and to pray over our children. After the service, my brother in law took our family picture outside the church. I’m still amazed at the color of the plants behind us!

DSC08685

Hebrews 6:19-20: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

6 Comments

Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, Worship

If I Only Had A Brain

In my opinion, there are two major categories that coincide with pregnancy. One is insomnia. The other is forgetfulness (affectionately termed “prego brain.”) This week, I’ve been dealing with both and instead of sleeping I’m up eating a bowl of cereal and putting these rambling thoughts down on paper. (And to spare you the nuisance I’m also avoiding making a dumb forgetful memory joke, because, come on — that would just be a little too unoriginal right now.)

I worked last night at the hospital and it’s becoming apparent to me that my memory has become quite bad. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if it’s because I haven’t worked much over the past year or if it’s pregnancy affecting this noggin’ of mine, or what? My husband claims it’s pregnancy, but it’s getting kind of pathetic at work. Someone will ask me a question: “Hey, where do we keep _____?” (fill in the blank with some random medical item), or, “How do I change out this drainage chamber?” or {insert pretty much any nursing/work related question}. I find myself standing there, scratching my head, saying “Gee, I used to know the answer to that, but I totally forgot!” I feel like a complete moron most of the time! And it’s just not happening at work, either. In fact, I made a list of all the things I need to accomplish in the next ten weeks (before the baby comes) because from day to day I completely forget what those things are. My husband has always lamented that he has a terrible memory but announced that he’s happy that the playing field is finally leveled while I’m pregnant–ha! All I can say is that I sure hope my memory decides to reinhabit my body after the baby comes!

As for sleep, when I got off last night I managed to sleep for 3.5 broken up hours. I can’t even blame Josh, who has been sleeping 12-13 hours through the night uninterrupted for weeks now (we’re soaking it in before the baby comes!). Last week, I had probably 4 nights in a row where I averaged 3-4 hours of sleep a night. But the week before that I slept pretty well. Pregnancy insomnia comes in waves for me and thankfully it comes and goes (well, it’s mostly just comes toward the end of the third trimester). I don’t tend to stress about the lack of sleep, but this morning I really wanted to make it to church and wasn’t sure how that would happen on such little sleep. Thanks be to God, (and to my husband who pulled most of the pieces together to get our toddler and the 59 other toddler items we needed like snacks, water bottle, extra diapers/wipes, toys, etc, out the door) we actually made it on time (for once) and I downed my daily allotment of coffee on the way which helped. So, not much sleep happening here, but thankfully we’re still getting on with life fairly well.

Aside from poor memory and sleep, another issue I’ve been battling these days has been feeling poorly about my appearance. Being pregnant this time around has revealed to me my issues with vanity. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I am way bigger this time around. I have found myself not wanting to even go out in public as I feel like a spectacle to watch and also dread people’s questions and comments. Another coworker last night saw my belly and basically asked if I was due any day (I have ten weeks to go). I’ve never had to work hard to maintain (or really even to lose) weight. I eat moderately but have never dieted. For my entire life, my figure has pretty much been on auto-pilot. But now the pounds are adding up and it freaks me out a little more than I care to admit. The comments about my size bother me more than I’d like to share, also. Someone the other day lightheartedly joked that I had a serious “eating problem” and even though I know he was joking and that it was just his way of saying “you’re pregnant!” I just couldn’t seem to get the comment out of my head. The result is that the Lord has revealed pride and fear in me — which I have at times allowed to suck away my joy in preparing for this baby girl. It’s awful and I have repented of it. But I still struggle, and I think I will continue to do so until I deem that my ‘size’ appropriately fits whatever gestational ‘week’ I am in (which is silly and not helpful at all).

Lastly, I am struggling in knowing how to reach out to friends who are currently walking through infertility. This may seem crazy, given the years of infertility we went through, or it may seem very plausible given that we have a 16 month old son and are expecting baby #2 soon. I want to reach out, to bless if I can … but I don’t want to be the cause of more tears (pregnant women, pregnancy announcements, and baby showers are almost always a trigger for women going through infertility). In some ways our ‘story’ is encouraging and offers hope to those who are facing infertility. But it depends on one’s perspective and, ultimately, one’s trust in the Lord — that He is sufficient whether one has several children or none. In the meantime, I’m asking the Lord for wisdom and planning for now to reach out. We’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for reading my sleep deprived thoughts. I plan to update again next week at 32 weeks!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Baby, Infertility, Pregnancy, Toddler

Letting Go… Or Not?

I think this is probably not a new struggle for a gal who’s been through years of infertility, but who also has been amazingly blessed with children. We went through IVF once and two FET’s. We have baby #2 (a girl!) on the way this fall and I think it’s highly unlikely we will go through another IVF again. We would love to have more children, but don’t want to risk getting more embryos than we can actually transfer in, should we do another round of IVF.

So that leaves lots of room for God to work a miracle if we end up having another child (naturally).

The source of my dilemma is actually over stuff. Baby stuff. Lots and lots of baby stuff. It is filling (my husband would say ‘taking over’) our garage. And every last nook and cranny we can find to cram it into. We have almost all boy stuff (minus some gender neutral stuff) and I hate to get rid of it in case God does work a miracle and brings us another boy some day. But God has never promised me another son (or daughter, for that matter). I have absolutely no idea what the future holds. So would it be unwise to keep all this boy baby stuff in the hopes that someday God might bless us in that way? It would be nice not to have to buy/search for cheap baby things– should that day come — but on the other hand I’m wondering if  not “letting go” isn’t such a great idea, spiritually and mentally.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who had hoped for more children at some point and had to make similar decisions. Any thoughts?

 

2 Comments

Filed under Baby, Infertility, IVF

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!

4 Comments

Filed under FET, Infertility, IVF

Update on Upcoming FET

I thought I might as well give another update. I found out a few days ago that the FET will take more like 7 weeks instead of 5. I think it’s basically a scheduling thing with my infertility clinic due to the fact that they only do embryo transfers on certain weeks of the month and they try to get as many people on the same schedule as possible to make their lives simpler.

I finally started on birth control 3 nights ago to start regulating my hormones and prevent ovulation. I’ll be on that for another 21 days and then have to go through another period. Out of all of the medicines I have to take, birth control pills are my least favorite. I woke up extremely nauseous 3 nights ago from it and felt lousy all day, and I’m up again feeling nauseous tonight (it’s 4:30 am).

My thyroid level (TSH) was retested and came back at 2.6. I thought I was pretty much in the clear, since my RE’s cut off is 2.5,  but he had me start on levothyroxine. So far that that has been okay, but it has completely diminished my appetite. I’m on a low dosage (25 mcg) and will get my level checked again in 2 weeks.

The embryo transfer is scheduled for 11/18. Feels really far away right now! I have a saline infusion sonogram (SIS) scheduled for Tuesday. This is a procedure where they will inject sterile saline into my uterus and use ultrasound to look for any polyps, fibroids, or anything else that might get in the way of an embryo implanting. I’m sure I had this done last year when we went through IVF, but I don’t remember it! I have to take 5 days of antibiotics for it and they told me to take 800 mg Ibuprofen prior to the procedure as it can be painful.

Right I’m praying that I can remain sane on the birth control pills. They make me a little crazy. My husband says my ability to deal with conflict on birth control is pretty bad, and I tend to agree. I have a hard time shaking off disappointments when I’m on it. I thought I would only have to take it for 8-9 days like last time, but it will be longer. Thankfully it is just for a short season!

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under FET, Infertility