Category Archives: IVF

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!

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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

 

 

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Am I Crazy?

This post is me just shooting from the hip (which I try to never do) so please bear with me.

I’ve been wrestling for a few weeks over this one. It may have started when we found the kids’ baby books in the garage about a month ago. I came across pictures like these:

The kids and I both loved flipping through their baby books again. But by the end I found myself feeling sad and longing for another baby. Then we moved Rachel into a toddler bed and my hubby took apart her crib and put it in the garage. I had mixed emotions over that too. It’s the first time we haven’t had a crib in our house in almost 4 years – you’d think I’d be rejoicing! But instead it felt like the baby days were quickly passing us by – in fact, as Rachel uses 3-4 word sentences and colors by herself and tries to get herself dressed these days – the baby days are pretty much behind us.

But the facts of the matter are that the Lord has graciously blessed us with our two children. Our days are long, busy, and filled with excitement as well as meltdowns. I watch my friend’s 6 month old baby on Wednesdays and those days are just plain crazy. So I know adding another one into the mix would not be calm, organized or quiet. We live in a 3 bedroom home, and somehow I’d like to cram two more children into it. Thanks to (said) fixer upper house, we can’t afford IVF anytime soon (not that it’s something we’d hurry into even if we could afford it right now).

I thought maybe I’d get pregnant naturally after 18 months of trying and an HSG that reported my only fallopian tube to be open. Of course we’ll give it more time. But every month that I have a super painful period or have a cyst burst, I’m unsure of how long I can continue in this path before something more urgent needs to take place (excision surgery, hysterectomy, other treatments for endometriosis, etc.). And yet I have to look back and see that I also haven’t needed surgery in 18 months! That is a record for me! I (believe the longest I went off birth control before needing surgery was only 7 months– prior to having children.)

I’m trying to figure out if this desire for more children has been bred out of discontentment somewhere along the way, or if it’s a God-given desire for a good thing, a blessing. Is it okay to want more children? That desire for children was what drove us to IVF over 4 years ago, but there were some very unique circumstances that took place in order for us to arrive at that IVF clinic. It was definitely not our first choice (we were in the process of adopting at the time), and yet God had other plans and used it to bless us with these kids we love so dearly. I know that clutching anything too tightly can quickly turn into an idol, and thankfully that is not where I’m at today. I truly believe that if God closes the door that I will be able to trust Him that it’s for the best.

So I think a time of prayer and fasting is in order. I need the Lord to search my heart and reveal to me any discontentment I might have, as well as other endometriosis-related fears. And I need to trust Him for the future, even if it means we remain a family of 4!

Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts tonight!

P.S. I find it really hilarious that seeing pregnant women lately also makes me feel a little bummed. I had HORRIBLE pregnancies! I wrote blog post after blog post enumerating one pregnancy woe after another. Talk about amnesia.

 

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, 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!

 

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

 

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Another FET = Another Pregnancy

Yes. You probably already read my previous post. But in case you didn’t, I’m PREGNANT! We are expecting another baby in early October! Thanks be to God, we have made it past 12 weeks so far. We had a bit of a scare around 6 weeks — I wrote about what was happening at the time but wanted to wait to post about it. You can catch up on the past weeks and days below!

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{This post was written on Thursday, February 19th.}

A few months have passed by since our chemical pregnancy back in early December. I thought we would take a break and save up for the final transfer of our remaining two embryos, but  instead we jumped right back into it. The day after I miscarried I started birth control to start my next FET cycle. I didn’t have to order meds for the new FET because I was already stocked up from the last one. I also got to bypass a water sonogram and several labs due. After dealing with all the ups and downs of the last cycle, this FET just seemed so… easy.

Ease aside, I ignored the fact that we were going through another FET as much as I possibly could. I tried not to think or talk about it. I was still pretty numb from our chemical pregnancy. I prayed and asked God for another baby. I tried to hope. But I dreaded the idea of more heartbreak. Adding to this stress was the fact that these were our last two babies in storage. My husband and I were very uncertain as to whether we would go through a second full IVF cycle in order to retrieve more eggs and eventually embryos. In other words, we were coming to grips with the fact that our son might be an only child.

Those six weeks proved to be a hard time for me. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t want to share with people what was going on with us. I just wanted to get it over with and take the time I needed to adapt to whatever scenario the Lord brought us.

On the day of the embryo transfer, January 21st, our RE transferred in two lovely 4AA embryos, one expanded and one not quite expanded. As the bed rest and two week wait progressed, I began to have mild cramping. I breathed a sigh of relief, taking this as a good sign. Sure enough, on the day of my beta at 12 dpo, my beta came back at 103. We were elated and even wondered if I were pregnant with twins. Two days later, at 14 dpo, my beta more than doubled and came back at 227. At 24 dpo, my beta continued to double perfectly and was 7,383. I was having very light cramping and some pretty extreme first trimester fatigue. The nausea started the night before I hit 6 weeks and I felt completely relieved that everything was seeming to be progressing as it should be. I allowed myself to dream a little, to think about my due date and maybe what kind of stroller I would purchase for two or more children. My husband and I were nothing short of excited.

And then on Sunday, when I was 6 1/2 weeks along, in the midst of feeling quite nauseous, I noticed that I had some moderate cramps starting while sitting in church. I wasn’t sure which was making me feel more uncomfortable — the cramps or the nausea — but I stayed seated during the service until I decided that it would probably be a good idea to go out to the car and lie down. My plans didn’t quite go as planned though as I heard Josh crying from the nursery as soon as I left the sanctuary so I grabbed him and the diaper bag on my way out. As I sat in the car with Josh on my lap, the cramps started to worsen. My husband came out to the car right after the service and I told him that I felt concerned that I might be starting to have miscarriage.

When we got home, I went straight into the bathroom and discovered that I was bleeding bright red blood. “Oh, no, oh no, oh no” I cried as I looked into the toilet bowl and discovered that it was completely red from blood. The cramps felt like menstrual cramps and I knew that they plus bright red blood were not a good sign in pregnancy. My heart sank lower than it had been in a long, long time. I started to sob and my husband heard me and came into the bathroom. His heart sank too when he realized that I was probably miscarrying.

I finally pulled myself together enough to lay on the bed and call the clinic. I left a message telling them what happened and that I had likely miscarried. Then I called my mom and the we both cried on the phone together. Somehow, hearing her own sorrow and pain at receiving my sad news helped to comfort me.

The nurse at the clinic called me back promptly and told me that she was trying to be hopeful about the bleeding and cramping and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day. I told her that I knew about subchorionic hematomas (a tear between the sac and the wall of the uterus) but that I was bleeding quite a bit and that I still had a lot of cramping. At the time I had thought that subchorionic hematomas didn’t come with cramping. She didn’t say much at my comment but did acknowledge that a hematoma could be a possibility.

That afternoon and night I researched like crazy. My bleeding had tapered off and completely stopped by the evening. And I was still nauseous. That didn’t seem to add up to a miscarriage in my mind. I learned that the cramping from miscarriages are often pretty painful (although mine wasn’t with my chemical pregnancy, most likely because the baby hadn’t developed very far) and that the bleeding increases and lasts for days, not hours. I also learned that subchorionic hematomas often do come with cramping, because there is blood in the uterus and the uterus becomes irritated from it and tries to get it out (hence the cramping). As I learned more, I began to feel a little hope that maybe I wasn’t going through a miscarriage. But I also felt prepared to receive the possible news that there might not be a heart beat.

The next morning a friend graciously watched Josh, and my husband and I headed off to the clinic. My RE started the ultrasound and there I saw it — a sac with a flickering light! Our baby had a heart beat and was alive! Tears of joy filled my eyes. But then I saw a large fluid-filled pocket adjacent to the baby. My RE confirmed that it was indeed a subchorionic hematoma. The baby measured perfectly — 6w3d — but the hematoma was twice the size of the baby’s sac. My RE didn’t seem to be as concerned about that. The important part, he said, was that it shared about 30% of the baby’s sac with the hematoma. If it grew to share more than 60%, he said that it could constrict the baby from growing and cause it to arrest. Another possibility, he said, was that it could cause the sac and placenta to detach.

After the ultrasound, my RE discussed bed rest with us. He said I needed to be very careful not to exert myself or to lift anything heavy. We asked more questions to clarify — exactly what level of bed rest was he talking about? He never said “strict” bed rest but then he said we should “call in all our help” to get through this time, because I wouldn’t be able to pick up Josh at all, cook, do laundry or even go anywhere. My husband and I looked at each other. We were scared but we were determined. We would do everything we could to prevent a miscarriage. More than anything, we wanted to hold this baby in our arms when the time came!

When we left our appointment my RE wrote in big letters on my medical sheet “Threatened Abortion.” I felt sick just seeing him write it. “I have to write it on the sheet,” he said, slightly apologetic. “It’s not a high chance that you’ll miscarry (he couldn’t give statistics when I asked for them) but the chances are increased.”

On the drive home my husband and I began planning how we would both survive (potentially) weeks of strict bed rest. Everything I had read said to plan on WEEKS for hematomas to either be reabsorbed or to bleed out. Most resolved by 20 weeks, but the earlier the diagnosis in a pregnancy (meaning the first trimester as opposed to the second), the better the prognosis.

In the meantime, I am bed resting. Or rather, sofa-resting. Trying to make the best out of our situation. My husband has really kicked into high gear and is doing a great job taking care of Josh while also juggling the other jobs of the house. He’ll be going back to work next Monday and my sister will be helping out for a few weeks then.

As I lay low, we are all praying that this hematoma will miraculously resolve. We’ll find out more on Tuesday.

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Coming up next: Bed rest under my older sister’s care.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under IVF, Miscarriage, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

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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Filed under FET, Infertility, IVF

Date Night & Pondering Life With Twins

I could hardly sleep two nights ago because, A) We were to meet with our IVF doctor yesterday (I guess I was excited/scared/nervous), and because B) my husband and I had a date night planned for the evening that day as well. By 5 am I gave up on sleeping, got up and showered, and headed to the grocery store. 6 am is an usual time for shopping, but man is it the way to go! I just about had the entire store to myself. But onto more interesting things…

Josh, my husband and I made the trip yesterday morning the infertility clinic. I admit I had mixed emotions about bringing Josh with us– after all, there’s nothing harder than sitting in those waiting room chairs while you’re hoping and praying for a positive pregnancy test, and having babies around you. (I’ll never forget waiting for an appointment in my Ob/Gyn’s office one time because I had a cyst and needed surgery, only to look around and discover that I was the only person in the room who wasn’t pregnant. It feels like salt in a wound!) In any case, I didn’t really have a baby sitter, and I knew the clinic nurses would want to see Josh. (Not to mention our IVF doctor.)

We had a consultation with our doctor, and he went over the statistics of me getting pregnant and the chances of having twins (if they transfer in two of the embryos), what the timeline looked liked, etc. We also reviewed the medications I’d be taking and injections with the nurse.

It was all pretty much old news. There were only two things that caught me off guard. Now I knew that the 4 embryos we had were of top notch quality. I hate to refer to human life that way (all human life is extraordinary!), but there is a grading system they use to decipher if there is cell fragmentation, how far progressed the embryos got prior to freezing, etc. All of our embryos are blastocysts (meaning they have survived for more than 5 days prior to freezing and have developed past the 8 or 10 cell stage to more like 100+ cells) and there is little or no fragmentation, earning them a score of an “A.” After I got pregnant with Josh, our doctor told us that when we did an embryo transfer, he would recommend that they transfer in 2, since they transferred in 2 before and I got pregnant with Josh and not twins. So all along, we had been thinking that 2 of our or embryos would be transferred. But then as we were sitting at the table in the consultation room, our doctor announced that he recommended 1 embryo, because he seemed to think that I had a really good chance of getting pregnant again. He asked about my work, and when I told him I worked very minimally, he said, “Well, you might do okay being pregnant with twins then.” My husband and I just looked at each other. The thought of twins really freaks me out. Not to mention the fact that I would probably voluntarily put myself on some sort of modified bed rest at 24 weeks to help ensure that we wouldn’t have 24 weeks twins in the NICU. And how would that work with a toddler? I have no idea. But conversely, if we transfer 1 in and I get pregnant, then that means we would probably keep transferring in 1 at a time until all 4 embryo have had a chance to survive. Best case scenario (assuming I get pregnant each time), that would be 4 embryo transfers, 4 more pregnancies, and a lot of money we would have to come up with while probably living on one income.

Lastly, there’s possibility that I might not get pregnant at all, and all this dithering would be for nothing.

The hubs and I went out on our date last night (thanks to his mom for baby-sitting!) to a fun burger place and hashed around the different possibilities of 1 embryo vs. 2, etc. I was shocked to discover that he was leaning toward 2. But it probably has to do with the statistics our doctor gave us which mainly imply that the chances of twins are low. Here are the stats:

Probability of getting pregnant if 2 are transferred in: 65-70%

-Chances of twins: 30%

Probability of getting pregnant if 1 transferred in: 50%

Chances of identical twins: 1%

I was more imagining trying to nurse 2 babies, and as Josh hadn’t slept well for the past 3 nights, I was imaging not one, but THREE young children all crying during the night–for most nights. And pretty much never sleeping. I was imagining carrying around Josh in the ergo front pack while pushing a double stroller. Oh, and don’t forget the triple high chairs! But the most concerning part to me was trying to be a good parent to Josh while simultaneously trying to keep twins in utero. And I really have no idea how that would work.

But am I willing to sacrifice a lot to have a family? To take love and cherish how ever many children God gives us?

You bet I am.

In the end, we decided we simply needed to pray and hear from the Lord on the matter. It’s as simple as that. We may get 0, 1 or 2 babies. As I have learned again and again, HIS plans and HIS ways are best. Always. What feels like an insurmountable challenge of twins may not be. The dread of getting a negative pregnancy test result might not be as devastating as it seems if that time comes. I have to look back and remember that when my Ob/Gyn told me I had another endometrioma and that I needed another surgery, I was devastated– but that was what pushed us to pursue IVF. At the time I thought I would never have children, and he we are considering the possibility of a second pregnancy. If you had told me this 18 months ago, I would have never believed you.

So, thanks for keeping us in your prayers. We’ll be starting this process in just a couple of weeks! Crazy!

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Moving Forward

It’s taken me a while to muster up the courage to write this blog post. For a while I’ve been thinking that maybe I just wanted to have a more private life, and that I didn’t really want to broadcast on this blog the latest, the greatest, the saddest or the baddest happening in my life. Maybe I should stop blogging altogether, I thought.

Looking back, I didn’t blog much (okay, actually not at all) before, during and after we went through IVF. At the time, I felt that I couldn’t. I was realized that this was mostly due to the crippling fear I had that it wouldn’t work.

But then the Lord gave us Josh. A blessing greater than I could have ever surmised.

Since I find myself wanting to retreat from this blog again, you might have guessed why: We’re headed towards a frozen embryo transfer (FET) soon.

It seems a little soon,” you might say. And as Josh is a handful of days away from turning 6 months old, you would be quite correct. It is early. We had hoped to wait longer, so that my body could have more time to recover and so that I could keep nursing Josh for at least a year. But things didn’t turn out as planned (when do they ever?). If you read my blog much, you might remember my post about never ending PMS symptoms. At the time I felt pregnant. For a month I had nausea, heartburn, fatigue, bloating, cramping, spotting… which finally resulted in my first postpartum period, 30 days later. I felt relieved, as it meant my month of PMS torture was finally over. But at the same time, my heart sank. I knew that it meant my (aggressive) endometriosis would be able rear it’s ugly head again, and conceivably soon. In the past, I’ve gotten endometriomas (chocolate cysts) in just two months. That’s right– in just two cycles I had been diagnosed with two endometriomas and scheduled for surgery. And since I’ve had surgery three times, I’m not into waiting it out  to see how it goes. I’ve got 4 other embryos to think about, and I don’t want to risk having to have a hysterectomy or having multiple surgeries that might impair their ability to implant and grow. Our IVF doctor, taking the aggressive nature of my endometriosis into consideration, thinks it’s a wise plan of action to do the FET soon.

The biggest downside to doing the embryo transfer soon is that I had to wean Josh. I found it quite an easy thing to talk about and a much harder thing to actually do. Now, before I go on, I must say that nursing Josh has not been an easy feat. I didn’t write about it on this blog, but I dealt with Josh’s tongue-tie, multiple block ducts, never ending milk blisters, a mastitis scare (basically fever, chills and body aches that self resolved), low milk supply, and lots and lots of Josh crying with frustration while nursing. Often times, I would cry too. Despite all of the hardships that came along with nursing, I found it unbelievably hard to give up. I planned to make it as non-traumatic as possible–starting with one bottle a day with something like 3/4 breast milk and 1/4 formula, while slowly adjusting the ratio over time so that it was only formula, and slowly substituting nursing with bottle feedings over the course of a month. But Josh would have none of it. By the third day of my “plan” (remember, my plans don’t work out very often) Josh was completely refusing the bottle, even if it was solely breast milk. So, I had to force the issue and had to wait it out until he was thirsty enough to A) take the bottle, and B) take the formula all by itself. I felt awful during this process and cried buckets of tears. It was also a hit to my body to go from nursing 6-7 times a day to not at all. Talk about dropping prolactin levels! I prayed and asked God to not let Josh go 3 days or something horrible like refusing the bottle and without fluids. And to my great relief, he didn’t! He actually didn’t go any great length of time at all. I nursed him Friday night (his last time nursing) and when he woke up crying at 4 am, I gave him a bottle with formula and he took 2-3 oz. He sucked it down and sat happily in my lap while doing so. Now he is really cuddly and even cries sometimes if I don’t get the bottle in his mouth fast enough, taking anywhere from 4-5 oz at a time. So, although things didn’t go according to my plan, they still went remarkably well and sped up the process much faster than I could have imagined. And for all my attempts over the past 6 months to give Josh a bottle here and there, and to give him formula occasionally — well, let’s just say that it was pretty much pointless in the end.

I’m not sure when the embryo transfer will be (probably in the next month or two?) but I covet your prayers. I’m surrounded by fears again — such as: What if I don’t get pregnant? Or if I do get pregnant: What if I have another incredibly painful pregnancy, this time with a toddler to care for also? What if it’s twins and I deliver prematurely? What if it’s twins and one of them dies? And on and on the worries can build. But it’s just another opportunity to seek the Lord, to ask for another child, to rest and to not spin these worries out of control. I have to look around me and see all that He has done, and how greatly I have been blessed!

And now that I have gotten over my initial fear by letting people know about our plans to do an embryo transfer soon, I will do my best to keep you updated. The hardest part about this is not getting pregnant and then having someone ask you about it. But conversely, there is the great joy in also telling an inquiring person that it worked and that you’re pregnant! We just don’t know what the Lord has in store for us. Either way, I’m counting on Him to carry us through it.

Thanks for praying!

And why not end with some happy pictures of our little guy? (The first two taken by my talented friend Katherine while I was over at her house.)

IMG_3206 IMG_3228 DSC_0067 DSC_0069

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pain, Pregnancy