We Have 1 Embryo

My Dr left a message for me while I was playing a game with Josh- not sure why I didn’t hear my phone ring when I had been very much anticipating a call.

We have 1 embryo that fertilized and survived. If it makes it to Saturday, they’ll transfer it in at 9am (3 day transfer).

It always does take a miracle for me to get pregnant. This IVF is no exception. Every step of this process has been hard news. We went from 13-14 follicles to 8, then 6, then 5, then 4. Eggs retrieved: 3. Now embryos: 1. I’m afraid I’ll get a call tomorrow telling me we’re now down to 0, and that our baby hasn’t survived.

In spite of receiving hard news after hard news, about a million people have reminded me that it “only takes one.” It could still happen. There is still hope.

Please pray for us. As days go, this has been a hard one.

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Egg Retrieval Day

Uno, dos, tres.

We only got 3 eggs today. Pretty disappointing. I cried when I woke up from the Propofol- induced slumber and heard the news.

Praying all 3 eggs will fertilize. We’ll know if they did tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime I’m trying to rest. Feeling a bit nauseous from the meds they gave me, as well as sleepy.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll wake up with a better outlook on life. Definitely feeling discouraged, but I have to remind myself that there is still hope.

Thanking God for all His blessings, including these two kiddos.

Snuggling with my babies.

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Stim Day #11, IVF #2

Wow, am I ever glad this is my last day of stims! Between the near-constant headaches and the 1+ hour traffic-laden commute to the IVF clinic, the need for frequent childcare, etc… I’m ready to be done. Thankfully, I just need to take my HCG trigger tonight at 11:45pm, and that’ll be it until the egg retrieval on Wednesday!

By midnight I will have injected myself 5 times today. I had two injections this morning (Follistim & Ganirelix) – I then went to my appt and my Dr said that he wanted me to inject whatever Follistim I had left as well as 2 vials of Menopur when I got home. He said that taking the meds wouldn’t affect the ones that were mature and that it might help push along the other follicles that are responding poorly. We’ll see. I kind of doubt it, since they haven’t really “woken up” during this entire process. I have 3 mature follicles and 1 or 2 almost mature follicles. I have more follicles, but they just haven’t caught up.

I also got my blood drawn for my E2 and progesterone level. Lots of pokes today!

My Dr said he thinks we’ll do a 4 day transfer. I’m totally fine with that. With so few follicles, I don’t really want to push it and wait until day 5/blastocysts. We did a day 4 transfer when we got pregnant with Josh. I’d rather get my babies inside me, even if it means going through a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage. They weren’t made to be sitting in a lab.

It’s been interesting, thinking about this whole IVF process and how it has come full circle. Back in November, when my lab results came back so terrible (FSH 24.7, AMH 0.2) I told my husband that we’d be extremely fortunate if we only had one embryo to transfer back in. Then in December and January, my FSH came way down and my AFC was 13-14. So my expectations rose considerably. But now that my body is responding poorly to the meds…. I’m back to praying that we’ll at least have 1 embryo to transfer!  Life never goes the way I think it will!

I’ve been listening to Shane & Shane’s Psalms album (free on Amazon if you have Prime!) on the way to and from my appts and it’s been wonderful! A time to lament, to cry out to God, to worship Him and get my focus where it needs to be. Highly recommend it. I love Scripture-songs.

As always, thanks to those who have committed to praying for us.  You are a blessing to us!

 

 

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Stim Day #9, IVF#2

I arrived at the IVF clinic this morning pretty startled to see that the line to the check in desk was out the door! I had really enjoyed the traffic free commute and, considering the empty roads, I was expecting an empty clinic. Not so. The MA was practically panting as she took me to my exam room after my blood draw. “9 IUI’s today… and on top of that we only have three exam rooms!” I mentioned that three exam rooms total for 3 IVF Drs really seemed inadequate. She agreed wholeheartedly.

My Dr came into the room shortly after and did my exam. It was more bad news. This time there were only 5 follicles that were large enough to be considered mature by the time of my egg retrieval (there were 6 my last appt and 8 the appt before that). Basically there is 1 large follicle on my right ovary and all the rest were on my left ovary. The follicles measured between 12mm-15mm. I had other follicles, but they were smaller.

My E2 today was 920 and progesterone 0.2. Things are fine there. My Dr commented on how nice my lining looked, which measured at 10.2.

So… The good news is that I won’t have to buy another day of stim meds. I will only stim 11 days. My egg retrieval will be Wednesday.

I asked my Dr if, given the low number of follicles I have, a 3 day transfer was most likely to be expected. His response: “Well, you never know. Because I had a patient recently who had 5 eggs and all 5 fertilized and went on to become blastocysts. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Okay then. I’ve got some hope. Praying for miracles!

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Stim Day #8, IVF #2

Hi there.

I’m on stim day #8 and fighting the feeling these meds are not working well. Last time I went through IVF my belly felt hugely uncomfortable and I was actually in pain toward the end, not just discomfort. But this time I’m not feeling much of anything. Maybe a twinge here or there. I know I shouldn’t read into that but it’s hard not to….

I have my E2 level and ultrasound tomorrow morning. The plan is to stim 11 days, but that could change after tomorrow’s appt. I had to shell out another $600 to buy an additional two days of menopur and one day of Follistim. Crazy expensive. It never crossed my mind that I’d have to buy additional meds. If we go past day 11 then I’ll not only have to buy more Follistim and Menopur, but also Ganirelix. Ugh.

Cue the anxiety trying to enter. Thankfully I got on my knees this morning (the best thing I could have done) and asked God for a really good day today with the kids– because it’s been a long week of feeling pretty crummy for me, which I think has added to my overall discouragement. And today was an awesome day! I felt much better, which was a relief. It was great to be able to stay busy.

I pray I have good news to report tomorrow. And if I don’t, God knows what He’s doing even when I can’t seem to see the path forward. My Mom and I were talking earlier about how it’s a good thing that we didn’t wait too long to do IVF, because between the low follicle count and my poor response to the meds, it seems like the window for me to have another baby is rapidly closing. And know knows, it might have already closed. We’ll find out!

In other news, my Mom made this beautiful poncho for Rachel (and also a matching hat). I love it so much that I’ve decided that I’ve got to learn to crochet before my kids have kids. So I have a little bit of time to learn (I’d better!) 😉

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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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Rachel is Two!

This bundle of nuclear energy has turned two! What a whirlwind she has been the past year. I don’t think I know of anyone who has as great a desire to be moving as this little one. Car seats are petty much intolerable for her after about 20 minutes, unless I keep handing back to her books that she’s interested in. She’s also preparing to climb Everest, it would seem, as she can be found trying to climb something just about any moment of the day. There is actually only ONE place I let her climb, and that’s her little play kitchen. (She wants to also stand on it but I draw the line there.) All this boils down to the sad fact that Little Rachel gets in trouble. A LOT.

Bouncing in the baby jumparoo (also not allowed).

Oh, but she is so delightful, and quick to smile and laugh and have fun. Her temperament, although persistent in climbing, is very easy going. She definitely has opinions but her objections are rather short lived.

You can’t tell by her face, but we were both sick here and up at 2 am. She was just loving one on one time with Mommy though.

She’s taken to books, and we are delighted about that! In fact she is rather pushy in letting us know she wants a book read to her. “I NEEEED STORY!” is something I hear all day long. (Hubby loves to tell her that she has her wants and needs very confused.) She also loves to be doing whatever big brother is doing. If he’s coloring, she NEEEDS CRAYONS! If he’s putting a puzzle together, she NEEEDS PUZZLE! If he’s outside, she will be shoving her shoes into your hands, while saying NEEED OUTSIDE! In short, Rachel has LOTS of needs these days.

She got a scooter for her birthday and she loves to ride it around. Josh has the same scooter, only in blue, so it was immediately a huge hit with her. She also got a quilt made by Grandma, and she loves to sit on her toddler bed on her new quilt and look at books during her “book time.”

Although this time she fell asleep during book time!

Grandma also made a matching pillow to go with the quilt.

New scooter.

She wears a size 7 shoe and has been in 2T clothes for a couple of months. She’s been in size 5 diapers for forever… I recently bought size 6 and they were way too big. She always wants to sit on the potty but has only figured out how to actually go potty one time so far. Once she does figure it out, she seems like she’ll be pretty motivated to learn (I hope).

She is our little cuddle bug and occasionally she’ll wake up scared in the middle of the night and need a little reassurance. Thankfully she usually goes right back to sleep. She takes a two hour nap in the late mornings every day.

And sometimes, if I’m lucky, she takes a second nap in the afternoon.

I get a little teary eyed when I think back to how we almost lost her to a subchorionic hemorrhage at 6 weeks pregnant. So it is with great joy and thankfulness that we celebrate her second birthday!

We sure love you, Little Rachel!

 

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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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