Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Pregnant :)

In the days following my ET, I began taking HPTs daily to watch my trigger shot disappear and hopefully see a real BFP. We went to visit my parents a little over a week after the ET and I brought my tests with me. By Saturday, the line was faint and by Sunday, the line was gone. I was a mess. I tried to keep a happy face knowing that I was only 10dpo and it was really too early to expect a BFP, but more than anything, I was convinced that the IVF hadn't worked.

I tested again Monday morning and still nothing. Well....maybe a little something. I stared at that test for a good 20 minutes trying to convince myself that the line was there, but it was too faint to call. I tested again on Tuesday and sure enough, there was a very faint, but clear line. I couldn't believe it. I stood in the bathroom staring at that stick in awe. I finally headed back to our bedroom and climbed into bed. Tim woke up and asked me if everything was ok and I said 'well, I think I'm pregnant, but other than that....' His response was a very subdued, half-awake 'yaaaay' followed very quickly by a very awake, 'Wait, what?!' And I told him that the line was back. In the days that followed that very faint line got darker and darker until I finally began to realize that I am, in fact, pregnant.

My first beta confirmed this with a level of 113. I was in disbelief. I still am a lot of the time. I am pregnant.

Monday, August 22, 2011


There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that I have been given me this insight,
this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that I am led to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.
I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life. Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

-Author Unknown

Sunday, August 14, 2011

IVF Part 2

After my ER, I was sore and a bit tired so Tim took me home to rest. Unfortunately, I had some work that I needed to get done that afternoon so I only rested for a few hours and then I headed to the lab. Tim insisted on driving me and he stayed with me while I set up for an experiment the next day. After a couple hours, I'd had enough and we headed back home.

The following morning I got the first of several phone calls from the doctor in the lab. He called to let me know that ALL 5 eggs fertilized! We had 5 little babies growing! I was over the moon. After only getting 5 eggs to start, it was wonderful to see that we had 5 little embryos. The decision was to do a 3 day transfer which would be on a Sunday.

Between the ER and the embryo transfer (ET), I focused on drinking my Gatorade to prevent too much fluid retention and drinking 1/5 of a pineapple (including the core) every night as a smoothie. This is supposed to help with implantation.

On the day of the ET, I was instructed to drink 20 oz of water 1 hour prior to my appointment. Honestly, I was more upset about this than the thought of having someone stick a very large needle through my vagina. My bladder is small and my uterus and ovaries are swollen and sore so having a full bladder after the ER was even more painful than the average full-bladder discomfort. I decided to cheat a little and I only drank 18 oz of water before we left for the transfer. It wasn't much, but it felt like a victory to me.

We get to the clinic a few minutes before our scheduled ET time to find the door locked without any sign of people. My bladder and I were not happy. I was already feeling the urge to pee and the fact that this most likely meant there would be a delay served to escalate my urgency. But we waited anyway and the doors were finally unlocked about 10 minutes after our scheduled appointment.

Come to find out, we were not the first people on the schedule so we had to wait even longer while I struggled to contain my bladder. We were taken back to a room (another one with a little window to the lab) where I got undressed and waited for the doctor. The nurse came in several times to tell me that he would be a little while and she could see the discomfort on my face. She asked if I thought I could pee just a little to help with the pressure. At first I wasn't sure I could do it, but after another 5 minutes, I thought I might die if I had to sit there any longer and I went for it. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I managed to pee only about 2 ounces and keep the rest in. Not an easy feat!

The doctor eventually came in and told us how the embryos looked. On the day of the transfer, we had only 4 remaining embryos, one didn't make it. Of those 4, one was the highest grade (1/5), 2 were 2nd highest (2/5), and one was just OK (3/5). He recommended that we transfer 2 embryos to maximize our chances of success without having too much of a risk of high order multiples. We agreed.

The doctor from the lab came in with our embryos in a catheter and asked me to verify my identity and my decision to transfer 2 embryos.

The embryo transfer was similar to an IUI with one big catch. It is done with an ultrasound on the outside looking in at the uterus and pushing on a very full bladder. It hurt. A LOT. I cried and let me tell you, I haven't cried for any other procedure I have had in over 2 1/2 years of TTC and IF treatments. It is crazy to think that the transfer hurt more than the retrieval. It was quick once he was able to find my cervix, but it hurt. And then I started cramping while dealing with a super-full bladder. THEN, the doctor tells me that I need to lay there for 10 minutes before I can get up and pee. This induced further tears while I laid, curled up in a ball and Tim stroked my hair. Tim played a few songs on the iPod to try and make me feel better and it really helped to pass the time. Once I could pee, I felt a bit better and we were out the door as quickly as I could hobble.

For the next 2 days, I was on bed rest. This meant that I could only get up to go to the bathroom and the rest of my time was spent on the couch. I spent those days watching the entire Harry Potter series and playing on the computer. It's funny, at first I thought it would be nice to chill out on the couch and watch movies all weekend, but something changes when you are told you HAVE to stay on the couch. Suddenly, you realize that the last place you want to be is on the couch.

By the second afternoon I really wanted to get up and do something. It took a little convincing, but I eventually got Tim to let me make a pie. I had some graham crackers and some sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix and I thought that would be nice and simple. Yeah....not so much. LOL

I made the crust just fine and then used the directions on the box to make the pie filling, but being the culinary genius that I am, I decided to get fancy and add mint extract to the filling. Oh yeah, and I couldn't be bothered to measure the mint. I just poured a little bit in. Oops. In the end, I made a chocolate toothpaste pie that was completely inedible. It was clear at that moment that I needed to go back to the couch.

At this point, there is nothing left to do, but wait. Beta was scheduled for 2 weeks from the date of the retrieval.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So this is how babies are made...The IVF process part 1

After finding out that I had a good number of mature follicles, I prepared for the egg retrieval (ER). This meant that EXACTLY 36 hours before the ER, I had to get a trigger shot. The morning of the retrieval, my RE had kindly prescribed me a Xanax pill to help with nerves. I took the pill and we headed to the clinic. We started at the lab where Tim would be providing his...ahem...genetic contribution. I had to go with him and show my ID, sign a bunch of paperwork and verify that he was the man I wanted to father my child. It's already getting romantic right??

I left Tim at the lab and headed next door to the clinic where I got checked in and waited. Tim joined me in the waiting room and we were taken back to our room. Now, many women are heavily sedated or anesthetized for the ER, but my clinic generally doesn't do that. Instead, I was given an intramuscular injection of dilauded and some sort of atropine analog. These medications did NOTHING. The doctor told me I would be pretty loopy, but I wasn't even mildly sedated. I was scared and wide awake, but at the same time, I was very excited to be getting what I THOUGHT was the worst part of the whole process over with.'s not the worst part, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The nurses kept checking on me and eventually realized that I wasn't going to get any more sedated than I was so they told the doctor to come in and get started. The room was a pretty standard exam room. There was the bed, an ultrasound machine, a couple of chairs, a stool with wheels and a counter with a sink. In addition though, there is a little door in the wall that leads to the lab next door. This door is designed to pass the fluid retrieved over to the lab so they can go on their very own egg hunt. Oddly enough, this door is at the south end of the bed which means that there were probably a dozen or so people who had a bird's eye view of my nether region while the doctor retrieved my eggs. A few years ago, this would have really bothered me, but now, meh...

So the RE comes in and the ER commences. For those who don't want to know what the ER entails, skip ahead a paragraph. The RE placed a speculum and cleaned the inside of my vagina with a few different things. He then injected lidocaine (or something similar) into the wall of my vagina in order to make the BIG needle less painful. The speculum was removed and the RE waited a few minutes to let the lidocaine kick in. A transvaginal ultrasound was used to look at my ovaries and locate the fluid filled follicles that house the precious eggs. Unfortunately, as the RE suspected, only my right ovary could be retrieved. The left was just not in a good position. The retrieval is done by a large needle attached to the ultrasound probe. The doctor identifies a good location for retrieval, sticks the needle through the vaginal wall into my pelvic cavity and a little vacuum provides suction to aspirate the follicle contents. I'm not gonna lie, the needle didn't feel good, but it really wasn't as bad as I had built it up in my mind to be. And it was kind of neat being able to watch the follicles get poked and shrink down under the machine's suction.

After the retrieval was over, I had to lay around and rest for awhile and nurses came in and checked on me. We were waiting to hear how many eggs we had and I was very scared about what that number would be considering that we left an entire ovary full of follicles. The RE came in and gave us the news, they had retrieved 5 eggs. I was devastated. Five? FIVE!? After all of that, they only got 5?! Obviously we don't want to have 5+ kids but eggs do not equal babies. Generally not all eggs fertilize and even if they do, they don't all make it to transfer.

I tried to be positive, but the fear that we wouldn't have any embryos to transfer was overwhelming.