Posts Tagged ‘Embryos’

My One and Only

Monday, August 31st, 2009

This morning was our first ultrasound and I can tell you with all certainty that Shelton and I were far more nervous and anxious about this appointment than we were the pregnancy test. I didn’t even want to talk this morning; and Shelton kept doing it! I was just a ball of nerves and when they called our name to go back I thought I was going to lose my breakfast right there in the waiting room.

I was taken back and weighed – 138 pounds. This is up about six from when we started the IVF two months ago. We did my blood pressure and made witty small talk about how last night I told Shelton that if he didn’t come home with a chocolate chip cookie he shouldn’t come home at all. (He slept here last night!) Then I was left to undress from the waist down and prepare for my ultrasound. (This is vaginally – not goop all over the belly.)

The doctor came in and asked how I’ve been feeling. I told him and he said welcome to pregnancy! Had a nice ring to it. Then we started the ultrasound and within seconds he pointed on the screen to my uterus and the one “pregnancy sack” on the screen. Our baby!!! Just the one. No twins. Or octo-babies. A single baby measuring 5mm (.19″), with the tiniest little heartbeat fluttering so fast a hummingbird would feel inadequate. We heard the heartbeat and saw the little flicker at 105 beats/minute. Pretty amazing!

Everyone talks about this emotional moment the first time you hear the heartbeat. But neither of us had it. Are we broken? I don’t think so. Honestly, there was so much anxiety going in to this appointment, I think we both were completely confident we were going to hear “twins,” and then we didn’t and that’s pretty much all we could focus on. So while I was completely impressed with the fact that this minute being had a heartbeat and thought it was beautiful to hear it, my head was elsewhere.

Dr. T said our pregnancy is on track so far and looks healthy and viable. YAY!!!

We scheduled a follow-up sonogram for two weeks from now and left with a few tiny sonogram pics.

Shelton and I had a little embrace outside and assured one another we were OK. I dropped him off at work and as soon as I put the car in reverse I started sobbing. I felt like I’d lost something I’d never had. And the harder I cried over not having a second baby, the more I’d cry for feeling guilty that I wasn’t acting grateful for the one I do have. What a friggin’ mess! It was just this adrenaline crash and overwhelming bittersweet feeling. We’re disappointed. And thrilled. All at the same time. Part of me feels like I’d feel like this if I’d heard twins, too.

I’m over the moon that we have a healthy baby, and a healthy pregnancy. This baby is going to make us parents and change our lives in ways we can’t even see yet.

Embryo Transfer Story – Part Two

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

If you missed it – here is Embryo Transfer – Part One.

I woke the morning of the transfer a big ball of nerves – on top of still being a big ball of miserable sick and pain. What a day! You’re supposed to be sick AFTER you get knocked up – not going into it! I mean, who wakes up and says “I’ll be pregnant by lunch.”?

I was given instructions to drink 24oz. of water to fill my bladder and take 600mg ibuprofen before the procedure. My bladder is the size of a jelly bean, so I knew I was going to be in agony. I started chugging and we drove to the clinic, to check-in at the surgery center.

So we checked in with my bladder filling by the minute, and no relief in sight. Then waited. We waited in the room for the waiting for what seemed like a millenia. I could feel each second ticking by. Ticking toward this new life and ticking away from the one I know and love.

Finally our name was called and we were taken back to a tiny little room. As soon as the nurse closed the door behind us I started sobbing. How were we finally standing in this room? The room where babies are made! There were no candles or rose petals. Only spotlights and speculums. Nothing too romantic about it, but oddly so in its own way.

Someone came in from the lab to confirm we were who we said we were. She asked if I was OK and I told her it was entirely possible that I was going to pee on the table. Wrapped in nothing more than a tiny sheet around my waist, I scurried down the hall to the bathroom where I was told I could let just a little go. I scurried back to find Dr. T standing in the room with Shelton. He explained what was going to happen and then fired up the ultrasound machine. He said my bladder was very full and told me I could let half go. He said he wasn’t sure how I’d know where half was, but I assured him I’d make it happen. So again, wrapped in my tiny, thin sheet, I scurried to the bathroom and scurried right back.

Another of the clinic’s doctors joined us, as did a nurse and the person from the lab, the andrologist. Shelton sat near my head and we held hands the entire time, sharing our secret double-squeeze several times throughout the procedure. A speculum was inserted and then a catheter was placed near the top of my uterus, or the entry, somewhere in there. The entire time the second doctor was doing an ultrasound so they could watch what was going on inside. When everything was in place, the andrologist brought in another catheter with the two embryos inside and Dr. T delivered them to my uterus. And in a moment, I had two embryos in my uterus.

Shelton and I (and ten other people) had made babies, and they were now living inside of my body.

I stayed on the table for about ten minutes; concerned less with how long I should stay flat and more with WHEN CAN I PEE ALREADY?! When I was completely certain I was going to pee in that room, I got up and went to the bathroom. And I tell you, it was like the relief you can only experience when you’ve been trapped in the car on a road trip for 50 miles and finally found a rest stop and you ran with your legs pressed together and finally let it go. Ahhhh.

Before we left, we were given a 4×6 photo, with two embryos in the center. Our first baby picture. (How many of you “normal” people have a baby picture this early? None! Nanny boo boo!) I think it might be the most beautiful photo of two sets of eight circles I’ve ever seen. I told Shelton I think they look like me. That picture is now hanging on my refrigerator, where very soon, I hope pictures of giggles and grins will join it.

The rest of the day we took it easy. Naps and watching movies. No water skiing, per the doctor’s orders. No tennis, per papa’s orders. And a lot of new glances at one another. For all intents and purposes, on August 5, for the first time in my life, I was pregnant. But I couldn’t say it. I just kept saying the embryos are inside, we’re going to have a baby. Cautiously optimistic, cautiously celebrating. More hopeful than I’ve ever been.

Elvis may be in the building.

Embryo Transfer Story – Part One

Monday, August 17th, 2009

I guess I’ve probably left you in suspense long enough. Here’s part one of our embryo transfer story, which I wrote the day of. Shelton and I just wanted a little down time to take care of me and let all of this sink in. If you want to get caught up on the stories that lead to the embryo transfer, read ”IVF Updates and Egg Retrieval,” ”Embryo News and Progesterone Shots,” or fast-forward and read ”IVF – After the Embryo Transfer.”

Now… Embryo Transfer Story, Part I ……

August 5 was a big day. BIG! Maybe the biggest! It was embryo transfer day. Once we did the transfer we decided to go dark for a little while. We wanted to take some time to let this be ours, find out on our own, let it all sink in and then of course come running back here to tell you all the gory details. So here’s a look at the events leading up to and the day of the transfer…. with all the gory details.

The days between the retrieval and the transfer were awful. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been more miserable. I think a combination of drugs, surgery, three-times-larger ovaries and stress were contributing factors. I was nauseous for days, dizzy, exhausted, I felt like I’d been punched in the lady parts and the gut. I couldn’t sleep, yet that’s all I wanted to do. Toss in that we’d started my progesterone. With the giant needles. And while the shots themselves were painless, the aftermath was brutal. I could barely walk. I was literally taking baby steps. Sitting, standing, walking, laying – none of it was comfortable!

The day before transfer I was anxiously waiting a call from “M” to notify me of embryo quality and transfer schedule. I think I called the voicemail five times that morning and each time I got an automated “no message from the doctor.” Meanwhile I was feeling miserable and I just wanted to know, and there weren’t any answers yet! Granted, I’m not the only patient and these things take time, but all I wanted was to know!

Finally, I called at 2p.m. and “M” asked if Dr. T had called me. No, he hadn’t. In fact, that statement made my stomach drop. Were the embryos OK? Did they disappear? Were we not able to use them? IS THIS WHAT THE END OF THE WORLD FEELS LIKE? She placed me on hold momentarily and Dr. T got on the call. As is customary, he was thorough and reassuring in his explanation. It’s rare to actually speak to your doctor on the phone under any circumstances, and I so appreciated the time he took to speak with me and prepare for the next phase of our IVF.

He first addressed how horrible I was feeling. He thought it could be the antibiotic Doxycycline that I’d started taking on retrieval day; he recommended I stop taking it. He also thought it might be early signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), but wanted to be able to rule that out. (Update: Stopped the antibiotic and that seemed to help. Never had to go back to address OHSS.)

Next, he told me about the embryos. The quality of each of the ten was as follows:
> 1 excellent
> 1 good
> 2 average
> 3 poor
> 3 very poor

This is just a scale the lab uses to assess the quality; it in no way translates to the health or “quality” of the baby. However, in can translate into a sustainable pregnancy. He said the very poors were out, pregnancies have happened from poors, and the others were good to use. He also explained that due to the quantity and quality, we would likely not have any additional embryos to freeze. Disappointing news considering this was our plan all along.

Shelton and I agreed early on that when we finally did IVF, we would only do it once. “Make it good or make it gone,” a former colleague used to say in creative meetings.

He said that he had met with all of the clinic’s doctors, the lab and even “M,” and all had reached a consensus that we should transfer two embryos. Gulp. The plan had been one. We’d reached that decision based on Dr. T’s advisement and Shelton’s good sense… maybe some of mine, too. After all, we thought we’d have plenty to freeze and come back to later.

Finally, Dr. T and I discussed the actual transfer, scheduled the time for the next day, and he told me that “M” would call back to confirm.

I immediately called Shelton to discuss all of this information. And make one of the biggest decisions we’ve ever made. One or two? If we did one, then that’s it. There’s no second chance. This is it. With one we have about a five percent chance of getting twins. And twins I’m OK with – I’ve always wanted twins. On the other hand, two embryos definitely increase our chances that at least one will stick around for a viable pregnancy. I could be completely making this up, but if I recall correctly, the chance of twins increases to 50 percent with two embryos. And we’ve been told not to rule out the possibility of triplets (where one egg splits for a set of identical twins + one). So a big decision, but one that we really made rather quickly. It just seemed obvious – all this time, money, stress, etc. to just place all of our hopes on just one? How many times do you get to place two bets in Vegas? So we agreed on two.

So here they are. The two embryos we transferred. TWO!!

We call them Baby Dos.


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IVF – After the Embryo Transfer

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Tomorrow will mark a week since our embryo transfer. I know I’ve been mum on that event, and promise to divulge more soon. We just wanted to let some of this be ours for a little while and will resume our regularly scheduled too-much-information broadcasting very soon! (Read: Embryo Transfer Story: Part I) I did want to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been up to the past week and how I’ve been feeling.

I mentioned that following our egg retrieval I felt miserable. It lasted the Sunday of retrieval through the Wednesday of transfer. By Wednesday I was doing better, but still not 100 percent. I just wanted to curl up in a dark closet and stay there until this all went away. My abdomen was sore and achy, due to the three-times larger ovaries and two recent vaginal/pelvic procedures. I spent a few days dizzy and nauseated, even getting sick once. Dr. T blamed this on the recent surgery and possibly even the Doxycline, an antibiotic I’d started taking at retrieval. So I stopped taking that and it seemed to help. And no matter how much sleep I got, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Walking hurt. Sitting hurt. Laying hurt. Nothing was comfortable and everything was uncomfortable. Toward the latter part of the week I started getting around more and feeling a little more like myself.

We’ve been doing the progesterone shots since the day after transfer. I hate these. HATE!! I’d even go so far as to say they are worse than all the other IVF shots. For starters, the first two shots Shelton administered nearly center in each butt cheek. So to all the misery listed above, add to that that I couldn’t walk. I was literally taking baby steps, had trouble lifting myself into our tall bed, and avoided stairs at all costs. Then, the fabulous nurses at our clinic suggested this wasn’t right, that it should not be hurting like that. So they drew a big circle with a sharpie on each cheek, more toward my hips, and Shelton now just hits the target. This was brilliant – and I encourage your nurses to do the same for you! Now, the shots still suck, and hurt a bit, but I’m walking.

This weekend, the shot went bad again. Not entirely sure what happened. I was standing whereas usually I lay across the bed. Regardless, the next day I felt like my hip was shattered. The pain was excruciating. I was limping and no matter how I moved I couldn’t seem to shift the weight off of it. Fortunately, by today that pain seems to have dissipated. Only now it’s just the constant deep soreness in the muscles from the injections. And that’s livable.

Other than that, we’re just remaining hopeful and trying not to think about it too much. Although, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t the main thing we think about. Or talk about. Are we? Aren’t we? It’s like this cloud hanging over us and we can’t get away from it. And frankly, we don’t want to get away from it. Soon enough, we’ll get to take that blood test and I think in a way, no matter what the answer is, we’ll feel a sense of relief like we’ve never before experienced.

Embryo News and Progesterone Shots

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

If we’re still counting, it’s Day 22 since I started my first Lupron shot. However the counting has changed again. Now we’re at Day 2- which is the number of days the embryos have been alive. So I guess in a weird, twisted, technicality kind of way, this is day two of my pregnancy? OH DEAR GOD!

Embryos you say? Yes I say. We have embryos!!! For the first time in our lives, first time in our marriage, we’re able to say that! I called “M” at 11:02 a.m. yesterday, I didn’t want to appear to eager for the scheduled 11 a.m. call. She told me I was a rock star at egg retrieval and gave me these stats:

> 17 eggs retrieved
> 14 eggs mature
> 10 embryos

She told me I had ten little babies. And I cried. No one has ever said that to me before and I don’t think anything has ever put a smile on my face as quickly as that did. We did it!

I’ll find out later today when our embryo transfer will be. It looks like tomorrow or Friday; if I had to hedge my bets, I’d go with the latter.

I still felt pretty miserable from the egg retrieval yesterday. I even took a percoset, but that just coupled the pain with nausea and dizziness. It hurts to walk, it hurts to stand up straight, and it hurts to be in any position that isn’t “recline” or “flat.”

Last night was scheduled for my first progesterone shot. I’m been in AGONY over this injection! That needle is horrific – it’s an inch/ inch-and-a-half long. MAYBE A FOOT LONG! It’s thick too. All of this to push the progesterone in oil through my skin all the way into the muscle of my buttocks. No specified time was given for the injection, just that we needed to choose a time and stick to that. Being that we’ve been under house arrest for a couple weeks with the other IVF injections, and Shelton isn’t home until 10 p.m. on one night a week, we decided to make it a late shot. So at 10 o’clock last night, we fired it up. And, it wasn’t so terrible. My Menopur shots were far worse than this. Until about two o’clock this morning when I rolled over in bed and my left cheek wanted to stay right where it was. I can’t even sit on my left side today. And yippee, we’ll switch injection sides tonight so by tomorrow I won’t be able to sit down at all.

I think my sis-in-law was right, this is shaping up to be a ten-month pregnancy!

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Embryo Donors – Seeking Sources for Interview

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

A friend at in Indianapolis is doing research on embryo donation for an article. If you are interested in speaking to Brooke Randolph as a source to share your story, on either side of embryo donation, please respond to her via email at brooke at mljadoptions DOT COM.