Archive for the ‘IVF Journey’ Category

Pregnancy Week 5

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

First, thanks to so many of you who’ve reached out with notes of congratulations! I still can’t believe after all this time we were finally able to make this announcement and so glad that so many of you are still following our journey!

Sundays are my week-marker for pregnancy. As this past Sunday was the big pregnancy announcement, I didn’t make a “week” update post. Rather than wait until next week, I wanted to go ahead and fill everyone in where I am for now.

Yesterday I went in for my third blood test to monitor hCG levels (the hormone produced by pregnant women). I was at 9211!! According to the “What to Expect” book, upward of 7000 is normal. So I am raging over here!!!

Thus far I feel fantastic. That’s not to say I’m not feeling a few things I’d rather not, but in the grand scheme, five weeks pregnant isn’t treating me too badly. I tend to “crash” every day around 3pm and don’t really make a recovery. If it weren’t for my sister and new baby niece visiting this week, I think I’d head to bed before 10pm every night. I’ve had heartburn since before the pregnancy test. I’m have two or three Tums at a time once or twice a day. My breasts are enormous and as I explained in this post – reacquainting with my breasts – I’m completely fascinated by this growth spurt, and also completely over the itchiness, soreness and not fitting into any bras.

I also pee ALL THE TIME! You can count on me to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night between 2 and 4 every night. Now I’m going three times each night, which is quite disruptive to the REM patterns. And I pee all day everyday. I thought this part was supposed to wait until you had a seven pound mass sleeping on your bladder!

Finally, I’m ravenous. I could eat three families out of house and home and then ask for dessert. I’m maintaining my usual healthy, balanced diet. I’ve also given in a few times to a few things that I probably shouldn’t have. I had an orange soda the other day, have been to Chipotle twice, chips and queso, and some cheesecake/fudge brownie concoction (because it was my mom’s birthday!!). But seriously, I’m maintaining my typical ration of egg white veggie omelets, whole grain sandwiches with turkey and veggies, fresh fruits for snacks, Greek yogurt, lean proteins, skim milk every morning and buckets of water. Jillian Michaels’ pregnancy advice is that you only need to increase calories by about 200-300 per day and if you do this, and stay safely and moderately active, you shouldn’t have much of a baby belly to work off later. This is my goal. I don’t need Cheetos. The baby(s) doesn’t need Cheetos. My ass doesn’t need Cheetos.

I don’t want to jinx this – but I haven’t puked once. Not a single sign of morning sickness. Maybe this is what I get for having already gone through more than six weeks of shots, fatigue, nausea, pain, etc., maybe I’m just one of the 25 percent who won’t get it, and maybe it’s just waiting patiently for me.

The next big step from here is finding out if both embryos stuck around or if we’ve got a single. The ultrasound is next week and I’m growing more and more anxious every single day.

Guess What?! We’re Pregnant!!!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Folks, it’s official! We are beyond thrilled to be sharing this happy news with you. It worked… the IVF worked!!! We are very pregnant and just soaking up this really special time. Below is the post I wrote on the day we found out and the days following, and that should catch you up on where we’ve been in the past week. Believe that more posts are to come as I have every intention in chronicling our pregnancy just as we did the IVF journey.

Baby Or Bust goes Baby for the win!!!

Today is August 17, 2009. At 8:30 this morning I went to the clinic to have blood drawn to find out if I’m pregnant. At 8:45 I returned to my car where I sobbed uncontrollably, maybe one of the hardest cries I’ve ever had. I think I needed it. I really needed it! It wasn’t a sad or happy cry, it was the release of so much pent-up anxiety, nerves, speculation and even hope.

I couldn’t sleep last night, and the second we went to bed we both knew that was the case. After several deep sighs and tosses, Shelton told me to roll-over, scooped me up, and cuddled until I passed out. Surprisingly, I had one of the soundest night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks.

This morning my phone rang and “M’s” name flashed on the screen. I froze, and sent this IM to Shelton:

> MUST…. NOT ….. ANS…. WER….

Shelton responded:
> I’ll be home shortly.

We had agreed to find out together, and only together, since we’d already shared and been through so much.

Seconds later his screen name went offline and I sat here and chewed off my arm. Almost. I heard his car race around the corner and he came inside. We both made jokes about throwing up on each other. I asked him not to as I hadn’t done laundry in a month and these were probably my only clean clothes!

We’d asked “M” to leave a message so we could hear it together, but of all days, the message didn’t show up! So we called her, and waited on hold just about the seven longest minutes of our lives. La Maz breathing by both of us got us through the wait!

“M” answered and asked if we’d gotten the message with a very cheery voice. I told her I hadn’t. And she said, “Well, you’re pregnant! Very pregnant!” I eeked out a couple of tears, held Shelton, and yelled thank you!

Two words I’d never before heard and they were crystal clear – You’re Pregnant!

She said my hCG level was about 345 – they take anything over 5 to be pregnant and like to see 60. So very pregnant indeed.

I was told to return two days later to take another blood test, the hope being to see that number up about 60 percent.

We went back two days later, on Wednesday August 19, for a second blood test. We were expected to be in the 500s, I was at nearly 1000. Very good news!

It was Wednesday when I just couldn’t contain myself any longer, and much sooner than we’d anticipated, began telling family and friends. It was such a joy telling our loved ones, hearing their reactions and celebrating this long-awaited news with them.

We’re equally thrilled after more than three years to be making this post here and sharing the news with our family. So many of you helped make this possible and we’re eternally grateful for your support.

Our due date is April 26, 2010; and in a couple weeks we’ll find out how many we’ve got.

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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Reacquainting with my Breasts

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

I’m like a horny 14-year-old boy over here! I cannot stop looking at my boobs. I’m fascinated. And I don’t think I could have even said that in 8th grade when they got here. People, they are huge!! And that’s saying something! I started noticing just before my egg retrieval, so I’m blaming it on all those hormone shots. Trying NOT to read anything in to it. But I swear every day it’s like something new all over again.

My bras don’t fit, but I feel like I should probably wait this out before I go drop a chunk of change on new bras.

I keep asking Shelton – is it my imagination? And he confirms that we’re experiencing a growth spurt.

A sign of good things to come???

He Gets It!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Let me start by saying that when the call came from Shelton’s brother last night to tell us about Tilton’s arrival, I was watching the season finale of The Mole. With no way to pause the TV when I saw his name on my caller ID, I hesitated to answer. I’m glad I chose to answer though.

After we’d hung up with Keith, I sat in Shelton’s lap just hugging him. He asked if I was doing OK. The day our nephew was born I was a wreck. But in all fairness, the day he was born we had just had our first appointment with our fertility doctor and everything was still so fresh. I had an ear-to-ear grin and told him I was fine. He asked again. I told him I was fine.

Anyone married knows that “fine” from the wife doesn’t always mean fine. So very sympathetically, Shelton asked one more time if I was handling the news OK. I told him that I couldn’t be any happier. I was thrilled to have my niece and so excited that they delivered a healthy baby girl.

Not that Shelton doesn’t get this, but the way he manages the emotions is far different than me. It meant so much that he asked, and kept asking until he knew I was alright. It also shows how much we’ve grown in this journey in the past two years.