Friday, November 22, 2013

Changes

This past week has brought many changes for Nick and I. As of a week ago today we have officially moved back to Fort Wayne, IN.  We made some great memories in Akron, OH, but it was hard to pass up a chance to move home. I started my new job this week and so far so good!  Can't talk about it much on here as we are all being watched, hahaha!  I am working 12 hours shifts though and forgot how much that takes out of you. At least I don't have to get up at 4:30 in the morning anymore, only 5:30 at this point. When we are able to move into our house it will be later. I can't wait; I love my sleep. Nick also accepted a new job. He is going to be working for an EMS service in Noble County. He starts December 2. We actually get to sit through hospital orientation together.

I am sure many of you are waiting for an update after my last post. We were able to meet with Dr. Moretuzzo on the Thursday before we left Akron to get some answers. I had my surgery on Tuesday November 5th. My hCG level on Monday November 11th was 4 (it was 360 before surgery). Thursday the 14th my level was 0. This is what we were looking for. It means that every trace of the baby that I lost is gone. Our meeting with Dr. Moretuzzo went well. We were able to get most of our questions answered. It turns out that there is only a 1-2% chance of having a tubal pregnancy with IVF. We asked what the chances of this happening again; 1-2%. We laughed. With our luck we will be in that 1-2% again. We were able to see pictures of my right tube that had the baby in it. The embryo had attached pretty much in the middle of my tube. This is why the Methotrexate didn't work and why the baby didn't grow right. They weren't able to send any of the tissue to see if everything would have been ok if the baby had attached to the uterine wall like it was supposed to. We will never know.

The labs that we did a couple of weeks ago to see if there was something wrong with me that we could change did come back. Everything was normal. There doesn't seem to be a reason for me not to be able to get pregnant or carry a baby other than what we already knew. Of course these labs were drawn before we knew that this was a tubal pregnancy. We can't try again for 3 months after the Methotrexate. Which means that we can't try until February. Apparently, the Methotrexate can stay in your system that long and will destroy fetal tissue if we were to get pregnant before than.

We also asked how much weight he thought I needed to lose to raise our chances of getting pregnant. I was told that if I could lose 10% of my weight it would certainly help. That means I would need to lose a total of 31 pounds. I've already lost 17 pounds since I went gluten free. Obviously he said it would be ultimately  better if I got down to a healthy weight. Some to aspire to. We also asked if there was anything that we could do on our own while we were waiting to have enough money to be able to do a frozen transfer. We have 6 embryos frozen that we could still use. Basically the only things that we can do on our own are to lose weight and use ovulation predictor kits. He didn't sound too optimistic for us to get the job done on our own.

We are going to take the forced 3 month hiatus and try to lose some weight and focus on our new jobs and building our house. I also have a "Christy Do" list that I'm going to be looking into completing. More on that in another post.

The house is going well. We've had a few hiccups, but overall we are happy with everything. Here's what the house looks like now:


As of today all of the electrical, plumbing, and heating and air is in place. We had our framing and electrical inspections today. Next week they will start putting in insulation and the dry wall will go up. We are looking at being able to move in to our house at the end of January 2014. 

Another thing I wanted to share is that you won't find me on Facebook much anymore. I am having a hard time seeing all of the baby pictures and announcements of people that are pregnant. I am happy for all of you, but it's too much for me right now. I will continue to post links to the blog on Facebook so you can find me, but I won't be on there personally. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

My Luck Sucks

I am sorry that I have taken so long to post. This week has been extremely difficult. I am also sorry that this post is forever long.

If you recall we were given the methotrexate shot on Friday October 25th. I went in on Monday October 28th for an hCG level. We had originally been told that once the shot took effect my levels would start to go down. Apparently, it is normal for the levels to go up the first 48 hours. Just prior to the methotrexate shot my level was 232. On the 28th my level went up to 443. We had planned on being back in Fort Wayne from the 29th to the 1st and would get my labs redrawn when we got back to Akron on November 1st; which we did. Since we had the labs drawn in the afternoon, we didn't get the results back until Saturday morning. Nick and I were both working 24 hour shifts. It is extremely hard to get a hold of me at work so I repeatedly tell the nursing staff that they need to use my pager to get a hold of me. Well, they didn't. They just called my cell phone and left me a message. I was lucky that I got the message. My level had only dropped to 441. By a week after the methotrexate shot it should have dropped by 15%. 2 points is not 15%. They wanted us to come in to the office Sunday morning for an ultrasound and blood work.

Sunday morning in the office was terrible. The doctor that was working had brought his new baby into the office. The waiting room was packed! It was standing room only! We had to wait for almost an hour before we were called back to a room. And Nick and I were both cranky having been up for so long. Dr. Mooney  asked if I was still having pregnancy symptoms; yes, I had to pee all the time and my breasts hurt. He asked if I was having any pain. Nope, no pain. He then did an ultrasound to look for any sign of fluid or blood that would point to something bad happening as opposed to just an incomplete miscarriage. Nothing. There was no sign of anything. He told us he was concerned that it was a tubal pregnancy.

We asked how that could have happened with this being an IVF pregnancy. Sometimes what happens is that when the embryos are transferred back into the uterus, the uterus gets crampy and can act like a turkey baster and suck the fluid back into the tubes. Then the embryo attaches itself to the wall of the tube. Since I wasn't having any pain we had an hCG and liver enzymes drawn to see if the level had gone down and if there was a possibility that we could be given a second methotrexate shot. Sine it was Sunday (November 3rd) we had to go back Monday morning to see Dr. Moretuzzo and get our lab results.

Monday came and we went into the office. Surprise, surprise, the hCG level had gone down to 360.  But, my liver enzymes were elevated so there was no chance of being given another shot of methotrexate. We were also given another ultrasound also to look for more badness. He noticed that my right ovary was pretty quiet and that my left still had some pretty big cysts on it. He saw some fluid which he thought was ok, but did not see any blood. I was again asked if I was having any pain and wasn't so, we were sent on our way with plans to come back in Wednesday for another hCG draw to make sure the level had continued to drop. I was also told that I was to call if I had any pain or anything just felt different.

I was good until Tuesday morning. I went to work and actually had a good time with the girls I was working with in the morning. A baby needed a PICC line in the morning so two of us broke from rounds to work on that. While we were working on that I had my first feeling of "weirdness."  No pain. Just some pressure on my left side and a few cramps. It just felt different, so I called the office and they had me come in to the office for an ultrasound. I got to the office at 2:15 pm. They called me back and I described what I was feeling to Dr. Nash. Just that there was pressure and a little cramping. I should mention here that pain and I are not on talking terms. When my gall bladder went bad, the only symptom I had was being nauseated. No pain whatsoever. When they took my gall bladder out it fell apart in the surgeons hand. She couldn't believe that I wasn't in any pain. So now back to Tuesday...  He asked about doing a 2nd shot of methotrexate and I told him we had ruled that out on Monday due to my liver enzymes. He decided that he wanted to talk to Dr. Moretuzzo. After the discussion, the decision was made to take me to surgery for a laparoscopy for what we presumed was a left tubal or ectopic pregnancy. I left the office at 3 pm. We had to be at the hospital for check in at 4 pm. Nick met me at home and we arranged for our puppy to be watched and left. They couldn't do surgery until at least 6 pm since I had eaten lunch while waiting for the office to call me back. At 6 pm on the nose I was taken back into the OR. Pretty much the next thing that I remember was waking up in recovery puking. I will spare you all the details, but just know it wasn't pretty. No one told me anything about the surgery since they were trying to get my nausea and coughing under control. I remained on oxygen for about 3 hours (I have asthma and was getting over bronchitis). Nick was finally able to come back to recovery and he was the one to tell me the news.  It wasn't a left ectopic. It was a right sided ectopic and my Fallopian tube was too badly damaged to be saved.

I started crying and I pretty much haven't stopped since. I have my moments when I need to make a decision about the house or be around people who have no idea what is happening to me. I am angry. I am angry at God for letting this happen to us. I am angry that I won't be taking a baby home from the hospital. I am angry that no one understands. I am angry that I work with babies. I am angry that I see women get pregnant and take home babies that don't deserve them or care what happens to them. I am tired of seeing and hearing about babies everywhere I turn. i want to do nothing but curl up in a corner. Apparently we are going to have to go through everything imaginable to get our baby. Next up I'll probably have to endure another couple of years trying to get pregnant and then if we finally do we'll probably lose that one too. I have always hoped that eventually we would be able to achieve what we want on our own without medical intervention. I guess that dream is out of the window.

We have had no direction as to what happens from here. I haven't seen or talked to a doctor since just before surgery. I go back Monday for a hCG level.  Doing my own research I found that there is a 2-8% chance of an ectopic pregnancy happening with IVF. Guess we are just that lucky.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

6 weeks of Disappointment...

I don't even know where to start this post. We should have been 6 weeks pregnant on Thursday. We should have been seeing our baby's heartbeat. Instead no heartbeat, no sign that there ever was or is a baby. Last week when we saw Dr. Nash he told us that there were three options available to us if this abnormal pregnancy didn't end itself; Methotrexate, D&C, or laparoscopy. We were hoping that we wouldn't have to go down any of those routes.

Wednesday, I went in for my hCG draw. When I went in they didn't even have me on the schedule, so I had to wait for a little bit until they got things squared away. When Kim called me back to draw my blood she mentioned that we had extra tubes to draw this time. They were drawing the labs necessary in case we decided that it was time to move on in this scenario. They drew a complete blood count to check my hemoglobin and liver enzymes. These are labs necessary if we were going to do the Methotrexate. When my labs came back we weren't surprised. My hCG went up again. This time it went to 184. I knew it was going to go up since I have been bleeding. My  CBC was ok, but my liver enzymes were slightly elevated. 

Thursday Nick and I went in to meet with Dr. Moretuzzo. This meeting was originally supposed to be our follow up meeting after this IVF. It turned into just another appointment. I had another ultrasound which actually showed that my lining was thicker and that I had cysts on both ovaries. The cysts are normal after an IVF. There was no hint of a baby. We talked to Dr. Moretuzzo after that ultrasound about what was next. He said that most of the time this happens because of chromosomal issues. There are other things that could be happening as well. A couple of those things can mimic autoimmune disorders. So, Nick and I both had our blood drawn for chromosomes to see if there is anything coming from us. I also had blood drawn to check for those things that mimic autoimmune disorders. All of these tests will take a while to come back. I also had more blood drawn to check my liver enzymes. Thursday afternoon my labs came back. My hCG went up again (surprise, surprise) to 232. My liver enzymes were normal. Dr. Moretuzzo told us that we should proceed with the Methotrexate. 

Friday morning we went into the office. As we were sitting in the waiting room some lady walked in with her baby. Talk about a punch in the gut. Here I am losing my dream and it gets shoved in my face again. We finally got called back to the room. The nurse that called us back was way too bubbly. She was so happy. When she came back in the room with the consent, Nick and I were both crying. She asked if we were ok. I said no and she asked if it was the shot.  COME ON! really???  We have every right to be upset! I am losing my baby! A little more decorum would have been nice! 

Dr. Massellah, one of the other doctors in the practice, came in and talked to us about the Methotrexate. Then the nurse brought in the shots. Because it was so big I had to get two shots in my butt. The Methotrexate starts the process of causing the miscarriage. We were told that it could take a week to a month for my hCG level to completely go back to 0. Some people have bleeding as the level is dropping and some people don't' bleed until the level is all the way down to 0. I go back on Monday for another hCG draw. 

Today I started having some spotting. While I know that this is the goal, I still can't stand that it. I feel like we killed our baby. I know that isn't completely true and that this baby wasn't developing like it should but I am losing a part of me. I try to stay busy to keep my mind off of things, but it is always there. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Nightmare Continues

Never once in the last two and a half years have I wished for Aunt Flo to come with a vengeance. I do not want to miscarry this baby, however I also know that this is not a normal pregnancy. I know that this baby was and is not meant to be, but it kills me to know that we finally were able to get pregnant and I don't get to bring home a baby. I kept saying that all I wanted was to see the "pregnant" on a home pregnancy test. Perhaps I've been aiming too low. I guess I should be wishing for the baby at the end. That wish has always been there and been the final end, but I knew that we had to get through one step at a time. Well, this is just a cruel joke.

Last Monday (the 14th), our Hcg level was 15. We were told to stop our medications and I would miscarry, AF would come and the numbers would go down. I went back Thursday (the 17th) after work for another level. The level didn't come back until Friday morning. I got a page at work telling me that the labs were back. The level didn't go down like it was supposed to, it went up. It went up to 44. I was told that I needed to come into the office immediately. I had to leave work to go. We finally were able to get in for the appointment at 3:30 Friday afternoon. We couldn't see Dr. Moretuzzo since he wasn't in the office on Friday. We got to see Dr. Nash. He did an ultrasound. I should mention here that Thursday I started to have some spotting. Friday morning AF started in full force. I was having more than my normal period so I thought we were on our way to the end of this. So the ultrasound.... my uterine lining was thin and I had some cysts on my left ovary, which I was told was ok. There was no evidence of a baby. We were told about how normal Hcg levels are supposed to go (start lower, then increase at a doubling rate), how abnormal levels go (start at a normal level and then drop and continue to drop), and how the Hcg levels go in an ectopic pregnancy ( up and down and up and down). They wanted to see me so urgently because Dr. Nash thought I may be having an ectopic pregnancy. We got more blood drawn for another level to see if it had gone down. Once again the level wasn't drawn until late in the day and we didn't get results until Saturday. Finally the number had gone down like it was supposed to. Down to 30. I was happy. I thought that maybe we would be able to get on with this and we could find out what was next.

Then AF stopped. I have only had spotting since Sunday. We had another appointment today. I was able to see Dr. Moretuzzo this time. This appointment included another ultrasound. Once again he commented that my lining was thin and there were cysts on my left ovary. There was no evidence of any free fluid or that this was an ectopic pregnancy. Prior to leaving the room, Dr. M said that it looked like this should just resolve on its own and we shouldn't have to do anything surgical. He said we would just follow the Hcg levels until they reached 0. Well, I had more blood drawn for another level. This time the level came back the same day. Instead of continuing to go down like its supposed to, it went up. This time the level was 109. I was pissed. This was supposed to be over. I was supposed to be able to move on, to figure out why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately this is not the end of this nightmare. I have to go back on Wednesday for another lab draw (hcg level). Then on Thursday we get to meet with Dr. Moretuzzo and hopefully get some answers.

I am struggling. I cry every night and by day try to be happy and normal. I have finally stopped answering the everyday question of "how are you doing" or "are you ok?" with "I'm ok." If you ask me the question, be prepared for an honest answer. I am not ok. I feel like I am sinking in quicksand and can't get myself out of it. I want this to be over so that we can move on and try again. Nothing ever seems to go right for us and apparently that includes miscarrying. We can't even do that right. The only thing keeping me sane is this:


For those who don't know, this is my fur baby, Marley. I love him to death. He knows when I am sad and need comforting. As I write this post he is on the couch right next to me. He is my rock, along with Nick. I will be alright in the end, but right now I'm not. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Third Time's a charm... or not...

I am sorry that I kept everyone in suspense, but I needed to have all the answers before I posted.

I was right. This cycle was different from the previous cycles. Throughout the days following the transfer I noticed that I felt different. Saturday October 5th I felt a pain in my left side and thought ok, here we go!  I had some cramps after that and felt good. Once again I tried not to analyze every "symptom" that I had. I felt queasy. I was having mild cramps. My breasts were getting bigger. (I know, TMI). Monday the 7th and Tuesday the 8th I had some light bleeding which I thought for sure was implantation bleeding.  I felt for sure that this cycle was different. With our previous ART cycles I couldn't resist taking a home pregnancy test before my blood test. Each and every time I was greeted with a "not pregnant" which was back up by the blood test. This time I kept myself from testing at home. Thursday October 10th we went in for our blood test. When we got home I took that home test... once again "not pregnant."  

We've been packing to move home, so I took a box and packed up all my left over medications. I thought ok it's over. Another round failed. I failed again. Little did I know what was in store for us.  We received a phone call from Michelle, the IVF nurse at the office. No great announcement "your pregnant," but a
"Well, we got a number." You see, when you have a blood test, they are test your HCG level. This level is supposed to double in 48-72 hours. On the day of your blood test (the day AF is supposed to come) the level should be around 50.  Anything above 5 is considered "Pregnant."  Well, mine was 7.

A number this low does not bode well for the pregnancy. It usually means what is called a "Chemical Pregnancy."  or an early miscarriage. It means that the embryo implanted in the uterine wall, but something is wrong. There have been times when a level this low just means that the embryo implanted later than it should have and the numbers just need more time to rise. So I dug my medications out of the box and stayed on my twice a day estrogen and Progesterone shots and cried for two days knowing this was all coming to an end.

The morning of October 12, I decided that I would take another home test just to see if the level rose enough to trigger the test. Then I would know if the level rose at all. I thought that the level would be at least above 50 since I did indeed get a "Pregnant" on the test. See...



Finally, I got my "pregnant." Well, the excitement was short lived.  I went in for another blood test Saturday, October 12 and patiently waited for my phone call. That call came about 12:30.  My level did rise, just not as much as I thought it did. This level was 11. Once again I was told that with levels like this, the pregnancies don't usually turn out well. How did the test pick up an HCG level that low? Well, apparently this particular test can turn positive up to 4 days before your period. Right about the time the HCG levels would be around 11. I was told to continue my medications and retest on Monday October 14th. 

Sunday I continued to feel pregnant. I was nauseated, tired, and my breasts hurt. Monday morning came and it was all gone. I felt like I wasn't pregnant anymore. There was no bloated feeling, I wasn't nauseated. Monday the 14th came around and we went in for the blood draw. Again, we patiently waited for the phone call. My HCG was 15. I will be stopping the progesterone and estrogen today. 

So, I am going to miscarry this baby, my dream. I am frustrated, devastated, and pissed off. I am done. I am done hoping or dreaming for anything. Nothing ever turns out right. All I've ever wanted is to be a mom. Now it seems like that is never going to happen. I feel like I am on an eternal roller coaster ride. One that never lets me off. 

They are going to continue to watch my HCG levels until they return to 0. Then all trace of the baby will be gone and we can start trying again. Well technically I think we are supposed to wait a couple of cycles.  We will have our follow up meeting with Dr. M on October 24th.  I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of chemical pregnancies. I have a lot of questions for him.  Hopefully we will get some answers. 


We still have 6 embabies that are frozen here in Akron. When we move back to Indiana, get settled, and are ready to start this process again they will be transferred to their new home in Indianapolis. It's been a long 2 1/2 years already, what another 6 months to a year, right?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And The Wait Begins (1dp5dt)

I have to say that I am forever grateful for this experience that we've gone through. Did I wish to go through this? No. But through this process I have found out many things about myself. I hate being patient, I am an instant satisfaction kind of person. Seriously, I thought that it would be no big deal to get pregnant. I mean seriously, if everything had gone like it was supposed to I would have a 1 year old right now. I guess all good things to those who wait, right? Here's hoping! Another thing that I have found during this experience that I am gluten sensitive. Now who's to say that I wouldn't have figured this out in the future, but now I know and have changed my lifestyle to reflect it.

So transfer yesterday went off without a hitch. When we arrived at the office we were whisked into the the "recovery room" and talked to the embryologist about our embryos. We had gotten a call on Sunday letting us know that all 16 of the ones that fertilized were right on track. Yesterday we were told that one had pretty much fizzled out and we were left with 15. Of those 15 they had picked out 2 really good looking embryos. They grade on a scale that looks at the the inner cell mass (the part that becomes the baby), the trophectoderm (the outer cells) and how expanded the embryos are. The two that we were able to put back were 5AA and 5BA. Those are the best you can get!

The embryologist brought up the possibility of transferring a third embryo back. Its funny because Nick and I had been talking about that for a couple of days. The only reason we were contemplating it was to give us better odds of getting pregnant. Turns out that with transferring 1 you have a 30% chance of being pregnant, transferring 2 you have a 50% chance. Adding a 3rd only brings your chances up to 58%.  Transferring 3 embryos gives you a 5-7% chance of having triplets. It looked like we were going to have quite a few to freeze for later use, so we decided that we would just transfer 2 this time and then there would be embryos for the future if we needed them.

I felt ok yesterday, except for a few times when I had pain going through my abdomen which come to find out was probably gas pains. I still have big ovaries so I can feel those at times too. But overall I feel pretty good. I am continuing to be shot with progesterone in oil (PIO) shots every night and take estrogen pills twice a day.

This morning we got a call from the embryologist. They were able to freeze 3 embryos yesterday and 3 more today. Folks that means we have 6 frozen embryos for the future! Talk about excited!  I am having a hard time not being excited about this cycle. Everything has gone so well, even above and beyond what we expected. I can't help not thinking that this is going to work. Once again we are back to my being an instant satisfaction girl!  Only time will tell!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Large Numbers

Retrieval went well yesterday. We had to be there at 7 am for a 7:30 am scheduled retrieval. Nick had to make his deposit and while he was doing that I was being prepped. I stripped down to just my sports bra and put on a gown, hair net, and booties. Then the anesthesiologist came in and had me sign the consent for sedation. She was all ready to take me in to the procedure room, but I wanted to wait for Nick so I could see him before the procedure. So, she decided to put in my IV in the prep room. Nick wasn't ready, so I went into the procedure room without seeing him :(. The procedure went well and we were told they got 22 eggs. Last time we got 18 eggs.  This time was about the same with post anesthesia nausea. I threw up in the post procedure room once and then again when we got to the door of our apartment. When we got home we went back to bed and slept for a while and I felt so much better. The rest of the day I was having a hard time walking around. I think its because when I would sit everything in my abdomen would become crunched together and then when I would get up everything would have to try to come apart again. It subsided as the day went on, but I decided to be on the safe side and took today off of work.  

This morning we got a phone call from the embryologist who told us how the fertilization went. Of the 22 eggs that they harvested, 20 of them were mature, and 16 of them fertilized normally. We are super excited about the possibilities from this harvest. We are preparing for transfer on Tuesday. We will get a phone call on Sunday to let us know what time and how the embryos are looking. 

As far as medications now, I started a Z-pak on Wednesday night to kill any bacteria that could keep the embryos from implanting. Then Thursday night I started taking a steroid to suppress my immune system so that I won't reject the embryos when they are put back on Tuesday. I also started my Progesterone in Oil shots (PIO) again Thursday night. Also started again is the estrogen pills to keep the lining of my uterus where its supposed to be for implantation. 

I feel pretty good about this cycle. I hoping my life changes have paid off. We are really hoping that this is the last time we have to go through the stimulation and retrieval. Hopefully we will get pregnant with this cycle and there will be some left to freeze for the future. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Love

Today I was reminded of how much I love my husband. Let me explain...

Yesterday I went to the office for another ultrasound and estrogen level. Nick wasn't able to be there for this appointment as he had gone back to Indiana to help his family at Johnny Appleseed Festival.  This time there wasn't anyone in the office when I walked in. It helped that it was only 8:10 in the morning. I walked in had my estrogen drawn by the wonderful Kim and then went into a room for my ultrasound. Boy had they grown since Friday. On the right I had eggs measuring from 14-21 and on the left  from 15-21. Everything looked good and Dr. M thought we were ready to go. Typically I would have triggered with an HCG shot on Monday night, however they wanted to push me an extra day. I was told to take the same doses of medication that I had been taking and to come back on Tuesday (today) for another ultrasound and estrogen level. That was all fine until my estrogen level came back. It was 3,065, awfully high. My estrogen level went from 755 on Friday to 3,065 on Monday. This puts me at risk of having Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndromw  (see OHSS explanation). So the plan changed. I dropped the amount of Follistim that I take at night to 150 IU. Then I took my Lupron this morning.

I had to work today in order to get Thursday off for the egg retrieval. I felt like crap. I was hot, nauseous, emotional and hurting. It felt like I was carrying around two grapefruit in my abdomen. I ended up bawling in the middle of rounds this morning. Luckily for me we were almost done and my attending physician completely understood. I stuck out the rest of the day since my appointment was at 4:30 today on the same side of town. Now we get to my I am completely in love with my husband. Nick had to work today. I thought we could face time for the appointment this afternoon and I let him know when I was on my way to the office. When I got to the office I found that we did indeed get to "face time." He was there! He had asked his boss if he could come for the ultrasound. We got in the elevator and I started crying again. I was so glad that he was there.

There wasn't anyone left in the office that late so we pretty much got in and out. I had my blood drawn for an estrogen level, which won't be back until tomorrow, unfortunately not by Kim. This time it hurt. I'm sure it will bruise. Then we went for the ultrasound. Dr. N did the ultrasound this time. This time on the left they range from 19-26 and the right they range from 13-26. Everything is good. I will trigger with an HCG shot tonight at 8:30pm and then we will go in Thursday for the retrieval.  I will probably not post anything until Friday after they call and tell us how many eggs were retrieved and fertilized. I am hoping that in the end off of the heartache the last 2 1/2 years will be worth it with this cycle and I will come home with my dream.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grow, Grow, Grow

Today was the first ultrasound since we starting doing the Follistim and Menopur on Sunday night. Our appointment was at 8:30 this morning and when we first walked in there weren't that many people in the waiting room. The more we sat and waited the more people showed up. This time I didn't have to deal with any ultrasound pictures or pregnant women. First, the phlebotomist (her name is Kim) drew my blood for an estrogen level. She had a hard time this morning, but I think I've probably not been drinking enough water. Then we went to have our ultrasound.

I had forgotten that Dr. Moretuzzo had said he wasn't going to be in the office today, so when Dr. Maseelall walked in I did a double take. It's the first time I've ever met her. She was very nice. When she put the probe in to do the ultrasound I knew my ovaries were big. It hurt!  At this time during our cycle in April we had 14 follicles that measured from 8-11mm. Today we have 6 on the right and 6 on the left for a total of 12. The ones on the right measure from 9-14mm and the ones on the left measure from 8-13mm. They are definitely bigger this time compared to last time. If you recall we are looking for a measurement of at least 14mm to be considered mature. I only have 1 at this time. I guess being on Lupron also allows you to push past the 1 that is big enough already to be able to grow the rest of them (or so I'm being told).

My estrogen level was 755 which is apparently right where it should be. The nurse that called me said that everyone is different and there isn't a right or wrong number. It depends on the ultrasound a lot.  The plan is to continue on our current medication (225IU of Follistim and 1 vial of Menopur) for tonight, Saturday night, and Sunday night. Then I'll go back for another ultrasound on Monday morning. Hopefully retrieval will be Thursday of next week.

Last night I got to thinking about the fact that I haven't had any nausea since I went gluten free. Well that was gone this morning. I'm pretty sure its the medications and that my estrogen level is so high. Darn hormones :)

As far as the move goes, I am still waiting on credentialing at Parkview. The house plans are moving right along. The mortgage application is with the underwriters and we are just waiting for their go ahead. We are hoping to get ground broken soon. Nick is spending the weekend working with his family at the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne. Check him out at the Ye ole Candy Shop. Tomorrow is my first call shift at work. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Onward and Upward?

I'm sorry that I haven't posted sooner. The last couple of days have been very busy.  I added a couple of pages to the blog; Our Story and Timeline. I thought it would be nice to have a quick link to see how far we've come through this process.

We had our ultrasound on September 12th. When we walked into the office we noticed that it was very busy. There was hardly anywhere to sit. I was reading another bloggers blog the other day and something she said made an impression. She said that she is glad that she doesn't have to go to a regular OB office and see all the pregnant and happy women around. Going to the RE is so much better. No pregnant bellies to look at all the time. However, there are still instances in which women do get pregnant at the RE office. Thursday was one of those days that I noticed it. A women came out of the exam rooms into the waiting area carrying ultrasound pictures. You could clearly see on the pictures the gestational sac. Seeing those pictures sent me into a tail spin. I at least waited until we were in the exam room and then I lost it. It's not fair.

I've been taking Lupron for the last two weeks. The ultrasound  on the 12th was a smashing success. No cysts!  I guess there is a first for everything, huh? So, Sunday I started the ovary stimulation process. I continue to do Lupron 5 IU every morning and then at night I do Follistim 225 IU and 1 vial of Menopur; all three are shots in my abdomen. I already have bruises on my left side from the Lupron. I will continue to do this regimen until Friday when we go in for another ultrasound. This ultrasound will check how the eggs are growing and see what I need to do next. This cycle needs to work.

I promised that I would post pictures of our house process as soon as I figured out how to. It was a long process, but here ya go!

Our Lot


The power box that went up so construction can begin.


These are our exterior selections. The stone is going to be on the bottom of the house. The blue chip is the color of our siding and shakes. The white chip is the color of all of the trim, our garage door, and front door. 

We were in Indiana Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We spent Friday meeting with the mortgage people and doing some things for the credentialing process for Parkview. We also were able to spend time with some good friends, Dave and Stacy. It was a good weekend overall. I love going back for visits to Indiana. Can't wait for it to be permanent!

Anyway, I am trying to keep my hopes up for this cycle and praying that maybe God had a plan in all of this and that He knew that we needed to be going home to family before he would give us the joy of being parents. I have to keep telling myself that just so I can make it through the day. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Emotions

This week has been a hard one for me. It always seems like I'm doing ok, but then I realize I'm really not. I'm just shoving it all inside and putting on a happy face. I'm sure that some of you who read this saw my post on Facebook Wednesday night about wanting just one day to feel like being a baby making failure wasn't being thrown in my face. Everywhere I look there are people who are going to get to be a mother and have a little baby of their own. It seems as though all anyone ever talks about is getting pregnant, being pregnant, or their kids. Sometimes I want to shout "FIND ANOTHER SUBJECT!" and I may just do that the next time I feel like I'm being bombarded. If you're the one who is on the other end, I'm not sorry. No one seems to understand completely how I feel about this subject except, perhaps, other infertile myrtles going through the exact same process.  Even then, I know that I am not alone, but most of the time it sure feels like it. I found this quote on Pinterest the other day and thought how ironic... This is so how I feel.


Today started the next step in our third IVF cycle. I started giving myself Lupron shots again. Every morning I give myself 10 units of Lupron. I am still on my birth control and will continue both until next Friday. Next Friday will be the last birth control pill. Nick and I also started take Z-paks again to kill any bacteria that could keep us from getting pregnant. It is hard to be optimistic about this cycle when we've had two that have failed, when we've had so much that has failed.

I am still gluten free and I am loving it. It is hard sometimes to figure out what we can and can't eat. We've even attempted to make some of the meals that we like gluten free. The first one, beef stroganoff, turned out really well thanks to Nick who cooked it!

Things are going well with the house building process. We have pretty much ironed out the main layout and some of the bigger things in the process. Last Monday we were back in Fort Wayne to pick out our exterior choices. When I can figure out how to get photos from my iPad to my computer wirelessly I will post some pictures. It looks like we will not be moving back to Fort Wayne until mid to late November. We are going to try to wait until we are closer to moving back to start the actual building process. We want to be closer so that we can keep an eye on the house as it goes up.

The next step in the IVF process will be a baseline ultrasound on September 12th to make sure that there are no cysts and that we are good to start the stimulation.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Decisions

This past week has been full of many life changing decisions. If you are my "friend" on Facebook you already know a few of them.

A while back I learned of an opportunity to move back home to Fort Wayne, IN. After a long process of interviews and going back and forth, I accepted a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner position with Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. I absolutely love my job here at Akron Children's Hospital. I love the people that I work with and the doctors I work under. The only problem is that it's not at home :(. I have told the girls that I work with that if I could pick up the hospital and the staff and move it to Fort Wayne, I would. So, it was a bittersweet decision to move back to Fort Wayne, IN.

Connected to that first decision was one about housing. We have always wanted to build a house and the time just seems right. We put down a deposit on a lot in July when we were home. We then decided that we wanted a different lot. The first lot backed up to a pond and we wouldn't be able to put up a fence for our "baby" Marley. The new lot backs up to some woods and we will be able to put up a fence. So, on Friday we signed a contract to build our home with Lancia Homes in Fort Wayne, IN. We are extremely excited to be building our dream home. We are not sure when they are going to break ground as we were trying to figure out the next decision.

We were very lucky to have insurance coverage that covers infertility processes up to $20,000 lifetime when we moved to Akron, OH. This is a rarity. We had decided to use that coverage to the best of our ability to get what we want: a baby. Because of this coverage we had to pay some money up front for each cycle and then are reimbursed from the insurance company after the cycle is over. We were recently told that we may have gone through our coverage with the two cycles that we have already done.  We were told that a big portion of the money that may have been used was from the medications as they are very expensive. The last week and a half has been spent trying to talk to the insurance company to get an idea if that was indeed that case.

Our decision was this: if we had enough insurance money to go forward with another cycle, should we given that this would take money from our house fund? If there wasn't insurance money left the decision was made for us, we couldn't do another cycle. After the week and a half, being told that they couldn't tell us the amount over the phone, they had to mail it, then them not mailing it and finally being told over the phone today that we do indeed have roughly $11,000 left of our $20,000. Medications do not count towards our limit. Since we have insurance money left, we have decided to move forward with this next cycle.

In preparation for this next cycle, I started birth control last Wednesday. Since we do not have any frozen embryos left we have to do a fresh cycle and do the stimulation part again. This cycle we are going to try something different than the first fresh cycle. I am going to be on the birth control for 2 weeks then we are going to switch to Lupron shots for two weeks and then do the stimulation for the eggs.

Another big decision that was made this past week is one that was a hard decision to make. Last Thursday I went Gluten free. It is hard to change the food lifestyle that I've been living for so long. After some reading ( a book called "Wheat Belly", thanks Ashley!) and soul searching I decided that this was something that I needed to do. I have not had any wheat or gluten since Thursday at lunch. At first my body rebelled and I had some bad cramps and was very tired and nauseous (more than normal). Starting Sunday and more into today I have felt wonderful! One of the thoughts behind this process is that I would feel better and have more energy. So far that seems to be the case. To top it off I have lost an additional 4 pounds. The weight loss is a welcome side effect for me, since it seems that my weight has been effecting things more than I thought. I am excited about the possibilities with this change in diet. Hopefully things will be different this time!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Epic Failure

So, I was right about trying not to analyze every little symptom that I was having. It doesn't pay off. I spent Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and most of Thursday sitting on my ass in the hope that the two little embryos that we put back into my uterus on Monday would somehow find there way to bury themselves into the side and we would finally be able to say "we're pregnant."  As you can tell from the title, we aren't. I've failed again. And yes I mean me. It's my problem. I'm a Failure!

I made the mistake of taking a home pregnancy test Tuesday night when I got home from work. Of course it said what it always says, "not pregnant." Why should I have expected anything other than that? That's all I ever get. Wanna talk about those symptoms? Well, here you go... I was nauseous all the time. I had even started eating saltine crackers just to get through. I had cramps. Not like period cramps either. Just small subtle ones. I had discharge, yeah I know TMI, but suck it up. It was the kind of discharge that according to the website I was on should have signaled a pregnancy. My nipples hurt. I was tired. I would sleep from 10 pm until 7:30 am,  get up, get my progesterone shot, and go back to bed until 11 or 12. Then came the not being able to sleep. I would have to get up in the middle of the night and pee and then couldn't go back to sleep. I woke up one night with my heart racing and wanting to puke.  All signs pointed toward being pregnant. LIAR!!

Of course I still had to go in and get my blood drawn at the doctors office. Pointless, I already knew the answer. Second IVF failed. Frozen transfers are supposed to have a better success rate. Someone should tell them they are wrong. I kept getting told that I should lose weight. We guess what, over the last two months I've lost 10 pounds. Didn't help did it?!

Pregnant women are everywhere. They are on everyone of my favorite television shows, there are on every commercial,   they are in every nook and cranny at work, they are at the grocery store. Well, you can all go to hell! Maybe I should go and shoot up every drug I can find, sleep around every night, not have a job and be on medicaid. Maybe then God will see fit to knock me up. Since obviously getting married, getting a masters degree and then trying to have a baby isn't they way you're supposed to do it.

We don't know what our next step is going to be. We will not be having a follow up appointment due to what happened the last time we did. I am incredibly pissed off and feel like I've been lied to for the past 2 1/2 years.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby back...

Bare with me as I write this post. I am writing on my iPad since the computer is currently hooked up to the television so that we can stream movies while I'm on "bed rest."  What's up next? The first Star Trek movie. We've already watched "Thor."

Today we  got our babies back ;). Hence the title!  Our appointment was scheduled for 12 o'clock. We got there at 11:45. Prior to us showing up the embryologists had taken the two embryos that we had frozen from the last cycle from the freezer. When the the embryos are frozen the are flash frozen in a ten minute process.  When they take them out to transfer they reverse the process. They are put into some warm mediums and the embryos expand back to their original shape. Sometimes the embryos do not survive the thaw.  Both of ours did!  This time they transferred two grade B embryos. One was already hatching out of its shell. To do the transfer they use ultrasound and a long catheter. The catheter goes up towards the top to the uterus and the embryos are dropped there. They use the ultrasound to make sure they are in the right place. They were.

So I've been sitting on the couch since we got home at 1 o'clock.  Nick has pretty much been waiting on me hand and foot. I've only been up to go to the bathroom. It's supposed to continue like this for the next two days.  Nick goes out of town tomorrow evening, so we cooked some meals a head of time and all I have to do is heat them up.  I have plenty of continuing education things I have to do and I'm going to undo some hand quilting on own of my bigger quilts. Plenty to do while I sit on my butt! A friend is going to come three times a day to take Marley outside and feed the cats.

And now the long wait begins... We will find out Wednesday August 7th if this round worked. I'm praying for my little miracles...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All about the estrogen

Yesterday's office visit consisted of an ultrasound and blood draw. They drew my blood for an estrogen level to see where its at since I am currently on vaginal estrogen and estrogen patches. For once my blood was draw prior to the ultrasound. I don't much care in which order it is done, however I think I like this way better. They don't usually tell me my estrogen level because it really doesn't matter at this point as long as it's doing its job. Which, thankfully, it is! However this visit I wanted to know what it was since I've been pretty nauseous which can be a side effect of high dose estrogen. My level was 300! Normal levels are below 50. Guess that explains why I've been so nauseous. The bouts come and go, but it's oh so fun when they are coupled with a hot flash!

The other part of this visit was to check for my uterine lining. Since this is not a natural cycle the lining of the uterus doesn't get thicker without help. The lining has to get thicker so that the embryo has something to attach to. When they do the ultrasound they look for how thick the lining is. At this point they want it anywhere from 8-12mm. Mine is at 8.42mm.  Right where it needs to be.

So now medications switch gear. My uterus is close to being ready to accept an embryo, so now we need to gear it toward keeping it. So this morning was my last dose of the Lupron. Tonight will be my last dose of vaginal estrogen. I will continue 4 estrogen patches until Friday when they will go down to two. Tomorrow starts doxycycline. The doxycycline is to treat a bacteria called mycoplasma bacteria that can prevent pregnancy. I have to take two pills a day for 5 days. Medrol tablets also start again for 4 nights.

Tomorrow also starts the progesterone shots again. This time the shots are 2 ml instead of 1 ml. Should be fun for those who have to give me the shot. Progesterone is thick and has to be given intramuscular  in my backside. So either Nick or my coworkers have to give me the shot since I take it in the morning. Once again I thank all of my coworkers who have to see my backside and/or give me my shots. I look forward to the facial flush afterward :)

It's a good think I have this all written down for me. Emotionally things have been ok. I am taking things one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. I was talking to a friend today and she reminded me that no one will ever truly know what we are going through unless they've gone through it themselves. I would never wish this process on anyone else, but sometimes I wish there was someone who truly understands our side of this process. Everyone's process is different so I am sure there are people who can commiserate with our process. I don't want pity, I want understanding.

Anyway, the next step is the transfer of the embryos. Monday July 29th they will thaw the two embryos that we had frozen from the last cycle and sometime later that day we will have them transferred back into my uterus. There is a chance that one or both of the embryos won't survive the transfer. A chance that we have to take.  After the transfer I will be on bed rest for three days. I'll blog more next week.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Private Pain

I thought I was doing ok with my emotions surrounding infertility. I found out today that I was just lying to my self. I had 11 days off of work and so I wasn't subjected to pregnant women or babies for a while. I kept thinking that maybe, just maybe this time would be the charm. I have spent two years thinking those same words. Maybe this time, maybe next time. Maybe the next treatment will be what we need to get pregnant. Sometimes I think its all a lie. Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. I just want to be normal. I just want to get pregnant on our own. I want to take that test and see "pregnant" and keep it our secret for a long time. I want to hear the heartbeat on ultrasound. I want to feel the baby moving inside of me. Why do others get to and I don't?

What's bringing all this up now? I found out today that a good friend is pregnant. I am happy for her that the first month they tried, it worked. But I'm jealous. I want that to be me. It hurts that its not. I spent most of the day trying not to cry. It's not her fault. She's only feeling what she should and expressing it. but why doesn't it have to be to me? There are so many other people around that are pregnant that I feel like I get slapped in the face on a daily basis. On the outside I just smile and go on with my day, while on the inside I'm dying. It's just like someone is telling me that I'm doing something wrong or that this isn't what I'm supposed to be working toward.

I know that this isn't what I should be thinking going into the end of this cycle. But this is what it is. This is the face of infertility. It's not all roses and happiness and I promised that I would share this part of it too. I'm sorry if this upsets people, but this is where I'm at today.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cautious Optimism

It's been two weeks since my last appointment. Since that appointment I have continued to take the Lupron everyday. I have an alarm set on my phone to go off every day at 7:30 am so that I remember and am consistent about when I give myself the shot. Unfortunately sometimes other things get in the way. Twice I have turned my alarm off and continued on about my work ( I was at work both times). Once I remembered at 9:00 am and the other not until 12:00. Lucky for me it doesn't seem to have made a difference.

Once again Dr. Moretuzzo had a resident with him. This one was timid :). She attempted to do the ultrasound, but she didn't put the wand in far enough. Dr. Moretuzzo took over and walked her through it. The lining of my uterus is paper thin and both ovaries are doing what they should be doing- NOTHING! I still had to get my estrogen drawn. Dr. Moretuzzo told me that he really didn't care what the level was since he didn't see any cysts. So back into the waiting room I went. I got my blood drawn and then talked to Michelle, the IVF nurse. Michelle sets my cycles on paper and tells me what happens next. I had to wait a few minutes to talk to her. She told me that she had most of it figured out she just wanted to wait and make sure that everything was a go before she gave it to me. Smart woman!  I would have waited too since nothing ever goes as planned for me.

Now then next step.... tomorrow I take 10 units of Lupron. Wednesday I drop to 5 units of Lupron. Wednesday I also start estrogen patches. It's a ramping up schedule. By this I mean Wednesday I put on one patch and wear it for two days. On Friday I take that patch off and put on two patches. On Sunday I take those two patches off and put on four patches. Then every other day I change out the four patches. On Wednesday I also start taking the extra folic acid and my baby aspirin again. Wednesday also starts vaginal estrogen. This is different from last time. Last cycle I orally took the estrogen. This cycle I take the little blue pill, put it on my finger, and insert it vaginally. I have been warned to wear a pantyliner since I'll have some blue discharge. Fun huh?  The things we do for babies!  Next appointment is July 22 to check estrogen level and uterine lining. If everything is good at that visit embryo transfer is scheduled for July 29th.

This cycle is a lot less stressful so far. It may help that it's just Nick and I. My stepson is spending the summer and starting the school year with Nick's mom and dad. Most of you know our troubles with Dakota and I won't go into them except to say that I don't feel like I have to get away all them time now. I also don't have the pressure of my growing ovaries nor do I feel as tired this time. It probably helps that I am currently on vacation! I am enjoying my time off and excited that we are going back to Fort Wayne tomorrow for a few days. We will be celebrating two birthdays, Nick and my dad and get to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law. Yeah, family time!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Letdown

Yesterday was the first appointment of this frozen cycle. I had an ultrasound and blood draw. I had stopped taking my birth control on the 18th. Does anyone remember what happened the last time I stopped taking my birth control??  Stay tuned for the answer....

 This time when I went into the room the doctor came in with a resident. I don't usually mind resident physicians. I work with them everyday and know that every good doctor had to learn at some point. So I got up on the table and put my legs in the stirrups. The resident started to do my ultrasound. Ok! She kept moving the probe every which way and didn't stop to see what she was looking at. At one point I had to squeeze Nick's hand because it hurt so much. At that point Dr. Moretuzzo took over. Ever so gently he swung the probe into position and found the lining of my uterus which he said was thin and looked like it was supposed to. Then he swung the probe to look at my left ovary. Yup, it was there and was quiet. Then came the right ovary. As soon as he swung it to the right I knew. I've seen enough of these ultrasounds to pretty much read them on my own. There was a giant cyst. Yes, this is what happened the last time I finished taking my birth control.  Dr. Moretuzzo said that we should still be able to proceed as long as my estrogen level was low. I asked how high was too high. He said it needed to be under 50.  Off to get my blood drawn I went. I had to wait until the afternoon to get my results back. Any guesses??  Drum roll please...... 70.  Yeah, way too high. So I get to continue the Lupron for another two weeks and then go back for another ultrasound and hope that the cyst is gone. From now on I think they need to just plan for a few more weeks for my body to right itself before trying to do anything. While we were with Dr. Moretuzzo he asked me if I had gotten any hot flashes yet. I replied no, but I found out what he was talking about today!  Let me just say that Lupron and sterile garb for a PICC line do not mix!

In a week and a half I am on vacation for 10 days. I can't wait! I love my job and the people I work with, but sometimes one needs time away. I am looking forward to spending the time with my husband and doggie. I am going to get caught up on quilting projects and hang out at the pool. Oh yeah and probably work on some CEU's for my board certification. Maybe I'll do that while I'm at the pool...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tornadoes

Grief is like a tornado. It comes when you least expect it. The day after we found out that we weren't pregnant I had to work. Nothing like a punch to the gut. Everyone around me was happy and going on about their days and I'm sitting there trying not to burst into tears. I knew I wasn't my self, but I had to get through the day. Of course those who read this blog where asking how I was doing and I appreciated all of their thoughts and prayers. In hind sight I probably should have taken the day off. Like I said, grief is something that shows up in the things that you aren't expecting. I would listen to people talk about their pregnancies or the names they've picked out for their babies and think why isn't that me? Why can't I join in those conversations?

Prior to finding out that we weren't pregnant Nick and I talked about what if... what if we weren't pregnant? Would we keep going? A frozen cycle would be next. We had decided that we would continue on and do a frozen cycle and use the two embryos that we had frozen after the first cycle. So when the IVF nurse called to tell us we failed we let her know that was what we wanted to do. We scheduled an appointment for June 3rd. We were under the impression that this appointment was going to tell us what we needed to do to move on. By the time this appointment came around I was starting to move on and look forward. I knew the first cycle didn't work and was looking forward to finding out what was next. Boy were we wrong!

We walked into the appointment and sat down in Dr. Moretuzzo's office and he started going back through the cycle step by step. I burst into tears. He preceded to tell us how many eggs we harvested, how many fertilized, how many were good, how many were transferred and how many were frozen. I knew all of this! Why did we have to go through all of this again?? One of the last things that was said in this meeting was that we may need to look at "lifestyle choices" for the reason why the embryos didn't implant. For those of you that know me personally know that I have struggled with my weight most of my teen and adult life. I have done every diet plan known to man. I would lose weight, but could never keep it off. At one point I did a medical liquid diet. Again lost weight, but couldn't keep it off. Back in September 2011 when we met with my OB before we started this infertility journey, we asked whether it would be better to look at a surgical weight loss option before doing IUI or IVF. We were told to go the infertility route first and then look into the surgical weight loss options after we were done having children. I was told that if we did the surgery first we would have to wait until I was fully recovered to start this process and by then my age would become a factor. That was the last time my weight was brought up. Until now.

There was no information about the frozen cycle in that meeting. We were told to go out into the waiting room and the IVF nurse would come and get us and talk to us. I was still crying. The nurse came out and told us that the IVF nurse would call us and let us know what was going on. We didn't get a phone call for two days. When we finally got that phone call it was to set up the transfer date. This time they set the date for the transfer and then work backward. There is a lot more to this cycle than I thought there would be. For that reason I am going to try to post each step as it happens. Once I got my period after stopping the progesterone shots from the last cycle I started birth control again. Last Friday I started Lupron. Lupron is measured in units and is given in shot form. I was started on 10 units a day. I give myself a shot every morning around 7:30 am. I will take my last birth control pill on Tuesday the 18th. Since I started the Lupron I have started spotting. I have been assured that this is par for the course.

As far as the weight issue goes, Nick and I started on some extra vitamins and protein shakes. I am also keeping track of the calories and exercise that I do every every day. So far I have lost 4 pounds. A long way from where I need to be so currently the plan is that we will do this frozen cycle and if it doesn't work we are planning on doing a harvesting only cycle. We will have them fertilize whatever eggs they harvest and then freeze the good ones.  We are not going to have them implant anything with that cycle. Then we are going to look at our surgical weight loss options. This way my eggs will be younger even if I'm not :). As of right now this is the plan, but as you all know things can change.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Elusive Dreams

They say that the two week wait to find out if you are pregnant is the hardest thing. You analyze every little twinge that you feel. For me it was cramping, nausea, and being tired. Sometimes the cramps were the bad thing for the day, other times wanting to throw up my chicken at lunch was the worst thing. If you recall me being nauseated is not a new thing and now I know that I shouldn't have read into anything.

This morning we went in for the blood draw to find out if we were pregnant. Of course since I have no patience I took a urine test this morning. Just more of the same that I'm used to seeing, "not pregnant." I knew that sometimes the urine tests are not that accurate especially this early, so I held out hope. When we got to the doctors to have our blood drawn the phlebotomist  asked me if I had tested and I told her that I had and that it said not pregnant. She wasn't too optimistic that that the blood test would be positive and she was right. We just got a phone call that my blood pregnancy test was negative.

I felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach. The wind was knocked out of my sails. I'm pissed. I'm going to go back over every moment from the transfer on and analyze them to figure out what the hell happened. I have a pretty good idea of what I think happened, but that is not here nor there and doesn't change the fact that I'm still not going to be able to hold a precious baby in my arms.

So where do we go from here?  As of today I stop taking the aspirin, estrogen, and the progesterone shots. I should get my period in 2-7 days. On day 3 of bleeding I will start the birth control again. We are going to try a frozen cycle this next time. At this point I am not sure what this entails, but we have an appointment June 3rd.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Welcome To The Incubator!

Today was transfer day. We went into the office at 10:00 this morning. Prior to going to the office I had to drink 16 ounces of water so that they could use the ultrasound more efficiently. I also took a Valium that was supposed to calm me for the procedure. When we got to the office we had to wait for a while before we went back and the Valium pretty much wore off. Nick had a great time laughing at me though! We found out later that there were two retrievals before us this morning. Good Luck Ladies!

I thought that we were just going to go into one of the exam rooms like we did for the trial transfer. Oh no!  We went back into the pre-op room. The embryologist came in a talked to us about our eggs. She showed us the pictures of the two that they were going to transfer back and explained why they chose those ones. The picture below shows the two they transferred.


The picture on the right is the best one. There is a little mass of cells on the lower left corner. That mass becomes the baby. The cells on the outer ring become the placenta. This one was the best because it was already starting to hatch; see the two little cells on the bottom? The picture on the left is a close second. It's not starting to hatch, but is close. She also showed us pictures of the other fertilized eggs that we had. One was at the stage that they were going to freeze today. There are three more they are hoping to freeze tomorrow. The rest of the 10 that were fertilized just didn't amount to much and weren't growing. Essentially we lost 4. We don't know if they weren't right genetically or there was something else causing them not to grow. Still pretty good odds if you ask me.

Then we signed a consent to have the two great ones transferred back. Then Nick and I  had to change into a gown, hat, and booties again. This time Nick was able to be in the room with me. We walked into the same procedure room that we had the retrieval in and sat in the same chair. This time it was Dr. Mooney who did the transfer. Basically they put a speculum in and used the ultrasound to guide the catheter into the uterus to deposit the blastocysts in the right spot. Everything went well and I had absolutely no pain. After the procedure we went back into the room we changed in and changed back into our clothes and I was wheeled out to the waiting car.

Next step is basically a waiting game. I am on bed rest for the next three days. I am enjoying sitting on the couch and being waited on :)  Oh who am I kidding, this is a common occurrence! I have a feeling that I will get bored really quickly though. I will continue with the daily progesterone shots. I want to give a shout out to the girls I work with who are getting stuck with shooting me up in the mornings when I have to work. You've all been doing a wonderful job! I am also still on the estrogen pills twice a day, along with prenatal vitamin, folic acid, and baby aspirin. At least there aren't 9 pills at night anymore!  All will come to a head on May 20th. That morning I will go in for a blood pregnancy test and by that afternoon we will know if all of this worked. Until then, have a Happy Mother's Day! I love you mom!

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let's Make a Baby!

Yesterday was the day. We went into the office at 7:15am. Nick went first and made his deposit into the cup for fertilization. When Nick was back in the room, the nurse anesthetist call me back in the pre/post op room. I changed into a hospital gown, put on a hat and some booties. Then the anesthetist came in and talked to me about the procedure and the sedation they were going to give me. Basically it's not general anesthesia but I didn't feel or see a thing. So once all the discussion was done, I signed the consent for the anesthesia. Then they put in an IV for fluid and the sedation. I walked into the procedure room and sat in the chair. There was an ultrasound machine and some other machines. Once I sat in the chair, they laid me back, and put my legs in the stirrups.And that's all I remember!  The next thing I knew I was awake and the procedure was done.  The anesthetist said that he stopped counting after they hit 10 eggs that they took out. They put me in a chair and wheeled me back into the pre/post op room. The embryologist came in and told us how many eggs they actually took out. They took 18 eggs! That's a pretty good number. 

After that I got dressed and they wheeled me out to the car. We stopped on the way home to get donuts for Nick and a muffin for me and then we went and got a fruit smoothie for me. On the way home I started to get hot and very nauseated. When we got home I went as fast as I could into the bathroom and threw up. It wouldn't be the last time either. I ended up throwing up a total of 3 times on Monday. I think the second and third times were because I ate too much too fast. I tried to have grilled chicken and baked potato for dinner. Bad idea!! 

This morning we got a phone call from the embryologists. Of the 18 eggs that they retrieved, 13 of the eggs were mature eggs which they fertilized with Nick's sperm. Of the 13 eggs that they fertilized, 10 actually fertilized normally. So we essentially have what could become 10 babies. On Thursday we will get another call telling us what the eggs look like and how many of them are good. Saturday we will go back in and have 2 of the embryos put back into my uterus. And then we go from there.

The medications have not stopped with the egg retrieval. I don't have to give myself twice daily injections anymore, but there are still medications.  Monday night I starting taking estrace and medrol. The medrol is a steroid that helps suppress the immune response to prevent your body from rejecting the embryos and enhances implantation. The medrol is once a day. The estrace is twice a day. This morning I also started taking progesterone injections. These continue at least until the end of the first trimester. 

On another note, my puppy is very sad. We think he is missing all the eggs. I am sure that I smell different from all the hormones and he senses that. He sticks to me like white on rice :) I don't mind. I love him too! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Look at those Ovaries!

Saturday May 4th we went for another ultrasound to check the size of the follicles. This time Dr. Moretuzzo was the one who did our ultrasound. As soon as he put the wand in to check you could see both ovaries. Normally he has to move the wand around a little to see each ovary. This time they were both present and accounted for. The moment he froze the screen I could tell; we were ready!  Those follicles were huge! We have a total of 6 on the right side that were big enough yesterday (the biggest was 22mm) and there were a total of 8 on the left side (the biggest on this side was 21mm, I think). When there are 6 or more that are greater than 18mm we trigger. Triggering means that I get another shot :). This time I get HCG. This is an intramuscular shot. Nick actually had to give this shot to me since I went into my butt! I'm sure that he had a wonderful time shoving a long needle into my butt. This is going to be a common occurrence when I start the progesterone on Tuesday. Although, this time since I have to take it in the morning the girls I work with are going to have to shoot me up!

Anyway, giving the trigger shot had to be done at a specific time. Once the shot is given, I will ovulate in 36 hours. Since we don't want me to ovulate on my own and we need to take the follicles out and fertilize them, we give the trigger shot 35 hours before the retrieval. Since my retrieval is scheduled for :745 in the morning tomorrow we gave the trigger shot at 8:45 pm yesterday. Saturday was the last day that I gave myself the Ganirelix to prevent ovulation. I also gave myself my last shot of Follistim and Menopur on Friday night. Yeah!  It's a good thing too. Thursday night I was on my way home from picking up Dakota at after school care and got sick in the car. Of course I had Marley with us and luck for me I had grabbed a "poop bag" prior to leaving the house. That's the last time that happened.

Tomorrow morning is the retrieval. I am excited but scared. I have to have anesthesia for the procedure. I don't do so well with anesthesia. I tend to puke after anesthesia. Hopefully they give me enough Zofran to combat the puking!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bigger and Bigger

Today we met Dr. Nash. It's always interesting when you are meeting a doctor for the first time and you are getting a vaginal ultrasound. "Hi, Doc, nice to meet you. Now put the wand in and tell me how we're doing."

Unlike Dr. Moretuzzo, Dr Nash only told us the size of the biggest follicles. The biggest one on the right is 13mm and the biggest one on the left is 13.5mm.  Since they were this big we started the Ganirelix this morning. This is also another injection. I will take this in the morning between 6 am to 8 am.

We will go in for another ultrasound and blood draw on Saturday May 4th. If everything looks good we are thinking that the retrieval will be Monday or Tuesday next week. Then the transfer will be Friday or Saturday.

I've been getting asked how I'm feeling. I have noticed that I am nauseous in the mornings until I eat something, but that is nothing new for me. I am also more emotional at night. I was watching "First Daughter" Monday night and I found myself bawling at the end of it. It's not necessarily a move that should make you do that!  I've also noticed that I can't stand for too long since my ovaries are getting bigger they are heavier in my abdomen and hurt more. Nothing I can't deal with!

I want to say thank you to everyone who is praying for us and supporting us through this process. It's nice to know that we have so many friends out there.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Strength in Numbers

Many people have been asking me if I'm excited about this process. My standard answer has been that it is hard to get excited about this when we've been through all that we have. I think today I would change my answer.

We had our first ultrasound today since starting the medication last Thursday evening. Everything is looking good! From now on when the ultrasounds are done we are looking at numbers and size of the follicles. Today we had 6 good size follicles on the right side and 8 on the left side. We want a total of at least 10 follicles; We have 14!  The follicles on the right side measure from 9-11 and the ones on the left measure from 8-10. We are looking for a measurement of 14.  

From here we are continuing the current medications for Monday and Tuesday night. I am still on Follistim 225 and 1 vial of Menopur at night. Wednesday morning we go back into the office and have another ultrasound. When the follicles reach the right measurement we will start the Ganirelix to prevent the follicles from ovulating. Hopefully this will start Wednesday. We are thinking that the retrieval should be either Monday or Tuesday next week.

So yes, after the ultrasound today I gave Nick a high five. I am getting excited! I just hope that we don't take anymore steps backward!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shoot me up!

Well today is the day. We get to start the injections today to start the process of growing the eggs needed to do the IVF. I thought I would share a picture of all the medications that are needed for one cycle of IVF. Most of the medication came in a big brown box to our door. Some of the medication needs to be refrigerated and some doesn't.


If you look closely at the picture you can see the Follistim, the pen that is used to give the Follistim, Menopur, Ganirelix, Progesterone, HCG, aspirin, prenatal vitamins, Foltx, 2 prescriptions for Z-pak, and assorted syringes and needles. Yes, this is a ton of stuff! All along I have been taking the prenatal vitamins and Foltx. Foltx is just additional folic acid since the prenatal vitamin doesn't have enough in it. 

Tonight I start taking the Follistim and the Menopur. Nick and I both start taking our Z-paks tonight as well. We have to take these to treat for ureaplasma/mycoplasma. Instead of testing for these bacteria, they just treat for them. I also start taking aspirin 81 mg daily. According to the literature I was given the aspirin is believed to help thicken up the lining of your uterus and help prevent certain antibodies that contribute to miscarriage and pregnancy loss. 

So for the first four evenings I am giving myself Follistim 225 units and 1 vial of Menopur. If you recall the highest Follistim I was on for the IUI was 150 Units. I am on so much more medication because we want to produce many more eggs for the IVF. Menopur contains LH and FSH. Both of which help to produce eggs and aid in ovulation. I take both of these medications between 6pm and 8pm each night. The picture below is all of the stuff I need for medications tonight. This doesn't include the prenatal vitamin and foltx. I'll take those when I go to bed. 

One of the other big things that happens today includes not having to park at the bottom of the hill at work anymore. Since we are producing more eggs, my ovaries are going to be getting bigger and strenuous excercise would not be a good thing. I get to park in the garage! YEAH!!! 

Where do we go from here? Well, I shoot myself up every night for the next four nights. Then we have an ultrasound Monday April 29th at 8am. This ultrasound will measure how big the follicles (eggs) are getting and how many we have. The doctors will decide if and how much more medicine I will need, how much longer to take them and when the next ultrasound will be. That day they will also decide if I need to start taking the Ganirelix to prevent premature ovulation. 

I thought I might mention at this point that we put an offer on a house in Green, OH yesterday. It's a short sale so we aren't expecting this to be a "short" process at all!  I'll keep everyone updated :) I'm also going to mention that at some point there will be a "guest" post. Nick is going to do a couple of posts about his feelings and thoughts about this whole process. I thought it would be neat to get a guys perspective! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

And we're off....

Yesterday was my follow up ultrasound. I've been on the birth control now for 12 more days. This time my blood was drawn first for the estrogen level and then I went into the exam room for my ultrasound. Nick wasn't able to make this appointment since he had to work, so I was on my own. I couldn't see the ultrasound screen this time. I forgot to mention that all of these ultrasounds are intravaginal. It's a lot like having a rod stuck up there and moved around in different directions. Since I've been bleeding the entire time I've been on the birth control this movement hurt and would make me bleed more. So here I lay on the table with the wand in place and moving. All of a sudden Dr. Moretuzzo says "Ok, we are good to go."  YEAH!!! No more cyst!

Where do we go from here? Well, Saturday was what I'm hoping is the last day for a while that I will be taking birth control. Thursday April 25th starts the next step. Thursday will be considered cycle day #3. I will start giving myself shots that evening. I have to take them at the same time every day. Then Monday, April 29th I go in for another ultrasound to see how the eggs are growing in my ovaries. I will post more details about the medications on Thursday. Don't want to get too far ahead :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Infertility Etiquette

Today's blog focuses on feelings more than the process right now since we don't have anything coming up until Saturday. I am sure this is not something that people want to hear, but it is something that I feel needs to be written.

For a long while I have wanted to be a mom, to be pregnant, and to experience everything that goes all with it.  When I was younger and not in a place for this to happen I cherished hearing about other people's children, what they are up to, what stupid things they do and so on. I also didn't mind hearing about women's pregnancies; how they were going, the appointments, the pain, the fatigue, and all the other issues that come with being pregnant. As I have grown up, gotten married, and become in the position to hopefully become a mom I enjoyed all of this as well. Now that we are going through all the problems that we are going through I find myself in a different frame of mind.

When you see what seems like everyone around you get pregnant it gets depressing. I want to be one of them. Every time I have to listen to people complain about their back hurting, being tired or complain about anything all I can think is I would kill for that opportunity. People do not seem to understand how their words and actions effect other people. It gets to me when I listen to mothers complain about being up all night with their children. If you didn't want that, why did you get pregnant? Most people know whats coming. I get tired of hearing all the complaints. There are times when I don't want to listen to the cute things your child did last night or last week. I don't want to see your latest pictures. All it does is remind me of what I don't have.

Comments aimed at what people think is helping the situation don't. I don't want to hear "quit trying, it'll happen when you least expect it." I don't want to hear " if you just loose some weight, you'll get pregnant." These are ignorant comments. If you knew my story, you wouldn't be telling me these things. The other day I had someone who didn't know my story say to me, "Those IVF moms are psychotic." At first, I turned to her and said " We aren't all psychotic." Then I got to thinking, while I can't answer to that for other people, I have to say that yes, I will probably be psychotic. I have a reason. I have been trying for a long time to have a baby, to realize this dream and by god I am going to protect that dream at any cost.

I am posting a link to another blog that talks about Infertility Etiquette. Please take the time to read it and think about it. http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.html

We have our next ultrasound on Saturday April, 20th to see if the cyst is gone and we can continue on the journey.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bitter Disappointment

On Thursday, April 4th we signed the consents to start IVF. Signing consents wasn't just here's the papers and here's where you sign. No, it was more in depth than that. There were three separate consents that we had to go over.

First, we talked about the fact that giving my body excess hormones can make it go into overdrive. Don't get me wrong, this is want we want to happen, but controlled. Sometimes the hormones can make you go into ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This syndrome consists of cyst formation which in turn can rupture requiring surgery. Another thing that can come from this syndrome is fluid shifts. The high levels of estrogen can pull fluid to the abdomen or around the lungs. Sometimes this can require hospitalization as well. Multiple pregnancy and ovarian cancer are also risks with superovulation therapy.

The second consent was actually for the IVF retrieval and embryo transfer. This was an 11 page document that went into detail about the process. It talked about how my body was going to be prepared, the fact that there is no guarantee that the process was going to work, the fact that we need to do ICSI ( see April 7th post), selective assisted hatching, and watch to do with excess embryos. Selective assisted hatching is a process that helps the embryo to implant in the uterine wall. This is done when you've had a failed IVF cycle in the past or you are of advanced maternal age. Hopefully we won't need this!

Third, we talked about specifically what to do with the excess embryos that may be produced through the superovulation therapy. We chose to have them cryopreserved. When we are ready to have more children we can thaw the embryos and use those to try to get pregnant. Because things happen in life, we had to decide what to do with the embryos in case we both were to die, get a divorce, the IVF lab were to not be in business anymore and they couldn't get a hold of us, or we don't want the embryos any more. In all of the cases we chose to donate the eggs. I know what I've been though so far to have a baby and I couldn't imagine destroying them when someone else could use them.

The next step of our visit that day was to talk about what to do next. I was told to stop taking my birth control that day and that I would come into the office for a baseline ultrasound and estrogen level on April 8th (today).  Then we would start the injections the next night (tomorrow). I would take the injections for 4 nights and then go for another ultrasound on Saturday and Monday.  Well, things didn't go as planned today. I went in for my ultrasound and they found that I have a cyst on my right ovary. Dr. Moretuzzo told  me that they get better results when there aren't any cysts. So, I would have to go back on the birth control. The only question was for how long. They drew an estrogen level to determine that. Mine came back at 36, which is on the low end. They think that the cyst is going away since its not secreting too much estrogen.

I start the birth control again tonight. I will be on the birth control until April 20th when I go in for another ultrasound to see if the cyst is gone. If it is, we can continue on course.  How did I feel about this today? THIS SUCKS!! It seems that my body can't get anything right even when its told what to do. Nothing goes according to plan. If it did, I'd already have a one year old on my hands. I'm a little bitter today, but I want to do this right so that we get the best chance.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Is Gonna Hurt

When we decided to proceed with the IVF process we were given a checklist of things that needed to happen before we could go on. One of those things was to have more blood drawn. We both had to have tests for infectious diseases. Those included HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. I also had to have blood drawn to check for Rubella immunity. All of these things can cause problems with pregnancy and affect the baby as well. Since we haven't been told that anything is wrong with these tests, we think we are in the clear.

Another thing we had to have done was a sonohysterogram and trial transfer. Part of the process of IVF is to transfer the embryos back into the uterus after they are fertilized. Doing the trial transfer ensures that they can transfer the embryos in the right place. This is critical to the success of IVF. When they do the transfer they simulate the process with saline. They insert a catheter through the cervix and then insert an ultrasound probe. While they transfer the saline they do a 3D ultrasound to see where the saline lands. The transfer of the saline hurts like a (B****)  the worst cramps I've ever felt. It's a good thing Nick was standing right next to me so I could squeeze the shit out of his hand. I'm pretty sure his hand was cramping after the procedure. Did I mention that I thought I was going to have to pee in a cup when we got to the office so I drank a ton of tea to make sure that I had a full bladder? Oh yeah and then I didn't have to pee in the cup so I felt like I was going to float away. It's a good thing that they let me pee before the transfer or I would have made a very big mess :) Everything went well with the transfer and we got moved on to the next thing on the list.

As soon as we walked out of the room from the transfer, we were whisked into another office to talk about medications. As opposed to the IUI cycles, there are a lot of medications for IVF. For the rounds of IUI I was only on one medication, Follistim. There's a lot more to this one. I'll go into detail with those later. The medications for IUI cost us around $900 a cycle. This time we were getting a ton more medication. One would think that it was going to cost us more money than the IUI. We got lucky. My job comes with a perk; insurance with infertility coverage including medications! All of our medications for this round of IVF were only $320. All of the medications had to be preapproved and then shipped to the house. This process took about a week. In the meantime, in order for me not to ovulate and have a period I was put on birth control. This also bought us time until the medications could be delivered. We had to have the medications in hand before we could sign the consents for IVF.  

The last thing to check off the list was another semen analysis for Nick since he hadn't had one done at the new office. He'd been off the clomid since we moved and got put back on about two months ago. We wanted to see if it's been working. We were impressed!  The sperm count was higher and the morphology was better. We still need to do ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) which means that they will manually insert the sperm into the egg. Since the little dudes aren't shaped right they can't penetrate the egg like they are supposed to. Doing the ICSI gives us a better chance of having an egg fertilized. Signing consents was a story in itself which I'll talk about in another post. For now it's time to go to bed and get up in the morning for more prodding...