We drove through a blizzard to get to our day 3 transfer. I cannot praise my husband enough for his superior driving skills and patience to get us to where we needed to be! Imagine my surprise when we got there and they said BOTH our embryos were great quality! We have NEVER heard that before at any previous transfer, in fact most of our other clinics were really vague about the grading or cell count of the embryos they were putting back. This time they explained everything perfectly. One embryo was 8 cells with little to no fragmentation and the other was 6 cells with little to no fragmentation. The doctor doing the transfer said the cell counts were right where they needed to be for day 3 and the lack of fragmentation made them great quality! He even said if we hadn’t done so many previous cycles they might have insisted that we only put back the 8 cell embryo and try to watch the 6 cell until day 5 and freeze but since this isn’t our first, second, or even third go around he said putting back both would be fine as long as we were okay with the chance of twins, which we definitely are now. He did say it was pretty amazing and unusual to only get 2 eggs at retrieval and end up with two good quality embryos to put back.
I’m doing a few things different this time post transfer, just silly myths I’ve read from other bloggers and fertility websites but hey it can’t hurt!
-SOCKS AND SLIPPERS, I have been wearing socks and slippers 24/7 since transfer, I have even been wearing socks to bed which is WAY out of the norm for me, even in winter I like bare feet, Supposedly this keeps your blood from going to your extremities to keep them warm so it stays in your core and helps the embryos implant.
-PINEAPPLE, this one is actually kind of proven, it hasn’t been hard for me to do because I was actually eating pineapple everyday for a month before this as part of a new diet plan I’m on so it’s really just a continuation of that. I am wondering if there’s a point when I should stop eating it? Does anyone know if it becomes a detriment at a certain point in the cycle, I’m eating about a cup a day, core and meat, usually mixed with cottage cheese for some protein, such a great snack!
-BED REST, I know there are pretty much two camps on this,the doctors say there is no need for it and go on with life as normal but I’ve done that the other times and obviously it didn’t work so this time I’m trying out the bed rest camp.I spent 3 solid days being lazy watching Netflix and having my husband wait on me hand and foot and it was lovely. Today I’m back to the grind of cooking and cleaning and laundry but I’m taking breaks to rest and trying not to lift anything heavy.
At this point I’m trying to stay busy until my blood test on the 22nd and hope times goes by fast. We are thrilled with the outcome of the cycle so far and so hopeful that these buns currently in my oven are going to bake for a full nine months!
PS. loyal readers and commentator’s I know my comments section isn’t showing comments right now but I can see them all and I read every single one and SO appreciate them ALL. I need to get tech support AKA my husband to figure out why they aren’t showing so hopefully that will be fixed soon! Thank you again for all your support!
The retrieval went great, we ended up getting TWO eggs from my four mature follicles. The doctor who did the retrieval actually said she thinks one of the follicles was a cyst because of the fluid she pulled from it, so technically getting 2 eggs from 3 follies is a normal ratio because apparently there’s usually eggs in 80% of follicles. I cannot sing the praises of our new clinic and doctor enough they are so compassionate and truly care about the outcomes for every single couple they work with and it just shows in every interaction we have had with them from the beginning. The doctor who did the retrieval came and sat with us after and explained that she went into each follicle more than once to make sure she got everything she could for us. She asked us sincerely about our plans moving forward and said she was glad we seemed to be in a good place emotionally even though our outcome was less than normal, we were prepared for it and expecting it. We ended up joking and laughing our way through the morning and I think nurses were expecting us to be more upset with our outcome but there is a kind of peace that has settled over us this cycle that has helped us feel less anxious about the things we have no control over. what a relief it is to not feel so desperate. My hubby kept my spirits high all morning even in my moments of of doubt and took wonderful care of me the rest of the day as my anesthesia grogginess wore off. I am crampy and have a full feeling in my abdomen but I don’t have anywhere near as much pain as I remember having after my last retrieval which is really great. I got the call with the fertilization report this morning and both eggs successfully fertilized so we couldn’t be happier. We will get another call tomorrow with a progress report on how they are growing and let us know if we are going to do a day 3 or day 5 transfer. We are fairly certain we will be a day 3 transfer as the clinic prefers to do day 3. So our PGS( genetic testing) is officially cancelled and we are looking at doing a day 3 transfer of hopefully 2 embryos. My prep for the transfer is simple just once a day vaginal suppository crinone( progeserone) the one surprise is that the doctor doesn’t want me to do lovenox shots he doesn’t think they are necessary and I have literally done them every cycle and pregnancy up to this point so I was nervous but then I said to myself why am I anxious about not doing something that hasn’t worked every other time! So once I thought about it that way I was fine with it and happy not to have to do anymore shots.
I’m excited for our progress report tomorrow and to get a firm day and time for our transfer. Until then I am snuggling with my parent’s dog and taking it easy whatever happens from here on out is out of our hands I’m just going to take care of myself and leave the rest up to God.
Great news! They think there are 4 mature follicles and I’m doing my HCG shot tonight and having my retrieval first thing Monday morning! My HCG shot will be the last of my shots this cycle and I’m super excited to be done poking myself multiple times a day with a needle. Next step, bring on the suppository progesterone! I know 4 follicles isn’t a big number but when it’s double what you started with it’s pretty great news. I’m definitely feeling better going into the retrieval. We are supposed to be doing PGS( genetic testing) with our embryos but I went onto my portal and they already have an appointment scheduled for me for a day 3 transfer and then a follow up pregnancy test 14 days after that. I think they are just anticipating that even if we get 4 eggs that may not equate to 4 embryos so maybe not enough to send out for testing? Obviously we will do whatever the Doctor thinks is best and if that’s a day 3 transfer then that is what we will do. I was pretty opposed to transferring more than one embryo when we started talking about doing this again, naturally due to my previous failures and potential lack of freezable embryos I’m anticipating they will suggest transferring 2 back if we have that many on day 3 to transfer. I’m surprisingly okay with that, I don’t think my chances of ending up with twins are very high. We will see what kind of quality embryos we end up with. Twins really freaked me out when I first started thinking about trying to get pregnant again and it’s something that you really have to take into consideration when your doing fertility treatments. We know at least 3 couples personally who have twins from IVF cycles. One set was born at just after 28 weeks gestation and while they are happy and healthy now it was a very long and scary NICU stay for them. Ideally we would love to have two kids in the long run if it’s possible, so having two at once could be a big blessing especially after how long we have waited. We have a lot of close family to help and support us so I do think we could handle the needs of twins. What is more scary for me to think about is worrying how my body would handle growing not just one but two babies, if it comes to it I would definitely be up to the challenge! I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself with thinking about the potential outcome of this cycle but that’s kind of impossible. I think instead of being cautiously optimistic, I’m going to just go ahead and let myself be fully optimistic, screw caution. I’m feeling excited about the retrieval and possible transfer and whatever comes after that!
Cycle update, I’ve been on my stimulation shots for 5 days now. I had my first monitoring appointment yesterday morning. I have two measurable follicles right now, hoping maybe one more pops by my appointment by tomorrow. The Dr. upped my Follistim from 375 to 450 so maybe that will make a difference. I can’t help but be disappointed by only having two follicles, even in the cycle when we only got three eggs I had 6 follicles showing at my monitoring appointments just 3 of them ended up being empty. I guess my fear is that with only two follicles growing what if one or both end up being empty! I’m also worried that the cycle will end up being cancelled due to my poor response. I’ve had a few minor meltdowns the past few days, I blamed “hormones” but I suspect they are more rooted in fear of this cycle being a flop and what that means for our future than anything else. Retrieval is tentatively set for next week so I just keep telling myself to get through the next week and then one way or another we will have our answers. One thing I am sure of is that this will be my last attempt at growing my own eggs, my ovaries lack of performance is too depressing to keep giving myself 4-5 shots everyday and seeing little to no progress. I will be relieved when this cycle is over, whatever the outcome ends up being. the way things are going I’m anticipating having to grieve the loss of my own fertility and being able to use my own eggs. I’m trying to hang on to hope but it’s hard, I’m trying to remind myself give it to God and have faith that things will work out the way they are supposed to. I’m thankful for my friends and families support through this cycle. Sharing with people about what I’m going through has made me feel less isolated this time around and for that I’m grateful. They make me feel like no matter what it’s going to be okay so for now that’s what I’m choosing to believe.
Today I start my first lupron shot of this cycle! So grateful for my hubby who took off work to drive me through a snow storm to get to my blood work and ultrasound appointment. Everything was pretty basic except at this new clinic I was supposed to print off my own blood work lab script and bring it with me because this is a satellite office of the main clinic. I’ve never had to do that before and even though the nurse told me about it it was weeks ago and since then I had to deal with getting meds delivered and it completely slipped my mind. My nurse was at the main office today and the receptionist at the office basically said too bad this is your problem not ours. So my extremely patient husband drove me after after the ultrasound to print the script then took me back out to a lab a little closer to us to get my blood draw. I was a crying the whole way home in the car from the ultrasound a mixture of wacked out hormones from being on and off the birth control pill this week and guilt that my husband had to miss work to drive me around like miss daisy because the weather was bad and apparently i was emotionally too fragile. Once we got home for good he stayed with me and worked from home to keep me company and I ended up taking a much needed nap to reset. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel that he was so patient and sensitive to what I know was a complete overreaction. He was truly been a man of his word and put me and this cycle and doctors appointments ahead of anything else. I feel so supported by him and like we are really in it together this time. It feels really wonderful and I’m very grateful for my husband who knew exactly what I needed today and didn’t hesitate to put me first.
We always start the New Year with best intentions of having a better year than the previous one. This is especially true for me and my family this year after all the stress, sadness, and loss we went through. However, I entered the new year still grieving the losses of my Aunt and Cousin and I didn’t much feel like jumping on the New Year new me band wagon. I felt like New Year, same me. This mindset is slowly changing and I’m starting to feel a little bit lighter emotionally. I’m not sure if it’s the sun coming out a few days in a row that has changed my mood or that I have been making intentional changes to actually feel better. So even though I’m a little late and we are already a few weeks into the New Year I do finally feel ready to jump on the New Year new me bandwagon!
First things first I’m making an effort to let go of things that I cannot control. I can control my reaction to these things and that makes the difference between it being a catastrophe and a bump in the road. This was tested when we had our insurance company requesting piles of medical records in order to clear us for our new cycle which was supposed to start LAST weekend. Thanks to insurance being sticklers my cycle got delayed by over two weeks and I had to have another period and start a new pack of birth control pills wahhhhh. I was NOT happy about any of this and in previous cycles or just before in life this could have ruined my day or my week and my attitude. Instead I told myself that these things happen and in the grand scheme of things a delay of two weeks is nothing and I reminded myself to be grateful that insurance covers almost all of our IVF costs so the wait is well worth it. I was able to say well that sucks but overall I’m really lucky and this is not a big deal and MOVE ON. I’ll tell you what, it was pretty awesome not holding on to the anger and just kind of accepting it. I feel FREE, that is the only way to describe it. I guess you can only read so many inspirational MEME’s on pintrest before your mind just starts repeating them to you in situations where they are helpful!
Hubby and I also decided to lose weight and really do it this time. We enlisted the heIp of a nutritionist and he set us up with meal plans and we started today! We are excited to be doing it together and very motivated for health reasons for both of us. I know it’s kind of crazy to try and lose weight during a cycle because the hormones can kind of screw with things but I’m willing to take the chance. If things go well as they should we won’t be doing a transfer this cycle we will be sending the embryos out for PGS ( genetic screening) so I think trying to get healthy is going to be a good thing for me to focus on as we go through this because there’s going to be a lot more waiting. Instead of taking my anxiety out on a bag of chips or carton of ice cream and then feel terrible about myself and our situation, I’d rather exert the control I have over eating healthy and working out. We both have good reasons for wanting to make this change and I think if we stick together we can really do it and make it a lifestyle, you have to start somewhere.
We had our appointment with the doctor to go over potentially using cousin A’s eggs in the future as a plan B in case things don’t go our way this cycle. She came with us and met the doctor, she was a total rock star and very comfortable answering all of the Doctors questions, I’m already forever indebted to her just for considering doing this for us and showing up to the doctor appointment. It’s such a relief to me to have this as an option if things don’t work with my eggs. The worst part for me after an IVF failure was where do we go from here and what do we change next time in order to give us a better chance. In this case we already know that if this doesn’t work than next time we will use donor eggs, hopefully Cousin A’s if we got that far and she got medically cleared but we are still open to anonymous eggs if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out with A. It takes a layer of stress and doubt away to already have a plan in place and know we would just have to execute it. Overall it was a great appointment and we all left feeling good about it.
So to wrap up, instead of doing New Year new me, we are doing New Year, new life. We have been complacent for years and we are finally making the kind of changes that can actually result in a new life. At the end of last year we moved, now we are getting healthy, trying to have a baby, and being intentional everyday. I’m not perfect but for the first time in a long time I do feel like I’m doing everything I can to be the best possible version of myself. We have an exciting year ahead of us! For the first time in a long time we are filled with hope, hope for lot’s of positive things to happen, we also hope to have the ability to take the negatives that are bound to come for what they are, react accordingly, let go of what we can’t control and move forward with light hearts!
I spent the entire week after Christmas trying to get all of my previous cycle records to my new clinic so I can get insurance clearance for our January cycle. As the reports came in I reviewed them and I started to feel sad looking back at the dates and how long ago they were and how young and naive I was when I was going through those cycles, blindly trusting the doctors simply because they were doctors. I felt far more emotional than I would have thought but apparently I still have some healing to do from those past failed cycles. Hopefully I can clear some of that negativity before I start this new cycle.
I spoke with my nurse and we are going to be doing a microdose lupron flare cycle which I have never done before so I’m relieved to be trying something different. It also means lower doses of lupron which I’m happy about because I think the side effects of that drug are some of my least favorite so less is better! I’m starting to get antsy and anxious to start this cycle. Looking at my records today I realized I haven’t had an egg retrieval since 2014 which is a really long time! So with the new protocol and it having been so long since our last cycle I’m really interested to see how I respond to stims this time and see how we do overall. I’m ready to get the show on the road!
Today we had our meeting with the Dr. to go over all the blood work he did and go over our options and make a plan. He is still Dr. Wonderful as far as hubby and I are concerned. He is very open, he has a big heart, and his honesty is totally refreshing. He really seems to understand that we have already been through so much and he genuinely doesn’t want to put us through any unnecessary stress or heartbreak. He said the updated blood and sono don’t show anything surprising they all point to me having an egg issue of quantity and quality. He outlined our options as follows.
A: Stop any and all treatments and adopt.
B: Try a micro lupron stimulation IVF cycle
C: Use donor eggs
I already started the pill at the beginning of my last cycle in preparation for a January IVF cycle and retrieval and so we are moving ahead with option B and trying the Micro lupron cycle. It is a type of stimulation that we haven’t tried before so fingers crossed I respond well to it! He did say that if I don’t respond well and it doesn’t look like we will get more than a few eggs he may cancel the cycle so be prepared for it to be a kind of fluid cycle where things can change depending on progress. If all goes well and we get a enough eggs and make some embryos depending on how they grow and how many we will either do a day 3 fresh transfer, so I will be on progesterone post retrieval just in case or we will let them grow to blastocysts freeze and do PGS then a subsequent FET. We are hopeful that even if we don’t get enough eggs and embryos to try to grow to blasts that we at least get enough to put back one or two on day 3 and complete the cycle beginning to end.
We talked to him about Cousin A and how if our January IVF cycle doesn’t pan out or ends up with negative results that we would be ready to move on to donor eggs. He suggested that we schedule a sit down informational appointment with him and all of us so he can give her the down low on the actual process and whats involved. He thinks it would be a good idea to do this in the next couple of weeks so that she has plenty of time to think it over once she has all the information and doesn’t feel any type of pressure or obligation to go through with it. We told him if she changes her mind which could very well happen then we would be willing to use frozen eggs from the company that our office works with and try that way. He said either way our chances of getting pregnant and ending up with a baby using donor eggs are very good and he said just think of it this way if you use your cousins eggs or you use frozen donor eggs your going to be okay. It was a really nice and calming thing for him to say and I really took it to heart. Whatever ends up happening we are going to end up with a baby and it’s going to be the baby we were meant to have and we are going to love them unconditionally and we are all going to be okay.
Angels all around you, that is what my Aunt used to say to me when I was having any kind of procedure or baby related issues or tests. I always kept her in the loop of what was going on with me even when I wasn’t sharing it with anyone else but my mom and husband. She was always praying for me and feeling deeply for what was going on with others even when she was the one who was sick. Losing her was and still is a raw pain that creeps up on me unexpectedly, usually when I’m alone driving and a sad song comes on the radio. I console myself with the thought that she is now one of the angels that she used to speak of and I feel her presence often. My Aunt had two sons and a daughter. Cousins are a BIG deal in my family, there are lot’s of us we are all close and love each other fiercely and fight like siblings. My dear sweet Cousin A (Aunts daughter) is very much like a sister to me, all the benefits of sleep overs and family fun, gossiping, and confiding in each other and none of the drama over stealing each others clothes, boys, or attention from our parents. She has been incredibly strong through my Aunt being sick and passing, her strength is not tainted with bitterness and it hasn’t hardened her, she is still sweet and and feels for others even after all she herself has endured, it is very much a characteristic that she got from my Aunt, so unselfish.
She is so unselfish in fact she has offered to donate her eggs to us. We still have to go to the doctor and she still needs tests and clearances and we aren’t sure of if and when it would all happen but the fact that she was even willing to consider it and then say yes has given us back so much hope that we will be able to have a baby in the next year. She has said for years that she doesn’t want children of her own. She hasn’t wavered on it and I was surprised that as she got older and even had serious boyfriends that her answer always remained the same. A few weeks ago we were having an adult sleepover, wine and gossip, when it came up in conversation again and her answer was still no she didn’t want kids. Cousin A is in her mid to late twenties now and I would say plenty grown up enough to make a decision like that for herself. So casually at 2 o’clock in the morning after several glasses of wine I asked her if she wasn’t going to use her eggs then could I have maybe have some? She immediately said yes if I’m able to that would be so cool. I said are you sure it wouldn’t be too weird to see hubby and I raising a baby that might potentially look like you and have your DNA? She said no I think it would be awesome then off to bed we went.
I took her quick yes with a large grain of salt, you see I have had people offer me things during my infertility journey before, for example there uterus. I can’t even tell you how many family members said I’ll carry a baby for you after my miscarriages when we thought my body was rejecting the embryos not that the embryos themselves were the issue. Then the minute I said well hey I’m going to the doctor next week and I’m going to ask him about gestational carriers they would quickly answer back that they hadn’t really thought it through and they were sorry but they just couldn’t do it. Mind you I’m not in the habit of asking people for use of there uterus’ but I will tell you at least 3 were offered to me and all backed out when I mentioned doctors appointments and anything closely relating it becoming a real situation. I had resigned myself to the fact that if on our next go around my eggs don’t work that we would be writing a check for $15,000 for 6-8 eggs from a random stranger picked off a donor egg internet database. I was not going to ask any family members to donate to us, it never felt like a fair thing to ask someone. However, after talking to my cousin it ended up feeling right to ask her to consider it and it was kind of on a whim. It turns out I desperately do want the absolute luxury of having some kind of genetic ties to my child. The ability to say where they got there eyes or nose from and the benefit of knowing there complete medical history even as the years go on and it evolves and changes. If our baby got even a hint of my Aunt or cousins selflessness and sweet temperament I would feel beyond blessed.
I told hubby the next day about asking her, he was surprised because we had never talked about asking a family member to donate but he was excited at the possibility now that I brought it up. I decide to wait a few days after our sleepover then I texted Cousin A and said hey remember when I asked you for some of your genetic material so we can try to make some good embryos and I can have a baby? I then sent her several informational links about being an egg donor what it really takes, the whole process and some hard questions. I told her to become well informed take all the time she needed and really think it over and if it was a No then we completely understood. She said she would read up on everything and let me know but at that point her only concern was that her eggs wouldn’t cooperate and she didn’t want to let us down. She has the sweetest heart and her response brought me to tears. A few days later I woke up to a message from her that said she read everything and she was IN! I really think it take a very special person to consider donating there eggs at all let alone to a family member. Tears again, even though we don’t know if we need donor eggs yet ( I have a gut feeling we do) just having the option of a known family member donor to do a fresh donor cycle with feels like the best Christmas present we could have asked for.There is still a lot of unknown but I feel a sense of peace with this now that I have been longing for and hadn’t been able to find in any of our other options of moving forward. The situation truly feels like it was orchestrated by our angels above.
I can’t believe how many emotions I have gone through since we decided to pursue starting a family again a few short months ago. I know we have a plan with our new RE but I am struggling right now. I’m struggling because it’s the holidays and that always reminds me that we don’t have children to create traditions with. Also it’s the time of year where we spend lots of time with our extended families which includes lots of small children, toddlers and pregnant people. I’m happy in the moment with them and then feel an aching emptiness when we return to our quiet childless home. I struggle with hearing people complain about there beautiful perfectly healthy happy kids, most of them know what my husband and I have gone through and because I don’t have public meltdowns think I’m fine when I’m not so they are careless with hurtful comments.
It’s hard to feel like people aren’t grateful for what they have when they have what you want. With that being said I am self aware enough to realize that I also need to be more grateful for what I DO have because besides this whole infertility thing I have a lot going for me. My husband and I have stable jobs with good pay, we have safe reliable cars, we have family all around us that is supportive and loving, we have a big house with lots of space for entertaining and out of town guests, we have a happy marriage. When I start to count my blessings I feel guilty for feeling sad about our fertility struggle because it’s only one part of our otherwise charmed lives.
This thought process has been making me feel like maybe I need to open my heart more to the other options we have in building our family. I know early on I wrote about adoption and why we weren’t pursuing it. I had a lot of fears when I wrote it and some of them are still present and totally valid. It seems that the fear of never parenting or having children in our home has begun to over shadow those earlier adoption fears. We have a big, warm, safe, calm, happy household and there are lot’s of kids out there who NEED exactly that. What about their fear? What about the cold, hungry, neglected, and abused kids that are already born? I was blocking out these thoughts about children in need because I had my own selfish agenda of a perfect little baby that was half me and half my husband. I’m starting to have a hard time ignoring the fact that there are children in need and I have the means to provide and care for them. I have love to give and they desperately need love. It’s starting to sound like the answer to our biggest problem and the missing piece to our puzzle. I feel my heart opening to the idea of fostering to adopt and adoption. I’m still scared , I know it’s not an easy road but neither is the road we have been going down for the past 5 years.
It’s ALL hard. Being infertile is hard. Having miscarriages is hard. Having multiple IVFs fail is hard. Trying to live childless is hard. So adoption is hard, well I’ve done hard before and I’m still standing. Maybe just maybe we do have what it takes. We won’t know until we open our hearts up enough to try. I feel my heart opening everyday I think more about it or read more about it. I don’t think my husbands heart will be ready until we have finished pursuing our treatments. I think that’s okay because it’s giving me time to research options and think about the potential hardships and how we might deal with them, a few that we may have to deal with are failed matches, drug exposed or addicted babies, developmental delays in toddlers. Those are a few issues that come to mind when I start thinking about and reading about pursuing adoption, especially through the foster care system. My heart still desperately wants a baby, and how we get that baby is becoming less important everyday.