Infertile Fo’ Life

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When you deal with infertility and somehow miraculously have a child (through IVF), people think that cures you.  “Your body knows how to be pregnant now.” “Your endometriosis is cured!” “When’s baby 2 coming?” But it’s not so simple.  I still have a gigantic endometrioma and pain associated with endometriosis, and after nearly a year of not using birth control, we are still not pregnant.  So now’s about the time you tell those people that they have NO idea!

They have no idea how hard it is to be disappointed that you actually believed their statements for a minute.  They have no idea that you have to research fertility clinics that are willing to monitor your ultrasounds and bloodwork for weeks before you fly to another state to do a transfer of your frozen babies.  Or even the cost associated with the whole process.  No idea, that you’re frightened the amount of frozen embryos won’t be enough to work (because there’s no chance of doing another harvest).

While the fear is a little less because we already have one perfect little miracle, it doesn’t mean we want it any less.  And I think that’s hard for people to understand as well.  Here’s to hoping our Han Solo babies are as bad ass as R.

 

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Gag

Last week was my spring break, and this is what I felt like the entire time:

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This is what I look like when someone mentions food to me.  It’s what I look like after I eat, and it’s what I look like pretty much all day.  Sometimes the look is accompanied by a wretch or dry heaving.  (Okay, maybe I’m not quite as cute as this puppy) Oh yea, and I also got a skin infection on my nose after rubbing it raw during an allergy attack.  So, not only am I queasy, but I’m queasy with disgusting lesions on my nose.

But you know what? I’m ecstatic that I feel like poo.  I’m thrilled that I’m bloated, constipated, nauseated, and tired.  Just thrilled because it means our little embryo decided to stick around! The bleeding and cramping I was having last week was completely off putting and scary, but apparently common for some women.

So, bring on the uglies! I’m ready….kind of.

A Bad Dream

After our transfer and first positive beta, I had a terrible dream.  I thought if I didn’t talk about it, the universe couldn’t know it was a possibility and it couldn’t happen.  Yes, my bad dream had to do with being on the toilet and finding clumps of blood.

I tried to tell myself that miscarriage after two positive betas can’t be that common.  If it’s implanted, it will surely stay.  The universe was giving us a gift on my birthday, it was all meant to be.  It was going to be fine…more than fine.  I could feel the little guy tugging away on my side.  He was growing good.  I could feel it. I knew…

Except you don’t ever know, do you? Today I am 5weeks and 6 days pregnant. Except I may not be, really. Last night I started getting painful cramps across my lower abdomen. My ovaries felt cramped and I started spotting pink. I held out hope, that it was just normal early pregnancy spotting. I only had it once before on the day of beta #1, but it was a lot less and the cramps felt different. I was trying so hard not to believe my dream, until this morning I felt like it might be real. I was on the toilet…I wiped bright red blood, and even found a clot. I am now wearing a pad and hoping it doesn’t get heavier. Though my cramps tell me something fierce is on its way.
I called the doctor’s office and everything, but it turns out there’s nothing anyone can really do to confirm/relieve/prevent anything at this point. My only solace at this point is that there’s nothing I can do. Absolutely nothing except, like a fool, hope that my dreams aren’t premonitions.

 

Making a Home for an Embryo

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Beautiful free print from graphic designer at http://www.danielleburkleo.com

The “she” here is me.  We just completed a very big step in our long IVF journey.  We finally had our first embryo transfer–ever!  Here’s how the morning went down:

7:00 am Open my eyes after a long listless night of sleep, worrying about whether I’ll drink enough water or the valium will work today.

10:00 am  Take a valium and drink 32 oz of water

10:30 am  Arrive at the lab unsure of whether the valium has actually kicked in.  (I was told it would feel like I had downed a big martini, but right now, I’m not feeling so good)

10:45 am The embryologist comes in and shows us a beautifully thawed embryo.  She says it looks as good as fresh!

10:50 am  The nurse comes in to see if my bladder is full enough yet.  Not yet.

11:10 am  My bladder is finally ready and my uterus is flat enough for a straight shot.  The doc inserts a catheter up into the “perfect” spot in my uterus and shoots the little sucker up there.

11:10-11:40 am  I remain on the table watching Jimmy Fallon videos with the hubs.

Before I leave, the embryologist assures me that my uterus is like “shag” carpeting and the embryo won’t fall out.  I can just see it now, like my grandma’s old living room with brown shag carpeting, a wooden television, and some brown and orange floral print couches.  If that embryo knows what’s up, it’ll burrow deep into that couch and get some fluffy blankets and camp out for the long haul.  At least, that’s what I would do.

But, for now I can only obsess over every twinge, cramp, movement I make.  I’m going to need lots and lots of courage to make it through the next two weeks without losing it.  I’m going to try my hardest to be brave enough to live in the moment, and not predict the future.  For I am no psychic.

Hormonal Thoughts

I’m sitting here in a Starbucks, waiting for my massage appointment, stressing about whether I should get soy (soy isn’t good for estrogen imbalances), decaf (I heard the way they make beans decaf can be harmful to your health, but caffeine can negatively affect your uterine lining), latte (dairy is inflammatory, is it not?). I went with a decaf black coffee.

But, ordering a decaf coffee does not help the fact that my hormones are imbalanced. My last monitoring appointment showed a huge follicle but low estrogen (meaning my follicle is non functioning). My LH is elevated (why?). And my google searches are convincing me that I am post menopausal. I’m trying not to worry too much about this cycle, because we have already resigned to doing a medicated one next. But, I was just hoping this part of the journey would be easy. Easy… I have no concept of this anymore.

Could This Be?

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After more than 3 years of struggle, one surgery, two retrievals, hundreds of injections, hundreds of pills, three IUIs, cysts, ovulation predictor kits, countless negative pregnancy tests, it is finally time to add an embryo transfer to the count–hopefully.  I had no idea it would take this long to get to the point of transferring one embryo.  It’s been such a long journey to get to here, and we’re nowhere near done.

We opted for a natural FET this cycle, which has a high cancellation rate.  All my hormone levels need to be perfect, and my lining needs to build up, and all of this has to happen on my body’s own volition.  I am trusting that it will, but I’m also pretty nervous about it.  I am praying so hard that it will work.  If it doesn’t, we’ll try a medicated cycle for our next attempt.  A medicated cycle means I stop using my body’s natural cycle to help out and just rely on birth control pills, lupron, estrogen patches, progesterone injections, etc.  You see, I am getting carried away already.  I just need the courage to be in this very moment, on this very journey.

Mercy

My last post was pretty defeatist.  Maybe that’s not the right word.  We had just sort of resigned to whatever our last attempt would bring.  Though, neither of us was expecting too much.  Our friends and family were praying for us, thinking of us, supporting us.  We were in the moment, not two steps ahead, nor dwelling on the past.  We had finally come to the point where we really believed:
300ec4d8414493ac8b9d4af263ed61afAnd the universe, God, our bodies had mercy on us.   The cycle turned out to be one of the best we had ever had.  IVF #1 was canceled because only 3 eggs matured.  We didn’t even make it to retrieval.  IVF #2 made it to retrieval, but the 3 eggs were abnormal/immature.  These were bleak statistics.  So, you can imagine that we just had to give it up to the fertility gods this time.  IVF #3 was a shocker.  I actually developed 12 eggs! A freakin’ dozen! Like a hen.  In the end, 8 were retrieved, 7 were mature and fertilized.

We let our future babies grow to blastocyst stage.  If you let your embryos grow to blastocyst there’s a great chance you will lose most of them.  Only the strong survive, and from what I could tell about 35-40% survive to this stage.  On day 5 (the typical day Blastocysts develop) we only had 2.  Since our RE wanted us to transfer 2 at a time, this meant we had one shot to make a baby.  ONE.  We were happy for the chance, but a little frightened that one chance wasn’t enough.  But, we were grateful that we had gotten this far.  Just. so.  grateful!

Then something magical happened.  The 3 remaining embryos were given one last day to develop, and they did! Now we have 5 embryos (potential children) in the freezer.  We didn’t transfer any yet, because my body needs to recover from all these crazy meds I’ve been on.   Now a Frozen Embryo Transfer is in our future.  (something we’ve never had the chance to experience)  While we are overjoyed with having made it through the first few hurdles of this cycle, we know that the next step is probably the hardest.  We are really trying not to get ahead of ourselves, or become obsessive worry warts about the process (That’s really directed at me.  I’m totally obsessing over whether to do a medicated vs. natural FET.  Help, anyone?).

We are so thankful that we’ve come this far, and I truly believe it’s because of every single person that has kept us in their thoughts and prayers.  We are so lucky to have so many great people sending hope and positive energy into the world for us.  We hope you can keep it up for just a little longer.  We’re almost there.