Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ending of an Era, The Turning of a Page

On the way back from Clawson's Restaurant tonight, located in picturesque Beaufort, NC, Jeff and I looked at eachother and paused to reflect, that this could be our last night of vacation alone, together, for many years. This time, next year, we will have expanded our family, and life will no longer be about us, it will be about them. Vacation will fall by the wayside for quite some time.

You might be was never supposed to be about Purpose Driven Life people. ;) But, the truth is, it's always about us, until it has to be about other people. That's the nature of the beast in this imperfect world. We're constantly thinking about our comfort level, our plans, our physical fitness, our's us, nearly 24/7 until it's them or someone else we have to care for. If you've ever been a caregiver, you know what I'm talking about.

Who takes up your "me time"?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Awe Yeah... PREGGERS

In at 7:30 am for the blood work, found out just after 3:00 pm this afternoon I'm pregnant! Praise God. Now I have three follow-up blood draws to make sure my HCG level continues to rise and then they might give me a due date. ;)

Cats out of the bag folks. This chick is a watermelon smugglin' fiend. Perhaps it is too early to rejoice, but I've kept it out in the open so far, so you're with me for the duration. Let's see where we go from here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So last night I got to hang with my girls at our Pampered Chef Team Meeting. It was really good to see Fretzie and Erinchenzo. Love them. There's something about being with girlfriends that takes the edge off my anxiety.

While I was there, I started cramping. Fretzie assured me she cramped with her pregnancies and from what I read on this message board cramping can be kind of normal. Some people say it's not, but I think they are talking about more severe pain than I was experiencing. Later that night, I woke up with horrible cramps, no blood, just what felt like horribly intense menstrual cramps that had me whimpering in bed. I got up and shuffled downstairs, and broke a ceramic trivet I've had since we got married as I was fumbling in my purse for the generic extra strength Tylenol. Took one of those, and fumbled back up to bed where I whimpered until the meds kicked and I could fall asleep. No blood this morning either.

Anyone know what these cramps are from? I have my blood work tomorrow morning with my pregnancy test.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What if the answer is still "No."?

What if I get to Thursday and I am not pregnant? I will decidedly be crushed. Why Thursday? Why so early after the transfer? Why are they testing me on Thursday? Why not wait two weeks? For their data? Do I even have a shot at a positive result?

I just found out a close family friend is pregnant. God, this is your timing and I rejoice for her, but what if I am not pregnant again? What if you say "No" again? I don't know if I have the grace for that. I can't smile anymore. I can't pretend it doesn't hurt, or that it's somehow OK. I am pissed. I am so sad. I have this deep seeded dread that God will take my joy away from me, if not before the pregnancy test, then afterwards. He could even wait until after my baby is grown up. What do you have to do in the eyes of God to deserve to be pregnant?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Days Post-Transfer

Why is it that whenever they mess around with your business that your body responds with cramping and bloating? :) After a couple days, the lingering effects of the transfer are abating. It's nice to not feel achy when I roll onto either side. I'm a turner/tosser, poor husband.

At the start of the transfer process, they give you a picture of your embryo(s) that they will be transferring that day. It's amazing. It's really your first look at your child(ren). During the actual transfer itself, they have you undress from the waist down, they cleanse the path to your uterus where they will place your precious cargo, and then they do a trial run with a little cath to make sure the way isn't blocked. You can see it on the ultrasound screen. Then they show you your magnified embryo(s) on a TV screen, in a dish in the lab, before the transfer is done. You get to watch the transfer on the ultrasound screen as the doc guides the pipette along the proper line to the nesting ground. :) Then they slowly remove the pipette and examine it under a microscope to make sure the little guy(s) didn't get stuck in the pipette.

The nurse tells you that spotting, cramping and bloating is normal. Remember, this is almost a week after the retrieval and your follicles that used to hold eggs are now filling with fluid and blood. The bloating is back, with a vengeance. You get dressed, you go to the bathroom, where it takes an alarming time to actually relax and pee, and then you get to drive home grinning like an idiot, and holding your husband's hand trying to decide how much you're going to tell people, and when.

Do we tell people as soon as we are pregnant because we've been so transparent this far and that's been the expectation? What if I can't carry? What if I tell people too soon and then we miscarry? What do other couples do, wait three months? Do we share the sex? Do we want to know the sex? Will we even make it that far with this first attempt?

We've talked about it, and we've decided to hold off on any announcements or detailed reports until we give it some time. We won't know for a few weeks yet if the transfer is even successful. We do have some frozen embryos for additional attempts if or when we need them, so we rest in the knowledge that this is not the end, but the continuing journey of something wonderful. I'll ask you to pray for health and life for this potential pregnancy and that J and I will be at our best for the baby. I'll post again on this topic when we have news to share.

The count: 22 eggs retrieved, 18 fertilized, 13 dividing normally, four of those frozen, 9 cultured for 5-day growth. 5 mature blastocysts. 2 transferred, 3 frozen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Not Everyday

It's not an everyday revelation, the date of your conception,
the day your life takes root in me.

I pledge to protect your life with my own.
I'm your Momma, he's your Daddy and we've been waiting for you, little miracle for what seems like forever.

Uncompromised nutrition, exercise, sleep, for your provision.
A mother's love is sacrificial. One day I hope you know that love for your own child, though tomorrow brings uncertainty.

I have to hope for your life in me. I can't think about you logically or in a detached way.
Your existance excites me and fosters dreams of who you may become.

I love you with everything I am.

It's not everyday, God blesses us with the responsibility of a lifetime.
Wednesday, July 14th is the day he blesses us, with you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The In-Between

Since the day after the retrieval (7/10/10) I have added to my medicinal regimen. I have been taking a battery of steroid medication which is gradually decreasing each day, and I have been taking a steady, thrice daily regimen of progesterone. No more shots! :) I've also been taking extra strength acetominophin as-needed.

Our tentative embryo transfer is scheduled for Monday, but they could put it off until Wednesday and let them get to the blastocyst stage of development.

Friday, July 9, 2010

22 Eggs

My retrieval went well today! They got 22 eggs and tomorrow I get a phone call to tell me how many fertilized. I had a significant amount of cramping when I woke up from my IV sedation. That was not pleasant, but a couple extra strength tylenol, a codeine pill, some disposable heating pads, and some extra recovery time for the meds to kick in, and I was doing OK. As soon as you pee and your blood pressure is up, they give you something to drink (I picked gingerale and Ritz peanut butter crackers), you get dressed and you can go home.

The one thing nobody told me about in advance is that you get constipation from the fertility meds and then from the sedation, or and from the codeine. Prunes. Yogurt. Sigh.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

I cannot tell you in words how wonderful it has been to have my dad down here for a visit this week. Yesterday we went swimming and hung out with some of my favorite people (Pletschers) and today Dad and Mom bought me new sandles I could not have afforded on my own. We had coffee this morning, me and Dad played The Game of Life on my ITouch, things were grand. We even got in a nap this afternoon and Hobbes came in to snuggle.

I've been getting supportive messages on Facebook from my posts, and I am happy to ask you all to pray as I go for my egg retrieval tomorrow. I am having anxiety about the procedure, and I just ask for God's peace and acceptance either way. The retrieval will be a diagnostic test of sorts, helping the docs to get a good look at my egg quality (a potential area of concern to this whole process). My understanding is that once they have the building blocks, they will grade them and put them together to make the embryos. Then a few days later, I go back to the IVF Toll Center and they put two of them in and cryopreserve the rest. Between retrieval and implantation, they call you to let you know the status of your embryos and how many you have. My goal is to get to and through the egg retrieval tomorrow, come what may.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

HCG Shot

I had my TVU and bloodwork this morning. The nurse said my follicles grew and that my egg retrieval will be Friday at 9:15 a.m. Tonight, I'll get my HCG shot at 9:15 p.m. and I will take a pregnancy test tomorrow morning to determine if my body has absorbed the hormone in the shot. A pregnancy test when I know I can't be pregnant, somewhat ironic, no?

I had a cafe latte this morning and I went swimming this afternoon with my dad. We had a good time eating and talking with friends. My dad did a backflip off the diving board. Now I have a headache, and tingling down the right side of my neck and in my right leg. So weird. Perhaps it's a pinched nerve. I looked it up online, what could it be? Diabetes? MS? Neuropathy? I am a hypochondriac.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Here I lay, bloated and sore on the couch, knowing that once again, I will have another Gonal F shot at 8 pm. I just want to cry, but I'm too tired to cry. I'm a bit apprehensive, and yes, scared. I'm worried that the HCG shot tomorrow night is going to trigger OHSS and that I'm going to die in agony. I am a self-proclaimed hypochondriac, but I have a sense of impending doom about this whole operation.

Would you please pray for me? Would you pray that God would give me peace as I go through the Gonal F side effects tonight and that he would give me peace about the big HCG shot in the butt tomorrow night? My egg retrieval will be sometime on Friday. I don't know when, but I am really nervous about developing OHSS after the HCG shot.

Will my follicles mature enough overnight?

God is able.

This is It!

My latest ultrasound shows that my follicles are many, but that they are hovering around 14 mm. I have another TVU scheduled for tomorrow AM at 7:15 and the nurse is supposed to call me today to tell me whether or not they are going to give me one more day on Gonal F to give my follicles a little longer to mature. If it will help, I am willing to do another day. I want my best shot at a positive result.

I asked her if she saw anything wrong on the ultrasound (there was a little fluid build-up showing up on the ultrasound on my right side) and she said everything looked normal and she would call me about my bloodwork that is checking to see that my estrogen levels are continuing to rise. She said some people need 11-12 days of stimulation and that everything looked normal. If I took the Gonal F tonight, it would count as my 12th day. She seemed to think I had quite a few follicles developing...that's good, now if we could just get them to grow up. ;)

So I wait to see if I am to do the HCG shot tonight or tomorrow night. If tonight, my egg retrieval will be Thursday, if tomorrow, it will be Friday. The day after the HCG shot, I take a pregnancy test, not to see if I am pregnant, but to detect if the HCG shot was effective.

I've been watching all these egg retrieval YouTube videos and infertility video journals. Not sure if that's a good thing. The people on the videos were pretty out of it on their twilight meds. I feel like it's the last few hours before a big test. I'm not asking myself, "Will I pass?" I'm asking myself if I'm going to ace it. I want to know that I am capable of producing Grade A eggs. Sigh. It's my competitive nature. What can I say? ;)

I can't help but feel I am being measured, evaluated... That I am being found worthy or not. Each day, the Gonal F symptoms get a little more intense: fatigue, headache, dizziness, back ache, sleeplessness, soreness etc.

At the checkout, I found out that our insurance wouldn't pay for the nurse medication consultation. That's $160 out of pocket, but that's small change compared to what we could be paying without insurance. 

I talked to my mom on the way home from the docs office. My dad will be here shortly. Mom had to stay home and work, but Dad is here for a visit. Either way, things are coming to a head. Please pray for us these next few days...for health and for God's will.

Monday, July 5, 2010

To Be or Not to Be

Reflecting on the miles that have passed beneath my feet, this infertile journeywoman cannot help but ponder some of the momentous lessons she has learned from her chief affliction. Call it a refinement process, call it Monday Morning Quarterbacking, call it maturity, but whatever you call it, count it as worthwhile, despite the shadowlands.

I thank God today for my infertility. Without it, I would not have learned the importance of relying on God for my identity. Who I am in Christ is paramount. It has to be. As a woman, a large part of who I am and what I think of myself is tied to my ability to have/raise children. Some may not share the same struggle, but it's mine. As a barren woman I have been crushed on multiple occasions at my inability to participate in motherhood: Mother's Day, barbeques, chatting in groups of women, unwitting questions from random individuals, and seeing virtually everyone we know (including family and younger friends more recently married than ourselves/even unmarried ones) pop out multiple kids and despairing that it may never happen for us.

Through this bane of infertility, I have had little things to really be thankful for and that I have learned along the way. Our expenses were mediated by our incredible insurance coverage, but not elminated. My faith is strengthened when I came to the end of myself and nothing but a miracle could have provided the extra Gonal F medication needed to complete my stimulation cycle.

There are also moments of personal growth, when I have learned to stand up for myself with the leadership of my husband. When signing paperwork, championing your morals can change the outcome of a situation. If there isn't a work around, make one and politely find a compromise, otherwise, you can take your business elsewhere.

I've learned patience. After YEARS of waiting each month for pregnancies that have never come, and countless boughts of disappointment and tearfilled nights, I continue this lesson. With my aggressive treatment (375 i.u. per shot of Gonal F) and the slow maturation of my follicles, I see by ultrasound that I cannot control how my body will respond to hormone stimulation, natural or otherwise. Only God knows how many, if any will show up on the ultrasound tomorrow. A minimum of 3 mature follicles are generally sought to even attempt an egg retrieval. Mine have responded slowly on the maximum dose of FSH. A website I was perusing last night said they should be between 14 and 20 mm for retrieval. At last check my lead follicle was only 12 mm. That was Saturday. Today is Monday. Tomorrow is my last TVU and bloodwork. It's GO TIME. Make or break. Tomorrow I will know my "fate," to be or not to be.