fertilization report — August 30, 2015

fertilization report

Quick update: out of the 4 eggs they retrieved Friday, 3 of them fertilized. As of now, we have 3 little embabies. We need for them to be strong and make it to day 5, which will be Wednesday September 2. The nurse told me that depending on how the embryos look, they might push it to day 6 for better results. They will then be biopsied and frozen. The biopsies will go through 2 weeks of genetic testing to determine which embryos would be viable. Now we wait…

retrieval complete!  — August 28, 2015

retrieval complete! 

I may have had one hour of sleep last night, probably due to the fact that I had iced tea at 10pm, but also due to anxiety. I tossed and turned for what seemed like forever. Ross finally came to bed (he’s been working crazy long days) and I thought I’d finally fall asleep, but no. 30-45 minutes later he started snoring and I gave up. It was just after 2am and I went to the living room with my phone, iPad, and pillow and sat in my favorite chair. At 4:30am, I went to wake up Ross since we needed to leave the house by 5am. 

I drove because he woke up with a headache and he was still very groggy. There was no traffic and we were in our parking spot by 5:55am. At 6:05am we walked into the building and registered and then went down to the waiting room. There was just one other couple there that early. We waited about 15 minutes and the I was called back to change and get my IV started. The nurse went over all the consents with us and then Dr G came in to see how we were doing. He visited a few minutes and soon after he left, the anethsialogist came in to go over, yet again, the procedure. 

Another nurse came to get me and we walked down to the OR where I got up on the table and they covered me with warm blankets. That’s my favorite part! The anethsialogist gave me the initial meds to relax me and then I remember the face mask covering my nose and mouth and I was out. Woke up in recovery and got myself dressed when Ross got there and they went over post op instructions. 

Dr G arrived and told us that he was able to retrieve 4 eggs. He appeared optimistic, but I’m nervous. I can’t help it. I’ve been trying so hard to remain positive throughout this cycle, but all the “what ifs” start to creep in and take over. They will call tomorrow morning with a fertilization report. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for us if you think about it. 

They arrived with the wheelchair about 8:45am and I was a little shaky on my feet, but managed to get situated. The tech told me he liked my shirt which says “but first, coffee.” It happens to be one of my favorite shirts too and it speaks the truth! I was rolled through the waiting room, which was pretty full by this time. Made it into the car and Ross drove home. We stopped by McDonalds for breakfast because both of us were so hungry. 

Now, time for a nap…

52 shots in 14 days — August 27, 2015

52 shots in 14 days

  But, who’s counting? ME! That’s who! ☺️ Pictured above are the last two shots I had to take for this stim round. They are pre-filled syringes of Ovadril that have been hanging out in my fridge for the last few weeks. Yesterday morning was my doctor appointment and they called with my lab results in the afternoon letting me know that I needed to do the trigger shot (Ovadril) at exactly 7:45 last night. 
The pre op nurse also called yesterday to confirm the Friday morning retrieval procedure and go over all my current medications. She even asked about the partially collapsed lung I had in high school in 1999. My procedure is set up to begin at 7:15am, which means we need to arrive no later than 6:15am. The surgery center is in Houston off of Westheimer and Fondren, which, with no traffic at all, will take us an hour to get to. We need to leave our house no later than 5am tomorrow morning, but thanks to my new CrossFit habit, that actually does not seem too early. 

The nurse from Dr G’s office told me that the reason my surgery time is so early is because the doctor already had a surgery scheduled that morning and he has to be back in The Woodlands by 9am to start seeing patients. This practice has a dozen doctors who are more than qualified to do my retrieval if necessary, but it was great to see how invested Dr G is in our IVF journey because he wanted to be the one there to do the procedure. 

During our first cycle of IVF in the spring, my numbers were just a little off, so Dr G wanted me to do lab work at 8:30am on a Saturday. The only office open on the weekend in their practice is downtown Houston, which meant an hour drive. I got to my appointment and the nurse told me that Dr G was there that morning only because he wanted to be the Dr who did my ultrasound. Again, I felt like a patient he really cared about and not just another number. He came into the exam room and told me that he wouldn’t ask his patient to do something that he was not willing to do himself. If I had to be there on a Saturday morning, he was going to be there too. 

Back to tomorrow morning: same old routine. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight tonight. Wear loose and comfy clothing. Don’t forget socks.  No driving for 24 hours. The procedure will last all of about 15 minutes and then I’ll be in recovery where Ross will meet me and we will find out for sure how many eggs were retrieved. From the numerous ultrasounds I’ve had in the last 14 days, it’s looking like I have 3 good eggs with another possible 2 that might reach maturity by the time of the procedure tomorrow morning. 

I’ll post an update tomorrow. We will probably be on our way home by 9am and I get to hang out and be lazy the rest of the day until a friend picks me up for our all girls fantasy football league draft tomorrow night. 🏈

definitely, maybe and support — August 25, 2015

definitely, maybe and support

Retrieval is set for this Friday…I think. I am scheduled to go back to the Dr Wednesday morning for more blood work and another ultrasound. I am to continue my shots through Wednesday night. I will know more after seeing the Dr in a day and a half from now. It is crazy how timing is everything with IVF. Down to the hour and minute. 

I was able to attend a support group tonight. This was my second time, but due to work scheduling, I have not been able to go since May. Otis offered just once a month. There were 5 women in attendance and two of them had their husbands with them. Last time I went, there was just one other woman there, so it was a real crowd tonight. The support group is lead by a licensed therapist who specializes in infertility counseling. It’s the same woman I saw for individual counseling a few times in the spring after we found out our first IVF attempt was unsuccessful. 

It was nice to be in a room with other women and couples who are facing similar struggles. We were all in different stages of infertility, but we were all able to relate to each other. It was nice to be able to hear their stories. Many of my own thoughts and fears were shared by the other men and women in the group.  

I live in an area that attracts people from all over the world due to the oil and gas industry. In our little group of 5 women, 3 of us were American, one from Russia and another from the Middle East. Infertility is a struggle that does not discriminate. People from all cultures and societies are struggling to have families of their own. It was interesting that it has been infertility that has brought us together. 

I started this blog because I needed an outlet. But it has become so much more than that. If the only reason I am going through infertility now is so that I will be able to help someone else through it later, then this will have all been worth it. I know that without a doubt. Sure, there are some hard days. Really hard days. But, I am also learning how to live for today. 

Today was the first day back to school for many Texan children, and you know what? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I saw all the back to school pictures my friends and family were posting on social media and I was truly happy for them. It might be because I was very aware this day was coming because I work with the adolescent population in my current job and I have been preparing them for this day for a few weeks, as many struggle with school related anxiety and bullying. But I also know that I was happy because I have been able to let go of the bitterness and resentment I’d been holding on to for far too long. I’m not proud to admit this, but I was mad. Jealous. Sad. For a while, I was so caught up in not having a child of my own, that I couldn’t even feel happy for the people closest to me. 

Infertility is not my fault, but it is especially not the fault of anyone else. It is what it is, which is a very simple way of summing up a rather large  and complicated issue. I don’t want to minimize the issue of infertility, but I also don’t want it to consume me. I talked to my teenagers today about being the best version of themselves each day. I work with these kids on a daily basis to set goals for themselves, but this is also going to become a goal of my own. I want to be the best version of me each day. I want to go to bed each night knowing that I gave it my all that day. As long as I work to be the best I can be each day, there is no way I’m going to fail. 

**Disclaimer: Today and this last week have been really good and I’m not naive enough to think that I won’t have more bad days. Therefore, I reserve the right to have a pity party in the future if I feel like it. It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to. 😉

getting closer — August 24, 2015

getting closer

Had another dr appointment this morning. Blood work and ultrasound was due today. Poor guy has given up on my left ovary. We were hoping that by today, it would be more visible, but at this point Dr G is thinking that the left ovary just fizzled out this cycle, which is a bummer. We were really hoping for more eggs this stim cycle. So far, it’s looking like 3-5 eggs will be retrieved. The first cycle we had 6 to work with and only one was healthy. Three of the eggs are measuring great and are between 15 and 17mm, which is right on target. There are two more eggs that Dr G is hoping that with a few more days of stim meds, they will also increase in size. 

Dr G said that during the retrieval, they will have a better opportunity to look more thoroughly at the left ovary since I will be asleep and they won’t have to worry about me being in pain while they look for that organ that is enjoying its hiding spot. They are having a difficult time locating that ovary because of the way my uterus tilts back and to the side. Any time a Dr or nurse mentions the tilt of my uterus, they are always quick to follow that up with, “but that’s okay, completely normal.” 

As of now, we are looking at a retrieval date of this Thursday the 27th or Friday the 28th. Dr said they definitely would not push the retrieval as far as Saturday. Dr G said that if my lab work comes back this afternoon telling us that my hormones are at the correct level, then they will most likely trigger me (2 different shots that I have not talked about yet) on Wednesday and the retrieval will be on Friday. But, as always, IVF is a waiting game and requires patience and flexibility.  

another day, another doctor appointment —

another day, another doctor appointment

I was in the waiting room at my clinic on Friday and I heard my doctor’s voice as he spoke to other patients around the corner. After waiting about 35 minutes, I was called back by a nurse and she took my blood to send off to the lab to find out my levels and then told me that I would not be seeing Dr G today because he had just gone across the street to the hospital for an emergency D&C. 

This meant that a patient who was there for her appointment to check the progress of her early pregnancy had just received the news that she had miscarried. This IVF stuff is not for the faint of heart, but if you are at this stage of medical intervention to become pregnant, you have most likely already experienced some very sad days on your journey to create a family. 

It terrifies me that I could possibly have a 5th or even 6th miscarriage. It scares me for a few reasons. One, being that after the 4 losses we have already experienced, IVF is by no means a guarantee that it won’t happen again. The second, being that my doctor has already informed us that even people who have 3-4 miscarriages have a 75% chance of still having a healthy pregnancy; however, if you have 5+ miscarriages, your odds of a healthy pregnancy drop to 40%. And yes, I realize these are just numbers and statistics, but when you are faced with the reality Ross and I are facing, those numbers can definitely put you on edge. 

During the first round of IVF this last spring, there was a day when I came in for my appointment and I had been assured that I would see my Dr, as he had been out of the office the 2-3 previous appointments. I became very frustrated when I found out that I would not be seeing him on that particular visit either. The nurses saw my frustration and gently told me that he was assisting a couple who had just lost twins and they would be having emergency surgery. As soon as I heard the news, my heart ached for this couple. I know all too well what it is like to go into an appointment excited to see your baby’s heart beat, only to find out that your baby is gone. 

The fear is all too real and I can’t help but think to myself, what if?  What if I am able to become pregnant for the 5th time on IVF and still have a miscarriage? I share these concerns with Ross and he is always quick to remind me that I can become pregnant again and 9 months later have a healthy baby to love. 

I think I will always grieve the 4 babies we have lost. In a matter of days after finding out I was pregnant, I had already dreamt a lifetime for that child. If they would be a boy or girl, if they would look like me or Ross, what they might accomplish as they grew up and I even dreamt about the children they might one day have. 

I’m not sure how my posts end up turning sad so often. But I do know that I have not lost hope. My joy is still here. I know with all my heart that I was meant to be a mother. 

week one done! — August 20, 2015

week one done!

It has been a full week since we began the stimulation medications. Went to the doctor yesterday (Wed 8/19) for ultrasound and bloodwork. No changes to my medications. I am to continue what I’ve been doing this last week as far as the dosages are concerned. I will go back tomorrow morning (Fri 8/21) for another ultrasound and blood work. 

There is something about my left ovary. This is a recent thing, but the last three ultrasounds I’ve had in the last few weeks, there have been two different doctors doing them and both of them have had a very difficult time finding my left ovary. The first time it took the Dr a few minutes then the second time it was a different Dr and it took him about 5 minutes to find it. Then there was yesterday. 10 minutes y’all. I’m not kidding. It was sooooooo awkward. Again, my intestines were in the way and he was pressing down on my belly to get a better view, as he was moving my organs around. The only thing I can think of that has changed since the last series of ultrasounds in the spring is starting CrossFit. I guess things moved around a bit and have settled differently due to the exercising??

I’ve had a crazy busy week at work since the other adolescent therapist is out for 6 days on vacation. I’ve been doing all the groups, assessments, intakes, schedules and staffings with the psychiatrist. Yesterday was an awesome group with my teenagers as we discussed triggers and coping skills for anger. No matter how busy I am at work, I love getting to take time out to spend a few hours with the teenagers and families. Some days I leave work feeling defeated, but then there are other days, like yesterday, that I leave feeling like I made a difference. It’s the best feeling in the world! 

just a few things… — August 18, 2015

just a few things…

  1. First round of IVF back in the spring, I gave myself the shots in our bedroom. This time, because one of them has to be refrigerated, I do the shots in the kitchen and totally feel like someone might see me and think I’m doing drugs or something, but that would only be possible if they were standing in my backyard, which creeps me out. You might say I’m a bit paranoid. Maybe I should talk to someone about that…
  2. My cousin sent a text message earlier telling me that she was getting her 2 year old ready for bed when they sat down to say their prayers. My cousin asked her daughter who she wanted to pray for tonight and she responded, “Manda annnnd Ross.” My heart melted.
  3. My high school English teacher is following my blog and I’m concerned about the grammatical errors she will find. Mrs. Anderson, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I can still recite the 48 most commonly used prepositions and there is a good chance that you will read more than one sentence that ends in a preposition, which I know is a no-no. Fair warning. 😉
night routine — August 16, 2015
morning routine — August 15, 2015