With Me At Birth

As my little girl gets older, I have more time in my day to reflect on her life.  I also have more brain power to do so because sleep gets better with each passing month.  Lately I have been intrigued with the circumstances that got her to us.  The crazy happenings that lead to her being made.  Her.  Not just a baby, but her.  Her personality, her looks, her being.  I am truly amazed by everything that had to happen for her to be here, and every day I feel like I have a new realization on just how amazing it is to have her, and why I have been overwhelmingly attached to her since the moment I first saw her.

Ignoring ALL of the tiny things that had to happen for her to be here, like the Big Bang, the solar system forming, and life evolving on our little planet, I think about just the things that had to happen for her daddy and I  to meet.  He grew up an Army brat, traveling to a different state every few years.  I grew up in a small town, and stayed there almost my entire life until college.  We ended up both living in the same state, both attending the same college, and both, somehow, befriending the same people on a campus of thousands of students.  It seems almost inevitable that we met, but I won’t go into all of that.  Let’s just say that we were meant to be.  Simple (is that simple?) as that.

Where it really starts to get interesting for me, is when we finally decided to try to have a baby.  We had just bought a house and figured that this was as good a time as any.  I was 25, he was 26, and everything felt right.  We went through all of the motions for having a baby.  I went off birth control, waited three months, we tried, and tried, and tried for a year with no results.  We then sought help, and began the process of fertility treatments.  Five rounds of Clomid, three rounds of IUI, and finally the big IVF.  Luckily IVF worked for us, but that is where my mind starts to be truly amazed, because that is when our little one was made.

After injecting myself with what felt like a million needles full of hormones, we had our egg retrieval.  There were only five mature follicles that would attempt to be fertilized.  Of those five, four fertilized and began to mature.  Of those four, two were chosen on day three to be transferred back to my uterus.  It all seems simple, doesn’t it?  But in reality it is insane.  I was born with millions of eggs, but only five were made to try IVF with.  Five.  Then, in a lab at our specialists office, an embryologist took five of my husbands sperm, and inserted one into each egg.  Four of those eggs became embryos.  Four out of millions of eggs were now becoming babies, humans, life.  The embryologist then decided that two specific ones would be transferred back.  Two, out of millions of eggs, were receiving the chance to grow and become babies inside my belly.  Back to where they came from, after having started their little lives in a lab.  Seeing the outside world before they saw the inside of me.  Imagine!  What a way to start life!  Of those two transferred back, our little girl decided to latch on.  To bury herself deep into my uterus, and to begin to live.  Developing from an embryo, to a fetus, to a baby, and now into an infant.  Absolutely magical.

…but what really blew my mind is this… this simple fact that half of my little girl has been with me since I was born.  It’s no wonder that mothers become to attached so quickly, as we have been carrying our babies with us through our entire lives.  She was with me when I was born, as I learned to walk, as I started school, when I cried, when I laughed, when I got married.  She has been with me through it all.  She has been with me longer than my husband.  Isn’t that absolutely amazing to think about?  She has always been with me, and that is why my love for her is so overwhelming, deep, and perfect.  My little egg.  One out of millions.

Transfer Scheduled – 3 Day

Well, heard from the Embryologist today.  Out of the 8 collected, 5 were mature and 4 ended up fertilizing.  She had already scheduled the transfer when she called me.  Sunday at 9:00am.  She said depending on how they look by Sunday, they may choose to transfer three, which makes me wonder what she knows… why would she assume all of them would be in bad shape by Sunday?  Do they not look healthy?  Can you even tell by this point?  Ugh… again with the stress…

I am currently standing in my kitchen typing this because I was told to “stand up and move around for a little bit” after inserting the suppository.  Feels squishy.  I hope they do the trick and let however many the transfer really stick in there for the long haul.  I know I should start getting excited, but I don’t think I’ll be able to until I go in on Sunday and they let me know the condition of the embryos.  How do people deal with this stress multiple times?

Oh, and why does everyone keep saying “that’s great for your age!”  I’m 28, not 104!

48 hours until transfer….

Egg Retrieval, Itching, and A Big Thanks!

Today has been a big day for me.  I wanted to start by thanking everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and show your love and compassion for me and my husbands  journey.  I know we are all struggling with the same thing, so the fact that you’ve all taken time out of your days and lives to read about our struggle really means the world to me.  This blog has helped keep me sane(ish) over the past 3.5 months and it’s all because of all of you all!  Big thanks to everyone!  I hope to be able to keep showing you how much I appreciate you all by being supportive and helpful whenever you need me!  Much love for you all!

Today I also remembered why I hate hydrocodone.  It makes me itch.  All over.  All the time…. constantly… without stopping.  I’ve been trying to sleep ever since I got home.  I’m exhausted, but for some reason I can’t seem to fall all the way asleep.  I feel like I’m awake, but an hour seems to pass by like nothing.  Maybe I’m falling asleep a little?  Why doesn’t it feel like it?  Oh well, at least I get to lay around and rest.  I need it! *scratch scratch scratch*

So, the big part of my day was my egg retrieval.  The anesthesiologist today was amazing.  He was so nice and funny and helpful.  He put music on for me while we waited on the doctor and had a long discussion with me about ice cream, yogurt and smoothies.  He kept me very calm before a very big procedure, and I will be forever grateful.   So once the doctor came in (8:00 on the nose) the anesthesiologist immediately put in the meds to make me fall asleep.  Good thing I had a couple seconds (literally) before I actually fell asleep because no one told me not to lay on my gown, and apparently this was a big problem.  I had just enough time to yank the gown out from under me and get back into my butt-hanging-off-the-table position before I was out.  I awoke, kind of, about twenty minutes later.  Apparently we were having some conversations about the number of eggs retrieved and… other things? I guess?  So the total collected was 8!  I know it’s not a lot, and the odds are still not really in our favor… BUT… it’s one more than I had total on Tuesday… and the fact that they got them all out (plus the extra) was fantastic.  Now I am completely stressed out about finding out how many fertilized tomorrow.  I mean…. this is the most stressed out I’ve been so far.  I’m hoping to just sleep most of the time until the phone call tomorrow.

Will any fertilize?  If so, will it be a three-day or a five-day transfer?  Ah!  The waiting game is never ending! 🙂  I’m glad this part is over and that 8 were retrieved though! Yippy!

Now it’s time to get more rest and try to relax.  Nothing I can do from here.  It’s all up to the lab techs, eggs and spermies….. go go go guys!!!

The Injections End – The Pills Begin

 

No matter what I did, I could not get this picture to flip around.  You get the gist though.   It’s time for pills to replace injections!  Oh, and suppositories too, but I decided to keep those out of the picture.  You all know how those work. 😉

I had the hardest time getting out of bed this morning.  I was totally out-of-my-mind exhausted.  Worst morning so far.  It’s probably due to 11 days of high dose stimming.  My husband asked me today if the pills will make me as tired as the injections.  I told him no, but that the progesterone has been known to make ladies a little crazy.  I think that probably comforted him. 😉

This time tomorrow I will know how many eggs were retrieved.  I mean, if I’m aware of what’s going on I will… last time I was put under anesthesia for my wisdom teeth extraction, I was gone from the world for a good solid day.  I’m hoping that I won’t be out of it all day this time since it’s 20 minutes compared to the 1-2 hours of my wisdom teeth extraction.  We shall see!  My husband will be home taking care of me tomorrow.  I know the women have to go through all the pain of injections and aching and bloating and exhaustion, but our husbands have to deal with us while we are like this.  It’s not all fun and games and playing with themselves. 😉

Egg Retrieval Set! Thursday 9/27/12!

I just got the go ahead to take my two injections of Ovidrel tonight!  Woo! That means it’s egg collecting time.  (Why am I suddenly picturing my doctor dressed up as the Easter Bunny with a white, wicker basket?  I’ll blame the hormones.)  I am very excited to be getting this news, especially since a week ago I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make mature follicles at all. Whew… one less thing to worry about…

Now the worry begins about how many they will retrieve.  We only have 7 mature and ready to be collected, but my doctor said that there might be a few smaller ones that may be okay within the next two days.  Not likely, but maybe.  He said he is going to try as hard as he can to get all 7, and I am OVERJOYED that he will be the one doing the retrieval Thursday! Woo!

Tonight I will take my double dose of Ovidrel and then either have sex (hmmm…) or have the hubby “clean the pipes” (as the new doctor so awesomely put it).  Not sure my ovaries are up for sex, but we can give it a whirl.  Then tomorrow night I start the Z-pak (antibiotics) and no eating after midnight tomorrow night (that won’t be hard, I can’t even stay awake past 9:30).  Then Thursday morning at 8:00am… retrieval. (with a dose of hydrocodone and anesthesia) Ahh! I wonder if time is going to stop now or after the retrieval.  I’d guess after.

Any tips for the upcoming madness in my life?

**Update** got a call from the doctors office with my estrogen level.. it’s higher than 1,500 (can’t remember the exact number) so that’s good.. it’s going up! And my lining was at 7.8 today (forgot to mention that earlier).  They want me to take my two trigger shots AND 225IU more of the follistim.  I guess they really do want a few others to mature… I hope so too!  Keep on keeping on, ovaries!  Sorry belly, three shots tonight.. ouch.

One More Scan…??

Looks like I should only have one more scan, which will be tomorrow (Tuesday).  I am glad to hear this because every time I go in for a scan it’s $300.  I only had to go in today to make sure I didn’t need to order any more drugs.  From the looks of things, the doctor says I should be good to go with what I have.  He says if I need another round of meds on Tuesday night, then I can just use follistim at a higher dose, since I will be out of Menopur. Cool!  I already spent $4,200 on meds, so I’m glad to not have to spend anymore.  Oh, and I spent $33 (love this price!) on the other drugs… Hydrocodone (for the egg retrieval), Aspirin, Azithromycin (antibiotic), Ondansetron (?? No clue… Guess I’ll have to look back at my papers) and Methylprednisolone (Steroid).  I remember that the antibiotic is to help keep infections away after the retrieval and the steroid is to lower my immune system a little so the implant is more liking to take.  Yikes, what a stash!

So here are the results… Looks like we will have about 6-7 mature follicles by the time the retrieval is done (looking like it will be Thursday).  I really did expect more, but that’s probably because I’m still in my PCOS brain, instead of my DOR brain.  It’s hard to switch over when I’ve been so used to producing follicles like it’s nothing.  Well, the doctor is still happy with the size and he seems to be happy with the amount, but I know he wanted me to have 12.  Hopefully he will at least get 5-6 out during the retrieval.  I’m hoping for at least three to be implantable, but I will be overjoyed if we have at least one.  I cannot believe how stressful this whole process is.  There are just no guarantees, so the longer you go through, the MORE anxious you get.  I thought once I saw maturing follicles, I’d be a little more relaxed.  Wrong!

Next scan is tomorrow morning at 7:30am.  My estrogen level is at 1,253, which is amazing.  So glad that’s going up!  My lining is at 6.6, so it still has a little ways to go, but my estrogen is quite high, so I think it will get there.

Tonight: (Last injections?) 300IU Follistim, 300IU Menopur and one Ganirelix.  (I started the Ganirelix last night and it still burns and makes a nice, red, irritated patch on my skin).

Also, my husband came with me again today.  When I dropped my pants he giggled, got a big smile on his face and starting clapping.  What would I do without him? 🙂

The Little AMH That Could

So, I just got the results from the second AMH blood draw.  It’s now at 1.3, up from 0.67.  How does this number go up?  I have no clue.  How does it drop from 6.9 to 1.3 in nine months?  Also no clue, but I’m glad it’s higher than a 1, it gives me a little more hope.  I have a friend who had a 1.2 AMH and she had 12 eggs retrieved with 2 good ones to implant (none to freeze) and she ended up having a healthy baby girl.  Although I would like a couple to freeze, i’d be happy with a healthy enough one that it implants and stays with me!

I’m able to breathe a little better, but I’m still really anxious and nervous about whether or not my ovaries will respond.  I guess this is how everyone feels though…. huh?

Meds start on Saturday! Tick Tock!

Nursing Class

Whew… that was a lot of information.  My favorite part of the class was the nurse (she was awesome) and my second favorite part was learning that even though I will be taking 2-3 meds at a time, I get to mix them together and only do one injection a night! Woo! I had no idea that was a thing!  My least favorite part was when we had to pay $9,555.  Ouchy.  Later this afternoon I get to pay $3,000 for the meds.  Worth it!!

So, here is my dosage per day:

225 IU of Follistim
3 Vials of Menopur
(Do this for X number of days — depending on how the ultrasounds go)
Then eventually add in Genirelix for maybe 3-4 days
Then 2 trigger shots of Ovidrel 36 hours before retrieval.

Right now the retrieval is schedules for sometime between September 24-28, with transfer sometime between October 1-5, depending on how the follicles are growing… which is my biggest worry now that I know my AMH has basically disappeared.  My first ultrasound will be next Wednesday on the 19th.  Let’s go ovaries!  You can do it!

Saline and Mock

Well, everything went great today! I was worried for nothing, which does tend to happen.

We started off with a consultation with the doctor.  He is great and I really enjoy him as a person and a doctor.  He went over the procedure again, from the meds to the transfer.  There was something I was surprised to hear though.  I have read and heard that a lot of women who go through IVF are on birth control while they do the meds.  This is the wrong way to go about it.  I mean, each clinic has their own way of doing things, so shouldn’t say it’s wrong, but my doctor pointed out that if you do that, your lining is not growing like it needs to because the birth control won’t let it plump up like it needs to.  Huh.  Wonder why other places have women stay on birth control while they do the meds?

I also learned that he is fearful that because of my PCOS and my past experience with meds for IUI (the first round I was on the lowest recommended starting dose and I produced 9 follicles), he is worried about over-stimulation.  He says there are a few ways to handle that, which will come if and when we need to worry about that, but that might mean I’ll need more monitoring visits.  $300 a pop.  Eep.

I couldn’t get into a nursing class until September 11th.  Kind of stinks because I wanted to start, like, today!  It’s okay though, that will give me time to finish getting rid of this blasted cough!  It still lingers….

The saline showed that I had no cysts on the ovaries and my uterus has nothing strange in it.  He said it looked perfect.  Nice compliment for my baby holder.  Hopefully it will want to hold a baby or two for me.

The Mock also went well.  He had a little trouble with the bend in the catheter to get it to go in nice and smooth, but that is why they do the mock, so that they have the perfect measurements, bends and catheter size for the actual transfer day.  Don’t want any hold ups with your little embryos hanging out in there!

Both the Saline and the Mock gave me some wicked cramps.  I also wasn’t aware of how quickly the saline was going to revisit me.  I peed right after and I thought that should have got rid of the majority of it, but as I was checking out I felt it all come down.  Luckily you could only see it if you were really looking.  And if you were really looking, you’d think I had peed my pants.  Lovely what we go through for babies!

Now I sit here and wait.  I’m going to skip my next period by just continuing onto the next BC pack.  Then after the nursing class, i’ll stop the BC and start the meds.  He said I may bleed a little, but that it would not be a real period and the meds would stop it from coming all the way.  Then after about a week and a half of meds, they will do the egg retrieval.  They said by the time I wake up from the anesthesia, they will know how many eggs were retrieved.  Exciting to know so soon!  By the next morning they will know how many fertilized and by day three they will know how many are looking good.  He said worst case senerio would be that only 2 or 3 are still fertilized and looking alright on day three, and that means they will just go ahead and implant those on day 3.  If we have a lot and they are progressing well, we will do a day 5 transfer.  Let’s hope for a day 5!

Oh, and check out all the free swag I got!  He said it wouldn’t be enough for the cycle, but hey, every little bit helps!  I am very appreciative!