Friday, July 30, 2010

You Have Questions, I Have Answers

I know a lot of you have been patiently waiting on the edge of your seats to hear my beta results and some of you may have noticed me not so gracefully dodging your questions about exactly when the test would be. I am so sorry for leaving you all hanging like that. You all have been so amazing and so genuinely supportive during this FET and I don't think I would have survived this cycle without your encouragement. Please don't think I have avoided answering your questions for any reason other than my own crazy nervousness. My blog and twitter followers are the best and I adore you all! So without dragging it out any longer than I already have I can now tell you that I did indeed have my beta and the results came back positive!

I had the first test at my RE's on Tuesday the 27th.
Chad and I both took the day off so that we could be together when the news came and either cry or smile privately. I woke up that morning feeling convinced that it would be a bfp (a far cry from how I felt just a few days ago, thanks very much weekend getaway!) but of course then I was immediately terrified at how awful I would feel if I was wrong. I went in for bloodwork at 8:25am and at 10:33am the nurse called and told me that my beta number was 737. Neither of us jumped for joy the same way we did for our first BFP and Chad kept telling himself he wouldn't get overly excited yet, but we couldn't help but smile and get a teeny bit giddy when we called our parents and siblings to tell them the results.

After listening to all the happy voices of our mothers and sisters, we had to again face reality and the anxiety of the 2nd beta. If you remember my first BFP experience, my beta tests and following ultrasounds became a roller coaster of exhausting and heartbreaking emotions as I kept having blood drawn and kept being told that the numbers were rising but not quite enough. The ride ended crushingly in a miscarriage and D&C at 8 weeks. So yesterday morning, I was more nervous waiting for the call to hear whether my hCG had successfully doubled or not than I was waiting to find out whether it was in my system in the first place. After what seemed like the longest 4 hours of my life, the nurse finally called and told me that my beta was 1315, a rise of 78%. She then went on to say this is "not necessarily a bad thing", wording I wish she had thought out before saying because it only increased my anxiety. My next beta is Monday morning.

I want to say that I am as excited and overjoyed as I know I should be, but honestly I am a big pot of nerves with a heap of hopefulness and a dash of excitement thrown in. And that is most likely the state my emotions will stay in until we can hear a heartbeat. I know the heartbeat is not everything, and there will be plenty of other things to get nervous about after that, but since we never made it that far with Sprout, I feel like I can at least begin to embrace and get excited about being pregnant. Right now I still have a hard time using that word in relation to myself. It just doesn't feel really real yet. I am excited and happy and so incredibly grateful, but also very scared that history will repeat itself and this will end badly too. Every time I have a happy thought for myself, a frightened one is in the back of my mind. But I am fighting those fears as best as I can and I know I can win.

Again, thank you to everyone that has supported and encouraged me these past few weeks and especially to those who have hoped for me when my hope was gone. You have no idea how much your support means to me, I truly don't think I would be here without it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Getting Away

Thank you so much to everyone who has commented and offered support and advice during this past week. As you may have noticed the 2ww had me pretty stressed out and pessimistic. So, Chad and I decided to get away for a little bit and try to relax before we both lost our minds. We went away for a couple days to Catalina Island just off the coast. I am happy to report that our trip was a complete success and we not only had a great time but we also managed to obsess over the 2ww a little less. I was distracted enough that I didn't even think about POASing and I came home feeling refreshed and much more optimistic. While we there I really stopped feeling certain this cycle wouldn't work and actually started to think it just could be it! Nothing feels as great as having hope again!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guarding My Heart

I don't really know if I should admit this but I don't have a good feeling about this FET cycle. I know I am supposed to be optimistic and positive but I just have a gut feeling that this will be a BFN. It's not that I am feeling defeated or trying to be negative, it just seems like one of those times when you just "know". I want this cycle to be it, but my intuition is saying otherwise.

With my IVF in March, I was of course nervous and excited and so many other emotions. I hoped for a positive result and tried to prepare myself for a negative, but somewhere in my heart I just had the feeling it would be a BFP. I was overjoyed when that hope and prediction came true. Then when it came time for the first ultrasound, I had this gut feeling that it wouldn't be good. I have never really talked about this, but the day before the u/s I just knew it wouldn't go well. I wasn't nearly as surprised by our bad news as I could have been because my instincts had warned me ahead of time.

Or at least I think it is my instincts. My good friend Lisa reminded me today that my doubts and fear aren't proof of anything. She said it is just my head trying to protect my heart. And she is right but what my head is missing is that my heart will hurt whether I am optimistic or not. And this got me thinking even more about instinct and intuition.

I have always been a believer in gut feelings but I am starting to really wonder if that belief is slightly misplaced. I mean I also used to think everything happened for a reason, but after all I have been through, I don't believe that anymore either. (a blog post for another time) There is a big push in the world around us to trust our guts, to live in connection with our intuitive nature and let it guide us, but honestly how often are our instincts really right? Do we just convince ourselves of their accuracy based on the times they are correct and conveniently forget when they're not? I wish there was a way to truly test my instincts.

Speaking of testing, I am going to go off topic here because I need some advice from my dear bloggy friends. To test or not to test. My beta is coming up and of course I have to do the blood work no matter what but I am starting to wonder if I should poas before my appt or not. Last time, I was too terrified of a BFN and I waited for the phone call from my RE's office. This time around, I know that a BFN could never be as devastating as the news of my miscarriage, so part of me just wants to get it over with. If my instincts are right and it is negative it seems like an HPT would allow me to rip off the band-aid in minutes instead of waiting hours for results to come in. Then again, do I really want wake up early and go to the RE's office already knowing I will be getting bad news? Any advice or first hand experiences would be so greatly appreciated on this!

As for my intuitive nature and my negative so-called instincts, I am doing my best to focus on the positives. I am reminding myself of the many stories I have heard first hand of those who just knew without a doubt in their minds that their cycle had failed only to be proven completely wrong when the day of truth finally came. If the scientific theories surrounding instinct have any bearing, instincts exist simply for the purpose of self preservation. We know to retreat from unseen danger, just as a squirrel runs from an oncoming car, to keep ourselves safe and protected. If this is the case, my instincts don't know the outcome of anything, they just know that the outcome has the potential to hurt me and is setting off those alerts to keep me as safe as possible. My brain is just doing it's job trying to protect my heart.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ICLW: Back In The Saddle

It is time once again for ICLW! (International Comment Leaving Week)

For those of you visiting for the first time, I will give you the short version of my story. My husband, Chad, and I married and began TTC in 2007. After a little over two years with no success, I was diagnosed with blocked fallopian tubes and I began IVF treatments in 2010. My first IVF cycle in March resulted in a BFP and 13 frozen embies. We were overjoyed to have our Sprout! Unfortunately, in April, we learned that the pregnancy was not viable and I miscarried at 8 weeks. After a very long wait for AF to return, we finally started our first FET earlier this month and transferred two snowflakes on July 15. Which means that I am now in the middle of the 2ww.

After my miscarriage, I was in blog and TTC limbo for a while and it feels good to be back in the saddle again, so to speak. Although now that I am in the 2ww, it feels more like I am in the saddle of a wild, bucking rodeo horse rather than a peaceful trotting pony. I am doing my best to tame the wild beast that is my anxiety though, and of course hoping with everything I've got that my rainbow is on the horizon.

Thank you so much for stopping by and keeping me sane during this crazy week. I look forward to getting to know you all through your comments and blogs. Please feel free to poke around in my past posts and to come back next week to either celebrate or cry with me when this wait is finally over.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Snowflakes

I am happy to report that yesterday's transfer went smoothly and I am now enjoying a cozy day in bed so that my little embies can snuggle in for the next nine months. I was nervous about the thaw and had wondered whether I would get a call from the lab before we went in. When I didn't, I assumed that no news must be good news and hoped for the best.

Thankfully we were able to meet with the embryologist as soon as we arrived at the lab. He told us that both of the embryos selected for thaw were defrosted successfully and we had 2 blastocysts, one 4AA & one 4AB, ready for transfer. (for info on blastocyst grading click here) He said they were thawed using a newer technique which makes their chances of successful pregnancy pretty comparable to the blasts we transferred during the fresh cycle. This definitely gives me some hope since, although I miscarried, that transfer was successful.

Dr. Jedi was, as always, a calming and optimistic presence and he was very pleased with the way everything went. My uterine lining was ideal and the placement was perfect. Even the lab technician responsible for the embryos commented on how great everything looked. The best part though was that they positioned the ultrasound screen just right so that I could actually see the transfer. I cannot tell you how amazing it was to see those two little tiny white dots enter my body, my beautiful little snowflakes. Once, we were alone in the room, Chad and I both had tears in our eyes, overwhelmed by the emotion of that moment.

Now comes the truly hard part, surviving the anxiety ridden 2ww. I have a list of things planned to try and keep myself occupied but I know that my embies and my hopes for them will never be far from the very forefront of my thoughts. Right now though, I am doing everything I can to stay relaxed and hopeful for my tough, little snowflakes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Lucky Charm

A few months ago I won an amazing giveaway hosted by Ashley at "For the of Shoes...And A Baby Too" to design my own charm from CT's Design It Your Way Jewelry Etsy shop. It took me a little while to come up with the right necklace but after working with CT, I designed the perfect charm to help me keep Sprout close to my heart.

I love it. It is so beautiful and perfect and I am so grateful to Ashley and CT for making it possible. I feel so close and connected to Sprout when I wear it. I plan keep Sprout close to my heart and wear it to my transfer tomorrow, hopefully it will bring me a little luck. Although I am excited about the possibility of a new pregnancy, I will always love and miss my Sprout and I love having this memorial.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

This past weekend was the last before my transfer and as such, Chad and I thought a little fun was in order. So when we were invited to a party Friday night, it seemed like a great idea. And it was, we had a great time laughing with friends, playing cards and doing shots, just not the shots you typically would do at a party. No, while going through fertility treatments there are a whole different set of shots to worry about and party night was no exception.

After the cancellation scare Friday morning, my nurse called and instructed me to do my first hCG shot that night. Since we are supposed to time these pretty consistently it was quickly obvious that the injection schedule and the party would conflict. We discussed skipping it, after all our FET is the most important thing in the world right now and I would rather have quiet Fridays at home with my family anyway. But we also really did want to go, have some fun and enjoy the chance to just be us for the night. So I turned to to twitter. Do we go? And if so, do I inject 4 hours early or try to stealthily do the shot at the party?

I was so grateful for the response I got and after hearing a few great tales of secret injections in similar circumstances, (including one loving DH that sneaked into a bachelorette party, administered the injection and crept back out) we decided to pack up our supplies and go for it. Secretly mixing medication in the bathroom of a friend's house was definitley a unique and memorable experience. Unfortunately, being in this unique situation was not without flaws and our numbing efforts were unsuccessful, resulting in the most painful injection yet. It hurt for quite a while afterward and I had to avoid sitting for most of the night, but overall it worked. We did the shot, the meds made it back home safely and we had a good time.

I thought the shot excitement for this FET would end there but alas, before the weekend ended we had one more mishap. After all the concern and subsequent relief surrounding Friday night's hCG injection, we both completely forgot about Saturday night's estrogen injection. Sunday morning, almost exactly 12 hours after we should have done the shot, Chad realized that something was missing. We checked the schedule and sure enough, we had missed a shot. I admit I was slightly nervous but knowing that this injection was supplemental I felt mostly confident that if we did the injection immediately it would be fine, a call to my nurse confirmed it. So that's what we did, and while this one hurt less it cause the most bleeding of any injection yet. That coupled with the bruise I acquired Friday night did not make for a pretty sight, good thing this is an area of my body no one else has to look at.

All of this made for a funny and interesting shot filled weekend. These are definitley different than the shots we were doing together before we got married and while I would have never imagined being in this situation or having to go through so much to create our family, I have to honestly say I like these shots a little bit better. Yes, they are inconvenient, painful and expensive but the results of doing them are definitely much more desirable. I would choose a well prepared body, ready for a growing baby over a hangover any day. "Bottoms up!" suddenly has a totally different meaning!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lucky Lefty

As I mentioned in a previous post (which you can find here), FET has been much less involved than the fresh IVF cycle, to the point that I was almost wishing for something important to be happening just so I could feel a little more a part of it all. Well, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for...

Yesterday, I had a date with wandy to check my uterine lining and determine whether I would be ready for transfer on schedule. Dr. Jedi explained that I needed to have a triple layer lining measuring at least 6mm, and if it was not ready that we would have to push back the transfer by a week. I was slightly nervous about this but received quick relief when he immediately informed me that my lining was triple layered and measuring 10mm.

Then it was time for a quick check of my ovaries to be sure they were still cooperating. Dr. Jedi explained that the estrogen I have been injecting every 3 days is meant to not only develop a perfect lining, but to also suppress ovulation. He found Righty with no problem and pleasantly reported that it was completely dormant as it should be. Then the hunt for Lefty began. As you may remember from my fresh cycle, Lefty likes to hide behind my uterus, and in addition it to almost forcing me to sacrifice half of my eggs (read more here), it is always difficult to find on ultrasound. After much prodding Dr. Jedi finally manged to get it on screen and issued a slightly worried sound. I had a possible ovulation cyst. If I did indeed ovulate, my progesterone levels would be ruined and the cycle would be canceled. Well, here is the drama I thought I wanted.

Of course, I was freaking out just a bit, nervous that after the long wait to start this FET, it would all be lost and we would have to wait yet another month. I couldn't believe that Lefty was giving us trouble yet again! Dr. Jedi reassured me that the chances were still good that the cycle would be fine and ordered blood work to check my progesterone levels and determine which way it would go. I gave blood and held my breath.

After what felt like an incredibly long 3 hours, the nurse called with the great news, the cycle is still on! My P4 was very low and perfect for me to begin my hCG shots that evening. My transfer is scheduled for this upcoming Thursday the 15th. I can't even begin to tell you the relief I felt. It almost felt as though mischievous Lefty was chuckling and saying "Gotcha!". T
hat left ovary really does love messing with me. If we end up having a child that loves to psych us out and play hide and seek, I will definitely know which side of my body that lucky little egg sprang from.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Childhood Memories

I have spent so much time in the past few years thinking about my future children. Imagining what they will look like, what their favorite things will be and how they will experience childhood. I have so many wonderful memories of growing up and I always think about the ways in which I can share with my kids all of the amazing things about childhood. For me, growing up was truly magical and I was so incredibly devastated the day I was finally forced to realize that certain things were more alive in my imagination than in reality. It was on that day, when I was about 10 years old, that my mom told me about the magic of parenting. She said that once you have children you get to live all of that wonder and adventure all over again through their eyes and it is even better than the first time. Since then, I have known that being a mom was the most important thing I could do and the thing I have most wanted.

But since I do not yet have children of my own to share and create memories with, I thought I would do a survey I have seen around, and take the time to share some of my childhood with all of you. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to help my children in creating their own wonderful memories.
  • Where/when you born? I was born in December 1982 in Key West, FL but grew up in and around Orlando.
  • Were you born first, second, etc.? I am the oldest, I have a sister that is 2 years younger than me. We were very close growing up. We played together all the time and used to sing each other to sleep.
  • What was your first pet? As a child we only had fish. I remember specifically my favorite fish, Tyson. Then when I was in high school I got Angel, my bunny. He was the most amazing house rabbit ever, litter trained and everything!
  • What were you for your first Halloween? I think I was a witch but the first Halloween I really remember was when I was Minnie Mouse. I had a Minnie doll in a green dress that I used to sleep with and I wanted to be her.
  • Was there a gift you really wanted for Christmas that you never received? I used to ask Santa for a white kitten with blue eyes, a pink nose and pink ears every year but I all I ever got was a stuffed kitty with the same description.
  • Did you have any imaginary friends? According to my mom I had a few, the ones she remembers best are Punky Brewster and Pinocchio. I used to play with them all the time.
  • What were your favorite books? I loved all the Golden Books, I had tons of them. I also loved "Goodnight Moon" and "Caps For Sale". The first chapter book I remember reading was "Freckle Juice", I really liked that one.
  • What did you wanna be when you grew up? I had a list but mom and actress were always at the top of it. I did a lot of acting in high school and college but now that has faded, motherhood obviously has not.
  • Favorite after-school, never-missed shows? I loved Disney afternoon- Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Gummy Bears, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers. I also really liked Animaniacs and Tiny Toons. I still know all the songs for those shows!
  • What was your favorite toy? hmmm I don't know that I had one. I remember more the made up toys. Specifically, my bathroom sink. I used to use it as a cauldron or science lab, depending on the day, and I would make potions and science experiments. I really wanted a chemistry set as a child but I got a microscope instead. Oh I also loved my bike! I enjoyed being able to roam the neighborhood and search for adventure.
  • What was your first best friend's name? My kindergarten best friend was named Stephanie. When I was 10 I met my best friend Coco, and we are still best friends today. It is so amazing to have someone in your life that knew you way back when.
  • Broken any bones or had any freaky accidents as a kid? I have never broken a bone but when I was about 12 my friend accidentally hit me in the head with a baseball bat. Luckily, it was a small cut that didn't need stitches.
  • Did you play house or pretend to be a super hero? A little of both. I also liked to play office, school, witches and wizards, and cops & robbers. I also used to do plays quoting lines from my favorite movies and things I had picked up from Romeo & Juliet, always forcing my sister to play the supporting roles.
  • Were you romantically involved with someone as a pre-teen? I had a couple of "boyfriends" when I was that age but I would always get nervous and avoid them. I had one huge puppy love crush in middle school though and I still have the stuffed bear I named after him.
  • Did you get along with your parents growing up? My parents got divorced when I was 13 so it was mostly me, my mom and my sister. My mom and I definitely had some tough moments during my teen years but we got along for the most part and now we are best friends.
  • Were you involved in any extra-curricular activities? If so, what? I was in drama club all through high school and I was the morning announcement anchor during a lot of high school as well.
  • What was the first record, tape or CD you remember buying? I had a lot of records of kids music and the ones that came inside a book so that you could read along. But the first tape I bought was The New Kids on the Block- yes I still know a lot of those songs too lol
  • Did you ever fall in love with someone in high school? Yes, I had a crush on a boy that I never thought would notice me but then one day he did. We dated during my senior year. It was my idea of the quintessential high school relationship.
  • Did you enjoy your childhood? I absolutely loved it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Watching Ice Melt

It's one week into FET and the only big news is that there is no big news. MY RE's office proved to be awesome, yet again, by getting me in for a date with wandy the very same day that AF came and starting me on meds. The list of which is somewhat short. There are still plenty of needles and pill bottles this time around, but nothing compared to arsenal I faced during the fresh cycle. My evening prenatal vitamins were already habit, so other than an injection every 3 days, I am barely even aware that I am doing a cycle right now. It almost feels like I am not.

It is very strange. I almost miss the high level of involvement that came with the fresh IVF. There was a lo to deal witht, but at least with the constant shots and changes in my body I had some physical proof that big things were happening. With the FET there is nothing. My ovaries don't need to be doing anything special, they are barely even a factor this time around, so there is no tummy swelling, no hot flashes, no mood swings. This is great in so many ways. I honestly don't think my fragile heart and mind could handle the ups and downs of a fresh cycle after the miscarriage, so for that reason I am grateful for just how much easier FET is, but I also almost miss these symptoms because they gave me indicators of progress. Yes, hot flashes are miserable, but when they happened I knew the drugs, and my body, were doing what they were supposed to do. This time, I am assuming the drugs are priming my lining for implantation as they should, but until my ultrasound, which is a week away, I have no way to gauge if it's working well.

Adding to the feeling of inactivity is just how short my FET cycle is compared to the fresh one. Last time I had to start with a month of BCP, followed by a few weeks of lupron and then stims and then retrieval before finally reaching transfer day. There was constant activity and there were many milestones along the way. This time I have one, maybe two more ultrasounds and then it's transfer time! How crazy is that? In 2 weeks I will be PUPO! I waited for AF and this cycle for so long that now it feels so crazy to me how quick it is going to be. There are some great things to be said about this short cycle though, for one that I will be starting and finishing it within the same month. I will have an answer, positive or negative, before July is over.

Even though I miss some of that constant activity of IVF, and the productive feeling it gave me, it also made me that much more aware of the 2ww. Going from constant appointments, wandings, injections, and blood draws to absolutely nothing but waiting for 2 weeks was maddening. This time around I am doing virtually nothing before the transfer, so I'm thinking that now doing virtually nothing after won't feel like quite such a shock to the system. Although, I know that no matter how ready I am for the 2ww, it will still be long and agonizing, hopefully this, along with a weekend away right before beta, will keep me at least mostly sane.

Mostly though FET so far really does feel unproductive. I know I am doing everything I can and should be doing, but it feels a lot like I am doing nothing. Last time, I was growing eggs. My body was an engine, revved up to it's full potential in creation. It was actively doing something. I feel like it is more out of my hands this time, since it is all out of my body now. It felt like I could visualize and meditate to encourage the growth of strong, healthy eggs. This time I just sit around waiting, watching the ice melt. I have no control over whether the melt will be successful (not that I really had any control last time but the illusion was nice). I just have to hope and pray that my little embies survive the thaw and snuggle in for nine happy, healthy months.