Transfer Number Four

As July comes to a close, we’ve done our fourth and final transfer of the embryos that were retrieved last October. We got 15 eggs, of which 11 fertilized. Of those 11, 9 were still going strong on day 5, which meant a fresh transfer of two, and freezing seven. Over the course of the last 7 months, we’ve transferred all seven frozen embryos, usually in pairs, except this last time. We only had three left, so we decided to transfer them all, that way if it failed, we could move on to another fresh cycle with embryo testing.

When I first spoke with my doctor about this cycle, he asked how many we’d like to transfer, knowing that we had three left. I told him both David and I would like them all to be transferred, based on our history of non-success. My doctor luckily agreed on one condition, which I agreed to.

This time around, I decided that my pre transfer beverage of choice would be iced tea. Tea always has the ability to fill my bladder a LOT, so I thought it would be good to drink as I usually have problems with the amount the recommend to drink not being enough to fill my bladder to where they’d like. So 32 ounces of tea later, and the first scan shows I’m completely empty. Great. Two more bottle of water later, and I’m still darn near empty. Even more great. I was threatened with a catheter to fill my bladder for me, but luckily the cath into my uterus went just fine, so I was spared the “joy” of having my bladder filled with liquid from the wrong direction.

I had made a playlist of meaningful songs to listen to, and timed it just right to get the one I wanted for transfer to play right when my doctor was ready to do it. Here are a few of the very meaningful lyrics:

“I’m not surprised, not everything lasts, I’ve had my heart broken so many times I stopped keepin’ track”

“I tried so very hard not to lose it”

“And I know someday that it’ll all turn out”

“And I promise you kid, that I’ll give so much more than I get, I just haven’t met you yet”

“I might have to wait, I’ll never give up, I guess it’s half timing, and the other half’s luck, wherever you are, whenever it’s right, you come out of nowhere and into my life”

“And I know that we can be so amazing, and baby your love is gonna change me, and now I can see every possibility”

IMG_1338

Here’s me in my post transfer Valium induced calm, still listening to my playlist, trying not to get too emotional.

Here are the two pictures they gave us, one of the embryos shortly before transfer, hatching out of their shells nicely, and the other of where they were placed in my uterus.

fet 3 embryos us transfer

My mom came up again (thanks mom, you’re the best!) for my 48 hour bed rest sentence. It puts my mind at ease knowing that I don’t have to worry about anything but resting while she’s here.

I go back in later this week for a hormone check to see if my medications need to be adjusted and then in less than two weeks we’ll find out if this cycle has worked. Prayers and good thoughts are always welcome during this precarious time of will-it-won’t-it!

Managing Expectations

The past 3 months have really been a test of my patience and of managing what I expect from my infertility clinic and doctor.

We began the drug portion of this FET cycle two-ish weeks ago. The first week was an easy one, with just one injection a day. Last week I began the pill popping, which has been much better this time around. I don’t feel nearly as many side effects as I did every other time. I think the big difference is that I’ve switched from generic estrogen to name brand. I think that the switch has also helped with the reason I have to take estrogen. For example, last cycle it took 3 weeks and 4 days from when I started injections to when I was able to do the transfer. This time around, it will once again be 3 weeks and 4 days, but my uterine lining is going to be much thicker (thicker=better) by the time we get there, and with less medication total.

I still plan to share what is going on, but I’m going to be a bit more vague with dates this time around. Based on my appointment this morning, I should have my final transfer before July ends. That means that during the first two weeks of August I will have at least one beta, hopefully more than one!

We are still planning to thaw and transfer our three remaining embryos, with the hopes that one or two of them take. I will once again be doing intramuscular progesterone, which means more injections. I know this may sound crazy to some, but I am looking forward to the pain, and hoping that I have it for several months.

 

Ah yes, managing expectations. The title of this post. I almost forgot! Both David and I were ready to start again as soon as possible after the D&C, but that was over 3 months ago. I didn’t think we’d be forced to wait this long, as many fertile people can get pregnant just a few weeks after a D&C. I’ve been pushing my doctor to shorten everything, because I know there is no medical reason to wait around this long to do another transfer. It has been horribly frustrating. And after I saw the numbers on the ultrasound this morning, I thought for sure they would schedule the transfer for 5 or 6 days from now, which turns out to not even be close. I was super disappointed when my nurse gave me the potential transfer date as it was way further away than I was hoping for. After thinking about it for a while, I’ve come to accept that they are just working on a preplanned schedule, and there was/is nothing I can do to make it go any faster (also frustrating as heck!).

 

Third times the charm, right?!

Woah Catch-up Time!

The last time I posted here I had some pretty crappy news to share. I haven’t posted since then because there hasn’t been anything going on.

Finally, something is going on. I’ve gotten started with the FET process for a third time. First, a few funnies:

  1. My silly nurse still emails me about watching injection videos. Lady, husband has done over 200 shots. I think we got this.
  2. The money lady called me today to talk to me about how much this was going to cost. Yup, been here, done this.
  3. If things go super terribly David may not even be here for the transfer. Not that he needs to be; he’s done his one job already, but I like having him with me.

Second, basically things are going to be the same as they’ve been every other time: injections followed by estrogen, increasing until my uterus is ready for a burrowing embryo, then adding butt injections and the transfer. We’ve decided, and our doctor agrees, that we will transfer the three remaining embryos we have. It makes the most sense, as we’ve had three transfers of two embryos, and none of them have resulted in a take-home baby.

I’m going to do things a bit differently on my side this time around. I’m going to reduce my sugar and carb intake, which affect PCOS. I’m also planning to try “mindfulness” exercises every day, which is kinda like meditation. I’m also gonna try some old wives tale things.

This is our last chance with this first set of embryos. We are very lucky that we had so many make it to freeze and thaw, but they have to run out at some time. That should be at the end of July.

 

I’ve decided this time around I’d like to listen to music during the transfer (they don’t play any at the office). I’ve started compiling a playlist of songs that speak to me about this whole trek. Some of the selections so far include:

  • Let It Go – Demi Lovato
  • Try Everything – Shakira
  • For You I Will – Teddy Geiger
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  • Faith Of The Heart – Russell Watson
  • Come What May – Moulin Rouge version
  • Go The Distance – Michael Bolton
  • You’ll Be In My Heart – Phil Collins
  • Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble
  • I Haven’t Even Heard You Cry – Aaron Lines
  • And of course both the theme songs David has written for me

I’ll be listening to the playlist throughout the next month or so, and probably after the transfer during the wait to find out if it is successful.

 

 

I had a proud-of-myself experience today. I normally go to great lengths to avoid seeing/holding babies, especially cute ones. It is emotionally hard for me to see them. It brings up feeling such as anger, bitterness, jealousy and sadness. Today, I took food for our friends who recently had a baby (I also did so a week and a half ago, but only stayed long enough to drop it off, and didn’t ask/wasn’t offered the baby). When I got there, he needed a diaper change, and I told them that I’d be willing to hold him after said diaper change. They then didn’t get him back for over an hour, because I did not want to let him go. He is such a cutie and was only fussy a few times until I moved to change his view. I was reflecting on the afternoon when I got home, and I realized that I didn’t feel any of the negative emotions I usually do. We chatted a bit about her experiences and not once did I feel even the tiniest hint of upset. I even got to give him some cheek kisses before I left and it melted my heart.

Six Short Years

DSC_0285

“You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love that lasts forever
And I want you here with me
From tonight until the end of time

You should know,
Everywhere I go
Always on my mind,
In my heart
In my soul
You’re the meaning in my life
You’re the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You’re the inspiration
Wanna have you near me
I wanna have you hear me sayin’
No one needs you more than I need you
And I know, yes I know that it’s plain to see
We’re so in love when we’re together
Now I know that I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time”
These lyrics from our first dance song, You’re the Inspiration by Chicago, perfectly capture our relationship.
6 years ago we said an “I do” and a “you bet” and started our married life together.
A quick recap of the beginning of our relationship: we met online and went on a first date about 2 weeks later. 5 weeks and 6 days after that first date David asked me to marry him. I said yes. Exactly 6 months after that we exchanged our vows.
It is hard to believe that we’ve been together just 6 short years. To me, it feels both like a long time and a very short time. This is both of our longest lasting relationship, but I know we still have decades together. Someday I hope to celebrate 50 years together. I don’t think that will be enough time, but then again I don’t think any amount of time would be enough. I know that, no matter what happens, if it’s just the two of us forever, if we have biological kids, foster kids or adopted kids, we’ll have a wonderful life.
Two fun little tidbits:
1. The inspiration for the name of this blog came from David’s vows to me.
2. My favorite part of our wedding day was getting to walk down the aisle to a song written just for me by David. He doesn’t often (read: never) share his music, so having him write a song for me that our friends and family would hear, but that I most of all would hear, was the most wonderful gift he gave me. I like to think of it as my own personal theme song, and every time David calls me I get to hear it and remember how much he loves me.

Greetings from Suck City!

Oh infertility. You sure do know how to take a good mood and completely ruin it.

 

We finally have a bit of a plan for moving forward for our last transfer. I’m to call our clinic on June 10th to have them induce a period, wait for however long that will take, then start an FET protocol. It’ll be similar to our first FET protocol in that it will begin with 1-2 weeks of birth control followed by medications to jack up my hormones. I am going to push for 1 week of birth control because we’ve already had to wait so long to get started.

I hate so much that my doctor is forcing us to wait around for my body to “rest”. I think that is a bit of BS, and it’s gotten me into a foul mood. For a normal, fertile person, they could already be pregnant and know about it at 6 weeks post D&C, which for me was yesterday. We’re probably looking at about 10 more weeks before transfer.

 

I would say that about 40% of the time, I am ready for this next transfer to fail so we can get off the infertility roller coaster and just get on with a childless life. Infertility is definitely a mind f*ck.

A Visit to Sequoia National Park

Here is a quick recap of the visit my sis, niece, nephew and I had to Sequoia National Park this week!

01c0801896907cdd3e3bf983d9154165caa0541952 014e034273151c30c210320039c730c7b49f8a4dbb

Sarah and I were up at 5am on Monday morning so we could do our best to beat traffic. Our car was PACKED with all the stuff we needed, and lots that we didn’t. We thought it was going to be very very cold, based on the weather reports we’d seen. Those ended up not being for where we were camped, so we brought a lot of extra cold weather clothes and blankets that we didn’t use.

 

01ae21d6fea1c28d625f37cddf01033e71ef69d5f0

The Exeter water tower! This was our last major-ish town before we turned up the 198 to head into the park. We stopped and had lunch, and I called and texted David for the last time.

 

01c69af482e666bf2dfe0ca2978e0d83f4bc0838bc_00001

The first pull off in the park is of course for the sign! We just had to stop!

 

01c80393da5d6948362e9a01a72b6311ee23a3ed7a_00001

We assumed that people used to be able to drive through this, but the road has since been diverted around Tunnel Rock.

 

01d04d36a26a807e6c2e776edff0a1f8da35ef35ca_00001 01e872b2438ded7be9618a14307c8388d7c45117a2_00001

Our first hike involved putting our feet in the extremely cold river. Brr!!

 

015cba8c61fb28d6c5b1d9455dc839922d60d35fe0 011dc117fa886719f8afc4f0515f59878ca3347f41_00001

But it sure was beautiful!

 

01141667daad03b6a9b82118ad743f6037338264b9

After dinner our first night, I walked down to the pay phone to try and call David. There happened to be a woman in a very lengthy conversation, so I headed back to camp. On the way down, I had seen a young couple across the way from us trying to start their fire. On the way back, they were sitting on their picnic table like they had given up. I looked at them, they looked at me, I looked away, I looked again, they looked again. Finally, the boy said “Excuse me”, so I stopped to see what he wanted. They were having trouble starting their fire, so I agreed to help them. Turns out they had purchased huge pieces of wood that were never going to catch in a starter fire. I did eventually help them get a fire started, after I went to our site and brought them some of our wood. I told them that they could join us at our fire if they’d like to make s’mores. They had s’more making items, but alas, nothing to roast the marshmallows with. I again offered up our roasting sticks, as we only needed two and had 4. They ended up coming over to join us, and we got to know them and had a lovely conversation. We ended up burning more wood than we intended, because we stayed up later hanging out with them, but that is part of the fun of camping. A good time was had by all. We then ended up running into them in the bathroom shortly after they had gone back to their site while we were all getting ready for bed. Turns out the light in the mens room didn’t work, so we all shared the small womens bathroom. All of us (me, Sarah, K & E) are hoping they get a storybook ending.

 

01ad55a83e0e530afef88ac12a5e9e175e9ec0d1b8

Day 2 finally meant getting up into the foresty area! This is where the giant sequoias grow! We were super excited about getting to see them! The kids had been point to every tree and asking if it was a sequoia, and we had to keep saying no, until we got here!

 

01c3a772c4077e3a1a6adcc55498c21626e866d74e_00001

A deer! We were excited about seeing these guys! In total we saw at least 3 deer. It was way awesome.

 

01d4c1e26c88a9cb01c2d158f8641e751489f4ba57 0199dca0231e1821e703628ff2d26e0477bf7fb7a8_00001

This was a cool part of the Congress Trail where they hadn’t cut down a tree that fell across it. It was neat to get to walk under it!

 

018a9f2fb83b8611d698a8e8f68a15b9abf0d9e74e_00001

We got a little glimpse of the beautiful snow capped mountains! This whole area was just lovely.

 

01f4fd86e1f4af0a73698987da573c52dd715f4485_00001

On Wednesday, we were headed up towards Lodgepole for some hiking and saw a guy standing in the road, who gestured to us to pull over. His wife had spotted a bear on the side of the road, so of course we stopped to look. Katie had been wanting to see a bear, and so had the rest of us. We were very fortunate to get to see one at a safe distance. It is hard to tell in the pic, but that’s a black bear.

 

01e134909cb38ac970c3e9819cb80d5f02889386e2_00001 012add9775070b5813b6773b1d53b54f5601658b70

The hike up to the top of Moro Rock was filled with stunning views. All the views are amazing, but this one, with the snow-capped mountains in the background was just breathtaking.

 

01f87ef7cd0a8ae345b4ee6e8cfeba00f3e1c63490

After the Moro Rock hike, we saw the sign for the Roosevelt Tree. It was only .1 miles, so I decided to quickly see if it was worth everyone hiking to go see it. It was cool, but it was another sequoia, and we had seen much larger, more impressive ones, so no one else went to see it.

 

018b3069cd0cb4857abb371ec74fb159e014833e77

We had seen a sign both days we went up for a little trail called Big Fern Springs. We hadn’t stopped the previous times we’d seen it, but decided on the way down on Wednesday to stop and look at it. There was a peacefulness to the area that was totally worth the stop. The sound of the river and the birds was very relaxing.

 

01d5123e16a10fa773a1c497dc47016b442fae769d

While speaking with a ranger at the Lodgepole Visitors Center we discovered that there was a not well known hike to an old indian village, and it just happened to be right across the road from our campground! We decided to check it out, and there was this amazing suspension bridge crossing the Kaweah River. It was pretty neat to see where the Patwisha lived.

 

Overall it was an awesome trip. Of course I wish we could have stayed there for longer, but at the same time I was glad to get home. Now we just have to plan another adventure!

Experiencing a Loss

Most women who are trying to conceive and are in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy don’t tell anyone, for fear of having a miscarriage. It is a very real concern, and one of the downsides of telling people you’re pregnant before that is having to tell them your baby has stopped growing.

Every Friday for the past 5 weeks I have had moments of panic where all I can think about is what the results during my scheduled ultrasound are going to be. When I told my doctor about that two weeks ago, he thought it was a bit silly that it only happened on Fridays, and that there wasn’t much to be concerned about. Alas, this past Friday he was out of town, so I could schedule my ultrasound for as early as I wanted, which I chose to do.

I knew right away that there was something wrong. The ultrasound tech asked if we were in a hurry as there is a new fellow at the practice and he is supposed to be seeing ultrasounds. She had done a quick scan when she asked this. I had seen the monitor, and I hadn’t seen any movement, which means there is a problem. So we went back into the waiting room for about 15 minutes until the fellow arrived and went back into the exam room. Sure enough, he too didn’t see anything, and let us know that I’d be getting a call later that day with our options. I started researching what they would be and was prepared for when they called. What I was not prepared for was the doctor I spoke to asking me to go back in the following day for another ultrasound. Saturday mornings ultrasound showed the same thing, though I chose to look away from the monitor.

I can imagine that I had a similar feeling to women who choose to have an abortion and are forced to see an ultrasound first. Let me tell you, from first hand experience, it is akin to mental torture. Being forced to do that when losing your child is probably one of the worst things a regular person could experience. I know it was for me. And I unfortunately probably have to do it again on Monday afternoon at Kaiser.

I emailed my Kaiser nurse on Friday to ask her what my options were through them. As I’ve already been there for an OB appointment, any treatment choice should be covered, versus paying fully out of pocket at my clinic. She emailed the doctor on call and scheduled an appointment for me. If they cannot help me quickly enough, I will end up using the surgery center across the hall from my fertility clinic.

For a missed miscarriage, there are three options:

  1. wait for your body to naturally miscarry, which could take weeks and cause an infection
  2. take some medication to get the process started quickly (generally in about 4 hours) and can also cause an infection
  3. do a surgery called a D&C, where they remove everything from inside your uterus, with a very low risk of infection

With options 1 and 2, if you don’t fully expel everything, you have to have a D&C anyway. I’ve, and we’ve, decided that a D&C is the best option for me. I don’t want to wait around and then have to have emergency surgery. I’d rather just get it over with quickly, so we can get back to doing another transfer in a few months.

 

All of this has, of course, been devastating. There have been lots of tears, and lots of unpleasant thoughts. There was also some Googling, in which I discovered that women with PCOS have not a 15-20% chance of miscarrying like the general population, but a 45-50% chance of miscarrying thanks to the hormone imbalance that is PCOS. It is also likely that the embryo was abnormal to begin with, and whatever development happens at 9 weeks was always going to be fatal. The only way to know is with analysis, which I think always happens when you have a D&C.

 

It is my sincere hope that this experience won’t emotionally and mentally affect any future pregnancies, but I know myself better than that. I know it will affect things, and I’ve already decided that if I get pregnant again, David will be the one receiving all the info. I won’t want to know anything until well past the mostly safe point. No blood work results, no ultrasound pictures, no nothing, in the hopes that if we have another loss it won’t be as horribly painful.