Saturday, July 31, 2010

10dp3dt: Boring observations

  • I haven't had that "different" feeling yesterday or today. Yesterday I experienced a lot of anxiety over this, but today I think I am accepting it as either "pregnancy symptoms that come and go," or the fact that I can't do anything about it if it's a BFN anyway.
  • I realize that most of my "symptoms" could easily be attributed to the PIO. The br.east soreness usually has gone away by now (and has made me happy that it continues), but perhaps it has stuck around because I am on a higher dose of PIO for the frozen cycle.
  • The only "symptom" that is totally different and difficult to associate with a medication is the veined chest. However, I did google this topic with "BFN" and found others who had the veins but still weren't pregnant. I know, shame on me for googling! I guess it was a little bit of a reality check that I can't hold onto those blue veins as my sure-fire BFP sign.
  • That said, I actually thanked God aloud yesterday for the blue veins. They do give me a little hope that is keeping me from despair during these last few days before beta. Even DH got a little hopeful about them.
  • Our friends had their baby on Thursday night, and I think we are going to visit them and meet their daughter this weekend. I am glad I have not tested, as I don't think I would be able to do this if I had just seen that one line...
  • I'm glad you liked the onesie/ T-shirt! It was so funny when I was in that baby section to see the huge selection of clothing geared toward "dad"/ special interest...sports team logos, the Beat.les, sports in general....I didn't realize there was such a market it for it. I had to laugh at how I "bought into it," too, and found the baby item that matched my DH. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

9dp3dt: I must be crazy

I have had moments in the last few days where I have just felt different than every other cycle...enough so that I really thought I was pregnant. The general crampiness that comes and goes, the bre.ast tenderness that has stuck around past when it normally disappears, and the lovely chest veins have all given me hope that I never imagined I could have. Sometimes I worry that it's dangerous to have so much hope, but I feel like at least it is getting me through this last leg of the tww in one piece.

But then, while in a "high" moment, I think I crossed into crazy. It's one thing to be happy and hopeful, but it's another to do something I have strictly avoided since before we even started TTC to protect my very sanity: I went to Target and went into the baby section (insert gasps). But it gets worse - I even bought something (ohhh no...).

So you know how a lot of women buy something cute to give to their husband when they tell him they are pregnant? Maybe you even did this. :) But I never imagined our BFP that way, because I just imagined us testing together and then being happy. We are not big gift givers in general, so it just wasn't what I ever pictured.

But as I got hopeful, it actually made me want to wait until beta day to test. In the past I have tested before beta so DH and I could be together, but often I was feeling so down and discouraged I wanted to test to end the torture that is the tww. This time I don't want the tww to end my happy hope, so why test and potentially ruin it?

Anyway, since I have decided to wait until Monday (beta day), I figured DH would be at work when I find out. And if it is positive, I decided maybe it would be fun to give him something when he got home. So I stopped by Target with the pretense of needing to pick up a few things...but really to see if there was anything special in that elusive baby section.

And I found the most perfect onesie and shirt:







So, my DH is a programmer. He LOVES what he does. Maybe because of that, his stick figure type drawings are often robots. (haha, he is pretty nerdy, but he is super fun and cute!) I couldn't believe I found this and how fun it would be to give it to him.

Of course, I thought about the very real possibility that I am not pregnant, but I guess I just figure that someday, whether through pregnancy or adoption, I will be able to give it to him. And I hope when we {someday} have a little baby wearing that onesie we will be reminded of how happy and blessed we were on the day we found out about him or her.

My hope for this particular cycle waxes and wanes. As I write this I am not feeling too hopeful, probably because my b.oobs have felt less sore. The veins are more apparent at night. The cramps seem gone. I haven't been peeing more frequently or feeling tired. So I just don't know. I have been up and down enough already to know that in just a few hours I could be hopeful again, though.

PS - A (and anyone else who is wondering), I will definitely post right away if I do break down and test. :) But I really think I will wait until Monday...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7dp3dt: Up and down and all around

Like any two week wait, my feelings of hope and despair have fluctuated up and down faster than the speed of light (well, almost). It's petty insane, but I'm sure you can all imagine...

Yesterday morning I felt like the PIO b.reast pain was disappearing. Just like every other medicated cycle, which were all BFNs, of course. So whether or not it is reasonable to do, I feel like I "know" I am not pregnant when this happens.

I struggled through yesterday, constantly on the verge of tears while poking my b.oobs. DH got home from work and I started crying... I was just a big ball of fear and doubt.

As the evening progressed, I realized the b.oobs were aching a little more. And even if it was from all of the poking and prodding throughout the day, it made me feel a tiny bit better.

Bed time rolled around, and as I changed into pajamas, I was suddenly struck by one relatively bright vein going up my chest. I then had a flashback to a conversation I had had with a friend near the end of my two week wait for IVF #2. We were standing in her kitchen with the morning light streaming in, and she said to me,

"You know, I always knew I was pregnant when I had a bunch of dark veins on my chest."

Of course, after that conversation I had gone and examined my chest to look for veins. No veins.

But last night I saw them without even looking for them, and hope surged in my heart. I ran out to show DH, half scared that I was getting hopeful and half elated.

Me: Ok, Pam told me she had noticeable veins on her chest every time she was pregnant. Look, I have veins!

DH: I don't see anything.

(We moved to the bathroom so we could have better light and a mirror)

Me, pointing to the vein and looking at the reflection: See, right there. And a lighter one there (there really were only 2...)

DH: That's always there.

Me: No, I looked last cycle and there was nothing!

DH, lifting up his own shirt: See I have veins on my chest too. Oh no, I must be pregnant!

I kicked him in the bottom on his way out of the bathroom. :) Anyway, let's just say I went to bed quite happy.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to pee, and as I walked to and from the bathroom I felt my b.oobs ache. Score, another happy point! I was then too excited to fall back asleep, and laid awake for another hour.

This morning the veins weren't there (sad point). My b.oobs were sore as I got ready (happy point). But they don't look any bigger (sad point). The soreness wore off as the morning progressed (sad point). I saw the veins again in a dressing room this afternoon (happy point). Got the call that my progesterone looked good (happy point!).

So, what's the score? Overall I do feel hopeful. And while it's scary to be hopeful, the hope is a lot more fun than the despair.

Monday, July 26, 2010

5dp3dt: Laughter

First of all, thank you for your thoughtful, sweet, and sincere comments to my last post about this blogging community. I loved reading each one, and felt so encouraged by your support and understanding.

***

This weekend my brother came to visit, and I laughed hard. A lot. My DH makes me laugh so much as it is, but then to throw my brother into the mix...wow.

Is it crazy to admit that I often wondered if I was hurting the embryos by laughing so hard? Or by sitting up weirdly? Or lifting a gallon of milk, for that matter? Yes, I think I am getting crazier with each treatment cycle.

But it was so lovely to laugh.

Otherwise, I'm feeling my usual "symptoms" at this stage. I love my sore br.easts - even though I get them every cycle (and every cycle has been a BFN), they make me feel like something *could* be happening. Same thing goes for some mild abdominal cramping.

This morning I was really hungry when I woke up (which is not uncommon for me), but I felt the teeniest, tiniest bit of nausea accompany the hunger. Seriously, I KNOW better than to read into this, but for the first time this cycle I started day dreaming about this cycle ending in a BFP. Telling DH, getting the beta call, taking pictures of the HPTs, posting them here for you all, calling our families...*sigh.*

Usually my PIO sore br.easts go away around 6 or 7dp3dt....along with my other "symptoms." And last cycle, my progesterone came in low at 7dp3dt which matched the disappearance of symptoms. It's also when my hopes came crashing down. So I'm a little nervous about the next few days ahead...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on this community

You may have noticed longer gaps between blog posts, and fewer comments from me on your own blogs lately. I have mentioned it a few times here as well, and at first it just seemed circumstantial. I was away at camp. I was busy at work training my replacement. I needed a little break after my last BFN. And all of those things were true.

But here I sit trying, once again, to re-enter this blogging world and it is still difficult. It is not just something I feel like I "should" do or that I "owe it" to all of you, but something that has become dear to me. Each of you, this community of support and understanding, and even the lurkers who I know nothing about but care enough to follow along and maybe even say a prayer for me....you have been there for me for almost two years! Granted, many of my earliest blog friends have now had their babies and have stopped blogging, but there has been a fluid circle of friends that really and truly have become friends.

I don't want to lose that. I missed all of you.

I then read this post by my friend A, and this paragraph stood out to me:

And maybe I don't know if it's just me, and I don't even know if I should be estimating this because it's not like I have been a great commenter lately, either, but is there a general lack of energy around here lately? I think back to April when so many of us were in the trenches and how my newest bloglist post list would almost constantly be changing. Then, so many of us were left with empty arms AGAIN, while a few blessed ones have gone on to belly shots. I don't know if the rest of us have recovered fully yet (myself included).

I knew she was describing herself, but she was also describing me. And probably many of you. And, once again, I was so thankful for this community in that we can even share in our blahs-and-lack-of-blogging-funk together. You guys get it. I think this is me recovering and coping.

I confess I have felt guilty on many occasions for not writing, for having nothing to say, and for not cheering you on. I'm sorry I missed many of your big moments of joy or sorrow the last couple of months.

I want to say that I'm "back," and as of today I feel like I'm back. But then I don't know how the results of this cycle will effect me. If it is another BFN, will I pull away again? And if it is a BFP (please Lord!), that will change so much of what I know of IF blogging. So I guess I can't make any big promises, but I just wanted to say how much I care for you and this community. Thank you for being there and sticking with me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2dp3dt: Thank you

Thank you so very much for all of your encouragements about my embryos on the transfer day. I love the support this community offers, and I am humbled that you would read along and offer kind words, thoughts, and prayers to me.

I am feeling less emotional, but I am ashamed to admit that I also just can't muster up the hope that this will work. Is that lack of faith? I don't know. I think I believe God COULD grow these embryos, but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that he WOULD.

I read this verse today, and it encouraged me greatly:

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the LORD!
Isaiah 31:1


As I read it, I changed a few words in my mind...

Woe to those who go down to RE's for help
and rely on embryologists,
who trust in clinics because they are many
and in labs because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the LORD!


(Hopefully that is not blasphemous to do, ha!)

Please know I am not implying in my little word play activity that it is wrong to go to RE's and labs....but I think that verse spoke to my heart about where my trust rests. It is God who provides help and on whom I can rely....it is God who is strong...and it is He I should consult. He may use RE's and embryologists as part of his work, but I do not want to place my trust in them, if that makes sense. And this is especially clear when the works of doctors does not offer "perfect" embryos like I would want.

And, as I said the other day, I need to be constantly reminding myself to entrust these embryos to the Lord.

So thank you for your prayers and support - God is answering with much comfort and trust (even if I still struggle with the hope part).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home from the embryo transfer

The good news: The transfer went very smoothly. We transferred a compacting morula (about 10 cells) Grade B, and another one that was 4-6 cells, but the cells were very uneven and fragmented. Despite the feelings I describe next, I am truly so very thankful that we had two embryos to transfer...that God chose to give them life and the potential they hold.

The bad news: It was difficult to have other cycles to compare the embryos to. On our first IVF, I was expecting to either have no embryos or some really poor ones....and was thrilled to end up with a near perfect 8-cell grade A (and felt hopeful for our little 5 -cell, too). On our second cycle, I was again pleasantly surprised that we had a compacting morula - it seemed so advanced which had to be a good thing (and it was graded A/A-...), and to have another 8-cell again exceeded all expectations (even if it was graded B). I was so happy and excited after each transfer.

However, this time I felt sadness when I saw our embryos. The embryologist called one of them "slow" and emphasized the unevenness of the cells. And while I did feel thankful that one was a morula, the B grading haunted me more now because it did have some fragmentation....and our morula Grade A did not implant last time.

While I was processing all of this, the RE came in to do the transfer. As I have said before, I love my RE and he is always so reassuring. However, he crushed my hope even more. While he did call my morula "advanced," he also said there was some fragmentation that can lower success rates a little, and he didn't really mention the other embryo. He then went on to reassure me that he hopes this will result in pregnancy, but if it doesn't we're going to sit down and talk out another plan. He also knows this is getting expensive so he will continue to work with us to reduce fees....etc.

I just wish he hadn't even brought up the "if this doesn't work..." topic while I was laying on the table about to have the two embryos that I love and want to become my perfect babies transferred into me.

After he left the room I broke down crying. I am scared our embryos are just not good enough.

Thanks to the Valium I ended up falling asleep for the 20 minute rest time, and my sweet DH prayed for the embryos and me the whole time I was sleeping. I have continued to feel weepy and down.

The truly good news: God is in control. Doctors and scientists are always surprised when good looking embryos don't result in pregnancy AND when less than perfect ones do. But God knows which embryos will become babies, and it doesn't have to be the perfect ones. In fact, God often works in situations that seem impossible to show his power and glory. God, I pray you would be glorified in growing and sustaining these two little lives into babies that I will hold in my arms someday!

My friend Meg emailed me a quote from the book Radical by D.avid P.latt, and I think it is so fitting for today:

" . . . God actually delights in exalting our inability. He intentionally puts his people in situations where they come face to face with their need for him. In the process, he powerfully demonstrates his ability to provide everything his people need in ways they could never have mustered up or imagined. And in the end, he makes much of his own name."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good news!!!!

They attempted to thaw 3 eggs, and 2 survived the thaw. Of those two eggs, both fertilized normally and have cleaved!!! Ahh!!

I am seriously surprised - after reading all about the low success with frozen eggs and playing mind games in my head yesterday, I was prepared for the worst. But here we sit in the same position we were for our last two fresh cycles...with two beautiful embryos growing. Thank you God, I am in awe!

I am also amazed that we still have 3 eggs frozen, since I thought they may have needed to thaw all of them to find one that survived.

My RE said that the thawing process was the difficult part, but once they thawed and fertilized our embryos would be just like any other normal embryos and we would have normal success rates in the 50% range. I know we have a long way to go still (and I certainly know you can have two great embryos and still get a BFN...), but knowing this was such a big hurdle and we have made it is a huge relief!

We are on for a 3-day transfer tomorrow, and now I know that I have two embryos to pray for specifically!

Monday, July 19, 2010

They didn't call me :(

For the past two IVF cycles, the embryologist has called me by 10:30am to let me know the fertilization report.

Today, 10:30 came and went, and my heart started to sink. Maybe it was bad news and that's why they weren't calling?

By 1:00pm, I decided I needed to know and called in. They were still "shut down" for lunch, so I left a message with the answering service, and began waiting for my call back.

I have never not gotten a call back after leaving a message, so I wasn't too worried. And they often do their call backs after they shut down for the day at 4:30.

But it's after 5:30 and nobody called me back. I am on the verge of tears, and while I know it is most likely a simple "slipped through the cracks" human error, I am just so nervous that nothing fertilized.

I will be calling first thing in the morning. Sorry to keep you all waiting, but at least you were waiting with me, haha.

(Oh, and I did consider calling now and paging somebody on-call....and while I am desperate for some news, it doesn't feel urgent enough to do that).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thaw day

The eggs were thawed today. I haven't heard anything, but I'm assuming no news is good news and that if none thawed properly somebody would have called me. One hurdle down, I hope.

Tomorrow will be the real big day where we find out how many eggs they thawed (3 or 6 depending on how well they thawed) and how many, if any, fertilized.

I cried today as we prayed for our embryos. It's the first time I've cried in a while. Thank you for praying with us!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

That was easy

Today was my last "monitoring appointment" for my frozen egg cycle.... And, wow, that sure was easy. Compared to a fresh cycle, at least.

I went in once a week for blood work and an ultrasound. My husband gave me two IM injections per week, and we each did a 7 day course of antibiotics. That's it.

And can I just say how amazed I am that I didn't ovulate? Those two little injections sure did their job to build up my lining and prevent ovulation! Before each appointment I was sure they were going to tell me I ovulated, and was amazed each time everything looked good.

The eggs will be thawed and ICSI'd on Sunday. I feel the hope stirring in me again. But with the hope and the potential of real live embryos in existence, I think the easy part of this cycle is fast coming to an end.

Praying for a miracle...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Helloooo...

Hello out there, blog world.

The silence around here is weighing on me. I think it matches my heart somehow, though.

I am happy in my day to day life. The days are full, the times with my husband sweet, moments with friends a delight, and doing ministry a joy. I am training somebody at work to take over one of my part time jobs, and as the ending point draws near I am eager and excited to be done.

We are on cycle day 14 of our frozen egg cycle. Everything looked good at my monitoring appointment this week. Lining was triple layered at 9.5mm. We're aiming for a transfer on July 21st because it works in both my RE's and my schedules. It's weird how a frozen cycle can just be scheduled, but it's nice and mellow. I'm continuing with acupuncture and look forward to my sessions.

In the midst of all of this I feel rather numb. And stuck. I don't know how to describe it, really. I went out with my infertile-but-now-a-mother-after-3-years-of-trying-to-conceive friend last week, and as I talked about my thoughts and feelings relating to infertility I could see how buried those thoughts and feeling actually are. I know they are there... but they are tucked away, and it is nice to be able to live life without their interference, I guess. I haven't even cried in a long time!

But I also wonder when they will all come out, and what that will be like. It scares me a little. Sometimes I want to feel things more, but I just can't. I think I don't know what it is I am grieving or going to grieve, because I feel near "the end" but I don't know what the end result will be.

I also feel like I have lost sight of the goal, which has always been a pregnancy. I know many people say they came to a place of realizing their actual goal was to build a family and they moved past the pregnancy part, but I have not been able to do that yet. I am praying that God would remove that desire from me if it is his will, and maybe all of this is the process of that happening? Because, lately, even the thought of a pregnancy does not feel like a 'happy ending.' Doesn't that sound weird? After years of trying to get pregnant, the thought of it actually happening does not fill me with delight and hope. Don't get me wrong, I do still want that....but it feels more like I have worked so hard for a goal and was it really worth it? That perhaps I have been here for so long that I can't even imagine being "done" with infertility.....and I wonder if I will ever be able to leave it behind. Will I actually be happy if it happens? And the thought of even questioning that feels so wrong.

And the thought of it "ending" through adoption....well, that's a whole other side of the discussion. DH & I have talked about it a lot more in the last few months, but at this time we do not have any peace or excitement about that. Honestly, I felt rather resistant to adoption for most of this journey because I wanted a pregnancy so badly, but now I wish I could be excited about it because it would make any failures of our last TTC attempts seem less important because I imagine we would have this other plan to be happy about.

At church we have been studying the life of David this summer, and it has been a really wonderful time in God's word in relation to my own life. I can relate to David in many ways. Last night we discussed the season of David's life that was his "wilderness;" he spent years on the run while Saul was trying to murder him. In this particular part of the story, Saul enters a cave to go to the bathroom, but without realizing it he chooses the cave David and his men are hiding in. David sees this as his chance to kill Saul - the man who had been trying to kill him for years and making his life miserable - but is struck by remorse at this thought and does not kill him. Instead, he realizes that he cannot take matters into his own hands and sin, but instead must wait on the Lord to fulfill his promise that he will, indeed, be king someday. (Sorry for any errors in that summary and commentary!)

God has many promises for me, too, and I am waiting for the fulfillment of those. In this waiting I do feel like I am in the wilderness, and I don't even know what I am waiting for as I get lost and see no end in sight. But God promises he is with me, he will strengthen and guide me, and he is sovereign over my life. I will wait on these promises. God is faithful. I feel disoriented and dazed, but he has a clear vision of the road ahead of me, no matter how long it is.

And, as cheesy as it sounds, He is my happy ending. I really do believe that.