Monday, November 29, 2010

Strength

Thank you for all of your sweet comments, encouragements, and prayers for DH & I. I have gone to bed each night crying, and woken up each morning crying, but was thankful for a full weekend of activity with my IL's that gave me a reprieve from my weeping. I can't bear to feel all of it for too long at one time. But little by little I am grieving and processing, and DH & I have taken small steps towards thinking and praying about what's next.

I am incredibly thankful that it is God who does the work in us, and not me. I am so thankful I can rest in him and rely on him. That this is what he is honored by - not me trying to "make it" on my own. Because I couldn't. I don't feel strong, but he gives me strength. I don't know how to trust him, but I pray that he would help me to trust. I fear, but I lay my fears at his feet. Thank you, Lord, for for this mercy and grace. I have nothing to offer but a broken heart, but I am humbled by the fact that this burdened heart of mine is all that you ask for. And thank you that these are momentary troubles in light of eternity. When I am really hurting, the promises of heaven and Jesus' return are such a sweet comfort. Come, Lord Jesus.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Not pregnant

I had been feeling so hopeful. The spotting had stopped, and surely that was the good "different" thing about this cycle.

But then last night rolled around, and as I got closer to testing my nervousness increased. As much as I wanted it to be positive, I started thinking things like, "it's always negative for me. Who am I kidding that this could have worked?" I felt more and more defeated as the night wore on, and my fear of testing increased.

I went to bed crying.

I woke up at 5:45am to pee. My heart started pounding, and I knew I should just test right away or my anxiety would make me cry before I even saw the results.

Only 24 hours ago I had imagined feeling confident while testing. I had actually imagined seeing that 2nd line, and felt like it was within my grasp. But as I sat on the toilet this morning, I felt not an ounce of confidence.

I peed into the cup in the dark, and used my phone as a flashlight to make sure I dipped the test in right. I watched the stop watch on my phone until it got to 2.5 minutes, and then I flipped on the bathroom light.

One line.

I don't think I will even conceive. I think I have to start trying to accept that, somehow. Somehow. With God's strength. This whole cycle I just knew this was our last fresh cycle. Me who has always wanted to find a way to keep going... I just knew this was nearing the end of the road. Now we will just have to decide if we will use our 5 (potential) frozen eggs, just to say we tried everything we could, I guess. And they are there.

But I really don't believe it will work now. DH plus me does not equal a baby.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

9dp3dt: Spotting

It started yesterday, actually. Just a faint, beige tint when I wiped. You would think I would have freaked - I hate spotting!!! - but for the first time ever the spotting brought me a small glimmer of hope.

I have never spotted while on progesterone before.

I have never spotted during an IVF cycle.

Different is good, right, when all the other cycles were negative?!

I have heard that spotting in early pregnancy is common.

And my b.oobs have continued to feel tender ... when that has always stopped around 6-7dp3dt before. Different could be good, right?

But spotting is scary. Spotting has always led to my period.

I have also had a slight crampiness and fullness feeling off and on.

But how many times have I felt all sorts of symptoms before?!

I'm sure my mind could come up with anything since I want this so bad.

But my mind can't make up the spotting.

Spotting is scary. It got darker today. A darker brown.

My progesterone was high only 2 days ago.

Spotting is scary.

******
Despite this crazy stream of consciousness, I am feeling calm. I have had moments where I just feel like I am pregnant - I don't know. I know I could easily be very, very, very wrong, but these moments give me a sense of calm as I wait until Friday.

If I don't get to post tomorrow, happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

7dp3dt: Wavering

First of all, I am thankful to report that my progesterone & estrogen came in nice and high today. A nurse I had never even heard of before left me the message (must be new), and she included the specific numbers (the other nurses usually don't unless I ask). Progesterone was 37 and Estrogen was 468....

This morning I had an entire post composed in my head that would have been titled "Calling it." And then I was going to say how this cycle feels exactly like every other, and so I am predicting this cycle is a negative. I felt really down last night and this morning, like I was already mourning the babies that would have been.

But then I decided I don't want to give up hoping just yet. I want a few more days to cautiously dream and pray hopefully for these two embryos. I don't want to spiral into the depths of sadness yet. If that is where I end up - what can I do anyway? But I don't have to be there today.

Four more days until beta on Friday.

I don't think I will be testing early, since I need to make it through two Thanksgivings on Thursday.

I am trying to remain hopeful, but it is really hard.

Friday, November 19, 2010

4dp3dt: The same, yet different

So far, I feel about the same I do every other cycle. Nothing noteworthy or interesting. As much as I wish for everything to be different, and thus equal a different outcome, this is probably better for my sanity.

No "symptoms" = no crazy over analyzing = stable Hillary

But one thing is very different in this two week wait: I am not looking for symptoms. I am making a conscious decision to NOT wonder what a twinge might be, how sore my b.oobs are, or if I am peeing more. I am trying to keep all of these thoughts out of my mind.

I have felt all the "symptoms" before, but the cycles were negative. I have felt no symptoms before, and the cycles were negative, too. This time, I just don't want any of it.

Instead, I wake up every morning and put my hands on my tummy and pray. God, are these embryos still alive? Please grow them. Please make them implant and grow. I don't have much to say, but I pour out my heart to the creator of life. Please grow these embryos.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our last embryo

At my three day transfer on Monday, the third embryo that we did not transfer was 6-8 cells grade B. I think my RE did not want to transfer it because, no matter how many BFNs I've had, he was just uncomfortable with transferring 3 embryos and the risk of multiples in somebody my age. But he knows we want to transfer all embryos that do make it, so he said we would wait until day 5 and see if it had continued to develop. If so, we would transfer it.

My RE called me himself bright and early this morning to say that the embryo basically had not grown and was still an 8 cell grade B. :( He said for it to make it at all it has to be a blast by day 6 or 7, so since it is this far behind he is 100% certain it is not viable. I agree with this, and since our embryo has essentially died by not dividing, we will not be transferring it.

I think I expected this, but it was still a little disappointing. And it's difficult to not let my mind go to the fact that perhaps the other two embryos in my uterus have stopped dividing, too. Maybe none of my embryos ever make it to blast. But I know there is a normal attrition, and I am praying that these 2 are is still growing away in me.

Another random piece of information that I got on transfer day that I forgot to mention is that they DID freeze the 7 immature eggs from my retrieval. I was pretty confused about this, but when I asked the embryologist she said they can culture them to try to make them mature, and she would estimate 2 out of the 7 eggs would end up mature. I guess that means we have about 5 eggs frozen (3 from IVF #2 and a potential 2 from IVF #3) - it's not much but I'll take it.

I'm enjoying resting at home...I'm a little too good at laying around on the couch all day. :) But tomorrow it's back to normal life, although I kind of wish I could just lay here until the 26th and let those embryos snuggle in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Embryo transfer :)

Yes, there is a smiley face in the title! I think this is the first day in a week with no tears.

Praise God for the three beautiful embryos we have - 2 of which are currently in my uterus!





On the bottom right is our #1 embryo (according to the embryologist), which is "perfect" with 8-10 cells and grade A (the best grade at my clinic). The embryo on the top right is our #2 embryo, which is also 8-10 cells grade A. These two were transferred today.

The one on the left is 6-8 cells grade B. They are going to continue to watch it, and if it makes it to blast we will transfer it on Wednesday. That would be so amazing!! I am praying we get to transfer that embryo, too, but I do think the RE and embryologist don't believe it will make it. We will see.

I am so, so thankful for our embryos. We have had embryos of this size and quality before - so I know this is no guarantee - but I am amazed that we do have 2 (maybe 3!) wonderful looking embryos. So thankful. I keep praising God.

Thank you for your support this last week as I struggled. I know the days ahead may still be difficult, but I am thankful for today - a day where tears were replaced with joy, fear replaced with hope, and where I got to see my two miraculous embryos. Thank you, Lord.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fert report

The good news: They ICSI'd 3 eggs, and all 3 fertilized normally! This is very good news, and we have more embryos growing at this point than we ever have before. I am thankful and I do love knowing we have specific embryos to pray for now. Thank you, Lord, for this life you have created.

The weird news: They ICSI'd 3 eggs....after we had told the RE to do 4?! Huh?

The bad news: Based on the weird news above, I called the embryologist back (since I had gotten the information in a voice mail), and found out that out of the 10 retrieved, only 3 eggs were mature. In my weepy emotional state, this set me off on a new wave of sadness and tears. How could I have taken so many drugs and only ended up with 3 eggs anyway?? How? Does this mean all of the eggs are bad, and my embryos are bad now?

And we have never had this problem before:

IVF #1: 8 eggs retrieved, 5 mature, 3 ICSI'd, 2 fertilized
IVF #2: 15 eggs retrieved, 9 mature, 6 frozen, 3 ICSI'd, 2 fertilized
IVF #3: 10 eggs retrieved, 3 mature, 3 ICSI'd, 3 fertilized

*sigh*

The end result, as of today, is still better than the other cycles. And although we wanted to fertilize 4, 3 is just fine - we didn't need more since we are limiting fertilization anyway. I'm trying to focus on this cycle, on those 3 embryos growing, and praying that this cycle - despite its many disappointments - is the miracle. And God is in control. Thank you for your many encouragements, prayers, and well wishes over the last few days. I feel so weak & fragile, but I also feel supported by each of you.

I feel so incredibly weak. It is the only word I can even use to describe my heart right now. I think the Lord has given me this word to remind me of this verse, and may it be true in my life:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Friday, November 12, 2010

Egg retrieval

A friend from church organized a prayer schedule for us, and we had people praying for us and our future family hourly today. We feel so blessed and thankful for their support, and it helps me to know so many are lifting us up in prayer - God most certainly hears our cries.

We retrieved 10 eggs today. My RE gave us a preliminary report and said 6 looked good, 2 were maybes, and 2 were immature. I feel ungrateful and I hate being ungrateful, but I was disappointed that, despite being on WAY more medication, we got fewer eggs.

But we got what we needed. We decided to fertilize 4, although the RE wanted us to do 6. We just couldn't feel comfortable doing that, and he didn't push us at all when we said 4. I am thankful for that.

Just like on trigger day, I feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness about this cycle... And trying to conceive in general. I don't know. I just really don't know. I hate that I am already crying.

Thank you so much for your prayers and well wishes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Triggering tonight

Well, I am thankful I made it this far, and I am triggering tonight. I had 12 follicles ranging from 12mm-21mm....and I think based on their sizes I am hoping to get 8-9 mature eggs at retrieval. We'll see. I'm triggering tonight at 2:00 am because the only appointments they had available on Friday were in the afternoon (boo).

I have been attempting to not over analyze every.little.detail about this cycle, and overall I think I have been pretty successful at it. However, this strategy has not been able to shield me from the sadness and fear that comes with IF treatments. I am so very thankful I get to try again....but I am also so very scared that it will be another BFN.

I started losing it yesterday. I felt alone and scared. I know I am on the "hopeful" end of things still - these types of thoughts and fears don't usually rear their ugly head until I'm in the midst of the two week wait. But as I looked at my cycle objectively, I couldn't help but think how very much the same it all is - and how can I hope that the outcome will be any different than any other cycle?

DH & I had a fight last night. I feel like we only fight during IVF cycles. Ok, this isn't completely true, but we don't fight much... yet we manage to always fight during IVF cycles.

I feel like DH is tired of all of this. I don't know how much more he will be willing to try.

I don't know how much more I have in me to try anyway.

I am scared to get the fert report. What if we have a worse fert report than other cycles?

I am scared to see the embryos at the ET. I am scared I will be disappointed and cry on the table.

I am scared of all of the stress during the two week wait.

And, most of all, I am scared to find out the results of the cycle...and find out it didn't work. Again.

:::deep breaths::::

Enough whining. I'm wiping these tears off my face and saying that this cycle CAN be different. God is the creator of life. He CAN do anything. He CAN create life in me. Lord, help me to cling to you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monitoring #3 & happy blogoversary!

I'm thankful today for another good appointment. Things are progressing much more slowly than previous cycles, even though I am on a higher dose of meds at this point. My largest follicle is at 16mm, and they range from 12mm-16mm. But I'm still hopeful that this is a good thing and think it is because I don't have the "lead follicle" problem.

I actually didn't write down the details of E2's or specific follicle sizes. We were discussing which meds I had left and then I was suddenly leaving...but it's ok. I'm trying not to stress and over analyze about all the details, right?

Feeling thankful today. I'm so thankful I even get the opportunity to try again.

****

Happy blogoversary to me! I honestly didn't even remember it was my blogoversary until it showed up on the LFCA and one of you left a congratulatory comment (thank you!). :) Part of me wanted to sit back and reflect on these two years of blogging about infertility....but my head is so lost in my IVF cycle I don't know if I can. Maybe I will while on bed rest.

But thank you! Thank you for your support as I walk what would be an otherwise very lonely road. I am so thankful I started this blog two years ago, and that I have had this space to vent and reflect. Most of all, I am thankful that I "met" so many of YOU! Each of you has been a gift to me. Thank you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Monitoring appointment #2

Overall, a great appointment! But do you want the good news or the bad news, first?

Let's start with the bad news, since there isn't much. :)

My RE has me on a slightly higher dose of medication for longer than he has on previous cycles, and as he began to measure and count the follicles he said offhandedly, "Even with all this medication you're still not producing a lot of eggs here..." I love my RE, and even though I know I'm not going to produce a ton of eggs, it's still hard to hear. To my infertile ears, it almost sounded like, "Yeah, this cycle may not be any different than the other two. Oh, and you'll probably have premature ovarian failure and go into menopause early." Obviously, I totally made that up, but still.

On to the good news!:
  • Despite my RE's disappointment that I don't have a "a lot" of eggs growing, I am very happy with the nine I do have after 4 days of stims: 12mm (x2), 11mm (x4), and 10mm (x3). This is a very comparable number of follicles to IVF #2, and better than IVF #1 in my mind :)
  • I am especially pleased that they are all very close in size, with no lead follicles jumping out ahead! This seems better than IVF #1 and #2.
  • The lead follicles are smaller than they were at this point of stims than my previous cycles, which may mean I get to stim for an extra day! This is good news for me since I always feel like my follicles just grow "too fast."
  • I never expected to get "a ton" of eggs anyway. My AFC is around 10, so this seems to be on track. I'm just going to be thankful for the eggs we do get, and am praying they are high quality ones that form embryos that will become babies!
  • I felt really relaxed and calm at the appointment itself. My RE paid me a really nice complement about how sweet I am (aw), I was chatting and laughing with the nurses, and even had a nice conversation with a couple other patients while waiting. Sometimes I feel so on edge I hardly talk while I am there, but not today!
I have the weekend off from appointments, and will go back on Monday. I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying time with DH as we prepare for the craziness of everyday appointments, an ER, fert report, and ET that are fast approaching. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Stories of the Crazy Infertile - Episode 1

Last night as DH & I were driving home from Bible study we stopped to get gas. DH pumped the gas and I sat comfortably in the car. As he opened the car door to get back in after he finished, I smelled the strong odor of the gasoline.

I started holding my breath.

DH started driving, and as we gained some speed I rolled down the window a crack to let fresh air into the car. Like a dog, I lifted my face so that my nose was in the draft of fresh air so I could start breathing again.

"What are you doing?" DH asked.

"It smells like gas in here!" I replied.

After a brief pause accompanied by a rather incredulous look DH said, "Are you worried this is hurting our IVF cycle?"

"Of course! I don't want the gas fumes to harm the eggs I'm growing right now!" I said without any hesitation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monitoring #1 & a special thank you

After 2 nights of stims, I already have 2 follicles @ 10mm and 1 @ 9mm....which was slightly disappointing.

I am hesitant to even write that because the disappointment isn't emotional and I still feel calm and a sense of "it is what it is," but I know going into the appointment I did hope that I wouldn't have any at or above 10mm. Why, you may ask? Well, based on my last two IVF cycles, I stimmed better, had a greater quantity of eggs, and had embryos of greater quality for IVF #2 - which was also the cycle I stimmed slower (even though I was on the same starting dose of meds for both). So far my response this cycle is much more like IVF #1, which wasn't bad.....just not as "perfect." In IVF #1 I had some lead follicles that jumped out ahead, and I don't want that to happen this round. But, we'll see. I am continuing to pray and trust God, and am thankful I left today's appointment feeling completely calm and at peace.

One goal for this IVF is to not get worked up after each monitoring appointment. So far, so good - I was able to pray and let the mild disappointment roll off of my back. :)

****

Now that I am using some of the precious meds, I want to give a very special thank you to some kind, generous, and thoughtful women who offered to donate their left over medication to me. I was so humbled and thankful for their amazing gift. The following ladies mailed me either Follistim or Ganirelix - THANK YOU!

Nicole from Maybe momma some day (in the second trimester after an IVF BFP!)
Kelli from Life, Love, and the Miracle of Adoption ( a brand new mom to a beautiful newborn daughter!)

The following two ladies I know from an infertility web board I frequent:
babystinkbreath (currently cycling with me for her IVF #2!)
newsbaby (pregnant with twins from IVF #4!)

Thank you SO MUCH! I can't say it enough. We are scraping the bottom of the financial barrel for IF treatments now, and your generosity eased that burden tremendously. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

For the third year now, DH & I hosted a Halloween party and had a blast doing it! I think it is officially a tradition now. :) Some photos...

First, our inspiration:

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, taken on V-J Day, 1945 (from Life Magazine)

Our rendition (we had so much fun and I felt so cute!):

I actually bought this genuine sailor uniform (shirt & pants) off of Ebay for $10 (plus $10 shipping!) and got his hat a Halloween store. For my costume, I already owned the skirt (one of those I haven't worn in years and have been considering getting rid of - so glad I hadn't), I got the blouse, shoes, and tights at a thrift store for $8 total, and bought the hat on Ebay for $5. It was a fun little project to piece all of this together last month. :)

And some of the food and decorations:



Our friends came in some fabulous costumes, there was much talking and laughter, and our friends' kids had fun too! I planned two games for them. One was bobbing for apples, and the other was eating a small powdered donut hanging from a string with no hands. This was really cute to watch!

I hope you had a fun time with friends on Sunday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stimming

In the midst of a throwing a huge Halloween party (so fun - pictures coming soon!), hosting some of DH's co-workers for dinner tonight, and an overall hectic schedule these last few days, I've barely realized that I started stims today and IVF #3 is underway. It doesn't feel real, and I think it would be nice to keep it that way.

DH has a sore throat today - I really don't want to get sick in the midst of our cycle. Boo. Please pray we would remain healthy!

By the way, I wish I didn't have to call this cycle IVF #3, because really it feels like #4 if you add in the frozen cycle. But I can't say 4 because IVF #4 sounds like 4 fresh cycles, you know? ART #4, maybe?