Monday, September 29, 2014

The story behind our positive....

Let me start off by saying, the support in the last 12 hours has been overwhelming. Mike and I are so excited and we feel so blessed to have so many people in our corner!

I wanted to post a little more detail on what has happened in the last week. I was so excited to get our news out, that I left the details a little vague.

Last Sunday morning I woke up with a crazy desire to test. Granted, I had been eager since the transfer, but Sunday it was unbearable. That day was 5 days post my embryo transfer - here's where it gets a little tricky to follow... When they put my embryos in, they were already 5 days pregnant. If it had been a natural cycle, the day of my transfer would be 7 days post ovulation... Soooo that Sunday, I was 12 days post ovulation. Typically, you would begin to see a positive at about 14 days post ovulation. Knowing that, I told myself that it was no big deal if I didn't get a positive because it was still technically too early.

I went ahead with the test, and after about a minute, walked away, sure the test was negative. I left it on the counter and went to get ready for the day. I went back over a few minutes later (to throw the test away) and there it was. A very faint but there positive test line! I started shaking and ran for my phone.

Mike had left about 30 minutes prior for his soccer game (he plays in a men's league) so I knew it would be a stretch to catch him on the phone but I called anyway. He answered and I told him the news in a shaky, emotional voice. We were both really happy, but decided to stay calm and wait out the next few days in hope that our line would get darker.

Queue my addiction to at home pregnancy tests. From that day forward I tested every morning and each day my line got significantly darker. Tuesday morning, I decided to call my doctor's office and just let them know what was going on. :)

My nurse called back and told me that there was no reason to wait through the weekend, and that I could come in to test that Thursday. For those keeping score that's 9 days post my 5 day transfer (14 days since conception or 16 days since ovulation.

That morning, before work, I went in for blood work. That was the easy part. Sitting at my desk, patiently waiting for them to call with results -- not so much. Eventually, of course, time passed and my phone finally rang! The nurse explained that they want to see a beta come back at 50 or greater for the first test and that mine was at a "very pregnant" 292! She said it was a great sign of strong implantation and that they would see me on Saturday for a second beta to make sure my numbers are doubling.

In that moment a sense of peace washed over me. We prayed long and hard for this. In the last few days I had prayed countless times for peace and for my heart to be still. God answered those prayers 10 fold. He always does, if you are just willing to wait for Him.

That Saturday, as I mentioned, my test results came back more than doubled at 630. They told me that my numbers look wonderful and to continue on, for the time being, with my injections. They also told me to begin a 2nd progesterone shot each morning as well as my nightly shot. She said my progesterone levels are safe, but on the low side of where they like them to be, so we are boosting them up a bit. This is fairly common for women going through a frozen embryo transfer, as it takes a little longer to get things going sometimes.

For my needle sympathizers, that's 1 shot each am, 1 each pm and a 2nd pm shot every 3 days. My backside is sore! That being said, no complaints here... I will do whatever it takes with a big smile on my face.

After Saturday's results I really became excited. I am cautious, but I will celebrate every second of this pregnancy. This has been such a journey so far. Some really bad days, some amazing days, all of them leading to this moment and the moments that follow.

Saturday afternoon was spent with Jake's soccer buddies and our family at a birthday party for him. He had such a good time and it was so nice to just relax and hang out with our soccer family. It really was one of the best weekends in a long time.

So, today I am 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant. (I can't tell you how good it feels to type that!) So far, I can say I have began feeling a few symptoms... light nausea, tiredness, and a little uhh.. hormonal... I am doing my best to keep my mood swings in check. ;) Poor Mike has a long few months ahead. Keep us both in your prayers! Ha!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Guess what?...

I finally get to shout:


Yep, you read that right! I am officially pregnant! I know I know, if you keep up with the blog, I wasn't supposed to know until Monday, but last Tuesday I got a little ancy. 

I couldn't hold out anymore and it was time to take a test. That morning, I tested and guess what? A big ol' positive! That day I called my nurse and she moved my appointment to Thursday. 

Thursday morning came, I got my blood work done and just sat around waiting for the nurse to call. She finally did around lunchtime to tell me that my test was not only positive, but that my numbers were nice and high! My beta, the pregnancy test in which you are supposed to have a 50 or higher, came back at 292! They made me an appointment to come back on Saturday to make sure the number was doubling...

Saturday finally came and again, I was waiting for the call. I got it right before Jake's soccer game started. My numbers more than doubled to a wonderful 630!

We have an ultrasound scheduled for October 16th to see our baby(ies)! We will know at that time more details, but my preliminary due date is June 4th!!

We are on cloud 9! I of course cried and probably will at every appointment here on out! I just can't believe this. I can't express to you our joy and our thankfulness. God is amazing!

I know we have a long way to go, but we are taking this one day at a time and celebrating every step of the way! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Frozen Embryo Transfer...

What a day.

I knew today would be special. I knew it would be a big day. I didn't realize how special or how big though. I don't think I could have ever imagined it being as amazing as it was.

Today was our first embryo transfer.

Originally, our plan was to transfer last month. 5 days after the retrieval. Unfortunately, due to my risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome, we weren't able to do that. The safest option was to freeze our embryos, all 16 of them.

Fast forward to today... The day that felt like it would never come. The day that has been on my mind for so long.

I went to work this morning, which was perfect, because if I had taken the day off I would have been a nut job by the time my appointment rolled around.

My appointment was at 12:45 p.m. so at 11:45 I had to start drinking water. I also was not allowed to go to the bathroom from that point on. When they do the procedure, they run a simultaneous ultrasound on your stomach that helps them make sure they are in the right place. A full bladder helps them to identify your uterus and the positioning of the catheter.

That part was probably the most uncomfortable part of the entire procedure. That feeling like you need to pee, so much so that you feel like if you jumped you would wet yourself... that’s how I felt.

Once they got me checked in, I changed into my gown and lovely hair net...

Dr. Loy came in to talk to us about the procedure. We ran through the risks and our options. We talked about the embryos - how they took two out to thaw, that both made it through the thaw beautifully. Then he ran over the risks of putting both back in - 40% chance of twins, potential for high risk pregnancy, early delivery, increased risk of c-section, etc. He is obligated to run down all the risks with us and I think he could tell we were doing our best to soak it all in. He then looked at us and said, "All of that being said, I have IVF twins at home - they are perfect and I wouldn't do a thing differently." We looked at each other once more, and still felt confident in our decision to put two embryos back.

At the end of the day, I am not in control. The doctor isn't. Mike isn't. The embryos aren't. God is. If He wants us to have twins, twins we will have. If He wants us to have one, one we will have. Our hearts will be just as full either way!

We signed the papers confirming our decision and he handed us this...

Our first picture of our babies... Meet baby a and baby b :) They are moving through the early stages of development and are now safely back where they belong. Hopefully, they implant and continue to grow. This picture was the first of my breath being taken away today. I was sure this was the most amazing thing I had seen, but I was wrong.

After that the nurse came in and told me to take the vicodin rx they had given me. Then they led me back to the procedure room. The nurses got me set up and then the lab tech came in to confirm who I was and that we would be putting two embryos in. Dr. Loy then came in a started the process. It wasn't that different from an ob exam as far as pain.

The most amazing part was that I got to watch it all happen. They would stop and explain to me in detail what I was seeing. They identified the catheter on the ultrasound and then he told me to watch for what would look for the firework show. :) He told me "here we go" and just then I saw two blips of white fly out of the catheter. Those were our babies! Of course, by this point, tears were streaming down my face.

He finished up and told me to just relax and that the nurses would take care of me. He said everything went perfectly and that judging by the quality of our embryos and how the transfer went he feels great about our chances. I then said "It's all up to God at this point" and I got a collective "Amen" from everyone in the room.

After that they wheeled me back to the waiting area and told me just to lay for a little while. Mike came back and said he got to watch it on a screen in his waiting area.

I wish I could put into words how amazing the experience was. I know I can't, but I can tell you how lucky I feel to be where we are.

I also want to thank all of my family and friends who reached out to us today. We recieved a serious outpouring of love and support and it was such a boost of confidence for me. I know I have a whole group of people cheering us on. Thank you so so much.

I'm sure, when the newness of all of this settles down some I will be able to talk more about how I felt. How much I could feel God's presence in that room. For now I can only tell you that I am simply overwhelmed.

The next two weeks are going to feel like 2 decades I'm sure. I will pray everyday for a wonderful outcome to this wonderful journey. I appreciate your prayers too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Catching up and moving on...

Hello PBP readers! It feels like it's been so long since I've had anything to write about.. maybe because the days go by really slowly when you're getting needles plunged in your arse. :)

Before I get carried away with today's update - let me fill you in on where we've been. My last post was 11 days ago. Back when my little world was innocent to the pain of having your husband drive a 2.5 inch needle into your butt muscle.

As anyone who has read this blog previously would know, I'm not a fan of needles. That being said, I like to consider myself an expert, at this point, in taking them in my stomach. It didn't start out that way, but seeing as how I am currently on day 26 of them, I'm now a champ at it. I don't even flinch anymore. Some days, I swear I've lost feeling in my stomach.

Any who, as I mentioned in the last post, I was going to have to start taking delestrogen shots in my back side every 3 days. I knew it would suck at first, and I really tried my best not to panic.

Tried being the key word.

I panicked. Like a full on, toddler melt-down. It didn't help that I was lying face down and actually kicking my legs while sobbing crying and repeating how unfair it was. I was 4 years old in that moment. Thank God my husband remained an adult.

I won't lie, it did (and still does) suck. That needle is huge. I'm sure there are much bigger but in comparison to what we've used in the past, this one looks like the kind you inject marinade into a turkey with. On top of that, the medicine is in oil, so you have to do the injection very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Here's how the process goes... (FYI- to be truthful, this is the process from our third time - as I mentioned before the first one didn't go nearly this graceful)

I ice the upper outer quadrant of my butt cheek for about 10-20 minutes. I'm pretty sure this is all in my head, but I've convinced myself that it would hurt more if I didn't.
Once it's numb(ish) I wipe down the area with a alcohol wipe and lay down gripping the pillow like my life depends on it.
My sweet husband than has to pull the skin taught and shove that thing in, all 2.5 inches, with some force. It stings and all I can do is tell myself to keep breathing.
He then has to pull back, just a bit, on the syringe to make sure there is no blood. As long as there isn't, and thank God there hasn't been, he can slowly start pushing the syringe plunger down, administering the medicine.
This process, once the needle is in, takes about 12 seconds.
Longest twelve seconds of my life.

All that being said, it is getting easier each time. My anxiety about it is dropping and I'm doing a better job of being a big girl. Mike is getting much better at it too. I know it sucks for him to have to do this to me, but he never let's me see that. He remains calm and strong even when I am a total disaster. Always reminding me of how worth it all of this will be one day. :)

So 24 stomach shots, 3 butt shots and 10 days of antibiotics later - I headed to the doctor's office today to see if we were progressing, like we should, toward out FET (frozen embryo transfer).

I was under the assumption it would be blood work, and ultrasound and then a nurse would call me this afternoon with results. This is the normal routine. I go back to work and neurotically check my phone to see if they've called yet...

Today was a little different. They did the blood work first, and asked me to go back to the waiting room. Normally the ultrasound girl comes to get me, but this time it was a nurse. She informed me that one of my Doctors, Dr. Loy, would be doing my ultrasound today. This is always nice, because you get a better idea of how things look right then, rather then waiting for him to review your ultrasound.

I like Dr. Loy a lot so I was glad it was him today. He came in, did the ultrasound, and informed me that everything looked wonderful! He even gave me a print of the ultrasound, but between you and me it wasn't very exciting so I won't share it. He then told me to meet them (he and the nurse) back out at the nurses station.

When I got out there, the nurse explained that everything looked even better than expected. Originally they told me my transfer date would be somewhere between the 16th and 18th of September. 16th being best case scenario. After my ultrasound and seeing my progression, Dr. Loy said the 16th it is! I am really happy about this! In his opinion, things couldn't look any better and he sees no reason to wait past then.

So, here's our new plan of action:
September 11th will be my last lupron shot! Woop Woop! That night we will begin progesterone injections (another butt shot). Heck, this one gets a Woop Woop too, because it means we are SO CLOSE.
That rolls on through the 14th, when I start 2 more medications (just pills) Keflex and Medrol...
This continues on up to the 16th - OUR TRANSFER DAY!!!!!

Our transfer will be at 12:45pm NEXT FLIPPING TUESDAY! They told me it was very similar to an IUI, except that I have to do this one with a full bladder. I have heard this is the hard part, and I am so bad at holding it. Anyway, they will do the transfer, then I will head home for the day to rest. From there, life can return to normal - sort of - until we take a pregnancy test at the end of September.

Funny enough, the nurse did give me a paper that said for 5 days post transfer I am restricted from activities like heavy lifting, vacuuming, grocery shopping, carrying laundry baskets, etc. I had her write in some extras like cleaning the kitchen, cooking dinner, so on and so on. Mike should love that.

Alright, so here's what I know... We still have a long road ahead. This process is not fail proof - our odds are good, but not 100%. Even if we get pregnant, we aren't guaranteed, that in 9 months, we will be taking our baby home. We have a long way to go. A long way, that usually people don't choose to share with everyone they know as well as some strangers. I've gotten a lot of opinions thrown my way about our decision to share our journey so openly. Mostly good, some bad - and that's ok. Not everyone will agree with the choices we make. That being said, let me explain why I feel it is important, crucial even, to share my story in real time.

My God is bigger and more steadfast than any doctor, procedure, medical statistic, etc that you can throw at me. Don't tell me what my chances are, don't tell me to brace myself for the worst. My faith is bigger than my fears. Yes of course we will be crushed if it doesn't work. I will cry and beg for God to heal the hurt in my heart... the awesome thing is, I know He will.

He has put it on my heart to take this one day at a time, and to share those days with anyone that wants to listen. I will do that to my best ability, in my attempt to honor Him the whole way. From the moment that embryo baby was created it is alive. I will cherish every minute that I have and pray that God chooses this to be our time. That He will hold on to us with his sovereign hand and help that baby or babies grow and grow. If He takes our baby away, I will cling to my faith, knowing that His will is perfect even when I can't see it as such.

My PBP followers are amazing. Your messages of support, your prayers, have blessed me more than you know and they help keep me going. This next month is going to be amazing and I can't wait to share it with you. I hope we get to celebrate together very very soon!