Eric comes home today!

It’s been a long week with Eric away. I keep thinking I’ll get better at this parenting alone thing. Who knows. I did get a ton of laundry done yesterday, but of course there are more piles today. It’s like the most unforgiving task ever, the gift that keeps on giving, usually in the form of poop streaks compliments of Nora. I’m treating myself with a very pretty mocha at my favorite downtown cafe before I pick up groceries.

I’m working on MOMS Club stuff, like the agenda for our next business meeting, planning our next board meeting, and finding committee leaders for holiday gatherings. I like this part of my role as president, the managing, organizing, leading part. With almost 50 members though, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everyone’s demands wishes.

A friend of mine is getting ready to have her fourth baby. And I seriously can’t imagine. I’m still finding two a challenge, ever single day! One minute I’m thinking, I have these two perfect little ladies who complete our family. And then the next I think of our tiny embryo… just waiting for its chance to grow. Can I handle three? What if it splits and we get twins, as this is more common with IVF transfers? I can’t handle four alone so much… I’d have to hire help at home, which would completely change our family dynamic. So the question, how does one know when they are finished having children? My case isn’t typical though. I probably shouldn’t carry our embryo, as we know my chances of carrying to term are extremely small. A gestational carrier is a completely different ballgame. One we can afford financially, but what about emotionally? I was just reading about how traumatic experiences change our brain structure, possible forever. This could explain my anxiety and heightened depression since birthing two preemies. Will I ever find calm again? (Am I getting too deep for a Friday?)

A mom friend posted on Facebook how the day her babies were born were the happiest of her life. That is a completely foreign idea to me. Those days, and the weeks that followed each of my girl’s births were not happy or special. They were sad and terrifying and stressful, full of tears and longing to hold my alien-like babies. I was sent away from Nora’s NICU suite on an almost daily basis so they could gather more spinal fluid to see if her meningitis was improving. I left the hospital every night to sleep, waking to pump every three hours. Hardly exciting, happy times. It’s still hard for me to see new moms with their babies… Is that why I want another? Another chance at all the things I feel I missed out on with Nora and Nadia? The baby shower pictures with the big belly, the kicks, the visitors in the hospital…

Or am I just dreaming any of this is possible?

Bad Day

I seriously don’t know how I can keep doing this to myself.  The whirlwind of emotions.  The highs and lows.  Oh, the lows, the sadness, the frustration.  Saying this is difficult for me is an understatement.  I’m extremely thankful for those of you who have been here, are here now… you get it.  For those of you who haven’t been here, I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe the despair I felt today.

Today our final embryo report was released…

A recap for those of you just joining…  Last cycle we retrieved 6 eggs, 4 fertilized, we transferred 2 embryos at day 3, had none left to freeze, got pregnant with 1 but miscarried at 7 weeks.  This cycle we retrieved 12 eggs, 6 fertilized, we transferred 1 embryo on day 5, we have 1 embryo to freeze, and we’re awaiting our beta next Tuesday.

Yes, one freaking embryo to freeze, that’s it.  I’m seriously beyond heartbroken.  I received this news at work, through a message on the patient information line.  Does it get any more impersonal than that?  I mean really, is the cancer center allowed to pass along sad news via a voicemail system???  I know for a fact the Urology department personally calls each and every patient with test results.  I know because Eric spends his evenings do just such.  How do the IVF patients not deserve the same level of care???

Yes, I’m pissy tonight.  And before you even tell me to be positive and relax, please stop.  Every time someone tells me to be positive I feel like I’m being slapped in the face, like my feelings aren’t okay to be felt.  They are what they are, I can’t change how I feel.  I’m sad and frustrated, but mostly terrified I’ll never be a mother.

I have many, many complaints about my clinic, but…  My insurance pays at this clinic in full, including drugs, so a huge part of me feels like I’m not allowed to complain, like I should be thankful regardless the outcome.  But yet, my complaints are many, although they mostly center around communication, or lack there of, and feeling as though my care isn’t personal.  I truly feel as though I am MRN 327xxxxx.  Like there is a protocol and it’s being followed.  Yes, I trust my doctors are knowledgable and have good success rates, but success rates are just that, overall statistics.  They don’t mean much to each individual patient.

Yes, I’m very sad we only have one embryo to freeze, one backup, if you will, but I’m just as sad that no further information was provided based on the remaining four embryos, two of which I was half expecting to be frozen based on their progress and comments from my doctor on Saturday, day 5.  I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about embryo grading, but I do know that if they were going to be discarded because they weren’t perfect day 5 blasts, I’d rather have transferred them than have them discarded, which is what I assume was done with them.  My clinic doesn’t freeze until day 5, which I know is very different from some other clinics.  I don’t know the pros and cons of that, but if I’d been with another clinic, they might have been frozen on day 3 when they looked excellent instead of good.  Is there really a 0% chance they would have turned into healthy babies?  If this is such a numbers game, couldn’t we have transferred them and at least tried?

So two retrieval procedures and I’m still not guaranteed a baby.  Well, of course, there are never guarantees, but based on those darn numbers, each embryo has around a 50% chance of resulting in a live birth, so that means between the one we transferred and the one we froze, I might get one child.  Might.  And since I want more than one child, well, you and I both know that means I go through all this again.  Again with no guarantees.  If it takes two retrieval procedures to get one baby, will it take two more to get another?  And how can my clinic still claim nothing is wrong with either of us??  Who ends up with only 2 day-5 embryos after two retrievals??

I realize it’s completely possible this transfer will be born healthy and happy next June.  But I also realize that may not be the case.  I’m hopeful, I want this to work, I do, but I’m realistic too.  And when you’re repeatedly beat down, as I was again today, well, I’d have a hard timing believing anyone else in my shoes would be any more positive.  Our minds have a way of protecting ourselves I think…

And then, to top off my crappy day, there was blood in the syringe when Eric attempted my progesterone shot tonight, so we had to toss that one and start all over.  Meaning another stick…  Oh, the joys!

Tomorrow is only 3dp5dt, but since I have so many HPTs, and I love to pee on things, I figure tomorrow is the day I’ll start.  I obviously don’t expect a reliable result yet, but at least I’ll feel like I’m doing something to pass the time!

Pregnant!

I’m pregnant!  Okay, fair, we don’t actually know yet, but I’m thinking positive this time!  Well, trying to anyway…

Our embryo transfer this morning was a success, although the drive to the hospital and our attempts at parking were less than desirable due to the football fans.  I wanted to leave our home by 9:30am, an hour before our appointment, but at such time, Eric was still in the shower.  That man is going to be late for his own funeral!

We ended up parking in a valet spot, hoping not to be towed.  In our defense though, there were truly no other spots in the ramp we about had to break into.  As much as I love football games, it’s truly a shame the patients come second those Saturdays.  I guess healthcare don’t make the University as much money as football…

The transfer itself was fairly simple, having been through this once before.  My vitals were taken and then we were each asked to change, me into a hospital gown and robe (ultra-sexy, just how I always pictured getting pregnant) and Eric into scrubs.  Our outfits were completed with those awesome blue hair bonnets.  Eric looks slightly pissed in the picture of the two of us, but he must have been just focusing on taking the selfie!

And then we waited.  I had made sure to drink Vitamin Water on the way to the hospital, as instructed to arrive with a full bladder, but I didn’t expect my doctor to be held up in clinic with another procedure.  Of course.  We waited almost an hour in the procedure room, with my bladder becoming more and more uncomfortable by the minute.  Thankfully the doctor on today is super laid-back, the same doctor who did my first transfer actually.  I made every attempt not to pee on him, as he assured me it had never happened in the past, and I certainly didn’t want to be the first!

Before the actual transfer our doctor reviewed our embryos’ progress with us.  Again, the risks involved with a twin pregnancy were discussed…  My doctor highly recommended we transfer only one embryo, as the odds of twins with transferring two is 35%-40%.  There was a part of me that really wanted to transfer two, for a variety of reasons, but I trust my doctor, and Eric, and agreed to transfer just one today.  Somehow there is still a chance of twins, but very small.  Something about 5 day blasts much more likely to split.

Based on the grading, we have 1 embryo we can freeze for sure, a second that looks very likely to be frozen, and then one more which is a maybe, but no guarantees.  Ultimately, two of our six aren’t growing as they should and will be discarded.  I meant to ask why four fertilized abnormally, but forgot in the excitement of the transfer.

I’m okay with transferring just one today, although there is a tiny part of me that will feel bad if this doesn’t work this time, that will wonder if we’d transferred two if we’d ended with a singleton pregnancy anyway.  Time will tell…  Just so over these procedures.

The transfer was fast, a test catheter was used first to make sure placement would be ideal, the embryologist brought in our embryo, and then we watched on ultrasound as it was nestled into just the right spot.

 

After the transfer I was left to rest for ten minutes while Eric cutely distracted me from my extremely full bladder.  (Being a urologist, he enjoyed seeing it on ultrasound.)

I was finally able to pee, then we exited the procedure area and returned to recovery to dress and then were on our way.  No activity restrictions although obviously we weren’t going to the game, or tailgating.  We did stop at Hy-Vee on the way home, first at their Starbucks, yes, I got decaf, and then to pick up a few goodies to eat while we watched the game at home.

I’ve been resting on the couch, alternating between peeing and eating.  Eric was by my side all afternoon while the game was on, but he was paged to the ER two hours ago and still isn’t home.  Our plan was to grill out tonight, but perhaps we’ll save that for tomorrow.

I had quite a bit of cramping earlier this afternoon, but all seems calm now.  I assume this is to be expected, although I don’t really remember much pain after our transfer last cycle.  As for meds, all are finished expect for the progesterone injections each evening.  I’m used to them now, but still can’t say I enjoy them.  I tolerate them, and thankfully feel comfortable giving them to myself if Eric happens to be away some evening, which is very, very possible knowing his awesome schedule.

Eric is on his way home now, so I’ll leave you with a picture of our son or daughter, due around June 1st 🙂

Eric thinks boy ;)
Eric thinks boy 🙂

Looking Good!

I’m feeling a little better today about our transfer, which is scheduled for 10:30am tomorrow morning.

Eric called the embryologist and she emailed him back our summary comparing results from our previous and current IVF cycle.

The embryologist explained that 10 of our 12 eggs fertilized, but for whatever reason (which I assume I will google later tonight) 4 fertilized abnormally, leaving us with 6. Our previous cycle did have a higher fertilization rate but obviously fewer overall eggs.

The summary also shows the number of 4-cell embryos on day 2, of which we had 3 this cycle compared to only 1 last cycle, and the number of embryos with more than 7 cells on day 3, which was even greater at 4 this cycle, so one embryo must have actually caught up overnight!

Our embryos aren’t cultured on day 4 (today) they are left in the incubator, so we won’t know any more until tomorrow morning at our transfer. I’m really hoping these 4 stay strong!!

Which brings me to… how many to transfer. I was originally saying 2, thinking twins is better than nothing. But the embryologist highly recommended we only transfer one if our embryos still look this good tomorrow. Keep in mind my clinic is ULTRA CONSERVATIVE, I mean seriously against multiples because of the added risks to moms and babies. I don’t know though, this is such a numbers game, great looking embryos still fail, and awful looking embryos turn into perfectly healthy babies. So, I’m really unsure at this point how many to transfer. I guess we’ll see what they can tell us tomorrow morning and go from there.

Wish us luck!

 

Transfer Scheduled

Finally received the message…  My transfer is scheduled for Saturday morning at 11am.  I am to arrive by 10:30am with a full bladder.  Oh, how I remember that part being fun!

And did I mention it’s a home football game here Saturday, against Iowa State.  Yeah, I thought ‘breaking’ into the hospital last Saturday for my ultrasound was rough…  All the policemen looked at me like, really, you have an appointment today?