Four times the fun…Hysterscopy, Uterine Biopsy, Mock Transfer and Endometrial Scratch.

Hi all!

It’s been a little while since I’ve filled you in on where we are in the whole baby making process. Following our missed miscarriage back in March and our D/C I decided to take the entire month of April off to just try and be “normal”. Not that I have any idea as to what normal is anymore. Infertility has robbed that from us. But in an effort to try and get a glimmer of what is ‘normal’ I basically stopped doing all the things I had been when pregnant or trying to be pregnant. This included going on a binge and eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted … cue the excess weight gain. I also started going out with friends for cocktails, partying it up when appropriate (friend’s bachelorette and bridal shower etc), I stopped taking my zillion vitamins daily and gave the good old avocados and pomegranate juice a break. Lastly, I took a full month off from any needles that includes shots as well as acupuncture.

As you can image all of this wild and crazy infertility rule breaking behavior lead me to feel less than stellar! So starting May first I tried to slowly reel myself back in as we begin to prepare for IVF round 3, our 2nd Frozen Embryo Transfer. Following my D/C I was kind of left hanging as to what the next steps would be. I knew I needed to get my next cycle and then I had to have a series of tests/procedures done but I didn’t have any set timeframe. April was truly a weird month. Part of me was excited to be taking a bit of break, part of me felt guilty, part of me was sad that I wasn’t pregnant and the other part of me just wanted to hurry everything along and get started on the next steps!

Thankfully my loving body gave in fairly quickly and I started a new cycle on May 1st! I swear I never thought I would be so happy to have aunt flow show her grizzly face. But the start of af meant I could finally call my clinic and get the ball rolling on everything else. Little did I know those next few steps would be less than impressive.

A week or so after af started/stopped I had my first appointment back at the RE’s office. I was scheduled for a hysterscopy, a uterine biopsy, a mock transfer, and an endometrial scratch. Doesn’t sound particularly too complicated until I realized I would be WIDE AWAKE with zero pain control during all of this.

Wait hold up, you want to stick what? in where? while I am awake!? Can’t a sister get a little pain support over here?? Crickets… guess I’m on my own while I clutch a bottle of advil.

On wednesday of this past week I came in for my quadruple office procedure. I had followed the directions to take 800mg of ibuprofen an hour before and just in case I had taken some anxiety meds. Needless to say these all proved to be completely useless once the procedure began. Thankfully, my instagram IVF community had warned me I was in for a major pain experience. They were not exaggerating.

My doctor warned me when she entered the room that for some women the procedure is only slightly uncomfortable and for others the pain can be so severe that the procedure needs to be ended early. I will allow you a moment to guess which side of that spectrum I fell on …. It was excruciatingly painful.. as in I screamed out loud “Holy Fuck!! That hurts!” as tears streamed down my face.

Step 1 – Set up & Mock Transfer: It all started with the typical get undressed from the waist down, plop your feet up in these lovely stirrups, and lets get this party started gig. I’ve done this part thousands of times! I’m like an old pro. Then came the dreaded speculum, but just in case this wasn’t already a party, I got to add a special additional friend… a cervical clamp to the mix..yay!

The cervical clamp immediately caused cramping but those were mild in comparison to what was coming next. My RE told me she would do a ‘mock transfer’ first whereby she inserts the same sized catheter they use on transfer day to practice placement in my uterus. Round 1 went smoothly with only mild discomfort. Since that wasn’t fun enough she decided to go for round 2 just to make sure she had it just right! Well lucky me she pushed in too far and jabbed the back of my uterus… cue the knives!! It felt like a sharp knife was poking my insides. Not pleasant.

Step 2- Hysterscopy: First step was to insert an even wider catheter so that she could conduct the hysterscopy. Side note: I once dated someone who sold medical devices.. these cameras to be exact. In that moment I thought back to how I use to laugh and play with these mini camera’s at his house thinking “those poor souls who have to have these inserted in their neither regions”… Flash forward to me waiting anxiously for one of those bad boys to be shoved in my lady bits…’Karma you really can be a bitch’ I thought as I realized I was now one of those poor unfortunate souls.. except I wasn’t even getting the common courtesy of anesthesia, it was just me and the hysterscopy camera coming face to face for what I hope to be the first and last time ever.

While this part was less than comfortable, cue more cramping as my uterus is being filled with saline and a camera probe is being moved around inside to check for scarring and any other issues, the pain was manageable. The one cool part about all of this was that I actually got to watch it all go down the big screen. I got to see what the inside of my uterus actually look like! Now its not every day that you get to say that! Jason on the other hand was less than thrilled. He peaked once and immediately regretted it as he apparently can’t handle the medical parts of this gig. He started asking “does anyone care about me? I’m about to pass out”… Sorry buck-a-roo I’m the one with a camera up my whoo-ha ain’t nobody checking in on you. Thankfully all looked good so it was on to the next steps.

Step 3/4- Uterine biopsy & Endometrial Scratch aka HELL: Thinking that I am almost in the clear, I figured this next step wouldn’t be so bad.. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ladies.. If you ever have to have a uterine biopsy done, please do yourself a favor and ask to be knocked out.

I felt like I was back in the 1800’s when shoddy medical practices were conducted with nothing more than a swig of alcohol and a dirty cloth shoved in your mouth to quiet the screaming. The pain was no joke.

 After removing the hysterscopy camera my RE inserted what must now be known as a straight torture device. I never got to see what it looked like, but I sure as hell felt it. She started to “scratch” my uternine lining to be collected for the biopsy as well as to help create a more inviting uterine lining for my upcoming transfer. She wasn’t in there for more than a few seconds when the pain set in. It felt like a someone was taking their very sharp finger nails and just scrapping/digging at my insides. My whole uterus began spasming and clamping down. I was in agony. She quickly stopped and asked if she should be done. I told her to just try to finish as quickly as she could (because thats what infertility does to you.. you become the biggest warrior and will do anything to get to that baby!). Upon starting up again the pain intensified to the point where I almost blacked out. She stopped and told me to try and relax my muscles, but to lay still and not to get up for fear I would collapse.

And just like that it was all over. The entire procedure probably only took about 20-30 minutes but it felt like an eternity. I’m glad I went through with it all as I hope to set myself up for success on this next transfer. But I can tell you this, if I ever have to do that procedure again I will request to be knocked out. Looking back I think it was my endometriosis that made it so painful, everything in that general area for me is always inflamed and uncomfortable. Cheer’s to moving forward with happy and healthy uterus!

Until next time, as always, wishing you and yours lots of love, luck and baby dust!

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National Infertility Awareness Week

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It’s National Infertility Awareness Week

If you asked me a year ago if I would be writing this blog today, I would say no way. Last year at this time I was coming to the dreaded conclusion that I was likely 1 in 8, the current statistic associated with infertility. Just last April I was impatiently awaiting my first doctor’s appointment with my OB/GYN to discuss my infertility concerns. Even though I knew I had been trying for well over a year unsuccessfully I still hadn’t come to the full realization that I was about to be diagnosed with infertility. Until that point that term was somewhat foreign to me. I knew what it meant, but I tried to think of it as a distant term, that kind of term that won’t happen to me. Sort of like cancer. Everyone knows what cancer is, you know it’s this horrible disease that destroys lives, but you always sort of think of it in a distant type of way. Sort of like you are trying to protect yourself, like ‘that can’t happen to me right?’.

A diagnosis of infertility is very similar. You hear about it on TV or read about it online. You may know someone who struggles with it but you don’t truly ever think it could be yours. Until it is. Nothing can prepare you for the finality of the words “you have infertility”. For some reason our society has kept the concept of fertility and infertility a secret. It’s like the giant elephant in the room. Everyone knows how babies are made but no one talks about it. No one talks about the struggles, the process, the trials and tribulation it takes to get to the end goal of a little one. All we ever focus on is the happy bits, the pregnancy announcements, the baby showers, the first pictures and so on.

But what about all the in-between’s.

I think its time we start talking about the in-between. That’s what infertility is after all. It’s the indefinite in-between from the time you decide you want to have a child, to the time when you find out that it’s not as easy as they make it look in the movies. It’s the time spent waiting… so much waiting. Waiting for each month, waiting for the next test, the next doctor’s visit, the next specialist, the next procedure, the next dose of medicine, the next blood work result, the next ultrasound, the never ending next’s. And with all this waiting it’s hard to imagine why we expect people to hide in silence, to cry behind closed doors, to be left alone feeling like they are the only ones suffering. Why do we make something that is already so hard, that much harder?

I challenge you to end the silence, start a conversation, to reach out for support. There is so much support out there if you just ask. As hard as it is to break the silence barrier, I have decided it’s so worth it. I started this blog a few months back as our IVF journey was beginning. That wasn’t even close to the beginning of our infertility journey but at the time it seemed like it was the ‘real start’, the part that society would finally accept as being true infertility. I challenge that thought too.

Our infertility battle started closer to three years ago. Well before the doctor’s visits and the tests and the IVF. It started with the month after month of disappointment, negative tests and tears when someone else posted their pregnancy announcement. Each one of those announcements seemed to stack the deck further against us… “why is it so easy for them?”, “what’s wrong with me?” the list goes on and on. The truth is, because of the silent stigma regarding infertility I had no way of knowing if those other couples had struggled just as much as we were. Maybe that was their rainbow baby, maybe that was their one miracle.

It would have helped so much to know that, to know that we weren’t alone.

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This year as I look back at how far we have come, and how far we still have to go as we search for our rainbow baby, I realize I can no longer sit in silence. I must advocate for myself, but more importantly for others who do not feel supported enough to do so. I have broken the infertility silence barrier and there is no going back. I have announced openly on all of my social media accounts that we are 1 in 8. I will #flipthescript. I won’t suffer in silence anymore and I challenge you to feel empowered to do the same.

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Sometimes miracles only last for but a mere moment… Our angel baby

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Today was a hard day. We were scheduled for our follow up ultrasound. Today I was exactly 7 weeks pregnant. All morning long I tried to remain upbeat and positive. Hopeful that God would grant us a miracle and that our little one would have grown significantly over the past 7 days of waiting. I prayed over and over again. I put on my lucky IVF socks and t-shirt. I held my lucky tiger’s eye crystal and we made our way to the clinic.

On the way to the clinic Jason chose to play some relaxation/mediation music. We talked about non-related items. I sensed he was more nervous than I was. I had awoken in the morning with some sense of calm. It was a calm that gave me a sense of peace knowing that today we would have some answers. The unknown is truly the hardest part for me. I suffer from anxiety, anything unknown is a challenge. I know that am a warrior, I have been through so much in my life,  once I know what I need to overcome I just do it. But the unknown, well if you don’t know what you have to overcome, then how can you overcome it?

We arrived at the clinic and it was unusually busy. I think in our entire 6 months of attending appointments the most people I had ever seen in the waiting room were two. Today there were closer to 8 others anxiously awaiting their own news whatever that may be. As we were waiting one young women came out very happy and mentioned that she was just waiting for the doctor who needed to check on one thing from her ultrasound before she left. I thought to myself, I wonder if she is pregnant. For moment in time I felt envious of her clearly good news.

Soon they called us back, it was my one of my least favorite nurses. She brought us back to the dreaded exam room #3. That room had so much negative energy that I almost immediately knew this wasn’t going to go well. It’s the same room from the week previously, its the room I was in when I had my first failed IUI and its the same room when I was told I wasn’t responding well to my stim meds. Just a whole lot of negativity. I tried to change my mindset back to positive mode but I quickly began to become upset. Jason was quick to comfort me, he reminded me to take a deep breath and not loose hope.

The doctor came and was fairly somber, she asked how I was and reminded me of what she would be looking for. I laid down and prepared for the news, whatever it may be. I watched as the image came up on the screen. There it was, the same tiny gestational sac, minor growth but nothing inside of the sac. It was empty. I knew then it was over. In that moment I asked for image of our angel baby. Grief washed over Jason as he realized this was the end. We had to say good bye before it ever really began. He wept. I did not. In this state of shock, a numbness had come over me. I switched into my natural ‘survival mode’. I shut off all my emotions and became very methodical instead. I asked questions regarding next steps, I signed paperwork for a D & C (Dilation & Curettage) and I asked what to expect as I recovered from our first miscarriage.

I tried to stay in this ‘survival mode’ as they moved us to a consultation room to fill out the paperwork for the D&C surgery. The nurses tried to comfort us but all I wanted was to go home. I felt cold and numb. Jason, poor Jason felt a loss I’m sure he never could have imagined. He was broken, and I was broken to see him like this. I knew I couldn’t fix it. I am a ‘fixer’ a heart. How could I fix something that was so out of my control. We finished filing out the paperwork and left with an open-ended response that I may or may not miscarry on my own over the weekend. If not, I would return early next week to have everything surgically removed.

Jason brought me home and had to head to work. My heart crushed that he would have to face the next several hours alone with his grief. I knew I would take the time to start the healing process alone, with our loving dogs. I cried. Then I called my mother to share the news. For once in my life I can say she truly empathized with me. I could hear her choking up as I shared the details of the day. She had experienced several losses herself and I could tell this was re-opening old wounds. You see, no matter whether you were pregnant for a week or months, the pain of a miscarriage never truly goes away. The child will always be a part of you. You will never go a day without thinking about the ‘what ifs’. I will always wonder who my baby would have become.

I have already begun to find ways to help heal after this loss. Because thats what survivors do, we pick the pieces and move forward no matter what. When I am ready I will share some of those with all of you. I hope that by sharing I can help someone else in their own personal journey. In spite of all this despair I want you all to know that my faith in God has not been shaken, if anything else it has become stronger. I trust God has a plan for us. One that is even better than we could ever imagine. I trust that when this storm passes there will be the brightest rainbow. I look forward to the day when I can share that rainbow with the world…

Until then, as always, sending you all lots of love, luck and baby dust.

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You wait… Our first ultrasound

There’s one thing no one really tells you about dealing with infertility and that is the never ending wait. What’s an even bigger secret is that wait and the worrying and the pain don’t end after you become pregnant. No, that is just the beginning.

On Friday March 9th, after a long 9 day wait we had heard the wonderful word’s “Your Pregnant!”. But of course it’s never really that simple. Our beta was on the lower side so we had to wait for monday to see if it would rise. As I wrote in my last post by the grace of god it had significantly! We were told no more beta’s and thus began the 11 day wait till our next significant milestone… the first ultrasound. Keeping myself busy during those 11 days was a challenge! Firstly, I honestly didn’t know what to think. I knew I was pregnant based on the two beta results, but I really felt like I needed a third to formally confirm. Leading up to my ultrasound I didn’t really experience any of the typical early pregnancy symptoms so it made me a bit worried. I had limited bloating, no real cramping, no nausea, some fatigue and no major new cravings (besides oreos and milk!).

When the big day finally came both Jason and I were anxious, me probably a bit more than him. I had woken up the morning of the ultrasound with one of those ‘bad feelings’ I just couldn’t seem to shake. My RE must have sensed it as she walked in the room because she immediately explained to me what would happen at today’s ultrasound knowing I wouldn’t be able to think clearly afterwards. She told me she would be looking for the following things:

  • Is the pregnancy in the uterus or is it outside, also known as an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Is there a gestational sac and does it contain a yolk.
  • Is there an early fetal pole, and if so what is the crown to rump length.
  • Is there an early heart beat and if so how many beats per minute is it.

As I laid on the table and awaited the image on the screen my heart was racing. I knew what to be looking for as I had researched what typical ultrasounds look like at 6 weeks. Jason on the other hand was flying blind and perhaps that was a gift. The second the image came up the screen my heart sank. I knew immediately something was wrong. While there was a gestational sac is was very small measuring barely 3mm. Based on my known gestation it really should have been somewhere closer to the ranges of 6 to 10mm.

My doctor’s tone immediately changed from one of positivity to a more clinical manner. She ended the ultrasound without giving us a picture and began the discussion of what this all means. Very matter of factly she told us that it was too small to tell if there was anything inside the gestational sac, that it was unlikely this pregnancy would be viable. We were given a 30% or less chance that it was just a ‘slow to grow’ embryo and that things would turn around over the next week. And just like that we were told the next week would be the hardest of our lives. We simply had to wait…wait to see if the baby continued to grow, wait to see if there was a heartbeat, wait to see if it was all over.

Naturally, I cried. I was devastated by the news. I knew in my heart that things did not look good. Jason, tried his best to remain positive. He focused on the 30% of hope. I knew better. I went home and began the mourning process. I cried, I begged, I asked ‘why me’ ‘why us’. And then after a long pity party, I decided to stop all the nonsense and focus on the positives. At least I had gotten pregnant, something I had once thought was impossible. There was still a small chance it was just ‘slow to grow’. Miracles happen every day if you believe. I had even found medical research articles that stated frozen embryo IVF babies tended to be ‘slow growers’ in utero up until about 12 weeks. I even had two friends who now had healthy living children tell me that they too had been given grim results at the first ultrasounds which went on to be healthy and successful pregnancies.

And so for the the next week I filled my mind with positive thoughts. I focused on all the hope I had for this life inside of me. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I surrounded myself with positive affirmations. I went to church and prayed some more. I looked to close friends and relatives for more hope and faith. And then I waited… You see the waiting never really ends. Infertility is a season of waiting. Time seems to stand still as you wait. Every moment feeling like a lifetime of wait. If you are in your own season of waiting. Just know you are not alone. Please reach out, I would be happy to support you through this challenging time. Because in these moments, sometimes all you can do is rest upon a friend.

Until next time, wishing you all lots of love, luck and baby dust!

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The two words I never thought I would hear… “You’re Pregnant!

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Photo Credit, Esty Shop: DesignParlour

Even as I sit down to write this post I am truly in disbelief. I mean surely I knew that after transferring our beautiful 6AB embaby there was a chance I would become actually  be pregnant, but after all the heartbreaks, and hardships of the past few years, I guess I had somewhat started to believe it was impossible for us to hear those magic words. And they truly are magical.

Following our successful FET transfer on Feburary 28th life pretty much carried on as usual. I made notes of any potential ‘symptoms’ just for my own reference when moving forward with other cycles. I figured why not have a go-to list of what I was feeling so I know what to expect, or not expect, depending on the outcome. I spent most of the week just counting the days till our first beta test (HCG blood work). Jason and I had made a promise that we would not test before our scheduled blood work date as we felt it would just cause too much unnecessary stress. From what I had seen from many other IVF’ers is that even with a positive or a negative test result they still felt unsure and needed the blood work to confirm. We felt there was no point in seeing a HPT (home pregnancy test) result before the beta test as we would still need confirmation either way. I guess I am one of the very few who actually waits as my instagram feed was blowing up with images of both positives and negative HPT’s.

 

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A card and flowers from Jason prior to our Beta. He wanted to remind me that no matter what, God has a plan for us and we are in this together ❤

On the morning of my beta test I was an absolute nervous wreck. When I say nervous I mean full blown shaking, sick to my stomach, heart racing, mind racing, unable to think straight bundle of nerves!! I got to my clinic around 8:30 and wasn’t taken back for my blood test until closer to 9:00 a.m. Those extra 30 minutes didn’t help with my anxiety! After taking my blood work they told me I would receive a call by mid-afternoon with the results, the nurse wished me good luck and off I went. When I finally arrived at work I kept my cell phone with me at all times, anxiously awaiting the call. I tried desperately to remain positive and upbeat, all the while freaking out and trying to prepare myself for the worse just in case. I had already spoken with my boss who said I was free to leave early if the news was less than positive. I greatly appreciated her understanding that I would be in no working condition following a negative result.

As the hours ticked on I began to become more and more nervous and full of doubt. The last time I had a beta test done was following my IUI. The call came in significantly later than they had told me and I remember I could tell just by tone of the nurses voice that the news was not good. I kept replaying the conversation in my head and then trying to replay it as positive news rather than negative (trying my best to attract positivity!!). When the phone finally rang I could barely say ‘hello’ to answer it. The conversation went like this… “Hi Joy, It’s Elana at CCRM I am calling with your test results, did you take a home pregnancy test?”… I said “no actually I didn’t” (truly not sure what her response would be)… then she said “Excellent! I know how hard it is to wait, but now I get to be the first person to tell you, you are pregnant!!”. I had no words… the shock took over. When I finally said something all I was able to muster up was “oh my god, I am??”.

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My initial beta number came in at 93.7 at 9dp5dt (9 days past 5 day blast transfer). When I asked her if those numbers were good or not she said “well we like to see it at 100 or better but you are close, we need you to come back on monday for a follow up test.” And just like that I found I was pregnant, and a whole new round of racing thoughts and ‘what -ifs’ began filling my head. What if my numbers don’t rise and this was just a chemical pregnancy? What if the numbers are low because its an ectopic pregnancy? What do I tell people, should I tell anyone? Now what??

I immediately thanked the nurse hung up and fell to the floor of my office in tears. I prayed like I have never prayed before and thanked god profusely for this amazing gift. The gift of life. I was finally pregnant, something I had only ever dreamed of. Something that for so long felt impossible. Then I began trying to figure out how to share the good news with Jason. I finally found an image to text to him that I thought was equal parts funny and fitting for our scenario..

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Photo credit, Etsy Shop: HonestAFcards

He immediately responded and said “shut up!” “are you serious!!”. We had a quick conversation over the phone where I told him the good news, explained how everything was still very-very delicate and we would need to see our numbers at least double come monday’s test to ensure that pregnancy was continuing to be viable. I was honestly on cloud 9. I wanted to shout it up and down the hallways at work that I was finally pregnant!! But of course that isn’t what I did. Instead I quietly smiled to myself, continued to profusely thank god, and shared my new little secret with a few co-workers who where in the ‘know’ and had been praying for us.

On my way home from work I stopped at a local CVS and bought a card to tell my parents and another one for Jason to congratulate him on becoming a dad. I also bought a two pack of pregnancy tests. I have never in my life seen a positive on a home pregnancy test so I felt like I needed to see it with my own two eyes. The package I bought had one digital and one traditional test. The directions said to use the traditional first and confirm with the digital. Well I freaked myself out a bit when the traditional came back with a very faint double line. Then the digital re-confirmed with a ‘+ yes’. Which made me feel a lot better. I put the tests on the kitchen counter along side the card for Jason when he got home from work.

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First time I have EVER seen a positive HPT!
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The card I got for Jason to come home too. 

The next few days felt like a blur. I knew I was technically pregnant but nothing really felt any different. If anything it felt like my period might start at any point. I was constantly going to bathroom to double check and make sure there was no spotting or blood. I continued to document any ‘symptoms’ I was having and all I kept thinking was “I don’t fell pregnant” and to be honest I still don’t. Finally we made it through the weekend, including me ‘drinking’ ginger ale’s when out with friends. Monday morning bright and early was my next HCG beta test. Of course my work day was absolutely jam packed with meetings so I knew I would miss the phone call from the clinic.

In between meetings I quickly checked my phone and to my surprise I saw a missed phone call at 10 a.m. This time I started to panic because that was a few hours earlier than I was expecting the call. I started thinking… what if its bad news? Why did they call so quickly, that can’t be good… I’m not ready for this to be taken away from me.. So I tried to switch gears, I told myself I would listen to the voicemail when I had a break from meetings so that I could get myself back together incase it was bad news. When I finally got up the courage to listen to the voicemail it ended up just being a message from the nurse to call her back for my results. Cue more panic, if it was good news why couldn’t she just leave that on the voicemail!

I called the clinic up and prepared myself for the worst. When I finally got a hold of the nurse she seemed excited to talk to me. I remained cautious as I waited for the news. “Hi Joy! your results are back and your numbers are 361.5!! That is a doubling time of 37 hours!!” …. HOLD UP… Did you say 361.5??? The absolute highest I had thought they might be when I was trying to be positive was 280-300. They were even higher than I could have imagined. Now here’s the trick with HCG beta numbers. There is a HUGE range of what is normal. All that really matters is that the numbers at least double within a 48-72 hour period of time. My numbers had doubled in a 37 hour period of time!! The nurse went on to say that because my numbers looked good I did not need to come back in for any more HCG blood tests, instead I was now scheduled for my first ultrasound check on March 23rd!!

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Part of me was ecstatic that they felt confident enough that I did not need to return for a third beta check before the ultrasound. The other part of me felt like I wanted the reassurance of the increasing numbers. So here I am now, waiting for friday of next week to find out if everything is continuing to progress as it should. I know that everything is still super delicate. I believe the miscarriage rate is the highest during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. I will call this the ‘danger zone’. Of course nothing is guaranteed even if you make it out of your first trimester (after week 13) but I guess there is some sense of security in knowing you’ve made it that far.

So for now, at 14dp5dt (or 4 weeks, 5 days pregnant) I am just counting down the days till our first ultrasound next week! It’s going to be a long 9 more days! The wait never ends. Until next time, wishing you and yours lots of love, luck and baby dust!!

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Ready set…PUPO!! Our first ever embryo transfer!

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It finally happened!!

I can finally call myself PUPO (Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise) for the first time in my life! Our first ever embryo transfer was this past wednesday (Feb 28th). I had been preparing for this date for 52 days… 52 days is how long it took from the time of my egg retrieval, OHSS, new cycle start, birth control, lupron, doxycycline, medrol, estrogen, and progesterone to get to this glorious day! To be honest it almost felt like it was never going to happen. I had spent so much time and energy trying to prepare for the big day, all the while worrying if it was actually going to take place. Thank you god it did!

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My DIY- IVF Pineapple Lucky Transfer Shirt 🙂

The day of our transfer my husband and eye donned our lucky IVF socks, I put on my “I’VF Got This” Pineapple shirt and we headed to our clinic. We still had some legal issues hanging over our head (more about this in my next post) and so our nerves were on edge heading into the clinic. I was also trying to carefully time my water consumption as to have a full bladder but not too too full for the procedure. The embryo transfer is done via ultrasound so unfortunately a full bladder is required and as you probably know its not super comfortable for someone to be pressing down firmly on your lower abdomen when you have a bursting bladder! The key is to time your water consumption perfectly so that you have consumed just enough, but not so much that you are in pain during the procedure.

The day before our transfer I had gotten a call from the lab to confirm that they would be thawing one embryo for our transfer. Due to our age and insurance company policies we were only allowed to transfer one embryo. I totally wasn’t sure what to expect for the whole procedure. They walked us over to the surgical side of our clinic and put us in our own little room which was dimly lit and had soft calming music playing. The nurse thanked us profusely for allowing her to be a part our special moment of conception. She reiterated numerous times that this was our special day and they were just lucky to be a part of it. Pretty cool when you think about it.. I guess I had gotten so use to just being poked and prodded and going with the flow that I wasn’t even realizing how personal and special this moment was going to be for us.

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My overly excited, big smile and double thumbs up pose!!

The nurse left the room and I got changed into the traditional hospital gown and waited patiently for the rest of the team to arrive. In our tiny little room was myself, my husband Jason, the RE, two nurses and the embryologist. It was like a conception party! Once everyone arrived they got me all set up with my legs in the stirrups and the brightest damn light shining down my lady bit hallway (once again all modesty is out the window when there’s four adults, who are not your husband, getting an up close and personal view of your private lady bits).

After inserting the dreaded speculum, and cleaning up my cervix my doctor placed the catheter via ultrasound guidance. Now we were ready for important part! The embryologist scanned my ID hospital badge and then the paperwork to confirm that they would be transferring one thawed 6AB embryo and that we would have 6 embryos left in storage. She left left the room to return with a giant incubator, like the kind they keep neonatal babies in, which contained our one precious little embryo in it. She used the special microscope to show us a picture our little nugget on the big screen. Jason took a picture but I must admit his camera skills are less than amateur!

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A bit blurry, but there is our beautiful 6AB Embaby!

After putting the embryo into the special solution and syringe everyone was ready for the big moment of conception. I watched carefully on screen to see the designated ‘flash’ of light which indicated our precious little embaby was now being comforted in my plush uterus (yup I used the word plush and uterus in the same sentence, I worked damn hard to have a nice thick lining!). Then before everything was completely done the embryologist re-checked the syringe to make sure the embryo was actually gone and they printed two pictures of our little ‘spark’ for us to take home. All of that work, 52 days worth, was over in a matter of minutes. The rest as they say is up to the big guy in the sky.

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Our first picture together! I’m PUPO!

The nurse had me stay laying down for about 15 minutes and then re-reviewed my discharge notes which basically said to lay low, no heavy lifting, no extraneous exercise, no sex and continue on current meds until our beta blood work test on March 9th. Hard to believe that all this work will come to some sort of a conclusion either good or bad in just over a week. So now begins my dreaded TWW (Two week wait) even though its more like a week and a half wait since our embryo was frozen at day 5.

I had a whole list of infertility wives tales to follow for the next 5 days thanks to all my internet research! In an effort to spare you all some time,  here’s what I had found for do’s and don’t’s:

  • Do: Eat Mcdonald’s french fries or some other salty treat after your transfer
  • Do: Keep your feet warm and elevated!
  • Do: Drink pomegranate juice and raspberry leaf tea
  • Do: Have lots of warm beverages and foods like soups and cooked veggies
  • Do: Eat an avocado a day
  • Do: Eat pineapple core starting the night of transfer for the next 5 days
  • Do: Stay hydrated
  • Do: Relax, lay low, and stay warm!
  • Do: Watch funny movies and laugh a lot after transfer
  • Do: Think positive thoughts/vibes
  • Do: Continue to take your progesterone, estrogen and prenatals
  • Do: Acupuncture following your transfer and again 5 days after if possible
  • Don’t: Drink cold liquids or eat cold foods
  • Don’t: Symptom spot
  • Don’t: Have sex
  • Don’t: Do any heavy lifting or intense physical activity
  • Don’t: Take hot baths or put warm items on your lap (heating pad/laptop etc)
  • Don’t: Drink alcohol, ingest caffeine or take drugs (including over the counter stuff)

**There was one item that had pretty conflicting information depending on where you looked and that was bed rest. Some RE’s recommend strict bed rest for 48 hours following a transfer. Some newer research however has shown that continuing with your regular activities is more beneficial as it decreases stress and increased blood flow to your uterus. Stagnant bed rest can decrease the blood flow where it is needed most.** I say to each there own. I ended up doing a combination of the two.

Here’s what I actually ended up doing. It was a randomly warm and beautifully sunny New England day so we decided to drive to South Boston and have ourselves a traditional boston lunch at Sullivan’s (aka Sully’s). We waited in a long line to finally get hotdogs and french fries! I know many of you are probably cringing at this based on all the chemicals etc in hotdogs. But you know what, it made me happy, I was craving them and they may be my last hotdogs for the next 9 months (fingers crossed they are). After leaving Sully’s I rode with my feet up on the dashboard home. Where we decided to then take the dogs to the local dog park since it was still so beautiful out. I figured my dogs make me incredibly happy, sunshine and being out doors makes me incredibly happy. All that can’t be bad for our little embaby right??

 

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Sully’s!! Always worth the wait! 🙂
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Feet up! Just in case 🙂
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Baby Mavy!! Pumped to be heading to the dog park! How could I say no to that handsome smile 🙂

When we were finally done with gallivanting around, I laid on the couch in my comfiest pj’s with my legs elevated on a pillow wrapped in a blanket and watched some funny movies. We chose Anchorman and Bad Moms. We spent the rest of the day enjoying each other’s company, laughing and relaxing. For dinner we had soup and sandwiches and then went to bed early. All in all, I would say it was a pretty successful and positive day. Now all we have to do is hope this little nugget has settled in nice and snug and will continue to grow and make my belly its home for next 9 months!

Until next time, wishing you and yours lots of love, luck and baby dust!

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Simply Blessed… Green Light to our FET!

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Today was our big lining check/blood work appointment to see if I was finally able to grow the right kind of lining and keep all my hormones in check. I was super nervous for this appointment as so much still hung in the balance… Did my body respond the way it was supposed to? Is my lining going to be thick enough? Will I have the ever so sought after tri-laminar lining? Would my ovaries still be huge? What if my hormones come back as being too high or too low??

Thankfully Jason was able to join me on this appointment. It means the world to me that he understands how important all of this is, and he wants to be a part of everything as much as he possibly can. Having the support of your spouse during these trying times truly is a blessing.

We started our appointment by filling out our Frozen Embryo Transfer Consent paperwork which made me feel like things were going in the right direction. Dr. Z came in to do our ultrasound and I almost couldn’t look at the screen. I was laying there with all of my fingers crossed hoping to hear the magical words “tri-laminar” lining. What is a tri-laminar lining you might be asking. Don’t worry I was asking the same thing until I found it in my FET daily research ritual. (I have a real passion for researching the heck out of things until theres nearly nothing left to know!).

Tri-laminar simply means a uterine lining which appears to have three parallel lines when on the ultrasound screen. It tends to be a good indicator of a healthy lining. Mine ended up being somewheres around 8.1 mm which is great! They need it to be typically above a 7, and my clinic prefers it to be above an 8 for ideal transfer conditions. I breathed the biggest sigh of relief when I heard her say it was looking good! Truly it is the little things in life at this point. Who would have thought I would be over the moon ecstatic to hear how thick my uterine lining was!

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My nervous/excited go to pose! Haha always a big smile and a thumbs up!

Up next was a mini consult with one of the nurses to ensure I knew what meds to be taking and when. I was glad to finally be offered an in person consult. As I have mentioned before, this cycle has been way too ‘hands off’ for me as far as communication between the clinic and my care was concerned. I was able to ask the nurse some questions and point out several errors on my original FET Calendar which had led to some serious confusion at the start of my cycle. I’m glad I asked for the consult because I had originally thought I was supposed to be taking the progesterone injections every other day (as it said on the calendar) but the nurse clarified it was a mistake and they need to be taken daily! Once again… ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE!

Advocating for myself gives me lots of anxiety, I don’t like to be the person who ‘stirs the pot’ but, if there is anything this process has taught me, its that if you don’t ask you will cause yourself significantly more unnecessary stress and potentially negative outcomes. It doesn’t hurt to clarify everything whenever you are given the opportunity. As much as we all like to think we are IVF experts, the truth is we haven’t been to medical school, we might be misinterpreting something, and clarification is key.

Lastly, I made a quick stop to do my blood work with my favorite nurse who is always able to find my sneaky tiny little veins! She actually has made a mental road map of my arm and uses my tattoos as guidance so she gets it right on the first try, every time! This is greatly appreciated as it takes most people several attempts to finally find a successful vein. With all the poking, prodding and stabbing that goes into IVF, nobody wants to add any additional pricks into the mix.

Up next was the hard part… the waiting, and waiting and more waiting for a phone call to see if we were good to go, or if there was another upset in the making. Of course to keep things exciting I did receive a call from the clinic but it was in regards to our legal battle woes, not the news I was hoping for. Needless to say that phone call spiked my anxiety, but I was able to contain it knowing that I would likely have my answer about our FET before the night was through. Of course the call came through right as I was trying to check out at Michaels crafts and using a coupon on my phone! I let it go to voicemail which is actually my preferred method of dealing with this stuff anyways. That way I can re-play the message as much as I need to make sure I understand the directions and what not.

This voicemail was probably the second best one of my life. The first being when we were approved for our initial IVF cycle through our insurance. This one went something like this “Hi Joy, its nurse Karen! We have the green light to move forward with your FET. You are scheduled for February 28th at 11 a.m.” Lets just pause that for a second… Finally some good news!!! We have the green light to start up progesterone oil, endometrin inserts, medrol, and doxycyline! Houston we are heading for an embryo transfer!! There is so much excitement in finally hearing that we will be able to transfer one of our precious snowflake babies into my now warm and inviting uterus! Hahaha it is truly entertaining how exciting it is to talk about warm uteruses and blood work etc! The joy’s of infertility… gotta find humor somewhere!

In thinking about next week and our big transfer day, it’s kind of hard to imagine what this all might mean. On one hand, there’s still tons of what it’s. We don’t know how well our embryos will thaw, we don’t know if they are genetically normal or not, heck we don’t know if my body will implant it successfully or not. But what we do know is that theres a chance.. there is a chance that this time next week I could be PUPO (Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise)!! PREGNANT! I truly struggle to contain my excitement when I think about that possibility. While I want to remain cautious to protect my heart in case things don’t go well. I can’t help but be hopeful that this will be our big day, the one that finally works, the start of our success story to be able to tell all our friends, family and eventually to share with our little one. The story of how they came to be and the journey we took to get there.

It all starts with a dream, a hope, and a wish… Until next time, may god bless you and yours with lots of love, luck and baby dust!

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