Monday, April 30, 2012

Doctor's Orders

The long awaited day for IVF has finally arrived.  While the results are still not guaranteed, this presents the best odds we have of ever conceiving on our own (does this really even count as on our own though?).  For our age group roughly 60% of embryos that are transferred result in a live birth.  May the odds ever be in our favor?

They told Crystal to wear warm socks.  Through all the treatments, checkups and patient gowns (you know, the very modest ones with the natural air-conditioning in the back) we have lost all sense of dignity and self-pride, so C decided to rock her compression socks from her marathon days.  She got several comments and stares from the nurses.

Not wanting to make me feel left out in the dress department I even got my own jump suit.  They call it the "bunny suit".  The fit was a little funny...

 Here's Crystal and I ready to go in for the embryo transfer.

And without further ado I present the first pictures of potential Little Criddles A and B.  I have taken to referring to them as Freckles and Brown-Eyed Beauty.  From the picture below you can tell that Freckles is obviously the top one.

Now Crystal gets to the best part of this entire thing - doctor mandated bed rest.  She spends 3 days where she can "get up to use the restroom and incline slightly to eat", otherwise she has to be laying down.  Rough, I know.  On doctor's orders she has to rest and relax for days. 

Please keep us in your prayers as we continue our journey, hopefully with good news coming soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We're growing babies from scratch!

So, egg retrieval was yesterday!  We got there, we checked in and then waited to be called back.  At first I was called back for them to check my vitals and to sign some consents.  The nurse who took my vitals was really funny.  She was older and had a raspy voice.  The other nurse who was getting me to sign the papers was a younger woman who wasn't in the best of moods.  It was before 9am... that's the excuse I'll give her :)

The older woman who took my vitals kept telling me how little I looked.  "You're just a little girl!" She repeated this about 10x.  It was cute.  I know I'm young... but I'm not THAT young :)  Well, I'll take it anyways.  I had no make up on whatsoever so I know that didn't help my case haha... and the whole being short thing doesn't help either.

Anyways, I finally got called back to change into "the gown" and got hooked up to an IV.  I met both the doctors who would be with me during the retrieval.  The anesthesiologist was super nice and friendly.  I felt really comfortable with her and the other doctor who was doing the retrieval.  I said goodbye to Jon and I walked off to the OR.  I stood up on a stool they set up (I'm hoping they do this for all patients and not just because I was short haha) and climbed onto the "table".  They got me all comfortable with a blanket and after a few minutes, I was out like a light.

I woke up to a new nurse prattling on about something.  I can't remember.  She was taking my IV out and said she was going to get me water and then they were getting Jon too.  I wasn't in any pain which was nice. The nurse and doctor came in and told me they got 18 eggs! That's a really good number! I stayed there for a few more minutes and then they had me get dressed.  They wheeled me out to the car.  I was so dizzy.  I wasn't nauseous or anything, but I just had to keep my eyes shut on the wheel chair ride and in the car ride all the way home.  Jon helped me out of the car and took me to bed.  This is where I stayed pretty much the rest of the day.  I slept a TON.  I was so out of it lol.

My sweet mother-in-law brought us dinner while I was sleeping.  I was so grateful!  Because moving at the moment isn't my first choice of things to do.. not to mention cooking!  So, thank you, Anne!!  The chili was so yummy!!

Jon has been so amazing through all of this.  I can't leave him out of this!  He took care of me all day yesterday.  He worked from home and I fell asleep listening to him in the other room while he called into different meetings.   I love him so very much and I am so grateful for him and all that he does for our family.  He is such a hard worker and I am so very proud of him :)

Okay, I realize this is getting long.  So, I'll get to the results!

Today, I am doing better than yesterday.  I'm not super mobile and I have some pain but nothing bad.  So I am keeping low.  I got the call from my doctor's office today saying that out of the 18 eggs- we had 16 that fertilized!!  I called Jon right after and then he proceeded to post this on twitter:

"My wife grew 16 babies from scratch today. How effective were you with your day? #IVF"

I found that really funny :)  There is a blogger that I follow and she once wrote in her blog:

"growing a human trumps everything"

It's true!  No matter if it's through IVF or naturally- it's amazing!  So, that's it folks, we're growing babies from scratch!  Our transfer is on Monday :)  We are going to be transferring 2 embryos.  We are so excited!

In case this blog isn't long enough for you... haha... Here is something I found interesting.  It talks about the growth of an embryo in the first 5 days.  Today is day 1 and Monday will be day 5 :)

Embryo Development

During the first five days after fertilization, an embryo rapidly passes through multiple stages:
  • On day one, an embryo is typically at the pronuclear stage, commonly referred to as 2PN. It is still a one-cell embryo, because the DNA material from the sperm and the egg has not fused yet.
  • Day two after fertilization, the embryo is at the two- to four-cell stage.
  • On day three, it is typically at the six- to eight-cell stage. Days two and three are also called the cleavage stage.
  • On day four, the embryo is at the morula stage. A morula is a solid sphere that has many cells.
  • By day five, most embryos have reached the blastocyst stage. The blastocyst stage is the first stage of embryo development in which the different cells are differentiating (developing different functions). A blastocyst embryo has three components:
    • An inner cell mass, which ultimately becomes the actual baby
    • An outer cell mass, which becomes the placenta
    • A fluid-filled space, the blastocoel
Embryo transfers are typically performed on day three (the cleavage stage) or on day five (the blastocyst stage).

Source from Houston Fertility Institute Website

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Egg retrieval tomorrow!

I finally got my phone call... at 4pm!  Made me wait long enough ;)  jk  Anyways, I am scheduled for my egg retrieval for tomorrow morning.  I am now waiting for the surgical center to call me today to give me more information on what time we will need to get there.  As of right now, the procedure will start at 9:30am, but we'll need to be there earlier obviously.

Then the nurse told me that I am showing signs of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  Wonderful.  So, they've put me on a new medication for the next week to help reduce the risks as a precaution.  I won't lie, I am really nervous, but I am trying really hard to just view this a just a small bump in the road and that I'll get through it.  I am really thankful for my doctor and that he was able to catch this early on and do something about it.

I know some of you have heard this already.. but I just think it's funny.  When I picked up my new medication I noticed a lot of weird warnings on the info sheet.  So, it talks about not driving a car while taking the medication.  Then it goes on to say that "some patients taking this have developed certain behavioral changes... Such as increased gambling urges..."  So, what does that supposed to mean?? I'm not allowed to drive because otherwise I'm just going to drive down to the gas station and raid all their scratch tickets?? haha.  Weird.  Better keep all cash out of my reach! :)

Speaking of the surgical center (above) they just called me.  One of those phone calls where I had to answer a zillion questions of my history, medications, previous surgeries.. etc.  She asked for my height and weight...  I told her "4'11"" and I'm not kidding with this next part... but she laughed! She was laughing for a few seconds and then just said.. "sorry, I just don't meet people under 5 feet!"  Who says that???  Then, I had to talk her into letting us come earlier for part of it.  She wasn't too happy with that, but I don't care.  So, it looks like we need to be there by 7:45am. 

Wish us luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Friday and today's appointment

So, I apologize I didn't write about Friday's appointment over the weekend.  Life happens :)  Anyways, just an update, Dr. G was there to do my ultrasound! Yay!  He said everything looked great but he would probably have to move everything forward one day.  So, instead of a Tuesday retrieval, it now looks like it will be Wednesday.  Jon was amazed with how many follicles I had- haha, his eyes were very wide :)  My estrogen levels were at 1444 on Friday- so we're moving right along!  They told me to continue my meds through the weekend and to come back monday morning (today).

I think I really built all of this up in my head to be way worse than it really is.  Sure, I'm uncomfortable at times, but I'm not in terrible pain- thank goodness!  The thought of wearing normal pants and shorts right now isn't pleasant.. but if all I have to really deal with is some discomfort and comfy bottoms- I am A-OK with that! 

My appointment today went well.  My nurse (June) counted 26 follicles.  Out of those 26, she thought about 22 of them are between the sizes of 18-21mm (some even a little larger!), so that's still pretty good :)  They haven't called me yet with my blood work or to tell me if I get to take my HCG trigger shot tonight or if I have to continue my normal meds.  She was pretty positive that they would trigger me tonight and that would have me going in for my egg retrieval on Wednesday and a possible transfer on Monday the 30th (if it's a 5 day transfer)!  I know Jon would love having it on Monday :)  He'd get to work from home Mon-Wednesday :) 

Well, that's all for now!  I am hoping the doctor's office calls me soon!!  I'm dying to find out what the next few days will bring! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Holy huge ovaries, Batman!

My appointment yesterday went so well!  I need to like knock on wood or something, because this is the first time something hasn't gone wrong to cause my doctor concern.  There was an IUI cycle I had that I didn't blog about where the head doctor of the whole clinic got involved because I was growing too many follicles and they triggered me early because it would be "unsafe to continue medications".  So, I guess that's why I go into every cycle with a ton of nerves.  So here I am a week into shots and there has been nothing that has gone wrong!  Yahoo!  When the nurse called me yesterday with my results, she told me that Dr. G was so surprised with how well I was doing.. lol... See, I told you something always goes wrong!  She also told me that my estrogen levels more than doubled since Monday.  So, yesterday they were at 675 :)  I am hoping to see a big number tomorrow!

Anyways, my ultrasound was a lot longer yesterday because the nurse had to count and measure all my follicles.  Then, one of my ovaries decided to hide behind my uterus making it really hard to see on the ultrasound... nice.  The nurse told me that I have a few measuring at 12mm but others are at 11 and that's where they wanted me at the moment.   Anyways, after the ultrasound was over and my nurse was walking out of the room she was like "oh, by the way... I counted 23 follicles... and I think there were a few more that I couldn't get to because of the whole ovary behind the uterus thing.." and she was just beaming ear to ear lol. 

I also asked how large they want my follicles to get before triggering and she said 18-21mm.  So, pretty much the same as IUI.. but holy cow.. 23 (possibly more) follies getting that large... woah baby.

So, backing up a second here to do some explaining... 23 follies is wonderful! However, the downside is that not all of those eggs will fertilize- they usually hope for half of them to fertilize.  Then, there's always the case of having non-viable eggs.  So, I'm crossing my fingers here for lots of viable eggs and if we really do have 23 eggs, I am hoping for 12-14 to fertilize.  That would be wonderful.  Then once they fertilize, some don't fertilize well and can't be used.  So, the more eggs you have that fertilize, the better shot you have at having at least a few nice embryos to be transferred (and hopefully some to be frozen). 

I know this is boring.. but stay with me here!  Jon is always asking me how I'm feeling and up until yesterday afternoon my answer was "I'm doing great.  The discomfort comes and goes but nothing terrible."  Now... I am super uncomfortable all of the time!  I can still move around and do normal things, but I find that I have to take it easy, move a little slower and take a break here and there.  I feel so lame!  I'm not even pregnant!  Oh well.  I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel like I have two very full water balloons that I'm sitting on and it's just a bunch of pressure and some pain here and there.  Lovely.  I have a feeling that this is only going to get worse over the weekend.  I really don't mind though, because it means that my body is doing what it is supposed to and I am BEYOND excited for this whole thing!

So, bring on the weekend!  Jon and I are probably just going to sit around and be lazy together :)  He has been so great for this whole process.  He's so concerned and he tries to make sure I'm not overdoing anything.  It's really cute and I am so thankful for him :)  My next appointment is tomorrow and Jon is coming with me!

Tomorrow we'll probably find out when my retrieval will be.  I'm expecting it to be on Tuesday and then my transfer to be on Friday.  That could change though.  Either way, here's to a week full of yoga pants and exercise shirts, watching movies, inviting friends over to entertain me while I'm on bedrest lol and of course... being lazy (just kidding.. it's not lazy when it's mandatory!) 

See, Sookie is already settling in to that idea :)  And yes.. she's totally on her back and belly to the sky.. maybe she's practicing how to plank.. albeit upside down but it still looks like planking haha!  so.FLUFFY!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Doc Appt Yesterday

I had my doc appt yesterday and we are right on schedule :)  My lining is already developing layers (good thing) and my follicles are growing.  My nurse, June did my ultrasound again.  She didn't give me a number of my follicles, but looking at the screen- there were quite a few- all around 10mm.  So, things are looking good.

I got my afternoon call with my results.  I'll only mention my estrogen levels.  They were at 317 and on Thursday last week (12th)  my estrogen was under 20!  The number goes up with follicle growth.  So, with my blood results and what they saw on the ultrasound, I am where they want me (for once!).

Also, during that call they gave me my instructions that I would continue my current dosage for that night (Monday) and today.  For anyone curious, here is a picture of my "daily spread" of meds. A vial of sodium chloride, 2 bravelle's, 1 menopur, needle, syringe, alcohol swabs, and a band-aide.   What fun!

A friend of mine was asking what my medication (bravelle and menopur) looked like.  They're like powder tablets inside of a vial that you have to dilute with sodium chloride.  I tried to take a picture of it.  Don't mind my fingers/hand... lol I am no hand model!

The only change they made in my medications was that with today's dose I am also adding a second shot of a medication called cetrotide (same thing as ganirelix).  This shot is given when I do my other "stimulating" shot of bravelle and menopur.  The cetrotide helps prevent early ovulation and lets my follicles keep cooking!

I'm not sure how long I'll be on cetrotide.  I only was prescribed 6... so it better not be any more than that (I don't want to have to order more lol)!  After my lab results tomorrow I'll hopefully have a better idea.  So I'll know what to do Wed and Thursday and then I'll have another appointment on Friday.  I'm excited for Friday because the husband is coming with me!!  It's so nice to have him come with me.  Maybe I'll bribe him to take a picture of the ultrasound screen... lol.  As you can see, I was too much of a chicken to do it yesterday.

Other than that, we are doing well.  I know we get so wrapped up in this that I forget to write about all the other "cool" stuff we're doing.  You just get so consumed with all of this when you're going through cycles!

We watched the Three Musketeers from RedBox this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised.  I really liked it.  Then again, I came in with low expectations and I had Jon there giving me all the background info from the book.  So, if I didn't have that, I don't know if I would've liked it as much.   

This weekend I also made some lego marshmallow head pops for my nephew's 6th birthday party.  I was so in love with them!  I had so much fun making them and drawing on all the faces.  Esp. the Harry Potter faces! I was like a little kid in the kitchen haha!  Plus, I love choco-covered marshmallows- yum!

Tomorrow after my doctor appt I am headed to the temple to do a session.  It's only 10mins away from my doctor's office.  I try to go after some of my appointments.  I am really looking forward to it.  Hope yal are having a great Tuesday!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Swiss Cheese

Today at church we talked to some friends of ours who had success through IVF (adorable twin boys!) and they asked me "So, do you feel like swiss cheese yet?"  It took me a second to catch on.. lol... but duh- shots!  So, yes... I am feeling like swiss cheese :)  Heading to Doc's office tomorrow! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Perfect ultrasound and Holy Drogas, Batman!!

I had my baseline appointment yesterday morning.  Good ol' ultrasound and blood work as usual.  I just have to say- I love the nurses that work in my doctor's office.  They are so sweet.  My favorite nurse, June came in to do my ultrasound.  She walked in and was all smiles and just told me how excited she was that we have finally gotten here to do IVF.

One word for my ultrasound: perfect.

It couldn't have been better.  Normally there are issues with my lining being too thick or that I have one weird follicle that never fizzled out and it's a little larger than expected. Because of that, the nurses are crossing their fingers that my estrogen levels are low enough to start medications. So, I went in feeling a little nervous, but this time I had thin lining and lots of very small follicles!! June might've given me a high five lol and she cheered with the other nurses.  It just made me feel good and very hopeful.

June called me in the afternoon telling me that Dr. G looked over my results (ultra and blood) and said we had the green light to start shots (woo woo!) and Jon had to start his doxycycline (2x/day for 5 days).  She gave me my dosage for my shots and as I wrote it down, I felt a little overwhelmed lol...  2 vials of Bravelle mixed with 1 vial of Menopur.  The menopur is a new medication for me and the bravelle, I've done with each IUI cycle- so nothing new.  However, I have never done more than 1.5 vials of bravelle in one shot.  Normally it's always 1 vial of bravelle mixed with the saline solution and that's it.  When I did the 1.5 vials- it was only for like 2 days.  All I have to say is.. holy drogas, batman!!!  I definitely feel like a potions master :)

I took my 2nd shot tonight and I'm already starting to feel stuff going on down low. Yikes!  My next appointment is on Monday and I'm really interested to see the ultrasound! If I didn't feel so weird about it, I might take a picture of the ultrasound screen with my phone to show follicle growth.  Let's be honest, I've been in their office for over a year now.  There's no more sense shame anymore lol there's no privacy either! So, maybe I will take a picture :)

In other good news, Jon and I are Aunt and Uncle again :)  Jon's brother, Jeff and his wife Vanessa had an adorable baby boy this week.  This is #13 overall (niece/nephew) for me.  He's the 3rd grandchild on Jon's family side.  My brother, Scott and his wife Angel are due with a baby boy at the end of May.  So exciting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Teaching visit and calendar

My teaching visit was yesterday afternoon.  I probably didn't even really need it because I've been doing injections for my IUIs... but it's always good to have a refresher.  Caitlin (one of the nurses) talked about all my meds and went day by day with me on the calendar.  It was pretty helpful.   After that I signed my consent forms for IVF.  Oh!  One other thing about the teaching visit!  So, the first thing Caitlin brought up was genetic testing.  I've done the disease testing and other testing, but nothing for like cystic fibrosis or stuff like that.  Anyways, she told me that since we've been with them they have started requiring to recommend genetic testing (to cover all their bases for liability reasons- it makes sense).  Anyways, she said that because I've been with them so long that they just "grandfathered" me in the treatments and they never talked to me about it for my IUIs.  I just thought that was funny.

For me personally, I decided to opt out of the genetic testing.  We wanted to have a baby on our own- without help from doctors.  If I didn't have lovely poly cystic ovaries, we would've just sent Jon in to get tested and I would've just done my usual "annual" and that's probably it.  If my baby(ies.. you always have to add that in if you're going IVF lol) has/have a disability- that won't change our love for them.  Any child is a gift and blessing from our Heavenly Father.  Sure, if they have disabilities that might make our lives a little more difficult, but I would never stop and think "oh, if only I had had that genetic testing!"  I realize that there are some cases where this may be necessary if it would cause the baby to not survive the pregnancy or something like that, and I completely respect those who do it- It just wasn't right for us.

Moving on...

For those who know me- you know that I have to always have a plan.  I need to know dates and times.  I have to have organization, people!  This is probably why I love signing up for races when I'm running... I have set workout schedules and a goal date lol!!  However, when you are going through fertility treatments, you don't always know what's going to happen until the night before.  So, now for IVF I have all these tentative dates that could change but might not or some days might be moved and blah blah blah blah... It's going to drive me nuts :)  People have been asking how long I'll be on shots and my answer is always, "I don't know".   They say it could be anywhere from 7-12 days.  That was the number they gave me for IUI too.  I was never consistent.  I had a cycle where I was only on meds for 5 days and there was another time where I took shots (I kid you not) for 18 days.  There is just no way to plan.  So, to have Jon tell his work that he'll be either taking the day off or working from home is a pain- because all he has is a tentative schedule. 

Anyways- because I have nothing exciting to tell you yet- here is my lovely calendar in all its tentative glory- haha.  I'm like ready to break out my color coded high lighters to remind me when what drug starts.  Which BTW- they are not all listed on here.  I apologize for the formatting... the next size down for the picture is too small to read.  The countdown is on!!  Excitement!

Monday, April 2, 2012

"So that's what $4,500 worth of drugs looks like!!!"

I've debated long and hard if we should continue posting about our infertility treatments on the blog.  I took a break from writing about it once we came home from the cruise in November.   However, I believe that not only is it important to keep record of it for our own personal sake, but also for others who may be facing the same trials we are.

After a few more failed IUI cycles, lots of tears, much thought, prayer and an approval from our insurance company- we are going forward with IVF!!  I cannot tell you how nervous/excited I am.  Once we got our approval and I had a doctor appointment set- I felt completely clueless.  I had no idea what to expect or what the timing would be or anything.

My first doctor appointment (about 2 weeks ago) was a normal blood draw and ultrasound.  Then, as I left they prescribed me with birth control and set up our next appointment which would be my teaching appointment (which is actually tomorrow!).  Then came the fun of having to make tons of phone calls to my insurance to make sure they were on the ball with approving my pre-certifications for my medications.  That was a hassle!  But, after about 8-10 phone calls- we finally had everything resolved.  I received my first of 2 shipments of meds on Friday.  The next one came on Saturday.  If I thought injections for IUI were overwhelming... this was even scarier!

This is the box of my first shipment.  I tried to get a size reference so I pulled out book 7 of Harry Potter.  The box was huge.  That's all there is to it!

Then here is the spread of my meds that came on Friday.  Note that in each of the bags there are 2-3 boxes that you can't see straight on.

Here is a top view of it.

Then, here is the rest that came on Saturday.

I then sent a text with a picture of the meds to one of my sisters and she replied "So that's what $4500 worth of drugs looks like!!"  LOL... seriously...  it's ridiculous.  I guess I should mention that we did not pay that much out of pocket, thankfully.  On my shipment paperwork it gives the price of everything and then it gives what our total of it was.  Our insurance covers quite a bit of it.  I seriously don't know what we'd do without this insurance.  I really believe that Heavenly Father helped point us in the right direction as far as Jon's job was concerned.  We couldn't have asked for a better insurance plan.  As crappy as they are to deal with over the phone, I am so grateful for their coverage.

Anyways, I have my teaching visit for my medication tomorrow and then on the 12th I go in for my baseline appointment and at that point all the meds will begin!  Oh- I almost forgot!  Both Jon and I had to go in for "infectious diseases" blood testing.  I had mine a little over a year ago, so they needed me to do it again and then Jon was pulled in for it too.  LOL.. can't leave him out of all the fun! ;)