Saturday, March 31, 2012

Soul Searching

Not sure even how to begin this post... maybe that's the reason behind my unplanned hiatus from blogging - I can't put more than one thought into some coherent order.

The last few weeks rocked us more than I dreamed they would. Of course, we all know heading into treatment that this may not work. However, I feel that you have to get to the best place you can mentally prior to beginning a cycle. Everyone's "best place mentally" may be different than someone elses yet it doesn't make one right and the other wrong - this whole path is so personal.

Looking back I feel that we did everything we could to ensure that this cycle could work. That it WOULD work. Last summer I joined a gym to do my part and get my body ready for IVF in January, and I was dedicated three times a week. No caffeine, started prenatals again - all months before our cycle even started. They were things that I could control. We see arguably the best RE in our area, great success rates, wonderful staff, etc. Again more things we could control.

However, when it comes down to it, I realize that there is very little about this process that we have ANY control over. The best diet, workout routine, protocol or RE can't give us any guarantee for the outcome that lies ahead of us. Don't get me wrong, I still feel these things are important, but small pieces of an ever complex puzzle.

I've spent the last few weeks digging for answers, for support. I've had dinner with friends, went back to HEAL (the support group we became a part of after our miscarriage), e-mailed an acquaintance about her IVF journey, researched online and anything else I could think of to try and clear my head of all these questions. While I haven't uncovered a miraculous nugget of truth, yet, I have gained support and direction.

At the prompting of some friends and our own thoughts, we've decided to get a second opionion from another RE. We don't have plans to switch doctors, just simply to see if he finds something we've missed. The nagging question over the last few weeks is have we been so focused on the known MFI issue that we've missed something else? According to my RE and what I can find medically, the miscarriage and the chemical pregnancy are "unrelated". But after two textbook IVF cycles, good fertilization rates with ICSI, quality embryos and smooth transfers, we're still falling on the wrong side of the statistics. I need to really know that these two things are "unrelated" before moving into an FET with our precious two embabies. We've got an appointment this coming Wednesday for a consultation with the new doctor. He also does acupuncture in his practice so maybe that's something to look into as well.

I've taken time recently to exchange e-mails with a family acquaintance who now lives in another state about their IVF journey - 6 IUI rounds, 1st IVF/ICSI transferred 2 (pregnant with twins, miscarried at 8 weeks) followed by a FET with early miscarriage/chem pregnancy. The e-mail I received back was one of the most beautiful things I've EVER read and was an amazing view of this journey. I cried reading it, and cried as I re-read it for the second and third times. There were parts of it that were hard to read. Let me share a few things that she wrote:

"During the process, I tried to be “open” to the message that this was giving me—I wondered whether it was supposed to mean that we should adopt and even discussed special needs kids given my professional background…and eventually what came to me was that I needed to learn patience and give up control over everything, trust others, have faith, accept help from others.  I think the journey can teach us each the lesson WE need.  Maybe your lesson is knowing when to give up or maybe it is when to persist in the face of defeat…you and Jeff can only answer that—and you may each have different answers.  That doesn’t mean one is right—you’ll just have to find a way to work through it."

Wow. I don't know that I've been very open to any lessons along the way. But sometimes we can't see those lessons while we're in them, we only see them when looking back on them. Something I realized when I read this part of her e-mail:


 "I can’t even name the ways in which the process changed me—it made me more appreciative of my friends, smiling strangers, it gave me a perspective on what grief and hopelessness really feels like, it makes me think twice when someone is snappy with me because I realize they might be in personal pain.  I love my kids a little deeper, I know what it feels like to love a doctor for the life they have given you and even the small moments of compassion they provided when we needed it.  It taught me to be an advocate for my health and my children’s health, it taught me what I really wanted in life and what I was willing to sacrifice to get it.  It brought people into my life that otherwise wouldn’t have.  It made me truly believe that small moments change your life—deciding for M to take a job in Cincinnati where we had IVF coverage (at a time when it was unusual and didn’t even consider it) and to Dr. A and ultimately to a world renowned high risk OB unit that allowed the trips to be born healthy…When a new acquaintance mentioned she had struggled with infertility and ultimately she directed me towards Dr. A… my best friend from HS offering to be a surrogate—something that makes me cry even now as I type it because it’s one of the most selfless gestures I have ever received.  It’s not that I am glad I went through the process because it was soooooooo hard and terrifying and sad—but besides having a healthy and loving family, I also received so much more from it.  Know that you are growing and stretching in a way that is necessary and good, even when it feels like you are making no forward progress.  It will be years or decades maybe before you can see it with perspective, but try to appreciate the little moments of grace as they are presented to you."

I don't know if those words affected you like they did me but this whole journey is taking on a new perspective for me lately. No, I don't like it and wouldn't have chosen it. Nor do I enjoy the strain it's put on my marriage and other relationships. But I can look back and see those special people that have come into my life and heart as a result of this path.

A friend I had known for years introduced me to a friend of hers also struggling through IF. That girl, H, has since become my closest friend and confidant. She and her husband had a failed IVF #1 right before Jeff and I did our first IVF and we've shared the ups and downs of this journey side-by-side. After the miscarriage we were introduced to a group here locally called HEAL that is a parent support group for families who've experienced miscarriage, neonatal death, infant loss, etc. I never saw myself going to something like that but it has been priceless for us. S, the lady who started the group is a nurse and had a son who was still born in 1988 and has since devoted her life to supporting and educating parents and also research to prevent these losses. Through her devastation, she has reached hundreds of families to help them through their darkest days - she has truly been an angel for us, very possibly one of the best people I've ever met. Through that group, we've met several other couples that we're becoming good friends with. I think once you've shared the darkest or hardest parts of your life with someone, everything else comes so easily. Another girl I've recently met through my sister and now they are scheduled for a consultation with Dr. S (at the clinic we go to) in the next few weeks about surrogacy. I also would never have "met" such wonderful people through blogging, and I count you guys in that group of special people as well.

I'm not sure that any of this flows together the way I would like it to, but I wanted to get some of those thoughts out and share them with you. Of course I'm not saying that everything is wonderful for us right now - we still have alot of rough moments and rough days. We're not out of the woods yet. But I wanted to share what was on my mind and heart.

I've got alot of catching up to do on everyone's blogs - I feel like an awful friend for being on hiatus for so long. I'm sure I've missed alot. Stick with me as I get back into the swing of things. I'll try not to fall off the planet again.



Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Official... BFN

I got the call pretty early this afternoon and my hcg level is down to two. That's it... it's over. I'm still having a hard time processing all of this. It's not supposed to be this hard.

The nurse that called was fine but just not the friendliest nurse either... of course I was obviously on edge too. She gave me the news, answered some of my questions about the cycle and an FET but said that we would need to start meds today for an FET since my period had started on Friday. That totally threw me off as I didn't think about it being that quick!!

After we hung up and Jeff and I talked, we both felt we wanted to talk to Dr. A before making a decision. So I called back, left a message that we had some questions and would like to talk to him. Don't you know the same nurse called me back?! Asked me what questions I had and she would try and answer them. Ugh! I just wanted to talk to my doctor. He was working from another location today and she said he wouldn't be able to call me back until tomorrow. I pressed her on it because I wanted to talk to him first and she said we needed to start meds tonight if we were moving forward. She then said it would "probably" be ok to wait on meds until tomorrow.

That did it for me. I said "With all the money we've spent with you guys and the money we're getting ready to spend, I'm not ok making a decision like this on 'probably'. I'm not trying to be rude and I know I'm emotional but I would think I'd be able to talk to my doctor for something like this." I think that's about the time I started crying and she seemed to soften up a little and said she'd be sure he called me today. She then became very helpful!

So, here's the info I got after my RE called me this evening:

He feels implantation did occur since we did have a slightly positive number. I'm sure it was higher a few days prior to the first beta since my period had already started by then. They classify it as a bio-chemical pregnancy which is what I thought happened based on how I felt last week and then the ensuing heavy bleeding (which he said was a good sign of implantation).

I asked his thoughts on moving immediately into our FET versus waiting a month and he said it was personal preference. They don't feel that one is better or more successful than the other, whatever we prefer.

We have two frozen embryos (blasts) and he said with an FET they would probably thaw both and transfer both if they both make it.

At this point we've had a successful IVF #1 followed by a miscarriage and a chemical after IVF #2. So of course I asked the question, is there something going on with me that we need to look into in more detail? I don't necessarily feel like there is but I had to ask. Our only known issue is MFI which we've overcome with the help of ICSI and resulting in perfectly "normal" embryos. He doesn't feel that there's an issue like that either, maybe based on how my body has responded to both cycles and my hormone levels, etc. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want another issue on top of this but at this point I just want some answers.

Jeff and I talked over the weekend about all of these questions and how soon we should look at an FET, since we basically already knew the results of this cycle. He felt we should go right into it but after more discussion tonight, I think we're going to give it a month in between. It's just too quick to go right back at it.

I don't think this has even completly sunk in for us yet and I'm not sure when it will. It seems surreal and like we're on the outside looking in at our lives with no control of any of it. The last few days have been a blur as we started to grieve but tried to hang on to hope as long as we could. It's been a weird mix of emotions these few days.

Just a month to clear our heads and take a little pressure off. We have a 4 day trip coming up in April and if we moved forward with an FET now, we would be due to get results during that trip. Neither one of us care to even cancel that trip completely but I think we need it. Some time for just the two of us to get away from it all, enjoy each other and have some fun.

We're still trying to wrap our heads around the whirlwind of the last few months and give our broken hearts a chance to heal up a little more before putting them out there one more time...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beta = 11

Eleven. That's our beta # at 11dp5dt.

If you read my last post you know that some spotting started Friday morning and then let up. By Friday afternoon it was full on and I knew something was wrong. I called the nurse back and asked to go ahead with a blood test on Saturday instead of waiting until Monday. She agreed and set up the appointment for Saturday morning.

She called a few hours later and delivered the news. It came back with a low positive. 11.

It was news I was expecting at that point but "a low positive?"... what does that mean?! Does it mean that 3 days ago I was pregnant and now I'm not? I asked the nurse what it meant and she said it sounds like something (Zoom) tried to implant and take off but didn't make it.

I honestly haven't cried much because I'm still in shock with the whole thing. If I'm honest I've just been angry. I wasn't even crying writing this post until I typed our little nickname, Zoom.

The nurse told me to continue taking my Endometrin through Monday, just to be safe, because we "can't give up all hope yet." Of course I'm following those orders but I feel like I'm being strung along. Not by my doctor's office, I know this is out of their control, but by hope. That's the word that's kept us going over the last few years. The middle name we wanted to use if we had a little girl after IVF #1. The word I have tattooed on my left foot. But I don't know how much hope I have left.

They still want me to come back in on Monday for another beta to be sure what that number is doing. I'm not expecting much as it would take a miracle to change things now. Honestly I'm just scared that something else is going on and would require a D&C. I haven't even spoken of those fears to Jeff or anyone else. I don't want him to worry about it.

Based on the amount of bleeding I'm having, I don't think I need to worry about it. My periods are normally very light and this is anything but that.

I'm not sure where to go from here. Jeff and I have dealt with loss and grief before and we'll make it, but it's never easy. We deal with things so differently, but I think most couples are like that. I could stay on the couch and be angry, sad or whatever other emotion comes at the time while Jeff can't be cooped up that long. He just left to go for a drive just to get out of the house for a while and clear his head. I'm glad that we realize and respect our differences though.

I just don't know what I'm grieving at this point... a failed cycle, a chemical pregnancy... but maybe it doesn't matter. So many of us have grieved alot of different things and our grief is still valid. It could be a different scenario than someone else but the pain is no less real. That's what I love about this community.

I'll update again with our results tomorrow and hopefully we have more information.

*************************

This post wouldn't be complete though without a HUGE shout-out of congratulations to two of my cycle sisters who just got their BFP's!!!

Rachel at A Sarti Party (she does not have this info on her blog but you can email to congratulate her!)
Joys Truly at Gonna Do It For Baby 

I am truly happy for both of you ladies! I'm glad we've gotten to know each other through blogging and I'll still be following along. Live it up!! xoxo

Friday, March 9, 2012

Trying Not to Worry

We're 3 days away from our first beta and had a little bit of a scare. Last night, when I used my Endometrin before bed I noticed the slightest twinge of pink on the applicator. Of course I immediately wanted to freak out but I kept it together and went on to bed without even mentioning it to Jeff.

This morning I had some spotting on my liner and I got worried. I told Jeff about it, trying not to get too worked up, and he was calm and reassuring like he always is. Trying to remind me that they said some spotting could be "normal", whatever normal means in the IF and IVF world! I continued to have some light spotting the next hour or so accompanied by some cramping. But now, within the last hour, it seems to have let up if not gone completely.

I called the RE's office and one of the nurses called me back about 9:00. She was reassuring but didn't ease my fears completely. She said it can be normal, could be implantation bleeding but it could be my period also. I knew all of those things but it's still scary. We're trying to not get too worked up about it and stay as relaxed as we can.

We are 10dp5dt and my RE likes to wait a full two weeks before a blood test. The nurse said if it got worse to call them back and she did offer to get me in tomorrow for a blood test if we just couldn't stand it anymore.

Thankfully my boss is aware of this journey and is very supportive - so in the meantime, I'm working from home today in sweatpants and taking it easy as much as I can. I know it's out of my control at this point and I'm trying to stay positive.

Anybody else experienced this and still got a BFP?

Your prayers for me, Jeff and Zoom would be SO appreciated!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Moments of Impact

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I went to see "The Vow". By the way, this is not a "spoiler" at all so you can still read on even if you haven't seen it!

We both really liked the movie but the one thing I've continued to think about was a line by Channing Tatum's character. He said, "My theory is about moments, moments of impact. My theory is that these moments of impact, these flashes of high intensity that completely turn our lives upside down actually end up defining who we are. The thing is each one of us is the sum total of every moment that we’ve ever experienced with all the people we’ve ever known. And it’s these moments that become our history. Like our own personal greatest hits of memories that we play and replay in our minds over and over again."

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks sitting in that movie theater. We've experienced alot of moments of impact during our marriage and especially in the last few years, as I'm sure most of you have. The thing is, those moments of impact can be good or bad, life-altering or earth-shaking.

As I sat and thought about our own journey, specifically the last few years and our battle through infertility, I began to see some of those moments of impact.

I remembered sitting in my gyn office as he broke the news to me that we would "never" have kids on our own. It was supposed to be just my yearly checkup so obviously Jeff wasn't with me. As he went over the MFI numbers with me I remember sitting there crying, all the while knowing that I would have to break this news to my dear husband and I knew it would crush him. I left his office and just drove around for close to an hour, trying to wrap my mind around all of this and how in the world I could deliver this news to Jeff. As soon as I walked in the door he knew something was wrong and I started crying again as I tried to repeat a small amount of what the doctor said. Denial, anger, bitterness and sadness all rushed through our living room that night as we just sat and cried together all evening. A moment of impact.

I remembered just a few days before Christmas that year when my newly married sister and her husband announced to us that they were going to start ttc and didn't want to just surprise us with a pregnancy announcement. Within 2.5 short months they were pregnant and my mom and sister came over in person to tell me the news. Once again, I just sat and cried as I muttered some sort of phony congratulations until they left and Jeff and I again just cried together. Another moment of impact.

I remembered our first appt with our RE and the excitement that we felt about finally doing something. We had a goal and we now had a plan. Within a few months we were heading into our first IVF cycle and we were so happy! The cycle progressed smoothly and on January 3, 2011, we received the news that they cycle worked and we were pregnant with our first child! Another moment of impact.

I remembered the day we learned that precious baby no longer had a heartbeat and I began to miscarry that angel. That evening spent in the ER as I was in so much pain Jeff took me to the hospital and the ensuing days and weeks of depression, isolation, bitterness and anger. Another moment of impact.

I remembered a day just a few months ago that we ventured into the RE's office again to take another shot at fulfilling our dreams. I cried on the way to the appointment and again as we sat and talked with one of the nurses about our past and our plans for the future. Another moment of impact.

There's alot of life that I could share in between all of these things, but we all have these moments of impact that change our lives. They alter the course that we thought we had so perfectly navigated. They can fulfill our dreams or leave us devastated. They can bring us to our feet or drop us to our knees. And the truth is that all of those moments do define who we are.

Moments of impact.

You see, the thing with these moments is that you don't always know they're coming. Most of them come at us out of no where, leaving us off guard and unprepared for it's aftermath. But on occasion, we know one of those moments is lingering just around the corner and we're scared of which direction that moment will take us.

None of us could prepare ourselves for the roller-coaster that is IF and treatment. But we put our hopes and dreams out there one more time for the chance to finally make our dreams come true.

We've braved the scary awesome world that is IVF again and I'm writing this as we start week 2 of our 2ww. Week one held excitement and promise, week two finds me with questions and doubts. Don't get me wrong, that glimmer of hope is still holding on but if I'm honest, I'm scared.

I find myself bracing for next Monday's moment of impact. It's one of those that I know is coming but I can't predict which way it will go. I want to believe that Monday will bring the continuation of our dreams but there's no guarantee on this road. With every fiber of my being I want to believe that our baby is growing and will continue to be a part of our lives.

Why is it that when we know these moments are coming we automatically try to protect ourselves?

Maybe it's because those moments of impact truly do change our lives forever, one way or the other. Those of us on this road have been dealt more disappointment than any of us should ever have to face and it's hard to believe that our lives could soon change for the better.

So here we are, seven days away from that next moment of impact, hoping and praying that it catapults us into the next chapter of our dream.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Getting to Know Me

Hey ladies!! Things are good here, just trying to relax and enjoy this process that is the 2ww! I'm noticing a few "symptoms", occasionally crampy, tired, some nausea, etc. but of course us IF girls notice every little twinge! The nickname "Zoom" has certainly stuck, its a fun little name, I just pray that Zoom is snuggled in tight and this is the time we bring home baby.

We did have two other embryos that made it to blast stage so we were able to freeze them. It's just a nice little peace of mind if we need them. In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to bring Zoom home from this cycle and use those two to try again in the future for number two. That is our prayer!!

So, while we're waiting, Emily at A Blanket to Keep tagged me in this so here's some fun random facts about me!

1. What was your favorite book when you were a kid? As a little kid I loved books like "Golly Gump Swallowed A Fly" and anything Dr. Suess or Bearenstein Bears. A little older I loved "Anne of Greene Gables" and had a crush on the "Hardy Boys."


2. What is your favorite card or board game? The only card game I know how to play is Rummy and I'm not the best at it by any means! Not half bad at scrabble unless my parents are playing and they beat everyone!

3. What food do you absolutely refuse to eat? Sushi, calimari, squid, etc.

4. Where did you go on your last vacation? We went to D.C. and then on to a resort in Virginia the last week of August. We were actually only about 15 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake in Virginia on August 23 (our anniversary). One of the aftershocks woke us up later that night, it shook the building we were in! It was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced, and the place we were staying in had some minor damage from it. (How's that for an interesting answer?!)

5. Do you have any siblings? Tell me about them. I have an older brother, married and also struggling with IF. I have a younger sister who has a 16 month old and is 25 weeks pregnant with #2. This one hasn't been easy but I'm so thankful that we've fought for our relationship and we are very close.

6. What house hold chore do you hate the most? Washing dishes and cleaning the bathtub! The dishwasher may be one of the greates inventions known to man!

7. Cake or Pie? Both. Cheesecake and Apple Pie

8. If you could go to any country all expenses paid for 2 weeks where would you go? Australia, hands-down! I've always wanted to go there. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, see a kangaroo... aaahhh... my dream vacation!

9. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be? A monkey. I begged my dad for a pet monkey when I was little and he wouldn't budge. Only to find out he had a pet monkey when he was a kid!

10. If you were a pirate and had to have one, which would you choose, a peg leg or a hook for a hand? Well, if I had to be a pirate I would be Captain Jack Sparrow! Or maybe I would just be his fair lady... he is so stinkin cute in those movies!

11. If you could have a super power what would you choose? I would be a genie, even if I could only grant one wish per person and then none of us would still be fighting this battle with IF. Just think of all the lives I could change!!
So, if you'd like to keep it going, here are my questions for
1. What's your favorite chick flick?
2. Your favorite song from high school?
3. Do you still live in the same area you were born in?
4. Tell me about how you met your husband?
5. What was the color theme in your wedding?
6. Who's your celebrity crush?
7. What's your favorite hobby?
8. Barefoot or flip-flops?
9. Beach vacation or sightseeing?
10. What have you gained from blogging about IF?
11. What have you learned from your battle with IF?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Transfer Day!!!

We're home from our transfer!! Everything went well and I am laying on the couch catching up on my blogs!

One of the nurses took us to a room where we could both change and she went over all of our instructions. Basically, rest today, continue prenatal vitamins and conitinue Endometrin.

We both changed into our scrubs and they took us back. Dr A came in with a picture of the best two of our embabies. Of course, they are beautiful! Then he asked how many we wanted to transfer. Through this whole process, we planned on transferring two. And we transferred two last time.

I responded with "two" but that wasn't set in stone, and we asked what he would recommend. Since the embryos were high quality and made it to a day 5 transfer, he recommended that we only transfer one. I asked what our "chances" of pregnancy would be with one versus two and he felt that it would be about the same. He showed some concern at the idea of me carrying twins (my size) and the increased risk for complications. Because of my small build, he was concerned about late term complications. And we've had one miscarriage. I understand his concern, these are things I've certainly thought about too. I'm small and I'm sure it could be hard. Hard on me, hard on them.

He made a point to stop and ask Jeff what his thoughts were which really meant alot to me. Jeff replied that he wanted whatever was best for me. As much as we want a baby, we don't want to make an irrational decision against our doctor's recommendations. What is it about IF...? we're forced to make  big decisions in small amounts of time with small pieces of information.

Dr A was great to let us ask questions and took his time to answer them honestly. As of right now, it looks like we still have 3 embabies growing and they will (hopefully) be frozen tomorrow (full blastocyst stage).

So... we took his advice and transferred one perfect little embryo! While he was doing the transfer, Dr. A. was talking and as this little guy showed up on the ultrasound screen he called him Zoom! Who knows where that came from but we all laughed and now we have our babies nickname... meet Zoom!


We're very excited and in love with him already!

Of course, in the back of my head I keep wondering if we made the right decision on transferring one but I feel like we did. With our doctor's advice we made the decision we felt was right for us. Again, big decisions, small amounts of time.

We're praying that Zoom is digging in for the next 9 months and that those remaining embabies keep growing. In a perfect world, it would be nice to have one baby and then do a FET to try for another. We're just taking it one day at a time and enjoying where we are right now.

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and well-wishes! It's nice to have so many people cheering us along on this journey.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Change of Plans

We anxiously waited for a phone call this morning to tell us if our transfer was getting bumped to Tuesday for a day 5 transfer or not. No phone call meant we were transferring today and we were to arrive at 9:15. By 7:00 we hadn't heard anything so we got up and started getting ready.

I barely got any sleep last night, I was more nervous about the transfer than I was for the retrieval! I remember waking up around 1:00 this morning and then every hour after that until the alarm went off.

We hit the road with my water bottle in hand so I'd have a partially full bladder when we arrived. However, we were nearing the exit for their office when my phone rang. When it popped up Dr. A's office, I think my heart stopped. Why would they be calling 10 minutes before our appt time unless something was wrong?!

The nurse introduced herself and said that the lab had checked our embabies this morning and they were recommending that we wait for a day 5 transfer!! That's about the point I caught my breath again. I said, "Oh, I thought we were supposed to hear something by 7:00 if we were doing a day 5? We're getting off the interstate now." She apologized and said she would check with the lab about going today. I quickly stopped her and said that we were fine with waiting until Tuesday that she just caught me off guard.

On Sundays there are very few people there and she kept apologizing that she had just finished up an appt and had a chance to call. I assured her that we didn't mind at all and that we would just go get breakfast instead. We asked her how our embabies were doing and they are all still growing!!! Aaahh! I didn't have a pen to write all of it down but I think she said that one was a 6 cell, one was 8, two were 10, two were 12 and two were 14!!!

We hung up talking with her and got back on the interstate. I looked over at Jeff and there were tears in his eyes. I think we were both so afraid that something was wrong and instead we received wonderful news. He seems so much more relaxed now and so excited.

We'll get a call tomorrow to set up our appointment time for Tuesday. We plan to transfer two and hope that we have some that we can freeze as well. We didn't have any to freeze last time, but it will be nice just to have that little peace of mind.

It was so nice to get a phone call like that and it was bringing good news for a change! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! Here's to Tuesday!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fertilization Report

Just got a call from Dr. A's office! Out of the 12 eggs retrieved, 10 were mature and 8 of them fertilized with ICSI! We're really excited as we're working with more than we had last cycle.

We have a tentative appointment set up for 9:15 on Sunday morning for transfer. The lab will check our embabies on Sunday morning and call us by 7:00 with their recommendation to transfer Sunday or wait to transfer on Tuesday (day 5). Still nervous about this part but I know that they are in good hands while they're away from us.

The nurse that called assured us that if they decided to transfer on day 3 not to think it was a bad thing. The lab will make the call on what they feel is best and if there's any question about them continuing to divide out to blastocyst stage, we'll move forward with Sunday's transfer and not wait for day 5. She said "our job is to transfer at the best time to get you pregnant, whatever day that ends up being."

Thanks for all your well wishes! Keep sending love and prayers to our embabies that they will all be strong and keep dividing as they should!

Now I guess I should get back to work... don't know how productive I'll be today with all of this on my mind!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Home from Retrieval

Hi ladies! Just wanted to post a quick update on today's retrieval.

We had to be at our RE's office at 7:00 this morning, so we got up at 5:00 to be sure we weren't rushed since their office is about 45 minutes away. I think Jeff was a little worried we'd be late as he felt the need to drive pretty fast all the way there! We made it and even arrived about 15 minutes early thanks to my little speedracer hubby!

Our sweet little nurse, H, greeted us this morning and just made us feel really comfortable. I was so happy that she was there with us today, we've really had a connection with her through this process and it was nice that she was able to share today with us. She hugged us as we left this morning and wished us luck.

I can still only remember bits and pieces of the actual procedure... I remember telling them that I wanted to work there!! Not really sure what I could do since I'm not in the medical field at all, but who knows. They probably get a good laugh from some of the things us girls say while under the influence of those drugs! Dr. S did our retrieval and he was very nice and came out and talked to Jeff as soon as the procedure was done so he would know I was ok.

The good news is... they were actually able to retrieve 12 eggs!! We were so excited! They had only been counting 10 but it's probably hard to tell for sure when they're all packed in such a little space. I feel alot better about things knowing that we have almost double the eggs we did on our last cycle (7).

We were in recovery for a little while so I could sleep off some of the anesthesia and then I started feeling a little shaky so they kept us a little while longer. I think we left their office about 10:00 and then stopped to get breakfast at a little cafe near their office. After that we came home and just slept for a few hours.

We'll have our fertilization report tomorrow morning and we'll know how many embabies we have! They are doing ICSI on all 12 and I'm hopeful for a good number!

Thank you for all your well wishes and support! I love having this blog and sharing this experience with new found friends. The e-mail address that is linked to this comes straight to my phone and as you wonderful ladies comment it's like getting little text messages from friends and it just makes my day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Honor of ICLW

I've been thinking over the last few weeks and wondering why I never used my real name on my blog and instead set it as "Still Hoping." I keep meaning to go back and change it but never had, until today!

I've also never posted any pictures of hubby and I but I think he's pretty cute so I will share him with you ladies too!

Let me introduce you to us... Jeff and Lora!


This is a vacation pic from fall 2010 in Orlando in front of Landry's Seafood.



This is a pic from last summer at a friends party.


So now you've met us! I've changed my "name" to Lora instead of "Still Hoping" but I'll keep my profile picture the same so you'll remember who I am. :)

For those of you stopping by for the first time, here's a little bit about our journey:

* We have been ttc for 4.5 years
* Got our BFP after IVF #1 on January 3rd, 2011
* Suffered a miscarriage on February 22nd, 2011
* Started IVF #2 in January
* Trigger shot tonight
* Retrieval on Thursday
* Transfer on Sunday or Tuesday (3 day vs 5 day)

Some random facts (because I love random stuff):

* I have one tattoo on my foot that I got a few weeks after our miscarriage and my best friend got one that matches. We're linked forever! (I got it touched up a few weeks ago before we get pregnant from this IVF!)
* I'm a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. My dad used to take me to games and now I take him when I can.
* Hubby is a motorhead and loves classic cars. He has a '52 Chevy in the garage while the cars we actually drive sit out in the weather.
* I started college to head into Physical Therapy but now I'm in Real Estate.
* We live in a small town where I grew up at, Jeff is from this area too. 
* We go to the small church that I grew up in, my family goes there too.
* Until I was in Junior High, my hair was really long, long enough that I could sit on it. As you can see from the pictures I went the opposite direction!
* We love to go camping and boating during the summer.
* We got married when I was 20 and Jeff was 22, young, I know. We are now 28 and 30.
* We are hanging on to hope and each other as we pursue our dream of children!

Thanks for stopping by, looking forward to getting to know more of you better during this week!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Retrieval Scheduled

So apparently I need a little longer stim time and after a quick check this morning, Dr. B. suggested we stim one more day (today) and trigger tomorrow. He said that seven eggs were "ready to go" but he thinks we can get ten if we bump everything by a day. Of course, ten would be better so I agreed to do whatever he thought was best. Our retrieval is set for Thursday morning and we are supposed to arrive at their office by 7 am (and we're about 45 minutes away). The good thing is that we should beat most of the traffic because we'll be so early!

Our u/s today was at their small satellite office and they were kind of slow so we were able to sit and talk with Dr. B as he went over our schedule for the next week or so. They are now recommending (like many of your clinics) a day 5 transfer which I wasn't aware of. He really took his time and answered all the questions I could come up with about the differences in the day 3 and day 5 transfer, some of which I was aware of but it was nice to hear all of this directly from my doctor.

They had to check the schedule with the main office before actually giving me a time for the retrieval, and they called me this afternoon with specific times. When I answered, I heard the voice of my favorite nurse, H, on the other end of the line! I just love her! She went over all of our retrieval instructions, times and specifics to make sure we were clear on everything. Then she surprised me by saying she had notes written on my chart that she would be the nurse handling my retrieval! I was so happy to hear that she would be with me that day, I'm really comfortable with her and especially with Dr. A being gone, it will be so nice to have her there with us on Thursday!

As for the transfer, we're on standby for Sunday morning until the embryologist checks our embabies and gives their recommendation. If they're still growing and dividing they will typically recommend waiting and doing a day 5 (blastocyst) transfer on Tuesday. If they feel that it would be better to proceed with a day 3 transfer, they'll call us to come on down on Sunday morning. Works out nicely that it's on a Sunday and we're both off. I'm excited but a little nervous about this!

That's all the updates for us right now but I wanted to share a funny story with you that Dr. B told us today. We were talking about running into patients down the road and how he remembers people and their stories. He was grocery shopping years ago when a woman ran up to him and excitedly shouted, "Dr. B!! You got me pregnant!!!" He was convinced she shouted it loud enough that half of the store heard it so he quickly greeted her and responded, "Helped! I 'helped' you get pregnant!!" I'm sure that every shopper in that aisle had whiplash as they tried to take in that whole exchange!

So just a little piece of advice if you run into your RE in public... choose your words wisely!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A few more days

Had another u/s and bloodwork Friday morning. Looks like we've got about 5 on each side right now, some still a little small. So, we're stimming a few more days and then another u/s on Monday morning and probably triggering Monday night for a Wednesday retrieval. Which actually works out better so hubby and I will only have to take one day off next week since the transfer will be Saturday.

It also means that our retrieval will in fact land on a very special, yet emotional day for us. I still feel pretty much the same about this as I did when I realized a few weeks ago that this was a possibility. It's as if things have come full circle and this was meant to be.

I am a little sad because I found out that my doctor, Dr. A, is out ALL next week at a conference! So, he won't be there for my retrieval and I doubt he'll be working Saturday for the transfer. I'm kind of disappointed because I really like him and we're comfortable with him. But we've met both of the other doctors, they're both very nice and also very good so I know we're in good hands with either one of them.

I do have some questions... We switched to stims 6 days into this cycle, stimming for 11, trigger on day 17, retrieval on day 19, transfer on day 22... so I'm a little confused on how this all works since the transfer will be pretty late in my cycle. I would be due to start my period a week after transfer. With IVF #1, we transferred several days earlier in the cycle. Has anyone ever transferred late too? Or had some spotting and still been pregnant? Any info on your experiences would be great!

This afternoon I went in again for another massage and it was wonderful. Again, I have no idea that this will increase chances of conception, but it certainly was nice and relaxing which we can all certainly use! That hour went by way too fast!

Hoping that you are all enjoying this weekend. As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by and for sharing your thoughts!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quick update

Before I update, let me say thanks to all of you for your sweet and encouraging comments on my post yesterday. It helps to realize I'm not crazy (well, maybe a little), and that you guys have experienced this too. I love that we can share experiences and even learn from each other as we all try to find our footing on this bumpy road of IF.

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Had an appt this morning with Dr A (love him!) for bloodwork and u/s to check out the follicles. He said everything looked really good, he counted at least 5 follicles on one side and at least that many on the other side. He bumped up our dosage amounts by one Bra.velle every other day and I go back on Friday morning for another quick check.

He said the absolute earliest our retrieval could be is Monday. I'm thinking it may even be Tuesday or Wednesday, last cycle we stimmed an extra day or two.

My favorite little nurse even found some samples for me just in case we end up stimming for a few more days. I promised her if we didn't end up using them that I'd bring them back in so someone else could benefit from them. She asked how we were doing and how the shots were going. It's amazing the difference one person can make when they take the time for people.

Over the weekend I had the idea to take them some V-Day sweets so I picked up a tray of brownies from a local bakery and took them down there with me today along with a little card from hubby and I. I'm sure their jobs can be very fulfilling but very stressful too so I wanted to take a minute to thank them for all they've done for us. I figure as much as I want/ expect people to be there for me, the least I can do is try to be that to others! Maybe that's another thing IF has taught me, just to be a little more thoughtful.

We'll see how things go on Friday and then we'll have our retrieval and transfer schedule... I'm getting excited!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just When You Think You're OK

Don't get me wrong, I really don't feel too bad today. Still excited about where we are in our journey and excited about this IVF, but sometimes things just catch you off guard.

A girl at church recently had a baby and hadn't been back yet so alot of people hadn't seen her in weeks and had never seen the baby. My mom was kind enough to text me this morning to give me a heads-up she heard they were coming this morning. I thanked her for telling me and we decided to not arrive super early so we wouldn't get caught in all the oohing and aahing over said baby. It's not like I didn't know it was coming, but it's still hard.

I guess I should give you the back story on this too, this girl was once my very best friend.

We've known each other since we were about 7 and grown up together. We had our times growing up when we weren't close but we've always been a part of each others lives. We went to high school together, played basketball and volleyball together, graduated together and were both in each others weddings.

Our lives have taken slightly different paths, she got married two weeks after we graduated while I had just started dating someone (who is now my husband). By the time I got married she already had one little boy. We decided to wait before having kids and by then she had baby #2. We were never really sharing the same life experiences after H.S. but we go to the same church and stayed close.

She is not aware of the details of our struggle with IF but obviously knows of our desire to have children. We had been ttc for nearly a year when she announced she was pregnant with baby #3 (summer '08). I remember being so excited at the time (and so naive) and thinking how much fun it would be for us to be pregnant together. But as we all know, that never happened.

When my little sister announced in March of '10 that she was pregnant she did what a good friend should do - asked me out to dinner to see how I was doing. We talked and cried for several hours as I poured out my heart as to how I felt. How hurtful it was that we had been trying for over 2.5 years and now my little sister was pregnant before me. I remember even telling her that night how sometimes I wished I could pick up her adorable little baby and just pretend that he was mine. Trying to convey to her the hurt that it caused every time someone else so easily got pregnant.

The interesting thing about this dinner was the fact that our relationship was never the same again. Maybe I was too honest with her. I looked at it like she could never figure out how to be friends with my sister and me at the same time. She had her three kids and now my sister was pregnant, of course she'd want to be happy for the little pregnant girl! We talked less and less, we got together less and less.

When we got pregnant after IVF #1 (January '11) I made an attempt to include her. Before we made a big announcement to everyone else, I called her and personally told her the news myself. Of course she was ecstatic and for a few weeks we were "close" again.

Those precious weeks were shortlived as we miscarried shortly after that. The thing that bothered me the most was that 99% of those people who jumped on our happy pregnant bandwagon were no where to be found. Including her. Don't get me wrong, she dropped off a card a few days later but it happened to be when I wasn't home. My mom had talked me into getting out of the house for a few hours so I wasn't there. I called her when I got home and got her voicemail and then I text her as well to say thank you. And that was the end of our conversation.

I had the sneaking suspicion that they were "trying" again too but I didn't think too much of it, I had enough of my own stuff to worry about. I should've paid more attention to that suspicion... One day in June while I was at work, I got an email from her. I can't recall all of it right now but she wanted me to hear it from her that they were pregnant again. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised but what really bothered me was the fact that a girl who was once my best friend emailed me this news. At work, in the middle of the day and now I have to go on with the rest of my day like nothing's wrong. Not just that, but we live on the same street, exactly six houses apart - I'm a realtor and sold her the house. Why couldn't she have walked down the street and come to my house to tell me face to face, friend to friend?

The ensuing email responses pretty much told her how I felt about that and also alot of other stuff that had happened over the last several years. I was probably a little more blunt than what I should've been in those emails but it's how I felt.

Anyways, that baby arrived on January 25 and I saw him for the first time today. Of course he is beautiful and perfect. It wasn't easy, but I made myself go over and see him after service was over. I had to get it over with and I knew people would be watching to see if we did.

It's just really hard to see a baby that little and put a face with what we're missing. It's hard to see that "friend" who now has two little boys that have both been born since we've been ttc and yet our arms are still empty. It was hard to hear everyone's comments about this little boy, their 4th, while we're still waiting to experience it once.

But I guess there's nothing easy about IF, we all know that. Today was just one of those days it got to me a little more. But today is also a day that makes me happy that I started this blog. That I can share these feelings and emotions with wonderful women who truly understand them. That I can take the time to work through them, write them down and be lucky enough to have the support of other women who have been in similar situations.

So to all of you out there, thank you. For taking the time to be there for someone you've never met and joining hands as we all trek through these uncharted waters together.

Friday, February 10, 2012

And Here Come the Stims

My appointment with Dr A Wednesday morning went well, just a quick u/s to make sure the Lup.ron was effective and that the ovaries were "quiet". He said everything looked really good and had us switch from Lup.ron to stims on Thursday.

He was so sweet when he came in, asked how I was feeling and said it was good to see me again. He's always so comforting to talk to. He said how sorry he was about last time, that it was heart-breaking, and he wanted to be sure it worked this time. As awful as the miscarriage was, I was glad that he didn't ignore the elephant in the room.  It's a part of us and a part of our story.

Last cycle we were just on Bra.velle, this time we're on a combination of that and Men.opur. Higher dosages as well. My hat's off to any of you ladies out there who can give these shots to yourselves. Wow! I can barely sit still while hubby does it, I forgot how bad those suckers burn! I am excited that our RE switched things up a little this cycle, hoping to get more eggs and more mature eggs.

I've got an appoinment Monday morning for another u/s and bloodwork to see how the follicles are growing. My RE has a satellite office that's only about 20 minutes from me but he won't be at that location on Monday, he'll be downtown (about 45 minutes). They probably think I'm crazy because I asked to go downtown Monday just since he's there. But I figure with everything we're doing to make this work, I'm going to see him if I can! Even if it's just to make me more comfortable.

Hubby seems a little stressed this week, they've been swamped at work and he has to work again tomorrow. He'll have about 60 hours in this week. Sure the o/t is nice on the paycheck but it's running him down. As if we don't have enough going on already! Yesterday he was a little short when we were getting our shot ready and I got kind of upset. I know alot of that is just the hormones but it bothered me. He noticed and apologized and said that he was just really sorry that we had to go through all this again and that I had to endure all these shots. Sometimes I still get little glimpses of how MFI is affecting him, I just wish I could make it better. I want to be able to give that to him.

We're hoping and praying that this cycle is the answer. That this is the beginning of realizing our dreams. It just has to be.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Finding a Laugh

As I've mentioned before, hubby has been so great to do all of my injections. He's usually doing something silly and trying to make me laugh while we're preparing for it. Which of course makes it hard to sit still for an injection when your laughing!

The other night I sat down on the edge of the bed to get a good pinch of skin ready while he prepared the shot. I must've been in an awkward position because the more we tried to do the shot the more we laughed. Until hubby busted out with, "why don't I just lay down, I do my best work laying down"! I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes! The more I tried to control it the more we laughed! I tried to get him to do the injection quickly in between laughs until I blurted out "Babe! Just stick it in there"!

We were both laughing hysterically at this point, the conversation just kept getting "dirtier" and more sexual the longer it went on!

It was nice to share a good belly-laugh with each other and have fun during all this IF stuff wherever we can. I had to share it with someone and I knew you girls would find the humor in it when no one else could.

Hope it brings a smile to your faces too!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sorting Out My Thoughts

After one week on Lup.ron, AF showed up yesterday. I don't know if this is the same for everyone but our instructions were 10 units of Lup.ron for two weeks or until AF showed up, whichever happens first. I called yesterday to report the start of my cycle and thought I would have to go in today or Monday for bloodwork and an ultrasound. The nurse said I could come in any day between Monday and Wednesday as they wouldn't be switching me to stims until Thursday anyway. I thought that was interesting, I think we switched to stims a little earlier with IVF #1.

I'll be sure to ask what the difference is when I go in on Wednesday. I know he said they were trying a little different protocol this time around, maybe this is part of it along with a little change in the stims from last time. IVF #1 we only had seven eggs retrieved, six fertilized but we got pregnant. I'm hoping for more eggs this time. Well, let's be honest... we're just hoping for a bring-home baby this time.

Which brings me to my next thought in this process; I knew that this IVF would overlap the time we were pregnant last year. Which also meant it would be close to the date of our miscarriage. The way I had it figured up, February 22 would fall sometime during our 2ww. But since we're not starting stims until February 9, we may be doing a retrieval or transfer right around February 22. That brings up some mixed emotions for me... sadness for what we lost, excitement for what we have to gain, etc.

Could the worst day of our lives suddenly become one of the best too? I'm not upset about this possibility, just a little confused. Through this whole process I feel like our baby is watching over us; maybe even helping us along this road. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it's the way I feel. That baby will forever be a part of our lives and our story.

Even though part of me is confused about all of this, there's a part of me that finds it interesting, like it was meant to be. I wouldn't necessarily "planned" it this way, I would've liked to done this a little sooner but it just didn't work out that way. I obviously realized and understood that February 22 was going to creep up on us during this cyle, the last of the anniversaries to make it through. I just didn't realize how close this all "could" be.

We've done what we can to honor our baby and to remember "her" (we didn't know what we were having, I just always think it was a girl). On September 8, what should've been our due date, we both took the day off work just to spend it together. We went to our local greenhouse and bought a dwarf weeping cherry tree and planted it in the middle of our flowerbeds at the front of our house. I think of her every day when I see it. We joined a support group in our community which became a HUGE part of our healing process. This group meets monthly and it really just an open forum for everyone to share their story and their child. Through that group we met some amazing families, some of which we've become friends with. In October, we attended this group's "Walk to Remember" which honored the lives among us that were gone too soon. In December, we joined in on the "Memory Tree Lighting" to honor our baby and the countless others represented by the hundreds of people who were there.

I guess what I'm trying to say (or convince myself of), is that we've made as much peace as we can with where we are. I wish I was holding a 5 month old in my arms today instead of writing this post, but I'm not. I wish I was changing a diaper instead of injecting shots every day, but I'm not. Maybe there's a point we all reach (somehow) where we decide that we've done all we can to honor those lives that we lost too soon and realize that we're moving forward. We're not forgetting and moving on, we're remembering and moving forward.

Looking at this now, I'm glad we didn't rush forward with another IVF before that baby's due date. Maybe that's right for some people but I don't think it was the right timing for us. Miss Conception mentioned this in her post on Thursday and as I was commenting on her post, I started thinking about our situation.

So this is where we are. If our retrieval or transfer lands on that day, I think I'll be ok with it. Sure it will hold mixed emotions, but I'll have to think that our baby is looking down on us knowing how much she is loved and also putting in a good word for us with her future sibling(s). Our angel will be with us through the whole thing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Catching Up

I feel like I'm out of the loop this past week with my blog! I've been trying to read and keep up on everyone's blogs and keep in touch with all of you. The typically cold and snowy winters here in Ohio have been replaced this week with beautiful sunshine and temps hitting the 60's a couple of days this week!! It's been more enticing to be outside! We've been loving it and even fired the grill up a few days ago and enjoyed our little taste of spring.

We are a week into our Lupr.on shots and I'm still feeling good. Today is the first day that I feel a little different/ moody but not too bad (hopefully hubby would agree with that)! The shots have been going well, J has been so great to give them to me every evening. I like to think I could be brave and do it myself, but I'm not so sure! A few days ago, the shot felt a little different and he said it seemed different to him. Within a few minutes it was really red and about 20 minutes later was starting to bruise. By later that night, I had a quarter-sized purple bruise on the right side of my stomach. My bff says its my battle wound! Anybody else had this happen? From what I've read it sounds like we may have hit a blood vessel but nothing to worry about.

At this point we're just waiting on AF to arrive - maybe the one time in our lives that we're looking forward to her showing up! Then it's on to the RE for an ultrasound and bloodwork to make sure we're suppressed and then the switch to Bra.velle and Men.opur.

Oh, I also promised an update on the pre-conception massage... let's just say it was wonderful! I originally scheduled appointments for J and I both but I couldn't talk him into going. So, I called my sister and she went along with me. I didn't really know what to expect but it was way more than an abdominal massage. Basically she did a full body massage and spent about 10 minutes on my stomach. I don't know how they can "prove" that it's specifically beneficial to women who are TTC but it was so wonderful and relaxing that it was worth it.

It was also nice to spend some time just me and my sister catching up. We enjoyed a nice dinner after the massage and really just had a good time together. She is 20 weeks pregnant but is sincerely making an effort to be there for us and keep our feelings in the forefront during her pregnancy. They found out on Monday that they're having another little boy. Is it bad that I was excited since that means maybe we could still have the first girl on my side? :)

So that's where we're at... full speed ahead and hanging on for dear life!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Socks from Finland

Several weeks ago, Cristy at Searching For Our Silver Lining organized a sock exchange and I signed up! I was paired up with a blogger I wasn't familiar with but was excited to get in touch with someone new. In turn I've started following JustHeather over at BattleFish and I'm so glad that we've "met".

After we exchanged info, I found out she lived in Finland! So neat! I live in plain 'ole Ohio! :)

I just received the socks that she sent and I love them! They're even made in Finland!



She also sent me the cutest little angel charm that she made. I'm trying to find a place to put it so that every time I see it I think of her and all of you ladies that I've gotten to know over the last few months. Maybe in my car, then I'll have you guys with me everywhere I go and especially on my drive to the RE's office!

I'm really glad that I've gotten to know such wonderful people even through our shared difficulties. Somedays we're able to make it through because we know we have someone to share it and walk through it with us.

Thanks again JustHeather, I love them!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pre-conception Massage

My sister called me the other day and was so excited about this spa she found that offered pre-conception massages that are aimed specifically at IVF patients. I was skeptical of course but I got on their website and did some research. When I called, they were very knowledgeable about the whole IVF process and the best times to come in. According to their research, these specific massages can increase your chances of conception by 65%. Now, I haven't actually seen this research yet, but if it can help us with this process - sign me up!!

I'm thinking it's similar to accupuncture during IVF from what I'm reading... "Massage therapy can help facilitate the conception process physically by breaking up adhesions and increasing pelvic blood supply, and emotionally by reducing stress and cortisol levels..whether you are trying naturally or in conjunction with appropriate medical treatment. In fact, research shows the pregnancy rate for women treated with massage techniques prior to their next IVF transfer to be 63% higher than the national average success rate for IVF."

The girls I've talked to at the spa said they recommend 2-3 treatments during your cycle. Once prior to retrieval, once between retrieval and transfer and then just a relaxation massage during the 2ww. So, I've got an appointment this Sunday for my first massage! I'm not sure what to expect but I'm looking forward to it.

Have any of you girls tried something like this?

I listened to my first Circ.le and Blo.om session today, massages scheduled and first Lup.ron shot on Friday. I think we're full speed ahead!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

So, about that letter...

Remember the letter to my family and friends that I've been so obsessed with sending out? Well, I got it to a point that I was happy with and finally showed the "finished product" to hubby before hitting send. He knew about the letter but hadn't read it until one night this week. I knew he wasn't real keen on the idea of sending this letter, but I thought once he read it he might change his mind.

Umm, no.

He wasn't sold on it. Honestly, I think it made things a little worse and brought up some suppressed emotions for him.

I've never really shared alot on here about details of our situation becuase for me, it didn't matter. We're all here together working towards a common goal. Details are different for everyone but the finish line is the same. We're doing IVF w/ ICSI and to our knowledge, a low sperm count is our only "issue." Low enough though that we skipped IUI's all together and jumped directly to the big gun. The events of the last few years have been really hard on him and there are times that I see it even more plainly.

Reading that letter was one of those times. He's afraid that sending that letter will only create more questions and more talk. His family was one of the specific groups he mentioned regarding people "talking." He didn't know why I felt like we needed to share all of this with alot of people who hadn't even made an effort to be there for us over the last several years. One thing he said was that "all of this is my fault." More emotions kept showing the more he talked.

I didn't even try to convince him otherwise or explain my motives. They were pure and I honestly think most people assume it's a "female" issue and then he wouldn't have to worry about these types of questions. But the more he talked the worse I felt. I felt guilty and sad for making him feel this way.

I know how IF has affected me but it certainly changes our husbands too. Needless to say, that letter won't be leaving my draft folder anytime soon. My main concern and loyalty has to be to my husband. I still feel like it would be a good thing but if he's not convinced yet, I can't rush it. We have to be on the same page as much as possible, we're the two walking down this road - not anyone else.

So for now this blog will continue to be my outlet. Only time will tell how much we share with other people, maybe we will at some point down the road. I'll just focus on our upcoming IVF and take care of my hubby as much as I can. I just wish that I could take some of his pain away. This is not his "fault", it's simply the hand we've been dealt. We'll keep working through it the only way we know how - together.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

All I Ever Wanted

So my sis and her hubby had to go away for the weekend to a formal wedding about two hours away. She was worried about her little boy (14 months) being good and being able to sit still during all the festivities. The rehearsal dinner is tonight and the wedding tomorrow afternoon. She is a hairdresser so she'll be doing hair and makeup for the girls all morning tomorrow. That's alot to expect a 1 year old to sit through so she asked if we could babysit this weekend... of course we said yes!

He's been at our house since about noon today and is always so much fun. It's fun to pretend that he's ours and to imagine what our lives will be like once our babies finally arrive. Sure, there are plenty of other times that it bothers me that we still don't have kids and my younger sister does... but I try to push that part aside as much as I can.

He just woke up from a nap but was still a little sleepy... hubby picked him up and laid down on the couch with him and now they're both asleep. This is all I ever wanted...


You think we could run away before they get back from the wedding and just pretend this little guy is ours? :) It melts my heart to see hubby curled up with him.

One of these days it will happen. That's what keeps us going.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This and That

First off, thank you to all of you ladies who commented on my letter to family and friends. Your thoughts and feedback really helps as I'm putting the finishing touches on this letter.

I guess I should've clarified that our immediate family knows of our struggles, infertility and IVF(s). Both sets of parents, my brother (wife), sister (husband) and a few close friends know what we're going through. But that's about it. I wrote the letter with our extended family and friends in mind; aunts, uncles, cousins, other friends, etc. There are probably about 50 people on the e-mail so far. I may add some more personal/ emotion to it but this is going to so many different people I have to be careful.

I'm really not sure what I expect from sending this letter. There will be a few who read it and do nothing. Others will talk about it amongst themselves, and I'll probably hear from some of the remainder. But maybe this letter isn't at all about their response. Maybe it's simply about us - taking the next step, pulling the curtain back and saying here's what we're facing. Putting a face to this disease and creating awareness.

In the last several years, I've struggled with being angry at people who seemed to ignore everything we're going through. Maybe some of the blame lies with me for being so private and not sharing more of our story. Either way, it's made me more sensitive to things that people around me are going through. I remember being conflicted after getting pregnant last year (IVF #1) and thinking "all these people are here now and genuinely happy for us. But where were they when we needed them most?" That same crowd quickly dissipated after our miscarriage, mom says it's because people don't know what to do... my response is "try something!"

My sister knows my feelings about all of this and sent me this quote the other day:

"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success."

I can't say it any better than that. There are alot of you out there who have/ are experiencing the same thing. I think that may be some of push behind this letter, I want and need people behind me during all of this. If there are people out there who can read that letter and still be absent from this part of my life, I know where that relationship is going. This is me, opening the door and saying "Come on in!" and I'm sure some will. But if others choose to continue standing on the porch, all I have to do is shut the door. How they respond is out of my control.


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On another note, we are officially in IVF #2! We went in for bloodwork Saturday and also got all of our meds ordered. I've been so excited about starting again but on the way to Dr. A's office I got really emotional. The last time I walked in his office was the worst day of my life. We hadn't been there since the miscarriage. We had a consultation with him the week after but at a small satellite office.

When we sat down with a nurse to order our meds and go over the treatment plan I started feeling better. We're IVF with ICSI again but with a little addition to the stims. She was an angel and explained everything so well, but then sat and answered our questions and talked with us like friends. She didn't ignore our loss and that we were so close last time and that they would work even harder to make it happen this time. Things like that make me remember we're at the right place.

For our last cycle, all of the meds were ordered from Wal greens Specialty Pharm. Since then, they've found a new pharmacy in Europe (London) and the stims are considerably cheaper! For any of you with IVF coming up, ask your doctor about IVFmeds(dot)com. I know for us it's a savings of almost $1,000 between the Menopur and Bravelle! That's always a nice surprise!

We don't start any injections until the 27th so we're in the waiting stage (again!).




Friday, January 6, 2012

A letter to family and friends

Below is a letter that I've written to send out to family and some friends to share our struggle. DH ("J") has not read this letter yet, but he seems hesitant about sending it out. I thought I would post it on here to get some feedback from some friends. After 4.5 years, I'm tired of struggling in silence and dealing with this, for the most part, alone. For me, it's time to speak up and do something. I know that there are so many other couples out there struggling through this awful battle and maybe our story can help them. I may tweak it a little still but let me know what you think.

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To our family and friends – It’s no secret that J and I have wanted to start a family for some time now. We’ve never really shared a lot about it because it is such a private thing. However, maybe by saying something it will prevent this disease from being in the shadows forever. Chances are that with infertility affecting 1 in 6 American couples, you know more people than just us who have been touched by it. Maybe our story will educate one person so they realize they are not alone. Maybe it will educate another person so they can reach out to someone they know and not be afraid to help them on their journey. Maybe awareness and making a difference starts with us…

We became pregnant with our first child after a successful in vitro (IVF) procedure. While we never got to hold that child, we believe that we will be able to one day. And while that gives us hope, our hearts are still broken by that loss and the fact that our arms are still empty here. Most of you probably have no reason to know a whole lot about the IVF process except the crazy news stories that surface every once in a while. Those extreme stories are also very far from what most couples truly face. But before you make a judgment call and say “I would never…” take a good like at your own children or grandchildren. Now, try to imagine your life without them. And even if you didn’t have to, aren’t they worth moving heaven and earth for if it was in your power to do so? Sadly, for 1 in 6 American couples, it takes those measures to bring our children into this world. We haven’t rushed into these decisions or taken them lightly, and we’ve shed a lot of tears and said a lot of prayers.

We will be pursuing another IVF procedure at some point this year. If you have sincere questions, we’d be happy to answer what we can. If you do not agree with our choices, that is fine as well; but keep in mind we’re not asking for anyone’s approval. We do not plan to share the exact timeline of it as we would like to maintain a little privacy. But we do ask for your love, your support and your prayers during this challenging time in our lives. Take a minute if you would to check out this link www.tearsandhope.com. We hope that it will help you better understand our struggle and our dreams.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Year Ago Today

What a difference a year makes...

A year ago today, after an IVF procedure that seemed to be picture perfect, we heard the most wonderful words we'd ever been told... "You're pregnant!"

We never imagined that one year later we would be embarking on our second IVF journey. I'm due to start my period on Wednesday and that will trigger the start of our cycle. I'm excited about starting again and the hope that it brings but I have mixed emotions especially because of the timing. I know they're just dates but you girls know that dates are linked closely to our emotions. This whole IVF cycle will cover the same dates that we were pregnant last year.

I'm sure that there will be days where this will be overwhelming but we feel that we're making the right decision. We can't change what has happened but at the same time, that baby will forever be a part of our lives. Miss Conception put it best when she said she hoped to meet her twins (Michael & Alena) sibling soon. That has stuck with me and helped me as we're moving forward. Our baby's sibling is out there and we're hoping to hold them soon.

I know there are alot of you ladies out there who will be cycling with us and I wish you all the best of luck. If I have one piece of advice after going through this once it would be to enjoy every single minute of it that you can. It's an emotional journey but it is wonderful and beautiful. I'm excited to have the opportunity to be doing it again and what the future might hold.

So thankful to have all of you by my side, and as close as my computer, this time around. In the few short months that I've been blogging, I can't put into words how special and helpful it is for me. I never imagined that I would feel so close to people that I've never met and that live states or even countries away from me.

Looking forward to your continued support and friendship and hoping that I can be there for alot of you as well. Here's to great things to come in 2012!!