it’s been a while…

i do not actively blog any more.  my passion sort of fizzled after having brian.  also, i went through a lot of muck trying to conceive again last year and just didn’t feel like i had a lot of positivity and encouragement to share.  however, if someone happens to stumble upon this blog, especially for support through infertility, loss, or a difficult pregnancy, i’d like them to know how things turned out for me.  so here goes my update.

most of 2016 was hard for me.  i do not want to rehash my infertility woes in this post, but see immediately proceeding posts to read about the muck.  i was not in a good place.  hubby and i {mostly i} decided it was time to move to a new fertility clinic.  the one we used to get pregnant with brian operates more like a business than a medical facility with the goal of trying to help couples build a family.  i couldn’t take the nickel and diming any more – after having lots of bad luck and feeling like my doctor {and the other doctors and nurses} really didn’t care about me, i could not keep forking over thousands of dollars for fees not billable to insurance.  we had things all ready to move to a new, smaller clinic that was establishing a presence in town.  in the meantime, we had one last ovulation induction cycle at our {soon to be} former clinic as a trial to see if we could transfer a frozen embryo on that type of cycle vs. a classic FET cycle since i kept having allergic reactions to something in the FET protocol.

so, i took letrozole and used gonal-f, triggered with ovidrel, and just had sex.  i couldn’t even bring myself to pay the extra $160 non-billable fee for an IUI.  besides, i knew this drill… we did this type of cycle several times before moving to IVF to conceive brian, and it. just. doesn’t. work.  at least not for me.

well, surprise!!  as sure as i was that my period was coming – sore boobs, cramps before menstruation – we actually got pregnant!  10 days after triggering, something possessed me to pee on a stick, and there were two lines.  hubby didn’t want me to call the clinic that day.  we’ve had so many chemicals, why bother.  a dear friend who had been walking most of the struggle with me last year encouraged me to call anyway.  i did, had my first beta draw that day, and my hcg was 11.  my estrogen and progesterone were also pretty low.  whomp whomp.  nurse denise kindly told me not to expect this to turn into a viable pregnancy.  that was a wednesday.  she told me to double my progesterone suppositories and originally told me to come in the next monday for repeat labs, but then said she would feel better if i came friday.  i actually got a call the next morning saying that dr. wing wanted to check my levels that day (thursday), so that if everything went up, he could administer intralipids that friday.  {side note: intralipids are sort of a controversial treatment – in theory, this IV administration of fat and proteins is supposed to keep your immune system from going crazy and attacking the embryo.}  surprisingly, my hcg, estrogen, and progesterone all experienced a decent increase the next day.  for the next 3-4 weeks, i had a lot of blood draws to keep tabs on hormone levels and a lot of intralipids.  eventually, we had our first ultrasound and saw one tiny little baby, measuring perfectly on track with a strong heart beat.  i still can’t believe it… i got pregnant by having sex {yes, with letrozole and gonal-f too.  but sex.  and no FET}.  this was definitely healing for me.

my pregnancy was scary, and we were high risk… again.  sigh.  i had a bleeding scare at 11 weeks.  my OB’s nurse had me come in for an ultrasound.  i knew it was a bad sign when the tech left the wand in my vagina and walked out of the room to get the doctor on call.  their assessment, a damage to the lining of my uterus that could cause a miscarriage.  i was immediately sent to the high risk doctor {i was supposed to see them the next day anyway for my initial appointment and NT scan}.  turns out my OB’s office just had crappy equipment and the “damage” to my lining was actually a blood vessel that they couldn’t pick up the blood flow on.  my time at the high risk doctor was supposed to end after making sure the repaired separate uterus didn’t compromise the integrity of my cervix, but by that point i had been diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), so i had appointments with the high risk doctor for the remainder of the pregnancy.  ICP is a liver issue that can happen during pregnancy.  my liver was too busy trying to process high levels of estrogen and progesterone that it couldn’t keep up with processing bile, so bile acids spilled to my bloodstream.  this is super, super dangerous for the fetus, like causes stillbirth dangerous.  believe it or not, my OB did not want to diagnose me as having cholestasis despite lab results to prove it.  he was acting under one of the four high risk physicians who has a wildly different idea of what constitutes ICP.  so, at 20 weeks pregnant, i set out to find myself a new OB.  the new OB listened to me, explained what he knew about ICP, and treated me for it.  this OB is still in the same hospital network and had to work with the same high risk physicians, but he consulted with a different doctor at the high risk practice who agreed that i should be treated.  the most important treatment for ICP is early delivery, and for me, that meant 36w4d.  there was a lot of swirl leading up to my induction date.  apparently the high risk physicians said the baby couldn’t be born before 37 weeks unless i had an amniocentesis to prove lung maturity, even though my new OB had been telling me all along that delivery needed to happen at 36 weeks.  my OB continued to keep tabs on my bile acid levels during weeks 35 and 36, and they continued to rise.  he decided it was best to stick with the original plan for induction at 36w4d.

so, on june 14th, i reported to L&D at 7:30 PM for cervadil.  my nurse told me it would cause strong period-like cramps in my low abdomen and back.  when i was induced with brian, cervadil was a nonevent, i was expecting it to be the same this time.  well, an hour into it, the cramps appeared just as described.  they lasted throughout the night, and IV pain meds were not touching them.  at 4:45 AM on june 15th, i paged the nurse begging for more pain meds.  she said no, that the cervadil could be removed and i could get an epidural and they would start pitocin.  one problem, there were two people ahead of me for an epidural, and one of them was a c-section.  at some point in conversation, it came out that the cramps i was having were actually contractions, but they were not regular, so i guess my nurse didn’t take them seriously.  shortly after 5 AM, my nurse removed the cervadil and checked my cervix, it was only 2 centimeters.  i got up to wash my face and brush my teeth in preparation for the epidural – i knew i would be stuck in bed after that.  i was still in excruciating pain, and the epidural was taking forever to show up.  at 5:30 AM, i got up to pee.  after i was done urinating, i felt liquid running down my leg.  i knew i was not peeing on myself.  besides, who pees down the side of their leg while on the toilet?  that seems almost impossible.  i wiped up some of the liquid with toilet paper, it was tinged pink.  i yelled into our room for hubby to call the nurse {i did have to yell as he was still snoozing}.  she causally shows up 10 minutes later to confirm it was indeed my water breaking.  at this point i think i’m dying through contractions.  my nurse still didn’t take me seriously, she said they will hurt worse now because there is no water to cushion the blow.  she didn’t check my cervix again.  she leaves the room, and my only pain coping mechanisms were squeezing hubby’s hand off and swearing like a sailor.  around 6 AM (i don’t know what time exactly as it was all a total blur at this point), my crappy nurse returns and barks for me to get on my side.  apparently the baby’s heart rate was dropping during my contractions.  i was ordered to breathe too.  i told her i couldn’t and that i needed oxygen.  the oxygen didn’t make a difference, but i wore the mask anyway.  at some point i demanded she find a doctor or an anesthesiologist because i knew my pain was not normal.  she snickered at me and asked why.  she still didn’t check my cervix.  she at least stayed in the room to monitor the baby.  finally, around 6:15 or so, i told her something was coming out of me.  she asked if it felt like i had to poop.  the answer was yes.  i was still on my side and she asked to look between my legs.  she immediately told me to keep my legs closed and paged for everyone to show up – extra nurses, a baby nurse, a NICU nurse, a doctor, and a table of instruments for the doctor.  yeah, turns out i was in transition after my water broke, and my inexperienced nurse still didn’t pick up on that.  the doctor on call from my OB’s practice was in the OR with the long awaited anesthesiologist finishing up a c-section.  so, the OB on staff at the hospital had to be found.  she walked in, and several nurses helped me turn to my back because i was in too much pain to do it myself.  they put my knees/legs in the stirrups, i pushed one and half times, and baby austin entered the world at 6:24 AM {along with a giant gush of amniotic fluid, might i add… so the nurse’s explanation about less amniotic fluid to cushion the contractions was not entirely valid}.  the OB on call from my OB’s practice walked in to deliver the placenta.  my OB showed up an hour and a half later – still in shock from delivering without an epidural, i was super snarky and told him he missed the whole thing, that delivery did not go as planned, and that i did not have an epidural as planned.  i can say that recovery after this birth was much easier and quicker than with brian.  austin basically birthed himself, and i had way less drugs and pain meds, which had to be helpful. 

i struggled a lot, emotionally, throughout this pregnancy and am still struggling postpartum.  i spent the first 18 weeks in denial that i was actually pregnant and that another baby would be joining our family.  i also hid the news from most of my friends.  once i finally started to share about being pregnant, i was diagnosed with ICP, and spent the next 16 weeks living in constant worry.  now that the baby is here, we’ve had a lot of challenges with feeding.  breastfeeding was not going well because austin was too sleepy to eat, then he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, leading to my decision to wean.  a couple of weeks later, his intestines still seem to be a hot mess, and i’m regretting my decision to wean.  i have a few other health challenges that i’m trying to sort through – following up with the GI to make sure my gallbladder and liver are fine/healing post ICP, a small hole in my left retina, i’m overdue for a filling, and i’m trying to avoid a D&E for retained products {again}.  while none of this is life threatening, the combination of all of these issues plus a fussy newborn and a toddler in the terrible twos has almost sent me over the edge.  

to be totally honest, i’m still struggling with these challenges in the context of my faith.  i didn’t get pregnant when i wanted.  when i finally did, i had a scary condition, despite praying that my pregnancy would be free of complications.  i also prayed the entire time that i would be able to breastfeed, and that didn’t pan out either.  i definitely feel removed from God.  i know my expectations are probably too high in terms of living problem free, i am a perfectionist after all.  the Bible promises that we will have trials in this life, and it tells me i should rejoice through all seasons.  i know a lot of women are still waiting to become a mom, and would take small health challenges and formula any day to achieve motherhood… so, i guess i need to be grateful.

i’ll close by adding some of the verses that carried me through pregnancy with austin. to all those who are still suffering through infertility, loss, or a high risk pregnancy… keep running the race and keeping the faith. 

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed  {Deuteronomy 31:8}

have I not commanded you? be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go  {Joshua 1:9}

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand  {Isaiah 41:10}

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miscarriage

a dear friend sent me a link to a sermon {almost more like a conversation} on miscarriage recently.  having been through a loss herself, we both have many of the same emotions and thoughts.  we know that healing is a process, that there are many emotions, and you have to let yourself feel every single one.  we have discussed how loss is uncomfortable for those who haven’t experienced it – especially something like a miscarriage which is so real to the mom carrying the baby, but not tangible for many others.  we both agree that loss is magnified after a struggle with {in}fertility; just when you think the journey is over, it continues, but with more bruises and scars.  the church doesn’t talk about this kind of loss much, at least not mine, and we were both glad to hear the church addressing the early loss of a baby.

whether or not you have experienced miscarriage, i think this sermon is so important to listen to.  it validates the many emotions those who have experienced miscarriage feel: sorrow, grief, frustration, questioning of faith.  and the sermon also shares a few pointers on how you can support someone who suffered a miscarriage, even if you haven’t experienced it firsthand. 

i will admit that i struggle with miscarriage in the context of God.  the Bible promises that for the people who serve Him, God works all things together for the good {Romams 8:28}.  a miscarriage is not good – to me it makes no sense, at least not immediately.  the Bible also promises that we will have trials in this world {John 16:33}.  this is life and a result of the broken, sin-filled world we live in.  no one is immune.  at the end of the conversation, the pastor said that at its roots, miscarriage comes from sin in the world.  not necessarily my sins, but just sin.  that may be the only answer i have in this lifetime.  i have experienced God working all things together for the good after my first loss.  i don’t know why i had to have uterus surgery, an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, 3 failed cycles, IVF, and a high risk pregnancy to get to brian, but i wouldn’t trade any of it leading to him for the world.  the pastor’s closing remarks ignite faith and hope that God will make this loss good too:

just never forget who our God is.  He is always in control.  He is never not in control.  and He is never not good.  He is always good, all the time.

an {un}official last post

this will be my last post… at least for a while.  i started this blog during a time when i needed it most.  i found hope, strength, and encouragement from so many of you.  it was fun to see many of us get pregnant and have babies within a few months of each other.  some of us have gone on to get pregnant again {whether planned or unplanned}, some have decided they are content with the baby or babies they gained from that long awaited successful cycle.  unfortunately for me, i’m sort of stuck where i was before.  even though i’m a mommy to brian, i have a longing to feel another baby stretching my belly, to hold another fresh little bundle, to smell that new baby smell.  and i want a sibling for brian {because life is easier when you have someone to discuss just how crazy your parents are with}.  but here i am, stuck being {in}fertile, only this time, our go-to treatment {FET} doesn’t seem to be working.  my womb is empty once again, and my heart has a hole that is longing to be filled.  i wanted to share one last update {or lack thereof} and provide some closing thoughts, mostly because i need closure.  stick with me if you can.

after brian, we had 7 frozen embryos left. i never really tracked my cycle, but imagined it would be much the same.  coupled with hubby’s awful sperm statistics, it just seemed easier to go back on birth control and try to get pregnant through a FET.  well, things are seldom what they seem.  our transfers post brian have been everything but successful and easy.  brian was our only AA embryo.  we had one AB, and 6 BBs.  when transferring our AA led to brian, i always imagined God set apart the AA and AB as our two children.  i imagined the AB would be successful, so naturally i was shocked and upset when the AB didn’t even survive the thaw.  we transferred a BB back in may, which led to a negative pregnancy test and an awful skin reaction called dermatographia for me.  after 2 weeks of pure hell crawling in my own skin, the dermatographia slowly improved over the next two months but never went away.  we waited the month of june out, but hubby and i agreed it was probably time to start the process up again in july.  of course my RE has never seen the skin reaction, the allergist told me it is what it is and the only treatment is an antihistamine which i already take daily, but my dermatologist offered a little more in at least trying to determine the cause.  he said the skin reaction is usually caused by a meciation, in my case he felt the antibiotic we used for the FET protocol, and that it usually takes a month to go away.  desperate for answers, i wasted a ton of money at my old acupuncturist who promised quick results with one or two treatments.  finally after 8, i accepted that his treatments were not making a difference for me.  i did seek the second opinion of another acupuncturist and traditional chinese medicine doctor.  her treatment plan seems more promising and easier on the budget, so i decided to stick with her.  she cleared us to try again and said we could fix the underlying cause of the dermatographia after another baby.  so, we were back at in july with another transfer scheduled for early august.  i wish this transfer had a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  we transferred one BB, which implanted, but is currently ending in a chemical pregnancy.  and, the dermatographia is worsening, despite changing the antibiotic in the protocol.  to say i’m frustrated would be an understatement.  i have so many emotions – resentment, anger, feelings of abandonment, sorrow, the list goes on.  while we still have 4 embryos left, i don’t feel that my body is in a state to accept them.  knowing nothing about the health of these embryos, it’s hard to keep putting them back in my uterus since we do know my body is upset, as evidenced by the dermatographia.  i’d like to say we will try again one day, but time will tell.

as for the emotional aspect – call it whatever you want, chemical pregnancy or not, there was a tiny baby in me, that i now choose to believe is in Heaven with the first baby we lost through ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  i really felt like God was opening doors this last cycle, so it is hard for me to see the door close and to lose another baby.  i desperately do not want this to be my last experience and memory with pregnancy.  it’s hard to end on such a sour note.  i’ve had a hard time managing my grief this go around too.  how do i let myself grieve while experiencing so much joy from brian?  the two are separate but intertwined.  i see my bouncing little boy, with his full head of blonde hair and big blue eyes, but have this extreme sense of loss and sorrow.  i know time will bring healing, it did the first time.  but brian also brought healing to my first loss, and i pray that there is another baby to bring healing to the second loss.  in the meantime, feeling the twinges of my body trying to accommodate this life, but knowing there really isn’t life is hard.  hubby and i have framed every picture we received of our embryos on transfer day.  it sits on our nightstand, but like the last, this one will also be taken down and filed in my huge medical organizer.  i’m sure one day i will have the strength to look at the two embryos that never came to be again.

another reason i started this blog was to share my faith through this journey.  i have friends who are Christian, who also experience trials, and who also keep the faith.  i also have friends that can’t accept God and Jesus because of the injustices they experience and witness in the world.  how do you explain loosing a baby?  or when a child is born with a debilitating disease?  or when anyone gets a cancer diagnosis?  or when a loved one’s life is cut short because there should always be more time?  or when entire cities of people are harmed by natural disaster?  i hate when people try to bring comfort by saying “everything happens for a reason.”  i don’t think this is always true.  i don’t think there is a reason innocent babies have to suffer.  i don’t think there is a reason i have had two miscarriages {or at least i don’t know the reason yet}.  often times, there is no explanation.  stuff happens.  life happens.  life is not perfect, for any of us.  but i choose to believe in our Creator.  i choose to have faith and hope.  i choose to believe that one day, my aches and pains will be made better, that one day i will meet the two babies i never got to hold on this earth.  i also believe that God works all things together for the good.  the Bible tells me this, and it’s easier on the heart than to think there is no God or a God that doesn’t care.  while i hope and pray for healing on this side of Heaven, i look forward to complete restoration and perfection on the other side.

to all those waiting on babies or something else in life, don’t give up hope.  don’t lose faith.  the journey is tough, but there will one day be healing.

“for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” {Jeremiah 29:11}

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him {Psalm 126:5-6}

and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose {Romans 8:28}

refocusing

dear future baby g number 2,

i don’t know that you’ll ever be here, but i hope so.  before your big brother, i had so much confidence and hope that God would bring us a baby.  it wasn’t a matter of if, but when.  the journey was long, and took many more months than we hoped.  so far, the journey to you is panning out the same.  your big brother was worth the wait, and i hope to be able to say the same about you one day.

why am i unsure about you?  self protection so i’m not crushed if God doesn’t allow us to have another baby?  maybe.  but i also think my confidence in God Himself has dwindled a bit.  i’m so fixated on modern medicine, the statistics, the quality of our embryos, insurance approvals, etc.  where did my faith go?  why can’t i say the same for you – that i know i will meet you one day?  maybe i’m also struggling during this break time because i don’t have a clear feeling about when to start trying for you again.  i’m still trying to recover from our last failed cycle, daddy is ready to jump back in, and i’m just waiting for a sign.

before your brother, i held on tightly to several Bible verses.  they gave me hope and peace.  God has showed me a few verses recently that i need to meditate on, so i’m listing them here.  these are a reminder to me that our Lord is mighty.  that nothing is too hard for Him.  that he can overcome the statistics and my weak body.  i’m human, broken in more ways than one, i do need Him.  doctors are great, but God is the ultimate healer.  His ability and power goes beyond what i can dream and see.  that’s fabulous news.

for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you {Isaiah 41:13}

let your gentleness be evident to all. the Lord is near. do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus {Philippians 4:5-7}

even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you {Isaiah 46:4}

rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}

consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. but when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. that person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do {James 1:2-8}

“if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” {Matthew 21:22}

Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” {Matthew 19:26}

for with God nothing will be impossible {Luke 1:37}

ah, Lord God! behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. there is nothing too hard for You {Jeremiah 32:17}

my goal is to get back to that place of confidence and faith, to shake the doubt and anxiety that take hold of my mind.  and i’ve asked God to remove the desire for you if He has no intentions of giving you to us.  He can do great things, including changing my heart if that is His will.

love, 

mommy

yesterday

brian and i took a walk in the neighborhood yesterday evening while we waited for “da” to come home.  we saw a neighbor who’s usually out in her yard with her dogs.  both of these are not uncommon.  but yesterday we struck up a conversation that was about more than her golden retrievers and how old brian is.  one thing led to another, and she opened up about a horrific traffic accident her husband was in several years back.  her family thought they lost him twice.  and then he spent 4 months in the hospital recovering.  then on top of it, she lost her corporate job when the economy tanked.  she mentioned that life was chaos and she never imagined being where they are today.  

obviously a different situation, but what she said resonated with me.  it reminded me of the plumb song “need you now.”  the first two lines are “well, everybody’s got a story to tell, and everybody’s got a wound to be healed.”  how true this is.  so often we feel like certainly we are the only one who’s life is falling apart.  and it’s just not so.  my conversation with dottie reminded me that life has pretty hard moments, but when we live to tell, we come out stronger.

we just had a failed cycle.  i’m 19 days strong with dermatographia.  and my thyroid now seems to be going bananas.   life feels out of control, but it always has a way of calming down or adjusting to the new normal. my conversation with dottie reminded me of the verse below.  even if i don’t experience healing on this side of Heaven, there is something to look forward to.  i can do this.

these things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world  {John 16:33}

taking a break

last cycle was not kind to me.  at all.  i think this can be attributed to emotional stress and lots and lots of drugs.  i am a different person since giving birth to brian – mainly, i have hypothyroidism, requiring the daily use of synthroid.  then i pumped low dose aspirin, birth control, lupron, estrogen patches, progesterone inserts, progesterone shots, medrol, and doxycycline… and a vallium on transfer day.  oh, and i almost forgot, my daily antihistamine for seasonal allergies, xyzal.  that is a lot of stuff.  but that’s not all my body was asked to process.  i was extremely stressed out {like to the point my shoulders and neck were in a big knot}, so my body had to process it’s own stress hormones too.  10 days after the transfer, i noticed my skin turned red when anything bumped it too hard.  this just escalated as the days passed to the point where any light scratch or even me resting one leg on the other too long results in a bright red spot that takes over an hour to disappear and is usually accompanied by itching.

i was hopeful this would disappear once i started my period and my hormones got back to baseline… no luck.  i asked my RE about it when i went in for my CD3 screening over the weekend.  he said to follow up with my allergist or dermatologist.  by memorial day, i was so desperate that i went to urgent care.  the diagnosis confirmed my google research… dermatographism.  cause unknown.  only treatment… antihistamines… which i take daily.  insert grumpy face here.  i called the allergist this morning, and there is nothing more they can do for me.  my dermatologist says they can help the itch and that’s it… more to come from them today.

i did see my acupuncturist yesterday as i am willing to try ANYTHING to help me at this point.  he said i have toxic heat, which is where the liver gets overburdened with too much stuff {like medications or natural hormones}, your body draws heat away from internal organs, and it manifests itself on the skin whenever it is touched.  logical.  he said he could get rid of it with one treatment, which was last night.  maybe it’s a smidge better, but not much.  i plan to stick with his protocol of treatment and herbs, coupled with lots of prayer in hopes that this horrendous presentation leaves me soon.  oh, and i am a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend… i am going to look like a red streaked and splotchy freak.

anyway, i think my body was overloaded and is trying to tell me to hit the pause button.  i want my body to be as healthy as possible to receive another baby, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  i am taking the minimum/usual prescription drugs right now.  i am seeking acupuncture treatments.  the stress is still very much a struggle.  i am guilty of overthinking and getting wrapped up in the “what-ifs” of the future… this is very much a constant struggle for me, but i am trying to pause and pray through those moments.  i have a follow up with my RE next week.  i will discuss my concerns with him and see if we can alter the protocol at all to try to avoid something like this in the future. 

God, please bring me peace and comfort.  please work through the physicians and therapists i have trusted for my care.  please help me to remember that worrying about tomorrow won’t benefit me today, and that your plan is perfect.  thank You for Your sovereignty, which You have shown me so many times throughout my life.  please heal me of this dermatographia, and if it is Your will, please allow us to have another happy, healthy baby.

not pregnant

the title says it all, but i documented how i felt along the way, mostly because i wish i had done this with brian to have a comparison.  some days i felt totally normal, and other days i swore i was pregnant. 

2 days after my transfer, i thought i felt implantation cramping, otherwise felt normal.

3 days after the transfer, i felt dizzy, saw dark brown/nearly black streaks exiting with leftover crinone, and could feel my heart beat in my uterus {sounds weird, but i could feel that with brian early on}.  but something strange happened.  my entire abdomen cramped up when getting up from laying down (this also happened  on transfer day at the fertility clinic and once on day 2).  WTH body?   WTH?  probably it’s way of making sure my embryo didn’t implant.  

tested 4 days after the transfer in the morning, definitely negative – mostly did this because with brian i thought the first two + tests were evap lines, so i wanted a clean control {and for the record i no longer believe in evap lines}.  no longer feel my heart beat in my uterus, and felt normal.

5 days after my transfer the lightheadedness returned, HPT still negative. 

6 days later, negative.  feel normal, but my emotions are fragile today.  i know not every cycle will work, that’s why we started “early.”  but i have this overwhelming fear that we will slowly deplete our frozen embryos with no success, and then i’m back to square one and need to do another egg retrieval. and will my insurance company let me?  or will we have to waste time with IUIs again?  and maybe my thyroid levels are off and that’s not helping?  this process is complex.  the human body is complex.  

7 days later, still negative.  still lightheaded.  had acupuncture, and chuck thinks i could be pregnant.  every time i give up, i get another wave of false hope.  definitely emotional torture.  and i’m starting to question chuck’s credibility. 

8 days later, still negative.  this is awful, but i’m going to remove the framed picture of our embryo from my nightstand.

day 9, negative.  and i’m done wasting HPTs.  blood test is on day 11.  i had it moved up a day so i had time to cancel my next shipment of PIO.  i think i’m depressed.  i mean, i poured myself into this process for 6 weeks to just lose two embryos.  i never imagined that i would be this upset.  after having brian, i felt so complete… i thought i would be ok if he were to be our only little.  but my heart is aching again.  and i’m bitter.  i’m tired of going to the doctor to try to get pregnant.   i’m tired of spending thousands and thousands of dollars on these efforts.  i cry at least once a day, usually two or three times.  i’m seriously a wreck.  

day 10… didn’t even test.  i honestly couldn’t face another negative.  i know the answer is negative, so no point rubbing it in my face unnecessarily.  emotionally, i’m doing a bit better today.  i had a long walk with a dear friend who is also embarking on the FET journey after years of {in}fertility, and it was good to just spend some time with someone who gets it.  in processing, i’ve come up with quite a long list of questions for dr. w.  mostly related to things that were different this cycle than with brian:

  1. were my thyroid levels good prior to the transfer?  
  2. could PCOS be at play here?  should i take metformin again?  what have my estrogen and FSH levels been at CD3?  
  3. could the mucus ball in my uterus at the start of the cycle impacted this?
  4. what about the crazy abdominal cramps i had right after the transfer?  have you heard of this before?  is this my body’s way of trying to prevent implantation?
  5. should we consider transferring more than one embryo in the future?  

i’m sure my questions won’t be well received… they never are.  i think my RE’s office wishes patients would play dumb and not think with their own brains.  i’ll probably ask nurse mary or whoever calls tomorrow to help me schedule a debrief appointment.  i don’t give a damn if they don’t like my questions… they will be answered, and if i must, i will take my business elsewhere.

day 11, negative.  no surprise here, but the phone call still crushed me.  mostly because nurse mary {still not my fave} acted like we will have to take a break between cycles.  say what?!  she is checking on this with dr. w, hopefully she actually does her job and gets back to me about this soon.

i probably will not recap FET take 3 unless there is new and different information to share.  best of luck to all those waiting on babies.

IVF recap – FET attempt #2

call me crazy, but brian is approaching one (will be one by the time i actually post this), and i feel the need to get the show on the road for number 2.  i’ve seen so many friends who battled infertility with their first to go on and wage war again for another baby, and i would rather have a bit of a buffer and not feel crunched.  hubby agrees, so we are proceeding with caution.

i’m writing this in real time, but will post later… sometime after the transfer.  i’m just not a post as i go kind of girl… maybe i’m slightly superstitious {which is totally ridiculous}.

  
hormone evening out: BCPs

it’s funny, details from my first transfer that i swore i would never forget, i’ve forgotten… like exactly how long i took birth control and lupron shots, how many progesterone shots prior to the transfer, etc.  good thing i {sort of} documented that here.  i don’t have an official day count of how long i have been taking BCPs, because i’ve been taking them since november in preparation for this.  i recently called my RE’s office to say i was ready to start the FET process again and they drafted up a protocol that seems like a good timeline.  during this time, we also signed consents for the transfer, coincidentally on brian’s birthday. 


trial transfer and sonohysterogram

apparently my bladder was too full again {sorry dr. w, took me 45 minutes to get to your office thanks to traffic and the morning hot tea moves quickly}.  dr. w explained that these tests were necessary again because after having a baby the uterus changes size and shape, and theoretically the measurements for embryo placement may be different. i also had some “retained products of conception” after delivering brian requiring a d&c, so dr. w wanted to make sure my uterus was clear.  i’m happy to report that all went well.  interestingly enough, this test was scheduled for brian’s original due date.  dates don’t line up often in my life, but this is just weird. 

lupron

i started lupron on trial transfer day {again, weird with the dates since this was my due date with brian}.  i actually did not want to give myself the shot even though it was a tiny baby one.  crazy how i would do almost anything to get pregnant the first time.  shots didn’t phase me in the slightest, but today it did.  it went well enough though.  lupron will continue until progesterone starts.  i don’t remember this happening for FET #1, but i started spotting on lupron and the last day of BCPs… the only thing i can think of is that i took BCPs one day longer than i normally would in a cycle.  guess we’ll see how my hormones look in a few days.  also, my boobs hurt the last few days of lupron only, before starting patches.  i don’t remember this happening last time {at least i didn’t document it}.  lupron is supposed to suppress, so who knows. 

also, seems these little shots are giving me little headaches most evenings.  all for a good cause, i suppose.

last BCP

after starting lupron, i only took BCPs for 5 more days.  i spotted on the last day (see above).  my period/withdrawal bleeding started two days after the last BCP, which is similar timing to FET number one.

cycle day 3 screening (somehow this is technically CD 1, i guess because it’s my patch start date)

my appointment went well today.  i had to bring brian with me, which is always awkward at an {in}fertility clinic.  hopefully the other patients who have yet to have a baby view it as a success story, instead of judging me for rubbing a child in their faces.  there were two other ladies who had kiddos with them, so that helped.  back to the appointment, i met one of the newer doctors today (two of the familiar faces from my IUI, egg retrieval, and first FET days have since retired).  this lady was very friendly, but either her techniques weren’t as great or i couldn’t relax because my bladder was full having no chance to pee bringing brian with me and brian was fussing during the ultrasound because he wasn’t a fan of the lights getting turned off.  either way, the ultrasound wasn’t comfortable, but my insides looked good.  nurse mary {still not my fave, and apparently she is the nurse manager now… gasp!  i could think of so many other better candidates for that position just from my limited interaction with other nurses} called later in the day to say my blood work was good too, so i start estrogen patches this evening and decrease my lupron dose.

estrogen patches

first patch was uneventful.  it gets traded out this evening for another single patch.  then i will work my way up to four patches by changing them out and adding one every other day.  

by the third day of patches (still only one patch), i have noticeable cervical mucus and my ovaries hurt.  i remember the cervical mucus from last time, not so much ovary pain.  i’m moving up to 2 patches tonight.  my next ultrasound and labs are scheduled for next week (scratch this – i ended up going sooner, see below), hopefully my ovaries will be quiet and my lining will be pretty. 

i’m up to four patches now.  holy mucus.

been at four for a few days, and i had my first emotional breakdown.  i’m sure the hormones don’t help my cause, but for the record this process still sucks.  relying on a doctor to conceive a baby for you sucks.  relying on estrogen patches and progesterone shots to stay pregnant sucks.  having to order said medications from the speciality pharmacy because my insurance plan makes me sucks.  crying helps me accept.  this is my journey.  everyone has something because life is imperfect.  instead of constantly striving for perfection, i need to say thanks for what i have and how far i’ve come.  for me, and probably for most, this is a never ending process.  also, my appetite is out of control and i’ve gained a couple of pounds quickly… i’m assuming this is from the patches?  i’ll blame it on them for now.

i’ve been at four patches for more than a week and all of the sudden i have red spots that will not fade when i change them out.  what the heck?  hopefully this is just a fluke or i will run out of real estate soon. 

mid-cycle check (CD 7)

had an impromptu visit with my RE this morning after 3-4 days of ovary soreness.  my doctor asked me why i was concerned… “because you have cervical mucus?”  while i wanted to reply with “i’m not that stupid,” i instead told him about how my ovaries have felt tender.  i was just supposed to have an ultrasound, but the ultrasound revealed several smallish follicles and fluid in my uterus, so my RE ordered blood work too.  there is no dominant follicle, so ovaries are not an issue, so now we will have to see if the fluid disappears.  i wonder if this is what’s causing my discomfort.  anyway, i’m told this happens sometimes and progesterone usually dries it up.  i’m kind of worried about this cycle now and am hesitant to transfer our next best embryo because i don’t have a whole lot of confidence in my uterus.

second mid-cycle check (CD 12)

well, no more fluid!  i honestly think the fluid was a giant ball of mucus because something that looked like a mucus plug and that was streaked with blood fell out of me over the weekend/CD 9.  anyway, back to my appointment this morning… i had the triple stripe, as pointed out by the doctor on duty and according to nurse mary, everything looks perfect.  i know all too well that just because things look good doesn’t mean you will actually get pregnant.  we have a fair amount of frozen embryos still, but next in line is our only AB embryo… the rest are BB.  i’m nervous to use our AB, but i’m praying that the right embryo will make it to my uterus.

day minus 5 (new medicine day)

i traded lupron for four new medicines:

  1. doxycycline 2x a day: uneventful.  just had to rearrange my prenatal time.
  2. crinone 2x a day: the real fun hasn’t even begun… give this puppy a few more days to work up some good funk.
  3. progesterone in ethyl oleate: first shot was just fine, however my butt muscle was sore the next day.
  4. medrol: loathed this one last time and still do.  i’m currently listening to my husband snore as i “rest” in hopes that sleep will come soon.


day minus 3

just not feeling good about this cycle.  i feel crampy every now and then… who knows.  got a wart on my finger frozen at my primary care doctor this morning, seriously worried that will interfere with the FET.  he started talking about how the freezy stuff triggers an immune response, pretty sure i do not need any immune responses.  still praying that all works out according to God’s plan, which i know it will.

update on crinone… this stuff is still gross.  i think it seriously irritates all of my lady parts and just makes them hurt.  i had the option of skipping crinone this time, but hubby and i decided it was best to keep the same protocol that worked with brian, even though my RE doesn’t use crinone as much anymore.  to think, i could’ve avoided this.  if this cycle is not a success, i may consider ditching crinone for future cycles.

oh, and PIO… how you are a pain in my {back}side, literally.  i forgot how sore i got from these shots the first time… natures way of tricking me in to doing this again.  while they suck, when i think about the fact that i only had to use them for ~9 weeks with brian, i know it’s worth it.  it’s such a short span of time relative to the rest of pregnancy {and life}.  i hope i’m lucky enough to get another babe on take 2 so i don’t have to have cycle after cycle of PIO.  

either i’m adjusting to the medrol, it’s being kinder to me, or i’m so exhausted that my body gave in, but sleep finally came easier (although i did wake up to pee in the middle of the night, which is unusual).

day minus 2

blood work only today.  the past two draws, it felt like the technician was trying to rip the vein out of my arm. anyway, nurse mary called to say everything looks “perfect.”  i don’t love that word, but whatever you say nurse mary… i will be there at 10 am for a 10:30 am transfer in two days. 

day minus 1

i’m nervous and excited.  over thinking everything.  and finding comfort in some of my favorite Bible verses today.  in less than 24 hours, i will be at my RE’s office for FET take 2!


transfer day

after an awful night of sleep, here we are.  prayers said, consents signed, valium taken, hospital gown on.  just found out our AB embryo didn’t survive the thaw, so now we’re down to 6 BBs, well 5 after the one that will be transferred today.   i’m disappointed and sad, but God is in control.  this process is so emotional, but i hope will be worth it. 

the transfer itself went well, although apparently my bladder was not full enough {i will likely never get this right}.  we got to see our embryo up on a big monitor before the transfer and watch it make its way to my uterus on another monitor.  then i rested for 30 minutes after {and maybe cried a little}.  the nurse had my doctor stop by after she saw me crying.  he probably thinks i’m nuts, but this process is just draining and full of the unexpected, and sometimes you just need to cry those emotions out.

i had acupuncture after my transfer, which is always relaxing.  now i’m just taking it easy at home – i plan to watch a little gilmore girls, search for some more house decorations, maybe nap. 

to keep the tradition alive, here is a picture of me and the hubs all suited up for the transfer {love the “artwork” in the background, ha}:




12 day wait

generally, i’m not a patient person.  infertility has helped me work on this a little, but there’s still room for improvement.  it’s only the first day of 12, but i don’t have a great feeling about this cycle.  with brian, i had so much peace.  it’s not coming easy this time.  i’m over analyzing every twinge and cramp, or lack thereof.  i haven’t decided if i will test before my beta.  i don’t want to drive myself crazy, but i want to be prepared if the results aren’t what i hoped for… so maybe i’ll test a couple of days before. 

5 days out now.  on day 3, i swore i was pregnant.  now i’m about 70% sure i’m not and the HPTs agree so far.  i know there’s still time, but my vote is not pregnant.  if anyone has success stories where you were still pregnant with negative HPTs 5dp5dt, i’m all ears.  i keep wondering where i went wrong.  with brian, so many people were praying… maybe i needed more prayer warriors.  then i realized 88% of the population just has sex without telling the whole world and asking for prayer, and they get pregnant.  wouldn’t that be nice.

anyway, here’s to baby g #2, whenever you come along!  

    it’s still hard

    {in}fertility.  it’s one of my scars, and technically i guess still a wound since we want another child.  i still can’t conceive a baby without a reproductive endocrinologist.  it’s still hard.  and it still hurts. 

    a friend recently had a baby.  no miscarriages.  no {in}fertility.  quick delivery.  baby seems to latch great.  i love this friend dearly, she is one of the best friends a girl could ask for. she has always been sensitive to {in}fertility, and has never taken her sweet children for granted.  but for some reason this has my emotions swirling.

    this morning i’m praying for peace about whether or not God allows us to have another child, and i’m praising him for the beautiful little boy he has already shared with us.

    happy birthday, brian!

    big boy brian {guess i can’t address you as baby brian since you are a whole year old now!},

    happy birthday, bubby!  i can’t believe we’re already here.  the last year has absolutely flown by!  i’m so thankful you are a part of our family.  you bring me and daddy so much joy… we love you millions and millions, more than we have words to describe!

    as usual, you’ve continued to grow and change over the last month.  you have your upper one year molars now (first spotted on march 20th, but they were likely there earlier, it’s hard to get a good peek into your mouth).  you are pulling up on any and everything, especially things you shouldn’t be like the oven door to play with the stove knobs!  you can walk holding on to a walking toy or our couch.  crawling is not new, but you like to crawl with toys which is interesting, especially if a toy is big and clunky.  you can sign “all done,” mommy and daddy haven’t really tried to work on other signs with you.  you definitely try to repeat words – the other day i asked you if you wanted a blueberry and you said “buh buh” over and over again.  i have a pretty cute video of it!  and any time you’ve heard the word blueberry since you recite “buh buh.”  they are the only food you’ve attempted to ask for by name, and you seem to love them!  sometimes you a repeat after us – we hear “goh” a lot for “go,” and mommy thinks you tried to repeat “oatmeal” earlier this week.  mommy also taught you how to brush your hair – you don’t get it quite right, but of course it’s cute.  and you hold up your toy phone to your ear and sometimes jabber.  you are definitely learning so much!  you know how to pinch, daddy and i are not so fond of that.  and you know when i’m not paying full attention to you.  there have been instances of you biting me and pulling my hair if i’m holding you and doing something on the cell phone at the same time.  it’s a good reminder that i should be fully engaged with you, but i also have to remind you to be gentle and not to bite. 

    for activities, you love to look at books.  you’re favorite seems to be “hand hand fingers thumb,” which is a book about monkeys drumming on drums.  you always smile and laugh when we read that one together.  you also like to go on walks and ride on your smartrike.  toys don’t entertain you for long, but your current favorite toy seems to be a disney train that sings songs as you push it along the floor.  of course you’d rather be playing in mommy and daddy’s kitchen cabinets, in the freezer, with electrical chords of any kind, with the only nightlight in our house, on our console table behind our couch, or with your  nightstand in your room.  we used to tell you “brian, that’s not a toy” when you were playing with something you shouldn’t, but that doesn’t work any more.  you also love to open and close dresser drawers and remove their contents. 

    we started swim lessons after mommy resigned from work.  you were a little timid at the first lesson, and you took a big gulp of pool water… we have some things to work on.  my hope is that you get comfortable with water and learn how to safely float and swim in the event of an incident in water.

    your feeding and napping schedule is pretty much the same.  we’re still on formula, but your one year appointment is less than a week away, so i’m sure we will be switching to whole milk.  this isn’t necessarily new, but daddy and i have noticed that you seem to wiggle your butt as you get comfortable for naps and nighttime sleep.  like most things you do, we think it’s cute.

    the last month held crazy things for you medical wise.  we decided to get a second cranial band to see if it would help correct your plagiocephaly further.  before your first band, your head was severely asymmetrical, and now it’s moderately asymmetrical.  mommy has little hope that the second band will work, but i didn’t want to have regrets and wanted to try all we could to help correct your head shape.  we had a doctor visit for a little rash on your face and legs.  the rash on the face seemed to be allergy related and the leg rash was diagnosed as eczema.  your doctor told us to just use hydracrotozne cream to clear it up (which by the way, the face rash isn’t any better yet).  then the same evening as the day we went to the doctor, you came down with a horrible, awful stomach virus.  i don’t even want to talk about it because mommy is still frustrated that her little boy who can’t even talk yet came down with such a rough illness.  you cried, i cried, it was bad.  it took you several days to feel better again.  we think you picked up the germs at church on Easter sunday. we are taking a break from the church nursery for a few weeks.

    we had your one year photos made, complete with a smash cake.  you didn’t really eat that much of the cake, but the pictures were still pretty handsome.  your first birthday party is this coming saturday.  it’s a circus theme, mommy has been working hard on it.  we can’t wait to celebrate your first year with our family and friends. 

    our prayers for you remain much the same.  we always pray for your health and well being.  we continue to pray that the sacral dimple doesn’t cause issues for you – we’ve seen some great developmental signs that we’re very grateful for!  we pray that swim lessons will be a success.  we pray that you will grow to love the Lord and live your life for him.  we pray that you will be smart, a leader, compassionate, caring, obedient, honest.

    i love you so much, brian.  happy birthday, again, little love!

    mommy