Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fertilization Report

Yesterday didn't go quite as expected. On Sunday we were told by our doctor that he anticipated retrieving between 25 and 35 eggs. Because of my high estrogen levels and high number of follicles, I was only given a half dose of the trigger shot on Sunday night to help lessen the effects of OHSS. Anyway, the egg retrieval yesterday went well, but it was extremely painful and hard on me. I am still in quite a bit of pain, but so far the symptoms of OHSS seem minimal (thank God). After the retrieval, my doctor informed me that he had retrieved 10 eggs. I was very confused as to why we only got 10 when there were so many others available. I just received a call this morning and learned a little more about what happened. Apparently one of my ovaries was very difficult for the doctor to get to and it was causing me a lot of pain. He retrieved eggs from both ovaries, but had to start weighing the risks and benefits to me and had to leave some behind. It was just becoming too difficult to get to some of the eggs. 10 eggs is good though, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much about that. ANYWAY, here is the news about fertilization. Out of the 10 eggs that were retrieved, 8 were mature and 2 were immature. Out of those 8 that were ICSI'd (they injected a single sperm into each egg) - only 4 fertilized. 2 others fertilized later on, but they fertilized abnormally so they are no good. As of right now we have 4 fertilized eggs to work with. My babies!! Hopefully those 4 will continue to develop normally. We will not know the quality and grade of these until we go in on Friday. Our transfer is at 9 AM on Friday morning and I am praying very hard that we will have 2 good quality embryos to transfer and 'put back home' inside my uterus. I am very nervous. Please continue to pray with us and for our little ones. I also have an issue with my cervix and the doctors have a hard time with it so I have to drink more water than the average woman before the transfer. I will be a little uncomfortable, but it will be worth it. I am looking forward to a beautiful moment on Friday and coming home with pictures of my 'embabies'. I have a lot of mixed emotions right now about everything and am bummed with the number we ended up with after everything. But we only need 1 for this to work (although we would really love twins!). Now it's time to rest up, heal, and prepare my body for the big day :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ultrasound, Pre-Op, and Upcoming Egg Retrieval!

I am very excited to say that after this morning's appointment the egg retrieval is officially set for Tuesday morning! :) It's safe to say I have a lot of follicles and my doctor told me that he anticipates retrieving between 25 and 35 eggs. Holy cow! Now, we won't know exactly how many of those are actually mature until the retrieval takes place, and not every mature egg will fertilize. The goal is to have two great 8 celled embryos to transfer on Friday. Anything that we have left over will be frozen if it makes it to day 5 (blastocyst stage). I am definitely feeling everything though. I am sore, but overall I am handling things quite well I think. So far I have not been stressing and I am handling my emotions the best I can. My estrogen levels are through the roof. This morning's labs came back at 7000! I'm not quite sure if I have mentioned this in previous posts or not, but to put this into perspective, a normal woman's estrogen levels peak around 200 at the time of ovulation each month. I am definitely at risk for OHSS. In order to lessen this risk, or at least limit how bad I get it, my doctor told me to only take a half dose of the HCG trigger shot that I must do tonight. So only 1ml (5,000 units) instead of 2ml (10,000 units). I'm alright with that :). It's too bad that the needle can't be half the size, too. Haha. I've got a 22 gauge needle just waiting to be used tonight at 9 PM. The retrieval will be at 9 AM on Tuesday morning, although we have to be there at 6 AM. We are getting very excited, but are also quite scared and nervous about everything. Please continue to pray for us. We need it now more than ever.

Once again, I want to add in this link if anyone is wanting to help us out right now or feels led to.

Also, if anyone is local I received my order sheet in the mail for the cookie dough fundraiser. The fundraiser is for 2 lbs. of  gourmet cookie dough in a resealable tub. If you order I will deliver it to you when it arrives. It is $10 and you can choose from chunky chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, sugar, white chocolate macadamia, or snickerdoodle. Let me know if you want to order :).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ultrasound - Day 7 of Stims

This isn't going to be a very long post because I am not feeling well tonight. Everything really started to hit me this afternoon and I guess it is time to listen to the doctors and just rest. The appointment went great this morning and things are right on track. As of this morning I had 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) follicles (eggs) growing inside of my ovaries. I go back on Sunday for another check up and hopefully my pre-op, too. The follicles are good sizes right now, but not quite mature yet so we have to continue for a couple more days. My E2 (estrogen) levels are still very high and I am at risk for developing OHSS once egg retrieval takes place. If you remember from my last post, on Wednesday E2 level was at 1043 and today's labs came back at 2413. These levels tend to double about every 48 hours. To put it in perspective, the average woman's estrogen levels get to be around 200 every month around the time they ovulate. I am assuming that we will do the trigger shot on Sunday night and egg retrieval will most likely (fingers crossed) be on Tuesday. I'm just ready to do this. My emotions are all over the place tonight and I am crying a lot. I am wanting my own bed, and I miss my cat (lol...). Yes, we've only been staying out of town for a day so far, but I'm hormonal so cut me some slack. I honestly feel quite pathetic. My belly is bloated and uncomfortable. Not to mention how gross it looks from all of the shots. I really hope this is all going to be worth it. IVF is no joke and it is NOT easy! This is very hard on the body and mind. Please pray that I feel a little better tomorrow and that things go well so we can have the retrieval soon.

Also, again, if anyone feels led to help us out financially right now this is the link where you can donate: . I really hate asking for help, but unfortunately we are on a military budget and are in need of it at the moment. I do not want to pressure anyone, however, so do not feel that you have to. Just know that it will not go unnoticed if you do.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Human Pin Cushion

This morning I had to add in another injection. Apparently this one causes my skin to turn all red for a while. I also ran out of one Follistim vial in my pen, so I had to stick myself twice for that one, too. Which meant I had to do three shots this morning. Plus I have to do one tonight. I am really starting to feel like a pin cushion! This is what my stomach is looking like right now (gross I know):

(Left side of stomach)

 (Right side of stomach)

I'm sure it is pretty obvious that I'm getting bloated, too. Oh well. It is part of the fun! lol. Looking forward to my appointment tomorrow morning and hopefully we'll be told when they think egg retrieval will be. I'm hoping I only have a few more days of these shots (well, of stimming, because I won't be done and that is when the big ones start.. but that's another story). I'm assuming trigger will be either Sunday or Monday night, which would put retrieval at either Tuesday or Wednesday morning at some point. I guess we will see how accurate I am! 

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ultrasound - Day 5 of Injections

So let me start off by saying that the quality of this video is not the best (it was taken from my husband's phone), but you can make out quite a few of the follicles she is measuring. Everything looked great as far as the size of the follicles and how they are progressing. The largest were at 12, but most were at 11 I believe. Unfortunately, when my labs came back my estradiol (estrogen; E2) levels were very high. At this point in a cycle (4/5 days of stims) they expect those levels to be around 400-600. My estradiol level came back at 1043. So, my doses were lowered just a bit for today and tomorrow. I also am adding in another shot tomorrow so I will be at three shots a day. I go back in Friday morning for more blood work and another ultrasound. I am definitely beginning to feel the side effects and am getting fatigued come the afternoon (taking lots of naps!) and am feeling very sore around my ovaries. With levels like this I am at risk for OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome). Having PCOS puts me at a higher risk for developing OHSS. Hopefully my levels will balance out a bit. I am going to start pushing more fluids to help prevent that from happening. Overall, everything went great today and we are still really excited! Things are moving right along and I am optimistic that Friday's news will be good, too. Please continue to pray!! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fundraising and Day 2 of Injections

I have recently decided to do some fundraising activities. As I have mentioned in the past, IVF is very expensive. Although I hate to discuss this part of the matter, it is a very real factor in all of this and on a military budget we are tight. I am still deciding on what fundraiser I will do and am currently looking into a gourmet cookie dough sale, Yankee candle sale, or possibly a Christmas card/wrapping paper sale. I am open to suggestions and would love to hear what people are interested in. We also have a website set up if anyone simply wanted to make a monetary donation without purchasing a product. That website is . I don't want anyone to feel like that are pressured to donate or take part in my fundraiser, but it is available if you would like to help and feel led to. We very much want a child and are taking a big leap in faith by doing this IVF procedure. God opened many doors in order for this to happen and we continue to trust in Him during all of this. We appreciate any help we are able to receive during this and it will not go unnoticed. It isn't easy to ask for help.

On another note, today is day 2 of injections. So far everything is going quite well. The shots themselves have not hurt, although the medication burns going in (especially my evening shot! Ouch!). I think I need to let them be out of the fridge for a few minutes before giving them to myself so they can warm up a bit. Perhaps that will help and I will try that out tonight and see if it makes a difference. Matt and I are both wanting to document everything a little bit more and will probably begin to take more pictures and videos throughout this. Matt is going to try to videotape our ultrasound on Wednesday so we can have documentation of how the follicles are looking. I love that if this is successful we will have a lot to show our future child/ children. Please continue to pray for us as we go through each day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is it just a dream?

Lately, I have noticed that the way I look at babies is different. I no longer see a baby and picture one in my future. I long for a child, but when I think of the family I would love to have it does not seem reachable. It feels like exactly what it has been for so long - a dream. A family is something I see in my mind and feel in my heart, but doesn't seem attainable any more. I'm not saying it won't happen, and God willing this IVF will be successful, but after attempting to conceive for so long it is much harder to believe. Couples who are in the beginning stages of trying to conceive see children and they smile. They look at babies and blissfully dream of their life with a child in the near future. When they see things like baby clothes, stuffed animals, and cribs they 'ooh' and 'ahh' over the cuteness. I cringe. I fight back the tears. I sigh, look away, and keep moving. In fact, writing this is causing me to tear up. I hold my friends' children and my heart longs to hold my own baby in my arms. Don't get me wrong, I love all of my friend's kids. They are so special and each unique in their own way. Matt and I treasure the times we get to babysit. I don't want it to sound like it hurts me to be around them, because it doesn't. My heart - and my arms - just want more. Commercials make me cry, both happy and sad tears; the same happens when I see certain movies or a TV show. Sometimes I become angry. Sometimes I become bitter. And yes, there are days I am jealous. My emotions are complicated and the contant flux of hormones in my body do not help. To be honest, I do not always know quite how to feel. At times I am thankful for this because of the good (and yes - there has been some good) things that have occured because of this. I except what is and I know there is nothing I can do about our circumstances. It was the cards we were dealt and there is nothing either one of us could have done to change it. But is my dream of having a child just that .. a dream? I hope not. The longer it takes though, the further my dream of having a family seems from reality. Because it doesn't feel like part of my reality.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baseline and Med Class

Today we finally got things started and off the ground! Yay! I could not sleep last night because I was so anxious. We had to get up at 3, so when the clock said 2:15 I finally gave up and decided to just get up and get ready so we could get out the door faster. Matt got up at 3 and it didn't take long before we hit the road. The three hour drive killed me this morning! I was exhausted by the time we got to San Antonio. First, we went to the pharmacy to pick up all of my medicine. I later found out that I am missing some things so I will pick the rest up at my next appointment. Here is a picture of what all I got today to give you an idea:
Lots and lots of needles! (By the way I am half asleep writing this so don't mind me if I sound delirious!) I had to keep things in my cooler all day and everywhere we went we had to carry it around. Fun :) Speaking of needles, the guy who drew my blood today must be new and had no idea what he was doing. I have great veins and never have a problem, but today I got stuck numerous times and almost passed out. Finally someone else came and did it and there was not an issue. Go figure. I heard afterward that a lot of the women were having an issue with that guy. I hope he isn't there next time.

Once we were done with that we went downstairs so I could have my baseline ultrasound done.  I am happy to report things went well and I have no cysts to interfere thanks to the birth control I had to take beforehand. I have 7 possible follicles on my left ovary and 8 possible follicles on my right ovary. My lining was 4.2. So far, so good :) We attended a med class later in the afternoon and we went over the schedule, all the medications, and everything involving IVF. I won't bore you with all of those details .. at least not right now ;). We just got home and are getting ready to climb into bed. Saturday begins injections and my first follow up appointment is Wednesday. From there I should be going every other day until egg retrieval. EXCITING!! Please keep us in your prayers during the next month and beyond.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The beginning and end of chapters

       Next week, on September 12th, our IVF journey will begin. It is a scary and exciting time in our life and has taken our journey through infertility to a new level. I have been documenting a lot of our journey on my other blog, but have decided to begin a new one to mark the start of a new chapter. Because my husband is in the military, we have been blessed in being able to have much of our treatments done for no cost. We were excepted into a program a couple years back and although we must drive the three hours to San Antonio (and at early hours of the morning) we do not complain because this opportunity has allowed us to pursue things we normally would not be able to do. Now that we are going through IVF though - we do have to pay and let me tell you it is not cheap! Especially on a military budget. Again, we are still extremely blessed because although it is still a lot of money, it is much cheaper than in the civilian world where we would never be able to do this.
      Anyway, enough of the financial aspect. My hubby is getting ready to get out of the military and we never thought we'd be able to fit this in before he got out. There is typically a year waiting list for IVF at our clinic (they only do the procedure three times a year), but miraculously! there was a cancellation and we were able to get in!! Doing things through the military is a little different than in the civilian world. Because they only offer IVF a few times a year, the women in the program are divided up into four groups for the month with one group starting each week. We are in the last group of the 'August/September' cycle. So the clinic is seeing a bunch of women at once and it has a 'herded cattle' type of feeling (ha!). The doctors are fantastic though and I have really enjoyed working with them over the past couple years. They really have tried everything they can to make things work, and unfortunately none of the IUIs were ever successful for us. Our factors are just too severe for IUI to work. We have a lot of faith in this IVF cycle though and are happy we are able to try this. Next week, I stop birth control on the 10th (Monday), go in on the 12th (Wednesday) to pick up all of my meds (it's going to be a lot!!), have my baseline ultrasound and blood work, and attend a med class. This is the first time my husband will have to help me with some of the injections and I am very nervous about him doing it. Luckily, they will teach him at the class and he will get to 'practice'. I begin my injections on the 15th (Saturday). Then the real fun begins!! Egg retrieval should take place sometime during the week of the 23rd.

One last thing that I want to put out there now - I will be documenting our journey and will keep everyone updated throughout it, but when it comes to announcing any pregnancy, or lack there of, we will be doing that on our own time. We are thankful for those friends and family who support us and we appreciate all the prayers that have been sent our way over the past few years, but we will request that no one ask us about the outcome. We will be sure to announce what happened when we are ready. If no pregnancy results, we will need time to process and mourn. If we do manage to conceive, we will want to make sure the pregnancy is viable and that all looks well before we let the world know. Your understanding would be much appreciated :) This is a major thing for us and much more intense than any treatment we have done thus far. I can not predict how I will be feeling during it or how my emotions will be. I may feel great, but I may not be up for much. Again, your understanding and compassion would be appreciated. Please pray! We love you all!