Thursday, May 29, 2014

How Quickly Things Can Change

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments on my beta result and "I Feel...." posts.  You have no idea how much those comments mean to me.  Everyday, I check my email waiting to see if anyone else had commented.  I get so much encouragement and draw so much strength from all those kind words, it brings me to tears reading them.  It's amazing how God can use total strangers (most of you I have never met) to touch me so deeply.  And it's wonderful.

When I first wrote the "I Feel" post, I just needed to spill all the thoughts and feelings I had going through my head.  When I was done, I had second thoughts about posting them.  There are some pretty ugly stuff there, and I was scared to share them.  It felt vulnerable.  I'm so glad I did as it has brought me such encouragement to read the comments that have come through.

When I was in Knoxville, I met 3 other women going for their transfers at NEDC.  The day before the big beta day, we had one confirmed pregnancy (first beta Friday before), one unconfirmed pregnancy, one unconfirmed not pregnant, and mine was unknown.  By the end of beta day, we had one more confirmed pregnancy!  Unfortunately, the one with the confirmed pregnancy found out that her numbers had dropped pretty dramatically and was having a chemical pregnancy.  In the end between the four of us, we have one pregnancy, confirmed today with a healthy double of the hCG numbers, one chemical pregnancy and 2 who are not pregnant.  How quickly things can change.  But we are happy that at least one of us is pregnant and we will continue to root her on.  We are grateful to have each other to walk this journey together this transfer.

Last night, I was so shocked and saddened to find out that the domestic infant adoption for one of the couples from my adoption support group had fallen through.  This is so heartbreaking.   I had just heard a few weeks ago that they had been matched and the baby was going to be born really soon.  I was ecstatic for them.  But now, I am heartbroken for them.  What touched me so was at this time of grief,  they thought of me and found time to email me, telling me they are thinking and praying for me.   Please pray for this special couple.  These few days have not been good for our adoption group.

On a lighter note, I am grateful that I am finally off those PIO shots.  For some reason the injection sites on my left hip had developed big sore lumps.  After a few days, those lumps seemed to have combined into one huge lump.  The joke was that I now had three butt cheeks.  Now that we have stopped the shots, the lump had gotten a lot smaller, but my hips are still sore from the PIO shots.

Another pro of stopping the PIO shots..... I am no longer bloated.  I noticed this transfer, my belly had gotten pretty bloated.   While I was on PIO shots, my "fat pants" which were way too loose, were no longer my "fat pants".  Within 24 hours of stopping my PIO shots, they are now my "fat pants" again.  Thank goodness!

I have a feeling my period will arrive within the next day or so.  I'm guessing Friday, most likely Saturday.  I am already feeling slight cramping so I am expecting it to be here soon.  The last 2 transfers which resulted in chemical pregnancies, my period arrived 4 days after all medication were stopped.  That sound about right for this time too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Feel......

Last night, Babe and I went to watch the new X-Men movie.  It was good entertainment and kept our minds off the sad reality that we are not pregnant.  We both had a talk about what is next.  Right now, we both know it is really too early to make any decisions.  We just need to grieve for a while and we can make some decisions later.

We also both realize that we process this quite differently, at least at this point.  Right now, I just want to not think about it because it is too painful to think and feel what is reality.  I prefer to just "vege out", keeping my mind off stuff by reading FB posts (can be difficult with positive embryo adoption related stuff), reading others' blogs, playing FB games (I know, this is bad, very addictive) and watching movies, pretty much anything that will keep me from thinking about it.  Babe on the other hand is different.  He wants to plan stuff.  He thinks we should try to plan a vacation somewhere.  However, he only has a few days of vacation and the places he wants to go require at least a week to make it worth it.  So, we are considering maybe just me going somewhere.  I'm toying with the idea.  But we'll see.  I'd prefer to go on vacation with him, but maybe I can pull this off.  Maybe somewhere like Florida?

Last night, Babe and I cried together in each other's arms.  Babe rarely EVER cries.  Maybe it's easier for him to do so in bed, in the dark.  But I was grateful that we were able to cry together.  I had so many thoughts and feelings going through my mind I could not sleep.  So I got up and wrote down my feelings.  I didn't post it last night because I had so many thoughts I could not get all I wanted to express  right there and then.

This morning, I dreaded waking up to the reality that this transfer did not work.  It was much better when before the beta.  At least there was still hope.  I ended up going back to sleep and sleeping in and surfing on my phone till about noon.  I ignored all phone calls (sorry if you tried to call me) and tried to respond to texts and FB messages.

So, here is a list of all the things I feel right now.  In no particular order:
  • I feel sad.  It sucks that this transfer did not work out.  Again.
  • I feel disappointed.  Another disappointment in my life has turned out so far.
  • I feel tired.  I'm tired of physical aspects of STILL trying to start a family - the doctor visits, the medications, getting shots, planning my calendar based on protocols.  I'm tired of the financial part of this - writing checks for doctor's visits, medication, ultrasounds, surgeries,, donor fees, open donation agreements, travel.  I'm tired of being strong, for myself and for the others that are rooting me on.
  • I feel physical pain.  I still feel the soreness in my hips from all the PIO shots.  That will take few weeks before it goes away totally.  Stopping the PIO shots have been a relief, but I would have happily continued taking them for the sake of a baby.
  • I feel like a failure.  Having tried 3 embryo transfers without any success.  Not counting the other IUIs, IVFs and surgeries that I have gone through.
  • I feel like a waste.  Having gone through 3 sets of embryos from three different families, and still no success.  Maybe the embryos would have had a better chance with another couple?
  • I feel hopeless.  Is this the end of the road of this embryo adoption journey?  What is next?  I don't want to give this up.  Will we ever grow our family?
  • I feel confused.   Why would God not let me have success with embryo adoption when it is such a good thing.  Am I just not meant to be able to birth a child? 
  • I feel my faith has been shaken.  Why would God keep saying no to me?  Am I a bad person?  Did I not have enough faith?
  • I feel jealous.  Of people that are able to have biological children.  Of those that got pregnant the first time they tried embryo adoption, or the second time.  Or the third.  Of people that have successfully adopted embryos and are now parents.  Of people that have adopted traditionally.  Of parents in general.
  • I feel angry I have to go through this journey.  Why me?  Why can't it be someone else?  This is so unfair!
  • I feel broke.  It's mind boggling how much money we have spent through the years on infertility treatments, home studies, program fees, transfer fees, medication, donor fees, etc.  And still no baby.  Our lives could be so different.  If only......
  • I feel broken.  It was one thing to know that I have crappy eggs and not able to have biological children.  It's another totally different thing to know that I cannot even successfully carry a child that is not genetically related to me.
  • I feel that I am a disappointment.  To my husband who have stuck with me through all this.  To my donor families that have entrusted their precious embryos to me.  To my friends that have supported and prayed for me, and to my faithful blog readers.  Everyone that has somehow supported and shared a part of their lives with me through this, I feel I have let let them down.
  • I feel maybe I'm not very smart.  Some people tell me they think I am so strong, to not give up and to keep trying.  Instead I think maybe I 'm not very smart, to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome?
  • I feel left behind.  Again.  Friends are having children.  Not just one but on their second or third.  And the kids are now in preschool or kindergarten, and are starting first grade soon.  And me? I am STILL trying for my first child.  I am THE last one in or core group of friends in our infertility/adoption group that have not brought home a child.
  • I feel that time has flown by.  A year ago, we were at NEDC doing our mock transfer.  A year later, here we are still in the same situation, no baby.  Did we just waste another year?
  • I feel that time is running out.  I am 40 and will turn 41 in a couple of months.  I'm feeling a little rushed that I may be running out of time before I get "too old" to be a parent.
  • I feel old.  Most people my age have kids that are in elementary and middle school.  They are going to their kids's piano recitals, baseball games, scout meetings, etc.  They are saving for college or retirement.  Here I am, still trying to grow my family of 2.
  • I feel sad that I have have to give up my dream of being an embryo adoption mama.  I've always wanted to be an advocate of embryo adoption.  But I really want to do it when I become and embryo adoption mama.  But now, it looks like it may not happen.
  • I feel I have lost some of my self confidence.  I think I used to be a much more confident person.  Infertility can totally change how you feel as a person.  No matter how successful you may be in your career, finances, talent, etc, infertility can strike a blow to your confidence.  Most women are born with the desire or need to have and raise children.  When that basic need is unmet, it totally affects the rest of your world.
  • I feel doubt.  Where we wrong to have pursued infertility treatments a few years ago?  What is a wrong decision to pursue embryo adoption?  Should we have gone with traditional adoption in the first place? 
  • I feel lost.  I am not quite sure what to do next.  We have been so invested in doing embryo adoption for the last year, and now that we have had 3 tries at NEDC, I'm not sure what's next.  I guess we will wait until we have had our post transfer consult with Dr. Keenan next week to figure out next steps.
  • I feel alone.  Isolated.  I know of other women that have not been successful in their infertility treatments.  But I have not yet met another person that has tried embryo adoption and has not been successful.  Yes, there are others that have tried and become successful after their third try, but the clinic they went through did not have the 3 tries max policy.  So far, I'm the only one that I know of that will be "kick out" of their embryo adoption program.

That is a HUGE list and they are all negatives.  However, I know that how I feel may not be the truth.  But it does not mean how I feel is not valid.  I think it is important to acknowledge that this his how I feel right now.  These feeling may change in the future.

On the other hand, I also feel the following:
  • I feel blessed that my husband loves me and have stuck around with me through all this pain and heartache.  
  • I feel lucky that we have had the financial resources to pursue infertility treatments and embryo adoption so far.
  • I feel loved and cared for by so many people who have stood by us through this journey, praying for us, whether they know me in person or is a blog reader.
  • I feel I am not ready to give up, though I don't really know what our next steps are.  It is definitely not where we thought we would be.

Please continue to pray for Babe and I as we go through our grieving process and figure out what's next for us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beta Result

Dr. Keenan called at around 3:45 pm.  I was getting nervous as it was getting late and had yet to get a phone call.

It's officially over.  The test came back negative.  I asked him what my beta number was, and he said it was undetectable.  Great.

Not sure what is next for us.  I will have a post transfer consult with Dr. Keenan on June 4th.  I think we are pretty much done with NEDC, since this is our third and last try.  NEDC allows only 3 tries per pregnancy.

Thank you for supporting and praying for Babe and I this entire time.  I think we will go watch the new X-Men movie tonight, just to occupy my brain with something non-baby related.  I did a short round of crying already, but I'm sure bedtime tonight will be the worst.

Monday, May 26, 2014

1st Beta In The Morning

It's finally here. It really does come down this THIS.  Tomorrow, Tuesday at 9:30 am CST I will have my first beta (pregnancy test) for this May transfer.

The local clinic will draw my blood, send it to the lab, and the results will be faxed to NEDC.  I won't get the results from the local clinic, but instead will have to wait till the afternoon to hear the official result.  I'm a little nervous about getting the result from the new NEDC nurse.  So far, I have not been impressed with her.  One of the NEDC mamas that I met in Knoxville had her beta on Friday.  She called the clinic Friday afternoon and found out that the nurse had already left for the day without calling her with the results of her beta.  Can you imagine what it's like waiting for the results and not getting it?

When I was in Knoxville for my transfer I met up with 3 other NEDC mamas that had transfers around the same time, two 2 days before me, and one 2 days after me.  So far, one has been confirmed with a positive pregnancy with a good first beta number.  Two more took HPTs (home pregnancy tests); one is unofficially pregnant, and the other unofficially not pregnant.  50% of us are pregnant so far, so where will I fall in this numbers game?

I am the only one that has not taken a HPT.  I don't plan on taking one unless I find out that I am pregnant, just so I have proof.  Tomorrow, I'm sure NEDC will be super busy with the effects the holiday weekend traffic.  All four of us NEDC May transfer mamas will have our betas tomorrow, three with first betas and one a second beta.

Not much has changed since my post about doubting that I am pregnant.  Ok, maybe I don't feel as low as I did when I wrote the post nor do I feel the impending sense of doom anymore.  I am still not feeling super excited about my beta.  I want to know the result, but also super nervous about the result.

When I wrote the post, I felt not pregnant.  There is a difference between NOT FEELING pregnant, and feeling NOT PREGNANT.  Do you know what I mean?  I felt NOT PREGNANT then, now I am not so sure.  I know pregnancy symptoms or lack of mean nothing this early.

Last night, I spent some time reading my posts from back during my November and January transfers and how the beta numbers played out, reliving the roller coaster of emotions.  It's interesting to see the progression of emotions, of how positive I was in my first transfer, and then how more and more guarded I was/am since.  I am praying with all my heart that I do not have to go through the heartache of another chemical pregnancy.  Though it would be even more crushing if the results came back negative all together.

There is a lot at stake here.  A. LOT.  If this doesn't work, we are done working with NEDC.  We are only allowed 3 tries at NEDC.  I know many people say three times a charm, and know of at least 2 other NEDC mamas that have had success on their third try at NEDC (twins and triplets!).  I feel like I have always been a number, falling on the wrong side of the statistics.  But we shall see how things go tomorrow.  Not sure what our next path will be if this doesn't work.

I have also been thinking a lot of the donor family from this transfers.  We have not had any direct contact with them yet, going through the counselor so far.  We plan to only have communication once there is a pregnancy, and they understand our desire to do so.   I am hoping that this is the family that we will an open relationship with as our family grows.

My beta is in less than 12 hours.  I would appreciate prayers for tomorrow as me and 3 other NEDC mamas get our betas.  I am humbled to know that I have many, many people praying for me, not just for this transfer but also in the past, and have been supporting me for a long while.  So thank you.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014


It is almost 5 am.  I should be sleeping right now, but I can't fall asleep.  I've been tossing and turning for awhile.  The sky is starting to get some light.

Last night, Babe and I stayed up and late and watched a couple of movies, including "Monuments Men" which by the way is an excellent movie.  As we were getting ready for bed, for some reason I was suddenly hit with a very strong feeling of doubt. That I. Am. Not. Pregnant.  Not really sure why.  Maybe because:

  1. I just don't feel pregnant.  I know this means nothing because many/most people do not feel pregnant this early on, though some (very few) do.  I didn't feel pregnant last time either.
  2. I have not had much cramping at all.  Usually having cramps is a good sign as it means the embryos are implanting into the uterine lining.  During my November 2 week wait,  I had cramping but not in January.  I can't really recall having cramp this time.  Maybe some "stirrings", but nothing noticeable.  So maybe this doesn't mean much either
  3. I did not have any implantation spotting.  My November transfer, I remember very well that I had implantation spotting right around 4dp5dt.  Not this time around.  Most women don't experience implantation spotting, but I did back in November, and it's hard not to compare.
  4. This may be a TMI.  One of my nipples is "flat".  I don't recall in November, but in January, I noticed that my flat nipple was more "perky" like the other one during my 2 week wait.  It could be due to the progesterone, or due to the fact that I was truly pregnant (though short lived) then.  However, on the morning of my 2nd beta where I found out that hCG numbers had dropped, I noticed that it had gone "flat" again.  I didn't think much of it until later in the day when I found out that the number had dropped that I tied those two together.  Maybe it is still unrelated, but I thought it was interesting and it made sense.  Well, my "flat" nipple was "perky" for a few days, but now I think it is "flat" again.  Not sure what to make of it.
  5. I am tired most of the time, but I think I am not as fatigued as I was back in January.  I would barely be able to keep my eyes open by 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  It could be due to the progesterone or the fact that my body is making make a baby.  I am tired, but not as fatigued as I was back in January.  
All these symptoms (or non-symptoms) above are really hard to make out really.  Both November and January transfers resulted in chemical pregnancies, meaning I was technically pregnant but had an early miscarriage.  

But the difference between these two is in November my beta numbers went from 13 to 4 in two days, and in January my beta numbers went from 159 (high for a first beta) to 44 in 4 days.  So in my mind at least, I was "more pregnant" in January.  For those not familiar with beta numbers, they are supposed to double every 48 hours or so to indicate a healthy pregnancy.  In both my last transfers, instead of doubling, it fell.

I have been pretty good about not wanting to take a home pregnancy test.  But for some reason tonight, it has hit me really hard that I am not pregnant.  No real concrete reason.  Just felt it very strongly tonight.  And out of the blue too.

I didn't think I was pregnant last time either, but I was, even if it was short lived.  Maybe I am wrong again this time?  Time to go back to bed and attempt to sleep.  The birds are chirping and there is light in the sky.

Less than 2 days to beta.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

ICLW & 6dp3dt

This week is ICLW, International Comment Leaving Week.  It seems that I have missed the last 2 month's ICLW and didn't even notice.  Shame on me.  If you are visiting for the first time, or it has been awhile since you stopped by, this is a pretty important time for me.  Last Friday, Babe (i.e. hubby) and I just had our transfer of adopted embryos from NEDC.  You can read about it here if you'd like.  Please pray for a positive outcome as the last 2 transfer in November 2013 and January 2014 both resulted in chemical pregnancies.

Our first beta is next Tuesday, May 27th, the day after Memorial Day.

Today is 6dp3dt.  Today, the embryos continue to implant into the uterine lining.

This morning I gave myself the PIO shot as Babe is traveling for work.  It went pretty smoothly with no issues.  I met a friend for lunch and later, another friend for coffee.  By late afternoon, my right hip was really sore, so much so that I started limping.  I am wondering if I maybe hit a nerve during my morning shot.  By the time I got home, I could barely stand it, so I took an ibuprofen (I later found out I should have taken Tyle.nol instead!), put a hot pack on it and laid down to rest.  I was super tired anyways so I took a short nap.  By the time I got up, the pain has subsided a bit and was more bearable.

Not long after that, I had to give myself the evening PIO shot.  I do my evening shots on my left hip.  To relax the muscles of my left leg and hip, I had to put my most of my weight on my right leg, the leg where my hip was sore from this morning's shot.  It was not fun trying to twist my body to the left, using my left hand to give myself a shot, AND putting my weight on the sore leg.  In the end, I managed.  I'm hoping my left hip will not give me too much trouble tonight and that the pain on my right hip will be gone tomorrow.

So far, no real symptoms.  No real cramping either, maybe just some uterine "stirrings".  Not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

5 more days to our first beta test!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Transfer Day 5/16/14 (Delayed Post)

Today is 5dp3dt.  Yesterday the blastocysts continued to hatch out of their shells and attach itself to the uterus.  Today, they will attach deeper into the uterine lining and begin implantation.

I am finally getting to the post about my transfer day.  I apologize if you have been patiently waiting for a more detailed post about our transfer.

Our transfer was on Friday, May 16th at 11am EST.  I started drinking water a little over an hour before the transfer.  I was a little nervous because at my first transfer in November, my bladder was not full enough, so it had to be filled with at catheter.  That was not real fun.  The other reason why why my bladder was not full enough was because after I started drinking water, I had to have a #2 (bowel movement/poop!) and ended peeing too.  Sorry, if TMI!  

I was nervous because I was trying to "go" before starting to drink water.  Man, what a relief it was when I actually "went".  Now I could concentrate on just drinking water and filling my bladder.  At 10 am, an hours before the transfer, I took my medication for the transfer: Va.lium, Al.buterol, and 3 ibuprofen tablets.

We arrived and checked in at NEDC at 10:30 am.  I was already relaxed and a little giddy from the Va.lium.  We were shown into the recovery room and met Julia, one of the nurses working that day.  She was the same nurse that helped us back in November too.  I undressed below the waist and put on hospital gown and cap.  This time, I only wore the snowflake necklace that Babe gave me for Christmas, unlike back in January where I was decked out in a ton of snowflakes: earrings, necklace and socks.

Candy, the new IVF nurse that replaced Katie (we miss her!) stopped by quickly to introduce herself.  Dr. Keenan stopped by and chatted for a bit.  He asked a few questions and had me sign some paperwork.

Then Carol, the embryologist stopped by and gave us our embryology report.  She thawed all 5 of our 2PN (day 1) embryos.  Of those, 3 survived the thaw and had grown into multi-cell (day 3) embryos.  I was a little sad that 2 of the little embryos did not make it.  

Unlike blastocysts which are graded with a number and 2 letters, multi-cell embryos are only graded with a number from 1 (best) to 5 (worst).  Out of the that made it to multi-cells stage, two were graded at 1, and one was graded at 2.  

Below is a photo of our 3 embryos.  As I mentioned before, Babe as affectionately named them "The Three Amigos".
  1. The first (A) was graded a 1, with 8 cells.  This looks good.
  2. The second (B) was graded a 2, also with 8 cells but its cells were fragmented.  Carol didn't think this little guy would make it.
  3. The third (C), was graded 1.  This is our little overachiever as it was already a morula, meaning it was already a day 4 embryo.
We were going to transfer all three of The Three Amigos!
Embryo A, graded 1; Embryo B graded 2 with fragmented cells; Embryo C graded 1,  morula stage.
It was time for my transfer.  I walked to the procedure room and carefully laid myself on the table and put my legs in the stirrups, trying to be careful about my sore butt.  Dr. Keenan asked if my bladder was full enough and I said, I hope so.  I told him I drank 2.5 - 3 bottles of those 16oz bottled waters.  I didn't feel super uncomfortable but I could tell my bladder full.  Candy the new IVF nurse put the ultrasound want on my belly to see how full I was.  At first she was having some trouble getting the right angle and needed some help from both another nurse, and also Dr. Keenan.  When we finally got a good view, Dr. Keenan said my bladder was borderline full, but he could work with it.  So, thankfully I did not need to have my bladder pumped even fuller with a catheter.

There was a large TV screen on the wall that I was able to see the ultrasound image on.  The dark blob towards the top and middle of the screen was my bladder.  The middle part below the bladder where the "+" sign was my uterus, and to the left of it, the cervix.

He then inserted the speculum and proceeded to clean the entrance to my cervix with first a warm saline solution (I think), and then with an alcohol solution that stung like heck (which he apologized for)!  He did a test transfer first where he inserted a catheter in through my cervix and into my uterus.   He told me to watch for a white line (the catheter) snaking in from the left.  It was only a test transfer, so there were no embryos in the catheter.  When we were all ready, Carol the embryologist passed the embryos in a catheter to Dr. Keenan through a window to and adjoining room.  I'm assuming that is where the lab or incubators are.  I was asked my name, birthday and how many embryos were were transferring.  Dr. Keenan inserted the catheter with the embryos into my uterus and told me watch for the white flash light.  There was the white flash of light!  The babies were in!

The catheter was removed and Carol checked the catheter to make sure no embryos were left behind.  We were done!  You can see 3 little white spots below the "+" sign where the embryos were placed.  I'm praying that The 3 Amigos will snuggle in and stick around for the next 9 months.

I have to admit, I was a lot more nervous this time around.   Probably because this could be our last time here if this transfer does not result in a successfully pregnancy.  But Dr. Keenan is so sweet.  He said to stay positive, and he will be praying for a positive outcome!

I laid on the table and rested for a few minutes before making my way onto the bed where I was wheeled back into the recovery room.  Babe was waiting for me with a smile.   He had been chatting with Julia and she even recommended a Cuban restaurant to us.

The foot of the bed was raised and I was told I had to rest there for 30 minutes.  I was glad my bladder was not extremely full as the longer I laid there, the more I felt like I had to pee.  Towards the end of the rest period I was crossing my legs and was anxious to use the bathroom.  When it was time, I was allowed to use the bathroom and change back into my regular clothes.  We were given our after transfer care instructions.  On our way out, the receptionist gave me a slip with the date and time of the post transfer phone consult with Dr. Keenan.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by Mimi's Cafe for lunch.  I would love to go back there some time for dinner.  When we got back to the hotel, I took a 5 hour nap.  The Va.lium really got me.  For dinner, we went to La Cabana, the Cuban restaurant recommended by nurse Julia.  It was a first for the both of us, and it was pretty good.  We just took the rest of the night easy, watching movies on TV at the hotel.

My first beta is next Tuesday, May 27th, day after Memorial day.  It's only less than a week away.  We'll have to see if I have any symptoms this time around, since I didn't have any previously.

Monday, May 19, 2014

3dp3dt: First Self Administered PIO Shot!

Today is 3dp3dt, 3 days post 3 day transfer.  According to this link, my Three Amigos who should be blastocysts by now, begins to hatch out of its shells.  At NEDC, if you are transferring any embryos that are not blastocysts, the embryologist will perform assisted hatching, a process that pokes a tiny hole  to help the embryo hatch out of it's shell.  Well since we thawed 2PNs and grew them to multicells (day 3), we did assisted hatching.  Hopefully, this means that our embryos had no problems hatching out of their shells and will start attaching to my uterus.
Blastocyst (not mine) embryo hatching out of it's shell
Image from Advanced Fertility

I had an awesome FIRST today!  I administered my first PIO injection shot on myself!  Not once, but twice so far.

Babe has to do a bit of traveling for his work, which is very rare.  He was supposed to leave the week before our transfer but plans changed.  He will be gone for 2.5 days this week, so I need someone to do my shots.  Back in November, I had my brother-in-law and his wife (both nurses) do the shots for me when Babe was gone for a few days for hunting.  This time around, I am not so keen on getting then involved again as we have not told them we are having another transfer.

I'm not really sure why but I wanted to try doing the shot myself.  Maybe it was because I know of other women that do/have done their own shots, or because I this could possibly be our last transfer, and I want to experience all aspects of a transfer.  Or maybe I just wanted to know that I really could do it, that I had the GUTS to finally poke myself with the big bad scary needle.

So this morning, I gave myself the shot.  Babe of course supervised and actually was very helpful, but I had to tell him to stop counting while I psyched myself up to get enough courage to stick the needle in.  When I finally stuck the needle in, it really wasn't so bad.  The tough part was actually having to twist around and reach back so that I could get the angle right and I am NOT a flexible person.  I was also having a hard time figuring out the pressure needed to push the plunger without injecting too much at one time.  I did not take as much time to inject all the oil as when Babe does it as my body was starting to get sore from the twisting and I was afraid I would start cramping up.  But all in all, it wasn't too bad.  The hardest part is gathering enough courage to stick the needle in.

Tonight, I shot myself on the left side.  It was even harder because I am a right hander and could not twist myself far enough to give myself the shot on my left hip.  I ended up just using my left hand which wasn't so bad.  It is weird though having a needle stuck in your hip and the syringe moves up and down as you are trying to push the plunger in.  But in the end, it worked out fine too.  Again the hardest part was finding the right angle and gathering enough courage to stick the big ass needle in.  Babe took a few photos of me giving myself the shot tonight.  I seriously considered posting a photo here but decided that it is not a good idea to show you a picture of my ass!

Praying that the Three Amigos are growing and staying healthy.

8 more days to our first beta!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

1dp3dt & 2dp3dt

Transfer was on Friday, so today is technically 2dp3dt (2 days post 3 day transfer).  Babe and I have affectionately named our three embryos "The Three Amigos".  And he is convinced they are all boys!

According to this link, yesterday, which would be one day post transfer, The Three Amigos were continuing to grow and develop, turning from 6-8 cell embryos into morulas.  We know that at transfer, one of the embryos was already at the morula stage, so hopefully he is already at the the blastocyst stage.

Today, which is 2 days post transfer, the cells of the morulas continue to divide, developing into blastocysts.

Yesterday, we hit a blood vessel when doing my morning PIO shot.  Yeah, fun times.  So Babe pulled out the needle, switched out to a new needle and found another spot to "stick it to me".  Two sore spots on the same (right) side.  I sleep on my right side, so I wanted make sure I got the right side in the morning shot and not the evening one.

Yesterday I also had the pleasure of meeting Lara from Living Our Miracle.  Lara, her husband and I met for dinner.  Babe couldn't join us because he had a deadline to meet for his job.  It was so fun to chat and get to know each other.  In the end, we spent almost 3 hours at dinner!  The main reason we had to leave was because we both had to go back to our hotels and get our PIO shots.  She had her transfer this morning at NEDC, so it was great for me to be able to meet another NEDC mama!  I am praying that this transfer will result in a healthy pregnancy for her.

We left for MN early this morning.  We had to get up at 5 am (4 am MN time!) to catch an 8 am flight.  When we got home, the first thing Babe did was give me my morning PIO shot.  Then we both took our showers and napped for a few hours because we were so tired.

Based on this calculator, my due date for my day 3 transfer is supposed to be February 2nd, 2015 for a singleton.  If we have twins, my due date is January 11th 2015.  I'm not even going to look at the due date for triplets!

My first beta (pregnancy test) is on Tuesday, May 27th.  So, 9 days to beta!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Quick Update: PUPO!

Just a quick update.....

I just got knocked up by another man who is NOT my husband!  LOL!

We got done with our transfer.  NEDC thawed all 5of my 2PN embryos and three survived and grew into multi-cells (day 3).  They transferred all 3.  Multi-cell embryos are only graded with a number from 1 to 5, with 1 being the best quallity and 5 being the worst.  We transferred two grade 1 embryos and one grade 2 embryo.  One of the grade 1 embryos was actually a morula, so even further along, about a day 4.  I asked Carol, the embryologist what are the chances of us getting triplets and she said not very good, since the grade 2 embryo's cell is fragmented. 

So, I am PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise)!  I need to go take a nap now and sleep off my valium.  I will write later with a more detailed post about transfer day, probably after I get home.  But I just wanted to give you an update because I know there are many of you that have been/are praying for me and this transfer.  Thank you so much!  That means the world to me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Knoxville: A Relaxing Day

Today was a relaxing day. At first we thought about making a road trip to Nashville or Chattanooga, but we stayed up too late watching a movie last night, the weather was rainy and dreary. So instead we decided to stick around.

For lunch, we met up with 2 other couples, both of them just had their transfers at NEDC yesterday.  It was so fun to be able meet other NEDC mamas in person. We had a great time chatting and sharing experiences about our transfers and infertility journeys.  Before we left, Sara, from Chronicles of An Adoption gave each couple a sweet care package from Cracker Barrel. In it was a glass bottle of Coke, and two sweet treats, Moon Pie and GooGoo Cluster, both From TN.  Sara also gave us each a sweet card. 

After lunch Babe and I made a Target run for water and some treats. We decided to go back to the hotel to watch some TV and take naps. We went to Calhoun's for BBQ and I had a strawberry margarita.  Back at the hotel, I got my next dose of PIO.  We watched some more movies on TV, since we don't have cable at home. A lot of relaxing today. 

Tomorrow, Friday is THE big day!  Transfer is set for 11am EST.  I will take my valium, albuterol and ibuprofen at 10 am, and check in at NEDC at 10:30 am. 

Prayers appreciated for our transfer. Of course I I desperately want this transfer to work.  But I pray that with this transfer, that God's will be done, whatever the outcome is.  I pray that this journey that Babe and I have been through will only glorify Him.

I will try to do an update tomorrow when I can. 

Here we go!

We Made It To Knoxville!

I got the call from NEDC's nurse this afternoon that my transfer is at 11 EST on Friday.

Thankfully the flight to Knoxville was on time and uneventful. There was a beautiful sunset during takeoff. I was able to snatch a quick photo of it. 

We also saw the full moon rise above the clouds. First it was just a sliver above the clouds, then eventually the moon rose fully. It was beautiful. The couple of photos below does not do it justice. 

My butt is pretty sore from my PIO shots and I've only had 3 shots so far. I had my evening shot 3 hours early, before we left for the airport.  We figured it's a little over the 2 hour window recommended by NEDC, but should be fine.  I could barely get comfortable on the flight over. Now my back is starting to get sore, I think because it is compensating for my sore butt. On the way back I will try supporting my lower back with a rolled up sweater. 

We arrived in Knoxville right around 11 pm local time.  The rental company for some reason did not have the type of car we reserved so were upgraded to a brand new fancy minivan. This is a first!  Maybe it's to get a taste of what it's like to drive around with a large family?

We got to the hotel right around midnight. We are just relaxing now. I'm excited as we are meeting with 2 other ladies from the embryo adoption group, and their husbands for lunch. They both just had their transfers at NEDC yesterday.  Love meeting other NEDC mamas!

For now, good night from Knoxville!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thaw Day!

Today's the big day!  My precious embryos are being thawed at NEDC today.

We adopted five 2PN (day 1) and seven blastocysts (day 5) embryos from our donor family.  My understanding is that NEDC will thaw three 2PN embryos and hope that we will have at least 2 that will grow into healthy multi cell (day 3) embryos.  If we get at least 2 healthy ones, then 2 will be transferred, possibly 3 if the third is of low quality or is not expected to survive.  If we get all 3 to be healthy multi cells, then one will be refrozen for future use.  If none of the 3 survive thaw, then NEDC will thaw the blastocysts to be transferred.  This is at a high level of what will happen.

I don't know all the details and I'm not going to worry about it.  Carol the embryologist is an expert and super experienced in this area.  I trust her expertise will leave it all in her hands.  Please pray that the embryos will survive the thaw and grow into healthy multi-cell embryos.

Tonight, we hop on the plane to Knoxville!  It's kind of amazing thinking that my little embryos are thawing and growing into bigger embryos, and on their way to meet us.  And we are hopping on the plane to make our way toward them.  Looking forward to meeting these little ones.

By the way, it's a gorgeous sunny day here today!

2 days to transfer!

Hours to our plane ride to Knoxville!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Start of PIO.

This morning was the start of my PIO (progesterone in oil) shots.  Even though it has been 4 months since we last did any PIO shots, Babe was a pro.  He didn't even have to review the steps on how to do the PIO shots.  He just whipped up the shot, stuck it to me, and we were done!  Didn't hurt at all.  In fact I barely felt it at all.  Today felt really good, like I didn't even get the shot, but it is starting to be a little sore tonight.  I know the soreness will get worse as time goes by.  Starting tomorrow, we will be doing the shots twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Whenever I start my PIO shots, I like to do a show-and-tell of the PIO syringe and needle.  I call the PIO shot my "Big Ass Shot".  Because the needle used for the shot really is BIG, and you stick the needle it in your ass (butt).  Ok, not really your butt, but in the "upper outer quadrant of your buttocks" (as per the training videos).  So technically it is more like the hip, but close enough.  Below are 2 pictures of the syringes used for this protocol.  Notice the size difference between these 2 needles!

The top is the syringe and needle used for the PIO shots.  You actually use a bigger needle to draw the oil out of the bottle, and then you switch it to a smaller needle for the actual injection.  As you can see the smaller needed is HUGE.  The PIO is an intramuscular (inside the muscles) injection, so the needle is long (1.5 inch) and wider (22G) to allow the the thick oil to be injected.  The bottom syringe is an insulin syringe used for the Lu.pron shot (0.5 inch, 30G), and injected subcutaneously (under the skin).  As you can see, it is much smaller and the needle is much shorter and thinner.

Top: Syringe for PIO shot, with 22G 1.5 inch needle
Botton: Syringe for Lu.pron, 30G 0.5 inch needle
Difference in size of the needles!
I need to do PIO shots until at least the first beta (pregnancy test), approximately 11 days after transfer.  If I am pregnant, then I will continue the shots until I am 10-12 weeks along.  So I will have to do at least 28 PIO shots at the minimum, and if everything turns out well, I will have approximately another 90-120 shots "big ass shots".  Fun times!

I am just about done packing for my transfer.  Most important, above all else, I must not forget my medications, syringes, needles, gauze pads and alcohol swabs.  I requested a letter from the NEDC nurse from the clinic stating I need to bring the syringes and medication on board the plane.  I probably won't need it since I didn't need it last time.  But I just wanted to be sure I don't have any issues with TSA.

My stash of medications, syringes, needles, gauze pads and alcohol swabs.
I guess I'm ready for my trip!  I'm all checked into my flight, and my hotel and car rental confirmations are on hand.

3 days to transfer!

Hopping on the plane tomorrow night!

Monday, May 12, 2014

We Are A Go for May Transfer!

We are a GO for our May transfer!

I had my ultrasound and blood work appointment this morning.  I was a little nervous about how thick my lining was going to be, since I had one incident where my lining was too thin back in September.  Fortunately my November and January transfers my lining was thick enough at 9.3 mm and 7 mm (minimum required for NEDC).  To make matters worse, yesterday I was out and about and was going to be late taking my afternoon dose of Es.trace.  When I got home I was so tired, I fell asleep on the couch.  For 5 hours straight!  By the time I woke up, it was time for my next dose of Es.trace.  I panicked and ended up taking both doses together.  I was guessing that it should be OK, since I had also been taking my other doses consistently.  I am doing acupuncture and had a shiatsu massage as well on Friday.

But this morning, I was pretty nervous.  Thankfully, my lining came in at 7.9 mm, so I knew I would be OK.  This afternoon I received the call from the NEDC nurse with the official lining result of 7.9 mm and estrogen level of 195.  I am cleared to start PIO shots tomorrow morning.  I do PIO shots once a day tomorrow, and then will increase to twice a day after tomorrow.  I will reduce my Es.trace to one tablet, twice a day starting tomorrow.

Ugh... the dreaded PIO shots.  I found out Babe will have to travel for a few days after our transfer which means I will have to either find someone to give me those shots while he is gone, or I have to do it myself.

But our transfer's a go!

Yesterday, Mother's Day was a low key day for us.  We took Babe's mom and dad out to brunch on Saturday for Mother's Day.  Usually, all of Babe's siblings and nieces and nephews show up at his parents for Mother's Day for lunch.  Though Babe's dad would grill, you know how it is, his mom would end up having to clean the house because "company" was coming.  And after lunch even though we the kids would do dishes, his mom would end up having to do work anyway.  So, Babe and I decided to take her out for lunch instead so she didn't have to do anything.  I think she ended up spending Mother's Day with her some of her grandkids.

Mother's Day is still kinda tough for me at church, so we also took the day easy, sleeping in and skipping church altogether.  I called my mom who lives in a different country many time zones away.  It's hard missing out on spending time with her on all these holidays, especially as she is getting older each year.  I'm hoping Mother's Day will be different next year.

4 days to transfer!

2 days till we hop on a plane to Knoxville!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Very Special Day

I had a very special day today.

I met up with four other ladies for lunch at one of their homes.  The four of us were/are part of the Patiently Waiting support group for infertility and adoption.  We met each other about 3 years or 4 years ago in the infertility support group.  Out of the 4 ladies, one have successfully conceived a baby girl via IVF, another gave birth to a little boy in January after 6 miscarriages, another adopted a baby girl about 1.5 years ago, and the last has a set of boy/girl twins from embryo adoption that just turned 2.  Of the group here, I am the last one that still have not brought home a child.

We have gotten together for lunch a few times before, but today we wanted to get together to see everyone before I leave for my transfer.  It was really fun to have all the babies and toddlers all together in the same room playing.  As we sat around the dinner table surrounded by high chairs, someone mentioned that hopefully in about a year, there will be another baby joining us at the table, meaning MY baby.  It was so sweet.

We have been supporting each other through our failed IVFs, miscarriages and failed transfers.  Everyone there really wants this next transfer to work for me as I am the last of the group.  It is a special  feeling to be around people who just "get it".  Infertility is an exclusive "club" that nobody wants to join but you can't help being in it.

After lunch, the ladies surprised me with a bag of gifts.  I was so surprised!  They are totally spoiling me.  They gave some some wonderful treats:

  • A prayer candle
  • Willow Tree "Friendship" figurine, which read "Friendship is the sweetest gift!" (So true!)
  • Philoso.phy travel sized gift set, which includes a shampoo, bath & shower gel, a facial cleanser, and a moisturizer
  • Neutro.gena bath gel
  • Jim Brickman "Hope" CD
  • Canvas framed picture "Friends make the world a better place"
  • Lin.dor dark chocolate truffles
  • Bath loofah
  • Pumice stone
  • Lavender scented soap
  • Set of 3 buttons: "Believe", "Follow your dreams", and a cross
  • 2 carnations in a white vase (vase not pictured)

Wonderful treats gifted by my special friends
Willow Tree "Friendship" figurine
"Friendship is the sweetest gift!"
When I opened the Willow Tree figurine, I noticed that it was holding five flowers.  I looked around at the gals and said, "Did you notice that she is holding 5 flowers, and there are 5 of us sitting here?"  That was a pretty cool coincidence, but it made the figurine even more special.

By the time I got to the bottom of the gift bag, I was feeling so blessed and a little overwhelmed, I couldn't hold back my tears.  I am so humbled and touched by how much these ladies care about me.  This felt like a PRE-baby shower!  I told them now this transfer just HAS to work.

Before we all left, the ladies prayed for me, my embryos and for my transfer.  I love that they did that for me.

Today was a very special day indeed.

Now please excuse me while I go stash away my dark chocolate truffles with my luggage going with me to Knoxville.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bye Bye Lupron

I just gave myself my VERY LAST Lu.pron shot for this transfer's protocol.  Hopefully this will be my last one, at least for a couple of years.  Meaning hopefully this May transfer will be successful and I will not have to do any more of these shots until we potentially come back for a sibling in a couple of years.

I have to admit I will miss doing these shots.  They are my "favorite" shots as they are the simplest, easiest and quickest shots, with the smallest needles.  And I will miss telling Babe, "I need to go shoot myself now!".

What I won't miss are the headaches, hot flashes and crazy dreams I get from them.  At least I think the dreams are from the shots.  I guess I did not blog about the dreams.  Let's just say that they are super wacky but unfortunately I forget most of them after I wake up.  I even had a scary nightmare.  As in "The Exorcist" and I'm-so-scared-I'm-afraid-to-to-back-to-sleep scary.  Hopefully these wacky dreams will end now.

Today I also increased my Es.trace (estrogen) pills to 3 times a day.  This will continue for another 8 days until my ultrasound and lab appointment that will determine if my lining is thick enough for transfer.  If that's a go (praying it will!), then our transfer will be as scheduled on May 16th.  PIO (progesterone in oil) shots will start after that.  And after that, off to Knoxville!

12 days to transfer.

10 days till we hop on the plane to Knoxville.