Saturday, December 14, 2013

Post Transfer Consult & January Transfer

In case you are wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth after our last transfer and chemical pregnancy, the answer is no.  Actually Babe and I were on vacation down south, to the (slightly) warmer state of Texas.  It's actually pretty funny, the day we left last Saturday, Dallas was actually warmer than Anchorage, Alaska!  It was a good thing we didn't fly into Dallas.

On Monday, while on vacation, we had our post transfer phone consult with Dr. Keenan.  This was actually scheduled before we left NEDC on our transfer date.  Dr. Keenan said there were a few things that he wanted to go over and try to figure out what, if anything would have caused this transfer to not be successful.
  1. The embryos:  The embryos were excellent, at 6AA and 4AA after they were thawed, so they were great.  There were no problems there.
  2. My lining:  My lining was fine at the transfer.  Again, no reason for concern there.
  3. The transfer process:  The transfer we perfectly without a hitch, so not a problem.
  4. Anything post transfer:  I mentioned that I was sick with a cough and was on antibiotics and inhaler meds, and he said that was not a problem.  I also mentioned that was some stress due to a death in the family, pain from the PIO and travel.  Dr. Keenan said, as far as stress, as long as I was not so deeply affected by it that I could not sleep or eat, it would not have been a problem.  Everything else should not have been an issue either.
So, as I am already aware, sometimes even with the most perfect embryos and best situations, we may still not be successful.  Dr. Keenan said sometimes, it may take more than one transfer for us to be successful.  If we wanted to go back for a January transfer, we could do that.  I told him we have already decided we would do that, and Katie already has put on the list of January transfers.  He said let's pray that the next time we would be successful.  I love that he used the word "pray".  Even though he does not say things outright, I can tell he is a man of faith.  Did I already mention that I love Dr. Keenan?

On Thursday, I received my protocol from Katie for our January transfer.  Our transfer date is Tuesday, January 21st.

I'm already on BCP, and am looking forward to moving forward to our January transfer.  I just put together my calendar with all my dates and times for meds, shots, etc.  I will order my meds on Monday, and will start my Lu.pron shots on December 22nd.

January will be here before I know it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beta #2

My hCG from my second beta came back at a whopping 4.  So instead of doubling, it dropped from 13 to 4.

I am officially no longer pregnant.  I get to stop all my meds including the dreaded PIO.  I should get my period in the next 3 - 7 days.

Katie said it was a chemical pregnancy, meaning an early miscarriage.  In a way, I'm glad I didn't test early at home, because I might possibly have gotten a positive result, only to find out that later that I am not pregnant.

We are already planning on going back in January for another try.  NEDC transfer dates in January are the 15th through the 21st.  I should be getting my protocol by the end of next week and we get to do this all over again.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Beta #1

I went to my local clinic for my beta this morning.  It was busy at the clinic as I'm sure lots of other people were like me, having to do the beta first thing Monday morning after the holiday weekend.

After waiting anxiously, I finally got the call from Katie, the NEDC nurse at a little past 3 pm.  My test came back positive.  TECHNICALLY, I am pregnant.  However, my hGC number only came in at 13.  NEDC likes to see the number at 75 by now.  So, it is not looking good.  For now, we are "cautiously optimistic", Katie's words.

Katie said sometimes the embryo may take a little longer to implant and therefore the number may be low.  However, I also know that I had cramping and spotting at 4 days past transfer, usually an indication that implantation was happening.  I'm fairly sure it's not delayed implantation.

So now we wait for my second beta that will take place on Wednesday.  If the number doubles then, then I may still be pregnant.  But honestly, though I know I should remain positive, I'm fairly sure this cycle is a bust.

The good news is this is the closest I've come to being pregnant.  In all my past IVFs and IUIs, my HCG numbers were 2 or less.  I even took a home pregnancy test to see if it would turn positive, since Katie said that I was technically pregnant.  But alas, it didn't show the 2nd line.  When Babe got home from work today, he saw a very faint second line, but that was hours after I took the test.  You are supposed to check only 2 minutes after.

So, we wait some more.  The bad news is I have to continue taking my pain in the ass PIO shots.  Only 2 more days.  I can do it!

Please continue to pray for me and my beta on Wednesday.   Though I'm sorely disappointed, I'm not giving up quite yet.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Transfer Day 11/20/13 (Delayed Post)

I apologize again for my much belated post about our transfer day.  Anyway, here is how the day went.

We arrived at Knoxville on Tuesday night, the night before on scheduled transfer on Wednesday, November 20th.  We were told to make sure we have our phones handy just in case our transfer times got changed, but we didn't get a call from NEDC so we were a go for our scheduled 11:45 am transfer.

We slept in a little, did my morning PIO shot and had breakfast at hotel.  Then at 10:45 I took my medication for the transfer: a Va.lium, 3 Tyle.nols, and one Albu.terol tablet.  I started downing bottles of water, but realized later, it was too late.

The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), also known as the Southeastern Fertility Center

We arrived at NEDC (also known at the Southeastern Fertility Center) at 11:15 am as scheduled.  We checked in at the front desk.  Then we were shown into the recovery area where we met Katie the IVF nurse, and another nurse, I think her name was Julie.  I was told to undress below the waist, and to put on a gown, and a cap.  Then Dr. Keenan and Carol, the embryologist came and met with us.  Dr. Keenan chatted with  us a little and even drew a couple of half moons on my butt because I was telling him how sore my butt was from the PIO shots, and he wanted to make sure were were hitting the right spots.

Carol then told me that they thawed all three of the embryos from our first donor family.  Out of the three, 2 survived the thaw.  They were both "excellent quality" embryos, as per Carol.  Below is a photo of our embryos.  The one on the left was graded 6AA and had completely hatched.  The one on the right was graded at 4AA.  I did a bit of research on embryo grading.  It looks like different clinics may use different grading systems.  The one I found closest to what NEDC uses can be found here.  

Pretty much, embryos are assigned 3 separate quality scores - a number and two letters.
  1. The blastocyst development stage - expansion and hatching status; with a rating of 1 - 6
  2. The inner cell mass (ICM) score or quality; with a rating of A-C
  3. The Trophectoderm (TE) score or quality; with a rating of A-C
So this means that the embryo on the left, my 6AA, has completely hatched out of it shell (6), has many cells that are tightly packed (A), and has many cells, forming a cohesive layer (A).

The embryo on the right, the 4AA, is an expanded blastocyst, cavity larger than the embryo, with thinning of the shell (4), has many cells that are tightly packed (A), and has many cells, forming a cohesive layer (A).

*I am paraphrasing the info found on this website 

In other words, they were excellent embryos!  I was so relieved to find out that we had 2 excellent embryos to transfer.  Carol shared with me a photo of our babies.  Aren't they beautiful?  I was so happy to finally meet them!  

Two "excellent" embryos, graded 6AA on the left, and 4AA on the right
We went over some paperwork, and I was off to my transfer.  I was wheeled into the procedure room.  I was a little surprised that Babe was not allowed in the procedure room, unlike my other IVFs.

By now, my the Va.lium has kicked and and I was starting to get a little loopy.  Dr. Keenan asked how my bladder felt and I told him, probably not full enough.  He said he would just have to fill it.  I asked Katie if they get a lot of people coming in with bladders that are not full, and she said more than they'd like.  I had to climb onto the table and put my legs in the stirrups.  Then came the speculum (my least favorite part), and he proceeded to clean what I assume is the entrance to my bladder.  I was not prepared for how much that solution stung.  Then he inserted the catheter into my bladder and filled it.  I could definitely feel that it was full, but not uncomfortable.  The then proceeded to clean the cervix with the stinging solution again.  That was the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure.

Katie put the ultrasound wand on my lower belly and I was able to see what Dr. Keenan was seeing on a large TV screen.  The large dark blob on the top of the screen was my bladder.  He showed me that the middle part below the bladder where the "+" was was my uterus, and to the left of it was the cervix, and then to the left of it was my vagina.

He then inserted a catheter into my cervix and into my uterus.  It was a test transfer, with no embryos in the catheter, but it was cool to see how it would be done.  Then when he was ready, Carol passed the embryos to Dr. Keenan through a window in the wall, and they asked me my name and my birthday again, and also if I knew how many embryos were being transferred.  I said two!

Katie asked if I was ready and I said yes.  I started getting emotional and started tearing up.  I apologized and told her I was getting emotional, and she said no worries.  Dr. Keenan inserted that catheter with my babies into my uterus and he told me to watch for the flash of white light as that's when the embryos would be transferred.  

There was the flash of white light!  The babies were in me.  He removed the catheter and gave it to Carol to make sure there were no embryos left over in the catheter.  And then we were done!  Below is a photo of the transfer.  The two white spots under the "+" sign is where the embryos were placed.  And I hope they had a chance to snuggle in nicely.

2 embryos (white) transferred into my uterus, right below the "+" sign on the screen.
I rested for a short while in in the procedure room.  I was trying to savor the feeling of having 2 babies in me.  Before long I climbed back onto the bed and was wheeled back into the recovery room where Babe was waiting for me.  The foot of the bed was raised while I laid there to rest.  Babe and I chatted for a while.  It was kind of a weird feeling because we could tell there was another couple next to us, but they were being so quiet.  I was thinking it would have been great if I could have met up with some of the other embryo adoption mamas from the group in the recovery room right after our transfers.  After a while, the nurse went over our post transfer instructions and advised me not to cheat with a home pregnancy test.  I was then allowed to use the bathroom to empty my bladder.  When I came back, Dr. Keenan and Babe were chatting, talking about work related stuff which I thought was pretty cool.  I changed back to my normal clothes and we were pretty much done.  We were able to catch a photo with Dr. Keenan before we left the clinic.

We went to a barbecue place called "Sonny's" for lunch to celebrate our transfer day.  The we went back to the hotel to rest.  I was trying to answer texts from friends and family, but the Va.lium was taking a toll on me.  I was so tired I slept for 4 hours straight.   When I woke up, we went to a restaurant recommended by a friend called The Chop House for dinner.  I ordered my favorite, lamb chops and a virgin pina colada to celebrate.  We were excited and a little giddy that we were PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise).  Babe and I joked about how I just got knocked up by another man!

We went back to the hotel and went to bed early.  The next morning, we left and started our 14 hour drive back to MN.  The nurse advised us that we needed to stop every 2 hours to walk around.  It was a long ride and we stopped and spent a night in Madison, WI.

So that's how my transfer went.   Tomorrow (Monday) morning, I will have my beta at 10:30 am.  The local clinic will fax the results to NEDC, and I will get a call from NEDC with the results sometime tomorrow afternoon.  I will find out after waiting for almost 10 years, if we will finally be parents.

Though I have had no desire to do a home pregnancy test, I am a little nervous now.  Prayers appreciated!