Wednesday, February 26, 2014

No Real Update on New Donor Family

There is no real update on our selection of our new donor family.

We went through the profiles again of donor families we already have on hand.  I had some questions about a few of the donor families, and the coordinator contacted the families for additional information, but have not had much response from the families.  This kind of worries me a little.

So far, we have narrowed down our choices based on medical history, age of the genetic mother, age of the genetic father, and number of embryos available.  That left us with just a couple that we that we are interested in.

Last week, I requested information about the embryos from both the families.  Carol the embryologist emailed me back on Friday with some information.  One family has much better quality embryos than the other.  So, we are seriously considering this family but we also want to look at a few more as a back up, in case the family declines our match.

On Monday, I requested additional profiles of families with Caucasian embryos.  I hope the hear back from the coordinator by today or tomorrow.

This process has been a lot harder than the first time around.  Babe and I picked the same two families separately.  They were the ideal families for us.  But now, we have to pick a new family and there are so many other things to consider.  It's sad that our first 2 "ideal" families did not work result in a successful pregnancy.

I hope we can make some progress here by the end of this week, or at least by early next week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 2014 ICLW

Ooppss.... we are more than halfway through ICLW of February!  Happy ICLW!  Sorry for the late post.

If you are visiting for the first time, or have not been here in a while, here's a quick catch up on where I am right now.  At the end of January, Babe and I had our second frozen embryo transfer (FET) of our adopted embryos.  We worked with the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) and flew to Knoxville, TN for our transfer.  We transferred 3 blastocysts (day 5 embryos).  You can read about our transfer here.

We were over the moon when we found out during our first beta that we were not only pregnant, but with a pretty high beta number of 159.  However, we were shocked and devastated to find out at our second beta that our number had dropped to only 44, and again to 20 at our third beta.  We were having another chemical pregnancy.  We had our first chemical pregnancy at our first transfer in January.

We have had 2 chemical pregnancies so far, and we plan to go back to NEDC in May for another transfer.  We are currently in the process of matching with another donor family.  We hope to complete this process in the next couple of weeks.

I'd love for you to join me on our (long) journey to parenthood.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Embryo Adoption on Local News Again.

A local family that was featured in a local news station about embryo adoption a couple of weeks ago was featured again last night on a different local news station.  This is great that embryo adoption is getting more exposure.  It sounds like this family has adopted more embryos and is getting ready to go back for another baby.  I'm praying that they will have a successful transfer and pregnancy.

Link to the article & video.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Donor Family Next Steps

Yesterday, my period finally arrived.  Five days from my last dose of Es.trace and PIO shot.

Getting my period after a procedure is always hard.  Last transfer was hard because I was technically pregnant, even if just barely.  Therefore the period indicated I was miscarrying.  This transfer is even harder..... as not only was I pregnant, I had a high beta number.  We were overjoyed for a few days until we found out it was again, another chemical pregnancy.  So yesterday, my period marked that I am again miscarrying.  But this time it is harder.  My pregnancy was more real.  I am experiencing the loss of my babies.

On Friday, I spent over an hour on the phone with Debbie, our counselor that works with donor and recipient families at NEDC.  Since we will have to wait until May for our next transfer, we will most likely have to update our home study before we can do our transfer as our current home study expires in April.

From our discussion, I found out some things that I did not know or even had to consider back in May of last year when we did our matches with our first two donor families.
  • NEDC requires a recipient to have at least 6 embryos adopted before a transfer.  Because we currently have 2 embryos left from our current donor family, we will need to be matched with at least another donor family to meet the minimum number of embryos.  Therefore, we will need to have at least one other ODA (open donation agreement).
  • There are no expiration dates on the ODAs.
  • If we end up going with a different donor family for our next transfer (not use our existing embryos), we could reserve the current embryos for future siblings, and the current ODA will still be valid. However, because this next transfer will be our third and last at NEDC (we are only allowed three tries), we may have to release our leftover embryos if this next try is not successful.
  • For our next transfer, we will need one or two new ODAs,  depending on if we end up selecting one or 2 different donor families.  We will pay one fee for up to 2 ODAs, but only if we need 2 families to meet the minimum of 6 embryos (minus the 2 we already currently have).

Last week, I had contacted Angie, the patient coordinator at NEDC and requested additional Asian/Caucasian and Asian donor family profiles that had not already been sent to us back in May of last year.  I was considering if we should look at profiles of Caucasian families too.  I was concerned if Caucasian families would reject an Asian/Caucasian biracial couple like us.

I spoke to Angie on Friday and asked about looking at profiles of Caucasian donor families.  She said NEDC does not have any rules or policy against a biracial couple like us adopting Caucasian embryos, so we are more than welcome to request those profiles.  I asked if Caucasian families are accepting of a biracial couple like us adopting their embryos.  She said she did not know off hand or had any numbers of such cases.  It would be up to the donor families to accept or decline our match.

*Note: I asked Angie if NEDC has a policy about us adopting Caucasian embryos, because I knew that NEDC tends to reserve biracial/multi-ethnic embryos for couples of the same ethnicity because the pool of embryos tend to be very small.

So in the mean time, there are lots to think about.
  1. Do we want to consider asking for profiles of Caucasian donor families, or just look at the limited pool of Asian/Caucasian and Asian families we already have?
  2. Do we want to stick with blastocysts, or change to embryos from either 2PNs or multi-cells?
  3. Once we have considered the above, we will actually have to select one or two donor families, and then wait to see if they accept our match.

Whew!!  Lots of things to consider.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Post Transfer Consult

This last few days has been pretty tough.  To add insult to injury, the night of my 3rd beta, my nose started running, and I have been down with a cold.

Thank you for the many kind comments here and from those on FB as well as texts from friends.  I've had a ton on thoughts running through my head, trying to process this and next steps.  But that will have to wait for a later post.

On Thursday, I had my post transfer consult with Dr. Keenan.  He actually called me earlier than our scheduled appointment time because he had some free time.  Since I was available, I spoke with him then.  In the end, he ran out of time to answer all my questions. 

This phone consult wasn't that much different from my first one from my November transfer.
  • Though not as great as my last transfer, embryos were good at 3AA, 2AB and 2BC (though 2BC was not expected to survive).  The embryos were not an issue.
  • The transfer went fine without any problems and my lining was good.
  • There was nothing after the transfer that would have cause this not to work.  I wasn't sick and was pretty relaxed.  
  • There was no reason why this transfer wouldn't have worked again.  
  • There is no reason medically why we can't try again.  It would be up to Babe and I if we are emotionally ready or want to try again. 
  • I asked about his thoughts about how my first beta was so high and it dropping after that, and he didn't know why that would happen either.
  • I said, based on my research, though no one really know for sure why it happens, chemical pregnancies are usually due to abnormalities in the chromosomes of the developing embryos.  I asked him if he thought this was true in our case since we have had embryos from two different set of donors so far.  He said it is usually true, but we can never be sure since they cannot test the embryos for abnormalities at transfer time.
  • I also asked for clarification about the quality of the embryo at transfer time (4AA, 6AA, etc), is that any way tied to abnormalities in the chromosomes of the embryo, and he said no.  He cannot tell if there are any abnormalities in the chromosomes in the embryos unless they were specifically tested for that.
  • I asked if for our next transfer, would we still only transfer 2 or would he consider 3 since it would be our last try and also I am over 40.  He said he would not transfer 3 unless they don't think a third one would not survive (like the last transfer in January).
  • I also asked about what the percentage is of women that have gone through a third transfer at NEDC and is still not successful.  He said he didn't have a number that he could provide, but it was very low.  I'm not really sure what I expected from him with this question.  I guess I was just curious... as I seem to alway seem to be one of those in the statistics.
He suggested that I do an endometrial biopsy before the start of the cycle for my next transfer.  He just wants to make sure there is nothing abnormal and make sure everything is good in the uterus.  

Since we have only 2 embryos left from our current donor family, we have to pick another donor family.  He suggested we consider picking a family with embryos that are at either the 2PN (2 day) or multicells (3 day) stage.  Our current 2 embryos are blastocysts (5 day).  If we pick new embryos from a different stage, we will not be able to use our current embryos for this next transfer as our primary as they embryos have to be at the same stage.  

Dr. Keenan said we should consider switching to 2PNs or multicells just to try something different for the next transfer.  There is no real medical reason to do so, but to try something different.  Having said that, he also suggested we consider the family that is right for us, and also to look at the age of the wife at the time the embryos were created.

After speaking with the doc, I found out that the March transfer calendar is fully booked.  So we will now have to wait till May for our next transfer.  Until then we have to:
  1. Pick a new donor family, including deciding what stage embryos we want to adopt, as it will determine how many donor families we can pick from
  2. Get an endometrial biopsy done before start of my cycle for the May transfer.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Beta #3 Result

It's officially over.

The beta this morning came back at 20.  Dropped from 159 on Thursday, 44 yesterday and now, 20.  It's another chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage.

This has been the hardest thing I've had to deal with so far.  We were ecstatic just a few days ago thinking we will finally be parents after almost trying for 10 years.  Now we are crushed.  This feels like a cruel joke.

I will have a phone consult with Dr. Keenan on Thursday.  We'll have to wait and see what his thoughts are.

Not sure what the next steps are.  So much to consider.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Beta #2 Result

Unfortunately, it is not good news.

Beta #2 came back at 44, dropping from 159 on Thursday.  They would have expected my number to be in the 500's or higher today.  It is probably another chemical pregnancy.  

Dr. Keenan was surprised at the number today as the first one was so high for a first beta.  He wants me to go back for another beta tomorrow, just in case there was a mistake.  So I continue my Es.trace and PIO for yet another day, just in case.

I am in shock right now.  Here we were over the moon, guessing if we would have one or two babies coming.  And now, we find out there will be none.

Please keep Babe and I in your prayers.   Right now I'm not even sure what to ask for specifically in prayer..... A miracle?  Comfort?  Direction?  All of the above?

Ugh... this sucks so bad on so many levels!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beta #2 Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Monday) morning I go back for my second beta.  My first beta on Thursday was 159.  NEDC wants to see the number quadruple tomorrow for this pregnancy to be viable and healthy.  The beta number is supposed to double every 48 hours and since I had to wait till Monday because of the weekend, they want to see then number to be in the 500's or higher since it would have been 4 days since my first beta.

Last  night, as I was laying in bed trying to sleep, I started to worry.

What if my beta doesn't quadruple on Monday?
What if there is an empty sac instead of a baby at the 6 week appointment?
What if there is no heartbeat at the 9 week appointment?
What if I have a miscarriage?  
A lot of things can still go wrong!

After being on this infertility journey for so long, and having so many friends that have experienced miscarriages and losses including myself, I can't help by worry about such things.  People that have not gone through this do not have such worries.  Pregnancy is usually a rosy and happy journey for them.  And most won't understand or relate to why people like me would worry so much.  But if you are/were like me, you know what it's like.  You understand.

As I was laying there unable to sleep, I began to pray.  I asked God.... no I BEGGED Him to please let this pregnancy stick.  Please please let me have a great beta number tomorrow, and for this be a healthy and viable pregnancy.  I've come so far and I don't know if I want to do this all over again if something bad happens.

And you know what?  He gently reminded me again that He is in control.  There is nothing that I can do to prevent or cause a miscarriage.  He has blessed me with a miracle and I should relish and enjoy my pregnancy.  I need to just let go and trust in him.  No matter what happens, he's got it.  He is in control.

That really comforted me.  And at the same time, annoyed me because I still feel the need to be in control.  I realize now that this has been an area that I have struggled with for so long.  He is still working on this in me.

It is freeing to know that I can just let go.   I'm still learning to truly trust God and lean on Him and His plans for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"
  - Jeremiah 29:11

Please continue to pray for us and our 2nd beta tomorrow.  I will update you when I hear from Katie in the afternoon.