Friday, June 27, 2014

The results are in.....

We had our first ultrasound this morning.  I was so anxious and nervous.  Dusty was so confident everything would be fine.  I tried my best to believe that, but was still having a really hard time getting over the anxiety leading up to this apointment.  I have to say, the number of friends and family members that messaged us and checked in on us leading up to this was amazing!  Thank you guys!

So...for what you all want to know!  As of right now, here is what we have...

When the doctor first brought the ultrasound up on the screen, I saw a flash of two dark spots and instantly knew we had twins!  I waited for the doctor (yet another different doctor, but what's new) to actually confirm this before I really let myself believe it though. 

It was too early for us to see the heartbeats, but the doctor said the sacks looked good and were measuring the size they needed to be.  He did say, though, that with it being so early, there is a chance one could "vanish", which I knew, and was glad he was realistic with us about it.

The doctor said for us to come back for another ultrasound in a week to 10 days, but when the nurse wrote it down, she wrote to come back in 1 week, which is the 4th, and they are closed, so we are actually going back on the 2nd.  I figure there won't be a lot of changes between now and then, but honestly, I wasn't going to argue and push it back, for my own peace of mind!! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This TTC Journey...

Our first ultrasound is Friday...I'm scared to death there will be nothing there!

I'm trying my best to be faithful and know that God is going to take care of us, but it is hard!  Dusty is being absolutely amazing and so positive through this, he really is my inspiration.

It all just feels too good to be true.  We got pregnant on our first try with IVF, and our numbers are fantastic!  It just feels like somewhere, something is going to bust our bubble.  This journey has been so full of downs, that I keep expecting it at the next step.

I have to step back and think, dang it, Michelle, just be happy!  This whole journey has been hard!  We deserve easy right now!  We deserve to be happy!  I'll admit, my thinking has become so jaded.  This morning, a friend on my TTC instagram account posted that her and her husband got pregnant on their first IUI.  My very first thought was, wow, lucky!  Then, I instantly felt very guilty and thought, what the heck is wrong with me, they aren't lucky!  They battled infertility long enough they had to do IUI.  I mean, come on!  How selfish of me.  I really am happy for them and glad they didn't have to go through anything else to get pregnant. 

As I said, this whole journey has been so hard and so disappointing at times.  Thank goodness for all of our friends and family that have supported us through this journey.  Those that we have told have been so excited for us.  We couldn't have made it through this without your prayers and support!

Over the weekend, Dusty's family knew we were telling them whether or not it worked so they were so sweet and got us a "fertility" cake!  They even had a backup plan to just split the cake amongst themselves if we told them bad news.  Ha!  It was so funny, as we were sitting around getting ready to eat breakfast, before we told them the news, one of our nieces walked up to us and was like, Chelle, we got you a little cake!  Her mom quickly changed the subject and swept her away.  I honestly was so tired that I didn't think anything of it!!  LOL! 

So, until Friday, I'm going to try my best to be positive, and picture two little perfect embryos continuing to make themselves at home!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

We're Pregnant!!!!!!!

We.Are.Pregnant!!!!  Praise the Lord!!

I am still in shock!  We have known for about a little over a week now that the IVF worked and we're pregnant, but I still can't quite convince myself (however; the constant exhaustion is trying it's best to prove it to me!!!). 

We wanted to tell most of our family before we posted, so that's why I've been delayed in posting an update on here.  We still need to tell one of my brothers, but I didn't want to wait any longer to post this update as I've had several friends ask.  So, if you know my brother Mark, don't tell him!!  We want to in person.  :) 

On Thursday, June 12, we had our first HCG beta.  I expected to find out I was pregnant because on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, I had taken home pregnancy tests and made sure the line got darker each time. 

There was a chance I was going out of town Thursday night, so I wanted to make sure to have a night home with Dusty to celebrate.  So, on Wednesday morning, after I took my 2nd test, I picked up a Father's Day card to give Dusty.  We haven't had much of a reason to celebrate or even think about Father's Day for the last few years, but having this positive test before Father's Day was an incredible feeling!  Dusty read the card Wednesday night and then unwrapped the pregnancy tests.  Being able to tell him that I was pregnant and he was going to be a daddy was the best feeling in the world! 

Then, on Thursday, as I had mentioned, we had our first beta blood test.  I went in around 8:00 and then got an email around 2:00 from Sarah.  At that point, she said they like to see beta levels around 100-150.  Well, mine was 374!!!  I couldn't believe it! 

I had to wait over the weekend for my 2nd beta on Monday.  Then, to torture me even more, Sarah didn't respond until 5:30 with my results.  If you don't know, beta levels are supposed to double every 48 hours.  So, that being said, mine should have been around 1,500.  Mind was 2,405!!!  I was so excited! 

I asked Sarah if HCG levels could be too high, and she said they could, but that would be the 10,000 range at my first test, so mine was fine!  Sarah said it could indicate that both embryos have implanted, but it was too early to tell. 

Goodness!  We could have twins!!  I'm so excited!  This just doesn't feel real.  After nearly 2 years of trying to get pregnant, we finally are!!!  We have our first ultrasound on Friday.  I'm hoping and praying we'll see one (or maybe even 2) little embryos!!  I can't wait!! 

***If you know me in real life, which a lot of you do, please keep this quiet for a while longer.  We are waiting until we are further along before announcing it.***

Friday, June 6, 2014

Holy Crinone Induced Acne!!!

To aide in a healthy pregnancy after IVF, because your body didn't truly "get" pregnant on it's own, and instead, a growing embryo was put back in your uterus, the body doesn't really have the hormones it needs at the beginning of pregnancy ready when they should be.  So, to make up for that, women typically take hormone supplements for progesterone and estrogen. 

I've found that one side effect of the Crinone, or progesterone, is acne.  I'm talking, teenage boy, gross looking, is that a rash???, acne.  It's terrible!!!  Having had severe acne in my life, it's an all too familiar feeling and, unfortunately, look on my face.  However; I knew exactly why it was happening, and was just going to "deal" with it with extra makeup & maybe change out my facewash to try to help it until the (hopefully) pregnancy is further along and I'm no longer on these hormone supplements.

Well...that was, until I found out today that I would be filming a short video that would be shown at trainings for my firm!  And, I'd be filming this video in just shy of two weeks.  I can't have a red, bumpy, gross face for this video!  It's going to be used for who knows how long, and be seen by who knows how many people.  I would be horrified.  It's already terrible that I've put on the dreaded "IVF" weight, but that can't be helped at this point. 

So, what do I do?  I call my dermatologist office that I haven't seen for 2 years and cross my fingers that they can get me in and there is something they can give me that might just help.  So, around 9:00 this morning, I called and asked how soon they could get me in and the answer was, how about 12:45.  YES!!!  Sign me up, I'll be there! 

I get there and explain to the nurse what medications I'm currently taking and how I know they are the reason for the acne, but due to this work thing, I really would like to see if there is anything I can do.  She leaves and shortly after, the doctor comes in and says something like, so, you're taking Crinone and Minivelle (the estrogen supplement)?  I nod.  He then said, are you having fertility treatments?  (Yes) Then, he asked if I was pregnant, I said, I don't know.  The doctor nodded and said, I understand.  He then said that he and his wife did IVF 2 times.  I was just in awe!  I mean, here I was, seeing a new doctor for the first time, and I find out he and his wife are part of the 5% or so of couples that seek IVF treatment for infertility!  I asked if it was successful and he said yes, both times and then they naturally had a child after that!  The doctor said it was unexplained infertility (to which I said ours is too) and he said basically, well then it should work!  The doctor then told me that he and his wife had 3 friends who also went through IVF and all 3 were successful.

I instantly got goosebumps!!  I mean, wow!  What are the chances of that?  I felt like that was definitely a "God-thing" and was to be encouragement for me.  I just couldn't believe it.  I can't even tell you how encouraged I was when I was sitting in that office. 

So - back to the acne, there are hardly any treatments that are safe during pregnancy.  However; the doctor had samples of a topical cream that is safe for me to take, and gave me an entire package of samples!!  He told me it may or may not work, but the best thing is, it was samples and free!  Thank goodness! 

Good things are happening!  Good things are going to happen! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Good, the Bad & the TMI - Things I didn't know about IVF before that I know now!

I've never really admitted this before, but, going into IVF, I felt reasonably educated about the process.  For whatever reason, starting about 3 years ago, I started reading several blogs of women going through IVF.  I didn't think then I would ever have to go through this to try to have a child, but, I guess that was God's way of helping prepare me for this process.

So, when we first met with Sarah, it was no surprise to me that it would be super expensive, we'd have to order lots of meds, I'd be giving myself (or Dusty would be giving) daily injections, I'd go back for the egg retrieval, and then, lastly, would go back for the transfer.  When Sarah was going over those things, I felt like I had at least the basic knowledge of the process. 

However; there were definitely things I've learned after the process that I wish I had known going into it.  So, that's what this post is about.  Of course, all of these are my own opinion and based on my experience, which I know varies greatly by person.

The Good:

I may be pregnant - This is by far the best part!!  As I sit here and type this, I am PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) & know I have 2 embryos inside me!  I pray those embryos stick and turn into babies for us!

The shots - they weren't that bad!  I honestly had so much apprehension about this going into the process, and it was probably the easiest part! 

The ultrasounds - it really is amazing seeing what your body is capable of doing.  Each scan, when I'd look at the screen and see lots of follicles, I was just amazed. 

The Bad:

Ovaries hurt like crazy - toward the end of the process, and even after the 3 day transfer, my ovaries hurt so bad!  I can hardly stand up straight.  Sleeping at night is awful because there is no comfortable position.  You might think there is some relief after the egg retrieval (ER), but honestly, there wasn't any, and it maybe even got worse.  After my ER, Sarah told me that where the follicles were would now be filled with blood and basically be big bruises.  OUCH! 

Propofol - As I was laying on the table waiting for the ER, the anesthesiologist told me that when he injected the propofol, it would burn at my IV site.  Oh my gosh!  If by burn, he meant it would feel like a 500 lb boulder was smashing my arm, then yes, it burned.  I looked up at him and was like, this hurts.  He was like, that's the burning I was telling you about, I then responded, this doesn't burn, it HURTS!  LOL!  I should note that I had also been given something before going back to the operating room that made me start to get sleepy, and that, along with my nervousness, may have impacted my reaction. 

ER Room - There are a lot of people in there!  For me, I had my nurse, the anesthesiologist, Sarah, the doctor, and this other guy that I had no idea who he was.  Turns out, he was the embryologist.

The Transfer - Honestly, this hurt.  It hurt more than the trial transfer.  I guess when I got in there, my cervix was tilted slightly different than it was during the trial transfer, so they had to try a couple of different catheters, and that probably was part of the reason why it hurt.  But also, having a full bladder for this, when they press down with the ultrasound, that is so uncomfortable as well!

The TMI:

Enormous Ovaries #2 - Along with the hurting that's a result of the enlarged ovaries, I had to urinate ALL the time!  The ovaries press on your bladder and make you have to go to the bathroom constantly!  When I went in for the ER, Sarah mentioned that and said something like, You've probably been wondering if you have an UTI.  She's exactly right, I had been!

Constipation - So...what I never knew was, all that medicine that is being injected into your system causes constipation, which, when your ovaries are the size of oranges, is especially uncomfortable!  After my ER, my nurse, who was absolutely awesome, warned me to try to not use the hydrocodone unless absolutely necessary, because that also leads to constipation.  Sheesh!  I didn't realize I'd have to worry about that!

Bleeding - After I was able to get up after my ER, when I got up off the bed, I saw a lot of blood on the bed pad.  I was absolutely shocked at the amount of blood.  The nurse had warned me I may have some bleeding after the procedure, but I guess I didn't expect to see that when I stood up.  It really was a lot of blood.  Even Dusty was pretty shocked.  Thankfully the nurse was standing there to help me get up and when I saw it, I asked her if that much was normal and she reassured me that it was. 

ER Room #2 - As I mentioned above, there are a lot of people in that room.  Well, what I didn't mention above because it is definitely in the TMI category is, your legs are up in these stirrup type devices that actually support your calves, but then, you're pretty much on display for everyone to see!  They did drape me, but not until after they cleaned off my cervix first.  And then, after I was draped...there was a big hole down there for the procedure.  Honestly, this was much worse for the transfer because I wasn't drugged!  I realize that when I have a baby, it'll be like this, and I should be used to it from all the ultrasounds I have had, but it still bothered me.  I just wasn't prepared for that. 

Although reading back over this post, it seems the bad and the TMI are more than the good; know I would do this all over again if necessary to have a baby.  I just felt like the bad and the TMI needed longer explanations!  Also, I don't want anyone to think I'm complaining, I just felt the need to do a post like this for any others that may go through this!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I'm PUPO!!

As I mentioned in my last post, we prepared for a 3 day transfer.  We headed to Little Rock and arrived around 9:00.  Since we were so early, we waiting in the car until about 9:15 and then went in for the 9:30 appointment.  Once we got into the waiting room, we waited to be called back until about 10:15.  Sarah came out to the waiting room and walked us back. 

Once we got back to the prep room, we found there were a couple of hospital gowns and such on the bed and Sarah gave us instructions for how to get dressed (Dusty had to get dressed up too since he was going back to the room with me).  As Sarah was helping Dusty tie his surgical cap, Dusty said, "So I guess we're having the transfer?"  Sarah kind of laughed, and then I said, "So it's for sure, I guess?"  At that point, she realized Dusty wasn't joking.  She then explained that she had seen us in the parking lot earlier and told the doctor to call us and let us know we're doing the transfer, and he apparently said ok and walked off, but never called us!  So, it was an interesting way to find out that we were having the transfer.  Ha!  I also asked Sarah then if this meant we couldn't freeze any, to which I was so thrilled to find out that the 3 day transfer didn't mean that at all!

Once we were dressed in our gear for the procedure, Sarah and Dusty wheeled me back to the room and Sarah got me set up in stirrups and prepped for the transfer.  The doctor came in and explained that the embryos looked much better today and were actually borderline between a 3 day transfer and a 5 day transfer.  He then asked me how many we wanted to transfer (2 or 3, 3, what?!?!?!) and we agreed on 2.  The doctor then went back to discuss with the embryologist which 2 would be best to transfer and to get those ready. 

Although they did a trial transfer, which went smoothly, my actually transfer didn't go as well, as they had to change catheters and leave me on the table with the speculum in while I waited for that.  Then, of course, having a full bladder and having it pressed on wasn't very comfortable either.  But, at the end of the day, I'd do it again and again to get pregnant!

So, I currently have two little embabies in me, hopefully they are sticky little embabies and will stick and grow.  I'm PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) and I really can't believe it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Grow Little Embabies, Grow!!

I was so thrilled when I found out they had retrieved 21 eggs.  It was such a good starting point.  Especially when Sarah had told me she expected 12-15.  The day of the ER, they told me they expected about half of the eggs to be fertilized. 

On Friday, I received the call from Patsy that 13 eggs had fertilized.  We were still so thrilled with that report.

Then, on Saturday, I received a call from the doctor telling me that the embryos weren't doing as well as he likes to see, and to be prepared for a 3 day transfer.  The doctor said that we needed to be in Little Rock at 9:30 Sunday morning and by the time we were in Little Rock, the embryologist would have looked at the eggs and made the decision for a 3 day or 5 day transfer.  So, there was a chance we would make the 3 hour drive to turn around and come right back, which, honestly, I was absolutely find with.  However; with the other news, I was absolutely devastated.  I immediately thought that it meant that if I had to do a 3 day transfer, there would be no embryos to freeze.  This news felt like such a blow. 

I let family and friends know, and I must admit, I felt the comfort of their prayers and encouraging words.  By the end of the afternoon, I started feeling better with the potential 3 day transfer.  I was still upset, but much more calm with that potential.  Throughout the evening, I read several message boards where people had successful pregnancies with 3 day transfers, and that there were even some clinics that only do three day transfers because they believe it is best to get the embryo back in its natural environment. 

So, Dusty and I went to bed early Saturday night to prepare to get up early Sunday to head to Little Rock.  I'll post another post about the actual transfer tomorrow. 

21 Eggs!!

On with step 5 - the actual egg retrieval.

On Thursday, May 29th, Dusty and I got up bright and early and headed to Little Rock for the retrieval.  We arrived about 30 minutes before our appointment (which was at 10:00), so we hung out in the car for 15 minutes or so before heading into the clinic.  Once we got into the clinic, we got called back to the prep room about 10:15.  The nurse, Patsy, asked me several questions and went over the post-ER procedures and meds with Dusty and me.  I got dressed in a hospital gown, surgical hat and socks.  She started my IV and gave me medicine for nausea.  Then, the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the first dose of sleepy meds and I was quickly wheeled back to the operating room, but not before a good luck kiss from Dusty. 

Once I was in the operating room, I don't really remember a lot.  The light was weird and bright.  I remember them putting my legs in stirrups and wrapping them with towels (although I didn't know what they were wrapped with until the transfer), and then draping me.  I do remember the anesthesiologist saying he would give me the propofol when the doctor got in the room, and then as he was saying that, the doctor came in.  The anesthesiologist also asked me about what my favorite beach was, or something, I honestly don't remember, but I remember talking about Aruba.  While waiting on the transfer, I asked Sarah if that actually happened or if I made it up, and I was glad to know that did happen!  Also, during my retrieval, they took Dusty into a room to do his business to give his sample so it'd be ready for when they retrieved my eggs.

Before I knew it, the retrieval was over and I was back in the prep room.  I remember waking up to Dusty holding my hand, which was the most amazing feeling in the world.  I think I asked if it was over and the nurse said it was and I was glad.  I asked if I could go to the bathroom & Patsy, of course, said I couldn't get up yet (I had, after all, just woken up from anesthesia) but if I really needed to, she could put a catheter in, which I immediately declined!  I then started crying at some point and she grabbed a tissue and started wiping my tears for me.  She said that it was from the first sleepy meds they gave me (I can't remember the name) and I think said it makes her cry too.  She really was so sweet.  She asked me if I was feeling ok or if I was cramping & needed some pain meds.  I wasn't cramping then, and thought the pressure I was feeling was just from having to go to the bathroom.  Well, I quickly decided I probably would go ahead and take her up on the pain meds before the pain kicked in. 

Then, a few minutes later, Sarah and the doctor came in to go over the report from the retrieval.  They were able to get 21 eggs!!!  I was so happy.  They told me then that they expected about half of those to be fertilized.  Sarah told me I was an overachiever and warned me that my ovaries would hurt for several more days (boy was she right).  After resting a little later, Dusty and I were free to go and Patsy wheeled me out while Dusty got the car. 

Honestly, the egg retrieval process is so much scarier before hand than it really is, after looking back.  Thank goodness we're asleep for the procedure, considering a needle is poked through the vagina to go to the ovary and grabbed the eggs.  I mean, ouch!!  I really didn't feel much cramping or pain afterwards, other than the pain from my ovaries. 

Here's a pic of us before the transfer.  Love my supportive husband.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Scan 3

Step 4 part 2...

So sorry for the delay in my blog posts!  The last week has absolutely flown by! 

Last Tuesday, I had my third ultrasound.  At that ultrasound, I had the following results:
Right - 17, 15, 13, 16, 16, 13, 15, 19, 13, 12, 12, 15, 16, 15, 19 & 18
Left - 14, 10, 13, 12, 10, 9, 12, 10, 15 & 12
A total of 26!! 

I asked the doctor at the end of that scan (another new doctor, of course, lol, but he was great) how big my ovaries were and he held his hand up and showed me they were about the size of oranges!  Normally, ovaries are about the size of a large olive.  Wow!  No wonder I've been so sore.  I, honestly, can barely even walk.  I even wore flats to work on Wednesday, which, believe me, NEVER happens.  I felt so short (ok, I know I'm short...)!

Tuesday night I got an email from Sarah telling me to take my trigger shot would be at 11:30 pm on Tuesday night and my retrieval would be at 10:00 Thursday morning.  I was a little worried because I didn't have a lot of follicles around the size that they like them to be for retrieval (18-20), so I asked Sarah about that and she said that I have a good group that was 15-20 in size, and would keep growing, and that she expects we'll get around 12 eggs.  I was happy with that, but surprised that from 26 follicles, she expected only 12 eggs.  Well, I showed her, lol!  But, more about that in my egg retrieval post tomorrow.