Day 6 Update (6 Little Snowflakes)

I just received a phone call from the nurse who informed me that we have 6 little snowflakes.  We had 4 yesterday, but 2 caught up!  They just needed a little time to grow… So now we have 6.

Coincidentally, my cycle started today.  So I have an appointment tomorrow morning for an ultrasound & bloodwork.  They’ve faxed in my prescription… and here it goes!

Day 5 Blastocysts

I started this post around 9 o’ clock last night… but I was just so exhausted that I closed it and went to sleep.  Waiting can surely take the energy out of you!  We got the call from our nurse around 8:30pm and she gave us the news.. this time she broke it down for us:

Of the 13 eggs retrieved, 9 were mature, they ICSI’d (injected the sperm into the eggs) and 8 fertilized… that’s what we already knew from our Day 1 call.

So, of those 8, 4 were frozen.  She explained that they were B-graded expanded blastocysts.  I tried to ‘google’ what this meant and found this link from the Advanced Fertility website.

The other 4 were given 1 extra day to catch up and we will get our final count this afternoon.

So, we have 4. I’m happy, nervous, excited, and anxious….

We’re not transferring during this cycle, instead my body rest and do an FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) next cycle… so until then, I’ll be checking for updates on all my fellow blogging buddies!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

Waiting

One thing we hate doing is waiting.. I don’t think I’m out of the norm when I say this.  We all hate waiting, don’t we?

Reason why I don’t go to Disney World, and if I do, I make sure to utilize their Fast Pass system.  Reason why I use the UPS route system to drive to work – attempting to make more right turns than left. Reason why I request a read receipt when sending important emails so I know the recipient at least received my email before they actually respond. Yes, my impatience can be quite annoying.. but I just hate waiting.

So, it’s now after noon on my side of the world and I have yet to receive a call from the nurse about our 5-day-old embryos.  I did call, but they transferred me to the nurse’s voice mail.  Now, I have nothing more to do than wait……

The Joy of Decaf

CAM00040Right out of high school, I worked as a hostess at a restaurant called Shari’s.  For those unfamiliar with the chain, it’s like a Denny’s or Perkins.  My main duties were to greet people with a smile, seat them, bring them water, and ask if they wanted anything else to drink.  Coffee was the drink of choice.  Might have been because we were in the heart of Coffee-Town: The Greater Seattle Area. But, my guess is that coffee would have been THE answer whether we were in Seattle, in our adopted home of Orlando, or anywhere in between.

Very rarely, would I hear a request for decaffeinated coffee.

The coffee snob in me would think, decaf?? Why in the world would anyone want decaf when they could have the real deal! I’m picturing myself saying this with a villainous tone, hands raised up, shaking (from caffeine-overload)

There were some exceptions to my rant here such as those who need to cut back on caffeine for health reasons.  But for those who “look like coffee drinkers” (yes, I guess I’m stereotyping here), the word “decaf” may trigger a smirk on my face just for a micro-second until I can regain my composure.  MY idea of “coffee drinkers” would look like fun-looking people, smart-looking people, anyone older than 17…. they all get a decaf-requesting-smirk…. and of course, if you’re going to get a coffee drink without the caffeine,  why not get something obviously different? Like juice??

 If I could give my early-twenties self any useful advice, I would tell her (nicely, because I am a feisty one), “instead of smirking, smile, and maybe offer a hug.”

My older, wiser, infertility-struggling self now knows better now to even THINK of judging a decaf drinker!  Because a Decaf Drinker is not a weak one! She may be holding on to her last bit of the fun life she had BEFORE she started fertility treatments.  She has already given up wine (another vice that grape juice just won’t EVER mount up to), girl time (because her meds are driving her bonkers), and zumba (if she’s going through IVF, her doctor has told her to lay low for a bit)!  The ONLY thing she has left is a drink that TASTES like coffee!

So decaf drinkers, be proud! You have found something to fill that little hole in your morning routine.  And one day, hopefully one day soon – you will reunited with your beloved drink of choice: Regular Medium Roasted Caffeinated Coffee.

Day 1 (Post Retrieval)

I prayed over our little embryos last night.

I couldn’t sleep, not sure if it was the cramping, vicodin (which should have knocked me out, right?), or just soaking in the process that’s taking place.  Nevertheless, I prayed.  I don’t really know what happens to the other embryos, say, if we have a positive the first or even second round.  Do we just keep them forever and ever?  Can we donate them?  We weren’t too keen on giving them up for research. So, I just prayed for God to watch over them all. As far as I know, they are all babies-in-the-making.

The nurse called me this morning and said of the 13 eggs, 8 fertilized.  We have 8 little ones, as of yet.  The pre-op paperwork said they’d call on Day 1 (today), Day 3, then Day 5.  But since we’re heading into the weekend, our next call will be Monday (hopefully)!  That’s just too long to wait!  I’ll just keep praying… for a healthy baby, or maybe 2. This is our first IVF and I’ve read other blogs of 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th IVF’s… so I’m still cautious.  I prayed for you fellow IVF-ers too this morning.

Until Monday, Have a great weekend!  Oh yes… and another thing, the nurse did say I could have a glass of wine. So, party, I will!

Egg Retrieval (IVF)

A couple days ago, I asked the nurse if she can tell if a certain season of the year is busier than others.. she shook her head no and said that it’s always busy.  A true indication that infertility is something No One should go through alone.  Chances are a friend, coworker, or neighbor is going through a similar situation…. but because it’s such a sensitive subject, we choose to keep it a private matter.  Understandably so.

I am the same way – the main reason why I blog rather than even attempt to share our infertility story with a lot of people I know in person! Don’t get me wrong, I have shared my story with a select few.  The ones who wouldn’t judge you, ridicule or criticize you, or offer unwanted advice…. True Friends.  And then there is you, the reader, I’ve shared SO much of my private life with all of  you (publicly) through my blog.. there has got to be a term for those who have offered encouragement, great advice, & prayer without even knowing me in person! What do we call each other? “Blogging Buddies” seems just too casual for the stories we share! May I call you my Confidants?

Ok, to the story: my Egg Retrieval experience.  According to the pre-op instructions, I was to do 3 things: douche with vinegar & water last night/this morning, pick up a prescription of Vicodin, and fast starting at midnight.  Instructions #1, & #2 were easy.  However, fasting was a challenge! I was OK with not eating, but the Lupron (trigger shot) caused hot flashes and dry mouth. So I tossed and turned all night wanting a sip of water, but eventually fell asleep.

We arrived at the doctor’s office at 6:45am.. surprisingly there were other people there.  I guess the RE office never sleeps, when their service is dependent on the ever-changing female cycle.  They probably wanted us there early to make sure we wouldn’t be late because they called us back around 7:30am.  They took me to a curtained “waiting room” with a wheeled hospital bed, I got dressed, they gave me one of the prescription Vicodin pills and hooked me up to the IV. First, the antibiotics. Then the doctor and anesthesiologist came out to greet me.  Hubby and I waited a bit then they called me back to the operation room.  (They guided hubby to a private room with a screen so he can watch them retrieve the eggs, pretty cool!) The anesthesiologist knew I was nervous so he quickly gave me the meds to put me in a ‘better mood’ and, boy, the room started spinning, next thing I knew I was back in the curtained “waiting room” with the nurse handing me crackers and juice.  The doctor came in and said they retrieved 13 eggs (very happy about that, because I was expecting 9-10 eggs).  They are using ICSI (when they inject the sperm into the eggs). And they will call me tomorrow to let me know how many fertilized.

Hubby drove us home, I was feeling very woozy and I laid in the bed most of the day.. slept on and off (worked a little.. shhhh, don’t tell). I felt pretty good though the day but started to feel a bit crampy towards the afternoon and needed to take another Vicodin around 3pm.

That’s it! I’ll be sitting by the phone tomorrow for our results 🙂

**Baby Dust to All**

Countdown! (IVF Trigger Shot)

It was starting to feel like Groundhog day… wake up, get dressed, Ganirelix, head to doctor, sonogram, then bloodwork… but guess what… she said it! Those 3 magic words… YOU ARE READY!

I excitedly sent a text to my hubby who immediately called me twice (I was getting bloodwork done so I couldn’t pick up)… WE ARE BOTH EXCITED!

So I got dressed and headed to work.  I took my trigger shot medicine (Lupron) with me this morning, just in case they call and say to take it while I’m at the office.  Since I work about an hour from home, I wanted to make sure I was prepared. For future IVF-ers, Lupron should be taken the exact time they give you.  Not a minute more or less, is what my doctor told me.  This shot tells your body that you are ready to ovulate.  So they give you a time that coincides with your retrieval appointment date/time.  The rest of the day, I had my phone on my hip waiting to hear from the doctor.  The question lingered: What time will I be taking my trigger shot?

I tell ya… waiting for this call was like waiting for a guy to call after a good first date.  Or like waiting to hear if you got the job.  I even called the nurse line to make sure I didn’t miss any calls… Yes, I was a maniac today! But she finally called me at 4pm and asked me to come in to pick up an extra “booster” dose of Follistim and gave me the time for my trigger shot (7:45pm), pre-op appointment tomorrow morning, and retrieval appt time on Wednesday!

It’s really happening.  We’ve waiting 3 years for this.  3 Years of prayer, IUI’s, Alternative therapies, worked on our credit reports, saved money, planned… and we’re finally going through IVF.  I’ve always said, if this doesn’t work, then at least we would know we did everything we knew to do.  But I have a sense of peace about this process.  Still praying, and still cautious.

We shall see 🙂 Pre-Op appt tomorrow!

One More Day (The Injection Woes)

Woke up feeling giddy this morning. I gladly took my shot of ganirelix and proudly cleaned up the empty boxes and trash I no longer needed… I finished my final dose of (follicle stimulating) injections!

We headed out for my sonogram & bloodwork, ready to hear the great news: “Your eggs are ready!” **insert car skidding sound effect here**

Instead we heard the dreaded words: “One… More… Day”.

They sent us off with a Goodie Bag of injectibles (since we were out of inventory). And then we quietly headed off to church.

So, here are my notes: it’s day 10 of injections for me.  My estrogen is 3453, progesterone is 0.7 my top 3 follicles are 17mm, 18mm, and 19mm.. the rest are closely trailing.

Back to the doctor tomorrow morning! Fingers crossed!

Saturday Morning Sonogram

Today is Day 9 of Injections… Gonal F/Menopur and Ganirelix (Which I realize I have been spelling wrong this whole time).

But let me tell you about my week (as far as the IVF part of my life)… With 2 teenage boys, a full-time job and marriage, there is plenty to write about. But IVF is the focus these days.

My phone died.  Like completely died after my Wed morning appointment.  I ordered a replacement phone which came the next day, BUT they needed a signature to leave it. Forcing me to wait until Friday to receive my phone..

That being said, I had no way to access my voice mail (duhhh, I never set it up for remote access).  So, on Wed evening, I called the doctor’s office to get my orders and next appointment time.. piece of cake. On Friday morning I realized I had 1 dose of each injection left that would take me through Saturday but leave me empty for Sunday!  It was a fiasco calling the nurse, leaving a message, waiting for a call back (at my office number)… then when she finally called, her message went something like: “I realize this is your work number, so I don’t want to leave any private info. I’ll leave a message on your cell phone” (which was still dead, waiting to be replaced).  NOTE to IVF-ers: If you need an answer from the nurse, but have a different number for them to call, let them know that they can leave you a voice message with details on that new phone number! (unless you don’t need them to).  By the time I got home to my replacement phone, it was 7pm. Turned out she did advise me to order an extra dose to get me through the weekend… by then it was too late.  Freedom Fertility Pharmacy was not sending out late orders. ….more on that later.

On a positive note, I’ve hired a personal assistant.  A friend of mine who was looking for some extra work agreed to help me out during this process.  We negotiated a fair rate and she is a HUGE help.  I do suggest, if you have a little extra cash, like $10-$12 an hour, it’s pretty nice having someone to help out with stuff you can’t do while you’re at work or while you’re at home exhausted from the constant injections & hormones! She is a God-send!

Ok so we (hubby & I) went in for our Saturday morning sonogram & blood work… I have about 11 (10 on the right and 1 on the left) almost full-sized follicles. Lots of little ones on the left, but they won’t be ready in time.  Lining “looks perfect” (they didn’t give me numbers)… they said my Estrodial levels were good (no numbers, again).  So, I trust that everything’s on the right track…. I was a bit alarmed by the number of follicles!  Boy, do those TTC Websites get us all worked up, don’t they?  I’ve read posts about 20-30 eggs.. when I expressed my concern for the nurse, she said 11 was a great number..  So, the neurotic googler that I am, had to immediately search “IVF 11 follicles” from my cell phone and breathed a sigh of relief that it’s very common to have around 10 follicles (even less) and come out successful! Oh yes, and they had an ’emergency dose’ of Ganirelix to get me through tomorrow morning.. which I will call Freedom Pharmacy to replace refill and replace on Monday. PHEW… all works out in the end.

After our appointment, we went to breakfast at a popular spot called First Watch.  A couple weeks ago, I joined a IVF prep diet program from Miss Conception Coach.  So, instead of my usual scrambled eggs, bacon, & waffles, I ordered a Chicken Pesto Quinoa bowl and it was pretty yummy. I am proud to say I’ve been doing pretty well at keeping to her diet plan.

As far as energy, I’m still tired, but I woke up happy (change from the past 2 weeks).  Maybe it’s the anticipation of being done with the injections.  The nurse did say that Day 9 & 10 seems to be better for “IVF-ers” (what nickname do we call ourselves, anyway?)

I’ve got IVF on my mind! I go in again tomorrow morning for, yet, another sonogram & blood work.  Fingers crossed…. **baby dust to all** 🙂