Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 week wait torture

I have sat down several times to write this post but every time I tried, I could not think of any words. That is how my mind has been these past couple of weeks. I really didn't think the 2ww would be as hard as it has been. I mean, we have had 5 years worth of 2 week waits. I could handle this one too. But boy was I wrong. 

It has been 12 days since our transfer. The first 4-5 days I was home, I was literally exhausted from everything my body had just been through. Not to mention how mentally exhausted I was too. The progesterone shots have not been helping at all. They have made me sooo tired! We were warned that the progesterone would also give me pregnancy-like there goes me trying to guess if it worked or not! Some "symptoms" I have had....
tiredness, bloating, cramping, breast soreness, maybe a slight sensitivity to smells, some heartburn. But that is about it. Keep in mind that these are ALL side effects of the lovely progesterone shots also. 

I finally started feeling close to myself again last Monday. I even went for a walk with my friend, April, and was just enjoying my time off from work. But things have started to bloom around here and so have my allergies!!! I have not taken my allergy medicine because of everything going on...and I could tell. I got so sick and was sick most of last week with allergy/sinus junk. I am still coughing today but starting to feel so much better now, thank goodness. So I have not done much this past week at all because I have just felt terrible. It has given me LOTS of time to sit and just think.. Not a good combo during this 2ww.

I also did something terrible. Something they told me NOT to do but I caved under pressure & took a pregnancy test. I knew it was a bad idea and I also knew it was way too early..... I took the test 5 days past transfer......but there was one sitting in my bathroom and I just had to. It was negative. Even though I expected it to be negative, it really did something to me. It opened up my mind to a lot of doubt & fear. It really just hit me that- oh my gosh, this really may not work. This whole process has been MUCH harder emotionally than I thought it was going to be. And the thought of it not working just made me depressed. Literally. I thought I was going crazy in my mind for most of this week. I even forgot for a few days about God's word and His promises. What is wrong with me? Okay, so I didn't actually forget but I was not putting my trust in Him. I was putting my trust in google and in my mind- which at this point was totally under attack by the devil. I am so thankful for Josh and my mom & dad and my best friend, Annie, for reminding me over and over that God is in control. Then at church this morning, the whole sermon was on PEACE and COMFORT. Thank you, Lord. He knew that was just what I needed to hear :)

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9

We go tomorrow for our beta test (blood pregnancy test) and then also again on Wednesday. We have decided that no matter what the results are, we will be keeping it to ourselves for a little while...besides our parents, of course :) They have been such a huge support during this and we will want to share with them. But if it is positive, then it will still be SO early. And if it is negative, then we will need some time just to ourselves to sort things through. Thank you for all of your prayers during this time! We really appreciate it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Embryo transfer :)

We arrived at St. Luke's hospital yesterday morning at about 5:50am. We were so excited because we knew this was the day I could possibly be getting pregnant!! We have prayed and prayed and prayed for this day for so long. We were also very anxious to see how many of our 8 fertilized eggs made it to an embryo!

They put us back in the little room where we were Monday for our retrieval. They said josh could go in with me during the transfer and we were very happy about that. We got all changed and just waited a couple of hours. Our transfer was set for 8:00! Josh looked so cute in his outfit :)

Dr. Silber came in the room right around 8am and told us that all 8 fertilized eggs made it to an embryo! This was amazing news!! He then gave us this picture of the two little embryos we would be transferring! I cannot tell you how amazing it was to see this picture! How many people get to see their babies that early on?! It made all the hard work so worth it.

He said we have about a 70% chance of pregnancy and that he felt good about it but that it still is not 100% that it will work. Transferring 2 embryos does rasie the percentage some. It also raises the percentage of twins- which is 30%! We would be thrilled with whatever God chooses to give us! If it does not work this time, atleast we have 6 more that are frozen and we can try again. Freezing them does not affect the quality at all and they have a very good success rate with frozen embryo tranfers.

I feel like the hard part is over- the hard part for me was producing a lot of eggs and the retrieval... It was very painful for me. And the whole process was very emotionally draining. I am glad that I was in st. Louis during that time because I know if I was at home, I would have felt like I had to do this or that. I was able to really rest in St. Louis. The hardest part about the transfer was the fact that I had to have a full bladder and could not use the restroom after midnight. I was nervous about this so I set my alarm for 11:55pm so I could use the bathroom one more time!

Anyway, back to the actual transfer! We went back to the OR and got everything situated to get started. They said that if my body was relaxed the way they want, that it would only take 5 minutes. Dr. Silber talked to me the whole time he was doing it reminding me to just relax my whole body. It really helped so much that he did that because every time I felt like I was getting tense, he would remind me to just relax. Josh and I did not say a word the whole time because we did not want to distract him from what he was doing! He used a noodle-like catheter to transfer the embryos. I couldn't feel much and it was almost pain free. Very similar to a Pap smear....a little more uncomfortable though because of the full bladder. He said I did perfect and it was done before I knew it! I was so relieved!!!!! I did have a little cramping right after and he said that was normal. But within 30minutes I felt back to myself and we were ready to go! (Oh, and they let me go to the restroom as soon as the transfer was over thank goodness! They said the embryos would not fall out... I know because I asked if they would!)

They want me to just take it easy and relax the next couple of weeks. They do not want me on bed rest but nothing bouncy and nothing stressful. They also stressed to me how important the progesterone shots are right now. Josh gives them to me every night right about 8:30. They are still NO fun at all but I would do it every single day for the rest  of my life if it means a healthy pregnancy and baby. They did say that they did not want me working around chemicals/hair color either for the next couple of weeks. That has been so hard having to re book everyone again :( I have never taken 4 weeks off in a row like this but all of my clients have been very understanding. I also have a couple of friends who are doing some of my clients for me while I am out and that has helped tremendously!! They said that the embryos are very sensitive to smells and that the lab they had them in had it's own ventilation system. They told me of a different fertility clinic (they didn't say where) that for one whole month they did not have any successful ivf's. They linked it to the fact that the parking lot was being re paved and the whole building smelled like that. So they just do not want to take any chances and neither do I.

We drove home yesterday afternoon and it is SO good to be home!!!! Oh my goodness, I have missed my own bed so much and my own food! I am so tired of eating out. We will know in a couple of weeks if it worked or not. I keep reminding myself that God is in control no matter what. It is in His hands!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Egg retrieval!

Our egg retrieval was yesterday and they were able to retrieve 15 eggs!! 15!! This is how it all happened:

We arrived at St. Luke's hospital at about 5:35.. 25 minutes early! They were calling for a rain/snow mixture so I wanted to leave in plenty of time. Turns out that the weather was not bad at all so we were way early. They took us in a little room where we spent the next 2 hours. I got changed into 2 gowns and some slippers that they gave me. They also gave me some warm blankets which I loved! Every now and then the nurse would come in and ask me some questions. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and hooked my IV up. He was very nice. About 15 min before the scheduled retrieval, Dr. Silber and Dr. DeRosa came in to talk to us for a minute. And then it was time to go! I got really nervous all of a sudden. I was nervous about mainly being put to sleep. The nurse walked me back to the OR and the doctors and several other people were already in there waiting for me. When I walked in, Dr. DeRosa said "yes, we need to get you pregnant because you are just too cute!". And Dr. Silber said "yes, we need to get these genes passed down!". I thought it was funny and sweet but still was so nervous!! I laid down with my legs in stirrups (yes.. Very awkward with a room full of people watching. I was completely covered but STILL!) and the anesthesiologist started hooking me up and putting stickers on me and putting air in my nose.. It was all very overwhelming. But Dr. DeRosa sat there and held my hand the whole time! It really helped so much to have him do that! Another reason why I love our doctors! He said my hands were freezing so they got me another warmblanket to help me relax. Then they told me to pick a good dream and that I would be out in about 15 seconds. I told them I was at the beach and they all laughed and said they wished they were there too! The next few seconds were very scary. I felt a lot of tingling in my head and I knew it was about to happen. I hated that feeling because I was not in control of my body at all!! I wanted to say - hang on a minute!! Not yet!! The next second I tried to fight it.. The next second I was praying .. The next second I was OUT!

I woke up back in the little room Josh and I first started in. I remember hearing josh say that we got 15 eggs but honestly that was not my main concern at the moment..I just remember everything being so bright and then I felt them. The cramps!!!! Oh my goodness. I did not realize the cramping would so bad. Imagine terrible period cramps times 10! And my left ovary was throbbing for some reason. The nurse got me some medicine to take and within 30 minutes I was feeling much better.  Then the nurse came in and taught josh how to give me the progesterone shot! This is a bigger shot than what I have been doing and it goes in my hip/butt. I have to do this shot every day and if we do get pregnant, I will continue for 8 weeks!!! I can say that my butt is already soooo sore from those shots!! It feels like I have been doing Brazil butt lift videos but trust me- that is not the case.

We stayed in that little room for about an hour and a half and were starving by the time we left. So we got breakfast at IHOP then went back to the room and passed out until about 4:30! When we woke up, the cramps were back. Not quite as bad but I could tell the medicine was wearing off . I took some Tylenol and we just relaxed all night.  Today has been the same way- very relaxing. The cramps are still there but not as bad AT ALL. And my ovaries finally feel so much better. We did get out and get some dinner and went to see a movie. We saw 12 years of slave. It was so sad but so good!!

We did talk to Dusty today and she told us that out of the 15 eggs- 10 were mature and 8 actually fertilized!!!!!! We go back in Wednesday morning at 6 am and the transfer will be at 8am.  We will find out then how many if those 8 actually made it to embryo stage!! We have decided to transfer 2 and freeze the rest! It is all just so amazing and we are so excited!!! Thank you so much for all of your prayers!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is this real?

I go back and forth. Sometimes this feels real and sometimes it doesn't. But either way, our egg retrieval is tomorrow morning at 8:15 am! We have to get there at 6am to get everything ready. I am a little nervous about being put to sleep.. And a little nervous about the fact that a needle will be puncturing my ovaries tomorrow.. And I am nervous about wondering if it will work or not.. How many eggs will we will I feel afterwards..

There are so many thoughts and questions going through my mind right now. I know that I must sty focused on God and His promises right now. Even though I have so many questions, there are some things that I know are true and will always be true:

I know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

I know that even at times when I felt like God has forgotten about us, He said that He would NEVER forget us and that our names are written on the palms in His hands. Isaiah 49:14-16

I know that when doubt fills my mind, His comfort gives me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:19

I know that The Lord always keeps His promises and that He is gracious in all that He does. He helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. Psalm 145:13-14

I know that God wants us to cast all of our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7

And one of my fav passages:

O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31 NLT

There are soooo many more scriptures that give me hope but these are just a few! No matter what happens- I will still put my hope and trust in Him. Will I be upset and disappointed? Of course!! I will be very upset and disappointed and mad and sad & all of the emotions I have felt the past 5 years. But He has a plan that is much bigger than ours and I am going to just have to trust Him. It is always easier said than done though. I am just so thankful for a Godly husband who reminds me of this daily. And for our families and friends and everyone's prayers! I can definitely feel all of the prayers! We are so blessed and thankful!

Also, I have had such a great week with my mom this week and we spent so much quality time together!! Even if it was just laying in bed watching tv all day! Being in pain = forced relaxation!! I am so thankful for her and love her so so much!!

She left a few hours ago and is headed back home. Josh and Kobe will be here very soon and I cannot wait to see them! This is really happening!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's time!

So I went this morning for another ultrasound and blood work and I.AM.READY! Thank you Lord. My blood work still looks great and my uterine lining is 9 mm. I have 11 measurable follicles on my right ovary and 7 that are mature. My left ovary has 7 measurable follicles and 4 that are mature. We are scheduled Sunday morning at 8:15 for the retrieval and I could not be more excited to get these follicles out of me! Seriously, today has been the worst day pain wise. I still have not had much of an appetite and I have been nauseous off and on all day. Also, when I walk, it feels like someone is stabbing me in the ovaries. Especially the right side. We did get out and had Panera for lunch just because I am tired of laying in this bed.. but really when I am laying down is when I feel the best at this point. I am supposed to do my HCG Novarel shot (trigger shot) tonight at 8:15. They say it is very crucial that I do this shot exactly 36 hours before the retrieval. Dusty said I would actually feel a little better after this shot. I also will do the Lupron shot tonight but no more Follistim! Yay! I counted earlier and in the last 3 weeks, I have had 38 shots.. 40 if you count what I will be doing tonight. Ouch.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Follicles are growing!

I went back yesterday morning for another ultrasound and blood work. I was watching the ultrasound tech during the ultrasound trying to figure it out and self diagnose myself!  Ha. I could tell that there were bigger follicles for sure. Dusty called me several hours later and said that things are still looking good! My blood work was great and I now have 11 measurable follicles on my right ovary and 6 measurable follicles on my left ovary! My right ovary definitely seems to be over achiever! :) She wants me to still continue with the same amounts of Lupron and Follistim. She said that she is thinking my target date for the egg retrieval will be either Sunday or Monday! I go back again tomorrow morning for another ultrasound and blood work just to check things again. They have not said anything about me being over stimulated which is good. I know I am at risk but I would think that if I was being over stimulated, they would cut back my meds some. But what do I know?! I really need to stay off google!

Yesterday we were just relaxing in the room and the front desk called. They said they had something for us and said they would deliver it to our room. We had no clue what it would be.... I was so surprised to open the door and to see this!
Beautiful flowers from my hunny!! I love him so so much :)

I am still very crampy and tired. I get worn out pretty easy. And it seems like I have lost my appetite completely! I have not been hungry at all since yesterday but have made myself eat. This is unusual for me because I love love to eat. I think it's just because my stomach feels so bad. My ovaries feel very sore and tender. And sometimes they will just throb.  Walking does make it worse so I just walk slower and take things easy. It's not like we are in a hurry or anything here anyway! I am having a great time but it is starting to get a little hard being away from home. There is only so much laying around you can do.. Or so much tv you can watch.. So we have been trying to get out but just taking things slow. We wanted to make some spring wreaths but we went to Michael's yesterday and they didn't have what we needed. I think we may go see a movie and I definitely want to go buy a good book!

I did find out something a couple of days ago that I forgot to mention earlier. I thought I had PCOS but it is actually just PCO. I do not have the syndrome that causes weight gain, high testosterone levels, acne, etc. I just have polycistic ovaries. I did not know there was really a difference but it makes sense.

I do miss Josh and Kobe so much!! Josh is coming one day this weekend..probably Saturday.. And he may bring Kobe! I am going to find out for sure but I think our hotel is pet friendly. I would looove to have him here and he would be so happy! He loves going bye bye :)

Well, I will update more tomorrow after I hear results from my appointments in the morning! Hopefully we will know a target date for sure and will have instructions for my HCG shot! :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Louis!

Well, things are finally starting to feel real! We arrived here in St. Louis Sunday late afternoon! My mom came with me because Josh was not able to take off the whole time. We love love love the hotel we are staying in. They serve a huge breakfast buffet and even serve dinner at night. They also print us directions every time we need them to.
 I had to have an ultrasound and blood work done very early Monday morning (in between 6:45-8:30am) and got my results that afternoon. Dusty, our IVF coordinator, called and said all of my levels are looking the way they want them to. She also said I had 20 follicles on my right ovary. Here were the sizes:
2 @ 1.1 cm
3 @ 1.0 cm
15 less than 1 cm
There were 17 follicles on my left ovary:
1 @ 1.0 cm
16 less than 1 cm 
So 37 follicles total! She told me to continue taking the same amounts of Lupron & Follistim that I have been. I go again tomorrow morning for another ultrasound and blood work. I am curious to see how they have grown the past two days. I can definitely tell the medicine is working! Ever since yesterday afternoon I have been very crampy and having lower back aches. The cramps even woke me up last night a couple of times. I am also verrry bloated and pretty tired.
We met today with Dr. DeRosa for a consultation. He will be doing the follicle aspiration and we just loved him!! He basically told me how it would all go when we do the retrieval. He said he would use a probe kind of like when you get an ultrasound.. except it will have a needle inside of it!! This makes me cringe just thinking about it. Luckily, I will be under IV sedation so I will not feel anything. But he will get the fluid and all of the follicles and give them to Dr. Silber. Not every follicle will contain an egg though. Then, Dr. Silber will inject the sperm into the eggs. We will then do an embryo transfer 3 days later. It sounds like SO much and I am really just trying to take one thing and one day at a time. But I did love Dr. DeRosa! He was so nice and made me feel so comfortable. He was talking about he was pro life and even quoted scripture from the bible. I left feeling so thankful that God led me here to meet these wonderful doctors!!! I know God is in control but I also feel like I am in great hands here in St. Louis.
My mom and I are having such a wonderful time together! This has been kind of like a vacation! We have been taking things easy & relaxing but have done some shopping and ate some good food :) We really love the location where we are staying. It is close to the hospitals but also very close to 3 malls! The past 2 days have been beautiful and almost 80 degrees! Tomorrow it is going to drop big time though and will only be 40 for the high. We are going to the doctor first thing in the morning but then plan on coming back to the room to relax and work on some crafts. I am looking forward to it and also cannot wait for Josh to get here!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ready to go!

Good news! My ultrasound and bloodwork came back good and they are happy with how I am progressing. Thank you Lord! So our IVF coordinator gave us the go to start the stim shots! So Thursday night I had to do 3 injections...Lupron, Follistim, and a microdose HCG shot. I was really nervous about all of that but honestly it was not as bad as I thought it would be! I still think Lupron hurts the most. Only because my skin stings and turns red right after the injection. But it doesn't last long. Now I am just doing Lupron (smaller dose) & Follistim. The Follistim is what will make a lot of eggs! But it is also making my body ACHE. It started in my right leg. I mean, my whole leg- the thigh, knee, calf, ankle,toes- would just throb. Now it is both legs & my right arm and wrist.

My mom & I are leaving right after church tomorrow for St. Louis!!! I cannot believe it is finally here. It still does not feel real! I will be going to the doctor several days next week for more ultrasounds and blood work. They want to monitor me & check my levels so they can adjust the meds as needed. They are watching me very close because I have PCOS and a lot of follicles & they do not want to overstimulate me. Not only could it cancel the cycle- but it is very dangerous and painful. But we are just praying that does not happen.

I am also VERY excited about just getting away and spending some time with my mom! I know there will be a lot of emotions going on and I may not feel the best, but I am looking forward to just hanging out with her. We are going to relax and watch movies and work on some crafts in the room. We have also found a few consignment stores online that we want to find when we get there!

I am also looking forward to this time change tonight. I am so ready for spring and longer days! Not too much longer!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lupron & monitoring & such

Well, not really anything new going on here...YET! Tomorrow marks 2 weeks since I have been on Lupron. Side effects? First, hot flashes and night sweats for sure!! The hot flashes can come on at any time but especially when I am blow drying my client's hair in the salon. But the night sweats...that is a different story. They happen every.single.night and I usually wake up soaking wet. It's terrible! Another side effect... sex. It hurts! Sorry if that is TMI but it can be a side effect and it definitely is with me. I have never had this problem before so I know it is the Lupron. It puts you in a menopausal state... I actually saw a commercial the other day talking to women going through menopause regarding sex. Apparently, there is a medicine that helps make it not as painful. I feel their pain! ANYWAY. Another side effect is that I have been a little emotional. Nothing too bad though. I have read where some women feel mean and irritated but luckily I have not felt that way. I have also been having some headaches, which can be a side effect..but it could also be because I have quit drinking caffeine. I loooove my coffee so this has been hard but my doctor does recommend it so that is what I am doing. I also gave up my kickboxing class I have been teaching.

I went this morning for my 1st monitoring appointment. I had an ultrasound done to check my follicles. She said I had a lot of follicles on each ovary but no dominant one. I do not know if that is normal or what that means! I also had blood work done to check my hormone levels. Our IVF coordinator will be getting in touch with me sometime today to tell me the results of everything. If it all looks good, we will be starting the stimulation shots tomorrow!! It is called Follistim. I will also take a HCG shot tomorrow. I have been very nervous about these appointments this morning. I am so worried that they are going to say something is not right or the way it should be & we will have to delay it all. I know it will be okay if that happens but I just think about my work schedule. I had to take off for 2 weeks because we will be in St. Louis for about 10 days or so. I have it all worked out now but if it gets pushed back then it will be hard to reschedule everyone again. But I also know I do not need to worry- especially about something I cannot change or do anything about.

The past few days we have had a lot of ice and snow! A lot for Tennessee anyway! It has been such a mess but also really pretty. Here are a few pictures.

And one more of my sweet boy!