Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hope is a very powerful thing

I don't know the reason, but He does.

I don't get it.  


I will probably never get it.  


But that's ok, I don't have to get it.  

It doesn't really matter.  


That's what faith is for.  


God knows why, He has the answers, one day when I'm with Him, I will know.  


For now, I will trust Him and know that He has an amazing plan for us!  


After all, that's exactly what He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, they are plans for good and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future"

So things have been getting better for us.
As you know, Roger and I have been in the process of healing from our loss with IVF, it is going better for me, but now Roger is kind of stuck in the grieving process.
I have two amazing "God" stories to share with you.  The first one is, since we've discovered where Roger is at (and me too) and realized that we should probably reach out for some counseling for a few sessions or something, so we began looking into it.  We weren't really finding anyone that could relate to what we're going through.  So today at church, some friends of ours who know what we've been going through came up to us and said that they had just met a couple (who are in the Air Force as well-he's a Col.) and they do infertility counseling for couples and they gave us their numbers and told us that they told them a little bit about our story and wanted to meet with us!  How funny is that?!  Total God thing!!  The night before Roger and I are talking about needing this and here God shows up in a huge way the next day and basically hands us the numbers of this couple!  How cool eh?!  So we called them today and he's meeting with Roger tomorrow morning, and later that evening they are both meeting with us!  I'm so excited about this and the best part is they themselves went through infertility while he was in pilot training and so they know all too well the struggles we are going through in more than one aspect.  Now they have 3 beautiful kids, and I can't wait to hear their story.  Gosh moral of the story...ask God, He will provide!!  Literally!!

So here's another amazing story that happened again this same weekend; so I'm in the bathroom getting ready while Roger and Aiden are out Christmas shopping and I just stop and sit down in the chair in the bathroom and just began praying.  I broke down and just had some time with God about where I'm at and about all the hopes I have in adoption and whether we should pursue adoption now or wait until we're settled at our permanent duty station (2 more years) and what we should do.  I was just asking God, "give me a clear sign, show me Lord, just put it in our hands what we are supposed to do about this adoption thing!"  Roger and I need some more time to heal of course from our loss and switch gears into adoption, but it won't be long for us because we have been wanting, praying, and waiting to adopt for many years now.  So I'm just praying, praying and praying.  Then Roger and Aiden come home, and I finish up praying and come out to greet them.  Roger has a box in his hands from checking the mail.  We're excited and open the box, inside are wrapped Christmas presents for us from our sweet family, and at the bottom is a Christmas card.  We open up the Christmas card and inside is a check for $500 for our "adoption fund".  Can you believe that!?  Is that God speaking clearly or what!?  JUST after I finished praying!  The timing of this couldn't have happened any better.  God is good, His timing is perfect.  Just like in our loss, and in adoption.  Just like when mom told me, "maybe that baby just needs you sooner".  I feel God moving us quickly into adoption and we are scared, but so so excited about this.
We just had to share with you the amazing way God is moving in our hearts, and in our lives.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where we are now...

In a time of mourning, loss, quietness and worship with the Lord.  We are going through a lot right now in our lives.  Losing my uncle, finding out about my Grandma having stage 4 ovarian cancer, and the loss of our 3 babies, and the failure of our in-vitro fertilization attempt all has been quite a lot to handle in the past 4 weeks.  I don't have much to say other than we are still going through a time of hurt and pain in the losses we have had recently.  I know God has a plan, we know His plan is always faithful and just, right, and perfect.  It just sucks when it doesn't line up with our plan of what we think is perfect!
I know one day we will understand.
I know one day I will hold all of our precious children in my arms.
I know one day Aiden will be a big brother.
I know one day I will understand why we have been through all we have.  We have hope in adoption, and we have always been and are still so excited about that.  We will get through this pain, we will heal from this hurt, and once we are, we will be ready to pursue adoption.  I'm sure it will be sooner than later.  It's been 10 days, and already God is transforming and beginning to heal our hearts.
I know it will only get better.  I'm laying it all down at His feet.  I'm giving Him all my hopes and dreams. 
If you've been some of the people that have been there for us, thank you.  Thank you so much for your concerns, questions, prayers, support, and love.  I can't tell you how much it means to us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Casting Crowns - At Your Feet (Lyrics)

Results are in...

If you're just new to reading my blog, please start from the beginning back in October.  I want for you to see the whole journey so you will know how impacting the results are. 

I don't know where to begin.  I don't know how to even describe to you how we are feeling, the emotions we have been going through.
All I can do is tell you the journey, and every part of it, good or bad.
So here is the video I took of some emotions I was going through yesterday.  Sorry it is not very clear, I recorded the video from my computer since it was broken up in 3 different videos originally.  Anyway, here goes.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

So today is the day!

So I went in this morning and had my blood draw for my pregnancy test.  I'm anxiously ANXIOUSLY waiting by the phone, its a little compulsive how many times I keep looking at my phone.  I have been doing my best to keep myself busy today, running errands, shopping, etc.  BUT I'm so scared to NOT be home when I get the call, either way it goes, I think I'll need some privacy in the moment of finding out, but sitting here all day I just can't do, my heart is beating so fast even thinking about getting the phone call.  I just wish my hubby would be home from work already when I got the call, but that just isn't gonna happen.  I'll have to tell him when he gets home.  I told him not to call me because he'll know the news by the sound of my voice, so to text me if he needs anything, lol.  Today is going to be either one of the best days of our lives, or the worst.  Gosh I'm hoping for the best!  I'm remaining optimistic, positive, although I am truly scared because all of my hpt have been negative so far.  I keep being reassured that it is still early, and the hcg might not be enough in my body yet to register with urine.  I soooo hope that's true and the blood test comes back positive!!  I'm fearing the worst, but hoping the best, does that make sense?  Anyway...I'm a blubbering mess....emotional, excited, going CRAZY!!!  Ahhh!!!!  Ring Ring Ring already!! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

So....the 2ww

is sooooooo hard!!!  The dreaded 2 week wait...well I'm on day 9, so by day 12 I'll get my beta (blood pregnancy test) and we'll know whether or not I'm pregnant!!! 
I had my first dream last night that I was pregnant with twins!  It was incredibly vivid, we were at the doctor's office looking at the ultrasound picture of them.  Gosh I hope that becomes reality!!  I would love that!  I am just hoping I'm pregnant, one or two is fine with me!  I just hope I'm pregnant!  We'll see soon enough! 
I have to admit that I've been taking HPT (home pregnancy tests) all that have which turned out to be negative so far.  I know, I's too early to be testing.  I know I should have never started with the HPT's but I couldn't help it, this 2ww is killing me!!  Well, I guess we're at the end of the 2ww now, so it won't be but a few more days till we find out!!  Gosh, I'm so excited and nervous!!!  Say a little pray for us!!  :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

PIO Injection Video


This is the video of me getting the dreaded intramuscular injection with the huge needle I've been dreading for weeks.  This injection is progesterone in oil (PIO) it's basically essential for the embryos to survive and provide the best possible environment for them to snuggle down in my uterus.  This video isn't of my first injection, but I'm still getting use to these injections, and they are painful.  There is no easy way to do these.  The actual injection isn't too bad, about as bad as menopur, where it stings a little, but not bad.  The needle really isn't too bad either (if you do the ice pack).  
When I said "mix" the injection, I meant pull out the medicine from the bottle, there isn't any mixing you need to do with the PIO.  
Also, the ice pack I was talking about is really helpful and works really well for numbing the pain for the needle to go in, it helps tremendously!!  Also, the gauze pad was for some of the oil that seeps out at the end when you pull the needle out of your butt (even after you leave it in for a few seconds after injecting, it still seeps out a little) and of course the band-aid because you do bleed a little afterward.  At the end of the ordeal, you want to massage the area for 1-2 min. this helps not get the "golf ball butt" that some people describe as happening (which is super painful) where the medicine pockets up afterward in your fun!  So a little massage (even if it hurts some) will help so much with dispersing the medicine in your rear.  Believe me, it will help in the long run.  Then after the massaging, sit on a heating pad for a little bit, it helps too.  Overall, take the pre-cautionary measures to help relieve as much pain as possible and you can do this!  You will have a sore lovely lady hump but you'll be does get easier and easier.  *Hopefully* (if I'm preggo) I'll be havin' another 63 injections of this!  lol

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today we found out...

that our little 3rd Embryo didn't make it.  I am overcome with sadness at the moment.  I know God has a plan.  I know He does.  I know He has that precious little life in His hands now, rather than in the incubator in the embryology lab.  I don't know why this little embryo didn't make it so that we could freeze it and give it a chance at life in the future.  I don't know why.  I'm sad.  I'm scared.  These two little embryos in me are the last chance I have at having a baby.  I am on my two week wait till the pregnancy test, and I am doing my best to stay relaxed and calm, positive for these two emby-babies in me at the moment.  For now, I will enjoy the life in me, pray that it stays, and hope for the best.  That's all I can do.  I told you I would keep you updated every step of the way, so I will.  For now, we will heal from this loss once again and try to focus on these two little lives in me right now and know that God has a plan and fortunately He has got it all under control.  I will give my worry and fear to Him, I lay it all down and go to the cross.   

Lead me to the Cross - Hillsongs

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Embryo Transfer was today!

And here they are!!  Our little embryos, the life we created!!  Our embryo-babies!!
It is surreal knowing that these tiny little embryos make a baby!  These are potentially Aiden's little brothers or sisters!  Wow!  The two embryos on the right are the two they transferred into my uterus today, the embryo on the left is the embryo that we are going to hopefully have frozen, if it makes it to a blastocyst (day 6 of fertilization) the embryologist will call us on my birthday, next wed., to let us know if our little remaining embryo made it to the bastocyst stage, if so, we will have it frozen to use in the future!  The embryologist told us that our embryos look amazing, and they have been developing great!  Just by looking at a picture, it is amazing how quickly you bond to your embryos, especially to see my hubby bond so quickly to them too!  What a cute daddy he is!
The transfer itself was quick!!  It took more time getting us prepped (getting my gown and his scrubs on) than it did the actual transfer!  The mock transfer they did before I started meds was more painful that the transfer!  I didn't even have a Valium like I've heard some women get before the transfer. I mean I can't say the Valium would have hurt, it might have been nice, but it really wasn't necessary.  My poor vagina has been through stuff like this before!  The "duckbill" that my RE used to open me up (and it was wide!) hurt the worst of anything, but still wasn't unbearable.  It was over seriously within 5 min.  I was kind of at a decline as they were doing the transfer so I couldn't see the ultrasound screen real well, but I did see the catheter they put in my uterus and then a flush of fluid go in that had the embryos in them, they were so small I couldn't really see them.  I've heard they look like glowing dots, but again, I couldn't really see them.  I was just praying anyhow and holding my hubby's hand, trying to envision getting pregnant.  God was there, I felt calm, relaxed.
Immediately after the transfer I scooted onto the bed that they wheeled me back to my room in, and I stayed there for 40 min. at a decline.  I was so nervous to get up and walk around afterward, I kept asking, "Are you sure they're not going to fall out?"  lol.  The doc assured me they won't fall out!!  The hardest part about the entire transfer was that you have to go in with a full bladder, so having to pee so bad that your eyeballs are practically floating and having someone press on your belly, be in your vagina, etc. does not feel good at all!!!  But, you get through it, and it doesn't last long.  You just keep the bigger picture in mind.  :)  
Now these embryos are "home" where they should have been all along, and I just pray my uterus nurtures and protects these little babies, and they get nice and cozy in there and snuggle right in!  Our hope and faith in Jesus Christ is getting us through all the emotions, and fears that we have in this whole process.  I know that no matter what happens, I have been blessed with a beautiful little boy, and a wonderful, amazing sweet sweet husband, and that God has a plan for us to expand our family.  I have no worry, no fear, and am just going to be joyful right now that I get to have this feeling of having life inside of me once more, even if it doesn't last very long.  I pray that it does, but our God has a plan, and it is His plan that I will rejoice and be glad in!  Please keep us in your prayers!  Thanks for all your love and support!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Embryo update and PIO injection

So we got a call today from our embryologist letting us know what's going on with our embryos, how many fertilized, when our transfer will be, etc.  So out of the the 3 eggs they got, our RE said that he didn't expect all of them to fertilize.  We were hoping at least one or two would fertilize, and we weren't sure if they would have to do an ICSI or not. 
Well as it turns out, ALL 3 eggs fertilized!  Wow!!  They also didn't need to do an ICSI, they all naturally fertilized beautifully!  Yay!!  So they scheduled my transfer for tomorrow morning at 8:15am.  I will be there at 7:30am for the prep.  Once the transfer begins, it will only take about 5-10 minutes!  I am getting pregnant tomorrow ya'll!!!  I can't wait to see the pictures of our little embyros, our emby-babies!!  I can't believe this is happening, we are so so excited!  I'll keep you updated!!

Also, tonight, (well in about 30 min.)...just as you thought the injections are coming to an end, ha! I have another injection (and only injection) to take for the next 10 weeks (if I'm pregnant), and that is my PIO injection, (progesterone in oil) intramuscular injection.  I am NOT looking forward to this one, well I never "look forward" to any injection, but this is the worst of the worst.  I'm dreading it.  I'm prepared, I know what to do, my hubby is prepared, he is ready, and way to eager to inject me with this massive needle!  haha!  g.r.e.a.t...
For those of you wondering what the heck a PIO is for, it is an injection that you take that increases your progesterone (something your body naturally makes) but by the injection of it it makes a better and thicker lining in your uterus for those fragile, and developing embryos.  My nurse described it as getting a cozy king size bed ready for the embryos to get comfortable and nessle down in!  haha!  She's so funny!  But its true, the progesterone is vital for these embryos to survive, so if its a big intramuscular needle then that is just what I will have to do!  Happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval was this morning right on time at 7:45am!  We arrived at the office at 6:45am and the nurse got us started right away.  She explained all of our paperwork we were signing, went over our embryo forms which Roger and I discussed and agreed upon weeks ago just to make sure we were still in agreement with that, its a big deal, those are your babies!  She also went over how to do the PIO's (progesterone in oil) injection I have to do starting tomorrow and continue for the next 10 weeks if I'm pregnant.  More to explain later on that.
After that, I went to the bathroom a final time (you have to have a completely empty bladder) then got dressed in my surgery gear; awesome butt-showing robe, booties on your feet, and cool hair net!  They did have nice comfy blankets though, surprisingly!  They even warmed them for me!  A few minutes after getting ready and cozy in my warmed blankets, the anesthesiologist came in and put in the IV, that hurt the worst of anything that day, but still wasn't even that bad!  He did a good job and within a couple minutes it was over!  They put it in the crook of my arm which was nice because it hurt less there and he said the anesthesia going in wouldn't burn there!  bonus!
After that, the RE came in and talked to us and made sure he answered any questions we had.  Soon after, they walked me into the OR.  They got me situated on the surgery bed and put my legs in the assumed position, lol, then the anesthesiologist told me he gave me 2 good margaritas!  Sure did!  I started to feel gooooooood and loopy!  Then the RE came in, and things got rollin!  A few seconds later he told me I was gonna take a nice nap and then...I was out!
It took about 25 minutes or so and I was done!  The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room to my hubby and nurse telling me they got 3 eggs.  I remember saying, 3, only 3?  I started crying pretty bad.  They just comforted me and told me to just let it out.  Then after a few minutes of a good cry, the nurse and doc told me 3 is good!  especially for my one ovary, and sometimes they get one or none with one ovary, so 3 is good!  That helped, and I snapped out of it, I realized that this is what God wanted us to get obviously, and He has a plan with those 3 eggs!  I started to feel better.
A few minutes later, they had my hubby go do his deed!  lol.  Afterward, they immediately mixed the sperm with my eggs (whether they had to do an ICSI-where they inject the egg with the sperm, or not I won't know until tomorrow) I'm hoping not, but with my 3 little eggs, I'm not sure they will take any chances, so they might even though we don't have a motility issue.  We'll see what happens.
So today, we created life, with God's help!  This is such an incredible feeling!  We'll find out tomorrow how many actually fertilized and made it to embryos.  My guess is that not all 3 did.  Statistically anyway that's what they say.  We'll find out soon enough.  I'm just praying for our little embies and the life that God will hopefully make.  :)
So after about an hour in recovery, I am awake, feeling good, walking around, and ready to be discharged.  They had me go to the bathroom, get dressed and we were on our way!  Overall, this was way better than I expected, very less painful that I thought it would be.  Sorta easy breezy.   
They told me that the transfer (where they actually put the embryos in me) will most likely be Saturday!  wow!  Ok, well, that's soon!!  I'll keep you updated!
Thanks for reading!!

"Going to the hospital and we're...gonna get egggggss!!!"

Like my rendition to "Going to the Chapel, and we're...gonna get marrrriiiiiied"!?  lol  Ok, forgive me, I'm blogging and I'm still feeling slightly loopy from the anesthesia!
Here is the video that my hubby took of us leaving our hotel on our way to the hospital for the egg retrieval!!  I'm NERVOUS!!!

Just got the IV...ready for the egg retrieval now!

The worst part is over, getting the IV is done!  The anesthesiologist did a great job getting it in, he had to do it instead of the nurse because I have difficult vains.  Now I'm getting swollen from the IV fluids (weird reaction I have) but it feels good after not having anything to eat or drink since the day before.  I'm ready to go now!

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...waking up after the egg retrieval

Still a little loopy...

After staying in recovery about an hour, getting up to go to the bathroom and walking around a bit, I am ready to be discharged and get dressed to go home.  My hubby took this video of me, haha, I hardly remember it!

We're home!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The night before egg retrieval

I'm nervous!  I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm nervous....this is how I'm feeling...up and down with emotion and anticipation, although I'm trying my best to relax.  I can't eat or drink anything past midnight tonight, and no injections today, which has been awesome!  I just can't believe its already here.  We have been waiting a long time, invested a lot of money, have so many hopes for this to work, and it is here, finally!  It has happened so fast to where I can't believe tomorrow morning I will be doing the egg retrieval!  I have done all I can do to get my little follies ready for retrieval and the rest from tomorrow morning on is just up to God (well it has been the whole time anyhow) but it up to my Lord and Savior from here and whether this works or not, there isn't much else I can do, maybe eat some pineapple and get a prenatal massage after the transfer, and stay relaxed for a few days, but other than that, totally in the hands of the Lord.  We will see His plan revealed shortly, and I'm very excited, nervous, excited, nervous, excited...see there I go again.  lol.  I do have comfort in knowing that God has it all under control, whether it works or not I feel somewhat at ease because I KNOW He has a plan for us to have more babies, whether it is now or not, we will soon find out!  Wish me luck, say a prayer, and sprinkle lots of happy baby dust my way!  ;)  Thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement!   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trigger Shot

So 36 hours before the egg retrieval I have to do what's called a "trigger shot" with the injection Ovidrel.  Basically, it tells my body to get prepared for the retrieval by letting my eggs prepare to release.  I have heard good and bad about the trigger shot, so I was nervous.  It was a sub-q (short needle) so I'm thankful for that!  It could have been a huge needle!  I had my husband give me the injection in my tummy and it wasn't bad AT ALL!!  I hardly felt a thing!  Nice!! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just another day in the life of IVF

The "wand" and I see each other every single visit, oh happy day!

An actual pic from my ultrasound of my ovary!  You can see the 4 follicles pretty well on the right one!

If you think that IVF involves A LOT of needles, why, you would be right!

Wanna know what a human pin-cushion looks like?

Yeah...those are bruises

Retrieval is scheduled!!!

For.....THURSDAY!!!  YAY!!!!!  I cannot believe this is really happening!  It's finally really here!  THIS week!!  ahhh!!!!  People told me that your IVF cycle will fly by, and boy are they right!  It has really flown by!  I am soooo excited, so nervous, so...hopeful!  I'm filled with so much anticipation, emotions, excitement.  
I'm just so happy that we've made it to this point of doing the retrieval, for a while there I was so afraid they'd cancel my cycle.  See, I only have one ovary, my estradiol levels have been and are LOW, as of last Friday it was at 277, and today it was at 627...its getting better, but it SHOULD be well into the 1,000's by now, so yeah...I'm a late bloomer so to speak and we're not sure why the heck my levels are so low, but they are, and my RE doesn't seem to be too concerned because my follicles looked nice and mature, and 4-5 for one ovary he said isn't bad.  Soo....we'll see! 
They scheduled my egg retrieval for Thursday at 7:45am.  I have to be there at 6:45am.  My hubby will be there of course, which I'm thankful for because he hasn't been to any of the appointments (bloodwork and ultrasounds) with me due to work being so busy, not that there was much to see at the appointments, but its still nice to have him there, so I'm so glad he'll be there for support and well...ya know...the essential part of this whole process...his sperm.  haha!  Hey I warned you I would tell it like it is, lol.  Oh just wait, I'll have so much more "telling it like it is" once I go through the egg retrieval and transfer...I'll probably say vagina...a lot.  So just be prepared...vagina vagina vagina. 
Speaking of vagina...I don't know how you can be married to a man who does this kind of work ALL DAY long...props to those women!  Seriously! 
Anyway, so I am finally FINALLY (now that we're almost through with the process) liking my RE's office.  I think they have some sort of guard up with most patients where they just do what they do everyday and it doesn't phase them anymore, all the stories are the same, blah blah and that's sad to see, but it happens.  I think that's what I was witnessing from the beginning, but now that I've been in there so many times I'm starting to develop relationships with the staff and feel they really want this to work for me.  Like when I came in on Friday when I didn't know if my cycle would be canceled and as Dr. G was doing the ultrasound I just started crying, its just so emotional the whole process, and one of the nurses came over to me, wiped my tears, rubbed my arm and held my hand.  It's times like this that I know they feel our pain and don't see us as just a name on a chart.  Those moments help make this whole thing easier.  I have friends who have had moments like that from the beginning with their RE and staff, and I hope it is usually that way, but for me...its taken a loooong time to get to this point with my RE and his staff.  Moral of the story, as I said before love your RE and his staff, you'll know right away in your gut if that's the right doc for you.  Even if you stick with your RE office because you felt you didn't have many other choices (like me) don't give up hope with them, they'll come around, they really do want you to have a successful cycle of IVF and fullfill your dreams of being a mom or dad, it just may take them a while. 
With all my random retrieval is scheduled for Thursday!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  :) 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adoption vs. In-vitro

It's funny how God calls us on different journeys in expanding your family.
Some people it comes naturally to just have as many children as you "decide" to have or however many God has blessed them with, some people never consider or could do adoption, others chose to strictly do in-vitro or fertility treatments "until it works", others chose to do both, others strictly stick with adopting, some people chose to not expand or have children at all.  No matter the decision you make to expand or not expand your family, God calls us differently and moves our hearts in different ways.  It is interesting and amazing to see Gods hand in those decisions.   
Sadly, I admit, I used to have a judgment on each of those decisions someone would chose to make for their family, maybe in a way I still do, but I have definitely changed my opinions, had a change of heart, whatever it is you want to call it towards someones decisions now that I am there and in a place to be judged myself.  Who doesn't want to have complete and total support in the decisions by their family and friends??!?
All I want to do is justify, explain, and have everyone "understand and agree" with Roger and I's decision to pursue in-vitro, but I realize that I don't need that, nor should I have to explain and justify to everyone why, all that we need is to know that God has called us on this journey for a reason, and that He has put it on our hearts to pursue this in this way at this time, to know that God has a plan in this.  If it does work, it was so we can have another beautiful child that the Lord has blessed us with!  If it doesn't work, maybe it was so God shows us that we are even further meant to adopt and it just solidifies that feeling already in our hearts for adoption!?  Who knows!  Either way, we are ready and excited for Gods plan to be revealed to us.  All we do know is that if IVF doesn't work, we will not keep pursuing it "till it works".  We will be done.  We gave it a try.  If we have any frozen embryo's leftover we feel that is our obligation to them before adoption because otherwise they would be destroyed and that is not what we believe is right as followers of Christ.
I'm going to be downright honest right now, part of me feels selfish in pursuing IVF vs. adoption.  There are so many children that need good homes.  Adoption has always been in our hearts, even BEFORE we found out we couldn't have anymore children without the help of IVF.  I KNOW some how, some way, in some time, we will adopt.  I just know that is Gods plan for us in expanding our family.  Sooner or later, I know that will happen.  I cannot wait for our time to come when we can adopt!  It is such a hope and desire of ours, and we are so excited to see that unravel in time to come!  
Part of me doesn't feel selfish by trying IVF, because it was made for people in our situation and God has his hand in all of it, if it works it was just part of His plan!  To have that heart-filled desire to carry our baby, deliver our baby and experience all of that, I can't tell you how exciting and full-filling that would be to have that opportunity if God gave it to us.  To put it mildly, it is such a horrible feeling to know you can't give your husband another child and our son a sibling, and to be given the chance to do so, why wouldn't you try it?!
So I can see both sides of the story, I can see why people do one or the other, I can judge them all I want but it doesn't take away from what God has put in their hearts and that choice to be part of His plan for their lives.  All I say by this post is try not to judge peoples choices, you haven't been there, maybe you have, either way...God has it all under control and I know He knows what He is doing.  Thank God!!  Cause I sure as heck don't!  lol

Friday, November 12, 2010

Follicles, Day 7 of stimulation, and I'm an emotional mess...

This is a picture of an ovary with follicles (basically looks like a choc. chip cookie) the dark spots are the follicles, inside the follicles is where the egg is, you can't see it on the ultrasound.  The bigger the follicle, the more mature the egg, which is what you want to see.  This isn't my ovary, but an example. This ovary has one big mature follicle, one other bigger follicle and 3 other little follicles, for a total of 5 follicles.  With my one little ovary, I have about 5 follicles as well, most of them are pretty good size, on their way to being pretty mature, 5 follicles for one ovary is pretty decent.  They would like to see more and more mature follicles before retrieval.  We'll see what my little ovary can do, I go back in on Monday.  This was today's ultrasound, I'll back up a bit and tell you whats been going on the past two days...

Yesterday I got a phone call from my RE office to let me know my estradiol (which is where they base how well you're stimulation is going-as well as the ultrasounds) level was only at 83.  It needs to be well into the 1,000's at this point.  There was a big concern until my ultrasound today that we might possibly have to cancel my cycle of IVF.  Needless to say, I was quite an emotional mess after hearing that.  I had my appointment this morning and had my ultrasound where we saw those 5 follicles (3 more from what they saw on Wed.)  so that was good!  I am responding to stimulation!  My estradiol is just still so low, so there is still some concern and obviously with one ovary my follicle count is low too, but all in only takes 1 egg to make a baby!  My RE is confident in what he saw from my little ovary and we're still moving forward with the retrieval which will be on either Wed. or Thurs. of next week!  Please keep us in your prayers!  I have no idea what's gonna happen, or if we'll make it to the retrieval at this point.  All I know is God has a plan, He has His hand in this, and it will happen if that's what is meant to be.  I'll keep you updated! 

Here is a breakdown of my IVF Schedule and Protocol

Basically, from the beginning...after I had my baseline & all the blood work done, ultrasound completed, the HSG Sono (saline ultrasound) completed, I began taking  a birth control pill called Loestrin on Oct.11th.  On Oct.25th I began taking the injection Lupron.  Then, Nov.6th, I started taking my stimulant injections, Follistim and Menopur.  Today I am on day 7 of stimulation, and next week (probably Wednesday) we will do the retrieval.  When you hear that your cycle flys by, it truly does!!  I can't believe next week is the retrieval!  Already!!  I'm excited...but gosh...this journey is emotional.  I will explain in my next post. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tricare and IVF

I thought in this post I would explain what my experience has been with our military insurance Tricare and IVF for those of you who have Tricare and are wondering what they cover. 
First, we have Tricare Prime, not sure how Tricare Standard works although it might be the same.  Just because Tricare doesn't cover anything to do with IVF doesn't mean that they won't cover SOME of what you need, which has saved us hundreds of dollars! 

It is true, Tricare doesn't cover anything to do with the IVF procedure, but Tricare WILL cover everything leading up to IVF!  Believe me, it wasn't without substantial research and asking many many questions, not only questions but the "right" questions in order to get the info I needed to figure out all this stuff, so that is why I thought I'd share it.  Maybe you already know, maybe you don't.

First, you need to go see your gynecologist that you are referred to by Tricare, explain to that doc that you are having problems getting pregnant.  Then they will send you and give you are referral to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) which is an IVF doc. 

Tricare will pay for that visit with the RE, and any others as well and any tests leading up to IVF that your RE may want you to have.  Then once a "diagnosis" is given by your RE, IVF being one of the only ways to treat it possibly, Tricare will pay for all your office visits, bloodwork, and ultrasounds leading up to your IVF procedure date.  This is where it gets tricky.  ONCE you begin the stimulant drugs Tricare STOPS paying until you are done with your transfer.  This is where your out of pocket expenses with IVF are substantial obviously in paying for IVF and all the fees and medications.  After your transfer, Tricare picks back up again.

As far as medications and what Tricare will cover, with IVF, Tricare covers none of the stimulants.  In my case, that was menopur and follistim-of course the most expensive drugs, almost $3,000 out of pocket.  As far as medications go, Menopur and Follistim were the ONLY things I had to pay out of pocket, Tricare covered the rest.  Yep, Tricare will pay for some of your IVF meds!  Tricare covered my Lupron, all of my needles, syringes, alcohol wipes, antibiotics, birth control pills, PIO's (progesterone in oil injections), aspirin, sharps containers, prenatal vitamins, I think that was everything.  Basically everything was covered BUT my follistim and menopur. 
Now, you obviously still have to pay the majority of the expense, but with everything Tricare did cover, it saved about $600 if not more.

The other thing I couldn't believe is that Tricare will cover Patient Travel.  Basically, if you have to travel over 60 miles (I believe-somewhere around there) then Tricare will reimburse your gas, meals, tolls, parking, etc. associated with your appointment which for me was approx. $50 a visit.  So everytime I go to my appt. Tricare pays me $50.  Nice huh!?  Patient Travel Reimbursement...who knew?!?  You have to submit the appropriate paperwork of course, but it is super easy and so awesome they do this for us having to travel so far to go to our appointments.  Hey, when you're going to the RE office every other day (when you're on stims) that $50 adds up!!! 

Well, I hope I didn't leave anything out, but that's my experience with Tricare and IVF so far!  :)

Lupron Self-Injection Video

This is a really bad quality video, I had trouble downloading the original, sorry!  This is me doing my first lupron self injection.  I was pretty dumb the first time doing it, and then I was stalling at the end before giving it to myself.  haha!  All the videos I've seen are of people looking like experts doing these injections to themselves, so I thought I would share my very first one, good or bad! 

IVF: a simple explanation

So some of you have been asking me what the process is about exactly.  I realized that there may be some people who completely and totally understand everything to do with the process, so disregard this post, but others of you have no idea what this is even about and see all the drugs, and don't understand it.  So...I'm going to do my best to try to explain in very simple terms.

IVF is short for in-vitro fertilization, the doctor doing this is often called a Reproductive Endocrinologist, an RE. 

As complicated as IVF seems, it is actually a fairly simple process, it is very scientific but really pretty simple.

To begin with, you know that your ovary naturally produces eggs every month.  With IVF, you want to stimulate your ovary with injections to help your ovary produce as many eggs as possible.  This process takes about 4 weeks of daily injections, about 3 times a day.  The needles are small, its not too bad.  It goes by very fast.

Before you know it, you'll be ready for the Egg Retrieval.   
The egg retrieval is a short procedure, you receive a light general anesthesia and with an ultrasound-guided technique, your doctor retrieves your eggs.  I've heard that this is the worst part of IVF, but still not horrible and it really isn't too bad.
My egg retrieval will be in about 2 weeks.

After the egg retrieval, your husbands sperm is collected and mixed with the eggs, if all goes well, the eggs fertilize and early embryo development begins.

An embryologist monitors the embryos and their development (at this point a life has been created) and within 3 to 5 days after the retrieval, the embryos are then placed in the mothers uterus.  This is called the "Transfer".  The doctor typically only implants 2 of the best looking embryos into the mothers uterus. (In our case, they will transfer 2 embryos).  IF there are any left over embryo's, they can be frozen and kept for future transfers.

Next comes the pregnancy test, about two weeks after embryo transfer you have a blood test to find out whether IVF worked or not.  
If the test is positive, you have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.
If the test is negative, you and your husband need to talk to your doctor and decide whether to try IVF again or not.  

So there ya go!  That's a pretty simple layout as to how IVF works.  Hope that helps!  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Word to the wise...

Love your doc.  Seriously Love them before you start this.  Not only must you love your doc, but you must love his staff!  It is very important.  Very!  I was told the same thing, and I listened, but because of feeling like "I had no other option but THIS RE" I kept seeing the current RE I'm with now.  Don't get me wrong, they aren't awful, they're nice, doing everything fine, nothing really bad to report about them, its just that I don't feel like they fit "my" needs in communication or understanding.  Our situation is a bit unique where my husband can't be there all the time at every appointment.  I expressed that in the very beginning that it is very important to us that we chose an IVF doc and office that completely understands that and of course they were all, "oh yes, why of course, we see this all the time" kind of attitude, but deep down, my gut feeling I still didn't "love" them, I don't know what it was.  I just pushed through the feeling and kept saying, well maybe next time I go in I'll like them more....well maybe the next visit...and so on.  To where now it is too late to switch, and I do believe the end goal (getting pregnant) will be the same with any other doc, but I still wish I loved my doc and their staff would help...A LOT.  It's already emotional enough without feeling judged by their staff.  :(  Just had to vent and give a word of advice that I should have took into more consideration to begin with. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Here are all the IVF meds!!'s a lot

This is my life for the next 4+ weeks!  

Here is a video I posted for those of you wanting further explanation and how to organize your IVF meds, hope this helps: 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lupron Injection Video, plus pics of skin reaction from Lupron

This is my 2nd Lupron injection, this time we video taped it!  Roger did a good job injecting me, and I didn't have much of a skin reaction afterward. 

Here is yesterday's pic of my reaction from the first injection:

Here is today's pic from the 2nd injection and the skin reaction I had afterward, not bad!  They pics were taken about the same time after the injection was given.  Way better than yesterday!  Both of the irritations went away within 10-15 min.  
Plus, you can hardly feel the needle!  Overall, Lupron isn't bad at all!!  Easy Peasy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My first IVF injection

...was this morning!  It went much better than I thought.  The first injection that I have to take in this process is Lupron.  Lupron is a drug that is for the very beginning stages of IVF and is an ovary suppressant.  Basically it prevents my ovary from going into ovulation until we are ready.  We have a window of 3 hours that we have to take Lupron in the morning, so I picked 7am, and Roger woke up with me and he gave me the first injection.  I will have him do most of my injections unless he has to be at work sooner than 7am.  I have two great friends close by that are nurses and will probably have them assist me with the big guns of injections (those intramuscular injections I mentioned in the previous post) so Thank God they are here to help!  I still have quite a few weeks until I begin taking those though...phew!  The Lupron injection wasn't bad at all, I could hardly feel the needle.  What I did notice though was afterward I had a small red bump where the injection site was, it was a little itchy and raised.  I was a little scared that I was having an allergic reaction so I called my RE's office (reproductive endocrinologist/IVF doctor) and asked them about it.  They gave me some things to watch for (which none of them happened) and that it went away within 15 min. they said it might have been a little reaction my body had to the drug, but nothing bad.  I continue as normal and keep an eye one it.  We'll see tomorrow!  Hopefully it was just a first time thing!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seriously!?!?!?!!!! Intramuscular injections!

How on earth can I do this injection myself?!  Oh my gosh.  I'm so nervous.  So "needle"-less to say I got my meds yesterday!  I was a little excited until I saw those intramuscular needles...oh boy.  I'm so freaking scared to do those!  I'm like, they MUST have given me the wrong size needle!  I have done some research and...yeah, they're the right size.  I'm freaking out.  There is no way I can do those myself.  I don't even know how I can even let someone stab me with it either!  Wow...well I guess it will have to be done...somehow.  I must add that not ALL the needles are this size!!  But dedication to this process is a must!  Its helped looking at other IVF Blogs and IVF youtube videos!  Yikes!  We women are brrrraaaveee when we know we want something bad enough!  And the husbands who stab us, they're brave too!  (although mine is secretly a little too excited to inject me with that needle!) boys....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why we had to do IVF, our journey to this point...

This is my story.  This is our journey so far to get to where we are now of doing IVF.  Everyone’s journey is different, but no matter how it happened, dealing with infertility is painful. 
We found out we were pregnant with our 2nd baby and were thrilled!  We didn’t even think about waiting till the “safe” period was over to tell anyone, we were so excited we told everyone!  Our little boy was ecstatic to be a big brother!  Since finding out, I had this gut feeling something might be wrong.  I ignored it and went on with the joy of it all.  It wasn’t until I woke up in extreme pain one morning that I knew there was definitely something wrong.  My husband rushed me to the ER and that is where we found out.
We had discovered I had an ectopic pregnancy.  This was not a viable pregnancy. We were told that the baby was growing in my fallopian tube and that they needed to stop the pregnancy from growing so it didn’t burst my tube and kill me.  After sometime of absorbing what we had just found out and realizing we had no choice, we got the injection and was sent home, for almost a week we dealt with the loss of our baby.
You would think that would be the end of it.  Well, sad to say, it wasn’t.  I went for my checkup with my OB Friday morning, when he looked over my ER chart from the last weekend and with my levels he got back from my blood work, he was concerned. I didn't know why he seemed concerned or why he wanted to do an ultrasound, I knew the baby wasn't there anymore, because they had told me the baby was gone in the ER.  We just followed orders and did a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
The concern on my OB's face turned to panic and I soon realized why when I looked at the ultrasound screen. We could see our baby, growing, right there in the sack in my fallopian tube, heart beating strong. The methotrexate shot they had given me in the ER had not worked from last Saturday!  Over the course of a week our baby had grown very much, and was ready to burst my fallopian tube-which could cause me to die-at any second. We were all in shock, and the horror of having to re-live this entire experience, after I thought we had already lost our baby the last week, this was almost unbearable.
In a matter of minutes, we found out that not only was our baby girl alive, hearing her heartbeat, seeing her hand waving across the ultrasound screen, I’ll never forget that moment.  It will be burned in my mind forever.  But in a matter of minutes, we found out that I was going to be rushed into emergency surgery to remove this baby girl from my body and save my life.  Talk about overwhelming, that was an understatement.  Thank God my parents were close enough to help with our son, and they rushed out of their jobs and came straight away to the hospital as they were admitting me for surgery.
I ended up being in the operating room for 3 and a half hours. The doctor said he could most likely go in laproscopically (not sure if I spelled that right) which means they make a tiny opening they can get their tools down in my abdomen to complete the surgery without having to open me all the way up, but when he did that, there was a tremendous amount of blood that poured out of me surrounding everything they saw and they were afraid my tube had already burst, so they ended up having to open me all the way up (like a c-section opening) to see what was going on. When they did that, and cleaned out all the blood, they could see that not only did they have to remove my entire left tube, to their shock they had to remove my right ovary as well.  To their astonishment, and in all their years of medicine said they’d never seen this before.  My ovary had burst open and been hemorrhaging/bleeding, and had even clotted-which means it had been bleeding for a while. If they had not gone in and done the surgery to remove the ectopic pregnancy, chances are they would have never found that my ovary had burst and clotted which was poisoning me, which then could have killed me.  I was seconds away from this happening.
This unborn baby saved my life.  Literally.  Had I not gotten pregnant, I would have never known about the internal bleeding.  So in a way, this was my miracle baby, my angel baby.  God had put her there to save my life.  
We have named her Clover, for a few reasons.  One of them being that it reminds me that God is always with me, through the horrible stuff in life, to the glorious stuff in life.  He is always right by our side-sharing in the pain and the joy.  Like a year before this had all happened, I was taking a walk where I came upon a Cross in a field by a church behind our house, and I went to the cross and looked down on the ground and I saw patches of clover, I thought gosh...I've never seen a 4-leaf clover, wouldn't it be awesome to find one under this cross?!  Right then, I found a whole patch of them!!!!  All 4-leaf clovers!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I picked all of them!  I felt Gods presence that moment.  Fast forward a year later and I'm in the hospital and as we're losing our baby and getting horrific, life-changing news I notice the wallpaper with clovers, the nurse with a clover scrub top, and a screen saver with a 4-leaf clover, and it wasn't ANYWHERE close to St.Patrick's day!  It didn't even dawn on me until after we got home from the hospital and I'm laying in my bed in excruciating pain, and I roll over and see the framed 4-leaf clover on my nightstand.  I broke down crying and remembered all the clovers I had seen that day in the hospital.  All reminders of Gods love for me, for us, that he never leaves us.  He's always there.  That is why we felt the name Clover for our precious angel baby is quite appropriate.  One day, when I’m in heaven I’ll get to hold my Clover baby.  For now, God has her safely in His arms.
It has been a journey, a process, an emotional one.  I am lucky to be alive. I thank God that I am still here and able to be a mommy for our son and a wife to my husband. Although we now will never be able to have any other children together biologically unless we do IVF because my missing ovary and tube on opposite sides, God had opened our hearts up to adopt a long time ago, so we can be comforted in having more children through adoption and/or IVF.  We have chosen to do IVF right now for multiple reasons, but still plan to adopt in the future to expand our family.  We can’t wait to see all of what God has in store for us revealed…hopefully starting through IVF!
It’s a long one, but phew…that’s my story.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"You already have a child, how could you know how it feels to be infertile?!"

Oh, why yes, yes actually I do!
The decision to do IVF was pretty much obvious to us if we wanted to have any more biological children.  I will explain why we have to do IVF and what happened in detail in the next post.  It's a story in and of itself.
As you probably noticed by my "any more biological children" comment, my husband and I do have a little boy, who will be 5 in a few days, yikes!  Time goes by so fast.  So the most common thing I hear when someone hears my journey thus far and that we long to have more children is, "well you already have one, just be happy with that".  To be honest, sometimes I want to slap those people!  YES, OF COURSE I am happy that I have a little boy already, of course!!  I love him to pieces and am so so blessed to have experienced being a mom to him of almost 5 years!  That joy is so great!
So, let me ask you a question.  Which is worse?
Is it worse to long for, want, and so desperately desire to be pregnant, have a baby, and be a mother never having had that experience before?  To wonder what it is like to go through such an incredible experience of pregnancy and joy, labor and birth, and motherhood, when you see all these other women go through it, whether they wanted that baby or not?  To not know what you're missing, but want it so bad.
OR, it worse, to HAVE gone through all of that, KNOW the JOY, KNOW the incredible, amazing-ness, awe of it all, and then have the ability to have any more children ripped away from you?  Especially when that child you do have constantly asks when they can have a brother or sister?!  Imagine your worst day in dealing with not being able to have a baby like everyone else, feeling the guilt, and sadness, and have your sweet faced little boy come up to you asking you to give him a sibling that you know you can't possibly give him.  To know what you're missing out on.
I have no idea.  I really don't.  All I ask is that you don't judge me for already having a child.  The pain and experience we go through with infertility is ALL THE SAME, whether someone already has a child or not.  The pain cuts just as deep.

It will spoil the end result if you don't already know it, so if you haven't finished reading through my journey yet and don't know the result then STOP reading now and come back to this AFTER you finish reading the journey and the end result  :)

So after going through IVF, and re-reading this post, I have to say that I disagree with this post now.  I don't disagree with it completely because the pain does cut deep no matter if you already have kids or not, but pretty much the above blog post is not how I feel now, and I'll explain why. 
So after going through IVF, and it obviously not working for us, as devastated as were and still are, it has been a million times better coming home to a sweet little boy that we already have than coming home to no children at all.  It would be sooooo much more painful and harder to not know the joy or have the experience of going through a pregnancy, and not have a child to raise, and it would be so much worse.  I can't tell you how having our son around how healing that has been, how much better of a mother it has made me, how much more patient & loving I am, and how much more thankful I am to have him.  So yes, although I do have a child, I do understand infertility, I do understand the extreme pain infertility brings, I do understand how it feels to be infertile, but I am so beyond blessed to already have a child and experience pregnancy and motherhood. 

The start of the blog

I started this blog in hopes that by sharing my journey through IVF that it will help those of you reading this in some way.  By sharing experiences, and having someone who's been there and done that always helps me when I'm charting unknown territories!
Although I haven't completed my IVF journey yet, I will update this blog along the way.  A few friends of mine going through IVF told me that having a seperate blog just for IVF was helpful to them.  I can see why.  Plus, as private as this journey and experience may be, I want to share it.  I want to be able to help someone who is like me...scared, walking into unknowns with this whole process, just someone to be "real" and tell you like it is, to talk about all the emotions, questions, conversations, and controversy you may have about IVF.  I want to be a source of help, of "real-ness", of honesty about this whole thing, from one momma to another.
I hope you find this blog of some help by sharing my story.  This is just one momma drama to another!