breastfeeding · formula feeding

Breast or Bottle?

I’ll start off this post by giving my outlook on breastfeeding/formula feeding BEFORE having a child.  Disclaimer: I was completely ignorant to the topic considering I had no first-hand experience with it myself.  But given that, this was my stance – breast is best.  No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.  There was no circumstance where it wasn’t the best.  I honestly was so ignorant that I couldn’t even think of a good reason that someone would actually feed formula.

Yeah.

Ignorant.

I had no idea.

Fast forward to November 27, 2017 (the day Vivian was born).  After an hour or so of her being on this Earth it was time to try this breastfeeding thing for the first time.  My nurses helped me position her and walked me through the correct approach to take.  She latched (kind of) and to my surprise nothing was coming out.  Uhhh hellooooo.  I thought milk just flowed out after the baby came out.  Again, ignorant, I know.  Things weren’t going the way we wanted so after a couple attempts my nurses said it was OK to give it a break and try again once we get into the room that we would be staying in the next 2 days.

Once we were settled in our room a new nurse had introduced herself and began the coaching process of breastfeeding.  I was introduced to a world of different positions, latching techniques, nipple shields, nipple creams, industrial breast pumps, breast shields, pump valves, pump membranes, and so on.  Needless to say I was overwhelmed given the fact that I thought breastfeeding just involved putting the baby to the breast and voila!

We tried again and still no colostrum.  I also wasn’t working with the best anatomy.  I won’t get into it but I don’t have the world’s best “breastfeeding” breasts. Vivian was starting to get frustrated as was I.  The nurse suggested I pump to get things moving along.  I like to think of it as getting the pipes primed.  I pumped for a 15 minute session and in the end got a tiny drop or 2 out.

Come on body, this baby is getting hungryyyyy.  What are you doing????

So there I was hours after Vivian was born and nothing but a tiny drop to give her.

In the meantime the nurse had brought in a ready-to-feed bottle of formula and told me it was there if we needed it.

All the sudden that jaded outlook of breastfeeding completely shifted.  My baby needed nourishment.  She needed to be fed.  My body was not producing something that she literally NEEDS to survive.  What kind of selfish person would I be to flat out say no to giving her formula simply because I didn’t want to.  Because I had an uneducated opinion that formula was bad for her.

To my surprise I didn’t hesitate and formula it was.  I gave it to her and she sucked down about 2-3mls and was satisfied.  She was fed.

Family poured in the room shortly afterward to meet her for the first time and the room was filled with 10-12 people.

I remember they asked how breastfeeding was going and I was honest – not well and pointed to the bottle of formula on the table.  I remember feeling shameful.  Like I did something wrong.  (Not because anybody made me feel that way but because of my stance of the whole breast vs. bottle situation).

The next 2 days in the hospital were spent pumping and then more pumping.  20171129_094408I would breastfeed Vivian, then pump and give her whatever I pumped.  Every sticky little drop of colostrum I would get out we would scrape out of the breast shield and put directly into Viv’s mouth.  After that we would follow up with formula since I still wasn’t producing enough.  So each feeding session consisted of: straight from the breast, pumping and feeding, and formula.  It was exhausting but I was so determined.  What started off as drops turned into lots of drops! And 2 days post partum I was so excited when I produced what’s in the picture here.  You have no idea how hard I had worked the last 2 days to produce more then just a single drop so this was a victory my friends.  Colostrum really is liquid gold, for so many reasons.  The nurses were great in the hospital and I saw a lactation nurse who was a godsend.  She saw me both days I was in the hospital and made sure to check in with me right before I was discharged to make sure I was on the right track.  She gave me all of her information for outpatient lactation services and we rented the hospital-grade breast pump to go home with.  I left the hospital with confidence moving forward.

*Just a side note – a big shot out to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.  Their staff is beyond amazing.  Each and every doctor, nurse, nursing assistant, and administrative personnel went above and beyond for us during our stay there.  I was seriously really sad when we had to leave.  It was like we were living in a magical place where there is unconditional help and support.  It was awesome.*

Our first day home was surreal and it felt like we had just kidnapped a baby from the hospital but that baby actually belonged to us and we were responsible for taking care of it and keeping it alive and stuff.  Whoah.

I fired up the ole breast pump and my life as a milk cow continued.  20171129_170630Same routine as the hospital – breastfeed, pump and feed, then formula.  From start to finish the process took a little over an hour and Vivian needed to eat every 3 hours.  Every 3 hours starting from the BEGINNING of the last session so by the time we had got done feeding her we had just about an hour and a half to do it all over again.  When I didn’t have a baby on my boob  I had breast pump attached to it but like I said before, I was determined.  We were going to get this to work.  I was going to be a breastfeeding mama.  I was going to give my baby what I thought was best.

The routine continued and my supply had increased over the next few days and my milk had officially come in.

 

 

 

I was in and out of appointments with the lactation nurse and she continued to coach me through this new lifestyle.  We would take measurements each time to see how much Vivian was taking in and how well she was latching.  Neither of which we were mastering.  She wasn’t getting as much as she needed at each feeding so the life of breastfeeding, pumping and formula continued.

Life as a breastfeeding mama was hard to say the least.  My hormones were all over the place and my nipples felt like they were on fire.  Even a graze over them with my shirt I wanted to shoot through the roof.  It. was. painful. I tried every cream on the planet but nothing really helped and when the bleeding started I needed a break.  They needed to heal.  I needed to heal.  Vivian could sense the pain I was in at each feeding and it was becoming a negative experience for both of us so I switched to pumping only as it was a lot gentler on me.  It also eliminated 1 out of the 3 steps we were taking at each feeding which was easier on me as well and we were able to see how much she was actually consuming per feeding.  We were also able to drop the formula since I was producing enough and feeding times became a lot easier on all of us.  Baby girl was getting breast milk and my nipples were getting a break.

After about a week of exclusively pumping, Viv was back on the boob.  Still slightly painful but nothing like it was.  She was about 2 weeks old at this point and something started to happen that would begin a whole new journey for us.

At diaper changes we started to notice blood in her poop.  We called the pediatrician right away and they advised that it could be a little anal fissure and to keep an eye on it.  The blood continued over the weekend and when Monday came around we brought her in to be seen.  The doctor took a (very) quick look at her and immediately diagnosed her with a dairy allergy and told me that if I wanted to continue to breastfeed I need to eliminate all dairy from my diet.

Uh what?

I got the impression that the doctor had just jumped to this conclusion considering she didn’t even check for an anal fissure.  How can you tell by just looking at her that she has an allergy to dairy?  But I’m not the doctor and I had to trust she knew what she was talking about so I started a dairy-free life the moment I walked out of the pediatrician’s office.  I went on mommy Facebook groups that were dedicated to dairy-free diets and they were filled with good recipes, snack ideas, fast food options, etc.  I was so overwhelmed but I was more than willing to do this for my sweet baby girl.

The doctor said it could take a week or so for the dairy to clear from my system and I may still notice blood during this time period.  A week had passed, then 10 days and the blood was till present if not worse.  I had gone into the pediatrician a couple more times.  One doctor had said she saw an anal fissure present but still advised I continue the dairy-free diet.

With nothing changing, back to the doctor we were.  This time I saw the lactation nurse who recommended we start an exclusively fed formula called Nutramigen to eliminate any chance of dairy in her diet.  I was upset.  I didn’t want to only feed my baby formula.  I had worked so hard on this breastfeeding journey.  It felt like it was all for nothing when we hit this point but we were running out of options since nothing was improving with the path we were taking.

There was one major perk to this tho for me…

PIZZA!

We started the Nutramigen when Vivian was little over a month old.  She was on it for about a week but still no improvement.  I was getting frustrated with the process.  Nothing was helping and I felt like I was being bounced around from doctors and nurses with no real sense of a solution.

We were finally referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

The appointment consisted of the same thing the regular ped did.  It was deja vu.  She quickly looked over Vivian and looked at me and said she not only had a dairy allergy but a soy allergy as well.

I immediately began to cry.  How do you know this by just quickly examining her?  Are we about to go down the same road we just went down?  Oh you want me to try a new formula like this is gonna be the saving grace? Now I need to start a dairy and soy free diet if I want to breastfeed?  I didn’t read about this in any of my breastfeeding books.  Amongst the positioning, latching, and pumping chapters there was no “how to live a dairy-free, soy-free life while breastfeeding” chapter.

The dairy-free diet was hard.  There is dairy in things you wouldn’t even think dairy should exist in (ie bread).  Soy is in even more.  Like everything.  Ok not literally everything but A LOT.

I was so overwhelmed.  I had looked into a dairy-free, soy-free diet and good lawddd was it limited.

I stepped back and reevaluated my thought process.  We all need to be happy (Brandon, myself, and Vivian).  We all need to be fed (in Vivian’s case something dairy and soy free).  In this stage of my life I needed things to be easy on me.  A lot was going on and I was a new mommy.  I’m not going to go into how I finally made the decision to switch exclusively to Elecare (Viv’s special formula) because honestly I’m not even quite sure how I did, I think it just happened.  But I will tell you about the depression I put myself in getting there.

It was a mind fuck.  And it was all self-inflicted.

My baby was an exclusively fed formula baby and I felt like the world’s worst mom.  How could I not adopt a new diet for her so I could still breastfeed?  Breast is best right? I’m not giving my baby what is best.  My emotions were up and down, up and down.  I had put myself in a state of depression over the whole thing.  There was mornings I would wake up in uncontrollable tears over the guilt I was feeling.  I felt awful about myself.  I continued to pump 5-6 times a day for 15-20 minutes each time.  I couldn’t give it up.  I couldn’t make that decision to let it go.  If I stopped pumping my milk would dry up and it would really be over and there would be no turning back.  So I would pump, pump, pump to keep my supply up.  I don’t really know what I was thinking would happen.  Maybe the allergies would just go away after a week or so and I could start breastfeeding again?  Maybe I’d change my mind and start to live a dairy-free soy-free life.  Maybe I could pump until Vivian was 6 months old at which time I could try breastfeeding again. I don’t know.  I think I was thinking all of these things.  In all honesty this process was more depressing and more emotionally draining than IVF was.  Honestly.

 

 

I couldn’t make any solid decision and our freezer was becoming an overfilled box of frozen breast milk.  We had to buy a deep freezer to be able to continue to store it all as I still wasn’t coming to a decision and the milk was piling up.  During nap time one day I organized it all by date and stored it in our new freezer.

The pumping sessions were taking a toll on me.  As soon as I put the shields on to start to pump I immediately felt depressed.  It was like my hormones would go haywire during these 15 minutes.  It was also time spent that I was unable to be with my daughter.  Some of the times I’d have to just listen to her cry because I was unable to hold her during a session.  It was getting harder and harder to find 15 minutes 6 times a day.  And what was it all for? Vivian was thriving on her new formula.  The blood in her poop was gone.  I got to eat cheese, and ice cream, and all the fun things that have soy in them and most importantly Vivian was FED.  She was growing and her tummy was happy.  But I still wasn’t happy.  I needed to make a decision.  I needed to stop putting my body through such agony and stop living a life consumed of mom guilt.  (Mom guilt is so real btw).  So I did.  I made a decision.  Vivian would be a formula fed baby from here on out and I was going to start the process of weaning off the pump.

Fast forward to today.  Vivian is a little over 7 months old and Mama has sure learned a lot.

First and foremost – breast is not always best.

Fed is best.  Whether that mean breast milk or formula.

Breast milk is best because of the nutrients, antibodies, immunity components, vitamins, etc that it contains.  I get it.  All formula feeding mamas get it, as well.  I am not arguing with that and yes I wish more than anything Vivian could have gotten breast milk for more that just the 1 month that she did.  I understand that formula is not the same as breast milk but the term “breast is best” should really have an asterisk next to it.  For example:

Breast is best*

*breast is best when:

1. A mother is able to breast feed.  I’ve learned that some woman are not physically even able to breast feed due to health reasons and anatomy.  How could breast possibly be best when a woman’s body does not allow it?

2. The baby isn’t allergic to what is in the breast milk (ie Vivian)

3. The mother isn’t on any medications that can harm the baby.  Some medications mothers are on are dangerous for the baby to be consuming through breast milk but mama needs to stay on said medication.

4.  A mother’s milk supply is enough to feed baby.  Some mama’s milk supply doesn’t even come in at all.

5.  And finally, breast is best is when a mama chooses that it’s the best for her lifestyle.  Some mama’s simply just choose not to (not for any of the above reasons) and that’s OK too!  As long as that mama is getting that baby fed that’s all the matters!

Also what about mother’s who have adopted a child and therefore can’t breast feed at all.  Thank God science has allowed for the production of formula, especially in these cases.  The list goes on and I understand why this topic is highly debated but it shouldn’t be.  As long as baby is happy, healthy, and has a full belly it shouldn’t matter how you got there.  Every parent’s ultimate goal is to feed their baby.  So in the end isn’t it really “fed is best?” I think so.  Parents need to stick together and stop beating each other up for conflicting parenting decisions.

I can’t tell you how many times it stung to get “judgy” questions regarding me formula feeding.  I’ll never forget – right in the beginning of our formula feeding journey (when I was still very depressed over the whole situation) I asked a waiter to bring us a mug of hot water so I could heat up Vivian’s bottle.  He got it with a smiling face and was very nice about it but told me how his wife breast fed all their children and said “it’s actually really beneficial to breast feed”.  Ouch.

Cans of formula even have a notice on the back of the cans recommending breast milk to be fed.  How about that?  Can you imagine how it feels every time you go to feed your child your reminded that you’re not giving what’s best?

I still get comments here and there and in all fairness I don’t think most people realize how rude it is so I tend to shrug it off and change the subject but for this reason I wanted to write a blog post on this topic.

Stop telling me how much better breastfeeding is – I know.

Stop telling me how you were horrified that “one time” you had to feed your baby formula.

Stop giving me judgy eyes when I mix up a bottle of formula in public.

I’m feeding my baby and I’m doing the best that I can.  She is happy and I am happy.

And yes I know breastfeeding mama’s experience the judgement too in their own regard but take it from someone who has been both a breastfeeding mom and a formula feeding mom, I think us formula feeding moms have it a little worse now-a-days.

Rewind 20 or so years ago and it would have been the opposite.  At that time formula feeding meant you had more money and could afford such a luxury.

I’m rambling now but you get my point.  Stop judging each other for FEEDING your babies.  Breast is best*.  Fed is best.

IVF · Pregnancy

The Best Day Ever

As my due date was drawing closer I was feeling more and more antsy with each passing day.  On November 26th my braxton hicks started coming closer together and lasting longer.  I didn’t get myself too excited because I knew that these things happen at the end of pregnancies and it could last a few days.  Brandon’s parents had invited us to dinner that night at Cooper’s Hawk and we were game.  We all had a great dinner and talked about how great it would be if the baby came that night.  We went home afterward and Brandon and I got snuggled into bed.  We watched TV and I passed out before Brandon.  I remember waking up around 1:30 am to a tiny trickle.  I made a surprised noise and Brandon asked what was wrong.  I didn’t want to get him too excited because I figured I just peed myself a little (hey, it happens) so I told him I was just having a braxton hick.  A couple seconds later it was like Niagara Falls.  There was no question in my mind that my water had broke.  I shot out of bed and ran to the bathroom – a trail of amniotic fluid following behind me.  “MY WATER BROKE!” I screeched.  This was it.  OMG.  Everything we had worked for had come down to this moment.  We were going to meet the baby we had worked so hard for.  I can’t even describe into words the feelings I had during this moment.  It was surreal to say the least.

We called the on-call doctor right away who advised we could wait it out at home for the next 4 hours to see if I started to go into labor on my own.  I was more than ready to have this baby and I had a feeling things were going to start to move along quickly so I took a quick shower and we were off to the hospital.

I told Brandon to snap a quick pic of me before we left…

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We had took a tour of the labor and delivery wing at the hospital a few months prior and during that tour they had informed us we would have to enter through the ER in the event I went into labor after-hours.  Well all that knowledge had gone straight out the window and we tried going through the main entrance when we got there.  Confused, we tried multiple doors – some of which included going up and down multiple stairs.  So there we were at 2 in the morning running up and down stairs (in my case, waddling) as my water continued to flow like a faucet.  I know all woman have a different experience  when their water breaks and in my case it wasn’t like you see in the movies with just one nice gush.  Mine was literally non-stop until I delivered.

We finally decided like the brilliant people we are that we should try entering through emergency – they gotta be open right?  Spoiler – they were.

20171127_130000 (1)Fast forward through check in, IV being placed, monitors being put on, etc.  I started contracting on my own within about an hour of my water breaking.  Things moved along very nicely and before I knew it I was getting my epidural placed.  It was a magical but creepy feeling.  When your mind says to move your leg but said leg doesn’t move – creepy.  Feeling zero pain – magical.

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After my epidural was placed I was told to rest and they’d be in every so often to see how things are progressing.  I was in and out of “sleep” (it’s hard to actually fall asleep when you know, your like having a baby).  We kept the lights off and I rested for the next 4 hours.  When my doc came in she checked me and said my cervix had dilated to a “10+” and it was time to start pushing.  She told me I had just “slept through labor” for the past 4 hours.

 

Praise epidurals

The doctor and nurses got everything prepped and there I was with my legs being held back – one by my hardcore Polish nurse and one by Brandon.

In her loud, intense accent my nurse started the 10 second count to push.  I swear I pushed for a good 4-5 seconds before she started counting each time.  I asked for a mirror so I could see the baby coming out.  Some people think I’m crazy for wanting to watch but it really was a beautiful thing (until the ripping started…).   With each contraction came time to push and with each pushing session the baby got closer and closer to making it’s debut (I say “it” because at this point we still didn’t know the sex).   I watched as our little baby was nearing it’s welcome to the world and all I could see was a head with a beautiful full head of hair.  My doctor was putting it’s hair in a mohawk in between pushes – that’s how long the hair was 🙂

 

Each 10 seconds of pushing was draining me of everything I had.  Brandon kept saying each time that “I was so close and this is going to be the last push”.  Well after the third or fourth time of him telling me that I officially wanted to kill him.  I was so exhausted I began to feel sick and continued to vomit all over myself.  When your at a 45 degree angle in a labor and delivery hospital bed the vomit only has one way to go and that’s directly back in your face.  Everyone quickly grabbed bowls for me to puke in but there was no use, I was a hot mess.

I continued to push for what was probably 50 minutes worth of pushing and with one of my last pushes I gave it everything I had and looked up and saw black.  I was so done.  I blacked out for a couple seconds and everyone in the room could see I was about to pass out.

My doctor worked some magic and with my next push baby GIRL was out.  She entered the world at 2:07pm.  About 12 hours from the time my water broke.

I cry even writing about this moment.  It was literally the best moment of my life.  Words don’t even do it justice.  It was euphoria.

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“It’s a girl” Brandon said and neither of us were surprised.  Our family makes a lot of girls!  They immediately placed her on my chest and I was exploding with emotion.  I was balling.  Her touch, her cries, her little hands, her warm little body, her tiny toes, her full head of hair, her big beautiful eyes.  Her love.  All of it.  I could live off the high of that feeling for the rest of my life.

 

I held her like this for as long as I wanted.  She was ours.  She was what this whole entire blog has been about.  She was what we hoped for, what we prayed for.  She was what every needle poke was for.  Every doctor appointment,  every ultrasound, every uncomfortable procedure.  All the let down, all the feelings of defeat, all the nights spent crying, all the times of doubt.  She was the reason for it all.  In that moment I knew it was all worth it.  I know it’s a phrase I use over and over again but it holds so much meaning and truth – she was worth the wait.  I’d do it a million times over again for her.

I held her tight in my arms as the tears continued to run down my face and I repeatedly told her how much I loved her.

“Her name is Vivian” I told the nurses and doctors.  I always loved the name Vivian so it had been decided years ago that that would be our baby’s name had it been a girl.  I looked at Brandon and asked what he thought her middle name should be.  It was between Vivian Elle or Vivian Pearl.

“Pearl” he said without an ounce of doubt in his voice.  “Because she was shiny and white when she came out, she looked like a Pearl” he said.

Vivian Pearl.  The most beautiful name I’d ever heard.

After I got my fill of cuddles for the time being I figured I should hand her over to get cleaned off, checked, weighed, etc.

 

Vivian weighed in at 7lbs 14oz and was 20.25 inches long.  She was perfect.20171127_150200

I spent the next few hours holding her close.  I even let Brandon hold her for a little!

 

We were in heaven.  Our lives had forever changed and we learned a new way to love.  An unconditional love.

My epidural and IV were removed and we got ready to move down to the maternity ward where we would stay for the next 2 days.

When we left the labor and delivery room I got to press the button that played a lullaby throughout the entire hospital letting everyone know that a baby had been born.  Our baby.  Our Vivian Pearl.  Our miracle.

 

IVF · Pregnancy

The Diary of an Infertile Pregnant Woman

That sounds like an oxymoron – an “infertile pregnant woman” but that’s how I saw myself through my pregnancy.  The memories and feelings of infertility did not waiver especially during the first trimester of my pregnancy.  It was a weird feeling because I also felt like I no longer fit into the community that had been so supportive through my IVF journey – my community of fellow infertile friends.  It is bitter sweet to announce a pregnancy to woman who are still fighting the struggle of infertility.  I’ve been there before.  I’ll never forget the day my older sister, Gina told me she was pregnant.

It was right before we began IVF.  She had wanted to tell me in her own way but was forced to tell us when we tried to get her to drink with us one night.  I remember the first feeling I had was jealousy.  Followed by anger – anger that I was robbed of the happiness and joy I should have been feeling for my sister.  Infertility had yet again robbed me of a moment that should have been filled with nothing but happy thoughts.  But there I was on my sister’s couch as she looked at me with tears in her eyes, tears in my eyes as she muttered the words she was pregnant.  I never imagined in a million years that that would be the reaction I would have to such wonderful news.  I went home that night and just sobbed in Brandon’s arms.

Those are the feelings and memories you don’t forget.  It was just one more reminder that I wasn’t pregnant.  I have always kept those feelings in mind even after I was pregnant.  The first trimester was bitter sweet for me.  IMG_20170519_211705_724.jpgYes, I was completely overjoyed that IVF had worked for us but I wasn’t out of the clear yet.  I was well aware of the statistics and percentages that the pregnancy could end in a miscarriage.  To really get an idea of how I felt I’ll tell you about a particular time infertility really fucked up my mindset during my pregnancy.

It was the day of Gina’s gender reveal party.  I had been 12 weeks pregnant at the time so it was also a celebration for us that we had made it to such a great milestone in our pregnancy.  Family members were there and had brought us gifts in congratulations.  This picture was from that day – my MIL got us matching Christmas sleepers for our babes.  I look happy right? And “glowing” right?  Wrong.  I specifically remember opening gifts and thinking in my head “well these will all have to be returned because this baby is definitely not going to make it.”  Yes, it sounds absolutely awful that these were the thoughts I was having and until you go through infertility you wouldn’t understand.  I worried myself sick over every little thing.  Everything was too good to be true and good things didn’t happen to me when it came to babies.  My lack of symptoms scared me too.  I felt great  – no nausea, sore boobs, food aversions, or any stereotypical pregnancy symptoms.  I also wasn’t showing at all.  Yes, I believed in my crazy mind that I should be showing at 12 weeks.  Which is pretty funny to think now because my bump was small throughout my whole pregnancy.

I’m not talking about this memory to get sympathy or be pessimistic.  I’m just trying to put in perspective the impact that my infertile journey still had on me.  I felt like an infertile pregnant woman.

It got better tho.  A lot better.  Once I was in to the second trimester I started to think more positive.  And when I could start to FEEL my baby inside me, whoah.  That was one of the best (if not THE best) feelings in the world.  Each movement was a reminder that she was still in there and was thriving in my womb.  Our 20 weeks ultrasound was also amazing.  Baby girl was breech so we didn’t get a lot of good shots but we got all the essential information we needed.  She was perfect and all her parts were functioning normally.  We had the doctor put the gender revealing picture in an envelope to have for a memory but we never opened it until after Vivian was born.  Yes, that’s right family and friends – we did NOT know the gender of the baby despite what you may have thought!

The next big milestone in my pregnancy was the day of our baby shower.  A day I thought might never happen.  But it did.  IMG_20170917_163107_434000.jpgAnd it was perfect.  I arranged to get my hair and make-up done because shit, I deserved it! I spent the morning getting spoiled at home while Brandon was out golfing with the boys.  When I walked into my shower tears immediately fell from my eyes.  This day was actually here.  A baby shower to celebrate OUR baby.  It was a very surreal day and it felt like I was in a dream.  All of our friends and family were there and spoiled us with the most amazing gifts.  It was perfect and I will never forget it.  My MIL made the most precious onesies and she made this one that read “The little embryo that could”.  Que sob fest!  IMG_20170918_084420_415.jpg

My pregnancy was pretty smooth sailing as far as symptoms were concerned.  Besides baby girl’s movements and my growing belly I really wouldn’t have even know I was pregnant! It was that good.

And then the third trimester hit!

Around week 35 the swelling and gastric reflux hit hard.  I could only fit my sausages into one or two pairs of shoes and if Brandon was home he was the one putting them on for me! There was one night that we got Portillo’s for dinner (because, duh) and when your pregnant it tastes even better than it already is.  When we went to bed that night I had been sleeping for a few minutes when I shot up out of bed because I literally had a mouth full of vomit.  Gross, I know.  My gastric reflux was so bad.  And let me tell you, Portillo’s does NOT taste as good coming up.  The nights were getting very long and uncomfortable.  No position was comfortable no matter how many pillows I stuck under me or around me.  I officially got to the point in my pregnancy where I “just wanted this baby out of me.”

Well on November 10th I almost got that wish.  Brandon and I went in for my 37 week check-up.  My doctor checked my cervix to feel how far dilated I was.  She reported me at a “wiggly 1cm.”  When she was done I sat up and felt a gush.  Not like my water broke but just a gush for lack of a better description.  20171111_082245.jpgI said to my doctor – “whoah I just felt a big gush.” She had used a big glob of lubrication to feel my cervix and said that was probably what it was from.  Ok makes sense to me.  When the appointment was finished and she left the room I got up to get dressed and discovered that that big gush was a rush of blood.  I told Brandon to go get the doctor right away.  She came back in and checked me out.  My bag was still intact and everything felt fine.  She rushed me down to the ultrasound room to check my placenta and fluid.  Everything was looking fine so she hooked me up the stress test to monitor contractions and baby’s heart rate.  I began to contract every 2-3 minutes.  When doc checked my cervix she put me into false labor.  Definitely wasn’t expecting this at a routine 37 week check-up.  She sent us over to labor and delivery to be monitored.  Holy shit.  Was baby coming today?  No, she wasn’t.  But it was a close call.  After a couple hours of monitoring the contractions had lessened and my blood work had come back within normal limits.  We almost met our baby 3 weeks early and with all the swelling and discomfort I was feeling lately I was fine with that.

And the pregnancy symptoms weren’t over yet.  Oh nooo they weren’t  A week before I gave birth to Vivian the weirdest thing started happening to my skin.  It started off as one little red bump on my foot on a Saturday night which I didn’t think much of.  It hurt when I walked on it but I figured I might just have something stuck underneath my skin like a hair splinter (google it).  The next morning I had bumps all over my hands.  What the hell was going on?  I remember asking Brandon if he had HPV and didn’t know it.  I wish I could apply the crying laughing emoji right now.  Imagine his response.  So good.  The answer was no, obviously.  Anyways, that night after I got out of the shower I noticed the bumps had spread onto my precious baby bump.

Now I was getting concerned.  Again, what the hell was going on!?  It was 7pm on a Sunday night so I called the on-call OB.  She said it didn’t sound like an emergency but wanted me to see the dermatologist the following day.  The bumps had spread to my legs and it turned out I had something called PUPPPS (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy).  It was so painful and uncomfortable.  My smooth and symptom free pregnancy was now a mess of swollen feet, Portillo’s puke, and little red bumps.  You can come out whenever you want baby.

1 week later (3 days before my due date) I would get my wish.  Stay tuned for labor and delivery tales and life with Vivian thus far!

 

IVF

Worth The Wait

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I know it has been forever since my last post and I appreciate the respect of our privacy over the last few weeks.  This post is going to be a very lengthy one – I have a lot of time to make up for! But trust me, this one was worth the wait…

Friday March 24, 2017 – The day of my blood pregnancy test

The day we had our embryo transfer (March 14, 2017) we asked family and friends not to ask us the specific day we would be finding out the result of our pregnancy test.  We knew that if they knew the exact day there would be pressure and questions (all meant in good faith of course) to give them an answer right away.  No matter what the result were to be – positive or negative, we wanted to be able to go through whatever emotions together as a couple.  It was going to be either one of two things – the best day of our lives or the worst.  The day we had our embryo transfer we knew that the exact day we would be finding out would be March 24, 2017.  So we had to wait a total of 10 days to find out if our little bean stuck.

10 days of grueling hell.

Let me tell you, I OBSESSED over everything, googled everything.  There were days I was confident it had worked and then there were days where I knew it had not.  On those days these were my thoughts:

  • How could it not have worked?  We had a perfect embryo, why didn’t it work? Now we really need to find out what’s wrong with me.  If a perfect embryo didn’t stick then nothing will.
  • This is just awful.  Now with Brandon’s work schedule and planned vacations coming up we won’t be able to go through another round of IVF until the fall.
  • OK, so my insurance covers 4 rounds of IVF.  We’re definitely going to exhaust all those and then what!?
  • Was the doctor sure he implanted it into my uterus?  What if it is still left in the catheter and never made its way out?

Talk about crazy lady status.  And then there were the “symptoms” or lack there of.  I wasn’t experiencing any of the typical early pregnancy symptoms.  If anything I was experiencing PMS symptoms.  At 6 days post transfer I woke up in the middle of the night to pee and when I laid back down I had menstrual-like cramps.  At 8 days post transfer the mid-night cramps were even stronger.  I remember laying back down in bed and thinking this was it.  It was over.  I knew the next time I got up to go to the bathroom I would wipe and see blood.  But I didn’t.  Not even a trace of blood.  Nothing.  I ALWAYS spot before a period but yet there was nothing.  At 9 days post transfer it was the official day that I should start my period and while this would excite a normal person that it still hadn’t come I was very skeptical.  I had currently been giving myself Progesterone shots every night since the day after my egg retrieval.  Progesterone is known to stop your period and it is extremely common not to get it.  So while yes, the lack of period was a good sign, it did not guarantee I was pregnant.  The progesterone shots could be stopping it from coming.  Either way at 10 days post transfer I would find out the result and this awful game of waiting would be over.  Finally.  And no, I did not take any home pregnancy tests during my wait.  I told myself I would enjoy being PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise).  Well, if a game of high anxiety is “enjoyment” than yes that’s exactly what I did.

On the morning of Friday, March 24, 2017 I woke up and got ready to get my blood drawn for my beta HCG level (a blood pregnancy test).  I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous or had higher levels of anxiety in my life.  I was absolutely sick to my stomach.  I sat down in the waiting room with a room full of other woman and couples.  I was sure it was written all over my face – I’M HERE FOR A PREGNANCY TEST AFTER MY FIRST ROUND OF IVF.  I’M SCARED SHITLESS.  I MIGHT POOP MY PANTS.

And then I heard my name get called.  I don’t think I ever hated the sound of my name more.  I didn’t want to hear it.  It meant that they were ready to draw my blood.  Blood that probably would show no levels of HCG.  No marker of pregnancy.

I peeled myself out the chair I was glued to and stepped through the door down the hallway to phlebotomy.  The phlebotomist (a girl I really grew to love at my clinic) asked me how I was.  I replied with “nervous” and then the tears began to fall from my eyes.  I wasn’t expecting it but I couldn’t stop.  I immediately put my head to the ground and refused to look up as I walked down the hall.  I did not want anyone to see the emotional wreck I had become.  I sat down in the chair and she noticed right away.  “Are you crying honey?” She embraced me with the longest, nicest, and most heart-felt hug.  Something I so needed.  I apologized for being a mess and thanked her for the hug.  She completely understood the state I was in and wished me the best of luck.  I walked out with a red face and a band-aid on my arm.  Now all I had to do was wait.  Wait again.  Wait for my nurse to call between 1-4 and deliver the biggest news of my life.

The benefit of the day was that I am off work on Fridays.  I would of been completely useless had I had to work.  Brandon was at work til about 4 and told me he had not wanted me to tell him over the phone what the result was.  He wanted to hear in person from me when he got home.  He always calls me on his way home from work so I told him that he better not call me than cuz no matter what the result I wouldn’t be able to hide it from him.

The hours ticked by like snails.  It was the longest 4 hours of my life.  At 1:47pm (yes I remember the exact time) my phone rang.  FCI HINSDALE flashed across my screen.  OMG, HOLY SHIT, SOME ONE PUNCH ME, OR KILL ME, THIS IS FUCKING IT.

I grabbed my phone and ran outside (I didn’t want the dogs barking, see blog post “We’re Pulling the Tigger”.)

“Hello”

“Hi Toni, this is Agnes calling with results”

::::I know who it is and I know why you’re calling!!!!::::

“Hi!”

“OK so we got your result in and your beta HCG level is 273.  You’re pregnant!”

I’m crying and shaking even typing this right now.  I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t.  I’M PREGNANT.  Words I never thought I’d be able to speak.

The rest of the conversation she explained that we have to be “cautiously optimisitic”.  We had to repeat two more beta levels in the following days to make sure my levels were rising appropriately and then we could move on to ultrasounds.  They want to see beta levels rise by 66% over a 48 hour period.

I got off the phone with my nurse and didn’t know what to do with myself.  I wanted to scream, cry, dance, kiss my dogs, set off fireworks, have a parade, rent a plane and write it in the sky  – TONI GABRY IS KNOCKED UP!!!!!!

After I collected myself I fumbled through my bathroom drawer for 2 pregnancy tests.  I peed the most beautiful pee on the most beautiful pee stick and saw the most beautiful two lines I’ve ever seen and the most beautiful word I’ve ever read – PREGNANT.

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I have never seen a second pink line and I sure as hell have never seen the word “pregnant” on a pregnancy test.  It seems stupid that even tho I already had a confirmed blood pregnancy test that I took a urine test but you have no idea the feeling of getting a negative over and over and over again month after month.  The feeling of continued let down and failure.  I deserved this feeling.  I deserved seeing that second pink line appear even before my pee had enough time to make it across the screen.  It was one of the best feelings ever.

The next thing I did that day was run to Hobby Lobby to get baby blue and pale pink ribbon.  I also picked up some balloons and got a cute little wood sign that says “we love you a ton”.  I went home and put everything together.  I tied the pink and blue ribbon around my belly and waited for Brandon to get home.  He texted me in the mean time and asked if they called yet.  My immediate reaction was to tell him that they didn’t.  I was thinking that if he knew they had called that he’d start asking me questions.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep it a secret.  So I told him that they hadn’t called yet.  And what does he do?  He calls me!  He figured since they hadn’t called then he could call me on his way home from work to chat.  I had to lie through my teeth the whole time.  Lots of “yeah I can’t believe they didn’t call either”, “how rude of them to make us wait til the last minute, this is ridiculous”, I even threw in a “well I better get off the phone with you I don’t wanna miss their call.”

When he got home he came in with flowers in his hand and turned the corner to see this.

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I was standing next to the chair with a huge smile on my face and the ribbons around my belly.  He just looked at me and said “NO! Really????” I shook my head yes and we both got teary eyed (Yes, Brandon YOU got teary eyed too).

We went out to dinner shortly afterward and celebrated the best news we have ever received.

March 28, 2017 (4 weeks 5 days pregnant)

I went back for my second beta draw 4 days later and my hcg level rose to 717.  Proper rising times and still pregnant! One more beta draw to get through.

March 30, 2017 (5 weeks pregnant)

My third and final beta draw came back as 1,388 and I was officially done with HCG checks!  The next step was our first ultrasound on April 5th.

April 5, 2017 (5 weeks 6 days pregnant)

When we went in for our ultrasound the sonographer explained that we’re just looking for a yolk sac at this point and we may or may not see a fetal pole and heart beat.  She quickly found the20170526_173505 yolk sac present but nothing else.  She reassured me that that was OK and more often they DON’T see the other things.  I trusted what she was saying but knew I’d feel so much better if we’d at least seen a little heart fluttering away.  We scheduled our next ultrasound and if everything went like it was supposed to than we would be graduating from our fertility clinic that day.

April 17, 2017 (7 weeks 4 days pregnant)

I sat pant-less waiting for the sonographer to come back in the room while Brandon rubbed my back.  He sensed how scared I was for this scan.  I still had no pregnancy symptoms and was sure that something was wrong.  20170417_103624I felt too good.  I was so scared that she would scan me and find nothing.  When she came back in the room and inserted my best friend “Wanda” up my hoo-ha we saw the sac right away and it was so obvious that there was now a baby in there!  This beautiful tiny babe had the sweetest little flutter of a heartbeat of 146bpm!  All my doubts and fears went away the instant I saw this beautiful sight and tears rolled down my cheek.  Brandon grabbed my hand and we both stared in awe at what was created.  Afterward we met with our doctor who hugged me and congratulated us.  He went over the do’s and don’t of pregnancy and it was so surreal that we were even having this conversation.  We checked out with the receptionist who gave us more hugs and well wishes and sent us with my medical records and a pregnancy magazine! I had officially graduated from the fertility center and it felt amazing.  And even tho they all started to feel like family, I was so thrilled to say goodbye!

April 28, 2017 (9 weeks 1 day pregnant)

Our first appointment with our OBGYN.  We were a regular ol’ knocked up couple.  She gav20170428_121159 (1)e me another ultrasound and this time baby sprout’s heart beat was beating away at 182bpm!  From the looks of the ultrasound Brandon was convinced we were having a fish, not a human.  Which I can’t say I blame him.  Poor babe looks exactly like a fish in this ultrasound.  But he/she is the most beautiful fish I’ve ever seen!

May 23, 2017 (12 weeks 5 days pregnant)

I had my NT scan at a facility outside my doctor’s office.  This is where they take a little blood from your finger and test for chromosomal abnormalities.  I also got an ultrasound of the baby where they take all sorts of different measurements to send in with the blood.  I also got to hear my baby’s heart beat for the first time and it was music to my ears.20170601_100843

The sonographer was SO quiet during my whole scan and looked so concentrated on the screen the whole time.  She scared the shit out of me.  I thought she was seeing something wrong with my baby.  I asked her at the end if everything looked OK and she replied with a simple “yeah it’s a very limited scan.”  Uhh what?  It looked pretty involved by the look on your face.  I was so upset afterward and wouldn’t find out the results for a week.  Brandon called me to check how everything went and I was in tears.  I told him how awful she made me feel and how scared I was they saw something abnormal.  I also convinced myself I saw her take a measurement that was indicative of an abnormality and had myself all freaked out and worried.  I was scheduled with my regular OBGYN 3 days later and told myself I was making them do another ultrasound to make sure everything was OK.

May 26, 2017 (13 weeks 1 day pregnant)

When we got to my doctor’s office they took me back to an exam room – the room without the ultrasound.

“I’m getting an ultrasound today, right?”

The nurse replied “no” and I explained to her that I had called and requested one.  She was very nice over the whole situation and explained to me I wasn’t supposed to get one today because I just had one 3 days prior and insurance would charge me possibly thousands out-of-pocket.

Yikes, thousands?? After I thought about it I asked if she at least had a preliminary report from my ultrasound and to my delight, she did.  She showed me the report and went over everything.  I quickly scanned over the paper and saw that the measurement I thought I had seen the other day was not right.  The fluid in the back of baby’s neck was a normal amount and at the very end of the report it read “no fetal abnormalities.”

Thank you God.

The rest of the appointment was very quick and the doctor placed the fetal doppler on my tummy so we could hear the heart beat.  Brandon would be hearing it for the first time.  Once again, music to our ears ♥

May 30, 2017 (13 weeks 5 days pregnant)

I got the call with my final results from the chromosome test.  The nurse delivered the news that our precious baby is at low risk for any chromosomal abnormalities.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I got off the phone and cried the most happiest and joyful tears.

 

So there you have it.  A small glimpse into what the last 14 weeks have consisted of.  Pregnancy has been great to me so far.  I’ve had mild nausea from week 7-11 but that’s about it.  I’m taking this as my present for all the shit we had to go through to get here.  I will continue with updates through out my pregnancy and I continue to thank God every day for what we have been given.

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IVF

We love you already

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I started to feel crappy and not myself on Saturday night.  I had no appetite (which is soooo abnormal, I love food!), felt slightly nauseous, and was constipated (I would apologize for that being TMI but if you’ve been reading my blog then that’s the least of the things to apologize for!).  I took it pretty easy the rest of the night – laid on the couch, went to bed early, hubby brought me soup.  When I woke up I felt just as bad if not worse.  I was in and out of the bathroom all morning and still no appetite what so ever.  I couldn’t move out of bed without feeling weak.  I couldn’t even make it to my step-grandmother’s funeral which I felt awful about but if there was ever a time to take my health seriously, it was now.  I needed to take it easy and be 100% for the day of my embryo transfer.  I just couldn’t snap out of it tho and my constipation turned into quite the opposite problem (gross I know, but we’ve all been there).  I battled this through out the day and when Brandon came back from the funeral he laid in bed with me and took care of me (like he has been doing).  I was trying to stay hydrated with Gatorade and water.

The IVF team warns you about getting OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) after your egg retrieval, so while the thought had crossed my mind that this is what it could be I knew it wasn’t.  I had none of the symptoms of it.  I wasn’t bloated, vomiting, didn’t have abdominal pain and I didn’t gain any weight – you gain weight with OHSS from all the retained fluid.

When I woke up Monday morning I still felt awful.  I weighed myself to ensure I hadn’t gained and I found that I actually lost 7lbs since my egg retrieval.  Whoa.  When I saw that I lost that much weight in just 4 days I became concerned.  I started to put on my scrubs to get ready to go to work but I just couldn’t do it.  I still felt like a turd and once again it wasn’t worth it to push myself so I ended up calling in.  I hate calling in but I wasn’t taking any chances.  I emailed my nurse right away as the office wasn’t open yet.  No returned call.  Finally my IVF nurse called to give us our time slot for our embryo transfer and I told her what was going on and said I had not heard back from my regular nurse.  She spoke with the doctor on the floor at the time and they advised me to make an appointment with my regular physician so he cold prescribe me something.  They couldn’t since “it wasn’t fertility related.”  The transfer was up in the air at the point.  I had to be healthy enough.

Thoughts – Uhh seriously? I’m pretty sure any doctor can prescribe something for diarrhea.  I was pissed.  I’ve been in and out of their centers for the past 6 months but they want me to go somewhere else?  Not cool.  I felt like I was pushed to the side and my issues weren’t important to them.  Fortunately, this is the first time I have ever felt this way when dealing with my fertility center so I let it slide.

I did what they instructed and made an appointment with my regular doctor who was luckily able to fit me in that day.  He thinks I was reacting to the z-pack I was on and said I was safe to move forward with my embryo transfer tomorrow.

Thank God.

Disclaimer – Brandon suggested we stay in the city again as there was a snow storm warning in effect until the following day at 4 o’clock.

I did not want to sleep in the city again.  I still wasn’t feeling 100% and wanted to sleep in my own bed.

What a mistake.

What’s usually a 30-45 minute drive took 2 hours.  2 fucking hours.

The drive consisted of a lot of “you were right” Brandon.  Boy was he in his glory to hear that.

We got to our appointment about 10 minutes late but they understood due to the shit storm that was occurring outside.  They brought us back to the procedure room and the embryologist came in.  She gave us an update on our embryos and told us about the one they would be transfering today.  She described it as a beautiful embryo with a perfect grade of 1aa – the best grade you can get.  Wow.  I got teary eyed.  What amazing news.  She then said 4 of the remaining embryos had stopped growing and 2 they would watch over night and see if they’re strong enough to freeze.  She said she’d call the following day with an update.  I couldn’t even get upset over losing the others after hearing the perfect one we had for transfer.

The nurse came in to check that my bladder was full enough and before I knew it the room was filled with people ready to get me pregnant.  The TV on the wall flashed to an image of our embryo so we could see it before transfer.  Everyone started commenting how beautiful it was.  Doctor said it looked like something he’d show other patients to show them what an good embryo should look like on transfer today.

To me it looked like a blob.  But it was my beautiful little blob.

After we got a picture of the embryo it quickly got sucked up into the catheter and was given to the doctor for him to do his thing.  1489506391119The nurse on the ultrasound machine pointed out everything on the screen for me and within seconds my little embaby was safely inside my uterus.  Hopefully making itself at home and getting cozy.

The picture on the left is our little embryo and the right is our first ultrasound.  There’s a very small white arrow pointing to where it is in my uterus.

Now we wait.  The dreaded two week wait.  One of the worst, if not the worst parts of trying to have a baby.  The time where you over-analyze every little symptom or feeling your having.  One day you convince yourself you’re pregnant and then next you’ve convinced yourself it definitely didn’t work and probably never will and you’re just a huge failure.  Good God is this gonna be hard.

I must remember that Google is my enemy and not my friend.

Oh and we got the update on the rest of our embryos.  None of them made it to freeze.  I was devastated and had a sob fest when I got the news but I had to let it go.  There is a little embryo inside me that needs me to remain stress-free.

I’m not sure when the next update will be but please please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  I hope our little one is getting comfy and cozy for the next 9 months ♥

IVF

How do you like your eggs? Fertilized.

On Thursday March 19th I went in for my egg retrieval.  The part of this journey that I have been the most anxious about.  I’ll run through what this day was like. 20170311_172211.jpg

I woke up bright and early from what wasn’t really a good night’s sleep (that was to be expected).  I took a shower and put on a little bit of make-up so I didn’t completely look like a zombie post procedure.  I woke up Brandon about a half hour before we were going to leave in order for him to, um, ya know do “his part”.  I fetched him some coffee to give him some alone time.  Yes, this is all as awkward as you’re imagining it to be.  Nothing about IVF feels normal.

I tucked Brandon’s sample under my vest to keep at body temperature and we were off to the fertility center.  Shortly after we got there we were brought back to the area with the recovery and procedure rooms.  We started off in the recovery room where my nurse (who was awesome) took my vitals and had us sign some papers.  She humored Brandon and took his blood pressure too.  It was a little bit high.  I think his nerves were worse than mine.  After she was done she brought me a nice warm blanket and I laid in bed til they were ready for me.  You’d think my anxiety and nerves would be through the roof but oddly enough I was completely calm and at peace.

A new nurse came in and said she needed me to pee and then we were off to the procedure room.  I walked in the room which was filled with about 4 other people – the embryologist, the nurse, the anesthesiologist, and eventually the doctor.  The anesthesiologist slapped a nasal cannula on me that delivered oxygen and within seconds placed an IV in my hand – ugh I was really hoping it wouldn’t go in my hand.  I positioned my legs where they told me to do so and then I was told I would begin to feel the medicine.  Last thing I remember was looking up at the clock on the wall.

When I came to I was back in my recovery room.  Apparently I got there in a wheel chair which I have no recollection of.  Brandon said I looked hilarious and was cracking up when they wheeled me in.  He decided it was a moment that needed to be cherished and snapped a picture.  What a stand-up guy! 34319.jpegThe first thing I remember hearing was I did great and I just started crying happy tears.  Yes I was drugged out of my mind but at least they weren’t sad tears!  I kept telling Brandon how much I loved him and told him not to let go of my hand.  He was adamantly shoving crackers and water in my face.  He must of been instructed to make sure I eat and drink right away.  Or he just really enjoyed treating me like a drugged-out-parrot.  I felt aaaamazing.  Propofol is cool.  I remember not feeling any pain and couldn’t believe it.  I idiotically thought this was how I’d feel the rest of the day.

In my stupor I heard the nurse say something about our eggs and Brandon repeated it back to me.

“9 eggs”

9 eggs? I asked.  Is that good?

Very good, replied the nurse.

OK, 9 eggs.  Not bad! Now lets just get these little guys fertilized!

I started to come out of my drunken spell and they brought me to the bathroom because I had to pee before they would release me.  A quick piddle in the toilet and I was back in my room slowly getting dressed.  We were out of the door about 30 minutes after my procedure.  And that’s when the pain kicked in.  Dammit I knew that was too good to be true.  While the pain wasn’t excruciating it also wasn’t mild.  It was somewhere in between.  Brandon got me home and settled on the couch with nurse Eden by my side.  He grabbed me some food and I took some Tylenol 3.  I was in and out of naps the rest of the day.  We wouldn’t hear from the nurse until the following day with the update of how everything did over night.

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I got the anticipated call the next day.

My nurse opened the conversation by declaring it was good news! Yes!

Out of the 9 eggs retrieved, 8 were mature, and 7 have been successfully fertilized.

7!!! Lucky number 7!!!

She said they would call again tomorrow (which is today) with another update and give us our transfer date.  Ahhhh we wait again! Please please stay strong little embabies! Brandon and I were joking yesterday how it’s exhausting being parents to 7 kids.  So exhausting that we were in bed by 8 o’clock.  I blame it on the Tylenol with codeine, I’m not sure what Brandon’s excuse was…

Today I got the update while I was at work.  I sprinted downstairs while yelling to my co-workers “I GOTTA TAKE THIS CALL!!”

Again the opening of the conversation began with “I’ve got good news!”

“You still have 7 embryos and your transfer will be a 5 day transfer so you’ll be back in on Tuesday”

We still have all 7 AND they are strong enough to make it to day 5!! What the hell, is this real life!?

Yes it is.

I probably won’t be doing too many more updates after this point because I’d like to keep the status of our pregnancy private until I’m ready to announce it – whether it be positive or negative.  All I ask is that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers and keep everything crossed for us.

This might just be it!

IVF

We’re pulling the trigger!!

The last 2 days of monitoring have gone pretty well! When I went in on Monday I still had 10 follicles showing and they were ranging from 12mm-23mm.  My estrogen level was 1,604!! So my body is totally doing what it needs to do and I just need to calm down.  I had to do another night of stimulation shots last night at the same doses and come in the following morning for blood and ultrasound.

Of course they were super booked up and only had a 10:15 slot open so I had to leave work in the middle of surgery today (thank god for awesome co-workers who have been helping me out).  The ultrasound tech did her thing and was measuring away at each beautiful looking black dot on the screen.  She said things were still looking really good and I had a good number of follicles in the 20mm range.  She said I’ll probably trigger tonight or tomorrow.

A trigger shot is what induces ovulation and is used as the final step before egg retrieval.  It is essential that it is timed appropriately in relation to the egg retrieval – 36 hours before.

I was really hoping when my nurse called later she would say that we’d be triggering tonight.  I’m so ready for this!  She emailed me on my way home from work and said she’d be calling soon with instructions.  Ooook?  She has never emailed before telling me she’s about to call, she usually just calls.  It’s gotta be happening tonight! Ahhh! I told her I was driving home from work and she asked me to call her when I got home.  I couldn’t wait to get home!

When I finally got home I sat down with my planner and a pen ready to hear what to expect.  I put Eden outside in case she started barking and had Janet inside (not thinking she’d make a sound).

I didn’t factor in her arch nemesis, the mail man.  So as I’m on the phone with the nurse getting very specific and special instructions Janet is eating her food and then all the sudden she hears the mail slot open.  Oh, shit.  I’m just gonna try and paint a picture of what happened next: Janet sprinting to the couch to look out the window for evil mail person, food still in her mouth, intense barking, gasps for breath, food stuck in her throat, choking on said food, barking some more, choking, barking.

OMG can someone give me a freaking break.  I just wanna hear the most important instructions I’m gonna get through this whole process in peace.  Janet please shut up and stop choking.  I’m gonna be such a good mom, right?

In between rubbing Janet’s throat to help her stop hacking I was able to play it cool on the phone with my nurse and gather the information I needed.  Well at least the important stuff.

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WE’RE TRIGGERING TONIGHT AT 10PM and we go in Thursday morning for egg retrieval in Chicago!! BAAAAA we’re sooooo excited!!! I took the obligatory before and after stimulation shots picture to compare the damage they ensued.  I don’t think they caused too much bloating. It could be worse. Hopefully that belly will be getting a lot bigger in the near future anyway!

We decided to get a hotel room for tomorrow night in the city in order to help things go as smooth as possible on Thursday morning.  My nurse said they prefer if Brandon gets his sample at home and not at the fertility center.  I guess it’s better that way.  Something with how the spermies liquify or some crap.  I’m not sure exactly what she was saying – remember Janet? Anyways, we’d have to get the sample there within 2 hours and while that shouldn’t be an issue coming from our house you just never know what crazy Chicago traffic you’ll get especially during rush hour.  IMG_20170307_201128_376We do not want to chance anything at this point.  So if we get to be bougie for a night in Chicago than hell yeah for us.

Janet is fine by the way.