IVF

We love you already

35394

 

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.

IMG_20170309_150038_784.jpg

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.

IMG_20170307_201844_812

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.

 

 

 

IVF

I got follicles on the brain

20170305_165535

Boy the fertility center was packed on Saturday.  I looked around the room at all the different couples in the waiting room.  It was so cool to see people from all walks of life – younger couples, “older” couples (“old” in fertility years.  they say a woman’s success rate goes down dramatically at 35 years), same sex couples, and then us.  We, fortunately, would still fit in that “younger couple” group.  Anyways, there were so many people there.  So many people going through the same journey as we are.  Some just beginning down this infertility road and some probably nearing their end.  It really gave me a sense of normalcy for once.  I’m not alone.  Infertility is so common.  I wanted to go around to each couple or woman and pick their brain and ask them about their story.  Ask them how they got here, ask them how long they’ve been trying.  I wasn’t going for the crazy-lady-look tho so I kept my mouth shut but I wanted so bad to hear someone else’s journey to make me feel reassured we can do this together.

We got to our appointment a little early cuz we didn’t know how long it was going to take to get there and what the parking situation would be.  This was the first monitoring appointment Brandon was able to be at and it was nice having him see what these appointments entail.  They called me back for my ultrasound with a group of other woman.  I told Brandon it felt like we were herding cattle.  We were led to a second waiting room.  A second waiting room?  That’s how big the Chicago office is.  So many people and so many waiting rooms.  Brandon and I sat down and just as I was thinking “gee I wonder how long we’ll have to wait in this room for” I heard the nurse yell “Antonia G”.  Sweet, first in line!

I laid on the exam table with my feet up in the stirrups, a position I’m oh so familiar with, and was introduced once again to my new best friend, the vaginal probe.  Oh, hello old friend good to see you again.

With my nerves pulsing I quickly asked the nurse if she was still seeing 6 follicles on the right side to which she replied “I don’t know dear, I just started”.  :::Ok, calm down Toni.  Give her a chance to do her job:::

So I sat there while she measured and measured and Brandon was watching the screen probably wondering what the hell he was looking at.  When she was done she gave us our numbers.  The moment of truth.

3 on the left and 7 on the right.  10 follies ranging in size from 8.8mm-16.9mm.  A good size follicle for ovulation is 18-24mm.  So while I’m happy with the amount of follicles I’m still praying for them to reach a mature size.  See there’s just so many things to worry about and over analyze!

When my nurse called later she informed us of the ultrasound results again and said that my estrogen was trending good at 649.  “Uhh, ok is that good?”  I asked her.  She said that it was and my last estrogen level was 250.

So me being me I googled “estrogen levels during IVF” as soon as I got off the phone with her.  I read that each mature follicle should be producing an estrogen level of 150-200.

Cue Toni freak-out-mode.  Here are the thoughts running through my head:

  • If each follicle should be producing a level of 200 and I only have 650, does that mean I only really have 3 good follicles in there?
  • Why would my nurse say my estrogen is trending well? 650 sounds like a horrible number now that I’ve asked Dr Google (cue palm to face).
  • This IVF cycle is going to be a bust.  This is all for nothing.  I bet they’re not going to get even 1 good follicle.  My body sucks.  I can’t believe I thought it had potential to do this.
  • I’m definitely gonna have to do 12 more rounds of IVF to get a good number of follicles.

Yeah.  I’m absolutely insane, I know.  Insane is probably an understatement.  Bat shit crazy? Yeah that’s more like it.

After talking myself down from my mental break-down I proceeded with my normal life.  I’ve managed to take my mind off of it (at least until I go in again tomorrow for my next ultrasound/blood work appointment).  Med protocol is the same for now – still 3 shots a night.

Today helped keep my mind occupied on other things.  We had my niece, Lyla’s baby dedication ceremony.  Here’s me feeling pretty and letting my mind be free of IVF worries.  Anyone know where the bathrooms are in this place?

20170305_160250.jpg

IVF

Stimlulation Station

February 28, 2017

So I’m currently on Day 5 of taking my stimulation shots to grow all the follicles! I’m on 225 IU of Gonal F and 5 units of Lupron.  It’s been… interesting.  I had a full on mood swing this weekend where I thought Brandon was literally scared of me (once again, poor guy).  This morning I felt absolutely awful with nausea and stomach pains but it wore off through out the day, thank God.  I can definitely feel something going on in my ovaries that’s for sure.  20170228_203217Brandon has been helping me with my shots which makes it nice cuz we can do two at once which kinda makes it feel like it’s just one.   This picture is after work on Monday night.  He likes to give me the Lupron.  These are the things were bonding over now-a-days!

I went in this morning for my first follicle check since starting the stim shots. I have 5 measurable follicles and 12 in the “background” waiting to grow.  Whoah, if I feel swollen now how will I feel when I could potentially have 17 follicles in my ovaries. Huge, I’m guessing.  When my nurse called with my numbers she said things are coming along but my doctor wants to add in Menopur to help increase the number of follicles and help them mature.  The new plan is Lupron 5 units, Gonal F 150 IU, and Menopur 150 IU. 3 shots a night, yay. 20170303_115121

Holy hell does the Menopur sting.  I hate it.  I dread it.

I go back on Thursday, March 2nd for more monitoring to see where things are at.

March 3, 2017

Brandon and I took guesses on how many follicles would show up on my ultrasound yesterday.  He guessed 9, I guessed 8.  I was right, obviously.  Although I wish he was, I’d take 1 more!  I’m happy we have 3 more showing up since my last ultrasound but I’m just getting a little worried that we won’t make it to over 10 by the time retrieval comes.  My nurse said they like to see over 10 but will go in with as little as 4 but that is a very low number.  She assured me that there is still time for growth.  I just need to talk myself down from the anxiety I’m feeling over only having 8 at this point.  I worry way too much, I know.

I’m not experiencing too drastic of side effects right now.  Definitely have a sore tummy tho.  I’m running out of areas on my belly that don’t hurt or aren’t bruised.  This statement has never been so true – the struggle is real.

I’m still doing 3 shots a night and I go in tomorrow for blood work and ultrasound.  Since it’s a Saturday we have to go to the Chicago River North location.   So tomorrow morning we’ll wake up bright and early to head downtown for our appointment at 8:45.  Please, please say there are more pretty little follicles in there!