Monthly Archives: August 2014

I love roller coasters, but not endless ones.

So where do I begin?  I feel like I have so much to share.  So much to catch the world up on.  And yet, so few words to describe what I am feeling and thinking in my head.  I think the best thing to say from the beginning, is that I kind-of lied in my post when I said I wasn’t pregnant.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t intentional.  My body was very clear, or so we thought, that there wasn’t a baby on board.  I will use the next few paragraphs to describe the hills, cork-screws and loops that we have been on over the past few weeks.

Going up the first hill: As you will remember, I had my early scare and started going to the doctor 8 days past my 3 day transfer (August 11). At that point all looked ok, and when they took my HCG blood test (pregnancy hormone) my level was 6.9 (anything above 5 and between 25 needs to be re-checked in a couple days).  Keep in mind this is really early to detect a pregnancy, so it was interesting.  August 13, I had my blood checked again and my HCG level was 12.1. In a viable pregnancy your hormone levels are supposed to double every 48 hours, and mine were. However, I was still having some issues that were leaning towards me being not pregnant.

Down the first hill: August 15 my mom and I went to GRS for an ultra-sound and tests, and it was at that point that my doctor determined that I wasn’t pregnant.  My body internally just didn’t look like a woman’s who was preparing or carrying a baby.

Around the first bend on the way up to the loop: August 18 I had to go back to the doctor to end my first clinical trial. Physical. Pregnancy blood test. And discuss the next protocol (this was when I posted my last blog update). We were ready to start our next fresh cycle and we had accepted this one didn’t work.

Loop #1: The HCG blood test came back from that monday at 156. Typically an HCG # doesn’t go up when a woman isn’t pregnant. So that put us down a whole different path…ectopic.  Ectopic pregnancies are when the embryo doesn’t implant in the uterus and attaches to the tubes or somewhere else in the reproductive organs (fallopian tubes usually, but sometimes ovaries or other places, from what I’ve read).  The fear behind ectopics are rupturing and causing serious issues that sometimes require surgery.  However, every angle in the ultrasound showed no evidence of an ectopic. So I had to come back in two days.

Coming out of loop #1: August 20. Ultrasound to check for ectopic…gonna shock you…nothing could be seen.  When I tell you nothing could be seen, I mean no signs of ectopic or viable pregnancy. A couple weird areas, but nothing of note. Blood test done and results came back 491.  So they more than doubled between Monday and Wednesday.

Really fast twist: August 21. Went BACK to the doctor to get an ultrasound bc I wasn’t feeling great. That was when we saw things that looked a bit more normal, and we thought we should see my numbers go down.

Up the second hill: August 22. Went back in for blood.  The number had to go down. Everything looked more in line with the fact that it would. I went home and waited for Amy to call me to give me the new lower number….except it wasn’t.  My new HCG # was 1292.  

Down the second hill: I didn’t get an ultrasound that morning, so I went back when I got that number bc I was still so worried about an ectopic. Dr. P was at a conference, so Dr. K did the ultra-sound. After about 10 minutes, she identified what looked like a little fetal sac (Jesse and I call it, the claw or #theclaw).  However, my progesterone numbers and estrogen numbers had been so low throughout this, we truly didn’t think anything was really happening there.  That was when the decision was made to put me on progesterone in oil shots and estrogen to help what seemed like it was cooking.

Going fast into loop #2: I went in to the doctor bright and early on Monday.  I was pretty sure we were on our way down, bc my body through a couple signs at me (or so I thought, again) that we were officially over with this pregnancy. Ultrasound to see what was going on, and Dr. P not only saw fetal sac #1 (#theclaw), but also feta sac #2 and what looks like fetal sac #3.  Before you get all crazy about triplets, let me say that none of the sacs really looked like they should at this particular stage.  We couldn’t tell if any were viable, or if they were all empty.  That was when I was introduced to Dr. Time.  While not a physical doctor, Dr Time was really all we could and can rely on to hopefully shed some light on what is happening in my body.  We didn’t even do blood, because it wasn’t going to tell us anything more than what the ultrasound showed.

So now we wait.  We wait until next Tuesday, September 2, to see if any one of these 3 little beans have anything to show us. I have been so thankful to having a doctor whom I fully trust, and who has managed this insanity with incredible composure. He has never freaked me out.  He has never told me that I need to be worried.  He got dealt a patient whose body shows one thing and whose labs tell another.  Dr. P said the story is made up of so many pieces and my pieces just weren’t telling a very clear story.  And even further, y nurses and the staff at GRS are so amazing and supportive, I can’t even say enough about them.

Now you will understand why I have been so hesitant to post what is going on in our journey.  Hopefully we will have answers on Tuesday, and whatever those answers are I can truly say that I am ready.  We have the support of our family, friends and the amazing GRS staff and we will keep on traveling down our path.

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“It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.” – Ram Dass

Paths. Directions. Decisions. Over the past 2 1/2 years, we have gone down many paths. Traveled in many directions. And made more decisions than I can even remember. From work to health to life, there has never been a life decision that we have made that didn’t include one thing that blocked us, whether temporarily or permanently. This isn’t me being a drama-queen. Like seriously, not even the least important decisions have been without challenges!  I needed a new car. One that would fit our five dogs. We decided on one, found a good deal, went to look at it, and realized that the way the seats folded that even though the truck was ENORMOUS, our super tall wolfhound mix just wouldn’t fit.  Believe me, I know this isn’t a significant issue, I only use it as an example of how even the easiest decision or direction for us, is just that… not easy.

Our path into the world of IVF was one that started with two unsuccessful IUIs, and now one unsuccessful fresh transfer invitro cycle. As I divulged in the last post, our first transfer resulted in an early miscarriage, or chemical pregnancy. This is the same way our prior pregnancy ended. It’s hard to not think that maybe my body just can’t or doesn’t want to be pregnant, but I refuse to go down THAT path. We have SO MANY positive paths to journey down, I am not going to become the woman who detours down the negative ones. So what is next?  Well, like everything else in our life we have several tough decisions in front of us. Here they are, and I would love to hear the opinions of anyone who is reading this:

1) Enroll in round two of the trial. This would mean going through the entire retrieval process again, as well as transfer another two fresh 3 day embryos. It also means we would get to freeze whatever remaining embryos we had and add them to the 5 we have. This would cost us $5,500 including all of our medication.

2) We have 5 frozen embryos from our first retrieval. We can do what they call a FET (Frozen Egg Transfer). With five embryos, they would more than likely transfer 2 at a time, then if neither of those take, transfer 1. Keep in mind that this is assuming all 5 make it out of the deep frost. Not sure what this route would mean financially, but it will probably be the cheapest.

3) If we choose route #2, we would not be eligible to enroll in a second round of the trial. If for some reason none of the 5 make it, either out of thaw or into actual viable babies, then we would have to go through traditional IVF. This path would cost us roughly $16,000.

4) There is a possible fourth path, but I am waiting on word from my clinic to find out if its an option that I can put out there. 

So that is where we are. Four paths. All different financial consequences. All with different physical demands. None with guaranteed results. But all four are positive. All four give us a chance to have the baby that we want. I feel like we are lucky to even have the option to do any of these, and can’t wait to decide which one we walk down.

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I’m not pregnant….and I am not a failure.

This is the post I wrote on Monday that sat in my drafts all week. Turns out we had implantation and I was pregnant, but pregnancy was ” chemical”. We have several paths to choose from, and I’ll write about that later…. But this post deserved to be posted. PLEASE, no I’m sorry’s or it will happen next time/sometime/soon etc. I am not sharing this for sympathy, I’m sharing so that anyone else out there who may be experiencing similar challenges will know they are not alone. We are down, but not out. I refuse to be owned by something I can’t control.

POST FROM LAST MONDAY:

Funny….that was way easier to type than I thought. As I sit here, it is hard to not go through the last few weeks and try to find that one thing that made our cycle unsuccessful. Truth be told, there isn’t a “one thing”. My body just wasn’t ready or prepared to be pregnant. I cried for an hour yesterday. I cried harder than I could remember. Then I did. Then I remembered. I cried that hard a year ago when we had our miscarriage.

I can’t say that I am a ball of emotion right now, because I really am not. I am sad. I am frustrated. But more than anything, I am annoyed that my body robbed me from even a full two week wait. One of the things you are almost guaranteed during infertility treatments is a two week wait. With all the meds they give you, it practically forces your body to not have a period. Well, forces everyone but me. In true Mindy fashion, nobody or nothing forces me to do anything. 

I can’t say that I didn’t know this was a possibility. I did. In my head I knew that we still had a big chance that this wouldn’t work, but in my heart I knew it HAD to work. There is a difference between what the head knows and what the heart wants, and I have been so conflicted during this process. I am a rational person, despite what some would say, and yet as I go through this the rational side of me often disappears and I become someone who can’t and doesn’t want to listen to reason.

As I was having my meltdown yesterday, I was telling Jesse things like “I am a failure” and “I don’t want to do this anymore”, when I know for damn certain, I am not a failure. Despite everything that has happened recently (including things outside of trying to get pregnant), I am not a broken person. I am not a failure. I don’t need anyone, including myself, to handle me with kid gloves. And I do want to keep trying. We have 5 frozen embryos that are sitting there waiting for their chance to become our baby. 

We really do have so much to be thankful for. Our families are incredibly supportive, and we both couldn’t be surrounded by more love. Friends have been throwing their love and support our way throughout this entire process, and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that is. Jesse is 100% healthy and is going to take his Krav Maga black belt test this week, which he will undoubtedly rock. Our doctor and nurses are some of the most amazing people I have encountered on earth, and I consider myself lucky to be a patient of theirs. And finally, Jesse and I are so lucky to have one another. I know everyone says that about their spouse, but I truly mean it. 

We will make it through all of this. We will find an end to our journey. While I hope that end means we will have a child, I know that regardless of what happens, the end will not be lonely. 

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Choose your own adventure: They were fun when I was a kid…not so much now.

I wrote a totally different blog post this morning at 5:45 am.  Sparing all of the details, let’s just say I woke up to a scene that would have made Dexter cringe, so I emailed my doctor and asked what to do, and he said come in. So I wrote what I was thinking at that point and put it in “draft” just in case what I was thinking was somehow wrong. However, with what I was seeing and feeling, there was no way I was wrong.

Went in to Georgia Reproductive, and immediately saw Amy.  She could tell I was uncomfortable, as the pain I was experiencing was pretty intense. We went into a conference room, and she sat there and talked to me while I felt like I was going to lose my entire inner-being. I love them there. Even with all that was going on, I was at ease. Hopped into a room with Dr. P and was ready to hear how my IVF cycle had failed. 

I am still waiting for him to tell me I am out…and well he can’t. And no, it’s not because he isn’t smart.  That man is a genius (a funny one at that). It’s because my body wasn’t telling him that. My cervix was completely closed and my uterine lining was thick and showed no signs of shedding. I had no visible new bleeding in my cervix and as far as he could tell, I am not having my cycle. I now understand those shows that the woman doesn’t know she is pregnant!!  (My friend H TOTALLY knows what I am talking about) So confusing.

So I gave blood and walked out at least knowing that I wasn’t dying, and that my doctor and nurses were being as positive as they could be and I needed to follow suit. I am actually 4 days before a traditional blood test would be done, but considering the circumstances, we had to go ahead and do it. I’m not “not pregnant”, but I am not out of the water yet.  So that is where I am leaving this post. 

Wednesday we will know more. Stay tuned and let’s hope I don’t have to bring the other post out of drafts.  Good vibes are definitely appreciated!!!

 

 

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Life really does come full circle….and some pretty cool pictures.

We did our embryo transfer on Saturday August 2, 2014.  You have to go in with a full bladder, and for some reason that was REALLY hard for me. In an hour I drank over 32 ounces of fluid and…nothing.  Then there was the small vein plague, I’ve talked about that before…they are just itty-bitty. But after all of that, we put these two little bad boys in (btw, Thanks to the always wonderful Dr. Perloe, the AMAZING nurse Tracy, Cynthia who was our anesthesiologist at retrieval, and the embryologist, who took care of me):

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That is pretty cool, right?  Jesse doesn’t think they look ANYTHING like him, and his brother Joe says it looks like cauliflower was the dad, but we were all really excited. All 10 made it to Saturday. Some were stronger than others, but these two were the best and the others we are going to try to have make it to day 5 and then freeze them.  It was really fun to text my family and friends with the picture of the embryos, and who knew how AWESOME it was going to be to see them.  Science is so freaking cool!

So the full circle thing. I realized on August 3, that it was my in-law’s Joe and Alla’s wedding anniversary.  It being their anniversary, also means it was the anniversary of when we conceived the baby we lost last year. Just take my word for it that I know EXACTLY when that baby was conceived. Almost a year to the date, we put these embryos into my uterus. So weird. I can’t even remember the person I was a year ago. I remember the loss. I remember the pain. But I don’t remember the person. I have learned and grown so much, and Jesse and I have definitely grown as a couple. I am so incredibly proud of us.

Now the fun stuff!  Not only was this transfer done a year later than the previous pregnancy, but we also transferred two embryos on NATIONAL TWINS DAY! FREAKY! The universe is so funny. 🙂 So like my previous IUIs, IVF is no different, we are now in a two week wait. We are supposed to go in August 18th for our beta test….I won’t last that long. Not sure why mine is 16 days after transfer, but we will see!!  

Few things to end with: 

1) The good family news I couldn’t spill last week was that Jesse’s sister married her long-time girlfriend Jen in July! So excited for them.  Both of them are super smart history Phd candidates and we can’t wait to see them to celebrate.

2) I couldn’t sleep last night because the whole time I was thinking about what I would tell a group of women who were looking at going down their own infertility paths. I don’t know why I was consumed by the thought, but all I can think of is maybe I need to find an additional forum to try and help outside my blog. I don’t know what that forum is, but I feel like it is something that I need to look for!

3) The final count was: 17 eggs retrieved, 13 mature, 10 fertilized, 2 transferred and 5 made it to blast and are now frozen. (Which means that there are 5 little Jesse/Mindy babies waiting to be put in at any moment)

4) These two crazy kids, made those two embryos above! (This was from egg retrieval): IMG_3791

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