Category Archives: IVF

7 months and my kid elbows me…

So I have been MIA for a bit.  Not intentionally, but not unintentionally either. I have fluctuated through various stages throughout my pregnancy (pregnancy and non-pregnancy related) and they have all been hard to for me to actually document…So here is a synopsis of what has been going on:

1) We went to Disney World.  Disney is WAY harder when you are pregnant and your husband won’t let you ride Tower of Terror.  On the plus side we met up with some friends and had a great time.

2) It was confirmed for me in November that I was carrying Jesse Walker’s clone, when the ultrasound pic was of him flexing his muscles (further confirmation comes later).

3) My child has a mind of his own, and decided to take part in a uterine contraction party a month or so ago. Between him and the uterine fibroid I have, they were putting on a show for the hospital and they kept me overnight for observation.

4) The uterine fibroid and baby Walker decided that the hospital event was a bonding moment, and they have since become BFFs and when he gets bored, he decided to elbow bump the fibroid…causing intense pain and leaving me unable to move sometimes.

5) Don’t go on a sugar and carb bender the days before your glucose test. You will fail and you will fail hard, and then you are forced on a diet that will make you long for the days when you could eat candy.

6) And finally, while I was sure I was carrying Jesse Walker’s child all along, it was 100% confirmed when the 3-D ultrasound showed what I am now calling the “Clone Wars” in my belly.  My child shows zero resemblance to me. When I say zero…I mean it could be less than zero!

 

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So after 7 months of being pregnant, I have learned a few things:

1) If you are married to a Walker and you decide to have children, just accept the fact that they won’t look like you. All Walkers look like the father and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

2) I am not someone who likes unsolicited advice, and having a child puts you on the receiving end of a TON of it.

3) Just when you have resigned yourself to not having the baby shower, some amazing people pop up and offer to host one.  Guess I shouldn’t have bought all of that stuff, huh?

4) Facebook exchange and referral groups are AMAZING places to find new and used gear and clothes, as well as solicited advice to questions that you ask! I highly recommend find ones in your area.

5) Apparently finding a pediatrician is a HUGE deal, and you will be judged (at least at my OBs office) if you don’t have one at the beginning of the third trimester.

6) I have missed writing.  I felt like I was floating through my pregnancy a little lost, and I realized that its because I had documented SO much of the early part, I was missing some key things in this one.

7) Not everyone gets great ultrasound pictures of their baby. I have picture after picture of my baby’s penis.  He is SUPER proud of his penis, and felt that it was really all any of us needed to see to make sure he was ok.

And last, but CERTAINLY not least

8) As you all know, we are having a boy.  Apparently boys pee when air hits their penis! So when you change a diaper you are like a target. While I have never experienced this first-hand (never changed a diaper in my life) I have had this confirmed by several sources. Ummmmm…that is not ok.

So I will be back writing. There is a lot going on in this mamma’s life and it all deserves to be documented. I mean– he tried really hard to get here, the least I can do is memorialize it…right?

 

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17 weeks down, I still don’t glow, and drama-baby saga continues.

Ok…so maybe the glow is a metaphorical glow.  Other people say I glow, I however, feel like I am either glowing from sweat (I get hot) or glowing from just taking a bath (I like to soak in warm water) or glowing from the low-grade fever I have had off and on due to this cold I can’t seem to get rid of…but whatever it is, I want to glow because I feel good!  🙂

Anyways…glow-rant is over.  Now on to the fact that this baby refuses to do anything without some sort of climactic build-up. Dr. P said that its b/c its a product of two independent thinkers and it likes to do things at its own pace.  I say its b/c it is 50% Jesse and well, we all know how he is!  Me on the other hand?  I am not stubborn at all.  I go with the flow and am pretty much the most predictable person known to man (queue the thunderous laughter).  So why am I calling baby Walker an “it”?  Well, thats because I like a climactic build up too!

So we went in for our 16 week check-up and we were supposed to just have an OB exam and doppler for the heartbeat.  I was giving Dr. Hsaio a hard time, bc since our last appointment we had decided to find out the sex, and we weren’t scheduled for an ultrasound until 20 weeks. Well….as he dopplered around I noticed that he kept finding MY heartbeat, but not baby Walker’s. He started joking around about how if we wanted to find the sex out today, he could go clear out ultrasound.  We said, “ok” and he left.  I turned to Jesse and said, “you know he is taking us to ultrasound bc he couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat…right?”  Jesse isn’t an idiot, he knew, and so we waited.  As we walked to ultrasound, Dr. H casually mentioned that we will also get to hear the “hiding heartbeat”.

Oh hiding heartbeat.  Why must you be so elusive?  That day was my first belly ultrasound. I am more familiar with “the wand” so the gel was a shock to my system!  As he moved the ultrasound tool around, we saw a little baby, wiggling its butt, and clearly asleep.  We were used to seeing a dancing fetus, but today it was just chilling…chilling with a heartbeat of 148  bpm. JERK!  Why you gotta scare your parents like that?!  I was so focused on hearing that little heartbeat, that when Dr. H was shaking things around to get the baby to open its legs, I almost missed it when he said, “which one of you has something hanging between your legs? That’s right….it’s a boy”.  That man cracks me up!  As I wrote that sentence, I repeated it in my head in his voice.  So yes…baby Walker is baby BOY Walker. We are big on boys in our family. Considering Fiona won’t allow us to bring in another girl, we dodged a bullet there!

So according to Dr. H and everything I read, I apparently should start feeling the baby in some form in the next few weeks. We got our preliminary chromosomal testing done and everything is checking out.  We did one more big guns test, the Harmony test, to give us insight into anything else that may be going on. All in all, we are just chugging along. Not going to lie and say that I am not freaked out all the time.  I am so afraid that something is going to go wrong, and since I don’t have another appointment until 12/5, I have to just hope all is ok.  But other than all of the above, everything is good in baby Walker land!

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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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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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Egg Retrieval isn’t as scary as it sounds…

So today was the day for our egg retrieval. As a self-proclaimed google addict, I had read everything possible about the process. And much like everything else in this process, the retrieval was not nearly as traumatic as I had anticipated it being. In fact, it was so easy I feel bad for worrying!

I have said a million times how lucky we are to have an amazing doctor and group of nurses and staff at Georgia Reproductive, and today was no different. These folks literally have my heart. They have made something so stressful and scary, into something that I can only describe in one word…pleasurable.  Who would describe infertility as pleasurable?  Well, THIS KID!  I can’t stress how important it is finding the right place for your journey.  This isn’t a cake walk…but the people who you see weekly become an important piece to the puzzle.  I have read on so many forums and boards how people question what their doctors are doing, and become frustrated with how or when their nurses respond, and I am a firm believer in moving on. If you don’t have 100% confidence in what these folks are doing for you, then you are either 1) Not ready or 2) Not at the right place.  Believe me, I am not saying you can’t ask questions about why they are doing certain things, but remember that they should know what they are doing.  If you don’t have confidence in their abilities…then move on.  However, I will caution you that there is a lot of bad info out there, so before you move on, make sure you aren’t being irrational or worse, an internet know it all.

Anyways, back to the retrieval….we got 17 eggs!! That is a good number according to everyone in the room.  As of this morning, I have gotten the most eggs of the women in the study, and I was joking around that I like winning, so if anyone gets more than 17…I am going in for another 🙂 Obviously I am kidding, but it gets me through the day!  The process was really easy. I walked in and was taken back to change into an awesome gown, hair net and booties. Amy, Keebler, Jaclyn, Rebecca and a million other ladies came back to wish us luck and then they did the IV.  I have really small veins, so that was a bit challenging, but it worked. 10 minutes later I was taken back to the procedure room, I was strapped on to a table, joked around with Dr. P as usual, and then it was lights out.  I woke up 20-25 minutes later without eggs and with Jesse standing there.

Now we wait. We will find out tomorrow morning how many eggs fertilized and become embryos…and then we will transfer two of the strongest ones on Saturday. They said, on average, 75% of the eggs fertilize, so that would mean 12-13 of ours would.  Fingers crossed we get that many and fingers crossed they make it until Saturday!

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I guess I like going to the doctor…

At least that is what I keep telling myself.  Funny thing is, I really don’t mind going to GRS. Everyone is so funny and so positive, it kind of makes this whole thing a lot less tortuous. As I mentioned in my last post, my ultrasound showed a lot of follicles, they just needed to grow to 17 mm or more.  So I went back today and had another ultrasound and blood draw, and I was right on the cusp…but not yet!  So we will go back tomorrow and ultrasound and blood draw again, and probably trigger tomorrow night.  So what is next?

If I trigger tomorrow, I will do egg retrieval on Wednesday and transfer on Saturday.  Egg retrieval is no joke. I get put to sleep and they go in and retrieve all of the eggs that my follicles decide to produce via a needle. Next they take Jesse’s part and put it with the eggs and hope that those little pieces fertilize together and make embryos.  Because of the trial, we have to do a 3 day transfer. That means the embryos cook for 3 days before they put them into my uterus. Apparently they also grade the embryos during that time as well.  Nothing like giving the kid a complex at conception, right?  I am TOTALLY going to get a onesie made that has the baby’s grade on it…and when it makes me mad, I am going to say “If only you were a 4 AA!”  (Just a little IVF humor for you)

This whole thing is becoming more and more real. I really can’t ignore it, because for the first time in my life, I can feel my ovaries when I move and actually when I don’t move too.  I am fairly sure they are the size of grapefruits right now and it is quite uncomfortable.

We just got some great news from some other family members that I can’t share just yet, but I am hoping that their good news spreads to us this week!  Life is really exciting sometimes, and right now is no exception. I am still trying to be as supportive as I can be to friends and acquaintances who are going through infertility struggles.  Not going to lie, it is hard to hear when people get pregnant and didn’t have to go through 1/10th of what I have, but I remind myself that this is my journey not theirs, and I can’t fault them for that.  I am excited that they had an easier path and didn’t have to deal with the emotional and financial stresses of infertility.

Hopefully I will have a good update on Wednesday with a huge amount of eggs retrieved, and then on Thursday with a huge amount of embryos!  Thanks, as always, for reading and the amazing support you have given us!

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I am a lousy patient.

I don’t try to be!  I swear, its just the ADD in me.  So I have been on my Lupron, which really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be, and they added my stims last Friday.  I am woman hear me roar, so I don’t make Jesse go to every appointment with me.  I mean, come on…I am trying to make a human here, I can TOTALLY handle getting instructions and managing all of these meds and changing doses, and communicating things to Jesse so he can do my shots correctly. BAHAHAHAH…yeah right!  TOTAL FAIL!

So I was started on 20 of Lupron in the morning, and when they added the FSH Amy and Jaclyn told me to go down to 10.  20 to 10…GOT IT!  Then 225 of FSH at night.  Packed all my precious drugs into my little cooler bag (got it FREE with being in the IVY study) and bee bopped out of the office.  I came home, put my meds schedule on the fridge and then…well…apparently that was it. Fast forward to Monday, after my morning shot, I panicked and asked Jesse if I told him I was supposed to go down to 10….cliff-hanger…I didn’t.  The craziness ensues and I text, I call and I email nurses and I start freaking out.  I had doubled my dose for three days and I was sure I had ruined my IVF cycle.

In true Georgia Reproductive Specialists form, everyone got back to me super quick and told me that I was fine.  Of course, I was over here apologizing to the nurses and to Dr. P…I am in a trial…and well, I now have a black mark on my record.

Here I was all excited about being patient MG-14-22520926 (or whatever it really is), and the FDA now will know that I can’t follow directions. Oh well…you live and learn and you start over again.  I went in for my second baseline and I had a lot of follicles.  Everyone seemed happy with that, I of course start thinking that I am going to get OHSS and am already thinking about what that is going to feel like.  Nothing like positive thinking, right?  I am a mess.

All in all, I actually feel pretty good now.  I had a rough couple days where my head felt like it was going to explode, and well the doxy they make you take to help prevent infection is less than easy on my stomach.  Jesse gives really good shots, so my abdomen doesn’t make me look like I am a drug addict, so that is good.

Other than this whole experience, I know a lot of people have been wondering about my personal time announcement the other day.  My CEO and I agreed that with everything that I had going on in my life, it was probably best for me to take a month off from work.  I am pretty lucky to have the flexibility to do this and it has definitely made things easier to deal with.  There are a lot of doctor appointments with IVF and some of the side effects would not be fun to deal with at work, so for right now…it’s me, Judge Judy and the dogs hanging out.

With the way things are progressing, I think we are on schedule for things to go down next week. Amazingly I am not nervous.  I think I have just realized that everything will happen regardless of my nerves, so why get myself all worked up. I’ll update the world on Friday after my next ultrasound…until then….let’s hope I don’t mess anything else up!!

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