Monday, December 29, 2008

Beta 2 and 3

Beta 2 - 15 dp5dt 749
Beta 3 - 21dp5dt 6,863

My progesterone went from 57 the first beta to 97 the second and back down to 64 by the 3rd. Apparently it varies and that is OK. I had a panic attack b/c my breasts stopped hurting as bad as they were last week but now I know why! Any one searching for that like I did incessantly over the last three days should try not to worry. Since that is all I've done for 3 days don't take my word for it but my doctor and nurses all said that it happens and that they answer that question at least once a week! My estrogen started off at 216 and then went to 501 and its now at 620. This morning was our first ultrasound and we have one little bean in there! I'm sad for the other embryo that didn't make it but twins is quite overwhelming!! I'm just praying that I will be thankful for the miracle God has given me - I feel so guilty for worrying but I just love this baby so much and I can't imagine losing it and that fear overtakes me. I'm going to work on that over the next week! Next Monday is the ultrasound that should see the heartbeat. I will be six weeks by then.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will I ever be satisfied!!

So I've been having some cramping and everyone that has been through an IVF pregnancy assured me its normal well now it stopped and I'm equally as worried. It really is impossible to please me. Found this sweet prayer and wanted to share it

Prayer for a Safe Pregnancy
This life you have given us is so tiny, fragile, and vulnerable, safe in the womb of flesh and hope, yet subject to danger and death. O God of love, Creator of life, hear our prayer.We want this baby so much. Please grant this child of ours a full term of nurture, the joy and mystery of life, and the blessing of Your love. Grant us the fulfillment of our dreams, a baby to cherish and protect, a child to teach and guide, a blessing to our family. Amen.

My second beta is Tuesday and I'm nervous but I get to meet Robin that day as well so hopefully she'll keep me sane until I get the call! Say prayers for appropriately doubling numbers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Positive!

Beta was 86.7 - I am pregnant. God is the God of miracles and we are praising Him for that!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Going insane

How can anyone get through this waiting without turning into a crazy woman?? Not to mention the progesterone that I'm pumping into my body. Seriously this could be torture but at the same time I feel guilty for not enjoying it - this is the first time EVER that I could actually be pregnant and I'm totally giving up. I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst instead of enjoying the present. God tells us not to worry about tomorrow for today has enough troubles of its own but I'm already planning our next steps. Its really just sick and I'm ashamed but I can't stop myself. A friend at church told me that I am just inviting satan to a party in my head. I've asked him to leave but he keeps coming back. I cried all through a baby dedication in church on Sunday - embarrassingly crying. I want to find symptoms even though I know anything I feel is all progesterone related and its driving me crazy. I cramped off and on pretty bad on Friday and then just slightly on Saturday and Sunday morning and then it stopped. Is that good or bad?? No one knows but God . . . why can't I just quit obsessing and leave the outcome up to Him. I know He already knows and whatever His answer is is right. I want what He wants but at the same time I want Him to want me to be pregnant. He hasn't given any one of us any promises of a child. He promised Abraham a child not me so I can't even go on that. I will only get pregnant if its in His plan. How can my brain know all of this and my heart just can't seem to listen. I'm still obsessively "spot checking" every time I go to the bathroom and I'm so bloated and my coworker even told me my boobs look bigger - again - all progesterone? Maybe? Who knows . . . GOD DOES! I NEED TO GIVE IT UP TO HIM! Ya'll help me pray to give this over to the Creator of Life. I'm so exhausted. Beta is on Wednesday. I can make it and life will go on if its negative.

1 John 3:19-21 (New International Version)
19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Friday, December 12, 2008

4dp5dt

Cramping - surely this is too early for period cramps - could it be the embitwins moving around in there trying to find a home? Surely not? I seriously wish someone would sedate me! Pray the babies are growing sticky feet!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Woo Hoo

Two blastocysts transferred - Praise God!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Transfer tomorrow if we don't fall in that 1%

According to the embryologist we have a good quality morula - they don't grade morulas - and a 12-14 cell embryo trying to become a morula. She is hopeful that the better performing one will be a blastocyst by tomorrow. She said - even knowing our history, that we had a 99% chance of a transfer tomorrow b/c even if it doesn't become a blastocyst, as long as it hasn't arrested, they will transfer a good quality morula. I pray that the morula becomes a blastocyst and the 12-14 cell becomes a morula and we have two to transfer. Keep praying. I am so thankful that God has gotten us this far. He has those two babies in His hands. Our embryologist has been talking to them for us! I am so happy with my doctor's office. Now please Lord let us make it to transfer tomorrow.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Still 2

Both are dividing - one is 8 cell and one is 6 cell - one step further than we made it last time. Praise God. They don't normally look on day 4 but she said she would peak in on our babies and call in the morning. Both are graded good but not perfect. Keep praying friends . . . God has these babies in His hands. I keep picturing these comfortable majestic hands holding these two embryos. As any of you who have been through this waiting, I am on pins and needles. Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

2

From 13 eggs to 10 mature to only 2 that fertilized. It is not what we wanted to hear but those two are still growing and are graded a two out of 5 with one being the best. We praise our gracious and merciful God for giving us these two embryos. Please pray with us that these two make it to transfer so we can at least have one decent chance at pregnancy. God is the God of miracles and He can make anything happen. "For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

I want this chance so bad and God knows that. My heart hurts for this.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lucky 13

We had 13 eggs retrieved. I will find out how many were mature and how many fertilized in the morning and I can't wait! Dr. H was even excited - I feel sorry for her b/c when she came out and told my husband that we had 12 (the embryologist found one more after she left) he probably knocked her down giving her a big hug - I'm guessing that caught her a bit off guard! Wish I could have seen it! And for those that haven't read before my husband is 6'5" and about 350 pounds so a bear hug from him is something to notice!!

I am so thankful that we have made it this far in this calm of a manner - God certainly has a plan for our lives and I am so thankful for everything He has given us so far. I pray for a good report tomorrow but if not I will Praise Him anyway. Thanks for every ones prayers and comments! Y'all are wonderful!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Its on like Donkey Kong!

Wednesday morning at 8:30! E2 level was 1675 and I learned today that if you are taking cetrotide that it makes your estrogen level less than it actually is. For those keeping track - this is double what it was our last IVF on trigger day. Please pray that I can stay calm and focused until then!

Oh and I called and requested that even if Dr. H isn't the doctor on call that day that she be the one to do the procedure. I hope that isn't wrong but she just makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I love it when she calls me "baby girl". Is it wrong to pray that she will be the doctor doing it - of course if that is God's will and all. If she'll just come visit me, she doesn't really have to be the doctor doing it. Maybe I should request that!!

Praise God

This morning went well. I have 19 measurable follicles, 9 that are over 1.5 with a triple layered lining at a .99 just waiting for something to implant in it! All I know to do is be thankful for today and not look at tomorrow. I am thankful that God has allowed this growth both my follicles and my relationship with Him. I may still not even make it to transfer but I know if I don't I'll be OK b/c God is walking with me through it.

The nurse will call this afternoon with my estrogen level and what the doctor says but as of right now retrieval is set for Wednesday.

Glory to God in the Highest!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Realizaton

I think I just realized from reading a post on Just Another Infertility Blog that I don't let my husband mix the drugs b/c I am a total control freak! He can give the injection but I have to be the mixer - although I do make him double check that I got all the medicine out of the vials. I am such a control freak! Like I didn't already know that though. I think I'll let him mix it tonight just to see if I can do it!

Oh and anyone using the cetrotide kits . . . careful when mixing those - I totally messed up one whole kit - I didn't screw in the mixing needle right and the liquid went all over the counter instead of into the powder - no biggie - I freaked out a little and then ended up sticking the huge mixing needle into my thumb! It was not a good night - I"m pretty sure I was freaking out about this mornings appointment.

Anyway - hold me accountable - I'm going to not be a control freak tonight and let hubby do the whole thing - that is of course if he even wants to -- hehehe!!

Stim Day 5 appointment

Actually happened on Stim Day 6 b/c they were closed yesterday for Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for the staff at my doctor's office - everyone I came in contact with today was so sweet and no one seemed unhappy to be at work instead of out shopping!

Now to the good stuff - I had 10 follies on my left and 6 on my right and my E2 level was . . . 563! Yes over 500 - it was barely over that at my retrieval day last time! I am so blessed and thankful to hear Gods voice in that - this is by no means a sure thing but I feel so much better about how much we have put into this. I know it could all go down hill but I'm continuing to trust in God and let him be in control but at the same time I am thankful for this little glimmer of hope that he is tangibly showing me.

I prayed the whole way to B'ham and told God all of the little things I was thankful for and like I told Robin - I actually said that I was thankful for socks b/c not everyone has socks to keep their feet warm. I wanted to be thankful for so many of the things I take for granted every second of every day. It is true that it is easier to be thankful when God brings the rain. I am trying to be so much more aware of how lucky I am instead of dwelling on what I don't have. Robin is also such a shining example of this as well. I'm sure we all have our moments but I applaud her for the example that she is!

Hope those that are shopping are getting some great deals! As for me and my swollen ovaries we are going to the vet with my doggie and then cooking up some yummy organic food for the big game tomorrow. WAR EAGLE ALL!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shot number 2

Went well.

My husband bought us a devotional book for couples about praying for our marriage and the first one I flipped to was about Miracles and allowing God the room to perform miracles in your marriage and in your life. I was convicted b/c as you know I truly believe God can perform a miracle through this IVF cycle I just doubt that He will do it for me. I read that devotion and it really made me realize that if I don't believe He will do it why would He! I'm going to believe that even unworthy little me is worthy of His miracles. We are all sinners and he performs them for us everyday. I hope you will all believe that He will perform a miracle for you too.

Galatians 3:4-6 (New International Version)

4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."[a]

Monday, November 24, 2008

And so it begins . .

First shot was last night. Its so much better this time around. There isn't any fear of the unknown when it comes to shots and mixing the Follistim and Menopur and you know it stings like crazy so you deal. So much better.

I have the best husband too. He is a big hunter and the opening day of gun season was Saturday so he went in the morning and the evening. Sunday we went to church and I just couldn't shake a feeling of being overwhelmed - I really just cried off and on all afternoon and when it was time for him to leave he didn't - he stayed home with me and convinced me to do something to get my mind off of it. We took our dog for a walk in the woods at a state park and it was just what I needed to lift my spirits. He's off all week too to hunt and he's not going today - b/c its going to rain - and I just talked to him and he was vacuuming. Such a good husband. He bought us a book this morning at Lifeway - Praying for Our Marriage. Man I'm lucky! Hopefully God won't say that I have a good husband so I don't get to have a baby! He really doesn't work that way!! He wants to pour out His blessings but sometimes that thought does cross my mind - I'm so lucky in so many ways am I asking too much when I ask for a baby too? He has a plan and I'm letting that plan happen.

I'm emotional but I'm not manic I guess. Like for example on Friday I had my suppression check and Sarah said everything was great (I still had 9 follicles even after being on bc for 3 weeks) on the ultrasound and the ultrasound trumps any blood results but I still expected to get some results but . . .I never got a message. So I was angry at the incompetence but really unconcerned about what it meant.

I'm trying to remember that nothing really matters except God's plan. He will work everything else out to agree with His plan. I pray that His plan and my hearts desire are the same. Either mine will be fulfilled or it will be changed to agree to His plan. Its so scary letting go. Even though I know His will is what is best for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Counseling

I really enjoy our counselling sessions. There is never anything profound said but always just as sense of understanding and many tips offered. She talked to us about our Love Languages and how we can fill each other's emotional bank account during this cycle. Mine is gifts and his is acts of service. Its something nice to focus on instead of whether or not the cycle is working. I'm hoping that we can remain calm and focused but not too focused.

I have my suppression check tomorrow morning at 7:30 - although with the antagonist protocol I"m not sure if you are actually suppressed or not. I'm not concerning myself with those things b/c they don't matter. Only God's opinion matters.

I really don't have much to say so . . hope everyone has a nice evening!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Staying positive

Today I get to take the nuvaring out and will have 4 drug free days before the Follistim and Menopur start. I really can't believe its almost here and I'm subconsciously trying to block the fact that it is. My husbands 36 hour rule must really be growing on me b/c I'm not freaking out. I guess I really have given it up to God b/c I feel peace about this either way. I mean I'm not saying I won't cry my eyes out if this ends up the same way and we have to look at other ways to build a family but I'm trying to stay confident in the fact that God knows what He is doing contrary to what I may believe sometimes :)

I talked with Dr. H yesterday about why she changed me from a microdose Lupron to an Antagonist protocol and she said that it was because this would closer mimic a natural cycle so that they could see if the Lupron did have any effect (I need an english major to tell me if I'm supposed to use affect or effect!)

The one thing that stays consistent in all of this is how much I love and respect my doctor. I know I sound like a broken record about that but she is just so compassionate and real and just pessimistic enough that I can relate!! I don't want a doctor just telling me what I want to her - a little realism never hurt anyone. She said we are going to be positive b/c we don't know what caused the egg problem and things could be different this time. We shall see. We have done our best and the rest is not up to us.

My prayer is that I can stay calm for 3 more weeks. 3 weeks from today we will know if we made it to transfer or not and that is all that I can concentrate on. One step at a time. I will feel like I have made it so far if I can just make it to transfer. Then I will concern myself with whether I will actually get pregnant. I will be thrilled if those little embryos can grow to blastocyst.

Oh God please let them grow.

Ezekiel 16:7
I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bored and alone at work

Don't want to actually do work . . . so . . . . totally random post with no actual useful information or encouragement in it!!

I'm going to get my hair cut on my lunch hour if our secretary will get back from lunch! Its a low attendance day at work today - but considering there is only 5 of us - everyday is a low attendance day.

I have work to do and I don't want to do it. I"m being a large slacker today.

Have I told you that my perfectly healthy lab has ringworm. HOW!!! Vet doesn't know but I want it gone. YUCK!! They had to shave her underarm b/c that is where the spot was so she looks funny. We have to wipe it down 3 times a day. She did get to go back to day care today - our vet said it was highly unlikely that she would rub her underarm on another dog and give it to them. Plus most dogs don't get ringworm - unless they are sick or are a puppy. My dog - like her human parents - is the exception to most rules.

Also - I had to have a uterine culture for starting IVF and it came back with bacteria and I'm on antibiotics and doxycycline always causes me to get a yeast infection - not to mention that I'm using the nuvaring for BC for IVF so guess what - yeast infection. I'm terrified that taking the diflucan will somehow hurt my egg quality - I took them last cycle and look how well that turned out - oh and one won't cure my yeast - I have to take 2 and use cream. Lovely. Hubby is also totally turned off by that annoyance! Who can blame him!!

Well that was probably more than you wanted to know but I'm bored and an over sharer so . . . there you go.

I've got acupuncture on Friday and its supposed to rain - I hate driving to B'ham in the rain. Well - I usually don't drive but it still stresses me out riding.

I get to talk to Dr. H on Monday about the whole change in protocol thing and I may have to ask about the Diflucan - especially if its not better by then. Surely if there was a study about it I could have found it on the Internet and I haven't. You can find anything on the Internet. Unfortunately.

Secretary just got back so I will not be late for said haircut. Yeah.

Sorry so random and boring.

I feel like I should end with a Bible verse so that my readers will at least get something worthwhile out of this pathetic post . . . . lets dig hear and find a good one . . .

Hebrews 11: 1-3
1Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

May we all have faith in Who we cannot see and that He will bring us what we hope for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You can't fight God - you won't win

"And then after I had my pity party I had to give up and let go once again. I can’t fight God. I wont win. So I have to just let it go. It’s not easy though and it’s certainly not fun…"

This quote seems to sum up some of my struggles. I feel like I'm doing better in this regard but I've never quite seen it put this way before - I can't fight God. I won't win. How true is that and sometimes you just seem to forget that perfect piece of knowledge so . . . thank you kcmarie at Becoming Another Person - which is also how I feel - this journey has made me a different and better person.

Just thought I would share this perspective in case anyone reading needs to hear this today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Fall reading list and mini IVF #2 update

Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake

Wonderful Christian book describing Hannah's journey through infertility laced with real life current quotes of others who have gone through this. Very good book without a sugary tone -promising you a baby if you do everything right. This only promises you that God will be there for you no matter what.


Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
This book teaches you how to lay your cares at Jesus' feet. By taking them from Him you are not only sinning but not allowing God to give you His answer to your problem. You must trust Him fully and consistently to truly get His answer. If you start taking it back from Him you are interfering in the communication. To hear His true voice you must allow yourself to give up any of your worries to Him. Excellent book having nothing to do with infertility but having everything to do with how a Christian dealing with infertility should act.




Breaking Free by Beth Moore

This is a wonderful group study that our ladies Bible Study is doing right now. You are to break free from the strongholds that are preventing you from living the Spirit filled life God has planned for you. I know one of my strongholds is infertility. It consumes my day and my mind. I need to lay those thoughts at God's feet every time they consume my mind and praise Him at the same time. Through this I have been able to see that God used IVF #1 to bring me to my knees and teach me how to give it up to Him.



Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby


This book taught me that God wants to strengthen that love relationship you have with Him before he can reveal to you His Will for your life. There is nothing more important to Him than your relationship with Him. He initiates this relationship and I believe the circumstances of IVF #1 were Him initiating this renewal of our relationship with Him. It is one thing to be a Christian and to believe God exists but it is a whole new life to experience a relationship with Him. Even Satan believed He existed - He wants more from you than just your belief in Him. He wants you to talk to Him and tell Him how you feel and what you want and most importantly He wants you to surrender your lives willingly to His will. He knows what is best whether or not you agree with it.
Ladies - please pray that I will continue to feel all of this head knowledge in my heart. I want God's will for my life even if that means that IVF#2 is equally as unsuccessful as IVF #1. Its had to relinquish that control but I know it is for my own good and I pray that even if I have to remind myself every hour that God is in control not me and that is a good thing!
Dr. H is going to call me on the 17th to explain the change in protocol - as much as that would normally bother me its not. I'm letting God handle this and He knows what is best. I still want to hear from her what her reasoning was but its not consuming me. While this journey is all consuming I'm trying to praise God at each moment that the thoughts become too much for me. And I'm trying to not spend all my conversations solely on this subject. I'm sure my friends enjoy that.
Have a good week.


















Friday, November 7, 2008

Update on IVF #2

I am really feeling more excited about this IVF than I did the last one. I know that is because my heart is in a better place this time. My eyes are focused on God and I know His answer is best. Don't get me wrong I still have my moments but I think I'm handling my moments a little better and they aren't lasting quite as long. Another friend got pregnant and I found out on Wed. I had myself a good self pity cry on Wed and was down and out about it for a few hours but I . . . or shall I say Jesus . . . picked me up and we moved on down the road! I also had a brief issue with a sudden change in protocol. Mostly b/c I like plans and I get set on a certain plan and when it changes it freaks me out. Anyway - we are going with an antagonist protocol - no lupron, same dose of follistim and menopur as last time and adding cetrotide to prevent ovulation after 5 days of stim shots. Sounds good to me. I had a gut feeling that the lupron was messing me up anyway so maybe my gut was right. Janet the IVF coordinator told me that Dr. H brought it up before the other doctors and they discussed and decided on this - since they were all shocked that this happened in the first place I really feel like they want to do what they can to get me pregnant. Keep praying.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FSH Level

Yeah - my will power didn't last long . . .I had to drop a consent form off at the office and I asked her to look it up and it was a 13.8. Whatever. All that means to me is that God's still not sending me a neon sign telling me that anything we did worked. But . . . it doesn't matter what we did because God is doing this and if he wants it to be different my FSH level can be 34 and it doesn't matter to Him. So I'm just going with that attitude and letting God have the control. I think that might take even more will power than not knowing. What do you think??

Link to Tammy's Journey - Wonderful post

http://twondra.blogspot.com/2008/10/letter-to-babies.html

Check out this post from someone who has been through a similar situation as us. She did not make it to transfer either. Her words are so eloquent and loving in this letter to her babies. I too believe that those were babies. Life begins at fertilization. I even have a facebook flair that says that! :)

Results

Yeah . . . so . . . I have none. My patient voicemail said that my ultrasound and blood work look great. And that was it . . . no actual numbers. I did good - I haven't called yet. I'm thinking this is a test and God is trying to prove to me that I am not in control and it does no good for me to know any of that so . . . I'm not asking for it yet . . . so far so good.

In other news, my doggie has some sort of skin problem. Of course my first reaction is that its cancer but the vet is pretty sure its some sort of fungus. I tend to have a problem with overreacting. Yesterday it was just one spot and he gave us some $18 shampoo to use three times a week but then last night we found another spot so that means it has spread and he said if it spread it might be ringworm and he would have to do a culture so I took her in this morning and let them do that but it wont' be back for 14 days. That means no doggie day care so she's just by herself in a run this morning until I can go get her. So sad. :(

Off to work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CD 3

Today is CD 3 - went in for blood work and ultrasound. My antral follicle count was only 12 - which is 2 less than last time. It was not the neon sign I wanted from God to say that this cycle will be different. I'm just praying that He will increase the quality of the eggs that I do have. I have to relinquish control every minute of every day - I can't take it back for appointments or blood work results - every minute of every day. I'll update my blood work results when I get them. Like Robin said - lucky 7, come on lucky 7!!

Tonight is Ladies Bible Study and we are starting the Beth Moore study Breaking Free and I am pumped! Can't wait! I need to break free from my anxiety and control issues.

I'm off to Target to drop off my prescription for my Nuva Ring - not too excited to figure that thing out but . . . you do what you have to do!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Doctor Update

I have the best fertility doctor in the world. She is a wonderful Christian woman concerned not only about my physical health but my spiritual health. Assuming I am emotionally ready we will begin the IVF process with my next cycle. It will be only 2 weeks of birth control then microdose lupron and then I'm not sure but I think follistim and Menopur again - but twice a day this time. Pray that I can give this over to God and know that His answer is always the right answer! That is my doctors suggestion. I told her I was terrified of this cycle turning out the same way. So . . .here we go again!!

Watch this . . .

It says exactly everything I feel about infertility. Its worth watching and sending to your non infertile friends and family - its a little glimpse into an infertile couples life.

http://www.tearsandhope.com/emptyarms_video.html

Monday, October 20, 2008

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

Philippians 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."



Last night I was reading through Jeremiah and not really being lifted by anything in particular - a lot of Jeremiah is pretty depressing and talking about God's punishment on His people - so I picked up the devotion booklet that they handed out at the infertility support group meeting yesterday afternoon and began to read. One verse struck me so I looked it up and low and behold it was highlighted in bright yellow in my Bible - and only those words "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead". Now I know that the whole point of the verse is that we get to spend eternity with Christ Jesus and that is a great prize, but let me explain my state of mind this weekend and let you see how much I needed to hear just those highlighted words!



I had this realization that the next IVF cycle may end with the same results as the first one. I know I knew this in the back of my mind but its like this weekend it hit me that we may really have to make other decisions to build a family so I've been really depressed. Then I got in a fight with my mom about it all - moms that haven't been through this just really don't understand and my mom in particular can't see why having to think about not having our biological child upsets me. Sunday afternoon was our infertility support group meeting and we met at the church. There was a black cloud over the whole group - lots of negative tests and unsure feelings. We were prayed over by a group of women - and anointed with oil - based on James 5:14 - and one of the things that they prayed for me was that I would understand scripture like I had never understood it before and I would hear God's voice in it. So I'm hoping God is telling me to forget the last cycle and move on to the next one. Even if that is not what He is saying I need to do that.



Another interesting thing that happened was a friend of mine met the inventor of the needle they use for IVF - I assume it was the needle used to aspirate the follicles - she didn't really ask any questions but knew I would be interested in their meeting. One friend told me that this must have been a "Godincidence" (instead of a coincidence) b/c really how many people just randomly meet the person responsible for the greatest invention in infertility! I'm thinking she is right and that is just another one of God's little messages to keep my chin up and look toward Him.



The next big worry for me is when to start IVF again. I had my retrieval on August 15th and started my period on August 27th. I never ovulated that month so I had to take prometrium to start my period and I did on September 30. This month I tracked my cycle and went in last week when I had a surge and there were 25 follicles on day 14 - none were over 1 cm. So I didn't think I was going to ovulate - my estrogen was 52.4 and my progesterone was 1.4. They wanted me to come back on Friday to see what it was looking like. My estrogen was 83 and progesterone was 17.7. This looked like I ovulated but what did I ovulate?? It wasn't a mature egg b/c there wasn't one!! I have an appointment tomorrow to talk to Dr. H about what she thinks. Should I wait for my body to recover fully back to its normal ovulating state or should I just go with it the next cycle. She wanted me doing acupuncture and herbs for 3 months before we started IVF again. That would just get us in right at 3 months if I started the stim shots around Thanksgiving. I pray that God speaks through her and lays out a timeline that is in His perfect timing and not about my trying to get another cycle in by the end of the year.



I was looking back at my calendar and my estrogen on stim day 5 was the same as it was on day 18 this month. Now there has to be something wrong with that doesn't there?? And what about those 25 follicles on day 14 - to me that is potential eggs and I've never had that many before. Does that mean the herbs and acupuncture are working? I know on the same stim day 5 I had 10 follicles. My antral count has been 14 and 16. So 25 is a big jump. I'm praying that Dr. H will give me a good feeling about that and not be her normal debby downer self. I love her but she isn't very optimistic. Usually that is ok with me but I need her to be optimistic tomorrow.



I know this is long and I commend anyone for still reading this. It is such good therapy to write all of this out.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another support group meeting

This past Sunday was my church's infertility support group - it is just starting and really there are 2 leaders and 2 participants - me being one of those and my friend who just found out she was pregnant through IVF is the other. Both of the leaders were pregnant but one just had a miscarriage last week (I mentioned her in the last post). Anyway - I was not thrilled about going to the meeting b/c I knew it would be alot of pregnancy talk but I went - mostly b/c I would feel guilty if I didn't. The lady that spoke is a member of our church and she went through a very similar struggle as me - hers was longer before she made it to ivf - 12 IUI's - can you imagine! She goes to a different doctor in the group that I go to and she had the same dismal failure of a first IVF although they did transfer her embryos early - even though they were not growing right. It was not successful then miraculously on the next identical cycle she got pregnant and wanted to try for another one but the next two were worse than her first and so she got to the last cycle that she was going to try and did acupuncture at the same place I'm going to and they tried the same protocol that I'm going to try and it worked - much better results. God knew I needed to hear that and he orchestrated that for us. We were both in tears talking about and realizing how God was working at that meeting. She always wondered why someone would want to hear her story and why they would ask her to speak. It was another God planned encounter in my life! I thank Him for that!

Must get back to taxes. Will post more later!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Busy blogger

It's no excuse for my lack of blogging but I've been busy at work. Nothing much is really going on in my life. This will be a pretty random post.

Lets see . . . Last Thursday was my infertility support group and its always awesome. 5 of us went to dinner first and you can't ever say that common circumstances do not bond women. I love all of these women and don't really know any of them that well. This support group is such an answered prayer and a Gift from God. My friend that was to find out if IVF worked for her the next day was prayed over and annointed with oil and it was so beautiful. We are doing that for everyone at the next meeting. I can't wait. I wish Lauren and Robin could experience this group of women and the presence of God at each meeting! Robin its a bit far but Lauren if you ever want to drive down -- feel free - the next meeting is October 19th - a Sunday afternoon at the church!

We went to the Auburn game last weekend - it was fun but I was having major mood swings from coming off of the Prometrium so I made it miserable. My poor husband was ready to push me out of the car on the interstate. I don't know if it was just me or if the withdrawals your body goes through cause severe PMS!

Sunday, a couple that is also going through fertility issues visited our church with us for the second time. I'm so happy that we can offer some support to someone going through this journey. We had a great lunch and laughed so hard my face hurt. We love them! The husband was actually in our wedding and my husband in his first wedding - the new wife is normal and not a psycho like the first one. This one will last.

Monday I got some bad news about a friend - she was the one who did IVF the same time I did and she got pregnant but miscarried. She went to a regular appointment on Monday and the heart beat had stopped - I can't imagine her pain. I've emailed, called and sent a card and today I"m taking a ceramic cross with Jeremiah 29:11 on it and some goodies from a bakery. I feel like nothing is good enough nor will make it better but I want her to know I'm here.

Tuesday I finally started my period so I went back to acupuncture to get some herbs and let me tell you how God works in my life! I was so excited to start back on those herbs - that has to be God b/c they still taste like vomit! I just felt so strongly about it I have to take that as a sign from God that we are on the path He wants us on - even if that reason is confirmation that we have done all we can do to try for a biological child. My mom and dad and dog went for this trek to B'ham b/c my husband was playing in a golf tournament. That was an interesting trip but it was nice quality time with the parents that I don't get often enough!

Nothing much happened the rest of the week. I'll be working this weekend to meet the October 15th tax deadline but I don't mind - - I have taken every Tuesday afternoon off for the last month!

Oh I was telling Robin about this . . . I've been reading Experiencing God and it is an awesome book. I"m not finished yet but it talks about getting your love relationship right with God before he can truly show you His will for your life and how He wants to work in you. I would recommend it to anyone!

Hope ya'll have a good weekend and War Eagle!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Nothing new here

Still just taking it one day at a time.

I had a great weekend despite a few problems! My grandmother fell on Friday and busted her head. She is fine and my aunt is doing most of the care giving but I still went over for a few hours Friday night and a little while on Saturday.

Saturday we had fun tailgating and going to the Auburn game and Sunday we were exhausted. We went to church and did nursery on Sunday. I don't think its a coincidence that our preacher has been doing a series of sermons on "God's Prescription for your Life" The last month or so its been the first Chapter of Luke which has my favorite verse in it 1:37 Nothing is impossible with God. And it is specifically spoken about infertility. How can that not comfort you . . . OK well . . . I know I have my moments . . . I am only human! I have tried to have a much better attitude and am trying to let God be in control.

This week is the infertility support group that I went to last month and I am pumped. I've got 3 other good friends that are going and we are going to have dinner first and I am just looking forward to some fellowship with girls who know exactly how I feel.

I have my bunko group tonight - the theme is western - I'm going to be sporting my denim skirt and cowboy boots from 7th grade and a cowboy hat and a bandanna - I'm either going to be cute or terribly stupid looking - either way - its bunko and it doesn't matter!

I'm thinking about you Lauren and hoping everything went well. I haven't checked your blog yet today so I'll have to do that next. I really need to figure out how to use this Google reader everyone is talking about.

Have a great rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Google MD failed me . . .

But that is a good thing. I took the info the nurse gave me and searched the Internet for its diagnosis - which as I said before was not good. Well we met with Dr. H yesterday and its fine. She wants him to go to a urologist of her choice for an ultrasound just to definitively rule out a varicocele. She said that the SCSA is a good test for a direction but it is not the end all be all test of fertility. His score was 31.4 - everything I read online said that men with a score over 30 never have a baby. She says this is not true. She worries when the score is approaching 60. The scores are 1 - 15 is excellent, 15-30 is good and over 30 is fair to poor. We are borderline. She is still convinced it is an egg factor issue and we are doing everything we can to help that.

The main thing I learned from this is that I let the devil get in my head and rule me for a few days. I was depressed and sure it was the end of the road for our dreams of a biological child. I was not a nice person. That was all from the devil and I realize that now but I couldn't decipher that in the middle of my funk. God is good and He is in control and I let that important piece of information leave my mind. We were still praying and I was reading the Bible searching for answers but I still had that black cloud over me doubting that God could do this when I know "nothing is impossible with God"(Luke 1:37) My favorite verse in the whole Bible - spoken directly about infertility. How did I forget that. The devil is powerful and I need to make sure that I don't let him in my head anymore.

Another thing that I was AGAIN assured of is my trust and love of my doctor. From reading different blogs I can say that I am truly lucky in that Dr. H is smart, compassionate, funny and loving. She was upset for me that I let one tidbit of information over take me and told me AGAIN that when I get upset tell a nurse to get her and she will call me back and calm me down. I am so lucky and I praise God for Dr. H. Even if she doesn't get me pregnant with a biological child I know that she did her best and she showed me God's love while she was doing it.

My goal for the next few months -until our next IVF starts - is to Fully Rely On God. I see frogs everywhere and every time I do I remember that statement. I just need to let it rule my life. He is in control and He knows best even when His plan doesn't agree with mine.

Lastly I will say that I have the best husband in the whole wide world for putting up with me! He continues to amaze me with the strength of his faith. And while this has been the toughest thing we have ever gone through, infertility has brought us closer to each other and closer to God. Even if I have lapses in sanity now and then. I am only human and God is pleased when I see my mistakes and repent.

Robin - great new office view! I look out and see an empty lot and trees and the backs of houses. And the occasional cat! I guess that is the difference in our two cities! Plus I don't work downtown.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And storm it does . . .

We got a call from the doctor's office today - that can never ever be a good thing with us!

Apparently my husband failed the SCSA test - sperm chromosome structure assay. If you score over a 30%, prognosis for pregnancy is not good - I repeat . . . not good. He scored a 31.4%. We have a video conference with Dr. H on Tuesday.

We are going back and forth to who has the worst reproductive system between the two of us. If this isn't going to work out I really hope we determine that soon. I still have a little hope because if God wanted us to adopt wouldn't he put that desire in my heart. I still want to pursue donor options if we have to - all the way to donor embryo if we determine that both of us just aren't reproductively capable.

I just have to bathe in the knowledge that God is in control and this is His Plan A as to where its about my Plan Z. Its almost like we have gotten so much bad fertility news that this just doesn't phase us. I'm sure if we go in there on Tuesday and she tells us that its donor sperm or nothing then it will hit me. Although that is the worst case scenario that I can think of and normally worse case scenario's are what I get when I talk to her. I don't think that is her by any means, I just think that is our life.

I still hold firm to the fact that we are where we are supposed to be - God has continually proven that to me. I guess I never posted about that did I . . .

It was the week after the embryos died and I had gone to a Infertility Support Group put on by another church in our community. It was powerful and spiritual and wonderful and God was there. I learned how to pray more effectively. I was praying before and never waiting for a response from God so now I pray that God will sensitize my ears and eyes to His voice. So the next day my husband and I were going to meet with our preacher and as I'm getting on the interstate I'm praying that prayer - God sensitize me to your voice. I look up and see one of the electronic billboards with a beautiful new baby on it (one of the hospitals here puts a picture of every new baby born up on the billboard). The next billboard that came up was my doctor's last name. Now it wasn't really her it was actually an insurance salesman with her name but I just started laughing. The preachers wife from the night before had said that God even uses billboards. So I asked God out loud if that was Him and I just couldn't stop laughing. He is in control and He is good. That has to be my mantra to keep me going. If the desire is there he will fulfill it - that was said both at the support group and by our preacher.

Praise you in this Storm

Thanks for the title Robin! I was walking my perfect dog yesterday after work and just looking at the sky and clouds in amazement that God can create something so beautiful. Its moments like those that just make you so sure that God is in control and His plan is perfect. I started praying - or more like talking to God - I was letting him know that I was dedicating whatever child I receive to Him and just thinking of that child's future in our wonderful church. A vision popped in my head as I was praying this of our future baby dedication - I saw me and my husband - him in a dark suit and a red tie and me in a black suit holding a perfect baby in a long white christening gown and wearing a bonnet and us just crying with joy and our preacher hugging us - knowing how hard we struggled for that baby. I just hope this was a vision from God to keep me moving toward our goal. Either way it made me cry as I was walking and is making me cry at this moment. I'm Baptist and we have baby dedication instead of a christening for anyone that is confused. The parents stand up front with the preacher and pledge to raise the child according to God's will and the congregation pledges to help. Its always a wonderfully tearful thing to watch - not many parents cry but then not many parents have to go through this to get a child. I can't wait until we do a baby dedication. Oh and the clothing made me think that this might be a winter baby dedication which would fall in line with the next IVF being in November/December - baby dedication is usually done when the baby is about 3 months old. Just my hopeful observation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Non toxic and organic

Since I am currently trying to be non toxic and eat organic I found a cool website - its Cosmetics Database. You can find out how damaging to your body the things you use everyday are.

Other than that nothing much going on - still drinking the tea and still doing acupuncture. I'm beginning to like it more so that is a good thing.

I have to do work but I just wanted to post that website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vomit

The tea that this acupuncturist is getting me to drink tastes. like. VOMIT! Do I want a baby bad enough to drink vomit twice a day? Not to mention the horrendous smell that it emits when it is cooking in its stupid little Chinese herb pot that we had to buy and that she said she didn't make a penny off of. We have been going to this woman for 2 weeks and have spent $500 and all it got us is a stupid little electric herb pot with the chinese baby on the front to steam our vomit herbs for me to drink and gag and still feel nauseous. Is this what God intended - drinking vomit to make a baby? I cried until midnight last night. Why is this so hard?

My friend C that did IVF the same time I did is pregnant. She already has an IVF son. I'm so happy for her but so sad for me. I didn't even get a chance to be pregnant.

I feel like we are wasting money but all the signs I've asked for point to drinking the vomit tea so I guess I'm going to just drink the vomit tea and be nauseous for the next 3 months - I guess its just a head start for morning sickness. By the time I get that I'll be a pro at nausea. I'll just be used to it.

Vomit tasting tea - Seriously?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

War Eagle


She said . .

If I were her daughter she would make me do it. I don't see that I have any other choice in the matter.

Does this warrant getting a second opinion?

Her reasoning is that if we don't do it then we will always wonder if we had done everything we could do to have our biological child.

Does anyone else think their life resembles a movie and you wish you could fast forward to the end and see how it turned out so you could make the decisions with that knowledge.

I wish God was speaking to me a little clearer. I keep asking for God to speak through Dr. H - how do I know if He really is? Is that one of the things you have to have confidence in and believe that she is speaking what He wants?

Nervous

Dr. H is calling at 10:30 to discuss us using her suggested acupuncturist and herb lady. I'm nervous that she is going to be adamant about us using her.

Lord please give me the words to say to convey my concerns to Dr. H and open my ears to hear the words you want me to hear. Please open Dr. H's ears to hear my concerns and give her the words You want her to speak to me. I want what You want and I want to be on Your path through all of this and if Dr. I is your path please make me content with that and the use of that money towards her services. I pray that you help me give this over to You and give me the peace that transcends all understanding - knowing that You are in control. Please be with C and she learns the results of her pregnancy test tomorrow and please be with L as she communicates with her doctors today. Please be with M as she starts this scary process. Please be with Robin as she meets with her doctor and also give her doctor the words to say that you want Robin to hear. Please give Lauren peace as she gets ready to undergo the lap surgery and let your will be done there. We all just pray for a child and we know that only You can give that to us. In your name I pray, Amen.

I really just have too many friends going through IF right now. My friend L just found out yesterday that her prolactin levels are too high - she was going today for her supression check for IVF - and that she needs to have an MRI to determine if she has a tumor on her pituitary gland. Her level was 27.2 and she's leaving for vacation this afternoon flying to NY - if this doesn't work itself out today that will make for a long worrisome weekend. Please say a prayer for her.

Thank you for the comments and the two book recommendations. I will see if I can find them soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lost

Job 23
10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. 11 For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. 13 But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind? Whatever he wants to do, he does. 14 So he will do to me whatever he has planned. He controls my destiny. 15 No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me. 16 God has made me sick at heart; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere."

I think this describes the fear of God - You know He is out there doing what He knows is best for you even if it causes you immeasurable pain. We have had the discussion in Sunday School before about what that means - "fear of God" - When I think of His power - even though I know His plan is best - the fear just grips me and it terrifies me that I am not in control nor do I know what is coming next. Is this an unChristian view or is just this human nature?

Back to my infertility world - I feel lost - Dr. H suggested on Friday we visit an acupuncturist who is also a certified herbologist - or whatever she is. Anyway - we went yesterday - and after we paid her $280 all I did was cry. She never really told us what she could do for us - she just looked at the 16 page questionnaire I filled out and told me I had issues with depression, anxiety and menstrual issues - yeah um - didn't I just tell you that - my embryos didn't grow - Dr. H thinks its my egg quality and I'm terribly upset about all of this.

She gave - or we bought - some huge bottles of vitamins -Xymogen - that is fine - I'll take vitamins but she wants me to come back once a week for acupuncture and to get her herbal tea and that will run us $160 a week not to mention the gas to drive to Birmingham and the time off from work once a week. It just seems impossible. And to be honest if this is what Dr. H is putting her hopes in working for me well lets just say I'm not opposed to getting a second opinion. And don't get me wrong I love her and if the second opinion agreed with her I would run back to her but the whole herbal/acupuncture thing is getting to me.

While used in conjunction with IVF it may enhance the experience but I want to hear her tell me that yes it is worth the extra $2000 or no the possible benefit does not outweigh the cost nor time off work. We have an herb shop less than a mile from our house that some good friends have used so I'm planning to go there to get his opinion and even if we don't go with Dr. H's lady I will get an herbal cleanse to hopefully rid myself of some toxins that I will no longer be subjecting myself to (I'll write a paragraph about that).

I just feel lost - we do what we are told and it seems crazy. I think God puts that voice in us saying that something isn't right when you've prayed about it. We have certainly been praying together and silently that God will show us the way and lead us and if this had been His way I really think we would have felt it instead of feeling like we were the poor desperate infertiles who will spend any amount of money if they think something will work for them. So I guess my question for ya'll is - what is your opinion of it and would you spend that kind of money on it?

As for the toxins - Robin you sound like you especially need to be aware of this - Clorox is an egg killer. Apparently when you expose yourself to Clorox type cleaning products it can be toxic to developing eggs. Dr. H wants me to quit using the kitchen clean up spray and the Clorox wipes and the shower cleaner. I have the same affection for cleaning the grout and tile and glass shower walls and door as Robin does. So . . . I mean you can't have a dirty house . . . I bought some organic cleaners - ironically made by Clorox brand! But our mother's have agreed to come over once a week or so to Windex the mirrors and clean the shower. Really though - look at the backs of your cleaning products and they all say "hazards to humans and domestic animals" - its scary. And also aspartame - my diet coke addiction - caffeine free as it is could be harmful to my eggs. Apparently when aspartame reaches 86 degrees it turns to formaldehyde which is the worst thing for your eggs and our "extra" diet cokes that we bought at Costco that don't fit in our fridge just sit in our garage - its been hot as hades around here lately so basically I was drinking formaldehyde. Anyway - I"m through with those toxins and I'm trying to learn to eat organically when ever feasible.

I've written a book - I need to actually do some work.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thank you

I appreciate your sweet comments and prayers.

I'm still not out of our fog and my fear is that its only going to get thicker tomorrow as we meet with Dr. H. From our phone conversation things are not looking good for us to ever have a child that is part of both of us. I want to have hope that this next protocol will be the miracle that we are looking for and I have to hope in that or its not worth doing.

I've been reading Job the last few days and I think I understand more clearly now that God really does not cause us this pain he allows Satan to tempt us to turn away from Him and hopefully He allows Satan that pleasure but only to the people he feels certain will stay with Him. Its hard and its not fun but I know and I believe that God is still in control of this aspect of my life. I have to accept that its not God's fault that our plan and His plan do not coincide and I pray that if they never do that God changes my heart and opens it to other possibilities.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

They stopped growing

After an awful IVF cycle where nothing would go right we found out that one embryo stopped growing at 4 cells and the other at 6. There will be nothing left to transfer. My eggs are misshapen and obviously have quality issues. The possibilities of us ever having our own biological children are slim. Dr. H wants to try us on another protocol to see if it will make a difference; however she is not optimistic. Statistics show that only maybe one more egg will be available and with my eggs that isn't good enough. How did we start this journey fighting male factor infertility and end up with us needing donor eggs. That was actually her next step - donor eggs and or donor sperm. What is the point? Do I want to be pregnant bad enough to do that? Is it easier than adoption? If it is then that works but I know nothing about any of it but its all expensive and we can't afford any of it. Especially if we go through another IVF cycle. We are pretty much spent after that. Ya'll there are no words for how I'm feeling right now and I know I should be turning to God but I'm just angry - if God doesn't want us to hurt why does he allow this to happen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ya'll . . .

I never knew that this was the hardest part of IVF - waiting to find out how your embryos are progressing. Over the weekend the calls came early in the morning. Now that its a weekday we are at the mercy of how the day is going for whatever nurse is supposed to call. I'm supposed to be at peace and confident that the Lord is in control but its hard. I'm a nervous wreck. I can't even imagine how much I will love this or whatever child God has planned for me b/c I just want to watch over these embryos and make sure that they are safe and happy. I can't imagine having a real child to take care of and love. I am certain when I get there that there will be abundant love and a greater appreciation of the child. I am sure that through this we will be better parents one day.

Pray for our embryos and my peace about it all.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2 fertilized normally

I am very thankful and at the same time very scared b/c those two fragile little fertilized eggs (don't know for sure if they are embryos yet??) have a lot of dividing to do between now and Wed.

I know that God will give us what we need and if one or both of these embryos is not his planned child for us we have to accept that - the future is so uncertain but I have to take comfort in the fact that I don't have to worry - God will accept all of my burdens about this. I did cry many tears after I heard the news - partially b/c I was so relieved that we had 2 and partially b/c I'm so scared of the future and growing so tired of waiting. God knows what I can handle and I have to believe that he won't give me more than I can handle. As you know from my last post that they were supposed to call by 2 and I assumed since I had to give them 2 phone numbers that they would actually call and not just leave it on my patient voicemail. Well I was wrong - they left it on my patient voicemail at 8:30 this morning so I worried needlessly for 5 hours about when they would call. Lesson learned and useful tip for Lauren - always check your voicemail. I'm assuming that they wanted the phone number in case the news was bad - they probably wouldn't want to leave a message saying that none fertilized.

Just pray for us that our two little ones will be around and thriving in the morning and when Carrie calls with the update that it will be a good one. Please pray that I am able to have patience through all of this and am able to give it to the Lord. Even still I'm struggling with this. I don't have to feel the pain I'm feeling if I could fully give it to Him.

Any idea what percentage of fertilized eggs make it to transfer? I'm hoping that we have at least one to transfer.

No update yet

Its almost 1pm - I haven't heard how my eggs are doing yet. I'm eagerly awaiting the fertilization report. It is printed on my discharge instructions that if we haven't gotten a call by 2pm that we should call them. The office is closed - how exactly do we call them? God really wants to teach me patience and that he is in control. I have been reading the book of Proverbs for the last hour. I know it should calm me to be in the Word but I'm not feeling calm right now. I am at peace that He is in control I just want to know now. I think I need to go read about patience.

Peace. That was the word for the day yesterday at the Egg retrieval so I'm trying to practice breathing techniques to reduce anxiety. Breathe in for 2 seconds and out of your mouth for 3 seconds. Plus I've been praying all morning. I'm doing the best I can.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Egg Retrieval

We got 5 eggs. They will call tomorrow with the fertilization rate and I assume the number of mature eggs that they could actually try to fertilize. It went good - very easy.

I'm going to be very specific so Lauren can read this if she decides to go forward with IVF:
We get there at 9 - an hour before the actual egg retrieval. They go ahead and take you back to the "surgery" area that looks like a pre-op kind of area at a regular outpatient surgery area. I get changed into my hospital gown - she said I could leave my bra on. You lock all of your clothes and purse in a locker and give your husband the key. I had brought a bag just in case he was to have to be in charge of it so I just locked it in there too. Then I got on a hospital bed and signed some forms. Dr. H came by and told me to be at peace and to remember who is in charge - can I say again how much I love her! Then Hubby went off to do his thing and I waited for my anesthesia. They gave me an IV and some IV antibiotics and then right before 10 the surgery nurse came out and gave me some happy juice. I didn't get sleepy just very calm. Then they wheeled me into the surgery room and I had to switch beds to get on the one with stirrups. They attached me to some heart monitors and blood pressure and pulse and then waited for Dr.H to come back. She came in and gave me a hug and then they gave me the good stuff. I got very loopy but never fell asleep. I could feel what she was doing but it was all kind of in a fog. Before you leave the operating room they give you the count. Dr. H had said she knew they got 4 and then the embryologist found one more - I'm guessing that one isn't mature though. Then She helped me get to the other bed and she went and got my husband and we went back to recovery. I felt sleepy for about an hour and then we got to go. They do wheel you out just in case you get woozy. She made me drink a sprite and eat some crackers before we left. Dr. H came back in and hugged me again and kissed me on top of the head and reminded me to be at peace. Carrie the embryologist will call early tomorrow with very important info!! All in all I think it went smoothly. We were home by 1:15 so I would guess we were out of there by 12. Its all in kind of a fog. I remember thinking that I was wide awake but when I think back on it I really can't remember everything. All I know is that I love Dr. H and all the nurses there. Yvonne was the nurse in the back and she was wonderful.

I feel fine - a little crampy - I got some strong drugs but I think I'll just stick with Tylenol.

Thanks for your prayers. I was waiting to go back praying in my head thanking God for all my friends that I knew were praying and I included several of you in that list. I know God was there b/c I felt so at peace with it all and of course I'm a little nervous about the results tomorrow but I still feel very confident and at peace with it all b/c basically if the answer is NO that is still God's plan and we will just try again. As smooth as this process was if the money is there I'll definitely try again if need be and hope the medicine can be adjusted and maybe my stress level will be lower now that I know what to expect. I'm trying not to think negatively; I'm going to take it minute by minute and hour by hour until I know if we are going to make it to transfer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hummingbirds and T shirts and scripture verses

I triggered last night - well actually my mom and dad came over so my mom - she's an RN - could give me my trigger shot at 10pm. It didn't hurt and my hip isn't sore today either. When we did our IUI it was sore - I hope it worked and she did it right.

I was at their house yesterday after we got home from Birmingham and we saw a hummingbird in their backyard. She told me that is good luck. I had never heard that but over the last week or so I have seen 3 hummingbirds - one at hubby's grandmother's assisted living home outside her window, another at our neighbors house and it seems like I've seen another - so that could be 4 hummingbird sightings to correspond with our hopefully 4 good eggs. I know I'm grasping here but has anyone else ever heard that seeing a hummingbird is good luck?

I went to Kohls at lunch today b/c my hubby thinks I need something more comfortable and less fashionable to wear tomorrow for egg retrieval. I obliged and got a pair of stretchy pants and a matching jacket and when I was leaving I held the door for this woman and she had a T shirt on that said Proverbs 22:6. I thought hey - that could be God speaking to me b/c really lately I've been searching for His voice everywhere. So I get back to work and hit up biblegateway.com and the verse is "train a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not turn from it." I hope that is God speaking to me. Oh how I hope I need that verse.

Also another infertile friend in real life - there should be an acronym for that! - emailed me out of the blue yesterday and asked how IVF was going and when I told her probably more than she actually wanted to know she emailed me back Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That does give me hope - I know I've blogged about this verse before but I still feel the same way. I don't see a future without kids and I know God wants to give me hope so I hope that he will provide me with a child.

Finally, another friend in real life whose IVF cycle got cancelled but she ended up pregnant naturally emailed me with James 1:2-8 "2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. " Wow talk about convicting me - whoa. Actually she only sent the part that isn't bolded and I just looked up the last part and am feeling extremely convicted right now. This is the verse that I needed to see a lot earlier in this cycle. Wow. I cannot doubt God. I have been struggling with that - I know he can do it but does he want to do it? That is still doubting him and when I'm being negative about this cycle that too is doubting him and I see that now. Wow. I know I've said it but let me say it again - Wow! I must email my friend and let her know how that convicted me.

Ya'll pray for my eggs tomorrow! I appreciate all of your comments and love reading them. It helps to know you are out there and care even if I'm really just a stranger! (even though ya'll have read my inmost thoughts and no one in my real life has ever read this! I may not be quite as much of a stranger!)

I feel almost upbeat now after reading that verse. I prayed out loud on my way home for lunch - I'm sure people in other cars think I'm crazy - that God would make me upbeat and then I changed it and said I can't feel upbeat just make me feel positive about this cycle. I guess He can - and I think He did just to prove he's listening. The same way He did when I asked for Him to speak through Dr. H. He knows when to send signs.

I'm going back to work. I'll take my computer home with me so maybe I can update this weekend. Ya'll have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I don't even know what to think anymore

Yesterday I got my E2 level and it was 683 -- that points to about 3 mature eggs. This morning we had to go to Birmingham for the ultrasound and blood work. I had 5 follicles ready to go and one slow one. The set egg retrieval for Friday. I asked if we could discuss that with Dr. H and they let us and she is wonderful. We talked and she said it looked good that we could have more but at my age she believes that the ones we have are healthy and she said that if I were 38 she probably would cancel the cycle but b/c of my age less eggs are needed to find a good one. I was happy - she was happy - all was good. She made the caveat that we would have to wait and see what the E2 level said but all was good. They would call me.

4 hours later Dr. H herself calls me - now I pretty much immediately know that this is not good. She said E2 was 880 - should have been around 1200 to agree to the ultrasound - she thinks only about 4 mature eggs. With only 4 mature eggs we are disqualified from shared risk - that means no money back guarantee. She thinks I have some issues with my number of eggs - she didn't say diminished ovarian reserve but that is what it sounds like to me. She thinks there is about a 30% chance of pregnancy and she would go ahead with retrieval. I have prayed to let God speak through her and my proof is that her next comment was "we have done what we can and now Lord its up to you" and then she said Stephanie - I want to hear you say that and she made me say that through my tears. I don't know how she knew I am a Christian b/c I don't think I was as open about it with her as Lauren is so I'm guessing she didn't know. Maybe she did or maybe she didn't care and this was her opportunity to witness to someone. Either way it gave me even more respect for her than I already had. She knows that she is only there to be the catalyst for God's miracles. I can just feel the love she exudes and that must come from God b/c I can imagine its hard for her to love every emotional woman that walks through her door wanting a baby. I have confidence in her and her abilities and even more so in God's. While I am upset with this - as I think most people would be - I know that God is in control and as Dr. H said - He may not give us what we want but he will give us what we need. He didn't give us a lot of follicles to work with but he did give us enough to proceed. It may be all we need. If it doesn't work He'll still give us what we need. I have faith that he will not give me more than I can handle. For some reason we are going through this and I need to take the opportunity to be thankful for this struggle. I know off the top of my head that it has made me a stronger Christian and has strengthened our marriage so if that is all that we get out of it and we never get a baby then that is God's plan. Right now the thought of that makes me cry and want to curl up in a ball but one day if that is His plan it may not. I may be content with that. If he wants to grant us children some other way then when its time my heart will change - I have no doubt that he will help me through and fulfill my needs. But its still a very emotional thing and I am sad.

Please pray for the follicles I have to stay strong until Friday and that the eggs retrieved will be of good quality and 100% will fertilize and that we will have what we need to transfer and that if its God's will we will have a healthy embryo implant.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The latest from the maybe, maybe NOT IVF cycle

Well I got a message on my patient voicemail yesterday at around 5 saying that my E2 of 461 is in line with my ultrasound (as in both are very crappy right now) and that I should take the last two nights of medicine and come in on Wed.

I already had an appointment this morning so I just went in anyway - I mean I've paid them well over $14,000 and if I choose to have a camera wand stuck in me then I think that is only fair - anyway Sarah said yes of course if it would make me feel better we could take a look - I mean I did have an appointment and everything.

So I now have 3 follicles ready for retrieval with 3 more lazy ones a few steps behind. I know at some point they start to worry more about losing the big ones than waiting on the little ones but I don't know at what point that is. I do know that Sarah was a great help - as usual. She made sure to tell me that even if I make that magic number of 4 that yes there is a 70% fertilization rate and 70% of 4 is 2.8 and you can't really have a 0.8 of an embryo so that leaves 2 and if for some reason those 2 are not perfect well . . . things aren't looking so hot.

She made it a point to tell us that we have the option to cancel the cycle - they aren't the only ones that can do that. If we talk to Dr. H (and I really really really hope that we get a chance to tomorrow) and she thinks that she can do better next time - as in readjust the meds - then we should cancel this one and wait for the next one.

Yesterday that seemed like the end of the world but today I'm surprisingly OK with that. I'm 100% sure that this change of attitude comes from the hours I spent praying yesterday silently, written, out loud, crying - you name it and I prayed it yesterday. Hubby and I spent a long time talking and praying together as well so I'm sure God has made me this calm today purely because He knows that if this cycle gets cancelled I would have been a wreck. It is all because of Him that I am not and to tell you the truth it sounds better to me to cancel than to risk not having anything to transfer and wasting one of our 2 shared risk trys.

My friend Cindy's retrieval was today and her husband had to have surgical sperm extraction so throw out an extra prayer for the two of them!

I really wish all of this was easier but I'm trying to stay firm in the fact that God is in control and I want what He has planned for me so I really shouldn't' try to fight it. I sure hope that I'm doing the right thing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm really worried

Worry seems to be a constant in this IVF cycle.

The fluid in the endometrial lining has resolved itself. I have a beautiful endometrium - per Sarah - however I have very few mature eggs to actually create embryos to implant in that beautiful endometrium. I have 6 total measurable - 2 of which are 1.4 and 2 that are 1.2 - those 2 better grow but that will still only give us 4 good looking ones. I know it only takes one but there is a portion of me that wants lots of options. Its how I am about most things - I like to look at all possible options.

Now if God has picked this particular embryo to be my child then great - lets get this show on the road - and how easy would it be if I knew that to be the case - however, I have to trust in Him and be patient. Oh how hard that is right now. I know He's in control and no amount of worrying, fretting or crying is going to change that.

Lord please envelope me with your peace throughout the rest of this cycle. Please give me patience and faith that You alone are in control and know how this cycle ends and either way with Your help I will be fine. Thank you for all the blessings in my life that I tend to over look at times like this. Forgive me for doubting You and the doctors. You put me in this place for a reason and I want your will to be done - no matter what that is. I want to glorify you through this and I haven't done a very good job of that in the last few days. I give this over to you right now at 11:26 am and know that I am not in control and need to stop trying to be. You will prevail and I want to facilitate any good that You want to come out of this struggle with infertility. If its easy I won't be as good of a witness for you. Bless the upcoming support group meeting and the plans that are being made for it. Bless C and L as they go through this struggle as well. Give C & B your peace and ease his pain be with their resulting embryos until transfer. Please give L & G your peace as well as they start this journey with a new doctor and meet the staff on Wed. Please make it an easy road for them and ease the communication issues that may arise dealing with an out of town doctor's office. Please watch over my follicles and if it be your will grow them to the right size and make them of good quality. Be with Dr. H today as she looks over my chart and decides how to proceed in this cycle. I love you and all of your wonderful gifts you have given me. In your name I pray, Amen

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why does this have to be so hard?

About 5:30 yesterday evening I got a call from Janet the IVF coordinator. She said that my estrogen was 81 and progesterone was .6. That was fine but the fluid is still concerning them and apparently Dr. H didn't know to click the extra tab to look at the pictures from the ultrasound of the fluid. So . . . Janet tells me that if its a problem what they will probably want to do is go ahead with the cycle but freeze all the embryos. I'm not happy with that and I start crying. She tries to convince me that the FET have a good success rate. I'm not blind - at my clinic for 2006 its 47% vs 33% for male factor - I'm not really excited about that. Plus is that going to count for one of our fresh cycles in our shared risk plan? I'm unhappy that its after lunch the next day and I still know nothing. I know Dr. H does surgery on Friday mornings but haven't I paid enough money to get some decent attention out of this. I know I need to be patient but still . . . this is very frustrating.

My Google MD research has led me to believe that she will want to continue with the cycle and see if the fluid resolves itself by egg retrieval and if not they can aspirate it during egg retrieval and do an ultrasound between the retrieval and transfer to see if it has come back. But that is just one case I read on the internet - my doctor might want a perfect cycle for her success rates. I'm overly frustrated. I read somewhere that the perfect word for this is hormotional and I fully know that this is an emotional adventure with tons of hormones thrown in there.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

1 Corinthians 3:7-9

7It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.
9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.

Update

Hi Robin! Got your comment so I thought I would update. Thanks to Lauren too for her comment - God knew I needed to hear that this morning.

Ok lets start by saying that I am a worry wart, drama queen, freak out, overreact, any other name you can come up with so . . . with that said . . . apparently I have fluid in my endometrial lining - from what I can gather its just a longer than normal period. Apparently this is cause for concern and I should have listened to my husband when he told me on Tuesday to call the nurse and tell her I was still bleeding and its been a week. It stopped and was just spotting and it was brown so I wasn't concerned and I just figured I would tell Sarah (nurse practitioner) today. Yeah . . . so I was wrong. Should have called . . . but didn't. Got the point. She doesn't think this is a deal breaker but does want to let Dr. H look at the ultrasound picture of it. I'm hoping to hear something soon b/c I then put a call into the IVF nurse hoping she could calm me down but I haven't heard back from her yet.

I have 10 follicles - none of which are growing yet. I am a slow responder. From what I've read - not so good but then Sarah said that she would rather work with a slow responder than a fast responder. I want to believe her but then isn't part of her job not to freak the IVF patients out any worse than they already are?

On a positive note, shots are going great - small stinging sensation but nothing like the first two. I'll stick with that.

I'll try to update this afternoon with blood work results and what Janet - the IVF nurse says.

Oh but Sarah's guess is that I'll be going to B'ham early Sunday morning for another ultrasound. I hope I can stay sane until then!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Worrying . . . is it all just a part of IVF?

I can't stop - its all I've been thinking about today - what if I go in tomorrow after 4 days of stims and I have no follicles or what if I get to egg retrieval and I have all immature eggs. Nothing in the past 8 months of tests has pointed to the possibility of any of that - as far as I know - but I'm terrified. I'd like to say that its the medicine causing my imagination to run away but its not. I've always been like this. I prepare for the worst - in everything. If I call my mom and I can't get her I worry that she is dead - I know this makes me crazy and most of the time I can control it but this has been a rough 2 weeks. I had a mom episode last week and she was at a movie b/c she was bored and my dad wouldn't go with her to see X Files - to be honest I'm pretty sure she didn't' ask him. She's more secure than I am - I just ate at a restaurant by myself for the first time last month - 29 years and I would rather sit in my car than eat alone. It was just a chicken biscuit before a CPE class but still. It was also the first time I've ever driven to B'ham alone. I'm rambling now - back to me worrying. Does anyone think I should be worrying - what are the chances? I asked my IVF nurse what the chances would be to get to transfer and have nothing to transfer and she said almost none. But why do you read about it on the internet everywhere? I know the internet is a dangerous tool and once I really do get pregnant I really need to cut it off b/c I'll drive myself insane.

OK - I'll update the rest of my life. Lets see Monday nights shot went just as crappy as Sunday nights. I tried it in the thigh - hurt like hell - don't do it there! I'm also supposed to limit my exposure to heat while on these meds and since its still a heat index of 99 at 8:00 that means to my husband that I don't need to go on my nightly walk with him and our puppy?! Now I think this is a crock but his mom and my mom both agree and when the mothers agree - I do what I'm told so . . . I tried to do pilates while he walked our doggie. Pilates seems to be at a greater risk to do harm to my hopefully swelling ovaries than a mile walk in the heat? I only did about 15 minutes and then gave up - my theory is that I need all the fat on my "core" to continue to give shots. I feel sorry for skinny people doing IVF - those shots really have to hurt!

Yesterday I sat in a continuing education class all day learning about Auditing Employee Benefit Plans - snore! Last night my hubby's parents took us out to dinner for his birthday and it took forever. I was freaking out about giving the shot late so we forewent the cake and presents and just high tailed it home to give the shot. This shot went better than the other two - it seemed to sting less but I was also worked up so the adrenaline was flowing. I couldn't get the cap off the needle and sliced my hand open and bent the needle so we had to put a new needle on the syringe. I let a drop or two out when I was changing out the Q - Cap as well - I hope that drop didn't matter too much.

We'll try again tonight and see how it goes.

I still haven't had many side effects - I've had a headache everyday but nothing 2 tylenol won't fix. It seems like I'm bloated but I ate a huge meal last night and left over ice cream cake for lunch so - I might just be eating too much. We'll see what Nurse Sarah has to say tomorrow. I think I'm making hubby go with me - do your husbands go with you to monitoring appointments? I make him go when I might get bad news - he went to our antral follicle count appointment but I didn't make him go to the SIS.

I'm going to finish my Form 5500 that I've been working on for a week. Its due on August 15th so I have to finish it so I can get my eggs retrieved and not worry about work - its the only thing that is actually due then. I hope I don't get OHSS b/c I've got an audit and contractors license due on Aug 31. They may just have to get an extension. Its not the end of the world.