FET in T minus 6 days!

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I had my follow-up u/s and bloodwork today in anticipation of my FET on Monday. My lining looked great at 12.7. I’m now on 3 Vivelle-dot 0.1 mg patches and 1 Estrace vaginal suppository a day. Thank God all that estrogen is doing something!

I start progesterone in oil tomorrow so I had the nurse draw me up again so my husband has a nice target to inject. It’s been a few weeks and I’m not sure I trust his memory! One more blood draw on Thursday and we’re off to the races! I reconfirmed with my RE that we will transferring the slowest and fastest growing embryos. Yay!

On a different note, I had a really amusing and sad dream last night. I dreamt my husband was the one carrying our child and he was 9 months pregnant at the hospital for his c-section. When he delivered, we were sure it was girl and they handed me the baby and when I saw it was boy I started sobbing over the baby boy, telling him how happy I was to see him and how we’ve been waiting for so long for him. It was both hilarious (pregnant husband anyone?) and bittersweet.

Hope came knocking (FET DATE) and I opened the door

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It’s been a few weeks since hope has come to visit. So when she showed up today in the form of an FET date, I welcomed her with open arms and told her to make herself at home. It’s been lonely without her around.

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This morning, I had my first FET appointment. I was unbelievably nervous and worried that we would have to delay or cancel. Will my lining be too thick? Too thin? Will I have ovulated despite the estrogen patches? Things have seemed so bleak since my CP, I was having trouble remembering that sometimes everything can go right instead of wrong.

I don’t have exact measurements, but my lining looks great according to my RE (I think I saw 8 on the u/s machine). My ovaries are quiet, as they should be. My RE discussed possible dates for the FET and we picked Monday 09/22/14 as the best date all around. It gives me a few more days of estrogen to build an even better lining. I have another appointment with her on Tuesday to check my lining, e2 and p4. And if all looks good then, I start PIO the following day.

On 09/22, we’ll be transferring two embryos, my best and my worst, which only gives me a 5% chance of twins. Very reasonable odds, considering my RE’s initial reluctance to consider a double transfer.

Let the countdown begin! 10 days until I’m PUPO with twins! :) <3

Dream

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I’m about to go way out on a limb and trust you ladies with a story I haven’t shared with anyone other than my husband and my mother-in-law. After deciding to transfer two embryos for my upcoming FET, I had a sudden memory spring up to mind. One that I haven’t thought about in over a year. And the first thought I had when it sprang to mind was: “Of course, this is why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet.”

Now, let me preface this story by saying that I’m an enormous skeptic. I don’t believe in ghosts or psychics. I don’t believe in fate because it interferes with my belief in free-will. I’m also more or less an atheist, though I do celebrate certain Jewish holidays. I see Judaism more as a culture, a part of my heritage, than a religion. 

Okay, now that that’s been said, here we go. 

Shortly (I believe it was my second or third night home) after losing Zeke, I had a dream one night. I later tried to have the same dream again because it was comforting, but I just couldn’t repeat it. The dream was so vivid that not only can I recall every minute of it, but it woke me up and has stayed with me ever since. In my dream, Zeke came to me. I couldn’t see his face or any features. I’m not even sure how old he was. But, I knew instinctively it was him. He said to me: “I’m sorry mom. It’s just not my time to come yet. But I’ll be back with a sibling in tow.” And that was it. As short and sweet as that. 

A week later, I was talking with my mother-in-law (a licensed therapist) who had also suffered a stillbirth. She was telling me, out-of-the-blue, that the night before she found out the baby was gone, she had a dream that her baby spoke to her and told her that he had to leave because he was needed elsewhere. The next day she had a prenatal appointment and found out the baby was gone. I then shared my dream with her and it is the last I thought of it, until last week. 

When, we decided to transfer two embryos, the dream popped back up into my head, and I recalled the words “with a sibling in tow.” Twins. Whether, it’s my over-active subconscious trying to lessen my grief of losing my son, a communication from the beyond, or just a dream, I will say that I’ve become much more comfortable with the idea of carrying twins. Sure, there are pangs of fear here and there. But mostly, there’s an overwhelming sense of rightness. This is what’s supposed to happen. 

Do what you will this story. I’m certainly not planning on taking it to the bank. But if you have any similar stories you’d feel comfortable sharing with me, I’d love to hear them. 

Smile-makers #1

I spend a lot of time on this blog whining. So, instead of complaining about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy announcement coming to me as a CNN alert (ha! like how I snuck that in there?), I’m going to share some of the things that I’ve stumbled onto online that broke through my sourpuss attitude and made me smile. I hope they cheer you up too :). Enjoy!

YouTube – Mutant Giant Spider Dog:

Buzzfeed – The 33 Most Joyful Things That Ever Happened:
Especially #25, 28, and 30
http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/make-you-smile?bffb#4jkw1aj

Buzzfeed – 18 Local News Stories That Could Only Happen In A Small Town
http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/18-local-news-stories-that-could-only-happen-in-a-small-town#4jkw1aj

YouTube – Simon’s Cat “Washed up” 
Or any past episodes… Love Simon’s Cat!

Cute Overload – The Cat In The Hat Box
http://cuteoverload.com/2014/09/04/the-cat-in-the-hat-box/ 

Feeling left behind

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For the past year, I’ve been an active member of a TTC thread for women who have suffered 2nd and 3rd Trimester losses. It’s amazing the bond you can form from a shared experience with women you wouldn’t even recognize if you passed them in the street. These women have become more than just screen names. They’ve become friends whose lives I’m genuinely invested in. I chat with them on a daily basis and we talk about everything, from CM and ovulation to mundane daily life. 

Initially, I was a member of the monthly TTC thread. But as the months went by, many women graduated to the Rainbow thread, while I stayed behind. The green-eyed monster, who has been my constant companion for months, started to become too heavy of an emotional burden. Eventually, my jealousy got so bad, I formed a new thread for those who have been left behind. It was meant as an escape from the “Hey all! This is my first month TTC and I just got my BFP!” And it’s been a wonderful shelter. Recently though, two of my fellow veterans have graduated to the Rainbow thread. And while I am genuinely thrilled for them, I’m also feeling very sorry for myself.

Why do I keep being left behind? When will it be my turn? 

Little things that would normally roll off my back become triggers that set me back emotionally. It’s taken more than a year to put myself back together since I lost Zeke. The longer I wait for my rainbow, the more fragile my seams becomes, and some days I worry I’ll break apart all over again. 

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I’m counting down the days to my FET because I know that will provide the much needed hope and optimism that is missing from my life right now. Two to three weeks to go until I’m PUPO with twins. Deep breath. I can make it in one piece, I hope.   

~ Samantha

Expectation of fairness

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You spend your life being told that “life isn’t fair” and that “you can’t always get what you want”. And yet, there’s a persistent and pervasive belief that lingers, no matter how many times you’re told otherwise, that life will be fair to you. If you live your life the right way and work hard, your dreams, desires, ambitions will come true.

So what happens when you experience pregnancy loss and infertility? That belief is irrevocably shattered. You watch women who are addicted to crack and cocaine deliver healthy babies. You see women barely able to clothe and feed themselves with troops of kids traipsing around behind them. And you can’t help but think: how is this fair? Truth is, it’s not. And no one ever promised you that it would be. In fact, you could even argue that you’ve been warned that it’s quite the opposite. 

This isn’t a post meant to throw you into the throes of despair. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve experienced your own share of unfairness, and have developed your own coping mechanisms (which I’d love to read about, so please share it in the comments or if so inspired, post about on your own blog).

Mine (which admittedly still needs fine tuning) is to focus on what I have that makes my life wonderful rather than what I don’t. For instance, “I may not be a fertile myrtle but at least I’m able to clothe, feed, and school my child in whatever matter I see fit for him (ahem… Best of the best, duh!).” And I take so much pride in that. I love that I can spoil my son when I feel like it with attention or gifts. I love knowing that I’m doing right by him. And that restores a sense of balance to my universe. Yes, life is still unfair. I can’t change that. But I can choose not to spend all of my energy focused on that.

~ Samantha

PSA – New Pages

I’ve been working on some new pages including a brand new TTC Timeline page. 

Zeke’s story is also now on it’s own page (where it belongs) and where it can be found much more quickly :)

And just for a smile:

baby oil meme

Thanks for reading!

~ Samantha

Seeing double

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I’ve made a big decision. I’m going to push for a double embryo transfer. Is it risky considering my obstetrical history? Yes. Does it carry a much higher rate of success of a single pregnancy taking? Again, yes. Trust me when I say that I am 100% fully aware that a single pregnancy is best for me. It’s what I hope will come from a double embryo transfer. But on the off-chance both should take I have to consider the consequences of a twin pregnancy.  

I’ve been struggling to see eye-to-eye with my RE for a long time now. I only stayed with her because she finally agreed to move on to IVF sooner, rather than later. Since I met with her, she has been entirely focused on a single pregnancy for me (to the extent that she wouldn’t even consider OI drugs – low-dose Clomid or Femara). It was nothing or IVF. After my fresh transfer failed, I wanted to discuss transferring two of my frozen embryos the next time around. She categorically shot me down, stating that I can’t afford twins. The reason for her staunch views on multiples for me, has to do with a misunderstanding of my pathology report and cause of loss of my son. She fixated on the words “maternal floor infarction” eventhough that is only a small piece of the puzzle and in truth is not entirely accurate. There were no clots in my placenta. Despite explaining to her that my condition is unbelievably rare and misunderstood, she would not listen.

Over the weekend, I decided that I would call my OB and see what she says. After all, she will be responsible for the long-term care of any pregnancy I carry. After explaining the situation I find myself in, she agreed that a double embryo transfer makes sense and she promised to support any pregnancy I have whether it’s a single or a double. (Have I mentioned how much I adore her?) She even offered to talk to my RE should she continue to stubbornly refuse the double embryo transfer. 

Now, I am waiting for my call to be returned by my RE.  She will likely fight me tooth and nail on this decision and will try to push me into agreeing to a reduction. Wish me luck ladies. I need all the support I can get. 

~ Samantha

Trying to let go of the past

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When you’ve suffered a loss of pregnancy, early, late, repeated, you’re changed. For better or worse, you’re not the same person you were before, and likely never will be again. A lot of loss moms think of their lives as split into two distinct phases: B.L. and A.L. (Before Loss and After Loss). Life A.L. involves adapting to a new facet of your personality, and learning how to function in the world with this new part of your identity. 

There is a poem that often gets quoted by loss moms that uses shoes as a symbol for learning to live again after pregnancy loss.

A Pair of Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

- Author Unknown

Have you read this poem before? I swear my feet start to ache just reading it. This poem makes the loss rounds so often because it resonates so clearly with how life has changed A.L.  

The hardest part for me most days (especially when a cycle fails) is letting go of the image of my family I had B.L. Here I am, missing my baby boy, and unable to let go of the fact that he should be here, learning to crawl and talk. I shouldn’t be obsessing over getting pregnant again. I should be enjoying my two boys, complaining to anyone who will listen about how tired I am, and how much work two boys are, but just how fun they are. I should be playing judge and jury when they fight.

Instead, I’m left with empty arms and a seemingly damaged womb that for some unexplainable reason is unable to carry a pregnancy again. When these thoughts and feelings hit me in a particularly brutal way, I remember the Joseph Campbell quote above. I came across it a long time ago and it really resonated with me then, and still does now. I won’t ever be able to let go of Zeke, but I need to let go of the image of the four of us I had to make room for a new reality, whether that’s living with my amazing son as an only child, or eventually adding another child to our family.

It won’t be the picture I had in my mind in February 2013 when I found out I was pregnant again, or since June 2013 when I found out Zeke was a boy. My family has been changed irrevocably. It will be a different image and an equally beautiful one, perfect in its own way, whichever way that may be. 

~ Samantha

Recap: IVF #1 – Chemical Pregnancy

Too often I browse online looking for a similar experience to mine. I follow the links, hopeful to find the full story, only to realize the person never came back and finished their tale. If someone makes their way onto my blog, I want to make sure they always get the full story, beginning to end.

Let’s recap my first round of IVF which started 07/23/2014.

07/23 – CD1~ AF

07/24 – CD2 ~ Bloodwork and baseline ultrasound. Everything looks nice and quiet. I’m given the instructions to start my stimulation drugs (150iu Menopur & 300iu Gonal-F RFF).

07/28 – CD6 ~ Bloodwork and ultrasound. I have 3 follicles on my right ovary (8-11mm) and 4 on my left ovary (8-12mm)

07/29 – CD7 ~ I’m given instructions to start Ganirelix.

07/30 – CD8 ~ I have 2 follicle at 18mm, 1 at 16mm, 3 at 15mm and 2 at 13mm.

08/01 – CD10 ~ I receive my instructions to trigger at 1:30am (08/02) for my egg retrieval on Sunday (08/03)

08/02 – CD11 ~ My husband wakes me up at 1:20am and at exactly 1:30am, I take 2x 250mcg Ovidrel.

08/03 – CD12 ~ Retrieval Day! Procedure goes fine. They retrieve 8 eggs.

08/04 – CD13 ~ I get my first fertilization report. All of my eggs were mature and 7 fertilized through ICSI. I start my Progesterone in Oil.

08/07 – CD16 ~ I have my progesterone tested and it’s at 40! Best level I’ve had in a long time. I’m now all set for my transfer the next day.

08/08 – CD17 ~ Transfer day! I take a Valium to relax my cervix and have a 5-day blastocyst transferred. I’m told 3 of my other embryos are being frozen today and possibly another 1 or 2 tomorrow. I start Lovenox that night.

08/09 – 1dp5dt ~ 1 more embryo gets frozen, giving me a grand total of 4 frozen embryos. I’ve had a great outcome from a low-yield cycle.

08/13 – 5dp5dt ~ Time to start testing! I already know how long it takes for my body to metabolize the trigger. I wake up in the morning and test with an FRER and see my usual remaining trigger squinter.

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08/14 – 6dp5dt ~There’s a definite line today! It’s darker than yesterday. Could this be real? I take a digital: “Pregnant 1-2″. Holy shit! This is for real.

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08/15 – 7dp5dt ~ My line is still faint in the morning but it’s clearly there and definitely not from trigger. I feel bizarrely unsettled that night and take a digi which comes back “not pregnant.” Starting to think it was a chemical pregnancy. I don’t sleep much that night.

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08/16 – 8dp5dt ~ My husband is tired of seeing me mope around all day so he goes to the pharmacy and gets me some more tests. I take a test that night and it comes back “pregnant” again! I’m so freaking happy!

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08/17 – 9dp5dt ~ I’m starting to worry that my lines on my FRER are just not darkening fast enough. I skip testing today.

08/18 – 10dp5dt ~ First Beta comes back: 24.4. Shit. That’s not good.  Most first betas I see come back at least over 50, if not 100. The nurse tells me that though it’s on the low side, not too worry yet. We need the next beta to really come to a conclusion. I have a bad feeling, but I go with it.

08/20 – 12dp5dt ~ I POAS and my line comes back darker than ever. I’m starting to feel confident I have a late implanter on my hands.

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08/21 – 13dp5dt ~ Second Beta comes back: 36. WTF?! My beta only rose 12 in 72 hours. My RE calls to give me the news and asks me to come in the next day for one more draw. I feel crushed and emotionally battered. I was prepared for bad news on Monday but watching my test lines get darker the last few days gave me a lot of false hope and confidence.

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08/22 – 14dp5dt ~ Third Beta comes back: 38.5. No surprises this time. It’s over before it even began but not before I allowed myself to hope. I’m given instructions to stop the Progesterone in Oil and Lovenox.

So there you have it. I hoped to have a story that would give comfort to someone with slow-rising betas. Instead, I’m adding to the veritable litany of stories out there that all end the way mine has. A chemical pregnancy at the end of an IVF cycle is truly a cruel blow. You’re given just a little taste of hope before it gets snatched away.

What’s next:

Now, I wait for AF to start in the next 1-5 days. If she hasn’t shown up by Tuesday, I have to call for bloodwork to make sure my HcG is dropping and I don’t have a tubal pregnancy. CD 3 of next cycle, I slap on two estrogen patches. Then at some point I go in for a baseline ultrasound and when my lining is thick enough, start up Progesterone in Oil again in preparation for a Frozen Embryo Transfer. If all goes as plan, my next transfer will be the 3rd week of September.

~Samantha