Monday, November 24, 2014

Desperate Times

This weekend was a perfect mixture of busy and lazy.  Todd mentioned that he was surprised that I slept for so long on Saturday afternoon, so maybe my first pregnancy symptom is exhaustion.  (I won’t mention that my whole life, I’ve been able to fall asleep if I lay horizontal on a soft surface.  It’s a party trick of mine.)

Saturday night, we attended a 1920’s themed wedding reception.  Unfortunately for anyone reading, we chose to wear our Sunday best as opposed to costumes.  It was cheaper and less stressful.  J  I’m not very good at putting together costumes. 
Here are my gorgeous parents.
I wish I had taken a picture of my sister, Jenny, and her boyfriend, Jason.  She looked stunning.  (Instead, I will post a picture of them at the last wedding we attended before this one.  Also, I'll throw in a bonus of her catching the bouquet at that wedding because the faces of her and my daughter, Taylor, are priceless.)
However, as the night was nearing an end, Todd and I found ourselves on a deadline we would not be able to make it home for – 9:45pm Progesterone shot.  No worries, we came prepared.  I had seen a family restroom, so we decided it would be fine for him to give me the shot in there.  Unfortunately for us, that restroom was locked for the evening.

I found the groom and asked if there was a private room we could borrow for a minute.  He showed me what he thought were some options, and Todd and I began our scavenger hunt.

Every door was locked and the one hidden area we thought might be safe was entirely too dark to be drawing medicine from a vial at the exact amount.

With much hesitation, we headed to our last option…the janitor’s closet.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Dr. Todd getting the shot ready whilst holding the door shut with his back.
Can't pass-up a selfie in a janitor's closet.  Todd's arm is holding the door shut.
(For the record, as we left the party, “Kiss” by Prince was playing, so Todd enjoyed my special sounds-more-like-Pretty-Woman rendition of that during the shot.  Check the shot clock below to see the rest of the songs I've been singing for my sweet Dr. Todd.)

Escaping the closet without being seen proved to be a much easier task than I initially had thought.  Whew!

Please, don’t forget about the giveaway that’s still happening until Thursday.
 

Shot Clock:
1.       Tuesday morning, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
2.       Tuesday evening, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
3.       Wednesday morning, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
4.       Wednesday evening, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
5.       Thursday morning, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
6.       Thursday evening, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
7.       Friday morning, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
8.       Friday evening, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
9.       Saturday morning, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
10.   Saturday evening, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
11.   Sunday morning, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
12.   Sunday evening, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
13.   Monday morning, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
14.   Monday evening, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
15.   Tuesday morning, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
16.   Tuesday evening, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
17.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
18.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix – NEW SHOT!!!
19.   Wednesday evening, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
20.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
21.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
22.   Thursday evening, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
23.   Friday morning, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
24.   Friday morning, November 7 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
25.   Friday evening, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
26.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 300 units of Follistim
27.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
28.   Saturday evening, November 8 – HCG Trigger Shot – Ovidrel
29.   Monday evening, November 10 – Progesterone ½ ml
30.   Tuesday evening, November 11 – Progesterone ½ ml
31.   Wednesday evening, November 12 – Progesterone 1 ml
32.   Thursday evening, November 13 – Progesterone 1 ml
33.   Friday evening, November 14 – Progesterone 1 ml
34.   Saturday evening, November 15 – Progesterone 1 ml
35.   Sunday evening, November 16 – Progesterone 1 ml – theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”
36.   Monday evening, November 17 – Progesterone 1 ml – Bon Bons commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD3d3YEpF54)
37.   Tuesday evening, November 18 – Progesterone 1 ml – “All I Want for Christmas,” by Mariah Carey
38.   Wednesday evening, November 19 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Pretty Woman”
39.   Thursday evening, November 20 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Shoo. Fly. Mosquito.” from Pioneer Park Elementary Honor Choir  (even Google has never heard this song)
40.   Friday evening, November 21 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Up On the Housetop”
41.   Saturday evening, November 22 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Kiss,” by Prince in the janitor’s closet at a wedding reception
42.   Sunday evening, November 23 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Close,” by Hillsong Young & Free

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Faith in Infertility + A Giveaway

Tomorrow is the anniversary of our second egg retrieval, and Sunday is the anniversary of our second embryo transfer.  For some reason, I like to keep these reminders on my calendar, but I don’t really need the reminders.  The dates are all embedded in my head.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I won’t be thinking about the failure we had a year ago, though.  Instead, I’ll be thinking about the same thing that’s on my mind today…God.

A year ago, I didn’t have God in our second IVF cycle.  Nope, I was relying on Dr. Bundren and his team, Todd, and myself.  Together, I thought we could get us pregnant.  I was wrong.

This time, I left everything up to God.  I told Him that what I really wanted was for this cycle to result in a healthy baby.  However, if it was not in His will for this to be our cycle, then I would be okay with that.  I even asked that He align my will to His will.  That is what I continue to pray today…and will pray tomorrow and Sunday.

What God gave us in return was a cycle that was against the odds and a feeling of peace and optimism that I haven’t felt in over a year and a half.  That’s a great God.

Obviously, we still don’t know if this is “our cycle,” but at least for a few days, I get to enjoy being pregnant and continue not worry about what the future holds.  God has that taken care of!
*****As a reminder, in the last blog entry, I wrote:  Just to recap, so far this cycle has been against statistics. We retrieved more eggs than statistics said we should have for the number of follicles we had. More eggs fertilized than statistics said should have. More embryos lasted until the 5-day transfer than statistics said should have. All this means is that God is good, and prayer works. Nothing less.*****

Verse of the Day on the YouVersion app for Friday, November 14th, the day before our transfer:  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.”  ~Jeremiah 29:11
That’s a God-incidence.  J
 
 
******************************************************************
 
Also, as promised on Monday, I have my first giveaway!!  I am so excited that I have been invited by my sweet friend, Kacy, and Fertile Gems to participate in the Blog Hop Thanksgiveaway!

I have chosen this gorgeous bracelet from Fertile Gems as my giveaway prize.  I chose it because it represents faith in fertility.  Since I have found that keeping my faith through my fertility challenges is the only option, I thought this was the perfect giveaway.
To qualify for the giveaway, all you have to do is post a comment below by the end of the day on Thursday, November 27th.  (I will choose my winner randomly, using random.org, and announce it on Friday, November 28th.)

Even better news, I am actually doing this Blog Hop Thanksgiveaway with four other bloggers!  Visit each blog listed below to see which Fertile Gem piece they have chosen for you to try to win:
First Comes Love
Dreaming of Dimples (also on Facebook)
Miss.Conception Coach (also on Facebook)
Infertile Myrtle (also on Facebook)

ONE winner will be selected from each blog to receive a Fertile Gem piece.  Each blog will announce its own winner on Friday, November 28th, so be sure to check back there to see if you’ve won!

After you’ve visited each of the blogs, head over to Fertile Gems Facebook Page for a fantastic prize!

Don’t forget to check out her great Etsy shop, too.

As always, thank you for being a loyal follower of my blog.  I appreciate each of you so very much!
 
Check below to see what songs I have been singing to entertain Todd during the Progesterone shots.  He's such a lucky man!


Shot Clock:
1.       Tuesday morning, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
2.       Tuesday evening, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
3.       Wednesday morning, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
4.       Wednesday evening, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
5.       Thursday morning, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
6.       Thursday evening, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
7.       Friday morning, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
8.       Friday evening, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
9.       Saturday morning, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
10.   Saturday evening, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
11.   Sunday morning, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
12.   Sunday evening, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
13.   Monday morning, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
14.   Monday evening, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
15.   Tuesday morning, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
16.   Tuesday evening, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
17.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
18.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix – NEW SHOT!!!
19.   Wednesday evening, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
20.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
21.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
22.   Thursday evening, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
23.   Friday morning, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
24.   Friday morning, November 7 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
25.   Friday evening, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
26.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 300 units of Follistim
27.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
28.   Saturday evening, November 8 – HCG Trigger Shot – Ovidrel
29.   Monday evening, November 10 – Progesterone ½ ml
30.   Tuesday evening, November 11 – Progesterone ½ ml
31.   Wednesday evening, November 12 – Progesterone 1 ml
32.   Thursday evening, November 13 – Progesterone 1 ml
33.   Friday evening, November 14 – Progesterone 1 ml
34.   Saturday evening, November 15 – Progesterone 1 ml
35.   Sunday evening, November 16 – Progesterone 1 ml – theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”
36.   Monday evening, November 17 – Progesterone 1 ml – Bon Bons commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD3d3YEpF54)
37.   Tuesday evening, November 18 – Progesterone 1 ml – “All I Want for Christmas,” by Mariah Carey...my favorite non-religious Christmas song

Monday, November 17, 2014

PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

I apologize right now for the length of this entry.  I have a lot to tell you!

The last 16 days have been full of so many secrets in my house.  Now that I am completely in the know, again, it is time I share it all with you.

Going back to Friday, November 7 – final follicular ultrasound:
As of our final follicular ultrasound, we were measuring with 9 follicles above 10mm, which means that they were all possibilities for retrieval.  (They have to reach 16mm to be retrieved, though, and only 3 were that size as of that Friday.)  I was unaware of any of this, and I’m glad.  Nine follicles is a decent number, but you can expect that only about 80% of them will have an egg.
 
Monday, November 10 – retrieval day:
Last Monday, we did our retrievals (obviously).  Everything went great!  Dr. McKinney quietly slipped Todd a pink piece of paper with the egg count on it.  They both rejoiced quietly as I was only a few curtains away.  However, I was coming out from under anesthesia, so I was barely aware that they were talking.  They came over to greet me and were both tightlipped about the egg count.  After Todd’s retrieval, he was finally starting to come to (remember, he was put completely under too because of how invasive his procedure is), and Dr. Prough came to give us a quick report. 

Now, I know that I have told all of these details in a previous entry.  What I didn’t tell you was what happened next. 

So Dr. Prough was celebrating the excellent retrieval with Todd, and he said, “So I hear you got 9.”  Immediately, my stomach dropped.  He must have seen it on my face because he quickly followed that with, “Or maybe I’m wrong.  I don’t really remember.”  I knew he wasn’t wrong.  I knew that was our egg count.  I was relieved!  Last cycle, we only retrieved 6 eggs.  Nine is such a better number.  It’s the amount we retrieved in cycle 1 when I got pregnant.  It was a happy number! 

Now, for those of you that specifically asked how many eggs we retrieved, you can go back and look at our correspondence.  I responded to you with “I told them I didn’t want to know.”  Technically, I did not lie to you.  I would just like to make that clear.  J  I still needed to keep this information quiet because of different reactions from everyone.  I appreciate you understanding.  J  Oh, and Mom knew, too.
 
Tuesday, November 11 – Friday, November 14 – embryo reports:
The next day, she and I went back to The Ignorance Plan.  Todd was the only one that knew anything about the fertilization report and embryo grading.  Here are the reports each day:
·         Grading Scale = 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5 (with 4.0 being the best)
o   Tuesday, 11/11/14:  9 eggs retrieved, 8 eggs injected, 7 eggs fertilized (For the record, 7 eggs fertilizing out of 9 retrieved is really good.  You can usually expect to lose half of your eggs during the ICSI fertilization process.)
o   Wednesday, 11/12/14:  1 embryo grade 4.0 (WHAT?! Perfect???), 4 embryos grade 3.0, 2 embryos grade 2.5
o   Thursday, 11/13/14:  4 embryos grade 3.0, 3 embryos grade 2.5
o   Friday, 11/14/14:  4 embryos grade 3.0, 3 embryos grade 2.5

On Thursday, Todd was required to make the decision if we should do genetic testing.  Since we had 7 embryos, he decided that it was probably best to go through with it.  Dr. McKinney had told him the day before that she didn’t know if he should because she didn’t think we would still have 7 embryos the morning of the testing.  (That is proof that not all doctors encourage testing just to make money.  Some of them only encourage the tests that they think are necessary.  I digress.  J)  However, we did have 7 embryos the next morning, and they were all still remaining at the same grades.  Todd chose to do the testing and second-guessed himself 20 minutes later.  Poor guy.  I hate that he had to make that decision on his own.  However, 20 minutes later was too late.  They had already begun the biopsies, so the decision was final.  (Spoiler alert:  It ended up being the perfect decision.)

Friday evening, I came home from work and told him that we should probably bring me up to speed with the grades, so I wouldn’t be blindsided right before transfer the next morning.  Almost as soon as I told him that, he busted out that we had 7 embryos, 4 at grade 3.0 and 3 at grade 2.5.  I immediately began to cry with relief.  We stood there in our bathroom and hugged and cried.  It was an awesome moment, and I’m really glad that we did each step the way we did.  These results were much better than either of us had ever imagined.  It was at that point that I felt hope beginning to return to me.  To celebrate, we went out for sushi!  (Don’t worry.  I don’t eat anything raw or previously alive inside of a shell.)

Date night with my stag.  :)  LC people will understand that reference.

Saturday, November 15 – transfer day:
The next morning, we went for one last acupuncture appointment before meeting with the doctor.  Dr. Webb unfortunately used a treatment that kept me wide awake instead of sending me to la-la land, so I was awake for the entire hour.  I just wanted to sleep and make the time pass quickly.  However, I decided to use the time to plan how we would reveal to friends and family that we were pregnant.  I turned my head to stare out the window and planned and saw the most beautiful tree.  It was changing colors for Fall but was still full of leaves.  It was such a serene sight.  Then, just beyond the tree, I realized that I could see the office building where Dr. Bundren’s office is housed.  I knew he was just around the corner, but I didn’t realize I could see the building from this room.  The irony of how this procedure was coming full circle did not escape me.  I enjoyed staring out the window at the place where I had last had hope in ever becoming a mother.  It was if I was returning to retrieve the hope I had previously left there in May of 2013.
I still need to write about these tshirts, but Todd and I wore the anchor shirts my cousin had made.
Relaxed and slightly more hopeful, we headed to Tulsa Fertility Center.  We were both a little surprised to find out Dr. Prough was the doctor on duty that day.  However, we were not disappointed.  We have really grown to appreciate both of the doctors at TFC.
Still no make-up in the operating room on transfer day.
I hope my babies didn't get scared when they first saw me.  ;-)
We went into his office to review our report.  First, he told us that we still had 7 embryos left.  (Another tidbit of statistics, not only do you usually lose half of your eggs during fertilization, you tend to lose about another half over the 5 days.  For us to have almost 80% of our original egg count fertilized and still growing was quite a miracle.  Thank you, God!) 

Then, he gave us the biggest news of the week.  Two of these embryos were chromosomally normal.  Up until that point, Todd and I were unsure if we could even make chromosomally normal embryos.  Our first 2 cycles did not have genetic testing, so we have no idea how those embryos looked.  The last cycle, only 1 of the embryos could be tested, and it was chromosomally abnormal.  To have 2 embryos still looking good and being chromosomally normal was a miracle and a blessing.  We were thrilled!  This was the exact moment that I had finally become completely hopeful, again.  Up until this point, I really never felt that this cycle would work, either.  I didn’t feel that God had it in His plan for this to be our chance.  In that instant, all of that changed.  For the first time in over a year-and-a-half, I felt like I was going to be a mother, again.  I cannot explain the elation!

Last, he asked if we wanted to know the sex.  At the same time, I said, “no” and Todd said, “yes.”  We have discussed this for years, people.  Years!  We have always agreed we would wait until delivery because as Todd says, “It’s one of the only surprises left in life.”  However, for some reason, all of the power of making decisions must have gone to Todd’s head, and he was suddenly changing all previous arrangements.  J  We looked at each other and agreed then and there that we did not want to find out the sex of our babies in Dr. Prough’s office.  We would wait until we could find out in a more special way determined by us.  Luckily, Dr. Prough did not let this little detail slip for the rest of the day, and I made sure to tell every personnel we saw that we did not want to know the sex.  They must have thought I was crazy because they kept telling me that they didn’t even know it.  However, after the egg count debacle, I had to make sure not to let another slip happen.

We transferred 2 embryos that day, Dori and Embro.  I named one Dori because of the fish on Finding Nemo that says, “Just keep swimming.”  Todd named the other Embro because he had a fortunate typo on Saturday when he was texting about the embryos.
Dori on the top.  Embro on the bottom.  I love them already!
The procedure was uncomfortable as always, but I got to watch as Dr. Prough inserted them into my uterus.  They were like a little white speck on the screen.  (Actually, I could just see the fluid they were in, but they were in that fluid.)  It was a magical moment.
 
*****************************************************

Additional Information:
We do know the grades of the embryos we transferred.  However, I haven’t looked to see what the grades mean because it’s another thing I don’t want to worry about.  One of the embryos already began hatching before they transferred them, which we think means she’s very advanced.  You can tell which one she is in the picture above because she looks like a jellyfish, in a way.

Our pregnancy test will be a blood draw at the doctor in a couple of weeks.  We are not making a big deal about the date because we would like to be able to tell everyone in our own timing.  In the past, we have lied about the date of the test.  This time, we are just being more nonchalant about it.  Just know that you will have an answer in early December.  That’s only 2 weeks away, so hold your little horses…or reindeer.  J  “Tease” the season.  (I actually meant to type ‘tis the season’ and had a rather clever typo.  Awesome.)  For now, we are pregnant until proven otherwise…PUPO.

Just to recap, so far this cycle has been against statistics.  We retrieved more eggs than statistics said we should have for the number of follicles we had.  More eggs fertilized than statistics said should have.  More embryos lasted until the 5-day transfer than statistics said should have.  All this means is that God is good, and prayer works.  Nothing less.

For the research-minded (Ashleigh), Dr. Prough did tell us that of our 5 abnormal embryos, 1 of them had a monosomy 6 diagnosis, and the other 4 had multiple abnormalities, just like the embryo from last cycle.  A monosomy 6 basically means that we could have had a pregnancy, but it would have definitely resulted in a miscarriage during the first trimester.  For the other 4 embryos, none of them would have even turned into a pregnancy.

We are sad that we had to say goodbye to another 5 embryos on Saturday.  Altogether, Todd and I have made a total of 22 embryos.  For those like us that believe that life begins at conception, we have 20 babies waiting for us in Heaven.  I know that they are watching down on us and their siblings that are growing inside of my tummy right now.

*****************************************************

On another note, Todd and I are both healing from all of the procedures.  I have a lot of soreness, which is to be expected since my ovaries are still the size of tennis balls.  (I really have no idea how big they are, but they are still swollen.  I like to pretend they are tennis balls, though, because it explains my Buddha belly.)  Todd still has pain, but he’s moving around quite a bit more.  He even went and helped with our LifeKids class yesterday morning while I stayed home to rest a little longer before worship.  You’re a good man, Todd Provence!

Also, Progesterone is still a son of a gun.  Seriously, it has never bothered me too much in the past.  Todd’s form is flawless because I can barely feel the stick.  However, after he aspirates and begins to inject the medicine, it burns every single time.  So strange.  So not cool.  So worth it when this cycle results in a pregnancy!  I have taken a tip from my friend, Amber, and started singing during each injection.  Last night, Todd was blessed with the theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”…twice.  Lucky for him, I spent about half an hour at work one day learning the lyrics off the internet.  You are welcome, Dr. Todd.

On a fun note, our Christmas lights were hung on our house on Friday.  That means the interior and exterior are ready for December.  Now, if anyone would like to offer to complete my Christmas shopping, I will be all set for the season.  Who wants to help a sister out?!

Oh, one more last thing because this entry just isn’t long enough yet…I have had the honor of being asked to participate in a blog hop and giveaway starting on Wednesday.  I can’t wait!  You will find out the details that day, but please, return to enter.  I would love to have an awesome showing for my first giveaway.

Holy moly!  I just looked, and this entry is almost 4 pages long in Word.  I apologize profusely.  Being pregnant has made me even more long-winded than before.  Yipes!  J

Love to you all!
 

Shot Clock:
1.       Tuesday morning, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
2.       Tuesday evening, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
3.       Wednesday morning, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
4.       Wednesday evening, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
5.       Thursday morning, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
6.       Thursday evening, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
7.       Friday morning, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
8.       Friday evening, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
9.       Saturday morning, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
10.   Saturday evening, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
11.   Sunday morning, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
12.   Sunday evening, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
13.   Monday morning, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
14.   Monday evening, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
15.   Tuesday morning, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
16.   Tuesday evening, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
17.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
18.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix – NEW SHOT!!!
19.   Wednesday evening, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
20.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
21.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
22.   Thursday evening, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
23.   Friday morning, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
24.   Friday morning, November 7 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
25.   Friday evening, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
26.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 300 units of Follistim
27.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
28.   Saturday evening, November 8 – HCG Trigger Shot – Ovidrel
29.   Monday evening, November 10 – Progesterone ½ ml
30.   Tuesday evening, November 11 – Progesterone ½ ml
31.   Wednesday evening, November 12 – Progesterone 1 ml
32.   Thursday evening, November 13 – Progesterone 1 ml
33.   Friday evening, November 14 – Progesterone 1 ml
34.   Saturday evening, November 15 – Progesterone 1 ml
35.   Sunday evening, November 16 – Progesterone 1 ml – theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”