Friday, May 28, 2010

(No) Privacy

Since starting our infertility journey - almost 3.5 years ago - I have lost almost all sense of privacy. You have to if you want to be successful with this journey. Anyhow, what little privacy I had left, is pretty much gone as of tonight. Since Todd is gone and I am still needing progesterone shots 2x daily, it was either I do it myself or have my mom do it. I don't mind the shots, but the thought of giving them to myself actually makes me nauseous. So my mom it is, and while she has seen me naked before (about 25 years ago) and I am not naked, IT IS MY MOM AND I AM 31 YEARS OLD. Definitely an awkward moment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Heart Bedpans

Yes, you read right, I do indeed heart bedpans. Read on to find out why, but before that, read about our embryo transfer #2....

Woke up bright and early (7:15), got dressed, got my progesterone injection and headed down for a free breakfast in the hotel. With breakfast I had to take my drug cocktail: Valium, Albuterol, 3 Advil, and Estrace. Next, the drive to the National Embryo Donation Center.

Since we were one of their first appointments, we were taken back right away to the recovery room where I got my bed, gown and shower cap type thing. I changed, got in bed and we waited to see Dr. Keenan and the embryologist, Carol, to tell us about our embryos.

Our embryos: This time around the embryos we chose were frozen at the 2PN stage (PN=Pro-nuclear) and were frozen in straws of 5. This meant all 5 had to be thawed which meant if all survived (and could not be re-frozen) we could have had 5 embryos transferred! Bittersweet moment - while all 5 embryos were viable, only 4 of them divided. Of those 4, 3 divided they way they should have after two days of being un-thawed. After two days, the embryos should have divided into 6-8 cells. The embryos were graded the following: 8c/G1, 7c/G1, and 6c/G1. The c stands for cells. The G is the grade, 1 being the best up to 5 being the worse. Needless to say, we had 3 excellent embryos! This means we have a great chance for a pregnancy with a 10% of triplets :) The other 2 embryos will be observed in culture for 14 days. After 14 days they will know whether or not they can be refrozen or if they need to be discarded.



*Warning: Some may find this part containing TMI!
After talking with Dr. Keenan and Carol, I walked back to the operating room. Unfortunately, the transfer was not without complications. First, they checked my bladder to see whether or not it is full enough so they can distinguish it between my uterus. They could not. They then begin to prep me for a catheter so they can fill my bladder and for the transfer. Next, a speculum is inserted followed by the catheter which is followed by a pinch. A saline-water solution is added by the bottle full until they put approximately 64 ounces of liquid into my bladder. I feel like I am going to pee all over Dr. Keenan and that my bladder is going to burst - luckily neither happened! My bladder and uterus can now clearly be detected by ultrasound. A new catheter is inserted into my cervix or rather it is attempted. It is too big. A second, smaller catheter is opened. Attempt #2 is successful in that it goes into my cervix, but due to my tilted uterus, it cannot be positioned corrected and gets destroyed during the process. It is removed, Dr. Keenan puts on his 3rd pair of gloves, the 3rd catheter is opened and attempt number 3 is attempted. Apparently, for me, the 3rd time is a charm. With the catheter in the correct position, the embryos are loaded into a syringe and deposited into my uterus. An amazing sight on the ultrasound! Catheter and speculum are removed, I am transferred to a bed and taken back to the recovery room more than twenty minutes after I should have been.



Here is where my love of bedpans comes into place. I am on bed rest for the next hour. I also have a bladder that is fuller than full. Hello bedpan!! No need to say anymore about this :) Todd sits next to me and we talk, he reads, I rest and the next thing we know the hour is up. I change, we get my discharge instructions and are off. *No extra charges this time around - huge blessing as last time the 3 sets of embryos we chose had over $1200 of fees associated with them. Fees can be for storage, shipping charges (the embryos come from all over the U.S.) and for any of the tests required for them to donate the embryos that are not covered by their insurance.

I am to rest for 24 hours so we stopped for a quick lunch and ate it in the car. Got back to the hotel around 1 and slept until 630! We just got back from an excellent dinner at Puleo's, went to Target for some snacks and are now back in the hotel for the rest of the night (unless I can get Todd to go out for a strawberry milkshake from McDonald's in a bit!). While I do have restrictions for the next two weeks, I can pretty much got back to my regular routine.

So, like last time, according to some I am pregnant with triplets, and to others I won't be pregnant until a positive pregnancy test. Either way, GOD is good! After the complications, we ended up having a successful transfer with 3 excellent embryos!

We will continue with the progesterone injections 2x daily until we are told to stop. If the pregnancy test is negative, we will stop that day. If positive, we will continue the shots through the first trimester.

The two week wait begins....Thanks for being on this journey with us!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bittersweet

**For the background on this blog check out: May Transfer is ON!**

About a week ago I started feeling very anxious about traveling the 10 hours to Michigan a mere two days after the transfer and attending all of the wedding festivities that were planned that weekend. Not to mention the 10 hour drive back and all within a few days. We had to be back by Monday, May 31 to be back in time to take my mom to the airport on Tuesday. We were too far along with our protocol; or rather had spent too much money on this transfer to stop now.

The last thing I wanted to do was not go to the wedding especially since they worked around our schedules with their new date. I didn't even mention it, however, Todd did. I told him before I would even consider it I wanted him to talk to his family about it. I didn't want Travis and Amy's marriage to start off with a family conflict because I didn't attend their wedding. Todd talked to them and they were all very understanding and supportive of it. Huge sigh of relief! So, the 'bitter' part of this bittersweet moment is that I am not going to be attending the wedding :(

The 'sweet' part, I will get to spend some quality time with my mom. Before my dad's Parkinson's disease had progressed (to where he couldn't be left alone), my mom and I used to do all sorts of stuff together, and now that I will not be attending the wedding, we will have four days to just hang out, go out to eat and shop. All things we both love doing!

God has definitely blessed me with two wonderful families! A family who understands my predicament and is supportive of our decision for me not to make the trip to Michigan for the wedding, and another who got on a plane to watch Grace so we could take the next step on our journey :)

GOD is good!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Embryo Adoption - How we came to it and what it entails (to just get on the waiting list)

Let's go back to May 2009 - After an unsuccessful IUI with donor sperm in February 2009 and then a consultation with our fertility specialist, we no longer had peace about pursuing another one. We had been trying for a baby since July 2006. Almost three years later, our arms were still empty, and our hearts were broken. We so badly had wanted to experience a pregnancy. Everything from the ultrasounds to the first movements to the birth, but not feeling we had God's blessing to move forward with the assisted reproductive technologies (ART) that we knew of, we thought that dream was gone. I had started to look into local adoption agencies, but wasn't feeling 'it'. I knew we wanted to children, but if we didn't have God's blessing do another ART or adoption, how were we going to get a child? Discouraged, I continued to research adoption, but didn't make any contacts.

A trip to the mailbox in late May 2009 changed everything. We received a pamphlet from Bethany Christian Services about something called Embryo Adoption. Embryo Adoption = A Baby? Sounded good to me, so I read it. Hope that I had lost resurfaced a bit. I had Todd read the pamphlet. Curious we signed up for the next orientation (which happened to be in just a couple of days). We looked Embryo Adoption up online, but still weren't sure really what it was. Excited and growing more hopeful, we went to the required orientation. After the first part of the orientation, we both knew. THIS, Embryo Adoption, was God's plan for our family. We stayed through the rest of the orientation learning everything we could about what it was.

That next day I began to research agencies that would do an embryo adoption home study because just as with a regular adoption, we had to had one. A week later, and after many emails and phone calls we choose Adoption Assistance, Inc. We found out what we needed to do and did it. Application in a week. Paperwork and more paperwork in two weeks. One meeting in a neutral place done. Meeting and inspection of our house soon after. In about six weeks we had completed the entire process. In the meantime, we were also needing to complete an application and paperwork (and more paperwork) for the National Embryo Adoption Center (NEDC) in Knoxville. After our part was done for both, no longer than two months, we waited.

During the middle of August we got a phone call from Adoption Assistance. We were 'approved', and our home study was complete. We got a copy and sent it off to NEDC for their approval. More waiting.

Early September we found out that we were officially on the waiting list. We had satisfactorily met all of the requirements! Well, up until that point. The next step was a medical clearance from NEDC. An appointment would be scheduled in January or March. So we did what we did best, and waited until we heard back from NEDC.

A phone call in the beginning of November reminded us that God was there. He knew we were trying to wait patiently, but that it was getting hard. A couple had canceled their initial appointment, did we want it? Yes, please! We needed to be in Knoxville on Monday, November 23. That gave us about three weeks instead of another two to four months. We both arranged for a sub and called my mom to see if she could come and watch Grace. She could. We were set for November 23. God is good!