Monday, March 31, 2014

Ten Tips for IVF

They're a bit random, but here are some things I did during my IVF that helped things go smoother, as well as some things I wish I would have known beforehand. 

1. Get an electric heating pad. You will never want to take it off! It's great to help with the cramping after egg retrieval and also nice after the embryo transfer.

2. Try to relax and keep your retrieval and transfer week free. I still went to work, but I sit all day at a desk. Just take it easy, take deep breaths, and try to relax.

3. Before doing your injections, push and pull the syringe several times to make it less stiff. It will help the injection go in more smoothly.

4. Document everything. Whether it's a journal, blog, or keeping all your medical documents in a folder. You can use what you saved to help others, or to use again for reference.

5. Stay away from the infertility forums. Maybe this tip isn't for you, but I learned my lesson back in November with my first IUI. I was constantly checking an infertility board on Baby Center and it stressed me out more than it helped. If you need someone to talk to, this leads me to my next tip...

6. Confide in a friend. Whether everyone knows or nobody knows, find a friend you can confide in and discuss all the details with. It's a huge relief to just talk things over with someone you can trust. You can talk to me too! 

7. Download an app to remind you to take your medications. I used the app, MediSafe, and it gives me reminders to take my vitamins/meds/injections at the appropriate time of day.

8. If doing injections make you nervous, play a happy song! I frequently listened to "Happy" from Despicable Me 2. It helped make the situation more light and -can you believe it- fun.

9. Think happy thoughts! Just thinking positively or repeating affirmations can positively affect your attitude. By just saying phrases like "My body is healthy," and "I can carry a baby," you will start to believe yourself and your body will too. 

10. Try to schedule your transfer early in the morning. You need to go in with a full bladder to straighten your uterus and make the ultrasound visibly better. I woke up in the morning and went straight to my appointment without using the bathroom. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but I didn't have to worry about drinking a ton of water, and my bladder was so nice and full it gave my doctor a straight shot for transferring those precious embryos. 

Bonus: If you have any remaining embryos that you plan to freeze, make sure you are fully aware of when they plan on freezing them and what the odds are of them surviving until the freeze so you get no surprises. I was unaware they were doing an extended culture to six days. I was shocked to get a call saying 2 of our embryos didn't last and just 1 was viable for freezing. 

I hope these help! Let me know if you have any great tips by commenting below.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

6 Weeks

It's crazy to think I'm already 6 weeks! Twins usually come early so I could be having them in just 30 weeks from now. What?! I have been searching everywhere to buy or make a chalkboard and I have had zero luck. It's all I wanted for my birthday, so I'm not giving up. Yes, I want to follow the popular chalkboard pregnancy updates...they're cute ok?! Until I find/make one I just have this: 

How far along? 6 Weeks 
Baby is the size of a: They're the size of peas with hearts the size of a poppy seed! 
Total weight gain: I don't know...I need to buy a scale! 
Maternity clothes? No. 
Stretch marks? No. 
Sleep: I toss and turn all night and I'm so tired when I wake up. 
Exercise: We go for a walk every now and then. I definitely need to step it up, but I just haven't been feeling well enough to do anything moderate. 
Miss Anything: I miss not being nauseous. 
Movement: Nope! 
Food cravings: Lasagna, pizza, and soup.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Vegetables, carrots, eggs, avocados, almond butter, oatmeal, salad, pretty much everything I used to eat regularly. 
Labor Signs: No. 
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy with a side of tired. 
Looking forward to: Our ultrasound next week...can't wait to see those heartbeats.

This week I've felt the worst so far. I think I'm doing great compared to some of the other early pregnancy symptoms I've heard women experience though. I feel constantly nauseated unless I'm chewing food. The worst part is nothing is coming out of me and that makes me the most miserable. My body doesn't even know how to throw up. BLAH. Really, I can't and shouldn't complain, but I'm pregnant so I do what I want ;) 

I have to add, when I found out we were pregnant with twins I was freaked out. I looked at all these bellies I found online of women before they went into labor and they were huge. How is my tiny little body going to handle two even tinier little bodies? I've pretty much decided I will look like a blimp and my last few weeks of pregnancy my social life will be me hiding at home hanging out with Hulu. I couldn't stop thinking about the stretch marks and the doughy post-pregnancy tummy. I was scared and even though I knew twins were possible, it wasn't in my "plan". It took a little while but I can now say the shock is over. Plus wouldn't it be better to carry two in just 9 months verses the 18 months it would take to carry them separately? I am SO excited this is actually happening. I can't wait to see my children grow up together and have that special twin bond no one else can experience. I'm excited for the giggles and playing. Of course there's things I'm not looking forward to (diapers, the expenses, non-stop nursing for two...), but why focus on that?

On Monday I had a day of denial: How am I going to do this? Can I do this? I'm not going to be good enough...

On Tuesday I had a day of complete excitement: I couldn't stop thinking about twins and how much fun it will be. Bring on the crazy! I daydreamed what life would be like.

Today, Wednesday, I have been scared out of my mind: I blame it on Google. I read stories of women that had vanishing twin syndrome even up to 13 weeks. Will I ever feel like my babies are "safe"? Everyday I will worry one will be lost, but everyday I will be praying they are both healthy and growing. Now that I've truly accepted the fact I'm having twins I want them more than ever.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1 + 3 = 4

Today Chris and I went to our doctor appointment to see our Itty Bitty Ivie for the first time! The ultrasound probe went in and BAM there's my left ovary. Nothing exciting there. Shift over to my uterus and there they are. Yes, they

We definitely knew it was a good possibility, and my HCG levels were so high, but I would often just dismiss the idea. 


Yes, we are having twins.


They will be fraternal of course, so I am wishing for a boy and a girl. I can dream right? Two boys would be too mischievous and two girls would be too dramatic. A boy and a girl would be perfect. 

I can't even focus at work right now. I keep thinking about everything in twos. And about Italian food. 

My brain at the moment:

Two cribs, two car seats, two swings, where will all this fit? What are the odds of me getting a c-section? Will I be HUGE? Will I ever not be nursing? What are the genders? What will we name them? Them?! I'm having two? TWO. Two babies. Babies! I will become a diaper ninja. What is my family going to say? How will we celebrate their birthdays? Can we afford two? I'm hungry. I want lasagna! And brownies. 
Wait, I'm pregnant? 

As I have demonstrated, I am shocked and still trying to grasp the idea that I am actually (and finally) pregnant. Right now I am 5 weeks and 2 days along. I'll be setting a 7 weeks appointment to see the heartbeats and check on their growth. My doctor said there's about an 80% chance both babies will continue to develop. That's actually higher than I thought, but of course we are keeping catuious hearts since things can still happen in these early stages. We saw both gestational and yolk sacs and they are right at the size they should be. So far everything looks great! 

I am so happy that God is trusting us with not just one, but two of his precious children. As overwhelming as having twins is already, it is such an immense blessing. I'd rather have my hands full than empty.

I don't have an official diagnosis. There's so many different hormones that don't work right in my body that I might not be able to find a solution to fix all my problems. I may or may not have to use assisted reproductive technology for the rest of my pregnancies. That is what makes getting two this pregnancy even more of a blessing. There has been so much to be thankful for all throughout these many months of trying! I can't wait to start our family.

I'm going to have to change the name of my blog! We're not talking singular any more!

And to think, Chris wanted to try and get three embryos in me...

Friday, March 14, 2014


After waiting ALL day for my blood test results when it should have only been a couple hours, I finally got the call! I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I made myself sick. I even had to remind myself to breathe sometimes. I was obviously freaking out. So much was weighing on this call and the result could change our lives. Well, a nurse finally called me close to 6pm and...


Normally they like to see hCG levels around at least 100 mlU/mL and mine was at 1305! She said I was "good and pregnant." I honestly didn't know what to say because I was so shocked. I'm still shocked. After so many failures you get used to it. To have a positive result is unreal! She told me congratulations and I had to process what for. Was a truly pregnant? After I got of the phone I cried and cried and prayed. I am so thankful. 

Chris was half asleep when he found out. His response was a hazy, "That's awesome." Poor guy is still heavily drugged. I thought when I woke up the next morning it would feel more real, but it's still so hard for me to believe. We are SO excited though! I have an appointment next week to do a 5 weeks ultrasound to see the gestational sac(s) which should determine if we have twins or not. Can you believe this? I still can't!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tomorrow's the Day!

Tomorrow is the big day! I couldn't be more nervous and excited. My blood test is tomorrow morning, so we should know the results by the afternoon. Chris had knee surgery last week so we will both be home for the call since I've been working from home to help take care of him. I honestly have no idea how I'm going to react either way. It will still be shock if this actually works since nothing ever seems to go right in my body. I'm so tempted to just take a pregnancy test, but I'm too nervous! Wouldn't be amazing if I actually was pregnant with twins?! I'm sure it would be a complete shock with the amount of work taking care of two babies, but it would be so wonderful to see them learn, play, and grow together. I love all the YouTube videos of twin babies talking to each other and being each other's partners in crime. I can see the messes already.

The two week wait has actually flown by. Taking care of Chris certainly has helped pass the time. Plus all we do is watch House and StarWars as he recovers.Unfortunately they were only able to do a bone graft this time instead of fixing the ACL too, so he'll have to have surgery again this summer. Poor guy.

I'm not sure if I'm having early pregnancy symptoms or if it's a result of all my medications. Some of them are definitely not worth mentioning on the Internet. I have been tired a lot and my sleep has been awful. Waking up a ton, tossing and turning, dreams, then a night will come where I will sleep straight through. My appetite has been awful too. I'm either not hungry or I just want sweets. I can't stand the thought of carrots, almonds, lettuce, avocado and eggs (which I normally eat a lot), basically anything healthy. I made us salads the other night and I couldn't eat mine. Maybe it's from the Metformin though. 

Do you see what I did there? I try to convince myself of other possibilities because I'm so nervous that I'm not pregnant. Where would we go from here? IVF is a huge deal and I don't want to do it again this soon. I'm getting tired of keeping this a secret, but we still don't want to tell everyone what's been going on until we are good and pregnant. 

Now I'm just rambling because I'm nervous. I'm sure if this is what God wants for us, He will make it happen. I guess we will know tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rolling With The Punches...At Least Trying

The two week wait is already starting to take its toll. Just the day after transfer the roller coaster started. Ups and downs, highs and lows, hope and fear. 

I got an unexpected call last night. The woman on the other end was one of the embryologists.

"Good news! One of your embryos lasted through the extended culture and is ready for cryopreservation. You have one great looking embryo for freezing!"

Wait. What? One? 

"Just one made it? The other two didn't last?"

"The other two didn't make it, but the one you have looks great!" 

This seemed to rehearsed. Her cheerful tone was her trying to make up for the fact we lost two embryos. I was dumbfounded and the phone call ended. Chris could hear the conversation and immediately got upset. I just didn't understand.

What extended culture? I thought they froze them on Saturday? Weren't they going to freeze all three of them? You mean to tell me we just paid well over a thousand dollars out of pocket to just freeze one little embryo? Why did they extend the culture? No one told me they were doing that?

My mind was moving a mile a minute, but was stunned and slow at the same time. What just happened? Chris started asking me all these questions that I didn't know the answer to. I couldn't contain the tears. 

All that work just for three embryos? Two transferred fresh and just one that has a 50% chance of making it through the thaw for a frozen transfer? I felt doomed. Doomed that I would have to do this all again. The blood tests, the ultrasounds, the medications, the shots, the surgery. Doomed that there isn't enough left in our infertility benefit for another full IVF. 

How did we go from 19 to 10 to 9 to just 3? Why do I have to go through this? I'm too young. This isn't fair. I was supposed to have 3. That could be at least 2 more transfers, not just one with an undesirable chance of survival. 

All this was like a flash, and then it occurred to me. 

"Chris, it doesn't matter how many we have frozen, what matters is the two that are already inside me." 

I have never wanted twins more in my life. 

The Bachelor was about to start and I had already made plans to watch it with my neighbor. I dried my tears, covered my face with my glasses, took a deep breath, went over and pretended everything was fine. 

I couldn't sleep last night. I couldn't sleep this morning. I can't stop praying. I need this to work. My heart broke a little with the news last night. I can't handle anymore heart break. 

Please give us twins. If not, please just one.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Embryo Transfer!

Saturday was the BIG day! I am blown away at how far we've come.

We arrived at the clinic at 8:30am Saturday morning with my bladder very full. They ask you to come with a full bladder because it helps straighten the uterus and visually helps through abdominal ultrasound because water helps with ultrasound waves. TMI, but I never peed when I got up that morning, so I really had to go! 

First we met with a nurse and signed some papers. From the sounds of it everything has been going by the textbook. Usually by day 5, half of the embryos are too poor quality to keep for freezing. With transferring the 2 that day, we would only have 3 leftover for cryopreservation. Good thing is that those three were all good quality and should be great for future frozen transfers.

The nurse offered me Valium and I almost said yes, but for the wrong reasons (I'm hilarious on it). I'd heard that transfers are similar to an IUI so I knew I could handle the pain. Plus I wanted to be coherent during the procedure. This time Chris got to join me in the OR. I got to put on my sexy grown, hat, and booties, and Chris got a ravishing yellow cover, complete with booties, hat, and mask. What's with the mean face Chris?
When we went into the OR we had to wait for awhile, so we got to chat with one of the Medical Assistants and get to know her better. I was cozy with warm blankets and my husband's hand holding mine. It was also very cool because they had a TV screen showing the view through our embryologist's microscope in the next room over. It was amazing to see him prepping our little embryos. He introduced himself as our "babysitter" and that they've been doing great! He also kept calling them our little babies. I thought that was funny because I figured the embryologist would be more technical in his terms. I loved it though.

Eventually our doctor came in and got everything ready which included the dreaded speculum. That thing was just hanging out in my you know what for a good 20 minutes. I've lost count how many times I've had to encounter that evil device. But I didn't even care this time, I was too excited. They have to handle things very carefully and have a set of keywords to know when the doctor and embryologist are ready and are transferring the catheter with our two precious little embryos, or what I like to call our little "embies". I actually didn't even realize when he inserted the catheter and released the embryos, I was that relaxed! Sometimes you can see a little speck pushed through the catheter into the uterus on the ultrasound, but I missed it. The embryologist then checked the catheter to ensure both got out. Everything looked good, so they had me rest for a little while and then sent us on our way.

We went home and took it easy the rest of the day per doctor's orders. I felt bad because it was my brother's birthday and we had to miss his family dinner. The next morning I had exerted myself a little too much, so now I'm really paying attention to my body and making sure I'm relaxed as possible. I'm still on several medications and have added in progesterone and Cabergoline. The Metformin still makes me sick, but I just taking it all in stride.

And the best part of all this? We got a picture! It might sound weird to love a bunch of cells, but I do. I love them for their potential. Their potential to make us parents and give us not just one, but maybe even two very desired children, and to fulfill our dream of starting a family.

Babies first picture?
We are just so excited and truly hope it works this time. Knowing I have two precious embryos inside me is just so surreal. I can't tell you how overjoyed I will be if I become pregnant! It's strange to think that if all this works out, technically I will be three weeks pregnant tomorrow. What?! It's weird because I'm not pregnant, but by the way it is measured I would be three weeks pregnant at this point. 

Implantation should happen within the next few days. Praying and having faith is all we can do at this point, and boy are we praying!

See the sucker in his mouth? That's his favorite part of going to the doctor with me!
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