Monday, February 27, 2012

Follow Up with Dr. Schoolcraft - Molly

Today I had my follow up with Dr. Schoolcraft. Jason was unable to be there and we thought to conference him in, but it was a quick meeting and I was quite pleased with the results. Dr. Schoolcraft was THRILLED with the results of this cycle. He was very optimistic and excited about our outcome. He also said that these results are what they truly hope to achieve with everyone. The whole conversation made gave me lots of hope.

Other questions I asked:

1) How many embryos will we transfer? To up the chances of at least having 1 baby, we will transfer 2.
2) Out of my 5 embryos, do I have boys or girls? You have a mixture.
3) What is the grading on my 5 embryos now? A, A, B+, B+, B+
4) Which ones will you transfer? Both A's.
5) If this doesn't work, what is next? We will transfer one more, but I would be SHOCKED if this did not work.
6) This has seemed so smooth, so easy. Why has this been so difficult to achieve inside of my body? I really don't know. There is no reason, it's unexplained. It probably would have eventually happened, but we are here because it wasn't happening soon enough.

So even though I have no "real" answers. I feel so grateful for the answers to our prayers. My body has done what it needed to do - so far. But with the guidance and help of CCRM, we are maximizing every chance to have a baby. I feel good. I feel positive and optimistic. I am excited. I finally feel like myself.

Next up?

Thursday morning I have an FET meeting with the nurses. They will go over all the drugs, calendar etc to prep me for transfer. Lupron starts next week and before I know it the estrogen and progesterone will be starting too.

Estimated transfer date is still 4/2. But it could move up a week. It will all depend on my uterine lining (which my acupuncturist will help thicken) and hormone levels.

Again, a big thank you for all of the prayers, thoughts, good intentions and well wishes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eggie results..... Haylee

The magic number of eggies retrieved is 13!  Who said 13 wasn't a lucky number? 

Everything went well.  I feel like crap.  Groggy, crampy, sore, totally out of it.  I will post more tomorrow after we hear from the embryologist. 

Pre-surgery pics:

Not impressed with the must wear booties

Joe doing his best to keep me positive

All hooked up and ready to go!

 Love to you all.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tomorrow, 10am..... Haylee

Tomorrow is the big day.  Right now I am stuffing my face with yummy pizza since I cannot eat or drink anything after midnight.  Those of you who know me know the tendency I have to get very "hangry", so perhaps if I stuff myself now I will be a ok in the morning! 

Right now my ovaries feel like they could explode at any moment.  Walking even hurts!  I am ready for this, yes.  However, I am really scared.  I do not have good luck with surgery, especially the waking up part. 

I will post tomorrow (or have Joe post) to let you all know the outcome & number of eggies. 

For now I will leave you with the needles- holy moley.  This isn't even all of them (the housekeepers threw some in the trash when they were here- oops)!  Thank goodness though, no more shots. 


The light at the end of the tunnel- so bright!!! Haylee

First and foremost- we would like to thank our good friends we were with tonight-  laughs, love & good food.  We love you! 

Tonight I capped off this shot receiving madness with a 1.5 inch long needle right into the muscle on the top part of my booty... The trigger shot.  For now, I am finally done with shots.  No more Menopur, Follistim or Ganirelix for me!  Whoot! 

Funny thing is, the shot wasn't nearly as "bad" as I thought it would be (bigger needle, muscle area- but not in the belly-maybe that's what made it easier).  Nurse Husband Joe did a great job.

Today at our appointment, Lindsey pin-pointed the area for us: This is important to get it in the right area, so they busted out the marker to hold our hand. "In the middle like a dart" she said.

To back track, this mornings appointment went great.  Everything looks really good.  Tomorrow morning I will go for what they call post trigger labs (to make sure the trigger did what is was supposed to).  We will wait for that call and hope our egg retrieval surgery is still set for Sunday morning.

I will post as soon as I know.

Tonight, I am looking forward to some sleep -  even though I know it will be challenged by the multiple "follies" in my belluh, it will be better because I don't have to wake up @ 5:30am for shots, YES!

I know I keep saying thanks and thanks and thanks-  but really, I mean it. Thank you to everyone....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nightmare for a side sleeper- folliciles, follicles, follicles!.... Haylee

I am miserable.  No reason to sugar coat at this point.  I have now joined ranks with my stomach and moved into "I have had enough".  The Menopur shot in the morning has become the worst.  I cannot describe to you the burning & pain of that shot.  Please don't get me wrong, the other 2 shots don't feel like a walk in the park either, but the Menopur is just nasty (I cried this morning if that says anything-  I am sure this was pain coupled with frustration, but still- it hurts).  What I can say on a positive note is no mood swings from any of these medications.  Gotta love that. 

As of yesterday, I have 18 follicles- holy cow!  The little ones that needed to catch up did their job, now I have more little ones they would like to see make the leap to a bigger size (which as of today they are doing a really nice job).  My left side is very achy & sore, bending over makes me dizzy, laughing makes my stomach hurt worse & sleeping on my side is out of the question (of course I am a side sleeper, why wouldn't I be? ha ha).  Due to this I have hardly slept the past 2 days.  I am ready for them to drain these lovely follies.  Bye, bye.  No more.  See ya later.

Acupuncture is still going really well.  Carol did more blood flow work on me today and I felt a lot better when I left.  I plan to continue to work with her throughout this whole process. 

I will continue my meds through tomorrow morning (listen for me around 5:30am screaming, "f you Menopur and crying) and then back to CCRM again for labs, ultrasound, IVF physical & regroup with Dr. M, face to face.  So far it looks like we will do the trigger shot tomorrow night and retrieval is still a go for Sunday morning, 2/26.  However, Dr. M could change her mind tomorrow.  So, for now we wait & see what tomorrow brings.   

I think I can...  I think I can... 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Low Mo and No Mo - Molly

That is short for "low motivation and no motivation". This is how I have been feeling this week. I am not sure if it's my period that is causing the trouble or if I am in need of a break. The desire to workout, get on my mat, get in the pool or on the bike - is NIL. I am still getting my workout in when I teach, but after that I have no rush to do more. I just want to go home.

So not like me.

Usually I crave a good sweat. I have this burning need to get on my mat and center myself. But I really just want to crawl in bed.

This week, and only this week, I will allow it. I will blame my period and then I will get back on the horse. Until then, I feel like - UGH. Just UGH.

On a much brighter side - I got my transfer calendar!!!

Birth control started yesterday and will continue for 16 more days. Then shot of Lupron will start. These shots will basically put my body in menopause (awesome). Then the patches of estrogen, followed by inserts (yes, I did say inserts - guess where) of progesterone. These will continue through the month of March. If all goes according to plan - we are looking at a last week of March/first week of April transfer.


So if in the next month or so I seem more emotional, have more hot flashes or night sweats, if I am a bit more irritable or edgy, maybe constipated or moody - blame the drugs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pin cushion.... Haylee

Updates!  As of Monday morning I have 14 growing follicles.  7 are great, 2 are middle and 5 need to catch their little butts up!  This is totally normal though with the low dose Dr. M. started me on.  As of Monday night we are now up to 3 shots a day.  2 viles of Menopur (in one shot), 1 Follistim with the addition of one Ganirelix shot (this will keep me from ovulating). 

We also had to do a mad rush to get extra meds delivered because I did not have enough.  WTF.  Especially on Monday's holiday. No stress, really.  HA!  Luckily, the extra meds we needed were delivered today and we are good to go.

I did not have to go into CCRM this morning for labs and ultrasound, however, tomorrow I am back for more!  Hopefully, the 5 follicles have caught up to speed and I can get a better idea where we go from here.  We might have to continue the shots for awhile longer, but again, I hope we can stop soon and we are a go for retrieval on Sunday, 2/26- as planned on my calendar.  Again, all up in the air and decided by Dr. M.

I went to acupuncture after my appointment on Monday and Carol did electro therapy around points in my low back, calves & feet.  It was pretty good.  It definitely offered a release to my low back since I have been following Dr. M's orders to not practice yoga (this is only due to the high risk of having my follicles burst or flip... burst or flip??  No thanks!).  I am still a go for teaching though, and this has brought me so much joy even though I cannot do core work with my awesome students! 

I will leave you with a pic of my belly from this morning.  You can kind of make out the pin cushion look of my stomach and swelling around my belly button that has not gone down since the first acupuncture treatment.  Every dot you see, times that by 7. 

I am still feeling ok (mind over matter- still pains in my left side, awful headaches from the Menopur, some nausea, no real moods swings) but quite frankly SICK of all the shots.  I dread them.  I just want this to be done.  It sucks actually.  I digress though....  I know this is all for the bigger picture, but can I get some wah wah time?  My tummy is done- sick and tired of it.

My Husband Nurse Joe still shows up each morning and night with a smile on his face, gives me hugs and kisses & mad support.  I cannot begin to thank him enough (and Molly for those sweet homemade Smores that make him smile- o face- what?). 

And to ALL of you that read.  Friends, family, silent followers, people we have yet to meet, those of you who pass this blog along.  THANK YOU, does not even express how much I (we) appreciate YOU! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

WICKED Day 1 - Molly

Sunday was my first Day 1 since my retrieval.

 It was a WICKED Day 1.

It felt (still feels) like an elephant is standing on my low back.

My flow is extremely heavy (TMI, I know). I don't even want to go to swim practice for fear of sharks. 

I slept almost 13 hours last night (645pm - 730am).

I am popping Extra Strength Tylenol like candy. 

Ugh. That's the only way to describe it.


I start birth control tomorrow. I am still in hopes of building my transfer calendar off of this cycle. I meet with Dr. Schoolcraft on 2/27. Until then, I am back to my teaching and my workouts. It feels good to sweat again. It is great to see all of my people at the studio.

On a much brighter note, my Penny finished her AKC Championship Title this weekend. She swept the show Sunday and Monday. We are so proud of her. We are still beaming from ear to ear.

If it feels this good to be so proud of a dog, what's it going to be like when we have kids?

It's going to be.....WOW. Just WOW!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Acupuncture, ultrasound & lab updates! Haylee

Friday morning when I woke up the "belluh" swelling I had was GONE!  Still some throbbing on the left side & headache exactly one hour after Menopur injection, but seriously, no swelling!  Not to mention I ended up sleeping just a little better and trust me, every little bit helps right now.  I am sold on acupuncture.  I will go back 2 more times next week before our estimated retrieval date of 2/26. 

We went to CCRM early this morning for my first ultrasound since starting the stim meds & lab work.  I currently have 10 follicles measuring between 8 & 10.  This is a very good start!  All of them seem to also be growing at the same rate (no dominant follicles- which could get in the way of the maturity of the others).  The nurse we saw said that is exactly where we should be.  Great news. 

They decided to up my Menopur to 2 viles each morning (up from the 1 vile I have been taking) & they upped the Follistim to 300 units instead of 75 units.  Whoh.  Hold on to your pants!  haha 
I had a small panic attack when I thought we didn't have enough Follistim.  Luckily we have just enough to get me through tonight and tomorrow night.  We are however short Menopur, thank God Molly has a couple extra she can give us.  Deep breaths.  I go back to CCRM Monday morning for another ultrasound and lab.  It is my hope I will be done with shots after this appointment, but time will tell. 

Though my belly is not swelling, it is painful (still left side only).  If you look closely my belly also looks much like a pin cushion from all the shots.  Don't get me wrong, I am totally not complaining.  I am just ready for the shots to be over with. 

Today, so far has been a great day- all with my handsome and awesome husband.  He makes these early morning shot cocktails much better.  I don't know how he can always wake me up with a smile on his face.  He was so supportive @ CCRM this morning.  From there we went to a delish breakfast then onto the dog show to see Molly & Penny & check out some of the other doggies.  Then on to the "Smoker" @ Joe's Muay Thai studio: Muay Thai of Colorado.  Happy hour, early dinner and relax the rest of the night.  Yum.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

5:30am wake up call..... Haylee

Yesterday Joe and I decided to set my shot times for 5:30am & 5:30pm. 

Day 1- 5:30 came so early!  I was up most of the night having crazy dreams about the whole situation, I am sure you can only imagine.  So, I was a very sleepy patient.  Joe mixed up the Menopur and we were off!  Here is a pic of Nurse Joe mixing and my belly.

Initially just some stinging and a little bleeding after the Menopur injection.  I can handle that!  By early afternoon I had a throbbing headache and the area around my left ovary was hurting something fierce.  Late afternoon my belly is already swelling & ovary area was hurting worse. 

I came home from work @ 5:30pm for my Follistim shot, nurse Joe loaded it up and we were off (this is the easy one, no mixing or measuring, just load in a pen and shoot).  Stinging for sure.  But nothing more than that.  Once back at work I began to have major hot flashes....  now, those of you who know me even a little bit know I am ALWAYS cold.  Yep, not so much.  The hot flashes are still on and off.

I had no side effects that I know of from taking the Dexamethosone before bedtime.

Day 2-  5:30 really came early - why the hell did we pick this time again?!!  haha
Nurse Joe and I ran into a couple issues mixing the Menopur, but it all worked out.  Headache came back within an hour of the shot.  My belly is puffy and my left ovary area still hurts pretty badly.  Here are couple pics of my puffy "belluh". 

Today I went to Carol LeCroy, L.Ac., CMT  She was awesome.  My "belluh" swelling & headache are much better.  Still pains from the meds around my left ovary, but I feel good.  I will go see her 2 more times next week before retrieval.  Her information has been added to the side table of the blog.  Based off some of the things she did today she believes my body will be very responsive to IVF.  She also sent me home with some "seeds" in my ears to massage before bed for sleep (since I really haven't been getting any) and fertility!

I have to say between the labs, meds & now acupuncture I have never seen this many needles in my LIFE!

I just keep reminding myself of the bigger picture and how all these needles coupled with the other things will be so worth it in the future.


Always under promise so you can over deliver - Molly

That must be CCRM's motto. They had told us 2-4 weeks for genetic testing results. But this morning at 9:30am, I received a call from the office.

5 perfectly genetic embryos.

5 chances to be a mother.

5 babies, just waiting for us.

There are no guarantees that any or all of these will "stick", but the odds are in our favor. What an answer to prayer, to the many prayers that have been said for and in our behalf. We are so grateful.

I did have an ungrateful moment this morning though.

And there were tears. Lots of tears.

It started out like this:

Nurse: "You have 5 perfect embryos."
Me: "That's great! So I still call you on Day 1 and we start building my transfer calendar."
Nurse: "No, you have to have a bleed first. Then your next period we will start prepping you for your transfer."
Me: "That's a whole other month. I was told 6-8 weeks post retrieval."
Nurse: "Well, you can talk to Dr. Schoolcraft, but we need to wait for your March period."
Me: (just barely holding on) "So, not until April or even possibly May."
Nurse: "There are a few different options, but we will just have to see."

At this point I am not only upset, but MAD. I have been to so many meetings, read so many waivers, consent forms and documents that I have been holding on to what they all have said, 6-8 weeks POST retrieval. I have built a mental calendar in my head, planned future vacations around "how pregnant I might be" and now it's all up in the air. What I thought was about a 3 month process was turning into 4 or maybe 5. 

I lost it. Uncontrollable sobs. Barely could talk on the phone - LOST IT.

I get it. We have paid a lot of money to be given this opportunity. We will do the process the right way. Whatever way they tell us, but it just feels like such a  LONG ORDEAL. 

I also feel silly. If we walk out of this with a baby or two, it will be such a small moment of time. And I am so grateful to have had such good results. But I lost it. It just seems like so much waiting. I feel like my life is on hold in so many ways as I just wait.

On the docket: 1) a consult with Dr. Schoolcraft to discuss genetic results and transfer options. 2) a meeting with nurses to discuss FET (frozen embryo transfer), calendar, drugs, restrictions etc. We are hoping to complete these next week. Until then, we wait for my post retrieval period.

Can I ask everyone for ONE thing? Please don't ask why it's taking so long or when will I transfer. I don't know. When I do, you will too. I trust the doctors, I trust this process. I have faith and hope that this will bring us a baby.

 But, I am thrilled beyond belief with the results. I am so grateful. 

5 perfect embryos.

And until transfer comes, I have this magnet (given by to me by my yoga trainers) to help me through.
oh they know me too well....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day...It's go time.... Haylee

Yesterday's appointment at CCRM went really well.  "Nurse Husband Joe" and I are now trained on how to mix and administer my meds. That is the most annoying thing so far, you have to follow directions and MIX MEDICATIONS in little vials. You can't just open the package and take the shot. It is measure and combine this much of one thing with a measured amount of that thing, THEN do the shot.

 After we met with Lindsey it all seemed much less intimidating, so this is a good thing (though I am still scared about the side effects). 

Great news, Dr. M decided to lower all my doses- color me happy!  Apparently at a resting rate I have 25 follicles.  This of course does not mean I have eggs behind the follicles, but it does make a case to lower my doses so I don't end up being over stimulated and left looking like bubble belly due to all the follicles growing to a lemon shaped size.  Now we are looking at maybe a max size of golf ball follicles. 
Is it weird this is comforting? 

Day one was yesterday AFTER I left CCRM.  Go figure.  So I was back again this morning for more labs (blood draw) and ultrasound.  Everything looked great, so we are a go!  We will be starting stimulation one day early, so that means TOMORROW!  Ekkkk! 

So let me ask you... How are you spending your Valentine's Day night?  For us-  we will sign the 5000 consent forms for IVF (yes, I am being dramatic, but it really is a lot) and get those back to CCRM asap.
The cool thing about this whole process though, is we can (hopefully) tell our little one someday about everything we did.  Best Valentine's Day ever.

Saturday morning is my follow up lab work and ultra sound...  then each day after that until February 25th - yes, every day- blood draws and ultra sounds. That's right, drive to the hospital EVERY DAY.  With luck some of these days will be canceled if everything is looking good.  With even more luck I will not have to add to the days of medication, but time will tell.  Right now I am scheduled to be on the meds tomorrow through Saturday.

 Never thought I would be cheers-ing to a medication cocktail morning and night...  but here we are!  Cheers and grow follicles grow!

Again, a huge thank you to all our family, friends and readers.  You all play such a huge part in this journey.

And I leave you with this...  I cannot thank my wonderful husband enough for everything.  His love, his friendship, his patience, his understanding.  He is my everything. 

This is a picture from a photo book my sister in law Kristina made for us before our wedding.  This picture was taken when we didn't have this whole baby making thing on our radar, but the quote Kristina picked is so fitting for us - where we were then,  where we are now and where ever this journey takes us.  A special thanks to Kristina as well.  Love love loves.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 5 Results!!! - Molly

A blastocyst - not my blastocyst
  On Sunday afternoon, the embryologist called with our Day 5 results!

Out of the 12 fertilized eggs, 5 had made it to the blastocyst stage! All 5 of the eggs have a GRADE AA rating.

The embryologist decided to let 2 more grow until today (Day 6).

They also had good ratings! One was a AB and one was a BA.


removing cells from a blastocyst - again, not mine
 All 7 have had cells removed for genetic testing and are sitting in the freezer.

We are so excited! The past 18 months has been so hard just getting pregnant, and now it's like we are pregnant! Well, just not inside my body, and they are only still 6 days old and we still have so far to go, but it's a small miracle!

To help understand the grading/ratings better, imagine buying eggs at the grocery store. You want the best eggs possible right? So you select the AA (basically perfect). The AB grade is close to perfect and the BA rating is not too far off. Or you could think of it as A+, A-, and B+

The other embryos, according to the embryologist, wouldn't have given us a baby. But he said these embryos could/can.

We hope they will.

We now wait.....about 2 weeks for the genetic results. The embryologist says we have a good chance to see around 60% of the embryos available for transfer after all is said and done (that could be 4 or 5 perfectly genetic embryos).
the freezer where they are stored - just an example
We feel so very blessed with these results. We know they are the product of constant prayers and positive thoughts by so many of our families and friends.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last day, the arsenal & stuff! - Haylee

Today was my last day of birth control pills.  I cannot begin to express how happy I am about this!  I am bloated, crampy, bitchy & my boobs hurt like hell.  My body and I agree, birth control sucks!

My meds were delivered successfully yesterday to my husband's office.  God bless him, I was at work, it was a super crazy day & he was sending me text pictures of what was what, reading the instructions and making sure the right meds made it into the fridge and the wrong ones didn't.  I am happy to report he did a fantastic job. 

When I got home the meds that didn't have to go into the fridge were sitting in a box on the island.  I have to tell you when I peered into this box I got a little nauseous.  I knew it would be a bunch (I have seen Molly's meds too).  I thought I had a handle on it, but I really didn't.  It is just so much.  Many thoughts started to cross my mind.  The biggest one being, "why the hell does it have to be so much, why can't it just be one magical syringe filled with magical baby juice and POOF!  You're done"?  Ya.  Not so much.  Here is a snap shot of the arsenal.  Notice my sweet Kona napping in the right background. 

Needles, Menopur, Follistim, Ganirelix, Pregnyl, Dexamethasone, Doxycycline, Medrol

Monday morning Joe and I are meeting with our nurses & Dr. M to go over how to use the above arsenal correctly.  This stuff does scare the crap out of me.  I do not want to be injecting the wrong stuff, wrong amount, wrong day, wrong time.  Oh my Lord.  I do have to pre thank Molly right now- she made herself a totally kick ass schedule to follow, I have already asked her to put one together for me as soon as we have all the exact deets!

Currently we are slated to start stimulation on the 16th, but that could change depending on how my body comes off this nasty birth control.  I have to now wait for "day 1" and then an ultrasound will be scheduled to see if everything looks good in my girly parts.  If it does we will continue and be given an exact calendar with exact dates & times.

I will follow up again on Monday.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm baaaaccckkkk.... Haylee

Really, stop...  you missed me THAT much?  haha  Just kidding. 

So, I am back.  Joe and I had a most excellent time in Mexico (quote Bill and Ted's for the kicker-- that's how old I am factor... wasn't it a most excellent movie though?). 

I am back with a nice tan that may possibly be gone by tomorrow.  If any of our readers have ever lived in a dry climate, you know - no matter what lotion, body soap, etc. etc. you use- once you are back- it just scales away.  I will say when I do go to a humid climate I appreciate my dry time so much more, however, I would like to keep the tan upon return. 

With this great trip, relaxation and time to think, we will carry forward with IVF. 

Just yesterday I spent about an hour rescheduling delivery with the pharmacy company making sure my medicine would be delivered to my husband's office (thank you my love).  I am unable to be home & wait for the delivery (silly me) & it would be crazy to think I would wait for it at my work where most times the lazy delivery people just chalk it up to "I can't find it" (or deliver it to the neighbors- how funny would that be to get a case of needles and medicine bottles instead of my missing light bulbs, ink cartridges & Kleenex???).  Which I laugh.  Yes, my business is tucked into this little nook, but the signs on the front of the building (which everyone can see) still scream my place of work from the front.  Again, I digress and call some such delivery people lazy (JenI, you feel me??). 

Back to the relaxation and time to think.  Even though I spent an hour on the phone yesterday morning rescheduling the medication delivery; I also did not get worked up about it.  Something I am bringing back with me is to relax through this process.  I am totally in the best hands with Dr. M. 

While sitting poolside I was reminded of this while reading a random story in Self Magazine,  Dr. M was quoted through this article (that has nothing to do with my unexplained infertility at all), but she is pressing forward with ways to help women take charge of their fertility and become more aware. 

Now, this is not to say I may get crazy.  I may be scared as shit (I am).  I may, oh heck, I don't even know... I may be a lot of things.  But I am going through this with stride.  I will continue to share my fears, my doubts, my---" omg that hurt, remeet my vagina and uterus again".... I can tell you guys can't wait!

I will post again with some more technical stuff, appointments all that good stuff tomorrow.  Just wanted to say hey, and thank you all for your continued love, support, questions, suggestions, guidance...  you get it.  Thank you!

I feel it appropriate to leave you with this for now...   "it will be most excellent no matter what, fingers and toes crossed"....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nesting - Molly

Since I am unable to teach/work/workout, I have gotten a bit antsy around the house. I feel this need to organize, clean things out and prepare. Is this nesting?

I am tackling the closets first. The guest room and the proposed "baby" room (right now it's where we just keep stuff) closet bother me the most. There are boxes in there that we haven't opened since we moved! (from CA, not across town) YIKES!

The first box I opened was a bit of a surprise.

Inside was a slew of baby stuff that I don't remember getting. Sock Monkeys, books, onesies, rattles, first aid kits (for baby), CDs, toys, baby shoes, a BUMBO, a BREAST PUMP (Medela too) and gear for the breast pump.

I am officially that crazy lady. Not the Cat Lady, but the Lady that has stuff (a lot of stuff) for a non-existent baby. 

Well, we are too involved now to get rid of it....might as well see where this all goes. Back in the box for now....but at least I labeled it!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Results and Clarification - Molly

The results are in! The doctor called me promptly at 8am this morning. And yes, I was still in bed. I'm laying low for one more day. I have been having some pretty bad cramping and spotting, so I figure another day of rest is needed. We also have 3 more inches of snow on the ground, so I won't be going anywhere.


Doctor retrieved 15 eggs yesterday.

12/15 eggs fertilized and made it overnight.

She called them oocytes, so that's what they are right now.

I have 12 oocytes that will be monitored until DAY 5, Saturday. I will then be called on Sunday (or Monday, since it's the weekend).

The next step is that the eggs that continue to grow and split until Day 5. Those will be called blastocysts. When they call me on Monday, they will tell me how many of the oocytes are now blastocysts.

taking out the 4-5 cells for testing

Now this is the step that people have asked for clarification on. I am happy to describe the process. Hopefully it helps.

When we consulted for IVF, Dr. Schoolcraft recommended that we do PGS (pre-genetic screening). They do PGS using a technique (developed by Schoolcraft) called CCS (comprehensive chromosome screening). And yes, it costs extra.
Why? Even though I am relatively young, I have experienced "recurrent" loss, three or more miscarriages. Other indicators can be age, family history, multiple failed IVF cycles and low or poor egg quality. Dr. Schoolcraft firmly believes that my possible miscarriages (#2 and maybe #3) was due to chromosomal issues (about 60% of miscarriages are). In the past, doctors would only test a few of the chromosome pairs in the embryo, but now using CCS, they test all 23 pairs for issues.
chromosome panel - to look for abnormalities
The blastocysts (Day 5 embryos) will have 4-5 cells extracted for CCS. The CCS process alone takes about 2-4 weeks. While we wait for results, they freeze the eggs using a process called vitrification. Embryos have a 98% survival rate using vitrification (developed by Schoolcraft).

For us, this puts our CCS results to come in at the end of February. My body is unable to wait though. I need to shed the lining that I have built up in my uterus (aka, have a period). So now, my job is to cleanse my body of all the stimulant drugs and get a period. When my period comes, I will contact the DR and be put BACK ON birth control (yuck) for about 2 weeks. The birth control SUPPRESSES my body completely. Then using estrogen and progesterone the doctors will start to build up a proper environment in my uterus, complete with a nice, thick uterine lining. Then the doctors will pick a transfer date. My doctors are hoping for a mid to late March transfer date. (6-8 weeks from retrieval)

While my body rebuilds itself, the doctors will come back with the results of my CCS. They will tell me how many of my blastocysts are "genetically perfect". Only those embryos will continue forward. Any chromosomal abnormalities (even if it's slight) will not be transferred. We will be given a full report on each blastocyst.

Since I have had recurrent miscarriages, the doctors hope that by placing a "perfectly genetic embryo" in my body, it will lessen my chances of miscarriage. I could still miscarry, but it won't be because of the embryo, it would be something else and maybe that would help us identify why I haven't been getting/staying pregnant on my own.

So now I have 12 fertilized embryos/oocytes. Hopefully by Sunday, I have at least 6 blastocysts. Then after genetic testing, I hope to have at least 4 perfect little embryos. (This is the scenario they predicted at my genetic counseling appointment, based on our family histories).

Now a lot of women freeze their embryos. Some do it to suit their schedule (because after transfer you are given lots of limitations), some do it because they want their body to be given a break. A lot of women transfer fresh (transfer after DAY 5). They have success with all scenarios. The numbers speak highly enough of freezing and testing that we feel very comfortable and safe in waiting these 6-8 weeks.

For more info:

So now I wait. We wait. But we are so excited to have so many fertilized eggs to start the process. I have faith in these doctors, in this process. Yes, there are no guarantees, but at least we are doing everything we can. If we do our part, the Lord will do his part. Whether that results in an actual baby or not is up to the Lord. It all depends on the Lord's plan for us. But we will have answers, and that is what we have been praying for since we started this.

Science is amazing. The technology granted to those on this earth to help us conceive a child is mind blowing. But this science would not be possible without our Heavenly Father. He has instilled the knowledge in these people to share with us. And for that, I am so grateful.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Gettin' Eggy with It - Molly

I'm home.

I'm home and in bed. 

I'm home, in bed, drinking a smoothie and watching Grey's Anatomy.

Not bad.
  A successful retrieval this morning. CCRM has a very smooth operation going on there. I was impressed. Excellent patient care. I even was able to have the Great Dr. William Schoolcraft do the retrieval himself (which he normally passes on to his colleagues). 

Here was the conversation on Saturday at my ultrasound:

Me: "Nurse, who is scheduled for my retrieval?"
Nurse: "Dr. Gustofson is on for Monday."
Me: "Is it possible to have Dr. Schoolcraft do my retrieval?"
Nurse: "I can see if he's in the office that day. He has a pretty full schedule and usually the other doctors do the retrievals."
Me: "Well, I just wrote him a $15,000 check, so I would appreciate if he (Dr. Schoolcraft) could perform my retrieval."
Nurse (chuckling): "I will put a request in."

And what do you know....Dr. Schoolcraft was there this morning. 

Post-Retrieval - a bit woozy
The results:  15 eggs

Jason's "retrieval" was also a success. They were very happy with his sample.

The embryologist will be calling us this afternoon with the results of the ICSI (putting one sperm in each egg).

If there are any eggs not quite mature enough, they will sit for a day and be fertilized tomorrow.

On Sunday afternoon they will call us again to let us know how many embryos have made it to the blastocyst stage (Day 5 - ready for genetic testing).

Until then, I am resting, taking antibiotics and some Tylenol for the cramping. 

To all the people who have fasted, prayed, sent messages, texts, comments on FB, emailed, left voice mails, well wishes, positive thoughts, good vibes, set intentions, read the blog......

I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have touched my soul, enlightened my spirit, made me smile and cry. I am very thankful. We are very blessed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Eggs Will Come Out...TOMORROW! - Molly

my favorite musical!
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, we'll retrieve eggs! Tomorrow, tomorrow, Jason will fertilize, tomorrow. It's only a day away!

On Saturday night at 11pm, Jason injected me with an HCG shot (in my hip) to trigger ovulation. The clock is set for 36 hours, making my appointment for retrieval on Monday morning at 10am. 

my drug box - nice and full
he's a bit excited to stab me
bullseye on the hip
thought this would be a bit dramatic
"I need to stick it ALL the way in? YES."
 I will arrive at 9am. Jason will "donate" at 10am.

I think I am most excited to be "put under". I don't know really why, but I am looking forward to it. Jason will then bring me home around noon and keep an eye on me for the next few days. Lucky Penny gets to go to the mountains to play with her friends in the snow. 

We will know how many eggs they extract before I leave the clinic. So I will give a full report once I wake up enough to blog. 

Once the eggs are retrieved, using the method of ICSI, they will put one sperm in each on my eggs to fertilize. They will then let them grow for 3 days. They will be graded and if all is well, they will grow another 2 days (total of 5 days). After this point they are called a blastocyst. Only embryos that make it to this blastocyst stage will be genetically tested. They will then call and tell us how many embryos are moving forward. Those that are chosen, will have 4-5 cells removed and tested for genetic issues. After about 2 weeks, we will be notified of the genetic results and how many "perfectly genetic" embryos we have to transfer.

But they don't go back in me yet. While we wait for results, I will suppress my body of all stimulant drugs, regain a period and then rebuild my uterine lining back up again by taking estrogen and progesterone (more injections) for a few weeks. Then they will determine my transfer date. 

Transfer should occur 6-8 weeks AFTER retrieval date. Once transfer occurs, I will be DOWN again for at least a week. At this point, we can determine whether or not I am pregnant. IF I am, I will be monitored until I am through my first trimester. Then I will be transferred to my specialized OB until delivery.

Here are the  probable stats:

Retrieval Date: 2/6/12
Transfer Date: 3/20-4/3 (somewhere in between)
Delivery/Due Date: 12/2-12/18 (somewhere in between, unless it's twins!)

So how am I feeling:

Like I have a bag of marbles in my belly. I am constantly thirsty. My belly is tight and uncomfortable, it hurts to wear anything but my yoga pants. Headaches are gone, but now my hip aches from the shot. I am a bit anxious for the retrieval. I am hoping for at least 10 eggs. (They have counted 10-12 optimal size ones plus some smaller ones). I have a ton of cervical mucus right now which is just gross. I ate some queso tonight and now I am regretting it. I am looking forward to one more early morning blood draw and NO ultrasound, the thought of being probed right now makes my insides ache.

We are one step closer to hopefully having a baby.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow Day! - Molly

a little family time in the snow

While Haylee basks in the Mexican sun, we got dumped on. I woke up to 10" of snow this morning. I had an 8am ultrasound and blood draw scheduled. Jason was pretty insistent that I not drive down to my appointment. I knew that I had to go. Luckily, they were able to move my appointment to the downtown office, saving me about 20 miles on the treacherous freeway. The office was packed! Lots of women in the same shoes as me.

one very nice follicle on my left side

Results from today?  About 12 very nice follicles all growing within a good range from each other. So I am waiting for the call from the doctor on the next steps. We might retrieve on Monday rather than the Tuesday like we originally thought.

For now I have to go pick up some more drugs. I received my delivery yesterday, but the delivery today is at Fed-Ex for pickup. I also have an acupuncture appointment. I hope that Jeff can stimulate the follicles are that still a bit too small. It would give me more eggs for genetic testing.

Other news is that I received our FINAL PAYMENT for the IVF cycle. They asked me to pay it at 8am yesterday during my appointment. It was the largest transaction I have ever been in charge of. But it would have been a lot more without the awesome insurance my husband's company has given us. SO VERY GRATEFUL.

So one more appointment tomorrow morning. Another 8" of snow is expected. Never a dull moment. There is a possible trigger shot for tomorrow evening resulting in a Monday retrieval. Otherwise it is on for Tuesday.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Waiting Game - Molly

I hate to wait. It drives me nuts. When the cable company says they will be at your house between 8-12, it drives me insane. The worst part is that always come, but at 11:55am, just when you think they won't. Then you've wasted the entire morning...waiting.

You wait a lot in an IVF cycle. It's not just the waiting for yourself to get pregnant, it's all the waiting in between. There is a lot of time lost - waiting.

This is the 3rd day I have waited for medication. Since you have to sign for it, you have to wait. You could have it delivered to a FED-EX location, but there is this little OCD part of me that wants as few people handling my meds as possible. Expected time frame of waiting? 8am-4:30pm. ARGH.

I needed to order some extra meds, to be on the safe side. And since weekend deliveries are even more difficult, I am stuck home. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Some days they are at the door at 8am and I'm not even dressed. But today, I am dressed and waiting for them to come. Nervous. Why? Because I have to be back at the clinic for a genetic counseling appointment and I really need this package of meds.

Here's the note I am leaving for FED-EX. I hope they respond to it.

Adios and vaya con dios..... Haylee

A dear friend of mine from high school sent me an email the other day with the subject line, "Mother and Daughter conversation".  When I opened the email it was exactly what I needed that day.  The body of the email said, "are you SURE you are doing it right??"!  I couldn't stop giggling.  So, I leave you with this, hopefully you find it as funny as I did.