Monday, December 14, 2009

Double Digits and New York

Perhaps a confusing title, but these are the two things on my mind today.

First, according to my little baby ticker, we are now in double digits until baby arrives. 98 days to go! The 6th month is coming to an end next week. Wow!

Second, we spent the weekend in New York City, trying to take advantage of being able to do things spur of the moment while we still can. We drove up to NYC Saturday morning (about 5 hours). Here's our trip in pictures. Hope you enjoy (and thanks to hubby for always being in my pictures!)

We spent the day walking around the city - it was beautiful but cold.

Had a delicious lunch at Junior's complete with their world famous cheesecake.

Had a FABULOUS dinner at Dylan Prime, a steakhouse in Tribeca that I highly recommend.

Then on Sunday morning, we went to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes.

It really was a great trip, spending time together and getting into the Christmas spirit.

Sunday was capped off by hubby reading his first book to baby before we went to of my favorites from growing up..."Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." I know, not exactly an uplifting book but it made me laugh and warmed my heart! It was a very, very good weekend.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

25 Weeks

For your viewing pleasure, baby and me in all our glory at 25 weeks! I'm almost exclusively wearing maternity pants now (they are just so darn comfortable) but am still holding on to some non-maternity shirts (which are getting shorter and shorter by the day as my belly gets bigger and bigger).

Hubby and I are heading to New York City this weekend to celebrate his 32nd birthday. Interesting little fact, yesterday was the 14 year anniversary of our first date! We'll always remember that since it was the day before his birthday, which is actually today.

I'll hopefully have some fun pictures to post afterward. I got tickets today to see the Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes Christmas show. And we have dinner reservations for Saturday night at a steakhouse called Dylan Prime that came highly recommended. I'll let you know how it goes. Can't wait to see the tree and all the lights. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pictures As Promised

Below are the pictures we got from our ultrasound on Wednesday. The technician said she weighed about 1 lb 5 oz (@23 weeks 2 days). Hope you enjoy.

Profile with a good view of her heart

Hands and fists up like a boxer

Leg and knee

Sucking on fist

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Billion Percent Certain

As I previously posted, we were blessed to have the opportunity for a "pro bono" ultrasound from a family friend while visiting over Thanksgiving. As you may recall, at our first gender u/s, the doctor couldn't tell the sex. At the second one, she was 95% certain it was a girl (due to not seeing any boy parts...but she didn't identify any girl parts).

So...we were THRILLED to hear the u/s tech say on Wednesday that she is "one billion percent certain" that our little miracle is indeed a baby girl. She said the views she got could have gone in a textbook. Yay! She also spent a lot of time looking at the various things the doctor did at our previous u/s (heart, placenta, blood flow, etc) and said everything looks perfect. Double yay! And it was especially nice because both my mom and mother-in-law were able to go to the u/s with us to see their precious granddaughter.

I'm not by a scanner so I can't show you all the pics yet (got some good ones!), but I'll post as soon as I'm back home from Thanksgiving. What a special treat to see the little one. God is great and we have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've discovered that, when pregnant, there is nothing better than getting to have an ultrasound (feeling the baby moving around is right up there, too). To get to see the beautiful cashew there on the monitor moving around...there isn't a feeling much like it.

We don't have another ultrasound scheduled until 32 weeks...that's a long ways away (9 weeks to be exact).

But...I have connections :)

My brother, a lawyer, happens to have a client who is an ultrasound technician. How about that??? While he lives 4 hours away, it just so happens to be where we are heading for Thanksgiving. This very nice u/s tech kindly offered to let us come in before the office opens to have a surprise visit with our beautiful baby girl. That's tomorrow...I can't wait.

I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Belly Shot - 22 Weeks

Not that exciting, but thought I would post anyways.

I'm still not wearing maternity pants, just relying on the wonderful belly band. But I see maternity pants in the near future. And, thankfully, most of my regular shirts are still fitting ok, though some are too short. I'm trying to hold off on maternity clothes for as long as possible because I think they tend to make you look bigger than you actually are. Hubby tells me to get over it!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Registry Fun!

Who needs registry consultants when you have two sisters-in-law who, combined, have 7 kids??? I had my own, personal consultants this past weekend when we ventured out to the overwhelmingly large baby stores to pick out all the great items our Baby Girl needs and must have.

I really, really tried hard to get just the basics and what Baby needs for the first 6 months. We have absolutely no storage in our house and, therefore, have no room for clutter that may or may not be needed 6 months from the time the baby is born.

We did the requisite registry at Babies R Us. But also there is a great baby store called Buy Buy Baby. There are only a few in the country and one happens to be by our house. It is owned by Bed, Bath and Beyond and it feels exactly like that store except everything is baby, baby, baby. And one of the bonuses is that they take Bed, Bath and Beyond's 20% off coupons.

It was just terrific having my sisters-in-law there to tell me what I really needed and what is the best of the best and what is a waste of money. I couldn't have done it without them.

We've also picked out our bedding...

And our crib...

Boy, it almost feels real...the baby gymnastics in my stomach is helping with that, too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sugar and Spice...

and everything nice, that's what Baby Hope in Virginia is made of.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Praise the Lord!

We found out today that, while I tend to fall on the wrong side of all health-related statistics, my husband does not. He is NOT a carrier of the Cystic Fibrosis gene. Praise the Lord and thanks to all of you for your prayers and well wishes. Whew! What a relief!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cystic Fibrosis

I got the news yesterday that I am part of the only 3% of the population that is a symptomless carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene. This was a real shock to me given that it is nothing I had ever heard of or thought about.

Now my husband has to be tested (which he's doing today) and, if he is a carrier as well, our baby will have a 25% chance of having CF. This has totally freaked me out. I knew nothing about CF until I spent way too much time yesterday Googling it. It isn't good. I'm praying hard that his test comes back negative (of course, we have to wait several days for results). AHHH!

The fact that I am part of a 3% minority in that area and that I am RH-, which makes up only 15% of the population, and infertile, which is another minority population, I'm starting to have some serious worries about myself! I'd sure like to be common for once!

Monday, October 19, 2009

An uncooperative (but healthy) baby

A bit of good and a bit of disappointing news. Most importantly, the baby is healthy. We had our 18 week ultrasound today and the doctor spent over 30 minutes measuring all the different parts of the little one and nothing raised any concern - super cool to see all 4 chambers of the baby's heart! She also did a transvaginal u/s to check the cervix. While that all looked good, she did say that right now I have placenta previa, but that it usually sorts itself out. If it doesn't, a c-section is likely.

On the disappointing side, we have the most relaxed, chilling baby ever - arms folded behind its head and legs crossed - which means no good look at the nether regions. I was so looking forward to knowing whether it was pink or blue in our future. The upside is that, due to the baby's position, there were a few measurements she couldn't get, which means we get to go back in a few weeks for another check. She originally said 4 weeks but I pushed it forward because I want to do it before I register (important stuff, you know?!?) sisters-in-law are coming up to visit on 11/7 to help me so I was able to get the appointment for 11/6! Baby better cooperate or it's grounded!

As promised, here is a picture at 17 weeks.

And here's baby's profile from today (I didn't think the u/s pics came out that well...)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm So MIA!

Well, I've fallen into the trap that so many others seem to a lot during the IVF cycle; disappear into the abyss after. Sorry! So I'll try to give an update of the last 5 weeks...

I just passed 17 weeks - hooray! At 14 weeks, I switched OBs. I had so many bad experiences with my other OB, which culminated in the 12 week ultrascreen appointment that left me crying in the waiting room. There were two other pretty big issues, at least to me...

1) I was going to have to deliver in Washington, D.C. at a hospital pretty far from my house. As a Virginian through and through, it was important to me to have the baby born in Virginia. My new OB delivers at a hospital pretty close to our house.

2) The old practice had 20+ doctors. Even if I saw a different OB every time, I may never meet the lucky one that gets to bring our baby into the world. The new practice has 4 doctors, which seems much more manageable. So we had our 14 week appointment at the new OB and are very, very happy that we switched. I finally feel like a patient, not a number. At the appointment we got to hear the baby's heart thumping away - I just love that sound. The HB had gone from 161 at our last appointment to 155 so the nurse guesses boy :)

The other exciting news to report is that our big ultrasound is this coming Monday (10/19). We will actually go to the hospital for it - to the perinatal specialist - because of doing IVF, we are considered high-risk. Hopefully they have great equipment and we do get to record it, which is great to share with our moms who, unfortunately, won't be there. We are praying, most importantly, that everything is a-OK, and secondarily, that the baby shows his/her parts so we can determine whether it's sugar and spice or snips and snails...

I've been feeling terrific the whole pregnancy and actually feel guilty talking about it. No sickness at all. No tiredness. I'm still running each morning and doing pilates twice a week. I plan on scaling back the running in the near future just to be safe, not because I feel bad. Hubby took a pic of my belly at 17 weeks so I'll have to post that shortly. Not really anything to see - looks more like a beer gut than a pregnant belly. Thank goodness for the belly band, which I now wear every day.

And this is very, very belated, but wanted to post a few pics from Vegas (which seems like ages ago). Not as exciting as the baby pics I hope to post next week, but hopefully will do until then. First one is hubby and me and the second one is of all my girls! We had such a great time! Right now, we are trying to plan a weekend to Wintergreen Resort in Virginia because we got a gift certificate last year for Christmas that we need to use soon. Trying to get in as much "fun, single couple" time as we can.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy 12 Week Birthday, My Lovely Cashew!

Today was our ultrascreen. Yes, the one that had most unfortunately gotten canceled last week. First, I have to confess to something. I had my first pregnancy-hormone nervous breakdown today. And to make matters worse, it was in the OB waiting room!

Here's the story...a few weeks ago, I confirmed and double-confirmed with my insurance company that they covered the ultrascreen (the u/s and bloodwook). I was reassured and double-reassured that yes, it was covered, and yes, it was covered if done in my OB's office. Needless to say, I show up today and the front desk lady who refuses to smile told me, "that will be $175!" I said, "oh, no, you must be mistaken...blah, blah, blah..." That led to an immediate call to my insurance company where I was AGAIN reassured that it was covered. That didn't seem to matter to the front desk lady who refuses to smile. Tears followed. Husband consoling followed that. I don't know why I lost it. I'll blame it on the pregnancy hormones and the fact that our a/c just broke in our house and that is at least another $1,500 out of pocket. Yuck. Finally, a nice front desk lady who did smile said they would bill the insurance company and, if they didn't cover it, than I would just get a bill. A fair compromise in my mind.

So that leads to the good part. We got a good long look at the cashew at 12 weeks. The ultrasound tech took some measurements that are supposed to show the risk of having different genetic issues and all looked good. That will be coupled with the results from the blood test to give a probability of there being an issue. Not that it would matter; this is our lovely cashew come hell or high water! And gosh be darn, it is an honest-to-goodness baby! Not just a blob. It has a head. Arms. Legs. And I think he/she waved at us! It was unbelievable. Check it out for yourself below. One good looking cashew in my book. I've loved the baby all along but today I think I fell in love!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Darn labor!

No worries, I'm not going into labor! But someone else did and it really screwed up my day. Hubby and I finally decided to do the ultrascreen prenatal test, which includes bloodwork and an ultrasound. While we are not real gung-ho about genetic testing, we decided to do this because 1) our insurance covers it and 2) it gives us another ultrasound before the big one at 19 weeks (thanks, Tara, for giving me the idea to check with my insurance company).

So today was the big day. I was so excited about it and looked forward to it the whole time in Vegas (which I survived - another story, another time). Our appointment was at 8am in the city so hubby and I drove in together...we got about 20 minutes along when we got a call from the doctor's office. Apparently the sonographer went into labor - which I guess she believed was more important than my ultrasound - and therefore my appointment was cancelled. Darn!

I know, it's not as big of a deal as I'm making it to be. Just a little disappointment along the road. The appointment is rescheduled for next Tuesday. Guess I should be a pro at waiting by now! I can't wait to see the little cashew at 12 weeks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doctor's Appointment and VEGAS!

Two pretty unrelated things, huh? Well, right now, they are the highlights of my week!

First the doctor's appointment. Yesterday was my first real prenatal appointment. I had been in for an u/s to date the pregnancy, but this was the big one. Everything went fine. I go to a really big practice - over 20 doctors - and I had the guy whose name is first in the title of the practice. The head honcho. Though they recommend rotating among a lot of the OBs, because you never know who you'll get on D-Day, even if I go to a different OB every visit, I could still end up with a stranger on the big day.

So anyways, the OB came in and said they were going to take blood, do a pap smear and then we'd chat for a little while about pregnancy. I asked, "are you going to check for a heartbeat?" He replied, "it's probably too early, I usually don't do that until after 10 weeks." Being exactly 10 weeks, I begged and pleaded. He said he would but made me promise not to freak out if he wasn't able to find it with the Doppler. Praise the Lord he found it in about 20 seconds! Yay! I just love hearing that little pitter patter. And with no pregnancy symptoms, it is a great confirmation that indeed the little cashew is alive and kicking.

The big topic of discussion was genetic testing. I'm interested to know others' thoughts about it. I think we are going to forgo all testing because, if they were to find something wrong, we are not going to do anything to the baby. So what's the point? And I really don't want to do any invasive testing...and the OB said that, often the only way to confirm the result of a noninvasive test is through an invasive one. So why should we have the invasive one in the first place? I know I'm going round and round but this all seems like such a big decision. Thoughts? Suggestions?

On to the next topic - VEGAS! We leave this Friday for a long weekend in Vegas with 3 of my best friends from college and their husbands. I've never been and I can't wait. Of course, I'm sure the Vegas experience is quite different sans alcohol, but I'm sure I'll have a great time anyways. And we haven't told our friends the big news yet, so that will be fun, too. My biggest fear is not being able to "hang" with the rest of the group given the late hours we'll surely be enjoying. But I'll put my big girl pants on and be extra tough! We are staying at the MGM Grand, but other than that, have no definite plans. Any suggestions on best things to see, do, and eat in Sin City?

So that's about it for us. I don't have another OB appointment for a full 4 weeks - 1 month - 30 days! Yikes! That's a huge change from the last 3 months where my car can almost drive itself to the doctor's office! What to do? What to do?

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm Boring!

Hi all...yep, I'm boring. Nothing new to report.

But I do want to welcome any ICLW'ers to the site and hope you'll stick around. As you probably can tell, we had our first IVF cycle in June and were so blessed to have it to be successful. I'm just over 9 weeks pregnant with an estimated due date of March 22nd. Yay!

And I've been doubly blessed because, as of today, knock on wood, I haven't had even one ounce of sickness, extreme fatigue or the other fun stuff that one usually associates with pregnancy. Each day I keep thinking that will be the day it hits...but so far, so good.

Here's what I do have. I can't stop eating. I am hungry all the time! I was telling my hubby today that I can't remember the last time I felt full. The upside is, since I've been feeling good, I can still run every day so hopefully that is counteracting all the extra calories I'm consuming. I think I'm up to about 7 meals/snacks a day!

My first full prenatal appointment with the OB is on Tuesday, Aug. 25th. It doesn't include an u/s...does anyone know if they check the heartbeat with a dopplar? I just wonder how they will even know that all is well in there?

Anyways, told you I'm boring. I'll post after my appointment on Tuesday. Bye bye for now and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eight Week Ultrasound

Today was our first visit to the normal person doctor, otherwise known as the OB. Well, actually we just saw the ultrasound technician but, boy, was it a nice change.

I'm not sure why I needed another ultrasound to date the pregnancy after having two at the RE, but I'm not going to complain (due date is still March 22). The baby is now 15.6mm (pretty cool because they gave me the measurement in centimeters to start with, which feels like an upgrade from its smaller sister the mm).

But the coolest part was we heard the heartbeat! Which, of course, stopped my heart. 156 beautiful beats per minute. Thank you, God!

I return in 2 weeks for my routine prenatal work-up. I think I'll continue to hold my breath throughout this entire pregnancy, always apprehensive about accepting it as reality knowing how hard it was to come by and how quickly it could be taken away. Right now we are just so grateful for our little 8 week blessing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Cashew on Wheaties!?!?

As many of you know, we had our last appointment with the RE this week and were thrilled to find out that our little cashew grew almost 500% in the past week (from 1.87mm at 5wk 6 days to 10.66mm at 7wks). Wow! Guess I should cut back on the Wheaties.

And...on top of that...we saw an unbelievably beautiful heartbeat. What a relief! It is truly amazing...there is this blob on the u/s machine and then this little pulsating thingy in the middle of the blob. Wow.

As far as heart rate, my RE doesn't calculate it saying that it doesn't matter at this point - all that matters is that there is one - and that it is only important later on. Being the compulsive researcher that I am, though, I wanted, no make that I needed, that number so I could spend countless hours on Google comparing it to everyone else's. Alas, all I know is that there is a heart beat!

The RE said everything looked perfect and that the baby seems to be even a few days ahead growthwise.

So I've officially graduated to the OB! I don't know what is normal, but my OB sees everyone initially just for an u/s to date the pregnancy and then not again until 12 weeks. Is that unusual? So we go in this upcoming Tuesday for yet another u/s. I'll be exactly 8 weeks!

We head home this weekend to finally tell the family...only my mom knows. So we'll tell my hubby's family as well as my grandmother and my two brothers' families. We aren't telling anyone else until we're out of the first trimester.

Thanks for all your support and prayers...we continue to pray fervently that God keep his hand on this little baby. Life just seems so terribly fragile.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waterproof Mascara?

Each day of our IVF cycle, I've found myself asking one important question every morning - is this a waterproof mascara day?

What do I mean?

Well, each morning I have assessed, and continue to assess, everything that the day may hold - what news was I expecting from the RE that day and what tests were being done - and then determined the probability of me crying. Then I selected my mascara accordingly.

Now, I hate waterproof mascara because it is so darn difficult to get off in the evening. But it is better than looking like a raccoon that day.

So my next waterproof or not decision will be this Wednesday when we have what should be our last ultrasound at the RE. I am so scared that a heartbeat won't be detected or the baby won't be growing or....all those other terrible possibilities.

My fear is only compounded because I absolutely, positively do not feel pregnant. No nausea. No exhaustion. Nothing. Boobs are a little sore, but that can also be attributed to the 3-a-day-suppository habit I have. I have a twinge or two, but nothing else. I've Googled it 100 times and found about a million other people freaking out about not having symptoms, so at least I know I'm in good company.

So, anyways, I'm thinking Wednesday will be a waterproof mascara kind of day.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Face Lift - You Like?

On a scale of 1 to 10 for blog-savyness, I probably fall in the negative numbers. I frequently admire other people's pretty blogs, yet my own blog relied on one of Blogger's pitiful standard templates.

Well, hope you like my facelift! This is about as fancy as you'll ever see from me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

One little cashew

Hip hip hooray! Never would I believe that something under 2mm (1.87mm to be exact) could make me so happy. But the RE said everything looks perfect - sweeter words I've never heard. In the picture below, you can just make out a little white line in the middle of the sack; yep, that's our pride and joy (well, actually it's the line the RE drew to mark our pride and joy). We go in next Wednesday (8/5) to see the heartbeat and then it's off to the OB, just like a normal pregnant person. Though I think being an IVFer means I'll never feel like a "normal" pregnant person but I'd like to at least give it a shot!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Final Beta Today

Well, my 4th and final beta was today - a 75% increase over 2 days ago (from 1567 to 2736). My nurse once again reassured me that this is perfectly normal, not doubling after 2 days (guess I am closer to every 3 days, which I read is fine), and that the RE isn't concerned. If the RE isn't concerned, then I won't be! She also said that my estrogen levels are "super" and told me to stop the estrogen supplement.

Below is the chart of all my betas. Looks like one little cashew (I like cashews more than peanuts). Don't know if my increases are off because my first beta was so high?

My first ultrasound is on Monday. Please, God, let this be a healthy pregnancy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

3rd Beta

I had my 3rd beta today - 21 days past ovulation - it increased 82% (from 862 to 1567) from two days ago. The nurse reassured me this was ok since it still went up a lot. I know that most things say it should double every 2-3 days, but I guess I just want to be an over-achiever. As you can see from the chart below, I'm starting to fall more in line with the HCG levels for a singleton at least according to this one website, FWIW. I am such a nervous nelly!

The good news is that I'm scheduled for my first sonogram on July 27th where they'll check to make sure there is a gestational sac and that it is growing where it is supposed to grow. That day can't come soon enough! AHHH, the agony. This is just one wait after another.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Betas in a picture

I have no idea if this is accurate or not...but still fun to see the beta score go up. It increased 96% in the past 2 days. I'll continue to have betas every other day until the number is over 2,000 - then the ultrasound!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Updated - 439

Yep, that's my first beta at 12dp5dt :)

My beta today was 862 at 14dp5dt. Keeping the fingers crossed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

And still waiting...

It's been awhile since I posted because right now I am in that seemingly endless 2 week wait. The good news is that I was able to shave 2 days off the date for the beta. I was originally scheduled for 7/19 but since I had a day 5 transfer (on 7/5) they moved it to 7/17, this Friday. Yay!

Other than that, really nothing to report. I went in today for my day 8 bloodwork to check estrogen and progesterone (they put me on estrogen after the day 4 bloodwork, which they told me is normal). I told the nurse I was feeling a little crampy today and she said that is normal in both outcomes, pregnant or not! Well, that doesn't help! And so far I've fought the urge to POAS. Should I? Should I?

Finally, yesterday was my birthday. Yay me! Though not so great because it was the big 3-0! Yikes! But my wonderful hubby surprised me with an overnight at the unbelievably fancy, posh, lavish 5-star Inn at Little Washington (, not too far from where we live in D.C. All I can say is - WOW - we felt like royalty.

So there you go...hopefully this will sustain your curiosity until the big day on Friday when I pray, pray, hope and pray I have good news to report.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Let the waiting begin...

Today was our day 5 embryo transfer. It is amazing how drawn-out, stressful and all-around painful the IVF process is and then, in a matter of mere seconds, the transfer is over. Pretty incredible.

My husband and I have had some pretty sleepless nights leading up to this, always trying to push the worst case scenario out of our minds. What if none fertilize? Yay, five of the six fertilize. Day 3 transfer...what if none of them survived? Yay, five survive and we're scheduled for a day 5 transfer instead. What if none turn into blastocysts? Well, that leads us to today.

Our ET was scheduled for way too late in the morning giving us too much time to sweat it out (thank God I was able to sleep in until almost 8am, unlike 6:30am the past few days). On a side note, they gave me a valium but I think it did nothing to calm the nerves, just made me sleepy once I got home.

The nurse got us all prepared and FINALLY the embryologist came in to give us the news. Ah, the anticipation and sweaty palms. Well, the good news is that 4 of our little guys survived thus far. Two were early blasts and two were still in the day 4 stage of morula, which means they are lagging a little behind but could still turn into strong, healthy blasts.

Two of our little ones won the prize of getting transferred into my anxiously awaiting uterus! And we'll keep our fingers crossed that the other two come along so they can be put on ice for use down the road. Of course I had to ask the embryologist the quality of the little guys and we were thrilled to know that they are USDA certified Grade A! And, as a souvenir, we have pics of the little guys as well as getting to keep their first home, the petri dish (to use as a coaster, perhaps? Hmmm...).

So now we wait and wait and wait. 2 solid weeks. Test on Sunday, July 19th. What to do to pass the time??? Oh, right, I'll turn 30 (July 12) and hopefully my husband will have something fabulous planned. At least that'll break up the monotony. We'll see. And we'll wait.

(Update #1 - note the thick zona, or outer shell, around our blasts. They ended up doing assisted hatching, something I knew nothing about. But hopefully it gives our little ones an easier time breaking loose!)

(Update #2 - just got a call from the RE...only one of the remaining two embies can be frozen. I'm a bit disappointed, though one is better than none...)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

No Rain, No Rainbow

When you're going through IVF and IF, you really feel like you are in a constant storm that will never end. I sure do. I pray all day long that this storm will soon end. Well, today while on a walk, my husband and I saw the most beautiful rainbow. I won't give up praying for the storm to end, but I am going to try to appreciate the beauty that often comes from a storm. And today, we were reminded that something beautiful will come.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

5 little guys...or girls...come on embies! Grow!!!

My retrieval was yesterday and it went very smoothly. I was surprised at how easy it was and I really didn't feel bad after at all. I slept for a few hours in the afternoon but was up and at'em by the evening.

Results...6 eggs retrieved. Fertilization result...5 little embies! Ok, I know that number isn't going to win any awards, but it is 5 more fertilizations than we've achieved over the past 19 months.

And I'm pleased to report that I have a transfer scheduled for Friday (Day 3), but was told that I may get a call in the AM moving it to Sunday (Day 5), depending on how they develop. Now I just need the progesterone to do its magic and thicken up my lining. I asked the nurse today if I should start doubling up on the suppositories (I'm also taking a POI shot each morning - oh so fun!) and she laughed and said no, that I should be good. Anything to get the environment just right for my emby or embies.

On a slightly funny note...I have 2 older brothers. One has 4 kids and one has 2 and is expecting his 3rd in August. So I called my mom after I got the fertilization result and told her that I'm the child of hers that has the most kids at this moment. Guess it isn't all that funny but always trying to find the humor in this difficult time.

Gonna keep on taking it one day at a time and praying for quality because I sure don't have quantity!

Monday, June 29, 2009

All triggered up and ready to go!

Today is Day #12. And this morning - at the lovely hour of 1:15am - my husband so perfectly gave me my HCG trigger shot. Today was my last monitoring appointment before retrieval tomorrow. Yay!

An update on the previously discussed bleeding - it's been quite scary - I started bleeding on Friday and it continued pretty heavily on Saturday and started tapering off yesterday. Today it is pretty much done - thank goodness. This morning, my RE said that my lining looked thin but hopefully it will thicken up once I start taking progesterone and I do still have 4-6 days until a transfer would be scheduled. Keeping my fingers crossed. If it doesn't thicken up enough, they will freeze our little embies and reintroduce them to us next cycle.

On a positive note, my RE said I have "great looking follicles." Sounds like a pick-up line, huh? But that is great news and, while I'm not likely to produce an abundance of eggs, last time I asked him I was up to at least 7 good follicles. I didn't ask him today.

I'll give the official tally tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to the valium :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

I had a bit of scare today...Day #9

I had a bit of scare today...

So my period this past time was way lighter than usual. I mentioned this at least twice at the doctors and no one seemed to think much about it, just said that they would know if there was a problem via my b/w.

Fastforward to last night and today. I started getting really bad menstrual-like cramps (which I initially just wrote off to being later in the stims game). I did a light work-out this morning and came home from the gym to find tons of bleeding. I was quite worried, to say the least. Thankfully I was going in today anyways for b/w and u/s. But the whole ride there I was praying but knowing that this cycle was going to be canceled.

When I first told Dr. D, he looked worried and said that would be very unusual. Well, to much relief, after the u/s, he said everything looks fine. He thinks it might be old blood from the last cycle but said to let him know if it is regular period red in color as that would be a problem (right now it isn't but I'll spare you the details). I go back again tomorrow for another round of monitoring, day #10.

As far as my check-up, he said he thinks he can get 5 good eggs at this point, which would be terrific (I have diminished ovarian reserve so I'm not expected to produce many eggs). My lining looks good and, if all continues to go well, retrieval will likely be Monday or Tuesday. Now I'm just waiting to hear back on my b/w and just hoping that they didn't see a problem!

This is all so stressful! Think positive! Think positive!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When should I feel something?

Today is day 7 of stimulation (Microdose Lupron Flare protocol). I started out on 20 units of Lupron and 225 of Bravelle (3 vials). On day 5, they upped my Bravelle to 300 units (4 vials) and kept Lupron the same. I go in tomorrow for my next b/w and u/s.

On day 5, Dr. D didn't say much during the u/s, just that it was really early in the process. I asked him if everything was as it should be and he said yes, but he didn't give me any more feedback than that.

Now it's day 7 and, other than a million needle-prick marks in my stomach that are somewhat sore, I don't feel anything. No big ovaries. I want big ovaries! Since they had to up my FSH last time, I am fearful that I'm not stimulating well...

Hopefully I'll find out more tomorrow on how things are progressing and I'm definitely going to ask Dr. D more questions (help, what questions should I be asking?). But it would be great to hear from all of you about when you started to "feel" something when stimulating.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's here already

I got an unexpected guest yesterday - my wonderful AF decided to visit 2 days early - which means today was my FIRST MONITORING DAY!

Wow, that came fast.

I went in this morning for blood work and an ultrasound and am waiting to hear back on whether to start my meds today.

All I can say is that I've never been so happy to get my period!

Update: The doctor's office called and I am all set to start my meds today. I did the Bravelle and Lupron this afternoon and will take another dose tonight. My hands were shaking so bad I was fearful I would slice my stomach open. But I'm pleased to announce that there was no excess blood loss.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scared for the first time

All along I have been 100% confident that we would eventually have our own baby. It just had to be that way, right? And I think I've done a good job maintaining a positive attitude. As we prepare to begin our first IVF cycle, I have seen the stats "half-full" clinic has about a 60% success rate for people my age and that is the number I've focused on, not the fact that I still have a 40% chance of a BFN at the end.

But driving home from work the other day, I all of a sudden faced the stark realization that there is a chance we will never be able to have our own baby. While I think adoption is a terrific option and would consider it without hesitation, the thought of never having a baby that is part my husband and part me was heart-breaking. I'm sure many of you have been through this realization process, but this was the first time for me.

And it made me sad and scared.

But then I had the best devotional this morning!

** Jeremiah 29:11: 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.

** Proverbs 16:9: In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Sometimes God just smacks you in the face and says I, NOT YOU, am in control!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Calling All June/July IVFers!

If you plan on starting an IVF cycle this month or in July, you should join this new community over at Baby Center (I'm sure August IVFers would be welcome too!):

I think having this group of virtual friends going through the exact same thing at the exact same time will be amazing and a wonderful source of encouragement through the ups and downs (hopefully a lot more of the former than the latter).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My husband ROCKS!

As you know, yesterday was our injection training where we not only did practice shots but also learned how to mix all the medications and get them ready for injection (Lupron, Bravelle, HCG, POI). I'm so glad we did this because 1) it will give us confidence when we actually do the shots for real and 2) the medication mixing is kind of tricky - for example, the Bravelle requires mixing 3 separate vials of powder with the liquid. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it (twice a day for around 10 days!). And yes, I plan to give the shots that go in the stomach and my husband gets the joy of the butt shots. Yes, we did a practice butt shot and he did great.

But that's not why my husband rocks. During our entire two hour session last night, my husband took pages and pages of notes...he wrote down every tiny detail. BUT on top of that, once the nurse left, he went and typed up all the notes! I know, unbelievable! And it was great because we got another run through on everything as he was typing.

He is really stepping up to the challenge and God knows we all need as much support as possible. So now we wait...I should go in for my baseline around Sunday (my periods are 24-25 days) and then will start the meds if all is well. I just can't believe how close we are to getting this started. After 18 months of hopeless trying, we will soon be moving forward! Yea!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Injection Training TONIGHT!

I'm sure my husband is just gonna love learning how to perform this most enjoyable task! many needles so little time. We will be on Lupron and Bravelle (then progesterone in oil). Please share any of your best secrets on surviving meds and the endless needle sticks! I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More on "To tell or not to tell?" and Beth Moore

So this weekend I did tell one of my closest friends about our struggles. It was very difficult just getting it out - and of course coincided with lots of tears - but it actually felt good having someone I care about, outside of my husband, share in this time.

She was so supportive and understanding (though it made me cry when she apologized for talking about her year-old son so much - I love that others have been blessed with kids and while there are pangs of something resembling jealousy, I would never wish this on anyone else). My friend didn't try to gloss over the issue but actually asked me specific questions about when I started medications and the timing of the major parts of the cycle. I really appreciated that. And she said she won't bug me with any questions during the cycle and will wait for me to share with her what I want to. I love my friend!

My friend and I had gone to a Beth Moore conference this weekend ( I had heard of Beth Moore before but had never done any of her Bible studies or attended any of her speaking engagements. She is PHENOMENAL. I highly recommend her if you ever get a chance to do any of her teachings. Beyond funny and very insightful. Her whole teaching this weekend was about the "perfect storms" in our lives (when all the winds of troubling times seem to meet and you are caught in the middle) and how often we go through storms because they are the only way to get us to where God wants us to be. Wow, it so spoke to me because I feel like I've been in a "perfect storm" for the past year and a half and that I can only have faith that I will come out the other side where God wants me to be - whether that is with a child or not - it will be God's will. Tough stuff to swallow but it's the truth.

Anways, enough preachy stuff. 1) Beth Moore is fantastic. 2) I'll make it through this storm. 3) And thankfully I now have a friend to help me weather the heavy winds.

Enough said. Hope everyone's week get off to terrific starts. Tomorrow is our injection training - fun, fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To tell or not to tell? That is the question!

Ok, so here's the deal of why I need this blog so much. I am a very private person and can't stand having others in the "real world" know my business. But even more so, I hate showing signs of weakness or anything less than perfection. Yes, I know, I put a lot of pressure on myself. Always have. And no, I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination!

That being said, we have told NO ONE about our struggles to conceive - no friends, no family. And as we gear up for our first IVF cycle, we don't plan on telling our immediate families until the end (though my mom is coming up to visit during our cycle so we may not be able to avoid her seeing the millions of needles and vials of medicine around the house).

Part of the reason for keeping mum is that I think the disappointment from them if the cycle doesn't work out would be too much to bear on top of our own disappointment.

But I do want a community of some sort - a group of "virtual" people that have been there, done that, or are still doing it...that's where all of you come in!

So what are your thoughts? How much have you confided in friends and family during this process? Helpful? Not helpful? Would love to know your experience.

And P.S. I don't want any of you to think that I'm embarrassed of having to do IVF and that is the reason I've been quiet about it - it is more that I don't think I could stand the sympathy and disappointment from family and friends if, God forbid, it doesn't work out. Just want to clarify!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More on our story...

So, where to begin? I guess the beginning!

My husband and I met in high school - yes, I know - so cute, high school sweethearts. I was 16 and my husband was 18. We dated all through college (but went to separate colleges) and got married as soon as I graduated. For the next 6 or so years, we enjoyed being a married couple - doing all the fun things you can't do once you have children (or at least things you can't do as easily) - and focusing on work.

Some time in 2007, we both started getting the itch to delve into parenthood. Due to my work, we decided to wait until the beginning of 2008 to start trying, thinking "this is perfect, I'll be pregnant in the next few months." Those first few months were exciting filled with hope - checking out baby due dates on the computer at the beginning of each cycle, not buying new clothes because, hey, I'll be pregnant soon, using pregnancy tests each cycle, and planning summer activities around the idea that I would be pregnant.

Then the months started to drag on. In June 2008, I finally visited my ob/gyn and was assured that everything was a-ok, just give it time. I figured I was just being paranoid. The doctor even said, I'm confident we'll see you back here before your regularly scheduled pap smear in September...

September came and went but we decided to wait until it had been a solid year. When we still weren't pregnant, my husband had a sperm test and I had a test to ensure my tubes were open. Still, everything was a-ok. But I was told by my ob/gyn that there really wasn't anything else she could do so, and if still not pregnant in a few months, it was time to see a RE.

That brings us to April 2009...our first visit to Dominion Fertility and meeting with Dr. DiMattina. After some more tests, he concluded that there was a slight diminished ovarian reserve and a slight sperm issue (mobility and morphology). Nothing that should stop us from spontaneously getting pregnant.

And he gave us 3 options. Do nothing and wait - yuck! IUI with clomid. Or natural cycle IVF.

So, then the decision time came. Doing nothing didn't seem like a good option. Our insurance doesn't cover natural cycle, so we ruled that out. IUI with clomid seemed ok but I had read so many comments on others' blogs were that seemed like a waste of time and a hurdle to getting to IVF.

Well, our insurance does cover regular IVF...but you have to get authorization, which according to our fertility clinic is not easy to do, especially since we didn't have any major issues. So the clinic submitted the request for authorization, but we figured we'd have to do at least one cycle of IUI first. But lo and behold, they approved IVF right away...

So that brings us to where we are today...about to start a Lupron flare cycle and counting the days down until I start taking medication (around June 21). I find myself once again using the computer to calculate due dates and talking about baby names, again with a renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, we aren't too far away from the end of this journey.

You know, you often think you are the only person feeling a certain way or going through a particular struggle. But it has become abundantly clear to me that SO many women have felt the same way as me and dealt with this tremendous burden. And that's why I'm turning to this blog, hoping to connect with more women who have walked in my shoes or are maybe walking down the same path as me right now. And it gives my husband a break from having to talk about this all the time!

I hope you'll visit often!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More on medications...

Thanks so much to all of you for posting. So much fun to get my first comments! I really, really, really hope that you all will stick around, bring more friends, and visit often so I can ask a lot of stupid questions and get support, advice, and encouragement! No idea how to promote my blog and get people here but hopefully it will work out. If any of you want to pass my blog info around, that would be GREAT!

Anyways, for those of you familiar with Virginia's IVF clinics, we are using Dominion Fertility (

My GIGANTIC cooler of medications came this past Friday...not really a great gift but I still got a little excited knowing that we are hopefully moving one step closer to making our dream a reality.

So I am doing a Lupron Flare cycle and will be on Lupron and Bravelle to start with. And then the wonderful HCG shot and then what I hear is the best part of all (sarcasm!) the progesterone in sesame oil and suppositories. I was told that the needles are the same ones used by diabetics - we'll see.

BTW, I must also mention that all of this will coincide with my 30th birthday - not a great gift at all - though getting a BFP would be the best present ever!

I'll let you know how the injection training goes. My husband isn't looking forward to the shots in the butt but as our nurse said, really the only thing he has to do in all of this gives him pleasure so he needs to earn his keep!

I think I need to also post something giving a little bit of background on our TTC for that post to come.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Injection Teaching

Our injection teaching is on Monday, June 15th. This is the part about which I'm most afraid. Any suggestions???

First Post

Hi all,

So in my quest to find out as much as I can about infertility, I've visited numerous blog sites and have become enthralled with following others' difficult, painful, and hopefully successful journeys to parenthood.

Well, now I'm starting IVF in just a few days - probably around June 20th - and I thought this would be a good way to chronicle my own personal, hopefully successful, journey.

I would love to find others going through this around the same time...

Hope in Virginia