Sunday, July 31, 2011

Not so happy birthday

Saturday, July 30th, would have been our second baby's 2nd birthday. Ordinarily I can handle it but not when we've just experienced the week we have. Our first baby's due date birthday was December 9th so we had ornaments printed with Grant and Caleb and we hang them on our Christmas tree on his day. On Caleb's due date birthday we do a balloon release for both of them. Although both rituals are therapeutic and help us remember them in a small way, I wasn't sure if I was up for it this year. But sad or not, I owe it to my baby. It would've been a wonderful day for a real birthday party.

We always go to an overlook in Rhea county to release them. It's beautiful and not too far from our house. I wrote both boys' names on them and a message to each one. I also write the dates of how long they were here with us.

So we let them go at the same time. At first they both floated over to the side with the overlook but then the wind picked up and took one of them by a bunch of trees. Then it got caught in the tree. OK so I know that the balloons obviously don't make it to Heaven to my precious babies but can't I pretend? Seeing that balloon stuck in a tree made the whole process a failure. Just like the entire week. Can't one thing go right this week?
This was how it was supposed to go.......
It stayed there until we left. It probably popped right there. Well what else is new, right?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A word from GOD

So you know how I stayed up late Monday night searching for something from God? It turns out that He did have something to say, just not to me directly. When I got home Tuesday from Brad's grandma's where AF showed up, this was the message in my fb inbox. Keep in mind I hadn't posted about anything about the cramping or AF yet so this friend had no idea what was going on. As far as she knew I was still in my 2ww.

Hey Lyndsey,

This is kinda strange, but I was praying for you this morning and I feel like God gave me something for you. Hope you don't think its weird. And honestly, I don't know if this round of IVF will work for you. But after praying for you, and hearing what I heard, I have such hope for you. Anyway, this is it:

I have heard your cry. I have heard your cry my daughter and I am sending my spirit to you and I am filling your womb. I have anquished with you. I have heard your tears and been with you in the night. I have heard your Why’s and your heartaches and I say it is near. It is near. The time of mourning is nearing its end. And I say that before I formed you in the womb, I called you, I NAMED you “mother.” It is not just what you will be, but it is what you already are. I made you for this purpose. You have a mother’s heart. And I say, you will look back on this time of sadness and darkness and you will see very very specifically the work I was doing in your life. And you will know without a shadow of a doubt what my purposes were. And you will rejoice and thank me for this time of pain and tears. The broken road that you have traveled has opened up before you and it is a smooth passageway. There will be other trials in life, but they will be different. I have given you your mate because he is perfect for you. He was made for you. And I will ease his suffering. His pain in watching your pain will be no more. From ashes to victory. From winter into spring. From death into life. And I bring you life. 

So that was my message from God. Pretty powerful, huh? It doesn't change the hurt that I feel from the failure of this cycle but it does give me hope. Hope that my mourning is close to its end. Hope that a child is on its way soon. Hope in God's plan.

The results are in.....

Well it's over. We failed. We aren't pregnant.

OK if I'm being completely honest then I must say, I failed. I know I shouldn't feel that way because I can't control it but it's just the way I feel. I had two 8 celled embryos inside me. The kind the doctors wish for and I couldn't make a home for them. My body failed. I would like to order a new uterus please. 

It all began Monday night. I couldn't sleep. I didn't realize it at the time but when AF visits me, I have at least one night a week of insomnia due to hormones. I just thought maybe God was keeping me up because He had something to tell me. So I gathered my Bible and several books that sweet people have given me to help me deal with all of this. I read but I just couldn't find anything so I searched on the internet for something that might help and I came across The Infertility Bible. I ordered it but secretly hoped I wouldn't need to read it when it arrived because I would already be pregnant with these little ones. I really thought I was this time.

When I woke up Tueday morning, I was experiencing mild cramping. OH NO! I called Brad crying and he said to look up implantation cramping and see what it said. It said that you can have mild cramps and even spotting and still be pregnant. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law invited me to go swimming at Brad's grandma's in Kingston. I wasn't sure if I should go just in case I did start to bleed but I went. I was there about 5 minutes before the blood came. I was obviously in the bathroom and when I came out crying, Brad's grandma was standing there. She asked me what was wrong and I tried to answer but she couldn't understand me. Finally I was able to articulate, "I started. It didn't work."

Brad was in Johnson City for work so I called him and he said he'd come get me. But it was going to take him a while to get there. I called the IVF nurse and she said that if it stayed spotting to wait until  Friday for the blood test. If it became more of a flow, then I could go for the test Wednesday or Thursday. I went Wednesday. :(

I took a hpt Wednesday morning and I didn't even wait the two minutes to see what the results were.
You guessed it! BFN but I knew that before I peed on it.

I understand it's IVF so I guess you need to be sure that you're not pregnant. But when I know it's AF it's very painful to give the receptionist an order when you already know the results. And I had treasured that order. I had loved the date, July 29th. Now it's a terrible order and I couldn't even fight through the tears to recite my social security number to register. When the nurse took my blood in the  lab, she asked which arm I wanted and I told her it didn't matter. When she drew it she said, "Wow. Looks like you've had a lot of blood work done on this arm." I cried and told her I had just undergone IVF. She told me they'd get this done as quick as they could and I told her not to bother because I already knew the results. The doctor called and guess what? It was negative.

This negative result has been so much different than all my others. When you undergo IUI, you don't know what's going on in there. When you find out you aren't pregnant, you just assume none of your eggs became fertilized. But with IVF you had two precious already made embryos transferred directly into your body. You  nourish them, make sure you don't lift heavy objects and start to love them. Although I am thankful that they didn't implant and then miscarry like my other two babies, it still hurts. We had already started making plans for them and now that has been taken away.

I am also struggling with the fact that it didn't work. I've been pregnant twice. We are supposed to be the doctor's easy case. No endo, no PCOS, no sperm issues. SO WHAT IS WRONG? I understand it doesn't always work the first time but I thought for us it would. I thought it didn't work for people who had never gotten pregnant. I thought it didn't work for people who have poor embryos. I thought wrong and now I feel foolish.

So it's over for now. I've spent my entire summer break on this process not to mention thousands of dollars and now it's over. We go back to school in a week so I'll just concentrate on everyone else's kids again. If I would have know this was my path to a child, I might have picked a different career. But for now my precious school babies are all I've got. I will teach them and love them and then give them back to their parents at 2:15. :(

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Love Letter

Dear embryos,

I have been your home for seven days now. I hope you two are finding things comfortable in there.:) My friend Jennifer told me that you liked pineapple core. She said it helps you dig in to my lining better so I ate some for you. It didn't taste good but as your mommy I would do anything for you even now. You two were my strongest babies at your first home so I just know you can make it in there. Just keep working hard to divide and develop.

In 5 days we will officially be mommy and babies. I have been trying to eat healthy foods for you and rest. I did clean our house on Friday. I hope that wasn't too much for you but there was so much cat hair. We have 4 cats and you will get to meet them. Tucker and Sophie are our inside cats so they will be your best buddies.

Your daddy and I have been trying to find your crib. We were originally looking for the Larkin but if both of you get to be our take home babies then we are going to get a cheaper crib at Pottery Barn Kids. When we were in Cincinnati your daddy drove to another town just so we could look at cribs and bedding for you. We didn't find anything at the outlet so we have been to two more stores and we found a beautiful crib for $300. We can get two of those for less money than one Larkin. I also found your boy bedding there. It's called Bradley, your daddy's name! Your girl bedding is from Land of Nod and it's called Rows and Rows of Roses. It's pink and brown. If we get both of you and one of each sex then I'll start again! It's so much fun planning for you.

We've also been discussing names for you with your Nana, Aunt Julie and Carrie & Nathan. Here's what we have so far:
Graham Caleb (middle name from your brother in Heaven)
Parker Grant (middle name from your brother in Heaven)
Kathryn Hope (middle name after your Nana's student in Heaven and hope throughout IF and RPL)
Allyson Faith(middle name for God's faithfulness throughout IF and RPL)
Kendall (haven't thought of a middle name for her yet because Grace sounds bad with Davis, but if you are two girls I wanted your names to both start with K)

We have some big news! One of your siblings grew into a blastocyst and has been frozen. He or she was a fighter just like the two of you! Once we are ready I can go back and get him/her transferred into mommy. We will wait until you are a couple of years old so that you can help us with your baby sister/brother!

Well I thought you would be curious about what we've been doing during your two week wait. No matter what happens next Friday please know we love you already and have all the faith and hope in the world that you are going to be our first take home babies.

I love you,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another baby!!

Well  I am excited to announce that we are the proud parents of a 5 day old blastocyst! The day of the transfer they told us we had some 2 celled embies that they were going to try to grow to a blast. If they can make it to blast, they are much stronger embryos. But the bad news is that sometimes they don't survive 5 days outside the body. So knowing that one of our embryos survived in a dish for 5 days gives me hope that the ones inside me made it to blast and will implant.

If you are wondering what happens to a blastocyst embryo after you've already done a transfer, they get frozen. If you don't get pregnant with the embryos they already transferred, they can put the frozen one inside you and hopefully it will implant. If you do get pregnant with the ones you transferred, then you can save your frozen one to use later for a sibling. Either way we will be able to try to get pregnant with this precious one. The only concern is sometimes embryos do not survive the thawing process so that is a little scary to think about. But blastocysts are stronger than 3 day embryos so we can hope he/she will survive.

I also talked to the nurse about my blood clotting concerns. If you are unaware, I have a gene mutation called PAI-1 and from everything I've read and people I know with this, it can cause miscarriage.  I am currently taking aspirin but I really feel like I need the Lovenox shots as well. Some doctors put their patients on Lovenox therapy for recurrent pregnancy loss even if they don't carry the gene. So since I know I have it, I am really nervous about getting pregnant again. The doctor said to be sure to take aspirin right now and if I get a positive test on the 29th, then we could discuss it. Even though I may not need it, if I get pregnant, don't take shots then lose the baby, I'll never forgive myself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My two precious eight-celled embryos!

We have been very busy since I last posted: Retrieval, waiting for how many eggs fertilized, waiting for how many embryos survived, waiting on how many cells they were, waiting to get them transferred into their mommy. Lots of waiting but then again, we are used to that. Here's the story of our lives from the last few days...

We drove up to Lexington, KY on Wednesday to stay with my friend, Meghan, the night before the retrieval. The procedure was scheduled for 6:15am so needless to say I didn't sleep a wink that night for fear of sleeping late. 30 minutes before the retrieval you are instructed to take a Valium so by the time we reached the parking lot in Cincinnati, I was laughing. I'm just not sure at what??? :)

I put on my hospital gown, hat and booties and waited for the nurse to put in my IV. She put all kinds of medicine in it and then they wheeled me into the room where the doctor retrieved 9 eggs. He originally said that we would probably only get 8 so he was pleased. That is the only thing I remember because I was so drugged up. If you are considering IVF but you are nervous about the process, don't be! You won't remember a thing. :)

Notice I am holding up 9 fingers for my 9 eggs. I sort of remember this??

I slept all the way back to Meghan's house and then slept the entire day. You are supposed to be on bed rest the day of the retrieval so I was being a good patient. Brad was so sweet. He just sat there all day and night with me and got me anything I needed. He is going to be such a good daddy!

Friday we went to eat brunch at Cracker Barrel and then went walking around the mall. I was still trying to take it easy because my stomach was bloated from the procedure. I look like I'm already pregnant and they haven't even transferred anything yet! We received a call from the facility and we had 7 of the 9 eggs fertilized! We were so thrilled with the news. Brad and I had a bet about how many would fertilize. Luckily both our numbers were lower than 7. In the Bible 7 is the number of perfection so that made me feel good. 

Meghan's sister, Colleen, came up to visit Friday night and I got a chance to talk to her about her experience with IVF. Her little daughter, Grace, was there and as I held her I thought, "You were grown in a petri dish and now here you are!" So exciting to think about this possibly working for us as well.

Saturday we decided to go on to Cincinnati and spend the night. We found out there was a Pottery Barn Kids outlet just outside of the city so we had to go! Our dream crib since we found out we were pregnant the first time has been the Larkin. It's a beautiful sleigh crib with a beautiful price. Ugh! I about screamed when I saw it leaned up against the wall-the Larkin!!! When I got closer to it, I realized it was the Larkin but the twin bed version. Even though they didn't have what we were looking for, I was excited to even be talking about cribs. Could this really be our time?

Since the only thing we found there was kitchen glasses, we drove over to the real Pottery Barn Kids in the mall, just to see. No Larkin but we did find The Cheesecake Factory. YUM! We had never been to one and I'd heard such great things so we thought we'd try it out. It was my last big unhealthy meal before the babies are put in tomorrow!
I'll take an Oreo cheesecake with hot fudge sauce please.

Our day was finally here!  On Sunday, July 17 we got our embryos transferred. :) We put on our gowns and scrubs and the nurse lead us to the transfer room. The doctor on call introduced himself and then showed us the chart with the cell counts of our 7 embies. We had one that was 14 cells and he said that was way too many for a day 3 embryo. We had a few 2 cells that they were going to let keep growing until day 5. If they make it then we can freeze them to use on our next cycle. But our prize embryos were two eight-celled beautiful babies which he transferred through a small catheter. As strange as it may seem, I felt close to them immediately after they were placed inside me. No matter what happens I will always love all of them and consider myself their mommy. Talk about love at first sight.

Right before the transfer

Our eight-celled beautiful miracles!

They even give you the dish they were grown in! Little do they know I also kept the hat I was wearing, my wrist bands and so much more. I plan on making a scrapbook one of these days to chronicle the entire process. Hopefully I'll get to begin on July 29th, the date of my pregnancy test!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shots are over! (for now anyway)

After 16 days of  Lupron, 10 days of Follistim and 1 trigger shot of Ovidrel, I am done with shots! (That's 27 days of shots in a row but who's counting?) These shots are far less painful than the injectable medication so really I'm not complaining. I'm just hoping that I get to continue to take them in my stomach in two weeks because that would mean I became pregnant. :)


Here's an ultrasound of my follicles that contain my eggs!

Lupron for suppression
Trigger shot to make the eggs drop
There's that darn pen! Better late than never I guess.

That's a lot of needles but baby you're worth it!
I've gotten mixed opinions about why I am losing my babies. One doctor said I needed Lovenox shots for my blood clotting disorder the next time I'm pregnant. Another said I needed Lovenox shots plus aspirin. My other two doctors seem to think there is something else going on entirely (yet they don't exactly know what that is) and I don't need shots or aspirin. Well my thoughts are give me whatever you can to prevent another loss, whether I need it or not. So we are going to beg someone to prescribe the shots if I do become pregnant this round. I just can't imagine not doing it and then risking another loss. If I take the shots and still lose my baby, then I'll know I did all I could do.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

5-8 Chances

We went to Cincinnati today to get my follicles measured. The doctor measured anywhere from 5-8 that should be ready for retrieval on Wednesday. He said they looked wonderful and my lining was great as well. He also said we probably wouldn't have any to freeze which he saw as a good thing. I have mixed emotions on the subject: We won't have to worry about having to donate them if we choose not to use them, should this work and we get twins. But it would have also been great to have a back-up plan, in case this doesn't work. The truth is I can't help what I have so I should just accept it as what God gave us!

Retrieval is Wednesday so we are going to go up to Lexington the night before to stay with my friend, Meghan. We have to be at the clinic at 6:15am so I don't think we want to make that 4 and a half hour drive that morning! She has been so gracious to offer us her newly finished basement with full kitchen and media room. I'll feel like I'm on vacation for sure!

Transfer will most likely be on Sunday but they said to hang around the area just in case our embryos decide to grow quicker than scheduled. We are so excited about the possibilities but also scared to death. Scared that it won't work and scared that it will. With us, pregnancy isn't what it once was 4 years ago when we found out for the first time. It's now replaced with the fear of another loss. Please pray that we can get through whatever the outcome may be and trust that God is in control. We know that He is of course, but if tragedy hits we will need Him to remind us. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life or Death

Last night Brad and I had a deep discussion about how we are supposed to feel when our embryos die. Chances are some of the eggs will not even get fertilized by the sperm. OK, well that's not an embryo so no worries there. But what if we have 10 eggs, and 7 of them get fertilized and then only 5 of them survive. How are you supposed to feel about that if you are pro-life and value life at any stage? The book I was reading said that the embryos that do not survive before transfer probably wouldn't have survived in the fallopian tubes had they gotten fertilized in a normal pregnancy. But you have that word, "probably."

And what about when they transfer two embryos that did survive the 3 days in their dishes. They divided the way they should and are graded well. (They grade the embryos from A-D or 1-4 with grades A, 1 being the best.) But then I don't get pregnant. Am I supposed to feel like I lost my babies? I am really struggling with this because I have always prided myself on being pro-life and this is something totally new. When you do IUI, you don't have embryos. You have an egg that's waiting for a sperm that may or may not fertilize it.  Now we are dealing with embryos that are already made.

And when you freeze your "extras," you can potentially use them for your next cycle if you don't become pregnant this time. So after they are thawed, you can become pregnant with them so obviously they are tiny little lives. It makes my brain hurt and my eyes red and puffy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Movin' on up!

I had blood work done this morning to see how well I am stimulating from the Follistim. They are moving me up to 300 international units starting tonight. I'll take that dose until Friday night and then we have an appointment in  Cincinnati Saturday morning to measure my follicles. And guess what came in the mail today? THE PEN! Great, now that we're almost done with shots.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


We were headed to the lake in Kingston yesterday so I was packing up my meds. We were beginning the superovulation drugs tonight, Follistim, so I wanted to make sure we had everything we needed. Medicine, check. Needles for the pen, check. Follistim pen,

We searched in every place possible for that pen and it wasn't in any of our other medication bags. I called the Institute for Reproductive Health, our fertility clinic, and left a message on the IVF nurse line. But since it was Saturday and also the weekend of the 4th, I didn't expect to hear back very quickly. We get our regular prescriptions at KMart so we thought we'd call Janson. Funny how we call him by first name. :)

He said he didn't know anything about that kind of medicine (you can't get fertility medicine at the regular pharmacy unless it's Clomid) but when his computer came back up he'd look it up and call us back. In the meantime I called a friend of mine who has twin girls from IVF to see if she could offer any advice.

She looked in her stash for her old Follistim pen. She had some of the needles still but had thrown her pen away. I told her we had my cat's insulin needles. He has diabetes and sometimes has to have shots for it. She said she thought that would work so we were trying to convert 225 international units for usage in an insulin syringe. Not an easy feat.

Janson called us back and he and Brad together tried to convert the units. Brad pulled all the medicine out of one of the viles and it filled up about 55 units on the syringe. So they came up with 41. Not that I don't trust Brad and Janson, but the whole thing started to upset me so I started to cry! I just didn't want to mess this up and wanted someone who was sure to tell me what to do about the measurements. Then I had an idea that I should have thought of to begin with. Call the pharmacy that forgot to give us the pen in the first place!

You can't just get these drugs anywhere. Our's came from a pharmacy in New Jersey that only sells fertility medicine. Thank goodness they were open and we told them what was going on. They said they'd send the pen to me but it wouldn't get here until Tuesday because of the holiday. In the meantime, we can use the insulin needles. Brad and Janson had converted it correctly except apparently the manufacturer puts more medicine in the vile than it actually says on the box. Instead of haviing 300 international units like it says on the front of the medicine, it has 400 international units. So if you convert it with 400 that would mean I would be getting 30 units on the insulin syringe. Not 41. Whew! Now we know for sure that I should be getting 30 units. I felt better and stopped crying.

So Brad gave me 30 units of Follistim without the pen down by the beautiful lake last night. It didn't hurt and only added to the lengths we will go for our child. I know all the agony of this entire journey will be worth all of our efforts one day. And by the way, when I get this pen, I am keeping it forever in case any of you ever need it!