Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 days post transfer

The sun and warmer weather has been so welcomed this week! I spent the day outside yesterday with Gabe. We went for a really long walk and then played in his playhouse in the yard for hours. Literally. Somehow, being squished into a toddler playhouse, blowing bubbles, one forgets her stressors:)

Chris and I have the weekend planned out with lots of yard work and together time. It's how we handle stress. I can plant a garden and hack down weeds, bushes, and trees. I can do that. It's within my control. And right now, it feels good to be able to see results of my efforts, on my own terms.

Still not feeling incredibly optimistic about Monday's blood work. I think I'll take another pregnancy test this weekend, just so I have a little bit more preparation, a bit more advanced warning.

I did wake up to some spotting this morning. Sorry, TMI, but just keeping it real. Not sure what it means though.

Off to grade papers and get some school work done. Pandora turned up and a cup of coffee in hand are getting me off on the right foot today!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

9 days post transfer

So I broke down and took a home pregnancy test at 5:45 AM this morning. I sat in the bathroom, holding my breath and staring at the test, wishing that second line into existence. Nothing. It was negative.

I know it's a little early still, but at this point in the two week wait with Gabe, I did get a positive test.

Leaving the bathroom, I debated whether I should even tell  Chris.... give him a few more days of authentic hope before telling him I cheated and took a test early. After five minutes of lying next to him, I just couldn't hold back the tears. I told him and we just laid there, holding hands in silence.

I know it's not a complete final verdict, but I'm just really starting to prepare myself that Monday's blood test really might be negative. I am not always a glass half full person, but I've been with this, in a sense, pushing through, head down, determined, staying optimistic for Chris.

Today though, I don't feel optimistic. I feel sad. A little angry.

Today I look at Gabe and think, I'm so lucky to have him. Simultaneously, I look at Gabe and mourn that I might not get to experience this again. How can I be content with Gabe, yet mourn that there may not be another baby/toddler experience for us?

I'm not going to take another test until the weekend, right before my blood test on Monday AM. If it ends up being positive, I'll be thrilled of course, but for now, I just need to start coming to grips with the fact that it might not be. And that we'll be okay. We will. It just doesn't feel so great right now.

Monday, April 27, 2015

7 Days Post Transfer

If I had actually had a pregnancy test in this house this morning, I would have taken it. Not because I feel pregnant or anything, but just because I am starting to get a little jittery about this IVF cycle's outcome. The distraction of springtime and a toddler is helping, however. This weekend we worked around the house and played outside with Gabe. Glorious. It was the first weekend in over two months where I didn't have any appointments in Philly or Harrisburg to get to; it was nice to be in one place, enjoying each day with my family.

Every few hours, the embryo(s) in my belly would resurface to my mind, and I'd get sidetracked, wondering how/if things are progressing in there...

Googling "7 days post a 5 day embryo transfer" brings up MANY results; most of which are posts from hopeful mothers, looking for some sign or confirmation that at 7 days post transfer, that they are pregnant. Nothing really scientifically proven.

As far as my physical feelings 7dpt, not much feels different than any other day. I did have some slight pain on both my sides (kind of like ovary pain?) yesterday and still a bit this morning. It's the first physical anything that I've felt since transfer day. But who knows what this could actually mean? Google results are contradictory and inconclusive. Shocker.

I'm thinking that I'll take a test on Wednesday, if I actually have the nerve to go buy one and actually take it. I want to know the outcome here, but there is also mental safety in the unknown. For now.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Peace in waiting

Even though we are in the dreaded two week waiting period, I am peaceful. I don't have anxiety (today). I think just having a few days of NO appointments, good meals, and sunshine has really brought me back to life! Chris still seems anxious, so for now, while I'm feeling more solid, I want to do my best to support and encourage him. 

Yesterday I played with Gabe all day. Like serious toddler playing. He is so intense; intensely happy, intensely angry, intensely curious, intensely awake, intensely tired...intensely Gabe! I love it! He recently started really HUGGING back when I hug him. For the first time, I feel him gripping his arms around my neck and back and tugging me into him. Best feeling in the world.

I'm not going to lie; I have started calculating when I should take a pregnancy test. I know SG says not to take one for at least 14 days. I'm thinking I won't last that long. Just being honest. I know I'll make it through the weekend without taking one, so that's good, right?

Monday, April 20, 2015

ROUND TWO: Transfer Day

We just arrived home from a whirlwind trip to Shady Grove. I have so many thoughts and emotions and I want to sort them out, but I don't know that I can at this exact moment. I will though, give the basic overview of our day.

We drove to Philly, holding hands, just trying to get past the fear that we may show up at the Shady Grove office with nothing to transfer. I did some work on my computer while Chris listened to (horrid) 80s music on the radio, his way to calm his nerves:)

We arrived in the parking lot and prayed together, asking that God would be with us regardless of what the day would bring.

We got geared up (me in a gown and Chris in a white jumpsuit) and went back to hear from Dr. Sasson. He said we had one really good embryo, and one that was lagging a bit behind. I literally exhaled for what felt like minutes. I honestly think I've been walking around for the past five days, just holding my breath that we would have an embryo make it to day 5. Now, I was hearing there were at least two in the running.

We debated if we wanted to transfer both, or just the good one, hoping that maybe the other could be preserved later. We surprisingly quickly and peacefully came to the same decision as last time; go for two. 

Even as I'm typing, I am having this weird revelation and awareness of this day. I have just been making myself so distracted, pushing myself purposely so far away from the feeling of disappointment and fear. I've just been trying to disconnect. Today was the first time that I felt like, okay, this is happening. It could be okay to connect and allow myself to feel and experience of embryo transfer day. I am nowhere near letting myself feel like I'm pregnant or like I'm going to have a baby. But I am allowing myself to savor God's goodness in all that played out this day.

We now wait two weeks for the pregnancy test. That seems like decades away, but I know I will sleep much better tonight than I did last night knowing that we survived day 5.

Friday, April 17, 2015

ROUND TWO: Day 2, after retrieval

Do you know what's weird and insanely hard to put into words? The feeling I have when I hear the phone ring and it's Shady Grove on the caller ID, calling us to update us on how many potential Knipe human lives are still living in their lab. As stated yesterday, we have three mature, fertilized eggs. Today, we have two four-cell embryos, and one two-cell embryo; still at 3 total.

I remember being nervous last time, wondering if IVF would work, but I don't remember being this nervous about this specific phase of the cycle. We had such good number last time so we knew we had good odds to get to transfer day with at least something to transfer. Now, Chris and I are on pins and needles just wondering if there is going to be anything to transfer on Monday.

We are still at three. Maria called from the lab and said she would hope to see 6-8 cell embryos tomorrow. She will call to update us tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ROUND TWO: Day after Egg Retrieval

Yesterday was the egg retrieval; they were unfortunately only able to get four eggs, three of which were mature and able to be fertilized.

Now it is just a waiting game to see how they each grow and mature on to the blastocyst stage. Embryo transfer is set for Monday at 12:30, if we have anything to transfer. I am trying to cling to some hope here. Last time, we had 13 eggs retrieved and 8 fertilized and then we ended up implanting 2 with  none left to store. I just hope that we can get at least one quality blastocyst to make it into a full fledged embryo-then-baby!

Daniella and Debbie were my nurses yesterday and they were wonderful. Sensitive. Supportive and funny.

Marie, the embryologist we had Round 1 is who will be keeping us updated each day regarding the grade and stage of the blasts; she is super sweet and it was good to see her yesterday.

Dr. Sasson was at another office yesterday so he was not there for the retrieval. Dr. K did it and she was wonderful.

Even though there were a few unplanned or last minute changes in our day yesterday, I am happy to report that I'm almost pain free today and am still just trying to remain hopeful that five days from now we will have something positive to report.

Chris, on the other hand, is a mess. I think he is worked up because we didn't really get the numbers that we had last time. We also only have one more cycle after this one that is paid for; we did not do Shared Risk this time, we did the 2 Cycle Program. Even thinking about having to do this again is not worth my time at this point, but Chris is just hyper fixated on it.

I'm hoping house projects and yard work will get us through to Monday. Distraction! Distraction! Distraction!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ROUND TWO: Pre-Retrieval

Last night, Chris got to give me a shot in the bum which acted as a trigger for ovulation. Egg retrieval is set for tomorrow morning at 7:45 AM. We are planning to head to Philly tonight and get a hotel, as the timing of tomorrow's appointment is critical. We wouldn't want a flat tire or traffic to impact our ability to get there on time!

This morning I did not (THANKFULLY) have to go to Shady Grove for monitoring (my first morning not in a car in four days!) Apparently with an HCG Novarelle shot, there does not need to be any bloodwork done the following day. This trigger was different from the Lupron dual trigger I had before. I asked about the change in protocol and the nurse told me it was because of my estrogen levels. She wasn't concerned and just said things are "a little different" this time around.

As I write, I am so in awe of just how DIFFERENT everything has been this time around. I can't really explain it. Things with Chris and I are good though; we are a team. Last night's bum-shot was entertaining to say the least:)

I am so intrigued to know how many eggs they will be able to retrieve tomorrow. At yesterday's appointment, it appeared that there were around 7. This is less than last time, but hey, we only need one good one.

Each day after tomorrow, Shady Grove will call us and let us know how the embryos are doing; how many, their grade, shape etc. I haven't really allowed myself to think about this process not working. I've honestly been so busy between work and Gabe and monitoring to let the thought sit very long in my head. I hope that the next five days until transfer are quick ones. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

ROUND TWO: Monitoring Mania... Again

I've not been good at updating the blog this round; sorry. Life is hectic. Today marked the third trek to Philly this week. The Harrisburg office is not open for ultrasounds because their tech is on vacation. While I totally understand the need for a vaca, it is amazing to me that a fertility center only has ONE person qualified to do ultrasounds?!

Anyhow, tomorrow starts the final countdown, with visits tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, maybe Tuesday, and then egg retrieval Wednesday.

My hormone levels and follicles look good and are growing.

Poor Gabe is being juggled around a bit between two babysitters and my in-laws. I think he is faring well though; he's getting lots of snuggles and one-on-one play time with fun people!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ROUND TWO: It's Happening.

What someone should have told me before we started this second-go at IVF is that it wouldn't be anything like our first round. From what I read online (obviously a reliable source) the second IVF round is supposed to be easier because you know what to expect. You know what's coming.

Here's the thing: So far, this round has been harder because we've had certain hurdles that weren't present the first time: Finding a babysitter so I can go to Philly and back, paying for IVF when there are other bills in the mix that weren't a few years ago etc. This round, we are requiring ICSI , when we didn't need that last time. This time, we have to pay for all of my medications ($$$!!!) because our updated insurance policy no longer covers fertility meds. This round, I am taking a few different meds, with higher dosages. This round, we are splitting our time between Shady Grove in Philly and Harrisburg. This time, Chris is watching Gabe while I go to many appointments alone.

I am selfish. I want what I know. What I had before.

It's not the emotional roller coaster of wanting to simple have a child, like it was in round one. Having Gabe really does help in that respect (of course I want to experience it again!) Having had the chance to be pregnant before helps too. It's now just the overwhelming desire for a FAMILY beyond one child. For siblings for Gabe. 

To be honest, this IVF cycle has felt like we are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It's like, the second I feel a burden lifted, something else happens that makes me feel uneasy all over again. I have been on the phone with the bank 11 times in 3 days. I am not kidding. Today, I was on hold with a banker and Gabe magically made his diaper explode. What ensued was not pretty: Me trying to remain on hold (for fear if I hung up I would loose the ONE person who actually was trying to help me) whilst diaper changing...Toddler excrement abounded.

I wrote earlier that I was just ticked that we had to do this again. I was ticked that we couldn't just experience procreation without financial penalty or physical hurdles. There have been a number of days when I've really gotten over that annoyance, that anger. Really. I have!Then, there are days like today when I am mad all over again. I don't know if that goes away with time?

It's Holy Week. The week that we as Christians pause to remember the sacrifices that Jesus made for each and every one of our salvations. We were challenged by our Pastor to spend 4 days where we just PRAISED God and THANKED Him for his sacrifice and for the blessings He's given to us. That was more of a challenge than I ever thought it could be. Especially during a time that I've not been feeling very thankful.

But something has helped me: Each day this week, a song lyric has been running through my head- God is fighting for us. Pushing out the darkness. He has overcome. Yes, He has overcome! 

The one thing that I CAN selfishly claim is that I am a daughter of the One True King, the one who is fighting for me even when I can't see what's coming. The one who is fighting for me even when I am ugly and selfish and don't like myself very much. That' a pretty amazing God.

As for the Round II Schedule:
Start injections 4/3 for 10-12 days. Then egg retrieval. Then transfer. Then 2 week wait to see if it worked.