Double Digits

**Trigger Warning ** This is just a quick boring update on Lucky and the renovation but please take care if you feel like  this isn’t something you’d like to hear about. ❤

We’re currently 92 days from our due date. I was going to post this on 99 days but… life. I saw on a December babies forum someone was 100 days so I did a quick calculation and realized we were on 100 as well and had a tiny little panic attack because we are nowhere near done with our reno and time is clearly running out.

We’ve been lackadaisical the past few weeks because the deadline seemed far off but now we’re realising that time may not be on our side so when we were just working on weekends we’re going to have to pull some weekday shifts as well. In theory we don’t have much to do so we’ve made a schedule, here’s hoping we can stick to it.

Our house is teeny tiny and old, as I’ve mentioned, and our reno consists of us creating a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom out of a shell of an attic. We installed a dormer up there to increase space but right now the entire room is gutted except for the walls for the bathroom and mini built in closet.

We’ve started the wiring but we need to finish it and have the inspector come check it out. After that it’ll be putting in insulation. Then we have to do the walls and ceiling then fully finish the wiring with the outlets and lights etc. At some point the inspector has to come check again. After that we’ll mud and paint the walls and ceiling and see about trim. Maybe we won’t need it. Then lastly we’ll install the wood floors. While this is happening the plumber has to come and fix a few pipes. Once he’s done we’ll move into the bathroom. I’m not too worried about this since we have a working one downstairs but it would pretty awesome to get it done before my parents come.

When you write it down it seem quick quick but let’s see how it goes. If we can get done by November life will be good. I hope to be of some use during that time.

 

Scroll a bit for baby news if you’re interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything that’s been going on is completely different to what I expected. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a very smooth 2nd trimester. Yes there’s heartburn and yes I’m struggling to sleep some nights but the heartburn is something I’ve struggled with all my life it seems and the sleeping is not that bad yet. I find I’ll a bad night every second night and the good nights I’m so exhausted I fall right asleep as my head hits the pillow and that amounts to feeling well rested the next day. I’m told it does get worse though so I’m not resting on my laurels.

I have officially stopped wearing underwire bras. I don’t know why I was suffering for so long. I should have stopped ages ago. My pants still fit but I have a feeling that won’t be for much longer based on my struggle this morning in the bathroom.

I will say that things are getting a bit uncomfortable and I find that I can’t sit in one position for very long. This is making the commute home a little challenging. Right now my car seat is positioned completely straight up but it’s still not the best. I tend to move it back and forth a few times while driving. That coupled with leaning to my left then right every 15 minutes is just how I live now. If anyone has tips on what’s a comfortable position to drive in, please help. Should I be getting an exercise ball for work do you think? My job is quite sedentary so I have to remind myself to go for a walk at least twice a day or it just starts to ache all over and it feels like I’ve been doing crazy ab workouts all day.

As for little Lucky. He seems to be pretty happy in there. I did start to feel what I believe are hiccups and it absolutely is my favourite right now. I can see the kicks from the outside but N has yet to see it. He’s felt a few kicks but Lucky gets shy when you put your hand where he’s kicking. I can’t wait to tell which body part is doing the kicking. Sometimes I do worry if he’s kicking for fun or because he wants me to move because he’s uncomfortable. I think that’s part of why I keep changing positions too. It’s probably silly but I worry if I’m squishing him of it there’s an arm or a leg trapped somewhere.

We haven’t had many appointments with our OB. Going to see her again early October, after which we’ll move to bi-weekly appointments. I’m not sure if there’ll be anymore scans though.

But we’ve seen our doula quite a bit. She teaches a gentle birth class which uses hypnobirthing techniques. We finished that course last week and it was pretty cool. They also have a mobile app with mindfulness, affirmation and hypnosis tracks that we have to listen to. We have to save our favourite ones to use during labour. We’re slowly working our way through the list. Slowly. We listen to the hypnosis at night and I listen to the others during the day when I can. The hypnosis isn’t that easy to get into. I’m too in my head I think. That, and the lady has an Irish accent and she says the word “calm” strangely and it sends N and I into a fit of giggles every time. But we’ll keep trying.

The doula also has bi-weekly prenatal group classes with all of her and her team’s clients. It’s nice to get to interact with other couples and talk about some fears. It’s been going well. I’m glad we chose her.

I am having a bit of trouble. I feel like I know which way I’m going to go but maybe you could weigh and let me know what you think. After talking to the doula a few times, she stated that she didn’t have a good experience at our hospital the one birth she had there. She operates in Rhode Island so doesn’t come to Mass often but when she does she goes to another hospital which she is in love with. We decided to check the other hospital out just because it couldn’t hurt. It was absolutely beautiful! Brand new and the rooms were huuuge. And another bonus was that they had a tub. Something my current hospital doesn’t have but something that I would really love to have access to.

So now I’m torn between the two because they both have pros and cons. Here’s the list of pros and cons.

Hospital 1 (our current hospital):
Pro’s
15 minute drive from home
We love our OB but she only delivers here. But we may not get her anyway because they rotate.
Pretty much everyone we know gave birth at this hospital and have only good things to say about it.
Con’s
One of the OB’s who I complained about in a previous post is in this rotation and I would hate for her to deliver my child. I don’t want her near me.
No tub
The postpartum room is oh so tiny. I know it’s not a big deal but it’s really really small. Barely enough room for partners to sleep in.

Hospital 2:
Pro’s
It’s so big and pretty and new
They have a tub (Big selling point for me)
Doula recommended
The same nurse took us on a tour at both hospitals and she recommended hospital 2. She works at both.
Con’s
We would need to find a new OB who’s in rotation at this hospital (really don’t want to do this)
It’s a 45 minute drive from home (boo)

Now this is only round 1 of the pros and cons list. The biggest deciding factor would be whether or not the hospital/doctor’s policies are in line with how we want the birth to go. I plan to find out from my current OB at our next appointment. And I’ve just made an appointment with a midwife at hospital 2 for next Thursday to see how she will do things.

I just need to know where they stand on inducing and episiotomies and things of that sort. My next update will be on their responses and I’ll have to decide what are deal breakers.

Right now I’m leaning towards staying with my OB and current hospital because it’s so close to home and I love my OB but that being said I really don’t know how she approaches each birth and she may not have the same thoughts as we do.

Part of me is frustrated that I’ve put myself in this situation.  I was content not being presented with choice. It never occurred to me to be open to different hospitals etc. I would be happy if someone told me what to do. I even asked N to choose and he flat out refused. He’s afraid he’ll choose one that we end up hating and that he’ll be blamed. But he’s insistent that we do our due diligence and he’s going along to the appointments to ask questions. So he’s involved but he’s reluctant to make a choice for me which is enough for me right now.

So that’s where we’re at right now. I can’t believe this is going by so quickly. I am still in awe of everything. Not everyday is easy but, as they say, everyday is so worth it.

 

 

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No Happiness Allowed

N

We’re almost out of the woods and everything is going really well so far. My beta today more than doubled and I don’t have to go back until next Monday for a final beta. I assume them moving it to next week means they’re feeling confident so that makes me feel good and I even dared to change the settings on my period tracker app.

I really wish I was able to enjoy the tww. I understand that no one finds joy in the two week wait but this one was  quite particularly difficult.

From day 4 on I started feeling symptoms that I’d never felt before. Even with the ERA when I was on progesterone and estrogen for 10 days I felt nothing like this.

In my heart of hearts I knew this was different. I just knew this was it but with every wave of nausea, with every cramp that made me double over, I just kept asking myself why? why would this round be any different? Yes we changed protocols but that embryo. It’s the same as the other two that were transferred. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare.

In fact we did the same protocol as round two and my round two embryo was a better graded embryo than this one. That one was hatching. Why would this embryo take?

Remember all the shit you ate this past month? Remember all the drinking? Remember that bad thought you had about that person? You don’t deserve this. This is not it.

These negative thoughts left me in tears at least once everyday. I was a mess. I don’t remember the other two being this hard.

Even after the beta. We told everyone who knew about the transfer (basically all of my friends and family) and that night we went out for N’s cousin’s bday and he told his brother and cousin. His cousin then told everyone at the party (shocked face). I mean it is what it is. I’m not mad at all but the following morning both us were thinking “What have we done?”.

Again that nagging voice came. Don’t you dare be happy. Don’t you dare! Why would you tell people? Good things don’t happen to you.

Today I spent the day with my friend and waited all day until N got home so that we could listen to the latest beta voicemail. Today was the first time I breathed I think. A tiny little quiet breath.

The voice is still there “Seriously dude, no happiness for you”, but it’s quieter now. I have a feeling it won’t ever go away. I think I’m forever scarred but I can ignore it on good days.

I have to actively ignore it. Everyone has been telling me to live in the moment and that helps. When I’m done with this post I may even download an actual app (recommendations welcome).

You haven’t won yet voice in my head. You’re 0 for 2 so far, so G…T…F…O… please.

Thank you everyone for the kind messages on my last post. I haven’t read everything yet but I will do so right now. And I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend.

ERA results

Someone I follow on Instagram is at the same clinic as me and with my RE and she cycled about a week before me. She also did her ERA a week before me. Her results came in last week and they were inconclusive. So of course I was worried that mine would be as well. When the NP did the 2 biopsies she said that the 2nd one was way better than the first. She’d gotten a better sample. So I started wondering if she’d sent the better sample for the ERA and if not, did they have enough to test? Would I have to do it again if it was inconclusive? etc. etc. You know how one’s mind can get away with itself.

Thankfully, we did get a result. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t use the words pre or post-receptive so I’m hoping I don’t get this wrong. He said that my lining would be receptive with 12 more hours of progesterone support. So my understanding is that I’m pre-receptive. How they know this down to the hour is fascinating to me.

The doctor said that this is very good news and the reason the last 2 transfers didn’t work is probably because we were transferring too early. When I told one of my friends he jokingly (at least I think he was joking) said that I should sue my previous doctor for negligence haha.

As for the other biopsy they did. Those results came back negative for infection as well, so that’s good.

All that’s left is the dreaded SHG next Wednesday. I have requested Valium and should get that before the appointment. I stand to be corrected but I think Valium is just for the anxiety though so my guess is I’ll still feel a lot of pain, I just won’t care. I still don’t want to do this horrid test, though.

Okay, back to work I go. Happy Ash Wednesday to those of you who observe!

Let’s See

Last night I started BCP’s for this FET cycle. I’m a little shocked that it’s already go time. Granted this is going to be a very long cycle it feels like it’s happening quickly again.

My feelings are the same. Waxing and waning. Excited and Ugh what’s the point. Today I woke up with a beautiful sore throat that has me in quite a mood. The one year I get the flu shot I get sick twice. I know the flu shot only attempts to prevent the flu but I’m just annoyed that I was proactive in my not wanting to get sick this year and now look at me.

So today is an Ugh day. Truthfully I’m still skeptical. I was talking to my friend about it and even with my RE giving us all these good odds I still find myself self saying let’s see doc. Let’s just see.

This post doesn’t really have a point. Just wanted to mark the beginning of my 3rd transfer cycle.

Third transfer of yet another PGD tested normal embryo.

Different doctor.

Different protocol.

Same scenario.

Let’s see.

The End of an E.R.A.

Been dying to use that blog title for the longest time 🙂

And thus ends my ERA cycle. I am battered and bruised and so happy that it’s over. 7 weeks total. Here’s the breakdown if you’re interested.

December 25th: Period Starts. Pregnancy test negative duh.

December 27th: Start birth control pills for 3 weeks.

January 4th: Follow-up appointment with RE.

January 10th: Start daily Lupron sub-Q injections.

January 16th: Stop birth control. This is the longest month in human history.

January 19th: Baseline appointment. All systems go!

January 21st: First day of my period. 100 more days of January left.

January 23rd: Start daily 1mg estrogen pills and 1mg aspirin. Increase to 2mg estrogen at some point, then 4, then 6.

February 3rd: Stop Lupron injections.

February 5th: Start nightly Progesterone in Oil intra-muscular injections 1cc.

February 10th: Cycle ends with Endometrial Biopsy. Stop daily estrogen and aspirin.

February 14th: Stop Progesterone injections. Joy!

The biopsy was a nightmare as always and to make matters worse the nurse practitioner said that she had to do 2 biopsies. That was news to me and I actually cried when she left the room for a few seconds. One biopsy was for the ERA lab and the other was to test if my lining had any infections. Same as the first biopsy I had done. They have me scheduled for another HSG in March and I’m going to make them give me harder drugs. My friend B has so kindly offered to take me to the appointment so I hope they can do it on a day that fits her schedule. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to go through that much pain. I’m a woos and I’m proud!

And now we just wait for a period and we can start prepping to bring little Lucky home! I believe it’s suggested that you do another ERA if the result doesn’t come back as receptive but my RE doesn’t seem to think it’s necessary but gave me the choice. I am really averse to doing another one but let’s see if my RE changes his mind depending on what the results are.

So for now we are awaiting our next FET cycle. Big yay!! My app says 5 days til my period starts. Come on body, let’s get this party started!

BTW my ass hurts so much from the PIO shots. I can’t imagine doing them for 12 weeks or more. Besides ice and massaging do you guys have any tips on PIO shots? And itchy!! the injection sites are itchy as hell. I don’t think I’m allergic to the oil though. No serious skin reaction. Just itchy. Fun times.

 

 

 

 

Carb City

It was a good day and a good retrieval. I only took today off so I’m just napping and resting and filling up on all the carbs I missed out on these past few weeks.

I’ll write more in the morning but everything went well and the pain is minimal. I’m just battling a violent headache. 

They retrieved 20 eggs!  I’m extremely surprised and elated. I know most of them won’t be mature but that’s a great number. I was worried that with that many eggs I would be in a bunch of pain but I’m really doing well. Right now anyway. 

One day at a time. And today was a win. 

Thank you very much everyone for keeping us in your thoughts. Thank you so very much. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to dive into a grilled cheese sandich… Maybe two. 

A Long Overdue Update

HI!

It’s been a minute. My absence was purely due to either being insanely busy at work again or spending all my free time on the couch and I don’t think a running commentary of either was blog worthy.

But finally, movement on our side again which is great. IVF really is like sitting in traffic. You’re either completely at a standstill or you’re speeding through a cycle. There’s no happy medium. But I digress.

We had two appointments these past two weeks. One with the third urologist. Touted the best urologist this is side of the Miss’ipi (always wanted to use that line, not sure if I’m using it correctly). And the second with a new reproductive endocrinologist to get a second opinion.

When last I left off, I said that our previous RE had pretty much run out of ideas and was unwilling, at that stage, to move forward with another cycle until we got more answers and a possible second opinion. Our last cycle was a horrendous failure so we all agreed this was for the best.

Urologist:

This day was a mess. For some reason everyone in Boston was on the road and no one could get anywhere. N left the house at 5am to be at their clinic to do an SA at 7 and he was about 15 minutes late due to traffic. Our follow up would be 10:30 to discuss results. Thankfully, after the SA the nurse told him a lot of people hadn’t shown up and they’ll push our appointment to 9. So I rushed out of work at 8 (a mere 30min drive to Boston from my office) and only got to the clinic around 10!! And the doctor STILL only saw us at 10:30. geez!

Anyway, he seemed nice enough but I can’t say that I liked him very much. I won’t deny that he knows his shit though. I went into appointment with high hopes. I spoke to someone a few days prior whose husband had azoospermia and they did a TESE and got 6 vials! I was excited. I thought we’d won the world cup. Of course this wasn’t the case. The doctor was long winded in his explanations and he lost me a few times so some of this information might not be 100% accurate but this is what I got from that appointment.

  1. All the vitamins and supplements we’re taking aren’t doing anything, we’re wasting our time
  2. The Anastrozole N is taking for his count isn’t going to work. It affects a hormone that won’t increase count if that hormone is at the level it’s supposed to be (if that makes sense).
  3. TESE is not a viable option for us because there is sperm in the ejaculate. TESE is reserved for men with azoospermia or a blockage, so no sperm in the ejaculate.
  4. The sperm you have to work with is what it is. Good luck. Try a donor maybe because I see here your eggs are crap too.
  5. GTFO with your shitty sperm and eggs.

Okay so he wasn’t that harsh but it was hard to hear all my hopes get shot down one by one in an hour long conversation. The good news is that at our last retrieval they couldn’t really find anything to work with in N’s fresh sample, that’s why they used the backup sample and that day at the appointment his count was up to what it usually is. We suspect that it was the fact that he has strep throat about a month before we started the cycle but the doctor didn’t think so. I guess sperm just fluctuates and that retrieval day was a bad day. Another good thing is that N has to do another back up sample at our clinic so Dr O said he wants to get the notes of that sample and see if it’s worth using or if he should do another one. That way we’ll know that the backup sample is good if it’s ever needed again.

So that appointment sucked. It sucked a lot. I almost gave up. I didn’t speak to N much when we left and I feel bad about that but I didn’t know how to react at the time. I told all my friends and family that it’s not looking good for us. We’re not at the point where we want to consider donors yet and to have 2 doctors suggest donors was so hard. I cried a whole lot. I also felt like I was being a spoiled brat. I admire women who have gone the donor route. I think it takes courage and selflessness and I also felt like they deserved to be mom’s more because they wanted it more than anything. And here I am crying over the fact that I may never see what my husband and my children will look like. If they’ll have his light brown eyes or my curly hair. If they’ll have his laugh. If they’ll be loyal friends. Will I have to start them early in group activities to help with the shyness both of us struggle with. It was the first time I was really faced with the possibility of this dream not coming true and it scared and angered me. Having that dream slip through my fingers.

I cried most of that day during work and when I got home. I spoke to my husband and he said he didn’t think Dr O would have all the answers. He basically said that a urologist wasn’t the end all and be all. We’ve made embryos before, we can do it again. We just have to keep trying and we’re not out yet let’s see what the new RE says.

Over the next few days I was torn between putting all my hope in this new RE and thinking of what life will be like as a childless couple. When the appointment rolled around I was a mess with nerves. When we sat down he said that he wanted to go over our history and discuss some options and just the way he said it my heart sink. I thought this is it. I’ll never get to meet our biological children.

Reproductive Endocrinologist Second Opinion:

The appointment was at our regular clinic just with a new doctor. I kept seeing pictures of our previous RE and had to laugh at my misplaced guilt. I couldn’t look the pictures in the eye.

Dr P… I couldn’t get a read on him. He barely cracked a smile during the entire consult and I prefer that people at least smile when I deliver my funniest one liners. But nothing. He was soft spoken and spoke kindly and explained everything perfectly. So while he was very serious, he was everything you would need in a doctor. I often say that I don’t need a doctor to have good bedside manner as long as he got the job done I was a little bummed that her never smiled. I know this is crazy but I kept thinking that he was judging us for jumping ship with our old RE. Of course this isn’t the case based on what he was saying. Let me get right into it. There’s a lot of information and I forgot to write everything down.

  1. He is on board with vitamins and supplements and even wants us to increase Ubiquinol as it could help with embryo quality. This is huge to me and N. I know these things maybe probably don’t affect quality/quantity but I really don’t like when doctors dismiss them completely. It just bothers me.
  2. The fact that we’ve had 2 normal embryos in 4 cycles is pretty awesome considering our diagnosis. And we’ve made embryos before, we could likely do it again (note hubby’s words above)
  3. The fact that 2 normal PGD tested embryos (that have a 70% chance of attaching) had no implantation is a little baffling to him and it could be one of 3 things. 1. The labs effed up. 2. Something wasn’t picked up in the genetic screening. 3. something is up with my uterus.
  4. points 1 and 2 are unlikely since it happened twice. At least one of those embryos should have attached. So he’s interested in my uterus. I’ve had 2 HSG’s and 1 endo biopsy and everything is normal. So his next likely suspect is Progesterone. Dr G used vaginal progesterone which he thinks isn’t sufficient so he wants to try the PIO shots (Yay!). He also wants to know if maybe the amount of days I’m taking the progesterone is enough. Typically, you’re given about 15 days of progesterone and sometimes for some women that’s either too much or too little. To find out the answer to this question we’re going to do and ERA test (double yay!)
  5. You can find out about an ERA test here. But just a quick rundown. After our next retrieval cycle we’ll do a mock FET cycle with meds and then instead of a transfer we’ll do an endometrial biopsy (yuck!) and send the sample off to the lab in Spain. If it comes back “normal” then perhaps that means the PIO shots are working. If it comes back pre-receptive then we’ll add a day of Progesterone when we do the next transfer. Now from what I’ve read it sounds like you have to keep doing this test until you get a “normal” result. Dr P said we would only do it once and go from there. It makes sense and I really don’t want to keep paying for a test if we don’t have to because it’s not covered by insurance and will run us around $800-$1000. But yes we are on board and ready to go!
  6. I can’t remember if I have this right but I think he said that if the test comes back pre-receptive then we’ll add another day of PIO but if it comes back normal and we have 2 embryos to transfer, he will consider transferring 2. They typically do not transfer more than one PGD normal embryo but he thinks this could be an option.
  7. He doesn’t want me to do a lap to rule out endo. All these doctors seem to think that I am endo free. I was going to fight him on it but he said that there aren’t enough studies out there that say that removing endo will get you better quality eggs. I guess it depends who you ask but I won’t push the issue. He also said that since I’ve had 2 surgeries in that area (appendectomy and ovarian cystectomy), the doctors would have said something if they’d seen something. Granted there’s a chanced they didn’t see anything if they weren’t looking, but my cystectomy was a full laparotomy so I was completely opened up, it’s unlikely that surgeon missed any endo. I could of course go and search for those surgery reports to find out but I’m not sure it’s worth it and the surgeon who did my cystectomy has since passed away and those records are in South Africa somewhere. That would be a mission. So we’ll put a pin in this one for now.
  8. I did ask (and I’m so proud of me for asking everything) if whether he thought that foregoing PGD testing was a good idea. My reasoning being that we have so few embryos and I read one lonely article that said that some embryos self-correct and it made sense to just transfer what you have and pray for the best. He said that since we have a balanced translocation that most affected embryos would end in miscarriage and he wouldn’t want me to go through a miscarriage and also some miscarriages are more dangerous than others. So fine, that makes sense. I just thought I’d ask.
  9. If we get insurance consent in the next two weeks (fingers crossed) we can start our next cycle. We’re going to go back on the antagonist protocol with 300 Gonal-f and 150 Menopur. He said I respond well with this mix. And I think on this cycle we got 11 eggs and all of them fertilized. I’ll have to check my notes.
  10. His nurse is great I love her already but I’m so very sad to be leaving my nurse. Like really extremely sad. I never realized how important these people become.
  11. I have to come to terms with the fact that we are not ever going to have more than 3 embryos to test. He sounds like that’s the nature of the game with our diagnosis. It’s not great but it is what it is. I have been distraught because we start with double digits in egg counts and then have 3 or less measly embryos. I think if I just focus on a goal of 3 and make sure that I stay healthy to try and get the best 3 that there ever were, then we’ll be okay. Actually 3 to test isn’t a goal to focus on. I need to focus on 1 healthy normal embryo. I’m going to work hard for 1 healthy normal baby. That I can do.

Final thoughts:

A really good IVF friend recommended Dr P. She actually pushed me so hard despite my best efforts to resist change. I will forever be grateful to her for pushing. We both liked him a lot and I’m back to dreaming about who our children will look and be like. I’m beyond excited to start again. I just did the math and if everything goes swimmingly we will only be transferring around April (yikes!) which feels like forever away but at least things will be happening and balls will be rolling. I’m also scared. Knowing that our embryo yield isn’t going to be fantastic scares me. We only have 3 rounds left on insurance so we’re getting to do or die time. That thought is scary. But for now, excitement is winning.

This post was really long but I had a lot to cover. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I hope to not go into radio silence again until we actually do start again. Maybe I’ll do something exciting this weekend.

Until we meet again,

XX