Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Believe in Miracles

I can't even believe that these words are coming out of my mouth, but.... it worked!  It actually worked!  I.... am.... pregnant.  It is a miracle.  I am living proof of a miracle.

Somehow, I held out and didn't POAS during the entire nine day wait.  My blood test was on Friday morning and I waited all day for the call from CCRM.  It was the longest wait of my life.... but it was so worth it!  My nurse called and told me that my HCG level was 394.... a number I will always remember.  She told me I was four weeks pregnant and that my due date is July 24th.  Still, I can't believe it.... at all.

I went back for more blood work on Sunday and as many of you know, they were looking for my HCG level to double, or for it to just be close to having doubled.  I was nervous all day waiting for the call, but when it came in, I was elated.  My HCG level two days later was 1,301.... another number I will always remember.  That was my last HCG check.  Now, I will go to my local fertility clinic for weekly blood draws to check my estrogen and progesterone levels so that my meds can be adjusted, if necessary.  My first ultrasound is in two weeks and I'm already on pins and needles just thinking about that day....

After learning that I was in fact pregnant, I finally drove to the drugstore and bought a box of pregnancy tests.  Nick was hesitant for me to take the test - we both have very bad memories from those darn sticks.  But, I told him that I just had to see two lines.... something that until Sunday morning, I've never seen.
Of course with all of this excitement and happiness comes a wave of other emotions.  First and foremost: fear.  It's so early.  So, so, early.  Most 'normal' people probably wouldn't even know yet that they're pregnant.  And that's scary.  There are a lot of hurdles that we'll have to jump over in the coming weeks and months.  But, I'm trying really hard not to focus on all of my fear and worry.  I'm trying to be happy in this moment.... a moment that after six IVF retrievals and transfers, I never imagined possible.  I had started to think that I just couldn't get pregnant.  That there was something more wrong with me that no doctor, not even one of the best in the world, could see.  I was wrong, though.  I can get pregnant.  I am pregnant.  And I will forever be thankful to those who helped get me to where I am today. 

I believe in miracles.  I'm living proof of one.
flowers from the man who I know will be the best daddy in the world!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tales of a Transfer

I wasn't going to blog about my transfer.  I was scared to share too much.  To put it all out there.  To be honest.  But, as the days have passed since my sweet, sweet embryos were placed into my uterus, I've realized that I need to do this - I need to blog about the day that I became PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise for all you non-IF'ers out there).

We arrived in Colorado, my favorite state of all-time, earlier this week.  We got ourselves settled into the hotel, went out to lunch and stocked up on some groceries and snacks for while I would be on bed rest post-transfer.  It has been nine months since my last local IVF transfer.  It's sort of hard to believe.  I mean, I knew my CCRM journey has gone on longer than I had anticipated with having to bank my embryos and cycle a second time a couple of months ago, but I still sort of can't believe that it's been so long... In fact, yesterday was seven months exactly from the date of my ODWU.  It feels a little silly, but in seven short long months, I've really become connected to Colorado - the place where my babies have been and still are.  Anyway, even though it has been nine months, the post-transfer feelings that I unfortunately had become very used to, have certainly come rushing back.  The worry and being scared beyond belief about whether or not this will work... Waiting to find out if my tiny little babies will live - wow - - - it's gut wrenching.

The day of the transfer started off well.  I made sure to snap a few pictures of me and Nick before we left the hotel - in hopes that these would be the last pictures of us before I became pregnant - before what we hope and pray will be our miracle babies were placed into my uterus, literally impregnating me.  I carefully chose the jewelry that I brought with me on this trip and made sure to wear each piece for my transfer.  One of my sweet infertility friends sent me the bracelet with the wing a couple months ago - it's a sign of hope.  I also was sure to wear both my acorn (symbolizing fertility) and HOPE necklaces and I pray that those little signs of hope and fertility will bring me just that. 
When we arrived at CCRM, I had my blood draw so that my estrogen and progesterone levels could be checked and then we were sent upstairs to the surgery center where I met my acupuncturist (I chose to do the pre and post-transfer acupuncture sessions).  I had done a few months of acupuncture locally when Nick and I took a short break from IVF treatment, and while it obviously didn't help me in getting pregnant, I do remember at least feeling relaxed for the hour or so that I had needles protruding from my body, so I figured why not.  I knew that the embryologist would be calling me on the morning of my transfer to give me an embryo thaw report and when my phone rang as I was filling out some acupuncture consent forms, what I heard was the absolute last thing that I had expected...

Sadly and shockingly (to both me and to the embryologist), one of my perfect 5AA embryos did not survive the thaw.  Anyone who knows CCRM, know that their lab has one of the best freeze/thaw rates out of any fertility lab in the country - and my perfectly graded, genetically normal embryo did not survive - what?!  Thank goodness I didn't really have much time to process this as the acupuncturist was literally tapping me on my shoulder ready for me to come back for my pre-transfer session as I received this news.  I knew that I couldn't let it bother me - I couldn't let this effect me and bring me down.  I gave the embryologist permission to take one of my other three frozen embryos to be thawed.

After the pre-transfer acupuncture session, an ultrasound technician came in and set up her machine.  She tested my bladder to make sure it was nice and full (it was actually way too full and I had to go to the bathroom to make it deflate a little) and then used the external wand to show us what to look for during the actual transfer of my embryos into my uterus.  The embryologist then came in with her machine (basically something like an incubator) and Nick was allowed to take some pictures of our babies on his phone.  Both were already hatching quite a bit and I'm not sure any of my other blasts from my one local IVF cycle that created blasts looked anything like these.  We ended up transferring one day 5 embryo graded 5AA and one day 6 embryo graded 3BB.  The embryologist assured me that they were both beautiful (but even if they weren't to her, they still would be beautiful to me - it always amazes me how attached I become to these microscopic embryos... my babies).  After the embryologist left the room, my acupuncturist came back for my post-transfer acupuncture session where I laid there quietly with tears streaming down my face, praying to God for a miracle.
Before I continue on and journal my bed rest post-transfer, I want to say how CCRM has changed my life.  I know that may sound odd because we don't even know how this will end yet... We absolutely could be back here in a couple months time - we could be crushed with devastating news or blessed more than that word could ever imply.  But, it's been quite nostalgic for me being here this time.  The journey that we've been on the past seven months has been excruciating, exhausting, frustrating, terrifying, sad, painful and confusing - but it also has given me more hope than doubt - which is something that I did not expect as we began down this road.  I never in a million years thought we'd "pass" the CCS testing - I absolutely did not think that we could create genetically normal embryos.  I never thought we'd make it to this day.  And we did.

I was required to lay flat once I arrived back to my hotel for the remainder of the transfer day and for the entire next day as well.  I, for one, am really not sure how I feel about bed rest and what good it does - or doesn't do.  My local RE does not require bed rest - she was OK with me getting up after 10 minutes of laying flat post-transfer.  From there, she said to just take it easy and not lift anything heavy.  After my first two, maybe three, local failed IVF transfers, I ordered myself to two days of full bed rest and we all know how that turned out.  So - the verdict on bed rest is still out in my opinion.  That said, I did follow CCRM's rules, though, and stayed put.  I kept myself busy with Netflix and have officially become obsessed with the show, Parenthood.  I was also pleasantly surprised by a call one afternoon from the manager of the hotel who was at the front desk letting me know that a package had arrived.  Nick went down to pick it up and came back to our room with something that put the biggest smile on my face - adorable mini bundt cakes from another one of my sweet blogging friends - someone who went through a similar journey as me at CCRM and who has been one of my biggest fans and supporters - someone who has truly shown me the ropes and whose friendship I will forever cherish.
And so now my bed rest is over.  I'm technically pregnant until I find out otherwise, which I am praying to God doesn't happen.  Normally I'd be one to test early - I'd have already stocked up on HPT's of all kinds just waiting on my bathroom vanity at home for me.  But this time, I don't have any HPT's and I don't know that I'll buy any, either.  I'm too scared for this to be over.  And while I still can't imagine this turning out any differently from how my five transfers have turned out in the past, I'm trying to hold onto whatever little bit of hope and faith that I still have deep inside of my heart.
We fly home tomorrow and that makes me depressed.  I want to stay here.  I don't want to go home.  I'm forever connected to Colorado and I don't want to leave.  And even though I'm praying that we don't have to come back here, ever, I hope that we will someday, to show our babies where they came from. 
Oh, and before I go - - - today while Nick is out golfing, I decided I needed a break from Parenthood so I did this:
(just a cut, though because of the lighting, it looks like I colored it) Six inches!  Because change is good.  And here's hoping that this trip is just the beginning to the biggest and best change of my life!
Site Design By Designer Blogs