MicroblogMondays: Distracting Myself During the Two Week Wait

Microblog_Mondays

Today is 5 days past 5 day transfer.  Unfortunately, beta blood test is not until 12 days past 5 day transfer, which is December 7th, 2015.  How am I doing?  I think so far I am doing pretty well.  At times I imagine it all working out, beta being over 100, second beta doubling beautifully, and a strong heartbeat at 6 1/2 week gestation.  At other times, I doubt the quality of Kevin, our embryo, and think for sure that it might not have implanted and might have been absorbed by my body.  I know that it’s quite normal to move between being hopeful and having doubts.  Despite feeling doomed at times, I talk to Kevin many times a day.  I tell Kevin how much I love it, and how much I hope we will meet face-to-face in nine months.  I tell Kevin to stay put, grow, and hang on tight.  I wake up in the morning talking to Kevin.  At night I close my eyes with my hands on my belly, telling Kevin good night.  Bob is the same way.  Since these last few days were a holiday, we spent a lot more time together than usual.  Throughout the day, he would call me over and say, “Let me say Hi to Kevin”.  He would put his hand on my belly and say to Kevin, “How are you doing?  Stay there and be strong.”  At night, he tells Kevin good night.  We joked that the sermon yesterday was the first one that Kevin attended.  It probably sounds very silly because maybe we are actually talking to nothing.  Kevin may or may not still be there.  We still hold on to the hope that Kevin is still there hanging out and snuggling in a cozy spot that would be its home for the next nine months.  There is hope before the beta.

For those who have been following me for a while, you know that I don’t use home pregnancy test.  I would rather be ignorant and think that I am pregnant until proven otherwise on beta day.  In that sense, I am a wimp.  I cannot bear the possibility of a stark white pee stick.  I just can’t.  At times, it feels very surreal that a transfer actually took place a few days ago and I have an embryo inside me that was made with my husband’s sperm and a donor’s egg.  It sometimes feels like I can almost just carry on with my life as if nothing had happened a few days ago, and be ignorant about it until beta day.  At other times, I just want to be able to close my eyes, fall asleep, and wake up on the day I give birth to my child.

Physically I have been feeling nothing.  No pregnancy symptoms.  No side effects from the progesterone in oil.  It really just feels like any normal day.  I know I am not supposed to be feeling anything.  At least many of my friends told me that they also felt nothing during their two week wait.  After my previous transfer last March, I was feeling symptoms and that resulted in nothing.  No baby.  No pregnancy.  So symptoms may really be overrated.  Emotionally, I feel very differently from my last transfer.  The last transfer was my last chance using my own eggs before moving onto donor eggs.  It felt like a huge weight on my shoulders because the hope was that we would never have to make a decision about using donor eggs.  This time, I know that if this round doesn’t work, we still have Lucy the frozen embryo.  If I don’t get pregnant with Lucy, we will look for another donor and do a fresh cycle.  As long as we still have the funds, there is still hope that we’ll become parents one day.  In a sense, the pressure is off, although it would still be a huge blow if this round doesn’t work.

Parents Via Egg Donation has a wonderful article about how to survive the two week wait.  Since I don’t POAS, distraction is the key.  The article has so many great suggestions.  I have done quite a few things to distract myself.  It started with visiting with Jate and my wonderful friend Jane the day after thanksgiving.  The last time we met Jate was right after we lost our first donor.  She was just two months old.  This time she is already over four months old and is so much more interactive.  This little baby girl has the most entertaining facial expressions during her nap and while awake.  When she woke up from her nap, she looked at me and gave me the biggest smile, the kind that would melt hearts.  Bob helped feed her the rest of her milk while Jane had her lunch, and he held her the rest of the time.  Here are a few snap shots of her.

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Jane asked if I minded maternity stuff because some people are afraid of jinxing things.  I absolutely am not afraid of it, so I received a bunch of books and a fetal doppler!  I gave Jane a huge hug, thanking her for the vote of confidence that some day I will carry a baby so I can be obsessive and check the baby’s heart beat all the time.

Another way to distract myself is to cook.  Tonight I made two dinners in preparation for lunch and dinner for the next couple of days.  I tried two new recipes and loved them both.  I particular like the turkey and butternut squash soup.

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Bob and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood yesterday afternoon.  It was crisp and Sunny.  I am thankful that I have a job to go to so most of the time I don’t have to think about the beta.

Seven more days to go.  I will take a good look at all the suggestions for distractions.  Maybe curling up with a good book in my bed.  What do you think?

Lucy Joins the Family

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday.

Waiting for phone calls from your fertility clinic is very hard.  Unfortunately, so many of us know how that feels.

Before our phone call yesterday, I was mostly calm.  In my mind, I was thinking for sure that we’d have one or two, or even three day six blastocysts to freeze given the number of early blastocysts the day before.  Well, that was my human way of thinking.  We waited all morning.  We continued our Thanksgiving tradition of going to a South American breakfast place for Bob’s chilaquiles and for my beef soup.  I kept my phone in sight throughout that time including during our wait at a very noisy coffee place for my hot chocolate and Bob’s coffee.  With my hands full, I still tucked my phone in the purse where it was easily accessible.  The phone call came when we just pulled into the driveway.

A very nice nurse told us that we had one embryo that had grown to day six and had become a blastocyst with a grade of 4BB.  Four means it was almost hatching.  She said the other two Bs are good grades.  So this is it.  Our expectation/wishful thinking/hope that we would have two, or three, or even four more embryos was crushed.  I didn’t ask more questions. I didn’t ask which embryo on day three this blastocyst came from.  It didn’t matter anymore.  I felt that the less I know the better.  The nurse asked if I had made an appointment with my RE to go over the next steps.  I told her that we had transferred an early blastocyst the day before.  She said, “Oh that’s excellent!  Early blastocysts are great!”  I appreciated her enthusiasm.

You know me.  I always try to be honest when I am here writing about my thoughts and feelings.  I was disappointed.  With ten eggs, the statistics from our donor’s past cycles told me that we would have about three to four, if not five embryos at the end of this process, especially with 100% fertilization.  I really did not expect to have a total of two embryos in the end.  But I did not fight my disappointment.  My friend L told me that the more I fight it, the more the disappointment will grow.  So I was acknowledging my disappointment and had to process my feelings for the rest of the afternoon.

About 30 minutes after we got the news, I became grateful.  I was very grateful that little Lucy (our 4BB blastocyst) decided to join us.  I know that I could end up with nothing to freeze.  The fact that we have Lucy is a great reason to be thankful for.  We did end up with two blastocysts.  In my human being eyes, this might not have been the most ideal outcome.  In God’s eyes, this is the right number.  I have all along been praying for a perfect number of embryos.  I didn’t know what that would be.  I secretly had been hoping for a number four.  But I know that God doesn’t work that way.  In my human mind, the more blastocysts we have, the more insurance we have.  But God has His own mysterious way of working.  I was reading Psalm 139 and particularly verse 13.  It says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  God knitted us a long time ago.  He had planned and knitted my baby a long time ago.  Verse 16: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Who is to say that Kevin, the little embryo inside of me now, is not the one baby that God has planned for us a long time ago?  And who is to say that Lucy, the little frozen blastocyst, is not going to be the sibling for Kevin?  He saw my child’s unformed body and ordained all the days for him/her.  Like I said, God works in mysterious way that we don’t always understand.  Kevin could be that child.  Lucy could be that child.  I myself am trying really hard to wrap my mind around it.  Maybe this is God’s way of telling us that those two embryos are enough for you.  You don’t need more, and you don’t have to look further.  And if this works out, we don’t have to worry about donating our unused embryos.

I really don’t know which way it will go.  But I am trying really hard to trust.

I also have my weak moments.  Later in the afternoon, Bob was showing me a funny video of one of my favorite kiddos taking a flu shot.  She was so brave.  I had watched that video quite a few times already.  However, yesterday afternoon, something triggered in me.  Watching her being brave and smiling after the flu shot, I suddenly started crying.  All I was thinking that was I want one of those myself.  I want to document my child’s happy, sad, triumphant, and naughty moments.  I want to share in the joy of parenting, figuring things out ourselves, fail and be successful together as parents.  I don’t know why, but the fact that 1) Kevin was an early blastocyst who was probably only a little bit more advanced than the other early blastocysts in the bunch, and 2) the other early blastocysts except for Lucy did not make it make me deduce that maybe Kevin is not strong enough in my uterus either.  Maybe if Kevin was left there to be grown to day six, he wouldn’t grow either.  Maybe Kevin was not chromosomally normal.  Maybe maybe maybe.  See how my human mind works?  I try to embrace Kevin, but I sometimes feel that this may not work.  And then I worry that if Lucy doesn’t work either, then we’ll have to go back to choosing a donor again.  My mind is messed up.

Fortunately, my mind is not messed up all the time.  I talk to Kevin all the time.  I imagine the embryo finding a cozy spot in my uterus to land.  I imagine Kevin attaching to my uterus.  I imagine Kevin growing and growing and growing.  I imagine it to be strong.  I imagine it to become a little baby that would grow inside me.  I am really trying my best to trust that this embryo is going to become my baby.  I ask God to protect it, nourish it, and keep it nice and safe inside of me.

Bob is like me as well.  He also vacillates between being hopeful and feeling doomed.  Last night right before we went to my brother’s house for our thanksgiving dinner, Bob became utterly frustrated and angry with God that we didn’t have more embryos and that we had already spent so much money and ended up with less than stellar performance with frozen donor eggs.  It hurt him to see me be sad and cry in the afternoon.  And it took him four hours to process that and become angry.  But then, we also should not dismiss what Kevin can do here.  Kevin can still be alive and well and thriving.  Bob went to bed last night telling Kevin to stay put and grow.  This morning he woke up telling Kevin to be cozy and snuggle up inside mommy.

The two week wait is very tough.  I don’t feel anything physically.  I know that I am not supposed to feel anything physically.  Today is two days past.  We still have ten more days to go.  I know regardless of how I feel, these days will pass.  So I will continue to pray for God to sustain this life that is inside me, for it to attach, to grow, to be well nourished.

And welcome Lucy!  We love you and Kevin already.

Our Little Embaby Is Home!

First thing first, our transfer is done!  We have one embryo safely home!

I slept really well last night.  Focusing on God has really helped me be grounded and at peace.  Waking up to my Face.book secret group ladies posting pictures of their super hero attires and socks on their kids and themselves was so nice and touching.  Multiple friends and my sister-in-law texted me and sent me chat messages with their well wishes.  I am certainly very loved, and I know it and cherish it.

My whole morning consisted of me keeping myself calm and productive.  I made special Indian-spiced oatmeal on the stove top that Bob loves.  I cleaned the whole kitchen, wiped the counter, and soaked the range hood baffle filters.

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There is nothing better to distract myself than tidying up.

My wish was my phone would not ring.  My clinic would not be calling me.  Calling me would not be a good thing. That’d mean they would have some bad news for us.  Nope.  The phone didn’t ring.  My mind rested a little.  That meant we would have something to transfer.  I was quite calm all morning.  I might have had two moments of anxiety, but I knew that it was normal.

We arrived at the clinic at 12:35.  We were supposed to meet my acupuncturist there at 12:40.  I started drinking water at 12:20 but I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to hold it until 1:45.  I made a trip to the bathroom when we got to the clinic.  We waited at a waiting room that was brand new to me.  I guess because I had not done a transfer, I hadn’t been to the area.  I took a Val.ium at 12:45.  My acupuncturist, Bob, and I waited for another five minutes before a nurse came to greet us.  She looked puzzled and said, “You guys are early.”  I had to explain to her that we were here early for acupuncture.  She said that it wasn’t in the notes, but it was okay.  I told her that I told two different nurses about it during the fertilization report phone call, and asked if I should’ve called or done something differently.  She assured me that I didn’t do anything wrong.  She would talk to those in-cycle nurses. She was super nice and told us that she’d set us up in one of the transfer rooms.

The set up for transfer in this brand new clinic is sweet.  At the old clinic, you would have to go to a resting area with everybody and do your acupuncture there with the curtain closed.  Right here, there are four transfer rooms.  You have an hour before the transfer and an hour after transfer to do the pre- and post-transfer acupuncture sessions in the same room as the transfer.  I was situated in transfer room number four.  My wonderful acupuncturist let me lie down on the transfer table, put needles on me, and keep me warm with warm blankets that the clinic provided.  I drank quite a few more sips of water before I fully relaxed.  The light jazz music was a bit too upbeat for acupuncture.  However, the effect of Val.ium and the acupuncture had such a relaxing effect on me that I almost fell asleep.  It was quite an experience to do a session right in the transfer room.

The session was done five minutes prior to transfer time.  Bob came in to join me.  He had on his Superman shirt.  I had my usual Superman socks on.

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At 1:45 sharp, the nurse and Dr. Scrubs entered the room.  She greeted us and handed us a picture of our blastocyst.

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She explained that it was an early blastocyst two (EB2).  I was a little bit confused because I was expecting a blastocyst with a number and two letters, like 1AA, or 2AB, or something like that.  I really didn’t know what EB2 meant.  Dr. Scrubs said that it was a good blastocyst.  They are watching three to four more embryos that could become blastocysts that can be frozen tomorrow.  I asked her if it was necessary for us to know the grading of this early blastocyst that was going to be transferred.  She said not necessary, but she thought that it was a good blastocyst.  She also said that she’d be surprised if we didn’t have more blastocysts to freeze tomorrow.  She said it’s fairly common to have day six embryos to freeze.  And we could see all the gradings on the fertilization report print out that she gave us.

I laid down with my legs up.  She cleaned the area to make sure the mucus wouldn’t be in the way of the embryo.  When the nurse placed the abdominal ultrasound wand on my tummy, I could then feel my full bladder.  I was all along worried that I didn’t drink enough water because the full bladder wasn’t unbearable, but the nurse reassured me that it was perfect.  Once Dr. Scrub was ready, the embryologist came in to introduce herself and asked me to verify my name and date of birth.  She went back out of the other “secret door”.  On the big screen, our little embryo was shown.

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It was super cool to watch the camera zoom out and a catheter came into the picture.  The tiny little embryo was barely visible on the screen.  The catheter sucked the embryo into it.

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Moments later, the screen switched back to the image of my uterus.  The embryologist came in with the catheter (I always wonder if she/he had ever dropped it….).  She handed it to Dr. Scrubs.  Dr. Scrubs told us to watch the little white spot that would go in.

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See that little white line in the middle of the image?  That was the catheter.  Once that was done, the embryologist returned to the lab to check on the catheter to make sure the embryo was gone.  We waited for a couple of moments.  The green light of the door was off, which signaled an all clear.  Our transfer was done!

Dr. Scrubs congratulated us and told us to wait for that phone call tomorrow.  I stayed behind for my post transfer acupuncture session.  I was feeling at peace and calm.  I lay there and just enjoyed the moment of quiet for another 30 minutes.

After the session was done, I said good bye to the acupuncturist and thanked her for making the trip over there.  Bob and I studied the “Oocyte and Embryo Status Report”.  We see that our little early blastocyst that we have nicknamed “Kevin” was from a 9-cell with fragmentation of 4 and symmetry of 1.  It actually became a blastocyst.  There are three embryos labeled “EB1” or “early blastocyst 1”.  These are from the 10-cell (fragmentation 2, symmetry 2), 10-cell (fragmentation 3, symmetry 1), and 9-cell (fragmentation 2, symmetry 2).  There is a morula called “MorulaC” from a 4-cell (fragmentation 2, symmetry 1).  All the rest of them arrested.  So it seems like those four will have the potential to grow and be frozen tomorrow.

How do I feel?  I praise the Lord that we had a blastocyst to transfer today.  I am super grateful.  I was at first confused and then a little bit disappointed.  I was expecting young donor eggs to have better “quality”, whatever that means.  And I was expecting to have a more grown or expanded blastocyst.  And I was also expecting that we would have something to freeze today.  However, I have gotten over that.  I might have allowed my “Kevin”‘s day three grading to affect my point of view of its potential.  But I have got to put my trust in this process.  This embryo is from a young egg.  Despite its less than stellar status on day three, it grew to be an early blastocyst.  I am going to embrace this little embaby and pretend that I am pregnant.  Plus, numbers and stats don’t mean much to God.  If this is God’s will for us, He will make sure that this embryo is normal and let it stick.  So my plan is to nurture myself and my body and talk to the embryo for it to stay put because it is really fun to come out eventually and meet his/her hilarious dad.  I am also determined NOT to search online about any information about the embryos and any success stories/failures that could cause me anxiety.  The less I know the better.

So here we are!  Kevin is home.  I will talk to it daily.  I have hope that it will make my uterus its home for the next nine months.  I pray that it finds a good place to implant inside me.

Day Three Report

The phone call came at 3:30 when I was seeing one of my clients.  The nurse introduced herself and said that she was calling to give me a transfer time.  It will be Wednesday at 1:45pm.  She gave me the instructions to arrive 15 minutes early, drink water, and take a Val.ium at 12:45pm.  It didn’t seem like she was going to talk about the embryos at all.  So after I told her that I will have an acupuncture session before and after the transfer, I asked her about the embryos.

The nurse really didn’t prepare to give me a report, because she told me to wait for a second while she pulled it up.  I don’t know if it is not the custom to give a day three report, or if a day three report is not necessary because we are growing to day five.  She first explained to me that the embryos are graded from grade one to grade four, one being the best and four being the worst.  All ten of our embryos are still there.  There are no grade one embryos.  We have three grade two embryos: 10-cell, 9-cell, and 4-cell.  There are four grade three embryos: 7-cell, 9-cell, 10-cell, and 10-cell.  There are also three grade four embryos: 9-cell, 9-cell, and 4-cell.  When I heard all of this, my mind froze a little and all I was focusing on was that we didn’t have any grade one embryos.  The nurse did give an assessment to each embryo, from above average, to average, to below average.  However, I didn’t write fast enough to note them all.  I asked her if the grade four embryos mean that they are not good to become blastocysts, she said that you’d never know.  Some blastocysts come from grade four embryos.  I thanked her and hung up.  My client, who is on the autistic spectrum, was waiting for me to be done with the phone call.  I really had to pull myself together so that I could focus and finish up the session with him.  But my visceral reaction was so real.  I had been so at peace and calm with this.  All day I was not nervous.  Up until the moment when I was told there was no grade one embryos, my shoulders tensed up and I felt full of anxiety.  I don’t know why but my mind just focused on the negative.  I even started to panic and wondered if we should transfer two blastocysts instead of one.

I wonder if it might have been better if I didn’t know the grading because the knowledge of it only added to my fear and didn’t give me information about whether or not we’ll have a blastocyst on Wednesday.  It’s sometimes true that ignorance is bliss.

After the session, I updated Bob who was at that time busy with work.  Fortunately, my last client canceled so I had the time and space to process this news.  I guess my expectation was that these young eggs should give us some grade one embryos.  And I was probably expecting a textbook case.  With higher expectation comes disappointment when the expectation is not met.  My mind automatically went to the worst: we don’t have any normal blastocysts to transfer.  I had to stop myself and again focus on God, on His unchanging nature, and on His power and might.  He already knows the outcome of this cycle.  What I need to do is to focus on Him and Him alone.  And who am I to pretend that I know about grading?  I know nothing about grading or whether these embryos will become blastocysts or not based on their day three performance.  God makes the impossible possible.  Anything could happen between now and Wednesday.  Instead of focusing on the numbers, I should focus on my gratitude that these ten embryos are still growing.  My mind vacillated between my faith in God’s plan and my fear of having a very bad outcome this cycle.

One thing I am really sure is that I will not consult with Dr. Googl.e.  I don’t want to read anyone’s stories about their success or failure with these gradings.  Their stories do not translate into my future success or not.  So I promised myself that I will steer clear from doing any online searches.

Lying there with dimmed lights at my acupuncture session, I closed my eyes and concentrated my energy on the word “gratitude”.  God has taken us this far to this point.  I believe that He will carry us through if this is His will.  I am grateful that some embryos are good quality.  I continue to pray for the perfect number of blastocysts to complete our family.  My tensed shoulders started to relax and my breathing became deeper.  Although now I feel that this is not a sure thing, I know that we will be well taken care of.

My heart is a lot calmer than it was this afternoon.  This journey has not been easy.  Even with donor eggs, it is still not easy.  Worry is not going to help with my situation, so I try to replace my worrying thoughts with positive thoughts.  I continue to pray that God sustains me with peace and calmness that only comes from Him.  And we shall see what His plan is and what the future holds.  Our prayer is that the chromosomally normal embryos will make it to day five.

MicroblogMondays: Hopefully My Last Sushi Meal For a While

Microblog_Mondays

You know, I am trying to get pregnant.

In fact, I’ve been trying to get pregnant for the last 47 months.  We had two transfers before.  Neither one resulted in a live birth.  This time it feels a little different.  With our 100% fertilization rate, we now have ten little fertilized eggs hopefully still growing in the lab.  There is a little more hope, a little more brightness in the future, and little more confidence that it may just work out this time.

I don’t believe in jinxing things.  My potential due date is already there in my mind.  Searching for a maternity outfit is my occasional pastime.  All in all, my expectation is higher this time with these young and healthy eggs of a proven donor.  They passed the first hurdle beautifully.  This afternoon will bring us the much anticipated news of number of embryos we still have.

Bob and I set up a sushi date for this past Saturday in anticipation of our transfer.  If we get pregnant this time, this will be my last sushi meal for the duration of a pregnancy.

Our usual Japanese restaurant didn’t disappoint.

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I savored every single bite of raw fish, choosing to believe that this may be my last chance of this Japanese delicacy before mid-August.

What an enjoyable date night celebrating our ten little fertilized eggs and a dream that may just come true, that we get to close this chapter of our life trying to get pregnant for almost four years.

Perfect Ten!!!

The phone call came earlier than I thought it would.  On the instruction sheet, it says that a nurse will call in the afternoon.  About 11am, I was sitting on the stairs at home waiting for Bob to be ready to go grocery shopping with me.  I was holding my phone and was about to check my email when the phone rang.  It said “UCSF Reproductive”.  Since the timing of the phone call was so unexpected, I didn’t even have time to worry about it.  I answered.  The nurse was super nice.  She introduced herself and told me that she’d give me the fertilization report.  She said that all ten eggs were deemed mature and they all fertilized!  Praise the Lord!!!  I can’t tell you how relieved and surprised I was to hear that.  When I woke up this morning, I was still not too nervous or worried, but I did have thoughts that maybe none of the eggs would thaw or none would fertilize.  I was hoping for at least nine to thaw and eight to fertilize.  To have all ten of them still there is such an amazing thing to experience.  Yay to young eggs!  I have never had a 100% fertilization rate so that’s my first.  This is the best possible outcome at this point.  The nurse congratulated me and sounded very excited too.  I thanked her for giving me great news, and she told me that she loves delivering good news.  I said I could cry, and she said, go ahead and go celebrate!  I also thanked her for calling so early.  She said that when she got in she checked, but the results were there yet.  She checked repeatedly and called me once she got them.  Such a nice nurse!  The funny thing was another nurse called me about 30 minutes later trying to give me the fertilization report as well.  Talking about a bit of a lack of coordination.  I was nervous when I picked up the phone call because I didn’t know if something went wrong.  Luckily it was just another fertilization report.  I would rather have double phone calls than nobody calling me.

Phew!  One hurdle down.  It’s such a great feeling to get amazing news.  I don’t expect all of the embryos to keep on growing, but I am a bit more confident that we’ll have a transfer on Wednesday.  We’ll get another report on Monday on how the embryos are doing and transfer time and instructions.  Maybe my dear friend Jane has to come up with some embryo names for us. 🙂

So relieved!

Bob’s Two Jobs: Collection and PIO

Today is egg thaw and semen collection day.  We won’t know about how the eggs are doing until tomorrow, but I know that Bob did his first job beautifully.  He arrived at the clinic early (!).  His experience today was very different from six months ago when he went there for a semen analysis.  At that time, the clinic just moved so the semen collection room was not quite well stocked.  Today apparently everything went seamlessly.  A male nurse, who Bob said was quite formal and appeared a little awkward, led him to a room and asked Bob, “Would you like to watch some adult movies?”  According to Bob, the clinic is now equipped with streamed videos from various different sources such as Netfl.ix and Hul.u and has gotten rid of all of the printed materials.  So Bob said, Sure.  Bob described the set up as very high-tech looking with the remote control on the wall.  When the male nurse was setting things up, he said, “I hope it’s not in the middle of a movie” in an awkward and formal way.  I still don’t understand how a clinic does not provide printed material anymore.  But whatever.  I guess you can always bring your own.  Bob did his job and that’s the most important thing.  I am quite sure his swimmers are going to be fine.  I hope that the eggs are doing their job as well.

Bob also did his second job beautifully.  He worked from home today, so we actually decided to do our progesterone injection earlier than planned.  We watched the Freedom Pharmacy video online, read the instructions given by the nurse, and decided to take the plunge.  I know that Bob wasn’t looking forward to it.  This is the guy who would draw the meds for me but would look away and shudder whenever I inject myself.  So really, it’s a really brave thing for him to do this.  I read the nurse’s instruction and made a decision to ice the area while Bob drew the oil out.  He commented on how much harder it was to draw the liquid than the other meds probably due to the higher viscosity of it.  The first day we are only injecting 1/2 cc on my right side. I lay down in bed and tried to relax my muscles.  The iced area felt numb.  Bob pulled my skin taut.  I honestly didn’t feel a single thing when he put the needle in thanks to the icing.  I could feel a tiny pinch when he injected.  I again didn’t feel a thing when he pulled it out.  He massaged the area for a little with gauze over the area.  He told me later on that all he was focusing on was 90 degree angle and quick smooth jabbing motion.  The circles that the nurse drew really helped.  I was pleasantly surprised that he did it cleanly and the injection itself didn’t hurt.  The site did bleed a little.  I put a bandaid on, massaged it a little, and applied my hot water heat pad on it.  Bob and I gave each other a high five.  I have been walking around a little.  The area is still kind of sore.  Hopefully it will dissipate soon.  My nurse warned me that some people experience constipation.  Did that happen to any of you out there?

I totally thought that it wasn’t bad at all and Bob did a great job as a needle-phobic, although he still said that he does not look forward to it for ten more weeks.  I hope that we get to do it ten more weeks, which means that we are on our way to have our binky moongee.

(Fertilization report tomorrow!  I am still not nervous yet.  Hopefully I will keep my calm tomorrow when the phone rings.)

Green light!

We got the green light to move ahead!

Today was my lining check day.  I was able to maintain my calm most of the day.  There were maybe three moments of nervousness but I was really amazingly at peace.  My prayer this morning was for my lining to be good, but if also for God to keep me focus on Him rather than my circumstances if my lining wasn’t good.  I was able to focus at the kids at work.  I was not anxious when I was driving to the clinic.  All in all, I was feeling at peace and calm.

I arrived at the clinic early and found a free parking spot (yay!).  I wrote a huge check for the cycle, the most we have paid for one single cycle.  I really hope that the end result is a baby for us.  When I was done checking in, it was not even my appointment time yet.  I barely warmed my seat in the waiting room before a male nurse led me into the exam room.  Not even two seconds after I undressed and covered myself up before my favorite nurse practitioner (NP) walked in.  She asked me how I was doing.  I told her that I had been quite calm all day  until that moment, not knowing if the estrogen patches were working.  She told me that it is some pretty powerful stuff.  Apparently if the patches don’t work, the clinic would recommend injections.  Being on the table, I started to feel a little nervous.  I am thankful that she was very good at putting me at ease.  With me lying down and the light dimmed, she inserted the wand and reminded me that because of my fibroid, it usually would take her a little while to find the lining.  After looking for a few seconds, she said, “I can tell you now that it’s looking good”.  What a relief that she told me that first.  She proceeded to measure the lining.  It was 7.8mm.  I was slightly disappointed because last cycle my lining was the same and I didn’t get pregnant.  But like last time, she told me that anything above 7mm is good.  I remember her telling me that the trilaminar pattern looking shiny is what they would want.  I could totally see the shininess of my lining on the screen.  Both ovaries were quiet, which was what we wanted.  The NP wanted to make sure she got the best view of the lining, so she asked for permission to do an abdominal ultrasound.  That measurement was even better: 8mm.  She said that it would be a more accurate one because the view was not obstructed by the fibroid.

I felt relieved, calm, and happy that we are moving on, finally.  It has seemed like a long wait since our last transfer.  A total of nine months.  We went through a lot in the last nine months.  It just feels good to get the Okay to move forward.

One of the in-cycle nurses situated me in this office with a great view of the bay.  We went over all the instructions for the sample collection, the changes in medication, transfer, and pregnancy test.  I knew ahead of time that Bob would have to clear his semen without anyone telling us.  So I had him do that yesterday morning.  He is scheduled for his semen specimen collection tomorrow at 11am.  The eggs will be thawed tomorrow and fertilization will happen.  We will get a fertilization report on Saturday with the number of eggs thawed and the number of eggs fertilized.  On day three, which is Monday, we will get a call about the number of embryos remaining and the transfer details for Wednesday.  I made sure that on the lab order it says to thaw ten eggs and transfer one blastocyst on day five.  I also made sure that the lab order in the system said my donor’s name and number.  It’s never too much trouble to double and triple check.

Today is our last dose of Lup.ron.  I hope I will not have to do another Lup.ron injection again until the transfer for baby number two.  Tomorrow we’ll start our progesterone in oil injections.  Yup.  PIO is finally starting.  Somehow I have never gone to the injection class that U.CSF puts together, mostly because I knew how to do my subcutaneous injection, so my own nurse never told me to do one.  The in-cycle nurse went over a bunch of instructions with me.  Basically to relax the muscles for the injection.  She told me the correct areas to inject.  I requested for her to draw the areas for me which she did later.  The key, she said, is to jab the needle in quickly, pull out the plunger for a little, then slowly inject the liquid in.  She told me to do it between 7 to 11pm, massage the area afterwards, and walk around if I can.  I am quite sure Bob and I will have a fantastic time doing this.  The dosage is 1/2cc for two days, 1cc for two days, the 1 1/2 cc for the rest of the first trimester.  The nurse said I could do it lying down or standing up.  She also showed me how to do it myself, by leaning the non-injection side of my body on the wall to relax the injection side, jab, and inject slowly.  I am not going to tell Bob just yet that he may not have to inject for me.  I will prefer for him to do it for me so let’s hope that it will go well.

I am to switch out my old estrogen patches with three new patches tomorrow.  Three days after that, I’ll replace them with two new patches and continue that every three days until I am told to stop.  The nurse told me to talk to my own nurse about refills for these meds.  I told her that hopefully if I get pregnant, my OB/GYN will order them for me so it will be covered under my insurance.

I am to start steroids tomorrow and continue my prenatal vitamins.  The in-cycle nurse instructed me to tell Bob to take his Cip.ro.  I told her that since Bob usually would get a stomach problem from the Cip.ro, Dr. No Nonsense gave an Okay for him not to take it. She told me to make sure with my nurse about it.  (I later forgot to ask my nurse after I left so I had to go back to the clinic and wait for her to meet with me again.  She remembered this whole thing about Bob not taking the meds so she didn’t order it for him.)

On the day of the transfer, my acupuncturist will do pre- and post-transfer session with me at the clinic.  Apparently we get a transfer room where we will do the acupuncture session there, stay there for the transfer, and stay there for another session.  Sounds like a nice set up.  I will notify the clinic ahead of time when I get the day 3 fertilization report.  I remember that I will take a Val.ium one hour prior to the transfer, but I totally forgot that I will need to have a full bladder.  The memory is slowly coming back about how a transfer works.

First beta will be on December 7th, 12 days after our day 5 transfer.  I think it’s torture that my clinic makes people wait for so many days before beta test can be done.  I am known for not testing ahead of time, so we’ll all be guessing together.  Plus I am sure progesterone is going to make me feel pregnant and tired.  It will probably be some very difficult two weeks to wait.  I have yet to decide whether to go to Kai.ser, my own insurance, or to go to U.CSF.  Kai.ser does ASAP instead of STAT.  So really, who knows how quickly ASAP is.  My nurse said that I may find the test result online sooner than she does.  If I go before 9am, there is a 50/50 chance that she could find out the result before 6pm.  I don’t know if I can last all day without knowing the results.  So the choice is to pay for the test at U.CSF and get the results sooner, or go to Kai.ser for free but potentially have to wait longer.  I am still undecided.

After the in-cycle nurse drew the cycles on my lower back, my own nurse came in to go over the consent form with me.  It was very nice to see her.  When I brought up Dr. NN not being able to do my transfer for me, her reaction cracked me up.  She was like, “I know!  When he told me, I was like What the heck?”  HAHA!  Yeah he can’t do it for me because he is going out of town before Thanksgiving.  I am fine either way.  My uterus is a straight forward organ so I am sure the other doctor is fine.  We went over the consent form and we were done!  When we said good bye, she told me that she’d talk to me in three weeks.  I just looked.  It’s more like 2.5 weeks.  In 2.5 weeks, we’ll find out if we are pregnant in 2015.

Bob is very excited.  When I wrote him a text, he said, “Praise the Lord!  Let’s do it.”  I love that!  All the glory and honor go to the Lord.

So here we are!  After so many years, this is the best chance that we have for a baby.  I am very grateful for getting this close.  I have been praying for the perfect number of embryos to complete our family.  Whatever that number is, I will be happy.  So please pray that the eggs thaw well, fertilize well, and we’ll have the perfect number of embryos waiting for us.

Like what Bob said, Let’s do it!

Counting Down to Lining Check

My lining check is coming up soon.  This coming Thursday in the afternoon we’ll know if the lining is thick enough and trilaminar for us to thaw the eggs on Friday to fertilize them.

How have I been feeling?  Amazingly well.  Still calm.  Not anxious.  Carrying on my life like usual and taking it one day at a time.  My daily prayer has been to be anxiety free and calm and to depend on God fully.  I pray that God continues to carry me through.

I may feel differently come tomorrow or Thursday.  But I will just focus on the present and am very thankful that I am not more nervous than I am.

I have been on my Lup.ron shots daily.  That tiny little vial seems to be lasting forever.  I hope it does the very important job of making my ovaries quiet.

Today I still have my two estrogen patches on my tummy.  Tomorrow morning I will replace them with four new patches.  Has anyone ever had trouble finding the right place for these patches?  For my first patch, I just put it somewhere below my belly button.  What I found out was that its placement was right where my jeans’ waistband was.  I found myself constantly checking to make sure that the patch was still there.  The instructions also say to avoid putting the new patch on the same area as before.  The second time around, I placed the new patch lower, which made it easier to avoid rubbing.  But it became a little bit tricker to place two patches and to avoid the previous areas as well as to make sure that they are between the panty and my pants’ waistband.  I can only imagine how fun it will be to constantly have to find room for four patches.

It feels kind of funny not feeling or knowing what is going on inside my uterus.  I naturally want to help the lining in any way I can.  But I just don’t know if it needs help or not.  One thing I was planning on doing was to do castor oil pack thinking that it would help with the blood flow.  I was waiting to start it after my bleeding was totally gone.  One lady on a FB DE group told me to be careful about it as she used it only to get rid of ovarian cysts.  Another lady told me that she used it for days before her transfer.  I wasn’t really sure who to listen to.  Luckily, my Mayan massage person who is currently on maternity leave returned my email just in time.  She said that castor oil is quite moving and is not the best of growing a lining.  She told me to avoid it.  Good thing I wrote her as I was about to start the pack that same night.  She told me that self care (a massage that I can do myself on my stomach area) is good for lining growth and can be done up to transfer.  I tried it once, but abandoned the idea because the oil that I applied to my stomach and the movement of the massage actually created air bubbles in my estrogen patches.  It was hard to avoid touching the patches as where they were was the exact same area I needed to massage.  It would be a bummer for these patches that cost $10 each to fall off my stomach.  Instead of doing self care massages, I have been applying a hot water heat pad on my belly area for 20 minutes a night.  After I am done, I pass it onto Bob who also places it on his stomach as he says “To keep my uterus warm”.  Instead of sympathetic pregnancy, this is sympathetic lining growth. Haha.

What other things have I been doing to help my blood flowing and to help myself keep warm in order to grow my lining?  I finally contacted an acupuncturist to get a few sessions in.  My original acupuncturist moved across the bay, so I can no longer go to her.  My Mayan massage therapist, who is also an acupuncturist, is about to give birth to her second baby.  I was in need of an acupuncturist.  At first I just wanted one for pre and post transfer.  A friend of mine gave me a name of an acupuncturist who did the pre and post transfer sessions onsite for one of her friends who got pregnant with donor eggs after a day-three transfer of two embryos.  The pricing is reasonable for an onsite session at the clinic.   I texted the acupuncturist who promptly returned my texts.  She is available for my intended transfer day.  When I thought more about it, I knew that I wanted some acupuncture support for the lining growth as well.  I like that she has a practice 15 minutes away from work and from home.  It’s basically half way between my work and my house.  She is available after work unlike some other acupuncturist who has no availability for a couple of weeks.  I went to my first session last Friday.  My impression was that she is not as knowledgeable as my other acupuncturist, but she is good enough.  She didn’t seem to immediately grasp the idea of donor eggs or frozen donor eggs, but she does see patients with fertility issues.  She also told me that castor oil pack should be okay, although later I learned that it wasn’t.  She took her time in feeling my pulse and applying the needles.  She also did moxa on my belly area.  All in all, it was a pretty good session.  The interesting thing was that the stomach area where she had applied needles and moxa bruised up and felt hard the next two days.  I wasn’t alarmed.  I was more puzzled why it happened.  The acupuncturist sent me an email to check in on me so I told her about it.  I had another session today.  She explained to me that it was probably a blood vessel that was nicked by the needles.  She said that it was definitely not because of the moxa.

One thing that she recommended, which I used to do, is to drink bone broth. I still had three pieces of marrow bones in the freezer from a while ago that I had been too lazy to deal with.  Bone broth is good for my body type and helps with keeping me warm.  I made a whole pot and so far had finished half of it.  I love bone marrow and consider it a treat.

It has been colder here recently.  (I know Maddie would laugh at me for saying that it’s cold here.)  I have been doing a good job keeping myself warm.  Bob keeps the heat on.  I have been wearing socks and wearing layers.  Since I don’t want to exert myself too much during these two weeks, I haven’t been going to fitness bootcamp.  In order to keep my blood flowing, I have been taking a walk for 20 to 25 minutes after eating lunch.  I choose to go up hill and sweat a little.  I find it a much better way to spend lunch than listening to pregnant ladies and new moms talk about breast feeding, labor, and other things that I cannot chime in yet.

Oh!  Bob and I finally signed the consent form for this upcoming cycle.  The 31-page consent goes over everything from frozen eggs to ICSI to the favorable number of embryos to transfer.  It also talks about the risks of pregnancies from IVF and the potential complications of pregnancies with multiples.  And then there is this whole section about freezing the embryos and what to do with the embryos if there is death, separation, or other things going on in our marriage.  Some heavy duty stuff.  Bob won’t be there with me at the lining check so we had to notarize his signatures.  Originally I thought about going to our church administrative assistant who is a notary public, but I didn’t want her to know what we are doing.  Thanks to my friend Jane who reminded me that getting signatures notarized is inexpensive at UPS.  That was exactly what we did over the weekend.

So this is it for all the things that I am doing to get ready for the lining check.  My nurse just emailed me today to let me know that Dr. No Nonsense, my RE, won’t be there to personally do the transfer on November 25.  Another RE, who happens to be one of my friends’ RE, is going to do it.  It’s a bummer but I am not overly sad.  I believe that I will be in good hands.

Two more days before the lining check!  Think thick, fluffy, and cushy!

MicroblogMondays: Mother-In-Law’s Dream

Microblog_Mondays

Today is my 11th day of applying the estrogen patches.  Now I am up to two patches every three days.  This coming Thursday is my lining check.  I have been doing pretty well emotionally as I have been feeling quite calm and at peace.  I have been really trying to take it one day at a time.  I will write more about how I am preparing for my lining.  Today I want to write about Bob’s mom.  My mother-in-law doesn’t know anything about our treatment.  She does once in a while try to guess and would ask Bob if we are doing treatment.  Bob has a way of answering her without divulging much information.  I am quite sure she wants to have a grandchild, and probably has been saying to herself that she was right about me being too old to have children.  A long time ago she consulted with an astrologer who predicted that we would have a very difficult time having children but eventually we’d have a baby girl.  Last week, she told Bob that she dreamt that she was with her grandchild, Bob’s baby.  It was a baby girl with very fair skin and a flat nose.  When she woke up, she was upset because she was hoping that Bob’s genes would be stronger so that the baby would have a taller nose like Bob, not a flat nose like me.  Somehow she associates people with taller noses to be more superior than the ones with flat nose like myself.  She told Bob the dream and went on to yell at him for having weak genes.  Bob of course did not even blink at her remark.  He said, “My genes came from you, so you have yourself to blame.”  Haha.  In a sense, it is nice that my mother-in-law does care about an offspring from her own child, my husband.  I do not believe in fortune telling, astrology, or any other form of predicting the future, but I appreciate the thought of having a baby.  The timing of my MIL’s dream is perfect!  I truly hope that it will come true next year.