Monday, September 30, 2013

The end and the beginning

This post might be a little graphic. You've been warned.

Yesterday officially marked the end of my pregnancy. This baby made it all the way to 5w1d before he/she was born straight to heaven and is now in the loving arms of God, her grandma, and her sister. We will meet someday, little one!

Up until yesterday, I was in a limbo period where I knew it was going to end soon, yet I was technically still pregnant. Each day that passed helped me come to an emotional peace that it was over, but I still longed for the closure which I knew could only come with blood. Every day I wondered "will today be the day?" Yesterday, the answer was yes.

We went about our normal Sunday business and headed home. By the time we got home I was in a lot of pain and had to lay down. I couldn't believe how much blood was involved. I knew it would be heavy and painful, but this was far more than expected. And what also surprised me was the sadness that both Kevin and I felt. I thought I had worked through the feelings and the day it finally happened would emotionally feel just like another period, but both Kevin and I were very sad at the finality of it. We spent quite a bit of time talking and expressing our sadness and anger at the outcome. While there are times on this rollercoaster ride where we are excited for the future, there are also difficult times like yesterday where we are angry about the past and the present. It's hard to see the future when you're in such a fog. That's just how this process works sometimes.

The cramps got so bad yesterday that I considered taking a Vicodin, but instead decided to take four Advil which thankfully took the edge off enough for me to go to sleep. I awoke refreshed today knowing that pregnancy is now behind me and I'm facing the future. I'm not in even a fraction of the amount of pain I was yesterday - emotionally or physically.

From a logistical standpoint, I have a final beta draw today. If the level is below 5, my RE will start me on birth control pills and I can consider myself at the beginning of my final FET cycle this year. I am also waiting for the preauthorization approval from my insurance company and am praying like crazy we don't have any delays due to anything insurance related. I am so emotionally and physically drained that I just want to fast forward to the end of this year to know if this worked or not, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way. I will experience every up and down until we get to that finish line.

Yesterday is written, but today marks a new day, a new cycle, and a new chance at parenthood.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The wonderment of the unknown

As we embark onto this final FET cycle of 2013, I'm pondering all of possibilities ahead of us. Here are some of the things that have been bouncing around this brain of mine.

We have three embryos left. We plan to transfer two. At this point in time, it's unknown which two embryos will be transferred. We won't know which will be transferred until the transfer day itself due to the potential for embryos to arrest at thaw. Just to recap our embryo situation, we have the following remaining embryos -  each frozen as singles to straws: 
  • One day-six blast from Vicky's batch (Romanian, olive skinned, dark haired.) But sadly, based on the way it was thawed, grown, and refrozen using slow freeze techniques, it's not expected to survive thaw.
  • One day-six blast from Libby's batch (Blue eyed, fair skinned, blonde haired)
  • One day-five blast from Libby's batch (also blue eyed, fair skinned, and blonde haired)
We have decided on the thawing order for the next transfer. The plan will be to start by thawing the day-six blast from the first batch (Vicky's) and the day-six from the second batch (Libby's.) If Vicky's embryo does not survive thaw, we will thaw the final day-five blast from Libby's batch. Follow me so far? You may have to read through that a few times since I know it is complicated! Sheesh. :)

Once all of that makes sense, let's consider the incredible possibilities if the one from Vicky's batch DOES survive thaw and we transfer it along with one from Libby's and I find that I am pregnant. Here are the two unusual scenarios that come to mind.

Scenario one:
Both embryos transferred implant and I end up with twins. Think about this one - I would be pregnant with twin babies who are neither genetically related to me NOR each other. Pretty amazing! I am not aware of anyone else who has been in this situation and I would bet is incredibly rare. I mentioned this on one of my online support groups and someone coined the term "twi-blings"! Cute!


Scenario two: 
Only one embryo implants leaving us with a singleton pregnancy. However, we'd have no idea which one implanted until after birth. We'd go the entire pregnancy not knowing if our baby grew from Libby's embryo or Vicky's. Of course after birth we would do a DNA test through a cheek swab so all parties involved would know which family he/she was genetically related to. And while many of you might be thinking this is just too crazy for words, I personally think it's a beautiful surprise to be faced with seeing how so many others have been robbed from us.

But of course, if the embryo from Vicky's batch doesn't survive thaw as we expect, we will be transferring the final two of Libby's and would know all along the genetic background in any outcome. But the possibilities and unknowns sure are interesting to think about as we embark on this final transfer! The wonders of modern science are amazing. 

And as mentioned before, if Vicky's embryo survives thaw, and we have that final 5AA rockstar embryo remaining from Libby's batch, we will save it for an attempt for a sibling down the road.

If the next FET fails or I miscarry again, we plan to pursue traditional domestic infant adoption at the start of 2014. This leaves us with a whole new set of unknown possibilities. Since we are open to the adoption of a child from any racial background, it's impossible to truly envision the child that we will someday call our own. When I lay our baby down in his/her crib, what color eyes will be staring back at me? What color skin will be pressed up against my chest as I read a bedtime story? Will I be braiding my little girl's long blonde locks of hair? Or will I be braiding the beautiful brown hair of an African-american child?  It's all the same in the end, and my heart bursts with joy as I think of any potential scenario.

I'm in awe at the wonderment of the possibilities. God knows the outcome and I can't wait to see what He has in store for us.

Photo courtesy of Newsone

Friday, September 27, 2013

Seven whole days

It's been seven whole days since I had the sad realization that this pregnancy was over. But it feels like it's been months. It's amazing how much grieving and acceptance can happen in a mere week. But as much as I feel like I'm coping well, I'm surprising myself with these insane moments of denial. For example, I have another beta draw scheduled for today. Yesterday morning, a part of me was telling myself "The beta might go up! You might be one of those miracle cases!" I know intellectually that won't happen, but the side of me who wants to be a mother so badly can't seem to let go. To put those feelings to rest, I went ahead and took a cheap urine test to bring myself back to reality, and of course the line was much lighter. I needed to see that. I need to let go of hope and move forward. Right now I'm stuck in limbo just waiting for the bleeding to start and until it does I think my mind is going to continue to play tricks on me. I hate this time of being in limbo.

To help pass time, I've been daydreaming about traditional adoption. Kevin and I looked at success stories online and talked a lot about how it would feel for us to be one of those stories. I even called a few places yesterday morning to get information to help us figure out what the right steps to take for us . After loads of research, I think we feel most comfortable using an adoption consultant, applying to multiple agencies through that consultant, and pursuing trans-racial adoption. I am so excited about the hopes for our future family. Of course, I have hope for the next FET too, but it's hard to feel excited about it after the devastating blows we've endured. I did the math, and barring any unexpected delays, I expect to have the next FET around Thanksgiving time. This means we should be learning of the outcome in early-December. If it succeeds, it will be a wonderful Christmas present. But if it fails, we will be ready to jump on the domestic infant adoption path right at the beginning of the new year.

However God leads us to our family, we will follow. Our babies are waiting to come, and I have no idea what skin color, eye color, or hair color they will have, but God has a plan in store for us. Love is what makes  a family.

We can't wait to meet them someday and love them with every piece of who we are. We are so grateful we have options available to us. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Update: My beta came back at 6.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lighting dinner on fire

Kevin was feeling pretty down in the dumps yesterday as he came to terms with our second loss in less than a year. And as you all know, on top of that, it was his birthday. I'd be extra down in the dumps too. However, fortunately for me I did most of my grieving and processing on Friday and over the weekend so I was in a little better place emotionally. With infertility and loss, related tragedies tend to take both spouses to their knees at the exact same time so it's hard to find the strength to be there for the other person when you're hurting so badly yourself. However, I've learned through this long journey that when you do have those moments of strength when your spouse is hurting more than you are, take those opportunities to lift your spouse up. Kevin has done the same for me on multiple occasions. I knew I had the strength to be there for him and I knew I had to at least try.

Kevin thought he was going to make tacos for dinner, but that just wouldn't do on the birthday night of the man I love. So I decided I was going to surprise him by making his favorite dish for dinner: Steak au Poivre. And for my own gratification, I have to admit that lighting a pan on fire is pretty fun!

I also found a little gourmet Yin Yang cake that I bought for him as his own personal birthday cake. I told him that he is the Yin to my Yang! Corny, I know.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How I'm coping with my newest loss

I'm doing okay.

I'm really trying to look toward the future. I got the insurance pre-authorization ball rolling right away for the next cycle because I'm prepared for another ugly fight with my insurance company like last time. Hopefully not as bad because I really don't know how much strength I have in me to go through that again.

I'm also planning to indulge in all kinds of pregnancy no-no things this week. I am going to ready my "Adoption for Dummies" book while taking a bubble bath this morning. I'm going to sip on a full-caffiene cup of coffee. I'm going to have sushi for lunch. I'm going to go in the hot tub this weekend. And Kevin and I just might go to the shooting range and shoot holes in paper zombie targets. There's no bright side to losing a baby, but I'm trying to look on whatever bright side I can find.

I've been immersing myself in learning about traditional adoption. I've started reading my book, researching agencies, and I've also been thinking about blogging about our new journey if and when the time comes. I think I'll be starting a new blog to document the new journey into traditional adoption since this blog is clearly dedicated to embryo adoption (snowflake=frozen embryos.) Any ideas on names? I was tossing around blog name ideas while laying on the acupuncture table yesterday morning. Here are a few that popped into my head:

  • Rainbow After the Storm
  • A Lovely New Normal
  • In the Eye of the Storm
  • When I Look to the Sky
  • Life After the Snowfall (I originally had After the Snowfall but it looks like that domain is unavailable)

What do you guys think? Any of these jump out at you? Any other creative ideas? Brainstorming on this kind of thing keeps me hopeful so throw your ideas at me.

I am starting to formulate and jot down all kinds of questions about traditional adoption. There is so much I just don't know. But the most discouraging one that jumps to mind first and foremost is HOW IN THE WORLD DO PEOPLE AFFORD THIS!? I expected it to be between $15,000-$25,000 for domestic newborn adoption, everything included. But so far, the two online information packets I've received state that just the agency fees alone are around $35,000! This puts a pit in my stomach. We will have find a way to pay one way or another, but I have a feeling it's going to involve fundraising and pinching pennies. Financially, we have been bled dry from all of the infertility treatments over the past three years, but I know once we get the funds together traditional adoption is a very promising route. God will find a way to provide.

I've also researched working with an adoption consultant. This is a person who independently holds your hand throughout the whole adoption process. They work with multiple agencies which can help you get matched quicker. They can help you avoid pitfalls or scams because they've been around the block quite a few times themselves. They cost extra money - anywhere between $1500-$4000 extra, but so far everything I've read from other adoptive parents indicates they are worth the extra cost. Most agencies waive the typical $300ish application fee if you are working with a consultant so some of the cost is negated there since you apply to multiple agencies.

So there are my thoughts for the day. I'm trying to move forward mentally. Thanks for reading and for your support.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beta #2 - It's over.

My RE called me herself to let me know of my beta results. I could tell in the somber tone of her voice my results weren't good.


It's over.

I prayed for a concrete answer, and I got it. While I am very sad, I did a lot of processing over the weekend (especially Friday) and I actually have found that there is a relief in knowing this miscarriage will not be dragged out like my last one was. Comparing the two, this is hands-down so much easier than last time. This doesn't mean I love either baby more or less than the other, but if it's in God's plan that I won't know this baby on earth, this way is so much easier for me to handle. It is unfortunate that tomorrow is Kevin's birthday and we got news like this, but as with all of the other tragedies we've endured, it is what it is. We will get through it.

Logistically speaking, my RE said to stop my meds and I should get my period in a few days. Once I start, I can get on birth control pills again and cycle right away. Speaking of cycles, that brings me to talk about next steps.

We have a plan for next steps that I feel good about. As mentioned in my last post, I had a great talk with Libby on Friday. She posed the question to me "What are your plans if none of these embryos bring you your family?"  and I'm really glad she asked so I could get it out in the open. Kevin and I have always figured our next step would be to pursue domestic infant adoption. Libby was very supportive, knowledgeable, and confident that this was a great path for us. She even pointed out that at the beginning of the call I sounded sad and depressed (because I was) and when we switched to the topic of domestic infant adoption, I sounded enthusiastic and excited again. She was right. I feel hope when I think about this new path. Libby's first child is the result of domestic infant adoption. She knows all about it and I know there's more than one reason God led us to her!

So the question is: When is the right time exactly?

We've put a lot of thought into the answer. Here are the basic facts about our current situation. We currently have three frozen embryos remaining and we've always planned to transfer two per transfer. We also know that one of the three is not expected to survive thaw, likely leaving us with only two to transfer anyway. So if we're being realistic, this leaves us with only one chance left and there will be no embryos remaining.

Sure, the one that isn't expected to survive just might. And if it does, we would still have one embryo on ice. That's great. But seeing how we only have time for one last cycle this year and we have already met our 2013 deductible, it would make sense to save that remaining embryo (if it survives) and start directing our funds in 2014 toward traditional adoption - which is not cheap whatsoever. We could try for a sibling with it down the road. But unfortunately we have time for only one more cycle attempt in 2013.

And on a side note, I also understand we may be more appealing to potential birth-parents if we don't have children yet, so perhaps it's all meant to work out this way. There's no question our family will be built of traditional adoption one way or another, and hopefully embryo adoption too - either now or in the future. The order in which it happens is in God's hands.

I'm still hanging onto hope that our upcoming FET will be a success. But for my own sanity, I have to be prepared for next steps in case it's not. Many people cope by taking time off and relaxing, but I need to be ready to open that next door the minute one closes or I'll go crazy. That's how I cope and that's who I am. When I am doing nothing is when I am the most depressed. And I'm so glad that we have a new, exciting (and somewhat terrifying) path to pursue. I am lucky to know Libby who has been an amazing cheerleader and knowledgeable friend throughout this struggle. I honestly don't even know where to start, but I'm already dipping my toes in the adoption waters. I've been reading books and researching agencies which is a big task in itself. Hopefully we will find an agency we feel good about and get the ball rolling in 2014 if the next cycle doesn't work for us.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beta #1 results

My beta came back at 12 at 8dp6dt.

This is right about where I thought it would be because I had guessed it to be around 10. Monday's beta results should be more telling since we will see what the rise (or lack of rise) actually is. I really hope it's definitive either way. That's my biggest wish - either massively rise or drop because the dragging out of the last miscarriage is what killed us. But honestly, I'm finding myself at peace with this pregnancy not working out. As hard as it is to lose another baby, and as sad as I'll be that this baby wasn't meant to be a baby to hold on earth, I'm ready to look to the future.

Libby called yesterday and we had an amazing conversation. The first part was me sobbing, but the second part was us talking about next steps if these embryos don't result in a family for us. I'm not quite ready to say what our plan is yet, at least not until we know more about the outcome of this pregnancy, but I feel like we certainly have a good plan in place. And it was really helpful for Libby to draw it out of me. Not only did Libby show her overwhelming support for next steps, but kept reassuring me what a promising outlook it had for us. It's helped me to stay optimistic even if this cycle, or any future cycles with these embryos don't result in a baby. I will never give up. Ever. This will not be where our journey ends.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. They have brought us a feeling of peace, hope, and comfort during such a difficult time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I'm not doing so well

I don't think this pregnancy is headed in a good direction. I've been testing every morning on a variety of tests and the tests are not getting darker. Even the FRERs are barely showing a line morning after morning. I can't get a digital FRER to turn positive, and those register at 25miu. For someone who received the faintest of faint positive at 4dp6dt, a healthy pregnancy should have doubled to something darker by now.

So it's starting to sink in, I'm probably going to lose another baby. Babies.

I emailed my nurse and RE to see if they might move my beta to today at 8dp6dt, which is when many REs will do it as a standard anyway. Last pregnancy, I asked for an early beta, the nurse quickly said no, so I'm guessing I will hear the same today. But I CCed the RE herself this time and said I was in some serious emotional turmoil over this and would rather know sooner than later if things aren't going to work out.

I pray she will show me some mercy and allow it.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Kevin's birthday is Tuesday and we had planned to spend the whole weekend celebrating. Neither of us are in a good space or in a mood to celebrate, and I've been crying hysterically for the past few hours. My sweet dog is following me around like a shadow, I can tell he is trying to comfort me. I've been on my knees all morning just asking God why this keeps happening to us. Why? I am just sick and numb at this point.

I hope we get a miracle, but it seems like miracles happen to everyone else. Not us.

Well, I've got to go get ready to go to work. That means putting on the smiling mask of a woman who isn't having her world destroyed. I've worn it many times before, and I'll wear it yet again.

My RE agreed to letting me get my first beta done today. I just got back from the blood draw, but we expect the clinic to get the results after they close today. They are open tomorrow, so I should get the results then. Monday's results will be the most telling relative to today's. I'm so glad I was able to get in. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are you wondering if I tested? I did.

I tested yesterday (5dp6dt) with a few wondfo tests which are very very sensitive. At first glance, they were all a for-sure negative. White as white could be. But after staring indirectly at it, then angling it, shining a light on it and pretty much everything just short of sending it to a CSI crime lab, I determined that there might just be a second line there. Yeah. There was. I can't believe it. I still can't.

I was (and still am) somewhat hesitant to believe it since it was so incredibly faint. But it was there. And I've taken a few more this morning, including a FRER, and they appear to be even more noticeable, albeit very, very faint also.

So Liz. Say after me:

I'm pregnant.
I'm pregnant.
I'm pregnant.
I'm pregnant.
I'm pregnant!

You have to look very carefully, and maybe even squint a little, but you can see the second lines!

My beta is scheduled for Monday, September 23. The day before Kevin's birthday!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Holy hot flashes!

That is my whole update for today LOL

Oh my gosh. Welcome to hot flash-ville where I'm the mayor. ;-)

Let's see....what else? My progesterone came back great at 27. They want it above 20. Glad that's going right!

I hope everyone is having a good day. I'm feeling a bit better emotionally and trying to hang onto hope! Thanks for all of the kind words and pick-me-ups! I really needed it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where's my head at? Blah.

I'm feeling pretty negative today at 4dp6dt. I have no particular reason to feel this way, I just do. Kevin and I were talking about it a few days ago and we both irrationally feel like we're somehow destined to endure all kinds of hardships along this crazy infertility journey. In the beginning, I had no idea that I'd be diagnosed with infertility, let alone a diagnosis making me one of the most infertile of all infertiles with DOR. I had no idea I'd have no response whatsoever to maximum medication to an IVF cycle, but that's how it worked out. And of course, I had no idea that in a million years I'd experience a miscarriage, let alone one that dragged out with rising but not doubling betas cruely until 9w. And yes, I experienced a failed ART cycle for my IUI in 2011, but I wasn't hopeful. I knew it wouldn't work. I do have hope this time, so therefore I feel like I'm supposed to endure a failure after having so much hope. That's next on the checklist for me. It seems like it's inevitable. Who am I to think I could skate by without a huge, disappointing BFN somewhere in the mix? I know that's a crazy thought, but I can't shake it.

And it really hit me this morning that while we do have three embryos left over, one of them is not expected to survive thaw. That means realistically, we only have one shot left with a transfer of the other two. So much racing through my mind.

I'm also really frustrated at work. This is a new phenomenon because I've really liked it for the past three years. There is a new manager who obsessively micromanages everyone and makes my team feel like complete losers. It's tearing our team apart. I have stood up to her a few times, but it's getting really old and it doesn't seem to make any difference. I wish I didn't have this to deal with on top of everything else.

Last, but not least, I found out another cousin of mine is newly pregnant. And my sister in law is complaining about her pregnancy to my Dad, and then he goes on to tell me about it. It seems like all it takes for everyone in my life to get pregnant is to look at their husband. Pregnancy announcements are killing me right now. And hearing that people aren't happy being pregnant is a knife to my chest.

Off to the lab to get my progesterone drawn. Thanks for hearing me be a little negative today.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2dp6dt: The mind-game of the 2ww

Kevin is still sleeping so I'm surfing the web on this Saturday morning, alone in my thoughts. Figured I'd post an update.

In case you're wondering, here is what I'm feeling so far. And yes, I know that these symptoms are highly unlikely related to any potential pregnancy. It's probably just the PIO or something else easily explainable.

  • Majorly sore boobs which I don't remember them last time being a fraction of how bad they are this time. They feel like heavy rocks and I get these zapping feelings pretty regularly. Probably the PIO.
  • Minor cramps in my lower abdominal area, which could just be the overeating of Mexican food. It's hard to tell if they are uterine or GI related.
  • Backache
  • Pulling feeling on my left side. This was very similar to my first pregnancy.
  • I'm exhausted in the evenings after dinner. I've fallen asleep on the couch the past two nights in a row while watching movies. That's not like me. Probably the PIO.
  • A fast and intense shot of nausea last night while laying in bed last night. That has never happened before.

Figured I'd document this.

I'm trying to stay optimistic, but as anyone who has ever been through this knows the 2ww is a bipolar mind-game. One minute I'm hopeful and daydreaming of a baby, heck babIES, twins nurseries, etc., and then the next minute I'm sure it's not going to work and am preparing mentally to undergo a new cycle. It's awful. Luckily I haven't cried. Yet.

Up until today, there was also some question around how far along the embryos were that we transferred. Libby and I have always been under the impression that they were all day 5 embryos. But on the embryo picture I got on the day of transfer, it said "Day 6." I was a little confused as to if they actually were day 6 embryos. And were they frozen as day 6 embryos? Or if they were day 5 embryos that grew to day 6 at my clinic?  I figured I'd email my embryologist just to find out. I was curious. I got a quick response from her this morning:

We received one day 5 embryo and 3 day 6 embryos from the donor clinic. The two embryos that were frozen together were day 6 embryos. We thawed those embryos the morning of your transfer.

Well that answers that!

So of course, stupid me, I went and googled 5dt vs 6dt and quickly found a study that stated 5dt have almost twice the implantation success of 6dt, and 6dt have significantly higher rates of miscarriage. Gah! Cue panic. Why did I have to go and read that!?

I kept reading other sites, and apparently some clinics don't think there's a big difference at all.


What I do know for certain is that it's out of my hands right now. But it was a little defeating to read that we might be at a disadvantage now. Regardless, I'm trying to keep my head up and stay hopeful!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fortune cookie prophecies

Fortune cookies have always been a source of entertainment after eating a delicious Asian meal. On the exhausting day my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, we ordered local Chinese food take out for dinner. We each opened up our fortunes and read them to one another. Then it was my mom's turn to read hers. She cracked her cookie open, and realized it was empty. There was no fortune for her. I saw the look on her face. She laughed it off, but it gave all of us the chills after all that had happened that day. And sure enough, a few months later, she died. Do I think it was a real prophecy of the future? Of course not. But it was weird and always stuck in my mind.

Fast forward to tonight where I am 1dp6dt. Kevin and I went out to PF Chang's. As I cracked my fortune cookie open, I joked "Wouldn't that be funny if my fortune cookie said 'you're going to have a baby' or something straight-forward like that?"

Then I read it:

I got the chills, only this time they were good chills.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Transfer day captured in pictures and video

Today was our much-anticipated transfer day!

I took lots and lots of pictures today. At our first transfer in February, I didn't take very many pictures. Then I kicked myself once I got the positive pregnancy test because I had wished I had done more to capture the special day. And not just to document it all for my blog, but most importantly to document it for our future children. So I vowed this time I would take loads of pictures. And I did. Below are a few I'll share with you to tell the story.

Our day started at 5:30am. We both showered, got dressed, and hit the road bright and early. I made sure to wear my lucky pendants around my neck for the day which are: My heart pendant from Kevin, my gold ribbon pendant in memory of my mom, and my snowflake pendant for....well duh. :) And I also wore a bracelet from my friend and fellow EA blogger Jess that says "Expect Miracles."

After going to my pre-transfer acupuncture session, we decided to take one of the toll roads all the way to San Antonio which allowed us to cruise at the highest posted speed limit in the whole US. 85 mph! Wahoo!

When we finally got to the clinic about two hours later, I was able to present them with my home-made cake which everyone seemed to love, especially my RE. He kept talking about it and had joked that he knew I had brought it just for him and he didn't have to share with anyone else. I was so happy they all enjoyed it!

Unfortunately my primary RE, Dr. B., couldn't make it to my transfer today due to a change in schedule due to her upcoming maternity leave. She emailed me and was very sad about it and sent me lots of virtual hugs and support. While I was sad that I didn't get to finally meet her in person, her sincere email meant a lot to me. I gave the gift I had brought for her to one of the nurses who said they'd deliver it to her tomorrow. I hope she likes it.

I changed into the hospital gown, booties, and super sexy hair-net. Not a great look.

We waited for a bit, then the embryologist came out to talk to us about the embryos. I had a lump in my throat because I had expected to lose some at thaw like we had last time. But I was happy to hear her proclaim that both had thawed and survived and were looking fantastic! We couldn't have been happier.

As I was talking to the nurse, I mentioned the fact that these embryos were adopted from another family and not genetically related to us and I was "meeting" them for the first time. She seemed surprised and said "We actually had one other patient here in February who found embryos on her own and did a transfer with them." I laughed and said "Yup, that was actually me!" I guess it seems that they only have one donor embryo patient after all! Me. And she was going to tell me about me without even knowing it. LOL

After filling up my bladder which was torturous, but necessary...

...I was wheeled into the OR where I finally got to meet my two precious snowflakes:

The transfer went absolutely flawlessly. The embryologist, nurses and RE all cheered the moment the RE put them in. They were impressed, medically-speaking, with the RE's skill in how he had done it. I love to hear that sort of thing! Gooooo Dr A!

It's a little hard to tell, but the transfer happens around the six second mark of the video and is on the bottom left side of the monitor where the arrows are.

After transfer, I was expected to lay flat on my back and let the snowflakes settle in. The post-transfer acupuncturist came in and inserted all of the appropriate needles. It helped me relax, and Kevin was fascinated by the needles since he had never seen this before in real life.

And while resting with the needles in, I asked Kevin to give me the pictures of the embryos so I could stare at them against my feet. The below photo is emotional for me because I can recall the overwhelming feeling I had staring at them knowing they were finally with me.

After the 30 minute rest, I got up and went into the changing room and out of the blue these words just popped into my head:

This is just the very beginning of the story.

Who knows where that came from? It felt like someone said it TO me, and I didn't come up with it myself. It kind of surprised me, to be honest. God, is that you saying that? I hope and pray this story has a happy ending this time.

I took a picture in the changing room mirror with my phone as my first "pregnancy" picture. Babies on board! Smile on my face!

The RE gave me the petri dish that the embryos were thawed and grown in as a wonderful memento.  I kept it clutched in my hand the whole ride home.

And also on the ride home, I called Libby to let her know how great today went. She is wonderful, and there is not a single day that I don't think about what an amazing gift and opportunity she has given us. I was happy to be able to tell her all about this day. 

Now I'm home resting. 

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I am so touched by the love shown to us by my friends and blog readers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I'm baking this morning! Not a baby though.  Almost. That baking starts tomorrow. :-)

I'm baking a rich, chocolate cake to take with me to the clinic tomorrow to show my appreciation for what they do. I realize I haven't baked anything in ages ever since I found out I have a gluten intolerance in November 2012. I've pretty much just avoided baked goods altogether instead of eating their gluten-free counterparts. I don't need the added carb intake and blood sugar impact so it's easier to just skip carby foods. But I do miss baking goodies for others and this was a perfect opportunity to do so! The smell in my house right now is chocolatey delicious!

It's going to look like I'm arriving to a birthday party tomorrow with my cake and gift bag for Dr. B.

I opened the oven door to take a quick picture! It smells so good!

I just chugged my last glass of POM and chopped up and ate my first of five pieces of pineapple core.

The grocery store sells fresh pineapple pre-cut with the core ready to chop into pieces.

I got a call yesterday from my clinic letting me know that my transfer is scheduled for 10:30am CST. I imagine they will start the embryo thawing a few hours before. Please say a little prayer for us tomorrow morning. I'm so excited to meet these little ones, but nervous that they won't make it through thaw.

Our clinic is a 1.5 hour drive away (with no traffic) from Austin to San Antonio, and I'm supposed to get acupuncture done directly before and after transfer. But it's been kind of hard to coordinate all of it. Being expected to arrive at 10:30am in San Antonio puts us commuting smack dab in rush hour traffic. I was able to make an appointment with my acupuncturist on the way there (which isn't really on the way at all, but oh well) but I learned that the clinic in San Antonio has acupuncturists on site to do my post-transfer treatment. By choosing to use one of them it saves me from having to stop by my current acupuncturist on my way back. And while she's great, it's definitely way out of the way and causes me stress thinking about making the second appointment on time.

The plan is to do my pre-transfer acupuncture, drive to San Antonio, do the transfer and acupuncture, and then come home and relax. I've got a whole bunch of movies queued up to watch on-demand.

It's the final countdown!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"This needle doesn't look right"

Last night was pretty much like any other night. I fixed dinner, dished up the pet's food, drew up Nadia's insulin, yada yada yada. Then it came time for my nightly PIO injection. I got out all of the goods: PIO vial, alcohol swabs, gauze pad, band-aids, and of course the syringe and the draw-up needle. And just like I've done a billion other times, I drew up the PIO and swapped needles for administration and I called Kevin over. I leaned over the kitchen counter as he sterilized the injection site, dried it off and was seconds from stabbing me when he paused and said "This needle doesn't look right."

Holy crap, he was right. I had put an enormous 18g needle on the syringe by accident instead of the smaller 22g. I must have grabbed the wrong one while zoning out on autopilot. It's hard to see the actual needle because it's covered in a cloudy, semi-opaque cap but I got careless and didn't check the label or the color base. Youch! I cringe just thinking about how bad that would have hurt! I came *this* close to getting stabbed with an inhumanly large needle!

I took some photos for comparison but I don't even think this picture does the reality justice.

18g is on left, 22g is on right. BIG difference!

Kevin even joked that he thought the small needle could even fit inside of the big needle. And guess what? He was right! It's that much of a difference in size.

After I was done playing around with the needles, I sat on a heating pad and thanked my lucky stars he caught it. Has anyone ever accidentally got an intramuscular injection with the draw-up needle? I can see how easily this could happen!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm starting to get nervous

I'm starting to get nervous. Not for the transfer itself, that's the easy part. And actually I'm excited for the transfer. After all, I'll be meeting these precious snowflakes for the very first time! But I'm getting really nervous about the outcome of this cycle. Will it work? How will I feel if it doesn't work? The only negative I ever got from an ART cycle was with our first unmedicated IUI and I pretty much knew it wouldn't work from the get-go. My IVF cycle in 2012 was cancelled due to no ovarian response, and my first FET was a success, albeit a miscarriage. How would just a flat-out negative feel? It scares me thinking about it, but I know it's a real possibility. My beta is the day before Kevin's birthday so it makes me a little sick to my stomach thinking about what that day will look like if it's negative. And of course, I'm also nervous that I might get a positive only to miscarry again similar to the cruel and drawn-out way I did last time. So many thoughts running through my mind.

I think it's compounded by the fact that a lot of my good friends who have also suffered through severe infertility are newly pregnant. I would love to get to be 'pregnancy buddies' with them. But how will I feel if I learn I'm left behind again? I will be sad to see that opportunity slip away on top of the other feelings of sadness if this doesn't work out.

I've been coming up with little consolation prizes in my head just in case it doesn't work. Sushi, coffee, etc. But it's not enough. I just want to be pregnant more than anything else in this world. I want one (or two!) of these snowflakes to implant and to become our take home baby(ies). There's nothing blaring at me that makes me feel like this won't work, all the signs are positive. But we know the statistics for a DEmbryo FET are around 50%. Everything could be perfect and the reality is that it still might not work. In fact, they could all die during thaw. Last time we lost two of them this way. I find myself pleading and even bartering with God at night to just let this be our turn. I can feel the emotional rollercoaster beginning.

In other news, I started the PIO on Saturday and it's been going well. Kevin and I are pros at PIO because we had to do it all the way until my 9w loss last time. I'm starting to feel a little sore already from these painful shots, but it's not that bad. Kevin is such a caring and compassionate husband. He did a bunch of research on how to minimize the pain involved. And so far, it seems to have helped. We did my first shot during the BYU vs Texas football game on Saturday night. But Texas lost in a big, disastrous way. Booo! I hope that's not an omen of things to come.

I also deep cleaned our house yesterday. I'm talking carpet shampooing, shower cleaning, toilets, etc. Kevin manicured the yard and the garden. Our home looks amazing inside and out. My mental state is always better in a clean and beautiful house, and since I'll be taking it easy after transfer, it will be much more restful doing it in an immaculate home.

Friday, September 6, 2013

And the lining verdict is...

I am bursting with excitement over here. My lining went from 7.4mm on Tuesday, to being at 9.6mm today! And it has a perfect trilaminar stripe! The RE told me I could not have asked for a more perfect lining.

Man, am I thrilled. 

This means we are a GO for Thursday's transfer!

After the appointment, I texted Kevin telling him that I had a 9.6mm lining and a perfect triple stripe. His response was "I have no idea what that means, but triple stripe sounds like a brand of chewing gum." I was laughing the whole way home over that one.

I'm surprised my lining plumped up so fast. Could it have been the POM? Who knows? But that's the only thing I changed.

Tomorrow I stop Lupron and whip out the big guns - PIO, Medrol, and Doxy. I am on the home stretch. This could very well be the last weekend I am not pregnant for a long time. Fingers crossed. 

The countdown to Thursday has officially begun!

Is it just me or does every RE put decorative socks out? I've been to multiple REs and this seems to be an industry standard!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What exactly is a "normal" childhood anyway?

Since embarking on the path of embryo adoption, Kevin and I have always felt that we want our future children to always know of their origins. We want them to know the beautiful story of how they came to be from the start. It’s important to us that they never have a memory of “the time they were told” but instead just know it because it’s part of a constant dialog with them. By not telling them and keeping it a secret, it implies it’s shameful in some way. Studies show that this causes emotional turmoil, and we don’t want them to have to deal with that if we can at all avoid it. They will come to this earth because of the love of not one, but two families. And if we are lucky enough to have children come from both batches of our adopted embryos, it will involve the love of three families! Love is certainly the theme of this story!

To help in telling it, I have been capturing photos and mementos here and there as we go along. I plan to capture photos at next Thursday's embryo transfer, keep the pictures of the embryos themselves and of the petri dish. And God-willing, I will document all of the aspects and joys of the pregnancy. I plan to compile all of this into a child-appropriate book that we can read to our baby(ies) from the very beginning. I will make another book later on to document their life as they grow and as their personal story unfolds. The story of their life and their origins will always be celebrated and be portrayed as joyful and full of love.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this book and the topic of their emotional adjustment lately. I’ve been pondering how it must feel from a child’s perspective. And I recently had an interesting realization. I feel I can somewhat relate, at least to the notion of having a “different” upbringing, yet embracing that it was part of my normal.  I was raised in a family with a blind father. My dad has a degenerative retinal disorder called Retinitis Pigmentosa and went legally blind when I was very, very little. I don’t have memories of him being sighted. I also never remember the time when I was told “Your dad is blind.” We always knew he was. We had regular conversations about what his disease was. Not many little kids can pronounce “Retinitis Pigmentosa” but we could. It easily rolled off of our tongues.

It was our normal.

Because of this disease, my dad couldn't drive.  He never picked us up from school, took us to the supermarket, or drove me to my piano lessons. He couldn't play catch or kick a soccer ball around with my brothers like other dads did. It had its perks too. He couldn’t see us sneak a piece of candy from right under his nose and my brothers and I could roughhouse right in front of him as long as we were quiet about it. And as teenagers, it wasn’t too hard to sneak out of the house if my mom was gone. But the bottom line is that this was our family, and this is how our dad was. I had to remind myself sometimes that other dads weren't blind because it seemed so normal that mine was.

During my life, when I tell people that I was raised by a blind father, I generally get well-intentioned sad looks or even words of pity. “I’m so sorry to hear that.” But you know what’s funny? I’m not. I don’t feel sad or sorry about it at all. I’m proud. I love my dad, I love who he is inside, and I am truly grateful for the lessons he taught us. I have nothing but fond memories of him being a father to us and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything whatsoever.

It’s love that makes a family – not my dad’s ability to see, or a genetic relationship between  parents to their child.

Now as an adult, I can appreciate how hard it must have been for my dad from his perspective. But as a child, he was just my dad. And I am very proud that this is a part of my story.

I hope our future children feel the same way.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Estrogen level and game plan

I just got an email from the nurse saying she got my E2 results back and they were 1059! Holy cow! This is completely opposite of my last FET in February where my lining was nice and thick (11.34) but my E2 levels were a measly 198. Shoot, I didn't even know my crazy DOR body was capable of pumping E2 levels around like that! I think that's good? But I'm not quite sure because the nurse didn't elaborate. I asked her for a bit more info.

Anyhow, I am supposed to keep on my same dose of meds and have an extra ultrasound on Friday morning but with no blood draw. I take that as a good sign that my RE is confident with the E2 at this point. I'm assuming this will be the day that we make sure the lining is thick enough to proceed with our September 12th transfer. Hopefully this will be the last step before the green light. Fingers crossed!

Lining scan results

I had my lining scan this morning which *should* be the last one prior to my transfer next Thursday. I've always had a full, lush lining so I was expecting the same today. I was pretty surprised when it measured in at only 7.4mm which is above the 7mm that my RE will move forward with, but not by much. Granted, I still have nine days until transfer so I'm hoping I can get it to plump up a bit. But for some context, at 11days pre-FET in Feb, it was already at 11.34mm, so of course I get a little nervous that I'm not a little thicker by now. The nurses weren't worried about it at all, but we are waiting for my RE to review the results of the E2 labwork before making the final say on whether we are a green light or not for a September 12th. I'm thinking it will be a "go" but I'm just waiting for that call to see. I'll post an update once I hear from my nurse.

I brought the gift (snowflake necklace and thank-you card) for my embryologist today in the hopes I'd see her to give it to her personally. Unfortunately, she wasn't in quite yet so I gave it to the nurse to pass along. I was a little nervous doing that because I didn't want the nurse to feel bad that I didn't bring a gift to her, but I had no other opportunity to get it to the embryologist. I hope she likes it!

I have two gifts - one for my RE and one for my embryologist to show gratitude for going above and beyond!

I'm not a believer in POM and opted not to drink it this cycle. In past cycles, I drank one 8oz cup every day. It supposedly builds up the lining, but there has not been any evidence to support this, plus it's fairly high in sugar. So I opted not to this time. However just because I want to know I've tried everything, I grabbed some POM on the way back from the appointment and have already chugged a glass. I hate the taste, but what is it going to hurt? ;-)