Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm NOT pregnant :(

Well, most of you thought tomorrow was when we would find out if we're pregnant. That would be because I told you that. :) When, actually today(Tues. 2.8.11) was the day. We have chosen to let the world follow our in-vitro journey through this blog & facebook which means you know all our appointments, procedures, etc. We feel that since we're going through these trials maybe it will help others by following our journey. That being said, it also takes away the element of surprise by allowing "the world" to peek into our lives. Doing IVF & posting it all on here means you know when I find out if I'm pregnant etc. To have a little fun & hopefully get that element of surprise as a normal fertile couple would we chose to tell you a false date for when our pregnancy lab was. So, it was today.
Ryan & I went in at 8:45am for me to get my beta HCG level drawn to show if I was pregnant from those 3 embryos. It's not by any means instant results, we had to wait 4 hours for the Dr. to call. We didn't know exactly when he would call so to keep from going stir crazy we shopped! We left the Dr's office & went to Belk, Old Navy, Childrens Place etc :) We were keeping our eye out for Big Brother shirts so if we got good news we could buy Colt one.
While in Belk shopping I got a call from my friend & former boss, Stephanie Whitaker. She had NO CLUE we were finding out our pregnancy results today, I had told her it was tomorrow. She called to say I was on her heart. She had read a passage this morning that made her think about me. She wanted to read me the passage & pray over the phone together about this. I told her I was actually awaiting my results & was at Belk shopping so her timing was impecable! God's providence if you ask me! So I went into the dressing room to get in a quieter place where she & I could pray over the phone together. She prayed the below passage to God & that we would be able to accept whatever answer we were given today. She cried, I cried, it was so touching.
The passage:
Matthew 18: 18-20 "Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

God knew I needed to hear this passage. I believe I was on Stephanie's heart this morning for the simple fact that God knew what we were about to face & I needed a reminder that He is always with us but it may not be exactly the answer we want. But HE is in control. THANK YOU Stephanie for getting to work late :)because you took the time to share your heart with me. If you only knew at the time how much peace it would truly give me later in the day. Love you girl!

After killing time shopping we ate at the BEST burger joint in town BOHO Burger for a Bella Blue Cheese burger & fries!!! Then, we went to Barnes & Noble to kill MORE time b/c Dr. Bates still had not called with our results. It was almost 1:00 & Ryan had a sales appointment at 1:30 so he had to leave me, which HE DID NOT want to do. He wasn't gone 5 minutes when Dr. Bates called as I was meandering around Barnes & Noble. He said, "unfortunately your test was negative." Surprisingly, I didn't cry, I just said, "Ok, well I had a feeling I wasn't pregnant" (I had told Ryan that, this morning as we waited...for some reason I just didn't feel good about it) Then, I asked what do you think went wrong? Dr. B said well of course they would have loved to have had more embryos to choose from (since I had like 8 with Coltons cycle & only 3 with this one) BUT the ones they did have he was very pleased with & they had really high hopes of me getting pregnant (keep in mind my success rate is only 60% & will never be higher than that). Dr. B said there is only so much they can do once the embryos are in me it's left to my body to do the rest. So...there it was! I FINALLY had the news I had anticipated all day. I think I was just relieved to have an answer one way or the other. I rushed out of B&N b/c I felt the tears coming on . I called Ryan before he reached his appointment & balled as I told him. He being my "Rock" said encouraging words but expressed his disappointment at the same time. He HATED he wasn't with me. He did keep repeating that part :) I decided to go on home. I was debating whether I should go see my lil' man, Colt, at Mimi & PawPaws house b/c I was really missing him even more so after getting this news. I just wanted to see his smiling face & hear that adorable laugh of his! I decided to go home & lay in bed which was the other thing I wanted to do. My sister told me not to do that but to go do something that makes me go get a starbucks! But, I couldn't. I didn't want one. (If you know me you know that's just CRAZY!)  Since Ryan had another appointment after his 1:30 I knew he wouldn't be home until 4:00 so I laid in bed & fell asleep. My adorable husband got home with an awesome card for me & a picture frame that said Family-Memories of a Lifetime & it had a picture of a family of 3 in it. I knew exactly what he meant with that present, a reminder to thank God for the family of 3 we have. So I'll be putting a picture in there of Ryan, Colt & I. Then, I called my family & we went to Ryan's folks house to tell them & had some dinner at Cracker Barrel with them. I haven't cried since that one time with Ryan over the phone. I can't explain the peace I feel over all this. I DID NOT expect this peace at all. I KNOW to give credit to GOD for the peace that passes all understanding though. (Philippians 4:7) I don't know why I was able to get pregnant with Colton the first time I did IVF in 2009 with 2 embryos & now in 2011 with 3 embryos I didn't...but I do know I'll be able to ask God one day. Until then, we'll press on...we have an appointment tomorrow morning with Dr. Bates to discuss the future...what we should do...what he would do differently etc. I feel I need to go ahead & discuss this & "get it over with" I guess :)

Thank you to ALL OF YOU who have followed us through needle prick after needle prick!  For your words of encouragement & most importantly your prayers. I still have hopes of being a mom to 2 or more children...whether they're biological or not...only God knows for now. We'll just keep praying for another blessing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I HAVE 3 Embryos IN ME!!!

I have THREE embryos IN ME!!!'s been a stressful week ever since Dr. Bates called us on Tuesday to tell us out of 9 eggs we only had 3 embryos. Stressful b/c we had to decide whether to put all 3 in & risk me having triplets & making me an extra high risk pregnancy or put 2 in & freeze the remaining one for a future cycle. The deal is with me being high risk due to my 3 blood clotting factors my Hematologist (blood dr.) feels it's safest for me to only have 2 embryos in me at a time. Since birthing multiples automatically qualifies you as a high risk pregnancy for me to birth multiples would qualify me as extra extra high risk! SO...we've been very prayerful this week as we approached todays Embryo Transfer. We didn't know anything about our embryos until we arrived this morning. I went to acupuncture first to be stuck with 10 needles & listen to ocean waves & used that quiet time to pray for God's guidance & to give us peace of mind in our decision making. I left acupuncture & went straight to Dr. Bates office at UAB's Kirklin Clinic were I began dranking 64oz of water! They need my bladder full in order to see easily to insert the catheter with the embryos. My sweet husband sat beside me very nervous as to the decision we were about to be faced with. Insert 3 & risk my safety? or insert 2 & freeze one leaving that embryo to be used in the future?  We met with Dr. Bates who told us our 3 embryos were doing well, two in particular looked really good! One was a 7 cell embryo with a letter grade of A- (If you looked back at my 2009 in-vitro blog post you will see where we were extremely excited that Colton was an 8 cell, grade B embryo b/c they NEVER grade them with an A b/c it's so uncommon! Dr. Bates had told me in 2009 that he had not seen an A embryo in a year & half!) Well, NOW he has! This one has extreme potential for pregnancy! Here is the picture they gave me of this embryo. :)

Then, he told us our 2nd embryo was an 8 Cell letter grade of C! This one also has great potential for pregnancy!!! (the other embryo that was transferred along with Colton was a B- but it didn't take...obviously since I just had Colt) :) Here's a picture of this sweet embryo.

 And for our 3rd embryo it is a 3 cell, letter grade D.

 This is the one we had to decide to transfer or freeze? When Dr. Bates told us it would not make it to the point of freezing it would die on its own in a couple of days we decided we wanted to give it a chance at life! Maybe being put inside it's momma will do it some good & it might be strong willed like it's momma & kick some tail in there & continue to grow! Due to the grading of the 3rd embryo (& it not being so good) our chances of Triplets is ONLY 1%. SO...that doesn't worry us. We know that God is in control & if we have triplets we will cherish them but most likely we will have at least one pregnancy (we hope!). Our chances of twins is 15-20% for all of those wondering :) Dr. Bates did say this batch of embryos is better than our Colton batch AND we GOT a pregnancy with the Colton batch! So it's looking very good that we'll get 1 if not 2 babies out of this IVF cycle!

This is a picture of the 3 Embryos inside me :) Can you see them? Neither can I! :) So no worries!

Here is the sheet they gave us showing the stats of what all we had etc.

Funny Story: After Embryo Transfer today I went BACK to acupuncture. I laid on the bed got my needles stuck in my knees, wrists & ears. This time though...instead of listening to ocean waves the Dr. asked if I would like to listen to Embryo Transfer Meditation. I said Sure! (not having a clue what that would involve) I lay there & hear the soft soothing voice of this woman coming from an Ipod, saying, "take a deep breath, let the tension out, take another deep breath, now visual the embryos attaching to your uterus" !!! Okay at that point I wanted to die laughing! But I couldn't b/c the needles would have hurt had I started moving around. So I took some deep breaths which did get me very relaxed & I decided maybe this was supposed to be the Power of Positive Thinking? So...I did my visualizing...THEN....I no longer heard the soft, soothing voice of that woman...cause I fell asleep! :)

So..I leave you with that for now! Wednesday, February 9th is Pregnancy Test day!!! Woot Woot! Please keep praying that we are blessed with at least one healthy pregnancy if not more! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Embryo Transfer is Tomorrow!!!

Well, my nurse Lee Ann called this afternoon to tell me we are doing Embryo Transfer tomorrow (Thurs 1/27/11) at 10:30am. We have to arrive at 9:30 & prior to that I have to go to acupuncture at 8:15am! Then, I have to return to the acupuncturist after embryo transfer & from there I will go home for bed rest the remainder of the day! Please pray all goes well tomorrow & that we can be blessed with at least one little embryo attaching to me! The procedure tomorrow is no biggie...I just have to drink 64oz of water an hour prior to the transfer, so holding my need to urinate will be the hardest part! ;) They prescribe 1 Xanax pill to calm you for the procedure so I'll for sure be taking that! I've already began my Progesterone Injections once a day (which my sweet husband gives to me in my boo-hiney) which helps me get/keep a pregnancy. So...we're all set! Thanks again for all the prayers thus far! Keep 'em comin'!!! 

Recuperating from Egg Retrieval & Embryo Status

Just a quick note to give y'all an update. Egg Retrieval on Monday went just great. I had a great support team that day with my Dad, Ryan & my brother Jeremy in the waiting room, & Mimi at my house watching Colt for us. I was supposed to be under conscious sedation but I was completely knocked out! And continued to be completely knocked out until really today. Yesterday I was still in some pain & felt like my mind was in a fog. Today though, I feel really normal again. I'm still hurting off & on but that's to be expected. Dr. Bates called me yesterday to let me know that out of 9 eggs retrieved I had 3 embryos. The majority of my eggs were immature (meaning not ready to be fertilized). So the ones that were ready to be fertilized actually formed embryos the rest did not. 3 is less than I expected but as long as I have 2 for embryo transfer tomorrow (thursday) that is great with us. Any remainders will be frozen as we believe life begins at conception & conception for us is in the petry dish. So whatever is not transferred will be used at a later date. We also feel that just leaving an embryo in the freezer is the same as throwing it away so we WILL use whatever is remaining in the freezer at some point. I have already gone to acupuncture today & will also go tomorrow. Right now I am just waiting on a final call from Dr. Bates on the status of my embryos & what time embryo transfer will be tomorrow (thursday 1/27/11). Can't believe we're already to this point! Thank you to so many who have been so helpful this week with watching Colt as I have been on bed rest & had lots of dr's appointments. Mimi (Bev Key) who came early Monday morning to our house to watch Colt then took him home with her that night & let him stay the night at her house with she & Paw Paw.  Paw Paw (Butch Key) took Colt to Mimi's PET Scan appt on Tuesday (which had great results! No Cancer!) then Butchly took Colt him with him all by himself & watched him the remainder of the day (Mimi had to go to Tuscaloosa to see about her Daddy, Velt Dollar, who sadly passed away Tuesday night). Ryan picked Colt up that eve & thanks to him for watching Colt & getting him to bed that night! And that brings us to today when I realized I had an acupuncture appointment & needed a sitter! good ole' friend Brookie Wookie Williams saved the day by letting me drop Colt off for a couple hours to play with Caroline. And she will also save the day tomorrow as I have acupuncture, embryo transfer, acupuncture again then bed rest for the remainder of the day! Thank you friends & family! I'll post an update later today when I hear from the Dr.!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Egg Retrieval HAS ARRIVED!!!

I went this morning to see my IVF doctor, Dr. Bates, & after seeing my egg follicles he declared Monday, January 24th, as my Egg Retrieval Day!!! That's a day earlier than they originally had planned. Which means my egg follicles have gotten close to the necessary size (2 centimeters) & are ready to mature & be taken out. After seeing my progress today he thinks they will get 8-10 eggs out of this retrieval. Which is the same amount they predicted they would get when I did this in 2009 with Colt. He said he was glad they doubled my egg production meds (Follistim & Menopur) this go around b/c if they hadn't I would have probably only gotten 5 eggs. So you just never know how your body will respond, double the meds didn't turn out to be double the result. Just a little tidbit of estrogen level is also something they look at to determine when I will have egg retrieval & today my estrogen level was 1200! On this past Tuesday it was just it increased a lot! I no longer take my Follistim & Menopur injections!!! Yay!!! Starting tomorrow (sunday) I'll be back to 2 shots a day & that's just my blood thinner! 7 shots a day for a week has mostly made me late to everything! :) I had to tack on an extra 30 minutes in the mornings just to get my shots done! Tonight is my hCG Injection (human chorionic gonadotrophin). I was told to do this at precisely 9:30 pm. OH MY WORD! It's 9:30 right now! (seriously this ironic...pause...I'll be right back!) Okay :) 9:42pm  & I've done my injection! :) That shot is to help the egg follicles mature so they can be ready for departure on Monday.

Specific prayer request regarding this procedure. This is the most risky part for me due to my 3 blood clotting disorders, being on blood thinner & this being a surgical procedure. Too retrieve my eggs they take a long needle & insert it through my "female parts". That needle gets inserted into each egg follicle (8-10) & draws the fluid off the follicle & the egg is in that fluid. The risk to this process is that they can nick me with the needle & cause internal bleeding. In case that did happen to me they take preventative measures by having me NOT do my blood thinner (Lovenox) injection the night before nor the morning of the procedure. And of course the risk to that is I could develop a blood clot from not having my medicine. Obviously, none of this scary stuff happened...our prayers were answered & everything went great! So, we are doing everything the same as last time. If it ain't broke...don't fix it right?! But we would still appreciate the prayers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Egg Follicles, Egg Follicles, where art thou Egg Follicles????

Well, a lot has happened this week. I think I should start spending the night up at UAB's Kirklin Clinic I'm up there so much lately! I went to my IVF appointment on Tuesday (1/18/11) & had an intervaginal ultrasound to check out my egg follicle progression. When the Dr's said, "Wow! You're in the lead!" I knew that was a good sign. :) They said my follicles looked great & I was ahead of the other ladies that day with how large mine had gotten in my 4 days of meds. I like a good competition so this made me happy! ;) I had 18 follicles in all. That means 18 eggs are progressing. All of these will not be retrieved. They have to progress to 2 centimeters in order to be taken out & put in the petry dish with Ryan's fishies. I left Dr. Bates office for Southern Pharmaceutical where I get all my IVF drugs. Due to the high cost of IVF drugs they don't prescribe more than necessary. I was running out of my Menopur & Follistim for egg production so I went to pick up more...with a quick stop to Starbucks along the way ;)

After that appointment I went to my 1st accupuncture session of this IVF cycle! I see Dr. Martha Ivey with Alabama Oriental Medical Arts - Specializing in Infertility. I chose to do this w/ the last IVF cycle b/c I figured we should go "ALL IN." Since I was successful & got Colt out of that cycle we're going "ALL IN" this go around too! The idea behind accupuncture & infertility is that the needles help increase blood flow. Increased blood flow can't hurt anything & so it helps the egg follicle production & is supposed to help produce better eggs. All I can say is it's 30 minutes in a dark, quiet room, no phones or computers so it's some great stress relief! I chose to close my eyes & use this time to pray. Sometimes I might sleep but this visit I had a lot on my heart. I had 10 pins stuck in me: one in the top of each foot, my right ear, right hand, left wrist & the remaining 5 in my stomach. (The pictures you see below are actually from my 2009 accupuncture session. This session still looked the same so no need for new pics)

Today, (1/20/11) I went back to Dr. Bates office for another ultrasound & to draw blood to check my estrogen level. My follicles were doing great. Because I was the first appointment this morning I don't know if mine were "in the lead" :) I have about 13 egg follicles that have really progressed from Tuesday to today. Those will most likely be the ones to be retrieved. The others can continue to grow but probably won't grow to 2 centimeters by my egg retrieval day. Starting yesterday I began to hurt in my lower abdomen which is to be expected. I'm starting to feel bloated & when Colton plopped up & down on my lap I squealed with pain! I remember all this from last time but I didn't have a 1yr climbing on me last go around! :) I have to make another trip to Southern Pharmaceutical today for my last round of egg production drugs! Because I have progressed so well my eggs will be ready to retrieve most likely on MONDAY 1/24/11 instead of Tuesday! BUT I have to go to my 3rd IVF appointment this week ON SATURDAY to do all this again & see where we stand. (Auburn i'm sorry I will most likely not be able to attend the BCS National Championship celebration as planned) :(

Because I think pictures make things real (& are more fun to look at than words) have a looksey at the current state of my abdomen. This is after my 4 shots this morning. Tonight I'll add 3 to that list.
*Mason Hinote...(my lil' nephew) that Cars sticker is for you buddy* :)
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Let the INJECTIONS begin!!!

And HERE are THE DRUGS! After my appointment yesterday (Wed. 1/12/11) my WONDERFUL nurse Lee Ann called to tell me my estrogen level was low which was good & my egg follicles looked great. Now, I am to lower my Lupron injection dosage from 10 to 5, begin giving myself a follistim injection in the A.M. and P.M. and begin my Menopur Injection in the A.M & P.M also. So folks...beginning tomorrow I will be giving myself SEVEN shots a day! Can you say human pin cushion? :)

Below is my Calendar of Events, In-Vitro events that is. Next week I will begin Accupuncture (something I did last in-vitro cycle & want to do again just to keep everything the same since it worked!) Tuesday I'll go in for labs & an ultrasound to see how the ole egg follicles are coming along. And then I'll go in for more labs next Friday or Saturday. THEN the fun really begins! Tuesday, January 25th is when they put me under (some of the best sleep ever) to retrieve all my eggs. And on Friday, Jan. 28th Embryo Transfer will take place! I won't actually be pregnant once that happens though, the embryo still has to attach to my uterine cavity/wall. So you all just keep praying that all goes well please!
After that we WAIT! :(
Until Feb. 9th to go in & draw blood to see if I am preggers.  

Tonight I went to an IVF seminar given by the BEST DOCTOR EVER...Dr. Bates :) You would think I know all there is about this topic having already done this once but oh no! there is soooo much more to learn. It's so wild all that they can do these days! My favorite part was getting to see the Embryo Lab. I believe life begins at conception so that means my lil' fella Coltons life began in the Embryo Lab at UAB's Kirklin Clinic. It was cool to see the incubator that has 3 doors you have to open just to get to the embryos. (NO there weren't embryos in there b/c they are waiting on the next round of IVF to fill it up..which will be in 2 weeks with mine!) Each machine in the Embryo lab has it's own security system to keep those embryos safe. That lab is a pressurized room & of course extremely sterile. We couldn't actually go in, we got to look in from the door. I might be a dork but I found it cool to learn about it. :) Well...that's all for tonight. I've got to go get rested up for some morning injections ;)