Saturday, October 30, 2010

24 hours with baby.

baby is healthy! baby had seven cells yesterday (hopefully today we are working on 10-12 and implantation) and little fragmentation. here is a photo (sorry for the poor's a phone photo of a printed photo):

they did an ultrasound-guided transfer (if you're doing ivf and your doctor DOESN'T do this, you need to find a new doctor). we watched the little tube go up, curve, and go right into the place the doctor had marked on the screen. then, bloop, out came baby and a little air bubble. the air bubble is the little white dot you see on the left. baby is near it:

we have almost two weeks before we can go back for a test. i'm seriously not sure how i am going to make it that long.

i have been sitting and laying around since the procedure. i got up a minute ago to rinse out the coffee pot...aside from showering and peeing, it's about the most i've done, and i'm ready to get up. i know it's best to rest, so here we are, me and baby, sitting on the couch. again.

i also asked my doctor if it was normal to be soooo sore after the surgery on tuesday. she said yes, and that i might be sore for a few weeks. she said people with endometriosis usually have more pain because the surgery irritates the endometriosis. thanks again, endo. i love you, too.

the progesterone shots are going well. justin is good at giving them and he encourages me the whole time. the needle doesn't hurt like you'd think, but afterward it knots up and feels like someone punched me. it's not the agony i thought it would be, though, and i know that baby needs the progesterone, so that makes it easier.

please keep praying for healthy development and implantation, for a positive test in two weeks, and for a healthy pregnancy. God has really provided for us in all of this - surprising us and the doctor (she acted really surprised that our one chance did so well - go baby!).

*disclaimer: for insurance purposes, there's no positive test, so there's no rate change. (just in case someone higher up at the company needs to get a hobby instead of googling customers.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

excited and nervous.

well, one of my eggs did not fertilize...but one DID. :D praise God!

so tomorrow we go for the transfer and come home with our baby!

we will also get a photo of baby tomorrow. it makes me nervous because i have looked at a lot of photos of developing babies and i will know automatically how baby is doing. i want lots of big circles, lots of development, and little fragmentation. it makes me excited and anxious and terrified...

wow. a baby.

that's another thing. i worry that people think it's silly to get excited since it's so early and i have over a week before a pregnancy test. i worry that (and know that some) people don't think it's actually a baby yet. i don't like it.

i imagine someone naturally conceiving and having a positive pregnancy test and someone looking at them and saying, "yeah but it might die in a few days. it's only a fetus anyway." no, it's not. it's a baby. it's a person.

i understand that baby has to overcome a lot more than most. it has to find a place to settle in and grow after being in a petri dish for three days. it has to grow and develop normally after getting most of its start hours away from its mom and dad.

but tomorrow it will be with us, and we are happy about that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

this might be the most nervous i have ever been. ever.

well, i am guessing that wednesday midday to wednesday afternoon will be the most nervous time.

tomorrow morning is the egg retrieval and then they will do the ICSI fertilization attempt. i am not nervous about the surgery. i am sure i will cry when they go to take me in, because i did that last time (though it was a much bigger surgery). i am sure i will be heavily drugged for the remainder of the day, and i will probably wish that i was on wednesday too.

i am going to work on wednesday for the regular school day unless i am not feeling well, but i at least have to go for the afternoon and for parent-teacher conferences all evening. needless to say, it will be a stressful and busy day aside from our ivf happenings.

i haven't decided if i will ask my boss if i can answer my very important phone call, or if i will lock my phone away in the closet and not look at it until after work, and i'm not sure i have the willpower for the last one.

i am terrified to get a call at 1:00 as my classes begin for the afternoon just to hear that we have nothing waiting for us. i know it sounds so pessimistic, but i don't think you get to this point and have a lot of faith in the way that your body works, whether it's inside or outside of you.

we need a lot of prayer in the next few days, and hopefully over the next nine months too. please pray for healthy, growing babies, a successful transfer, implantation, and healthy pregnancy. i know i have asked, but i feel at this point that i can't ask enough.

i know that God can use this to work a miracle for us. i hope He does.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

this week

a few people have asked me exactly what is going on this week, so i thought i would write a short blog to let you all know.

yesterday the doctor's office called and scheduled me for surgery on tuesday morning. this surgery is for egg retrieval, which is basically me going under and them taking a needle and aspirating the follicles (read: sucking all the eggs out...sorry for the grossness lol).

after that is done, they will attempt to fertilize two of the healthiest eggs they can find. they will do this by injecting the eggs, in a process called ICSI. it has good success rates but sometimes doesn't work, so it's up in the always. :P

the rest of the eggs will be frozen. if i have a baby or babies from this first procedure, these eggs will be discarded later.

on wednesday they will call me and let me know how the development is going. to be honest, i am terrified they will call and say that we have nothing. it is my prayer and hope that they will call and say we have two healthy "embryos," just developing away.

if all goes well until that point, then friday we will go back and i will have the babies transferred back to me.

ten days to two weeks after that, they will make me come back for a blood test to see if the baby or babies implanted. obviously, implantation means pregnancy, and would be my first ever (and maybe only) positive pregnancy test.

please be praying with us through this week, that tuesday's surgery and fertilization go very well, that the eggs both fertilize, that the babies grow and are healthy, that they implant after the transfer, and that i have a healthy pregnancy. we appreciate it so very much.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

my grandparents' house

when i was little, they had the longest driveway and biggest yard in the world. and one of the biggest houses, too.

i have pictures of myself playing with puppies in their driveway; i remember smelling the lilac bush walking around outside while staying far enough away from the old well that i wasn't supposed to touch.

at the back door was an old cast iron bell that i liked to ring when we went to visit. through the screen door was a heavy wooden door with windows that looked remarkably like the one justin and i have in the dining room. the furnace room was at the end of the entryway and the kitchen was to the left.

in the kitchen, i would pull a chair away from the table and take canned goods from the cabinets, pretending to grocery shop.

the canned goods without their cabinets.

i remember grandpa heating up his coffee in the microwave - he always makes instant coffee. he used white coffee cups, diner style, for as long as i can remember.

a cup with smoke stains from the fire.

in the living room was the fireplace, which i never remember being lit, but i spent a lot of time near it playing with lincoln logs and tinker toys, toy dishes and the old-fashioned egg beater that grandma let me play with.

once seth and i hid from grandma in the clothes racks in the laundry room. i remember we went in there, and then she called to us and we thought maybe we shouldn't have been in there, so we just hid. i remember us trying to hold our giggles in so we wouldn't be discovered.

grandma's bedroom was what had been the original living room, so it was large enough to hold a piano and a computer desk.

the computer.

the back of the piano.

upstairs were the bedrooms our dad and his brother and sister grew up in, filled with all kinds of treasures from our family's history. a cedar wardrobe that smelled fresh and wonderful when you opened the door. a metal dollhouse from the 1950s. a flintlock rifle. a powder horn passed down through generations. my great-grandma's singer sewing machine.

the sewing machine fell when the second floor collapsed. my cousin found it and sat it up here.

there are so many more memories that flood into my mind...sitting against a big olive green corduroy pillow with my care bears tv tray watching television, eating red hots and cheetos from their little orange tupperware cups. the smell of the cabinet that held all of the candy and goodies. sitting at the table eating ice cream cones and getting caught sticking my ice cream on the table after watching ryan do the same thing and hide it faster than i could. playing with the toy cars and tractors that my dad had played with. looking through the astronomy book with grandpa. sitting around in the living room talking. going upstairs just to explore.

it's hard to believe that the house is reduced to this:

i had to go look around last night and just see everything...or rather, what was left of everything. we got ready to go and i turned back and walked toward the lilac bush and i found a page from one of grandma's hymnals lying on the ground. i was shocked to read it, and brought it home to frame and hang on the wall.

praise Him, praise Him. yes indeed. i visited my grandparents last night. the fire that destroyed the house only destroyed things. my grandparents made it out and are alive and well. and God is still on the throne.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

upcoming: a look at the follicles

so my "levels" are good. i have clicked around a bit online (my favorite tool for self-diagnosis, or rather, diagnoses) and discovered that the normal estradiol levels are around 60. on monday i was at about 250, and today i was at 680. that is really exciting and cool because it means my follicles are developing. they have to get closer to 3000-4000 from what i can tell, but i've only been on stimulating meds for six days so i will get there.

at my next appointment, i get blood work done again to check those levels, and then i get an ultrasound so that we can see all of my (hopefully) developing, growing, happy follicles, preferably full of very healthy eggs to make babies with.

the new shot hurts very bad and it makes me anxious about the progesterone, which is worse. but i will be ok. i will get used to it. three shots a day and it takes less time to do than it originally did to get one, mostly because i was freaking out so much at the beginning.

also, my grandparents' house burned down, completely. there is almost nothing left. i want to write a blog about it, about some things about it, some memories and some thoughts, but i want to go out there and see it first.

i haven't been because it's hard to go after work but before shots, and because we did spend the afternoon yesterday with grandma in the hospital. she and grandpa both got out ok, but there was a bit of smoke inhalation and then some stress on grandma's heart. i think we might try to go on friday. so continue to pray for them, for health and also for peace. it has to be hard to lose everything, from family heirlooms to simple things like clothing, and it's not easy on them, i'm sure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

from today's appointment:

everything looks fine.

i got up at 5:00 for that. and went to st. louis and back. the appointment took all of 15 minutes. i got blood drawn and an ultrasound, where we looked at my tiny follicles (they should be tiny with the meds i've been on) and a cyst on EACH ovary (which i can't remember if i knew already or not). the cyst on the right is 2cm and the cyst on the left is 4cm. the one on the right never hurts so i didn't know or forgot it was there.

i turned in my paperwork to the lady who was going to draw my blood for the estradiol test. she looked it over and told me that i meant to circle "yes" for the freezing embryos option. i told her it was no mistake. we were freezing eggs, but not embryos.

she said, "are you doing ivf?" i said, "yes." she said, "then you will have embryos." i said, "yes, but we are only fertilizing two eggs. we won't have any embryos to freeze. only eggs."

and she ROLLED HER EYES and said, "oooohhhhh-kayyyyyy." lady, you are not some huge philosopher theologian. your job is to stick a needle in my vein and put the blood in a plastic tube. we have discussed this, prayed about this, talked to the doctor about this, and decided on THIS, and you need to keep your butthole opinion out of it.

i debated complaining about it to my nurse there, but i have to have her take my blood a bunch more and i don't want to make her mad. one more off comment like that, though, and i might stick her with her own needle. grrrr.

then i got to work and had to give three tests in 39 minutes for two class periods in a row and it was stressful and i am tired and i am very glad to be home again.

the end. or rather, the beginning.

i go back next week for another appointment for bloodwork. friday i start TWO shots a day, and by monday or tuesday we will be up to THREE shots a day. please be praying for us as we are a bit stressed with the travel, early wake-ups, many doctor's appointments, and of course, needles needles everywhere.

and please be praying that babies for us are the wonderful outcome of all of this. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 1/2 weeks in.

well we have successfully made it three and a half weeks into the ivf process.

the first week and a half was terrible. i started the pill and it made me nauseous every. single. day. it was horrible. i tried to switch to taking it at night but when combined with the night-taking of the prenatal vitamin, it kept me up. i finally started taking it at lunch and the nausea stopped altogether. i took my last pill last thursday.

a week ago, i started lupron shots. the needle doesn't really hurt, but the medicine burns going in, then it itches, and it usually gets red like a bug bite. justin gives me the shots so that it's not a psychological battle.

justin has had a lot of worries about the process, because it is so unnatural and so invasive and so serious. there are a lot of things that come with ivf that don't come with a normal pregnancy. namely, you have had to struggle a LOT to get to the point of ivf, so you have issues with being negative, being worried, being stressed, and being incredibly medicated and emotional (for the woman, at least). and then the fact that the baby is outside of your body for a few days and you can't just have it with you and care for it in the natural way creates a few more issues. so just be praying for peace in this decision.

i feel that we have eliminated most other ethical issues that are actually valid, so i am comfortable, but still scared it won't work. pray for us - i plead with you, pray for us - that it WILL work, and that we will have two healthy babies from this process.

the medicine hasn't had a lot of side effects until the past few days. each night i have been waking up at around 2am, kicking the covers off and whining because i get SO HOT. hello, menopause. nice to meet you. (as if my body didn't feel 30 years older than it is anyway.) the hot flashes end soon enough and i cool off, but by that time i'm usually wide awake. my endometriosis had also seemed to be as dormant as it gets as far as pain, and it's been a bit agitated the past few days as well. and last night i just sobbed on the way home from justin's family get-together because i was just too emotional to manage it. being on hormone medication for six months has not been my favorite thing.

our appointment is this week, and then we should start the stimulation shots on friday. i'm not sure about the schedule after that, but i will find out more at our appointment.

adoption is seeming so daunting right now. i feel like we have waited and waited and waited, and adoption is more of that. there are the classes to attend and the home study to get done and then the actual wait for someone to give up their child, which is a terrifying concept in itself - and which is becoming less and less popular since abortion is so readily available and so "normal." it is also so costly, and we really don't have the extra money for it. i know that God provides, but it is so easy after going through all of this to have very little faith that something is going to work out well.

so that's my update on this monday morning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

a summary

so for those of you who haven't been following, or who would rather not read all of my blogs - which, at lots of points, i can totally understand - i would like to give a summary of our decisions for the pursuit of parenthood.

first, we have done a lot of research on adoption, but since insurance pays for one round of ivf, we are doing that first.

we are attempting to fertilize only two eggs to avoid freezing embryos. we will freeze any other viable eggs. these can be used for another round of ivf - a simpler, much cheaper one - should the first round not result in fertilization.

justin gave me my first shot tonight, and it will only increase from here for the next month and hopefully longer. so we are doing this thing for sure.

aside from the ivf, we definitely feel led to adopt and feel that God has brought us to this place in order to prepare us to be parents in that way, either in addition to children from ivf, or by adoption alone. we are still looking at different places and researching cost, but loans and grants are available. (rare, but available, and God works in mysterious ways, so that might be one of them.)

so, that is my pursuit of parenthood summary.