Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Transfer Day!

Reunited and it feels so good...

Transfer day was finally upon us and we were excited and nervous! Our transfer was scheduled for 2pm, so we had some time to get work done in the morning and get our ducks in a row. Steve and I decided to head to Reno early because of some predicted thunderstorms in the Sierra and I thought it would be nice to have lunch before our transfer. It would also give me a chance to use the restroom before stocking up on fluids as they require a full bladder with transfer and I didn't want to have to be stuck sitting in the car, dying to pee.

For lunch, we decided on Olive Garden and I got myself what will hopefully be my final diet caffeinated soda for quite a while, plus a water, which I waited to drink until after lunch. At the end of our meal, I went to use the restroom for the final time and the server brought the bill and politely asked Steve if we had any exciting plans for the rest of the day. "Why yes!" he responded, "We are going to be reunited with our embryos!" Needless to say the server was a little shocked by his response but wished us well, lol!

When we arrived at the clinic, a little early, I was already bouncing in my seat and by the time they called us back into the room, my eyes were filling up (from having to pee)! Dr. W showed us a picture of our thawing embryos (due to my age and embryo quality, we choose to transfer two) and due to the fact that one was hatching, he suggested we get the show on the road. This was much to my relief because I had to pee!

Both Dr. W and the NP commented on how full my bladder was but pushed on anyway and I was dying! I could hardly focus on anything but having to use the bathroom! I guess I didn't need the third water we took to go from OG.

In awe and amazement, we watched as the embryologist brought our little peanuts into the room and loaded them into the catheter and watched in awe again, on the ultrasound screen as we saw a little flash of white, that was our little peanuts being transferred into my uterus. It was magnificent, we were both speechless.

When it was over, Dr. W reclined the table and set the timer, 15 minutes of inverted calm before I could pee. He left the frozen ultrasound image of our transfer on the screen and put on soothing music and Steve and I reveled in the miracle that had just taken place. At that moment, I was pregnant until proven otherwise. I had two, perfect little miracles inside me. In a few weeks, we will know if one or both of our embryos have snuggled in for the long haul. We hope and pray that they do.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Introducing, our embryos!

We were finally able to sit down with our doctor and discuss our embryos! We even got to see pictures of them and they are beautiful. The love I feel for these little bundles of cells is overwhelming. Our clinic grades embryos on a scale of one to three (one if the quality is not great and three is a perfect) and our embryos are all grade two, which is great news! That means that the cells that will develop into the fetus are grouped together nicely and the cells that will become the placenta are also formed together nicely.

I am all cleared to start prep for our frozen embryo transfer which means twice weekly inter-muscular shots for a few weeks and then every day inter-muscular shots of progesterone. These will be a little more intense than the every day shots I had to do subcutaneously but I know I can do it!

I noticed that we've had a lot of views on our IVF updates and I just want to thank everyone for your continued love and support! So without further ado, five of our six embryos!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Final Embryo Count

We have SIX embryos! SIX! I am very happy with that, especially due to the face that for my age range, only 37% of embryos make it to day 5/6 freeze and over half of ours did!

I would have liked to transfer two of our little embryos back this week, but I am only now (almost a week later) starting to feel better from the OHSS and it would have been too dangerous for me to have had them transferred back. So, we plan to do a FET or Frozen Embryo Transfer next month and we will reunite with a couple of our embabies then!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Egg Retrieval and First Fertilization Report!

WOO HOO! We had 21 eggs retrieved and I am super uncomfortable. It is day two and I feel like death. I can barely move and it hurts to even laugh.

At our ER, the doctor informed us that doing an embryo transfer, in five days, as we had originally planned, will not be possible :(  I have already started to develop OHSS, which is painful and is exacerbated by pregnancy. I am disappointed but in far too much pain right now to fully comprehend how much it sucks to have to wait to transfer any embryos we might have.

On the plus side, 15 of our 21 retrieved eggs were mature and 11 fertilized normally. So as of this moment, we have 11 little embryos chillin in the lab in Nevada! We expect this number to drop dramatically, as only 37% of embryos make it to freeze or transfer on day 5 (a freeze in our case due to the OHSS).

Finally getting ready for ER

My originally egg retrieval date has been pushed back twice but now we are finally on track to stop the stabbing and get ready to have these eggs retrieved. My doctor gave the go ahead to do the trigger shot tonight, which begins the ovulation process, so that they can extract the eggs at my retrieval!

The only problem is that I am at risk for OHSS, which is not surprising as I am already incredibly uncomfortable and my doctor says we should expect to retrieve somewhere between 15 and 20 eggs. So, for the next 7-10 days I am not allowed to drink water and must instead drink gaterade and whey protein shakes. I have a feeling this is going to get really old, really quick.

IVF is uncomfortable

Our first monitoring appointment showed a good number of follicles on each side, which is great news. The only problem; they were growing kind of slowly so the possibility has arisen that instead of ten days of poking myself with multiple needles and buring medications, I will have to continue to do so for another day or two. At this moment, when I am bloated, uncomfortable, in pain and have ovaries the size of Kansas, the idea of continuing to shove needles in my distended stomach is not an appealing one. BUT, it will help us accomplish our end goal: to get as many mature eggs as possible for fertilization, so I will do it and I will try to smile while doing so!

And We're Off!

A few weeks ago, I started a shot a day, with Lupron, to quiet everything down. The shots were easy, as the medication requires the use of an insulin syringe which are very small, so I barely feel a thing.

Things are moving very quickly and I have moved on to the big guns, two medications: Gonal-F and Menopur, in addition to the Lupron. These meds stimulate follicle growth. The hope is that my body will grow as many follicles (with eggs in them) as possible so the eggs can be retrieved in a little over a week and then fertilized.

I am normally terrified of needles. I hate them. I used to have panic attacks when I would have to get a shot or have blood work done but I have learned that this is a mind over matter thing. Not to mention the fact that I just don't have any other choice, IVF means injections. There are no oral meds for this so shots it is and shots I will do!

At first, I was icing my stomach before the shots so that I wouldn't be able to feel them (especially for the Menopur because the medication stings) but after a couple of icings, I realized I could still feel the shots so this morning I went ice free and it really wasn't that bad. So I am going all out, just poke and push, no icing necessary. One of the ladies I know said I was a bad ass for doing my own injections and for not icing but I have to say, I don't feel like a bad ass, I am just doing what has to be done.

My first monitoring appointment is coming up, at which, we will find out just how many follicles are growing and whether or not all these medications are working!

***a little side note: while I have written each of these posts as they occurred, I scheduled them to post a couple weeks after they were written. I've done this because if, for some reason, we have to deal with a negative aspect of IVF, I would like some time to deal with it privately before broadcasting it to the world***

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Surgery and IVF

Infertility treatment always seems to be a series of stops and starts. Just when you think you're on your way, something happens that either slows you down or brings everything to a halt. When we visited the doctor to get everything started with our IVF cycle, we had one of those hiccups that isn't a full stop, but puts a little wrench in our plans.

Before starting IVF, the doctor does a Saline Infusion Sonohysterography (SIS) or water ultrasound to make sure everything looks good inside the uterus so there aren't any problems with implantation after the embryo is transferred. Normally, it's a fairly quick and relatively painless procedure that only takes a few minutes, but I've never been accused of being normal. I've had two prior to this one and while uncomfortable, they don't last very long, and since my previous doctor never gave me any indication that he had seen anything but a "beautiful uterus and lining," I didn't expect to hear anything different this time.

I'll save you the gory details but basically, there were some difficulties with actually being able to get the catheter in, because my cervix didn't want to play. Then, when the doctor began to fill my uterus with saline, I could even see, on the sonogram screen, that something didn't quite look right with my uterine lining. For my first SIS, everything looked smooth and pretty and my lining was very even. For my second, there was one part that looked a little "thick" but nothing to be concerned about. For this SIS, my lining looked... weird. Like rolling hills, rather than the flat plains. What does this mean? Endometrial or Uterine Polyps  which mean bad news for an embryo trying to attach itself to my uterine wall. The polyps just get in the way and stop little embabies from being able to hold on.

So, our only option is a hysteroscopy and polypectomy at the end of next week, before proceeding with IVF. We certainly don't want to attempt IVF without giving those pesky polyps an eviction notice! On the plus side, this will not delay the cycle but it does mean being put under so they can be removed. It also means that because it is infertility related, our insurance is of little help. Again. At this point, I am only surprised when we find out our insurance will cover something!

I know that we are in good hands with this doctor and he will do an excellent job but I am a little nervous, so I will take all the prayers and positive vibes I can get! I'm ready to get this part over with so we can get the IVF show on the road!

As always, if you would like to help contribute in any way, we would appreciate it! Please click on the "How to Help" tab at the top of the page.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

You Are Not Alone

This year I am kicking off National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) by participating in Resolve’s, Bloggers Unite! I am excited to not only share with you information about Infertility but am happy to remind those who are suffering in silence that, you are not alone.

1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility. One in Eight! That means that you most likely know someone who is dealing with infertility and many go through this journey alone. I am sharing my story today so those who are going through the same thing know that they are not alone. I am also sharing my story to let everyone know what it is like to go through infertility.

Infertility is defined by the inability to conceive after a year of frequent intercourse. Due to the fact that I knew it would take a little while for us to get pregnant, we did not share the news with our family and friends in 2009 that we were trying to conceive, plus, we didn’t want our lives to revolve around trying to get pregnant. We were taking the laid back, it will happen when it happens approach and decided that we could pleasantly surprise everyone when it happened. I believed that if we just kept trying, if I just relaxed more and we just “let it happen,” then I would get pregnant  because that’s what I have always heard. People say things like, “It will happen when God wants it to happen” or, “Just have fun! It’ll happen soon enough!” People don’t say things like, “If you’ve been trying for a year, you should see a doctor” or, “Have you tried temping and charting to make sure you’re ovulating?” In fact, we’re led to believe (since 5th grade sex ed) that it only takes once and you’ll be pregnant and for some people, that’s true but for many couples like us, that is not the case. We never imagined it would take so long. Month after month, year after year, nothing happened. Even armed with the knowledge that endometriosis would make it difficult to conceive, we expected with each month, that I would get pregnant. After four years, we had no surprise news to share and eventually, our doctor suggested that it was time to get help.

Going to the Reproductive Endocrinologist was not what I expected, although I will admit I went into it rather blindly. Many women do a lot of research before their first appointment; I just read the clinic’s website. When I filled out the book of forms before my first appointment, there was a question that said: What type of treatment option are you looking for? And I wrote: MAKE ME NORMAL. All I wanted and expected was to be given some kind of magic pill that would help me get pregnant. Easy peasy. Sadly, that was not the case.

First, there were a litany of tests; blood work, transvaginal ultrasounds, saline sonograms and a semen analysis. We were told that my husband’s tests were normal and everything looked good. On my end, however, we were looking at possible Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Endometriosis, a blocked left tube and scar tissue around my right ovary.

To begin, we started with Femara, a trigger and timed intercourse. We just weren’t ready for anything invasive. We still believed that we just needed a little push to get pregnant. Just a little nudge and that would do it. Plus, the idea of the trigger shot alone gave me massive anxiety. I’m not a nurse! You want me to give myself a shot? The first time I did the trigger shot, I was so nervous, I poked myself and pulled the needle back out before I pushed the plunger! Fail!  But the timed intercourse didn’t work. And then it didn’t work again.

We moved on to IUIs (intrauterine insemination) but still didn’t share our journey with anyone for two reasons. The first reason is that I wasn’t sure I could handle my own disappointment and the disappointment of everyone else. I already felt like a failure. This was MY fault. The second reason is because with each cycle, we were sure it was going to work. We were positive that we would still be able to surprise everyone with the news that we were pregnant.

Two months of medicated, timed intercourse, three IUI’s, one cancelled IUI and a year later, we were forced to accept that what we were doing wasn’t working. My doctor sat me down and said that it was time to move on to IVF.

IVF had always seemed like this expensive, dark, looming cloud. For the longest time, I thought it was only something celebrities and other rich people were able to utilize and we assumed that if we ever came to this point, it would be the end of our journey because it was not something that was obtainable for us.  IVF is not covered by our insurance. Until that point, we have been fortunate enough to have some insurance coverage for my infertility treatments, however, due to recent changes in the health care system, we will no longer even have the coverage that we once did.  While our policy says that it covers “50% of the diagnosis and treatment of infertility” there is a large list of exclusions including: medications for the treatment of infertility, artificial insemination and IVF. So basically, it doesn’t cover anything at all. While the little coverage it does offer is somewhat helpful for testing, it does not help people like me with blocked tubes and scar tissue build up from endometriosis.

Who has close to $20,000 just sitting around waiting to be used to make a baby? While there are loans for infertility treatment available, the interest rates are incredibly high. Just the idea of applying for a loan is daunting. You find yourself thinking, if I get a loan that I have to make payments on for two or three or four years, what will I be depriving my future child of in order to be able to make the loan payments? How will I pay for their needs and contribute to a college fund and pay for the loan I had to take just to be able to get my body to work properly so I could have the child in the first place? Instead of just the normal financial concerns of how to afford having children, you have to add the amount of money you have to spend just have the chance to have a child.

BUT, ever the optimists, we decided to try and figure something out. We started saving and fund raising. We cut back our spending to practically nothing. Want a candy bar? Nope. We need to save the money for IVF. We stopped eating out, cut down our cable bill and stopped going shopping for anything that wasn’t a necessity. There was a time when I bought a pair of $50 shoes without batting an eye. Now, I side eye shoes priced over $15 and only buy them if I have worn through the soles on my only pair. So here we are today, moving forward (finally) with IVF and speaking out so that other's know they are not alone.

That is why I have such a passion for Infertility Awareness and NIAW is especially important to me. I believe that we need to change the social stigma that surrounds infertility and educated each other about what infertility looks like and what the treatment options are. It is a taboo subject in our society which makes many people afraid to talk about it or speak up when they are suffering. We infertiles beat ourselves up enough, we already feel broken or damaged and making infertility a taboo subject makes us feel like outcasts.

So speak up, support your friends who are suffering from infertility and educate yourself so you understand what it means to be infertile and what the treatment options are. No one should go through a journey like this alone.

Go to the Then Comes Family facebook page and download a banner to use as your Facebook cover picture to let everyone know that you support the 1 in 8 who suffer from infertility: https://www.facebook.com/ThenComesFamily?fref=ts

For more information and understanding the disease of infertility, check out:

For  more information about NIAW go here:

For Friends and Family of those who suffer from infertility, click here:

Monday, April 13, 2015

We are moving forward!

Gradually, the disappointment of being unable to participate in the study has worn off and it is time to move forward.

After lots of conversations between Steve and I, exploring the possibility of NaPro surgery and discovering that it won't work for me and a phone consult with my new doctor, we have decided to move forward with a May/June IVF cycle! We are finally going to have a chance at conceiving Baby Lane!

It's exciting and scary at the same time. My doctor believes that we have an excellent chance of being successful with one attempt and our chances are even greater with one round of IVF and a (hopefully not needed) second round with an FET (frozen embryo transfer).

We will start the ball rolling with blood tests at the end of the week and I'll be going in to meet with my doctor in about two weeks for a saline sonogram to kick things off... which is when payment is due (gulp). We've had so many generous donations to our IVF Fund and appreciate them greatly. We wouldn't be able to move forward without them. Now, we're in our final push for fund raising and every little bit helps (and I really do mean ANY, from $0.50 to $20, we will be grateful)!

If you'd like to contribute, check out our fundraising site here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Update on our Study Participation

Going through infertility treatments has a lot of ups and downs and sadly, I've experienced another down. Unfortunately it looks like the study is going to close earlier than expected which means I will not be able to participate.

While we are disappointed, we knew that we weren't guaranteed a spot until I was able to complete my blood work. It's frustrating to feel like we've been shut down every time we've tried something new but that does not mean we are giving up! We will continue to save and fund-raise until we reach our goal and realize our dream.

Thank you for all for your continued support!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finally Getting Closer!

I haven't updated my blog in a while because, well, I haven't really had any new news on the IVF front but today, I can say, we may finally be moving forward. We stopped IUI's in May and have been saving and fund raising ever since we found out IVF was our only option. We've continued to live our lives to the fullest, are happy and healthy and celebrate every wonderful day we get to spend with one another. Not surprisingly, however, my infertility and only treatment option are never far from my mind as I continue to support my friends in their journey's. 


In the fall, a friend told me about a clinical trial for a new IVF medication but study participants have to be between the ages of 35 and 42. I was still 34 so I couldn't qualify for the study and I pushed it from my mind. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was drinking some coffee and starting my day when a question popped into my head, "I will be 35 in a few weeks, I wonder if that study is still running?" I looked up the study online and discovered that it is still going on and that a clinic in Reno is participating. I immediately called the clinic, explained my situation and was put on hold. When the receptionist came back she asked me a few more questions and scheduled me for a consult! The deadline for participant enrollment is at the end of March and they wanted to fit me in for an appointment as soon as they had one available.

I was elated. Not only could this be our chance to do IVF, but the study is for a new medication that would be more affordable than the current medications used during a typical IVF cycle. Even if it doesn't work for me, I could be given the opportunity to provide valuable information to the medical community as they develop new and better medications to use in the IVF process. In addition, the study covers the cost of the most expensive medication used in IVF and offers a discount for the procedure.

On our appointment day, Steve and I drove the two hours to Reno to meet with our (potential) new doctor and staff. Unfortunately, suffering from infertility and going through multiple failed rounds of treatments has left me overly prepared for disappointment. While I had hope, I am a realist. The criteria for disqualifying study candidates is long and the closer we got the clinic, the more certain I was that I would not meet the criterion for becoming a participant.

At our appointment, we met the nurse and doctor with whom I would be working. They were both very nice and put us both at ease. We sat down with the doctor and after an hour of talking, discussing my diagnoses, the vitamins and supplements I take, response to medication, failed treatment cycles and options for moving forward (he is in agreement with my former doctor in recommending IVF with ICSI), he explained the details of the study and said that I am a potential match as a study candidate. After a brief TV ultrasound, he said that everything looks good for moving forward and he gave us all the study paperwork and instructions for when to return.

At the end of March, I will go back for another ultrasound and blood work. If everything still looks good, I will begin prep for IVF. It is not yet guaranteed that I will be a study participant but so far, so good. It's progress.

The entire IVF process is not a mad dash, it is more like a slow crawl towards an ever moving finish line. Patients are constantly evaluated, with ultrasounds and blood tests, to determine if the medications are working and how quickly (or sometimes slowly) follicles are developing. Dosages are changed as are expected egg retrieval dates. All-in-all, we expect to travel to and from Reno no fewer than 12 times and the study length is 42 days. We're closer than we've ever been to have a chance to reach our dream of becoming parents and we welcome all the prayers and positive vibes you can spare. It has not been and will not be an easy path but it is one that we are excited to embark upon.

So, that's my update! We are thrilled at the prospect of finally being able to move forward and are dazzled by the idea that within a year, we could have our own tiny human. We know that we have had many of you praying for us and sending us good thoughts along the way and are grateful for all the love and support everyone has shown us. We cannot express how much it means to know that you all care. Thank you for your continued love and encouragement as you follow our journey, it's what gets us through.

I will post more blog updates as we go through the final study approval process and then (hopefully) IVF. As always, my main goal with this blog is to inform and educate. I hope you continue to join us on our Quest for Baby Lane.

We still need your help! If you'd like to contribute and help make our dreams come true, 
please click on the "How to Help" tab at the top of the page.