I didn't go on the last choir tour and I REALLY want to go on the next one. Especially now that I know where we're going (Washington DC, NYC- Carnegie Hall, and Boston). I have never been to NY NY! The next choir tour is in June of 2015. I thought the best timing of our next pregnancy would be April 2015 to be out of the first trimester but still fit into my choir wardrobe. A couple of months ago Chuck and I got to thinking, and praying and decided instead of waiting we should do our next round of IVF now. RIGHT now.
On January 28 we went in for a consultation with my Dr. The only testing he wanted was an ultrasound. The day of our consult was the 2-4 day window that month that we needed. He took us right in and everything looked great! We were ready to start the stimulation meds that moment but, as standard, he suggested we start with birth control. They want everything to be at rest before they stimulate things like crazy. He gave us the clear so we started the birth control that night to get ready for the next cycle. I was on the birth control for 10 days. I went in for my next ultrasound two weeks after my last one and there was a huge cyst in my right ovary. He said if it wasn't hormone producing we could still go through with it for now but they would probably need to drain the cyst (another couple thousand dollars). If it was hormone producing we'd need to wait until it was gone. UGH! Why, after we prayed and decided to move forward with it now, were we being delayed. The birth control did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. I had the exact same thing happen after the first time we tried IVF but that time I'd been misinformed and took both birth control and clomid at the same time. We were never sure what caused the cyst then but I guess it was the birth control.
The nurse told me that my cyst was hormone producing and I would need to wait. BUT once my next period started I could go right in and they would start the hormones right away, skipping the birth control. A thank you! I wish we could have done that last time but who could have predicted that happening.
March 13 I went in for my next ultrasound. The cyst was gone!!! I started taking my shots on March 14. Everything was going great until we found out my left ovary is totally under performing. AGGRAVATING!!! The follicles are growing slower and it's 1/3 in size compared to the right ovary. They said this happens maybe 20-30% of the time. It caused me concern because it meant we may not get any mature follicles from the left at all. That's a lot fewer number than I was looking for. Sad day.
All my meds.
Here's a little video clip we made on day 8 of our stimulation meds. Don't judge me for my appendectomy scarred, flabby, white belly. Oh, and don't judge Chuck for cursing. There's your warning if you will be offended by hearing not one but TWO curse words, folks! Check out the video IF. YOU. DARE.
My mom, trying to get me to think positiively said "Well, you really only need two good embryo's, right?" Wrong. The more the better ALWAYS. No matter how many eggs they extract from you there is no guarantee how many will be mature, fertilize and lastly make it to 5-6 days.
I'm not sure how many follicles (eggs) came from which ovary but they extracted 22 eggs. 10 of the 22 were mature. 8 of those eggs fertilized. On day 3 (March 29) when we went in for the embryo transfer ALL 8 were still going strong. Four of the 8 were good PLUS. I asked if that meant they were B+. He said they were A's and Excellents would be A+. Wow! I can deal with A's. We got all ready for the transfer. They embryologist was very personable and took a lot of time with us guaranteeing our remaining embryos, if good enough quality by day 5-6, they would end up in the freezer to used at a future date.
They all asked us how many A quality embryos we wanted to implant. Chuck and I decided we'd rather be pregnant with twins again than not at all. We'd implant two embryos again (like our last implantation). They embryologist kept checking with us insisting we were probably looking at our next set of twins. We kept to our original decision and implanted both of them. Dr. Hatasaka implanted some of the HCG hormone before implanting our two little embryos. He said it increases chances by 10%. Our chances were 50% but they'll now be 55%.
I took the girls in for every doctors appointment except for one, right during their nap time. They were amazing! They just sat in their little stroller, eating their snack being complete dolls. LOVE them! I also didn't bring them to were our egg retrieval and the embryo transfer. Chucks mom came up to babysit them until we got home. It was a huge help. Thanks Carol!
And now we wait for the longest TWELVE days known to man. It was a lot harder this time around since I'm now a mom and have responsibilities at home. Chuck was a huge help. Luckily my two bed rest days were the weekend and Chuck was home. On Monday I was on my own but still told not to lift my sweet babies. I moved everything to the floor. Changed diapers, read books, etc. It was really hard and they could tell things were off. I didn't dare let them play in the backyard in case I needed to pick them up if they were straying. I couldn't take them on walks because I couldn't put them in the stroller let alone the car. It was a torturous three days. Luckily my friends in the neighborhood came over to put them in and out of bed for their nap. That was a huge help! Thanks Jenn and Lindsey!
Highchairs on the floor
Those days were all worth it though because on April 10 I took a home pregnancy test and there was a FAINT line. I wasn't totally sold on a faint line so I took three different tests, all different brands. They were all faint. I went into the Dr's office for a blood test on April 12. My hormone levels were a 119.3. They were looking for at least 100. I SCRAPED by. Again I didn't love the numbers but I had my first ultrasound to look forward to on April 21st.
April 21st I went in for my first ultrasound. Dr Hatasaka prepped us by saying this early sometimes it was hard to find a heartbeat. I wasn't that worried about it because we saw both girls heartbeats this early (5 weeks 6 days along). He did not see a heartbeat. He also did not see a yolk sac. He did find, however, two pockets of fluid in my uterus. All of those things were not good signs. BUT the baby was measuring at exactly 5 weeks and 6 days so that was a positive sign. He said we'd need to wait 10 days to take another ultrasound. He'd look again for the yolk sac and heartbeat. At that point we'll prepare for the future either way.
I was not familiar with the yolk sac and its purposes. I looked it up and it was worrisome! The yolk sac is the source of all nutrition for the embryo at this stage of the pregnancy. I called the nurse to confirm my findings which was if there was no yolk sac there would be no pregnancy. She said that was correct. I tried to no avail to not sound completely emotional on the phone asking my follow up questions. I was an ABSOLUTE MESS!!! Chuck came home during his lunch break to give me a priesthood blessing of peace and comfort. It completely calmed me and I have been fine since. I'm trying to stay positive until there is an absolute reason not to be.
It's really hard relying on IVF to have all of your children. Two of our six remaining embryos made it into the freezer. One was good and one went down to fair quality. We still have one in the freezer from the first time we tried IVF back in 2011. We have a total of three embryos. That's it. If this baby doesn't make it we only have three in the freezer. Due to the cost of things I doubt we'll have the finances to do another fresh cycle after a frozen one. There are just so many unknowns. We'll have answers in just a day and a half.
IVF is really a wonderful process though. We feel so blessed to have been given our two miracle babies from IVF. Otherwise we would not have the opportunity to have any of our own. It is such a meticulous process. I am so grateful for modern technology. We have faith and hope in our Heavenly Father. We know he's heard and answered our prayers and the prayers of our family and friends. We know He is aware of us and our situation. We know He knows what is best for us ultimately and have faith in Him no matter what happens.
In the beginning of round three I started a personal journal and kept it by my bed. We weren't going to say anything to anyone. People get pregnant and don't say anything to anyone for MONTHS. Why shouldn't we do that? Well, after a while I had the feeling we should put it out there. As a result we've received prayers and support from others. People have come to me about their personal battles with infertility. If I can help anyone in that regard I am more than happy to do it. Being this open wasn't as easy to be this open in the beginning (SIX years ago). Chuck and I have since felt great about being more and more open. If anyone has any questions, please feel free.