A year later…

WE MADE IT!  I have to apologize for not updating in nearly a year.  I had lots of routine doctor’s appointments and an entire photo album of sonogram pics to show for it!  I passed my glucose test with flying colors.  We had a couple of “scares” during my 3rd trimester weekly NST scans.  My babies were little Houdinis in there, and didn’t like to stay on the monitors.  The first time earned me a trip to triage, and the second sent me back to the MFM for a scan.  They were fine; they just didn’t like the pressure of the monitors on them.  I assume it was pretty crowded in there!  All in all, my pregnancy went smoothly,  and I delivered healthy boy/girl twins at exactly 36 weeks.  Emma Isabella Grace was born first at 6 lbs 5 oz and Rylan Mayo was born a minute later at 7 lbs 9 oz.  Don’t ask me how I had twins at such healthy weights!  I did end up with a post partum hemorrhage and needed 2 blood transfusions, but I recovered just fine.  Both babies are doing great.  They are hitting all the milestones on time.  Emma just rolled over last week, and they are both talking up a storm!

We still have 1 embryo in the freezer, and 8 unfertilized eggs. We may try again (though my husband currently says no) at some point, but if we don’t, that’s okay, too.  I like knowing it is an option.  For now, I will snuggle with my two babies and enjoy every moment I can.

I can’t even express how incredibly blessed I am.  There was a time when I wasn’t even sure this would be a reality, but dreams DO come true.  My two little ones are a constant reminder that God is so good, and He DOES hear our prayers.  For those of you going through a similar journey, I urge you, don’t give up!   Keep pressing forward.   May your story have a happy ending, too!

Holy Moly…

We are having twins!  Ahhh!  We are so excited.  A little nervous, but very excited.  🙂  We did not get to hear the heartbeats, but we did get to see the flicker of each on the screen.  I teared up.  It was an emotional moment.  One had a heartbeat of 106, and the other, 103.  One was measuring right at 6 weeks, and the other measured 5 weeks 5 days.  The doctor was not concerned, since it is early and we did see heartbeats.  He said by 7 weeks, they like to see heartbeats of 120+.  Right now, they just look like tiny blobs inside of 2 sacs.  By the time of our next ultrasound (in 2 weeks), they should start to look more like babies.  🙂  We were originally planning to wait until the end of the first trimester to announce our pregnancy, but it looks like I may be showing before then.  So we will have to adjust that.  We are now thinking we will tell close family at 8 weeks, and then slowly start telling friends, etc.  This weekend has been a lot of rest and celebration.  After the ultrasound, we stopped by Babies R Us to look at some crib options.  We just wanted to get an idea of what is out there.  Since I am short, I will have to take that into consideration when picking cribs.  If I can avoid using a stepstool to get the babies out of the crib, that would be great!  Ha ha

Today I did a lot of resting, and then took a nice long walk.  It was a beautiful day, so why not get out and get a little exercise?  We will have another ultrasound at 8 weeks (locally) and a third at 10 weeks.  Then I will get turned over to a MFM (maternal fetal medicine, a high risk doctor) and from there, an OB.  I have to start thinking of what OB group I want to use.  I have time, but I do need to start researching that!  Fortunately, I know several people who recently had babies, so I will be able to get recommendations.

It is a little overwhelming, to find out there are two babies in there.  Lots of questions go through my mind…will I need to go out early for bedrest?  Will I have to have a scheduled C-section?  Will FMLA and short term disability cover my job?  I really want to come back to the same office, so I hope so.  How many diapers will we need?  Will it be cheaper to do cloth, now that we will have two babies?  And it goes on and on.  I tend to get ahead of myself sometimes, so I have to slow down, take it one day at a time, and know that God has a plan for us. Mostly, we are just so excited.

Well I am exhausted, and need to head to bed.  We are still on shots for a few more weeks, which means very early mornings for me!

6 weeks

Today I am 6 weeks pregnant.  I have had small bouts of faint nausea here and there, bit yesterday afternoon and evening was worse.  I had the hardest time finding something to eat.  Nothing sounded appealing at all.  I tried soup for lunch (my norm lately), but it didn’t taste right/ good.  A fridge and freezer full of food, yet nothing sounded good to me.  I usually love chicken, but the thought of warming some up sounded gross.  For dinner, I ended up getting a veggie sub from Jersey Mike’s.  It was the only thing I could think of to eat. And the nausea, ugh.  So the food aversions begin.  🙂

Today we have our first ultrasound. We are so excited!  My husband is coming with me.  Honestly, one or two, we are just thrilled to be pregnant.  One super healthy baby sounds amazing, but so does twins.  We have been looking forward to this day for 2 weeks.  :). Hoping to at least see a heartbeat.  Hearing it today would be amazing, of course!  But we shall see!  Will update after my appointment.  Yaay for ultrasound day!

More Betas

Sorry it has been awhile since I last posted.  I have been relaxing and enjoying early pregnancy!  I had a second beta on Monday, February 8th.  My result came back at 1488!  They were looking for a minimum of a 50%  increase over two days.  According to a lot of websites, an initial doubling time of 48-72 hours is ideal.  My doubling time was more like 37 hr.  A couple of people on the fertility boards (Fertile Thoughts) commented that they think it may be twins.  My nurse said you really can’t tell from the numbers, and have to wait for an ultrasound.  Honestly, one or two, we are thrilled!  I was really happy to hear that high beta numbers indicate a healthy pregnancy, and result in a lower rate of miscarriage.  Dr. S called me on Saturday, Feb 6th, and mentioned those things.

I went in for a third beta yesterday.  I really had no idea what was expected of the number over a week period, but my number came back 16,817 (well, my local RE office, which is where I had the blood drawn, said 16,817.20 but the clinic called and said 16,816).  She told me that was a very good number, and we won’t need to do any more betas since the hcg is increasing as it is supposed to do. I asked her if the numbers gave any indication of how many babies, but again she said no. She has seen low numbers result in multiples, and high numbers result in just one.  I read somewhere that a faster doubling time can mean multiples.  We are just so excited to be pregnant that we want to know (and I am ready to start shopping)! 🙂  I plugged my numbers into this beta calculator website (though I know they say to be careful of using beta calculators online):  http://www.wantbaby.info/calculators/beta-hcg-levels.  I tried my first two betas, and it came back “high chance of multiples” and when I put use my latest beta number (along with either the first or second), it comes back “very high chance of multiples”.

One of the reasons they say you really can’t count on the numbers, is that you may have had an early implanter.  This will make the numbers higher 9dp5dt, since typically, a 5 day embryo does not start implanting until 3 days after transfer.  If it starts implanting on day 2, the numbers will be higher than they would have if it implanted on day 3.  Here is a link to a chart of what typically happens after  3 and 5 day transfers:

What Happens in 3 and 5 Day Transfers

It is possible that we have one, and it was an early implanter.  The two embryos we transferred were great quality (5BB) partially hatching blasts.  Or, we could have two!

The clinic scheduled us for an ultrasound on Friday, Feb 19th.  After speaking with my nurse yesterday, she said we could have it done locally, if we would prefer to do that.  Normally, Dr. S likes to do the first ultrasound, but since I have been seeing my local RE for years, they said he could do it. It will be cheaper overall if we can do it locally, not to mention the savings on the tank of gas.  I am going to call today, and see if they have any openings for Friday.  If not, though, we will be driving to Charleston.  I don’t want to wait until Monday to find out how many babies we have in there!  🙂  My husband is excited, and told me this morning he will be fine with twins.  But then he added, “if it is triplets…” and made a scared face.  Ha ha  I would be VERY surprised if there were three!  At the transfer, Dr. S told us there was a 50-60% chance of a singleton, 20-30% chance of twins and 1-2% chance of triplets.  This, of course, is based on my age and the fact that we transferred two.

Some other good news, we may have found a house.  If all works out, we will be moving out of this 2 bedroom apartment and into a 3 bedroom house (instead of into a larger apartment).  It does need some work, and also an added bathroom (it only has 1, and with 3 of us getting ready in the morning, this will be challenging!).  My husband’s parents bought it at auction, and we are in the 10 day waiting period now.  If all goes well, we will be able to see the inside of the house this weekend.  We went by last weekend and looked inside some of the windows.  If we like it, his parents will sell it to us.  The house is cute, and I think I can get used to the 30 or so minute drive.  And it would be nice to be own something!  🙂

How wonderful it is to know that God sees a big picture and takes care of us.  He knows what we need, and the desires of our hearts.  It may not always be in our timing, but I have faith that He does know what He is doing!

 

 

 

Beta Day!

Yesterday was my beta day.  I went before work so I could have the results same day.  I told the ladies at the office that this cycle felt different than last time.  I really had a good feeling.  My husband and I each took a half day so that we could be home to get the news together.  I was nervous and excited, yet also felt a sense of peace.  I was at the point that I knew whatever the result was, I had done all that I could.  My husband was more anxious than me.  Just before the nurse called, he told me if this time happened to be no, he would be more crushed than last time.  I briefly started to question my symptoms from the week.  Every symptom I told him about, every time I mentioned I had a good feeling, I was building his optimism a little higher.  I prayed I was right.

There was a sweet, older woman that came into my office a few days ago.  She is one of our residents.  She looked at me at one point, and told me I was glowing.  She then leaned in a bit, looked into my eyes and held her gaze for several seconds.  She then asked if I was pregnant.  I was caught off guard.  I just laughed, and told her everyone asks when I’ll start having kids.  A coworker changed the subject, but the woman returned to it before she left.  She told me to be careful, to which I jokingly replied, I don’t have to be careful, I’m married!  She said as long as you’re ready, and I told her I was.  She smiled and told me I will be pregnant very soon.  After she left, my coworker told me the lady is very intuitive.  She also said she would have people tell her she was pregnant and find out later they were right!

Anyway, back to waiting for the call.  Just before 2, the nurse called.  I put it on speaker so my husband and I could both hear.  She said the number came back, any I was pregnant!  I cried.  I couldn’t believe it was happening.  It worked, and we’re pregnant!  Ahhhh!  My husband jumped up and hugged me.  The nurse said my beta number was strong at 338.  I asked her if that meant twins, but she said you really can’t tell from the beta number.  We will wait for the ultrasound.  The beta number is a good indicator of a healthy pregnancy. I have a second beta scheduled for Monday, and a third on the following Monday.  They want to see the numbers rise at a certain ratio (i.e. double every xx hrs)  from what I understand.  We will need to travel to Charleston for the first ultrasound.  Dr. S likes to do that one.  She scheduled it for Friday, February 19th.  She said we may hear the heartbeat.  🙂 After the initial one, Dr C can do the follow up ultrasound locally.  My meds will stay the same.

We are not sharing the news with family and friends just yet.  We will wait til 8 or 12 weeks.  We haven’t decided.  We just want to be far enough along.

For now, we will tell just the ones who need to know.  I texted my acupuncturist.  She said she knew it! 🙂 I can continue my community acupuncture appointments. Every 2 weeks is recommended, but I can come weekly if I am nauseated.

I also called the specialty pharmacy to get a refill on the progesterone ethyloleate.  Five more weeks of shots, but this is all so worth it.  🙂

I took a home pregnancy test ( had 2 leftover from last time) to see it for myself.  I know it isn’t the first urine of the day, but I knew I would see a line.  There it was!  I repeated it this morning, and boy was that line dark!

I wanted to post this yesterday, but we were celebrating and enjoying the news.  We went out to dinner in celebration.  I wanted to do something cool like buy something special (a first item) for our baby (or babies), but my husband wants to wait until the ultrasound.  It makes sense, since we will find out if there is one or two.  Holy moly we’re pregnant!  🙂

 

 

2 Week Wait

I am halfway through the “2 week wait”!  My beta is Friday, and I am really looking forward to it.  I tend to be an optimist, and I really do have a good feeling about this cycle.  I have experienced some symptoms (though I try not to read into it, it is still hard not to). Sometimes symptoms can be from meds, and sometimes from pregnancy. What I have been feeling during the last 5 days:  twinges and minor “pains” (primarily in my lower right abdomen), increased thirst (and waking up thirsty in the middle of the night), subtle occasional nausea (faint), more tired than usual (hubby and I went to the mall to walk around on Sat, and it wasn’t long before I felt wiped out!), and occasionally I have been feeling flushed.  Anything could be causing these feelings, but I pray they are all good signs of what will be a positive beta.

Acupuncture went well on transfer day.  It was very relaxing, as usual!  My sessions since transfer have been private sessions.  Instead of the reclining chair, I am on a heated massage table.  I felt like I had a few extra needles, too.  She also massaged the top of my head, rubbed my feet, and rubbed some Mama’s Secret on my belly.

I took it easy the first couple of days (lots of rest, and minimal moving around).  On Saturday afternoon, my husband and I went to the mall to walk a bit.  It felt exhausting!  We were going to stop at the grocery store on the way home, but I was so tired.  Sunday we got up early to get newspapers and then hit the grocery store.  We went to breakfast, and then came home to rest.  In the afternoon, I went with him to refill our water jugs.  Yesterday, I did a little more.  I did some shopping in the morning, followed by acupuncture, some rest, and then took my MIL to the grocery store to teach her couponing.  I was ready to put my feet up when I got home!  Andrea said to gradually get back to regular routine, and I think I’ve done well with that so far.  🙂

Acupuncture yesterday was similar to transfer day.  She put a few extra needles in my head this time.  She also put one near my breastbone.  She had me take a few deep breaths as she stimulated the needle around a bit.  She said it helped release Chi energy to other parts of my body.  As usual, I fell asleep during the session.  🙂

I woke at 3am this morning feeling warm and thirsty, and haven’t been able to fall back asleep (hence this late night/ early morning post!).  I return to work today, so I should try to get some more sleep!  Will post more later!

 

 

Transfer Day!

Today was our embryo transfer.  I woke several times last night because I was so afraid we would wake up late.  Not a goid thing when you have a 3 hour drive!  We left a little late, but made it.  I nearly forgot my AM PIO shot.  Thankfully I remembered just before walking out the door.  (Now THAT would have caused a bit of stress!).

When we arrived, Dr. S met with us to review info and answer any questions.  We would be transferring 2 embryos as planned.  They were both partially hatching 5BB blasts.  Both survived the thaw well.  We still have 1 frozen embryo (4BB) and 8 frozen eggs for future use.   He reviewed the grading and the transfer procedure.  With these 2 embryos, he told us we would have a 50-60% chance of a pregnancy, and 20-30% chance of having twins.  We would honestly be fine either way, but if we have twins, boy/girl twins would be cool.  🙂 I am not picky.  Just the opportunity to have a healthy baby is enough!

From there, we went to another room to get changed.  The OR is a sterile environment, and embryos are fragile/sensitive to scents, etc.  We were told in advance to not wear any fragrance or cologne.  I had to undress from the waist down (except for socks) and put on a paper gown and white cotton robe.  My husband had to put on a white paper jumpsuit (which I dubbed “the Hazmat suit”).  We both had to wear hair nets and booties.  I took a few minutes to do a few fertility yoga poses to get my blood flowing.   When we were ready, they took us to one of the OR rooms.  We ended up in the same one as last time.  I had to climb onto the table and put my legs in giant stirrups.  They gave me a paper blanket to cover my exposed area.  They checked my bladder to make sure it was full.  Thankfully, it was!  All that water I drank on the 3 hr ride did the trick.  They likeca full bladder because it pushes down and “flattens” the uterus, creating an easier path for the catheter during transfer. They confirmed my name, date of birth, husband’s name and date of birth.  I like that they double chwck and confirm this.  We saw the labeled straw and our 2 embryos on the big screen.  Then the Dr prepared and inserted the catheter.  The embryologist came in w our embryos, and the Dr inserted them.  We could see the actual transfer on the ultrasound.  They checked the straw under a microscope to ensure both were transferred, and printed out a couple of u/s pics for us to take with us.  They did it last time, too, and it was a nice touch.  We went back and got changed, and met with our nurse for final instructions.  A lot was the same, but there were a few changes.  First, I did not have to lay flat for 30 min immediately after the transfer.  The clinic did studies and found it not necessary.  Not doing it would not affect pregnancy chances.  Also, they now only ask that you take it easy for 12 hours.  After that, you can move around a bit more.  She said I would not want to stay in bed and not move for 5 days.

My beta is scheduled for Friday, Feb 5th.  Between now and then, I have to keep my activity light.  They also said no hot tubs/saunas, no heating pads on my belly, no strenuous activity and no intimacy until my beta.  That part was the same as last time.  Stairs, riding in/driving cars were fine.

We drove straight back after the procedure, stopping for lunch along the way.  I had an acupuncture appointment at 5 PM.  I am exhausted, so I will post about that later.

All in all, we are super excited that the transfer went well.  We are praying this is our cycle to bring home a baby!

Night Before Transfer

Tomorrow is our big day!  I have been on morning PIO shots since last Friday, and vaginal prometrium capsules at bedtime since Saturday.  That is slightly different than last time, where I has 2 shots per day, and did not start the prometrium until transfer day.

A coworker commented today that I seem calm about all of this, this cycle.  She is right.  I do feel calmer and more relaxed.  I think part of it is the acupuncture.  I also think it feels different when you’ve been through it before.  The meds are second nature to me now.  I also worry less about being 5 minutes late on my med.  There is only so much of this process within my control.  As I sit in bed tonight, the lavender scent flowing from my diffuser, I feel peace.

I am going to try the pineapple core thing, and I also picked up Brazil nuts and pomegranate juice.  Those are things I have heard may help with implantation.  Since that was my issue last time, I will try whatever may help.  If it can’t hurt, why not try it?

Here’s the scoop on pineapple.  Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain.  It is an anti inflammatory agent, and acts as a blood thinner.  For IVF’ers, it drives blood flow to the uterus and helps with implantation.  They said eating pineapple on transfer day and the few days after is ideal.  Bromelain is more concentrated in the core, so you want toake sure you eat some of that each of those days.  I have read that too much pineapple can be a bad thing, so be careful how much you eat.  I read that you can slice a pineapple into fifths, and eat one fifth each day.  I may eat a little less than that each day, because I don’t want to cross the fine line of “too much”.  The Brazil nuts and pomegranate juice (pure pomegranate juice, not a blend) are supposed to assist with implantation, too.  

As I may have mentioned before, my acupuncturist recommended lots of warming foods such as soups and things made in a crock pot.  I made a good amount of chicken and vegetable soup tonihht, so I can easily warm it up.  She also told me to keep my hands and feet warm (warm feet = warm uterus), and my belly covered. We are driving to the clinic and back same day.  I have acupuncture when we get back to town tomorrow.

It is getting late and I should get a good night’s sleep.  We have to be at the clinic by 10 am, s we have to be up and out of here by 6 am.  I will update after the transfer.  🙂

 

 

 

Vitamin D and First PIO of Round 2…

A nurse from my local RE office called this morning.  My vitamin D results came back.  Low.  Again.  Seriously?  I had it tested in October as part of routine labs, and found it was low at 26.  My primary care physician put me on 8 or so weeks of prescription dosage vitamin D.  I finished near the end of December, and resumed my usual 2000 ui daily dose.  Today, I found out my level was 27.  Really?  All that and it only increased by 1?

I’m borderline freaking out.  I’ve read where studies associate low vitamin D with low implantation rates.  A lack of implantation appears to be the issue from my last cycle.  All of my numbers were great, just like this time.  I really want to boost my vitamin D, and fast.  I know it is not an easy thing to do, if it is even possible.  But I will try anything to boost it.

My RE wanted me to take 2000 iu daily.  I stopped her.  That is what I’m taking.  What I’ve been taking.  She said she would check with Dr. C and call me back.  While I waited, I emailed Andrea and texted Alison, my acupuncturist.  Alison recommended vitamin D drops.  It is vitamin D3 liquid.  Each drop is 1000 iu.  I asked if it works faster, and she said yes.  She recommended 5 to 6 drops daily, under my tongue.

The RE office called back and said I should increase to 5000 iu daily.  I figured, since I need to boost it fast, I will go with Alison’s recommendation and do 6 drops.  I picked some up from her today, and tried it out at lunch.  I was happy to discover it has no taste or smell whatsoever.  🙂

Other good food sources of vitamin D are salmon and tuna.  I had salmon for lunch, and plan to eat it regularly until transfer day.

Andrea finally got back to me at the end of the day.  She told me to go with whatever dosage my regular doctor recommends.  I had also asked her if acupuncture was fine for the day of transfer.  I was going to do it, regardless, but I promised my husband I would ask the clinic.  She said that was fine.  I do feel better knowing they are not against it.

I had my first PIO shot this morning.  My RE drew circles on my hip/butt area yesterday, so that my husband would know exactly where to administer the shots.  I may have mentioned before that my husband has had some medical training on the job.  Definitely comes in handy with shot administration!  We did, however, make a discovery this morning.  They sent us 2 types of needles.  We were sent 1.5″, 22 gauge needles attached to the syringes, and also, 1″ 25 gauge needles separately.  On the syringes and 22 gauge needles, the script instructions state to use the 22 gauge to draw up the PIO, and to use the 25 gauge needles to inject.  I checked our leftover supplies from last cycle, and sure enough, we had 2 types of needles in there, too.  We went through an ENTIRE cycle using the larger needles to draw up AND inject for EVERY PIO shot I had to take!  LOL  I couldn’t believe we missed that.  Today, we used the smaller needle, and let me just say, what a difference!  🙂  I will be much happier and hopefully less sore this round.

 

Round 2, Here we go!

After taking a couple of months off (to deal with the outcome of last cycle, and get through the holidays), we are back and ready for round 2.  We will be transferring 2 of the 3 frozen embryos from last cycle.  In October, I found out that my vitamin D level was low.  Probably did not help my last IVF cycle!  I read somewhere that low vitamin D can be related to a lower implantation rate.  My general doctor put me on prescription dosage vitamin D (50,000u 1x per week) for 8 or so weeks.  Since that was such a high dose, I was told to discontinue my daily 2000u OTC pill for the time being.  I did continue to take my prenatal vitamins.  Once I finished the weekly vitamin D, I went back on the OTC daily vitamin D.

I have also been seeing an acupuncturist.  She is AMAZING.  I get so relaxed that I fall asleep during the treatment.  Every time.  It’s like a scheduled weekly nap.  🙂   I do believe it is helpful.  One of the benefits is increased blood flow.  When I was waiting for my period to come after last cycle (which can take awhile after an IVF cycle, I assume due to the meds), I had acupuncture and actually got my period later that same day.  I was on Vitex (a supplement that is supposed to help with implantation) during cycle days 14-1, until I started this cycle.  She also gave me good tips for this cycle and my upcoming 2 week wait.  She told me to eat warming foods (soups, foods cooked in a crock pot) and try to avoid eating/drinking too many cold items.  She recommended 1 cup of raspberry leaf tea each day.   My feet tend to be cold, and she recommended that I wear warm socks and try to keep them warm in general (at my sessions, she would bring in a heat lamp to put on my feet…it felt so good!)  I am also supposed to keep my midsection covered and warm.  She also told me to keep my blood flowing by walking, doing yoga, etc.  I can pretty much do any activity up until transfer day.  I have a fertility yoga dvd that I have done occasionally.   It is gentle enough that anyone can do it during any portion of fertility treatments.  I plan to continue to do that in the coming weeks.

As for the cycle meds…I was on birth control for most of December, and started my estrace on January 10th.  My estrace schedule is the same as last cycle.  Start off with 1mg 2x per day, and work up to 2mg 3x per day (8 AM, 2 PM and 8 PM as instructed).  I had a minor scare yesterday…I realized at 6:15 PM that I MISSED my 2 PM dose!  Of course, my clinic was closed.  After talking to a coworker and doing a google search, I ended up taking my missed dose, and pushing back my 8 PM dose by 2 hours.  I posted on a fertility site forum, and found that others had missed doses occasionally, too.  They did the same thing and they were fine!  That made me feel better.  Today, my nurse told me that even if I missed a dose, it would have been fine.
I had my lining check and blood work this morning.  Since my clinic is 3+ hours away, my monitoring is being done through my local RE (same as last cycle).  It is so convenient this way!  Dr. C did 3 measurements, and he said they would average them.  It came out to 11.6.  Dr. C said anything over 10 is good, and my clinic likes to have a minimum of 8.  My estrogen came back at 276 and my progesterone was 0.6.  My nurse, Andrea, said they were perfect numbers.  I also had them check my vitamin D level, but it won’t be back until Monday or Tuesday.  Hopefully my vitamin D level is within normal range!  My transfer is scheduled for Wednesday (1/27), so I really will not have time to change my dosage if it is low.

I start PIO (progesterone in oil/ethyl oleate) tomorrow.  The good news is they no longer have patients do 2 shots per day (which makes my butt/hips very happy!).  Now it will be 1 shot in the morning, and prometrium vaginal capsules at night.  I am excited for a round 2, and really, really hope and pray that this is the cycle we have success!

Well, off to bed for me…I have an early day tomorrow!