my girl Cayenne

CayenneHere she is, my amazing new little girl, Cayenne! We got her about a week ago, and she is making such a difference in our life already. She’s an American Pit Bull Terrier, and just the sweetest dog I’ve ever met (don’t believe all the hype you hear about pit bulls being evil mean dogs). I fell in love with her the moment we brought her home. She’s been keeping us busy with all the walks that we take her on, along with the school that I’m going through, so blogging has definitely taken a back seat. I have about 150 unread posts in my Google Reader, and I’m afraid they’ll probably just keep adding up.

It’s truly amazing how much happier I’ve been since bringing her home. I feel like she’s helping me heal from my last failed IVF cycle, like she’s filling the void of not having any children. It feels so good to take care of her, and she’s so loving towards us. I also feel more at peace with our decision to put off any more fertility treatments for the next several months. I’m not saying that my desire to have a child is any less, just that I don’t feel as urgent about it. Our time will come eventually, whether it be through IVF, DIUI, or even adoption. In the meantime, I have my girl to take care of.

taking a break

It looks like life has helped Mike and I make our decision for the next step. I’ve been offered a seat in a 3-month class which I will attend in place of work, the same class I was offered back in August before we started our first IVF cycle – which I decided to pull myself out of. Since this is the last time I’ll be offered the class I didn’t think it was wise to pass it up once again, so I told my work to sign me up. So all fertility treatments will be put on hold until this class is over. Although we had already discussed taking a break, I was still torn over the decision of putting treatments on hold for 3 months, but I was able to resolve those feelings. I don’t want fertility treatments to consume our lives, and I can’t allow myself to pass up awesome opportunities that I’ll regret later. 3-6 months seems like a long time to wait to start again, but it’ll give me some time to finish up some things I’ve been putting off.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to try to sell our timeshare in Vegas to pay for the next IVF cycle, pending a good genetics screening of course. We’d been talking about selling it for a while, but are still looking for a good company to sell it through. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. If the next cycle doesn’t work, then we’ll most likely move on to IUI with donor sperm. I just feel like we need to give IVF one more shot, especially since my mind is not yet willing to cross that barrier to using donor sperm. I’m sure I’ll be more open to it later, just not yet.

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In other news, we finally adopted a dog. Her name is Cayenne, and she’s a one year old American Pitt Bull Terrier. She’s so beautiful and sweet! I know Pitt Bulls have terrible reputations for being aggressive and mean dogs, but it’s just not true (unless you train them that way, of course). We adopted her from a shelter where she was taken in as a stray. When we visited with her she was just so sweet – and the only dog in the place that wasn’t barking like crazy! We don’t have her home yet since we just got approved by the shelter and she has to go to the vet to be spayed before we can pick her up, but it shouldn’t be more than a few more days now. I’m so excited to get her home. I’ll make sure to post pictures soon.

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One last note on the infertility front – I still haven’t had the miscarriage yet. I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, but I feel pretty adamant about having it without the help of meds. I feel like my body should at least be able to miscarry naturally. I don’t really see any harm in waiting it out. Has anyone had any experience with a blighted ovum miscarriage? How long after you found out did you miscarry?  Any information would be helpful.

healing

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to comment for your compassion. I really do appreciate it.

I’m doing much better today than I was on Thursday. In fact, each day gets a little easier. When I first found out on Thursday that instead of a growing baby I have an empty gestational sac, I was devastated. I can’t even begin to explain the thoughts and emotions running through me when I saw the ultrasound screen. It looked like a big empty follicle, really. The feeling that something was definitely wrong sank in even deeper when the first doctor didn’t say anything, she just kept moving around the wand, looking for something. Then she had a second doctor take a look. Still, neither said anything. When they finally broke the news that I was not going to have this baby, I can’t say I was surprised, but it still hurt to hear. In fact, even as I’m typing this I have to hold back tears. The doctor said that there was no fetus inside the gestational sac, and that the pregnancy had stopped developing early on. I could tell it wasn’t easy for them to tell me the horrible news, and one of the doctors even looked like she wanted to cry for me.

As soon as the doctors left the room, I burst out in tears. Mike just held me while I sobbed in the ultrasound room, and I could tell that he was having a rough time of it as well. While we both knew the possibility was there for a miscarriage, I think we still mostly expected that this pregnancy would work out. It had all seemed to go so easy; we thought we’d gotten lucky. I managed after a few minutes to compose myself enough to go into the other room to meet with the doctor. She asked me if I had any questions, but my mind was just numb. What could I possibly ask that would make me feel any better?

She said that the most common thing that patients ask is why. I’ve read enough to know that this happens in about 20% of all pregnancies, and that it’s most likely due to the embryo having something genetically wrong with it. And that’s exactly what she explained to me. And it didn’t make me feel any better. She told me that I needed to schedule a follow on appointment for the next week so they could make sure that I’m fine after the miscarriage – or I suppose if I don’t have it, then they’ll want to put me on medication to force it.

Mike and I were mostly silent on the way home…what was there to say? We were just both so depressed. After everything that we’d went through for this pregnancy, this was how it turned out? It’s just too much.

Now I question whether I am even capable of having a baby. If we do another IVF cycle, will it just turn out the same? Will we even get pregnant the next time? How much money and time will we have to spend in order to have a baby? Before this cycle, I was prepared to do about 3 cycles. Now I’m not so sure.

We’ve started discussing our options for the future. We’re trying to decide if we want to do another cycle of IVF or if we want to take a different route and do an IUI instead using donor sperm. The cost is significantly different between IUI and IVF, and while I hate that to be a factor, it is. We could do about 10 IUI’s with donor sperm for the cost of 1 IVF cycle. But there are still so many things to think about. This is not a decision that can be made lightly, and we’re going to take some time to think about what is right for us. Even if we do decide to do another IVF cycle, we’ll wait until the spring. January is just too soon. I feel too raw.

I’m working on getting a list of questions together for my RE, because I feel like I need to be more prepared before we do anything further. Mike and I are going to do a genetics test to make sure that this is not likely to happen again. I’m also going to take the next couple of months to start hitting the gym and get myself back in shape, since multiple weeks of not being able to exercise is taking its toll. I feel like I need to prepare my body and mind for another go with all the medications and procedures.

Again, thanks to all of you for your kind words. As I said before, I’m going to visit my family for Christmas and continue my healing. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

to pee or not to pee

I broke down tonight and bought a 2 pack of F.irst R.esponse pregnancy tests tonight.  The box has been staring me down, teasing me to rip it open and take the test now now now!!  But I’m strong and holding out.  Although….I may give in to test tomorrow morning, I have yet to decide.  I just don’t know if I can hold out until Friday. I’m eager to get positive results, not so eager for the negative. The good news is that I have arranged for Friday off, so I can either celebrate or wallow in self pity once I get the results.

In other news, I never heard back from the clinic on whether my embryos made it to blastocyst, but I’m guessing they didn’t since we just received our finalized bill in the mail which did not include the cost for cryopreservation. That’s disappointing because I had really expected to have at least a couple to freeze after fertilizing so many embryos. What a waste! I’m a little confused, too, because my clinic said that not many of their patients (about 10%) have embryos that will make it to blastocyst. But I’ve read online much better statistics for other clinics…some even say they wont do a transfer unless it’s a blastocyst transfer! I trust my clinic that they do a good job (they are ranked top 10% in the nation and have a 40% success rate for live birth according to SART statistics), but it just seems like they would have a better rate of growing the embryos to blastocyst. It may have something to do with the culture they use, but of course I’m only guessing since I know very little on how that works. If anyone has any info in this area, please feel free to share.

Okay, so in a completely off topic discussion not related to infertility, Mike and I have decided to get a puppy! We’ve been talking about it for a long time (years actually), and we’ve finally decided it’s time. We’re waiting until after Christmas since we’re flying to California to see my family, but hopefully we’ll have our new puppy in January. It’ll be like a birthday present for me (my birthday is January 8th). We’ve decided on a Labrador Retriever since they are supposed to be really good with children and pretty easy going. Mike wants a chocolate one, although I think they are all cute! We don’t have any pets now, so we’re starting to do some research on how to train a dog and looking into what we need to buy for the house. I know it will be a lot of work, especially in the beginning raising a puppy, but I’m really looking forward to bringing home an addition to the family.

Alright, that’s all I have. I’ll update tomorrow on whether I went through with the test (and of course the results). Although I might need some cheering up if I post negative results, so be prepared with comforting words.

5 days to go

and I’ve changed my mind…I’m going to test at home before the official test with the lab. I thought about it, and I’ve decided that I would rather know the results prior to receiving a call from the IVF clinic. If the results are negative, so be it, but I just don’t want to find out for the first time over the phone. I’m even considering taking the day off of work so I can either sulk or celebrate when I find out. If the test is negative, I am certainly not going to feel like being around anyone that day. And if the test is positive, I don’t want to have to contain my excitement, since I don’t plan on telling anyone at work until probably after the first two months.

So far I’ve had no pregnancy symptoms…not that I would really expect any this soon. In fact, I’m surprised that so many other women say they have symptoms during the first two weeks. I’ve always heard that you usually don’t feel anything until the 2nd month or so. Still, I find it reassuring when I read other women’s blogs who say they had no symptoms and had a BFP.

Despite the lack of symptoms, I’m actually starting to believe this could happen…I can see me being pregnant and being a mom. I imagine my pregnant belly, and buying maternity clothes, and planning the birth. Before I could never imagine it, therefore I thought it could never happen for me. Now that I can see it, it scares me even more that I might receive bad news this Friday.

aren’t they cute?

It took me a while to figure out how to edit this picture to cut my name out of the picture (sorry, I only want my first name attached to this blog), but I finally figured it out. If you notice that the embryos look different, it’s because the embryo on the right is a little more “grown up” than the one on the left. The doc explained that this is because the cells start to compact, usually by the end of the 3rd day.

test

Everything is still going well. Any day now, the embryos might implant – it usually happens 6-10 days after ovulation. I’m still feeling really bloated (at least a pant size), and am feeling tired all the time. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with the retrieval and how much has to do with the progesterone in oil injections. I’m starting to wonder if it’s normal to be this bloated this long after retrieval. If it continues, I may call the doctor to see if anything might be wrong. There’s been no pain, though, so I don’t see a reason to bother them yet. I’ll give it until after the holiday weekend and see if things improve.

I’m really trying not to be too anxious waiting for the results, and so far I think I’m doing pretty good. I’ve decided (for now) that I’m not going to take a home pregnancy test before the blood test. I feel like I’d just rather find out the more accurate results from the doctor than be pacing the day or two before convincing myself to look at the results on the stick. Who knows though, by next Thursday I may change my mind when I’m going crazy wanting to know.

embryo transfer

It’s done…my little embryos are inside of me now. And they are the most adorable little embryos! 😛 I had two transferred, which is what I expected all along, and it was all very simple. We arrived at the hospital a little before 8:30 this morning, and were out of there around 9:45. Before the transfer, the doctor went over everything with us, including the grades of our embryos, how many to transfer, and cryopreservation of the other embryos.

As far as the grades go, I had the following:

Grade 1: 0
Grade 2: 3
Grade 3: 7
Grade 4: 1
Grade 5: 2

Grade 1 is the best quality, and Grade 5 means that the embryos are no longer viable. Grades have nothing to do with how well the baby will turn out, it just has to do with the possibility that the embryos will implant. As you can see, we had 3 Grade 2 embryos, 2 of which we had transferred today. So we have 9 embryos still left, which the lab is going to try to grow to blastocyst and freeze. I suppose we’ll get a phone call on Wednesday to let us know if any made it, and it’ll cost us about $500 to freeze them. The doc said that there is a 90% attrition rate, so that means only 10% of embryos usually make it to blastocyst, which means we may have 1 make it to freeze. That’s not as good as I’d hoped for, but I’m grateful for what we have. But he also said that they are very particular about which embryos to cryopreserve, and that there is a 95% thaw rate, which is pretty awesome. I’ve read that thaw rate at some places can be as low as 50%, which is why I was a little hesitant when he originally said there might only be 1 embryo to freeze. But he assured me that it was worth it.

After all that, Mike and I went into the OR, where I of course had to get up onto the table and into the stirrups (it’s becoming a very familiar position). My bladder was uncomfortably full, so I was really hoping there wouldn’t be any type of “accident” – that would have been extremely embarrassing! To the right of me, I had a screen where they displayed my embryos so I can see them being put into the catheter, and to my left was the ultrasound screen where I could see the embryos going in. The doc did a little test run to make sure he knew where he was going, and then they brought the catheter with my embryos loaded in and voila! they were transferred. I tried to watch on the ultrasound screen, but I could not see a damn thing! They even printed out a little picture for me, but except for the arrow on the screen, I see nothing. I guess I don’t have the trained eye.

Afterwards, they rolled me back into a private room, where I was ordered to remain laying down for 20 minutes. It was a very long 20 minutes, since my bladder was about to explode by the time I went to the bathroom. But I made it, and now I’m home again, laying down for the rest of the day…giving motivational speeches to my embryos to please implant, please implant! I go in for a pregnancy test on the 30th, so I guess this is the start of the dreaded 2 week wait.