A Little Bit Pregnant

BFP!

BFP!

I’ve been putting this off for three full days now because I’m scared if I acknowledge it, it will go away. After 27 very long months, I have seen one of the most beautiful sights: a positive pregnancy test! In fact, in the past three days, I’ve probably seen about 10 because I cannot stop testing. I’m completely overjoyed, but that is tempered with worry and doubt because it is very early on, and since yesterday I’ve had some brownish/pink spotting.

Today I’m 7 days past 6-day transfer (so basically the same as 13 days past ovulation for those keeping score the regular way). My first positive came on the evening of 4 days past 6-day transfer and totally shocked me. I read that it is possible to get a BFP then, but I figured it was way too early. It was very light, but definitely noticeable! Since then, I’ve tried multiple types of tests and they are all positive, with the lines getting a little darker each day.

I asked my nurse about the spotting, and she said it could very well be from the Endometrin suppositories that I’m taking three times a day. They are known to cause irritation and bleeding, and she said that I can switch to progesterone in oil and see if the spotting stops. I ordered some and will start this weekend if I keep spotting.

For now, we are cautiously optimistic, hoping for a great beta on Tuesday and an end to this spotting. I keep telling myself it will do absolutely no good to worry and I should try to enjoy being pregnant regardless of how long it lasts. Please hang in there, little one! We love you so much already!

God vs. Science

Sistine Chapel - The Creation of Adam

Sistine Chapel – The Creation of Adam

When we first started seeing an infertility specialist, I could tell my mom was having trouble wrapping her mind around me going to such lengths to have a baby when she was able to have children “naturally” after a few years of trying. When she was having trouble conceiving, people suggested she see a specialist, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted kids if it wasn’t part of God’s plan for her life. Lucky for her (AND ME!), she went on to have me and my brother naturally, my brother after four years of trying with only had one ovary left. I love my mom, respect her decisions, but acknowledge her approach certainly wouldn’t work for everyone — myself included.

I don’t classify myself as religious (I grew up going to church but don’t go much anymore) but I do believe in God and would say I am spiritual. I’m also highly educated and surround myself with smart, open-minded people who make our society better every day through science and their own curiosity and hard work. Sometimes I find myself clinging desperately to the notion that there is some greater plan for me, and if I just believe that God is in control, everything will work out. Other days, I firmly put my trust in science and am satisfied knowing that I’ve taken the necessary steps to create the family that my husband and I so much desire.

After driving myself crazy trying to understand our infertility from these different perspectives, I realized that I don’t have to choose one or the other. I can choose to believe in the power of science and the comfort of faith — they aren’t mutually exclusive. I can look into the eyes of a child and see God’s work, and also see the splendor of science — tiny cells that grow into a miracle. I believe my faith guides my decisions and God never gives me more than I can handle. I believe that science and medical intervention are part of the path to grow my family. And I believe that my faith in God and my trust in science will only deepen from this experience.

As a fellow blogger recently pointed out, it is refreshing to be a part of a community where everyone respects each other’s beliefs. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, shared medical advice, or sent best wishes, positive vibes, and kind words to help us along on our journey!

 

Circle + Bloom

For my first IVF cycle, I knew I needed to find some new ways to manage my stress.  In addition to a gentle yoga class, I started the Circle + Bloom program for IVF and IUI. I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first and definitely giggled my way through the first session,  but now I find that I look forward to that time each day as a way to center myself and unwind. The sessions are short and basically talk you through how to relax your body and mind. I don’t know yet if it helped with this cycle, but it certainly hasn’t hurt! I feel much calmer after I get that “me” time each day. (This is not an official and/or paid endorsement, just wanted to share a great product with the community!) If you interested in checking it out, here is a link for 15% off: http://circlebloom.refr.cc/7RRPBXT. In addition to the IVF and IUI program, they have programs for natural cycle and PCOS. Enjoy!

IVF Update: Unexpected News

At our Day 6 transfer, the doctor said he guessed we would have at most one embryo to freeze. Well, those remaining four frontrunners must have made some serious progress last night because my nurse called today and said they were able to freeze FOUR embryos! This was totally unexpected and I’m still in a bit of shock. Here is the report:

Transferred:
1 expanded blastocyst, AB

Frozen:
3 expanded blastocysts, BB
1 early blastocyst, AB

I know this is really good news, because it means that at least for the foreseeable future, I won’t have to go through the egg retrieval process again. If this fresh cycle doesn’t work, we’ll have a bunch of chances to try again without all the added stress of stims and surgery. But it also raises a question that infertiles rarely ask themselves…what if everything works? Could we actually have FIVE children? I know the chances of all of these embryos surviving thaw and creating successful pregnancies is very, very slim, but it is possible. I can’t help but already think of these embryos as part of our family. I’m sure once you have a child, that notion is only solidified. Will we feel like our family isn’t truly complete until we give all of these embryos a chance at life?

I’m choosing to see this news as a wonderful blessing — part of the master plan that we do not yet fully understand. This is certainly not the way I pictured building my family (all in one shot!), but it is amazing and beautiful in a way that I can’t quite describe.

IVF Update: Day 6 Transfer

Our little blast!

Our little blast!

Yes, you read that title right. We got all ready on Day 5 and were just getting into the car to drive to the clinic when my nurse called and said we were being pushed back to a Day 6 transfer. At this point we still had five front runners, but they were early cavitating/compacting embryos, so the embryologist wanted to give them one more day to see if the best ones of the group would reveal themselves. We were already worried that our embryos wouldn’t make it to Day 5, and now we had to wait another day!

Feeling like we were in the movie Groundhog Day, we got up and ready for our transfer today for the third time this week. Luckily, this time it really happened! When we arrived, we found out that we had one (nearly) perfect embryo – an expanded blastocyst graded AB – that we would transfer. We were extra excited to learn that this embryo was one of the three that fertilized on its own through IVF, not ICSI. The embryologist said they were still waiting on the other 4 to see if any were high enough quality to freeze and that we would know tomorrow or Saturday. The doctor who did the transfer said most likely we would have one or maybe none to freeze, which wasn’t great news, but I was so happy that we had a rockstar to transfer that I focused on that.

The procedure was very easy. It was very similar to an IUI, only this time the doctor was surgical with the catheter and I didn’t feel a thing! The best part was getting to see our embryo on the screen in the lab, and then watching on the ultrasound screen as it was inserted. A very emotional moment! They even gave us a photo to take home with us. Hoping that someday we can show our child their very first baby photo!

I’m not doing strict bed rest, but just trying to stay relaxed around the house for the next three days. I’m sure this wait will be the worst one yet, but at least with a Day 6 transfer we don’t have to wait quite as long!

IVF Update: Day 5 Transfer

After my last doom and gloom post we received some really great news. We woke up on the morning of what was to be our Day 3 transfer to a call from my nurse. She said we had a lot of growth overnight and were being switched to a Day 5 transfer! I cried some happy tears after being so stressed and sad the day before because of lack of progress.

My clinic doesn’t give you a grade on Day 3, but our nurse said we still had the original 8 embryos that fertilized. Five of them were excellent quality (four 7-cells and one 8-cell). The other three were 4-cell, 5-cell, and 6-cell, but sounds like they are more fragmented.

If you’ve done IVF, you know that you don’t get a report on Day 4 because they let the embryos “rest” undisturbed. While I want them to rest so they can grow, it is tough going a day without an update. We won’t know any more information until we arrive for our transfer tomorrow morning, which is very nerve-racking. I know a lot can happen in between Day 3 and Day 5, but we’re hoping for at least one good embryo to transfer. Some potential frosties would be an added bonus!

IVF Update: Fertilization, The Good and the Bad

On Saturday (Day 1 after retrieval) we got some really great news. Our RE called to tell us that all 11 of the eggs that they retrieved were mature. Amazing! We had requested a 50/50 split between ICSI and traditional IVF. Five of the 6 ICSI eggs fertilized and 3 of the 5 IVF eggs fertilized, for a total of 8 embryos! He said with that many embryos, we would shoot for a Day 5 transfer, as long as everything continued to progress. It was very exciting to get this news and we were flying high.

Today (Day 2) brought us back down to reality. After waiting almost the whole day with bated breath, we finally got a call at 3pm from a nurse. Weekends are tough with our clinic because you don’t typically get to talk to your doctor or nurse. She said that she was calling to schedule our Day 3 transfer because our embryos were behind and not looking like good candidates for Day 5 transfer. Specifically, she said that all of them were two-cell embryos, and on Day 2 they like to see at least a few be 3 or 4-cell. She also said that three of them have some fragmentation. In retrospect, I should have asked her if they were graded so I had some more specific information, but my head was spinning and it was hard to think clearly. She said if they catch up, they would call us in the morning to cancel the Day 3 transfer and wait for a Day 5.

I’m really hoping to get a call from our RE tomorrow morning with some more specifics about the quality of our embryos. I have a lot of questions and I’m scared to go into the transfer without all the information I need. My biggest concern right now is that they will not have progressed at all by tomorrow – and if we can even do a transfer if that is the case. I’m guessing no? My second concern is that we’re going to face a very tough decision of how many embryos to transfer at this stage. Our preference is for a single embryo transfer, but we were hoping that by having a Day 5 transfer, we wouldn’t have to think twice about that decision. And lastly, what does this tell us? Are my eggs poor quality? With so many that fertilized, why aren’t at least some of them dividing as they should?

Infertility really is a rough ride. Every time you think you’re finally making progress, it seems there is a setback. Hoping and praying for some good news tomorrow.