So this happened….

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I got married!  Yep, for the last two months I have been busy planning a wedding, no big deal 😉  M and I finally tied the knot, almost 4 years to the day we started dating.  Four years together, almost 3 of those fighting the infertility monster.  Four years of happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointments, adventures, and just LIFE culminated in an absolutely beautiful sunset ceremony on a picture perfect day overlooking the New York City skyline.  We invited 60 of our nearest and dearest to our little shindig and if I do say so myself it could not have been a better.  It was touching, emotional, intimate, and just US. So yeah, that happened!

A couple weeks post-“I do” and now we are in the process of looking for a house.  We have a pretty tight timeline since our lease is running out on our current place and it’s really just too small for us now.  The rest of the summer will probably be a mixture of house hunting, money managing, getting together with friends, going to the beach at least once, and just savoring our newlywed status.  Oh yeah, and I’m going to have to get used to a new name!  Holy sh*tballs.

So everything has been going well.  Our relationship is as solid as ever, we had a fairy tale wedding day, hopefully buying our own home in the next couple months, and I will be continuing my education come September in a Bachelors to Masters degree program into which I was accepted.  However, as all of you well know, there is still that nagging monster whispering in my ear every chance it gets–the infertility monster.

As a reminder, I have one PGD tested frozen embryo waiting to be transferred since March 2015.  Of the five stimulation cycles I endured, only once did I make it to retrieval.  Five eggs were retrieved, three made it to Day 5, and one tested PGD normal, so here we are.  One would think I would be ready to go full steam ahead with this little emby that could/might.  Well, I’m not.

This little emby is my last chance at a biological child.  I am not going through any more stimulation cycles to try an retrieve more eggs.  This is it.  Right now, he/she is out there.  Frozen in time.  A little sliver of hope.  Once he or she gets put back into the real world, in real time, there is a 50/50 chance of implantation, and even then there is no guarantee it will result in a healthy pregnancy and birth.  That’s a lot of pressure for a single little embryo.

Don’t get me wrong.  Biology isn’t very important to me.  I want to be a mom.  I do want to experience being pregnant, so using a donor egg would be an option I would most definitely consider.  Possibly even a donor embryo, for financial reasons.  I just want to be a mom to a child, to love them and raise them.  Biology doesn’t dictate that.  Love, compassion, and connection is what is important.  The thing is that is another long, expensive, process that we would have to start.  We would have to begin another journey.  And to be honest it’s just an exhausting prospect.  In September of 2015 I hit the end of the stim cycle road with my fourth cancelled cycle (fifth cycle total).  As much as I was mentally prepared and knew that would be my last cycle regardless of the outcome, the reality hit me very hard.  The disappointment was palpable, and seeing M’s disappointment just made it all the more bitter.  So if this transfer is not successful, in my practical mind I am ready for it and know what the next steps can be, but nothing is going to be able to prepare me for the reality of that moment, all I know is that it will be unpleasant (to put it mildly!).

Right now, there is hope.  I guess I am scared to have that hope dashed.  Hope is a very dangerous thing.  It’s awesome to have it, to believe in it.  But when that hope is gone, it’s the worst thing in the world.  I try not to let it in sometimes, but it has a sneaky way of worming it’s way into my subconscious and it just sits there whether I want it to or not.  Such is the human condition I suppose.

Maybe some would say to me – “But C, what if it DOES work?  What if this little emby that could becomes the little emby that DID??”  Well, that is very easy.  That would be the best thing in the world.  It wouldn’t take away any of the pain of the last few years, but it would sure as hell put it all into perspective.  It would just be awesome and awe-inspiring.  It would be everything (no pressure!).

So I ask of my fellow infertility warriors – any advice??  Thoughts on transfers?  Best time to have one?  Any suggestions on what to do to prepare?  How long to prepare??  I welcome all thoughts and suggestions!  Please share!

 

Back with a vengeance. Or just back:)

The-best-time-for-new-beginnings-is-nowSo.  Holy crap.  I haven’t written anything on this blog for a whopping 18 months.  Is that some kind of record?!  Well, it should be!  A part of me was just going to scrap this blog and start over fresh, but then I thought wait a second, I created this space so I could have a place to come with my thoughts, my rants, my failures, and my successes.  It was started honestly and it was also suspended honestly.  And, speaking honestly, I have a bit of trouble finishing what I start.  I am a very good starter, just not a very good follow through-er.  A teacher of mine once said having integrity is saying what you mean and following through on what you say.  So, here I am, picking up where I left off.  I don’t know if anyone will continue reading this, but hopefully you will.

So…..18 months.  548 days, give or take.  The last post I wrote was on November 6, 2014.  At that point my second IVF cycle had just been cancelled and we were taking a break.  Well, the break was fortuitous because in March 2015 during IVF cycle #3 I actually made it to retrieval, a first for me.  During that cycle 5 eggs were retrieved, and all 5 fertilized with ICSI.  Since I suffer with Diminished Ovarian Reserve, M and I were thrilled with these numbers!  3 fertilized eggs made it to Day 5, when we made the decision to have PDG testing performed.  1 embryo was deemed normal, and was frozen at that point.  That little precious embryo is still frozen in time today.

After that successful retrieval, M and I decided to try twice more, in June 2015 and September 2015.  Twice more our cycles were cancelled do to poor response to stims.  Our last attempt in September marked the end of trying to retrieve any more eggs from my reticent ovaries.  That part of our journey is now over.  It hit me very hard, actually.  Mentally I thought I was prepared for it, but when I got the call from my RE that she was cancelling the cycle, it was real and it was painful.  Throwing away calendars, lists, packing away unused medication, disposing of THREE sharps containers and seeing how the last year and a half of our lives had so revolved around our treatments was a harsh reality to face.  It was time for another break.

On October 30, 2015, M and I set off on another adventure because M PROPOSED!!  Yes, in case you have forgotten M and I are not married.  Long story short, we learned of my infertility after I got my AMH tested on a whim, and we had only been dating for about a year and a half.  Infertility took up a huge chunk of our lives from then on, and if it hadn’t been for my diagnosis and delving into the scary reproductive medicinal world, we probably already would be married.  But life deals us what it deems fit, so here we are.  Truthfully, it worked out perfectly.  If M had chosen to propose in the middle of any of our IVF attempts, of course I would have been ecstatic but also it would have been somewhat tempered by the enormity of the IVF process.  Once we closed the door on doing any more stimulation cycles, it felt very final.  Which was painful, don’t get me wrong.  But it felt like we were ready for a new chapter.  M decided to propose after we went to hear a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, which was set in Grover’s Mill, NJ which just happens to be the next town over from where we live.  So this is a big deal for us, and all geeks 😉  It was about 11pm, I was in sweats and no makeup, ready for bed as that is pretty late for me (ha), and he just popped the question!  At first I thought it was just rhetorical, as we have discussed marriage often and he didn’t have a ring out.  But just as I said yes, of course I’ll marry you silly!, out came the ring!  I was like, oh wait a minute, this is for real?!  Yes, it was!  And it was just perfect.  Our wedding date is Friday, June 24 of this year.  We can’t wait.

So, back to our little precious embryo.  It is still frozen and waiting for us.  We are thinking of doing a transfer in September/October of this year.  It’s scary, since this will be our last chance at a child which is biologically both ours.  I don’t give two hoots about biology, but I do care that if we decide to try again with a donor egg, it is extremely expensive and will probably require a long wait while we acquire funds.  Maybe we will try a donor embryo?  I’m not quite sure.  A lot if riding on this one little embie, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on it (or us).  What will be, will be.

So, that’s where I’m at.  Other stuff has happened too.  I’ve become a certified children’s yoga instructor.  I finally earned my Associates’s Degree.  I’ve become more involved in yoga and fitness, which I hope to be able to incorporate into this blog.  I’ve faced some tough truths about myself, which I will also get into at a later date.  Oh yeah, and I’m getting MARRIED!!

Life is hard.  So I am trying to embrace the good when it happens.  I’m trying to have integrity by coming back to this blog, instead of just discarding it and starting new.  I’m a work in progress, but who isn’t?!

I look forward to catching up with some of the ladies I followed before my LONG hiatus.  And of course to making new friends and followers.  I’m thinking of starting an Instagram account as well.  Who am I?!

Peace and Love to all, xoxo

Another day, another cancelled IVF cycle

The title says it all, doesn’t it?  What I was fearing the most happened and unfortunately my second IVF cycle was cancelled, much like the first one due to a poor response.  Actually, this cycle was worse than the last one in that only one follicle was larger than 10, although I had ten follicles to start with.  They just didn’t grow.  This cycle I also added acupuncture to the mix along with quitting working out entirely and just resting.  There were the obligatory tears on cancellation day (last Wednesday) and some heavy moping for a couple days.  On Friday I went in for a follow up consultation with my RE that left M and me actually feeling much better.

We went over how the past two protocols didn’t seem to even rouse my scrambled eggs at all, and she made two professional suggestions – #1 try one more time with my own eggs on an Antagonist protocol, or/and #2 move on to donor eggs.  The past two cycles I have been on a Microflare protocol, which is typically used on women with DOR such as myself.  Cycle 1 I started on the protocol on CD3, and Cycle 2 I took BCP’s for two weeks and then started the protocol.  I’ve never tried Antagonist protocol.  Donor eggs have always been a consideration from the start of this journey, since I knew egg supply was so severely lacking.  Believe it or not, this consultation made me feel better because I was sure my RE was going to suggest not even trying again with my own eggs at all.  Hearing her say that we have one more protocol to try if we choose was reassuring to M and to me.  Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but at least there is hope.

Getting this information from my RE cemented the decision for us to try IVF one more time with my own eggs.  My RE is a very up front person and not one to sugar coat anything.  I like this because it makes me feel like I can trust her, and she will tell us the truth even if it’s difficult to hear (like at the beginning of this journey when I was literally in tears in her office, so shocked by my infertility news).  Sometimes it’s tough, but at the same time I would always rather know the reality of a situation, especially about something as important as my fertility.  We will try the Antagonist protocol, and keep our fingers crossed!  If we are not successful, we will most likely be making the decision to move on to donor eggs, but we will cross that bridge when (if) we get there.  I am not opposed to donor eggs, I just want to make sure I exhaust all possible options before we take that step.  I guess I mentally want to feel like I’ve done everything I can to conceive my own child with my own eggs, and then I can feel at peace about making other decisions.  I’m so grateful we will be able to have one more chance.

With that decision made, M and I have decided to take a short break from IVF for the next few months to enjoy the fall and the holidays.  I am also going back to school next month, I have 12 more credits to take in order to finish up my Associates Degree.  IVF has taken so much of our time, energy, and finances that I think we need a small break to regroup.  We plan to start our third and final cycle in late January/early February after I celebrate my (gasp) 35th birthday January 23.

I have to say I am actually looking forward to a little time off from actively TTC.  We are not going to be doing any charting as the chances we can conceive naturally are slim to none (besides my lovely issues we also have M’s male factor to contend with).  So we are just going to let the pieces fall where they may.  I am looking forward to getting some running in for the next month or so until the weather gets a little too cold for my taste, and M and I have signed up for a charity 5k in early October.  I am also excited to focus more on my relationship with M.  Thankfully, our relationship is stronger than ever, but we have been so focused on doctors and shots and ultimately disappointments that we have not had a lot of fun, silly time.  It will be nice to get back to that.

During this break I will continue to take my supplements, but after some consideration I do not think I will continue with acupuncture.  It’s very expensive and my insurance does not cover it.  In the research I’ve found through Dr. Google, it seems to state that acupuncture has been promising to infertility because of increased blood flow to the uterus, and also because of its relaxation benefits and stress reduction.  In talking to my RE she seemed to reiterate these findings, especially emphasizing the stress reducing benefits.  She said that anything I can do to reduce stress with be beneficial physically, in all areas.  I personally think my yoga and the occasional professional massage can help me with blood flow and stress, so I think I will be utilizing these two things in place of acupuncture.

Of course I will still be blogging as well!  Maybe now I can get to the sundry part of this blog and write about some other things that are important to me.  Scrambled eggs is a huge part of who I am right now, but it is not the only part!  I thinks it’s time to devote some time to the rest of me as well 🙂  As always, thanks for listening (reading) and for all the lovely comments I’ve received.  They help so much ❤

IVF Round 2 – In Progress

Fellow bloggers, I just wanted to say even though I am new to blogging I am really enjoying getting to read everyone’s stories and reading all the advice and love I receive in comments to my posts.  We each have our own stories and we all come from different places, but our desires are the same.  I’ve been humbled by some of the stories I’ve read, and I just wanted to say I am sending positive energy to all you beautiful ladies.  I am hooping we will all have our happy ending when the universe decides the time is right ❤

So…..onto today’s post!  IVF Cycle #2 – In Progress.  That’s what I see on my paperwork when I initial before getting my blood drawn.  Seeing it written down makes it so real.  I’m actually doing this.  I’m actually in the middle of it.  For some reason, it’s still surreal to me.  So after being put on birth control pills for two weeks I went in for blood work and an ultrasound last Wednesday.  Blood work looked good, and the ultrasound revealed 10 follicles, which was three more that I had last cycle.  I started taking stims that night.  I am on the same protocol as last cycle, with the exception that I took BCP’s for two weeks prior to starting this cycle.  My RE says this should help all the follicles grow at the same rate (hopefully).  Yesterday I went in for my first morning monitoring since starting this cycle and the doctor only saw 8 follicles, all still small.  I had some spotting since getting off BCP’s, so this may be why.  I was discouraged that there were only 8 follicles though, when last Wednesday he saw 10.  Blood work came back ok, estrogen is rising so I am due back this Wednesday for more morning monitoring.

This cycle I also decided to get back on the acupuncture train.  I tried it for about a month earlier this year, but it was right around the time I went in for my second consult with my RE and it really started to sink in that I had fertility problems.  I got discouraged and never went back.  This cycle I thought hey it can’t hurt and it may even help.  I met with a different acupuncturist who also happened to be an MD so I felt she could understood both sides of my treatment.  She did tell me it can take three months or more to see results in acupuncture, which is consistent to what I have read online.  I am not expecting miracles, but I have felt less stressed since starting her treatments.  Fertility treatments can be so draining, a little relaxation certainly can’t hurt!

So that’s where I’m at.  I need to ask you ladies – do you have any tips on how in the world to maintain a positive attitude???  I struggle with this so much!  For example, I was feeling positive when I went I started my cycle last Wednesday and they saw 10 follicles.  I was also feeling positive with the acupuncture treatments and feeling very relaxed.  But after going in yesterday and seeing two fewer follicles, all still small, I immediately got discouraged.  Later in the day, my nurse called and said my estrogen was rising, but not as much as they would like.  Another blow.  Just like that, the positivity was gone.  I know it affects M too, as he is a very positive person and always trying to look on the bright side.  He hates to see me get mopey and sad.  It’s just so difficult to remain hopeful, and when I am hopeful and then do not get the results I am hoping for, it’s just that much more disappointing.  I welcome any and all advice on this matter!

I am trying though.  Although the doctor’s appointment and blood work results were not the best, I still rallied and took a drive with M to the beach.  It was beautiful!  We ate lunch by the water and then took a walk on the beach and even laid out for a while. We treated ourselves to ice cream on the boardwalk before heading home.  It turned into a pretty good day.  I guess that is what I have to hold on to when I get disappointing news.  Even when I receive bad news, it is my choice whether I want to go home and pull the covers over my head, or if I want to go to the shore and walk in the sand and dip my feet in the ocean.  Yesterday I made what felt like the right choice for myself (see picture).  Tomorrow….we shall see 🙂

P.S.–on an unrelated note, when I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office yesterday a lady walked in that I went to high school with.  We attended an extremely large high school so I didn’t remember her name, but it was definitely her.  I am just beginning to learn this but it just goes to show that sometimes the infertility community is much larger than we think.