Happy 2016! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! How we are already more than halfway through January is beyond me. I have neglected this stress relieving, diary of mine more than I wanted.
But I am back, and please pardon my potentially rusty writing ability and always present randomness 😉
(Written Sunday AM) In case anyone was wondering, I am currently sitting outside in my gravity chair, my pup at my side, football on, enjoying the 73-degree sunshine. I am not envious of the temps back home today, but I do miss the snow.
After a very nice Christmas in Palm Springs, we left for Kauai on Tuesday December 29th. Our trip was UNREAL. Absolutely amazing. Chris and I had a fabulous time, and it was LOVELY to escape our reality as we know it. I cannot believe I waited this long to visit the beautiful islands of Hawaii! Our adventures, luau, hikes, meals, Hawaiian hospitality, accommodations, new friends, spa time, relaxation, and everything in between has left us wanting more! I am pretty obsessed with every ounce of our trip, and if anyone is planning to head to Kauai any time soon, please let me know! The Grand Hyatt Kauai was more incredible than I could have imagined, and I HIGHLY recommend it.
I hope to write a journal style blog of our 6 days and include a tiny portion of the 2,000 photos and videos I took. Who knows how that will work out, considering I still haven’t posted my Thanksgiving one yet. I guess I should stop making promises I can’t keep, but here are a couple photos in the mean time!
On to the IVF business – This unwanted (We had to take a month off IVF because the lab closes the last two weeks of the year, therefore they do not do any surgery/retrievals during that time) break from IVF has actually been extremely nice. I think I needed it, big time. I know our journey is taking a GIANT toll on us daily, but didn’t realize to the extent until we had a full on month long mental, physical, and emotional break. It was heavenly. With no daily blood draws, ultrasounds, injections, calls with levels and numbers, while living in constant state of worry, I was shocked how much better I felt overall. But we are officially back to it.
This cycle we have most definitely been extremely lax compared to the previous two cycles. We had drinks (responsibly) and minimal caffeine (coffee) up until just recently. There is not much scientific evidence or proof showing the impact alcohol can have prior to, but I believe I recall learning caffeine is worse. I have been saying/thinking…Watch this cycle be the best, even though we haven’t been following the rule book. I seriously curious to see how this cycle plays out. My mental state has been so much more relaxed, and I would think that is super helpful.
I started the ‘priming’ stage a couple days before Christmas. This includes the testosterone gel application in the morning, and the dreaded birth control at night. After being on these meds for approximately 20 days, we went in (to the new, beautifully finished San Diego Fertility Center…WOW, what a change) for the Baseline Ultrasound and blood draw Tuesday January 12th.
The purpose of this appointment is just as the name states…it sets a baseline for the start of cycle. Dr. F counted 9 follicles this time. Last cycle was 10, but I have learned to not focus too much on these early numbers. They were all tiny and similar in size, which is very important. We want them to grow in synchrony. I got the official green light that afternoon, once the blood work results were back…and indeed my hormone levels came back normal!
Wednesday January 13th was the start of Stim meds! I was not scared/nervous/worried going into this cycle. The injections and side effects are completely second nature to me. Today marks Stim Day 5, and I am feeling great, which is kind of weirding me out a bit. However, my dear husband is most definitely sick and made a visit to the doctor Saturday morning, and it sounds like the virus that half the U.S. seems to have. I am SERIOUSLY hoping I do not catch wind of this. We need beacons of health with all we have going on!
We have appointments Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, likely a Saturday as well. In addition, I will have Acu on Monday/Stim Day 6, and Chiro on Tuesday. Our third AND FINAL retrieval will be Monday January 25th if this cycle plays out like cycle #2 (13 days start to finish). If it is like cycle #1 lengthwise (12 days), my retrieval would fall on a Sunday. Dr. F assured me she would come in.
Going into this crazy, intense IVF world, I had absolutely NO idea what it entailed.
I seriously thought IVF was – difficult and expensive with pills, a shot or two, appointments, and bam pregnant, likely with multiples. End of story. How wrong I was.
Let me be clear, ours has NOT been the easiest path. Many women do one egg retrieval and are then ready for embryo transfer and pregnancy, I am different. I could never have imagined we would endure all we have to this point, but I KNOW it is SO worth it.
I can’t believe it was already OVER a year ago when I first spoke with Dr. F, and we are approaching the one-year mark of our first appointment with her. Recently I have been thinking back to my previous two pregnancies and our IVF glitches….To think we could have a 10 month old, or 3-month old is crazy. I know this is what was meant to be, but it still weighs on me. And had our IVF plan started when it was supposed to, I could be VERY pregnant. That isn’t the case, and I am ok with it. But I sure can’t wait for the day!
“Yes, My Infertility Does Define Me” – I always like to share stories and articles I find interesting or helpful, and this is one that resonated with me.
Some innocently and curiously ask – Why are you doing this again if you already have five? Are you seriously going to have more than five kids? Why don’t you have a baby now and then do IVF again later?
Reality is – (Let’s be honest, I would LOVE five children. My husband has other thoughts.) Just because an embryo is genetically normal, it does not guarantee a successful transfer and pregnancy. Many women I have connected with have experienced losses with tested/healthy embryos. Nothing is for sure. It was important to us to go through as many cycles as we believe appropriate with the hope to “build our family.”
As I have explained before, because of my diagnosis, going through another cycle in a couple years, probably would not work for my body. Our goal all along was 6-8 genetically healthy embryos. We are at five now, but one of them has been biopsied, frozen, thawed, re-biopsied, and frozen again. This one is Lou. He or she would be the last embryo transferred due to all it has been through.
We hope this cycle brings us the perfect amount of genetically healthy embryos to join the five we currently have!
On a totally different note, I have had lower back pain/issues for years. I have had multiple x-rays, many chiropractors, physical therapists, and orthopedists in the last 8 or so years. Even with very consistent chiropractic and acupuncture, it was not getting any better. I began having severe pain in my hip area as well. Bending over, tying shoes, unloading the dishwasher, putting Reese’s leash on, making the bed, sneezing, coughing…simple daily tasks/occurrences were all very painful. My new chiropractor and I agreed that if I was not feeling relief by November, we would do an MRI. I wanted to find out what was going on prior to embryo transfer time approaching. I need my body to be in as good of shape as possible.
So, I went in for the MRI the day before we left for Kauai. Turns out I have two herniated/bulging discs/pinched nerves. I am somewhat unclear on the exact diagnosis, but know I have degenerative disc disease on L4 and L5. Everyone that has seen and/or reviewed my x-rays/MRI asks if I have had a serious sports or car injury. Not to my knowledge!
So not only does my reproductive system think It is way older than I am, but so does my low back. Wonderful. I am hopeful the treatment plan we have in place will help to heal me as much as possible prior to pregnancy.
I was on an awesome workout kick, five times a week, mostly in the morning before work (SOOO not like me), and I was really proud of my consistency. Unfortunately, that plan has had to come to a screeching halt because of IVF and my back, somewhat convenient the two breaks line up with each other. Walking is really the only thing I can do from now until the beginning of February, if not longer.
GO BRONCOS! Chris is currently sporting his broncos hat, shirt, blanket, gloves, and coffee mug. Please please please win today! PLEASE. Seriously. He is freaking. And so am I.
Thank you for all of the continued positive thoughts and prayers as we push on in our IVF journey! We appreciate you more than you know! Xo
Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that everything will work out for the best. – Robert Tew