So close… and not yet

Medication day 9, cycle day 11
This time around, I’m not feeling as heavy or as tired.

I remember feeling uncomfortable and worn down by this time. Today, I feel a little pressure and discomfort in my abdomen, but not uncomfortable.

Weirdly enough, this plays games in my head.

What’s wrong? Why am I not feeling as bad?

The best rational I can come up with is that my body was stretched when I carried a baby so there is more room in there for follicles to grow.

I’ll go with that.

Cetrotide: .25mg
Gonal F: 225IU
Menopur: 300IU (4 vials)

Medication day 10, cycle day 12
This morning was another period of anxiety. I just can’t seem to remain calm and trusting God in this part of the journey.

The truth is, I always thought that I wanted to have more than 1 child. I really looked negatively on the thought of having an only child.

There are 2 reasons for this.

One- is selfishly, I don’t want to be the main playmate for my daughter as she grows. I really want her to be able to have a buddy to play with more regularly.

Two- is for her. I want her to have someone to grow up with and do life with. I fear that she would resent us for not having another child for her to play with and have as an adult in her life.

I need to be honest about these thoughts because I need freedom from the expectations and freedom from the fear that I am gripping with all my might.

The sooner I can accept whatever the story will be, the sooner I will be able to relax and receive this entire process as a gift as opposed to white-knuckling it.

I feel so grateful for this opportunity and I really do want what God wants in this process.

I calm down.

God, what is your will. Thy will be done.

The appointment went well. We have 8-9 follicles averaging around 12mm, so there is still some growing to do.

I will increase the dose in the medications tonight and return for another monitoring appointment tomorrow morning. At this point we may be triggering in 2 days, or more likely in 3 days with a retrieval in maybe 5 days or more likely 6. God… help me surrender to your timing.

Cetrotide: .25mg
Gonal F: 300IU
Menopur: 300IU (4 vials)
Follicles: 18, 16, 13, 13, 13, 12, 12 (11, 10, 10, 9)

Medication day 11, cycle day 13
I am feeling more peace come over me. This is such a gift that we get to do this and I feel so very fortunate that we have this opportunity. I pray that I may be a carrier of another little warrior for God and that one of these little follicles with meet up with the strongest sperm, making a human who will one day make an impact on this world. I am praying that this is the beginning of a prayer warrior, a human who is desiring of God’s love and will, a being that will serve God with love for others and compassion for the sick and needy.

I have been so selfish these past days and weeks. Thinking this whole process is about me being able to have another baby, another child, another little human because of my own needs and wants. My mind is shifting and my hands are becoming more open to surrendering to what God wants for our family and for His Kingdom here on Earth. Who does He want to have walking around, serving Him. If God wants a little one to be here, I desire that too. My life is given to God and this process is handed to Him as well. My body is his. These follicles growing inside of me are His. I give the making of a baby back to the Lord. I have been selfish and desire my eyes to be focused on God and what He is doing inside of me (physically in my ovaries and mentally in my thinking and spiritually in my relation to him).

The follicles are growing. The hormones are racing through me. I am finding it incredibly difficult to get to sleep. My mind is racing; my body is hot… I just feel the hormones whizzing around my entire being. Lord, help me relax.

Cetrotide: .25mg
Gonal F: 300IU
Menopur: 300IU (4 vials)
Follicles: 19, 16, 15, 15, 14, 14, 13, 12, (11, 11, 10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 6)

Medication day 12, cycle day 14
I couldn’t sleep. This IVF cycle has been different in so many ways. Last time, I felt bloated and heavy in my stomach. I couldn’t walk very well and going upstairs was a challenge. This time around, I feel physically capable it’s just my sleeping that is a challenge. I feel my head racing every time I try and lay down for rest. It’s as though there is a monkey chattering in my head at a rapid rate and an obsessive persistence that makes me want to yell “just stop it!”. I was unable to go to sleep last night and once I finally did, I was up for about two hours, just praying and trying to relax my body as much as possible. I chalk it up to the amount of medications that are running through my system. It’s as though I’m amped up on caffeine and my body feels jittery.

The appointment went well again today. My arms are starting to bruise from the daily pokes for bloodwork. My stomach is also starting to show signs of bruising from the three needles I’m injecting in there each day.

No surprise, the follicles are growing a little bit each day. I was told that they would grow 2mm a day, but my body likes to do it’s own thing and is progressing slower at 1mm a day.

I am still hopeful that tonight will be the last night of medications and we will be on track to trigger tomorrow to retrieve in 3 days.

Cetrotide: .25mg
Gonal F: 300IU
Menopur: 300IU (4 vials)
Follicles: 22, 18, 16, 16, 16, 15, 13, 13, 13, 12, 12, 11, 10

Pokes & Prayers

Cycle Day 9 (medicine day 7)

We are 7 days into the medications and on cycle day 9. The protocol has been a little different this time around and I’m trying to let it go.

Daily pokes and a lot of prayer.

Cycle day 1- called the office and set up my appointment
Cycle day 3- had my baseline ultrasound, blood work appointment and started the injections
Cycle day 7- ultrasound, blood work

I was supposed to go in on Cycle day 9 (today) but since my ultrasound showed the follicles being smaller than desired, my protocol changed.
The Menopur dose increased from 75IU to 225IU- talk about a major increase in the burning sensation I feel as the medication enters my body.
Instead of going in today for the next monitoring appointment, I will go tomorrow.
I am just praying that my body is responding well to the increase and we have more healthy follicles that are larger and more on track for egg retrieval.

Offering syringes along with prayers, churches help IV drug users - STAT

This is what my nurse, Emily, said could be our next steps if all goes well.
Cycle day 10- ultrasound, blood work (tomorrow)
Cycle day 12- ultrasound, blood work
Cycle day 13- ultrasound, blood work

From there, I am not sure if I will return on cycle day 14 or if things will look good enough to do the dual trigger shot and schedule the egg retrieval.

Oh, dear Lord, this can be a little anxiety producing.

I thought after our first cycle, the doctors would have changed the protocol to be more fitting for my body. I was only partially surprised when I got the call that my body wasn’t responding as they thought and they needed to increase the dose, therefore putting us behind schedule a few days. That’s what happened with our first cycle so I’m trying to remain positive that all is well and we will have a successful, desirable outcome.

For today, I rest a lot and just trust that these daily pokes mixed with a lot of prayer of peace and surrender to God’s will, will in fact be the balance I need to rest and relax into God’s hands through this journey.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 225 IU

Cycle day 10 (medicine day 9)

I’m trying to let go of the comparison between last time and this. It’s been a different experience and although incredibly grateful for all the care we have received so far.
Today, I went in for a monitoring appointment and we were able to see 4 larger follicles on my left side and on my right, so 8 total. The largest being 14mm and the smallest measured was 10mm. The nurse said there are more follicles that are under 10mm, so I’m hopeful those will grow too in the next few days.

I will return on in a few days for our next monitoring appointment.

Tomorrow I also start the Cetrotide which will help stop ovulation from happening too soon, giving the follicles more time to grow.

I’m trying not to focus too much on the calculation of the upcoming days in relation to our first retrieval and am praying that my body responds better to the increase of medication so we will be able to do the egg retrieval sooner than later.

As wonderful as it is to be with family and letting the cousins play, we are looking forward to being back in our own home and into our regular routine.

If we follow the track of our previous cycle, we will have our retrieval in one week.

Lord, I pray for these follicles you have for us to grow to be healthy and mature and ready to receive Daniel’s little swimmers.

We found out our dear friends are pregnant, which we are thrilled about, and only makes me want to have another baby even more so we can share in this season of life together.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 225 IU (upping this to 300 IU tomorrow night)

Feeding the Body

Many have asked what sort of food I have been eating while preparing for IVF. Keeping my intake simple, I have stuck to the following:

Feed Your Body, Feed Your Brain | Psychology Today
  • Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Grain
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil

My doctor recommended I stay away from wheat (flour), sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Thankfully, I choose not to eat/drink those in my regular life so taking her recommendation has not been an issue.

Here are the specific foods I’ve been selecting:

  • During the menstruation period:
    • Increased iron: meat, fish, leafy green (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach)
    • Bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus
  • During the follicle growth period:
    • Broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, olive oil, avocado, eggs, berries
  • During the Ovulation period:
    • Leafy greens (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach), eggs, meat, fish
  • During luteal period: (warm foods)
    • Carrots, pineapple, cantaloupe, sweet potato, bananas

I have a cocktail of vitamins as recommended from the fertility clinic. There were more recommendations but they either had traces of caffeine in them or were sleep aids, both which I choose to stay away from.

  • Myo-Inositol- 2000
  • CoQ10- 800
  • L’Arginine- 2000
  • DHA- 1000
  • Vitamin E- 400
  • Vitamin C- 500
  • Vitamin D- 3000
  • Vitamin B- 500
  • Pre-Natal/Folate- 400
  • NAC- 1000

Let the Fun Begin!

We were so pleased with our experience with Shady Grove Fertility with our first baby that we decided to use them again. The one bonus we have found about Shady Grove is they offer the Shared Risk Program for those who qualify. Meaning, we pay a little extra and we enter into a shared risk agreement where we will have up to 6 IVF cycles for the price of 1 (minus the cost of medications) and if after 6 we do not have a healthy, cooing baby leaving the hospital, we can be refunded our program payment.

It brings us ease knowing we can get our money back and use it for adoption if we need to.

We really loved Dr. O’Brien in the Maryland office and would have gone with her again but traveling to Maryland and staying at an Airbnb with a toddler doesn’t sound as easy as it was the first time around.

Instead, we were able to be connected to the Shady Grove Fertility office in Atlanta, Georgia which is conveniently 20 minutes from my in-law’s house. So, we will get comfortable in the basement space they have created for our family and embark on this IVF adventure with hope, excitement, and a little fear.

Today is cycle day 3 and I just returned from my first appointment where they established my baseline ultrasound and blood work. Dr. Brahma will be overseeing my care and my nurse Emily is a gem. Ironically, she just moved back from Colorado to Georgia to be close to her family. It’s nice to have those connections.

I walked into the office and although it’s under the same name and logo, this office felt different. I have a bit more fear this time. My head is full of ‘what ifs?” and I feel myself clenching onto the hope of a second child. My hands in fists and my feet ready to stomp as if to say, ‘but I want another one’.

Hello Fears

I recognize that I am full of fear.

I trusted Dr. O’Brien and she recommended Dr. Brahma to us. It is the slight differences that are throwing me off.

This medical protocol has me starting on day 2 with the ultrasound and bloodwork and on day 3 of my cycle. The first IVF cycle had my ultrasound and bloodwork on day -2 and started medications on day 1 of my cycle. I am praying for the peace to turn off my comparison and trust that there are multiple ways to the same means and this is just my opportunity to experience another way.

Here are a list of my fears:

  • That there will be something on the baseline ultrasound that will prevent us from moving forward with IVF and we will have to stop this altogether
  • That we won’t get any follicles growing
  • That we won’t get any mature follicles during the retrieval
  • That the sperm and the eggs won’t play nice and only a few will inseminate
  • That come to day 5 of the cell growth, we won’t have any that are healthy and dividing well
  • If we do have a healthy cell dividing ball that the chromosomes will come back incomplete and they will recommend we not move forward
  • That we will be left without a baby at the end of this second attempt

I read back over my IVF journey #1 in 2018 and I see that I had the same fears. God, help me trust that you have brought us to this point, with peace in my heart, and that you will walk us through this.

As laughable as it may seem, what brought me a bit of relief was the fact that the waiting room had ‘This Old House’ playing on the television, the same as the office in Maryland.

Thanks for the wink God, I know you are here with me.

The ultrasound and bloodwork came back all clear and ready to begin! A sigh of relief comes over me. Thank you, God.

————————–

Treatment: Tonight, I will do the first shots into my abdomen and will continue with this for 4 days before I return for my second ultrasound and bloodwork check-in.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 75 IU

Starting Up Again

Here we go again! After months of trying to become pregnant without any fertility intervention, we have come to the decision to walk through the IVF process once more.

In some way, I feel my body has let me down. How many times did I hear from people, “once you have a baby you will be able to get pregnant without intervention” or “I know of someone who did IVF for their first baby and was able to get pregnant without help for their next”.

Well, that isn’t our story and I am hopeful as I wanted to be with that possibility of my body ‘healing’ itself through a pregnancy, it didn’t.

Something in my body just doesn’t work to make a baby. Science can’t explain it to me. At this point I have had a medicated cycle for the better part of a year and no luck. Unfortunately, we did learn that my left fallopian tube is now blocked and after a rather expensive outpatient procedure, the doctor was not able to unblock it. With this, we are left with smaller chances of a natural/unassisted pregnancy.

We look to the rather large (yet small in the long run) investment of a second IVF cycle. I know what it’s like and I’m prepared for the upcoming round of shots and hormones my body is about to endure.

I stand hopeful that we will be able to have a second healthy, successful pregnancy and birth and yet still fear that my body is too old and the egg quality has diminished. We ended up with one viable blastocyst (what an embryo is called before implantation) and that is now our growing, healthy baby girl who I refer to as Little Princess in my writing.

I write for me. It’s a way of getting my emotions out. I also write for you. For those who are going through a bumpy, rocky, frustrating fertility journey that doesn’t make sense. It’s nice to know what we are not alone in this journey. We desire to become pregnant, to be able to procreate and do the one thing that our bodies are created to do… make tiny humans. So, what is wrong? Why can’t we just have another baby?

We are stuck with questions that won’t have answers.

This time around, I feel a little more self-conscious about spending the money for IVF. Wondering if people are thinking, why are you doing this again? You already have one, why can’t you just be satisfied and grateful that you have her? 

I choose not to entertain those thoughts and questions very long. I have sat with this decision long enough to know that I want to try and put forth the effort and if we end up with a second baby, praise God! If not, then we will see what the next step is from there.

Our journey continues... back at it.

Isn’t this what life is anyway- a series of steps in a direction that we feel we are to take. So here we go… taking our first step to our second baby.

Why I Quit Blogging (and Why I'm Starting Up Again) | Life Update – Angie  Americana