Preparing the body… and the mind

My body is tired.

I am tired. My body feels worn out. Used.

It has been through a lot this past month and it’s taking a bit of time for it to feel calm again.

I have returned to acupuncture to help support the regulation of my hormones and restoration of my body.

The hot flashes at night were intense and then inability to get a good night sleep impaired my daily responsibilities.

I get it, I had a lot of medication pulsing through my body for over two weeks.

That’s a lot to put on my body. Especially when it’s not used to having much hormone interaction in my daily, weekly, monthly living.

Now is the time to treat my body with love and respect.

It just went through a big procedure and we are gearing up for it to go through it one more time.

Prep the Body

In preparing for our next egg retrieval, Dr. B keeps me on estrogen patches.

This time they are .2mg and I change the out every other day.

This will help keep my estrogen levels high so that when we begin the next cycle, my body will already be primed for the medication.

I am altering my workouts from intense, heart-pumping, feel-good cardio (jogging & spinning) to flexibility and muscle holds (yoga & pilates).

Adding an extra healthy fat into my already balanced food plan will also help support my body with what is about to occur.

I have also returned to the full supplemental regimen that is coined the “IVF Cocktail” to build up all the good stuff to try and maximize this next cycle.

With less than four weeks until we begin the next stimulation (stim) cycle, I am anxious, nervous, excited, hopeful, and curious.

What are you going to do this time around, God?

Prep the Mind

Those are just the outside things though.

What I am really battling with is this evil little voice telling me that I haven’t done a good enough job with my daughter to ‘earn’ a second child.

It’s horrible to even write that thought out but this is what plays over and over in my head.

“You are not doing a good enough job with what has been given to you so why would you get another one? You can’t handle it? You won’t be a good mom to two kids. It will be too much and it will break your marriage”.

I begin to think, maybe God is not pleased with me and doesn’t trust me with another one of His babies because of how hard it has been for me to learn how to parent the one He did give me.

Icky, icky, icky. Shake that out of my head and out of my being.

Take Care of Yourself

I don’t like the way that feels on my skin and I want to believe that I am doing a great job with what I have.

Talk about a dose of humility for parenting.

Aren’t we all just doing to the best we can with what we have?

At least, I hope we all are doing our best.

The days are long… sometimes the minutes drag on and I think, it’s not even lunchtime yet.

And yet, when she is down for her nap or in bed for the night, I miss her and I love her.

I capture those little amazing moments that make me so happy and full of joy to see her learning this world. I love being with her as she learns and grows and want nothing more than to have another to be able to experience more of the simplicity of life.

The years are short… and I know that before I know it, she will be all grown up and I will miss her even more.

God, I pray we can enjoy what we have while hoping for an addition to our family.

Receiving the Genetic Results

In the very late afternoon, an ‘Unknown Caller’ is ringing my phone.

 “Hello, this is Hilary”, I answer.

“Hi Hilary, this is Dr. Bhrama from SGF, is this a good time?” I hear.

Oh, my goodness, it’s her!

She is calling with the PGT-A/PGS/CCS report.

“Yes, of course. Let me get Hubby on the line”, I respond.

With Hubby on the line, she begins to share the news.

By the words she selects to use to begin the sentence, I knew our blastocyst/embryo is not chromosome normal.

She soon confirms my guess.

We learn that there is an extra chromosome on the first chromosome and if we were to transfer it would not remain a viable pregnancy.

We would miscarry.

We spend the remainder of the call discussing what this means for us and what our next steps will be.

I will spend this cycle maintaining and building a healthy hormone reserve to prepare me for our next stim cycle which will begin next month, at the start of my next period.

She will put us on a different medical protocol with the hopes of a better outcome.

I want to trust her.

I do trust her.

I am just sad.

We get off the phone with a plan in place.

The processing of this information begins.

Through my rollercoaster of emotions, I am recognizing how much God is showing me.

When we began this IVF round a few months back, I was fearful that our decision to do IVF again was taking the control out of God’s hands and forcing ‘my will and my plans’ to happen.

I was fearful that I would be pushing my agenda upon God and telling him what was going to happen.

As I sit here this morning, I am filled with humility.

No scientific procedure will make a child without God’s help.

I can take all the medication, eat all the right food, take all the right supplements and have eggs taken out of me, sperm washed and specifically chosen and put into the egg, have cell growth occur and look under a microscope like it’s the best grade blastocyst… and it not be God’s will.

Science can bring us closer to that point of creating life.

Ultimately though, it’s God who is the giver of life.

As we begin our focus on this next egg retrieval round (which will most likely be our final IVF round), I turn my eyes to God and open my hands.

Lord, if it’s your will for us to bring a child into this world, please grant us this gift.

Lord, I give you control over my life and pray to release my hands from the grip I have had on my wants and desires.

I surrender to you, I trust you. Please be with me as we walk through this next round together.

More waiting makes more planning

I’ve been patiently waiting for my period to come and for the genetic testing report.

The genetic testing report takes about 10-14 days so I have plenty of time to fill with fruitless worry.

In order to calm my mind, I begin to plan out different scenarios of what could be.

Thinking positively, I am assuming the report will come back with a huge green light.

“Why wouldn’t it?” I think “Dr. B thought this blastocyst looked really healthy, even better then when we did our first round and had our sweet daughter”. I’m almost convinced.

Thinking my period would come on Wednesday, I get all prepared and start counting the days to when the FET would take place and what the due date of our baby would be.

Yes, me and my calendar again. Making trouble.

It doesn’t come.

I look to Thursday and move the FET date and due date one day.

It doesn’t come.

I think it must come Friday and move the FET date and due date one more day.

It doesn’t come.

I try to rationalize why it must come of Saturday and move the dates once more.

Each move of the day means another move to the due date for our hopeful baby. With that thought then comes all the others like, what months will I have pregnancy sickness, what months will I feel too swollen to move, what months will I be up all night with a newborn… you get the picture.

Future-tripping. Living in the future and planning, worrying, getting excited over the things that are yet to come and that actually may not ever come.

MYOB USERS – Helping you to keep track of what's due and when | Atticus  Business Accountants

My period still doesn’t come.

I am so frustrated at things I cannot control.
If it would just come so I can start the protocol and meds then it would feel more like a guarantee that we will have a baby.

That’s it! I’m looking for some comfort and assurance that we will have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

I’m looking for some solid ground to stand on when I feel like everything is up in the air.

My period doesn’t come.

I wake up on Sunday, defeated and decide to delete all my potential dates from my calendar.

I surrender to the process and to the timing God has for us.

I even begin to think that God is protecting us from starting the medications because He already knows the outcome of the PGS testing.

I prepare myself for this potential reality.

My period begins to come.

Monday morning, I wake up and I have my period.

Was it the letting go of control or was this just the plan all along.

All that mental energy I spent leading up to this day.

Can I bypass all this next time I’m going through something that has a bug question mark in the middle of it?

Either way, I am thrilled.

I call Conceptions to schedule my outside monitoring baseline monitoring appointment.

Conceptions will do outside monitoring for other IVF clinics in the country. I will go there instead of flying back to Atlanta for the 30-minute appointment.

I have a spring in my step.

We are starting this whole next phase and I can’t wait to get this going and on to the transfer!

Day 4 Post Retrieval

We are back home now.

It is a relief.

I have been attempting to take it easy but life with a toddler and job outside of the home lends to more go-go-go then I would like during this recovery period.

To sleep in my own bed has been a gift.

My body relaxes as the pain continues to throb in my lower abdominal areas.

I feel bloated.

There is not much room down there and much of this reminds me of being pregnant.

The full tension of my insides pressing up against my skin.

My stomach is swollen and my ovaries are not very happy with me.

I get a massage and am grateful for my masseuse who is trained in abdominal massage.

She helps the blood flow and circulation to give my abdomen and ovaries some support.

The pings of sharp pain come only when I move too quickly or when I am resting.

The busy schedule I have this week is helpful.

There is not much time for me to obsess about the little multicell embryos (meaning day 2-5 after fertilization). They are in the cleavage stage, meaning the cells inside the egg are dividing or cleaving but the embryo itself is not growing.  

The first 5 days of an Embryo - Simply Fertility
Days 1-5 of the fertilized egg

When I do think about the multicells, I wonder how they are growing? How many of them are playing nice with each other and multiplying? How many of them are fighting and persevering to continue to do what they want so badly to do? It’s what they are designed for.

I pray for them to be healthy and to be strong. I pray for God to be protecting them as they are so far away from me. I pray that God will guide them and be working in each cell to form as it is supposed to, as He designed each cell to form.

Today these multicell embryos are in the morula stage and tomorrow they will reach the coveted blastocyst.

Tomorrow is day 5 and the multicells will be about 70-100 cells, this is when they have reached blastocyst.

Tomorrow we will receive a call from Nurse Emily.

She will share with us how many of our 7 multicell embryos survived and thrived to day 5 blastocysts.

The wait continues and I am full of excitement.

The Blastocyst Report

We got the call.

Dr. Brahma was short and to the point. From the seven that were fertilized, one made it to day 5.

My heart sunk a little bit as I was hoping for at least 2.

What is Blastocyst Culture in IVF | Advantages of Blastocyst Culture

I am grateful for the one though.

She mentioned how she was pleasantly surprised with the one because of our numbers that we were working with. I recall the previous conversation with her where she mentioned our attrition rates are much higher than the norm.

Our first retrieval in 2018, we had 12 fertilized and two make it to this stage. Today, we had seven fertilized and one make it.

I learned that ‘normal’ attrition is 50%.

So she seemed hopeful because this particular blastocyst is a high grade- even higher than the one we had in our first retrieval (which is now our daughter).

We jump off the phone, glad to hear to report.

We begin the two week wait for the chromosome testing (pre genetic screening- PGS/PGT-A) to see if everything is normal for us to transfer this little blastocyst back in me for a pregnancy.

In the meantime, I wait expectantly for my period to come.

I had so many hormones in my system for that stim cycle that I can feel the heat in my body.

I need to get these hormones out of me.

I have night sweats that wake me up.

Drenched in sweat, I feel the hormones racing throughout my body.

Once I get my period, I pray all of this will be washed out of me.

Hubby and I decide that since the report was so good with the grade of the blastocyst that we are going to begin the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) process as soon as I start my period.

I am anxious.

The feeling of wanting so much for this to be the plan.

Do you ever have that sense that you have an idea and timeline that makes sense and when it falls into place you think, “cool, so glad it worked out the way I thought it would”?

Well, I have that all the time.

I have the tendency to plan the future out with all the details that seems right to me.

For example: I look at my calendar and like to add things and estimate when other things will happen and I find myself in a calmer state when I have a perceived sense of control over what will happen.

The downside of this is my level of disappointment when what I had so perfectly plans doesn’t work out.

Same is true today.

I look at the calendar and plan out when I hope to get these icky hormones out of my system and what that would mean for our little one blastocyst that we hope will be our baby.

It’s not healthy thinking and it sets me up for let down. So I check myself.

Stay in the day, be present with the moment and turn off that ‘future-tripping’ brain that wants to figure everything out.