Picking up Bebe

I’ve looked forward to this day for many, many months. Not just because I get to sit alone on the airplane for 2 uninterrupted hours of me time but because I get to go pick up our little embrybaby and bring it home.

My stomach and chest are full of anxiety and excitement.

I want to much for this little nugget to nestle in and stick that I can feel my fear battle my faith and my desires battle the surrender.

I can’t wait to get parked and checked in and sitting comfortably on the airplane.

One step at a time as the next 20 hours will be an exercise in faith and constant surrender. Preparing me for the upcoming 2-week wait until I go in for my pregnancy test via blood draw.

I find my seat on the Southwest flight bound for Atlanta. Sitting down next to the most precious 10-month-old and her mama. Certainly, not intentionally fore I wanted peace and rest this time around and was greeted with such love for this little peanut as she snuggled up nestle to her mama and slept.

Oh, Lord how much I desire this again from a second little babe.

I read all the magazines that have been piling up on my desk and watch some tv and movie bits as I relax and pray for calm to come over my body.

I still feel the nausea from the progesterone oil and I pray for that to subside.

As small part of me fears that my body will reject the blastocyst out of protection against a foreign substance since it’s already not sitting very well with just these extra hormones.

I can’t afford to thing such negative, unfounded thoughts.

The progesterone is there to help my body receive this little nugget.

I land and take the MARTA to Medical Center. I check in to Hyatt House, the hotel just blocks from the clinic.

I have to give myself the progesterone shot, which is not only a tricky angle to contort myself to but then the administration of such a thick oil is a weird feeling.

Then the night to myself to rest and prepare for tomorrow.

Transfer day

I get to bring Bebe home today!

I have the morning to rest and relax, journal and do some light workouts before I head to the clinic.

My stomach is in knots.

I am excited and so grateful that I get to be here doing this.

I am also nervous and fighting off all the future tripping fears and what ifs that are flowing through my mind.

  • What if it doesn’t thaw well, will we still be able to transfer it?
  • What if my body rejects the little nugget?
  • What if it falls out after I leave the clinic?
  • What if it doesn’t implant and my body just flushed it out?
  • What if it does implant but then doesn’t grow and then we miscarry?

I don’t want any of these scenarios to come true and have visions of my taking a home pregnancy test and it being positive and me feeling the flood of overwhelming excitement.

But I don’t stay there long because I don’t want to get too hopeful.

I am scared of feeling pain, disappointment, sadness.

I don’t want to feel it.

And this is the risk I am taking by opening myself up to the potential greatest joy in having a baby.

Shady Grove clinic

I’m sitting in the waiting area, patiently breathing in and out.

My hope is if I keep my eyes closed and breath calmly it will slow down my heart beat and bring me to a new place of peace.

It’s 12:27pm and I have been here for 27 minutes. The transfer is scheduled for 12:30 and I am just praying that our little blastocyst thawed out perfectly and they are just getting everything in the lab ready to invite me back.

The HGTV cooking show plays in the background and I wish I could ask to have them change the channel to something more interesting to distract my thinking.

Instead, I write and pause to pray. My bladder is supposed to be full, but I’m too nervous to feel the bloat. I hope I drank enough water!

God- are you here with me? I feel you are silent but that might be because my head chatter is so loud. 

Every person that comes from the direction of the IVF Suite causes me to hope that my name will be called. 

Not yet, I have to wait.

The practice of patience.

I don’t want to stop writing because what will my mind run off to then?

Deep breath- calm my heart.

God, your will be done.

If you want this blastocyst to implant and become an embryo that will grow into a healthy baby- I give my body to you.

Lord protect us from heartache, from pain.

The more I sit here the more I fear the blastocyst did not thaw well and they are scheming how to tell me the news. 

God, I would rather have disappointed today that disappointment in a negative pregnancy test or disappointment in a miscarriage.

Sigh, so very glad I asked. Turns out they are behind in the OR schedule from earlier this morning and will be with me any moment. 

More waiting. 

More patience. 

More prayer.

The Transfer

The transfer nurse called my name at 12:55pm.

I was in the middle of watching my daughter on the baby room monitor that is linked to my phone. She was putting on a hot pink headband, so proud, and walking over to her floor length mirror and smiling at how pretty it looked on her.

It brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. This little miracle that I see on the screen was once frozen in the IVF clinic just like this 2nd blastocyst.

God, you are so good.  Thank you for reminding me what a gift and miracle these babies are and the opportunity to go through this incredible process and to be at this point.

IVF Suite

I walk back to the IVF Suite and walk through the all too familiar door, down the hallway passed the prepping rooms where I was only months’ prior for the egg retrieval’s, to the back door that is drawing me in with the dim lighting.

Our last name is on the whiteboard, it’s our time.

My nurse introduces me to the embryologist who thawed our blastocyst, he has a piece of paper with a picture of the blastocyst and verifies that the thawing went perfectly and this little one is under the warmer ready to be transferred into its perfect home.

I sign for it and proceed to follow my nurse’s instructions of undressing from the waist down and laying back on the table.

My bladder is nice and full after 32+ ounces of water in the last 90 minutes.

The nurse applies the gel onto the ultrasound nob and places it on my belly.

Dr. B enters the room with her positive energy and sweet, caring voice.

It’s reassuring to see her.

She places the speculum (deep breath) and inserts the catheter into my uterine cavity. It’s very flexible, like a soft noodle and I can barely feel a thing,

She then calls for the blastocyst to be brought in, and inserts the smaller catheter into the larger and I see it appear on the screen.

Before I know it, I see this little force of motion on the screen and this little tiny cloudy white circle, the blastocyst is now inside of me!

It’s so tiny that they take one more look under the microscope at the catheter to make sure the blastocyst didn’t stick to the wall of the tube.

All clear- it is in fact, inside of me.

It will take up to 48 hours to implant and this is when it changes from a blastocyst to an embryo.

From there is will take another week for my hCg levels to be high enough to be detected in a pregnancy test.

So, we will wait 10 days to do a blood test to know if this little one nestled in successfully. I will continue with the estrogen pills 3x a day and progesterone oil shots until then.

A sigh of relieve as this is finally complete and all human exposure to this little one is now over for the time being.

From here, it’s all nature.

Science can’t make this little one implant, that is only God and His plan for this little life.  

Returning Home

I rest on the airplane knowing that the little one is safely inside of me. I was assured that I cannot ought, sneeze, etc. this little one out and at this point, I just need to allow by body to remain as calm as possible.

Walking and stretching will be my thing these next 10 days. This I can do.

God, thank you for all that you are and all that you have yet to reveal to me in this journey.

This part of the fertility journey might be over (we pray), I’m just now at the point where most people’s fertility journals begin.

I am so grateful to be here too.

Prep for Transfer

A lot can happen in two weeks. I went from building and shedding a lining to now, preparing for our little embrybaby to come ‘home’ with me.  

Earlier this week, I went in for an ultrasound and bloodwork.

Everything is looking great and I feel encouraged by the recent ultrasound results. My lining was able to plump back up to 8mm in no time. Wahoo!

I was a little nervous, but looks like my body is responding well to the medication.

So quickly, in fact, that we have moved the transfer date one day sooner than originally scheduled!

I am stoked and all of a sudden feel a wave of anxiety as this is really happening… and in less than a week.

I switched around my flight plans and rebooked my hotel for one night earlier.

Two days ago, I started the “butt shots”.

This is the 1mL of progesterone oil each day, in the upper quadrant of my buttock muscle.

I am less than thrilled about this.

My first shot was at 7:30am in the morning, on the dot.

This first shot needs to be at exactly a certain, calculated amount of days and hours prior to the transfer.

My body needs the progesterone oil every 24-hours and since 7:30am is not the most ideal time, we were given the chance to move the daily shot.

For this, I gave myself a shot again that first night and will continue every night at that same time until well passed a positive pregnancy (God willing!)

The painful poke (yes it’s right in the muscle area of the buttock), the thick oil that is injected (which feels like I’m pushing molasses through the syringe), and the soreness that lasts days after (as if I did a killer workout) is all worth it if we get to have this embryo become a baby that we get to hold in our arms and watch grow up.

I will rotate left side, right side, left side, right… for potentially 13 weeks.

Not giving much recovery time for my precious rump.

My stomach has already become queasy, reminding me of what it was like to have morning sickness.

I didn’t expect to feel this way so soon and I fear this is the beginning.

Again, all worth it if we get to have our second child as the outcome.

I prep my body with acupuncture and my last body massage until after trimester 1 concludes (again, Lord willing!)

The little sacrifices that are all worth the prize in the long run.

I look at our daughter and think of all that we went through to get her and I am beyond willing to go through this same pain and discomfort again.

In a few days, I will go back to Shady Grove Atlanta and pick up our little embryo.

There is still a road ahead of us, and I know God is ultimately in control.

The logistics of what is about to happen is important to me.

Transfer is set for 12:30, arrive at the clinic at noon with a photo ID. Be sure to empty my bladder completely at 11:15am and then proceed to drink 16oz of water before 11:30am. Don’t use the bathroom after 11:30am. And drink 36oz of water between 12-12:30pm. A fuller bladder helps Dr. B position the catheter more precisely as to release the embryo in the correct location.

I have my marching orders.

*For those of you reading and are interested in Shady Grove, they just opened a Colorado office! A little too late for us, but might be a good fit for others.

Building the “Home”

I stop what seems will be the last birth control pill I will ever take in my life and have a sense of excitement for a lot more ‘lasts’ I hope to encounter in the upcoming weeks.

This morning, I went in for my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork. Conceptions Reproduction offers Outside Monitoring for people who use a different clinic but need labs and monitoring done, so for a little extra fee, I can do these appointments from the comforts of my own town and not have to board an airplane to go to my clinic in Atlanta.

Everything at the appointment seemed to move along smoothly so I had no reason to fret about the outcome of today’s starting point.

“Shady Grove Fertility” pops up on my phone a few hours later and it’s Nurse Emily.

Always great to hear her cheery voice on the other end of the line.

She shares that although my bloodwork looks great, my lining is too thick to begin any medication.

I have never heard those words come out of a medical provider’s mouth.

“TOO THICK” I laugh. Usually I am too thin because I don’t typically have hormones in my system.

It seems to be 8mm and they are hoping to have it around 4mm before starting the estrogen pills.

It makes sense though, my bleed after the IVF egg retrieval a few weeks back was very light in comparison to past times so I’m not too surprised.

Fear overtakes me though. Will this mean the days are going to be pushed? Do we have to cancel this cycle and start all over? I begin to panic.

Thankfully, she calms my fears with a simple, “we are going to check again in 2 days and start from there, nothing will change at this point.”

Ahh, a sigh of relief.

I will just return in two days for an additional ultrasound. Easy enough.

This morning, I went in for the second baseline ultrasound and it was quick, easy, and painless. Exactly how I like it.

I did ask the technician what my lining was and she said she didn’t know. Okay, come on lady, your job is to determine what the lining is, how do you not know? Nothing bugs me worst then someone who lies plainly to my face. She could have just said, “’m not able to share that with you since your doctor will read the results”.

One ding against Conceptions.

Hoping my lining has decreased down to 4mm, I go on with my day and wait for the call from Nurse Emily.

It hasn’t been the smoothest of days.

I will admit the waiting game does play on me. Not to mention, I’m in a very uncomfortable stage of personal growth and I am having my period. Not really the best time for me to be on top of my game.

I tell Hubby that I’m not at my best right now and that I’m on edge, irritable, and have low tolerance. He asks what he can do and the honest answer is that I really don’t know.

I don’t think it’s anything he can do, I think this is really an inside job.

Knowing that even the call from Nurse Emily won’t ‘fix’ my attitude. I can’t pretend to believe that these external factors make a difference in my behaviors.

Getting outside for a walk and some fresh, Nurse Emily calls and shares that my lining is 4mm and looking beautiful.

I’m ready to begin the Estrace (estrogen), 3 times a day for the next twelve days.

Done, I can do that!

So now, we pray that my lining builds back up to 8mm over these next two weeks, preparing a nice home for the little embryo to nestle into.

God, prepare my body, prepare the lining for the little embryo.

I trust you, God. I have to.

Ironic Pills

I pop the pill out of the container and laugh.

“Who would have thought that a person who cannot get pregnant without major medical intervention would be taking birth control?!”

Seems a bit laughable to be taking a contraception when we are trying to get pregnant but I understand it’s all a part of the process.

Two weeks of birth control pills followed by an ultrasound and bloodwork to see how my body has recovered from this last round of medications.

If all looks good, we will begin the medications to prepare my body for the transfer.

It’s a LONG process from the moment we hear we have an embryo to transfer.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s to come:

  • 14 days on birth control
  • Blood work and ultrasound to make sure there are no issues from the retrieval such as cysts or other masses that might pull the medication away from the body
  • Begin Estrace medication (3x a day)
  • Appx 13 days of Estrace medication
  • Blood work and ultrasound to check the thickness of the uterine lining  
  • Continue Estrace medication
  • Begin progesterone oil shots (deep muscle)
  • 5 days of progesterone oil shots
  • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
    Continue progesterone oil shots
  • 12 days of waiting until blood test to determine HcG levels (i.e. pregnancy test)

Dr. Brahma was kind enough to give us some time over a video call to talk through what has happened and where we are going.

She shared that of the two blastocysts that made it to day 5, one was missing a part of chromosome 22 and would have not either implanted or made it to be a chemical pregnancy.

The other blastocyst looks healthy and has all the genetic chromosomes to be a healthy baby.

There are a few statistics she wanted us to know, just so we are aware.

The day of the transfer, they will take the frozen embryo out of the freezer and thaw the embryo. There is a 99% success rate for thawing well, where the cells are mobile and ready. Of the 1% they still can transfer knowing that the cells that are not mobile on the day of the thawing/transfer can be recreated in the upcoming months in the womb.

The more jarring number though is that there is a 60-65% success rate of a embryo making it to the week 6 ultrasound with a heartbeat.

That means 2/3rds of the transfers are a success.

I will admit, my fear is that we will be a part of the 1/3rd that the embryo does not make it and we are left without a baby.

I feel the fear creep in.

How can we go through all of this and be so let down?
I don’t let my thoughts overtake me. I have to believe that we will be a part of the 2/3rds success just like we were with our daughter.

My next thought is that we were so very lucky and blessed to have our daughter that the odds are not in our favor- as if there is an allotment per person for successful IVF pregnancies and births and we have already had our success.

What twisted thinking I have- God, please take these negative thoughts.

Oh, that is right… God is in the center of all of this.

This is where I need to reframe my thinking to look for God’s will and His plans for this embryo.

Lord, if you want this little embryo that has grown to day 5 with normal genes to walk this earth, I will gladly house and bring this human into the world.

I have to remember, it’s not about me and what I want.

It’s about my prayers for my heart’s desire and my surrender to what is God’s will for me and our family.

Genetic Results

14 days after the news of our tenacious two, I sit waiting… patiently (ok and impatiently) to know the results of the genetic testing.

In our first IVF round, we had 2 make it to genetic testing and only one was normal.

That ‘normal’ is our sweet daughter.

Last IVF round, we had 1 make it to genetic testing and that was not normal so we didn’t have the chance to transfer.

Today, I hope to learn what the outcome is from this IVF cycle.

I play too many scenarios over and over in my head as to why they haven’t called.

I continue to pray for God’s will and for me to accept whatever the answer may be.

I am scared to accept the answer of zero normal.

I don’t want to have to go through another IVF round, the medications, the emotions, the unknowns… but I will. Oh boy, don’t you believe I will go through this again if we need to and have the chance.

Since there was a slip up with the medication of the trigger shot, causing the follicles to grow one more day, Hubby and I are not confident that this was the best effort for a baby and would always wonder if that slip up cost us our baby. So we would consider one more IVF cycle if needed.

I pray we won’t need it.

I pray that one of these two is our little baby, our second child, Little Lady’s little brother or sister.

Who even knows- I would love if both came back normal and then we could have three kiddos!

Lord, please help me calm my head and trust that you will let us know right when we are supposed to know.

Until then, I am going to rest my head, turn off my thinking for a little and instead focus on what is true, what is good, what is perfect, what is in front of me in this moment.

“Shady Grove Fertility” pops up on my cellphone screen.

I get excited, close my eyes and pray “God, whatever your will is, help me accept what I’m about to hear”.

It’s Nurse Emily and she has a cheery voice.

I loop in Daniel and she shares that we have 1 healthy, normal embryo!

Wahoo!! Praise God!!

I am thrilled and relieved.

Thank you, God, for this one healthy embryo. Please protect this little embryo and keep it safe.

We get to move forward into prepping my body for the transfer of this little embryo back into my body. It’s a month-long process, but I’m ready for it and will be praying that this little embryo thaws well, transfers well, implants well, and grows into a healthy wonderful, beautiful baby that we will get to hold.

Thank you, God! We give all this glory to you and know that this gift is so very precious and hold this process gingerly in our hands.