The 2WW is REAL!

This 2WW (two-week wait) is not a joke. I had read about it prior to our transfer and thought to myself, I’ll be ok, I’ve been waiting long enough… I can do 2 more weeks.

This seems like a different kind of waiting.

(Maybe I’m just making that up in my head or trying to justify it).

We returned from the transfer 7 days ago and I have been feeling every single twinge and cramp as though it means something.Image result for 2 week wait

I am exhibiting all the signs I read about and it could be:

a) that I’m pregnant or b) that the hormones I’m taking are working.

I have had weird cramps, but not really period cramps, over the first few days after the transfer (is that implantation cramping?).

I didn’t bleed at all. Dr. O said I probably wouldn’t because of the progesterone oil.

Oh yes, those shots continue… every morning.

I feel like I have gotten used to the pain and now my bottom just feels sore all the time, like I completed a good squatting and lunge workout yesterday and am feeling the effects.

I’ve started warming up the oil by placing it in between my legs in my lap while I do my quiet time in the morning. The nurse said it helps to make the oil body temperature. I also am sitting on the heating pad after.

I do have soreness and tenderness in another area, but this could be the hormones too.

Unfortunately, there is nothing conclusive except for a pregnancy test that will say for sure.

How many days past the FET (frozen embryo transfer) must we wait?

Well, we have a blood test scheduled by Dr. O for 2 weeks after the FET (meaning next week), by that point there should be no doubt of pregnancy.

BUT… I have read others taking a home pregnancy test (HPT) as early as 5 days after a day 5 FET. Meaning, our embryo grew in the clinic until day 5 before being frozen, tested, thawed, and transferred, so the thought is little Coffee Bean implanted 36 hours – 2 days after the FET and has been connected to my body ever since.

So, we did what I think all people would do, we ordered the HPT that detects early pregnancy and will most likely test in a day or two… wait a few days… tests again… and then have the blood test.

I know, I know. We could wait one more week, as the doctor recommended… but she didn’t say NOT to do the HPT. 🙂 Plus, one week seems like such a long time!

I actually have gotten used to the unknown space we are in and am choosing to believe that we are pregnant and have been talking to Maxee and praying for Maxee to grow healthy.

Either way, we will know soon enough.

What are we doing in the meantime?

Well, we have google searched FET day 6, day 7, day 8 and pretty much learned about the implantation process and the growth of the placenta.

The next phase will be the brain, heart, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract. SO cool to learn how these things start to form.

I am at peace knowing that we either are pregnant and have 9 months of change to look forward to… or we will gear up for round 2 of IVF and begin preparing my body for the next retrieval.

I am ready to be pregnant and to bring a little one into this world… my heart is hopeful but protected.

Deep breath… calm heart. All is well.

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Day 6. How Many Embry-babies?

I have butterflies in my stomach. Today is our call with Dr. O to find out how many of our remaining 11 are still growing and are viable blastocysts. Although we have 1 confirmed, we still have another layer to get through before we can move towards the transfer, genetic testing.

We have no reason to believe we will have any genetic abnormalities, but we also never know what’s going on in these genes and dividing cells.

I am so scared that the results will be so small that in the end we won’t have any to work with. I have to turn my thinking around.

My body is hot as I think about the call (in 10 minutes).

We have waited and prayed and although my prayers were for 7 blastocysts, I have come to peace that no number will guarantee a baby.

Instead, I turn my thinking to accepting what is and letting it be the story of faith that even if we just have the one that goes into genetic testing, that all will be exactly as it is supposed to be.

I want to control the outcome.                                                                  I can’t.

I want to protect my emotions.                                                                 I can’t.

I choose to feel with a healthy openness to being vulnerable to the desire of my own biological babies balanced with low expectations of the outcome.

Regardless of the number, God is in control.

Not me.

~~~~~~

We get the call.

Dr. O’Brien first asked how I was feeling and was sensitive to hearing how my recovery has been over the past 6 days. She hesitated to give me both the Lupron and HCG shots as my trigger shots for this very reason, it makes the bloating and swelling worst.

This discomfort is worth it to me if we are able to have babies.

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Then she let us know, we had one more egg make it to the blastocyst stage and was biopsied and frozen this morning.

There is a possibility for us to have one more, which we will have confirmed tomorrow.

All others did not progress and in a sense ‘died’.

My heart sank.

From 11, there are 2. Maybe 3. (Just confirmed we have 2, 1.9.19).

These are not the final embryos we will use to transfer.

We have one more stage, on more hurdle, to get through, which is the PGS- genetic testing.

We will know in two weeks what our final number of embry-babies will be.

Until then, I just have to keep waiting and trusting that God knows what he’s doing in all of this.

My heart feels quiet. I have no words.

 

Here’s some more information from Fertility Smarts about Day 6:

Day 6 in the IVF lab – Final Number of Embryos Known

On Day 6 we know the final number of embryos suitable for freezing. Day 6 is the final day in the lab for the embryos at most clinics. The embryologists will assess the remaining embryos and if they have continued to grow overnight they will freeze all that are of good quality. Embryos that have not made a blastocyst by this day are not viable and will not be frozen. Most labs do not grow embryos longer than Day 6 because they need to either be frozen or to be in a uterus after Day 6.

Chromosome Screening

If you choose to undergo chromosome screening on your embryos, a single cell called a blastomere can be taken from each embryo on Day 3, or a small group of 4 to 5 cells can be taken at the blastocyst stage around Day 5/6. This is called embryo biopsy and is done before the embryos are frozen.

Chromosome screening allows the lab to select and thaw only genetically normal embryos for transfer in a frozen embryo transfer cycle. This type of screening is recommended for women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles or are of advanced maternal age (38 or older). The pregnancy rates are very good for all ages of women when the embryos have been screened before transfer.

 

 

Bio Lesson: Cells the Grow into Human

Here’s what will be happening with our little cells while we wait:

*Day 2 in the IVF Lab – Embryo Divides

On Day 2 the embryos start to divide and should have 2-4 cells. The embryo itself does not grow bigger; the single cell that was the fertilized egg divides to become 2 cells and then 4 cells with each cell being half the size of its predecessor.

They can start to see slight variations between the embryos in the group and they could be graded at this stage. Most clinics do not look at the embryos on this day but it is possible to do an embryo transfer or freeze the embryos if that is the clinic’s policy. It is usually better to wait as long as possible for transfer and freezing as this allows more diversity within the group and enables the embryologist to more easily select the best embryos. The splitting of cells to create identical twins happens on day 2 or 4.

Day 3 in the IVF Lab – Embryo Grading and Potential Transfer

On Day 3 the embryos should be around 8 cells. This is the day when some clinics move them into a new Petri dish with different media (solution to support growth) that is similar to uterine fluid for their next stage of growth. They grade the embryos but still do not know how many will continue to grow to the blastocyst stage (Day 5 and 6).

Some clinics perform embryo transfers and freezing on Day 3 and some clinics wait until Day 5. This depends on the number and quality of embryos that you have available and also the clinic policy. From what I understand, Shady Grove does not touch the cells until day 5 to let them grow in a healthy, untouched environment.

On Day 3 we know:

  • How many cells the embryos have
  • If the embryos are of good appearance up to this point
  • An average of 95% of fertilized eggs will grow to the Day 3 stage
  • The appearance on Day 3 does not tell us how many embryos will continue to grow

Day 4 in the IVF Lab – From Cleavage Stage to Blastocyst

Day 4 is a transformation day where the embryos are in between the cleavage stage and blastocyst stage.

What is a blastocyst?

  • A blastocyst is a fertilized egg that has developed for five to six days and contains 3 distinct features. These features include a fluid-filled cavity and two distinct types of cells:
    • Trophectoderm (T) cells – T cells consist of a single layer of cells around the circumference of the embryo that become the placenta and embryonic sac.
    • Inner cell mass (ICM) – The ICM is a distinct clump of cells that form the actual baby

The clinic usually does not look at the embryos on this day, but if they did they would see that some of them would be making the transition from a multi-celled embryo with clear cell outlines to what is called a morula which is the stage before an embryo becomes a blastocyst. Sometimes embryos do not reach the morula stage until Day 5.

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*Information from Fertility Smarts

Onto the Next Chapter…

We have found ourselves to be on the same page.

Thank you, God, we are able to discuss our options and see that we have landed feet-first on the answer.

I would have liked to have come to this decision many months ago, but I now see we needed to gather as much information as possible and let ourselves truly sit in prayer and quiet with this decision.

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We will move forward with Dr. O’Brien at Shady Grove Fertility in Maryland.

My heart is calm and there is a smile on my face.

I feel a sense of relief and excitement as I know we are making the best decision at this moment with the information that is being presented.

With Hubby experiencing the same calming feeling, we began looking at the calendar to see when it makes sense to start this next step.

I’ll be honest, I want to get this thing going right now.

…No time to waste.

The issue is that I’m needing to focus on what in on my plate right now and when I get quiet with myself I know that starting the protocol right now would be too much.

I want my body to be in the best condition to truly relax and provide the best quality of eggs. Not to mention to prepare me with the overabundance of medications that are about to be pumped into my body.

This isn’t something that can be ‘fit in’ to the rest of an already busy schedule.

We both decide it’s best to wait the 2 months necessary to when our work and social schedules are calmer and we are able to give this first step our best shot.

Painful as it is to hurry up and wait, I trust that we are being wise with the decision we have made.

I am giddy.

We begin to look at flights… Just looking.

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Ok not just looking.

We end up booking what we think will be our target dates.

(Thank you Southwest miles for your no-penalty refund policy).

Eek, we are really doing this.

I can’t get too excited though, there is still a lot of time between now and then and a lot that needs to happen.

To do list:

  • Blood work for infectious/communicable diseases (check and safe!)
  • Mandatory consult with PGS Genetic testing lab (scheduled)
  • Watch an hour of short videos with questions in order to sign consent forms (great Friday night date, check)
  • Outline additional expenses to have a detailed idea of what to expect (check)
  • Check in with our nurse regarding all the random questions (see below)
  • Continue a healthy workout and eating routine (check)
  • Show up to my life as it is and wait (uh…working on it)

As someone who is prone to ‘do’ all the time, I can handle the action items well.

I light up with things to physically do as it makes me feel like I have control over if this will work and it makes me feel like I am contributing, which I am. What I need to recognize though is that my doing is not going to better my chances of having a good retrieval (full of great eggs) or that I will be able to control the outcome.

All I can do is what is in front of me (which is only about 1%) and let God do the rest (the other 99%).

Random questions we asked our nurse:

  1. Q: What medications are needed for the FET?
    A: Estrace (pill, 3x/day), Progesterone oil (shots)
  2. Q: Do we need to come in for a mock embryo transfer?
    A: Nope, they can pass the catheter at the time of the retrieval to make sure everything is open and ready for FET.
  3. Q: What types of office visits will we need to do prior to the IVF egg retrieval?
    A: One baseline appointment (ultrasound, estrogen, HCG, progesterone), a couple check in appointments (ultrasound, estrogen).
  4. Q: What are your thoughts/recommendations for acupuncture?
    A: It seems to help calm anxiety and there is a possibility of doing it at the clinic wellness center.
  5. Q: What foods and supplements should I be taking?
    A: Pre-Natal (400mg folic acid), Myo-Inositol (2000mg)
  6. Q: What outdoor activities can I do (i.e. skiing, working out)?
    A: Stay away from any high-impact workouts
    (so if I go slow, can I still ski?)
  7. Q: If we get a positive pregnancy test, what do we next?
    A: Pregnancy test through blood work, day 13 after FET, day 15 after FET and day 17 after FET to make sure hormone levels are going up.
  8. Q: How long after a live birth does SG recommend waiting to do a 2nd round for baby #2 (yes, I’m totally hopeful and future-tripping)?
    A: I would have to be done with breastfeeding prior to starting the next cycle.
  9. Q: How consistent do I need to be with the timing each day with the injections and do I need to consider the time change for when we travel to Maryland for the days prior to the retrieval?
    A: It would be good to be consistent with the time of injections and consider the time change, although doing the injections an hour or two off isn’t the worst.

God Answered

There have been a few mornings when I have felt nauseous. Little subtle ongoing cramping over the past few days. Maybe I’m pregnant?

Every time I have a little twinge of “am I pregnant”, I immediately begin praying with a simple, “God, if it’s your will” and go on with my day.

I feel I have been getting really close to God this past week as it seems to be every hour or two I am saying this prayer.

In the past few days though, my sense has changed. Maybe it is me protecting myself from a potential let-down. I don’t know if I am pregnant. And I have to wait.

I have a few friends texting, wondering how I’m doing and praying for me. I appreciate it. Knowing I’m not alone.

We need cheerleaders in our lives, when I can’t allow myself to be hopeful, they are.

I am willing to wait until day 14 after the trigger shot and continue to trust God knows what He’s doing.


Here we sit, day 12 after the trigger shot, how quickly thoughts change. I know I’m supposed to wait a few more days, but I figured I could go to the Dollar Store and get a pregnancy test just to see if any of the remanences of the HCG shot was still present. If it was a positive test, I would chalk it up to being leftovers and test in a few days. If it was negative, at least I would know the HCG from the trigger shot is out of my system.

I test and there is only one line, not pregnant.

“Good to know the HCG is out of my system. Maybe it’s too early,” I thought. “I’ll test again in 2 days.”


My back has been hurting this afternoon and sure enough, I now know why.

I don’t have to test.  I began spotting. I knew it in my heart that I wasn’t pregnant and this was just a confirmation.

I plopped down by Hubby and snuggled up next to him and I told him. He wasn’t surprised either.

Gosh, darn it!

I really was hoping this was going to be the month. I even was praying for twins and thought I was going everything right. I was even following the suggested food intake throughout the course of my cycle.

What more am I supposed to be doing?

I am bummed. God, what are you doing in this?

I email CCRM and let them know so they can get me a request for a blood draw to confirm I’m not pregnant so we can start a new medicated cycle.

That is what we are going to do, right?

Hubby and I talk. We don’t know how many more medicated cycles we are going to do.

At what point, do we have to surrender and say that we tried everything we could and it’s just not going to work?

1 year? 2 years? 3 years? How long God?Image result for footprints in the sand

This cycle completed 8 medicated cycles in just about a year.

Might not be very long for some people, or maybe it is for others. I’m sure it’s a personal choice.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one.

This is what I don’t understand:

If we are created to procreate than why can’t God heal my body so that I can do just that?

What are we missing in this whole process?

  • I am given medication to stimulate follicle growth- check
  • I am monitored days 12-? To see the follicle growth and thickening of the lining- check
  • Hubby has strong swimmers- check
  • I get the HCG trigger shot to force an ovulation- check
  • Hubby gives his swimmers over to the nurses for a cleaning- check
  • Nurses take the best swimmers and inject them right up to where my egg(s) is/are- check
  • I rest and relax, pray and trust that they get together and implant…
  • Not sure if that is a check or not.

Dr. G. Says the only way to guarantee they get together is by doing IVF (in vitro) which is not an option for us at this point.

At some point, I have to trust that God is truly the miracle worker and creates life.

Why isn’t he creating life in me?

Is it something I have done? Am I not supposed to have my biological children? Why not?

Questions I won’t ever have answers to.

So God, what do you want from us? Do you want us to do another medicated cycle?

I fall asleep praying.


Day 1– I go in for the blood work and ultrasound just in case we decide to move forward with the medication.

In my quiet time this morning, as I was talking with God about this, I felt peace about letting go of a medicated cycle. This peace comes more from the hope that I will be one of ‘those’ stories where we try the fertility route and when it doesn’t work, we begin thinking about adoption and we miraculously get pregnant.

Is that my story? That after all this human intervention with medication, God is using this experience to show me that He truly is all powerful and that no medication or doctor can do what only he can do?

That would be cool!

So, I’m at peace with whatever we need to do, or not do.

While in the ultrasound with my new-found friend, Erika, the stenographer, she finds a large black circle in my left ovary.

“What is that?” I ask.

It’s a cyst,” she replies. “Double the size than what I usually see.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t there before ovulation.

From what I learned today: It’s common for this to happen where the follicle releases the egg during ovulation and remains empty in the ovary and over the 2 weeks can fill with fluid- causing this cyst. If I were to go on medication while I have it- most likely the cyst will absorb the meds instead. I have to wait until it’s gone before we can do anything more.

She doesn’t know what the doctor will say so at this point I leave the office without knowing if we will be able to do medication this cycle.

I call my nurse at CCRM and she confirms. No medication this cycle and possibly not the next cycle (if I get one) as it is double the size. It will need time to dissolve before they will prescribe anything.

My heart was prepared and I praise God for making it abundantly clear that the answer is no for this cycle.

We can still ‘try’ without medication and all the gizmos and gadgets… the good ol’ fashion way.

We plan to regroup with Dr. G this month to talk through options based on his observations and expertise. Maybe this is the conversation we need to know it’s time to move on.


I feel carried. The tears still come.

I am sad at the thought that there may not be a little Hubby and little me to watch grow up.

I have had these same visions before. As though I am watching a 1980’s home video, I can see a little version of us, looking up and smiling at us. This little human we have created.

These thoughts and the sadness I feel are not new. I have felt this longing for our own biological children for a few years and the potential reality that this is a dream I need to let go of is still too hard for me to bare.

Image result for aloneWhat’s so terribly difficult is that there is a world around me that has no idea the pain I am in. I tend to be a silver lining type person, looking for the good and what God is doing in and through each situation. But there are still moments when I am feeling life is not fair. I am happy for all my friends who get to experience this blessing, but when I am on Facebook, I often feel as though people don’t realize the pain others experience. Maybe this is just my issue and I need to grow a thicker skin so that others can post their joys and not rain on their parade.

Just like my friends who are single, longing for a partner- seeing engagement pictures and wedding photos can be difficult.

Does it mean that we should stop posting the joy-filled moments that are in our life- absolutely not? Maybe being aware of the world around us though.

Or maybe I just need to go off Facebook.