Naming Maxee

I feel the pressure. Since we found out Maxee is a girl, I think this subject is one that I am trying to avoid.

Naming our baby girl.

We are currently 22 weeks pregnant with our sweet baby girl, Maxee. The nickname has grown on me and I am scared I won’t like choosing her actual name. download.jpg

The task of choosing her name has been an exciting, playful, and daunting journey and I’m not sure I have grown used to this task.

Growing up, I worked as a lifeguard during the summer. I got to know plenty of children’s names and began a list while I was in college of my top names.

Over the years, I have revisited the list, refining it, adding, deleting.

I thought this process would be much more fun and creative but I forgot that my Hubby would have his own opinions, likes, and dislikes.

I brought my list of over 30 of my FAVORITE girl names to the discussion and Hubby vetoed almost all of them.

To be fair, Hubby has his absolute favorite girl name and it just doesn’t sit well with me for this baby girl growing inside of me.

I vetoed his top choice for this pregnancy. Maybe next one?

He is a simple, practical guy and brought a list of 6 and asked me to do the same.

None of them matched up.

We want to give her a name with meaning and that is not already in our circle of friends and family.

Although we want it to be uncommon, we don’t want it to be too “out there” that would become a problem for her.

The actual name is one big project and then the spelling of it is the next.

Balancing what would be phonetically easy and what makes sense. I always feel bad for people with abstract spelling that they continuously have to correct. I have enough trouble with people spelling my name with 2- “L”s!

  • I personally like a little more abstract names and Hubby is more conservative.
  • I like more gender-neutral names and Hubby wants one that sounds feminine.
  • I would like a name with sentimental value and Hubby doesn’t like any of our genealogical female names.
  • Hubby seems to prefer names that are classic yet unique and I am not as drawn.

Most of the names we discuss, I have horrible facial connections to. (It hasn’t helped that I have been in education for over 8 years and met my fair share of teenagers that destroy the hope of names for me.)

This is a big deal and I feel the pressure of naming this child.

This will be the name she carries with her throughout her entire life. It is how people will know her.

I also can’t help but feel the pressure of choosing THE ONE as it might be our ONLY girl, or child, to name.

If I knew we were having more, then I would be able to relax a little more knowing we have another opportunity.

But this is all we have right now, so we can be grateful, and focus on her.

We won’t be sharing the name before she arrives.

It’s special to have something just between us during this time.

Plus, I don’t want the added pressure of hearing people’s opinions on the name we have chosen.

So, our search continues.

  • We sit in prayer, asking for a name to become clear.
  • We look up the meanings of different names.
  • We scroll the credits of every TV program and movie we watch, seeing if there is a name that jumps off the screen.
  • We think through our favorite books and decipher any characters that really made an impact.
  • We contemplate different meanings and look up names associated.
  • We go through meaningful events and travels that have helped build our marriage and scoured our heritage to find names that reflect who we are and where we come from.

Knowing we have 2 names to decide (first and middle), we keep our options open.

I am grateful to know that I want this name to be from the both of us. I have heard people say, the final say comes down to the women since she carried the child for the past 9+ months, but for me, I want to gift Maxee with a name that both Hubby and I want for her.

I want her to know that her name is especially given to her by us.

Thankfully we have 5 months to work this one out!

 

 

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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.

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.