Little Princess Arrives!

She’s here! Our Little Princess arrived on August 25th and we are overjoyed to have her in our arms.

The story of how she came into this world is not what we thought it would be and we are so very grateful that all are now healthy and healing.

Here’s a general outline:

  • Developed late-pregnancy preeclampsia which put me into the hospital at 39 weeks 2 days.
  • Induced that night
  • Put on a magnesium citrate IV (because of high blood pressure/preeclampsia)
  • Dr broke my water
  • Began Pitocin
  • Labored 15 hours- no epidural
  • Pushed for just over an hour- recalling 3 big pushes that popped her out.
  • Tore my cervix
  • Tore down the birth canal
  • Tore my perineal (2nd degree)
  • Tore my labia
  • Uterus wouldn’t contract to stop bleeding
  • Lost 3 liters of blood
  • Placenta didn’t deliver- Dr had to use her hand to scrape it out
  • The placenta was not completely removed
  • Went to OR for a DNC to get the remainder of the placenta out
  • Discovered I had Placenta Accreta– which can be more common for pregnancies resulting from IVF. It is sometimes caused when the lining is too thin upon conception. Although it’s not said to happen with every pregnancy I have, it is a possibility of recurring in the future and therefore my pregnancies moving forward with be considered higher risk.
  • Dr inserted a water-filled balloon into uterus plus 5 feet of gauze to help with bleeding
  • Received 4 bags of blood (transfusions)
  • Spent 36 hours in ICU
  • Reunited with family and began producing milk! A shock to all since I lost so much blood
  • Little Princess latched wonderfully and feeds well
  • Released from hospital after 48 hours in regular postpartum care

What I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience.

Aside from the scare of the after birth- laboring without an epidural was such a cool experience (that I may never do again) and am grateful to have been able to live through.

Feeling her move through my body with every contraction.

Praying for God to help me through the pain and beliving this is what my body has been created to do.

Being fully present with my thoughts and my feelings as I was experiencing this transition from pregnancy to birth.

Although it did not go according to my “Birth Wishes”, I can see God’s hand in every step of the way.

Hubby was an incredible support and stayed with me through every contraction.

What I thought would be a sweaty, exhausting experience was more of an endurance race for my body… no sweat at all! Not like how they show it in the movies 🙂

My lower back muscles fired with every contraction.

My arms clenched to the side of the bed with each bracing of pain.

My abs and whatever other muscles are down in that area moved naturally to push this baby down into position for birthing.

When the pushing began, I had no control over my body.

It took over and it was my sole job to focus my energy from the loud cry to a deep groan and then into a holding of energy to push fully downward.

A capturing of energy from outward to inward and downward.

Such a beautiful science.

What people didn’t tell me:

  • My expectations (even unconscious ones) held me back from seeing the good in the journey and led me to more discouragement.
  • “She is coming ‘soon’”, does not mean in the next 10 minutes or the next hour, it may mean in the next 4-6 hours. I grew to not like the word ‘soon’ as it was too misleading and discouraging.
  • Having a meal during heavy contractions may not be the best idea. I threw it up within the next hour.
  • Ice chips were a lifesaver in the heavy contraction stage!
  • Dilation takes a longer time than I expected. I was hoping to be in active labor when I was still 4 cm dilated.
  • The pain of childbirth is unlike any other pain I have experienced. It’s ongoing, tiring, repetitive, painful.
  • Hours seem long and patience goes out the window when you don’t know how long you’ll be in that state of pain.

The joys certainly outweigh all the hardship– this is a true statement.

Little Princess was and is worth it!

She is perfect.

Arriving into this world weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long, full head of brown hair and a perfectly round head. I think I pushed so quickly that it didn’t give her head time to reform as it was moving through the birth canal. Her eyes are grey/blue and I’m hoping they stay on the blue side (Hubby has blue eyes) but am ok if she is a brown-eyed girl (like her mama).

I’m not going to say I won’t birth another child. Maybe next time I’ll go the route of the epidural. Part of the reason I wanted to go without was to be able to A) fully experience the feeling of her moving through my body (which I did and it was amazing!) and B) so I could be fully alert with her afterward.

Given that I didn’t get to live out the second half of that desire and still be okay with my bonding and connection shows that in the future, it might be okay to have the pain relief.

Swedish Hospital was an incredible place to have this traumatic delivery. I was amazed at the care and attention of each of the nurses and staff to me, Hubby and Little Princess. I felt completely taken care of and seen as a person, not just another patient.

Huge shout outs to the following nurses: Mackenzie, Becky, Allison, Mel, Callie, (there were 2 in the ICU that I had that I was too foggy to remember), Kelly, Terri, Mandy, Dani, and the lactation consultant Dotti.


Our journey is not over, as it’s simply just beginning.

I am amazed at how in love with this little peanut I am.

Years of wanting her. Desiring a little one and scared of letting go of my independent, self-centered lifestyle.

One thing I know for sure- the writing of my fertility journey may be over for the time being, but my thoughts and struggles, experiences and trials of being a selfless, caring, discerning, trusting mom are just beginning.

For those of you who have read this blog looking for connection in the fertility journey, I do hope you have felt understood. I certainly have not been alone as I have walked this road and found the more open I have been about my own struggles and emotions, the more connection I have felt.

To those still on the journey- know that it is worth it. Each poke of the needle, pop of a pill, inconvenient Dr. appointment, etc… it’s all worth it to have a little tiny human in your arms, loving and needing you.

We are not sure what our future holds with more children. We would like to have another or more but know that it might look more in the form of adoption than another IVF journey. Hey, we are even open to conceiving all-natural! 🙂 We will see what God has in store for us. For now, we are grateful to have this little one.

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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!

 

 

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.

stem cell.JPG 25.jpg

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.

multicellular.jpg

*Information from Fertility Smarts