IVF: Phase 2… preparing the 9-month “home”

The start of phase two of IVF has begun. Once we set a transfer date, Dr. O’Brien counted the days leading up to the transfer by going backward. Eighteen days from ending birth control, 17 days from my first ultrasound after all the waiting. Everything looks clear and we are set to go.

I begin with Estrace, an estrogen pill, which I will take 3 times a day. Fortunately for me, this same estrogen pill was what I used earlier in my fertility journey as a suppository so I am grateful to be ingesting it this time. I will do this for 11 days and then go in for another ultrasound.

The side effects aren’t horrible, and in fact, I can hardly notice a change in my being. Might this be because I am comparing it to the ridiculous amount of hormones I just rid my body of over these past weeks, possibly?

It feels good to be on medication that is helping without making me into a witch.

The goal is to grow my uterine lining so that it’s nice and ready for little Maxwell Bean to nestle in.

My days continue as normal, not thinking too much about the transfer date, which is less than 2 weeks away!

I am grateful to not be consumed with thoughts about what the transfer will be like or if it will take. Instead, I am happily practicing living in this moment, as my body prepares a little home.

Image result for pills and shotsOn day 11 of this routine, I go in for what I hope is my final ultrasound before we fly.

The lining needs to be at least 8mm thick with no major follicles growing.

My doctor didn’t even prescribe me Lupron (an ovulation suppressant drug). My theory is because it took major dosage for me to produce follicles in the first place that she is not concerned about my body deciding to produce follicles now.

She is correct, no follicles and my lining is just shy of 8mm, sitting at 7.25mm. The little home is getting ready!

Dr O gives the green light to proceed!

I am so excited and we move forward to book our car rental and hotel for the night we will be staying in Maryland.

Yet, what’s next is not enjoyable.

I always imagined IVF to be full of shots in the rear-end, but up until this point, it has been in my abdomen or pills… not bad and not too painful.

That is about to change.

Starting tomorrow, I (ok Hubby) will shoot 1ml of progesterone oil into the intermuscular area of my buttock every morning precisely at 7:15am. If I falter 10-15 minutes, it could cancel the transfer!

Nurse Christine gives me some pointers on how to help this not be as painful. I wasn’t worried about a shot until she began to explain how it’s ok to use a heating pad after and to be sure to switch sides eatery day so as to not completely hurt one side.

She explains this is an oil-based liquid so it’s a little thicker so it may burn a tinge.

Uh… what is about to happen to me?

She also shares it’s best if Hubby administers the shot for a better angle and then jokes, “unless you like to inflict pain on yourself”.

Eek! What is this going to be like?

She also gives me instructions for the day of transfer.

The transfer is set for noon, arrive at the clinic at 11:30 with a photo ID. Be sure to empty my bladder completely at 10:45am and then proceed to drink 16oz of water before 11am. Don’t use the bathroom after 11am. A fuller bladder helps Dr. O position the catheter more precisely as to release the embryo in the correct location.

I have my marching orders.

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Turkey Baster

The medication worked! We have 2 major follicles (19mm and 17mm) that are presenting strong and proud on the ultrasound screen.

We’re making a baby here folks!

Dr. G is happy with the results and scheduled our IUI for 4 days from now.

I’m not a patient person and was ready to give myself the trigger shot of HCG today and be ready to go in 2 days but am trusting Dr. G knows what he’s doing.

I’m thrilled! This cycle is not lost and we have a shot, even at twins, ha!

God, thank you for being so good to us. I trust that these extra 3 days were for your purpose and in your plan and give these next few days over to you.

(TMI ALERT)

I’m a little scared because tonight before bed I noticed my cervical mucus is stringy, like egg yolk. Everything I have read points this to mean that I’m on the verge of ovulation.

I pee on an Ovulation stick, an “O” stares back at me, meaning not ovulating.

Okay, maybe this is just pre-ovulation fluid, I try and convince myself.

I become a little upset that we aren’t triggering ovulation tonight in order to catch this timing correctly.

What do I know though? The only thing I know about this type of stuff is what I have read on Google and heard through my friends.

God, I trust you.

I say this over and over again, calming my fears.

I lay down to rest for the night… God, I trust you.


I wake up, pee on the stick, still an “O” starring at me. My mucus is still slick and I am a bit fearful that we’ve missed it. I can’t think about this though, I have to trust what the Dr. is saying.

The plan is to wake up at 1am tonight/tomorrow to give me the HCG trigger shot. It has to be administered 36-hours prior to the IUI appointment.

I’m less than thrilled.

The shot is a compact dose of HCG hormone. Vaccine_640.jpg

It sends heat through my body and I am overtaken with hormones.

I can’t go back to sleep.

I stay up for the next hour, reading.

God, how am I supposed to go to work tomorrow on such little sleep?

Oh my gosh, how am I going to have babies who need me in the middle of the night if I can’t even do this one time?

I am psyching myself out.

I take a deep breath.

I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

God, I trust in your timing and your plans. I trust that you know what is best for us and you know what our futures hold. I leave all these worries in your hands and will do what you have placed in front of me to do, today.


The IUI day is here.

I don’t know what to expect and am a bit fearful because I’m not experiencing any of the ovulation cramping I have in the past. This just feeds my fears that my ovulation window has passed and we are about to spend $400+ dollars on a procedure that is worthless because the egg has already come and gone.

How quickly I enter into the negativity.

It really doesn’t help me to be thinking this way or to be in fear.

I just don’t know how else to be in situations of unknown. I am changing my mind around to be in faith and trust that this is the perfect timing.

Hubby goes in at 11am for his contribution to this effort.

He signs some papers and labels what he needs to with his name and date of birth.

His part is done.

For the next 2 hours, the nurses clean it and test the swimmers. They take out all the swimmers who didn’t show up for the race and label each swimmer with a “0, 1, 2, or 3”- based on motility.

Only the “3’s” make it back into the tube.thin-test-tube.png

After sorting through all of them, they are ready for me.

I follow up at 1pm for my procedure.

I check in and am directed downstairs to receive the swimmers. I have to sign paperwork and double check that the labels all have the information of Hubby. They walk through the process of how they cleaned the swimmers and also showed me how they ensure that these swimmers in front of me are the same as Hubby.

I am impressed with the concise and thorough process of confirming that these swimmers are meant for me.

I head back upstairs with the swimmers in my hand. Not to shake them or tip the tube as they are all ready for me.

I’m scared that this is our one shot at it and it may already be unsuccessful just at the mere chance that the egg is gone.
I have to stop this thinking.

I choose to believe that there is an egg (or two) just getting ready to be released.

I choose to believe that there are swimmers at the ready.

It’s as though we are getting the two together at a party and saying, “here, meet each other”.

I’ve done all that I can.

What would help the most at this moment is for me to relax and take deep breaths. There’s nothing to fear, nothing to control, nothing that I can do to help anything more than what we’ve already done.

I just have to BE.

Calm, peaceful, hopeful.


What an experience.

I walk into the room with the nurses and they were so incredibly reassuring.

Praise God!

I spoke with the nurses and they don’t feel it’s too late.

In fact, they said the timing seems right on and to stop Googling!

There were two nurses helping with the efforts and although it was not the most enjoyable experience when the catheter is inserted, it’s wonderful to know those swimmers got all the way up there.

And now we wait, pray and trust.

Wiping Tears

This week started out hopeful. After 10 days of the mega dose of Letrozole, I’m feeling as though there will be lots of little black circles staring at me on the ultrasound screen. I went to my OBGYN for the follicle check and there we have it folks, bundles of black circles! We have follicles!

None of them are large enough to force an ovulation so they put me on a low dose of Letrozole for 2 more days and ask me to return.


Two days later, I am hopeful there has been growth. Yet, when she checked, it was only slight. Take two more days of low dose Letrozole and return. The nurse also talked with us about planning for an Inter Uterine Insemination (IUI) a few days after this next check. An IUI involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus, by way of a catheter, to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. To me, it’s like a turkey baster, squirting those swimmers up nice and close to where the egg should be.

I am getting excited and hopeful that my body is getting ready for this next step!


Here I am 2 days later, and I can’t believe that the follicles have decreased and my lining has thinned out.

What’s wrong with me that I can’t produce what I need to?

Why is this happening to me?
I have been concentrating so hard on eating the foods people say to eat, not working out too much, but still getting my blood going and circulation throughout my system. I have been napping almost every other day and taking things slow. Reading has become my new hobby and praying that God will bring us a miracle.

My eyes are leaking.c0224595b355ac7bc4b6c1b73cf08ad4--crying-eyes-sad-eyes.jpg

I can’t stop the overwhelm of emotion and the tightness in my chest.

I am just so sad that this is so hard for us.

Why God? What are you doing in this?

How am I supposed to learn from this and when will I grow stronger?

Isn’t that what people always say. It’s through the trials and hardships- the storms of life- that resilience and character are refined.

I’m all about learning life lessons, so what is this all about? Patience? Learning that I don’t always get what I want? Believing there is a bigger picture?

The pain is so strong; it overcomes my thoughts like a wave crashing over the rocks.

I have to let my tears roll down my face. No use trying to stop them.

I just want this pain and heartache to be over.

Why can’t we just get pregnant? Why does this have to be so hard?

I don’t know how many more cycles I can go through. This is hard on my body and my emotions.

I don’t want to give up now out of fear that we are quitting too early in the process.

I really thought this time would work. We amped up the dose of medication and the days that I was to take them, how could my follicles not have grown?

I just don’t understand and trying to make sense of any of it is too exhausting.

Tonight, I have to accept what is. There is no other way around it. I can’t change it.

I pray our doctor is learning more about my body through this and I also pray that I might see God and how he is working in and through me with this heartache.

As I have been writing, I get a call. “CCRM”.

Hello, I answer.

Hi, this is Gina from CCRM. I have some next steps for you.

“What?” I’m thinking. I thought we have missed the chance for this go around.

We are going to have you do 3 more days of Letrozole at the highest dose and have you check through an Ultrasound in 4 days.

I am relieved, overjoyed. This cycle is not too late!

I go skipping to the pharmacy to pick up the medication.

We are still in the game!

Emotional Waterworks

These small little blueberry pills certainly are doing their job!

Over the past 10 days, I have become more emotional and the side effects are growing more pronounced.

My body parts are sore; my skin feels bloated and I have gained about 10 lbs. since starting this whole process with the hormones.

I enjoy a good heart-pounding, sweat dripping workout.

In hopes of fostering a warm, safe environment, I have elected to not go on my regular jogs and am taming down my workouts to help my body be relaxed.

Not moving my body as regularly, I feel stiff and achy.

I may need to rethink this.

It’s been just about 2 weeks since the HCG trigger shot and I am trying not to get my hopes up for the next couple of days and I am instructed to test 2 weeks after the HCG shot.

That is…. if I don’t see red before.

I’m praying I don’t see red.

My womb area is crampy and sore and I am hoping that is implantation cramps and not period, but at this point, I lean towards the latter.

My mind is already going to the “what if I see red?” and my heart falls with discouragement.

Hubby reminds me to keep my head in the neutral, but it’s so hard to do when my body is constantly sending me signals to direct my attention back to the thought of baby vs period.

It’s been an emotional week.

Everything seemed to unlock the tears from my eyes.waterworks.jpg

My sobs were deep and my heart was heavy for all the unknowns and fears that come with. Facebook is no longer my friend.

The baby update pictures, the birth announcements.

It’s just too hard for me this week.

A couple very close to us is pregnant. They share their joys of the heartbeat.

I am overjoyed for them. What a miracle.

My eyes drop. My sadness builds. Will we have a miracle?

God, I pray we do.

I am constantly reminded this is not something we can produce, but something you gift to us.

I trust you, God. I don’t always understand you.

At times these emotions feel too much to handle.

We watched Breathe (highly recommend it). Had me in tears, that gut pulling sob.

I needed that. Get the emotions out.

Let the tears fall.


The morning is here. I am ready to test.

We have not seen red and I am cautiously optimistic.

It is possible.

I hold my breath, close my eyes and say a prayer.

God, may your will be done. Help me accept whatever you have for us this month.

I sense my heart drop. I don’t think I’m pregnant.

Waiting the full 3 minutes to see if anything changes.

It doesn’t.

We are not pregnant.

My eyes fall heavy, my shoulders drop.

There are no tears left to shed at this moment.

I just feel sadness overwhelm me.

Before I know it, I begin praying for red.

Praying that I will get a period so that we can start the next round.

I remember less than a year ago when we wanted so much to see red to be able to have a chance with a cycle.

Here I am again.

God, if it’s not your will for us to be pregnant… if this is not the right time. Please bring me a period to begin again.


I simply resume.

Fully surrender. There is nothing we can do right now.

I head to the gym. Stepping on the machines, I begin to crank out the sweat. Get all this yuck out of me. Move my body. Let it breathe and flow and feel alive.

I lift weights. Feels so good to work my muscles.
It’s been too long since I really gave myself the space to pour it all out.

Cleansing my body, I return to the gym for the rest of the week. I need a healthier starting point for this next cycle.

The red does come, praise God! I don’t have to do 10 days of medication to force the period.

We begin again.

 

 

 

Hopes for Blueberry

I’m not surprised that each morning for the past 3 days I have stared into that Ovulation test predictor stick without emotion. I have become numb to the “O” glaring back at me. No smiley face, not even a tinge of a possibility that my body is showing any trace of LH hormones. What used to be a frustrating symbol has now become a part of my morning routine. I don’t let it phase me.

Today is the (hopefully) final ultrasound before we are triggered to force ovulation. I am praying for a large enough follicle and although I answer Hubby with 19 when he asks how big I think they are, my heart wants it to be 20+.

We check in to the CCRM ultrasound counter and have a seat to wait for our name to be called. The sunshine warms my back. I feel at ease.

Leaning over to Hubby to share how great it would be if the ultrasound tech from my OBGYN was there today (she’s been doing all my ultrasounds since this first began), I realize I am scared.

What if there aren’t any follicles large enough? Will this tech know what to look for since I tend to have weird little follicles in random places?

Before I can acknowledge my emotions, the door opens. It’s Erica! The tech from my OBGYN office. She works at CCRM once a month, and today is her day.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME GOD?

Amazing.

I feel instant relief and a little emotion well in my eyes as she greets us. I want to hug her.

She welcomes us back and sets us up.

I feel as though I am in good hands now.

She inserts the wand and sure enough, h there are three follicles and one is 22mm!!

Wahoo! Thank you God!

We are ready to move forward with the HCG trigger shot.

Dr. G wants us to change our schedule slightly to help enhance the possibilities of pregnancy and also prescribes a tiny blue tablet (suppository) full of estrogen to help make a cushy lining for our hopeful little one to nestle into. I have to use this for the next 2 weeks and he says it can be a bit messy, blue messy in fact.

At this point, why not? I’ll add it to the list of experiences.

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It reminds me of a blueberry and actually began joking about it being just that.Blueberries are to help in pregnancy so why not let this be another opportunity to believe that good will come.

Hubby and I time out the shot correlated with the new schedule. This will require me to wake up at midnight tonight to give myself the shot in order for everything to fall into line after that.

The things I do for this soon-to-be, hopefully-will-be baby.

Let the next two weeks begin today!

Nightly, I administer the blueberry tablet and let it do its thing while I sleep.

I find myself excited and hopeful of what these few slight changes might bring us. We actually could become pregnant.

Hubby reminds me not to be too excited and that we can be hopeful but to keep our expectations low.

I know he’s right.

Living for today and doing all we can do.

I change my schedule for the next two weeks. Creating more downtime, taking things off my to-do list so that I can just relax and not bring too much stress to my body.

God, I trust you… this is all I can say. Over and over.