Pokes & Prayers

Cycle Day 9 (medicine day 7)

We are 7 days into the medications and on cycle day 9. The protocol has been a little different this time around and I’m trying to let it go.

Daily pokes and a lot of prayer.

Cycle day 1- called the office and set up my appointment
Cycle day 3- had my baseline ultrasound, blood work appointment and started the injections
Cycle day 7- ultrasound, blood work

I was supposed to go in on Cycle day 9 (today) but since my ultrasound showed the follicles being smaller than desired, my protocol changed.
The Menopur dose increased from 75IU to 225IU- talk about a major increase in the burning sensation I feel as the medication enters my body.
Instead of going in today for the next monitoring appointment, I will go tomorrow.
I am just praying that my body is responding well to the increase and we have more healthy follicles that are larger and more on track for egg retrieval.

Offering syringes along with prayers, churches help IV drug users - STAT

This is what my nurse, Emily, said could be our next steps if all goes well.
Cycle day 10- ultrasound, blood work (tomorrow)
Cycle day 12- ultrasound, blood work
Cycle day 13- ultrasound, blood work

From there, I am not sure if I will return on cycle day 14 or if things will look good enough to do the dual trigger shot and schedule the egg retrieval.

Oh, dear Lord, this can be a little anxiety producing.

I thought after our first cycle, the doctors would have changed the protocol to be more fitting for my body. I was only partially surprised when I got the call that my body wasn’t responding as they thought and they needed to increase the dose, therefore putting us behind schedule a few days. That’s what happened with our first cycle so I’m trying to remain positive that all is well and we will have a successful, desirable outcome.

For today, I rest a lot and just trust that these daily pokes mixed with a lot of prayer of peace and surrender to God’s will, will in fact be the balance I need to rest and relax into God’s hands through this journey.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 225 IU

Cycle day 10 (medicine day 9)

I’m trying to let go of the comparison between last time and this. It’s been a different experience and although incredibly grateful for all the care we have received so far.
Today, I went in for a monitoring appointment and we were able to see 4 larger follicles on my left side and on my right, so 8 total. The largest being 14mm and the smallest measured was 10mm. The nurse said there are more follicles that are under 10mm, so I’m hopeful those will grow too in the next few days.

I will return on in a few days for our next monitoring appointment.

Tomorrow I also start the Cetrotide which will help stop ovulation from happening too soon, giving the follicles more time to grow.

I’m trying not to focus too much on the calculation of the upcoming days in relation to our first retrieval and am praying that my body responds better to the increase of medication so we will be able to do the egg retrieval sooner than later.

As wonderful as it is to be with family and letting the cousins play, we are looking forward to being back in our own home and into our regular routine.

If we follow the track of our previous cycle, we will have our retrieval in one week.

Lord, I pray for these follicles you have for us to grow to be healthy and mature and ready to receive Daniel’s little swimmers.

We found out our dear friends are pregnant, which we are thrilled about, and only makes me want to have another baby even more so we can share in this season of life together.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 225 IU (upping this to 300 IU tomorrow night)

Feeding the Body

Many have asked what sort of food I have been eating while preparing for IVF. Keeping my intake simple, I have stuck to the following:

Feed Your Body, Feed Your Brain | Psychology Today
  • Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Grain
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil

My doctor recommended I stay away from wheat (flour), sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Thankfully, I choose not to eat/drink those in my regular life so taking her recommendation has not been an issue.

Here are the specific foods I’ve been selecting:

  • During the menstruation period:
    • Increased iron: meat, fish, leafy green (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach)
    • Bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus
  • During the follicle growth period:
    • Broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, olive oil, avocado, eggs, berries
  • During the Ovulation period:
    • Leafy greens (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach), eggs, meat, fish
  • During luteal period: (warm foods)
    • Carrots, pineapple, cantaloupe, sweet potato, bananas

I have a cocktail of vitamins as recommended from the fertility clinic. There were more recommendations but they either had traces of caffeine in them or were sleep aids, both which I choose to stay away from.

  • Myo-Inositol- 2000
  • CoQ10- 800
  • L’Arginine- 2000
  • DHA- 1000
  • Vitamin E- 400
  • Vitamin C- 500
  • Vitamin D- 3000
  • Vitamin B- 500
  • Pre-Natal/Folate- 400
  • NAC- 1000

Let the Fun Begin!

We were so pleased with our experience with Shady Grove Fertility with our first baby that we decided to use them again. The one bonus we have found about Shady Grove is they offer the Shared Risk Program for those who qualify. Meaning, we pay a little extra and we enter into a shared risk agreement where we will have up to 6 IVF cycles for the price of 1 (minus the cost of medications) and if after 6 we do not have a healthy, cooing baby leaving the hospital, we can be refunded our program payment.

It brings us ease knowing we can get our money back and use it for adoption if we need to.

We really loved Dr. O’Brien in the Maryland office and would have gone with her again but traveling to Maryland and staying at an Airbnb with a toddler doesn’t sound as easy as it was the first time around.

Instead, we were able to be connected to the Shady Grove Fertility office in Atlanta, Georgia which is conveniently 20 minutes from my in-law’s house. So, we will get comfortable in the basement space they have created for our family and embark on this IVF adventure with hope, excitement, and a little fear.

Today is cycle day 3 and I just returned from my first appointment where they established my baseline ultrasound and blood work. Dr. Brahma will be overseeing my care and my nurse Emily is a gem. Ironically, she just moved back from Colorado to Georgia to be close to her family. It’s nice to have those connections.

I walked into the office and although it’s under the same name and logo, this office felt different. I have a bit more fear this time. My head is full of ‘what ifs?” and I feel myself clenching onto the hope of a second child. My hands in fists and my feet ready to stomp as if to say, ‘but I want another one’.

Hello Fears

I recognize that I am full of fear.

I trusted Dr. O’Brien and she recommended Dr. Brahma to us. It is the slight differences that are throwing me off.

This medical protocol has me starting on day 2 with the ultrasound and bloodwork and on day 3 of my cycle. The first IVF cycle had my ultrasound and bloodwork on day -2 and started medications on day 1 of my cycle. I am praying for the peace to turn off my comparison and trust that there are multiple ways to the same means and this is just my opportunity to experience another way.

Here are a list of my fears:

  • That there will be something on the baseline ultrasound that will prevent us from moving forward with IVF and we will have to stop this altogether
  • That we won’t get any follicles growing
  • That we won’t get any mature follicles during the retrieval
  • That the sperm and the eggs won’t play nice and only a few will inseminate
  • That come to day 5 of the cell growth, we won’t have any that are healthy and dividing well
  • If we do have a healthy cell dividing ball that the chromosomes will come back incomplete and they will recommend we not move forward
  • That we will be left without a baby at the end of this second attempt

I read back over my IVF journey #1 in 2018 and I see that I had the same fears. God, help me trust that you have brought us to this point, with peace in my heart, and that you will walk us through this.

As laughable as it may seem, what brought me a bit of relief was the fact that the waiting room had ‘This Old House’ playing on the television, the same as the office in Maryland.

Thanks for the wink God, I know you are here with me.

The ultrasound and bloodwork came back all clear and ready to begin! A sigh of relief comes over me. Thank you, God.


Treatment: Tonight, I will do the first shots into my abdomen and will continue with this for 4 days before I return for my second ultrasound and bloodwork check-in.

Gonal F- 225 IU
Menopur- 75 IU

Starting Up Again

Here we go again! After months of trying to become pregnant without any fertility intervention, we have come to the decision to walk through the IVF process once more.

In some way, I feel my body has let me down. How many times did I hear from people, “once you have a baby you will be able to get pregnant without intervention” or “I know of someone who did IVF for their first baby and was able to get pregnant without help for their next”.

Well, that isn’t our story and I am hopeful as I wanted to be with that possibility of my body ‘healing’ itself through a pregnancy, it didn’t.

Something in my body just doesn’t work to make a baby. Science can’t explain it to me. At this point I have had a medicated cycle for the better part of a year and no luck. Unfortunately, we did learn that my left fallopian tube is now blocked and after a rather expensive outpatient procedure, the doctor was not able to unblock it. With this, we are left with smaller chances of a natural/unassisted pregnancy.

We look to the rather large (yet small in the long run) investment of a second IVF cycle. I know what it’s like and I’m prepared for the upcoming round of shots and hormones my body is about to endure.

I stand hopeful that we will be able to have a second healthy, successful pregnancy and birth and yet still fear that my body is too old and the egg quality has diminished. We ended up with one viable blastocyst (what an embryo is called before implantation) and that is now our growing, healthy baby girl who I refer to as Little Princess in my writing.

I write for me. It’s a way of getting my emotions out. I also write for you. For those who are going through a bumpy, rocky, frustrating fertility journey that doesn’t make sense. It’s nice to know what we are not alone in this journey. We desire to become pregnant, to be able to procreate and do the one thing that our bodies are created to do… make tiny humans. So, what is wrong? Why can’t we just have another baby?

We are stuck with questions that won’t have answers.

This time around, I feel a little more self-conscious about spending the money for IVF. Wondering if people are thinking, why are you doing this again? You already have one, why can’t you just be satisfied and grateful that you have her? 

I choose not to entertain those thoughts and questions very long. I have sat with this decision long enough to know that I want to try and put forth the effort and if we end up with a second baby, praise God! If not, then we will see what the next step is from there.

Our journey continues... back at it.

Isn’t this what life is anyway- a series of steps in a direction that we feel we are to take. So here we go… taking our first step to our second baby.

Why I Quit Blogging (and Why I'm Starting Up Again) | Life Update – Angie  Americana

Decisions Meant for an Adult

I know I’m going to mess her up.

It’s not my intention to and it really is the very last thing I want is to mess this little perfect thing up in her first minutes, days, weeks of being on this earth.

The responsibility seems daunting and I am trying not to be paralyzed with fear of what could happen to her if I make the wrong decision. When did I become old enough to make decisions for another human life? When did I become an adult?

I am scared that I won’t be a good mom and that the decisions I make for her will impact her for the rest of her life.

I have already decided that I’d like to breastfeed as long as my body will allow within the first year. I am going to need to pump and bottle feed after 6 weeks because I am returning to work (I know, I know we can talk offline about that topic). I will continue to breastfeed when I’m home though to keep that bonding going.

We aren’t going to co-sleep per se, but I am open to having her in her bassinet next to me for the first weeks that we are getting up together, or maybe we will co-sleep. I’m learning that I don’t really know what I’ll do until I’m in the situation.

Still not sure how the sleeping routine will go between Hubby and me, but since I am committed to breastfeeding, it’s on me to be up and ready to feed (especially those first few weeks before a bottle is even recommended to be introduced).

How do I feel about that?

A bit nervous. I find it to be an honor and privilege to be the source of nutrition for Maxee but I also find I can teeter on resentment that Hubby is off the hook from this imperative need she will have for me every 2-3 hours for how long???

God, help me to continue to see the good and stay in gratitude that I GET to provide this for her. I do pray that my milk will come in easily and breastfeeding will be easy, so when I stay in the gratitude, my mind stays even and I am able to see what a gift God has given to us.

The decisions that need to be made continue to come through. I can’t put some of these off because they either need to happen now or in the near future. Some recent discussions have been:

  • Vitamin K shotImage result for infant shots
  • Eye ointment
  • Hepatitis B shot
  • Let her stay in the nursery at the hospital vs. next to me
  • TDAP booster shot for mamma
  • Delayed vs regular shot schedule


I know the decisions we will need to make will only continue. I’m grateful to be married to someone who is so keen on research and making decisions based on the facts that are gathered.

I will admit though, I’m lazy!

I want someone to tell me the magic formula for raising Maxee.

It doesn’t exist.

Instead, this is my mind shift that will help- this is my new project- Raising Maxee.

Turning the “I” to “we” is going to be important. Raising Maxee is a shared responsibility between Hubby, me and God. Hubby wants to be just as involved in Maxee’s life as I do and that is another gift. Learning how we can come together in a partnership of parenting will be an aspect of Raising Maxee that I know I will have a lot of growth around.

Not being a bulldozer and telling Hubby how it’s going to be and also not being a pushover and doing whatever he wants. Instead, it’s going to be consistently finding the balance between the two.

For me, it’s going to be learning how to know my truth and communicate effectively with Hubby so that we can come to a decision that fits us both well.

This is not something that comes naturally to me and I pray that God will help me to engage in this approach to relationships and communication that I have pushed away up until now.

With a child in the mix, pushing away healthy communication is going to mess her up more than some of the other decisions listed above.

God, please help me change my ways so that I can approach partner parenting and my marriage in a healthier, more effective way.