Are we pregnant?!

Tick, tock… tick… tock.

The minutes seem to be slugging by as we wait for the phone to ring. I cleverly changed the ring for “Shady Grove Fertility” to a soft, chipper ring so I wouldn’t get my hopes up when my normal ring chimed.

I read, journal, check Facebook.

My LabCorp account states the bloodwork has been delivered to my doctor’s office.

We wait.Image result for blank pregnancy test

At 9:01am, the bouncy musical ring chimes from my phone.
I hop up, prance into the office so Hubby and I can answer together.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hi Hilary, this is Christine from Shady Grove Fertility, how are you?”

We exchange pleasantries.

“Well, I have the results from your lab and…

CONGRATULATIONS

you are pregnant!”

 

Wahoo! We are pregnant! What an overwhelm of excitement that washes over me.

She continues that she would like for me to have another blood draw in 2 days to make sure my HcG is increasing at a healthy rate. We will then do a vaginal ultrasound to confirm the heartbeat at week 6.

Smiling from ear to ear, I take down the information.

m%Wx4toVQXWfEW9ZZbJGeQ_thumb_87df.jpg

So, how far along am I? I ask.

Today is 4 weeks and 5 days.

Holy cow! I think

Your due date on August 28, 2019.

I can’t believe it!

I guess the medical field begins counting day 1 on the day of my last period and since we went through IVF, the day of the transfer was already 2 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

Incredible!

Woah… we are pregnant!


For the next two days, it’s all so surreal.

I have heard many stories of people miscarrying (even with IVF) and so I am holding my breath.

I want to shout the great news from the rooftop but am also scared that I’m counting my chicken before it hatches.

Hubby and I decide to wait for this next blood test to let out a little sigh of relief.

We also know that we have a few more major milestones to hit before we can really celebrate and share this information with all the world to know*.

  • The second blood test to show an increase in HcG means the fetus is growing.
  • The 6-week transvaginal ultrasound to hear the heartbeat and measure the fetus
    1. Most pregnancies will have the first ultrasound at 10-12 weeks, but since I am still under the care of Shady Grove, they are ensuring this pregnancy is viable.
  • Getting to week 13 to know we are through the first trimester with a healthy baby

Two days later I get an early morning blood draw.

Within a couple of hours, the same cheery ring comes through my phone.

Confirmed: a healthy increase in HcG, we are on track for a healthy, wonderful pregnancy!

 

(* I hate to disappoint anyone but I hope you will forgive me as I have not been posting in real-time. Out of protection for our hearts in this process Hubby and I decided to put a little space between the actual dates of this happening and when it was shared with the world… we are excited to report at this moment of posting we are currently 12.5 weeks pregnant!!)

 

 

 

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Do we want to know the gender?

The PGS testing came back a week earlier than expected. On my voicemail, nurse Christine stated we have 1 healthy viable embryo.

She even offered to share the gender since that is a part of the chromosome testing.

Woah, I am overwhelmed with emotions.

It’s been 8 days since our two little embryos went for testing and the results are said to take up to 14 days.

I check the message and before I know, nurse Christine is sharing the results of our PGS testing.

No time to gear up for the truth, I simply take a breath.

“You have one genetically normal embryo and so we will be able to proceed with this”.

My heart drops.

I know, I know. I should be happy to have one.

I’m still mourning the loss of fertilized eggs from 12 to 2 (which to me is a huge drop off rate).

We have 1.

We went from 20 eggs retrieved, to 13 mature eggs, to 12 fertilized eggs, to 2 blastocysts, to 1 genetically normal.

I would be lying if I said I was overjoyed to learn we have 1.

Unfortunately, my excitement has been mounting over the weeks and months of preparation for IVF. I have heard people who have ended up with 1 in the end of their cycle.

But not me.

I thought I was going to be different.
I had my hopes set on multiple embryos that we would be able to implant over the next few years to make our family complete.

The truth is, I’m a little sad and disappointed.

I had my hopes on having more and had set myself with higher expectations based on what ‘could be’.

I know, I know.

Everyone says, you just need one. Which is true.

Let me explain.

We are apart of the Shared Risk Program at Shady Grove. This was one of the reasons we chose them.

They give a soft guarantee for a live baby birth at the end of 6 IVF cycles, or your money back. Everything (except the medications) are wrapped up into one price.

If you don’t have a successful egg retrieval to embryo process, you can do another egg retrieval for ‘free’ (except for the medications), and you can do this up to 6 times for no additional cost to the clinic.

What is ‘successful’? Good question.

One embryo at the end of an IVF cycle is successful.

So since we have one, then we need to implant this one before we would be able to do another retrieval.

The caveat is, if you have a successful/ live birth, the package goes away.

Any future egg retrievals would need to be paid for by us.

Pretty incredible, huh?

So here’s the ‘issue’.

We want to have more than one child and if we get a live beautiful baby out of this embryo then in order for us to have more children, we would need to pay the full price of IVF, again.

If we would have had more embryos that made it to this stage, then we would have some more frozen and in the waiting.

If we had no embryos make it to this stage we would go back into the egg retrieval stage and have the opportunity for more embryos.

I’m not not grateful for the one.

I’m just pouting because I’m scared that we won’t be able to have more children in the future.

I know, I know… we can always adopt or do another egg retrieval… it just prolongs the process.

It’s just not what I had created to be the story to be.


If our goal was 1, I would be happy.

I guess I shouldn’t have set my sights so high as to have all our kids frozen and at the ready for us to implant when we want.

That would be too easy.

That would give me too much say in the timing, too much control over my family.

Nope, God has other plans.

It’s true, I don’t really know what the future holds for me and I know that God always pulls things together in a way that I could have never imagined.

I’m just letting myself be bummed.

I lean into the tears and let myself feel the disappointment.

I don’t really want to have an only child and the thought of adopting seems so daunting at this point.

Maybe I won’t like being pregnant and having 1 embryo/pregnancy is a gift.

If we transfer now, I will be 36 when I give birth and that puts my eggs a year older than now, which only means fewer quality eggs and less of a chance for more healthy embryos.

I feel like my chances aren’t great at 35, after this retrieval, so the thought of 36 or 37 is a bit uninspiring.

Maybe a pregnancy will kick my body into gear and I will get pregnant naturally the second time around.

I don’t want to have to spend more (outrageous) amounts of money to try this again. If this one embryo does result in a live baby, then our Shared Risk package with Shady Grove goes away and we will have to pay for a full retrieval again.

Maybe this little embryo will divide and we will have identical twins.

The chances of this are single-digit percent, but God is big. He knows the story.

So I just sit here. Trying to allow my head knowledge of what God can do seep into my heart.

It’s not happening in the way that I wanted.

I thought I was surrendered to the process, but I made one mistake in my mental preparation.

I got too fixated on the idea of having multiple embryos that set the bar too high and now my expectations have not been met.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I still need to actually GET pregnant.

Something I have not been able to do in the past.

There is no guarantee that this 1 embryo will nestle in and grow.

I am very well aware that this may result in a miscarriage and we will be back to square 1 (a 2nd’s egg retrieval) with more information about my body.

There are so many unknowns at this point and the thought of all the various options of how this can play out exhausts me.

Yet again, I learn I’m not in control, I don’t have control over the outcome of these experiences and all I can do is put forth my best effort and trust that God knows what is to be the unraveling of this story.

God, help me accept the plans you have for me. Help my heart be overflowing with gratitude that we have this little embryo and appropriately excited at the thought that I could actually have a biological baby (something I wasn’t sure would happen).

Help me be joy-filled and prayerful about this little embryo (who does have a gender which nurse Christine knows!!)

God, help me to change my thinking around this news and shift my heart so I can exude positive thoughts and love for what you have done so far in me through this journey.

So here we sit, with one lovely, wonderfully healthy embryo.

WE HAVE ONE!!!!


Next steps you ask?

Well, I got my period a couple days ago and since we are wanting to do a transfer when it works with our schedule, I will go back on birth control to time the correct days leading up to the transfer date.

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.

 

 

 

We’ve got black circles!

Did the Letrozole work? Are we ready to make a baby? We will find out.

Day 9- OBGYN Ultrasound

I walked into my OBGYN office with confidence that we were going to have plenty of follicles growing and was actually a bit scared we would have too many and Dr. G would advise against us trying this month.

The tech started out measuring the uterine lining, 7.5mm, wahoo! It’d gone up, without any help from the Estrogen patch.

That’s great!

Then the left side- lots of black circles on the screen.

The tech counts 3 follicles, wahoo!

cyst or follicle.jpg

Now we are talking. One of them looked like it was within the string of pearls often associated with PCOS but she counted it anyway.

The largest follicle on that side was 9mm, so still pretty small, but a good start.

On to the right side- 3 follicles, get out! 6 total, wahoo!

Now we have some contenders with the largest on this side being 10mm.

I’m feeling pretty good, although a little surprised they weren’t larger after being on this different medication.

I have the tech fax over the report to CCRM and wait to hear from them.

They didn’t get the results.

Ugh, seriously!

I call the office and have them resend.

It takes a few hours for a clear copy to go through.

Lesson learned: take a copy of the report with me to scan and send myself.

Why are dr. offices using fax these days anyway?

It’s now late afternoon and I’m getting impatient. What will the doctor have me do?

I get a phone call, it’s my sweet nurse Gina. She has the kindest voice, so soothing with a bit of chipper on the end. It’s as though she has a smile on her face as she says every word.

Dr. G wants me to do 3 more days of Letrozole, 2 pills each.

Got it.

Recheck in 4 days, done!

Well… at least there’s some forward movement.

I relax. Everything will be ok.

Crunching Numbers

images.jpgComparing prices between the various fertility specialists in the area.

What will be the best route for us to take?

Trying to get the best care for the right price is time-consuming. My old self would have just gone with the most reputable name in town and said yes to all their recommendations for testing with them.

After doing some additional research though, I can see that if I do some testing out of a different lab, we can save some money.

At one place a test can be $250 at another it can be $100. How can these tests be the same but be marked up so much? Are these prices founded on anything in particular?

We are essentially self-pay as we don’t have insurance. Instead, we are a part of a healthcare sharing group, co-op type, Christian Healthcare Ministries. It’s pretty cool that this is available, especially for people who are relatively healthy. Downside: it doesn’t cover fertility treatments. If we received insurance through my work or Hubby’s work, we wouldn’t have fertility coverage so we are surrendered to being self-pay. With that comes certain discounts, if you ask, which helps a little.

Gosh, it can be expensive though.

…God, I trust you.

It’s hard for me not to get upset and resentful towards those who are able to get pregnant without having to pay. Where it just happens naturally.

But I don’t go there with my thoughts. I am grateful for the medical studies that give us these options. In previous generations, we would just have to accept our childless family. At least we have these options today and for that, I feel blessed with the opportunity to walk down this path.

I do believe that God provides what we need and it’s all a matter of how we allocate the resources He gives. I pray that we are good stewards of His gifts and that we will continue to seek guidance as to which way to go and what steps to take.

Today, I am gathering information so that we can make a decision-based in facts, mixed with faith.

There is a twinge of impatience stirring inside. I don’t want to have to wait on doing all these procedures and tests before we get this next round of medication rolling. I feel anxious about waiting as I am getting caught up in the timing of when we would start vs. when the potential baby would be due. I am hung up on certain dates and seasons that I want to avoid.

Honesty moment

We already have multiple family birthdays in December, plus Christmas and New Years that I don’t want to have a baby during the holidays.

I know I know, I shouldn’t be picky. But if I get to ‘choose’ when to start this medication that will potentially enable us to become pregnant than I feel I have a little control over this.

I laugh because that’s what I said last June when we started the fertility treatments, not wanting to get pregnant to be due during certain months… and look where we are now, not pregnant.

What have I learned, that I can’t control even when I think I have a little say in what happens. I don’t. I like to pretend that I do. Maybe I do, but do I want my will of what I think I want in the timing I think I want it to be, or do I want what God wants for me? It may be harder to live by faith, but there is more peace.

God, I surrender this to you too.