Why Me? Now What? (A Personal Journey Through Infertility)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Embie 1 & 2 are Home Safe

Well, we did it!!!!

Yesterday was busy.... to busy for me... I would have rather spent the day relaxing and staying calm... but these embies are going to have to realize, that just isn't me!

We finished making the house "show home perfect" since this Saturday we are having an open house, and our home is officially on the market as of this morning. Mike ran and picked up some flowers to re-fill the front flower beds, and got a couple cedar trees to place at the entrance of the garage; both to boost our curb appeal. We finished up just in time to run out the door for acupuncture! Seeing Leslie was great, she was an instant reminder that today was about ME, and that it was time to let go of the hustle and bustle of the morning, and focus on the task at hand.

It was nice... laying there in the darkness simply "being" for 40 minutes, preparing my body for the next hours. Nora Jones softly played in the background, and I lay there thinking about the wonders that would soon take place.

Moments later (or what seemed like moments), I was walking out the door and in through the doors of the clinic for the moment we had waited for.

Mike got booties... he was so excited... between those and the papercap made him feel like a doctor. I think he actually thought for a moment that he could do the procedure!!! I downed to bottles of water as per the nurse's instructions, and away we went!

As soon as we walked into the procedure room, the embryologist came out to talk to us. She was smiling from ear to ear... SURELY a good sign! She said that our embryos were in a word "stunning". Apparently, as of 9:30am the 2 embryos that were to be placed back in my uterus for a 9 month stay were perfect Grade A 8 cell embies! Moments before coming out to talk to us, she double checked them and discovered that they had divided significantly and were looking even more beautiful than they had first hoped. She said genetically, they were as perfect as they see through the clinic. WOW.... now, it was all up to me and my body that would determine how successful we would be, what a lot of pressure. She then went on to talk about our remaining 10 embryos... had they survived to freeze? The answer was yes! The incredible news, was that these 10 embryos were also also Grade A, 8-12 cell frosties! Could this be possible? How were we so lucky... please don't let our luck run out early.

The transfer was actually quite uneventful, we were sent home with photos of both the embryos alone in the petri dish and one of them in their new home deep inside my uterus. It was kind of like when you go to the theme park and survive the rollercoaster, and there at the end is a picture of you with your mouth open and your eyes closed, to commemorate the event.

Our First "baby pictures"... please let that be true.

So our Beta is scheduled for June 29th, Mike's Birthday. I'm not sure how we are expected to wait that long, and I am sure I will pull out the pregnancy tests well before then, but I think it is kind of interesting that my birthday commemorated the first day I took medication for this IVF cycle, and Mike's birthday would be the day we would know if it worked.

All through this process it seems things have aligned themselves so perfectly, I'm just scared that this has lead us to have false hope and higher than healthy expectations. I must work on staying grounded and honest about what lies ahead.

Last night I admit, I over did it just a bit. The RE didn't want me rushing home to bed, but rather, wanted me to keep moving... in order to keep the blood flow rolling. He of course gave strict instructions to not do anything that induced a sweat, lift anything more than 10 pounds, or over exert myself for the next 2 weeks. But by the time my head hit the pillow last night at 10pm, I realized that once we left the clinic we barely slowed down at all. We first headed back to my second acupuncture appointment, then back home with a final meeting with our realtor to sign the paperwork and place the signs on our front lawn. Then we went out for dinner... grabbed a couple groceries, and finally came home exhausted.

I need to learn to slow down... I have to much at stake now. Today I plan on resting, feet up and guilt free.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hang On Babes... Momma's coming!

The embryologist called, at 12:01 this afternoon mind you, allowing me to play tricks on my mind. Why is it they do this to us? Saying you will call sometime between 9 and 12 means, you should call everyone at 9:05!! Dont they know that this is one of the biggest events in our lives?

But it was worth it.

My 11 little embryos that fertilized yesterday gained a little brother... 1 of the 8 that were re-fertilized late is springing to life and has caught up to the others, desperate to not be left behind. So 12 embryos... all viable and potentially the answer from God we have been desperately waiting for. She said they looked fantastic... not 1 or 2... but all 12! They were the types of embryos that makes the lab giddy, that's how she described them! Since I had asked to transfer 2 or 3 depending on their quality, she said that they would only be placing back 2, since they were so healthy and there was no reason to risk high order multiples.

I will also have some left that can likely be frozen... something that you never know if will actually happen, but is a second blessing all in itself.

So we are set... tomorrow at 2:30 pm we will be introduced to our babes, and they will be placed back with so much hope and love. Could this really be happening? I am holding my emotions because there are always what ifs and why nots... but can I say it?????


Monday, June 12, 2006

24 Hours in Recovery

It has been officially 24 hours since I returned home yesterday from my IVF Egg Transfer. I was SO scared when we walked into the back halls of the clinic... this was uncharted territory! These last 8 months visiting the clinic, I had assumed this door was a linen closet, but low and behold, it led to a whole other realm!!!

A nurse sat me down in a lazy boy recliner, and proceeded to give me a bit of a rundown on what would be happening... she knew I was nervous and wanted me to know as much as possible about what the day held, so that I could ingest it all. She was very patient, and answered all my questions... I'm sure they were delusional, but I'm also sure it wasn't the first time they had heard them! She gave me a heating pad for my arm, so that it would be easier for the IV to be administered. I was most worried about the pain, having read horror stories of women that screamed in anguish... since clinics in Canada rarely put you out entirely, I would be awake for the entire procedure... something that terrified me.

After reassuring me that a narcotic would be administered through the IV and make me feel wonderfully fuzzy, I shuffled into the operating room leaving my hubby to head down the hall for his all important duty.

The process was painful. So painful in fact that they had to administer a second dose of pain killer... which relieved the pain near the end. Dr. Greene kept apologizing, but I knew it was all for a good cause, and tried to just grin and bare it. Over and over he warned me that he was preparing for another puncture through my vaginal wall.. the method used for extracting the eggs from the follicles. An embryologst came and went from the room taking with her the harvested jewels and I watched on the TV overhead as she extracted the eggs from the fluid and tissue that accompanied them in the vials in which they were collected. I could hear her counting out the eggs as she placed them in their safe and temporary home... but stopped listening at 24...

As I was wheeled out to the recovery room, I was blurry and sore... and SO grateful for to see Mike sitting there with a juice box of apple juice and 2 tylenol! Haha... the nurse must have warned him and set him up with the props that made him look like a hero.

We sat there... or rather Mike sat there, and I lay there on the bed rolled out next to the window, and talked about trivial things, waiting for the embryologist to come out and talk with us about how she felt it went. Moments later, she appeared next to us with a chart in her hand. She was pleased with how it went, and amazed that we successfully retrieved 27 eggs. Of the 27, 15 were mature, 8 looked promising to get a bit bigger, and 5 were so little they weren't to optimistic for anything. She said based on these facts, and the rest of my chart, she gave us a 75% chance that we would get pregnant from one of the embryos that hopefully would come from this cycle. 75%... that's was really great... wasn't it? I mean, I HAD to take that as great results. There were of course, like every other step in this journey, some disheartening news to accompany the good... apparently, due to the number of eggs retrieved, they were worried about OHSS . If I didn't combat the potential symptoms, I would be facing some tough news on Wednesday. She gave us three scenarios:

1) Any of the embryos that survived, would be frozen and held until I was in better shape to accept them back into my body. Something that came with inherent risks of the embryos not thawing properly, and potentially resulting in negative results down the line. Not to mention that this would delay this whole journey even longer.

2) Come back on Wednesday, and transfer back only 1 good looking embryo, rather than the two we had planned on placing... thus reducing the risk of OHSS becoming full blown after implantation.

3) Get the OHSS under control by drinking a ton of water and keeping the blood flow moving by getting up and walking around every day, and then come back on Wednesday and transfer back 2 embryos as scheduled.

Oh God... I hope we can move forward, why is it there always seems to be a question at the end of each chapter?

After 2 hours of resting my body in the clinic, we packed up and headed home. At first I thought I felt relatively normal, but as the pain killers slowly left my body, the pain became unbearable. I was having a fair amount of bleeding from the punctures, and the swelling around my abdomen seemed to come on almost instantly. I knew this wasn't good, and tried as I might to drink as much water and gatorade as possible... if this was the one thing I could do, damn it... I would do it to the best of my ability!

I think by about 10pm my body finally gave up in exhaustion, and as I lay there stiff in bed afraid to move in fear of the stabbing pain that accompanied every shift; I fell asleep hoping that this morning would bring a bit of solace.

It seemed like moments after waking, that the phone rang next to my bedside table. It didn't hurt as much as I twisted over to pick up... a relief in itself! It was the embryologist! Although they said I should expect to hear back from them sometime between 9 and 12 this morning, as I glanced at the clock I noticed it was barely 8:30am. This surely couldn't be a good sign. Had none of my precious cargo lasted through the night? I was so scared as he started talking...he wanted to know how I was doing, apparently my file had been highlighted with the ordeal at egg retrieval, and he was amazed I didn't kick the knife out of Dr. Greene's hands after all those pokes. I told him I was feeling better today, after all, I HAD managed to get through the night without popping more Tylenol right? After making small talk about making sure I rested he got to the good stuff... how those eggs were doing. 11... 11 had made it to fertilization and were looking good as of this morning. 11???? What happened to the other 16? Apparently there were another 8 that had been re-introduced to Mike's sperm... in hopes they would make friends this morning, but as of last night, they weren't playing nice and it was looking doubtful that they would mate and make babies. So I was looking at holding onto hope for those 11 little embryos. He said that this was considered a great success... that most women get about 12 eggs at retrieval, with only about 1/2 making it through fertilization.... so I have to remain positive. He couldn't tell me what grade they would likely be, but said that by tomorrow he would have a better idea. At that time, he said he would give me the Egg Transfer timing for Wednesday, so it looked as though we were going ahead!

Just 2 days... c'mon embies... hang in there. These 11 little guys are my hope... my dream... and my potential babies. There's nothing more to do except wait and pray... both of which I will be doing alot of over the next 2 days... in between pounding back Gatorade.