Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Got Twins?

Life just got a little bit crazier. 

Yesterday we had our first ultrasound since the confirmation blood tests,  it had been two weeks of waiting and we were excited and anxious for this to go well.  I had been experiencing some morning sickness and fatigue which helped to reassure us that the pregnancy was progressing as it should but we were still nervous.  From the day we got our blood test results I've been pretty certain it was twins, Brady refused to be swayed one way or the other but somehow I knew.  I would refer to the "babies" plural (I didn't want one to feel left out just in case) and started preparing myself for a two for one result on our ultrasound.  Laying there waiting for the Magic Man was agony but finally he was there and the lights were out and there they were. Two of them.  It was unreal looking at the ultrasound machine and seeing our two little ones and knowing our life will never be the same.  As of yesterday I was 6 weeks and 4 days along and our little guys are measuring a little small.  Baby A is measuring at 6 weeks 1 day and baby B is measuring at 6 weeks exactly, the Magic Man didn't seem overly concerned but told us he wants to check them again in a week to make sure they are growing as they should.  We were thrilled to both see and hear their little heartbeats going strong at 110 and 109 (doc said anything over 100 was what we were looking for) and even got some ultrasound pictures to stare at and obsess over for the next week.  My blood levels from the day show a good estradol level which means I can start to wean off of the oral estrace I have been taking and while my progesterone levels are good they want them to stay that way, this means continuing on the shots probably for another month or so.

I find myself going from complete elation to reserved optimism.  After everything we have been through I am not sure when we will feel like it's safe to really be excited.  We are trying to think good thoughts and create an atmosphere of good energy and to not go crazy with stress and worry in the next week.  I am doing my best to rest up and take good care of myself.  I joke that I am in slug mode.  All I do is eat and sleep and pee.  Brady has been a champ, helping more around the house and trying like mad to finish all of the new house projects we started this summer in anticipation of the upcoming madness.  I know it's still early and allot can happen but I feel good, I feel happy and I feel like we are finally on our way to becoming a family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Now What?

Resting, that's what.  It's been almost a week since we found out the good news and I'm happy to report not much has happened since then.  We initially had one blood test to check my HCG levels and were thrilled to hear we were in fact pregnant, our second blood test two days later confirmed this and the news has settled in a little.  Our levels rose at good rates in the two days between blood tests and I inquired about the indication of twins, our RN said that while we won't know for certain until our ultrasound on the 30th, with the numbers she was seeing she wouldn't be surprised.  Twins is something that both Brady and I would love to have, we've always said we were meant for twins and while I know we are completely naive in regards to what it is like to have children, we know that we are capable and after this journey we will be grateful for additional blessings.  I should mention here that we have two sets of twins already in the family, my little brother and sister (age 30) and twin little brothers (age 7) so I have witnessed firsthand the insanity of two for one, but being a little left of sane myself I think maybe it's meant to be.  We will be grateful and thrilled regardless of the number however and know that what is meant to happen will. 

So the next big event will be our ultrasound on August 30th.  Normally the first ultrasound is done by an OBGYN at around 8-10 weeks, however with IVF things are a little different.  I am not sure if it's due to the high rate of multiples or just ongoing diligence but my first ultrasound will take place exactly four weeks after the day they harvested my eggs.  This means we won't see a heartbeat or anything but we should see if things are progressing as they should and we will learn of course whether we will have one bundle of joy or we should start buying stock in xanax. Until then I am kind of laying low and trying to play it safe.  This is hard for me, I don't like laying around and feel increasingly guilty about my inability to perform some of the much needed manual labor around the house and new yard.  Occasionally I have to stop and remind myself of what we have gone through to get here and I realize that it isn't about what I can or cannot do, what is done or undone, it is about doing everything in my power to not take for granted what we have been given.  I am learning more and more every day that it's no longer just about me and my desire to do it all.  Right now I have to chill, I have to read and write and garden and bake and RELAX and surrender to the process and if that means resting on the couch watching movies and noshing on fresh fruit, then so be it :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It Worked!

Today was the big day, blood draw early this morning and the best news of my life just before noon.  I can't believe we made it and it worked. I will admit there were times when I wondered if we would ever be here and if we could do it, I am so glad that we did.  I had the doctors office call Brady with the news because I wanted to hear it from him and I knew the minute I answered my phone that the news was good.  For the first time in my life I was at a loss for words, I wanted to shout and jump up and down and cry all at the same time, I was in the car however, so I settled for silent tears of joy.  Hearing the excitement in Brady's voice and knowing that we were finally to this point has made every shot, doctors appointment, blood draw and uncomfortable ultrasound worth it. 

We know we aren't out of the woods yet, we've been here before and it's still pretty early in the game, but we are so hopeful and thankful to have made it this far.  We go in for another blood draw on Saturday to ensure that my levels are doubling the way they are supposed to and I am continuing on the oral estrace and the nightly progesterone shots to help support the pregnancy. I will admit to a small amount of paranoia, I know that this will be a challenge for me going forward but I am determined to keep it in check.  Right now I am going to focus on the wonderful.  My wonderful husband who has been my rock and my wonderful family who has been crazy supportive and most of all the wonderful gift that we have been given.  We know that the real journey has just begun, the only question left is, will there be one or two?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Almost There

So I am one of those people who hopes for the best and prepares for the worst, I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing but come Thursday I'm going to find out.  Two more days until we find out if our ride on the IVF roller coaster has been successful and so far I've done a pretty good job of not climbing the walls in anticipation.  It may sound strange but I find solace in the not knowing, I almost don't want to get the results because they may not be what I want to hear.  For the first time I'm nervous about finding out, I'm even dreaming about it.  Last night I dreamed that we found out it didn't work, I don't know how to interpret this, normally I think dreams are trying to tell us something, today I think that theory is bunk. 

I am trying to stay busy, to not think about the possibility of success or failure but the closer I get to finding out the harder that gets.  Part of me wants to get excited at the thought of a positive result, the elation Brady and I will feel and the excitement of knowing that we may finally have a child to shower with love.  But then I remember back, our first pregnancy and the IUIs and the agony of bad news.  I want to get excited, I want to get my hopes up, but I don't know how I can handle the fall if the news is bad.  So we wait, and I keep walking this fine line of hoping and preparing.  I don't know if I will ever be ready to hear the results but I know regardless if they are yay or nay that our journey to have a family isn't over, and there is solace in that too. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hurry Up & Wait

All along I thought that the shots and poking and prodding with ultrasound wands was going to be the worst part but the fact of the matter is all those things, uncomfortable as they were, were a great distraction. Now that the transfer is complete and bed rest is over I have seven agonizing days until my blood test to see if after all this we were able to make a baby.  The waiting is definitely the hardest part. 

On Tuesday we headed into the city for the transfer, and actually headed in a little early to visit one of my closest girl friends who happened to be in labor right next door at Good Sam.  I was bummed that I was going to be on bed rest when the baby finally arrived but am pretty convinced the last minute belly rub was good luck (which was good since I forgot the fertility frog, doh!). During our mock embryo transfer we discovered the procedure would be easiest with a very full bladder, my cervix is tilted pretty far back making the path to my uterus into a maze with something close to a ninety degree angle near the end and the full bladder somehow assists with this.  During the practice run I didn't have a full enough bladder and the whole procedure was rather uncomfortable, this time I wasn't taking any chances, I downed multiple bottles of sparkling water in preparation.  When we finally checked in and got settled in our room I discovered there is such a thing as being too prepared.  We were still 30 minutes out from getting our little guys settled in and I was doing the pee pee dance in a hospital gown.  Our nurse took pity on me and allowed me to evacuate some of my bladder, she handed me a cup and noted where I could fill to and it took every ounce of self control I had to not overfill.  Shortly thereafter the magic man showed up, handed me a Valium and we headed into the sterile room for the transfer.  My painfully full bladder paid off, the magic man was very pleased and the whole thing took about 10 minutes.  Three months of preparation for 10 minutes, crazy.  Afterwards I am wheeled into the recovery room where Brady is chilling and we put on some soothing music and  I do my best to relax with my still full bladder for the next hour.  Once done I am wheeled down to the car and we head home with me telling Brady to take it easy around turns and going over speed bumps, as though every jostle could somehow dislodge all our hopes from my uterine lining.  At the house I settle into the bed in front of the TV and get cozy.  After a movie, two magazines, consuming at least 4 pickles and filing my nails and I am already bored.  It was going to be a long 48 hours. 

Over the next day and a half I watch lots of movies, I toss and turn trying to find a way to get comfortable laying with my head at no more than a 45 degree angle and I dream of a shower like it's a tropical vacation. I spent allot of time speaking words of encouragement to my belly like a crazy woman and visualizing the blastocysts embedding themselves in my uterus.  Now I don't really know what that would look like but I'm a pretty creative girl and I imagined a soothing environment with lots of soft colors and pillows and maybe some Marvin Gaye playing in the background.  Daydreams aside, this morning couldn't come fast enough, getting out of bed and stretching was brilliant dipped in awesome topped with wonderful.  I still have to lay low for a while which is hard but I am not leaving anything to chance.  This morning the embryologist called and told us that they were able to freeze three of the remaining eggs.  I am hoping we don't need them though, hoping with all my heart. 

The pic of our 5 day old blastocysts that were transferred.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Big Day

I can't believe we are here!  It feels a little crazy to know that we finally made it to this point.  It has been a crazy road and we are very grateful to have made it this far.  Today is the day we go in and have the blastocysts transferred into my uterus where they hopefully get comfortable and stay a while.  This morning we got the call from our Embryologist letting us know that of the 8 eggs that fertilized 6 have continued to grow.  This is the good news.  She proceeds to let me know that they are growing a little slow however, and this is the not so good news.  We are told that the embryos are looking more like they should on the day before transfer rather than the day of.  She assures me that this doesn't mean they won't make babies and thinks that there is still enough grow time before the transfer for them to catch up and make clear which two we should implant.  I don't know what this means for the others though and I hope we can still freeze the remaining 4.  I have to admit a slight dip in my positivity due to this news but I'm going to blame the hormones and try to not let it get me down. 

We are due to report to the clinic at 2:15 this afternoon for the transfer.  We have done a mock transfer already so I know what to expect.  The procedure requires me to have a full bladder, this means that an already uncomfortable procedure is now stressful as well.  The doc tells me to relax so he can guide the catheter in, perhaps he doesn't realize how difficult that is when I'm doing my best to not release my full bladder all over him.  I am told that for the real deal this afternoon they will give me Valium to aid in my relaxation and I am wondering how many times this has led to the Magic Man getting urinated on.  Once we are done with the transfer I get to chill in the office on my back for an hour, I am told a bed pan will be available to help make this more comfortable, again with the bedpans, yay.  After that we head home for two days of bed rest.  I have to be laying down, I can have my head elevated with pillows but at no more than a 45 degree angle.  I am only allowed up to use the restroom and once again, it was suggested that I use a bedpan most of the time.  I think it's obvious at this point the clinic is clearly trying to bring bedpans back. I will admit to a certain purchase at REI to aid in bathroom breaks on bed rest and tell myself that it will be worth the indignity in the long run.  After the two days I am free to get up and shower but no baths, in fact no to a lot of things.  No exercise at a level that makes me sweat, no elevating my heart rate over a certain level and no sex.  In fact we haven't been allowed to have sex since the week before the egg retrieval and won't be able to until our BHCG pregnancy test 12 days from now.  I find it amusing we are making a baby with absolutely no sex, Brady thinks this is slightly less than amusing. 

I am not looking forward to bed rest.  Those that know me know that me sitting still for anything more than an hour or so (who are we kidding 10 minutes) is difficult and therefore this will be the challenge of my life.  I am hoping I am able to find my zen, I am hoping I don't drive Brady crazy and I am hoping that I can manage to stay calm and remember to be grateful.  That might be a big order considering I'm going to be peeing into a water bottle and relying on my darling husband to cook and give me sponge baths, but I think I can do it.  In fact, I think it might even be good for me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Wall

It's official.  Any hope I had of making it through this process without hitting the wall and completely breaking down is gone and that thing I said about trading the three tummy shots for the one intramuscular?  I take it all back.  Last night started the progesterone shots and I completely lost it at the mere sight of the needle.  It's that bad.  Or I am just that much of a wimp, I can't decide which. 

Now that we have grown the eggs and harvested them we are on to preparing my body for implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy should the implantation be successful.  This means hormones.  Let the fun begin. The Progesterone is the only one given in shot form, in addition I am taking Medrol (low dose steroid) and Estrace (estrogen).  Now normally I like to think I am a pretty even keeled person, I'm not claiming to be the patron saint of reason or anything but generally I can make it at least a couple of days without crying for no reason.  Not so much the case anymore.  I would try to describe how off balance I feel but it might set off the waterworks again.  Last night when Brady got the gear out to give me my progesterone shot I had no idea I was going to lose it.  I was feeling fine and then I saw the needle and remembered it was intramuscular and I just broke down.  I don't know whats wrong with me, I'm a tough girl, I've run marathons, I should not be crying like a little kid at the mere thought of a shot.  This shot has to go in at a specific location on my hip and also has to be administered in a specific amount of time to help the progesterone be absorbed into the body.  If you go too fast you end up with these lumps of it in your muscle and increased discomfort so they tell you to take a full minute to administer the injection.  I lean over the counter and bury my face in my now trusty blanket and stand pigeon toed.  Standing this way helps me to not tense my muscle which supposedly helps the shot go in easier.  The initial injection part goes smoothly but then I start counting and suddenly I can feel the shot all the way down my left leg.  At first I tell myself that I am overreacting and that there is no possible way I can feel something in my shin that is being administered into my hip.  After what seems like an eternity Brady withdraws the needle and I proceed to freak out.  My entire leg feels weird, the only way I can even try to describe it is that it's this like cringe worthy nails on a chalkboard kind of sensation.  I know the intramuscular shots will make me sore, but I didn't think it would be this immediate.  I lay down and have Brady put a heating pad on the injection site.  I've been told this along with massage of the spot will also help the progesterone disperse into my body better and help with the pain.  So I'm laying there crying while Brady administers the heat and massage and I am asking myself how it is I am going to be able to do this every night.  I have no answer for this.  After a few minutes I grab my laptop and google intramuscular progesterone shots and discover that the pain in my leg is probably due to Brady hitting a nerve while giving the injection.  I didn't even know that was possible?  Brady had given my shot well within the specified target area drawn on by the RN at our last visit to the doc, my HCG shot that I got intramuscularly two days before egg retrieval didn't feel like this and it is this thought alone that gives me hope.  I limp upstairs and as I lay in bed I try to tell myself to buck up.  I can do this the easy way or the hard way, it's all about how I choose to approach it.  We knew this wasn't going to be a bag fun and we are so close. I fall asleep thinking of ways I can make this shot more bearable.

I wake up this morning and feel like an invalid.  Ok maybe I am being a little over dramatic, but seriously, walking down the stairs to make coffee I feel like I've just had hip replacement.  I hurt and I'm cranky.  This is an awesome combination, especially for my darling husband.  I feel bad for him, he has been super strong and a complete trooper through all of this so I try to tread extra lightly in my crazy emotional state.  Walking is hard, and trying to find a comfortable sitting position has become a challenge.  I think all day about the night's shot and I am ashamed to say I didn't do much better tonight.  We tried for the shot in the dining room this evening (it has a nice view of the sunset) and I was all ready and Brady hesitated (I was leaning too low and he was worried about hitting bone) and I yelled "just do it" and then I stood up and started crying again.  I am officially afraid of this shot and Brady is officially miserable.   We move to the kitchen and try again, I am crying and again the needle goes in smooth.  This feels better, not like yesterday.  We count together and a minute later it's over.  I have soreness again but it's not like last night.  This I can handle.  I wipe my tears and Brady preps the heating pad.  Tonight was better, and I am hoping it gets a little easier every day.  I am a little worried about Friday, I am heading out of town with some family and Brady has to work which means my little sister is going to have to give me this shot.  I am hoping it's not as bad by then, I am hoping I won't cry and I hope that she isn't traumatized by having to do this.  Then I remember that she is my little sister, I think of all the times when we were kids and I was mean and teased her and I find myself thinking that I should worry a little less about her and a little more about karma coming back to literally bite me in the butt.