Update time…

I didn’t intend to leave y’all hanging for so long. Life has a way of ticking on regardless of what’s happening.

We had a little bit of an interesting and surprisingly unexpected ride since my last post. The day after my blood test, our doctor called to let me know that my beta HCG, the pregnancy hormone, was positive but low. It was an 8. That’s pretty low. We did not celebrate. We knew from previous experience that this would likely result in a chemical pregnancy, an early miscarriage.

After another blood test, our doctor let us know we were indeed having a chemical pregnancy since my HCG levels had gone down. I stopped my medications. Our embryo implanted but failed to progress. They don’t really know why. We’ve been told it’s the embryos. That it’s not me. That there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to conceive and carry a child. Three groups of genetically different embryos (our genetic embryos + 2 sets of donor embryos) beg to differ. And that causes me more doubt and less optimism than I’d like to admit for our last two embryos still frozen at our clinic.

My initial reaction was not what I would have imagined. I didn’t cry despite being a big crier. I wondered if I’d become so jaded to this process that I was unable to react, but there have been moments since that have triggered tears, albeit short-lived. I think gently being eased into an unsuccessful pregnancy may have something to do with it. Having more immediate needs during a 11 day power outage also probably aided to a “what will be will be” attitude. Knowing the likelihood that our embryo would continue to grow was slim, I found it frustrating to unnecessarily take medications for a few more days. But, the hope that a miracle could happen kept us moving.

It’s defeating. And, I feel like the writing is on the wall. I have to be ok with not being able to have a another child. At least this way. That is going to take time. The what if’s are what I find the most challenging. How do we achieve the family we imagined? Or do we resolve ourselves to being a family of three?

We still have two embryos. There is still hope. But life will go on whether they make us parents again or not. I have to be ok. I will be ok. I think this loss will hit me more if the last two embryos also aren’t successful. We have no plans to continue fertility treatments after transferring them.

With that said, I need to do this last one on our own. I don’t think I have anything else new to say. I’ve taken you through the process as well as the ups and downs, which has been harder for me mentally that I expected. Being open about our journey has been a double edge sword. I hear from so many that our journey and our positive attitude has inspired them. For that, I am grateful. But, I feel like I need the space to have the emotions that aren’t always fun to share. And maybe I won’t need those emotions. Maybe we’ll get our miracle. Would you look at that? Maybe Chris’s optimism has rubbed off on me after all these years. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Thank you for all the love, prayers, kind words, and support. We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

It’s beta test day…

I’ve lost track of how many people have asked if I would test before the beta. I hadn’t planned on it, and I never did. With so many people asking, it was very tempting. If I had pregnancy test at home, I think I would have caved. The act of ordering or buying one stopped me. I’ve been wondering the last couple days if I feel pregnant. It’s so early. And the medication I’m taking to sustain a pregnancy (if I’m lucky enough to be pregnant) can mimic pregnancy symptoms. I think for the first week I generally think I am. Then, doubt starts to seep into my thoughts. A few days before my test, I convince myself I’m not and go into the beta and waiting for the doctor’s call pretty pessimistically.

Transfers are not emotional for me usually. It’s a box checked. A means to an end. Been there. Done that.

This is when my emotions start to hit. I’m so used to hearing bad news I honestly don’t know how to prepare for good news. It’s self preservation I guess.

I would love for this embryo to be the one. To tell him or her of the amazing story that lead us to being a family. But tonight, we wait. And hope. Just a little bit longer.

Feeling anxious…

I had plans to post about how many embryos we’re transferring tomorrow and the emotions and science behind that decision, but I’m soooo tired. It’s a question we get a lot. So, the plan is one, but there’s a small chance it will be two.

I’m hoping things go smoothly tomorrow. This cycle has been unexpectedly difficult. I don’t know why, but it has. We’re hoping that somehow all the pain and frustration somehow means we’ll get a baby at the end of this.

I’ll be on the road or at the doctor’s office most of the day, so I doubt I’ll have an update tomorrow. All positive thoughts are welcome. ❤️

One down, 57 to go…

Had my first progesterone shot first thing this morning. I decided to record myself while Chris gave me my booty shot just for fun. Without context, this makes for an interesting video 😂 The progesterone is in an oil so it takes a minute to give. Also, E walked into the kitchen at the end. Round 2 is tonight and then every night for at least 3 weeks. If this embryo sticks, I’ll be having ~10 weeks of shots. 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

Let’s dance…

Y’all, this cycle is kicking my butt! Expect the unexpected, because all my expectations for this cycle are most definitely not working out. I mentioned my symptoms/side effects to my doctor today. For my headaches, she was not sympathetic and dismissed that they could possibly be from my estrogen. My gut and others pursuing embryo donation (and their doctors) say different. I’m hoping that my body gets used to it. It’s going to be an interesting 3-8 weeks if it doesn’t. I was told I could stop the probiotic and scolded for not knowing I could only take one probiotic “like the bottle says.” Um, the bottle doesn’t say that, and I was told to take one pill for six days. And if horrible bedside manner wasn’t enough, my uterus decided to practice the waltz (aka started contracting) during my ultrasound. Another first for me. The doctor said that the progesterone that I’ll start tomorrow should make my uterus chill out, but also recommended acupuncture before and after transfer. I’ll do anything within my power to make this embryo stick, so acupuncture it is. I’ve had acupuncture before. I actually love it and would do it weekly if it wasn’t so darn pricey. But, for one day it’s doable. It can be done in their office, so that’s nice. However, it will make my transfer day THAT much longer. The acupuncturist will be lucky if I don’t fall asleep during my appointment. Who knew needles could be so relaxing?!

My doctor is usually very nice and thoughtful. The phlebotomist mentioned they were busy this morning, and I’m hopeful that this was just one bad day. Condescending doctors don’t normally get a round two with me, but we’re stuck with this clinic at the very least until we use all our embryos.

We got our transfer date!

We’ll be transferring on February 4! It’s official, and everything seems real, finally. While the transfer is still 2 months away, we’ll be doing blood work this week, and my first ultrasound will be early January. I’ll hopefully be dealing with price shopping and ordering my prescriptions today. So, there’s enough to do between now and February.

A few things will be different this time. Chris won’t be able to attend the embryo transfer or any appointment for that matter. I’ll be by myself for every appointment, but I’ve done most of my ultrasounds in our past donor cycles by myself. He will be able to FaceTime for the transfer, so that’ll be a new experience. We understand. This is the reality of fertility treatments during a pandemic. I feel bad for newbies. This will be my 6th transfer, so I’m (mostly) resolved to whatever is thrown our way. But, it would have felt impossible to do without him there the first few times.

I will only have 3 appointments at the clinic instead of 4 or 5 this cycle. So, there will be less driving and trying to coordinate schedules. This actually allowed us to get an earlier transfer date than I expected.

I’ll be on estrogen patches from the beginning. Our fertility doctor added them into my regime last cycle to help with my estrogen level, but it seems like in the last year, it’s become their standard protocol. The estrogen patches give me nausea specifically at night. But, I suppose I’m literally asking for morning sickness, so it’s a small price to pay.

Chris is not thrilled to be giving me shots daily again. Considering that’s all he has to do during this process, I’ll continue to side eye him. Man babies, amiright? He is definitely excited about a new baby. In fact, he wanted a second sooner than I did. The details? Those are my department I guess.

I hope we get our wish. Our hope. Our dream. The what if’s can fill our heads quickly, and we’re trying very hard to focus on a positive outcome.

The turkeys have landed…

We just got an email from the shipping company that our three embryos made it safely to the clinic. Waiting to hear from the clinic about any other details. And, I plan to call today to get an appointment setup with the nurse to schedule our first transfer from this batch of donor embryos. Feeling very thankful they made it safely.

Shipping embryos…

After paperwork issues between clinics, our 3 embryos are starting their 1,500+ mile trip across America. It’s so exciting to be at this point! But, I’m also super nervous about shipping embryos for the first time and praying they arrive safely.

If you could send us some prayers or positive thoughts for a successful shipment, we’d really appreciate it.

Frozen embryos are often called snowflakes. ❄️❄️❄️ However, I’m lovingly referring to our embryos as turkeys (for now), since we are so close to Thanksgiving. 🦃 🦃 🦃

Popular questions…

As we continue to work towards finalizing an embryo adoption for the second time and ultimately a transfer date, we’ve gotten a few questions: When are we transferring? How is COVID-19 impacting our journey? How many embryos are we receiving?

For a variety of reasons, the earliest we plan to transfer an embryo would be February. We’ve gone back and forth, but that’s what we settled on. We will be self isolating as much as possible before and during any cycle. We want to be outside of the window of our limited holiday festivities. Chris will also need a normal work week for almost 6 weeks straight so that he can adjust his work schedule to be able to stay home with our daughter while I travel to doctor appointments. Pre-pandemic, I usually dropped her off at one of her grandparent’s house during appointments, or we’d have a family day. Neither of those options are feasible right now with Covid-19.

We will be receiving 3 embryos. They are frozen in two straws. We plan to transfer the embryo that’s in a straw by itself first (February 🤞🏼). Whenever we decide to do another transfer, our current thought is that we’ll thaw the 2 embryos that are in a straw together, transfer one, and refreeze the second embryo for a later transfer. Both our clinic and our donors approved refreezing the second one. BUT, we could transfer two. But, we’d obviously have to be OK with TWINS! 🤪 I might have to elaborate more on the idea of twins at a later point. Transferring two embryos isn’t new to us. We just haven’t done it since our first experiences with IVF. We transferred two embryos when we did fresh (vs. frozen) cycles with our genetic embryos. One transfer produced a chemical pregnancy and the other was unsuccessful.

I (and Chris, too!) love to answer your questions. We are open books about our experiences. I’ve lost count of how many couples who have contacted us over the years to discuss doctors, procedures, adoption agencies, etc. And, many are just curious about the process of fertility treatments or adoption. Keep the questions coming!

The roller coaster continues…

A few of y’all caught it in my posts in the Spring, but we have matched with a second embryo donor! This situation fell in our laps late 2019/early 2020, and we took some time to bond and coordinate a few potential hiccups that slowly panned out in our favor. It’s crazy how the bonding has been the easiest part of the process. We feel the match is the perfect one for us, and interestingly, our first donor led us to our second donor. I’m choosing to believe that our next miracle(s) are taking the long way to us just like Emma did.

Our match is a little different than first time in that the embryos were not created or stored at the clinic we plan to use for transfer. So, coordinating with different clinics, embryologists, and doctors in different states has been challenging, but things are finally moving along.

We still have a few more steps until we can get to a transfer cycle:

✔️ Match with donors

✔️ Verify clinic will accept embryos

✔️ Therapy consult (required by our clinic)

🔘 Legal contract transferring ownership of the embryos (We hope to have the legal part done this month! 😁)

🔘 Shipment of embryos from donor clinic to our clinic

🔘 Nurse consultation to schedule donor transfer cycle

🔘 Transfer cycle

In the beginning, it was a whirlwind. We’d just had our last failed cycle from our batch of embryos from our first donor. We were mourning, and we were trying to figure out our next move. Then, our first donor mentioned another donor that might be interested in connecting.

The pandemic definitely slowed the process. It put us in a wait and see kind of mode, which is a “feeling” I mention a lot. There’s a lot of mixed emotions. I’m mostly excited, but I’m nervous, too. This fertility treatment rollercoaster has no guarantees. What if this doesn’t work?! Will we be able to afford another option? What if we have to wait longer than we planned due to the pandemic? But, it’s out of my control, as much as I like to think differently. We ARE optimistic or else we wouldn’t even be proceeding.

At the end of the day, we are so lucky! None of this seems lucky does it? But, some people who choose to match privately to adopt embryos don’t ever match 😢, but we’ve matched twice.

I really felt a connection to the donor mom of our first donated embryos. We were looking forward to having them as part of our family. We were all so disappointed that the transfers didn’t work. That we didn’t have a child to connect us. They will still be part of our story, and I hope to remain in contact as we have. And, how amazing is it that our first donor had enough faith in us to recommend us as recipients to another donor? So humbling!

We’re optimistic that we’ll have more to update y’all on in the weeks to come. Fingers crossed! 🤞🏼