I stopped birth control Tuesday. Today, I started estrogen in both pill form and patch form. I’ll be dissolving one pill under my tongue once in the morning and once in the evening each day and replacing my patch every three days. I’ll get my estrogen levels tested on Thursday and hopefully get the all clear to continue the same routine on Friday when my clinic receives the results from the outside lab. If there wasn’t a pandemic, I would be making the four hour round trip to the clinic for blood work and another ultrasound. We’re skipping this ultrasound and opting to do the blood work locally so our results are delayed by a day (per our clinic’s request).
I’ve been taking prenatal gummies for awhile. I always thinks it ironic to take prenatals and birth control at the same time. But, you got to do what you got to do.
I have had mild nausea from the estrogen patches in the past, so I’m waiting for that to kick in. But, I’m thankful that my regimen isn’t crazier or like a fresh IVF cycle. I will be adding in antibiotics, probiotics, and progesterone in oil in the coming weeks.
Well, I jinxed myself y’all. Yesterday’s appointment yielded good results, but it was the second most painful physical experience with a fertility doctor. I don’t blame the doctor. My body just was not cooperating.
My cervix decided to play peekaboo with the doctor. One speculum. Two. Now, let’s try Big Bertha! The doctor kept repeating we should NOT have to do this for the transfer since I’ll have a full bladder. But, I’m honestly not sure who she was trying to reassure more. Me or her. Maybe we both needed it.
But, look! I got these consolation pictures of my uterus 🤪 Apparently, it looks like a whale tail and that’s a good thing 🤷🏼♀️
Late post. A lot on my mind, but I wanted to get this done tonight. I have an early morning 🙃
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about our upcoming transfer recently. So, here’s a little update.
I had to have a negative covid test before treatment starts, so I got that out of the way before Christmas just in case things got delayed or busy because of the holidays. I was negative, and we spent the holidays at home away from our extended family sadly. I am getting anxious about the rise in positive covid cases. There’s no perfect time to get pregnant/have a baby, but a pandemic is definitely an interesting time.
My first in-person appointment is tomorrow where I’ll have a saline ultrasound, mock transfer, and blood work. The saline ultrasound is where saline is placed inside the uterus to make sure everything looks normal. The mock transfer is where they pretend they transfer an embryo and figure out the details of the transfer since everyone’s anatomy is different. Other than feeling a little bloated, the process has always been easy for me in the past. I have never had any issues before, so I’m expecting to get an all clear. This ultrasound will serve as my baseline ultrasound and will officially start our transfer cycle. The whole cycle takes about 4 weeks plus the 2 week wait. For now, the only medication I need to take is birth control to help sync my cycle up to line up to our transfer date, February 4. I still can’t believe this is my 6th embryo transfer between genetic embryos and donor embryos. 😬
Holding onto hope. But, prayers are welcome! For travel too as the weather looks questionable tomorrow.
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.
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.
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. 🦃 🦃 🦃
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!
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! 🤞🏼
Today is the last photo challenge day of National Infertility Awareness Week. The theme, Show Your Resolve, kind of threw me off for a minute. I didn’t feel like I had resolved anything related to infertility.
Our childlessness was resolved through adoption. We did become parents. To be able to adopt in a healthy way, we needed to mourn that we would never have a genetic child. And, we did. I also had to mourn that I would never carry a child. I feel like I mourned that connection with a child, but maybe didn’t fully mourn the missed experiences. I would never be able to relate to pregnancy complaints, cravings, nesting, labor, birthing, breastfeeding, etc.
My feelings are often discounted. “You didn’t miss anything.” “Pregnancy is horrible.” “You got a child the easy way.”
Nothing about our journey has been easy!
Emotionally. Physically. Financially. It’s been different. But, not “easy.”
In many ways, I’d be ok not experiencing pregnancy. To miss out on those shared experiences, but I have not resolved myself to being the mother to only one child. I want to be the mother to at least 2 children (more, if possible). That’s the pain I carry around.
As we continue to pursue embryo adoption, we hope to have a shorter wait time and less expense to achieving the family we’ve always imagined. Pregnancy is just the cherry on top to growing our family. COVID-19 will more than likely delay our dreams, but they won’t be canceling them.