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.

Steps to making a baby…

For educational purposes only 😉

Step 1: Wake up bright and early and get ready while your significant other sleeps. Don’t forget breakfast! You’ll need lots of energy.

Step 2: Start the long drive to the fertility clinic. Time may vary.

Step 3: Once you arrive to your clinic of choice, empty your bladder (not pictured).

Step 4: Start hitting the water. Hydration is key.

Step 5: If you can’t bring your significant other, bring some friends instead.

Step 6: Try to relax while being jabbed with tiny needles by your new acupuncturist friend while your bladder slowly fills.

Step 7: Dress up in your new outfit that the nurse picked out just for you. Cute!

Step 8: Try not to pee while the medical staff who are ohhing and ahhhing over this beautiful embryo that’s hatching 😍

Step 9: Empty bladder again.

Step 10: Facetime your husband to find he’s become a jungle gym 🙃

Step 11: Find a McDonald’s and order and eat French fries. You’re not only hungry, but it’s apparently the new good luck thing for fertility challenged folks like me. McDonald’s is probably behind it. They better seal the deal!

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.

Lining check…

Tomorrow, I have an appointment to see if my lining is increasing sufficiently for my transfer next week. Due to the precautions our clinic is taking, this will be the only ultrasound I’ll have to check.

A lot of people have asked about how I’m feeling. It’s definitely hard to not “what if” this cycle like every other. I hope to post about that separately. But, one downside of this cycle is the side effects I’m having from the medication. I’m taking more estrogen than in the past, and I have the unfortunate side effect of near constant headaches. Not fun with a toddler running around and using me
as a jungle gym. I’m also having muscle aches. I’m not sure if that’s a side effect or just exhaustion from everything. I tend to carry my stress and emotions in my body. The probiotic suppository is also making me very…irritated. 😬 And, that’s all I’m going to say about that. 👀

Due to side effects, covid precautions, and new donors, this cycle feels different. I’ve stopped predicting what everything is going to be like, because everything feels different or hasn’t happened at all like imagined. I’m hoping that’s a good sign, but it’s probably just happening for no rhyme or reason.

I’ll hope that tomorrow is uneventful. 🤞🏼

(And, just for fun! Here’s E exploring a trail near our property on the little bit of snow we got today. We aren’t showing her face anymore due to privacy concerns, but she’s still growing and thriving for those that have asked.)

Today’s medicine regimen…

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.

Thank you for going along on this ride with me.

Big Bertha…

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 🤷🏼‍♀️

First appointment of our 6th transfer cycle…

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.