Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

21 Weeks (Please excuse the confederate flag...blech.)

Merry Christmas from SC! It is amazing how different this Christmas is for us. We've spent too many Christmases being sad and this year we can truly celebrate! Even though it is a joyful time of year, we've had a tinge of sadness for the last 4 years, thinking about what we've lost and what should have been. Now, we look forward to next year and the joy of sharing our first Christmas as a family of 3. I hope everyone has a joyful holiday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Half-Baked!

I can't believe I am halfway through my pregnancy! I am so blessed and amazed to have made it this far. I've been so fortunate to have a great 4.5 months and I hope the second half goes just as well!

19 weeks. I love this photo!

20 weeks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Big Ultrasound!

Today was an amazing day. Mr. C. and I got to see our baby for the first time since our 8 week u/s. Wow, how things have changed! We have a beautiful baby who's organs and body parts are measuring perfectly! Everything is intact and as it should be at this point. We stayed strong and did not find out the gender. The ultrasound tech could clearly tell what it is, so we do know that we have one or the other!!

Actually, the baby looks so good that the OB's office asked me to come back on Friday so that they could train their new u/s tech by looking at my baby! They'll do another anatomy scan and for my time, they're going to throw in a 3D u/s. Fun! Here are some photos from this morning:

Beautiful profile!

Baby was flipping all around during our scan!

Five fingers waving hello!

Baby foot.

Sitting cross-legged. (Knobby knees to the right, crossed feet to the left.)

Giving us a thumbs-up to let us know everything is okay!

Monday, December 7, 2009

18.5 weeks update

I've been a slack blogger! Things have been going well...I'm feeling great and have lots of energy. I've been feeling the baby move fairly often and I love it! It is the most incredible feeling. I had a heartbeat check a few days ago and it was beating away strong and loud!

Our big ultrasound is a week from today. I'm so excited but very nervous, as well. Mr. C. and I are sticking to our decision not to find out the gender. I'd LOVE to know but he feels like since nothing about this process has been a surprise, it would be nice to have one unknown thing. I think it will be an amazing moment when he announces, "It's a ____!" to everyone. We have two names picked out and a gender neutral nursery, so we're set for a boy or a girl.

Here are some photos from this week:

18 weeks belly shot.

I couldn't resist buying this precious onsie!

I found this cute ornament at the Holiday Market...perfect for our tree this year!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sweet 16

Here I am at 16 weeks! Nothing new to report...I feel like I am getting bigger every day, which I love!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Shopping Extravaganza!

Mom and I went to Charlotte on Saturday to visit Destination Maternity. We had so much fun! What a cool store...they know what pregnant women need - inside they had juice, water, snacks, and even a spa! Sweet! They have 3 different shops in one; all at different price points...I love having options. I have been searching for a holiday party dress and I found the perfect one:


It actually looks much cuter in person. I also don't have such a huge bump so it looks a little different on me! I did try it on with the belly in the store, so I know that I can wear it throughout my pregnancy. I also bought some maternity tights to wear with it. I've always hated the waist band on tights; I should have bought maternity ones years ago!

Mr. C and I also bought our nursery bedding!!! I know it is a bit early, but we got a 25% off coupon from Serena and Lily and they NEVER have sales. The coupon expired today, so we had to go ahead and do it! The yellow room is decorated with the same colors/fabric as the Graham nursery collection, so we knew that that's what we'd be buying for the crib. So exciting! Now we just need a crib to put it in. Here it is:


I also had my 16 week OB appointment today. We met a new OB (new to us) who I really liked. He said everything looked and felt great! The heartbeat was in the 160s. I always LOVE hearing that sound! Our next OB appointment is the BIG U/S in 4 weeks...I can't wait!

Friday, November 13, 2009

15 weeks 1 day

I'm finally updating my blog! Everything is going well and I'm getting a bit of my energy back, so that is nice. I haven't even taken a nap during the past several days! Everyone knows about the pregnancy now, so it's been so fun to hear all the congratulations and excitement from our friends, family, and acquaintances. I've now got 2 pairs of maternity pants which are SO comfortable. I scored an AMAZING deal on a pair of Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans (which I'm sporting in my photo) on Ebay. 63% off retail and they were new with tags! Sooo exciting! Here I am in all my glory at 15 weeks:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

(Click on pic to see it bigger.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Surprise ultrasound!

Today I had my second OB appointment. When it was time to hear the heartbeat, the dr. couldn't find it on the doppler! Of course I freaked out because it was so easy to find 2 weeks ago. She said not to worry, the baby had probably just moved, but she didn't want us to stress so she brought in an ultrasound machine to check it out. It was amazing to have my first abdominal ultrasound! I felt like a real pregnant lady! Everything looked great...the heart was pumping away like crazy and the baby actually looked like a baby! We could see the eyes, nose, mouth, and the arms and legs. Unfortunately, he/she was asleep, so we didn't get to see any movement. Since the u/s machine was so old, it didn't show any measurements, so we didn't get a CRL (crown rump length), a heartrate, or any photos. :( (Mr. C. didn't bring the camera this time b/c we didn't think there would be anything to see.) I SO wish I had pictures to stare at, but I guess I'll just have to wait 8 more weeks for that! Next OB appointment is in 4 weeks.

I needed to have some bloodwork done while I was there and my insurance is not recognized by my OB's lab. SO, I had to go upstairs to the hospital lab to have my blood drawn. When we got to the lab, there was this huge sign telling pregnant women to STOP! Because of the flu, all pregnant women have to wear a mask to enter the lab. Here I am in all my glory (snapped w/ C's Blackberry). Sexy, huh?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

10 Weeks and 1st OB Appointment

Today was our first OB appointment and I was so nervous. It's been 2 weeks since our last u/s, and I wanted to make sure that everything was still going alright in there! After a long meeting with the nurse where she asked me everything from my family history to my birthing preferences, we got to see the doctor (incidentally, he was voted the "hottest doctor" in our city!). He said that he'd try to hear the heartbeat with a doppler, but that 10 weeks was really early for a doppler so if we didn't hear it we'd do an ultrasound. As soon as he touched the probe to my abdomen, it was loud and clear! The baby's heart was right there beating away at 177 bpm! He said, "Are you sure you're only 10 weeks? That's a really strong heartbeat!" He couldn't believe we could hear it loud and clear with a doppler so early. It was amazing to hear that tiny heart beating for the first time.

Much to my dismay, our next ultrasound won't be until 20 weeks!!! I can't believe I have to wait over 2 months to see the baby again! He said that I'll have monthly appointments until then. After much moaning and groaning on my part, he agreed that I could come back in 2 weeks instead of 4 to hear the heartbeat again. That will pretty much round out my 1st trimester and maybe I can start to relax. After that, waiting a month between appointments won't be quite so excruciating, I guess. Mr. C. and I are super excited and loving each milestone that we reach!

Here we are (Yes, I admit we're dorks) documenting the first time we heard the hb! You can see the 177 bpm on the monitor.



Here's a video of us listening to the hb. Note how the men are all involved with talking about the camera and I'm in the background oohing and ahhing about the baby!

video

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Everything is continuing to go well! I've been too exhausted to write anything on my blog lately. All I want to do is sleep. I have never been so exhausted in my entire life! Last week I was actually feeling pretty good. The queasiness and exhaustion abated a bit and I got some relief. No such luck this week. My nurse said it was normal for symptoms to come and go, but I was hoping when they went that they wouldn't be back!

My first OB appointment in on Thursday when I will be 10 weeks. I don't know if I'll have an ultrasound or not. I certainly hope so! The nurse said the dr. will look for the heartbeat with the doppler and if he doesn't find it, he'll do an u/s. I'm thinking that 10 weeks is a bit early for the doppler, so we'll see.

It's so scary to go a couple of weeks without an ultrasound and wonder what is going on in there. I feel confident that everything is going as it should, but I'm still terrified. I wonder if I'll ever be able to relax and enjoy the process. Probably not, but each passing week makes me feel a little better.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

That's right, it's graduation day! I graduated from the RE today! Never again will I have to go back to that office...I can't believe it! Everything looked good at our 8 week ultrasound. The heartbeat was still pumping away, this week at 170 bpm. The baby is looking like a little gummy bear now, although the following picture isn't great. But you can get the idea!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amazing

Two rounds of IUI.................$10,000

Four rounds of IVF................$28,000

Infertility meds.....................$15,000

Acupuncture.........................$3,000

Seeing our baby's heartbeat.......PRICELESS!

video

Getting ready and crossing my fingers...


We can see the 160 bpm heartbeat!


Happy day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Ultrasound Today!

Well, today's ultrasound went better than I was expecting. To say I was terrified this morning is an understatement. Yesterday I began spotting and was sure that it could only mean bad news. Not so! Everything looked great at the ultrasound. We saw the fetal pole and yolk sac, and everything measured 5w6d, which is right on time! We did not, however, see the heartbeat yet. My RE was not at all concerned and said it's still early. He said that about 1/2 of all healthy pregnancies don't have a visible heartbeat at 6 weeks, so it was not a problem at all. My next ultrasound will be a week from today and we'll hopefully see a heartbeat then. He saw no reason for the spotting (which was gone by last night) and said it could be any number of reasons like hormonal fluctuation, a scab from one of my ovaries, etc. Since it's gone now, he was unconcerned. Thanks for all your well wishes and for following us in this journey. For today, I can breathe a sigh of relief and have a bit more hope in my heart.

Here's the ultrasound photo. It's really grainy and hard to tell what is what, but the area between the Xs is the baby and the yolk sac is sort of circle-ish looking on the right.

POAS

The darkest line EVER! This has gotta be good news, right?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beta #3

It's 891. That's a 40.3 hour doubling time. Yay! So much for not getting my hopes up. Now they are up and I'm feeling excited. My RE usually does the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, but given my history, he wants to see me next Thursday at 6 weeks for my first ultrasound. We probably will not be able to see a heartbeat at that point, but he will be looking for size and placement of the gestational sack and perhaps the yolk sac and fetal pole. The nurse cautioned that it may be too early to see anything beside the sac, though. At this point it's cautious optimism and we'll just see what happens!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm still pregnant! (5 Weeks)

Yes, I'm still here and still pregnant (as far as I know). Tomorrow I have another beta, so we'll see what happens then. My symptoms are mainly just being very tired and having an insatiable thirst. I POAS last night and the pregnant line is a lot darker than the control line, so I'm taking that to be a good sign! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. I'll let you know when I get my beta back tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beta #2

Well, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. My beta more than doubled, going from 35 on Thursday to 75 today. I'm neither happy, nor sad...just neutral. I guess it can go either way at this point. I would certainly love a miracle, but I just don't have the energy to get my hopes up. I've been here twice before, with a doubling beta, and things have not ended well. I don't want to seem negative, but I have to guard my heart. Thank you all so much for all your encouraging comments...they mean so much to me and Mr. C. My next beta will be Friday, September 4th, so I have another week to wait. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beta In

Well, it's not good news. My beta is at 35. I know there have been lots of success stories with low betas, but with my history, it is most likely not going to be viable. I've had 3 former ivfs, 2 with higher first betas than this and they've all been a c/p or miscarriage. We will test again on Saturday. I'm very very sad and coming to terms with being at the end of my IF journey. Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun Fotos

Nothing new to report. My beta is on Thursday...I will not POAS before then, so it will be a surprise when I get the call. I'm just feeling crampy and tired. Same as every time before. Plus, my upper back is KILLING me. That's happened every time, too, but not as severe as it is this time. Maybe a good sign?

Here are some photos to entertain you today!

Our embryos. The top two are the 4AA blastocysts and the smaller one is the 3BB that didn't make it.


My file at our RE's office. It's about 4 inches thick! So sad.


A very dorky pic of me suiting up for transfer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ET went well!

We transferred two grade 4AA blastocysts yesterday. It took a little longer to get the catheter into my uterus because my ovaries are so big (they are "kissing") that they are pushing my uterus straight up and down. Usually the dr. wants a full bladder so it pushes the uterus down horizontally. Even with a full bladder, my ovaries were pushing back so hard that my uterus was completely vertical! Despite that, everything went well and I'm now chillaxin' on bedrest!

In not so good news, we got a call from the embryologist this morning telling us that none of the other embryos made it to freeze. They all arrested yesterday/last night. So, that's good and bad. Good in that it means we truly are finished with IVF. There will be no frozen embryos to tempt us to try again if this cycle doesn't work. Bad because if this cycle DOES work, we were hoping to have some frozen to use for a sibling in the future. Also, of course we now wonder if the embryos they transferred yesterday are going to stop growing like the rest of the cohort did. I'm going to think positively, though, and hope that they are implanting right now!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

And then there were 5

The embryologist called this morning to let us know that we are being pushed to a day 5 transfer. Yay! Unfortunately, we only have 5 good embryos (8 celled) at this point. He said that the rest are only 4 or 6 celled with fragmentation. SO, hopefully at least one of the five will continue to do well and be our baby!

Our transfer will be on Tuesday at noon. Mr. C. and I are having a dilemma over how many embryos to transfer. We're considering transferring 3 this time instead of 2. Given our history, we think it may be a good idea. BUT, I would physically not be able to handle triplets if they all stuck. I'm 5'1" and a little over 100 lbs, so I don't think my body could accommodate 3! The RE and embryologist have been discussing it and we'll make a final decision on Tuesday. The problem is, the embryos we transfer always are graded 4AA, the highest grade, but then end up not turning into a baby. But the RE will probably still not want to transfer 3 if they are all of the highest quality. We'll see what happens. I'd love to hear you opinions.

Friday, August 14, 2009

ER and Fertilization Report

I survived ER! They got 24 eggs! The embryologist called this morning and told us that we have 13 embryos going strong. 7 eggs were immature and 4 did not fertilize. I'm happy with 13, though. Hopefully one (or more) of those will be winners. I'm feeling yucky, but hanging in there. I mainly feel like I have really bad indigestion and it's hard to take a deep breath. I think that's because my ovaries are so enlarged and are pushing on my diaphragm. I'm taking it easy, lying around in bed and reading Pat Conroy's new book. My day 3 transfer is scheduled for 10:30 on Sunday. They'll call me that morning if I'm pushed to a day 5 transfer (fingers crossed). Thanks for all the well wishes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Triggering Tonight and My 100th Post!

It's my 100th post! I can't believe I've been writing this blog for over a year. Thank you all for continuing to read and support me on my journey.

Mr. C. and I went to Charleston this morning for my ultrasound and b/w. The nurse just called and told me my E2 is at 5000 and I'm ready to trigger tonight at 9:45pm! ER will be Thursday at 8:45am. Yikes! I've got 31 eggs that are >15mm. I feel like crap, just like yesterday, but worse. Although, a special delivery at my door earlier made my day! THANK YOU Heather, Craig, and Patrick for my beautiful surprise flowers! I now have a gorgeous bouquet of daisies and yellow roses (my favs) to look at and cheer me up when I'm feeling yucky.

Another new development is that starting after the ER, I will be taking D.ocinex, a pill that is supposed to make E2 levels decrease and therefore help with the risk of OHSS. I've never done that before, but it sounds good. Anyone tried it? I'm also trying to come up with new ways to drink my whey powder. Mixing it with gatorade is NOT working. It's DISGUSTING!!! I'm going to try making a strawberry smoothie tonight. I'm just thinking of myself as Little Miss Muffet, sitting on a tuffet, eating my curds and whey.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Follicles and Estrogen and Ultrasounds, Oh My! (aka Day 11)

So, after Friday's worries about my follicles growing slowly, I guess they decided to become overachievers. I had an ultrasound yesterday in Charleston and I have about 30 that are around 15-17 mm. My coordinator says I'll most likely be triggering tomorrow night. I started G.anerelix and S.aizen last night and I feel so drugged. My legs feel like jello and I feel like I could pass out at any moment. I'm at work but I'm no good for much.

Today's E2 count - 3500. Yikes! I'm drinking protein/gatorade drinks (disgusting) and getting anti-OHSS treatments at acupuncture. Hopefully that will be enough to ward off the evil hyperstimulation that I am so terrified of.

I had quite a bad u/s experience this morning. I went to the satelite office here in town where I go for monitoring. (It's another RE's office *let's call him Dr. M.* but they let my RE's patients go there for bloodwork and ultrasounds and a dr. from my RE's office is there once a week.) Anyway, a new nurse and Dr. M. came in this morning to do my ultrasound. They were complete bumbling idiots. Neither one knew what they were doing. My u/s took 30 minutes and the measurements were totally off from yesterday (so says my ivf coordinator). It was ridiculous. So now, we have to drive 2 hours to Charleston AGAIN tomorrow for another u/s! Then back to Charleston on Thursday for ER and then again for ET. Not that I don't love Chas, but SHEESH! Mr. C. and I are so frustrated with this process. Oh, well. At least I am being closely monitored! I'm hanging in there for now. Oops, it's past time for one of my meds. I'm off to shoot up.....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 8 of Stims Update

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. It gives me so much positive energy to know that I have so many cheerleaders out there!

I've now made it to day 8! Here's what I have to show for it so far:

Day 4 - E2 is 106
Day 6 - E2 is 506
Day 8 - E2 is 1,444

So far I have no follicles over 12mm. This has never happened before; usually they grow quickly and uniformly. Now they are slow and I have no standouts. I have almost 30 follicles, they are just not up to where they usually are at this point. My RE doesn't seem worried. He's actually decreasing my F.ollistem for the next 2 nights. He just thinks they need longer than usual to grow. This is the first time we've done the antagonist protocol, so maybe that's what's making the difference. My estrogen is going up very quickly, which always freaks me out. Apparently, once I start the antagon injections, that will help to keep my E2 down. I'll also start the growth hormone S.aizen injections when we get some bigger follicles. So, I guess we're looking at an ER on maybe Wednesday or Thursday at the soonest. We'll know more after Sunday's u/s and bloodwork. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 3, 2009

It Has Begun!

So we're off and running on this 4th IVF attempt. I began stims on Friday after an ultrasound showing 20 resting follicles. I'm on 225 IUs of F.ollistem and 10 IUs of low dose hcg. In a few days I'll begin G.anerelix and S.aizen (growth hormone). I went for my Day 4 bloodwork today and will find out this afternoon if everything is on track so far.

I am feeling so differently about this cycle. I'm not excited, I'm just sort of going through the motions. I guess that's not good, but I just can't handle getting my hopes up. I'm trying to stay calm and not think about it. This will be our last IVF, and I'm more excited about it being over than anything else. I'm ready for this journey to end. After more than 4 years, it's time to move on. If this cycle doesn't work, it will be on to adoption. I'm so, so tired. I'm just ready to be a mother and ready to get on with my life. I do want to give it this one last shot (no pun intended!) though. I have to be able say that I did everything I could to try to have a biological child. Please say a prayer for us and I'll keep you updated and the process continues!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Mr. C and I had a wonderfully relaxing holiday weekend in WV with relatives. We went tubing down the river, had an amazing cookout, sang songs, and lit sparklers.

This Friday we leave for our last vacation before our next IVF cycle. I started BCPs last Friday and will have my first monitoring appointment on July 21. After that I'll start stims and off we go!

Getting ready to tube down the FREEZING spring-fed river!


It was cold but fun!




My favorite photo of the weekend. (Sorry it's out of focus...it's IN focus on my home computer so I don't know what Blogger's problem is.)


Mr. C.'s aunt and uncle.


Mom and me!




4th of July dogs.




Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Yesterday was our 6th wedding anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun! I can't wait to see what the next 6 (and beyond) hold for us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

34

Happy Birthday, Mr. C! I love you and hope you have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Newport, RI

Mr. C and I just returned from a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. It was beautiful and we had a wonderful time! Check out some of the pics from our time in New England:











Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 3 Labs and SHG

We're back in the game again! Last week I had my day 3 labs and today I had my sonohystogram (hello cramps!). Everything looked good with my numbers last week and my FSH is the lowest it's ever been, coming in at 7.5. Yay! My highest number (after the Clomid Challenge Test) was 11.4. My RE says your highest number is your official FSH, but I still feel good when it goes down. It's been 2 years since the 11.4, so I was terrified that it was going to be even higher than that! At least we're starting off with some good news! My SHG was uneventful this morning and everything looks normal. Now we just wait until AF when I'll start BCPs. I can't believe we're doing this again. I hope and pray that it works this time.

Here's a photo of us from a wedding in Asheville we attended a few weeks ago. It was at the Grove Park Inn and was beautiful. Unfortunately, the bride and groom announced they were PREGNANT right before cutting the cake! I started crying and ran out. Very dramatic. I'm very happy for my friend, but seriously?! (Incidently, this photo was taken BEFORE the big announcement!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Visit with Patrick

Last weekend we traveled to Colorado to visit my cousin Heather, her husband Craig, and their son Patrick (our godson). Heather's brother Rocky also flew in from Washington. We had an AMAZING time together. It was so nice to connect with family and to spend quality time with Patrick. He's 11 months old now and is so much fun! He's a very happy boy and his personality is delightful. Every morning, Mr. C. took Patrick on a hike in the backpack. Heather and Craig are so laid back and let us have lots of alone time to take P on strolls, to the bookstore, to the playground, etc. Mr. C. is amazing with Patrick. He is going to be an wonderful father. I hope he gets that chance soon.

We went to Estes Park (where I worked at the YMCA of the Rockies one summer), to Boulder (where Craig and Mr. C. ran the Bolder Boulder 10K) and spent time tooling around Denver. When it was time to go, we were both beside ourselves and Mr. C. shed more than a few tears. We are so blessed to have Patrick as our godson and to have Heather, Craig, and Rocky as part of our family. Now we're back and we can't stop looking at all the photos! Here are a few for you to enjoy: