It’s been a year. Our first IVF failed last March. I was heartbroken. And I did not want to talk about it. So I stopped blogging about everything. Now I regret that because life did go on. In May we started our FET cycle. In the middle of that I took my daughter on a trip to Washington DC, and I quit my job to be a stay at home mom. Our FET failed also. It was devastating because those were our only frozen embryos. I thought I was quitting to be a pregnant homeschooling mom. Well I got the homeschool mom part right at least. We had an amazing summer together and at the end of July we started slowly at homeschool. It took time to find a rhythm that worked for us.
In October we started another fresh cycle. But I broke a tooth and it hurt, bad. I had a broken wisdom tooth the whole time I was pregnant with Katie and it was torture. So I stopped my IVF cycle to get my teeth fixed. When I stopped it was such a huge relief. I realized that I did not want to go through all that torture and medications again. It takes too much from me. I have not given up hope that we will have another baby, I just reached a point where I am okay leaving it in God’s hands.
I am as glad that I stopped as I am that we tried. I will go forward without regrets.

On March 6th Resolve- The National Infertility Association posted a question on Facebook- Is it possible to be an infertility survivor?

My favorite answer was “yes, and we live on to help others survive it too. ” I hope that I can do that. I did not have anyone except my husband to help me walk that path. It would have been a blessing to have someone to lean on who had been there. There are women I know who have confided in me about starting down this path and I tell them “you can do this.”

My only reason for saying this is that I did it. I survived. But that is who I am- I survive. When I get knocked down I get back up again.

But I have come to know that not everyone deals with stuff the way I do. There are people who walk away. The path is hard and they make the choice to take a different path. That’s survival too. Knowing that the battle is not one you are willing to fight today takes courage.

Can you survive infertility? Yes, it is just a matter of how you define that survival. For me the only way to survive was to be a mother. There are certainly other ways to define survival- not going broke, not going insane, not ending up divorced. I would not have sacrificed my marriage but I would have been willing to lose everything else.

All of us who survive come out the other end a changed person. I hope that in my quest to survive I took the lessons I was given and learned from them.

It doesn’t seem possible. I am not sure how it happened and apparently my Dr is not sure how it happened, but my IVF was not successful.

They sent me an email to let me know. I am not sure if that is better or worse than a phone call. Less personal but at least I did not have to hear anyone say the words. The kick in my chest was worse than getting my period, but not as bad as my baby not having a heartbeat on the ultrasound.

I was so sure, so positive. I prayed, I believed. At our follow up visit with Dr.B he said if someone had showed him my chart without telling him the outcome he would have been sure this ended in a twin pregnancy, everything was that perfect. I got 9 eggs from my only ovary. He said double that to 18 eggs if I had 2 and that is a better than average response. Of the nine 7 were mature and all of those fertilized, ALL. They expect 70%. Four made it to 8 cell so we did a 3 day transfer of 2 embryos. The other 2 made it all the way to blast. He said if they had known they were going to get that far we would have waited to do a 5 day transfer.

I asked him about my egg quality in relation to my age. You know how clinics are rated on their IVF success rate? He said if he had the choice of taking me to IVF at my age or a 25 yr old who has problems I don’t have- he would take me. That we can not discount my age because it is a fact but the rest of the things that can cause issues are not a factor with me. I guess it should make me feel good.

But I had ONE job, let those babies stick. That’s it. And I failed.

So we are looking at a FET cycle with our 2 blasts. May or June. We are just waiting to hear if insurance will cover any of it. My birthday is in a little over a week. I will be 42. Sometimes (a lot of the time, okay I am convinced) I think that this cycle failed because of my age. Because if it had worked with those two I would have been near 43 at birth. It may have just been too late to use our frozen and I would have struggled with the decision of what to do with them. Now they are our last two. We do the FET, it works and there are no frozen babies to worry about.

When we did this I had only been on gluten free a few weeks. By the next time I will have months of gluten free, plus my husband has been buying as much organic as he can. When we got pregnant with my daughter we had been organic for a few months.

This process of IVF is so much more overwhelming than I ever imagined it to be. Even the FET is going to be like a 6-8 week process. So I guess we continue to move forward.

My egg retrieval was eight days ago, transfer was five days ago. I am calm and crazy at the same time, lol.

What I mean is I don’t feel stressed about it because I believe this is going to work for us. I feel it has been God’s plan for us all along, he led us to this path. Here I am following where I believe I have been led. I am calm. I am praying often. I confess I have had moments where my brain went completely negative. Like on Monday we were in the car about an hour. I had time for thinking and suddenly I had doubts, because it was a three day transfer and not a five. I got scared and had terrible thoughts of failure. But I knew that my faith and my prayers have been very strong these last few weeks, and I also believe when we are putting our faith in God that is when Satan is fighting hardest to shake our faith. So I consciously said- no! get out of my head, you can not have my faith. Then I directed my thoughts to a completely different area of my life.

That other area is getting to home school my daughter. I have wanted to do this since she was born. It’s another one of those feelings that is so strong I know God placed it on my heart. My husband was completely against the idea for a long time. Then he seemed to soften some. We had discussions about it but I did not see him moving to my side. She just turned five so is not scheduled to start till next fall. I decided in December to start homeschooling her now. Which follows Mark 11:24-Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. I kept praying that my husband would change his heart about this, but I also told my husband I would submit to his decision. I thought by beginning our homeschooling now I could show my husband that I can do this, and that she would flourish. And if it did not change his decision she would just be more prepared for school.

So about a week before my egg retrieval my husband officially gave my his blessing to homeschool her instead of sending her to school. I am so thrilled. I went about my life as if my prayer had been answered and it was! But I also fully believe that it was specifically answered at that time for a reason. In these last few weeks every time I get the scary negative thoughts (which is not often) I can flip the switch and think about my plans for homeschool. He gave me this news at the absolute right time, I can’t thank him enough for the two gifts he gave me- his yes, and the very effective way to keep my thoughts and heart positive!

Okay so that covers the calm part… on to crazy. Saturday, the day of transfer, I had no cramping, Sunday either. I was okay most of the day Monday. By Monday evening I have… I don’t even know what to call it. Its not cramping, its more moderate constant pressure, with an occasional quick sharp pain. And it is worse when I go from sitting to standing. And I am having to pee every 45 minutes. Logically I know there is no way I am peeing from pregnancy yet, but hopefully… I am seeing everything as a crazy good sign.

I am following Mark 11:24 in this as well. I am allowing myself to seriously think about names. I found out our car seat is expired so I know we are going to need a new one. I am referring to my pregnancy- not the potential pregnancy. I am going about my life as if my prayer has been granted. That’s what I intend to continue doing until my prayer is answered.

I prayed all day on Friday that our embryos would be okay for the transfer. I was so angry at myself for letting fear get inside my head. I think I have done so well through this whole process of keeping fear out and faith in. Friday night I had to work so that was an easy distraction. I slept well that night and I woke up Saturday morning ready to go! There was no fear or anxiety, just hope and excitement. I did continue to pray to God. Where in the past my prayers have all been please let my dream be your will, in those 48 hours I was only praying how much I know God is in control, how I know this is all in his hands. I accept that there is nothing I can do to control this. It is his will, and not mine that will come to pass.

When we got pregnant with my daughter it was before we turned our lives over to Christ. I did not pray so much then, once in awhile when I needed something. You know how that goes. So we went to the 10 day scan and had 3 follicle. Well I started carrying around these three small smooth stones. I took them everywhere with me as a reminder to be positive. I even named them- Bob, Ava, and Emme. I keep those stones in my jewelry box and I found them earlier this week. For a few minutes I stuck them in my pocket as I had back then. But quickly I knew this was not putting my faith in God’s plan for us. I put them back in the jewelry box and sat down to have a long talk with God about my faith and his will for my life. I know carrying around some pretty rocks will not make this work. God’s plan will prevail.

So Saturday morning we got to the doctor’s office and the Doctor I had hoped would do our transfer came in the room to show us the pictures of our two best embryos. Both perfect eight cell. We have others doing well and I will call tomorrow to see if we can freeze them. He handed me our photos and I held them close. I was overcome with emotion, mainly joy. We have 2 beautiful embryos to transfer. And it went smoothly, no pain, no cramping yesterday at all.

So right now- in my womb- there are 2 embryos. Its so different from the 2 week waiting week of and IUI cycle, or timed intercourse. I know they are in there. There is no question of did the sperm meet the egg? It did.

This morning in church I nearly broke down in tears thanking God for this opportunity. What a blessing. I have pictures of my little ones when they were only 8 cells. How many people get to say that?

Tonight I taped my embryos pictures to my bathroom mirror with a card of the verse Mark 11:24. My heart and mind are full of the vision of a positive outcome, and my God is an Awesome God.

Wow it has been a few days.

On Wednesday we had the egg retrieval. They got nine eggs I was so pleased. We came home and I was pretty sore. It was my daughters fifth birthday so we decided to take her to an afternoon movie and then dinner. We picked up my pain medicine on the way to the movie and I took one. On our way from movie to dinner I took my coat off and put the window down because I got such bad nausea. It did not help and within a few minutes I had dry heaves. Luckily I did not actually vomit but the heaves on my sore stomach felt pretty bad.

Yesterday I was waiting on pins and needles for them to call about our eggs. Finally at 11:15am they called. Seven had fertilized. I was thrilled! It seemed like nothing can go wrong.

Today they called earlier, about 9:10 to say we have 4 at 3 cells, 2 at 2 cells and 1 at 1 cells. She said they want them to be between 2-4 cells. So originally this sounded good. She told we are doing the three day transfer tomorrow morning at 9am.

Then the hubby asks why we are doing a three day transfer instead of a 5. They had originally made it sound like as long as everything looked good we would wait for the five day transfer.

SO of course, I googled. WHY oh WHY did I do that. What I found says that the cells should divide in even numbers- so 3 cells must be bad- and only 2 or 1 cells is a slow response.

I wish I did not know, that I could go on with my happy everything has gone so perfect for us this cycle mindset. I keep trying to remember how she said things with the embryos can turn around fast.

Either way our transfer is tomorrow, and it is still all in God’s control. I have spend the day mainly in prayer, folding laundry, researching home school curriculum for my daughter next year.

Earlier this week my husband told me that in just three months I can be a full time stay at home mom and home school my daughter. I only work part time now but this is still my dream come true.

God is blessing my life in so many ways. Tomorrows transfer is just one of the many blessings. In my womb is where these embryo’s are meant to be.

 

It seems like yesterday we started the birth control for our IVF cycle. Actually it was January 2. These past weeks have flown by. I was pretty calm and relaxed until last night. Then I started to get a little anxious.

Today I went in for my last monitor and I am all set for egg retrieval on Wednesday. It is here, it is finally time.

I have been praying and listening to music all morning trying to calm my nerves. I know that God is in control and no amount of my worrying will change the outcome. I am going into this with hope and a lot of faith.

My main anxiety is that I have never been through what is about to happen, I dont know what to expect, how I will feel after retrieval. And Wednesday is my daughter’s fifth birthday. So tomorrow night she will spend the night with our close friends and wake up with them on her birthday. I know that they love her, and that she is going to be super excited to have a sleep over with her best friend on her birthday. But it breaks my heart that I do not get to wake my baby girl up that day. I wont be the first to wish her happy birthday… then I thought what if this works… and I get pregnant with triplets… and what if carrying triplets is to hard on my diabetes that it kills me… what if this is the last birthday I get to spend with my daughter… see I am in a major anxiety loop.

So apart from the anxiety I am ready for the stim shots to be over. I only have the left ovary but there is so much pressure. Tonight is my trigger at 7:45 pm. and I will be at work then so I will be giving myself the shots at work, fun fun.

Really I am okay. I am excited that retrieval is almost here. I am excited to hear that my egg quality is fabulous. Excited to hear that we have beautiful high quality embryos to put back. Excited to be pregnant until proven otherwise. And that the next time I am not going to be pregnant will be in December after I deliver healthy baby(ies).

Have you ever heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”? I read this blog post today and it got me thinking- http://networkedblogs.com/HTM2E.

We all think of “The Joneses” as the people with a big house, nice car, lots of disposable income. That’s not my Joneses. My Joneses are the stay at home, home school moms with 5 kids. I don’t envy the people who work all the time so they can take 3 vacations a year. I envy the women who do laundry all day and read the same book 5 times everyday to the crying children hanging on her apron strings.

This morning my Joneses was any 26 year old healthy woman with 2 ovaries, or a teenager that gets pregnant on birth control. I am sure its not the teenagers ideal, but man why cant it be that easy for me to get pregnant?

So what about envy and discontentment? neither of those go very well with my plan to relax and not stress over our IVF. I started the stims on Friday and this morning was my first monitoring ultrasound. I have 3 follicles measuring 7, and 5 more that are smaller. They are increasing my follistim dose to help the small ones catch up. I was SO bummed- three follicles? How will that ever be enough? It took me a minute to recover my positive attitude. This is the first monitor. AT no point did my Doctor say anything to indicate I was not right where he thought I should be.  I have only one ovary. I knew they were not going to be overflowing with 20 follicles. So I have potentially 8 follicles. If I had 2 ovaries maybe its a response of 16 follicles. When I see other people talk about a good response well 16 would be right up there right? So for what I have to work with I am having a good response.

So I can make a choice right now- I can cry about not being a pregnant teenager, cry about not having 12 kids, cry about the struggle with infertility.

OR I can count my blessings-

  1. I know that God loves me and has a plan for me
  2. I have an amazing husband who is completely devoted to God, our family and our marriage
  3. I have a beautiful healthy daughter who is so positive and caring
  4. My battle with infertility has allowed me to help other women who face this road
  5. I have the opportunity to go through this IVF process

Yep I am counting IVF as one of my blessings. Not everyone who could benefit from IVF gets this opportunity, mainly for the financial road block. I am grateful our insurance is going to cover it for us. Even if it is only once, that’s all I need.

I can spend all day being sad and discontent about what I don’t have, or I can look around at all the happiness and be content with my life. It’s a choice.

I hate when people say you just need to relax and it will happen.

BUT the cycle when I got pregnant with my daughter… well I had given up, accepted we would be childless. My husband said “I just need you to try one more time.” So I did, for him. I was not emotionally invested the way I had been. So I wasn’t really stressed because… well I was just doing what he needed me to do.

I am taking it pretty seriously not to stress over our ivf cycle. I try to avoid reading anything negative. I only talk about it like it is already a given that this will work. I am pretty focused on learning to live a gluten free life so I am reading a lot on that topic. I am building jigsaw puzzles to help relax and distract my mind. And any time the above fail me I turn to music. Mainly things like Hold Me by Jaime Grace, Only a Mountain by Jason Castor. This morning I just set it to shuffle random songs and I sang at the top of my lungs. My daughter was dancing with me.

And of course I continue to lean on my husband and my Bible. There are tons of miracles in the Bible lots more complicated than my having a child. This isn’t a mountain… maybe a road bump.

Oh and I am officially off all catagory C meds. I have checked on their half lives and they will be out of my system before egg retrieval. And I am doing great. No migraines and no gluten.

I have a lot of things going for me, and no reason not to relax!

It was September when we met with the RE to talk about IVF. I really had no clue how this all worked so I thought you know- we would start tomorrow. At that time he said taking the DHEA would help egg quality, and eggs start their journey three months before ovulation. So we thought maybe November or December. RE also said that IVF in cold months tend to have higher success rates.

So we made the decision to start in January.My cycle started January 2nd, I started the birth control on the 4th. I made a decision to surround myself with positive. I confess I did not read the whole packet they sent us, I skipped any parts that did not seem  to be happy.

Last Thursday we went for a scan and our IVF class. When they did the scan the RE also scrapped my endometrium. I had read about this a few months ago and meant to ask for it but I forgot, so I was really excited when they did it. He explained just what I had read- that the slight scraping causes repair and growth cells to go to that area that was damaged. IVF success increases by almost 50% if this is done the month before IVF according to the RE and what I read.

The IVF class seemed unnecessary for us. There was a lot of talk about the injections and having been an insulin dependent diabetic I have literally given myself thousands of shots. There was the part where we went over the consent form. Most of it was fine except the part where we had to select what they should do with leftover frozen embryos should we abandon them. This would be one of the parts I skipped reading. My positive brain says we are going to get the embryos we need and be successful. I am 41, I have only 1 ovary, they are not going to get 20 eggs from me. So a decision needed to be made. My husband looked at me for it and my eyes responded with a pleading I cant think about this part. And I was so grateful when he picked an answer and signed. I signed next to him. Its the great part of my marriage, I trust him to make decisions for us. I was so grateful to him in that moment for knowing I needed him to do that.

Tomorrow is the last day of the birth control, I go for a scan and blood work. On Friday I start the follistim. I am nervous and excited. The last few months flew by. It does not seem possible that in twoish weeks they will be putting our babies back. We are almost there. I can do this.

“Therefor I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” Mark 11:24

Its the verse I am memorizing this week. Believe that you have received them. Last week I had a dream- one of those dreams that is so real you are surprised when you wake up and its not. The dream was my husband and a family friend were holding my twin boys. They were so beautiful. I am not saying it means I will have twin boys, but it was enough to give me something to picture for the next month- to help me believe that I have received.

 

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