Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time out

It's been 15 days since we got the official news that our IVF failed. When the nurse called to tell me the results, I saved her the awkward part of the job and told her I had already seen the results online a few hours earlier.

The nurse went on to say that my fertility specialist had okayed me to go ahead and try again right away. I was sad and felt empty inside, so I quickly agreed. After all, the sooner I start my next treatment, the sooner I could get pregnant and hold my baby in my arms. My prescription was faxed straight to the pharmacy, and I was to start meds the next morning. New consent forms were in my email within minutes. Fees were discussed. We were good go go! Or were we...?

That evening my husband and I were chatting in the family room. I was glad we wouldn't have to wait to try again. But something was nagging at me.. Maybe our first IVF failed because my body had just gone through so much. It needed time to heal. My ovaries were still swollen. I was having heartburn from overstimulation. I had just been through a rough procedure, the egg retrieval. But that wasn't all. We were going from heartbreak to hope too quickly. We needed time to heal our hearts, too. So we took a time out.

I emailed the nurse and doctor saying that I'd made an emotional decision and I wanted to wait out a cycle before trying again. I want to be sure that when our next embryo enters my body, there's a healthy home for it. After all, he or she is hopefully going to spend nine months in there.

I'm keeping busy with summer classes. I usually don't have the mental energy to think about the failed transfer and get sad over it. Weekends have been busy and fun. Life feels good. At least when I don't have a mountain of marking! :)  Our spirits are stronger, and so is my body. Well, except for the fact that I'm home from work today with a pinched nerve and crazy lower back pain.. but that's a
different issue.

With previous treatments, I never wanted to wait between cycles. A cycle without a fertility treatment meant a cycle without hope. But I'm happy I took the time out this cycle. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be into my next treatment cycle.. my second IVF with my first frozen embryo transfer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Result

Last night I told hubby that I didn't think I was pregnant. I'd been feeling it for a few days. I was also naughty and had been testing early with home pregnancy tests, and my urine simply refused to give even the faintest second line. An hour later, I started bleeding. And then I knew it was over.

I cried it out. Like not the tears silently streaming down your face kind of crying, but the big, loud, ugly crying. I felt like my heart was in pieces. I felt betrayed and broken. I had pleaded and prayed for this pregnancy. With a 65% success rate, I was counting on this to work for me. But it didn't, and it wasn't fair. And so I cried some more. My hubby was endlessly patient with me. Held me and let me get it all out. And I really did feel better to get it out.

I phoned the on-call clinic doctor, and he told me to keep taking my progesterone and to go for the beta blood test the next day because it's common to bleed during IVF pregnancies. He gave me a bit of hope. But at the same time, I just knew I wasn't pregnant.

I had lots of intense dreams last night. I was up at 5:10 am, so I could get to the lab near my school to do the blood test before starting work. I was sad in the morning, but only cried a little, and only a couple of times. When I saw the result online in the afternoon, I wasn't surprised. I knew it would be negative, and it was. So, our first IVF officially failed. A BFN. In infertility circles, that's a common acronym that means Big Fat Negative.

I think I will miss the feeling of maybe being pregnant. It was nice to think our baby might be in there. But the blood test showed I was never pregnant. I'd had this nagging feeling for a couple of days that this hadn't worked, and it's hard to try n grasp hope when you're feeling pretty hopeless. It was good to get some closure with the official test results. I feel relatively calm and at peace right now as I write this. I imagine the crying and grieving isn't over.

I'm lucky to have people in my life who are supporting me through this. My hubby and I are so much stronger together than each of us are individually. He has been taking over a whole lot more housework than usual, preparing separate meals for me at times, and letting me spend a lot of time resting. It's definitely helped while my body is trying to return to normal after what I just put it through.
Care Package from my sis

My family and friends (including some fantastic colleagues) also add to my strength. Unpregnant Chicken has been my go to person with her practical advice and answers to my many questions. And I forgot to write this in my earlier post, but my sister took my transfer day as the perfect opportunity to spoil me with pretty flowers and a care package (and she even added a treat for hubby). I guess as horrible as this failed IVF is, I have to remember that I have much to be thankful for in life. And I really am thankful. But this still sucks.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Days 3-6 Post 5-day Embryo Transfer

Been feeling a whole lot better the last few days.

After the crazy heartburn incident, I checked my blood reports online from the blood draw at the hospital. My liver function, white blood cells, and sodium were all high enough to be out of range. The sodium was expected because I'm on a high salt diet to help draw water out of my ovaries. The liver function made a light bulb go on - no wonder I was having trouble with heartburn! I couldn't break down fat with my liver not working properly.

My family doctor put me on Ranitidine 150 (Zantac) twice a day, and that has been helping. I've been eating way healthier, eating less, and trying to have only limited amounts of fat. It's kinda annoying, but sooo worth it!

Both my family doctor and my fertility doctor have said the heartburn and liver issues are both due to ovarian hyperstimulation. If I do am pregnant, the issues will continue for several more weeks.

I've been cramping, mostly at night in bed, pretty much daily. It's a common effect of taking progesterone daily, but I'm kinda hoping it's a sign of implantation. I'm currently 6dp5dt (6 days past 5-day embryo transfer), so our little embaby is 11 days old now. By now, implantation should be complete and cells that will become the placenta and fetus are developing.

Tomorrow I begin my five weeks of summer classes. I'll be much busier than I have been lately, so it'll help the days go by faster until the blood test.

That's all for now. I'm thankful to have you, my readers, following along on my journey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 1 and Day 2 Post Embryo Transfer

I took the day after transfer off to rest my body and allow our little embaby to settle in. That didn't end up happening. I got heartburn in the afternoon, and I tried my usual remedy of walking it off. Normally when I get heartburn, it doesn't feel like anything is burning. It feels like somebody punched me in the chest and I get severe pain that gets me leaping out of my bed or chair. I start breathing more heavily and it feels unbearable. Once I walk a fair bit, the acid usually goes back down and I get some relief. 

After the first walk, I thought I was better. I was wrong. I was eating really small portions, so I was getting hungry repeatedly. A short while later, my heartburn was back. And then I went for another walk. And it returned again. This continued off and on all afternoon and evening. I was alternating between being hungry, eating small meals, getting heartburn, and going for walks.

I had already taken a Zantac and 5 Tums by then. At night, I took another Zantac. That seemed to set my stomach off, and the next thing I knew, I was running to the bathroom. I was exhausted from my five walks, but every time I stopped and sat down, I'd be in too much pain. I don't know if it was the exhaustion or if I made myself sick from all the meds, but I was getting nauseated and light headed. And I still couldn't stop walking for fear of the intense chest pain returning. My hubby wanted to take me to the hospital, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sit long enough to get there before needing to get up and move to prevent the pain.

Finally, close to 1:00 am, my husband called an ambulance. We spent most of the miserable night in the hospital. They did an ECG, urine test, and blood test. My heart rate was 144 at first and stayed elevated for quite some time. It did return to normal as the hours passed by. I was feeling dehydrated, extremely hungry, and shaky. Even ice chips made me gag. My remedy was to rub ice on my lips and then slurp in the tiny bit of liquid. That kept my throat from being too dry. A few hours in, I was given a half dose of Ativan which made me feel relaxed. I had a few short, light sleeps. Eventually we were told my blood results, given another half Ativan and a prescription for stronger antacids and The blood results weren't too scary, I think, but I'll need to follow up with my doctor as some tests had out of range results. 

We got home around 6:30 am this morning. Had a sip of orange juice and half a cup of Breakfast Essentials meal replacement. Took my progesterone and went to bed. Slept til around 11:30 am, and woke up feeling ok. I was physically doing ok, but just so anxious that if I ate anything, I'd get heartburn and be suffering again like yesterday. I've been keeping the meals super light - half of a fruit/veggie/milk smoothie and a salad. So far no heartburn, but I still feel a bit wiped out from being up all night and running on 5 hours of sleep. 

Hubby made me an appointment with my family doctor for Friday morning. Then we headed out to get the prescription antacids. The pharmacist said they were probably okay during pregnancy because they're considered low risk, but not enough studies have been doing to say they're completely safe. He said it's better to check with my fertility specialist, so for now, I'm holding off. 

After all that crappiness, the good news is that our blastocyst should have hatched out of its shell by now and should be beginning to attach itself to my uterus. How awesome is that?!

Transfer Day

Monday was The Big Day! I actually managed to get some sleep the night before which was a pleasant surprise. Hubby and I headed to the fertility clinic to bring our embaby home. I was supposed to keep a full bladder which is always a challenge for me. I have a small bladder, and when I'm nervous, I always have to pee! We got called in a little late too, so that didn't help.

First, we met with an embroyologist who talked to us about our little ones. She said that they had done very well over night, and even the two that hadn't been doing so well the previous day were moving along nicely. We had initially decided to transfer two embryos, but over the past several days, I was thinking of following what my fertility specialist recommended - transfer one for now. The embryologist continued on to explain the updated grading system now that embryos had graduated from morula to blastocyst. She said that we would be transferring an AA blastocyst, the highest possible grade! I signed the papers, and we were good to go.

We headed to the operating room, and they got me set up. I had very little on my mind aside from trying to control my bladder! I was a little scared that I might pee on the doctor while he was doing the procedure. The nurse told me that it's not common, but it has happened before.

Finally, the nurse used an ultrasound to guide the doctor who was using a speculum and catheter to get ready to place the blastocyst. The doctor found the best place and asked the embryologist to bring out the embryo. Hubby and I were watching the screen with wonder. As the embryo was transferred in, we saw a little flash on the ultrasound which showed where it was placed. The embryo itself was too small to see, but the flash showed the air bubbles that were in the catheter on each side of the embryo. To the right is a picture with hubby pointing at the place in my uterus where our embaby was placed. We were free to go and just so happy. To be honest, and least half of my happiness at that point was because I was allowed to go empty my bladder! ;-)  But after that, it was all about our little embaby. 

On the way home, we both cried. It was such a tremendous sense of relief for me to be done with our first IVF. After all the injections and hormones and pills and blood tests and anxiety-filled early mornings at the clinic waiting for follicle scans and bruises and discomfort... it was just all done! Now we had an embryo in my uterus which will hopefully become our baby. We were happy happy happy!

I spent most of the day resting. In the afternoon, we got a call from the clinic. They had continued to grow our other embryos, and now 8 of them were considered good quality for cryopreservation. We were expecting 6, so this was a really nice surprise. In the freezer, we now have 2AA, 3BA, 1 AB, and 2 BB graded blastocysts. It's comforting to know they are there, just in case.

Now we have a couple of weeks to wait before we will know the results of our IVF. Prayers and finger crossing will be greatly appreciated!