Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Disappointment

My last post had me going Gluten Free, fortunately I didn't have to stick with it.  My doctor tested me for Celiacs disease and I have tested negative.  Thank goodness because I wasn't doing to good, I like my breads and chips too much.  Anyway, since my last post things went into hyper speed.  Shortly after proclaiming to go Gluten Free I had an appointment with my RE to discuss our next step.  Initially we were going to wait a bit to go through with the next cycle, but Cadillac Jack, Luke's company decided to start covering IVF on their insurance!  Because of that decision, we decided to go ahead and use the cycle we had already paid for out of pocket.

Fast forward to October.  On the 18 of October I started on Lupron and Menupur.  The Lupron suppressed my ovaries from ovulating and the Menupur stimulated my ovaries to make follicles.  My body was a rock star this cycle!  We got 30 follicles, which was double what we got my last cycle.  Egg retrieval day we got 20 eggs, that was more than double the last cycle!  Most importantly 10 of those eggs were fertilized!!!!  Out of that we got 5 that we froze and 2 that we put back in my body.

But alas, that is the end of the good news.  Sadly we got the news yesterday that I was not pregnant despite the high hopes all of us including our Dr. had.  We did a day 5 transfer, which is really good because that means that the embryos made it to the blastocyst stage.  Sadly those two little buggers never implanted and quit growing.

Where do we go from here?
Physically: Fortunately we have the 5 that are frozen, so we are looking at doing a frozen cycle in January.  We still have to meet with our RE, to see what he thinks went wrong with this cycle, but that is most likely what he will want to do.  When I talked to him yesterday there were two things that stood out to him.  1) My endometrine was over stimulated.  However in only about 20% of women is this a problem and usually if a women is going to get pregnant it will not be affected by the high levels of endometrine. 2) There was something genetically wrong with the embryos.  There is no way to know at this point, as far as I know.  This will later be discussed at our appointment.

Emotionally/Spiritually: Emotionally I come and I go.  I hate hearing and knowing that literally everyone around me and all my friends, family, and co-workers are pregnant or have just had a baby.  That's a tough pill to swallow when you are struggling with getting pregnant and staying pregnant.  Daily I wonder why?  Why not me?  Why them?  What have I done in my life to deserve this?  Why can't I be blessed with the opportunity to be a parent?  I do ok, until someone tells me or that I hear of someone being pregnant.  It's hard to just see a random stranger who is pregnant.  Why do they get to be pregnant?  Why are they blessed with the opportunity to be parents?  I get mad, I get sad, I run the whole gamut of emotions.
Spiritually: That's a tough one too.  I don't want to lose my Faith and my Trust in God, but there are fleeting moments where I want to give up.  What do I do?  Pray.  I remind myself that there is a greater plan and now I am realizing that my plan and his plan may not be the same.  I want in the worst way to have a biological child.  I want to see what Luke's and my genes create.  It breaks my heart to know that there is a strong possibility that my genes and his genes die with us.  That's not what I have pictured in my head growing up.  That is not how it is supposed to be.  I am scared of adoption for many reasons, the biggest one is I am scared to death I will not love that child as I would love a biological child.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is a legitimate concern of mine.  So, I keep praying and praying that one day God will hear my cry (literally) to have a biological child.  And try with all my might not to lose hope, Faith, or Trust in Him.

Many have said let me know if there is anything you can do for me.  The answer is yes.  Pray for me.  Pray that I don't give up on Him.  Pray that my heart's desire is one day realized.  Pray, that my Faith will be restored, where it has been lost.  Pray, pray, pray. I am doing my best, but now I just need that support.  Thanks for hanging in there on this long post.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Going Gluten Free

I am going Gluten Free...or at least I am going to give it my darndest try at it!  Before you judge, I am not hopping onto the latest band wagon, "cool" thing to do.  I am doing it all in the name of my fertility.  In the past couple of days I have read several articles linking Gluten and infertility, and the latest one linking Gluten to miscarriage. After having two miscarriages the obvious thing to do is to cut the Gluten. Going Gluten fee honestly isn't any different from my fertility diet that I need to be following anyway.  The only difference?  I have to cut out my beloved bread :-( ...a resounding BOO HOO!!!  I LOVE bread, I mean when they say man cannot live off of bread and water alone...uh hum, they had not met me. That is how strong my love affair with bread is.  This also means that my go to dinner when Luke is traveling, cereal, is also a no, no.  This also makes me want to shed a few tears.  Especially since there is a huge box of Lucky Charms sitting in my pantry just calling my name.

The good side of Gluten free...I should experience more energy, if I am Gluten intolerant, and of course a healthy pregnancy.  I still get to eat my most favorite chip from Costco (Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips) as it is Gluten free and chalk full of healthy ingredients.  My most loved snack, Chobani yogurt is Gluten free, and the humus that I eat with my beloved chips from Costco are also Gluten free!

So now I will be eating more beans and lentils, 100% corn tortillas, fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk and lean protein.  Isn't that how all of us should be eating anyway?  Kind of makes you wonder...

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Good News and the Bad News

For those of you who have been following the blog and keeping up with when our next IVF session is, know that is was to happen at the end of July.  Also, if you remember in my last blog post I told you that Luke and I would be trying naturally during our break of infertility treatments.  Which brings me to the good news...the good news is we were successful in getting pregnant on our own!  This also brings me to the bad news...we miscarried.  Before you starting asking how we are doing, we are doing ok.  I think we have both gotten so use to disappointment at this point that it is almost second nature.  So we dealt with it and have moved on.  I wasn't very far along, only about 5 weeks and didn't need a D&C, thankfully.  The other part of the good news is we were able to get pregnant on our own, my endometrine lining was very thick, the sac was right where it should be, in the middle of my uterus, and all of my reproductive organs did their job.  All together, that is a blessing, a BIG blessing!

So where do we go from here?  The answer is, I don't know just yet.  The Dr. wants to run test to see if there is any reason as to why my body doesn't want to grow embryos, since this is the second time this has happened to me.  In order to do that, we have to wait approximately a month to let my hormone levels come back to normal.  So as much as Luke and I want to try again naturally we are going to have to hold off, so we can find out what, if anything, is going on.  I pray that if there is something askew with my body its and easy fix and we can be on our way to baby making!!!

Where do we stand on the IVF?  Honestly, don't know the answer to that question either.  Since we have gotten pregnant on our own, Luke really wants to try naturally as long as possible.  We have 18 months to use our other cycle, so Luke really wants to wait it out and see if we can get pregnant again naturally.  We have discussed it, but haven't decided on anything yet. We will wait to see what the test reveal.  In the meantime I am going to continue doing what I was doing.  Eating a healthy diet (ok, somewhat healthy, this part I didn't do so good with), taking all the supplements, acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, no alcohol, and no caffeine.  However, the month I did get pregnant I did slack off a bit and allowed myself some alcohol.  Perhaps there is something to that ;-).  At any rate, I wanted to keep everyone informed since we are nearing the end of July.  Please continue to pray for us and thanks again for all your love, prayers and support!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tracking the BBT

To anyone who has tried to conceive naturally is most likely familiar with tracking your BBT.  This means taking your Basal Body Temperature at the same time every day, preferably before you get out of bed.  For me that means I wake up at 5:40 every morning to take my temperature.  Even on the weekends!  This month nothing has changed with my cycle as I had hoped.  With the Chinese Herbs and the acupuncture I was hoping that my cycle would get shorter, at least that is what is supposed to happen. It has actually gotten longer, at least my follicular phase did, which of course is the important one.  The luteal phase should remain constant, but that is still to be determined.  So we will see what happens, hoping and praying all my work is not in vain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sorry to leave you hanging...

It's has been awhile and I am sorry to those who have been wondering where we are in our infertility.  Well...I am not pregnant, sad to say.  However we are still working on it. :-)  

After getting a negative result from our first IVF cycle I delved into everything IVF and how I could increase my chances.  I learned about a procedure called Arvigo Mayan Massage and learned of some other natural remedies to help my egg quality, among other things.  I also confirmed my suspensions that exercise and my diet helps.

So in the past few months I have started taking all of this...
Royal Jelly, CoQ10, a Tincture from the Arvigo Mayan Massage therapist, Wheat Grass, AND a prescription from my fertility doctor to get me to ovulate. I have also received the Arvigo Mayan Massage and continued my self care daily as directed by the massage therapist. I have also tried to increase my fruits and vegetables of a certain nature believed to help certain parts of fertility. The last part of my therapy is Castor Oil packs. Which consist of soaking wool flannel in Castor Oil and then placing it on my abdomen for an hour three times a day, once a month.  It is believed Castor Oil has lots of healing properties when soaked up through the skin.  On a side note Castor Oil packs have other healing properties of many other ailments such as pain.

Going back to the prescription meds for ovulation.  My cycles are long, which means I ovulate late, which is because something is out of balance which causes my luteal phase to be longer than it should. Thus possibly causing some or all of my infertility.  The acupuncture and Chinese Herbs are hopefully working to correct this imbalance.  Everything else is also hoping to help correct this imbalance, but will also help when we do IVF again. IF...I don't get pregnant naturally before then ;-)

And to the IVF, we have decided to take a break until July.  Why? Mainly to get me through the rest of the school year and to let the acupuncture and Chinese herbs do their thing.  With the hope to get me as healthy as possible and my body ready to accept a pregnancy.

As always we continue to pray and ask that you do too.  A big thank you to all who continue to support and pray for us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another negative

I first want to say that I am in awe, at the outpouring of love and support that Luke and I are getting from all of our friends and family.  Both near and far, old and new.  When we started down this road, I never imagined that we would have so many people praying and pulling for us and I am touched, just simply touched.  Thank you to all of you out there praying and rooting for us.  We love and greatly appreciate you all, and I thank God for each of you every single day.

Today we found out that after our 2 embryo transfer that we are not pregnant. I am devastated, completely devastated, but have to move on.  As far as I know, all is not lost.  We will go in to talk to the doctor in about 3 weeks.  This will give him time to reevaluate my records look at this round of IVF and see what he believes to be going on.  However, it is becoming clear to him that there is a problem with my eggs.  At my age, and the way I responded to the medicine we should have gotten many more mature eggs, and many more that should have fertilized.  So what's going on?  Hopefully we will find out when we go in for our post IVF appointment.  Fortunately we paid for 2 fresh and 2 frozen cycles of IVF.  Unfortunately we did not get any to freeze this round.  Here's praying to lots of good eggs the next round and we get many to fertilize, to transfer, and to freeze.  The only problem with this is we still have to pay for the medicine each time, which cost anywhere from $3,000-$6,000. 

I know God has a plan for us, and I will continue to keep my faith, but He is definitely not making this easy.  I have to take peace in the fact that it is not our time and when our time does come it is going to be AWESOME. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Embryo transfer day!

Today was embryo transfer day. Though it was scheduled for 10:30 our day started a lot earlier. We had to be at Buckhead Acupuncture for my pre-transfer session at 8:45. This session didn't get started till almost 9 because we had to wait for confirmation that we were in fact transferring today. Once we got verification we went ahead as planned which kept us very short on time. Fortunately the distance between Buckhead Acupuncture and RBA's main office is only about 10 miles, a 12 minute drive. When the session was over we immediately headed for RBA for the transfer, AND then back to Buckhead Acupuncture for the post-transfer session.

The actual transfer process was very interesting. Got there with an extremely full bladder, per doctors orders. The transfer is ultra sound guided and the full bladder helps them to see the uterus better. Luckily Dr. Slayden (our doctor) was the on call doctor today and he actually got to perform the procedure. Once in the room I had to undress from the waist down and then laid down on the table. When I laid down I faced a tv screen that had a picture of our 3 embryos. Dr. Slayden came in and discussed what he thought about what we had, and we then waited for the embryologist. Once the embryologist came in he and Dr. Slayden discussed both together and with us what they thought was the best scenario for us. We had 1 embryo that had developed to 8 cells, and 2 embryos that had developed to 4 cells. What did we/they decide? To transfer both the 8 celled embryo, and 1 of the 4 cell embryos. The remaining embryo...we are waiting to see if it will develop anymore, and if so we will freeze that one. We pray that it continues to grow. Go little embryo, go!

Currently I have an 8 celled embryo and a 4 celled embryo that are hopefully strong enough to keep growing and dividing, now that they are inside of me, and will attach themselves to my uterus. On Friday, February 24 I will head back to RBA to get a pregnancy test. As always we are praying for our precious embryos, that the Lord's will be done and the best thing for us will happen.
Left ovary with some follicles.
Right ovary with follicles.
Our 3 embryos!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We may have a transfer!

The date and time has been set tomorrow at 10:30 to transfer my embryos. Providing all three zygotes turned into embryos. They have not looked at them today so as to not disturb them while growing, if they look good and strong tomorrow morning they will postpone the transfer till Wednesday. I will know some time before 10:00. So while we are hoping for the procedure to be postponed I am praying that the Lord's will be done. Only He knows what is best and the plan he has for us. Something I realized yesterday after balling my eyes out...I really need to be grateful for the fact that 1. We have 3 fertilized eggs ( some couples get none) 2. that Luke and I have the ability both financially and physically to do this. (There are some, who don't even get this chance). I have also learned that this is a test of our Faith and probably our Strength and that He does have a plan for us and that the plan that He has set forth is the BEST one for us. Good things come to those who wait. So while I have learned and realized this, it definitely does not make it any easier. I do pray that His will be done and that at the very least, that our 3 zygotes turned into the strongest, healthiest embryos known to date!

As always, thanks for your continued prayers!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's a roller coaster!

Yesterday was my egg retrieval and we were on a high. Dr. Slayden was able to get 14 eggs from the various follicles I had. We knew that RBA would call by 1 today to let us know what we have. We also knew that just because we had 14 eggs, that didn't mean we would get 14 embryos. Today they called around 9 and let us know that out of the 14 eggs only 5 of them were mature, and out of those 5 only 3 of them fertilized. So what does this mean? It means we have to wait till tomorrow to find out if the zygotes that we do have turn into embryos and can be transferred into my uterus. Our high turned very quickly into a low. Yes, I know that I cannot lose hope, which of course is very easy to say, especially if you are not the one going through it, or have never had to go through it. I have to wonder if God wants us to be parents. I have cried harder today than I have throughout this entire process. This is not fun and I DO NOT wish it upon anyone, not even my worst enemy! If these zygotes do not turn into embryos, I "get" to do this entire process all over again. Which is not cheap. The drugs alone are over 2000 dollars. To all of you reading and following this blog, please pray that our 3 zygotes turn into embryos and can be transferred back into my uterus.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The wait is over!

Whether it was the acupuncture or nature that got things flowing, I don't know and frankly don't care. The important things is we are well on our way to an egg retrieval. Aunt Flow made her appearance on Sunday and on Monday I gave myself my first hormone shot. This of course after a scare that we may not be able to move forward because they found a cyst on my left ovary at my suppression appointment that was not there before. It was potentially another blow, but we prevailed and all was good. Got the call Tuesday we were good to go...Yay!

Here we are on day three of my hormone shots and day two of my new herbal "tea". Just when I thought the taste could not get any did. That's ok though, anything to have a successful IVF treatment...right? In approximately 12-14 days from Monday we will have an egg retrieval! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers all continues to go well.

A special thanks to all of our friends and family for all of the prayers throughout this year as we have gone through this process. A very special thanks to God for providing us with the financial means to be able to do all of this and all the many blessings He has given us, even if at times they didn't seem like blessings. Looking back I now know they were blessings and that there is a reason for everything and the timing just wasn't right.

Friday, January 27, 2012

And now we wait...and wait...and wait...

The title kind of sounds like I am in the "two week wait" mode again, but unfortunately I am not. FYI, in the infertility world, the two week wait is the two weeks that you have to wait once your fertilized eggs have been implanted for IVF or once the sperm has been injected for an IUI, to take a pregnancy test. Having already gone through one round of IUI I can tell you how excruciating that two period is.

Why then am I waiting? Because we cannot start the process of IVF until my cycle starts. I cannot start my stem drugs until day 1 or day 2 of my cycle. I thought that I would have started on Monday the 23, but alas it still had not come. Where are you Aunt Flow??? The one time in my life that I have wished her to come, she doesn't! I know some of you are thinking and hoping that I am pregnant, well...that is not to be either. I took a pregnancy test on Wednesday and it was negative. At this point, I am not a big fan of those things. They are too disappointing.

I am frustrated, very frustrated. We are in a holding pattern and I have no control over it. Thankfully the acupuncturist gave me some other needles yesterday when I went to see him to hopefully get things flowing...literally. I am really crossing my fingers that it worked and I will start some time this weekend.

Yum, yum, you know you want some???

As promised, I have finally taken some pictures of the most wonderful Chinese herbal "tea". It's honestly hard to tell how disgusting this stuff looks from the pictures, but really it looks like dirt, smells like dirt, and well...taste like dirt. I actually believe there is dirt in in, haha.
The tea in its package and in the glass that I "shoot" it in. Here you can not quite capture the essence of the tea and how disgusting it looks, smells and taste. But I promise it is disgusting!

In this photo it kind of looks like strong coffee with a bit of cream. At first it kind of taste like that, and then it hits you. The best comparison I can give it is the Beverly Coke that you can taste at the World of Coke. For most of the Atlantians out there, you know how bad that taste. This is worse!

Now, who said that they wanted some???

Monday, January 16, 2012

Acupuncture and Herbal Tea

I have been wanting to write about my acupuncture appointments and the herbal tea, but have been putting it off, because I wanted to get a picture of the tea. So it seems I can't remember to get that picture, so I decided to go ahead and blog about and hope to give you picture later. Why is the picture so important you ask? Ohhh because you cannot understand how WONDERFUL it is without seeing it. More on that later.

My first acupuncture appointment was pretty uneventful. It was a lot of talking about my history and everything we had gone through thus far and about only 15 minutes of actual treatment. My second appointment was an hour or so of treatment where I fell asleep and felt very relaxed afterward. My acupuncturist also gave me my first helping of my own personal herbal "tea". Tea is in quotation because you can hardly call it tea that we are use to. It's about 4 oz and it is not a tea you sip or enjoy. You shoot it and take it with a chaser. It looks like baby poop, and well, taste like you might imagine baby poop would taste. It isn't pleasant AT ALL and I get the great joy of drinking it three times a day! If I come out of this pregnant, then it will so be worth it and I will quickly forget the horrible taste.

My third appointment was the beginning of my IVF treatment. They do something totally different the 5 weeks leading up to egg retrieval. I was on my stomach and he put a couple of needles near my ankles and a couple on each of my caves. He also put a few on my back. He then attached electric probes on the needles to give extra stimulation. He would turn it to my uncomfortable point and then turn it down slightly. I laid there for about 15 minutes before he came back in and did the same thing, because you get desensitized to the feeling. I again laid there for an additional 15 minutes and I was done. Every appointment will be the same from here on out until egg implantation. The evening before egg implantation I will go in and they will do a special treatment and a hour after my egg implantation I will go back to have another special treatment.

Here's praying to all of this working and a successful IVF procedure and having a baby in 9-10 months!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Traditional Chinese Medicine here we come!

To start this blog I first have to thank God for putting in my heart to start this blog. Everything happens for a reason, and if it were not for this blog and outlet, I would not be writing this current blog post. With that said...

I have to thank a friend of mine who read my previous post for turning me onto Acupuncture and Infertility. She sent me an article, which you can read here about how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has proven to decrease infertility rates. This article sent me on a day search of related articles and further research on the topic. What I learned? China has the lowest infertility rates in the world. Study after study has proven that with acupuncture and Chinese herbs women who have had years of infertility, and many failed IUIs and IVFs have gotten pregnant naturally and have been successful getting pregnant with IUI and IVF when previously they were not. I of course immediately went looking for an acupuncturist in GA who specializes and is board certified to do acupuncture and prescribe herbal medicines. Yes, there are people out there who practice that are not board certified. There are 2 in the state of GA.( and I chose to go to Mark Schwartz at Buckhead Acupuncture.

I am excited to say that my first appointment is tomorrow and that I have found new hope where hope was all lost. Thank you Kristi for directing me this and giving me new hope!