Just To Be Sure…

(Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise continued)

… I didn’t sleep much on Saturday night and so we were up pretty early and had time to spare before we were getting ready to go to church.  We were lounging around and I couldn’t stop thinking about my beta test which was to be the next day.  I had one more home pregnancy test upstairs and for some reason I felt like I would be more at ease if I saw another negative this morning.  So I went back upstairs, peed on the stick, and waited.  This particular test was digital; the first digital I had ever taken.  It flashes a little sand timer/hourglass while you’re waiting.  When it changed from the hourglass to the words (it displays either “pregnant” or “not pregnant”), I realized that I hadn’t put my contacts in yet and so I had to bend down closely to read it.

When I bent down and looked  closely, it said “pregnant”.

Yep, pregnant.  It was 8:30a.m. on Sunday, October 3rd.  Honestly, the first thing that went through my mind was, “Crap, it can’t be right.”  I dug the box and instructions out of the trash like a raccoon and sat down on the floor.  I was searching for the possibility that it would malfunction… it was digital after all!  After a few minutes I realized that it might actually be correct.  I might actually be pregnant.

Not quite sure what to say or do, I stumbled back downstairs and sat down on the couch to watch tv with Lenny.  After only a few minutes I figured out my next move and I went back upstairs and dug out the NY Giants baby booties from my dresser that I had ordered two years ago.  I had been saving them to give to Lenny when we finally got pregnant (when I ordered them, I still didn’t realize how long they would stay in my underwear drawer).  I threw them in a gift bag and stumbled back downstairs.  Yes, by this time Lenny figured something was up.  I handed him the bag and almost shouted “I have a present for you”.

After opening the gift his first response was “you took another test?  It was positive?  Can I see it?”  We ran upstairs together and I showed him the test; we hugged and cried together.  It’s not the way that I had always dreamt of surprising him with this news, but it was perfect.  I had wondered through over 30 negative pregnancy tests and 2.5 years of trying to conceive what it would feel like to finally see a positive on the test…now I knew.

After church we stopped and bought a few more tests, just to be sure.  I got another positive, and so we were content until the beta the next day.  Knowing we were so far from being in the clear still it was another restless night, but a better restless:

I WAS PREGNANT!!

If you’re reading this – thank you!  But please don’t say anything on facebook until I do…

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Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (i.e. The 2ww)

(Part 2 of “Our Baby Transfer”)

…after about 45 minutes one of the nurses came over and told us that we were free to go whenever we were ready, just stop by to see her after we were changed.  I stayed 30 extra minutes, just in case.  But by that point I was STARVING and knew that it was in God’s hands.  I dressed and stopped by the nurse’s office.  She wrote my prescriptions for the drugs I was to continue and then gave me one last shot in my upper hip (fingers crossed that it’s the last).  I walked out of New Hope Clinic silently hoping that I wouldn’t be back any time soon.

I stopped and grabbed a bite to eat at the first place I saw and then boarded the subway, walked to Penn Station, and boarded the train “home”.  When I arrived back at the train station I hopped in Len’s car and drove the five minutes back to the house.  Too excited to rest too much I used the next 45 minutes to finish packing the last of my belongings.  Knowing that I needed to rest I laid down for a quick nap.  By a little after 5p.m. I was on the road home to Indiana.

Now some people may judge me for not lying around for at least 24 hours.  Some may say I too hastily jumped in the car to head home.  Had I known that I would sit in TONS of traffic trying to leave the city that Sunday night, I probably would have agreed with them.  I was planning to take it easy, listen to my body, and not push too hard, but I wanted nothing more at that moment in time then to go home.

I drove for about six hours that night and ended up stopping at a hotel in Pennsylvania for the night; partially because I was getting tired, partially because it had started raining pretty hard.  I was in bed by midnight and didn’t set an alarm.  I was too excited to sleep though… I watched the Kardashians for over an hour before finally dozing off.  I woke up around 3a.m. to the E channel and an excited feeling to be headed home and when I remembered that I was “pupo”.  I left the hotel around 11a.m. the next morning and drove the rest of the way back to Indiana.  I was so happy to be home.

I had planned to rest the rest of that week, but life quickly went back to normal and I needed to stay distracted so I jumped back into work and the unpacking that needed to happen.  On Wednesday morning I took a home pregnancy test – not because it would show yet whether or not the procedure had worked.  Rather, I was testing to make sure that I wouldn’t get a false negative further down the road.  The “trigger” shot that I was given on Sunday is a small dose of HCG; the chemical that tests measure in your body to determine a pregnancy.  I wanted to test it out of my system to erase any possibility of false excitement.  On Wednesday the test was negative.

The waiting time between an IVF procedure and your first beta test (the blood test to determine whether or not a pregnancy has occurred) is probably one of the hardest times in the cycle.  On message boards and in the infertility world it’s known as the 2ww; the two week wait.  Luckily for me, because we transferred two five-day old embryos, I only had to wait eight days for my first beta.  Each day dragged on as I waited for the slightest feeling of nausea or that instant moment of just knowing I was pregnant.  That moment did not come.  Aside from a pretty persistent headache which I attributed to my cold-turkey quitting of caffeine that week, I had no symptoms of anything.  On Friday, five days past our transfer, I took another home pregnancy test.  It was negative again.  Although I knew that was still early, I did lose a little bit of hope.  Our beta was scheduled for Monday.

Saturday evening we had two parties to stop by and I couldn’t take my mind off of the fact that our transfer hadn’t work.  I asked Lenny if we could leave the second party early because I just couldn’t be social; we were home by 10p.m.  That night in bed I apologized to Lenny through tears for not taking it easier, not praying more, not resting more, for leaving on Sunday and not waiting until Monday, and for everything else I could figure I had done wrong to cause the transfer to have not worked.  Lenny reassured me that we still have frozen embryos left and this wasn’t the end of the road.  I only slept a few hours that night, I couldn’t stop tossing and turning.

To be continued…

Our Baby Transfer! (i.e. frozen embryo transfer)

My posts have been much fewer and far between because the past few weeks/month(s) have been a bit of a whirlwind and while I have loved sharing our experience with everyone, there were parts that I’ve held off blogging about out of respect for Lenny’s wishes.  Mainly, we figured that if something did work out and we were to get pregnant, it probably wouldn’t be best for our parents to find out via my blog…

So now I’m going to start catching you up, and there is a lot to catch up on.  We’re ready to share.

The last updates I had given on our cycle we were “delayed”.  They had found cysts in my ovaries (results of the hyperstimulation last cycle) and my body was taking forever… no ovulation and nothing from the docs as to what was going on.  Then, out of no where, we had answers and we had a plan.  On September 20th I finally ovulated (sorry if this is TMI), and I started medications to pursue a frozen transfer five days later.  We were ecstatic – I was convinced the cycle was going to be cancelled again.  That was a Monday.  I started estrogen supplements (estrace) once a day, and progesterone supplements (crinone) twice a day.  P.S. I HATE crinone more than any of the other meds that I had to take, including all of the shots.  Don’t want to be too descriptive, but if your doc prescribes this I strongly recommend you ask if there are any alternatives… send me a message if you want more details  🙂

I went back for monitoring on Wednesday and Friday.  On Friday they determined that our transfer would take place on Sunday, September 26th.  It was really going to happen!!

On Saturday I spent a majority of the day packing my car- I had decided that I was driving home after this cycle and if we had to come back I would just fly.  I wanted to move my stuff back home regardless of the outcome.  My car was packed and ready to go on Sunday morning as I drove to the train station.  I ate a small breakfast and had a cup of decaf coffee on the train.  On the subway I was so nervous I had to get out my phone to mess around and pretend like I was doing something (no cell signal in the tunnels).  When I arrived at New Hope I was beaming and was the most nervous I’d been since we started the journey.  Imagine my excitement when I saw the largest group of people in the waiting room I had ever encountered…

So the way that a frozen embryo transfer works is this.  They selected two of our six snowbabies on Sunday morning and took them out to “thaw”.  The thawing process takes a few hours and my transfer was scheduled for 11a.m. but they had asked me to arrive at 10a.m. so there I was.  At 10:50 I had yet to be acknowledged.  At 11:10a.m., in tears, I walked out of the waiting room to make a few notes on my phone for my blog.  I was convinced that neither of the embryos had survived the thawing process.  At 11:15, my name was called and she was smiling – THANK GOD!

I followed her upstairs, changed into my gown from the waist down and went out to the waiting room to wait my turn.  There were five other women there.  Two were in the recovery chair, looking still very drugged.  Two were waiting with me.  One tiny asian woman and another chatty woman who would become my “buddy” for the day.  Both went back for their transfers before me.  The wait was the hardest part.

My name was called, I verified my information, they checked my medical bracelet to make sure everything matched, and I was led back to the chair from hell (unfortunately one that I had gotten all too used to).  I think I mentioned it in an earlier post, but forget the regular stirrups (again, sorry if TMI)… this baby has holsters for your thighs.  There were two nurses and the doctor in the room waiting for me.  I positioned myself, the most unflattering lights in the universe were shown on my most unflattering parts, and another doc walked in to assist.  Then the most magical and scientifically amazing thing took place…

On a screen above my bed I was able to watch the entire process.  (The doctors chose to transfer two embryos to increase our chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.  The average success rate of an IVF cycle is less than 30%, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much.)  The second doc asked me to verify that the name and birthday on the screen, NEXT TO THE TWO MICROSCOPIC EMBRYOS matched mine.  He then used a tiny syringe to extract the first embryo from the microscope slide and carefully handed it to the doctor, and the first embryo (Baby A) was transferred; it took all of 2 minutes.  Then he repeated the process with the second embryo (Baby B).  It was all over in less than 10 minutes.  I was then escorted to the recovery chairs and my legs were propped up.  The woman next to me, clearly also in recovery, grabbed my hand, squeezed it, and druggingly said “we’re Pupo!” It was approximately 15 minutes later that I figured out that Pupo (pronounced pup-o) actually stood for p-u-p-o, “pregnant until proven otherwise”.  Wow, I was pregnant until proven otherwise…

To be continued…

IVF Meds – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A lot of people started reading my blog to understand better what the process of IVF entails.  I have now learned that is just the beginning.  Hopefully I’ll be able to elaborate on that in the next couple of weeks…  In the meantime… Today we’ll elaborate on the meds.  I have talked about the multiple shots and I tried to take a picture of all of the supplies.  My picture on my camera phone was so-so. But then one of my IVF pals on the forum that I contribute to uploaded a great, much more artsy picture.  See below:

Yes, this wide array that could be considered your own personal pharmacy are the meds (and subsequent needles for administering) required for one IVF cycle.  Makes you cringe, right?  The craziest thing is that as you progress through the cycle the needles get longer and bigger  🙂

But honestly, they’re not that bad.  Especially when you consider the possible results of taking the meds.

An Update on our Status

Hi Everyone!

I’ve gotten quite a few questions lately as to our status with our treatments since I haven’t posted much lately… that’s because not much is going on.  We’re kind of waiting to figure out what the next steps are but I’m feeling really good about everything.

I will keep you all updated, it just might be a bit delayed as we try to figure everything out.  In the meantime, you might just have to read about my life without the treatments  🙂

Sorry for being absent…

I apologize for being absent for a few days – it has been a long few days!

On Sunday I had my last appointment of this cycle.  In a few weeks I will find out whether or not I need to go back to New York… So Sunday after my appointment I took the subway/train home, took a nap and then got on the road to head back to Indiana.  I had packed my car on Saturday so that I would be ready to go.  I drove for 1.5 hours and went 18 miles and half-way considered turning around!  But after that I was home free.  I drove until around midnight and finally stopped off in Bedford, Pennsylvania and spent the night at a Holiday Inn.  The next day I drove the whole day and finally got back to Indiana around 6:30p.m.  I’m home!

Since then I have been working on unpacking and getting caught up with “life”; it’s so hard to be gone for so long with so much still going on back home.  Especially with starting ICFI….

ICFI is the organization that Lenny and I founded.  The mission is to provide support to families struggling with infertility; raise awareness about infertility; provide a comprehensive website of local (Indiana) specific information; and provide fundraising opportunities to families struggling with infertility.  It has been such a whirlwind getting things off of the ground.   I finally was able to submit our paperwork/application to become an official 501c3 and we are now just waiting on that approval.  We have started to form the board of directors, which has already met two times, and we only need a few more members.  We have also formed a committee that will help to plan the events and the first committee meeting was this week (the day after I returned from New York).

Our website is up and running but there is so much left to be added to the site (www.MyICFI.org).  I’ve been advocating for the organization for a few months now, meeting with anyone I know to let them know what we’re trying to do.  Infertility effects between 1 out of 6 and 1 out of 10 couples (the numbers vary depending on who’s reporting).  With statistics like this, every one I talk to has personally experienced, or knows someone who has personally experienced, struggles with conceiving a child.

Overall I think everything is going really well.  There are some struggles – the main one being that most of the time I feel like I am doing this all alone and it’s a lot of work!  But it will all be worth it  🙂

My Fertility Doc

I thought it might be appropriate to talk a little bit about our doctor and our clinic.  Funny thing is, I’ve only “met” our doctor a few times, and most of those times it was right before I was put under via anesthetics.  And yet, I really do love it and have really liked most of the people we’ve worked with there.

A few things about NH: Most of the patients are Asian, I am most definitely the minority there.  They specialize in mini-IVF and so their “freezing” and “thawing” techniques, along with Frozen Embryo Transfer, are great and their success rates are very high.  Also, compared to the real estate docs in Indiana can get, the place is tiny, cramped, and old; and yet it’s the best office I’ve been to.  Many of the staff members are foreign and it appears some speak English as a second language.

Also, they don’t always have “scheduled” appointment times.  During your cycle, while monitoring, you just go to the office anytime before noon and sign in, and when they get to you they get to you.  They call you in and draw your blood.  You go back out and wait and they eventually call you in for your ultrasound.  It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours – you need to be flexible for sure!  Then depending on what was happening that day, you might need to go back after 2:30p.m. and wait to speak with the head nurse.  This was when they would give us our meds or further instructions and answer any questions we had.  Sometimes they would instruct me that I didn’t need to come back in the afternoon and so they will just call with the results.  It’s all a very different experience than what we were used to with our other doctors.

When you are having a procedure done, things are a little different.  Firstly, you have a set appointment time, usually first thing in the morning.  They take you upstairs where you undress and put on the gown in a room 1/8th the size of a normal dressing area.  You lock all of your belongings into a locker, take the lock, and go and wait in the communal waiting room. There’s a small tv, regular chairs, and then “recovery chairs” that recline and have armrests.  Men are not allowed on the second floor unless they’re staff (so no husbands, kids, etc.).  When it’s time for your procedure you’re taken into one of the operating rooms, quickly given anesthesia, and the procedure is done.  The next thing you know, you’re being wheeled in a wheelchair back to the communal waiting room and placed into a recovery chair.  Your vitals are monitored for about an hour, depending on the procedure and type of anesthesia you were given (all in the communal waiting area).  This was a very awkward part at first but now I love it.  You should hear some of the things women say as they’re coming out of their daze, and I’m sure I’ve said things just as funny.

New Hope must see an average of 100 patients a day, on an average day.  They probably perform 20-30 procedures (D&Cs, Hysteroscopies, Egg Retrievals, Egg Transfers, etc.) before noon.  They literally whisk you in and out.  It took probably 15 appointments before some of the nurses started to know who I was.  It’s craziness.  Half the time that I’m there the receptionist pulls extra folding chairs out of the closet so that there are more seats for everyone waiting in the waiting room!  (I uploaded a pic from one of the corners this morning of the waiting room)

I think that if we had gone to this clinic first, we never would have gone back.  But after having seen two of the best doctors at two of the most renowned clinics in Indiana and leaving with a sense of emptiness – something was missing from those experiences.  I didn’t feel like we were going to get the results we were looking for at those places.  I didn’t feel like the doctors, and even more so the nurses, cared that much about us.  I felt like a number, not a person.  Which is funny, because most of the time we were in the waiting room with only a few other people at those places.  But now, being at New Hope with tons and tons of people I feel more “at home”.  The nurses really care about us and want us to get pregnant – they tell us all the time!  And even though most know me as a number, I feel more like a person at NH than I felt at the stuffier places.  

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