Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shocking Update and Desperate Need for Prayer

Oh where do I even begin.  So I was expecting my period on Friday of last week but it was late.  I decided that maybe I was still messed up from IVF so Hammer and I decided to wait until Monday to test if I hadn't gotten my period yet.  When Monday rolled around and AF was no where to be seen I pulled out a free internet cheapie, did the deed and in mere seconds the test turned up positive.  We were shocked.

I called my RE's nurse that morning and went in for a blood draw late that afternoon.  Some where around 11am the next day I got a call but I could not have been prepared for what she was about to tell me.  My HCG was over 60,000.   I was speechless.  She told me that my RE thought that maybe the first beta was a false negative but since I 'bled' i.e. thought I got my period, we didn't do the repeat beta. 

I was scheduled for an ultrasound today at 10:30.  Sure enough there was a gestational sac, yolk sac, and fetal pole.  But to our dismay there was no heart beat.  The baby is measuring a bit off based upon dates, i.e. more like 7 weeks.

Hammer and I have decided to wait and do a repeat ultrasound next Wednesday.  We are asking for you to pray with us for a miracle.  Our hope is that some how this baby implanted so ridiculously late that we are just looking too early for a heart beat.  We know that the chances are extremely slim but God does do miracles. 

I still cannot get over the fact that I've been walking around for the last four weeks completely unaware that I was even pregnant.  Looking back I did have some tell tale symptoms.  But I think because I had such heavy bleeding immediately after our negative results, and that the bleeding lasted for four days we just could not imagine that I could be pregnant.  I mean for Pete's sake I thought I ovulated.  I even took an ovulation test!  As a side note I did go back and pee on another ovulation stick to see if maybe it would come up positive now that I knew I was pregnant and it did so I am just floored and very confused.  Please pray for us during this time.  We can barely wrap our minds around what has all transpired in the last three days.  Going from thinking we conceived on our own, to having extremely high hcg, to an ultrasound without a heart beat.  It's just excruciating and even more painful having seen a little baby with it's tiny arms and legs inside of me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fertility Misfits

We had our WTF(lip) meeting last Thursday (11/11) and we walked out of there more frustrated than before. This is why I have taken my time posting about it because I’ve had to wrap my mind around all the emotions I’ve been having since then.

Our RE’s determination is that I have poor egg quality. When asked what makes him think this his reply was, “What else is there?” I argued my normal FSH, AMH, normal to low-normal ovarian reserve, and our quality day 3 embryos which are powered on my egg’s DNA as well as my husband’s DNA fragmentation. His reply was that he really didn’t believe in the DNA fragmentation so the only thing left was that it must be my eggs. He continued that regardless of what the labs might say I didn’t stimulate the best so it must be my eggs. But when I brought up that a poor responder was categorized as someone who makes less than 4 mature eggs and that has not been the case with me. I always have ended up with 6 or more mature eggs at retrieval. I may not respond great but I also don’t think I was on the right protocol for me. Our RE shrugged and said that this was the best guess he could give us since he didn’t believe in the sperm DNA. Nice. This is why I wanted to go somewhere else for our last IVF. Clearly I was not going to win this battle and it was better to drop it since I still needed their help for a few things.

We asked for a copy of our records for a few reasons A) We wanted all of the SAs that we’d had since being there B) I wanted documentation of all the drugs I had been on C) and we might get a second opinion at another clinic about 2 hours south of where we live (this is a big might by the way). We also got the names of two physicians that specialize in male reproductive health. Not just a urologist but an andrologist. There were only two physicians that I had found on my own that work in this specialty in our state and it was good to know that these were the only two which were recommended. So we have our appointment set up for January 14th. We went with the younger of the two because we are both sick and tired of older physicians who are so set in their ways. Plus the younger one does some of the newer surgical techniques that are better and less invasive so we are also hoping he might be more open to our DNA problem as well. The other one had been practicing for over 30 years and he sounds as old as the hills. I’m sure he’s very smart but I don’t want to go from one old dog (RE) to another only to find out that he just agrees with our RE.

We also found out more about the embryo donation program at our clinic. Basically they require that the couple has to have used donor eggs first. What? What if you have a male factor issues? Nope, they make you have to use donor sperm and you are not eligible for donor embryos. Well that is just not an option for us for our own personal reasons. I’m not forking out the money for donor eggs just to have them fizzle out as well because of our retarded sperm so that we can get donor embryos for ‘free.’ But we did hear good things about a clinic in Tennessee that is very reasonable in price although we still have to do the homestudy piece with them. (Apparently that is not a requirement with our clinic)

So our next step in that adventure is meeting with a local adoption agency to do the homestudy. Hammer works with a guy whose sister-in-law is a co-founder of one of the largest agencies in our city. His co-worker is going to pull some strings to get us in quickly to start the discussion. So you know, these strings won’t get us a better homestudy or a quicker match so we’re not bumping anyone.

In the meantime, my body actually ovulated on its own, ON TIME. Wow. That has never happened before the first cycle after IVF. I was thankful that I didn’t have to go through more frustrations with my own body. I was totally caught off guard by it so we missed taking advantage of it but honestly I don’t think we could have even been emotionally ready so it’s no big deal. In the last few weeks we did decided that if we were going to continuing trying on our own we’d invest in a fertility monitor. I ended up buying an Ovacue because it gives you an estimate of ovulation 5-7 days in advance. Since we have to ‘prep’ Hammer for 7 days prior to BDing for ovulation I thought this was better than a Clearblue which is only 2-3 days warning. The other benefit is that you don’t have to buy any test strips as it has a sensor that tests the hormones in your saliva. Apparently all these hormones show up in your saliva before they even hit your blood or your urine. So we’ll see how that goes and I’ll keep you updated. Eventually I will likely make an appointment with the doc who does NaPro technology but for right now this is MORE than enough to keep us busy. That and we just want to enjoy the holidays. So on that note, if I don’t post before hand – Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I may not be commenting on your blogs but I am reading them, all of them (and not just the ones on my blog roll which is seriously out of date!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day By Day

That’s how I’ve taken things, one day at a time. The first few days were spent very tearful and I was thankful to still be at the beach where I could just ‘be’ and hide my red swollen eyes behind sunglasses. On the way home we stopped to visit one of my husband’s best friends. When they get together it’s a non-stop laughing session. And we needed it. We needed to laugh so hard at the dumbest things until our sides hurt, until it hurt to breathe, until we cried because for the last few days these things were brought on by sorrow and not laughter. We needed laughter.

During the drive home we tried to talk about ‘what next’ because it’s helpful to me but not for Hammer. He needed time and I needed to plan and the discussions were not productive. So we had to back off. I found it more difficult to handle the emotions now that we were headed home. Its one thing to lie on a beach and accept the outcome but it’s another to have to head back to your life and realize that it will not include a pregnancy and a child of our own.

We both took the day after our return off of work to recover, do laundry and catch up on things. It was also an intentional day off just in case things didn’t go ‘as planned’, which they didn’t, and I thought I would need an extra day to just absorb everything that had happened. At work I put on a ‘happy face’ and gushed about the perfect weather, kayaking in the ocean, watching dolphins, everything except the most important thing because I keep my work life separate from my personal. On my first two days back I had to conduct a training for about 20 staff. It’s one I do twice a year so I know it like the back of my hand and it was so good for me to not have time to think and to just be busy.

And so we’ve kept busy by having dinner with friends, seeing local music, attending fall parties; anything and everything so we don’t have to think about what could have been. I’ve gone four days without crying. I’ve held newborn babies. I’ve laughed. I’ve eaten sushi and drank wine. But I don’t feel free. I thought that after it was over that I’d feel ready to move on to something new that held more promise of expanding our family. Maybe I just need more time. But I still have this nagging feeling that I can’t shake. I can’t explain it.

Hammer and I have talked some more now that we’ve assimilated back into our regular schedules. There is just one last piece that both of us want to pursue. Hammer has never been evaluated for MFI. After all this time (4 years!) we’ve had mixed opinions by our doctors on is or is he not affected by MFI. His first SA showed him just above the cut off for normal. His first three IUI post washes were a dismal 11, 13 & 17 million. And of course, let’s not forget his DNA frag at 48%. We did find out that after vitaminizing the heck out of him he posted a prewash of 100 mil and a post wash of 56 mil. But clearly whatever is affecting the DNA is making a viable pregnancy impossible. So we’d like to at least have someone check to see if there is something that can be corrected. Even if we are going to be pursing adoption that does not mean that we’re not going to be praying for a miracle so why not at least check things out. This means that we’ll also be looking into a urologist in our area that specializes in MFI just to make sure that we haven’t missed anything. We will also have our last WTF(lip) appointment on the 11th where we hope to find out more about our clinic’s embryo donation program, get a copy of our records and find out if they have recommendations for a referral for Hammer.

But for right now my goal is five days without crying.

Monday, November 1, 2010

IVF #4 Summary

8/22 - Hello friend = AF shows

8/23 -> 9/29 - Acupunture

8/24 - FSH = 5.5 (yeah!)

8/24 -> 9/13 - BCP

9/6 -> 9/24 - Lupron 10 U/d

9/21 baseline u/s - E2 = 16 supressed; total of 13 antral follicles puts me in the low normal category which is excellent for me!

9/25 -> 10/6 Lupron 5 u/d

9/25 -> 10/6 - Gonal 225 u am & pm

9/29 - follie check #1 L = 6 follies R = 2 follies Lining = ~5mm E2 = 127

10/1 -> 10/6 Luveris 75 u/d

10/2 - follie check #2 L= 14, 13, 11, 9, 9 R = 13, 12, 8 Lining = 8mm E2 = 737

10/5 - follie check #3 L= 20, 20, 17, 16, 16, 13 R= 19, 15, 10 Lining = 10mm E2 = 1,915 *Best ever!

10/5 - trigger 10pm

10/6 - TSH = 2.54, Free T4 = 1.1

10/7 - retrieval day = 9 eggs retrieved

10/7-> 10/12 - medrol 16mg

10/8 - Fert Report #1 Of 9 eggs retrieved, 7 were mature

4 fertilized normally
1 fertilized abnormally
2 did not fertilize

10/9 - Fert Report #2 "Ham"bryo's

4 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
2 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
4 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation
6 cell - grade 3, 0% fragmentation

10/10 - 3 day transfer

"Ham"bryos in the oven

10 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
8 cell - grade 1, 0% fragmentation
*Assisted Hatching performed

10/10 - acupuncture pre & post transfer

10/14 - progesterone check = 85.3

10/21 - beta #1 = Negative :(