Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5 Weeks Pregnant!

Already through week 5! To me, making it to 6 weeks is a big milestone. I'm not quite sure why.. but I made it! Week 5 was a little stressful. I'm still definitely feeling pregnant, which I'm hoping is a good sign as we wait for the first ultrasound, which will be a week from today.

The first half of this week was especially stressful, as I was waiting to do my final hcg beta, which  was a full seven days after my last blood draw. I found waiting for the results to be agonizing! Especially because the phone call didn't come on time. Normally my clinic is really good about calling you promptly with any results or instructions. So when my call didn't come.. I expected the worst! The actual reason for the late call was due to a patient who had an emergency and it had nothing to do with my results. Thankfully, my beta came back good at just under 2000. The doubling time had started to slow a bit since my last blood test a week prior, but that is normal once the levels get above 1000.

As for my symptoms, the first half of the week was really more of the same of week 4. But as the week went on, my sense of smell has reached an all time high of sensitivity! I thought I smelled everything last week.. but I really can smell everything now. Especially if it's an unpleasant smell!

I was also surprised to look in the mirror and notice the absolute tiniest of bumps! This didn't appear until a few days ago, so towards the later end of week 5. I've heard that being on the PIO shots can make a bump appear a little earlier. It's definitely not something you can notice through my clothes, and I'm sure most people wouldn't notice a thing. But when putting all my bare belly photos from the last 3 weeks all in a row, it's really obvious to me! I personally can't wait to have a big bump, so the earlier it wants to show, the better.

I've again had some on & off nausea. Mainly in a "am I hungry or nauseous" sort of way. I am definitely finding a lot of foods unappealing though. It's a little annoying to be incredibly hungry, but be disgusted by all your go to foods! I really just want to make sure I'm getting enough nutrients, because a lot of the things I really seem to want to eat are not the healthiest options. As someone who is normally a very healthy eater, it's a little disconcerting!

At 5 weeks 4 days, fatigue hit me like a freight train. I've been tired since the beginning, but this is a whole new level! Overall, the fatigue has been the most noticeable symptom this week, just because it's been so strong.

Now that I've made it to week 6, I'm a big step closer to our first pregnancy ultrasound when I will be exactly 7 weeks!

Poke Count
Arms: 12     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 6   Butt: 28

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

4 Weeks Pregnant!

At the time of writing this, I'm actually already 5 weeks! I figured I'd do a little summary of how I have been feeling throughout the last week, as it might be nice for me and my husband to look back on in the future.

At 4 weeks, our little one is the size of a poppy seed! Lots of things are going on development wise, including the forming of the neural tube. It seems like so much happens in early pregnancy and it's such a complex process.

As of the day of my first beta (which was 14 dpo or 9DP5DT), I was 4 weeks! I started feeling pregnancy symptoms actually in my 3rd week, which was surprising to me. One of my first symptoms, which continued all through the 4th week, was intense hunger. Waking up feeling extremely hungry, needing to eat every two hours, having two dinners, etc. I also would feel sick if I didn't eat, but would also feel queasy about an hour after eating a large meal. Increased thirst and urination as well!

I had a lot of pulling, cramping, poking, and basically other strange feelings all around my lower belly. I've heard that this is from the uterus rapidly expanding and growing for the pregnancy. My boobs have been really sore, both to the touch and just even laying down. They've also definitely gotten a little bit bigger and seem a bit swollen.

I have a bit of a belly.. but I'm pretty sure it's all just bloat ;) I know a lot of people seem to be bloated early on after IVF.

Strangely, I had my first craving too! Sweet pickles (like the kind on a hamburger) and relish. I couldn't think of any way to really eat relish (since I don't normally eat it!), so I ended up mixing up homemade tartar sauce with tons of relish in it. I ate it with some fish. But to be honest, all I really wanted was the little bits of relish in there and I even ate it by the spoonful. Gross, but funny too!

I've also been feeling pretty tired, which I know is normal. There's a lot going on inside of me! A few nights I was in bed by 8:30, or fell asleep unintentionally before I meant to go to bed.

The hardest thing to deal with has been my emotions. I'm very nervous and almost afraid to be happy about this pregnancy. I just can't help but think how much we had to do to get here and knowing there is always a chance of miscarriage is just really getting to me. I've actually been taking pregnancy tests each day still! Even though they don't tell me anything, other than, yep you're still pregnant.. I feel like I can't stop!

I'm hoping as time goes on, my worries will lessen. Our first ultrasound, with my RE, is exactly 2 weeks from today! And my first midwife appointment is later that same week. Until then, staying as optimistic as possible!!

Poke Count
Arms: 11     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 6   Butt: 21

Monday, June 20, 2016

BFP After IVF!!

First of all I want to apologize for taking forever to get this post up here! I truly have been in disbelief and this hasn't really sunken in for me just yet.

On the morning of 5DP5DT aka 10dpo, I woke up not intending to take a test at all. But that morning, I got a sudden, intense nosebleed. I remembered a friend of mine telling me about her nosebleeds in early pregnancy... so once it stopped bleeding, I figured, why not?! I've never gotten a positive test this early anyway. And I can check my trigger again to make sure it's even lighter than last time.

But when I did the test and watched the dye flow by... I swore I could see an extremely faint line forming.. already! Naturally, I couldn't back out at this point. So I watched. And watched. As a line developed right before my very eyes! In complete disbelief, I dipped two other tests. Then a third. All were positive, including a digital that read 1-2 weeks!

Above is the very first test that I took. Stunned was pretty much the only way to describe how I felt. I've never gotten a positive at 10DPO, and never got a positive digital right away either. 

The rest of that day was pretty much a blur. I remember getting my husband's present together, so I could surprise him. I had just given him an early birthday present a few days prior, so I was pretending I had another for him. He had absolutely NO idea. I had just talked to him about not testing, so he had zero expectations. I even managed to film his reaction without him knowing!

It was a Friday... which mean 4 whole days until my beta! We decided to not tell any family members until we had the beta back. Those few days went by slowly. The day of my beta, waiting for my results went by even slower.

But my nurse called and said "Congratulations!" and that everything looked "perfect!". My HCG was 160! My progesterone was excellent as well.

The following day, we went over to my parents house, to drop off a few things. My mom had already been getting suspicious about when my blood test would be, so I knew we couldn't keep it from her for any longer. Right before we were pretending to leave, I said that my husband had found a really cool coin and asked if I could show my mom. I handed it to her.. It was a penny with a baby food stamped through it. At first she said, wow! Why would they put a baby foot on here though? And then it clicked and she knew!

Next we got my brother, who was due home from work any minute. We had a little box, that had a little "bun" inside of it, and the inside of the box was stamped with "Bun in the Oven". We placed the box in the oven and when he came inside, my mom told him there was something wrong inside the oven and could he take a quick peek? Obviously, he wasn't expecting to find the little box in there!

For my husband's sister, unfortunately she isn't local. But we ended up texting her a cute photo of me that said "4 Weeks, Baby is the Size of a Poppy Seed". As soon as we texted her, she immediately knew, even before we had sent the photo!

Since father's day was coming up, we decided to swear the whole family to secrecy and break the news to the dad's on father's day! I had purchased cards that said "Only the best fathers..." on the front, and "Get promoted to grandfathers!" inside! We had them sit next to each other and open them at the same time. They simply thought they were opening father's day cards, and were totally surprised!

As for our next steps... we have one more beta a week after our last one (which will be 23 DPO or 18DP5DT). We are already scheduled for our first ultrasound with my RE at the beginning of July (I will be exactly 7 weeks), and I have my first midwife appointment later that same week.

I have to admit, I've been feeling very nervous and worried that everything is going okay! I'm so terrified this will be taken from me. I know some people probably think that's silly, but I feel like we've had to go through so much to get here. 23 Cycles TTC, 7 IUIs, 2 IVF attempts, and 2 previous early losses. I feel like I've dealt really well with all of this so far, but I can't bare the thought of something going wrong now!

But we are trying to stay positive and enjoy every moment. I am actually, really, truly pregnant right now!!

Poke Count
Arms: 11     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 6   Butt: 20

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

IVF: Embryo Transfer!

We had to wait until 3 days after retrieval to confirm our transfer day and time. We were originally scheduled for a day 5 transfer, but things can always change as the embryos are growing! So the morning of day 3, I was nervously waiting for a phone call. They check the embryos only once a day, so they don't keep disturbing them. That morning was going to be the day 3 check... and if things weren't looking as good as they hoped, they'd call us in for a day 3 transfer that day.

As soon as I answered the phone and the nurse started speaking, I knew we were still on for a 5 day transfer! There weren't any other updates on our embryos, just that things were going well. Just to remind you, we had 9 eggs retrieved, 8 were mature, and 6 fertilized with ICSI. Our transfer was set for two days later on day 5, which was a Sunday, at 11:30am. We were to arrive at 11!

We spent the day before our embryo transfer relaxing and having fun. My family has a lake house, so we spent the day there swimming, kayaking, and spending time with our family. An absolutely perfect day!

The next morning was the day of our transfer. I could hardly believe it! I kept my phone with me all morning, just in case I got a phone call informing us all our embryos arrested or something horrible. But no phone call came! My husband make me a wonderful breakfast and I got ready to go. Before I knew it.. it was time to leave.

When we got there, we were called in right away. I only had to get undressed from the waist down, but still had to put on a gown and one of those blue fluffy hairnets. Then I just had to wait for the doctor to come in and speak with us! The way our clinic does it, is that each doctor in the practice has a specific day of the week that they perform procedures. I wasn't sure who did Sunday procedures though. It ended up being one of the doctors we hadn't met yet, but I'd heard good things about.

First things first, he went over our embryos with us. 9 eggs retrieved, 8 mature, 6 fertilized with ICSI. We knew all that. Of the 6 embryos, 2 of them stopped growing earlier on (not sure which day), but the other 4 made it to day 5. We had one beautiful blastocyst, and the other three were still morulas. We were definitely hoping for more blasts.. but we will take whatever we can get at this point!!

We originally were aiming for a single embryo transfer, but had said we would be willing to do two as well. Obviously, we'd be transferring the blast ;) but the embryologist suggested we put in one of the morulas too. They have pretty strict freezing guidelines, and even though they culture them for 6 days, they couldn't guarantee any of the morulas would meet the criteria for freezing the next day. So they felt that it was worth it to transfer one of them (as long as we were okay with it). And we definitely were okay with it!

They explained that they like to seem them as blastocysts on day 5, but that sometimes they grow slower. Apparently plenty of morulas transferred on day 5 go on to be a healthy pregnancy, and that it only increases our chances. That was fine with us! Our blastocyst was good quality too!

Below you can see the two embryos we transferred. One blastocyst (on right) and one morula (on left)!

The embryo transfer itself is super quick! Once they had me in the OR, they put the ultrasound on my belly. For embryo transfer, you need to have a moderately full bladder. This helps them to visualize the uterus better to ensure proper placement of the embryos. It is so incredibly important that the ET is done correctly! I tried really hard to have my bladder the exact right amount of full for the transfer... and I did! They told me that very rarely do they get to see such a "perfect bladder" at transfer. Apparently it was pretty good, because they continued to talk about it the entire time I was there and said I would win the perfect bladder award. Something to brag about, haha!

For the actual transfer, they put in the speculuum, clean the cervix a bit, and then you're good to go! I was happy to hear that the catheter they used for ET is even smaller than the one used for IUIs. I literally could not even feel it! The RE did a trial transfer first, and then it was time for the real thing. Before I knew it, the embryos were transferred!! Then I was off to my recovery room.

After the transfer, they wheel your bed back into your room, where you stay for about 30 minutes. I was initially really confused, because a nurse popped in and said which kind of chocolate bar would you like? And started listing off flavors. Apparently they give all of the women big chocolate bars after their transfers! It was absolutely delicious too!

Once the 30 minutes was up, I was allowed to get changed and go to the bathroom to empty my (now very full) bladder. Then time to go home! It seemed crazy that something as complex as an embryo transfer can be so quick. Now the waiting begins....

Poke Count
Arms: 9     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 6   Butt: 7

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IVF: Fertilization Report

Yesterday was my egg retrieval! We had 9 eggs collected, which was excellent! But we had to wait until today, more than 24 hours later, to get our fertilization report.

After the egg retrieval yesterday, I didn't even think too much about how many might (or might not) fertilize. I really tried to do my best to spend the day resting and relaxing. This morning I tried to take it easy as well, but was able to get a few things done around the house. I want to make sure I don't over do it and I want my body to be very receptive to accepting an embryo for our transfer.

ICSI was part of our plan, due to low morphology. Most couples at our clinic do ICSI as well, even if it's just elective. So a single sperm is chosen and injected right into the mature egg! Usually there is about an 80% fertilization rate using ICSI.

Our clinic checks the eggs the day after fertilization and then lets us know how things look. I knew to expect the call today after 1pm. As time went on, I got more & more nervous! But thankfully, I didn't have any reason to be. Out of the 9 eggs retrieved, 8 were mature. Of those 8 mature eggs, 6 of them fertilized!! We have 6 embryos growing in the lab right now!

They told me they were very happy with that number! Usually, they want at least 50% of the eggs retrieved to be mature (90% of ours were mature), and of the mature eggs, they want at least 50% to fertilize (we had 75% fertilize). So they said we're ahead of the game! Definitely good to hear.

We are still scheduled for a 5 day transfer on Sunday. We get our next update on Friday to confirm the time of our embryo transfer. We are hoping and praying that our little embabies continue to grow!!

After I got the call, I called my husband to let him know things looked good! I didn't give him the details, other than that things were good and they were happy with how many we had. I left this cute little bowl with quail eggs (we raise quail) on the table, to let him know how many we had!

He thought it was such a cute way to tell him :)

I know that it's unlikely that all of our embryos will make it to day 5, but we would be ecstatic if they did. In reality though, all we need is one good one!

Poke Count
Arms: 9     Belly: 38     Ultrasounds: 5   Butt: 1