Grief

I have been thinking about writing this post all week, but really dont know how to put my grief into words. No, this isnt about our new bundle of joy that means the world to us. He is doing great. 

This is about the struggle that stays with you after you become a mom…dealing with loss and infertility after motherhood.

Two years ago today, I underwent my last d & c at 10 weeks pregnant. It was our 3rd Frozen Embryo Transfer, and we thought we were almost out of the woods (or first trimester). I wont rehash all of the awful details with our loss, you can read about them in our archives back in March of 2015 if you are in a place where you need to relate. If you are, my prayers go out to you. However, I will say that this February day back in 2015 still haunts, or hurts me deeply. 

I sat in the bathtub last night, when I should have been relaxing after a long day filled with cluster feeds, dirty diapers, cries and sweet rainbow baby coos, only to find myself grieving deeply. 

You see, having a baby doesnt replace losing one. Having a miracle in your arms actually makes you wonder even more about what your other child would have been. All the moments you are enjoying now that you lost with them. There is even a smidge of guilt mixed in with the grief. 

We will never know why we lost Isaacs brother that winter day a few years ago, or why we lost all 5 of his other siblings before that. All we can do is thank God for what we have and cherish it even more. Pray for peace for all the babies taken too soon, and for all the moms that became moms the second those embryos were placed inside of them…regardless of the outcome. You are a mother even though many might not recognize it. The love starts way before the baby arrives. Losing many and now having one has made me realize it even more. 

Rest in peace Isaiah William with all the other angels gone too soon 💙 today we think of you 💙

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Hello 3rd Trimester 

Its hard to believe both October & the 3rd trimester are upon us! Less than 12 weeks to go now.

I had my 1 hour glucose test this morning. I actually did a 2 hr test back when we were trying to figure out the cause of my recurrent pregnancy loss, so I was prepared for how yucky it is. This time I didnt get a flavor choice (boo!) and got stuck with orange. I did lemon lime the first time and it was much better! The orange burned as I was chugging it down and gave me a slight headache accompained by minor nausea. 

The nurse drew my blood for this and also did a CBC, my results should be in within the week. The midwife measured my fundal height which was between 28-29 weeks, and I am 28 weeks + 3 days so that was all good. She also did the doppler and his heartbeat was as usual. We chatted about movement, which I have noticed just in the past week has picked up a lot. I dont find myself needing to count like I was because its pretty consistent throughout the days now. I am happy about this bc counting sort of drives me mad! 

We also discussed vaginal v. c-section birth. I explained my fears both ways, and told her I just want to do whatever is safest for my baby. She listened and offered some personal stories in regards to my concerns. Long story short, she told me to prep for a vaginal birth as long as he isnt breech, or too large.  Our first labor class starts tomorrow and I am anxious for it. They told us to bring a yoga mat and 2 pillows…hopefully we will gain some valuable knowledge from these sessions! 

In other news…all good things must come to an end. Let me explain. We had our fresh IVF cycle back in March 2014, in which 7 out of our 8 embryos were frozen at that time. Since that time, we have had 4 total transfers (1 fresh + 3 frozen). Thankfully all of our embies have been kept free of charge at our RE’s office. We havent paid storage on any of our frosties, which has been wonderful as storage fees can get pretty pricey. Well, as I said, all good things must come to an end! We got a call this week from the storage company informing us that we need to update our forms on file as they will be picking up our one & only embryo at our RE’s office. I must say I was a bit sad, I loved our embryo being right where I know it is, safe & sound. However, I realize this is protocol and we got away with it for over 2 years now. Time to cough up more cash…nothing new in the world of IVF. 

As Im sure many of you know, the embryo storage forms make you think of morbid things like death of one partner, death of both partners, divorce, etc. In the middle of filling out the forms, I burst into tears. Thanks pregnancy hormones! I told hubby in the case I should die, I want him to have ownership of our embryo. I suggested that should he ever marry again, he could (have the option to) transfer our embryo into his new wife. He looked at me in disbelief, and thats when I lost it. This may sound odd to some, but its how I feel. We also agreed on the same should he pass before we transfer again. And if we both die, we elected to donate our child. Sounds really weird typing that. We couldnt come to terms with disposal, and we didnt want to transfer ownership to anyone and have that on their shoulders either. We will pay storage quarterly, and then revisit transferring Uno December of next year. 

My OB appts are now every 2 weeks, not sure of the MFM frequency as of yet. I see them this week for a growth scan, and I want to bring up a few things like NSTs and biophysical profiles. I dont want to fall to the wayside because things have continued to look good. I want to make sure we stay on top of things, especially monitoring later on as this can help prevent stillbirth. 

My baby shower is this weekend!!! How insane. I am super excited about it, but also anxious at the same time. I cried yesterday to hubby about it, and he reassured me that I deserve this shower. My aunt is flying in today, and then others follow throughout the week. I feel like I have so much to do still (thank God for cleaning ladies) before the shower…stop by the flower shop, finalize games, get my wedding ring cleaned, eyebrows waxed, nails done, etc. Im sure it will all come together though. Will post an update of it all soon! 

Diary of a Pregnant Woman, Vol. 4

We attended the Breastfeeding 101 class at the hospital this past week. I had already been to a prior boob class hosted by some local doulas, but that was with a friend and not with hubby. Hubby wanted to learn, and I figured the more info the better. And I did actually pick up on a few things that I hadnt in the doula session. Main points of the class-

  • Day 2 of breastfeeding is the hardest 
  • Various feeding positions (we practiced with dolls)
  • The 9 stages of the first hour after birth leading to feeding (the “golden” hour)
  • How much and how often baby feeds 
  • The role dad can play in the process (bring baby to mom, burp baby before and after, change baby before & after, make sure baby is latched right, positions, etc.) 
  • Bring pillows to the hospital so you are comfy breastfeeding 
  • When to introduce bottles
  • The benefits of breastfeeding 

And so much more! Im SURE this will be a learn as you go process, but hopefully we are well equipped with some strategies to help us should we run into any trouble. If not, the lactation specialists seem quite helpful too. 

News this week?

One of my best friends had her baby girl! She welcomed her into the world on 9/22 (first day of fall!) about a week past her due date. We visited them at the hospital and she is absolutely adorable! It was very surreal for hubby and I to go to the hospital to visit a baby. We have NEVER done this before. Its always been too hard. I was still nervous deep inside, but also so incredibly happy for them. I cant wait to raise our sweet babies together!! 

We are just over 27 weeks preggo now. I cant believe the 3rd trimester and our second viability goal of 28 weeks is upon us. Thank you, God! After this, it is 32 weeks. Getting there will be such a sigh of relief. Praying the time goes by without a hitch…our baby shower is in 2 weeks (all the RSVP’s are in & we will have just over 30 attending), and then our maternity photos. Also, our weekly labor & delivery classes begin & a few doctor appointments to see Miracle again.

I sent my RE some recent pics of me, hubby, & baby Isaac via Facebook. I hadnt talked to her since we were about 16 weeks and I missed her! We chatted back & forth, and I thanked her again for all she did for us over the past 3 years and 4 IVF cycles. She never gave up on us. After our boy is here we will surely be taking him in to see her! Oh, and I snuck in the question about our 1 & only frozen embryo left…what is the recommended time frame between delivering a baby and transferring an embryo? Answer-1 year. Hubby & I have some plans about it, but Ill save that for a much later post. Lets just get Miracle here safe & sound! 

Symptoms? 

Braxton Hicks. The other day they were very frequent and I got worried and thought about heading to L & D for a check. Thankfully, they subsided and I didnt need to go. Stay away BH!  

Baby boy & my uterus have def grown because Im feeling him and seeing him above my belly button now. So crazy, yet amazing at the same time. 

FET #3: Transfer Day

After waiting almost a year & a half since our last transfer, & 2 years from the first, yesterday was FINALLY the BIG day! 

Our transfer wasnt scheduled until 1 pm in the afternoon, which had both positives and negatives to it. More time to get things in order, on the other hand more time to let my mind wonder. 

We woke up around 8, took the dogs for a walk, & did my daily injection on PIO. Next, we went to the grocery store & got a couple last minute items that we hadnt got over the weekend. When we got back, I showered while he cooked us brunch. We ate eggs, chicken breast, tomatoes, & wheat muffins.

Then I showered, prayed with my mom over the phone, read devotional with hubby (which ironically for the first time ever discussed infertility) & popped in my Circle + Bloom transfer day CD. I have been listening to the sessions religiously this cycle and was super excited to put this one in!!! Praying, reading, & meditating where exactly what I needed to calm my nerves. 

At last, it was time to get ready to go! If you know me, you know I usually dont wear make-up unless Im heading out for a fancy dinner or something of the sorts. Well, I decided to do myself up yesterday. As I was putting on make-up, hubby was like, “are you putting on make-up?” Haha! I replied with, “yes, arent we getting ready to make a baby? Under normal circumstances, if we had just started trying, I would be getting prettied up for you!” We both chuckled. 

Thanks to all of the suppport we have in our life, I was decked out from head to toe in items we have been given for his cycle. I had on my pineapple headband (hubby), my pineapple earrings (bestie), baby charm bracelet (cousin), a Pandora ring (my mom), hope necklace (aunt), 4 leaf clover necklace (blogger), bad ass undies (me), and stork socks (me). I also had an angel in my pocket from one of my co-workers, along with a yellow bracelet. I felt very special & surrounded by love. 

Hubby & I decided to stop by the water before we went to the RE’s office. Its just a few minutes away, and its in a beautiful, more ritzy area. What a gorgeous day out! The sun was shining with a breeze, truly a spring day in Florida. We took some selfies, skipped rocks, and talked about the future. On our way to the car, I popped my valium. 

  
As soon as we got to the office, I could tell they might be running a little behind. They are very quick for regular appointments, but for retrievals, transfers, & the like they arent. Im not complaining; I dont want them to rush me when Im back there! Anyways, they finally took us back around 1:45.

The nurse took my blood & my vitals, then we headed back to transfer room. I got in my sheet skirt (so cute…not!) and put on my cap. Shortly after, the embryologist came in to show us our embies (now named Itty & Bitty), and tell us how they did thawing. Nervewracking part. She showed us a pic of 1 embie (our AB graded) & you could see it was clearly hatching already! She was really pleased with how it only took it an hour to do so once thawed, as compared to normally 3 hours. Here she is…

  
When I asked how the other one did, she was like “what other 1? Arent we only doing 1?” Hubs and I just stared at each other, and I cant remember who spoke up first. We informed her we are transferring 2. She acted like it wouldnt be a big deal, as she could see my stress level rising a bit. She left to go talk to my RE.

At this point, hubby got up and asked me if I wanted to pray together. I was so thankful for this. He prayed over us, as I listened, and it was just perfect. A few minutes later, my RE came back in, and apologized, saying there must have been a miscommunication between the nurse and her somewhere. She said they would de thaw it now, and hoped we wouldnt mind waiting another hour. 

When 3 pm finally rolled around, the embryologist came back in with embie number 2’s photo. He survived just fine too! Most of his hatching will take place inside of me since he wasnt out thawing as long. 

  
By now, my valium had long worn off & we were ready to get this show on the road! My RE, nurse, & medical assistant (I asked if she could stay, it was the first transfer she got to see!) all piled in the room about 3:30. They inserted the catheter, filled my bladder, & as we watched the screen, on the count of 3, we saw Itty & Bitty released back into their home!!! So cool to watch. 

During the transfer, my RE said my uterus has looked better than it ever has before. Thank you God! When it was complete, she gave us my discharge instructions, wished us well, & said she would see us soon. After that I still had to lay with my feet up for about 20 minutes, and by now it was 4 pm! The time delay was worth it though. 

We eventually got home at about 5 and had dinner. More chicken breast, salad with carrots, cucs, mushrooms, & tomatoes, followed by an avocado & banana smoothie with pineapple core & brazilian nuts for dessert. Hubs put in Pippi Longstocking for me & I watched that, smiling often! I havent seen it since I was a child & I bought it just for this occassion. 

We were both super tired by 8pm, so I listened to my Circle + Bloom CD one more time, & actually fell asleep in the process. Ill take that as a good thing! I did wake up a few times through the night to pee as usual, but the difference this time was that my mind started to race when usually its shut off during the wee hours. I felt a few cramps and of course, tried to analyze them. Soon, I fell back asleep. 

Today (2dp6dt), I have already meditated to my CD. Later, I plan to read my new book, color, watch the new series I bought, etc. Hubs is back to work, so its just me & the boys here. My mom might stop by too. 

Please keep us in your prayers while I am PUPO!! Thank you!

TTC Old Wives Tales

Over the years I have come across plenty of TTC tales. Just as there are Old Wives Tales when it comes to predicting the gender of a baby, there are ones out there on how to up the chances of getting pregnant too.
Unlike the momma-to-be having acne, or baby having a certain heartrate, the tales regarding how to get pregnant seem to revolve mostly around nutrition.  

I should probably have prefaced this post by saying I am *not* superstitious in the least.  I am, however, all about reaping the benefits of eating healthy foods. In my opinion, food is the best medicine out there. So I cant deny that these tales are a little intriguing to me. 

Here are a few TTC tales that stick out-

  1. Upping your Bromelian intake, or eating pineapples 🍍🍍🍍 – starting on transfer day, or ovulation day, for about a week, eat a slice of pineapple a day, making sure to keep the core attached to what you eat. I have eaten pineapple on transfer day for a few transfers now. I dont think I continued it past transfer though, not 100% sure.  Supposedly eating this fruit helps with implantation.  Read more about this tale here 
  2. Boosting Selenium, or eating (Brazilian) nuts 🌰🌰🌰-never tried this one, although I have heard about it from a lot of you ladies. Again, some suggest it assists with embryo implantation.  Read more here
  3. Pom Juice for a healthy uterine lining and increased blood flow-again, never tried this tale. I did try Raspberry Red Leaf Tea for this particular reason during one cycle. It did happen to be the cycle my lining thickened quite a bit, not sure if it played a part in it or not. Poms and other fertility friendly food reading 
  4. Keeping your feet warm, or body warm-my nana always taught me this was a smart move since I was a kid, and I have gone on to hear about the health benefits of it in general over the years. I just recently saw it as a TTC tip. More on this here

So my questions for you ladies are…

  • Did you try any of these during your cycle? If so, which ones?
  • Are there any other tales you think are worth while? 
  • Did you achieve success or failure using any of these? 
  • If you havent tried any of these yet, do you plan to try any in the future?

I have no idea if I will pursue any of these tales during our future FET or not. I do know I will continue to keep it healthy though which I believe is most important! 

PGS Help

Okay, IVF ladies, I need your help.  When my husband & I did our fresh cycle back in early 2014, we opted out of PGS (Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening) testing of our embryos. At the time, we did not think we would need it. On paper we looked great- young, healthy, no losses, no medical histories, MF diagnosis…pretty much by the textbook for success.  

But after going through 3 miscarriages and 5 embryos, neither my husband or I feel overally comfortable transferring one of our remaining 3 embies without having them genetically tested.  Of course, every mother wishes for a healthy child, but I must be honest with you- my fear now is much greater than anytime I was ever pregnant before.  

So, we discussed the possibility of PGS testing our remaining frosties with our RE yesterday.  I guess it can be done, but it is not as commonly done or recommended as doing it on fresh embies (makes sense).  

Basically, they would have to be thawed, tested, refrozen, and then thawed again to be transferred. I keep thinking of taking meat out of the freezer, thawing it, then refreezing it, and then thawing it again….ehhhh.  IDK.

But heres the thing-my RE and embryologist seem to think that whether or not they could survive this double feeeze/thaw would be mainly based on their quality to begin with. For example, really strong embryos will make it regardless of the double freeze whereas the others wouldnt.  

I am curious if any of you ladies have successfully or unsuccessfully tried PGS on your frosties (not fresh)? Please share! 

The dilemma I am faced with is what if they tell us all 3 are genetically unhealthy? What will we do then? Thats a tough thing to consider. Would we

  • Still transfer? Doesnt seem to make sense, why even test in the first place then? 
  • Donate to science?
  • Dispose? Seems kind of selfish & cruel in a way
  • Go through another fresh cycle? So much more money, drugs, which is really all just strain on my body
  • Give up on IVF altogether? 

My mind races thinking about all this.  

  • Do we just chance it like we have the past 3 transfers and pray for the best? 
  • Forget the PGS?
  • What if we get a ton of embryos from doing another fresh cycle? It might sound crazy, but we do not want this.  I know most people dont usually say this, its the other way around. But we got 8 day 6 blasts our first time, and I am not looking for 8 more in all honesty. Maybe it is what we have gone through, I dont know…I am just being honest. If these 3 remaining are good, that is more than enough for us (if my uterus cooperates).

My RE did point out that if all 3 of the embryos we have now come back genetically unhealthy, and we know we would want to go through another fresh cycle for more embryos, then we should do the fresh cycle and then test all of those embryos and the frozen embryos we have now at the same time.  

She says this only because of cost for us.  It is a flat fee to do PGS-as many embryos as you want can be tested, but the testing has to be all at the same time.  For example, if we test these 3 now, it will not include any testing down the road. God forbid they are unhealthy and we still want to move forward, we would have to pay the same price to test all of those new embies.

Decisions, decisions…

A New Month Begins, and Another Door Slams Shut

Got the “official” MRI reading back from my RE late this afternoon.  Here is what she sent me:

  
As you can see, not the best news. Of course, both cases were bad news, but another fibroid could at least be removed with hopes of it not coming back again.  Not that I was even positive I was ready for surgery again, or that it wouldnt come back, but still, it was a possibility.  I guess many women have achieved successful pregnancies after fibroids, so in the back of my mind there was a tiny glimmer of hope it was that. 

But, it doesnt appear thats the case..surprise surprise! Anyways, like you read, I will get a more in depth report next week.  However, in the meantime, here is what I already know from our prior discussions about the MRI showing adenomyosis/adenomyomas:

  • Further surgery is not an option
  • This is a chronic condition
  • The only way to completely rid the uterus of adenomyosis is via hysterectomy 
  • We can try shrinking the adenomyomas using Lupron for about 3 months 
  • If that fails, a gestational carrier is the board of RE’s recommendation 

Right now, my plan is to generate a list of questions about shrinking it.  Heres whats off the top of my mind–

  • Since this is a chronic condition, is it even worth trying to shrink it? Injecting myself everyday for 3 months…and thats just to get to another hysteroscopy to see if it worked.  Im not interested in the BS percentages of it working, Im insterested in hands-on experience…has anyone of these RE’s actually seen Lupron suppression work for this before? 
  • How quickly is it all going to grow back after I stop taking the Lupron? Long enough to even transfer one of our embryos? 
  • What about if we transferred and got pregnant? What are the chances it will grow back then? Another miscarriage? 
  • Lastly, where the HELL do we even start with a surrogate? 

I have so many questions about the last bullet, but dont know if I am ready to ask them or hear the answers.  Ill be honest, it is pretty hard for us to swallow.  I think I will post more about it soon.