Thursday, June 19, 2014

One more time???

At the moment, this has been THE most difficult 2 weeks of my life.  I went from planning a new baby, to planning the rest of my life without ever having a new baby, to possibly trying one more time.  I'm learning that my husband just can not stand to see me unhappy.  He is willing to give me anything I want just to keep me from crying.  I've cried myself to sleep in his arms almost every night since we got our bad news.  I've been fighting so hard to accept that this was the end of the road for us, but it's so much harder than I expected.  I wanted A to have a sibling.  I know it's late but I still wanted it for him.  I wanted John to experience the milestones that he missed out on while being deployed so many damn times during A's childhood.  My heart breaks for my son.  He has struggled so much with his daddy being gone so much.  I just can't always fill those father shoes for him.  I can only hope the time in between has made up for it.  I wanted to have my husband with me while I carried our child, while we watched his milestones together.  He has missed so much.  And I know there are worse situations, but I can't control the hurt.  I can't make the yearning go away.  We wanted more.  Yes we are happy with the ONE we have, but it doesn't make it any easier to accept not being able to have another.  I am so tired of responding to that remark.  Secondary infertility is painful too.

And so with this our journey WILL continue..  The next thing we will try is immune testing.  I've had this feeling that my body is just killing the embryos as soon as they enter.  Little did I know, this is a real issue and has caused many woman multiple implantation failures and miscarriage.  We will test to find out if this is affecting us, but also work on improving embryo quality.  3-6 months is our new projected timeline.  But first we are on the hunt for a new clinic that provides these types of testing.  Turkey is on the top of the list!  Thankyou for your continued prayers and support.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Well.  That last round was a bust too.  I've spent the last 2 weeks trying to accept it and move on.  But the heart wants what it wants.  I'm not really sure how or when my mind will say enough is enough.  I tried doing other things to distract me from the reality, but it's just not working.  I find myself crying in the middle of a park full of people pushing strollers.  I know John is frustrated with me.  He keeps telling me to let it go, but I just don't know how.  How do you give up on a dream?  How do you just let something go that you've wanted all your life?  People keep telling me to be grateful for what I have in my life...a son and an amazing husband.  I promise you that I am beyond grateful that I have these boys in my life.  But it does not take away my need to be a mommy again.  I am so overwhelmed with sadness right now and just can't see the end of the tunnel yet.  I need some time...and some space to learn how to accept this.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Again with the waiting.

Woke up super early Wed morning to drive up to Nurnberg for the transfer.  Met with the embryologist first who showed us our 2 embryos to be transferred.  She started off by saying "Today we have 2 beautiful embryos to be transferred".  I liked the word beautiful so I got excited.  She told us that one had progressed to a full Blastocyst.  We've never had a blast before.  The 2nd embryo was a morula.  I asked if it was a better quality morula than last time and she said yes.  The assisted hatching was performed the day before and she showed me pictures of what they looked like after the hatching, but I can't recall what they looked like.  In hindsight, I wish I'd asked to keep those pictures as well.

The doctor came in and asked if I had any questions.  I just kept asking if these embryos were better than last time.  He said yes and that the blastocyst had a very high chance of implanting.  So I'm crossing my fingers so hard!  This was John's very first embryo transfer.  He couldn't make it to the first two, so I'm hoping he was a little good luck charm.  I think the father should be present during this procedure for it to work don't you?  We saw the little specs on the monitor and watched as they sucked them up into the catheter.  John held my hand while the doctor placed them inside my uterus.  And we were left to rest for 10 minutes on the chair.

Here we are 4 days past 5 day transfer.  My hopes are dwindling.  The unknown is scary and I'm feeling quite negative about it.  I know it's just a defense of mine to prepare myself for a negative outcome, but I just can't help myself.  John wants me to be more positive.  But really... this is our 3rd IVF and one that was cancelled mid cycle.  I'm finding it really hard to believe that it would actually work for us.

As far as symptoms go, I've had some minor cramping on and off since the day after and sore BB's.  But I had that last time too and I contributed it to the progesterone.  This time I've added a 3 shots of Brevactid (hcg).  I had my last shot of it this morning, so it won't be out of my system for a few days.  The doctor said I could take a home test on Friday, but I'm worried that will be too early with the hcg still in my system from the shot.  We also have Rock Im Park tickets for the whole weekend... so if it's bad news, I just know I won't be the best company to my sweet husband.  Decisions, decisions :/

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Assisted Hatching.

After the egg retrieval on Friday, we did a lot of talking about Assisted Hatching.  On Saturday morning, I messaged the doctor to see how many embryos were developing.  He messaged me later that afternoon to let me know that we had 4 good quality ones left and 2 minor quality ones.  I wrote back letting him know that we had some concerns about the procedure.  He called me on Monday evening to address those concerns.  #1... I'm not going to lie, the costs of the procedure were pretty important to us.  We've already spent almost $7000, we needed to make sure we could first afford this "extra".  There is no point in asking any other questions if we couldn't.  I was relieved when he said it was only an additional 150-200 euro.  #2... Will this increase the risk of birth defects or disorders?  I know this should have been the first question, but I was already convinced that the procedure wouldn't be offered if this was a concern.  The doctor told me that that is all in the chromosomes and has nothing to do with any of the things we do to try and force implantation.  I guess in reality... everything IVF/ICSI or even conceiving naturally has those risks so theres nothing you can do about it.  #3... Is there a risk of damaging the embryo during the procedure?  Yes, but it's a very small risk and the embryo can be damaged at any stage of the process even without assisted hatching.  So we said go for it!  

Tuesday- The embryos were "assisted".  Got a quick text from my Doctor saying that we have 3 good quality embryos after the assisted hatching for tomorrow's transfer!  3 is good.  It's more than 0.  I'm still nervous that we will lose more overnight, but hoping all 3 stay strong!  Up bright and early tomorrow to put our babies in!  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Straight to the Point.

It's almost like this is just getting old to me.  I don't feel like writing much about today so I'm going to keep it simple for documentation purposes.  Everything went smoothly.  Once we got to the clinic it was like hitting all the green lights on the way in.  I didn't have to stop a single time and wait.  Up on the table... told doc good luck and see you on the other side.  Woke up crying a teency bit and right away asked the nurse if I could leave.  She had me lay there for about 30 minutes and it was onto my followup visit with the doc.  He said they retrieved "at least" 6 eggs but that they were still looking around in the fluid in the dish.  So there is a possibility there are more and I can call to check on them tomorrow.  I asked a question about the HCG shot helping with implantation.  He prescribed me Brevactid and told me to take it on day 2 after the puncture, again the day after embryo Transfer, and again 3 days later.  He said basically what it does is forces your body to produce it's own progesterone.  I still have to take half of the dose of the actual progesterone pills... but my own natural progesterone should be better right?

Also last week when I had my mini breakdown in his office, I told him this was our last time, we can't afford it anymore and I wanted to know what we can do to assist implantation.  He suggested a method of "shaving" the embryo if it's outer layer (the zona) is too thick.  I registered it into the vault but didn't ask anymore questions.  Upon researching it further, I've concluded that he was talking about Assisted Hatching.  It is beneficial to older women (35 and above) who have problems with implantation due to lower quality embryos and hardening of the zona layer.  This concerned John because we aren't sure exactly what being a low quality embryo means.  Further research leads me to believe that the embryo quality only affects it's success of implantation.  I would like to assume that if the embryo had any other defects, my body would reject it naturally.  But I will confirm this idea with the doctor tomorrow and ask for other risk factors.  So... as of now... 6 eggs are fertilizing in a little petri dish :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Appointment.

This is the appointment that always has me frazzled.  Every time.  The one right before we schedule our Egg retrieval that basically makes me feel like my ovaries are failures because they aren't producing enough follicles.  There never is much difference even with the changing of medications.  Still about the same.  Today I went in for my second scan.  Guess what!  We have 13 total follicles!  This is more than we've ever had.  Only 8 seem healthy enough for retrieval... but even that is more than last time when I had 6 good sized ones.  So I can be satisfied with that.  4 fatties on each side.  2 skinnies on the right and 3 skinnies on the left.  We'll go with that.  Egg retrieval is scheduled for Freitag!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Three. Point. Five.

I'm back again!  Starting from scratch.  After the last round, I was at a complete loss.  I thought everything was going perfect and it was a sure thing.  But again it resulted in a big fat FAIL.  I'm not sure how much more of this I can take... but I'm forcing myself to complete one more round.  Forget about the $20,000 we've spent on this shit.  I want babies dammit.  I'm telling myself that this is the LAST round and we'll just have to accept whatever outcome.  But then again... I'm an addict.  I need babies in my life.  Our babies.  I refuse to be an empty nester before my 40's.  REFUSE!!!!  So please, please, please... let this be!!!

So... after every round, I find new things I should be doing to make sure everything is right.  I found out about this procedure called a hysteroscopy.  It's basically just a scope that goes in through your cervix to check out your uterus.  Make sure there are no adhesions, polyps, or scar tissue hanging around preventing implantation.  I immediately thought to myself... WHAT THE HECK!  Why didn't we do this to begin with???  Why didn't they just do it when they removed my other tube?  WTF!!!  Could have solved the whole problem right?  Well anyways... I went in for the procedure in April.  Doc said my uterus was clean.  Dangit!  As stupid as it sounds... I'd hoped for something in there to be removed so I knew what the problem was.   But there wasn't... and I am fine.  So what the heck is keeping those little boogers from implanting???  I texted IVF doc and he said I could start right away.  Don't even need to wait a cycle or 2 after the procedure.  Do it now.  I read a few fertility boards and girls were saying they were more fertile after this kind of procedure (for something like 2-3 months after).  No one knows why... but the rates went up.  And John is leaving randomly over the next few months... so it's now or never I guess.  So we jumped right in!

Fertility Doc said he didn't even need to see me.  Just pick up my prescription and schedule and start my shots on day 1.  Well... I waited and waited for Aunt Flo to come.  That bitch was late.  I had a girls trip planned with R that weekend, but one of my shots needed to stay refrigerated.  You know what... carrying around a freezer bag with an ice pack to keep your syringes cold is a huge pain in the ass!  My drive to the airport was 3 by the time I got there the ice pack had melted.  The security people let me bring it through even though it was over 3 ounces of liquid... but they gave me some crazy looks.  The flight attendant was very helpful and put my shots in the fridge on the plane.  But when we got to the hotel, we didn't have a real fridge... it was a cooler.  So it wasn't cold enough.  I had to constantly fill my bag with ice from the machine.  I checked it morning and night to refill the bag with ice chips.  Then on my return flight... I went to McDonald's for ice for the drive home.

So Anyways... Aunt flo finally showed up on Mother's Day.  I promised I wasn't going to look for signs this time.  But how freaking ironic is that.  Then again, she came on my Birthday and Valentines Day last time too.  So forget about the signs I guess.  I was told to come for an ultrasound on Day 6- today.  I chose to go alone this time.  I don't want to make a huge deal out of everything since I've pretty much convinced myself that it is not happening.  The doctor changed my prescription to Menegon instead of Puregon.  I've been sticking myself with 5 needles every morning.  Yeah... it has been pretty sucky and I've got some major bruises in my belly.  I was hoping that the change of medication would mean my ovaries would respond better.  My right ovary even felt more active than usual.  Lots of twinges and flutters.  And that FAT feeling.  Just plain yucky all week.  I'm tired, bloated, nauseous, and crampy.  Forget about the gym... it's not gonna happen this time.  I know I was gung ho last time to not gain weight.  But I really just don't give a shit this time.  I can lose it later.  And right now... 7 layer burritos make me happy.

I was late to my appointment because of parking and threw a little fit in the car.  My hormones have been raging all month.  So there have been lots of tears and screaming at random shit.  I ended up having to park about a mile away.  Probably a good thing since I haven't been going to the gym :P.  Get to the office and end up waiting for 20 minutes.  Finally see the doctor and he's all... "how are you feeling" pointing to his belly.  I'm cracking up at this for some weird reason.  Brush the comment away and tell him I gave myself too big of a dose today.  He says it doesn't matter and tells me to undress.  I'm not even sure what I was expecting.  All of my feelings just kind of disappeared waiting for him to tell me what he sees.  Immediately after the fun wand was inserted... he made a weird aha sound.  Like he'd discovered something interesting, but didn't acknowledge it any further.  He went into checking my uterus... but I blanked and can't even remember what he said.  Then he found my right ovary and said... here are 3 big ones... and 2 more.  He measured one of them at 14mm.  He seemed pleased with that.   I swear I saw a few more tiny ones, but I'm assuming they won't amount to anything. Then he moved over to the left ovary.  He said she's hiding behind your uterus... I can't see it.  That damn ovary!  He says maybe he will be able to see it at the next ultrasound on Wed.  So we are just hoping.  That's it... we are waiting and hoping.  Update next Wed!

And here is My JUNKIE station:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Heart is smiling :)

I'm not sure if this is rebound happy or what... but I feel pretty good today.  I woke up ready to conquer our infertility.  I want to slap that B* in the face!  She can't knock me down and expect me not to get back up ready to fight even harder!  So I made my plans, and I'm getting more things "checked out" before our next try.  Things I hadn't even thought about until now and wondered why the doctors hadn't suggested it in the first place.  We have learned something new with each round.  Mainly because I've done more googling than I care to admit.  I've even planned a way to fund it all!  I'm so excited about how many responded to my Mini Session Event in April.  If everyone shows up, I should be able to make more than half of what I need.  It's lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.  I just hope I can handle this many clients in one weekend!

So anyways... I brushed myself off this morning and hopped off to Nurnberg with D for lunch and a quick stop at the Apotheke.  I was hoping to be refunded the taxes I paid for my medications.  They'd never seen our VAT forms though... so I have to wait a little while.  Hopefully this doesn't turn into another battle because I will go to my old pharmacy next time if that is the case.  If you don't live in Germany... you might not know that taxes here are insane!!!  19%!!!  If we calculated correctly, I should be able to get about 300 euro back.  Anyways, that's all.  I just wanted you all to know that I am in a happy place... you don't have to put a 24 hour watch on me :).  We are doing fine... and we appreciate all of your comforting comments, emails, texts, and phone calls.  My Heart is smiling today :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And just like that... it's done.

Everything felt different this time.  It seemed to be going perfectly.  Despite not having any embryos to freeze, we still had 2 really good ones that made it to day 5.  I had lots of symptoms in the first few days (I do know these could have been attributed all to the progesterone and estrogen).  But it felt real and I felt pregnant for at least 3 days.  One morning at 1am I woke up to some really intense cramping.  It freaked me out a little, but then I thought maybe this was implantation.  A couple of days later, I caved and took an HPT.  It was negative, but I wasn't too upset because I knew it was just too early.  I took another one that evening and I swear we saw the faintest line.  I was cautiously hopeful.  I took another one the next morning but it was negative.  And thats when it happened.  All of my "symptoms" had just vanished.  I checked for soreness in my breasts, but they felt absolutely fine.  I know I drove myself crazy for the next few days testing every morning and evening all to see negatives.  But I felt like I was preparing myself for the fall to come.  On Monday I started having period like cramping.  She wasn't due until at least Wed or Thursday... but that's when I knew it was over.  Yes, I've heard all of the stories about girls feeling crampy down there and it being a sign of pregnancy.  But... I know my body. This IS a period.  Part of me feels like I WAS pregnant for a couple of days and it just wasn't strong enough to hold on.  I felt so heartbroken and crumbled into Johns shoulder that morning.  Later, I posted a little quote on my Facebook page.  Everyone gave their sympathies and some even tried to give me an extra glimmer of hope since we hadn't had final blood confirmation.  But I just knew.  I'm sorry but I can't help the negativity sometimes.  It creeps in when the sun disappears.  My Dr. said the earliest I could come in for a blood test was Tuesday- today.  I had originally planned to wait until Thursday since that would be the first day of my missed period.  But this morning the cramping was so bad, I just decided to rip off the bandaid and get it over with.  I texted my doctor and told him I was having cramps and that I thought the progesterone supplements were preventing bleeding, could I discontinue them once I had a confirmed negative.  I'm sure he was busy so his simple reply 10 minutes later was "OK".  D offered to ride up to the clinic with me, but I just wanted to turn my radio all the way up and zone out.  When I got to the clinic, I got frustrated because I couldn't find parking and everyone seemed to be parking like idiots... half way into another spot.  How dare they leave me with such a small space to squeeze into.  Don't they know I have a big American car?  I got out of the car and did my best to hold back my tears as I walked to the clinic.  When I got up to the office, there were 5 desk girls, and lab ladies standing at the counter.  No patients anywhere in sight.  I handed one my ID card and asked if I could have "THE" blood test.  I immediately burst into sobbing tears.  I just couldn't hold them back anymore.  I felt so STUPID!  They all looked terrified!  I followed one into the blood draw room and continued to pour my tears onto the floor.  I apologized profusely until she told me it was ok and she would give me a minute.  The draw was over and I quickly walked out of the clinic.  On my way out, I could see the ladies at the counter staring at me all with sad faces.  They knew what I knew.  And just like that... It was over.  BFN

Monday, February 3, 2014

Transfer Day!

I can't get over the outpouring of support we've received from all of our friends and families throughout this process.  Even if this isn't our time, I am so thankful for all of your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers.  I could not have made it this far without every single one of your uplifting words of encouragement.  You all bring me strength, smiles, and comfort!  Thankyou, Thankyou!  

The day is finally here!  The weekend seriously took forever!  I hated not knowing how the embryos were developing and how many we'd have left for the final transfer.   On our way to the clinic, we saw the Stork in his nest above the town of Herreiden.  My friend said this is a good omen!!!  Silly, but it brought me to tears.  The ride up to the clinic wasn't as painful as I'd anticipated.  Having my friend there to chat about girl stuff was a nice distraction.  We found a prime parking spot right out front and made our way up to the office.  We were directed to another floor of the clinic where we would hear about the embryos and then make the transfer.  The embryologist came in and explained to us that we had 2 good embryos for transfer today.  There were 3 more still developing in a dish that were about 8 cells but haven't made any progress since Saturday.  It upset me at first, but I accepted it almost immediately and said "Two is good" with tears streaming down my face.  It's more than one.  And with a 5 day transfer, our odds are better than at 3.  Only the best will survive to day 5.  I'm counting my blessings that we have 2 great embabies!!!  Dr. N came in next and explained to us a little more about the stage of the embryos.  They weren't complete blastocysts yet, but well on their way between a Morula and a Blast.  I guess the final development into a blast happens ON day 5.  So I'm assuming since our appointment was really early, they still needed a little time.

I love the way Dr. N talks to me with such reassuring words.  He stood up and said "And now we give them back to you".   They can finally be back in my possession where I can keep them safe for the next 9 months!  We moved into the transfer room where I undressed and hopped up into the stirrups.  He pointed to the monitor on the wall and showed me my two little embryos.  "Look, there they are together..  you can talk to them".  They were sticking to each other like 2 little peas in a pod.  My friend sat by my head and held my hand for the whole transfer.  The embryologist used a catheter to scoop up my little balls of cells and gently handed it off to the doctor.  In less than 10 seconds they were transferred back into their home.  I checked my clock and it was 9:34.  It was such a sentimental experience.  I was sad that John couldn't be there, but thankful for my friend.  I laid there for the next 20 minutes scared to stand up.  So we just sat there taking silly selfies and laughing about how I am technically pregnant with twins now.  But it's not over yet.  They have to stick.  It's more waiting, but I feel calm .  A relief that I've done everything I can to make it to this point.  This round has been so much stronger than the first time.  There are so many positives.  I can't think of a single thing that would make this not work.  It's all up to the embabies and my uterus now.  

I'm home propped up on my couch watching friends.  Particularly the episode where Phoebe gets pregnant.  It makes me happy.  Another thing that makes me happy are all the cute pictures and stories of my friends wearing PINK for me today!  I feel truly blessed to have all of your support!  :)  Onto the 2 week wait!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bombing this one...

Well here we are in the middle of the IVF Olympics, and I'm totally falling out.  I'm exhausted mentally and physically and just ready to make it across that finish line already.  We haven't had an update on our embies in over 72 hours and it's just pure torture.  On our first round of ICSI, our poor embies weren't the best quality so we transferred them right away with a 3 day transfer and got a gut wrenching negative.  This time we are waiting until day 5.  This gives them more time to turn into blastocysts which have a better chance of "sticking".  This is great... but I have no idea how many we have left!  I am so scared to walk into that office tomorrow and hear bad news.  Sure, no news is good news, but they could take a turn at any point during the process and leave me stranded again.  I know this is so far off from positive thinking, but like I've said in the past... I prefer to prepare myself for any outcome.  I want all 6 of those little balls of cells to make it to day 5's so we can freeze a few.  I won't be picky and will be happy if we have 3 to transfer tomorrow.  But I can't say I won't be heartbroken to lose even one.  For that matter, what if there is only ONE left????  I guess it only takes one, but I will feel so sad to raise another child that doesn't get to grow up with a sibling.  Aidan has complained countless times that he wished he'd had a little brother and it just always hurts my heart that I couldn't give that to him.  In any case, whatever the outcome will be, I will be thankful for anything that involves a baby in my arms by the end of this.

This waiting is so painful though!  3 days with no updates does not make for a happy Paige.  I am having meltdowns left and right.  John tells me to relax and stop stressing about it... but that is so easier said than done.  Sometimes I wish I was a man.  So I could just switch off the emotions in times of total stress.  I just can't seem to let things go.  Everyone keeps telling me to find a distraction to keep my mind off of it.  Well I did... and apparently that's not working.  My mind doesn't work that way.  Sorry to tell ya... but this is who I am.  It doesn't help that I've got all these hormones being thrown at me from the shots, progesterone supplements, and the estrogen.  I'm just going to say this once... and we can all agree to let me do my thing and just let me cry and complain when I want to... I CAN'T HELP IT!

Tomorrow is the big day I guess.  Unfortunately, John has to leave me today for the field for a week.  Any other time, I wouldn't be upset about one little week away because we've been through 4 deployments and a Korea tour.  But tomorrow is important to us... so I'm sad he can't be there AGAIN.  Last time he was in Poland for 2 weeks while I did almost the whole process without him.  We even had to freeze his contribution to make it happen.  I guess all that matters is that I did have him there for Conception day and I can be happy with that.  Besides, I've got a good friend coming along with me and I think she is a good luck charm :)

Now to fill the rest of today with happy thoughts and vibes... haha... we'll see about that :P

Thursday, January 30, 2014

6 little embies all in a row...

I think the worst part about the IVF process are all the hurdles.  I'm just trying to make it to the next one without tripping and falling on my face.  Each day can bring more hope... or completely let you down.  Today happened to be another great day with great news.  I woke up early this morning at 7am and laid in bed reading through my FB news feed.  I commented more than usual on people's statuses.  I guess I was just trying to pass the time until it was a reasonable hour to text my doctor.  Lets face it... I wanted to text him right when I woke up... but also didn't want to be THAT patient.  Yes, he told me I can text him whenever, but I don't want to become a nuisance.  8:30 rolled around and it was time to take my progesterone pills when I noticed I had 2 different types.  Hmm... maybe this was my opportunity to text the doctor!  I quickly typed up a text asking if there was a difference between the two that I had and if I was only supposed to take one estrogen pill.  I hoped after receiving my text, it'd remind him to check on my eggs and send me an update.  But he only replied with a simple... yes Mrs. Kimball... they are both the same.  Ha ha!  My sneaky ways didn't work :(.  

So off to the gym I decided to go.  This surgery went way easier than last time.  There is some swelling of my ovaries and they are a little achy... but I can walk and move more this time!  I remember being stuck in bed for at least 2 days with the first one, and I have no idea why that was.  I was just planning on walking on the treadmill, but peaked into the spin room to see if there happened to be any empty bikes since I was late.  There were a few, so I decided to give it a go.  I didn't do all the sprints and jumps, but I made the best of my time and took a short water break in the middle.  Moving was all that mattered anyway.  I'm happy to say, I've only gained 4 lbs this round!  Previous rounds gave me a quick 10... so I'm feeling great!  I think staying somewhat active during the process has helped a lot. And... preparing my body beforehand!  I'm still not to the weight I wanted to be, but I think I'm the healthiest I've been in 10 years :)

Spin and yoga helped keep my mind occupied and relieve some of the anxiety, but when it was over, I didn't want to go home.  I decided to hit up the PX and commissary!  Before I got out of my car, I just couldn't stand it anymore.  I replied to the Doctor's last text and said... "Thankyou, do you know how our eggs are doing?"  I am so impatient... I know!  I carried my phone in my hand throughout the PX waiting for it to buzz.  At one point it buzzed and I gasped for air thinking this was it!  It was just John telling me we needed milk, soap, and paper towels.  LOL!  I chatted with friends while perusing the aisles until finally my phone buzzed at me again!  I figured it was just John telling me more things we needed but it wasn't!  It was the Doctor saying "Six are fertilized".  I wrote back "Yay... thank you".  He probably thinks I'm a huge American dork... but oh well!  I wrote to John to let him know he had done a great job and his part was over.  He said "it's what I do".  Oh my silly boy... I love him so.  I got hugs from friends in the PX and got a little choked up at the register.  I couldn't help it... it's just so exciting!  The fact that we might be pregnant next week!  Or then again... maybe not.  I don't really know how to prepare myself for whatever news we get.  

The next step you ask?  More waiting :(.  They've only fertilized as of now.  They have to divide into 4, 6, and 8 cells and then finally to the blastocyst stage.  Today is only day 1.  Our doctor wants to wait until day 5 to put them back in so we are able to see which ones are the strongest.  Hopefully all 6 of those beautiful eggies will develop into blastocysts so we can freeze some!  

I told you this event of the IVF Olympics wouldn't be pain free.  Waiting sucks!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Its a Kimball Easter :)

First of all, sorry for bad grammar, run ons, and just plain being all crazy squirrel in this post.  I'm still a little dizzy from the anesthesia, but wanted to write this while it was still fresh.  Maybe I'll fix it later... but maybe not... who really cares!  

Today was Egg harvesting and Conception day!  Holy bundle of nerves batman!  First off, I should tell you that I had grown some weird emotional attachment to my growing eggs.  I was super nervous about them coming out and scared to lose any of them in the process.  I worked so hard for those 6 "good" eggs, it would just be so devastating to see any of them not make it.  I wasn't very concerned with the 3 smaller ones or even the 2 uber tiny ones.  But those 6... I just had to have those 6.  I knew last night, that I would never fall asleep naturally.  So I gave myself a melatonin.  I'd also heard melatonin helps with egg quality, so I've been taking it occasionally to help put myself to sleep.  I slept pretty well and only woke up once at 4am ready to get the show on the road.  Alas, we still had 2 hours before we could leave the house so I managed to drift back to sleep for another hour or so.  Finally it was time to get ready.  I was showered, dressed, and had the car warming up before John even got out of the shower.  Excited much???  The hour drive up to the clinic was quiet.  John knew I was on the verge of tears from worry, so I guess he didn't want to push the button and send me over the edge.  Every now and then he rubbed my leg and told me it was going to be ok.  

We made it to the clinic 30 minutes early so we both had bloodwork done and were sent down to the Surgery floor.  John was in a hurry because he had to get back to training at the base.  He can only miss 4 hours of class or he has to take the whole 6 week ordeal over again.  I was upset that he wouldn't be able to stay with me, but it was more important that he was there at all this time and we wouldn't have to use frozen sperm.  Hehe!  So I asked my friend to switch out with him and drive me home after the surgery. 

At 8:30am, a technician came out to get me and I had to kiss my husband goodbye.  I started to cry a little that he wouldn't be there when I woke up... but I had other things to focus on now.  Getting dressed into my ugly hospital gown, hat and plastic footies!  The technician came back in and escorted me to the operating room.  Operating rooms are always so damn scary!  All the metal trays, monitors, and tools.  There was a weird drilling sound coming from the corner that I decided to ignore because it was giving me a panic attack.  I clumsily got myself up onto the table where they covered me with a blanket and began searching for veins.  The arm rest thingy was on the left side, so she pulled up my sleeve and noticed my tattoo!  I guess that scared her because she decided against that vein and went for my hand instead.  The hand wasn't working out too well because I heard some confusion in their voices even though they were speaking German.  My sweet new Dr. N walked in and said "Hello" in a cheery tone that calmed me a little.  He asked how I was doing, which I replied to with "can we make some babies now"?  The anesthesiologist came in moments later and started working on my other arm instead.  There wasn't an arm rest there, so it was a little awkward, as he held my arm in his armpit instead.  Haha!  Dr. N seemed a little concerned with my hand and asked me if it hurt.  I didn't know what he was talking about until I asked him why should it?  He frowned and said oh just a little bit of damage to the vein now.  No big deal.  He brushed my shoulder a few times and said "We are going to take care of you... don't worry... breathe in and out".  His face was the last thing I saw or remember before waking up in a room with 4 other patients.  The nurse came over to me and asked if I was good.  I nodded and asked her when I could go home.  I was so ready to get out of there already!!!  I found a clock on the wall that said 9:30am!  She said I could leave in 20 minutes.  I don't think I was there that long even.  I kept asking her if I could go home, and she finally gave in and helped me up.  I got dressed quickly and found Denise sitting out in the waiting area.  We were told to go back up to the IVF clinic to speak with the doctor.  I was so nervous, my heart was pounding wondering if it went well and how many we collected!  

I called John to see if he was still there, but he didn't answer.  So Denise came into the Doctors office with me while we waited a little longer until he finished up with his last patient in another room.  John called!  He was still in the clinic!!!  I was so excited to have him there with me while we got our good or bad news.  So Denise went back out into the waiting room and John came in.  Dr. N came in with a happy face and shook John's hand.  I couldn't contain myself any longer and just shouted... "was it good, how did it go".  He could tell I was being impatient so he just shook his head and said yes, very good, with a smile on his face.  We collected 8... or maybe 9... let me check the chart again.  Yes... 6 very good eggs, and 2 smaller that haven't completely matured yet.  We will keep those in a dish and let them mature some more and hopefully they can be ICSI'd this afternoon.  The other 6 are being ICSI'd NOW!  He gave me some prescriptions and explained to me about preparing the uterine lining with progesterone and estrogen, and scheduled the transfer for Monday at 9am!!!  But until then, we have to wait and hope that most of these eggs will fertilize.  I don't know if I can stand the next 24 hours waiting!  

BUT OMG... we are putting babies in there on Monday!!!!!! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Getting out!

2 days cooped up in the house with only a short little trip to the Vet yesterday to find out what this awful lump is on Bailey's chest.  My poor girl!  We weren't very concerned with it because we just figured it was a fat deposit... but it got bigger and harder one day and I freaked out!  The day we went to the vet it was a little smaller and squishier.  At first I didn't tell the vet about that... just that it had grown.  She said the dreaded word... "tumor".  I like to prepare myself for the worst so anything better is just a relief... so I wasn't very surprised when she said it.  We started talking about scheduling an appointment to remove the nasty thing and then I mentioned the part about it being squishier today.  She looked at me with surprise and said "Really?  Well, then it may not be a tumor at all!  It could just be an infection from a hair follicle".  WHAT???  So she gave us some antibiotics and we were sent home to monitor the lump for the next 7 days.  If it shrinks... then that is what it was.  If it doesn't change, we will have to have it removed.  I really don't want my girl to have a surgery... so we are hoping it's just the hair follicle thingy!!!  

Today was a nice day.  I went to lunch at an Italian place called Rosanno's with a friend.  We had the best salad and it was nice to talk to another adult after only having the dogs and Facebook to talk to the last couple of days.  After lunch, I went to the commissary.  I didn't really need anything but cereal for my boys... but it was nice to be out and run into friends.  On my way home, I had some running music playing in the car.  I just got this feeling that I needed to go for a run today!  One more run for our babies!  I haven't been feeling up to working out much lately... so when the feeling strikes, I should take advantage of it.  And it was such a nice day for a jog!  I didn't go as far as I normally do... but I did get in a little over 2 miles.  Anyways... it was a much better day than staying at home becoming a frantic google queen!!!   

Monday, January 27, 2014

Feeling really old and kinda dumb!

Why did we wait so long to do this???  Why did we just chalk it up to bad timing???  I am not really sure why I was so scared to make the step to see an infertility specialist.  We knew something was wrong after the first ectopic... so why didn't we force the issue then??  10 years ago?  I am so mad at myself for not doing something about it back then.  And here I am, 35... trying to get pregnant!  You know the success rates decrease drastically beginning at the age of 35!!!  Maybe I'm just cooped up and bored and going crazy with researching this stuff on the internet.  I'm freaking out!  What if it doesn't work AGAIN this time?  Of course, John says we can try one more time, but I am not getting any younger, and our pocketbook is not getting any thicker!  If we try again, it won't be until after summer because we've got too many things planned in between.  So... there you go... I'll be 36!  OMG... I need to unplug for a few days and rest this crazy brain!

On another note... I had my last no ovulate shot this morning.  Tonight I am scheduled for my trigger shot (the shot that triggers the eggs to detach from the walls of the follicles so it's easier for the RE to catch them during egg retrieval).  I'm patiently waiting 2 more hours to give myself this shot, but I'd really rather knock myself out for the next 38 hours!  Haha!  I absolutely, must find something to do tomorrow to keep myself sane and occupied.  This staying at home crap and browsing the interweb is doing me no good!!!!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

So what's going on in there????

We are coming up on completion of the first sport of the Winter IVF Olympics.  Today was the last check on our fluffy little follicles.  I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the scan but I would call it "ok" news.  Since John couldn't come with me, I asked a good friend to join me.  I get really emotional at these appointments sometimes, so it was nice to have her there to calm my nerves.  I went in today thinking whatever happens, happens... we will work with what we have and it will be wonderful.  I prepared myself for the possibility of less follicles just like last time... but if it happened, I wasn't sure how I'd react.

Our first look was at the right ovary.  My heart sunk as I scanned the white and black blobs on the monitor.  I couldn't find all 4 of my follicles!  Had they disappeared just like last time?  There were 2 nice sized ones measuring about 17/18mm (I think 24 is about as big as they want them before retrieving the eggs).  The other 2 weren't even noticeable on the screen because they just weren't growing.  I could see them now that he pointed them out... but they were uber tiny!!!  In fact he didn't even count them on my chart today :(.  That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my time in his office.  I couldn't even hear what he was saying to me after that.  Thank goodness for my friend who gave me a recap later.

On to the left ovary.  We immediately see 4 FAT follies!!!  Those were obviously the original ones and they were doing very well!  One has even grown to 21mm!  He slid the probe over slightly and up popped 3 more follies!  Small, but not as small as the 2 on the right side.  They are still questionable and I don't know if the doctor has much hope for them.  But we still have 3 days left of FSH.  You just never know.  So in total... 11 follicles- 2 good ones and 2 unproductive ones on the right... 4 good ones and 3 small ones on the left.

I think we can work with that :)

Our Easter- Egg Retrieval is scheduled for Wed early early!!!!!

IVF Olympics

I get a bunch of questions about the games involved in the IVF Olympics, but I don't think I've actually ever explained them properly.  In order for you to understand what we're dealing with... I guess that's kind of important.  So here I will give you a brief as possible description of MY take on the whole thing :).

First off... when deciding to participate in the IVF Olympics you must train!  You have to prepare your body to meet the challenges of each game.  In my case, I had to monitor my thyroid for several months and take a pill to get it back under control.  Luckily, during this years extreme training, I lost several pounds and the thyroid medication wasn't even needed for the Winter Games!!!  Training and preparing your body are super important!  2 years ago, I entered the IVF Olympics with an untrained body and unfortunately we lost that year :(.  3 things I did during training... removed the hindering tube that was leaking yucky fluid into the uterus, lost a bunch of weight, got my thyroid back under control!  I hope that means we are ready to play!!!

Onto the warmup!  This was only option and not all participants do it.  But we decided having the uterine lining scratched to help the embryos stick would be beneficial.  We've already done this but won't know if it was successful, obviously unless we win the overall games.  But I think it went well!

The first sport is a doozy!  Of course we must wait for our very famous Aunt Flo to join us, but once she's here... we can begin the production of eggs with the use of FSH (follicle stimulating hormones).  This is the shot I give myself every day.  On a normal cycle the ovaries will release only 1 egg.  But with the help of FSH, you can produce 10-20-30!!!!  This process takes about 2 weeks.  The object is to make as many eggs as possible within that 2 weeks but also hope for good quality!  Rule of thumb... quality over quantity.  It is a little disheartening though when you find out you have a small quantity.  But as everyone keeps telling me, you only need ONE to win the overall games!  The eggs grow inside fluid filled sacs called follicles.  Since the eggs can't be seen on an ultrasound, we will monitor the growth of the follicles instead.  Each follicle should contain 1 egg (but sometimes it may not have any at all).  As of our last appointment we saw 4 follicles on each ovary.  We go back in today to see if they've multiplied and grown bigger!  We measure them until they are big enough to release the eggs.  In the meantime, the FSH causes bloating, ovary pains, and mood swings.  You can see this is really not one of my favorite sports in the game :/.

When the follicles are finally big enough, we can move on to the next sport!!!!  Harvesting the eggs!  We will schedule a surgery for the doctor to go in with a long skinny needle to suck out the fluid from each follicle hoping to catch several eggs.  They should let us know that same day how many eggs were retrieved.  The same morning, the husband makes his contribution and while I am sleeping, the eggs and sperm will be combined.  In our case, we go the extra mile and have each egg injected with an individual sperm to heighten our chances of success.  Otherwise they are just put together in a dish and left to "have at it".  The surgery doesn't take too long and we can go home a few hours later.  There is some discomfort and swelling, but it'll hopefully be all worth it!

And with that, we have the next sport... embryo creation!  This is mainly a spectators sport.  Since the eggs and sperm have already been collected, we just get to watch and wait.  And the waiting can be painful too.  Over the next few days they will be monitored until they 1. fertilize, and 2. divide.  Some eggs won't fertilize and we'll lose them.  Others will fertilize but not divide so we lose those too.  It's all in chance I guess.  We just hope for the best and wait for the phone call telling us how many GOOD quality embryos we have remaining.

Once we know how many embryos we have, we'll plan for the next sport... TRANSFER!  This sport is super exciting!  We get to decide how many embryos we want to put back in.  We will choose 3 if we have that many.  If we have extras, they will be frozen for future games if we don't win this round.  We go back into the arena and the doctor gently places the embryos into the uterus.  That's it.  It's up to the embryos now to swim around and find a cozy spot along the wall to bury.  This is why our friends say "sticky embryos.. or sticky baby dust wishes".  Stick babies... stick!!!!!  This is probably the funnest cheer we do throughout the games :).

That was the last sport really, unless you consider the 2 weeks of waiting for your results.  During those 2 weeks, we try to relax and not do anything too strenuous.  I usually have it in my head that I could cause the embryos to fall out, but I don't think that really happens.  They just die I guess... and stop dividing :(.  But hopefully we make some strong quality embryos this year!  If so... we get to move on to the IVF Pregnancy Olympics!!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Well Hello Blog...

Apparently I only update this thing when we do IVF.  Ooopsie!  So anyways... here we are.. at it again.  Knocked down a couple of times (still not knocked UP), but getting back up and trying again.  Haha... see what I did there???  This time just feels different though.  I mean it always feels different, but I'm in a better place with my life now.  I hosted a weight loss challenge, which not only helped other girls... but myself too.  I lost 17lbs!  That felt amazing because I was in a huge rut since John got home from his vacation at the beach.  It's always so easy to lose weight when he's gone because I'm working for him.  But once he's here... I get happy and "comfortable" and don't really care about it much anymore.  The weight loss challenge gave me something to work towards again!  It also helped me get to know a few more people and really connect!  I've made lots of new friends through it and grew stronger relationships with some I've known all along.  Happy friendships make Paige a happy girl :).  There was a short period there where I felt lost.  I just didn't know where I belonged.  But I think I've found my happy place and it's helped me understand myself a little better too.  Anyways... along with the weight loss, I also joined a running group.  It's still a Love-Hate kind of relationship, but it's growing on me, and I'm even starting to enjoy it!  I've done 4 races over the last 6 months!  2 5k's and 2 4k's.  The first 5k was a color run on post.  I had a really rough time completing it and had to walk some.  It took me over 40 minutes, I don't even remember the time.  But this weekend, we did another one in Dinkelsbuhl that included several rolling hills.  I managed to run the entire thing (full of fertility meds and bloated as a puffer fish)... in 32:51.  I know it's still slow, but I was satisfied that I completed it.

And onto the whole reason for this post.  We made a huge decision this summer.  We decided the doctor we were going to just wasn't the right fit.  He is an amazing doctor though.  He's smart and has had great success rates.  New patients have to wait months to get in to see him.  I know a few people who have come home with their own souvenirs from working with him.  But he just wasn't our kind of doctor.  He was a fast talker and really didn't have much time to explain the nitty gritty details with us during our appointments.  He was always rushing off to see his next patient because there was a waiting room full of Mama's knocking at his door.  It was time for us to move on.  I emailed a clinic in Nurnburg that I'd heard about and they called me back the next day.  The doctor we were given... I think was a great match.  I don't even have to ask him any questions.  It's like he knows what I'm thinking before I have time to ask it.  He took the time to answer all of my smallest worries on the first day we met.  I feel strong when I walk into his office.  Like I'm in control.  This is my procedure and he knows I'm spending a lot of money on it.  So he won't leave the room until I'm done.

We waited until after the New Year to get started!  I went in for the scratching procedure one week before my period.  Basically he scratched the lining of my uterus which makes it have to regenerate and fix itself which in turn helps the embryos stick!  It was a little painful, and kind of sent my emotions into a frenzy.  The next few days I was a little bit of a basket case.  I was nervous and pretty much just PMS'ing.  John couldn't talk to me.  I had several panic attacks and started freaking out about the money.  I had to pull out 1700 euro for my shots and that didn't even include the doctors bill that will come later.  My period came, and I managed to put my happy face back on.  We started our shots this past Thursday!  I went in to see the doctor on Day 5.  Without having to ask any questions at all, he started explaining what everything was on the ultrasound monitor.  He showed us that my lining was around 8.3 thickness.  I guess anything over 7 is good!  Then he showed us 4 follicles on the right side.  He measured the biggest one and said it was about 8mm.  We also had about 3-4 on the left side.  I feel like 7-8 is a good number to start with.  I know last time we had 7 as well and they reduced to 5, but I have strong hopes that that won't happen again.  Hopefully these 7-8 will grow big and all have healthy eggs inside.  And who knows... maybe we'll even see a few stragglers in the basket on Friday!  In any case, we've decided to carry out the procedure no matter what this time.  We only need 3 good eggs for transfer day.  3 because that is all they allow you to put back in.  And we are all in!  John took away some of the pressure by telling me we didn't have to go into this thinking it was our last shot anymore.  He is willing to cross that bridge when we come to it.  So that made me feel a lot better.  Not thinking about how much money we will be spending on it anymore, because those babies will make it all worth it :)