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 :)