Thursday, August 25, 2011

Really want to feel like myself again

I am struggling.

I am struggling with feeling disconnected from myself in all aspects of my life, I do not feel like I am doing a good job at any part of my life. I feel like I am struggling as a teacher, a wife, a friend, and everything else. I feel completely disconnected from it and I am struggling with what to do to get reconnected with things.

I have not had an easy time since the call last week about IVF, even after the call from the doctor last night that brought some comfort. I have been really upset every time I think about the situation and still feel like I am processing it all. However, the problem is that I cannot process with so much going on all at the same time. The start of school and getting things in order for that part, along with dealing with the emotions that go with the IVF ending, plus graduate school starting = overload on so many levels.

This week has been hard, I have broken down nearly everyday in tears to some degree even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. I am trying but man do I feel like I am doing a terrible job at all aspects of my life right now.

I am not looking for sympathy or thoughts of "it will get better," so please don't do that. I just needed to get it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recommendations from the RE for the future (info specific and possibly TMI - just a warning)

I spoke the RE today about the whole situation with the failure of the IVF. We talked for nearly a half hour, I have to say that I really like her and appreciate all her effort on our behalf through all of this. She has been an advocate from the very beginning and calls me at home on her own time to make sure we are doing all right. She answered our freaked out call at nearly midnight when we were concerned about a sharp pain I was having after the transfer without hesitation and explained everything quite well. I think that makes it easier to deal with in the long run.

First, she is frustrated that it didn't work for us because as they (they being all 6 REs in the practice, including 2 that were some of the first to do IVF in our area) could not find a specific reason for the failure aside from the fact that we just had the bad luck of falling into the nearly 1/2 who don't work. She said when they looked at the whole protocol and results of the egg quality, there are only small changes they would want to make for the future.

This is comforting and frustrating all at once. It is nice to know that there isn't anything else we could have done to have a serious change of events for us. But at the same time, to not have the medical explanation for the failure.

Secondly, she said they as a collective group definitely recommend us doing IVF again if that's what we decide to do because of all those things. She said that my egg quality was good and I responded very well to the medications and we have good information from the first one to help us make small suggestions for change for the future. But she wants us to be set and comfortable before we jump back into it all again and not to do it before we felt prepared on all levels.

Third, she was completely all right with us taking time before doing it again without stopping all together. She is going to have me take the medication that I was on with the inseminations to help keep me regular (which I am very much not on a normal basis) and that will allow us to "try" with simply doing it on our own with timed intercourse to positive ovulation tests for a few months until we are ready to talk about it again. This is great news because it allows my ovaries to heal up from the over-stimulation but doesn't stop us from trying while we are working up to IVF again. It's a great thing and she is very comfortable with this and wants to do anything she can to assist us with this time of healing.

Other benefits to this step are that since I can be regular on it, I can work on continuing to lose some weight as I have been since about April slowly but surely. I am down nearly 16 pounds since then and that is with gaining and losing weight with the stimulation medication for all that time. With my period being more regular, it helps the metabolism which for people with PCOS (like me) is a huge issue in losing weight. This will also help to make my egg quality become better which will then help with the potential retrievals down the road.

So we are going to start the medication this weekend to do the timed intercourse for the next month and see where we go from here.

At least the question of what could we have done to make it work has been answered and it's nothing. That does help some of the issues of healing for us. We are going to give ourselves time to heal completely before doing this and have to figure out many things logistically before doing it again. We have to figure out money, and how I am going to balance the back and forth to the hospital for the appointments and still be at work, as well as when we will be mentally ready to put ourselves out there again. It's such a huge commitment to the whole process from both me and Aaron and we need to make sure we are completely ready for it all again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Better than the other day, but a long way to go

After a few days of dealing with the news and doing lots of thinking about what to do from here, we are feeling better (not great, that will come with time) about our decisions.

We are going to take our time with starting up anything again, we really need to heal and to allow us to heal at our pace. We don't want to put a time frame on it, we have said that we would re-evaluate the situation every few months to see where we stand on things. That's about our only idea at this point and I am very happy with the choice. We have spent nearly 2 years working toward this every month and with the IVF taking so much time/effort/energy, the idea of taking a step back for awhile although frustrating is the best thing to help with healing.

Our friends and family have been amazing the past few days and we would not have made it through without them. The support all along the journey to this point has been so helpful and I am not sure how we would have made it otherwise. I know that no matter what we decide to do, try IVF again, seriously look into additional adoption options, or whatever they will be there to support us 1000%.

Sometimes I wish we had an easier journey, sometimes I wish we would have gotten our dream sooner. But then I think about how much we have gone through and how much more we are going to value our child when they are here because of everything. It's not easy to be trying for so long, it's so draining on every level. But, at the same time, it has made us re-evaluate so many things in our lives as important to us and that changes as we go through month to month.

We are working on how we feel about it and going to spend some time doing soul searching for our dream. I hope we can eventually get what we want, it is just going to take longer than we had hoped.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Failed IVF - A Reflection of the Journey

We had our blood work done yesterday and it was negative. Heartbreaking news to hear to say the least.

I had told the nurses to call and leave a message on my voicemail because I wouldn't be able to answer the phone and didn't want to answer it until after school was over because I knew I was going to have a strong reaction either way. When I checked my phone, the doctor's office had called 4 times and left 2 voicemails - it freaked me out and I had to find out what the deal was. So I listened...and immediately crumpled to my desk with the news. I had to leave the school and come home, I could not be there anymore with all the emotions I was going through in that moment. Thankfully, I have amazing co -workers who took my class so I could leave. My principal walked me all the way out to the car and hugged me in support.

I came home and cried for about an hour straight - sobbed uncontrollably while feeling completely defeated would be a better way of describing how I felt.

My RE's nurse called me and we talked for about 20 minutes. She said the my RE meets with the other doctors in her practice every Tuesday to talk about the IVF patients that did not have success. They figure that 6 doctors looking at how it went may help to see something that someone else may not have seen and give suggestions. I told her that I would like to hear what they have to say about recommendations for the future to help us make a decision about doing it again so we can have all the options.

Aaron and I talked about it at great length and we came to a few conclusions:

1. We need to heal - physically, emotionally, mentally. This could take a great deal amount of time and we are not going to put a time restraint on it, when we feel ready to start we will start.

2. We need to listen to the recommendations of the RE after their meeting as to which protocol we would follow if we decide to do it again.

3. We are going to reconsider all of our options, including adoption before we make any major decisions about anything.

Things we learned through our journey:

1. We are stronger than either of us thought we could be to get through all of this.

2. We have amazing friends, family, and support that have helped us get through the past few months without completely losing our minds in the stress of it all.

3. Aaron and I are stronger as a couple than we were at the beginning of our marriage, our relationship has become very strong because we have had to be there to support each other. It makes me happy that we can work through anything.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Side effects or possible pregnancy symptoms??? Who could tell???

So I have been on progesterone since the day of the egg retrieval 8/3. We are officially 7dp3dt as of today and still have too many days to go before we have the blood work done on Friday. Ugh...too long from now. I want answers as to what I am feeling. I do feel things but I am not sure at this point if they are side effects or possible pregnancy symptoms.

Here are the side effects of progesterone:

Bloating; breast tenderness; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; fluid retention; headache; heartburn; irritability; muscle pain; nausea; stomach pain or cramping; tiredness; vomiting.

Things I am feeling:

All of the above.

Unfortunately, those are many symptoms the books say can be early signs of pregnancy as well, who could tell at this point what is what? This is so frustrating.

The one thing I am tired of hearing lately is how we have to give ourselves time to heal before we make a decision about to do next if it doesn't work for us this time. I know that people have the best of intentions, but what is that old saying? "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." We have many people who fall into that category, not all advice is desired or needed when it comes to all of this stuff. I know that when we decided to be open about our journey to being a family that we have to take the good with the bad, but it's never easy to deal with when it is completely unwanted.

The only thing we know at this point is that we are going to have to sit down to have a long conversation about what we want to do no matter what the test results are going to be. If it is positive, we are going to talk about the options for the possibility of it being multiples. If it is negative, we are going to talk about how we feel about IVF again and if/when we would consider doing it again. There are many things to talk about on either end of the spectrum and it is going to take some serious thinking. It's not going to be something we jump to make a decision on and make an announcement to the world about it. We will tell people when we want everyone to know (sorry blogger world - privacy is very important with this until we make a final choice).

Ugh, 5 days til the test and an eternity to go. It has taken us 21 months to get here and these last few days may be the worst of the wait - that's saying something .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finally feeling better

For the first time since the retrieval, I feel better. I would not go so far as to say I feel good, but better than the way I was feeling for the past week. Small steps of improvement finally.

We have a week until our blood test and this week went surprisingly fast.

My dear friend came to keep me company for a few days and that time when by way too quickly. It was nice to have someone here because I was starting to lose my mind with it being just me all the time.

Then I have spent the last 3 days at school getting ready for the new school year. I am officially back full-time as of Monday and had lots to do to get ready. Thankfully, I had moved all my things into my new room before the summer started because we were pretty sure that I wasn't going to be able to now and I am glad that I did.

It's hard to believe the summer is gone for me now. It went by in a blink.

One week to go until we find out what has happened and have to make a decision about the next step. We decided that no matter what the results are, we are going to be very reserved about it until we have processed it properly enough to be ready for the inevitable questions that come with either outcome. I know that I have been open about all the steps in this process (maybe to a fault?) but Aaron and I are going to need some privacy whether it's positive or negative for us to deal with it in the way that's best for us. Yes, it will be tough to not just tell everyone the news but we have to protect ourselves first and foremost.

Just ready to know, it's been a long time in the coming and we have never been so close before in the 21 months we have been trying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Update - 4 days post 3 day transfer (4dp3dt for short)

I am doing all right, the first 2 days after the transfer I wasn't allowed to do anything at all by dr orders and husband orders. It was not as glamorous as it sounds though, very frustrating. Aaron had to lift my laptop onto my lap desk to be able to use it because it was beyond my lifting ability. I started doing some light duty stuff on Monday, but am still not back where I was before.

I am dealing with the side effects from the progesterone shots - sleeplessness, constipation (with pain since that whole area is sensitive right now), and a soreness on my lower back muscles since that's where they have to be injected. I hate them!! I am glad if they are helping, but I dread it when Aaron tells me it is time for the shot because they hurt. Found out the side effects the hard way on Saturday night when I had a really sharp pain on one side. At nearly midnight, we called the emergency exchange because it was very sharp. That's how we found out that I was going to need to add stool softeners to my medicine cocktail to help since the progesterone can slow the bowel down. Great.

I went into school today to start getting things together - school starts Monday with kids on Tuesday. I am working on building up my energy level since I have been so low in activity for so long now, I am not used to it. I think the first week is going to completely exhaust me more than it usually does anyway.

We did find out that none of our embryos made it to cryopreserve so if we don't have luck this time, we have to start over with the injections again to have another chance. That was discouraging. We know they put the best 2 in me, but we were hoping to have a few to try before going through all of that again. We are staying positive about our chances now, but it took our back up plan out of the way right away. It's been a rough pill to swallow for the two of us and it's been pretty hard.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We had our transfer today

We got the call this morning at about 7:30 am telling us that we were set for our transfer this morning!! We were so excited to get going on it.

The doctor showed us how our 8 embryos had been doing while we got set up for the transfer. We had 3 that stopped growing by this morning, so they will not be used for even the potential of cryopreserve. We were transferring 2 today and we have 3 they are still going to watch to see if we can freeze them for the future (we really hope so but we won't know until the end of the week, they have to watch them for a few more days before we know for sure).

The transfer itself wasn't too bad, mostly bad due to having a full bladder for the ultrasound to be used coupled with the swollen ovaries I still have and the uterus cramping I still have from the retrieval the other day. Once they got the catheter in the right place, it was pretty easy. I had to then lie down for 30 minutes after before we were discharged.

As I was lying there, Aaron and I talked about things. We are nervous we won't have any embryos to freeze to try again before having to do the whole injections all over again, we are nervous that we will have gone through all of this and come out with no baby. We talked about it and I am not sure how I feel about going through all of this again, it has been so tough on both of us (me physically more than Aaron). If we get one baby out of this, that is going to be it for us. I would love for both of them to take, but if only one does we are just as happy with that as we would be with anything else.

We have an appointment for a blood test on 8/19 - just under 2 weeks from now.  I am not going to do any home pregnancy tests because they can be inaccurate due to HCG shot I had to take before the retrieval. I could get a false positive and that would be devastating. I am just going to wait.

Now we have done everything we can to make the situation as best as it can be and it's out of our hands. It's kind of relieving actually to have it be out of our hands. The prep work for this has been extraordinary and I have worried every step of the way that I was going to do something that would mess it up. Now, there is nothing else I can do but wait. It's actually a relief to be at this point.

Please let this be our chance - 21 months of trying and now 2 weeks to find out if our best chance has gotten us our dream.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Results from retrieval

We have 8 eggs that fertilized of the 14!!

All 5 of the ones they injected the sperm into fertilized and 3 of the ones they put the eggs and sperm in the same dish fertilized. This is awesome news.

They will watch for until Saturday morning to decide which are the 2 best ones are to transfer. If they are all looking pretty good or look like they need a little more time, they will watch them until Monday. We won't get the call until Saturday morning about coming in, so it's a waiting game now.

We are going to transfer 2 - we have a good chance of both of them taking which would mean that we won't have to do this ever again.

I am so excited and relieved right now.

I feel much better today than yesterday, still sore and a little crampy but pretty much better than it was.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Retrieval complete

The retrieval went really well.

They got 14 of the 16 follicles with strong and good eggs!! The cramping was bananas though with the whole they have to go through the uterus wall thing, but it's much much better now than it was this morning after the procedure.

I have been chilling out, I came home and slept nearly 4 hours in a row. We will get the fertilization report tomorrow to see how many actually fertilized. Transfer set for either Saturday or Monday depending on how they develop over the next few days. The hard part of this process is done now, the transfer is about the same as the IUI.

Now back to resting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good-bye 3 shots a day - Hello egg retrieval!

I just got the fantastic call from the doctor about the ultrasound results from this morning and we are good to go for the egg retrieval!!!!

I sat down and cried for a few minutes to let it all sink in.  It has been quite the journey to this point and we are beyond ready for the next step.

No more 3 shots a night, no more bloating from swollen ovaries, and time to get ready for the surgery.

We are scheduled to do our HCG trigger shot tonight and our appointment for the surgery is Wednesday morning first thing.

I can hardly believe after all this prep: almost 4 weeks on Lupron, 11 days of 3 shots a day (ugh), swollen ovaries, no pants fitting, tough time sleeping from nerves and side effects of meds, 6 doctors appointments 45 minutes away in 12 days, 2 ultrasounds and 6 blood draws.

It's almost surreal at this point.