Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This one will be a little different as we are at the one year mark.  I have so many emotions rolling through my head, thankfully I have a pretty large work problem to keep me distracted at this time.  I’ve also been meditating at least once a day and practicing mental breaks so that I can distract myself from focusing on what we have lost, diverting my focus to the good things in life.  I still have my moments, who wouldn’t?  Our hearts are still broken, that will never change, you just put the pieces back together and move on.November 8: 1 year ago today we went in for the transfer of our one and only embryo from our second retrieval.  It was one of the most terrifying things I have done.  The last of our combined genetics, will this work?  We had done literally everything in our power to make it work.

Right before we went back. Our first family photo. I hate that you can see the fear in my eyes, after one failed transfer it shows.[/caption]

November 10, 2016: Today my dogs began devoting themselves to me. Ryker was so bad that he refused to go outside without me, he had to be touching me or see me at all times. I began having symptoms that I didn’t realize were symptoms yet.

November 11, 2016: The nausea started. Satsumas were the cure.

November 14, 2016: I took a pregnancy test. After 6 years, 2 pink lines showed up on that baby. I was so excited I cried.

November 15, 2016: I took a different another pregnancy test, the line is darker. At this point I’m riding that happy until my blood test.

November 18, 2016: Blood serum day. Officially I am pregnant, 105.

We went to MO to visit our family for Thanksgiving, 12 hours one way in the Explorer.

Our first ultrasound was scheduled November 30, 2016. Seeing our baby on the screen was the most amazing thing. There it was everything we had worked so hard for. Everything in one tiny bubble in my uterus. Yolk sac and embryo both look great. We schedule for the next week. That weekend we traveled to a race we volunteer at (2 hours in the Explorer one way).

December 5, 2016, growth was a little behind but nothing to be concerned about at this point. We will be back the next week.

December 6, 2016, I nearly pee myself coming into work. I had no idea that this was the beginning of the end. That evening, bright red followed by a blue tinge clot. I had not idea that was our baby at the time. Several of my friends had bled during their successful cycles, I wasn’t going to panic.

December 7, 2016, went in to have an ultrasound and make sure everything is ok. There was NOTHING in my uterus, nothing at all. I broke, that was my breaking point. All that we have been through and this is what we end with. There are no answers, our embryo quality was great everything was growing great we have no understanding as to why this happened to us.

1 year later I still have so many questions. We got rid of the Explorer, I’m not sure I’ll ever be convinced that the vehicle did not cause the miscarriage. In January we learned of the problem with carbon monoxide in the cabin and bought a meter. Almost the entire time I drove the Explorer there was a reading, typically around 4ppm but as high as 10ppm during my normal drives around town. Our trip to Arizona it reached 15ppm (not one single car around us for as far as we could see) and was still rising when we pulled over opened the windows and doors to air it out. I’ve come to terms but it still angers me that we went through 2 rounds of IVF to lose our last genetic connection potentially due to our vehicle poisoning us. We still have not succeeded and are left with so many questions.

What I’m doing now is clearing out my system. I’m going to a functional medicine doctor and will be following autoimmune paleo protocol for the next several weeks. I need to figure out why I cannot lose weight, what causes my inflammation and generally get my shit back together. I was able to see this on the anniversary of our last ultrasound. There is always a rainbow after the storm. We are getting there.


Fixing Humpty

How do you pick up the pieces?  In my life I’ve found that it is easiest to do this one piece at a time, start with the obvious placements and work your way to the much more difficult ones to put back in place.  I’m still working on this one and know I cannot glue one of the largest pieces back until after the WTF appointment the 25th.  I went ahead and put our names back on the donor embryo list for matching.  Almost immediately we received a potential embryo, last time it took nearly 3 months to even get our first donor profile and before we received another my friend donated hers to us.  I was shocked.  This embryo will also be discussed at the WTF appointment since we received minimal information with this profile.  At this point we’re not sure when we’d move forward, but we will eventually.  I am sure that it is a lining issue and that we will need to be above 7.5 for a transfer.  I really didn’t do anything different between the miscarriage transfer and this transfer, so I’m not sure.  I do believe that the regulation between July 2016 and my transfer in November 2016 was a huge player.  That question will be brought up for sure.  I let these embryos down, I should have fought harder.  Honestly until the 2nd appointment all was great so I don’t know what happened and why the lining stopped growing.  Right now I just wait for auntflow to show up and my appointment at the end of the month.  

For now I just put myself back together.  I’m working on my endometriosis and trying to get it more under control.  I am back on the pycnogenol and am working on getting some semblance of a running schedule together.  We will be running the local infertilty run in November called Baby Steps.  Our team is “Are you sure you’re doing it right?”  We came up with that because we are so vocal about our problems and with educating others on what they need to know.  I’m still dumbfounded by people who do not realize what their body does month to month.  I’m even more so when someone has to go through IVF or any other fertility treatment and they still have no clue.  Ignorance is not always bliss and could have saved someone years of heartache if they just knew how to do something as simple as charting.  For many people it isn’t so easy.  Maybe it’s just the scientist in me but I want to know what is going on and why.  I want to know why the doctor is prescribing this for this time of the month and I’m only taking this other drug some other days.  I want to know what I’m looking at on the screen when the tech is looking at my ovaries and lining.  I want to know what that number means, 7.2, 7.8…  What does that mean for me?  Is my lining trilaminear?  I’m ready to be through all of this needing to know.  I’m ready to be holding a child that is so dear to us that our love could start a fire.  I’m ready for the long nights and the grumpy days, the ‘Watch what I learned!” And the questions.  All of the questions.  Without questions you get no answers.  Without pain you don’t get strength.  I hope our child(ren) do not know all the pain we learned through, my hope is that they scrape through learning that maybe that branch wasn’t the one to climb, or that step should have been 2 inches to the left on a trail run.  I know we cannot protect them, but we can guide them and to us that is worth every pain we have been through.  We can teach them how to get through it and how to be good humans.


6dp5dt: negative HPT FRER

7dp5dt: I feel broken at this point tests are negative using the gold standard (FRER). My beta is Thursday.  There is still time if this is a late implantation.  More than anything I’m frustrated because I have all the symptoms I had with my first (and only positive).  Nausea, decreased appetite, gas, indigestion, cramping in odd places, crazy dreams every night, and waking up early.  Both dogs are stuck to me like glue, yet still negative.  I don’t know how to handle this.  Not only do I feel completely broken, but I feel that I failed these embryos, these embryos that were gifted to us, our friends that gifted them to us.  Was it my lining?  Something else?  Not out yet, just a few storm clouds on the horizon.

8dp5dt: negative FRER Hot flashes, VIVID dreams, waking up at crazy hours of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, extreme thirst.

9dp5dt:  Hot flashes, VIVID dreams, waking up at crazy hours of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, extreme thirst.

10dp5dt: HCG blood test <2, negative.  What do we do now? Do we put our names back in the hat for more donor embryos?  Do we just give up?  Right now I am too broken to think, too frustrated to know where to go.  Both of us are.  My symptoms started late and I was hopeful that maybe I’d have a low beta, but I would have a a beta, not 0.   Today was our due date for our miscarriage.  I should have been holding a child if not already soon.  This heartbreak is too much.  What is meant to be is not an answer, it is not a solution, it is giving up, but what else do you do?  Where do you go from here?  Unless someone knows a way to get through adoption without a home study.  Our WTF happened appointment is late August.  Until then we have time to think. For now I’ll be broken, my uterus let the embryos down.  I believe my lining is to blame, it will be brought up at our consult.

Always something there to remind me. 

No idea what happened to this one but alas here it is again.

Today is the day we got our calendar.  Waiting in the room to go back so I can have my USI done and go over everything with the doctor.  The nurse asked the couple in front of us if they are ready to see their baby(ies).  It will be their first visual of their little one.  My heart flutters and I instantly want to run and cry.  I remember that day, that feeling, that never-ending smile.  She’s reading a book about pregnancy.  The joy, the glow the never ending happiness.   That will forever be lost for us in a guarded world until we see that first heartbeat and hold our babies.  I want to mumble a congratulations but I feel myself choking up and I never get it out.  Infertility is a bitch and there is nothing more to say about it than that.  It does not discriminate it does not give s damn how good of a person you may be, how amazing you may be as a parent, it strikes out of nowhere and takes you down, breaks you.

So on to the USI (ultrasound sonohysterograph) procedure.  Once I was ready, the doctor came in and tried to put the usual catheter they use for the procedure my cervix was not cooperating.  I have cysts on my cervix, most women do.  However, one of my cysts is so large the doctor commented about the size of it and bonus, it was blocking the entry to my damn uterus for the catheter to inject the saline solution.  So they switch over to the catheter they use for the actual transfer which has a smaller diameter.  This one went right in.  Quick and over, no fibroids or other concerns to worry about so we’re good to go for our transfer prep.  I’ve never been tested for autoimmune issues or the MTHFR mutation (I’ve asked in the past but since I hadn’t been pregnant all was pushed off to be MFI and not my problem-most likely), I asked again and I go in for that testing Monday.  Hopefully it comes back clear and I’m good.  If not at least we’ll know what we need to do to combat any issues I may have (if any). No matter what we’ll feel better checking that off the list.  Unfortunately it will be around another freaking grand.  Absolute bullshit that NOTHING is covered.  We’ll do anything we can to make sure that we make it to our end goal and I don’t want to (can’t handle) another miscarriage especially if it was an autoimmune issue we didn’t test for. There are many, many things science is good for, this is definitely one of them. These babies are a gift to us and we are lucky to have the opportunity to love them.  Doing the math, my blood test will be on or the day after the due date of my miscarriage. We have a hearing at work scheduled right after we get our blood test done.  Good thing is, these hearings are pretty interesting and I can’t wander around as much as I usually do so resting will be easy.  Dinner and cleaning will be the difficult part, but I’ll just put the crockpot and husband to work (love you, babe!).  I’ll have to arrive at work a little early which will be rough considering I know how tired I was last time, but I can make anything work.  That’s how we roll.  If I get time I’ll work on getting those other blog posts up, I have around 15 to go (I think).  Work has been busy lately, good busy but busy.  Bonus today, I did get to play with 9 month old twins and hopefully I can make it to play with more twins this weekend.

Let’s get this party started!

I’m ready to get this show on the road. I began Leupron injections Monday.  I had my scratch test on Tuesday.  I don’t know if my uterus is extra sensitive or what the deal is, but it does not like this test.  I take Tylenol before I go in and it doesn’t put a dent in the pain.  Because I cramp up so bad after and it lingers for the day I took the rest of the day off.  I was able to play with the twins.  It’s crazy to think they’re 3 months, and that next year I’ll be holding my own.  💕I received my APA, NK and MTHFR results and all are negative!  That is some of the best news we’ve received in this entire process.  It was getting a little hairy for a bit waiting on the NK results.  They were supposed to be in before the APA panel, but they ended up coming in at the same time as the MTHFR results (twice the amount of time the website states).  With endo, I was most likely to come back with the NK cells activated.  So it’s official that I have done all I could do to not be the problem.  My last birth control was Wednesday and I know my body was ready for that.  Mentally I’m ready to move forward.  I didn’t figure it would take long for period day 1, and I was right. She’s here only 1.5 days after stopping the pill.  Now for my official calendar.   July 29th I’ll start the estrogens with 2 u/s and blood work before the transfer July 17th.  That lines up my official blood test for July 27th, which was my due date for my miscarriage.  I feel so good about this, so many good things are happening, so much love to give.  My friend who has donated these babies to us had her transfer exactly 11 months prior.  I call her schedule the “good luck schedule” and I’m following in her footsteps.  

From the IVF Emoji app. Where was this when we started this process?!

In other news.  We had a mild tropical storm come through, unfortunately I know farther east it had much more rain then we had and I hate that for them, but we didn’t need it.  I had some panicked friends who flooded in August and I don’t blame them with drainage being blocked still due to overwhelmed public services as well as difficulty getting to some of the blockages, and just regular PTSD when the heavy rains come down.  I understand.  No matter how much logic you tell yourself if you’ve been through something like that it wears on you and can give you fears.  My older dog (Ryker) has not been acting near as nutty, well at least not until this past Sunday.  I was at the neighbor’s with him and a storm brewed up pretty quickly and it was a noisy one.  By the end of it, he was on my lap with his head buried.  His brother always tries to make him feel better which usually ends up making it worse, thankfully he was distracted by my neighbors’ dog.  They have a tree over their house so I’m not sure if that is why he was acting like a nut or if he’ll be a chicken for life (understood, we did have a tree crash through our house during a storm).  But they are so sweet!

Here we go again

So we have news!  Since the monthly visitor decided to make my last week absolute hell it’s only justified.   I have my 3rd, and please whomever is in charge of this insanity, my last HSI, June 9th.  Transfer day will be the week of July 17th which will put the blood test right before our 7 year anniversary and the due date of my miscarriage.  I keep wondering if this is really happening?  I do not look forward to the scratch test, the last time I laid on the chair for at least a minute in shear pain (so who would?).  Apparently this is not an unusual reaction, but also is not typical.  Whatever it was it worked and I will do whatever it takes to make this work and stick.  Not only is this the beginning of a new chapter, but we are being trusted with someone else’s treasure.  I know the family blessing us with these babies does not think that way, but it still weighs.  In reality, this is no different than my feelings for each of my embryos I transferred.  You give your entire heart and soul to this process.  You’re life revolves around each doctor appointment, each procedure, each call.  These babies will be loved more than we can imagine.  Beginning this weekend my life will begin to revolve around them.  I begin the downregulation process with birth control pills.  I’ll be on them until late June which after aunt flow this month I am pretty excited about.  My back has been screaming at me since Sunday and the migraine that was triggered Monday left me immobile.  I am not sure if my endo is getting worse (affecting different parts of the body) or if I am still recovering from the miscarriage or some combination of the two.  I’ve been fortunate that my endo is not what I would call terrible (even though it was stage 3).  The worst has been the organs that it affects.  It was removed from my ovaries, bladder, bowl and uterers and thinking back that explains a lot.   Like the sudden and instantaneous urge to use the restroom during my cycle, no warnings just sharp cramps and if I am not near a restroom a potential mess.  With it being on my ovaries, that explains the DOR and poor quality eggs I have dealt with.  

I have this weekend to work on my house.  My husband is working all weekend so I get to clean, possibly see some friends who are rebuilding after the floods, attend an Orange Theory Class and plan the menu for the next week and hopefully I’ll be able to transfer over some of the old blog posts.  Monday morning I go in to check for viral immunity.  In the past I was no longer immune to ruebella and I had to go in and get revaccinated for MMR. It’s one of those extra things they check you for in the world of infertility.   They want you to be as healthy and as low-risk as feasibly possible.  Sometimes things just can’t be prevented.  I know these have been a little on the rambling side, once I get the old posts up they should become more focused.  Enjoy your weekend, I hope it’s a good one!  

The Waiting

Waiting is the hardest part.

The waiting is the hardest part… Tom Petty says it best.  One year ago, we had our first blood test after our first IVF cycle.  For those who are not familiar with the process of IVF, I will go through our experiences in another post, but the gist of it is 1) amp up hormones so you produce as many eggs as feasibly possible, 2) retrieve said eggs, 3) fertilize these eggs, in our case selecting the best looking sperm and injecting them individually into each egg, 4) watch for 5 days, 5) freeze the ones who are still growing (standard procedure for someone my age, 6) recover from the procedure and in my case have surgery to remove a fibroid, 7) more hormones to prepare for transfer, 8) transfer and wait, 9) blood test 10 days after transfer.  Over simplified, but that is for another post.

I love my husband, I love my dogs, I love my family, but there is something missing.  There has been something missing since we have tried month after month, year after year to conceive.  I never thought that my life would revolve around infertility, that I would ever want something so much it hurts.  Maybe it’s the failure month after month and an unhealthy drive to achieve what I set out to do, who knows.  What do you do when you wait, and wait, and wait.  Hopeful every month for a positive, hopeful of what comes so easy to so many, but it never comes.  You see a specialist (already in another post I bring over from my old blog), and another, and then a 3rd which is where the story is today.   We had 2 high quality embryos to transfer April 25, 2016. High hopes and dreams that is what drives IVF, infertility.  It is what keeps you from losing your damn mind, that and fur babies.  I mean who could ever get mad at these 2?! Ryker (the brown brindle-the wise old man) and Ronin (the black and white guy-our puppy)


There is a saying that infertility is all of the stages of grief repeated every month. Month after month… IVF seems to expand that by 200%. When we had our first IVF cycle (cycle is retrieval and transfer) we were hopeful. Yes, we only had 2 embryos, yes we were putting them both in, yes we could have twins. The biggest fear was the first statement, yes we only had 2 embryos, if we put them both in and it fails we have to start over. April 25th came. We were ecstatic, one blast was on the verge of hatching, the other was nearly perfect. We went to brunch that morning before we went in, not knowing how long it would be before we would eat again. While finishing up our brunch, our Dr. called, seems he was having spasms and would not be able to perform the transfer, one of the New Orleans doctors would be driving up to help out and instead of 11, our transfer time was now set for 2. Not only does this place us later in the day, but it puts us in the risk of having to drive in rush-hour (love my husband dearly but he stresses me out to no end in traffic as do the idiots who drive in this city – chicken and egg situation).  So now we’ve ate and I have to keep a full bladder (for me means I have to pee so bad it hurts) and wait.  We arrive to our appointment and are whisked to the back.  The doctor is running behind, caught in traffic (surprise, surprise…), I’m allowed to release some of the pressure as long as I promise that it won’t be too much, this occurred 3 times before we were allowed to go back for the big show.  The transfer was not supposed to hurt, but it did, therefore worry number one already established.  The transfer itself is pretty amazing to me, you get to watch a screen of them placing the embryo(s) in your uterus.  It looks kind of like a spaceship making a landing, in my opinion, being a science nerd it is nerdy of the highest order.  Knowing that the little blob that just shot into my uterus is our potential child(ren) just overwhelms my heart.  You are wheeled out of that room, allowed to pee (thank goodness!) and instructed to relax for 30 minutes or so. Once they deem you relaxed enough they send you home for 72 days of bedrest (this varies from clinic to clinic).   Thankfully traffic wasn’t terrible and we made it home without someone cutting us off or just driving like a general idiot so it was pretty stress free.  I spent the next 2 weeks as relaxed as I could be with all of the crazy storms that rolled through and being nearly one year to the day of a tree crashing through our house while we were in it, I have some slight PTSD from that especially with a tree still looming overhead.  

May 5th I went in for the blood draw around 8 in the morning, then went home and waited.  My husband stayed home with me.  The phone rang about 11 am.  I picked up and it was the doctor on the other end and my heart fell, I knew that it did not work.  Before he even finished I’m sorry I was bawling and my husband was cradling me.  Call again when you are ready and we will talk about what happened.  Why us, haven’t we been through enough (I’ll re-post my old blog entries over here)?  Why must we go through this again?  We cried for 5 minutes or so and our pup (the black and white guy) ran into the trunk of the aforementioned tree head on making us bust out into laughter, it’s funny how they know when we need a good laugh.  We picked ourselves up and I got the biggest margarita I could order.  Mother’s day was that weekend and once again, I was barren…

It’s been one year today, one year to live, one year to learn, one year to yearn, one year to grow, one year to discover that failure is not the worst thing that can happen to us.  Our love has grown and we have met many great people on this road.  I would not change that for anything.  It’s hard at times to see the beauty through the heartbreak, to see the rainbows after the tornado of emotions that tear at your heart.  You must pick yourself up and carry on, you must remember that you are not alone, that it is ok to be sad, that you do all you can to make it through this thing called life.