Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That's a Wrap.

On my way to work this morning The Thompson Twins came on the radio with their 1983 hit "Liar". I laughed at the irony and then geared up for my big "what the hell?" appointment.

I'll admit, I didn't have the highest expectations going into today's meeting with Dr. H. I think it was supposed to be an opportunity to debrief, find closure and plan the next step in our infertility journey. For us, it seemed a moot point because we've been working on closure for two weeks now and as far as the next step goes...it didn't necessarily involve a fertility clinic.

When we got our disappointing news two weeks ago, the nurse told us that Dr. H wanted to sit down with us when the time was right. I've been hesitate to schedule it because I guess I didn't know what he was going to tell us that we didn't already know. There were no clear answers on why our latest attempt didn't work. We had an incredible retrieval with 33 eggs. We were lucky with 27 that fertilized. The lab blessed us with two perfect blastocysts. The conditions where great for transfer.

And despite all of that...Nada. Nunca. Nothing. Finito.

Seems pretty clear cut to me so I've been less than thrilled about the idea of rehashing the last 4 1/2 years, including this latest failure. Feelings aside, I decided to schedule the appointment and I am so glad that I did.  As we all know, things aren't always as they seem.

This was the first time that I've seen or spoken to Dr. H since our transfer and when he personally came to get us from the waiting room (first time that's happened!)....he was genuinely sad. I don't know who was going to cry first - me or him.

When we got to his office he started the conversation with "I am so so sorry. This was a big disappointment for us and I've been going through the file backwards and forwards for days..."

The funny thing is, I absolutely know that he meant it. I was struck by the fact that he said it was a disappointment for "us" which included him. I guess that basically sums up my relationship with our doctor.

Together, I know that the three of us did everything within our power to make the right choices in protocol, treatment, etc. When we first meant Dr. H he read through our charts from Dr. Q and when it got to the painful experience of losing Colton (in horrible detail)- it made him tear up (probably because I was crying). He has always remembered that experience with us... and I know that it made him even more invested into helping us achieve a happy ending.

So for an hour we digested the last 4 1/2 years of  treatment. It was sad for us and while we don't end up with any clear cut answers...we really didn't expect any.

Sometimes, things just happen how they happen.

Dr. H threw around ideas like chromosomal abnormalities which could have been why two perfect embryos didn't stick...but in the end who really knows. We talked about ideas on how we could improve our chances on our own and if we should chose to do IVF again...somewhere down the road...what he would recommend for us.

More importantly, we discussed some other options to get my PCOS under control. I gave him my commitment to get my body mass index (BMI) back down to 25 and when I do that... we might try a few more cycles of Clo.mid/Fer.mara/injections to help things along. For now, my focus is on that BMI which is something that I can control during the uncontrollable.

In his words, "[we've] proved that [we] have good eggs and sperm...and that [we] can make a beautiful baby..." so I guess that all hope is not lost. After all, I believe in miracles.

We were blessed by one once.

At the end of our meeting we gave him a hearty handshake and a big thanks for all that he's done for us. Who knows what the next chapter will bring for Mr. Thompson and me...

Except the guarantee of a lower BMI.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Goals

So one of the best ways to overcome opposition, sorrow and disappointment is to set goals, right?. I'm naturally very goal oriented so that's what I've been taking time to think about for the last two weeks.

Usually, I write long lists. This time...I'm focused on only attaining two:

1. Eternity with Mr. Thompson
2. Getting back to my ideal weight

...and with that I'm happy to report that I've lost 3.5 pounds since last Thursday. It's giving me something positive to focus on and it feels really good.

Last week I appealed to my peeps for advice and as always, you came through. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts, ideas and support. Tiffany suggested that I keep a food journal and that idea really clicked when I read it. She suggested that if I started writing down every little thing that touches my mouth, along with my portion size, I would begin to make natural changes in my diet.

Boy was she right!

So that's what I've been doing (on weight.watchersdotcom) and it's been helping me focus on healthier habits as I move forward. No more emotional eating for me! (knock on wood.)

I sincerely hope that mindset will help me through my final IVF chapter on Wednesday afternoon as we meet with Dr. H for our dreaded "what the hell?!" appointment.

That should be fun...

(But at least I'll be 3.5 pounds lighter as I go through it! How great is that?!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Enduring It Well

Today in church I started looking - really looking - at all people around me...and do you know what I saw?

Families. Couples with children.

(Everyone except two newlywed couples but they don't count. Neither do the older couples who have all raised children)

Mr. Thompson must have read my mind because that was the exact moment that he put his arm around me and squeezed me tight. He asked me in my ear if I was having a hard time and then kissed me on the forehead when I nodded yes and let my head drop to his shoulder.

I don't mean this in a "woe is me" pity-party kind of way...only that sometimes it feels like I'm on the outside looking in. I'll get there - I just have to be patient and endure it well. For me that is the hard part, but I absolutely know that it will ultimately make me a much better mother.

Someday.

It's been an interesting twelve days. I haven't been blogging much because I've been trying to take it all in. The disappointment has given me a lot to mull over. If I was being honest - I'd tell you that it's rocked me.

But not necessarily because of the obvious.

I think I can handle the baby situation if it were just that. For me, the results have evolved it into something much greater. The best way to describe it is...

Self doubt.

I did everything within my control. Everything. In my core I'm a very spiritual person and I have the inner belief that if I do my part, I’ll be blessed with promptings and feelings. We've been on this journey for a while now and I've been okay with the feelings that "nope - this isn't it". I knew why those previous attempts didn't work.

But this time, it truly felt different.

Which has made me doubt myself and what I know I felt. Like my strong feelings...were wrong. Or rather - that I was just really off when I thought I was so in tune with my higher power.

Last week I had a chat with a dear friend. She knew I was hurting and she told me some things that changed my perspective completely and helped pull me out of that place of confusion and self doubt.

After she reminded me that this life is a test, and that we are here to go through hard things, she told me that God knows me better than anyone else does. God knows what I need, both good and bad, to refine me and to make me the person He knows I can become. She reminded me that God allows hard things to happen only to the extent that He knows I can handle them. She told me that God would always honor and bless me for my faith and sacrifice...for my willingness to be obedient and to trust in Him, but that the blessings might not be what I think they should be.

And then, in response to my questions about not being able to accurately interpret what I thought was the Spirit she told me that I was wrong. She told me that I was hearing and listening to the spirit...that I was being prompted. "J, the Spirit will always testify of truth...and of goodness. The things you were praying for, the things you were asking...you were asking in sincere faith. And with every prompting you felt, you were being told by the Spirit that what you were praying for was good, and was a righteous desire. The Spirit will always testify of those things. But feeling that doesn't mean that the Lord is going to grant you what you're praying for...He's just letting you know that He is aware of your prayers and that He will bless you. That doesn't mean you're wrong about anything."

Got it. (Thank you friend!)

What I felt was real - it didn't mean that I was going to get pregnant through IVF but it was certainly a confirmation that my desires are noble and good.

It was a good reminder as I strive to move forward with more faith and less doubt.

Enduring it well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Steps... or maybe not

You have to love all of the reminders.


(This one is compliments of Weight.Watchers dot com)
But at least I took a step in the right direction today. Right?


p.s. I love your weight solution comments. Please keep them coming.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here's The Skinny...

It's official.


You know that you've been wrapped up into infertility for too long when you think about the "next phase" of your life and feel a little lost and confused.


Where do I go from here?


I've been thinking about that question since last Tuesday and to be honest, I'm a little surprised that I don't have a quick answer. I'm the type of person that always has a quick answer (typically laced with a generous dose of sarcasm)...


Except now. When I need it.


So this is what I DO know. I'm an emotional eater. That became painfully obvious last Tuesday when Mr. Thompson and I got our bad news and chose to console ourselves at our favorite restaurant over egg rolls and tears.


No wonder I've gained weight. So my fist mission in this next "phase" is to lose it.


Any suggestions?

(There are a gazillion programs out there and I don't know jack about any of them. Weight.Watchers? Jenny.Craig? Herbal supplements? HELP!)


Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Relax

Today I was given some infertility advice that, for the first time, made me smile.

"Just relax".

Instead of wanting to rip the person's head off....I just smiled and sweetly said, "what a great idea!"

(You should know, that there wasn't an ounce of sarcasm in my voice when I said it either. What an accomplishment!)

Instead, I just went to Hawaii in my mind and happily accepted the advice in the spirit for which it was intended. It made me think about the disappointing cycle that I started yesterday...and that very expensive digital ovulation predictor kit I have sitting in my bathroom drawer. To use, or not to use: that is the question.

I've opted not to use.

Instead I'm going to take the advice and "just relax" as I move on to the next phase of my life. For us, the treatment journey is over and while I'm not exactly sure what the next phase will bring...I'm determined that it's going to be a happy and relaxing one.

Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and prove all those seemingly ridiculous people right. (I. can't. believe. that. I. just. wrote. that.)

Faith people - we still gotta' have faith...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Me

Today I put the monkey hat away. It went in that special place along with the bagpiper onsies and little toy horses.


When I was done, I went to my backyard and laid down in the cool grass. I looked up towards the sky and thought about the last 4 1/2 years, especially the last 6 months. So much of it just boggles my mind but as I laid there I had a thought run over and over through my mind...

Who am I?

If not a mother, then what? ...and it was an interesting conversation that I had with myself.

I am a wife. You all know how I feel about Mr. Thompson. He is my everything. He has taught me what it means to love - and be loved - more fully.

I am a dog owner. Watch the movie Hachi:A Dog's Tale and you'll get it. Our Mia saved our life three years ago when she taught us how to smile again. If there was a train station she would be at it waiting for us every day at 5pm. Instead, she stands at the back door.

I am a daughter. My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary soon and they have taught me everything I know about faith and family. I couldn't be more proud to be this farmer's daughter. (now if I could just cook as good as my mom!)

I am a granddaughter. If I can have even an ounce of the class that my beautiful grandmother has - I will have succeeded. She is my role model.

I am a sister. Four brothers. Three sisters. One foster brother. One Indian-placement sister. A whole lot of love.

I am an aunt. 23 nieces and nephews. They call - they write...and they all think that they are my favorite (which is true).

I am a friend. Old and new - I have the best friendships.

I am a professional woman. Once upon a time this used to be at the top of my list. Now it's not but I believe in doing all things well (like my parents taught me). I've worked for the same non-profit organization for 13 years now and am just as passionate about it today as I was when I began. It's provided me enough amazing experiences to last a lifetime.

I am a daughter of God. and He loves me. Period.

I am blessed. For that I am sure. And as I laid under the clouds taking inventory, infertility didn't seem so horrible any more.

I know who I am...and being a mother is still part of that great equation.

Somehow. Someway.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Killing Me Softly

Let me first say that there are only two people on the planet that I would walk into a Babies.'R'Us store for right now. Neither one require it... but both unquestionably deserve it. For one, I went today. For the other, I will go in the next two months.

Torture. Pure, hellish torture.

The reason that I did it was because on Wednesday morning Mr. Thompson looked at me and said, "You are going to Noelle's baby shower on Saturday, right?!". After I replied, "of course" he said..."good because not only do you have to go - but we have to buy her a killer gift".

Hence, a trip to Babies.'R'Us.

Alone.

Because when I asked him to go with me - he said no. When I reminded him that "we" need to buy her a "killer gift" - he acted busy. For the first time, my tears couldn't even pursuade him.

So alone I went. Truthfully...I couldn't hang around for the killer gift part though. They spelt her name wrong on the registry so after wrangling the computer...I finally got a print out that listed items without aisle locations. After 45 minutes of wandering around (15 of which were spent sitting in a comfortable rocking chair with my head pointed towards the ceiling...), I threw my hands in the air and bought the first thing that I could find.

And there you have it folks. Sometimes when you want to walk through hell and back for a dear friend - you only need to go to Babies.'R'Us.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Only Dumb Question is the One Not Asked...or Maybe Not

Yesterday I sent an email that went like this. It seems a little silly... but for my peace of mind I had to ask.


Nurse C,

First of all, let me say that you have a hard job! I’m sure that making calls like the one we got yesterday isn’t easy...and you handled it very well. Thanks for doing such a great job for patients like me each and every day. [Mr. Thompson] and I appreciate you.

So now that things have sunk in a little bit...I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

I’m assuming that the blood test measures hormones...what was our level compared to a favorable range? I’m assuming that the pregnancy-like symptoms that I’ve been having are a result of the Estradial and/or Progesterone which is why it gets so confusing and hopeful. (mixed with a little psychology, I’m sure)

Also, this may seem like a silly question but....how definitive are the results? I only ask because the one time that we did get pregnant before (with our second trimester loss)...Dr. [Q]’s office did blood work on November 30th and the results were that I didn’t even ovulate. On January 5th we found out that not only did I ovulate... but that we were 6 1/2 weeks pregnant. It didn’t show up on the blood test. Any chance of that happening again with this blood test? I guess I want to go forward without any little doubt in the back of my mind. I hope that makes sense...

Again, thanks for being so great. I’ll schedule a meeting to sit down with Dr. [H] next week.


Sincerely, Me

This was her reply:


J,

I've been thinking about you since I made that call. I hope that things are going "okay" for you - I know that it was disappointing news and I'm sorry it wasn't better. Please don't forget to take care of yourself right now and let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.

As far as the test went...it was very definitive. Your level was less than .05.....

We would consider a 5.0 a pregnancy but it would be a pregnancy in danger - possibly a biochemical pregnancy. For strong positive results we like to see a 100.0 but again, would consider even down to a 5.0 to be a positive that we need to watch. Unfortunately with a .05... we are confident that is a negative result.

I understand your need for no doubt based upon what you experienced with Dr. [Q and I hope that I was able to provide it. I'm not sure how Dr. [Q] was reading his results but we feel confident about ours. Again, please take care of yourself and Dr. [H] looks forward to sitting down with you when you are ready to go over everything.

Sincerely, [C]


...and there you have it people.

.05

Now why didn't that make me feel any better?! Out of 33 "great" eggs....27 became fertilized....only 2 survived for transfer...and of those two who received the highest quality classification, neither could amount to anything beyond .05?!

$%^&@!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Right vs. Wrong

Let me be honest - I was completely surprised by our negative results. Dumbfounded actually.


I know that it's been 4 1/2 years of this mumbo-jumbo and I shouldn't have been...but this time was different. Even though we had difficulties on this last attempt - all signs pointed in the right direction.


Two perfect blastocysts.


More importantly...things just felt right. We have been in a great place mentally. We have been in even a better place spiritually. It felt right.


Wrong.


As Mr. Thompson was rubbing my belly last night and as I snuggled close to him I said, "we're going to have a baby you know...". He squeezed me tight and said, "I know."


And that's how we felt. Deep down. To our core.


This two-week wait has actually been awesome for us because for the first time in a long-long time we were just able to bask in hope. No disappointment. No fear. Just faith and hope. And with that we drove to the doctor's office this morning knowing that we had done our best and qualified ourselves for parenthood to the fullest extent possible.


After I gave my blood, Nurse C asked me if I had experienced any spotting or bleeding. Nope. She smiled and said "these are very good signs!".


And off we went with a big grin on our faces.


I laugh now at how optimistically I answered when she called a few hours later. I answered chipper - she replied sad. "J...I'm really sorry but it isn't good news...It's negative."


I think I mumbled a "thanks" and calmly walked out of my door to Mr. Thompson's office. I closed his office door and shook my head no.


I was fine until I looked up from his monster hug and saw the tear slide down his cheek. From there my goal was to just get out of the building without breaking into the ugly cry.


I made it as far as the parking lot.


I wish that I had the answers beyond that but I don't. I came home and went to task on my dead rose bushes in my back flower bed. Mr. Thompson has bought me a rose bush every Mother's Day since we lost Colton and ironically...all three died this winter. Ripping them out has been on my "to do" for weeks but I've been trying to be careful.


Today, that changed. So I ripped them out with a vengeance. Forget the fact that I was bawling the whole time that I was doing it.


A few people have asked me if the blood test is definitive. I think it is. I don't know what the level was or anything because I really only heard "I'm really sorry", "not good news" and "negative"...but I promptly came home and took a pregnancy test. You saw that picture in the previous post so yeah, it's pretty definitive.


Part of me wants to hold out a little bit of hope because we didn't know we were pregnant with Colton until week 5 or 6....it just didn't pick up on testing (including a blood test at the doctor's office) but if I remember correctly, that blood test was earlier than two weeks so there should have been something on this one. I know it's crazy to go there in my mind so, at this point, I'm not going to. It's negative.


What's the next step you might ask? We don't have one. There will be no more IVFs - this was the last. There will be no more IUIs - we did five. There will be no more Clomid, Fermara, Gonel-F, or daily pee sticks for ovulation prediction - that's been part of our daily/monthly routine for 4 1/2 straight years.


For now I'm just going to make peace with God and focus on figuring out what "right" really feels like if this wasn't it. For me, that's the bigger disappointment and challenge. I'm also going to take care of my Mr. Thompson because he is heartbroken over this and that's the harder part for me. He understandably feels like he isn't good enough. Truth be told, so do I.


I will add that that I'm going to stay away from the television too...because if I hear one more news story about a child who was killed or abused by a parent that didn't want them...I'm going to go crazy.


That isn't right - for that I am still sure.

You're Invited...



It's official. I'm throwing a Pity Party and your invited.

Wanna come? (but bring your own tissue because I'm running out...)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Thompson Family Circle of Trust, 12DP5DT

(12 days past 5 day transfer)

I'm trying really hard to be relaxed...but I think I'm failing. I had my first at home pregnancy test temptation but I'm happy to report that the stick didn't beguile me even though I couldn't go to sleep until almost 2:00am this morning (despite being drop dead tired).

When I finally did go to sleep I had the most bazaar dream in which I drove off the Key Bridge and almost drowned to death. Living in Baltimore, I would drive the Key Bridge pretty regularly and never had an issue...

Until last night.

I lost control of our car and sent it over the side of the bridge. When we hit the water I couldn't get Mr. Thompson out of his seat belt fast enough to save us both. I woke up gasping for air at 4:00am with my heart racing and tears pouring down my face.

Bazaar.

All I can say is that I'm looking forward to 8:00am tomorrow morning. Thanks everyone for all of the love and support that you've given us - you've been wonderful during this long wild ride!

Which is why, as we've been putting more thought into Viva la Vida and the decision to either go private or stay public... we've decided to stay public for now. This decision came with Mr. Thompson's blessing, which for him was a very big deal. Out of respect, I'm going to ask my peeps (and non peeps) for a favor.

If you are reading this and you know me in real life...then after tomorrow you will be a part of the "Thompson Family Circle of Trust". (If you so chose and come back to read results).

To quote Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents.... Let me introduce you to a little concept called the circle of trust. You see, the circle of trust means that we keep no secrets from each other. You trust me, I trust you, and around and around we go. But when you break the trust, you will be outside the circle, and there is no coming back. So are you in Focker or what?"

I really hope that you're in. But just so we're on the same page if that's what you decide...let me spell it out for you. If you read this and you work with me or for me....you better not repeat what you read here. If you are a friend of family member...you better not repeat what you read here. To. Anyone. Period.

You trust me, I trust you, and around and around we go.

You do not have a right to discuss with anyone whether our results are positive or negative. That is a right singularly reserved for Mr. Thompson and me. We thought long and hard about going private so we could keep things "private" a little longer. But we opted to trust you and let you stay in our circle earlier than most. So don't go discussing it with your co-workers, boss, mother, brother, sister, or friend.

You only get to talk about it to me (privately)- until I tell you otherwise. (but feel free to wink at me public and we'll both know, whatever we know.)

So are you in Focker, or what?


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire... 11DP5DT

(11 days past 5 day transfer)

Remember yesterday how I said I felt so great? Yeah...I was lying.

Today, I feel like crap.

These cramps have me a little worried. I called the nurse yesterday in a little bit of a panic because I realized too late on Friday night that I only had enough Estradial to get me to Sunday morning. When there are so many pills in the bottle you forget how quickly you are going through them with a dosage of 3 pills, 3 times a day. I thought I had more than I did until I did the actual count.

So I was a little worried because I knew that my nurse wasn't going to get the message until Monday morning, after I missed a dosage (possibly two). Up until this point I have followed the dosage/timing instructions on everything religiously.

Then I had a really rough night.

So imagine my delight when my phone rang at 8:00am it it was Nurse C because she decided to check her work messages early on a Sunday morning. Bless her. We got the medicine straightened out which was a relief...and then she asked how I was feeling.

Not so good.

She called later in the morning to check up on me...still not so good. So she recommended that I "take it easy in bed".

I'd tell you what's wrong but I don't know. Besides the cramps I just feel like crum. Totally lethargic. I stayed in bed until noon and then slept from 2:30pm - 7:00pm only to feel worse.

Mr. Thompson is concerned and in my opinion, Tuesday can't come soon enough. At least then we'll know what the source is - good or bad. As for me, I still believe that it's all good.

Faith people - we gotta have faith!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Motherland - 10DP5DT

Today we went to the Utah.Scottish.Festival & Highland.Games and Mr. Thompson bought us a good luck charm....


(WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A BAGPIPER)


I love that Mr. Thompson is thinking so positive. After so much disappointment, I think that is what I've loved about this "two week wait" the most. I know that for many these two weeks are full of stress and anxiety. However, for us the last ten days have been full of hope and dreams and that is what we've tried to stay really focused on since our transfer.


I feel great. Slight cramps and a little swearing over the progesterone mess... but aside from that, I lay in bed each night like Buddha while Mr. Thompson rubs my belly.


Hoping. Praying.


Goodness - we bought onsies at the Highland Games today. How great is that?! We also watched my pipe band (Salt.Lake Scots) take first place in the bagpipe competition. I got into the band last year but gave it up when I took on a higher priority on Tuesday nights.


...and as I was giggling until 4am last night at a youth camp out (cabin style!) with a bunch of Young Women leaders, I am ever so glad that I did. They are all great moms and last night, as they were talking about daily life in their own families, they reminded me why Mr. Thompson and me are doing this.


For a little bagpiper(s) of our own.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dumb & Dumber, 7DP5DT

(7 days past 5 day transfer)




Note to self:



"Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid!"
- John Wayne




Today we got 14 pallets of Girl.Scout cookies delivered to us as a nice donation for blood donors. Stupid me started unloading boxes like nothing was up...until I realized what I was doing.

Stupid. Just plain stupid.



And I hope that my kids still love me because I'm sure that I made them even more mad when I worked 8am - 7pm without taking even a lunch break.


Dumb and Dumber.



Mr. Thompson is changing his mind about this private blog business because he actually thinks it might be a good thing if people at work know - then they will help save me from my own stupidity.

Something to think about...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Time Has Come... (6DP5DT)

(6 days past 5 day transfer)

So I have a little bit of a problemo. Another conundrum. It started with a passing question from Mr. Thompson on the day after our transfer which went something like this...

"So honey - how are you going to get out of not posting our results on your blog on the 14th?"

(screeching breaks and crashing glass) ummmm....what?!

When he took something up to my office in my absence a little while later that day and got peppered with questions about "bottoms up" and if I was resting comfortably with my "feet up in the air"...it sealed the deal in his mind.

Houston - we officially have a problem.

I've been outed.

As open as I've been on Viva la Vida - there is something that you need to know about Mr. Thompson and me. In real life we are actually very private (gasp - shock - awe, I know!).

We met at work as managers of two different departments. We became great friends and dated without a single soul from work knowing for almost a year. We got engaged and planned a wedding in Hawaii without co-workers and employees finding out until a week before our plane took off.

It was the coup of a lifetime and I pulled it off.

We even went through a very difficult pregnancy very privately. With the exception of my family...I only remember actually telling one dear friend about our experience personally and that ended with me putting my face in my hands and bawling my eyes out over Italian food. It required very few words because I couldn't find them. Which is why I started writing.

And writing.

And writing.

And writing.

which turned into this.

...and now that "this" is more about the future rather than the past, I've suddenly become a little more hesitant about putting it all "out there" with the masses. Especially, the masses I deal with on a daily basis (no offense because I love them all). Getting pregnant is only a small part of the battle for us. Stay pregnant is an entirely different matter.

And although I said I was going to shout it from the rooftops for anyone within hearing distance if I ever receive that miracle again (so I can bask in every glorious moment whether it lasts 9 minutes or 9 months)...I think I'm balking on that idea a little bit.

So I'm throwing around the idea of Viva la Vida going private for a while. (but does that contradict the whole title?!) Like I said, a conundrum.

If I do, I'll make it easy for you with a public updater so you can see the updates and follow along a little easier but it's a tough call. I love my peeps. All 171 of you...

What do you think?

Monday, June 6, 2011

And So It Goes, 5DP5DT

(5 days past 5 day transfer)

Today I'm taking it easy. I started cramping. Not severe cramping but still noticeable. Sorta like menstrual cramps - but not. Different...yet same.

It kinda, sorta (totally!) made me worried.

So I left a message for the nurse and sent my trusty eBFF (electronic best friend) a FB message. I started this latest IVF journey with Krista @ Taking Small Steps Towards Baby Steps in January and she's been blazing trails for me ever since. I figured that she'd have the answer to this one.

She did - she told me not to stress during this two week wait because whatever is going to happen is going to happen. She said what the nurse said...that mild cramping can be a normal/good sign of the embryos burrowing into the lining which usually happens 4- 5 days post transfer. That sure beats what I read on the Internet for the .02 seconds that I googled it.

Who knows. What I do know is that I don't know anything at all.

Seriously, I don't. If I did, I'd know whether I should lay down or move around to create blood flow because there is contradicting information on that too....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Laugh Out Loud, 4DP5DT

(4 days past 5 day transfer)

Today I got the chuckles.

I started thinking about the funny things pertaining to IVF. So much isn't (99.999%)...but today I started laughing as I thought about the .001% that is:



  • Like when you go in for ultrasounds so often that Husband starts spicing things up by taking naked pictures of you on his camera phone while your getting undressed. You scream loud enough at him to stop that a nurse enters the room before you've got the paper blanket securely on.

  • Or when in pre-surgery they bring a hospital gown, cap and footsies for you...and a paper gown, cap and footsies for him. Before you know what's happening Husband is taking off his clothes too because (as a joke) he thought "get completely undressed" were instructions for both of you. (We were later told by the nurse that one husband actually did this for real and sat there naked in that see-through paper gown showing all his glory... without thinking anything was wrong).

  • Then there is that deep sigh of relief that Husband gives (loud enough for everyone to hear) when the nurse says post-transfer that there should be no sex for 5 days. When the nurse and wife act surprised at his obviously relief, he loudly proclaims "nobody told ME about that progesterone mess!" (for which people in the other room start laughing).

  • Speaking of progesterone mess - it's either a deep muscle shot in the butt (with a 5 inch needle!) which Husband enjoys giving way too much...or white crap you have to shove into your who-ha three times a day while standing on your head. (This goes on until 10 weeks gestation I'm told so please pray for me!)

  • Then there is that bladder business. I'm going to have to tell the Thompson Twins that their mother almost peed on the doctor because she drank too much water before the transfer. I knew things were going to be bad the minute the doctor put that ancient torture device (aka: speculum) into my who-ha. As he cranked it open until it was basically big enough for him to jump inside, I knew it was a done deal. When the nurse put the wet goo on my belly and started pressing down with the ultrasound monitor (as a guide to the procedure), I started praying "please don't let me embarrass myself by peeing on this nice doctor...please don't let me embarrass myself by peeing on this nice doctor..." (Thank goodness I didn't but I was told other's haven't been so lucky!)

  • And when you are looking through Husband's phone to erase all the naked evidence...you run across some ridiculous post-op pictures from the retrieval that Husband took while you were still unconscious. One involves "the bird" (but in my defense my eyes were shut so I think it was staged).

What have I missed? Tell us your funny infertility/IVF stories...


Friday, June 3, 2011

Two By Two

Disclaimer: I failed high school biology and didn't do much better in college. You should know that before you read this post...

That said, I'm going to attempt to give you a little lesson in what I know of embryonic development as I lay here playing music to my belly. (Beethoven...because I want our children to continue to be motivated towards greatness. Starting with their implantation.)

Here it goes:

In January we retrieved 33 eggs. That's not typical - but we were happy despite our hyper stimulation difficulties. (8 - 15 is normal).

Of those 33 eggs....26 were mature and in good shape for fertilization after the ICSI (a procedure which injects a single sperm into an egg).

This is a picture (not ours) of an IVF embryo - a fertilized human egg (also called oocyte). This is what it looks like the morning after IVF egg retrieval when they check eggs for fertilization. Male and female genetic material (DNA) are in the 2 pronuclei - center of the photo

So we had 26.





Of those 26....only 7 made it to a Day 3 human embryo. The others just fizzled because of genetic issues or whatever. Luck was not on their side.

This is a picture (not ours) of a high quality Day 3 embryo at the 8-cell stage. 6 cells are visible in the plane of focus.

Many Day 3 embryos have to be transferred at this stage because of they start to decline (and something is better than nothing!). Of all the women in my "batch" (IVF clinics keep women in groups so everyone is on the same schedule)... the other's eggs either failed at fertilization or had to be transferred as Day 3 embryos.




So of our seven... only two made it to the Day 5 blastocyst stage. Not only did they make it - but they became two of the highest quality that Dr. R (Embryologist) has seen.

This picture (not ours) shows a high quality blastocyst on Day 5. This is when most lucky women are brought in for a transfer. With a blastocyst you can see the cells starting to clump in the middle which becames the fetus and along the surrounding perimeter which becomes the placenta.

The unlucky, like me, who go through ovarian hyper stimulation have to freeze the embryo(s) because conditions in utero are too dangerous.

So Embryologists like mine cry because they have to freeze great embryos which weakens chances. Like vegetables - fresh is always better than frozen. More nutrients. Same theory applies to embryos (although they are getting really good at cryopreservation - the freezing/thawing technique).

So how does Cryopreservation work?


What I do know (which isn't much!) takes me back to my childhood. I was raised on a farm and every spring when it came time to impregnate my dad's cattle...the veterinarian would deliver a big metal canister and they would go to work. My dad would warn us not to touch the canister...but I, of course, would... and the outside of the canister would be cold to the touch. When my dad and the vet would open it up cold fog would pour out from the liquid nitrogen.

Inside that canister was the bull's (ahem).

The same theory must work for humans because when I googled human embryo cryopreservation... I saw a very similar storage tank for human embryo cryopreservation.

When poor women like me finally get better and go through yet more months of shots, pills, ultrasounds and blood draws in preparation of a FET (frozen embryo transfer)....the Embryologist says a pray and takes the embryo(s) out of the storage tank for a thawing process. Blastocysts like mine will thaw and be transferred same day. During the freeze the cells contract from those pictured above and as they successfully thaw they (hopefully)expand back to the pre-freeze expanded state with a similar cell make up.

Assisted Hatching is preferred on frozen embryos because it helps it along. Think of a chick hatching from an egg - embryos do the same thing. A little chick however has a little beak to help him/her break the shell - Assisted Hatching is where the Embryologist makes a crack in the lab to give it a head-start and higher hatching success rate. My clinic ideally does this on all FET embryos

A frozen embryo has contracted cells so they can usually successfully do it without problems - which was the case in our #2 embryo (the one I'm determined is a boy). However, our #1 embryo developed really quickly back to the full cell expansion before it got through the entire thawing process...so they couldn't do Assisted Hatching on it because by that state the cells were too expanded on the perimeter. Assisted Hatching would have jeapordized those placenta cells. The fact that "she" advanced so fast through the thaw was a great sign I'm told.

This is what ours looked like in the lab before I arrived for the transfer:


By the time I was prepped for the transfer Dr. R brought them back up on the screen and they were both expanded back to their original high quality state with complete cell expansion (both looked like #1 as pictured above). I guess that our "boy" just took a little bit longer to get there in typical male development fashion.

It was VERY cool.

So there you have it folks. Two by Two...these are the Thompson Twins.

(and don't get mad at me for saying that because what's a little hope going to hurt at this point?! For goodness sake - Beethoven is playing at my belly!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Today was a dream. An absolute dream.

It started at 4:00am when I literally woke up with a big fat smile on my face. I felt like a five years old on the first day of kindergarten.

Butterflies.

Excitement.

I could not go back to sleep so I went to work crunching numbers on next year's fiscal goals. I planned on taking the day off of work but was able to put the nervous energy to use which was a pleasant surprise. Meetings kept me preoccupied until almost noon when the call finally came that those two little perfect embryos were...

Still perfect.

Although it snowed on Memorial Day in Salt Lake City (unheard of!)...today the sun came out and shined really bright in the lab. Our thaw couldn't have happened more beautifully.

We spent time with Dr. H in a briefing and when it was time for the procedure, Dr. R (Embryologist) greeted us with a big smile on his face. He beamed of pride in his handy work and I beamed in pride of mine. Assisted Hatching only had to be done on one of the two embryos because the other one was so quick in it's cell expansion. It had completely expanded before they could get it to the hatching stage (a great sign I was told). The one that had the Assisted Hatching caught up and had the complete cell expansion by the time it was transferred - another great sign! I'm convinced that the fast developer is of course the girl...and the slower (yet still brilliant) one is of course the boy. :)

I have a great photo that I'll post tomorrow when I have a chance to scan it.

Luckily, my uterus was in full support so the catheter slid right into place easy-peasy for the actual transfer...and the embryos followed without a glitch. When it was done Dr. H and Dr. R started laughing at how easy it all went - abnormally so. It amazed us as we watched it on the monitor because everything was crystal clear...

Like it was meant to be.

So now they are home and they just have to decide if they like it there. If they do, they'll implant into my uterine lining and grow - grow - grow. I'm laying here taking it easy through the weekend to help ensure it.

Mr. Thompson is too as he waits on me hand and foot. He just brought me flowers and asked me if I needed to have my feet elevated (I'm laying it bed for heavens sake!). I laughed and told him, "no - but what they do need is rubbed!"...AND IT WORKED! That's really big for a guy who has a huge aversion to feet.

Grow babies - grow! I can get used to this...

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