Thursday, January 21, 2010

December 2009: Ob appt, daycare, and a little scare!

Had my first appt with my ob doctor on 12/17/09 - everything is still going great! I only gained one pound during the first trimester (not bad considering I had to add a mid-morning snack into my daily routine to keep from getting sick). I also got another another ultrasound (u/s) - baby was in the same position as last time. The ultrasound technician wanted the baby to move so she kept jostling him/her and the baby would startle and we'd see little arms and legs flailing about. Heart rate was 171. I was spoiled from my u/s at SIRM - this technician wasn't very friendly and didn't let me linger over every cute thing the little one did like Dr. S did and didn't really give me very good pics, but everything looked good!

Well, I thought I'd spend my Christmas break touring some day care centers now that I'm past the first trimester (13 weeks :) - plenty early, right? Wrong! Found 2 pretty good ones and their waiting lists are pages long! Since I'm a teacher and my school district has a partnership with one of the day cares, I can "bump" some of the people on one list. Really like that one - I can pay only $25 a week to hold my spot over summer vacations instead of $200! (yes, that would save several thousand dollars) but not sure what school I'll be teaching at next year so that day care could really be out of my way -- and they said there were no guarantees I'd get in even if I bumped some people since the waiting list was so long. The other one has a really good reputation also, but they're a little more expensive per week and don't have the summer-off deal, along with a waiting list. Do people put their names on the list as soon as they get a positive test???

Had a very nice Christmas, but had a little scare. I fell down the steps (carrying one of the kittens in the cat carrier - she's fine) and had a little bleeding. It stopped quickly, but I still panicked. Fortunately, I had my intralipids appt in Peoria soon after that and Dr. S let me do an u/s to make sure everything was okay and it is :) (yes, my 4th ultrasound so far) The baby looks good - and much bigger than before. Could see all of the little fingers and toes clearly this time. Still too early to tell if it's a boy or a girl - think I'll have to do one of the Intelligender tests like Aimee did to find out in a few weeks. This ultrasound was so much better than my last one - they're so nice there in the office and were just as excited as I was to see the baby doing so well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Poem 2009

This poem is overdue and I don't mean maybe.
I can finally announce I’m having a baby!

With three months down and six more to go,
I love being pregnant - wish time would move slow.

As you may recall, the attempts were expensive and many,
But now that I’m expecting, it was worth every penny!

G’pa calls my little one the “Million Dollar Baby.”
G’ma is just happy to have a grandson – maybe?

My sister is ready to pass on clothes from the girls
And gives me knowing looks when I say “my baby’s hair will have curls.”

My nieces are excited and just can’t wait
To have a cousin as a new playmate.

The cats are worried - as they well should be.
Their lives will be changing dramatically!

So thanks for listening when my life did suck
And thanks in advance for wishing me good luck!

I hope you enjoy this time of jubilee,
“Merry Christmas” from my family.

Monday, January 18, 2010

BFP??? BFP!!!

I just couldn't believe what they told be -- surely they got my results mixed up with someone else's! Time to POAS (for all of you not familiar with fertility terms: pee on a stick, a.k.a a home pregnancy test.) I took 2 tests to make sure that it was really positive - and I still didn't believe it (and, if not for my mild morning sickness and the fact that I was so tired and had to use the bathroom ALL THE TIME, there are times I still don't believe how blessed I am).

Then the wait for the first ultrasound to make sure the baby was in the right place - and to find out how many there were! On 11/13/09, after I held my breath and watched the doctor's expression to see if it was good news, I saw one precious little miracle measuring at 6 weeks 6 days whose heart rate was 143 beats per minute! Another peek at the baby on 12/01/09 showed the little one measured perfectly at 9 weeks and 3 days with a heart rate of 182 beats per minute. Dr. S said s/he was even sucking their thumb! Then time to graduate from my fertility doctor - which was hard, but fortunately, since I was doing the intralipid treatments, I get to go back to see them every month until 24 weeks!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Next (Baby) Steps

Well, I wanted to be a mom so bad that I wasn’t willing to give up yet. The doctors at UIHC told me they were thrilled with how I responded to that protocol and wanted me to try again. However, I had also started looking around at other fertility clinics and found one in Illinois with a great reputation for helping those with worst case scenarios, like me. I went to meet with Dr. Schultz. SIRM had a teacher discount plan – perfect for me since I had no insurance money left. Dr. S did some more tests and I signed up for the March cycle. Also, found that SIRM has a fantastic discussion board and made some friends who were going through this – and really value the support they gave me.

I did the LA8E2V (an agonist/antagonist conversion protocol) for the March cycle, along with intralipids and lovenox for NKa cells and elevated APAs. Things were going really well – I had 5 eggs retrieved, 4 were mature and 4 fertilized with ICSI. On day 3, we transferred 3 embryos – an 8 cell grade 1 with a GES (graduated embryo score) of 80, a cell grade 2 with a GES of 85, and a 6 cell grade 2 with a GES of only 20. Then yet another 2ww, and another BFN with no left over to freeze.

Well, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. S after that cycle failed and I realized she really was a great doctor – very open minded and I loved the fact that she valued my input! We talked about what went right, what went wrong, and came up with a plan that might work. It was just financing that was holding me back. So, I signed up for flex benefits at work, borrowed some money from my parents, and signed up for the July cycle with the LA10E2V (the protocol for the worst responders – with the highest doses of meds possible) for one last attempt at getting pregnant before exploring other options, such as having someone else carry the baby for me.
Well, at my cd9 (cycle day 9 – the first time that the doctor sees you for the cycle) appointment , we discovered that there were problems. My lining was way too thick, there was fluid in my uterus, and the doctor recommended that I cancel the cycle! Oh, no! Well, we talked and decided instead of canceling, we’d just freeze the embryos (I wasn’t getting any younger, unfortunately!), do a D&C and fix the problems with my uterus, then do a frozen transfer after my uterus had healed. After being on stim meds for a LONG time, I finally had my egg retrieval. 6 eggs were retrieved, 5 were mature and 4 fertilized – and the best news of all was that they were able to freeze all 4 embryos! I had a 9 cell compacting grade 2 with a GES of 65, an 8 cell grade 2 with a GES of 75, an 8 cell grade 2 with a GES of 95 and a compacting grade 2 with a GES 45 (didn’t say how many cells, but assume there were 8 – had to have at least 6 to be frozen). They expect at least half of the embryos to survive vitrification and warming – so I had 4 snowbabies waiting for me – or a surrogate to carry the baby for me if the doctor couldn’t fix the problems with my uterus.

In August, I turned 37 and also had a D&C, and for the first time in my life had a normal visit from Aunt Flo! And more great news – I got a partial refund since I didn’t do a transfer for the July cycle, so I was able to scrape together enough money to try one last fresh cycle in October.
Again, we tried the same protocol that we used in July since all 4 of the embryos looked so good that time. I had 5 eggs retrieved, 3 were mature and 3 fertilized. On day 3, we transferred all 3 embryos – an 8 cell grade 1 with a GES of 80, a 6 cell grade 1 with a GES of 70, and a 6 cell grade 3 with a GES of 30. Then another 2ww, in which I was sure that I’d get the usual news, but instead got a very surprising phone call – I was finally pregnant! Beta #1 was 60 (10/23/09) and beta #2 (10/27/09) was 405!!!

Guess it’s time to end this post (I know it’s long, but wanted you to have all of the background infomation) – and the next one will be about the baby and my pregnancy.

I'm Pregnant!

At this point, I’m actually 16 weeks pregnant and safely into my 2nd trimester! However, I really should start at the beginning of this incredible, emotional journey . . .

In 2005, at age 33, I went to my ob-gyn and told her I wanted to have a baby. Unfortunately, she found a dermoid cyst on my ovary and I had to have surgery and 99% of my right ovary removed. After recovering from the surgery, she recommended IUI (interuterine inseminations – or artificial inseminations), so I started on Clomid. Clomid is an awful medication, in case you didn’t know! I was so moody when I was on it that no one could stand to be around me! Anyway, tried Clomid, had to add a hCG trigger shot since we found out I don’t ovulate on my own, then added injectibles (Repronex) to the Clomid, the injectible meds with Femara and then progesterone support also – and tried IUIs for 3 years with no luck, despite my doctor’s reassurances (and no family history of infertility) that it would the next time we tried. Found out later that if it doesn’t work within a few months, it’s time to move onto a more aggressive method and that I wasted way too much time. Hindsight, huh?

In the February of 2008, I was frustrated, getting older, and ready to move on, so I transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). At my first appointment, I had an awful experience with the doctor. He insisted that I had PCOS, despite my previous doctor saying I didn’t have it and all of the tests indicating that I didn’t – he even pulled up my gown in front of some students and a nurse to prove he was right and that I was covered in hair. You should’ve seen the look on his face when he realized he was wrong! So, they ran some more tests (no, I don’t have PCOS but do have diminished ovarian reserve) and I got signed up for an IVF cycle in June. Well, I had a cyst (really, it’s an unruptured follicle since my body doesn’t release the eggs on it’s own) on my ovary and had to cancel that cycle, but I got into the July cycle (and had to fight with the pharmacy since the meds they had sold me had already expired! Fortunately, I won that battle.) Well, after being on meds with the microdose flare protocol for a week, they canceled my IVF cycle since I wasn’t responding to the meds. That came as a big surprise and was truly devastating for me.

Well, got ready to try again with a different protocol in September, but they found another cyst so that cycle was canceled. I got a great letter from them telling me that they’d try one more time, then they were giving up. Things were not going well! Well, I talked to the doctors and we found a way to get rid of the cysts using ganirelix before the cycle started, so I was back on track. In November, I finally completed an IVF cycle using the antagon protocol. I had 10 follicles, 8 eggs retrieved, 6 were mature and 4 fertilized normally using ICSI. We transferred 2 of the embryos (an 8 cell and a 6 cell) on day 3 and I held my breath during the 2 week wait (2ww) – and got a BFN (big fat negative), found out the remaining 2 embryos weren’t good enough to freeze, and I was out of insurance money. Wow! Lots of bad news all at once.

See the next post for what my next steps would be!