Thursday, October 25, 2018

Baby Ridley Number 2 Coming June 2019

Well, it's official!  My beta at 11dpt was 909!!  This was almost as high as my 1st beta with Georgia at 11dpt which was 967.  As some of you may know, I never POAS because for me I'd rather just enjoy being pregnant as long as possible.  I think I'm one of the only ones in our vast community that does not test early.  For most people the wait just kills them & they need to know as soon as possible, but for me it's better for me to wait until beta.

My first test was scheduled for Monday the 15th.  I always go really early to the lab at our local hospital right before work so I can make sure I get my results same day.  I emailed my clinic and told my IVF coordinator that I had gone for bloodwork.  A few hours later she responded saying she'd be on the lookout for them.  My clinic is an hour ahead of us here in Illinois and their office closes for lunch around 11am our time.  The last several betas I had done I was getting back right around 11 so I was highly anticipating to get them at the same time.  I heard nothing so I tried to relax a little bit because I knew their office was closing for an entire hour and I wouldn't be hearing back any time soon.  12:30pm our time rolled around & still nothing so I emailed her again, no response.  My donor had texted asking for an update & she suggested calling the lab to see if they had even processed the labs yet.  I called & they said the HCG had been completed, however the progesterone & estrogen had to be sent out to another lab which is fine because those aren't as important as that BETA!  I emailed my nurse again around 2:30pm, still NOTHING.  I was sooo anxious and nervous and stressed out. 

I got off work at 3:30 and still hadn't heard from them so I headed to Target where I needed diapers and bought a HPT to take right there in the Target bathroom.  There was no way I could wait til I got home because I still had to pick up Georgia from my parents & then drive home, I needed to know NOW.  I went in the bathroom with a practically empty bladder and got probably less than the required 5 second stream needed onto the test.  It was a 1 minute result test.  I cleaned up the packaging that I had literally thrown on the floor and looked up at the test and saw that my test line was 10x darker than the control line!  It looked JUST like the first test I had taken with Georgia.  I knew instantly that my beta was going to be high.  2 of my close friends just happened to be shopping at Target & I ran into them as I was running through Target to grab tests.  They saw me before the test & I told them I had to leave.  Once I got my result I messaged them and told them to come to the bathroom ASAP.  I also sent out a few text messages to Joe, my family members, & our donor who were anxiously awaiting our first results.  I decided right away that I didn't want to share our test dates with more than our close family because of how our tests went last time.  It was confusing, stressful, and frustrating to tell people that I was pregnant just to have to turn around a week later and tell them it was a loss.  

The next morning I figured I would have an email bright & early from my clinic but I didn't so I started blowing up their phones in both Augusta and in Atlanta.  Neither clinic answered and I left a message, gave them about an hour, then called back.  The receptionist told me that the lab hadn't sent the results, but I'm not sure if that actually happened or not.  She put me through to the nurses line right away where the nurse delivered the news!  I also had her change me from the awful vaginal progesterone Endometrin to an oral version since I have to take it for about 8 more weeks.  I also continue with PIO til 12 weeks and baby aspirin until 18 weeks.

My clinic actually requires 3 beta's total if you're getting positives so I went back Wednesday at 13dpt and my beta came back more than double at 2044.  They wanted me to have one more but they wanted me to wait an entire WEEK so I knew my beta needed to be roughly over 10,000.  I went in again early Wednesday morning & by lunch time I had received my email.  Our 3rd beta came back at 32,103!  I seriously couldn't believe how close these numbers were to Georgia's betas, she was 3215 at 13dpt and 40,344 at 21dpt.  It was so amazing and relieving to hear how good my rises were.  I was able to schedule an ultrasound for Monday 11/5, I will be 7w2d so we should definitely be able to see everything we need to and also hear a heartbeat.

We are so very excited that we have made such amazing progress so far.  The next big step will be our scan.  As always, we appreciate everyone's love, support, prayers, and good vibes that were sent our way as we continue to journey down this path of growing our family.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

October - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is a month dedicated to remembering pregnancies and babies gone too soon.  It's a month when you'll see an increase in people sharing their stories of loss.  October 15th is the Wave of Light Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day; it can be a very tough time for people who have experienced a loss.  

Earlier this month I came across a post on Instagram shared by Infertility Illustrated and I felt compelled to share it in my stories because it really resonated with me.  This drawing with the words "well of course that was only a chemical pregnancy".  I explained along with the photo that for a long time I minimized my losses.  I experienced my first "chemical pregnancy" in January 2014 after an IUI, another in December 2015, and most recently this past July.  From what I've always understood a "chemical pregnancy" to be versus a "miscarriage" is that a chemical pregnancy is one that begins to implant, secretes HCG, but no gestational sac ever forms, whereas with a miscarriage, a sac and yoke are most likely present at the time of the loss. 

There were many times over the course of the years that I didn't feel as though our losses were worthy to be be considered a pregnancy loss.  I would minimize it and say to myself, well my beta was only a 50, or a 20, or an 8, so technically I shouldn't consider it to be an actual pregnancy.  When I shared these sentiments along with the illustration, I got over a dozen+ messages from women who felt or were still feeling the exact same way about their chemical pregnancies. 

What it took for me to realize that my losses DID matter and that they were valid and that my feelings along with those losses were warranted was the birth of my daughter.  I know not everyone who has experienced a chemical pregnancy has yet to or ever will get to this point in their journey, but for me, once I was finally able to see the life that was created, I realized that each one of those "chemical pregnancies" could've been a potential child just as amazing as the one I was finally holding in my arms.  With each message that I received telling me that they felt shameful of their loss, or that their loss didn't matter, I told them their loss DID matter, that every loss does.  

There are so many complicated emotions that accompany the loss of a baby at any time.  I think it's important that we break the silence around pregnancy loss and not worry so much about the definitions and terms as much as we do and focus on the fact that every pregnancy no matter how far along (even embryos in my eyes) could have resulted in a life, and that matters!  I don't think its fair to say that because someone was say in their second trimester vs. their first that their loss matters more or is worse than someone who lost their pregnancy earlier.  Along with the stigma around miscarriage and loss I believe there is also a stigma around how we refer to them; we should not be minimizing ANY loss!  

For me, I'd even like to see it be taken one step further to consider that every embryo transferred that fails be considered a loss.  I'm not sure that someone who hasn't experienced an embryo transfer or infertility would agree, but the 1 in 8 of us who have experienced infertility would probably agree.  Every single one of those was a fertilized egg, meaning that life was being created, the first step & several of the other steps necessary for an embryo to progress to the point of being transferred had taken place, to me that should count for something!  Just because an embryo didn't implant doesn't mean that it too wasn't a potential life, just as one that had implanted.  

I may be rambling and taking my thoughts too far, but after the outpouring of messages that I received after sharing this illustration, my mind started spinning as I realized the number of women who have experienced this and have felt the need to minimize their feelings and their grief.  If you've experienced any kind of pregnancy loss, please know that it matters and that you are allowed to be sad about it, you're allowed to be mad, and grieve over it for as long or as little as it takes.  Regardless if infertility was a factor in your journey to get pregnant, a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage, a stillborn, or the loss of any child at any point in their life is extremely devastating and it's something that no parent should ever have to experience.  Unfortunately, just like infertility, loss does not discriminate.  It can happen to anyone and often times there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.  

What I do see, especially during the month of October are women and couples who gather the strength to share about the loss they've experienced.  Sometimes it's the only they're willing to speak about it, while other share often.  There is no right or wrong way, the memory of those babies live on through their parents, siblings, and family no matter how often their story is shared and their mothers and fathers are constantly thinking about them.  If you've experienced the loss of a pregnancy or a child, please know that you are not alone & that no matter when that loss took place, no matter how brief that life was, it does matter. 

Friday, October 05, 2018

FET #2

You guys I have been such a bad blogger lately!  I had a draft waiting to be published with the details of my FET and for some reason never got around to actually posting it.  Life has been so crazy with a toddler lately that it's very hard to find time to commit to writing a post.  I'm actually writing this at 7pm on a Friday night.  We just returned earlier today from our trip to Georgia for our second frozen transfer and it's been an exhausting day to say the least!  

So let me back up and recap a little bit.  After our first FET in July resulted in a chemical pregnancy we were eager to jump into another cycle quickly.  I had to wait for my beta to go down and our doctor was going to be out of the country at the end of August which was likely when our cycle would take place so we had to postpone til September which we were fine with because it gave us some time to save up some extra money and give my body a little recovery time.  I expected my period to come Labor Day weekend.   My cycles are always very regular and usually about 25-26 days long.  Labor Day weekend came and went and I was so disappointed AF hadn't shown because that's all we were waiting for before we could get the party started with FET #2.  I was getting very frustrated and talked to my office about starting provera but I knew that eventually it would come on it's own, it was just going to be making a veryyyy late appearance, and sure enough 15 days later than it was supposed to, it came with vengeance.  It was so late I even took a pregnancy test which was of course, negative, but I just couldn't figure out what the deal was.  Luckily it finally did come and we were able to get our transfer scheduled.

I do not use BCP or Lupron in my protocol so it's basically get a period then start building up that lining with Estrace and Delestrogen injections.  I started with 2 Estrace a day and 1ml Delestrogen every 3rd day, a total of 4 injections.  I had my baseline on September 19th followed by my mid-cycle monitoring on the 27th and my lining was a fluffy 13.6mm in thickness.  My transfer was scheduled for Thursday October 4th.  On the 27th I also started progesterone in oil injections and increased my Estrace to 3x a day + added the Endometrin vaginal progesterone.  Needless to say I'm pumped full of hormones!  

We flew from Chicago to Atlanta on Wednesday the 3rd and hopped in a rental vehicle and made the 2 hour drive to Augusta to our donors house.  It was her birthday that day so her mom watched all 4 kiddos while her and her husband and Joe and I got to have a parents night out downtown Augusta.  We went to a place called Sole for sushi and cocktails and dinner.  I enjoyed my last few glasses of wine for hopefully the next 10 months!  The food was delicious and as always, it was so nice to catch up with Amy and Allen and have some time without the kiddos!  

Thursday morning we decided to take the kids to The Play House in Augusta to let them burn some energy.  Georgia was whiny and cranky pretty much all day, more than likely due to lack of sleep, but they all had a great time running around for a few hours.  Amy took the kids back to her house and Joe and I headed to the clinic for our transfer!  Everything went really smooth.  It was the most painless transfer I've ever had.  My retroverted uterus caused them to have issues seeing the embryo on the ultrasound but I am confident that everything went as it should.   We went back to Amy's house where all the kids were pretty much exhausted and cranky.  We decided it would be best to order pizza and go to bed early since we had to be up at 4am to head back home.

Friday we got up and headed back to Atlanta for our flight back to Chicago.  We spent less than 48 hours in Georgia and was an absolutely exhausting whirlwind of 2 days.  We are so glad we got to see our donor and her family again so soon.  We hope that next time they get to come stay with us and hopeful that this transfer will work.  The embryologist said that the embryo was expanding just as it should and everything looked really good.  This is our last 4AA, we have 3 other embryos on ice still in Georgia, two 4A-A, and 3.5AA.  

On our way home I decided to figure out when my due date will be and it just so happens to fall on Joe's birthday, June 22nd.  He's certain that "Joe JR" will make his appearance on that day and they will share birthdays!  I seriously cannot believe that we just did another transfer.  It all happened so quickly after waiting for what seemed like an eternity for my period to come.  Our quick trip seemed like an absolute haze.  Traveling with a toddler proved to be more challenging than ever this time around.  I'm hoping to get some good rest and hoping the days before beta go by quickly! 
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