Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Baby Story (part 2)

If you missed part 1, you can catch up by CLICKING HERE.

So, this part of our journey starts in late August when we started Lupron shots (in the belly) and dexamathlasone (steroid pills) to prep for IVF.  I'll add that the TBRI training also included a 2nd neurotransmitter test that we could use on ourselves, a client, or family member.  I had MANY that I wanted to use it on, but decided to see where these meds/nutrition had taken me.  The test was due at the end of Aug.  I wanted to be sure that I had Camp Erin stress out of the way...so I sent it in very close to the deadline.  I was already taking the Lupron and Dex, so I wasnt sure how the results would come out. I'll post a pic later...but the Serotonin and Epinephrine were both in the normal range!!  Actually all were in normal ranges except 2.  One was too high and one was too low...these 2 play off of each other, so this makes since.  One is what excites and one calms us down.  Mine were off, but not too bad, and only having these 2 off rather than the looks of the first was a MAJOR improvement.  We didnt get it back until we were WAY in the throngs of this IVF cycle, but we were still pleased to see the difference.  I would call the 2nd test more "normal" and something that I can deal with.     

We decided to go to Lubbock to visit Ben's family for Labor Day.  It's only a 6 hour trip, but it's so much easier to do when there's a long weekend.  It was great to get away from "life" and just enjoy being together & with family.  We started the high dose gonal-f (stimulating drugs) shots on Labor Day.  Because of my poor response in the past, I had to do these shots inter muscular (in the booty w/ a big fat needle).  He started me on a HIGH HIGH dose of the meds...as high as he will go and wanted to start monitoring my progress early. So, starting that Friday, I started seeing Dr. Selah and his lovely sonogram wand every 2 days.  That first appointment, he was VERY pleased with my response and my blood levels came back higher than they EVER were back in Jan-even at the END of that cycle.  So, we were starting off well!  He acutally backed off the meds and we continued to lower the dose with each appointment.  After the 2nd or 3rd appointment where it was apparent that there were a LOT of eggs, he said "I may have messed up giving you such a high dose" and "I think you cured yourself w/ your nutrition" and was very worried about hyper-stimulation.  Hyper-stimulation happens after they retrieve the eggs and fluid builds in your abdominal cavity.  It can potentially be very dangerous & if you get pregnant, the symptoms could stay w/ you the whole pregnancy.  He began talking about retrieving the eggs this month, fertilizing them, and then freezing them for a month while my ovaries calmed down and then doing a "frozen embryo cycle" a month later.  I didnt want this, but obviously wanted to be healthy.

During this stimulation couple of weeks, I took a "social media fast" and just really focused on our family an spent a lot of time in prayer.  It was hard, but SO worth it!  Anyway, I ended up with VERY full ovaries and it became painful to walk!  At the end, he stopped all meds and let me "coast" for a few days before retrieval.  We had a LOT of eggs, we just had to wait for them to get big enough.  I was told to rest as much as possible and lay down when not working b/c I was seriously SO bloated!

Retrieval Day was on Monday September 17th.  Ben wore this shirt: 
He said I was his hero that day!

I was FREAKING out on retrieval day b/c he was using "conscious sedation" and not knocking me out.  Umm...I dont want to know about & be awake w/ a needle going where this needle was going!!!  I dont remember a ton, but I did feel things at the beginning and the end.

When they "woke me up" I was instantly wide awake.  I was the second retrieval of the day and went right behind another lady who came out snoring & was still snoring after I came out.  I was looking forward to a nap like that!  Well, I didnt get one.  The anesthesiologist came over and I was joking w/ him about saying anything dumb and if others ever said things that made him laugh.  He walked over to the nurse and said I might as well go home.  So, 20 min after my retrieval, I was dressed and leaving the office...all while the other lady snored on.  The official call later that day was that they had retrieved 24 eggs.  TWENTY FOUR!!

I was sore, but I went back to work on Tuesday.  Smart, right?

Well, come Wednesday, I could barely move.  I was in a LOT of pain, but never ran a fever.  We got a call from the embryologist that 15 eggs had fertilized successfully!!!  15!!!  It was at this point that I called my mom and filled her in on what we were doing. 

Wed night, I ALMOST had Ben take me to the ER...but decided against it.  I was in SO much pain and could hardly move! I didnt sleep at ALL that night.  I called the office right after they opened at 9 on Thursday morning and they wanted me to come right in.  Well, Ben had gone to work early and there was no way I could drive myself...so he left work (which is 35 min away and RIGHT by the Drs office) and came to get me and we went in to find that I was overstimulating and had fluid in my abdomen.  Pretty typical for when that many eggs are removed, and potentially dangerous.  So, they gave me a prescription and I was told that I was to be on strict bed rest until the transfer...which was scheduled for Saturday...with the transfer pending based on the hyper stimulation.

I went from the Drs office to my wonderful chiropractor straight home to bed where I stayed until Sat morning.

On Saturday morning, September 22nd, we went in at 8:30 for our transfer.  I didnt take any pics this day, b/c I was looking a hot mess after bed rest!!  Dr Selah left it up to me whether we wanted to transfer or freeze...I was feeling SO much better...so we decided to transfer!

This was a day 5 transfer (for those of you versed in IVF) and we had 2 embryos implanted and 3 more to freeze.  The embryologist was watching 4 more...and she ended up freezing them the next day.  SO, at that point, we had 2 in the oven and 7 in the freezer.
The 2 that they implanted
The embryologist told us that she is VERY picky when labeling the embryos (they give them a "grade" like the eggs in the super market) and that most of hers get labeled a 2.  Well, she said that one of ours was "as perfect as they come" and she couldnt give it anything but a 1 and that it was "probably a 1++ to others."  The other was a 2+, which she said was probably a 1, but that she was picky!

After the transfer, I was sent home for more bed rest!  My Dr only suggests 24 hrs, but some Drs do as much as a week.  Since this was a Sat, I took Monday off of work and did strict bed rest on Sat and Sunday and then took it easy on Monday.  My friend, Lauren, came over on Sat and brought me a hot drink, magazines, and sat with me for a while!  Tuesday I returned to work, but continued to take it easy that week.  So, I was going on the second week of hardly any activity and lots of bed rest!  With the transfer (or a few days before) comes the progesterone shots...inter-muscular...and in the booty.  These shots are even more brutal, though, because it is progesterone in oil (or PIO in IVF lingo).  The medicine is THICK and hurts like the dickens going in!  It left large knots on my hips.  These shots continue until you are 6-10 weeks pregnant.   UGH!

The next Sunday I went to Canton Trade Days with my friends Jaime, Lauren, and Lauren's friend Sara.  Maybe this wasnt the smartest thing to do after 2 weeks of minimal activity, but we had a good time.  We left after church/class on Sunday and got home around 5ish that afternoon.  So, we did a lot of walking.  It was a rainy day, so we stayed in the pavilions, but didnt actually buy much.  When we got to Canton, we stopped at a gas station to change out of our church clothes and use the restroom before getting onto the grounds.  Well, when I went to the bathroom I noticed that I had started spotting a little.  My heart SANK.  I didnt tell anyone, but my heart was so heavy for the rest of the day.  I have "started my cycle" SO many times in Canton, so I knew what was coming.  Although it was a fun day with friends...it was a hard day on my heart.
By the time I got home, the spotting had stopped and I realized I was in TROUBLE.  All of the walking and the shots in my glutes was NOT a fun combination.  I could hardly move...and it stayed that way for several days.  I would get up to move and literally cry out in pain!!  I was moving so slow & had some very good laughs about how I moved like my very pregnant friend at work, who was 8+ months pregnant at the time.

Anyway, I had stopped spotting, so I became hopeful again.  My first blood test (BETA) was the following Tuesday.  However, hen I woke up this morning, I had a LOT of red blood.  It was at that point that I knew that it was over.  This was how my cycle started...spotting one day, nothing, red spotting, and then full flow (sorry for TMI).  If I hadnt had to go in for my BETA, I wouldnt have.  It was at 9 & I was in the WORST mood.  I didnt talk to ANYONE in the Drs office that morning.  The nurse was trying to make small talk and asked if I had tested at home and my only response was "no."  I would get my results around 1 (and of course I had clients all afternoon, until 6 or 7).

This was literally the worst day ever!  I had time between my appt and clients at work, so I stopped and got a sausage biscuit and sweet tea from McD's.  It was a BIG splurge for me.  I wasnt willing to get a real coke (havent had carbonation since Feb), but if there had been liquor near, I might have stopped.  Seriously, the WORST morning I've ever had.  Sweet tea would have to do.  I came to work and didnt talk to anyone that I didnt have to (clients).  My conversations in my head were anything but gracious to God.  I had to do some serious apologizing to God after that morning!!  Seriously, BAD morning...I was at rock bottom with NO hope!!  I know we have 7 in the freezer, but these were the best 2...so why should anything else work?  Why try again?  I was SICK with the $$ that would be wasted.

Through this whole IVF/pregnancy, when anything would feel like it was going wrong or I would start to get anxious, the first thing that would pop into my head was a song we had learned while at camp taken from Isaiah 43:1-4 "Do Not Fear (I Am The Lord)."  I sung it a LOT during this time.  Over and over again in my head.  Nothing else would calm me as much.


Well, 1PM came and went and I hadnt heard from Heather, my nurse at Dr Selah's office.  I was seriously about to email her and say "look, I know it's negative...just call me."  It was around 1:45 when my phone rang.  I grabbed it and ran into one of our counseling rooms.  It was Dr. Selah and he said

"I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU" 

to which I replied "WHAT? ARE YOU SURE?" He then said

"Congratulations, you are pregnant!" 

and told me that my HCG levels were 71, which was a strong number for 1 baby.  I again replied with "ARE YOU SERIOUS?" among my SOBS.  Seriously...I have never just broken into sobs like this before.  He asked what was wrong & I told him about the spotting and that I thought I had started my period.  He asked how much? and I said "I dont know, I havent been back to the bathroom b/c I didnt want to know!"  He laughed and we talked a minute more before he hung up.  Somehow, I had walked into the ONE counseling room that was out of kleenex, so I literally had tears running OFF my chin!  I sat down and called Ben...still sobbing.  So, when he picked up & heard my crying (an UGLY cry)...and knowing what had happened that morning...he expected the worst.  So when I said "I'm pregnant" his response was "WHAT? You ARE?" and we laughed and had a nice moment on the phone. We had talked about my not being able to go on through my day if the test was negative...but I joked that I was such a mess from the positive, that I should just go home. I then hung up and tried to call my friend, Lauren, but she didnt answer and we continued to play phone tag in between clients the rest of the day!  Next was my mom, who again, I freaked out b/c I was still doing the ugly cry.  While still in the room, I called my bestie from HS, Kelly, who has been going through the same stuff & told her.

At this point, I had only told about 10 people what we were going through.  So, in between clients I ran to Walgreens and bought a pregnancy test.  As soon as I got home that night, I tested and this is what came up QUICKLY:
So, I texted that pic to the rest of our close friends who had been praying with/for us. It was a great night.  The highlight was my former co-worker, Charvette, who called and just SCREAMED into the phone.  It was greatness!  We were still so cautious, though!  I had another BETA in 2 days that we needed to double and then a couple of sonograms to confirm a healthy pregnancy.

The 2nd BETA was on Thursday and it exactly doubled...so we were thrilled.  Ben's mom's Birthday was the following Sat, so we wanted to wait until the 2nd Beta to surprise them.  They werent sure of the exact dates of the blood work (although they did know that we were going through IVF & had transferred)...so we were able to hold them off a bit.  We sent this pic in the mail along w/ t-shirts with "grammy" and "grampy" on them.  It didnt get their on Sat, but we knew that Ben had to give her a call on her Birthday.  He was dreading it b/c he KNEW they would be asking questions!  HA!  So, he finally called that evening and sure enough, she was drilling him with questions.  He kept replying "things look good, but we'll know more next Thursday."  So, he never lied, he just avoided the exact details.  They finally got the package on Mon & his mom took the pics up to his dad's office at the church to show him & they called right away.  Her response was "I couldnt get Ben to say ANYTHING on the phone" and I said "I know, I was in the background going 'get OFF the phone." It was a pretty funny moment!

The following Thursday, October 11th, we had a sonogram and saw a perfect looking sack with some "tissue" starting to form inside.
Week 5 sack
Look how far we've come!

And then one week later, on October 18th was our last appointment at Dr Selah's office.  We had a sono and saw a little bean, saw AND heard a wonderful heartbeat!!!  The heart rate was 121 and AMAZING!!!  What a STRANGE thing to be walking out of the office as "graduates" and saying "see you in a few years!"  His office had been a part of our weekly life for the last month and really a big part for the last year.  CRAZY!  This day also marked the end of the PIO shots...I had gotten a shot (or 2) in my booty every night since September 3rd & this was our first night without one.  PTL!!
GRADUATION!!  Thank you Dr. Selah...words arent enough!!
6 week sono w/ Dr Selah
At this point it was HARD to keep it a secret.  Our little group of 10 people that knew slowly became 20.  I dont think it went higher than that, though.  We knew that we wanted to wait until Thanksgiving to surprise my grandparents & mom's family before making public (FB) announcements.  BOY, was this hard!!  I am the girl who tells people what Christmas gifts I got them...on the day I buy them.  I am NOT good with secrets, but this one was important...and treasured!

I called and made an appointment with my OBGYN, Dr Tyuluman for Nov 1 when I was 8 weeks along.  At this appointment, I was SO disappointed to find out that he wasnt doing OB anymore.  He wouldnt be delivering my baby.  I was HEARTBROKEN!  I love Dr T & he knows SO much about my insides & has held my uterus in his hands before.  We did, however, get to take another look at the baby and hear the heartbeat again.  This time, we could see it jumping around and the heartbeat was in the 190's.  WHOA!  He said "this baby is EXCITED!" He also said that everything looked "perfect" and that he didnt foresee anything bad happening with a baby that looked this healthy. 

So, at 9 weeks, we decided to tell people that we are around all the time.  We told our Bible class at church...who let out a simultaneous scream...and then our works with the CAREFUL instructions not to post on social media, yet.  It was so fun to be able to talk about it!!!  Still SO surreal, but I dont know that it ever WONT be.

Dr. T had referred me to a new OB, so we started seeing Dr H. Richards at Walnut Hill OBGYN when I was 10 weeks.  Our first appt with him was on Nov 15th and we had another sonogram!  This one was the BEST because the baby had "nubs" and we could make out body parts.  We have an amazing video that Ben took on his phone & the baby is just wiggling and jumping all over the place.  Dr Richards comments "oh, wow, kicky baby!" on the video and laughs at how much it moved around.  We are in for it with this one!!  We really like Dr Richards (who appears to be all of 5 years old!! HA!!) and his office and are glad to be there for our baby & it's delivery.  Dr Richards recently had twins from IVF, so he knows just where we have been & we like that! We got a pic this day, but it is the worst b/c the baby wouldnt stop moving.  It looks like a large white blob.  Wow...what a whirlwind of 10 weeks!!!!!

Coming in part 3...ThanksMas, pictures, pregnancy symptoms, and weeks 12-15.  

2 comments:

Lauren said...

This makes me smile!!! So excited for y'all and am so glad I have gotten to be part of this adventure with y'all!!! :) can't wait to meet him/her!!!

The Granberrys said...

I have loved reading your story and all about your journey! Congratulations on your little peanut- SO, SO exciting!

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