It has been an extremely hard road over the many years of infertility treatment, but it has finally come to an end for us. I had my very last appointment with my fertility doctor yesterday, and finally “graduated” from infertility treatment for forever. In a bitter sweet ending, I hugged my doctor & nursing staff goodbye with tears of joy & relief in my eyes. Finally, after 8 years of treatment, it all now comes to an end, and the infertility chapter has forever been closed as of January 8th, 2019. With no embryos left in frozen storage, we move onto the next chapter in our lives which is simply focusing on the future of our family.
We transferred our last two embryos, and only one survived. We’re currently 8 weeks & 4 days pregnant, and cautiously optimistic that our future holds another miracle for our family. It has been a long road to get to this point, and the road is far from short from here. December 30th, I had a very big bleed and ended up in the ER thinking the worst had happened, and our last chance had been taken from us. After hours of waiting, an ultrasound showed our sweet little one still had a strong heartbeat of 137 beats per minute (stronger then 3 days prior at 121 beats per minute). Yesterday at my last fertility ultrasound, it showed 173 beats per minute which was great news.
I know I’ve been quiet and haven’t shared as much this time around, but each time I’d feel confident enough in embracing this pregnancy, something would happen. My HCG levels in the beginning were slow to rise - in my head I was devastated at the thought of this pregnancy not progressing. A week later, we finally got to see the yolk sac & sac – finally some good news of development. Another week later, we finally got to see our little miracle’s heartbeat – finally I thought I could embrace this pregnancy fully now, and don’t have to be scared anymore. Then 3 days later we have a big bleed & land in the ER – immediately my head went to the worst possible place of devastation again, but a strong heartbeat was present, and an ultrasound shows everything is okay. Then we have an ER after visit on the 4th which showed baby is fine – finally I can relax a little. Then another ultrasound yesterday showed again baby is fine – I can relax now a little bit more.
Now we wait & hope.
Thank you to my wonderful neighbors who watched Colton while my amazing good friend drove me and sat with me all night and into the early AM hours in the ER. I would not have survived the ordeal without each of you helping in a time of need. I'm forever grateful to have such amazing people in our lives.
I’m not sure where to start because my mind is in so many places, but here are the facts that we’re currently aware of. On December 10th, our 1st blood test confirmed pregnancy with an HCG pregnancy hormone level of 185. This was a pretty good start (they're looking for anything between 50 & 100). We are cautiously optimistic at this point. The HCG level is to double every 2-3 days, so I was scheduled for another blood test on Wednesday the 12th, with results of the HCG at 323. That’s a 74.6% increase, doubling every 2 days & 11.7 hrs which is considered normal. Our feelings were very happy with this result! Our 3rd blood test was on Friday the 14th, with results of the HCG at 500. That’s only a 54.8% increase, doubling every 3 days 4.14 hrs, and considered lower than normal. Learning this news, I was devastated that something was wrong and immediately started to think the worse. They scheduled us for a 4th blood test Monday the 17th, with results of the HCG at 922. The increase is good at 84.4%, but it’s taking 3 days 9.56 hrs to double and is considered lower than normal still. So where do we go from here? We are scheduled for an ultrasound for tomorrow the 19th, where they will check for the yolk sac. The yolk sac is the first thing to become visible inside the gestational sac and appears 5.5 to 6 weeks gestational age (I’ll be 5 weeks 4 days). So, basically at this point we wait. If all looks good tomorrow, we wait some more, until December 27th for another ultrasound to check for a heartbeat. It may not seem like a lot of waiting, but it feels like eternity. Not having control or immediate answers is by far one of the hardest parts. So that’s where we are at currently. Hopefully I have good news to update soon. Merry Christmas!
So much to be Thankful for…..
I’ve been a little silent since our ERA mock cycle deciding how to properly put into words my feelings. In case it wasn’t apparent in my last blog post, I did not want to do that mock cycle. The thought of another cycle with all the appointments, meds, and cost with possibly no outcome was a miserable thought. In the end, we opted (me reluctantly) to do the ERA mock cycle. It required everything that a normal frozen embryo cycle entails, and on day 20 we would do a biopsy instead of an embryo transfer. What does this mean – well, you have a 3 day window on when your body is ready for the proper time for the frozen embryo transfer, on day 19, 20, or 21. We were successful with Colton on day 20, so our doctor did a day 20 transfer in May with one embryo, and in July with two embryos – both failed which prompted our doctor to put the biopsy on the table to see if maybe we’re a day 19 or 21. Our results – DAY 21! I fought, didn’t want to do it, but in the end (WAIT FOR IT), my husband was right (do not ever tell him I said this LOL). He wanted answers, a reason, and I get it – but it was my body going through another cycle for a “possible result” – in the end, I’m glad he pushed for it to happen.
So where do we go from here? Well, I began my final embryo transfer cycle back in mid October, with all the appointments and medication. Today, I had my FINAL blood & ultrasound appointment pre-frozen embryo transfer – my FINAL ONE EVER. This is a very exciting moment, because we began this process 8 years ago this very month in 2010. Our very last frozen embryo cycle will be next week on November 29th, using our very last two embryos. The fertility portion of our journey comes to an end next week, and I can’t even wrap my head around that, because fertility has become a way of life for me on so many levels - physically & mentally. Not having another fertility appointment, fertility treatment, or fertility payment due is a HUGE deal in our world. I feel like I’m somehow going to lose a portion of who I am, but also gain a huge part of myself back as this chapter closes in our lives.
While we are hoping that our final embryo transfer ends in a positive pregnancy test, there’s also a chance that may not happen for us. I can’t tell you how I’ll react come December 10th when we have our final pregnancy test, but I do now that I whatever happens we will be okay. We will be okay because we are lucky enough to be blessed with one perfect miracle within this process, Colton. We are thankful for medical science, our doctor, and nursing staff over the years for giving our son life and making it happen for us. We are thankful for all the support over the last 8 years – 8 YEARS!!! Many people reading this made IVF possible for us, and without IVF we wouldn’t have Colton in our lives. We are thankful for every single one of you who have supported us over the years, kept up with the blog, or who have simply checked in to ask how things are. Without all the support and encouragement, we may not have come as far as we have, we may not have Colton, and I just cannot picture that at all….life would be incomplete without him (understatement).
We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, and remember to be thankful for the little things.
I’ve been quiet for a while, but now that I’m finally on DAY ONE of my VERY LAST FERTILITY CYCLE EVER, I figured it’s time to share what we’ve been up to the last couple months. After losing one embryo in May, and two in August, we knew we had only one more shot to use our last two embryos. We decided to do a complete mock IVF cycle to perform an endometrial receptivity analysis (ERA). This means that we just completed an entire cycle with all the doctor appointments, medication, & cost, but instead of an embryo transfer on a specific day, we did a biopsy called an ERA. The ERA test helps avoid implantation failure by establishing the best day for embryo transfer using a biopsy sample of endometrial tissue. It will determine if the endometrium lining is receptive or not at the time of sampling, by analyzing 248 genes involved in endometrial receptivity. The ERA test can find the personalized window of implantation in case of displacement, and will allow a personalized embryo transfer. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Well in English: The ERA test will inform us when my uterine lining is ready for the embryo transfer to take place – on day 19, 20, or 21. Now our son Colton was successfully transferred on day 20, so my test has a high percentage of coming back as a day 20. However, if it comes back a day 19 or 21, then we possibly know why our last two cycles failed. I personally hope it’s a day 19 or 21 result, so I can have some sort of closure & understanding the loss of our three embabies in those cycles.
So now “day one” is finally here today, where do we go from here? Tomorrow I have blood and ultrasound, and the cycle moves at a pretty slow pace from there. Birth control begins on day three or four (so this Saturday or Sunday) and will last for 3-4 weeks. Birth control is used to suppress follicle development, decrease the chances of creating cysts that would interfere with the cycle start, and allows the doctor to control the timing of the entire cycle. The next step is to begin IVF meds (Lupron injections, estrogen patches & suppositories, progesterone injections & suppositories – sounds fun right?), which will then move on to an embryo transfer in early December (1st or 2nd week of). So the cycle itself is approximately 60 days from start to embryo transfer, and then another 10-12 day wait for a pregnancy test.
My thoughts and feelings on going into our very last fertility cycle – it’s very bitter sweet. Infertility treatment gave us Colton – he’s our miracle, and without treatment he would not be here with us. However, we began this journey in 2011, and my body and mind have endured more than most people can possibly imagine. So with that being said, I’m happy to be entering our very last cycle, and finally be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives when it’s over, whether the end result is another miracle or another heartbreak. All I can do now is remain positive and hope for an addition to our family in December.
Quick update Mr. Colton Charles – Time sure does fly, he just turned TWO! He’s has the most amazing personality, is always keeping us on our toes, always making us laugh (even when he gets in trouble), and melts our hearts with that big heart of his. He’s learning so quickly, saying more words, & repeating things (which can be a little scary HAHA). However, with the age 2, come the “terrible” parts also LOL. He knows exactly how to push buttons, just the right time to throw a tantrum, and sometimes struggles with sharing with buddies, but we’re working on that. He’s just a perfect little human and we love him so much. We can’t wait to watch him grow more, even if some days we just want to freeze time so he’s this little forever.
I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out here….we’re all smart enough to know I’ll be able to have a ginormous glass of wine (or two), while indulging on the finale of the Bachelorette after Colton goes to bed tonight. I’m thankful for my son (more then anyone will EVER know), but I’m still grieving the loss of two more embryos. I don’t think that many people will ever understand that, but I’m putting it out there anyway.
As a mother, you want to give your child everything. I want my son to have a sibling. He may not consider that the same caliber gift as a bike, toy truck, or a new pair of shoes (he’s obsessed with shoes), but I’m thinking about long term here. I realize I can’t guarantee a close sibling relationship, but I want to provide my son with that person who will know him always, the one who understands what it was like to grow up in his home, the one who’s still there when we’re gone. I know it’s morbid to think about, but I don’t want to leave him alone if anything should happen to my husband and me. I know he will have extended family, good friends, and someone to love, but as a mom I want insurance! Call me crazy or laugh in my face, but I’d also like to experience raising siblings. I imagine it’s hard – much harder then what I’m doing now, but that’s my “Everest”. I want to take on the challenge of the schedules, the sharing, and the “it’s not fair”. I want to see how different or similar my kids would be. I want the messy and the dirty, I want it all. Are you listening uterus of mine?
One of the unique struggles of secondary infertility is that I know in time, if I must, learn to accept the dream of a sibling for Colton not happening. It does help that the one kid we have is pretty incredible. We are lucky. We are grateful. I want to experience that miracle again. Is that so greedy of me? Coming to terms with the fact that this entire situation is out of my control has been extremely difficult. Sometimes things in life happen that aren’t fair, and that’s all there is to it. It doesn’t make me feel better but it’s the truth. Life is not fair – can I get an AMEN?
To all the prayers, positive vibes, and encouragement - THANK YOU! It all helps more then you know. My heart is very deep with love for everyone in regards.
Choo choo! All aboard the crazy train! No, actually.....don't get on. As much as I'd love the company, it really effing sucks here....and anyone who is familiar with infertility would agree that this train can derail at any moment.
We had embryo transfer #2, trying for baby #2 (and possibly #3), transferring 2 embryos on July 26th. The days before, day of, and few days after, I was so positive we were about to add to our family - it was going to work this time!
The day of the transfer, my best-friend and I headed downtown for the procedure (my husband was working out of town and thank God for her....she wouldn't allow me to go alone). The transfer went perfect, and I got to see my embabies before they were put in, they were the finest of miracles. Once the procedure was done and we were released to now go relax, we drove back towards home stopping to have a quick lunch. Once home, I rested while Colton was at daycare. I picked him up in the early evening and spent the rest of the night with him.....in my mind relishing my possible last months with him as an only child.
1dp5dt: (That's 1 day past 5 day transfer), I took Colton to daycare in the morning, and per my doctor rested more at home. I binged watched TV and napped a lot! My husband also finally made it home, which I was very happy about. We headed out to the local county fair late that evening to let Colton see all of the farm animals for a couple hours....fun, relaxing, and much needed - I was getting a little stir crazy on the couch for the last two days.
2dp5dt: Saturday I started my morning out with acupuncture (associated with fertility and the embryo transfer specifically), and after we had a relaxing day with family celebrating a graduation.
3dp5dt: Sunday I relaxed prior to heading out with my husband, sister in law and brother in law for a concert (which was a very fun yet relaxing evening in our suite - talk about a wonderful all access treatment at Wrigley Field for the Foo Fighters).
4dp5dt: Monday morning I headed back to work, which wasn't stressful at all, but this is the day things started to spiral out of control......GOOGLE is the devil! I started to googling....you know, the usual "4dp5dt symptoms", "4dp5dt BFP", and so forth. For those who don't know what BFP is, it's a big fat positive on a pregnancy test. Might as well point out POAS is "pee on a stick (pregnancy test)", since we'll get into that rats nest quick here.....
5dp5dt: This was the day I got my BFP after POAS at home when pregnant with Colton, so I always think on this day "Today could be the day I get a positive!" However I kept myself from cheating and running to the bathroom any chance I got......I wasn't yet ready to stare at a test praying for two pink lines yet. So I held out and turned to obsess yet again to GOOGLE. I mean, you didn't think I could totally control myself did you? HAHAHA! Your stupid if you did. Dummy LOL!
6dp5dt: I magically had a moment of clarity, where I realized that right now I might be pregnant. Two embryos had been put inside of me 5 days ago, which by any definition considers me pregnant. I could either enjoy it, and act and think like I was pregnant, or I could spend my time in a huge funk worrying about some time in the near future when I might not be pregnant anymore. A zen-like calm settled over me. Those 24 hours were the best I've had during this particular infertility journey.
7dp5dt: (that's today Aug 2nd): POOF!!! the calm was gone and the psycho bitch was back. I cheated this morning....I dug through a drawer and pulled out a magical stick wrapped in pink foil (all while doing a potty dance holding my morning pee), and I finally peed on that damn stick. I turned the test over and watched the clock for 3 minutes, praying that I'd see 2 pink lines once I turned it back over. I turned it over and my heat broke immediately....only 1 line. The doubts started to creep in, and the little voice inside of me started shouting at me! "You don't actually think you could be pregnant, do you? You're fooling yourself!". Pure heartbreak, but still have to hold it together for that "just in case there's a sliver of hope chance".
I know well enough that going into tomorrow 8dp5dt, and POAS with another negative result leaves me with very little faith that my 2 embabies made it. This breaks my heart.....two more babies gone. I'm pretty confident that I'll at least have the entire weekend to mourn before having to drag my puffy cried-out eyes into the fertility clinic Monday morning for my official blood draw and then head to work. The worst part of it, the medicine doesn't stop until I get the official dreaded phone call on Monday....this means I have to stab my ass for the next 3 nights with that damn huge weapon of a needle full of hormones.
Don't get me wrong here....I haven't entirely given up on this cycle. I'm still hanging by a worn out broken down tiny ass effing thread here. If all goes down hill which is how I'm mentally anticipating it will, know that I haven't yet given up on the process. I plan to go into another round.....our FINAL round. Can you even imagine? Our LAST and final round of fertility treatment. We have two embryos left, and they will be our final chance in one more embryo transfer. If that also fails, we can only embrace the fact that Colton was meant to be our only miracle......and what a beautiful miracle he is. I just only wish we could give him a sibling or two, but we have to play the cards we're dealt, and if only 1 win is what we get, then Colton is a good win.
Below is a photo of our two perfect embabies. One is even hatching which couldn't be more perfect. Please pray for my embabies and these last few moments that I'm PUPO (Pregnant until proven otherwise). I'm not sure why God continues to call my littles home.
We began our journey a few months back for our miracle #2 baby, using 1 of our 5 frozen embryos. This round of IVF started on 4/26, with an embryo transfer date of 5/15, and a blood pregnancy test to be performed on 5/25. In case you’re unfamiliar with IVF and the intense schedule of medicine, ultrasounds, & blood tests that it comes with it, let me describe my journey over the past month. I’ve endured 5 vaginal ultrasounds, 6 blood tests, 23 abdominal injections of hormones that I administered myself, 17 vaginal suppositories of progesterone, 17 intramuscular injections of progesterone oil in my rear with a ginormous needle - also administered myself (unless my husband was home which was about half the time), 25 estrogen patches in total on my abdomen, a total of 30 baby aspirin, daily prenatal, & once a week acupuncture (twice on transfer week). The embryo transfer itself isn’t the most comfortable procedure, but the excitement of possibility overshadows the fact that there’s about 5 people looking at your vagina, your insides, and let’s be honest here….it’s a painful process to have a catheter jammed through your cervix into your uterus. We got to see our “Embaby” (embryo) before it was inserted into the catheter, and that was a beautiful site to hold on to.
The photo is of our perfect little Embaby that was transferred on May 15th. 5 days after the transfer, I cheated – I took an at home pregnancy test hoping for two lines, but only one appeared. I had figured since I had tested positive 5 days after with Colton it would surely appear to be positive already, but it was early still so I remained positive. I tested again on the 6th day, then the 7th day, again on the 8th day, and finally the 9th day. By this time I was grasping for hope, but I knew the chances were now so slim.....deep down I knew my womb was empty. This morning I went in to have my blood drawn for the pregnancy test, and then patiently waited 6 hours for that phone call to confirm what I had already known deep down. Even though mentally I set myself up for failure, the pain of actually hearing the truth from my doctor was a lot harder then I could have ever imagined. I cried….I cried a lot. Our little Embaby didn’t make it…..and there’s no reason as to why, it just didn’t happen this time for us. Since I’m already a parent this time around (which is a new feeling going through fertility), I didn’t really know how I was going to react, but I never imagined it would hurt just as bad as the times before Colton was in our lives, if not worse because this was an actual embryo I already consider myself a parent to. Please don’t get me wrong, Colton is everything we could have ever dreamed of, but we now dream of adding another miracle to our family. Does that make us selfish? I know there are so many couples wishing to have the one thing we have already– just one miracle. None the less, it hurts. Infertility hurts…..it hurts physically, and the mental pain is unimaginable.
So what happens from here? I end all medication I'm currently on for this cycle, and I'll start my period within 3-4 days. So next week I'll begin a new cycle, and a new journey towards our Miracle #2 Baby....new blood tests, new ultrasounds, new meds, & new beginnings. The only thing to do now is grieve this weekend about the loss, have some wine, and start fresh next week. The only thing left to question now with having 4 frozen embryos left: Do we transfer 1 or 2 embryos this time?
Me In A Nutshell
My name is Kristina and I'm 37. Originally I'm a Southern CA girl, and I'm now living in the "burbs" of Chicago. I love my son, my husband, my family, my fur babies, and my wonderful friends. I love wine, love to relax, love to have a good time, I'm a little adventurous, love to people watch, and I'm always down for a last minute road trip to virtually anywhere. I'm obsessed with the smell of racing fuel...weird I know - and fresh cut grass! I love to be home, but hate to sit at the house. If I'm excited I get pretty random - sometimes I talk about multiple subjects at once - I'll admit it's probably hard to keep up. My husband and I battled infertility for 5 years before having a successful pregnancy - our son Colton Charles was born September 30th, 2016, Although we have had success with the birth of Colton, our battle still continues with infertility. I've learned it's a wonderful & beautiful thing to share with others the journey that we've walked in the world of infertility. Welcome to our story.