What I Did Differently for my BFP. 9.12.17

A whole lot, but also not much at all? As I’ve pushed through each step of round two of IVF, I’ve searched, and googled, and poked through the questions of other IVF patients on forums. All of us are looking for someone to tell us what to do, how to feel- prove to us that we’re not crazy. My husband thinks my obsessive internet searching is bad, but when you’re feeling so many different emotional and physical sensations, it helps you to realize you’re not alone. So I thought I’d put together a list of the things that led me to this first big fat (just barely) positive.

  1. Acupuncture– this is definitely the biggest and most expensive difference, but I feel like it really paid off. The downside is it’s an additional $75 a week. Fertility treatments are SO expensive, so this can seem unattractive to many people, but I truly believe in it. I am an easily stressed out person and acupuncture has helped to relieve so much of that. With each new needle poke, I visualize my daily frustrations and struggles fizzling out from underneath my skin. I also felt instant relief from Lupron headaches and first trimester nausea. Find an acupuncturist that focuses on women’s health, and give it a try! There is nothing to lose (it’s literally a 40 minute nap in the middle of a work day…glorious).

I also had a 25 minute acupuncture session prior to the actual transfer and directly after. I felt a strange sense of calm and relaxation walking into the OR. It was a welcomed feeling after a failed first transfer

2. Lying– we didn’t tell most of our close friends and family about the timing of this round. My Mom and my BFF were aware, and that was enough of an outlet for when I felt the need to chat about it to someone other than my husband. Pretending like nothing was going on helped make me feel like there wasn’t anything going on. It made the two week wait go by faster and relieved some of the pressure.

Just be sure that if you’re actually going to LIE, rather than just not share information, that you have a universal lie to share. Thanks Mom and husband for helping me keep up that charade 🙂

3. Fries– I ate fries at the nearest fast food restaurant after our transfer. If you are a chronic Googler of IVF tips and tricks, you see this one all over the place. This is just an infertility-world myth, but it’s easily one I can get with! Something about the sodium, yada yada, embryo sticks. They were the best fries I’ve ever had…

4. Socks– I wore socks into my transfer. Another myth/tradition! Warm feet = warm uterus according to some.

I do feel like this has some stock to it since my acupuncturist always wants me eating and drinking warm things to keep up my blood flow. She has also asked me to keep socks on around the house as the weather cools down. Go for it! Couldn’t be an easier one.

5. Alcohol– okay technically I had the alcohol the night before the transfer, but some websites and opinions out there tell you to treat your body as if you were pregnant during your prep time as well. Literally the night before my transfer, I was getting a nice buzz off of local sour beers. And it was wonderful!

You will get pregnant if your embryo and your uterus are ready to get you pregnant. Relaxing with drinks and friends the night before IS NOT GOING TO RUIN YOUR TRANSFER. Celebrate this big milestone.

To hit on the other IVF myths- I didn’t eat pineapple core (disgusting), I didn’t drink pomegranate juice, I didn’t meditate, I didn’t sit with one arm in the air and one leg tucked under my chin…okay, that’s an exaggeration…but I didn’t go hardcore and I still got pregnant. I’m barely pregnant, I still feel strange saying I’m pregnant, but it did work.

For specifics, this was a 5-day FET with donor eggs and frozen sperm and a somewhat dedicated but somewhat still cynical mother-to-be….it can be done.

Xoxo,

Sara

Where Have I Been? 8.28.17

I’ve been absent from blogging during our second round of IVF. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one was to help keep it a secret! We’ve started, completed, and know the results of our second round. This round was with donor eggs, as you’ve seen, and our donor was (anonymously) amazing.

Here’s the rundown:

In July, we started preparing for a fresh transfer. Our donor had her retrieval on July 27th, and 27 eggs were retrieved (weird!). Seven were mature and fertilized, four made it to day five.

We were prepping to transfer the best of those four fresh, but my body decided otherwise. Somehow, through the birth control and Lupron suppression, I ovulated! My body, which couldn’t do anything helpful in round one, over-performed in round two. Less than 10% of patients ovulate through the suppression drugs.

My nurse called and said we’d have to wait for my next period to start prepping for a frozen transfer and we were bummed, but of course happy to do what was best. Our four embryos went to the freezer.

Over the next few days, I kept bleeding. My nurse said it was just spotting, but I knew it was more (trust your gut during IVF!). I insisted that I was indeed on my period, and they said “then let’s get started!” This is when we decided to not tell anyone that the FET (frozen embryo transfer) was back on. Our main reason for doing so was to be able to surprise friends and family with unexpected good news when this round worked! We were manifesting its success.

I quickly started estrogen and progesterone to prep my body…and lots of it. I had a nagging thought in the back of my head that maybe I was wrong and it wasn’t a real period, but nevertheless, we moved on. My nurse told me that “if it seemed like a period, it very likely was”. Uncertainty is a bitch.

Our FET happened on August 9th. I schemed and tricked everyone into thinking it was a busy day and I was unavailable. Really, I was asleep in bed thanks to the acupuncture and valium of the day.

The next two weeks moved on and my symptoms were SO different. I started cramping the night of the transfer and cramped up until beta testing day. I had one acupuncture session. I went to the gym once (my husband said I went too hard on the elliptical and therefore should take the two weeks off). I tried to stay busy and was doing pretty well.

The whole two weeks I was peeing non-stop. Woke up 4-5 times a night, peed my pants, the joys of drugs and an impending pregnancy. I had crazy, vivid dreams. The second week brought on bouts of nausea and severe fatigue. I had about two days of very, very dark spotting. All of these things were signs of pregnancy, but also symptoms of the drugs. I knew that something was different this time, but I couldn’t make myself believe it might’ve actually been a pregnancy. I also had many days where I kept saying “I just feel like I’m going to start my period”. I think this happens to everyone, and shouldn’t be enough reason for worry.

I kept from peeing on a stick until the day before the beta test. Through weird turns of events, we figured out that our air conditioning unit was leaking into our basement and we had to do a quick, sudden remodel. By we, I mean my husband, kicking ass and ripping out the carpet, trim, and door and then replacing everything and putting it back together in a week! And fixing the AC! So that day, I knew the bad news fairies were upon us and this sign meant the transfer didn’t work either. So I gave in.

I peed on a stick at 3pm and thought for sure it was negative. My husband still smiled and said he wouldn’t believe anything until the blood test. Well, a few minutes passed, and a super faint second line appeared. It was positive! Barely positive, but any line is a line.

I thought the worst and figured it couldn’t be a strong positive the next day because it was so faint. But there is talk out there that FET’s lead to late implanters (embryos) and therefore your HCG levels would be lower than those who got pregnant naturally or through a fresh transfer. Well the beta confirmed that I was pregnant, cue MAJOR shock. My first beta was 272, and two days later 524. Not quite double, but a 92% doubling rate. I’ll take it.

We used the rest of the week to tell our family and friends who knew we’d been trying. It was so fun, but still scary. Who’s to say this will last? We’re two days away from a follow up beta and I know that day is going to be INTENSE. I have a good feeling, but how hard is it to believe those after all of the pain and trouble that comes with IVF? Too hard.

Here’s to a lasting, healthy, and strong eight more months.

Sara Test

Xoxo,

Sara

A Letter From Our Egg Donor. 7.27.17

This needs little introduction. This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. This process has been awful, but the woman that we so luckily, fatefully, and stressfully chose to be our egg donor, is amazing.

Below is a letter that we received from our fertility clinic. They do not encourage egg donors to reach out to their egg counterparts, but they will allow it if it happens. We feel so lucky to have received this letter. Honestly, it makes me feel so much more secure in my choice because this is something I would do. The description of herself that the donor provides sounds more and more like me, and I feel good knowing that these genes are helping to create my child. Read it! You won’t regret it. And share it, it’s beautiful.

“To the New Family,

Maybe writing you a letter is not typical of this experience, but then, I’ve never been one to follow the norm. J I want you to know that I am SO excited that I get to be a small part of your lives for this one moment. Although I think of both of you all the time, I have found that through this process I feel the most connection with the future (or maybe already!) mom. So, it is to you that I write now, grateful that you trusted me to give you this incredible gift. I promise I did everything in my power to make sure these little baby eggs were as perfect as they could possibly be for you, and I know you can’t wait to see the fruit of that effort turn into your perfect little baby girl or boy!

In just a few days now you are going to be a mother, and I will have the lifelong honor of knowing that I was able to be a part of making that happen for you. That thought has been on my mind ever since I first received the phone call telling me that somewhere out there a couple had chosen me to help them fulfill their dream of becoming parents. In some ways, I still can’t fully believe that I get to do this, that I get to be the reason you are able to be a mom!

Years ago, I had friends who found difficulty in conceiving a child together. As I read her words in her blog, seeing the struggle of her heart as she so desperately wanted to be able to bring a child into her world, my own world was changed. At the time, I had no idea that one day life would bring me to the other side of her struggle, but when I think about this entire process I picture her struggle when I think of you. Though you likely have not taken every step she did and you are a very different person, I know in my heart that you, like her, are meant to be a mother. This child is meant to be yours. I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe that this small piece of me was always meant to be a piece of you. Next week I won’t be losing anything, but finally giving you what was rightfully yours.

When I think of the future this beautiful baby will have with your family, I can only feel that he is so lucky to have parents who wanted him so much. To know what you did, what you sacrificed, how hard you prayed for her, will only be the tip of the iceberg in realizing just how much she is loved. If there is just one thing I would tell him, one thing I want her to know, it’s that you, his mother, could never love him more and that no other person on this earth besides you will ever love her the same. To have you in his life means that he already has the best gift the world could possibly bring to her. That little baby is so blessed.

I know that you have my entire medical history. You’ve seen pictures of me as a small child. You know the color of my hair and eyes and skin. Maybe any more information about who I am doesn’t really matter, but I do want to share just a little bit of me with you. I am a bookworm. I love to read and I love to learn. I excel in science and English, but find little interest in math or history, though I still always manage to get that all-important A! J I adore music and I listen to everything from classic rock to electronic to folksy acoustic music. I like to stay active. I run and hike and twist myself into knots during yoga classes. I love to laugh and find so much happiness and joy in the simple things in my life. Most importantly, I cherish the people I love and would do anything for them.

I wish for you and your new family a lifetime of laughter, of cuddles and kisses and happiness. I know you look forward to so many firsts for this sweet baby that you’re going to have soon, and I know that you will cherish every one of those moments more because of what you’ve been through to bring your child into the world. I hope you know that whenever you cross my mind, I will think of each of you with so much love and excitement for the future that you have together. Your family is such a beautiful one and I am eternally grateful to be able to help you make these moments a reality.

With so much love,

Me”

I’m in tears again.

Xoxo,

Sara

How to Suck Less at Being Fertile. 6.23.17

WHEW. Hey June, bye June! Where has the month gone? Half of the year has flown by and I feel like I can personally attribute most of that to infertility. My brain, my life, my decisions have just revolved around a calendar of periods, drugs, donors, dates. Trying to travel, work, go to weddings, all while trying to just MAKE A BABY. 2017 will be one for the books.

But I digress. We have updates! First, I’ve been trying to suck less at being fertile by going to acupuncture every week and I’ve started Chinese herbs. Or I could also refer to them as liquid-shits. Not only do they taste and smell like it, but they give them to me too! TMI? 😉

Recently, one more herb has been added, but I rotate through these as I move through my monthly cycle. They’re not great 🙂

Why am I putting all of this effort into being fertile if we’ve decided to use donor eggs? I don’t even know. But I do know that acupuncture can help me to maintain a pregnancy and reduce stress. And my life has been FULL of stress. So I’ll do it! I have to admit though, I’m not as focused on these practices as I should be. I sometimes think that my brain is forcing me to rebel on some of the rules of “how to not suck so much at being fertile” because of our next round of IVF being donor eggs. I honestly just am not committed to giving up ALL caffeine, alcohol, sweets, keeping my heart rate under 140bpm (that’s hard to do when you’re trying to race your husband on the elliptical). Does that make me a bad momma-to-be? I don’t think so. Life is all about balance.

Infertility SUCKS and if I’m going to survive it, I’m not going to try too hard to not be good at it. Are you following? 🙂

I’ve also had the pleasure of squeezing, loving, hugging, possibly-torturing my first nephew who’s here for the summer.

Sara and Felix

I don’t care how much he might drool, spit up, cry, scream…it feels too good to just hold him. He’s so alert, lively, seriously gorgeous, and has the best rolls. I need a baby.

Latest update would also be that we did a genetic screening panel on Dawson to make sure that he is compatible with our donor and that he doesn’t carry anything scary. He came back as a positive carrier for a few conditions, but really nothing to worry about. And we can use our donor!

I started my period and get to start the wonderful birth control today. I HATE YOU BC. I get acne, I get irritable, I feel fat. This is such a not fun part of infertility, another reason to rebel. But this WILL be my last go at birth control…and fertility treatment!

I heard that our donor has not started her period. So that’s good! It means that hopefully we can sync up on this cycle and do our transfer with the next cycle. That means, fewer days to a positive pregnancy test.

Oh hey, a pregnant lady just walked past my window, how’d you make that baby, lady?? This is a question that I find myself wanting to ask of strangers. I never will! But sometimes it’s nice to find out that you’re not the only one fighting this battle.

So…wanna suck less at being fertile? Try new things. Accept your circumstances. Whine when you need to. Count your blessings when you can. And rebel a little. You won’t regret it.

Xoxo,

Sara

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