Friday, May 29, 2015

Second Beta

So you want to see your numbers double every 48 hours. For me, today we were looking for a 622.  That would indicate a healthy strong implantation and a continuing pregnancy.

My beta was 832.

More than doubled.  In fact instead of doubling in 48, it doubled in 33.  So that could mean we have a very, very strong singleton, OR we're also in the running for carrying 2 strong babies.

I'm still in suspended disbelief.  Well, mind and heart boobs have been telling a different story.

I'm 2 cup sizes bigger than I've ever been in my life...BJ's loving it.  I can only stand to wear sports bras cuz the girls act like someone is pouring acid inside them when I'm not wearing one and showers feel like someone is throwing darts at by boobs...Thank you estrogen injections, to be honest this has been going on since I used them in Feb/March for my diagnostic cycle....but seriously...I thought about purchasing this...

I've had some off and on cramping, but nothing like my periods.  It's one of those things.  I'm scared when I have them, but I'm also scared when I don't feel anything for a while, too.  I'm still dizzy, that's not gone away.  I can be lying down and feel like I'm in a hammock swinging back and forth. I can even feel my body tense as my weight "phantom shifts".  It's not making me miserable though, it's just always there.  I feel good in the middle of the night because I've woken up at 3:00 am like clock work the past few nights, and I'm not dizzy.  But I can handle dizziness if I have a breathing healthy child in 35 more weeks.

So the next thing is making it almost a week without having my blood drawn.  I'll have to work out something with work, hopefully that won't be difficult.  We won't know if there is more than one until I'm 6 weeks along, so that's forever away, and I have to stay pregnant that long which is this omnipresent fear.  The ball always drops.  So I feel like I'm waiting...but all physiological signs point to this being great so far...Did you get that, brain???

I'm emotionally exhausted.  This has been super hard getting here, and once again, less than 3 hours ago I was fretting that there was bad news, and that my beta level was dropping.  I'm not sure when I'll feel "pregnant" as opposed to, "well, I was pregnant yesterday when my beta was drawn."

Alas, I am still an infertile...just a pregnant (at the moment) infertile...

Peace, Love, And Growing Babies!
Mary Katherine

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Well, The Rabbit Lives

Lucky for the rabbit, they no longer sacrifice them to do a pregnancy test, because if they did...

mine woud be D-E-A-D!

My HCG level was 311.  So, I'm a little bit pregnant.

I know, I'm shocked, too.

My mind is racing...
Part of me thinks they got the results mixed up with someone else.
The southern WASP in me is berating myself for writing this blog before I'm 24 weeks or later pregnant.
Part of me is just in shock.

But the reality is it is super-super early and a lot can happen.  While medically speaking you can't be "a little bit pregnant."  As an infertile, I tell you,...Yes, yes you can be just a little bit pregnant, and that is where I am.

I was tearful and literally waiting for bad news less than an hour ago. So the moral of that story is... you don't know until you know...  I've had cramping off and on just like I normally do.  The only new thing was dizziness, but I have a big sticker on my bottle of oral progesterone that I hit 3 times a day that says "May Cause Dizziness"...although, it's never bothered me before.

Anyway, I'm too crazy to type anymore...

Peace, Love, and Rabbits

Mary Katherine

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On This Day

On this day, the day after a transfer,  we have always been told, "we have nothing to freeze." 

It is devastating. It's not always but usually a sign that the best one or two that they used, were probably not the best quality, either. In the least, it does nothing to reinvigorate your "two week wait". 

Today, I got a simple text saying "I froze 5 more." 

Shut the front door. In the very least I know that the little embryo inside me is most likely still alive, too! Secondly that's a total of 14 embryos in the freezer. 

Yup! 14 excellent quality AA embryos. I'm a proud freezer mom, if nothing else.

It also means, that if this cycle doesn't work, we try again with an FET. And so on...but we have these 2 plus 14 more beautiful embryos to work with. We're good for a bit!

Peace, Love and Be Ecstatic!

Mary Katherine

Monday, May 18, 2015

That Was Easy!

Well, it's done and over!

After a rough weekend of not being able to sleep and working, I got to have the best massage of my life. Pretty sure there is drool on the carpet while I was face down in the cradle thing.  I have not been so blissed out in my life.  She used hot stones on my hips and lower back, which are so irritated and sore from all those IM shots, and it was amazingly soothing.  So far, it's lasted...I'm a more mellow version of me. More mellow than I ever have been at this point.

After the massage, I drunk walked to the lab and had some blood work done. Afterwards our IVF coordinator, Jan, took me back for the transfer. My embryologist, Jan and Dr. D's medical assistant all came to see me, and they seemed thrilled for the results we have so far.  Jan, got me ready, and talked me down about having some twinges.  It's funny how you know, and understand, something, but you just need to hear it again.  Susan showed us pictures of the 2 embabies to be transferred.  Here is one...

The darkend area (8 o'clock) is the inner cell mass (aka the baby)

She had told us this morning that she had 7 to freeze, but by this evening, she had frozen 9!!! (Insert applause, hallelujas and screams for joy here...)

Dr. Donesky worked through his lunch so he could come back from K-town and do my embryo transfer himself, this evening.  The transfer went smoothly.  Apparently, the surgery I had in February was a great idea because I barely felt a thing. It was over before I knew it.  Dr. Donesky was pleased saying that's how it's supposed to go.  I had no uterine pain afterwards for the first time in my transfer history. I feel normal.  In fact, I've only had the occasional progesterone twinge, as opposed to the constant irritated uterus sensation I've had in the past.

Anyway, I'm just thrilled with life right now.  I have no home pregnancy tests, and BJ banned them from our house, so I won't know until everyone else knows.  Hopefully, my spirits stay lifted this time, and I don't go into crazy research every symptom on the chat room.  I'm looking forward to just chilling out for a bit.

Peace, Love, and Please Implant!

Mary Katherine

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 3 Report

So as I've warned myself several times...big numbers...higher the fall-out...

And usually at this point, I'm down to 3-4-5 embryos, and those have fragmentation...It's dwindling odds for me.

I sure as heck was not expecting to have the majority make it to the ideal 8-cell embyro, a chunk, my dream was to have 10-15 between the acceptable 6-cell to the ideal 8-cell stage at this point.

So when I got the text, my stomach dropped, my knees quivered, my heart raced.  I closed the text app, and opened it again to make sure I wasn't imagining things.

I have 27 8-cell embryos.

I know...I nearly passed out.  My embryologist said she thinks we'll have a hard time picking out the front-runner for the transfer...

What a glorious problem to have!!!

We know more will arrest by Monday, and a few have some fragmentation, but it's less than 10% in them, so it's not significant to cause demise.  I love them.  I was initially having a harder time getting attached than I normally do.  I think more of that is fear than anything after experiencing so many disappointments.

But now, I truly and deeply love them in the sense that one (or more) could be my living, breathing child.

Peace, Love, and Mitosis,

Mary Katherine

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fertilization Report

From what I've read, you expect a 50-60% as ideal (Thanks, Cornell).  A California fertility clinic brags about an 80% fertilization rate with intracytoplasmic sperm injection, but that's also the same state that created, grain of salt and such...

Anyway, I was expecting a huge loss in numbers because we had so many.  I mean they just can't have all been in that great of shape?

So with bated breath I kept waiting for an email or text from our embryologist...

And finally, it came...


31 of 33 fertilized normally. That's 94% for those of you into the math.  This means that right now, I have 32 embabies because I have one left from last summer.  This is so unbelievable right now.  We will not have 31 to freeze, some will fizzle out, and that is fine.  In fact, I think I had nightmares about my babies dying except they were toddler age and kept breaking out of the house (through a window) and running like lemmings into our pool.  Even better, they were dressed in blue overalls and a striped shirt like Chucky or My Buddy dolls and were kinda creepy...Hormone-fueled dreams are so much fun! It was awful. Like I would ever let my child wear overalls, or have access to the pool unattended...

I've never really been in this position of things going so well.  I mean my first cycle I was kind of oblivious, but now I know more and stress more.  Our 2nd and 3rd cycles were controlled disasters, but right now I have nothing to be freaking out over.  So mostly I've just tried to get ready for my transfer on Monday, because I'm pretty confident it's going to happen, and Hell, there might even be happy consequences of making sure your toddler can't open a window and drown his/herself in the pool.

Since I have to work this weekend, I've gone ahead and washed our transfer clothes in free and clear detergent.  Odors are hard on embryos so we try to be as odorless as humanly possible.  It's my first day of 2 shots.  So I'll take my second progesterone shot for the day this evening. Tomorrow I get to have three IM shots in the hip because its an estrogen day, too...:( But really I'm just living and waiting in an ever-growing haze of excitement between nursing my sore bum. We should hear more about our embabies progression on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to that.  I think BJ's pleasantly shocked as well.  Like he doesn't really know what to do since he's not busy consoling me, lol.

Peace, Love, and Growing Embabies,

Mary Katherine

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Today Is Brought to You by...

...the number


We got up early to head to the clinic this morning by 9:00.  We weren't quite to Chatt-town when I got a text from our embryologist "We got 41 eggs." 


That's crazy talk.  So while I internalized my excitement and joked about hopefully getting to have them in lots of batches of multiples with my best friend who I woke up at 6:30 her time , I think externally I'm more shell-shocked. 

NOTHING EVER GOES EASY for us.  So I don't know if it's not being so much involved with the donor this time, keeping my armor on until the shoe drops, or just disbelief.  I imagine it's all of these things combined, but I'm feeling a little detached and then guilty for feeling that.  

I had a great day with my husband though.  Shopping at Hamilton Place is never a bad time.  I bought a dress I hope I won't be able to wear this summer, but it honestly was a consolation gift to myself already.  UGH, I'm not proud of myself...but you only let yourself get burned so many times...

I was not expecting to hear from our embryologist, Susan, again this evening, but she texted me to let me know 33 eggs were mature.  It was nearly 6:00 pm. I know they had at least 2 retrievals today, but my donor gave her enough work for 2 average retrievals, so I'm sure she's wiped out.  Can you imagine doing a procedure on a cell as big as a period at the end of these sentences 33 times?  Not to mention the other lady's eggs...

We will find out tomorrow how many fertilized.  You can't expect all 33 to fertilize.  When you have big numbers you lose big numbers due to attrition, but it's a whole helluva lot nicer place to start...I'm not gonna lie!

I started my progesterone shots today.  Only one today, and they changed the timing of it to the AM despite my evening transfer on Monday.  Dr. Donesky recently performed a study and by moving the first shot up 12 hours he had a 94% pregnancy rate in his experimental group.  Of course, I wasn't in that group...but it's nice to work with someone who is constantly tweaking and improving the protocols.  

I think that when I see a picture of my em-babies (embryos), I'll get more attached.  I'm not really worried about it just yet.  It's a whole lot easier to accept that someone else's eggs didn't fertilize, than my own didn't fertilize.  Nonetheless I'll be anxious to hear.

Peace, Love, and Fertilize Baby(ies),

Mary Katherine

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Through the last 5 years, I've learned that someone or something, often well-meaning and completely innocent, is going to trigger an unhappy response.  And, not everything that was a trigger for me at one point in this journey is a trigger for me now. Vice versa, some things that were not triggers, sometimes ellicit a heavy response.

For instance, Mother's Day... The first couple of years, I was so hopeful, so encouraged that I just looked at Mother's Day as it just wasn't quite my turn.  By the third year, it became a celebration of something I may never have.  In that light, it stings.  At some point, reality set in, and BJ and I, however unacceptingly, realize that we may never have children.  We may have to come up with an alternate route to parentage or give up.  More so for me, I may never get to experience having a child.  Which if you've been fortunate enough to do so, you probably can't understand.  But for those of us who haven't, and desparately want to, it's a huge blow to our egos, our identities, and little girl dreams of being someone's mommy.

The third estrogen shot seems to be a trigger for me.  It must be the threshold between normal levels, and IVF levels of estrogen because I feel pretty good, and then the next day I simply cannot handle life.  For instance, your manager asks you to do one simple thing, and something that should have registered a 0.5 on the irritation level blows up to an 11.  Everything hurts my feelings.  In another example, someone in the lobby said they hated turquoise, which is the color scrubs my department has to wear.  When my estrogen level is less than 1,000, I would not care.  I did not choose the color. But when she said it, I felt insulted and it hurt my feelings.  I'm not proud...And you have no rational explanation for why except that 'It just does!' And when someone asks you if something else is going on aside from your way overamplified response to a minor situation and you can only say 'Not really'.

Nevermind that something huge is going on in your life.  But, then again, something huge is always going on in your life because with infertility, it's omnipresent.  It's everyday.  It's everyday you get to sleep in because there is no child to wake you up.  It's everyday you look at your dog with all her toys and yearn for her to have a little buddy to play with.  It's every morning you walk down the hall passed the empty room that has no purpose...So you get used to it...and whether you try to downplay it consciously or not, add hormone injections to the mix and it will eventually come to a head usually in an ugly cryfest over something completely asinine.  Also, people get tired of hearing about it, and you get tired of talking about it, especially when years have gone by.

There are good triggers.  Last night, my donor took her trigger shot.  So we will be heading to Chattanooga on Wednesday to do our part of the paperwork.  Monday we will head down to Chattanooga, assuming everything goes as planned, for the embryo transfer.  I'm more guarded than excited if I'm to be totally honest.  I'm definitely nervous. As we learned from our first much can go wrong at any point.  So I'm not really going to get excited until I have a positive pregnancy test. Although, I can't get to that point unless we get healthy, mature eggs.  Those eggs fertilize successfully.  They grow correctly and survive to day 5.  So, so much has to happen between now and Monday before implantation can even be attempted.

I used up all the home pregnancy tests with my last attempt.  Except for one expired digital, which I need to to throw away, so there will be no cheating. I will just suffer through 9-10 days of unknowing, blindly, and praying for a different result.

Peace, Love, & Hopefully Triggering Joy,

Mary Katherine