We have a heartbeat

It has been a very long time since I published the last post.  It has not been for a lack of writing or emotions; let me explain.

This time last year we had been through our final miscarriage which was number 6.  We were emotionally drained but still longed for another child.  We had been through multiple rounds of IUI and IVF.  We had “cleaned up” our eating and environment.  I had done countless sessions of acupuncture, massage and yoga.  We had taken time off from any form of treatment and given ourselves time to heal.

The time off led us to our next journey; to adopt.  We spent a lot of time researching agencies and talking to friends that had been on this path.  We took education classes on adoption and spent hours with an amazing social worker that helped us take the next step.  We signed with an agency out of Minnesota that would help us bring a child home from India.  With Ketan’s cultural background, India made sense for our family.  Emotionally I was already connected to a child that we had never met.  And let me be clear — we had not matched with a child yet, but my heart was already in India.

The paperwork was intense.  The home study was a process.  The psychological assessment was intimidating.  The emotions were all over the place.  Had I grieved the babies I had lost?  Had I grieved what would never be again?  I am not sure that I could answer these questions.  What I could answer was that I was healing by moving on.

It was now the beginning of February 2018 and my “cycle day one” never came.  I knew.  When you have been through this as many times as I have; you just know.  At first I chose to not tell Ketan.  He was preparing and packing for a trip of a lifetime with his dad and sister to Antarctica.  He would be gone for two weeks.  But I quickly realized that I could not, not tell him.  This man has been my rock.  I understand how marriages fall apart through this journey and I am thankful to say we have only gotten stronger.

I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive.  I hate to admit that I was not excited. Ketan had the same emotions; how could we get excited?  My heart could not go through this again.  The roller coaster of emotions was too much.  I prepared my head and my heart for what would happen next.

Ketan and I agreed that we had to tell my parents the news since he would be out of the country for 2 weeks.  My parents reaction was what we expected and the same as ours.  The look of concern and fear was written all over their faces.  How could we blame them; we felt the same way.  It wasn’t just our hearts that were bruised and broken, our family was on this journey too.

Raina and I took Ketan and his dad to the airport and said goodbye for 2 weeks.  I struggled to hold it together in the airport.  Here I was pregnant, again and I could only talk to him briefly each day because Wifi in Antarctica is hard to come by!

The two weeks that passed were long and emotional.  I would talk to my belly and pray, then I would think about the child in India.  I was so confused and emotionally exhausted.

The day I picked up Ketan from the airport was the day we had our first ultrasound.  We sat in the waiting room of the doctors office in silence.  My stomach ached and so did my heart.  We walked into the ultrasound room, it was dark and small.  I did not even wait for the instructions from the tech; I had been here a million times.  I looked at her and said, “not sure if you have looked at our history, but we have been here many times before.  So if you can just shoot straight with us that would be great.”  The tears in my eyes welled up and filled my eyes.  I gripped the sheet over my lap with one hand and squeezed Ketan’s hand with the other.  An internal ultrasound is never comfortable, but my tension made it a bit worse.

I will never forget her words…”we have a heartbeat.”

Note:  Above picture is the heartbeat turned into artwork for the nursery

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The Rose

We sat in the waiting room with nervous energy.  Ketan scrolled through his phone and I scanned the room at all the pregnancy brochures everywhere.  I put my head down on his shoulder saying one last prayer before we were called back.

We walked into the ultrasound room.  It was smaller than a normal exam room with all the normal ultrasound machines and a large screen at my feet.  The tech was amazing — calm, compassionate and empathetic.  As the ultrasound began I squeezed Ketan’s hand and started to cry.  Not sure if the emotions were from the many experiences before or  if somehow I knew what was going to happen.  At first I was hopeful as I saw the bright colors around the baby –that showed the blood flow around the baby.  But then the flicker of the heartbeat never happened.  The tech calmly said “I am so sorry.”  We knew.

She took some last scans for the doctor and asked if we wanted a picture.  We had never been asked that before when this happened and I didn’t know how to respond.  Reluctantly I said yes.  She printed a copy of our sweet angel and placed in in an envelope.  The baby had stopped growing only a week before the ultrasound — we will never know why.

All I could do was hug Ketan and say that I was sorry I had failed.  The overwhelming feeling of failure had already set in.  How could this be happening again?  How could we conceive on our own, get to this point, only to fail again.  What had I done wrong?  What was wrong with me?  Knowing I had done everything right, I could only feel like it was my fault and I had failed our family.

We were taken back to a regular exam room to talk to the doctor.  But this time a rose was placed on our file.  We walked in and the nurse was entering info into the computer.  She stopped and walked over to give me a hug.  The tears flowed as if they would never stop.  My body felt heavy and almost lifeless.   There is an unexplainable feeling when you learn that your womb holds a baby that has already gone to Heaven.

We silently waited for the doctor to come in.  We knew the drill; decide if I would have surgery or let this happen naturally.  I was already spotting so we knew that the process was already beginning.  After naturally miscarrying our first pregnancy nearly 5 years ago Ketan pushed for the surgery.  The physical pain was excruciating and the emotional pain was just the same — I agreed.

The doctor came in the room already knowing what had happened — she saw the rose.  She was incredibly gracious with her time and emotion — she had walked this path with us many times before.  We spent a lot of time trying to understand what is unexplainable.  So what next?  After we finished with IVF I kept saying that if I could just get pregnant one more time maybe it would work.  This was next time and didn’t work — it was over.  There would not be a next time.

We scheduled the surgery and prayed my body would not take over before then.

The days that followed have been okay.  I had the fortune of being able to work from home and avoid seeing anyone.  It seems like during this time I only want to be with Ketan.  He and I are able to have the unspoken conversation of what has just happened.  It was a good day when I got dressed and took a shower.  Each day has gotten better.  Each day has been staying busy and not letting my mind wander.

The weeks that have followed have been interesting.  Those that have reached out have touched us and we are forever thankful.  Just acknowledging our loss has meant the world to us.  You may be surprised at the silence that surrounds us most of the time.  People that knew we were pregnant just don’t say anything.  You can tell they know but just stay quiet.  This is a tough topic, but we are 1 in 4 — it’s time to talk about it.

Walking this path is incredibly lonely and silent — just like the single rose placed on our file.

 

 

Lucky number 7

We have all heard the stories about couples adopting and then finding out they are pregnant.  Every time I heard that story I was reminded of the pain and loss that still was part of this process.  Those stories were not helpful and honestly did not provide hope and comfort as I am sure they were intended.  That was of course until that story became us.

Trust me, I had the same reaction you might be having right now.  Yes, we are pregnant again.  Yes, we conceived naturally.  Just thought I would knock out the question that you are already asking in your head!

Shortly after I released my last blog post and filing our initial adoption paperwork — we found out we are pregnant.  It was a Saturday afternoon and I was cleaning the upstairs after Raina went down for a nap.  I had not been feeling well and had even had a night where I went to bed at 8:00PM.  So I opened the closet to pull out some cleaning supplies and realized I had a leftover pregnancy test that was going to expire next year.  Clearly thinking that I just needed to get rid of it — I took the test.  Two solid lines — pregnant.

We are almost 9 weeks pregnant, have not been to the doctor and simply enjoying the moment; well if that is possible.  I am petrified.  I am preoccupied with the symptoms or lack of symptoms.  I find myself on Google a dozen times a day.  It’s almost as if this is my first rodeo — it’s amazing what your head can do in times like this.  I have also tried to protect my heart and prepare for the worst and I am finding my heart is wide open and just as vulnerable as all the other times.

Right now I am having pregnancy symptoms come and go, but right now I am pregnant.  The hardest part of the other pregnancies is going to the doctor to hear the heartbeat on the ultrasound and hear nothing but a whooshing sound and be told the baby stopped growing.  So right now we are pregnant and that is all that matters.

We have also not held back in sharing the news.  Seems like it goes against all kind of society norm — and yup we get that.  But really I have already laid my story out for the world to see — why should this be any different.  After all, we could use all the prayers, positive thoughts, happy energy, juju or whatever you believe in.

This is our seventh pregnancy and therefore lucky 7!

Edit after the initial post:  After some light spotting last week we broke down and called the doctor.  They were not concerned at all — but of course we are so scared.  We have an ultrasound scheduled on September 27th.  Let my prayer warriors do what they do best!

 

It begins with loss

We agreed to take 6 months to process our grief, get back to date nights and simply live without doctors appointments, injections, and living according to the fertility clock.  The 6 months lasted 9 months but it was the time we needed.

We did amazing things over the last 9 months.  We traveled to California to watch our oldest niece graduate from high school!  We spent a week in the Outer Banks with family digging in the sand, dipping our toes in the water and savoring the squeals of laughter from Raina and her cousins.  There were many days of just being present, laughing until my face hurt, eating endless bowls of ice cream,  playing at the park, going to the pool, snuggling on the couch and drinking wine.  Did I mention I could drink again!

There were also many days of tears.  There were many days of feeling like I failed.  There were many days of feeling like the journey to expand our family was over.  There were many days of dreading to hear the next pregnancy announcement. There were many days of feeling numb.  And there was the day that I gave away my leftover fertility drugs to a friend walking the same path.  Yes, giving away the extra drugs is huge and yes completely legal.

It was not all doom and gloom — but it was raw emotion.  Even today, 10 months later there are days that the emotions are overwhelming and I feel the profound loss.  For those of us that have traveled this journey we would probably all say that it never goes away and simply becomes a piece of who we are.

I am better because of the journey.  I am thankful for the friendships that have come from the fertility club.  I am a more patient mommy.  I am less judgmental and much more aware of what I say to others.  I have learned to never ask if a friend is going to have a baby, or have a second baby.  If they want to share — I am here to listen.  But the pain of being asked that question brings all the loss back to the surface.  I am thankful for the lessons fertility taught me, and I promised you the journey was not over.

I sat in an adoption class this past winter and a phrase I heard that day has never left my heart.  “Adoption begins with loss.”  Yes it does and the loss is on multiple sides.  But our journey of loss will now become a journey of love and expanding our family through adoption.

I am thrilled to announce this blog will now focus on our journey to adopt a child from India.  The process is underway with the initial paperwork being submitted to our agency last week.  We are incredibly thankful for the support from everyone that surrounds us.  We know this journey will also come with challenge, but our hearts are open.

 

 

 

The last 90 days

I settled comfortably in a black hole for sometimes minutes, hours and many times days on end.  I focused on Raina and Ketan and was lucky if my clothes matched from day to day.  The sun seemed to hide behind the clouds, rain and snow were more common and the days were just cold.  They say that time heals, but frankly that is bullshit.  Time just teaches you to live with the grief.  And while everyone forgets and goes on with life — I am still stuck in the black hole with the pain.

The moment I began to climb out was a conversation with Ketan.  It was one of those dark weeks for me that was spent crying and hopeless.  He said that friends had asked how I was doing.  He paused.  And he said:  “but you know through this whole thing, no one asks how I am doing.” I stood silent with a lump in my throat and knot in my stomach.  The man that has been my rock was dealing with his own grief.

We agreed to take 6 months to settle back into our lives, have date nights, enjoy Raina — and simply live our lives without doctors and needles and medications and procedures.  And that happened.

Then a letter arrived from the Women’s Institute on Thanksgiving weekend.  In short the letter told us that we had to have the paperwork notarized and back to them in 30 days so the embryos could be “discarded” and to avoid storage fees of our embryos.  You see, we had 3 abnormal embryos still in the freezer at the hospital.  These embryos could never be transferred in the IVF process and sadly these little angels would never develop because of the genetic abnormalities.  But to receive a letter like this; with still no call from the doctor or nurse, was a complete blow to my healing process.  I again, climbed back into the black hole.

The holidays were hard.  The healing is a roller coaster.  The emotions are real and all over the board.  Most people did not know what to say.  We did not know what to say.  Silence was easier.

Counseling was not helpful — although I am a big fan since that is my background.  But I did not find it helpful to spend time on the past — I am ready to pick myself back up.  I had a hard time staying in that spot, I needed to move.

So I began to reach out to friends that have adopted children.  They were my lifeline to moving forward.  Thank you to those of you that met for coffee, lunch, an internet chat or email exchange.  You were throwing me a life preserver.

I took an adoption class last weekend.  The journey continues and so will this blog.

Detour Ahead

Raina’s second birthday party was a blast and we loved celebrating with family.  The day was sunny, a chill in the air and her giggles filled the house. This year she finally understood how to open a gift.  But, I think her favorite part was the cake as she dug right in and kept saying “more, more.”  Our focus was her that day although in the back of my head I was distracted.  It was this same day last year that we were pregnant.  Ketan and I kept quiet with just the secret between us.  This time of year brings amazing memories, but also some of great disappointment and sadness.  We lost that pregnancy at the beginning of November 2015.

Tuesday morning arrived and I was a pile of tears.  I sat in the waiting room just to pick up the little slip of paper to take to the lab for the blood work.  Jenny called me back and I broke down in tears.  Although I was having symptoms I was so scared.  Scared that the symptoms were in my head, scared that the medicine was playing games on my body.  I pulled it together and took the elevator to the second floor for the blood draw.  The tech was amazing and I hardly felt the stick. It was the pit in my stomach that I felt.  I told her to say a prayer for that vial because it was special, all while tears streamed down my cheek.

I went off to work and tried to focus on the day — a good distraction anyway.  I glanced at the clock around 1pm thinking the results were probably in.  I picked up my cell phone around 1:20pm and could see that there was a voicemail from Jenny.  Although I was ready to hear the results Ketan and I decided that we would listen to the voicemail together after Raina went to bed.  And if I didn’t listen to the news it meant there was still hope.

It was 8:20pm and Raina was tucked into bed.  Ketan and I sat on the couch and held hands as we listened to the news.  It was a quick voicemail; only 25 seconds long.  “I am so sorry the test was negative.  You can stop all medications and call us if you have questions.”  Ketan and I looked at each other in disbelief, no words, no tears, just shock.  He looked at me and said, “I don’t believe it — do you have a test upstairs?”  We both went upstairs and sure enough there was only one line.  No more shots, I ripped off the patch from my abdomen and crawled on the couch in Ketan’s arms.

Each day that passed was a blur and the bright spot was Raina.  I believe that I crawled in the deep dark hole for a few weeks.  I would come home and just bury my head in Ketan’s chest and just say it was a bad day.  We didn’t talk much about it — I just did a lot of crying.

In the few weeks that followed I found it most helpful to talk to those friends that had been through this journey.  As much as I appreciated the friends and family that reached out; there is a comfort in talking to those that have traveled the same path.  This is one of those clubs that you don’t want to join but there is an unspoken understanding from those in the circle.  For those of you on that list (and you know who you are) I am forever grateful.  You provided a shoulder to cry on, a book of knowledge based on your own path, a hug that says I truly understand and inspiration that life goes on.

It is now 3 weeks since the negative test.  The sun continues to come up and I am starting to put one foot in front of the other.  I saw an amazing grief massage therapist the other week and I didn’t know those even existed.  And I started to see a counselor last week too.  That is always an interesting process since I have a masters in counseling.  But nonetheless its a place to dump my thoughts without judgment.

I am surprised that I have not heard from the doctors office.  Not a call, not a note — nothing.  Treatment is over.  The journey however is not over, it is just a detour.

It Takes a Village

It has been almost 2 weeks since injections began and just over a week since transfer day.  So let me walk you through this part of the journey.

Ketan comes home from work a few days before transfer with a gift bag.  He hands it to me and it is an IVF care package.  One of Ketan’s colleagues that has become a dear friend sent it home for me.  It had baby booties that said — keep your eye on the prize.  It had lucky socks for me to wear on the day of transfer, snacks to reward myself after the injections each night.  A pack of home pregnancy test just in case I could not wait for the blood test, a magazine for the day I had to be on bed rest.  And most of all a kind note empathizing with our journey since she had walked the same path.  Truly a priceless gesture that makes me thankful for being so open about this process.

Tuesday, October 4 we checked in for the transfer procedure — looking our best:  no makeup, lotions, shampoo, soap, fragrance of any kind etc.  Apparently any of these products can damage the embryo during the procedure.  But why is it that my husband can get dressed in his casual digs and still look amazing despite these products and me on the other hand looks like a frumpy, hippie that just woke up from a Grateful Dead concert.  Ugh — its tough to be a woman!

We are taken back to the IVF surgical suite and I am given a sedative and told to change into the gown.  But let me paint the whole picture for you — the procedure is done with a full bladder.  So here I am am looking like a frumpy concert goer, now with the sedative I am getting groggy and bloated because I have to pee!

The doctor comes in to review the procedure and the embryologist follows with our first baby picture.  Pure emotion is all I can describe.  There it is in black and white; the embryo.  She starts describing which part will develop into the baby and which part becomes the placenta.  We are almost speechless and in awe of this process.  So now its time to go, the doctor jokes and says “you will never have this many people with you again when you get pregnant.”  True doc, that is very true!

The surgical suite is the same I have had for the other procedures.  Dark, a bit chilly and small.  This time Ketan is dressed in scrubs and right by my side; a comforting change from the last procedures.  So they get me prepped and the doctor does a practice run.  The whole time Ketan and I are watching the procedure on the ultrasound monitor near my head.  Emotional and again speechless.

A few minutes later the embryologist comes in the room with the embryo and you feel the energy in the room get very tense and serious — this is it!  On this dark black and white screen you see the catheter release the embryo and its like fireworks. Yes, it looks like a little twinkle on the screen.  The embryo is surrounded by a solution that has tiny bubbles.  So when it is released you are watching for this little fireworks display.  It was truly magical; and I am crying as I type these words.  How many people can watch themselves get pregnant?  Okay, I know, a little odd — but truly breathtaking.

They wheel me back to the recovery room and now I get to pee — thank God!  But I look at the nurse and say, “is it okay, is it safe.”  She looks at me with this Bless Her Heart kind of look and Ketan pipes up and laughs that I don’t pee out of my uterus and the embryo can’t fall out.  Lets just blame that brain lapse episode on the sedative they gave me before the procedure!

We go home and I sleep off the drugs and rest as directed by the doctor.  That was easy the first day, because that sedative really worked!  But the days after have been really difficult.  Ketan left for a business trip on Thursday morning and was gone all weekend.  This left the nightly injections up to my nurse friend across the street.  This worked great until she had plans one night and would not get home until later.  So thankfully another neighbor who is a PA came to the rescue and came over to deliver the 9m shot!  A humbling experience and a grateful heart to the many people that are playing a role in this journey.  IVF takes a village and I am thankful for those on the journey with us.

We are now to present day and it is Raina’s second birthday.  This is a day that reminds me of one miracle and makes me feel incredibly full.  I am having some symptoms but remember, I am also jacked up on a ton of hormones so it is hard to tell the difference between pregnancy symptoms and the drug effects.  And for the moms out there you know that when you Google early pregnancy symptoms, they are exactly the same symptoms as PMS — so who really knows!  The doctor says that we can take a home pregnancy test tomorrow but not sure I can emotionally handle it.  So we will celebrate with our family this weekend and enjoy Raina’s second birthday.

The official blood test is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 at 7:30am.  Results should be back sometime later that afternoon.  Until then, we will wait, pray and surround ourselves with the entire village.

The Power of One

I woke up last Friday knowing that the wait was probably just a few days longer.  But it was also cycle day one, so I called the IVF nurse to let her know — just like I was instructed.  We typically don’t get a return call until late in the day, so I was not surprised when my phone rang shortly after 3pm.  Ketan and I had agreed that when the results came back from the genetic testing I would let the call go to voicemail and we would listen to it together later that night.  So I picked up the phone expecting it to be Jenni, my IVF nurse just giving me instructions on what to do.  Wrong, it was Dr. Hurst calling.  My heart began beating so fast that I could practically see my chest moving.  My hands began to quiver and my voice cracked.  He starts talking and I am really not sure what he first said because my pounding heart was too loud to hear anything.  Then I hear, “well, you have probably already heard the news from Jenni.”  No, I reply.  He begins to ramble about how she is the only IVF nurse there today and she is probably going to call a bit later.  I finally interrupt and tell him that he is making me really nervous and I am beginning to panic.  He pauses and says “oh its good news, I called to tell you congratulations.”  I start to cry — yes I know you are shocked!  He begins to talk about the results and explains that from the 3 embryos we have ONE that is normal.

I call Ketan and he doesn’t pick up the phone — he is in a mediation all day.  I call my parents and they don’t pick up the phone.  I call my sister — thank God, she picks up the phone.  I honestly don’t even remember what I told her; I just remember feeling thankful that my family has been with us every step of this path.  I was also thankful she picked up the phone so we could celebrate and do a happy dance!

About 2 hours later the phone rings again; this time it’s Jenni.  We both cheered for a second, I cried again and virtually hugged her through the phone.  I really don’t know how these IVF nurses do it.  I seriously believe she rides the emotional roller coaster with us.  So back to business; she walks me through the next drug cycle.  This time its an estrogen patch and pills every morning and night.  Then back to see the doctor on September 23rd for an ultrasound.  If things look good then; injections will begin and we will get ready for transfer sometime between September 26-29.

So with our news it really got me thinking about the power of one:

  • It took just one day for the embryologist to go from, “we have nothing to biopsy.” To the next day she said, “I was able to biopsy three embryos today.”
  • It has been one day at a time with this process.  When you look at the whole journey it is too overwhelming to comprehend.  So it has been one foot in front of the other each day.
  • We have one beautiful little girl that makes our lives entertaining and full.
  • It took one prior cycle to get the hang of this.
  • It has taken one amazing husband to get through this.  I will tell you that it has not been easy and we have had very different experiences through this journey.  But, if there is a perfect balance to me — its Ketan.
  • We now have one more chance in front of us.  Let it be the ONE.

 

Preschool, laying eggs, Rice Crispy Treats and Waiting.

Surgery day was also the first day of preschool for Raina.  Ugghh, seriously I would have to meet her new teachers looking like this.  Remember that on surgery day there was to be no makeup, lotions, shampoo, soap, fragrance of any kind, nail polish — oh and dress comfortably.  So basically I was walking my beautiful little girl into her school looking like I just crawled out of bed!  Yup, really classy.  Raina did awesome with the transition; it was me that had a lump in my throat — both from her getting older and what was ahead of us for the day.

Ketan and I sat in the car outside of Raina’s school and nervously checked social media.  A clear distraction since we had only 45 minutes until we had to report to the surgery center; not enough time to go home.  We finally made the decision to at least head over and wait it out there.  We ran into our doctor in the hallway and exchanged niceties, referenced the weather and I am sure Ketan cracked some kind of joke to ease the tension.

So far today felt just like the last surgery day; but for some reason I felt more peaceful and calm.  I suppose knowing what was going to happen made the process a bit easier.  We were even ushered into the same prep room as last time.   Ketan and I tried to make small talk both realizing that we were just ready to get this started and over with.    The prep was pretty quick; the IV went in, doctor came in; anesthesiologist came in, now it was just waiting on the clock to hit 10:30 which was go time!

Ketan kissed me goodbye and they wheeled me across the hall.  It’s a pretty small surgical suite that is just dedicated to the fertility unit.  Apparently the ventilation system is state of the art and specialized beyond a normal surgical wing — all to protect those precious eggs and embryos.  The room was dark and very small.  This is the uncomfortable part where they prop me up and then begin to strap me down so I won’t move during the procedure.  All of these things are done prior to kicking in the anesthesia so that there is less drug exposure to the eggs.

The team is making small talk about rice crispy treats.  Again, its another good distraction and I don’t mind the conversation.  We decided that the ones that are homemade are so much better than those fake plastic ones.  Since I also haven’t had anything to eat or drink since the night before, I tell the team that a rice crispy treat would sure hit the spot right about now.  Well, not my luck its now 10:30am — go time.

Suddenly a surgical time out happens; they all review the procedure and my details.  A couple minutes of the procedure happen then the nurse leans over and says,”your arm will feel cold and maybe some stinging, but it will be quick.”  I remember my eyes growing heavy.

I woke up and the nurse was telling me twenty two.  I was so groggy that I really was not comprehending what she was talking about.  “Twenty-two eggs, the doctor retrieved twenty-two eggs.”  Tears began to roll down my face.  Wow, I seriously at the moment felt like a momma hen that just layed some golden eggs.   You see this was more than double from the last retrieval surgery.  In the game of fertility, its simply about numbers and laying some eggs!

After some crackers, a ginger ale and some pain meds — its time to go home.  They bring in the carriage otherwise known as a wheelchair and I plop in for the glamorous tour through the hospital.  They pull the curtain back and the nurses are outside with a treat — a Rice Crispy treat — the good kind — the homemade kind.  Again, I start to cry.  Don’t judge — remember how high my estrogen levels are and how hungry I am!  What seems like such a small gesture meant a ton to me.  That surgical team was simply the best –they were so kind, and probably will never know how much that meant to me.  Womens Institute, Carolinas HealthCare System, Fertility Surgical Team — thank you.

Now the long wait for results.  The embryologist called the next day.  Eight eggs were fertilized.  The numbers are still promising and better than last time.   She calls again a few days later with a report.  The number is now to 6; six embryos are doing what they want them to do and look good.  She calls again two days later.  The numbers are still good but nothing to biopsy today she says.  She rattles off some technical stuff and thank God Ketan was on the phone; because all I heard was “I will be ecstatic if we get 1-3.”  We hang up the phone and I am in tears.  Again, remember my estrogen is still high!  I keep thinking how can we go from 22 to 1?  Ketan recounts the conversation and clearly all I heard was one.  Yet that is not what she said, he gives me his side of the conversation and I feel a little better.   The next morning we are waiting for her call and try to stay busy.  You should have seen the stupid crap we did all morning to stay distracted.  The call finally comes in around noon.  “I have good news” the embryologist says.  “I was able to biopsy 3 embryos.”  Yup, the waterworks begin again, my face is in my hands and I cannot speak.  Again, thankfully Ketan maintains his composure and continues the call talking details about the embryos.

The call ends and more waiting begins.  Cells from each of the embryos have now been shipped to the genetics lab in Michigan for testing.  We wait for results and try to act like this is a normal week.

Kind of like a bloated cow

In the last 10 days I have had 5 blood draws, 4 internal ultrasounds, 40 injections and 30 pills.  The last ultrasound revealed 18 follicles that are greater than 10mm and what feels like a zillion other small ones.  The doctor looked at the scan and said “beautiful” — so yes, things look good.  My estrogen levels are nearly 8 times more than a “normal cycle” — so yes, I am at the emotional bloated cow stage of this process.  In fact this is almost a cruel process in that I feel and look nearly 4 months pregnant.

Yesterday was the day that I actually woke up thinking I could not do any more.  I have physically turned into a pin cushion.  My belly has 40 little pin pricks, a few bruises and is tender and sensitive.  My arms look like I have some sort of drug addiction.  My eyes are blood shot either from not sleeping well or the tears that seem to flow for just about any reason.  I woke up thinking that I just could not keep going.  So much for the yoga, essential oils, meditation and acupuncture — these emotions have seriously taken over all that zen crap I have been doing.  Okay, so it’s not crap it’s working…” my body is healthy, happy and calm.”  Ooops, sorry for the zen detour!

Yesterday was also the day that the doctor said that we are ready for retrieval.  So let me translate — that means that almost all the injections are over!  So last night I had 3 more shots and tonight was the final one!  The end is now in sight. I can and will keep going, we are so close.

Tonight I also sit on the couch (oh shoot, lets be honest, I am laying here in my pajamas) writing this post and trying to keep my head in the game.  It’s now the last few hours before the retrieval surgery.  I am desperately sipping on the last drops of water before all food and liquid have to stop at midnight.  The clock seems to be staring at me taunting me with the midnight deadline.   As I read over the directions for surgery it assures me that the process makes sure that you approach it with humility.  No fragrances, soaps, lotions, makeup or deodorant shall be worn on the day of surgery.  Well that is one fast way to make this emotional bloated cow feel really confident!

Just in case the emotions aren’t already running high; Raina begins her new “older toddler” classroom tomorrow morning.  I realize it is not like she is starting kindergarten, but c’mon this is a pretty big deal.  At least its a good distraction for the morning since we don’t have to be to the surgery center until 9:30am. But seriously not sure I can deal with any more tears.

As I get closer to game time I humbly ask for your prayers, positive thoughts, and well wishes.  Although minor surgery, it is still surgery.  It is our last chance at growing our family.  It is nearing the end of our journey.  It is tomorrow.