Monday, December 22, 2008

1st Ultrasound

John and I have great news - we saw a strong, beautiful heartbeat on the ultrasound this morning!!!!! It was beating at 126 bpm which is within the proper range. Baby looked great, but was measuring slightly less than 6 weeks, 6 days.

There also appeared to be a second gestational sac, but there was no yolk sac or baby with this one. There is still a possibility that this is second baby that is lagging way behind or is difficult to see because of its position. However, this is probably not the case. Hopefully, we will know more once we hear from the doctor's office. Of course I am very excited about seeing the other one's heartbeat, but I am concerned about this second baby. If you would, please keep this in your prayers.

John and I can't thank all of you enough for your prayers and encouragement throughout this process, we have been so blessed by all of you.

We are just about to leave to spend Christmas with my family in Melbourne, FL so I won't by blogging much until I get back. I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

6 weeks today!

I'm sorry for posting so infrequently. Between the increased social activities, cookie exchange, ladies luncheon at church, Christmas shopping, and almost daily afternoon rests/naps I have been keeping pretty busy. I can't believe I am 6 weeks along as of today! I forgot to ask Dr. K's office what they had as my due date, but I calculated it using an online calculator to be August 11th. If you put in my retrieval date of November 18th, you can get my results.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who left comments or sent emails congratulating us and letting us know that you are praying for us. It has meant so much to both John and I to have the support and prayers of so many people as we have gone through this process.

I did have a bit of a scare last week. Late Wednesday evening, I noticed some spotting - very light and almost orange in color. Needless to say, I was beyond scared. I completely broke down, spent some time crying out to the Lord, and then cried myself to sleep. First thing Thursday morning, I called Dr. K's office to let them know what had happened. I had previously committed to helping with the table decorations for the women's luncheon being held that day, so I went on to church with my cell phone in my pocket to wait for their call. Thankfully, they called back fairly quickly and before the luncheon started. They assured me that everything was fine. She said that the spotting is due to the progesterone inserts that I am taking and the increased vascularization of my cervix. They said I shouldn't worry unless it is red. Even so, anytime you see any amount and any color of blood in pregnancy, it's just plain scary. I have had a small amount of light spotting since then, but I have managed not to let it bother me too much.

These last couple of days, I have been less worried overall and I have been able to rejoice more in what has happened. Sometimes it still doesn't seem real though. I am really looking forward to our ultrasound on Dec 22nd when hopefully it will become more real, but at the same time I am nervous. It is hard not to wonder if sorrow awaits. I am optimistic though and so far there is no indication that I shouldn't be. I know this probably sounds like a bunch of mixed up emotions, but that is just how it is. I oscillate back and forth between different emotions. Throughout this IVF cycle, I have thought a lot about hope and I know there is reason to hope because my hope is in the Lord and He is able.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The outcome of our IVF cycle

I'm sorry for the delay in posting the outcome of our IVF cycle, but I had to contact some people personally before making the announcement. Also, I needed some time to process what was happening. I am pregnant! Of course, John and I are happy, but to tell you the truth it doesn't really seem real to us yet. I think the other thing that weighs heavily upon me is that this news can be so painful for others who are still waiting and longing for a child. I hate that my news will cause others pain and having been on the receiving end of pregnancy announcements I know it very likely will. To those who are still waiting, I am so sorry. I know how painful IF is. I don't think I will ever forget, nor do I want to because I know it has made me more compassionate towards all types of pain. Please know that I pray daily for you.

In fact, it was a pregnancy announcement that precipitated us finding out that I am pregnant. The Sunday after Thanksgiving I received my second pregnancy announcement inside of 2 weeks and I was feeling very upset. I was happy for the other ladies but frankly I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was sure I was going to get a negative because I was feeling major PMS symptoms which is not that unusual for me in the week before I start. Apparently, John did not agree that it was PMS so he basically said "that's it, I am going out to buy you a pregnancy test." I took it Sunday night and it was faintly positive. At first, I was thinking maybe it's the Ovidrel (hCG hormone they give you to trigger ovulation in IVF) still in my system. The next morning, okay it was really 4:00am when I woke up to pee (now a frequent occurrence), I took another test and it was a stronger positive. At first, I was going to try to wait the full 2 weeks as Dr. K had said, but I just couldn't, especially when my husband is a nurse and can get a pregnancy test ordered for me anytime. So I went in on Monday and they confirmed that I was definitely pregnant. I went back for more blood tests on Wednesday and Friday to see if my beta (hCG levels) had doubled and they had which is very good news. Dr. K's office said everything looks good and they scheduled my ultrasound for December 22nd. If heartbeat is seen on this ultrasound, then that will mean things look very good for the pregnancy. Even though things are going well and I feel very pregnant (fatigue, mild nausea, frequent urination, and breast soreness) I am still very nervous. I am finding it very hard not to worry or be fearful. I know that everything is in the Lord's hands, but trusting in that is easier said than done. I am also concerned about hurting others so between the two issues, I haven't really celebrated this yet. However, I know I need to praise God for what He has done. He has done a wondrous deed and I am completely overwhelmed by His grace and mercy to me. Yes, we used advanced reproductive technology, but Dr. K was merely the instrument, it was God who brought this about and all the glory is His. The fact is every one of our prayer requests was answered.

There is some sad news, however, the other 3 embryos that were not transferred did not make it. Dr. K's office freezes on day 5 which is the blastocyst stage of development. From what I understand this is a difficult developmental hurdle to overcome as only 40% of embryos will develop to blastocysts. The 3 that weren't transferred were also the 3 weakest since they choose the 2 best embryos to transfer. It is hard not to wonder if they could have survived if they were transferred into me, but I know that would not have been a good idea to transfer all of them since it would have placed all their lives at risk. I prayed that all of them would survive, but I also prayed that the Lord's will would be done in each of their lives and I must accept that it was.

I have read Psalm 65 a lot throughout this process. It is described as a hymn in praise of God's great goodness which seems like an appropriate way to end this post:

1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.

2 O you who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.

3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.

4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,

6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,

7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.

8 Those living far away fear your wonders;
where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.

9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.

10 You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.

11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.

12 The grasslands of the desert overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.

13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.