Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Technically, I am supposed to be on bed rest until Thursday afternoon. I have observed a 24 hour period of bed rest and I am going to try to take it as easy as possible over the next few days, but there really isn't anything I can do to stay on a strict bed rest. With retrieval not happening until last Friday, we really got behind on our packing schedule. I have to pack my clothes and the stuff that I will need immediately. Obviously, John will load the cars so I won't be lifting anything. I have heard that there really is no difference in pregnancy rates between those who are put on bed rest and those who aren't. Still, if there is anyone who has been through this and did not have bed rest (and especially if you got pregnant), I would love it if you would leave me a reassuring comment.
I believe our Internet connection is being shut off after today, so I may not be posting or commenting on your blogs as much. John has a laptop, but it is not entirely set up yet. I am hoping he will get it up and running soon.
Also, I wanted to clear up something about the egg freezing I mentioned in a couple of my previous posts in case it came out wrong. I had said that they were experimenting with this new procedure to hopefully help cancer patients and those with religious/moral objections to freezing embryos. John and I chose to limit the number of embryos, not because we are against freezing, but because we were afraid of ending up in a situation where we had more embryos than we could ever use ourselves. Even though we know that a 100% success rate is highly unlikely, we wanted to assume 100% and know we would be willing to commit to giving everyone of them a chance at life. Having the miscarriage, very much lessened what I feel I could endure in terms of further cycles. I have several friends in the blogosphere and in real life with frozen embryos and I didn't want any of you to think that I thought it was wrong or was passing judgment on you in any way. The egg freezing appealed to me for a couple of different reasons. First, even though we did shared risk and have a 3rd egg retrieval if we need one, I would have to travel back to Mobile, AL from DC in order to do it. We already found out transferring to another reproductive center in DC is not possible with the shared risk program. I know people do travel all the time for IVF, but it would involve either a prolonged period away from John or getting monitoring set up in DC and just coming down to Mobile for the egg retrieval itself. While this is possible, it would probably cost us a lot more money (for both the travel and the monitoring) which is a major factor for us to consider. Currently, Dr. K gives a substantial discount to military members for the monitoring. We pay $700.00 instead of the usual $2000.00 fee. I am also guessing monitoring will cost a lot more in DC, since everything else does. We felt like freezing my eggs would give us a third option and at the same time leave a door open for further treatment if we so desired it down the road. We wouldn't be able to use the eggs as part of the shared risk program (we would have to cancel out), but we could avoid ever having to do another egg retrieval which shared risk would require. We would have to pay for the transfer procedure and that is about it. It would be very similar to doing a frozen embryo transfer. The other reason freezing eggs appealed to me is because its main purpose is to help cancer patients. My sister Debbie just recently had Hodgkin's lymphoma. She completed chemotherapy and radiation and is now, praise God, cancer-free. I know that her future fertility was something that was a great concern to her when she was going through all this. The current methods for freezing eggs are just not very good, which is why this research is needed. Even if I never use the eggs myself, I feel like this research could help others, like my sister, in the future.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I know it only takes one. I have heard of friends with great embryos that did not get pregnant and others with so-so embryos that got pregnant. But I am still very disappointed. This cycle just has not gone well. I know it is and always was in the Lord's hand. I am praying the one will be our miracle.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Please be praying.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
- 16 of the 17 eggs retrieved were mature
- 8 were frozen using the experimental quick freeze procedure I mentioned yesterday - I think it is safe to say that no matter what the outcome is of this cycle, this was my last egg retrieval
- 8 were injected
- 5 fertilized - this is the same number we had last IVF, you can read how encouraged I was by having 5 last cycle here, I can't help but be encouraged this time as well - it reminds me that God knows me and He cares for me
"This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23
Friday, April 24, 2009
Now we wait for fertilization to occur. I should hear the report tomorrow.
Thank you for your prayers. I have been greatly encouraged by the comments and emails I have received.
I am off to rest now.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
We are asking for the following:
1) For God to be glorified that others would see the great work He has done.
2) For this cycle to be successful, for those of you who like to get specific when you pray, here are the specifics:
- Stage 1: Ovarian stimulation, monitoring, and ovulation triggering - this is the current stage until tomorrow when we move to stage 2, please continue to pray for adequate response and hormone levels and no excessive response (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome)
- Stage 2: Egg retrieval - please pray that the procedure go well, that a sufficient number of mature eggs be retrieved, and that there would be no problems with anesthesia
- Stage 3: Fertilization - please pray that fertilization would occur and that a sufficient number would begin to divide and develop properly. Ideally, we would have 2 grade 5 (symmetric with no fragmentation) embryos to transfer. The Lord knows what number is sufficient and I am trusting Him with this.
- Stage 4: Embryo transfer - please pray that the procedure go well and that the embryos would implant into my uterus and develop into healthy babies
4) Please pray that we trust God with this whole process and especially the outcome. We know that His ways and timing are perfect.
5) Keep focus on the Lord, take one day at a time, and allow Him to lead us step by step.
6) For freedom from worry and fear, for God's peace throughout the entire process, especially the 2 week waiting period
7) We be reminded of God's presence with us
8) God's will be done in our lives, that He fulfill His purpose for John and I
"Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:36-37
I had heard verse 37 before, but it was only recently that I realized it was specifically connected with someone who struggled with infertility. I am greatly encouraged by that and I hope all of you will be as well.
Thank you for praying!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Even though I have been frustrated that it is taking so long, I am actually glad that my retrieval is Friday rather than Thursday. If it had been Thursday, guess what my due date would have been if I got pregnant? January 13. The day I miscarried. I'm still not sure what I think about the dates being so close together.
In other news, I have almost gotten everything ready for the movers. I have been sorting, filing, and preparing since Saturday afternoon. I took a break today because I was just so exhausted. All I have left to do is update the inventory of all our stuff, take pictures, and pack the stuff we are taking in our cars. We are taking pictures of things this move as an added precaution.
Also, I wanted to thank you all for your prayers and encouraging comments on my last post. I will post specific prayer requests for this cycle tomorrow.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I must start out with a disclaimer. I am going to discuss the information I found out, giving enough information for everyone to understand what we are up against, but not giving any specifics that would reveal our diagnosis. If I had kept this blog anonymous from the beginning and not given it out to anyone I know in real life, I would get into the specifics. However, John and I made a decision to be open about our struggle with IF, but decided we didn't think everyone needed to know whether it was one, and if so which one of us, or both of us. I know not everyone would agree with this decision, but it is what's best for us.
Okay, so I got some information this past Thursday from the embryologist that works with my RE. It is not good news at all. Last cycle the 3 embryos that weren't transferred did not survive until day 5. Day 5 is when my doctor freezes. I had been feeling like I should talk to them about what happened to see if they learned anything that might help us this time around. She looked back over my records and said she was surprised we didn't get a pregnancy based on our embryo quality (I guess she doesn't get any of the information after she does her part of the process). I told her we did get a pregnancy, but at 10 weeks we found out there was no heartbeat and then I miscarried. So she says to me, "I really don't want to scare you, but....." It is never good when someone starts off a sentence that way. She then proceeded to tell me that they saw _______ (name of abnormality) and that there were none without this abnormality. She said that my miscarriage was probably a result of these abnormalities. Well, I guess I would have been scared if I knew what they were and what effect they had on pregnancy outcomes. I didn't even know enough to know what to ask her. So of course I googled them when I got home. All I could find were journal articles which tells me they don't know a lot about them yet. In one of the articles, I came across an alarming study comparing pregnancy rates and miscarriage rates for a group with these abnormalities with a group without these abnormalities. The results were terrible. For those with these abnormalities only 5 of the 28 study participants (18%) got pregnant and 4 of those (80%) miscarried. That leaves just ONE pregnancy which was ongoing at the time of the study and NO deliveries. In the group without the abnormalities, 14 of the 28 participants got pregnant (50%) and only 1 miscarried (7%). In this group there were 10 deliveries and 3 ongoing pregnancies. The 4 miscarriages in the group with the abnormality were all what are called missed abortions. This is basically when the heartbeat stops and/or the baby stops growing, but your body does not miscarry the baby. Sound familiar? Another one of the interesting results from this study was that there were no differences in fertilization rate, percentage of good embryos, or implantation rate between the two groups. So basically this means the embryo develops normally in the beginning, but this abnormality affects embryo survival in the later stages resulting in lower pregnancy rates and much higher miscarriage rates. I found another study which looked at blastocyst formation (this is the stage the embryo reaches at day5) in groups with different degrees of this abnormality. The two groups with a high degree of the abnormality had little to no blastocyst formation, which may explain why none of our other 3 made it to day 5. I hope this isn't too technical, but I wanted to give every one a picture of what we are up against.
It might sound strange, but when I read these numbers peace came over me (admittedly there has been crying since). I realized that we are facing a situation that only God can overcome. We need Him to intervene. I have always believed that it was God who was in control and not my doctor. However, I believe God gives doctors the knowledge and skills they possess, and therefore I believe we should go to them when we have a medical issue (which infertility is). But there is nothing the doctors can do in this situation. There is nothing they can do to fix it. We can only go to the One who is not bound by diagnoses, circumstances, or statistics, the One for whom nothing is impossible. It is definitely going to take a miracle for me to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term. But I know that if the Lord wills it, He can bring it to pass.
If He does bring it to pass, it will be known that is was God who has done this great thing. Recently, I had been wondering about whether others would know it was God if I got pregnant through IVF. Would people give God all the praise and glory or would my doctor get the credit? This had really been bothering me. I believe our lives are meant to glorify God and I want Him to get all the glory. I want to be able to say as my friend Elaine did here, "To God be the glory, great things HE has done!" This was confirmed for me in an email sent to me by one of my closest friends. She said,
"God enjoys getting all and every credit and glory for His doings... which is as it should be.
And when and if this pregnancy happens, it's for sure now that it won't be a result of any medical technology or doctor skills... but only by God's grace and sovereignty. What a testament that would be!"
Jesus said with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). And so I am going to be asking God for a miracle. And if He wills it, all the glory will be His. If He does not will it, I will trust in the "something more" God has planned (see Elaine's post above). Either way I want God to receive all glory, honor, and praise.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Yesterday at Bible study, we talked about how we can't look to other people to fill whatever void we are feeling. I have been feeling discouraged, but I realized that I must look to my Heavenly Father to provide the strengthening and encouragement I need. Very often God does work through other people to meet our needs, but ultimately we must look to the Lord. He is my Provider. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19 KJV
Also, I found out some information yesterday from the embryologist that may seriously impact the outcome of this cycle. We may now have the explanation as to why I miscarried and unfortunately we may be facing the same situation again. Let me just say that it is going to take a miracle. I will be posting about it very soon.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The first few days of Follistim were pretty rough. I felt really depressed and cried a lot. I was wondering if it was due to the higher dosage of Follistim they are giving me this time around. I don't remember feeling this bad last time. I really didn't have much of a monthly cycle after I got off the BCPs, so maybe my body is just going a little crazy. I started to feel a little better yesterday and then this morning when I got on the scale I had shed a couple pounds of water weight. BCPs make me bloated. So maybe it was the BCPs and my kinda sorta monthly cycle and not the Follistim that have been making me feel so bad. I am hoping they have left my system and I will begin to feel better.
I had another u/s and more BW this morning. I haven't heard the results yet so I don't know if there are any changes in my medications. The u/s tech said she saw about 17 follicles, with the largest one measuring about 9 mm. I think this is slightly better than last time in terms of follicle size. It is going so fast now. I should have my retrieval next week which is really hard to believe.
I do have a few prayer requests:
1) Please pray that I would continue to trust God with the entire process and especially the outcome
2) Freedom from worry and fear, for God's peace throughout this cycle
3) For strengthening and encouragement, as I mentioned I have been feeling really down (which may be due to side effects of the medication)
Up to 25% of cycles are canceled prior to retrieval due to inadequate follicle development or hormonal levels, premature LH surge, or excessive response.
4) Pray that my follicles would reach the necessary level of maturity and that they would do so at an equal rate, and that I would produce adequate hormone levels
5) Pray that I would not have a premature LH surge
6) Pray that I would not have an excessive response - ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
Thank you for praying for me.
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalm 68:19
Thursday, April 9, 2009
1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3: 1-10
Is this cycle the appointed time for us? I don't know, all I know is that the Lord has said, "This is the way; walk in it" Isaiah 30:21. My prayer is for God to be glorified. I will not lean on my understanding or try to guess how God will work things out. I will wait upon the Lord to reveal His perfect plan in His perfect time.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tomorrow I have another ultrasound and blood work and then if all is well I start Follistim.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Here are the rules:
1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
Okay so here are 10 honest things about me:
1) When John goes on a trip, I eat liverwurst and crackers, the really processed kind, I think it might be Oscar Meyer. But only when John is gone. I don't know why I do this, it's not like he has banned liverwurst from our house or anything.
2) I think I am thinking about what I do when John is gone because of his recent trip to Peru. Anyway, I am a baby when he is gone. I sleep with my bedroom door locked. The crazy thing is I live on an Air Force base. There are armed guards at the gate. I have a security forces officer living right next door to me. It makes no sense at all.
3) I was born in West Virginia. A small part of me feels like it will always be home even though I haven't lived there in 23 years. This is where my love of bluegrass music comes from.
4) My elementary school in West Virginia use to have a day each year called Round-up Day. We dressed up as cowboys/cowgirls or Native Americans (they said Indians, it was the 80's) and had a square dance. I absolutely loved Round-up Day and to this day I think about square dancing.
5) I asked John to go square dancing with me if I will go ice skating with him. He said yes! I wouldn't go ice skating before because I am a perfectionist who hates to fail at anything. So sometimes I am afraid to even try.
6) I am the oldest of 6 - 3 sisters and 2 brothers. They all live in Melbourne, FL. You might think we live fairly close together since we all live in FL, but they live about 7 1/2 hours without traffic from me, plus another hour lost due to changing over from central time to eastern time.
7) I actually like my real name, Rebecca, much better than Becky, but my whole family calls me Becky so it's just much easier. My middle name is Ann. It sounds much better with Rebecca. When I got married I kept Ann and dropped my maiden name (I have brothers so I figured it shouldn't really matter).
8) I was thinking that the fact that I dropped my maiden name will make it hard for old friends to find me if I ever join Facebook. I'm not really sure if I want old friends to find me.
9) Annie is the first dog I've owned. I never thought I could love a dog as I do her. Sometimes I think about the fact that Annie will not always be with me and I cry.
10) I fidget a lot. I think it is anxiety related. I will play with my rings or some other object without even realizing I am doing it.
And now for my tags. Some of you have some heavy things going on in your life, so please don't feel pressured to do this until you are able.
1. Jackie @ New things each day
2. Niki @ Our Family Journey
3. Elaine @ God's Faithfulness Through Infertility
4. Beth @ Walking the Journey
5. Joia @ Our Daily Post from the Emerald Coast
6. Wendi @ Life in the Polar North Defrosts
7. Nity @ I Believe in Miracles
I love all your blogs! Each of you has been such a great support to me. When I started blogging it was just to keep friends and family informed about what was going on with us as far as our IF treatment. I had no idea I would find myself a part of such a wonderful online support community.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
We are scheduled for this month. Initially, we thought we would wait until we got up to DC before trying again. This was partly because neither one of us thought our hearts would be ready to try again and partly because we were worried it would be too stressful being so close to our move. This was basically where we were at when John left for Peru in February. About a week after John got back (beginning of March) I figured I had better research fertility clinics in the DC area and check with the shared risk program to see if we could transfer into a program up there. For those who might not know, shared risk is a program where you pay a discounted fee and receive multiple IVF cycles. If treatment is unsuccessful, you receive 70% of your money back. You can also cancel out of the program and receive 70% of your money back if you can't or don't want to continue treatment. You can read more about it here. Anyway, I found a clinic no problem. But when I called IntegraMed to see if we could transfer to the clinic in DC I found out we could not. They wanted us to cancel out of the program here and enroll in the program in DC. We would basically have to start all over and pay the full fee. This was just not an option. So that left us finishing out the program here. I talked to my IVF nurse Sabrina to see if we would be able to get in for April. They require you to have two monthly cycles before beginning birth control pills (BCPs), which is the first step in an IVF cycle. Thankfully, my monthly cycles cooperated so that we could.
We are basically ready to go. Drugs have been ordered, appointments have been made. I have been taking BCPs since March 18th. I finish them Monday April 6th. So here is our schedule:
April 6 - baseline ultrasound (this is to make sure I have no cysts on my ovaries)
April 7 - 1st injection - Cetrotide (this is given to prevent premature LH surge or ovulation, if this happens then my cycle would be cancelled)
April 9 - baseline u/s and blood work (BW) to check my estrogen, progesterone, and LH levels
April 9/10 - Begin stims, Follistim and later Menopur (Follistim is used to stimulate the development of ovarian follicles and Menopur is used for better egg development and quality)
Projected egg retrieval dates: April 21, 22, 0r 23
Projected transfer dates: April 24, 25, or 26
Even If I am not ready (have enough mature follicles) until the 23rd, things should still work out just fine timing wise for our move. In this case transfer would be on the 26th, followed by bed rest until the 28th. Then the movers come to pack us up on the 29th and 30th and the cleaner comes on the 2nd of May. Since we don't have to do the packing and cleaning ourselves I think things will work out just fine. I can't believe things are actually about to get started. I am so much more relaxed this time. Last time the process of IVF itself with all the shots and drugs was completely overwhelming. You can read about a typical IVF cycle here. This time I know what to expect so I am much less nervous about the physical aspects of the process. Emotionally, I am both excited and nervous. I plan on taking it one day at a time, trusting in God's perfect plan for this cycle.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
My prayer was that He would comfort all of us, and give us peace and joy in His presence.
I asked Him to enable all of us to continue to cling to Him and trust in His perfect plan.
I asked the God of hope to "fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13.
And I asked Him to move the mountain of infertility in our lives.