Just another mom blog…

For this child, I have prayed. (Samuel 1:27)

Archive for the month “December, 2008”

A Simple Prayer

Lord, please take a moment,
To look into my heart where,
You’ve filled it with so much love,
That I’ve more than enough to share.
Lord, I’m not sure exactly why,
Life left my body so scarred,
But please know I really want this,
Even if it’s hard.
This longing for a child, Lord,
I know it will never go away,
Despite what I tell myself,
It just gets stronger every day.
I don’t know if you can hear me now,
These words I say in prayer,
If you can, please send a sign,
To reassure me that you’re there.
I know that a child’s laughter,
Is God’s gift to man,
But Lord my arms are still empty,
Please send us a child if you can.
You’ll clearly see my heart,
Is that of a mother’s through and through,
You’ve blessed me with this gift of love,
Please help our dreams come true.
JCH

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

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No baby this time around…

We went this morning to have our blood pregnancy test done after waiting for a full 2 weeks since our embryos were transferred.  The whole way there we smiled and held hands, secretly gaurding our high hopes that we’ve been blessed the very first try.  Chris had to return to work, and I took a brief nap to recover from staying up too late the night before out of excitement.  Since we receive our news via email, we obsessively checked and rechecked our inboxes.  Finally, around 2:15 pm, Chris gets the bad news and sends me a text to let me know.

And I cried. Boy did I cry! I cried for not being able to give Chris the child he wants just as much as I do. I cried for not being able to give our parents their grandbaby.  I cried for the infant with Chris’s lips and my eyes that will not be in my arms 9 months from now like I so desperately hoped for.

But I promised myself long ago that no matter what, that I would never lose sight of our goal, which is to have a child and our family.  As of this moment, I am reminding myself that the reason we chose to do IVF now instead of going straight to adoption is because I do not want to be caring for a young child and a difficult pregnancy. The sense of being torn between the responsibilities of motherhood toward our child we adopted and the child I am carrying would be absolutely unbearable to me.   I also don’t want to end up not having the option of a pregnancy due to ill health later on and severely regret it.  I know without a doubt that I am meant to be a mother, that motherhood agrees with me, and that one day our dreams of our child will come true.

So for right now, Chris and I are finding comfort in each other and our dreams.  On monday, I will call my RE and set up an appointment for us to discuss and plan our next steps. Chris and I have very solid plans on the steps that we would like to take next, and so we are mainly just hoping that things will fall into place. Please keep us in your prayers, and thank you for all of the prayers that you have said for us thus far.

A minor set-back?

Today we received the news that of the 4 embryos left out to divide, none of them survived to the blastocyst stage.  The nurse said that this is not uncommon and that the 2 they transferred back were of the best quality.  I have so many questions that I would like to ask our RE at our next appointment, but until then, I feel that I am left to my own devices to make sense of it all.
The facts so far:

  • Started out with 29 follicles/pre-eggs, 15 eggs retrieved at the retrieval. 3 of these eggs did not go on to become embryos because 2 were immature (needed more time in the follicle to grow), and 1 simply did not fertilize.  This left us with 12 fertilized eggs.
  • 6 of these very early embryos were immediately frozen for storage, and the remaining 6 were left out to continue dividing. At the transfer date, 2 highest quality embryos were transferred back into my uterus, the other 4 embryos were left out to continue dividing into blastocyst.
  • The 4 embryos left out to divide did not survive to the blastocyst stage. My pregnancy test is in 10 days.

So what do I make of all of this?  All I know is that IVF is not an exact science. They do not have a program to follow that works for every woman. Instead, they go by general guidelines and adjust your particular medications accordingly. But even these guidelines are not exact and the most uneventful, seemingly successful IVF cycles do not necessarily result in a baby being born. In fact, sometimes the more challenging cases go on to result in perfectly healthy babies or even multiples.  My personal way of coping with the ups and downs of IVF is to stay focused on the ultimate goal- to bring home a healthy baby first through IVF, and then through adoption.  Until then, everything else is simply part of the journey toward our goal and I try to stay focused on each day, each appointment, for even the “bad” days still represent us getting one day closer to our goal. This mind-set may not work for everyone, but it works for us, and that’s all that matters.
At the risk of TMI (too much information), I am happy to report that my body seems to be responding quite normally to the progesterone hormone shots.  These shots are geared toward (from what I understand) counteracting the artificially high levels of Estrogen involved in producing the eggs to early pregnancy levels of progesterone in order to support the embryos I am carrying.  The inter-muscular shots are by far the most painful aspect of IVF, as injecting them in the wrong place on the hip/upper-buttocks can result in being barely able to put weight on the same side as the injection the following day. For those who are curious, a “good” shot feels similar to how a flu vaccination makes your arm feel the following day. A “bad” shot feels like (no exaggeration here) being stung by a large wasp several times in the same area + flu vaccination + pinched nerve, all in a very sensitive, mobile area. But they are preventing uterine contractions and helping my uterus to grow a thick lining for our embryos to implant themselves in, so bring it on! As for other normal progesterone responses, I seem to be developing the usual complaints of early pregnancy: mild acne, nausea, efficient gag reflex, bloating, breast tenderness, the ability to get choked up over the most the ridiculous things, and a GI tract (stomach and all) that moves about as quickly as an elderly, anemic, unmotivated tortoise in thick, mucky mud.
Regardless if these 2 particular embryos go on to a successful pregnancy or not, Chris and I are practicing our “one day at a time” motto and we are loving it. Until we know otherwise, we are thinking positive and enjoying this time in our lives, for we know all too well how fast time goes by.  So when I find myself getting choked up when the emcee explains the origins of the term “putting a dog to ground” (letting him off the horse to track the animals) during the Westminister Dog Show, I sob away while Chris grabs the popcorn to watch the OTHER show called “Jenn and her Hormones.”
But I do consider myself to be very fortunate to have such a wonderful husband, after all, the poor man waits ever so patiently at the grocery store while I spend a remarkably long time staring longingly at the soft cheeses banned from my diet.  In addition, he gladly accompanies me to the store near midnight to get the following list: x-large vinegar, 4 kinds of ice-cream, 1 sorbet, 2 Italian ices, 4 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, lemon-pepper seasoning, hard candy sprinkles (NOT the soft kind, mind you), and Welsh’s sparkling non-alcoholic grape beverage.  He then stifles his own nausea as I promptly savor each and every one of these items in random order. God bless him, he’s wonderful !!!
Anyhow, we have 10 more days until we know our fate, so please keep us in your prayers!

Transfer Day!!!

Today we went to have 2 embryos placed back into my uterus. Of the 6 that were left out to divide, 2 they are putting back are top quality embryos, meaning the embryologist rated them the highest scores. The other 4 are not doing quite as well and more than likely will not make it through the 5-day stage, freezing, and thawing process.  Hopefully I will not have to go through another “fresh” IVF cycle where they have to stimulate and retrieve all the eggs again.  We will wait ~2 weeks until December 19th when we go back for the blood pregnancy test. So as of right now, I have 2 embryos floating around, and hopefully one or both will go on to implant themselves in about 8-10 days. I will not have any pregnancy symptoms before my blood test so I will have no idea if we are indeed pregnant or with how many for several weeks to come. Exciting times!

Click to play Transfer Day!
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Egg retrieval and fertilization report!

The egg retrieval December 3, 2008:
Today we had our egg retrieval, which is the process the RE (doctor) goes through to insert a needle into each follicle on my ovaries to remove each egg from them.  Our RE elected to do the egg retrieval under general anesthesia in the OR to ensure that I remain absolutely still so that they do not accidently puncture my j-pouch.  I was incredibly nervous, but the folks there did a wonderful job and the procedure went quickly and smoothly.
Chris woke up at 4am (I was still awake, too excited/nervous to sleep) and we left the house to arrive at the hospital by 5am. We went up to the same-day operating area and were shown into our room. I changed into a hospital gown and a very friendly nurse asked me all the usual questions concerning my history, all 1001 of them! Anyhow, she placed the IV, then I met with the anesthesiologist.  The first thing she said (in a southern drawl) was, “I hope you won’t have any problems understanding me since I’m from Texas.”  We immediately looked at each other and smiled huge grins, which piqued her attention. So we explained our mutual origins and subsequently shared somewhat of a kumbya moment. It was fabulous.
They gave me an acid-reducer to prevent nausea and some kind of pre-OR sedative which didn’t have much affect on me (too excited).  I kissed Chris good-bye and they wheeled me into the strange, sterile world of blue clothed people and blue drapes everywhere! Beneath the bright lights, I scooted onto the OR table and managed to recognize one of my favorite RE’s before being administered my sleepy time medicine.  There were a large number of people in the OR with me, at least 8 or so. My last thought was something along the lines of, “I wonder what all these people are doing here? Oh did she just give me the anesthesia shot? That’s funny, cause I don’t feel anyth…(zzzz).”
Next thing I know, I woke up in the recovery room next to another young patient in the bed next to me. At our feet sat two nurses. They were chatting about the careers of anesthesiologist assistants (AA’s). Now fully alert-ish, I found myself eagerly joining in on the discussion, though I’m not sure exactly if my words were coherent or not. Nevertheless, the nurse patiently answered a steady, slurred stream of questions I had about becoming an anesthesiologist’s assistant. When I was declared fully recovered, (or when she tired of my questions), I was wheeled back into my room where Chris joined me.  After updating him on the exciting pro’s and cons of becoming an AA, I started to feel sharp, menstrual like pains and quickly recalled why I was there.  Feeling quite sleepy again, I looked at him and said, “Yaaay! (…zzzzz). “
Our fertility report on our eggs→ embryos! December 4, 2008
Today we received an email about our embryos! It turns out that they retrieved a total of 15 eggs, and that 12 of them went on to become healthy embryos!!! Three of them did not take as 1 was not fertilized and the other 2 were immature.

Our embryos today at ~ 26 hours old!
So…they immediately froze 6 of them (to store them) and left the other 6 out to keep dividing until this Saturday when we go to have 2 embryos put back in (transferred).  By the time the embryos are ready to be transferred, they will be blastocyst embryos with numerous cells. They will look something like this:

Random concerns about motherhood

Dec 2,2008
Random concerns about motherhood:
So in about a month I will know for sure if I am indeed pregnant and if so, with how many.  It has occurred to me that although I consider myself well versed in the basics of mothering, I have absolutely NO IDEA how to deal with those stupefying moments with baby where lack of sleep and hormones cause the brain to freeze in sticky situations and result in acute embarrassment. These are the scenarios that are most concerning to me at the moment:
Location: a very crowded Walmart with unbelievable long checkout lines
I have an entire cart full of perishable groceries along with a I’m-down-to-zero diaper restock and all of a sudden baby starts screaming at the top of her lungs. Why is she screaming may you ask? Lord only knows. Perhaps (flip a coin for the correct answer) she: is absolutely fed up with a milk-only diet and has now decided that milk chocolate fudge is within her range of a reasonable diet; has decided to prove once again that karma is a, well it just sucks, and is now punishing me for accidently putting her diaper on backwards at 3am yesterday morning, or doing what babies do best (they cry).
Meanwhile, I have decided that: she has come down with a 3rd world disease and will now turn orange as a direct result of my putting her diaper on backwards at 3am the other morning; everyone in the ENTIRE STORE is now staring at me and can clearly see that she is turning orange and only the worst mom in the world would ever put their baby’s diaper on backwards for goodness stake; last but not least, I need a vacation-stat.
Another sticky scenario:
Location: A very quiet waiting room at the doctor’s office
In a room full of quietly reading patients, baby cunningly picks this exact moment to have a rather noisy um, BM, peppered with rather impressive bouts of gas expulsion which I am sure will cause the folks on the other side of town to lift their heads from their desks in utter amazement at what they’ve just heard. I am mortified, stupefied, and find myself struggling mightily not to erupt in raucous laughter born from a form of pride that only mothers know. (Did my baby-wayby make a poopy-whoopy?)  A few seconds later, the toxic gas cloud has made it’s way across the room and a slightly deafened elderly woman catches a whiff, then turns to her nearest neighbor and gives a once-over reproving glare, which I happen to catch.  I quickly lose all of my resolve to pretend nothing has happened and at once break out in the tale-tale laugher of guilty gas offenders.  I pack up my stinky child and excuse myself to the nearest baby changing station, laughing all the way.

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