Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy holidays

Over the last 48 hours, I have cried almost as much as I did last Christmas Eve/Christmas, though for very different reasons.  I am completely overwhelmed by how blessed A and I are to have our son and daughter this year.  Last year we were reeling from three losses in a row, while at the same time ramping up for IVF.  Christmas was terribly difficult.  Today, though, we got to experience the magic of a child's first Christmas. 

As the tears of joy flow, I keep saying to A that we are so lucky, and that I cannot stop thinking about all of the women and couples who are not as lucky as us.  The ones who are still trying, still waiting for their miracle.  For all of you who haven't "found" your take home baby yet, I pray for peace during the holidays and for your greatest wish to come true.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

waiting with a friend

We all know that waiting is the worst part of infertility.  Whether you are waiting for results, for your next treatment, for money to be saved...waiting is hard.  It is during the waiting when we often reach some of our darkest, loneliest points. 

An old friend and I recently reconnected over infertility.  Last month she had her first IUI, and about two weeks ago she got her BFP.  Her numbers, though, have been lower than desired.  She goes Friday for her fourth beta and an ultrasound.  Until then, she is waiting with great hope, yet almost equal fear.  She recently started a blog, and I would love it if some of you would leave her words of encouragement this week:  I know that your comments got me through many hard weeks, and I'm hoping they can do the same for her.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy December!

body guilt

As I get further away from the twins' birth, I am realizing more and more how much infertility, pregnancy loss, and the circumstances surrounding their birth have affected my body image.  Women today have plenty of reasons to be disappointed in our bodies.  Those of us who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss, though, have an even more complicated relationship with ourselves.

In the past few weeks, immense guilt has been bubbling to the surface.  It was my body's fault that we couldn't get pregnant without medical assistance.  My body essentially killed the first three babies we conceived.  Then, when we finally got our miracle babies, my body couldn't hold them long enough.  They required three weeks of intensive care because of my body's failure.  Even now, although my body is producing most of their nutrition, they will not actually nurse, which feels like a type of rejection.  I know that I didn't conciously choose any of this, but that doesn't make it less true for me. 

One of my goals post-twins was to get back to pre-inferility weight.  And as of today, 15 weeks and 2 days after the twins' birth, I have made it.  I have lost both my baby weight and my infertility treatment weight.  I don't exactly look the same, but I am back in pre-infertility jeans.  I even ran a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving.  My body did exactly what I asked of it in a rather reasonable timeframe.  But this isn't the goal that mattered.  On the hierarchy of "things I would like my body to accomplish," this would come in dead last.  This isn't even in the same realm as holding the twins in for one more week (or even a few more days), or of achieving and sustaining a pregnancy.  Why, then, is this the thing my body seems able to do?

I don't have some neat way to tie this post up.  I wish there were some magic formula for dealing with the guilt, but I know it's going to be something I work through for years to come.  I am thankful, though, that I have this forum to come to when I just need to be honest, to say things that others may feel uncomfortable hearing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

an overdue update

It's been far too long since I've updated this blog, and I'm hoping the twins will cooperate long enough for me to remedy this (or that their dad will get home soon). The me who existed a year ago would find my current life totally unrecognizable.  I live in a different house, I wear a different bra size, and, most importantly, my days and nights are filled with the sights and sounds of my son and daughter. 

Our babies are now 14 weeks old, and life is pretty crazy.  To be honest, raising twins is quite difficult...but it's the best kind of difficult, the kind you wouldn't exchange for anything.  I am staying at home with them, and I'm incredibly lucky to have this option.  By the end of the day, though, my brain feels a little mushy.  You can only talk to yourself with no one answering for so long before you begin to question your sanity.  The little ones are starting to interact more, though, which is amazing.  They are smiling (our boy smiles more and our girl is more serious, guarding her smiles more carefully), and our little boy can practically giggle.  They are paying attention to some toys, mostly things that move or have lights.  They started sitting in their bumbo chairs last week, and I think they are enjoying the change of scenery.  We were doing well with tummy time (they rolled from belly to back at 4 weeks but have gotten progressively lazier), but they have had their first cold this week, so tummy time has taken a back seat to cuddle time.

When I'm evaluating something, I always try to name the best and worst part.  First the worst....pumping.  Because the babies were in the NICU for 3 weeks and the only way to get them home was to get them eating all their food via mouth via bottle, they got very attached to their bottles.  I tried to reintroduce the breast many times, but they were simply not having it.  So for two total hours every day I hook up to a pump, which I must say is pretty terrible.  On top of that, there is the cleaning and prepping of pump parts and bottles.  I'm currently producing between 50 and 60 ounces each day, which is about equal to how much they eat.  For the first ten weeks, they got only breastmilk.  In consultation with our doctor, though, we began doing one bottle of formula each day at 10 weeks.  The idea is to make the transition from breastmilk to formula more gradual and to stretch out the breastmilk.  I'm not sure how much longer the pumping will last, as I believe it may be making me crazy, but my goal is to get to at least 4 months.

The best part is without a doubt their sweet faces.  Whether they are awake, asleep, smiling, crying, their faces are absolutely precious.  I could literally gaze at them for hours!  I feel so blessed to share each day with my two little miracles.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I have been terribly delinquent in blogging since our little ones were born, but I wanted to take a minute to ask you all to pass on words of support to a fellow blogger, ADSchill, who just lost her twins at 20 weeks.  I have followed her for a long time, and feel so connected to her.  She did IVF.  Her little ones were a boy and a girl.  I am heartbroken now that her story had this outcome.  Please send her all the love and support you can muster, as I cannot imagine the pain she and her family are feeling now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

home sweet home

This past Wednesday, at exactly three weeks old and after 21 days in the NICU, our precious little ones came home.  We are overjoyed to be settling into our new normal and introducing our twins to their world.  They are doing great...while the NICU was incredibly difficult to deal with, it did get our babies on a schedule and teach them to sleep fairly well, so we are trying to see the positive in the experience.  Interestingly, though, we cannot keep the house too quiet, as the babies are accustomed to a much louder environment.  Thank you for all your kind words and well wishes after their birth.  Here are a few pics of our little miracles:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

our big news

The twins are here!  They were born last Wednesday morning at 3:21 a.m. via c-section.  They were at 34 weeks and 1 day.  Both are in the NICU, but they are both doing well for their gestational age.  To fill you all in, here's how the labor/delivery went down...

I had an appointment last Friday, and there were no signs of labor on either the ultrasound or the cervical check--everyone thought we were still weeks away. I was uncomfortable over the weekend, but nothing very different from what I've been feeling for weeks now. On Sunday, I began worrying about baby girl, thinking she wasn't moving as much as normal. This feeling continued, so on Tuesday I called in and went for an ultrasound. Again, everything looked perfect. Tuesday night I had a board meeting, and towards the end of the meeting around 7:45 I had two really strong contractions. I didn't feel anything else, though, and thought nothing about it. In fact, on my way out of the meeting, I kept telling people to expect the babies in about two weeks.

A and I walked the dogs around 8:15, then we opened and began playing with our new video baby monitors. A had the light off in the nursery and was making faces into the monitor, and I was downstairs checking to see how well it worked. We were laughing, joking around, but when I started back up the stairs I only made it to the third one. Suddenly, my water broke, just like on a was shocking! I called up to A, "Honey, my water just broke," and he thought I was joking. When he looked over the railing and saw me standing in a puddle he realized this was the real deal, and he immediately began freaking out. Neither of us had packed, so we began throwing stuff together. I finally got A calmed down, we got enough together to get us through the day, and off we went. Luckily, my doctor was on call, so he met us at the hospital.

In triage they quickly confirmed that my water had broken, and the doctor said we'd be doing a c-section within the hour. I wasn't contracting yet, so I was still pretty calm. I was upset that the babies were coming earlier than expected, but I knew there was nothing we could do. Unfortunately two emergencies came in, pushing us back, and I began having strong contractions around 1:00 a.m. We were finally wheeled to the OR at 3:00, and at 3:21 a.m. on August 24th we heard the most beautiful sound--our two babies crying. I saw them very quickly in the OR, and A got to hold them each for about 30 seconds, then they were whisked to the nursery. A and our families got to watch them being evaluated and stabilized, but I was stuck in my room recovering. Finally, 6 hours later, my babies were wheeled in to meet me. It was bittersweet--they were the most precious things ever, but they were in isolettes and I couldn't hold them.

The babies headed to the NICU across the street, and I was taken to postpartum. A and the families got to go visit in the NICU, but again I had to wait. This was truly excruciating. I was hearing about my babies from everyone else, when I should have been the first to know them. Finally, around 3:00 p.m., I got to visit the NICU and touch our son and daughter. Since then, A and I have been visiting as much as possible and soaking up every second with our babies.

As of now, baby boy is on nasal oxygen. He is receiving my milk via tube to his stomach, and is digesting better and better. We really hope his breathing improves soon, as we need to get him more stable so we can start working towards other goals. A and I have both gotten to hold him (inside his pouch) a few times, and we cherish those special moments.

Baby girl is on a respirator and is on medication to close a valve that failed to close after birth. Once she is off the medicine, she will hopefully begin eating via tube. We have gotten to change her diaper, but have not yet gotten to hold her, which is breaking my heart. I am aching to have her in my arms!

Although it's terribly difficult to not have them here, we know they are in the best hands right now. We are incredibly thankful for all the wonderful doctors and nurses there. We will keep you all as updated as we have time to, and we beg you to continue to pray for the twins' health and development.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

nyt magazine

This morning in the New York Times Magazine, there is an article called "Unnatural Selection."  The article is about the increasing demand for twin to singleton pregnancy reductions.  I am pro-choice.  I firmly believe that a woman has a legal right to make choices regarding her own body and her own reproductive health.  As a woman who has lost three children and is now anxiously awaiting the birth of my 32 week twins, this was quite a difficult read.

After our journey with recurrent loss, we were elated to find out we were having twins.  I literally felt like I had won the lottery, only this was better.  We were having two children.  Sure, two children at once brings up scary questions about time and money and energy, but after working so hard for a pregnancy, these fears paled in comparison to the joy we felt.  Reading that many women, after undergoing fertility treatments, choose to reduce to a singleton for social or financial reasons is baffling to me.

What is more difficult, though, is a quote near the beginning of the article.  One of the women interviewed stated: "If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn't have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there's a natural order, then you don't want to disturb it.  But we created this child in such an artificial manner--in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me-- and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice.  The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control."  Why would any woman say this, allowing such garbage to be published in an international publication?  These are the very beliefs that we, as members of the infertility community, are trying to fight against.  Whether conceived through IUI, IVF, with donor eggs or sperm, our children are not "unnatural" or "artificial."  Calling fertility treatments "consumerish" implies that you can somehow go pick out the kind of child you want and then be guaranteed to take that child home in 9 months.  But we know it doesn't work that way.  Despite ours and the doctors' best efforts, treatments often don't work.   

When members of our own community are making such ignorant statements, we have a long way to go in making people understand infertility and its treatments.  Here's hoping that not many people read this article.

Monday, August 8, 2011

32 weeks

Tomorrow we will be 32 weeks pregnant...if you had told me in February that we would get to this point, I'm not sure I would have believed you.  Yet here we are, with a son and a daughter poking away in my belly.  We do have some concerns now, though, so the length of this pregnancy may be shorter than I would like.  Baby boy is doing great.  His growth has slowed a bit, which is to be expected with twins, but he is still gaining a good amount of weight.  Baby girl, however, has dropped to the 7th percentile (5th or less is considered growth restricted).  She is not gaining much at this point, so there is a possibility the doctor will want to deliver early.  We should know more after meeting with our doctor on Friday, and I am praying for at least a few more weeks.  Every week they are in my belly and not in the NICU is a little victory.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

due dates

As of this Saturday, we are officially past all three of our previous due dates.  The only one left is the one for the twins, which is hopefully going to bring a much different outcome.  Since the passing of this last due date, I've been having a really hard time.  No one else remembers that I should have a baby in my arms today.  Everyone else seems to think that these precious twins have somehow "fixed" the past.  As you all know, a healthy baby (or babies) does not make the ones you lost any less real.

We are 30 weeks today.  30 weeks.  So grateful.

Friday, July 1, 2011

26 weeks

We've made it to 26 weeks with our little twinsies.  At yesterday's growth ultrasound, they estimated baby boy to be at 2 pounds 4 ounces (72nd percentile) and baby girl to be a petite 1 pound 12 ounces (15th percentile).  It's fascinating to me that they can be so different, that they are no more genetically similar than any other brother and sister.  Health wise, I'm feeling great.  No restrictions yet, and no real complaints.

I am reminded almost daily of how lucky we are to be in this position.  Just this week, a friend here going through her first IVF cycle learned that the cycle failed.  Thankfully it produced many high quality frozen embies, so she still has great hope, but it's another reminder of how all of this is truly out of our hands.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I am 22.5 weeks pregnant....with twins...really?!?!?!  This past week has been filled with special moments that I was afraid I might never experience.  Our cribs came in, and last night I sat in the nursery while A put them both together.  I can now see the babies move--not just feel them, but actually see them move my belly.  And this afternoon, we're headed to a nearby city where many of our friends live for our first baby shower. 

Many of you, the people who were pulling for me during our IVF cycle in January, are now somewhere in the IVF process yourself.  Know of my constant prayers for you.  I follow along in great anticipation, hoping to see more babies coming to families who truly deserve them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

still going

It's been too long since I posted on here, so I wanted to check in with you all.  Everything is continuing to go well...we will hit 20 weeks on Tuesday, it's definitely a boy and a girl, and so far they look perfect.  Pinch me, please.  We did have a little snag on Friday, which brought to the surface how terrified I still am for these babies.  I called telling the doctor that over the past few days I had quite a bit of thin, watery discharge.  I was sure they would tell me it was fine, but instead they asked how quickly I could be there.  I rushed in, and thankfully it turned out to be a bladder infection, but I got all the pre-term labor tests.  I am so thankful that the babies are well, but reminded of how fragile they still are.
I've been quietly following all of your blogs and praying for the best for each of you.  I know I haven't been the best commenter, but I have honestly had to be less involved in this world for a while.  The fear I feel for these babies is overwhelming, and it's difficult to be reminded of how badly things can turn out.  I find it easier to stay positive for them if I insulate myself a bit.  That said, I promise I am still reading and still pulling for you...and I'm sorry to be a bad commenter.  Thank you all for continuing to stick with me. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

pink & blue

After today's ultrasound, we are 98% sure that we are having a boy and a girl!  I guess there's always a chance the doctors are wrong or the pictures are bad, but we feel pretty confident.  We are so, so excited!  Bring on the pink & blue!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Tomorrow is an exciting day...we are going back to the doctor to confirm the sexes!  Tomorrow, however, is also a difficult day.  It is the estimated due date for our first pregnancy, the ectopic.  It's ironic that these two things fall on the same day, but I am hopeful that the excitement of tomorrow can keep the more difficult feelings in check.  After all, I am utterly grateful to be expecting my twins.  Yes, I wish I had met that first baby, but if I had these twins would have never been conceived. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

15 weeks and a little news....

We are 15 weeks tomorrow!!!  I am so, so thankful to be this far along.  We had an ultrasound this morning, and of course were dying to know if the doctor could see anything as far as sexes go, and....Baby A is definitely a boy!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are not telling anyone in real life, but I was dying to share, so here I am.  I was surprised that our doctor called it as confidently as he did, but it was VERY evident.  Baby A was definitely not shy!  I am so, so excited.  My husband is the most wonderful man in the world, and I couldn't be more ecstatic about him having a son!  Plus, I am totally in love with our boy name, so I'm super pumped that we definitely get to use it.  It's my grandmother's maiden name and my father-in-law and his father's middle name, so it has lots of meaning for both sides of the family.

Everyone seemed to think Baby B was a girl, but there wasn't enough confidence to call it.  After doing some google imaging, I really think we may have a boy/girl set on the way, but still have a tiny feeling that Baby B will turn out to be a boy as well.  We have our next ultrasound in two weeks and should be able to tell for sure then. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

first trimester down

I am officially through the first trimester, and so, so thankful.  The twins are still doing beautifully.  Every day seems like another miracle...another day closer to viability.

I did start a non-anonymous blog for family and friends, and was extremely honest about our path to this pregnancy.  And, I'm happy to report, that I have gotten the most amazing feedback.  Sharing our story has touched so many people and even led some to share their own stories with me.  Thank you for all of your encouragement to be honest--definitely the right decision.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

a friend's heartbreak

There is a moment when you realize that you and your best friend won't be pregnant together...your babies won't be four weeks apart.  There is deep grief when you get that terrible phone call.  There is also a slight sense of relief when you realize you aren't the one with bad news this time. 

On Friday, one of my dearest friends was supposed to have her first ultrasound.  She should have been 8 weeks pregnant, and being just over four weeks ahead of her, I knew that she should easily see a little blob baby and a heartbeat.  She got pregnant within four months and has never had a loss, so I honestly wasn't worried for her...I was excited.  She called around noon and managed to squeak out, "It didn't go well."  My heart sank immediately.  Apparently there was a perfect gestational sac, but that was it.  No yolk sac, no fetal pole. 

I'm a little disheartened by the advice she received from her doctor.  They told her maybe she had counted wrong, she was still early, and that they would check her blood on Saturday and Monday.  Three weeks ago, though, she had a beta of just over 1,000.  I hope they aren't giving her false hope.  I pray that I am wrong, that I'm being overly cynical because of my own experiences, but it doesn't look good.

My heart is just breaking for her.  I always thought it would be nice to be "normal," to call and tell the doctor you're pregnant and be told to come in at 8 weeks for your first ultrasound.  Maybe normal isn't always good, though.  For my friend, she has lived the last 3 weeks in ignorant bliss, thinking her baby was growing away inside.  Maybe it would have been easier if she could have found out sooner.  Not that anything could make a situation like this easy..... 

Monday, March 21, 2011

not so fast...

I stopped my meds on Friday night, and smug little me thought that this morning would be the last visit to the fertility center.  While the babies looked great, my body can't be bothered to do its job.  At 12 weeks (11 weeks 6 days actually), my natural progesterone was only at 16.  I know that 16 is above the requisite 15, but it is far too close to the line, and too far below average, for me.  I should have known this wouldn't go smoothly!  So for now it's back to a modified version of my prometrium orally and one vaginally each night.  I go back in two weeks to get tested after another two day hiatus.  Guess I need to dig the panty liners back out...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

another good report

At 11 weeks, 2 days, we had our next to last appointment with my RE.  Everything looked great, and on Monday we see him for the last time.  I am unbelievably excited to be this point, but I will miss the staff at this office so much.  Their kindness and compassion has been immeasurable.

I also get to stop my meds on Saturday...I actually take my last dose tomorrow night.  I have been itching to get off this endometrin, but now that the time has come it feels a little weird.  Taking these meds is the one thing I do everyday to help the babies.  Now I'm becoming normal........huh.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This weekend was my annual girls' weekend with my college friends.  It's always so wonderful to spend time with these girls, but this weekend brought on some unexpected feelings. 

The first day we talked about the twins quite a bit.  We talked about them like they were real, like they would definitely going to be arriving this fall.  This was the most I had let myself go into that reality.  It felt wonderful to talk about them without reserve, to imagine what next year's weekend would be like with my two little ones in tow.  That night, however, I had a terrible nightmare.  There were two precious babies sitting by a white pillow, and one kept turning blue.  The baby was revived several times, then finally died in my arms. 

The next day I felt anxious all day.  I didn't want to act totally crazy, but it was hard not to.  By evening, it was all too much...I had a breakdown while showering which continued for a bit.  Luckily I had my own room and was able to spend some quiet time getting my thoughts in order.  A was nearby and I almost had him pick me up, but I powered through and spent another night in bed alone...and had another terrible dream, this one about my dogs.  I was supposed to spend one more night with the girls and have A pick me up the following morning, but I needed my husband.  I didn't just want him, I needed him.  He picked me up late that afternoon and we went to dinner, walked on the beach, and spent some nice quality time together.  That night I slept beside him and thankfully had no nightmares.

I feel like I am becoming one of those girls who is far too dependant on her husband.  The thing is, he is the only one who really understands that this pregnancy has brought pure joy and unbelievable anxiety into our lives.  He is the only one who has been there every step of the way, through every triumph and every heartbreak.  I don't want to be a clingy homebody, but I also don't like being away from him too long.  Hopefully this will get better with time, but for now I am just thankful that I have such an amazing husband to lean on.

Monday, March 7, 2011

9 weeks 6 days

Both babies looked great today at the ultrasound.  One is measuing 10 weeks, and the other is at 9 weeks 4 days.  The heart rates are 187 and 169.  The first one we looked at was twitching and waving his arms, then the second one did a whole little dance for us.  Adorable!  While looking at one set of legs, we definitely saw what looked like "boy parts" according to the nurse...we'll see if that continues.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

telling the fam

Both of our mothers kept asking when they could tell extended family, and we pushed them off as long as possible.  We had told several friends, though, and started to get nervous that word would accidentally slip out and we would hurt someone's feelings.  So on Friday, we gave the go-ahead to tell family.  It's's been so wonderful to receive so many warm messages, but it also brings on a new sense of anxiety.  I can't help but think of all the people we will have to un-tell if things don't end the way we want.  For now, though, I am grateful for their support and prayers...and I'm also grateful that no one has really inquired about the twins thing.

Which brings me to my next point....pregnancy loss and IVF is a huge part of our journey, and it feels wrong not to share the entire story.  I truly believe that the more honest we all are, the less of a stigma infertility will carry.  We started a blog for our real life friends (they don't know about this one), and I feel compelled to tell our whole story there.*  I know this may ruffle some feathers, so I am trying to weigh the cost/benefit and make sure I am doing it for the right reasons.  Maybe I will tell the story without too many details?  Any thoughts on this?

While telling the fam, we did run into one rocky bit.  I sent my mom an email saying we had decided it was okay to tell family.  Later that night, I got an email from an old high school friend saying my mom had just called her to tell her the good news.  What the hell?!?!?  We aren't even out of the first trimester, and she is calling random people with our news!  This girl is clearly not part of the family! 
* As this pregnancy progresses, I will likely be posting less and less on this blog (though I will definitely keep following all of you).  If you want the link to my real life blog, email me at  Just promise not to somehow give away this blog's identity!

Monday, February 28, 2011

a rough night

While watching the oscars last night, I suddenly started spotting pink/light brown.  The doctor assured me that it was probably nothing, but I was terrified.  We went to the office at 9:00 this morning, and thankfully the twins looked great.  Both measuring at 8 weeks 5 days with heart rates of 180 and 169.  I'm still spotting a little, though, so still feeling anxious. 

In an effort to reassure me, the doctor said that things were progressing normally.  He said something to the effect of "normal pregnancies progress normally, and normal pregnancies are much more likely to continue to be normal than for something to go wrong."  Am I ever going to feel normal?  Is there going to be a day when suddenly I believe that this is a normal pregnancy?  I am beyond grateful to be pregnant, but am looking forward to the day when things feel a little more real.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

i'm it

Thanks to Kelly (a fellow southerner who is also pregnant) and Lulu (one of the first bloggers I started following) for tagging me in this fun little survey!  It's always fun to have a reason to write a different kind of entry, so here we go...

Rule #1: the tagged person must write their answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

Rule #2: tag 4 people to do this quiz; they cannot refuse (ok, so nothing bad will happen if you don’t participate but I would love to see your answers). The tag-ee must state who tagged them.

Here are my tags:
1) Alex at Alex's Adventures
2) tasivfer at Riding the IVF Roller Coaster
3) cgd at Adventures in Infertility-Land
4) Christa at I Can't Control Everything
(and all of my other fabulous followers...if you want to do the survey, please consider yourself tagged!)

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family? Our two precious dogs are definitely part of the family!  They may be smaller than the twins will be when they arrive, but they occupy a big part of our hearts...they even have monogrammed Christmas stockings.

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be?  These two babies are my dream...I just want them to be healthy and make it to the fall.

3. What would you do with a billion dollars? Pay off our mortgage, get a new mommy car, start a big college fund for the twins...and definitely spend a little on a fabulous spa day and shopping spree.  Oh, and I'm not completely shallow, so I would donate to my favorite charities, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

4. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood? My husband, my puppies, and a bottle of red wine (when I'm not pregnant).

5. What is your bedtime routine?  Pretty simple...wash my face, brush my teeth, say goodnight to the dogs and babies, try to read a bit.

6. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your significant other? We met in college.  Since this is anonymous, I can tell the real story, which is that we met at an initiation for a secret society (nothing crazy cool, but definitely an honor).

7. What kind of books do you read? Anything fiction.  Right now I'm re-reading East of Eden, but I'm just as likely to put up a little chick lit as classic literature.

8. How do you see yourself in 10 years? I don't even want to guess, but hopefully with two 9 year olds.

9. What’s your fear? My biggest fear right now is that something will happen to these precious babies.  Some of my less rational fears include crickets and tornados.

10. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space? NEVER!

11. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Hit the snooze button!

12. If you could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be? Nothing...he is pretty perfect, but don't tell him that.

13. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be? I'm not a huge fan of my name (it's very 80s), but I wouldn't want to change it at this point.

14. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose? Sun!!!!  Who wrote this question?

15. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be? Pasta, pasta, pasta--I am pretty sure I was supposed to be Italian.

16. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most? All the wonderful bloggie friends I have met.

17. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods? I really can't pick...I love salty things, but have a terrible sweet tooth as well.

18. What items are in your purse right now? Wallet, a little make-up kit, planner, tape measurer (you wouldn't believe how many times I've used this), endometrin, prometrium, and a plethora of other items that I probably don't know I have.

19. If you had to choose between vacationing at the beach or in the mountains where would you go? Beach!  I live close to the mountains, so the beach is more of a treat.

20. What do you watch on television that you know you shouldn’t? I watch too much TV guilty pleasures are shows like Kendra and the Kardashians.

Monday, February 21, 2011

all is well

Another good report for Bit and Bitty today.  I am 7 weeks 6 days, and one was measuring right at 7 weeks 6 days, with the other at 7 weeks 5 days.  They doubled in size since last week--they are now measuring right around 2/3 of an inch.  Their heartrates were 165 bpm and 155 bpm.  Pretty much perfect for now!  So thankful!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

token meltdown

My RE does an ultrasound each week during the first trimester.  It's such a treat to see these babies grow each week, but I'm beginning to notice a not so great behavioral pattern.  Because I don't work on Mondays, I always schedule my appointment for Monday.  And, unfailingly, I have a bit of a breakdown on Sunday.

This weekend A and I went to visit a city to which we are considering moving.  On both Friday and Saturday, I had little to no nausea, which always makes me a bit nervous.  I managed to contain my breakdown until tdoay.  I began the day with a mini-box of cheerios, then after church had my second breakfast of a yummy, buttery biscuit.  As we were driving home, though, extreme hunger struck and I HAD to eat.  We spotted a Cracker Barrell and quickly ordered.  This is where the breakdown began.  I started crying at the table waiting for food because I was so hungry I was in pain.  I pulled it together and made it through lunch, but once we got back into the car the sobbing began.  I let out all my fears that these babies are not going to be okay...that we are going to go to an ultrasound one week and it's all going to be over...that this cannot be real...that this cannot end well.

I know I can't worry like this every day, or even every week, but it's so hard to believe that I might end up with two healthy babies.  Praying for a little more peace every day, and hoping for the same for each of  you as well.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

the things we do

While catching up on blogs today, I started thinking about the things we do in the name of fertility that we would never have previously imagined.  We give ourselves shots, we have sex (or don't have sex) on demand, we put medicine in places it should never go.  But beyond the medicinal, many of us also turn to "alternative" therapies.  From meditation to psychics, the pursuit of a child often pushes us beyond our normal boundaries.

So what's the craziest thing I have done for fertility?  There is a Ripley's Believe It or Not about an hour from my home, and last summer, they had two fertility statues touring their locations.  When the statues arrived at the location nearest us, I immediately began planning our visit.  Many Ripleys put the statues in the lobby so that they can be seen and touched for free, but our Ripley's placed them behind the ticketed entrance.  A and I paid $30 to pass through the turnstile and get our chance to lay hands on these allegedly mystical statues.

As you may recall from previous posts, I am a fairly devout Christian, so seeking the intervention of statues was not part of my normal routine.  Sure, both A and I viewed it as a bit of a joke, but I cannot deny that a part of me truly hoped those statues would help me out.

Unfortunately their assistance was lost on me, as I experienced three failed pregnancies after touching these guys.  For those who want to take their own shot at statue luck, though, I believe they are still touring. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

a very happy valentine's day

A has never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but I think I may have converted him today.  Our ultrasound showed two fetal poles and two easy to spot heartbeats!  I am officially 6 weeks, 6 days today, but one was measuring at 6 weeks 4 days with a heart rate of 131 beats per minute, and the other was at 6 weeks 5 days with a heart rate of 123 beats per minute.  The doctor said this was all perfectly within the normal range, and he was even able to show us the red and blue blood flow in each of the little hearts.  Precious!  We have decided that the verse in Genesis regarding God calling the animals two by two is our theme for this pregnancy, so after the ultrasound we celebrated by purchasing the most adorable little plush ark with several sets of animals (I had spotted it earlier but wanted to wait until we saw the heartbeats). 

I hope that you are all having a wonderful Valentine's Day and that you are able to spend it with someone you love, or at least doing something you love.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today CNN ran an article titled "Pick a Baby's Birthday: 11-11-11" about how people had actually called doctors asking when to have sex to have a baby on 11-11-11.  Yea, because that's how it works.  Have sex on one magical day and you are guaranteed to birth a baby a certain number of weeks later.  The headline alone was offensive...these types of articles are definitely part of the reason we are all so surprised when we have trouble bringing our little bundles of joy home.  It infuriates me that our society just assumes everyone is fertile.  Last night, for instance, I was at book club and someone commented that they were surprised a certain couple didn't have kids yet.  I quickly added a "you never know their situation" to the chat, the token RPL girl reminding everyone that it's not always so easy. 

In pregnancy news, I have my next ultrasound on Monday (6 weeks 5 days) and am praying to see two heartbeats.  I've been constantly queasy, and my boobs look like aliens, so I'm taking these as good signs. 

Monday, February 7, 2011


Today I heard the most beautiful sound--the sound of one of our little guy's hearts.  I had my weekly ultrasound today (5 weeks 6 days) and there were still two perfect gestational sacs and yolk sacs, definitely bigger and more defined than last Thursday.  The doctor was able to spot the little flicker of a heartbeat on one, and somehow was able to fix the machine so we could hear it.  Wow.  The other yolk sac is so close to the side of my uterus that he couldn't find the flicker, but he didn't seem worried at all, so I'm choosing not to worry as well.  After all, we are still shy of 6 weeks. 

Every week, every day really, I fall more in love with these two little beings starting their lives inside me.  I think that during the IVF process I was glamorizing the idea of twins, thinking about how cute they would be together and how they could be each other's best friend.  The reality of two babies is sinking in more now, and though I couldn't be more excited, I am also starting to remind myself that two babies will bring its own set of challenges.  First and foremost is the challenge of keeping them healthy during gestation.  After my ultrasound, the doctor got the "due date" wheel out and was showing me that even though my technical due date is October 4th, I will likely deliver in early September.  September is a long way away though, and we still have lots of challenges ahead of us, so for now I am counting each time I see these little ones looking healthy on the screen as a victory.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

bit AND bitty make an appearance

Yesterday I became convinced that I wasn't pregnant anymore.  My boobs didn't hurt, I wasn't nauseated, I wasn't hungry, and I wasn't tired.  A called the clinic this morning and asked them if they would do a quick blood draw to make me feel better.  My veins are notoriously hard to stick, so when I arrived the nurse said, "Why don't we just do an ultrasound instead?"  Of course I agreed...I would never turn down an opportunity to see my little baby!

After looking around for a few seconds, the doctor pointed out the gestational sac, and could even point out the yolk sac today.  I was so relieved.  Then he moved the wand a bit and pointed out our SECOND gestational sac.  This one was a little harder to make out, but with a little maneuvering he was about to point out the yolk sac for that one as well!  That's right, Bit and Bitty are both still hanging in there!  I'm holding pictures of my two babies, and I could not be more ecstatic.  I feel like I've won the lottery, only this is much better.

One slightly concerning thing came up at the appointment.  I had fluid in my uterus.  The doctor said this wasn't exactly "normal" but it also wasn't too concerning for now.  Hopefully it will get reabsorbed and not cause any issues.  Anyone have any experience with this?

So there you have it, pregnant with twins at 5 weeks 2 days, and not a symptom in sight.  I guess that just proves the point that you should never read too much into symptoms, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

new territory

Yesterday A and I officially moved into the realm of clinical pregnancy.  At our ultrasound at 4 weeks 6 days, we were able to see one perfect little gestational sac.  All of our pregnancies up to this point have technically been chemical since they couldn't be confirmed via ultrasound, although that's a word that neither we nor our RE use (since these pregnancies are just as real as any other pregnancy).  But we are now officially confirmed...there is something wonderful growing in my uterus.*  Also, for those who are following along, my hcg went from 1526 on Saturday to 3788 on Monday, so the bleeding on Friday does not appear to have been anything of concern. 

Today I am five weeks, and the further we get along the more I realize how deep my scars from our previous losses run.  I am constantly afraid that the baby is going to disappear.  I let myself eat pizza last night, and today felt so guilty that I forced myself to eat spinach for lunch.  I yearn for nausea and morning sickness just to know that I'm still pregnant.  I am terrified today, as I restarted my suppositories for the first time since the bleeding.  I know that the fate of this pregnancy is out of my control, but that's not an easy fact to accept.  I have never felt so utterly happy yet completely terrified at the same time, and it's a strange set of emotions to process.

*We saw one clearly defined gestational sac, and another spot that could potentially be a second sac.  I am pretty sure it's just one, though, since at that hcg level a second sac would have likely been more defined.  One perfect little guy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

crisis averted...

At least for now, everything looks great.  My hcg went from 534 on Thursday to 1526 this morning!  Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments yesterday...I read them all several times last night, then re-read them all while sitting in the waiting room this morning.  Since my main doctor's office is about 90 miles away and the nurse for the satellite office is out of town today, the doctor ordered the lab work at a local hospital for us.  He told us that we could go anytime between 6:00 a.m. and noon, so of course we arived around 6:30.  We are so grateful for this news and excited that the "tell the parents" plan is back on.

Friday, January 28, 2011


All day I have felt like something wasn't right.  I started bleeding about an hour ago...bright red.  I am absolutely terrified.  The doctor says my progesterone suppository likely irritated my cervix and that based on yesterday's beta it shouldn't be a miscarriage, but I have a terrible feeling.  A is calling in a bit to demand a blood test tomorrow.  If you pray, please remember us right now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a little revealing....

Several blog awards have been going around, and I want to send a special thank you to Teresa, Bridget, Christa, and kkasun for sending a style award my way.  I read each of these blogs religiously and so appreciate the encouragement I receive from these ladies.  Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that all the blogs I follow have received this award by now, so I'm not officially passing it on to anyone, but know that I think each of your blogs are wonderful!

The "rules" of the award say to list seven things about yourself, but instead of seven I'm revealing one big thing.  For the first time, I am posting a picture of myself and A, along with our two fur babies.  I have avoided doing this because I didn't want someone from my real life to stumble upon this blog, but surely a simple photo won't blow my cover.  Plus, I can't resist sharing this precious tidbit with you all.  So here goes nothing:

 A sweet friend came over and took this jewel today, and it's how we are telling my parents we are pregnant.  Definitely a moment to remember!


Today's beta came in at 534...which means a 1.7 day doubling time!  I cannot even begin to describe how excited and thankful I am.  I feel blessed beyond measure.  This is a completely different start than any of our other short-lived pregnancies, and it's the highest beta I've ever had.

As so many of you know, it's pretty impossible to keep an IVF pregnancy a secret from people who know you did IVF for very long.  I don't think we can keep the charade up with our parents much longer, so we have figured out a way to tell them both in person this weekend.  I am so excited to share good news....we have never actually made a pregnancy announcement, just "we lost a pregnancy" announcements.  If all goes well, this will be the first grandchild on A's side, and I know that both sets of parents are going to be beyond thrilled.

My goal over the next few days is to learn to let go and enjoy.  I don't know how this pregnancy will end (hopefully with labor and a beautiful little one in my arms), but for now I want to cherish each day I get to be a mommy.  This isn't easy for me, but I truly want to enjoy this pregnancy.  My sweet RE's office has agreed to do a quick ultrasound on Monday to see if we can see the gestational sac, which we should by then if things keep progressing on this track.  I think that seeing a little dark spot on the screen will be the final push I need to realize that this is really happening.   

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

best phone call ever

I just got the call, and my beta hCG is at 238!!!!!  My highest first hCG ever was only 40, so this is pretty much incredible.  I can't stop crying (which is a little weird since I'm at work).  When I called A to tell him through my tears, I said I felt the same euphoria as when we got engaged.  Precious A said, "I think I'm even that bad?"  We decided it's not bad at all, espcially since we never failed at getting engaged.

I go back on Thursday to see if things are doubling.  I am so in love with this precious all I can do is give him the things he needs to keep growing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

tomorrow is the big day....

Beta day!  I am excited, but definitely anxious.  The highest initial beta we have ever gotten is 40, and as you all know none of those pregnancies have worked out.  I have continued testing twice a day: once with FMU and once in the afternoon/evening.  My tests have continued to get slightly darker.  They still aren't completely dark, but definitely look better than they did when I got my first positive.  Interestingly, my FMU test is always the same color or slightly lighter than the one from the previous afternoon, and the afternoon tests are coming up darker.  Maybe my body processes hCG in urine differently?  Anyone else have this experience?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

a great example of why my husband is fantastic

Yesterday I pulled out my copy of "What to Expect," the one we purchased at the beginning of one of our three pregnancies.  I was hoping that reading it would give me some good pregnancy vibes.  As I scanned through the first few chapters, I got to a question and answer part, and on page 39 of the fourth edition I saw this:

"I conceived my baby through in vitro fertilization.  How different will my pregnancy be?"

I immediately began reading the answer, and then flipped out when I got to this sentence: "Because a positivie test doesn't necessarily mean that a pregnancy will be sustained, because trying again can be so emotionally and financially draining, and because it's not known right off how many of the test-tube embryos are going to develop into fetuses, the first six weeks of an IVF pregnancy are usually more nerve-wracking than most."  I agree with the sentiment of this is more stressful, scarier, and there seems to be more at stake.  But how can such a well-known, well-respected book perpetuate the idea of "test-tube embryos?"  Moreover, that portion of the sentence makes it sound like the little guys develop all the way to fetuses outside the body.  What the heck?  After all the revisions and research, how can this be in the book?  I am sure the authors meant no harm by this statement, but really?!?!?  Seriously?!?!?

So what did A do?  He immediately got on the publisher's website and found a few email addresses, drafted a respectful but stern email about how offensive we found this as potential IVF parents and how inaccurate the statement actually was, and he had this email sent within an hour of my flip out.  But that wasn't enough.  He went on Twitter to look for the author directly, but realized he couldn't directly tweet her because she didn't follow him.  Then it was on to Facebook, where he located her and copied the same email as a Facebook message directly to her.

The craziest part of this whole story is that six hours later he got a response.  We will never know if she wrote it herself, but in the email the author apologized, thanked him for pointing out the issue, and said that she had made a note to change the language in the next reprint.  I'll be very interested to read the 5th edition when it comes out to see if any changes have been made.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

forgetting the fear

I've heard many times that women forget the pain of childbirth; otherwise, they wouldn't have second children.  This morning as my heart ached in anticipation of getting up to test again, I realized that I have, in some ways, forgotten the pain of the beta game so that I can allow myself to try again.  As I lay in bed, I just knew that the line was going to be light, maybe even lighter.  And when I peed on my stick, my fears were confirmed.  The line was slightly lighter than the one I had gotten last night, still a very faint positive.  I immediately began to cry.  I know that such a small variation shouldn't be so concerning, but with every pregnancy so far I have watched as faint positives remained faint positives, and then slowly went away altogether.  I know it's still early, and I still have immense hope*, but I have watched this story play out too many times to erase it from my mind. 

I'm sure a rational person who has never been through this would just tell me to stop testing.  For me, though, knowing is better.  With our ectopic, my HCG got high enough that I couldn't monitor it through pee sticks, but with the other two, I knew the results before getting the dreaded phone call confirming that my beta was dropping.  By self-monitoring, I am able to control my expectations and ease myself into the idea of losing another pregnancy.

One of my biggest fears is that this one won't even make it to beta day, and that the doctor's office will never even have proof that this pregnancy happened.  I am not sure why, but I need that validation.

*This hope comes largely from the fact that after sleeping for two more hours, I did get a "Pregnant" on the one digital test I found in my baby making drawer.  Seeing that word brought some comfort and restored a little hope.

Friday, January 21, 2011

seeing lines

I am neurotic.  Due to my complete inability to control anything in this process, I find it impossible not to pee on sticks.  I know I shouldn't, but I truly can't help myself.

I had one test in my drawer, so yesterday morning I checked to make sure the trigger shot was gone.  One line, with the remainder of the window a stark white.  Last night, A and I went to Wal-Mart to stock up on First Response tests (I have found that Wal-Mart is significantly cheaper for these).  I had been having a down day, feeling a little hopeless, and was really having the urge to test.  So before bed, against A's advice, I went for it.  I was sure I was just wasting $4, but at this point money is somewhat irrelevant.  I have taken lots of First Resopnse tests over the last 9 months, and I know when I see something.  And last night I saw something...something very faint, more of "where the line should be" than a line, but something nonetheless.  It was that little bit of hope that I so desparately needed.

I woke up at 3:00 in the morning with a full bladder, but I wanted to wait as long as possible to test again.  I made it to 5:00 a.m., then quietly got up and went for test #2.  And there was a faint line.  You didn't even have to squint or hold the stick at a certain angle to see it.  5 days post 5 day transfer, and hope was staring at me from my bathroom counter.

I know as well as anyone that a positive test doesn't always mean a baby.  I know that it could be a false positive, another chemical pregnancy, or that something could go wrong down the road.  But for today I am pregnant, and I am overjoyed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

preparing to return to normal

Tomorrow I am heading back to work.  I realize that I wasn't required to rest this final day, and I'm not just lying around today, but one more day snuggling with my dogs and encouraging Bit and Bitty was just too good to pass up.  I'm sad to be ending my relaxing time at home. 

It's so difficult to contemplate returning to "normal."  Yes, I will go back to work, but nothing really feels normal.  I wish I were one of those people who could get lost in work, who felt that being busy made the time go more quickly.  Instead, each hour drags by and I struggle to concentrate on and care about things like responses to unemployment filings or random legal questions.  I really hope that the next several days fly by and we make it to beta day soon! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the beauty of ART

When we learn that our babies will be conceived in the doctor's office rather than the bedroom, we are disappointed.  Our disappointment stems not only from the fact that we know we need medical intervention to conceive, but also from the loss of intimacy in the baby making process.  Making a baby is supposed to happen in a moment of fun, passion, and love.  Conception normally results from the most intimate act between a man and woman.  Instead, we conceive with stirrups, catheters, and ultrasound machines.  To the outside world, this method of conception appears cold, sterile, and definitely second-rate.

I had my first embryo transfer this past Sunday, and it was truly a moment of beauty.  Before going into the procedure room, I was given pictures of my two embryos.  I gazed at them and dreamed of the children they might become.  Once I was situated on the table, my husband held my hand, and together we watched the screen as the liquid containing our two little embryos floated into my uterus.  I cried, of course, and A teared up but managed to keep his composure.  Then we received photos of our little ones' first few moments in their mommy.  Whether we get pregnant or not, it was a moment I will always treasure.  It was intimate, sweet, and potentially life-changing...everything making a baby should be.

I think that in comparing ART with "natural" conception, people often romanticize sex.  But let's be honest, sex, especially sex when you're trying to conceive, is not necessarily pretty.  It often includes ovulation predictor kits, making sure you use the right sexual positions, propping yourself on a pillow to avoid losing any little swimmers, or even injecting "sperm friendly" lubricant into yourself.  None of these things should really be categorized as romantic.  So for now, I am letting go of the sadness of having to conceive with assistance, and instead relishing in the extra moments I got with Bit and Bitty.  I feel privileged to have been so intimately involved in the beginning of their precious lives.

Monday, January 17, 2011

our final fertilization report

We just received our final fertilization report.  Two of the three remaining embryos arrested.  The other one grew to an expanded blast, grade AA, and supposedly looks "beautiful."  I hate that he will be frozen all alone and hope he makes some other little frosty friends, but I am so thankful that he made it so far and will be waiting to hopefully become our next pregnancy.  I also know it's important for me right now to not focus on the five that didn't make it, but instead put all my energy into being positive for my precious two currently making their home inside me.

Yesterday we decided that our two little guys needed a nickname for when we talked to and/or about them.  We had previously been using letters--for a plethora of reasons we named our first pregnancy B, then the subsequent ones ended up being C & D.  We decided that continuing to go through the alphabet was a bit depressing and hadn't brought us much luck yet, so we have named these precious ones Bit and Bitty.  I am keeping my pictures of Bit and Bitty on the coffee table in front of me, though I hope they look much different by now.  I cannot wait to get their picture taken again soon!   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

transfer complete

I'm officially on the couch for the next few days with two little embryos hopefully making themselves at home.  This morning we transferred two was an early blast, can't remember the number but the letters were BB, and the other was a very early blastocyst.  It was really kind of peaceful--it was just me, A, the embryologist and the doctor in the clinic.  The doctor was very positive about how the embryos and my lining looked.  Now we just wait and hope.

Of the other six, three had arrested and three were not quite as progressed as the two we transferred.  The three that are still growing will be analyzed tomorrow, and hopefully some or all of them will have progressed far enough to freeze.  Fingers crossed that they make it to freeze, but that we don't need them for a little while at least!

Thanks for all of your support!

Friday, January 14, 2011

report #2

I can finally breathe...we got our report from the embryologist!  Of the 8 that fertilized, all are still growing.  Current standing:

2 at four cells--these are a little slow, but she said they will continue to be cultured and have a good chance of catching up to the others.

1 at five cells--the embryologist felt like this one would almost definitely catch up.

3 at six cells

1 at seven cells

1 at 8 cells

Now they just rest until transfer day on Sunday...well, not really rest.  They have lots of dividing to do!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the snow story

I never really finished my "egg retrieval in the snow" story, and since I'm currently lying on the couch with a sore belly I thought I would let you all know how it went down.  Retrieval was scheduled for 7:45 Tuesday morning, so we decided to drive down Monday afternoon.  Our house is in the middle of a rather steep hill, so getting out of the driveway and up the hill can be quite a challenge.  We only live about 1/3 of a mile from a main road and shopping center, though, so once you get that far you are good to go.

While I was getting ready, A went to fill the car with gas and replace a headlight.  Apparently he barely made it up the hill, because instead of coming back down to get me he parked at the shopping center and caught a ride back...which meant that half an hour later, we trudged up the hill with our bags in tow.  I am sure our neighbors thought we were nuts!  It took us two and a half hours to go 90 miles, and we saw six accidents on our way down. 

We finally made it to the Residence Inn (thank you Marriott Points) and settled in for the long haul.  I never realized how long an afternoon/evening could be until I was literally stuck in a hotel room.  We tried to entertain ourselves...we even went outside and tried to make a snowman, but the snow wouldn't pack and all we ended up with was a tiny snowbaby, which seemed more appropriate anyway given the occasion.  All the restaurants nearby were closed, so precious A walked to the grocery store, which had to be at least a mile roundtrip, and cooked me ravioli in our hotel room. 

The next morning we slowly made our way to the clinic, and were happy to see that everyone had made it in.  A couple of hours later we were on our way home and had survived snow retrieval 2011.

Our little snowbaby!

sucking it in

I am back at work this morning and feeling like a giant cow.  The first pair of slacks I put on buttoned and zipped, but upon mirror inspection they definitely didn't "fit."  I changed into a pair that usually fits big, and even they are a little snug.  Not the biggest self-confidence booster.  Is this still just bloating from the meds?  Will it go away?  If I don't get pregnant, I will start running again and hopefully be able to shape things up a bit.  If I do get pregnant, though, I will be in maternity pants at five weeks at this rate.

I am feeling more sore today, but I imagine that's normal.  I am sure I look a little crazy walking around the office so stiffly today, so my goal is to stay in my chair as much as possible.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

fertilization report

The embryologist called this morning, and I got really nervous because she didn't immediately tell me how many fertilized.  She started by saying that upon further analysis, only 8 of my eggs were mature, and that she had looked back at my chart and that number seemed to correspond with my follicle measurements.  She said that one more was on the verge of being mature, so she went ahead and did ICSI on those 9 (ICSI was included in the package we purchased and we wanted to use it since there are slightly higher fertilization rates with ICSI).  The one that was not quite mature didn't fertilize, but all 8 mature eggs did!  8 little embryos continuing to grow!  We will get our next report on Friday.

Interestingly, when A and I first started seriously discussing IVF we were thinking of only fertilizing 8 eggs to avoid having lots of leftover embryos.  As we learned more, though, we realized that we wanted as many embryos as possible to heighten our chances of getting healthy embryos to work with.  In all honesty, I feel a little disappointed with this number...I am so nervous that we will not end up with quality embryos for transfer.  I keep trying to remind myself that quality is the most important thing, though, and I at least have age on my side for that.  For now I am picturing my little embryos and sending them all my love.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

new lucky number...

And the winner is 14!  14 eggs retrieved this morning.  The embryologist said based on her initial analysis, two looked immature, but that they might continue to mature for a few hours.  We find out how many fertilized exciting!  Interestingly, my right ovary continued to be a little stinker.  Only 2 eggs came from the right, with 12 coming from the left.

Hoping for a great fertilization report tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

never easy

Sometimes I am convinced that God just doesn't want me to be pregnant.  My lovely southern city is blanketed in around 3 inches of snow, which is a big deal for us.  Even worse, the neighboring city where my retrieval will be has around 6 inches.  The clinic called this morning to make sure that we were coming down today rather than trying to make it tomorrow.  For the first time since the IVF coordinator can remember, they have cancelled all procedures/appointments for today and tomorrow other than my egg retrieval and one other retrieval tomorrow (apparently we were the only time sensitive procedures planned for these two days).  There are so many people that need to be there at the right time to make this happen...I am so nervous that it's not going to work. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

trigger time

It's officially trigger time!  Retrieval is at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday.  Now the only thing between me and retrieval is a predicted snowstorm.  I go to a satellite office, but my RE's official office is about 90 miles away and that is where the retrieval will take place.  I live in the South, and snow pretty much halts life here.  We are expecting a good bit of snow over the next two days, so A and I are traveling down tomorrow night to be closer to the office just in case.  Our hotel is only 2.4 miles from the office, and I will walk there Tuesday morning if I have to.  Guess I should pack my boots!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

almost there!

Day 9 of stims, and things looked much better at my monitoring appointment this morning.  My favorite nurse was doing the ultrasound, which I was initially a little worried about since my RE has done all the other ones.  But she went really slowly and showed us everything, which was really nice.

Left ovary is doing great: One at 21.9, one at 18.8, two in the sixteens, and four in the thirteens.  There are a few under ten, so there's still a chance that one of them will suddenly catch up.

Right ovary still has the three strong contenders: One at 23.6 andwo in the sixteens.  Interestingly, though, today we were able to see about 5 under ten.  I am really hoping one or two of those grow and give us an egg, but either way, we are in a much better position than we were earlier this week.

Endometrium is at 8.8, and E2 is 1422.

I go back for another ultrasound tomorrow and think they will have me trigger tomorrow night, which would put retrieval on Tuesday.

My hope for this cycle has returned.  A and I even bought a "Cookies for Santa" plate that we found on sale today...maybe the purchase had more to do with it being 75% off, but it's nice to be back in the mindframe of being able to buy things to use when we have kids.  Really hoping that "when" is soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Here's where we stand:

Right ovary still not cooperating.  One 17, one 12.7, and one 11...hoping there are one or two little ones hiding in there somewhere.

Left ovary is doing better.  Two 15s, a 14, a 12, and 3-4 at less than 10.

Estradiol is at 932. 

I know this is by far not the worst cycle possible, but it's not the best either.  My doctor expected a stronger response from me, but keeps encouraging me that it's going to be fine and we are doing everything we can.  Next ultrasound is Saturday morning.  Fingers still crossed!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

changing definitions

While reading last night, I came across this little jewel: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed." Psalm 34: 19 (I promise this is not a religious post).  A little blast from the past--I cannot tell you how many times I heard this in high school.  With every break-up and betrayal, this verse would inevitably be quoted.

As I lay in bed not sleeping, a common theme these days, I thought about the concept of heartbreak.  My first memory of a broken heart is from fourth grade.  My friends had started a club--they even had matching wallets--and for some reason they wouldn't let me join.  In high school and college, heartbreak inevitably came in the form of boys.  Recently, of course, heartbreak has come from seeing two lines that shortly go back to being just one.

As I have grown older, heartbreak has become more complex.  I have learned what it means to be heartbroken for others.  I have also learned that there is a difference in heartbreak and heart ache, and fortunately discovered that truly broken hearts are much less common than I once thought. 

Lying there, I began to wonder what my next phase of heartbreak would be.  Sure, there are the pains we cannot plan for, like diagnoses and deaths, but many stages of life come with built in aches.  I know that I will be a mother one day, but I also know that being a mom will not mean an end to heartbreak.  How will it feel to hear my child cry and know I can't take the pain away?  To not have the right words when a friend has been unkind?  To watch my little teenager go through his or her first crushing break-up?  I know there will be moments of heartbreak as I watch my little ones grow, and I so long for the chance to experience every last one of them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Thanks for all of your kind words yesterday!  It means so much to know there are women out there pulling for my little ovaries.  I am feeling much better about everything today...I know that if we get to 10, that will be great, so I'm just hoping my RE's prediction is correct.  I am anxious for Thursday to get here, but am trying to remember that all I can do is continue my meds and hope for the best.

We've been on several roller coasters this past year, but this one is different.  So much has been invested in this cycle that it's difficult not to overanalyze.  I feel like all chances of success are riding on each blood draw and each scan.  Trying to take it one day at a time, but as we all know that is more difficult than it sounds.

Monday, January 3, 2011

not going so great

We are on stim day 4 and just had our first ultrasound to see how the follicles are doing...needless to say, it didn't go as we had hoped.  My right ovary looked pretty useless.  There was one big follicle (16 x 12 mm), and then 2-3 little ones (less than 10 mm).  My left ovary looked a little better.  There was one around 11 mm, then maybe five more that were under 10 mm.  Right now, the doctor thinks we might have around 10 eggs at retrieval...but that seemed like a hopeful estimate, and he could definitely tell I was disappointed and didn't want to upset me further. 

The current plan is to start on Ganirelix on Wednesday to keep the big guys from getting too big.  We have another ultrasound on Thursday to see if things are progressing.

I feel so defeated.  I can't even stim correctly.  I am so worried that we will not have enough to make it to retrieval, and that even if we do, no embryos will make it to transfer.  I feel so stupid...a few weeks ago I was worried about what we would do with the "extra," and now I may not even make it to retrieval.  The plan we paid for includes a fresh and frozen cycle so you have some peace of mind knowing that if the fresh doesn't work you have already paid for the frozen, but at this rate it's unlikely we would have any frozen embryos.

Hoping for much better results on Thursday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

is this normal?

I am utterly exhausted.  I am now on day 3 of stims, and I cannot remember the last time I felt this tired.  Friday night I slept nine hours, then took a two hour nap Saturday afternoon, followed by ten hours of sleep last night.  I am fighting a cold as well, so I'm not sure if the exhaustion is from the stims, the cold, or a mixture of both.  Is this normal?  Did anyone else seem to sleep through their entire stim cycle (I know at least one blogger forewarned of exhaustion)?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a resolution

Lately I've been thinking a lot about past conversations and declarations.  For as long as I can remember, I have told everyone I can remember that I wanted to adopt children.  Even as a small child, I would proudly proclaim that I just knew that adoption was part of my life plan.  As a teenager and college student, I maintained my passion for adoption.  I remember saying on multiple occasions that I wasn't sure if I would be able to have children, and that maybe that was why God has placed adoption so strongly on my heart.  I even said that if I couldn't have children I didn't think it would be as hard for me as it might be for other women.  

When I began dating A, we talked of our desire for a family and both said we wanted at least three kids.  About a year after our marriage, though, I remember telling him one day that I was no longer sure I wanted children.  I had met several female attorneys who chose to live childlessly, and I was mesmerized by the apparent glamour of their lives. 

A year later I was diagnosed with endometriosis and learned for the first time that I might, in reality, have trouble conceiving.  My heart was crushed.  Even though I knew we weren't yet ready to parent, I felt broken.  Through that diagnosis, I realized how deeply I desired not just to have a family, but to actually conceive and bear a little piece of myself and A.  I realized that being a mother was the greatest success I could ever achieve.  Facing the potential that conceiving would be difficult for us, I hated that I had so flippantly declared that I might not want children and that if I couldn't have them I would be able to cope with it well.  Maybe I had somehow talked God into giving me fertility problems....maybe I had brought this on myself with my words and thoughts.

Since our first loss, and continuing through the next two, I haven't let myself dwell on this regret.  If I'm honest, however, I know that it's been lurking under the surface the last year, festering and feeding into my self blame.  I often wonder if there was anything I could have done to save the three little lives we lost this year.  I wonder if I'm doing something wrong...eating the wrong things, drinking the wrong things, exercising too much or too little.  Even with this IVF cycle, I worry that I will somehow "mess up" and cause the whole thing to fail. 

So my resolution for this year is to let go.  I am not good at letting go...I have always achieved everything I have tried, so releasing control is not an area in which I'm comfortable.  But I have to stop blaming myself.  It's hard to even admit that I blame myself...if I don't admit it, I don't have to try to stop doing it.  But if I ever carry a baby to term, it will not be because of something I did.  If I continue to be unable to have a baby, it will not be because of something I did.  Letting go will be a process for me, and I'm sure there will be relapses.  It is a process I know I must begin, though, and a new year seems like a good time to start.