This was the easiest thing to make - ever! I bought a package of ornaments at Hobby Lobby (50% off of course) and used a wire hanger we had at home. I have seen these on other blogs and decided to try it and just love it! You just string the ornaments on the hanger and tie it together. I added some ribbon to hang it with. Now, the one thing you have to be careful with is some ornaments have removable tops. If this is the case you have to hot glue the tops on or the ornaments will pop off as your stringing them on the hanger. But if you go to Hobby Lobby they have ones that are permanently attached so one less step. I paid $15 for the container that had all the ornaments I used on this wreath.
I LOVE these disco ball ones!
Show me yours if you've made one! C'mon Kelsey - I know you have!
So some of you might have seen my Facebook post last week about life not being fair. Several people texted me or sent me messages so some of you know what's going on but for everyone else who is familiar with our saga here's the scoop.
We did our first round of in-vitro fertilization about this time last year. We transferred two embryos and did not get pregnant. A couple months later we transferred two more and again, nothing happened. On November 12th, we transferred our last three frozen embryos. I didn't blog about it and didn't even tell anyone (not even my mom which is crazy for me). We just felt like we wanted to go ahead and give it a try but keep it to ourselves.
On Sunday, November 21st I had my first EVER positive home pregnancy test.
Then I had about eight more positive home pregnancy tests. I could not get enough of peeing on a stick.
The first digital test I took came back negative but the regular ones were giving me faint positives. Some you had to tilt just right and have under the fluorescent lights but it was there. Finally, the morning of my blood pregnancy test (Wednesday, November 24th) I had a positive digital test. We were pretty much ecstatic but also trying to keep a level head because we know all the possibilities for something to go wrong. So I had my blood drawn and we got a call from my doctor a couple hours later that yes I was pregnant but my HCG level was 15 and he likes to see it over 100 so he was "not real hopeful." We had to wait two days and go in again last Friday for another HCG level. It was 9. It felt like we didn't have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The doctor said to quit taking my progesterone injections and remove my estrogen patches and I would miscarry. Sidenote, I hate the word "miscarriage." I keep saying "the M word" because I don't like to say it.
We are angry and sad and at the same time hopeful. Jeremy and I both have thought that at least SOMETHING happened and so maybe next time it will work. However, we are discouraged by when "next time" might be. We will basically be starting over and so we are looking at $12,000 to $14,000.
Thank you to everyone who has been supportive and encouraging in this journey. We can't say enough how helpful it is to have you all as friends and family.
These beautiful cheer-me-uppers arrived yesterday from my mom and sister:
Fall decorations are down and Christmas is up! We got a new tree last year after Christmas and put it up for the first time this year. It is a little huge! Oh well - go big or go home, right?
This is how the table centerpiece originally looked. I got the greenery at Earl May. It is what they trim off the trees they sell and it was $1.99 for all that I have in these containers plus there was a little left over. The "cranberries" are from Hobby Lobby and were 50% off $1.27...whatever that is.
Then I decided to put water in them to keep the greenery alive and the plastic cranberry-looking things started to "melt." The water turned bright red and it started to smell really bad - pretty sure it was putting of some sort of toxic fumes. So needless to say I had to get rid of those and just have the greenery now. Maybe I'll look for some real cranberries to float in there.
This blog has been quiet for awhile! We have been living life and NOT trying to have a baby for several months now and it has been very relaxing. I have been filling my time with various "crafting" projects. Feel free to roll your eyes. I have always loved crafts and glitter and making things and glitter... Well, I decided to share some of that on here. I should probably change the description of this blog since I'm not focusing on our infertility journey anymore...
So here's what I've been up to:
I made this fall-ish wreath and hung it in front of the mirror on our hall tree (which is not in a hall).
Here's a close up!
I switched out my table centerpiece for some pinecones and candles wrapped in leaves (which are coated in glitter of course).
Here's a close up of the candle. I bought plain leaves at Hobby Lobby and used spray glue to glitter them then wrapped them around the candles with twine.
I also love making cards! I am very excited for the card party my friend Ashley is hosting this weekend. I will share three cards I made yesterday after the party - don't want to spoil the fun by showing them early!
It's been awhile! My last post was a little short, okay really short. I didn't have words to say how I felt at that point in time. I think I do now, or at least I have more words than I did then!
When we found out the FET didn't work I was crushed, devastated, heart broken. I felt like I didn't get my hopes as high the second time as I did the first. But it still hurt so bad. Even though we still have 3 embryos frozen I felt like the second try was a last chance in a way. The two couples we know (or know of at least) who have had success with IVF got pregnant the second try. Something in me says that if it hasn't worked the first two times (with the best of the best embryos) how could it possible work the third time. And of course the answer is that God has a plan. The first four embryos were not meant to be born.
A question I have just recently found myself asking is if life begins at conception, are these babies in heaven? Will I meet them someday if I'm lucky enough to get there too? Side bar, 3 years ago I would have rolled my eyes at the whole life begins at conception statement. Now I feel very convinced that these embryos are babies. They are MY babies and guess what, they died. I have a right to be sad, to mourn them. I have been quite taken aback by the number of people who don't understand this. I've been hurt by the people in my life who I've opened up to about this who couldn't seem to care less. Infertility has been a unique opportunity to learn about people and to see who really cares about you. But maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe people do care but they just don't say anything because they don't know what to say. What I do know is there are some really amazing people in my life who do care about us a lot and that's probably all I should worry about.
So, what are we doing now? We are taking "a break." There a several reasons for the break. First, I need it emotionally. I've said before how emotionally draining this is and some time off has already helped me feel better (and not be so crabby!). Second, we are getting our financial house in order. This part is really exciting in a super nerdy way! We read Dave Ramsey's book and are doing a Total Money Makeover! If you haven't heard of this check out his website. Basically we are working on a "snowball" to get rid of our debt. This way, when we are blessed with a baby, we will be in the best financial situation possible. And the third reason for our break - we are looking into other options for starting a family. We are attending an informational meeting on adoption (both domestic and intercountry) on Saturday! Adoption is obviously a long and expensive process and we really aren't even to the starting line of the process yet, but it is exciting nonetheless and I can't wait to learn more on Saturday.
We are really just trying to find our way and praying for God to show it to us and to guide us and to give us patience for the journey.
Our appointment for the frozen embryo transfer was at 2:30pm today. I woke up this morning and took all my meds: Doxycycline, 4 Methylprednisolone, Multivitamin, Folic Acid, Baby Aspirin, and Metformin. Then we went to Wal-Mart to stock up on movies since I am going to be laying down for the rest of today and Tuesday. My mom is going to come up and hang out with me tomorrow and we are going to watch Audrey Hepburn movies. I've never seen Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, or Roman Holiday which I got ALL of in a 3 pack for $13!
Anyway, after Wal-Mart, we had about an hour and a half to kill before we left and that was torturous. We caught up on our DVR'd shows. Finally, we left about 1pm and headed to West Des Moines and stopped at Cracker Barrel. After lunch it was off to the doctor's office. We checked in and went right back. I put on my beautiful gown and Jeremy put on his scrubs and we had our booties and hats then went back to the transfer room.
When we got in there we found out that both of the embryos they thawed survived!!! We are SO happy and thankful to God for watching over our babies while they thawed and keeping them safe. Now we are praying for Him to continue to watch over them and help them implant and grow.
At 4:30 I had my acupunture appointment which went well and hopefully helps the embryos grow as well!
Now we are just chillaxin at home and watching tv. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers today! We TRULY appreciate the support from everyone - you are all AMAZING!!!
We started Progesterone shots tonight. I say "we" because it's a team effort - I get the shot in my behind and Jeremy gives it to me.
If you saw my Facebook status yesterday you may know of my new condition I'm calling Estrogen Induced Psychosis. Basically I am getting a lot of estrogen through the Vivelle patches and it makes me crazy. I am completely embarrassed by this but can't really help it. Thankfully Jeremy understands "it's not me, it's the estrogen." However, yesterday he asked me if we would have nine months of this if the transfer works - ha!
Still praying for a successful thaw and two great embryos to transfer on Monday!
Today I had an appointment at Mid-Iowa Fertility. I had an ultrasound and blood draw to check my progesterone level. The ultrasound was to check the thickness of my uterine lining. The nurse who did the ultrasound said it looked "great." I was worried because I had been having spotting but she said that is likely the result of the estrogen patches.
Tonight is my last dose of Lupron. Then tomorrow night I start progesterone injections. Those are the ones Jeremy gives me so I'm sure he's pretty excited to start those again!
Our transfer is scheduled for next Monday, April 26th at 2:30pm. The next thing to worry about is that the embryos survive the thaw.
I am also doing acupuncture this cycle. I have an appointment today at noon and then again the day of the transfer. I figure it can't hurt and hopefully it helps!
I had my baseline estradiol level today and it was 35 which means I am sufficiently suppressed like they wanted. So I got the go ahead to put on my Vivelle patches. For those of you not familiar, Vivelle patches are estrogen in a patch. They come in 0.025, 0.0375, 0.05, 0.075, and 0.1mg. I am wearing TWO of the 0.1mg. When I told my mom this her response was "Poor Jeremy." HAHA. I am preparing to be a crazy, hormonal wreck for the next few weeks. Hopefully, Jeremy is preparing too!
Next up is my ultrasound/blood draw on the 19th. That is to make sure my uterine lining is thick enough. Then I start Progesterone shots on April 20th and transfer on the 26th. All of this is assuming everything goes according to plan of course!
This picture is of the two patches on my belly and it just so happens you can see the scar right above the left patch from my surgery a year ago to drill the cysts on my ovaries. I can't believe that next month we will have been trying to get pregnant for two years! I never would have thought we wouldn't have a baby at this point but as they say..."If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan."
The date has been moved up to Monday, April 26th instead of Thursday, April 29th for our Embryo Transfer. Dr. Young is going to be out of the office starting April 29th so they were able to move us up. This is going to work out a little easier schedule-wise and it's a couple days sooner so I don't have to wait as long :)
Time for my first injection of this cycle tonight - Leuprolide. These ones are super simple and I just use a tiny insulin syringe so pretty painless.
I also have a dry erase calendar in my kitchen and I erased March and put in April already because I was so excited to write in the Embryo Transfer. Dorky, I know...but still fun. You can see it down on the 26th with the big zigzag bubble around it - hehe.
Well, that's my exciting news for now. Hope everyone has a great week!
We have a date for our next embryo transfer! It will be Thursday, April 29th. This time it is pretty simple but the doctor's office made me a calendar anyway. I have to take birth control and a baby aspirin everyday for a couple weeks. Then on to Lupron injections to "quiet" my ovaries. Then I do progesterone injections once daily (or Jeremy does anyway - he is the designated giver of shots in the butt). And I have to do Estrogen patches. I only have to go into the office twice before the transfer. Once for a baseline Estradiol level and then for and ultrasound and Progesterone level one week before the transfer. SIMPLE compared to all the shots and meds last time.
So we have 5 embryos frozen. We are going to thaw two for this transfer. I think I mentioned before that there is a 2/3 surivival rate. So we are hoping and praying that both survive the thaw and we can try with two again.
This time I am going to take a couple more days off work as well. The doctor's instructions just say I have to take the day of the transfer off and then can go back the next day. However, the transfer is on a Thursday and I am taking Thursday and Friday off, I have the weekend off and I am taking Monday off and I am always off on Tuesdays - so 5 day vacation!! And I have a super legitimate excuse to lay around for ALL of it!
The picture is my calendar that is hanging on my dry erase board. I mark off everyday and I am trying my best to be patient. The transfer is five weeks from tomorrow!
P.S. - That is your name on my white board Stefanie! I wrote myself a reminder to call you a couple weeks ago!
I started seeing a new chiropractor and his wife who works at the same practice also does acupuncture. We decided to give it a try to help with our next IVF cycle which will hopefully be starting soon.
Where we're at: I am waiting for my period to start so I can call in to the fertility doctor and get a calendar for the next cycle. That should be anyday now.
Until we find out if the next cycle works I am going to be doing the acupuncture. The first appointment was yesterday and it went well. I had 8 needles (I think) and then she hooked them up to wires to stimulate the areas. It really didn't hurt and I had to lay there for the stimulation for about 20 minutes which was actually quite relaxing.
We are trying to stay hopeful but also realistic. That's an impossible combination in case you hadn't heard ;)
Hopefully more updates soon as we get the ball rolling on this next cycle!
We had our follow up appointment with the fertility doctor today. The first thing he said was that he was "a little surprised it didn't work." Yeah...
So our two embryos that didn't implant were both AA grade (the best). We have 1 AA, 2 BA, and 1 BB left frozen in two straws (2 in one, 3 in the other). I don't know much about embryo grading but the doctor seemed pleased with the quality of these embryos. We are going to thaw the 2 embryo straw for our next cycle. It will be about 3 weeks until we start the cycle. I have to take birth control and Lupron injections to "shut down" my ovaries just like the last cycle. I'll have a blood draw to make sure everything is quiet. Then I'll start applying my estrogen patches and doing progesterone injections. After a week or so of that, they'll put the embryos in (if they both survive the thaw).
About the thaw - about 2/3 of embryos survive thaw - hopefully we will have two to put in! The success rate for a frozen embryo transfer is 40%. We had a 60% chance with the fresh cycle. So chances are a little worse. However, the 40% success rate is for EVERYONE - women who are 25 and women who are 45. Since I am 25 I am hoping my chances are better (and the doctor seemed to agree with that).
I am feeling more relaxed which will hopefully bring a better chance of success. I am also putting my faith in God and my belief that He will fulfill our dream of children when He chooses - I'm just praying it's soon! ;)
We'll be trying again. We went to the fertility clinic today and I had my blood drawn. The nurse called a couple hours later and confirmed what I already knew - I am not pregnant.
I definitely feel like I let my hopes get too high. There are so many highs and lows and ups and downs. I really feel physically exhausted from the emotional roller coaster this has been. It is hard to stay positive and sometimes I think it's healthier to be realistic instead of positive. For example when you've had 3 negative home pregnancy tests you pretty much know you aren't pregnant. Why put myself through being hopeful and being let down again.
I am feeling somewhat alone in this, like no one else really knows what I'm going through. And you couldn't know unless you've been through this before. Maybe I need a support group or something. "Hi, I'm Reanna and I'm infertile."
So last night I took like 2 hours and read a great blog that was recommended to me (thanks Sabrina!). It is written by someone WAY more positive than I am and it really helped to "settle me" emotionally. It helped me to remember that God has a plan for us. Maybe that plan is that our next IVF cycle will be successful. Maybe it is that we will never be able to have children - I hope that isn't the case but it has been proven that we don't have much control over this. Kelly, who writes this blog, also said she thinks that God wants us to ask for things so that when He gives them to us, we know to give thanks to Him. This made me stop and think. I've sort of always been of the opinion that it isn't appropriate to ask God for "things." I have prayed for peace, and patience, and strength during this process but I think next cycle I'll pray for a baby too...
So, what's next? Well, I have to set up an appointment to follow up with our doctor. I am very hopeful that we can get started on another cycle as soon as possible. We have five frozen embryos and our thought is that we will keep trying until those are all gone and if we still aren't pregnant we are going to start looking at adoption. That's hard to say - or type - sort of like talking about giving up on your dreams...hopefully it doesn't come to that.
Thanks for all the prayers, positive thoughts, and support. It is so comforting to know we aren't alone on this journey!
Well, I peed on a stick - big fat negative (BFN). That wasn't the problem. The problem was that I then proceeded to Google when other IVFers got a positive home pregnancy test (or Big Fat Positive - BFP). Results are: 5 and 6 days post transfer. Yesterday - which is when the BFN and subsequent meltdown occured - was day 9. Guess that means it didn't work. So anyway, thought I was fine and proceeded to go to work. This is when the meltdown occured. Eyes filling with tears and no way to stop it. I ended up taking a vacation day and going home to do more crying and sleeping.
Here's where I am. I need to be negative. I need to NOT get my hopes up because it hurts too much when they are broken. I am telling myself over and over in my head that it didn't take, I am not pregnant. However, the unfortunate part is that there is this tiny hope that keeps creeping in. I DON'T WANT IT! We have now been trying to get pregnant for 20 months - I am tired of getting my hopes up every month only to be let down.
What will we do next? Well, I still have to go in for my blood test on Sunday. My mom keeps saying I need to think positive, and I don't know for sure yet. However, I am a pharmacist. I am a rational, scientific person and science isn't telling me to be positive right now. We will hopefully be able to go right into a frozen cycle since we have five frozen embryos. That is if I don't have a mental breakdown first, of course.
We transferred two blastocysts (embryos, or as I like to call them, babies) on January 5th. They doctor said they looked great and actually asked if we wanted to transfer just one! We decided to stick with two since that had been the plan and we were mentally prepared for two. We also thought that if it doesn't work, we would really regret not putting in two.
It was a lot more emotional than I though it would be. First of all I had no idea we would get a picture of the embryos (above). WOW! Then they use ultrasound to see where they are putting them and the nurse said "Ok, that bright white spot is the embryos." WOW AGAIN! After the nurse and doctor left the room, I had to lay there for 20-30 minutes and I cried! Such a baby - but so amazing to see and to realize that this might actually be it!
I go in Sunday, January 17th at 9:10am for a blood draw to check my beta HCG to see if I'm pregnant. The doctor will call us that day with the results. I am really torn about whether or not I should try a home pregnancy test before that...we'll see if I can hold off or not.
The retrieval on December 31st went well and they got 17 eggs. The next day the doctor called and said that 14 of the 17 were mature and of those, 7 fertilized. We are very happy with those results! So right now we are just waiting until Tuesday when two of the embryos will go back in.
On a related note, I have a totally awesome diet to follow. To prevent Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome I have to follow a high sodium diet. Included in the recommended foods: McDonald's french fries, potato chips, anything with lots of salt - yumm!