So I’m sure by now you may have seen the announcement: Baby Rose will be arriving March 19th, 2015.
Some of you may be reading the announcement and thinking it’s a little premature to be announcing as I am only 7 weeks along. There are still five long weeks ahead of us until we are out of the danger zone. And if this were any normal pregnancy, I would whole heartedly agree that it’s best to wait until the 12 week mark to announce. However, I have shared every step of this crazy journey with my readers. You all have stood by supporting us through the bad, the worst, and the flat out ugly. I feel that it would be wrong of me to hide the very best part of this journey from those of you that have been so faithful and with us every step of the way. And some of my readers are on their very own infertility journey and I want to show that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. So with that being said, I feel now is the perfect time to share our news.
We began our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) cycle on Friday, June 13th. Kind of ironic that this was originally supposed to be our Beta blood test day, yet instead we were gearing up for IVF round two. There are two types of IVF cycles: fresh or frozen. Our first cycle was considered to be a fresh cycle since we were doing the full ovary stimulation and egg retrieval. This second cycle however, we already had our embryos that were able to be preserved by freezing them, so it was frozen cycle.
A FET cycle is way less strenuous on the body than a fresh cycle is. I did not have to do injectables since we already had the embryos. Instead I started off with an Estrogen pill that I took three times a day. The purpose of the Estrogen is to help thicken the uterine lining; making it a fluffy and sticky environment for the embryos to attach to. With a FET cycle there is also less time spent at the Dr. office. We only had one ultrasound appointment on June 24th. Dr. A performed the ultrasound to measure how thick the uterine lining was. Blood work was also performed to make sure all my levels were high enough. Based upon all my levels and the ultrasound, Dr. A said we were ready to schedule my transfer for July 1st.
He then went on to reiterate that my chances of success increased with my second and third attempts. First time IVF success is about 45%. However within three rounds my success percentages soared up to 85%. A lot of time with a fresh cycle, the body is still recovering from the severity the injectables place on it- (if you read my last entry you can remember how sick I was). But with a frozen cycle, the body has had time to recover, making it a much more friendly environment for the embryos to survive in. Dr. A also emphasized that he has been performing IVF for the past thirty years, and the success rates have never been better than they have been in the past three years.
We decided to go ahead and thaw our final three embryos. Dr. A said he wanted to be very aggressive with this second round. The plan was to thaw all three and transfer the best two, optimizing my chances of success. On Thursday July 24th, I began to add in the Progesterone again. This would also help with the uterine lining, keeping my levels high enough to try and prevent a miscarriage from occurring.
On Tuesday, July 1st, we checked into IRH for our embryo transfer.
Paul and I were both super excited and nervous at the same time. If this round did not work, we would have to start all over with a new fresh cycle; something I was truly dreading. However we decided we would cross that bridge if we came to it. Dr. A pulled out the picture of the two embryos he would be transferring and said they both looked perfect.
After the transfer was complete the wonderful 2 week wait began again. My Beta blood test was scheduled for Tuesday, July 15th. This 2ww seemed to be much more miserable than the first one. I guess because we had more riding on the success of this one than we did the first, it made the days feel extra-long. A little over the halfway point, I began to feel exactly like I did with my failed cycle. Discouraged, I bought a bunch of home pregnancy tests to take, fully aware that it could still be too early to show a positive. Since I was not taking any injectables, there was no worry of a false positive showing up on the home HCG test. I took the first test on Wednesday, July 9th. I could not believe my eyes when I saw not one but two positives. As much as I wanted to believe it was true, I knew I had to wait and test again the next day.
With IVF, a chemical pregnancy (a very early miscarriage), is more common than with a normal pregnancy. This would show up as a positive on a pregnancy test one day and be gone or less positive the next day. I was not going to allow myself to get my hopes up until I had two back to back days of positive tests. So I waited and tested again on Thursday, July 10th. To my surprise the next two tests were both positive as well. I was in pure shock. I literally could not believe it. I had displayed all the symptoms of a failed cycle and yet here I was pregnant for the first time in my life. Super excited, I knew I had to tell Paul right away. So I made a little picture collage, framed it, and placed it in a gift bag. I drove up to Maury’s Tiny Cove where he was setting up the bar for his shift that evening.
I will never forget this moment. Next to when we said our wedding vows, this was the best moment of my life. Paul walked around the corner of the bar at 5:35 PM. Totally surprised to see me, he came over and gave me a hug. I plopped the gift bag on the table and told him I wanted to give him a little gift since he had been working so hard between his two jobs. Pulling out the picture frame, his jaw dropped. “Are you serious? Are we pregnant?” he asked while grinning from ear to ear. All I could do was nod through the tears that began streaming down my face. As he pulled me in for a huge hug, I could feel both of us trembling. Scratch that- this was the best moment of my life.
We got the official results from IRH on Tuesday, July 15th. When the nurse called one of the first things she said was “Are you out buying baby clothes? Because you should be!” Any beta blood test over 100 was a positive confirmed pregnancy. She revealed that my levels were extremely high at 1415. Since every woman’s beta blood levels were unique this did not mean that I was having twins, yet it was a good indicator that it was a good possibility. This is the moment where it all began to feel real. The process had worked! I could not stop shaking.
We slowly began telling our closest family and friends. I think everyone’s reactions were pretty much the same: teary eyed, excited, and super emotional. It still felt like a dream to me; like at any given moment I was going to wake up and it would all be gone. So you can imagine how terrified I was when on Sunday, July 20th I began to display several common miscarriage symptoms. I knew we had to make a trip to the ER to get everything checked out immediately. Those three hours I was admitted at Mercy West Hospital were the longest three hours of my life. Every emotion you can imagine was running through my mind. I was trying to not think of the worst case possibility of losing the baby so early, but after everything I had been through this year it was hard not to. Finally the ER doctor popped back in the room and said my blood levels were on target and the exam results were good. They had contacted Dr. A who said he would squeeze me in for an ultrasound the next morning. Until then I was discharged with a diagnosis of “Threatening Miscarriage” and had to wait 12 very long hours to determine exactly what was going on.
Monday, July 21st I met with Dr. A who performed an ultrasound. The minute I saw him smile I knew everything was okay with my little one. He said everything looked great and he was pleased with what he saw. Only being 5 weeks along, it was too early to see anything other than the placement of the “sac” as they called it. Dr A assured me if anything looked out of place or he had any concerns at all, he would have ordered more tests. Unfortunately some woman will carry miscarriage symptoms throughout their first trimester, and although it can be extremely scary, Dr. A explained to push the doubts to the side. But for now I was to hang tight until my next appointment to determine if there was a heartbeat or not.
Tuesday, July 29th could not get here soon enough. Although all the tests were showing I was still pregnant and I began to display all the pregnancy symptoms, I knew nothing would confirm it until that appointment on the 29th. After closing on our brand new home, Paul and I eagerly went to IRH in hopes of making the day a memorable, life changing one. As Dr. B (a partner at IRH filling in for Dr. A while he was on vacation) walked into the room, I could hear my heart thumping against my chest. He began the ultrasound and very quickly detected the noise we had been waiting three weeks to hear. I could try and describe the most amazing sound I have ever heard in my life, but there truly are no words for it!!! (I had intended on posting a video clip, but I do not have those privileges, hopefully I can add it on later!)
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I thought back to everything we had been through over the past 15 months: trying unsuccessfully on our own for 9 months, basil body temping, numerous blood draws, 2 rounds of Clomid, HCG test, 2 laparoscopy surgeries (one of which completely removed my tubes), countless ultrasound scans, more blood work, copious injections, 2 rounds of IVF, more tears shed than I thought was humanly possible, and $76,000 in medical bills ($24,000 of which were out of pocket). We finally had our miracle baby on the way due to arrive March 19th, 2015!!! I had prayed every night for this dream to come true and God finally answered my prayers. There really are no words to explain the overwhelming joy and high I got from hearing that heartbeat. We are really going to be parents!
So now here I stand, with one foot still in the infertility world and one foot in the pregnancy world. I will never forget or take for granted this entire experience. Part of my heart will always be in the infertile world. Since I have no tubes, I know that if I ever want to have another child we need to go through this entire IVF process again. There simply is no hope of that unexpected miracle pregnancy for me. The second part of my heart is now being filled with all the joys of pregnancy. From the excitement and the love for this tiny little nugget growing inside of me to the anxiousness for the whole experience: the first kick, finding out the sex, the first glimpse of its precious face. I am ready for every minute of it. And even though I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be able to stand with both feet in the pregnancy/mother world, I am okay with that. This whole experience, although physically and emotionally trying, has changed the person I am for the better. It has made me more appreciative of my family, friends, and husband. I am more thankful for the small things. I have reconnected with my faith and spiritual side in God. I have been tested to my breaking point and discovered how strong I really am. And all those things are worth still having a foot on the other side.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it”