late.

40+3 ♥

Where on earth do I even begin?  I haven’t made any updates in four whole months, and I know I’m going to regret not having kept track more so, but alas, here we are.  We are officially three days over due (!!!), and we couldn’t be more ready for this little one to get here.  It’s such a strange feeling knowing that any day now, our little babe will make their appearance when they’ve been super cozy on up in here for so long.

So let’s recap.

Weeks 25-27.  Around this time, I found out that two of my coworkers and my best friend were also expecting. Call me the pregnancy whisperer. Just kidding, don’t call me that.  I think at work in the ED now, there are 9 of us that are pregnant (I’m due first), and that’s just the ones I know about.  Yeahhh, holy smokes.  And also, let’s be serious, I knew about my bestie’s little babe on the way the day she missed her period.  We are weirdly close like that haha.  We went up to Minneapolis to visit some friends and see our favorite MLS soccer team, and swung into Rochester on our way home to visit our nephews who informed us they think the baby is a girl (well the 5 year old did… the 2 year old didn’t have much to say about it haha).

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Weeks 28-31.  Our closest friends and my colleagues threw us two separate baby showers in one weekend, and they were such a good time.  We are so fortunate for amazingly generous people in our lives, and got stocked up on almost everything we would need for the little one.  We went on one last trip, our baby moon to the shores of Michigan and stayed at a really cool AirBnB with two other couples and a total of three doggos.  It was nice to have this little getaway, knowing that in the coming months we won’t be straying far from home.

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Weeks 32-35.  Bae Krae and I got to have a spa day with a glorious prenatal massage, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  Sadly,  I haven’t been able to get back since, and now that I’m on maternity leave, they actually can’t do massage on women this pregnant, and not to mention, crazily enough, they’re fully booked until February.  We also had two more baby showers, one thrown by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and the last thrown by my mom, aunts and cousins.  Again, it’s incredible how generous people are, and this baby is so lucky to have all of these people in their life.  We also nearly finished the nursery, which has turned out better than we could have expected, and we had our maternity photos done which are like a DREAM to look through.

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Weeks 36-39.  This is when the swelling and weight gain really began. It’s funny because I was actually creating a blog post four weeks ago, and it was all sunshine and rainbows because I was still feeling really good, but I got busy when writing it and I didn’t finish it.   Then, a couple days later, my watch was tight, my rings barely fit, and my little toes turned into sausages.  I now have cankles to the extreme, something I hope to never ever have to experience outside of pregnancy.   That sunshine and rainbows went out the window.  For the first time the entire pregnancy, I was feeling miserable.  I developed significant right sided sciatica, I was swollen everywhere and packing on the pounds.  The simple task of walking was uncomfortable for more reasons than one.  I’ve gained 20lbs in the past month, I swear due to water weight (although I’m sure Christmas cookies are responsible for maybe a pound or two). I think I’m officially up to close to 45lbs. Woof. But honestly, whatever.  I know that this water weight especially is going to come right off after baby comes, and hopefully if I’m successful with breast feeding, that should help with weight loss too. Fingers crossed.

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So here we are, at 40+ weeks.  It’s wild how these last few months have absolutely flown by.  People say that that happens, but now I’m a full believer.  It’s crazy how I’ve carried this pregnancy without really flinching, and now we are here at the end, hopefully just days from meeting this little one.

Our last ever OB appointment was on NYE at 40+1.  Unfortunately I’ve remained only 1.5-2cm dilated and 50% effaced for two weeks.  I have voiced to my doc a few times how I was worried how large this baby is going to be the later we go… and her response, “Well, I know you’re not going to have a 6lb baby.”  She’s said maybe around 8lbs or so (since our 36 week visit) – I’m leaning more towards 9-10lbs. And the longer we cook, the bigger this babe is going to get.   She did surprise the heck out of us at our appointment though when she asked if we would like to schedule an induction for soon.  Maybe she’s now thinking that this baby will be massive and is okay with getting them out soon too??  Who knows. But previously she’s told us that she doesn’t induce until 41+5 (which is January 11th, not that I’ve been counting).  Ross and I looked at each other and said, “Yeah, let’s go for it! ” and after calling the hospital to check on timing, she came back in with an appointment for us for this coming weekend (!!!).  It’s wild to think that in four more days, we will likely have our baby with us – unless for some reason we get bumped from our induction, which can happen if enough women go into labor naturally, and if that’s the case, oh well. But there’s also a chance we could go into labor before then.  This baby is pretty cozy though, I’ll tell you that.

I had my last day of work on my due date, December 30th, and maternity leave thus far has been pretty productive.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day we spent relaxing at home, cleaning up the Christmas decorations and preparing the house for baby.  I had been hoping for maybe the last babe of 2018 or the first of 2019, but I’m glad this little one decided to hold off because the weather was horrible, freezing rain topped with snow. Made for some pretty nasty driving conditions that thankfully we didn’t have to navigate. Today, I’ve been baking up a storm (Dang you Great British Bake Off for constantly making me hungry for baked goods), picking up around the house, and just soaking in these last few moments before baby makes their debut.  In a few short days, we will learn if all the old wives tales and gender predictions have been true, and meet our little boy or girl for the first time.

In a few short days, we are going to be parents ♥

 

stubborn little (big) one.

24 weeks 4 days ♥

Today was an awesome day.  We got to see our little nugget in 3D/4D!  After getting a bill through my insurance for our basic ultrasound ($$$),  I told myself that a 3D/4D would be a luxury we could live without, plus, let’s be real, I could buy a lot of things on Amazon with those hundreds of dollars we’d otherwise spend. BUT a good friend reached out to me recently and told me that through GE Medical, they offer FREE 3D/4D ultrasounds to pregnant women, as they had learners who were studying how to use their advanced equipment and needed volunteers to be studied upon.  I quickly reached out to the contact she gave me, and a couple weeks or so later, I was contacted to say I was one of the lucky ones who qualified and was chosen for this opportunity.  After a quick note from my doctor confirming a healthy pregnancy, I was in!  I’ve been looking forward to this day for weeks.  I couldn’t wait to get a preview of what this baby’s face was going to look like, and how its features may match ours.  While this little one was super stubborn, constantly blocking its face with its hands and moving all around, we got a couple good shots that make my heart swoon.  The little nose, the cute lips, the sassy attitude, they’re all ours.

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I think maybe one of the coolest parts about today was the fact that the “learners” of the GE Ultrasound equipment were actually a group of doctors and sonographers from New York that specialize in Maternal Fetal Medicine.  While I was hoping they’d refocus on the face and the features I was looking forward to seeing, for over an hour they got practice visualizing our baby’s brain, checking tiny blood vessels giving the brain blood supply, 3D and 4D renderings of the spine, evaluating the four chambers of the heart.  It was incredible seeing them find these little things (and actually knowing what they were talking about), and commenting how perfect the brain and spine and heart looked (!!!), aaaand how stubborn our little one was as it would constantly move around when they were getting their best shots.  I think overall, seeing the facial features was important to me, but hearing how the brain, spine and heart appeared from specialist physicians who manage abnormal pregnancies and babies with congenital defects was WAY more valuable.

Aside from getting to see this little one again, we had our 24 week OB visit yesterday, and were told that everything is measuring on track.  I did voice some concerns over weight gain…nearly 10 lbs since our last visit (YIKES!), but she said I’m totally fine.  Personally, I don’t feel like I look 10 lbs heavier, as I think my belly has been growing like crazy, but I still want to make sure I don’t turn out to be whale-like at the end.  I most definitely have ZERO intention of gaining 10 lbs every four weeks. Good heavens, NO WAY.  In hindsight, I should have been eating way better yesterday than I did.  After eating pancakes, nachos and some cookies all before 2pm, I realized I was going to be weighed a couple hours later. Whoops! I just know that I cannot afford any more days like that.  And the excuse of “eating for two” need not apply here… I’ve got post-baby-body in mind 🙂

But overall, talking about my weight gain, we also touched on baby size.  At the 18 week ultrasound, I was measuring slightly bigger, and I voiced that I was a huge baby when I was born… a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz!  My doc then informed us that the amount of weight I gain and my birth weight as a baby directly correlate with the size of our future baby.  She said that surprisingly, the father’s birth weight has no influence on the baby’s size, which is great news for both my brothers’ significant others, as they were also 9+ lbs and 10+ lbs (So sorry mom!).  Sooo, between around a 20 lb weight gain and my chunky birth weight, this baby is going to be massive, I just know it.

In less than four weeks we hit the third trimester, and I think things will even more so start to be getting really real.  I mean, they already are!  I finally felt baby move for the first time a few weeks ago, which is a very weird but amazing sensation.  I was beginning to think it was going to take forever to feel anything because of my anterior placenta, but now I feel this little one kick every day!  The nursery is a continued work in progress, but it’s turning out amazing (see below), we have a couple trips coming up to visit friends in Minneapolis and also a little Baby Moon in the Dunes of Michigan, Showers hosted by friends and family, and this growing bump to remind me how fortunate and blessed we are on so many levels.  I’m enjoying all the work and all the growth, because it means that baby is on their way in a few short months, and we cannot wait to meet this little nugget we’ve coined “Bae Krae.”

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Odds & Ends:

  • Cravings: cinnamon rolls
  • Aversions: baked chicken (still)
  • Current Symptoms: indigestion, intermittent leg swelling, peeing all the time
  • Inkling on Boy or Girl: I’m slightly leaning GIRL, just because everyone and their moms are telling me I’m having a girl… even my patients in the ER!
  • Total Weight Gain: 23lbs. WOOF.

halfway there!

I cannot believe it…  We are officially over halfway there with this little nugget.  I’m 20 weeks 2 days today, and continuing to feel really good.  I finally am showing, and am actually feeling pregnant… you know, now that I also look it.   With things being so smooth sailing, I felt at times I was going mad because I didn’t feel any different than when I wasn’t pregnant. Now that I’ve got this bump to show off, I feel absolutely more reassured.

Two weeks ago we had our big ultrasound, and I was so nervous the whole time because there was so much I wanted to know.  Does the heart look normal? Are there four chambers?  Are the long bone measurements correlating with our due date?  Is there cleft lip?  Are there signs of Spina Bifida?  My husband was able to see the screen for the entire thing, but the ultrasound tech stayed mum almost the whole time, save the last five minutes when she finally turned the screen our way to show us our perfect little babe. Up until that glorious few minutes, I asked all these questions, but she told me that she has a hard time talking and measuring and recording all at the same time.  I get it, but still…  She said much of what I’ve asked will need to be formally read by the radiologist.  This didn’t really reassure me, but I went with it, because you know what, I didn’t have any other option. Little did I know at the time, all was good!  I also made sure to tell her multiple times that we wanted to keep the gender a surprise and we didn’t want to know.  I even asked her to keep it out of her report if she did note the gender on her evaluation, because I didn’t want a doc or nurse accidentally spilling the beans over the phone.  I also told my husband that if he happened to see a little ding-a-ling on the screen that he needed to stay quiet and keep those findings to himself. I was a bit neurotic.  But you know what, it was important to us for this whole experience to lead up to life’s greatest surprise.

One thing I did learn on the ultrasound was that I have an anterior placenta.  I guess a majority of babies implant on the back of the uterus, but this little one decided to implant on the front. The ultrasound tech had asked if I felt movement yet, and I explained that I hadn’t.  She told me that I probably wouldn’t for another few weeks because the thick anterior placenta was acting as a pad between baby and my outer abdomen, blocking my ability to feel the movement and kicks.  I cannot wait for the day that I feel the babe move for the first time.

Tomorrow we have our next OB appointment, and we find out what’s in store for the coming weeks as far as testing and further workup.  We are still working on the nursery, and will certainly post the work-in-progress and finished product on here when the time comes.  The hospital tour is also in the works for relatively soon!  So much to do before this little one comes, but luckily we have some time still.  I’m sure this next half is going to fly by as well, but I don’t want it to go too fast.  I truly love being pregnant, and can’t wait to continue on this journey with this little nugget.

 

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Odds & Ends

  • Cravings: chocolate milk
  • Food Aversions: chicken
  • Current symptoms: constipation, indigestion with everything
  • Inkling on Boy or Girl: none yet!
  • Total Weight Gain: 10lbs (oh gosh, am I really being this transparent? ohhh, whatever.)

we’re still golden.

Don’t take my silence as a bad thing, life has just been crazy busy lately.  I’m officially 16 weeks 2 days today, and I’m still feeling great.

I want to start by saying that the outpouring of love has been absolutely incredible.  We announced our pregnancy to the world online at 12 weeks, with a brief summary of our struggle over the past 2+ years.

IMG_4010

The messages, words of encouragement, stories of similar struggles made my heart so full.  Infertility is often a silent struggle, but here are these women who you would never guess going through something so similar.  It feels so good to know you’re not alone.  I decided after that time to share my blog, something that’s been a project, a place to put into words my hopes, my frustrations, my tears, my – then silent – struggle.  Since that time, I’ve learned that my struggle over the years has been able to inspire, guide and give hope to other couples, which is exactly what I had hoped for by starting it.  If I could have helped just one couple, I would have been happy. The fact that multiple people have reached out about this blog, I cannot explain how much it means that what we have gone through has more than one purpose.  We have our little babe on the way, and I’ve provided something for other couples going through their own journey.

So here we are at 16 weeks and my bump has made its appearance.  It’s a nice reassurance of this pregnancy, aside from obviously incessantly checking the babe’s heart rate at home, because I’ve otherwise been feeling the same way I was when I wasn’t pregnant.  For me, it seems like it’s a bit bigger than I’d expect at this far along, but I also have ZERO torso and I don’t think there’s much room otherwise. IMG_4021

As far as Old Wive’s Tales, a friend that’s also an OBGYN doc recently told me that there is absolutely no scientific proof of any of them, but they’re super fun to “test out” since we aren’t going to find out the gender.  So here we go with a couple fun ones that we can check this early on…

  • Chinese Gender Prediction: age at conception and month of conception = GIRL
  • Ramzi Method (location of baby on early ultrasound): Left side is girl, Right is boy = GIRL
  • Acne: Breakouts “steal your beauty” signify girl, no breakouts signify boy = BOY
  • Baby’s Heart Rate: Over 140bpm is girl, under 140 bpm is boy = Baby Kraemer 144 to 152 bpm means GIRL
  • Cravings: Sweet is girl, Salty is boy = BOY
  • Morning Sickness: nausea and vomiting is girl, none is boy = BOY
  • Mayan System: Mother’s age at conception and year, both even or odd is girl, one odd one even is boy = BOY
  • Finally tally
    • GIRL: 3   BOY: 4   Only time will tell!

I’ve been feeling great and am very excited for what’s to come.  The little nugget was just in their first wedding, and we have another one coming up for my best friend in a couple weeks. So much is happening, and I’m loving every second of it. We have our next ultrasound in a couple weeks, where we will learn even more about this little babe.  We love him/her so much already and cannot wait for this future together!

 

 

the wave.

The journey thus far.

Today I am 10 weeks 4 days. And wow has this been exciting! I feel absolutely great. Well, I’m very very tired, but also great.

My husband and I got to go in for an early 6 week ultrasound after I had some early spotting. I was super nervous about the ultrasound because I was dying to know three things. 1.) Is there a baby or babies up in there? 2.) Is there a heart beat? 3.) Does everything look normal? I warned my husband that the ultrasound techs really aren’t supposed to tell us info, but I know many do… but I also said if she says nothing at all, no news is not good news. I had to mentally prepare us both. For the first part of the ultrasound, she admitted she was taking a lot of routine pictures and would comment on things as we went along. My non-medicine savvy husband had full view of the black and white and grey monitor. I swear I nearly broke my neck craning to get just the tiniest glimpse of the screen.

But there the little nugget was. A teeny 0.5 inch bean with a healthy 120 bpm heart beat. It was surreal seeing this little tiny thing in there. I was measuring exactly as I had predicted based on ovulation date (6 weeks 2 days), rather than my last period date (which would have made me 7 weeks) – I thought that was pretty awesome how spot on I really was! I guess after all this time, I really was learning my body. With all of the dating, we are hoping to meet this babe on or around December 30th!!

Since the ultrasound, I really have been incredibly lucky as far as the typical pregnancy symptoms go. I have had a total of two days where I was so nauseated I thought I could vomit, but instead curled up and drank water and ate saltines and was fine after a couple hours. I bought loads of ginger candies and I’ve barely had to tap into them, which is great. Because I think I may have otherwise driven myself to dislike ginger, and I love ginger.

My boobs are still sore, but nowhere near the way they were in the beginning. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone up a cup size, and have invested in a lot more comfy sports bras to get me through. Totally fine if they want to go up another cup size and stay that way forever haha. I’m very tired, and fall asleep around 8pm on the couch most nights. Although lately I’ve been working night shift, and after giving up coffee cold turkey (I was drinking a big 20 ounce mug every day and loved it dearly), I have found that staying alert and awake is not as easy without the caffeine. I’m talking like next level exhaustion, hitting the pillow super hard when I get home. But it’s all for this babe.

Our first long awaited prenatal visit was yesterday, and I was really really nervous about the doc finding the heart tones. We have a Doppler at work for heart tones, but it’s shitty and I would never dare try to look on someone less than 11 weeks because I don’t want to scare or disappoint if I can’t find them. At the appointment, I was only going to be 10w 3d. I was bracing myself for anxiety surrounding this, especially because I was feeling so good. Like, was I still even pregnant!?! Soooo instead to ease my own neurosis, I bought my own Doppler and spent about 35 minutes searching for heart tones at home three days ago. It took me a long while but I FOUND THEM! Nice and strong in the 160s. When my husband came home, I found them again. And we both fell more in love with each other and this little nugget.

At the appointment, I was calm, knowing I already heard our living little babe. When the doctor couldn’t find the heart tones right away, I didn’t panic. She didn’t have 35 minutes to spare, and instead just got the bedside ultrasound. She couldn’t find heart tones because my bladder was the size of a large balloon (haha whoops), but when she aimed the ultrasound probe over our little one, it straight up lifted its right arm and WAVED to us. I cried. I wasn’t ready for that. It was dancing all around, moving its arms and legs and doing somersaults. Our hearts were full. We got to see the little nugget again, which I wasn’t expecting. This time not a bean, it looked like an actual baby!! Our very long awaited baby.

After the appointment, even though we’re still first trimester, I’ve felt really good about sharing our baby news. First to our friends and extended relatives that we hadn’t already told, with the big Facebook reveal probably not for a couple more weeks. The practical/medical side of me knows that hearing the heart tones and seeing an active babe on ultrasound significantly drops the chance of miscarriage, which makes me feel so so much better about everything. But the realist side of me also knows that life happens. Whatever comes is going to come, and we are just praying and hoping and wishing for a happy and healthy rest of the pregnancy.

789 days.

789-ish days.  That’s how long this fertility journey has been. But let’s be serious, I’m not counting anymore, because on the 789th day, in our 18th cycle of trying, we got our miracle.

HEY WORLD.  I’M FREAKING PREGNANT!!!!!!!

So it’s still super early, only 5 weeks 5 days today. BUT we are actually, truly pregnant.  So let’s go back a bit. Let’s frame the story that this miracle is…

Nearing the end of Cycle #17, we were gearing up for a trip to Florida to visit family and friends. The timing was cutting it insanely close.  With my Ava bracelet, I could tell that my period was coming – my temps and resting heart rate starting dipping, and I had a bit of spotting. The plan was to leave for Florida first thing Monday, March 19th. I called the fertility clinic on the Friday before we planned to leave, basically telling them that I knew my period was on the way, and could I please just pencil an appointment for the earliest possible on Monday for IVF start.  They did. They called in a prescription for birth control to start day 5 of the next cycle to start the suppression process of IVF, so that way I could pick it up before I left for our trip. They told me, however, that if I didn’t get my period by Sunday, I couldn’t be seen. I needed to be seen between cycle day 2-4, no earlier, no later. Over that weekend, my temps and heart rate continued to nose dive, but the spotting altogether stopped.  I was livid. I contacted my fertility pen pal through Fruitful and asked her how bad it’d be if I lied and went to the appointment anyways, but I knew deep down it was the wrong thing to do, as the blood work was totally cycle day dependent and could really screw up medication dosing. Monday morning, the day of leaving to drive cross country, I reluctantly called to cancel my appointment to start IVF. The only only hope is that if my body could hold out and not get my period until Friday, I could still be in.  I drove to Florida with my puppy, with the plans of my husband flying down a couple days later. The Pepper dog and I got into Florida Tuesday morning, and that, folks, is when my period started. We were for sure, completely, totally out for IVF start. Again. It’s incredible how UNLUCKY someone can be.

So fast forward a bit to the cycle that started in Florida.  I did not refill my fertility medications, so we were going at things all on our own. I had my supplements, my essential oils, and my AVA bracelet.  I drank 2 ounces of 100% pomegranate juice every morning, I took cheap ovulation tests. I didn’t cut out alcohol or coffee. I lived my life, and did it a bit more carefree, because at the end of April, we had our second opinion appointment with a new fertility clinic, and if I got my period before then, then we would for sure, absolutely 100% be starting the IVF process this time. No obstacles. No trips, no lab closures, no odd timing. It was a definite.

Until it wasn’t.

My 32nd birthday was quickly approaching, and after having a very clear positive ovulation test and great timing of sex with a good looking AVA chart, I was feeling cautiously optimistic.  I told myself I was going to take a pregnancy test on my birthday, April 19th, at only 11 days past ovulation, but if it was negative I wouldn’t be upset because it was still early. I had started to feel a bit of soreness in my breasts, but that was about it.  It’s happened before with a chemical, but it also had been happening with my period lately too. That night, I had a dream that I took a pregnancy test and it was positive, so when I woke up I was really excited to actually take one for real, but again, being a realist that it was still early.  I had a package of 20 internet cheapie pregnancy tests, so I took one of them. It came back faintly positive! I almost fell over. I dug through my drawers to look for another pregnancy test and found a Clear Blue, I took that one too and it was very very clearly positive. There were a lot of “holy shits” and “oh my goshes” and “ahhhh!” that I’m pretty sure my puppy thought I was insane.  We freaking did it. We got pregnant on our own. BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!! At that point, I was only 3 weeks 4 days, so like insanely early. I was pretty concerned about another chemical pregnancy because it was so early, and I was having a very tiny amount of spotting. I called my doctor’s office and they initially didn’t schedule me for a first prenatal visit until June, (so so far away!!), but after more discussion they agreed to do blood work.

I went in last week at 4 weeks 2 days for a blood test that was going to be repeated in two days. I was incessantly checking online but they never showed.  I had to wait for a call from my doctor, and then it came. My first beta hCG was 390, my second two days later appropriately doubled to 944. We were in business!!!  Way too high to be a chemical pregnancy, and the spotting has since mostly subsided. With great numbers, we were scheduled for a first ultrasound, which is in two days!  I cannot wait to see this tiny little nugget growing inside of me.

So far I feel great.  My only real symptoms are incredibly sore breasts, and getting super tired every afternoon around 3pm.  I also weirdly have been waking up every night around 3am for the past week, and then getting up for real every morning just before 6am. I’m not typically a morning person, so maybe this explains my afternoon exhaustion haha.  Otherwise, a little bit of nausea blips, but nothing major that makes me feel like I’m going to get sick.

We’ve told our families and a few of our closest friends, and are planning on waiting a bit to share with everyone else.   For those around us who know what we’ve been through, I think they’re just as shocked as we are that we managed to create this baby on our own without any help of the fertility specialists.  We literally were days away from spending $20,000+ on IVF. It’s incredible how God, life, and the world works. There is a reason for everything, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this gift we’ve been given.

 

a new low.

Day 7. Cycle #17.

I swear I’m cursed.

Cycle 16 was looking pretty promising, and after just having a normal 28 day cycle, I was hopeful for another just like it.  We timed things accordingly and kept a close eye on my charts. Then, things seemed to stretch out further and further. And day 28 came and went. I started to get some scant spotting, and was hopeful that maybe it could be implantation bleeding.  Multiple negative pregnancy tests later, I got my period after day 36.  Turns out we timed things all wrong. But to get that period meant we could start IVF, and while I was bummed we weren’t pregnant, I was ecstatic to get the next step in our fertility journey started.

Then shit hit the fan.

I called cycle day 1 (conveniently on Valentine’s Day) and left a message for the nurse, who would call me back.  I quick jumped in the shower, and of course missed the call. I pulled up my voicemail, and all I saw was the word unfortunately in the transcript. I didn’t continue to read, and just called them back immediately. See Exhibit A below.   I talked with the nurseIMG_1611, and she told me that one time per year, there is a mandated FDA shut down of the Embryology lab for inspection, and this shut down was happening right now. Because of that, unfortunately we could not start IVF this cycle as we hoped.  I wanted to explode.  It took everything in me not to scream at the person on the other line.  She said that we should call with day 1 of the next cycle and we could get things started.  I voiced to her my frustration, in that we have now called three times but due to issues on their end each time we have not been able to get IVF started as hoped. She apologized and said that next month should be no issue in getting started.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  UGHHHH.

When I hung up the phone, I threw it. And swore. I swore a lot.  It’s devastating to continue to put all your eggs in one basket, a basket that is all shiny and pretty and covered in images of your future babies on the outside but seemingly has a huge hidden black hole in the bottom.  It’s all total bullshit.  I was so sad when I shared the news with my husband, because I could tell he was hurting too.  This whole thing has been emotionally draining for us both.

I had one refill left on my self-prescribed Femara, and I filled it.  Our last ditch effort.  Seriously this time is the last time.  I scheduled an appointment with a new fertility clinic, but it’s not until the end of April.  I’m looking into some others too.  It may be time for a clean start with new providers.  I really like my RE, but I feel like the fact we’ve had such poor luck there, it’s time to move on.

Along the lines of moving on, today I did something I never really thought would have any impact on my fertility.  Acupuncture.  A couple people have recently mentioned that their friends have done it and they have had success, and I figured I really have nothing left to lose.  Well, except for money.  But you know how that goes.  I met with Ericka, the acupuncturist, and she specializes in acupuncture for fertility.   It was really refreshing to listen to her talk about what acupuncture does and how it works for fertility and how it can work for us.  After the consultation, I had my first ever acupuncture.  In the 30 minutes after the needles were placed, it was meditative and calming, but I still had many things running through my mind.  But in the last five minutes, I suddenly had this intense sense of calm wash over me.  It was weird.  I had never felt that before.  I liked it.  So much so that I plan to go back. It’ll be interesting to see where this takes us, and if I decide to continue, as it’s something I can continue through the IVF journey as well.

So here we are, in the midst of our last cycle on our own.  I recently gave up sweets and am trying to adapt a full on sugar-free diet (trust me, way harder than it seems, sugar is hidden in almost everything). I’m still doing essential oils, natural supplements and my prescribed meds.  Hoping for a huge miracle.  I think we are well overdue for one of those.

blue, 28, pen pal. set, hike.

Day 14. Cycle #16.

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.

BLUE. So at the end of cycle #14, I started to have a lot of pregnancy-like symptoms. My breasts were super sore, and I started to just feel a bit different.  I bought some cheapy Walgreen’s brand First Response knock-off tests, and crossed my fingers as I peed on that stick.  I watched in total shock and dismay as the blue dye turned and stayed positive. I was freaking out. There were a lot of “holy shits!” and “oh my goshes!” and “hell yeses!”  And thennnn, this stupid nagging voice in the back of my head was reminding me that I read somewhere that blue dye tests were notorious for their false positives. I rushed out to the store, and bought the real First Response test, as well as a baby onesie that said “Hello 2018!”  I was so jittery and nervous, but so damn excited. I got home and tested again, and it was very clearly negative. I justified it by it not being concentrated fresh morning urine, and swore to test again the next morning.  The next morning, and the morning after that, and the morning after that, all negative. Four days later, my period started. Blue dye tests are bullshit. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.  I returned that damn onesie too.

28. Out of desperation to try something new and different, my very medically-savvy-self decided to try out essential oils, despite significant skepticism with the whole “oily” world.  I contacted a friend of a friend, who I knew was a rep for Young Living, and explained our situation and what I was looking for. She was able to recommend three different oils, Clary Sage, Endoflex, and Progessence Plus to be used for topical application. All three of these have the reported ability to help regulate hormones, cycles, and assist with getting pregnant.  Again, as a medical provider and strong believer in modern medicine, I was definitely apprehensive to think these could work, but man I was wrong.  For the first time in over two years since going off birth control, Cycle #15 was a completely normal 28 day cycle.  There wasn’t anything else I changed during that last cycle, except for the oils. My supplements stayed the same, my diet and lifestyle and mental well-being all stayed the same.  While I was hopeful that we would find out if we were pregnant while on our amazing Hawaii trip, I instead got my period unexpectedly the day before we left.  While it was a bit of a bummer, I was still happy and excited that my body seems to be getting regulated, and am incredibly hopeful that this last cycle on our own before IVF will be successful.

PEN PAL.  About a month or so ago, I signed up for something called “Fruitful” that I heard about through my Ava Bracelet “Ava Ambassadors” Facebook group.  “Fruitful” is basically a fertility mentorship program, where they set you up with another woman who has a similar backstory to you, but has been successful in their journey to have children. It’s like Pen Pals for fertility support, which, as I type it, sounds super nerdy and weird, but is actually quite amazing. The woman who is my mentor has a crazily similar history to us, and was finally able to have two children with assistance through IVF.  She is funny, open, honest, insightful, and overall incredibly supportive when talking things through.  It’s truly nice to have an outlet and someone to talk to that’s not your family or friends, someone who truly knows what it’s like to go through what you’re experiencing.

SET, HIKE.  So now we are in the midst of our 16th cycle.  I prescribed myself Femara again, which I finished while on our trip to Hawaii (which was absolutely amazing, by the way).  Unfortunately, we won’t have a Hawaiian-made babe, but hopefully I should be ovulating any day now, so we can finally conceive our Wisconsin-made babe.  If this cycle isn’t it, then next cycle is the beginning of IVF.  Either way, we are ready and excited for what’s to come.

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up in the air.

Day 8. Cycle #14.

A girl I work with is pregnant for the second time since we’ve been trying to get pregnant for the first time.  Her first pregnancy wasn’t planned, but since the babe turned out so cute, she figured she’d like to get pregnant again. And BAM, just like that she’s pregnant again.  It’s mind blowing how little some people need to try to get pregnant, and how trying this whole trying process has been.

Soooo we’ve been trying on our own to get pregnant while waiting to start IVF, and this past cycle we really thought we were successful.  My AVA chart was looking amazing with perfect rises in my heart rate and temp. It didn’t look anything like my previous cycles (and that’s a great thing!).  I started to develop some symptoms of pregnancy last week (mostly just really sore boobs), and took a pregnancy test last Thursday and I thought I could see a super duper faint positive line. Like, strain your eyes and you think you can see it, faint.  I planned to test in two more days, hoping that the line would be obvious then. BUT then, that next day (last Friday), I got my period. It happened at work, and I literally shouted “NO!” in the bathroom. WHY.

Since we obviously weren’t pregnant as I thought, I called the fertility clinic immediately after I started my period to get the IVF process started, as we were planning on a November retrieval for a January frozen embryo transfer.  I spoke with the nurse, and she informed me that we would actually need to be on birth control and a suppressant medication called Lupron for a month BEFORE we can start the super-ovulation and retrieval process. I don’t remember hearing about this at all when we had our meeting with our doctor in July. The nurse told me that she would need to check the schedule to see if we could get things started and put me in the books for this week.  After a minute or two on hold, she got back on the phone, and said that the schedule was actually full for a November start for the IVF process, and that I would need to call back in December with my period. I couldn’t believe it.

I called on November 3, so I couldn’t understand how they could already be full, and I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t be seen if the first month was just birth control anyways. But they couldn’t make any exceptions and we can’t get things started. I asked them if we were put on the schedule for December, and she said that we can’t be scheduled, we have to call when I get my period (who the heck knows when that will be) and they will see if there are availabilities at that time. So, there’s a chance that when we call in December, they may not have spots either. Totally totally frustrating. I cried, a lot. Cried because I thought we were pregnant, cried because we can’t get started with IVF yet, just cried. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.

So with this, after talking with my husband about it, we decided to kind of take things into our own hands, and I wrote myself a prescription for some of the fertility medications we were on in the past. We are hoping this increases our chances if we have to continue to do this on our own, and I’m really hoping that this does the trick.  If we get pregnant with triplets, I may have some explaining to do. (Also, just a side note, totally not breaking the law by prescribing for myself – so long as it’s not pain meds!). If we are still unsuccessful, we will have to see where my cycle lies and just hope that there is availability to start in December. BUT we also run the risk of timing issues with everything when we go to Hawaii. So we may have to postpone things even further.

Just one big UGH. I guess the only good thing about this whole thing is that I did ovulate last month without needing medications, which is great to know that my body is somewhat cooperating or trying to.  It’s just all up in the air as to what’s going to happen from here.

I’ll take those triplets for real though.

the best distraction.

Day 49. Cycle #12.

I might be more sad about not being pregnant this cycle, if it were not for the best distraction yet. WE GOT A PUPPY.  She is a 12 week old rescue from Mississippi who was found on the side of the road after her mom and sibling were killed by a car. So incredibly sad!  She was transported to Wisconsin from a high-kill shelter, where she was given her second and third chance on life.  After many many discussions about adopting a puppy for a long time now, and with another failed cycle, we felt like now was the best time as any.  We picked her up four days ago, and she’s been one of the hardest but most rewarding things we’ve ever done together. Once my medication-induced period starts any day now, we have only one more cycle to try to get pregnant on our own before our IVF plans.  Until that time, we will continue to love on this little puppy and focus on expanding our family one day at a time.

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Pepper the Puppy