Thursday, December 17, 2015

And Thanksgiving Came

Obviously it's way past the point where we've found out the results of our November transfer. The transfer itself went perfectly. We got a picture of the embryo baby that got placed inside of me. Kind of cute, yeah? In a fascinating medical sort of way, anyway!

They take a picture before they do an assisted hatching so that it looks nice and spherical. After this, they shave one side of the shell off to make it easier to implant. But that wouldn't be as pretty of a picture!

I started testing via cheap internet HPTs 5 days after the transfer, and never got a positive. My beta test was "5" nine days after transfer, and the repeat test 2 days later had dropped into the negative range.

So... I'm not pregnant this time.

But, I'm also not terribly hurt. I feel so grateful that God has worked the timing this way, because we knew going into this that out of 5 embryos we would almost certainly not have 5 living children. The genetics of fertilization just aren't that perfect. Some of these babies just need a mommy to release them to Heaven, and only by chance did the embryologist choose a baby destined to make it to birth the first time we did a transfer.

If this baby had been chosen first, I would have been devastated. I probably would have had surgery before trying any others to see how bad my endometriosis is. I would have felt terribly guilty, wondering if we made a mistake and killed a child because my body just wasn't healthy enough. We may have begged the doctors to put me on more meds or change their protocol, and just generally stressed something that would have been totally unrelated to my ability to bear a child.

But that's not what happened. God allowed Hannah to be the first one. It was easy compared to what many of my infertility sisters go through. Then I had Ellie- once again, easily. I know my body works. I know the transfer protocol works fine. I know this isn't my fault. And so I was able to enter the Thanksgiving season grateful for the honor I had of serving this life for the few short days it was destined to grow.

I am happy we were able to use my body and my resources for this child that had nothing whatsoever to give back to us. I feel complete. I served as best I could, and it was good.

Now, we are getting ready for another one. January 6th is the schedule this time. I hope this one is one of those destined to make it. But God knows. Perhaps Hannah will be the only one of the group to be held by us. If that's the case, we'll know within a few months time. And if that happens, I will cry.  Either way, we will give these babies every chance we can and care for them every second of the lives they live.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Big Day #2 (and more!)

Tomorrow, Mr. Myth and I will get in the car, drive the girls to preschool, then head in to the RE's office for another embryo transfer! Our clinic doesn't thaw until an hour before, so we won't know anything about the status of the baby until we enter the transfer room. I am taking prednisone (tastes like gasoline!), doxycycline, metformin, estrogen, aspirin, and injecting progesterone as we prep.

I've been trying something new with the progesterone shots. Rather than just go back and forth between the right and left buttocks, I've thrown self-injection into the thighs into the rotation. It is a lot more sore there the next day, as that muscle gets pulled more, but I think it will really help as these two weeks drag on to distribute the pain level as the inevitable medication buildup happens. A warm soak with some epsom salts made a big difference in the soreness level the next day, too.

Girls have been sick lately, with both Hannah and Ellie developing ear infections that eventually required antibiotics. Ellie was diagnosed on Sunday with RSV, the cause of the double ear infection and a touch of pneumonia. She is doing noticeably better, but still pretty clingy. If she doesn't seem perky in the morning, we'll probably bring her with us rather than leaving her at preschool.

Of course, the first day Ellie got a fever was the day she was scheduled to get her flu shot. When these things happen, it reminds me of how many people might say the shot "made her sick" if she had shown symptoms one day later than she did. Of course, the flu shot cannot make you sick with the flu or anything else, but had things panned out differently by 12 hours, many would be unable to shake the feeling that the shot somehow did it. Be that as it may, she'll go back next week for the flu shot, because I don't want her to get two severe respiratory illnesses in the same season, especially since she was trying to develop pneumonia this time.

Hannah got hers today though, the mist that sprays in the nose. I had told her we would go for ice cream after her "shot," so she not only didn't get a needle, she got to eat ice cream anyway! Sweet deal for her!

Hannah had a touch of excitement, in that she won a drawing at the library for a digital copy of the new, live-action Disney movie! We watched it tonight, and it was really very good. I don't know that it tops "Ever After," but it is definitely in the same league. I'm seeing princess movie night with her little friend and her cousin in the near future.

And, I can't help sharing this picture of Ellie channeling the Fresh Prince of Bel Air: She did this all by herself. Loves hats. Can't get enough of them. Ha!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tinkerbell gets more candy than Sad Ladybug. Barely.

It's that time of year again. The time when it's almost impossible to resist the urge to dress small children up and revel in their cuteness. And now that Hannah is in school, she has, you know, friends, so she knows what Trick or Treat is. In fact, we had a long talk about how we are never really allowed to pull down people's underwear, and the little song she learned is only for pretend, NEVER for real.

You know, teachable moments. 

So, we've had the great debate this month about what she is going to get dressed up as for, as I try to get her to call it (unsuccessfully), "National Kids Dress Up Day." Being three years old, Hannah has vacillated like a drunken top. I finally got her pinned down to being a cookie. No problem. I have, in my possession, a quilting hoop, an unused white sheet, a potato, and paint. So we made a cookie costume.

Then we went to the "Boo at the Zoo." Ellie had a ladybug costume we got from a friend, and she resolutely refused to take the antennae hat off, nor would she smile. Apparently the hat sucks all the joy out of her face, so we christened her "Sad Ladybug." 

That was last weekend. This past weekend, Hannah refused to wear the cookie outfit and insisted that she wear her much-used Tinkerbell dress up dress and wings. *fine.* At least she wore the cookie once. Ellie was once again the Sad Ladybug. We went to a fall festival at a local church, and it was way fun. Hannah got to roast her first marshmallow, they got lots of candy from people's trunks, and nothing was scary. 

The funniest thing was watching people react to the girls. Hannah was her gregarious self, playing every little game, saying "Thank you," and generally being a fairy of happiness. Ellie was the biggest grump, staring at people as if they were all going to bite her, and refusing to get down from Daddy's arms. And yet, people took as much, if not more notice of Ellie and gave her handfuls of candy even though she was as taciturn as a wooden stick. However, we did put her to bed afterward, and I took Hannah down the street to see our neighbors, so she out-candied Ellie in the end. 

We found a friend in a little bee baby and got pictures of them together- precious!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to get pregnant: Medication edition

I'm well on my way to transfer of embryo number 2. I am much more amused this time around at how this process works. First, I take birth control. High dose. No placebo pills. I also have to get on anti-diabetic meds (thanks PCOS!) and aspirin. Then, the Lupron shots start. Goal: chemical menopause. After about a week of this, I stop the birth control pills, keep giving myself shots every morning, and switch to estrogen. The estrogen dose increases incrementally as I get my lining checked, then decreases a bit and stays constant either until the cycle is over or until I'm out of my first trimester. Once my lining is sufficiently thick, I stop the Lupron and start progesterone shots. These are the ones that hurt like heck. 5 days later, we transfer, and the progesterone continues. In the couple of days leading up to transfer, I also add an antibiotic and an oral steroid to the regime. The day of transfer involves a muscle relaxer. Metformin and Aspirin can be dispensed with if I get a positive pregnancy test, otherwise they will probably continue through another transfer cycle.

Looks like this (not all meds are actually in this picture, just what arrived from the specialty pharmacy):

Ta-da! And this is just for a frozen embryo transfer. If I was doing full-blown IVF, the meds would be more numerous and significantly more expensive.

So far, I've made it to the end of the BCPs and through the first ultrasound. Apparently my PCOS induced "string of pearls" is very much intact and pronounced on the left side. Meh. Oh well. Next ultrasound is next week, estrogen starts Saturday. I've been pretty lucky in that I haven't had many side effects other than some nausea and cramping from the Metformin. No hot flashes or horrible mood swings from the hormones.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hoping Again

I am having a major sense of Deja-vu. Well, no, I am actually past that point by a little bit. This week, we received, signed, notarized and mailed an update to our embryo adoption contract. We have a preliminary ok, and are waiting for the final word that everything is in order with Embryo Adoption Services of Cedar Park and our contract will be open for another 12 months. I weaned Ellie a week ago, and met with the Reproductive Endocrinologist this week to re-establish care.

It was approximately at this point in 2013 that I did *not* wean Hannah or sign a contract or go back to the RE's office. At that point in time I was nervous about proceeding with another embryo transfer (when  I thought we were going to do one). Right now, I am excited and hopeful. Other than the whole medicated cycle deal, I feel emotionally like I did when we were hoping to conceive 7 odd years ago. I have every reason to believe things will go well, and am looking forward to the process, and it's really hard for me to fathom that I am in this place again. Talk about restoring the time the locusts had stolen!

I am not the person who normally would post this sort of thing. With my previous pregnancies, I barely mentioned them online at all. That was largely because I was coming from a place of loss and self-protectiveness, which was absolutely what I needed at the time. Right now though, I am not in that cocoon mode. I feel very whole, and I am not afraid to chronicle this process as it unfolds, whatever the outcome.

That being said, here's what I know is coming up:

1.) I have to wait until my next period to put 1 full cycle between nursing and transfer prepping.
2.) I am waiting for the final word that the paperwork is complete, and that should come within a month; I'm not expecting any delays on that front.
3.) Once my next cycle starts, I have a script for continuous-dose birth control to start shutting down my ovaries. Last time I was on that for 6 weeks prior to transfer.
4.) I will need to have a hysteroscopy before I'll be cleared by the RE to be placed on a transfer timeline. (This is new, last time it was a sonohysterogram).

After that all clears, I'll get meds ordered and get a schedule for monitoring and transfer! Also, to my great relief, I learned that my RE's office has a satelite 20 minutes from my house so I won't have to make the 5 hour round trip again until the actual embryo transfer.

The girls went with me to the appointment and Hannah got to meet the doctor who put her in my tummy. He was so glad to see them, and I got to be properly mortified that all Hannah wanted to do was flip upside down in the chair and show her bottom side. *sigh* They even had her birth announcement in my chart- what an amazing experience to be in that office without the anxiety and sense of dread I remember from before.

The other highlight of the week was getting Ellie's next clothing size unpacked and discovering that one of the little dresses matches one of Hannah's. It must have been a really popular style, both of them are hand me downs! Here are the little darlings the morning of my RE appointment.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sad Demise of the Fancy Camera

Remember the Fancy Camera? The one we got shortly after Hannah turned 1? The one that takes awesome pictures with almost no effort? It's blinking "ERR" which means... call Nikon and see how much it would take to fix it. But.... I can get the same camera body on Amazon for less than $150 (yes, it's an old model, but I really don't care because I'm not a "photographer" by any means), and it will likely cost at least that much to tinker with the one I have, if not. So I want a new camera but I'm not getting one right now because it's just not happening right now. And the lack of nice pictures has put a damper on my blogging aspirations. I'm just not inspired, haha!

Now I have my phone- still much better than the point and click we replaced with the fancy camera. Plus, it takes video, so that is a plus.

One of the reasons I am not getting a replacement camera body right now is because I have a new sewing machine. This story of the new sewing machine comes with the rest of the story of what we've been up to the last few weeks.

It goes like this:

The girls started preschool at a Montessori school a few weeks ago, which allows me to pick up some extra home health visits for a while. They go 3 days a week, and Ellie takes a nap while she's there. She needed a nap mat. All the affordable ones had Disney princesses or Dora plastered across them, and all the ones I liked were not what I would consider affordable. So I decided to make one from some old sheets, because... it shouldn't be that hard, really.

Now, I like to sew, but my machine is decades old, basic, and quirky. It got progressively worse as I tried to sew these few simple seams, and I was in tears by the third night of what should have been a 3 hour job. So my neighbor gave me her second-hand machine that she didn't want anymore, which was rusty but sewed a seam... but the bobbin winder didn't work. I therefore had to keep 2 machines out, one to wind bobbins and the other to sew seams, and I kept fantasizing in my head about all of the things I've always wanted in a machine and isn't it high time to get a new one?

I finally churned out this (please don't zoom in and examine the seams- it's painful):

Passable, but it could have been much, much better. Then I started researching machines. I checked out Craigslist, but nothing available fit the bill. I looked at Berninas (My mother has one that I learned on), but they are soooooo expensive. I looked at Brothers, but have always been unimpressed with their quality track record and didn't want to sort through which machine might be worth it it and which models were probably junky. I finally visited a local sewing store and found the Babylock. Yes, similar to Brother structurally (but not, I found out, the same company- despite some claims that it is). 

I bit the bullet, and bought the one I wanted new, and I rarely buy things new, but this one was worth it. I sat down the next evening and made Ellie a skirt for her uniform. Do you know nobody makes Khaki skirts or scooters in any size smaller than 3T? Why don't they think 1 year olds want school uniforms too? Really now. So, to sum up, it took me 3 days to sew a silly nap mat with the old machine(s) and 1 evening to tailor a scooter skirt with the new one (and I even modified the pattern to suit my needs). 

Well, Hannah is absolutely loving preschool. Ellie adapted quickly, but Hannah can't wait. Every day she asks me if it's preschool day, and she has been picking "pre-school hair" for me to do on her from my new favorite website Babes in Hairland. Ellie has only had 1 accident for them in the last 2 weeks, so I'd say she's good and potty trained even with a change in location and routine, and that makes me happy too.

Preschool babies!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pool safety prep

Our state boasts the highest preschool drowning rate in the nation. When we did our homestudy, we would have had to do extra education if there was a body of water close to our home (there wasn't). However, water safety and my kids is high on my list of Things That Scare The Living Daylights out of me. I'm a strong swimmer, but that doesn't mean a moment of inattention and water naive children won't have horrible outcomes. So, I was so glad to get Hannah in swimming lessons this year. 

We went to the local pool for a 1/2 hour lesson every day for 2 weeks. She now has a good idea of how to kick, hold her breath for a brief dunk, and has started using her arms when guided in a swimming motion. I wouldn't say "she can swim," but her awesome teacher has brought her a lot closer to it. While she was in lessons, we brought Ellie in to the pool ourselves to start getting her used to it and hopefully show her some floating techniques as well. She got a little freaked out by being rolled on to her back, but she at least isn't panicking the moment her skin hits the water anymore. 

Next year, they'll both be in lessons, for sure.

In other news, Ellie is doing great with the potty. She's starting to go on cue when sat on the potty before we leave the house, as well as only signalling when she actually needs to use the facilities (and going immediately when I take her). I'm thinking about putting her in underwear and seeing how she does with that. She is not taking herself even though the little potty is always available to her, so I might as well.

The funny thing about potty training is that I noticed that she does soft grunts a lot while breathing. I kept thinking she was going to poop.... but she wasn't, she was just breathing. I mentioned this to the ARNP at her appointment, and she ordered us an echo-cardiogram. She did hear a slight murmur, so we'll see if any of this is contributing to the other.