Friday, September 19, 2014

IVF Update: Follicle Check and Next Steps

Today was my last and final follicle check. There are tons of follicles (which we expected) growing nicely:

We are looking at around 15+ a side (the picture above shows just one view of one of the ovaries). Right now we are sitting at an average size of about 16mm, and he wants me to trigger around 20 vs 18mm (I guess they like to do it a little later to let any smaller ones catch up). With the most recent measurements, we got our official plan...YIPPEE!

I will trigger with 10,000 units of HCG on Sunday night at 9:45pm. This is to mature my eggs and tell my body it's time to ovulate. Then on Tuesday morning at 9:45am, they will take the eggs...exactly 36 hours after triggering. The body ovulates naturally 37-38 hours after it's told to, so they sneak in there and take them right before that time. This means Ronnie will get to dread his "contribution" another couple days, as they had him scheduled for today thinking I may have my retrieval Sunday or Monday, but they don't want his "contribution" sitting that many days. So his sperm aspiration will be Monday evening at 5:30pm instead of today.

With my egg retrieval being Tuesday morning at 9:45am, that makes our transfer Sunday at 11:00am. YIPPEE!!

One little catch in all of this is a blood draw I will have done Monday morning. They will look at my Estrogen (E2) levels. E2 levels that are high can be reflective of a body that is overstimulated. My E2 levels before retrieval are typically pretty high, but as long as they aren't much higher than they have been in the past, and as long as I am looking and feeling ok, we will be cleared to do a fresh transfer. If my E2 levels are WAY higher than normal, and I am experiencing many symptoms of OHSS, we will be forced to do a frozen transfer (which is not my preference at all).

....Let the games begin :)

Pray Requests:
- My body is stimulated just the right amount to get good quality eggs/embryos, but not enough that I'm overstimulated and our fresh cycle canceled.
- My Monday blood draw shows numbers that our doctor is comfortable with.
- Ronnie's procedure Monday is as painless as possible and that we get a ton of great sperm.
- That my retrieval is smooth, and we get the perfect number of great eggs!
- That my body continues to handle the meds well and that I continue to feel good leading up to and after retrieval.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday: IVF & Pin Cushions

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for the opportunity to do IVF again. I feel so blessed that we are able to do another fresh IVF cycle. We know that not everyone is fortunate enough to even do it once, and are just so thankful for the chance to try again to grow our family.

I’m thankful for long naps. Mckenna isn’t a long napper. She naps, but has always been on the shorter side of normal for her age. Well the last two days she has taken 2 hour afternoon naps, and it’s glorious. It may just be 30 minutes longer than usual…but it’s AWESOME!

I’m thankful for helpful parents. We have had to have my parents watch Mckenna in the evenings (having her sleep there all or part of the night) one night last week and one night this week, and it has been SOOO helpful! I always feel bad requesting help, but they are always so willing and go WAY above and beyond even what we need or ask.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a girl who is proud of her Daddy. This is probably very small to most peeps out there, but today at the gym, we were told to go and run a lap around the building to get our heart rate up. As I was running past the window to the children's play area, I saw Mckenna and two older girls cheering on all of the runners. When Mckenna saw me she started jumping up and down with a huge smile on her face and was cheering me on with every fiber of her being. I don't remember anything else from that lap, I was trying to figure out how to keep my melting heart inside of my body.

I'm thankful for a pin cushion for a wife. It's amazing the amount of injectable meds they put a woman on for an IVF cycle. It seems that every time I turn around Mandi is jabbing another needle into her stomach, thigh or booty. I so appreciate the sacarfice she is will to make for our family and I am so blessed to have married such a strong woman.

I'm thankful for candy corn...and now my stomach hurts.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

IVF Update: Second Follicle Check

This morning we had our follicles checked again to see how we were looking. We are sitting at most follicles at 10mm and 11mm, which means we will start our Antigon (to keep from ovulating) tomorrow morning. He is estimating around 25 eggs, but we will see when we get in there. They always seem to say lower than they come out with. But I'm hopeful they come out with "just" 25 as it would mean my chances from being way overstimulated would be less than if they had 40.

With the current growth trend, it looks like we will likely trigger Saturday or Sunday for a Monday or Tuesday retrieval - and most likely Sunday for Tuesday. I am eager for the retrieval, so I'm hoping we will get there earlier rather than later, but I am trying to tell myself perfection takes time ;-)

So far I am feeling really good on the meds. I've had some headaches and nausea off and on all day since we started the human growth hormone, but both are pretty mild and just make me feel a little off. I only started Progesterone yesterday morning, but I don't feel like I'm insane yet, so that's a plus! Ha!

We have another follicle check on Friday morning, so we will see how we are looking then.

Thanks so much for the prayers so far!! God is so good.

Prayer Requests
- My eggs continue to grow (quickly) and are great quality!
- Ronnie can gear up for his sperm aspiration happening FRIDAY (ouch)
- God is preparing my lining in a way that will hold a little baby(ies) for 9 months.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

IVF Update: Egg Check

Yesterday was our first egg check after starting meds last week. It was cycle day 7, and I have scans Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They do a scan to see where my follicles (which hold the eggs) are in terms of growth, how many follicles (and therefore eggs) they can expect, and how my lining looks.

They started with the lining. I have trouble getting lining that's thick enough when using a frozen protocol, but my lining is thick and plump on stim meds. It was measuring 8-9mm already! Holy moly. I'm a little nervous it will end up too thick, but she reassured me it was fine.

Then she went to the first ovary. As they rotate the wand, different follicles can be seen, each view they count what they see and measure some of them to get an idea of my average follicle size. And then they measure the biggest follicles because I need to start a med to keep me from ovulating when my biggest follicle reaches 12mm. It looked like this:

The picture isn't of a great shot, but I only have it because Mckenna requested a picture of the "peanuts I just ate" we happen to have the picture from the scan. Yes - I do tell her that we are looking at the snack I last ate. I usually am sure to eat peanuts, blueberries or grapes before a scan so she can help look for my snack.

Anyways, so then they go to the next ovary and do the same thing they did on the first side. I make so many eggs that they usually just measure a sampling and stop around 10 follicles a side.

It was a good visit. I'm excited to see how things are looking on Wednesday! Another little update is that I started taking the meds I need to take that helps prevent miscarriage. This means I have to add Heparin and 10mg of Prednisone to my current meds. I'm a little nervous about starting Prednisone as I know how it makes Ronnie feel and act, but they have reassured me that on that dose I should be ok. If anyone has any thoughts or experience on 10mg, please share them with me, so I can know what to expect. I will be on both the meds until 12 weeks, if we get pregnant. So potentially (and hopefully) 2.5 months-ish.

Prayer Requests
- Our follicles continue to grow as projected and that the eggs inside are GOOD quality.
- I have little to no symptoms from the Prednisone - AKA I don't become a crazy lady.
- My body doesn't get too overstimulated (I'm high risk for OHSS), so that we can do a fresh transfer.
- My lining is growing in a way that a little love (or two) will implant and stick around for 9 months.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mandi Monday: Playing Catch Up and Good Memories

It feels like I'm playing catch up a lot lately. Being on vacation for over a week can make for some interesting catching up when you get home...but it's always totally worth it, isn't it?!

Right now, I'm playing catch up on the blog...since we haven't posted since Wednesday. Ronnie was in California and North Carolina for work. He left Wednesday and got back yesterday afternoon. So, the blog didn't happen - although I assure you my Thankful Thursday post is sitting in his inbox, somewhere!

Last week was spent trying to play catch up at work, while trying to enjoy some "girl time" (as we chant) with my girl while Ronnie was gone. Mckenna and I had a lot of fun together, just the two of us. We didn't do much of anything special, but it was nice to be at home again, playing in her playroom and hitting up all of our normal spots.

The one addition to our routine last week, well, an old favorite that was recycled, was morning trips to the coffee shop. You may or may not recall, but Mckenna and I used to go get coffee EVERY morning at Paradise Bakery. We knew the ladies there. We know the other regulars. We stopped doing it because we were spending WAY too much money on a drink I could make at home, and they were giving Mckenna a tiny cookie every day, which is fine by me, except when she starts acting entitled to that cookie and being a bit rude/shy, but still expects a cookie. So we axed the trips. But with Ronnie gone and me limiting caffeine, we hit up the coffee shop. Side-bar: I know "me limiting caffeine" and starting to frequent a coffee shop seems backwards. But at home we have caffeinated beans in the coffee maker (pre-loaded). At the coffee shop, the coffee is out, and I can load my cup with almost all decaf, and add about a quarter cup of regular hazelnut coffee. Anyways, every morning Mckenna would get herself dressed, grab her babies, and push her babies in the stroller in the shop. Here she is sporting her "twins":

Mckenna seemed to really miss Ronnie at bedtime this, whether that's convenient because it gets some extra time and drags out bedtime or 100% genuine, I'll never know. But a lot of tears were shed at bedtime. This led to her sleeping with 2 of daddy's shirts by the end of the trip...because they smelled like him, so she could "cuddle him". It also led to a new phrase she comforts herself with, "daddy is always close to my heart." One night as she cried into his two dirty t-shirts, I told her that she didn't need to cry because since she loves daddy so much, and daddy loves her so much, no matter how far away his is, he is always close because he is always in her heart. The most precious thing is walking out of her room and hearing her audibly reassure herself that, "daddy is close to my heart."
.....I can't wait for the day she truly realizes this applies not only to her earthly daddy, but her heavenly Father as well. If knowing daddy is close makes her feel safe and happy, hopefully knowing DADDY is in her heart will make her feel that much more safe and happy. Here she is with daddy's stinky shirt:

All in all it was a good time just the two of us...oh, except Ronnie wasn't around help me out with shots, so I was on my own for three of these bad boys (see below) a day...I may break out in a cold sweat as I sit counting down to stick myself in the tush with that needle, but I get the job done.