Spoiler alert: Our one and only FET was a failure. I debated whether or not to share this, but ultimately it's part of our story and that is the point of this little blog.
8/1/2016 - A and I have talked extensively about adding another child to our family. Should we give those two remaining embryos a chance? Despite our concerns about the future, our answer was a resounding yes. Those embryos deserved a chance.
There have been a few particularly tough days with the kiddos lately. Nothing major - just your typical 3 year old "why" questions for every single minor decision made throughout the day and your 1 year old temper tantrums because you can't go outside when it's 100 degrees. After these trying days, I repeatedly ask A if he's changed his mind, knowing full well that if both of us aren't completely, undoubtedly, 100% on board, we won't move forward. His answer is always "No, I haven't changed my mind".
I've been putting off making the phone call. Mainly because I know this is our last shot. If it doesn't happen, then our quest for a third sweet red headed babe is over. Ignorance is bliss at the moment.
I finally made the call on Friday. I talked to the nurse today. I wear my heart on my sleeve. It's easy to predict how I'll feel about something. It's easy to tell myself to react a certain way and keep my emotions in check. But I often can't help myself and react in whatever way my heart feels. And as I talked to the nurse today, the most prominent feeling was excitement. I really hope one of these embryos decides to stick around. I can't imagine it right now, but I'm hopeful.
It was wonderful to talk to the nurse. The same nurse I had two years ago. She remembered me and my boys' ages. And I can't put into words how appreciative I am for that. At my previous clinic, no one knew who I was, no one knew our story, I did not have "my" nurse - just whoever was on duty at the time.
We discussed the process, the timeline. Right now, we're aiming for a December transfer. She gave us a 40% chance with one embryo. Not excellent. But better than 39, 38, and so on. I'm to call her back in October to discuss upcoming appointments...
8/31/16 - As we begin to think about FET more, I'm getting very anxious. Last night I had a bit of a break down. The odds for baby number 3 are not in our favor. I'm really hoping the odds are wrong. And then last night, I allowed my mind to wander. I was home with the boys while A was at a school event. We were having so much fun - we went for a walk, played, and I put them both to bed rather easily. The night couldn't have gone better and I thought, how wonderful it would be to have one more. And then I thought, BUT WAIT. How exactly would we do this? I mean logistically, how would we make it work? Right now, I take W to school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I pick him up on Wednesday and Friday and Nani picks him up on Monday. She can do this because she has two car seats. Her car would definitely not fit a third (even she'd even want to keep watching the boys). Next year, S can also attend the same school. But the 2 year old class is Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11, while W's class is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30-11:30. See my dilemma? My company allows me to work from home 2 days per week (Wed and Fri), which is very generous and I can't ask for more. So how will this work? Even without a baby in the mix, I'm not sure how it will work. Now S doesn't have to attend preschool, BUT I'd like to provide him with the same opportunities as W. And W could attend a 3-5 year old class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I think he definitely needs more than that to prepare for kindergarten. There's also the option of sending W to all day preschool at the school he will attend kindergarten at, but I'm not sure he'll be ready. In that case, A could potentially pick him up. We've also thought about A pursuing a job sharing stint, but that did not work out this year and the chances of it working next year are slim to none. I can't stay at home because I'm the primary breadwinner. A would lose his valuable insurance benefits if he stayed home. I have no idea. I'd like to think that if we are lucky enough to be parents for a third time, we'll find a way to make it work. But I'd also like to have a plan in place. :\
9/19/2016 - I was closely monitoring the weather on Friday because we had outdoor plans. I noticed that there was a 40% chance of rain and couldn't help but think, "hey, the same odds for our embryos.". And then I thought, "maybe if it rains, that's a good sign!". It didn't rain. There have been quite a few times lately in which I've had the overwhelming feeling that this just isn't going to work and it's heartbreaking. :(
The odds for baby number 3 are against us, but I'm really hoping that our embryo will defy the odds. I've mentioned previously that I just feel our family isn't quite complete. I can't explain it. And I know I may be wrong. Baby 3 may not happen and I may have to accept that my family IS complete despite my feelings. But I also can't ignore my heart. It's something I've felt since the arrival of S. I told myself he was my last baby and then found myself asking my OB at my 6 week postpartum check up if there were any concerns about me having more children. Obviously, this is something I've been considering for awhile.
10/10/2016 - Well, things just got real. I talked to the clinic today and I'm to start BCP soon in preparation for a December transfer. There will be a few appointments along the way including the saline sonogram/hysteroscopy (I think that's what it's called - for some reason, the name is escaping me. And yuck.).
10/13/2016 - Starting BCP tonight. I also need to be better about taking vitamins. I really want to feel like I'm at my healthiest prior to transfer.
10/14/16 - We have a tentative transfer date! 12/14/16 - which I just realized is exactly 2 months away. I also have a date for the dreaded hysteroscopy. I asked A if he'd considering taking a half day to go with me for moral support and he said he would. :)
W: "Mommy, you used to pump milk for S. Why don't you do that anymore?"
Me: "S can drink cow's milk, the kind we keep in the refrigerator, so I don't have to pump anymore."
W: "Oh, we should give the pump to someone else."
Me: "Well, what if we have another baby? Then I would use the pump again."
W: "I don' think we're having another baby."
Me: "You don't think so, huh?"
W: "No, we have enough already."
11/1/16 - I had the hysteroscopy performed this morning. The bad news: It was very painful. Some people experience pain, while others do not. I'm one of the unlucky ones here. I need an overfull bladder and the way my organs are situated/shaped makes the procedure tough. There was another doctor observing who held my hand and my husband came over to hold my hand too, which was really sweet. I'm so glad A was able to attend with me. The RE performing the procedure asked me a few times if he needed to stop, but I just wanted to get it done with. I've never actually had tears during the procedure before so that was a first. My blood pressure was also high for me. No one was concerned and I suppose it wasn't at all surprising given the aforementioned scenario.
The good news: Everything looked great and we're on track for December. Everyone at the office was so kind, welcoming me back, and asking to see photos of the boys. I love this office. And the hardest part is over. The transfer will be uncomfortable, but not as painful as this - thankfully.
One funny thing to mention - While we were headed to the RE's office, A got a text from one of his fellow teachers. She's one of the few who knows about both A's CF and our IVF journey and I really like her. We haven't told one single person that we're preparing for FET. The text said something along the lines of, "preparing for baby 3?". WHAT?? When I got to work, I went to the coffee bar for a drink and a coworker asked if we would have more children. Are we that transparent?? It was a crazy coincidence.
I wish I could shake the feeling that this isn't going to work. :( I keep thinking I'm doing these procedures for nothing.
Goals for the next month are to try to eat healthier, remember to take my vitamins, and get some exercise.
11/14/16 - 1 month until transfer day! The clinic called to tell me I was low in vitamin D (again) and needed to begin supplements. I ordered the brand they recommended, but have been taking what I had in the house until they arrive. I don't know that I've been eating better, but I have been exercising more, taking my vitamins, and drinking more water.
11/28/16 - I'm not going to lie - I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself today. I'm sure cramps and hormones have absolutely nothing to do with it <sarcasm>. I had to go in for an ultrasound (not the fun kind), blood draw, blood pressure check, and weight check. Seriously? A weight check right after Thanksgiving? The automatic blood pressure cuff repeatedly suggested I was dead while trying to cut off all circulation in my arm until the nurse finally went and found another one. I also had to pay $430, which stinks. I shouldn't complain because I'm lucky insurance covers anything. But medical expenses suck. On the bright side, everything looked ok. I start estrogen patches tonight. I also was supposed to start low dose aspirin on 11/26 and somehow missed that. I'm beating myself up because I'm usually so good at keeping track of medications - hopefully 2 days late on a less significant medication won't make a huge difference. I had to drop W off at school so I ended up being way late to work. I also found out a relative is expecting. Though I'm happy for them, I could've done without that announcement while I was on my way to the fertility clinic. I know I have a whole lot to be thankful for and I am, but every time I go through this process, I can't help wishing I didn't have to. Blah. :(
11/29/16 - Patches are on, baby aspirin has been consumed. My sweet husband knew I was having a rough day yesterday and brought flowers. I don't know what I'd do without him. He is the very best guy I know.
11/30/16 - I had a headache for two straight days and it was awful. Finally, when I woke up this morning, I felt like myself. Maybe a side effect of the patches? Uggh. Starting to feel a little less hopeless about the process... maybe... trying hard to keep my emotions in check.
12/2/16 - I think it's safe to say that these estrogen patches are working. I started crying yesterday for no good reason (we were talking about the election - maybe that is a legitimate thing to cry over, but normally that wouldn't bring me to tears) and it seems anything can make me teary. Poor A probably thinks I'm crazy. Ugghhh.... I feel like I need a sign. Proceed with caution, hormones in use.
12/7/16 - Had another blood draw and ultrasound today. Everything seems to be on track. I begin PIO shots tomorrow (my absolute least favorite) and also need to inject an HCG shot tomorrow. And because IVF/FET is never straight forward, I need to make a decision about a scenario that I never considered. We decided to transfer one embryo. So best case scenario, one embryo is thawed and viable and it is transferred. If the embryo thaws and it is determined that it isn't viable, then they'll thaw the second embryo and hope for the best. Now the complicated scenario: If they thaw the first embryo and determine that it IS viable, but that the chances for pregnancy are very low, what do we do? We could transfer it anyway and hope for the best, though with my history, that seems very unlikely. We could thaw the second embryo, and if it is viable, transfer that one and discard the other. Or we could thaw the second, hope it looks good, and transfer both. I'm not sure what we'll do and throughout the process, I thought that if this time didn't work, hopefully we'd have another chance, but this may be it for us. I'm extremely torn. Praying hard. :(
12/8/16 - A and I talked through our options yesterday. I'm still feeling very anxious and not optimistic about this transfer. Here's the thing... I've had 3 transfers thus far. In each transfer, one embryo was larger and more developed than the other. The smaller embryo lagged behind. I've got to believe that my two pregnancies were the result of the stronger, more developed embryo. Our frozen embryos were slower and didn't meet freeze criteria until day 6. I find it hard to believe that these could result in a successful pregnancy. I'm not completely hopeless, but trying to be realistic. Knowing that, we decided we would go ahead and transfer both embryos if one was not looking promising. We want to give ourselves the best chance for a pregnancy and we both agreed that there was no way we could discard an embryo. I'm also feeling very selfish. I have two perfect boys, what business do I have agonizing over a potentially unsuccessful cycle? And why do I feel that my family isn't quite complete? :( PIO shots begin tonight. :(
12/9/16 - The PIO injection wasn't too horrible last night. I am a bit sore today, but thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I remember. On the down side, I also had to do an HCG injection and that left behind an itchy, red welt. Apparently it's not unheard of, but I've never experienced that. Boo. I'm a bit down on myself because I forgot to take my vitamin D two days in a row and nearly forgot to take my antibiotic this morning. I'm usually great at staying on top of medications. Ugh.
12/12/16 - The PIO injections continue. I'm only on day 4 and already hate them. Some hurt worse than others. I didn't think last night's was too bad... until today. It feels like I was kicked in the back and I have a really painful knot under my skin. I don't remember this happening at all last time. :( Still feeling very pessimistic about the upcoming transfer. Now I'm convinced our embryos won't survive the thaw. :(
12/15/16 - Transfer was yesterday! The instructions I received were to arrive at the clinic at 9:30 with a full bladder. I was supposed to drink 24-32 ounces and be done drinking by 8:30. A and I arrived a bit early - by 9:15. I was already uncomfortable and had to pee! We waited about half an hour and then I had an ultrasound to make sure my bladder was full enough. It definitely was and the nurse asked if I wanted to pee a little. What?!? During the hysteroscopy, I was told that I needed an overfull bladder so I was afraid to go. And also afraid I wouldn't be able to stop once I started! Sorry. TMI. Anyway, I finally got to a room and waited there for a long time. By 10:30, we got to the transfer room. At this point, I had had an overfull bladder for well over an hour. Sooo uncomfortable. I should also mention, the entire time, I was convinced that someone would stop in and tell us to go home because both of our embryos hadn't survived the thaw. Once the doctor came in, we learned that one of our embryos did in fact not survive the thaw so we only had one opportunity at FET. That's still sinking in. We were told the other embryo looked good. I didn't ask about grading and I didn't want to know. The transfer went relatively smoothly, no pain like I experienced during the hysteroscopy. After that, I had to lie down for an hour. My awesome nurse knew how uncomfortable I was - I had to pee so badly. She told me I could have a catheter or wait 15 minutes for a bed pan. So awkward and not one of my finest moments. I told her I could wait the 15 minutes. A and I did a crossword together while we waited. Happy for his company. And that was it. Feeling totally fine and normal today. Now we wait.
12/20/16 - Today is W's birthday. It's also happens to be the day I'm certain we won't be adding a third child to our family. I'm heartbroken, but reminding myself that I can't be too sad on W's birthday and I also have two amazing boys. Things started out promising. I had cramping (likely just the result of the procedure), nausea (likely a side effect of PIO shots). I was also tired and achy. I was very achy during my pregnancy with both boys. However, when I noticed the achy feeling, I also came down with a nasty cold so now I'm certain that achy feeling was the result of the cold (or another side effect of the evil PIO shots), which just seems cruel. I think the exact words I used were 'bull shit'. It makes me so angry and frustrated. The two week wait is hard enough, but then I had to get sick on top of it and the symptoms were similar to those I've experienced when pregnant. That's an awful coincidence. I was lacking some additional very telling "symptoms" - bloating and further cramping. Naturally, I over-analyzed every feeling, every potential sign and while I never felt confident, I held out hope. I Googled everything constantly like a crazy person. I like when problems have solutions. I like answers. And I don't understand what the point of all this was. Why did I even have two frozen embryos if one wasn't going to survive the thaw and the other wasn't going to result in a baby? And why do our embryos always turn to crap. A total of 7 embryos transferred and two babies to show for it. While I'm so thankful for those two, those are not very good odds. I cried this morning and hugged A tight. I knew in my heart that test was going to be negative this morning, but I hoped that somehow I was wrong. I pleaded for it to be positive. This is certainly not how I wanted our infertility battle to end. I had all these hopes and dreams - I really wanted to experience S as a big brother. I know he would have been awesome. I felt like my dad was with me during this struggle and hoped to use his name as the baby's middle name. I thought about who would have what room and the relationships each child would have. I thought about making the big announcement and feeling like our family was truly complete. I thought about how I might do things differently this time around in the hospital. I tried very hard to be realistic and protect my heart, but it's impossible not to dream. And now I have to let go of all of those dreams. I'm grateful for what I have, but devastated for what I've lost. And now I sit here at work trying not to cry, trying to make sense of it all - why do some people try so hard to expand their family and have nothing to show for it, while others don't try at all and oops...??? Just trying to get through the day so I can cry at home.