++++++++Days to Baby++++++++

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

After over a month

So I have been away a long, long time. What have I been up to? Well . . .

Working, working, and more working - besides sleeping of course. So I went back to my accounting job as a per diem employee - hopefully not forever, as I still want to be a teacher.

Speaking of teaching - I have yet to put in a sub day since being hired in mid-Feb. But I plan on getting back to that next week as accounting slows and my moderate case of morning sickness is subsiding.

So yes, the pregnancy is going well - just very tired, queasy with only a few actual times of getting sick, the headaches are coming and going, and I feel like I have a very mild case of depression once in a while. I have yet to really announce that I am expecting. For various reasons, among which include superstition. But I am sure most of you get it.

I am at work, on lunch break, so I will update more later - by this weekend if not sooner. And I will have to catch up on the blogosphere.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Embryo Culture Book Tour

My experience with ART as been short compared to others I know face-to-face and through the blogosphere/board world. As I began the book, I was in the first IVF treatment cycle which has now resulted in a small being developing within me. Reading this book at this particular time seemed to be very meaningful. Since I had already decided and began the IVF cycle, it was not at all an influence on my decision, which I also believe was not at all the reason for Beth to write it. However, it was a way of rethinking and reflective on my recent decisions and experiences as well as questions sure to be wavered in the near future. It was very interesting to finish an IVF cycle while reading this spirited and humorous yet tearful account of Beth's journey. I definitely feel that the reading provided me a way of better sorting out my own feelings of my own journey.

The author researched different religious views on ART while she was in the decision process. How did you make your decision to pursue ART, adoption, childfree living, etc? Did your religious views play a big part in that decision?

  • Once it was apparent that my OBGYN was no longer able to help us and referred us to a few different REs, it was just a matter of call and see who has the first available appointment and good office hours. In addition, I was able to talk with a family member who was seeing an RE and her's was one that my OBGYN had recommended. So we just made the appointment!!! Not too much thinking went into it. We knew we wanted children so childfree was out of the question and we knew we needed more help, unfortunately more than we realized, which you can read more about in About Me above. Although the options were all scary being that they were unfamiliar, our thinking was we will take the RE recommendations all the way provided the costs were realizable. And adoption was not really considered until the first IUI did not work and DH's count was getting worse.
  • We are not very religious so these types of thoughts did not concern us at all. We both believe in God but not so much in the "rules" of religion. We knew we were good people and that a child is a child regardless of how it is created. One of my arguments regarding people's hestitation to ART is that abortion is also not an option in some religions and if a woman was raped, she would be expected in some people's standards to gave birth to the child. So why could it be in God's vision to allow a child to created by such a violent act and not by two loving people unable to conceive naturally. Some may be able to bring stronger arguments against me because I am not well versed in any religion and the "rules" that apply. However, I believe with limits and minimizing risks God has no problem with a loving couple using available technology to build a family within the bloodlines. I don't mean to offend anyone's beliefs but these are truly my own without the involvment of organized religion but just a general belief in God and faith that what will be will be.
  • However, I was very thankful for Beth's research because it better informed me of where other people may be coming from when considering ART. It actually helped me to better understand why a "friend" would have probably not gone any further than the one IUI that lead to the birth of her beautiful daughter.

Did your religion shape the decisions you made about treatment? And in turn, did your infertility change the way you looked at your religion?

  • As stated in the response to the question above, religion did not shape our decisions about treatment. However, I choose to answer this question because our infertility journey has had an effect on how we think of religion. We are both in theory the same religion but we do not practice and in fact we got married in a non-secular church. But I have friends of many religions but mostly some form of Catholism. One friend specifically gave me catholic prayers to help me through the journey. And I used them, not as often as she recommended but when I needed to speak to God in the most of dire times. This was the first time I ever used a formal prayer of any religion. She often said she was praying for us as well, not just for our infertility but also for other troubles we were having. Many other people were doing the same and people we did not even know personally. Then I started including board members and bloggers in my prayers and speaking/writing of praying more often. The times I recited the prayers I felt comforted and at peace with whatever was going on. So yes I definitely think a bit differently about religion but must say I still do not feel as though I practice or am of any particular religion but rather have my own set of beliefs that I feel make me a good person in the eyes of God.

In Chapter 5 ("Professionals"), Beth writes about her clinic experiences. I got a chuckle out of her observation that "my early-morning posse and I seemed to be codelinquents doing time in juvie hall," as well as her description of George, the (male!) u/s tech. How was/is your clinic experience similiar to or different than Beth's? Did you meet/Have you met any particurlarly memorable people (either fellow patients or clinic staff)?

  • First, I find this chapter to be of a comical nature as well. The way Beth described her experiences in such a comical way seemed to soften my views on this clinic versus how I may have evaluated it if written in a more straight forward manner. I believe Beth's approach was very professional as to cast a more funny light than to just state the facts, which could have been construded as negativity towards her clinic, which I am sure was not her intention.
  • As I read this chapter, I found myself reflecting on my clinic experience and the people we encountered. I must admit I am a people watcher and I tried my hardest not to do this while in the waiting room but I just could not help it sometimes. At first I hated when parents brought their children in. I felt like it was a sort of pragging but then realized that it was just like if they went anywhere and some parents were even bringing the child so the staff could see what all their time and effort resulted in. As for the four different REs at my clinic and the vary nurses, I often examined their personalities. As we left the office, I would always start a discussion with my DH about the new nurse we saw or the RE we saw for the first time. He would not say much but was more fond of the one RE. The thing is he judged them more on their humor, which is typical of my DH because it is a quality he is strong in and looks at first in others. But with doctors?!? I thought a bit strange at first but then realized it lightened the mood because when things were just level and serious I was more tense. The humor relaxed me and later I realized it gave me more confidence in their skills. Not just the REs but the nurses and rest of the staff. My favorite nurse were those opposite of me. The nurse who were more talkative and outgoing give me more confidence in their knowledge, skill and caring-of-us-and-our-infertility. There was one nurse in particular that was like me, quieter and low key. The funny thing was I did not think of it as just her personality but I questioned her knowledge, skill and confidence in her rule as an infertility nurse. It was not until my DH pointed out that she was like me when I meet new people that I realized I was being really really judgmental, which was not like me, especially when I did not know them well.
  • Overall, I love my clinic and just like the other gal I know who went there - I don't want to leave and go back to my OBGYN, who I have always loved too but it is not the same. I know REs need to focus on the infertility aspects, but I think it would be nice if they and their staff could be a part of the whole pregnancy and delivery of those they have helped. At the same, I would feel more comfortable because I believe they would take more care with us because they know of all the struggles.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about Embryo Culture? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/. Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #11 (The Mistress's Daughter by AM Homes with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.gles and were right there was us the whole way.

All is well after a scare

Our ultrasound on Thursday went well. We saw our BABY and beautiful pics!!!! Just a grain of rice but so much more in our minds at 5weeks and 3days. But on Friday afternoon in the middle of a mini breakdown from stress over finances, I felt a leak after standing up from curling up on the floor. (Now I know what some of you are thinking - I am an emotionally unstable person if I can not hold it together knowing I am pregnant. And while I would say you have every right to think that way, it really is not who I am. I really think the horomones were finally getting the best of me - and now I know better.) Good thing I was on the phone with my mother and was able to quickly calm down and call RE's office. The nurse assured me that it was not due to my stress, crying, or curling up on the floor but rather a result of the ultrasound and the sensitivity of the cervix at this time. But to be safe, even though I knew what she said to be true based on others' experiences, I scheduled an earlier 2nd ultrasound for this morning versus waiting until this Friday.

And I am relieved to say that everything is a-ok!!! In fact, we got to see the heartbeat today at 5weeks and 6days. And measurements are right where they need to be. Bloodwork is all good - Beta over 7,000 from Thursday's tests. Expected delivery date has been confirmed as 10/28/08!!! RE said it looks as if I have some sort of small blood clot, which could be from the second embryo transfered or some other issue of no concern, may have been the reason for the bleeding if not just the cervix response to the ultrasound. So the scare has been put to rest at this point. The focus now is to be sure I eat well but most importantly well hydrated.

The issue of eating well and staying hydrated, as strange as it may sound I believe will be a lot easier as I return to work because the office environment seems to always be food and drink-filled and the woman in-charge of the jobs I am on is very health-conscious and water coolers are pleniful at all clients and the main office. And the financial woes are being solved by me going back to my previous career rather than waiting what may be years to become a full-time elementary school teacher. I am lucky enough to have wonderful people at my former (or current as of tomorrow morning) employer. But I have to put myself in the frame of mind of not becoming stressed by my job.

So all is going well and hopes are higher than ever!!!! Prayers will continue in order to keep this little one on a successful journey to his/her birth!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tellings of Our IF Journey

So when we first started TTC at end of 2005, I was not shy at all about telling people, because who ever thinks it will be hard! But I always seem to think that I jixxed us by telling my cousin during her wedding dress shopping that I may be preggo while in her wedding in April 2006. Of course, I was not and the journey continued for over two and a half years.

As time went on and we found out we were having trouble, then that DH had a low count, we tried to keep in the family and close friends circle but even then told only certain people. I was often upset because a lot of other couples were getting preggo. This only made it harder to talk about our problems. I did have a connection to some family and friends who I found out were having trouble too. Makes it a lot easier to know others have issues too. Even though I would not wish it on my worst enemy! But I am one who likes to talk about these things and can not "lie" about days off and lateness in these "medical" situations. So I begin to tell co-workers that I trusted and even college friends (in my new program to become a teacher). But the hardest was when student teaching started around the sametime all the RE visits started.

I kept questioning myself, DH, my parents, and fellow student teachers - what do I say to my supervising professor and cooperating teacher about being late to school for student teaching? when do I tell them? keep it general medical-related or specify? So I know I have no obligation to go into detail with anyone but I don't think I can lie.

Student teaching is 16 weeks long and was starting just after having our first RE consultation. So I waited until the appointments definitely started to hinder my being on time to the first grade class which was about 40 mins north of my home while RE office was about 45 mins from my home in the opposite direction. So here is how it went:

I first just said I had a doctor's appointment that I could not avoid and had no possibility of going to at night. I always asked for the earliest appointment but traffic was horrible around RE office and it took about 1.5 hours from RE to school. I was lucky that the first appointment was before school started for the students and I was allowed by my university to have 5 sick days, which meant if I missed about two hours for each appointment, I should not go over that limit. So at first I was just going to keep it as a general medical condition that was not threathening to anyone. However, I did not keep it at that.

About half-way through student teaching, during one of my post-lesson observation discussions with my professor (supervisor), I just said, "So I have another appointment on such and such date and I should be in school by 10am if not earlier" (because we all know RE's office can get backed up). Then I said, "I feel as though I should explain." Of course, she said, "You don't have to." But I needed to. So I said, "My husband and I have been trying to have children since Dec 2005 and we started seeing a specialist. We have just been trying for so long that I could not stop and wait another 3 months until after student teaching." She is such a wonderful lady and totally understood and just told me to continue to notify her as I scheduled appointments. And the great thing about telling her was that she gave me such encouragement and support that we actually became better acquinted and friendly. It really opened up our relationship!!

So eventually I had the same type of conversation with my cooperating teacher. She was also understanding and since we already had the type of relationship where we talked about our personal lives, it too made everything easier. When it came time to consider IVF for the next cycle, I was able to put it off for a few weeks until after student teaching ended. Both my supervising and cooperating teachers were very appreciative of that decision, especially because the end would be when I was fully in-charge of the classroom for two weeks.

And now when I email these two ladies, they both show concern and ask in a caring way, "How is everything going?" I have kept in touch and can't wait to be able to give them and everyone else some good news!

The lesson I learned out of all this is that we are all human and unless it is a personal need to keep something to onesself or someone is known to be incompassionate, it is always better to share because most of the time you will only receive more compassionate support! Which is great for any stressful situation!! Don't get me wrong, I still feel pregnancy and IF are sensitive issues that require a level of privacy, which is always a personal preference that can change with each stage.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

BETA numbers

#1 on 2/19: 105
#2 on 2/21: 330
#3 on 2/23: 1152
#4 s/b on 2/25: not necessary do to big increases!!

Lots of queasiness, some weird little pains in legs and back, and feeling of uterus stretching or something!!

First pregnancy ultrasound and additional bloodwork on morning of 2/28!!!!

How exciting - after a successful visit on 2/28, I will consider fully preggo!! Just can't yet :( Not sure why but it may just be my superstitious self :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Need to carry a pen around!!!

We had an awesome #2 beta increase of tripling the previous 105 to 300something - 313? 330? Well, I know it was 300 plus something! I don't know if everyone is like me, although it seems so, but I have become so obsessive about having the exact info for every IF-related thing written down in my special IF binder. But when I got the call for beta2 results yesterday, I could not remember the last two digits of the level - 300something, I just kept saying it then thought 313 and 330, but not sure. I asked DH if he heard me repeat the number at all while on the phone - he said "no!" Darn! Darn!

Should I have called back right away? Should I wait until later in that day or the next day? So I was going to call late yesterday afternoon just before they close because then I usually get a nurse to answer rather than leave a message. However, just before 3pm, my mother called me and I tried to get off the phone but I did not want to be rude. So I decided I would just call today - and of course I had to leave a message so hopefully I will get a call soon so I can update with the exact number. Anyway, my beta3 is tomorrow so let's cross everything for another big increase.

And the lesson learned: need to carry a pen/pencil and paper around so whenever the phone rings I can write info down immediately, especially when waiting for results or answers from RE.

So far we have told the good BFP news to my mom and DH told his dad who will tell DH's mom! I will tell my dad today in case he did not already hear from my mom. And DH as been asking over and over, "so when are you going to tell more people?" And I am not sure, maybe some after 4th beta or maybe no one until after u/s on March 4th. Decisions, decisions.

And that reminds me of Stirrup Queens' current interview question . . . see next post for my answer to the when, how, why, and who of telling about the IF journey - I think I have an unique instance and would love to know what everyone thinks!!

Thanks again for all the support and TIA for any additional support :)

UPDATE: Beta #2 was 330!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Queasiness not nerves!!!!!!!

So I had to wait another agonizing night b/c I went to a local lab instead of RE's lab. I could not cheat, but really did not want to POAS. Although I may have if I had one in the house, but I don't like buying them anymore so I don't!!

At 8:07 this morning, my cell rang with RE's number . . . . so so scared, what if it is negative, what next?

But I do not have to think about those questions . . . My fav nurse said "It is POSITIVE!!" All I could say was "AWESOME, and what was the number?" 105!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Second beta is tomorrow morning and I will be going to RE's lab to avoid another delay!! Third beta will be Saturday morning (and that night DH and I go to see the Flyers game after dinner in Philly somewhere) and then I should have an appt or another beta, depending on #2 and #3 results, on Monday!!!! Also ordered more PIO this morning!!! This is so surreal!! I can't stop smiling, especially funny smilies to DH!!!!

So I thank everyone for their support for 1st beta and TIA for any additional support going forward!! I just hope this sticks!!! Crossing fingers for doubling beta tomorrow!!! (At a minimum, I need an increase of at least 60%, or beta of 168. NP said they will leave room for some difference due to different labs doing the tests.)

And I have decided to wait until after u/s to tell family and friends, except one face-to-face friend waiting for Friday's results from her FET - she has been waiting for some good news from us! And I am praying the same will happen for her!!!!!