Invoice

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A few weeks after attending the Baby Expo, I received an invoice in the mail.  It wasn’t something I was expecting but I knew why I received it and had forgotten about it.  It was an invoice from Fertility Institute of Hawaii regarding our 5 embryos.

No, I had not informed Fertility Institute of Hawaii that I was pregnant.  No one called to follow up with me and I didn’t feel the need to tell them I was pregnant.  It’s not a big deal to me, that’s just how it happened.

Anyways!  The invoice was to preserve the 5 frozen embryos for a year.  This cost $628.27 ($600 + 4.712% tax) to be exact.  Seems like a lot of money for something that can’t be see with the naked eye.  Lol.  Well, that’s how much it costs and here are our options:

1.  Pay the $600+ to preserve our embryos

2.  Not pay the invoice and choose to discard or donate our embryos

Oddly enough, this decision was much harder than we thought.  My initial thought was that we would discard the embryos.  Paying the more than $600 was not appealing to me and it wasn’t a decision I really wanted to make while I was pregnant.

It’s not any easy decision to make but it had to be done.  In discussion with my husband, we talked about the pros and cons of both options available to us.  It took us 2-3 weeks during various times, to finally make a choice.  In the end, we decided on option #1 and paid to preserve our embryos for a year.  That will take us to May 2014 and we would go from there.  I know there’s no guarantee that we would have an easy time becoming pregnant again.  I suppose the best option for us at this time is to keep our options open, thus preserving our embryos.

I understand that this option is not available to everyone nor does it mean that anything will come of this decision.  We may be able to conceive on our own again or we may need to rely on assistance through IVF.  But since we paid the invoice to preserve our embryos, we have the option available to us.  We will have to see how it goes.

Next post: Low to High Risk


Something Different

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I hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year! 🙂

It’s nearing the start of a New Year, a time I’ve had to wait for in order to move forward with another IVF cycle.  What will the New Year bring?  I don’t know, is it important for me to know?  No, it’s important for me to have faith in Jesus Christ.

In November, after seeing Dr. Frattarelli – the OB/GYN, I knew something had to change.  Despite having to anticipate my January menses and experience IVF again, I honestly didn’t want to do IVF again.  Of course, with the 5 embryos that we have, I figured that was our only option.  However, I didn’t want that option.  I wanted us to become pregnant without assistance from technology.

I came up with an idea and proposed it to my husband.  He agreed so we went forward with our plan.  The plan was fairly simple…we would fast and pray for a baby, a miracle.  Realistically, the plan was not that easy to execute.  Just as a reminder, I saw Dr. F (ob/gyn) on Nov. 1, which was a Thursday.  Fast Sunday at church is the first Sunday of the month, which means that our plan was formed and solidified in 3 days.  On November 4th, Fast Sunday, we needed to move forward with our plan.  We fasted and prayed for a miracle.

A miracle wasn’t the only thing we fasted about.  We also fasted about a job – for me.  I hadn’t heard back from a place I applied.  I was hoping that during the month, sometime, I would be called for an interview.  We would see.

Interestingly enough, that Sunday in church many people bore testimony of miracles and faith through personal experiences.  This continued through the rest of church and for a few Sundays afterwards.  It made me wonder if miracles still happen.  I knew the answer to my wondering, yes, miracles still happen.  I didn’t know if my faith was strong enough to believe the Lord would grant unto us, a miracle.  Around this same time, my husband and I were concluding our reading of the Book of Mormon.  It was very intriguing to me that in Ether and Moroni (the last 2 books in the Book of Mormon) there are a lot of references to miracles.  Here are some of the scriptures:

Ether 12:12 states: “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.”

Moroni 7: 29, 33, 37 explains, “And because he hath done this, my brethren, have miracles ceased?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.”

These are not the only references to miracles in the Book of Mormon, just the ones that stood out to me at the time.  I did read more to ponder about and listened to friends share experiences.

I knew that although our plan was fairly simple, it would require a lot from us.  For me, I think faith was a critical element to our fasting and praying.  Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ requires work.  I can’t just sit around and say I have faith.  Faith expresses trust and love, it requires humility and expands our understanding.

I knew the Lord would hear our prayers.  I didn’t know whether He would bless us with a miracle.  I trusted Him and knew that whatever was right, would happen.  I have learned that I don’t just tell the Lord what I want, I share my desires and wait upon the Lord.  I know the Lord knows what is best for me.

Next post:  Thanksgiving


Day 10

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Sorry, I’ve been slacking on my posts!  This time of year tends to be like that.  Well, thank you for your patience!

Between our unsuccessful FET and now, I’ve been able to take a step back and relax.  Which is good, right?  Of course.  Ooh, before I forget, the FET completed our first IVF cycle…even though we started in May and got postponed until September.  Not sure if I mentioned this before.  Sorry if I have and you’re reading this again.  Lol

Alright, Day 10.  When I scheduled my exam with my IVF coordinator, I knew Dr. F would not be there.  Instead, I would be seen be his wife, also Dr. F and an OB/GYN.  It would be my first time meeting her.

On Day 10 I went in for my exam.  As I waited in the exam room I wondered how the appointment would go.  I hoped the lining of my uterus looked good enough so we could gain further insight on the best treatment for the next cycle – of whatever we decided.  Remember our 3 options?

After a brief waiting time, the female Dr. F came in.  She did the ultrasound and appeared to be enthralled at the lining of my uterus.  This both intrigued and worried me.  She did note that my uterus was a little different, but that it did appear to have its own trilateral pattern.  I didn’t know how to interpret what she said.  I was kind of at a loss for words.  I felt she was honest with me and I appreciated it.  I had so many questions in head.  I wondered if that meant I would be able to carry a baby or not.  As my exam continued and she looked at my ovaries closer, she recognized my endometriosis.  That explained the difference in the look of uterus.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Well, she took screen shots for Dr F to review and that was it.  After she left, I spoke with my IVF coordinator about our plans.

I was under the impression that we had 3 options.  As we talked, I realized that our options were limited to 2…FET or IVF cycles.  I thought that the fresh cycle with a little medication was a separate option.  But, it’s not.  It’s a fresh IVF cycle.  Lol.  I felt so dumb for not getting it before.  I did get a good laugh though.  Although our options were lessened, it doesn’t change the fact that we still have options…which is good.

Anyways!  In my discussion with my IVF coordinator, she requested that I give her 3 months notice before we start anything.  In previous conversations and emails, I told her that we wouldn’t be starting anything until January, at the earliest.  We laughed about how I would have to tell her now because in 3 months it will be the beginning of February.  We left it at that because we both were unsure of what Dr. F would recommend.  We decided to wait until Dr. F could review the images and then my IVF coordinator would contact me.

Within a week, my IVF coordinator called.  Since we plan to wait until January/February we have time to consider our options.  She instructed me to call her in January on Day 1 of my menses.  Dr. F has requested to do another SIS.  Fine with me, as long as it helps and allows Dr. F to continue to provide the best treatment for me.

Another factor in the process is that we will be switching medical insurance effective January 1st.  This is definitely a change but it also opens the option to a second IVF cycle, covered by insurance.  (I’ll talk about this again in a later post.)  In January, we will confirm our decision and take the necessary steps.  In the meantime, we wait… and read.

Next post: Endometriosis Diet


Considering the Options

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Well, understanding and considering all the options available to us takes a lot of time.  I don’t know if I can adequately express or explain the amount of time and thoughts involved in this process.  In my last post, I explained the options and costs:

1.  FET

2. IVF

3. Natural Cycle with meds

You know, my husband & I have spent many hours discussing the options…the costs, the time, the what ifs, etc.  You name it, we’ve talked about it.  Of course, this also includes the consequences of each option as well as reality.  One of the realities of each option is that it may not be successful.  It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being thorough.  Being thorough is necessary because if you can’t deal with an unsuccessful pregnancy, FET, or IVF cycle…it makes it more difficult to cope with.  It’s already hard as it is, you don’t need more pain to deal with.  You need to talk about the possibility of things not going the way you plan or desire.  Here’s the thing about being thorough, you need to consider all the options, whether you want to or not.  Of course, you always hope that everything works out good but that is not always the case…believe me, I know…just read my last few posts.

I never thought I would experience all 3 of the options available to us.  Honestly, considering these options with experience in mind, was just a tad bit easier.  Having had experience helped because I knew the processes and what to expect.  Two of the important factors for me were cost and pain.  Lol.  I truly had to wonder if I wanted to do injections again and actually, I was ok with it.  Most people cringe when I explain the injections to them, but in reality, it’s 10-12 consecutive days at the most.  In the big picture, I feel like it’s doable.  You may think I’m crazy but it’s really not that bad.

The prices for all the options was a hard decision for us.  Spending $4K is quite an expense, considering it’s not covered by insurance.  Plus it’s only a little bit more than a fresh IVF cycle (covered by insurance).  The other thing we considered is that a FET can be done whenever you want…with at least 2 months notice.  The embryos are frozen, you can thaw them anytime you want.  We have the option of thawing them for an FET cycle years from now.  I hope that makes sense.  The option is good, the price is ok – meaning affordable, and long term – it’s a good option because the embryos are still the age of retrieval.  So, for example, if I was 35 when they are retrieved, then they will be 35 five years later when if we decide to do an FET then.  Of course, I’m not that age, hence it’s an example.

With all that said, we knew and still know all the options for us.  It’s a matter of waiting for when we’re ready to do it.  It also matters what Dr. F recommends.  So, this means I will call on Day 1 and schedule a Day 10 exam.  Based on that exam, we’ll go from there!

Next post:  Day 10


Now What?

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since my last post.  I’m sorry for not posting earlier.  I’ve been quite busy with a variety of projects.  I’m planning to post them on my other website soon.  Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well. 🙂

Coincidentally, the last post I wrote was the day I met with Dr. F to discuss our options.  Prior to our meeting, here are the options I thought we had:

1 – Do another FET, which FYI, insurance does not cover.  It’s an out-of-pocket expense that costs $4,000.

2 – Do another IVF cycle, which I estimated would cost another $3,000+.

and 3 – Nothing.  Take a break from all the medication and wait.

In my last post I mentioned that I was done and I didn’t want to continue trying anymore.  I felt that way because I was so hurt and the process is time consuming.  I recognized that a break was necessary but I didn’t want to take it.  Honestly, I wanted to do another FET but I knew what I needed to do…option 3…Nothing, at least for a little while.  Choosing to do another FET right away would have been more draining.  I knew my body needed to rest from all the medications and the emotional stress I experienced.

Doing another FET seemed to be only option but the price was not inviting.  Plus, money is always considered, whether or not I’m working outside my home.  I knew that we could afford to do another FET but I really had to think about whether that would be a smart decision.  I thought about the options we had and was still usure of what to do.  My husband & I discussed the options and decided we would wait until next year, 2013 to do anything, whatever it would be.  Of course, our decision also depended on Dr. F. recommendations.

The night before the meeting I wrote a couple of questions in my phone so I wouldn’t forget to ask them.  I really didn’t know what the objective of the meeting was and I didn’t know what to expect.  I figured we would discuss the FET and options, obviously, but other than that I didn’t know.

The day arrived for my follow up appointment with Dr. F.  I went by myself because my husband had a work meeting and was unable to attend.  When I arrived, they were apparently busy.  I knew I would be waiting a little longer than usual.  It wasn’t a problem because they have a TV and I have my phone to do shopkicks on.  When ready, Dr. F. and I walked to his office.  He shut the door and then talked with me while looking through my folder.  He allowed time for me to ask questions.  I only had 2.  The first questions was in regard to my endometriosis and if I should consider removing it.  I don’t remember the entire answer but I remember him explaining that removing it would be helpful if I experience a lot of pain.  I remember thinking that I do but I didn’t say anything.  I just thought about it.  The second question I had was about my menses.  I wanted to know why I didn’t get it prior to the blood test results.  Dr. F explained that during a normal menstrual cycle, a drop in progesterone levels would initiate my menses.  So, because I was still taking the progesterone I didn’t get a period until after I stopped the medication.  I was like, “Oh!”  After that I felt dumb because I felt like I should know that.  Lol.  After answering all my questions, we carried on with our discussion.

Dr. F. apologized for us not having any success.  I didn’t know what to say.  I felt he was genuine and I played it off by telling him, “it’s ok.”  That was awkward for me.  It wasn’t ok but I knew we both recognized that success was important.  Instead of dwelling on the lack of success, Dr. F focused on the embryos.

Dr. F used an analogy that helped me understand his perspective in the process, including our options.  I’ll call it…The Olympics.  He showed me pictures of our remaining 5 embryos and compared them to the olympics.  Seeing the embryos renewed my strength, hope, and purpose.  I completely understood the analogy and was again reminded of the risks involved with every step.  To make it to the freezing, each of the embryos are really good.  They’re the best athletes!  When it comes to the day of competition, you hope for an elite performance but never truly know how they will perform.  I may have exaggerated a little more than Dr. F, but you get the point right?  Dr. F. explained that he would expect 3-4 babies from the 7 embryos we originally had and with the 5 left, he still has that same expectation.  I know each embryo must meet a specific criteria so it was intriguing to me that the same expectation applies to the 5 remaining embryos.  Pretty cool actually!

We continued our meeting by discussion our options.  I was pretty accurate in my guesses for options.  Dr. F reviewed all the options, including the ones I thought about.  Dr. F, he’s so nice.  One more than one occasion, he’s told me I’m young.  Lol.  Sometimes I don’t feel young when I think of trying to have my first child at thirty-something.  But I am young! 🙂  Just a little note here…if the Dr. tells you you’re young, soak it up!  Lol.  Anyways!  Here’s a brief description of what we talked about:

1) FET.  Cost: $4,000   Begin: whenever we want.  This option is always available as long as we have frozen embryos…and we pay the storage fee.  Ya, I know, it reminds me of the all the storage facilities that have popped up on Oahu over the past 5+ years.  Except my embryos require much less space.  Lol.

2) IVF.  If we switched insurance companies we would get another “free” try.  Dr. F office would not charge us a copay for this second cycle.  Not sure if you remember but the copay price begins at $3,000.

3) Natural cycle with a little medicine.  I was not expecting this to be an option.  I told Dr. F that we weren’t planning to start anything until next year, end of January at the earliest.  He was respectful of that, which I really appreciated.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think we talked about how much this option would be.  I’m assuming that it is much cheaper than the other options.  I’m guess it’s like an IUI, which is a few hundred dollars.  Dr. F requested to do an ultrasound after we finished our discussion.  He wanted to see what the lining of my uterus looked like without medication, during a regular cycle.

Our meeting was done.  We walked out of Dr. F office and into an exam room.  I had a few minutes to change before he and my IVF coordinator knocked and came in.  During the exam, Dr. F inspected my uterus and remarked that it looked good.  What a relief!  I was hoping it would look ok.  I was so enthralled that Dr. F could tell I ovulated by the looking at my uterus.  It was amazing to me.  Dr. F wanted to see the lining of my uterus at different times during a normal cycle.  So, I have to call to schedule a day 10-12 exam.  Looks like the natural cycle is an option for now.  Yeah!

Well, those are our options.  I feel good and comfortable with them.  Another good thing is that I didn’t feel pressured from anyone to do anything.  The decisions were and are completely ours.  You know, after the FET was not successful, in some ways I felt like our options were limited to FET or IVF.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. F.

Still not sure what option we’ll choose.  We’ll see.

Next post: Considering the Options


Our Results

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It’s been 3 weeks now, since I got the results of our FET.  I guess it’s about time to share it.

I drove in to town for blood work on the morning of Sept. 20.  I was already home when my IVF coordinator called  me.  It was less than 2 hours after my blood work.  When my phone rang, I took a deep breath and answered it.  Once I heard my IVF coordinator’s voice asking me how I was doing, I knew what the results were…negative.  She confirmed that as we talked a little longer.  She explained that the results were not what they wanted and I asked her what that meant.  I felt the answer was pretty vague.  I wanted a straight forward answer – positive or negative.  She then explained that the test came back negative.  I went silent.  We scheduled a follow up meeting with Dr. F and then she offered support.  I assured her that I would be ok.  Immediately after our conversation ended, I took a deep breath and called my husband.

When I gave him the news, I knew from his response, that he was just as frustrated and hurt as I was.  I felt bad giving him such junk news while he was at work…and it was only a little after 10 in the morning.  We hung up and then I tried really hard to think about what just happened, without tearing up.  Ya, that didn’t happen.

It only took a few seconds before tears began to stream down my face.  I didn’t know what to think.  I thought about the risk and wondered if we had made the wrong decision.  Nope, we didn’t.  Just because taking that risk didn’t result in pregnancy didn’t make it a wrong choice.  Well, that’s what I think.

I thought, what now?  I was so hopeful that the FET would be successful.  I knew what other options we had, I just didn’t want to do them.  Then I wondered whether I should continue to try to become pregnant.  I truly felt like giving up that desire simply because the process is draining – financially, physically, and emotionally.  I say “I” because my husband didn’t share those same feelings.  To tell you the truth, I was done.  I didn’t want to do this anymore.  It hurt.  My heart ached for relief and tears continued to flow down my cheeks.  I kept telling myself I would be ok but I didn’t feel ok.  I wasn’t ok and I didn’t know what it would take for me to be ok.  My tears subsided and tried to do things around the house, aka cleaning.  Just FYI, dishes is not a good one to do.  But I did them and found it difficult to wipe my eyes because obviously my hands were busy.  While I was doing that my sister-in-law called.  I programmed my ringtones so I knew she was calling, in fact hearing her ringtone caused me to start crying again.  I couldn’t answer the phone, I just couldn’t.  Not only were my hands soaked in dishes, my mind, heart, and mouth were not working collaboratively.  I wasn’t trying to avoid my sister-in-law, I just knew I was in no position to talk.  I again felt bad, for the second time that day, and decided I needed to leave the house.  I left a little while later to take a drive and to get some shopkicks.  (Shopkicks is an app that gives you points for walking into stores as well as scanning items.  You can redeem your kicks for gift cards.)

I went to Pearl Ridge – Macy’s, American Eagle, Best Buy, Waikele – Old Navy, and Fabric Mart.  Needless to say, I got a lot of kicks!  Lol.  I spent a lot of time at Fabric Mart looking for material for a couple of projects.  A friend of mine, after seeing my reupholstered chairs, gave me her outdoor patio set.  I searched for material for that but didn’t find what I was looking for.  I did, however, find material for a skirt I’d been wanting to make.  While I was at Fabric Mart, my sister-in-law called again and my mom.  I talked with both of them.  By then I still felt hurt and sorrow, but I was ok to talk.  My mom & I talked for over an hour.  I walked around the fabric store with headphones in one ear.  At times I held back tears so other customers wouldn’t see.  My mom was trying to encourage me and help me.  I know it was hard – for her and me.  The pain and grief I felt was stronger than any words of encouragement, understanding, and love.  My mom tried really hard to help me.  After we talked I felt a little better.  I ate a little something at Waikele Jamba Juice and then sat outside on the bench, thinking…what now?  I stayed out for at least 4 hours before returning home.  I quickly realized that this was not like a pill I could swallow to remove the anguish I felt.  It would take much more than I was willing to give.  I canceled dinner plans for that evening and decided to stay home.

The pain I felt ran deep.  I felt so alone and knew there weren’t a lot of people that could relate to what I was going through.  Not that there aren’t people that understand, I just don’t know a lot of them.  I wasn’t looking for sympathy, I was seeking relief.  By the end of the day, my tears dried up and anger penetrated through everything.  This wasn’t going to be good.

I was SO angry, I went into an extreme mode.  I’m not sure how else to describe it.  Maybe more like defiant.  I had reached my breaking point through this entire process and I wasn’t having it anymore.  Most of my frustration was centered around the fact that I wasn’t pregnant.  It was unbelievable to me.  I just shook my head in disgust.  I remember telling my husband, “I’m done.”  I felt like we never get a break and decided to take my own break.  I was so hurt and angry I didn’t want to pray or read my scriptures.  So I didn’t.  I wanted to take a break from being faithful every time.  I didn’t even want to go to church.  I didn’t want to be around people.  I felt as though the Lord had forsaken me.  I know, that sounds bad but it’s the truth.  This was a huge thing for me, especially because I’m not like that at all.  That’s how appalled and mad I was.  I just didn’t care.  This attitude of mine lasted about 4-5 days.

As much as I didn’t want to do things, I still did.  I still went to church and spent time with friends even though I didn’t feel like it.  But I knew I wasn’t over it yet.  One night I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend.  I was asked about how the FET went and results.  I told my friend it didn’t work and she apologized.  I told her she didn’t have to be sorry.  When I got home that night I mentioned it to my husband.  I told him, “It’s like I’m numb.  I’m so mad I don’t have any feelings.”  Which was true.  I knew exactly what I was doing.  I acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but it was.  Apparently I had a good facade.  Lol.

A little over a week after we got the results, I was praying and reading my scriptures again but sporadically, whenever I wanted to.  There was also the General Relief Society Broadcast, which is an annual church broadcast for women 18 and older.  In its entirety, it’s about 1.5 – 2 hours long.  There’s usually a lunchoen and activity connected with the broadcast.  I didn’t want to go but I did want to watch the broadcast.  Instead, I went to watch 2 of nephews soccer games and my oldest nephew’s baseball game.  I sat down to watch it a couple days later.

I remember, it was a Monday morning and my husband had already left for work – it was his birthday!  I put the broadcast on.  There were 4 speakers.  They were ALL great!  The 3rd speaker was Sister Linda S. Reeves.  As she spoke and shared experiences, I just cried.  She explained some of the feelings she had as she endured a couple of trials.  I knew exactly what she was talking about and felt the need to cease my anger.  I needed to stop this “adult tantrum” I was having.  Following the broadcast, I went into the bedroom and prayed earnestly to the Lord to calm my trouble heart.  I didn’t like being angry but I felt I was justified in my frustrations at the time.  It was hindering my growth.  I included my husband in my prayer too.  I knew that this took a toll on him as well.  This is a “we” thing, not a “me” thing.  Our pain was the same but our methods for dealing with it were different.  I knew my husband needed comfort too.  I received the peace I desired, which allowed me to start to move forward – little steps at at time.

As the weeks have gone by, I’ve noticed a change.  When I first got the news that I wasn’t pregnant, I wondered how I would get over it.  Now, 3 weeks later, I know I don’t need to get over it.  I just need to move forward.  To me, when I hear about “getting over” stuff, it represents the need to forget about it and never look back.  Maybe in certain situations, that’s true, but for in this circumstance, no.  I don’t need to get over it.  It’s a part of who I am, an experience I will never forget.  Something I know, will strengthen me.

You’re welcome to watch or read the talk by Linda S. Reeves here! (It’s good!) 🙂

Next post:  Now What?


The Next 10 Days

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The next 10 days were both torturous and relaxing.  I know, that sounds contradicting but it’s true!  I tried very hard to avoid strenuous activities.  To be honest, it’s quite difficult.  I had to think before lifting things that I would have previous never given thought to.  At the same time, laying around is just as torturous for me.  Another factor is the mind.  If I have a lot of time, I’m gonna think about the embryos and what ifs.  I wanted to minimize that so I tried to keep my hands busy – sewing, crafts, baking, etc.  I think you get the point.

My husband stayed home for 2 of the 10 days.  My sister-in-law brought lunch one day, along with my brother, mom, and 2 of my nephews.  It was a nice surprise.  I prepared samples for upcoming sewing classes.  I watched TV and went for walks with my husband.  I thought I did pretty good keeping my mind and body occupied.

During this time, I also continued with my medications – Estrace, Progesterone, aspirin, and prenatal vitamin.

In the end, I had no control over the outcome of the FET.  I was hopeful and yet very aware of the possibilities.  Like I said in my last post about risk, we had to accept whatever the results were.  I hoped I was prepared!

I apologize if you’re stunned at the length of this post.  I know, it’s short.  Lol.

Next post: Our Results


Our FET

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After 5 days of taking all those medications, the day of the transfer arrived…September 10th.

My FET was scheduled for 10:30am.  I had to be there a 1/2 hour before, so we weren’t in a rush.  My husband & I leisurely woke up and got ready.  I had been instructed to do take the Crinone gel in the morning and to have a full bladder.  When we were ready, my husband gave me a blessing, and then we left.

Unfortunately, we locked ourselves out of the house.  My husband didn’t take his keys.  I left my keys in my church bag the day before and forgot to take it out.  He closed the door before I could reach for my keys.  Oops!  Lol.  I couldn’t believe it but it happened.  There wasn’t much we could do, except worry about it later.  I wasn’t going to be worried about that, we had an appointment.  While my husband drove, I called my mom.  She had keys to our place.  So we arranged a time to meet afterwards.  I estimated that we would be done around 11:30 – 12pm.  The plan was for me to call my mom when we left, that way, we would get there around the same time.

We arrived 1/2 hr before and sat in the waiting area.  A few minutes later we were called by my IVF coordinator.  We followed her to her office where she reviewed instructions for the ET.  I disregarded some of the instructions because they were related to pregnancy and would worry about that later.  I didn’t want to assume, neither did I want to feel overwhelmed by possibility.  The instructions were pretty straight forward and to me, quite obvious:

No swimming – for 1 week
Drink lots of fluids – In addition to water, juice and sports drinks
Use stool softener – as needed for constipation
Eat balanced meals
No strenuous activities

You got it, right?  In addition to all the instructions, I still had to take medications…until my IVF coordinator instructed me to stop.  I was taking the Crinone gel, Estrace, aspirin, & PNV.

The instructions also included 2 dates – Sept. 20th & 22nd.  On these dates I was scheduled for blood work only – to see if I was pregnant or not.

After meeting with my IVF coordinator we again sat in the waiting area.  I was called for my blood work and then we went to meet with Dr. F.  He explained the risk for multiple births and we asked questions.  We signed a couple of documents verifying our embryos.  I wanted to cry.  I had been so worried about the embryos.  When as I signed the documents I realized that my prayers had been answered and I felt relieved.  In a previous appointment, I asked Dr. F what the procedure is for thawing the embryos.  He explained that they are taken out one at a time.  If they are not growing, they are discarded and another embryo is taken out.  Knowing that we have 7, I didn’t know how many would be used to get 2 strong embryos.  I hope that makes sense.  As I signed the document, I understood that only 2 of our 7 embryos were thawed for this procedure.  I felt comforted and grateful.

Dr. F showed us 2 pictures of our 2 embryos.  It was SO cool!  The picture on the left were of the frozen embryos and the picture on the right was of the thawed embryos.  It seemed like they were magnified like a million times larger.  The images were huge, especially when you know they’re the size of an ink dot.  I was so intrigued by the pictures.  I thought it was amazing because it was personal.  They were OUR embryos, not the ones you see in a text book.  As I viewed the side-by-side pictures, they looked only slightly different to me.  Dr. F explained that before transferring them they would look somewhere in between both pictures.

After our meeting was done, we followed my IVF coordinator to the OR area.  It’s the same place I had my egg retrieval.  I was in the exact same room too.  We put our hair caps and booties on.  I removed my clothing from the waist down, wrapped myself with the large sheet that was provided.  I opened the curtain and we followed my IVF coordinator into the OR.  My husband sat on a stool (with wheels) and I laid on the bed.  I lifted my legs up to rest on these pole things and then scooted my bottom all the way to the edge of the table.  The poles are like ob/gyn stirrups for back of the knee.  I verified my name and birthday that were on the screen and then my IVF coordinator informed Dr. F that I was ready.

We waited for a while because there was something that Dr. F. needed to take care of.  I think we waited about 15-20 minutes, that’s my guess.  I wasn’t watching the clock.  When he arrived, he talked us through the procedure while getting started.  He put the speculum in and I think, a catheter.  I’m not exactly sure about the catheter.  He told the lady in the Lab that he was ready.  We looked at the screen and saw the 2 embryos.  Dr. F was right, the embryos looked somewhere in between the 2 pictures we saw, except this was LIVE.  We saw them super close and then the view zoomed back until they were tiny.  The catheter came in and sucked up the embryos.  The lady in the Lab brought the catheter to the adjacent door and gave it to Dr. F.  The door has a a little window that can be opened or closed.  It’s quite convenient actually.  Dr. F. took it and sat back down.  It took him a few minutes to insert the catheter.

Once the catheter was in, Dr. F had us turn our eyes to the ultrasound.  He told us that we would see a white line in the uterus and then the embryos would be released.  The embryos were released deep into the uterus, much like where they would be if it were a natural conception.  We saw the white line and that was it.  The embryos were SO tiny, I knew we wouldn’t see them.  That was it!  The catheter and speculum were removed.  Dr. F shook our hands and told us that there was nothing more we could do – let nature take its course.

I switched beds and got rolled to my room.  I laid there for 30 minutes.  Before we left, I emptied my bladder and put my clothes on.  My mom met us at home and we were able to get in.  Lol.  She made chili for us so we ate and then rested for the rest of the day.  It was so nice.

Now it was time to wait…

Next post:  The Next 10 Days

(Not sure if I’m going to post the picture of the embryos.  I have 1 of the 2 pictures we saw.  Thinking about it.)


Day 1

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Welcome back!  It seems like I’ve been on a long hiatus.

Well, with my tentative schedule in hand I was playing the waiting game.  At times waiting can be hard because the outcome affects the FET timing.  According to my calendar, I was supposed to get my period on August 22.

After waiting and wondering, Day 1 arrived…right on schedule.  I was surprised!  I actually thought it would come the day before.  The last time I got off the birth control I got my menses 4 days later.  So, I thought that would happen again…but it didn’t.  I was glad that we were progressing forward.  Of course, things can change between appointments.  I wasn’t totally convinced the FET would be a smooth ride.  I just had a feeling.

Since it was Day 1, I called my IVF coordinator and we scheduled all my appointments and transfer date.  I was still taking 1mg twice a day of Estrace.  I showed a picture of it in my last post.  I knew the dosage and frequency would increase as I got closer to the transfer.  I was scheduled to go in on Days 4, 7, 10, & 14.  I know, it looks like a lot on paper but that’s the commitment you make for a FET.

I was so worried about how my menses would be after not having it for 3 months.  I had my doTerra oil ready to soothe any pain.  I used “solace” and oil for cramps only once!  The first 2 days of my period were fairly light followed by a few days of spotting.  I can’t express how grateful I was to have an uneventful period.  It was great.  I’m sure those of you who’ve ever experienced cramps and/or endometriosis…you know exactly what I mean!  Lol.

Having said that, I went in on Day 4 (8/25) for an ultrasound and blood work.  The lining of the uterus was looking ok but still needed to thicken.  It wasn’t a concern for me because I knew I would be increasing my Estrace, which would help.  I had a bunch of questions in my mind about how the FET would go but I didn’t ask them.  I thought it was more important that I take things one appointment at a time.  It’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs,” which can cloud your vision of the reality of this process and procedure.  Well, that’s what I think.

Day 7 (8/28) came quickly.  I didn’t have an appointment, I just had to be there for blood work.  That same day, I increased my Estrace to 1 pill (2mg) twice a day.  Basically, I doubled it.  I was also making what seemed like a million cinnamon rolls (9.5 dozen) that day for a camp fundraiser.  I tried my best to time the rising with my drive into town.  It was a good thing I made the dough the day before otherwise there was no way I would’ve finished all the rolls.  It was a blessing that it all worked out…exhausting but accomplished!!

Day 10 (8/31) was my next scheduled appointment.  The increase in the medication helped my lining to thicken and things continued to look good.  The doctor wanted for my lining to have a “triple stripe” or halo.  The thickness was great.  That day I increased my Estrace to 1 pill (2mg) three times a day.  The doctor informed me that I didn’t need to do blood work that day. Yeah!  Also at this appointment the doctor told me he would be putting in the 2 best embryos.  I agreed and left…but my mind was going!  I assumed from the very beginning that 2 embryos would be transferred, I just hadn’t talked with the doctor about it.  It didn’t seem necessary at the time…but now was the time.  I was so excited and yet extremely aware of what that could mean…one baby, twins, miscarriage and more.  The interesting thing is that all those things are always a possibility, there’s no guarantee.  Precision and exactness can also bring risk.  Of course, IVF is not without risk.  I knew those risks before I started.

My next appointment was supposed to be on Day 15 but Dr. F was not going to be in the office that day.  So, I went in on Day 14 (9/4) instead.  I was a little worried going into my appointment.  I thought they might see the bump on my forehead.  Yup, I said bump.  On Labor Day (the day before), my family got together at my brother’s home.  After lunch, in the late afternoon, my husband, nephew, and I decided to go on a bike ride.  We rode around the street and into other parts of the neighborhood.  After riding for about 15 – 20 minutes, I didn’t feel good.  I took a break resting by one of street corners.  I rode a little more and then decided to go in for a drink of water.  As I walked inside, I felt like I wanted to throw up.  I sat down on a chair with my water right in front of me.  I tried to wait out the feeling of throwing up.  I put my elbow on the table, leaned my head on my hand and slowly closed my eyes.  The next thing I know, I’m on the ground.  I fainted!  I heard my nephew calling for my sister-in-law.  I heard my sister-in-law calling me and my husband helped my up.  We estimated that I was on the ground for 15 seconds.  I got reenergized with lots of fruit and water.  I put an ice pack on my head and relaxed for a while.  Then we went out again and rode around the street, taking it easy.  That night I used essential oil.  (I used it for the next 3 days and I was amazed.  No bruise and the pain eliminated!  Yeah!)

Anyhow, a little tangent there!  Lol.

Back to Day 14!  Just like me last appointment, the lining of my uterus looked great, except for one thing…the triple stripe.  Dr. F recommended that we postpone the transfer and try a different regimen to get both the thick lining and triple stripe, thus increasing our chances for success.  We still had the option of continuing with the current FET cycle.  Dr. F made his recommendation and gave us the choice.  Unlike our ICSI decision, I needed to let my IVF coordinator know my answer…the next day.  I called my husband to let him know.  We decided to talk about it after he got home from work.  As I drove home I thought, I knew it.  I knew this cycle couldn’t go without a challenge…and this was it.  Instead of crying, I thought about both options and the risks involved in them.  So much to contemplate…so little time.

It was NOT going to be an easy decision!  Oh dear!

Next post: Our Choice


Follow Up

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Hi everyone!  Hope you are doing great on this Aloha Friday! 🙂

Before I review the follow up treatment I received, I want to share something that was shared with me!  About 2 weeks ago, I was helping in the kitchen at a funeral.  I spoke with a friend who just did a cycle of clomid.  She and her husband have been trying to start a family, which has been a challenge for them.  She shared something I hadn’t heard before.  The doctor treated her husband’s low sperm count with…(drumroll)…clomid!  I was surprised.  Since we didn’t experience that, I found it really interesting.  SO, if you know someone whose spouse has low sperm count, tell them to talk with their doctor about clomid…it may be an option to inquire about and pursue.  Not that low sperm count is a popular topic but if you know a couple that is trying, talking with their doctor doesn’t hurt.

Ok, back to my follow up.  So, at home after my surgery wasn’t too eventful.  I rested.  I did have a little pain – cramping – but I refused to take a pill for it.  It was bearable.  Instead, I used my white flower oil to easy the cramping.  The pain dissipated and I was comfortable.  My doTerra oils had not arrived yet, so I used what I had available.

The next day, I received a call from the surgicenter checking on me.  The woman on the phone asked me if I took any medication for pain.  I proudly told her no.  Lol.  She asked me a few more questions related to my current status.  I explained to her that I felt fine.

I received my doTerra oils in the mail that day, which was great…little did I know I would need them.  I looked through my post-op paperwork, which showed some of the things I may experience after surgery.  The only thing applicable to me (besides the cramping)…constipation.  I’ve been on birth control since May so constipation after the surgery reminded me of endometriosis and the pain I felt when I got my mense.  However, I didn’t have my menses, so that was one less factor.  Anyways!  It was painful to use the bathroom so I decided to use my doTerra oil…DigestZen, which is a blend of 7 oils.  The directions state to put 1 drop in 4 oz (1/2 cup) of water.  I quickly drank it and then laid down to rest.  My lip burned for a few minutes because of the peppermint oil contained in the blend.  Obviously the oil touched my lip.  Lol.  The burn was nothing.  The oil helped relieve my constipation.  I’m glad I used it.

Well, I had a little less than 2 weeks before my post-op appointment with my Ob/Gyn and scan with Dr. Frattarelli.  During that time, I received my bill in the mail.  Yup, the bill for my surgery.  I was worried about how much it would cost so I looked at my coverage plan and got an answer.  I already knew that the surgery would cost me $15.  It was a relief.  So, when I saw the bill I was quite surprised!  I saw on paper…$5,115.40  Yikes!  Lol.  The bill listed all the things that were used, including the OR, recovery room, anesthesia, etc.  Man, some of those things are expensive!  I’m glad I pay for cobra, even though that seems expensive too.  I still only had to pay $15 but it showed the breakdown, which I found interesting.

The following week my appointments started up again!  On one day I was scheduled to see Dr. Frattarelli and the next day I was scheduled to see my Ob/Gyn.  So, on Monday, August 13, I went in for my appointment with Dr. Frattarelli.  I was still taking the birth control and the lining of my uterus was thick, which I expected.  My Ob/gyn followed up with Dr. Frattarelli, which is good.  Good news…we’re on track for the FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer).  Phew!  What a relief!  Of course, it’s temporary because things can change.  I find it necessary to be grateful after each appointment.

So, that day I started taking 1 mg of Estrace (Estrogen) 2x/day and one 81mg aspirin 1/day.  The Estrace is a small blue pill.  It’s 2mg so I cut it in half to get the 1mg.  I didn’t have my pill cutter so I just used a knife.  Good thing the pill has an indention, it’s too small to break in half with your fingers.  I tried.

In case you’re curious, here is a picture of what Estrace looks like.  It’s about a 1/4″ in diameter, so it’s really small.  The picture shows both sides of the pill.  On the left is the letter “m” and on the right, you see an “e” and the number 5.

On Tuesday, August 14th, I went to see my Ob/Gyn.  He also asked me how I felt and reviewed symptoms.  My Ob/Gyn showed me a visual of the female reproductive system.  He drew a picture for me showing me where the polyps were located.  The only question I had was about the results.  I knew my Ob/Gyn sent my polyps to the lab to be tested.  I didn’t get the results.  I wasn’t worried because I figured he would have called if it was bad news.  Well, I was right.  My Ob/Gyn apologized and confirmed that my polyps were benign.  Yeah!  I will never forget what he said.  He was surprised that Dr. Frattarelli was able to find a polyp using ultrasound.  I am definitely grateful that Dr. Frattarelli found a polyp and that my Ob/Gyn removed 3.  When my Ob/Gyn explained that, I felt so comforted.  I thought, yup I pray for my doctors!!  By the way, the lab results for the polyps cost me around $20.

So, after those 2 appointments I knew that my surgery was successful and that we were moving forward with the FET.  I had this thought…could I now become pregnant without ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)?  I don’t know.  I’m not going to try to find that out now.  I’ve come this far, I’m going to follow through with the FET.  Would be interesting though.  I think I still have endometriosis, so probably not.  Lol.

Anyways!  According to my newest calendar I was instructed & responsible for taking birth control through August 17th.  I have to admit…I like not having a period.  I haven’t had a period since May.  It’s nice not having cramps and pain.  🙂  The rest of my calendar depended on the first day of my menses.  I had tentative dates scheduled but I wouldn’t know for sure until I got my menses.  So, it was time to wait…

Next post: Day 1