Growing, Learning, and Enjoying Every Part Of It.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TTC Tuesdays - Week 29 (The Awesome News Edition)

I’m Pregnant!! I wanted to do this whole big build up to give you guys the news, but I’m too excited to control myself.  I went in for my blood pregnancy test yesterday morning. I was anxious to hear good news since the moment I walked out of the lab. Finally at 1:15pm, the My Reproductive Endocrinologist called me himself and gave me the great news!! 

He said "I'm doing great today, Aretha. How about you?"  I started semi screaming the word yay and just about fell to my knees in joy.  There is life inside of me.  There is life in my uterus. My uterus is not broken. God has given me the opportunity to mother another child(ren). My husband will get to experience fatherhood from the beginning. There is life inside of me!  I am overjoyed and so thankful to God for this entire journey, and the rest that is to come.  He truly deserves every single bit of the glory.

I tried to remain faithful through it all. Of course there were moments of weakness and doubt, but I prayed for God to forgive me for negative thinking and to take those thoughts from my mind.

There is life inside of me! 

I have to take two additional tests to make sure it is not a chemical pregnancy and that my beta numbers are progressing as they should. Typically they double every day or so.  And then somewhere around the end of May, we will go in for our first ultra sound to hear heartbeats, check progress, AND find out how many are living in there.

There is life inside of me!

Praise God! I thank him for technology, great health insurance, and the finances to make this all happen. 

We are over the moon excited! Mr. RFA and I have told the daughter and my sister. We are now working on an elaborate way to surprise our mothers and my granny.  My granny and MIL will fly out here for “some reason we make up”, and then we will give them a happy shock!  My MIL has been so great through our journey. She doesn’t know about IVF, but she knows that we tried IUI and that my fibroids had posed an issue last year before the wedding. She is a prayer warrior for sure and has been so faithful.  Her youngest grandchild is now 19 (Mr. RFA’s sister had kids very young), so she is going to be a mess with her first grandchild from her son.  And, I know my mother can’t wait to hear this great news.  My granny will be happy for us, but when I told her months ago that we were trying to get pregnant she said something along the lines of me being slightly off for wanting to start all over with raising kids. We laughed about it. That woman says whatever is on her mind, lol.

So, here are my stats (for my tracking purposes and your reading pleasure):
  •  I am considered to be 4 weeks and 1 day pregnant. (I know what you’re thinking…that’s too far along.  Well, I never knew that the doctors automatically add 2 weeks to your gestational age. Why? Because gestational age is calculated from the date of your last period, as opposed to conceptual age, which is calculated from the date of ovulation.  I have no idea why this is done, but I just know I’m considered 4 week and 1 day pregnant, even though those little beauties were conceived on April 15th at their fertilization party in the lab).
  •  My beta number yesterday was 428 (oh yeah...that's great!!!)
  •  My estrogen level is great
  •   My progesterone level is now normal (last week I got a call that it was low, so the RE increased my dosage and number of butt shots per day…ouch).
  • I have no symptoms right now. Let's pray that continues, lol.
Mr. RFA told me to tell all of you thank you for your prayers. I want to say thank you, too. I don't know if it comes across in words on a screen, but I am really grateful for your prayers. Please continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby(ies).

LadyLee, my husband also said thank you for standing in faith with us and already starting on a baby blanket. When I told him about you, he was visibly thrilled.

Well, the pregnancy journey has begun...35 weeks and 6 days to go...unless he/she/or they want to debut earlier.

This is my last TTC post. Going forward my updates will be labeled Pregnancy Post.

Ahhhhh....There is LIFE inside of me!!!!

Thank God for the miracle of life!

Monday, April 29, 2013

In a Nutshell

Well, we have another weekend under our belts.  I admit that I’m sad to see it go.  

On Friday I took my sister out for a belated birthday dinner. I cannot believe she is 24 years old. That means I’m….almost 33. Whew, time keeps on ticking doesn’t it?  We went to a great little seafood restaurant where we had the best seasoned crawfish, snow crab legs, shrimp, blue crabs, potatoes, and corn.  I was so full and messy by the time we left.  I love sister time.  Did I mention that my sister lives here now?  She does. Yay!

Saturday was a busy day, but it was busy doing things that I didn’t really need to do. The daughter and went and got manicures and pedicures and then went shopping because I decided I wanted a new gala dress for the night instead of wearing one that I already have.  I settled on a deep purple beauty and found Mr. RFA the perfect tie to match.  I had a Chamber award gala to attend for work.  It turned out to be boring, like they are in every City, but at least we looked good and felt great, lol.

Sunday was a great day. After church I went to the grocery store to shop for the next 3 days.  I settled on Spaghetti for Sunday and Monday, and a Roast with potatoes, carrots, asparagus and rice for Tuesday.  I’m crossing my fingers that the roast lasts until dinner on Wednesday, but I have a feeling it will not. Although we are a small family of 3, those other two people I live with can really put some food away.
While I was cooking, I started watching some shows on demand.  I came across The Following. OMGoodness, how did I not know about that show? I hate that only the past 3 episodes were on Demand, but I love that tonight is the season finale, and I want to watch it. It goes completely against my new schedule, but since I was supposed to be at a council meeting tonight anyway (it has since been cancelled), and dinner is already made, I think I should make time to see if Ryan hunts down Joe and saves Claire.  I’ll get back on schedule tomorrow…for real.

I have gnats in my office. Tons of them, and I find myself swatting and scratching. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to work under these conditions. I’m going to buy some bug bombs and release them before I leave at night. Ugh!

Monday started slow. I awoke late (not good). Even though I should have been rushing, I didn’t.  Things picked up as I was making my way to the lab for my blood draw, though. I started getting so excited. To fill you in, I went into the lab this morning to give blood for my pregnancy test.  I’m praying for strong beta numbers.  I can’t wait to hear the news….I want to call my doctor’s office every hour on the hour, but I’ll refrain….I guess.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time Crunch

This is my third week at my new job, in my new position.  It has taken me no time at all to realize that I need to modify my schedule and habits.  Not only are my days longer by the pure nature of my position, but I also have a commute now. I've been getting home between 7pm - 8pm.  Because I have to leave so early in the mornings, I try to get in bed by 9:30pm.  Do you see where this is going?  I have very limited time for and with my family.

I get home, head to the bathroom to get cleaned for the night, and then I talk to the daughter and Mr. RFA about their days while we eat (that is if they haven't already eaten without me). Before my food digests good, I'm in the bed.  It's only been 2 full weeks of that routine and I'm already tired of it. The dilemma, though, is that I enjoy my new position.

The fix? We will likely be moving in June so that I can be closer to work.  We've had a long discussion about this and because we love My daughter's school, Mr. RFA will drive her there every morning until she is 16 and can drive herself. It's not ideal because now she will have a commute, but it's the best we can manage to come up with at this point. 

I would like for us to rent a house when we move and in turn rent out our house.  Initially, Mr. RFA was opposed to renting, but I've convinced him that I think it makes the most sense. We are still not sure 100% sure we're staying in Texas after My daughter graduates high school, so I don't want to buy another house they we then have to try to sell in 3 years.

The other issue is that I'm not 100% I want to continue working (in the traditional sense) once I give birth (I'm speaking it over our lives!). If that's the case, I would rather us keep our house in our current city because I love my neighborhood and community.  Along that same line of thought, I've also tried to convince my husband that maybe we don't rent out our house, so that we can remain flexible. If there is a situation where the daughter has a late game or weekend events near our city we can just decide to stay at the main house for the night or weekend.  He thinks that is absolutely absurd and a waste of money. I do agree it's a waste of money, but I think it's a solid idea for a family that has commitments all over the metroplex.  For those that don't know the metroplex is a huge block of space. And, the distance between where I live and work is not a hop nor skip away.  However, I see the financial side of it, too. 

Ok, back to my point of this post. Until we do whatever it is we end up doing, I need to make a schedule for myself because right now I'm just a passerby in my home.  I feel like I've left my husband to be Mr. Mom.

I wake up at 5:20am, so I don't see that there is more time in the morning to get things done, which means I'm going to have to extend my bedtime to 10pm. I'm also going to establish a rule for myself that I leave the office in time to get home by 7:15pm unless there is a Council meeting. I'm going to force myself to stick to this rule.

I'm going to have to cut out all weekday television watching. It's almost all gone anyway, but it has to completely go. I get caught up and neglect things I could do to prepare for the next day.

I'm going to have to start cooking all dinners for the week on two nights (Sunday and Wednesday).  I don't cook on Saturdays, so this new schedule will cover things. 

The husband and daughter will handle cleaning laundry, and I'll spend 20 minutes at night getting the house tidy.

All my clothes for the week must be prepared on Sunday.

I have to remain open to staying up a little later for "adult time."  This hasn't been a problem, but I can see it creeping into my mind. 

I also need at least 20 minutes on the elliptical a night. My honey bunny got me one for the house. While on the elliptical I can get some leisure reading done.

I also think I'm going to start waking up at 5:00am (I just had this bright idea while typing).  I can spend that extra time getting some bible reading and writing done.

I think all of these things will help me get a better handle on things and stop the drowning feeling I'm currently experiencing. I really want to pack as many necessary things into weekdays, so our weekends can remain fun and carefree. 

I will say my husband has been great during this major schedule change for us. The man who hates to cook has been a cooking machine.  I'm going to rescue him before he remembers he hates it, lol.

I'm really optimistic about maximizing my time. Any other suggestions to help me, let me know.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TTC Tuesdays - Week 28

Fun times in TTC world this past week!

Last time I left off talking about my egg count. To recap, I had 33 follicles and of those 12 eggs were actually present.  So that takes me to my phone call on Tuesday about how the 12 fertilized overnight...
The embryologist called around 9:30am and told me that he checked in on all 12 embryos and 9 of them had fertilized. He said one wasn't mature enough and the other two weren't viable. At that point, he was happy with the way the 9 of them looked, so he said we would be scheduled for a 5 day transfer. That's exactly what I wanted to hear!   He also let me know that he wouldn't disturb the embryos again until Thursday at which point he would call to give me another update on their progress.
In the meantime, since the retrieval I started new medications - Medrol (a pill), Z-pack (antibiotics), and Progesterone in oil (injected into my butt muscle).  The Progesterone is injected with a long needle, but thank goodness Mr. RFA does a great job giving them to me so that past the initial sting, I can't feel a thing. 
Nothing new. I took my normal medications.
I got the call on Thursday morning about the status of my embryos. The embryologist informed that on day 3 a good embryo will have 6 to 8 cells. I had 8 embryos with 8 cells and 1 with 2 cells.  So, if you're keeping up, we now have 8 good embryos for potential transfer on Saturday.  I was so excited. He told me again that he wouldn't disturb them again until the morning of the transfer on Saturday. It wouldn't be until that day that we would learn exactly how many embryos were viable for transfer.
Nothing new. I couldn't really sleep, though. I was a ball of excitement. The thought of having life inside of me the next day was amazing.
We woke up on Saturday at 6am. I showered and got dressed, not putting on jewelry (including my wedding rings), deoderant, lotions, perfumes, contacts...really just clothes. We both had to do that. embryos are senstive to fumes we were told.
We left the house at 6:45am and stopped to grab a breakfast sandwich before getting to the hospital.  The entire time we were driving I was sipping on water to fill my bladder. The procedure is ultrasound guided, so a full bladder was necessary.
When we arrived, I changed into my hospital gown, got weighed, and waited. I was a happy giddy somebody!!  About 30 minutes later the embryologist came in to give us our embryo update.  He handed us a picture of the best two - the ones that would be transfered.  I couldn't stop smiling looking at it. My husband was amazed by the science of it all, and I was just in a happy la-la land.
(Aren't they precious, lol)
Before long, my husband had to change into a hazmat type suit and we were off to the operating room.
Here is some tmi - during the procedure my bladder so full that while my doctor was pushing down with the ultrasound gear to find my uterine cavity I felt like I was going to go right there on the table. He could see that I was a bit too full, so he ended up putting a catheter in and "emptying my bladder."  I was so grossed out, but it felt like sweet relief, lol.
Anyway...after about 20 minutes he had a view of my uterine cavity that he as happy with and he had inserted the needles all the way in at the position necessary. The embryologist walked in with the two embryos, and BAM...they were in!
I was wheeled to recovery where I had to lay for 30 minutes before I could finally go to the bathroom.  Then, it was time to go home for 3 1/2 days of bed rest.
So, here I sit, on my last day of bed rest.  I'm praying that both of our little embryos stick and grow.  This is such an exciting time!!  I'm hoping not to drive myself crazy over the next 6 days prior to the first pregnancy test.
For all you praying people, pray for my little embryos to find a great spot in mommy's uterus to plant themselves and grow strong.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TTC Tuesdays - Week 27

Last week was an interesting point in our TTC Journey. We had three doctor visits, took new drugs, finished some drugs, saw great things, and learned all about some great next steps.

I'll start from Tuesday.

Going into the office on Tuesday I was coming off of a weekend of taking 3 drugs in a total of 4 shots daily and I was ready to see the progress it generated. The ultrasound revealed that follicles were popping up, but there weren't a whole lot because my cycle had not completely gone away at that point. My blood work came back great and I was taken off of one of the drugs, the dosage of one was reduced, and the dosage of the third was increased. Either way I was happy that I was down to three shots instead of the four.

Thursday's appointment -

Again, I had to give blood, which came back looking great.  That day's ultrasound revealed that I had 8 growing follicles in my right ovary, and 7 in my left ovary. I was amazed. Some were small and some were medium sized. She told me that some of those would never mature to size, some would, and I would likely produce others.

Saturday's appointment -

By Saturday I was feeling Full, like literally. My belly felt like it weighed 10 pounds just by itself.  As usual, I walked in and had to give blood and then went into my ultrasound. This time the nurse was much quieter. Both Mr. RFA and I were looking at the screen and I saw tons of dark spots - follicles. I couldn't believe that all of those things were inside of me, hopefully producing eggs. After about 5 minutes she confirmed that there were several new follicles. In fact there were 13 on the right side and 20 on the left side. Yes, you read that right, I had 33 follicles floating about. She said that several had already reached maturity and she wasn't quite sure what the doctor would have us do at this point because we were about 3 to 4 days ahead of schedule.

The doctor reviewed all the images and determined that I had some great follicles so instead of hoping the smaller ones would mature, and risking losing the good ones, he wanted us to prepare for egg retrieval. So, I was told to stop all my stimulation medication, and to take a Trigger shot (HCG) at 8:30pm on Saturday. On a side note, my husband had to administer the HCG shot to me because it goes into the muscle of my backside. He did a great job, after I felt the initial pinch, I didn't feel a thing.  HCG is the drug that tells the eggs to release from the follicles or as you probably know it, to ovulate. Once the drug is given, the eggs will release in exactly 36 hours.  Because we are doing IVF and the doctor needs those eggs, my retrieval had to be scheduled for 34 1/2 hours.  The doctor wants the eggs to be right on the cusp of releasing, but he will be there to get them before they do.  Isn't science amazing?? I think so.

I was as giddy as a little kid at Christmas. It's been real from the time I heard the words IVF, but on Saturday I felt I reached a new level of "real."  


Yesterday was a milestone day. We got to the hospital at about 5:45am, both sleepy but too excited to yawn, lol. When we arrived no one was in the reproductive department, so I started to panic.  I gave no credit to the fact that we were 15 minutes early. Finally at 6am someone opened the door and introduced themselves. From there I got weighed, undressed, dressed in the hospital gown, hairnet, socks and booties, placed in a bed, and wrapped in a warm blanket (it felt so good, like it had come out of the oven).  I was getting slightly nervous and anxious, but still remaining excited. 

Finally they put the IV in my hand....the one that would give me the drugs to go under. While still waiting in my recovery room before the procedure the embryologist came in to talk to us. He was an absolute hoot and had us laughing my butt off.  Although he wouldn't be apart of the procedure, we felt so good knowing he was going to take care of our future embryos. 

The Anesthesiologist then arrived.  He was nice and very specific about what he was going to do. He said, you will fall asleep quickly and wake up quickly.  He also told me that   I would likely be groggy for the remainder of the day.

Then came our great Reproductive Endocrinologist.  We both really like him. He has been with us since the beginning.

Finally, at 7am on the dot I gave Mr. RFA a kiss and I was taken to the operating room.  The last thing I remember is the Anesthesiologist putting the oxygen tubes in my nose.  Next thing I know I was half awake feeling terrible cramping pains. I was in and out, but I remember the Embryologist coming to get Mr. RFA for his sample.  After an hour we headed home where I slept on and off for the rest of the day. 

Here is how Wikipedia describes the egg retrieval process: Under ultrasound guidance, the operator inserts a needle through the vaginal wall and into an ovarian follicle, taking care not to injure organs located between the vaginal wall and the ovary. The other end of the needle is attached to a suction device. Once the follicle is entered, suction is gently applied to aspirate follicular fluid and with it, hopefully, cellular material including the oocyte. The follicular fluid is delivered to a technician in the IVF laboratory to identify and quantify the ova. Next, other follicles are aspirated. Once the ovarian follicles have been aspirated on one ovary, the needle is withdrawn, and the procedure repeated on the other ovary. It is not unusual to remove 20 oocytes as women are generally hyperstimulated in advance of this procedure. After completion, the needle is withdrawn, and hemostasis is achieved. The procedure usually lasts from 20–60 minutes.

Oh...before we left the hospital the embryologist had already determined the number of retrieved eggs from my 33 follicles.  There were a total of 12. We were told that was a great number to start with. So, yesterday afternoon, he put each egg in a dish along with 30,000 - 50,000 sperm so they could have a fertilization party. This morning he will determine which fertilized and which look the most promising. It's unlikely that all 12 will end up as viable embryos, but it should be about half of that. Every couple is different.

Today's call will also tell us when we go back for the transfer of embryos into my uterus. It will either be Thursday - a 3 day transfer or Saturday - a 5 day transfer. I'm really hoping for the 5 day because waiting a couple days more really reveals how viable they are. Either way, this week my future babies will go into my uterus in search for a nice spot to implant!

AHHHH, I'm so stinking excited.  Every moment I think about it, I do a happy dance. I am just so happy and I feel so blessed that we were able to go through this process. I am so excited about the possibility of becoming a mommy to more kids. And, I'm excited about making my husband a biological dad.  

I'll probably blog about it before next Tuesday just because I can't see how I'll contain myself after the transfer.  Like I said before, we are keeping it secret from everyone except my daughter, so I really need an outlet to discuss.

Yay, yay, yay...happy dance, yay!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

From Generation To Generation

There are consistent things I pray about.  One of those things I pray about is that generational cursers be broken off my family. Specifically, I pray that my daughter will not become an unwed mother.  My mother was 14 when she had me and I was 17 when I got pregnant and gave birth to my daughter. I know things happen for a reason to each of us, but when I say those numbers out loud, or even think about them, I feel a twinge of something. Not shame, maybe it's still awe.

My family is one of women. It seems that most of us have girl children. This has been the case for the past 3 generations.  Almost all, except for 2 that I can think of, of the women in my mother's generation were unwed mothers.  All, except for 1, of the women in my generation were unwed mothers, the remainder - my sister and one cousin are neither married nor mothers. The same is true for my male cousins.

This pattern screams generational curse to me. It's one that I have monitored since I became a parent of a girl child. God knows I don't want her to repeat this unGodly pattern.  She loves the Lord and has a great head on her shoulders. We talk candidly about sex, emotions, consequences, physical feelings, drugs, the whole gammet. I appreciate her candor with me, and I hope she appreciates mine. She knows my expectations of her and she knows some of what God expects...she is growing into understanding it all.  She has made a verbal commitment to purity.  She's only a few weeks away from 15 years old, so I know verbal commitments can be shaken at this age. But, I am faithful that my God is answering my prayers to break this terrible curse from my family.

I don't know who in my ancestry did what, but I know that I don't want my child to suffer the consequences. So often I have done things in the past, and continue to do things that I know aren't right.  Every time I think about how I'm impacting my great great great granchildren and their children.  I also pray that they don't pay for my sins, but I know sometimes that happens. I try to let that thought guide my behavior when I stray from what I know is right.

Every Sunday when we get in the car fro the end of church services, I ask my daughter what they discussed in church and what she got from it. Today, they talked about generational curses. She went on and on about examples they gave at church.  Then she told me what came to mind about our family while she was listening to biblical examples. Sure enough, she thought about the enormous amount of unwed mothers. But, she went a step further and took it to the curse of premarital sex.  She went further and talked about the lack of marriages, with or without children.

She sees things, she brings it all together in her mind, and she determines if she likes the path or wants a better one.  She asks my opinion, and she talks about her feelings. I love all of that about her.

There are so many types of generational curses out there plaguing so many families. I trust and believe that prayer can break them down, and that doing the right things can avoid future ones.

I'm thankful that the teenagers talked about this in Church today. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

TTC Tuesdays - Week 26

Happy Tuesday!
Today I am on CD 4. My cycle was the shortest it has ever been, but I know that's because the drugs are making my body do what the doctors need it to do. 
I went to the doctor on Friday at which time I had to give blood, have a sonogram, and learn how to give myself two new injections - Follistim and Menopour.  Both drugs are designed to grow follicles.
The Follistim is given through a contraption that looks like a pen (yes, writing pen).  I have to turn a dial to get the correct dosage and then inject.  The menopour has to be mixed. It took me about 30 minutes to do this. My husband records the nurse's instructions on injections, but somehow accidentally deleted that tutorial. We had to find one online.  I was so nervous.  I think it's ridiculous that patients have to mix drugs together at home and then inject them.  I had so much stress around the thought that I was doing it wrong.
Before we left the doctor's office the nurse said to me about three times that no news was good news because she didn't plan to speak to me again until my appointment today.  So, imagine my sad face when my phone rang from my doctor's office just a few hours after I had left the appointment.  They called to tell me that my blood work showed slight anemia.  I don't remember the technical terms she used. At any rate they want something to be at 34%, but my blookwork showed that I'm at 33.8%. They are not too worried, just wanted to double check that I am still taking the iron supplements.  I am.
The sonogram came showed good things. No fibroids, thin lining (what they wanted to see because that meant my cycle was about to start just the way they planned it), and a couple follicles beginning to grow on both sides.
Back to drugs. During my appointment on Friday my lupron dosage was decreased from 10 units to 5. I take 300 miu(?) of Follistim a day (225 in the morning and 75 at night), and 1 ml of menopour in the evening. That's a total of 4 injections. Thankfully I only had to do the menopour on Saturday and Sunday.  Now I'm down to 3 injections.
I cannot say I'm getting used to sticking things in my belly, but I know how to get it done without stressing myself out now.
This week I have to visit the doctor's office 3 times. Today, Thursday, and Saturday.
The journey continues....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

TTC Tuesdays - Week 25

Since I'm behind on my TTC documentation, I decided to post on a Today despite it being Thursday.

Today is CD 25, but I don't think that really matters since I'm on a medication induced schedule for things.

Let me catch you up on what's happened since I last updated:

- We got our humongous box of medication from the mail order company. We were trying to guess what the cost would be, and we were hoping to stay at or below $1500. Well we ended up paying only $517. Yep, God is so very good!

- I finished my birth control.  I had to take it for a total of 20 days instead of the 21 I was initially told. My RE changed it by one day to try in make me fit into a specific schedule for the hospital that will do my retrieval and transfer.

- I began Lupron and tonight's injection will be Day 9. The needles aren't as bad as I thought they would be, but I still have minor anxiety every time I have to give myself the shot.  And, there is a slight burning sensation after each injection for about 20 minutes. It makes me want to scratch my belly off.

- All of Mr. RFA's blood work came back great.  Mine came back good for the most part.  The two exceptions, I have low iron and low vitamin D levels. I wasn't shocked by the iron, I have heard that sporadically from doctor's since I've been an adult. Although, I try to stay away from dairy (except ice cream, lol) I was shocked that my D levels were down. I thought for sure I got that vitamin somewhere else in my diet.  So now I'm on both iron and Vitamin D supplements, along with a prenatal.

- My honey went and gave his emergency sample - this is done in case something happens to him on the day of the egg retrievals that would prevent him from giving a fresh sample.

- Tomorrow we have another Doctor's appointment for more blood work and sonogram. They want to test the effect of the Lupron and see how my follicles are developing. We also start a new medication tomorrow - one of the stimulation drugs.  I don't even know which one.

I've been reading up some more on side effects of the medications, but so far I don't feel like I've experienced any. I did have one day where I was a little irritated for no apparent reason. I'm not sure if that was one of the moodiness side effects or if it was just me.

All in all, it's been a pretty uneventful process thus far. I like it like that, though.