Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Story of Secondary Infertility: Part 5


As a way to observe National Infertility Week, I have decided to share our story of infertility in hopes it may help at least one person. This story is extremely personal to me and has taken tremendous effort to live through and now write about. I understand firsthand how taboo the topic of infertility can be. Please keep in mind how vulnerable I am making myself when reading and commenting.

I shared the first part of our story, the birth of our daughter, here. She was conceived naturally without any issues. The next step was trying to get a diagnosis for our infertility and I shared that here. Then we tried 3 unsuccessful IUIs in Part 3 of our story here. Our next step was to try IVF and I discussed that and the results in Part 4 here. Now I'd like to share what we have been going through since our loss in December.

My first baseline after the miscarriage still had high numbers (over 1000), so I was told to wait until after my first cycle started. In late December I went in again and my numbers were negative. Now we had to decide at what point we would like to try again.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about this. Was I not respecting our little baby by proceeding forward or was I honoring her? After a lot of thought and tears, I felt that little embryo had really tried to beat the odds. It was slower developing yet still managed to attach and try to grow. It fought for life. And with all the sadness I need to feel like I was actively trying to do something to get pregnant again. I needed something good desperately. So we decided to proceed with a second IVF cycle as soon as we could. We had to go through some of the same tests and wait at least one more cycle before scheduling. Again the hysteroscopy was normal and we were finally able to be scheduled for a February cycle. 

I was placed on the same antagonist protocol as last time since it was considered to be 'successful'. I'd like to debate that, but I'll move on. Back in December I had asked if the cause of our infertility was egg quality, was there anything I could do to help with that? She recommended going on CoQ10 and DHEA. After reading about both and looking through some studies, I started both supplements in addition to my prenatal vitamin and Vitamin D in December. Typically these supplements take about 2 months before the effect is seen so they would be in my system just long enough to have an effect on our February IVF cycle. 

They also opted not to do any ovarian suppression this time was no time on a birth control pill. One of the things that really impressed me about this clinic was their scheduling. They opened at 6:30am for monitoring and had weekend appointments. It really made all those appointments easier. Once I started stimulation injections, the clinic added in a steroid to help with ovarian response as well (Dexamethasone). I was once again on low dose HCG, Follistim, and then towards the end of the cycle, Ganirelix. I was also on low dose aspirin. This time the amounts I was injecting were much higher. My stomach started to resemble a pin cushion. 

Our egg retrieval surgery was scheduled for Saturday February 18. Luckily my parents were able to take our daughter for the weekend so I could recover. It's an outpatient surgery, but due to the anesthesia, you are pretty much out for the rest of the day. The next day is a little uncomfortable, you still feel a bit tired, a little sore, and pretty bloated. The nurses told me they were estimating between 4-9 eggs based on the number and size of follicles I had. After all the extra drugs, supplements, and steroid, I was crushed. I was really hoping for at least 10 (they had gotten 9 before). Double digits seem like so much more, mentally. After the surgery we were shocked to hear the doctor had actually been able to retrieve 13!! This seems to be a theme with me, but I started bawling. I couldn't believe it! I just knew having 4 more eggs this time could make all the difference. Even the nurse congratulated us. She said once she found out she knew how excited I would be (seriously the nurses are SO nice). We had to wait until Sunday to see how many were mature and how many fertilized. 

Early afternoon (after obsessively checking my phone and being sure it wasn't working since I hadn't gotten a call), I finally got a call with the fertilization results. Once again we decided to use ICSI for fertilization. Of the 13 eggs, all of them were mature (!) and 10 of them fertilized! Yep, I cried again. Last time we had 6 fertilized at this point. They set the transfer for 5 days later on Thursday February 23. I didn't get a call about how our embryos were doing that day and I started to panic. What if we got there and there were no blastocysts and we just had to go home?! I called and was told there was no update. We finally got into the room and the doctor told us there were 2 great blastocysts we could transfer. There were a remaining 6 embryos still alive she said they would let grow a little longer and see if they could get to a good blastocyst stage. There was a good chance we would have some frozen at the end of this, too! She said there was about a 50% chance of pregnancy by transferring 1, and a 65% chance by transferring 2. My husband said it was up to me. I chose to do 2 embryos again. I was on bedrest again that day and had acupuncture that evening. One day after our transfer I found out that of the 6 embryos we still had, 5 of them made it to freeze. We had 5 embryos left and 2 (hopefully) trying to implant inside of me. It was such a change from our last cycle, I had to pinch myself at times. 

There are lots of websites about diets and food you are supposed to eat to help implantation that I had somewhat followed in the past. A well-known one is pineapple core (yes, the hard part). So the 5 days following our transfer I ate a few pieces of pineapple core a day and drank lots of water. I also had to start estrogen patches and progesterone in oil shots. 

The next Tuesday, 5dp5dt (that is infertility speak for 5 days post 5 day transfer, the rough equivalent to 10 days after ovulation, 4 days before a missed period), I was feeling some symptoms and decided to use my 1 home pregnancy test. I wondered if one of those embryos (or both) would actually implant. Could I be that lucky? (Which is ridiculous to ask yourself after you've been through all that we have.) It was faint, but positive! I kept testing. It could easily be a chemical pregnancy or similar to my last IVF experience. But the lines kept getting darker. I even went to the dollar store to get a test that isn't that sensitive and it was positive, too. Saturday March 4 was my first blood test (9dp5dt). My progesterone and estrogen were really good, but mostly importantly my HCG was 94 this time, much higher than last time. My next beta on March 8 (12dp) and was over 350. My 3rd and final beta showed my progesterone and estrogen continuing to rise (even though I had stopped the patches at the direction of the doctor) and my HCG was over 3000. We scheduled the first ultrasound for Monday March 20. Even though my numbers were much higher, I was starting to feel the effects of exhaustion, and other symptoms stronger than last time, I was still so nervous. At that point I was 6 weeks and 2 days. Thankfully the doctor came right in. And there was a little baby in there this time! We were even able to see the heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. In the midst of all the joyful tears and congratulations, we were told we 'graduated' and I needed to start making appointments with my regular OB. I had my 8 week check up Thursday April 6 with everything looking good and had another ultrasound to check growth on Thursday April 20. When it came up on the screen I believe my first words were something like, "It's still in there! Thank God!" I, of course, proceeded to cry. The baby is all measuring on track with a strong heartbeat of 160. 



This past Saturday, I marked my 12th week of pregnancy. We are due November 11 and finally feel comfortable sharing our news with others. Apart from a lot of tiredness and a little nauseousness I've been feeling pretty good so far. After all we've been through I don't regret a single decision we made. I am so grateful there is this technology available, we had a choice of clinics and hospitals to go to, and have success with it. So many people are limited depending on their finances, insurance, location, and time to go through with something as intense as IVF, not once but twice. I am thankful I have a supportive husband and support system in place in my life to help me through it all. I am not sure how we could have managed otherwise. I hope and pray every day our infertility story truly ends with the birth of our beautiful second child in November. Then we can really begin to heal from this and start our new story being parents of 2! 



32 comments:

  1. Oh Laura, I am so happy for you and your family. I've been reading your story and praying for you. Thank you for sharing what you've been going through because you have undoubtedly helped another and your happy ending will give hope to the hopeless. God bless you and your baby always!
    xoxo,
    Kellyann
    http://www.thisblondesshoppingbag.com

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS LAURA!!!!

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!

    I was reading and started holding my breath as the news just got better and better, and to see that you're pregnant, after all of your trials and waiting, you must be so happy I can't even imagine. A massive, massive congratulations. You are going to love being a mum of two! Would you like me to continue praying for you over your pregnancy? :)

    Hope you are having a fantastic week :) I'm sure you are if you're getting to share your happy news with everyone!

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  3. So happy for you!! I started crying as soon as I saw the news!!! Congrats my love!!

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  4. I am so over the moon for you and your family! What a journey. I am praying for you. Thanks for sharing this overwhelming experience. Keep us updated Laura!

    http://www.kathrineeldridge.com

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  5. Ahh!! This is the best news, Laura!! I'm so happy for you! What a journey you have been through and I'm so happy for you to get a chance to expand your family!!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

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  6. OH my gosh! What a beautiful story! So happy that you are pregnant and feeling well! What a beautiful testimony of God's love. I hope you are feeling well and have an easy rest of your pregnancy! Congratulations!

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  7. Oh what a journey! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm so happy for you and the ending!

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  8. Congrats! It seems like it was quite the journey to get there.
    http://tresfly.blogspot.com/

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  9. This is such a great ending and start on your journey! I am so happy for you! Pregnancy was a complete nerve wracking situation for me but holding that baby in your arms makes everything worth it. I am so happy for you and your family!

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  10. Oh Laura, I am SO happy for you and your family. I've been reading along with your journey and am overflowing with happiness for you! The Lord is good and has a plan!
    Valerie

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  11. Oh my, tears of joy for you! Big hugs.

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  12. I have been following up with your infertility story. O my god I am so happy for you. You have no idea. You and your husband and little Claire must be over the moon. I am glad you have marked the first trimester of this pregnancy with success. That will be such a lucky baby to have a sweet and loving mamma like you. So very happy for you all. Hugs all around, Laura.

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  13. I have been following up with your infertility story. O my god I am so happy for you. You have no idea. You and your husband and little Claire must be over the moon. I am glad you have marked the first trimester of this pregnancy with success. That will be such a lucky baby to have a sweet and loving mamma like you. So very happy for you all. Hugs all around, Laura.

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  14. Congratulations! I am so happy for you all!!!

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  15. Congratulations! What a journey!

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  16. Thanks a lot :D

    I hope that your journey have an amazing end <3 keep strong <3

    NEW OUTFIT POST | Best Color Matching
    InstagramFacebook Oficial PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  17. Congratulations!! Great post and thanks for sharing your story!
    xx
    Mónica Sors
    MES VOYAGES À PARIS
    NEW POST: CITY OF STARS

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  18. I was holding my breath through this whole post and am so happy for you and your family! What an amazing journey!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  19. Laura, I am so happy for you and your family! What an amazing story. I pray for an easy pregnancy and happy and healthy baby. November 11th is my dad's birthday, 11:11 is such a lucky number. Lot's of love!

    xx, Elise
    www.sparkleandslippers.blogspot.com

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  20. I don't know how I missed this post---I didn't get the email. I'll have to resubscribe...
    But....congrats! I'm so happy for you!!
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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  21. Congrats Laura! I'm so happy to hear your story has a happy ending. It truly is amazing and I'm sure you will be an incredible mom of two.
    http://www.iamchiconthecheap.com/

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  22. Awww Laura, congratulations!!

    xo Jules

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  23. Crying! So, so, so happy for you. That little one is so very loved by so many all ready. What a blessed life that baby will have and what a blessing HE/SHE will be. Big love to you, your husband and Claire.

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  24. Congratulations!!! I have never heard an account so detailed of fertility treatments. Thank you for sharing. It makes me more aware of how to help others thanks to your story. Will be praying for all of u.

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  25. SO, so happy for you!!! You went through so much for this and you did it!! What an amazing feeling that must be. Enjoy every minute of this pregnancy!! :)

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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  26. I just read through this entire series and have tears in my eyes as I type this comment. I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through but I'm so so happy you have your happy ending!

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  27. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! You have been through such a lot, I hope you can relax and enjoy your pregnancy xxx

    Emma

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  28. Congratulations! I have been following your story for a while and cannot imagine everything you had to go through. I am so happy for you and your family and will be praying for you and your pregnancy over the next several months!

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  29. Wow, I missed this. Congratulations!! I just saw a comment in your post about being able to wear your pants longer and thought wait, what?! So thrilled for you friend! Your posts title didn't say pregnancy anywhere and I guess I missed this post. AHHHHH, YAY! God is good. You have walked such a hard road.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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