IVF

All posts in the IVF category

Missing our angel baby 

Published October 15, 2016 by Jennie

Today is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. My heart goes out to all the mommies and daddies out there who are parents to babies no longer on this earth and/or babies they never got to meet. 

It has been a year and a half since I miscarried our first baby. When I look back at that  post it still makes me feel sick to my stomach. 

I am so thankful for the children we now have but they do not replace the one we lost. I still miss him. The day I found out I was pregnant with him was the best day of my life. Up until then we had tried to get pregnant for five years with no success. I am so very thankful for the joy I experienced from that pregnancy even though it only lasted 13 weeks. It was the only time I enjoyed being pregnant. 

I wish I had not allowed my fear of another loss prevent me from experiencing any joy from my second pregnancy. 

While I still struggle with the implications from infertility and pregnancy loss, I thankful for the connections I have formed with other bloggers. Sometimes I feel like you guys understand me more than some of the people I see in my day to day life. Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement. It means everything to me. – Jennie 

Our Birth Story

Published June 26, 2016 by Jennie

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! It has meant a lot to me. I thought I would share our birth story. It was definitely a whirlwind and some parts are hard to remember.

On Friday the 24th, I woke up at about 4AM to my water breaking at 34w1d. I woke up my husband and we drove to the hospital. We were both surprisingly calm given the situation. I think we were both in shock.

When I got to triage the nurse told me that since I was not in labor they would try to hold it off since I was early. The original plan was to admit me and try to push back delivery as long as possible. I then spoke to the doctor on call. He said sometimes the risks of prolonging the pregnancy would outweigh the benefits. The longer we waited, the higher the risk of infection (the risk of infection increases after you rupture your membranes). He said 34 weeks is usually the point where the will not try to prolong the pregnancy anymore.

Since I was not in labor, he decided to give me a steroid shot to speed up lung development. That takes a day to work so we were going to deliver on Saturday. Even so, he said that the research on giving steroids at 34 weeks is mixed. At that point it probably does not help much but since it only takes a day to work it was worth a shot. Basically he was ok with trying to prolong the pregnancy for one more day but nothing more than that.

We scheduled a C section on Saturday. About 10 minutes after the doctor left I went into labor. It happened super fast. I went from no contractions to significant contractions very quickly. The doctors were surprised by how fast it happened. Luckily I had an amazing nurse who got the ball rolling so I could deliver.

The C section went smoothly. I originally struggled with having a C section versus a vaginal birth but once it came time to do it, I was just glad we had a way for me to deliver them safely. One I delivered, we got to see them and hold them for a few minutes and then they went to the NICU.

That evening I started feeling pretty bad. We found out I had a severe allergic reaction to the tape used on my incisions. The doctor actually told me she had never seen a reaction like that before. In the grand scheme of things it is not my biggest concern. It is frustrating though because it makes it harder to get around and the medicine used to treat it makes me pretty loopy.

I have attempted to pump and so far it is an epic failure. I pump every 2 hours using a hospital grade pump and have yet to get even a single drop. Not even one. I hate it.

I do plan on writing a post about our NICU experience. For now I will say it is the best and worst place I have ever been to. I am so thankful that our babies are getting such good care and the staff in the NICU are nothing short of angels.

Here are a few pictures.

 

We are also incredibly fortunate that both babies are doing remarkably well. They have breathed on their own the whole time (that is a big deal for preemies) and are eating. Yesterday they had all their IVs removed. Today they were removed from their incubators and are in regular beds. I know they need a little more TLC but I am so ready for them to come home! – Jennie

Things are starting to get real!

Published May 26, 2016 by Jennie

Today marks 30 weeks! I  can’t believe I just typed that. Everything still feels surreal. We have been on this journey so long and it’s crazy to think we are just a few months away from meeting our babies.

Not much is going on right now but I feel like this is the calm before the storm. While waiting for the coveted title of mom I did obtain another title a few weeks ago….Dr! I was originally not going to go to graduation but my husband talked me into it. I am glad he did. It is cool to think that my babies were with me when I got my PhD. Here is a picture of graduation 🙂

grad

This is actually the only picture of me that has been taken since we did our transfer in November. I am really weird about stuff like that.

People keep asking me how I am feeling. Sometimes it is hard for me to answer that. We have been through so much to get pregnant and it does not feel right to complain. Even so pregnancy (and in my case a twin pregnancy) is challenging and I think it is okay to talk about those challenges. With everything going on, I am still thankful for every day this pregnancy continues and my number one goal is to keep them cooking for the next eight weeks.

Symptoms

Carpel Tunnel – My worst symptom right now by far is carpel tunnel syndrome. I never knew this could be a pregnancy thing before I experienced it. My hands hurt all the time and my left hand is worse than my right (I am left handed). It makes everything from brushing my hair to lifting things to grocery shopping a challenge. I have started doing a lot of things (like typing this post) with my right hand but even that takes a while. This has been frustrating because I have a lot of stuff I need to do and its hard to get things done. I do wear a splint but it does not seem to help much.

Swelling – OMG the swelling is crazy! It doesn’t help that I live in the South and it is summer. It has gotten a lot worse the last few weeks despite me drinking water like it is going out of style. For example, at 28 weeks I had gained 28 pounds, which is exactly what I was shooting for (research shows that 28 lbs by 28 weeks greatly reduces the likelihood of preterm labor for twin pregnancies). After that, I cut back on calories but kept up protein. Even so, I gained almost 7 pounds between weeks 28 and 30. My dr said this is almost all due to swelling. My concern is that this can be a sign of preeclampsia especially if it is paired with other symptoms. My dr is watching things closely and I am taking my blood pressure twice a day. So far so good.

Movement – I have mentioned in previous posts that movement has been an issue. It is getting better but nowhere where I would like. If I followed kick count guidelines I would be calling the nurse on call everyday. Even so, they are always active during every ultrasound and are growing on target. At 29 weeks baby A was 2 lbs 9 oz and baby B was 2 lbs 14 oz. I freaked out a bit because they were different but MFM said that is normal and they will have growth spurts at different times. As long as the difference does not exceed 20% we are good!

I did find out that the babies respond to loud noises. At a recent appointment my doctor’s office was testing the fire alarm. The babies went nuts. It was awesome! Everyone else in the waiting room looked annoyed and I probably looked like a crazy person sitting there with a big smile on my face. I also recently went to a baseball game where they had fireworks and they responded to that as well.

Hope my readers in the US all have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend and everyone is doing well! – Jennie

 

One Year Ago

Published May 11, 2016 by Jennie

Exactly one year ago today was one of the worst days of my life. So much has happened since then. Even so, sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. One of the worst memories from that day is seeing the look on my husband’s face when he realized our little boy no longer had a heart beat. It was awful. Even now I have days where it is hard to get those memories out of my head.

Every day I am thankful for this pregnancy. Even so, these babies do not replace the one we lost. I still miss him. Our loss as well as our infertility struggle continues to have an impact on me today. While I was worried during my first pregnancy, that was nothing like this one. Doctors appointments are tough. Waiting for the doctor to pick up the heartbeats on the ultrasound always feels like it takes forever although I know that is not really the case.

I also feel like an outsider when around other pregnant women. We did our hospital tour yesterday and one of my first thoughts was how crazy it is that most of the couples also at the tour got to where they are the old fashioned way. I gave up on that years ago. I can’t even imagine what that is like! They also asked lots of questions I have never even considered. For example, one wanted to know if they could change the lighting in the L&D room. My only real concern so far is keeping the babies alive and having them born healthy. It is hard for me to think of anything beyond that.

Tomorrow official marks the beginning of the third trimester. That means I (hopefully) have 10 more weeks to go. My doctor considers 38 weeks full term for twins. My number one goal for now is to get as close to 38 weeks as possible.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is doing well! – Jennie

 

 

 

Viability

Published April 21, 2016 by Jennie

Today I am 25 weeks. Last week we crossed the viability mark! I don’t want to speak for others, but I really think that reaching this point takes on special meaning for people who have dealt with infertility and or pregnancy loss. Of course I hope these babies keep cooking for a while. Even so, I feel so fortunate to have reached this point.

Today we had a fetal echo as well as a growth scan at MFM. Apparently our MFM does fetal echos for all IVF patients. I am curious to know if other people have had that for the same reason. Everything looked good. Baby A is 1 lb 8 oz and baby B is 1 lb 7 oz, which is right on track.  I still do not feel much movement, which is strange but they were jumping all over the place during the ultrasound. Hopefully as things continue to progress I will feel more. Here are a few more updates on how things are going.

Symptoms

Thankfully, the round ligament pain has gone away for now. I know it may come back. Now I am dealing with carpel tunnel. It is much worse in my left hand (I am left handed). I have found that wearing a splint helps (especially at night).

About a month ago, I noticed I could not get my wedding ring off. Despite trying everything under the sun, it would not budge. This week I finally got it cut off. It was not hurting yet but I didn’t want to worry about getting really swollen one day and having it cut off circulation.

ring

We have been married for almost 9 years so it feels really strange to not have my ring 😦

Weight Gain

I am up 25 pounds and I am really happy about that! The goal was to gain 24 pounds by week 24 (I had a normal pre-pregnancy weight). Apparently that decreases the risk of preterm labor with twins. It has been difficult because I am not more hungry than I was before I was pregnant. I have been eating at least 100 grams of protein a day, which is hard! Anything for babies of course 🙂

Names

People keep asking me what we are going to name the babies. I am actually letting my husband name them and tell me his final choice once they are here. I know that might sound crazy. Even so, hear me out!

  • If I do not like his choice(s), I will tell him and he can pick something else.
  • We have similar taste in names. We both like names that are easy to spell and pronounce (our babies will have enough trouble with our last name).
  • It was 100% my idea. When I suggested it, he got really excited.
  • I thought it would be a nice was for him to have some fun. People sometimes forget that this whole infertility/IVF/miscarriage/pregnancy journey is also hard on him.
  • Its a way for him to feel more involved and bond with the babies. He has been so supportive though all of this. Even with an insane work schedule, he has made every appointment. I could not do it without him!

 

I hope everyone else is well. Even at this point, everything still seems surreal to me. We have been on this journey for 6 years and it is crazy to think that in the near future we may finally get to meet our babies! – Jennie

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging in there!

Published April 1, 2016 by Jennie

Happy April to everyone! Today is one of those days I am glad that I do not have Facebook anymore. I do not have to deal with April Fools pregnancy announcements. I know that people who post them do not intend to be hurtful or understand how it may affect someone dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss. Even so, they are still awful to see. I hope that people have not had to deal with too many of them this year.

Today marks 22w1d with my twin pregnancy. At 21w3d I woke up feeling like someone had stabbed me in the abdomen. I really thought my appendix had burst (the pain was in the lower right side of my abdomen). Turns out it is round ligament pain. I have heard of it before but did not know it could be that intense. I am learning things to do to keep the pain at bay but if anyone has some tips or suggestions, I greatly appreciate it!

At 22w we had a growth scan at MFM. Appointments still make me crazy nervous. Both babies measured at 15 ounces. I did find out my cervix shortened a bit from 4.1 cm at 18w1d to 3.4 cm at 22w (cue the anxiety attack) but my doctor said that is still okay. I am very thankful that they are monitoring things so closely so that if it does get too short, they can intervene and hopefully keep things going.

I am really starting to show and it amazes me how often complete strangers ask me about my pregnancy. I am not offended or anything, just surprised. I have also found out that people tend to be fascinated with twins. The first question I often get is whether I am having a boy or a girl. When I tell them I am having one of each, I almost always get at least 1 (if not more) of the following questions.

1. Do twins run in your family?

This appears to be a polite way of trying to figure out if I had IVF. People seem to also be very curious about that. I am not embarrassed at all about doing IVF. In fact, I am proud of it! We have gone though so much to get where we are and could have given up a long time ago.

2. Are they natural?

This is another less polite way of trying to figure out if I had IVF. I have pretty thick skin so it doesn’t offend me (I know people do not intend to be insensitive). Even so, I am tempted to reply with a sarcastic answer. For example, I could say that they are not natural but are robots or androids (something to show people that this is kind of a silly question!).

3. Are they identical?

The first time someone asked me this, I thought they were messing with me. Boy/girl twins can not be identical. Even so, I get this question ALL the time. Even my MFM specialist warned me that people might ask me this. One lady actually told me that my babies are not ‘real’ twins because they are not identical. Seriously, WTF? My husband suggested that when people ask me this, I should just say yes. Maybe once they are born, I will get them something like this:

yes-were-twins-not-identical-boy-girl-twins-funny

4. Do you feel twice the movement?

The answer to this is no. In fact, I feel very little movement. Both placentas are anterior, which makes it harder to feel stuff. It gets frustrating because lots of people want to tell me how much movement they felt at 22 weeks with their own pregnancies (often singletons) and then I worry that I am not feeling enough. My doctor assured me that everything is okay though. They were both moving like crazy at our last ultrasound (especially baby B). He had his legs over his head, which I thought was pretty cute!

a and b 22 weeks

In addition to these questions, everyone seems to know someone that had some terrifying twin experience and feels the need to share this story with me. This happens all the time. I know that people mean well but I promise that I am already nervous enough as it is!

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone else is doing well!  – Jennie

 

 

 

Update

Published March 5, 2016 by Jennie

It has been exactly 6 months since I have logged in. So much has happened since then! On Tuesday I defended my dissertation (yay!) so now I finally have some free time to do other things. I miss reading other people’s blogs and look forward to doing that again. I am also still incredibly grateful for the support I received during our last pregnancy. I miss you guys!

The rest of this post may be a trigger for some. Believe me I have been there and I understand!

After our first miscarriage I had no desire to continue trying. I could not imaging ever having to ever go through that again. As time went on, we got to the point where we were ready to give it another try (I wrote about that here). Unfortunately, our transfer was cancelled due to thin lining. My RE figured it was from my D&E since my lining was very good at my first transfer. We waited a few months and tried again. This time things looked better.

I was not really sure what to expect. My first beta was in the 4,000s (I never got the exact number). When I got my first BFP I was ecstatic. This time the first thing I felt was fear. Pregnancy after a miscarriage is terrifying. My second beta was 10,000 and I still felt scared (I am not sure if that feeling ever goes away).

At 5w6d I was teaching my undergraduates. I felt a gush and put up a problem for my students and went to the bathroom. My heart sank. I called my RE and they told me to come in. I cried the whole way there. Everything actually looked good and they could not even find a reason for the bleeding. We went back a week and a half later and heard the heartbeats.

At 10w we went to the obgyn for the first time. This was really hard. Last time we were there, we saw our little boy who looked perfect but had lost his heartbeat. I miss him so much and think about him all the time.

At 17w4d we had another scare. I thought I was possibly leaking amniotic fluid. A ph test and ultrasound confirmed that was not the case but it was really scary.

At 18w1 we had our anatomy scan. It felt like the longest 45 minutes of my life. They took about 80 images. They also measured my cervix. Everything looked great. We still are going to go to MFM every 4 weeks due to being high risk.

Well here they are. This is from our MFM appointment at 13w1d.

I also found out that both placentas are anterior, which is why I have not felt a thing! This is what an anterior placenta looks like.

anterior-placenta-picture

This has been an exciting but difficult process. I am so lucky to have support from my friends and family. My husband has also been incredible. Despite an insane work schedule with lots of travel, he has made every appointment and is a constant source of support. I do not know what the future holds but whatever happens, I do not have to face it alone.

I really look forward to seeing how everyone is doing and possibly find some new stories to follow. XOXOXOXO – Jennie

 

Happy Birthday?

Published January 5, 2015 by Jennie

So tomorrow is my birthday. I turn the big 32. I try my best to stay positive with birthdays. I lost my brother when he was 19 so I learned a while back to be thankful for every year you get. Even so, birthdays are painful. It reminds me that another year has gone by with no child and no pregnancy. I remember turning 27 (when we first started trying) thinking how bad it would be if I got to 28 and I was still not pregnant. Here I am at (almost) 32 and I feel like I am in the same place.

I also started my blog about a year ago. Almost everyone I followed back then has moved on (often by getting pregnant). I know how crappy infertility is and I am genuinely happy for them but I can’t help but feeling a bit jealous (which is awful I know).

Even though I feel like I am in the same place, I know that in reality this is not true. This year we have something that we never had before. We now have everything set up to start our very first transfer…..horray! I had to wait for AF to start and of course it was super late but everything is set and I am ready to get this party started! Today is day 1 of birth control bills. I am going out of town next week so my first RE appointment is the 19th. Even so, I say that today is officially day one of the whole process.

About a month ago I wrote a post about our struggle to decide whether we should transfer 1 or 2 blastocysts. Ours went through PGS which increased not only the chance of success but the change of twins. We poured over any information I could possibly find about the pros and cons of singletons vs. twins. Ultimately, we decided to transfer 1 boy. In the end, that was just what felt right. The only reason we picked a boy is because we have more of them (4 vs. 3). If this transfer does not work, we will deterimine if we need to change our game plan. If anything, I am relieved that we finally made a decision.

Although I have learned everything I possibly can about transfers, for some reason, I feel like I do not know what to expect. I am excited but also super nervous. Hope 2015 is going well for everyone so far! – Jennie