Sunday, April 24, 2011

Busting the Infertility Myth - IVF Always Works

I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but back in 2006 when my husband and I first learned that we would need IVF to conceive a child, I believed this myth.  We had been trying to conceive for two years at that point.  I didn't know much about Artificial Reproductive Techonolgy (ART) or any of the components to it.  I only knew what I had heard through others...and what my family had been through.  I mean, my Aunt used Clomid and got pregnant and had TRIPLETS.  So, since IVF was more advanced that just popping a pill, it HAD to work, right?

I learned the hard lesson in 2007.  We started our IVF journey in March...I dutifully followed my protocol.  And when I say dutifully, I mean with military precision.  I made sure I took my birth control and Lupron shots at the same time every night to get me through the suppression period.  When it came time to stimulate my ovaries, I took those injections the same way.  Military precision.  Hands washed, everything laid out before me, clean the area well, inject.  Twice a day I did this.  Even now, almost 4 years later, I can tell you EXACTLY what I was doing.  I mean, this was going to work.  We were getting a baby out of this, weren't we?

My egg retrieval was on April 26, 2007.  It went well overall.  I wasn't in any pain afterwards...and they got 23 eggs!  23!!  23 chances for a baby!  How can IVF NOT work with 23 chances??!!  Zero fertilization...that's how.  My day 1 fert report came in on April 27th.  So far, no eggs had started to divide.  They had ICSI'd 16 mature eggs.  We had no embryos.  Transfer was cancelled.

I was devastated.  I was not prepared for this outcome.  I hadn't even had one thought that IVF wouldn't work for us.  No one had ever said to me that there was a possibility that this wouldn't work...or if they did...I just shrugged it off.  All those painful shots...all those hormones I pumped into my body...all those ultraounds, trips to the office for blood work...all for nothing.  I walked out of the doctor's' office on May 16, 2007, after my follow up, empty and heartbroken.  It would be a full year before I was emotionally ready to start again.  To try again. To hope again. 

But I did get back up...and try again in 2008.  I went into that IVF cycle much more aware that things weren't guaranteed. It was difficult to put my body through the process again...but I wanted a baby.  I wanted to feel what it was like to carry a pregnancy.  On August 13, 2008 I underwent my second egg retrieval.  24 eggs this time.  17 mature.  But I didn't want to get excited.  I knew what could happen.  When the fert report came in the next day, I was less than thrilled.  We had 4 embryos.  4 times better than last cycle, but still not a great percentage.  On the morning of August 16th we arrived for our transfer, only to be told that 3 of our precious embryos had arrested during the night.  We were left with one.  One lone embryo.  The doctor gave us a less than 10% chance if we transferred that one.  But I couldn't walk away again.  I had to give that embryo a matter what the odds.  August 28th will forever be a day I remember.  It was the day my beta came back positive.  And on April 10, 2009, my daughter was born. 

But positive betas don't always mean take home babies.  If there is anything I've learned in the past 5 years it's that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to reproduction.

In 2010, we decided to try to give Lexi a sibling.  Back onto the IVF wagon we went.   By now, we knew the drill...we were following the same protocol that got us Lexi.  No need to fix something that wasn't broken right?  September 29, 2010 was my third egg retrieval.  Again, they got 25 eggs from me.  22 were able to be ICSI'd.  We ended up with 2 embryos this time.  Given that the previous cycle had resulted 3 of 4 arresting...we weren't hopeful that these 2 would make it.  But on October 2nd, both embryos were tranferred back to me.  The doctor said they were perfect embryos..and said we should prepare for the possibilty of twins.

My first beta was October 13th.  It was positive.  We were over the moon with happiness.  93.9 was a good hcg number for 12 days past transfer.  Beta #2, on October 18th, wasn't as stellar.  221.  It had barely doubled.  Beta #3, October 20th...377.  We held out hope.  October 25th...beta #4...1725!  Huge jump!  We were excited.  Maybe we had a late implanter!  Our ultrasound on November 8th, however, revealed that there was no heartbeat.  I was 8 weeks along.  There should have been a heartbeat by then.  There was no explanation as to why my betas continued to rise, but the embryo didn't grow.  On November 12, 2010, I under went a D&C to remove the "product of conception".   IVF worked...but didn't.

The moral of this long that IVF doesn't always mean a take home baby.  The only things IVF does guarantee is a chance.  Only a chance at conception.  A chance at hope.

If you are going through treatment, or thinking about undergoing treatment, know you're not alone.  There are those of us who have been where you are.  Who are willing to listen, and support you.  Do not be afraid to reach out.  We are here to reach back.

If you know someone going through treatment, or about to undergo treatment, please visit the Resolve website below.  If you don't know what to say to your loved one, give them a hug.  Ask them how much they are willing to share...and ask questions.  But please, don't judge them for the choices they make.  Infertility is a harsh reality for many people to face and some may not be in a place where they are emotionally able to share.  And most importantly, don't treat their losses as if they didn't happen.  Acknowledge them.  Those chances at hope deserve it.

To learn more about infertility, visit
Also, please visit to learn more about NIAW (National Infertilty Awareness Week)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Needing to vent

Since I've been working from home, we've had my MIL watching Lexi on Mondays.  I used to drive her to my mom's an hour away and take the train to the office from there...but since I no longer commute, driving her the hour and then coming back seemed silly.  Well, I'm starting to rethink doing it. 

Let me first say, that I love my MIL.  But I can't stand her sometimes.  She's supposed to be watching Lexi on Mondays while I'm upstairs working.  She gets to my house about 8:15 (no problem) and I go upstairs.  Well, I feed Lexi breakfast before she gets here...or at least Lexi is eating when she arrives.  She doesn't feed Lexi anything else until I come down around noon for my which time I have to make Lexi lunch AND my MIL lunch as well.  Then I have to put Lexi down for her nap...which she should have gone down an hour before...and clean up the lunch dishes...then go back upstairs to work...within the hour.  When I'm done at 4:30ish I come back down...and have to feed Lexi dinner right away because MIL didn't give her any snacks after her nap. 

I've talked to her about this.  I've told her Lexi should get a snack after she gets up...something to tide her over until 6pm when we eat dinner...if she doesn't get anything then she goes from noon until 6 without eating...and that makes a crabby girl.  I don't know why she doesn't do it.  There are kid "safe" snack foods all in the pantry and Lexi has a cabinet of Gerber foods all to herself.  MIL knows this.

OH and today...OMG...she told me she wanted to get Lexi a little chick for Easter.  I'm thinking a peep or a chocolate chick...NOOOO she meant a REAL LIVE CHICKEN!  I was like, hells no!  But I politely said that may not be the best idea since we have 2 large dogs who like to chase little animals.  I also added that Lexi should never get a live animal as a gift unless DH or I are the ones giving it, OR, we've discussed it and agreed to it BEFORE any purchase is made.  She was miffed.  Ticked.  Pissed. 

I don't know if this is going to work out or not.  I don't have an alternative at this point. 

My own mortality

A friend of mine from high school passed away on Lexi's birthday...she was 34. Apparently, she had just gotten home from vacation...didn't feel well...went to bed and never woke up. The cause of her death hasn't been determined...or if it has, it hasn't been shared. Nevertheless, the thought that she was only a few months older than me, and died in her sleep, scares the shit out of me. I'm not the healthiest person...I'm overweight, don't exercise, and my eating habits aren't where they should be. The thought of Lexi growing up without me, terrifies me. We wouldn't be prepared at this point should anything happen to either DH or myself.

We just applied for life insurance...something we've been procrastinating doing since we got married. I mean, I had a group policy through my job...and do through my new job as well...but it was only 1x my salary. Not enough to pay the house off or send Lexi to college. So we've recently applied...did the blood tests...and are waiting to hear if we're "approved".

 We also need to think about what happens to Lexi should both of us be taken. I want to have something in place that names people that are willing to raise her. My sister being our first choice. We've talked to her about it, and she's agreed...but we have to get it on paper and legal. Anyone know how to do that? My friend passing really put alot of things in perspective...I'm not 15 anymore (though I still don't think of myself as a 34 year old working mom)...I need to start living healthier and making different choices. Not just for me...but for my family.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

A moment I'd dreamed of

Last night before bed, Lexi asked me to again "wock baby". So we sat in the rocker in her room and rocked. Then, she started singing her ABC's. Well, singing them as well as a 2 year old can. And I started to cry. When she was a newborn, singing the ABC's to her in this chair was sometimes the only thing that calmed her. The only song she liked. I've sang the ABC song to her probably thousands of times in her short life...and to have her initiate the song made my heart melt. So we sang together...over and over again. Until she was a limp rag doll in my arms...still trying to sing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Two years

Dearest Lexi, Today, you turn 2 years old. You are no longer my "baby" are a little girl. One with personality and opinions and ideas. You have your own sense of style and of doing things. You amaze me more and more each day with your understanding of the world around you. Your personality is larger than you are...literally. You only weigh in at 23lbs 6ozs, but yet are 34 1/4 inches tall. Which means size 18 month pants fall off your behind, but any size smaller looked like floods. Thank goodness for spring and summer when length won't be an issue. Though you are wearing 2T tops!! We had your birthday party on the 3rd. Lots of family came to celebrate your special day and Mother Nature blessed us with a gorgeous spring day. Mommy doesn't really know what to say anymore...I still feel an overwhelming sense of wonder when I look at you...even 2 years later. I still tear up when we snuggle and you ask me to "wock baybee". I still can't believe we were blessed with the miracle of you. You are an amazing little person...and mommy feels so lucky to be a part of raising you. You may be a little girl now...but you'll always be my baby. Love always and forever, Mommy