Monday, July 30, 2012

Beta #3 & Olympics Musings

Beta #3 was yesterday and my hCG was up to 460, which means it's doubling at a rate of 59.5 hours as compared to Beta #2.  So, nice and steady wins the race.  I go back Thursday, and it should be over 1,000 at that point.  Pretty sure that will be my last one, assuming all goes well.  It's hard to believe this is even happening.  I've been praying a lot of thanks, which doesn't seem adequate, and a lot of prayers that everything continues to go well and this baby or these babies are healthy.  I've also prayed so much for my friends (ones I know in person and ones I know through the interwebs) who are waiting for their miracles.  We're still quite a ways from our desired end result, but there were days I truly questioned if we would even get this far.

Okay, now to the Olympics.  Can someone please explain to me how the gymnast who finished FOURTH in the qualifying doesn't even get to compete in the all around finals?  Honestly.  I wanted to cry for her, too.  Jordyn Wieber - life sucks sometimes, and it's not always fair.  But how you handle it says so much about who you are and who you'll become.  And from what I can tell, you are full of class and grace, my dear.  Hopefully this inane rule will be changed.  It won't change things for Jordyn, but I have full confidence that she's going to suck it up and come out and perform her best tomorrow for the team finals.  Go for that gold!!!  Go USA!

P.S.  I was afraid the early pregnancy exhaustion would really put a damper on my Olympics watching, but I stayed up last night and will have to do so again tonight and tomorrow for Men's and Women's Gymnastics Team Finals.  I could take a good hour nap daily, but so far, I have not had the exhaustion I hear people complain about.  Or any nausea.  Praise the Lord for that.  I know it's still early and there's still plenty of time for that to set in, but I'll just choose to believe that I will be spared.  ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012


I've been a wreck waiting for this call. I took a test this morning, and it was about the same as yesterday whereas it had been darkening every day. Maybe it's just as dark as it's going to get, but of course, I let doubt creep in. Either way, I don't think I will test again tomorrow. Haha. My hCG is 263, which means it's doubling at a rate of every 58 hours. My doctor had said they wanted to see it about double today (or around 300... it was 148 Wednesday), but when they called (and it was a nurse, so that's always a good sign... the doctors call when there's bad news), my favorite nurse Carla said it looked good, as do my other horomones. And, everything I've read indicates it should double every 48-72 hours, so I am well within where I should be.  Thank you, Jesus.

It's so easy to overanalyze EVERYTHING! Ugh. I am sure I will not relax until I have a healthy baby in my arms... and then I'm sure the worry is no better when I'm actually a mom. :) I go back Sunday for Beta #3, so we'll want to see my number around 500 at that time. Thankful I only have a two day wait for hopefully continued good news.

Pray for my sanity. ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh, the rollercoaster...

We're on a high again... the biggest one so far. I'm almost afraid that if I type the words, I'll jinx us... but....


I actually had my first positive test on Sunday. I got up early, took a test, didn't look like it was doing anything, took a friend to the Midtown MARTA station so she could go to the airport, came home and had breakfast, drank some coffee and read the paper. I went back to our room to get ready for church, and I looked at the test and was about to toss it when I did a double take. Let me tell you, I've looked at those things cross-eyed and willed them to be positive enough that I knew a line when I saw one. It was soooooooooooooo faint. So faint that Matt could not see it. So, even though I know that there's really no false positives in pregnancy tests (unless something else is going on), I didn't let myself get too excited. Every day since then I've tested, and every day the line has gotten darker.

I was supposed to go for beta #1 this morning, but I had an early meeting, so they let me come in yesterday. And, even though the tests have clearly been positive, the lines have been still pretty faint compared to the control line. So, I assumed my hCG would be low. I've heard you want to see it above 100 at this point, but everyone is different and it's really not a good predictor of the health of the pregnancy (or twins) until you get a pattern, although you'd obviously prefer a higher number. Well, mine was 148! I was thrilled, and my doctor called it a very strong number. I go back tomorrow, and at that time, they want to see it close to double, so around 300. For MOST women, hCG should double every 48-72 hours.

It is still verrrrrrrry early, and although we are obviously ecstatic, we're still quite a few hurdles away from a healthy baby (or babies). We are also not making any big announcements or anything and will at least wait until after we see a heartbeat or the first trimester to start telling the world (i.e., make any sort of anything public on Facebook... very few people I know that don't already know the news read this ol' blog and I don't even link to it in Facebook, so this is not as public as it may seem).  :) I will go for at least one more beta test next week (assuming tomorrow's is good). But, if everything keeps progressing, we will have an ultrasound at around 6 weeks (I'm 4 weeks and 1 day today), and we'll be able to tell if there's one or two in there. We don't know a due date yet, and I'm just taking it one step at a time, so I'm not going to figure it out. But, I know it will be late March/early April. So, this could be my best birthday yet.

I am so grateful for the support and prayers my blog friends have provided. Please keep them coming! I've prayed specifically for a healthy baby (not just a pregnancy) and also prayed that if the embryos weren't healthy (with all their chromosomes, etc.), that God would just prevent us from even getting pregnant. So, all I can do is trust in Him and assume everything is going to be okay. Beta #2 tomorrow!  Praise the Lord!

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
-Psalm 36:5

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vote YES

This is an e-mail I will be sending out to everyone I can think of that I know in metro Atlanta... I wanted to post here to reach out to any other Atlanta area voters who may be on the fence.

(the Dumb & Dumber clip was enough to get my vote) ;)

Hi Atlanta area friends,

I am sure many of you are aware of the upcoming election, with one of the major issues on the ballot being "T-SPLOST" or the one cent sales tax to support LOCAL transportation improvements. I want to encourage you to get out and vote YES on July 31. I know this e-mail will rub some of you the wrong way, and I am okay with that. :) I am going to tell you why this otherwise fiscally conservative voter will proudly cast a YES vote next Tuesday. If you're already voting yes (or no and I can't sway you), save some time and go ahead and hit delete. :) If you're on the fence, please read on and feel free to ask me questions. I am fairly educated on this subject and will be happy to help answer (and honestly) anything I can.

As many of you know, my incredibly smart and good looking husband (hi babe!) works in the highway construction industry building major roads and bridges. The last project he worked on in the Metro Atlanta area was the widening of I-75 in Cobb/Bartow/Cherokee Counties which wrapped up in late 2008/early 2009. From January 2009 through November 2010, Matt was sent down to Tifton, GA to work on I-75 because there were so few projects going on in the Metro area. He came back to Atlanta (yay!) to work in the corporate office on what would have/could have/maybe will be a MAJOR project in Atlanta, known as North by Northwest. This would add a dedicated toll lane to I-75 (please note, add not "take" a lane like they did on 85) to help alleviate the major traffic congestion on this artery. Unfortunately, the governor decided to pull the plug on this project as it was nearing its bid date, because it was a Public-Private Partnership and he decided that it could be done differently without the state turning over ownership for a period of time to a private entity. It may still happen (not part of T-SPLOST, to be clear). Point being, since then, he has been in the office, not on a project where he should be, bidding work in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, etc. and very occasionally, a project in Georgia... not even sure of the last one in Atlanta... it's been awhile.

Meanwhile, we are the 9th most populous state and the Atlanta MSA is the 9th most populous MSA in the country, but the state of Georgia ranks 48th in transportation spending per capita. Little wonder why there's not much work going on. On top of that, although the Atlanta region is the economic driver for the state and accounts for over half of the state population, funds are not distributed in such a way that Atlanta gets back what it puts in. It is certainly an advantage for the entire state to have good infrastructure, but the fact is we are failing on all accounts. This is not an issue of wasteful spending (though I certainly won't say the government doesn't do plenty of that), this is truly an issue of there just flat out not being enough funds to put a major dent in our failing infrastructure. The system is underfunded, and the improvements have to be paid for one way or another, or we all lose. And, I know an argument is that the bill is too heavily swayed toward transit (or not enough for some), but I think it's a good mix and a good start. If you look at the successful major metro areas, they all have a robust and viable system of public transportation. My hope is that at some point, Atlanta will be able to provide that same, convenient form of mass transit locally. I would LOVE to be able to hop onto a train or street car to get where I need to be, and this is one way to make that a reality. Even if YOU never use it, other people will and it will help the overall traffic and transportation situation (not to mention air quality).

Transportation improvements are funded largely through the gas tax. This tax is not indexed to inflation and has not gone up in years. Revenues from the gas tax have actually fallen as vehicles have become more efficient, even with a growing population. And, politically, the gas tax is just not ever going to be raised in the near future. And, even if it were, we still have the issue of the Atlanta area putting in most of the money but arguably not getting a fair chunk back out. The awesome thing about T-SPLOST is it creates a "tax region" where every one penny generated from every dollar spent within the 12-county region funds projects ONLY IN THE SAME 12 COUNTY REGION. So, we will see the projects our funds generate right here, not in Tifton or Valdosta or Albany. Additionally, federal funding on top of the $8.5B revenue is expected to be a reality if the vote passes.

Don't think that this doesn't affect you. Whether you bike, walk, drive, commute via transit, telecommute, or are a hermit and never leave your house, you will be affected by this. We already lose out on business relocating to Atlanta because of our traffic woes. I've seen it first hand when I worked for a developer. If traffic continues to worsen (and it will), not only will businesses not come to Atlanta, but they will leave. This will halt growth, which in turn will affect property values, so if you too end up without good employment opportunities in the area, you might end up stuck with a house that isn't worth what you've paid for it. I'm not implying that all businesses are going to jump ship or that this will happen quickly, but if we don't fix our transportation issues, it will happen. And everyone will lose way more than a one penny sales tax will cost you in the first place.

This vote has been a long time coming, and I am personally excited (and anxious) for the vote. I hope that the people of the region see this as the major turning point that it is... for better or worse. I hope to have a long future in Atlanta and unless this passes, I don't know if we'll even be here next year, because the DOT's declining budget doesn't provide for many projects at the moment. That's how dire this is.... all of our neighboring states are spending the money they need to on transportation infrastructure (because they are properly funded, not the archaic system we've got going here in Georgia), so maybe we'll be back in Florida or make a move to Charlotte, Raleigh, or one of the many other areas that are trying to compete with Atlanta (and successfully, I might add), while Atlanta sits around with worsening traffic, failing infrastructure, and passed up on a great solution when we had our chance.

I encourage you to visit and to learn more. You can find your polling location here and early voting is already underway if you can't make it next Tuesday. Don't forget there are other elections on the ballot, so be informed! If you finished reading all of this, congratulations. One thing I've never claimed to be is concise with words. :) And, however you choose to vote, I respect your opinion, so I hope you can respect mine as well. Peace and love. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Or maybe not...

No big family for us... at least not from this set of embryos. I failed to update yesterday, but of the four embryos we had remaining in the lab, we are freezing NONE. They all slowed or stopped growing. Total bummer. Obviously, it's a bummer not to have those as "backup" but moreso that if all four stopped growing, even though we put the best two in me, I don't exactly have a warm fuzzy feeling about our chances. Like I said before, no guarantees.

So, we wait and pray and hope that at least one of the ones inside me is healthy and has all the right DNA and continues to divide and grow.  We will know soon enough!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Family?

Soooooo, wow. Of our 11 fertlized embryos, five arrested (which is normal). As of today, we have a grade 1 and a grade 2 embryo in my uterus and FOUR! still chilling in the culture in the lab! Those are graded 1, 1- and two 2s. We didn't get into the details as to why the embryologist picked the two he did, but that's what he does, and I trust his judgment. I do know that although one is graded a 2, it's just a little smaller than its counterpart and both are doing exactly what they should be at this stage, which is that they are starting to develop a "core." It's crazy how much different they look than at day 3. Two more days of cell division gets you to 32 cells instead of 8.

I joked with Matt that we should put them all in and we can be the next reality TV show about parenting multiples. HA! The possibility of two freaks me out enough... I certainly cannot imagine having more than that at once. But, seriously, I told him we couldn't abandon any so he better hope that a few of those aren't children that God intends for us. ;)

So, I will get a call today giving me bloodwork results (estrogen and progesterone, which I expect to be completely normal), and tomorrow I will hear from the embryologist as far as what we can freeze.

So, now we wait and hope and pray. I feel good. I know there are no guarantees, but I know that whatever happens, Matt and I are already beyond lucky to have each other and God will carry us through. It's not been an easy journey, but the care and providence He has shown us has been amazing - from insurance coverage to the support we've received from family and friends. I just pray that the grace He has shown us thus far continues until we have healthy babies (and that does not necessarily have to happen all at once but we will rejoice no matter how it happens). ;)

The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.
-Psalm 145:9

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Keep the good coming!

Monday blastocyst transfer it is! WOOHOO!
Yesterday I just had this strong feeling all day, I guess you could say a peace, that everything was going good and I was going to get a call this morning saying we were pushed to Monday. I was feeling better physically, I was in a very good place emotionally, I even e-mailed Jenn to say I was in an exceptionally good mood and I only had 2-3 oz of coffee (I'm just trying to drink enough to keep my system moving if you know what I mean... I cannot get constipated like I did last time, and hey, I know what works for me!). :)

Fast forward to last night... fell asleep quickly, slept pretty well except I already pee like I'm pregnant (side effect from the retrieval), but sometime probably starting around 3am or so I was just having constant dreams (and restless sleep) that I wasn't going to get a call this morning for a Monday transfer or they call to say that all 11 embryos are crap. That devil is a mo'fo, I tell ya. I was just praying for God to give me peace and to take this fear, anxiety, and doubt away from me, especially after how good I was feeling yesterday. And that it didn't matter when the transfer is as long as our baby or babies are in that mix.
So, we wake up this morning and are just chilling in bed, and it gets past the point (8:15) at which I thought I'd receive a call. So, I tell Matt that I guess today is the day and we were both a little bummed. With 11 embryos, you just gotta figure that you're going to have enough good ones to be able to go to day 5, so we thought if we weren't getting the call, even though we had a better fertilization rate, something was still very off with the DNA. So, we're cuddling and just being a little mopey and telling ourselves it doesn't matter as long as we have "the one" and bam, phone rings. I tried not to sound like a giddy school girl when I answered, but we were sitting there high-fiving each other while I'm trying to remember what the nurse is telling me about my new appointment time (11:15 for bloodwork, 11:45 for transfer on Monday). Then a little happy dance, dogs invited into the bed (this NEVER happens folks... I knew Matt was thrilled just by that... haha), and more high-fiving and hugging occurs. This is what we've been hoping for!!

I was also feeling like man, how could my feelings have been SO OFF yesterday. I mean, I was just sure we were going to get to day 5 and had (and have again) such a peace that things are going to be better this time. So, selfishly, I was glad I wasn't misreading that even though a day 3 transfer is not a bad thing. There are still no guarantees, don't get me wrong. I know people that have put in two perfect blastocysts and didn't get pregnant. :( But, it's just nice to be "beating" our benchmarks from last time in every aspect as we move forward with this round. Ultimately, if we don't end up with a healthy baby (or babies) in 9 months, it doesn't matter. But, we are hopeful and as ready as we could be to become parents (which is to say that I'm scared shitless, pardon my French but that really is the best way to describe it, to be a mom but so very excited too).

Oh, and duh, they gave me NO DETAILS on how many embryos we still have or how they are graded (I talked to a nurse not an embryologist). That part kind of sucks, but I figure we must have 4-5 that are graded the highest today for them to push us to Monday. Again, doesn't really matter as long as we end up with the one(s) God has made for us and will entrust into our care. Will update after the transfer Monday!

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. -Psalm 139:16

Thursday, July 12, 2012

God is GOOD

God is always good, even when shiz is "bad", but I'm feeling especially enveloped in His goodness today.  Remind me of this if things don't go how I want.  :)

So, to back things up... when I last posted, I mentioned that my progesterone was going up and my estrogen was also pretty high.  At my pre-op appointment, they did futher bloodwork and my estrogen was up to 5500 (high!) and my progesterone was 13, which is good after the hCG shot apparently.  However, I was still mildly concerned that I would either ovulate before the retrieval or the eggs would not be good due to the increase in progesterone.  I am also in the danger zone for ovarian hyperstimulation, but so far, I have been fine.  Very sore (read on and you'll understand why), but fine.

So, I go in for the retrieval yesterday, and it was a lot like the last one EXCEPT we got THIRTY-TWO - 32!!!! - eggs!  OMG.  We only got 14 last time, if you recall.  So, things seemed to be looking up at that point.  If we had the same fertilization rate as last time (23%), we would have 7-8 fertilized embryos, which is a big increase.  Well, I was THRILLED to hear that we had ELEVEN eggs fertilize!  Six were immature, so they injected sperm into 26 via ICSI, and 11 took (a 42% fertilization rate).  This is still lower than "normal" (65-70%), but it's better than last time so we will take it.  Now, we obviously have no idea what will happen with those 11, but I just pray that our baby (or babies) are in there, and that God willing we get to that stage, the embryo(s) will develop into a healthy baby(ies).

We won't know anything more until Saturday morning.  We're tentatively scheduled for a Day 3 transfer, but my hope is that we've got enough good looking embryos on Day 3 that they'll call us and tell us we look good for a blastocyst transfer on Monday.  Either way, things seem to be looking up compared to last time!  Anything can happen, but I am choosing to remain positive and hopeful.

And, since we've already determined that I have no shame, a before and after shot.  I'm proudly showing off my 32 eggs.  ;)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Still in the game

It was close there for a bit.  Everything has been progressing nicely as far as my eggs are concerned, but at my day 8 appointment yesterday, we discovered that my progesterone was starting to creep up, which is not what you want to see.  It was 1.9 and you really want it to be less than 2 or 3.  Progesterone is one of the hormones that is involved with ovulation (and pregnancy), so basically my body is trying to ovulate again.  The bad thing with that is that they wanted another day of growth (and they got it!) but if my progesterone gets too high, it will basically render all of the nice, big eggs I've got useless.  My estrogen was 2300 yesterday and is 3510 today, so hopefully that means I've got lots of good eggs!

So, there was a lot of anxiety today as I waited for the phone call to let me know if were were still in this game.  Thankfully, my progesterone has only gone up to 2.6 which is higher than ideal but still within an acceptable range.  So, I will be doing the hCG trigger tonight (half the usual dose since my body is already well on its way to ovulation), pre-op tomorrow morning, and egg retrieval on Wednesday!  Trying to stay positive and hopeful that we will have better results than last time and that my progesterone doesn't increase to the point of killing all my pretty eggs.

“Hold fast and have courage.  Put away fear because no matter where you journey, I your God, will be with you.”  -Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On the Clock

{this is copied directly from the e-mail I sent to my "group", so if you get those e-mails, don't waste your time reading this again} :)

Alternate subject: SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!

Unfortunately, those shots aren't of the alcoholic variety. ;) Okay, let's be honest, that's fortunate because my tolerance certainly is not what it used to be in my days of drinking double bourbon and sprites at Balls (the finest drinking establishment in Gainesville, FL). Anywho... Aunt Flo paid a visit Saturday morning, which means I was probably right on target assuming I ovulated on the 18th or 19th. One gets good at this sort of thing after paying close attention for over a year and a half. I've probably never been so excited to get my period. I went to the doctor early yesterday morning so that they could test my estrogen levels, and I got a call not too long after church letting me know my estrogen was looking good (34... it needed to be under 100, but really for me, it should be under 50 since I'm young and have no issues w/ estrogen production, so that's great). So, they said let's get you started tonight so you don't start growing an egg again! I need to grow lots of eggs at the same time and not let my body get started on producing the usual one before we start stimulating for many... and my ovaries have already proven that they do what they want.

So, last night was my first round of shots. It's the same as last time, except I'm doing one more shot with the Lupron (the small syringe). Not that this means anything to most of you, but there are a few readers of these lovely e-mails that enjoy the details... so, I've now lowered my dose of Lupron from 10 IU (which I've been doing since June 3) to 5 IU and I've added in one vial of Menopur (75 IU) and 125 IU of Follistim (the one that looks like a pen), which is 25 units more than I did last time. Their thought is that with the Lupron to suppress from the get go and the higher dose of Follistim, they'll get more eggs, and thus a higher chance of getting more than one "perfect" embryo. *fingers crossed*

My day 6 appointment will be Friday and day 8 will be Sunday. I'll have an ultrasound and bloodwork done at both of these appointments. I feel like we should have a pretty good idea of how things are going to go down on Friday, since we can benchmark against how things looked at my day 6 last time. If I go 10 days like last time, that would put the egg retrieval (ER) on Tuesday, July 10. I am pretty sure they are hoping to get me to the 11th or 12th with more mature eggs (14 retrieved last time, 13 mature). Then we pray like mad that we've got good eggs and good sperm and the embryologists do a good job. Thinking about that part makes me want to vomit.

Our church is doing a series on the book of Ruth right now. Yesterday, the sermon was based on Ruth 1:7-22. You can listen to the sermon here when it's uploaded, but basically, Naomi is mad at God due to the circumstances she's been dealt. Yet, she's honest with God about where she is and she doesn't turn away from Him. Ruth, Naomi's daughter-in-law, stands by her even though Naomi insists that she go back to her home, because the Lord has dealt "bitterly" with Naomi. The sermon struck a chord with both Matt and me. Partially because the guy who gave the sermon (not one of our pastors) gave a lot of background and history, which Matt really likes when it come to preaching the Bible. He wants the historical parts that back the story up... Momma Kath, I am sure that's not surprising to you. But, it was also good to hear that God is okay (more than okay) with us telling Him we're pretty pissed off sometimes. I am Naomi. I try to balance the pleas and "whys" to God with thanks and praise, but there's been plenty of serious conversations about being pissed about infertility, losing my dad when I was 12 then my gramps and Memere, losing Matt's dad, friends and family dealing with serious illnesses and loss of family members, etc. And, it's good to hear that God is glad that I am honest with Him. I don't think He makes bad things happen... but I know He has the power to heal and sometimes He doesn't, or not in the time that we wish. But, I also believe it will all make sense and that He will provide what we need, even if it's not always what we want. And, throughout all of this, Jesus is to us like Ruth was to Naomi. He's not going to leave us when things get rough... if we let Him, He'll not only walk with us but carry us through it. So all that to say, I guess, if you're mad at God, He can handle it. And He'd rather you come to Him and be mad and kick and scream and cry and yell than to turn away. All of the "bad" things in my life have been infinitely easier to deal with because I've had the faith that God is in control of my destiny. I truly believe it will all make sense and take comfort that I will see my loved ones who have gone before me again like no time has passed at all. This sucks now, but when we have a child or children, the pain that we've endured to get there will be worth it. Trusting that and hoping that this is going to work this time. If not, I'll let God know that I am mad, but I'll hang in there knowing I have a friend like Ruth in Jesus.

Whew, totally went off on a tangent there... don't think devotional writing will be in my future. ;) Soooooo, anyways, now that this is long enough (much longer than I ever intended), I hope everyone has a great 4th of July holiday, and I will give you an update on Friday!


P.S. Romans 8:18-39 (love this- actually used Romans 8:25 on our Christmas card... seemed very fitting)
P.P.S. Sorta random but to put things into perspective as to how long we've been seeing the fertility doctor, if our first IUI had worked, I'd be having a baby this week if not already. Craziness.

Adding this one for the blogosphere - I know that seeing an RE for a year doesn't exactly qualify as a long time compared to what many couples endure, but we all know having to see one at all sucks.  And, I certainly didn't expect to be where we are now!  I just can't believe that if the first IUI worked, I'd probably have a baby in my arms today.  That ish cray, y'all!  I mean, I could have two babies by now (by two different pregnancies) if our junk was working properly.  Like I said, cray!