Day 1

October 10, 2010

Well today is day one of my cycle. The cycle that jumpstarts our InVitro happenings. Though we're keeping exact timeframes a secret from friends and family members alike, I feel compelled to document my experiences on a private blog in journal form.

Starting today, I begin taking birth control and a baby aspirin everyday, in addition to my Levothyroxine and Prenatal Vitamins (and suddenly Zyrtec, based on my newfound allergy to harvest). But this is only the beginning. We have a long, emotional, and EXPENSIVE road ahead of us. One we've been carefully saving for for almost a year now.

But like labor pains, we won't remember the pain... the turmoil. None of it will matter the moment we hold our little bundle.

Nature's Way

October 12, 2010

When a friend or family member announces that they're pregnant, it takes ALL OF MY STRENGTH not to say. 'of course you're pregnant. After all, it is natures way.' (And then have myself a strong drink)

My kids deserve a chance to be alive too. And I'll do everything in my power to give them that opportunity.

The Reason

October 15, 2010

Because I know that many will be reading this blog down the road, I feel compelled to share the reason that we don't want anyone to know our time-frame for IVF.
  • this is an extremely emotional time for us, and although we know our friends and family have good intentions, we don't want anyone asking us how things are going, or wondering if we're excited, etc. It's hard enough as it is to keep our anticipation at a minimum, without having the pressure of others' high hopes and expectations for the outcome.
  • If for some reason our IVF cycle fails and we do not conceive, we want to mourn together, on our own. Obviously we know we're going to have to tell everyone it didn't work at some point, but we want to be able to choose when to do that. When we're damn well ready.
  • In the event that we DO become pregnant, we just genuinely want everyone to be excited for us, instead of  'expecting it.' We've already had to give up that element of surprise that happens when a couple announces to family and friends that they're expecting. In fact, hundreds of complete strangers know of our struggle to conceive, and probably check our blog everyday, if for no other reason than to see if we're finally pregnant. In fact, we've made almost every aspect of our lives public information... partly because we love blogging, and are both very open people. But also because, it's therapeutic for us to just let it all out, and vent our trials and triumphs into the universe. Believe me, I let go of my pride a long time ago.
So, if you're feeling like you didn't deserve to be left out of the loop, do not dismay. My own mother doesn't know. My closest friends don't know. Just us. And the fertility Dr.


October 28, 2010

The week of injections has begun. And to be honest, I was kinda looking forward to it. Even though I'm terrified of needles, it's one stage closer to our ultimate goal!

So every night, at 8pm, I have to inject myself with 10 mL of Lupron, a substance most commonly used to treat hormone-responsive cancers (prostate/breast). But in this case, it's used to control ovarian function. In other words, it's shutting down my ovaries, and inducing menopause. Fun for me!

The reason for this ovary hibernation is so that, when the time is right, the next medication to be injected will jolt the ovaries back to life and cause them to mature many eggs at a rapid rate. A normal menstruating female only produces 1 mature egg each month. When they harvest my eggs, they could retrieve anywhere between 1 and 60 eggs... yikes!

So anywho, I thought I was looking forward to said injections, but kids... when the time came? I totally freaked out. I almost started crying, and Nick had to calm me down, hold me down, and shoot me up. I seriously better get used to this, because it's going to be a daily thing for several months. And after next week, it'll be 2-3 times per day.

Me and the needle? We're BFF's.


November 4, 2010

After my laparoscopy and Stage 4 Endometriosis diagnosis back in February '10, I cried at least once a day for at about 5 months. Though still cynical, I've been channeling my emotion into creativity and things that will help build the fertility fund these past few months. And knowing that IVF has been getting closer and closer has helped dramatically! The end is near!

But last night... I completely lost it. I just started bawling and raving like a lunatic. Nick was trying so hard to appease me, offering to help around the house, or encouraging me to go take a hot shower, but nothing helped. What happened to cause this? Nothing. There are a long list of side effects for the Lupron injections, but being emotional is not one of them. This one is all me.

I'm not gonna lie. It felt kinda good to cry.

Baseline and 'Collection'

November 5, 2010

Today I had my Baseline Ultrasound/Cervical Dilation. The ultrasound is to make sure the Lupron is doing it's job, and the ovaries are 'quiet.' The dilation is because I have an unusually curvy cervix. That's right. My cervix is curvy. Add it to the list.

My cervix will stay dilated for two weeks, and will be a necessity when inserting the tiny catheter into my uterus to place my already conceived children.

Meanwhile, Nick was in a room clearly marked as 'The Collection Room' where, you guessed it, he was collecting a specimen of his goods. He was so comfortable jacking off in a doctor's office that he joked with the nurse afterwards about 'having good aim.'

Someone please kill me now.

Getting Down To Business

November 11, 2010

This week, we started two more injections: Repronex and Follistim, 150 units each. They are follicle-stimulating hormones that aid in development of multiple mature eggs. Each of my three injections have separate needles/syringes, vials, mixing meds, etc. Some are to be refrigerated, others are not. Some are at 6 am, others are at 7 pm. Some need mixing, measuring and clicking, it's like a secret handshake remembering all that's important with three separate injections.  Luckily, Nick remembers everything, and does all of the medical chemistry in the kitchen. I trust him.

The Follistim was a breeze compared to Repronex, which burned like the fires of hell, and left a lump the size of a golf ball, and makes me feel like I got hit by a garbage truck for the next 10 hours.

Fun fact: Repronex is made from gonadotropins extracted from the urine of post-menopausal women.  YUM!

This massive needle is used to slurp up some sodium chloride.

And then is squirted into this little vial with a little powdery pill. Then we swish it around until the pill dissolves. At which point we squirt that formula into yet another tiny vial to dissolve yet another powdery pill. Then, that formula is extracted, the needle switched to the blue needle...

And then my sexy husband grabs a handful of fat on my stomach, and jams that sucker in... squeezing in all that juicy goodness into my subcutaneous tissue.

Leaving lovely bruises. And a need to purchase more sweatpants.

And that's just the Repronex.

The Calendar We Live By

November 15, 2010

We've been living the past couple weeks worshiping our IVF calendar, our every move based solely upon injections, timing, and whether refrigeration is available wherever we're headed. We've had injections at a wedding, at friends' houses, in a classroom at church.

I've been injected when I'm half awake. I've been injected when there aren't any places left on my stomach that aren't bruised or throbbing.

We've been making hour and a half long drives to Des Moines every other day for the last week to have bloodwork and ultrasounds to determine how well the ovaries are reacting to the injections. And today we got good news! There's a light at the end of the tunnel! Tonight we take the 'Trigger Shot' which is the final blow to my already swollen and over-stimulated ovaries. And 36 hours from now, we'll be making an early-morning trip to have my eggs harvested via a very large needle. Are you seeing a common theme here? Is there any part of this process that doesn't involve needles? If this was a football game, a needle would be the mascot.

Today during my ultrasound, each ovary was showing about 6 egg sacks. And the nurse told us that each egg sack was measuring almost an inch in diameter. That pretty much means that my ovaries are both roughly the size of a baseball. Literally. And here I thought I was getting fat.

Could really use a second bra to hold up my enormous sagging ovaries. There's a mental image that you can savor.


November 16, 2010

If you find yourself questioning whether or not IVF is ethically right, or struggling with how unnatural and clinical it is, I just want to say... thank you for keeping your mouth shut.

When something in your life isn't working out as planned, how do you know if  'God is closing a door' or if 'God wants you to fight for it.'

Okay, think of it this way: How many of us have a friend that was having difficulty meeting someone, and ended up using a dating website... only to find true love, marriage, and an incredible relationship that anyone would admire? Once married and established, do others condemn and judge the means by which they found love?

Or do you refuse chemotherapy just because 'it must be God's will for you to die from cancer?'

Sometimes we need to get a little help to get where we want in life. You can quit judging me now.

From Eggs to Embryos

November 18, 2010

Yesterday, I had a bit of a procedure. They took my eggs (via needle and ultrasound). I was under anesthesia and don't remember a thing. In fact, after I awoke, Nick had to tell me nine times that we got FOURTEEN eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fourteen eggs.     Hell... YEAH!

During this procedure, Nick had the opportunity to "give another sample.' This time, not to determine count, but to actually fertilize my little eggs! This is really happening! I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and guess that his portion was less painful and invasive than mine... but whatev.

"Here sweetie, you go in this room and take all your clothes off, let them put an IV in you, open your legs, and insert a 3 inch needle into your vagina in an effort to suck the contents of all eggs sacks in both already swollen and over-stimulated ovaries. I'll just be in this other room having an orgasm. We make such a great couple!"

Last night, we sat on our new brown sectional couch, and discussed how we were conceiving children... in a lab somewhere, at that very moment. They are fully ours, with both of our DNA. It's a weird feeling, let me tell ya.


Today, we got a phone call that, overnight, eight eggs were successfully fertilized! High five baby! We made eight babies last night in our sleep! You can call me the Octamom. Actually, please don't.

The nurse explained that half to two thirds of these will develop into strong functional embryos by Monday (Transfer Day!)... so we'll have to wait and see! We do know that they won't put more than two into my uterus at a time. Ideally, we'll have four strong ones... two to transfer, and two to freeze for a rainy day! Oh technology, how I'm grateful for your reproductive advancements.


November 19, 2010

If you're offended by the word 'ass,' I encourage you to stop reading this post right now. Because I'm just in an ASS kind of mood.

Today, my ass hurts... like a lot. Last night, we began the Progesterone Injection (and by WE, i mean ME)... which involves a thick oil being slowly pushed into the muscle tissue of my ass using a 1.5 inch needle. All my previous injections PALE in comparison to the pain I'm feeling now. It hurts to sit. It hurts to walk. It hurts to sleep.

OK and to be honest, I didn't even think I had any muscle in my ass. If you saw my ass, you wouldn't think so either.

But you'd be surprised how much you use said ass-muscle.

And I have to be subjected to this discomfort for the next 7 weeks. Awesome.

The big day

November 22, 2010

I'll give you one guess where this little beauty belongs.

You only get one hint... it's dark, warm, wet, and and about to be violated by Dr's and nurses and such.

Today is the big day. The day we conceive... hopefully. At 1pm this afternoon, they are going to place two microscopic embryos into my awaiting uterus. My uterus has gone through lots of preparation and conditioning to be just the right amount of warm and fuzzy for it's new occupants.

Uterus, this is your chance to redeem yourself. Do the right thing.

A Poem

November 22, 2010

This is not how I imagined 
trying to conceive. 
I had the same loving dreams 
that most young women weave 

Yet, here I am laying back
in a faded cotton cover 
A doctor stands between my thighs 
where you should be, my lover 

Life’s liquid in a catheter
inserted in my womb 
We hope that one will implant 
and life will start to bloom 

You hold my slightly trembling hand
and softly stoke my hair 
The doctor does all he can do 
and we add a little prayer 

I never doubt it’s worth it
but I often wonder why 
What comes to others easily 
so often makes me cry 

I lay here on the table
for my 30 minute wait 
and dream of steamy interludes 
where we procreate 

I mourn the loss of afterglow
wrapped up in your embrace 
The wonder of believing love 
is all you need for grace 

The two week wait begins
as we walk out the door 
and we’re filled with hope ~ but worried 
that we’ll be back for more 

I hate that it’s so clinical
when I wanted sweet romance 
So hold my hand and kiss me 
and lead me in a dance. 

And I will close my eyes real tight
as truth; I fervently declare 
“Our child will be a testament 
To the love we share.” 

By Patricia Gibson-Williams

The eagle has landed

November 24, 2010

Thing one and thing two, have been successfully dropped off at the proper location and at just the right time. But before they did, they had their very first photoshoot.

Hi babies!!

Nick's first comment was... 'the one on the left has your eyes.'



We're scheduled for a blood test (to check for pregnancy) exactly one week from today. The nurse said, if we wanted to jump the gun, we could try a home pregnancy test one or two days before the blood test. She also said not to be disheartened if our test comes up negative, because it could be too early to detect the pregnancy hormone.

We were getting ready to head to my folks to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, when I thought it would be such a wonderful surprise if we could announce our (hopeful) pregnancy now... with everyone there. Having one sad remaining pregnancy test left in the drawer (and while Nick still slept) I peed on the stick, knowing full well it would be negative this early in the game. I sat there on the toilet watching that annoying hourglass blink on ClearBlue's digital screen. And then it happened.

For the first time EVER... my pregnancy test said PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!


I totally wasn't expecting it, and was in complete shock. What do I do? Is it real? How do I tell Nick? What if it's a false positive? Is there such a thing as false positive?

OMG I'm pregnant.

I marched back into the bedroom, flipped the light on, and started screaming at the top of my lungs.

Another Poem


You need to know; my child

how much you were desired.
That years and years of trying,
for your presence, were required..

I haven’t felt you kick yet,
or seen your beating heart.
But as sure as the sun rises;
I’ve loved you from the start.

I can’t wait to meet you
and see your precious smile;
then all the doctors, tests… and shots
will finally be worthwhile.

It takes so long; my child
until you can appear
but in my heart and in my dreams
you’re already here.

We only got the news today
that your life we did create.
So snuggle down within my womb
and I’ll hold you while we wait.

Patricia Gibson-Williams

Placebo Effect


Nick keeps getting the word Embryo mixed up with the word Placebo.

'Babe, I sure do hope those Placebo's do their thing.'

'I can't believe we have two little Placebo's floating around in your baby-maker.'

'I already love our baby Placebo's.