Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Much Needed Break!

I am almost in awww as I read over my last few posts, almost one year ago today I was focusing on our second (final and last) IVF attempt....I am proud to say that our second FET (frozen embryo transfer) attempt WORKED and I have my beautiful little princess sleeping right beside me! It still feels so surreal at times, something I have wanted, dreamt of and prayed about for so many years...from researching the ins and outs of adoption, choosing an agency to later deciding to pursue IVF/PGD, it has been quite a journey. What an emotional, physical and financial investement, but so worth it all as it worked! By far I think this is the most difficult journey I have endured thus far, wanting something so much and knowing that through IVF this was not a guarantee that it would work. I had so many fears....fears of another pregnancy (history of complications), fear of another c-section, fear of a healthy baby, fear that the pregnancy may not progress (i.e fear of miscarriage, etc), fear that the embryologists could error (99.9 % accurate w/ PGD gender selections) and I would have another boy (although I know I would grow to love him after the initial shock, lol!), fear of multiples (50% chance of twins since we transferred three), fear of the age gap between my children (8 years) many thoughts, concerns....BUT despite them all we took the risk and fortunately it worked out for us. Words cannot describe the emotions I feel and have felt through this process. As I look over at her now, I feel relief....and none of my fears above matter anymore. I have learned so much about myself through this process. To know that it is ok to change my mind. I once felt my family was complete after my boys and later decided it was not, the urge to have a daughter was overwhelming...I needed balance in my family, I needed to complete my family, I needed my daughter! My husband underwent a TESA procedure (sperm aspiration) during this process as he had a vasectomy (we thought we were done!) and I underwent a tummy tuck to correct massive scar tissue in my tummy post both of my boys c-sections (it was so bad it stuck out through my clothing!). We did things a bit backwards looking at this, but life is not perfect, it does not always flow in the direction that you would expect, things change, my priorities changed. None of this matters anymore, I feel at peace w/ my body knowing that it supported my pregnancy bringing me my long awaited daughter....I truly believe she is my miracle baby! Thank you God! I feels so blessed to have two beautiful and healthy sons, a husband that supported and believed in my dream and now my healthy baby girl! 2010 was an amazing year and I look forward to 2011.

So, here is more detailed information on my cycles. We did a 5 probe for down syndrome testing and gender. My first cycle was a BFN (fresh cycle) and my second was a BFP (FET). We only had enough fertilized and healthy embryos for two cycles and could not afford to go through the whole process again had this last attempt not worked. As it was this cycle was expensive and would take time to pay off, but we both felt it was worth the risk to at least try. In my heart I had to try, to know I gave it my all.....In addition to the financial expenses, had money not been an issue I physically and emotionally don't think I could have kept going, it takes its toll on the body!!

Here are my stat numbers for those whom may be interested:

First clinic appt: 3/13/09

Cycle #1: ER (egg retrieval) 7/23/09. 33 eggs retrieved. 25 mature. 12 fertilized (7 girls, 5 boys). ET (embryo transfer) 7/27/09: Transferred two females. 8/7/09 beta #1: 3.4 8/11/09 beta #2: 6.8 8/13/09: dropped/chemical pregnancy/BFN.

5 female embryos left. 4 frozen for second/last cycle. 1 embryo lost due to poor quality (unable to freeze)

Cycle #2: 3/31/10 FET, transferred three female embryos (one did not survive the dethaw process). 4/12/10 beta #1: 233. 4/14/10 beta #2: 579. Ultrasound 4/29/10: one baby girl and strong heartbeat! Due date: 12/18/10. Born via c-section on 12/12/10 @ 8:32a.
We named her Makena Jean. My husband and I married on Makena beach in 1999 and always said if we had a daughter we would name her Makena as we both liked this name and it had a lot of meaning to us. Jean is after my maternal grandmother (her first name) and mother (her middle name). She is healthy and weighed 9 lb 1 oz, 21 inches long. She is such a joy!!!!
I indicated in my post title that I needed a break, emotionally and physically I did. I was devistated to find out our first cycle had not worked, absolutely heartbroken wondering if my dream would ever come true. When I found out our second cycle was successful I could not cry, could not allow myself to get too much that I was afraid if I posted my excitement something negative would happen...silly I know, but I had so many fears from the moment of attempting to get pregnant to the moment I confirmed my pregnancy. Fears that did not go away until I held Makena in my arms. I took one day at a time and considered each day that passed a success and one day closer to holding my daughter.
We are so in love w/ her and although I wanted this more than my husband initially I tear up when I see the way he holds her, loves her, interacts w/ her. The boys adore their new little sister too, kissing her, asking to hold and feed her and already make statements that they will protect her! C handler use to kiss my belly all the time when I was pregnant! I must say, had this not worked I would still count my present blessings but it would have been difficult for I had an overwhelming desire for a daughter and did not feel my family would be complete without her. I know IVF is a risk and does not work our for everyone and given my age the odds were against me (this I knew), but like I said earlier I had to try. I know longer notice every little girl that passes me and am able to walk through a section of little girls clothes in the department store without tearing up....I AM NOW COMPLETE and what an amazing feeling to feel so at peace now :)
Ok, so time for some pictures!!!!!! I think they may post above as I cannot figure out how to post them below but either way I want to introduce Makena!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Most Amazing Gift!

We had a wonderful Christmas, Brent and Tristan were able to spend most of Christmas week with us which was wonderful! The boys loved all their gifts...Codey received a video camera (kid proof of course!) that he just loves. He is snapping pictures and taking videos of everything!! Chandler has been building legos all over our living room and Santa brought the boys a large sized basketball hoop! Codey is outside playing right now! We were fortunate enough to be able to plan a trip to Disneyland for the boys this year too. We will be there over New Year's which will be exciting. It's been over three yrs since we last went and the boys have of course grown up a lot over the past several years so they will meet more of the ride height requirements this time around! We are all very exciting and this was one trip I wanted to take before I got pregnant if I am ever so fortunate!!!

Speaking of pregnancies, my sweet husband (and the boys) surprised me w/ a card that had a baby on the front cover w/ two parents kissing the baby. Inside, my husband wrote that he had received a Christmas bonus at work (a large bonus he had never received before through this company) and indicated that he wanted me to use the money for my next IVF procedure and how much he wants this for us too. Needless to say I became a bit emotional...all I could think about it how thoughtful he was to think of this and to want this so much too, for sharing in my dream, believing at least that we may, just may have a chance at this...regardless of the outcome though he supported me and believed in my dream...I will always be grateful for that with or without a little girl in my arms. I could not ask for more than that!!!!

Overall, Christmas was wonderful, spending lots of time w/ my parents, nephew and brother...and of course having extra time off w/ the boys. I work two days this week then off to Disneyland! Work has been busy especially around the holidays so this break has been a much needed one ")

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends and thank you to all of you praying for us through our IVF attempts. We are now hoping to do one last cycle in March/April 2010!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my family and friends, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support this year. I wish you a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving....

I have not felt much like writing lately, I have good and bad days...I still struggle w/ my unsuccessful IVF cycle but the support of family and a listening ear (I must apologize in advance to all those that listen over and over to my stories!) but it all helps. Then the day after I found out my cycle did not work my puppy "Lucky" magically appeared and came into my life. He filled a piece of my heart that was missing, we bonded and what a sweet puppy he is. I am sad to say that Chandler's allergies and asthma are at the worst they have been in 4 yrs since we brought Lucky home and we have no choice but to find him a new home and family. Needless to say I am heartbroken...I was packing up some of Lucky's things today and I broke down in tears. He is my husband listened and offered me a hug. I needed it! He does not quite undersand my emotional state regarding all of this, but he appeared in my life when I needed him most. I love him for that, well for many reasons. He follows me around and offers nothing but his unconditional love, he is my playmate, running buddy (yes, I am running more now!) and is an all around sweet and loving dog. He is very well trained and every morning when I head down the stairs I cannot help but to smile when I see him in his crate wagging his tail at the site of me coming to see him! If there is any good news to this I think we may have found a loving family for him. They are actually neighbors a few blocks away and they are coming over tommorrow evening to see him. I pray this family works for him, they appear to really enjoy animals and once owned a similar breed dog that passed away two yrs ago. I only want the best for him. The Saddest youngest son, this is his dog too. Not only did he lose his cat last year (long story) but now he is losing his dog. I feel like I am carrying around so much grief/loss. My heart aches for the daughter I feel like is slipping away and for my new love "Lucky" that we are forced to give away....

I must say though, just as I can count my losses I can count my blessings, many of them. I am so thankful for so much in my life and here are a few:
1. Basic/survival needs of life (food, shelter, clothing, etc...)
2. Veterans and my freedom
3. My health and the health of my family & friends
4. Employment especially in an economy that suffering
5. My friends & family!!!!
6. The ability to provide for my family especially my two boys

These make the top of my list, no order, they are all close to my heart.

Update on our IVF status: We have 4 female frozen embryos left, 2 strong, 1 fair, 1 less than fair. Less than fair one will most likely not make it through the defrost process. So if all goes well I will have 3 to transfer. My RE said even if I end up w/ 2 I should be in good shape. We are now planning to wait until April or May 2010. We do not want to take out another loan or put it on a CC so we will be saving and paying cash for it. As it is we will be paying on our first IVF loan for the next 7 yrs! Yes a bit difficult to swallow sometimes but I need to remember that it was better to have at least tried then to have never tried at all and always wondered. I am a firm believer things happen for a reason so I need to remind myself of this IF this next and last cycle does not work. I am so very much praying though for my little girl to make her way to me next year!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!! By the way, we are ordering out again this year, this year from Mimi's Cafe. I am very excited, will keep you posted on how it is~

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I DID IT!!!!!

It has been a long time coming, but it finally happened...I passed my LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) exam!! From the day I graduated w/ my MSW it was a goal of mine to become LCSW certified. Shortly after graduating I obtained my LMSW (licensed master of social worker) certificate then went on to work towards obtaining my LCSW which required two years of clinical supervision. I can at last breathe now, it's OVER!!!! Finally, I feel I have let go of one more stressor in my life, a big one at that. During my last IVF cycle I still continued to stress over it and even postponed taking the exam at one point so I could focus on my IVF cycle. With having achieved my goal I now feel that much more prepared to go into another IVF cycle. We of course are going to wait to save up the money so we do not have to put it on credit, but this will be one less thing on my mind now....not to mention I am going to sleep better now too!

Boys got their school pictures back today, they are just so cute. They dressed themselves (matching!) the day of pictures. Normally I help to pick out their outfits and encourage them to change if they are not matching etc...but this time I let them do it all themselves. I figured if anything it would be a memory and they did. They turned out great. If I can ever figure out how to scan them I will post them :)

We are leaving next week to OR (actually leaving this coming Fri) for a week vacation and I am looking so forward to this break w/ my mom, husband, boys, brother and nephew. We are going to visit my grandfather and the boys have never been up to visit him at his home before so I am really looking forward to showing them around. We plan to do some fishing, lots of fishing opportunities which the boys will enjoy! Looking forward to some cooler weather too although I must say the last few days here have been amazing!

Not much else is going on...Lucky is marking his territory by digging up our backyard! We bought a cute little tree that we planted in the backyard and well...that did not last long unfortunately...poor thing did not have a chance. We must have reburried it four or five times until we realized it was just not going to make it...ugh! He's a puppy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Better days...

Hoping for better days to come, these past few wks have been rough. I thought I was coping well w/ the loss at our first attempt to have a daughter, I surprisingly was overall handling the situation well over the past month or so however I can now say it is finally hitting me, hitting me hard. Not a day goes by I don't think about her or see something that reminds me of her...I am part of an on line support group and recently wrote about my feelings surrounding this issue and the ways I am attempting to cope w. it all and I was amazingly surprised that many other women are experiencing the same feelings or had at one time experienced them and went on to become pregnant through their FET (frozen embryo transfer). THIS IS MY HOPE, we have four frozen embryos left, most likely one will not make it through the defrost process but I SHOULD hopefully have three to transfer. My RE said I should have a good chance if we even have two to work with. As quickly as I would love to jump into another cycle I realize I am just not ready, emotionally, physically and financially. We are now paying on a loan that we have absolutely NOTHING to show for and that is so hard to swallow, emotionally I am not ready, I have a lot going on w/ work and am planning to take my LCSW exam next week so until I pass that exam I will need to postpone my cycle. It is too much to handle during my cycle, although I did not feel I was stressing about it for my first cycle it was always on the back of my mind. I want to be as stress free as possible for our next cycle and I am just not there right now. In addition hubby and I have decided that we want to save the money for this next cycle rather than place it on more credit so that will take us some time and physically I know it would be beneficial to lose a few lbs before my next attempt too so I am doing my best to be more active. Lucky keeps me running in the evenings now several days a week so hopefully that will help.....I guess I just feel at a loss right now, how do I get through these next several months or so until we try this again? How do I even begin to cope w/ the feeling possibly of having another failed cycle? I don't have a plan after that, I know in my heart I will need to move on. My family is just amazing and I am already blessed in so many ways, I will say that over and over, but I still and have for years now had this overwhelming desire to balance my family w/ a daughter. I can honestly say I wish I did not have these feelings b/c it is miserable to feel this way, like a piece of me is just missing. I am scared of feeling let down again, scared of another loss, and being left w/ nothing but a bill that I will be paying on for the next several yrs to come. How do you cope w/ this and the idea that having a daughter may never happen despite multiple efforts??? How far do you go to chase your dream? I know I cannot ask anymore of my husband after all of this, he has been nothing but supportive to me along this journey and many past journeys. I also know that I cannot put our family into anymore debt after this next/final cycle, it would not be fair to my husband or boys so...I am trying to just occupy my thoughts, stay busy w. my family and continue to hold onto my dream of one day having MY daughter......

My husband has agreed to most likely put our tax return money towards our next cycle. I am very excited about that! I am really struggling w/ the idea that this is just out of my hands and there is nothing I can or anyone can say or do that will make a difference as to whether this next cycle will be successful or not. I know I need to have full faith and believe that if this is meant to be it will and if not than there is a reason although I most likely will not understand or see it at the moment.

I have good days and not so good lately in thinking about all of this, I can't help but to think had we adopted we would MOST LIKELY have our sweet girl by now, but I cannot let my thoughts go there, we chose this journey for a reason and I need to hold belief and maintain faith in that.

I have been thinking of all the things I am looking forward to such as our upcoming trip to OR to see Papa Duck, Halloween, possible Disneyland trip and of course Christmas (my favorite). The boys picked out their costumes, Codey is a ninja and Chandler is a knight. I am glad they did not go w/ some of the other costumes, some are pretty disturbing especially for children! I must say that Halloween costumes have gone up in price too, it was actually ridiculous the amt we spent...I now understand why so many parents make their children's costumes. If I had the the time and skill it takes to stitch together something I would, but anyone that knows me knows how NOT domestic I am...I can barely cook and well, other than putting buttons back on I am pretty much at a loss w. sewing!!! Lol!

Ok, I better get some sleep. Not sure what has been going on w. me this past week...hubby went on a cruise w/ his family and since he has been gone I cannot sleep!! He will be back tomorrow so I will anxiously be awaiting his return and may finally be able to get some sleep too :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

New MD Appt

Today I met w/ the new RE that I had planned to switch to. The appt went very well, I felt he was really listening to me. He did a thorough review of my chart and said that he was very surprised that my last cycle was unsuccessful since I have a regular cycle and all my labs/tests were normal. He said he would have given me a 68% chance of it working. At this point, we now need to figure out what went wrong. Adult diabetes runs in my family (father, uncle, grandmother) and he said it would be critical that we rule out any sign of diabetes in me b/c if I was diabetic or mildly diabetic it would most likely cause me to miscarry really early on. I thought that was very interesting, I had never heard that before. He also wants to run a few additional tests that my previous RE did not run so that should all help, of course it all adds to the cost again if my insurance does not pick them up...ugh! I want to do everything I can though to ensure we did our best at making this work. He also said that he is going to take a different approach w/ medications, place me on Lupron instead of Ganirelex and put me on both the progesterone creams and injections. In addition he said that FET's are often more successful that the fresh cycles and taking birth control pills before really increases the success rate of FET's for some reason. The protocol is used often for FET and fresh but he made a point to say that it really increases success rates for FET's. I found that encouraging. He reccomended we do the acupuncture again too. He said w/ all the percautions he will be putting in place it will increase my risk of multiples and at present their facility is running a 40% chance of twins. He too has twin girls from IVF. I felt really at peace talking w/ him and made a point of telling him this was our very last chance at this and he said we would do everything possible to make it a successful cycle....I pray he is right!

So, the question now is when, when do we take this big step? I was thinking Nov/Dec but hubby would like to have the cash to pay for it so this may push us back several months. I would feel better paying cash for is vs placing in on our credit card so I am ok with waiting until early or mid next year too. My RE said I have up to 9 yrs to use my frosties!!!! Lol! I could not imagine waiting that long! YIKES! Anyway, I am excited, but yet very scared as this is our very last shot at this....I know it is really out of my hands and everyday I pray for peace in that whatever happens w/ this it will ultimately be for the best for me and for our family.

For now, I am enjoying my time again, no more injections, no more bloating/weight gain, I feel better about me...Lucky is keeping me in shape w/ all the runs and walks! Enjoying my boys, family and taking this time to study for my licensure exam. Either way...I know it will all work out.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today I am not pregnant....BFN :(

I received the call yesterday, an hour before my shift ended at work..."I am sorry, your levels dropped." My heart sank...why did they call me at work when I aksed specifically they call me on my cell to leave me a msg for fear that the news of a possible BFN would tear me apart at work? I swallowed, took a deep breath and attempted to hold my composure another hour until I could escape to my car to grieve. I did notify the nurse that I wanted to switch providers as I feel more comfortable w/ this other provider and she agreed. We are scheduled to meet w/ him on 9/14/09. It will be nice to sit down and hear some feedback from this doctor on our poss chances w/ the four frozen embryos we have left. This is our very last chance and that scares me to death! What if we received another BFN? All this emotional, physical and not to mention financial stress to only have nothing to show for it but monthly bills for the next 7 yrs??? That is a lot to swallow...I am grateful we are given another chance as many do not end up w/ extra embros to freeze. Our clinic reccomended unfreezing them all and using the best ones. Guessing we would probably transfer 3, usually (from what I hear) one more extra than I would normally transfer for an embryo cycle. We will know more once we meet w/ the new provider in Sept. For now, I am sad, I took a candle light bath last night and allowed myself to grieve this loss. I had been wanting to take a bath for so long, but couldn't as I was told to take percautions as not to casue an infection. With news of a BFN I jumped at my chance for a bath!!! I had a nice talk w/ my sweet husband afterwards that allowed me to emotionally grieve to him as well, he held me, supported me and looked me in the eyes and said, "It will all work out." That is what I needed to hear, he secured hope in me again, like putting a band-aid on a cut, he bandaged my broken heart. I love him so much for supporting my dream and if both cycles fail I know I will have gained much more, a life lesson on just what my husband was willing to do to fulfill my dreams of a daughter and you cannot put a price on that!

Today...I am still sad but trying to heal. I need to focus on me, helping to self care for myself again, start exercising again and eating better. This cycle really did a number on my body and it's time for me to do something good for myself. I would like to put myself in a healthier and better position for my next/last cycle, feel good about "me" and go into it w/ a fresh and healthy perspective both mentally and physically. So...I am thinking I would like to wait until Nov or Dec. Granted, part of me keeps wanting to postpone it b/c then I will always have that "chance." The minute I start cycle #2 I will no longer have "hope" or another "chance" to look forward to if it ends up to be another BFN.

So...while still grieving the loss of my two beautiful girls that were transferred I pulled myself up out of bed and headed to work today. When I drove into the parking lot (same one I always parked in for years) I see a little puppy sitting there. He walked up to the car and waited for me standing below my legs, awww it broke my heart, he was HOMELESS! Full of fleas and other little creatures, disheveled, odourous....I could not bear to leave him there, he looked at me w/ big brown eyes and he made me smile...just what I needed after yesterday's BFN news. Was this a coincidence? I do believe God provides for us and gives us the things in our life which we need and often don't expect. Another co-worker of mine whom parked right next to me and got to the parking lot ten minutes before me said there was not a puppy to be found when he got there! I just think it was too coincidental for it not to mean something. So I called my supervisor, told him I was rescuing a homeless puppy, put him in the car (threw up on my seat...ugh!) and took him to see the vetenarian for debugging, check up, scheduled to get vaccines tomm. Poor little guy. He was so scared, shaking, is so good and sweet....the boys were shocked to see mom bringing home a puppy, Codey could not talk enough about him "I love him so much mom" "thank you mom for brining him home" "I love you mom" "I am glad he found you mom" over and over and over....I know in my heart I did the right thing for this puppy, for me and my family! Chandler named him "Lucky" b/c he was lucky to be found by me or rather I am lucky he found me!!! Lol....Instantly the family fell in love w/ the name so "Lucky" it is!!! He has brightened my day, put smiles on the boys faces and even my husband is getting warmed up to him...We always thought about getting a dog, never knew what kind, or when just never happened. Guess it was our time to add Lucky to our family :) He has added joy to our family already and as far as our dream for our daughter is still there, we are still dreaming, praying and hoping that cycle #2 will be our LUCKY cycle ")