Friday, July 7, 2017

Second Round of IVF & First Trimester

Here is what I went through during my second round of IVF which for me we did an FET (frozen embryo transfer). Doing IVF with a frozen embryo is a lot less invasive and was so much easier on my body and also cost significantly less. I didn't have to do any of the pre-evaluation things since I had just done that all so there was no cost there and then for the cost from the suppression check to the embryo transfer it was $3500. I also had to pay for the expensive medication and the blood draws and ultrasound afterwards to see if it all worked out so it was close to $5000 for this round. We got the most incredible outcome from doing this round of IVF and we are so grateful for modern medicine and technology that has allowed us to have more children. So this is what it was like for me to go through the second round and also about the things I had to do and went through for my first trimester and a little more (16 weeks) of this pregnancy. We are so happy and incredibly grateful for this little baby that is growing inside of me!

-January 10, 2017-
Today was the starting point for doing an IVF cycle using our frozen embryos. Today I had a suppression check ultrasound. It is just an ultrasound to make sure that all my levels and the lining of my uterus were small and suppressed. Everything looked good so I start taking an estrogen pill three times a day.

-Feb 1-
Today I had blood draw and ultrasound. This one is to make sure the estrogen is doing its job and all my levels are good so that I can start taking progesterone and do the transfer of the frozen embryos in about a week. Everything looked great for both and so we are moving onto the next step.

-Feb 2-
Tonight I started my progesterone. I had done the progesterone suppository with the fresh cycle so I was used to that but for a frozen cycle you also have to do a progesterone shot. This shot goes in the bum and I was really worried about how I was going to do this shot myself. I knew that Nate wouldn’t be able to do it since he is more terrified of needles than I am but I knew I would figure it out. Yesterday when I was at the doctor I had them draw two circles on my bum with permanent marker so that I had a target when giving myself the shot. I got everything ready and my hands were shaking so bad. I knew that the shot in the bum weren’t too bad since I have had them before but it was so scary that I was doing it to myself. I got up the courage and did it. With this shot once you get the needle all the way in you have to pull back on the syringe just a little bit to be sure that you didn’t hit a blood vessel and you know it when you pull back there would be blood in the syringe. I was all good for the first one and slowly pushed the progesterone into my body. After I was done I had to lay down for a little bit and started crying. All the stress got to me and I was also so relieved for the first one to be done and I will just get better at it for weeks to come.

-Feb 7-
Today was the big day- embryo transfer. We were familiar with this since we had done it before. You have to go with a really full bladder which is very uncomfortable. First the ultrasound tech came in to make sure that my bladder was full enough and then the embryologist came in to ask us if we had any questions and show us the pictures of the two little embryos that would soon be put into my body. The doctor came in and the process went well. It hurt quite a bit when she put the speculum in and she said it took her awhile to get my cervix to cooperate. Then they did a practice run with the catheter and then gave it to the embryologist to put the embryos in. The doctor struggle a little bit to put the catheter back in since I have a curve in my uterus but she did get it in. During this time I thought it was funny that I got the compliment that my uterine lining is very beautiful. Only at a fertility doctor would you get this kind of compliment. J Once the doctor was done they gave the catheter back to the embryologist to make sure they weren’t still in the catheter. Everything went well. I lay on the bed for another 10 minutes and then got up went to the bathroom and headed home. It is a pretty simple but surreal thing to go through and now for the next two days lots of rest and a long 10 day wait to see if they implanted and to see if I am pregnant.

The two embryos

-Feb 16-
As this day grew closer I got more nervous and scared. My emotions were on such a roller coaster. I felt a lot better this time around as my blood draw day approached but I was still trying to prepare myself for the bad news. I really didn’t want to go through that again and dealing with the emotion of it not working but I just had to keep faith. My appointment this morning was at 9 and then the really long and emotional wait until 2:30 when they finally called with the results. Any number above a 5 is positive but they like it to be above 50. My HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were at 63.5. It was great news and Nate and I are so happy and hope that everything continues to go well and the baby or babies develop properly. It is still really early and anything can still happen but right now we are enjoying the good news and hope for the best and will continue to pray earnestly. After the phone call I said out loud “I can’t believe I’m pregnant.” I just said it without thinking and Paige heard me. I will never forget the look on her face. It was full of excitement but also a look of acting like she didn’t hear what I said. It was so cute and she is so excited to be a big sister. We talked to her about that it is really early and that the baby might not stay in my tummy and we have to continue to pray. We also talked to her about not telling anyone besides those that already know- both our parents and Anna. The next day Anna watched Paige for a little bit and Anna told us that as soon as we left she told Anna that her mommy has a baby in her tummy. She has been dying to tell someone and I am glad that she is keeping her promise and only telling people she is allowed to.

-Feb 20-
Today was my follow-up blood draw to make sure that my HCG levels were rising like they should. It wasn’t quite as stressful as the first one since I knew I was pregnant but I still stressed out a little waiting for the results. I just want everything to be good so badly and it was awesome to hear that my number was 432 which is right where it is supposed to be and that I am pregnant. The next step will be my seven week appointment for my first ultrasound to see baby for the first time. I will continue taking estrogen three times a day until I am 10 weeks along and a progesterone vaginal insert twice a day and a progesterone shot in the bum once a day until I am 12 weeks along. I will do anything to keep this baby or babies inside of me and I am so excited even though it truly hasn’t really sunk in.

-March 2-
Today I am 6 weeks pregnant but I had quite a bit of a scare today. Yesterday I started having some pain in my left side near my hip that kind of reminded me of the pain I had when I had an ectopic pregnancy. I tried just to ignore it and think of other things that it could be. Then today I started bleeding and I was so scared. I didn’t know what to think and was so scared that I happened to have another ectopic pregnancy or that I was having a miscarriage. It wasn’t a lot of bleeding so I knew that it could just be spotting but I have not spotted before and whenever I thought it may just be spotting in the past it turns into a period and is never good. Also the pain and the bleeding combined together really scared me. I hurried and called my OBGYN to see if I could get into them today or early tomorrow. I just wanted to see what was going on and go through them verses SRM so my insurance would cover it. Nate was out and about and I called him and he hurried home to comfort his wife. He is pretty amazing! He gave me a blessing that everything would work out and that the baby is okay. It gave me some peace even though I still had some fear. I got an appointment for 2:30 which I was so grateful for. We took Paige to Dale and Margaret’s and Nate and I went. We first got an ultrasound. It was nice to get that done first. It was a long ultrasound and she first did one on my stomach and we could see that there was one baby but she wanted a closer look since I am not very far along. So then I got a vaginal ultrasound. It was so amazing to see the little tiny baby inside of me. It looks like a little grain of rice and she told us from the beginning that we may not be able to see the heartbeat since the heart is on the verge of starting. It was such a tender mercy to see that little heartbeat. Nate and I could see the little flutter of the heart and it was so reassuring to see. She looked all around and took lots of measurements and made sure that there wasn’t anything in my tube. Thank goodness everything looks great. We then talked to the doctor and she said the bleeding could just be spotting or possibly the second baby passing through. I am so grateful that there is one little baby growing inside of me and that I got to see the heartbeat today. It was a scary day and I hope that I don’t have anymore spotting but I am so grateful for modern technology that made it possible for me to have more children.

-March 9-
Today was my last appointment with SRM. It was just an ultrasound to make sure everything was going well and make sure the baby was growing as it should. I already knew there was just one but I was excited to see the little baby again and see the heartbeat. I loved seeing the little flutter of the heart but then the doctor pointed out something that scared me. She said I have a subchorionic hematoma. This is a little pocket of blood that is in between the uterus wall and the placenta of the baby. It normally goes away on its own and could have been a cause of the bleeding that I had last week. The scary thing is that if this hematoma gets bigger instead of smaller than it causes the placenta to detach from the uterine wall causing a miscarriage. They wanted me to come in week to see if the hematoma is getting smaller. I called Nate crying just because I was ready for no more issues and it is scary to worry about something like that after all that we have gone through. We decided that I see if I could go to my OBGYN for the next appointment so that insurance would cover it. The ultrasound for today was about 300 dollars and we didn’t want to have to keep paying that if we were able to get insurance to cover it. I got everything figured out so that next week I will go to my OBGYN and go through them from now on. The next week will be just taking it easy and no heavy lifting. We will continue to pray a lot and try to have faith and hope that this baby will grow and develop as it should and this hematoma will just go again on its own.

-March 15-
This week I am 8 weeks pregnant and went to my appointment with Dr. Lewing (my OBGYN). We did an ultrasound first. It was a quick one and they just did it on my stomach instead of a vaginal one which was nice. I loved seeing that little heartbeat. It is so reassuring. The ultrasound tech told me that the hematoma was still there but Dr. Lewing would talk to me about it. The ultrasound tech also said that a hematoma is very common and it shouldn’t be something to stress about. I like hearing news like that even though it is still scary. I then talked to Dr. Lewing and she said the hematoma got slightly larger but I shouldn’t stress about it. Most of the time they go away on their own and there isn’t anything you can do about it. I will continue to take it easy. It was a typical appointment though with lots of questions about health and medications, etc. I also got my blood work done. She took like 6 vials of blood. It felt like it just kept going even though I didn’t look because I never look when I am getting my blood drawn or a shot or I would be passed out on the floor. My next appointment will be at 12 weeks but Dr. Lewing said if I start spotting again to come in and contact them if I have any questions or concerns.

-March 30-
Today I am 10 weeks pregnant! Today is my last day to take my estrogen pill that I take 3 times a day. It was an easy thing to do since the pill was so small but it will be nice to not have to remember to do it and make sure I have my pills with me whenever I go places for a long period of time. I have been pretty tired and have gotten pretty nauseous. I haven’t thrown up but I kind of force myself not to since I have been taking the estrogen pill and didn’t want to throw it up. Now maybe I can allow myself to throw up but we will see how it goes.

-April 12-
Today is my 12 week appointment! It is exciting that I have made it this far and almost out of my first trimester. The first trimester I have had morning sickness but haven’t been able to throw up. It hasn’t been as bad compared to my pregnancy with Paige where I threw up at least once a week. I have mostly been really tired and fatigued. I get worn out really fast. This past week I have started to feel my energy coming back and I am getting really excited for the second trimester and having a belly to show and being able to feel the baby move. My appointment today went really well. I haven’t had any bleeding or cramping since 6 weeks which is great. They did an ultrasound today to check on the hematoma to see if it had gotten smaller. The good news is that it did get smaller. It is still there which is always a concern but it is great that it is getting smaller and maybe in 4 weeks at my next appointment it will be gone. I loved being able to see the baby today. He or she was very active. I got to see the baby wiggle around, flip upside down, and stretch its legs out. It was the sweetest thing to see and I feel so in love with this little baby that is growing inside of me. I will start taking an iron supplement since I am slightly anemic and also a baby aspirin every day since I am considered a high risk pregnancy and a baby aspirin helps prevent preeclampsia and helps the baby stay in longer. I loved seeing Nate and Paige’s reaction to the cute ultrasound pictures. It is starting to look like a baby now in the ultrasounds which is so exciting. Paige is so excited to be a big sister and I know she will be an awesome one. Also tomorrow morning will be my last progesterone vaginal insert. I am so exited to be done with them. Hopefully I will be able to sleep a little more at night since the progesterone causes me to feel like I have to go to the bathroom often. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real. I think once I start feeling the baby move it will become more real in my mind. Before the appointment today I still had some fear that I would get an ultrasound and there would be no heartbeat. I don’t like having some fear and doubt but I think it comes it wanting it so bad and everything to work out and be fine. Even though I am pregnant I still have hard days where my shots are hard and I wonder why I was chosen to have to go through this infertility struggle. I still don’t see God’s plan in this and why I have to go through this trial and it may be that I won’t really know until I get to the other side. I still have feeling of jealousy when I find out when someone else is pregnant. It is hard to see that they got pregnant when they wanted to and have it so easy where I had to wait so long and it didn’t happen the way I had in mind. I know with time it will get easier and I am extremely grateful for this little baby growing inside of me and I am so excited to be a mom again and see Paige in her big sister role. Even though going through IVF is really hard, I am grateful for modern technology and that IVF is an option so that I can have more children.

Our 12 week little baby- the hematoma is the dark oval shape right next to where the baby's head is.

-April 14-
Today was my last progesterone shot! I am so happy to be done with them. Paige has been the greatest helper and my own personal nurse with the shots. She gets everything ready for me and says 1, 2, 3 right before I put the needle in. Then she will tell me once I am done if there is any blood or not. She is such a great little helper and she can tell if I am having a hard time and will go get a stuffed animal to comfort me. The last shot hurt pretty bad since I think I was going in a spot that I had previously poked. I am grateful for the progesterone that it helped keep my little baby inside of me but I am so glad to be done with the shots. I am very grateful to my Heavenly Father who gave me the strength and will power to do the shot every day. I am terrified of needles and still am but I made it through.

Nate took pictures of our nightly shot process on the last day of shots. He usually stays away but tonight he got to witness it though his eyes were closed most of the time. :)

My little nurse getting some of the things I need.
 The set up for the progesterone shot- the pink needle that is on the syringe is a larger needle since it is the mixing needle and used to draw up the progesterone in oil. Once I draw it all up I switch the needle to the blue one which is a skinnier needle (still very long) that I use for the injection.
Last time having to mentally give myself a pep talk to poke myself with a long needle. You can kind of see how long the needle is in this picture. When I first saw how long the needle was it freaked me out a bit but I made it through 12 weeks of it!
 You can tell that this last one hurt by the grimace on my face.
 Paige the nurse checking to see if there is any blood. If there was she would give me a cotton swab or a tissue to put some pressure on it until to stopped. I didn't bleed very often and it was usually only a couple of drops. The times it would bleed the most is if I hit a vein. I could usually tell when I hit a vein because it hurt a lot worse when the needle went in and then I would pull the syringe back to check for blood and you can see it. So I would take the needle out and get it to stop bleeding and then change the needle and try a different spot. I am glad this only happened a few times because it was not fun having to poke myself twice in one night.
The progesterone vaginal insert- I would get two out after my shot. I would do one at night when I went to bed and the other one in the morning when Nate got up to go to work. I am so glad to be done with these also since they made me feel like I had to go to the bathroom a lot and you have to wear a panty liner all the time.
 I would make a calendar each month with all the medications for the day. This was my last month and Paige helped me decorate it and I would cross off the day after my shot. I loved crossing off the last day!
Nate's note for me in the morning after my last progesterone insert. He has been such an amazing support and I love him too!

-April 20-
We have been keeping it a secret that I am pregnant. The first round of IVF we told all our family about it and it was really hard telling them that it didn’t work so this time around we told very few people that I am pregnant and went through the second round of IVF. We decided to tell our families once I got to 13 weeks since that is the last week of the first trimester and I am less likely to have a miscarriage. It was so exciting and fun to tell. I did a group text to my siblings and Nate did one to his. It was fun seeing their responses and their love and excitement for us. I called my Grandma Walker to tell her and hers was the best response of the whole day. She was so happy and just kept saying how happy she was. It was the cutest thing and I love all my family so much and am so grateful for all their love and support.

-May 10-
Today was my 16 week appointment. It is always good to get to these small milestones and I got to have another small ultrasound today which means I got to see the baby again. I love having all these ultrasounds and being able to see the changes instead of only listening to the heartbeat which is great too but an ultrasound is even better. The baby got a lot bigger in these four weeks. I didn’t realize it grew that fast. I have been feeling pretty good. My digestion has been kind of out of whack and I feel hungry all the time but at times when I get hungry and then eat it results in a stomach ache. I asked the doctor about it today and she said it is normal which I figured it was but it is always good to ask. The baby looks great and growing normal and the heart rate is good. The best news is that the hematoma is gone! It is so nice not to have that worry anymore. The doctor told me today that it was one of the biggest hematomas she has ever seen and that the baby is just meant to be there because with the size of the hematoma she expected to it either to cause a miscarriage or that it would last a lot longer. I know that it is an answer to many prayers and we are so grateful that it is gone and everything is going as it should. I am also starting to show slightly which I love. It gets bigger as the day goes on and I am excited for it to be a little bigger so I can show off the cute baby bump.

Our 16 week miracle baby and no hematoma!

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