T Is For…

Happy (late) Thanksgiving! I hope everyone’s day was full of food, family, and gratitude! I know mine was.

We have had some very busy couple of weeks since Jason’s TESE. After feeling stuck at a standstill for so long, we’re now being swept up in the rapid pace of all that comes with our IVF cycle! We are thrilled! And a little overwhelmed and nervous. Things got real! We’re really doing this, it’s not just hoping and planning. Woo hoo!

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Since we last chatted with ya’ll, I have started more shots.  Along with the Lupron that stops me from ovulating and releasing my eggs, I am also taking Menopur and Bravelle. Bravelle is one of the shots Jason has been taking so I had a good idea of what to expect. Not as much of a cake walk as the Lupron, but definitely not as traumatic as the Rebif was.

These medications are stimulating my eggs. Every woman is born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, but only one a month grows to maturity and releases during ovulation. Because of how invasive IVF is compared to natural conception, if we were to wait for only one egg to work with it would be putting all our eggs in one basket, literally (hee hee. Yes, that was terrible but I couldn’t help it!) We don’t want to work with those odds! With the meds, my body is being stimulated  to speed up that process. They can have you yield anywhere from 2-40 eggs instead.

I’ve also been doing acupuncture. We’ve heard lots of good things about Bea at Harmony Acupuncture from our Infertility support group. We looked into it and decided to incorporate it to our IVF cycle. Acupuncture has been shown to increase the success of IVFby increasing the blood circulation to the ovaries to improve egg quality and uterus lining, both of which are crucial for implantation to take place. We’ve done all we can to prepare Jason’s body for the IVF, now we  want to focus on everything we can do to increase our chances of success in my body. If nothing else, I’ll get pampered and have relaxation sessions, which will be good for our cycle by itself!

We  cut gluten from our diet a couple of weeks ago. In some cases, gluten can negatively affect the thickening of the endometrium lining of the uterus. We want that egg to stick! So gluten is out for now.

I’ve been doing several ultrasounds and blood work to make sure the medication is 1.) working and 2.) not overworking and over stimulating my ovaries, which would be a big problem. My poor veins have always been absolutely awful to get blood from so this has been interesting. My veins have been described as angel hair pasta–super small and fragile. This last week alone I’ve had blood drawn three times. My veins are cranky about it!  On Black  Friday UFC  only had some MAs drawing blood and after two pokes with no success they ended up sending me to the hospital. The hospital flabotimist could tell just from glancing at my many needle scars that I’m a tough one to get blood from. She had to draw from my hand…it has the best veins and boy does it hurt each time.  She  offered me a lollipop to reward me for all my efforts 😉 I declined the lolli, but enjoyed the fun tape she used!

In addition to that, I had more stress on my veins when I had my last MRI and they had to insert the contrast solution into my veins. You know you’ve had too many MRIs when you zonk out and take a nice nap during one!  It was nice to think that this was (hopefully!) my  last MRI to check my MS before I’m expecting.

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 We kicked things off with my baseline ultrasound. This double checked that no issues had come up since my last one and also gave them a chance to see how many follicles I was growing on my own naturally before starting the stim meds.  I had 4 little ones on the left and 8 on my right. A good start! Generally, one follicle = one egg. My meds would keep my follicles maturing and hopefully encourage new ones to grow. Even if I just got those 12 ones to fully develop with no new ones we’d be in a good place.

This last week I felt like a swollen crazy hormonal mess! If I’m a terror in a regular month, you can imagine what that’s like amplified. My stomach has been bloated and tender. Not fun, but signs that the meds were doing something to my body! I was exhausted! Growing so many eggs all at once was keeping my body on full speed round the clock!

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But apparently it’s been worth it–at our last ultrasound (7 days after the baseline) I had 30 follicles, with the majority being pretty large!! * squee * Not to count our chickens before they hatch 😉 but we’re feeling really good about that number! More chances for babies!

Now if we can just get lots of good sperm, we’ll be set.  Our retrieval will be sometime this week. As one of my dear friends said, this Momma Chicken will be getting her eggs collected! Keep the prayers coming!

Speaking of which, we want to take a minute to thank you all again for your prayers, love, and support.  Before we went public about our infertility, I never imagined how strongly it would impact our journey. We have so many people reach out to us to give us words of encouragement or to share their own stories with us. I can’t count how many times I have been brought to tears over someone’s kindness to us. It has been absolutely remarkable. We knew we’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and family, but you have gone above and beyond in so many ways. I have no doubt that you have all made this journey infinitely easier for us. I am so glad we did not do this on our own! I shouldn’t have been so terrified to share; thank you for all that you have done in our behalf. We appreciate every gesture, from a hug to the financial assistance you have given us. Thanks to your generosity we were able to make the difference we needed to pay for our largest payment. Thank you.

Words can not express how loved we feel and how much we love you in return.   So for this November (and this year and this lifetime!) you are what we are thankful for!