My Victory Lap

img_0695

In nine days I will have beat infertility because in nine days I will be checking in to the hospital to have my scheduled c-section. John has called this last month my Victory Lap because it’s not about worrying any more it’s about winning the race we’ve been in for the last eight years. Cue my tears.

Pregnancy is by far one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. Everything just agreed with me and even at 37wks and 4 days I still feel amazing and I’m sad that the pregnancy is coming to an end but I’m excited for what the rest of our lives have in store for us as parents.

As people found out I was pregnant I was more open to share my story because quite truthfully I’m tired of people not talking about infertility and I’m tired of being embarrassed and ashamed of what I’ve had to go through to get to this point. I’m honest and tell people it took us eight years, which included 5 losses, 6 surgeries and multiple rounds of IVF. I sometimes tear up as I tell my story and I’m ok showing emotion because this is one of the hardest and loneliest journeys I’ve ever been through. Last week there was a woman who works down the aisle from me that came over to tell me she had no idea I was pregnant (which I get a lot from work people) and to congratulate me. She then shared that her two children were IVF babies and in that very second of her sharing with me, we became IVF sisters. We compared our journey’s and cried together because those infertility feelings are raw no matter how much time has passed.  

I reflect on what 3/20 will hold for me and I don’t think there’s any way for me to comprehend it, put it into words or truly know the emotions that I will feel that day. I’ve been trying really hard to live in the present and enjoy the little and big things that this pregnancy has given me. I’ve been saying this since the day I found out I was pregnant, this is the baby that chose me to be it’s mom and it’s a title that I will never ever take for granted.

Bow Tie or Hair Bow?

 

img_0275

 

Now that people know I’m pregnant I get asked if I’m going to find out the gender. My answer has always been no even before I was pregnant. When you go through fertility treatment everything is so planned, I lived by cycle days, dr appointments and calendars. Everything was written down and there were no surprises so I feel like this is going to be my one BIG surprise. Sure it would be amazing to plan ahead and have a nursery decorated for either a boy or a girl and have a lot of the clothes already bought but you know what is also going to be amazing, not planning. We had 14 eggs that were retrieved. Out of those, 4 made it to day 5 and were biopsied and flown to Colorado for genetic testing. 1 embryo came back genetically perfect and that 1 embryo is who chose us for its parents. Whether it be a boy or a girl does not matter to us what matters is us getting to be its mom and dad and that fills my heart with so much love.

I’ve had my 20wk ultrasound, how can it be that I’m half way there already. I remember all of those 2ww’s and they were some of the slowest possible days of my life and now that I’m pregnant I would so embrace a slow day. It has been 2-months since we’ve seen baby so this ultrasound was a big day for us. Everything looked absolutely perfect but they do want me to come in for another one at 28-weeks because the way the baby was laying we couldn’t see the tail end of the spine. No arguments from me on that decision. I met with the doctor after my ultrasound and we talked about labor and I just casually brought up having a c-section because I was already considered high risk because of my age and he completely agreed and said he was ok with it. I guess I wasn’t expecting him to be on board and now I almost feel guilty for bringing it up. I know I’m crazy but I feel like it’s a cop out from truly experiencing the whole labor experience. I know in the long run I have to do what’s best for the both of us but since this is the only pregnancy I’ll ever experience I don’t want to miss out on any of it.

Next up on my calendar: getting ready for the holidays, patiently waiting for my 24wk appt, registering, house hunting and possibly purchasing and baby showers. March will be here before I know it and with a c-section they will take the baby at 39wks. So much to be thankful for!

 

 

March. My new favorite month!

IMG_0086

I’ve thrown my pregnancy out to the universe and it amazes me how some people reacted to my news. I had 2 people look at me and ask, “how old are you?” I get it I’m not a young mom but come on don’t make me feel bad about it. I had someone ask me, if I’d really been frickin trying for a baby for 7 years. I wish more people were educated about infertility or at least had some sort of filter. The people that I love and care about the most were over the moon happy for me. When I told my family I found this fabulous bakery in the city that makes custom donuts and I placed an order and had them spell out BABY DUE IN MARCH!

I went to my first OB appt, a clinic that I’d been going to for 5 years before moving on to IVF. They’ve seen me on some of my lowest days and were always the ones who picked me up and gave me hope month after month. I went in for my appt and I was greeted with so many hugs and a huge smiley face on my chart. Everyone told me how excited there were to see my name on the schedule. I had an ultrasound with a tech who I absolutely adore, with each loss he’s been the one to tell me there was no heartbeat. We have a connection and I love him for his compassion and the strength he’s given me to continue. Seeing him again was so special for me especially because I knew my day was only going to be filled with happy news. Everything looked amazing on the ultrasound and just as we were wrapping up he asked if he could do something special for us, he said we had been through so much over the years that we deserved something and he asked if he could buy us our stroller. As if I wasn’t emotional already his kindness completely melted my heart, every person at that clinic is part of my story and I’m overjoyed to me sharing my pregnancy with them all!

So I’ll be 18 weeks tomorrow and I have to say pregnancy isn’t nearly as hard as trying to get pregnant was. I keep saying this must be God’s gift to me since it was so hard getting to this point. Pregnancy has been so easy for me and I’m loving every single day of it. I’m not tired, I have no cravings, I never once had morning sickness and if it wasn’t for my very tiny bump I feel completely normal. We started stockpiling our diapers a few weeks ago, so far we have 3 boxes. We bought a swing from a friend of mine who also struggled conceiving and that’s all we have gotten. Last weekend we went to Buy Buy Baby and started looking at cribs, that was a little overwhelming but I think we have it narrowed down to two. I’m still taking things one day at a time because I don’t want this time to go any faster than it already is. I want to remember it all because I’m carrying my one and only miracle baby and that’s totally worth living life at a much slower pace.

 

I Graduated!

I never thought I would make it to this point, my glass has been half empty for so many years that this all still seems so surreal to me. I did it…we did it, we graduated from my fertility clinic and I get to see my own dr. I didn’t think I would get as emotional as I got but I formed relationships with these people. The ultrasound tech was with me from transfer to the final scan, she was my absolute favorite and I made sure to tell her. I hugged her hard because she is now part of my story. During one of my blood draws I shared my journey with the lab tech, he was in awe of everything I overcame and he hugged me before I left. I will never forget him either because he’s also part of my story. I realized years ago that if someone comes into my life that has somehow impacted me In a way I never could imagine I tell them. I’ve met some amazing people by doing this.

So here I am, 11wks  and l feel freaking Amazing! I haven’t been sick at all, I’m not tired or I should say not any more tired than I usually am. The only thing I struggle with is heartburn and constipation, ugh I can’t believe I just shared that. Lol! That struggle is Real!!!

I haven’t told any of my family yet so that will be happening this weekend. I’ve gone back and forth with how to tell them and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’ll share a picture with you all after this weekend.

I’m truly grateful and blessed for these past 11 weeks and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for me: Telling my family, telling my co-workers, growing my bump, wearing maternity clothes. Exciting times ahead!

The Best of Us.

 

img_9693

The best of me + The best of him = The Best of Us. It seems like such a simple equation but when you mix in the science and the DNA of it all, that’s when things can get a little complicated. Even though I think we’re compatible in more ways than I can count, our DNA and egg quality may not.

My retrieval was on 4/6, this time around they were able to retrieve 14 eggs that’s 5 more than my last retrieval. Considering my age that’s a good number and I will gladly be ecstatic about it. Out of those 14 eggs 13 of them fertilized, again I’ll be ecstatic about that number as well. Then I had to wait 4 whole days to find out how many of those embryos made it to day 5. Cue my ecstatic state when I found out I had 4 mature on day 5. They sent my cells to Colorado for testing and out of those 4 only 1 came back genetically normal. I know…I know I should be ecstatic with 1 but I so wanted there to be 2 just in case. In case the first one didn’t work we would still have another shot, in case it did work and I somehow talked John into trying for baby #2. But here we are again with 1 embryo, it’s like I’m watching a rerun of my last retrieval. I did have my consult with the dr and found out that the 1 embryo we do have is a 4AA which my dr was very giddy about so it was hard to not also be giddy! She said looking at the embryo she would never guess it was from a 43 year old….I’ll take that as a compliment.

So now we wait for CD 1. I have found it’s so much easier to wait for something when it’s nice outside than when it’s below freezing with a foot of snow on the ground. I’ve got a lot to keep my occupied until then and just like preparing for retrieval the time will sneak up on me and I’ll be in the midst of drugs and all of the other  worrying and over analyzing that goes along with a transfer. Is it weird that I want the time to go slowly this time because once it’s here I will know one way or another…Either I’m pregnant and my life will change drastically or I’m not and I continue living life as I know it; but that also means closing this chapter. For 7 years my life has been tracking, taking drugs, going to dr appts and waiting constantly for this or that. I’m not sure who I will be if I don’t have all of those things to preoccupy me. Either outcome is going to make me a different person and I pray with all of my heart that the stars align, my lining is at least an 8mm and this perfect little 4AA embaby decides to make its grand entrance into this world–because we’re ready to be the best parents ever!

 

 

Chances.

I knew in my heart that when my cycle in July failed that I wasn’t done. I found a new clinic to work with and my experience has been so different with them. I’ve had to start from scratch with all of the testing but it’s been worth it because I feel like they’ve been more thorough and they have a different approach on treating me due to my history. I had an appt earlier this week to talk about all of my lab results so we could determine if my levels were still good enough to use my own eggs or if we should consider donor eggs. All of my lab work came back within normal range which is pretty amazing consider I’m almost 43. This doctor is completely ok with me using my own eggs. The protocol would be a little different than I did last time which may or may not improve the amount of eggs that they retrieve. We talked about the option of using donor eggs and what would be involved if we went that route. I will admit that I was starting to think donor might be the way for us to go because it’s been 6 years and even though my levels are within normal range we’ve either miscarried or had tubal pregnancies. I felt like we had a pretty big decision ahead of us and the dr was very supportive and told us to take the time we needed to think it over. All that changed when we met with the finance person, I feel like once again the wind was knocked out of me. She showed us the pricing for doing an IVF cycle using my own eggs. My insurance will cover almost all of one IVF cycle minus the cost of medications which I would have to pay for out of pocket. My insurance will not cover donor eggs and the breakdown from start to finish would cost between $27k-$29k out of our pockets.

I can’t fathom paying $27k but I also can’t fathom going through another IVF cycle, ending up with one good egg and not having it work. Nothing about this journey has been easy and once again this decision we need to make solidifies that.

Ugh what to do…what to do….

On a side note, I read on someone’s blog this morning that today is IVF’s 40th birthday and over 5M babies have entered this world after being conceived with the help of medical intervention. It prompted me to google IVF and to read up on the history, it’s some pretty amazing stuff that happened 40 years ago and is still happening today. So if you’re one of those 5M in one capacity or another celebrate it! I may not be a mom yet but I’m still going out tonight to get a cupcake because if it wasn’t for those doctors and the Brown family who took a chance I wouldn’t be where I am today. Maybe this journey is all about taking chances…..and praying that the chance is history changing.

Healing.

Nothing prepares you for a failed transfer. It was the darkest of days, I closed myself off from my family and my friends. I cried hard and was angry with everyone and everything. I believed with all of my heart that I was pregnant and then the dr called, “I’m sorry you’re not pregnant” no emotion just the facts. It was like a sucker punch. It’s been six weeks since that phone call and I’m healing.

A few months ago I was asked to judge a pageant and I really think being a part of the pageant world again helped heal my heart. The events filled my calendar and no matter how much I dreaded getting all dressed up, doing my hair and putting on make-up at the end of the night I felt good about myself again. I re-connected with old friends, made new ones and was honored to be able to give two lucky girls a title and a crown that they will forever hold in their hearts. The whole experience was life changing and was presented to me exactly when I needed it the most and for that I feel very grateful.

So now the question I keep asking myself is “where do I go from here.” I’m fighting with my insurance company because they denied my claim, they told me that I was out of network so I’m in the process of appealing that. There is no way I’m getting stuck with this $14k bill. The #1 reason we were even able to do IVF was because my insurance increased my coverage to $20k and I never would have used a clinic that wasn’t in my network. They make you jump thru so many hoops in the hopes you get discouraged and give up but I’m in this one until the very end.

I’m meeting with my ob/gyn in 2-weeks for a few reasons. 1) she’s amazing and has a passion for women’s health specifically fertility issues. 2) I’m going to see if it might be beneficial to go in for laparoscopy to get my endo cleaned out again. 3) This last one is my own selfish reason, I just want to go see a dr who actually gives a shit about me. We hated our infertility clinic so much and I want to go back to the clinic, the dr’s and nurses that made me feel safe and cared about me.

On 10/4 I have an appt to meet with a new infertility clinic who I’ve heard really good things about….I wish I would have known about them months ago. We’re just going to be gathering information we’re not sure if we want to go through another transfer or not. That’s where we’re at for now, no decisions have been made we’re weighing all of our options first. Call me crazy I just don’t feel like my journey is over yet.