Thursday, July 31, 2014


i never thought i'd see this day.
a positive pregnancy test.

and honestly, with my eggs…
i'm pretty sure we'd still be waiting. but now we've got good eggs.

i promised hubby that i wouldn't do a HPT but i couldn't help myself. i really had to know. for better or for worse. i snuck into the bathroom first thing in the morning while hubby was downstairs in the garage……i prayed so hard, with my eyes closed, waiting until the test finished. i cried when i read it…a sobbing cry that came from years of disappointment and finally overcoming what felt like the impossible.

after almost 6 years trying to conceive, 
we are finally pregnant and couldn't be happier.

beta #1 - HCG 780
beta #2 - HCG 1591

our clinic wanted my first beta over 100 and the second one to double. for once, i have high numbers at something. it feels so weird. i know we are not out of the woods yet. but i have so much faith in this pregnancy. even though, it still feels very a wonderful dream that i hope i never wake up from. 

thank you from the bottom of my heart for following our journey, cheering for us, crying with us and praying for this baby. i don't know where i'd be without this community and the support we've received from of all of our friends and family. we are truly blessed despite all of our struggles over the last half a decade. 

we are so anxious but excited for the next 9 months and hope baby sunshine is here to stay.

of course, i'd be remiss if i didn't mention k in this post.
we wouldn't be here without her. thank you, k. 

in my next post, 
i will share our letter and gift to our beautiful donor.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

driving myself mad

so this is my first EVER transfer which means i've had to endure a lot of 2 week waits, but none as high stakes as this one. and thank goodness, it is slightly less that two weeks from transfer to first beta.

but anyhow, i found this list on Pinterest titled '10 things i hated about being pregnant'. one would probably not think that article would be of particular interest to me. BUT here's how my crazy mind works. 

i started reading and thinking to myself. yep, i feel that. uh huh i have that symptom. 

here are all the things that i've been feeling. things that i am trying not to totally let convince me that i am, in fact, in the very early stage of pregnancy and these things aren't just coincidences or my imagination. 

 -  no matter how late i eat, i wake up hungry.
-  no matter what i eat, i've been gassy. 
-  boobs are sore.
- feel stomach twinges.
- tired but can't sleep well. 

the annoying thing that totally screws with my head is that i'm taking progesterone and estrogen (the hormones you're body would naturally produce if you were pregnant) so even my symptoms are unreliable.

i'm driving myself bat sh*t crazy. and trying not to obsess about baby names and for heaven's sakes…i need to stop pinning maternity outfits and baby clothes. 

well at least the wait is almost over…
i'll be posting beta results tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2014

9 tips for surviving the 2 week wait

Whether you have tried to get pregnant without treatment or with drugs, IUI or IVF, the part of the cycle that involves waiting to hear the "news" may be is exhausting. Each day you may be monitoring your body for signs of early pregnancy or for signs that you feel may mean your period will soon begin. It is like being on a roller coaster of hope and fear.

Consider the following 9 survival tips:
  • Keep quiet. Limit the number of people you tell about your cycle and let them know how you will share the outcome of the cycle. Some couples tell their family and friends, "No news is bad news," to eliminate the need to call them with bad news. Unless, of course, you're a blogger. Too late. The whole world will be watching and waiting.
  • Treat yo-self. Spend time doing the things you enjoy the most: cooking a wonderful meal, watching your favorite movie, cuddling with your pet or reading a good book.
  • Exercise. Take daily walks. While walking, meditate or pray. But get your body moving. 
  • Talk it out. Set time aside to talk with your partner about your feelings. Or talk with a friend who has experienced infertility and understands how you might be feeling. 
  • Set expectations. Tell your partner what you will need if the news is not positive. Do you want to be distracted and go out to eat or to a movie, or do you want to be left alone? Do you want to talk about the next steps in treatment or options, or wait a few days? Give your partner specifics on this- he can't read your mind.
  • Protect yourself. For example, don't plan on going to a dinner party given by a pregnant friend the day you expect to get your pregnancy test results.
  • Breath. Take slow, deep breaths when you are feeling anxious. This basic technique can assist you physiologically, as well as being mentally calming.
  • Reframe your thoughts. This is very helpful when you are experiencing negative thoughts or if your thoughts are driving you crazy by alternating between thinking you are or aren't pregnant. For example, the thought "The test will be negative and I'll never be pregnant," may end up as "I am open to the possibility of being pregnant and I'm doing everything I can to make that happen."
  • Journal. If writing is your thing, write letters to your future child. Or write about how you feel and ask the universe for what you want. Sometimes just the act of writing eases anxiety. 
Some of these tips were inspired by a RESOLVE article but have been modified based on my own experience. 

How do you survive the two week wait?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

how many embryos should you transfer?

this is a very personal question. it is one that couples going through IVF have to ask themselves. the right answer is different for each couple. some people look at the ASRM guidelines to make their decision while others consider multiple factors when making their decision including: age, diagnosis, doctor's recommendation, desired family size and past success with IVF transfers.

i've been asked this question many times by both infertiles and well-meaning acquaintances who have not had to make this difficult choice but have their opinions about how many embryos someone in our position should transfer.

after my transfer, i had two sweet friends on instagram ask why we made the decision to transfer only one embryo. it is a great question. so i decided to delve into this topic a bit deeper in this blog post. so this post is for you @leeleekoontz and @andressahorne and anyone else who's pondered this very question.

"how many embryos should we transfer"? 

here are the questions that we asked ourselves…in our particular situation.

1. what is our ultimate goal? 
for us, it is to give birth to a healthy child. and that answer might not be the same for everyone. notice, i didn't say that our goal is to get pregnant or to achieve IVF success.

2. if we transfer more than one embryo, what are the benefits?
we'd have a higher chance of success achieving a pregnancy on that particular transfer cycle.

3. what are the risks associated with transferring more than one embryo?
the biggest risk is getting pregnant with multiples. while i know many people who have had twins with relatively no issues, i also know people who've had devastating experiences carrying multiple pregnancies. case in point, a fellow blogger Holly…she suffered the heartbreaking loss of her twins and my friend D lost one twin and her other baby had serious health challenges.

below is a list of common complications associated with multiples:
preterm labor/delivery
low birth weight
intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
gestational diabetes
placental abruption
fetal demise/loss

4. what is the worse case scenario with transferring two embryos? 
getting pregnant with both embryos and having one of those embryos split. triplet pregnancy. see risks above if we attempt to carry all three babies to term. and we'd also be at a huge risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome because two of the babies would share the same sack and the other would not.

or we'd be faced with the option to terminate one of the pregnancies to reduce the risks to mother and the remaining babies. this is a heartbreaking decision to have to make after going through infertility. but sadly, it is one that is frequently made, quietly and in private, by couples who chose to transfer multiple embryos.

5. do you believe that each normal embryo has a chance of successfully implanting whether transferred individually or with other embryos?
for us, the answer is yes. so the only benefit we could find to transferring two at a time is saving money on future transfers down the road. if the choice is fail, try again, fail try again and it will cost more money in transfers. or try transferring multiple embryos at once and risk all of the things mentioned above… it is a no brainer for us….

one embryo.

how did y'all make this decision for yourselves?

Monday, July 21, 2014

i'm officially PUPO!!!!

i've always hated that expression but i see why it exists.
PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). it exists because as an infertile, you gotta take what you can get. and by golly, if you have a live embryo transferred into your uterus. you ARE pregnant….until proven otherwise. not "in limbo until proven pregnant". that would suck.

SDFC doesn't recommend bed rest after a transfer. they basically said to go about my daily activities on the day of the transfer and days following. doctor just doesn't want me lifting more than 20 lbs.

so what did i do post-transfer to celebrate my first day of being PUPO?

1. dine at my favorite restaurant. 
i had some delicious watermelon lemonade, scrumptious salads and chia seed pudding. 
healthy, yummy fuel for my baby.

2. go shopping for baby sunshine. 
my mom and i found a baby boutique in hillcrest called style child. we allowed ourselves two little gifts to commemorate transfer day. a onesie that was too perfect to pass up and cute book about california. oh ya…and that is me pushing out my bloated hormonal stomach pretending like i have a baby bump. 

3. brainstorm baby names. 
one of the added benefits of doing PGS at SDFC is that they disclose the sex of your embryos if you want to know. i'm not going to share the gender of this embryo just yet (i'll save that for another post). but since we know, my mom and i laid around looking at baby name websites. we jotted down some faves for consideration by A.

i've never felt this much hope before. it surges through my heart and soul. the feeling i have now is love. i already love this embryo. it feels like i'm already carrying my baby and it is a part of me.

i believe in this baby.
i can't even curb my enthusiasm and faith. 
baby sunshine, please be here to stay. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

the transfer

i got the call a few hours before arriving at the clinic with the results from our PGS testing. we have 10 normal embryos. one being transferred and nine frozen. hallelujah! this whole cycle still feels like a dream.

unfortunately, A had to work and wasn't able to join me for the transfer. he flew to san diego for the egg retrieval to give his "contribution" but had to get back home. but my mom and A's mom were both in the room for my transfer. they were a great source of support and encouragement. 

it was surreal laying on that table and actually having a normal embryo transferred into my uterus. to realize that i finally have a shot real shot at getting pregnant. and of course, i couldn't help but say a silent prayer for k and her amazing gift. we are incredibly blessed.

the actual transfer was pretty quick. i felt some mild discomfort when dr. k (dr. h was on vacay) was inserting the catheter. but i was too mesmerized by the monitor to be bothered. it was truly a miracle watching the doctor push our embryo through the catheter into the lining of my uterus. the emotions that i felt made my heart swell. i love this baby already. i hope and pray that baby sunshine is cozy and decides to stick around for the next 9 months.

our embryo is in the fluid that appears as white spots near the arrow

Friday, July 18, 2014

our baby blasts

first of all, thank you for all of the well wishes for k. she is doing great.
also, thank y'all for your prayers for our embryos. i don't know where i'd be without all of your love and support. 

this is already such a different cycle. i'm not used to these high numbers. if you recall my cycles were: (IVF #1) cancelled due to no response to stims, (IVF #2) 7 eggs retrieved, 4 fertilized and 0 normal embryos to transfer, (IVF #3) 8 eggs retrieved, 3 fertilized, 0 normal embryos to transfer. knowing i am doing IVF with fertile eggs this time gives me so much more hope that i will actually make it to a transfer.

here's the haps with our 23 fertilized embryos.

day 2
embryos dividing and usually have between 2 & 4 cells
embryology called with a very good report: (3) embryos at 5 cells, (11) embryos at 4 cells, (9) embryos at 2 cells.

day 3
embryos should continue development and have between 4 & 8 cells.
embryology called to say that we have (3) embryos at 10 cells {my overachievers}, (12) embryos at 8 cells, (2) embryos at 7 cells, (2) embryos at 6 cells, (3) embryos at 5 cells and (1) embryo at 4 cells. all embryos are good/fair quality with minimal fragmentation.

day 4
embryos should begin compacting and forming morulae.
embryology called to tell us that 7 completed morulae stage. 10 are beginning to form morulae. the other 6 are lagging behind.

day 5
embryos should be at blastocyst stage.
we have 17 embryos that made it to blastocyst for PGS (genetic screening). they were biopsied and sent to the Genesis lab in Arizona for testing. results come back in the morning right before the day 6 transfer. 

holy moly…17 made it and now hoping for lots of normals!!! 
this cycle is truly remarkable.

about PGS
my hubby doesn't ask for much on this bumpy road to baby that we've been on for almost 6 years. but he has asked every time we've done IVF that we do PGS (pre-genetic screening) to test for genetic abnormalities in the embryos because he wants the best chance of having a healthy child. i spoke to our doctor about whether it was a waste of money since we are using an egg donor.

dr. h said he doesn't think it is a waste of money at all because even using an egg donor, it is likely that 1/3 of the embryos will be abnormal. he said that he thinks a few years from now, performing PGS on embryos will be the standard of care with IVF. while it doesn't increase pregnancy rates, it does decrease miscarriage rate substantially because you aren't transferring abnormal embryos with no chance of viability. 

since we burned through all of our savings on our previous IVF cycles, we had to take out 3 different loans to pay for this donor cycle. i figured we'll be paying off debt forever anyways…why not reduce our risk of miscarriage and grant hubby the one thing he asked for in this cycle. so all 17 embryos are being tested for genetic abnormalities. 

i'll update on the results and transfer tomorrow….

Monday, July 14, 2014

worst nightmare

at first, i was ecstatic about getting 33 eggs but then I started to worry about k. 
33 is a lot of eggs. 

i’d been checking in with k all day to see how she was feeling. side note: let me just tell you that k is the most positive person ever. i don’t think i can remember a time throughout this process that i’ve ever heard her complain or be negative about anything.

about 4 hours after her retrieval, she felt bloated and had cramps. but she said it was worth it and made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal. by 7:45pm, she was getting concerned and thought she might need to go to the ER. she finally urinated for the first time since her egg retrieval and passed a lot of blood clots. when walking back to bed, she vomited everywhere. i was horribly worried and felt awful that she was so sick because of something she did for us. i started googling OHSS and her symptoms were listed under the severe category.

i encouraged her to call the nurse (which she had already done) and go to the ER. but she was still hoping to avoid going into the hospital. with her typical positive outlook, she said, “it’s just a small bump in the road and that she’d be fine”.

by 9pm, she was on her way to the hospital. of course, i was a wreck because i was worried sick about her health and wellbeing. she’s the kindest person on the planet and it broke my heart that she was in pain. of course, in true k fashion…she was apologizing to me for having to go into the ER and worrying me.

i don’t think i slept more than a few hours because i was constantly checking my phone for updates on k. Truth be told, i was also feeling angry at the doctor at SDFC for making k over stim. i was cursing my 33 eggs. who needs that many eggs anyways? i felt like all of this was my fault. hubby kept telling me, “it is not your fault. if it is anyone’s fault, it is the doctor’s for giving her too high a dose of meds.”

k’s husband had to drop her off at the hospital because he had their four kids with him. it was important to me that i kept in close email contact with k so she didn’t feel alone in the ER. the doctor did a vaginal check and saw a lot of blood clots. she had blood work, an ultrasound of her bladder and an x-ray performed. at 1:40AM, the ultrasound showed that she was hyper stimulating. her last email to me was at 3AM letting me know that she had been discharged from the ER…paperwork stating “hemorrhage from hyperstimulation”. she said she was feeling much better than at 5pm. again, k was apologizing that i didn’t get any sleep and that she had me worried. who is this girl? she is so incredibly sweet. it’s unreal.

at 11:51AM, k was resting at home and on a special diet to help with the bloating from OHSS. we had flowers delivered to her house with a get well card. i breathed a sigh of relief that she was feeling so much better and on the mend. and k…she was busy scolding me about getting some rest so that i will be ready for my up and coming transfer.

this felt like THE longest, most emotional 24 hours of my life. now that i know k is out of the woods, i can again focus on the wonderful news. the fact that 33 eggs were retrieved, 29 were mature and 23 fertilized. They were fertilized with ICSI and we will continue to pray that they all grow and divide properly. And also continue to pray for a full, speedy recovery for k. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

we have eggs!!!

so sorry i've been bad about keeping y'all up to speed. i'm trying my best but i don't have a ton to update along the way because everything is going so smoothly. plus all the action is happening to k - not me. if you follow me on instagram (@dreamingofdimples), you probably already saw these follie updates that k sent me. but i wanted to add them here just in case you haven't so that you can see her progress.

after her day 10 stim appointment (photo above), k got the thumbs up to trigger. 
k went in for her egg retrieval at noon. forty-two minutes later, i got an email from her husband informing us that the doctor retrieved 33 eggs!
how awesome is k and her hubby for keeping in such great communication with me. they’ve never left us hanging or guessing for a minute. we're so grateful for that. it has helped to alleviate my stress in this cycle, which is why i’ve been uncharacteristically calm and relaxed.
can you believe it? 33!!! and then I got a call from the embryologist that 29 are mature.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ten little follies

follies after 7 days of stims

i can't believe how good this cycle is going. it is so nice to have things work the way they are supposed to for once. k has been amazing. she sends me an email immediately after each of her monitoring appointments so i never have to wonder what is going on. and i mean immediately, if she has an 8AM appointment, i have a text within an hour afterwards. 

and today she even sent me a picture of her follicles. doctor said she has lots of good follies and they are all growing at about the same rate. they only show ten in the ultrasound image but there are more than that. 

uterine lining check
as i mentioned, i wasn't too worried because i don't really have a history of cysts or anything. although, if i've learned anything…it's that the situation could take a turn for the worse at any moment. 

but my lining was exactly where they wanted it to be and no cysts. during my uterine evaluation cycle, i misread the protocol sheet and took less estradiol than prescribed. my lining was still 9mm triple pattern on less meds. that being said, i had to advocate to have my doctor adjust my dose for the real cycle. the protocol sheet has patients taking up to 5 pills a day of estradiol. my nurse said that i needed to follow the protocol sheet. but i escalated it to the doctor and linked to a study that states lining that is too thick can be just as detrimental to IVF success as thin lining. so why would we increase the dose when we know that i can get to the optimal thickness in 3 pills per day? i won. 3 pills per day it is. 

i hate to play doctor when i am paying the clinic for that. but everyone's body is so different and they never want to personalize anything. they'd rather just max you out on all the meds. and nothing is weight based. that drives me crazy too. i mean seriously. i weigh 100 pounds. you can't tell me that i'm not taking too much medication if someone who weighs 200 pounds is taking the same amount. anyways, i digress.

power of prayer
thank you so much for all of your prayers during this cycle. we appreciate it more than you know. i swear it never hurts to have prayer warriors out there. my sweet instagram friend and her mother had a mass said in my name at the Church of Miracles this week. i think its working V..thank you! speaking of instagram, please feel free to follow our journey to baby @dreamingofdimples using hashtag #teambabysunshine as i will post more frequently there…especially with follie growth over the next few days. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

alone and reflective

my hubby is at work on both friday and saturday (gone for 48 hours straight) which always sucks. it means that i don't get any time with him on my two days off and i am alone all weekend. 

the house is eerily quiet. i listen to the hum of the refrigerator and the sound of my knife on the cutting board. i stand alone in my kitchen after work, cutting vegetables for dinner. dinner for one. i glance towards the living room and wonder what it would feel like to hear little feet running down the hallway. or to look over and see a baby kicking her feet in her swing while i prepare this meal. 

i think of k frequently. and i take a deep breath and soak in the emptiness that i feel so that when our lives are full (because i believe they will be) that I will draw grace and patience from this dark place in my toughest moments of being a mom. because i know the alternative to being up all night with a crying baby is sleeping all night and waking up to more quiet. the flip side of running around juggling baths, dinner and playtime after a hard day's work is nothingness. 

481 miles away, k begins her stim injections.
she'll be sticking herself with needles so that we might have a child. so we could know what it is like to snuggle our baby in bed in the morning. or hear a little giggle when reading a bedtime story. k knows these small joys and understands how they will enhance our lives and she wants that for us. 
i still don't know what i did to deserve her but i'm eternally grateful.

the silence is too much. the absence of family is so strong this evening.
and i feel guilty for my melancholy mood because we are so close. but i can't help it. i feel like the loneliest girl in the world tonight. but i don't believe it is permanent. i truly believe in my heart that our family will be complete because of God's grace and Him bringing k into our lives.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

off and running

k and i got had our baselines this week. 
it was a bit stressful on my end because my nurse was not clear that i might not get my period. over the weekend, i was waiting and stressing every day thinking that the cycle was going to be cancelled if AF didn't show up.

the paperwork read "you may get your period in 2-5 days" and nurse told me that i "should" get my period after taking my last birth control pill. well, i didn't.

after a few frantic phone calls and emails with no reassurance from my nurse, i went into my local clinic for my baseline. my concern was that my lining would be too thick because i didn't shed anything. but everything looked the way it should and i was cleared for take off. all my nurse had to say is "you might not get your period and that's okay" but she didn't. sigh.

i think i should become an IVF nurse since i know what not to do.

everything looked great with k! 
her ultrasound showed 15 follicles in her right ovary and at least 10 follicles that could be seen in her left ovary. but the tech said some more could be hiding.

we're off to fantastic start. 

my cozy uterus getting ready for baby

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