Hiiiiiii FET Cycle

Hiiiiii Mid Cycle FET! If you unfamiliar FET stands for FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSER, and I happen to be in the midst of mine!

For all you geeks out there that are not familiar with some of this verbiage let me educate you :: A Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is a cycle in which the frozen embryos from a previous fresh IVF cycle are thawed and then transferred back into the woman’s uterus. An Embryo is an unborn or unhatched offspring in the process of development. ::

Last time I posted, I was at the end of my egg retrieval cycle. Hubs and I were deciding if we were going to do another egg retrieval to bank more eggs or move forward with an embryo transfer. Because we have a decent number of healthy frozen embryo babies this time we were presented with a couple more options on how to proceed with this IVF cycle… We decided to move forward with a transfer!

A few reasons we decided to move forward are 1. I wouldn’t have to put my body through all those nasty stimulating meds again. Affordability and health wise I think this was a smart decision. 2. We still have our second egg retrieval as insurance if we are unsuccessful at getting pregnant with any of our frozen embryos we have now. Win. Win. 3. We thought we would have gotten 5 eggs total with two egg retrieval’s based on the poor results we had last year with our first IVF cycle. Again, whatever this doctor is doing is a miracle and my body responded 1,000,00o times better than last time. We consulted with our doctor and asked what he suggested as far as doing another retrieval or going straight to a transfer. He said lets do the transfer! 3. We prayed and talked about it a lot and we both felt like this was the time. I am feeling excited, scared, anxious, calm, confident, all in one… is that even possible?

I have to say a FET cycle is kind of boring and calm and easy peasy so far. Going from 4 shots a day to just 1 a day and 2 every other day is cake. I am trying to focus on getting my body (aka baby palace) ready for this transfer. I am feeling so incredibly calm so far, my family is actually in shock, which is hard to do. Getting the healthy embryo’s seemed like the hard part and now that, that is over I really just need to focus on my mind/body health so that when these little babes are implanted back in me they want to stick around for a while… 9 months to be exact. I say “they” because we have decided to transfer two embryo’s. Our solo boy and one of the girls. Transferring two increases your chance of pregnancy. Yes we could have twins, we actually have a chance for triplets and quads if any of the embryo’s decide to split, but those stats are extremely low. Bring it on at this point I guess! My transfer will be sometime between the last week of March and the first week of April.

For now I am keeping calm and carrying on by doing almost daily yoga, meditation, and prayer. Lots of prayer. I am living in the now and not thinking about the future or what could or could not happen. I have so much faith in our doctor, in our embryologist, in the timing, in God, in the process. I know how hard this process is and sometimes it is easy to get lost in it. Lately I have been embracing the process. I have been leaning into the tension, the areas that may be a little uncomfortable and I have found the strength and calm on the other side. (duh I got that last part from yoga… such a yogi nowwww).

Namaste sistas.

 

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I still cannot believe all the incredibly good news we have received this week…. Pinch me. There is a GOD! Holy moly.

First off, we found out my husband was offered a full time Fire/Paramedic JOB!! He has been working so hard for the past 5 years to get a permanent firefighting position. There were so many times we discussed throwing in the towel or maybe it was time to start pursuing something else, but he never gave up. His persistent and passion finally paid off and he starts March 1! Yaaayyy!

The next day we received the news about our embryo’s… We had 8 embryo’s that went to genetic testing and wait for it…

5 PERFECT FROZEN BABIES!!! 

4 GIRLS + 1 BOY

I can hardly believe it. We only had 1 good embryo last time. And this time 5!!! 4 girls whaaaaat???!!!! So crazy. So awesome.

We have a TON to think about now. Do we do another egg retrieval as planned and bank more eggs or move straight to a transfer since we have a good amount to work with? We are going to talk about it a lot. Pray about it a lot. And talk to our Doctor. We only have a week to make a decision, since I will need to start meds next Saturday if we are moving forward with a transfer… Eeekkkk!

Long story short I am so, so thankful and overwhelmed right now- in a good way. I feel like the pieces are finally starting to come together. I am so glad we did not give up on hubby’s dream and I am so glad we did not give up on the dream of starting a family. I know we still have a long road ahead with the IVF, but today is a good day.

I have been praying every single day for 4 years for these two things. It has felt like a lifetime. I guess timing is everything. It may be 4 years to me, but for God or universe or whatever you believe, time is irrelevant.  Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”

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Genetic Testing

Genetic testing. What? How? Why? And is it playing God?

What is Genetic Testing? There are two types of genetic testing that can be done on  embryos. Both genetic tests are preformed on a day 3 or 5 prior to the embryo being transferred into the uterus. The distinction between the two types of testing: PGD and PGS.

  • PGD, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, involves removing a cell from an IVF embryo to test it for a specific genetic condition (cystic fibrosis, genetic disorders, cancer, for example) before transferring the embryo to the uterus.
  • PGS, preimplantation genetic screening, is the proper term for testing for overall chromosomal normalcy in embryos. PGS is not looking for a specific disease diagnosis – it is screening the embryo for normal chromosome numbers.

PGS is the more common genetic testing done in IVF. It basically tests for down-syndrome and sex chromosomal abnormalities (i.e. embryos with an extra sex chromosome). These are the two types of chromosome abnormalities that can result in a live birth- all other genetic chromosome abnormalities usually end in miscarriage or never lead to a viable pregnancy.

How is this process done? After the eggs are retrieved, they are then fertilized using ICSI. For 3 to 5 days these embryos will continue to grow and split. The embryos that are at the appropriate stage will be sent off for these genetic tests. We will be doing a biopsy called trophectoderm biopsy, which is performed on day 5 or 6 of embryo development. It is performed at the blastocyst stage after the embryo has differentiated into an inner cell mass, a trophectoderm component and a fluid filled cavity. With trophectoderm biopsy at the blastocyst stage a small hole is made in the shell of the embryo and several cells that are precursors to the placenta (trophectoderm) are removed for testing

  • This technique has shown promising results in US IVF programs. It is now considered by many experts to be the biopsy procedure of choice for PGD and PGS testing.
  • Genetic testing, like many medical procedures, is not 100%. Embryo’s can be damaged in the process of collecting the cells, and can be graded abnormal when normal or visa versa.

Why genetic testing?

In general, there are 5 main groups of patients that might utilize PGS or PGD.

  1. Patients that are having IVF with advanced female age – 38 or older (common)
  2. Patients of any age with repeated IVF failure – usually defined as 3 or more failed attempts
  3. To screen for inherited genetic diseases
  4. Patients that are carriers of chromosomal translocations
  5. Patients that have had recurrent miscarriages

PGD / PGS and Age – aneuploidy screening (PGS) – checking the chromosomes

  • The most common reason that PGS is done in the US is for “advanced age”.
  • This would often mean older than about 37 in many programs offering PGD.
  • The logic relates to the fact that women of advancing age have increased rates of chromosomally abnormal eggs – which after fertilization will become chromosomally abnormal embryos.

Human eggs are often chromosomally abnormal – and the percentage of eggs with a chromosomal abnormality increases with increasing female age. In general, about 30-60% of human embryos have some type of chromosomal abnormality. This increases significantly with advancing female age.

Furthermore, in an IVF cycle that is not doing genetic testing they will grade growing embryos on day 3.  Healthy graded embryos will be transferred and/or frozen on day 3. Embryos with genetic abnormalities can look healthy from the outside- you would only know if they were abnormal by looking inside (genetic testing). The potential for transferring a genetically abnormal embryo is pretty high. These pregnancies usually end in early miscarriage. For example with our first IVF, cycle before our eggs were sent to genetic testing, we had 4 embryos that were graded good/good (which is the highest grade they can receive). Out of those 4 that were then genetically tested, we only had 1 normal egg. ONE. This raised a red flag for us and our doctors and is one of the reasons why we have decided to do genetic testing again with these 2 IVF cycles.

We decided to do genetic testing for a few reasons. 1. With the diagnosis of Low AMH my eggs are at higher risk of being chromosomally abnormal. (please click link for more info about AMH). 2. When doing genetic testing, you decrease your chance of miscarriage significantly. Miscarriage usually occurs because there is a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus. We have already been through so much I don’t know what would happen if we got all the way to a pregnancy and then I lost the baby. 3. It increases IVF success. 4. If given the option with genetic testing to bring a healthy child vs. an unhealthy child into the world, we wanted a healthy child. Not that an unhealthy child would be loved any less, but given the option we would go with the obvious. Which brings me to…

Is genetic testing playing God? I don’t know. This is a hard question. God created the world and life, so didn’t he create and give us medicine as well? Genetic testing has definitely opened the discussion for ethical and social issues. As of now genetic testing is solely used to weed out chromosomally abnormal embryos and embryos that have genetic diseases.  With that said, genetic testing does supply you with the gender of your healthy embryo’s, which could lead to gender selection. You do not have to find out the gender if you do not want to, but the information is there for you. Hubs and I want to transfer one healthy boy and one healthy girl. I guess that would be considered gender selection…  At some point in the future, tests will no doubt be marketed for genes that are associated with behavioral traits such as intelligence, sexual orientation, possibly even perfect musical pitch, or physical characteristics like height, hair color and eye color. A way for a parents to create a so- called “designer baby”. Many of these claims will be highly questionable.  And what about gene mutations that have, say, a 20% or 30% chance of causing disease when the child is in midlife? Should parents discard an embryo based on that percentage? Consequently, over time, certain disease will become relegated to certain social groups, but not others. The gap between the wealthiest 1% and everyone else is already expanding. Should we allow this method to widen it more in the genetic pool? Others see this technology as raising troubling issues of eugenics, which had horrific results under the Nazis, who sought to “purify” the gene pool in Germany, and eliminate people whom they felt were genetically inferior. I know I am talking a little extreme, but with the way science and the world are heading this is a big topic of debate. I just pray that doctors remain moral and ethical with the use of these tests.

My husband is devout in his faith. It took him a while to get on board with IVF, because at first he felt that IVF was “like playing God”. Obviously, after he learned more about the process, he was all for IVF to start a family. Myself on the other hand, I have my faith, but I am more “spiritual”. I didn’t know if I really wanted to do genetic testing. My husband was the one really pushing for it. I think it’s a bit ironic. I am glad we did genetic testing on our last IVF cycle. If we would not have, our journey would have been quite different and would have cost us a lot more money, time, and energy. This time around we are doing genetic testing again because of how many abnormal embryo’s we had during our last IVF cycle. If God blessed us with a child with special needs we would love and care for that child like no other, but we feel that because we have the opportunity to do genetic testing it would be unfair to bring a child into this world with health issues, when we can prevent it. Not all will feel the same. Some will downright think it is wrong. But, this is our journey…

“How beauteous mankind is,” Shakespeare’s Miranda exclaims optimistically in “The Tempest.” “Oh brave new world, that has such people in it!” Huxley used these words ironically. Between her hope and his pessimism may lie the reality.

source: CNN, Advancedfertility

 

 

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Happy New Year

As 2014 closes and 2015 looms not too far away, what are you hoping for? {I think I know what most of us are hoping for this coming year in this community ha}… We are heading down to San Felipe for our annual New Years trip and I am excited to get out of town leaving technology, tv, social media, babies, and pregnant friends behind. So as I won’t be able to post during the new year I will leave you with this great passage that really called to my heart and will be reflecting on in my own life for this coming year. Here’s to an amazing 2015. Cheers!

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecc 3:11 (NLT)

So much of our energy is spent on looking forward or remembering backwards. We pine for what’s been lost and can’t wait for what we don’t yet have… and all the while, beauty is right before us…

God has made EVERYTHING – yep, ALL things – beautiful. Whatever you are experiencing now is laced with beauty. You don’t have to reach backwards or forwards to a grasp a sense of beauty or purpose because beauty permeates the world – it’s carried by the love and grace of God in and through all things…

You could be reading this thinking “there is nothing beautiful about the pain I’m in right now…”

I know exactly how you feel… most of us do… And while deep tragedy ravages our heart, it does reveal a beauty that’s concealed in easy times: the deep well of friendship, community, the comfort of God, discovering your strength, the capacity of the human spirit, the hope of eternity. Hope is not born on mountain tops, but in valleys when you’re looking to the heights and peaks that you’re yet to climb…

While you’re dreaming or remembering… or perhaps you’re waiting for the door to open on a particular season in your life; let the season come at its appointed time. Don’t take the beauty of what God is doing in your life today for granted.

Wanting summer to come in the middle of winter only causes frustration! After all, winter has its own purpose in the cycle of seasons. Without it, the trees wouldn’t be so green or so strong. And you miss the beauty that cold can bring – snowflakes, tree trunks, frozen water… winter has a beauty that is not seen in summer…

Wherever you’re at today, ask God to show you the beauty in the season. Let the rhythms of grace be unforced and free flowing. As you continue to hope for tomorrow and glean from the wisdom you learnt yesterday, LIVE today, take every moment given to you and look for the beauty that God has placed all around you in every season. Time will pass, it can’t be stopped… what you hope for will come, but you’ll never relive this moment, so take it, breathe it in and live it all out.

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I want it NOW!!

Thank you Waiting For Baby Bird for posting this fantastic Blog Post. I really needed to be reminded that God’s timing is always perfect. He knows my story better than I do. I need not to lose trust and faith in Him. I am definitely Veruca Salt and I always want things when I want them. now. Now. NOW. Anyways enjoy this awesome post::

“Anyone remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? You know the bratty girl who stomped her foot and screamed, “I want it now!” That is sometimes me and when I read the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament and get to the intense part where she tells her husband to go sleep with another woman, I see that same bratty girl in my head. I see Sarah screaming to Abraham, “I want the child God promised and I want it now! So go sleep with my maidservant!” And of course, he does (rolling my eyes).

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar, so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” ~Genesis 16:1-2
So much of her journey and struggle parallels mine (being promised a son against all odds and then waiting and waiting some more), but this is one part of her story I am desperately trying to not parallel. No, I am not talking about the temptation of having my husband sleep with another woman to get the child He has promised, but rather the temptation to grow impatient with God and His incredibly slow ways that I begin wasting my time, energy, and money doing anything and everything I can in order to push ahead His timetable. So often I find myself awake at night thinking of what I could or should be doing in order to bring life to my womb sooner. I imagine Sarah also stayed awake at night, lying in bed and looking up at the roof of her tent thinking of different ways she could help God fulfill His promise.

If you are familiar with the story than you already know God promised old man Abraham that He would give him more descendents than he could count. Naturally, we know it would take at least one to get that process started, but as time passed, and the promise of a child wasn’t being fulfilled, Sarah, who was old and barren, started to panic. She might have thought God forgot? Maybe she got tired of hearing all of the advice from others on how to get pregnant?

I bet if you just go adopt the child three tents over then you will magically get pregnant!

Honey, just hold your legs up in the air after sex, it worked every time for me!

Just quit thinking about it and relax a little…

Maybe you and Abraham just need a vacation?

Are you sure the child God promised will come from your own body? Maybe you should explore other options?

Maybe she was tired of the isolation and shame that surrounded her as an infertile woman. Perhaps other people started calling her an enormous (not pregnant) fool for believing in a promise from God? Regardless of what caused her to think of this crazy idea of her husband sleeping with another woman, it was obvious that she had reached her limit. I believe her feelings of hopelessness and attitude of impatience clouded her faith and all she could think about was her present desire to have a child and her current failure to be able to do so. I have no doubt that she knew and believed in God’s promise to her, but when she didn’t conceive in the time frame she wanted (or expected) and concluded she probably wouldn’t, her impulsiveness, her impatience, and her intense yearning to be a mom caused her to think it was all up to her and that she must be the one to do something (and do it now) in order to make it happen. Her faith was built primarily on her ability rather than God’s ability.

Sure her plan was successful and she got a child named Ishmael, but as time would tell, he was not the son God had promised. Therefore, as a result of Sarah’s own plans, trouble was stirred. In one of the ugliest scenes imaginable, infertile Sarah “mistreated” Hagar, her maidservant, out of anger and deep grief. When I think about how agonizing and painful infertility can be, I can only imagine that Hagar took quite the beating. Furthermore, Sarah never found room in her heart to love Ishmael as her own. It’s troublesome to know that the bitterness, anger, stress and heartache was a direct result from of all of Sarah’s “doing” and never once was it in God’s plans.

Sarah’s actions have made me question how much bitterness, strife, anger, heartache, and stress in my life have been a direct result from the decisions I have impulsively made without seeking God’s will.

Thankfully despite their poor choices, the story goes on to say that God was still faithful to His word and He still fulfilled His promises because nearly 25 years after He had spoken to Abraham, Sarah conceived and gave birth to the long awaited son whom they named Issac. I can’t help but wonder if the reason it took nearly 25 years for God’s word to be fulfilled was because their own plans delayed God’s plans. To me that can be an unsettling thought to know that I could potentially cause a delay in God’s timing, but it’s also a thought that motivates me to always seek God’s wisdom before I start making my own plans. Sarah never sought wisdom from God on how to build her family. Instead, she let her “I want it now” attitude take over and it cost her more than she could afford.

I don’t ever want my “I want it now” attitude to persuade me down a path God never intended me to travel or possibly hinder me from having His best in my life. I don’t ever want my impatience to cause me to do things that are pointless and irrational, thus leading to more heartache, stress, financial debt, anxiety, and resentment. I don’t want to forget the truth that despite what the facts in my circumstances look like, God is faithful and nothing is too hard or impossible for Him. I don’t want to be so focused on my intense present desire to become a Mama bird that I am like Sarah and will do anything and everything except first ask for God’s plan, listen for His voice, trust in His timing and believe in His promises. Doing anything else would be a Hagar…pointless.”

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God. you’re silly.

God must be testing me or just playing jokes on me for a good laugh.

Hubs and I haven’t been to church in a while so we decided its probably time to get back in the saddle. It happens sometimes. We go through phases of going to church every Sunday and then not stepping foot into church for months.

It is weird, I have not been to church since I got baptized. I’m sure it is an unspoken rule that once you get baptized you should be a devout Christian who goes to church every Sunday, but for some reason I have felt the opposite. My heart is still open and full, but there is a disconnect in me for some reason. Ever since I was baptized I haven’t been praying much, we haven’t gone to church, we haven’t had a dialog surrounding God or spirituality. Subconsciously or not maybe I felt like I could drop the ball a little in that department since I am now part of the family. NOT. I know now more than ever we need to have the same commitment we had before. So game on.

Anyways back to the story. Last Sunday we go to church. We were a little early so we had our choice of where we wanted to sit. We picked the middle, right side of the gym. As worship started and people started filing in next to us, I couldn’t help but notice that every person that came to sit in our section was either pregnant or had a newborn. I was like a future baby mama magnet. LITERALLY. Every couple and women who sat to our left, right, back, and front had a sundress on snuggly covering their plump baby bellies. And 2 couples behind us had their cute little newborns all wrapped up. What a hoot. If that isn’t a test of ones progress I don’t know what is. Of course I had to point this out to hubs, who thought it was funny, and surprisingly I didn’t feel like I needed to run and sit at the other end of the gym with all the high schooler’s and middle aged couples.

I am proud of myself for staying positive. I am proud of myself for not falling apart. I am proud of myself for not running. I am proud of myself for placing all of my emotions into a place bigger than myself.

You’re silly universe. Thanks for showing me I am stronger than I think I am.

 

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the dream.

I have never put this down into words and I very rarely talk about it because I believe in the law of attraction and I am also a little superstitious. But here it is because I need to know what you believe…

When hubs and I first started our journey into baby making {about 3 years ago} I had a very vivid dream one night. This dream came to me when I started to figure out we might have a problem conceiving because it had been a year of trying with no success.

//I am walking through what seems like a field. It was a bit hilly with grass and some sparse trees. It is a sunny day maybe a couple cotton ball clouds in the sky. Along this field is a low brick or rock wall, kind of like a fence running along where I am walking. All of a sudden I stop and bend down to pick up a loose rock that looks out of place in the wall, but it turns into a brick. As I pick it up I see that the underside of the brick has a note carved into it. It says: You will never carry your own children. GOD.// That is all. That is the dream.

Freakkkkky right? I really don’t know what to make of this dream. Was this God really talking to me and trying to tell me something? Was God giving me the sign I had been praying for? Or is this the Devil trying to mess with me? Or my mind playing to tricks on me because I was very stressed out at the time about all things fertility? I am a Christian. I am a spiritual. I have talked to God a lot in my life, but God has not ever spoke to me in this way, if this is what it is. I don’t want to believe that this letter or note from God is true. I want to think it was just my dreams playing tricks on me, but a part of me feels that this really may be a sign. I have never stopped thinking about this dream. It is always there in the back of my mind, tapping me whenever we have a failed IUI or Aunt Flow makes her monthly visit.

So do I heed the warning of this dream and make preparations for having children in another way or do I keep on this path of trying to conceive my own baby in my own body? I am at a loss on this one. Is this truly a sign from God?

rock wall

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