Lucky Embryo #3

After our miscarriage in November, I immediately began monitoring and planning for another transfer. I knew from my first miscarriage that the hardest part would be waiting for my hcg (pregnancy hormone) to drop. I took regular pregnancy tests, watching them get fainter and fainter. It’s an awful process, but I tried not to think too hard about what I was doing, just did my best to push forward. Thankfully this time it actually went faster than three years ago, and it was only 3 weeks or so before I could start calculating a possible transfer date.


My hope was that we would be able to transfer again in early February. It would be perfect, since Abbie’s birthday was the 2nd and we would have our moms here to help out. I knew that relaxing helped with the previous transfer, so I was determined to get myself as relaxed as possible. Of course, that’s when our sweet dog Riley’s eye started acting up and causing him debilitating pain, resulting in eye removal a week or so later. So relaxing was hit or miss, but I did my best.

My sweet, sweet boy. Thankfully he’s a happy and healthy (albeit one-eyed) boy now.

Transfer ended up being February 6th, which is the date of our first miscarriage three years ago. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, but I hoped that it would be redemptive. Abbie’s birth already redeemed that day, but this would throw on some extra redemption.

On the day of transfer, they called to let me know that “Embryo #3” had thawed  and was looking great. They label the embryos based on the eggs counted, so this means that out of my 29 eggs, this was the third one counted. How random and sweet that it was also our “third time is a charm” embryo to transfer!

For transfers #1 and 2, we took pictures of ourselves in the hospital garb, and I took pictures of my “stick baby stick” socks. But this time, I didn’t have the heart for it. I wore the hospital socks they provided, and we put on our gowns/scrubs like it was routine. Everyone was so friendly and kind, but it almost felt like too much, like they knew me too well back there at this point. Three transfers in five months was not what we had planned.

This picture was taken at our first transfer

Our sweet, sweet doctor came in and showed us a picture of our embryo. He said that the black area was the part that becomes the baby, but right as the embryologist was taking a picture the embryo contracted, so it was harder to see. She was hiding for the picture, but she was prettier in real life. He also gave us the straw that she was frozen on. Again, something that is special, but I had two other straws in my box of items at home. It’s just so hard to collect momentoes after that.


The transfer went the best of all our transfers. My uterine lining looked perfect. We could see the embryo going in, and afterward you could see the flash of light of our embryo in the center of my lining, contained in a pocket of fluid and air. Tom took a picture of the screen, which I was thankful for since we hadn’t taken any other pictures. Once transfer was complete, our doctor told us he had been praying during the whole procedure. He hugged us, and I felt so very grateful for him.


After the transfer, I went home and rested. My mom was in town, and Abbie went to daycare, so she took care of the house and we binged on Call the Midwife while I lounged on the couch. It was a perfect two days of rest.

By day 3, I was having symptoms (being my fourth pregnancy, I’m getting good at this). By day 4, I knew in my gut I was pregnant, but of course I was still terrified. By day 6, I couldn’t take it anymore and took a test. Positive, a pretty strong one for so early.

Of course when you are me, you don’t just take one test, you take three.

 

What toddlers do when mamas are taking pictures of pregnancy tests…

Then came time for the “betas”, the blood tests that measure the pregnancy hormone in my system. With our first miscarriage, my betas sucked. So when I had good ones with Abbie, it was reassuring. But with my last pregnancy, my early betas were great. So I knew that the numbers would only mean so much. Thankfully my nurse wrote me a script to get as many blood tests as I wanted done at Riverview (so I didn’t have to drive to Carmel). Based on the ultrasound with our last pregnancy, I knew the baby had stopped growing early on (the sac was very small). So I hoped that if I followed my betas into the high numbers, I would feel ok. Tom said he refused to go in for a 6 week ultrasound, since then you have to go back a week later to “confirm” if things don’t look good, so we scheduled a 7 week ultrasound and I calmed myself by following the numbers.

The last beta I had with the last pregnancy was 1500. With this baby, on the same day the number was 2500. Two days later it was 6700. Two days later 11,000. At 6 weeks, 24,000. These numbers don’t mean much to anyone else, but they were incredibly calming for me. They were higher than the average betas for triplets. And I needed that so badly, needed to know that our girl was incredibly strong and growing at a crazy high rate.

The other thing happening during this time was the nausea. I knew I felt too good last pregnancy. Healthy babies make me fat (I swear I look 16 weeks already), exhausted and miserable. This baby accomplished that early on, just like Abbie did.

Our first ultrasound was March 8th. It felt like an eternity to get there. And then once it was there, we could barely function from our fear. It was at 9 am, so we dropped Abbie off at daycare and ended up getting to the doctor 15 minutes early. I prayed in the car that they would get us in quickly and we wouldn’t have to wait long. Thankfully, the Lord answered those prayers. We were brought back right at 9, and the doctor came in quickly.

As soon as the ultrasound wand was in, we could see the baby and I found the flickering heartbeat with my eyes. So did the doctor, so he immediately started looking for a second one (since my betas were so high). His first words were “only one?” and all the while Tom, who could NOT see the heartbeat with his own eyes, was freaking out thinking something was wrong. We assured him that there was ONE baby with a heartbeat. They measured it at 140 bpm. She measured 7 weeks exactly.


At this point, the miscarriage rate drops drastically. So we started to breathe a little. But of course by the time of our next ultrasound two weeks later, we were terrified again. Thankfully we saw a much bigger baby with an even stronger heartbeat. We could even see her wiggling around! It was a joyous celebration, and we graduated from Midwest Fertility for (hopefully) the last time.

Dr. Bopp, one of the best and sweetest doctors I’ve ever known.

Sweet little gummy bear baby!

So now here we are, nine weeks pregnant with our second miracle. This road has been hard. I am exhausted, and I’m not sure how I’ve even made it this far. But we are here, and we pray everything keeps going perfectly with this pregnancy until our girl arrives in October! And then I will be even more exhausted, but it will be worth it!

Our girls 🙂

 

 

Bedtime Rituals

From about 8 months until a few months ago, Abbie was a piece of cake to put down. When I was nursing, I would nurse her and she would go right to sleep. And when I quit nursing at 17 months, she dropped to one nap, so she was exhausted at bedtime and went to sleep no problem at 6:30 (or earlier!). But the last few months she has finally demanded a routine from us. Books! Rocking! More Books! So many things.

It’s easiest for Tom (he gets away with two books, then “snuggles or night night”!), so he is usually in charge of bedtime. But some nights he has meetings, so the privilege goes to me. And let me tell you, Abbie delights is demanding MORE from her mama. Endless books. Then we must bounce on the yoga ball (I used this every day when she was a newborn and showed it to her a few months ago and now it is a MUST DO every night), and if I slow down for some reason she starts bouncing up and down to remind me of my job. Then, I try to put her down but she will have none of it. So I rock her in the rocking chair, and she clings to me as I rock her over and over and over again.

***

When we moved into this house five years ago, the room next to ours was painted for a little girl. We kept it that way, but I kept the door shut most of the time because it hurt to look in it. About six months into fertility treatments, I started going in there to pray. I would sit on the floor while the light shone through the window and I would pray and pray and plead for life to be growing in me. Cycle after cycle, those prayers were unanswered, but I kept going in there to believe that they one day would be.

And then when we got our first positive pregnancy tests, I brought them into the room and laid them on the windowsill to ensure that they were indeed positive. And when that pregnancy ended, I brought the tests in to see if the line was fading so we could move on.

Those days were hard. Those prayers were painful. The room was so empty.

***

And so when Abbie clings to me as I try to put her down, I pick her back up and rock her. And I breathe in the miracle of this life that almost wasn’t. Endless rocking in the glider is a pure bliss compared to the rocking I did on my knees when I begged and cried and pleaded for a child. This room is full of LIFE now, life that wants me and needs me and loves her mama.

And oh how I love this little ball of life and light.

A year ago today

A year ago today, I went to IVF training with my beautiful friend Susan. I geeked out on all the science info and dutifully took notes for her. We are such a fun pair, the two of us, opposite in so many ways. But it’s those opposite ways that have helped us support each other the most over the years. 

A year ago today, we had no idea how this journey would end for her. There were so many factors against her being a mother. But they had raised the money, and they had this shot at IVF.

If you have learned anything from reading my story over the last few months, it’s that you want as many embryos as possible coming out of IVF. Anything can go wrong, even with the most beautiful of embryos. 

Susan ended up with one embryo. All our hopes hinged upon that embryo.

It was a few months before she was ready to transfer it, because she was so afraid it wouldn’t work. And while I tried to be her positive friend during that time, I was terrified myself. A world without Susan as a mother seemed so empty and dark, and she was one failed transfer away from that happening. 

But it didn’t fail. That embryo is currently a wiggly baby boy in her womb, ready to make his entrance into the world. 

Oh, the difference that a year makes!