Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!




Every time I walk out of my infertility clinic I am even more infertile than the time before. Let me explain. 

At my last infertility appointment I found out that my antral follicle count (baseline follicles, like a snap shot of how my ovaries are doing) decreased from 11 to 4. Just 2 years ago, before my ovarian cyst removal, I had a slightly diminished ovarian reserve. Then at the fertility center this year  I found out that it was decreased by more than half. 

Today I walked in to the fertility center with 2 open tubes. Or so I thought. My left tube was open and beautiful... too bad it leads to a bare ovary. My right tube was blocked and didn't allow any dye to flow through... despite some gymnastics and a little bit of force. So I now have one dead ovary (left) and one blocked tube (right). Thankful more than ever for our donor embryos. 



The good news: there was no fluid surrounding either tube! So the blockage will not effect our frozen embryo transfer.
On track for a saline ultrasound with mock transfer in December then the big day late in January. 

Embryo Adoption/Donation Awareness day is November 25th. Please help me pray for the many donors and potential donors out there. So many families have been blessed by this gift and there are still over 600,000 embryos awaiting their fate. Praying for those looking for their embryos, awaiting transfer and waiting for their snowflake babies. 






 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

CD 1






A New Month

In the world of infertility a month does not begin on the 1st. It begins on "the first full day of regular bleeding". November is finally here when means our 3 month marathon towards child bearing begins now. I will be celebrating the night before my 32nd birthday (yes I had to stop and do the math) with my husband. We will be driving down to our clinic, about 2 hours away, for a birthday dinner and alone time followed by an early morning HSG. Romantic right? We will finish the day off with Papa's favorite movie... The Bucket List. And, of course, popcorn. 

The HSG or hysterosalpingogram is essentially an x-ray. The doctor will use a speculum to visualize the cervix. She will then inject dye into the uterus and through the tubes while looking with an x-ray to see if they have any blockages or fluid built up in them. The fluid build up is called hydrosalpinx. In other women the risk is that blocked or fluid filled tube could prohibit the egg from reaching the sperm or that it could result in an ectopic pregnancy. In the case of a frozen embryo transfer (FET) the risk is that the fluid could reflux into the uterus preventing the embryo from implanting. 

Because of my history of endometriosis it's important to get a clear HSG. 2 years ago my HSG was fine but that was before my laparoscopy and before I even knew I had endometriosis. My RE (reproductive endocrinologist) likes to have an HSG within a year of the FET for women with endometriosis. Just one more check mark we need before proceeding with our January transfer.  

I have quite a few prayer requests this month. Please bear with me:

Please pray for my dear friend and her family as they grieve the loss of their pregnancy.

Please pray for my "sister" and her husband as they navigate the trials of their unsuccessful first IVF cycle. Pray that God's will be made clear for them and that their baby find them one way or another. 

Finally please pray for our family of 3 as we prepare emotionally and financially for the next 3 months. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Welcome Home Snowflake Babies!

We officially have 4 tiny embryos in the freezer!! They made the trip from Texas to South Carolina. Come on January... I can't wait to see if one of these little embryos is going to make a home in my belly. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Shipping Update!

We got our updated shipping schedule! Our embryos should be picked up tomorrow and delivered Wednesday. Praying for their safe travels. 

Because I am a woman it is (sadly) my prerogative to change my mind as often as I deem necessary. That being said we are planning to do our (single) frozen embryo transfer in January! That means  HSG in November then SIS (saline ultrasound) with mock transfer in December. God had been present through all of this and I know He will continue to see us through no matter what happens along the way. 

Come home little snowflakes!

Friday, August 21, 2015

One Little Line



That single pink line surrounded by nothing but white used to be heartbreaking. Every month I know I'm probably not pregnant and yet every time ovulation comes and goes my mind and body play tricks on me. I spend 2 weeks a month wondering if this could be the month. I predict when I would be due if it were to happen and fantasize about telling my family. Every month I take a test so I can stop getting my hopes up and when that single pink line appears I remember that my body sucks.

I wonder what it's like for fertile people. I can't imagine just wanting a baby then getting pregnant just like that. That's not the path that God put on us and as crazy as it sounds I'm so grateful.

If we had gotten pregnant on our own we wouldn't have Brennan. I couldn't imagine my life for a second without her. If we had gotten pregnant on our own we wouldn't have 4 little embryos in Texas just waiting to make their way here and into my uterus. I don't know exactly what will happen but I do know that one little lonely line has gotten us to this point.

As for our update.   We have a signed and notarized contract!!  Our donors are seriously incredible. When we asked for more information from their fertility clinic our donors got it to us within hours!!  We negotiated the contract in no time and they signed and returned it within days. They have made this process so easy on us.



We have submitted all of the release forms to the Texas (shipping) clinic and have decided to go with Cryoport. They make it so easy!  They take care of coordinating with both the shipping & receiving clinics, manage the packaging, shipping and receiving with email updates all along the way!  We hope it all happens as easily as they make it sound. We will be so relieved when our embryos make it here safe and sound. My husband, daughter and I pray for our embryos every night and know that God will see this through.

We have gone back and forth a lot about the time frame for our Frozen Embryo transfer. Please be praying that we are able to follow God's plan and in His time rather than in our time.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How Our Embryos Found Us

One of the books I love to read to my daughter is called "When God Found Us You". It's a sweet little story and does a great job explaining the waiting and patience and excitement surrounding adoption. While we longed for Brennan for a long time I truly feel like she found us (with lots of help from the Lord). I feel the same with our embryos. Let me explain:

If you've read the story of Brennan's adoption you can see how evident God's hand was through it all.  While we don't yet have our donor embryo baby we feel like God has been present through every step of this journey. The first time I heard of "embryo adoption" was about 6 years ago. An incredible  woman was giving birth to twins she was carrying from donor embryos. I had never heard of such a thing but how amazing for this couple and for those children! The idea of embryo adoption presented itself again about a year and a half ago. A close family member told me that she and her husband were considering the Snowflake Embryo Adoption program from Nightlight Christian Adoptions for their next child. I had never heard of the program but started to read up on it and loved the idea of it. Just 2 months later a friend of mine blogged about how her journey with infertility led her to consider embryo adoption versus traditional adoption. She ended up choosing embryo adoption through the same agency!  These two women live 11 hours from each other and don't know each other at all. What are the odds? Embryo adoption was really weighing heavily on my heart at that point.

God has provided us with confirmation that we made the right decision. Since the adoption of our daughter my ovarian reserve has gone from mediocre (11 antral follicles) to laughable (4 antral follicles). Most women would be devastated by that news but I am not most women. I was relieved. All throughout our infertility journey I've asked God to just be clear. When we adopted Brennan I felt like He hit us over the head with it and gave us no chance to say no. After that ultrasound I knew that God was reassuring us that we were making the right decision. He removed any shred of doubt and even provided some reassurance that the only part of my uterus that matters in this process (my endometrial lining) looked great!

So onto how our embryos found us. After I started to feel embryo adoption pressing on my heart I joined a few Facebook groups for embryo donors and recipients. We joined Miracles Waiting and the National Registry For Adoption (NRFA) but never really had any luck there. I responded to a woman's post regarding adoption openness in one of the Facebook groups and shared about our experience with a closed adoption. A women, let's call her Snowflake Grandma, sent me a private message asking if we were looking for embryos.  5 months and hundreds of messages later our signed contract is in the mail!! We couldn't be happier with our donors, embryos and contract. Negotiating the intricate details took very little effort and we have all been on the same page since Day 1. God is so good!!

I will share more of the details about our match soon. With the kind of relationship we are building with our donor family I feels it's important for them to get a say in the details we share.  I will say this - we have 4 little snowflake embryos babies in Texas just waiting for us to give them a chance!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

and now we wait

Might sound strange but one of the struggles with infertility, specifically embryo adoption, is the ability to control.  When my husband and I gave our lives to Christ we gave Him control in exchange for His grace. I feel like we have been given back some of that control. I don't like it. We can control when we complete our testing, when we start birth control and when we plan to transfer. All that being said we can also control when we would be due if we were to be blessed with a pregnancy. We can't control if this works or not so we will leave that in God's hands.

We have decided to wait until January to complete our testing and to do our frozen embryo transfer.  There are several factors at play here. Obviously we have wanted a pregnancy for a long time. Adopting Brennan has definitely helped to decrease that sense of urgency we once felt. We thought there would be a big opportunity for federal loan repayment when we moved here to help pay down my student loans. That is no longer an option and starting in August my loan payments double!  It's like we are paying 2 mortgages per month. We decided that we need to make sure we can handle that big change financially before we go spending money on infertility testing and treatments.... which of course will hopefully turn into a pregnancy, birth, maternity leave and BABY! Talk about financial stress.

I was putting Brennan into the (hot) car the other day. She was fighting her car seat because she was tired and the hot Southern sun was beating down on my back. It hit me that if I had a baby in May or June, in the South, that I would be forced to turn into a hermit. A newborn, a 2 year old, and an average of 95 degrees with 60% humidity? Sounds like a recipe for postpartum depression.

If we wait until January for our HSG, February for birth control along with a saline sonogram and mock transfer that puts us somewhere around March or April for our transfer. If we are lucky enough to get pregnant that would be a baby between November & January. Much better.

Please be praying over the next several months as we work through and finalize the contract with our donors, meet with a counselor to discuss the psychological aspects of embryo adoption and hopefully get our little snowflakes shipped here safely.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 1

6/10/2015


Today marks the official start to our journey through "embryo adoption". While embryo adoption really isn't adoption at all it's a much nicer phrase than embryo "property transfer". So we will call it embryo adoption. Most states consider embryos property and you can't adopt property. Embryo donors donate left over embryos from their IVF cycle(s) to the recipient couple. The recipient couple (us) undergoes what's called a frozen embryo transfer in hopes that the embryo or embryos will implant and flourish into a healthy baby. Some states even allow you to formally adopt the child after the birth. 

Lots has happened to bring us to this point. Our desire is that sharing our story will help everyone to understand why we chose this path, for everyone to be able to keep track of where we are on this journey and to promote embryo adoption awareness. Our struggles are just part of the story. Rather than keep all of this a secret and tip toe around the subject we want to openly share every piece of this journey. When things get tough we want everyone to reach out with hugs and prayers. When our next baby finds us we want to celebrate with you and rejoice in God's faithfulness. There will be a lot of back tracking in this story but I will try to keep it straight. Stay tuned for the beginning of our journey called Infertile Blessings.