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Aug 30, 2016

Taking it all in

No folks, this isn't some seedy porno title, it's supposed to be reflective and thoughtful.... and maybe unintentionally graphic and hilarious, even if it's just to me.

Moving on.

As the days wind down to our transfer, I find myself at a weird juxtaposition of trying to slow down and really breathe life in, and also trying to cram in as much stuff each day before D-Day.

The cramming of things basically includes all alcohol-related activities, which, is essentially anything that you can drink at.

And, lesbihonest, drinking is winning. YOLO

A night out wasn't really a priority, seeing as how much debt we've accumulated, but I seriously needed it.

WE seriously needed it.

Earlier that morning we were both venting to each other about how overwhelming life seems right now. This year is probably one of the hardest years of our lives as a married couple, outside of any extra-curricular drama that never seems to end.

And I'm sure most parents who are reading this are all, "just wait til the baby comes if you think THIS is hard."

And I get it. I don't need a lecture.
But again, as I have said many, MANY times, most people don't have to go through the ringer with infertility to try and get pregnant. Most people don't have to dump THOUSANDS into making a baby before the baby arrives.

Outside of the money, the emotional toll is the real kick-in-the-sack.

It takes a strong, level-headed couple to take on infertility and the challenges it faces.

We are handling it. It's tough, but we are handling it.

Adulting is hard enough. The day to day grind, trying to do my best to hit the gym on a regular basis, be successful at work, budget, grocery shop, meal prep, clean the house, do the laundry, sleep well, take care of three high-maintenance pets, keep our relationship running smoothly....it can become overwhelming sometimes on its own.

And then throw in infertility, and never-ending IVF treatments, and be forced to take down hormones that make you feel depressed, AND then deal with outside shit?!

It's too much right now.

Mark vented about how no matter where he is, he always has to fix or maintain something, at work, at home, everywhere. He's tired of fixing things.

I am too. I am tired of fixing my family. I am tired of being the responsible one with all the knowledge and resources. It's draining trying to keep everyone together.

We're both tired from going above and beyond all the time.

We wake up well before sunrise, and don't stop going at this furious pace until it's time to hit the hay, and then I hope to God the medication I'm on doesn't keep me awake swimming in a pool of my own sweat.

All this to say, we needed a break, so come Hell or high water, we set out Saturday night to see a comedian.

After dealing with another on-set of family drama, and racing back to my house to get ready, I had exactly 28 minutes to shower, put on make-up, get dressed, help get the dogs fed and put away, and take my nightly Lupron injection before walking to the train.

With only seconds to spare, I finished my injection, slapped on an ice-pack, and we headed out.

DEEP. BREATHS.

The night was awesome and weird.
The first words uttered by two guys in the vestibule as we stepped onto the train were....watch out for the blood...it's everywhere.

And it really was.

Turns out, there was a 21st birthday pub crawl and the man of the hour managed to go to black-out city before the sun went down. When the train jerked taking off between stops, it launched him off balance, allowing a metal corner to meet his skull.

Alcohol thins your blood and since it was a head wound.....game. over.

Apparently his mom knew what to expect as she and a couple other mom's were there chaperoning.
Let me repeat.....there were multiple mom's chaperoning a 21st birthday party pub crawl.
#whatisthisworldcomingto

What this little distraction did was get us a free ride.
Score!

We hopped off at Durty Nellie's where we watched Craig Gass perform.
We snagged a high-top table all to ourselves and managed to sit in a section where I knew the bartender.  Heavy-wine pours ensued.

The next thing we know the bartender is setting up a new table right next to us.
We asked should we move, and he said, "no, you're gonna want to stick around for this."

And in walks a couple members from Anthrax and their friends......who were, in turn, friends with Craig Gass.  It seems to be the year of meeting celebrities, huh?

So Craig Gass was a former-regular on Howard Stern, so of course my husband loves him. These days he does celebrity voice-over impressions on Family Guy and American Dad, which we both love.

And we end up growing some balls and chatting with Anthrax and Craig after the show.
Super cool guys, by the way. And they didn't really mind us fan-girling.


The night ended with Mark and me leaping into our pool and losing our clothes along the way, and an EPIC hangover to match an EPIC night.  #noragrets #notevenoneletter

Cheers to still being able to drink for three more weeks!
Thanks for reading! XO

Aug 26, 2016

FET: Three Weeks Out


Happy Friday!

I had my first monitoring appointment today for my FET (frozen embryo transfer).
I will be going in every Friday until transfer.

Assuming my body behaves itself and my lining grows accordingly, along with my hormone levels, we are THREE WEEKS out from my anticipated transfer date.

21 days, folks!

I can't believe, after all of this time, we are less than a month away from what the TTC (trying to conceive) community calls being PUPO, or Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!

So, a little clarification for any verbiage up above, that you may be shaking your head at in confusion.

Transfer is the scheduled day that we thaw our embryo and transfer it back into my body via a thin catheter. I will have everything scheduled with a nurse at the Highland Park facility.
Dr. Jacobs performs the procedure, which takes less than 10 minutes.

I already did my trial transfer and everything went swimmingly.
No bumps or polyps or weird curves in my uterus to be concerned about.

I will be doped up on Valium for the big event.
I was on the same meds for my trial transfer and it is the BEST because it literally washes all your worries away.

I clearly remember the morning of my trial transfer, we were late, as always, to make my appointment, and I didn't even care.
Normally I would be a ball of nerves but I just smiled and kept saying how pretty all the greenery was. #hippy

A not-so-fun part about all of this is, since August 15, I have been completing nightly Lupron injections.
These continue up until a week before transfer.
And I'll be honest, I totally thought they would be a cake walk.
The shot itself, actually is.
It's a tiny little insulin needle and I'm only drawing up 10 units of liquid, about the length of your pinky nail.

But the side effects.....look out.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have felt off recently.
I really had no reason to be, I just felt really anxious and sad and well.....hopeless.

And I started getting worried because anxiety and depression runs in my family and I don't want to compound everything I'm going through with actual depression.

I recognized I had an issue, but then thought....what if it's the Lupron?

Everyone always complains about these crazy headaches they get while on the medication, but I thought I dodged the side effects bullet because that never happened.

To Google I went....and sure as shit, the rare side effects include:

Anxiety
Depression
Mood changes

Bingo!
These fucking meds are literally making me loopy.

Although it hasn't really subsided much, at least I have a diagnosis, so when I'm feeling on the verge of a meltdown (which is like every 30 minutes) I just tell myself it's not me, it's the meds, and it sort of helps......kind of.

Starting tomorrow my dosage gets bumped down to 5 units so I'm hoping for some relief in the coming weeks.

My lining also needs to cooperate.
Starting tomorrow I add in estrogen patches, called Minivelle, to the mix.

So right now I'm only doing (1) nightly injection.
Tomorrow begins (1) injection and (2) Minivelle patches, to be switched out for new patches every two days.

These patches look like those Nicorette patches, only they are worn on my abdomen, around my bikini line.

The Lupron wards off ovulation so I don't produce and release any more eggs, and the estrogen helps to thicken my uterine lining.

This normally happens when you ovulate, by the way, but since I'm taking injections to make sure that doesn't happen.....you get it.

I think they are looking for something around 10mm in thickness when we finally get to transfer week.The embryo needs something plump and cushy to settle into!

Chugging right along!
So that's my update for the week! Thanks for reading along! XO

Aug 22, 2016

33


Sunday I turned 33.
Happy Birthday to me!

I have high hopes for this year, but today.....today is different.

It's real talk time. (yes, there is bitching in this post but it's my birthday and I do what I want)

I'll be honest, I'm not in a celebration kind of mood.
I didn't want a party or cake or presents or anything.

I already got my awesome genetic results and couldn't be more grateful.
THAT is the gift that will hopefully keep giving for the rest of my life.

We are at a weird point in our lives right now.

There is just a lot of stuff going on at the moment, and I'll feel better once we move past it.

You know when you are in the middle of some serious shit, like something bad happened to a family member, or you got hurt, or you are worried so much about something, and while you are going through it, you have this insane adrenaline rush and can't believe you are keeping up with it all and still putting a smile on your face...but then you finally turn a corner, and the pain and suffering and chaos washes away, and you are sitting there.....exhausted?

Anyone? Just me?

Well, that's what is happening right now.

I am mentally drained.

The ups and downs of IVF this year seemed like a roller-coaster I was never allowed to hop off of.
With the results of our PGD testing, I feel like we finally rounded that corner and can move at a more relaxed pace through to the finish line.

Between the nightly Lupron injections, an earlier alarm clock to get back at the gym, and the never-ending background noise that is family drama, I feel like I could fall asleep for the next year and still not feel rested.

One big ticket item: our finances are crazy right now.
I mentioned in the past that our out-of-pocket expenses were through the roof this year, and it kind of all came to a head early-August.

Nothing I wasn't anticipating, but it gets overwhelming seeing a pile of debt when you didn't go on a lavish vacation or really do anything "fun" to accumulate said debt.

IVF will do that to you.

And yes, I know it'll all be worth it, once getting pregnant works, but right now, in this moment, we seem to just be going in circles, with no end in sight.

Anyways, always wearing the Mrs. Budget hat, I laid out a plan that would clear our debt by the end of the year, although it would mean the continuation of completely eliminating frivolous purchases.
We would also have no wiggle room should anything else go south.

(I think my plan would actually make us kill each other, to be honest. I mean...exactly HOW LONG can a married couple go without a bit of frivolous spending? We are currently at the 9 month mark....
And let's not EVEN get into my sad, neglected wardrobe. HOW MUCH LONGER can I wear a bra with the wire stabbing me in the boob before I throat punch someone for looking at me weird? 
But I digress.....)

I told Mark about everything.
He's not really one to understand finances and find a solution without stressing out.
I usually just handle everything and it always works out.

But at that point I was feeling overwhelmed.
Like.....rush home and nearly hit three people trying to get there only to arrive and kind of hyper-ventilate cry and make my husband scared for my sanity overwhelmed.

Because my rational thoughts at the time included, but weren't limited to:

What if the insurance company denies our (huge) claim?
How am I going to save up for maternity leave?
I don't know how to make extra money!
What about my BRA?!

We talked about our options.
Mark thought for a moment, then said he will fix up the four-wheelers so we can sell them.
I immediately agreed.
We had talked about this option in case times got tough, and I think now is that time.

Hallelujah!

So that's what he did this weekend.
I photographed them and we'll put them on Craigslist.

The price for the two of them should knock out a good chunk of our debt, and then we just have to pray the insurance comes through with our reimbursement.

I will breathe a sigh of relief at that point!!

Looking back on my 32nd birthday, I realized just how far we'd come in one year.

Granted, I still don't have a baby, but we made some MAJOR head way this year, and I am so thankful after all the set-backs, we are in a good place with a good chance.

I think that is another major reason why I'm not super celebrate-y right now.
I am waiting for THAT main event as well.

We are in the final countdown to see if everything we have worked for...is actually going to work.
And I am waiting with baited breathe until it does.

However, I should really toot my own horn a bit, because I FUCKING HANDLED THIS YEAR LIKE A BOSS. All the shots, all the appointments, all the monitoring, all the nerve-wracking results.

We got through them, so far, and I didn't end up in a mental institution!

If anything, THAT ALONE is a huge reason to celebrate!

We'll get through this. All of it. All the nerves, all the debt, all the everything.
It's just a season of life. The good and the bad.

Cheers to 33!
It's going to be the best one yet!!
Now I'm off to bed....again. :) XO

Aug 17, 2016

PGD Results


I was driving back from Trader Joe's over my lunch break when my phone rang yesterday.
I have been privy to a slew of spam phone calls in the last week or so, and this number didn't register, but I answered anyway.

On the other line, was my main girl, Nurse Kim.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! YOUR RESULTS ARE IN ALREADY!!!
...ARE YOU READY?!"

Yes, I was.
So very ready.
I felt like I already knew.

As she spoke, I smiled as big as I could muster, and by the time I parked my car, the tears were flowing.

We have everything we need to move forward with our scheduled transfer.

OUR RESULTS ARE GOOD!

We fucking did it.

Honestly, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that we wouldn't make it past this hurdle.
Not one.

I called Mark and told him everything I knew.

But, we both had this awkward twinge in our voices as reality set in.
...I'll explain in a bit.

Kim forwarded the results email over to me, and I stared at my computer screen, trying to make sense of the entirety of our results.

Of course I researched everything, rifling through the good and the bad.

The bad included words and phrases like Turner's Syndrome, Scoliosis, heart failure, slow growth, and asymmetry.

Yikes.

The good included carrier and normal.

Now, of course I am SURE everyone is overly concerned about the specifics.

What exactly did we end up with, and how many?

I think Britney best sums it up.....


And WHY, after every detail that I have spilled to everyone I know....are we not spilling this information?

Well I'll tell you.
So, here's the thing about infertility.

No matter what hurdles you cross, it's not really "over" until that baby is born and is healthy and thriving.

With every milestone, every month, every hurdle, comes heartbreak, worry and doubt, and hopefully nothing but positive, happy results.

Over the years, we have had SO. MANY. letdowns and set-backs, that both of us have hardened our edges a bit.

You sort of get used to hearing that it's not working.
That you're broken.
But maaaaayyyyybbbeee there's still a chance.

We have our chance now.

So yes, while our results are GOOD and we are so very lucky to be able to keep moving forward on this journey, we're not really in the green yet.

Mark and I talked to a crazy length yesterday evening.

Because, at this point, we know everything, and I suppose we could go about it in some sort of fairy-tale, wide-eyed naive state of mind, free from potential down-falls.....but that isn't reality.

The reality is, we both know damn well that all the decision making in the world right now could ultimately mean nothing.

There is no plan.
Sure, we have an idea of the route we want to go, but it could change.
And it could change at the very last minute, unfortunately.
And it wouldn't be up to us.

We could arrive the day of transfer and have nothing to transfer.
Our good results could ultimately not make that thaw.

Or we could transfer and it could fail.

So, as Taylor Swift said....Are We Out of the Woods Yet?

No. Not by a long shot.

We came away from our conversation with this:

Yes, we are very, very happy that we received good results, but this is ultimately OUR journey and our decision and our life, and moving forward with a tad bit of privacy seems fitting.

I will still be blogging about the journey, of course!

Tonight is my last birth control pill.
Monday evening I started nightly Lupron injections to ward off ovulation.
I will continue these injections for roughly a month.

More meds will be added to the mix in the coming weeks.

The idea that I could have my last period for nearly 10 months is a pretty exciting prospect.
It's the little things, people. :)

So with that, I'll sign off for today.
Sorry to blue-ball you with the details, but trust we are keeping our hearts shielded and spirits high.
Thank you, as always, for supporting our journey and rooting us on along the way!
XO

Aug 12, 2016

Chill Out

Deep. Breaths.

Okay! So much to my Type A dismay, I actually can't make the universe do what I'd like it to do.

I can't get my results early.
I have to wait until mid-next week.
I can't make it go faster.

I know. Shocking.

I have been seriously stressing out about these PGD results, to the point where I have this tender spot on the top of my head.
I actually blogged about this in the past, apparently when I work myself into a tizzy, this soft spot develops. It hurts to the touch and I'm not happy about it.

And then I got sad looking back at these past posts...how FAR back they were....realizing that we have been on the trail to parenthood for nearly four years.

2012 my grandpa passed, and it sparked the whole biological clock thing, so I spent the rest of the year getting Mark on board. At this point I was convinced we would get knocked up through a condom. Seriously. :)

2013 we tried au natural for what seemed like an eternity. Nothing ever worked. I temped, I timed things, I did the legs in the air, I took supplements, I forced supplements on Mark, and spent every last penny on ovulation and pregnancy pee tests.
We were frustrated, ok...mostly I was frustrated, and Mark was sick of the roller-coaster of emotions that came along with said frustration every month.

2014 we started having more invasive testing completed. Mark tested his shooters. I had an HSG. Bloodwork for both of us. Nothing really seemed wrong.
I did three Clomid cycles and they all failed. I switched to a different OBGYN and without continuing with another Clomid cycle, we decided to move forward with our first IUI.
Enter Dr. Jacobs and Fertility Centers of Illinois.

2015 we geared up for our first IUI only to find out about the whole genetic match thing. Everything stopped abruptly and we didn't exactly know how to handle it so we basically took the year off. My career was a mess at that point anyways.
During our time away from baby making I got a new job, researched the shit out of independent insurance coverage, and life seemed to be in order for 2016.
2015 was probably the most fun we both had in years! No worries really does that to you!

Which brings us to this year.
2016.
THE year I have been waiting for, ever so patiently.
But, 2016 has been a mother-fucker.
After waiting and failing and waiting some more for nearly three years, I have had high hopes that 2016 is OUR. YEAR.

And we, kind-of, sort-of, are in the final countdown, right?

I mean, really....after everything we have been through since Day 1, all that is left of this journey is to get our good results, implant one of those perfect little embryos, and ba-da-bing, I'm pregnant!
Right? (Not quite, but we'll get into the details as soon as I get my results.)

But right now, all I can think about are those damn results.
Everything that we have ever done to become parents hinges on whether or not we have any embryos to transfer.

EV-ER-Y-THING.

However, I am moving forward as if it's going to be good news.

I have added all my meds, including patches, suppositories, pills, and injections (yes, there are SO. MANY. MORE of them, and these are BIGGER than the other ones) to my calendar.
They were actually delivered yesterday. (I can't wait until I can trade in injection deliveries for nursery deliveries!)

I have a transfer date. (scientifically getting knocked up)
I have a beta date. (blood test to confirm pregnancy worked!)

It's all there....waiting.

Waiting to bring my frozen baby home to our forever home.

Another week folks.
7 days.
I can get through this week with my sanity in tact, right?

Right.

If you need me I'll be in a floatie in our pool drinking wine, or browsing the aisles of Homegoods, but not buying a damn thing! (We kind of have a lot of debt right now)

Thanks for reading, XO.

Aug 10, 2016

Getting Back on Track


Happy Hump Day!

I crossed an item off my to-do list this morning that has been a thorn in my side since February 11, 2016.

We were finally able to submit the huge PGD testing bill to our insurance for reimbursement.
(Yes, I am going to outline our expenses in this post. I told you I would be honest with what our situation is...)

To say making a baby has taken 9 months to do even before I am pregnant is spot on.

January 5th I met with Dr. Jacobs to go over a general time line, and from that day, it has been a never-ending series of appointments, with long periods of waiting in between.

We learned right away that genetics labs do not contract with insurance companies. While I had done my due diligence to confirm that Blue Cross of Illinois did, in fact, have coverage for PGD testing in a case like ours, what I didn't realize was we would have to pay for it all upfront, out of pocket.

I also had no idea how much it would cost.

Fertility Centers of Illinois has a genetics lab in their Highland Park facility.
This genetics lab is called Global Genetics Institute.

This is awesome for couples looking to complete PGS testing. This testing is a quick process, about a week, that determines if any embryos have abnormalities that could lead to things like downs syndrome, and other issues that could cause early miscarriages or other complications.

The base fee for PGS testing is $3,500.
Then, each embryo is $275, up to 8.

So say you are PGS testing 4 embryos, your out of pocket cost is $4,600.
Illinois does have insanely good insurance coverage for infertility, but one of the drawbacks is they still consider PGS testing to be experimental. Which means....zero coverage.

But when you need to go the extra step with PGD testing for a specific recessive mutation, Global Genetics contracts with an outside lab.
This lab is called Reprogenetics.

The base fee for PGD testing is $4,500.
Then, each embryo is $525, up to 8.
Plus you have to have these cells over-nighted as this lab is out of state, so each time this happens, it's another $200.

Well, we collected 5 embryos over two successful cycles, so our total out of pocket costs for PGD testing was $7,525.

A $3,000 deposit was due way back in February, so we have been sitting on that debt for quite a while.
And then we had to meet our insurance deductible for all these IVF cycles, which was $3,500.
And then our cat got hurt, and the cost to heal him totaled $3,750 (I know).
And then our 3rd IVF round was successful enough to actually start PGD testing, so the lab went ahead and billed us the balance of the testing, $4,525
And for each successful cycle, we have to freeze the embryo(s).
The first round of freezing is $1,200 (not covered by insurance).
The second round of freezing is $800 (again, not covered by insurance).
Plus, I had a medication that was compounded and not covered by the insurance for IVFx3, which came to $150.

I knew all this going into it...except, again, the upfront out of pocket costs for PGD testing.

Our total out of pocket costs for this year (with IVF and the cat) came to $16,925.

GULP.

The items that are not eligible for reimbursement:
Insurance Deductible: $3,500
Cat: $3,750
Cryopreservation Fees: $2,000
Compounded Medication: $150
Shipping fees for PGD testing: $400

TOTAL: $9,800

Items that should be eligible for reimbursement:
PGD Testing: $7,125

After a lot of hounding to the genetics lab, I finally gathered all the necessary receipts, CPT and Diagnosis codes, description of services and other necessary information, and faxed everything over to Blue Cross.

I am hoping to see a big beautiful check in the next 30 days because DAMN these expenses!!

I should also mention, that regardless of this huge bill for 2016, I am proud to say that after this reimbursement check, we will be completely caught up with our debt. It was a hard year, and we had to scale back a TON in frivolous expenses, but our hard work has paid off. 
I can finally see the light at the end of the debt tunnel!

As far as what's on deck this week?

I started back at the gym for the first time in over a month.
I am sore...but it's a good sore.
The perfect stress relief for these trying, waiting, times.

Our FET meds are being delivered tomorrow.
Yet another huge box of medication with endless syringes and needles and vials.
Fun.

I am scheduled on Monday for a saline sonogram....kind of like a trial transfer, to make sure everything checks out okay down there.

I still don't have PGD results, though.
That call can come in anytime between now and next Tuesday.

But knowing my patience level is zero...I am probably going to email them on Friday to see if I can get my info before the weekend!

Chugging right along!
Thanks for reading!! XO

Aug 5, 2016

Good Vibes Only


Ok folks, we are chugging right along.

We have rounded the corner from constant and never-ending stimulation cycles.
Everything is literally out of our hands at this point and I am repeating this mantra to myself constantly.

Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe.

I am doing my absolute best to let time pass and actually ENJOY this time as it passes.

A lot happened in one day.
I have information that would knock your socks off!

WE HAVE OUR FET CALENDAR!!!

But I'm not talking in detail about any of it.
Not yet anyways.

Why?
Because NONE of that shit matters until we get our PGD results and find out if we have any beautiful, perfect, non-mutated, non-deformed, thriving embryos, to actually do the transfer with.

But I can tell you this....everything seems to be moving at lightening speed in comparison to the rest of this year, and I am overwhelmed.

I want to be excited, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the information I have.

I got my calendar from the head nurse, and after asking her no less than 1 million questions, I added all the details in my planner, and let's just say, there is a lot of shit that is required each and every day, and a lot of variables coming into play so that (hopefully) the stars can align with this transfer and it can be successful.

There is a lot at stake, and in no way shape or form am I going to let the daunting odds against us overwhelm my good vibe right now.

I hurriedly wrote down everything we needed to do, and will continue to go about my business and have a kick ass end to summer.

More updates to come, folks. XO

Aug 2, 2016

Moving On Up!


Finally!
As most of you wonderful supporters read over the weekend, we were finally able to close this season of repeat egg retrievals with a life-changing voicemail.

I would be lying, though, if I told you it was as simple as getting a joyous voicemail and living in some fairy tale world where everything goes like it should.

Hell no....this weekend fully encompassed every emotion imaginable.

So let's start at the beginning.
For our third egg retrieval, we did a different protocol that our first two called microdose lupron flare.

Our doctor indicated it was a more aggressive protocol, but could not guarantee I would respond better to it.

But I did.

We retrieved 16 beautiful eggs and my recovery was pretty horrible, but the pain was lessened when we got our first update the next day to say that of the 16 eggs, 11 were mature and 10 of them fertilized normally.

Hallelujah! We were off to a great start!

Then we wait.
The next update is on Day 5 of the embryo growth.
And during these five days, the embryos typically double in cell count each day until they have reached what is called a Morula on Day 4, and then a Blastocyst on Day 5.

During these five days, I had this weird mental shift...almost like a premonition of what could be the future.
Not to sound all medium-ish or well...psycho, but it's almost like I could see the plan that was laid out for the next year.
With every retrieval, it always seemed glaringly obvious that we would have to do another one, and our path was blurry.

But this one was different. I could see dates in the future lining up like they should.

I was starting to have hope.
Real, solid, lift my spirits hope.

I was nervously gaining my footing to realizing motherhood could actually be a possibility in my future, so why not let the hope take over this time?

And then I got my first update on Friday, at work, on Day 5.
I quickly hopped up, shut the door to my office, took a deep breathe, and answered the phone.

The embryologist started talking. I could sense the hesitation in her voice as she told me I only had four viable embryos at this point.
None of them looked good.
They were all behind.
I had (2) Morulas, which is where they should be on Day 4, (1) ten-cell, and (1) nine-cell.

Now, I am used to hearing slow growth.
It has happened with every single one of my retrievals.
But historically, every Morula on Day 5 has failed to keep growing.
And the other two were even further behind, so I really had no hope for them.

I started tearing up.
I sent out a quick email update to the head nurse to inform her what happened, and that I would probably need to move forward with a 4th retrieval.

I called Mark and blubbered to him over the phone.

And then the best part...after I managed to pull myself together, my boss came in to chat about stuff, and I literally burst into tears again in front of him.

Super. Professional.

My depression at this point was inconsolable.

I was so sad and angry and frustrated and nothing could snap me out of the funk.

I got home and sat on the floor, scratching my dogs bellies as they begged for attention.
All the while dreaming about how I was never going to get to partake in my child's wedding.
Never going to watch them grow up.
Never going to see any milestones.

I felt completely hollow inside.

Friday night I went to bed early, but had broken sleep. I couldn't stop thinking about how messed up this whole thing was.
It wasn't fair!

Finally, Saturday afternoon I received the Day 6 update phone call.

She started by saying that I had six viable embryos.

I stopped her right in her tracks.
She OBVIOUSLY had the wrong information.
I only had FOUR the day before, and she specifically told me the others had arrested....how in the Hell could I have SIX?

She told me she didn't want to give me false hope, because while the six were still growing at that point, they were slow.
But then, miraculously overnight, two caught up.
And the other four were still growing.
Ever slowly, but still growing.

Now I had six embryos.
(1) Grade 4CC blastocyst, (3) early blastocyst and (2) morulas.

But again, none of them were ready for biopsy.

Although four of them had made it to the blastocyst stage, they weren't mature enough.
The lab only biopsies if the cells have a maturity level of an A or B, and are mature to a number 4, 5, or 6.

I got off the phone and immediately burst into tears.
These tears were the release of this anticipation, of the all the nerves and all waiting.
My hope returned in the tiniest increment, but mostly I knew we still had to make it through another 24 hours before I had any concrete answers.

Saturday night, I pulled myself together, and we celebrated a little early Anniversary dinner at Shakou.


We snagged a spot at the sushi bar and toasted to six years of marriage and 11 years together.

I got drunk for the first time in over a month that night, and after dinner we proceeded to have a two-person dance-part in our driveway while listening to gangster rap.

I'm sure our neighbors were thrilled.

Sunday to Monday we had planned to stay overnight on the boat.
Sunday morning I packed, but the pit in my stomach would not leave.
This ball of nerves grew with every passing minute, knowing that by 1pm we could receive some of the best, or the worst news of our life to date.

Our boat was in the water, and we were about to head out for a drive down the coast, and still no call.
I bit the bullet and called them instead.

The embryologist spoke, saying there were "a lot of biopsies" today, so she didn't have any final results just yet, but would leave a voicemail.

We took off, heading to Kenosha, and sure as shit, I missed her follow-up call and we had a voicemail.
Once behind the breakwater, I grabbed Mark's hand, and played the voicemail on speaker.


Four made it.

We ended up with (1) Hatching Grade 6BB Blast, and (3) Fully mature Grade 5BB Blasts.
They had been biopsied and their cells overnighted to the genetics lab.

We met our minimum!
I had hoped to bank 5-10 embryos, and with this cycle, we collected five.
More happy tears and the relief that we can officially close this season of egg retrievals.

Also, remember when I mentioned I kept seeing the number four in my life?

Yea.....creepy, right?

So now.....we wait a few weeks to get the final results from our genetic testing.
We're hoping for at least one perfect, normal embryo in the batch.
Any more would, of course, be just wonderful.

In tandem with this, I am finally gearing up for our first FET.
FET stands for frozen embryo transfer.....you know....when I finally get knocked up!

I can't believe I am typing those words!
I am just giddy thinking we still have a chance.
I still have a chance to be a mom!

More updates to come, loves.
Thank you, as always, for reading!