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Oct 26, 2016

Endo Scratch



When our first transfer failed, I immediately jumped into action to see what our options were.

I had read that our doctor frequently performed endometrial scratches that could lead to better success. (part of me just assumed he did this in the first attempt, the same day as my saline sono, but turns out....nope.)

The day of our negative beta, the nurse had called to leave the shitty news around noon.
And between that point and when I left from work, around 4pm, I had two additional emails.

One from the nurse, and one from my doctor.

Thankfully I didn't read either, otherwise I would have spoiled all the "fun" in letting us both get to hear the bad news at the same time.

The nurse emailed to say the doctor recommended I get an ERA biopsy testing completed and would perform an endo scratch with the next transfer, but it's typically not performed until after a second failure.

Personally, I just think this is complete nonsense.

A person has to go through what I just went through, TWICE, (assuming they even have enough embryos), to get the better treatment?

Oh nooooo. Nuh-uh gurl. Don't mess with my only baby. 
No way, no how, was I going to allow that.

I did some research on both of their suggestions, and while the ERA is definitely something I think will be making more of a presence in the future of IVF, I am running out of time this year.

See, an ERA stands for Endometrial Receptivity Analysis.
It is cutting edge technology that helps to determine if Day 5 is the correct day the doctor should be transferring your embryo.

The study reads that 25% of all transfer are being performed on the "wrong day," meaning the woman's lining and hormones may be just shy, or even too far past, their correct development. When the the embryo is launched into their uterus on Day 5, the woman's body may reject it because it's not the right timing.

So you get the test done and it'll tell you, right? Ehhhhh.....not quite.

The nurse did indicate it would be out of pocket because it's considered experimental.
To the tune of $900.

At this point, $900 isn't even a big deal considering everything we have been through before, but before I said yes, I kept digging.

Here is what I found out.
What happens is...you go through the entire transfer process...all the shots, all the monitoring, all the hormones (yes, even those dreaded PIO shots), and then on the day of your "transfer"...instead of putting an embryo back into you, they do a biopsy of you uterine lining.

Sounds like a blast right?
You get no baby and instead a cut on the wall of your uterus.
Good times.

And then they test that biopsy.
And if it's the wrong day....guess what?

You have to do the fucking biopsy again...on a different day.

And you get to pay another $900.

And do more shots and all that jazz....again.

This can set someone back months....MONTHS.

Or, the results could just come back to say....yea, you were doing it correctly the whole time, do you boo. And all those shots and that painful biopsy would technically be for nothing more than peace of mind, should you be at your wits end with multiple failures.

So with that I said a big NO THANK YOU....I'll just take my endo scratch, please.

And what is an endo scratch, you say?

Well, IVF docs believe that by irritating your uterine lining with a shallow biopsy from a catheter, the way it heals releases extra good baby-sticking hormones that allows the transferred embryo to attach reeeealll nice and good-like.

I have heard of other practices using things like Embryo Glue (yes, it's a thing...but the scratch is supposed to trump the glue...did I mention how weird all this shit is?)

For whatever reason, the standard protocol is to fail twice, and then try it.

Well, we all know I only have one shot left, so I pushed.
And I got my way.

And the nurse kept telling me it doesn't hurt that bad, but after everything I have been through in the last few years with scrapes and shots and surgeries and tests, I can tell you one thing....everything fucking hurts in one way or another...so I begged for Valium.

I would rightly assume that a catheter scratching the inside of my lady parts is about as comfortable as sitting on hot coals.

But...I'll do almost anything for a baby at this point, so I headed in.
Mark took me to and from work, as my appointment was scheduled for 3pm.

I headed back to the room with the stirrup table, while a newer nurse awkwardly talked me through the process of undressing from the waist down.
I quickly stopped her, told her I've been here since January 5th, and where is the paper gown, please?

The Valium was sort of doing its magic, so I tried desperately to relax.

Ultimately, it really was a quick procedure, but it most certainly wasn't painless, even with the Valium.
The doc talked through the process the entire time.
CRAMP. In goes the catheter.
MEGA CRAMP.....and the scrape is over.
Think of it like one of those scrapey pipe cleaners grinding over your delicate lady-bits.

So. Much. Fun.

Doc tells me to hang tight for a few minutes to let the cramping subside, but it was awkward enough just sitting there half naked in a brightly lit room, so I hustled up, got dressed and went home.

You will likely have slight bleeding or discharge from that betadine cleaner, so ladies...pack a pantiliner so you don't have to use one of the hospital-grade thunder pads...unless you're into that stuff. :)

The cramping finally went away after about 30 minutes, but the bloat was real.
That lasted for about a day.

Will it help? Who knows....but I'm hopeful we are doing everything in our power to make this one work. And we are one step closer!

Thanks for reading! XO

Oct 19, 2016

Falling into October


We were surprised by how easy the transition between seasons was this year.
It's always so dreaded....packing everything away, hunkering down, moving from outdoors all day everyday....to solely indoors.

But shockingly, all those items on our to-do list, were knocked out in two weekends.

We decided to skip the professional carpet cleaner, and instead, I busted my ass by doing it myself for an entire morning. I tried to wait until all the animals were eating well and not making messes all over the house, which seemed to be the norm for the last few months.
Everyone is on a much better schedule these days.

I deep cleaned our entire house, top to bottom, in all the little crevices, for an entire weekend.

The following weekend, I spent an entire day cleaning out our basement, organizing and packing away all the summertime patio items, de-potting plants, re-potting some for indoors, and pulling out the Halloween items.

Mark took a day off of work and closed our pool.

And when I got home that day, he had lit all the tiki torches and placed them around our hot-tub, and we drank wine and talked through a minor thunderstorm.

It was glorious.

I took some of the money I had been stashing away and got ahead of our mortgage for our rental.

The rental has been making me insane recently, between late payments and appliances all going out at the same time, it seems there was always un-necessary stress from them.

We sold the four-wheelers. Kind of a sad day, but we are inching ever-closer to paying off the remaining debt from this year. I would love to head into our final transfer debt free, but who knows what'll happen.

We decided to forgo taking our oldest bulldog, Crash, to the vet, to have his second hematoma checked out.

After an extensive amount of research, I realized that a hematoma will fill up with blood and be rather squishy, but by the time it gets hard, which his is now, there isn't much that can be done except wait and see if it gets re-absorbed....or pay out the ass for surgery just to make it look better.

His ear doesn't hurt, as is obvious when I massage it daily, but rather, the weight of his ear may have be bothering him a tad since he wasn't used to it, and while I hated to watch him shake his head constantly, he seems to be getting more and more accustomed to it.

My mom guilt has been erased on this one, and we get to save hundreds of dollars in the process.

After all, it was just an aesthetic surgery, not necessary for his well-being, and if the damn dog wasn't so stubborn about dragging his ear on the rocks outside, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. (and no, he doesn't have an ear infection or mites or anything, he just likes rolling around on those damn rocks!)

Plus, bulldogs don't really do well with anesthesia and surgery with their short snouts, and he's an old man with a temper.
It's a win-win for all of us, really.

Work is work. We are getting busier, and I don't mind it, because when we're slow, it's when I start thinking too much about all the variables with IVF.

And then there is IVF.
Our protocol and time line have been set for our final FET, and for whatever reason, there will be less of everything this round, which I am completely okay with.

I will have a few less pills, a few less shots, and a few less questions, making the process less of an event, and more of a natural progression.

These October weekends are filled with a car show, a haunted house, a final boat ride, time with friends and family, and of course, Halloween.

I hope you guys are transitioning as easily as we have found it!
Take care! XO

Oct 12, 2016

It's a New Day


A good friend sent me a photo of our husband's, with goofy grins and crazy eyes, after a night of drinking at their 20 year reunion.

I wasn't expecting the photo, so when I opened the message, my laughter simply could not be contained.  I laughed so hard and so loud I gave myself an asthma attack.

As small tears streamed from the corners of my eyes, I looked over at Mark and said...I haven't laughed like that in a while. It feels good.

This was the turning point for me.
I hadn't really had ANY emotions, besides sadness, for a while.

As the days past, and my period FINALLY wrapped up, nearly a week after it started, this weight of a failed cycle started to lift.

All of my hormones that came crashing down after that cycle started to level out.

I was no longer this hopeless, dramatic person.
I found myself engaged and enthusiastic more than not.

I woke up with energy.

I woke up feeling like ME.

A lot of the sadness that came from this cycle stemmed from all these daydreams I had about what life would be like with our child.

How I expected it would go.
How I assumed it would go.

I actually never thought of any alternatives, which can be a dangerous thing, in the wee hours of the unknown during IVF.

Never considering your options, in all aspects, can lead you down a path of despair.
At least, it did for me.

So as the days past and I started to feel like myself again, I could finally let go of all these expectations, all these plans.

I have said it before and will likely say it a million more, you have NO plans with infertility.

You have no control, you have no choice, you simply try to roll with the punches and figure shit out.

And maybe one day I'll get into these details a bit more, but what I can say is, once I changed my thinking, once I opened myself up to alternatives, to no expectations, I started to look forward to our future again.

I have hope and a little bit of excitement at this point.

I still have an opportunity to be a mom to a bouncing, perfect babe, made from equal parts us, and science, and a blessing from a higher power, hopefully.

I'm ready to jump off the deep end with this one.
I'm ready to give it one. last. shot.

Thank you, as always, for reading these ups and downs.
I am hopeful to be able to report nothing but ups moving forward.

You guys are the best. XO

Oct 5, 2016

Grieving


I thought about whether or not I should write about what I have been going through since our failed cycle.

I can't seem to snap out of it, so I figured, what the hell, writing is my therapy so I'll let it out to the world and hopefully I can find peace with my thoughts.

I didn't think it would happen, but it did.

The grief.
The inconsolable, overwhelming grief from the loss of our embryo.

To some this may sound silly.
After all, it was just a ball of cells, right?
It wasn't a baby yet, it wasn't anything, really.

But....to this day, I'm not over it.

I have my good moments, but mostly my thoughts are clouded with sadness and despair.
I have constant headaches, despite my best efforts to eat right and sleep well and remove stress from my plate.
I have a constant lump in my throat.

We are moving forward with our last embryo transfer, but mentally, I'm still stuck in last Tuesday.

I am sad and angry, and honestly, it doesn't take much for tears to well up these days.

I don't know how much more of this I can take.
How much more I can put up with, how many more times I will get knocked down this year.

I feel like I am climbing a mountain, and every time I think I'm getting near the top, the clouds part a bit more and there is equally more mountain to climb from where I started.

I feel like all my planning, and effort, and follow-through, and questioning, has been for nothing.

I feel like we are no further today than we were, back on January 5th, listening to our possible protocol for the future.

At that point, we were scared, but filled with so much more hope.

And now I have all this pressure.
I have all this anxiety and pressure with this final embryo.

I can't get excited and day-dream anymore about the possibilities of a baby.
All I keep thinking about is how quickly it can be over.

How quickly, after years and years and years of wanting a child, this door could close on us.

I was in such high spirits for this first one.
Our transfer was incredible.

And now it's gone and I am left questioning the protocol, our doctors, and my sanity.
Questioning what I could have done better or differently to help the outcome.
Questioning what I did to deserve this.

I really, really want to get past these feelings.
I just want to let go, and be at peace with this failed attempt.
It's consuming my life and it's tough to keep this fake smile on my face each day.

I am moving forward with Halloween decorations, and plans with friends, and time with my husband, but this failure is on repeat in the back of my mind, through it all.

Time will heal me.
I know it.

Mark and I have our hot-tub talks when I tell him I am having a sad day, and it always helps realize the bigger goal, instead of dwelling on the past.

But this is my reality right now.
I didn't realize how badly I wanted it until it was over.
And I hope to God I don't have to go through this again.