Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day

Look how we spent Labor Day weekend. You can find out more information on our family blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Update on Twin Pregnancy and Pictures

It's been a while since either Austin or I have written on our blogs. This is partly because we've been afraid of jinxing ourselves by writing on the blogs about our pregnancy. It seemed like a roller coaster after each post during our first IVF cycle: everything would be going great the first post, and then, the next post would be about some set back. So, after we began our second IVF cycle, our superstitious selves were too scared something like that would happen again when blogging about our pregnancy...especially after our rocky beginnings with bleeding and almost miscarriage.

Being pregnant is a wonderful experience, but Austin and I have wanted to be careful in writing too much about it. We know there are several other couples who are struggling with infertility reading this blog. We remember the deep pain we experienced when we would have another set back in our fertility treatments and would find out about another couple becoming pregnant. With this being said, we haven't wanted to perpetuate that feeling of loss for others who are following our blogs and have not been successful as of yet with their fertility treatments.
We want to update, however, our readers who have been asking about how our pregnancy is going. Our pregnancy is going well. The twins are growing well and are 33 weeks along now. We will be meeting with the periontologist (high risk doctor) and our OB once a week for the duration of our pregnancy to make sure the pregnancy continues to progress without complications. Our son is in the breech position, so we are looking at having a C-section performed on September 14th. Please share any comments or questions you may have. We have been grateful to be supported by so many. We thank each of you for the part you played in our successful IVF experience.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bleeding, Bedrest, and Babies...Oh My!

The past several months have been exciting and difficult. If any of our readers have experienced bedrest, listen up! After Amanda and I heard the exciting news that we were pregnant, we didn't know we were in for a roller-coaster ride. One that takes turns you don't anticipate happening. Shortly after the exciting news, Amanda experienced an ovarian-cyst burst that had possibly resulted from IVF; then, she started bleeding at about midnight one night and about gave her husband a heart attack from the screaming.
Once Amanda got to the doctor the next day with the help of her mom and dad, still bleeding, the doctor informed Amanda that we still had two babies that looked healthy. Whew! What a relief. However, Amanda would then remain on bedrest until just about two weeks ago; bleeding every single day and night, fearing she may lose the twins at any moment.
So, it has been a roller-coaster ride, but we have been "waiting-in-line" to have this experience for five years now. Together: We have rejoiced; We have cried; We have laughed. Amanda has been strong, and I bear witness that she has been watched over by many angels: family, friends, and neighbors.
Amanda is just finishing her fourth month of pregnancy and, yes, she is showing!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Results Are in and...

When your going through IVF, everything seems like a wait. Not to fear though, many great things have happened of which are important to share. First, we had our embryo transfer on the 15th and had two embryos transferred into my body. Here is how the this procedure went. Before the transfer, I had to drink a lot of water in order to have a full bladder during the procedure. Once in the operation room, my full bladder acted as a window for the doctor to see into my uterus using the ultrasound. The procedure was highly uncomfortable to say the least. However, it was nice during the procedure to see our embryos on a big screen TV to identify them and our names. Austin and I witnessed our embryos sucked up from the petri dish and then into a catheter before they were brought into the operating room to be implanted into my uterus. The procedure went fine, but then we had to wait until last night to hear the results of the implantation. If you are interested, take a quick detour and watch this video of how the implantation procedure is done:

After this, we had to wait ... and wait ... and wait for what seemed like eternity: two weeks. I had to remind myself each day that I was one day closer to finding out if the embryo transfer was successful. The final days leading up to the pregnancy blood test were so intense. I experienced a lot of lower back pain, off and on, and I couldn't tell if it was pregnancy symptoms or menstrual pains. I was a mess. I couldn't do much else besides try and sleep off the pain. Austin jumped in and helped support me around the house so we could keep up on the housework. Austin helps around the house anyway, but with my pain and aches, Austin took on even more housework after he finished working two jobs during the day.
Finally, the two week wait was over. We went into the clinic and had the nurses draw my blood. Then, Austin and I waited in Salt Lake at the South Towne Mall to hear what the results would be. Kinda funny, but we were actually outside the Motherhood Maternity store at the South Towne Mall when the infertility clinic called with the test results. Both of our hearts were beating fast and the anxiety was coming to a climax ... then we heard the consoling words that are hard to describe: Well, we got your blood results back and we have exciting news ... You are four weeks pregnant!!! This overwhelming gush of happiness, tears, etc. came over Austin and me. Whew! What a relief. After five years of trying to get pregnant: the time was finally here!

Cautious thoughts: We are not very far along, and so we are still cautiously optimistic that the pregnancy will continue and we will not miscarry. We are elated, however, to make it to this point! I continue to take my prenatal vitamin and my progesterone suppository every day to help ward off miscarriage. Austin and I will go back to the clinic on February 6th to see how many yolk sacs we have and to make sure the pregnancy is not ectopic.

P.S. In regards to our other twelve embryos that we had growing in the lab, none of them survived to be frozen. We were in shock because they were given such good report cards on day 3 of their growth. Apparently, by day 6 when they do the actual freezing, all the rest of the embryos were beginning to grow strangely and couldn't be saved. It was a great disappointment, but we are excited that we are pregnant from the embryos that were transferred into me. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Future Looks Brighter than Our Past

Austin and I have been sitting on pins and needles the past month. This second IVF attempt has been more stressful for both of us because we knew what could go wrong before egg retrieval. This time, we did a Lupron IVF protocol instead of an antagonist protocol like last time. That means we had even more shots this time around. Austin became an expert at sticking me with needles every night.

Well, yesterday we had our egg retrieval surgery and we were able to retrieve 19 eggs. Today we received a call from the clinic letting us know that out of those 19 eggs, 14 eggs fertilized normally. We are test tube pregnant! The actual embryo implantation, when they transfer the embryos into my body will most likely take place on Sunday. The clinic is now growing our embryos for 5 days in the lab to get us to the blastocyst stage. Embryos that are 5 day embryos have a greater chance of implanting and achieving pregnancy. We couldn't be more excited!

Because we retrieved 19 eggs, however, I am at a higher risk for ovarian hyperstimulation, which can be a pretty serious problem. I am supposed to drink a lot of sports drinks, salty soups, and take a medication called Cabergoline to help reduce the water retension in my stomach area. I'm just relieved to have the eggs out of my body! We will write later with how many embryos made it to the 5 day blastocysts and how the implantation went.

P.S. If interested, here is a very informative video on what happens after the eggs are retrieved during the IVF process. Austin and I had the sperm injected into the egg as shown in the ICSI process of this video.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Year in Review and New Year Announcement

We would like to welcome new followers to our blog and also thank everyone for their support through this last year. It was a busy one! Last year at this time, Amanda and I found out that our best chance for achieving pregnancy was through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It was not the answer to our infertility that we had hoped to hear, but it has allowed us to grow closer as we've faced this challenge together. We would like to highlight what we have done with your help since last December:

  • We sent out our Christmas newsletter informing our family and friends that we were infertile and would need IVF to have children. This was not the easiest thing to do, but it has allowed us to share our burden and have it lightened with your help.
  • My grandma contacted us, after receiving our December 2010 newsletter, with a newspaper article about a couple who had held fundraisers to pay for their own IVF procedure.
  • We contacted this couple, Allen and Jill, asking for advice on how to get a fundraiser started. Jill informed us that she had started an organization called Pound the Pavement for Parenthood and this organization would like to sponsor us for an upcoming 5K race. We couldn't have been more surprised and thrilled! Jill, her team, our families and friends helped us successfully run and raise funds for our IVF. They have helped us more than we can describe and not just through financial support. It's been a great help to Amanda and me to read about Jill's own experience with IVF on her blog.
  • Amanda's sisters and co-worker helped us start this blog to try and sell homemade items for our IVF. Since that time we have been blessed by many dear friends, family members, and strangers who have purchased our products and also helped sponsor us with other fundraisers: Get Outdoor Expo booth, bake sale, two Scentsy fundraisers, Gnomeo Movie Night, Cards for a Cause, and a Fall Boutique. This blog now also serves as a journal of the impact infertility continues to have on our lives and the lives of others.
  • In July, we contacted Fertility Lifelines to purchase our medications. This wonderful organization has a charity medication program and we were able to receive full medication through them for our first IVF cycle at no charge.
  • In August, we had our first IVF attempt. Unfortunately, it failed.....but we did not give up hope.
  • This month, Amanda and I have worked out the financial details with our clinic so we can begin our next IVF cycle! We are excited to announce on this blog post that today will be the first day we begin our second IVF round. We begin birth control tonight. Then, the Lupron shots begin on Sunday. We are thrilled to receive a second chance to have children. Interestingly enough, this IVF cycle will correspond with our five year anniversary.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers! Stay tuned for more information about our lastest IVF experience.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Time!!!

This list is not an exhaustive one, but just highlights a few things we are grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Card Fundaiser - For Utah Residents

Austin and I would like to highlight an exciting fundraiser on our blog. We are selling some awesome card boxes for our next IVF cycle. The keepsake card box holds 30 handcrafted cards. You get the keepsake box and 30 cards for $30.00! Half the proceeds will go towards our next IVF cycle.

We will hand deliver the boxes to anyone living in Utah from Logan to Nephi.
These make great holiday gifts and they help our cause towards having children. E-mail us at if you are interested in purchasing a box set.

The boxes come in two separate styles: an all occasion adult or children box set. The adult set comes with a variety of all occasion cards and dividers to organize them into categories. The children box set includes stickers and 30 fun kid prints for kid occasions like birthdays or celebrations.

My mom bought us an adult box set, and we have loved it! The cards are original and give an added touch. I have received so many compliments on the cards that I have sent to others from my box. The cards have saved me several last minute trips to the store for special occasions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Unexpected News

As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.

- Jack Handey

My sister let me know last week that she was expecting her sixth child. The news stunk and I was mad! My mother had consoled me during our infertility treatments that my husband and I would give them their 12th grandchild to make an even dozen.

My sister beat me to it...

After dealing with all these emotions for a few days, however, I remembered that life wasn't just about me. Life is full of unexpected surprises. Like Jack Handey related, sometimes you can be so full of your own thoughts, that you disregard the feelings and desires of everyone else. I regret allowing myself to feel downtrodden by the news of a new niece or nephew. As I've forgotten myself and thought about my sister's situation, I have been able to be happy for her pregnancy news.

So, to our readers, there may be others who have heard such news and didn't know how to deal with it. I am right there with them! However, keeping those relationships strong is important. Try to keep in mind that an infertile person wants to be involved, but not too involved in the details of someone else's upcoming pregnancy. :) The reason for this is every time an infertile woman hears more news about a baby, the only message that comes across to her is that you have a child and she does not.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Infertility Ettiquette

A great resource for couples dealing with infertility is the National Infertility Association also known as RESOLVE.

The first time I read through their website was about a year ago when we were having our failed artificial insemination procedures. I must say I cried through every article I read. I was a complete mess, and Austin kept looking at me like I was crazy since I really don't cry very often. It was nice to be able to say to myself, though:
"Yes, I can relate to that. That is exactly how I feel."

Well, that said, I decided to revisit their website again today, and, though not overly emotional this time, I was able to find some information that I thought could be of value to people trying to understand the infertile world and what to say to console us during our difficult times. You can read this article on the RESOLVE website. The first half talks about what not to say. Funny thing, I think I've heard just about all of these at one time or another during our stuggles. The bottom half also is a good read because it offers some suggestions of ways to support and comfort your infertile friends. Please post any other resources you come across that are helpful.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What are we waiting for?

You've all been there before: waiting for the bus, waiting in line at the DMV, waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for your next paycheck, waiting for that special someone to call...

Well, what do you do to endure the waiting process? Do you doodle? Do you twiddle your thumbs? Do you study the faces around you and compare their appearance with yours? Well, you try to fill that waiting time with meaningful activities instead. However, somewhere beneath all the activities you often wonder when your time for waiting will end.

This is where I am at right now. It seems like my life is on hold for an indefinite period of time while I wait for the opportunity to become a mother. I am in a transition point in my life and I'm not quite sure what my purpose or role at this point should be. I am looking for meaning of where I fit in. Nevertheless, I just don't know where I do fit in right now. It's just hard.

So, until my dreams become a reality, I will keep on waiting. One of these times it will be my turn to have my number called in the waiting line of life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anyone's Guess

On our counter sits a framed Peanuts comic strip that reads: "When life takes you for a ride, hold on tight!" Good advice in times like these.

We met with our doctor on Saturday to discuss what happened with our failed IVF. From that visit we learned that there is no explanation for my estradiol levels falling. It is a phenomenon that happens rarely to women going through an IVF cycle. It's frustrating for us and the doctor because we don't know what caused our problem, so there is no way to prevent it in the future.

That said, the doctor said we will be more "gun-shy" with our next IVF cycle and won't push our luck on follicles. Once we have 8-9 mature follicles or so, we will do the egg retrieval.

Hindsight, however, is 20/20. When we were doing our cycle, we decided to grow my follicles one more day to try and get more mature eggs. If we had triggered that night instead of the night after, chances are we would have been just fine and wouldn't have had to cancel our IVF.

We will keep you posted of when we begin our next IVF cycle.

Thanks for all your encouraging words and continuing prayers. We couldn't have gotten this far in our journey without each of you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Estrogen Levels: Down...Down...Down...

My mom has said for years that I like to do things differently than everyone else: I was the only sibling to play on a sports team in high school, I'm the only sibling (as far as I know) that dyes her hair, and so far I have been the only child in our family to move across the country alone to begin a career.

That said, it should not surprise anyone that I like to do IVF differently than everyone else...

Up until yesterday everything was looking perfect. My Estradiol levels were up to 1726 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). I had 6-8 mature follicles and another 35 or more that were maturing. They wanted me to have one more night of stimulating and antagonist injections to try to have 10-12 mature eggs before retrieval. We were getting so excited for the next phase in IVF.

Well, we went to our appointment and everything looked great. They did another ultrasound and we have about 9 mature follicles, 39 follicles total. We were elated! They ran some blood work and we were supposed to start our trigger shot last night.

Our doctor called later that afternoon and said he had some terrible news for us. My Estradiol levels dropped drastically down from 1726 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) to 1290 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). He said that his professional opinion was that we should discontinue this IVF cycle and try again at a later date. My jaw hit the ground!
Did I just hear him right? We had gone through all the shots and blood draws and for nothing? What?
As we talked further to our doctor, he explained that he was just as shocked as we were. He said that every year the clinic performs about 300-400 IVF cycles. He only has known of 2 or 3 times each year when the Estradiol levels drop so drastically instead of increasing. There's less than 1% chance of having this happen. Our doctor further explained that the prognosis for pregnancy was extremely low when Estradiol drops like ours did. We will be meeting with him later this week to discuss what our options are for the future.

So, yes, I do like to do things differently. We will see where this independent spirit of mine takes us on our journey toward parenthood.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Estrogen Levels: Up...Up...Up

We have two "To Do" lists on our fridge: one for Austin and one for me. Mine only has a few items at the moment. Written at the top of my list is simply, "Survive IVF!!!"

Since last Friday, we have been down to our clinic four times. Each time we go to take a blood test to check on my Estradiol (estrogen) levels and make sure the follicles are growing at a steady rate. According to WebMD, during a normal menstrual cycle, a woman's Estradiol levels range typically from 20-750 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). This past check, my Estradiol level is at 958 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). The levels are only going to go up from there. Poor Austin! I've come close to tears a few times this week over little things, but I am more just ornery than anything. I just want to curl up in a ball most days and watch movies. It's like having a souped up period with the cramping, bloating, and irritability but to the nth degree.

Tonight is our last night of stimulation injections before we begin the stimulation and antagonist injections. That's right, I get to begin taking two shots a night in my belly. The stimulation injections continue to grow my follicles and mature my eggs. The antagonist injections keep my body from ovulating (releasing the eggs) early before they can be retrieved. The ultrasound we had today showed we had about 30 follicles growing on one ovary and 20 follicles on the other. That's a lot of eggs to be released! The eggs will probably be collected on Wednesday, depending on future blood tests and ultrasounds. Then the real test begins....

Our nurse informed us that we are at an elevated risk for hyperstimulation because we have so many eggs that are maturing for collection. It can be a pretty serious condition if not treated right away. We have a great clinical team working for us to help things run smoothly, though, so I think we will be okay....I hope.

Some of you may be thinking by this point: "Is it worth it?" I still have to say "Yes!" The pain, discomfort, multiple shots and blood draws, ultrasounds, and one and a half hours one-way to our doctor multiple times a week are going to be worth it when we can bring home a baby. We have a good prognosis for becoming pregnant. It's something every girl dreams of: carrying a baby in her womb, feeling it kick and get the hiccups. The opportunity to experience that will be worth all this in the long run. We just have to survive until then!