Friday, November 30, 2012

If you need me, I'll be in the bathroom!

This has been the theme of my life lately since my poor bladder is at the mercy of my large uterus. I am 16 weeks, 4 days along today, and I'm sure it's just going to get worse as the babies get bigger! They may as well move my office into the bathroom. In addition to the many potty breaks, I have learned that if I sit upright too long, my bum starts to get sore. I need to experiment with different kinds of pillows in my chair I guess. But, those minor annoyances aside, I have been feeling pretty good!

So, it has been over 2 weeks since my scary incident that brought me to the ER. ***TMI alert! Squeamish people just skip this paragraph!*** I am still having some minor bleeding/spotting, but my OB said as long as the blood is brown (sorry!) and not a lot, it should be fine. The hematoma was not visible on the last ultrasound I had, so it is just old blood making its way out. She said it is pretty much going to either drain out or absorb; it just seems to be taking its sweet time! I got released from bed rest at my OB appointment last Friday, so I have been working all week, but with some adjustments. I am not to lift anything over 5 pounds, so I ask for help quite a bit with the large files that we have to deal with. Also, Kim is driving us to work instead of taking the bus so I don't have to walk as far. Even though I'm off bed rest, I'm taking the attitude that if I'm not at work, for the most part I should be resting until the bleeding completely stops. Luckily, my husband has been doing an amazing job taking care of me, the dogs and the house!

My next appointment with the MFM is on 12/12, which feels like a long time from now. I'm hoping that we will have some big news to share after that appointment (pink, blue or both?!), so let's hope that the babies cooperate! We already know that one baby (the one we've been referring to as Baby A) doesn't like to sit still to get their heartbeat measured. At the OB last Friday the nurse got the heartbeat monitor out and she found Baby B's heartbeat no problem; however she said Baby A kept moving! We finally got it, but it took awhile. I guess Baby A had better things to do!

No new ultrasound pictures to share right now, but here is a picture of the 3 of us :) Sorry my face is kind of blocked... actually, I'm not sorry, I kinda meant it to be that way ;) But at least you can see the bump in all it's glory!

BTW - I took this picture in my bathroom... goes along with the title of this post :)
Have a great weekend!
Love, Amanda

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rough Day

After more than 14 weeks of a relatively smooth pregnancy, we hit what will hopefully be our only speed bump along the way. Before I go further, I'll go ahead and tell you that the babies and I are doing fine, but we had a scary day yesterday.
Disclaimer: If you are squeamish, you may want to have someone read this to you and give you the gist of it :)
Yeserday I went to the bathroom before lunch and noticed I was bleeding much like a period. My OB told me if that ever happens, go to the ER. I went to get Kim and told her that I needed to go to the hospital. The ambulance was called and I was taken to St. Joseph's ER since I was at work downtown. (BTW, this was now the second time I have left work in an ambulance!)
While I was at the ER, I had A LOT more bleeding. Scary amounts of bleeding. At this point, we were thinking the worst; that we were losing them. It was the most horrible feeling ever. :( Finally after 10 years (or 4 hours) they got me into ultrasound. I couldn't bear to look at the screen, but after several minutes of taking pictures, the ultrasound tech said the most beautiful words we have ever heard: "They won't hold still long enough so I can measure the heartbeat!" They were still there! Ryan and I both broke down, we were so relieved! The doctor told us that there was a subchorionic hematoma near Baby B and that Baby B might be in distress; the heartbeat was lower and they may not be getting enough oxygen. I was eventually released and put on bedrest since the doctor knew I had the appointment with the MFM specialist today.
Well, my MFM appointment went great! The babies both look perfect and neither is in distress. Both heartbeats were good and we saw them shaking fists and kicking legs! The doctor did say that I am higher risk now with the hematoma, but as long as I rest we should be okay. He said that most pregnancies with this issue turn out fine. I was told to stay on bed rest until I have had 2 days of no bleeding/spotting. I am doing much better today, the bleeding has slowed down substantially, which is very good.
In the meantime, here are the babies!
Baby A:
Baby B:
They are gorgeous :)  I have an appointment with my OB next Friday, and I will see the MFM again in 3 weeks. Until then, I'll be resting up and thinking positive thoughts!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Almost out of 1st Trimester!

It's about 7:45, so I figured I would give a quick update before I pass out LOL. I am 13 weeks, 1 day today and I'm so excited to be almost out of the first trimester... what a milestone!

I feel like it's been forever since my last ultrasound, but in reality it's been like a week and a half :) Still, it seems like an eternity when I was getting bi-weekly ultrasounds from the get-go! My next ultrasound is on November 14 when I go see the MFM specialist, and I am very much looking forward to seeing our little cupcakes again. I'll be 14 weeks, 2 days when we go, so we should get some good pictures!

An update on me: I am slowly making the transition from regular pants to maternity pants. My regular work pants are pretty snug. My regular jeans still fit (they are also made with a slightly stretchy material), but on Saturday they were also a bit snug so I have a pair of maternity jeans on standby. I am still wearing regular tops, but only loose ones.

My co-workers are starting to guess that I'm pregnant from my belly. I still feel like I just look like I ate too many cookies, but I guess I'm not fooling some people! Maybe I should just wear a pregnancy shirt on a Friday so people won't have to awkwardly guess (but it's kind of fun!)

I'll post again after my appointment... maybe I will post a belly pic along with the ultrasound pictures!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Graduation Day!

I had my last appointment at my fertility clinic on Monday. They kicked me out because the babies are too big for their ultrasound machine! It was bittersweet because I love the staff there, especially my doctor who was not in the office that day, however it's great to know that the babies are doing so well and are growing like weeds!
I have officially "graduated" to my OB, who I saw today. Now I'm just a regular pregnant girl... well, a regular girl pregnant with twins, anyway :) My OB wants me to see a doctor that specializes in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in addition to her. An MFM has had additional training to handle higher risk pregnancies, such as multiples. I have a feeling we'll be able to fill an entire album with ultrasound pictures, which is just fine with me!
Speaking of pictures, let's get to the good stuff! Individual Cupcakes:
Um... so I can't tell the difference between Baby A and Baby B anymore. My fertility doctor's office labeled them with each ultrasound, but not so much at the OB. I'm sure once they get bigger it will be easier to tell, especially if we have boy/girl twins, which I read today is the most common grouping of twins.
Group shot!
Everything looked great and I will go back to my OB in a month (the day after Thanksgiving, actually), but I'm sure I will see the MFM before then. In other news, I've already bought some maternity bottoms (a skirt, pants and jeans) because who knows when my belly will pop and I won't be able to fit any of my regular clothes anymore! When it does, I will take a picture of me and my bump to post :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

10 weeks!

It has been awhile since my last post, but everything is going GREAT with the babies! I am at 10 weeks today, and the babies both measured 9 weeks 6 days at my appointment this morning, which is really good! I am starting to ween off my medications and in a couple weeks my fertility doctor is going to give me the boot, LOL and I will start seeing my OB like a normal pregnant woman. Here is some more information from about what's going on with the babies at 10 weeks (don't be confused by the "he", this is the language from the website; we do not know the genders yet!):
Though he's barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, your baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature. He's swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function, though they'll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy.

Here's Baby A! This little one was dancing for me this morning on the ultrasound, it was the cutest thing I've ever seen! That is why this picture isn't as clear as Baby B's picture. Shake it, Baby A!
Now we have Baby B! You can see it looks like Baby A is kind of in a laying down position (upside down) where as Baby B looks to be more sitting up... I don't know if that is what's really going on, but I wanted to give you a frame a reference just in case you have NO clue what you're looking at :) Since Baby B was more still, you can make out their teeny little arms. YAY!

And now we have the group shot! I can't wait to show them all these pictures when they are old enough :)
In a couple weeks I will be out of my first trimester and I will be able to breathe a bit easier having hit this milestone. I am still feeling pretty good, no morning sickness (KNOCK ON WOOD!). It's kind of hard to get veggies down, all I seem to want is carby goodness, but I will try to sneak some in! (In the meantime, thank goodness for prenatal vitamins!)
Ryan and I are already head over heels in love with these babies, we can hardly wait until April or May to meet them, but we'll have to wait because they still have quite a bit of "baking" to do!  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The oven is on...

And we're baking!
The last time I posted, the day of my embryo transfer, I mentioned that I would be taking a pregnancy test in a couple weeks. Well, it has been more than a couple weeks and I am finally ready to announce on the blog that I am, in fact, PREGNANT! And, in case you can't tell from the picture below, it's looking like TWINS! We were able to see both little heartbeats at the ultrasound yesterday. It was amazing :)
Ryan and I are over the moon to be expecting not only one, but two little miracles! I am feeling okay, no morning sickness yet, but I have been having food aversions. Some foods that I usually like don't really sound good to me right now. (The other night I turned down ice cream!) I also got some kind of cold/allergy crap last weekend, so I've been congested all week which has been no fun. Otherwise though, I'm feeling pretty good! Ryan is super excited and tries to make as many ultrasound appointments as he can. (These being IVF babies, I get a lot more ultrasounds than a typical pregnant girl, which I am totally fine with!)
I am due May 11, 2013, however with twins, it could be earlier. I am still getting ultrasounds and bloodwork at my fertility doctor, but they will probably release me to my OB at around 10 weeks, I believe. I am also still taking hormone supplements, which I will probably be allowed to stop around the same time I am released to my OB.
It is still very early in the pregnancy (I am 6 weeks, 5 days today), so I am not "going public" yet. I will probably make a Facebook announcement around Thanksgiving when I am well into my second trimester. However, I will continue to keep the blog updated the entire time, so stay tuned!
Love, Amanda

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A little pregnant :)

I had my embryo transfer today! I figured this was as close as one could get to being "a little pregnant". I am not technically pregnant yet, the embryo(s) have to implant themselves first; however I have them in my uterus and I am on the same restrictions as a pregnant woman. Here they are in all of their glory, 2 beautiful 8 cell embryos!

The transfer itself was pretty easy, except for the fact that I had to have a FULL bladder during the procedure. It puts pressure on the uterus, which is good for some reason. I took a Valium before the procedure to relax my uterus because when things are placed into the uterus that don't belong there, such as the catheter used to insert the embryos, the uterus will contract which is not good. Here is a picture of the embryos in their new home:
I don't know if you can see the little arrow, but it's pointing to the little white blip, aka the embryos, in the middle there. Cute, aren't they?! BTW, my doctor said that he wanted to post a picture of my uterus on Facebook, LOL!  Apparently it's quite pretty! A great home for a cupcake or two :)
So now I'm on my bedrest. At least my doctor is allowing me to get up to take a brief daily shower, which I am pretty excited about! I get to take a pregnancy test in a couple weeks, in the meantime we're just going to talk nicely to the embryos in hopes that they keep on growing!
Love, Amanda

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen... we have embryos!

I had my egg retreival yesterday and we were very pleased that they got 7 eggs! I'm doing fine, a little sore, but you would be too if you had large needles stuck in your ovaries! FYI, I was unconscious for this procedure, and I wouldn't have it any other way! After they retreived the eggs, they unfroze Ryan's sperm and attempted to fertilize the eggs. We are so excited to report that they were able to fertilize 2 eggs! I go into the office on Thursday to have the two embryos transferred to my uterus. This will be a fairly simple procedure, much like a pap smear. Ryan will be there because we figured he should at least be in the same room as me at conception :) After about 2 weeks I will get to take a pregnancy test at the doctor's office! Ryan and I are still undecided as to whether or not we will test at home beforehand. The doctors advise against it, but it is so freakin' tempting!

Starting on Thursday, I will be on bedrest for 3 days. I will be staying at Ryan's parents' house since our dogs are a bit *ahem* unruly (putting it mildly!) Please feel free to stop by and visit because I literally can only get out of bed to go to the bathroom (and thank goodness for that!). Right now I am very much looking forward to bedrest, but I have a feeling that after about a day and a half I will be going stir crazy! I have to make sure I bring a lot of entertainment.

So I don't get much of a break from medication. Sure, I don't have to take shots any more, but I will be taking prednisone for a few days, as well as a "special tablet" that I will be taking (hopefully) well into pregnancy. This tablet contains progesterone, a hormone that helps prepare the uterine lining to receive and nourish our fertilized eggs. And I will just say that I do not take this tablet orally... I will leave it at that :) I also have some estrogen patches and pills that I'm sure I will eventually take along with the progesterone. More homones... YAY!

We will report back after transfer. Please keep our little embryos in your thoughts!

(The first IVF baby was born in 1978)
Love, Amanda

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pulling the trigger tonight!

Well, we have reached the point where I am done with my stimulation medications and am ready to take my trigger shot tonight to have my egg retreival on Monday! I took my stimulation shots for 12 days this time as opposed to 8 days last time. We are looking to get 4-5 eggs this time, which is honestly not as much as I had hoped, but my doctor seems to be optimistic, so we will be as well. At least it's better than the 2 we had last time! Let's just hope we get some eggs to fertilize so I can actually make it to transfer this time!

I will post another update after my retreival on Monday.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Boooo, you hormones!

I hope everyone gets the "Mean Girls" reference in my title ;) (If you do not get it, please obtain a copy of this movie and watch it ASAP!)

I had my first monitoring appointment today. The doctor saw 3 small follicles on each ovary, which sounds hopeful, but it's still very early in my cycle to really tell anything. They told me that from my bloodwork, my estrogen level was at  46 and they would like to see it over 100 at this point, so they upped my medication. I was taking 225 IU each of Gonal F and Menopur, now I will take 300 IU of each. Hopefully this will give my body the little push it apparently needs!

However, I am slightly worried for my sanity with this medication increase, LOL! I'm getting a lot more emotional this cycle than I did the last time (I'm guessing it's the new medicine, Gonal F). I've had little freakouts over nothing the past couple days, and I know it's due to the extra hormones coursing though my body! Today, for example, I had a mini meltdown because I needed to order more Gonal F to get me though the weekend and I kept getting a busy signal at my pharmacy! Luckily, my super hero husband helped me get things situated and I will be getting my medication tomorrow :)

I would also like to give a shout out to my pharmacy and my clinic. My clinic uses a mail order pharmacy called Conception Pharmacy (yup, that's what it's called!). Ryan called my clinic to tell them we were having trouble getting through to the pharmacy, and a little while later I got a call from one of the pharmacy staff calling me from her cell phone to take my order. My clinic must have got in touch with them. The pharmacy made ordering my meds super easy and stress-free, even though I'm sure they were dealing with stress from their phones being out!

Back to the hormones, LOL, a couple brought a baby into the waiting room of my doctor's office today. My sanity and patience were truly tested when the parents started cooing at him and taking pictures of him! Couldn't one of them have stayed home with the baby? Do they realize how insensitive it is to bring a baby to a fertility clinic?

I have another monitoring appointment on Monday. Until then, keep my sanity (and Ryan's) in your thoughts! :D


Monday, August 6, 2012

Shot one... done!

IVF #2 is officially underway as I have taken my first shot! It didn't hurt at all; just as last time, I get more stressed about mixing up the meds than the actual injection. We have a new medication this time, so it was a little different, but not bad! I have my first monitoring appointment on Friday where I will have bloodwork and an ultrasound to check the status of my hormone levels and ovaries. I can't wait for the day when they use that "magical" ultrasound wand to check on something other than the status of my uterus and ovaries!

In other good news, we applied for a grant back in June that gives out money to young adult cancer survivors, and we found out today that we made the second round of the application process! We won't find out until November if we are going to be granted any money, but it's nice to know we're still in the running. What a great way to kick off our new IVF cycle!

Until Friday...


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

IVF take 2... aaaaand ACTION!

I know it’s been awhile, but we’re finally ready to start our second round of IVF! We’re very excited to be moving forward with our journey toward parenthood. The last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions as we prepared for IVF 2.0 financially. Several people we know have announced pregnancies since our failed cycle (including THREE that we found out about the day we found out our egg did not fertilize), and I’m not going to lie, it was hard. Of course we are happy for our friends, but we want that happiness for ourselves as well and it’s frustrating that it will never be easy for us, as evidenced by Ryan’s latest sperm analysis… still no swimmers.

Now that we have a game plan, I’m feeling much more positive and optimistic. It feels good to be actively working toward our goal! My baseline ultrasound appointment is going to be August 2, and if all looks well, I will be starting injections on August 6!  They have changed one of the stimulation medications and upped the other. Instead of Bravelle, I will be taking Gonal-f, and I will be taking a higher dose of the Menopur. On doctor’s orders I am currently taking baby aspirin once a day and the supplement DHEA 3 times a day to help improve the quality of my eggs.  August is a good month for us; if all goes well we will be taking our pregnancy test a few days after our 4th wedding anniversary!
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I would like to take a moment to talk about infertility etiquette. I like to think most people have common sense enough not to say/do some of the things I talk about below, but you would be VERY surprised, especially when sometimes it’s people who have been through infertility themselves!

One situation that happened to me personally was when I was getting my hair done last weekend. The stylist’s assistant was being super chatty and asked me if I had kids. I told her no, and then she asked me if I was married. “Yes… 4 years” I replied. Then she asked me “so, you don’t want kids?” UGH, nosy much? I looked straight at her and told her that my husband had cancer 2 years ago and that “kind of” put a hold on us having kids. Awkward silence ensued. People can be so rude!

I also do not appreciate when people bring their kids to the fertility clinic. I feel that it’s very insensitive toward the women going through treatment, especially for ladies such as myself who do not have any children. The families I see are not there just to show off either; they are there seeking treatment as well, so you would think they would know better! As for the ladies who show up with their kid just to show-off that I may not see (I’m sure they get those every now and then), my clinic has a picnic once a year for successful patients to bring their bundles of joy. Until then, sending pictures is more appropriate.
Here are some more etiquette tips if you know someone (else) who is going though infertility and are not quite sure what is appropriate, or if you just want some insight into what kinds of emotions people dealing with infertility struggle with.

I am so ready to get this going!


Friday, April 27, 2012


Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers and support. Unfortunately, they were unable to fertilize the egg they retreived yesterday, so we are back to square one. This sucks... A LOT. However, it just wasn't in the cards this time and we will try again when we are able to.

We know we will be parents, it's just going to take a little longer than we had hoped. I'll start posting again when we have a game plan.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Egg Retrieval Update

Hi everyone! Just wanted to give a quick post-retrieval update. The doctor was only able to retrieve one egg, she said the other one had deflated (I didn't know that was possible). However, in her words, the egg she retrieved was "beautiful," so that is good! We will know tomorrow whether or not they were able to fertilize the egg, so please keep all your fingers and toes crossed! As we all know, all we need is one!

I am doing fine. I was annoyed that it took 3 sticks to get my IV, one of which resulted in a giant bruise on my arm :/ This is one reason I am glad I told some of my close co-workers about what is going on; between the IV and the multiple sticks for blood work that leave bruises, I might look like a junkie to the uninformed!

I'll update tomorrow with the news!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Two Little Follicles that Could

Yesterday I got a call from my doctor with some not-so-good news. He told me that I would only have two good follicles to go into egg retrieval with. Usually they like to have 8-10 because not all of them are able to be used. He gave me two options: one was to proceed to retrieval with the 2 eggs, or stop now and start over with different stimulation medications (the shots I was taking). He also said there was no right answer and it was totally up to us. Ryan and I talked about it and decided to go forward with this round. If we stopped and started a different course of meds, it is possible that we could end up in the same position, so we figured we would just go for it.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, there is no guarantee that the two follicles that are retrieved will be able to be fertilized, so if it does not work we are back at square one physically, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, my doctor will not charge us his fees again until we have a baby. However, there are many other costs associated with IVF such as the medication and lab fees, none of which are covered under our insurances.

My egg retrieval is on Thursday and I take my “trigger” shot tonight that will make me ovulate. Please keep my two little follicles in your thoughts on Thursday; I’m hoping they are the two “A-team” follicles!


Friday, April 20, 2012

A different kind of body shot

So we're on Day 4 of my injections and everything is just moving right along! I had an ultrasound and blood work today and the doctor said everything looked good. They told me to start another injection called Ganirelix, which prevents premature ovulation:

As you can see it comes in a handy, pre-filled syringe, so no additional mixing of medication (although I am becoming a pro at that!)

I am proud to say that I am able to give myself the injections! It is something I never would have thought I would be able to do. They do not really hurt aside from stinging as the medicine goes in and then a minute or so afterward. Not too bad! I haven't had too many other symptoms; I haven't screamed at anybody (yet... today I came close due to a cranky co-worker). I feel somewhat bloated and have been getting headaches (which could also be caffeine withdrawal), but that's all.

I have another appointment on Monday morning; another ultrasound, more blood work. I am happy to say that I am getting better at having my blood drawn. When I was in high school, getting my blood drawn sent me into a panic attack. Now it's just like, eh, whatever. I am also glad that these appointments don't take very long so I don't have to use too much of my PTO at this point! (I'll need that for OB visits, fingers crossed!)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Green Light!!!

I am happy to report that my doctor gave us the go ahead to start the IVF cycle! In fact... I have already done my first shot! The medications I am taking are designed to stimulate the maturation of ovarian follicles, which contain an egg that they release during ovulation (this description is from the Houston Fertility Institute website)

Mixing up the medication was actually more nerve wracking for me than the actual needle stick was. I was just hoping I didn't kill myself by accidentally leaving air in the syringe or something! My brave husband got the honor of doing the first stick (it is after all his birthday), but I will practice sticking myself in a couple days since he will be out of town on Friday. This is the medication: 2 vials of Bravelle and 2 vials of Menopur. The vial in the middle is the saline to mix them up since both medications come in powder form. (The dosage is subject to change when they check my blood work, which they will do every few days)

This is the needle to draw up the medications ONLY... this sucker is getting nowhere near my belly!

When I have drawn up all the medications, I switch it to this more user-friendly needle.

I am not generally a huge fan of needles, but I'm not terrified of them either. I actually think I have gotten better because of all the times I've been stuck for bloodwork lately! The stick was not bad; we'll see in a couple days if I can give myself the shot!

As for the side effects of these lovely medications, the nurse said it could be like bad PMS. I've also read on some message boards than when you get toward the end of the shots there could be some discomfort, so we will see. I'm not expecting much after day one though, apart from some shattered nerves :)

Oh, as if this wasn't fun enough, I am also weening myself off of caffeine in preparation for *fingers crossed* pregnancy. I don't drink coffee, but if you know me you know I can put away some Diet Pepsi, so this will be a challenge. Hormone shots + decaffeination = STAY OUT OF MY WAY! LOL Just kidding.... I hope!

My next appointment is on Friday, so I'll give an update then!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Update - Good News!

I had another ultrasound today, but much to my surprise this was no ordinary ultrasound. I had a saline ultrasound so the doctor could take a good look at my uterus and make sure the septum (the tissue that I had the surgery to remove) was completely gone. This kind of ultrasound was quite different than what I am used to, pretty uncomfortable actually. I had to take a pregnancy test beforehand, which they make me do every time they mess around with my uterus. I guess they have to cover all their bases just in case, but it's pretty ironic. (Spoiler alert: it was negative... LOL) I included a description of the procedure below if you want to know more about it  (the squeamish may want to skip!)

The discomfort was worth it though because my doctor was very happy to see that the septum was completely gone and said that my uterus looked great! In fact, I have a regular ultrasound and blood work again on Monday, and if everything looks fine, we can start the shots! Keep your fingers crossed that we can get this thing going on Monday!

Excited! Nervous, but excited!!! Thank you again to everyone who has been cheering my uterus on... she seems to be listening! Hopefully soon you can cheer for our embryos :)


The Procedure: Saline Infusion Sonohystogram
Once all the equipment is ready,  your doctor will widen your cervix with the use of a speculum. The speculum is slowly inserted through the vaginal opening, and then gently opened to allow a clear path to your cervix and uterus. This is the same type of procedure used at the start of a PAP test. The speculum may be a little cold since it is sterilized at room temperature.

Once the cervix is widened, your doctor will clean your cervix with an antiseptic such as Betadine. There is no discomfort while the cervix is cleaned.

Next, your doctor will begin to insert the catheter tube that will administer the saline solution. The thin plastic tube is inserted into the vagina, past the cervix and into the uterus. You will feel abdominal cramping as the tube is inserted past the cervix. Your uterus' natural reaction to a foreign object is to push it out, so cramping is a very normal reaction.

Once the catheter is inserted, the ultrasound technician and doctor will work together to position it before injecting the saline solution. The ultrasound technician will slowly insert the trans-vaginal ultrasound wand into the vagina to see the current position of the catheter. Once the catheter is in the correct position, the doctor will inject the saline solution. A small amount of saline solution, approximately 10cc's, will be injected into the uterus through the catheter tube. The saline solution may feel a little cold since it has been stored in room temperature conditions.

As the saline solution fills the uterus, the ultrasound technician will move the trans-vaginal wand around to get different views of the uterus. They will be able to capture still images and measurements of the uterus for further examination after the SIS procedure.

Repositioning of the catheter, the trans-vaginal ultrasound wand and injections of saline will continue for a few minutes until all areas of the uterus have been examined. Cramping during this part of the SIS procedure may be mild to moderate and cause you discomfort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

What’s that, you say? I have already posted an entry about how much it sucks to wait? (See my post from March 6) Well, welcome to IVF folks! You get tons of practice at waiting, even if you feel like your head is about to explode J

Anyhow, welcome back! The blog was on a 3 week hiatus after my surgery since there was really no news to report (see above).  I was taking my hormone pills as directed in the hopes that my uterus would cooperate and do whatever the doctor needs it to do to start IVF. I am done with the pills so I went into the clinic today to have an ultrasound and blood work, and they want me to go on birth control pills at least until Friday when I will have more blood work and another ultrasound.
Honestly I’m not really sure what they are looking for! They are checking the lining of my uterus, I know, but I’m not really sure what the criteria are for me to start. Whatever it is, it was not enough to start IVF today. The nurse I talked to said hopefully we can start next Monday which isn’t too bad. I will try to get more detailed information on Friday. All I know is we are not starting today :/ (I never thought I would be so eager to get stabbed with a needle!)

I am trying very hard to be patient. I know that it can take people who conceive naturally several months to get pregnant. I also know that it seems like every time I turn around, someone else is announcing their pregnancy! While I am extremely happy for them, of course, I am very eager for it to be my turn! I found this quote and it is quite helpful for when I’m having a bout of baby fever-induced anxiety:

It is a good reminder for me to practice my patience (plus, Cinderella is my favorite princess!)
I also know my doctor wants to make my uterus as safe of a home as he can for Cupcake. If that isn’t a good reason to be patient, I don’t know what is J

‘Til Friday!

P.S. Feel free to remind me when I am 9 months preggo and miserable that I was so eager to get this started…. Just be sure to have some protective gear on when you do! I hear pregnancy hormones can be quite, um, intense ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Surgery Day Update

I just wanted to give a post-surgery update. Everything went well, the doctor was very pleased with the outcome. He was able to remove the excess tissue and make that area level with the rest of my uterus, so it should look like a normal uterus now! I will now go on hormone pills for 3 weeks to build up the lining in my uterus and then I will have an ultrasound. If the doctor likes what he sees, we can start IVF; otherwise he might put me back on birth control for a couple weeks.

I'm feeling good, just a bit crampy, as is expected. I also cannot wait for things to not taste like plastic (this is thanks to the tube they put in my throat while I was under anesthesia).

Thanks to everyone who said a little cheer for my uterus (and my doctor!) today :)

Love, Amanda

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Legally (Dark) Blonde

I'm calling my new hair color "dark blonde" since being a blonde is such a big part of my identity that it is hard for me to think of myself as a brunette. (Not that there is anything wrong with being brunette, brunettes are awesome! It's just that I've been blonde for 10 years and identify myself as a blonde. It's all Elle Woods' fault!) I had my hair dyed closer to my natural hair color because, once I am pregnant, I won't be able to color my hair for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (the stylists were surprised by this, but I have to follow doctor's orders! I guess IVF is just that delicate of a procedure). I may keep it darker for the entire pregnancy, we'll see. At the very least, 12 weeks would mean crazy roots if I had left my hair blonde, and I'll probably already be on an emotional rollercoaster, so I don't need to worry about how my hair looks on top of everything else. I will admit that I did cry a little bit yesterday.... I like my hair, but I'll eventually go back to "Barbie" blonde, I'm sure!

Of course, since I'm not telling everybody about our IVF adventure just yet, I will be telling people who are not "in the know" that I just wanted to try going back to my natural color for funsies... it will be our little secret ;) I'm hoping that coloring my hair darker in anticipation of pregnancy will bring me good vibes once we start IVF! It's a little way of saying "we're ready, let's do this!"

In other news, my surgery to remove the tissue is this Wednesday (3/14). Feel free to cheer my uterus on :)

Love, Amanda

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh, the waiting is the hardest part…

You said a mouthful, Tom Petty! I have been waiting for what seems like forever, but it has actually only taken 2 weeks to find out the results of my MRI, which would tell me what type of Mullerian Anomaly I am dealing with. (Mullerian Anomaly is the fancy word for “issue with my uterus”.  There are several types of them, including bicornuate and septate uteri). It took awhile to get the results because the information in the report from the radiologist was conflicting.   It said there were characteristics of both septate and bicornuate uteri.   So, my doctor sat down with the MRI film and the radiologist and determined….

….that we are dealing with a septate uterus. He said the top of my uterus looks totally normal; there is no heart shape. This is great news! Hopefully I can have the surgery to remove the excess tissue in my uterus later this week or early next week.  It will be non-invasive; the procedure is very similar to the hysteroscopy I had.  The doctor also said that he did not anticipate having to wait an entire month after the surgery before we can start IVF. Basically we just have to wait for the lining of my uterus to build back up, which they have pills and patches for.  It is exciting… and a bit scary. LOL! But more good news, of course!

Back to the MRI… I had never had one before, but a friend at work also had one a few days before me (I’m sure our insurance is thrilled!) and told me some things to expect. For example, the MRI is obnoxiously loud (even with ear plugs and headphones on). Also, she told me how uncomfortable it is to stay still and be in a tube for 30+ minutes. Fortunately mine was an open MRI. Laying down on the table and looking straight ahead I saw the tube, but if I looked up, I could see ceiling tiles, so no claustrophobic freak out! I also had to fast for 4 hours before the MRI. Why is it that the minute you have to start fasting, you instantly become the hungriest and/or thirstiest person on the planet? I was all “MUST…. HAVE… WATER”, even though I was chugging it down at 10:59 (fasting started at 11).

It feels really good to know what we’re dealing with and to know the next step in the process. In the meantime, I am going to take some of my friends’ advice and drink all the caffeine and “adult beverages” and eat all the sushi I want before I get pregnant. LOL!
Love, Amanda

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Misadventures of my Uterus

I had my hysteroscopy on February 8. This was my first time going under anesthesia and I was nervous going into the procedure, but everything went fine. That being said, the doctor did find something usual about my uterus; nothing that would prevent me from getting pregnant, but it is definitely something that needs to be taken care of before we can proceed with IVF. There are two possibilities as to what the issue could be. The first is called a Septate Uterus, where means there is a band of tissue running down the middle of the uterus. This can be fairly easily fixed with a procedure similar to the hysteroscopy, in which they will just remove the tissue. After I have healed, which will take about a month, we can proceed as planned with in-vitro.
The other possibility is called a Bicornuate Uterus, which means the uterus is heart shaped with two joined cavities (a typical uterus has a single cavity). This is not as cute as it sounds! There really is no fix for this; it just means that instead of implanting 2 embryos, they would only implant 1. Bicornuate Uteri could be more prone to preterm delivery, and they don’t want to risk twins being even more preterm when they are already prone to prematurity.  I asked the doctor if it turned out that I had a Bicornuate Uterus, would I be considered a high-risk pregnancy. He said that the term “high-risk” was relative; am I a higher risk than a 21 year old with a healthy uterus, yes;  a 42-year old woman, probably not.
Next week I will have an MRI done to determine which one of these I am dealing with and then we will go from there.  This was definitely an unexpected bump in the road, and I am not thrilled about having to wait longer to proceed, especially since I had already been psyching myself up to start the shots. However, if this was going to be an issue, it’s definitely good that we caught it before we started; both of these conditions, if not diagnosed before pregnancy, could lead to miscarriages. At least now, for whichever one I end up having, we can take precautions either way.
So the shots and everything have been put on hold until I am properly diagnosed and, if it turns out to be the septate uterus, treated.  We are hoping it is the septate uterus because, even though there will be an operation and a recovery period, it’s a simple procedure and once I am healed we can do IVF exactly how we were going to before.  
So, to quote one our favorite books (and soon to be movie), “The Hunger Games,” may the odds be ever in our favor!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Drugs, Dogs and a Disclaimer

First of all, the disclaimer (especially for male readers and the squeamish): This is a blog about IVF, so if I’m going to talk about the entire process, you may come across some terminology regarding female body parts and body processes… I’m not going to post anything too graphic, but if you are particularly bothered by bodily functions, you may want to ask someone to Cliffs Notes it for ya ;)
We had a “training visit” last week at the clinic to learn about all the drugs I will be taking over the course of the IVF process and how to administer them. Honestly, it was quite overwhelming since there are 3 different injections I have to take at different times, plus pills, patches, etc. The good news is that the class was just an overview, and the clinic will let me know exactly when I need to take what meds.
The injection to stimulate my egg development is actually a mixture of 2 different drugs that come in powder form that I will have to concoct myself. This is a bit intimidating, but I'm more intimidated by actually mixing the drugs correctly than the needle itself. The other two injections (one to prevent ovulation and one that I take once to induce ovulation) come in pre-filled syringes, which make it easier. I’m also going to be on A LOT of Estrogen after the embryos are implanted. This all adds up to an absolute SLEW of hormones that will be coursing through my body over the next month, which is going to be tons of fun for me as well as those around me…. Let me take the opportunity now to apologize for my (highly) probable emotional outbursts in advance! I’m supposed to start injections on 2/10; consider yourselves warned J
The reason why my first procedure (the hysteroscopy) isn’t until 2/8 is because I have to be on birth control pills for 3 weeks to control my ovulation before the procedure. (My uterus officially belongs to my doctor now!) It’s pretty ironic I would have to take birth control pills to get pregnant!
Moving on from my uterus... because we are starting a family, we decided it would be a good idea to enroll the dogs in obedience classes at Petsmart. They are still quite young and love to jump on everybody, which is cute now, but will not be okay once I am pregnant and then once Cupcake is here. (People tell me that the dogs will sense the baby’s presence and act accordingly, but the classes are our safety net.) So far, neither of them like to pay much attention in class (too many distractions!), but they do fairly well at home.

Mommy is far more interesting with treats in her hand!
The 8th will be here before we know it, and honestly, I am ready to just get started! So…. the movie “The Vow” comes out the weekend I start my injections… is anybody brave enough to see a sappy chick flick with me!? Bring tissues!!! MANY tissues!!!
Love, Amanda

Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome to our blog!

Ryan and I have told several people already of our plans to start in-vitro fertilization this year so that we can start a family, however I went back and forth with myself over how much information to divulge since this is a delicate subject. IVF is wonderful in that it gives us a chance to have children of our own when not too long ago, that may not have been possible since chemotherapy has annihilated Ryan’s fertility. That being said, it is also quite an involved and invasive procedure and there is no guarantee that it will work the first time around. However, we know we have lots of support out there from family and friends who will want to know what is going on and how we are doing. Hence, the blog J “Cupcake” is the euphemism I will use for the baby; I like to think it’s fairly gender neutral!
I’m not going to describe the entire procedure in this post because honestly, some of it is still a little fuzzy for me, so you’ll learn about it as we progress in the treatment (or if you’re really antsy, there is always good ol’ Google!) So far we both have had blood work and I have had a baseline ultra sound. On February 8, I will go in for a Hysteroscopy, which means they are going to send a camera-type thing into my uterus to have a look around and get a feel for Cupcake’s future temporary home, basically making sure everything’s okay.
I feel very comfortable with my doctor and my clinic; I think they are going to take very good care of us and do their best to bring us our Cupcake (or, potentially, Cupcakes… yes, there is a possibility for twins… we’ll get into that later!) I have already started taking prenatal vitamins and they are already getting all of my appointments and medications I will need to take set up, so we are on our way!
Sign up to follow our blog so you can get updates as soon as they are posted!
Amanda and Ryan