Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The World's Earliest Ultrasound

Monday went as planned. The procedure was very simple.

They had me drink a ton of water. This fills your bladder which makes it easier to insert the catheter through the cervix. The first catheter is hollow and once it's into place, in a very formal manner, the embryos are brought in from the lab. This is done at the last minute to keep them at the right temperature.

The lab tech came in and announced "2 embryos for Jessica Stanczak" and then as they explained each step, the doctor inserts a smaller catheter containing the embryos through the first one. Once in the catheter was in place they pointed to the ultrasound screen and told us we would see a flash of white as the embryos were released into my uterus.

I didn't feel anything. It took all of 5 minutes and once it was done, they even gave us a print of it.
We weren't expecting to have a take home souvenir. If you look in the middle, kinda towards the left side, there is a circular object with a white splotch in the middle. The circular object is the uterus and the blob is the embryos. This is the white flash they told us to look for as the embryos were implanted, the exact moment they were placed inside.
It's odd. I don't feel any different yet and we won't know anything until February 7th (this is our date for the pregnancy test), but it was so surreal seeing something like that and knowing it's your body. We will take things one step at a time, but I have to say, after working so hard to get to this point, it's like you get to the top of the mountain, take a moment to acknowledge the accomplishment and then turn to realize there's another big mountain right behind it. We've been so caught up with this that now that we are here the reality is that we ARE here. HERE being on the verge of starting a family. HOLY SH*T- in a good way, of course, but WOW!

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm OK, You're OK

Last night turned into quite an adventure. Just to let everyone know, I'm fine!!
As I was leaving work I stood up from my desk and felt a pop in my head above and behind my left eye. I began to get a headache immediately and went to get some advil. By the time I got to the kitchen and taken the pills the pain had gotten really bad. It hurt enough that I started to get afraid to move. I sad down on the ground so I wouldn't fall and asked a coworker to call Mike. As I told him what the problem was with the pain still growing, he told me to have a someone drive me to the hospital and he'd meet me there.
Once off the phone, my co-worker and boss laid me on the ground. The pain was growing so while I asked if someone would drive me to the hospital, in their concern, they decided to call 911.
A short ambulance ride (first ever) and an IV later, I was lying in a bed in an emergency room bed. Suzy, my boss, met me there, immediately followed by Mike, Gretchen, Mom, Dad and Valerie. Seems that out of love and concern, Gretch had rallied the troops and friends were coming :)
Anyways, the concern was that there had been a stroke or clot of some sort (possibly a side effect from my IVF drugs). They ran some tests- blood work, CT scan, urinalysis and then this weird eye probe where they numb your eye with drops and poke at it with this pen (not a pin, no needles or anything) to see if my there is too much pressure. I guess this indicates if there is glaucoma or something.
Everything came back fine but the doctor wanted to do further tests and observe me overnight. I declined, but not because I'm stubborn. Well, I am, but still...there seemed to be a point where it was more to cover the hospital's back than find the problem with me. When he said the words "lumbar puncture" I decided that was enough. If something had shown up on one of the tests I would have done whatever they said, but nothing had so we opted to go home, and visit my doctor this morning. Being that I am on so many drugs we felt we should see the specialists we've been working with.
Dr. Nani reviewed my hospital results and felt that there was no real cause for concern, as long as the pain doesn't return or any other strange symptoms arise.
So, as of now, we are still full go for Monday's transfer. I am taking it easy. I don't regret going to the hospital because the situation was scary and uncertain at the time. I definately would have skipped the wagon ride though, and tried to. In the end, far as the tests and labs report, I am as normal (or abnormal-ha) as always! Hope everyone's weekends are less adventurous than my Thursday!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Mama Told Me...

Last night I had the best conversation with my mom as I was driving home. I consider us to be close, but we were never that mother daughter duo (trio, including Gretch) that talked about boys and how to put eyeshadow on and things of that sort.
Lately though, I have had so many questions and thoughts in my mind about motherhood and things of that nature, and I haven't really known who or how to ask. Once I opened my mouth, they all just kinda came pouring out. I won't get into the details about them as the conversation was special and just between the two of us. I will say, though, that I came away with a new found respect and understanding for her and what she did to raise two babies at once. She also soothed alot of my concerns and gave me several good laughs.
Thanks Mama, I love you!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last Pre T-Day Appointment

I had my last pre-transfer appointment yesterday. Things are on schedule and the nurse said everything looks "beautiful" which was comforting .
Today I am adding Medrol- 1 tablet 4 times a day (for the next 4 days)
Doxycycline- 1 capsule 2 times a day (for the next 6 days)
& a really fun suppository, Endometrium once a day for the coming weeks.
These are in addition to my lupron shot, Estrogen patch and Estrace tablet.
I am a regular chemistry experiment right now.
I'm not gonna lie, I had a bit of a breakdown last night- well, all of yesterday, really.
Yes, hormones were involved. I went from 4 estrogen patches down to 1 yesterday (though I go back to 2 tomorrow) so I'm sure that was a rushing change in my system, but that wasn't all of it.
I really panic at the thought of all of these drugs. They scare me and make me feel so up, down, sideways, sick, tired, swollen. It's part of it, I know, but just scary and T-Day is so close now. The emotions just won't stop coming.
Last night, while crying, I told Mike that I just wish he could tuck me up and carry me around in a backpack on his back so I could feel close, comforted and protected. I think I'm resorting back to childhood. I just want someone to kiss the "boo-boo" and tell me it will be alright. The only problem is the "boo-boo" is my fear and it keeps moving and changing so I can't find it to put the bandage on.
I am happy to report that I am swimming with my head above water today, so please don't think I'm gonna jump in the car and head to Canada to escape myself or something. I just get caught up and need to dump some emotions out from time to time. Each day is a new day and I will continue to count my blessings as we all should. Happy Hump Day!

Monday, January 21, 2008

WIRE TAPPED

I feel like I work for the FBI. I have these stupid patches strapped all over me like I'm on an undercover spy mission.
Thankfully, after my final pre-transfer ultrasound tomorrow morning, I will go down to 1 patch (verses the 4 I have on right now). That's right, tomorrow is my last regular appointment. I have to go down to a different office for it but that's fine with me because ONE WEEK FROM TODAY this phase will be over and we will begin a new one.
A phase of waiting and hoping, no working out (finally an excuse to skip the gym for a while), no drinking, extra eating-not a ton, but still, if I want more then DAMN IT give me another cookie, and then 2 weeks after that the TEST of Tests. Yes or No, pregnant or not??
Now, I don't view myself as being a super-religious person, but I would definitely say that I'm spiritual. Lately, though, I find myself praying more often and reflecting on my views on life. I have to say, there is such a strong sense of comfort and purpose when I am doing this prayer and reflection. Don't know how to explain it so I'm not going to try. I am just going to go with it and allow myself this calm that I'm experiencing. I'm not going to question it. Don't worry, I'm not going to start preaching. Just saying that for anyone out there, any new- or old- way you can find to give you some peace and calm in your life, grab on!
Here's to a good, calm week!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

Today is Friday, thank God! January 28th (know referred to as T-Day) is creeping up!
This morning was my last doctor appointment at my regular office before "Transfer" which is the term they use for implanting the embryos- hence the term T-Day. From now on I will be out of the main office where the procedure will take place so they can monitor my hormonal progress- yipee (sarcasm-for the hormones that I love so much).
I sent my nurses and doctor some flowers today to thank them for their support and care up to this point. They've kinda become a little family to me. I certainly have seen them often enough, but it's more than that. They call to check up on me- even beyond test results and things of that nature. How am I feeling? physically, emotionally? Do I need anything, do I have questions? Am I scared, concerned? I truly can say I think the world of them!
Now, it's just a matter of time. I am definately all jacked up on hormones and as of today's appointment everything is progressing in the right direction.
Side Note: I have 4 estrogen patches strapped to my body at this point- seriously, strapped to my body. One on each arm and one on each shoulder blade. I feel like I have a backpack on or something. The effects are interesting, too. I'm hot, I'm cold, sick to my stomach, giddy, tired, and it just keeps changing- oh, and they ITCH like CRAZY!!
No other additional drugs beyond the patches, estrace and lupron at this point- whew. Just gotta hang in there a bit longer and then the prescriptions can stop- and then I'll probably be longing for drugs they are frowned upon during pregnancy. I'll have a headache or sinus infection and just have to grin and bear it- remind me of all of this dosing and pill popping when I complain later :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The DiMaria Family

Congratulations to Nick and Amanda DiMaria!
They are expecting their first little one!
Baby DiMaria will be gracing us with his/her presence in September!
Congrats again Mama and Papa DiMaria!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just Gabbing

It's Friday and I just felt like taking a few minutes to ramble.
Not much is changing with the fertility stuff in the immediate future. Just takin' my drugs. I have an Estraderm patch stuck to my hip, which I find amusing. For some reason the word AMOEBA comes to mind when I look at it. It's this clear, gel-filled, kidney bean shaped thing about 2 inches long. I think about it constantly because it keeps UNsticking itself. I have now taped it down in a manner which reminds me of a car I saw this morning that had it's bumper strapped on with electrical tape circle over and around the trunk.
Anyways, in honor of the weekend, and in hopes of passing a few moments of a gray afternoon, I'm adding some pictures that were emailed to me. These are of an ice festival in China. Can you believe that people actually carved these out of ice? They are huge, you can see people standing on them. I'd love to see them in person one day. ENJOY :)





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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Adding to the baby making recipe (and stress)

Today marks the addition of more ingredients into the process. Now I'll be on Lupron, Estrace and Estraderm.
Estrace is an oral med and Estraderm is a patch that I'll keep on my skin for 2 days at a time.
I'm excited that we are getting closer but I have to say that I don't love dosing my body up with new drugs. It's always intimidating even if you know what the purpose is. I worry alot about sideeffects, i.e. nausea, headaches, sodium retention, moodswings (I think these are Mike's biggest concerns) and the other risks that come with so many drugs.
What I've been thinking alot about lately is the long term effects. It turns out that some fertility drugs increase risks of health complications for your heart and reproductive system down the road. I know the end result is worth it but it's still scary.
I just think I need to vent for a moment. That's what this blog is for, right?
I've been talking with Mike the past few days about this- and pondering it in the middle of the night when I wake up in a cold sweat...
This whole process is such a raw experience. It's exciting in that, when the time comes, I'll know that there is an embryo alive inside me. It will be 2 weeks before I'll know if my body is accepting the pregnancy, but even then, I'll know what should be going on in my body.
This kinda takes away from the wonder of it all, but it's necessary in my case.
I guess when you first think about starting a family, you imagine feeling different or maybe missing a period, taking a test and finding out that you are expecting. With this process, my constantly running, circling mind has had months of treatments, and now knowing the exact date of implantation, all of this extra time to wonder and worry about the kind of mother I'll be.
I have to admit, I've never been more excited or wanted anything more, but I've never been more terrified, either.
I wish someone could give you a book about You. Not just a book about pregnancy, but a book about You and pregnancy and motherhood. A book that would outline what You will feel like, crave, need, want, look like, experience mentally. What Your delivery will be like. Whether You'll be able to breastfeed if You want, if You'll be tolerant or panicky, cranky.
Even more than that, with all of the scary things out there, and this is what wakes me up at night the most.. Will my baby be happy and healthy?
If I could have a book on that I would feel better. But, alas, that's not the way life works, no matter how much my control freak mind would like.
Ha, wouldn't we all feel better if everything were outlined so precisely. Not saying that I would want a map of each day. I just know that I'm scared. You're probably supposed to be scared. Guess I'm just complaining because it's not like I will wake up in six weeks, feel sick to my stomach, take a test and begin to plan for my baby. I feel like I am watching myself prepare and plan for the next 40 weeks.
I think it must be a blessing and a curse to be experiencing the full 40 weeks with full knowledge of the pregnancy instead of say 36 or 34 or 32 weeks. That's just a few extra weeks of a head start to panic and nest and read up on the good and bad to come. It's also an extra few weeks to get to know my baby and bond and imagine fingers and toes and smiles...
Maybe putting this on paper (or blog) will help me sleep a little better...

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Countdown Begins...

So, here we go...
Today I had an appointment to have baselines and ultrasound done. This is actually the standard appointment. Every time I go in they draw blood and then do an ultrasound. This is their way to check my hormone levels and also to see if my body is on target for the time of my cycle. For example, today it is early in my cycle (28 day cycle) and because of the Lupron shots, they want to be sure that my ovary follicles are small and my uterine lining is thin. Everything looked good so we are on a set schedule now.
Starting Wednesday, January 9th, I ad an Estroderm patch to my drug regimen. This is a patch (similar to nicoderm) that I will put on my skin and change every 2 days. After a few days of this, it will go up to 2 patches every 2 days and possibly up to 4 depending on the hormone levels in my body. I will also be adding some more drugs to my fertility football team... Medrol, Doxycyline, Edometrium... these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head so spelling may be wrong on some. The actual form with my routine is in my folder in my car so don't worry, I'm not just gonna guess.
Can you imagine... "hmm, I think I'll take the pink ones today, they're pretty".
Anyways, drum roll please........
January 28th is implantation day.
I know it is a very minor, short procedure that doesn't require any anesthesia but I don't have the exact details yet. I will know more on the 18th when I go for my preparation appointment.
FINGERS CROSSED. Bring on the hormones!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcoming 2008 and more hormone treatments

So, it's the new year and we had a wonderful trip to Arizona which I'll write about once I download my pictures, but first I think it's time for an IVF update.

Starting January 2nd we are back on the shots. Lupron to be exact. Lupron is supposed to suppress my uterus from what I understand. This is a small one and it doesn't hurt too much so that's good. Once a day I get my little shot. It seems to make me sleepy, but I guess that's better than making me mean :) - for Mike's sake anyways. Lord knows he gets enough of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde lately as it is (lucky guy). Really though, he's so patient with me- thank you Babe!
I will be going in on Monday the 7th to start baselines and ultrasounds again. From there, we'll start to lay out the timeline for this month for egg implantation so fingers crossed. From my understanding it's they have to gauge the timing on my hormone levels.
The only frustrating thing is that somehow they have messed up billing on us. Mike is working to get that straightened out today. I had called all excited to schedule my appt for Monday and was kinda blindsided by the billing news. Of course, with the hormones flowing freely, tears came quickly (and embarrassingly) at this revelation. We'll get it straightened out, though. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let that get to me. It's a new year, right?!!