To bed rest or not to bed rest. What did you do?

With our first FET fast approaching, I am searching for tips on how to better your chances of success. I know that there may be nothing that I can do that I am not already doing to help these embryos keep growing, but what else am I going to do between now and then? I spent the months leading up to our IVF researching and with only 13 days to go before I will be PUPO again, I need to do something to feel like I am preparing. I am hoping that with the Estrogen patches, my lining is growing as it should be. I am drinking some very yummy 100% Pomegranate juice, seriously limiting my carbs and trying to keep hydrated. My monitoring appointment is on the 19th and I feel at a loss without my near daily office visits that I got used to last cycle. I knew every 2 or 3 days where we were, if we were on track and if anything needed to be adjusted. This time, I have to wait for that one ultrasound to tell me if my uterus is responding. I have all sorts of concerns at the moment.

Driving home today this was my thought process…

”Hmm..I feel achy inside. What if I miraculously ovulate on my own? Can that even happen? Should we be having sex? Why am I having EWCM? Am I going to release an egg and miss an opportunity? Would this cancel a cycle? It is way too early for ovulation so what am I even thinking! I need to remember to get my pineapple! Is it the estrogen? Speaking of estrogen, what if my chub is getting in the way of the patches really releasing the hormones into my system. Damn you hormones for messing with me!”

This type of inner monologue is pretty much what happens when I am by myself and not occupied with a book or movie.

With all of these concerns rolling around in my head, the one that is topping my list of concerns is this…

Bed rest or no bed rest?
I have been reading blogs and articles and protocols and the opinion on post transfer rest is wide spread. I have read that some women are ordered to multiple days of bed rest- only getting up to eat or use the bathroom. Others are on modified bed rest…basically lounging on a couch for a few days. Others still, my doctor included, tell you that you can resume daily activities immediately. This means work and light exercise etc. not training for a marathon or moving heavy furniture obviously.
Last time, I took it easy the day of transfer, but I was by no means on bed rest. I am just wondering what others have been instructed to do- or even better, for those who had a successful IVF pregnancy- what did you do?

Finally, I got a letter from my RE in the mail today. Basically, it is the minutes from a review meeting that they had on my “case”. It summed up our protocol, how many embryos were transferred and told me (in case I didn’t already know) that the cycle failed.
Well thank you so much for dropping me this note! I love to be reminded that we were unsuccessful. And I hate that they said that. I was pregnant! It did work! And hey, how about a nice we are hopeful about your future cycles and here is what we would like to do to better your chances. Nope. Sorry you failed, call us when you want to try again. That letter is going straight into the our next fire, which should be soon considering I heard negative 30 on the weather forecast for tomorrow night.
Stay warm!

FET a go and why I love my husband

There is nothing like waking up bright and early on a Saturday to get your blood drawn. Especially on a Saturday where everything is covered in snow and it is only 9 degrees outside. Yesterday I would have been extremely happy to stay in bed until hubby got home at 9. That would have been nice…but I had to go find out if my HCG level had dropped below 10 so that we can start our first FET cycle. To look on the upside, I liked driving there in the daylight rather than the predawn pitch black that I get to navigate through on workdays. There was also less traffic. The wait was a little longer and I was sitting across from 3 pregnant women. Not cool. That was just an unnecessary slap in the face on this bitterly cold morning. I used to panic before blood draws, I was not a fan of needles and anticipated the prick with such high anxiety. Now I’m in, I’m stuck and I’m out. I can direct them to the best vein…usually in the arm that isn’t as bruised. My poor veins need a break. Then I was out of there to wait for the call that we could either start estrogen patches or come back on Monday to get another level check.

Hubby forgot to tell me that he couldn’t find his keys the night before and grabbed his truck key off of my key ring. That meant that he had no house key. Of course we have a spare, but with the snow and all- not so easy to get to. I figured he would dig it out and be asleep by the time I got home. I stopped for coffee and pulled into the driveway to see him waiting for me in his truck. I know he was just waiting for my key, but I was glad I got to hug him and chat for a minute before he went to bed.

I relaxed guilt free with a nice fire and my kindle- I’m reading the 5th Wave series and I got hooked. I was pleasantly surprised that the Dr. on call got back to me before noon. The results were in…HCG level…2. We are a go for our next cycle. The patch was promptly applied to my rear end and I went about putting dates on our calendar. I will be on 1 patch for several days, changing every other day of course, then 2 patches, then 4 and then back to 2 until Transfer. It looks like transfer will be February 25 with monitoring appointments beginning about a week before. My plan: no stress, no carbs, lots of water and POM juice. Gotta grow that lining nice and thick.

On a slightly different note- I had a nice crying session to hubby the other day. While I know that we have only had 1 cycle, and many women take more than one IVF cycle to have a successful pregnancy- I felt panicked. If that one didn’t work, will any of them? What if it is my eggs? If so, what will we do if all 6 covered rounds fail? Is that it? I knew that Hubby was hesitant to adopt, if it is just my eggs, do I want someone else’s eggs? Then the baby would be genetically my hubby’s but not mine. Not sure how I feel about that. A surrogate? That all seems so complicated and expensive. Would my chances of having a baby end with the 6th IVF? Hubby’s answer was that we would just keep trying naturally.

My thoughts: What about this does he not get at this point? If I could get pregnant naturally we would not be where we are.
Whether or not this is what he meant or not, what I heard was that if these 6 cycles don’t work we are done unless some miracle called natural conception occurs.
Que the crying, the utter panic that I need one of these cycles to work or else I would never be a mother. That is a ton of pressure to put on myself. I saw the next 5 months as a countdown to the end rather than 5 more chances to succeed.

I wasn’t mad at him for this- I understood all of his points and the concerns of cost and genetics. I know he wants a baby that is genetically ours. So do I. I also knew that if we don’t succeed in the next 5 months we had some very difficult conversations ahead of us. I decided to tell him my thoughts, which I’m pretty sure he already knows in depth. I want to be a mother. It is the only thing I have dreamed about since I was a little girl playing house. I can’t give up on my dream. But the decision is no longer mine alone. I love my husband. If I had to choose between him and this dream I would choose him hands down. He is my soul mate. But my entire being wants to be a mother. So we left it at that- his thoughts and mine out on the table with nowhere to go for the next 5 months.

Then this morning he comes home from work and tells me we need to talk. Oh boy. Did something happen at work? Is he not going to be put on days this summer? Are we going to have that weight loss and healthy eating conversation again? Is he going to tell me that he wants to take a break from IVF? Not only did he need to talk, he wanted to go talk on the couch so that (in his words) he could hug me after… I swear if he is doing all of this and stressing me out to tell me that he wants me to buy him more bananas I was going to kill him. He has been known to do this type of thing before. I would think that after almost 5 years he has learned that this is a bad idea. So I got out of bed and made my way to the couch. He sat next to me and asked me to make him an omelet. Are you freaking kidding me!?!?! Good thing he was kidding.
Then the serious talk began.
He started by saying that he was thinking at work last night. Here is what came next “ I love you too much to not have your dreams come true”. If our next 5 cycles don’t work we will not give up. We will do what we have to do to have a baby. And then I started crying. I do a lot of that. It was like he lifted a huge weight off of me. The pressure that I felt for these next 5 to work felt lighter. I want to have my babies on my own. I want to feel them grow inside of me and have them put on my chest as soon as they are born. I still worry that that will not happen. But the worry that I will never get to be a mother got lighter. I told him that this was probably the best and most meaningful thing he has ever said to me. Then I made him an omelet!
I married the perfect man for me. No doubt about it. I know that it takes him more time to process things- especially changes. Take our getting married for example—it took him forever to process this idea and make a decision. Same went for moving in together and telling me that he loves me. It just takes him longer. He is a thinker. This being said, his decisions are sound. His choices are more meaningful because I know how much thought he has put into it. This decision that he has made for our family and for my happiness is brave of him- it is selfless and it is the deepest part of what marriage means. We put the dreams of our spouse before our own. We do everything we can to ensure their happiness. I hope he feels that I do this for him as well. I have always been proud to be his wife, he is an amazing man and today, he only deepened that pride I have for him and our marriage and our future family.

Cycle Day 1…again

Here we are again…Cycle day 1. Our Beta dropped back down on Monday. I haven’t been in a place to write about it, or think about it until now. Actually, I’m not sure I am in a good place to talk about it even now. We knew last Friday that the odds were not in our favor to keep this pregnancy. While our numbers did rise, they did not double. Hubby held out hope over the weekend that we had a little fighter on our hands who was just a little slow to start. Anyone who knew our situation would say that there was still hope and that miracles happen. I could not let myself go there. I couldn’t get my hopes up again only to be crushed again 3 days later. I knew it was over. I did most of my crying after that Friday phone call. I spent the weekend relaxing and actively trying not to think about what was happening inside of me. I reminded myself that it was over- I was not pregnant. I couldn’t let myself go down the same path I went down in September. I was crying every time I was alone…in my classroom, driving home, in the shower and when Hubby left for work my anxiety was out of control. I couldn’t do that again. I know that this might happen again. If I shut down every time, it is not helping my body get ready for a baby and will make the coming months exponentially stressful. Am I sad? Very much so. The picture of our embryo is still on the fridge. I mourn the loss of what might have been. I mourn the hope that we had at the start of this cycle, that will not be matched in the future. I miss the nausea and stretching that I was feeling. I am sad but I am moving forward.
The spotting started yesterday afternoon. By the time I woke up this morning I was having pretty serious cramps and my Aunt Flo was here in full force. For a day one, it is probably the heaviest period I have ever had. For this reason, I am so happy that today is also a snow day! The first one of the year! I am happy to stay home with my Tylenol and heating pad. I plan to spend the rest of my day experimenting with gluten free recipes…yes, I am desperate enough to give it a shot. I am not really sure if I will end up doing the entire gluten free avenue or just carb free. All I know is that I have to do something to make me feel in control of my infertility. Something is obviously not working. I can’t go through the next cycle thinking that it was something I could control that was keeping me from staying pregnant. That being said, goodbye carbs and hello real food. I am trying to view this as a challenge to make healthy meals taste better. Last night was eggplant parm without the breading and baked instead of fried. That was a win. Tonight I am making chicken nachos—on baby peppers instead of chips. Tomorrow night will be spaghetti squash with ground beef and homemade tomato sauce. I have never jumped on the spaghetti squash in place of pasta bandwagon but since pasta is on my list of foods I will miss most, I have to give it a shot.
So where do we go from here? For more blood work of course. Due to the storm today, I will go in tomorrow morning and hope that my HCG levels are below 10. If this is the case, I will start estrogen patches tomorrow and we will have our FET on February 25. If the numbers have not dropped enough I will go back on Monday and hope that they have in the extra 2 days. While I am glad to be onto our second IVF cycle, I am worried about what the problem could be. Were these 2 early losses merely luck of the draw? They implant then fizzle. Were these 2 just not quite perfect? Or is there a bigger problem? Is it my hormone levels? That we can probably fix. My biggest worry is that the problem lies within my eggs. What if whatever problem we had with the first two will carry on through all of my eggs? I have read that the increased level of testosterone in women with PCOS can damage egg quality. Unfortunately, genetic testing runs between 2,000 and 8,000 and we wouldn’t consider it for our already frozen embryos. That means that we have at least 2 more cycles that we will just have to pray, then wait and see. My nurse doesn’t seem overly worried about our first IVF loss. I will have to try to take their optimistic point of view. I honestly can say that I couldn’t have imagined the pain of multiple losses before I knew about my infertility. I also could never imagined the strength that I would find throughout this journey. This mindset that, no matter how much heartache we are faced with, I am willing to keep going, to risk that hurt again. And isn’t that the epitome of being a mother.