More grateful than ever

Dear friends and family,

We don’t want to delay the news any longer. We ARE pregnant! 17 beautiful weeks  pregnant.

After we took some time to heal from our previous loss in June, Nick and I decided to move forward and transfered our last frozen embryo in mid-August. It was our last hope before going on a long hiatus from our trying to conceive journey…

And the hope became a reality! We had some dreadful weeks at the beginning of the pregnancy waiting to see the fetal pole, expecting to hear the heartbeat, hoping to graduate from the fertility clinic. Having the bad memories of our last miscarriages constantly over our heads.

I think it wasn’t until our first appointment with a regular OB GYN, that I started believing that I had a “chance” at this. That I could be like any other regular woman being seen by a regular OB because I was having a regular pregnancy. She took me off all the meds — I was taking a few as a preventive measure given the miscarriages history– and she reassured me how perfect my baby and I were. That day I breathed. We both did. And from that moment on we started cherising this little miracle that I’m carrying inside.

This Thanksgiving we are more grateful than ever. For our future daughter, but also for the journey that is leading us to her. Because infertility has brought us closer together; has made us more resilient; has strengthened our relationships with friends and family; has given us the opportunity to meet new people who have helped in many different ways -from doctors to other couples fighting similar battles. Because it has taught us to never take anything for granted and what a miracle and a blessing bringing life into this world is.

Looking forward to keep sharing this journey with all of you.

With love and gratitude,

Nick and Carolina

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Baby Green at 13w2days

 

 

 

3 broken hearts

I woke up this morning and before I opened my eyes I prayed for yesterday to be a bad dream. I prayed to wake up again on the last day of May to a different day and a different outcome. But I looked at my phone and there it was: June 1st. I wasn’t ready to accept that life didn’t stop for us. That our pain after our appointment yesterday wasn’t big enough to stall the month of June. But there it was the sun rising and entering through the window, Lenard meowing for his breakfast, the calendar’s reminder about the painters coming to the new house… And then, before I had time for a second prayer, Nick’s alarm went off. His eyes desperately looking for mine trying to check that I was fine or maybe hoping for a smile that would make him also believe that yesterday was just a bad dream…

But it wasn’t.

On Monday night we went to bed both excited and nervous, but more than anything happy for what Tuesday was supposed to bring. Our first FET resulted in a pregnancy that according to the blood tests was progressing very great. Now it was the time to see things in the ultrasound, measure the embryo and hear the heartbeat. According to an app that I downloaded the minute my pregnancy was confirmed, our baby was about to transition in size from a sweet pea to a blueberry. Then the ultrasound showed that it never even made it to a sweet pea. Our baby stopped growing somewhere around half of week 5. Today I would have reached my week 7.

Doctor was as puzzled as we were. On one hand, he couldn’t explain why I hadn’t had any bleeding or pain given the fact that the embryo was already detached from the uterus and blood could be seen around the sac. On the other, he was feeling–like us– very optimistic since the embryo was chromosomally normal and my beta numbers came very strong from the beginning, so he couldn’t understand a priori what went wrong. What he knew for sure is that the pregnancy wasn’t viable and that it needed to be removed as soon as possible in order to avoid an infection.

He was extremely sensitive and gave Nick and I a lot of time to process the information and grieve by ourselves in the examination room. I would be forever grateful to him and his team for that. He also decided to start testing for other possible reasons for the miscarriage, and ordered a bunch of blood tests (exactly 15 tubes) to see how my inmune system is responding to all of this. I will see him again tomorrow for a D&C, a procedure intended to remove any dead tissue and blood from the uterus that will be painless since they will put me under.

At least physically painless, because the emotional pain that Nick and I have been having since yesterday it’s hard to anesthetize. Tuesday was supposed to be such a happy day for us, and we left the clinic with an appointment for a D&C and 3 broken hearts. Our hopes are also starting to crumble since it seems that with every bridge we cross, a new problem arises. And we are afraid that at some point we will run out of answers. But for now, I don’t even want to think about the following steps. Now I need to mourn the loss of my baby, and take care of my husband and myself.

I am aware that many women have been through a miscarriage at some point in their lives –many through more than one– so I recognize that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that this is just a lost battle, not a lost war. I just need time to adapt to my new reality, to adjust my expectations and to find ways to not let this define me in terms of failure. I know that I did, and we did, everything we could and that the final outcome wasn’t under my control anymore.

Still I ask my baby-boy every minute of my day to forgive me for not being able to take care of him, and I know he will. I know that someday I will reunite with my angel baby and he will tell me why it wasn’t the right time yet to meet mom and dad. And it will be ok. And we will be ok.

Our dear baby Green, whatever your spirit is right now, know that you were very loved from the beginning, not only by mom and dad, but also by your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends who knew of your existence. You will be forever in our hearts as the first one who made us feel like parents.

Forever grateful,

Carolina and Nick

Fingers and toes crossed!

Dear all,

We had our embryo transfer yesterday and it went great! The procedure was painless and Nick and I were together in the OR through the whole thing. Before setting me up on the table, they brought an incubator where we could see the embryo under the microscope. It was already so perfect!! Doctor confirmed that it was hatching (leaving the outer shell) and that all its cells  were multiplying accordingly. It was very hard to contain my tears when at the end of the procedure he said: “Baby is home!”.

Since yesterday Nick and I have been daydreaming about the possibility of this working for real. We have good chances, but it’s not a sure thing. There are other factors besides having a healthy embryo that determine whether a pregnancy continues or not; the problem is that those factors are normally discovered on a trial and error basis.

But for now, we are celebrating this huge milestone and continue to be positive and hopeful until the next one: a positive pregnancy test. That won’t happen until the end of next week, and either way we would probably like to savor or digest the news before sharing them. So, if you don’t hear from us be patient and know that as soon as we are ready we’ll be celebrating with you. 🙂

Thanks again for all the support. You guys are amazing!

Much love,

Carolina

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…

Hello friends,

It has been a while since my last post, but it took me some time to recover from our last fiasco and to learn how to trust my body again. I find it very hard to face a negative outcome after expressing hope and a positive disposition. There is a part of me who tells me to be cautious, to always think on the worst case escenarios, to be ready for tragedy; because that way, the disappointment won’t caught me off guard and the pain will be more manageable. It’s true that with low expectations come fewer disappointments, but it is also fair to say that behind fear there is always opportunity. If we don’t face the fear, we will never know what’s at the other end.

So today I’ve decided to be vulnerable again and share with you the news that our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) will be scheduled to take place on Monday, May 2nd. Do you know if is possible to hold one’s breath for a week? Because that’s exactly how I feel right now. It’s been so hard to get to this point that I’m afraid to do, eat, drink or say anything that will deflate the dream.

We started meds on April 9 and added the daily shots on April 11. By day 8 of shots –almost double the amount of what it worked for me in previous cycles– there wasn’t any progress. Like I wasn’t taken anything. No follicles growing, and an almost non- existent endometrium. That day I cried at the doctor’s table before he was even done with the scan and I told him that I wanted to drop the cycle. He said that he would add some estrogen patches and asked me to wait a couple more days. I got a free consultation and free meds that day, so pretty much what you need to make up an infertile woman’s mind. Trust me, at this point in our journey when the bills are becoming astronomical I would donate my eyelashes to get a free item. 🙂

15 shots and 8 visits later (yes, I see my RE more often than I see my husband), my lining decided to cooperate and made it to 7.2mm. I’ve read in a bunch of forums that the ideal thickness for a successful transfer is between 8 and 14mm, so not being totally there concerns me. My doctor, however, thinks that in comparison to my uterus -which is petite like the rest of my body- the lining looks great and its pattern is even better. Yes, folks. Your endometrium has an optimal pattern for implantation that it’s called a tri-laminar appearance (if you are curious to see how this looks, click here. No viewer discretion advised).

The plan now is to go back tomorrow to check estrogen and progesterone levels, and start progesterone supplementation tomorrow. FET then will take place on the 6th day after progesterone is started. I don’t know yet what type of progesterone they are going to give me, but there is one in oil that has to be injected intramuscularly in the butt. Yikes! With this option, your partner is instructed to massage the area vigorously in order to avoid knots, so at least I’ll get a free massage every night from the hubby. Not bad at all!

Anyways, I hope to come back next Monday or Tuesday with good news about the procedure. Nick and I have decided to keep the gender and number of embryos transferred a secret from family and friends until and if pregnancy is confirmed. So at least something will come as a surprise!!

Thank you all for your constant support (from cards to texts, and get togethers). Your love is a constant reminder of how lucky we are already being surrounded by so many fond and deep relationships.

Xoxo,

Carolina

 

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Starting over

Hello folks,

I am not having a good day. Despite the electo-stim acupuncture, the additional medication and all my big hopes and positive thoughts, my lining decided not to cooperate and it got stuck measuring 6.5mm. Dr. said that given the fact that we have seen it growing up to 9mm in the past, that he doesn’t want to compromise the transfer -though there are women that carry healthy pregnancies with a lining that it’s only that thick.

We are now going to induce a period by taking another medication (I swear I see my pharmacist more often than I see my husband), and start over with a new protocol. We have two options: keep trying with estrogen, but instead of patches using intramuscular injections in my butt (yikes!); or do another stimulated cycle -since we know my lining gets thick when making eggs-, retrieve and freeze more embryos for storage.

The idea of going through another IVF cycle again doesn’t appeal to me at all. Also, if I get overstimulated again we would have to wait to make the transfer and we would lose the chance of using my thick lining that cycle -which will bring us back to where we are right now. But the alternative, just the estrogen, might not work either and I would have gone through a cycle for nothing: no transfer no embryos for storage. We have a call with the Dr. tomorrow, so I’m sure that Mr. Harvard will be able to pick Dr. Ringler’s brain and run some set of probabilities as to which route is more efficient (in terms of money, time, and my well-being).

For me today is hard for a number of reasons. First, because I hoped with all my heart that I’d be ready, so the disappointment hurts like a kick in my gut. Second, because I can’t help but playing on repeat the thought of how broken, how defective, and what a failure I am. First, my egg quality; now my lining. How can some women get pregnant by accident or in their first try and I’m having so much trouble despite the amount of time, effort, money and heart -all my heart- that I’m putting into? I do everything I read in every single blog about infertility: acupuncture, long walks, high fat diet, raspberry leaf tea, meditation, Coq10, prenatal vitamins, etc, etc, etc. So then, why is it not happening?  Why if I want it so much? Why couldn’t be enough to dream about it, to be ready for it, to love it with all my heart?

It’s been more than a year of treatment after treatment, and today I feel like I deserve to have a break; to make progress without having to leave the skin on the road. But “feeling like it” it’s not going to make it happen. The same way that “acting on it” won’t make it either. And that is the hardest part. The lack of control. The fact that despite the efforts that I make, it’s not up to me to become a mom…

Today, not only my body aches…

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no sugar coating. #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike

Set back :(

Hello friends,

Yesterday’s appointment didn’t go as well as I planned. My lining didn’t grow since Tuesday and we can’t proceed with the transfer if it doesn’t get where is supposed to. Doctor prescribed some pills to help with blood circulation and ask me to come back on Monday. There is 50% chance that we would have to start over with a new cycle.

It’s a bummer but we can compromise the transfer if the conditions are not optimal. My acupunturist has been doing his magic yesterday and today, and he is confident that I’ll be ready by Monday. I hope so too! Otherwise, we will not only have to face another month-wait but also all the meds, appointments, and labs that we paid for during this cycle will be wasted.

Trying to remain hopeful and optimist! I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Love,

Carolina

FET scheduled for Wednesday

Dear all,

We met with the Doctor yesterday for an ultrasound. My linning is getting close to where is supposed to be: between 8 and 12mm -thick enough to sustain implantation. We up the dose of estrogen patches to 4 (my belly looks like a stamp booklet), and I’ll go in again on Friday to confirm that I’m ready to start with progesterone. The FET (Frozen Embryo Trasnfer) needs to take place on the 6th day of progesterone supplementation, so our tentative date is Wednesday.

Doctor said that he was a little bit surprised about the low number of normal embryos but that it’s still within normal parameters. He told us about two 20 something years old egg donors who did their cycles last month and didn’t get a single normal embryo (how great not to feel like an outcast!).When we asked him about what are the things that we can be doing to improve egg quality, he didn’t say much  other than recommending a supplement that I’m already taking: Co10q. Also, when asked about doing another round of IVF now to storage more eggs for our future babies, he said that it won’t make a difference to do it now versus in a couple of years. So dear eggs, can you please stay young and healthy a little bit longer?? Apparently, there is a lot of variability between cycles, so the fact that we only got 2 this time doesn’t mean that it will be a pattern for future ones.

So now, the only thing left to decide is how many and in case of doing it one at a time, what gender. We are considering all the options and I appreciate the input that I have received from friends and family (Nicole you were right on point with your comment). However, we are going to keep it a surprise until pregnancy is confirmed (fingers crossed). So no questions allowed!!

Ahh.. I can’t believe we are getting so close to the final stage of the cycle. We are so ready for this!! Please, Wednesday come here as fast as you can.

Love to all,

Carolina