Things That are Starting IVF: Having Strength to Move Forward

Wednesday, February 24

The days following Embryo Transfer are known as the dreaded Two Week Wait (TWW), and you usually wait until your period starts or your hCG beta blood test. About 5 days (Friday) after Embryo Transfer I started getting period like cramps. I was scared to death and worried beyond belief, but there wasn't any bleeding associated with my cramps. I went to bed paranoid that I was going to start my period (because it was scheduled to come that weekend), praying that I would keep the embabies we transferred. The next day I was fine until the afternoon, and I soon started spotting. I messaged a friend and she said to call the on-call nurse. The nurse said that spotting and cramping are normal, and not to be concerned, but she wanted to stay updated on what was going on with me and to call back tomorrow.

I woke up the next morning to find red blood all over my underwear and pad. Chase and I were devastated we thought for sure that I had lost the babies, and that my period had come. I thought how could my body do this to me?! I was so upset. I called the nurse back and told her, she said that she bled a lot through one of her IVF cycles and thought the same thing. She said to call the clinic in the morning and see if they could get me in for an early test.

Chase and I both were upset enough that we asked for the day off. We relaxed, grieved and went to see a movie. I got a call back from my IVF coordinator and she wanted me to come in for a blood test in the morning.

Tuesday I went in to the clinic for an hCG beta test, and yes, I was still bleeding, not as much, but still enough to have to wear a pad. I got a call later that day from my IVF coordinator, she said my hCG levels were at 11.5 (anything higher than a 5 is considered pregnant), she also said that it's common to spot while on suppositories. My RE wanted to put me on progesterone in oil (PIO) shots in addition to the progesterone suppositories, and I would start the PIO shots the next day. The added progesterone was to help thicken my uterine lining, because I had lost a fair amount of blood.

I got a call from the pharmacy shortly after speaking to the clinic and had the PIO shots over nighted to me. Chase gave me his first ever shot in the behind the following day. He hesitated for what seemed like 5 minutes. He finally ended up doing it, after my butt twitched and stung. Thankfully we both survived. My butt ached all night, but I knew that would happen. I read up on the PIO shots and tips and tricks to help with before, during and after injection.

I had my original hCG beta test, and my numbers increased to 46! They quadrupled! Which definitely was a great sign. I was excited and told to be cautiously optimistic by our clinic. We told our parents and they all seemed excited. That weekend I went with some friends down to St. George, and my friend ended up giving me my PIO shots! Alli is pretty great!

 Warming my butt up, while warming the PIO

My next test was Monday morning, and my numbers went up to 132. I had to wait till Friday to get my next test. The week went by and I tried to stay positive. On Friday I got the call from our IVF coordinator, she said my hCG levels had gone down to 106. I called Chase in tears and he said he couldn't stay at work. We both were devastated, and both in tears. The clinic wanted me to go in the next morning for an additional beta test. We were out to lunch with my parents when we got the call, it had dropped 1 point going down to 105. They wanted me to come back in on Monday for another test.

 All weekend we tried to stay cautiously optimistic, and hope for the best. I started studying up on anything and everything that could give us hope, that maybe our numbers would increase again.

After work on Monday I got a call from the clinic and my hCG level had dropped to 38. I was told I wasn't pregnant anymore, and that I was having a miscarriage. I was told to stop all of my medications; which included baby aspirin, PIO and Progesterone Suppositories. I made it to roughly 6 weeks pregnant before miscarrying.

My coordinator told me I had a chemical pregnancy. I started researching chemical pregnancy with IVF and found this great article that helped explain that it had nothing to do with my body, but it had to do with the embryos being abnormal. I'm glad to know that I was able to at least get pregnant, even if it was only for a few weeks.

Because Chase and I believe in life after death, we know that we will be with our babies again, even if they were only with us for a few weeks, and let me tell you that they were so loved in those first few weeks. That was their test and trial, and now they are back in Heaven. It is so heartbreaking, we are so heartbroken, but I have been given strength through my friends and family (and many, many blessings) that we need to continue to move forward with faith, and that Heavenly Father loves us and will take care of us.

I cry every time I start thinking about what happened (like every time). I never thought I would have to experience any more pain and suffering after dealing with infertility. I thought that we would get pregnant on the first try. I never thought I would have to endure a miscarriage, or even tell people I miscarried.

Since this has been an emotional roller coaster the past few weeks, I have shared little to nothing about what has been going on, mainly because I didn't want to answer a lot of questions that I didn't know the answer to. I also couldn't bear sharing good news, and then the next minute share the bad news. We are not sure what the next step will be for us, but will continue to move forward in faith.
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Twitter: @runwinfertility
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Facebook: Running with Infertility

Things That Got Me Into Running

Thursday, February 18

Here's what got me into running and how it's pretty easy for anyone to get into running:

Chase and I ran our first 5k, I believe in 2009. We ran/walked the Lindon Days 5k. It seriously was SO hard, and I did not have the right clothes for it. I wore long sweat pants, a cotton shirt, and had ugly crew socks on (I didn't have any ankle socks), and I think I had actual running shoes. Probably the worst thing to wear in the middle of August. I'm not sure if I said I wouldn't do that again, I just thought it might be good for me to actually be able to run something at another time. We came in I think with a time of 45 minutes.

In 2011 I convinced my brother and sister to run with me for the next Lindon Days 5k. I had worked all summer long training for this race - we had really good trails around our house. I was doing really good, even had a 10 minute PR, from the previous race, and I came in at 35:50. But it was a hard course, downhill for the first 1.5 miles, then uphill for the last. I knew that was how it would be and I was mentally prepared for that. I had better clothes on; capris, ankle socks, I wore ascis, and a cotton/poly t-shirt, and of course my ipod with headphones.
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In my training that summer, I really learned how to run, and breath. Most people I have talked to who want to start running say they feel they can't breath. That is truth, but also it is from them not having any endurance, and you have to build that up over time. I started by teaching myself a breathing rhythm. Let me explain, as I was running I would take 4 breaths in with my steps that I took, and then exhaled the same amount over 4 steps. So breath in, 2, 3, 4, and out 2, 3, 4. I still use that method when I am doing speed workouts, and by trying to calm my body down into thinking that it's not going to die or suffocate.

I ran another race that October with my Brother-In-Law, and I got faster again... It was cold and I wore a headband and gloves (and both came off about a mile into the race), capris, a long sleeve shirt and a cotton shirt over my long sleeve shirt. I came in with a time of 33:42.
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That next spring (2012), I ran with a new friend for the first ever Elevate 5k. My new friend, Alli, decided she was going to do a race a month for a whole year. Since she started in March, and I started in April, I thought it would be fun to do it with her. We ran that whole year, training with each other and running races. Shortly after Thanksgiving she found out she was pregnant, and ended up not finishing her goal, but I kept going.

I on the other hand was not pregnant (unfortunately - a big unfortunately) and signed up for my first half marathon for the following January, and found out a friend from Vegas was running it too, and met a few more friends from Vegas.

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 I finished running a whole year of races in April with running the same Elevate 5k and even convinced Chase to run it!

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I'm pretty sure anyone can sign up and run a race. There are a lot of couch to 5k programs, and Chase actually did one to get him up to start running, and now he's still able to run with me after several years of going back and forth with running.

I would encourage anyone and everyone to train and complete a race (5k, 10k, half marathon or even a full marathon). It may seem daunting, and you may be scared and say "well, what if I can't make the cut off time?" or "what if I injure myself?" Most programs only require you to run/walk for 30-45 minutes. Can you give up one indulgence for that long? I promise you, you can get a lot done when you aren't on the computer/ on your phone/ on social media/ playing video games.

Running has become such a big part of my life, as well as exercising, and strength training. I have learned a lot about my body and how to take care of it to keep injuries from arising. Even though I don't have big running goals this year (I already completed them at the beginning of January) I will still run when I can and possibly train for another half or full marathon - no promises though! If I do start running again my main focus will be on speed. Running has helped me overcome and deal with those hard days that are associated with infertility as well as other struggles that I go through.

I would love to help you any way that I can with questions or training tips and/or tricks. I'm still learning how to get faster - I'm slow if you couldn't tell from my Race PR's. Though I am not a certified running coach or a medical professional, I have learned a little bit on how to take care of my body and know my limitations. My limitations will be different from yours so please be cautious.
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Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
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Twitter: @runwinfertility
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Facebook: Running with Infertility

Things that are Starting IVF: Embryo Transfer

Monday, February 15

The wait from Friday to Sunday wasn't too bad. I tried to get a lot of cleaning done at home so I didn't have to do it the following week and that I could just take it easy.

I was wanting to attend church but Chase was worried that our embryo's would be affected if I went and had all those smells around me. Not sure if it helped at all but we at least tried.

Since our appointment wasn't until 2:30 I just laid around all day, trying not to do too much.

I had to take my endometrim suppositories, Valium, and Tylenol with me to my appointment. My bladder needed to be semi full for the procedure.

I took the Valium at 2:30, and we didn't get back to see our RE till about 3:30 - I guess they had an emergency come up so it pushed our appointment back. I felt pretty loopy by 3:30, and wasn't feeling 100%.

At this point waiting for 30-40 minutes, and I had to use the bathroom. My bladder was overly full. The nurse came out and I asked if I could go, and she said only 4-5 Mississippi's. That was so hard to do because I wanted it all out of my bladder. About 15 minutes later my RE comes out to get me, and I tell him I have to go really bad, again... So he checks my bladder out on the ultrasound and sees that it's overly full. He told me again to go count to 3-4 Mississippi's, I did 5, oops. I also walked out in the hall and distinctly remember telling my RE "I don't need to wear this (my little cover for when they actually do transfer), they've all seen everything anyways." He kindly said maybe they don't want to see it all. Oh dear, I'm surprised Chase didn't get that on camera.

Once my bladder feels a bit better, I lay back down on the bed, and he tells us the results of our embryos. Out of the 4 from day 3, only 2 made it. Of those 2 one was graded good, and the other graded fair, because of those results, he said we would have a 60% chance of getting pregnant (30% from one and 30% from the other). Since I have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR, my egg quality and count are a lot lower than what they should be for my age) he felt that would bring on the best success for me. 

 Next the nurse came in and puts the gel on my tummy for the ultrasound, and he gets me ready for the transfer (speculum, and catheter in). Surprisingly I didn't feel a thing! I said, "Woah! You're in my uterus?" Next thing I know the embryologist comes in with the 2 embryos, and gives them to my RE. At this point he goes a little further in with the catheter, all while seeing them on the screen, and then you see 2 white dots on the screen. I did cramp for a second while he was trying to get them more snug in my uterus. I mentioned that to him and he didn't get them in as far. They didn't want me to cramp, and wanted everything in my uterus to be calm and quite as opposed to getting an IUI done.

After he got the catheter, and speculum out they printed some pictures for us. We just stayed in the room and cried tears of joy, that we were able to get this far, and actually become officially pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO). It felt so good to be able to say that I was pregnant.

My clinic has what are called "Princess Days" for the 2 days following transfer where I am to not do anything for myself, everyone is supposed to do everything for me. It was nice not having to do the dishes for a few days. I had my friend Alli come stay with me for a few hours during the day. I was seriously wishing I had had more to do while sitting.

My beta was scheduled for February 4. I had up and down moments during that two week wait - even though it wasn't a full 2 week wait. I think everyone has those moments when waiting to see if your little embabies actually decided to implant or not.

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Facebook: Running with Infertility

Things that are Starting IVF: Egg Retrieval

Wednesday, February 3

After we triggered ovulation on Sunday night at 10 p.m. on the dot. The clinic gave me a list of things I had to do before my retrieval appointment.

First time ever seeing a positive pregnancy test - too bad it was only the hCG trigger shot

- Call the office with results for the urine pregnancy test (they want to make sure that the hCG trigger shot worked) on Monday.
- Chase was to take Ciprofloxacin (antibiotic) Monday.
- Vinegar and water douche before bed Monday night.
- Vinegar and water douche before going to my appointment.
- We had to be there 30 minutes early.

So I couldn't eat or drink anything after 2 a.m., I couldn't wear contacts, no make up, no perfume and no lotions before the procedure. The eggs are sensitive to all the smelly stuff.

When I got to the appointment my stomach was growling, and I was SO thirsty. I forgot to mention that the whole week that I was on fertility drugs, I was drinking almost 120 ounces of water a day. Seriously, who needs THAT much water? and I still felt partially dehydrated with that much too! So I was a little worried that I wouldn't do well with the anesthesia because I had an empty stomach.

The anesthesiologist brought me back, I used the restroom for the last time, and I changed into a gown. Once dressed he got my all hooked up with the IV, and even numbed the area before putting the IV in. He did it so easily, and am actually surprised he got a vain since I hadn't had any water since before 10pm the night before. Once I had the IV in I felt a cold sensation go up my arm, it wasn't painful, thankfully, but I did start feeling loopy. Chase was escorted out of the room, and my RE, and his assistant came in. I remember talking to them about my socks (I had bought Iron Man socks - and Chase wore his that he has), while the anesthesiologist put an oxygen mask on my face, and that's the last thing I remember...

I woke up about 40 minutes later and the anesthesiologist is taking my mask off, he got my things and took them to another room, and then came back for me and helped me walk to that other room. He got a heating pad for me and put that on my belly, and got me a blanket, then went to go get Chase. Maybe I was just a little out of it, but he was an awesome anesthesiologist. Our RE came in and said how many eggs he was able to retrieve, which was 8; and told me he's 90% sure I have endometriosis based on where my uterus was, and it being all twisted and turned. I asked him about the cyst that I had on my ovary and he said he was able to drain it, and that it was about 2cm big.

We went home, and I ate breakfast, and went to take a nap, which only lasted a short time due to a very full bladder. I stayed awake after that and just relaxed and made sure I had plenty of Tylenol in me. A friend offered to bring us dinner, which was nice to not have to cook.

It wasn't until the next few days where I wasn't feeling 100%. I was sluggish at work and just felt overall crappy. I made sure I was drinking plenty of fluids (like 120 ounces a day), which included electrolytes, and protein to stave off Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). OHSS causes your ovaries to become swollen and painful, and can cause rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, and a few other symptoms, and can potentially put a women in the hospital if left untreated. I finally felt better by Sunday.

The following day, which happened to be a Wednesday, we got the fertilization report from the embryologist. She said that out of the 8, 6 were mature, and 4 fertilized. So we only had 4 to work with. Chase and I made an effort to pray hard that they made it to day 5.

It felt like the longest wait from Wednesday to Friday, and then I hadn't heard anything at lunchtime so I called. I was so impatient and had all this energy built up inside of me from the anxiety, my boss told me to go "walk" around the building. I didn't walk entirely around the building, but I did walk to one end and ended up running back (shh, don't tell), and surprisingly enough it helped a lot. I waited about an hour before my IVF coordinator called me with the results. She said all 4 were still growing, I had 2 at 6 cells, 1 at 8 cell, and 1 at 9 cell. I was so relieved that we still had 4 embroys (or embabies as I like to call them) that we could work with and hopefully have 2 to freeze. They don't grade the embryos till day 5 so I don't remember what they were. She told me when embryo transfer would be, Sunday at 2:30.
The beautiful sunrise on Friday morning

It was during the wait from Friday to Sunday (when our transfer was scheduled), that I had this weird feeling like I had babies, but I couldn't take the babies home with me. I felt like I was a mom to these embabies, and I seriously teared up because I couldn't be with them. Maybe it was all the fertility drugs making me emotional? I'm still not sure.
Other places you can find me:
Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
Pinterest: Running with Infertility
Twitter: @runwinfertility
Bloglovin': Running with Infertility
Facebook: Running with Infertility