February means FET!

It’s here! The month we will transfer baby Frost (our frozen embryo) 😍.

I went for my first blood work & ultrasound on Valentine’s Day πŸ’(funny enough) and there were a few follicles growing with the largest being 0.9mm. Now the goal is to watch for a dominant follicle to grow and reach 1.8mm in size and watch for a LH surge indicating ovulation or potential for ovulation. Then plan is to take Ovidrel to trigger and ensure ovulation does happen when ready.

Currently my LH was 13 on Thursday which the nurse said is high but my hormone levels seem to always sit on the elevated side. Because of this ovulation predictor kits may be unreliable and we need to rely entirely on the ultrasounds and watching for a spike in my LH levels. I’m hoping my elevated levels won’t lead to any issues with preparation for transfer.

I go back again tomorrow morning to re-check bloodwork and see how that dominant follicle is growing. Then plan will be to continue going down to Toronto daily until the RE feels I am ready to trigger ovulation.

We have chosen with the doctor to do a natural FET. What that means is we aren’t going to use any hormones leading up to the ovulation shot to see if less stress on the system works better in our favour. Because I have always had fairly regular cycles, good estrogen levels and no concern with my uterine lining thickness there was no concern with trying a less medicated route (and since I have always been on such high doses of hormones it is a welcomed change).

The plan then after trigger is to start progesterone twice daily for 6 days and on the 6th day they will thaw our frostie and embryo transfer will happen that day. Our embryo was a day 6 embryo meaning it was grown for 6 days and then frozen. The embryo once thawed is transferred at the same stage of growth that it would have been if natural conception had happened during this cycle in utero. The goal is to trick my body into thinking that when I ovulated I got pregnant so that my body will support this embryo. Progesterone which is important in sustaining a pregnancy then continues twice daily for up to week 10 of pregnancy or until a negative beta (pregnancy) test.

Now statistics show 10-20% of frozen ❄ embryos do not survive the thawing process. This is really scary as that means 1 in 5 embryos don’t make it. That’s a pretty high statistic but we need to continue to hope and believe ours will beat the odds πŸ™.

Will keep you all updated as we get closer to transfer date.

February is the month of Love, and there’s a whole lot of love to go around so we are feeling this month is meant to be the month for baby Frost πŸ’™πŸπŸ€ž

#ABabyfortheBaloghs #FET #babyfrost

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Hysteroscopy Update

Well hysteroscopy is done and everything looked clear & good. Uterus is nice and open, fallopian tubes are open, no abnormalities seen and nothing to be concerned about.

Absolutely NOT what I wanted to hear…I was really hoping she would find a problem to explain why none of our embies stick.

Picture: Top left is uterine lining, top right/bottom left are the openings into each fallopian tube and bottom right is visualizing opening into uterus

I know this is good & I should be happy and I am in a sense but more so I’m frustrated and feel like we waited 6 weeks to know nothing more than we knew then. I really NEEDED some answers. Something.

My Dr recommends we go ahead next cycle with FET (frozen embryo transfer) with our Grade 3CB frostie (baby Frost as Mike has now named him – he also believes it’s a boy). Then we can go from there. Laparoscopic diagnostic surgery was mentioned but she wants to proceed with FET before any next steps then go from there if we need too.

So bring on FET in February! Let’s make a baby! β„πŸ‘ΆπŸ¦„

Trying to stay optimistic & positive…its getting harder each time. Want to protect my heart from more pain & heartache.

#ivf #fet #infertility #ivfjourney #pregnancy #ttc #hysteroscopy #frostie #embryo #embryotransfer #infertilityawareness #infertilitysucks #ABabyfortheBaloghs #miraclescanhappen #nextsteps #tryingtostaypositive

Infertility: The Silent Illness

Angry. Mad. Shamed. Misunderstood. Complicated. Sad. Heartbroken. Confused. Terrified. Broken. Empty…

These are just a few of the choice adjectives I would use to describe how a person battling infertility may feel at any given time during their battle and journey.

Although you may look at them and think “she/he looks alright I don’t see anything physically wrong” you must understand the mental and emotional warfare that goes on inside.

You may wonder why we aren’t going to social gatherings like we used too, why we don’t seem as happy and joyful as we once were, why we aren’t at work and are taking time off, or you may wonder why you see me out at the grocery store or out to dinner with my spouse but not in the hallways at work or at social gatherings. Why can she/he do that but not this??

This is because WE are surviving infertility in any way that we can. Doing whatever we can that day to get through it and hopefully find some joy and happiness in that day. And that is absolutely okay. Whatever way you can improve your mental health is always the right way.

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without children? I have and it is scary. I wonder to myself who will visit when my husband and I are old and grey. Not only will we never be parents, but we will not get to experience the joy of being Grandparents either. This breaks my heart to think about. What if something happens to my spouse…I will be all alone. Who will take care of us when we are unable to do this for ourselves? When our parents are no longer with us, what family will we have if we don’t have kids? We have siblings, nephews and neices but what if they move away? The list continues…

These are just some of the questions that burn in my mind on a daily basis and fill me with stress and anxiety. The struggle is hard and the fear is very real and hard to get past.

For some they want to keep themselves so busy so they don’t have to think about their recent losses or heartaches whereas others such as myself find it hard to focus on anything but just that. It’s like a cloudiness comes over your mind and you can’t focus or think straight anymore. A dark cloud grabs you and hugs you so tightly you worry will you ever get away from it. Will it consume you entirely that the only part left of you is infertility. Will this define me/us for the rest of my life…

The logical answer is no because I know I am a complex human being who is so much more than someone struggling to begin her family. But the fight and daily battle is real. When you want something so natural and by human nature something my body was designed to do but just can’t seem to obtain…it does consume your life and your mind. No matter how hard you try to forget.

Every month begins another cycle that starts with hope and ends with saddness, thus far. For a lucky few of us the tides change and finally one month that cycle ends with joy and elation only to start another journey of fear and worry of “will this pregnancy be viable and will it last?”. People who aren’t infertile don’t realize that the fear and worry doesn’t end for most when they finally see those two pink lines. I know this as I talk to many of these women daily and hear their struggles and new fears and I know this will be me too if I’m fortunate enough to get there.

As time goes on and with each year that passes during your battle to overcome infertility, these worries and emotions only get magnified and worsen. The fear this may never happen creeps and makes itself known. It whispers in your ear making sure you do not forget its presence like a plague. It wants you to remember your pain.

And like every woman or man going through this we rise up like warriors in battle to defeat that voice in our heads and we continue on. We do not give up. We will not let this beat us. Sometimes we win but sometimes we don’t. And that is okay because that is real life. It is hard for all of us. We all have hardships in our lives and even if you cannot relate to infertility, I know you can relate to pain and heartache.

So I ask that you be patient with your loved one while they are on this journey. I ask that you not judge them for their failures and celebrate them for their triumphs even if they seem small to you. I assure you it will mean the world to that person to feel supported. No one expects you to understand our experience but we do expect our friends and family to love us through it and be supportive. If support means not saying anything because you don’t know the right thing to say then that is okay too.

But please don’t ask us why we can’t come out or why we cannot work or why we don’t seem as happy as we once were. And I am speaking from personal experience with this because it is hurtful and makes us feel like we are being judged and not supported. It makes me feel isolated. It makes me feel worse. It makes me sad.

The best thing anyone can do is just say, “I am here for you” and mean it.

β™‘β™‘β™‘

Goodbye 2018…

I have been reading everyone’s new years posts & goals and have had a hard time thinking about the “good” things of 2018 because I feel they are overshadowed by the sadness & heartbreak we’ve experienced. I honestly am glad to say goodbye to 2018. I want a fresh start.
In 2018 we experienced:
2 failed IUI
3 egg retrievals
Lost 4 embryos with 3 fresh transfers
Have 1 frostie awaiting FET this year πŸ™
Genetic testing
42 ultrasounds & 39+ blood draws
Approximately 189 injections
A lot of progesterone suppositories
Sooo many trips to downtown Toronto
Thousands of dollars spent
Another Christmas without baby (#5 to be exact)
And.So.much.waiting.
Heartache & disappointments πŸ’”
Grief of the losses of who could have been our children. πŸ’›
4 years of infertility is a lot!

BUT through all that we are still standing, still hopeful, and I am loved. For this I am truly grateful. For my husband & my kitty who make me a family of 3 in our own special way. Together we can survive and we must.

2018 taught me I am STRONG, PATIENT, VULNERABLE & a WARRIOR. πŸ’ͺ
I’ve put myself out there & shared our story- the good and the ugly. And I’ve helped others and for that I am happy & proud. If one woman or man can feel less alone or feel relatable than I can smile.

My goal for 2019 is to continue the converations to try to bring openess and awareness to infertility. Lets end the stigma together!
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So hello 2019! This WILL be our year. I’m putting it out to the universe so it shall happen. We will have our miracle. Our frostie will become our miracle baby. Its going to happen. It must…I don’t know what else to do if it doesn’t….

Honestly it’s getting really hard to keep positive & keep going.
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For all my TTC sisters & their partners, May 2019 be your year. May it be our year of unicorns, sunshine & rainbows. Let the storm pass and the sun shine bright! πŸ¦„β˜€οΈπŸŒˆβ„ May all your hopes & dreams come true. Continue to lift each other up in times of need. Xo
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And to everyone Happy New Year and much love & blessings to all. πŸ’œβ€
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#infertility #ttctribe #infertilityawareness #infertilitysucks #diminishedovarianreserve #lowamh #ttccommunity #ivf #ivfjourney #ivfwarrior #fet #embryo #pregnancy #eggretrieval #embryotransfer #frostie #newyear #miracle #mother #grief #loss #happynewyear

What’s Next…

Where are we now…well, we were lucky that our Doctor was able to get us in the next afternoon after we found out we had lost our 2 embies.

She was disappointed for us but did feel that the cycle was still successful as we got one frozen embryo, which has never happened in previous cycles. She said our success rate of fertilization was 100% which is promising but still had significant delay in our embryo development past day 3. She also said I was on the slower end of follicle growth & stimulation from the hormones.

I was having very bad pain & passed some tissue (all ok now) & she was concerned so she recommended we have a hysteroscopy done before proceeding with our frozen embryo transfer [FET]. This was alarming and upsetting as this delays things longer now but of course we want to make sure everything is good. Because of the holiday closure next week we unfortunately have to wait until late January to have this scope done 😞.

This procedure is necessary before going ahead to ensure no issue with uterus as to why either the embryos aren’t implanting (attaching to uterine wall) or we are losing them very early on. If a uterine biopsy is thought to be needed then we will have this done. This procedure also will act as an endometrial scratch which is when you intentionally injure the uterus to force white blood cells to come to repair the uterus. This is thought, when done prior to embryo transfer, to increase blood supply and possibly help with implantation. I’m at the point- why not consider anything & everything.

If everything looks good after hysteroscopy then we will proceed with FET with my next cycle which should be around mid-February. We have decided to go with our doctors recommendation to do a natural FET which means tracking my natural cycle (less medication and no additional estrogen) with blood work & ultrasounds. This means several trips back down to Toronto in the thick of winter. The doctor will be watching for the 1 follicle to grow and release an egg. I will then take Ovidrel just to ensure ovulation has occurred followed by 5 days of progesterone to trick my body to think that the egg it just released has been fertilized. Then on day 6 after ovulation our little frostie would be transferred into the uterus where it should begin to hatch and implant πŸ™β€β„. Progesterone suppositories would be continued until pregnancy and likely thereafter to support lining and help prevent miscarriage. We have always done progesterone with each cycle to date.

So with Christmas once again approaching & another year coming to an end…all I can think is how I cannot believe we are going into a other year still doing this. Still enduring IVF, still yearning for a baby, still praying for our miracle. I can’t say I’m sorry to leave 2018 in the past- it has been one heck of a year. There’s been good moments but there also has been tremendous heartache for both Mike & I. Please let 2019 be the year dreams are made of.

It has to be…this must work.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays with your loved ones. Hold them tight. Snuggle in real close. And to any of you struggling like we are or having a hard time this holiday season, please know you are not alone. Xo

Fairen & Mike β™‘β™‘

Game Over: Another IVF Failure

I don’t have much to say right now…we lost our two beautiful embies. No Christmas miracle…our 5th Christmas since trying to conceive without good news.

I am starting to not believe this will ever work. I don’t know how to console my husband and myself. We are both heartbroken. Another holiday ruined. Why am I so broken? I feel so many things right now…

Waiting on call when we can meet with doctor to find out about transferring our 1 frozen embie. Our frostie. I will update when I know more.

I want to go back to last night…where this couple was happy, hopeful & optimistic. They didn’t realize their dreams would end so suddenly…😭

We appreciate everyone’s prayers and positive thoughts throughout.

Thank you.

Day 6: The Little Embie that Could!

Good news folks- we have ONE FROZEN EMBRYO & we are so pleased. We have never had any embryos to freeze in past cycles so this is such good news!πŸŽ‰

So of the five embryos they were watching: four made it to day 6 but the other three were behind in development and not considered ‘good quality’.

Only one little embie was frozen today that made it to full blastocyst and was starting to expand before being frozen. It was considered a grade 3CB embryo which means it made it to full blast and the cells that form the baby and the placenta could be seen. The embryologist told me it was of good quality which is all that really matters.

Funny thing is remember in my last blog post how I said there were five embryos remaining and two were delayed at day 3 being only 4 & 5 cells when expected is between 6-10…well our little embie that became our frostie was actually that 5 cell embryo that was not expected to survive. It started off slow but ended up surpassing all the rest! This goes to show never count those out who start off slower or expected to lose- they could be your little engine that could (or in our case little embie that could!) πŸ’ͺ❀

The yellow arrow below indicates whereabouts our frostie was in development when frozen ❄.

Below is a table that my clinic provided to me that shows how a typical good quality embryo should develop (for your knowledge & interest).

So, now those two embies they transferred to me on day 3 should be at the stage of hatching and will begin to implant (hopefully) within the next few days πŸ€žπŸ™πŸ’›.

Mike & I have been trying to keep our minds occupied best we can. The hardest part is the waiting and not knowing. We won tickets to go to the GLOW Barrie and spent a few hours there last night enjoying & having some much needed time together.

Now the long wait. Hope will have good news to share in the next few weeks. But no matter what happens we have had a positive experience at this new clinic and we are very happy we chose to try there for lucky number three. The results show progress in positive ways and I can only be thankful for that and continue to hope. Xo

#ABabyfortheBaloghs #littleembiethatcould #luckynumber3