Faith · infertility · IVF

Riding the Coaster

So much has happened in the last 72 hours I can barely keep it all straight.  I’m certainly riding the roller coaster of life, complete with ups, downs, twists, turns, and dark and scary tunnels.

And I’m still on it.  

Going back a few days, in typical Megan fashion, I decided I would not be able to wait until Thursday to find out if I was “still pregnant” so I took matters into my own hands.  I continued to test.  Now, using home pregnancy tests is in no way “scientific” – I mean, you get a line.  Sure, the line can be darker, or lighter, but there are so many variables involved.  Did you hold your urine for the same amount of time each day?  Did you use FMU (first morning urine) or “later in the day pee?”  While I used EXACTLY the same type of tests, they were from two different boxes with two different expiration dates.  How about the fact that lines get darker throughout the day so comparing isn’t REALLY even fair given that fact?

Variables.  

Regardless, I tried my darnedest to reduce the variables as much as possible, and got the following:

(Aren’t you glad you read this blog today!? You get to look at PEE STICKS!!!!)

Monday Morning: (This is an earlier picture than the one from the Monday Blog.  And because my wedding ring is in the shop, we used this mystery ring that was found in my late Grandpa’s home after his death.  Rings are used for these pictures in order to gather focus and help cameras detect faint lines.)

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Tuesday Morning:  (Clearly getting darker – Oh Happy Day!)

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Wednesday Morning: (Getting lighter.  It’s over.  Just end already.  I don’t want to be attached.  I just need this to end. – Side Note: I accidentally changed two variables:  1) Only “held” for like 2.25 hours instead of the usual 4+.  2) New box with new expiration date.  Regardless…. depressed.)

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Thursday Morning: (Praise Jesus, that line is TOTALLY darker! Let’s get down there and get my blood drawn!  July 23rd, here we come!)

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So I picked up my mom and we drove down to Gurnee. Blood drawn.  Back to work (in record time, too. There was like NO ONE at the clinic this morning.  WIN!)

My first phone call came at 2:00pm.  Deena, my personally assigned nurse, called and told me that my HCG was 121.  (HOT DAMN!  Excuse my language, but HOT DAMN!!!!), but the doctor had some questions for me about if I was taking my estrogen pills as I had been instructed.  I told her I was, and that I had never missed a dosage at all.  There are no set times for these pills, just “morning, lunch, bedtime” so I may have been a little variant from time to time, but I had 100% taken all needed pills.  I asked for further information and she said she would tell me when she called me back.  She needed to relay this with Dr. S.

“Call you soon.”

Well if that’s not a kick in the ovaries.

I waited by my phone anxiously while my kids were in library today.  PERFECT TIMING.

But the phone call (of course) did not come until I had just gotten down the stairs to help Miss Melissa bring up our PM crew as library ended.  2:45pm.  (This time is important for later in the story).  Of course, Miss Melissa is a rockstar and knew this phone call was coming, so I quickly motioned to her and ran back up towards our classroom to find any quiet location to quickly take Deena’s call (while Melissa got the kids back for the last 20 minutes of Free Choice Play time).

My estrogen was dropping.  Or at least it had dropped.  From something like 134 on Monday, it was now 84.  (Estrogen is only supposed to go up when you are pregnant).  I immediately thought, well this is over, isn’t it.  But then Deena, lovely Deena, explained what was really going on.

There are two main ways to trigger a woman for Egg Retrieval (which seems so long ago now).

1) Using HCG injection

2) Using Lupron injection

Due to my high antral follicle count (borderline PCOS, remember?) I was given Lupron to use as my trigger.  Lupron tends to be a little less effective overall for egg maturity, but will GREATLY reduce one’s rick of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) in women like me.  OHSS, is pretty much the pits, severe vomiting, hospitalization (for DAYS), etc.  In fact, during our transfer, Dr. S. even stated that I would have certainly had OHSS had I triggered with HCG.

Lupron, while lovely in reducing OHSS, also stops one’s ovaries from emitting estrogen and progesterone for some time.  If you do a fresh cycle and get pregnant, a pregnancy will not be maintained without proper artificial hormone support and monitoring.  Estorgen and Progesterone pills, or shots.

Four days after my transfer, my estrogen pills were “upped” due to low numbers.  According to Deena, my body was not metabolizing the pills correctly (not entirely common, but not extremely rare either) so they wanted to quickly add the use of estrogen patches.

“We are going to send in an order for estrogen patches for you to the pharmacy.  They will be overnighted to you.  However, can you come to the clinic before we close at 4:00pm to pick up some for tonight?  It would be great if you could put them on ASAP, by like 4:30pm.”

Cue Freak Out.

I’m so thankful for the staff at Red Apple.  While I only had 30 minutes left with the kids for the day, Miss Melissa, administration, and secretarial staff all made it extremely easy for me to just GO GO GO.  I even got a hug or two along the way.  Which I needed.  Desperately.

Was it a good idea for me to be open about my IVF? 

YES.  In this moment, 100% YES. 

I feel kinda bad, I did break down for just a minute on the phone (in my classroom) as I called our secretary, Miss Andy, to tell her I needed to leave ASAP.  One of my sweet, sweet, boys saw me and asked if I was okay.  I kind of laughed and cried and said, “Yes, sweetie, Mrs. Seager just needs to go get some patches, like a pirate! I’m just so happy I get to play Halloween with it, even though Halloween is over!!   He asked if I could get him a patch, too.  And I just about died of laughter.  (There were humorous parts to this day, and I’m telling you, hand of God!)

As much as this day has been crazy, and I’m still 100% in the waiting game (more on that in a bit) I cannot help but think about Pastor Gehne’s sermon from last week.  It was fun, we played a little bit of “Family Feud” in church (You should really come check out Trinity Lutheran if you don’t have a home church… great, great pastors!!).  Previously, Pastor had placed a survey into the bulletins asking parishioners to list the top three attributes they think of when they think of “God.

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Survey SAYS…….!!!!!

As you can see, the top eight results from the survey were projected with associated tallies.

While pastor Gehne spoke a bit about each one, I was particularly cued in to one in particular.

Omniscient  (All Knowing).

Note that the root word for “science” is included.   God is all knowing.  And that’s because HE is the DESIGNER.  The top SCIENTIST.

Interestingly enough, later in the sermon Pastor focused on one attribute in particular.  While it did not make the top ten, it was noted by two congregants.

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Creator.  

There is nothing easy about this roller coaster ride I am on.  I actually hate roller coasters.  So it stinks to be stuck on one.  However, thinking about the SCIENCE behind all of this is something that bolsters my faith more than almost anything else.

I mean, this could not just happen.  (I’m not trying to start an argument… so please don’t turn this into one!).  But seriously?  Could all of this…. with SO MUCH involved…. just happen by happenstance?  We as humans, scientists with some of the pieces, have figured out SO MUCH about the science of human procreation.  DNA, chromosomal abnormalities, ICSI fertilization, embryo testing, hormone levels and how they interact with other perviously taken medications… The list goes on and on.  However, we still don’t know it all.  Given the perfect embryo, chromosomally-tested to the max, a woman is STILL only given a 65% success rate.  We as humans know SO MUCH.  Science has advanced to incredible levels.  But we still don’t know the entire process.  We are not, Omniscient.  Will we know more someday?  I’m sure!  But all of it?  I highly doubt it.  A chunk of this remains in God’s hands.  50% in my case (and 35% had we done PGS testing).

The miracle that is human life is a beacon of God’s presence, existence, and power.  No, IVF does not work for everyone.  Sometimes babies get cancer and die.  There are strong negatives to this, and many situations (medical, or otherwise) in life.  But the miracle of when it goes RIGHT, is something to hold tight as a reminder.   Our God is Omniscient.  What’s more, he is Omnipotent (all powerful).

So I’m still on the ride.  I’ve got three silly looking estrogen patches stuck across my stomach which will hopefully allow for my estrogen to soar back to a “pregnancy sustaining level.”   Once again, I wait for blood work on Monday.

I asked Deena if the title “Cautiously Optimistic” could be lifted yet.  Sadly, she said,

“No.”

She stated that the low starting HCG levels are a concern, and while HCG is rising (and that’s something to be VERY happy about) the dreaded “Cautiously Optimistic” title should be held until the first ultrasound.

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My HCG levels in comparison to the norm.  (I love the internet)

At the earliest, the day after Thanksgiving.  To be scheduled after blood work on Monday.

So many other things to write about.   But this blog is already too long.  And I’m feeling relieved, as usual when I write, to just get this cry out and put it to bed for the night.

I think I’ll watch last night’s Survivor now.

 

Strength for today… and bright hope… for someday. 

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