Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hank Bumps Video

So I realized that I NEVER shared this with you guys!! I can't believe I forgot! I came across it the other day to share with a friend so I wanted to put it on here as well. My brother in law, Tyler, put this together for me last Summer! Casey wanted me to take a picture every day when I was pregnant with Hank, if I'm remembering correctly, I started the pictures around 8 weeks or so. The last picture was taken at 39w5d as I was sent to hospital in the afternoon on 39w6d and had him at 40w.

PS Pay close attention to 20 weeks in ;)


8 week update

Soooo, this pregnancy I have been SUPER nauseous!! It's definitely a big change from when I was pregnant with Hank. It's occurring on and off all day long! I'm starting to get used to it though, it started when I was around 4 weeks along!

We announced our pregnancy this week, so that was exciting! I couldn't believe it that the Facebook video had over 4K views! (here's the original post) Insane!! I appreciate everyones thoughts, prayers and support!!

My "bump" is growing SUPER fast. I know they say you show sooner with each subsequent pregnancy, but holy moly! I couldn't hide this baby if I tried haha!! My ovaries are still very swollen but fluid seems to be going down so that's good! Lots of growing going on. I'm feeling it in my uterus and lots of round ligament pain too. Which is normal, it happened super early with me for Hank as well!

Below are some pictures and our flipagram announcement video :D

PS -- in case you haven't "heard" we are NOT finding out the sex of the baby until birth :D

Our Flipagram Announcement video

6 weeks pregnant

7 weeks pregnant

7w1d ultrasound -- released from Buffalo IVF. HB 134 BPM

Due in October :D 7w1d here

8 weeks pregnant

8w1d ultrasound -- 1st OB appointment. HB 174 BPM.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


So, it sure has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks!!

Let me back track a little bit. Following the embryo transfer, my OHSS symptoms got stronger (as expected). My ovaries were VERY sore and I was quite bloated. Thankfully the symptoms were very mild!!

Saturday (February 14th), I got a wonderful message from my cycle buddy that was a pregnancy test with a very faint positive!! Of course they got darker each day, it sure was making me want to test, even though I said I wouldn't and I would wait for the beta (blood pregnancy test). On Monday, my ovaries started aching again. Dr. Griffin said OHSS symptoms would come back when the HCG hit my system again. So I took that as a VERY good sign that I was pregnant.

Well, Tuesday morning (February 17th) I was anxious all morning and decided to run to Rite Aid on my lunch break to pickup some pregnancy tests. I was still debating whether I would use them or not. Well of course as soon as I got home. I ripped open a test, read the instructions (haha) and peed and waited what felt like forever!! I saw that 2nd line come up and got so excited. So excited that I wrote on the test wrong. It should say 8dp5dt which means 8 days past 5 day transfer (I switched the p and the d haha). I immediately called Casey and was so glad he answered!! He was excited but couldn't believe I gave in and tested. I never tested with my previous two pregnancies, I always waited for beta. I was so sure I was pregnant though, so I had to do it! Haha! So of course I had to continue testing the following two days, it was so awesome watching it get darker each day. I can't even describe how much more gratification I got out of these tests than I did a beta number haha! And the reason I never tested before was because I've only ever gotten negatives on pregnancy tests, so I literally hated them!! Something came over me!! Haha!!

Anyways, beta was on Friday February 20th and came in at 248, which is great! It was higher than it was with Hank and a day earlier. I had follow up blood work on Tuesday February 24th and that came in at 1169, which is awesome! It should double every 48-72 hours so it more than did this. They scheduled my first ultrasound for Thursday February 26th.

On Wednesday February 25th I took my first bump picture. Because of the OHSS, my ovaries are very swollen which contributes a lot to my "bump" haha!

The first ultrasound showed exactly what we thought it would. One perfect look gestational sac! The doctor thinks he can kind of see a yolk sac in there too but it's a little too early to really see that. The gestational sac is the little black hole in the middle of the picture. Down in the bottom right and bottom left of the picture shows all the free standing fluid. My ovaries are filled with fluid as is the area surrounding my uterus. This is very normal for OHSS. This fluid will start going down over the coming weeks. There is no harm to the baby, just causes discomfort for me. I couldn't hide this bump if I wanted to from all this fluid haha!! 

So on Thursday night we decided we would send Hank to dinner at the hotel in his new big brother tee shirt so we could announce the pregnancy. I handed Hank to Mary to take off Hank's jacket (in hopes she would read his shirt), of course she sat him right down haha!! Casey and I just kept staring at each other wondering when she would notice!! Finally after 10 minutes or so, we couldn't take it anymore. Casey leans over to his Dad and says, "Tell Mary to read Hank's shirt!" So Bob yelled over to Mary and she finally did and started crying and freaked out!! It was so much fun finally being able to do a fun announcement like this as most people didn't know we were doing IVF again. 

I sent the picture below to our close friends and family that weren't at the hotel to announce the pregnancy. Of course everyone was super excited, as are we!! 

Thank you everyone for all the thoughts and prayers during the process, we really appreciate them!! We would appreciate them to be continued over the next 8 months as well. Official due date is October 28, 2015 :)

PS -- This still is not Facebook Official so please no sharing on there! :D

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Embryo Transfer

After much convincing from Dr. Griffin we transferred one embryo that's in quote "pristine condition." It's rated an AB, he explained what that means, but I can't re-explain it haha. Dr Griffin said they rarely rank them this high. It's even beginning to hatch, which is so cool. We have two more that are a little behind this, and 2 more a little behind those 2. I was super nervous about transferring 1, but all 3 RE's agreed it was the best thing to do for my body if we were transferring fresh, they still would've preferred freezing and transferring at a later date. I still had quite a bit going on in my ovaries and some fluid as well. So we'll see how I feel the next couple days. Lining looked good thankfully. 

I was so worried that we would transfer only 1 embryo & have none freeze & I'd feel like I didn't give 1 more a fighting chance. It was a battle I was having with myself since before we made the final decision until I talked to Dr. Griffin again...I am so happy to report that we have 3 snowbabies waiting for us for future use. Plus they have an approximate 98% thaw rate which is simply amazing. I feel so much better now that I know we have 3 frozen embryos, we're so blessed to have them. I can breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief now :D So now we wait...

My lucky tee :) Dr Griffin and the nurse got a kick out of it!

Our absolutely gorgeous embryo ❤️❤️


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Egg Retrieval and Update

So, egg retrieval was Wednesday morning. The weather called for 4-8 inches of snow, so we left nice & early. Thankfully we didn't get the snow they were calling for, so we got to the office early. I had to be there at 7:30 am. I got back to the IVF area and got my IV in (which went in wonderfully by the way!). They took be back for ER just after 8 am I believe. I don't remember much after the anesthesiologist turned on the drugs to put me under. The next thing I remember is IVF nurse Kathy telling me they got 21 eggs! Holy crap, 21 eggs. I couldn't even believe it. No wonder I've had such a full feeling! The most eggs I ever got was 11 eggs and that was with Hank's retrieval. When retrieval was over, Dr. Griffin talked to Casey to tell him what they got and that we would decide later whether we're going to shot for a fresh or a frozen transfer. The earliest we would transfer though would be day 5 which is Monday. I wore a t-shirt made by a friend to the ER. And the other picture is me after I was allowed to eat something haha!! Overall I was pretty achy yesterday which is normal after ER. I rested up a lot and took advantage of the pain meds :) 

So today I'm feeling much better. A little sore here & there, but not much bloating which is definitely nice!! Out of the 21 eggs retrieved, we had 13 fertilize and 9 are normal and growing good. The doctors think I should do a frozen transfer but are letting me be a part of the decision making process based on how I'm feeling. They're treating the embryos the same right now whether we transfer fresh or frozen. I'll hear from the doctors again tomorrow to see how I'm feeling and how the embryos are doing. The only problem they said is OHSS many times won't even kick in until a week after transfer. And that my lining might not be ideal right now because my E2 was so high. So I don't really know what we'll end up doing at this point. Either way, I'm feeling hopeful that we'll have embryos to freeze. At this point I still want to do a fresh transfer. I don't know, it's hard. I'm ready to just move forward. Apparently OHSS can get worse with pregnancy, but I might not even get it at all. My lining looked great on Monday at my last appointment, I'm unsure what it was yesterday or if they even measured yesterday. It's the what-if that's the hardest for me. I don't know what to expect at all. I got a BFP on both fresh cycles I've done and never had any make it to freeze, I think that doesn't help with how I'm feeling. I certainly wouldn't lie to them on how I'm feeling and I really want to take it day by day. I'm super anxious to hear from the doctor tomorrow and talk to them some more. I've heard many success stories of transferring fresh with this many eggs retrieved, so it gives me a lot of hope! :) So please continue thinking of us over the next few days and weeks to come :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Night Before ER and Update

Woah, so it's been a crazy couple of days. So my last update was as of Saturday. On Sunday I had blood work and ultrasound. Below is the top 5 follicles on each side, growing nicely. On Sunday afternoon Dr Crickard called me to tell me that my E2 was very high at 5,800 and that we would most likely have to freeze the embryos and transfer at a later date. I was heartbroken. The reason is because I'm now at risk of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) which can become very dangerous and apparently it can sometimes get worse after the embryos are transferred. OHSS doesn't happen until after ER so we'll see how I'm feeling in a couple days, the unexpected definitely makes me nervous. I might or I might not end up with OHSS, who knows how my body will respond to this as I didn't have this issue with Hank. I was told to stop the Follistim & LH and only do the Lupron shot that night, and to come back on Monday morning.

Of course, on Superbowl Sunday night (Woo Patriots!!!) it started snowing like crazy and they were calling for a foot of snow over night. So Casey made the call that he would be driving me up to Buffalo & Hank would be accompanying us. We hit the road for Buffalo at 5:30 am, it was AWFUL. The roads were absolute crap and of course there were tons of idiots on the road. We finally made it at 6:45 am. It normally takes us like 50-55 minutes to get up there, so it was definitely a slow drive. Thankfully my ultrasound showed that I was ready to trigger. Below is a picture of one of my ovaries, the other one looks very similar. As you can see, I have a lot going on. I got a call in the afternoon that my E2 levels have now risen over 7,000 (we were hoping they would go down a little with the decrease of the drugs) but unfortunately not. I did my Ovidrel trigger shot last night at 8 pm.

So egg retrieval is tomorrow morning. We have to be there at 7:30 am, for 8 am retrieval. I took my doxycycline (antibiotic) tonight, and cannot eat/drink after midnight. We're planning to leave right around 6 am because wouldn't you know, we're expecting another 4-8 inches of snow overnight tonight. We got so lucky with our trips up to Buffalo last week with the weather, of course it's hitting us now. Thankfully Casey is a lot more comfortable driving in the bad weather than I am.

I'm very anxious to say the least as I really don't know what to expect. Yes, I've been through ER two other times, but it's still very nerve-wracking and I really have no idea what to expect from my eggs. No idea how many we'll end up getting and how good they'll be, etc. I don't know when I'll know for sure if it's a frozen cycle or not. It makes me so nervous because I've never had any embryos make it to freeze. But they do always transfer the best embryos, so who knows, maybe Hank would have frozen if we didn't transfer him. I know the doctors will do what is in my best interest though, so we'll see what happens! I am praying we can do a fresh transfer this cycle, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Please think good thoughts and for lots of good quality eggs that turn into some awesome embryos!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Week of January 26th

Monday - Had bloodwork, instructed to keep meds the same

Wednesday - Had bloodwork & ultrasound. Ultrasound showed 8-10 follicles on each side in the 8-11mm range. Below is a picture of the ones measured on my right ovary. And an idea of what these follicles measure. Meds stayed the same.

Right ovary measurements
A good visual for size 

My right arm has had enough!

Friday - more blood work and ultrasound. Below shows the 5 biggest follicles on each ovary. He measured close to 10 on each side. Definitely lots going on which explains all the pressure and soreness I'm feeling!! They're getting bigger, we're in the 9-15mm range now. Decreased Follistim, other meds stayed the same.

Saturday - Bloodwork only. My little buddy accompanied me this morning! Follistim was decreased a little more. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Baseline Ultrasound and Start of Stims

Each step in the IVF process makes it feel more and more real, it's crazy. Time is flying!! I have a hard time saying I'm in an IVF cycle, I don't really know why!! But I'm knee deep in an IVF cycle now! Haha!

On Monday (1/19), on my day off I might add (Haha), I had my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork. I was so happy that Dr. Sullivan was doing the scan, he's been there since the very beginning, so I just love when I get him. He did the ultrasound and I have at least 10 "sleeping follicles" on both sides. We clearly saw a ton on the right ovary. Left ovary was in hiding so we couldn't see the whole thing but seeing 1/2 the ovary we saw at least 5, so safe to assume there's at least 10 on that side as well. This is a good thing, it means we have a lot to work with. But because of my PCOS, I have to be watched closer because we really don't want overstimulation! He predicted we'd get at least 10 follicles though by the time we're said & done. We want quality over quantity, but it would be super awesome to transfer a couple and have a couple freeze, I won't get my hopes up though!! All it takes is one good embryo :) Bloodwork came back fine too, which means we're ready to start stims! Yay!!

I got AF on Tuesday, hoping that's the last one for a LONG time!! Then tonight I started my stims (FSH) to grow my follicles and LH, as well as continued on with the Lupron. So that's right, 3 shots each night. With Hank I stimmed for 12 days. I would like it to be a little shorter, but I'll do whatever it takes. So my first bloodwork check is on Monday (1/26) and we'll take it from there. Dr. Sullivan predicted I'll be heading up on Wednesday and Friday (or maybe Saturday) at least for this following week. I can't wait to start seeing these follicles growing!!

So something I haven't mentioned before, I have a friend that's going through the same IVF cycle that I am. It's nice having someone know exactly what you're going through. I feel like it's fate for us. What are the chances that we'd both be doing this at the same exact time. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the both of us :) So please keep us both in your thoughts and prayers, we would all greatly appreciate it!!

Here's my "kit" for each night -- Follistim pen/cartridge, LH, Lupron, syringes & alcohol swab

Here we are, all ready to go!!

I survived 3 shots in one night with only minimal bleeding!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Woah, This feels REAL!!

Woah, giving the first shot of the cycle really makes things feel real, we're doing this!!! I had my first shot tonight. First time I've given myself a shot since August, 2012!! It's been awhile! Started out with Lupron. I guess it is like riding a bike, it was a piece of cake!!

Some other updates: Lupron ended up arriving on Friday, which I was really surprised about because we got quite a bit of snow and the Thruway was closed for awhile!! So I was a little nervous about the medicine arriving. Ovidrel was supposed to arrive on Saturday. UPS says they knocked twice, Casey & I and the dogs were all here, so I really don't think they must've knocked very loud. Thankfully I was allowed to sign the slip for them to leave it today. So I officially have all of my medicine. And Casey finally did his blood work tonight!! Hank & I went with him to keep him company and drive him home since it makes him light headed. He said he had a really good tech so that was nice!!

Then, 8 pm tonight I did my first shot! I'll be doing this shot every night until 2 days before egg retrieval. Video cut short because my phone ran out of space, oops!! Hank even says hi in the beginning, he was "helping" me haha!!

** maybe one of these days I'll remember to turn my phone the other way haha oops **

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Box #1 of Fun

I received my first box of meds today!!!!! Every day something new happens, it gets even more real that we're about do to IVF again!!

I'll start with yesterday's "excitement" though first. I received a phone call from my IVF nurse that Lupron is no longer covered by my insurance, but she was unsure why as it's always been covered by the Empire Plan. I of course called up the pharmacy & my insurance and was passed around to probably 10 different people, who knew it would be so hard to figure out why that drug wasn't covered. It turns out that as of 1/1/15 (go figure), Empire is no longer covering Lupron for infertility reasons. Why you ask? I don't know!! The only thing I can figure is because Lupron isn't originally intended for infertility, so I'm wondering if they're considering it an experimental drug, which isn't covered. It's intended use is for prostate cancer, some hormone issues in pre-teens, and for the treatment of endometriosis. So I got a price quote from Freedom (see last post) and I can get it for $149 out of pocket. Sucks, but oh well. So my OOP price just went up to $300; I really cannot complain though for the amount of meds I'm getting!!

Anyways, so in today's box #1 of fun, I got the drug that is going to do the magic, Follistim!! I've always responded very well to this drug, so I'm really hoping that's the case this time as well. I also got doxycycline (which I despise because it makes me sick) which is an antibiotic, this is taken the night before my egg retrieval (ER) if I'm remembering correctly; medrol which is a steroid that I take for 4 days after ER; and Endometrin which is a progesterone suppository to help the embryo(s) stick! I'll be receiving Lupron on Friday (which I start on Monday) and Ovidrel on Saturday (that one I have to sign for, so had to make sure it was delivered on a day I would be around). So excited to get started!!

I decided to video opening it for the heck of it, I even had a little helper :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Beyond Blessed

So to start off this post I figured I'd do a little update. I talked to insurance this morning and they said the infertility authorization is actually a 5 year authorization, so I'm covered until 2016. It would've been nice for them to tell me that on Friday so I wouldn't have been freaking out!! Oh well. Still so thankful they cover IVF. Because of my prior insurance, buffalo IVF gave me their fee schedule. The prices were $3,000 for the IVF procedure, about $1,000 for ultrasounds and $450 for bloodwork. PLUS all the medications which they don't include because the prices can vary. And on to even more of why I'm so blessed.

Since my insurance is all figured out, I was able to get my meds ordered. As they listed off all the meds I'm taking, it's bringing me back, holy moly it's a lot of different medications. At the end they tell me that my copay is $85 (I'll have one more small one as well but it's insignificant). This is where I realize even more how incredibly blessed I am. I decided to look up the prices of the meds if I had to pay for them out of pocket (most women do unfortunately, don't get me started on that!). I was shocked to say the least. See below 😳 I'm just so so grateful I have the opportunity to do IVF again and pay a very small fraction of the price. Yes, I'll put over 1,000 miles on my car in the next month (thank goodness gas prices are down), but I'll do that any day for my miracle babies. I know this is a lot of money to those that don't get it covered, but even if it wasn't I would do IVF. It's given me a perfect miracle and I would be doing it again to give him a sibling because he is worth it. So anyways, that's the point of this post. Every single day I have so many reasons to be thankful, this is a big one over the next couple months! Plus of course Hank, isn't he seriously the cutest?! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mock Transfer, SHG, and More

Soooooo, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! {{Please read until the end, specifically the final paragraph}}

I called Empire Plan (my new insurance) to activate my infertility coverage yesterday, and they were closed, CRAP :( I didn't even think about the holiday. So I figured I'd call this morning when they opened on the way to Buffalo IVF for my appointment. Called them and their systems were down, REALLY?! So I called back as I pulled into the parking lot, they looked up my benefits and said my coverage ended August 2013 (that's when we switched to Casey's insurance), I told them I submitted my paperwork for the insurance to kick back in on January 1st. They informed me that they hadn't received anything from my benefits office, I was FREAKING OUT!!

Went into my appointment and informed billing that I was trying to work out insurance and haven't received new cards yet, so hopefully everything will be okay there. Fast forward a couple hours, talked to benefits office and since the option transfer period was until 1/16/15, she was still processing the applications. They sent my insurance application into insurance at 10 am. I called back to Empire and they see that the info was sent but it doesn't show up under benefits until 24 hours later, and of course they're closed over the weekend. So I know what I'll be doing first thing Monday morning. This was the LAST thing I wanted to be stressing over this morning. The regular insurance coverage is retro-active to 1/1/15 but with the infertility coverage, I have to personally call to activate that, and of course couldn't do that without the insurance. So I'm really hoping they'll cover today's appointment. Benefits think they will since I obviously took the necessary steps, but it's still stressful. My hormones are on overdrive and this of course set me over the edge today.

But, let's talk about good stuff. My appointment! Dr. Griffin did my mock embryo transfer and saline sonohysterogram (SHG). First he did the mock transfer, where they insert a catheter completely into my uterus to make sure it's a good environment for an embryo to live. They use an ultrasound to view the catheter and see everything that's going on. He even touched the back of my uterus just to make sure there were no obstacles. He was very happy with what he saw. He said my uterus looked "text book" and a perfect environment for a embryo, very great news! Pregnancy can change things which is why they wanted to do this again. Then he did the SHG where they do a transvaginal ultrasound and basically squirt a bunch of saline in to make sure the uterine lining looks good, make sure there are no cysts, or abnormalities, etc. Again, everything looked great here, YAY! I also learned that when I come in for my monitoring appointments I'll be seeing Dr. Sullivan in January and Dr. Griffin in February. I've worked with Dr. Sullivan since March 2011, he's my main doctor and we've put a lot of trust into him, he's an amazing Doctor so I'm glad I'll be able to work with him during some of my process. Dr. Griffin came into the practice as they released me when I was pregnant, so I've only met him a couple times, but he was really nice today and I'm looking forward to working with him as well.

Finally, I know this is a public blog, but if you are reading this, please no sharing on Facebook or social media sites or even face-to-face. We're wanting to keep this round of IVF a little more private and to ourselves. I've shared this blog with my IVF and mama groups. But anyone else that is reading this, it's because you've come here on your own. People wonder why I would publicly blog if I wanted this kept quiet, it's because it helps me a TON to blog about the process. It's VERY therapeutic for me. Plus, I don't want to forget anything. So please respect our privacy. I would love for everyone to continue reading and follow our process. We appreciate any prayers and support we can get. You will get all necessary updates here as well. So refer to this blog for questions :D Thanks again for respecting us!