Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Blessings, Worries, and Fear

Well, we are almost there. We are about 48 hours from finding out whether or not we are pregnant or not.  The first week of waiting was actually pretty good.  I stayed busy enough that time seemed to go by much faster than I feel like it did in our other 10 fertility attempts where we had a 2 week wait.  I felt very confident, calm, and at peace with everything.  When we got the news the day after our transfer that they were able to freeze 4 more eggs on day 6, bringing us to a total of 10, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness and gratitude to God.  During that first week I found myself moved to tears several times thinking and reflecting on how blessed we truly are.  I never would have thought I would feel blessed after dealing with infertility for over 2 years, but I do.

  • First, we are blessed that we live in a time where medical science has advanced so much and the technology of infertility treatments have become so specialized and advanced.   
  • Second, we are UNBELIEVABLY fortunate that with our insurance we do have some good infertility coverage.  We were absolutely blown away in October when we learned that our insurance was going to cover a significant amount of the cost of IVF. This is almost unheard of but because I worked at Vanderbilt and have had such great insurance, Vanderbilt had recently decided to offer some IVF coverage.  
  • Third, we have so much amazing support from our family and friends during this process.  There are truly too many people to name that have loved us and prayed over us during this process but especially our families have been incredible. 
  •  Fourth, we are so blessed that I responded as well as I did to the stimulation medication and that they were able to retrieve so many eggs.  
  • Fifth, we are blessed that so many fertilized and developed normally and that we have so many beautiful healthy embryos frozen in the case that this round didn't work.  Over the course of that first week, I found several blogs written by girls who struggle with infertility.  While I've followed a few girls the past several months, I started reading 2 or 3 blogs of girls that I had never seen or read before. Reading these blogs really hit home with me how blessed ( I refuse to say that we are "lucky"...I don't believe luck has anything to do with it) we are that we were so unbelievably successful during the stimulation, retrieval, and the development of our embryos.  These girls are having to make decisions about using surrogates, donor eggs, or giving up on their dream of a biological child all together.  While I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone and especially IVF, I am so grateful for so many things that we have experienced because of our infertility.

These last few days have been more difficult. Time seems to be going by at a snails pace.  Minutes pass by like hours.  At first I felt that while of course we would be disappointed if we do get a negative this round, that we are so blessed with so many frozen embryos that we have so many chances for success and that it will happen at the perfect time and with the perfect embryo and I took so much comfort in the fact that this is all in God's hands.  I still feel confident that this is all in God's hands, but I am more worried about how I am going to handle it emotionally if we do get a negative.  These last couple days, the sense of peace and calm has been replace with a lot of worry and anxiety.   I've laid awake at night thinking about hearing the words, "I'm sorry, but you're prefect embryo and transfer didn't work and you are not pregnant."  I hadn't thought a whole lot about where I wanted to be or anything when I get that phone call, but the other day my mom told me that she didn't want me to be alone on Friday afternoon.   At first I thought that she was worrying too much and being overprotective, but the more I thought about it and the more that the worry and fear have been building up, I realized she's right. For me, it probably is best that I'm not alone in the event that it is a negative.  Some of you might be thinking, ''what about Harrison?'' Well, he is days away from finishing and finalizing all the minute details of the home build he has been managing since August.  They are handing over the keys to the owners on Friday afternoon, so he has to be there.  While there are many negatives and downfalls of infertility, one of the ones that bothers me the most is that you wait on pins and needles for a phone call to find out if its a positive or negative. Because your spouse, family, and those closest to you know what you are going through, there really is no way to surprise people or to have that moment when you tell someone in a fun or playful way and completely shock them.  We won't get to have one of those fun YouTube videos of the reactions of our families.  Of course it will still be so exciting, but our families and close friends are just anxious as we are to find out the results and will be waiting for a phone call from us just as we wait for a phone call from the doctor.

With all the worry and fear that I have felt the past few days, I am trying to prepare myself and my heart for either result. While our IVF cycle really couldn't have gone any better, even in the most perfect of circumstances and with the most perfect embryo, sometime it just doesn't work and I know that.  Its hard to prepare yourself for such a huge event, not knowing whether it will be one of the happiest and best days of our lives, or the alternative....that it could be one of the hardest, most difficult, and disappointing days of our lives.  After our final attempt using injectable medications and IUI failed in July and my surgery revealed very little in September, we knew that we would be facing IVF if we wanted to have a child. I took it incredibly hard.  I was angry, at myself and at God, frustrated, sad, devastated, depressed, guilt ridden, and just felt lost in the darkness.  I fear feeling this way all over again. I worry about my heart becoming hardened to those who want to help me and love me, but my coping mechanism is to shut down and shut everyone else out.  I can only hope and pray that if we do receive negative results, that my heart will remain open to those around me and that I won't push people away.  I hope I can find comfort knowing that God is bigger than all of this and that he already knows the outcome.  He already knows which embryo(s) will become our child(children).  He already knows when they will be born.  He already knows their name and the number of hairs on their head.

Like I said in my last post, either way it will take some time for me to announce the results on the blog.  I can't thank you all enough for reading and following our journey and for all the prayers, love, and support.  All of your encouragement, comments, Facebook messages, emails, and text messages mean so so much to me.  Thank you for walking with us on this difficult journey.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Embryo Transfer and Playing the Waiting Game

    After our egg retrieval and learning that my estradiol level was over 10,000, I had pretty much convinced myself that they weren't going to allow us to proceed with an embryo transfer.  I braced myself for the worst.  I was weighing myself 2 or 3 times a day, drinking TONS of gatorade to stay hydrated and replace electrolytes, and just waiting for hyperstimulation to set in.  Well Monday came around and while I did have some weight gain, some mild nausea, and a general feeling of just not feeling great,  I wasn't showing signs of severe hyperstimlation so they wanted us to come to Nashville with the intent of doing the transfer, but said that if they examined me or if I started feeling worse then they wouldn't proceed.  Monday night I was pretty emotional and to say I was anxious and nervous is an total understatement.  Mentally, I had prepared myself for a freeze all and not being able to transfer. I think I was trying to guard and protect myself from the heartbreak and disappointment I knew I would feel if our transfer was cancelled.  So finding out all of a sudden that we were going to be able to transfer, I just wasn't prepared and all the anxiety that would have been building up over the course of a few days hit me all at once and I was very overwhelmed.  Was I ready for this?  I hadn't received an embryo update since the vague one on Saturday.  How were our embryos developing?  Is this going to work?  How am I going to get through the waiting period?  If it doesn't work, will we have embryos to freeze?  Will I have to go through ALL of this again?  My mind was reeling.  The night before the retrieval I was so worried and anxious that I only slept about 2 hours, so to avoid that happening again I decided to take some Tylenol PM in hopes that I could get some decent rest and not be up all night driving myself crazy with questions and what ifs.

We left Knoxville at around 8 AM and got to the clinic in Nashville by 9:45. They examined me and felt comfortable going ahead with the transfer.  After getting prepped, signing some forms, and Harrison changing into scrubs, I took a Valium and we were off to the procedure room.  I'm so glad that Harrison got to be in the room with me and hold my hand.  I was awake, although loopy, during
the procedure and it was over very quickly.  I was able to watch on the ultrasound machine as they delicately placed our precious embryo right in the middle of my uterine lining.  I was wheeled back to my room, snoozed a little bit, and had to lay flat with my feet elevated for about an hour before we were discharged to go home.  We were given a beautiful picture of our little embryo, which was graded an A..the best there is.
Our beautiful, healthy embryo (Day 5)
They were able to freeze 6 embryos on day 5 (Tuesday) and an additional 4 on day 6 (Wednesday) for a total of 10.  The 10 frozen embryos are either grade A or grade B embryos. That means we had 8 embryos that either did not develop, stopping developing at some point, or developed abnormally and therefore are considered not viable.  We are extremely blessed that we had such great success with this part of the process.  Because of the high number of good embryos we had to freeze and our age (still fairly young fertility wise), and a few other factors, we only transferred one embryo.  Now some of you are probably thinking, "why not 2 or 3 to increase the chance of success?"  Well, the more that is studied  and learned about infertility, IVF, success rates, etc., there is a lot of research to suggest that transferring more than one doesn't increase your chance of success that  just increases the chance of multiples.  Again, you might be thinking "2 for the price of 1!"  Well again, all the possible complications of multiple births such as prematurity, lung disease, extended NICU hospital stays, long term health problems, etc., it doesn't necessarily pay off.  And of course being a NICU nurse and knowing all the problems that can come from prematurity, I would never want to put my babies or myself at risk.  Because we are young and have several embryos frozen means that if the outcome of this cycle isn't what we hope for, we will have several chances of doing a frozen embryo transfer and achieving success.  Nashville Fertility Center bases their success rates on a "take home baby," not just a pregnancy.

Physically, I'm feeling just ok.  Still retaining some fluid and feeling bloated so elastic, stretchy pants are still the most comfortable.  I have noticed some food aversions...well a lot actually.  Not much sounds good to me right now and the things that do are really random (Hamburger Helper, orange juice, coconut greek yogurt!?!) The human body is a mysterious thing.  I can't help but wonder what's going on in there.  In case you're wondering here is what is going on over the next few days: 

5-Day Transfer

Days Past
Transfer (DPT)
Embryo Development
OneThe blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell
TwoThe blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus
ThreeThe blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation
FourImplantation continues
FiveImplantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop
SixHuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream
SevenFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
EightFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
NineLevels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy

Today is day 2 post transfer so hopefully our little embryo is starting to make itself nice and cozy.  I started progesterone injections on the day of the retrieval and will continue these until we get a negative test or if positive, till I am 10 weeks pregnant.  I had forgotten how much I HATE these shots.  I got very used to the little tiny needles and the injections in my stomach but these shots are brutal.  A thick 2 inch needle that has to go in the upper quadrant of my behind. And to make it even more fun, the progesterone is mixed in oil so it is THICK.  Its like trying to give yourself a shot of cooking oil or maple syrup.  Its only been a week and my behind is already bruised and sore on both sides, even though I alternate each day.  With all the joys of IVF, I don't understand why fertile people don't choose to conceive this way....(sense the sarcasm).  It's loads of fun.  But I know one day I'll look back and every bit of it will be completely worth it.  

So now the hard part...the wait.  With all that medicine and science has to offer, we still have to wait a week and a half to find out if we are pregnant or not.  And even if the first test is a positive, I have to go back 2 more times for blood work to monitor the level and make sure it is increasing appropriately.  Either way, positive or negative, I'm just going to go ahead and tell you that I won't be announcing anything right away.  If its positive, it's still scary and a very fragile time. Things could still go wrong in the early phases, just as with any pregnancy.  If its negative, of course I am going to be devastated and dealing with all the emotions that come with getting yet another negative result...guilt, anger, depression, sadness, frustration, etc.  While I love sharing our journey with you and hope that my openness and vulnerability can help someone else, please respect our privacy during this time.  I promise that at some point, I will update you with all the just may take a few weeks.  I can't thank you enough for all the support and prayers I have received because of this blog.  We have felt surrounded by love and have definitely felt God's hand guiding and comforting us each step of the way.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Eggs, Embryos, and the Possibility of Transfer

The egg retrieval procedure went very well on Thursday.  We left Knoxville bright and early and made it to Nashville with enough time to drive around a bit and take our time.  They prepped me for the procedure and the last thing I remember was the burning feeling of the anesthesia going into my IV.  I woke up in recovery and felt pretty good, all things considered.  I had some cramping but nothing too intense to keep us from driving back home.  They retrieved a total of 34 eggs!  I was a little shocked by this number.  As of Tuesday, my doctor had counted 26 but I knew there was the possibility of a couple being hidden since there were so many, especially on my right ovary.  We are very blessed that my body responded SO well to the stimulation phase.

We received our first update on the eggs yesterday morning.  Of the 34 retrieved, 22 were mature enough to be ICSI'd...this is the process where they take a single sperm and inject it straight into the egg.  We needed to use this procedure (versus just putting some sperm in a dish next to the egg and letting nature take its course) because of a result of a very specialized test that we had done in October that showed that Harrison's little swimmers had some difficulty penetrating the shell of the eggs.  So of the 22 ICSI'd, 19 fertilized!  Again, we are thrilled and very blessed with such a high number.  Now, not all of these will continue to develop for the 5 days in the lab, but we have a very, very good chance of having a good number of embryos to freeze.   Our second update came this morning, and while vague, the lab technician did say that "several" of our embryos are "developing well."

As of right now, our transfer is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday morning.  On Thursday, I was told that my estradiol level is extremely high in fact that they don't know exactly what it is because the lab only calculates to 10,000.  So we know that it is above 10,000.   So hyperstimulation is still very, very possible.  I am weighing myself twice a day to check for fluid gain, trying to stay well hydrated, and just pay overall close attention to what my body is telling me.  The doctor said that if I am going to get sick, it would probably start Sunday or Monday, so the decision about a transfer won't be determined till Monday.   Now, even if i don't start getting sick and we are allowed to do a transfer, the possibility of me getting sick will still be there for a few weeks as my hormone level slowly comes back down.  The possibility will increase if I do get pregnant because of the additional hormones, but I won't know for 10-12 days after transfer whether or not I'm in fact pregnant.  So, all that said, there are still many unknowns and a lot still up in the air.  We are just praying diligently and trusting in God's plan and His timing.  Please join us in prayer these next few days as our little embryos continue to grow and develop.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Egg Retrieval

Well friends, I made it.  Our egg retrieval procedure is scheduled in Nashville tomorrow morning at 11 AM.  We have to be there at 10 so i can be prepped and everything for the procedure. My estradiol level continues to climb so the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation is still very real.   I don't know if the doctor will decide tomorrow depending on my level from today about the transfer or wait and see how I do over the weekend before making the decision.   If we do have a transfer, it would be on Tuesday.  

Physically, I'm feeling just ok.  I do feel like I am about to explode and that I am carrying around grapefruits on my ovaries, which i practically am.  Elastic waistband pants have been my best friend the past few days as anything tight without stretch is just too uncomfortable at this point. I guess I am getting a little preview of what it will feel like to be pregnant.

Emotionally, this week has been easier than last and even though I am disappointed about the thought of not being able to do a live transfer, I am trying to remain open minded and remember that medical technology can only go so far and its all in Gods hands and will happen in his time.  In the grand scheme of things, we have worked so hard and waited almost 3 years to get to this point so if we have to wait a couple more weeks or months before a transfer, I can deal with that.   I just want to do what is best for my body and whats best for our little embryos.  I have tremendous faith in the doctors and staff at Nashville Fertility Center as they make these decisions for us.

Please be praying for both of us tomorrow...for safe travels, no complications during the procedure, for the skilled, steady hands of the doctors, nurses, embryologists, and lab technicians as they handle our fragile little eggs, and for no hyperstimulation sickness to occur in the days following the procedure.   We will get an update about the number of mature eggs, fertilization success, and the growth and development of the eggs within the day or 2 after the retrieval.  Please be praying for lots of healthy embryos to grow big and strong!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

IVF update: stimulation

Well I had a post all written out yesterday to share but some things changed last night.  Let me recap. We started stimulation shots last Saturday night and I went in to my doctor Tuesday for my first check.  Unfortunately,  I hadn't responded to the dosage of medication as well as they thought I would so they had to increased my dose fairly significantly.  Last week was rough, I'm not going to lie.  The hormones really threw me for a loop.  I was irritable, sad, depressed, and very worried that this cycle wasn't going to workout well for us with the way it started.   After 3 days of a fairly high dose, I went back to the doctor on Friday to get rechecked, and luckily I had made good progress and responded well to the high dose.   They lowered my dose just a little over the weekend.  Over the weekend, I really started to feel full and some discomfort in my pelvis just from having so many little eggs growing on my ovaries.  On Sunday, I ended up vomiting twice with very little warning or fever, no symptoms of illness.  I figured it was just another glorious side effect of the hormones. Turns out it could be an early warning sign.

I went back to the doctor yesterday to get checked again.  My follicles all looked good but not quite big enough for the egg retrieval procedure, but my hormone level (estradiol) came back pretty high.   This is good and bad.  It's good that I am responding so well but it's bad because  it increases the likelihood of me getting sick with something called ovarian hyperstimulation, the biggest risk in the IVF process.  What happens when you hyperstimulate is that after the egg retrieval procedure when they go in and puncture each little sac and pull out the fluid and the egg, all the sacs and your abdomen can refill with fluid, making it hard to breathe, making you dehydrated, and just plain sick.  It could cause me to be hospitalized.  So good news is that we are still on track for the egg retrieval procedure, most likely Thursday.  The bad news is that we may not be able to do an embryo transfer this cycle be cause if I hyperstimulate, do a transfer, then get pregnant on top of that, I would be very very sick.  Nothing is definite right now but this is the possibility.  I went back in to the doctor again this morning for another estradiol level and ultrasound.  I currently have 26 egg follicles.  Now before you all start thinking I'm the next octomom, not all these will produce a mature egg.  If we can't do a transfer this cycle, we would do what's called a freeze all.   They would take all the little eggs and fertilize them with Harrison's sperm and then grow them for 5 days.   All the little embryos that grow an develop for 5 days would be frozen for a frozen embryo transfer at a later date.   The success rates of a frozen transfer are a little less than a live transfer but are still good and Nashville has good success rates.

A lot is still up in the air right now and we will know more tonight after receiving my levels from today.  By tomorrow we will know when our retrieval will be.  Most likely the decision about a transfer won't be made until after the retrieval when they see how I do and if I get sick.  Please be praying for us the next couple days.  Pray for my health ( and Harrison's sanity), for all our little eggs which have to potential to become little embryos, and for the doctors and nurses as they make these important decisions for us.   I'll update tomorrow when I know more.  Thanks for the support.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Suppressed ('s a long post.)

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a safe and blessed holiday season.  Ours was eventful, but more on that later. It's very fitting that it is the beginning of a brand new year and we are beginning one of the most important journeys in our lives thus far.  At the time of my last post,  I was just about to start suppression shots with a drug called Lupron which is used to suppression my body's own hormonal responses so that I can have the best possible reaction to the next part of the process...stimulation shots.  For the past 2 and a half weeks,  I have been doing a Lupron injection in the morning.  The side effects weren't too terrible, although Harrison may beg to differ.  Looking back on the past couple weeks, I can definitely think of times when I was irritable and while in the moment I didn't directly associate it with the hormones, I know now that it probably was.  I went to my infertility doctor here in Knoxville yesterday for a suppression check where they drew blood work and did an internal "clearing" ultrasound to check the status of everything and to make sure I didn't have any ovarian cysts.  I have had cysts in the past that measured too large for me to start a cycle.  If the cysts are larger than a few millimeters, they can not start you on stimulation because there would not be enough room for several follicles (egg sacks) to grow.  It would be like trying to build a few houses on a space of land that already had one... not enough room or real estate. Fortunately my ultrasound was clear and my hormone levels indicated that I am suppressed and ready for the stimulation phase.

Tomorrow I will start shots with a medication called Gonal F.  This is made of a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).  These drugs act directly on my ovaries, putting them into overdrive and making them pump out (hopefully) more than a dozen eggs.  If you think about it, the process is pretty cruel...suppression of your hormones to make your body think you are in menopause and then turning right around from one day to the next and telling your ovaries to make a dozen eggs.   Again, I'm sure I will be an absolute joy to be around once these hormones start working (insert sarcasm here.)  I will be on these injections around 12 days, give or take a few days.  I will go to my local doctor on Tuesday and Friday of next week to check my levels and monitor the size of the growing egg follicles.  By the end of next week, we should know with a little more certainty when the date of our retrieval will be.

I mentioned that our Christmas was eventful.  Harrison's parents did not come into town for Christmas Day because Harrison's cousin Wil was getting married the Saturday after Christmas in Memphis, and it would be too much travel to drive from Nashville to Knoxville, back to Nashville, to Memphis, then back to Nashville again all within a few days.  Christmas Day was going to be spent with my family so Christmas Eve Harrison and I, along with his sister Frances and her husband Jeremy, and Harrison's grandmother went out to dinner.  I had been feeling weak and dizzy most of the day Tuesday so I spent most of the day resting/napping in bed.  I have been pushing myself pretty hard the past few weeks trying to make holiday parties, family obligations, Christmas shopping, doctor's appointments, etc., so I thought I was just worn out and needed some extra rest.  I was getting into the passenger side of my car as we were leaving to go out to dinner Christmas Eve.  I had a couple seconds where everything blacked out while I literally had one leg already in the car and one foot still on the ground.  Because of my position, I fell pretty hard on my garage floor and the base of my spine hit the concrete.  I didn't fully pass out but it was enough to scare me and Harrison both.  I thought I was okay and so we headed on to dinner.  I made it through dinner and again pushed myself to make it over to my parents house.  My aunt Julie had just arrived from North Carolina, and my sister, her husband, and my new niece Ingrid were at my parents.  We went over there for a few hours, then headed home.   

I slept in Christmas morning but woke up in a lot of pain.  We spent Christmas Day at my parents house, but I did not feel well at all.  I was in a lot of pain so my parents insisted that after dinner, we head on home so I could get some rest.  I was planning on flying with Harrison's grandmother to Memphis on Friday so that I wouldn't have to endure the long car trip, which would inevitably put me in bed for a day or so.  Harrison's grandmother was gracious enough to pay for my plane ticket and I was looking forward to spending time with her.   Thursday morning I again woke up with a lot more pain than normal and knowing I had the flight booked the next day, I knew my body was telling me to rest, so I did.  Thursday night at about 11 pm, I started experiencing incredibly sharp, severe, stabbing pains running from my neck down into my shoulder blade. I couldn't even turn my head.  Sobbing in pain, I woke up Harrison.  We immediately got in the car and headed to the emergency room.  This was a pain that was not normal for me, nor one that I had really felt before.  It occurred to me on the ride to the ER that maybe I had done something when I had fallen 48 hrs earlier.  I told the doctor what happened and he wanted to do X-rays just to make sure everything like my plate and screws were still where they should be.  Everything looked fine, so the doctor thought that when I fell, I just sent a jolt up my spine causing some inflammation or maybe a pinched nerve.  He told me I needed to be on strict bed rest and wear a soft neck brace for several days.  So after my ER visit and my doctors instructions, I knew my trip to Memphis was off.  Harrison was planning on driving to Nashville and meeting up with his parents and riding with them to Memphis but that all changed as well.  Harrison was able to get on a late afternoon flight to Memphis on Friday.  I unpacked the bag I had for the wedding weekend, and repacked for a weekend at my parents house.  My mom and dad took care of me and our dog Reese while Harrison was away.  I spent the weekend and the first part of this week in bed and wearing a very fashionable neck brace.  The ER doctor put me on steroids for 5 days to help with inflammation so once that really started to kick in, I started to feel relief from the pain, but it definitely took a while.  

Last year for New Years Eve, we had tickets to the Dirty Guv'nahs (a great southern rock band from Knoxville) Concert at Tennessee Theater.  Well because of my gallbladder and hospitalizations last year, we missed the concert.  Back in the fall, the band announced they would again do a New Year's Eve show, so we were determined to go this year.  I couldn't believe that I was spending time in the hospital around Christmas once again! ( I was also in the hospital on Christmas Eve in 2006. Hard to believe that I had my first cervical spinal fusion 7 years ago.)
  • Side note...I have a good friend who suffers with some health issues who is a lover of Broadway plays.  She and her husband go to several every year and she always posts these beautiful pictures all glammed up on the nights they go out.  A couple weeks ago she posted a picture, but explained the TRUTH behind what it takes to prepare her body for such an outing.  Reading her account was so similar to how I have to prepare myself.  What i don't think a lot of people understand about my pain is how well I've learned to hide it or cover it up the past few years.  Make up and a cute nice outfit can go a long way to make me look presentable, even when I feel awful.  Like a lot of people with chronic health problems, my pain is not something you can visibly see when looking at me, and getting ready for a big outing, such as a company holiday party, can literally be my whole "to-do list" on the day of.  I have to pace myself and listen to my body.  Most of the time now, if I have a few days notice of an event, I can plan and organize myself enough to where I can rest my body efficiently and make important events, but there are still some times when my pain is totally unpredictable and uncontrollable, and I unfortunately have to cancel or reschedule things.  When I do miss important things, like weddings, I deal with a lot of guilt.  I hate that my pain still wins some battles.  It is still just as frustrating and disappointing for me as it was years ago.  I hate feeling like I am letting people down.  
So anyway, back to the concert...I was dead set on not letting Harrison down and missing the concert for a second year in a row.  We were planning on going out to a nice dinner beforehand, but this was one of those times I knew I had to listen to my body, so we skipped dinner out and opted just to make it to the concert.  I looked very chic all dressed up with my neck brace on and I inevitably got some stares, but I didn't care...I was there, with my husband, and that's all that mattered to me.  

After a week in bed and in a brace, I finally feel that I have turned the corner as far as healing and the amount of pain I have been feeling, but as usual, any extra prayers would be greatly appreciated.  This part of the IVF process is very important. Every part is important but this phase is especially so because If I have a good response to the stimulation medications, and we get good number of eggs that fertilize, we should have eggs to freeze. This could be the only stimulation cycle we have to do, but there is always the possibility that we would have to go through this part again.  If we have eggs to freeze and this round does not work after the transfer (meaning the egg did not implant and I don't get a positive pregnancy test,) then our next cycle would be a frozen embryo transfer (FET).  With an FET, I would not have to do the ovary stimulation phase.  I would use drugs to stimulate the growth of my endometrial lining and then we would "thaw" an egg or two to transfer when the time is right.  All that being said, I obviously want to feel my best physically, emotionally, and spiritually the next few weeks so that I can have the best possible outcome.  I will be updating the blog every few days from this point on, not only to keep people informed, but for my own therapeutic reasons and so that if we do have a family via IVF, I will have a written account to go back to someday and show our child.   I also know how reading other people's blogs about their personal infertility journeys helped me feel like I was not completely alone.  I found a lot of comfort reading about other people's experiences because it gave me a more of a feeling of knowing what to expect and while there are a lot of people who struggle with infertility, the amount of people who end up doing IVF is relatively small. I can only hope that one day someone stumbles across this blog and can find some comfort in our story.  Feel free to keep reading our updates, but if you aren't interested in the specific details of the IVF process, I understand that too.  Thanks for reading and for all the support.