Taking a Step Back

This season of life, guys, it’s hard. We found out this week that our second transfer, with our last remaining embryo, failed. I haven’t wanted to deal with this news and I haven’t wanted to talk about it but with a push from my husband and remembering that my blog was made for a place to share our journey and all the details, good and/or bad, as real and raw as I could, I knew I needed to share.

Again, we knew going into our appointment that our transfer had failed and once again, seeing a negative test shocked me. Everything felt different this time but apparently it wasn’t a good different. I think we both are more frustrated this time around that we had another failed transfer. I know sometimes the body just rejects it and there’s nothing anyone can do but we just feel frustrated that nothing was changed in our protocol for this transfer.

We have decided to take a step back from IVF for a few months. We both feel that it is important to really be in the moment in our relationship and focus on us for the time being. We have spent many days, nights, and weekends stressed over our infertility journey and all of 2018 has been devoted to it. We are heartbroken about our failed transfer but at the same time, we are ready to try to relax a little and focus on the two of us.

We also made the decision to make a switch in doctors and fertility clinics. We have our consult mid-September but we won’t be starting another cycle until closer to the end of 2018. Along with the time off and hopefully being able to get some R&R, my body needs a break. It has been drowned in synthetic hormones for nearly 7 months now. It also has gone through a surgery, a retrieval and two transfers. I can tell that my body and mind just need a break from everything we have asked of it in the past months.

While I wish our story would have been different, I still am finding appreciation in it. My husband and I’s relationship has grown so far and so deep when I thought that we were already in the best place possible. This journey has grown our bond to be so strong and our love has grown so much deeper. So with that, I am appreciative of our journey and even appreciative of the heartbreak we have faced. If we can face this storm hand-in-hand, I don’t see anything else that could tear us down.

Number 3, Ranger.

Getting right to the point, Ranger is onboard. Yesterday, we had our transfer and honestly, I don’t think that anything could have gone any better for us.

Let’s talk about the build up to this transfer. After our failed fresh cycle of the two embryos, I decided I wanted to research and make some changes. Several studies have shown that acupuncture is linked with successful transfers and after talking with our nurse and with her referral, I started acupuncture. My treatments were 3 times a week for about 4 weeks up until transfer. The acupuncture is supposed to help with blood flow to your lady bits, which in return, helps with implantation and having a sticky thick lining. It also just feels amazing and it was a nice, stress-free break from reality for 30 minutes 3 times a week. I definitely thought acupuncture was a bunch of mumbo jumbo until I started, now I would recommend it for anyone.

When we received our calendar this time, a number caught my eye right away. Our baseline appointment was on July 3rd, our transfer of our 3rd embryo (Ranger) which was graded 3AB was on July 13, if successful our due date would be March 31st and Ranger would turn us into a party of 3. Now I’m not big into superstitions, but I am sure hoping that the number 3 is our lucky number.

This transfer I have played along with a lot of old wives tales. I’ve drank Pomegranate juice (which I actually love) everyday, I had McDonald’s French fries right afterwards, AJ cut me up a fresh pineapple and I have divided the core into 5 days worth and I’ve also worn socks since after our transfer (and I hate socks) because they say keeping your feet warm, keeps your uterus warm. It’s kind of been fun to participate in all of these old wives tales so we will see how true they hold up in a few weeks.

IMG_1616
I wanted to leave this picture a little bit bigger so that you could see the fetus outline I mention below on the right side of Ranger.

So what about Ranger and our transfer? Right when we got into the room yesterday the first thing the nurse said was that our embryo looked really good which was a HUGE relief right off the bat. Once we got to really looking at our embryo, you can tell that it has started hatching at the bottom and hopefully has continued after transfer. Hatching is a really good sign and needs to happen for a successful implantation. The most amazing thing about Ranger is that if you look closely at the embryo, on the right side there is an outline of what looks like a little fetus to me (AJ thinks it looks like a dog but I’m just marking that up to him being a guy ;)). I simply can’t get over Ranger or that little fetus outline, it has made my heart so happy.

I have spent the majority of my time in the last few weeks bending God’s ear about Ranger. I’ve been praying cooking dinner, laying down before bed, in the shower, in the car driving, and I spent my entire acupuncture appointment on Thursday praying. I know that he has heard all of these prayers and I know that whatever the outcome is, that it was His plan. All of my faith is in His hands and I know that He will show us His grace whether it’s in a tiny little face or whether it’s by gracing us with all the strength and support that we need.

Please send good vibes our way. Please include a little prayer for us while you’re talking to God. We can still use all of them. We have been blessed thus far with the enormous amount of support and love that we have been shown and couldn’t have made it through without it.

Guilty

Since starting our infertility journey I have felt and dealt with an enormous amount of guilt. This isn’t just guilt over the fact that we are going through all of this because of my blocked tubes, but guilt over everyday life, over normal everyday activities. Now I find myself thinking twice or three times before coming to a decision that normally, I would have made in split second if we weren’t on this road. I want to share a few with you to give you a glimmer of life on this road.

 

Food, Caffeine & Alcoholic Beverages

This is my biggest guilt. Sushi is one of my favorite foods. After a long day, a nice cold beer sounds great. I almost always need a coffee in the morning or a soda/tea for a pick me up in the afternoons. Watching the Bachelorette on Monday nights, a glass of wine will almost always be accompanying me through the show. When we had our consult for IVF, I cut out all adult beverages almost completely, I started trying to eat like I was already pregnant and I cut out caffeine almost completely. I had a glass of wine here or there and one drink a couple nights before I started stimming, but I never indulged in more than one or even having one beverage more than once per week. I had coffee every so often in the mornings but mostly tried to stay away from it. A few weekends ago, I definitely had a little too much fun at a wedding and guilt flooded me for the next few days. I talked with one of my IVF friends about this and we discussed how it is so unfair that we have to worry about such little things like this. One night of indulging in too much fun isn’t going to ruin my chances. Having two cups of coffee one morning isn’t going to make or break the deal. Having a cold turkey sandwich for lunch isn’t going to ruin my chances of success. If I were ‘normal’ and could conceive on my own, I wouldn’t have thought twice about any of this. People conceive babies after drinking all too often and people drink in their early pregnancies, before they know they are pregnant, every single day (I’m not condoning this, but it does happen), people eat crap day in and day out and still conceive on their own, people who are addicted to energy drinks don’t have any issues either. Since I know when our transfers will be, these types of things create SO much guilt.

 

Doing Too Much

After we found out that our transfer failed last time, I immediately was consumed with guilt. Guilt that this was entirely my fault. Guilt that I went on with life after our transfer as I normally would. There are many studies out there, some say you should do bed rest after your transfer and some say to take it easy the day of but to go back to normal life the next day. The day of our transfer, I took it easy, but I was definitely on my feet for most of the day and went back to work the following. I didn’t slow down during our two-week window. I carried things that I probably shouldn’t have and worked my body too much. I kept wondering, did our transfer fail because I carried that lawn chair? Did our transfer fail because I didn’t go home and take a nap? Did our transfer fail because I’m stubborn and feel the need to carry every grocery sack into the house at once? Did our transfer fail because I like hot showers?  But truth be told, if those embryos were meant to be our babies, they would have cozied up regardless of how I chose to go about the day of our transfer (even though this time, I plan to do the opposite of everything I did last time J ). I knew that to be true, but still the guilt came.

 

Survivor’s Guilt

I am overwhelmed and praying that Ranger will be our baby but at the same time I am so worried about having survivor’s guilt. I don’t know how I can face everyone and be SO happy that we are finally successful in our journey while there are still others out there who are on this road, just starting this road, or their road has had more detours than ours. I know what it’s like to tell you that our transfer failed but I don’t know what it’ll be like or how I’ll feel coming out and telling you all that we are pregnant, God willingly. We haven’t had our next transfer yet and just the thought of becoming pregnant almost makes me feel guilty. I don’t want to ever forget about this journey we are on and I don’t want others to think that I’ve moved on and forgot how hard it was, because I won’t ever forget these moments & the heartbreak we have faced during this journey.

 

Being a ‘lucky one’

I’ve touched on this before, but while scrolling through an IVF page I’m a part of, I can’t help but feel guilt that we have it so ‘easy’ with the coverage we have received from our insurance. There are a lot of couples out there who find out they need IVF and have to put the dream of having a family on hold for a couple years before they are able to afford to have children. We were so lucky that our insurance covered so much and we could start the following month after our consult. I feel so guilty (and thankful/blessed) reading other people’s financial burdens in this process while we have had smooth sailing in that department.

 

Jealousy Guilt

Sometimes I find myself feeling a little bit of jealousy over others being able to conceive so easily. How is it that all it takes for some people is for their husband to look at them and boom, they are pregnant. Why is it that my husband and I are not that lucky? Why is it that we have to live with the burden of infertility? After the jealousy and the questioning comes the guilt. Guilt that I felt jealous over someone else making another life and guilt that I questioned our journey at all. Truth is, I’m not jealous but sometimes when you’re working this hard for something, every once and awhile you just get those feelings of wanting what others have and can have so easily.

 

When you are trying everything you can to have a baby and knowing that this is your only way to conceive, it really consumes your life and your mind. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t lay down at night and question some of the things I did that day and whether it will affect our chances at having a successful cycle. I feel as if I carry so much responsibility with this situation, I’ve told my husband multiple times that I wish he could take a turn at trying to carry a baby. I know that our time will come one way or another and the control is in God’s hands but sometimes you just can’t help but feel the guilt when you are putting your all into having a baby but also trying to live your life until that time comes. It all becomes a balancing act that you feel you can’t ever get just right.