Monday, December 23, 2013

It's a BOY!

Yesterday was SO SO SO fun.  I knew we wanted to do something more exciting than have an ultrasound tech say "it's a boy/girl" so we decided to involve our families in the surprise. You can read about that HERE.  It was better than I imagined!

My mom hosted our families and a few close friends.  We had a "pregnancy buffet" with typical things that pregnant women crave (including pickles, ice cream, ice chips and more!), played a game and ended the the party with the actual reveal.  

And onto the main event!

To say we are excited is an understatement.  I was SO surprised.  I come from all girls, so even though I had been feeling "boy" all week, I just figured it would be another girl in the family.   We just feel so blessed that this is actually happening to us. Every stage of this process has been so incredible.   We don't have a single boy name picked out (of course, we had 3 girl names we liked!) so bring on the suggestions!!! May can't come soon enough- we are READY!   Twenty weeks to go....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

He or She?

This week was our 19-week ultrasound/gender scan.  I was so excited to get to the doctor I could barely get anything done at the office.

In true Emily (or I should say Otto) fashion, it didn’t go quite as planned but was still amazing!
About 5 minutes into the ultrasound I started feeling super sick. Like pass out/puke sick. The tech was so sweet and promised me it has happened before – sometimes when you are pregnant, laying on your back can do that since the weight of your uterus can press down on your aorta, limiting the blood flow back to your brain.    After about 5 minutes I started to feel better and we got back to the scan.  Until it happened again.  Ha.  Needless to say, it took us awhile to get through the entire scan without me puking and/or passing out on the table.  Quite embarrassing. But it was amazing to see the growth since our last ultrasound and confirm that something is still in there (I still haven’t felt any definite movement).    And I say this is typical of Ottos because my mom, my sister and I have a history of passing out periodically… Adam is used to my episodes by now. 

So what are we having?  Well, we still don’t know.  The Tech wrote it in a card and sealed it up.  I put the card in the mail to my mom’s best friend back in KC and they are throwing us a gender reveal party on Sunday with our families.  Gotta add some suspense!!   I have been thinking it is a girl this whole time, until yesterday morning I woke up feeling boy.  So we shall see!

How cute is this hand and foot?

An Adam or Emily profile? 

And a 19 week selfie in the work bathroom before I headed to the doctor.  I really suck at taking cute bump pics.  

Four more days until the reveal- I CAN'T WAIT! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hey Blog... long time since I have seen you.

I'm not sure if I have any followers left... so if you happen to stumble across this blog post- just know that this post has been a work in progress for months.  It was really hard to put this all into words with the right tone.  Here goes nothing!

Disclaimer: There is A LOT of information below.  Some people may think it is too much information.   Just quickly scan when it gets really boring :)

I'm pregnant!! Lets just cut to the chase.  Every time I say those words- out loud and public I can't help but feel overjoyed and a little apprehensive at the same time.  You see, getting pregnant was REALLY hard. And there is a side of me that doesn't want to put on this fake-happy "yay we are pregnant" show without people knowing what our story actually looked like because it was filled with a lot of tears, stress, financial stress, and hopelessness at times.  People post their perfect lives on social media (myself included) but my life isn't perfect.  So here goes nothing.

When Adam and I got married in 2009, we knew we wanted kids, not right away of course... but we definitely didn't NOT want them enough to ever really prevent it from happening.... we "sort of" prevented.     In November, 2011 I thought I was pregnant.  I was 4 days "late" and just had a feeling.  I had actually never taken a pregnancy test in my life so with shakey fingers I did my first at-home test.  When it came back negative, we were both a little shocked and bummed.    Surprisingly really bummed.   We decided then that we were definitely more than ready to start trying for real.   I remember thinking how it was so crazy to think that by the Holidays 2012 we would have a baby or at the very least, I would  be pregnant.  We were both young, healthy, take really good care of ourselves. Poster children for fertility.  

We then tried and tried and tried and every month got the same result.  Negative, negative, negative. By month 7 & 8 we were getting frustrated and I set up a regroup with my OBGYN.   She, of course, thought there were no issues and that we just needed to give it more time. She also reminded us that only 50% of couples get pregnant in the first 6 months of trying and we were obviously in the second half of that.  Another month came and went and we talked her into letting us do some preliminary testing.   When the results came back- my blood work looked great. Adam's collection (I'll keep it PG) looked good- but not "perfect".  There was 1 attribute they tested for that he came back 1% off.... which really wasn't a big deal.  Since we had been trying for 10 months at this point, reluctantly my OBGYN went ahead and referred us to a fertility specialist.  I think she wanted to stop dealing me more than anything.

Adam and I first met with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) in November 2012.   CCRM is the best in the country so we knew we were in good hands and very thankful that we lived in Colorado!  People fly in from everywhere, including internationally, to get help from CCRM. I definitely think this is one reason why God led us to Colorado in the first place.

The next 6 weeks or so we underwent testing and more testing. By this time, we were in 2013 and finally had a chance to regroup with our doctor.  At our meeting,  I found out I had cysts in both ovaries and severe endometriosis.  So severe that one of my tubes was completely blocked and the other looked to be open, but they weren't quite sure.  Basically, I needed surgery.    They needed to clear out as much of the endometriosis, remove the cysts from my ovaries and see if there was any hope for my tubes.    To say we were shocked was an understatement.  I hate getting my blood taken.  The very last thing I was expecting to hear were the words "surgery".    Surgery was then set for March.

Remember that amazing trip you may have seen pictures of us in St. John? Well, funny enough- that was our babymoon.  Yep. Lets just say I was "so sure" I would be pregnant by Feb. 2013 that I booked a babymoon.    So we went on our "babymoon" with no baby-to-be.  It was still a much needed trip.  But behind all of our smiles was a lot of stress.  Lets just say we weren't looking forward to coming home to our everyday lives.

There were three parts to my surgery:
1) remove the cysts from both of my ovaries
2) exploratory: check out my tubes (how did they look, are they salvagable, etc), how bad was my endometriosis, etc.  We were 99% sure I would be coming out of surgery with no right tube, as my previous testing showed major blockage which is pretty much impossible to remove.  We had hope for my left!!
3) lazer off as much of the endo as possible from other areas

Waking up from surgery first of all was the most painful experience of my life. I can't even describe the emotions and feeling when I came to.  While I was waking up, I heard two doctors discussing me and heard the words "IVF".  Needing IVF was "worst case" for me because that meant both of my tubes had to be permanently closed off.

(Many people have asked my my tubes were blocked off during surgery. Basically since they were so swollen, my chance for ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy) was really high.  Secondly, since they were almost closed, they hadn't been able to sufficiently drain for years.  This means, all of the fluid and gunk stuck in there was super toxic. If i ever got pregnant, it would be bad news if toxic liquid was dripping back into my uterus). 

Lets recap: I have no tubes anymore.  I am telling you this because many people have said things like "maybe you can get pregnant naturally on the next round". Ummm no.  I can't.

Meeting with Dr. Brown after surgery brought another surprise.  My IVF process would be unlike most of the people you know that do IVF.  Since my endometrosis was so bad, she wanted me to do an IVF cycle  but freeze everything.  I then would be on medication called Lupron that puts you into menopause. Stopping my cycle completely would allow my endometriosis to heal some before the actual transfer of the embryos.

Not familiar with IVF?  Here is a crash course.  A women is put on medication that stimulate her egg production. Instead of producing one mature egg like you do in a real monthly cycle, the medication allows you to produce LOTS of mature eggs.  Right before you ovulate, you go into a simple surgery where you are put under, a needle is put up through your vagina and into your ovaries.  They suck out as many of the eggs that they can get.  While this is happening, your partner is doing his part in another area.  After your eggs are out and semen is collected- they put them together one of two ways.  The first is the traditional way where they leave an egg overnight in a petre dish with 50-100,000 sperm. You can assume there is a great chance of that egg getting fertilized.    The second way is the "high tech" way where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. This is called ICSI.     Once the eggs have been fertilized, you wait. The embryos start to grow day by day. Some die off or "arrest" as they call it.  The ideal situation is to have some left over at least by day 3 but even better if they make it to day 5.   Most IVFers go in either on day 3 or 5 to get them transferred back into their uterus.   On day 5 is when my batch of embryos were frozen.

So where are we?  Oh yes, I have frozen embryos and I am now in medically induced menopause-  truly.  Hot flashes, night sweats, the whole shabang.  It actually really sucked but it gave us the whole summer to let loose.  Not worry about getting pregnant and just relax for once and prepare for our transfer scheduled for Aug. 26th.

Oh August 26th.  I will NEVER forget Aug. 26th.  It had been a looming "finish line" date in our heads for months! The transfer was the most simple, painless, quick procedure.  An embryologist comes in the room with our little baby embies (we transferred 2), the doc sucks them up into a straw and basically shoots them into your uterus.  Then you wait for 9 days to take a pregnancy test.

Waiting is the underlining theme to our whole story.  I had waited for months to get to this point so actually 9 days was a piece of cake.

September 3rd was the date of my pregnancy test.  Just like anything, it didn't go as smoothly as planned (I had woken up to some spotting that really freaked me out).  My test was at 7:30am and I didn't get the call with my results until 4:30pm- it was a VERY stressful day but it ended with the happiest news of all-  I was "very" pregnant (which is how the nurse worded it).

Today I am 18 weeks, 1 day.  I still can't believe it.  I cry frequently out of pure happiness..... just can't wait to meet this baby in May!!!

Lastly,  If anyone reading this is going through something similar- please don't hesitate to reach out.  I had a great support group that consisted of a few other "IVFers" - they were life savers!

That's my story,