Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Moving Forward: The Plan

Yesterday, after a day filled with patients, I finally had my turn with Dr. B. I had hoped to get it done earlier in the day, sans kids, but he was busy. So of course, a few minutes into the conversation I touched Hannah's blankie and she throws an all out tantrum.  He chuckles, "oh, she's throwing a tantrum!" Yes, because I touched her blankie...
"so women are temperamental even at such a young age?" 

His initial "offer" and I say offer because the way it works in our relationship, is that we have an active discussion.  We each share our thoughts, ask each other questions and discuss expectations.  It is never a one sided conversation and decisions are made together.  I have never felt I was forced into any decisions and I always feel heard and understood. So his first offer was to change my protocol. While I don't know if that's the right answer, I don't know enough to weigh in at all, so if he thinks the protocol should change, I'm ok with that.  

He does not think there is anything structurally wrong which would impede implantation.  He said he would have seen something significant.  However, after asking around, and posting on a couple Facebook groups, I'm discovering that hysteroscopies  are done routinely either before the beginning of a new IVF (so not after each individual failure, but when you start back again for another baby), or after a loss, and eventually after enough failures, but more often then not-they're done routine before beginning an IVF.  I presented this as an option before moving forward.  He does not think it's necessary, and he doesn't think he'll find anything.  However, finding "nothing" isn't actually nothing-it eliminates one cause of a failure.  To me, the more information supporting that it's just a matter of time, the better! Otherwise, I'm constantly wondering what I'm missing that I should be looking more and more of my embryos slip away.  

This is also why, I think, testing the embryos is ideal, especially since Dr. B keeps reminding me that 50% of my embryos are going to be bad, combined with whatever else that could have gone wrong that needed to have gone right in order to have implantation. I've heard people say they don't want to know a failure was with a normal embryo-because that makes the failure worse, thinking it must be abnormal saves you from acknowledging your personal dysfunction. I, personally, disagree.  However, I told a friend yesterday, testing my embryos wasn't financially possible.  I took a risk by entering treatment for this year, holding onto the belief that it wasn't worthwhile for my age.  That might not have been the right decision, but there's nothing I can do about it now.  I will continue to move forward. 

The choice to do the hysteroscopy is mine, he said.  It could be done two ways:
1) sedated-and that would have to be done in his next round of IVF, in about 1-2 weeks, because that's the only time of the month he has sedation available.  And, if I want to do an April transfer, it has to be in the March IVF. 
2) in-office-although painful, he believes it would be quick and less pain than someone who had never given birth. most of the pain comes from going through the cervix, but once someone has given birth, the cervix remains permanently open just a bit-enough that it eliminates the pain.  

He also wants to do an endometrial biopsy-if I do the hysteroscopy, it will be done at the same time.  If not, it will be done on it's own. I've had those done several times, and they're not a big deal, since going through the cervix is no longer an issue.  

For now, we move forward.  

Exactly how I feel about my weight loss journey. Im coming back a fighter and I wil be a KNOCK OUT!:

Transfer #5, here we come.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Results...

A few people have messaged me, so I figured I might as well get this update out:

The results of this past transfer, transfer #4, with our 5th embryo, were confirmed this afternoon by blood, to be:


Doctor's response via text: ugggghhhh...stop your meds and call me tomorrow am. 

I will update tomorrow...

:) except the only thing that is always certain is that God loves me. And He knows me, and He is working on my behalf. It may not be certain to me, but God has already seen every one of my days before they came to be <3:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Ruby Necklace

I know many of you are my #fellowinfertiles, but for those of you who aren't, you should know that while going through treatment, routines are acquired, traditions are made. 
When I was doing treatment while still living in the Bronx, I wouldn't get to work in time to drink my morning coffee, rather I'd stop at the Dunkin Donuts on the way to work and get my iced coffee.  Now that I don't eat before my appointments since I drive in so early in the morning, I go for lunch at my favorite Moss Cafe.  It is almost always a cause of anxiety if I can't stick to my routine.  
I haven't heard of many people who have routines for their regular appointments, but traditions become established at the culmination of the cycle: special transfer socks, a particular lunch afterwards, I always take my picture with Dr. B, and I recently heard of the traditional ruby necklace.

The even takuma (pronounced evan tah koo muh) is a raw ruby stone worn on silver necklace. I did not know about the silver part when I ordered! It is to touch the skin and it's believed to promote fertility and prevent miscarriage.  This is a kabbalistic belief, a segulah: something we do to promote the good of something, in this case, fertility and pregnancy. 

I searched for ruby necklaces on Etsy, and was thrilled when one of the stores, Annalis Jewelry, was located in Israel. I felt that made the connection even stronger.  

I know, of course, that this necklace does not hold the power to control the outcome of any treatment, or the success of a pregnancy.  However, it does give me something tangible, a constant reminder, of who is really in control of the situation.  

How dainty is that clasp?  

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I donned the necklace the morning of my transfer, in the parking lot of the office, right before walking in; I have yet to take it off.  I've gone to the gym in it, showered in it, slept in it, and not thought twice about how it looks with any given outfit.  

I often forget I'm wearing it, but then it will get a little tight on my neck and I have to readjust it.  And in that moment, I'm reminded just where my faith needs to be.  

Tomorrow is 10 days post transfer.  We pushed back the pregnancy test until Monday so we have a more clear picture, as oppose to what we went through with low hcg numbers and then ultimately a complete drop a few days later.  

Ironically, the two symptoms I've had in every other cycle: heartburn and exhaustion, have not been present. Ironically, I'm no longer looking for symptoms.  Ironically, as if a sign to remind me who is really in control-the night after starting progesterone, I had some bad heartburn, a common side effect, making it clear to me symptoms were not going to be an indication of the success of this cycle.  
One of my close friends, so lovingly confiscated my pregnancy tests so I wouldn't be tempted to check early and fall into the rabbit hole that is comparing lines on a positive test.  
So here I sit, 10 days later, with not a single idea of what tomorrow's at home pregnancy test will read.  

Because I do like to have some light material, I will share a funny maybe symptom related story from this morning. As it is Dr. Seuss' birthday, many schools celebrated.  The school I see kids in was making green eggs and ham. Now, having not been exposed to much ham and bacon growing up, I usually find the smell repulsive.  The first time I smelled it in 8th grade home economics class,  I almost had to leave the room to prevent from vomiting.  When I see people eating meat in the morning, I just don'  But today that ham smelled so good, I wish I could have sat in the room all day! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday Munchies...

I'm so excited to share this jackpot of a recipe with you-bonus, it's Monday, so you have all week to gather what you need and make this for dinner!  My kids gobbled this down, and it's back on the menu rotation this week!  It's healthy, wholesome, filling and oh so yummy.  And did I mention easy???  I have a new found love for my crock pot-now a days the crock pot is something like an olden day contraption, since everyone uses the Instant Pot-but I'm slow to integrate new technology into my life.  So, for now, crock pot it is! 

This was so easy-just dump a couple ingredients into the crock put and then make your toppings dish

I opted for some avocado, tomato, shredded lettuce and I added a honey ginger dressing.  

2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1 packet taco seasoning mix 
16oz jar salsa 
1/3 cup chopped cilantro 
juice from 2 small limes 

Place chicken in the crock pot, and then add taco seasoning, salsa, cilantro and lime.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-7 hours.

Remove chicken, shred, and add liquid from the crock pot until chicken is moistened to your liking-about 1/2-3/4 cup of liquid.  

Serve using tacos or tortillas (we used soft tortillas) and your choice of toppings. 

It doesn't get much easier than this!  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Frozen Embryo Transfer #4

Yesterday was the big day-transfer #4!!!

When I was told my transfer time was 9am, with an arrival of 8:30, I knew I had to get to NYC the night before.  What I didn't know was that I wasn't going to make it on the road until 9:30pm, get stuck in about 40 minutes worth of traffic going over the George Washington bridge, and that I wouldn't get to sleep before 2am!  Part way, I thought I should have just stayed at home and woken up at 4am! 

But, I had ulterior motives-the local hospital oatmeal

I know I know, it's weird-but it's just so delicious, I seriously dream about it! And I knew if I came in the night before, I could have the early morning to myself, and could go and eat a nice, quiet breakfast! Which is exactly what I did-if you follow me on Instagram, you probably caught me talking about it!  

I made it back to my car, in the drizzle without a coat no less, around 8:10, and headed on my way.  I made sure to start drinking my water on the way. My rule of thumb, is that I should have drunk a whole Camelbak water bottle by the time of my arrival to ensure a full bladder, but this time, it was a good thing I didn't finish that water bottle!  

When I arrived, I made my way downstairs, which is where the OR is, and I noticed no one was there! The doors were wide open, which means no one was in the middle of a transfer. So I walked upstairs and was told someone would be coming down-I was the only transfer yesterday! Yay for personal attention!!! 

The nurse came down, I got changed, and she got me checked in. 
And then I waited.
And waited.
And I waited for 25 minutes, with a full bladder, until Dr. B walked in, almost half an hour late to my transfer! Now, I'm not sure I've mentioned it here, but not only do you have to have a full bladder for the transfer, but you have to remain laying down after the transfer-for 30 minutes! That makes for an extra hour of a full bladder!!! I also realized in this moment that we can stop wondering where Dovy gets his angry face and disgruntled personality-it's from me.
Dr. B walks in and asked me if I was recording, to which I responded in a straight face, "it's your punishment." 
PUNISHMENT!!! He gasped. 
"You're 25 minutes late and I have to pee!" 

Mike came in and gave me the embryology report: it's perfect, and 8 remain in the freezer. 

We discussed a few details, like meds and dates for testing, and then he said, "let's go!" 

The transfer went off without a hitch!

Something I appreciate and one reason why I could never change clinics is because of the personal attention I get and camaraderie.  The day, and any day, is always full of jokes, laughter and well wishes. So it was fitting that the embryologist and Dr. B have a "line" for confirming the catheter is clear of the embryo. 
I had to have Mike say it three times before I actually caught it on video!

And then of course, the obligatory selfie 

I got on 2/27 for a blood test to check my estrogen and progesterone levels, and then I have my pregnancy test on 3/6, but I'll be testing before!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Final FET #4 Update

I was originally supposed to have a monitoring appointment on Wednesday 2/15, but because I was planning on heading into NY on Friday for the weekend, we just arranged for monitoring to take place then.  Everything was good, my lining was great, and so was my blood.  I started antibiotics, steroids and progesterone that night.  

I had blood work on 2/20, my 30th birthday! 

I head to NY tonight for a 9am transfer #4 tomorrow morning! 
Follow along on Instagram and Facebook, as I'll be updating there tomorrow! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life Hack: Snack Shelf

I'm so excited to share this life hack with you, but please be sure not to confuse life hack with Pinterest worthy.  
Not every aspect can be made into a Pinterest spectacle-and this catch all closet is one of them!
This closet houses appliances, cookie decorating items, the cleaning bin, the holiday decorating bin, and our main pantry.  

Snacks aren't provided in school for my kiddos, and for FIVE years now, we've gone through the daily morning struggle of packing snacks.  Packing snacks for one kid is manageable, packing snacks for two kids is stressful and tiresome, but packing snacks for three kids is more than one can handle!  I would budget in about 20 minutes in the evening or morning to pack their snacks, and it was just a major time suck.  

I came up with the idea to add a dedicated snack shelf into my closet.  It served two purposes: of course, I needed a place to store the snacks anyway, but my main goal was to use it as a tool to teach the kids how to pack their snacks themselves.  The snacks are organized into the following bins:  fruit, granola type snacks, crackers, cookies, chips, and dessert.  I used these bins to store all the items-I had these from before, so I wasn't going to invest in buying new containers just to fit my new space, but I do wish they were taller so they could hold more.  #nexttime 

When organizing with a desire to include the kiddos, you have to organize according to their level.  Moshe reads, but Dovy and Hannah do not-however they are able to recognize pictures.  Each bin has a picture so they can identify the contents of each bin.  This bin pictured, is obviously everyone's favorite bin.  At first, I was nervous to include this within everyone's reach, and I was asked several times if a brownie was an acceptable form of breakfast.  But, I really do believe everything is teachable to our kids, so I kept the dessert bin there.  It's rare now that the kids attempt to eat from that bin without being told it's allowed.  

Now, for a peak at my favorite snacks that fill those bins!

My kids go in phases, sometimes it's fruit cups, other times it's applesauce, and now we're back into the applesauce pouches.  

This bin includes our favorite Blueberry Belvitas , Trader Joe's cereal bars, graham crackers, granola pouches, and fig bars.  

In this bin I include crackers like Trader Joes wheat thins, Ritz crackers, pretzels, and anything cracker related.  

I do allow my kids to eat "junkier" items in moderation throughout the day, but that's a post for another day.  This bin houses junk like sweet snack items.  Some of what I'll include in this bin are vanilla wafers, letter cookies, butter cookies, mini chocolate chip cookies, these "pop tarts" and oh em gee I can't resist them when they're in there!  

I also have a bin that houses more of the chip snack items.  Some items we love are Terra chips , Trader Joes Rocket Cheese Crackers are so good, and sometimes I buy corn chips and party mix. 

The practicality of this shelf goes beyond saving me time in the morning.  It gives me a place to store the snacks, it allows my children a way to be independent and get snacks themselves-which is not only good for me, but it's also a necessary skill for them.  We can talk about responsibility and making good choices. It also has saved me so much time which also helps my kids: I have more time to focus on them in the morning and I'm not as rushed and stressed.  

Organizing the snack shelf is almost like a Sunday meal prep day-except I do it about bi-weekly, or once a month.  When a particular item is running low, I'll re-buy and then spend one evening bagging all the new snacks into sandwich size baggies.  I will admit I've felt badly about all the baggies we use, however Dr. Husband reminded me that our system is probably better than pre-packaged individual snacks because our kids don't eat a full serving anyway-and what's awesome is when snacks come back half eaten, or not eaten at all, I just drop them into their respective bins and they're good to use another day!  A single serving snack, once it's open it either goes into a baggie to stay fresh, or it gets thrown out half eaten.  Our snacks do last quite awhile and I can't stress enough how simple and easy it is to grab one back from each bin in the morning and just throw it into their bag.  

If you're struggling with your daily snack and lunch packing, try this out and let me know!

You can read about my fresh fruit and vegetable snack plan HERE   
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