What's funny to me thinking about this blog is how excited I was to get pregnant and how I thought I would blog all about it...then the morning sickness kicked in, sinus infection came beginning of January and I've finally got enough energy to sit here and type and upload a picture of my belly almost into February. :) I guess I can go back and tell you a quick story of how everything happened with IVF attempt #5...
Dr. Thomas met with us after IVF#4 and suggested we use up these embryos that we still had left (2 from the fresh cycle) and if it didn't work, then we would move on to the next step of surrogacy.
September 18th, 2011 (my sister's 25th birthday) - we started Lupron (same as every other cycle we've done) and we only told Susan - my friend from work who has sat right next to me for years. Our thought behind not telling anyone was that if it didn't work - I didn't want to have to tell anyone it didn't work - and if it did, I would be able to tell people on my own time that we were expecting (though I never thought THAT would actually happen!) We did Lupron all the way through October 15th but on October 2nd, we began Estrace 2 mg and Aspirin and Richard & I both had to do an antibiotic just to make sure neither of us had anything!
October 14th - we did a lining check and I remember asking my IVF Kris "If only one of the two remaining embryos thaw, I just want to make sure we're still doing the transfer, right?" Richard was at the firehouse that day, so I just went by myself and made sure to ask all my questions...she goes "Of course, but why would you think only one would thaw?" and I just remember thinking to myself "She'll see."
We started progesterone on October 16th (those are the long needles that I have to sit on a heating bad afterwards with) - and on October 20th they thawed both embryos that morning and gave us a call. Kris called us and I answered the phone and she goes "Well Ashley, you were right - only one embryo survived the thaw but it's such a beautiful embryo." I didn't think much about it and just said "Ok, we'll see you in a bit" - I had to be at the hospital around 11:30 (FET's are bottom of the list - retrievals are always first and then they work the transfers in - don't ask me why, it's just how it works!) It was a pretty "Whatever" day in my mind to be honest - we didn't bring a CD this time to listen to - we just walked in like "Let's get this over with..." I remember laying on that table looking at Richard thinking "I'm glad we're almost done with this - I've had enough - but I was so happy that he was sitting there in his scrubs making me laugh while we waited for the doctor (who of course was running late) - at that point, I didn't even care...I just wanted it to be over. Dr. Krystene DiPaola did our transfer and she came in and was just so excited for us (she really is much more into "embryos are coming back home to their mom" stuff than Dr. Thomas or Dr. Lindheim!) and she said "Oh Ashley, this is an expanded embryo which is a bit different than we've transferred in the past - it look wonderful and it's ready to be back in it's mom." The procedure takes less than 5 minutes - and it was over...I thanked her, she thanked me and I just left my legs up for the next 30 minutes while Richard turned on his iPhone and we watched Last Man Standing while we waited to leave.
October 21st we started Lovenox (blood thinner) to just throw everything we possibly could at our chances - these are my least favorite shots & they hurt the most :( It really still hurts just thinking about it! The entire 2ww (2 week wait) was exactly like every other one except one minor change - I was MUCH more tired but to be honest - I thought it was emotional tiredness more than anything - my body had enough! They scheduled my blood test for October 31st (quite possibly my least favorite holiday of the year) but I thought "What the heck - I already don't like the holiday, what can finding out bad news do?"
The morning of October 31st was miserable - traffic was horrible and the weather wasn't great either - I drove myself to the doctor's office because it's just a blood draw...I went in, got it done and left. I remember just talking in the car to no one in particular and just said things like "I'm tired of wishing for the same thing - I don't deserve this - I've worked hard to marry the man of my dreams and build a life where I WANT to raise a family - whatever - give me another negative result, I can take it - I've taken all the other one's - one more won't kill me." I just wasn't in the best place...and to be honest, there were several times through IVF #5 that I wanted to give up like never before - I wanted to stop the drugs and just tell Dr. Thomas I didn't want to go through with it...it was Richard who kept pushing me...saying things like "You can do this - you've come this far - don't give up now - it will all work out in the end." I didn't believe him most of the time - but for the sake of finishing what we started - I listened. I can't tell you how frustrated and tired I was of everything involving IVF - you can ask Richard, the nurses, the doctors - they all commented at some point "You're just not yourself these days" and I wasn't - I was annoyed, frustrated, tired, hurt, sad but most of all just disappointed. I was tired of feeling that way - I wanted my life back - I wanted the control back...even though I was choosing to do all of this - Richard & I agreed together that we wanted to go through it a 5th time...it still feels like you have no control of your body/what the outcome is - anything.
I'll never forget starting that meeting in Pam's office and I just told everyone "I'm expecting a call so I might have to step out." The phone rang at 11:27 - I remember seeing "513-585-0000" and thinking "Great - let's get this over with" - I stepped outside and stood by the copier. You should know - doctor's call with negative results and nurses get to call with positive results. I picked up the phone "Hello?" and I hear my nurse Kris on the other line say "Ashley?" and I dropped the phone....seriously - I dropped it on top of the copier and it flew across the floor! I picked it back up, apologized and said "The nurses never call me." and Kris goes "Until now." It must've only been about 2 seconds but it felt like a lifetime I stood there and just couldn't believe what I was hearing. What do I do now? Every other time I've had negative results I've been at home and cried or hugged Richard or just kept watching TV and thought about it all...this time I had to turn around and go back into a meeting. Kris asked "Wasn't it you who hates Halloween?" and I said "Well, not as much anymore." and she laughed and told the rest of the office nurses and they all screamed and cheered and were so excited - it was really exciting. She said Dr. Thomas would call later in the day to congratulate me (which he did and left the cutest voicemail I've ever got from a doctor!) The only request Kris had was when I came in that Friday, to let her know how I told Richard. Telling Richard - that was something I didn't think I would have to do right now...so I went back in my meeting and just finished that up first. Then I went back to my desk, and Richard had left a voicemail "Hey, I'm going to the gym, I'll call you back later." so of course when I called him it went to voicemail. I went over and told Susan because I had to tell SOMEONE - I NEVER THOUGHT THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!!!! She squealed in 552 and gave me the biggest hug! She told me that she'd told God that morning when she was brushing her teeth that she wasn't going to ask for me to get pregnant anymore - she was tired of praying (just like I had been!) It was really sweet!
Richard finally called back and I just said "Guess what? It actually worked?" and he said "Are you serious?" and I said "That's what I asked Kris" - beta of 375 - she said that was great and I go back on Friday. It was a pretty short conversation - I just couldn't believe it. I left that day and headed straight to Florence Mall Great American Cookie Co. and got Richard one of those mini cookie cakes that said "We did it" and took it home to him - that's originally how I wanted to tell him but I couldn't wait till I got home to tell him! I successfully peed on a stick that night and proved I was in fact pregnant!
November 2nd I switched to Crinone instead of progesterone because the progesterone was building up and causing such pain! Went back for my second beta test and it was 2673 - it did more than double every 48 hours! We were thrilled! It was the day we went to see Aunt Ruth in the hospital and on the way home the nurse called to tell me!
November 18th we did an ultrasound and could see the baby's heartbeat on the monitor - Dr. Thomas said we could try to hear it so we tried and we could - by far the coolest moment in both of our lives - it was so neat to just hear it pumping away and sounding so strong! They told us the due date was Richard's 30th birthday - July 9, 2012.
We told Richard's family when we brought Kalysta & Ethan back from Chicago on Novermber 20th and we went out to Cracker Barrell to celebrate!
We told Corey, Jimmie, mom & dad the night before Thanksgiving after eating at LaRosa's - and they were shocked! We called grandma B & Debbie to Skype and called Marthe & Sharon & Ken too!
On Thanksgiving we told grandma & grandpa, mark & dot and we shared frames with all of them with a picture of Sally saying "I'm going to be a big sister" on it.
We slowly told friends throughout the next month or so and didn't put it on Facebook until January. Our first OBGYN appointment was on December 15th with Dr. Clark. We had another appointment with Dr. Rinala on January 11th and each time we just listened with the doppler to the heart beat - that was neat but the ultrasound still wins for best moment!
I felt nauseous for the first 3 months pretty much - and then had sinus infection for a few weeks - so needless to say, it feels good to be a bit back to normal!
This picture was taken on January 26th - the first day I had on a full maternity outfit (pants & shirt) to work - it's a little hard to tell how big I am because I'm apparently standing at a weird angle but you get the idea - I can't suck my stomach in anymore and there is a bump sticking out now!
I love that Sally's in the picture wondering what's going on! I got this sweater at Target while shopping with Marthe - I enjoy it because it's comfy and has a fun neck!
Things I thought I would enjoy but actually haven't been enjoying as much lately -
Taking pictures (especially of me!) but of anything really - I'm not doing the 365 project this year - just taking pictures as I want to and I rarely feel like taking them!
Eating a lot
Staying awake past 8pm
Documenting the pregnancy - I hope this changes as I start to feel better and look a bit different but we'll see - I'm just exhausted for a large portion of the day - so sometimes I just come home, get in my PJs and lay on the loveseat and fall asleep!
I'm sure I could keep typing with all the little things I wrote down along the way - we are planning a gender reveal party for next month and I am trying to write in my journal on a regular basis so I don't forget things! I also have made a Shutterfly album about the "We are expecting" part of the journey in which I want everyone in it to sign and tell what they thought when we told them we were expecting - I'm going to put it in the baby's room and share it with them as they grow up!
Richard has been an amazing husband through all of this - just when I thought he couldn't get any better - he does something that just makes me smile (or sometimes cry, depending on the hormones that day!) - he does everything he can to keep me sane/happy and truly goes above and beyond the call of duty! It's all the little things - turning my mattress pad heater on while I fell asleep on the couch, so when I do get up and make it into bed - it's all warm...or getting me whatever food he can think of that I'll eat at the grocery, or the hundreds of other things he's done over the past 4+ months that just makes me so happy that I have someone so amazing by my side through all of this. He's a trooper and puts up with me even when I wouldn't put up with me! We're both excited to find out the sex of the baby (Richard definitely more than me!) and we can't wait to get started on the nursery, register for all kinds of fun stuff at the store & just share all these moments with our family & friends who have supported us so much through this entire journey - baby McFarland is going to be one spoiled & loved baby!