Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Magic - Egg Donor Results

Hello Everybody!

I hope everybody is enjoying their holiday season!  As for our journey in the infertility world, we are experiencing the stress that most people endure with this battle.  There are so many ups and downs that nobody can prepare you for.  The ups have been real ups and the downs have been so for the holidays coming up, magic is in the least we like to think so....this is the time of year the impossible is very possible...Christmas is the time of year where dreams come true.  We are holding onto that!  :)

For those going through infertility of any situation, just know there are people out there that deal with the same triumphs everyday just like you....I am realizing each day that this infertility bubble we live in is not so small...I recently joined a fertility forum to discuss our journey and I found it very helpful to compare it with other couples across the country.  It is hard to explain but I do find comfort in speaking to other women who are living the same life as me everyday going to doctor appointments and being pricked and prodded what feels like everyday!  I love speaking to other females across the country about their obstacles and how they deal or even cope with them because I am always full of questions!  These women are my heros.  I have never conversed with such strong women.  I envy their courage and their inner strength as they embark on this journey whether it be their first, second, or even 10th try!  I have met several, all at different levels.

For those of you who do read this who are currently in cycle know there is a whole world of women who support you 110%!  Patrick and I wish you the best of luck!!!!  I have found lifelong friends through this process.  As for the staff at FCI, I find such comfort and peace with them.  They are the best!!!  I could not imagine going through this with any other staff.  The support is there through calls of joy and tears of sadness!  They are truly remarkable for their daily support and expertise!  I trust them with my life.  I can not wait to send them pictures of our babies and stop by for annual visits to show them what they work so hard at!

Now on to the good stuff!  Our egg donor had her egg retrieval the same day Patrick went in to give his sperm specimen to be combined with the eggs for fertilization.  I remember the morning he was advised to go in...he woke up before his alarm, jumped out of bed, and started to get dressed.  It was VERY early in the morning.  As he was grabbing his wallet and keys, he went over to kiss me on the cheek and whispered to me, " I am going to go make our babies today."  It may sound strange, but that is a moment I will remember forever.  He then drove to the FCI lab in Chicago, IL where the embryologists were now handling our case.  The excitement in his voice was comforting and made my heart glow.  At that moment, I knew everything was going to be ok.  He was back home before I even had to go to work...

We wanted to delay info to ensure we were being confidential with information concerning our egg donor.  We had our donor go through an egg retrieval at an undisclosed date and she yielded us 20 eggs!!!!!  This is considered above average from what we were told by the FCI lab!!  There were no complications.  16 of those eggs were fertilized by Patrick's sperm, and 14 were considered viable to watch for growth to be scaled!  They were watched over several days to determine growth to be ranked as to which had the best chances to implant in my uterus.  After days of growth and strict monitoring 24/7, 5 of those embryos were considered healthy.  The remaining others degenerated over the growth period.  They had no chance of survival.  This is how the lab staff knows which ones are the strongest and will most likely survive.  We now have 5 embryos in our possession and can not wait to update everybody on news!

Patrick, being a science whiz, loved hearing all the information on our embryos as we were able to decide on which ones to implant and how many.  Me, not being a science whiz and not fully understanding the scale the embryologists use, I put him in charge of the information concerning our embryos.  He decides which ones to use and how many because he understands everything about them the most.  Thank goodness one of us understands the embryo stages because I sure don't!  Stay tuned for more info on our journey!

Happy Holidays! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010


As I am continuing forward on our journey, I have been advised that being stress-free is essential from this point forward.  I have been reading forums and talking to others  about their best de-stressing strategies.  I have been going shopping (which gets expensive!) after work to clear my mind.  I think just walking around and being around Christmas shoppers is relaxing to me.  I have been cleaning and doing mini projects around the house every night which is very nice being so productive!  Also, after Birdies for Babies, a program called Circle + Bloom (  reached out to me to try their product.  My response is of course, I will try anything!  I recently tried it and it was AMAZING!  Circle + Bloom is a download that you put on your iPod.  It is a total body relaxation.  I found that it cleared my mind and went into a state of deep relaxation.  I have never ever been that relaxed in my entire life.  I listen to it occasionally before bed.  I find it very soothing and calming.  I see the importance of trying to stay relaxed during this process.  Stress is the enemy;  Good and Bad stress… you can’t win!  Haha  I have to try and keep my excitement and despair to a minimum to maintain the equilibrium.  Very hard for me being that I am an anxious person by nature.  Keeping our fingers crossed and keep the prayers going…

Monday, November 22, 2010


Just wanted to update everybody that we were maried on November 6!  (Hence why I have not been blogging lately.)  We have been so busy just finishing up the post wedding stuff.  I am officially no longer Katie Dennis anymore.  I am a Davis now!  :)  Thank you to all who have celebrated with us at our wedding and for those who sent their well wishes to us!  It really was the BEST wedding a girl could ask for!!  It was such a fairy tale of a day!  The pictures do not do the wedding justice!  I truly am the luckiest girl to have found Pat!  Without him, the wedding would not have been anything at all to me.  Seeing him waiting at the end of the aisle waiting for me was the best moment!  He is my best friend, my rock, my everything.  Also, we are truly blessed to have such amazing family and friends!  We are still on cloud 9!  We are loving married life in our new home!!  Life is overall GREAT!  We are going to take this positivity with us as we look into our future as we look to start our family!  Stay tuned for more updates!!  :-)

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My First PIO Injection

So I took my first progesterone shot yesterday afternoon!  I am planning on doing them at night, but I could not have gone through the entire day being a worried wreck!!  Especially because it was the first time doing an injection.  OMG – it was NOTHING….no pain at all…blood tests are worse and I don’t think blood tests are bad.  Seriously I was worrying over nothing!!!  I didn’t even use the EMLA cream to numb the area that they prescribed me.  Pat said to try the first time without the cream just so I had a baseline of pain...Just so I would know what the worse it could be!  Pat was actually excited to give me the shot…he was smiling.  He is studying needles and tests at school right now.  I made him watch the informative video they instructed us to wtch right before.  He felt like he was doing a medical procedure on me.  We set up everything in the bathroom and I sterilized like CRAZY!  I could’ve slapped him bc my knees were shaking I was so nervous!  He was loving it.  I was being such a big baby.  Pat just couldn't stop laughing at me!   He said OK - I am going to count to three...1...2...3...boom!  He said you will feel some pressure bc he had a hard time injecting the think oil out of the tiny needle.  For 1 cc, it took a solid 10 sec just to give you an idea.

Don’t read everything online about the PIO shots. I use a 25 gauge needle which is a pediatric needle and it isn’t painful at all.  I could do it everyday if need be.  Not that I would want to but just to give you an idea of the pain tolerance.  Plus my booty was a tad bit sore from the intramuscular shot later in the day walking up stairs and what not, but nothing to stress on….it wasn’t a big deal at all.  The muscle pain is the only mild discomfort of the entire process but is 100% tolerable.  My advice - do not listen to everthing you read online about the PIO shots.  They are not a big deal at all!  What a huge relief!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Middle of 2nd Trial Cycle – Ultrasound

As we are in our 2nd trial cycle and are using the actual drugs/calendar system as the REAL DEAL, we are on a strict monitoring basis.  I had doctor’s appointments all week for blood work and ultrasounds to monitor the status of the estrogen intake and how it was affecting my uterus.  For those not familiar, by the midpoint of the cycle, my uterus should be very thick and hopefully has some layers to implant those embryo(s) (hypothetically).  My appt was at 7am on Friday, (this was the 2nd appt this week).  The ultrasound technician came to retrieve me from the waiting room to take a peek at the progress of my uterus growth.  That previous Wednesday, she explained that the doctor likes to see 8mm with some layers prior to a transfer.  On Wed, I was at 6mm.  Of course I was thinking how can I grow 2mm in 48 hours!  That is nutty!  As she was taking the pictures she needed to pass along to the doctor, she had the biggest smile on her face!  She said you are FANTASTIC!  Everything looks perfect for a transfer if we were to do it right now.  I was at 9mm with FIVE layers to my uterus!!!!  That is above and beyond the goal!  The doctor was VERY pleased to see these results being that my hormones, since I have been 12, have been minimal from the cancer.    Her goal was to get me to do some major growth over the summer and it has happened!!   What a relief!  It is nice to get recognition for all the hard work Pat and I are doing at home.  Of course I am grinning from ear to ear because I have no idea what the hormones I am taking at home are actually doing to me!  As much as a pain they are to take and keep track of everyday, this was amazing to hear!  I just take them and don’t think too much about it…I guess my young age comes in handy!  ;)

We are still in the process of scheduling a time we would consider to do the REAL IVF cycle.  It is tough, because we have to find a convenient time for three people.  Pat, myself, and the donor.  We do have some pretty good ideas of when it will happen and we talked a lot about it for weeks however, as Pat and I begin to think of a possible time that would be good for each of us, we noticed that on the donor’s end there is a lot more work when it comes to time devotion to this process.  She will be monitored daily for two to three weeks to see the progress of her egg stimulation from her drugs that she will be donating to us.    Her availability is huge because of the dedication and devotion she has to put in to coming in for daily doctor appointments.  A lot relies on her availability here.  The time commitment involved is of the utmost importance.  It has a huge impact on our results.  Every medication and procedure must be administered and performed by the hour, not the day.  It is a very precise science.  There is no wiggle room when working with hormones.  If the doctor needs to see you, you MUST see them.  Here I thought coming in for blood work and ultrasounds 2 times a week was rough…not anymore!  Our respect for egg donors has grown so much!  We have to put 100% of our trust into this person we have never met before to do her job.  We will be getting called daily durign her monitoring to make sure she is on course and being a compliant egg donor.

Our appointment with the reproductive lawyer is next week!  Being that I work full-time and Pat is a full-time graduate student and a part-time lab tech at Rush University Medical Center in the city, we both cannot meet with the lawyer in-person.   It is just impossible.  No time!  We will be doing all the work over teleconference.  It is a mandatory step (for obvious reasons) when working with egg donors.  The main reason being that once her eggs are retrieved from her body she will be signing away genetic rights at her retrieval appointment to me.  Seems simple, but Very important!  The lawyer will be working on our case through our cycle whenever we choose to do it.  All I know about the donor is her family history/education/occupation/self medical history application and a few pictures.  I would be able to recognize this individual, but she knows NOTHING about Pat or myself which is reassuring.   We will see how everything goes next week!

Now- Back to the wedding planning!  3 weeks away!!! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

PIO (Progesterone in oil) injections

As part of the 2nd trial of hormones, I was instructed to incorporate PIO injections into the cycle.  Before I had a pill now to be replaced with shots.  Just as all new patients to the fertility world, I am nervous to start trying it, yet eager to be an expert on it.  I have been doing tons of research, asking friends who have been through this already, nurses, etc. on tips to do this not only correctly but with minimal pain because I will have to do this EVERYDAY for days/weeks/ or even months!!!  The injection is not just a typical liquid injection, it is an oil.  It takes awhile longer to inject through into your muscle.  The oil must be injected intramuscularly (IM)!!  Fantastic…sounds fun right? Haha Lucky for me, I have Pat to assist me.  I know I could prob inject myself if I HAD to, but he is very willing to do it for me.  He is intrigued by this whole process, of course saddened by it, yet intrigued and inspired!  The injections must be in your upper quadrant of your butt.  Yes, my butt.  Ugh…everyday!  The needle itself is very big and long.  I am overwhelmed with reading on the topic of these injections just to hear from the millions of people out there who have done this as part of their regime to hear every detail about them.  I feel like an expert and I have not even tried it yet….thank god we live in a society with youtube videos and infinite articles online!  I know I sound like a huge baby and this will seem like nothing in a few days, weeks, months, or however long I will need this to be in my cycle regime….but for now it is new and I am getting nervous…haha  This is one of those times where I say…this is all for Baby Davis which will make every prick/blood test/procedure/dr. appt 100% WORTH IT!

I will let everybody know how it goes!!  If you have any tricks of the trade or just some sound advice on the side effects. PLEASE share!!  I would love to hear thoughts!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Birdies for Babies Results!!!

THE RESULTS ARE IN!!!  Birdies for Babies made $21,000 for Patrick and I!!!  It is the biggest and best event to date!!!  We are beyond elated and mostly excited to move forward!  We can not thank everybody enough for those who came out and participted to support us!!!!!!!!!  The generosity of people moved us tremendously. I am sure those who were present could tell by my speech or lack there of because there were too many tears of joy! 

Check out the website to see photos and standings!!!  And Most importantly....Mark your calandars for next year's Birdies for Babies on Sept 24, 2011!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

1st Trial Cycle of Hormones

Today concludes the end of my first trial cycle.  I can't believe how much work and emotions get involved!  First of all, the hormone regimen I was put on was very aggressive.  I noticed getting emotional and moody over the course of the first trial cycle.  God Bless Pat.  hahaha He is quite the trooper!  I could not be more blessed to have such a patient and kind partner through all this.  My life revolved around a calendar all month.  I never had a medication regimen quite as strict as this ever in my life.  Plus with hormones, it is very exact.  Missing medications throws everything off!  Now that I am finished with my first trial, I know what I will feel like at every point.  Before, I was oblivious to how I would feel.  I just jumped in, head first.  I feel this 2nd run will be a lot better because I have had a month of practice! 

As for the 2nd trial cycle, they are adding progesterone oil injections.  This does not sound fun at all.  I have to keep thinking to myself this is for future Baby Davis...  I know it will get me through the injections of the thick oil… it has already gotten me through so much already through the IVF process.  Everything revolves around the dream Baby Davis.  Pat is looking forward to sticking me because he is learning blood work in his graduate school curriculum presently so he feels very doctor-esque at the moment.  Haha plus its payback for the mood swings!  Haha Nah he will be kind and gentle I am sure.

I feel very positive about what is to come with this 2nd trial!  I am remaining very optimistic for the future and most of all strong in my spirits.   Not every night is easy, but the payoff is going to be 150% worth it I am sure!

Friday, October 1, 2010


As the wedding is approaching and is now 1 month away and I am thinking that my stress levels are at an all-time HIGH, I have been doing lots of reading on infertility and treatments and stress is a top reason to either miscarry or not get pregnant.  I was informed that 75% of women who participate in Yoga have a successful pregnancy with a healthy baby.  I know that I want to to everything in my power to alleviate any stresses during this time not only for my upcoming IVF cycle, but for my overall health. 

I have been doing research on pricing and locations to see which yoga experience would be the best and most convienient for me.  I thought it was sweet of Pat to offer to go with me to yoga to be supportive!  He is such a wonderful partner with everything.  I sure am blessed to have him in my life.  :)  Maybe he can try yoga one of these days...who knows, maybe he would enjoy it...I have several options to look into!  A majority of my research has come from "Pulling Down the Moon."  They take a hollistic approach to infertility. I feel it supplements the IVF treatment very well.  They offer schedules online and work with you to make you feel like part of a family.  Even though there are so many negative sides to infertility.  I feel that infertilty has the LARGEST support group.  No matter who you are in the infertility world, I feel it an immediate bond with others that is similar to a bond of a family.  I love that I can talk openly about what is going on with others who are going through the exact same emotions, events, dr appointments, scares, and excitements as we are!

My goal is to start yoga this month!  I can not wait!  I have always wanted to try yoga, but now I feel it is essential for my health and for the conception of our first baby!  :)  If anybody has ANY advice on the yoga world, please share!  I would love to hear more thoughts on this!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moving Forward...

Now that Birdies for Babies is over, I can only think about the future.  It is such a fun thing to daydream about.  I find myself eager to wake up every morning because more good news comes each day!  We are anxious to hear the final figures from the outcome of Birdies for Babies any day now.  We can not wait to hear the final number because we saw all the support it produced!  It was amazing.  The anticipation grows by the minute it feels like...Also, I feel when we hear the figure it will feel even more real..  It feels real now, but I know once we hear back from the Traders, I am going to feel like we have everything we need now!  :)

Now that our donor is chosen from FCI's donor gallery, we are working with our third party coordinator at FCI very closely.  She is basically our liason between us and the donor and the IVF process as a whole. She is walking us through the rest of the process.  She is going over lab schedules, consent forms, and legalities we will have to work out with the donor.  I have only spoke with the third pary coordiantor once to date, but from what it sounds like, I will be communicating alot more with her as we get closer to our BIG DAY!  Speaking of our BIG DAY, we have tentative dates in mind of when we would like to "conceive" at the FCI lab in Chicago.  We actually have not mentioned the specific dates to either of our families or friends.  We are still staying quiet about it because it is the one secret we feel we have at this point.  We can't wait to share that with our families, but we feel we are going to wait until after the wedding before we share!  I constantly am looking at my planner at work and just staring at the month we will try for our first baby.  I get butterflies in my stomach.  Stay tuned to my blog to see which month we choose! 

Our third party coordinator is currently working with our donor to do a final screening and working on consent forms with her.  I will be updated when she gives her availability for the next year.  It is exciting to be at this point because over the summer we had no insurance coverage and we had what felt like a TON of preliminary diagnostic testing to the fun stuff is starting!  I am anxious to receive any detail or piece of news from FCI on our next step....every piece of news makes my heart flutter. 

Until next time!...  :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birdies for Babies Golf Outing

After 1.5 months after being selected as the Birdies for Babies beneficiaries for 2010, on September 25 Birides for Babies was FINALLY here!  It was a beautiful Fall day!  We arrived at Tamarack Golf Course in Naperville.  I worked the check in/registration and Pat handed out the super nice windshirts to the golfers!  I loved my job because I had the opportunity to say hello to all the golfers who came out to support us and the cause!  I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were there for us!  We truly felt so much love and support!  After check in, my friend Lisa and I drove from hole to hole to talk with each of the foursomes individually.  It was nice to say hello to eveybody and see how everybody was doing.  Some of the foursomes are people I have not seen in so long!!!  It was alot of fun!  I even got to speak with Dr. Beltsos, Dr. Marut, and Dr. Sipe from FCI.  They were a fun foursome!  Our conversation was very inspiting.  At about 2 pm the reception started.  We enjoyed a nice buffet lunch.  The event sponsors and big donors were awarded plaques and Pat and I helped pass out the raffle prizes (which were real nice by the way!).  Dr. Uhler (our Doctor) came to the event and gave a speech at the podium at the reception.  Pat and I were asked to say a few words to the crowd that participated in the event.  I wanted to thank everybody and tell how grateful we are.  I knew it was going to be difficult, but I knew I had to try and say something.  However, I couldn't get through two sentences without crying.  I had to hand over the microphone to Pat and he finished the speech for the two of us.  The feelings I had can not be put into words.  After the speech Pat hugged and kissed me and whispered "I love you, we are doing this now."  And he is right...we can ACTUALLY do this now!!  The whole day was amazing.  THANK YOU to everybody who came out to support us and the cause!!!  We are forever changed by that Saturday!  We are overwhelmed by the generosity and pure kindness of people.  Todd and Melissa Trader are our angels.  They are extraordinary in every sense of the word!  We have not met kinder, more genuine people then that family.  We are blessed to have had the opportunity to meet them.  I get the chills just typing it.  Hopefully, we will get to bring our baby every year to the Birdies for Babies event annually to continue paying it forward to other families who are in need of a wish of a lifetime!  :)

The Donor Gallery

Due to our preliminary testing being completed and looking to start my trial cycles, Dr. Uhler gave me the green light to browse through the donor gallery!  At first I thought this would be easy and fun, but once I started to look though it, I realized that not one person was good enough.  I know I was being over analytical, but nobody tells you how hard it is to choose half of your baby's genetics to replace your own! We decided to create a list of the three most important things the donor HAD to have in order for us to choose one.  It was real tough.  We decided on one donor and we felt confident, but 48 hours later we found out news of SIDS ran in the family and opted to pass on that donor.  So we needed to start from square one again. 

I needed a break because choosing the first donor took a lot emotionally out of me.  It turned into a very sensitive topic within hours of us starting to browse through.  I didn't think it was going to be an emotional thing until I expereienced it.  I had to learn how to remove the personal aspect of this process out.  It has to be treated like a business deal.  It's not like I am ever meeting this person, nor ever knowing her real name.  It was hard for me to look at a picture and to remove the personal side of things.  I never experienced that ever in my life being that I am a personable person this was a hard task.

I never officially started to look again but I was just checking the website on September 23 because it is an everyday ritual, I came across a new face and new application!  I felt an immediate was so random!  I immediately contacted the donor coordinator at FCI to arrange for us to sign a document to "officially" choose her so we can get started on the consent forms.  We are so excited!!!  We finally chose a donor we both feel confident about.

No Insurance Coverage :(

As my preliminary testing is over and Pat is just finishing up with his sperm analysis, we were informed my employer does not cover any IVF treatments.  We were very disheartened.  I couldn't even think about it.  I was down for a long time.  I could not believe I not only had to think of the possibility of the physical side of getting pregnant, but the financial side to getting pregnant as well!!!  It was such a bad day when we found out.  I couldnt stop crying about it for days, even weeks.  I felt like I got punched in the stomach.  Pat tried everything to make me feel better, but nothing was working.  I had no idea where to start with this new idea.

After a few days, I was determined to find something out there in this world that could maybe help us...I looked at cancer survivor websites and medical loan companies.  I could not believe the cost of infertility treatment!  The cost of our case estimated $25,000.  I thought "We will never have $25,000 just sitting around...that is a lot of money!"  On July 16, I was on the FCI facebook page and saw a post made by Todd Trader with a title of WIN A FREE IVF CYCLE.  My eyes lit up and I had a good feeling in my stomach.  I immediately clicked on the link to look further into it.  I opened up an application and filled it out as fast as I could because I saw at the bottom of the application that the due date for all applications was that day!!  I wanted so badly to be considered, but I knew our chances were slim to none!  As I was filling it out I felt a calmness come over me and a pure grace that I knew everything was going to be ok; just to be patient and have faith.  It was the strangest feeling, but somehow, someway, I felt an instant relief.

Through correspondence with Todd Trader, we found out via email on July 28 (the anniversary of my diagnosis of cancer/my mom's bday) at 8:28am that WE WERE SELECTED for the 2010 beneficiaries for Birdies for Babies!!!!!!!!!  Pat and I were jumping on the bed with joy!  We could not believe it!  I read the email 20 times and still didn't believe it!  Pat told me call Todd!  Make sure this is for real!  I called Todd to confirm and he said ..."you can get excited!"  haha I will never forget that morning.  That morning changed our lives forever!  I could not stop shaking with joy!  :)

Prolactin Levels

FCI is real good about giving you the results of any blood work done that day.  I got a phone call around 2:30pm and was informed my prolactin levels are elevated.  Of course I think of the worst and think oh no!  I am never going to get preganant because of my stupid prolactin levels!  I called FCI back frantically to talk to Shannon, my nurse, and she said no worries!  Worst case scenario - you will just be put on a medication to lower it so it is in the normal range.  My levels were barely elevated, but just to be on the safe side, I started on the mdeication and take it twice a week to keep my prolactin levels down.  Three weeks later, a blood test revealed my prolactin levels were normal!!  Phew!  ...I guess I can get pregnant now...ha

Preliminary Testing

Patrick and I completed our preliminary testing at FCI.  We were both asked to have blood work run.  Pat had to do a sperm analysis and I had to have a saline sonogram.  At first this was a lot to take in.  I never even heard of a saline sonogram!  I thought it would hurt!  So I went in on July 12 with my mom, Kristen, and my godbaby Macy to FCI in Naperville to have my blood taken and saline sonogram done by Dr. Uhler.  First, the blood test!  The nurse approached me with 10 viles!  I could not believe that!  Why on earth would I need to give that much blood?!  I never had to give that much even with cancer!  Anyways, so I continued thinking ok I have given blood hundreds of times before...this is nothing!  The next thing I knew I was telling the nurse ok I think I am sick, and blacked out.  I had a juice box, full of sweat, and slowly color came back into my face as I was laying in the nurse's arms.  Luckily, they got the majority of the blood they needed from me.  Next, I was on to the saline sonogram.  It was not bad at all.  If anything I experienced some mild cramping but nothing painful.  It was very cool to see my empty uterus being measured.  The doctor said it was relatively small due to the lack of hormones I have had since I was 12.  She started me on aggressive doses of estrogen and progesterone.  I couldn't peel my eyes off the ultrasound monitor just staring at my empty uterus on the screen.  I could already envision our little baby there one day.  Overall, not a bad day! :)