Thursday, June 30, 2011

HSG Results

This afternoon I had an HSG test done at Loyola Surgery Center in Oak Brook.  The point of this test is to make sure my fallopian tubes are not dilated and allowing a fluid into my uterus that would cause the embryos not to implant.  Also, my doctor was very curious to know the condition of my tubes after the traumatic surgery I had as a child.  It was pretty funny that my right tube was VERY long and skinny (as it should look and function), and my left tube no longer worked.  Dr. Uhler didn't expect either to work because of my previoosu surgery.  They just did not have any function without my ovaries anyways.  Plus, fallopian tubes have no role in the IVF process.  The only thing that would affect IVF is dillation.  My fallopian tubes looked perfect and would not prohibit the embryos from implanting. The positioning of everything was right where it needed to be.  The results were instant.  I was able to lie on the OR table and watch the screen.  It was pretty interesting to watch.  Also, it gave the doctor a very clear picture of my uterus so she knew the exact placement of my system.  This will help later at the transfer stage to know the ideal place to put the embryos.  From those I talked to said that this particular tests helps the doctor visualize so much beyond an ultrasound.  Plus, it is just more data for them on me.  Can't hurt right?  Following the test, I was wheeled to the recovery room, talked with the doc while looking at the photos from the procedure in more detail (loved seeing the relief in her face and voice!), and went over some post-op instructions, and I was on my way.  I am relieved that test results came back normal.  All looks good!  Phew!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New, Better, Dream Job = Infertility Benefits

Well, last week I was made an incredible offer to work as an Activity Director for a Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Of course, I am beyond excited for this offer because I will be working in Healthcare Administration and event planning/organization.  It is a management position which is a promotion from where I currently was….and I am given my own activites staff to execute my ideas and implement strategies with patients.  Of course, I accepted!  I have introduced myself to some of my staff already.  I have been dropping in here and there through this transition to get a feel for how things are going presently and to get them used to working together with me.  If anybody knows me, they know I LOVE event planning and organization…heck!  I do it as a hobby!  My initial thoughts were - could this be any more perfect for me!?  I can’t wait to get started!  I have already started the transition over.  I just can’t help myself.  I have started to clean my office and make it more personable, inviting, and more Katie-ish…  I have had orientation this week and sat in on some upper-level management meetings to get a better feel for it.  I will start corporate training within the next week.  I love the people I will be working directly with…very intelligent, friendly people.  But, of course the big question remains….how about the health insurance….?

After given my choices for insurance plans I immediately turn to infertility services/reproduction…and IT’S COVERED!!!  Yay!!  I still was in disbelief so I called the insurance company explaining I am in open enrollment, blah… and I wanted to make sure our needs were covered before selecting a plan.  I called twice to speak to 2 different customer service reps to make sure they matched in their responses, and yep!  The new plan will cover our IVF needs!  The responses matched exactly.  We are ELATED with this news.  Not only is this a perfect professional move for me, but it is an even bigger move for my little family to be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Angel from Loveland, OH

Even with the saddest news, you find ways to move forward.  Sometimes it takes longer than other times…  We still have no words as we are both still stunned from the last cycle.  Purely stunned.  We were just so sure it had worked.

Anyways, the hard stays with you…not only did we have to go back to the real world, but we both knew had to start thinking about where we wanted to move forward with the process even though I still had no idea what I wanted, as I was still picking up the pieces from my broken heart.  We know we are both still so young, and know we have a time to go back to this, but we know we will still always wonder, but what if it is next time that is the ONE?  It was an EXTREMELY difficult time because not only did we receive bad news on the other end of the phone, but those were the last of our donor eggs.  We were all out of eggs.  We literally have to start from square 1 all over again.  That is what broke my heart.  Here I was thinking, we can not do this for awhile now.  We just don’t have eggs to work with because my body doesn’t produce them because of stupid cancer.  My heart was broken more than you can imagine.  I am not the type of person to ask around to friends and family.  I mean, how does one ask for somebody to commit themselves to a 2-4 week process and to give Pat and I a piece of them?  To me, it is beyond asking for a favor.  Of course this makes me so sad.  I felt in a dead end with nothing but just resentment and anger towards myself.  I just couldn’t even begin to start thinking about it because it would just make me cry.  Even as strong as some people think I am, I knew I was hitting rock bottom and very expeditiously.

A couple days following our negative news, Pat and I were showered with messages of inspiration and hope.  Even as sad and as low as we were, each message picked us up in a special way.  We read each message with smiles and tears.  However, there was one message in particular that was life-changing and touches my heart in a very special way.  I was conversing with a friend from Pat’s hometown of Loveland.  She has been following our story from the very beginning and even donated money to our Birdies for Babies golf outing last September to show her support for us.  She has always been one of our biggest cheerleaders from very early on.   Also, she has a very good idea of what we are going through as she began to explain to me that she was an egg donor before and was inspired by our story to donate to an anonymous loving infertile couple similar to Pat and I.  She shared her story of how she donated to a couple in the past and enjoyed her experience.  She was moved by the emotions involved.  Her word that described it was “intense”.  I thought it was a great word to depict the journey.  I thought it was so kind that she wanted to share this story with me because we are a recipient couple of donor eggs and we understand it, but we only had enough eggs from our previous donor for two solid attempts at FCI.  It was intriguing to hear a story from a donor’s perspective as I was very curious.  She ended by saying, “Katie, if you would want some help, I would be more than happy to donate to you guys.”  She said, “I don’t want any money from you, I just want to help you guys wherever I can.”  I started crying instantly.  I couldn’t believe somebody could be so selfless and generous without any second thought.  Again, I find myself amazed by the extraordinary people we are meeting throughout this journey.  Asdifficult as all of this is, the people I have met and those who have wanted to help us in such significant ways is just overwhelming.  I was beyond touched by the offer, I couldn’t help but just cry. I think I was feeling a bit of every emotion.  At that point we had no idea what we were going to do, but after this conversation, we knew where our journey was taking us.  We know God hasn’t forgotten about us, he has been surrounding us with angels as constant reminders to stay strong and keep the faith.  We know good things will come to us, we just do not know when. 

We are now in the process of moving forward, but now we know we have an angel helping us along the way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Results

Got the phone call....We are not pregnant.  It hit us real hard.  I was so sure it worked.  It caught me totally offguard.  Everything was perfect.  There is no other reason other than luck, and luck just wasn't with us this time.

Right now we are just going to be sad.  We are heartbroken and trying to muster up enough between the two of us to formulate our next plan.  We will figure it out.  Our time is not now, but it will come one of these days. ...but right now we just need to be sad. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Transfer Day!

Uterus at 9mm with layers (1 week before transfer)

Transfer time has arrived!  My body has been cooperating better than everybody had expected it so things got moved up!  I was very happy with moving things up…of course!   Just to be 100% sure, Dr. Uhler had me visit her in Oak Brook to check my uterine lining that would be present less than 24 hours before the procedure just to be 100% sure.  She wanted everything to be perfect.  I measured in at 9.2mm and the lining was glowing. (as it should look from the progesterone injections).   It was primed and ready for transfer without a doubt.  She talked with the ultrasound tech and asked twice is this really happening?!  It was pretty funny at the time.  Dr. Uhler pulled me into her office before I left and said this is going to be our best chance.  We are going for it.  She mentioned we are going at it very aggressively being that my lining looks beautiful.  We are using my two strongest embryos with a plush lining.   She said that Dr. Lederer would be performing my transfer downtown as he is the doctor on call for our transfer date.  She told me he is excellent as he has been with FCI for 16 years.  I had no worries.  I have heard good things from friends about him!

Our hatching blastocysts. The top blast is already coming out of the shell.

Less than 24 hours later we find ourselves at FCI – River North in the lab room.  We got there on time (with a full bladder).  The Embryologist walked in and said our embryos thawed nicely and look gorgeous.  They also did “assisted hatching”.  It is a technique where they manipulate the shell and assist with hatching it out of its shell to improve chances of implantation.  Everything looked good on the lab end, which was very re-assuring as the embryo quality is huge in a successful outcome.  Dr. Lederer came in to introduce himself to us, and he started off by saying that Dr. Uhler had emailed him and said take extra special care of Kathleen Davis.  She is a very special patient.  Of course Pat and I laugh.  He told us that he went over my history and said that this cycle is the best my body has ever cooperated and that on paper this is the perfect opportunity to transfer.  He said my embryos were perfect.  They look very strong.  Again, I was reassured.  He did end by saying of course there is no guarantee in this science, but he feels very confident in my case.  That is just what we needed to hear.  He looks at both Pat and myself and said are you ready for show time?  And we nod to him…Pat and I look at each other and we could see in each other’s eyes this is going to be it.  Let’s get this party started.  He walks out for the last time as the nurse and embryologist set up the room.  Once room was transfer ready, the nurse opened the door and yelled out “Ready in Room 3”. 

Watching our embryos on the TV as we are seconds away from the procedure.
I lay back on the table and the nurse preps me.  They put the camera on the embryos in the lab so we can watch them.  One thing I noticed right away was that one of the embryos was already coming out of the shell.  Haha I know that is a great sign…It wants to implant very soon!  The doctor said yes, that is a great sign!   That is what we want to see.  This time the procedure differed a little it as it is a different doctor.  He went much more slower.  He explained everything he was doing as he was doing it.  He even instructed Pat on when to take pictures.  His voice was very calming and smooth.  He talked with such confidence…I loved it!   By the end of the procedure, he said, “Katie, I have been doing this for many years, and by the way the catheter moved around inside your cavity and where I was able to place the embryos, I have a hunch about this one that it will end successfully.”  I smiled so big and replied, “Really??”  He said “yes, I do.”  He listened for the embryologist to give the clear that the embryos were indeed out of the catheter and in my body.  He started to clean up.   He shook my hand as I was still lying down on the table and said best of luck to you.  He shook Pat’s hand and we were done.
waiting patiently (with a full baldder)

Pat getting excited.

The embryo transfer.

I walked next door to Pulling Down the Moon for post transfer acupuncture.  It was just what I needed!  The perfect end to a perfect transfer!  Now we wait for the pregnancy test!  Say a prayer for us! J

St. Gerard and St. Rita neckalce from my parents. St. Rita = Saint of Impossible Dreams, St. Gerard = Saint of Motherhood and Fertility.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Keep the Good News Coming!

Again, we went in for another monitoring appointment downtown and again I worry...naturally.  It is nice that Pat is with me for this monitoring appointment.  Usually it is just me running in before work.  Now he gets to see how quick these appointments are, yet important!  I found comfort in his presence being there with me for such an important appointment.  We are at the River North location and it is ENTIRELY different than FCI - Naperville....there are different waiting rooms for ultrasound exams and blood work.  Woah baby!  Pat actually got lost trying to find me.  haha  He eventually found me and we waited for my name to be called for the infamous "lining check"  Roberta the UT introduced herself to us and gave us a tour of her room and advised me as to where to change.  I walk out and lay on the exam table.  In goes the camera, and there appears my uterus...I don't know exactly what it is, but we wait patiently for her to measure.  While she is measuring she says to us that Dr. Uhler had called at 6:45am from home to make sure that Roberta calls with my lining measurement right when we finished.  Roberta said she is acting as if I am her little duckling.  I love that Dr. Uhler has been watching me like a hawk!  It is very reassuring and I feel safe! 

Anyways, back to the ultrasound....Roberta announces I am at 9mm with layers.  It looks perfect!  I could not believe my ears!!!  I look at Pat and we were both in shock!  What a relief!  We feel this really is perfect!  What a relief!  Mind you, at the time of our last transfer I was at 7mm with no layers.  This is night and day different.  So I am excited to see what is in store!  Next, we went to the lab where they drew my blood to check hormone levels...all looked great!  It was a great appointment!

Dr. Uhler called me personally to discuss the results later in the afternoon.  She said, "I just wanted to call and hear your excitement because I know you are!"  We were both very excited on the phone.  It was a great conversation.  We went over some stats and where we are in the process.  Overall, we are right on path to find the light at the end of our tunnel.  I couldn't feel any better going forward!  I know I am already glowing with excitement!  :)

Keep us in your prayers!