Monday, December 7, 2009

Cassie & Jamie, plus 5? 3? 2?

Well we almost had our own show a few times. Once we took our chances by triggering with 5 good follicles, having about a 30% chance of quads, 75% chance of trips or 90% chance of twins. Thank goodness that didn't happen!

Every time we had a very good chance of multiples, twins being the most common. So it was inevitable that when we did IVF we'd have a very good chance again. We put in 2 good embryos and one that Gentry didn't think would survive. When I took the blood test to see if I was pregnant my numbers registered early and high. I was at the high end of the singleton bracket (only having one), the middle range of the twin bracket, and the low end of the triplet bracket. I was a bit nervous. I REALLY didn't want trips and I really didn't want twins. The large stomach, early labor, bedrest, 2 or 3 kids at the same age, crying at the same time, wanting fed at the same time, just didn't sound fun to me.

We went in on August 21st for our 1st ultrasound to see how many had survived the IVF. By this time everyone knows you and you know all the nurses (some I wish I didn't know- but that's another post). So they were all anxious to see. They filed into my room as we began the ultrasound. We only saw one, but I didn't feel like the nurse was moving the wand all around the uterus. I thought "she must just be starting on one side, she'll eventually move to the other side and find another baby". It was the first time I'd had this nurse, as she was filling in from the Indy office and didn't know my situation so I let her know she should look around for another one. She said she had but she moved it around some more just to satisfy me. Sure enough there was only one. The nurses were all shocked. They said they had me on the "board" under the twin category and were expecting to see 2 that day. They all congragulated me and left.

Gentry came in and I shared the good news with him, "only one!". He was shocked I only wanted one. Apparently most couples want at least 2 when they go through IVF- they figure they want to get their money's worth. Not this girl! I got what I came for! I asked Gentry what he thought about the high HCG numbers, that made us all think it was going to be twins. He said most likely one didn't survive. So we almost had twins...

We were very happy the the results of IVF! We're so excited to have ONE healthy baby boy!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The ride that is infertility

I had suspected since college that getting pregnant would be difficult. Endometriosis runs in my family and was suspected since I was in high school. My junior year of college I went to the emergency room with what turned out to be a ruptured cyst on my ovary. In trying to find out what it was, an HGC (which was the most painful experience of my life) was performed which told that I had a misshaped uterus- a bicornuate uterus. So I was put on a birth control that had a low dose of estrogen and stopped my periods, all to slow down the endometriosis. I was on bc for 8 years.

In January 2008 I finally got a 2nd opinion from my family dr (who is also an ob/gyn). Who completely disagreed with the route my ob/gyn was taking for my endo (which was to keep me on bc until we were ready to "try" and then if I didn't get pregnant after a year of trying, we'd try something different). I liked his idea better- it was proactive. So he took me off bc to see if I still had "normal" periods, to see if I ovulated, and to see if we could get pregnant on our own. Everything looked normal, but never got pregnant after 3 mths. Dr. Blanke then sent me to Dr. Gentry, a fertility specialist, in May.

Gentry recommended a laporoscopy to see the stage of endometriosis and perform corrective surgery on my uterus. In June I had surgery where he removed the septum from my uterus and discovered I have moderate endometriosis. The septum was removed b/c if an embryo tried to implant on it, it woudn't be able to survive, and the septum would limit the space the baby would have to grow. The surgery went great.

Gentry recommended trying for 3 mths, from July - September, but we didn't get pregnant. So in October I started my first round of fertility treatment. I was put on Femara, which stimulates the ovaries to make follicles, and took a shot to make me ovulate. I made follicles very well, but still didn't get pregnant after 3 mths of femara. In January we added a shot- Follistim, which made more follicles. On the first round they started me on the normal, low dosage, and I produced 5 large follicles (this was a lot for the amount of meds I took). I was told I had a very good chance of having triplets, and almost guaranteed twins, if I took the ovulation shot (or "triggered"). I left the dr office thinking I wouldn't trigger, but after thinking and discussing it w/many friends, I decided I couldn't let another month be wasted by not trying, and I just knew in my heart I wouldn't get more than one, if I got one (based on previous month's outcomes). So I triggered. We were staying at my mom's house during this time due to an ice storm. I kept thinking how fun it'd be to tell the story of how we took such a big chance, and got pregnant during an ice storm. I had 2 weeks of torture, waiting for the results. I was devastated when I started my period. I cried all the time, at work, at home. I didn't see anyone for 3 days. It was odd, b/c I only triggered b/c I didn't think I'd get pregnant and yet it was the hardest negative result I had to deal with. I had put so much time, energy, thought, emotion, and discussion into making the decision to go through with the trigger, against my dr's recommendation.

After a round of fem-foll (femara and follistim) patients have to sit out a month; so February I had to sit out. In the meantime Gentry suggested Jamie and I have a blood test done to see if the antibodies in our blood rejected each other, which would prevent pregnancy. The blood test came back positive for the antibodies. So this meant that my body treated his blood as a foreign object and my blood vessels would clot to prevent his blood from growing in my body, or to prevent a baby from forming. The way to treat this is by a shot (another shot!! ahh!), except this one I have to have every day, throughout the entire pregnancy. Did I mention it leaves dime-sized bruises at every injection site. Lovely!! The shot is a blood thinner, which keeps my blood from clotting, keeping the baby alive. So after finding out we had a cure for this, I thought "oh well now that we know that, the next round will surely work b/c that is a major problem we just fixed." So hopeful, I tried fem-foll again in March but this time tried IUI (artificial insemination) with it, which means the sperm is injected into the uterus during ovulation. All of these were very fun treatments, I might add- sense the sarcasm? Once again it failed. It was difficult again, but I was becoming comfortable with the negative outcome. After that I had to sit out another month, and in May I tried it all over again, but still negative.

So in June Gentry suggested trying IVF. He felt I was the perfect candidate- I made great follicles easily, and Jamie's sperm were excellent swimmers, but something in the fertilization or implanting stage wasn't working on it's own, he wasn't sure which it was. He also offered to let me be a part of a study he was conducting at IU- "why women who look good on paper, can't get pregnant". This meant IVF would only cost $3000 instead of $10,000. It was an amazing offer and blessing! So we took it. I started IVF on June 24, 2009. I was put on 5 pills, 4 shots, and one patch. On retrieval day, July 6th, I had produced 6 good follicles which they inseminated. Of those, 2 were at the zygote (good) stage and one was struggling to survive, on transfer day. On July 11th, transfer day, while I laid on the table, in a gown, legs up, ready for transfer, Jamie and I had to decide how many to put in. We had already decided we wouldn't freeze any and we wouldn't throw any away. So while it didn't seem like we had much of a choice, I was still hesitating to put all 3 in. Gentry had always told us when he knew our hesitations of freezing/disposing of fertilized eggs, that God seemed to have a way of working it out; so we put all 3 in. The next 2 weeks, again, were long to say the least. I knew this was it though, so it was easier than the other rounds.

It was while I was in Indy with Mom and Jeff on July 18th, staying at Aunt Jamie's house for Carly's wedding shower (Jamie stayed home to work) that I got my first positive home pregnancy test. I took it first thing when I got up. I just peed on it w/o reading the directions b/c I didn't expect it to be positive: one, b/c I was testing very early. I wasn't supposed to test til July 25th. Two: b/c it was never positive! So when I got 2 lines, something I'd never seen before, I scrambled for the box to read the directions. Sure enough it said 2 lines meant positive. I still didn't believe so I took the test to Mom, while she was at the table eating breakfast (sanitary!) and said "look at this, read these directions, tell me what you think it says". We decided it was positive. So I called Jamie and told him all the while trying to stay calm b/c I didn't want to get excited until I knew for sure, from a blood test and a Dr's confirmation. I took the test for the next 2 days until I could get in for a blood test to confirm, and every time the lines got darker and darker. I just knew it had to be accurate, but feared it meant 2 or 3 since it came up positive so soon! Now I just had to wait to see how many!


I waited to see what the 1st trimester would bring- puking or no? I kept saying I've got an easy pregnancy coming, after all I went through to get pregnant. So I was anxious to see if it would be or not. Well, it was, the 1st trimester at least. I had very mild nausea from weeks 6 - 10. I craved carbs. Some of my faves were saltines, french fries, KFC mashed potatoes, and Noble Romans breadsticks. The nausea seemed to improve dramatically once I got off progesterone.

The ironic part is that pregnancy never made me throw up, but the stomach bug did. We were in the middle of moving. I had been packing boxes and Jamie moved a load a week until we were down to only big furniture. We had scheduled the big move day for August 28th and Jamie had asked a bunch of friends to help, but we only had a firm response from Kyle Hanson. Then that morning he called and said Tami was sick, throwing up, so he wouldn't be able to help b/c he had to watch the kids. Thinking he was going to be our only help, I offered to watch the kids for him so he could help Jamie move. I drove their car and took the kids to Mom's since I didn't want to be around Tami while she was sick, and our house was out of commission.
I went to work the next morning feeling a little nauseaus, a little more than normal I suspected. School starts at 8, but by 8:15 I was in the bathroom over the toilet. I told the kids I'd be right back, got the teacher downstairs to help watch them and call the office while I waited in the bathroom. I got very upset, mostly b/c I was afraid I was disappointing Susie and was overwhelmed by the situation. Susie came to check on me, I assured her it wasn't morning sickness, and she called Jamie to come get me. I waited in the nurse's office, nearly hysterical, I kept worrying about putting everyone out and "what would this do to the baby." So for the next 48 hours I stayed in bed, puking and diarrhea, realizing they're serious when they say your immune system isn't as strong while you're pregnant. From then on I was extremely cautious of germs :)

While I was out sick, my sub told my class, in a prayer, that I was pregnant. She assumed since she'd heard it from a secretary that I'd told my class so she prayed for my pregnancy. After the prayer the kids were in an uproar- "our teacher isn't pregnant! is she?" So she figured they actually didn't know and tried covering by telling them she got me confused with the other 3rd grade teacher who was pregnant last year. They were then suspicious for the next few weeks, until I told them. One boy went home and told his mom "the girls think Mrs. Druelinger is pregnant." He said "they keep trying to get the boys to ask and they think so b/c her stomach is getting bigger." She told him don't ever ask a lady if she is pregnant based on the size of her stomach.

We got the call

On July 20th, we got the call that we were pregnant. I was at mom's, laying out with Megan Williams. I kept the phone close by, expecting the call, and it finally came. I answered and on the other end was Bea and she said "You're gonna be a momma!, but you already knew that didn't you?" (I went in about a week early to have a blood test to confirm I was pregnant b/c I had taken an at home pregnancy test 3 days in a row that came up positive.) I was extremely excited and still in disbelief that it was finally real. After she congragulated me and answered my questions, I hung up and told my mom and Megan. I was in complete shock, so I didn't cry, but Mom did. It was fun to have people to share it with, but sad b/c Jamie wasn't there. So I called and text him until he called back; he knew we were expecting the call too, so he made it a point to call back within a couple minutes.

Bea gave me my hcg numbers which were 132. I knew that was high, especially since the blood test was early, so I suspected twins. I went back for more testing on July 22nd and the hcg numbers were 406 and progesterone numbers were 116. Those were definitely high for a singleton.

So the day had finally come- we were going to have a baby! We're beginning to like July...
July 20th: we're pregnant (1st)
July 21st: our anniversary (3rd)
July 22nd: my birthday (29th)
and we sold our house in July too!!