Good news!!!

Y’all, we finally have some GOOD NEWS!  My AMH went up!!!  By a lot!!!  Just so you know how exciting the number is, I’ll give you a little history of my AMH levels:

May 2018: 0.69 (we retrieved 3 viable eggs with this number)

January 2019: 0.42 (this was the first test with the new dr before I started the protocol)

April 2019: 0.33

May 2019: 0.21

TODAY: 0.65!!!!!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

IT’S WORKING!!!!!  I can’t even tell you what this means for me.  I’ve had a couple bumps in the road the past month and actually had just scheduled a consult with the dr for next week because I felt like it wasn’t working and I wanted to talk with him to see what he thought.  And then I just got this AMH result!  This is the first progress we’ve seen since I started in February and it is HUGE!  This is huge for my state of mind about everything and it gives us so much HOPE.  HOPE that this time will work.  HOPE that the number will keep climbing and we’ll get more eggs and more embryos.  Honestly, HOPE that we even get to try again with MY eggs!  I am just feeling so incredibly positive and happy right now!  We really needed this good news and I’m over the moon.

Thanks for sticking with us through this and continuing to support us on our journey! ❤️🙏🏻❤️

Much love,

Michelle

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Birthdays

You know, I used to love my birthday.  Like, really love it.  Much like my Grandma Shirley, I thought it should be a national holiday.  No really, she just turned 84 and still feels this way. 😊 However, now when my birthday rolls around, all I can think is that one more year went by and we still don’t have a baby.  The higher that number creeps, the harder it gets.  Let’s be real, we don’t need it to be harder.  My birthday was yesterday, and I spent a portion of it sitting in my office crying.  37 just seems so much older than 36.  I’m not sure why.  I guess I feel that way with each year that goes by with no baby.  37 years old and still trying to have our first child.  It just sucks.  Nothing is how I thought it would be.  Shit, when I was young, I thought for sure I’d have babies by 30.  Now, I’m praying every day that we might have a baby by 40.  My 40, not my much younger husband’s 40.  Granted, I didn’t actually meet my husband until I was 33.  But even then, I never really envisioned myself being a woman having babies at 40.  I know I’m not 40 yet, but apparently my eggs think I am.  I also know that women do this all the time and everyone knows people who have had children at my age and older.  I get it, I really do.  I know our situation is not hopeless by any means.  I wouldn’t be going through all this stuff if I thought it was hopeless.  It just makes me sad.  Just one more thing this bitch called infertility took from me; a day I used to love.  I tried SO HARD not to dwell on it and to enjoy my day.  It wasn’t all bad.  My wonderful husband brought me the breakfast I wanted and took me to a nice dinner.  Our friends let us come over so I could snuggle their baby.  Since we don’t have our baby yet, they let us borrow theirs whenever we want. 💕 I’m beyond grateful to have such amazing friends here.  And, as my sister-in-law just pointed out, it’s just another day.  I’m still just one day older than the day before.  It’s helpful to think of it that way.

If you read this regularly, it probably seems like I let infertility take over my life.  I admit, it’s very difficult to not let that happen, and it is a daily struggle.  I do have fun, it doesn’t take over every thought.  But I take multiple pills 4 times per day and take shots twice a day for it.  I have reminders all day long.  It’s gotten to the point where I get upset every time my shot alarm goes off.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of dealing with the shots.  I’m tired of having a bruised stomach.  I’m tired of carrying a pill case everywhere I go, because it is inevitable that if I’m leaving my house, I’ll probably have to take pills at some point while I’m gone.  I’m tired of feeling like we’re broke, even though we’re not.  But we will owe the dr another $8,000 here in a couple months (on top of the $2,000 we already paid and the hundreds we spend on meds/supplements every month), so I guess maybe we are.  I’m tired of trying to pretend that it doesn’t get to me every day.  Going into this, I knew I would be on this protocol for 4-6 months.  I just didn’t expect the toll it would take on me, physically and emotionally.  I’m not usually THIS emotional about it, but apparently my birthday just brought it all out.  Well, and Mother’s Day this weekend.  I’ll just snuggle my furbabies on Sunday and know that they are glad I am their mama.  I’ll also probably eat a lot of ice cream and drink a bunch of wine.  One day of too many carbs won’t hurt after 12 weeks of following the protocol pretty well, right?  Right.  Thanks for “listening” to my venting.  It really does help me to write it out.  Actually writing it makes me truly feel it all instead of burying it, and seeing it in black and white helps me to let some of the bad stuff go.

Much love,

Michelle

AMH Results

In my last post, I had mentioned some things going on, but that I wasn’t ready to write about them yet.  After talking to the dr yesterday, I feel comfortable sharing now.  We received my first AMH retest results last week, and it went down.  I can’t even begin to tell you how devastating that was.  For reference, when we did IVF last year, my AMH was 0.69 and we got 3 mature eggs.  When we started with our new dr, it was 0.42.  Then, after 6 1/2 weeks of this crazy protocol, it was 0.33.  I had a minor breakdown.  That is low enough to the point that even if we tried a cycle, there is a chance that we wouldn’t get any eggs.  I immediately made an appointment for a consult with my dr, but his first availability wasn’t until days later.  So, that left me completely spiraling.  I cried until I had no tears left, then somehow managed to cry some more.  In case you’d like a glimpse into what was going through my brain, here is some of it:

What if that was the last chance to use my eggs and we missed it?  Am I really ok with using an egg donor?  Is my husband?  Would he tell me?  Our child would never look like me or have my traits.  I would love to have a baby boy that looks like his daddy, but would I resent my husband that he gets to be part of our child and I don’t?  People say that once that baby is in you, it doesn’t matter anymore because that is your baby.  Is that true?  Would I feel that way?  I have traits that I know come from my grandmother, but my baby would never be able to say those things about me or my side of the family.  This makes me wonder about nature vs nurture on a whole new level.  Would our child grow up and want to know about his genealogy?  Would they feel less like my child?  An egg donor cycle is $35-50k.  Can we afford that?  I know I want to experience pregnancy.  Why does this have to be so fucking hard all the time?  Can’t we just catch a break?  Am I doing this insane protocol for nothing?  Is that what is making it worse?  Or is it normal to go down before it goes up?  Should we try a cycle right now?

I’m sure there was more, but you get the gist.  Then I re-read the article that my dr wrote about his protocol, the article that made us choose him.  His first study was with 6 women with undetectable AMH – 0.16 or lower.  After 6 months, none of them ever did get a detectable AMH, but they did all get 2 good quality embryos.  3 got pregnant and 2 went on to deliver.  Those are standard IVF rates in my age group, but completely amazing for that low AMH.  I felt tons better after reading that again.  And thank goodness, because our call with the dr got pushed from Friday to Monday due to an emergency surgery he needed to do, so then we had to wait the whole weekend as well.

Our call was yesterday, and went well.  It turns out that I’m actually responding TOO well to one of the hormones and it is suppressing my FSH too much.  He tweaked that hormone a little more, and once we get my FSH to the number he wants it and can get it to stay in that range, then we’ll retest my AMH again.  I told him how scared I was about it going down, and he explained it in a way that only he can.  I understood it when he said it, but now I can’t repeat it again to save my life.  Regardless, it should get better again once we get my FSH to the level he wants it.  It means I will likely be on this protocol longer than I had originally hoped, but I’m just hoping and praying that it works.  He did not seem worried at all and told me not to worry about it, either.  I feel tons better and am trusting his experience.

Thanks so much for your prayers and positive thoughts. ❤️

Much love,

Michelle

 

Army Family

I’m going to take a quick break from infertility today…there are some things going on there, but I’m not quite ready to write about it yet.  We will chat with the dr soon, so maybe after that.

Today, I’ve been thinking about our Army family.  It is a truly amazing thing, the Army family.  When you are far away from your family, you still need a family.  Sometimes you get super lucky and find another milspouse that you have a lot in common with.  Other times, the only thing you might have in common is that your husbands are always gone and you can truly understand this crazy military life…and that’s still more than enough for a life long bond.  I am the emergency contact for literally 3 of my friends’ children’s school and daycare.  That is family.  When shit goes down, as it always does, your Army family is there for you.  Possibly one of the most amazing things about your Army family is that it takes no time at all to become that family.  One of those kiddos that I am an emergency contact for, I’ve known for just a few short months.  But it doesn’t matter, because I would do absolutely anything for any member of that family and they know that.  And I know it is mutual and they would do anything to help us.  Milestones get celebrated together…birthdays, new babies, first days of school.  When life just kind of sucks and you need your family, they are there.  Even when you get separated and end up all over the world, you are still family. I feel like “friend” is too blasé of a word for some of these bonds. Family is the only way to describe it.

I’ve just been feeling especially lucky with our Army family, both here at Bliss and all over the country, so I wanted to focus on that instead of infertility for a minute. Thanks to our family away from home for always being there for us. ❤️

Much love,

Michelle

Pregnancy Announcements

Ahh, the pregnancy announcements.  I don’t know what is in the air, but we have been bombarded with pregnancy announcements recently.  Literally SIX of them in just the last couple months!  Damn girls, whatever water you’re drinking, please send me some!  Sigh.  If only it were that easy for us.  Before I get into the extremely complex emotions that go along with each announcement, please know that I am BEYOND THRILLED for each and every mama that is expecting.  I LOVE babies!!!  I would think that is obvious, but I just want to be clear about it before I delve into this.  So if you are one of those expecting mamas and are reading this, please know how truly happy I am for you. ❤️

I almost didn’t write this out for fear of upsetting anyone, but then I remembered that I am not only writing this for my own therapy, but also so that others going through something similar will know that they are not alone.  That is the main reason this is a blog and not just a private journal…to bring to light things that people rarely talk about.  So, here it is in all of my completely honest glory.  Let me tell you, those announcements are HARD.  The sheer amount of different emotions is overwhelming.  Love, happiness, jealousy, sadness, anger, frustration…to name the main ones.  Of course I love knowing that other people I care about are having a baby!  A baby is just the best blessing any family can receive, so I love knowing that it’s happening for them!  But then immediately following that love is a sadness that is hard to describe.  I’m so happy for them, but so sad for us.  Sometimes I cry, and sometimes I think I’m numb to it.  I get jealous that it was so easy for them, that they got to make a baby the “normal” way.  I get sad, frustrated, and angry that it isn’t like that for us.  I get sad that I know they were probably terrified to tell me.  I don’t want my family and friends to be scared to tell me such beautiful news, but I get it.  I resent that we have to go through all of this science crap (that I’m also extremely grateful for) to have our baby.  Who/what do I resent?  I don’t know.  God?  The situation?  My body?  Maybe all of the above.  It’s hard to be both resentful and grateful for IVF.  I’m so grateful that it exists, as that is how we will get our miracle…yet so resentful that we have to go through it while so many others don’t have to.  I try to push the resentful feelings away and just be grateful, but that doesn’t really work.  If you’ve ever tried to push feelings down (which EVERYONE has), then you know they just come back up later anyway, and usually not in a great way.  So this is me, feeling all the feels as they come up instead of trying to pretend everything is ok and wonderful.  And laying it all out in black and white for you, because if you have experienced or are currently experiencing infertility issues, then you understand.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  It is ok to feel all of these feelings!

And one more time, just to reiterate – I am so happy for the expectant mamas out there!  The emotions I go through are about us and our situation – YOU are wonderful and beautiful and I can’t wait to snuggle your babies!  That’s for real, give me allllll the baby snuggles! 💕💕💕

Much love,

Michelle

It’s going…

Hey everyone!  I just realized that I haven’t updated since I first started the protocol, so here you go!  As the title states, it’s going.  The pills are fine, they don’t bother me at all.  I have a little tiny pill carrier that I can throw in my purse for times that I’m not home, so that’s easy!  I just dole it all out in my big pill holder on Sunday mornings, so then I’m good to go for the week.  It’s just routine now, no biggie.  I had to give myself a shot on a plane, so that was fun.  Luckily, the turbulence didn’t start until after the shot was done. 🙂  My lower abdomen is the only place I can do the shots, and it was pretty bruised for awhile.  I had to ask the nurses for suggestions, because I was running out of non-bruised places for the injections.  She suggested injecting very slowly.  It has really helped!  My tummy is still a little spotted with various shades of gray, pink, and yellow, but not nearly as bad as it was in the beginning!  The food has gotten easier, but the exercise has not.  The required time frame of 4pm-7pm is just difficult to do sometimes.  I usually get it in about 4-5 days per week.  I really try for every day, but we have plans sometimes and I can’t just stop living life while this is going on.  I am taking every supplement and medication I’m supposed to without fail, and I feel like that is probably the most important part anyway.  One of these days I’ll get all 7 days of exercise in!  Don’t worry, I’ll probably throw myself a party when I do, so you’ll know. 🙂

The blood draws every week are a little inconvenient, but not terrible.  It has to be 6 hours after my morning Heparin shot, so blood draw at 2pm.  The military hospital that I have to go to for it is 20-25 min away.  It’s an easy drive and there’s no traffic at that time, so it’s fine.  Funny story – the VA hospital is right next door, so I usually see older gentlemen walking around the area.  Older people tend to actually look up at their surroundings when walking, so I usually make eye contact and say hi.  Yesterday, I said hello to an older gentleman and it turned into this:

Me: Hello!

Him: Hey, I have a really hard question for you.

Me: Ok, I’m ready.

Him: What do you call a dog with no legs?

Me: Ummm….I have no idea.

Him: You can call him whatever you want, he ain’t coming!

And then he went on his merry way.  It just made my day! 🙂  Young people don’t look up very often.  They are either looking at their phones or look everywhere else to avoid eye contact.  It makes me sad sometimes.  Human interaction is important, in my opinion…but now, in this electronic age, it is decreasing more and more.  We’re doing everything we can do have a baby, and I just can’t help but wonder what the world will be like when that baby grows up.  I can only hope that people will still talk to each other and smile and say hi when passing strangers on a sidewalk. ❤️

Ok, back to the subject at hand.  This is week 5, and after week 6 is done I will have an AMH retest, then monthly after that.  That is when we find out if the protocol is working!  Maybe not so much at week 6, but we can only hope that the number is increasing and will continue to do so.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Much love,

Michelle

Pills and shots and more pills

Well, the madness has begun!  I finally received everything I needed last Thursday, so I started the protocol on Sunday.  And I already messed up and missed my exercise on day 1.  I felt like such a jackass for messing up on the first day, but we were out having a life and I forgot I needed to be back to exercise between 4pm-7pm.  When I asked if I could do it another time if that doesn’t work on any given day (because sometimes life is happening and it just won’t work), the nurse told me that the timing is very important and to stick to the plan as best as possible.  Super.  It shouldn’t be a problem on weekdays, but weekends are for fun!  I just keep telling myself that this is temporary.  Not that exercising is bad, but that specific 3 hour window is kind of rough at times.  Anyway, I succeeded on day 2, and I’m all ready to go for day 3.

In case you are wondering what my days are looking like, here you go:

IMG_3192
Heparin shots 2x per day
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Morning set
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My old lady pill organizer!
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This is why I have the pill organizer…

So here I am on day 3 and everything is going well!  Honestly, the food is the hardest part!  I just realized late in the day yesterday that my protein powder serving is 2 scoops and I had only been doing 1 per shake.  Oops!  So I didn’t actually end up getting enough protein the first couple days because I didn’t read the serving size!  I just assumed it was 1 scoop…well, you know what they say about assuming.  Now I know and I have corrected it.  So 2 shakes per day is 40/100 of my grams of protein for the day…I have to eat 20 at bedtime (which is rough because I honestly have no desire to eat that much that late), so there is 60/100.  So that only leaves me 40 grams for snacks and dinner.  It sounds like a lot, but I’m finding out that it’s really not.  I’m a little sad about it because I really love food.  Shakes are easy and what my doc is requiring, so that’s fine.  But I miss real food already!  And omg do I miss wine.  I can still have it, I just have to pay close attention to my carbs throughout the day to leave room for it.  And none after 7:30pm.  So. Many. Rules.  My stomach is already bruising from the heparin shots, which I was told would happen.  The injection itself is fine, but it starts stinging and burning about a minute afterward and then hurts for a little bit.  They are not fun, but it’s fine.  That’s the thing with all of this – if it will help us have a baby, then it is more than worth it.  My AMH dropping to 0.42 was so scary, but my dr’s confidence and success with this protocol makes it not so scary.  I’m hopeful more than anything.  If this goes as planned, I will be able to get more good quality eggs from my next egg retrieval, and hopefully that will give us multiple embryos!  I’m just so excited and hopeful that all these things I’m taking and all the rules are just not a big deal anymore.  I know it’s only day 3…and I do miss food…but it is all ok. 🙂

Thanks for the love and support!

Much love,

Michelle