A letter to our angels at 20 weeks….

To my angel babies, 

This weekend we would have been half way on our journey to meeting you and seeing your beautiful faces. It is so hard to believe so much time has passed already as it seems that just last week we were celebrating your life and then mourning your lost.  

There is not a day that does not go by in which you do not enter my thoughts, my heart and my body. I often find myself putting my hand on my belly as I did after you were implanted to reminisce on our short bond. I remember people saying to us at least it was early when we found out you were going to be our angel babies. Regardless of how long we spent together, the love, the hurt and pain will always be in my heart.

I know I need to not live in the past and look to the future, but I will never forget you as you were my first babies. As we get ready to meet your siblings and connect their lives with ours, I hope you are getting them ready to spend life with us here on earth. I love you more than you will ever know and you will forever hold a piece of me.

Love,

Mom

IVF PGS Results

Finally met with our RE yesterday to discuss our PGS results and next steps on Peanut Satterfield journey. The past week waiting for these results has been agonizing and caused us to have some difficult conversations.

What happens if none of our embryos are normal? This was our 3rd round of IVF. We had responded well on the 2nd cycle and had a good number of embryos make it to Day 5/6. This time we had similar response but lost all but two of the embryos before Day 6. If none of the embryos are normal does that mean that my eggs are bad? Or did we just have a bad batch this IVF cycle? If we decide or are forced to do another round of IVF, we have now reached the point where we will not have any additional insurance coverage, thus we would be looking at all costs out of pocket.

Do we try reciprocal IVF and see if Heather’s eggs were normal or better responders? Would she have to loose a lot of weight before we start the process? Would my body be receptive to her embryos? Would we have to get a new donor? If not, do we look at adoption or give up on our dream to be moms.

These were all of the questions running through our mind the past week and the heartfelt emotional discussions that we had to prepare ourselves for depending on the outcome.

We got to our visit and luckily our RE had good news, we have one normal embryo!!! We all hoped that both would have been normal but we were happy to hear that we still have a chance with this cycle.

Next steps for Peanut Satterfield:
– Endometrial scratch, cervical dilation and hysterscopy next week
– Start Estradiol patches with next AF
– PIO instead of progesterone suppositories
– Transfer of normal

Let’s hope our little normal fighter is our miracle baby..

IVF Take 3

Three weeks ago we started on the journey yet again. I had mixed uneasy feelings going into this round due to our miscarriage at the end of the year. However, I tried to remain positive about the road ahead.

The weeks leading up were very stressful due to work and drama surrounding getting our medications due to a change in my work insurance carrier. After weeks of following up and escalation, I finally received my medications five days before we started stimulation. Work continued to be stressful as I am attempting to transition out of a role and the leader of that group was not too accepting of my transition. I was feeling I was already fighting many battles before my body even began to try to produce healthy follicles and embryos.

Stimulation Day 1 came and all went well. We went for our first monitoring ultrasound and I was responding well to stims with eight measurable (greater than 10mm in diameter) follicles on the right, three measurable in the left and 19 less than between my two ovaries. We continued with the same dosage and made an appointment to check again in two days. We went back for our second monitoring appointment and my body was responding well with the following follicle numbers:

  • Right: 
  • 15
  • 17
  • 13.5
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 16.5
  • 17.5
  • 11
  • 17
  • 12.5
  • 10
  • 15.5
  • 12.5
  • 13.5
  • 10 less than
  • Left 
  • 17.5
  • 11.5
  • 14.5
  • 10.5
  • 14.5
  • 13
  • 11.5
  • 8 less than

Our RE was out of the office but had instructed the team that she wanted to push my body so that we could get as many follicles as possible with greater chances for more embryos to biopsy for pre-genetic screening. The team made the decision to keep our same dosage and for me to return the next day. We returned and got the following updated numbers:

  • Right:
  • 18
  • 15.5
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 11
  • 19
  • 12
  • 11
  • 20.5
  • 15
  • 16.5
  • 13
  • 18.5
  • 18
  • 11
  • 5 less than
  • left:
  • 17
  • 15.5
  • 13.5
  • 16.5
  • 12.5
  • 16.5
  • 20
  • 11.5
  • 8 less than

Still progressing well, they advise I again stay with the same dose and return for what would probably be our last monitoring visit prior to trigger. We went in the next morning and our numbers were looking great and very similar to our previous cycle.  

  • Right: 
  • 17
  • 20
  • 17.5
  • 14.5
  • 13
  • 13.5
  • 16
  • 17.5
  • 18.5
  • 21.5
  • 13
  • 23
  • 16
  • 14
  • 13.5
  • 17.5
  • 12
  • 4 less than
  • left:
  • 17.5
  • 12.5
  • 15.5
  • 18.5
  • 12.5
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 23.5
  • 19
  • 15.5
  • 4 less than 

My Estradiol levels were nicely increasing but not spiking as they had with our previous cycle, so they gave us the green light to trigger and schedule the retrieval for that following Tuesday morning.  

The day before the retrieval the pain really began to set in and it was getting uncomfortable to sit or lay down. I woke up the morning of the retrieval and felt as I did with our previous cycle. I had pushed through nine days of IVF stimulation medications to hopefully grow healthy beautiful follicles that will fertilize and grow into beautiful 5-day embryos. Last year we had not previously keep the same dosage throughout to get over 20 follicles growing and ready for retrieval. Last year, I had no idea what to expect and had never experienced the pain that I felt that morning. Last year I was so upset that we were not going to be able to proceed with the next step of a fresh transfer and that we would have to freeze all of the embryos due to my high Estradiol levels. This year, I knew that a freeze all was expected due to the genetic testing.

The RE on call came into our room prior to the retrieval and was like you have been a patient here for a while, it is time for us to get you a lot of eggs and get you pregnant. No kidding dude! The retrieval went well and he was able to retrieve 23 follicles. I was in a lot of pain, but tried to keep reminding myself that it was all worth it to get our good number of embryos for biopsy.

We received the fertilization update the next day that of the 23 follicles, 15 of them were mature and 13 had fertilized. Woohoo 13 was a great number to start with. We still had to make it over the hurdle of Day 3 growth and Day 5 blastocyst stage before our embryos could be biopsied and sent off for testing.  

We got the Day 3 call and we still had a dozen embryos growing. We decided to celebrate over the weekend and wait for the Day 5 call. Day 5 came and the news was not as great as we had hoped, only one embryo had made it to the biopsy stage and we had five that were still growing, so we had lost six.  

Today the office called back to give us final numbers and unfortunately only two embryos were able to be biopsied. So after 23 we only have two to test to see if genetically my embryos are normal.

I am beyond disappointed. I feel like our window to parenthood is diminishing and that our miracle baby may not be in our cards after all. I know it only takes one embryo but based on the growth rate of our embryos I am not feeling very positive. In addition to top it all off, once I finally started to feel better from the retrieval, Aunt Flow has shown up in full force.
Now we will wait to find out the results and if this will be the end to our journey….

A week till Christmas and I all I can think about…

So Christmas is a week away, and I am feeling completely different than I did three weeks ago. Three weeks ago we were so excited and thinking about how this Christmas would be so different and wonderful.  We would have so much to rejoice and be happy about; my wifey got a promotion at work, we would be in our dream house and we would have our miracle baby.

However today’s outlook is completely different. Two weeks ago, the bleeding started.  It was heavy, painful and depressing to know that our babies were leaving my body. I tried to struggle through the work week without breaking down at every moment.  I felt like my insides were dying along with our babies and I just felt so empty inside.

The past two weeks have been a mix of tears, anger, and frustration.  I have tried to focus on the positive that we did get pregnant which has never happened before, but all I could think about was how we got so close and then were robbed of our dream again. Why?  I know that early miscarriages are very common and happen to people all the time, but for us I feel like it is different.  We cannot just try again with the next cycle.  We have struggled for four years to get to the point of pregnancy.  We have been through countless procedures, periods of hopes, period of disappointment and thousands of dollars.  We only have one embryo left and it may not even survive another cycle.  This is not fair…why could this not be our final reward for all that we have endured?

My wife has focused her energy and excitement on our new house that will be ours in less than five days.  She is excited to get in our new beginning, settled and celebrate the holidays.    Do not get me wrong, I am happy that we have been able to build our dream home, but in a lot of ways, I dread our new home.  It is bigger than our previous home, where I already felt lonely without our family being complete.  So all I can think about is how it is going to hurt to go in the room that for two weeks we had already planned and pictured to be our nursery.

I want to be excited about what is to come, but I am just sad, angry and hurt that our babies are gone.  It is Christmas time and everyone is excited and full of joy over all of the blessing that come with this season, but I feel like our blessing has been taken from us which spoils the spirit of the season for me.

Another FET and PUPO….

18 days ago, I woke up with fear, anticipation, and excitement about our forth frozen transfer from our second IVF round. This was the first transfer in over a year that I would be awake and that Heather would be able to be in the room with me and our babies. Previously our RE had performed our transfers with me sedated since I have a difficult cervix to pass.

We were excited that I was going to be able to have acupuncture before and after our transfer and that Heather could be there to hold my hand and see our babies as they were released into their new home. I was nervous that the transfer would be difficult and painful but was ready to endure whatever pain I needed to get our babies to their home.

I got up did a short yoga practice, had a great breakfast and took my Valium. We got to the clinic and my bladder was very full. We waited to go back to the procedure room so that they could prepare me for acupuncture. Heather was excited to finally see my acupuncture session. It was very relaxing and everything seemed to be in place. We had four embryos left going into our transfer and planned to transfer two embryos. Our RE came into the room after my acupuncture was over and I was feeling relaxed and less nervous about the transfer. She informed us that they had two grade 4BA embryos ready to transfer, but that we lost one embryo during the thaw, so therefore we had one embryo left for future use.

We go to the procedure room and see our beautiful embabies active on the screen. Our RE prepares for the transfer and struggles a little to get the guide catheter in place. After a few more minutes she gets it clearly placed and receives the embryos from the embryologist. They release the embryos and we all hold our breath and see them enter my uterus on the ultrasound. Science is an amazing thing and it always blows my mind to see our embryos. In that moment we were officially pregnant.


All of my emotions leading up to the transfer hit me at that moment and I was just flooded with tears of joy. Our RE was tearing up and gave us both long hugs and told us that she would be thinking about us until our Beta. We went back to the procedure room and my acupuncturist performed post transfer treatment. I had a little pain from the transfer but for the most part I felt good and different than I had with previous transfers (probably with good reason considering I was awake).

We grabbed lunch and headed home to rest and nest. My acupuncturist recommended that we watch comedies as it has been proven that laughing helps aid implantation. So we watched Ally Wong’s standup which was hilarious. It was a great afternoon and we enjoyed just laying around with our babies. Even though I had slept pretty well the night before, I ended up napping and still going to bed early.

Heather had to go back to work the next day but I had the next 10 days to spend with our embabies. I continued to do a light yoga practice in the AM, followed my anti-inflammatory diet, caught up on my Bravo tv, laid around on the sofa, cross-stitched, mediated and tried not to obsess over every feeling and tinge as an early pregnancy symptom.

The symptoms that I began to feel immediately were sore boobs and extreme tiredness. I was getting 7.5 hrs+ of sleep a night, which for me is a lot, but was still fighting to keep my eyes open at 8pm every night. I felt some cramping off and on but tried not to read to much into those feelings. Ok so here comes the TIM symptoms, so if you do not want to know the details, skip ahead…Unlike previous transfers, I did not have constipation from the progesterone gel but was actually going to the bathroom more than regularly. In addition, I felt like I was absorbing more of the gel and having less discharge. About 5dp5dt my boobs began to hurt really bad, so bad that I was now having to wear a sports bra to sleep as it hurt to lay down without support.

Since Heather had to go to Toronto for work the Monday after Thanksgiving, which would have been 12dp5dt, we asked our RE if we could wait for our Beta on that Wednesday, which would have been 14dp5dt. She advised that we do the Beta early on the Black Friday (Day After Thanksgiving) which was 9dp5dt. I was extremely anxious about Thanksgiving and being around my wife’s family and them asking me ‘are your pregnant’, ‘do you feel pregnant’, ‘when are you going to know’, etc. Then we were also going Black Friday shopping with them the day of the Beta and I did not want them asking ‘have you heard yet’, ‘what they say,’ so my wife was nice enough to tell them we would have no baby talk. She asked that they give us our space on Friday to deal with our own emotions and anxiety surrounding our results before they immediately began to ask us everything.

Thanksgiving was good, we ate, sat around, and talked about things beside politics and babies so that was good. An extended family member of my SIL did come over with her baby and of course everyone was oohing over the baby and looking at me. Yea, I get the hint, if I could give you a baby to ooh over just like that, it would have happened already…ugh. We left the family Thanksgiving and were invited to go to a dinner at one of Heather’s bosses houses. I was so stuffed from lunch that I barely ate, but Heather’s boss was immediately like why are you not drinking?!? He knew that we had recently been through a transfer and I told him, I did not want to take any chances until we knew for sure where we stood. We came home and went to bed with fear, anticipation and excitement knowing that our Beta was only a few hours away.

Friday morning we went into our clinic for the Beta. I was a ball of nerves knowing that in hours we would know if our babies stuck or not. They took my blood and we made sure to tell everyone that we wanted the results left on our voicemail as we would be out and about and might not have service when they called. We left to go meet up with Heather’s mom and sisters to shop. Around lunchtime, we were in Bed Bath and Beyond and my phone rang. There it was..the call.  I stood in the aisle watching it ring and freaking out. I immediately saw the voicemail message pop up and showed it to Heather. She was like hmm the message is 47 seconds. I tried to not think about the message and we continued to shop with the family. We went to lunch and I tired to focus my attention on the present moment but all I could think about was I want to listen to this message. A couple of hours later, we finally get home and sat down to listen to the message. Heather said she felt good about the transfer and I told her I did not know how I felt. We play the message and the Fellow says your numbers are POSITIVE… wait what?!? We are Pregnant!?!? My mind went blank and I did not hear the rest of the message. Heather immediately started balling and I was replaying the message to make sure I heard her correctly. After 4 years of trying we finally got a positive! Our babies stuck! I can get pregnant!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!!


The Fellow indicated that for the first Beta they like to see at least 50 and my levels were at 60. We were so relieved to know our babies were there and we were pregnant for the first time ever. We FaceTime our close friends Holly and Laura who have been our rocks along this process and they were elated. We FaceTime Heather’s mom and sisters as we knew they would be waiting for the results and they were in tears and so excited. We decided we would hold off on telling everyone else as we were still very early and would have to wait to see how my numbers increased on the following Tuesday. But in the meantime, we took a pregnancy test just so we could finally see these beautiful words….


We were so excited and woke up the next day feeling completely different about our infertility experience. We had finally jumped a big hurdle and entered the realm of pregnancy. So many times we never thought we would get there. We spent the Saturday just the two of us basking in our joy. We went furniture shopping for the new house as we still needed to get living room furniture. As we rode around and looked at furniture, I was definitely feeling the effects of pregnancy; slight nausea, hunger, and tiredness (so tired that it is like I hit a brick wall and could not move). We found our living room furniture and came home to nest. We wanted to spend some quality time together especially since Heather had to leave for Toronto the next day.

She was especially sad and nervous to leave us (yes us, me and our baby/-ies), but I ensured her she had nothing to worry about all we were going to do was grocery shop and then come home to rest as I had to go to back to work the next day after having two weeks off. We FaceTime later in the day and I got ready for work by going through my emails.
I went into work nervous about people being nosey since I had been out of the office. I tried to stay busy and in my office so that I did not have to answer any questions. All I could think about was our next Beta and whether our babies were still growing strong. I came home, had a nice dinner, FaceTime with Heather and called it an early night. The next morning, I nervously got up (continued my routine of light yoga, meditation and a good breakfast) and headed to the doctor’s office for my 2nd Beta. Heather was due to get home from Toronto late that evening, so I asked that they leave the results on my voicemail again as I would be in and out of meetings and we wanted to know the results together later this evening. Around 12:30 they called. There it was the message staring me in the face. I texted with Heather and was like should we listen early. We both decided it was best we wait until she got home. Her flight did not get in until 10:30, it was going to be a long night.

She finally got home and we sat down to listen to the message. I was feeling very tired, anxious and fearful. We listen to the message and it was the same Fellow saying that I needed to call back and talk to the nurse who had my results, but that they wanted me to come back again on Thursday for another Beta. WHAT?!? Total fail, where are my numbers?!?! Ugh did we double, did we triple, did we what? We tried to focus on the positive that our numbers must have increased for them to want us to come back for another Beta. Now my fear was real, I knew we were not in the clear. Our numbers had not obviously gone from 60 to 500s or higher as they still wanted to test them. I tried to sleep but knew it would not be a good night.

The next day, I immediately called the clinic once they opened and left them a not so nice message (since the nurses seem to never answer the nurse line) about the fact that they did not leave my numbers on my voicemail and that I expected a call back ASAP with my numbers. I went ahead and scheduled the 3rd Beta for Thursday and waited for a callback. A number of other close friends and family knew we were waiting for a Beta, so we shared the news that we did get a positive and were ecstatic that we finally knew we can get pregnant. However it was still very early and we were cautiously excited.

I had meetings all morning, so I was anxious that they would call during my meeting and I would miss it. I got out of my morning meeting at our other building and headed to my office. As I got out of my car and was headed into the building, I got a phone call. It was one of the nurses that we do not care for (the one who had asked us if we had been with men before…yeah see previous posts about other transfers) that called me to tell me that my levels went up but that they were only at 183 and that they would have liked to see them higher so I needed to come back for another Beta.

This past Thursday I went in for our third Beta. I had a terrible feeling and did not sleep well the night before the test. I got to the office and they took my blood. I did not bother to tell them that they needed to leave a message when they called as I wanted to answer it and hopefully get some good news when they called. At 11:22 our RE called and as soon as I answered and heard her voice I knew. She said she wanted to call me herself with my results as unfortunately my numbers had dropped and therefore she felt my pregnancy was a chemical pregnancy. She said that most likely the embryos had stopped developing and therefore I should stop taking my meds and come back on Monday for another Beta to make sure my levels had dropped. She said she was so excited that we finally got to pregnant. She felt that was a good sign for our future.

Our future?!? What future? Now I wait for a miscarriage to happen naturally so that they will not have to perform a D&C. I am sad, angry, disappointed, heartbroken and fearful. For now, we are trying to focus on the good that we have our beautiful house to be completed in the next few weeks. However all I can think about is how the room we were recently dreaming would be our nursery, will now sit empty again without the current promise of a beautiful baby to grace it. Life is not fair….

Today is the day….

Today is the day… 
I had my lining checked and took my meds…..

I have been feeding my body with the nutrients it needs….


I have been calming my mind and body with yoga and meditation …..

It is so hard to believe that the time is finally here and that we will be reunited with our babies. It seems I have waited months and months for this next step. I have had so many emotions leading up to this moment; excitement, hope, fear, and anxiety, but today I am letting that all go and embracing our new adventure…


No matter the outcome, I will get to spend the next ten days with my babies and that is a blessing …..

Girl on the Train, Infertility and Election Emotions, and IVF Update

So last month I read “The Girl on the Train” and I found it pretty hard to read. The main character Rachel had infertility issues and after a failed IVF, she became an alcoholic and her marriage fell apart. Reading her story and her experience totally hit home and I fear that if the infertility train does not pull out of the station, it will break me. 

People truly do not understand the emotions and the weight of all of the feelings one experiences when trying to have a baby and not succeeding or knowing why you are not succeeding. I am dealing with a perfect example of this currently.  Someone close to me who knows how hard I have been working to remain positive and have a good attitude, told me last week that I am depressed and should speak to someone about it. This really hit me to my core and rattled my cage a little bit.  I wake up everyday, put on clothes and a smile and try to not show on the outside the fact, that some days I feel like my insides are dying.  When you want something so bad, work so hard to get it, and cannot find a reason why your efforts are not working, you have to fight the urge to throw in the towel everyday. Some days I succeed and others I do not, I am not going to apologize for that fact.

Three weeks ago before I went out of town for work, I found out that my acupuncturist was leaving the practice.  I was heartbroken.  Over the past year, she has changed my view on acupuncture/eastern medicine and showed me that it really does work to quiet the body and the mind.  I have not left the practice as they specialize in fertility and I have been assigned a new acupuncturist.  I am giving her a chance and hope that we will have a good connection as well with time.

Last week one of my closest infertility friends had her miracle baby. I am beyond happy for her and her husband that they have a beautiful baby boy, but when his due date arrived and it was finally real that he is here in the flesh, I lost it. Not because I am unhappy for her but because I am sad for us that we might not ever get to have a birth story or hold our miracle baby in our arms.

So before my cycle started, I decided that I was going to try to put these emotions aside and bring positive thoughts to my body and mind.  I went to the Vitamin Store and purchased what seem like a small fortune on supplements. I have been trying to do yoga every morning and add in meditation.  I have been trying to remain positive and continue to chant mantras to myself that “I will grow and birth a healthy baby.” However as we get closer and closer, I am starting to feel the anxiety and fear of failing again.

Today that fear and anxiety snowballed with the results of the election. I respect that we all have our own political views and opinions as this is what makes this a great democracy, however I find it very hard to understand how people can get behind a candidate who has clearly voiced his hate and dislike for so many Americans. I had one of the worst nights of sleep in a long time and woke up at 3am in tears and fearful for my wife and I’s future.  All I could do was pray and try to go back to sleep as I knew I had a busy day today and needed to nurture my body with sleep.

This morning we had our 2nd monitoring ultrasound and all is a go for us to proceed with another frozen transfer a week from today.  Knowing that I will be reunited with my babies soon is exciting and scary.  I want so bad for this to be our time but with today’s election results I am scared that our children will be hurt, punished or worse in a world of hate because they have two moms.  So in order to create a welcoming safe environment for my children to grow, I will be turning off all social media.  I cannot allow the anger, sadness and hate that surrounds this country to make my body toxic to my family’s future.  We have our beautiful house on its way and I want to make sure our children’s home is just as ready.

Please pray that my doctor will have an easy and successful transfer, my body will be relaxed and accepting of our babies, that our babies will be strong and ready to make a home for the next nine months, that they will grow into healthy beautiful babies that I will bring into this world loved and healthy, and that they grow up in a country that allows them to be the miracles that they are…