Mother’s Day Message

For so many years this day has given me pause due to my strained relationship with my own mom and my struggles with infertility.  Today I saw these messages and thought they summed up the feelings surrounding this day.  You are seen and not alone…

To those that gave birth to their first child this year – we celebrate you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the sleep deprived trenches everyday with little ones – we appreciate you
To those that experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions or running away – we mourn with you
To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising – we anticipate with you
To those hiding in church when they ask the mothers to stand – we pray with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears and disappointment – we walk with you
This Mother’s Day, we are all seen and heard… you are not alone as we are all warriors

 

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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….

Finding hope in despair….

I have been pretty quiet on this blog lately. When the Presidential election results came out, I was sad, depressed and disappointed that a man who has shown time and time again that he does not respect the American people won the fight. I made the decision to disconnect from the world and try to focus on the present and positive in my life. I had to prepare my mind and body to receive our embryo. 

Three weeks later I truly felt that things were looking up and my positivity was paying off. We were pregnant, after four years we were finally going to be parents! Something we had waited so long to hear and experienced. Then as quick as our joy returned, the darkness came back and our baby stop growing. Again, I felt like the world was a lonely, sad and hateful place for us to be stripped of the one thing we waited so long to receive.

The holidays brought joy and disappointment. Joy over finally closing on our dream home. We worked hard and our efforts paid off with the house we finally wanted. Disappointment that my family, who knew how bad we wanted a child did not reach out to ask how we were doing or offer their condolences that yet again we were not pregnant.

Since loosing our baby, I have had so many feelings of doubt, despair, hopelessness and fear. So much so that it took all of my energy I had to just get up, put on a smile/clothes and live life. I have pushed through these feelings to try to make our new house a home, make plans for our next Fertility cycle, and connect with the world around me.

Yet today while watching women, men and children around the world march for equal rights, human rights, women’s rights I felt hope return. Hope that there are people in this world that respect each other and will fight for the best for ALL of us.

Today I am going to try to hold on to this hope and think positively about the next steps on our journey toward parenthood.

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.

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…