Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Miracles Have Arrived!

My dreams came true.  I am a mother.  Maxwell (Max) and Quinn were born on February 11, 2013 at 5:46 and 5:47am, at 35 weeks and 6 days.  Max weighed a whopping 7lb, 8oz and Quinn a very respectable 5lb, 15oz.  They are big twin boys!  We are so in love!

 Max 7lb, 8oz

Quinn 5lb, 15oz

The boys were out of the NICU within hours and spending time with mom. We all went home happy and healthy 4 days later.  The sweetest thing?  The boys even held hands as we got ready to leave the hospital to go home!

Quinn and Max 2/15/13, 5 days old

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays

It has been a long time since I updated you and BOY do I have news! 

Those two white circles are TWO heads on two little babies!  I am going to be a mom!  To TWIN BOYS!  In this picture, the boys are snuggling cheek to cheek which just makes me smile.  Although we have since seen “Baby B” kick “Baby A” in the head which is probably a sign of things to come!

I still can't believe it...

Our first IVF cycle was very successful.  In July, we found out that I was pregnant and later that month, we saw two cute little beans on our first ultrasound – twins!  On my 30th birthday in September, I opened the sweetest package and we found out that they are boys!

I am now 28 weeks and it is hard to pretend that I am paying attention to anything but these baby boys.  They kick me (and each other…) and flip around constantly.  I am already measuring 38 weeks (apparently this is normal) and some nights we just sit on the couch by the Christmas tree and watch the waves and punches on my belly.  We had family and friends fly in from all over the place for an amazing shower – these boys will be very loved and spoiled!  Since then, we have made great progress on a sweet nursery for our boys and I will share pictures with you soon!

Now we are looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home.  The holiday season feels distinctly different this year – so happy – and we are really looking forward to 2013!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Here goes...

Well I think it’s time to start telling you about IVF.  I’m sorry but I just haven't feel comfortable doing live updates throughout the process. It is an intensely difficult process, both physically and emotionally. But I know it will be 100% worth it if everything works out well!

We started as soon as possible after we got the good news that the cancer and all atypical cells were gone. Most people would start an IVF cycle coordinated with their natural cycle, but I haven’t had a period since February of 2011 so things went a little differently for us!

Basically as soon as we got the good news I stopped megace (finally!) and started back on prenatal vitamins (5/4/12) and progesterone-only birth control pills (5/5/12). They use birth control pills (ironic) to regulate your cycle until you start the ovarian stimulation.

I had the mock embryo transfer that I mentioned in the last post. Turns out my uterus is shaped “normally” or something like that. This basically just meant that if/when I have embyros transferred it did not need to be done by ultrasound (or with a full bladder – a plus).  We also had a MASSIVE amount of medications delivered from a pharmacy. If I can figure out how to upload a picture of this, I will!  (success)  

Then we started on the first of many injectable medications, Lupron, and a baby aspirin a day (5/22/12). The plan was to take the Lupron for 9 days (stopping the birth control pills in the middle) and have baseline bloodwork (hormone levels) and a baseline transvaginal ultrasound at that time. My husband and I were both nervous to start the injections but he did a fantastic job. I barely felt the first one and told him that he should have been a nurse!  Apparently aspirin, since it is a blood thinner, can improve blood flow to the ovaries throughout the IVF process. Most protocols use aspirin until the day of the pregnancy test.

On May 31 we had our first setback. I went in for my baseline ultrasound. The doctor (my doctor’s partner) looked at my left ovary first and said it looked good – there were potential follicles and “no cysts.” Until he said that I hadn’t really thought about the potential for a cyst before. Then he moved to the right ovary and was quiet for a minute, measuring something. Turns out I had a rather large cyst on my right ovary. He said that there were several options and they depended on my bloodwork. If the cyst was “functional” or producing estrogen it would show in my bloodwork. If not, then we could likely continue the cycle. If it was functional then they would probably recommend birth control pills for a month with the hopes that it would go away.  Apparently cysts are fairly common when you start Lupron.

Of course, with my luck, it was functional. Like I need any extra estrogen anyway… The doctors talked and modified the plan for my unique situation (of needing to get pregnant asap for medical reasons, in addition to desperately wanting a child like the rest of those going through IVF). The plan was to increase the dose of Lupron to see if that would “suppress” the cyst. I would return in a week to see if the cyst had improved and for more hormone levels.

After another week of Lupron, I went back to the fertility center for my next ultrasound. I was so nervous that I was shaking in the waiting room. Unfortunately the cyst was still there and had grown. An ultrasound tech did this US and then I walked out of the room to talk to the nurses. The one nurse at the center who is not my favorite (although I do like her more now) said “Wow! That is a huge cyst!” Not so encouraging. I had my bloodwork and left feeling totally discouraged. It was a long wait until I could call for results early that afternoon. Hubby and I were devastated about another potential longer delay and just not sure what to expect. That morning I sat on our new deck and tried to distract myself with a good book and a mug of sister tea (the tea my sisters gave me for my 30th birthday although I promise that I am STILL NOT 30!).

We got a great surprise that afternoon. My estrogen level had dropped so the cyst, despite growing, was no longer functional. We were all set to proceed with the cycle. We were to start the ovarian stimulation medications that night! 

I think that IVF is often filled with ups and downs. We definitely started out with some.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Next Step

We have been cleared to take the next step – IVF! I am excited (and anxious) about it.

The day we found out the good news I immediately called our fertility doctor (and started prenatal vitamins). She was out of the office that day but we came up with a plan the very next day. I stopped the megace right away and started on a progesterone only birth control pill (ironic, right?). They gave me a tentative IVF schedule, to start right away.

We go in tomorrow to go over all kinds of things.
1. We both have to have infectious disease bloodwork. Apparently when they are going to freeze your embryos they have to confirm that you don’t have HIV or hepatitis C every 6 months.
2. We have to pay…  At least we can pay by credit card and get lots of miles?  (finding the silver lining)
3. I will have a mock embryo transfer done. They use ultrasound and put a catheter in the uterus to look at its size and shape. Apparently this makes it easier for them on the day of embryo transfer and possibly more successful?
4. They will give us some instructions on injections. I think this is going to be my hubby’s job. I can draw up the meds just fine but I think sticking me with needles will be up to him.
5. We will pick up thousands of dollars worth of donated medications that they will give us because our insurance will not cover IVF at all.  Wonderful news.
6. We will sign the IVF consent forms. Holy cow.

More about IVF consent forms… First of all, the consent form is 23 pages long. It goes over risks of every part of the IVF protocols – the medications, the procedures, potential risks to the baby, risks of multiple birth, legal and ethical implications of freezing embryos, etc, etc, etc. We have both read (and initialed) every page.

My husband and I had to have some very serious conversations – things that we never thought we would have to discuss. “Even though we will never get divorced, just in case for some horrible reason we do, what do we do with our frozen embryos?”  “If one of us dies, what do we do with our frozen embryos?” “If we are not going to have more children but have embryos left, what do we do with our frozen embryos? Do we donate them to another couple struggling with infertility? Do we donate them to research? Do we destroy them?”  Heavy stuff…

But, here we go – the next step!

I'm a Survivor

I got an interesting piece of mail today from my doctor's (my original gyn-onc) office. It surprised me and honestly brought tears.

It was an invitation to a celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day.

I guess I hadn't really thought of myself as a survivor. I mean I didn't have chemo or radiation or have a big surgery to get rid of body parts or lose my hair.

But, my life was turned upside down for the past 14 months. I made it through 14 months of hormonal therapy that transformed my body. I made it through 5 minor surgeries under general anesthesia. I put my career on hold and prioritized my family - the one that I have now and my future, potential family.

I went from carcinoma to complex hyperplasia with atypia to complex hyperplasia without atypia to atypical proliferation to normal endometrium!

So I guess I really am a survivor. And that should be celebrated, whether my husband and I go to the party at the cancer center or just out to dinner together.

National Cancer Survivors Day is Sunday, June 3. Congratulate your friends and family who have survived, the ones who heard that word, cancer, and made it through, both physically and emotionally. And remember the ones who didn’t…