Baby 1.0: The First Trimester

August 20, 2015

So I will be totally honest…I had grand plans for these bumpdates. Frankly I have had them planned out in my head for years now. Then pregnancy hit and my give a damn completely broke! I just can’t find the time or the energy to make the elaborate pictures that I had dreamed of. So I have the unedited pictures which I have decided to just post below and share some updates from that week. I also haven’t done weekly updates as there is so little to show during the first trimester!

Transfer Day!

5 weeks

-Feeling Bloated!

– Drinking PowerAde like crazy!

 

5 weeks 

5 weeks

-Feeling sick in the evenings from about 6pm on

-I had my first baby dream! Momma has a strong idea about baby’s sex now!

– We got our 3rd beta result at 6, 146!  The doctor only wanted 1500!

 

7 weeks

7 weeks

– The nausea lasts all day long

– We got to see Baby Morris for the first time on ultrasound!

– Gained about 3.8 lbs

 

9 weeks

9 weeks– I turned 25!

– Baby gave momma a break from the nausea for her birthday!

– Loving all things cold: frozen grapes, popsicles, sherbet and strawberry milkshakes!

-We sent out our pregnancy announcements in the mail! 

-Up 5.2 lbs

 

12 weeks

IMG_3321 IMG_3338– We are now facebook official!

– The bump is starting to really show in the evenings after a large meal!

– Up about 7.0 lbs

 

15 weeks

15IMG_3461– We took a trip to Chicago!

– The bump is really starting to show but I haven’t yet “popped”

– The nausea is few and far between now but Momma is still to nervous to stop her Diclegis!

– Up about 7.8 lbs

 

In the 1st trimester I really thought I was piling the weight on fast but the initial bloat came on fast and has since really mellowed out. I am so glad to be through the scary first trimester but I can’t wait for this nausea to really take a hike! We have made some great progress on the nursery so far and we are just waiting for baby’s sex to paint and get moving on the d├ęcor.

Our IVF Cycle

July 21, 2015

Some days it is hard to remember that Chris and I actually went through IVF and survived! The farther away from it that we get the more we seem to forget the struggle that we went through. In my last post I described a bit about our infertility journey but I didn’t talk very in-depth about our actual IVF cycle. I wanted to be a little more open about that part of the story, because it includes a few curve balls that we didn’t see coming.

Most IVF cycles start out with birth control pills to give the doctors a head start in controlling all of your hormones. I was already on birth control pills in preparation for surgery that blocked my right tube with an essure clip. Since my right tube was completely blocked it had filled with fluid. This fluid has been known to negatively impact IVF cycle success.  They speculate several reasons for this. One reason being that they believe the fluid to be toxic in nature and that even a drop of this fluid could kill an embryo. They also speculate that there may be a flow of this fluid into the uterus itself which can wash away an implanting embryo. For that reason we blocked my tube. I ended up being on the pill for 10 weeks.

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On April 16th I started Lupron injections. Lupron is given to suppress your ovaries from producing the hormone that leads to ovulation. This allows the doctors to determine exactly when they want my body to gear up to “ovulate.”  The bad news about this drug was that I ended up being mildly allergic to it. Big bummer. My body broke out in hives and I became itchy. To combat this I took the medication at night with Benadryl and then took some nondrowsy medication during the day.  The other bad news is this drug made me an absolute crazy woman! Mood swings like nobody’s business! One night I became overwhelmingly enraged at Chris. I felt out of control and came into our bedroom at 3 am crying because I felt so out of control of my body. After some research I discovered one woman actually murdered her husband on this drug.  I had one of the more extreme side effects of the medication but I just knew that I didn’t have the patience for my day to day job as a nurse. The greatest blessing in disguise was that my great grandmother actually passed away during this and the bereavement time that I received allowed me to take a 9 day break from work which got me through the worst time.

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On May 1st I started stimulation medications of Follistim and Menopur. These drugs were used to help my ovaries produce lots of mature eggs that the doctors could harvest. I was on the drugs for 4 days before I started going in for monitoring every other day. Monitoring consisted of blood work measuring estradiol (a hormone released by follicles as they mature) and transvaginal ultrasounds to count how many follicles I had in my ovaries and how big they were. This was the part of the process that actually started feeling “real.” I took my best friend with me for my first appointment and then Chris was able to come with me for 3 other appointments. It was fun but nerve-racking to go in and watch my follicles grow in size! I think one of the hardest parts of this process for me was dealing with the number of follicles I had growing. My doctor took a more conservative approach on growing eggs. I had known women who received 20-30 eggs from their cycle. Before I went in for retrieval the nurse said they were predicting 6-7 mature eggs. When you can expect to lose 50% of those in the embryo growing process, that doesn’t give you a lot of hope.

Those round black circles are follicles/eggs

 We went in for our egg retrieval on May 13. This process was supposed to be a breeze, but for me it was not the best of days. The procedure itself is where they go up through the vagina and stick a long needle through the wall of the uterus and into your ovaries and suck out your eggs.  I was supposed to receive enough drugs that I wouldn’t really know what was going on and would wake up with amnesia. However my body must require a higher level of medications because I was awake and remember the whole painful process. Chris got to sit in the operating suite and hold my hand and watch on the screen as they took my eggs. All the while I was laying there saying “Ow! OW! OW!” over and over, praying it would end. Chris even said he could tell when it was really painful because he could see the needle struggle to puncture my ovary. Just as I was telling the nurse “Okay! I need more drugs!” the doctor called the end. I could hear the final count from the embryologist being 13 which Chris relayed to me. We received double the number of eggs they were predicting!

The joy from the retrieval was short lived though as each fertilization report we received gave us less and less good news. Of the 13 eggs retrieved only 8 of them were mature and usable. After fertilization occurred only 7 of those eggs fertilized normally. As the days continued some of those embryos were slow growers and were falling behind and would eventually stop growing all together. When we went in on May 18th for our embryo transfer we were slammed with the sad news that only 3 of our embryos had made it to Day 5 and the quality wasn’t very good. We had 1 “average” embryo, 1 “below average” embryo and 1 “poor quality” embryo. They also handed us the biggest curveball yet which was that they recommended we place all 3 back inside of me (not 2). Chris and I were already nervous about transferring two, but the risk of triplets scared the crap out of us. They basically told us that the lowest quality embryo likely wouldn’t be good enough quality to freeze so it was either we give it a shot at life or the lab would discard of it. Knowing that I felt strongly that our babies lives started at conception I just couldn’t throw that embryo away. So we prayed about it and decided to trust the experts and God and went ahead with the transfer of 3 embryos. This was just not the outcome we had predicted for us. We had no known egg or sperm quality issues and with our young age we thought we would have this IVF thing in the bag. We were the type of couple that IVF was made for. We had all the necessary parts but the road to get there was just blocked. God had other plans.

IMG_2852We would go on to find that our IVF cycle was actually successful. We waited anxiously for the first ultrasound to see how many little lives were inside of me while family and friends had fun making guesses. I felt confident from our low beta numbers that there was only one and I was correct! The doctor took a good look around and was only able to see one little life with flickering heartbeat. The answer to our prayers!

I will leave you with the video I kept of our IVF process. It is a bit long so you have been warned! It does contain some information which I didn’t share here though! It also plays songs in the background that were very important to me on this journey.

 
 

Our Infertility & IVF Journey 2015 from Whitney Morris on Vimeo.

Infertility

July 13, 2015

*The first part of this post was written months ago back in February. After I completed treatment I came back and finished my thoughts on the topic, So this post shows an evolution of feelings and how the different stages affected me.

Infertility is a crazy thing.  Over the months it has rocked me, shaken me, tested me, chewed me up and spit me out, and strengthened me. It’s such a journey and my feelings on it change frequently.  I’m writing this post from a top a hill, where for the moment I feel like I’m on top and calling the shots. It hasn’t always been like that though. I have spent the past ten months fighting one of the most difficult battles I have ever faced in my life and definitely the hardest obstacle my marriage has faced. And I have done it all in silence.

You see starting a family is usually a private matter between a husband and a wife.  As the months drag on and each pregnancy test shows only one line, it becomes even more personal.  There is so much hurt and shame involved. While life seems to be stalled for you the whole world carries on and your facebook feed fills up with pregnancy and birth announcements. Regardless of how strong your character is your heart begins to fill with bitterness and jealousy.  We are a stable married couple, with two good paying jobs and health insurance.  It just doesn’t seem fair. From the start Chris and I were doing everything right and going above and beyond what most couples do to ensure we achieved a pregnancy fast. Five months in I asked my OBGYN for a semen analysis which came back perfect. I  just knew that there was no good reason why we were not pregnant yet and I asked for more testing but it was refused to me. I was considered impatient. Most OBGYNs and Reproductive Endocrinologists don’t want to touch you until you have tried unsuccessfully for a full year. Yet at 5 months I had concerns about the shape of my fallopian tubes and cited to my  OBGYN about my history and why that could mean trouble for me.  They attempted to pacify me by telling me I could come back around month 10.  So we suffered some more, just waiting for the time to pass.

The other thing about infertility is that it feels so incredibly lonely.  Most people have no idea what it’s like.  I started the journey of trying to conceive with a friend. A couple of months in she was pregnant and I was not.  At that point my only ally was gone.  I struggled greatly with having no one to talk to who really understood what I was feeling.  The world is not a friendly place if you are trying to get pregnant and struggling.  Everyone has tons of not helpful and often hurtful advice. People were asking me left and right if I was trying to get pregnant, even my patients. Then if I was brave enough to admit that we were trying I heard things like “Just Relax!” “You will just know when you are ovulating”. No one knew how much I was already trying and had my ovulation down to 12-24 hour window. And “relaxing” won’t make my blocked tubes open. Thanks for nothing. Not to mention everywhere you go there is guaranteed to be a pregnant woman walking around with her big, adorable belly.  Dealing with someone with infertility is often more about just having a listening ear. I know my friends really struggled with what to say to me and honestly there are few words out there that would make me feel better. I admitted multiple times that I don’t even know what I would say to myself. Infertility will sure help you figure out who really cares about you though.

Ultimately our journey brought us to Dr. Henry’s office, a reproductive endocrinologist. At our first meeting he agreed that my fears about my fallopian tubes were probably true. I endured a painful test to find out that yes, in fact my right fallopian tube was completely blocked and that even though my left tube was open the way the dye spilled suggested an egg would have to complete an obstacle course of adhesions just to make it to my uterus. He gave us three options but the only one that sounded like it would give us a baby was IVF. Hearing we needed the highest level of pregnancy intervention was heartbreaking and required its own mourning process and many tears. I had known from watching other brave people share their IVF journeys that the process included lots of shots, a large fear of mine. On top of the shots there was the money component. Infertility is far from cheap.

We ultimately lacked options and with our desire for a child strong we jumped head first into the world of IVF treatment in May 2015. It was a rocky path and we faced a couple of roadblocks that we didn’t see coming but in the end we transferred 3 day 5 embryos back into my uterus and on Memorial Day discovered that our dream had come true and I was carrying our miracle baby. I often wonder why we were chosen for this journey but I am confident in the fact that God used us as a vessel for his miracle magic. Every time I would get discouraged I would listen to Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns and the chorus sang “and the voice of truth says this is for my glory,” and I just knew that God was going to use us to show His powers. There is a plan for my family that I can’t yet tell and I’m okay with that. I’ve truly opened my heart during our infertility struggle to adoption and I’m excited at the prospect that we may in the future expand our family in an atypical way or perhaps one day when I’m brave I will attempt IVF again. For now I have a precious baby on the way and that’s all that I could ask for.

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#1 is very likely the baby that is in my belly right now!