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Testing…Part 1

These were, without a doubt,  the slowest moving weeks of our lives.  So many worries, hopes and dreams, all wrapped up in one little question: Are we pregnant?

If only the answer was a simple yes or no, like it is for those lucky fertile people.  But those of us in the infertility club know that there is so much more to the story.

Our doctor ordered test date was June 5th, 2014.  Our doctor advised that we wait a full twelve days following the 5 day embryo transfer to test.  That way our HcG trigger shot is sure to have worked itself outof my system (which can cause a false positive).  It also allows enough time following implantation to ensure an accurate test result.

Did I make it to the 5th without testing? Haha.  Nope.

We decided that we would test early, only if I promised that I wouldn’t let a negative test ruin my spirit.  I knew that people often got positives as early as 5 days past a 5 day transfer, but I didn’t want to test during the work week so we waited until 7 days past 5 day transfer, a Saturday.

Test #1- 7dp5dt May 31st, 2014

Randall was working a graveyard shift, and I knew he wouldn’t be home until close to 9 am.  I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with my heart pounding.   My stack of pregnancy tests I’d picked up at Target were taunting me, and I knew I might as well pee on a stick because I wasn’t going to get any more sleep.

I went in the bathroom took the test.  I laid it on the counter, and placed the box on top so I couldn’t see it process.  I set the timer on my cellphone and went back to the bedroom.

The timer goes off.  Holy crap that was a quick 3 minutes.

I walk back into the bathroom, immediately wishing I’d waited to test.  Fear set in and uncontrollable shaking took over.  I flipped the box over, looked at the test window, and…one line.  Not pregnant.  Now I feel like I’m going to vomit.  I know that it’s still early, but for the first time, it occurs to me: This might not work.  Then what? We had no game plan for it it didn’t work.  We didn’t even want to consider that as a reality.

Defeated, I took my test and went and laid in bed.  I curled up with my little dog, Layla, and immediately took to my phone to Google “negative at 7dp5dt”, “positive at 8dp5dt”, and pretty much anything else I could think of to give me some hope.  I kind of got lost in the world of online forums, and before I knew it 15-20 minutes had passed.  I decided I’d better try to get a little more sleep so I could at least have a productive Saturday.  When I reached over to turn off my lamp, I glanced at the test resting on my nightstand.

And I saw the faintest, hold-it-up-under-the-light-and-squint second line.

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And I was more confused than ever.  Was it a true line? Are my HcG levels just so low that it took the line longer than 3 minutes to show up? Or is it an evaporation line, that only showed up outside of the valid testing window?

So, back to square one.  Not pregnant, not not pregnant.  Guess I should have waited.

So I did.  3 whole hours.  I had to know, was it a fluke? How long did it take for that second line to show up? At 8am, I took another test.  I didn’t drink much fluid, because I needed as concentrated of urine as possible.   took the test, and this time I sat.  And watched.  And watched.   And the line really didn’t show up until after the 10 minute window.  The box explicitly says DO NOT READ TEST AFTER 10 MINUTES.

Whatever, box.  I’ve never had a line before and I’ll take it, late or never.

There was, without a doubt, a second line.  Surprisingly, more defined than the earlier one.

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For now, hope is restored.

When Randall came home, I rushed him into the bedroom.  He knew I was testing, so we didn’t really get the opportunity for some dramatic surprise.  But he picked up the test and got the biggest grin on his face, and gave me a long hug.  That meant so much to me, not only because it meant I wasn’t insane and he actually saw the second line, but it made the moment so much more real.  We might actually be pregnant.

 

 

 

Leaving Barbados…for Now

As we wrapped up our two weeks in Barbados, I knew that our time spent there would be cherished forever regardless of our IVF outcome.  We were so lucky to spend our two weeks of treatment in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful locations I’ve ever visited.

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Here are just a few of the reasons why we were so in love with this little island:

The people.  The Barbados locals are so friendly, so accepting, and more than willing to help you out and give you advice on places to go, restaurants, etc.  We never got the feeling that we were being judged for being tourists, or treated differently (even though I fit the bill, with my camera around my neck and constant fascination with everything.)  Everyone that worked at our hotel (Coconut Court Beach Hotel) remembered our names, our regular orders, and our room number.

The Barbados dollar is a 2:1 exchange with U.S. currency.  So even though Barbados isn’t a U.S. territory, they still accept the U.S. dollar almost everywhere.  Prices are also listed in Barbados, so you get to cut the price in half! Compared to the other travel destinations we’ve visited (Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, Canada) we felt that this was the most affordable travel destination we’d been to.

Transportation.  Barbados is a small island. They have a public bus that circles the island, and there are also privately owned “Z” cabs (white vans with maroon stripes).  Both of these will pick you up at bus stops, and for $2 Barbados ($1 U.S.) you can get pretty much anywhere on the island. Once we figured out how it worked, we utilized it almost every day.  So easy, and only $1/ride!

Water.  While drinking water may not seem like a big deal, when we’ve traveled to places like Mexico in the past, it starts to become annoying that you can only drink bottled water (and ice!). Barbados tap water is naturally filtered through limestone so it is safe to drink out of the tap.  And it tastes good.  And when you’re taking LOTS of hormones on a hot island, drinking lots of water is a must 🙂

The quiet!  I still can’t understand how the beaches we would visit could be completely empty.  We often had miles of sand entirely to ourselves.  Too good to be true.

The beaches.  The crystal clear turquoise water is stunning enough to make you want to stay forever.  I’ve never been so content in my life than on those lazy afternoons, floating in the warm Caribbean waters surrounded by tropical fish and silky white sand at my feet.  Paradise.

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And obviously, our fertility center.  Every time we visited, it was one step closer to fulfilling our baby-making dreams.  We loved the staff, who always took great care of us.  One of my favorite memories of the trip was our daily walk down to the beach to say Hi to our “babies”.  After egg retrieval, we made it our nightly ritual to send good vibes to our embryos and let them know we were here for them.  (Typing that out, it sounds completely insane.  But it was our “thing” that made us feel better.)  One night (the third after egg retrieval), we’d had a busy day.  When we climbed into bed at 10pm, I panicked when I realized that we hadn’t gone to see our babies.  Randall didn’t hesitate to jump out of bed, strap on his running shoes, and run down the beach.  It was one of the sweetest things I think I’ve ever seen.   He got back (9 minutes later!) absolutely drenched in sweat.  He said, “Don’t worry babe, I said Hi to the kids and blew them a kiss.”  So cute.

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We know we’ll definitely go back, if for further fertility treatments or just another vacation.  Oh, how I miss it already!

 

Barbados Day 12- Transfer Day!

Saturday May 24th, 2014

We woke up with such relief to make it to this day.  Strangely enough, the five days leading up to this were the most stressful part of the process.  The fate of our future babies was in the hands of the lab.  And while we both had complete trust in them, we knew we’d feel better once the embryos were transferred back.

We were scheduled for transfer at 11:30am, and asked to show up at 11 to make sure that my bladder was very full (to help with ultrasound accuracy).  I had a 1.5 liter bottle of water ready to go, and I figured I would start drinking around 10 to get it all down.  The clinic ended up calling and asked if we could move the transfer time up to 10:45.  So, without hesitation, I started chugging. And chugging. And in 15 minutes, I’d barely come up for air, but my bladder was well on its way to FULL.

We trekked down to the clinic and they took us right back.  The usual procedure (undress from waist down, legs up in stirrups) except this time Randall was invited into the room.  Dr. Skinner arrived, and discussed our embryos with us.  We confirmed that we wanted to transfer two embryos, and the embryologist handed Dr. Skinner the catheter through a drive-through-window type setup.  We watched on the ultrasound monitor as the catheter was placed.  She said, “now watch!” And we saw two beautiful bursts of light pop up on the screen.  We could see the little fluid sacs that held the embryos.  It was amazing.

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And as quickly as it had started, it was over! I laid on the table for about ten minutes, then the lights came back on and I got dressed.  We were told to take it somewhat easy, but there wasn’t a need for bedrest.  Just no heavy lifting, hot tubs, or alcohol.  Easy enough!

We walked back to our hotel and went and got cheeseburgers.  We enjoyed the rest of our day, and hoped our babies were settling in for the long haul 🙂

 

Barbados Day 8, 9, 10, 11- Embryo Updates!

Tuesday May 20th, 2014

We woke up to a phone call from the embryologist.  She was excited to report that 12 of our 16 embryos had fertilized!

Wednesday May 21st, 2014

Another morning phone call told us that all 12 were still looking great!

Thursday May 22nd, 2014

This mornings phone call wasn’t as great.  We had 5 “great” looking embryos, but the remaining 7 were falling a little behind.  However, since there were 5 remaining, it was decided that we would do a 5 day transfer (yay!)

Friday May 23rd, 2014

No phone call this day.  They don’t check on the embryos on day 4.  So we decided to indulge in a catamaran cruise since our time in Barbados was running out. We snorkeled with turtles and shipwrecks, swam in gorgeous turquoise water, and pretty much just soaked up every second of Paradise while trying not to stress about our little embabies.

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Barbados Day 7- Egg Retrieval Day!

Monday May 19th, 2014

Egg Retrieval Day!

We woke up nice and early to get to the clinic in time for my 9:45am retrieval.  I checked in at 9:15, and they immediately took us back so I could change.  I was instructed to bring warm socks so I brought my pin-up girls along for the ride 🙂

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Once Dr. Skinner was ready for me, they had me empty my bladder one more time and then I was taken into the “theatre” room.  The nurse was on my left, and Dr. Skinner came in and sat on my right.  While the nurse was getting things set up and talking to me, Dr. Skinner snuck up and put my IV in.  She told me I’d probably taste something funny in my mouth.  And I was OUT.  Seriously, less than 30 seconds from peeing to sleeping.  And the time travel began…

Around an hour later, I woke up in another room with Randall by my side.  The first thing I wanted to know, of course, was how many eggs did they  get?

16! I was totally thrilled with that number and passed back out for a bit.

The nurse called us a driver, and from that point forward, I had a very fuzzy afternoon.  I slept for HOURS and honestly don’t even remember much from that night.  I was expecting to be in a lot more discomfort than I was; I was just kind of crampy and sore.   I was just so happy to get the egg retrieval over with and to find out how many fertilized the next morning!

 

 

Accidentally off the Grid

I must apologize to anyone following.  I didn’t forget about my little blog, nor did I lose motivation.  I lost internet!

While Barbados is amazing, I have yet to find anywhere with a decent wifi signal.  My continuous time-outs have led to the decision to just catch up when we get back.

Please, stay tuned!

 

Barbados Day 5 & 6- and Trigger Shot!

Saturday May 17th, 2014

Trigger shot day is here! After egg retrieval being pushed back to Monday to allow for one more night of the stimulating meds, we’re finally administering the HcG shot to release (hopefully) tons of mature eggs!

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The shot itself was a walk in the park.  I’m just SO happy to be done with the Menopur! Mixing that stuff is the pits.

That night we stayed in, since I had to take the HcG at EXACTLY 9:15pm.  The hours to follow were a little stir crazy.

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We finally tucked ourselves in for bed.  In our room by 9pm on a Saturday night? This is definitely not our typical vacation!  We’re loving it 🙂

 

Sunday May 18th, 2014

I desperately wanted coffee.  We found that a few hotels down, there was a coffee shop (NOT easy to find in Barbados!)  We wandered down there, and after enjoying an iced latte we ventured around the hotel grounds.  We found an awesome life sized chess board, and had entirely too much fun playing a couple of games.

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The rest of this day was fabulously lazy, just resting up for the egg retrieval the next morning!