2020 – Continuing Our Baby Journey

Making Baby Mettler

So… 2020…

We’ve been trying to make a baby for the last year and a half, and for 2020 we get hit with massive fires in Australia, murder bees, coronavirus, … we decided to take a break for a bit while we figured out our job situations and overall just let the world settle down for a hot minute. I’m not sure if that’s happened yet, but we decided to pick back up where we left off.

If you have no idea what’s going on, you picked a great blog to start! Samantha and I (Steph) have been going through the process of making a baby. I’ve been through all kinds of testing and we’ve done 7 IUI procedures with me (IUI is where they insert sperm into your uterus. It’s different from IVF because they don’t take your eggs out and fertilize them, also it’s WAY cheaper). One of the IUI’s was a “false pregnancy” where the egg was fertilized but didn’t stick and continue to mature. We’ve been keeping a running tally of our cost to make a baby for anyone who might be going through something similar or for anyone interested.

Samantha started taking prenatals, folic acid, and all of the other vitamins that I had been taking. We started shopping around for sperm donors (because what else do we do in quarantine, lol) and found one we like who looks freakishly like my baby photos. We wanted to get a donor that has similar qualities to me this time, since she will be the one carrying, that way the baby looks like a mix of the two of us. Odds are, her Danish viking genes will take over and we will end up with a blonde hair, blue eyed, baby Thor child anyway, LOL.

Next steps for Samantha are getting her HSG done and then we play the waiting game – we’ve been talking to the fertility office to see how they’re operating. They’re pretty much back to normal, which is great for us! Hopefully in the next few months we will be able to start this journey again and get back to attempting to make babies.

$12,566.05

Cost of making a baby so far.

7-part 3: TWW & Results

Making Baby Mettler
For the first week and 3 days, I felt absolutely nothing. No cramping, no back pain, no pain anywhere else, no cravings, NOTHING. I’ve spent the last few weeks convincing myself that it’s fine and totally normal. One week and 4 days comes along and now I’m starting to feel some tenderness and a little back pain and light cramping (like when you walk by the fried chicken at Publix on an empty stomach). I’ve been an emotional black hole because I had 3 midterms this week. I’m only taking 3 classes, you’d think they’d talk to one another and try to scatter them around. I’ve been drinking water like a camel and yet somehow still have dry mouth. Oh, also, I’ve had a bloody nose for the past 2 days so far – not the leaking kind though.. I haven’t just been bleeding out of my nose for days.. lol… but when I blow my nose, there is blood in the tissue. Now that my midterms are over, I can breathe again, and totally not stress out over taking a pregnancy test this weekend. Sam and I (me and Sam?)’s theory is that maybe because we inseminated on day 14 instead of day 17/18 that I’m roughly 4 days behind with symptoms because my eggs were 4 days “younger” than the other times. Not sure how the logic holds up, but I’m gonna run with it. We booked a vacation to Washington DC coming up SO soon (or depending on when you’re reading this, we hopefully had a great time!). The only time I had off from school was my spring break, which unfortunately doesn’t apply to work. *Raise your hand if you think your job should have a spring break* I’m honestly just so excited for 40-degree weather, a date with Lincoln again, the Air and Space Museum, and the FOOD. So anyway, no matter how this one turns out, we get to go to DC. Crossing our fingers and toes and hoping this works out the way it’s supposed to.

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Results:

I decided to go ahead and post the results on this blog instead of posting a whole new blog of disappointment. We got 2 negative tests. I took 2 tests a few days apart just to be sure. As disappointing as it is, it’s sort of like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve wanted to get pregnant and I’ve been trying so hard and I’ve been put through the wringer with testing and blood draws, not to mention the emotional aspect. Samantha keeps asking how I’m doing. She knows I’m not good with the words. I’m bummed but I’m okay. This is the beginning of our journey, not the end. Now Sam gets to go through all the fertility testing! Yay! As much as I wanted this, I’ve accepted that it’s not my time yet. We’ve been praying for a miracle, and I believe that one day it’ll happen for us. For now, we will live vicariously through all of our pregnant friends and parents of little ones. Positives: I don’t have to take progesterone anymore! (sorry about the mood swings babe). I can eat sushi, lunch meat, and medium-rare steak again! We are going to DC and I’m SO excited for our WEEK LONG adventure (and the cold weather and being in a hotel and not catching the coronavirus). I won’t be pregnant while taking differential equations and physics II, which honestly is sort of a relief – pregnancy brain in everyday life is bad, but I can’t imagine trying to do high-level math with half a brain, lol. I get to go hard at the gym again. I get to watch my wife go through all the fertility things I went through and hopefully get to watch her become a birth-mommy to our child. I can drink COFFEE again!! Real, caffeinated coffee – I had one yesterday and honestly felt like I was going to pass out because I was so jittery. Maybe I’ll take it slow.. lol. We are learning to trust the journey and to be patient. Everything worth having is worth working for.

TL:DR We’re not pregnant, but we are doing okay and moving forward. Samantha, I hope you’re ready because I’m going to be your biggest cheerleader and support system. Here we go.

Baby Journey cost: (I’ve decided to add in the cost of this pregnancy test because they are 100% a part of the cost of this journey!) Clear Blue digital test two-pack: $9.99 at target Total baby-making cost to date: $12,343.05

7 part 2- Insemination

Making Baby Mettler
Screenshot of Sam's phone. Someone asked "can you get pregnant if just the tip goes in" and we had a laugh about it.

This time around, Dr. Jaffe was able to do the insemination, which, not gonna lie, felt more legitimate somehow. While we were waiting in the room with our tiny tube of sperm, I asked Sam how long sperm can live at room temperature so she asked google. I can guarantee that her phone has the most random search history. Apparently, some people never took any sort of Sex Education class.. Peep the top questions asked on the google.. lol

Dr. Jaffe came in and we asked her the sperm question – FYI she said sperm at room temp can last a few days when it’s in a solution. We were joking around (because that’s what you do when there are 4 people in a room and one person isn’t wearing pants.. lol) and Dr. Jaffe said that she was going in with a giant Q-Tip to clean my cervix and then busts out with “You’re going to have the cleanest cervix in the room” as she’s down by my feet with my legs in the air. We laughed and then she told me not to laugh because I wasn’t supposed to be contracting my muscles, which made me laugh more.

Usually, the Doctor usually tells me to scoot down (ladies, amiright?) so I assumed that when she said “put your legs down” that she needed me to adjust, but she was indeed telling me to put my feet down because apparently she has a magic touch and was totally done with the insemination. Aren’t I supposed to feel that??

 

Baby Journey Cost:

Insemination: $350

Total baby-making cost to date: $12,333.06

 

Our decision

Making Baby Mettler

After talking it over with Dr. Jaffe and discussing everything amongst ourselves, we decided to go ahead and try one more time with me(Steph). Who knows if I will be able to try again in the future, but losing the last pregnancy at least showed me that it was possible for me to get pregnant.

We also talked to a financial counselor while we were there about IVF and what it would look like IF we decide to go that route. We learned that it’d be roughly the same price whether they use my eggs or Sam’s if I try to carry. It’s also a little cheaper to do a “mini stim” but then we’re only getting a few eggs as opposed to a bunch (but in my case, no matter what, they’d probably only get a few anyway). IVF is still super expensive regardless. (Roughly $25k with our current insurance plans.)

My bloodwork was back to normal by the time CD 1 came around, so we were able to start my round of Clomid and shots of Gonal-F. This month was super weird. Everything this cycle happened very quickly.

We went in on cycle day 2, everything was good, no cysts! And when we went back on CD 11 I had THREE MATURE FOLLICLES. WHAT?! Our doc typically frowns on inseminating if there are more than 2 because there’s a higher risk for having more than 2 babies, but given the circumstances, she gave the “okay” with our permission. The nurse called and said that she needs our permission with the possibility of 3 babies at once being a thing… At this point we will take whatever comes our way, and definitely said yes!

We did another shot of Gonal-F that night(CD 11), and on the evening of CD 12 we triggered with Novarel (because apparently Pregnyl was on back order) for Insemination on CD 14. If you’ve read our previous blogs, we usually do the inseminate closer to CD 16-18. Apparently my follicles were READY. Here’s hoping.

 

Baby Journey Cost:

Two blood draw copays: $10
Co-pay for Ovary scan: $5
Clomid: $14.79
Novarel: $139.89
Gonal-F 350 pen: $170                                                                                                                Sperm: $770
Co-pay for Follicle scan #1 and Doctor Follow up: $5

Total baby-making cost to date: $11,983.06

I had a miscarriage.

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Miscarriage is such a common thing for women to experience

I know many friends and family members who have experienced miscarriages at varying stages in their pregnancy. I don’t want to compare my experience with anyone else’s at all. I also don’t want to invalidate my own experience because it happened so early on. The truth is that I had a miscarriage.

I didn’t “feel” pregnant and I didn’t feel a baby kick. We hadn’t decorated a nursery or announced that we were even pregnant. For 2 days I went through a whirlwind of emotions from 100% excited to 300% terrified. I asked myself if I was prepared to be a mom and caught my breath when I realized we were actually going to become moms. The experience was so surreal. We made a list of the things we needed to do around the house (okay, we’ve had the list for a year.. lol), we talked about our future and how the dogs would react to a baby, we pictured our family. For two days we held onto the hope, joy and excitement of what it felt like to know we would be holding a baby in our arms.

I tried to separate myself, to protect myself from the possibility of bad news, so I didn’t let myself fully celebrate the fact that we did it. We made a baby. Finally, after 6 attempts, something else happened other than a negative test. I can’t help but to feel a little bit guilty, though. We were SO early in our pregnancy. Had we not been doing fertility stuff, we probably wouldn’t have even realized we were pregnant. I feel like I don’t deserve to mourn because it was so early, like I don’t deserve to say the word miscarriage because I didn’t experience the same pain as other women going through it later in their pregnancies. This isn’t a club I want to be a part of, and I feel guilty for sharing that experience with other women, other moms, other humans who have lost something so dear to them.

I don’t want to invalidate the fact that I had a miscarriage, because I did. It sucks. Waiting for my period for days SUCKS. Getting cramps sucks. But at the end of all of this, I’m still here. My wife is by my side and I’m sure she’s sharing some of the same feelings of loss and heartbreak. We totally both acknowledge that other women have experienced miscarriage differently and I think for now, I’m just trying to sort of cope with our experience in our own way. I’m okay. What I really got out of all this, was that we can make a baby. My body did the thing, and that gives me hope that it can happen again. I’ve decided to try IUI again, despite our bank account. I am trusting that whatever happens, happens. Side note: I didn’t do anything special at all this last time except that we were on whole30 and I was working out (lightly) on the weekends. I didn’t carry the crystals or do anything outside of living my life normally.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any aspect of their mental health, whether it’s PPD, miscarriage or just life, please tell someone and reach out to a professional. Don’t want to tell friends? Feel free to contact us! Everyone’s journey is different, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid.

IUI number 6 – TWW & Results

Making Baby Mettler

Week one has been smooth sailing aside from the bit of nausea from the trigger shot. The first day of week 2 I started getting some cramps and throughout the week getting a little nauseous. I was laying in bed 2 days into week 2 and felt so gross. My hunger has been all over the place, one day I’m starving, the next I’ll eat a snack and pick through dinner. I was hardcore craving popcorn, but that could’ve just been me being hungry, lol. I’ve been freezing also, but the weather in Florida has been in the 40’s and 50’s so that may be why. Symptoms into week 2 are mostly nausea that comes and goes, but nothing else out of the ordinary.

In other news: We bought a new mattress (woohoo adulting!) and I slept like a baby on a cloud! We also got new bedroom furniture which is beautiful and sooo much lighter than the 600 lb solid oak dressers we had in there before.

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Day 14 came around without too much trouble. I think that means we are getting better at being patient? We got up at 5:30am – Sam couldn’t sleep anyway, but I have my calculus class super early. I used the last pregnancy test we had from last month and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer went off, I picked it back up and… it wasn’t positive… but it wasn’t quite negative either… The last few tests we’ve taken have been all different brands. This one was + for positive – for negative. There was the faintest little vertical line accompanying the horizontal.

All the other tests had been very solidly negative, like we could look from all directions and shine a light around it and there was NO indication of a positive result. This one is a bit hazy, and it was our last test, so we scheduled an appointment for a blood test after my class, which was actually cheaper than buying a new pregnancy test so win-win! Now we wait until they call us this afternoon. Still trying not to get our hopes up, but we looked up other people’s pregnancy tests online and there’s a big chance we could be pregnant based on that information. This waiting game is serious.

– – –

The blood test came back pretty much inconclusive, but we MIGHT be pregnant! My HCG level was 22.5 and a 25 is “for sure pregnant because you made it past the 5 days thing” whereas anything less than 5 is a no-go. It’s still early which could be the reason for the low level, but we go back on Thursday for another blood test to see if it’s gone up and doubled like it’s supposed to!

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It’s Thursday. I’ve been cramping and I’ve been nauseous to the point where I put a trash bin by the bed just in case. It’s crazy how one day I could go from being an adult to being a mom! It still hasn’t hit me too hard yet. I’ve been super thirsty and bloated, which is normal. Just waiting for the test results is KILLER.

– – –

Blood test results came back and my HCG level is 9. We’re not pregnant. The doctor is qualifying it as a miscarriage since we technically did get pregnant. There’s also a chance that my HCG level could’ve been higher than 22.5 before we took our initial test, but had already started to decline.

Basically what this means was that my egg got fertilized and implanted, but didn’t continue developing. With IVF (we did IUI), after they inject the egg with the sperm, there’s a 5 day waiting period to see which ones turn into viable blastocysts before they transfer the fertilized embryos back into the Uterus. In our case, if we had been doing IVF, this one probably wouldn’t have gotten to that stage. There’s no answer as to why, but this was the first positive pregnancy test we’ve gotten, which means my eggs aren’t broken. It just sucks that it didn’t stick. We were both so excited at the thought of us becoming moms and knowing how close we were. For 2 days we were hardcore preparing to be moms. Today is REALLY rough! Now it’s back to the drawing board.

We have a lot to decide on… Idk if I’m going to try again with me. I really want to sit and think about it and talk to the doctor a bit more.

Baby Journey Cost:

Co-pay for bloodwork: $5 

Total baby-making cost to date: $10,868.38

IUI Number 6 – Insemination

Making Baby Mettler

Insemination went smoothly. There were something like 47 MILLION motile sperm, which is apparently a lot. We’ve been working out and have been cooking healthy meals and we’ve been doing Whole30 for 2 weeks at this point (halfway to 30 days!). I’m both excited and hesitant about this one. It’s our last attempt with me, but I can’t get discouraged because we do have options. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but I want to be excited about the possibility of making a baby this time.

The doctors at CRM are constantly reassuring us that the first 3 attempts with me “didn’t count” because of several different factors, mainly that they didn’t prescribe me progesterone. The meds they gave me are known to LOWER progesterone levels, which is why I am being supplemented with progesterone now. On top of that, the Dr. at the first place admitted that they missed my ovulation window the first attempt, and the second attempt was the sperm fiasco where basically all the sperm were dead. It doesn’t necessarily make me feel much better knowing I’m still 0/2 (as opposed to 0/5), and it certainly doesn’t make our bank account feel any better, lol.

The Pregnyl made me nauseous again, so I have been drinking diet ginger ale (no sugar) technically not whole30 but I’d rather not vomit, and I need to listen to my body. Hopefully, that wears off soon. We have a Nightly, The WLDLFE, and Sawyer concert tonight – I told Sam it would be really cool if I can tell our kid that they were conceived at a concert. Music runs through her veins.

Here’s hoping this 2-week wait goes by quickly. There might be a Disney adventure coming up this weekend, which will definitely help get my mind off of everything.

Baby Journey Cost:

CD 16:
Insemination: $350 

Total baby-making cost to date: $10,863.38 

IUI Number 6 – Part 1 – Pushing through!

Making Baby Mettler

It turns out 5 wasn’t our lucky number.

Well, this is it, folks! The final countdown. This will probably be the last attempt for Steph since we don’t have the money to cover IVF, so we will be trying IUI with Sam sometime in the months after this one regardless of the outcome. But boy, is our jar of hope overflowing for this one to work.

It’s 2020 as I write this blog. New year, new month, a new cycle, new insurance plan! And a new insurance plan means lower copays!!! Yay for saving money! We hurried up and purchased sperm before pricing went up for 2020 (smart move, Samantha!) which helped save a few hundred extra dollars.

The meds are the same, Clomid on days 4-9, shots on days 5, 7, 9, then I go in on cycle day (CD) 11 for a follicle check. Honestly, school started this past week and we are still in holiday recovery mode so the days are blurring by, so hopefully, that continues through insemination and the two-week wait (it’s always more fun when trying to do calculus homework).

CD 11

We Went in for the run-of-the-mill follicle check today. We started with my right ovary which has 2 tiny follicles (ut oh) but then she switched to the left and there were 2 HUGE ones in comparison, and they weren’t even that big, lol. I have a 13.9 and a 14.5 and remember we have to get them around 20. I do another Gonal-F shot (75cc, same as usual) tonight and go back in two days on CD 13 for another follicle check, then hopefully they give me a trigger and insemination date!

Side note: Steph has lost 15 pounds or so since we started this baby journey and this month we have been doing Whole30, which is no added sugar, grains, legumes, or dairy for a whole 30 days. We are blogging about that also, of course, so CLICK HERE to see our meal plans and read more about it.

CD 13

Went in today and had 2 follicles still! YAY! They’re growing slow but everything is on track. We got directions later in the afternoon (while we were at the vet for our 16-year-old cat – She’s fine) to do another 75cc Gonal-F shot tonight, then do the Pregnyl trigger shot Sunday night for insemination on Tuesday morning, which is luckily on the day that I only have 1 class that morning. We’ve been going to the gym pretty steadily still. Sam is 6 days/week and I’m joining her for 3 since my work/class schedule is so hectic.

Cost:

CD 4:
Ovary scan: $5 (co-pay)

Clomid: $14.79
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89
Credit for SMP messing up our shipping last cycle: +$20
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $245 for shipping.

CD 11:
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)


CD 13:
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $5 (copay)
Progesterone refill: $1

Total baby-making cost to date: $10,513.38 

January Whole30 – Week 3

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This week is by far the hardest week. Staying motivated is SO much harder. The best thing I can recommend for this week is to try to make the meals EASY because at this point you’ll be sick of eggs, and sick of cooking. Lots of easily accessible burgers, tuna salad, chicken salad, salad-salad, etc.

Thursday, Jan 16
Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs and berries
Lunch: Mini Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes
Dinner: Instant Pot Creamy Gnocchi Soup

Friday, Jan 17
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs for Steph/Fruit for Sam
Lunch: Leftover Soup/ Leftover mini meat loafs
Dinner: We went through the leftovers and had a random picnic basically.

Saturday, Jan 18
Breakfast: Fruit and a Chomp for Sam/ Smoothie for Steph
Lunch: Chipotle Whole30 bowl (we both get barbacoa)
Dinner: Hamburgers and Fries (Pro tip, get the sleeve of burgers from Sam’s club!)

Sunday, Jan 19
Breakfast: Smoothies
Lunch: Tuna Salad
Dinner:
Actual salad with apple, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and Balsamic Dressing

Monday, Jan 20
Breakfast: Fruit (cantaloupe!) & chomps
Lunch: Mini meat loaf (We made a double batch and froze some for us to take to work!)
Dinner: Burgers and Fries with Bacon

Tuesday, Jan 21
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Burgers and fries
Dinner: Baked Chicken (rubbed with bbq seasoning from Sam’s) with green beans

Wednesday, Jan 22
Breakfast: Chomps and hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Leftover Chicken
Dinner: Chicken and Veggies (We get the Broccoli Normandy from Sam’s Club)

Making a Baby, IUI 5 – results

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Oh, the feelings.

I think in order to prepare our hearts, we have begun to almost expect a negative test so that when we finally get our positive, we will be able to be surprised and excited about it.

I thought this one was it. I’ve been way more emotionally and physically exhausted than usual and this time just felt a little different. I can’t really explain it other than having a glimmer of hope. It’s definitely discouraging especially watching my egg count dwindle down with each IUI attempt. Samantha is budgeting to make it so that we can afford to try again this month. That’ll be 6 IUI attempts for me and I think I may call it quits if that one doesn’t work. I can say with confidence that this has been the most mentally and physically draining experience of my life.

We have plans to start with Samantha sometime next year (2020), which will give us a few months to save up again.

2019 has been filled with our greatest hopes and our greatest challenges and I’m sure 2020 will come with its own characteristics that challenge us and shape us into the adults and hopefully the parents we will become. This is a learning curve with both of us, but we are here supporting each other and loving each other through all of it and that’s what matters most.

Cost:

Total baby-making cost to date: $9407.70