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

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 

Making a Baby, IUI 5 – Part 2, Insemination and TWW

Making Baby Mettler

This is our 5th overall attempt, but our second attempt with CRM. We went to the gym to get one last workout in before the big day. All of the jitters from final exam week were finally gone (I passed both classes!) so this IUI I was actually pretty relaxed. We talked to the nurse a bit about when I could go back to the gym, how annoying it is to leave all of this up to science, and she told us her own struggle with infertility before she got her twins on IUI #6.

It’s not usually a physically painful process at all for me, which is great. She had to reposition a few things because she didn’t like the angle and wanted to get all of the sperm into my uterus so we had the best chance. I definitely appreciated that she took the extra time to make sure everything was perfect. It was nice having someone there who completely understood our struggles and the frustrations firsthand. Before she walked out she said, “maybe number 5 is your lucky number”, and we told her that was actually the name of our last blog… and we all 3 got chills.

Prior to the insemination, I had to do the Pregnyl injection, which made me sick last time, so I was prepared with ginger ale and Tums just in case, but I never threw up! *high fives* That was a huge relief.

After insemination, we were advised to take it easy at the gym. She suggested I do a rest day on insemination day just to be extra cautious. We had a very relaxing weekend and blew off a few Christmas parties (sorry guys!) for the extra rest time. We finally saw Frozen 2 which was amazing!!

It’s kind of a struggle to write about the TWW because it’s pretty similar each time we do this. Hopefully, this one just ends with a positive pregnancy test rather than a negative. Other than mild cramping and being physically exhausted, it’s been pretty similar to all the others. I’m trying not to get worked up about it since the progesterone mimics pregnancy/period symptoms.

2nd weekend of this TWW we saw Star Wars!! Made Cinnamon sugar roasted pecans in a crockpot (soooo easy) which turned out AMAZING!! Recipe here for anyone who needs to try it.

We went to the gym a few more times because it’s the holidays and sweet things and comfort food are everywhere. Samantha made her grandma’s top-secret Taco Salad recipe for a little bit of her grandma’s spirit around this time of year, and we are attempting a Maple Sage roasted pecan recipe while running around like chickens with our heads cut off to get our lives ready for Christmas and New Years. Wish us luck!

Cost:

CD 16:
Insemination:  $350

Total baby-making cost to date: $9407.70 

Making a Baby, IUI 4 – Part 2, Insemination and the dreaded TWW

Making Baby Mettler

Greetings!

We went in Sunday morning at 10:30am to get inseminated. (Exhibit A)

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We were called right back which was amazing. Everything went smoothly and the sample they looked at had RAPID motility and like 34 million sperm, which is fantastic! Plus it was a full hunters moon the night after our insemination so hopefully, we’ll get a little extra baby energy.

 


Fast forward to Sunday night. I had been feeling super nauseous all day and it pretty much felt like a bout of food poisoning throughout the day (with slightly more control). We finally got into bed and I felt something weird so I asked Sam to hand me some Tums to help my stomach. Not 10 seconds after I asked her, I was RUNNING to the bathroom (thank goodness our dog Hailey moved out of my way fast enough) where I spent the next 12 minutes throwing up. To be fair, I felt much better after that was all over. We called the doctor (because we googled stuff and got nervous) and they said that I’m totally fine and it’s just a side effect of the trigger shot. The next morning I got some ginger ale and more Tums.. just in case. The nausea is a little better but still present at this point and this was only 3 days post trigger shot. It can take 7-10 days to exit your system, so hopefully, the side effects go away.

One of the main differences between our other IUI attempts was that with this cycle, they prescribed me progesterone “insertables” for me to start taking 2 days after insemination.

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10 Days Post Insemination:

I’ve still been feeling nausea off and on. It’s worse in the afternoons. I’ve been starving, which I’m not sure is a side effect from the progesterone.. I’ve been eating Tums to help at night and also drinking ginger ale during the day.

Tomorrow is the date that I am supposed to get my period according to one of the tracking apps I use. The other one says Saturday, so this is pretty much the worst time of the whole 2 week wait. I’ve been feeling some cramps, but at this point that could mean anything. Each day sans period is a good day so we are just taking it day by day. But there’s also this:

If your physician has recommended progesterone support, it will begin 2–4 days after ovulation. You will be given clear instructions on the type, dosage, and schedule of when to administer the progesterone. You should continue to take the progesterone until your pregnancy test, which is done two weeks after ovulation. Progesterone can delay your period, so a pregnancy test must be performed. If pregnancy occurs, the medications will continue until around the 10th week of pregnancy. If the pregnancy test is negative, the medication is stopped, and a period will occur in 2–7 days.

– Source

 

Cost:

Insemination $350

Total baby-making cost to date: $7257.39

Making a Baby, IUI 4 – Part 1

Making Baby Mettler

It’s officially go time again!

We are switching up the blog layout and decided to write basically everything up to insemination in a full blog, then follow it up with the results and all of that good stuff. This way we don’t have 17 chapters for everyone to read and follow.

CD 2: This morning we had our first Ovary scan of this cycle. It is cycle day 2, and our emotions are already all over the place! We are very hopeful this time because literally, everything has changed. Steph has been completely Gluten-free for 90 days now, the medications are almost all different. This ovary scan was the easiest and quickest one we have ever been to. So that was also great. The right ovary was completely quiet and the Left had a couple of follicles.

Steph is starting Chlomid tomorrow and for the next five days (CD3-CD8) and then adding Gonal F Injections on cycle days 5,7, and 9. We had some Gonal F leftover from our last attempt so we used that first.

Our insurance technically doesn’t cover “infertility” but DOES cover “diagnostic stuff”. CRM (Center for Reproductive Medicine) submitted a claim for the diagnostic (cost of ultrasound and bloodwork) which was $250 each time at the other office PLUS the copay, so now if insurance continues to cover it, we should only have to pay a $65 copay each time instead of $250, which would REALLY help cost wise.

Fun/Annoying fact that we learned: The regularly prescribed dosage (250mcg) Ovidrel trigger shot is only 50-70% as effective as the Pregnyl trigger shot. WHAT?!! So what is the point in using the Ovidrel at all if the effectiveness is that insignificant in comparison?!! That’s just silly… 

THE SCIENCE and RESEARCH

We also just learned that the original donor we chose (the whole donor fiasco is in our previous blogs) is suddenly no longer available for purchase. So we have to switch sperm donors again, but it’s probably for the best after that whole mix up.

We narrowed it down to a few this weekend and will be ordering it this week once we decide on one and get the all-clear from the dr.

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One Week later CD 10: 

We went for our follicle scan on Friday, there were 3 follicles growing, Two 12mm and one 10mm. Still not big enough, so they told us to do One more Gonal-F injection the next day (Saturday) and then come back on Monday (3 days later) to check on the growth.

The nurse advised us to go ahead and order the sperm now so that it was at the office in time. This office has the capability of using their own Cryo tanks to store it in case something happens to where we would need to wait until the next cycle, etc. which is SUPER awesome. Normally the “to-go” tanks that they use for shipping are only good for 7 days. We decided to go with a Donor from NW Cryobank for quite a few reasons. They had a better selection for the things we need and want. The CMV negative donors are much fewer in numbers so to find one with the qualities we were looking for was an adventure in itself.

Sam and I have different things we look at when selecting a donor – I look for whether they’re educated, whether they’re a nice, caring person, their favorite things (TV shows tell a lot about the person!), and what they do for work. Sam looks for things like how old their parents and grandparents lived to be, whether there’s been cancer in the family, how many siblings, how many siblings are girls.. (basically all the DNA things that are actually controllable as opposed to my assessment of whether they’re nice, lol). In spite of our nature vs nurture conversations, we found a donor that is amazing and fits all of our criteria.

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Monday CD 13:

Follicle scan was this morning at 7:30 am and we have LOTS of activity… One follicle is at 14.5, One is 13, One is 12.8 and one is 10. One of the things we have been doing differently now that we are at CRM, is that they take my blood each visit (yay me) to measure the amount of estrogen in my body. They use this as a more accurate way to detect ovulation. As much as it sucks getting poked and prodded each time, I know the end result will be worth it. Currently, we are waiting for a phone call to tell us what to do next based on the results, whether I need another Gonal F shot, or whether we ride it out and come back or trigger, etc. It’s looking like we will be coming in this week for insemination, we just don’t know specifically yet until we get the call. As of 3pm, we are both anxious as hell.

Monday, later(4:52pm):

The nurse called. Tonight we have to do another Gonal F shot, but just a half a dose of only 37.5 because they are trying to slow down 1-2 of those follicles. If there are 4, they will cancel the cycle and that is NOT what we want. We go back on Wednesday morning to check up on them and then we will decide what our next step is.

Wednesday CD 15:

Last night, we lit some incense, and put our fertility stones around the fertility statue that our best friend got us for some extra luck with slowing down that extra follicle! We felt like it surelyyyyy couldn’t hurt anything.

This is a statue of the Celtic triple goddess of the Sun, the Moon, and Childbirth.

We had our next ultrasound to see what our follicles are doing at 7:15 this morning, And they slowed down all right! Maybe a little too much. We are down to 2 possibly 3 follicles and those ones haven’t really grown much at all…One is 15 ish, one is 14 and one is 13 (They were 14, 13, 12, & 10 respectively before). Butttt Steph has cervical mucus, which is a sign of ovulation, so they added a progesterone check to her bloodwork to check her progesterone levels, which are able to tell us if she’s actually ovulating or not.

And nowwwww we wait for that phone call again to let us know what our next steps are going to be. This waiting game is going to be the death of us. Whyyyy does it have to take allllll day to get our results. (We are working on this patience thing…)

(Progesterone levels peak a week after ovulation. Measuring progesterone levels at this peak time gives us a way to assess ovulation. A progesterone level above 3 generally indicates that ovulation has occurred and a level 10 or higher suggests adequate production to maintain a pregnancy.)

Wednesday Later (3:30pm):

GOOD NEWS! Steph is not ovulating! Progesterone is only at 0.3! So tonight we will do another Gonal F half-dose shot of only 37.5 units. And we go back in Friday morning at 7:45 am to see what our follicles are looking like.

Come on babies, GROW GROW GROW!

Friday CD 17:

Follicle scan this morning! We have two mature follicles. One is at 19, one is at 14, we also have an 11, but that one won’t end up releasing. They said that the 19 and 14 will grow a little more over the next 24-36 hours, and we should have the two eggs when we inseminate. Hopefully the 14 is able to get to at least 16 to increase our chances way more! Tonight between 6-8 pm we will use the Pregnyl trigger shot to force ovulation (this can take anywhere from 12-36 hours to happen). And then Sunday morning at 10:30 am we will inseminate!

We feel very excited about this cycle. Everything feels so positive and just.. different. Sunday night is a full moon and will be exactly 90 days (that we’ve been counting) of Steph being gluten free. All of our fingers and toes are crossed for babies!

Steph’s been having some headaches and hasn’t been super hungry but we’re chalking it up to the Gonal. She’s been super tired too, but that may be due to the crazy math and Engineering homework… This is the most hormones she’s had in a given cycle and I think this is the longest we’ve gone without triggering as well. Average ovulation is between CD 14 and CD 21 depending on the length of the cycle (28 day vs 35 day) so CD 17 is right smack in the middle which would be roughly the same as our “natural” ovulation date. The fertility clinic basically helps the follicles grow and mature so we aren’t ovulating with eggs that are too small to be able to conceive. They of course also control ovulation so we can pinpoint when exactly to inseminate since we only have that one shot.

We will end this blog post here and pick back up for our next post which will be all about the insemination and our Two Week Wait. Pray for us to have some semblance of patience!

Cost:

CD 2:
Ovary scan: $65 (co-pay)
Progesterone: $44
Chlomid: $14.79
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89

CD 10:
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $310 for shipping.

CD 13:
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

CD 15:
Follicle check #3 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

CD 17:
Follicle check #4 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

Total baby-making cost to date: $6907.39