Grow Eggs Grow

Here we were again, our second cycle and in the third week of fertility injections. Again, Alice’s ultrasound showed a very healthy, ready uterus.

My first ultrasound, showed four almost ready eggs, and a few more that had potential. The results were better than the first cycle, but again, the doctors expected more from the amount of medication they had me on. Better’s good, and we’ll take it!

The next day, and another vaginal ultrasound. There was only one more ready egg. The doctors wanted to give it a few more days.

The next day, there wasn’t much change, and the fourth day, it showed two more. The doctors were very optimistic that they thought they could use my eggs this time. They were pleased with seven, and said they had been successful before with only seven.

Gordon kept telling me, “We only need ONE embryo to survive, babe.” He was very supportive, but it was so scary risking all that money. I knew we didn’t have the money to do the process over if none of the eggs survived….

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Second Round/Try Again….

Same routine and same medication, only this time, the doctors increased my dosage. They wanted to again monitor my ovaries close to watch for signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. It was another $3,000 for all the medications.

I had asked the doctors for a different birth control, letting them know that I was affected badly from the previous kind I was on. They were very willing to change birth control, and it did seem to help. I still had my bad days, but the crazys weren’t as intense.

I had talked with Alice to make sure she was really okay with trying again. She seemed very grateful to give it another shot. Well, several of them actually, lol! Another three weeks of injections, several times a day, for both of us…..

Loving My Ovaries

As my ovaries returned back to normal size, I could still feel that they weren’t strong. It was like they were begging me for help…I didn’t know what they needed, but I had recognized a pattern that I tend to do with my body. When something doesn’t work perfectly, I unconsciously generate negetive thoughts and feelings towards it. I am becoming more aware of it, and I’m wanting to love my body for what it does do for me.

As I recognized and became conscious of the negetive energy I was sending my ovaries, (because I thought they failed me), I immediately knew that I needed to change what I was doing, thinking, & feeling. I began appreciating them for going thru what they did, and for being strong enough to go thru it again. I sent them lots of love and gratitude.

I instantly noticed a difference in how I felt, and how my poor little ovaries felt.

By this time, I didn’t have a whole lot of time before we could start another cycle of medications. Alice and I had been on birth control again for about a month and a half. I had another vaginal ultrasound to see if my ovaries were ready and back to thier normal size, so we could start the fertility injections again.

My ovaries felt fragile, but according to the doctors, I was ready. I was anxious to start again, in hopes that this would be it. I was very excited to get my surrogate mother pregnant.

Financial Increases/Moving In With My Parents

The beginning of the invitro-surrogate process was not going at all as I had thought. I was very frustrated, but tried to continue to let God be in charge. I couldn’t imagine that He would get us to this point, to drop us. Regardless of the thoughts I was having, I still felt like we were in the right place, and that God had our back.

Financial expenses rapidly increased, and Gordon and I had some decisions to make. We decided that one resource that we had, was our house. We knew that living with anybody would be a little cheaper than paying the mortgage on our house. I talked with my parents about moving in with them for a year or so. They were both ecstatic and eager to help in any way.

Gordon found a renter and we moved up the first of October. We were sad to leave our home, but very grateful that there was such a great alternative. We both grew-up in that area, and we both love it.

Quieting My Ovaries/Can We Do This Again?

The doctors immediately put both Alice and I back on birth control pills. I was very nervous to go back on birth control pills, I didn’t know what feeling unstable would do to me…I never wanted to feel like that again, especially while I was in the middle of such an important and delicate process.

They gave me another medication to calm and quiet my ovaries. My LARGE ovaries needed a long rest before starting again. They were hurting!

Here we were again, waiting, waiting, waiting!
I didn’t know how much longer Alice would want to wait, and how many times she was willing to try. Starting another cycle, meant three more weeks of shots, which she wasn’t a fan of.

The ultrasounds that we had, were not the simple over the belly ultrasounds…No, No, they were VAGINAL ultrasounds, everytime. The continual invasion of personal space, wait, no, more than personal space, private space was almost more than I could handle.

I felt an infection coming on after about 2 weeks of when the vaginal ultrasounds first started. I felt like a few of the doctors weren’t very cautious when it came to infection risk, some didn’t even wear gloves, and most were not very gentle either. By the end of it, I was on just about everything to try and get rid of not only a yeast infection, but an allergic reaction from some gel that they used. I was so miserable:(

It was a dreaded process to have to go through again. All of it!

Every week felt like an eternity, and more that that, I still had my doubts about whether I even COULD produce enough healthy eggs.

Experienced Professionals Make Decisions

The doctors remained cautious. They had run into this dilemma before, but were very hesitant to increase the medication because of the risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and my heart history….

Gordon & I asked God to influence the doctors in which ever way the decision needed to go. We knew that we didn’t have enough experience in this area to make a safe decision.

The infertility doctors wanted to gather together to discuss it before making a decision….

They did not feel confident that I had enough eggs (follicles) to succeed, and they were willing to try another cycle with increased medication.

I had a lot of fears come up about how complicated it all seemed. I didn’t know if my body could produce the perfect results. It was so scary!

Will there be Enough Eggs (Follicles)?

After two weeks of shots, we were ready for our ultrasounds. Alice’s uterus looked amazingly beautiful, as the doctors put it.
My first ultrasound showed only a few eggs (follicles). I didn’t know what to expect, and immediately started stressing. They reassured me, that it looked very normal for the first ultrasound. I went home and tried to imagine more eggs developing in my healthy ovaries.

The next day, I went back hoping for some miraculous change. There was only one more egg:( The doctors seemed a little confused as to why my ovaries were not responding to the medication like they had hoped…..They wanted to give it two more days.

The third ultrasound was about the same, only now the few eggs that were healthy and big, started getting too big. They were nervous that the eggs would die, and there wasn’t enough middle-sized eggs. I had five good eggs, and they didn’t want to wait another day, for fear of losing the ones I had….

It was time to make a decision…..We could either go ahead with the process and risk losing all of the eggs. If none of our embryos survived, we would be completely out of money, and have to come up with about $25,000 again, which meant that the $25,000 that we had to pay up front, would be gone. OR we could stop the process and try again in a few months….

I was devastated! Why weren’t my ovaries producing what the doctors thought they should? I had heard from several sources, that after a partial hysterectomy, I would lose my ovaries within 3 years. It had been almost 3 years!!! Were my ovaries dying? Did that mean I could never have a baby through surrogacy? All this hard work, time, money & engergy spent, for nothing!!!? I knew it! I knew something would be able to stop us from achieving our dreams…..I felt like a failure…It was my fault once again, that we couldn’t have anymore children.

My mind began to find that familiar dark hole. I immediately confronted the doctors with the many questions running through my mind….They reassured me that my ovaries appeared to be very healthy and that having a partial hysterectomy, didn’t necessarily mean that my ovaries would die in 3 years.

I was slightly comforted, but I was still not convinced that there wasn’t something wrong with my ovaries.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Another very important reason that the doctors wanted to monitor my ovaries so closely, was because of the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. They were exceptionally concerned because of my heart. They knew that my heart would not be able to handle any additional fluid.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) usually occurs as a result of taking gonadotropins — hormonal medications that stimulate the production of eggs in a woman’s ovaries.

Sometimes, too many follicles begin to develop in the ovaries, causing them to become swollen and enlarged. OHSS can cause severe pain and trigger the release of fluid into the abdomen and lungs.

If left untreated, OHSS can result in serious health complications. Severe cases of OHSS are rare, but they have been known to lead to permanent injury and even death.

Possible complications include:

Twisting of the swollen ovaries (which may require their removal and loss of fertility)
Collection of fluid in the stomach and lungs (which interferes with bodily processes, including breathing)
Loss of kidney and liver function
Blood clots (which may lead to stroke)
Frequent monitoring of your ovaries and follicular (egg) development using ultrasound
Frequent testing of your blood estrogen levels

Needles, Needles, & More Needles

We both had several shots to take every day. Although the medication did burn and itch the site, the shots didn’t seem to bother me.
Alice on the other hand, had been on this rodeo of invitrofertalization with her twin girls, so she was a little more hesitant. She had kinda build up a slight phobia of needles. Can’t blame her….She managed, with the help of her awesome husband, to receive the poke of the dreaded needles several times a day. You go girl!!!

We were on fertility shots for 2-3 weeks. At the beginning of the third week, Alice would have an ultrasound to see how thick her uterus was getting. I had an ultrasound scheduled each day the third week to see how many and how mature my eggs (follicles) were getting. They had to monitor the eggs very closely, because if any of the eggs were out of range (meaning, not mature enough or too mature/too big,) they could not be used. If the eggs got too big or too mature, they would die off.

We’re Making a Baby!/So Many Details

It took about two and a half months to get all the preliminary work done. Now we could actually start the invitro-surrogate process! We’re mak’n a baby!!!

Alice & I had been on birth control for a few weeks, and would be able to start the fertility injections in the next week. We had another appointment with the infertility center to discuss the plan in great detail. We each had our own special medication that would work with our bodies to create the perfect environment for embryos to be created and transferred safely.

Alice’s injections assisted her body in thinking that it was already pregnant. Her uterus would become thick and healthy, so when the embryos are transferred and placed in her uterus, they can attach to an environment created especially for them.

My injections assisted my ovaries in producing several large eggs. When a woman naturally ovulates, she normally releases one egg. They wanted me to produce and release 8-12 large eggs. WOW!

Example: When the eggs are taken out and fertilized, only about 1/3 of them survive. So if 9 eggs are made, only 3 would survive. Those 3 embryos, because now they’re fertilized with the sperm, are transferred in the uterus, and usually only 1/3 of those survive. So you can see why it’s so important to gather so many eggs to begin with. The eggs also have to be mature. Some of the eggs produced, aren’t mature enough to use.

It was more than a delicate situation, and God absolutely had to be the One overseeing every single step.