Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bata test results

Tuesday I went in for my blood test to find out if I am really pregnant. I say really pregnant because the day before I finally broke down and took a home pregnancy test. I know they say not to because it only adds to the stress, but I couldn't help it. I had to know so that I could prepare myself for what ever answer the doctor might call with. 
I took the test first thing on Monday morning and it came back positive!!! I just sat on the edge of my bed staring at the second pink like. It was not as dark as the first, but it was there and I was overjoyed. I couldn't believe after everything that we had been through that it worked. That despite the days on end of vomiting, fevers and having to have almost two liters of fluid removed from my body, at least one of those tiny embryos hung on
Taken May 29, 2012 6:50am
I could not wait to tell Jeff the great news, but unfortunately I had to teach a class first. Thankfully their project was already prepared and the class time flew by. As soon as it was over I walked right down to Jeff's class to tell him the great news. He had to step out of the room for a moment so while he was away, I typed a letter on the computer saying that we were pregnant. When he came back and saw what was on his monitor he was thrilled. It was hard to have a little celebration quietly while the students were walking around the room, but we did. 

So the next day when I had to go in for blood work I knew what the call later that day would be. "Congratulations, your pregnant." Having to wait for that call was torture. I don't know why but I was more nervous about that phone call than I expected. Finally around 2:30 just as school got out and just as Jeff and Tyson were getting home, my phone rang. I went into my son's room to answer it and she said those words, "NOT pregnant, sorry." Waite, what!?! Not pregnant! I made her repeat it at least three times before the words would even begun to sink in. Not pregnant, false positive, not pregnant, not pregnant, not pregnant. 
I immediately when into see Jeff who had a huge smile on his face and burst into tears. I had to tell him that the test had been wrong and that we are not pregnant. Our two tiny miracles didn't stay with us and our fight was over. My son saw that I was crying and asked what was wrong. I had to explain to him that the picture of the two babies that I had shown him were not going to be babies. He was sad and asked if they died like our other baby. I explained to him that they never grabbed on like we had talked about and that our trying to conceive journey was over. He then looked up at me and said "It's ok Mommy, you still have me and I'm not going to go anywhere. I know your sad about the babies dying, but it would be more sad if I did and I didn't. I am sad I wanted to be a big brother, but I am still here." That brought on it's own flood of tears and I told him that I am so blessed to have him and that I love him more than anything on earth. Later I told him that maybe Mommy didn't have another baby because I already have one perfect little boy. I want him to know that I don't need more children, that he is enough for me and that I am happy with him, beyond happy.  
At the same time I am very sad. I have let myself cry and cry some more. I don't want to play the "everything happens for a reason" card, I just want to be sad. I want to cry and not feel bad about crying. I don't feel like talking to anyone, I just want to be sad. 

I don't know where our journey will go from here. We are suppose to leave the country on June 9th, leaving our 12 embryos behind until we can find a safe way to get them home. 12 embryos, 12 more possibilities that may never be all because of a school that has made us feel so unwelcome. My heart is broken and I feel defeated. 
Our friend is going to call out doctor to find out exactly when we would be able to try again, just to see if there would be some sort of possibility of us changing our plane tickets to stay and try one more time. For now though, I am feeling very hopeless and sad. I don't know when I will post again as I don't know what I have to write about anymore, but I will be following every one's stories and praying so hard that you all get positive results. I don't wish this feeling on anyone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Egg Transfer

I had a three day embryo transfer on Saturday the 19th with two 8 to 9 cell embryos. They do not do the grading system here, so I am not sure what grade they were at. I do know that once again, the experience was very Korean.
Because I knew ahead of time that my husband would not be allowed to go in the room with me, I decided to go to this appointment alone. When everything was over, he would dive down to get me. There was no point in making him sit out in the waiting room for hours on end with nothing to do and no one to talk to. Besides, it was also on a Saturday so our son would not be in school and I couldn't imagine a more boring way to spend a Saturday then sitting in a room at a doctor's office.
To pass the time I brought along my new Kindle, but no sooner then I got it turned on and started to read that the women who I had become so close to during retrieval came over to say hi. I was hoping I would see her there, but I never imagined my luck would be that good. We talked about our recoveries from the last procedure and how nervous we were about this one. We also talked about the number of embryos we had that fertilized, I had 19 out of 20 and she had 8 out of 11. We both knew the odds were in our favor and we hoped for the best. 
Soon the nurse called our names over, along with 4 or 5 other women and we were taken back into the same room as the retrieval. We once again adorned our beautiful, short pink robes and were lined up in order in the small waiting area. This time I was first in line with my new friend right next to me. I was so nervous about going in first, but at least it would be over and the process trying to make a baby or babies could begin. 
When the nurse came out she called all of our names, not just mine. I guessed that this was going to be another group affair like my IUI. Oh well, at least I would have someone to talk to and possibly hold my hand. 
Sure enough we were all lined up and given a bed with our names written on a small white board above the pillow. At least I have learned to read my name in Korean. The beds this time were full, six women lay next to me while seven others were across from us, all with the hopes of getting pregnan. Not quite the way I had envisioned conceiving our next child, but hey, it's going to make for a great story someday. 
After we all got as comfortable as possible a nurse came in to go over some things with us. Once again my new friend was invaluable in translating everything for me. While we waited for the doctor to arrive to start the process, we were to relax as much as possible. The actual process would not take long at all, but we were to remain laying down for two hours following the transfer. Two hours! Wow now I am really glad I have someone to talk to!
 They dimmed the lights and turned on soft music and explained to us that we would be able to see our embryos on the small TVs that hung next to our bed right before they came in to do the transfer. After the transfer was over, we would each be given a photo to take home. I was really hoping for a photo, but actually being able to see them before they were placed back where they belonged, well that was something I could have never even dreamed of. It made me a little teary eyed just thinking about the possibility of seeing our two tiny miracles at such an early stage. How many women will ever get to say they saw their children when they were only a few cells old. 
We didn't have to wait long before the doctor came in and started getting everything ready. A portable ultrasound machine was wheeled over to my bed and I was asked to scoot to the end. As soon as I did, I turned to the TV waiting to see my little gifts from God. Unfortunately my TV was not working and once the nurse finally got it to, they were already getting ready to bring them in. I did however get a quick look at them on another TV in the room. It was amazing to see the two of them sort of floating around, then being sucked up into the small catheter. When the doctor walked in with them, I asked the women next to me to hold my hand. She held on tight and I started to pray that these two little embryos would implant and start to grow strong. I prayed that the pain from the retrieval process and the weeks of injections would be all worth it and that this would work. I prayed that our son would finally be the big brother he wanted to be so badly. I prayed that our babies would be healthy and happy and at that moment,  after seeing them, I fell in love with them. They were our babies, our tiny precious miracles, created under different circumstances but wanted and loved that much more. 
The actual process only took a few minuets and once it was done I was told not to move for the next five minuets. Now I understood why the other seven women that were across from us were placed behind a giant sheet. It was so we had a little bit of privacy and they could not just look over at us. 
Next it was my friend's turn and she was so nervous that it was going to hurt. I told her that I never felt anything and told her to try and relax. Soon her little embryo came up on the screen and we all watched as it floated around, holding all the potential in the world. Soon the doctor came in again with a large catheter and placed her embryo safely back where it can grow strong. 
Fourteen times in total I got to watch this process take place. Sometimes one embryo, sometimes two came up on our little screens. Some were a cluster of 8 or 9 cells while others were clearly already in the blastocyst stage. The most amazing one that we were able to see was one women had an embryo that was already dividing into natural identical twins. The doctors all pointed that one out and explained what was going on. It was amazing to see life happening at such a crucial moment. I couldn't help but cry, not only for myself but for each women that laid in that room with me. I cried for each one of those tiny embryos to grow strong and give life that was wanted so badly. 
After we were finished, the doctor that was working on the women across from us explained how he had gone to an IVF hospital in Poland and a study was done that proved that your odds for conception increased with laughter. So we were told to find something on the TV to watch or talk about something that would get us to laugh. To spend the next 24 hours laughing as much as possible and hopefully we would all have positive results. 
Laughing turned out to be the easy part really. I mean who else gets pregnant with fourteen strangers and a bunch of doctors. "Yes dear child, you were created in a giant conception orgy with only one women that I was actually able to even communicate with."  There was no problems with laughing, but at the same time I wished so much that Jeff could have been a part of this. That he too was able to see our tiny creations on the screen and to be there when our children were placed safely back in what I hope would be their home for the next 9 months. 
The next few hours passed quickly with lots of conversing, watching TV and even a nice lunch. Yup that's right, while laying in our bed, we were each given a bowl of nice hot rice porridge with seaweed and vegetables. It was really good, but I chose not to enjoy the tiny fish and kimchi that came with it. There's just something about those little fish looking up at me with their little dead eyes that doesn't scream YUMMY. 
After our two hour wait was over, we were told we could slowly get up and start moving around. While I chose to go out and get my phone to call my husband, my friend was a bit too nervous and wanted to give it more time before moving. So I went back into the dressing room, put my underwear back on to feel a little less exposed and called my husband. To my surprise he and my son were already out waiting for me. I told him that it would be another 20 to 30 minuets before we would be released after that I had to go home and rest for the next two days. 
When I got back into the other room to lay down, I told my friend that I would be thinking of her and that I hoped everything would work out. I feel so close to her and yet I knew that this may be the last time I ever saw her. Unlike in the US, people here are not so open about giving out email addresses or Facebook pages to keep in touch. I was sad that I might never know how things turned out for her, but in a way I think it was the perfect friendship. We were there when we needed each other most and we could go on believing that everything turned out perfectly for the other person. When it was time to go, we said our goodbyes and our good lucks and went our separate ways. I think I will always have a special place in my heart for this person because we shared something so personal with each other. It usually takes years to share everything that we did in the few hours that we were actually together, but those are hours that I will forever cherish. 
After everything was over and I was dressed, we left the office with a date of May 30th to come back for blood work. As long as we came before 11:30, we would be able to get our results that same day. Looking back I laugh at how much I was dreading that time, but after everything that happened, after getting so sick and having so many complications, I never got the chance to feel the anxiety of the time passing by. As soon as I finally started to feel better, my wait was over. But that's another story.

Monday, May 28, 2012

That's not a needle, it's a PIPE!!!

As anyone who has been reading my blog knows, I developed OHSS after my egg retrieval. I really thought I was on the road to recovery when my symptoms suddenly got worse. I was unable to keep any food or liquids down, the shortness of breath got worse, I was unable to sleep due to intense acid reflux and I gained close to 16lbs in less then 4 days. 
On Friday the 25, I finally had enough and returned to my doctor. This time she seemed a lot more concerned and confirmed that the fluid building up in my chest and abdomen would not go away on it's own. She explained that it needed to be drained and we couldn't wait any longer. 
At first I was not that nervous, my husband was with me and I was so uncomfortable at that point that I was willing to do anything for a little relief. It wasn't until the doctor told me that my husband once again couldn't be in the room with me through the procedure that I became upset. I just don't understand why they have such an aversion to moral support. That or they just don't understand how significant a loved one holding you hand can be. 
I was taken to the same room where they had given me IV medications a few days prior and once again put on the smallest gurney I have ever seen. If I had tried to lay flat out, my knees would have hung off of the end. Instead they wanted me laying on my side so it worked. The nurse started out by placing another IV line in my wrist to start fluids and antibiotics. Because I was much more dehydrated this time, she had a hard time even finding a vein to place the IV. Thankfully she was able to get it in on one try and after about 10 minuets of fluids the doctor came in to put in the drain. 
At first it was a lot of repositioning to find just the right spot and to try to make sure the fluid would drain from my chest as completely as possible. While she was looking around with the ultrasound I decided now would be a good time to tell my doctor that I have a huge fear of needles and I appologised ahead of time for any screaming that she may have to listen to. No sooner did I say this than another nurse came up behind me with a folded blanket and another pillow. She was standing over my head so I asked the doctor if that was to cover my mouth so the other patients in the waiting room wouldn't hear me scream. At first she looked at me very puzzled, then suddenly she started laughing uncontrollably. So much so she had to put down the ultrasound and hold onto the table. The other nurses, not understanding a lot of English, had no idea what was going on. Finally after a few breaths, my doctor translated to them what I had said. They too started to laugh with sort of a shocked look on their face that I would think such a thing. This really helped calm me down and it made for another great story for later.
After using the blankets and pillow to put me into the most uncomfortable position imaginable, it was time to start. Without any pain medication or shot to numb the area, the doctor grabbed what I can only describe as a large 8" long gold pipe and got ready to insert it into my lower stomach, right above my right hip. Before inserting it, she turning to me one last time to tell me the importance of not moving while she got it into the right area. Like she had to tell me not to move. I was so scared that if I did, it would go right through me or worse, through my liver or something. 
Thankfully I was able to reach over my head and grab onto a rail in the front of the gurney and at least pretend it was Jeff. His hand holding mine, giving me the strength not to move and the courage not to scream. 
At first the needle didn't feel any worse than some of the injections I have been administering to myself, maybe just a little more painful. It wasn't until she had to go through the muscle layer into my abdominal cavity that the pain really hit. It was really intense for about five seconds then it felt more like a lot of painful pressure. I could actually the doctor move the needle around to get it into just the right spot. She finally stopped when it was laying at an angle near the side of my uterus. After that I could feel every inch of the needle in my body and every time I made the slightest adjustment to my body, I could feel it moving inside, poking and hurting. 
Once the needle was placed where she wanted, they taped it in place the best they could and started draining the fluid. I could hear it running into the glass bottle on the floor next to by bed and even though I am not a squeamish person at all, this made me a little nauseated. Thinking that there was not a great amount of fluid to drain, the doctor said they would leave it in for about 30 minuets just to be on the safe side. By the time they brought Jeff back to sit with me, the bottle was over half full.
For the next half an hour, I begged Jeff to talk about anything and everything to get my mind off of how much pain I was in. To distract me from the immense urge to move into a more comfortable position and to ignore the feeling of this large foreign object now squiring me. To my great dismay he seemed to be fresh out of any topics of conversation, focusing more on the process taking place. Finally I got his attention by telling him that I now knew what it felt like when someone takes that time of death temperature on TV. If you have ever watched any of the CSI, NCIS or some crime type show then you most likely know what I am talking about. I also correlated this feeling to having been run through the middle with a meat thermometer in a bad BBQ accident or falling onto a piece of rebar. All of witch I knew were extreme exaggerations, but at least it got Jeff's attention and his laughter took away the reality of what was happening. 
Soon the nurse returned and had to change out bottles as the first was completely full. She held up the bottle for me to see and said "no wonder you felt so bad." I knew something wasn't right, but I had no idea it was at that extent. Even she seemed surprised at the amount still draining. After about ten more minuets and one more quick peek in to see how things were going, I started begging Jeff to get someone to take it out. I couldn't stand it being in there any longer, it had to come out soon or I was going to take it out myself. I'm not sure if it was because of the pain, which wasn't really that bad, or the idea of knowing that it was in there that brought me to the verge of panic. I was begging Jeff to get the nurse and he did his best to calm me down and talk me through it. He said over and over that it was better to leave it in and get as much fluid out as possible then to go home feeling like I have been and have to have this repeated. Even though I knew this is what was best, mentally it was a struggle to lay there, not moving with this thing going through me.
Finally the fluid stopped draining and the nurse came in to remove it. Like going in, there were places that hurt more as it came out. Even once it was laying on a table next to me, I felt like I could still feel every inch of where it had just been in my body. That turned out to last a few days, but healed quickly. After it was all said and done, just under two liters of fluid were removed. Almost immediately I started feeling better. I was able to breath much easier and the pressure on my stomach, sort of like I had just eaten a really big meal even though I hadn't been able to keep food down in almost three days, was gone. After waiting another half an hour for the IV medications to finish dripping their way into my veins, it was time to go home. Walking was a bit uncomfortable and I was slightly light headed, but overall I still felt better than when I had arrived. On the drive home is when I really noticed a huge difference in how my pants fit (the fact that they suddenly did) and how much more comfortable it was just sitting up, and it made me grateful for having gone through it. It's not an experience I would ever want to repeat, but it is one that I can honestly say was a huge relief once it was done. 
It is now Monday the 27th and I am feeling almost 100% back to normal. I haven't gotten sick once since having the fluid drain and my breathing is completely back to normal. I have also lost 18lbs since Friday and my clothes finally fit again. Not all of the fluid was released during the procedure, but the medications that they gave me allowed me to (never ending) pee the rest away. 
So I promise that I will try to finish writing the story of my embryo transfer because that was an experience all on it's own. Until then, please forgive me for getting so behind and making you wait so long for updates.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am sorry that I have once again fallen behind on posting, but I have developed Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome and have been really sick. I returned to my doctor's office yesterday and she did not feel as though my shortness of breath, pain and vomiting was bad enough to go to the hospital, but instead gave me some IV medications in her office. They made me feel a little better yesterday, but today the pain and vomiting have returned and I am just not feeling very strong. 
I keep praying this was all worth it and we end up with two healthy babies in the end.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pain following egg retrieval.

The day after my egg retrieval was for the most part, not too bad. I woke up that morning feeling really swollen and sore, almost as if I had done a million sit ups the night before. Because I didn't have  to work that day I spent the majority of the time laying in bed. I hardly felt any pain at all and I started to believe that the recovery process for the procedure was going to be quite simple. That was until I was laying down that night to go to bed and I started getting the most sever cervical pain I have ever experienced. It was almost like someone had their hand around it and was squeezing it for all they were worth. I know, TMI.  I couldn't sit up, lay down or move without the pain intensifying. When I finally did manage to get out of bed, I noticed that my pajamas felt a bit tight. Because the scale sits right next to the bathroom, I decided to step on to see what was going on. Because of my chances of developing OHS, I knew I needed to keep a close eye on my weight. 
When I got on the scale I was horrified to see that I had gained almost 12lbs in a single day. I know I at  this point I should have contacted my doctor, but because it was about midnight, there wasn't much I could do. There would be no point in going to the emergency room where no one would be able to speak English and understand what was going on. So I went back to bed, found that the only comfortable position I could get into was curling up into a tight ball and tried for hours to get a little rest. I was finally able to fall asleep just after the sun started to creep it's way into my windows.
By the next morning things had calmed down a bit and the pain was almost to a tolerable level. I got up and walked around a bit and felt fairly comfortable. I knew there wasn't any way I was going to be able to get out of work so I got dressed and got everything that I would need ready. The two classes that I had went really smoothly and the pain stayed at a decent level. I started to think that maybe the pain from the night before was caused by one of the medications given to me. The unapproved Korean version of Viagra. I mean it is suppose to cause tightening of other body parts right? 
Anyway that night was the high school's first prom like dance and I had agreed to chaperon. Thankfully there were plenty of other teachers on hand so I didn't end up having to do much. After standing around talking for an hour or so, I headed up to the roof to talk with two other teachers that were already up there. I was having a great time talking and laughing until out of no where the pain returned tenfold. I did all I could to come up with and excuse to leave then dragged myself back down to my room. By the time I got there I was screaming in pain into my pillow and had no idea what was going on. The pain came in waves and when it was at it's worst I was screaming for Jeff to do something. He desperately wanted to take me to the hospital but I was so afraid that if I went in, they would cancel our cycle and this round of IVF would be over just like that. 
Now I am not suggesting to ANYONE that they take these same actions at all. If you are in pain, contact your doctor! 
Thankfully because of the many past surgeries I have undergone, I had some strong pain medication that I could try taking. It took roughly thirty minuets to finally kick in, but once it did, the pain was once again at a manageable level. This time however I found that I could only get comfortable if I sat with my chest on the bed and my butt up in the air. Yah I know, not the best position, but it seemed to take the pressure off of my cervix. 
Once again by the next morning the pain had almost disappeared and I was feeling much better. The scale had gone down by about six pounds and I was feeling only slight cramping. That morning happened to be our transfer day and I promised Jeff that I would discuss all of my symptoms with the doctor once I arrived at the hospital. Unfortunately I never got a chance to do that, but she looked me all over and did an ultrasound right before implantation and didn't seem to see anything worry some. 
So for now, I am still resting and the pain is completely gone. I will post another blog about my actual transfer as soon as I am able. 
I am really sorry these past two blogs are coming so late, but blogging was the last thing I was in the mood to do these past few days.

Egg Retrieval (sorry it's a long one)

Wednesday was my egg retrieval and in may ways, it was exactly what I had expected. The pain was almost as bad as I had imagined and the experience was overall, very Korean.

Because our appointment wasn't until 9:00, our morning did not start off any earlier than normal. Unfortunately after getting very little sleep the night before, it still felt very early. While Jeff got our son off to school, I made a quick Skype call to my parents. We didn't get to talk long because before I knew it, it was time to head to the fertility hospital.
 Once we arrived, I was surprised to see that it wasn't as busy as I had expected. During my IUI, it was standing room only. This time there was maybe two dozen people there. After a quick check in, I was asked to go into the injection room for two shots in the hip. I have no idea what they were, but I do know the second one burned and left quite a large bruise.
A short time later the nurse came to escort me to the room behind the lab. 
As a side not I have to say how much I love that the lab is all open with windows that you can look in and see everything happening. 
Jeff was following behind thinking that he would be allowed to hold my hand through the procedure, but once we got to the door, the nurse asked him to go back to the other room. I was so upset that I was going to have to go through this alone that I started to cry. The IVF journey is such an emotional roller coaster as it is, to have to go through the major aspects of it alone felt so isolating and scary.
 Once in the back room, I was asked to change with another women into a small Korean sized robe. This other women ended up being a true gift from God and a life saver through out the process. Originating from Korea, she moved to Australia some years ago and spoke perfect English. We ended up hitting it off right away and quickly became each others support person. Each time the nurse came out to talk to us she would translate her instructions, but more importantly she was just someone to talk to. We talked about our fears of the process, our anxiety of being without our husbands and our overall excitement to get it over with.
A nurse then came out and lined us up in order on a set of chairs and told us that once the women in front of us was called in, we were to get up and empty our bladders and wait to be called. She also asked for the little pills that we were to bring with us for them to insert after the procedure was over. I had left mine with my husband in my purse thinking that he would be there with me. I tried to explain this to the nurse so she could run out and get him, but she didn't understand. Instead she told ME to go get him. Me, in this bathrobe that barely went to my waist was suppose to walk out in front of everyone in the waiting room to try and find my husband. Thankfully I found a blanket that I could wrap around myself to at least feel a little less exposed. As soon as I rounded the corner to the waiting room, the receptionist looked up and ran over trying to push me back into the other room. LOL apparently a not so skinny American walking around half naked was not appropriate lol. Anyway she told me my husband was busy doing his part and that she would bring me my bag back when he was done.
  As I sat back down and looked around to the six women sitting ahead of me in line, I could see that we were all trembling. As women who had already finished with their retrievals came out, some were crying and walking in pain while others were looking as if they just had a restful nap. We were all crossing our fingers for the well rested look when we finished!
Soon it was time for my new found friend to be called into the back. I said good luck to her and that I would be thinking of her through out her procedure. While she was in the next room, I got up to use the restroom. As soon as I shut the small door behind me I started to cry. I was scared and more than a little creeped out. On the floor of the bathroom were many drops of blood from women who had gone before us. At least now I know why they make us put on the little slippers. The sight of the blood made me nervous, and grossed out. Blood and things like that are just not feared like that like in the US and often times you run into what we would consider very unsanitary conditions. (ex. in a public bathroom you do not flush any toilet paper, instead
you place it in an open trash can next to the toilet.)
After using the restroom, I returned to my spot on the chair, waiting for my name to be called. This was one wait I wasn't looking forward to be over with. While I sat there I tried to imagine all of the beautiful, healthy eggs that we were going to get today and the beautiful baby or babies that I might be able to hold in my arms.
Unfortunately those warm fuzzy thoughts didn't last long because it was now my turn. A nursed dressed in blue scrubs from head to toe came out to get me. We walked behind the first set of doors and through a small glass door where the dreaded chair with stirrups awaited. No comfy bed for me to lay on, just a leather chair that was still wet from the disinfectant they had use after the last patient. At least I am hoping it was disinfectant!
Anyway as I got into position, my doctor came to talk to me. She explained that they would give me an injection that would calm me down and take away most of the pain. The procedure itself would not take very long and if I watched the large monitor on the wall, I would be able to see the eggs as they collected them.
So now I am up in the chair with about six men and women walking around looking at me when they drop a pretty pink curtain from the ceiling that blocks my view from anything taking place below the waist. A nurse came over and tried to find a good vein to inject what looked to be an awful small amount of medication into my arm. As she did it, I told her that it felt as though she had missed the vein. I have terrible tiny veins that tend to roll away at the sight of a needle. She tried to reassure me that the medication was in and I should start to feel a bit dizzy and sleepy soon. That feeling never came once during the procedure.
Instead I felt EVERYTHING!! I initially felt the first injection of the medication that was suppose to "numb" the area, and then I felt every needle go into each follicle as she collected our precious eggs. I tried so hard to watch the monitor because looking at those tiny eggs was like looking at our future children, but the pain was just too much. As I began to cry out that it was really hurting, the nurses came to hold me hands and told me not to cry. I wonder if they have ever had a one foot long, seventeen gauge needle inserted into their vagina over and over again? If so, I doubt they would have told me to stop crying.
After they finished with the first side and injected the second numbing medication into the right, I was almost begging for it to be over. I again felt the needle pass through my vaginal wall and into my ovaries. The doctor who then stated that I seemed to be in more pain then most women ordered a second injection of pain medication into my arm. This one finally started to work, just as she was finishing.
The entire process from start to finish took about five or six minuets, but I honestly think the trauma of it all will last a lot longer. That's something that no women should ever have to go through unsedated and alone!
As soon as the doctor was finished, they lead me back through the glass doors and into a room with 14 beds lining the walls. I was told to lay down for at least an hour to recover before getting dressed and talking with the doctor. To my relief the women who I had been talking to in the waiting room was now laying next to me. She was also crying, but nothing compared to my embarrassing reaction in there. It didn't help at all when she said that her and the other women could hear me crying through the door and she felt so bad that I was hurting so much. I asked her if the medication they had given to her had taken away her pain but she said she still felt quite a bit and kept asking when it would be over. Even though we both knew that this is the step that we needed to take to hopefully bring our children into the world, we both agreed that we didn't think we would ever do it again.
We would not find out the number or eggs they had collected until after we were dressed and went out to talk to the doctor, so instead we just layed there next to each other trying to guess.
After some much needed time to collect ourselves, it was finally time to get dressed.  Before we were allowed to leave the room however, we all had to make sure that we could use the restroom without any problems to make sure that the needle did not perforate our bladders. Now they tell us this is a possibility!
After no issues with the bathroom, we all got dressed and painfully walked out to the receptionist to pay for the procedure. Because I told my husband to go back to the school and pick me up when we were done, I did not have my credit card to pay. Thankfully the wonderful women behind the desk simply said to come in and pay later. It's not as though I would have never come back, they now had my eggs is their possession.
We were then given a list of medications we were to go to the pharmacy and pick up. Thankfully the pharmacy being in the basement of the building makes everything very convenient. Once again I did not have enough money to pay for all of my medications. I had no idea that we would be getting that many! The cost came to almost 200 US dollars and I had only 100 with me. The pharmacist then told me the same thing as the women upstairs, to just come back and pay the rest later. When in the US would that ever happen!
Once we were back upstairs, we were all brought into the injection room for a tutorial of the medications and how to take them and another injection of antibiotics. My new friend was wonderful in translating the many instructions that came with everything. Then we were each given a piece of paper with the number of eggs they had collected on it. My friend got hers first and we celebrated her 11 eggs. Then I was given my paper and our eyes both widened as we saw the number 20 on the page. 20 eggs, more than the doctor had ever expected to retrieve from me. Even though she could see at least 15 follicles, we figured most would be empty or not mature like usual. Because of the high number of eggs, it was explained to me that I now had a much higher chance of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. (
 I was told that for the next week I had to watch for any signs of swelling, weight gain, more than 5lbs a day, pain and difficulty breathing.
Here is a photo and a list of all the medication given to me. 

1. Vaginal Progesterone (inserted once every morning)
2. Metformin (taken with every meal)        
3. Mirodenafil HCI (Not approved in the US, pill like Viagra inserted every 12 hours)
4. Dostinex (to help with the OHS taken after dinner)
5. Pack of 8 pills, never told what they were (taken after dinner)
6. Prenatal vitamin (taken every night
 7. Fish Oil (taken every night)
8. Progesterone (taken with every meal)
 9. Baby Aspirin (taken after dinner)
10. Syringe for injecting Ovidrel (every other day  until May 30th)

So now that it is over I can honestly say that I am happy that I went through it. Even though the pain in the days to follow have been extreme and intense, it was worth it. I know this is our best chance to welcome the child, or children that are missing from our family.
If I had to give advice to anyone going through this it would be to make sure you have a strong support system. This is such an overwhelming emotional experience, you really need someone to talk to, cry with or just be there. Know that you have done everything possible to get to this point and celebrate however many eggs they were able to retrieve. You worked so hard to make each and every one of them. Even if they do not fertilize or grow to be used, celebrate them now. I pray for anyone going through this that you have an easier time during the surgery part, but that you all have wonderful outcomes and healthy babies!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm so sorry!!

I am so sorry that I have not put my actual egg retrieval blog on here yet. I have been in a great deal of pain and have only worked on it here and there. I promise it will be up later today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Twas the night before egg retrieval......

Twas the night before egg retrieval and all through the house,
not a person was stirring, not even the mouse.  
The pillows were stacked on the bed with great care,
in hopes that a drug induced sleep would soon take place there.

My husband and son were all snug in their beds,
 while visions of a new baby danced in their heads.  
With my husband in his boxers and I in my sweats, 
I had just settled my brain for a stress induced rest.

When next to the bed arose such a clatter,
 I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the nightstand I flew in a flash,
                               and threw down on the alarm clock with a great crash.

The sun barely risen through the window I see,
Gave the feeling of nervousness all throughout me. 
When what to my wondering eyes should finally focus on,
 but a cup full of coffee that I am not allowed a sip from.

 With my husband now ready with the keys to the van,
 I knew in a moment the day of egg retrieval was finally at hand.
 More rapid then eagles the nerves how they came, 
as I yelled out every curse word and called my husband every bad name.

  In the waiting room with time now standing still, 
 I am called back for more injection, oh what a thrill.
Into the small room where I'm then asked to dropped my pants,
feeling shaky and nervous, my skin crawling with ants.

Next I am asked to walk to the room in the back,
my husband being told to stay behind now looked as if he could attack. 
Next to me other women sat dressed in their robes of pink,
the only thing I wanted was to puke into the sink.
Soon came the nurse to bring me into the retrieval room,
and I began praying this will go quick and be over soon.
The doctor all smiles looked sunny and merry,
her nice green scrubs smelling quite sanitary. 

Soon came the needles and all of the pain, 
as I lay there crying and screaming in shame.
The nurses so reassuring gave a nod of her head,
not subsiding the pain or the feelings or dread.

She spoke barely a word as she went on with her work,
telling me to stop crying I wanted to call her a jerk. 
Finally it's over and I can go to recovery,
guessing with another women home many eggs their might be.  

Walking for the first time was not my idea of fun,
but finding out that we got 20 eggs felt like the lottery had been won! 
Two days I now wait by the phone with great anticipation, 
waiting to find out our day for re-implantation.

I hope you enjoyed my retrieval story,
I hope it wasn't to shocking or too gory. 
Just think of your eggs because oh what a sight,
Happy retrieval to all and to all a good night. 

By:Ryann Martin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wednesday's child is full of eggs (At least we hope so)

Tomorrow is my egg retrieval and I am scared out of my mind! I never in my wildest dreams nightmares  imagined going through this completely awake! The past few days I have been looking up and watching as many egg retrieval vlogs on YouTube as I could find, but I think this only made it worse. I would say 90% of the ones I watched had wonderful experiences with their ER. They went in, was given medication to either completely put them under or put them into a twilight sleep.  They woke up with a little mild discomfort, never really feeling any significant pain. I was not able to find many vlogs where the women were awake, but the ones that I did watch did not have such happy stories to tell. They all said that they could feel each and every poke of the needle, every follicle being drained and every move the doctor made. They all said they screamed or cried in pain and begged for more medication. Two different women said that they had to stop the egg collection because she was in too much pain, resulting in only getting a small fraction of the follicles they had. 
I know that I have not come this far to give up now. I know that being in pain for a short time, if resulting in a healthy pregnancy, will have been completely worth it. Saying that now is still a lot easier then imagining myself actually doing it. I will not give in if I can help it. I want them to go after each and every follicle that is there. After all, I have endured more than a week of injections and medications to get to this point. I will not let that effort go to waste for a little pain.
I will update everyone as soon as I feel up to it and let you know what my experience was and how many eggs we were able to retrieve.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

There going to do WHAT while I'm AWAKE!

Today we returned to the doctor to determine our retrieval day, pick up more medication and get some unexpected news that would leave me feeling ill for the rest of the day!
Before I get into that, let me start off by saying that I have a true love/hate relationship with my fertility clinic for being open on a Saturday. While it allows for greater convince for a lot of people, having an unscheduled, no appointment necessary policy makes for a very overcrowded office and a lot of waiting around. It felt like half of the population of Daegu was there this morning. While we waited, Tyson played on my kindle fire and I wrote down all of the questions I had for the doctor. They were as follows.

          1. Will it be possible for us to transport the remaining healthy embryos we may have back the the US?
          2. If that is not a possibility, are we able to have them frozen and stored here?
          3. What is the average cost of storing embryos here?
          4. If I am on medications throughout the beginning of my (cross fingers) pregnancy, can I get a prescription for everything that I will need so I can take them home with me?
          5. Since I woke up during the D&C procedure, is there a different medication that we could use to make sure I stay asleep?
         6. Would it be possible to come in for the retrieval in the afternoon so that Jeff can be with me?

After a quick ultrasound to check on my now 20+ growing follicles, we sat down to talk with our doctor. To sum it up quickly, here were her responses to my questions.

          1. She will look into transporting them to the US for us. (Although. I think I will also be hitting the Internet up for this.)
          2. Yes we can freeze any remaining healthy embryos.
          3. Embryos can be frozen for up to 5 years with the cost of 100,000won a year. (100 US dollars.)
          4. I will be on injectable medication until the 30th of this month. We will  determine what other medications will be required after a positive pregnancy test, but it shouldn't be a problem getting the medication from here.
          5. "Oh no, no anesthesia, no going to sleep, that is imposable. No you will be AWAKE, we will simply inject several times to numb the area as best as possible before we begin." 
          6. I had to have Jeff tell me the answer to this one after we got home because I completely shut down after the word AWAKE!!! And no, no afternoon apt. 

When I say that I shut down, I mean that I felt as though I was going to vomit on her many photos of viginas covering the top of her desk. I wanted to cry, run away, tell her that I pass and I was done with everything, hide away in a dark corner and never let another human being near my vagina again! Even when the nurse came out to try to explain the medications I would need to take between now and the retrieval day on Wednesday, I could not calm down enough to hear a thing she was saying. Thankfully our friend was there with us and was able to explain everything to me again when my emotions setteled down enough to allow the rest of my body to function. 
As far as my medication, tomorrow is my last injection using the Gonal-f pen, but I am still going to be using the Orvidril every other day until the end of the month, along with the Metformin and baby aspirin. I go in on Monday at 8:00pm for a "trigger" shot to mature the eggs as much as possible before retrieval, along with taking two new medications (I'll add in the names later) in which I insert into my vigina starting on the 14th. I know TIM, but at this point, I think we long past that.  
So that is where I stand as of right now. Scared out of my mind and unable to concentrate on much else. Instead of being an event that I was looking forward to, it is now a day that I will be dreading. If you know anyone or have ever heard of someone going through this awake, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know what I should be expecting. I fear more then anything going into this blind. 

Cheaper by the Two Dozen

First I want to say that I am sorry because this update is a bit late. This is from my appointment on May 10th. 

We returned to the doctor on Thursday to check on the growth of my follicles and how their developing with the current medications that I'm on. My doctor was hopping for 4 to 5 healthy follicles that would be ready to retrieve some time late next week, to early the following week. To all our our shock, the 4 or 5 that we wanted so badly joined a gang and brought along 10 or so of their friends to the party. The look alone on her face said it all. Not only did I have more than triple what she was hoping for, but they are maturing a lot faster than expected. Instead of going next Wednesday for another ultrasound to determine our retrieval date, I have to go back in this Saturday.
While I understand that having a lot of follicles will hopefully result in more mature eggs and more healthy embryos to choose from, I can not help but feel a certain amount of sorrow. My biggest fear in all of this was the possibility of having an excess of embryos. Not knowing if it will be possible to transport them back to the US, along with not knowing if I will be returning at all the following year, leaves us with little choice as to how to handle these precious gifts. The idea of simply destroying them is a pain that I can not begin to describe. While I knew from the beginning this could be a possibility, it feels altogether different now that it is my reality. 
Jeffrey and I have a lot of talking to do these next few days. I pray for a decision that not only makes us happy but also allows me to not live without regret and guilt.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

STOP or I'll shoot!!

    Having to give myself injections gives me that same warm fuzzy feeling that I attribute to spiders, snakes and dark basements.
The funny thing is, they don't even hurt. It's more so the mental barrier that I need to overcome. The human brain is designed to handle the "fight or flight" response, not the "I'm about to willing jab this sharp object into my skin and be Ok with" response. 
    I mean, it's not like I went to the doctor to pick up my medications and was shocked to see the bag full of needles given to me. I knew all along that injections are synonymous with IVF, and yet every time I dig out all the supplies needed to give my self and injection, I am faced with the same fear as the day before. 
    I do not like needles, in fact you could probably say I have a moderate sever fear of them. Somehow despite that, I have now managed to give myself a total of 10 of them! Yes, I have now given myself 10 injections, on my own, without any medical training. That is strange right?!?  One would think medical training would be necessary to impale one's body with a sharp object, but nope. All that is needed is a quick tutorial by a nurse that does not speak English and a prescription.
   So for those of you who are about to embark on the injection filled IVF journey, please remember that the majority of the injections will not hurt, especially with a well placed ice pack prior to the big event. The hardest thing you will most likely face is the mental block that you must overcome to impale yourself with each sharp needle.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Meds Meds and more Meds

Today I went back to see my doctor to discuss our upcoming IVF schedule and to receive my medications. 
 Not knowing a lot anything on Korean policies when it comes to IVF and the number of embryos they transfer, I decided to try and get a little more insight with the help our our friend and interpreter. After waiting for a few moments for them talk everything over, it was explained to Jeff and I that normally only one embryo is transfer per IVF cycle. This scared me because during our IUI we had 4 healthy eggs and only conceived one unhealthy baby. I tried to convey my hesitation with the idea of only transferring one and having the same outcome as last time, but very quickly the doctor went on to tell us that if this round failed, we would hopefully have a few frozen embryos and we would simply try again. The idea of loss or not having a successful outcome does not seem to hold any emotional value, just dust yourself off and try try try again seems closer to their motto. 
After explaining, again that this will be our last chance at TTC here, she agreed to implant two. Out of curiosity sake I asked why they were normally so strict on the one embryo policy and the doctor explained that they use to implant two or even three embryos but many of their patients were choosing to abort the extra children and feeling that so many pregnancies were resulting in an unwanted number of babies, they limited the number to one, with a maximum of two.
It is so sad to think that anyone would go through this process after having difficulty getting pregnant on their own, only to abort the precious gifts given to them. I understand that many people might not be financially stable enough to care for three children at once, but in my opinion you should only accept transferring the number of embryos you are willing to accept responsibility in raising, even doubling that in the chance of natural twins.