Snow, ice, hysteroscopy – oh my!

We drove into Denver last weekend. I told Adam on the way that I was just as excited to get here as I was as if we were going on a beach vacation.  I couldn’t wait to see everyone!  We have been bouncing around, having dinners, catching up on the gossip we have missed out on.   It has snowed a ton but still been so much fun bopping around to all of our favorite places.  I went into CCRM yesterday to regroup and get poked & prodded.  In typical ‘Emily form’ things did not go quite as planned. Meaning, that this ‘well planned’ trip that I purposely planned around my cycle dates and CCRM’s availability all went out the window because I was FIVE days late. So the hysteroscopy that has to be done between days 5-12 got bumped so we are actually just staying out here longer to knock it out.  Kind of annoying but not the worst thing in the world.

Being in there yesterday definitely made me do a reality check.  It’s true what they say- that you kind of forget about the process once you have a baby. To be honest, I think I was so delirious from grief last round that the details are very vague to me.  All of the testing that I was able to do went totally fine but I walked out feeling sorry for myself.  Getting like 8-10 vials of blood taken, a reality check discussion with the doctor where we talked about chances of success (which are pretty decent- but if it doesn’t work then the chances drop dramatically after that). We are just going to transfer 1 again. I honestly don’t think I could mentally handle a twin pregnancy.  And then the punch to the gut as I handed over my credit card to pay $1200 for the diagnostics for the day 😉 Ugh.  IVF is just miserable.  With that being said, everything looked great and if the hysteroscopy comes back normal that we are all set to move forward whenever we wish.  Definitely NOT immediately. I decided that while I was in the waiting room.  I got an overwhelming feeling of “oh crap I’m not ready yet”.

I’m so excited to celebrate Christmas this year with Berkley.  If I don’t blog before then, have a Merry Christmas!

CCRM Consult

Say what? Yes I know.  I set up this appointment in early October.  Lots of questions now that I would be out of state.  After setting up the appointment (which wasn’t happening until late November) I had a lot of weird feelings.  The all-too-familiar stress that settled in my gut. The thought of shots, the heart wrenching waiting for results feelings, excitement, etc.

Then November was here and my appointment came and went so quick.  You know how you build things up in your head?  Well I was pretty much on the phone with them for 10-15 mins max.  I asked a lot of questions like how does it work being out of state? How many times will I go to CO? Do I need an RE or OB/GYN or both in KC? Etc. etc.   Full disclosure here.  I LOVED Dr. Brown. She was with me through getting pregnant with Cade and right after Cade died until I got pregnant with Berkley. She cried with me (a lot) and was just on my team.  She went to bat for me to get by their “6 month rule”.  Anyways, she moved to Vermont and I so I had my consult with Dr. Minjarez which I have always heard great things about.  I have met with her a few times in Dr. Brown’s place and just felt like we never ‘clicked’.  But you don’t need to click when it comes to spending tons of money. I know she is a great doctor. Anyways, this is a long-winded way of saying that she is also leaving CCRM!!  She has been there forever but is moving to Cali.  So as of this afternoon I now am under a third CCRM doctor.  The good news is my nurse is still my nurse. She probably doesn’t remember me but I remember her and she is great and on top of it.  And I trust her. And at CCRM you talk with your nurse tons more times than your doctor.  You need to be with a good nurse.  Did you hear me CCRM ladies?  Make sure you like and trust your nurse.

So what’s my plan? My plan is to go out in December get my diagnostics done.   CCRM makes you re-do a lot.  Hysteroscopy, 3-D ultrasound, blood work. Pretty much the whole thing for just a transfer.  Assuming they go well then I will play it by ear as far as scheduling something in 2016.  Am I ready?  I think so.  What is holding me back? Well…. my pregnancies are VERY nerve wracking. They are high-risk. I know too much and its tough mentally. I also know so many other people that I feel pretty connected to that are still stuck trying for #1. I want them to do this before me. I want them to experience this before I (God willing) experience pregnancy for a third time.

 

All about how Berkley came to be: Part 2 Birth!

This won’t be the most exciting birth story you have ever heard- exactly what I had hoped for! As mentioned in my previous post, my amazing doctor set up an induction date for me of April 7th (if I made it there!). I know induction, especially before 40 weeks, can be controversial. All I can say, is don’t judge until you have been through what I have. I really really needed this.

We checked into the hospital the night of April 6th to get things started.  Unfortunately I was only dilated to a 1 when we got there.  After a suppository to “ripen my cervix” (I know.. barf) I was maybe a 1.5.  We were in a for long process!  Pitocin was started around 8am on April 7th and literally the day went like this: still nothing.. up pitocin…still nothing…up pitocin…still nothing… up pitocin.   They finally came and broke my water around lunch and things started to somewhat progress, but I think I was maybe a 4 at 4pm. Ha. At this point we all started thinking maybe this was going to be an April 8th baby vs. April 7th.  The many texts asking for updates started slowing at this point as well.   I did decide to get an epidural at some point in the afternoon. Contractions were finally starting to pick up and they were about 2 mins apart.  You always hear stories about it being too late and I didn’t want to take any chances.  I had decided before going in to get induced that I was OK with having an easier birth experience. I would LOVE to try naturally if there is a next time, but for this round I needed to be in a very controlled environment & I was OK with NOT being in a ton of pain. 🙂

Finally about 7pm, I think I was still somewhere between a 5-6 and my doctor said she was going to head to the other hospital where she had some patients and they were going to keep monitoring baby and just to let them know if I felt any strange pressure.  I felt so numb from the epidural, I started thinking how I wouldn’t even be able to feel any pressure at all so I asked the anesthesiologist to come back in and lower my dose.  I wanted to be able to feel things.

FINALLY, about 9pm I had 2 super strong contractions and I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe those did feel a little different.  I asked my nurse to check me and sure enough she looked up at me and said “you are going to have a baby”.  And I lost it.  If you know me well, you know I am not an emotional person. And actually that’s not even that true.  I am very emotional but I don’t show it in front of other people.  Waterworks galore- was this really happening?? Finally?? Of course, my mom caught my tears on camera.  Good work, Mom.

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Everyone except for Adam left the room, my nurse called my doctor and had me try a few practice pushes while we were waiting for the doctor.  During the second push she actually had me stop because baby girl was right there and the doctor wasn’t in the room yet.    My doctor got there.  Again had me do a push – and then stopped me – because she wasn’t scrubbed in and baby girl was right there.  Once she was scrubbed in,  it was game time.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE giving birth? Like, if you told me I had to go have a baby today I would jump for joy. It is the most amazing experience.  The fact that our body’s can even do that is baffling.

It took me just a few pushes to deliver Berkley.   As they pulled her out- she let out a loud cry and I was finally able to relax a little.  My little girl was here, alive.  Adam and I were literally in awe of her.  She was laid on my chest immediately and they started wiping her off.   So was so beautiful, adorable, the most cute thing I had ever seen. Truly.

Berkley Ann Griffin

April 7, 2015 at 9:55pm

6lb 12 oz, 20.5in

 

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All about how Berkley came to be: Part 1

After losing Cade so unexpectedly, Adam and I wanted to get pregnant ASAP.  Our hearts were yearning to be parents and bring a baby home. While the grief was overwhelming, I think what kept part of me moving forward was the thought of getting pregnant again.  Although the thought of getting pregnant again was also terrifying.  There were so many questions and scenarios that would pass through my mind daily.  Questions like can we even have a healthy baby?  Will I lose another one? etc.  went through my mind all day- I literally almost went insane between the heartbreak and the unknown/scary future.   I was at our fertility doctor’s office within a week of Cade dying.  I am sure she thought I was crazy (I was) but I just HAD to have some questions answered.  The uncertainty around our situation was paralyzing.

Thank God for science.  The fact that doctors can take my eggs out of my body, combine them with Adam’s sperm in a lab to create our embryos & then freeze them for YEARS is pretty unbelievable.  We spent a good portion of 2014 waiting for test results.  After Cade passed, we needed to know if Adam and I were carriers of the disease (we are). Once we had this information CCRM could test some of our frozen embryos for the specific gene.  Little Berkley was thawed last spring (2014), biopsied, re-frozen and sent off to Chicago for PGD testing.  PGD testing is where an embryo is tested for a specific gene abnormality, such as Restrictive Dermopathy.  Waiting for these results was HARD as it took about 3-4 weeks.  When we got our embryo results back last summer- all biopsied embryos that were sent off to Chicago ended up all being carriers….. just like Adam and I…which were approved for transfer (transfer is the process of implanting an embryo inside of me).   This was awesome news.   A carrier means that these embryos have 1 healthy gene and 1 mutated gene (1 copy is passed from each parent). The healthy overcompensated for the mutated gene so they can live a normal/healthy life just like Adam and I. In Cade’s condition both Adam and I passed our mutated copy to Cade. Since he didn’t have a healthy copy to overcompensate- he actually had restrictive dermopathy.

We have been asked multiple times if we could have done genetic testing with Cade’s pregnancy.  The answer is NO.  RD is so rare that none of the testing would have ever caught it, unless the scientists went looking at that specific gene.   The genetic testing you can opt for today typically checks for things like chromosomes and a panel of the more common diseases that your race would carry (such as cystic fibrosis for a caucasian). So no matter what this would have gone on undetected whether we did genetic testing or not. So there is the background information on Berkley and a very small glimpse of what we went through last spring/summer.   And your mini biology lesson for the day… are you still with me?

We transferred 1 embryo on July 24th, 2014.  Given the quick turn-around between pregnancies & the preterm birth I had just experienced, CCRM only allowed me to transfer 1 embryo. Their goal was for me to have a safe, healthy pregnancy.  This made sense but made waiting for our pregnancy test even more challenging since we had just 1 little embie in there!  I cheated this time and took an at-home pregnancy test before my blood test.  I am glad I did because I got two definite positive tests in a row which took the edge off until my actual blood test.  Adam and I were ecstatic!

We found out we were having a girl at 6.5 weeks!  Through the genetic testing we did, CCRM knew the gender but it is their policy that they won’t tell you this information until your first successful ultrasound.   I needed to know what I was having, ESPECIALLY if it was a girl.  After planning for a boy & holding a baby boy in my arms there was a piece of me that really longed for a son. I am going to be honest, when we found out we were having a baby girl- I had a few good cries about it.  It took me a few days to wrap my head around it but as my pregnancy progressed  I became more and more thankful for my baby girl.  I think having everything be so different a second time around- with a different gender really was a blessing for me mentally.

Did you know I was pregnant again? We were pretty hush, hush about this pregnancy.  First off, we were still heavily grieving Cade but we were also just scared shitless about this pregnancy.  We couldn’t imagine making a big “we’re pregnant” announcement only to have something awful happen once again.   I think loss does that to you…. the optimistic part of you is taken away for awhile. We felt like we were walking on egg shells the.entire.time. So much so, that once I was out of my first trimester,  I was already asking my OBGYN their policy on early induction. I needed my baby girl out and in my arms as soon as the doctors would let me. Did I mention I was crazy?!

Our OBGYN was so amazing and understanding. Both my fertility doctor and my OB literally have cried along side with me at appointments and have gone above and beyond for me.  My doctor understood my longing for a baby & the fact that being pregnant again was very trying for me so we set an induction date for April 7, 2015…. which put me at 39w2d.

Heading to the hospital!
Heading to the hospital!

 

XOXO,

Emily