Thursday, July 10, 2014

The News

The two weeks leading up to finding out if our embryos attached were long. It was all either one of us could think about. We talked about it constantly and I read into every little thing my body did. Pretty early on I started having some cramping which stressed me out to the max. After talking to the nurses at UFC though, I was told it was pretty normal and not to worry too much. Needless to say, I still worried... a lot. I had moments of panic, but most of my moments were filled with peace. I was just so grateful we were here and that I possibly could be pregnant.

Kenny and I were told that I could go and do my blood work to find out if I was pregnant on May 2nd. We told our families however that we wouldn't find out till the 7th. It allowed us a chance to actually surprise them if it was good news or to process everything if it didn't. The lab here in Vegas opened at 7am and I was one of the first in line. Kenny came with me, because my nerves were off the chart. As we sat and waited for the nurse to come in and draw my blood I couldn't stop shaking.

Waiting to Get My Blood Drawn
Both of us headed into work, but we ended up at home by 3 because we wanted to be together when I got the phone call from UFC. When we got home we tried to distract ourselves by watching some TV, but we both were so anxious. Every time my phone would ring both of our hearts would stop. Finally, around 5:30 pm my phone rang and UFC's number showed up. I put it on speaker phone and Kenny and I sat close together on the couch. The nurse on the line was very quiet and soft spoken and so my heart immediately sunk to my stomach. I thought for sure she was calling with bad news... just as I was preparing for the worst she said, "Congratulations! You are pregnant!" Kenny shot up off the couch screaming... I think the adrenaline was too much for him though cause his legs gave out form underneath him and I just started crying. I probably asked her 2 or 3 times if we really were. I don't remember much of the conversation after that. When we hung up the phone Kenny and I just sat on the couch hugging and crying tears of joy. It is FINALLY happening! We are going to have a baby together! We said a prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father and then decided we needed to call our parents. We Face Timed my parents in Nauvoo and luckily were able to catch them. As we started talking I told them I had something crazy to tell them... I was able to screenshot a picture of their faces when we told them we were in fact, pregnant.
We sat and cried together! I am so grateful for those sweet parents of mine and the love they constantly give Kenny and I. Next we called Kenny's parents. We tried to Face Time them, but it wasn't working very well. Kenny's Mom and Dad were in total shock and SO excited for us. They have been such an amazing support to Kenny and I and we are so grateful for them in our lives. We spent the next few hours calling around to all of our siblings and give them the good news. My niece practically burned her fingers off on her curling iron when we told her, my sister was jumping up and down and all over... We were laughing and crying so hard as we told them. My sister-in-law Jodi started screaming in the middle of the grocery store... Needless to say we felt the love and excitement from all of our family and it meant SO much to us. It is so wonderful to be able to celebrate with them our little miracle! After calling everyone I immediately did the one thing I've been waiting to do for 3 years, I took a pregnancy test. I sat and sobbed as I saw the words pregnant for the first time. I am SO full of gratitude.
Kenny and I spent the rest of our night celebrating with dinner and pedicures (yes, he loves them even more than me). Then the next day he came home with this...
We are both so incredibly thrilled and realize what an amazing blessing this is.  We know that while this announcement brings so much joy for us, we have not forgotten what it took to get here. We have so many wonderful and amazing friends that are going through what we have and our heart still aches for them to get their miracles here too. I pray constantly for them and am grateful for many of their friendships in my life.
I am now about 14 weeks along and we know now that there is ONE healthy baby that is growing in there. The other embryo for whatever reason did not take, but we are just grateful to even have one. Every ultrasound the heart beat has been strong and during our last u/s our little one was so active, moving his/her arms around and kicking like crazy. Thank you so so so much to everyone who has supported us along the way. Especially a special thanks to Pound the Pavement for Parenthood for changing our lives last year by picking us a sponsored couple. Thank you to our amazing family and friends that supported us every step of the way on this journey. Your love and support meant the world to us. We would absolutely not be here if it wasn't for your many prayers and love.
Baby Ward
Expected January 9, 2015

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Frozen Embryo Transfer

Kenny and I headed up North on Tuesday night the 22nd. We drove up and stayed the night in Layton with my brother and sister-in-law since we hadn't seen them for a long time. The next morning when we woke up Jodi did my hair and gave me a totally new look that I love! It was great to be able to sit and chat with her to keep my mind occupied before the appointment. We arrived in Pleasant Grove at 12:30. Before we went inside Kenny and I said a prayer that everything would go smoothly and that our little embryos would be strong and healthy still. Walking in, I felt so much peace. The nerves and doubts were gone temporarily and I was just excited to finally be here.

Driving to Utah 

The nurse took us back to the room where my retrieval was where we waited for Dr. Foulk to come in. When he came in he let us know that both of the embryos we were implanting did great in thawing and gave us a picture of them. It was incredible to see those tiny little embryos. One was a grade A quality and the other a grade B... which is great and meant we had a GREAT chance to at least one attaching. He talked to us about the procedure and got me all set up. Once he had me all ready the embryologist came into the room with both of our embryos. Kenny and I both talked afterwards about after how the room was almost instantly filled with a calm peaceful spirit. After he was all done he sat and talked with us about the next steps and told us to stay positive because he was confident this could work. I am SO grateful that we found Dr. Foulk and Utah Fertility. The amount of compassion and love that comes from each and every one of them makes the process so much easier. After we were given my bed rest instructions they left me to lay in room for about 15 min with Kenny. I will never forget that few minutes with Kenny as we talked about the exciting potential of our babies to come. Nothing beats that feeling of making it to this point together after so much struggle. We are both SO grateful for the people who helped get us here and have supported us from the beginning.

After the Transfer

Our Tiny Little Embryos in Their New Home
 Grow Babies Grow!

Afterwards we headed over to my sisters where I got my sweats on and planted myself on her couch where I would be for the next two days. Kenny unfortunately had to be back in Mesquite for a work conference, so he took off a few hours later.  My sister offered to have me stay with them for the 2 days I as on bed rest and I was SO grateful to have their company. I got to spend some much needed quality time with her and my niece. They were great at taking care of me and making sure I took it easy so  ur little embryos could grow. They made me lunch and dinner every day, watched TV marathons on Netflix (I'm addicted to Scandal now) with me, and made me laugh constantly. Again, I am SO grateful for those two and the relationship I have with them. They mean everything to me and I was so happy to be with them for those two days!

Kenny's conference ended on Friday, so he headed back up to Salt Lake and we loaded up the car and spent the rest of the weekend with my in-laws up in Malad. We spent that night in Kenny's parents room watching movies with them and having some good laughs. No one can get me laughing quite as hard as my father-in-law Ken. I really do have the most amazing in-laws and I LOVE spending time with them. The next couple of nights we spent time with a few of Kenny's brothers and their families playing games and hanging out. Then Sunday morning we woke up early and headed home to start the long 2 week wait.

It is amazing to me as I look back and realize how much peace I felt those two weeks. Of course I had some major ups and downs emotionally. There's just no way to avoid it, but overall I felt calm. Fighting infertility has never been an easy road, but one thing has always remained in me... Hope. That hope that someday I will get to be a Mom has made the battle something I've been willing to fight without holding back. When the fear of this round not working started to creep in, hope was usually what brought me back to the place I needed to be to keep moving forward. Thanks heavens for my wonderful Hubby. He has been my rock and I couldn't imagine a better man to be on this journey with.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 18, 2014 - Egg Retrieval Day

Today was a HUGE day in this whole process. Kenny and I woke up early and left the house at 8am so I could be at UFC for my 8:30 check-in. I was SO nervous for this morning. Kenny is typically very calm also, but he told me when we were getting ready he was nervous too. We both wanted to badly to make sure we got enough eggs to have a successful cycle.

Before Heading to UFC for Retrieval

We got to UFC and sat in the waiting room for about 15 min. Then the anesthesiologist came out to get me. He took me back to the room and told Kenny he'd see me afterwards. My nerves hit hard when I realized that this was it. He took me back into the room and had me get all dressed in my gown. Then he set me up with an IV that had some medication in it to help calm my nerves a little. I was doing fine until Dr. Foulk walked in the room. Even though the medication had calmed me down a bit I was still shaking a ton from the adrenaline and nerves. Dr. Foulk came over and put his hand my shoulder and told me it was all going to be okay. I seriously think he has been a gift to calm people and make a difficult thing not seem so scary.  The next thing I knew though, the anesthesiologist was telling me that he was going to put me to sleep. I remember saying to Dr. Foulk that "he was one of the greatest people I had ever known." (Clearly the drugs were kicking in. Dr. Foulk said I was pretty funny right before I was out) and then asking why my face was tingling. Before I knew it I was waking up with just the anesthesiologist and Dr. Foulk was already gone with my eggs. My head felt like it weighed about 50 lbs and I was a little sore, but really not as bad as I thought I would be. I asked the anesthesiologist probably 10 times if he knew how many eggs they got. He didn't, but because I was really out of it, I kept asking. He was really sweet though and patiently answered every questions I asked. The anesthesiologist walked me into the recovery room where I waited with Kenny for Dr. Foulk. I have never been so happy to see my hubby. When Dr. Foulk came in the first question I asked was "How many eggs did we get?!" His answer? 15!! We are thrilled by the number of eggs he was able to get.

At My Sister's After Retrieval (Feeling a little out of it still)

Dr. Foulk explained that typically they expect 60% of those to fertilize and that of those that fertilize usually about 1/3 of them reach the blastocyst stage. He said that we will find out how many actually  fertilize tomorrow, but he was really pleased with the results.

We left the office and went to breakfast with my Mom and sister. To be honest, I don't remember much of the morning. Then we hopped in the car and drove back to Vegas since Kenny had work. I was sad to say goodbye to both of them. It really was such a great weekend with my family and they have been such a HUGE support through all of this. It has made everything so much easier. As far as my pain level... it really wasn't too bad. I was glad we were driving all day though.. it was nice to be able to just relax and enjoy some time with Kenny. We spent the majority of the drive talking about what our future baby will look like and what we their personalities will be like. It was perfect.

February 19, 2014

This morning was really rough for me. I woke up with intense cramps. The pain was way more intense than yesterday. I decided it would be best for me to stay home from work and take it easy. As the day went on the cramps got better. I got a call from the embryologist lab telling us that of the 15 eggs they retrieved, 3 were immature, so that left us with 12. Of those 12, 7 fertilized! She said she expects that with the quality of my eggs and based on my age, that she expects to see 5 of them reach the blastocyst stage, at minimum 3. There's no way to really know though. We will find out Friday for sure. For now we just wait, but I am relieved and feel so blessed that all of this is working out. I can not forget that everything is in His hands. He is there... he is watching out for me. I am so grateful for my Savior and Heavenly Father and their unconditional love for me.

For now we will just wait to see how the eggs develop. From that point they will take DNA samples from our embryos and send them to Genesis Genetics for testing. The embryos are then frozen until we are at a point we can do a transfer. So excited to see what the next few months holds for us. I continue to pray that we will have at least one healthy strong embryo to implant... until then all I can do is have faith that things will work out!


IVF Cycle: Utah - Days Leading Up to Retrieval

February 14, 2014

This morning Kenny and I got up at 3:45 am to get ready and head up to St. George for my 8am ultrasound with Dr. Foulk. Today we found out how many follicles my body is producing. I got a call on Wednesday that I needed to increase my Bravelle medication because my estrogen levels were a little low. That made me nervous for the ultrasound this morning. We got there and the girl doing my ultrasound was having a difficult time finding my left ovary, so Dr. Foulk came in. He counted 6-10 follicles on one side and only 4 on the other. Each follicle equals one egg. The number was a little lower than he wanted to see, but still felt like we could move forward with egg retrieval for Tuesday. After I left his office I started googling (HUGE mistake) and found that the number of follicles was low for a successful cycle. I panicked and started to stress that maybe my cycle would be canceled. We text our family and asked for all the prayers and good vibes that they could send.

Luckily once we arrived in Salt Lake we had plenty of fun things to distract us. We picked up my adorable niece Alex from BYU and met my Mom up at my sisters house. Then we all met my nephew Trace and his wife Katelin, Joshy, and Ashton for a fun Valentine's date getting pizza. Then we came home and played  "Clue" with our own version of candlelight (AKA the flashlight on our phones under a water bottle). It made the game so much more intense, haha. It was a really fun night and really helped me to take my mind off of the not so great news from earlier.

February 15, 2014

This morning I woke up so incredibly nervous for my ultrasound. I quickly remembered how low my numbers were the day before and was having a breakdown. We had a family prayer with my Mom, niece, and nephew. Then after they left, Kenny gave me a blessing. Have I mentioned how grateful I am for a husband that holds the priesthood. That blessing helped me to calm down and remind me that it is all in Heavenly Father's hands and it WILL work out. We went to Utah Fertility Center for my ultrasound today and got some great news. I had 9 follicles where there had been 6 and 11 follicles where there had been 4.... 20 TOTAL. Kenny and I couldn't believe it! I fully believe my family has powerful prayers, because it literally changed over night. We left so relieved and were actually able to enjoy the rest of the weekend feeling a little less stressed. After the appointment we headed over to watch my nephew Josh in his lacrosse tournament. Then we headed over to get manicure/pedicures and my friend Michelle was able to come with us! It was SO nice to see her and have some time to chat. We text all day every day, but it's just not the same as actually being able to hang out. I wish that girl lived in Vegas again!

Me and Alex rocked the flip flops from our mani/pedi's out to dinner.
(Kenny broke one of my shoes so I
had to go without one for a few minutes)
February 16, 2014
Today I went in for my last ultrasound before retreival. Every thing was looking good and they called me later in the day to let me know that we could go ahead and do our trigger shot. It needed to be done at 9pm that night so we could go in for retrieval at 9am Tuesday morning. I honestly can't tell you how excited I was to have this shot be my last one for awhile until we get ready for the transfer! I know that the progesterone shots I'm going to have to do are the worst of all, but at least I get a break from being a human pin cushion for a bit.
February 17, 2014
This morning when I woke up I had to take a HCG test to make sure that the HCG was doing it's job. It definitely was! I have to be honest... even though I'm obviously not pregnant yet. It is refreshing to take a pregnancy test and see a "positive" sign for once. It's not something I'm used to.
Since my birthday is tomorrow and I will probably be recovering from the retrieval, Kenny decided to celebrate today! I woke up to a wonderful happy birthday song from my funny hubs! Kenny gave me his present a few days before so we could take pics while were in Utah of this whole process. I am SO excited about this gift! I got into photography in high school and have really wanted to start back into it, but the nice camera I have is film (SO old School). I am SO excited to get back into it.
Then my Mama gave me a care package full of chocolate, lotions, chapstick, etc. and some adorable bracelets from Alex&Ani. They are PERFECT for what is going on in my life right now. I am so proud to be a daughter, step-mom to Kas and the hope represents my hope to have a baby of my own.  I am SO grateful that she made the trip out to Utah to be with us this weekend! I can't tell you how much it means to have your Mama there when you're going through an emotional rollercoaster. I am so lucky to have my Mom as a best friend.

 My sister, Kris and brother-in-law Jim got back from their trip to Hawaii today, so we all went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (Drooling even thinking about the rolls, YUM!). Then we came home and had cupcakes and watched the Bachelor (Anyone else so sick of Claire on Juan Pablo's season?! Haha)! It really was the perfect day and I feel so grateful that I got to celebrate 28 years with my amazing family!

IVF Cycle: Weeks 3-4

February 8-10, 2014

Let's just say I can tell that the medications are kicking in and doing their job. I am VERY aware of my ovaries. It is the strangest feeling I've ever had. Luckily the swollen/bloated feeling I'm having is the only real symptom I've had. I have a hard time falling asleep because I can't take my brain off of the throbbing feeling in my uterus. Luckily I have lots of episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Friends to keep me entertained in the late hours.

I got an email today from Genesis Genetics saying that they are ready to test embryos, which is great news.  For those of you new to the blog or just new to the whole process we're going through... I'll explain a little. My husband has a form of Muscular Dystrophy, called Myotonic Dystrophy. It is a genetic disorder and is progressive with each generation. Basically that means that our children could be born with the same type of muscular dystrophy, but their symptoms may be much worse and come on much earlier. For that reason, we are having our embryos tested for MD so that we can implant the ones that do not carry the disease. We both feel that if we can take away the option of our children to have to live with MD we want to take advantage of that. When the embryos have developed enough, Dr. Foulk's office takes cell samples from them and sends them to Genesis Genetics. At Genesis they compare the embryos DNA to Kenny's DNA strand that carries the MD and then let us know which ones are carries of the disease. Once they have that information they let Dr. Foulk know, and he selects the healthiest embryos to implant. The rest of the embryos are kept frozen for us to use down the road when we are ready for more children.

I'll have some blood work done Wednesday morning then head up to Salt Lake Friday for the ultrasounds leading up to retrieval. I can not wait to keep this moving forward. My amazing Mama is coming up and spending the weekend with Kenny and I. It's going to be a good Valentine's Day/Birthday for me spending time with my wonderful family and hubby.

February 11, 2014
Today I was having a pretty rough day and feeling really nervous about all of this. I had a moment of doubt. What if this doesn't work? I've seen so many friends go through this whole process and not get pregnant. I am trying so hard to be positive, but sometimes it's just hard. I have never wanted something so bad in my entire life. On my way home from work I decided to call up my brother Mark to catch up. I really can't tell you how much that guy lifts my spirits when I need him to. He probably had no idea how much he helped me, but he did. He really just encouraged me to stay positive. He told me that he just KNEW it was going to happen for me. That he can't picture me not with a baby in my arms...That I'm meant to be a Mom. It was only a few minutes that we were able to chat since he was on his way into work, but it was what I needed. I got home from work and sat down on the couch and looked down at my wrist. I have been wearing my Pound the Pavement for Parenthood bracelet every day since we started this. It was just a reminder that this whole process is just "One Step Closer" to getting where I need to be. This will happen for Kenny and I. Whether it happens with this IVF cycle or not... we are just one step closer to starting the family we've prayed for.

IVF Cycle: Weeks 2-3

January 26-30, 2014

Monday started out a little rough for me. I did my shot as usual and took my antibiotic before heading into work. About 10 am it hit me. The worst headache I've ever had in my life...a can't keep your eyes open, feel like your gonna throw up, someone stuck a knife in my forehead kind of headache. Since Kenny has switched jobs we are currently down to one vehicle so I had no real way of getting home... I finally ended up asking a coworker to take me home. I slept for 3 hours only to wake up with more of a headache. Not sure if it was from the Lupron or not, but after doing some research it sounds like it is. I've had a few headaches this week, which I NEVER get. Luckily none of them have been as bad as Monday. Other than that I feel pretty great and just can't wait for next week for the baseline ultrasound with Dr. Foulk in St. George!

February 5, 2014

I had my baseline ultrasound in St. George this morning. Luckily Kenny needed to pick up a new truck from his new job's St. George office so he was able to come with me. The ultrasound went well and she said everything is looking really good. I had 9 follicles in my left ovary and 11 in my right. Which is apparently great! I also learned how to do my shot that I start on Friday. I was really nervous because I have heard that his shot is awful, but getting it ready is not bad at all. It will take me a little more time since I have to mix 4 powders together, but it's not a big deal at all. I was THRILLED to hear that I get to do this shot in my abdomen as well. I was SO nervous about having to do it in my leg. And thankfully the needle is the same size as my Lupron shot. I guess we'll see how it goes Friday though.
February 7, 2014

I started my Brevelle and Menopaur shot this morning. Both of these are used to stimulate the development of multiple eggs for the retrieval. Mixing them went well, but took me forever! I was so nervous I was going to do something wrong, so I was extra cautious. I'm sure it will be faster next time. Everything went well till the second I put the needle in. Holy BURN! The injection burned the entire time I was putting it in and was tender after. It probably seemed worse because I wasn't expecting that since the Lupron shot has been so easy. I talked to Tonya about it and apparently that burning with injection happens to 15% of patients... lucky me! :) It really isn't bad compared to other symptoms I've heard about though, so I'll take a little burn.

IVF Cycle: Weeks 1-2

January 8, 2014

Well it finally happened! I finally got the call from Tonya at Utah Fertility Center saying  that Genesis Genetics had our DNA test done and we have the go ahead to start my cycle. I have an appointment set up next Tuesday to go over my calendar and how the next month is going to go! I really can't believe that it's hear. There has been so much anticipation for this to start and now it's finally happening. I. CAN'T. WAIT.

January 15, 2014

Today Tonya and I went over my calendar. Let's just say... it was a little overwhelming. I am so glad that I have friends that have been through this that can answer questions if I get confused. And of course Utah Fertility is always awesome to get back to me when I have even the smallest or dumbest of questions. I start taking baby aspirin next Sunday the 19th  on top of my regular birth control and prenatal vitamins. Then on Friday the 24th I will have my first Lupron injection (Keeps me from ovulating too early). I watched the training video on how to do it... and let's just holy scared. Good thing this is for a baby... otherwise, I can't say I would be able to do it.

January 24th, 2014

Today was my first day of injections. My original plan was to have Kenny do all the injections for me. I HATE needles. If I ever have to have shots I always look the other direction. For some reason not seeing the needle makes it hurt less? I don't know... but I found out yesterday I was going to be on my own for the first shot. For some reason the pharmacy didn't receive the order from Utah Fertility for my medication. It's a long story, but medications should have arrived Thursday, but they didn't until Friday morning early. Kenny had to travel up to St. George for work and so wasn't around when my medications arrived. My first Lupron injection was supposed to be in the morning, so I really had no option but to do it myself. The package arrived at about 9 am and was WAY bigger than I thought it would be. I unpacked everything and made sure that what was listed was actually in the box. It took awhile. Since Kas is in Texas with his Mom till March, I set up a table in his room and set up all the medications...

Then it was time... I watched the instructional video over and over again trying to mentally prep myself to do it. I got out the Lupron medications... followed all of the steps to prep. The needle that came with the Lupron is SO much smaller than the video so I thought I was good to go. But then when it came time to stick the needle... I froze. I kept getting right to the skin, then I'd stop. I did this for about 5 minutes before I decided to call in cheerleaders. I called my house to get a little pep talk from my nurse Mom since Kenny wasn't available...  my cute Dad answered. I told him I was freaking out a little... My Dad being the straightforward patient man he is just simply said, "Well I'm here, I'll just wait while you do it." Haha. So while he sat there in silence waiting.. I did it! By myself! And guess what? It didn't hurt at all! Such a build up for nothing.

After I did my shot, I sat and talked with my Dad for a good hour. He is always the greatest comfort and has the best advice when I get nervous. I have a tendency to overthink things and he always helps me to have a more positive and realistic perspective on things. I had a moment the other night where it hit me hard that from this moment on nothing will be the same. Whether this IVF cycle is successful or not... our lives will change from this point on. It'll either change because we get pregnant and get to expand our family OR  we don't and have to move on to plan B... whatever that is. To be honest I'm terrified. The potential of having this fail. I try to keep that thought out of my head... but I can't help it. It's there, because it CAN happen. This is something Kenny and I have DREAMED of and FOUGHT so hard for and now our opportunity is here. We finally have the opportunity to start a family.

My Dad assured me that my concerns were legitimate. However, he also pointed out that what is best for me and what is best for my family WILL happen. Heavenly Father has a plan. That plan is what he knows is best for me. I look back at moments in my life where I didn't think what was happening was fair and right... but after making it through them I saw the bigger picture and I came out stronger than before. Without those hard moments I wouldn't be in this spot in my life with the amazing husband I have by my side. All of the pieces have fallen into place for us to get to this point, and there is one thing for sure... Heavenly Father is the reason for ALL of it. This journey is going to be a little scary, but we've made it here. All I can do now is trust fully in God and pray that a little miracle is in our future. I am SO looking forward to see what is in store for us.

Tonight for our date night Kenny and I went Color Me Mind. Kenny picked out a monster truck for Kas to keep his money in and I picked out a piggy bank to paint for future baby. I ended up going girly with my colors so if we get pregnant with a boy I'll have to come back and do another one... Expecting Miracles!