I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

18 eggs...

They got 18 eggs today!!! The normal range is like 8-10 so we were thrilled for 18. (we got 25 last time...but just trying to focus on this cycle and this cycle only) We will get a phone call tomorrow to let us know how many of those eggs were mature...and how many fertilized. We do have the "platinum IVF plan" (that I like to think of it as) which includes ICSI. Here's another medical lesson... Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a form of assisted fertilization using micromanipulation, i.e., injecting a single sperm into the cytoplasm of the egg by using a microneedle. So basically they take Jason's best swimmers and actually inject one sperm in each mature egg. (crazy medical technoligy huh??)

I am in a great deal of pain today though....so much pain that I basically cried the whole way home because the cramping and pain was so bad. When I got home I took a pain pill and a phenergan and got a good solid 2 hour nap. I'm still hurting since I got up so I'm just trying to stay as still as possible. Hopefully I will feel more back to normal tomorrow.

Friday I start taking Progesterone. Morning and night. The morning dose is vaginal (sorry guys, there's really no other way to say that...)...the evening dose is in an oil form and a very large shot. This is the shot that Jason gives me in my hip. Monday we will go in for the embryo transfer (praying we have 2 great ones to transfer, and atleast a couple to freeze). Then I go in April 14th for the pregnancy test!

So for now we just wait...anxious to find out tomorrow how many fertilized eggs we have to work with. From there we will get another update on Friday...and another update on Saturday to tell us how the embryos are progressing. We won't know for sure how many embryos we have to transfer until we get there Monday. I go for an acupuncture treatment right before the transfer appointment...and then another one right after it (it's all part of the acupuncture schedule and what they suggest for optimum relaxation). Then, I am off of work all of next week to rest as much as possible. Total rest and relaxation is the best medicine for me during the next couple weeks.

Thank for your continued interest in our lives...I know so many of you are sharing our excitement with us and it really does give me comfort to have such an incredible cheering section.

Keep praying! God brought us to this situation...He will bring us through it!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pulling the trigger...

....we got the final green light from our doctor that retrieval is scheduled for Wednesday morning! At this point I stop all my other medication and I take a hCG trigger shot tonight at 9:15. (side lesson on hCG: The hCG trigger shot is a dose of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which normally is produced by the body after implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterine lining. This medication is delivered by injection and is timed in conjunction with the maturity of the ovarian follicles containing eggs. When the hCG shot is delivered, those follicles release their eggs and a woman may become pregnant. The hCG trigger shot is used in fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization) It has to be timed with the retrieval appointment....so retrieval is Wednesday at 9:15...We have to be there at 8:15 that morning. They will start my IV and give me the happy juice to help me relax. :)

My estrogen level was 3,665....and any time it's over 3,000 at this point you are at a higher risk for hyper stimulating (OHSS)....so I have to start a Rx tonight and take it for 8 days to help prevent OHSS from happening. (this happened with IVF cycle 1). A side lesson in OHSS: Normally, a woman produces one egg per month. Some women undergoing fertility treatments are given medicines to help normalize egg development or increase egg production. However, if the drugs stimulate the ovaries too much, the ovaries can suddenly become very swollen and fluid can leak into the belly and chest area. This is called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS occurs only after the eggs are released from the ovary (ovulation).You may be more likely to get OHSS if your doctor gives you an injection of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to help trigger ovulation. You may have an even greater risk of this syndrome if you receive more than one dose of hCG after ovulation and if you become pregnant during this cycle. OHSS rarely, if ever, occurs in women who only take fertility medicines by mouth.OHSS affects up to 10% of women who go through in vitro fertilization. In most cases the condition is mild, but some women get a severe and dangerous form of OHSS.

Most common (mild) side effects from this? Abdominal bloating, Mild pain in the abdomen,Weight gain...hmm....no wonder my pants are tight today....should have worn elastic. :)
So, there you have it....a medical lesson you probably didn't expect to get today!
Keep those prayers comin'!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Part of what keeps me going...

I wanted to take a minute and share some pictures of my family....these core people in my life are what keeps me going. Without my family....I wouldn't have much at all. They are my heart!

First...my husband Jason...I love him more than words can say...

My parents, David & Lesa...and my sister, Jennifer. These three people have helped me through the best of times..and the worst of times....and they love me unconditionally...it's a wonderful feeling.

My sister's family. Her husband Robert and their two kids, Hudson & Olivia. Those kids have brought more joy to my life than I ever imagined.

My nephew Hudson. He's becoming such a little boy now...and amazing me every time I see him. He makes my heart smile.

My niece, Olivia. This picture makes me want to cry...tears of joy. She is growing up so fast and is the most adorable little girl I've ever seen.

I just felt compelled to share these pictures...My family has been a great support system through this whole experience and I just wanted to say: I love you!!!!!!

I need to go make a nest...

....so I can go lay these darn eggs!!!!!! LOL!!!!!! How fitting that all of this is going on during the Easter season....egg hunts...egg retrieval.....coincidence? I think not.....God DOES have a sense of humor.

Another great report this morning at the doctor's office. There are about 5 follicles (eggs) that are already ready to be retrieved...but there are quite a few others that are following closely behind. All in all there are probably around 20 follicles in there. The black blobs were really large on the monitor today! The nurse was like...whoa...you are ready! HA! My right ovary is progressing along a bit quicker than my left....however...I continue on with the medications tonight....and go back for one more check tomorrow morning. Retrieval will be Wednesday!! All of the preperation...all of the restrictions.....all of the prayers........... all of the waiting.....it all comes down to the next couple weeks.

As I was typing this I did get a call from the doctor's office with my bloodwork back. My estrogen level was really high....which is a good thing...but the doctor on call this weekend reviewed my chart and since I had so many follicles that are ready they are changing up my medication for tonight. Basically they are taking out my Follistim medication which triggers the follicles to grow more. Nothing to be alarmed at....but basically they are putting me in more of a holding pattern I believe. I did let her know that I didn't get any results yet from the bacteria cultures....yearly physical...etc. Everything came back normal and perfect. Yeah! Everything "on paper" is progessing just as it should be in order for this cycle to work. I have been really excited the past couple days so I just pray this really is God continuing to prepare my heart and mind for a miracle.

Keep lifting up the Oliver's....we need it!! :) As always...thanks for all the conitued support from the best family a friends out there!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

18 blobs...

Our first follicle check for this cycle went great! The nurse counted around 18 follicles (aka black blobs) and they are all measuring right on track for where they should be. (at this point in cycle 1 I had about 22 and then we had 25 eggs retrieved...so there definitely could be more than 18 lingering around in there) I got my bloodwork results back this afternoon and all of my hormone levels are all in the normal range. It's always such a huge sigh of relief to get these calls. Just because the ultrasound shows one things doesn't always necessarily mean the bloodwork will match up. So you play the waiting game each day to get those confirming phone calls. The plan now is for us to go back on Sunday morning for the next follicle check. (for those of you new to reading the blog since last cycle...they do see patients 7 days a week...they are at the mercy of our bodies!) Depending on how the follicles measure on Sunday will determine when egg retrieval will be. They might want me to come back on Monday morning to check again...or they might go ahead and schedule the retrieval for a couple days later. It's just a "wait and see" type of situation. So for now, I just continue on with the daily shots and then Sunday Jason and I both start a round of antibiotics.  Just another preventative to make sure we are in tip top shape.

I SO appreciate all the kind words you all are sending to me...text messages...facebook messages....emails...I welcome them all and they make me feel so loved and lifted up. This process is a tough one emotionally, and physically and it just helps so much to know what a support system we have...through the great times...and the crappy times. But let's just focus on the great times!!!!!!!!!! I've had such a great feeling about this lately and I just pray it's God preparing my heart for the blessings to come in the following weeks.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moving forward!

Yesterday was my suppression check (bloodwork and ultrasound). The ultrasound looked fine...there was a small cyst still on my left ovary but it wasn't big enough to alarm the nurse. But basically everything looked just as it should. Just found out that all the bloodwork came back perfect...all of my levels were in the normal range! :) So, that means that on Sunday I will decrease the amount of Lupron I am injecting by half  (praise God) and add in another shot. This is the stimulation medication (aka - STIMS) if you look back at my old post from cycle 1 http://theoliversjourney.blogspot.com/2009/08/makings-of-stim-shot.html you will see what goes into this medication. Because my dose of Lupron is going down, hopefully that means that these dreaded headaches will decrease. They did end up calling me in Lortab so I have been taking those to help...but I'd rather not have to take them as they make me feel loopy and then sleepy. (two feelings I'd rather not be feeling while I'm at work! But it's better than the pain I was experiencing)

I go in for my first follicle check on Thursday morning. From there I will probably have to go in every morning for the next week so we can monitor the follicles. They have to reach a certain size before egg retrieval can be scheduled (tentatively March 31st, or April 1st).

So...everything is moving along just as it should be! I'm actually starting to feel moments of being excited, versus moments of tears and sadness. Could this be the time that results in a precious miracle for Jason and I?!!? Gosh, I hope so. So many of you have told me you feel good about this cycle...that this is our time. I pray you all are correct! I just ask that you pray for God to scoop up Jason and I during this and carry us...we certainly can't do it alone. I like to think these moments of excitement are God telling me to keep believing in His handywork. I feel like I need to bust out in a karaoke rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin"...and I don't even sing karaoke...lol!! I think I'll just put in my Glee soundtrack instead... :)
Love, Kara

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Only God knows our future...

I get these daily email devotionals and they have really been speaking to me lately. I wanted to share this one with you all because we all struggle with things in our lives and need to hear the word of God. I have quite a few close friends right now that are going through hard times...even though our situations aren't the same...the daily emotional struggles we feel ARE the same. It's amazing to me how two totally different situations can result in the same emotional turmoil. It's not that I'm glad others close to me are hurting....but it is comforting to know that I'm not alone when I feel the things I do.

Today is my supression check at the doctor to make sure the Lupron is doing it's job. As long as everything checks out there, I will start the stimulation medicine this weekend. Thank you all so much for your continued interest and prayers for our journey.

Like I said, this devotional spoke to me, and maybe it will speak to you as well.

God knows what gets you stressed

Thursday March 18 2010
Posted by Rick Warren

Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG)

"God not only knows about the future, He's there in the future. "

We're all interested in the future. It's interesting to me the things people will try to figure out what's going to happen next: astrology, horoscopes, reading tea leaves, consulting with people, bio-rhythms. But they're going to the wrong source because the only one who knows what's going to happen next is God. The Bible says, even before you were born, God knew all of your future. This means God sees your tomorrow, today. He already sees the things you'll face. The fact is, God is not limited by time. He's able to be in the past, the present, and the future all at the same time. That should give us great confidence in God. He not only knows about the future, He's there in the future. He not only walks with us day-by-day, He can also walk in our future. If I know that God knows all my tomorrows, today, then I should ask for advice. He knows what's going to happen: "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG) The things you don't know, God can tell you about. He's not going to lay out your whole life all at once, telling you everything that will happen in your life. If He did, you'd likely get very discouraged or prideful or both. Instead, He gives it to you a little bit at a time. Here's what I'd suggest, when you get up in the morning, go over your schedule with the Lord. Pray, "Father, You've already seen this day that I'm about to experience. Tell me the things that are important today and then help me to focus on them."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's a love/hate relationship...

I love that I'm on Lupron because that means that our IVF cycle is underway...but I hate it because of the way it's making me feel. I really consiously try to not complain about any part of this process because I'm thankful to have the opportunity to go through this. This is really the only way for us to have a biological child so, I pray the good out weights the bad and we'll end up with a miracle baby. But my dear Lord...these headaches are really getting me down. I've basically had a headache since my Lupron shots started last Tuesday. I long for my one caffiene drink a day in hopes it will help...count down every 4 hour time period so I can take more Tylenol...and covet bed time because at least it doesn't hurt when I sleep. I don't remember the headaches being this bad the last time. I've done a lot of research online and there's basically no help. The only thing I can find as a suggestion is water, water, water....which I'm already drinking lots of. I have about one more full week of Lupron shots before I get to decrease my dose and add in the STIMS medicine...which should ease the headaches. I go this Thursday for my first suppression check...and for a physical. Dr. H. requires to have one current each year, and this month marks one year at the ART Program. Gosh, has it really been a year already!?!?! I'm going to ask if there is anything else I can take besides Tylenol...but I'm sure there isn't. It's just part of it. :(

As of right now the rest of our IVF schedule looks to be like this.... Egg retrieval should be somewhere around March 31st, April 1st or April 2nd. Embryo transfer about 4 days after that...and then my blood pregnancy test about 2 weeks after that. So, we should know the big news somewhere around April 20th.  I pray this is our time....gosh do I pray. I'm doing all the right things....the rest is in God's hands. Keep lifting us up....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This looks familiar...

Medication Invasion has taken over the Oliver's kitchen table...yet again. Jason was a great husband and went and picked up all of my meds for me today. When I got home from work and looked in the bags...and said, "yep...this looks just like last time". I really want to try and not compare this cycle to the last because I don't want to have any negative thoughts about it. But seeing all that medication just brought back a whole flood of emotions. Tonight I start my daily Lupron injections. Lupron prevents the production of certain hormones...thus, resulting in a decrease of estrogen and progesterone levels...which is necessary for this process. They've gotta surpress my hormone production before they stimulate it back up to make lots and lots of eggs. :)
I've read that women can respond totally different from IVF cycle to IVF cycle...so I'm anxious to see how I'll respond this time. On the last cycle the Lupron gave me daily headaches. Maybe I'll get lucky and not experience those dreaded things again.
Tomorrow Jason and I go in for some routine bloodwork...then my next appointment will be the 17th for my first suppression check. This ensures the Lupron is doing it's job.
The first time around, this was a huge deal....giving myself a shot...daily shots. But honestly, it doesn't even phase me. These Lupron shots are taken in my stomach and needle is super tiny. In a few days it will become like second nature...like I could do it in my sleep.
So, that's really the update for now...
As always, please lift Jason and I up in your daily prayers.
Love, Kara

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In need of some encouraging words...

What do people do that don't have faith? What do people do when faced with tough situations in life that don't have God to rely on? Thankfully, I am a believer in God. I'm a believer in a predestined plan. Sometimes, yes, I question "why"...but at the end of the day, I know that God has something planned for me and everything happens according to His purpose.
With that being said, I've been having a hard time lately. Sometimes its really hard for me to reliquish control and let God "do His thing". I want to try and plan my life. I've always heard - we make plans and God laughs. That is so true. I've been struggling lately and am constantly in need of words from God. I received an email today from a friend that were the exact words I needed to hear. I wanted to share them on this blog because I know we all struggle with things, and for those believers out there, these are the perfect encouraging words:

Trusting God when I don't understand
Sunday March 07 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
When the children of Israel were finally set free from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they started marching out to freedom and the first thing they came to was the Red Sea. There were impassable mountain ranges on two sides of them, the sea in front of them.

Behind them, in hot pursuit, was the Egyptian army because the Pharaoh had changed his mind about letting them go. The path before the Israelites looked like a dead end.

But God knew exactly what He wanted to do. He had not made a mistake. He could see what they could not see. He opened the Red Sea and they walked through to safety. Years later, the Israelites looked back and sang, "Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there!" (Psalm 77:19 LB).

You may be facing a dead end right now—financial, emotional, relational—but God can see a path that you don't know about. If you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don't see a way, He will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day" (NIV). One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You'll see God's purpose behind the path He specifically chose for you.

What do I do in the meantime? You do what Proverbs 3 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." What does He mean "don't lean on your own understanding"? You don't need to try to figure it out. In truth, you're not going to understand most of the things that happen in your life until you get to heaven.

Be patient. God knows what He's doing. God knows what's best for you. He can see the end result. You can't. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays -- all the things that make you ask "why" -- one day it will all be clear in the light of God's love.

But for now, we're learning to trust God.

Tuesday we have a phone appointment with our IVF cooridnator. This is when we will get our calendar of this cycle and find out when the shots start. We are anxious to get this cycle under way. It's getting very close!

I'm selfishly going to ask for lots of prayers here.
I'll keep you all posted....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

thank you...

I would like to post a "thank you" out to the cyber blog world....thank you to our anonymous writer. Today in the mail we received a letter and gift from anonymous....I know they are probably reading...at least I hope they are reading, otherwise, I have no other way of thanking this person. Thank you for your generous gift......and for your letter. I know you didn't mean any harm. Thank you, whoever you are.