Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ice Castles in Midway

 Brett and I went on a little date shopping in Park City and dinner. Afterward we headed over to Midway to see the Ice Castles. Sorry the pictures aren't the greatest, I forgot my camera so I just used my phone. Anyway, they are man made using sprinklers. It was actually really pretty. Brett is always like Chevy Chase in his family vacation movies.... Remember when they get all the way to the Grand Canyon, and he's less than impressed? Everywhere we go, all the things we've seen, that's Brett. :) He went along with it for me though.  I can't wait until we have kids so I have a better excuse to do fun things like this!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The bambinos in action!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBNiFZh7GBE

Our little twins and their heart beats! Definitely the most beautiful sound I've ever heard! (Sorry you can't hear the audio).

Best Valentines Day. EVER.

I know it's a little late... I wrote this over a month ago, but decided to wait to post until now. :)
It was a great weekend together! We decided to celebrate Valentines on Friday since it fell on a Monday this year. We ended up celebrating the whole weekend, and Monday too! Oops! Haha. Friday was the perfect day. We drove down to our dr in Sandy for our pregnancy blood test after doing IVF. We cheated and took an at home one on Monday. I was so nervous and couldn't bear the thought of seeing another negative pregnancy test... so I made Brett go look at it. He was probably only in there for 30 seconds, (he wanted to make sure he read it right), but it seemed like forever until he came out with the biggest smile on his face, showing me that according to the little stick, we were PREGNANT! It was an emotional moment for both of us, never feeling so happy. We've prayed and waited almost 4 years for this. I was still a little nervous about the blood test, because I knew that my HCG level should be at least 100 or it would likely end in a miscarriage. We waited a long two hours before finially receiving a call back from our nurse, Crystal... Our number? 750. "Anything over 500 is a good possibility of a multiple pregnancy, looks like you guys might be having twins!" Oh. My.

After possibly the best phone call I've ever received, Brett took me for a drive up American Fork Canyon. It is a special place for us.  It is where Brett spelled out "Marry Me" with christmas lights on a canyon over and proposed 6 1/2 years ago... Timp is one of our favorite hikes... I was starting to wonder what he had up his sleeve. He surprised me with the ring I had been wanting! (I lost my first one). It is so gorgeous, I was so elated! I love that he is man's man, but he is also so sentimental. Love that guy!
We went to Tucci's, a little Italian place in Salt Lake, and one of our favorites. And a movie. All night I couldn't believe that we were really pregnant and that we could possibly be having twins! That day will be pretty hard to beat.
Later that weekend, I made him heart shaped french toast with nutella - yum!!

 On actual Valentines, we hate going out because everywhere around us is a huge wait. I decided to surprise Brett and made him dinner. Roasted pork with thyme and garlic, pears, carrots, potatoes and shallots. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. It may have taken over an hour longer than I anticipated, but it was delicious! My pretty flowers from Brett were a nice centerpiece.

Infertility and In Vitro

*This post is not my intention to have pity or feel sorry for us by any means, just to share emotions and experiences that are very dear to my heart and educate people on the IVF process. Be warned, it's very detailed, because that is how I am and I want to remember the details. :)

Infertility is something I never really thought about, until it affected us. We had been married for over 2 years when we decided that starting a family was right for us. After a year of unsuccess, we consulted with a specialist, who later referred us to the University of Utah to get everything checked out. We tried ovulation predictor kits, clomid, 5 IUI's... Still no success. After about 2 years we really started to wonder and question if we would ever be able to be blessed with children. It was easy to get discouraged and even at times bitter. Seeing people in our neighborhood have 4 and 5 kids was difficult. It seemed like for a lot of girls, all their husband had to do was look at them and they would become pregnant. Some times were worse than others, even seeing a pregnant woman, baby clothes, going to ANOTHER baby shower, or a small baby was enough to make me want to break down and lose it. We had someone recommend us to Dr. Hatasaka, head of infertility at the time at the U. He is very qualified and also an amazing person and doctor. We did a series of 10 tests, and all the results showed that everything was "normal" or unexplained infertility. You almost wanted them to find something so we would know if it could be fixed or corrected. We wondered if it was something environmental (power lines), etc. We tried not thinking about it, different techniques to help me reduce my stress and aid in sleep, accupuncture (which just proved to be very uncomfortable and not fun), all the old wives tales like hanging upside down after... you name it! We followed our Dr. who moved to Reproductive Care Center, in Sandy where we were excited to have the chance to take three more of "their own version" of tests that we'd already done... :) Toward the end of our testing, they were begining to suspect that I had severe endometriosis. (meaning the most advanced due to it being in my ovaries).  Finially an explanation for everything! He explained that while our chances of success were slightly less with IVF, they were still much greater than conceiving naturally. Still feeling positive about IVF, we continued everything with prayers and faith in our Heavenly Father, amazing family and close friends, and most importantly, each other. 

This was an early Christmas present. A giant box of shots! Woohoo!
For those of you that don't know... the in vitro process is very extensive. It begins with taking the birth control pill. I know, seems a bit counter-productive right? It is to help control and time everything perfectly. Then you begin a series of daily injections given in your stomach or legs to supress all your hormones. Yes, my husband is just about a pro plebotomist since he gave me shots every day for over 6 weeks!! Next, you begin the stimulation medications when your hormones are where they need to be with a blood test. (Lots of blood draws this month). The stimulation drugs basically help your body create as many eggs possible. Let me tell you, these are nasty little shots. Not meaning the pain, although what shots are enjoyable? I mean the hormones. They turn you into a complete crazy/emotional wreck! As if I'm not already emotional. Poor Brett. Can I just say though, he was a trooper. He couldn't have been more sweet and supportive throughout this whole ride. I think I'll keep him. You continue these, and mix a low dose of HCG until your ready to stop, according to your blood levels.

Here is what Brett used to mix up just one shot. (over $200!) Crazy, huh?
Dr. Brett. I think he actually hated giving me the shots more than I hated receiving them. Poor guy.  He was glad when my mom came in town for my surgery so she could take a turn giving me the pain! (Lucky for me, she is a nurse that gives amazing shots).
The next step is the "Trigger Shot" which is actually an exciting shot! After several ultra sounds, the dr. decides when the follicals are ready to "harvest" or to "retrieve" the eggs. Once they are ready, you take a high dose of HCG, exactly 35 hours before your surgery to retrieve the eggs is scheduled. The morning of the surgery I was really nervous. Not for the actual surgery, I just wanted there to be some healthy eggs. My mom and Brett waited in the waiting room and said I was only out for about a half hour. Good news, they got 19 eggs! (I guess I asked them this several times before the Versed/anesthesia wore off. haha). Oh my gosh, we were elated. I guess the average is 5-8 so we felt very lucky. Brett made his contribution and our little embryos were off to the races. They called us the next day to tell us that out of the 19 eggs, 17 were mature enough to fertilize, and 16 fertilized into healthy embryos. So ideal!
I am soo greatful to my mom (and dad for being supportive and allowing her) to fly up to stay with us, cook us yummy food, buy me a new pair of jeans since all my others were freakishly tight that week, and treat me like a princess when I felt really crappy. Also, to all my family and their sweet texts/e-mails/calls, and cute best friends for the incredibly thoughful care packages. Not to forget my amazing husband who was still my rock and by my side through all the drugs and craziness. It seriously meant the world to me!
After retrieval, you start daily shots of progesterone until 10 weeks pregnant. These are intramuscular, and happen to be very unpleasant. (Think tetanus shot, but worse).
We waited 5 days for our little embryos to incubate and grow to become blastocytes so they are ready for implantation. But not all of the remaining 12, don't worry! On the day of the transfer, they suggested which 2 embryos looked the most healthy. Since they all look like little bubbles to us, we definitly trusted the embryologist! The remaining 10 would be frozen. It was pretty exciting to be able to watch the process - a very special and emotional moment. They showed us the little "bubbles" under a microscope and sucked them up into a litte tube and transfered them from their little petri dish to their new home in my uterus. For at least that day, we were officially pregnant! What a whirl wind of an amazing process. Check it out, our first baby picture, our little embryos! Aren't they cute?! :)
Me and my love.
 My mom, and best friend (besides Brett, of course)
Now for the dreaded two week wait for the blood test...