Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Embryos & transfers

I had gotten a question my blog a few weeks back from June who was preparing to go back in for another IVF. She asked me how to emotionally prepare for the return for more embryos.

This is tricky since I only know about IVF preparation without having a child. I really wonder how I will feel when we go back for our seven embryos now that I have my two boys. I definitely know that it will be less stressful and less emotionally difficult for me after already having my two boys. But how much easier? Will the shots and appointments and procedures and two week wait be considerably easier or still an emotional roller coaster? I cannot answer this. Stay tuned to this blog to find out as we have a minimum of two embryo transfers remaining.

Speaking of returning, I often get a question regarding when we plan to return for our embryos. I can only tell you what our current plan is, and as always, these plans are subject to change. Currently, we are really hoping that next summer we will be sent overseas to fulfill JB's four years of payback to the Air Force. If we are overseas, we are planning to wait until after JB does his payback before returning for the embryos. If we are in the states, we will reevaluate when we go back as it will be much easier for me to travel to have the procedures done than it would be if we were overseas. We currently think that we will wait at least two years and as many as four from the time that we get our new station assignment. (This is called PCS-ing . . . permanent change of station.)

As for the number of transfers we will have to do, I am not really sure. Originally we thought that we would do a transfer of 3 embryos. If that worked, then we would do another with 2, and then another with 2. If that didn't work, we were pretty confident that Mayo would allow us to do a transfer with 4 since 3 of our embryos are of very poor quality. (The other 4 are of fairly good quality.) However, now that I have had a successful pregnancy (something we were not sure was possible) we are not sure if they will let us do a 3. This may mean a 2, 2, 2 and 1 or a 2, 2, and 3. We will have to wait to see what the doctors at Mayo say. Mayo is extremely conservative with their embryos and will not allow us to do more than either they or us feel comfortable with.

Currently our embryos are our number one priority. We will return for them before we ever contemplate any children through adoption or even biologically aside from IVF (we aren't sure, for the record, that we are even capable of conceiving again without treatment as we did with Elijah. We do not know if this was a once-in-a-lifetime miracle or if it could work more regularly now that my body has been "jump started.") Once we have given all seven of our "sticky babies" a chance at life, we will discuss whether we would adopt again or attempt to conceive on our own. However, what we do know is that because I will have to have c-sections for any remaining children we may possibly have, I can't have an unlimited number of these. The pregnancies I do have remaining (if any) must be reserved for our embryos. They are life, and we are wholeheartedly committed to them.

We feel total peace with whatever the Lord has for our family. If that is just these two boys, fantastic. If it is all seven of our embryos working, great. If it is adopting many other children, awesome. If it is biological children aside from IVF, cool. We are going to let Him lead.

But that is off the topic a bit. Back to preparing for IVF. All I can offer, right now, is advice on how I handled IVF. These are my tips for anyone going in for infertility treatments. I realize that this is a short list. Can you guys help me add to it?
  • Seek support online from a good online support group like Hannah's Prayer.
  • Seek support from an "in-person" support group if available.
  • Seek support from a counselor or psychiatrist.
  • Seek support from family and friends. My personal advice is to let them in on what you are doing.
  • Attempt to find a form of stress relief for the two weeks proceeding, during, and following your treatment. This would include massages, acupuncture, spa treatment, etc.
  • During the two week wait, plan something "fun" to do with your spouse or a friend each day. This gives you something to look forward to. Spa treatments, movies, dinners out, anything that you can look forward to.
  • Don't have too much down time. Keep yourself busy. Idle time will drive you batty.
  • Avoid taking too many HPTs (home pregnancy tests.) (Like I followed this advice! Ha!)

I'm not sure any of these suggestions can truly prepare or help during the emotional roller coaster that individuals go through when they are involved in an IVF transfer and a two week wait, but they are what helped me not totally lose my mind.

Does anyone else have any suggestions that worked for them during their harvests, transfers, and subsequent 2ww? I'd love to add to this list?


Debbie said...

So, this is a very nosy question---but it's something I wonder about since my husband and I had to deal with it too. I'm wondering about birth control? My husband and I went through 6 1/2 years of infertility before we got pregnant with our first child, and after she was born, we all of a sudden realized Wow, we apparently can get pregnant, and maybe we now have to be careful about getting pregnant again right away??? Is this something you guys have had to go through too?

Becky said...

Along the same line as what you said, be specific in telling family and friends what you need from them in terms of support. Most people want to help, they just don't know what would be best. I would also add give yourself permission to say no. I think it is good to keep busy, but don't overload yourself or do things out of a sense of guilt. Be kind to yourself, it is okay if everything doesn't get done.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Debbie, feel free to email me at (I looked for your email but couldn't find it.) I'd be happy to expand.

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Becky, I TOTALLY Agree. I am going to add this. Right on.

June said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Wendi. We have only 1 embryo waiting for us and thus will likely go through the entire egg harvest and insem. And since 2 y have passed since the initial eval, I won't be surprised if the want to run us through every diagnostic test again to make sure we have no NEW problems. Ugh. I recently had my first postpartum cycle and couldn't help but hope that we would conceive... But no. Does one ever get used to stinging disappointments...?

An aside - the captcha code today is "untall" - funny.

Debbie said...

Just sent you an email! :)

Jess said...

I'm first going to say to Debbie that as unexplained IF, even though we never got pg on our own, or even successfully without IVF and mutiple embryo transfers, we DO use birth control. We, like Wendi, have some embryos left and are wanting to use them before throwing caution to the wind, so to speak (though acutally my cycles now are such that we couldn't try naturally anyway. I'm the only one ever to get LESS fertile after pg! lol!!).

As for general advice, I always did what felt natural as far as sharing, and I think that's a good bit of advice. If you don't share or ask for support, you don't get it in general! So if you want support from someone, keep them in the loop!

I am having a much harder time "jumping" now that we have kids and find going back for the embryos a much, much harder decision and a more emotionally taxing thing than before we had the kids. However, I do think that while the dissapointment will be there if we don't get pg, it obviously will not be as great...the stakes are just plain lower.