Tuesday, March 30, 2010

two for Gertrude, one for me

Look past her udder and see that proud momma.

The saga of Gertrude calving began on Thursday night, when it was cold and pouring down rain. These ladies choose the best time to go into labor.

Dad and Greg monitored her for a good while, and once a hoof popped out, they thought the calf-drop would be imminent, but it never happened. So, after a couple hours and a call to the vet, they determined the calf was dead, and since the weather was so bad, the vet would come in the morning to pull the dead calf.

I was a bit sad because I was pulling for Gertrude all night. She's our only brown cow (pretty ain't she?) and she had trouble the last time she calved, so we had already decided if she had one more dead one, we'd get her knocked up again and sell her.

When the vet came on Friday morning, he was surprised to find the calf was coming out all four feet first. Normally, they come out front-feet first, like you would enter a slip-n-slide. So, he rotated her and pulled her and what do you know? She was alive! Meet Beyonce #1.

She was a bit raspy and gurgly, but apparently the umbilical cord was still attached and her head was in the sac, so he got the surprise of his life. Truly, he was shocked. He gave her a shot of something to slow her breathing a bit, Gertrude gave her a couple nudges, then slowly walked off to the back of the field for a breather.

Since the rest of the cows were in the corral, the vet vaccinated them for the next couple hours. Then, his wife called for lunch, so he headed out.

Dad went around the property and noticed little Beyonce "bouncing around" beside Gertrude and came to the house and gave us the good report.

"What do you know? That calf is doing great! She's up with Gertrude all the way along the back fence!"

It was about 2 hours later when the boys went back to where Beyonce #1 was originally laying that they realized, Gertrude had gone of and had another calf. Twins! And both girls, which is a good thing.

Here are a few things about cow twins that I learned:
  • The twin with malpresentation (ie. All hooves coming at once) has a 72% survival rate at 72 hours, but a 65% at 200 days.It will take Gertrude longer to come into her first heat after this pregnancy.
  • Brown Swiss have an 8.9% chance of twins (Gertrude is part Brown Swiss)
  • With Boy/Girl twins, there's a 95% chance the female won't be fertile (this isn't a problem for us since both calves are heifers): Freemartinism in heifers results from twinning when embryonic membranes of a male and female conceptus fuse during gestation resulting in exchange of blood between the male and female fetuses. Endocrine factors or cells from the male calf cause abnormal development of the reproductive organs of the female calf resulting in infertility.
  • You can learn anything on the internet.

Sadly, Beyonce #1 didn't make it past 24 hours, but we feel fortunate to have one after we thought the vet was coming to pull a dead one. Not to mention, we don't have to sell Gertrude now!

This information also came in handy at my doctors appointment today. I went in for my ultrasound to see one sac, one tiny (5.3 mm) baby and one heartbeat (114 BPM). While in the consultation with my doctor, who is notoriously serious, I quizzed him on freemartinism, knowing that IVF was developed from cows and he might know something. He took the bait, and thought and thought, but couldn't remember the significance. I suppose he likes brain-teasers, so I need another one before my next ultrasound in 2 weeks. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

final IVF calendar + synopsis

I've posted before about how important calendars are in the IVF process. They keep you on track, help you remember what shots to give at what times, at what dosages, and on which butt-cheek. You laugh, but it's hard to remember if the shot the day before went on the right or left.

My calendar helps me to remember appointments, milestones, and most importantly, helps me in counting down the days to the pregnancy test, the ultimate end of the cycle.

I debated whether to make my calendars pretty, whether I'd want to keep them if my cycle didn't end the way I had planned. In the end, I decided making them pretty was important to me this time. If all went well, I'd have something to look back on that would fit in my scrapbook, and if not, they wad up and fit in the trash just as well as an Office Depot planner.

This is the final version of my pages. I may go back and add photos later, but for now, all the important information that I would otherwise forget is here. Enjoy!

I thought it would be helpful to link all my previous IVF posts in one place. Nice for me to reference, and nice for you, too, if you've come in mid-story.

My posting began back on day 20 of my IVF cycle, but this was my second experience with IVF. Because of this, I was better educated, more determined, and poorer. Nevertheless, it's a story with a happy ending (so far) so here's the links to read about the process of us getting pregnant. If you're expecting a romance novel, you're looking in the wrong place. This story is less about candles and rose petals and more about needles and doctors' appointments.

  • IVF Day 20 - The saga begins. Here, I discuss the reasons why I'm sharing this personal process and the basics of IVF.
  • IVF Day 21 - One of my favorite posts for anyone, fertile or infertile. This post is all about vitamins. Is it weird that I get excited talking about vitamins?
  • IVF Day 23 - Another exciting post...this one about Folate versus Folic Acid. It's riveting!
  • IVF Day 30 - Want to see a self-administered injection right in the gut? This is the place for you. A simple Lupron injection.
  • IVF Day 34 - The importance of a calendar in the IVF process.
  • IVF Day 37 - This post explains egg follicles, how they're measured and why they're vital in the IVF process.
  • IVF Day 39 - My meds are explained in great detail...down to the opening of the box. The Pioneer Woman may take the best food-in-process photos, but my skills at photographing syringes and meds is second-to-none.
  • IVF Day 42 - How I fit all these shots into my daily routine.
  • IVF Day 44 - Confessions. This was my most read/commented post thus far. If you haven't read it yet, you might find this one interesting.
  • IVF Day 45 - Trigger day. My follicles/eggs are close to being ready for retrieval.
  • IVF Day 46 - Egg Retrieval Day = Surgery. Lots of good photos here...heehee
  • IVF Day 47 - Fertilization Report.
  • IVF Day 48 - Another Embryo report.
  • IVF Day 51 - Transfer Day. This is the day we see our embryos for the first time and decide how many to transfer.
  • IVF Day 52 - Good news! An unexpected totsicle.
  • IVF Day 58 - Nasty progesterone shots.
  • IVF Day 59 - Needle comparison. Clearly I've run out of things to discuss and the wait for my pregnancy test has become unbearable.
  • IVF Day 60 - Pregnancy Test!!! Should I give away the ending?
  • IVF Day 64 - Ethics discussion. Not the best essay, but I'm writing with pregnancy brain...so just coming up with the word "ethics" is a big deal.
And, that my dears, is the IVF synopsis. Hopefully I won't be writing about it again for a long time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm alive and kicking

Sorry for the absence from my blog this past week.
I've felt pretty blech lately, which is a good thing, but counterproductive to blogging.

Ready for my beta numbers?
  • Friday, March 12: 157
  • Monday, March 15: 684
  • Wednesday, March 17: 1444
Before the numbers reach 1000, it's imperative that they at least triple over a 3 day period and double in a two day period. As you can see, mine did just that, with a doubling rate of 1.4 days between Friday and Monday, and 1.7 days between Monday and Wednesday.

These numbers show that everything is going as it should.
And if I needed any more proof, I just get a whiff of any food and instantly become nauseous. Actually, I don't even need a sniff. During the Kansas (ahem, Northern Iowa) game I caught a glance at a Gordon's fish commercial and that was enough to do me in. Gag.

Back to beta numbers. On the 9th day post day 5 transfer (also considered the 14th day after ovulation), if the beta is above 50, there's an 80% chance of having a healthy baby. Last year, my beta on this day was a 91, and albeit good, I fell in that sad 20%. This time, I'm hoping I'm in the 80%.

I'll be back with a summary post on my IVF experience as well as my final calendar. Greg is also threatening to talk about IVF from his perspective.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ivf - day 64 - ethics

The title says IVF day 64, and technically it is, but it's also "pregnancy day 32." I'm a little over 4 weeks with a due date of November 19 and so happy to be saying that. So, in discussing the ethics behind IVF, I must admit I'm biased. Without IVF, my chances of becoming pregnant are slim to none.

But, I don't think I'm different than any other woman. No matter how well your career is going, how much your social life is booming, it's in a woman's nature to have the desire get pregnant and have a child.

My basic premise is this: if it's "natural" to want to have children why is it unnatural to seek treatment to do so?

By definition:
Natural: existing in or formed by nature

It's interesting to me that critics of IVF lean on the argument that it's "unnatural." Sure, at first glance, it's odd to give daily shots, have almost-daily ultrasounds and bloodwork, and fertilize eggs in a petri dish. But, the entire process of IVF mimics the way the body should work. Hormones have to be at certain levels to produce mature eggs. The uterine lining has to be at a certain thickness and quality to support growth of an embryo. Fertilization still occurs. IVF ensures the body does what it should do in the "natural" way.

IVF doesn't change the way babies are made. All one has to do to see this is watch an IVF pregnancy and you'll see it progresses the same as a non-IVF pregnancy. The success/failure of pregnancy is almost identical. And, the difference in the statistics could be attributed to the fact that many women undergo miscarriages and never knew they were pregnant under normal conditions. They might just assume their period is a little late. This is unlikely in the case of the IVF patient since they're so closely monitored in the early stages.

Even the fertilization process of IVF mimics the body's selection process. The strongest, best sperm make it the long pathway to the egg and are able to break through the outer barrier for fertilization to occur. In the lab, similar techniques are used. Sperm are examined for quality and motility and the best are used for fertilization purposes. Still, there is nothing artificial in this process. Even in the lab, one sperm and one egg are needed to create one embryo. Same as in the human body.

After the sperm and egg come together, fertilization isn't a sure thing. If it does happen, it's up to that embryo to properly divide. Many stop growing as they should. There are many chromosome issues that just cause the embryo to arrest. But, there are a few that survive, that hatch and implant in the uterine wall, which is when pregnancy occurs.

What many people don't realize is that your body makes decisions every month during a cycle. It makes the decision which egg is the frontrunner, which will ovulate. Once sperm enters the picture, and fertilization occurs, the embryo has to divide at the proper rate or it will miss the opportunity to implant, because it needs perfect uterine conditions to do so. Many times an embryo is formed and passed and a pregnancy never occurs, whether a chromosome issue is to blame or the uterine conditions aren't conducive. Most of the time, a woman never knows this decision making process is occurring in her body month after month. We go on blissfully unaware because it's not us making the decision, it's our bodies. We don't feel guilty if a pregnancy doesn't occur, because we don't know why the pregnancy didn't occur. We don't know if an embryo was formed or not.

Just because the IVF patient and doctors are making decisions throughout the process doesn't necessarily infer they are "playing God." God set in order the natural process of how a baby is formed. One sperm and one egg are needed, fertilization must occur, the chromosomes have to be just right, the uterus has to be ready, and the hormones have to sustain the pregnancy. Researchers have worked to understand God's process in order to give a couple the chance of becoming a parent. It's a chance, that's all it is. The researchers can't create an egg or a sperm. They can't wave a wand and form an embryo. They work within God's parameters and laws of nature to treat a condition.

When a researcher studies anything they look at the normal process and how it *should* be. Think about a cancer researcher. They look at normal cellular processes and try to understand what goes wrong in a cancer patient. They treat the medical problem, but they don't work miracles. They work with the natural processes of the body, administer drugs to regulate the body, and even do surgery to remove the problem.

An infertile couple is no different. They are infertile for a medical reason. They seek medical treatment for their condition.

What many outsiders fail to realize is that infertile couples seeking treatment aren't looking for a blond-haired-blue-eyed baby. They are looking for the opportunity to become parents. Me, on the other hand...I put in my request for a baby that doesn't spit up and a teenager that doesn't talk back. What's wrong with that? I'm practical.


Of course, there are lots more issues related to IVF I could discuss (ie. PGD, when an embryo has rights, stem cell research), but frankly I don't feel adept to do so. If you're struggling with these issues, I highly recommend A Case For Life by Bo Kirkwood. The cover isn't the prettiest, but it's a quick-read, and makes complicated material simple for us non-scientists, all while keeping a God-centered view. One aspect of this book that I found particularly interesting was the discussion of "conception", which is a non-scientific term and difficult to pinpoint. Something I had never thought of before, but am now keenly aware.

As an update, my bloodwork is doing well. I go back tomorrow for my final beta and will report here when I get my test results. Still on those progesterone shots, too :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This is quickly becoming a favorite kit.

I love all the yellows, turquoise, and greens together, plus pops of other unexpected colors. My first three layouts just fell together in a matter of hours. Can't wait to share them with you on reveal night (March 28th, 12:00am EST).

This sneak was made using the main kit and more color. That 7gypsies paper is my favorite paper of all time, I think. I've used every last bit and I need MORE!!!

I've gotten a couple 8x10's printed lately and decided to use one on this layout. I love how it turned out. It's made entirely with the Tilt-a-Whirl add-on, which I think will become a surprise favorite. It kind of sneaks up on you.

Oh, and whadya know....another sneak with that 7gypsies paper. I LOVE IT!!! And, while I'm in love with something, I can add another: those Sassafras little alphas. They're the perfect size and the color is fantastic!

Ella Winners

Blogger ConnieC said...

I'd like UR2 Cre8ive because I already bought Sketch Your Sketches.

March 10, 2010 5:17 PM

Laura Gedeon said...

I think the Stretch your Sketch book sounds great! Thanks!

March 11, 2010 1:42 PM

Please email me and I'll send you the codes to view these online. Thanks!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ivf - day 60 - pregnancy test

Let me start this post by saying I'm so thankful for this news. I feel lots of things: blessed, surprised, relieved, excited, nervous, happy....and I could add another 50 adjectives to this list, I'm sure.

Greg and I knew going into this that it could go either way. Actually we were coming home from church Wednesday night and I looked at Greg and said, "Do you think I'm pregnant?"

He said, "What do you think?"

I said very seriously, "Well it could go either way."

Why yes it could April. Very profound!!!! I'll blame that on pregnancy brain, too.

But seriously, it really could have gone either way. The stats weren't as much in our favor this time. What you might not know is that every IVF clinic has to report their stats to the government and publicly, which usually means on their website. These stats are published by age group, they show pregnancies, births, singles, twins, triplets. They show lots of criteria. And, if you're considering IVF, you definitely need to investigate every clinic you can (within reason).

In our age group, about 55% become pregnant and 53% carry to term. So, basically our chances of getting pregnant were 50/50. Like I said, it could go either way :)

But, when you look at embryo quality, you can further delineate who has a better chance of pregnancy. Our first round of IVF in 2009, we were sitting at about 70% likelihood, but this time, we were closer to 40%.

I was scared, nervous, I couldn't sleep.

I can't even begin to explain the thoughts that went through my head during the 9-day waiting period. Lots of talk about what to do with our frozen embryo in the case this round didn't pan out. On that same car ride, Greg even brought up selling his car and being a "one-car-family." But, that really would only net us about $3000, so that wasn't the best idea. And, he can't blame that on pregnancy brain.

Anyway, there's a point of no return with IVF and pursuing infertility. It's a fine line and one we didn't want to cross, but found ourselves on the verge of making a decision we didn't want to make.

So far, we're pregnant and focused on that. No, we're not out of the woods.

My beta today was 157, which tests for HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). It needed to be above 50, so we're on our way.

I'll be checked again on Monday and Wednesday to make sure it's multiplying like it should, which would indicate a normal pregnancy. I'll continue the progesterone for several more weeks, provided the pregnancy continues.

Just because I'm pregnant, doesn't mean I'm done talking IVF. I plan to discuss some of the ethics next week (hoping not to stir up too much controversy) and anything else that comes to mind. Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to devote a post entirely to questions as well. I'm open to anything, which you should know by now. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a question in the comments section, feel free to email me april@studiocalico.com

Thanks so much for all your prayers, well-wishes, support, following my story. It means so much to know there are others out there who are interested in our struggle and were hoping for a wonderful outcome along with us. I can't say enough about the support you've shown.

ivf - day 59 - big needles

Just look at that progesterone.

That's P-R-O-G-E-S-T-E-R-O-N-E with a "G"

Definitely not a "J." Why would anyone think such a thing.

These are some of the needles I've used over the course of this process. The one on the right was for my Follistim, and it's the same size as the ones for my Lupron (I used insulin syringes for those) and for my Ovidrel (which is HCG to trigger ovulation before my egg retrieval).

The needle on the left is for drawing up the progesterone. It's pink. PINK = PAIN. That's my way to remember to not use it for injection. That and the fact that it's the size of my pinky.

The middle needle is for my progesterone. It's gray. GRAY = GIVE.

Just to give you another shot, look at the size of that opening!

So, I draw up the PIO (progesterone in oil), and it really looks like vegetable oil, with the pink needle.

Then, I switch out the top to the gray needle for injection.

Tomorrow's my big day...the day of my beta test to see if I'm pregnant.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ivf - day 58 - progesterone

IVF begins with the easy shots. The tiny little needles that you can barely feel.

Truly, you can barely feel them, and other than sometimes bruising, they're not a big deal.

Now, progesterone-in-oil shots are a big deal. Literally.

Big needle. Big syringe. Big deal.

I'll show you the size comparison in another post, but for now, I'll discuss how this drug is administered and why it's important.

First, the how-to's, because let's face it, if the doctor says to do it, I'm going to do it whether I understand it fully or not.

After loading the syringe with the oil, I call Greg out of bed to give me the injection. He's not a morning person, so I use this to get him out of bed. It works beautifully because he doesn't want anything to compromise my IVF cycle.

I've already cleaned off a spot on my backside and he holds the skin tight (aka spreads the fat out) and shoves the needle in. At this point, I'm usually saying something like, "Quit hesitating" or "Do it ALREADY!!!" The anticipation is worse than the shot.

Once it's in, he holds the injection site still so he can pull back on the syringe.

He pulls back to make sure there's no blood entering the syringe. If there is, that means he's hit a vein (very rare, never happened to me) and he'll have to re-inject in a different spot.

Once confirmed that he's in the muscle and not a vein, he slowly injects 1cc of progesterone in.

We do this once each day and will continue to do so if my pregnancy test is positive on Friday.

So, you want to know why? I did, so I asked.

Progesterone is normally produced by the body and it sustains a pregnancy. It originates from the ovaries, after ovulation. I figured, since I ovulated 19 eggs, I'm producing a lot of progesterone, so I shouldn't have to take a shot. (This makes sense in my brain.)

It's true, my body *should* produce the progesterone, but I've been hopped up on all the other hormones (both suppression and stimulation) that interfere with my body's natural way of doing things, that it might interfere with my ability to produce progesterone correctly as well. So, we do these shots as a safety measure.

Progesterone works in the body in these ways:
  • Helps to regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation.
  • Keeps the lining of the uterus thick which is necessary for a successful pregnancy.
  • Produces a rise in temperature after ovulation, which remains until menstruation occurs.
  • Creates a nutrient rich environment for the baby by increasing glycogen and arterial blood to the lining of the uterus.
  • Keeps the uterus from having contractions.
  • Causes the cervix to thicken and create a mucous plug which prevents bacteria from entering the uterus.
(taken from this source)

After ovulation, my progesterone needs to be at least 30 ng/mL to sustain a pregnancy. So, last Friday, I went in for bloodwork and it came back at 81 ng/mL. Perfect! No increase in dose.

And, other than showing you the size of the needles, which I'll do tomorrow, I don't have anything else to say about progesterone. It's a pretty straight-forward little booger.

ETA: In my original post, I misspelled "progesterone" 10 times including the title. Misspelling is SOOOOOOOOOOO unlike me, so let's hope it's pregnancy brain. And, if you're out there and noticed an untrue fact or misspelled word, please know I'd rather be corrected and be right, than go uncorrected and be wrong. Unless you're my husband, you can correct me anytime. ;)

One last thing, if you haven't already, please read the post below and comment to win one of the fabulous eBooks from Ella Publishing.

guesting at Ella today

I'm guest-blogger at Ella Publishing today. I shared some secrets behind Studio Calico, mainly how the kits are designed and their inspiration sources. Hopefully you're intrigued and will visit....I did my best to arouse suspense here :)

If you've never visited Ella before, now's your chance! They offer online magazines and books that are high-quality. Many are 100% free, which is wonderful so you can see the quality first-hand before purchasing an eBook.

But, before you do, I have a giveaway for you. Just leave a comment stating which eBook you would like to win and why

I'll leave this open through Saturday, so you have plenty of time to check them out. 1 winner for each book will be drawn on Sunday, so don't forget to check back and see if you won.

Monday, March 8, 2010

another day, another year, another decade

When I walked into the office this morning, I saw this man-card sitting on my desk.

(Are the exclamation points representative as my decades? There's a message there I think.)

I classify it as a man-card, because there is wood on it.

And in it.

Apparently, Greg spent some time crafting yesterday.

I'm still trying to figure out his adhesive strategy here. He used tacky glue on the wood, perhaps the same on the papers and ribbon, and packing tape on the corners of some papers as decoration.

In the end, I suppose it's half a birthday card and half-Valentine's.

But, it's the thought that counts, right?

And, let me tell you, there were lots of thoughts going on here.

Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

getting close to move-in

I thought I'd take a momentary break from IVF updates to give you an update on our remodel progress.

Ignore the brown lawn and look at the fact that we have columns and all we're waiting on outside is a pergola on the side porch and landscaping.

Oh, and the columns haven't been painted yet.

LOVE my lighting on the front porch from Schoolhouse Electric. The only problem is they're only damp-rated, so we could only use them underneath our porches.

Greg taking a gander into the office/scrapbook room. We changed the color blue from our original brighter color and I'm glad we did. This is much better!

And, my hardware. Ahhhhh...Greg says it's growing on him but he doesn't really like it.

More progress on the mud-room bath.

I never would have thought it would be so much trouble to use pavers inside, but apparently it was.

Thankfully, the outcome is pretty cool.

The downstairs floor is ready to be stained and sanded on Monday.

Anyone want to guess why one board is turned the wrong direction?

Upstairs to the guest bedroom where Mom and Dad will stay while completing their house. This room has another fixture from Schoolhouse Electric.

The majority of our lighting came from there, and I love how you buy the fixture and shades separately. While looking for lighting, I found that I liked the shades, but didn't like the fixture, or vice versa. So, Schoolhouse was a perfect solution for us.

The upstairs hall bath.

The TV room upstairs. We'll have a game table by the windows and a couch/TV where I'm standing to take the photos.

This fixture came from Pottery Barn. We'll put an Edison bulb in it once we move in and lower the chain, but for now, it's a hazard and that bulb is too expensive to waste.

My railing is up and I feel so much safer walking around upstairs now.

And, last my light fixtures in two of the bedrooms upstairs. These were cheapies from Lowe's and actually a little small for the rooms, so we'll have to have good lamps.

Estimated move-in date is 3 weeks.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ivf- day 52 - snowbaby

Have I mentioned that I love my IVF nurse?

Well, I do.

As I was laying here on bedrest hoping beyond hope one of these little B's would take hold, my phone chimed.

I can still hardly believe it! One of those embryos held on long enough to be considered viable, and so it was frozen today, on day 6 post egg-retrieval.

On my transfer day, I had asked the embryologist if we'd have any left over to freeze. He looked back at our last cycle and we had none. Then, he looked at the current embryos and just shook his head. So, even though my discharge papers said to call my voicemail box to see if any were frozen, that thought wasn't even in my head. I had already written it off. After all, only about a third of couples end up with some to freeze, and I had already been given the proverbial head-shake.

You see, my IVF lab only freezes grade A or B blastocysts that haven't stopped growing on day 5 or 6.

Another piece of information is that they ALWAYS transfer the best embryos first, on the fresh cycle. So, if I had 3 of the best transferred yesterday, and the one ranked fourth made it to the cryopreservation stage, what does that say about the possibility of pregnancy with these "better" embryos?

That's my rationale anyway.

Greg is a self-proclaimed late-bloomer and my grandfather said I looked like a spider till I was about 8 (I weighed a whopping 32 lbs in 1st grade), so I guess it's no surprise that our embryos might be "delayed" a bit. Just not too much. That's all I ask.

  • Down to one injection per day: 1cc PIO (will show you this process next week)
  • Progesterone check tomorrow.
  • Beta (aka pregnancy test) next Friday.

calf send-off

These big babies were taken to the auction. It was time.

Past time actually.

Only one was castrated and the other, well, he needed to be.

Plus they were almost-cows in size, they were getting so big.

We had been waiting for cattle prices to go up. So, last week when they were going for as much as $1.15 per pound, we knew it was time.

But, it didn't make it any less difficult for G.

He called me about 10 times asking me if I wanted to take photos, but I was eating lunch, so that was out of the question. Chimichanga with pico de gallo or 30-degree weather and a foul-smell? Hmmm....let me think.

So, G documented with his iPhone.

Bubba came with the trailer and backed it up.
In they went. Dad waved good-bye.
And, they were off.
Off to the auction. Where they sold for about $0.93 per pound. Not bad for calves.

Oh, and I neglected to mention we sold #8. She was our only heifer who had the calf who we had to bottle-feed who ultimately didn't make it. Well, her udder didn't drop, which was the main problem, so the calf didn't get the nutrition he needed.

Well, #8 is a Big cow, with a capital "B".

Big cows are generally good, but they eat a lot.

And, if it's big, it needs to produce.

Produce calves that is.

And, so far, she wasn't doing so hot in that department and she was eating us dry.

She didn't sell for that much, but in all, we now have moolah in our farm account, which makes me happy.

Our first auction is behind us. Hopefully it will be easier for G next time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ivf - day 51 - embryo transfer

Today began early, like all my previous trips to Nashville. The whole way down (an hour drive, but it takes 30 minutes longer in traffic), Greg and I talked A's and B's and what our final decision would be regarding the number of embryos to transfer.

It's such a difficult decision to make and one that fertile couples never have to discuss. Can you just imagine, "Honey, I think you should ovulate 3 eggs this month." "Why of course, sweetie, then we'll have one implant." Um, no.

And, like I've said numerous times before, IVF is a numbers game or statistics game if you like that fancy word better.

Our 2009 round of IVF, we transferred 2 embryos. One was almost an A and the other was definitely a B and we ended up with a singleton which we later miscarried at 10 weeks. So, the dilemma this time was whether we should transfer 2 or 3, but we knew all along the decision would be made that morning (after my Valium) when the embryologist brought in photos of our embryos with letter grades beside them.

So, on the drive down, we were still discussing A's and B's and the risks involved, as I was drinking Gatorade so I'd have a full bladder for the procedure, even though we had no clue how many of the 5 stand-out embryos would be presented to us this morning.

We were supposed to arrive by 9:00am, but of course, we were there by 8:45 because in my family, if you're not 15 minutes early, you're late.

So, we waited for 15 minutes until we were called back to the surgery center. Like always name-bands were checked about 53 times from point A to point B.

When we got to the room, Greg changed into his lint-free outfit, or purple-people-eater-outfit, whichever you prefer.

And, I disrobed waist down except for my awesome socks (knee-high socks are a must in these cold rooms).

I'm digging my outfit here. The mix of patterns is fantastic. Not particularly happy about my level of Gatorade consumption at this point, though.

We talked with the nurses, signed papers, got my discharge instructions, and then, most importantly, took my Valium.

And, I'm glad I did, because when the embryologist came in with our embryo photos, I was a tad disappointed.

3 blastocysts, all grade B.

I was so hoping for at least one A, and that the doctor would try to talk us out of transferring all 3, but we had no such luck.

Our embryos had done great up until day 3, when they slowed a bit, so they are about 6 hours behind this stage here:

Isn't this one beautiful?

But, that's okay....ours may be ugly ducklings at first, but we're hoping for one beautiful swan.

After discussing our decision of transferring three with our doctor, I was wheeled back into a dark room. It's dark because embryos are normally kept out of the light. At that point, the embryologist showed Greg the embryos one last time (hence the lint-free-garb). The embryologist loaded the embryos into a catheter and the doctor inserted that tiny tube through my cervix and into my uterus.

Now, this isn't my uterus, but see the white line that looks like a feather? That's where the embryos go, because that's where they attach. During the transfer procedure, my bladder has to be full because it presses down on the uterus making it easier to get the embryos in the exact right spot. So, my ultrasound monitor had a big black spot on the top 1/3, which was my gatorade sitting there, and even warranted a complimentary comment by the embryologist: "That's a great view!"

Me: "Why thank you."

I pride myself on being able to hold my bladder, so I'm the perfect patient for this procedure.

So, using an ultrasound the doctor guided the catheter to that very spot and pushed the embryos out of the tube. Once removed, the embryologist examined the tube under his microscope to ensure all 3 had left the tube, then I was wheeled back into my room to lay flat for an hour.

With my still-full bladder.

Thankfully, Jennifer my IVF nurse came in to check on me and help pass about 15 minutes of time encouraging me about my chances of pregnancy.

With grade B embryos our chances aren't as good as we'd like. We're at about 50% chance at best for pregnancy, but Jennifer said I'm pregnant until proven otherwise.

It's just a mixture of emotions today. Disappointment, but potential excitement.

Today and tomorrow are bedrest, then a progesterone check on Friday.