Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Embryos and 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?

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