<![CDATA[Eretha's Candles - Blog]]>Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:03:34 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Real & Raw of My IVF Journey - Transfer #5]]>Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/the-real-raw-of-my-ivf-journey-transfer-5And I'm not ashamed to show it!
2 weeks ago today I once again got the dreadful call from my doctor  that my embryo transfer was not successful.  Once again I heard the words, "I'm so sorry, but your test came back negative."  Yup, in late April I started IVF again - my 5th embryo transfer.  I kept it mostly to myself because instead of giving the occasional updates on Facebook I decided to record my experience.  I love coming back to my blog page to read about my past struggles and thought perhaps recording my 5th embryo transfer cycle would be fun, educational and who knows it might just help someone out.  I do have followers that appreciate reading my IVF blogs.  I know recording my journey definitely helped me out.  It gave me something to look forward to versus just dreading the painful daily shots I had to endure. When I read other women's blog posts or watch their videos, I can totally relate to what they are going through and it makes me feel a little better knowing that its not just me.  That I am not the only one who's heart and hopes get stomped on each time we attempt IVF.  It reminds me that I am still human and like most women who suffer from infertility, I too suffer from the pain of wanting to become a mother but sadly have to endure weeks and weeks of pain, fear, nervousness, crazy hormone effects and heartache. So on this journey I decided that I was going to record my daily shots, do brief updates (sorry I'm not experienced in front of the camera) but this is the REAL ME, MY REAL STORY, MY PAIN, MY OBSTACLES and MY HEARTACHE.  
​Watch video below: 

I did over a month of shots, patches and pills.  My belly was bruised from all the daily shots i was giving myself.  The patches always give me an allergic reaction and the intramuscular butt shots...OMG ouch!  I have never been so bruised like I got with this cycle.  Sometimes you just have to endure all the pain to get your little miracle.  I am willing to endure all i need to endure just for a chance at a miracle.  
This transfer was probably one of the most emotional and stressful transfers for me.   I found out that Bella had a tumor and that she needed radiation right away.  Timing could not have been more horrible but it was too late for me to back out of doing my transfer. I had already started doing my shots, had paid the clinic and was getting my body ready for the transfer when I got the bad news of Bella.  It was extremely emotional for both Robert and myself as well as a financial  hit in the gut.  If I would have known 1 week before starting shots that my poor baby girl Bella had a tumor that had grown and she would not last more then a few months, than I would have cancelled my IVF and concentrated strictly on getting her better.  But that was not the case. I was in the middle of my cycle already and witnessed Bella's decline and it hit me pretty hard physically and emotionally.  I often found myself caring for Bella's well being and not even once thinking about the possible life that I had inside of me.  I felt guilty and cried many nights because not once did I give myself the chance to think of myself and felt such pain knowing that my dog was suffering and we needed to do something about it.  I don't regret one bit making Bella my priority.  But I do regret having those days where i didn't even think of myself as possibly being pregnant.  In past cycles I often talked to my belly in hopes that the embryo could hear me and stick for good.  But this time I didn't even have the time nor the strength for that.  Although I prepped myself for the bad news I still broke down this time around.  I guess no matter what i say or think I just can't control the way the bad news will make me feel.  It is a feeling like no other, knowing that you have tried so hard to get to something but  yet it seems like you just didn't try hard enough or you just feel like a failure.  I  blame myself and then I pity myself.  But like other cycles, I  just have to snap out of it.    Not sure why this happened the way that it did, and like I've said before in pasts blog posts, if "God" has a reason for why this happened- well gosh darn it, I'd like to know what it is.  I pray and hope all the time but its never enough and not to throw myself a pity party but darn, how much more of this can I take?  I have had 5 unsuccessful IVF transfers.  I only got pregnant on my first try but it didn't last and ended up miscarrying.  I try so hard to stay positive but it seems like every time I do an IVF transfer something crazy is going on in my life.  Could this be a sign to just STOP!?  A big part of me wants to stop but I still have 1 embryo left.  It would be unfair for me to give up on it.  I know i'm not the only one that has done IVF nor am I the only one who has been unsuccessful 5 times.  But IVF is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done.  I am hoping that no matter what the outcome is that somehow God gives me the opportunity to just do this last transfer without any obstacles in my life. Doing IVF and knowing my dog was sick was really tough for me.  So tough to watch and tough to deal with.  All I ask is that I am allowed to do my last embryo transfer without having any stress in my life.  Give me a fair chance to do this and just maybe my body can be strong enough to create a life.  I plan on starting again in a couple of months, just waiting for Bella to get a little bit better.  My last embryo was created when i was 39 years old, that was 2 years ago.  If that doesn't take then we will need to think of what comes next.  Who knows...I might do 1 more full cycle of IVF (meaning i'll need to create my eggs) this of course is the worst part of the IVF process.  Life is full of challenges and I'm up for the challenges, I know I am strong but I'm also human and I break down at times.  I don't want to hear the "it will happen or just relax" that many of us going through IVF so often tend to hear. I just want a fair chance.  And yes we've considered adopting too but believe me it's not as easy as one might think.  That is why I can't give up just  yet. I seem to be healthy enough to create the eggs, even at my age.  So I don't plan on giving up just yet.  I will just hold my head up high, put on a smile and go about life like I have been for the last 4 years.  

It's funny how life works, but I guess there's a reason why things happen the way that they do.  All I can do is TRY.  Although part of me is somewhat numb now from the many heartaches, I must gather up the strength to keep going.  I'm not giving up on you so please don't give up on me! 


<![CDATA[Another Heartbreak on 4th Failed IVF]]>Wed, 09 Nov 2016 08:00:00 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/another-heartbreak-on-4th-failed-ivf
So yes I failed again and I hurt again, but i won’t let that stop me.  May I somehow find the strength to do this again soon.  
#notgivingup #4thunsuccessfulivf 
<![CDATA[Goood Bye 2015!]]>Fri, 01 Jan 2016 08:00:00 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/goood-bye-20152015 was definitely a year in our lives with many ups and downs. Hopes and dreams chattered that definitely did bring me to my knees. It was the year where I also lost hope and faith and started doubting the higher power. Of course it was all just my way of reacting from the several recent back to back let downs in my life.
My IVF journey was not an easy one, well quite frankly none of them have been easy. But It was by far the hardest, painful and most emotional one to date. Having failed again for the 3rd time kind of took a toll on me. I always got right back up after a failed cycle but this last one was different. I felt such anger at myself for having a broken useless body. For not being able to produce the miracle of life that comes so easily to the non deserving. I felt angry at the world and lost faith in God. It took me about a month to snap out of it. Blogging about my anger truly did help. Sometimes writing your emotions and feelings out can be your best therapy. I have always been honest and have made my journey very public, hoping that if someone going through the same thing reads it that they will not feel alone. I felt the love and support from all around me and it made me realize that there are people cheering for me. If they don’t give up on me then why should I give up on myself? So I snapped out of it and realized that it was time to move on and go forward. There is no looking back, so I say “Sayonara 2015” because in 2016 I plan on making it an AMAZING year.
2016 will bring in new treatments, new doctors and hopefully the end result will be what we’ve been longing for these last couple of years.
I am grateful for the prayers, friendship and the love given to me by many. But most of all I am grateful for the amazing support given to me by my husband. He is on this journey with me and has suffered just as much. Maybe not physically like I have, but the emotional pain is just as bad or perhaps even worse.
2016 I welcome you with open arms and ask you to please lead me on another journey. I go into this with a positive mind and a healed heart.
Happy to New Year to all!
<![CDATA[When is enough, enough?]]>Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:44:21 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/when-is-enough-enoughPicture
1 week ago today I got the dreaded phone call that my IVF cycle was unsuccessful.  Hearing the dreadful words, "Sorry you're not pregnant."  After getting off the phone with my nurse I drove down to buy a pregnancy test so that I can confirm the bad news.  Sadly I confirmed for myself that after a very hard IVF cycle once again we were not pregnant.  I felt numb and angry.  I didn't know how to call Robert and give him the bad news that not one single embryo took.  I honestly felt that I was pregnant this time around, we had good embryos, I did a fresh cycle transfer and things were going good.  But yet another disappointment for us down this crazy roller coaster.  I don't know how much more I can take. Or how much more we both can take. It's as hard for me as it is for Robert. 

Let me start off by saying that I feel so much anger inside of me right now.  Past IVF cycles I always tried to stay positive and hopeful.  Praying that things would go ok.  This time I was hurt, I felt betrayed, let down and most of all used.  My body, not just physically but emotionally goes through a lot.  I can't help but feel that somehow God is playing a bad trick on me.  Speaking of God, I can't help but lose hope on him too.  I have always been a positive person and I have always believed in God. Quite frankly I'm not sure what to believe in anymore.  Never in my life have i doubted God. This week I have. I have questioned everything and have had much needed time to sit back and just think about what I've been through.  I can't catch a break. I've struggled for everything that I've had.  Nothing has ever come easy for me and I've always been a fighter.  I am angry, so angry inside about my entire life.  Angry because when I came to this country at the age of 7 with my mom and my grandmother - I end up losing my grandmother to Cancer shortly after coming to this country and I was left here in this new world to be raised by someone I really didn't know.  I am angry that at the age of 18 I couldn't continue with school (college) because I din't have a green card.  I am angry that I had to grow up fast and take care of my mom who has a disability.  Since I could not go to school I did what I could to get by.  Working 2 jobs, 72 hours a week and volunteering for the American Red Cross and the Special Olympics just to get some life experience.  I was hardly ever home because I worked so much just to get food on the table and a roof over our heads.  At times I had no money for food and we struggled but I overcame that.  I was undocumented but yet I paid my taxes. Yup that's me, always doing the right thing.  I am angry that my struggles have always been hard.  Oh... all of the things I had to do in order to finally get my green card at the age of 21.  The amount of money I had to pay an attorney who treated me horribly and who constantly flirted with me.  Everything I had to do to prove to a judge that I was a good person.  The crying I had to do in front of him and so many people in that courtroom just so I can stay in the only country that I really knew and called home.  Nothing, absolutely  nothing has been easy for me.  I had to grow up fast and become a responsible person at an early age.  My life in a nutshell was not perfect.  But yet I became a responsible person because I wanted to have a good life for myself and my mother.  I thought doing all the right things in the long run would get you rewarded. I always felt that if you did bad, bad things would come your way.  I have never asked for much. Now I ask for a chance to be a mother.  For a chance to give my life and my husband's life a bundle of joy that we can call our own.  I have prayed, I have asked, I have hoped and have wished but somehow God doesn't find me deserving of such honor.  I can't get over this anger I have inside.  I am angry that people who are deserving of a child do not have it easy when trying to conceive.  I am angry that people who should not have children are granted the right to be a parent over and over.  And all for what... so they can dump the baby.  It's unfair. It truly is unfair and if this is God's plan well I must say it sucks.  I will not sit here and think that good things come to those who wait  because in reality that is just a not true.  Good things come to bad people, bad things come to good people.  Why do kids get cancer ? Why do kids suffer from hunger ?  Why do inmates or rapists live such a great and healthy life ?  Why is life unfair ? Why why why???? It's what we've been asking ourselves all this week. We are not playing the victim here, but damn it we are truly sick of this let down.  We are  both angry and hurt. 

Who am I kidding. I have cried every single day since I got the bad news.  I have distanced myself from everything because I just didn't want to deal with it.  I am sad that I didn't get pregnant.  Sad that everything I went through was all for nothing.  The shots, the pills, the blood work, all the swelling, nausea, cramping, breast tenderness, headaches and now heart ache... all for nothing.  How can one move forward after 3 failed IVF's?  How can i stay positive when it has been failure after failure?  I wake up at night and stare at the darkness, only to fill my head with negative thoughts.  Then I begin to feel sad and angry and I cry myself to sleep.  This has  been a really rough week for us.  I wake up each day with puffy eyes and more broken pieces of my heart.

Am I grieving?  Heck ya, I am.  I am grieving for my first failed pregnancy, for my second failed cycle and now for my third failed cycle. Do my dreams constantly become nightmares?  Yes, I believe they do. 

Not sure how much more grieving we can do. Not sure how much more grieving  we can afford.  IVF is very expensive and we have put in $31K already.  We just keep on paying money over and over with no real guarantee that our miracle will happen.  Making babies is part of the human nature, its a free act.  For us it is not, someone is saying..."hahaha, let's make them struggle a little and what the heck, let's charge them more money too."  
Uhhh.. can you tell I'm bitter ? 

This quote perfectly sums up what infertility truly is.  For couples who are going through this, no pain is much greater then to find out at the end that all your hard work did not pay off.  Nothing can bring you down more then to hear the words, "I'm sorry but you're not pregnant." 
It saddens me to know that in this industry some become rich from couples who are struggling to have a child on their own.  Children should be a gift.  Even adoption is expensive.  I just don't get it...

After 1 week of silence, I have finally felt strong enough to share my thoughts and jot them all down.  I am still angry and I still can't find or feel any hope yet.  Not sure what's wrong with me.  I usually snap out of things quickly but this time around my anger inside has me somewhat thinking negative.  I hope that soon I can start seeing the positive in things but for now I just can't.  
I still have 3 frozen embryos left and I have to seek other alternatives since our funds our low for another cycle.  I might do accupuncture, go hollistic and stuff myself with herbal pills.  I have had a whole entire week to think and read about what my next steps will be.  I will see my OBGYN and ask him to remove my endomitrioma cyst and to check me for endometriosis.  I want to make sure I don't have endomitriosis if I decide to go through IVF again.  I cannot waste another cycle.  Sadly because my kidney is right behind my belly button I cannot have a laparoscopy so i think my only option will be open surgery.  But I need to make sure I don't have endomitriosis before attempting IVF once again.  I'm worried because this pushes things back more now.  I am only getting older and it will be much more difficult.  I wish I had a surrogate, someone who can carry my embryos.  I'm just afraid my last 3 embryos will go to waste on me.  
But I won't give up for now, but it will take me sometime to get back to the positive state that I was once in.  I keep getting pushed down over and over and it's just getting harder to get up time after time with a smile on my face. Sadly, on this note, I can't leave you with my positive quote. But I leave you with the following.  

<![CDATA[The Cycle of the 3's]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:26:46 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/the-cycle-of-the-3sPicture
This cycle seems like it's all about 3's.  This is my 3rd IVF cycle and I had 3 embryos implanted yesterday... so dare I say that hopefully, "Three times a charm?" 
Well here they are, my 3 very pretty blastocysts with one that hatching and is ready to be implanted LIKE RIGHT NOW! 

I didn't genetically test the embryos this time around so I'm not sure if they are boys or girls.  Honestly I don't care what the sex is as long as I get an opportunity to experience motherhood. 
So yesterday I did my transfer and my doctor discussed with us that implanting 3 is being aggressive. But due to my past history with unsuccessful pregnancies we decided that 3 was the way to go.  Now the downside to that is that if all 3 take then we would need to terminate one of them.  Having a triplet pregnancy makes for a very unsuccessful pregnancy.  So she wanted to make sure that we were all in agreement that if this occurred that this is the road we would take.  Even at two I take a risk of possibly losing one. I would do whatever it takes to have a successful pregnancy whether its one or two. 

So the first three embryos have become blastocysts now with the first one already hatching.  All three are Grade 1 which is the best Grade.  Embryo 4 & 5 will be frozen, those are a Grade 2.  Embryo 6 they are letting it grow till today to see if we can freeze that one as well.  7-9 embryos might not make it and they are a Grade 3.  I hope they do but i won't find out till later.  

So i leave you with a sample video of what a transfer entails. 

I still feel that this is probably the most uncomfortable process of the IVF cycle. I would rather be put to sleep during this but unfortunately you must be awake during the process since you must have  a semi full bladder.  So as usual, feet up in the stirrup, a speculum is put in place just like a pap smear, you are rinsed clean, which feels so weird.  Once its good to go an ultrasound is performed on your lower abdomen to get the image of the uterus up on the screen.  It's not fun when they press down on you while your bladder is full. And I of course cramp up during the procedure.  We wait for the embryologist to come in the room with the transfer catheter which has the embryos.  My doctor then inserts the catheter into the uterus and pushes the embryos through.  The procedure is guided visually on a monitor with an abdominal ultrasound.  Once transferred, my doctor holds the catheter in place for about 30 seconds and then she slowly removes the catheter.  Since the embryos are invisible to the naked eye, the embryologist will then check the catheter under a microscope to make sure the embryos were released. Embryologist comes back in and says "all clear" meaning that the 3 embryos were successfully transferred to my uterus.  I then lay there for a good half hour before i was released to go home.  
Here we are holding what's probably the earliest picture of what our future baby or babies look like.  

It's unbelievable what goes through your head once you know that the embryos are inside of you.  You can't help but get emotional during the process and of course feel nervous.  This is it, this is why I put my body through hell for 6 weeks, just for this one moment.  To be next to my husband holding a picture of our future child.  A picture I wish to share in the future with our child.  We just sat there in the room talking about what our child would be like and how I would share these stories with him/her.  

Instructions were simple; Continue taking my twice a day Crinone medication which  contains the natural female hormone called progesterone that helps prepare the lining of my uterus so it is ready to receive and nourish an embryo.  And bed rest for 2 days.  As you can see I am one to listen to doctor's orders.  Plus with 2 great furry companions, how can one resist.  I have to admit that I go crazy while on bed rest because I can't sit still  but for all that I go through physically and emotionally, I have to be patient and rest so that this pregnancy takes.  I can't do anything to put myself at risk for a failed pregnancy. So relaxing and being stress free is what's on the agenda for today. Tomorrow I can go about my way but of course I won't over do it.  So now I am what you call PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise).  
It will be 10 long days of waiting before i can take a pregnancy test and check my hCg levels.  So now I just sit here and remain positive and stress free and wait to see if i start experiencing pregnancy symptoms.  Right now I just feel cramping but I literally feel cramping throughout my entire cycle. My body feels tired so i'll be resting a lot today.  I think for the next 10 days I will be tired just like past cycles. 

Once again I thank God for my wonderful life.  For the wonderful husband that I have who allows me to stay home and not stress about anything in life.  I am grateful for everything that I have and hope that I can have this one little miracle.  I know that I won't disappoint as a mother.  To that I leave you with...
<![CDATA[Egg Retrieval All Done!]]>Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:46:54 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/egg-retrieval-all-donePicture
Can I just say how glad I am that the shots and egg retrieval are a thing from the past.  On Saturday, July 25th at 7:07 am I was taken into the procedure room to retrieve the eggs that I have been cooking up in my lower belly.  I am not a fan of needles... ironic I know, since IVF is all about needles.  But sometimes you just have to make that sacrifice.  But I put on my best "Yay, I'm excited" face although deep down inside i was freaking out.  As you can see from the picture I look happy, we're even being goofy and the last picture...uhhhh not so happy. That's a "ugh why do i feel so crappy" face.  It's never fun to be put under and then to wake up all groggy and in pain.  My Anesthesiologist was wonderful and of course Dr. Evans is too.  The entire staff is pleasant and make everything possible to make you feel comfortable.  Robert was allowed to be there with me while the Anesthesiologist hooked me up.  Once he was all done my vitals were taken and all looked good.  Robert was escorted out and I got teary eye because I was afraid of the feeling and the outcome.  They walked me into the room, had me lay down on the bed and put my legs up in the stirrup. Not my feet, my legs which is an extremely uncomfortable position. The Anesthesiologist asked my DOB and my weight and I don't remember the rest.   
After 30 minutes, they woke me up and of course i was very groggy.  I was kept there for a little over an hour and was told that Dr. Evans had retrieved 16 eggs.  That was excellent news!  My 1st IVF cycle they retrieved 12 and 1 cracked.  I was really shocked too, this cycle my belly was much smaller and didn't feel so full but I am glad that 16 eggs were retrieved.  Came home and slept all day and all night.  Anesthesia sure does give you some good deep sleep. 
So basically what happens is: They put me to sleep with IV sedation, have my legs up in a stir-up and they insert an ultrasound probe inside of my vagina with a needle attached to it.  The probe goes in through the wall of the vagina towards the ovaries and into each ovarian follicle.  The eggs are gently removed (sucked out) through the needle.  After the egg retrieval the eggs go to the embryologist who puts them in an incubator and watches them for a few hours to let them mature.  Once they mature the sperm sample is rinsed and then inseminated into the egg and they will be watched for the next 5 days right up to the egg transfer. 

Yesterday, Sunday my doctor emailed me and told me she had good news. She said she had retrieved 16 eggs, 11 eggs matured and 9 fertilized. So I have 9 embryos that are growing in the lab.  With a scheduled transfer date of Thursday.  I am keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that the 9 embryos are of good quality and that on Thursday I have 3 healthy looking ones to transfer.  This time I will be transferring 3 embryos and we are  hoping to god that one takes... or two... :-) I'm not trying to be selfish I would be happy if one took.  I am trying to stay positive and optimistic and would be so heartbroken once again if one does not take.  I put my body and mind through so much and nothing would make me happier then to have a successful IVF cycle.  This cycle we passed on the genetic testing so I won't know the sex of the embryos on Thursday.  I pray to God that all goes smoothly and that he can grant me the honor of being a mother.  I know Robert would make an excellent father and I want to give him this honor.  He hurts like I do. He questions "why us?" just like I do.  Nothing would bring me greater joy then to give him some joy.  He is a wonderful human being and an exceptional husband with so much love to give. I beg you lord that you please grant me this one request and I promise not to let you down.   
So with that I leave you with...
<![CDATA[Trigger Shot All Done!]]>Fri, 24 Jul 2015 03:57:05 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/trigger-shot-all-donePicture
Well it's officially done.  I just did my last shot.  The Trigger shot is the last shot of my IVF cycle.  This  shot causes the eggs to complete the maturation process and to help release the eggs in about 36 hours which is when I will do the my egg retrieval.  I was nervous about getting this shot since i so fear needles and this one is the biggest needle of all from all my other shots.  Robert had to refresh his memory and we watched the trigger shot training video again.  It needs to be done on your lower quadrant area (butt) since its an intramuscular injection.  My trigger shot scheduled time was 8pm.  I was a nervous wreck for the last hour.  Prepped my needle with the medication and called Robert into the bathroom.  He made a few jokes just to relax me a little but I was like a zombie.  I leaned over my bathroom counter, put all my weight on my left side and let him go at it.  I felt the poke of the needle and felt it go all the way in and then the burning sensation of the medication going into my system.  Finally it was all over and he put pressure on the area and rubbed it a little to spread the medication.  I looked up and saw Robert from my bathroom mirror and got emotional. He gave me a hug and told me it was over.  I smiled but yet cried because this is it.  I am one step closer to the exact same place i was a year ago - "My egg retrieval day".  

As I sit here with a soar butt, and finally feeling the cramping and pressure in my belly like if my follicles are FINALLY growing, I can't help but think of the last 14 agonizing shot giving days.  During this process one can't help but think and think.  At least that's what I did.  Google becomes my best friend, my confidant and my teacher. The one site where i can read up on IVF, other's blogs that are going through the same thing and the place where I try to fill my head with positive IVF inspirational quotes.  This is how I dealt with it the last 14 days.  Like i've said in past blogs, this cycle was so different from last year.  My eggs grew at a much slower pace.  I did not feel during those 14 days what i am actually feeling now as i sit here typing up this blog.  Within the last 30 minutes I have finally reached that uncomfortable feeling. Where my body feels so bloated and soar.  I just want to lay here and relax, which is exactly what I'm going to do.  Tomorrow I rest and enjoy the fact that I am not giving myself any shots. Then at 7am on Saturday, July 25th I will be put under to retrieve my eggs.  Here's hoping that I have a successful retrieval.   

This blog helps me out a lot.  Although i've done this before, it's nice to go back and read what I experienced last year and compare with what this cycle has been like.  

It's amazing what a woman puts her body through just to try to conceive a little part of herself into this world.  Ironic how life works.  Those who shouldn't have kids pop them out left and right and those who so badly want the chance to hold a little something that's a part of them in their arms struggle to have a child.  I may not be perfect, I am skin and bones, I am a friend, a wife, a person who considers herself honest and kind. Yes of course i'm human and I have my moments like everyone else does but I still consider myself a good person.  I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing husband who gave me the chance to stay home so we can make our wish come true. I have been so lucky to have experienced this cycle while at home and I hope that being stress free and relaxed definitely helps me out this time around.  

Well folks I have ran out of things to say.  I thank those who read my blog and thank the friends I have that listen to my crazyness.  With that I leave you with...

"Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can't make a rainbow without a little rain."  

See you back on Saturday! 

<![CDATA[One step closer to Egg Retrieval]]>Thu, 23 Jul 2015 23:47:12 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/one-step-closer-to-egg-retrievalPicture
I never thought  I would be taking so many shots for so many days.  Today is my 13th day of doing shots, started off with 3 for the first week then moved it up to 4 shots.  This IVF cycle has definitely been different then last year's cycle.  Last year I was extremely bloated, crampy, constant headaches, breast tenderness and constantly felt pressure from the growing ovaries. This time around i'm not that puffy, i have major breast tenderness, swollen ankles and knee joint pain.  I  haven't felt much pressure this time around which explains what is currently happening at the moment. 
I went to do an ultrasound and blood work on Monday and was suppose to do my trigger shot that evening, but the doctor decided to keep me on the shots for an additional 2 days for possible retrieval on Friday.  Just to give my follicles some extra time to grow a little more.  My follicles were between 10mm - 15mm.  They need to be at least 18mm in order to do the egg retrieval.  So i went back today for another ultrasound and blood work and the numbers were a little higher, 12mm- 17.5mm.  Both Dr. Winkler (who has been seeing me these last few days) and Dr. Evans decided that I need to grow a little bit more before doing the retrieval.  So my egg retrieval has been pushed back to Saturday.  I'm really scared.  It's not pleasant being put under and then waking up feeling like crap.  Oh and i'm also nervous for my trigger shot tomorrow because that needle is BIG!  But it's just part of this process and this journey.  
So happy that is officially the last day of my shots.  See ya later - Gonal, Menopur, Cetrocide and Omnitrope.

<![CDATA[3rd Times a Charm?]]>Sun, 19 Jul 2015 06:33:08 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/3rd-times-a-charmPicture
Well I was hesitating sharing my experience again since I never posted about my 2nd IVF cycle.  But decided to blog about it since this has become my personal journal.  Let me take you back to my second IVF which was back in November of 2014, where all I did was take progesterone and hormones just to get my uterus ready for the 2 frozen embryos I had left (boy & girl).  During that time things were not going great at work and I was stressing a lot.  Sadly the embryos did not take and I was heartbroken once again.  So after many talks with my husband we decided that things at work were not going to get better and if we wanted to truly give IVF a real chance again, then i would need to quit my job. So i did the unthinkable and quit my job.  I stressed about it for 1 month but after seeing that I din't even get pregnant, to hear those terrible words, "Sorry, you're not pregnant" was all that i needed to hear to convince myself that i definitely needed to quit.  
I took a few months off trying to make a baby to kind of get myself back on track again.  With 2 failed IVF's, quitting my job due to the stress, I felt a little overwhelmed.  Then in March of 2015 I decided to move forward.  Talked with my specialist and my OBGYN & had a hysteroscopy and A&D per their advice just to make sure that my uterus was ok and that I didn't have anything bad going on down there that would keep me from getting pregnant.  Everything looked good, I had 2 cysts but both were benign and I was scraped clean and ready to begin IVF for the 3rd time.  On May 16th I began BCP again and after 3 weeks of taking them they found i had a cyst on my right ovary so my IVF was put on hold.  I took BCP for 3 weeks and felt crummy and all for nothing.  Yes I was annoyed and frustrated because I wanted to start right away with my shots but I needed to listen to my doctor and hope that the cyst goes away on its own. I was to contact them back as soon as I got my period again. 

7/8/15 I finally got my period and contacted my doctor's office to schedule an ultrasound and make sure that the cyst went away.  7/10/15 had my ultrasound and the cyst was still there.  My doctor said that I have an Endomitrioma Cyst and it will not go away on its own.  So she suggested we start IVF - skipping BCP and going straight for the shots and that she would just monitor the cyst.  The only way to get rid of it would be by a laparoscopy but i can't do that because of my kidney being behind my belly button or open surgery. She confirmed that the cyst was on the back side of my right ovary and that it would not or should not interfere with my IVF process.  On that note she also suggested I take growth hormone for this cycle since I still had the cyst.  So I began taking the 3 shots nightly as you can see from the picture above. Gonal 225, Menopur 75 and Omnitrope 25cc. 

And here you see my blotchy looking belly after being given the shots.  It's never fun to get the shots and I'm almost positive that it's not fun giving them either - Poor Robert! 
First week of taking the shots I began to feel cramping right away but not as bad as my first IVF.  I guess each time it will be different. 

The growth hormone's side effects were swelling or swollen legs/feet and joint pain. Guess what? I immediately began to swell up. My legs were hurting bad and were restless.  My ankles were nice and swollen too, or like Robert likes to call them now, "My Kankles".  It's been an interesting week.  I have been limping around the house all week. I feel like an old person, limping around and  my ankles are swollen and my knee joints were hurting.  I do have to say that this time around the side effects have been different.  I have not had really bad cramping and nausea which is great, my  biggest complaint has been the swelling only.  Everything seems tolerable this time around.  
7/15/15 I went to my second Ultrasound appointment to see how my follicles were doing.  I had 4 on my right ovary and 2 on my left measuring between 10-12 mm. The number of follicles were definitely a lot different then last year.  I guess as i get older the less follicles i make. 

7/17/15 went to my 3rd Ultrasound and things are looking better. The cyst is still the same which is good and I had a total of 15 follicles (11) on my right ovary and only (4) on my left ovary.  But we are currently watching the big follicles which are at 10-13mm.  There are 5 on my right ovary and 2 on my left ovary which we need to try to get to at least 15mm so that i can do my trigger shot.  

I am now to add a 4th shot to my nightly routine.  Cetrocide which will stop my ovulation.  It's a pain to have to get 4 shots a night.  I got a little emotional when Robert gave me 4 shots. I think it's more emotion then pain.  You put your body through so much and you say to yourself, "why me, why us?" Sometimes it just seems so  unfair. But Robert quickly makes me snap out of it.  The prepping of the shots takes a while too.  All this IVF stuff is very complicated.  Side effects I'm getting now is breast tenderness and I still have the swelling of the ankles.   I am to go back on Monday for another ultrasound at the West LA office this time since my doctor will be at a conference.  That day i will be told whether I retrieve my eggs on Wednesday or Thursday. I am hoping for Thursday because that's when my doctor is back from her conference.  I am extremely nervous about the egg retrieval.  Just to know you're being put under and hoping that they can get the most amount of follicles is really nerve wrecking. 

I leave you with...

"The pain that I've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming. " 

<![CDATA[Perhaps I am stronger than I think...]]>Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:09:57 GMThttp://erethascandles.com/blog/perhaps-i-am-stronger-than-i-thinkPicture
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 was my 10th day after my embryo transfer.  Had blood work done early morning to see if I was pregnant.  The day went by smooth, I was not antsy or nervous, at least not until it was 4:30pm and the doctor's office had still not called me.  I gave in and called myself only to find out from the nurse that my hcg level was low, that i was pregnant but would need to be re-tested in a couple of days. That my levels need to be 50 and above and mine were too low.  I stared at Robert not knowing whether to be happy or sad.  We were confused and I had so many questions.  I ended up emailing the doctor.  She put me somewhat at ease and explained that indeed I was pregnant and that yes my hcg level was low.  She stated that it could probably mean that we tested too early so that is why we were going to repeat the blood test. She explained that if my hcg level went up the pregnancy is normal but that if the hcg level went down than it would be an abnormal pregnancy.  Let me tell you, googling things like this can make a girl go crazy. I read up on everything that could wrong if my hcg level did not rise.  It's almost like I tortured myself while I patiently waited those 2 days out.  Robert and I felt that we were prepared for whatever came our way, whether it was good or bad. 

Sadly 2 days later I repeated my blood test and I got the call later that day that my hcg level was even lower.  I went from 32 down to 24 and per doctor's orders I was to stop taking my hormone medication and schedule an appointment to come in and see her. 
I got the call while at work. I'm sure you can imagine what that must have been like for me.  I stepped outside and called Robert to give him the bad news. 
I was crying, I felt so sad, and was disappointed.  Robert took it well and consoled me and told me that it would be ok and that we would try again.  All I kept thinking was, oh my god, I am going to have a miscarriage.  That night we were sad.  We cried together, we talked, we got angry at the situation but in the end we knew that we tried and that no matter what everything will be ok and we would try again.  Since I made this public, I kept getting messages with people wanting to know what the results were.  I felt so numb that I couldn't even post publicly what the results were. 

My doctor called me that evening and we talked and she somehow put me at ease.  She told me that the embryo had inplanted on my uterus but that for some unknown reason It did not keep growing.  She told me that I would have to miscarry naturally (like a really bad period) because I was under 5 weeks pregnant.  Explained that when the bleeding  begins, perhaps it will upset me more but to try to stay positive so that we can  move forward.  All weekend I was in bed.  I was sad and kept asking myself, "what went wrong? What could I have done differently?" But deep down inside I knew that it wasn't my fault.  My body accepted the embryos, sadly the embryos did not accept my body. 
As you can imagine, this was a very difficult time for Robert and myself.  

And so the grieving process began.  On Saturday I noticed that I began to spot.  my first reaction was to call out Robert's name and I cried.  Robert consoled me and told it me it would be alright.  He said we needed to move on past this stage so that we can try again. 
Sunday I knew that the miscarriage was already happening.  I was in so much pain from the cramps, bleeding heavily and was very sad.  These last few days have not been good for me.  I lay in bed that night crying and thinking about what could have been.  Feeling sorry for myself and asking myself why I had to lose both babies.  This has been a very long and painful journey and I was so hopeful that the pregnancy would take.  I pictured myself pregnant, pictured myself planning my own shabby chic baby shower. I pictured myself being a mom.  I cried all night only to wake up the next day looking and feeling like a truck had run me over.  I even talked to my belly and hoped that for some miracle it was a mistake and that I would get tested again and all would be good. But sadly, I had to let reality sink in.  I am not happy I miscarried but I am happy that it happened while i was only just a few weeks along.  I'm sure its 100 times more devastated to hear a heartbeat and then know you will miscarry.  Everything in life happens for a reason and I think this was just not my time.

IVF is difficult, and although you think you're prepared for whatever comes your way, I learned that it was not necessarily true. I thought I would be able to handle a disappointment better but when it happened that was not the case.  All the medication, the injections everything my body went through from bad cramps to fatigue and not to mention how swollen my belly got and still is.  It was all a long hard process.  I don't regret it at all but it has definitely been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through physically and emotionally.  To this day, I am still in the "miscarriage" process. Might last another week.  My spirits are much better now but deep down inside I still hurt.

Now we move on... I have 2 frozen embryos left and once my body is done healing we will start the process again. Robert and I thank everyone for the kind words and for all the prayers that were sent our way.  It's time to move on from the tragedy and move towards the brighter future.  

On that I leave you with:
"We couldn't wait to hold you, and now we could only hold you in our hearts.