Monday, August 31, 2009

What I've been up to...

Ok, so obviously I haven't been posting alot this summer. I decided it was time to let you know what I have been up to. First some very very good news, I'm pregnant! Now let's go back a couple months....

This summer Micah and I thought it might be time to start our family. I always knew starting a family wouldn't be the easiest thing for me. I carry a rare genetic disorder called OTC, and it is and can be very deadly if I pass it to my children. I have seen this disease affect many in my family and knew when I got married I had a big decision to make. In my mind I had 3 options for having children, not have children at all, just get pregnant the old fashioned way and risk the chances of the disease, or undergo IVF PGD (invitro fertilization pre genetic diagnosis), an amazing technology that can diagnose if an embryo carries the disease and elect to only implant healthy embryos. I decided that this was the plan I was going to choose.

So on July 12th the shots began. I started my first round of shots-lupron. Lupron was a small injection in my stomach. Not bad at all. My husband was a champ at giving me the shots. Lupron made me feel..not like myself. I was very emotional and my joints in my body began to hurt. I no longer felt like the energetic 22 year old that I was. I was huffing and puffing after walking up a flight of stairs and any form of physical activity was very hard on my body. Instead of working out 5-6 days a week like I was used to, I was forced to become a couch potato. Three weeks latter the follicle stimulating hormones started. I then had 3 injections to do a night, lupron, repronex, and follistim all in my stomach and all given by my sweet heart Micah. Again these shots weren't bad. Repronex took about 40 seconds to inject and as it was injected it burned, but still nothing too bad. After doing these shots for a week I went to my Dr everyday until he decided my ovaries had been stimulated enough. The follicle stimulating hormones make my ovaries produce a bunch of eggs, they don't want to over produce me and they don't want to under produce me. On the third visit with me the Dr gave me the green light to do the HCG shot that night (Friday) and the following Sunday my eggs would be retrieved.

Egg retrieval. I was more than nervous for this day. I slept probably 3 hours the night before. My thoughts were consumed by worry, fear, and "what if" thinking. "What if I only produce 10 eggs, and only 7 fertlize, and out of those 7 I only get one healthy embryo!" Or worse..."What if I get no healthy embryos to implant? What would I do? How would I do this again?" After struggling to fight those fearful thoughts out of my mind, the morning finally came. Micah and I went to the IVF center, I was prepped for surgery, and soon all of my what if thoughts would be answered. I was able to have Micah by me the whole time during the egg retrieval. I wasn't fully put under. Micah said I was responding the whole time during the retrieval. The Dr said I was given medicine so I wouldn't remember the pain I felt during the surgery. Micah said the whole time I was saying "Owwie! Ouch!" in a very moaning and grawgy tone. I wish I would have been more tough:) The retrieval lasted only 15 minutes, I vaguely remember my husband telling me while I was still out of it "Carly, they got 17 eggs!" When I finally woke up Micah said to me "do you remember how many eggs they got?" I said "17?" Not sure if it was my imagination that told me that number, and my sweetheart gave me the affirmative, they had indeed retrieved 17 eggs. Such a miracle. That night I had to start my progesterone shots.

IV in, ready for retrieval

I am completely out of it right after retrieval
Really REALLY out of it! Waking up after the retrieval wasn't too fun.
I was extremely crampy and very nauseous. It took every ounce of energy
I had to change into my clothes! I was supposed to recover at the clinic for
1 hour, but I had to be there for 3.

Implantation. I had to wait 5 days after the retrieval for the eggs to be fertilized, grown for a couple days, then one cell from each embryo would be biopsied and sent to Detroit where a team of Dr's would then stay up for 24 hours working hard to diagnose each embryo. So 5 days after my retrieval we went back in for the implantation. Out of the 17 eggs, 12 fertilized, out of those 12, 6 were able to be biopsied, and out of those 6 embryos, 3 were healthy, 2 were affected, and one was a carrier. 3 healthy embryos! Another miracle. They were able to implant 2 of the 3 embryos, the third I was going to freeze and have for latter use, but it didn't make it the next day for freezing.

looking at my embryos right before they are going to be implanted

Right after implantation.

Good News. Implantation was August 14th, and I had to wait 10 hellish days until I could find out if it worked or not. I was on bed rest for 3 days after the implantation and after that I still had to take it easy. I was extra cautious and stayed down most days. Watching a lot of Food Network got me through those days. I feel like Ina Garten and I are best friends now. My scheduled blood test was supposed to be August 26th, but Monday August 24th I woke up with very bad cramps. I called my IVF nurses and they told me to take my blood test that day. I ran over, still in my PJ's, teeth not brushed, and hair looking like a rats nests. A very long 1 1/2 hours latter I received the best call I have ever had. My IVF nurse said "Carly, congratulations, your pregnant!" I was in shock, couldn't believe it, and still can't. 65 shots latter, and by the grace of my Heavenly Father, I'm pregnant. I still have to continue my Progesterone shots until October 4th. Yay!

I am so grateful this process worked. It was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do, physically but most of all emotionally. But through a lot of prayer I received strength that I never thought I could have. I know this miracle is a direct blessing from my Father in Heaven. I don't think I will go a day in my life where I don't feel such gratitude for getting this chance to start a healthy family. I can't wait to keep everyone posted, in 3 weeks I will find out how many embryos made it. Some people think I am crazy that I want both of them to work, but two for one would be such a good deal! And I don't know how many times I am going to be able to do IVF PGD so my fingers are crossed that both of them make it, but I will be happy with whatever happens. I am in shock that I am actually writing this post saying that I am pregnant. I can hardly wait to meet the little person I will be able to raise, love, hold, and change their poopie little diapers. Poopie diapers have never sounded so good! I can't wait for all of it. The good, the hard, the wonderful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Berry Summer Salad I know it's been a while. It has been a very busy and stressful summer. Micah and I are doing a lot right now and it's been hard to find time post. I will be able to be more specific about what we have been doing in a week, but for now let's talk salad. And not just any salad, the most wonderful and delicious summer salad I am confident you will ever have. My husbands aunt is known in the family for making the best salads, and I think this is my favorite salad that she makes. Eating this salad is like eating dessert! Maybe it's the 1/2 cup of sugar in the dressing, or the yummy candied pecans-but everything about it is delicious! Since summer is almost gone, I hope some of you get a chance to make this wonderful salad.

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 lb spinach
1/2 c. roasted candied pecans (make your own or buy them)
1 pint strawberries
feta cheese

Dressing-blend together
1/3 c. raspberry vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil (i use olive oil)
2 tsp. dried onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 T. poppy seeds

Mix lettuce and spinach. Cut up strawberries and throw in with blueberries and some feta-as much or as little as you like. Top with the delicious dressing and enjoy!