Another milestone!

Ultrasound #2 was a big, giant success!! Our Czech miracle baby is continuing to grow! I was a hot mess before this ultrasound and seeing our baby wiggling around was the best thing in the universe. I still can’t believe it. Happy tears were all over the place.

For those of you who’ve been following my blog the entire time… the craziest thing has happened, and it is truly unbelievable… our official due date is 8/19/2019…eight/nineteen is the exact number that’s been following me for well over a year and a half….and the same number I wrote about in my blog post on September 4, 2018. I’ll never be able to explain it, but I don’t think I can call it a coincidence anymore…

Thank you all so much for the continued love and support!!

xo,

Tessa and baby

babes

Frantzen’s, future party of 3.

On Thursday, December 27th, I got a voicemail from my clinic informing me they needed to move my appointment for tomorrow to 1:00pm instead of my originally planned 3:50pm time. Shit. I couldn’t make that work with my schedule. I figured we’d have to wait another few days to see if it was 1 or 2 of our embabies that implanted, and most importantly if they were growing properly. Ahhhhh the nerves!!!

I rang the clinic, they informed me that due to the upcoming bad weather, they were going to be closing the clinic Friday and all appointments would be cancelled. She informed me they were also closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day… so the next appointments wouldn’t be until Wednesday. Shoot.

I asked if they had any appointments for that day, she paused for about 1 minute as she was looking at the schedule, then said “we do, what time would you like to come in?” I took the latest possible appointment. I needed time to mentally prepare for what could possibly be really crappy news. I called Nick to tell him, I could tell he was equally as nervous and excited that our appointment had been bumped up more then 24-hours earlier than expected.

At 1:40pm, Nick and I met in the parking lot, we hugged and looked at each other like deer in headlights, both knowing what could happen with this appointment. Nick squeezed my hand and told me we would be fine, we probably have twins growing in there! I love his positivity.

We checked in and they called us back before we hardly had a chance to sit down. The nurse took my weight and blood pressure. After my blood pressure reading, she looked at me and said, “Are you nervous?” I told her “Ah, yes, extremely” she looked at me and smiled, “Your blood pressure is extremely high, we will just have to take it after your ultrasound.”  I muttered “it likely won’t be much better” as I hopped off the chair.

We were brought into the ultrasound room and I was instructed to get undressed from the waist down. They do early ultrasounds with an vaginal ultrasound wand. I’m really used to these, I’ve done about 10,000 of them over the last few years dealing with infertility. Nick and I sat there and waited for the tech to come in….my heartrate was probably about 1-million beats per minute and Nick was probably right there with me.

The tech came in, she was very friendly and talkative. Nick and I both told her we were incredibly nervous and that historically these ultrasounds equal bad news. She informed us that since we are so early, there is a chance we might not see much, so she assured us not to worry. She must have read our chart before she came in, she knew there might be two babies in me and that we had donor embryos from another country. I think she was excited to see what was in there too. Then she started…

I could see a big black space (the gestational sac) right away, she said, “It looks like ONE implanted” She continued to move the wand around looking for another, I looked back at Nick and said, “One is great!” She hadn’t looked at the gestational sac by that point so we didn’t know if there was even a baby in there. Gestational sacs can grow without babies, its called a brighted ovum.

Then we saw it. Our baby. A teeny, tiny, little ball sitting in there. She measured baby several times, measuring 6-weeks 3-days gestation, exactly-where-baby-should-be. Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

Then she said, “your baby has a heartbeat too!” She measured the heartbeat with me holding my breath twice, first measurement was 145bpm, then the second time 120bpm. Happy Dance!!!!

Nick asked a few times if there was anyway embaby number #2 could be hiding in there, she told him its very unlikely. I could see the look of slight disappointment in his face that both our embabies didn’t implant. I looked at him again and said, “One is amazing honey.” He smiled and said, “I know.”

They had me take my blood pressure again as we were walking out. It was magically within perfect range. Imagine that.

We stopped at the front desk to schedule our next appointment for January 9th. I’ll be 8-weeks 2-days at that point. This appointment seems like an eternity away. They asked me to schedule another appointment with the doctor for 4-weeks after our next appointment, I told her I’d rather wait in case something happens. She looked at me like I was batty, but said “its up to you.

We left feeling happy, overjoyed, blessed and grateful! We have ONE healthy baby growing right on track. We have never experienced an “on track” baby before. One more major hurdle down, several more to go, but for now we will be relish in this victory!

As for morning sickness…. I’d call it all day sickness, luckily for me, I haven’t been vomiting, but all day long I feel nauseous and food is a picky subject. I also broke out in hives twice… so that was fun…

Please, please, please continue to send us all your good vibes, wishes, prayers, Etc., Etc., we still have several milestones to get through! 😊

Xoxox,

Tessa and baby Frantzen

baby

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

It’s been 16-days since our donor embryo transfer and I’m still pregnant!

I. CANNOT. BELIEVE. IT. WORKED!!

I’ve had several people ask how far along I’d be since we did an embryo transfer. The simplest way that I can explain it is that an embryo transfer follows a typical cycle, so I found out I was pregnant exactly the same time a “normal” person would have missed their period about ~4 weeks.

Today would officially put us at 5 weeks 2 days along…still very early, but I feel like we waited 4+ years to get to this point. I can’t believe we are finally here.

Last Tuesday (12/11/18) I had my official pregnancy test, also known as the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) blood test, this is the hormone that is produced only during pregnancy. I honestly have no idea if “normal” people get their HCG levels tested when they find out their pregnant, but it very exciting when you know it will be positive. The clinic had me do the first blood test on Tuesday, and then the second one 48-hours later on Thursday. In a healthy pregnancy, the HCG number should increase by at least 60% in 48-hours. If its less, it could indicate an unhealthy pregnancy.

My first HCG number was 145, our second was 404. That was an increase of 170+% increase! Yes! (Insert happy dance)

We are scheduled for our first ultrasound on December 28th. We could have scheduled it a few days earlier but with my infertility PTSD I opted for the last possible appointment on a Friday in case we get bad news…that way I’d at least have the weekend to pull myself together if the results were unfavorable.

Infertility robbed me of my naivety, I’m paranoid that something will go wrong at any given time.

I’ve googled more ridiculous pregnancy and miscarriage questions than I care to admit…

I’ve taken upwards of 15+ pregnancy tests just so I could see the test line get darker. *I downgraded to the amazon cheapies so we wouldn’t hit the poor house in the process…

And I constant look at Nick and whisper “I can’t believe it worked!” “What do you think our babies will be like?”

The odds of success are in our favor at this point. Our embabies were genetically tested, which means that we know they are chromosomally normal. From what I’ve read during my many hours googling, 95% of miscarriages in the first trimester are due to chromosomal abnormalities. I’ve read our risk for miscarriage with tested embabies is about 10% after pregnancy is confirmed. Not terrible, but we understand the reality that it could happen.

With all that being said, I’m working really hard on enjoying being pregnant and trying to not worry so much about what I cannot control. What matters at this point is that We’re PREGNANT and I’m feeling pretty good!

I continue on my medications until the 12th week… each morning I take a giant progesterone shot in my upper booty.. I’ve got 2 golf ball sized lumps on both sides that kill if I sit at the wrong angle, every morning I tell myself that this stupid shot is a million times worth it!

10-days until we find out if it will be Frantzen’s Party of 3 or Party of 4 😊 😊 😊.

Please keep sending us positive thoughts, energies and prayers as we slowly creep through the next several weeks with our fingers and toes crossed for ongoing success!

Xo,

Tessa

Transfer, Complete!

Our donor embryo transfer in Brno, Czech Republic went as smooth as butter, the place was incredibly organized, and the staff were very friendly. We were there for approximately an hour and the procedure itself was a whopping 2-minutes. Easy peezy!

After our procedure we still had 6 days to explore the winter wonderlands of Prague and Vienna. These cities are beautiful!!! It was nice having the distraction of the Christmas markets and architecture to gawk at, but the nagging anxiety of uncertainty was present the entire time for both of us.

Did it work? Omg it didn’t work, I know it. Maybe it did work. Was that cramp I just felt implantation? Am I pregnant? Do my boobs actually hurt or is this in my head? Am I normally hungry at this time? Why do I feel so tired, is it the time change?

We agreed that I wouldn’t take a pregnancy tests during our trip, it was too early and we’d likely get a false negative anyways. Not testing was so difficult, I like to know things. I need to know things. I’d pee on a pregnancy test every day of the month if I could afford it. However, I agreed to wait… at least until we got home. The clinic suggested we wait to test until 12/17/2018, 2-full weeks after transfer, which sounds like an eternity if you ask me. If Nick had his way, we would have waited to test on that day. No thank you.

Sunday night we got home after 6pm, 14-hours of travel and a 7-hour time difference, we were exhausted, both physically and mentally, topped with no sleep in nearly 24-hours I felt like a walking zombie.

I waited for my in-laws to leave so I could take a pregnancy test. The second the door closed I ran to the bathroom, Nick said “are you seriously taking one right now? Hold on, I want to be there too.”

I peed on the stick and quickly turned it over so we couldn’t see the results…..that lasted about 15 seconds before I impatiently turned it back over to see the results window. I saw our second line forming right away- I looked at Nick in shock “Oh my god, it worked! It’s freakin’ positive!” He didn’t see it right away since the test was still doing its job considering I had just finished about 30-seconds prior. I had to point it out, but after a few more seconds he could see it clear as day.

I started to happy sob.

I can’t believe it.

We can’t believe it.

It freakin’ worked!

We are pregnant!

We spent the rest of the night calling our family and closest friends to tell them the good news, we didn’t want the first time they hear to be from my blog. I still can’t believe it, I’m in shock that it worked. I’m so happy that it worked. I’m so unbelievably grateful for our double donors. I’m so happy that the term “embryo donation” crossed my path and that we went out on a limb to explore it.

One hurdle down to this journey of parenthood. We know lots can happen in the coming weeks, but for now we are celebrating this giant success!

We are hoping and crossing everything that’s cross-able that this will result in our take home baby or babies. We are so ready for this next chapter.

Please let this be the start of our next chapter.

Will there be 1 or 2??????

pregnant

-Signs-

On Wednesday while Nick was making breakfast he cracked a double yolk egg. I haven’t seen one of those in years. We laughed and both said, “It’s a sign!!!” We joked about transferring 2 embryos, as we’ve done about 19-dozen times since we started this process. We set it aside and went about our day.

Yesterday (Thursday) I cracked my breakfast egg- it was another freakin’ double yolk egg! I quickly screen shot the picture and texted it to Nick. “If this isn’t another sign, I don’t know what is, we should transfer 2!” He called me immediately, “Are you serious?” I said, “No not really, but kinda, if this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.” Nick was always a fan of transferring 2 embryos with the hope of having twins, the thought of that always scared me. I told him I’ll email the coordinator to see if it’s even a possibility since we are literally less than 4-days out.

I emailed the coordinator to see if there was a possibility that we transfer 2 if we decided. 10-minutes later I received a response.

Dear Tessa,

I already have both of your embryos to transfer on Monday. So don’t worry already have you transfer 2 embryos.

Best regards,

Michaela

Whhhhhhaaatttttt?????? I called Nick immediately, this entire time they’ve had us down to transfer both our embryos, we would have been in for a MAJOR surprise on Monday had I not emailed them. We both were blown away, and in that moment, we decided that 2 embryos would hopefully find their next 9-months nestled in my 10.79mm thick uterus lining.

We are so excited, the thought of increasing our chances for at least one take home baby gives me chills, the thought of potentially having two take home babies makes me slightly nervous, but all the more excited. Two would mean we’d never, ever have to do fertility treatments again, because our family would be complete.

As much as this was unexpected, we just have to listen to the universe.

Bon voyage!

Xo,

Tessa

eggs

 

Check ✅

One major (breath holding) step is now behind us, thank god! This morning we had my lining ultrasound and let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck. The lining scan today was ultimately our “green light” to officially get our transfer time and final date nailed down for our FET.

A lining ultrasound is performed in mostly all fertility treatments, it allows the clinic to see how thick the uterine wall is and to see how many follicles are growing. These ultrasounds usually happen between CD10-14 and for a successful pregnancy to occur, they want the uterine lining to be greater than 8mm.

I went in today holding my breath and anticipating the worst. I’ve never had lining issues, but I’ve been having nightmares about a thin wimpy lining and everything needed to be cancelled. Having a cancelled fertility cycle while at home sucks…having a FET cancelled when you’ve booked your international airfare and didn’t buy insurance…would really suck.

Seriously, the mix up on cycle days I talked about in my last post really had me messed up psychologically, I felt crazy over analyzing everything.

Today we got great news- My lining looks perfect at 10.79mm’s thick and all my follicles are staying tiny like we want. Our donor FET is officially scheduled for 1pm on December 3rd!!!

Wednesday the 28th I start my progesterone injections… I’ll need to youtube some videos because it’s in these weird little glass bottles I’ve never seen before and have no clue how to get the medication out…Europeans…

We leave on Friday and this will likely be my last post before we leave! We’ll take all the good thoughts, prayers, energies, wishes we can get!!

xo,

Tessa

Comic by the ever so talented Brie Bailey @ Bermuda Tea Comics

Tessa Blog 2

*Mrs. Hot Mess*

Hot mess. That would be the best way to describe me last week…

November 9th I took my last birth control pill and waited for my period to show. My doctor said that it should come 3 to 5 days after stopping the pill. My next medication, estridol, starts on November 14th, which is considered “cycle day 1 (CD1)” so in a perfect world, my period would come on November 14th.

I’m shocked by the amount of women (and men) who have no idea the magical things a female body does each month in the attempt to create new life … So, for those of you who never had to worry about these magical-hormonal changes or had to count cycle days, here is a brief overview of why it’s important for baby-makin’. Most women’s menstrual cycle lasts around 28 to 32 days and during this time, the body is constantly making important hormones to keep everything healthy for a pregnancy each month. CD1 starts with the onset of a period and your cycle ends with the start of your next period. A perfect circle of life… like the moon cycles.

The full cycle has 4 phases and I’m about to get all sciencey..

  • The menstruation phase: Period party aka CD1, it usually last 3-7 days, the body is literally shedding the uterine lining that would be used to establish a nice soft home for an embryo to implant into…bye-bye lining, time to start creating the next round.
  • The follicular phase: Also starts on CD1 and overlaps with the menstruation phase. Time to create egg(s)!! The ovaries are busy creating follicles which contain immature eggs, an average women’s body can create anywhere between 5-20 follicles in one month. The hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) is cruising through the body trying to mature some of those immature eggs, cmon eggs, grow up. Only the healthiest of the immature follicles will create a mature egg, this mature egg is the only egg that can result in pregnancy. The body is usually in this phase for about 14 to 16-days.
  • The ovulation phase: Boom, that mature egg decides to ditch the follicle and slides down the fallopian tube where it waits between 12 to 24 hours to be fertilized…it requires the male counterpart to complete the deed. Ovulation cannot occur until the follicular phase is complete, therefore that egg drops around CD14-CD16.
  • The luteal phase: Once the egg drops from the follicle, the follicle is left behind and the follicle sac closes up and starts creating hormones- it is no longer called a follicle, it’s called a corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is responsible for producing estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are essential in making the uterine lining thick so the fertilized egg (embryo) can implant and a healthy pregnancy can occur. *Side note: Women undergoing fertility treatments get prescribed mega doses of estrogen and progesterone because the act of fertility treatments often times interrupts the natural luteal phase and the corpus luteum can’t do it’s given duty* If a woman gets pregnant, she won’t get her period, the estrogen and progesterone levels will remain higher and the uterine lining doesn’t need to shed. If there is no pregnancy, the corpus luteum shrinks, the hormones decrease, and the bleeding will begin, restarting at CD1.

The cycle days are very important, it’s what us infertile people study like a textbook. Without these phases, there is no pregnancy and there is no period.

Anyways, my period came 2 days after stopping birth control, not in the expected 3-5 day window that my entire cycle frozen embryo transfer was based upon. UGH STUPID BODY.

Some might not see this as a big deal, but I know that from my 5 years of infertility research that cycle days and hormone levels are incredible important. It didn’t even register in my brain until November 14th when I was set to start my estrogen pills and noticed that my FET protocol sheet has November 14th listed as CD1…when I was already on CD4. ☹

I posted my situation to my support board asking others if anyone started taking the estrogen on their CD4 instead of CD1… all the responses were that I should have started the medication at the start of my period on November 11th… shiiiiittttttttt.

I cried, I swore, I drank nearly an entire bottle of wine. I thought everything was screwed.

Since I’m incredibly dramatic and think I know everything, I emailed my coordinator to let her know I messed up my entire cycle by getting my period 3 days early. I received a nonchalant email back the Thursday morning that said:

Dear Tessa,
Your embryo transfer is schedule on Monday 3rd December.
We will be in touch with the check ultrasound.
Have a lovely day

She clearly didn’t interpret my desperation in my first email… so I sent her a more detailed explanation of my concerns Thursday night because it still didn’t make sense to me:

Hey Michaela, I’m sorry to bug you again, but I need reassurance from Dr. Hana regarding my upcoming FET. I’m extremely concerned that I started my period on November 11th and that technically this would be considered cycle day 1. My protocol has cycle day 1 listed as November 14th, which is technically CD4 because my period started 3 days prior to that…therefore my transfer that is scheduled for December 3rd would be cycle day 23. I’m worried this is too late by a day or two. 
Can Dr. Hana please explain to me why CD1 starts on November 14th even tho my period started on November 11th, I need the clarification on how this is measured and viewed. 
My usual cycle is 28days… transferring on CD23 seems late.. 
Has she had others that transferred on CD23? 
I’d like some clarification on why CD1 wouldn’t be the date my period started.
Thank you

I received the following response from her on Friday morning:

Don’t worry Tessa,
Dr Hana told me that it’s ok.
But if you affraid and you will not be relax we can do the transfer before. 

By Friday I just had to laugh about this email, not a single question answered and since our flights were booked, there was no going back now. I can only trust.…luckily by Friday morning my self-created insanity had dwindled, and I realized I was acting crazy, whatever happens here is completely out of my control. This is hard to accept when you’re a control freak like I am. After all, these doctors know what they are doing…they are a world-renowned fertility clinic and I’m just a panicky-scared woman who has never done a FET in her life so what do I know???

I sent her back an email that said:

Thank you Michaela, I needed you to tell me that. I think it’s the hormones. I’ll let you know how my scan goes on November 26th.

She definitely thinks I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs…  At this point, I just need to accept that I kinda am. Whatever.

In other news, we are starting to get super-duper excited for our trip! I’ve had a lot of people ask how long we are staying and if we get to explore while we are there. Of course we do, that’s about the only silver lining to this whole shitty ordeal!!

We get to spend a few days in Vienna, Brno and Prague. We’ve never been to any of these cities so if you’ve been- please shoot me a message with your recommendations and must-sees (and eats, I love food).  I realized I hadn’t mentioned yet that my in-laws are coming with us, both for moral support and to see these two beautiful countries that have been on their bucket lists. We are super excited to have them as a welcomed distraction and to explore with us!

If this FET works, I would likely have a positive pregnancy test when we get home on December 9th since I would be 6dpt (6 days post transfer)…We haven’t decided when we are going to test yet but I’m fairly certain the anticipation would drive me nuts…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh it’s almost here!!

Xo,

Tessa

PS. Don’t forget to send us your fav’s if you’ve been to Vienna/Prague/Brno!!

Uter