He’s Here!!!! Welcome Milo Christopher Shoob

Hospital babyOK, the blog is the last place to be updated and most everyone knows of Milo’s existence at this point but hey, being a new parent is really busy so we are just getting to this.

OK Lets start off with the stats!

  • Name – Milo Christopher Shoob
  • Weight – 8.5 lbs
  • Height – 21 inches
  • Born 5-30-18 at 1:30pm
  • Total labor time 18.5 hours
  • Born at Kaiser Permanente on Sunset Blvd

Now the quick(ish) story of how he came into the world. We will be doing a longer form post about our crazy labor experience and hospital time later.

Leading up to the birth we were thinking that Milo would be coming early because Nicole was getting so big, but none the less his expected birth date came and went and we started just waiting and waiting and waiting. After the expected birth date I took off work so I could be closer for when it was go time. This was super helpful as it let me get a lot of little things done around the house before Milo showed up. Finally when Milo was 5 days late I convinced Nicole to come down the hill to run errands with me just in case she went into labor. We ran a bunch of errands and got Impossible Burgers at Golden Road. No signs of labor and we went back up the hill.

About 6:30 Nicole mentioned that she wasn’t feeling so good and we thought it was perhaps too much junk food at the bar. But no, it was the start of labor and by 8pm we  counting contractions. We were really nervous about the timing of everything because we are so far from the hospital. So when contractions were 5 minutes apart we headed down the hill. It was midnight at this point. We got to the hospital a little after 1am and they said congratulations, you are in labor! Now, even if you are in labor that doesn’t mean they will admit you. You have to be dilated to 6cm normally (10cm is big enough to get a baby out) before you are admitted. Despite contractions being constant at this point Nicole was only dilated to 1cm so they almost sent us home. Luckily (?) her blood pressure was a little high so they had us just hangout in the triage room till around 3am and then they were able to get us admitted.

The next few hours all blended together and it was a lot of pain and a lot of ice in tied up in medical gloves. I have no idea why they couldn’t give us a bag of some sort. Nicole was amazing and she pushed through the pain all morning. Milo was being monitored throughout the morning and occasionally his heart rate would drop and Nicole had to change positions, but at 10:30am all hell broke loose.

Our doctor ended her shift and a new OB came in an no sooner than she walk in the room than Milo’s heart rate take a dive. The doc starts freaking out and soon we are surrounded by nurses. Everyone is shouting and Nicole is given a shot to ease the contractions. This is supposed to allow Milo a little recovery time between contractions so it doesn’t stress his heart as much. In all the commotion, Nicole’s mom Patty arrived at the hospital. We were very happy to see her and it was great to have a second person in the room. With the new meds and Patty there we thought we would get to relax a little.

Labor continued for the next few hours and it was more of the same. Nicole was in a lot of pain. She is an amazing and super strong woman. Just watching what she was going through made me want an epidural. The shit hit the fan again a little after 1pm. Milo’s heart rate dipped again and the nurses and doctor again rushed the room. This time they were more worried as it had been more time that the heart rate had dipped. They again called for a shot to slow the contractions but this time it didn’t work right away. We were given a hard choice. Emergency C-Section or keep going knowing it was a risk to Milo. This was not what we wanted and was one of the saddest decisions we had to make (also the fastest). We went with the C-Section.

Things went really crazy from there. A Benny Hill esc. group of nurses whisked her bed down the hall to the operating room only crashing into one wall along the way. I was given a set of scrubs to wear, though they were totally unnecessary it turns out. And Patty was left to move all our stuff from the labor room to the post opp room. As soon as I got the scrubs on I was blocked from the operating room. Because of the emergency nature of this and the fact they had to totally knock Nicole out, I was not allowed in the operating room. I was told to wait in a chair in the hall outside the room. Sitting patently in a chair while someone cuts Nicole in half to scoop out our baby is not a real option. So I stood in the hall and watched as much as I could through the little port hole window in the operating room door.

After what seems like an eternity I hear a baby cry, then a thumbs up from the doctor, then eventually a nurse steps out and lets me know Milo is ok and they are going to start putting Nicole back together. It turns out that Milo had the cord wrapped around his legs and that was causing his heart rate to fluctuate. The nurse that had been with us in the morning came into the hall then to check on things. She had been at lunch when we got rushed to the operating room. She was mad for us and knew that this was not the birth we wanted. She asked if there was anything she could do, and I asked her to go in the operating room to be with Milo. Once he was out and checked that he was ok, he was kinda ignored while Nicole got stitched up. She went in and was with him for a while, but then came out and said they were finishing up in the operating room and directed me to the recovery room.

Milo came to the recovery room first. He was so cute and so sleepy. I got to watch as they put him though all his newborn test and took his measurements. Once the test were over I held him and watched as Nicole was wheeled into the room. She was knocked out. The nurses were trying to take her temperature and she kept rolling away from them. Eventually we were left alone and I held Milo for a few hours till Nicole woke up.

The Anesthesiologist, came in to check on Nicole and told me that the surgery went well. He was really nice and told me what went on in the operating room. He stayed and chatted for a bit and then said he would be back when Nicole starts to wake up. Eventually the OB came in and told me the same thing that everyone else had said. I was so mad at her and still am. But Milo is out and Nicole is recovering well so I suppose I shouldn’t be too pissed.

Finally Nicole woke up and got to hold Milo. We were all so happy. Nicole’s Mom Patty, and her husband Keith even got to come in at that point and see Milo and Nicole. Once Nicole was awake for a bit, the Anesthesiologist came back and gave her the OK to be moved into the post-delivery rooms. Patty and Keith had taken off to go get some rest and we had all of our bags from the delivery room (plus a cooler with a Placenta) so we we’re sure how we were going to move everything to the room. But one helpful nurse to the rescue; we piled the bags on the Nicole’s hospital bed, Nicole held Milo, and I grabbed the cooler and backpack. With all our stuff, we were off. And even with just one nurse pushing a huge bed, we were able to avoid crashing into a wall.

The next two days were all a bit of a blur. Nurses, family, and friends were in and out of our room. My parents came down to visit, Nicole’s mom came back, and we had a bunch of friends stop by. It was really wonderful to be around everyone. Not so wonderful was sleeping in a chair, but hey, at least I didn’t get cut in half. After a day Nicole was cleared to eat solid foods again and we immediately used Postmates to order Doomies. Vegan Fired Chicken delivered straight to the room! During this time Milo just slept, he would wake up to nurse but then go right back to sleep. Every so often a doctor or nurse would come in to check something on him and they would have to wake him up. But luckily, he always went right back to bed. In all the inspections, Milo was looking good. The only thing that may have or may not have been an issue was a very minor tongue tie. The pediatrician and Lactation consultant were at odds on whether it needed to be snipped at all. Eventually we sided with the lactation consultant, mostly because she was a sassy British lady who was concerned of future ice cream cone eating.

Finally, 48 hours after delivery we were released from the hospital. I put the car in the loading zone. Nicole and Milo got wheeled downstairs. A wonderful nurse, strapped Milo into the car seat and we were off. A little family headed home for the first time ever.

 

Raising Rural Babies

Lake Hughes House

Hi everyone. Sorry for the lack of post but to be honest there pregnancy is going very smooth (keeps crossing fingers). and there hasn’t been a ton to mention till today. About a month ago we decided to, on Nicole’s whim, take a trip to Lake Hughes and check out some houses. With our baby on the way we really wanted to have a place of our own and Lake Hughes is one of the only areas of southern California where it is possible for us to afford a house.

Lake Hughes for the uninitiated is in the high desert about 30 minutes northwest of Santa Clarita (aka. Magic Mountain). Its far away and close, all at the same time. As an example, from our place in Pasadena, it takes 90min-2 hours to get to the beach. From Hake Hughes, the same 90min-2 hours. Overall for most of the day to day driving we just add another 30-40 minutes to our Pasadena commutes. The big difference is that there will be less shopping and restaurants directly in our neighborhood. But as a wise man named Jetfuel said, “we still get Amazon Prime”.

Now with the added commute time, it is a bit further to get to work, but we are making changes in that for the baby anyway. Luckily Nicole gets a good amount of time off for maternity leave. During this time, she won’t be driving to work anyway so I’m the only one commuting. Once Nicole has to go back though we plan to phase out my drive and I’ll be telecommuting part of the time. This should allow us to avoid daycare and keep it so we aren’t both driving down the mountain everyday.

Now, that we have a plan for one of us to always be home with the baby we can start the fun part of Raising a Rural Baby!

Nicole and I have lots of dreams for what our new place and rural living will allow us to do. Many of them we really wanted for our baby. Check them out below:

  1. Having a yard
  2. Raise some chickens!
  3. Grow some of our own food.
  4. Have a place we can say is ours.
  5. Eventually be debt free
  6. Have a “big” dog
  7. Be in an area that is a real community

These are just some of the things we really wanted for us and for our baby, but in my 20 minutes of googling I found some other great info on raising rural kids I’m excited to share. Check out some of post below:

Modern Homesteading – 5 Reasons homesteading may be right for your family

The Stir – Reasons to Raise Country Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S A BOY!!!

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We got great news the other night. At our 20 week anatomical survey they were able to tell us that our little baby is a boy! It was just the imaging technician working so there will be a doctor that follows up after they review all the scans. But as far as Nicole and I can tell he looks just like a baby. It was so cool to be able to see little hands and feet. Right now the estimated weight is 12 oz so about the size of a bag of coffee.

Now to come up with a name. Write in a suggestion below if you have one!

Announcement Update! Better late than never.

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The waiting is finally over and we can now say that Nicole is pregnant. We got a little screwed up and are posting this to the blog late. We had no idea how crazy our lives would get in the last few weeks. With the Announcement, Thanksgiving and the start of all the other Holiday things life was pretty slammed. Which is nuts because anyone with kids keeps telling up that it only gets busier. Hopefully we will be keeping up with the blog a little better even if the kid is keep up us busy. Be prepared to read some nonsense if I’m using speech-to-text during during some late night feedings.

Waiting

Waiting

Photo by Carol VanHook

 

There sure is a lot of waiting around in this process. While you fine folks may be waiting for our next blog post to see whats been going on,  the reality is that there is just lots of waiting. And what does one do while waiting? Much like getting drunk and talking about how drunk you are. Waiting is the same way. So lets just look back at all the waiting we’ve done.

  • October 2014- After an our friends amazing wedding Nicole threw her birth control away in the trash can in front of Gordon Biersch. This marked the start of our journey.
  • 6 Months- That’s how much old fashioned trying they tell you to do before you consult a doctor
  • 2 Months – Time from when we called the doctor to when we actually got an appointment
  • 60ish Days- That was about how long it took us to do all the test and get a diagnoses
  • 2 months- Whether we did timed intercourse (so sexy) or an IUI it took 2 months between before we could get results and try again.
  • February of 2017 – We decided to see about becoming foster parents. This was an exciting idea. We were to be the first class of 2017. The foster care system (now called Resource Parents) had just been overhauled and the new system has 90 day approvals!
  • 90 days goes right on by and we are waiting on our social worker
  • 2 months – Ninja Takes hold! We were so excited to be pregnant! but alas it didn’t pan out.
  • 2 Months – Another 2 month wait before we could get started trying again.
  • More timed intercourse with new trigger drugs
  • We heard back from our Social Worker, “we are almost approved”. Just keep waiting.
  • 4 Months- IVF! – Waiting for a new cycle, 1 month of birth control, 1 month of Egg drugs, 1 week of growing embryos in the lab,  6 weeks of frozen embryos, 2 weeks of transfer prep.
  • Transfer Time – The embryos have been transferred back to Nicole. And now we wait again.

So all in all we are at just over 2 years of trying and waiting. Hopefully at the end of all this waiting there will be one heck of an announcement.

Egg Retrieval!!!!!

I forgot to mention in the last post, during the injections I had to go into the Dr’s office every other morning at 6:30 to be monitored. They checked to see how I responded to the medications. I started them all June 23rd and by the middle of the next week there was some concern that I could “do better” meaning my follicle production wasn’t as bountiful as it had been in the past. The thing with my PCOS is that it’s hit or miss. When Dr. Dhesi asked me if I wanted to cancel this cycle and start again next month I said no. Sad to say, a major concern for me was that I had already injected about $1500 worth of medicine that wasn’t paid for by insurance. I took a leap of faith and hoped that my body was just slow to respond. We continued and by Friday 6/30 I had 17 follicles that were bigger than 10mm. We were good to schedule the retrieval for July 5th! It was perfect because I had already requested the 5th to the 10th off for Maria and Matt’s Wedding!

On the 4th we went in for the pre-op info, blood work and my trigger injection! We left the office, got Donut Friend and went to our old neighbors 4th of July Breakfast. Then we did a Trader Joe’s run to make sure the house was stocked for the next few days and made sure the house was comfy and clean. Then went to Sara Bond’s 4th of July BBQ. We had to leave before the fireworks to make sure I got a good night’s rest, I imagined my follicles growing just a bit more if I got some good sleep! But it was great catching up with friends and relaxing before the big day!!

Also! Wouldn’t you know, as soon as all the IVF stuff was falling into place, we got a call from our social worker. She needed us to come to her office in Glendora on the 5th, so being the mainiacs we are, Nick and I thought “no problem”, I’ll go under around 7:30am, then after surgery we’ll get something to eat and go to the DCFS office. Or if I feel terrible we’ll cancel. That’s called concurrent planning folks!!

So sure enough we got to the Dr’s office around 6:30am. They took us took us to the OR waiting area and I changed into a hospital gown, booties and a hair cap thing. I emptied my bladder but then the gave me an IV to keep me hydrated so i had to go one more time before the surgery. Once I was in the actual OR they put me in the leg stirrups and I looked to check out the the little window to the embryologist lab. After Dr. Dhesi skillfully guides a loooooooooong needs through my vaginal wall and abdominal cavity into my plump ovaries, she’ll suck out the ripe eggs and pass them through the window for the embryologist to fertilize with Nick’s sperm. And then we’d have some Test Shoob Babies!

Before I knew it, the anesthesiologist had hooked me up to the propofol and it was lights out! I woke up with a post-it on my gown that said 15! That’s the number of eggs that were successfully retrieved! I felt so well rested, like I had slept all night. All the nurses were so incredible and sweet. After monitoring me and helping me to pee one more time, they said we could leave. We asked if we could go do normal stuff, they said yes, but I couldn’t drive and I shouldn’t make any major decisions bc of the anesthesia (hah!!) So we ran home and I changed into normal clothes (out of my sweats) since I wanted to make a good impression with our social worker. We had some time to get a bite so we went to Lavender and Honey and got coffee (I could have coffee!!!) and avocado toast (the possibility that we’ll need to save for 15 college educations hadn’t sunk in yet!). Soon after that we were on our way to Glendora, we shouldn’t have been surprised when our lady was late. We asked the receptionist to call her when it was past a reasonable amount of time. They had no idea who she was and I ended up calling the # I had for her. She said she’s was almost there, I guess this wasn’t her normal office. Anyway she finally showed up, rushed us off to a room and frantically thumbed through the pages of our file checking things off. She said we’re “mostly done” and that she’d come to do the final home inspection July 19th. We were OK with that, all we needed was a trip to IKEA for the items we had been waiting to get until we had an inspection date. We were almost done painting the crib Nick’s mom gave us!

On 7/6 we got our first update about the embryos! 12 were doing ok! One was was being watched and 1 didn’t survive.

7/10 we were told we had 4 blastocysts that were biopsied and they were watching the remaining 4 embryos to biopsy hopefully the next day.

7/11 – only 2 of the 4 made it to biopsy so we had 6 total!!!

The biopsied cells were sent off to Progenesis and about a week later we got the results that 3 were normal.

So to recap:

15 mature oocytes retrieved, all were injected (ICSI) with Nick’s sperm

12 fertilized

6 embryos biopsied / 3 were normal

So we have 3 that were frozen @ blastocysts stage that are PGS normal blastocysts

When Progenesis looks at the chromosomes to check for any abnormalities they also let us know the sex of the blastocysts!! We ended up with 1 boy and 2 girls!

After our crazy week we headed out to the Lake Arrowhead area and had a super fun weekend celebrating Maria and Matt’s wedding! It was really beautiful and awesome and since the kids we’re “away at camp” I was able to fully enjoy all the festivities, although I still had to dance carefully so I didn’t twist my enlarged ovaries. Maria was also so sweet to give me and Nick the bridal suite to sleep in. She knew what a wild ride the week had been for us! They had a cabin already but I still couldn’t get over the fancy room they gave us! <33

Our next step in the IVF process was to get my uterine lining to be as thick and nourishing as it could be for our little “Blasts” to land on and burrow into when we do the transfer. As soon as my cycle started I began estrogen pills, 2 oral and one vaginal every day.

We continued to prepare for the landing of a foster baby too… the baby room was all set! But on the day of our home visit the social worker called at the time of our appointment to cancel. She said I could just send her pictures?? I snapped photos of all the stuff we did: the furnished baby room with crib, dresser/changing table, we had a high chair, lil potty, car seat, playpen, tons of bottles and baby clothes (when you get a baby from DCFS they are usually removed from an unsafe situation quickly and have very few if any of their own belongings) Thanks to friends, family, craigslist and my employees discount we were all stocked up. Down to the safety latches on everything, locking medicine cabinet, lowered water heater temperature and kitchen knives on a magnetic strip well out of reach of a little one.

I went in for my next ultrasound and my lining was thin. It stayed that way unfortunately and even with a last stitch effort to add more estrogen via patches, we had to wait until the following month to see if my lining would get thicker for the transfer. I decided to use my time wisely and get more healthy. I started acupuncture because a lot of people say it helps with fertility. I felt it couldn’t hurt so I went in for a total of 4 sessions. I was advised by the practitioner to eat eggs. I told her I don’t do that, that I’d been vegan for 3 ½ years. She explained to me that eating cholesterol was beneficial in helping to get the hormones I was taking into my body and work better, so I decided that I would eat eggs for a short amount of time to improve the success of the IVF. I looked on craigslist for people in my neighborhood with pet chickens who sold eggs and I found Barbara. She is a mom to 2 cute kids, 6-7 chickens, a rooster and 2 sweet dogs! When I went to pick up the eggs she asked me if I wanted to meet the chickens, at the risk of being SOOOO Portlandia https://youtu.be/ErRHJlE4PGI, I said yes. They were very well cared for and seemed happy. I gave Barbara $4 for 4 very pretty eggs. Later when telling my dear friend Chevery Robert Dickens that I didn’t think I could say I was a vegan anymore, he replied “Sometimes you have to take a life to make a life” :/

When I went in for my check up, it was working!! The hikes, the eggs, the castor oil packs on my fupa, the acupuncture, the estrogen pills/patches and all the good vibes I’ve been getting from everyone since we started Test Shoob Babies were all helping. Nick and I were so excited to hear my lining was thick enough to proceed.

I started Progesterone shots. They are intramuscular injections that go in my buttox and they are quite literally a pain in my ass. Especially trying to do them myself at work. I am not very limber and they bleed a lot. But hey this is it. I have to stick to what needs to be done and hopefully get the result we want.

We had the embryo transfer scheduled for Sept 5th!!!! There was just one little thing…. When Nick and I spoke to Dr. Baker at our initial consultation she said they usually transfer 2 embryos, because it’s more successful. Even if you end up with just one embryo that sticks. But Nick and I had it in our heads that we’ll transfer 2 and obviously they’ll both survive and we’ll have adorable boy/girl twins! Later when I spoke with Dr. Dhesi about the transfer she said we should really just do one since we had the Preimplantation Genetic Screening and that we would have a really good chance of conceiving if we transfer just 1. But when I told her how much Nick and I wanted to transfer 2 she spoke with Dr. Baker again and they said it would be OK!!!

That was it. Everything was set. Next up we transfer 2 of the embryos back to me and hope they like it and want to stay!!!

Hit me with your best shot!

After our consultation and our carrier map results we did a final IUI since we didn’t have a Letter of Authorization for IVF treatment yet, just for the consultation. This time we didn’t have sex as many times as possible after the IUI like usual and I immediately felt bad about it. I committed my BFF’s Palm Springs Bachelorette party. I wanted to get on the road before traffic got bad so she and I headed out early afternoon. Before we left Nick and I gave it one more go. I should mention this round I was on Menopur injections which weren’t too bad. But on June 1st I got the negative test result. It was sad but sort of expected, by this time I had a list of things I determined I’d done wrong (not enough sleep, didn’t eat healthy, or cut out caffein, too stressed etc.)

Our plan now, was to wait for the letter and when we got back from the Alaska cruise we’d start. I promised myself I wouldn’t mess anything up. On June 4th I started my period and since we weren’t leaving for the cruise until the 7th I asked if we could begin birth control, that’s the first part of the IFV treatment. The Dr. agreed it would be OK to start after looking at my bloodwork and U/S. I think my body was exhausted. The first days on the cruise I got sick. It could have been something I picked up on the boat but I think I might have just been beat. I slept a lot since we had some days at sea and by the time we’re got to Ketchikan I was feeling better. I took my pills and enjoyed the crisp cool air and the fine mist that was constantly falling on us.The natural beauty of Alaska was exactly what we needed! On the 20th I was off the birth control and we met again with the fertility office staff to sign the HUGE stack of consent forms that we had read through on our drive back from SF. I also got the schedule drugs I’d be taking.

There was another test I needed to do before they could begin everything. They put a lot of saline in my uterus to check the surface of the lining and make sure it’s suitable for the IVF transfer. The Dr. who performed it was Dr. Dhesi. She was introduced to me by Dr. Baker and she ended up taking over our treatment. I really love Dr. Baker, but Dr. Dhesi was great and I have come to love her as much as Dr. Baker. She is very calm and smart and patient and just an all around sweet lady. The test went fine and we were good to continue.

On the 2nd day of my cycle I began injections. I had been watching videos online bc this was very intimidating. The biggest difference between this and the injections I had done already was that I had to mix the medicine myself. One of the videos I found very helpful was made by a couple who are doing IVF, they’re super cute and I still watch all their videos, but the thing that won me over is that Alex (the lady doing the injections in the video), is that she’s a nurse and she was very clear and calm and did her shots like a pro! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BSGmgfNX6FE So watch that, then you can compare and contrast what a hot mess I was when doing my first injections!

The night I started my injections I had an early shift at work and then we went to go visit Nick’s cousin Frank who was at Cedars Sinai for a very serious procedure. Nick hadn’t seen Frank or his sister in such a long time so we wanted to pop in and show them some love. Frank was very hungry, hospital food wasn’t cutting it for him. He REALLY wanted PIZZA!!!!!!!! But he couldn’t have any bc there was too much of a risk if he ate solid foods. We made every attempt to change the subject but somehow it always came back to food :((( poor guy! Nick’s cousin Theresa decided we should give Frank and his wife Kathy some alone time so we went off and ate and caught up with her. She is a very sweet lady and she loves us based mostly on our Facebook relationship, lol but she is awesome and we totally adore her too!!! By the time we got home it was a later than I had anticipated and I was more tired than I had anticipated. I laid out the vials of medicine and the syringes. I had to withdraw 1ml of saline and inject it into one vial of menopur, mix it carefully then withdraw it from the vial and then inject it into another vial of menopur then change the needle and inject it in me. Then I had to mix saline with Gonal-F and withdraw 150 units. I didn’t have a system at this point and I wasn’t used to seeing what the medicine looked like in the vial vs. the syringe and right after I did the injections I had a SERIOUS freak out. SHEER PANIC. I looked at the Gonal-F vial and it looked so empty I was confused, and thought I took way too much!!!! Nick was trying to help me figure out what I did wrong but I got mad and closed the bathroom door so that I could have a minute to retrace what I had done and figure it out. THIS made him more upset and we both agreed that it was a horrible experience. I wasn’t truly put at ease until the next night when I did the Gonal-F and saw that I had more than enough left (1 vial got me 3-4 doses). Anyhoo. The next night went a lot smoother and the following night even better. Nick attempted to record the first session but it came to a screeching halt with my freak out.

It wasn’t til I had been doing the injections for a while that I was comfortable enough to have Nick record. I had done them at work in the Lactation Room which was a little weird, but nothing compares to sitting in the back seat of my little Suzuki with untinted windows in the dimly lit parking lot of King Hua Restaurant during the reception for our friend’s John and Maura’s wedding! I was certain someone would see and call the cops bc it looked like I was doing drugs!!!! And I was… with my dress pulled up to my chest exposing my bruised belly. So awkward.

Later that week we did the final shots, including the trigger shot!! Up next was the egg retrieval we had long awaited!

Testing the Genes

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DNA by Micah Baldwin

 

One of the most fascinating parts of the IVF process is all of the genetic testing that we did. There are many types of genetic testing that couples can do, your doctor will recommend what one is right for you. For Nicole and I, we went with a Carrier Map test of our genes, as well as a pre-implantation genetic testing. In that test they actually remove a single cell from the embryo and have it tested before it’s implanted back into Nicole.

The Carrier Map test was super simple. We each had a bit of blood drawn and then our doctor sent it off to Recombine for genetic analysis. While at Recombine, our DNA was checked to see if we held and genes for hereditary diseases. The majority of hereditary diseases are recessive, meaning that both parents would need to be a carrier of the gene for it to be expressed in the child. Think of it like having red hair.

The genes our DNA was screened for were based off of our nationality and family history. In total I was screened for 289 diseases and Nicole was screened for 314. We were warned that with this amount of screening there is always something that they find. The important thing is that we do not have the same gene issue. If only one of us is a carrier there our child could be a carrier but not affected by the disease.

Our results! We were contacted be Recombine once our results were ready and set up a 7am conference call to go over everything. On the call a wonderful woman named Sheila gave us the results and told us all about what we were carriers for. In total were carriers for 6 diseases. However, the great news was that none of them overlapped so we didn’t need to worry about our future kids. Sheila also asked follow-up questions about our family history so that she could write up a report that went so far as to break down the percentage of passing anything down to our kids. All in all the results were great and our risk of passing anything down is very low. The specific things they found were:

Nick- carrier for; Biotinidase Deficiency, Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation, Glycogen Storage Disease: Type VII, and Hereditary Fructose Intolerance.

Nicole- carrier for; Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease, Gaucher Disease

It was awesome to hear what things we were carriers for and what they did. For the most part mine had to do with my body breaking down sugar. This is interesting because my dad hates fruit, but in reality it’s a personal preference and not actually affected by the genes, though I still think it’s funny. For Nicole, it was fun to learn that she may be an Ashkenazi Jew because she carries the Gaucher Disease gene. But she is more convinced that I just like saying the word Ashkenazi.

Because we are not carriers for the same diseases we did not need to have our embryos tested for a specific gene, but we still did pre-implantation genetic testing. They removed a single cell from the embryo and checked its genetic structure to make sure there was nothing awry. All in all the results were great. Stay tuned for future post about the results as well as chromosome testing and the sex of our embryos!

First IVF consultation

May 1st we had our first consultation for IVF! Our appointment was downtown-ish (Wilshre/Lucas) at 2:30pm. Being an Angeleno I am well aware that ain’t no way we’re getting anywhere near MacArthur Park after 12pm. It was May Day and this year we have many reason to march. So Nick and I left work early, we got to the office around 11am and saw the streets being blocked off behind us as we drove up. We parked in the parking structure and walked up Wilshire to check things out. The businesses we ‘re mostly closed, but a fast/casual Japanese restaurant right across from the office was open so we grabbed lunch at one of the tables facing the street. The march began and we cheered for the people as they passed. I got a call from the office warning me I might have a hard time getting in, but I told them we had it under control and walked right over 30 min before our appt time.

Dr. Baker, our doctor at Kaiser, is also a doctor for USC Fertility. I can’t exactly explain how the whole relationship between the two offices works, but I think because Kaiser doesn’t do IVF, they refer patients to USC. Some of the procedures are still done at Kaiser though… so it’s kind of confusing.

Dr. Baker sat down with us and explained roughly how the process works.

1. start cycle.

2. come in for ultrasound

3. go on birth control for 2.5-3 weeks to supres my ovaries/ follicle development

4. approx 4 days off BC

5. begin injections of follicle stimulating hormones 10-12 days

6. monitoring every other morning (for hormone levels and ultrasound and follicle growth.) (6:30am!!)

7. possible antagonist med. to prevent OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome)

8. possible modification of trigger shot (Lupron Trigger)

9. egg retrieval (surgery to remove eggs. Hopefully 20-25 are retrieved)

10. sperms are selected one by one and injected into the eggs (ICSE)

11. embryos grow in the lab

12. day 5(ish) of embryo growth healthy blastocysts are biopsied for genetic testing

13. all embryos are frozen.

14. wait for next cycle to begin

15. ultrasound check up

16. begin estrogen

17. come in for monitoring of the uterine lining

18. approx 19th day of cycle transfer healthy embryo(s) to the uterus

19. progesterone support

20. wait!

We liked the idea of having the embryos tested for genetic abnormalities. The reason we was given for Ninja not surviving is that it was likely due to genetic abnormalities. So the potential to have this risk minimized was very appealing to me. Also THIS is crazy!!!! A living being can be created/ poked and have 1/10th of it’s “body” removed to be tested then the rest of it frozen and then put back in me and SURVIVE??? So someday when our kid is old enough we can explain that they were frozen for a while before they were actually growing into the person they are?? Also when the embryo is frozen, the shell of the egg changes and in order to help with implantation the lab will do what is called assisted hatching, where a small hole is made in the “shell” to help it get out.

Anyway, then we went over to another room and met with our superstar nurse lady Sarah. She is ON IT! She gave us the rundown about the medication and how it will be received and ordered and how to contact her. Basically anytime for anything. She knew what to order from where to get the best prices, too which I totally appreciate!!!

Then to the financial lady. This woman. I don’t know how she ended up in this office. Everyone else is very competent and professional. But man. She is kinda frumpy and not super on it. She ran down all the #’s for us and at then end I was all…. does this account for what is covered by my insurance… she insisted my insurance didn’t cover this. I referred her to the page I gave her that was my authorization letter it had a giant bright pink post it that said “DO NOT LOSE” then she said “oh, yeah, no, I didn’t know…. ” So she said she’d get back to us with updated numbers in a day or so. A day or so came and went. Finally after a week I think she sent us some chicken scratch thing. I swear. I’ve worked in a job where people are dropping 15-20k and If you make their paper work look a little pretty, if not at least legible, it instils a little more confidence that you know what the hell you’re talking about. But I also know that when people act bitchy to me I don’t want to help them, so I will treat this bumbling human kindly and hopefully she gets it together– by some miracle.

Finally Nick and got our blood drawn for OUR genetic screening!!!! We’re had to make sure we weren’t both carriers for anything. We are totally into this!