day 3.

This morning the embryologist called at 9:53.

He explained to me that on the third day they like to see the embryos dividing into 7-9 cells, with 8 cells being “perfect”. He said that our embryos have little to no fragmentation which is a very good thing as well.

We have 6 embryos that are in the 7-9 cell range, and we have 1 embryo that is a little behind at 6 cells. The embryologist did tell me that there is a very good chance that 6 cell embryo could catch up though. He even said “I could go check on it after we get off the phone and it could be in the 7-9 cell range”.

Hell yes. I just cannot believe it! 



Here is a chart to show you the stages of Embryo development along with a description of what should be happening.  

I truly credit some of this success to the book “It starts with the egg” by Rebecca Fett. She discusses specific studies that have been done for Diminished Ovarian Reserve women; She then gives you a suggested list of supplements and vitamins to take (all with the approval of your doctor, obviously). I seriously think that all of those have made a huge impact on my embryo quality (also, the fact that we have no Male factor infertility issues what so ever helps a lot).

I started taking the following supplements 4 months before our cycle:

  • 600 mg CoQ10 Ubiquniol
  • 75 mg micronized DHEA
  • Prenatal + DHA
  • 81 mg baby aspirin
  • 400 mcg Folic Acid
  • 500 mg Vitamin C
  • 2000 IU Vitamin D3
  • 3,000 mg Acai berry extract

In the book the author states that DHEA is supposed to do wonders for women with DOR. I spoke with my RE and he had never really read any studies about it, but agreed to let me take it as long as I kept him updated on if I stopped or whatever. I’m pretty sure if this cycle yields ALL good quality embryos, I’m going to buy him the book as a gift 🙂

Now, there is a chance that the eggs all fertilized because we chose to do ICSI instead of regular IVF fertilization.  ICSI is a process where one single good quality sperm is injected into the egg (see below). This is always done for people choosing to do PGS testing (click the link to learn more about PGS testing), and often used when you have Male Factor Infertility as well.


From here, we wait until they call me on Tuesday morning. The embryologist said he would call me before 9 am, just incase we needed to come in for a transfer later that afternoon.

He told me that he recommends that we push to day 5 even if we decided to do a fresh transfer instead of freezing them and transferring in July. I’m really happy that he seems to think they are all good quality; What a great feeling for us! I guess we will see what happens on Tuesday when he calls. If we are looking at only 1-3 being good quality and growing normally, I think we may look at transferring fresh, but if they look good we are going forward with the day 5+6 biopsies. The PGS testing results should take about a week to get back.


There is a saying that goes ” You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”.  I kind of hate it a little bit; It always struck me as insensitive in a way? I don’t know if that is even the right word, and let me explain why.

These people didn’t want to have to be “this strong“. They literally were dealt a shitty hand and had to deal with it. When someone dies, majority of the time the person who loses said loved one has no other choice than to go on. Sure, you could lock yourself in your house, become a hermit, take drugs, drink yourself to death etc etc, but sometimes you know that’s not possible even though every fiber of your being wants it to be. It applies to anything, really. But it always comes back to the fact that this person is being put into a shitty situation then the worst thing happens. You didn’t ask for the worst thing to happen – it just does. So that’s why you have to be strong. No one asked you for your fucking opinion, life just decided it wanted to fuck you.

Today at Therapy we were discussing moving forward with IVF and all things involved. My therapist is constantly amazed at the information that Shane and I have regarding all things TTC. She tells us that she knows we have done our homework on the subject, and that she’s happy Dr.J listens to us when we have a concern/suggestion about a protocol. She also always makes it a point to tell us that we are “so strong”, or “brave” for moving forward with IVF. I appreciate her sentiment obviously, but I am secretly rolling my eyes at it.

I didn’t have a choice. My daughter was stolen from me, without any warning, and what else am I supposed to do? I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel brave.

How do I feel? Angry. Sad. Like I was failed by modern medicine and doctors.

I definitely don’t feel strong or brave when I think about doing IVF. I feel pissed. I am so beyond frustrated that this is where my life has led me. I’m obviously thankful that we can afford to do this, and that my husband is on board, but sometimes I just step back and think “really?“.  It does not make me brave to do IVF after the loss of my child; if I want to continue to grow my family what other choice do I have? The answer is none, because I was never given one. I’m not strong because I give myself shots every night, and go through countless doctors appointments and labs. I’m determined. 

I will not let this define me. I am forever changed by my daughters death, but that’s not the end of my story (or ultimately hers). I am a damn good mother, and I know that I will have more children. I will love them with every single piece of my soul just like I love Landon and Kenley.

The IVF stuff is not what makes me strong and brave. Loving Kenley, even though she is not here physically, that’s what makes me strong and brave.  Waking up every morning and functioning after the loss of my daughter is what makes me strong and brave.

Living every day since I heard she didn’t have a heartbeat is the strongest and most brave thing I have ever done and will ever do.

monitoring 4.

The last monitoring appointment – thank sweet baby Jesus.

I have been exhausted this past week; too much running around and not enough down time for myself. Not to mention all the shots, and dildo cams that I’ve been given over the past 9 days. Whatever, I can handle those things, what I can’t handle is not sleeping. I need sleep.

Last night Landon had one of his weird coughing attacks. We put him to bed around 8:30 and he started coughing almost immediately. After about 45 minutes of on and off coughing, I went in and gave him a puff of his inhaler. I hoped that it would fix the problem because it usually does – nope. He started coughing even harder, and yelled that he was going to throw up. So he ran to the bathroom, and I ran to meet him. He didn’t throw up, thank god, but he just kept hacking. I finally got him calmed down, and he fell back asleep for about an hour. Around 11:30 we were just getting ready to go to bed and he started again.

He ran to the bathroom, saying he was going to throw up again, and sat there, half asleep, spitting into the toilet. My poor little dude. After a few minutes I calmed him down again, and decided that we were going to put him in a hot shower to break up whatever was going on in his chest. Into my shower he went. He sat there with the warm water running over him, letting the steam do wonders. About 12:30 he said he was ready to get out of the shower. I got him out, and got him dressed in his PJ’s. (Side note – Shane had to be up for work at 4:15, and was up with us until about this time.)

I put Landon back to bed, and rubbed his head for a few minutes to calm him down. He fell asleep pretty quickly, but the minute I got into bed he started coughing again. I got my bathrobe on and went to make sure he was okay. I just decided to sleep on the couch so Shane didn’t have to hear Landon hacking on the monitor when he had to be up for work in like 4 hours.  1:30 rolls around, and Landon stops coughing…finally. I must have passed out because I woke up at 3:45 and walked back into bed…only to have Shane’s alarm go off at 4:15. Ugh.

I don’t even remember him leaving, but I do remember telling him (as he kissed me good-bye) to be “Ninja quiet” because if he woke Landon up I was going to kill him 🙂

Then, my alarm went off at 6:30.


Pretty sure I’ve never wanted to sleep in more than I did this morning.

I dropped Landon off at my Mother in Laws, and I drove to the RE. Shane met me there (he’s amazing btw, have I told you that?) and we walked in together. The receptionist asked if I knew what time my appointment was (uh yes?). I said 9 am. Well, turns out they scheduled me for the wrong f’ing clinic. You’re right receptionist! – I do not want to drive to the Canton office, thank you. The receptionist is amazing though, so she took care of it, and got us right in. I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t have handled them rescheduling me. I may have lost my shit on everyone. It’s gonna happen one of these days, I’m telling you. Someone’s going to say the wrong thing at the perfect moment, and I’m going to fly off the handle.

When we got in the room, Dr.J came in and did his business. We had a ton of progress overnight! It’s like my ovaries decided to finally join the party. I’m pissed it took about $4k worth of medicine to make it happen, but thanks for showing up, guys. Dr.J always seems so surprised when something good happens for us; It kind of makes me laugh and makes me feel like shit at the same time. I always tell him jokingly to be positive, and he always replies “I’m being positive, but Randi, Science“. Which makes me laugh, because I totally agree with him, I’m just being overly optimistic because someone has to be, right?

My ovaries have: (excuse my scribble…I can’t math apparently)


So all of my follicles have grown, and some extras have popped up!  There are now 11 follicles of measurable size; my AFC for this cycle was only 13 to begin with. This means of those 13, 11 of them are responding to meds – I will freaking take that. My uterine lining is 10.5, and my Estrogen was 1259, up from 1037 yesterday. They had me take my final dose of Follistim, and Menopur this morning in office. Hopefully that and the trigger will push those 14’s + 15’s up around 17/18.

We are going to trigger tonight @ 10:45 and my egg retrieval is set for Thursday at 9:45am.

I can’t believe I’m here – for so many reasons. I shouldn’t be here, but I am. I should have my daughter in my arms, but I don’t. I should be watching a beautiful 6 month old girl roll around the floor instead I’m kissing her urn goodnight every night, feeling guilty for moving forward with my life. Today marks 24 weeks that she has been gone; Today in a pregnancy is viability. How ironic that it’s a day during my pregnancy that I felt so much relief, yet here I am 24 weeks out from her death and I feel so much grief, pain and anger?

How are those things fair?

Why is life so cruel?

How is a mother supposed to live her life without her child?

These are questions I will ask myself every day, I think. No matter what, things will never be right. I will always forever be missing my first daughter; my beautiful, perfect, sweet girl whom I tried so incredibly hard for. The daughter I did everything for.

My forever best friend.

I would breathe my last breath in a heartbeat if I could bring you back to your Daddy and Brother, my sweet girl.

I wish I could have saved you.




monitoring 3.

Today I had my third monitoring appointment; things looked A LOT better in there!

Saturday I had 4 follicles on each ovary; today I have 5 measurable ones on each ovary! Dr.J said I really “rallied” here at the end. I’ll take that.


The plan is for me to continue my Follistim (425) and Menopur (150) tonight like normal. Take my Ganirelix in the morning (to stop my body from ovulating by itself). I will take my left over Follistim and Menopur to my appointment tomorrow at 9 a.m.; I will have an Ultrasound and Blood work while I’m there. After we see how things look tomorrow morning, they will (more than likely) give me another dose of Follistim and Menopur, then draw my blood. After that I will go home, and Shane will give me my trigger shot (hcg) in the evening at the time the RE tells us. We will then do our Egg Retrieval on Thursday morning!

I can’t believe that things are actually looking good for us. It has been an extremely emotional last week for us, and I am S T R E S S E D. It’s so hard to not know what is happening with the cycle. I mean, you’re given this calendar at the beginning of the cycle so you have an “idea” of what to expect, but things can change at the drop of a hat.

I’m so so thrilled that things are looking ok for us. I mean, we’re not out of the woods yet obviously, and we know just because we get pregnant doesn’t mean we will have a take home baby – Unfortunately.

Speaking of Kenley, tomorrow will be 24 weeks . It has almost been six months. I can’t.  I can’t even begin to believe it. It makes me so incredibly sad; I don’t think my brain can make sense of it. I mean, I know she’s gone but it just hurts so much to think about it. When I start to think about it, I feel dizzy; I’m pretty sure it’s a defense mechanism, but still. I get hot, and feel the room spinning when I let my brain go to the dark places. I want to do something special for her tomorrow, but I’m sure I will just let myself down so I better not set any expectations. Maybe I will light a candle for her tomorrow evening? If you light one tomorrow, think of Kenley.

I know she’s gone and she will never be here with us. I wish I could just hold her again. See her beautiful face again. Run my hands over her face, and through her auburn hair. Oh baby girl, I miss you so incredibly much.

You’ve changed my life, and I will never be complete until we are together again.


monitoring 2.

Well, today looked better than Thursday.

My left ovary has been an over-achiever, and had the two lead follicles on Thursday. So, a recap of what we had on Thursdays’s scan was:

Right Ovary- 12, 10, 9 and the Left Ovary- 18, 17, 10

That shows the RE that my left ovary was being an asshole and hogged all the meds and those two follicles grew too fast. It wasn’t looking good on Thursdays scan.

Today, however, I had :

Right Ovary-15, 15, 13, 10 and Left Ovary- 22, 22, 12, 9

We had two smaller follies pop up into the good “range”. What Dr.J decided is that we are going to let the two 22mm follies “go”. We are going to focus on the other six and hope that they all get to where he is comfortable with them. I am going to continue my meds tonight, and Sunday night. I will go back on Monday @ 10:45am for another scan and blood work. I’m also still taking the shots to keep my body from ovulating on its own. I will take that shot tomorrow morning, and Monday morning as well. I had to call and have 2 more Ganirelix overnighted from Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.

Also, my uterine lining is 8.3 which is good. I’m starting to feel a little…hopeful? Cautiously optimistic? I’m not sure what it is yet.

Come on Ovaries…you can do it.


So, I guess we will see what things look like on Monday at my scan. There’s nothing I can do to change anything that is happening. It’s out of my hands now – Fuck yeah Science!


Also, because I know you’re wondering what an ovary with follicles on it looks like:

(No, this is not my ovary)




Last year at this time I was just a few weeks pregnant. My front flower beds always grew up with pricker bushes; mutant ones who don’t die when you spray them. I remember my mom busted her ass pulling them all out for me while I was in the bathroom puking. I let them all grow back because I was too sick the entire pregnancy to get out there and do anything to them. I had landscapers come in and quote me on redoing the front, and they ranged from 3-6k. Nope.

This summer, I spent almost every day outside in the early spring. I kept looking at my flower beds thinking that I needed to do something with them. So, one day, I did. I was just so sick of them looking like shit, and feeling bad about them. I weeded, laid landscaping fabric, sprayed the other weeds, etc. I went to the store and bought a ton of flowers and planned where they would go. After that was all done, Landon and I went to buy mulch with Shane’s truck. I mulched the entire flower bed, around the trees, and in front of the windows. I did 98% of this by myself.

Not trying to throw Shane under the bus or anything,  I just did it myself. I had to. In some weird way it was like I had control over something, finally. It was a lot of freakin hard work, and I pretty much wanted to quit every second. I remember starting and was clearing out in front of the windows, Kenley’s windows. I stood up and could see through the blinds to her closet. I saw her bright pink curtain, and the exersaucer my friend Caroline bought for her. It was like slow motion; I saw the stuff but didn’t really realize I saw it? It hurt – A lot.

I think part of me wanted to continue the landscaping every day so that I could be near her window; So I could have an excuse to look in if I felt like it. I love her room so much. Both windows in the front of the house are her windows. I go out every single morning and water my flowers, and look through her blinds. I hate how different my life is this June, in comparison to last June. It is so incredibly unfair.

I’m sitting here tonight, completely alone, watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Completely alone, no sweet baby inside of me like last June. Instead, just a bunch of follicles trying to help me achieve another child.

Landon is with my Mother in law tonight, and tomorrow morning is more IVF monitoring. I’m hoping for some sort of miracle at the scan, but I just don’t have any hope. I don’t know what will happen to this cycle, and I just need to know. I need to plan things out.

It’s so weird to think that my life is so much different then last year at this time, yet it’s almost completely the same. Looking in, everything is the same. Shane, Landon and I are all still here; Everything is the same. We just have a nursery that our dead child will never use. It’s a huge smack in the face.

It is like nothing has changed, but every single thing has. a24e4ee918c1ac347a4e8291df26f7c6



monitoring 1.

Last night, Landon stayed with my mother in law. Shane and I had our first monitoring appointment for this IVF cycle @ 9:15; our office is 40ish minutes from the house so it was easier that way for everyone.

When we got there, it was shit news from the get go.

Let me refresh everyone on what we were working with-

13 follicles at my baseline AFC (meaning, potentially, 13 of those could be growing evenly and possibly be retrieved) and everything else looked good.  I have stimmed (taken shots) for 4 days. The hope was that everything would be growing evenly and just going to town in there.


My right ovary had 3 follicles (12mm, 10mm ,9mm) and my left had 3 as well (18mm , 17mm, 10mm). They need to be 15mm to be able to be retrieved and mature properly. So what happened was two of my follicles hogged all the freakin medicine. My RE almost canceled me. I don’t know what to expect on Saturday when we go in again for monitoring.

The plan is to start medicine to stop my body from ovulating on its own (took my first dose this morning at like 10am), increase my follistim to 425, and my menopur to 2 vials, and hope against all odds that the two lead follicles slow the hell down, and let the other ones catch up in size.  My E2 came back at 408 which they said was good and felt comfortable continuing.

I don’t know what happened to my 13 in there. Six follicles- Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? All this money were spending, all the time, all the shots, all the trips to the RE…and I have 6 growing. It’s not good. The hope is to get as many good quality eggs as possible, but well…I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

If things still look this way on Saturday, we will probably trigger that night, and do an egg retrieval on Monday morning. I really want to believe that my eggs are good quality because I’ve never had that issue, I’m young, and I’ve been taking a shit ton of vitamins for a really long time now.

The plan (I use this word VERY loosely) is to retrieve the eggs on Monday, and go for a 3 day transfer of TWO embryos, which I won’t lie, scares the hell out of me. Implanting two good quality embryos in me, a healthy 30 year old with no issues except low egg count, will more than likely result in twins. I’m just feeling defeated.

I just want to cry. Today hasn’t been good, and to have this IVF cycle go to shit really just takes the wind out of my sails. Come on life, I barely have any as it is.


Landon stayed with my mother in law last night for a sleepover with his cousin, Madison. They are a year apart, and get along so well. I’m so thankful that Landon has her to play with. I don’t know what I would do if not. It also give me less anxiety when I leave him there while she’s there as well. It makes me feel like he is going to play with her, and stay out of MIL’s way. I know she enjoys having them both there, but still. I just worry.

We went to the movies yesterday afternoon. We saw X-men: Apocalypse; to anyone who said it was bad, you’re dumb. It was really, really good! Since being with Shane, my movie taste has changed; I’m a super nerd in the movie world now. I guess I like to think of it as he’s shown me what good movies truly are 😉 We had popcorn, and pretzel bites; It was probably the worst we’ve eaten in like 4 months. So worth it! After the movie, we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. I enjoy spending time with Shane anywhere we are, but the movies and dinner are my favorite places. We have to drive in the car together to go to those places and I enjoy that as well 🙂

After that we came home and just relaxed. We watched the Cavs suck it up big time, and went to bed.

This morning we were up at 7, and out the door at 8 for my RE appointment. After waiting about an hour to be seen, we were taken back to the room. I always fear that they’re going to put me in Kenley’s room; the room where we had our IUI and got pregnant. Thankfully they didn’t put us there this time. Although I’ve been in there since, so I guess it doesn’t really matter; just another one of those “things” that happens to your brain after a loss.

We waited for Dr. J, and when he came in we started the scan. 8 follicles on my right ovary, and 5 on my left. I will take that – AFC was 13 total. My lining was 4.4 which they said was fine. I had blood work drawn, which came back ok and was cleared to start shots on Sunday night! I had the IVF nurse show me how to mix my Follistim and Menopur to make one shot, and we were on our way.

I feel better.

I was anticipating a terrible AFC count or something being wrong that would stop us from starting IVF; I was dreaming up this awful scenario in my mind of what was going to go wrong. Can you blame me? I didn’t think so. 

So, things look well. We set up all of my monitoring appointments for the next two weeks .( 3 trips to the RE in 5 days. 40 minutes each way. All appointments during rush hour….) So now I have to give my MIL a new copy of the calendar and set up with her to keep Landon during these appointments as Shane wants to be with me for them if at all possible.

I feel K with me today. I feel her telling me it’s ok to move forward. I know she would want me happy, but I can’t help but always think of my desire for her.

I really wish I didn’t have to give her back. I would have been the best mother to her.

I miss her so incredibly much.

starting ivf.

Well…It’s that time. Tomorrow I will take my last birth control pill, and Friday I go in for my first monitoring appointment of this IVF cycle.

Shit is getting real.

To say that I’m terrified is an understatement. I’m in the “so much terrible shit has happened to me, why would it change now?” camp. I mean, realistically, I know that the “odds” are in our favor; the chances of a future child being stillborn are not increased. We will be seeing an MFM (maternal fetal medicine high risk OBGYN) doctor at OSU, and will be very closely monitored through the entire pregnancy. I will deliver at 37 weeks. I feel that things will go better this time, but what if they don’t.

Shane and I are both feeling the intensity of IVF. Maybe not IVF itself, but the whole uncertainty of it all. There is so much that goes into an IVF cycle. My infertility plays a huge role in the way that I’ll respond to medicine, and the eggs we will retrieve. I could have nothing. We could have paid all of this money, gone through all of this stress just to end up with no good quality eggs. I know that this is something we are risking, but I do feel “hopeful” for this cycle because of my age, and the fact that I carried two children to term.

On Friday my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) will check the lining of my uterus. He will check the way my AFC (antral follicle count is a transvaginal ultrasound study that measures a woman’s ovarian reserve, or her remaining egg supply) looks.  In April my AFC was 13. When I got pregnant with Kenley it was 12. So, I’m happy to see that it’s not drastically declining. I’m hoping that this means I will have a decent response to the meds.

I am considered DOR (diminished ovarian reserve), meaning I have low egg counts. My blood work is all normal, with the exception of my AMH being low for my age (AMH blood levels are thought to reflect the size of the remaining egg supply).

IVF isn’t just about “getting pregnant” for me, it’s about completing our family. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to be pregnant again; I just know the anxiety and worry I will feel. I think about things like what will happen when it comes time to put that child into the crib that we purchased for their older sibling who died. How will I feel using that room for a childs nursery?

I think about the brand new hand-me-downs. 

Just hearing that is like a stab in the heart.

This whole process is going to be so long and intense for us. I know that we can survive it, because we’ve survived this far.

Here we go again, Life.


21 weeks.

I can’t believe it’s been so long, sweet baby girl. It’s impossible. Some days it doesn’t feel like you were ever here, but part of my soul is missing so I know that you were. You were real. You are loved. You will always be my daughter.

Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week; It should be my favorite. Shane is off work at 1:30, he comes home, we go out to dinner and go shopping. It’s a very very good day. But, I had Kenley on a Tuesday. She was with us every time we went out on a Tuesday. After we had her, we tried to go back to “normal” and went out. I’ll never forget it; We went to BW3’s and the host said “just you three today?”… Ouch. It made me ugly cry right when we sat at our table. That was one of the first triggers I had when we started going out again.

We usually go to Toys r us and let Landon buy something or get him a book. We went there every week while I was pregnant; Start to finish. The same women worked there the entire time. They saw us each time. They commented on my pregnant belly, and saw me waddling around. They knew I was pregnant. What do they think now? Now that it’s just us three again…after 9 months…we don’t have a baby, but they knew we were pregnant. Same goes for the restaurants/other stores we would frequent. The same people worked there and took care of us. They saw me; they knew we were expecting.

I’m not expecting those people to be like “hey! where’s your baby?”…I’m assuming they might know deep down what happened. It all kind of comes back to the “do I look better than I feel” thing. I feel awful; empty, alone, and just like complete fucking shit. I’m able to carry myself better in public now, and I don’t cry randomly over things anymore. I still cry, a lot, but I really try to hold it together when we’re out.

I don’t know; this whole thing is just so hard to navigate.  Like I’ve said before, it just feels like everyone should know. I’m sure this is the case with other people and their losses (of children, parents, friends, etc…). You just feel so shitty that you expect everyone to just be able to pick up on it. But, even if they do pick up on it…what am I expecting? Am I expecting some random stranger to be like “I’m so sorry you lost your daughter“- No. But on the other hand, yeah, maybe I am.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if we just had giant neon signs we had to wear above our heads that alerted the other humans what we’re going through?

The closer I get to the 6 month mark, the weirder everything gets. Six months is coming up. She will be dead for six months. That’s 75% of the time I carried her. How is it almost June? I have not been present the past 6 months; it doesn’t feel like my time is moving like other peoples. Has this past 21 weeks gone by super slow for some people? It just seems like my life is in fast forward; like I’m emerging from the aftermath of a tornado.

I feel like I’m constantly having an out of body experience, but it’s just my life “after” Kenley.