Friday, June 29, 2012


I was released from the hospital today.  Brandon and I arrived home by noon.

Last night we didn't have anyone bringing us dinner up to the hospital so I braved ordering from "room service."  I kept it simple and ordered a personal pepperoni pizza, salad with ranch dressing, and chocolate chip cookies.  While I was waiting on my food to arrive I started feeling extremely tired and hungry.  B opened me up some graham crackers and I ate them, but I then started feeling faint.  Within a few minutes, my meal arrived and I could barely eat.  We reclined my bed back and it took a lot out of me just to eat.  It was such a strange exhausted feeling.  I managed to eat my salad and pizza and then went straight to sleep.  After sleeping for about 25 minutes, my nurse (one of the head nurses) came in to wish me well and she could tell that something was off with me.  We told her what had happened and she said that she believed that my blood pressure had bottomed out.  She told me to be careful getting up after laying down.  As the shift changed and the new nurse took my blood  pressure, it mysteriously went up and was elevated.  Go Figure! We already knew that I was an odd bird.  HeeHee

There was nothing worth watching on tv, so I chose to watch Fireproof.  If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it!

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I spent a lot of time in prayer for the most part.

This morning, we had to wait a little while for Dr. Allemand to finish between surgeries to come in and give us our update. All of my labwork from today looked GREAT.  I told him that I was nervous about having the catheter removed, so he asked if I would rather him do it.  Of course I said yes.  Within less than five minutes, it was out and I was giving him a big hug.  We have been greatly blessed by having such a great doctor.

 It took no time at all for us to be discharged.  I am glad to be at home.  Paula, Mackey, and Nicole brought us dinner tonight. Once I got home I had to clear the table of all of my fertility drugs.  I thought I was ok, but I broke down and cried HARD once I saw all of it.  Dad and Brandon both helped me organize everything and put it in a box.  We'll be needing those Progesterone shots soon enough with our upcoming FET.

I have so much more that I want to say right now, but I'm so tired.  My body is still aching all over.  Thank you for reading.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 4 in the Hospital

I can't believe that I've been in the hospital for four days.

Last night was rough to say the least.  I've started getting itchy from all of the Lortab that I've been taking.  They gave me Benadryl yesterday because I was clawing myself to death.  Well...  let's just say that
Benadryl + Lortab + Courtney= disaster
My evening nurse came in around 9:30pm to give me my evening Lortab and Valium.  I was only asleep about two hours when I awoke terrified from a nightmare.  My nurse happened to be in the room and calmed me down and gave me a glass of water.  I went back to sleep and awoke again about an hour later.  This time I was freaking out.  I was panicked.  I made Brandon wake up and sit with me.  I couldn't explain it, but I was terrified.  He prayed with me and I was then able to go back to sleep.  That only lasted about another hour.  I woke up this time nauseated.  I hit the call button for the nurse and told her that I was having trouble sleeping.  At this point, I had taken 2 Lortab 7.5s and a Valium.  There is no reason why I should have been awake!

My evening nurse is so amazing.  She could tell that I was rattled and just needed to walk around.  She helped me get dressed, unhooked my IV, and walked with me to the nurse's station.  She and the other night nurses talked to me until I couldn't stand up anymore.  When we returned to my room, it was time for more pain meds.  My nausea and dizziness was getting worse so she gave me Phenergan too.  I slept soundly the rest of the night.  I was so tired.  Brandon and I have kept our usual schedule and been waking up around 6:30-7am the previous mornings.  We both slept until about 8am this morning.  The nurses came in to get my vitals, but I was delirious.  When Dr. Allemand came in, we actually woke up!

Here were my questions for him along with his responses:
  • I've had trouble emptying my bladder completely, but he assured me that was normal after OHSS
  • My nausea has returned.  He told me that the symptoms of OHSS would continue to come and go.  It doesn't just disappear.
He allowed the nurses to completely disconnect me from my IV today!  He said that my blood work looked good as well.  My potassium was lower today while my calcium was higher than yesterday.  He said that my body would regulate that on it's own.  Dr. Allemand's plan is for me to go home tomorrow.  I'm so excited!  =)  He said that it's going to be a few days before I'm feeling back completely normal.  They will remove my catheter tomorrow and he said I have more fluid build back up afterward, but nothing like how it was previously.

I am just so excited to be going home tomorrow. Cabin Fever has set in and I've not been able to get much rest today.  Every time I fell asleep, someone came in to check my vitals, or one of our phones rang!  Brandon and I have both been so blessed by everyone's kind messages, calls, and visits.  We appreciate it.

I'd like to make a blanket apology for any of the typos/grammatical errors in any of the past posts and the future ones due to my lack of rest and medicine intake.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for supporting me through one of the lower parts of our journey. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 3 at the Hospital

My days feel like they're starting to run together.  I feel like I've been here much longer than three days.

One of our associate pastors at church (Larry) stopped by to check in on us last night.  I know that God told him to come and visit us when he did.  He talked to us about how difficult our journey through infertility has been.  He asked us questions that no one else has ever asked us before.  He actually asked us about all of the unsolicited advice we receive.  He mentioned how people often don't know what to say, so they say condescending things like "it will happen when it happens," or "it's a part of God's plan." Brandon and I were able to let off some much needed steam talking to him.  Last night was also the first time we let our guards down and and cried about our current situation.  We have both been trying to stay strong for each other.  Last night we both let go.

Brandon and I were both so hopeful for this IVF attempt.  For the most part, everything went as well as could be expected up until time for the embryo transfer.  The past few days have been so difficult for me because many people haven't truly understood how we feel.  So many people actually thought we were just postponing the transfer a few days.  (You CANNOT do that.  Embryos must be transferred at either day 3 or day 5-after that they must be frozen.) So many individuals are clueless about anything relating to infertility.  Also, I don't think that everyone has understood the severity of  my situation.  Yes, I knew all of the risks involved when we started the process of IVF.  I was counselled about OHSS, but did not think it would happen to me.  Everyone thinks that they're invincible.   It usually only affects 10% of women undergoing fertility treatment.  If you saw me in the days leading up to our scheduled transfer, it was written all over my face how much pain I was going through.  I could barely sleep at night.  I couldn't get up out of bed or even walk without someone holding on to me.  This has been the worst pain that I've ever endured, both emotionally and physically.  If you have not ridden the roller coaster of emotions that infertility takes you on, then you will not understand.  We waited and waited and waited to start this cycle.  Now we are back to waiting.  Healing, waiting, and preparing for another cycle. 

simple and powerful. Infertility
Dr. Allemand stopped by this morning to check on me.  I know that everyone is partial to their own doctor, but I am crazy about mine.  It lifted my spirits seeing him (as well as Kayla stopping by). He said that my white blood count and hemoglobin is looking much better.  My calcium is still low, but this is normal with cases of OHSS.  He was still upset about Radiology's neglect in getting my catheter placed in a timely manner.  He assured me that we would be able to go home before the weekend.  He's reduced my IV fluids, but I'm still pretty dehydrated.  All of my fluid intake had been going straight to my stomach. My catheter bag has slowed, but is still draining. My belly is still swollen, but is nothing like it was before.  Now it looks like it did when I was stimming.  In retrospect, I should have taken a picture of my stomach each day.  The thought never occurred to me because I felt so terrible.  I'm hoping that they will weigh me later on today.  I have also started Lovenox injections to prevent blood clots.  I'm no longer wearing the pressure cuffs on my legs, but I'm apparently still at risk for developing clots.

I will continue to glorify God no matter the circumstance.  Things could have been much worse than they truly are.  I can do all things with Him.  Without God, we would have never gotten as far as we did in the IVF process.  He provided in every aspect of the situation.  He is my source of strength.  When I am weak He is strong.  He is the only reason that I am able to make myself get up out of this hospital bed and try to feel better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pigtail Catheter- OHSS

They put a pigtail catheter into my right side early this afternoon.  They only gave me a local anesthetic before jabbing the tube inside me.  It was anything but pleasant.  They've emptied the bag attached six times already.  It's crazy how much fluid was in my belly.  My tummy is still tender to touch, but it's not as swollen as it was previously.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to go home on Thursday.

I've been sneaking naps in whenever possible.  Brandon's got his iPad and laptop with him, so he's been able to work today.  Dad hung around for the majority of the day, and Liz stopped by with two different soups for me from Panera.  It's amazing how I could be so tired from doing nothing.  I can't believe that I made it five days at home before being admitted to the hospital.  I was in so much pain.  It still hurts when I get up to go to the bathroom.  Now I have to hold onto my belly drip bag each time I get up!  I'm not sure when I'll feel like my old self again.

There's been a lot of confusion from people about when we will transfer our embryos (this being from those who don't know much about infertility.)  Because I was admitted to the hospital having all the fluid in my belly, it made an embryo transfer impossible right now.  Our six embryos are now frozen and waiting for us to attempt a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) at a later date.  Dr. Allemand stressed that we only needed one break cycle for my body to heal.  From there, I'm not sure when we'll attempt a FET.  Brandon seems to be leaving it up to me.  To quote him, he said that "he's not the one having to take all of the injections."

It hit me today how upset I am about this cycle ending the way it did.  No, I couldn't have done anything differently to combat OHSS.  Everything else about our IVF cycle was perfect.  I responded well to the stimulation injections and produced many eggs.  We ended up with great embryos as well.  We were both excited and ready to get pregnant.  It just hurts our hearts that we have to wait again.  We've grown especially accustomed to waiting when it comes to getting pregnant.  We do know that God has a plan for us and a special child waiting.  Until it's time for us to begin trying again, I will focus more on Him and His plan.  I know that the next few months are going to be hard for me.  I never anticipated getting this far into our IVF cycle to have to postpone our Embryo Transfer.

What is OHSS?

Over the past few day, many people have asked me questions about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS for short. I guess I should have explained this better before now. I know that many of you ladies in the fertilty community know what I'm talking about, but my friends in real life have been "in the dark."

 OHSS affects 10% of women undergoing fertility treatments. Some of the risk factors are being under 35, having a high estrogen level at the time of retrieval, and having PCOS. I don't have PCOS, but I hit the other two markers. I'm going to try and explain this as easily as possible. Please stay with me (the nurses woke me up once an hour last night and I can no longer sleep).

 After the eggs are retrieved, the follicles (that once contained the eggs) fill back up with fluid. With OHSS, the fluid then leaks out of the follicles into the belly. Some of the milder symptoms are abdominal bloating, mild pain in the abdomen, and slight weight gain. I only had these symptoms for the first few days after retrieval. Some of the more severe symptoms are decreased urination, shortness of breath, and intense pain and swelling in the abdomen. I was doing everything I could think of to stay one step ahead of OHSS. We kept my feet propped, I drank plenty of water and Gatorade, and I tried to increase my protein intake. Dr. Allemand said OHSS was bound to happen due to the high number of eggs aspirated combined with my high estrogen level. I have been in pain ever since my egg retrieval. Part of me thought I was just a pansy. The other part thought all that I was feeling was normal. The pain seemed to get worse at night. I was having trouble getting up by myself, and found myself out of breath just walking across the house. The car ride to the clinic yesterday was awful. I thought I was going to be sick the entire ride. I was jittery waiting on my name to be called in the waiting room. After getting changed into my hospital gown, Brandi (best nurse ever) gave me a Valium to calm my nerves because we still thought the transfer was happening at that point. It was apparent to her how much pain I was in. I don't know how I made it as long as I did.

 Once I got in my hospital room, they gave me two Lortabs. I felt much better once they began taking effect. I'm taking two now every four hours. They have me hooked up to an IV with fluids because I've been so dehydrated. They have to monitor my urine and weight each day now. They are also giving me phenergan to combat the nausea. I actually got some sleep last night, but they come in to check on me almost once an hour so I'm still groggy.

Brandon has been great through all of this. He is always calm in these types of situations. He's hurt and upset too that we weren't able to do the transfer, but agrees that we need me healthy first. Dad and Peggy came with us yesterday for the transfer, so they were able to go back to the house and pack us a little bag with a few things to keep us comfortable. We hadn't even been in the room five minutes, when our pastor, Terry, showed up. He sat with us for a short time and prayed with us before he left. My Mom drove from Tuscalosa and stayed for a while. Joy came by too and brought a large bag of snacks! There's also a lot of people who said they are stopping by today. Brandon and I have felt all of your prayers and love.

I will update later once my catheter is placed in my belly. I'm scared (y'all know about my fear of needles). I don't know how long we'll be here in the hospital. I apologise for the length of this post and any gramatical errors. They just gave me another sose of medicine. =)

Monday, June 25, 2012

No Transfer Today; OHSS; In Hospital

We did not do the embryo transfer. My OHSS is worse than expected. One of the nurses did an ultrasound on my belly and it was full of fluid. Dr. Allemand thought it best to have me admitted so that they can put a catheter in my belly to drain the fluid. I am situated with my IV and have been given two Loratab. I'm already feeling a little bit better, but am scared of the drain. As of now, we have 4 AA, 4 AB, and 3 BA quality embryos. They said that we are a candidate for a single embryo transfer. I'm not sure when we'll be able to attempt the Frozen Embryo Transfer, but at least we have great quality embryos. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. I've been in a lot of pain over the past few days and it all makes sense now. We're both obviously upset that our transfer didn't happen today, but we want the best for our future children. God is good all the time. As much as it hurts right now, I know that He has a plan for us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

3 Days Post Retrieval

I'm trying to feel better today. My tummy is still sore and swolen. OHSS sucks! I feel great as long as I'm stationary. Also, I've never been so hydrated in my entire life! I've been switching up between Gatorade, V8 Splash, and water all morning. The embryologist called us at 7:45 this morning. Our 9 embryos still look great. =) Over half of them are 9-cell and 8-cell today. They will leave them along tomorrow and we'll get another report before the transfer Monday morning. Hearing the news about my precious embryos has made me feel much better. For now, I think I'll be fine for the transfer on Monday. All of this discomfort is simply temporary.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I made it only a couple of hours at work today. By 12pm I was feeling terrible. The nausea was overwhelming! I called ART and they told me that I had a mild case of OHSS from my estrogen being so high at the time of retrieval. The nurse told me that I needed to be at home on bedrest, drinking lots of fluids with my feet elevated. I got home and slept from 1-6:15pm this afternoon. I feel fine as long as I'm not moving around. They told me that I need to go to the ER at Brookwood if I begin feeling worse. I'm praying that this passes. I do not want to have to be admitted to the ER. I do not want to have to delay my transfer. Please pray that I begin feeling better.

2 days post Retrieval

I am exhausted.  I feel like I just had another abdominal surgery.  When I woke up this morning I felt terrible.  I was flushed and lightheaded.  While I was in the shower I had to make the water cooler because I thought I was going to pass out.  Brandon fixed me a glass of gatorade and I've started feeling better (I'm on my second glass now).  Maybe I was dehydrated?  I feel better at the moment, and my head doesn't feel as clouded.  Also, my stomach is HUGE.  I may take a belly picture today to prove it.  I'm super bloated and it hurts to even touch my tummy.  I cannot cough or sneeze because it hurts so much!  I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not supergirl.  The pile of laundry has been mocking me, but I can't stay bent over long enough to separate it.  I am wanting to keep my usual morning routine, but can't. (For those of you who know me, I usually get all laundry and picking up done before going to work).

I'm going to do my best to stay at work until 2pm today.  Brandon's running around this morning, so Dad's going to take me in.  I had to take another Demerol so I decided against driving.  It doesn't make me feel weird or anything, but I'm terrified that I could pass out or something while behind the wheel. 

Last night's Progesterone in Oil injection went much better than expected.  Brandon had been worried because the needle is so long.  I laid across the bed, he prayed over me, and then stuck me in the tush.  B said there was a lot of resistance pushing the medicine in, but I didn't feel it.  He rubbed it for a few minutes to make sure the the medicine didn't stay in one spot.  It was funny laying there with my B rubbing my butt!  My hiney is a little sore today where he stuck me, but it's nothing like what I had expected.  I'm sure it will get worse over time, since we have to do the injection each night.  I've heard from all of the pros to switch up cheeks! HeeHee!

In other news, my precious nephew is three years old today.  He himself is an IVF miracle!  Happy Birthday, Bryson.  Uncle B and CourtCourt love you so much!
source Attain Fertility on Pinterest
God has been good to us.  At the moment, Brandon and I are the proud parents to nine embryos, two surrogate daughters, and our two dogs.  We would not be sitting here about to transfer any embryos if it was not a part of God's plan.  For any of you ladies going through IVF, I implore you to make God a part of it.  We have prayed over all of our injections and it has made such a difference.  We were lucky to have a Godly example of including Christ in your fertility journey from Brandon's brother and sister-in-law.  We have never felt alone in our struggle, because God has placed so many encouraging people in our lives.  I was mad at God for a while when we first had trouble conceiving.  It was so hard to see others around us getting pregnant so easily.  I know that God didn't want to cause me pain, but He knew that we wouldn't give up.  He has made our marriage stronger.  I know that I would not have such peace as I do know if we hadn't put God first in our fertility journey.  For all of the women reading this who are struggling to have a baby, I am praying for you and your husbands.  I am also praying that you can find peace wherever you are in your pathway to parenthood.