Wednesday, May 14, 2014

IVF Czech

  We had our pregnancy test yesterday and it was a BFN.  We had a feeling that it didn't work and knowing that we don't have any embryos to freeze makes it easier to move on.  John told me before the trip that this one was our last, and if we would have had any embryos left I would have always wondered.  

  We have no regrets about any of our journey so far.  We have had wonderful experiences at both hospitals and would absolutely recommend traveling abroad for IVF.  The hospitals and staff were excellent and the treatments were top notch.  It just wasn't in the plan to work for us.   

  I will say that IVF can cause emotional, physical, mental, and financial strain on a couple, but for us going abroad was like our second and third honeymoon.  You aren't just going through IVF, you are on a vacation.  It is a much more relaxing experience, and much cheaper!  All in all, we spent about $10,000 on the trip and IVF cycle.  We didn't get pregnant, but we did get a once in a lifetime experience and will always have these postive memories. 

  This trip was definitely my favorite.  We had more time in between appointments, and since we had a car we could explore Europe three to five days at a time.  The trips I took for my FETs in Turkey with my mom were also really special.  I got to spend a total of four weeks with just her on a vacation in Istanbul, and it was awesome!  John and I are very thankful for everyone that has sacrificed and helped out to made these trips possible.  My mom, and John's dad, stayed with the boys and our dogs.  Two teenage boys, a big house, and two dogs is exhausting!    

We talked about adoption before the trip and have since decided to proceed.  We know nothing at this point.  John is wonderful at gathering information, and has been calling multiple agencies asking lots of questions.  At this point, I am not sure what questions I have, but I finally feel like this is where we need to head on our journey.  Anyone with any advice about adoption please feel free to email (kellyjohn2007@gmail.com) or send a message through the blog. We would love to talk to people that have been through it before and get real advice from adoptive parents.  I might continue to blog about the adoption process, I haven't really thought much about it.  Thank you for following us on our journey to a baby.  

Lake Bled, Slovenia on our first night of the journey!

More to Come....Maybe?

Kelly and John 
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

 IVF Czech
 Embryo Transfer 

  Well today is the day that I had my embryo transfer.  I should be an old pro at this, but it is always a little nerve wracking.  We arrived early and had to wait about an hour for our meeting with the embryologist.  She was a very nice young woman that explained to us that she recommended we transfer two healthy embryos.  One was very good at a high grade 2.  The other was a 3 and was developing well, but a little slower.  Unfortunately, I did not have any embryos to freeze this time around, which was a little shocking.  The news hit me hard, and after a good cry on John's shoulders and a talk from Petra, our coordinator, I realized I have to look on the bright side and stay positive.  To give the embryos the best chance of sticking I need as little stress as possible.  One thing that was nice is that we were given photos of our embryos, some of which were taken minutes before we met the embryologist. 

  I was taken to a room so I could change and wait to be called back to the procedure room.  John was able to go with me for the ET, which was great, because we both got to see the embryos on a live monitor above us when we walked in.  My bladder wasn't full enough causing my uterus to be at a funny angle, so the transfer ended up being a little painful and longer than normal. John was there holding my hand and stroking my hair, which made it much better.  We both really liked being in there together for the ET.  Dr. Krenek said that all went well and that I could test in two weeks.  I had to lay in the procedure room for ten minutes before I was transferred to my bed where I had to lay for one hour.  In the meantime I was given instructions and prescriptions for 100mg of aspirin and 5mg of prednisone, which I have to take for 20 days.  I am also to continue the Crinone for 12 weeks if I am pregnant.

  We had a couple days to rest after the transfer and then we drive to Vienna the day before our flight home.  The two week wait is definitely the hardest part.  I will try and update once I find out the result of the pregnancy test.

  Kelly and John 





 IVF Czech 

 We had a few days until the embryos transfer and were going stir crazy so we decided to explore a little.  We took a couple short road trips to some towns Martin suggested.  He gave us a list of places in the Czech that were day trips, so we just picked one and hit the road.  The first was Kromeriz, a small town within an hour of our penzion.  It wasn’t thrilling so we moved on to Olomouc. Olomouc is much larger and looked interesting, but we never got out because it was pouring down rain.  We enjoy small towns and nature over large cities, so the next town was right up our alley.  Roznov Pod Radhostem was exactly what we were looking for.  Unfortunately, the main attraction was closed!  The Wallachian Open Air Museum is made up of timber buildings that were moved to a town park.  The park was beautiful and we were able to walk around the outside of the museum, but I was really disappointed that we didn’t get to go inside the gates. The museum shows how people lived, worked, and farmed in that region of the Czech from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. 
   
Kromeriz, Czech Republic



Wallachian Village in Roznov Pod

Bee Hives in the Wallachian Village

Bee Hives in Wallachian Village
  We thought about going back to Roznov Pod the following day, but instead we went to the Moravian wine country.   Moravia is a region in the Czech.  Our first stop was in Valtice at the National Wine Museum.  It was beautiful, but the tour of the cellar was closed and don’t even ask about the tasting!  The website had said it was closed Monday not Tuesday, but no one spoke English, so we decided to just move on. Lednice is 7 km down the road and that is where we really wanted to go anyway.  There is a beautiful, and very ornate chateau, with wonderful gardens and walking or biking trails.  You can also take a slow boat on through a forest to a minaret and then to old ruins of a castle.  Then once at the castle you can take a carriage ride back to the chateau.  Anything with a boat and John is sold, and anything involving horses I’m in! We walked around the castle and down the trail to the water and were able to take the boat to the minaret.  Unfortunately the castle ruins are only open on weekends so we couldn’t see that, or take the carriage ride.  The boat ride was so peaceful and relaxing though and made it worth it. 

National Winery Museum in Valtice, Czech Republic

Chateau in Lednice


One of the gargoyles on the chateau - most were
different dogs like this one.

There was lots of wildlife on the river boat ride to the Minaret

The Minaret - we got there by boat but you can also walk or ride a bike
 The next trip we took was to the Punkva Caves, which is about an hour from Zlin.  One of the other Americans at our hotel told us about it.  We arrived about 11am and after purchasing our tickets we took a tram to the area where the cave entrance is.  We didn’t have reservations so we had to wait until 1pm for the next tour.  I noticed that the tours sold out quickly so it is best to make a reservation. 

View from the tram on the way to the waiting area for the Puntva cave exploration

Outside the Punkva Caves


 Once we went in we were led down into different caverns with stalactites, stalagmites, and pools of water.  It was pretty, but the real gem is the abyss.  You must walk single file through a narrow tunnel and then bam you walk right into the open air abyss.  The abyss has a pool of water, moss covered rock walls and at the top you can see tiny people walking above the trees.  It was absolutely beautiful and such a wonderful surprise.  We almost missed the boat because we were caught up in trying to take pictures.  The underground river was a nice relaxing ride back out to the entrance.  
   

Stalactites and stalagmites
The Abyss at Punkva Caves in Czech Republic
The Abyss

My wonderful and handsome husband in The Abyss


So much to see in this part of the world, and so little time, and money!  No matter the outcome, this trip has been incredible.  We are so thankful, and lucky to be able to do this and IVF at the same time.  We have our transfer soon and will discuss that in the next post.  Thank you for following us on our journey.  

More to Come...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

  IVF Czech
April 23-27th
Egg Retrieval

  We had our third appointment Wednesday April 23, which again included blood work and an ultrasound.  My hormone levels were even better than before, my endometrial lining was excellent, and Dr. Krenek found nine eggs on my ultrasound.  I  had three on the right, two @ 19 and one 12.  The other side had six and I think were all about 16-18.  He said that it was time schedule the egg retrieval, so Eva gave me my last dose of Puregon as well as Orgulatron.  After that we went over when I was to take the Ovitrelle, which has to be timed perfectly.  The Ovitrelle helps to mature the eggs for ovulation.  I had to take it at exactly 8:40 pm and my retrieval was scheduled for Friday at 840am, which is exactly 36 hours later. I was also told to start my Crinone (luckily I have a large supply from last trip, because it is expensive.  Especially in the states!).  Crinone is a progesterone suppository cream that slowly releases and absorbs into the cervix. 

  We went to the zoo in Zlin on Thursday and had a nice long walk up and down the steep hills of this very large, spread-out zoo.  There were nice, large, natural areas for the animals.  It was a beautiful day and we had a good workout. 

  We arrived at the clinic about 8:00am Friday and finalized our paperwork with EVA.  She then took me to a room to change and John went off to do his part.  I was taken back about 8:30 and within minutes I was out from the Propofol.  They woke me up to transfer me back within 20-30 minutes or so and told me to sleep, which I couldn't at all!  Dr. Krenek came in after an hour, and said that he got nine embryos and that John's sperm sample was very good. In case you didn't follow my IVF Turkey blog, John had a vasectomy reversal which so far is the only reason known that we haven't gotten pregnant.

  We decided on Wednesday that we would do something called PICSI.  ICSI is when the sperm is injected directly into the egg.  This is important to do since John's count/morphology has not been perfect, due to the vasectomy reversal   This clinic offers a technology called PICSI, where they wash the sperm in a special solution and the healthiest light up in the dye.

We also chose to do something called embryo monitoring.  Normally the embryologist puts the embryos in and monitors every so often.  Embryo monitoring is like having a nanny cam on them at all times.  Photos are taken every few minutes or seconds(I'm not sure which), and the embryologist can see exactly how they have each developed along the way.  They can see if they divided normally, which lets them pick the highest quality embryos to transfer.  This is our last chance so we decided to do both of these even though they cost extra.

 We received a call from Petra on Saturday letting us know that we had six out of the 9 eggs fertilize, and that our transfer will be on Wednesday at 12:30pm. 

  On Friday afternoon I started to not feel well and soon figured out it was due to the pain medicine given during my retrieval.  I have Crohn's disease, which is in remission, and very much under control with diet.  The meds got me a little out of whack, and it has taken me a couple days to get back on track. 

  We have been going stir crazy in the hotel so we decided to get out on Sunday and go the mall.  On Monday it is our 7th wedding anniversary.  We only have a few days left before the retrieval so we decided to explore a few cities near Zlin that were recommended by Martin, the head chef of Penzion Uno's restaurant and son of its owners.


 

Monday, April 28, 2014



 IVF Czech
April 22

 We drove to our hotel in Krakow after visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine.  It was around 7pm so we decided to stay in and eat at the nice restaurant at the hotel.  The next morning we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to see Krakow and go to Auschwitz too, so we headed into the city and found a parking spot.  I recommend always making sure you have change for the parking meters over here.  Trust me, no one will make it for you!   
   
Town Hall Tower where men sentenced to death were detained

Wawel Royal Castle
   After wandering, to find the famous town square, we finally met a nice street vendor that showed us the way on a map in one of the books that she sold.  Just to be safe, and to thank her for her kindness, I bought the book, which definitely helped us out later on. She sent us two streets down to the famous Kanonicza Street, which leads into the main square.   Kanonicza Street is the famous route royalty took to the Wawel Castle in the old times.  The houses date back to the 14th century.  Pope John Paul II, who is beloved in Poland, lived on this street when he was cardinal.  

Kanonicza Street

The house where Pope John Paull II lived when he was a cardinal in Krakow. Can you see his picture in the window?

 While walking, we had seen horse drawn carriages, and since we were short on time I figured that it might be a good way to see the sights of the city.  Our guide on the carriage ride, Joanna, spoke excellent English and did a good job explaining everything.  I am a horse person so I apologize for multiple horse pictures!   For my horse friends, these are Silesian horses native to Poland. 

Our horse drawn carriage

   
Horse drawn carriage in the town center

Horse drawn carriage in front of the Royal Castle
  We arrived back at the square around lunch time and Joanna said that all of the restaurants were good so we picked one called Szara and had a wonderful lunch.  Everything was good except the asparagus soup that John ordered.  He was not a fan at all!  I had mushroom soup that was delicious, and we both had roasted rabbit and vegetables.  The rabbit tasted like chicken and was also wonderful! 
  
John eating Asparagus soup
  In the center of the square is the Cloth-Hall which dates back to the Renaissance.  It was a market for spices, leather, cloth, wax and salt from the Wieliczka Mine.  Today there is a museum on top floor while the bottom floor consists of tourist shops that sell local crafts and souvenirs. 

Cloth Hall

The center of the Cloth Hall with various vendors
  We shopped a little and then meandered back to our car for the hour drive to Oswiecim where the Auschwitz Concentration camp is. There are tours that are guided, but unfortunately we missed the last one so we wandered around on our own.  The museum is free and is open to individuals after 3:30 pm.  It was raining and dreary out, which I guess is fitting considering the circumstances.  I don’t have much to say other than it was a very humbling experience.  To think that there are or have been people out there that can commit such atrocities to millions of innocent human beings is despicable.  To walk in the place where it happened is another story.  I only took pictures of the outside as taking photos of the inside felt too personal and exposed.    There are areas where no photography is allowed out of respect to the victims and their families, but that didn’t stop some from taking photos anyway.  We didn’t stay long, just enough time to see the major areas and displays.  

Guard gate from the inside of Auschwitz.  Sorry I couldn't find my picture from the other side.

Barbed wire fence outside the main gate.

Just a few of the many many buildings


This is the entrance to the courtyard where the execution wall was located





 We have our next appointment tomorrow.  We will find out how many eggs I have and when the retrieval will be.  Stay tuned.

More to come...

Kelly and John

Friday, April 25, 2014


IVF Czech
April 21st

  We drove from Szczawnica in the early afternoon to Wieliczka which is just outside of Krakow.  John did all of the research for this trip so I had no idea what the salt mine was or what to expect.  When we arrived and got our tickets there were people everywhere.  They had tours in at least six to eight languages running every hour or more.  After buying tickets we only had a few minutes until our tour when an announcement stated that this would be a three hour tour.  I looked at John and said three hours!!  At this point I have started to get a little tired and with my ovaries producing a lot more eggs my back was starting to hurt too.  My sweet husband said we can go if you think that it is too much.  I’m not a quitter so I of course said no, and boy am I glad I did.  My photos do not do justice to how neat this site really is.  I apologize for the poor photos - not a professional and haven't mastered taking them in the dim light.  Not to mention that at some point there was water spots on my lens??


One of the chambers in the salt mine - sorry I can't recall the name

  The mine tour took us 135 meters (443 ft) underground where we got a peak at three different layers and multiple chambers.  The mine dates back to the twelfth century and even though it was officially closed in 1996, it is still worked in order to keep it up for safety.  When you first go in you have to descend about 378 steps all at once, but throughout the tour you end up going down over 800!  We saw everything from how they transport the salt, to sculptures and beautiful chapels completely made of salt. There are also underground lakes and canals.  It truly was amazing and I am so glad that I decided to go. 
The grotto used to transport the salt

One of the underground lakes

 The environment down in the salt mines is incredibly clean and healthy.  Bacteria and germs don’t thrive in the salty environment so the people and animals that lived and worked down there were very healthy.  Up until 2002 there were horses that worked in the mine.   The horses had stables and were well taken care of, living a normal life of over twenty years.  If you are wondering about the excrement created by the horse they sent it back to the surface and the locals would wait for it as it came up the shafts to compost and use in their gardens.  The last horse, Baska, left in 2002 was because of protestors outside of the mine.  Apparently after she was removed she lived a normal life, but wasn’t very happy being on the surface.  Who knows?  

Horses were used to transport the heavy salt blocks
  The mine goes down 327 meters (1073 ft) and is 287 km (178 miles) long.  This beautiful historical site has been visited for centuries by royalty, political leaders, the Pope, scientists, and artists.  The St. Kinga Cathedral still has a service on Sundays and meetings and cultural events still take place in some of the chambers.  During WWII the Germans took over the mine to store military items for various war related industries.  
St. Kinga Chapel
  When it was time to go we went past a restaurant and had to descend down the 135 m to get to the elevator.  I read that technically each elevator car holds only 9 people, but when there are 50-100 people waiting they tend to over stuff.  John is claustrophobic and was not happy about being treated like a sardine.  I’m not sure how they got the last lady, who was very reluctant, in our car, but they shoved her in.  Luckily the ride up to the top only takes about thirty seconds. 

  Overall this was definitely a highlight on this wonderful trip.  John and I loved all of it and would do it again.  After leaving the salt mine in the evening we drove to the ApartHotel Vanilla in Krakow which was very nice.  It wasn’t near the old town, but it did have laundry facilities, a nice restaurant, and most importantly to John good pizza and great beer!  The laundry was the most important to me, although I had to look up the model number in English just to use it. 


 More to come...

Kelly and John 


IVF Czech
April 20-21st 

Well if you read the previous post you know that I had my second appointment at the Clinic of Reproductive Medicine and Gynecology and it went well.  We decided that since we had four days until our next appointment that we would take another trip.  This time we headed to southern Poland to the town of Szczawnica. The drive was beautiful all the way to Poland.  We had to go into Slovakia for most of the trip and then up to Poland.  The view of the snow-capped Tatra Mountains in the distance was stunning.  When we arrived in Szczawnica Sunday evening we were pleasantly surprised to find a mountainous village with quiet streets and beautiful views.  

Somewhere in Poland - Tatra Mountains
  We chose this area because John found a rafting trip you could take on the Dunajec Gorge in the Pieniny National Park.  We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We didn’t even know where to pick up the raft or if you drove to the park, because the information on the internet was limited.  We finally figured out there was a parking lot with buses down the road, and they took you to the starting point up in the mountains.  It was only about fifteen dollars each for a two and a half hour ride. 

Dunajec Gorge, Pieniny National Park in Poland/Slovakia

  The boats usually have two guides, but we had a young man in training so there were three.  None of the guides spoke any English, which we expected might happen, but we had a good time anyway.  Apparently our guide was hilarious because everyone else in the boat laughed a lot, while we sat and enjoyed the scenery.
  
Dunajec rafting boat and guides

  The neat thing about this trip is that on one side of the river is Slovakia and on the other is Poland.  It is the only national park in two different countries.  


Dunajec Gorge - Poland is on the left, Slovakia is on the right


Slovakia from the rafting trip    
   
I believe this is the Polish side of the park

A stork nest on top of a building seen while rafting Dunajec Gorge !!!

 The trip ended just across a bridge from our car and dropped us near some restaurants.  We sat and ate pierogies and polish sausage, which were both delicious, and John of course had to try a beer.  It was a great trip, but we left shortly after lunch for the Wieliczka Salt mine which is near Krakow.  

More to come...   

Kelly and John