Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The egg retrieval went good. We got there at 10 am and they took us to our own room. They started prepping me right away. The bad part was once the IV needle was in I became faint and they had to lower my bed which helped. Once I got in the procedure room things happened fast. The nurses, doctors and medical assistants were efficient, personable and very informative. They got me in the bed, gave me oxygen, put me in these crazy stir-ups (not your typical stir-ups) and then started the drugs. The good, sweet, wonderful drugs. I was conscious but sedated. The doctors came in and I started talking football to one of them and then I don't remember much. I felt two little pinches as he was puncturing the wall to get to the eggs. That is all I remember. I was back in my room with Jaime in no time. I was so drugged up, my blood pressure was as low as 87/43. They nurses checked on me every 5 minutes. Dr. Sherbahn came in to report they got 6 eggs; not bad, not great but good. The nurses had to give us our finally instructions and we were on our way home. I was a little nauseous on the way home but once I got on my couch I started feeling better, just some slight cramps.

Today was got the fertilization report. Of the 6 eggs, 5 were good and they were able to ICSI the five (inject sperm directly into the egg) and 4 fertilized. Tentative embryo transfer set is set for Thursday.

I'm happy and sad. I'm happy to know I have good eggs. I'm happy to know that my eggs and his sperm can fertilize. But I'm sad that we are doing a three day transfer vs. a five day transfer. Usually a five day transfer has higher success rates. I'm also sad that we only got 6 eggs. Some women can get 20 or 30! But it's all numbers and it can get very overwhelming. I have to just stop thinking about it and continue to do what I can do to make this work. I have to let go, and trust the doctors and God.

So my feelings today were:
  • Great! They fertilized 4 eggs.
  • Only 4?
  • Why can't I get pregnant, I'm healthy, I take care of my body, I want a baby. I'm sick of people around me getting pregnant that aren't even planning it!
  • OK, at least we know my eggs are good.
  • We do have two more chances if this doesn't work.
  • God is in control.
  • I can't believe I have to get a 1 1/2 inch needle shoved into my rear tonight.
  • Wow, right now down in Gurnee, IL our babies are being created in a dish. Our babies. A piece of me and Jaime.
  • Just pray hard for strong embryos.
I'll let you know tomorrow how bad that progesterone shot really is. Ugh.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bravelle, Menopur and Ganirelix Oh My!

What is that you ask? The names of the drugs that have taken over my body this past week. Bravelle is a highly purified preparation of human follicle stimulating hormone (hFSH). Menopur is a highly purified preparation of naturally derived gonadotropins, called hMG. It contains equal amounts of 2 kinds of hormonal activity: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps stimulate egg production; and luteinizing hormone (LH), which helps the eggs mature and release (ovulate). And finally, Ganirelix is used to suppress premature luteinizing hormone (LH) surges. This prevents eggs from being released prematurely.

This is a picture of how we prepared every morning and evening for the drugs.

Here is a picture of all those drugs that we have used.

The good news is that our egg retrieval (click on egg retrieval for a description of procedure) is scheduled for tomorrow morning. This means I have responded well to all the drugs. I'm nervous and excited. I would really like to see 8-10 eggs. They also need to be mature and of high quality. Hopefully we'll get a great fertilization report. The embryo transplant will take place 3-5 days after the egg retrieval. During this time I will need to start taking progesterone, by injection, which a hormone that is naturally produced in the ovaries It will help to prepare and thicken the lining of the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg. Progesterone is necessary to support and maintain a pregnancy should conception occur. The injections goes in my butt, the needle is 1 1/2 inches long. And the entire needle must go into my muscle. People, I don't do needles. This has been hard enough. Do you know how big that needle is?

That is big! I'm really freaked by that injection, and there is more than one. Trying so hard to stay positive. I'll update you when I find out how many eggs we get. Thank you for all your support, comments, prayers and for reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We have started the injections

Saturday morning we were scheduled for a "loading dose" which required two separate injections. My husband was amazing. I started mixing the drugs but was nervous and was shaking a bit so he took over and was very calm. These injections are going in my stomach, so we did one on one side and one on the other. Not too bad we thought. This morning the injection hurt a little more and drew some blood. I don't have tons of fat on my stomach so he hit the muscle a bit. My stomach has been a little sore all day. I've been really tired and I have a bad headache. I'm sure it's just from the stress. Tonight's injection sucked. I thought I picked a good fatty spot and was in a good position. Nope, it hurt and I started crying. I don't know if I cried because it hurt or if because I was frustrated and started thinking of how much more we have to do. More injections, more blood, more ultrasounds etc.
This too shall pass.

Here is a picture of us mixing our injections Saturday morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm enjoying the last of my wine

I need to catch up. But real quick, we had our baseline ultrasound and bloodwork on Wed. Everything looks good. The nurses were great and answered all my questions, which included, "What can I do and not do once I start my medications on Saturday."
"Treat your body like you are pregnant. No alcohol, ibuprofen, medications, caffeine, etc."
OK, I don't drink much beer or liquor but I love my wine. I just love the taste of wine. I can't drink anymore wine starting on Saturday. I have two nights left to drink wine. Honestly, I pray to God that I can't drink wine for the next 9-10 months. But I am still going to miss it. I plan to try some NA wine. Let me know if you have tried any NA's that are good! Thanks.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Infertility Awareness Week

What an incredible week. Not just because we were on Oprah and got our photo with Oprah in the mail yesterday, but because of all the amazing support we have received from our family, friends and strangers. I have "met" so many more amazing women who are going through infertility. I am so thrilled that people are speaking out and trying to create more awareness. Because of all the new connections, I just found out that there is a National Infertility Association and that November 4 - 10 is National Infertility Awareness Week.

Time to brainstorm on how I can and will participate.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Did you all see this?


Wow, we are completely overwhelmed with the comments, response, support and well wishes we have received today. We wanted to create awareness and I think we got a good start with Oprah today.

Thank you to everyone for your comments, prayers, support and love.

Oh, and look at what arrived today!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oprah show will air tomorrow

You can check out www.oprah.com for the preview. The title of the show is "Lisa Ling Investigates: Wombs for Rent."

We should be on near the end of the show. Just don't know how they will edit it. Even if we aren't, I think it was a great show and very informative.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Morning with Oprah

Here is a recap of our morning on the Oprah show.

We got up at 3:30 am not really having slept at all. We got on the road by 4:30 and I couldn't believe all the traffic. We found the studio without any problems and paid $24 for parking. There was already a line outside the studio so we took our last sips of coffee and got in line. It was a long wait before we checked in and then they checked our bags and purses. We were ushered upstairs and they had us sit in chairs while TV screens played old Oprah episodes. We were exhausted, mentally and physically. We knew why we were there, we knew the show had to do with infertility to some point. Obviously not everyone in the crowd was related to infertility. The room was loud with a lot women talking about how they got tickets, how they called and waited for over 5 hours to get through and their new outfits. Jaime and I just starred at the wall.
Finally they announced that they were getting ready to take us to the studio but were going to call out some names first to get seated first. My name was the first called. The crowd gasped, how cool. We were ushered into the studio and a lady said, "are you the Hansons? Come this way." There was the stage, the 4 white leather seats that Oprah and the guests sit in, the front row was about 6 feet from the stage. Some of the seats had reserved signs and there were two with our names on them. Wow, we are going to be in the front row. We sat down and took everything in, the lights, the cameras, people running around, the screens with the title of the show "Lisa Ling Explores Wombs for Rent." Wow (too early for me to think of any other words), I said again, Lisa Ling will be here, I love Lisa. "Jaime and Tracey Hanson?" We were being called again, this time for personal mics. They took us off to the side to get mic'd and checked. After we sat again, one of the producers (the one I spoke to on Saturday) went through some housekeeping items, how to answer questions, not just yes or no but not long and windy. The couple next to us asked why we were there; "starting IVF" I told them. She told us that they tried for 5 years, were told it was medically impossible for them to get pregnant and they went ahead with IVF and got pregnant on the third try. They have a little girl, 4 years old, and are going to try again.
Another producer came out and got the crowd going. Cheering, practicing questions, answering other questions etc. Then Lisa Ling and a couple came on stage and took their seats. Wow, Lisa is so tiny and beautiful. Then came Oprah. Crowd stood and went crazy. She was beautiful. She had her hair down and curly and was wearing the coolest shoes I have ever seen. We sat right away, serious topic, not much fun and craziness. The show started with focus on this couple, Jennifer and Kendall, who could not have children but wanted to explore surrogacy. The cost in America can run up to $80,000 so they looked elsewhere and after searching they decided to go to India. Lisa decided to follow them on their journey. They had TV screens that showed the series. I'm not going to go deep into the topic because you will need to watch the show to get a real understanding of it all. Most of us were in tears. Jennifer and Kendall were amazing and so strong. Those women in India were amazing and so strong. After that series was over, they put Lisa, Jennifer and Kendall in the front row with us, took away two chairs and this tall beautiful woman came on stage and sat next to Oprah. Oprah introduced her at Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter. She is trying to have a baby, using donor sperm, and talked about how expensive it is, what women have to do, IVF, the medications, tests etc.
After a break they brought out a table with all of her medications she takes (and I will be taking soon) including all the different kind of needles. This was very surreal, that is us, that is what we will be going. Oprah asked her good questions.
During the next break a producer came and gave Oprah some cards with our info, another couple's info etc. Oprah looked at us and confirmed who we were. Oh boy, this is it I thought, my heart started racing, and Jaime just took my hand and held onto it. Oprah started the next segment, with Alexis still on stage, talking about other couples going through infertility. First she talked to the couple on our right. They have been trying for many years, 6 rounds of IVF, still not pregnant. Then she said something to the effect of, "And the Hanson's, Jaime and Tracey Hanson took out another mortgage to pay for IVF, Tracey, 34 says they have been trying for over two years?" and she looked at me to confirm 2 years, Yes, I said, 2 years. And then I confirmed that we had taken out home equity loan to pay for IVF. Then she asked if we started yet, and I said that we were going to start with those injections in two weeks. Then it was kind of a blur, Alexis said something to me about injections and then Oprah said to Jennifer, "So Jen, what kind of advice do you have for Trac?" There was a little more conversation, Lisa said something to the couples. I can't remember! Then it was over. Everyone clapped.
Oprah asked us a couple more questions after the "show" and they kept running cameras etc. We had a little more discussion and Oprah left, then Lisa came and shook all our hands in the front telling us good luck. We sat down and more producers came out to have us sign more sheets. There was a Dr behind us from a clinic in Chicago, she started talking to me right away. They will be doing a study with new fertility medications staring in 2008. All medications, testing and IVF will be covered. She gave me her card and told me to call her if we aren't pregnant by then. Another woman and I exchanged cards. Then another producer came told us and the two other couples that talked to come with him. Um, OK, thinking there will be more stuff to sign. He ushers us to back stage where Oprah, Lisa Ling, Alexis Stewart, Jennifer and Kendall were hanging out. "Oprah wants pictures with all of you." Oprah comes up to me and give me a big side bear hug squeeze, Jaime says "am I included in this?" and she says, of course you are! and grabs Jaime, the photographer takes a bunch of shots. Lisa comes up to us again to wish us luck. I looked and Jennifer, who is beautiful by the way, and said, "thank you for sharing your story, it really meant a lot to me to see another perspective." We chatted a bit and were ushered out. As we were walking to our car many people stopped us and wished us luck, it's like we were celebrities. As much as it was exciting, it was exhausting. It was a lot to take in not only because it was Oprah but because of the subject matter.

Whew, done. I'm so tired!

My letter to Oprah

Let's face it, these next couple posts will be all about Oprah. Some people have asked me what I wrote to Oprah that got me on the show. So here is the email I sent last Thursday morning. I will post about our day on Oprah later.

I have brown eyes, my husband has blue. Our mothers tell us we were very active children and probably could have been labeled ADD. I would run away from my mom at the mall and run to the stage to dance for anyone that would watch. My husband was talking in full sentences at age 2. We both had long, string straight, white hair. He played on the chess team in high school, I was in theater. He plays violin, I play flute.. He plays volleyball, racquetball and mountain bikes, I ran cross country and track in high school, college and still actively run today. Can you imagine what our child will be like? Yeah, so do we, and we may never know.

My husband and I have been trying to have a child of our own. Someone who will represent the two of us. It's been over two years. We started slow and relaxed. After a year of trying the doctor said I had to wake up every morning to take and chart my temperature to make sure I was ovulating. Then started the tests; invasive and sometimes painful. Blood was drawn, more blood was drawn again, ultrasounds, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), semen analysis, more pap smears, and then it was onto a specialist. He met with us, studied our charts and said, "I don’t understand why you aren't pregnant, lets try intrauterine insemination (IUI)." I had to start taking Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) which comes with side effects; dizziness, hot flashes, mood swings and headaches. More blood work, more ultrasounds, trigger shots that bruised my butt and then the IUI, which I describe as having sex with a catheter. Two tries, not pregnant. We were physically, emotionally and financially spent. We needed a break and took the summer off. We endured baptisms at church, family gatherings with children running around and many pregnancy announcements. We stayed pretty strong through it all but did have a couple breakdowns. One more IUI and another negative pregnancy test. I just don't understand how women get pregnant their first time trying, or not trying.

After much research and referrals we decided to make an appointment with a fertility clinic in Gurnee, IL (we live in Milwaukee, WI). An hour drive, more blood draws, another ultrasound an hour consultation with the Doctor, and a review of the success rates we decided to use this clinic. We are on the road to our first In vitro fertilization (IVF). But before we started we needed more tests done. More time off of work, another hour drive for blood work, lining tests, ultrasounds, a hysteroscopy and others I can't even remember. My husband also learned how to mix the medications and use the syringe for the injections he will have to give me, twice a day for at least 10 days. This is just a taste of what IVF includes.

Financially we had to take out a home equity loan to afford IVF because majority of insurance companies refuse to pay for infertility. Their claim? It's a lifestyle choice. Emotionally it has been rough. There are times I just break down crying for no reason and my husband just holds me. Fortunately it has not been a strain on our relationship. If anything, I have fallen in love with my husband all over again and more and more each day. He has been my rock.

My current fight is awareness. I'm not afraid to share my story. I blog about our infertility. Our family and close friends know what we are going through and I try to educate them as much as possible.
We may never have children or our own. But we are going to fight as hard as we can. Will we try donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos or adoption? Probably not at this point. But we have peace with our decision at this time in our lives.
But for now, bring on the medications, injections and lets pray this works.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I met Oprah today!

Met her, got a hug and a picture with her. I sat in front row. She asked me questions; I will be on the show when it airs. Not sure on date yet. I'll tell entire story later. We've been up since 3:30 am and I need a nap.
I will also catch up on my 8 random things about me. Thanks Erin and Danica!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Congratulations Brett Favre (and Packers too!)

My favorite athlete of all time, Brett Favre, broke Dan Marino's record this weekend for the most career touchdowns passes. That's 422 touchdown passes to 43 different receivers.