Friday, July 24, 2009


It's confirmed... the dr. called today to say- WE'RE PREGNANT!!!!!!! This is such a dream come true for us. This (these) baby (babies?) have been hoped for and prayed about for so long! I can't believe we're going to be parents in 9 months!

My first ultrasound will be in about 2 weeks, and we'll know more then. For now, keeping up with the shots and meds, no excersise (grrr!) and more waiting. For sure our prayers have been answered though.

Lots of love,
Heather and Tim
(aka. Mommy and Daddy)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's going on?

The waiting this week has been so intense! I'm really glad we did this process over summer break because it hasn't been my finest week. Lots of side effects from the progesterone shots and probably still from the embryo transfer.

So, while we're waiting I thought I'd post what should be happening with the embrios now...

this is what happens in a 5 day transfer (which is what we did. It means 5 days after the egg retrieval):
-1 day before transfer- embryo is growing and developing in petri dish
-0 days before transfer (i.e. day of transfer!)-embryo is now a blastocyst
-1 day past transfer- blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
-2 days past transfer- blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
-3 days past transfer- implantation begins as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
-4 days past transfer- implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
-5 days past transfer- morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
-6 days past transfer- placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
-7 days past transfer- more HCG is produced as fetus develops
-8 days past transfer- more HCG is produced as fetus develops

Hopefully those little embies- Faith and Hope- are growing strong. Grow babies, grow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Couch Potato!

I have been on bedrest since Thursday morning because... we got the embyro's transferred!

Here are the pictures of the blastulas that were transferred. Isn't it amazing how perfectly round and similar they are? They are beautiful! I've been doing my best to keep as flat as possible to give them a chance to attach, so they can grow.

Apparently we already have so much to be thankful for. I've been on a forum for other women who have been on the same cycle as I have with the clinic we chose, and we have been very lucky, to say the least. We had 22 eggs retrieved and 13-14 fertilized, but a lot of women don't have many eggs or they don't have a good number fertilze. One woman had 2 fertilized but neither of them made it to blastula stage. My heart was broken for her, but still trying to stay positive and upbeat for us. The blastulas we didn't use are going to be frozen for the future.

In the meantime, it's been hard to stay so still! It's funny that there are some days we just wish for time to sit and relax and don't get it. When we have to, it's not as much fun! Oh well, we got lots of good movies and books and I have my laptop :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our Lucky Number is... 13!

We waited all day Sunday for the phone call, but I had to call Monday morning to see how our eggs were doing. They told us we had 13 fertilized!

Tim thinks we should implant all 13 and have our own reality show called the Horstmann Horde- 13 and Done! Just kidding, we'll probably stick with our plans of 2.

The egg retrieval really took a lot out of me. I was down for the count on Saturday, and today is really the first day I feel like I have energy or drive to do anything. I've felt bloated and uncomfortable since Saturday, and found out today that it's a typical side-effect to the egg retrieval process. It's all worth it, but I really didn't think it would have affected me so much.

We just keep praying for our babies, and hope they decide to stick on Thursday!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harvest Time!

a cell being fertilized

Yesterday Tim and I went in to the doctor to get my eggs harvested. I thought it would be no big deal... ha! They totally knocked me out, and I didnt' feel anything- until later! The anesthesia made me sick and I was in so much pain yesterday! But it was all worth it, because they took out 22 follicles, which is a ton!

A fertilized egg at the embryonic stage.
This one has 8 cells

They fertilized the eggs yesterday, and we should know how many made it past the first stage later today. Tim had to give me a shot of progesterone, which we will continue for the next 2 months or so. It HURT! The needle was really long because it had to go into my muscle. Usually the follicle provides progesterone to a female's body when it releases the egg, but since they took the follicles before they could expell the eggs, we have to provide the hormones instead. Eventually the placenta will start making progesterone for my body to be a good environment for the baby(ies!).

5 days after the eggs are fertilized, they become blastulas. This is a big step for the fertilzed eggs, so not all will make it. The ones that do will be graded and they will choose the two best ones to transfer back into me. We're thinking that will be sometime Thursday afternoon. We just have to wait for the call!

A fertilized egg at blastula stage.
It's a big hollow ball of cells- how cool is that?

Last night Tim and I said our prayers before we went to bed, and he asked God to take care of all our babies and help them grow. So sweet!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ultrasound Today

I went in for an ultrasound today, and the Dr. said everything looks great! He counted 15 follicles that will be big enough to extract and a few more that were too small. Holy crap, that's a lot! No wonder my ovariesback has been hurting so bad!!

Now, I know you must be asking yourself... "15 follicles? Will they all be babies?" No, Tim and I don't want to compete with Jon and Kate or the Duggars (for all you TLC fans). We will most likely implant 2 blastulas, and they will freeze and store the others for us.

I'm continuing to give myself the Follistim shots and Lupron shots as well as take the steriod pills orally. My next appointment is on Thursday for a follow-up to see how well the follies grew, and to set up an appointment for extraction. It's looking like it might be this Saturday!

Needless to say, I'm very excited. It feels like we're on track! I'm almost in tears right now thinking that in another few weeks I could be pregnant, and in 9 months Tim and I could be a mommy and daddy. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but everything has been going so well lately, kind of falling into place. I just keep saying my prayers, and hope God sees the true hopes in our hearts.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vanilla Hefeweizen

Last night we decided it was time to brew another batch of our in-famous Headless Horstmann beer. Tim had ordered a vanilla hefeweizen kit, which will be our last kit. We think we're ready to start make our own recipes after this. The first thing we had to do was sterilize all the equipment to make sure it was bacteria free. Then the fun begins.

Tim putting the grain bag into the pot of water.

We had to make sure we only kept the grain bag in the hot water until it got to between 165-175*F or the grains would release too much tannins, which would make it have a more bitter taste. We constantly checked the temp and moved the grain bag so it didn't burn on the bottom.

After the water boiled with grain, we took it off the stove and added the malt extract and hops. We had to keep stirring to dissolve it before we could put it back on the stove... or it would burn and taste bitter.

After the water-grain-malt-hops (now called wort) came to a rolling boil, we had to wait 45 minutes... BUT you have to be very careful to make sure it doesn't burn or boil over. We've done that before and it makes a HUGE sticky, impossible to clean mess.

waiting for it to boil...

Our helpers. Dont' worry, they didnt' get any hair in the brew :)

We hooked the heat-transfer coil up to the sink, ready to rapidly cool the wort down. You have to make sure it's cooled down to 80*F. The heat-transfer coil does this quickly to keep bacteria from forming in the wort.

Pouring the cooled wort into the primary fermenter

Adding the yeast to the wort... they'll eat the sugars from the malt extract and hops, and the bi-product will be alcohol (okay yes, I'm a science teacher- I think this is cool)

Capping off the fermenter and pouring vodka into the air lock. The vodka keeps it sterile- no bacteria- and you can see the fermentation occur because of the oxygen bubbles that come through the vodka. And you can see, we only use the best, most premium products :)

We'll keep this in the bucket until the bubbles stop coming out of the air lock, and then we'll transfer to the glass carboy. Probably Monday or Tuesday next week.

Shots, Shots, Shots!

One of the first shots I took, Lupron, was to supress my pituitary glands from secreting hormones. Luetenizing hormones and follicle stimulating hormones are both produced in the pituitary gland, so in order to manipulate my ovaries to do what we need them to for the harvesting process of IVF we supressed the pituitary gland and then I'm starting shots that will provide my body with extra hormones.

Last night I started another shot, called Menopur. This one is a leutenizing hormone, which in females will stimulate the ovaries to produce mature follicles. The last shot I started (which I'm still taking) was to make my ovaries produce a lot of follicles. So these two hormones working together should make me have a lot of mature, healthy follicles, which hold the eggs.

On Tuesday I will go in for my ultrasound, where the doctor will determine when he thinks I will be ready to harvest the eggs. I feel like a chicken! Shake a tail feather :)