Rachael Houser Photography » Wedding Photographer based in Western Kentucky

Picking up from last week’s post, more journal entries! This week is missing Friday and Saturday’s entry because apparently, I didn’t write in my journal those nights.

IVF, Week 2, The Egg Retrieval:

July 13th: I woke up very early this morning for another Nashville appointment – a blood draw and ultrasound. The ultrasound technician felt certain Dr. V would trigger me (to ovulate) soon! I waited anxiously for Dr. V to call me tonight with further instructions but when he did call, it wasn’t to trigger me… just to keep my injection dosage the same and remind me come back in the morning.

July 14th: I drove to Nashville again this morning by myself. Another blood draw and ultrasound. The ultrasound technician said she was sure Dr. V would trigger me last night and was surprised to see me on her schedule for today. Which excited me! – that made me think that the day after being trigger would be a day without driving to Nashville, a day without getting stabbed in the arm for a blood draw – but found out that wasn’t the case. This evening, when my case manager called, she told me to take the trigger shot tonight but also told me to come in for another blood draw in the morning. When my case manager called to tell me to take the trigger shot, we were on our way to have dinner with friends and was told to immediately turn around to go back to our house so I could give myself the trigger shot. We packed our bags for Nashville to leave early tomorrow morning for a blood draw and the egg retrieval Wednesday… progress!

July 15th: Neil & I woke up early and drove to Nashville for my last blood draw before they retrieve me eggs! No ultrasound today so the appointment was short and we essentially had all day in Nashville, with nothing to do. To pass the time, we did a little shopping at the Opry Mills Mall and are now staying the night at their hotel – which is huge and lovely!

July 16th: We woke up and got to the clinic early and thankfully, they took me back right away. While I changed and signed consents, Neil took care of his “part” for the egg retrieval, and they took me back to the procedure room and started my IV. I spent more time waiting than the actual egg retrieval took but I guess that’s normal. I remember looking at the clock when the Dr. and team walked in – 10:15am – and they immediately started the sedation and I was out. When I awoke, only 30 minutes had passed. I passed out again and woke up again and another 30 minutes had passed, but I was in recovery and they were bringing Neil back to see me. When I was sitting up and more than just half awake, they told us they retrieved 33 eggs! They seemed very impressed with that amount so of course I was too! They released us and we drove home. The pain had already started and the rest of the day was spent being very sore and on bed rest, sleeping off and on.

July 17th: I was on bed rest until around noon today so I just slept in bed. I’m still very uncomfortable but slowly getting better. My case manager called sometime after lunch to give me my numbers – 33 eggs were retrieved, 26 of those were fully mature, and they were able to fertilize 18 of those eggs! So exciting!! But what is more exciting is that they’ll perform the transfer Monday morning!! The icing on the cake is that I’ll be able to shoot this Saturday’s wedding! After dinner we stopped by Neil’s mom’s for the first of no telling how many nightly injections in the hips of the new medication cocktail. It’s suppose to hurt but it didn’t at all! I guess the real test will be if it’s sore tomorrow.

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During the first month or so I kept an IVF journal. The best way to explain what my month of July was like, I thought I’d write straight from my journal.

IVF treatment, Week 1:

July 6th: I have been taking PNV (pre natal vitamins) and two other supplements for over a month now. Tonight, I started my injections. For right now, I only give myself one shot in the skin below of my stomach, below my belly button each night. The needle stick doesn’t bother me but medication stings going in. I hope I get use to it. Neil and I have bother added an antibiotic pill to our pill count… we take one at breakfast and one with our dinner. I had my last soda last night at a wedding and from here on out, will only be drinking water, milk, and tea.

July 7th: Today is my and Neil’s 7th wedding anniversary. This morning, I rode bikes with mom – 15 miles. I know eventually, I’ll have to stop bicycling and I’ll miss it. Walking will have to take its place. I ate an early lunch so later in the afternoon I had to eat lunch again. Nothing tasted good to me. Neil and I had our anniversary dinner at Patti’s – I’m so glad I had an appetite for at least that wonderful place. Everything was delicious – as usual. Tonight was my second injection in my stomach. The medication still stings. I’ll work at the hospital tomorrow and plan to eat a Subway deli sandwich for lunch. I’m not big on deli meat but it’s something I can’t eat while pregnant so I’m going to enjoy it.

July 8th: I had, what apparently was old, applesauce for breakfast this morning at work and it didn’t sit well with me. I was nauseous more most of the morning. Since moving back to Paducah, Neil and I have eaten dinner at my parents house fairly regularly – about twice a week – because mom likes to cook, it’s easier to cook for four people, and by the time I get off work I’m starving! It works well now but I know it’ll be even better during this IVF process and (hopefully) the pregnancy because my mom always cooks incredibly well balanced meals (she’s a dietitian!). My third injection was tonight – the medication didn’t sting as much so I’m no longer dreading it! Tomorrow is my first IVF appointment since I started the injections!

July 9th: At my appointment in Nashville today, the drew blood and did an ultrasound to check the egg maturity in my ovaries.They called later to tell me that my hormones levels were “perfect” and right on target so there was no change in my dosage. That was music to my ears! That means my body is responding correctly to the treatments! Tonight’s injection only stung right at the end. I think the key is to inject the medication in slowly. One of the side affects of the medication far so is most definitely difficulty sleeping. I hope it’s just an adjustment because I don’t function well without a good nights sleep!

July 10th: I worked at the hospital today for the last time before our procedures. It felt like the day would never end and I am just now realizing why – I had to complete this one last day before tomorrow’s appointment. I’m sure every day from here on our will feel like an eternity! Every day until the egg retrieval, until the embryo transfer, until the pregnancy test… I feel these human emotions but I also feel the peace that God is giving me – the patience that I’ve prayed for. I’ve been alternating sides of my stomach that I inject – tonight’s was on the right side and only stung a little. So far, yesterday’s was the worst.

July 11th: Today’s appointment went well! My endometrial lining went from 6.something last Wednesday to a 7.something this past Wednesday, to a 10.4 today! They only need between 8 and 12 during the embryo transfer which is over a week away! My follicle (egg) count was better too. No change in medication! Today, I added a new injection at noon, still in my stomach. The needle is slightly large but the medication doesn’t sting going in.

July 12th: I had a wedding today…I excused myself to my car to give myself the noon injection and, because it’s a large needle, ended up bleeding through my top a little. I’m sure that looked interesting. I’ve been very uncomfortable these past few days and was thrilled when I never got to feeling bad today. Once thing is for sure – I’m hungry ALL THE TIME and am probably going to start gaining weight. Thanks to one of my nightly pills, a steroid.

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It was a beautiful day to spend a couple hours with your high school best friend and her fiancé! We met at Tamela’s ex-boss’s property and was told we had access to two other properties in the neighborhood! What generous people! We had more than enough backgrounds to shoot in front of BUT on the way to the location, I drove past the most gorgeous line of yellow leafed trees and I was thrilled that we had just enough time for a few poses there at the end of their session. Thanks for being such troopers, Tamela & Patrick!

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Tamela Hayton -

These are beautiful! I can’t wait to see all of them! Thanks for making us look so good! Love ya!

Roberta Bonk -

Rachael, you are a fantastic, artistic photographer. We enjoyed meeting you and we look forward to seeing more of your projects.

Roberta Bonk -

Rachael, you are a fantastic, artistic photographer. We enjoyed meeting you and we look forward to seeing more of your projects.

Several months ago, Keisha and Matt did a Just Because session with me. But what you didn’t know was that it was actually their pregnancy announcement session!!! A week or so later they used a few images from their session to announce to their friends and family that they were expecting their first bundle of joy in January 2015!

Now, Keisha’s due date with her baby boy Blake is quickly approaching so we returned to the previous session’s location (aka, my parents’ property) for her maternity session. Keisha only has 2 and 1/2 months left, while I have 5 months (today actually!) I can only pray that I look as good as she did does for my maternity session!

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This past Saturday was the last of our family weddings for the year – three total! These past two years – through engagement sessions and wedding – I’ve grown really close to Neil’s Nashville family and it makes me sad to think I won’t be seeing them all again soon. I guess we’ll just have to plan for a reunion because I don’t think I can wait till the next in line to be married gets married! That’s YEARS away!

Whitney & Adam’s wedding day was a brisk one and thank goodness it took place indoors! The Eastland Baptist Church in East Nashville is the church Whitney’s parents were married and where Whitney’s mom’s parents were married! I love that they chose to keep the tradition going! It was fun to think that Whitney was getting her dress on in the very same room that her grandmother got in her dress years ago…. how sweet!

The first look with her dad! Brought tears to everyones’ eyes!!

And finally, the first look with her groom! What a neat switch up! Adam approached Whitney and brought her bouquet to her!

Because theirs was an afternoon wedding, the reception ended and the guests left before sunset! We saved Whitney & Adam’s portraits for after it was all said and done, which made so much sense! We weren’t rushed and we had beautiful light! So thankful for my couples who grin and bare it out in the cold!

This house was across a side street from the church and was the only fall foliage we could find in the immediate area. And the owners were home! Thank goodness they either didn’t see us shooting in their front yard OR didn’t care. We stole just a few minutes for some of the prettiest images of the day!

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Karen McLeod Hinson -

So beautiful Rachael! Thank you so much. I love them!

Patsy Moore Huddleston -

Beautiful…so glad we could share in this joyous occasion.

Hannah Howell -

so beautiful!!!! Such a sweet couple! I’m so happy for you guys! Whitney, you are so beautiful!

Eric S. Hinson -

Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics! I was honored to be able to officiate my niece’s wedding. Best wishes to Adam & Whitney Harper!

Judy Briley-Henry -


Desha Larkin Hearn -

Beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple.

Melanie Johnson Kenney -

Love these pics! A great day!