Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

As I look back at 2010, my first thought is to think of the bad things, primarily related to my infertility: 3 IUI’s, 1 IVF, 1 ectopic pregnancy, 1 miscarriage at 8 ½ weeks, 1 MTHFR diagnosis, 1 activated NK diagnosis, no baby...

But I need to also focus on the good things of 2010:

-The hubs new job. He’s loving it, and if he likes his job, he’s a happy man. This has been really nice.

-Came out to most close people in my life about infertility. And most everyone has been pretty supportive. It has brought my mother and me closer, which is amazing in itself. And I’ve even started talking about my reproductive issues with my dad, and he’s been so sweet about it.

-Fabulous European vacation. 4 countries, great friends to vacation with, really good times.

-Closer with the hubs than ever before. All this infertility stuff really has helped us learn to talk to each other, or at least we’re trying.

-Started this blog. I can’t thank all of you enough for your support, and your willingness to listen to my crazy ramblings. I NEVER thought I would have a blog, but here I am, and I love it!

And so now I look forward to 2011:

This will be the year that I will get in charge of my weight. I will start treating my body well, and nourish it with good foods. And I will start exercising regularly. I will turn 36 this year. It is time for me to take care of this body! I have been neglecting it, and right now I’m angry at it for not working. I expect so much of my body that I need to be nicer to it. I’m not really doing any kind of weight loss goals, because who knows what will happen with fertility treatments and hopefully pregnancy. But no matter what, I will exercise. And eat good nutritious foods.

My job will be changing. I’m about 90% confident that there will be significant layoffs by the end of January. We’re all guessing it will be between 20%-50% of the company, and I’m guessing more like 30-40%. I’m also about 90% confident that I won’t lose my job, but I am about 100% confident that I will be losing some of the people that work for me, which would seriously suck. I’ve been here for 2 layoffs, and my job hasn’t really changed that much, but I think that this one will change my job a lot. The one person that really needs to leave is my direct boss, as he does just about nothing, and makes a ton of money. Seriously, from about 4 to 6 every day, he reads the paper. And from 8-10 every morning, he goes around and talks to people socially. He doesn’t have any work to do! We need to keep the “do-ers” and get rid of some of our upper people, but we don’t seem to do that. This will be the fourth layoff at our company since January 2007, and we tend to keep the VP’s, and get rid of the staff. In football, that would be the equivalent of firing all the waterboys and the guys on the bench if the team does poorly, instead of getting rid of the coach! So this will be interesting to see what happens.

We will continue to be as aggressive as possible with fertility treatments. We now have insurance with the hubs new job that pays for fertility up to $25K, and we’re going to bleed that dry. I spent about 3 hours yesterday working on my medical expenses for 2010, as we’ll be able to deduct them this year for the first (and hopefully last) time. Makes me sick how much all this costs. I would love to have a new year’s resolution about having a baby, or getting pregnant, or something. But I did that last year. And it didn’t work. This year, I will only make a resolution or goal with something I can control. And I can choose to keep going with fertility treatments. Statistically, if we keep trying, one of these times it will work, right? That’s the only thing that is keeping me going.

So as I look back to last year, and think about the next year, I’m not happy with 2010. It was hard, and I went through too much. I always knew it would be hard to have a baby – not because of anything in particular, but I just KNEW. But this hard? I had no idea. But this is just what we have to do to have our baby. For some reason, we have to go through all of this. And so we will.

I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight! We will be celebrating with friends at a small house party. I will be kissing the hubs and drinking champagne and having hope that 2011 will be a wonderful year for all of us!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Recap

As much as I was dreading this weekend – the negative test, then staying at home by myself while the hubs went to his family for Christmas Eve, then Christmas morning by myself, and then Christmas evening with the hubs, it all turned out pretty well.

The hubs was great. I think he knew he needed to above and beyond with niceness, and he did. He was nice Friday morning after the negative HPT (I had told him exactly what to say if the test was negative – he’s pretty decent with a script), and he went above and beyond with nice comments throughout the weekend. I made it Christmas Eve by myself very well, thanks to my friends who took me out for a drink. I had a lovely martini (just one – what if I was pregnant??? I hate the game of hope…) and then went home, another friend called me knowing I was alone, and then went to bed early. Saturday morning I woke up and just cleaned stuff up around the house, not really having anything to do. The hubs bought the Logitech Revue thing for us, and also bought one for his family, and both have cameras. So he set it up at his parent’s house on Christmas Eve, and they called me on Christmas morning to test to make sure it worked. So we had a little webcast when I was by myself, and I watched everyone having breakfast together. I hated that part. Originally the hubs had offered that they would open presents at his parents and I could watch on a webcast. I told him that sounded like an awful idea – there’s no way I’m sitting by myself and watching him and his family open presents. So he changed the plan.

That afternoon, I picked him up at the airport, and by 5:00 pm, we were back at home and called his family. For the next hour, we watched them open presents via webcast, at least the presents we got them, and they watched us open the presents they got us. I have to admit, it was kind of fun. I was a big scrooge about most of it up until then, but as long as the hubs was with me, it wasn’t too bad. His grandma kept asking, “why are we doing it like this?” One uncle kept asking us if we wanted him to fix us a drink. Everyone thought it was bizarre that we wouldn’t be there for Christmas, especially considering the hubs was there that morning! Whatever – I don’t really care what they think of me. I won’t have to see most of them until next Christmas, and the ones that I will see soon know what’s going on. I just wish that staying home for Christmas was worth it. Now I scrooged up Christmas AND I’m not even pregnant…

After we hung up the webcast, we had our own Christmas, which was really nice. We’ve never done this. In seven years together, we’ve never had a private Christmas, and I really liked it. The hubs completely spoiled me. As always, we agreed on a dollar limit, and as always he went completely over the limit. I was very good throughout the whole Christmas – didn’t cry in front of him – except once. He gave me a little cardboard book for babies – Doggies – a counting and barking book. He has never once bought anything for a baby since we’ve been trying. We have a few things, but I’ve purchased them all. For him to have bought something for a baby… I’m sure he thought I’d be pregnant by Christmas too. This was hard to unwrap.

After unwrapping gifts, I made dinner. And using the word “made” is a stretch. I took out the honey-baked ham (LOVE!) from the refrigerator, and took out a couple frozen sides from the same store and popped those in the oven, and steamed some green beans, and served it all with store-bought rolls. It was fabulous, and took about as much effort as I could bear. And that’s about it. We just chilled out the rest of the weekend, and I had the day off yesterday, which involved going to the doctor for a negative pregnancy test – good times. And now I’m back at work.

I’m so happy to have Christmas over and done with. I had such high hopes that I would be happy and pregnant this Christmas, and I wasn’t. But it was as good as it possibly could have been. I’m proud of the way I handled myself during most of the weekend. I didn’t even have any meltdowns in front of the hubs, and we’ve been getting along great. After receiving the news yesterday and the order to stop the meds, we even had sex for the first time in a LONG time (between the hysteroscopy and restrictions after that to IVF and the restrictions after that – a very long time). I don’t know what we’ll be doing for New Year’s, but I have a feeling it will involve drinks – a lot of drinks. And I’m very happy to start another year – I’m so done with 2010.

Today is beginning my weight loss plan. No real rules, but each week I will pick something to add. This week I’m tracking everything that goes in my mouth. I usually try to do this, and stop very soon. But today, I’m starting and sticking with it! I have the Lose It! app on my iphone, and it’s very easy to use, so I’m doing it today. Not really sticking to a certain amount of calories, but just writing everything down. Plus I find that anytime I do this, I definitely think about it before I put things in my mouth… Babysteps… Usually when I try to lose weight, I go super big, and then crash and burn. So this week, all I’m doing is writing everything down.

I just have to do something that makes me feel better about myself. Because right now, after doing the biggest, most dramatic type of reproductive procedure, and it not working, I’m not feeling very good about myself… I know I’ve tried as hard as I could, and I did everything I could, but I feel like such a failure. My body couldn’t keep two perfect embryos alive. And I can’t help but feel like once again, I’ve failed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Officially Over

I just got the call. My beta officially proved that I'm not pregnant - IVF #1 didn't work. I'm not surprised, I had given up on Friday when I tested negative, but I hate how optimistic and hopeful I can be, because I kept playing out fantasies in my head, what if I was wrong???  And so all weekend, and especially today, I still hoped. I hate this about me, that I can work myself up and continue to have hope even when all evidence points the other way. I guess this is what keeps me going through all this mess. 

I need to schedule a consult with my doc, and I suppose we'll just go forward with a frozen transfer. I have to wait a month to do this, right? I think people usually have a cycle that's unmedicated before going forward with frozen, right?

The problem with going forward with frozen is it's less successful than fresh, and I keep getting older, and then what Dr. Sher said keeps coming up in my head. He said that given my LH levels are higher than my FSH levels on day 3, he recommends Lupron before stimming, and if you don't do this, it could affect egg quality. My local doc doesn't agree, but what if it's true? The 9 frozen embryos wouldn't be any better than the 2 that didn't make it, and they were fresh!

All I know is I'm so tired of this. I'm tired of trying to get pregnant. I know I have a few more rounds of this battle in me, but I'm not sure how long I can keep it up. We just did the most effective thing you can do to have a baby, and it didn't work. I know we have to just keep going and continue to try, but for how long? I wish I knew this was worth it, because today I'm not so sure.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Christmas Surprise...

Well, my first IVF is over. Tested negative this morning. At 17 days past retrieval, and 12 days past transfer, I think we can call it. I have the beta on Monday, but please don't tell me I should have any hope - I just can't do that this weekend. It's too far gone for that.

Dropped the hubs off at the airport, and will be wallowing today for Christmas Eve... Actually a friend just called and he and his girlfriend are taking me out for a drink later. So that will be good. I'm handling it pretty well, only cried a little. I told myself this morning before I took the test that I'm strong, and I can handle anything that comes my way... I just really wish this wasn't it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Have a Confession

No, I haven’t tested. Not since I told the hubs I wouldn’t – on Monday. I’ve been doing really well – both yesterday and today. Anyone that asked, online or IRL, I would tell them that I won’t find out until next week, but I don’t think it worked. At some point, I started questioning why I’m fine, how am I handling this so well? I’m not upset, I’m not even sad, or anything! I don’t get it!

And then, finally, I sat down and thought about it. And realized that sometime between Monday night and now, I changed my mind. I have hope again. I’m not upset, because I think I’m pregnant. I think this worked – I feel these embryos inside of me, and I’m looking forward to the beta so I can confirm that I’m pregnant.

This is not what I needed – I shouldn’t have hope. I know the stats, and I know the likelihood of getting a negative on 13 days past retrieval and still being pregnant are slim. But there’s hope!!! And stupid, silly me… I’m hoping. And setting myself up for disappointment…again.

I have a plan. I’m going to test on Friday. With a FRER. I told the hubs I was going to do it. I’ll be 17 days past retrieval, and 12 days past transfer. It will be effective, right? And if it’s negative, I’m going to call it. I’m just going to accept whatever it says. And I will be having a drink on Christmas Eve if it’s negative. Not because I really need one, but in my mind, that’s the truest form of accepting it’s negative. I’ll have a caffeinated latte in the morning, and wine in the evening – all my forbidden splurges…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Welcome, ICLW!

Here we are, in December. Oh what a year. The quick recap for this year: 3 IUI’s, the first turned into an ectopic pregnancy, the second I got pregnant, and I lost my dear baby at 8 ½ weeks, and the third IUI was a BFN. I’m in the middle of the THREE week wait of my first IVF – today is 9 days past 5 day transfer. Beta next Monday. Started the year off as unexplained infertility, have been diagnosed with compound heterozygous for MTHFR and activated Natural Killer cells.

Those are the stats – now the real stuff is I’m not feeling very optimistic about my chances with this IVF. I had a testing fiasco this weekend, and the last test was yesterday, at 13 days past retrieval, 8 days past a 5 day transfer. And they were all negative. The hubs and I got into a big fight about it, and I agreed to not test any more.

I appreciate everyone’s comments about testing. It really is beneficial to hear about other people’s experiences and research. I had a long talk about it with my therapist last night, and then shared your comments and my therapist’s opinion with the hubs last night when I got home. He has such a hard time with sharing his feelings – just like a lot of men out there. He is still very optimistic, and he wants to trust our doctor – if the doctor says we can’t know until this weekend at the earliest, then that’s the way it is. So I told him he could be optimistic, but I didn’t have to be. It’s too hard to have hope, and then have my hopes dashed – that was what was happening with the testing – I was cycling through hope and despair several times a day! Every morning, I’d wake up real early, and think “today could be the day, I could find out I’m pregnant. Oh, what if it’s true, what if I’m pregnant? I really want to find out!” And then I would test, and then it would be negative, and I’d be crushed. And then later in the day, I’d convince myself that it was too early, that maybe tomorrow it will be positive. I can’t do this anymore. With the help of my therapist, I’ve decided that I’m just going to try to accept that this cycle didn’t work. It’s too hard otherwise. And if by some chance I get a beta on Monday that says otherwise, it will just be a wonderful surprise. (By the way, I called the nurse yesterday afternoon and begged for an early beta. They’re closed on Thursday and Friday, and they really believe Wednesday is too early – no more explanation than that.)

Somehow after changing my mindset, I feel better today. I didn’t test, and the hubs hadn’t even hid my tests. And I didn’t really want to test either. I may try to convince the hubs that we should test on Friday morning before he leaves. But I may wait until Monday. We’ll see. For now, I’m sad, and that’s ok too. We have plans for the future – I have nine frozen embryos waiting for me. But somehow I’ll make it through this week, and start really planning for the future next week, whatever future that may be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Let’s Start Over

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments about my testing escapades. Let’s face the facts – I tested too early. And kept testing. Tested again today – negative. And I completely worked myself into a tizzy. Which led to expressing my negative thoughts. Which led to a fight with the hubs – it was bad. “Alex, I’m sick of dealing with your negativity, for two fucking years!” Ah yes dear, we’re both sick of infertility, we’re both sick of dealing with this, and we’re both sick of my negativity. Maybe I should have shared more of the positivity I had last week…

So after the blow-up this morning, and lots of tears on my part, I wrote him an email. The subject was “You’re right” (always a good way to start out an email, or any conversation after a fight). And then I said, “I shouldn’t have tested so early. Tonight I’ll give you my remaining tests and you should hide them. And I won’t buy any more. I test early to try to prevent the meltdown at work and try to get used to the idea that it won’t work over time, but I should instead assume everything’s ok and I’m pregnant until the doctor says otherwise. I’ll try to do this. OK?” And he said OK.

And then I went to the doctor to get my blood drawn, just to have my hormone levels OTHER than hCG monitored (everything looks fine). And they said my official blood test won’t be until 14 days after the transfer, which would be the 26th, but they’re closed then so come in on the 27th. Are you freaking kidding me??? I have to wait another week??? I know that there are other clinics that do this, but I didn’t think mine would create so much torture in my life! I really thought I would know, for sure, at Christmas. I figured that I would spend Christmas Eve by myself in one of two ways: (1) pregnant, gently holding my belly and talking to my embryos, maybe lighting some candles and having a nice evening looking at the Christmas tree and dreaming of next Christmas with my baby(ies), or (2) not pregnant, drunk as a skunk, on the floor sobbing into my dogs' fur… Now I get to spend the time trying to keep myself from tearing the house apart trying to find the HPT tests, or going to the store, and breaking my promise to the hubs. Good times.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this week. Unbelievable torture! In other news, I’ve had a headache since Saturday. I took two Tylenol yesterday, and it didn’t help. My boobs have hurt since Friday. And today I started feeling nauseous. I would feel great about these “symptoms” except the image of that glaring white space next to the one line on the test keeps popping up in my head. And the fact that I know that all this progesterone and estrogen I’m taking can play some serious mind tricks. And the fact that I know I’ve done this to myself before – completely convinced myself that I was pregnant based on stupid symptoms, and then found out it was all in my head. And the worst question - how can I have these symptoms when I obviously don't have enough hCG in my system to register on a pee stick? I wish I could fast-forward a week. I don’t care about Christmas, I don’t care about anything, I just want it to be next Monday, and receive that call from the nurse telling me I’m pregnant, and my hCG numbers are super high!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It was going to be today

But it’s not. Today was going to be the day I tested, and saw a BFP. Today was going to be the day, at 12 days past retrieval, that it was a decent chance that I would see a BFP. As you could tell from my previous post, I’m a freak about POAS – we all know this. And I start testing too early. After getting all your responses (which by the way, are all over the map - just goes to show you we all have different experiences…) and looking at many different blogs where the ladies tested very soon after transfer and received positive tests, I tested. On Friday. At 5dp5dt. BFN, but that was ok. I didn’t believe it. I got up yesterday and was going to test again, but all my boxes of pregnancy tests were empty! When did that happen? I scrambled through my stuff and found some internet cheapie OPKs, so I used one of those – negative. But that was ok, I didn’t believe it.

But today, I woke up early, peed in a cup, and went to the store. Got some bagels, donuts for the hubs, a decaf latte (heavenly – haven’t had any drop of even decaf coffee in weeks!) and a box of FRER pregnancy tests… Talk about the breakfast of champions. And then I tested. And it was negative. And now I start to wonder. I now have doubt.

This has to work – I can’t even comprehend the possibility of this not working. Christmas is later this week. I decided awhile ago I wasn’t going to travel. We’ve never been in Texas for Christmas; we’ve always gone to Colorado. The hubs’ family is very close, and makes such a big deal about Christmas. We’ve always gone to his parent’s house for Christmas, and his mother’s birthday is on Christmas day as well. I knew that nobody would be happy with my decision to not travel, so I told the hubs that he could make his own decision about traveling. And I would be ok if he went to Colorado and left me in Texas. I just knew that I couldn’t – wouldn’t – travel during early pregnancy. I knew it wasn’t rational, and I didn’t care, and I shouldn’t make the hubs follow my irrational decision. And so he booked a flight for noon on the 24th, and will fly back the afternoon of the 25th. He’ll be gone for one night, and that’s ok. Or at least it was ok when I was going to be pregnant. I could sit at home with my little embryos and be at peace, by myself. It didn’t occur to me that I would be alone at Christmas and not be pregnant. I can’t even imagine…

I know I should have hope – it may be too early. I have to have hope. I know people have tested much later and received positives, but did they receive a negative at 12 dpo? I’m still hoping, but I really hope it’s worth it…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reached that point…

It’s official, it didn’t take long, but I have officially reached the point of complete restlessness, want to know now, when will I be able to know, can’t stand working, can’t stand being at home, why can’t I know, surf the internet, read other blogs, when’s the earliest I can test, want to know now, really need to work, can’t stand it… craziness.

The very cool thing about IVF is the first part of the 2WW is taken up by events: getting over the retrieval; how many did we retrieve?; how many fertilized?; how many should we transfer?; bed rest. So that helped my restlessness last week. Now that I’m through all of that…what do I do now?? I’m back at work, got caught up with most everything yesterday, and now I don’t know what to do with my time. Sure, I have other stuff I should be doing at work, but nothing URGENT. Which means it doesn’t need to be done – anytime soon. Oh, I’m the ultimate procrastinator during the 2WW. And then there’s the other thing. How is the 2WW calculated in this IVF world? I had the retrieval on 12/7, so I should be 9 days into the 2WW, right? In my IUI crazy times, I’d start testing around 10dpo (I got a BFP on 10dpo!), but that seems too early – isn’t it? Especially considering I’ve only had these embryos in me since 12/12 – 4 days… So that would make me 4dp5dt, right? I know none of these dates and labels really matter – I’ll find out at some point, but oh I want to know!

And don’t ask me when my beta is – I don’t really know. Maybe Monday, but the clinic certainly didn’t call it a beta… Last week, when we established my transfer date, I asked the nurse when my beta is, and she said they’ll let me know. I was so confused – how will you let me know? I finally figured out that they bring IVF patients in 2-3 times per week after bed rest to monitor hormone levels. So I went in yesterday, they told me my estradiol and progesterone look good, continue my meds, and I don’t need to come in to my previously scheduled appointment on Friday – just come in on Monday. But they didn’t tell me what was going to be tested… I think they sneak in an hCG test and don’t really tell the patients unless it’s good news. I don’t know, I’m just guessing…

As you can see, I’m driving myself nuts, I’m trying to be calm and distract myself, but it’s just not working. So my question is to you ladies – when do you think I can reliably test? Not test to get a “for sure” result, but a “pretty sure” result will work for me. Because I’m obsessed… And I’ve never been one of those “wait for beta” kind of people… I admire all of you that do that, but it’s just not for me!

(And just as a reminder, I didn’t do an hCG trigger – I did a Lupron trigger – so there’s nothing in my system other than what these embies produce…)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greetings from my bed!

I would like to officially declare bed rest as the absolutely best part of IVF. When else in your life can you stay in bed and be a complete lazy bum without any judgment – AND you don’t even feel bad like you do when you’re sick! It’s been a nice few days, and I’m kind of sad that today is my last day, and I have to go back to the real world tomorrow…

I’ve been working – some. Yesterday, I think I did about three hours of work on a project, and I think I got more accomplished yesterday than I do in most days. Granted, a large part of my job is answering questions and guiding my staff, and I couldn’t do that yesterday, but I’m so much more productive on my back in my bed than in my office! I’ve also done all my Christmas cards, printed labels for the upcoming year’s files, and read about half of Mel’s new book.

Mel, of Stirrup Queens, wrote a post yesterday about her new book, Life from Scratch, and it’s fantastic! After hearing her new book was released, I had to download it immediately – I use the Kindle software on my laptop or iphone. I have read her non-fiction book about infertility, Navigating the Land of IF, which is a must-read for any infertile, but her new fiction book is so good too! It always amazes me how people can write fiction – needless to say, I always struggled at creative writing. And now to know (kind of – at least in bloggy land) someone who wrote such a fun story, I’m so impressed! It’s one of those books that sucks you in immediately, and keeps you going. I read the first half of it last night – you know it’s a good book when it keeps you up late at night. It’s just so fun, and charming, and so incredibly entertaining! I find myself smiling throughout the whole experience. I’m trying to hold off on reading it too much today – I actually have work to do! But go check it out – I highly recommend it!

Things are still going very well with the positive attitude mission of mine. I know a lot of people, especially those that have gone through pregnancy losses, don’t believe in looking too far ahead, not doing anything too permanent, but I’m taking a different approach. During my last pregnancy, my friend got me this book – it has a page for every day of your pregnancy. I had written – in pen – the dates on each page – up until the miscarriage. So some people would think that I wouldn’t use it again. And I thought about that too. But I love it, and I didn’t want to buy another one – I want to use the book my friend gave me. I didn’t start looking at it until about 7 weeks last pregnancy, as that is when she got it for me. But this time, I started looking at it on day 1. Each day, I cross out the old date (which makes me a little sad, but it’s also nice to remember my other baby), and put in the new date, and write a little note about my mood or a little note to the embryos. And I read to the hubs the status of the babies, or me, whatever it says for the day. I know this could be setting myself up for all kinds of heartache. But if I lose these guys, I will have heartache regardless. I can’t protect myself from that kind of grief, so instead, I’m going to enjoy every moment I can with these little embryos…

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All Knocked Up!

It’s official – I have two little embryos inside me! The transfer was this morning, and it went well. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but they had about 10 blastocysts, and a few morulas. So I think they’re going to see how everything looks tomorrow, and freeze about 10 embryos. This makes me so happy to know that they are ready for me, whenever I need them.

I was listening to the Circle+Bloom meditation today after the transfer, and it said, “this is your time.” I believe this. I really do. I know that right now tends to be an optimistic time, but I really believe this is it, and I’m going to do whatever I can to maintain this belief. I believe that one or two of these embryos inside me will be my little baby or babies at the end of next summer. I’m doing everything I can to hold on these embryos – the intralipids, the Lovenox I’ll start tonight, the bedrest that I’m now on, and will be on for the next few days. I have to take care of these little ones, and today is the beginning of my life as a mother to these babies…

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fertilization Report

I received the fertilization report, and of our 29 eggs retrieved, 24 were fertilized. I can't believe this - 2 dozen embryos? Are you kidding me? Unbelievable. Based on this, we are scheduled for a Day 5 transfer on Sunday. Started Crinone 8% twice a day, and estrace, and Vivelle patch today.

It’s crazy to think about these numbers. I know that the chances of most of these embryos making it to day 5 are slim to none, but still. It makes me feel very secure that I have this many cooking in the lab, and I will definitely have some to freeze – right? What if this IVF cycle was my only one? What if from now on all I have to do is FET cycles? Shoot, what if I transfer two embryos on Sunday, and two implant, and I give birth to two babies? Could it possibly be true? Except then we would need to consider what to do with the rest of our embryos. We already signed the consent that said that if both the hubs and I die, that we would donate our embryos to research. I would want to be around to make any further decisions about our embryos, so we decided on that. And I know I’m opening up a huge can of worms when I start to think about what to do with the others… But right now, I need to just focus on two. Two embryos. Two babies.

Speaking of numbers, I have a friend at work who knows all about our IVF adventures – actually, I have a few friends who know about this stuff, which is very nice. But this one guy who sits next to me, he’s been very nice and asks almost every day about what’s going on with my eggs. He’s been very good to talk to, as he always turns it into some big joke, and no matter how stressed I am, he ends up making me laugh about the whole thing. He does our financial models at work, and I don't think he has much to do, because after hearing about my 29 eggs, he built me a model which will predict the number of babies I'll get after transferring a certain number of embryos. You can change the chance of baby, and the number of eggs transferred, and it will calculate the chances for each number of babies. He really thinks I should have lots of embryos transferred, call TLC, who will come and tape the whole thing – we could make so much money! He thinks the hubs and I would be great on a reality show… Anyway, here is the spreadsheet assuming 50% chance of each blastocyst working (I saw this chance on a few different sites), and 2 transferred (sorry for the ugly look - I'm not an expert on blogging...):

Here it is assuming 50% chance, and 3 transferred:

And this is what my friend thinks we should do - aspire to be another octomom:

He keeps saying, "this almost GUARANTEES you a baby - don't you want a baby???"

It is interesting to see the impact of the chance of implantation - what if the chance wasn't 50%, and instead it was 30%, and you transferred two embryos?

The odds are back to 50/50 - which I don't love...

Of course, I sent the spreadsheet to the hubs, who also spends a lot of time with financial models, and he pointed out that our friend's model doesn't have certain variables like the chance of embryos splitting and having identical twins. Just goes to show you, you never know... A model may be a good predictor, but as all of us in finance know, past performance is no guarantee of future results! And all models have errors...

For now, I'm just so very happy that I have 2 dozen (!!!!) embryos growing away happily in the lab. I'm so very grateful for all of this - that I had the chance to do IVF, and for all of your support throughout this process. I'm just on top of the world!!! (Plus, I recently took 1/2 of a vicodin...)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I can't believe it. They took 29 eggs. I feel kind of guilty reporting this, as I know a lot of women would kill for this kind of response. I'm sure more than a few are immature and won't fertilize, as we certainly didn't see 29 follicles of the right size in the latest ultrasound. But today, I'll take this wonderful news and celebrate!

Can I just tell you how much I love Vicodin? First time in awhile my ovaries don't feel like they're going to explode...

Monday, December 6, 2010


Thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments. I feel much better than I did on Friday, I think because we are finally progressing!

We went in for the final monitoring appointment Saturday morning, and I had 3 follies between 20-22 mm, 3 follies between 18-20, 7 between 15-18, and lots lower than 15. My estradiol was at 6,857! Up from 3,049 24 hours before. Yes, it’s definitely a good thing I’m doing the Lupron trigger instead of HCG. I triggered last night at 9:15, and did another Lupron shot this morning at 9:15 – had the pleasure of shooting up in the work bathroom… But considering my estradiol was 6,857 on Saturday, and it more than doubled in 24 hours, I can only imagine what it was last night at the time of trigger. Based on my research, it would have been an almost guarantee that I would have had OHSS after an HCG trigger. I guess the concern is now that I will get pregnant, and the HCG from that will cause OHSS… Oh well – I’m not going to worry about that today. I was hoping we would have the retrieval today, but I think they wanted to give the 7 between 15-18 a chance to get a little bigger, so that’s why they pushed it back to Tuesday. I don’t really know, I’m just trusting that they know what they’re doing, and I won’t worry about it.

I’ve been an emotional wreck. And the hubs does not handle it well. We’ve been in minor fights at least a couple times a day for the last week it seems, and we had a huge blowout on Saturday night. This resulted in me sobbing by myself in the living room, and the hubs in the bedroom, after he told me he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I’m completely irrational, I know, but he’s not very helpful either. I am definitely not handling these hormones very well. We made up Sunday morning, and yesterday wasn’t bad – partially because I told him to go watch football with a friend of his. I’m almost better on my own, and it was good to avoid fights. Then he picked me up after an afternoon of sports, and we had a nice dinner out last night. So that was nice. For those of you that have done this before, when does the emotional craziness get better? I keep thinking that I just need to get through this phase, but then I remember that I start taking progesterone and estrogen supplements on Wednesday, that I have the rollercoaster of the embryo wait, the transfer and then the 2WW coming up. And then – assuming I get pregnant – the fear of losing the baby! I must not think of all that, as it just causes me to spiral in my negative thinking. But I really hope the feeling of not being able to control my emotions gets better…

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crazy Ride

I hate the ride that is IVF. Everything’s still ok, but my follies aren’t quite the right size yet, and so we wait… Keep taking those meds, go in for another monitoring tomorrow, and maybe the retrieval is Tuesday or Wednesday. Which makes the transfer Sunday or Monday, assuming we can do a 5-day transfer. Which adds to the number of days I have to take off from work. Oh vacation days, how I wish I had more of you!!!

And I just want to get this show on the road! My ovaries hurt like hell, I’m exhausted every day, and I just want to be done. Let’s fast forward to retrieval, then another fast forward to transfer, then beta. Ok??? I don’t want to wait anymore!!!

Sorry, had a little temper tantrum there – thanks for listening and not judging – I know I can always bitch to you ladies. I had the first intralipid transfusion yesterday at home using a home health nurse. It wasn’t bad, except it was a bit MacGyver – esque. Don’t have this kind of tube? Let’s improvise! Don’t have an IV pole? What about those pictures – can you take them off the wall and use the picture hooks? I guess the good thing is the transfusion got done, in time for the transfer, and now that I have a bunch of fat running around in my body (like I didn’t have enough before), the NK cells will calm themselves and not attack my embryos. OK, seriously – how does this work? Does anyone have a real explanation for this? How does fat suppress NK cells – seems bizarre.

Oh, and I started the day off with a fight with the hubs – what a wonderful way to start the day. I asked him to come to my appointment with me this morning a couple days ago. He usually can’t, or won’t, whatever, due to his job. But I knew his boss would be out of town, and he could go in a little later, but he said no. But then this morning he slept in later than usual, so I was wishing, hoping, that he changed his mind and decided to go with me. But no, instead of going to work, and instead of going with me, he decided to sleep a little longer. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy, and I started bitching at him when he got up, right before I left for my appointment. Definitely did not handle it well – starting using words like priorities, and such. He didn’t handle it well either. But now we’re fine and made up, so that’s good, it just sucked to start the day out like that. We’ll see if he gets up early with me and drives an hour each way for a 10 minute appointment tomorrow morning – the Saturday appointment is downtown, not in the burbs where we live. I bet he won’t – he’ll want to sleep in. Oh yes, that “priorities” word keep popping up in my head.

Wow, I think I’m grumpier than I thought. I’m just sick of this IVF thing, and when the nurse told me my follies weren’t as big as they’d like by now, I was not pleased. C’mon follies, do your thing and grow,OK???


OK, I had that all written, and was just waiting for the nurse to call with the results of the blood test and with the plan before I posted this. Well, based on my estradiol levels (3,049), I’m at a high risk for OHSS, as it will only go up from here (it was at 1,697 two days ago). In order to alleviate this risk, instead of taking the HCG shot as a trigger, I’m supposed to take a Lupron trigger shot instead. I guess this just about eliminates the risk, as it essentially shuts down the ovaries, when the HCG shot speeds up the ovaries. Then they’ll go in and do the retrieval, and I shouldn’t get OHSS. But the bad thing is that then my ovaries won’t produce progesterone and estrogen, so I have to do additional supplementation. Instead of using the Crinone gel (I’m using this instead of PIO – anyone ever use this?) once per day, I’ll use it twice a day. And I’ll have patches of estrogen and pills as well. Start the progesterone and estrogen supplements the day after retrieval. I’ve done a little googling, and it looks like using Lupron as a trigger happens out there some, but not common. Most IVF patients use Lupron as part of the protocol, and if you’re already taking Lupron, you can’t take it as a trigger. And I go in for monitoring tomorrow, and the doc should decide tomorrow whether I have the retrieval on Monday or Tuesday. Crazy rollercoaster.

I don’t like hearing that I’m at a high risk of OHSS, but I guess with the Lupron trigger it should be ok. But now I’m worried that the supplementation won’t be enough for the embryos, as my body won’t produce progesterone and estrogen on its own because of the Lupron! I guess there’s always something to worry about… Oh, and the hubs agreed to go to the appointment tomorrow morning with me…

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Birth Father

In cycle news, everything looks good. Went in for monitoring, and I have lots of growing wonderful follies. My estradiol is 1,692, which isn’t much more than Monday’s of 1,534, so they’re increasing Menopur back to 150, keep Gonal-F/Follistim at 150, and keep taking Cetrotide. They said the estradiol can also drop a bit when you start the Cetrotide, so shouldn’t be too worried. And come back on Friday for more monitoring.

In other news, I’d like to talk about my birth father, T. As a recap, I was adopted when I was 4. Prior to that time, T and my birth mother took turns taking care of me, I was in many foster homes (I think 18), and part of the time I lived with T’s sister, and then another time I lived with T’s mother. Both T and birth mother were alcoholics, and drug addicts. They weren’t young – they were both in their late 20's. Both were homeless, and therefore so was I. Both are now sober. They were never married, and T now is married to a nice woman. My parents (this is the term I use for adoptive parents – you know, the ones who raised me – my REAL parents (yes, it’s a pet peave of mine that people refer to birth parents as real parents)) kept in contact with T’s sister and mother, so T and his family always knew where I was. Birth mom didn’t keep in contact. I’ve spoken with her a couple of times in my adult life, but it always ends up with birth mom crying on the phone, and it’s really hard to talk with her. She’s still not very stable.

Anyway, T and I started talking on the phone a few years ago. For awhile there, he would call me, or I would call him, about every month. It’s started to decline in frequency about a year ago, and I haven’t been making a huge effort. He’s really nice, and he definitely wants to see me, but I haven’t been ready. I just don’t know what to say to this guy. Our conversations are so awkward. T is really into music, he plays quite a few instruments, and he’s a bit of a hippy. He’s a retired school teacher, and he’s all about his music – seriously, he plays in public probably 2-3 times per week. He’s someone I would call “artsy.” I am definitely not artsy. He keeps talking about how I used to play the piano growing up, but this is only because my Mom forced it on me. Yes, I was pretty good, but that’s because I practiced one hour a day – every day! And as soon as I could quit taking lessons, I did. Sure I played classical music, but I don’t remember which songs – he keeps asking if I played this song or not – I can’t remember. And I don’t listen to it now. I have this idea that I would love to be all musical and stuff, but I’m just not. I’m an accountant who really likes her job, her dogs, her house and I’m not very artsy or crafty and definitely not musical. This would be fine that we have nothing in common, except T keeps focusing on music in our conversations, trying to forge some kind of connection, because I used to play the piano. He keeps encouraging me to buy a piano, or at least a keyboard, so I can take up playing again. I’ve thought about it, and I’d like a piano someday, but all I really want is a baby, so all our extra money goes to that…

He called me a couple weeks ago, left a message, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t call him back. Then he sent me an email with a link to a video of him playing his guitar. The email says, “Hi Alex, Awhile back I left a message on your cell, I’ll try again in a few days… Meanwhile here’s a youtube of one of my favorite guitar pieces. I used to play it at home in your first 4 years of life…Love, T” This breaks my heart. I know he’s trying to make a connection. I watched the video – yes, there he is, playing the guitar, and I feel awful about this, but I just don’t feel anything! I wish I could feel more connected, but I just don’t.

I talked with my therapist about this, and she said it’s ok to not feel connected. That I’m grieving the loss of the fantasy I had about reconnecting with my birth father. I guess this makes sense, but I just feel awful that he wants this relationship so bad, and I’m kind of ambivalent about it. I asked her what to do about his email – I don’t want to talk with him right now, I just can’t muster up the energy right now to talk to him about music, when all I can think of is this IVF. We talked more, and I finally admitted that part of the reason I can’t talk with T is I don’t understand him, I’m angry at him. I’m working so hard right now to have this baby that is in my head, that I don’t understand how someone could give up a child for adoption. And I’m having a really hard time connecting right now with someone who gave me up…

My therapist told me to be honest with him, and tell him that I didn’t want to talk, that I’m going through IVF, that I’ve had miscarriages, and that I’m angry that he gave me up when I’m having trouble having a baby. I agree with her on everything but the last point – I don’t want to hurt him. So I sent him an email, thanking him for sending the video, apologizing for being out of touch, and I told him about TTC, doing treatments and having two miscarriages. I told him I would prefer to not talk on the phone for awhile. He responded, “When you didn’t respond to my cell phone voice mail message, I figured you were extremely busy with your professional and or personal lie. As it turns out, that was the case. I’ll be waiting for you to make the next telephone call as I respect you and your feelings completely. Good luck with your procedures. Love, T” I feel so bad – he really is a nice guy, but I just can’t do it right now.

And yet another person when I tell them that I’ve had miscarriages, no response… I hate to keep harping on that, but why is it so difficult to say, “I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriages.” Or SOMETHING!

I feel so conflicted about continuing my relationship with T. I know I should, it would make him very happy. But it would be so easy to let it go. I’m afraid this makes me an awful person, but it’s just so hard dealing with all the emotions involved. I always had this fantasy of reconnecting with my birth parents when I had a baby. I think it would be easier to see them if I brought their grandchild with me, and if we had something to talk about, something to bond over, like a baby. I guess that’s another part of the fantasy that I’m grieving over. At least the grief that I haven’t been able to do this yet. Maybe someday…