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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Don't ask me to place your bets in Vegas

So, I was just SURE I was only carrying one now. Really, really sure.

Well, just butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Two tiny babies with "perfect" heartbeats: 160bpm. Each are about 1.5 cm long.

Hubby is over the moon. He keeps looking at me and saying "two, two, one for me and one for you!" I'm still pretty nervous. Actually, I'm downright panicky. I want to chalk it up to the hormones. I go from nauseous, to tired, to hungry, to panicky, to all four in the space of a few minutes.

Today was graduation day from the RE. I'm so out of it, I didn't even know :) I thought we we were going to have another meeting. I'm not sure exactly what for......

So now the search is on for an OB!

had to share

So I am feeling better, relatively. I still get very nauseated, but I haven't thrown up since last Wednesday, so I am thankful for that.

I have an U/S appt this afternoon, which makes me quite nervous for many reasons. First, hubby and I get to see if we are still having twins. (I mentioned before that the radiologist was unimpressed with the second twin.) Then we meet with our RE.

I am feeling a heated discussion between hubby and the RE if I'm eating for three. Not that it is her fault, but hubby is still really annoyed that the surgeon of the practice told him that I shouldn't carry twins, but we were given the option to transfer two anyway. (And I decided to take the risk.) This is despite the fact that my hubby spoke to our nurse 3 days before the transfer about whether a concern about carrying twins was written down in the medical file, and she said "not to worry, all would be handled on the day of transfer." She basically blew him off.

This is all very sticky, as the surgeon mentioned this to hubby, but not to me (or if he did, I was so out of it, I don't remember). AND the surgeon never put it in our medical records, thus why we were given the option of transferring two. The only note in my file is that I should deliver by 36 weeks. This I do remember him telling me--easier to do as it was 3 weeks after the surgery and I was no longer taking pain killers.

Hubby's main concern is that my uterus is not going to be able to handle the strain of two babies and that a tragedy will occur.

You may wonder how I feel. Well, I don't really know how I feel. If I have been given the gift of two babies at once, then I want to embrace that. However, I am scared. Yep, I will finally admit that. EVEN THOUGH it was at my insistence that Hubby agreed to transfer two, I am scared that my uterus will rupture leaving us with no babies and likely no uterus. Of course, every night I'm also worried that I am no longer pregnant. Or I worry about how we're going to be as parents. Or how much lead is in our apartment...Or.....

So we shall look ahead to 1:30 when I will be having a lovely encounter with an ultrasound machine to see what we have before us.

Strangely, I feel like I am only carrying one and this will be a moot point that I will fuss over at a later time.

What a terribly rambling post. Sorry for that. I'm feeling a little jumbled right now.

If you have made it all the way to the end here, then I feel that I should leave you with a phase that someone Go.ogled and found my blog with: "is it possible to steal a woman's egg during an gyn exam."

I am going to laugh about that all day! Ah, if it were only that easy to get donor eggs.... :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barfy McBarferson

So throwing up at home is not too much fun either.

I KNEW that if I actually got pregnant I would be sick. I get nauseous easily: car rides, boat rides, roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, etc.

People at work are starting to ask questions. Questions like: why is Brenda about 2 shades fairer than she normally is. Thus making me almost transparent.

However, before you may/may not become envious about the so-called Morning Sickness. Let me relate a story to you.

This morning, I was staying at home for a while whilst I tried to let my stomach settle. I had already eaten a granola bar, had some crackers, a glass of milk and a glass of juice. I tried to get ready for work, but I just kept feeling sicker and sicker. At one point, I moved to the restroom to see if that was my problem.

Nope, just a little gassy.


I was immediately overwhelmed with the need to release my breakfast, that I had no time to pull up my pants. I just flipped around and stuck my head in the toilet.

I took a deep breath....and realized that I had, in every sense of the word, farted. in. my. own. face.

Then I puked my guts out, because every time I took a breath, I inhaled more fart.

Goooood Times.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Throwing up at work is less fun than anticipated

I had been threatening to do this for the past three days, but on Friday I finally did the deed. Luckily there was no one in the bathroom with me. I don't really feel like trying to make an excuse for that one.

I also want to update the u/s results :)

Here it is w/ comments:

STATUS: Alive (me? or what they are looking at???)
NUMBER: Twin (I hate to quibble, but "twin" isn't a number....)
UTERUS: Fibroid (should read fibroids--I have a couple of them near my cervix)
OVARIES: Right normal, Left not seen ("normal" hahahahhahahahhahaaaa!)
INDICATIONS: Infertility, now pregnant; Advanced maternal age (gee, thanks for slapping that on there.....)

COMMENTS/SUMMARY: Two intrauterine gestational sacs with yolk sacs and embryonic heartbeats seen. 1/2 maternal right. 2/2 maternal left. The second sac is smaller with cloudy amniotic fluid, which is a negative prognosis.

FETAL HEART RATE (#1): 107 beats per minute
FETAL HEART RATE (#2): 105 beats per minute

The radiologist seemed to want to give her condolences about the second embryo. She kept saying that this didn't looked good, but "you never know."

The nurse upstairs was aghast that the radiologist would even put "negative prognosis." " What does she know? She cannot tell the future!" And then she went on to talk about how some Dr. at another clinic told her friend that her embryos for transfer looked ugly and that now she has two beautiful daughters. I wanted to say something about how the beauty of 8 cells does not reflect very much on the beauty of millions and millions of cells, but I refrained.

Hubby and I are very happy and are not worried about the second little one. We have worries about carrying twins. Whatever happens, we will work with it. All we want are healthy baby/ies.

The next u/s is on 8/23. The nurse said that they normally wait two full weeks, but since that will be the day after Christmas, she thought that it would be nice to know something before then. That was very kind of her. I think that she was trying to give us quicker info on the fate of the second little one. We also meet with the RE after the ultrasound. The nurse already talked to us about finding an OB.

Dang! This is the fastest/slowest/strangest rollercoaster ride I have ever been on.

Friday, December 12, 2008

U/S update

Just a quick note since I am at work. We had the 6 week ultrasound today. The results: 2 little embryos with heartbeats! One looks better than the other, which is smaller and the amniotic fluid seems "cloudy" to the radiologist. The prognosis for the smaller one is not optimal. Actually the wording on the sheet sounds considerably less optimistic for the smaller one. I'll post more about the results when I have the paperwork in front of me at home.

I am so, so relieved. And it was wonderful having my husband there with me as we strained to make out the little heartbeats. And we had a wonderful ultrasound tech to explained everything to us as we went along.

Thanks so much to everyone for leaving comments on the last post; it's so nice to have a place to vent.

I'll update later tonight with more details :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the wretched side of life--my demons: exposed

~~~Warning.....I am whiny and expose some pretty raw feelings here, so if you want to jump off this train now, I suggest you do so~~~

So tomorrow at 8 am we have the ultrasound. And I am scared. to. death. Up to this point, I have somewhat successfully "tricked" myself into believing I was only kinda pregnant. I'm not even really sure what that means. Probably my best definition is that something was at one point developing inside of me, as evident by the increasing HCG levels, but is probably gone now.

I feel like I need to tell everyone that I am not generally a pessimist. Really, I'm not. In fact, for all of you that have gotten positive pregnancy tests, I fully BELIEVE that things will work out well for you. But not for me. Not with this. Not when every gyn exam I have had since grad school and every subsequent surgery thereafter has given me bad news. Not when I keep spotting. Not when I read that it is common (up to 1 in 4) for pregnant women to spot lightly during the 1st trimester, but then ONE HALF of these women have a miscarriage. To show you how "glass half empty" I am right now, the sentence actually reads "Approximately half of pregnant women who bleed do not have miscarriages" [Emphasis added].

I am such a bundle of nerves right now. Why, oh why, can I not just roll with the tide? I know I don't have any control over this.....but boy, do I want to. <---Ugh, I hate it when I end sentences this way.

To continue with my whining, I am utterly exhausted every day, cannot focus on a single thing at work (they could all be speaking in a foreign language for all I know--and I fell asleep during two meetings), I feel like someone replaced my somewhat functioning brain with one of those fuzzy filters on the Clari.ton commercials, and I have increasing urgency to barf when I smell food that I normally love, like spaghetti sauce. Sound like normal pregnancy symptoms? Yes. But I have cleverly convinced myself that it is all psychosomatic. [Even though I did not know that feeling utterly fatigued is a sign of early pregnancy....I thought that came later.] No, no. What I am feeling is going to turn out to be a big hoax and my inability to be productive at work is a sign that I am undisciplined and weak. And probably pathetic.

My goodness, I sound so wretched, don't I? In a slightly disturbing way, it feels good just to lay all of this out here. To expose my demons and look at them. They're not pretty, to be sure, but I find that they are not quite as scary "out there," when I can look at them in the light of day and see them for what they are: my horror fantasies.

Well, I may have may you feel slightly ill, but I do actually feel better. Again, looking your demons in the eye, makes them seem somewhat ridiculous. For example: I may be having pregnancy symptoms and no viable pregnancy, but I certainly wouldn't do this to myself on purpose. I also may not be functioning well at work, but I have been there for 3 years and they haven't kicked me out yet, so I cannot suck that badly. Also, I do have flashes of brilliance, or at least competence, at work. There. Demons getting smaller.

Tomorrow is a big hurtle for me: an ultrasound that doesn't involve looking for uterine lining or follicle development. The first ultrasound of that kind for me ever. I am walking down a scary and unfamiliar road. For those of you who have been sticking it out with me, you have my sincere gratitude. Friends that can look at the darker side of you and not scurry away are friends indeed [even if they are only internet friends :) ]

Thank you for letting me share. My burdens seem lighter now. Just a little more manageable.

Until tomorrow........

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just keeping things interesting...

Well, we left the Big Apple today (and Miracles, we drove--hubby cannot fathom the thought of a train or a bus!). Dora, I don't know how you do it! There are SO MANY FREAKING PEOPLE IN NYC! Ugh, I guess REAL New Yorkers aren't going to all the tourist locations, but dang! At one point hubby and I we afloat in a sea of people with very little control over where we were headed :) We eventually got back to each other!

So, in other news, I'm still spotting. Yes, just keeping it interesting. I would hate to have something normal happen. That would be too easy. It's not heavy spotting. I only had that in the beginning. Just light spotting, but every day.

The u/s is Friday. I don't want to get my hopes up. I don't want to get too attached. Sigh. Something about this process sucks the hope out of you just as fast as it gives it to you.

Well, enough self pity for me. I'm off to shower and bed; it's back to the real world tomorrow!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Just a quick post:

Hubby and I went to NY this weekend. Just a quick trip. We've been living just outside of Boston for the past 3 years or so, and we have never made the trip. Since we are not going to visit the relatives in FL this Christmas, we decided to take a real--albeit short-vacation.

First, I want to say, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who has left such nice comments. I still don't really believe that I am pregnant, despite what the blood tests say, but you all are keeping me sane through it all.

Second, many of you have been asking about the U/S date. It has been scheduled for next Friday, the 12th.

Now, I'm going to soak my feet, because D@MN, Manhattan is a lot bigger than I thought it was!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

beta part deux

My goodness, things have been crazy at work for me this week. I almost don't have time to revel in the amazing news that I got a positive beta and that it is increasing! My beta today (17dp3dt or 20dpo): 2994!

Thus, I present to you, like Peeveme, of a chart of my hCG vaues versus average hCG values over time. I thought that my first value was so very, very high, but on this scale it doesn't look so outrageous. :) Of course that is on a semi-log plat, so a beta of 5000 wouldn't look too outrageous at this point.

In not so pleasant news (including that my job makes me want to jump off the face of a cliff right now), is that I am still spotting. Not very much, not very often. It stops and starts abruptly. I asked the nurse about it. She said that without an ultrasound, there isn't much information we can garner from the spotting. In fact she said, and I quote "we're going to ignore the spotting for now, unless you start bleeding heavily." I like how "we" are going to "ignore the spotting for now." Yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do. tra-la-la.

No, I'm going to worry about it, because, dammit, it's worrisome. So there. I shall, however, not freak out about it. That I CAN do. For now.

So now, I will officially say it, even though I had a tag on my last post about it: I AM PREGNANT.

I don't know for how long and I don't even want to think about all the things that could go wrong. But for now, I'm pregnant! I'm happy. Sad. Exited. Tired. Scared. Everything all rolled into one. I am still waiting for the proverbial "other shoe to drop," but so far so good..... :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beta Blast

I'm at work and just got the call. I am trying to write this surreptitiously so as not to attract attention to myself:

15dp3dt or 18dpo:


I go back in on Wednesday and we are looking for a 66% increase; so the goal is 2185.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Show and Tell-Simpsons Style

I was hunting around on the internet and I found a site that you "Simpsonize" yourself for free :) It's not as nice as Mel's pics, but it was a "artist-free" way to make myself into a cartoon!

Here's me:

Here's Hubby:

It's amazing what you can find on the internet :) To see what the rest of the class is showing, head over to Mel's place!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dark Days

I don't think I will ever get used to Fall/Winter in New England. During the peak of winter, the sun will set at about 4:30pm. That is so weird. Growing up in Florida, I remember thinking that when the sun went down at 6, that was horribly early. Of course, I also thought it got cold in the winter. My, how perceptions change. Last year, when Hubby and I went down to Florida for Christmas, I packed long sleeved shirts. My hubby? Short sleeved shirts. I thought he was crazy. Turns out I was the crazy one. Crazy and hot.

Besides the darkening days, I am pleased to report that my pregnancy test lines are getting darker as well. Yay! But, as nothing can be straightforward with me, I am also bleeding. Although I know about 'implantation bleeding', I still don't like it. It's not like the bleeding comes with a little card that says "don't worry, this is implantation bleeding," although that would be nice. But since I would be even more freaked out by a small card written in blood, it'll be just a wait and see kind of game. I'm amazingly not freaked out by it, though. If it doesn't lighten up soon, however, I am going to start to worry.

The next goal is for Monday. The beta. And then the beta after that. Small hurtles. Just worry about the next thing on the list.

I don't feel terribly unfunny, but this sounds like such a somber post. So, to lighten the mood I leave you with a picture of my first child:

His name is Max. Isn't he handsome? :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

8dp3dt (11dpo)--again with the acronyms...and news

So I caved.........

Actually I decided last night I was going to test tomorrow morning. Yes, I was going to buy HPTs after work on Monday and wait until my Hubby got up on Tuesday morning and then we could see the results of the test. Yes, that was the plan.

Exceeeeeeppppppt.....I realized this evening that I hadn't peed all day at work. What?! I generally do not drink a lot of liquids while I am working, so I tend not to have to pee a lot. And then a 5pm when I did have to pee, I just, well didn't.

I had to take a speaker out to dinner tonight, so I was holding it all through dinner. We got done at about 8pm. I swung by the local drugstore and I bought 2 different types of HPTs. When I got home, I told Hubby to hold on tight, 'cuz it could get ugly.

I did the deed and 2 minutes later I saw this.
left = control right=me!!!!!!!!!

It's faint, but you can see it, right? Right??


Sunday, November 23, 2008


Let the cryptic titles begin in earnest!

Besides the fact that my cycle twin, Peeveme, just got her 1st positive after POAS 5dp5dt (go over there and give her a hug, if you haven't already!!), there is no real news here.

You know, I find it kind of bittersweet all the acronyms I know now: E2, PIO, 2WW (not really an acronym, I know), BFP, BFN.....

When I first started this journey, I was constantly having to Go*ogle all the phrases so that I could keep up with the conversation: Who was this DH and DD? What's the difference b/w POAS and PCOS? And what in the world is a beta? (I still don't understand the beta this short for something? Why don't they just call it an HCG level test? Can anyone enlighten me?)

The bitter part of this bittersweet knowledge is that I have been here long enough to learn most of these acronyms (and am constantly learning more!), and more than a few apply to me. The sweet part is that I have joined a community that has welcomed me with open arms. :) Although, I still have until Dec. 1st before the dreaded beta, you are making this wait so much better. Thank you :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Patiently far

So today is 5dp 3dt. I have been analyzing all body signs for possible pregnancy symptoms. Of course, I've never ACTUALLY BEEN pregnant, so I am not entirely sure what I would feel like. However, if pregnancy makes you get a really awful case of the "trots" after eating a large Caesar salad for lunch, then I must be pregnant. Seriously, how horrible is it to have an upset stomach at work? It's not like you have any privacy. And it becomes a little weird when to run, clutching your abdomen, to the restroom. What, too much information? Sorry :)

However on the pregnancy symptoms front, I am interested in what you guys think. Most women, I'm guessing, would never have a clue that they were pregnant until they missed their period. Does it seem fruitless that we (including me) analyze every twinge, tweak and pain that we have? Do you think the PIO amplifies any symptoms? Or does the loss (or lessening) of our fertility heighten our other senses to the point that we can spot pregnancy symptoms long before the average fertile woman?

My symptoms? Well, I thought you'd never ask! Well, yesterday I was crampy off and on all day. My boobs are also so sore that I have to wear a bra to bed, because if I don't, when I turn over it feels like I am heaving 5 extra pounds of pummeled meat across my body.....what? Too much information again?? Sigh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

So our nurse just called, and again asked me if I was sitting down. They froze away 16 embryos. SIXTEEN. Wow! Of course, they are at day 3 when frozen away, so who knows how well they will thaw. But, wow, just wow. I'm pretty speechless now. I'm going to call my husband; we had a running bet. Me:12 Him: 10. Huh. Wow. Wow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And here I sit

So the transfer was on Sunday and my clinic wants me to be a couch potato for two days. So here I sit, looking for something interesting to do.

It has been easier to sit on my rump today than I thought. That's not because normally I am an active, energetic person and to sit down all day would drive me crazy. No, no, not at all. Normally if I am at home from work, I tend to have panic attacks. Yes, weird I know.

However, today I am just sort of taking it easy.

The clinic called and said that my progesterone and estradiol levels were good (they did my bloodwork yesterday). I also asked if there was any word on how many embryos they were able to freeze. [my clinic seems a little out of the norm in that they freeze away at day 3, according to the doctor in charge yesterday.] The nurse replies that she hasn't gotten word of any freezing, so that probably means that there weren't any to freeze away.

Ahhhh, what?? Twenty-one eggs fertilized, I get two, and there are none to freeze away?

"Or," she quickly replies, "they just haven't sent me the information yet."

Ok, whew. So perhaps later we will get some good news.

Oh, speaking of later (and hopefully good news), my beta is set for Dec 1. What day is that....let's see....a Monday.

Oh crap. I just realized that I am scheduled to give a presentation at work on that Thursday. Great. I am either going to be really happy or really sad. This should be fun.

Ok, I'll quit rambling now......

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Show and Tell

Along the same theme of furry friends, I present to you our three Roborosvski (Robo) Hamsters!

They are a little hard to photograph, as they are quite small (about the size of your thumb) and they are very, very fast.

They are all named Rosie, since they are nearly impossible to tell apart, and when they fill their cheeks full of seeds I thought that they looked really buff, like Rosie the Riveter.

Want to see more Show-and-tell? Head over to Mel's place!


Weee'reeeeeee baaaaaaaaccckk.

As you can probably tell from the title, we transferred two embryos. Both were 8 cell, but we didn't get a grade, per se, on them.

Unfortunately, the point of contention between my Hubby and I reared its ugly head at the clinic.

I should probably give an abridged backstory.

So, in March of this year I had my second uterine surgery. Now, this Dr. (Dr. S) is really a talented surgeon, working with the latest equipment in the field. He, I think, also blows stuff out of his ass when talking with you. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but here are a few things that have happened that make me doubt that he is always 100% certain on his decisions/follow through.

Point 1) On this last surgery, we had discussed removing a fallopian tube. It tends to get full of menstrual fluid and get painful. The doctor wrote this down on his notes to enter into the computer. On the day of the surgery, I could not discuss anything with him, because HE DID NOT ACTUALLY MEET WITH ME, just his assistant surgeons. I assumed I was going to speak with him, so I didn't bring up the fallopian tube matter. Then again, I thought, why should I? It was clearly written in his notes anyway. After surgery? Still had the fallopian tube. Still causes me occasional pain.

Point 2) When he saw me for the post surgical followup in his office, he couldn't remember how long it had been since I had actually HAD the surgery, even though it was written on the paper in front of him. When I asked him if he actually entered the uterine cavity itself during the surgery, he initially said no. But then he read his surgical summary, which he gave to me, and said, "Oh wait, yes I did." Now, I understand that he is very busy, but..... our conversation then followed about the type of shoes that I was wearing and how he would like to get a pair like that for one of his daughters. Thanks. During the same visit, he said that because of the surgeries, I should deliver at 36 weeks and undergo a C-section. Information that would have been nice to have before we had the procedure.

Point 3) During this same visit, he gave me a date for when we could start IVF. I then told him, "Oh, after the surgery you suggested that we wait an extra 4 weeks." His response, "Oh, did I say that? Then do that." Thanks.

So, unless he has written down something in stone, I don't actually believe that it is 100% medically necessary.

Hubby's point: Dr. S clearly said after my last surgery that we should not carry twins because of the increased risk of uterine failure.

So, during the time when we contacted the donor agency and when the donor was getting ready, we had a few discussions with our family. I said the clinic would let us know their recommendation for transfer, he said "we already know their recommendation, one."

Hubby wanted clarification on the subject. Even a sit-down meeting with our Dr. or with Dr. S. I agreed, but said that he should call our Dr.'s nurse and ask if it was in the medical records, because then it would take care of the whole decision-making process on our part. When he spoke to the nurse, she said that all of this would be discussed with us at the time of transfer. Hubby felt better. I felt better.

Today the transfer Dr. said, "given our calculations...blah, blah, blah...we recommend transferring two embryos." Hubby's eyes squinted, his face contorted slightly.

"Dr. S told us that she was not allowed to carry twins. That should be in the medical record. Is it there?"

*Dumbfounded look by Dr. Transfer.* "Well, I haven't read through all the medical history, can always just transfer one."

Me: "Ok, what are the chances of twins from transferring two donor egg embryos?'

Dr. Transfer: "Well, there is a 50-60% chance of pregnancy with donor embryos when you transfer two. And if you do get pregant, a 20% chance of having twins. But, as I said, you can still just transfer one embryo. There are pros and cons to that. For example, you chances of pregnancy are lower, but you chances of a singleton resulting from that pregnancy are higher....blah, blah, blah."

Hubby: "But the point was that we didn't want to have to choose. Dr. S said that she should not carry twins, why are we given the choice to transfer two?'

I interject: "Can we have a few minutes?"

A discussion ensues between hubby and I about the number to transfer. His take: "you cannot carry twins; if you get pregnant with twins, we may have to go for a fetal reduction. Are you prepared to do that?"

Me: "No. But I don't believe Dr. S; I think that we would probably have a high risk pregnancy if we had twins, but I don't think that it would come d0wn to a fetal reduction."

This goes on back and forth for a few minutes. Hubby plays the odds in his head. "Well....the chance of you actually becoming pregnant with twins is relatively low, all things considered. And we have terrible luck in betting (we like to play online [free] card games and stuff--that way when we lose a lot of "money" we don't care). So....."

Me: "So, we will transfer two and leave it in God's hands?"

Hubby: "Sure. It is in His hands anyway."

Dr. Transfer comes back in. "So, I was reading through the medical record and Dr. S only says that you should deliver at 36 weeks. There is no mention of not carrying twins."

"Then two," I say.

And that was it. I feel a little queasy. I hate it when my hubby and I have such fundamental differences on issues. Normally, one of us is convinced by the other's argument. Or one just gives in. Now I feel strangely guilty about the whole thing. Kind of like I twisted his arm into having two transferred, and if anything gets messy later on, it is definitely going to be my fault. Because, the reality is, we will probably have embryos to freeze, meaning that we have a "second chance" later.

Of course, I'm completely dealing in hypotheticals here. I am not even pregnant yet.

And whilst I fret and worry on the couch here? Hubby has gone back to bed. And what is infuriating is that I KNOW that now that the decision has been made, he is fine with it. We will just deal with the outcome. I, however, continue to twist in the wind.

I think, rather, I should be focusing more on my 50-60 % chance of pregnancy at all, rather than multiples....and that I should take a nap :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Transfer day

Just got the call, transfer is going to be tomorrow at 8:30 am. Discussions with the attending doctor will ensue, we will get an update on the status of the embryos and the number that we will transfer.

This brings me to a point of contention between Hubby and I. The number of embryos to transfer. 1 or 2. Over the last few days this decision has gotten a lot easier for me, as I am hopeful that we will have embryos to freeze away. I vote for 2, Hubby INSISTS on one. Not that he doesn't have a good reason. It seems that I have conveniently "forgotten" that the surgeon in our clinic said that I should not carry multiples as I have had two surgeries on my uterus. Hubby seems to think that this man with a medical degree and years of experience has a point. Whatever.

Friday, November 14, 2008

...and I didn't hear much after that


Yes, twenty-one fertilized eggs.

The nurse said something after that about her being a "amazing" donor and that we will get a call on Saturday for a Sunday transfer time.

Other things happened today, I think. But I really don't remember much after that phone call.

I am utterly thankful, hopeful and in awe.


First off, I want to thank everyone who visited and left words of encouragement. It means so much, it really does. With this cycle, it has been the first time I have blogged, and the first time I have written anything so emotionally raw for anyone to read. You have been both kind and gentle. Thanks again.

Now for for the retrieval news: are you sitting down? Because the donor coordinator suggested that I did:
31 eggs........

Because I know that quality means much more than quantity, we are eagerly waiting the fertilization report today.

All my dreams last night were about dividing embryos. No, really. I had one dream where I went to a lab and they had a camera set up on the petri dishes and you could monitor how everything was dividing. Then more people came to join me, including my husband. We sat down in the lab, cross-legged on the floor, and started doing our high school history reading, which was being taught by one of my uncles.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

Ahem. Anyway, I will keep you updated on the fertilization report.....please keep your fingers crossed and the prayers coming.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The waiting game

No real news to report here. Just waiting for tomorrow.

For anyone wondering how the meeting with the donor went, I plan to post on that sometime soon. The quick headline is that she really is a lovely person and I am so glad we were able to speak with her.

So for now, we wait. Wait until 2:15 tomorrow when our donor is undergoing her retrieval. Wait to hear about the fertilization report on Friday. And wait to hear if any of the embryos will make it to transfer on Sunday.

I've waited 35 years to become a mom, so I guess I can wait a little more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bring on the retrieval!

So here we are at day 7 of stimulation for our donor, and yes, we are going to trigger today. Well, actually she will be probably triggering at 2:15am Wednesday a few hours from now. We have a retrieval time set for 2:15pm on Thursday. Our nurse said that we will get a fertilization report on Friday. Then on Saturday, we will get a time to come in for transfer on Sunday. I asked if we would only be doing a 3 day transfer, as many of you have mentioned 5 and 6 day transfers. But Sunday it will be, to the best of her knowledge.

Remember how I said that I wanted more follicles? Well, I got them: 20, to be exact. Here's to continued good news....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cycle update...good news?

Our donor, I need to give her a name, let's say Reese, went in to our clinic and had bloodwork and an ultrasound done today. Anxiously waiting the news, but knowing that it was too early for any real news, I jumped when my cell phone rang. The nurse at our RE practice, Kathy, was asking if I was in a place where I could "talk freely". I have always kind of liked that phrase that the RE's office uses "talk freely", it makes me feel like I'm kind of a spy rather than a medically challenged person who shouldn't be talking about her vajay-jay with her co-workers around. But I digress....

The news was good, I think. Reese has already greatly stimulated: she had 14 countable follicles. Yes, fourteen follicles on day SIX of stims. And not just tiny follicles either, her largest is at 32mm. Our nurse says that the protocol is to "trigger" (have her take the HCG shot to mature the eggs) when at least one of the eggs is at 36mm. And that could be TOMORROW. The nurse actually congratulated ME.

She was probably trying to fill in the void of empty space that was on the phone line, because I was completely at a loss for words.

And after the phone call I almost started crying.

  • Crying because we are actually reaching another hurtle.
  • Crying because this wonderful woman can produce more follicles in 6 days than I could in 3 entire cycles.
  • Crying because I don't know if stimulating that fast gives viable eggs.
  • Crying because I for the first time in a long time I have hope. Such fragile hope. And I am afraid that we will again come so close and yet meet another unpleasant end.

And how sick am I? My first thought on the phone with the nurse was "No, don't trigger her yet. We need more eggs. Like 24. Twenty-four is a good number right?? Just give her a few more days. Who knows if these eggs are viable. We need more in case this time it doesn't work. I can't go through this again. " Desperation is an unpleasant cologne indeed.

Please don't misunderstand me. I ABSOLUTELY do not want our donor to overstimulate. OHSS sounds horrible and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Least of all a woman who has generously donate a part of herself to help us. I just want....our child. Our children. Our success story. Our family.

And now that I am home, I think I am going to go ahead and let myself cry.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Oh My Goodness, I got tagged by Michelle at In Pursuit of Parenthood IN OC-freakin'-TOBER and I didn't even know it.

This will tell you how big of a dork I am: I was reading her blog, which I l*heart* by the way, and I saw a list of questions to be answered and thought to myself, "Self, this is a really cool list. I wonder if I will ever get tagged for something like this." I mentally answer all the questions to myself. (Which I have done twice now) and then read down allll the way to the end of the list. I saw a list of blogs which I noticed before but never looked at too closely. But there I was!

Yay! I'm so excited (and apparently easily amused).

The way this works is that I am supposed to answer in one word (Me? yeah, right) and then pass this on to 7 bloggers.

So, here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging in the "den"
2. Where is your significant other? On the chair next to me
3. Your hair color? Brown-brown-brown
4. Your mother? Accepting
5. Your father? Crinkles his eyes when he smiles
6. Your favorite thing? Getting warm and cozy under a blanket
7. Your dream last night? Don't remember
8. Your dream/goal? Children
9. The room you're in? Living room
10. Your hobby? Is surfing the internet a hobby?????
11. Your fear? Being obsessed with having children to the point that it smothers my soul (Oooooh, that was a little raw....)
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Mom, with a job with a regular schedule
13. Where were you last night? Sittin' my butt on the couch
14. What you're not? Vindictive
15. One of your wish list items? Hahahahaha. Does having a baby count?
16. Where you grew up? Florida--so hot, so very, very, mind-numbingly hot
17. The last thing you did? Ate Indian food my friend cooked at a dinner party--yum!
18. What are you wearing? T-shirt and shorts.
19. Your T.V.? Currently commandeered to play X-box games
20. Your pet? Max the black (cat), Zoe and Nola (guinea pigs), and 4 (yes, four) hamsters...can anyone say "nesting"?
21. Your computer? laptop
22. Your mood? nervous
23. Missing someone? Yes
24. Your car? Toyota Carolla
25. Something you're not wearing? Um,....a bra. C'mon, It's 3 in the morning, people!
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your Summer? Over
28. Love someone? Yes ;)
29. Your favorite color? blue and green (it's a tie)
30. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
31. Last time you cried? This afternoon.

Now for the tagging part:

I hope to see your answers :)

Show and Tell

It's been a gray few days here in my neck of the woods, so I thought that I would post some pictures from last April when Hubby and I went to Las Vegas, my first time there :)

We walked through all of the major casinos on the strip, but my favorite was at the Bellagio. It had an spring motif featuring butterflies, poppies and tulips. We had to go back twice so I could take it all in:

Painted umbrellas hung from the ceiling and the gardens were adorned with glass poppy sculptures

Up close and personal with a poppy

One side of the garden featuring tulips

Just lovely isn't it? They had a butterfly enclosure at one end where they were raising butterflies that they would release every week to help pollinate the flowers and trees in the area.

So that's my show and tell, don't forget to check out the rest of the class this week!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cycle update

First, I want to say a special thank you to everyone who left comments about meeting our donor. I was thinking along the same lines as you, and it was nice to get some verification :) .

I really liked the comment asking her what she would like the child to know about her. I hope that doesn't sound like too invasive of a question. She seems really laid back and understanding. When we signed the contract, we had asked specifically if she would be willing to meet any children resulting from egg donation when they turned 18. She agreed. She also agreed to be contacted in case of a medical emergency that would require a genetic relative. Perhaps she is so understanding because she has two children of her own.....I'm not sure, but I do feel more relaxed about meeting her and I thank all of you for that.

In a cycle update, our donor went in for her baseline on Tuesday the 4th. All went well and she started her stim meds! She goes back in Monday for bloodwork and an ultrasound. I think that this puts the estimated retrieval around Nov 15/16. That would be THIS COMING WEEKEND!! After all this waiting.....I can't think too far ahead in the future, though. It just becomes too overwhelming, too ripe with possibilites and potential sadness. I am just trying to look ahead to the next hurtle. For me, that will be meeting her this Sunday.

I'll let you know how it goes....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day of Reconing

So....this are moving smoothly in the Hope Springs Infertile household. A little TOO smoothly.

We are smack in the middle of our first (and only??) Donor Egg cycle (IVF #4). My hormones are sufficiently suppressed and my estradiol count sufficiently is elevated. The donor has started on her lupron, quit her birth control and is waiting for her period. She should get her period any day now (predicted to be Nov 2). When she does, she will go in for a baseline and the process will move to "THE STIMULATION PHASE." (This should be said with a deep and dramatic voice).

Besides the fact that for most of last week I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, things are indeed going smoothly. I do try to take it one day at a time. One hurtle at a time. I am, though, nervously looking ahead. Not to a pregancy or a baby, but to viable eggs. Something of which I know little about.

When my husband and I started considering DE a year ago after my 3rd failed IVF (the second in which I had failed to even stimulate), we had a lot of long, heavy conversations. We moved from the initial "Should we try again hoping for our own eggs? How do you feel about the baby being genetically related to only one of us?" to "Are we going to tell our parents? Our (potential) kids?" We decided yes to both questions, because we wanted there to be no secrets to how our children were conceived. Now, in the parents/other relatives department, don't get me wrong. We haven't told everyone, just close family. We also just update them with the facts, not too much info, as this is obviously a very personal decision.

One thing that we did decide on was that we would let our potential kids know of their origins. That we wanted to have children very much and needed to use another woman's eggs in order to do so. We didn't want to turn this into a large family secret. The gorilla in the room, as it were. We both remember the struggle to find out who we really "were" when we were growing up, and although using DE adds a layer of complexity for them, we didn't want it to seem 'bad.' We don't want to make it a taboo subject in our home. That may make it more uncomfortable for us, but we think it will be best for them. That means that they are going to have a lot of questions. And we would like to have a least some of the answers.

That is why we want to meet our donor. We didn't have any friends or family who could donate for us, so our donor is virtually anonymous to us, save for her profile that we looked at 6 months ago. Although we know what we read, we want to tell our kids that we spoke to her, asked her some questions, etc.

Now the time has come. We are moving onto THE STIMULATION PHASE. If there were ever a time to meet her, now is it. We have a date and a time: next Sunday, Nov 9 at 1pm.

And I am really scared.

Of what, I'm not sure.

And I cannot think of a single thing to ask her.

My husband appears quite comfortable. I asked him if he would tell me what he was going to ask her, but he is being a bit coy. I think that he doesn't want me to steal his questions. :)

I feel as though any thing I might ask is going to come out sounding dumb, or worse, invasive. My mind is in a total fog.

I think some of my fear in meeting her is that all of this will become real. Really. Really. Real. We really could get pregnant. We really could have a baby. Or we really could have yet another disappointment.

Does any one have any suggestions on what you would want to know if you were told you were born of donor eggs?

Show and Tell

So today Hubby and I went out on a driving tour to look at the changing leaves. It's a little late here in New England for that, but we went out nonetheless. I put fresh batteries in the camera and everything. We did see a lot of beautiful foliage, but darned if I didn't forget to actually get the camera out.....

So instead, today's Show and Tell will be stock footage from my hard drive of one of my guinea pigs.

Nola resting on Hubby's arm

While she does look a tad bit uncomfortable in this picture, I can assure you that no piggies were harmed in the making of this photo. (Although, if she had any pride, I'm sure it would be gone.) She will even eat when we put her on her back, and believe me, guinea pigs DO NOT eat if they are scared.

Here's one of my favorite photos of her.

A piggy smile!

Actually, this is the same photo as my profile picture, just zoomed in on the piggy.

I think that our poor animals hope and pray that we have kids soon so that we will quit making them pose for silly pictures. Poor things :)

Wanna see more Show and Tell? Head over to Mel's for a complete list!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Putting the IF in life...

So the expected date that our donor goes in for her baseline is November 2nd. I've known that date for a while now, but I just realized that it is this SUNDAY. Could all of this be really happening? I keep waiting for "the other shoe to drop," waiting for something horrible to go wrong. Steeling myself for the worst.

I have this inability to go beyond the moment. I can't think too far in the future. I won't calculate what my due date will be if I get pregnant in November. I won't think of baby names. I won't think about how the place that we rent is probably riddled with lead paint. And I WON'T talk about our children as if they are a forgone certainty.

Infertility has caused me to put so many qualifiers on my phrases: "IF I am fortunate enough to get pregnant. IF we are lucky enough to have a healthy pregnancy. IF we are blessed with more than one child." If, if, if, if. I realize that it is probably not a coincidence that the initials for infertility is IF.

I wish that this part of my life was not a big "what IF." Even though I know it is not a possibility, I wish that having children was something I COULD take for granted. Say, perhaps, like some friends of ours who did not want to have kids. They were on birth control and just found out that SHE IS 13 WEEKS PREGNANT. Really, now. I think I may have to call shenanigans on that one. How does someone not realize they are pregnant until 13 weeks into their pregnancy when they are on the pill? Wouldn't you notice the LACK PERIOD FOR THE LAST 3 MONTHS??? I know that there are always exceptions to the rule, but really? Three months into it? Not much of a clue?

They are the second couple in the last year that I have known to get pregnant on the pill. Being a scientist, I have conducted a research study on this phenomenon and have decided that I am like a black hole of infertility, you only have to know me, be in my vicinity in the past year and my infertility will act as a gigantic force of nature, using all of its mass to pull out any shred of infertility in others, either induced or uninduced. Not that I'm bitter. Not that I am trying to make this about me......right?? um, yeah.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


So I should be hopeful, right? I went in Thursday for a blood draw and I was fully suppressed. Good news! I then added 4 mgs of estradiol and lowered the dose of lupron to 5 units. I went in on Saturday for a blood draw and my estradiol level was in the good range, so the donor is set to start her meds now. This is great, yes? Then why am I feeling so tired and hopeless. And why is my face breaking out? And I feel like I am barely able to keep any food down. And why does my boss tell me to quit thinking "inside the box" and "fly by the seat of my pants?" If he only knew how many hormones I am on. Or that I have become incomprehensibly gassy. Perhaps he wouldn't be so quick to have me fly by the seat of my pants. I could have just taken off from the seat I was in.........Gah. Bah. Bad Monday. OK, I'll quit whining now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The maiden and her lupron

Gentle reader, let me tell you a story. A story that begins with a woman and her lupron. A woman and her missing lupron, and the hilarity that ensued....

This story starts out just like it has for the past 6 days, with the sound of an alarm clock going off a the ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. Not trying to wake her fair prince, the maiden lumbers out of bed, cursing the alarm clock, as she is NOT a morning maiden.

The fair maiden stumbles out to the castle living room, turns on the torchlight, and ignoring the pleading and whining from the royal pets about the snack that they would like to have, proceeds to locate her needles and lupron, neatly placed in their box in the royal cabinet. Through blurry eyes, she notices that she has her needle in hand, but cannot find the lupron. "What?" she declares sweetly and princess-like. "However did I misplace my lupron? Well, it cannot have gotten far, for surely I have placed it in the cabinet were the rest of the royal baby-making supplies are."

But lo, the maiden looks high and low, low and high. She takes everything out of the lupron box. She takes everything out of the royal cabinet. She searches by her disposed needle box, by the royal pet boxes, in the refrigerator, in the bathroom and in between the couch cushions.

"Oh dear. Oh dear." she cries, without ever letting a swearword or five hundred pass from her lips. And then she wonders, "did I happen to throw the lupron in the trash yesterday morning when I threw out my royal needle cover and royal isopropanol wipe? Surely, no!"

But alas, it appears that after all this searching, this is the only place left it could be. So at 7:15 a.m. the now grumpy maiden proceeds to get a new trashbag out and place the pieces of trash from the old bag into the new piece by piece. She notices a timeline for the layers of trash, a strata if you will, with tacos for dinner at night covering the needle package and isopropanol wipe from the night before. No lupron yet, but the maiden keeps digging. Ah yes, dirty napkins, scrapings from dinner two days before. Still no lupron. But, it is small, and perhaps it has worked its way to the bottom of the bag. Un-merrily, the maiden digs on until she reaches the coffee grounds at the bottom of the trash bag. No royal lupron. "Shitsy. Oh, I mean deary me! Whatever will I do. I don't want to ring the physician-on-call at the royal fertility clinic. Perhaps I can solve this problem on my own."

So the now less than fair, slightly panicy maiden thinks really, really hard, using the few brain cells that work at what is now 7:30 a.m.

"Aha!" she cries. I have a royal bag of unused medicine in my royal closet. I remember that I had some lupron in there!" So digging into that bag she goes, trying not to think about the amount of royal money that was spent on the usused medications or the failed cycles that they represent.

"Lupron--yes, lupron, there you are, just in the bottom of the bag where I placed you. I shall call the happy little bluebirds to bring me my needle. I shall inject myself with you and then lay myself to slumber.......Oh, sonofabitch the lupron expired in April."

By now the fair maiden was too weary and too irritated to care. She grabbed the expired bottle of lupron, plopped herself down in her loyal chair and injected herself with the expired lupron, figuring that it still had some potency left. Drug companies usually hedge their bets on when their drugs expire. So inject herself she does.

After taking her royal needle and depositing it in the royal needle disposal box and throwing the isopropanol wipe in the *new* garbage bag, she feels a pull. A pull to the royal baby-making medicine cabinet, the one she systematically took apart piece by piece, the one which housed her box with needles and lupron which she searched 5 (yes, five) times. For some reason she opens the box again. Instead of grabbing all the needles in one hand while searching the box, she mearly peers into the box.

And there, nestled in amongst the needles, is HER MISSING BOTTLE OF LUPRON.

"Oh motherf*cking holy hell." Ahem, I mean "Oh fiddlesticks!"

A New Journey

So today is the day. Well, rather, tonight is the night.

I have spent so much time writing about where I've been, that I've neglected to say where I'm going.

Tonight I take my last birth control pill (or Irony Pills, as I have been calling them) and hope to soon get what will be my last period for nine months.

Wow. I can't believe I wrote that. Not the pill part, but the 9 months part. Of course, besting Aunt Flo is still something that will take a lot of science and prayers. Seemingly a dichotomy, but somehow fused in a complicated pattern of life and hope in my mind.

We are "starting" our journey to parenthood using donor eggs.

I say starting in quotes , because we have been on this journey for the last year now. Yes, exactly one year last November. I should, and will, post about that later. Now I am just a little overwhelmed.

We've been given a tentative schedule: take last b.c. pill on the 19th, wait for period. If I get my period (which I always do, I'm a champ in that department), I'll go in for bloodwork on the 22nd. If all looks good, I reduce the lupron injections in half compared to what I'm taking now, and start loading me up with estrogen. If THAT goes well, then the donor will start stimulating......she's estimated to go in for a check on the 1st of November, with a possible retrieval on Nov 13 or 14th. Of course these dates are not set in stone, and nothing here has ever worked according to MY timetable, so I'm trying to stay flexible in my mind (that sounds weird---like mind gymnastics or something).

I feel a small ray of hope that this journey brings....and a lot of fear. Fear that it wont work. Fear that if it does work I'll miscarry. Fear that I'll never be able to relax about this.

Show and tell

Since it is getting colder out (at least for those of us here in the northeastern United States, I thought that I would post some pictures from last Spring (May, I believe) when Ryan and I visited the Boston Public Gardens. Tulips are my favorite flowers...

A bed of beautiful white and red tulips

The front of the Boston Public Garden

Weeping willows overhanging the pond

A swan on the pond

Now that the leaves are turning I should go out and take some photographs of all the lovely trees out there.

I grew up in Florida, so the idea of "seasons" still fascinates me...I even still enjoy the snow. Of course we have only had to deal with it for the last 3 years, so maybe the novelty will wear off on me. I love when it snows after dark, when the ground is sparkling, white and smooth and you look up to see all the small flakes falling from the skies....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recent History--part three or IVF 1, 2 & 3: a whirlwind of activity

By the time April rolled around, when the doctors said we could start IVF again, I was nervous, excited, and scared. After attending an orientation class at our IVF clinic, shown how to give myself injections (I left sweaty hand prints on everything I touched when I was holding the needle), we were ready to go.

After an excruciating time getting the medicines (a topic for another blog post), we were on the road. Now, I would never say I was a morning person, so dragging my fat butt out of bed at 6:30am to give oneself multiple injections left a lot to be desired. Then again, so did not having a child. So out of the bed I came, bleary-eyed, to the vials and needles that I had set out the night before and began mixing, flicking and poking my way to what I hoped were super follicles.

I was really unclear as to what was supposed to be happening. Actually, I knew what was supposed to happen, I just was unable to see danger signs.

The first danger sign was that after a week of stims on the doctor's "second-most aggressive protocol" my estradiol levels (a measure of developing follicles) were in the 200's. So the nurse in charge (NIC) of my chart, bumped me up to the "most aggressive" protocol. Fine.

I went in for an estradiol check a few days later. "We're moving up, slowly, but it looks better." I was up to 350.

The next day I had more bloodwork. I was up to around 450, I think. "Here we go," said NIC. "Come in on Saturday for another estradiol check and an ultrasound."

Since it was on a Saturday, my husband came with me, and I "forced" him to come in the back room with me for the ultrasound. I had given him the rundown about my new-found relationship with "Mr. Wand," but I thought that formal introductions were necessary, given the intimacy of the relationship. After modest introductions, Mr. Wand disappeared into the recesses of my body cavity and the probing began.

Ultrasound techs cannot give info about what they see, at least at my facility, so we waited for the phone call later that afternoon.

I remember that I rushed to the phone with a pad and pencil to write down any further instructions. The Saturday nurse read me my estradiol number: 451. One follicle detected. "Great," I thought, "I have a visible follicle." Unfortunately, after 10 days of stims, 1 follicle and a non-doubling estradiol level does not a protocol continuation make.

I have to admit I was taken completely by surprise when the nurse said that we were going to have to scrap the cycle.

Really? Scrap the cycle? Just like that?

Unfortunately, this news came the day before the most coveted of holidays for infertiles: Mother's Day.

I spend most of Saturday crying. Trying to pull myself out of the funk, I suggested that Sunday my husband and I go out to eat.

Haahahahahahahahahahaa! Wrapped up in my own grief, it had completely escaped me that on Mother's Day, hundreds of mothers would descend upon eateries around the area, smartly dressed children in tow. We ate dinner quickly and returned home.

For IVF attempt #2 I was a little more knowledgeable. We started that protocol in June. It was slight variation on the original theme of pump-her-with-as-much-hormones-as possible.

This time, however, we had better results. My estradiol levels were climbing. They were finding follicles. Good reports were coming back. We were actually given a day to have the trigger shot and a retrieval day!

Times were scheduled. Appointments were made. We were ecstatic!

The retrieval went well: out of the 8 follicles seen, 6 eggs were recovered. The next day we were told 4 fertilized. A transfer day was set. Things were moving so fast now!

Two days later we went in for the transfer. Of the 4 fertilized eggs, 1 had quit dividing after the 1st day, so it was not a candidate for transfer. Of the other three, one had only progressed to three cells, so its future was not in my uterus either. The other two showed more promise: they were still dividing, although one embryo was only at 4 cells while the second one was at 6 cells. I wasn't sure how many cells there were supposed to be at this stage (I had instituted an internet "blackout" for myself to try to limit my stress level), but six cells seemed about right from what I remembered from my readings.

While six cells may be close, eight is actually the number one is going for. Well, perhaps my little guys were just slow-pokes. Surely bathing them in the temple that was my newly reconstructed uterus would give them just the chance they needed.

I NERVOUSLY set about for my two-week-wait. I fidgeted, I daydreamed, I did relaxation exercises, I spoke to my therapist, I spoke to my husband, I tried to concentrate at work. I did, however, realize that the day I went in for the blood test, that I would not be at work that day. I was holding it together, but barely. Bloodwork at my clinic is always drawn between 7 and 8:30 am, so I had half a day to kill before the blood test came back.

I went home. I watched crappy TV; I waited for the phone call from NIC. When the phone rang, my heart stopped beating. I held my breath. "I'm sorry, I have bad news. You're not pregnant." I thanked NIC for calling, I hung up the phone and called my husband. I don't think that he could understand a word I said, but he got the gist. He was kind and sent flowers at home for me. But I was inconsolable. See, we had broken a cardinal rule of IVF, don't tell your family unless you are ready for them to ask questions. They knew what day I should have the answer. They called. My husband called them back when he got home from work. That was the day before my mother's birthday, July 16.

IVF # 3 I was ready for. We had taken a month off, to rest and recuperate. By now I had dealt with my pharmacy long enough to know the protocol; I had the drill down pat. I knew who to call and where in order to get all the meds that were prescribed for me.

I also knew what my estradiol numbers should look like. I knew what to expect if the ultrasound techs found follicles (a lot less poking around and a lot more typing on the screen).

So it came as no surprise to me when my third IVF cycle was canceled before retrieval. I called my husband and told him as much when I got back from that morning's ultrasound and bloodwork. "You see," said the ultrasound tech to the tech-in-training, "when the patient has been on fertility medicine for a number of days, it will be easier to see the ovaries. They'll have a number of follicles on them." I guess he didn't know I had been stimulating for a week and a half.

That was where we left off in September of 2007. By this time I had been combing the internet for solace. A little preganant had just had similar results with her latest attempt at stimulation. Her doctor had recommended using donor eggs. I wasn't sure if we were on the same journey...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Show and Tell

This is my first show and tell, but I thought that I would share some pictures from a "gathering" that my husband and I went to over this summer: a guinea pig pignic!

The last two pictures are of our guinea pigs. And before you ask, yes it is a little odd, but it is also a lot of fun. Basically, some kind and dedicated organizers decide a place and a date for the pignic. They bring fencing to keep the piggies corralled and signs to mark the girls and boys cages. People come, bring their piggies and snacks for the pigs and humans. Everyone just hangs out, talks and laughs watching the guinea pigs run around in the enclosed areas. Then there is a contest for such silly things as "porkiest pig," or pig with the longest fur termed the "Fabio" prize for the boy and "Repunzel" prize for the girl. Everyone laughs, has fun and gets to meet a lot of other people from around the area!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Recent History--part two

After consultation with a laparoscopic specialist at the practice, I geared up for surgery. I went in to this surgery scared, not as scared as previously, but still scared. The surgery was quite a success, however! I woke up, and except for the nearly constant vomiting, I was intact! Only a few poke-holes. The doctor took out about 450 grams of tissue from the fibroids on my uterus. Nearly a pound of flesh! I instantly dropped a dress size (but not exactly the road I would have taken....)

We were in for another surprise, however. While my uterus was now "beautiful" (Doctor's words, not mine), the surgery revealed that I had many, many endometrial adhesions. The doctor removed the ones that he could, but I had some that were encasing my ovaries. Indeed, they had glued my ovaries to the back of my uterus. In addition, I had one falopian tube that was M.I.A. It just sort of trailed up into my intestinal area.... My other fallopian tube, on the other hand, was GREAT! Just not not anywhere near my misplaced ovaries. So we were told that we were going to have to move straight on to IVF.

That was a bigger blow to me than I would have expected.

I know IVF is one of the "last steps" in reproductive technology. I felt like I had suddenly been fast-forwarded past all the other options. Didn't I have a chance at dosing me with clomid? How 'bout an IUI? Really? Straight onto IVF?

I recuperated at home for about 4 days after the surgery. After that, I became too restless. I went into the lab, more for companionship, than to do any real work. I had just made it to the lab and was heartily greeted by a few members. It was nice to get my mind off of everything. I was probably there for 10 minutes before someone wanted to tell me the latest news: our coworker was pregnant!

I don't even know what my reaction was, at least what it looked like on the outside. I know I'm not the first infertile woman to experience the sadness, anger and loneliness of seeing/hearing about other people's pregnancies. I think I feigned happiness and went to look for someplace to sit down.

I stayed around for another half an hour or so. Left the lab and went home and sobbed. I was overcome with sadness.....devoid of hope......bereft.

I stayed that way for the next three months or so while I healed. For the first time I was scared, really scared that we wouldn't be able to have children. I couldn't look at pregnant women. I couldn't go to church, usually my place of solace, without dissolving into tears halfway through the service. My husband tried to help, tried to soothe me, but I was inconsolable. Even though I knew that IVF was still an option, an option that many, many infertile people would love to have, I was in mourning. No longer was I going to have my fantasy of calling up my husband at work and saying "Surprise! We're pregnant!" Or calling up my family and saying, "Well, we were just ready to start a family and then we found out I was pregnant!"

I felt like a part of my privacy had been taken away. What should have been discussed in the bedroom between my husband and I was now in the hands of doctors upon doctors. Our most personal decision was now shared with nurses in scrubs and embryologists.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Recent History--part one

I had that surgery in 2002. My husband and I were living at his Mother's house while we were both in "back-to-school" mode. We knew we wanted kids, but with all the debt we had (not to mention the fact that we were living in his MOTHER'S house), it made trying for kids a no-go. At least then.

It took me another 2 1/2 years to finish graduate school. I found a post-doc position (sort of like an independent scientist-in-training), and we moved to our new city.

We spent the first 3 months trying to get to know the city better--it was larger than any city I had ever lived in before---trying to feel competent in my new position at work, formulating plans to pay down all of our school debt, and generally enjoying living on our own. Although we had been married for 7 years, 4 of them were spent at his Mother's house.

We started trying "seriously" to get pregnant in December of 2005. For pregnancy "protection" we had been practicing Natural Family Planning (NFP) since the surgery in 2002. We were not always as careful as we could have been, but I thought that we were doing a STUNNING job. I mean really: no pregnancies here!

Since I had been charting my cycles with NFP, I had a pretty good indication that I ovulated. My cycles were a little short, but other than that, pretty normal. So we took the charting from "no pregnancy mode" to "bring it on" mode. I wasn't really surprised the first few months that we didn't get pregnant. I had fibroids after all, and I had read that it is normal for it to take 6 month to a year to pregnant. Yet, I had a lingering suspicion, a familiar words kept bubbling up in my brain....fibroids.....endometriosis....

So, after 6 months of trying with no success, I asked my Gyn for a referral to a specialist. She had already had me get another ultrasound for my fibroids, and quickly wrote me a referral for a local fertility practice at a local hospital.

It didn't take as long as I would have thought to get an appointment. Then again, I said that I would just take the first doctor who had an opening. My husband and I went together. I was pretty shell-shocked after the meeting. It wasn't that my doctor wasn't nice, it was that I was just unprepared for the number of tests: clomid citrate challenge test (CCCT), hysterosalpinogram, hysteroscopy, sperm analysis, ultrasound. Once we had taken all of these tests--well, I guess I wasn't the one taking the sperm analysis test--we were to have another meeting with the doctor. I remember asking our assigned nurse at the practice to re-explain the importance of the CCCT. "It's a test to measure the quality of your eggs." and that we wanted a number below 10. "What happens if you get a number above 10?" I asked. "Well, then you have to use donor eggs if you want to become pregnant. But let's not worry about that now, you have a lot of tests that you need to take, and then the doctor and the two of you can decide how best to proceed."

I took all the tests except for the hysterosalpingogram. My husband took his. The doctor wanted to schedule a meeting, and the we didn't need to worry about that test yet.

Now, I'm not entirely foolish. I knew another surgery was coming. One does not walk around with fibroids larger than one's own uterus, have trouble getting pregnant and realize that somethings gotta give.

We met with the doctor. As we suspected, nothing further was going to be done until I had the fibroids out. There were too many, they were too big, and it was too risky. But there was also another thing to talk about. My CCCT results were "a little high." 18 to be exact. I remembered the number 10. 10 or you will be using donor eggs. 18 was not just a little off. It was not 11...13..nowhere close to 10. But the doctor was hopeful, "we've had a lot of luck with women with high numbers." Besides, I had a surgery to get ready for anyway.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the beginning: part three

I've always hated the expression "there's a party in my pants and you're all invited." Really. So gross.

However, in my case it seemed to be true. Well, only if you were endometrial cells and my pants was my abdomen.

It turns out I had a whole lot goin' on under the hood. I was told later that after they inserted the camera for the laparoscopy, this was going to have to be a bigger job. A six-inch incision kind of job.

Apparently, I had endometrial adhesions all. over. my. abdomen.

This was surprising as I never had any symptoms. However, this fact did not deter the doctors that checked in on me over the course of the FIVE DAYS I STAYED IN THE HOSPITAL (more on that in another post). Apparently it was inconceivable that I could have that severe of endometriosis (stage 4 of 5, I think) without having any symptoms.

I have to say, that I think after the fourth of fifth doctor that asked me the same set of questions about it, that I began to lose faith in the medical system as a whole.

No, I don't have any pain during my periods, or in between.

No, I don't have breakthrough bleeding.

Apparently, I was the only person in the world who had endometriosis and no outward symptoms. Except for the fact that I wasn't. In one study:

Nearly one-third of the women having endometriosis have no symptoms other than infertility.

So, I still had my uterus, but I had endometriosis. Right. No problem. They got rid of it. Just scraped it away. I was surely fine. No problems here......right??

I must admit, I was a little surprised when I went to a follow up visit and the doctor in charge asked me how soon my husband and I were going to try to have kids. Strange, I thought, because they got rid of the problem. Oh, except for the part that they left the THREE VERY LARGE FIBROIDS on my uterus. 'Cuz that might affect my fertility, you know, if they did anything with that.

Looking back on my medical records, the 3 fibroids totaled a mass greater than the total size of my uterus. But surely that wouldn't cause me problems, right?

To be continued....

In the beginning: part two

I don't know what I expected when I woke up from surgery. Not that I would immediately be lucid, but, I don't know, maybe I would have a caring nurse or doctor at my side, taking my vitals, patting me on the head with a cold washrag, asking me what I would like for my first meal after surgery....

Maybe that did happen. If so, I don't remember it. The first thing I remember after surgery was being moved down THE BUMPIEST HALLWAY ON EARTH on a hospital bed with no shocks. I also remember a conversation, or snippets of one:

Do you think I ought to tell her?

Well, I think that it is always best to tell the truth.

Yeah, I guess so.

I don't know how well she is going to take it though....

Two people were wheeling me down the hallway. And I knew, I was just SO sure they were talking about me. That was it. My confirmation. I had a hysterectomy. So, as calmly as I could, I decided to engage these individuals in a rational, emotionless discussion. "Pardon me health care professionals, but I would like to have an in-depth discussion about my surgery and how this may effect my reproductive capabilities." Which, came out as a slightly audible squeak "Do I still have my uterus?"

No answer.

So I asked again, tears streaming down my face, "Do I still have my uterus?"

I wish I could have seen the look on these two people's faces. I really do. Looking back on it now, it must have been a look of shock and horror. It's probably not that I couldn't have seen these people's faces if I wanted to, it's just that I hadn't opened my eyes. I guess in the post-surgery haze, eye opening was optional for conversation.

What I did hear was a lot of stammering and the movement of the bed to its new location sped up considerably.

The next thing I remember was one of the people saying "Oh, are you her husband? Great. She is asking if she still has a uterus. I-I-I don't really know what surgery she had. Great, you'll take care of it? Great."

I'm pretty sure I felt the rush of two people running from my room.

Then I felt my husband take my hand. I opened my eyes. "Yes, Brenda, yes you still have your uterus."

To be continued...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In the beginning

I wish I was terribly clever. And funnier. Or maybe more creative.

I would like a way to lay out all of the infertility business in my life with such grace, humor and aplomb that you (and I) would be enraptured. However, the battery on my computer is going to die in a few minutes and I have not thought of anything terribly funny or clever, so I should just begin, eh?

I feel a bit like infertility snuck up on me, like a thief in the night. Not that I didn't know about infertility. I have two friends and a cousin-in-law who had been dealing with it in their lives. It's just that I figured that if I was infertile, I would only be a teensy bit infertile, you know? Just a little help, here and there. And then all would be right with the world.

Really, I didn't think that I had too much to worry about. I have always had regular periods. Really. You could set a calendar by me. Friends of mine who were having fertility issues always had issues with their periods, missed ones, ones happening too close together. Not me...24-26 days, rain or shine. The first incling that something was wrong was in 2002. I had gone in for a routine physical and the Dr. noticed that my abdomen was hard. She suspected uterine fibroids. I had never heard of such things, but working in the cancer field, I was a little disressed to realize that they were outgrowths of the uterus. I am really wary of things growing in one's body inappropriately. Assured that they were not cancerous, I was sent to have an internal ultrasound to verify the diagnosis. The ultrasound tech took a lot of images, pointed out some of the fibroids and I was on my way. I got a call a few days later that they had found a mass near one of my ovaries and wanted to perform an MRI to check it out. I met with some specialists (described as "excellent doctors, but not very friendly"-an apt description). I was sure that the MRI would show something rather innocuous and I would be on my way. Alas, it turned out that I had a endometrioma on my left ovary and it needed to be removed, lest it burst and cause me great pain. Well, not what I had hoped for, but it was fixable.

It was also my first major surgery, so I was more than a little scared.

I met with the Doctors that were going to perform the surgery. They asked if I just wanted a laparoscopy (just the poke holes with the camera--less invasive) or, if they saw anything more in there if they should proceed with a laparotomy. I had made my mind up after staying up all night with the after effects of the "bowel prep." "Do what you have to do. I don't want to come in for another surgery."

So they wheeled me into the OR with a wristband that said: possible cystectomy, ooectomy, hysterectomy.

They helped me move from the gurney to the OR table. I remember looking up at the big overhead light with the doctors and nurses in their scrubs and caps looking down on me. A doctor said, " We're giving you a sedative. You will feel like you just had a cocktail."

Yeah. Right.

What I felt like was that someone took my head and started spinning it around. After that, I don't remember anything.

To be continued....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Inauguration and explaination

So. Here it is. My first official blog post. While I know that I am going to be the only one reading this for now, I hope to actually understand how to use this thing, so that I can make it look all nice and purty-like in case anyone stops by.

As an introduction, I am 30-something and have been married for 10 years to my best friend. I have a (slightly) disturbing number of small animals [one cat, two guinea pigs, and 4 hamsters]. I was in school for a LONG time, ending up with a PhD, and am now working in the northeast. Oh yes, and am infertile. Very, very infertile. I didn't, however, find this out until a few years ago.

But, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

I feel compelled to give some explaination as to why I'm writing this down publicly, instead of just keeping a journal. To be honest, I am not really sure why myself. I think that it is in part, perhaps in large part, because I have gotten so much out of reading other people's blogs who are going through the same ordeal. Although they probably don't know it, they have been a lifeline. A lifeline that I would have been lost without. I hope that I can do that for someone else. But I cannot deny that the second reason that I want to blog about my infertility is for me to reach out, to feel connected with others who share my same struggles in a way that commenting on other people's blogs just can't substitute.

This inaugural post is the first in what I hope to be a journey of my life. With all its ups and downs. And hopefully, will be EXCEEDINGLY less somber than this first post. Geesh. You would think that I was writing a eulogy.

I hope to lay out my 'story' in coherent chunks over the next few posts.