Tuesday, December 31, 2013

IVF #3

So IVF #3 starts tomorrow and I am trying to decide how I feel about it.  I am not really excited or nervous, or scared like the last two cycles.  I just am.   I force myself to sound positive when I talk about this cycle, but I don't think I really feel positive.  I don't feel negative either.  I kind of feel that I am in emotional limbo and oddly I think I am ok with that.

I think that part of the problem is that I feel like this cycle just snuck up on me.  Usually I spend so much time planning everything out and I just didn't this cycle.  My consents are notarized but not filled out,  I still need to call the pharmacy and schedule my delivery date for my meds, and I am sure there are other things I need to do but I just don't feel like being crazy planner lady this cycle.  I'll get everything done when I get around to it.

I've been telling people that I don't have a resolution this year, but maybe I do.  Maybe my resolution is that I am not going to be  a crazy stressed out hormonal mess this cycle.  We'll see.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

IVF #3 and the holidays

Ok, so I officially suck at blogging.  It's been awhile since I posted, so let me catch you up.

My last post was reporting the results of our WTF appointment part 2 and as I mentioned in that post, we are moving forward with IVF #3 in January.  Everything is moving right along, I am on BCPs and start Lupron New Year's Day.   It's fitting, right?  Starting a new IVF cycle and a new year the same day.

One reason I've been MIA the last few weeks is that I've had a hard time dealing with the holidays and my birthday this year.  Last year was filled with so much hope.  This time last year we were waiting to start treatment with our RE and I just knew we would be pregnant or have a baby by the time the year was over.  Apparently my calculations were a little off...

Anyway, I've become a professional at attempting to hide or bury my feelings (Most bloggers turn to their blog to deal with their feelings, but what can I say, I'm special like that).  I've buried myself in books, movies, tv, and a little too much alcohol on one occasion, all in an attempt to avoid the fact that I'm sad.  Yup, I'll say it, it's my favorite time of year and I'm not enjoying it (or at least as much as I normally would).  I see all of these happy people getting/doing exactly what they want and it just reminds me of the empty parts of my life.  Why do some people get exactly what they want with little or no effort and others have to work so hard and spend every penny they have?  ::sigh:: The only answer is that life's not fair.   I know this and accept this, but I still think it freaking sucks.

I don't want to make it sound like I am a complete Scrooge this year, my life is not all doom and gloom.  I finished wrapping DH's Christmas presents and I can't wait to see him open them.  I love buying gifts for him.  Also my youngest nephew is one and has really brought some humor to my life the last few weeks.  He is such a ham and loves to make me laugh.  It's hard to be in a bad mood when he is around.

I've also just started attending a miscarriage support group.  It's funny because as devastating as our loss was, it's been easier for me to deal with it than dealing with our infertility.  I think it is because I know why the miscarriage happened.  Our embryo was just not good quality.  All of our embryos have been poor quality.  It's harder for me to deal with our infertility.  It looks like we are dealing with poor egg quality, but why?  I mean drug addicts can have a baby, why can't a relatively healthy 31 year old?  Anyway I digress, back to the support group.  It's nice to have a place to use as an outlet to my negative feelings.  While most haven't dealt with infertility, they understand loss and infertility is very much a loss.  I attended a candle lighting ceremony last week for the babies lost and it was nice.  I also got an ornament with the miscarriage support ribbon on it and the date of our miscarriage.  We have so few reminders of our loss, it's nice to have something tangible to remember our angel by.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

WTF Appointment part 2

Well WTF part 2 turned out wildly different from part 1.  I was prepared for more talk about donor eggs or embryo adoption, but what I got was a plan for one more cycle!  The RE that our doc talked to thinks that we still have a shot with my eggs.  He thinks we need to push my ovaries harder to maximize the number of eggs retrieved.  Last cycle I had several smaller follicles that didn't quite catch up,  this cycle we are aiming to get those follicles up to a mature size.

We will also do genetic testing on the embryos if we have enough.  My clinic offers CGH testing which is done on day 5 blastocysts.  My doctor doesn't recommend CGH unless we have 4 or more good quality embryos to test.  If we don't have enough embryos, then we can either just transfer 1 or 2 and hoping at least one is normal, or banking the embryos and trying another fresh cycle.

"I Believe" Video Journal Contest - Voting is Now Open!

There were technical difficulties with uploading the videos, but voting is finally open for the video journal contest I entered.  Here is the link:


Thanks to everyone who voted or offered their support, it means so much to us.  I think that voting runs through December 1st.  They will look at number of votes and a panel of judges from the clinic will chose a winner.  I think the winner will be announced December 20th.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Loss of What Could Have Been

So I have started to actually research donor eggs (DE) and embryo adoption (EA) and came across  an article that talked about the emotions of moving onto third party reproduction.  The article compared the emotions of moving on to DE or EA to that of experiencing a loss, and that it is important that you take the time to grieve the loss of biological tie to your child.

When I started thinking about it, it is like grieving a loss, the loss of a biological child that will never be born.  Anyone who has TTC has probably spent some time thinking about what their child will look like.  I know I have.  I hoped that my child would have my curls but DH's hair color, DH's straight nose and my thick eye lashes.  We eventually create this idea of a child in our minds.  It is the loss of this potential child that we grieve, the biological child that will never be.

I thought more about grieving and the tangle of emotions that I have been dealing with thanks to infertility and I started thinking about the "five stages of grief."  I know that it was originally created to explain the emotions faced dealing with terminal illness, but it really is applicable to many life altering situations, including infertility and third party reproduction.  The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I think I have felt all of these emotions over the last few weeks.  I am still working on acceptance.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dark Days

It's weird how I can have pretty good days followed by really bad days.  The last few days have been really bad.  The kind of days that involve coming home from work sobbing because I just can't shake the sadness and going to bed at 6:00 because I am so upset and sleep is the only relief I get.  My husband is so supportive, but it's hard on him too because there is nothing he can say that will make me feel better.  How are just supposed to accept that you may never have biological children?

I hate how much infertility takes away.  Getting pregnant is supposed to involve a bottle of wine and a sexy night with your husband, but thanks to infertility it's now all about doctors and medical procedures.  I was supposed to be able to surprise my parents with the announcement that they will be grandparents again, but thanks to infertility there won't be any surprise since they know about our treatments.  We were only supposed to be in our starter home a few years, but since all of our extra money goes towards treatments who knows when we will be able to buy our next house.  And once we had children, I was supposed to be able to just stare at them trying to decide if they looked more like DH or me.  Now it looks like infertility has taken that too.

My husband always manages to focus on the good things and I love him for it.  He keeps pointing out that I can get pregnant and that even if we can't have "our biological" children, they will still be "our" children.  I know that he's right, but I still mourn the idea of biological children.

Welcome to my pity party.  It's BYOB.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"I Believe" Video Contest

I submitted our video for the "I Believe" video contest.  They extended the deadlines, so voting doesn't start until next week.  When my video is posted, I will let everyone know.

I know that I probably won't win, but making the video was therapeutic.  In some ways it was sad putting together a video that highlights all of the crap we've been through over the last 2 years- a year of trying on our own, all of the testing, an IUI, heading to the RE, more testing, 3 more IUIs, an IVF with a canceled transfer, a second IVF, a chemical pregnancy, and now potentially moving on to donor eggs.  Even typing it out just now it seems like a lot of crap.  I guess the good way to look at it is that we've been through all of this crap and we've come out on the other side stronger for it.

Today I was also able to talk about our potentially needing an egg donor without crying, which is a big step for me.  I had lunch with a coworker and she had asked if I was still planning on cycling again in January.  I managed to have a conversation about our terrible WTF without tearing up.  I feel like I am making progress.

Friday, November 8, 2013

IF Limbo

I am in treatment limbo.  I have no plan for what our next steps will be, and I need a plan.  Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am a planner.  I am not spontaneous, I need things planned out and if necessary, have a couple of back up plans. Sure we have discussed some options, but nothing definitive.  The one thing that was getting me through the chemical pregnancy was my plan to cycle in January.  Now that this plan is off the table I feel lost. I need something to look forward to.  Right now all I can focus on is the fact that we will probably never have biological children and it tears me up.

I think the hardest part is that I don't know what to do.  My heart wants another shot at IVF with my eggs.  I just feel like we haven't given it our best shot.  But IVF is expensive and is it worth spending $15,000 on a cycle that probably has no chance at success just because I can't let go of the idea?  My sister has offered to donate eggs again (although we haven't fully discussed this option yet) and this should be a great option.  Much less expensive than anonymous donor and I could still have a baby that is genetically related to me.  For some reason this option doesn't make me feel better.  For some reason the thought of my sister going through IVF/ER makes me upset, I think because deep down I want it to be me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

WTF Appointment

Today was my WTF appointment and it was not good.  I had a whole list of questions for my RE and I never got to a single one of them.  Our RE doesn't think we should cycle again, he thinks we would be throwing away money.  He talked a little about doing some genetic testing (karyotyping) and DQ Alpha Match testing to see if we can figure out why our embryos don't grow normally.  He also said that he would pass our file on to another RE for review to see if he could come up with any ideas for us.

Basically he gave us the following options for building our family.  1. Adoption.  I think this is a great option, but I really want to experience pregnancy.   So for now this is not something we are considering.  2.  Embryo adoption.  My clinic recommends NDEC.  This is a possibility for us, but DH isn't thrilled about having to go through the whole home study approval process.  3. Donor Sperm.  We could try a few rounds of Clomid + IUI with donor sperm.  DH is not comfortable with this idea and I don't like the success rates for IUI.  4. Donor Egg.  DE can be expensive.  My sister has offered to donate eggs, but we haven't really discussed it in depth and DH is not super comfortable with the idea.

This whole week has been an emotional roller coaster and I want  off the ride.  It was a week ago today that I got my positive beta.  So much has changed in a week.  I also finally started my period this evening.  I knew it was coming, but it still hurts.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Now the waiting begins

I feel like I am in this weird place right now.  I am no longer pregnant, but I haven't gotten my period yet.  I'm in limbo.  Emotionally I am doing better today.  I made it through the whole day of work without crying, although I will admit that it was a struggle at a few points.   My sister had sent me text messages inviting me to her m/c support group and letting me know that they will be having a candle lighting ceremony in December in memory of the babies lost.  I finally had to ask her if we could talk about it another time, since I was trying my hardest not to cry at work.

Physically it's still hard.  I am not sleeping well.  Sometimes it's like I can't turn my brain off.  I'll be trying to fall asleep and I'll start thinking about how happy I was when I got that first positive test and how excited DH was when I told him and then I think about how that's all over now and the sadness just overwhelms me again.  It makes it hard to fall asleep.  On top of that last night I woke up with cramps several times during the night.

I put away all of our IVF stuff yesterday.  I found a photo box and put my IVF calendar in there along with the photo of our little blast and the photo of the ultrasound during transfer.  I also admit that I put my FRERs in the box as well.  I know that I should throw them away, but right now I feel like holding on to my first ever BFP.

I also decided to order a ring to wear in honor of our little angel.  I found a sterling silver and ruby (July's birthstone) ring on Amazon, it should be here tomorrow.  Here is what it looks like:

I am also considering getting a new Christmas ornament to hang in honor of our angel baby, but I'm not sure yet.  I don't want to make Christmas too depressing, but I also feel like we should remember our angel baby.

Monday, November 4, 2013

12dp5dt Beta #2 is in

Beta #2 came back at 3.  This was not a huge surprise since my FRER was negative this morning.  I was told to stop my meds and ween myself off the steroids.  It just sucks.  With my birthday and the holidays are coming up, I feel no excitement.   I usually love this time of year.  I'm turning another year older with a still empty uterus.  I'm still only hanging stockings for our family of four (Our pets have stockings).  It's depressing.  At least last year at this time I was looking forward to starting treatments with a RE.  Now a year later I'm still no closer to my dream.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11dp5dt This is the End

Only the faintest line left on my FRER wondfo is snow white.  I've accepted that this is not going to end well and am preparing myself for the bad news from my beta tomorrow.  I only knew I was pregnant for five days but it was enough for me to fall in love.  It is amazing how much happiness, joy, concern, sorrow, and pain can fit into five short days.

I love you baby "Lucky". You were never in my arms, but will be forever in my heart.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


More HPTs this morning.  The FRER still has a line, but lighter than yesterday.  The wondfo had pretty much no second line at all.  I even tried a digi, it came back "not pregnant."  I know that the darkness of the lines don't necessarily mean much, but I can't help but feel like this isn't going to have a happy ending.  I am going to try to stay positive until I hear the results for beta #2.  Right now my FRER is still positive, so I am still pregnant.  I will hold onto that.

Friday, November 1, 2013


More POAS today.  FRER still has a nice line (maybe even a little darker than yesterday) and the wondfo is much darker than yesterday.  This reassures me that I am still pregnant today.

Friendly advice, do not POAS in the middle of the day.  I took another wondfo after work and almost no line.  I know better than that, but if couldn't help it. I know that me pee wasn't as concentrated as this morning and that I can't compare the two tests, but it still freaked me out a little.

It's definitely nerve wracking waiting on beta #2.  POAS gives me reassurance that I am still pregnant, but I am also afraid that I will take a test and it will be negative.  I know that right now this is out of my hands, but that isn't comforting to a control freak like me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beta #1 is in

Beta #1 came back at 14.6.  Not as high as I'd like, but it does mean that I am indeed pregnant.  The nurse reassured me that the number is not as important as the beta doubling in 48 hours.  So now it means I have a long 4 day wait for beta #2 on Monday, since my clinic won't order betas on the weekend.

I am trying to remain positive and focus on the fact that as of right now I am pregnant and my beta confirms this.  I can understand why some clinics don't give out beta information until after the second beta. It is hard not to focus on the number.

I stocked up on FRERs and a box of digis.  Hopefully I will continue to get positive HPTs and this will help keep me from going completely BSC this weekend.

I really need this baby to stick, I am in love already.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

7DP5DT I dipped a FRER and ...

BFP!  OMG this really worked!

Now for the full story.  After staring at a faint ghost line on a wondfo all evening yesterday (yes, I am that crazy), I decided that I would pee on a FRER.  I never use a FRER because I hate the thought of wasting an expensive test on a BFN.  I bought them to confirm a positive on a wondfo.  So I wake up at 4:00 am and have to pee, so I grab a FRER and a wondfo and pee in a cup.  I dip the wondfo and watch the test develop.  It looks like a BFN, but then I could see another hint of a super faint line.  I felt like this can not be a real line, since it's still so faint and doesn't seem to be getting darker.

I decide to go ahead and dip the FRER just to confirm my suspicions that this cycle was a BFN. I watch the test start to develop and the control line pops up and then a faint second line pops up.  And it starts to get darker.  Cue the four letter words (I think the exact words that I said to myself were HOLY F*CKING SHIT, IT'S POSITIVE).

So telling the hubs... After over 2 years of TTC, 4 IUIs, and 2 IVFs; all plans for a cute announcement went out the window a long time ago.  So once I came out of shock of getting a positive test, I ran across the hall and flipped on the light in our bedroom (remember this is like 4:15 in the morning) and without waiting for him to fully wake up I yell, "What are you doing July 11th?" In his state of sleepiness says, "I don't know."  I reply "How about having a baby, boom!" And hand him the FRER.  Romantic right.  He looks at the test and agrees that he sees a second line (Not that I needed confirmation with this one.  My line eye is good, but I can't imagine that good of a line.).

The one worry point is that I never really tested out my trigger, but since I am 14 days past trigger and for all my IUIs my trigger was always out by 11ish days past trigger, I am pretty positive that this is not the trigger.  Plus this is a pretty decent line on a FRER.

Now the obligatory pee stick photo (The line is darker and pinker in real life):

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Still seeing super faint lines on wondfo tests (both this morning with FMU and this evening when I got home from work).  Part of me wants to be excited, but part of me thinks that these are just evap lines.  I think at least some of the lines were visible around the 5 minute mark, which is the time limit for reading a wondfo.  I mean if it were the real deal wouldn't the lines be getting darker?  DH said that he saw the line on the test this evening, so I'm not completely crazy.  Or if I am crazy at least my husband is right there with me.

I am going to take one of my FRERs tomorrow morning.  I guess if I get a line on a FRER, then I will have to call it a BFP.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I need to stop peeing on things!

So when I realized at lunch that I hadn't peed at work yet today, I made the decision to hold my pee so I could POAS when I got home.  Because logically taking a test 12 hours after you already took a test makes complete sense.  I had to stop by Walmart on the way home, so I was ready to pee my pants by the time I got home.  I take another wondfo and another super faint barely there line.  I am pretty sure it was there before the 5 minute time limit, so I am hoping that this is not an evap line.  It could be the trigger still, though because it is super faint.  I don't know what to think at this point.


I didn't think it was possible, but an even lighter ghost line than yesterday.  I am probably the only person in the world that can see it, which means that it might not even really be there.  I am assuming that this is still the trigger shot, which is cruel 11.5 days after the trigger.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I still had a super light ghost of a line this morning, that or I have serious line-eye.  I don't think it's possible to get a lighter line, so I am calling my trigger out of my system.

Now for the scary part, looking for the BFP.  It's weird, testing the last few says wasn't scary or nerve wracking, because I knew it was my trigger.  Now it's the real deal, I'm looking for my BFP.

I was so positive and calm the first few days after my ET.  We transferred a good quality early blast and had a good shot at pregnancy.  Now the closer we get to beta day, I am feeling less positive.  I just feel like there is no way that this worked.  Out of two IVF cycles we had 14 eggs retrieved and 8 fertilized normally.  Of those 8 only 3 were decent quality (fragmentation and # of cells) on day 3 and only 1 made it to blast.  What are the odds that this one lonely embryo is chromosomally normal and able to implant?  I just feel like the odds are against us.

To make it worse, I haven't really had any symptoms.  Maybe a little cramping, but it could also have been bloating/gas pain.  My freaking boobs haven't even been sore.  I've had more "symptoms" on Clomid  cycles, when I didn't even supplement with progesterone.

Maybe I am just preparing myself for the worst.  Since we didn't have anything to freeze, if this cycle fails, we'll be starting over with a third fresh IVF.  Of course I will do whatever it takes, but financially we can only do so many fresh cycles.  I am also afraid of what my RE will have to say if this cycle fails.  Our cycle results so far have pointed to an egg quality issue.  Is there even a point to trying again with my own eggs?

Please let this cycle work.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Today I am 3DP5DT (3 days past 5 day transfer) or 8 DPO.  I am testing out my trigger shot.  The trigger shot is the injection I took Wednesday October 16th to make my follicles mature and get ready for ovulation.  The trigger shot contains the hormone HCG, which is the pregnancy hormone.  This means that after the trigger shot you will get a positive HPT until the hormone from the shot leaves your system.  For 10,000 IU HCG triggers (like I took), it usually takes about 10 days from the trigger to be completely out of your system.  Today is 10 days and I still have a squinter of a line.  Hopefully the line is gone tomorrow or gets darker.  I would definitely prefer it to get darker. :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

No Frosties :(

I got an email from the lab today, none of our remaining embryos made it to freeze.  Oddly enough I feel ok about that.  It would have been nice to have a few frosties as insurance, but the fact that we had a good quality blast to transfer makes me happy.  We are still in the game this cycle, where last cycle we were already watching from the sidelines at this point.

I've also come to accept that we probably have some egg quality issues.  Our fert rates are always a bit lower than average and our embryos seem to be a little slower to grow and more fragmented.  The good news is that my eggs + DH's sperm can make a decent quality blast, which is an important step in making a baby.  I've also come to accept that we probably won't ever have a ton of embryos and may never have a stash of frosties.  That's ok though.  I just need one good embryo.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Transfer complete!

We made it to transfer!  We had one beautiful grade one early blast to transfer.  My husband was really upset that we didn't have two to transfer.  I had to remind him that transferring two doesn't increase your odds by much, it mostly just increases your odds of twins.  While I wasn't opposed to twins, it is not necessarily something I am wishing for.  I have a twin sister and my mother had pregnancy complications.  We were born several weeks premature and spent weeks in the NICU.

They are watching the rest of our embryos to see if any will make it to blast tomorrow and can be frozen.  Three of the four remaining haven't grown much since Monday and probably won't make it to freeze.  The fifth is at the compacted stage, which is the stage before blast so it has a chance.  It is only a grade 3 though, so I'm not sure if it will be high enough quality to freeze.  They will email me tomorrow to let me know.

The worst part about transfer is having a full bladder.  I was good through the transfer, but my clinic has you lay there for 20 minutes afterwards.  It was pure torture, I thought my bladder was going to explode.

Oh and I decided to name our little blast "lucky."  I noticed that I started this IVF cycle on day 777 of TTC and according to my retrieval date, if this cycle is successful, my estimated due date would be 7/11.

Here is a picture of our little Lucky:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tomorrow is the day!

Tomorrow is our scheduled transfer day and I am alternating between super excited and absolutely terrified.  I know we have 5 embryos in the running, but in am still nervous that they have stopped growing and we will get canceled like last cycle.  At least I have some distractions tonight.  My favorite show (Chicago Fire) is on tonight and we are having doctor prescribed sex tonight (apparently it makes a more natural environment for the ET).  DH is super excited since we haven't had sex since I started stims 2 weeks ago.  It's sad but I think that he might be more excited about the sex than he is about the ET.

I am praying that my phone stays quiet tomorrow!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 3 Embryo Report

Finally some good news!

After a few hour of anxious waiting, I got my Day 3 report this morning.  The nurse told me that all 5 of my embryos are doing good.  That's right my fifth embryo that they weren't sure would fertilize normally made it and is growing!

Before I go into the details on my little embabies.  I explain about embryo grading on Day 3.  My clinic looks at two things when grading an embryo, number of cells and fragmentation.  On day 3 embryos should be 6-10 cells, any more or less could be a sign that they are not chromosomally normal.  As for fragmentation, my clinic grades each embryo on a scal of 1-3, with 1 being little to no fragmentatio and 3 being significant fragmentation.   The thing about fragmentation is that it is not always an indicator of a poor quality embryo.  In fact, my clinic doesn't see any difference in success rates for grade 1 or grade 2 embryos.

Here are the deeds on how my embryos scored:

The fantastic four
2- 7 cell grade 2 embryos
1- 6 cell grade 2 embryo
1- 5 cell grade 2 embryo (ok he's a cell short, but it think he could just be a slow poke like DH)

The fifth little embie that could
1- 8 cell grade 3 embryo (he might be grade 3, but he's my over achiever in cells)

This is so much better than last cycle where in Day 3 we had three grade 3 embryos (two 4 cell and a 3 cell).  The nurse also gave me some additional scores for some of my embryos, but I am not sure exactly what they mean.  Our two 7 cell embryos were scored 85 and 65 and our 8 cell grade 3 was scored a 50.  She said that they have seen pregnancy with as low as a score of 30, so this sounds good to me!

My transfer is scheduled for Wednesday at noon.  The clinic will check the embryos again Wednesday morning, but will only call if they have to cancel the transfer or push it back a day.  So after a morning of willing the phone to ring, I am hoping to not hear a peep from my clinic on Wednesday.

Now I just need these embryos to keep growing and make some pretty little blastocysts for transfer on Wednesday!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Staying Strong

Fert Report

I got the call with our fert report this morning.  While it wasn't the "you have 8 perfectly fertilized embryos" that I hoped for, we are still better than last cycle.  Out of the 8 eggs retrieved, 7 were mature, and out of the 7 mature, 4 fertilized normally and they are watching a fifth.  So right now we have 4 or 5 fertilized embryos.  At this point last cycle, we had 3 embryos.

My clinic only does day 5 or  day 6 blastocyst transfers.  There are two schools of thought when it comes to deciding when to transfer embryos.  One side feels like the embryos will do their best in a natural environment, so transfer on day 3 to get the embryos into the uterus ASAP.  This camp may push transfer to day 5 if there are enough embryos that they are confident that some will make it to day 5.  The other side of the coin is that waiting until day 5 gives you the best chance for success because most aneuploid embryos will stop growing before then.  It is any easy way to weed out some the bad embryos, so that your odds of transferring a good embryo are higher.  My clinic falls into the latter category.

The hardest part of being pushed to a 5 day transfer is knowing that there is a chance that none of the embryos will make it to blastocyst and you will have nothing to transfer.  I can tell you from experience that going through all of the meds, injections and retrieval only to not even have a chance at success sucks.  I just want to make it to transfer this time, I want a chance at getting pregnant.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Egg Retrieval Day

I had my ER today.  I was hoping for 10 eggs, but we ended up with 8.  The good news is that the doc said that 7 of them looked perfect and the other one looked really good.  I hope that this means that most of my 8 will be mature.  The next big hurdle is fertilization.  Last cycle only 3 of our 5 mature eggs fertilized.  Hopefully our fert rate this cycle will be a little higher.

I was a little sad that they forgot my Valium.  It really helped me relax and was the highlight of my last ER.  I am not going to let them forget my Valium for ET next week.  I am also finding out that I don't come out of anesthesia well.  I end up really dizzy and light headed.  Luckily I don't get sick, but I had to have help standing, getting dressed and walking.

Overall  I feel really positive about our 8 eggs, I think they are going to make some kick ass embryos.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Triggering Tonight

I had my second monitoring appointment this morning.  It looks like my lazy left ovary decided to join the game.  I had 8 decent sized follicles on the right and 4 on the left.  The RE thinks that we should get 10-12 eggs and hopefully 8-10 will be mature.  My lining also thickened up nicely and is now just over 11.

I am triggering tonight at 11:30pm for ER at 11:00am on Friday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First Monitoring Appointment and Intra Lipids

I suck at blogging right now, luckily my 5 followers can get their updates from FB or the bump if they are interested.

I had my first monitoring appointment Monday.  I had 11ish measurable (greater than 10mm) follicles and several less than 10.  It's hard to keep exact counts because the RE calls out the numbers so quickly.  Most were around 13, so I am going back tomorrow (Wednesday) for more monitoring.  The RE thinks that I will trigger either Wednesday or Thursday for ER on Friday or Saturday.  While part of me would love the day off work Friday, another part is hoping for Saturday, so that maybe a few more small follicles will have time to catch up.

I also had my Intra lipid infusion Monday.  It was ok, but I didn't have the worlds greatest nurse.  She had my hand on my thigh when she started my IV and when she stuck my vein it started dripping blood everywhere.  It got all over my new jeans and to top it off I had to go back to work afterwards with the giant blood stain on my pants.  Then the nurse talked about her kids the entire time.  Apparently she has 16 year old twin boys that like to beat the hell out of each other.  Of all the topics of conversation to pick, this is the one you go with when treating a bunch of women going through IVF?  I am not sure she was the sharpest tool in the shed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I've officially lost my damn mind

I did something today that I never do, I cried at work.  I managed to avoid a complete ugly cry, but tears were definitely shed.  I think the combination of work stress, hormone shots, and the beginnings of a cold have cracked me.  I think I have lost my mind.  I have never felt that crazy in my life.

The worst part about crying at work is that we have an open office plan.  It is sort of like really short cubes. I'm pretty sure evryone in my department saw me .  Then once I started, I couldn't stop.  So I literally sat at my desk most of the afternoon sniffing and blowing my nose, trying to hide the fact that I was crying.

Luckily my boss was really nice about it, which he should have been it was me getting pissed and yelling at him that set off the whole fiasco.  He's basically told me that if I need time off, to take it and not worry about work.  I just can't let me taking time off to cause us to miss our deadline next week.  Fate intervened tonight and one of our servers is getting ready to crash.  They have to take it down and move everything to a new server, which means a forced break tonight.  While a little relaxation time is nice, it also means more work for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Starting Stims Tomorrow!

I've sucked at blogging the last few weeks.  I start stims tomorrow.  This is where it starts to get fun.  Once you start stims things move along pretty quickly (or so it seemed for IVF #1).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 8 of IVF #2

I'm never sure how to number my IVF cycle days.  If you count from the day I officially started the cycle according to my clinic, today is day 8.  If you are counting days since my last period, today is day 2.  Either way today was also my last Lupron shot, hopefully this means my insomnia will let up some.  Tomorrow is my first ganirelix injection, which I have heard can cause some side effects too.  I guess I'll have to wait and see.

I also scheduled my Intra lipid infusion today.  It was supposed to be Friday October 11th, but the infusion center is booked.  My nurse gave me the go ahead to schedule it for Monday the 14th, which is also my first day of monitoring.  That also kicks off a really busy week for me at work, so this cycle should be interesting.

My baseline ultrasound and blood work is Friday and I should start stims on Monday.  I can't believe how quickly this cycle is flying by.  My egg retrieval will be here before I know it which scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lupron Day 4

So I was somewhat prepared for the side effects of my meds, having done IVF before, but this cycle has already had some surprises.  Last cycle my major side effects were insomnia and headaches, this cycle it's insomnia and heart burn.  I have never had heart burn the bad in my life, I feel like I can breath fire.  Hopefully once I switch from Lupron to ganirelix the side effects will die down some.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Official start of IVF #2

According to my med calendar, today  is the official start of IVF #2.  This doesn't mean much, except I started Lupron injections and dexamethasone.  I hate starting steroids because I always feel like crap for the first few days.  I was hoping that the side effects would be a little better this time, but so far they've been the same.  I had a headache most of the day.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have the insomnia like I did last time.

I did notice that my countdown clock show that I have been TTC for 777 days today, that has do be a lucky sign right?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Let's get this show on the road

So I realized today that I am faking excitement about this IVF cycle.  Ok maybe There is a little part of me that is still excited about IVF and that potentially in a few weeks I could be knocked up, but right now I am faking a high level of excitement.  I wish that I could be as excited as I was with IVF #1, but the naïveté has worn off.  Mostly right now I am just nervous and scared.  I am scared that we will go through all of this again and not have anything to transfer.  I am scared that I have two ovaries  full of rotten eggs.  I am scared that in the battle between infertility and our bank account, that infertility will win.  I am scared that we are chasing a dream that will never come true..

So I am operating under a new philosophy, "fake it, 'til you make it."  I am going to fake excitement until I can feel it for real.  And if I don't ever feel real excitement, then maybe I can hone some serious acting chops.  I think an Oscar would look good on my mantle, or it would if I had a mantle.  However if I had an Oscar, I could probably afford to buy a new house with a mantle, which would give someplace to display my Oscar...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

This is for all my infertile friends...

I wanna here you roar!  I feel like anyone fighting the battle with infertility can appreciate the lyrics to this song.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Christmas came early...

My meds came today.  Let me tell ya, it's weirdly exciting to get $4,000 worth of medication in the mail.  I think it's because the box is more than just a box of meds, it represents hope.

I was really excited to start IVF #1 and after it turned out to be an epic fail, I wondered if I would be as excited to start IVF #2.  Honestly, I am.  Like IVF #1 it's a mix of excitement, nervesousness, and fear.  However, the fears have changed.  With IVF #1, most of the fear was of the unknown.  What would ER be like?  Would the PIO shots hurt? Etc. Failure was a fear for IVF #1, but not a prominent one.  With IVF #2 the big fear is what if we end up with zero embryos again?  How many times can we really afford IVF?  I think I've lost a bit of innocence that comes along with IVF #1.  What I haven't lost yet is hope.

Oh and because you know you want to see my stash:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Parents (aka fertile people) just don't understand...

This post was inspired by a conversation DH had with a friend about IF treatments. Here's how the end of the conversation went:

Friend: I just don't think I could do infertility treatments, doesn't it take all the fun out of trying to get pregnant?

Hubby: (laughing) Dude, we still have sex.

DH took his friends question to mean that he thought that we couldn't have sex, although the friend might have meant that we are missing out on the "fun" TTC sex.  I think anyone who has TTC the old fashioned way (aka penis in vagina) for more than a few months will tell you that it is not always fun.  Either way his friend has some misconceptions about TTC/IF.  This got me thinking about the common misconceptions that people have about infertility and decided to address some of my favorites.

Common Miscoceptions

1. If you do infertility treatments your going to have multiples.
When I told a coworker that we were doing infertility treatments, one of her first responses was, "OMG, does that mean you are going to have like 7 babies because the doctor put like 7 eggs back in?!"  I had to explain that (at that time) we were doing IUIs not IVF, and that even if we were doing IVF, no respectable doctor would transfer that many embryos.  Also, one of the reason women are monitored on fertility medications is to avoid higher order multiples.

First off most IF women don't go into treatments thinking, "yay! I'm gonna get twinsies!"  They go into it thinking, "Please just let me get pregnant."  Yes, infertility treatments increase your odds of multiples, but depending on the treatment, the odds are really not that high.  I believe I had read that the odds of twins with Clomid (popular fertility med) is only around 8%.  Of course injectables have higher odds and IVF carries the greatest odds since many times multiple embryos are transferred.  Because the success rates for IVF have gotten so high some docs are recommending SETs, or single embryo transfers.  Also it's important to note that IUIs at best only have around a 20% success rate and the national average for IVF is only around 50%.  Infertility treatments by no means guarantee pregnancy, let alone multiples.

2. Unexplained Infertility means nothing is wrong.

Coworker mentioned above now likes to ask me if the doctor ever diagnosed me with anything.  Um, yeah, he diagnosed me with Unexplained Infertility.

Fertiles, listen up.  If your infertile friend tells you that all of there tests are normal and that they were given a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility" do not say, "That's great that nothing is wrong with you."  There is something wrong, your friend is having trouble getting pregnant and the doctor can't explain why.  The doctor diagnosed unexplained infertility not "nonexistent" infertility.  It is hurtful when you downplay our problems.

3. Just relax/take a vacation/stop thinking about it and you'll get pregnant.

I'm not sure how the misconception that stress makes you infertile started, but let me reassure you that this is not true.  If it were true, no women in war torn countries would ever get pregnant.  Yes in extreme (and rare cases) stress can delay ovulation, but for the majority of infertile couple stress has nothing to do with why they can't conceive.  No amount of "relaxing" will help them.  Oh and please save your story about how your friends uncle's neighbor's daughter was having trouble conceiving and as soon as they stopped trying and relaxed boom, they were pregnant.  I am very happy for them, but their story has no impact on me.  Every couple is different and what worked for them, might not work for me.

Long story short don't tell us to relax.  It is not helpful and kind of insulting.  You are basically telling me that it is my fault that I haven't gotten pregnant.

4. Infertility means you will never get pregnant

Once when I made a comment about being infertile, I was told that I am probably not infertile.  I was hurt and angry that this person was downplaying my issue, but that is when I realized that she thought infertility meant barren, ie can't ever get pregnant.  Infertility is defined in a medical sense as the inability of a couple to conceive after 1 year of regular intercourse (or 6 months if over 35).  It includes many different levels of sub-fertility.  So yes, infertile couples can get pregnant, but probably require the assistance of a doctor.  Also if an infertile friend gets pregnant on their own, don't say, "Looks like you weren't infertile after all."  Infertile women may still be able to get pregnant on their own, but their odds are much lower (but definitely not 0%).

5.  Taking prenatal vitamins and/or folic acid helps you get pregnant.

For some reason fertiles think PNVs or folic acid are the cure to infertility.  While they are important to the development of a fetus and should be taken by anyone TTC, PNVs or folic acid does not help you get pregnant.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crossing things off the list

I think the thing that stressed me out the most about IVF #1 was how overwhelming it all felt.  You have to juggle all these appointments (consults, calendar reviews, inject trainings, ultrasounds,
blood work, etc) and have all these deadlines (meds must be delivered by a certain date, consents turned in this date, payments are due this date, etc) to meet.  My biggest fear was that I was going to forget something.  I found the easiest way to keep organized was to have a list of tasks and to cross them off when they were finished.  I also put them all in my outlook calendar at work (set to private) so that I wouldn't forget any of them.

The second time around is so much easier than the first or at least it should be.  I decided today that I would call the pharmacy to check on my meds since I need them by next Friday and the first part of next week is pretty busy for me.  So I call them up and they have no record of my order.  Really?!?!  My nurse faxed the order like 3 times since someone (me) kept waffling on how much follistim to order.  The old me would have freaked out and had a panic attack, instead I just called my nurse (who I needed to call anyway) and had her fax the order again.  I called the pharmacy back later to verify that they had got it and they were working on it right then.  They called me later to get my credit card number and schedule delivery. Crisis averted!

While I was on the phone with my nurse, I also asked her about my Intralipid infusion, since this is my first time doing this treatment.  I got some more good news, she let me know that they had found a new place to get the infusion and it was a lot cheaper.  Score! I love saving money.  Now instead of costing $450-$550, it should only cost $150.  Woo hoo!

I was a little sad though, I found out that I can't get my free flu shot at work this year.  The date is probably going to be right between my ER and ET.  I asked the nurse and she said it depends on your doctor and to call his office (My doc does his IVF through this clinic, but has his own office/practice at another location.  I called up his nurse and she said no flu shot.  I guess I'll just have to wait and get my flu shot later after my cycle.

I'll also get to cross one more thing off the list this week.  We are going to get our consent forms signed and notarized Saturday.  The only thing I will have left is to get my meds (Thursday), turn in my consents, and pay my balance).  Then the real fun will start!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NK Cells and Intralipids

Well I got my blood work back and my APA blood work was fine, but I have borderline high NK cells.  For those that don't know what a NK cell is, it is a Natural Killer Cell (sounds cool, right?).  Essentially, everyone has NK cells, but people with elevated NK cells may have a hard time getting or staying pregnant because the NK Cells attack the embryo.

The treatment for elevated NK cells is Intralipid infusions.  Lipids are a fatty dietary supplement, often used when treating MS and cancer patients.  It is experimental as a fertility treatment, but studies look promising.

Hopefully, this will help us finally have a successful cycle.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yup, my body hates me

I swear people that don't know me probably think I am a hypochondriac or that I have munchhausen's syndrome or something.  Seriously, I am not making this stuff up.

I posted the other day about my bout of hives and so far ::knock on wood:: I've only had the two breakouts, which is awesome.  Not so awesome I've pulled something in my hip/lower back, so I spent the weekend hobbling around like an old person.  Also the hubs and I have been battling a cold (so far I think I've been winning my battle, the hubs not so much).  So I got up this morning thinking that my injury/illness luck must be turning around, since my hip was feeling much better and my cold also seemed better.  I was wrong.  It only gets more bizarre.

I am getting out of the shower and notice that my upper chest is a little blotchy. Not completely unusual since I am very fair skinned.  I get dressed and fix my hair and start putting on make up.  I notice that the blotchiness is actually a fine rash complete with little bumps.  The rash runs up between my boobs, across my chest and onto my face.  It almost looks like a heat rash.  If it were more localized, I might think it were an acne breakout.

My coworkers kept asking if I had a new brand of detergent/body wash/lotion etc, but I ave been using the same that I always have.i have no clue what it's from.

IVF update:  Still on the BCP.  I did get the results of my repeat CD 3 blood work, and it's all good.  I am still waiting on my APA and NK cell blood work to come back.  The lady at the lab said it was sent on the 4th, but my nurse swears that she hasn't seen it.  I did get the blood work paid for today.  I still need to fill out, notarize, and turn in our consent forms; pay for and set up a delivery time for my meds; and pay for this cycle.  I start Lupron 2 weeks from Wednesday.  I need to get everything done so that I can get this show on the road!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IVF Update and WTF Wednesday

I had my calendar review yesterday and it went well (although I did tear up talking about our pitiful first IVF cycle.  It's weird I can blog all day about it, but if I talk about it out loud the waterworks start).  I found out that aparently the cycle dates online are wrong and that my cycle is a week earlier than i originally thought.  this also means that ER is the same week as my first big data delivery at work, which is just awsome.  in fact if my cycle works out the same as last time, my ER will be on the day of the data delivery.  I also found out that in addition to doubling my follistim (med that makes my ovaries produce more eggs), they are also adding ganirelix to the mix.  Once I start stims I will drop the Lupron and switch to the ganirelix, which is supposed to be better for poor responders.  Of course a vial of ganirelix (2 days worth) is the same price as a whole cycle's worth of Lupron and doubling my follistim essentially doubles my cost of my meds, but at this point I say bring it on.  I'm ready to do this.  Bring on the injections, headaches, and bloating.  I'm ready to kick infertility's ass!

And for my WTF.  Backstory: So right before I met DH I developed chronic idiopathic urticaria.  Basically chronic hives.  For two years I would breakout in hives if I didn't take antihistamines.  I did lots of blood work and my doctor could never find a cause.  Eventually they stopped and I hadn't thought much about them in the last 3 or so years.

Yesterday I'm sitting on the sofa browsing Facebook and my leg starts to itch.  I scratch it, but the itching just gets worse.  I pull up my pant leg and my leg is covered in hives from the knee down.  WTF!! I thought I was past this issue and seriously I have enough to deal with right now.  I took 2 Benadryl and went to bed, hoping it was just a random occurrence.  Nope, more hives this evening.  So far they aren't nearly as bad as they were several years ago,  so hopefully whatever this is will die down soon. I really don't want to deal with this for another two years.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Few Infertility Funnies

Lazy Saturday

We got up this morning and had breakfast with the in-laws.  We haven't been over to visit them in awhile, so it was nice.  I ate way too much and now have resigned myself to an afternoon vegging out on the couch.  Maybe this evening I'll muster up the energy to do something productive around the house.

Infertility/IVF-wise we're still chugging along.  Today I took my last steroid from our last IVF cycle (you have to wean off steroids) so I am officially done with those meds. I also started birth control pills today, so I feel like we are moving right along for our next cycle.  I'll find out Tuesday when I need to order my meds and all that good jazz.  Right now I am excited to try another IVF cycle, but I'm sure I'll be more nervous when we get closer to ER time.

Friday, August 30, 2013

CD 3

Did my CD 3 blood work today.  It went better than my NK cell and APA blood work.  Today was only one stick (with a little digging around) and two vials of blood.  I also got a call from the clinic to set up a calendar review for my October cycle.  I thought that when I talked to the clinic before, they told me that I wouldn't need a calendar review but whatever.  I like my nurse, so I don't mind going in to chat with her.  Anyway they set it up for next Tuesday.  I also stopped on my way home and picked up my birth control pills.  I feel like I am officially getting the ball rolling for IVF #2.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Babies, Babies, Babies

So last night, my cousin's wife had their baby.  It didn't really phase me, I knew she was pregnant and due around now.  Then today my sister calls me and asks if I had talked to mom.  I said, "Only for a second, why?"  She says, "We'll, we heard something, but we aren't supposed to tell anyone."  Well crap someone else is pregnant.  I say, "Ok."  She says, "Aunt D is going to be a grandma again."  I say, "I'm assuming E and C not S and D this time."  She  says, "Yeah, and they're not sure how far along she is.  Apparently the doctor's told her that she might never have kids and she hasn't had a period since may.  She goes next week for an ultrasound."

I couldn't help having that moment of "It should've been me" jealousy.  We are now the only married couple on my Mom's side of the family without kids.  All 10 of my cousins have kids (or are pregnant), my sister has kids, only my brother doesn't and he's not even dating anyone.

Then we walked next to a pregnant lady (who was discussing her pregnancy) while walking back to our car after the preseason football game we went to.  I really thought football was safe and would give me a pregnancy free evening.  Nope, I was wrong.  ::sigh::

At least tomorrow is a short day at work.  It is CD 3 so I am going to get blood work done before work and the company is letting us out early (2:30 I think) to start our holiday weekend.  I might need some non-pregnant lady drinks this weekend and I might start about 3:00.  Hey it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Human Pincushion

It's a good thing that I don't have a fear of needles, then again doing a cycle of IVF probably would have cured me of that fear anyway.  Today I went in for my APA and NK cell blood work.  When I made the appointment the nurse warned me that they would be taking 7 vials of blood.  I warned her that this ought to be fun since I have really bad veins.  She recommended drinking lots of water the night before.  I drank a big glass of water before bed and drank a bottle of water when I woke up.  It didn't help.  It took 5 nurses and 4 needle sticks to draw 7 vials of blood.  I get to go in Friday for CD 3 blood work.  Just call me the human pincushion.

CD 1 Woot Woot!

Who's excited about getting their period?  That'd be this girl right here.  Today is CD 1 in all it's glory, heavy flow, cramps, the works.  It probably sounds weird that I'm excited to get my period, since yes are TTC, but I think my infertile friends understand what I'm talking about.

There are two reasons that I am happy to see Aunt Flo (side note: I don't understand the whole personifying your period, but Aunt Flo sounds better than menstruation or menses and one can only say period so many times on one post, so I'll go with it).  Reason #1:  I can officially put our crappy attempt at IVF #1 behind us.  Ladies (and Gentlemen, if there are any out there reading this) our first cycle of IVF is officially over and I say good riddance.  Now it's time to really start looking forward to our next cycle in October.

Reason #2 deals with scheduling.  My RE orders general blood work through Quest Labs.  This is usually super convenient since I can do it at the lab next to my house instead of driving all the way up to the clinic (45ish minute drive for me, although the hubs can usually make it in well under 40 minutes because he has a lead foot). I need to redo some of my CD 3 blood work that was done with my OB/GYN since it has been a year, so my nurse sent me home with some lab orders and instructions to go in on day 2, 3, or 4 of my cycle.  I realized yesterday that if my period didn't get here today or tomorrow, the Labor Day weekend could throw a wrench into my plans.  Anyway, all worked out and I'll be able to go Friday and do my blood work.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

WTF Appointment

On the message board I post on, the follow up appointment after a failed cycle is referred to as a WTF appointment.  If you don't know what WTF stands for, google it, I'm trying to keep this a family  friendly blog.  OK, who am I trying to kid, the language at my house is definitely rated R.  With the hubs' love for four letter words, I'm just praying that the first four letter word our future child says is dada.  :)

Any who, I digress.  WTF stands for What The Fuck, which accurately describes our first attempt at IVF.  Our cycle seemed to start off great.  When I went in for my first monitoring u/s, I had 9 measurable follicles and the largest was around 20mm I believe.  I also had 4 or 5 smaller follicles.  I was told to continue my stims (injections to stimulate the growth of egg-containing follicles on my ovaries) and come back again in two days for more monitoring.  At my second monitoring appointment I had 10 measurable follicles and was ready to trigger (for the fertile crowd, that means I would give myself a shot that would force the ovulation process to start).  The doc (not Dr. B) thought I should get 7 or 8 eggs.  This was a little lower than I had hoped for, but didn't sound too bad.  So I triggered late that night and came in 35 hours later for my egg retrieval.  This is where the wheels fell off the cycle.  While I was coming out of anesthesia, Dr. B let me know that he got 6 eggs.  I was upset, but Dr. B assured me that it was quality, not quantity, that mattered.  So I convinced myself that we could work with 6 eggs.  After the ER, the waiting begins.  The clinic will call in the morning with our fertilization report.  So we anxiously await our fert report, which brought more disappointing news.  Out of 6 eggs, only 5 were mature and only 3 fertilized normally.  WTF!?! Now we are down to 3 embryos.  With all of our hope pinned on our three embryos (nicknamed the three stooges), we waited for our day 3 update.  My clinic cultures embryos to blastocysts before transferring them, this is usually done on day 5 or sometimes day 6.  While you wait for your embryos to grow, they give you an update on day 3.  On day 3 your embryos should be 6-10 cells.  The embryologist will also give them a grade (my clinic grades embryos on a scale of 1-3, where 1 is pretty much perfect embryos and 2 is good embryos and 3 is poor embryos).  When I got the call on day 3, we had one 3 cell and two 4 cell embryos and all three were grade 3.  None of our embryos made it to transfer on day 5.  All that time, energy, and money and we didn't even get a chance at it working.  If that's not a WTF moment, I don't know what is.

Today was our WTF meeting with Dr. B and honestly it went pretty much like I had expected.  He said our cycle was a "terrible IVF cycle" and he told us again how shocked he was at the poor quality of our embryos.  He also mentioned that we were the only couple that didn't make it to transfer.  He reassured me that he thinks that IVF can work for us or he wouldn't be recommending it.

So after discussing our craptastic first cycle, it was time to come up with a new plan.  Dr. B thinks my protocol (mix of drugs) was right, but wants to up my dose of stims to push my ovaries to produce more eggs.  I also asked about both of us starting a supplement called CoQ10, which can help improve sperm function and some believe may improve egg quality, and Dr. B liked that idea.  I asked about acupuncture and Dr. B said that was up to me.  He said that there is no proof that it helps, but some women find it relaxing and that it helps with the stress of IVF.  I'm on the fence on that one.    He also backed me up on the hubs quitting smoking.  Dr. B also ordered some blood work to test for immunological issues that could be preventing us from getting pregnant.  This means that I have to be at the clinic at 7:45 tomorrow morning ready to give 7 vials of blood, which ought to be fun.  I have terrible veins and getting one vial of blood can be a challenge.  I also am redoing some of my CD 3 blood work since it's been a year since it was done by my OB/GYN (yup that's right, I started IF testing a year ago).  Other than that he recommended taking September off and cycling in either October or November if we are ready.  The hubs and I decided that we would cycle again in October.  When I got home I called the clinic and put down our deposit to hold our spot in the October cycle.  IVF #2  is officially set for October.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Secret to Being Strong

I made the comment last week while we were waiting to hear the status our our embryos, that if our IVF cycle was cancelled, we would just have to try again.  Some of my online friends commented on how strong I was for making that statement.  I stared at the screen awhile trying to formulate a response but I couldn't put the words together.  Am I strong?  Is trying again a sign of strength?  At the time I didn't feel strong.  There are times now that I still don't feel strong.  I think this is an accurate description of my situation:

I have to be strong there are no other options.  I call it strength by default.

These insights are brought to you by my glass of wine.  When I told the hubs that my glass of wine had made me insightful and I felt the need to share these insights with others, he asked me if my glass of wine also made me horny.  Apparently insights aren't at the top of his priority list. :)

Baptisms and Football

So today was my nephew's baptism, and while it wasn't the day I was expecting, overall it was a good day.  The first challenge of the day was finding something to wear.  My job has a casual dress code, so I don't wear dress clothes very often.  I thought I was golden since I had just bought new dress pants at the end of June for a business trip.  I go to put on said pants and I barely got them buttoned.  Between the stress and all the hormones the last few months, I have gained a significant amount of weight.  I know that I should probably start exercising more to try to drop the weight before round 2, but I have very little motivation right now.

The baptism was nice, my nephew (who's 11 months old) cried when the preacher held him and definitely wasn't a fan of water on his head.  When I had pictured this day 3 or 4 weeks ago when my sister scheduled it, I thought that I would be 4DP5DT.  Since we didn't make it to transfer, I thought that today might be hard, but it really wasn't.  I am starting to accept our failed cycle and am finally at a point where I can look forward to our next cycle.

When we were walking out of the church my brother mentioned to the hubs that he had some extra football preseason tickets if he wanted to go to the next game.  The hubs is all like, "Do you have anymore extra tickets? I have a friend that might like to go."  I looked at him and said I hope by friend you mean wife!  So maybe, I will be going to a preseason football game.  I haven't been to a NFL game since high school.  I think it could be fun!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Moving On Up...

My last post left off with the hubs and I deciding that it was time to call in the big guns, it was time to see a specialist.  A true infertility specialist is called a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  Don't be fooled by OB/GYNs who claim to be "infertility specialists" they haven't had the extra training that a RE has had.  Don't get me wrong OBs are great at taking care of pregnant women, you just shouldn't rely in them for infertility treatments.  Learn from my experience.

::Steps off Soapbox::

Now, where were we?  Oh yeah, we decided to move on to se a RE.  The first step is finding a RE.  I start my search by checking my insurance to see which REs are listed as in network.  Just in case I need something that will not be billed under the diagnosis of "infertility," I want to make sure my doc is in network.  I also ask for some names from my OB/GYN.  I cross reference these names and then start my Internet research.  I scour SART data, online reviews, websites, etc. until I decide on a doc.  We'll call her Dr. A.  I call Dr. A's practice and the earliest we can get a consultation is 6 weeks.  Then we wait.  Finally consult day rolls around and the hubs and I take off work and head to see Dr. A.  We arrive a few minutes early, I sign in and we take a seat in a nice waiting area.  So far so good. A few minutes later I am called back to get weighed, blood pressure taken, etc.  when I'm done I head back to the waiting room.  After a little more waiting, we are finally called back to see the doc.

How do I describe my first impression of Dr. A?  Fake.  I pride myself  on being a good judge of character on first impressions and I knew from the get go that Dr. A wasn't what I was looking for.  You could tell her "niceness" wasn't genuine.  Anyway we sat down and started going over my test results and the medical/family history forms we brought with us.  Things seem to be going smoothly and I try to bury my uneasiness about Dr. A.  Then her cell phone rings and she explains that her sister is sick and that she needs to step out to take this call.  She steps out of the office.  I assume that her sister must be pretty sick if the doctor is going to step out of our consultation to talk to her.  When she comes back in, I let her know that I am sorry that her sister is sick.  She gives me a strange look that tells me that maybe her sister's illness is not as serious as I had assumed.  Well ok, she puts her sister's sniffles as a higher priority than our consult.  Good to know.  We get back to our consult and Dr. A recommends that I have some blood work done to check my rubella antibodies and she also recommends that I get screened for cystic fibrosis and they have a lab that will do the screening for like $25 if your insurance won't cover it.  Sounds good to me.  Then we get to her treatment plan, drumroll please...... Unmonitored Clomid + IUI.  Wait, what?! I leave the care of my OB/GYN, wait six weeks for a consultation and you want to do the same thing he was doing?  I start asking about monitoring and she says it's not necessary, she wants to keep it low cost since I don't have insurance coverage for infertility.  I ask her about cysts and she says that she will worry about cysts if I show symptoms.  I ask her about thinned lining and she writes me a prescription for estrace.  She goes over IUI instructions and recommends digital ovulation tests and let's me know that they are open every day but Sunday and basically I am supposed to come in the day after a positive ovulation test for the IUI.  If I get a positive on a Saturday, I come in Monday morning (which I know from temping is probably too late).  Awesome, at least my OB did IUIs 7 days a week.  Age goes on to tell us that if we are not successful in 3 or 4 cycles, that we should move on to IVF.  She then gives us a ton of info on IVF.  I leave the appointment with blood work orders, a prescriptions for Clomid and Estrace, and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I go ahead and do the blood work and then the hubs and I have a serious talk.  I tell him that I am not at all comfortable with Dr. A's "plan."  He's not too happy at first (he's convinced that I spend too much time researching stuff.  He might be right, but not in this case.  Reluctantly he agrees that I need to feel comfortable and I start my RE search all over.

For RE #2, who we will call Dr. B, I went with a recommendation of a friend of my sister.  He also had mostly good reviews online.  I call up his office and get a consult in a week and a half.  So the hubs and I take another day off of work and meet with Dr. B.  this consult could not be anymore different.  Dr. B is so warm and friendly.  He takes time to explain everything in basic terms (not necessary for me but helpful for the hubs).  He gives us his plan (3 monitored Clomid + trigger + IUI cycles, then we should move on to IVF) and then he takes me back for a surprise ultrasound (u/s) and post coital test (PCT).  I had just ovulated the day before, so the u/s didn't show much.  The post coital test also showed that the hubs' swimmers weren't moving much.  The doc orders some more blood tests and tells me to call when I start my period.  One of the blood tests is a CF screening for the hubs since I got a call saying that my screening had come back positive as a carrier.  We go get our blood work done and both agree that we like DR. B.

I takes a few months for us to start treatment with Dr. B since he is very thorough with his testing.  He monitors a few of my cycles repeating my PCTs, which pretty much all come back bad.  He thinks that I might have hostile cervical mucous, so we move on to IUIs.  I did one unmedicated and two Clomid + Trigger IUIs with Dr. B.  All of them failed.  Dr. B recommended that we move on to IVF since IUI wasn't working.  In July of 2013 we refinanced our house and pulled out cash to pay for IVF.

In August of 2013, we did our first cycle of IVF.  It was actually a lot easier than I had thought.  I started off on birth control pills (BCP) to suppress my cycle and sync my cycle up with everyone else doing IVF in August.  I added a drug called Lupron a few days before stopping BCP.  I continue taking Lupron injections every morning.  After I start my period I go in for blood work and an u/s to check for cysts.  Then a few days later I started injections to stimulate my ovaries. After a few more days I go in for an ultrasound to check how many follicles are growing and more blood work.  When the follicles are big enough I take a trigger shot.  When I triggered, I had 9 or 10 follicles and was told to expect 7 or 8 eggs.  Dr. B only got 6 eggs at my retrieval.  The next day the clinic called to tell me that out of the 6 eggs 5 were mature and 3 fertilized normally.  Then we waited for our day 3 update of our 3 embryos (aka the 3 stooges).  That call was my worst nightmare come true, all 3 of our embryos were slow growing and poor quality.  We were told that we would that we would have to wait and see what happens, but hopefully they would catch up by day 5 our transfer day.  All morning, we waited by the phone.  The clinic would call if our transfer was cancelled. About 45 minutes before we would have to leave, Dr. B calls our embryos have stopped growing and our transfer is cancelled.  He admits that even he was shocked at how bad our embryos did.  We are devastated.  How can two young relatively healthy people make such poor embryos?  We make an appointment for the following week to meet with him to talk about what happened and to make a new plan.

And that brings us to the present.  Our appointment is next Tuesday.  Right now we just hope that Dr. B has a good plan to make our next IVF cycle much more successful.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”… (WHO-ICMART glossary1).

Infertility.  A disease that affects about 10% of the population.  A disease that nobody talks about.  

So after we hit the year mark, I made an appointment with my OB/GYN for my annual exam that I had been putting off for a few months (because I just knew I would get pregnant then I could combine my appointments) and to talk about our trouble conceiving.  So I print out my BBT charts and head to the doctor.  He's thoroughly impressed with my charting skills (thanks, but it's not rocket science doc) and definitely thinks it's time for some testing.  He orders a Semen Analysis for the hubs, 7 DPO progesterone blood work for me, and an HSG (x-ray with contrast dye to check to make sure my fallopian tubes are clear) for me.  I had to request CD 3 blood work since he usually only does it for women over 30 (I'm 29 at the time).  This should have been my first clue to move on to a Repeoductive Endocrinologist (RE a doctor who specializes in treating infertility), but I was convinced that my OB/GYN would be able to help me.

Let me preface this next part with the fact that while my doctor may be a good OB/GYN (although he has no business treating infertility), his office staff are pretty much all morons.  So I call on CD 1 to schedule my CD 3 blood work.  I ask the girl doing the scheduling if I need to schedule my HSG, or if I can schedule it when I come in 2 days later for my blood work.  She says I can take care of that when I come into the office.  Cool.  I come in two days later and let them know I am there for a blood draw they take me back and the nurse notes that they have the wrong doctor listed as my doctor (there are two doctors in the practice), she changes it and verifies with my doc which hormone levels he wants to check.  He wants TSH, FSH, and Prolactin.  This means he is missing LH and E2, which should be checked on day 3.  I made her double check the hormones, but my doc wouldn't order the other two.  This is another red flag I ignore.  So after poking around for a decent vein, she gets the blood she needs and I let her know that I need to schedule my HSG.  She turns to me and says that has to be scheduled on day 1 of your cycle, you should have called then.  Of course I reply with the fact that I did call on day 1 and the girl told me I could schedule it today.  The nurse says nope, it has to be scheduled on day 1, so you'll have to wait until next cycle.  Are you kidding me!  I start to respond that that was ridiculous, that I started my cycle two days ago, how can it be too late to schedule the damn test, when my doc who was standing nearby filling out a chart overheard our argument.  He told the nurse that we could still scheduled the HSG, since it couldn't be done until next week anyway.  Crisis averted.

So the HSG.  It's the most dreaded test amongst infertile women.  I won't lie mine hurt like hell, but the good part of the test is that it is over in just a few minutes.  My big issue with this test was again the doctor's office.  So I get a call from the lady that schedules outpatient procedures (HSG is done at the hospital imaging center) and she tells me that my insurance has lapsed.  I said no, I gave them my new insurance card when I had my annual a few weeks ago.  She said that she doesn't have any of my paperwork on my new insurance card.  Come to find out, the idiots in reception pulled the wrong chart!  All of my records, blood work and insurance info were in another patient's file who has the same name as me.  This is also why my blood work had the wrong doctor on it, they had pulled the wrong file then too.  They get it straightened out, but this is another red flag I ignore.

The hubs' SA was only a little bit of a headache.  The two hospitals that do SAs are both about 45 minutes away and do not allow collection on site (catholic hospitals).  So we were in a rush to get the sample from our house to the hospital lab with in the hour time frame.  Some how we managed.  The only other test I had was a progesterone blood test.  The dumbasses pulled the wrong chart yet again, but the nurse and I caught it and they got the right chart.  The other issue that I had with the office staff is they refused to consider recoding my blood tests.  I have no insurance coverage for infertility and I asked that at the very least that my TSH (thyroid blood work) be recoded since they were planning to run that test anyway due to family history.  They refused.  I asked again and the nurse said she would look into it, but she never did.  So on top of being idiots, they are also liars.

Once all of our testing was done, the doc calls to tell me he has a diagnosis.  Despite having a normal length LP (luteal phase, number of days after ovulation), I have low progesterone.  He diagnosis me with weak ovulation and wants me to try Clomid to strengthen my ovulation.  I tell him that it sounds good to me, but I insist on being monitored by ultrasound.  He agrees and I start my first treatment cycle in October of 2012.  I take Clomid days 5-9 and my mid cycle u/s shows a 27mm follicle and my lining is 6.7mm.  I worry that my follicle is too big and that my lining is too thin, but my doc says it is fine.  He doesn't use trigger shots so I have to wait 3 days to ovulate on my own before we have our first IUI.  My blood work shows that the Clomid improved my progesterone level, however the cycle is not successful.

After the cycle fails, I decide that it is time to move on to a RE.  I don't want to waist any more time with a doctor that doesn't want to monitor me and relies on OPKs to time IUIs.  Also we are OOP for all infertility testing and treatment, so I would rather spend my money on treatment with an expert.

I think this is enough rambling.  I'll discuss our adventures in RE land in the next post.

Where's the Damn Baby Carriage!?!

So now that you've read our epic love story, I guess it's time to tell our trying to conceive (TTC) story.  We had talked about children before we got married and we were both pro repopulating the earth.  We decided however, that we would wait a year after we got married to start trying to get pregnant.  We were both 27 when we got married so if we waited a year, we would still have plenty of time to have our first baby before we turned 30.  It was the perfect plan.

Or so we thought.

We spent our first year together fixing up the little starter home we bought and took a belated honeymoon/first anniversary trip.  When our first anniversary rolled around I decided to push our "go" date for TTC back a few months.  We were still working on our house and I was afraid we would get pregnant right away and we wouldn't have time to finish everything before we had the baby.  Oh, to be that naive again.

So we threw out the birth control pills and on August 10, 2011 we started our first cycle of TTC.   We decided that we would start out with the "Let's just see what happens" approach.  I had done some research on fertility and menstrual cycles (Note that i might have a little control freak in my personality), so I at least I had some idea of when was the right time to ave sex.  Here's my big issue with the "Let's just see what happens" approach, I had no idea what was going on!  I just came off of birth control pills and I had no idea when/if I had ovulated.  I didn't even know when to take a pregnancy test because I had no idea how long my cycle might be.  So at the end of cycle 1, I bought a basal body thermometer, signed up with fertilityfriend.com and started charting my basal body temp (BBT).  I also purchased some Wondfo OPKs from amazon.  I was ready for Cycle 2.

I found that I really enjoyed charting my BBT and OPKs.  I learned about my cycle and it gave me a job (other than just spreading my legs to the hubs) while we were TTC.  The first few months, it was the hubs that was really upset when a cycle was a bust.  I had done my research and knew that it could a healthy couple under 35 up to a year to conceive, so I wasn't worried.  I looked at it as each failed cycle we were one cycle closer to our BFP (Big Fat Positive- as in pregnancy test).  If I only knew.  It was around the time we hit cycle 10 that I started to get concerned.  I would get a little more upset after each failed cycle.  What's strange is the more concerned I got, the less concerned the hubs got.  When we hit the year mark in August of 2012 and an all time low in our marriage.

One thing they don't tell you about TTC (unsuccessfully) is the stress it can put on a marriage.  I was completely stressed out, which made the hubs completely stressed out.  When I'm stressed, I want to over think and talk through every decision, lists the pros and cons of each choice, and think out load about every possible outcome.  The hubs is more of a make a decision and move on kind of guy, no need for discussion.  Slowly our communication broke down and arguments took over.  We were lucky that with a little therapy and some hard work, we were able to rebuild what was broken.  Not every couple dealing with infertility is so lucky.  I have talked to several women online that their marriage did not survive infertility.

Speaking of infertility, I think I will save the our infertility journey for the next post.

Our Story: First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

My name is Lindsay and this is my very first blog post, so bear with me I'm still figuring it all out.  I guess I'll start with our story thus far.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a guy and a girl... Yeah, it's not really that kind of story.  Travis (aka the hubs) and I met on a float trip set up by a mutual friend.  For city folk that may not know what a float trip is, it's a camping trip that includes floating down a river on rafts or canoes all day and usually includes consumption of copious amounts of alcohol.  I say usually because in my case there was very little alcohol consumption.  At the time of the float trip, I had recently dumped a deadbeat boyfriend, was on major steroids and antihistamines for chronic hives, and my grandmother had just passed away (I left straight from the funeral lunch to head to the campsite).  I figured mixing copious amounts of alcohol with a handful of prescription meds was probably not the best idea so sober weekend it was.  Travis and I barely said two words to each other all weekend, although he did fill my cousin (who came as my plus one in place of deadbeat ex boyfriend) in on his master life plan of never getting married.  The finale of this trip was me ending up in the ER with some sort of bacterial infection, that I probably picked up from the river water

Awesome start to our love story right?  As the months go on we occasionally run into each other a few times when out with mutual friends, but no real connection until one fateful night at a friends wedding.  I was a bridesmaid in the wedding and he was a guest.  As fate would have it I caught the bouquet and he caught the garter.  There was a little controversy, as some people claim that I knocked a little girl down to catch the bouquet, but this is not true.  1.  The girl fell on top of me and 2. The hubs is not worth assaulting a minor for, I mean I love the guy but let's be honest here.  So anyway, right as I was leaving for the night, he finally asked for my number.  We went on our first day a week later, were engaged 13 months after that.  We were married 13 months after we got engaged.

And we lived happily ever after...

Well obviously there is more to the story or this would be a pretty boring blog.  Since this is already a pretty long post, I'll save our adventures in trying to conceive in the land of infertility for my next post.