Monday, December 29, 2008
Beta #2 was done 72 hours after the first because of the weekend. My numbers went from 324 on Friday to 656 today. That is a 48 hour doubling rate of 60% which just cuts the mustard. I don't like just cutting it. I like to surpass. I need to remember I'm dealing with my reproductive system which has never been stellar to begin with. I should be happy with just getting by. My clinic said my numbers were good and to call tomorrow to schedule an ultrasound. They said "Congratulations." They sound pleased so I should be too. I am glad there are no more betas scheduled until then (I hope).
I wanted to put that fun little HCG chart from babymed on here, but I cannot figure out how to cut and paste just the chart. I am still kind of new at this blogging stuff. . .
I was commenting on PJ's blog that infertiles get too much information after they become pregnant. Most of my fertile friends just pee on a stick and go in for an ultrasound 8-10 weeks later. They probably don't even know what betas are and could care less about doubling times. We, however, get to jump hurdle after hurdle and hope we clear each one. STRESS! Who needs it? I don't.
I'm happy. Today could have easily gone the other way. They say the ultrasound is a bigger indicator of a successful pregnancy than beta numbers anyway. I'll save my worry for then.
As I said before, I am going to try my best to enjoy this pregnancy. I am going to try my best not to worry. I am going to try my best not to fixate. I am going to try my best not to obsess. I am going to keep telling myself this until it sinks in.
Friday, December 26, 2008
We are in complete shock! It really hasn't sunk in yet. I find it hard to believe I'm writing a post like this.
Our beta was this morning. I knew I wanted to come home and POAS. I needed to find out myself before a random nurse broke the news to me. DH and I were so nervous. We just held each other for those excruciating three minutes. The pee stick has never been a friend of mine, and I just couldn't fathom how this time would be any different. We held hands on our way to check and neither of us really wanted to look. When we finally did, we were in disbelief! I still am. I walked around the house for about 20 minutes with that thing in my hand just staring at it. (DH kept asking me when I was going to put it down. He was also a tad grossed out that my pee stick came dangerously close to his face whenever I tried to hug him. )
I was pleased the line was so dark, but I was going to hold out for the beta number. The nurse just called. My 1st beta is 324! That sounds kind of high. She said she'd be happy with anything over 50. That's a big number to double. I hope it continues to rise.
There are so many things I could worry about, fixate on, obsess over. I made a conscious decision before these results to try to enjoy every minute of this for what it is; to try not to preoccupy myself with all the hurdles to come. It will be hard, but I will try.
Today is a good day!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2) Select the 4th picture in the folder
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 people to do the same. NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc!)
I've never posted a personal pic before, especially a random one, but when I saw which pic it would be, I thought I'd go for it.
This was obviously taken at our wedding a little over three years ago. We got married at a golf course in the wine country. It was a picture perfect day despite the fact that our stupid DJ played the wrong song as I was walking down the aisle. I get pissed off thinking about it to this day. Oh well, it was still one of the best days of my life. My bridesmaids are (left to right)
1. DH's sister, my SIL
2. My good friend from college (mentioned in this post)
3. A fellow teaching buddy and super-supportive friend (mentioned in this post)
4. My other SIL, fellow teacher, friend and the reason I met DH (DH's brother's wife, mentioned in this post)
5. My maid of honor. I've known her since college and now, sadly, she lives all the way in Alaska. She visits often though.
There I did it.
I tag the following people to do the same:
1.Brenda at No Regrets (one of my first friends in the blogging world and a constant source of support)
2.Emily at What to Expect When Your NOT Expecting (I loved all the pictures from your last post. What's one more?)
3. G at What doesn't kill me. . . (Let's see some pictures from Australia.)
4. PJ at Infertility on the Brain (Come on. Be brave. I did it. Teachers love things like this. Right?)
In other news. . . The 2ww is finally getting hard. I realize now how torterous this is. Work was a great distraction last week and now I am left with nothing but my thoughts. Yesterday afternoon I had one bout of discolored light brown spotting when I wiped. I was 8dp2dt. I think that is too late for implantation spotting. I immediately thought it was my period trying to come and the hormones were holding it back. I usually only have a 10 day luteal phase. That could still be the case, but so far I haven't seen anything since and I don't want to see anything like it again. I want to live in ignorant bliss a few days longer. Let me pretend all is well. I might very well be dissapointed soon enough, but please, not yet. I want to hold on to this wonderful thing called hope. . .
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Progesterone is kicking my ass! (pun intended)
Not only does it feel like I've been literally kicked in the ass after each shot, but it is making me crazy. Really, really crazy.
I had been doing great up until about 5dp2dt. I actually felt good. I had lots of energy, my boobs weren't that sore, no cramping, not overly emotional. Then Friday afternoon I got some slight cramping for about two hours. I thought it was because I was a little late taking my afternoon estrogen. Even though they say some cramping is a good thing, I don't like it. It reminds me of how I feel before AF and I don't want her to come.
Yesterday, I woke up very weepy and emotional. Nothing new with me. I've been hormotional (thanks Brenda) all cycle. This was some new kind of crazy I have never experienced before. DH and I had been arguing all morning (can you say stress). We stopped by Starbucks and I almost had an out loud sobbing attack right there in the middle of the store. A weird noise came out of my mouth and I tried to cover it with a cough. It felt like a surge of hormones course through my body. I'm not kidding. Then it passed and I could regroup.
The same thing happened at church later that night (We've been going lately. We are both not super religious. I was raised Catholic- in the loosest sense- and DH had no religion at home, but has been wanting to attend recently). This time the wave of hormones came with the urge to laugh uncontrollably right in the middle of church. Highly inappropriate and I again tried to hide it with coughing. Before it passed I got a hot flash and broke out in a sweat. I was crampy throughout the night.
I thought stim drugs were bad, progesterone is insane!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Not because I'm obsessing about my 2ww. I'm barely on Day 5. Most people are getting their transfers at this time. The hard thing about a Day 2 transfer is you get more days of responsibility. I've been carrying around these little embies for days already and I hope I am doing right by them.
Going back to work has been the opposite of my first two days of bedrest. I didn't realize teaching is physically exhausting. Teachers are always on their feet, and are constantly talking and moving around. And to add to the chaos, tomorrow is our annual holiday show. Today I had to pick up and move chairs. The chairs were by no means heavy and I only moved two of them, but I immediately became concerned that I did something wrong. I felt fine, but my paranoid nature started kicking in. Work is so distracting, that I actually forget what might be going on inside me.
Then after work I went to the grocery store. I bought a few mildly-heavy items and proceeded to carry them upstairs to my condo. Once again, I thought, maybe I shouldn't do that.
Or maybe it doesn't matter. Think of how many fertiles don't even realize their embryo is trying to implant at that very moment and run, lift, have sex, live their blissfully ignorant lives. I am going to take it easy as much as I can- don't get me wrong. I love taking it easy and I'm not going to do anything stupid that they tell you not to do. I do however need to be able to live my life.
I always thought I'd be the kind of woman who would treat herself like a fragile china doll (and if you ask DH he'll probably say I do). I have been trying to let go of some of my control issues. I doubt the results of this IVF cycle will be determined by the movement of two plastic chairs or the carrying of two bags of groceries. I have to tell myself that at least.
I will try to take it a little more easy. After Friday it should be no problem. (I get two weeks off!). I think this post is a result of feeling guilty after reading all about Infertile Turtle's bedrest during her 2ww and Clio's nephew carrying groceries for her (lucky!). I wish I could do that, but the reality of my life says I can't.
What do you think girls?
Did anyone else go grocery shopping?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The transfer was easy. The only hard part was my very full bladder. The nurse scanned me and told me I could go relieve myself for 10 seconds. That helped for about two minutes and then it filled right back up. Really, I have the badder the size of a pea.
We have pictures of both embryos. The ratings changed because they are now Day 2. From what I've researched everyone uses a different grading system depending on the clinic and the day of embryo development. There is no real rhyme or reason. I personally think they should all jump on the same bandwagon.
Anyway, they are graded on a 1-5 scale with a one being the best quality and a five being the worst. We have a 2-cell grade one (actually make that a 3-cell, it divided right before transfer) and a 6 cell grade three (this one had some fragmentation). So it sounds like one good and one fair. I am so glad they are in me now and I don't have to analyze them anymore.
I have been taking it easy at home today. My parents came over and had lunch with DH and me. That was a nice distraction. I love to relax, but I am going stir crazy. I have pretty much been stuck in my house since Friday after retrieval. It has been a whirlwind weekend and I am happy the majority of the craziness is behind me.
I have read so many things about bedrest. Some do it strictly, some just take it easy, some go back to their normal daily activities. I've decided to play it somewhere in the middle. I literally laid around the first half of the day and now I've switched to sitting up in front of the computer. Tomorrow I am not going into work, but only because I am a teacher and on my feet all day keeping up with 6 year olds. I cannot bring myself to lay flat on my back. It just seems unnecessary. (In fact, Dr. G. told me the woman who came in for a transfer right before me was going to watch The Nutcracker today.) I watched the embryos go deep into my lining. My clinic has reiterated over and over that they will NOT fall out.
I sure hope so. . . (TMI WARNING- TURN YOUR HEAD IF NEEDED). Around noon today I went pee and something about the size of a pea plopped into the toilet. I am pretty sure it was discolored cervical fluid from the procedure and all the estrogen, but just the same I tried not to worry. I am pretty sure I'd have to shed a significant portion of my lining for them to fall out. Right?
I know the 2WW is going to be hell, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm sure my obsessive nature will take over and I'll be a basket case soon enough. Right now it feels completely unreal that this could ever turn into a pregnancy. It feels impossible. Not because I'm being Negative Nelly, but because it is beyond my grasp at the moment.
On Tuesday I plan to get off bedrest and on with my life, enjoy the holidays and relish in the fact I've come this far.
It's all I can do.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Out of the four eggs, three were good and were ICSI'd.
Two of them fertilized and are ranked the highest grade (A).
We're thrilled to have come this far!
Here's the part I'm confused about. They're transferring them on Day 2. That's tomorrow. I was totally unprepared for a Day 2 transfer. I don't really understand a Day 2 transfer. I thought they didn't really do that anymore. I need to consult Dr. Google. I have heard some differing opinions that the eggs do or do not survive any better in your uterus versus in a lab. I think they are figuring that we will transfer these two no matter what, so they might as well do it tomorrow.
I read this article a while back regarding which days to transfer. One doctor had the opinion that eggs do not survive any better in you uterus than they would in a lab. He said that it is a way to make your clinic look better in case of a negative outcome. "Your embryos were fine when we put them in you. What did you do to them?" I wish I could go back and find that article. It offered an interesting perspective.
I guess what I really want to know is if a Day 2 transfer does any harm. It's not like we have any eggs to pick and choose from, so maybe it doesn't matter what day they go back in.
Maybe I should just be happy and trust that my doctor has some experience with this and knows what he is doing. He has gotten me this far in a crazy cycle.
DH said something bittersweet when I was talking to him about all this. He said, "Wouldn't you want them to be with us if they don't make it, instead of in a lab all by themselves?" Wow! That caught me off guard. He is usually not so sentimental.
So tomorrow it is.
I will bring them home.
Hopefully they'll stay.
The nurse yesterday told me they'd call in the morning with the fertilization results. I gave them my home number because I thought that I'd be here all morning. It is now after 12:00. I called to give them my cell phone number instead. This was really just an excuse to call. I was kind of hoping I would be able to talk to someone who knew something. I think I was talking to a receptionist.
Here's my worry. I am afraid that they save the 0% fert. results for the afternoon so my case manager can call me instead of someone in the lab. I asked the receptionist if it was normal for them to wait this long to call. She told me they don't usually call until 2:00. What? I can only hope that this is because today is a Saturday and things work a little differently.
I've never been in the 2WW but I dare to say this might be harder (feel free to set me straight). I have no idea if my eggs are crap or not. If they are, then our chances for a pregnancy are slim to none. I feel like our whole IF future is waiting on this call. Am I being dramatic?
Why won't they just call?
Friday, December 12, 2008
They retrieved four mature eggs today. I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for the fertilization report tomorrow. This whole thing doesn't get any easier does it? I would love to make it to a transfer. One thing at a time though and today is done.
I was lucky I was the first retrieval of the day. They had four scheduled and a ton of transfers. They're trying to get everyone in before the holidays. Get the docs while they're fresh, that's what I say. We even ran into the embryologists in the elevator on the way up. I hope he takes good care of my eggs and can make us some embabies today. I should have slipped him a 20 to make it worth his while. :)
Everyone there was so nice. The nurses really run the show. I have been so focused on stimming and growing eggs, that I kind of took for granted the whole retrieval procedure. The nurse explained the whole thing and I learned something new. That hasn't happened in a long time. I feel like I have researched everything there is to know. She said that they go through the vaginal wall to access the ovaries instead of going up through the uterus. They take a shortcut. That made sense to me and what did I care, I was going to be knocked out during the whole thing.
Then the anesthesiologist came in and I learned something I didn't really want to hear. It was not going to be general anesthesia, but sedation instead. She told me I'd be awake the entire time but would be in a twilight state and probably wouldn't remember anything. Thanks a lot to my case manager Nurse X for getting my hopes up! ("Oh you'll be completely knocked out." Liar!).
Luckily it wasn't bad at all. I remember bits and pieces and a couple times I felt something down there, but for the most part it went fine. Time flew. I thought we were in there for four or five minutes, but DH told me it was more like 30. I remember Dr. G. announcing 4 eggs but that didn't stop me from asking the nursing staff multiple times how many they got. I guess I was pretty out of it.
I don't think my clinic makes a habit of telling people the maturity of their eggs before they leave. When I asked about it during registering, they said I might find out today, but most likely it will be tomorrow morning. If my chances were over today and none were mature, I'd have liked to know instead of holding out hope. I was so doped up I forgot to ask. DH did it for me. Right when he asked I felt a sense of dread. You want to know, but you don't. Luckily the news was good. They were mature right at retrieval. I guess that is better than having to wait for them to mature.
I pray that some will fertilize.
I don't want this to be over yet.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I brought DH with me for support. He wanted to be there too. He felt bad he wasn't there to comfort me after Monday's appt. He's never been to a monitoring before and was a little uncomfortable in the room. I found that slightly amusing. I told him I didn't want him to have to come until there was a baby to look at on the screen, but this might be as close as we ever come, so he might as well be there.
Dr. G. came in and did his thing. I usually ask questions and provide commentary during the whole u/s but not today. I just stared at the screen in silence and waited for the final tally. Here it goes:
Left Ovary: 19.5, 7 (one showed up late to the game)
Right Ovary: 17, 17, 17, 15
Nurse X called and I finally get to trigger tonight! I never thought I'd make it! It is the small miracle I was hoping for. Those follicles finally decided to get on board at the same time. My lead follicle slowed down and the little ones took off. Dr. G. called DH my good luck charm. He's right. . . Or then again, maybe it was my "Chicks with Brains" socks. . .We'll never know.
DH didn't look. He just hid in the background the whole time. I called him over to show him the picture of my ovary that was left on the screen. I started to explain to him what he was seeing. Dr. G. got very excited about a chance to educate someone and printed off a picture of my follicles for him to look at. Now we have this u/s picture of my ovary. It's hilarious. Most people get u/s of their pregnancies. We have one of my follies. It might be the closest thing we will have to being parents. Should we post it on the fridge? Send them out as Christmas cards? :)
I never imagined I'd be jumping for joy over 3, 4, or 5 potential eggs. If you asked me before we started IVF#1 I'd have been appalled to hear such a thing. Now, I am thrilled and I'll take anything I can get.
I know we have so many more hurdles to face and possible disappointments in our future, (the odds are stacked against us) but I am so happy to have gotten this far. Thank you God. I finally get my chance.
Our retrieval is scheduled for Friday morning. I am going to relish the fact that I don't have any injections tomorrow. Whatever will I do?
Thank you so much for all your comments and support. You all make this hellish journey a little easier.
Monday, December 8, 2008
It had been 24 hours since my last check. I thought I was out of dominant follicle territory. I thought wrong. Here are today's results:
Left Ovary: 17
Right Ovary: 12, 12, 11, 11
What the fuck!
One of them shrank! One of them took off! And two of them grew a little bit.
I knew right away when I saw the big one on the screen. Dr. G. said he was willing to let it go and hope the others continue to grow together (THAT IS A BIG PROBLEM FOR ME), as long as my E2 didn't drop or my P4 didn't rise. I said, why would my progesterone rise? Aren't I taking Ganirelix to prevent that? He said yes, but people who are prone to dominant follicles don't always respond to it. Don't I respond to anything?!! What the hell? I'm so frustrated.
He was trying to stay positive, but I just knew I'd be cancelled today. I was really trying to hold it together, but he just sat there talking to me and saying, "Don't worry, you still might have a chance." It was the exact same conversation we had in August right before his nurse called and cancelled me. I felt tears rising. I just kept nodding and trying not to speak. He just kept rambling and would not leave. Pretty soon I couldn't take it any longer. I started to cry right there in the office with Dr. G. and a nurse. I never cry in front of people except DH, and my mom and dad. I am not an overly emotional person. I don't cry at the drop of a hat. I couldn't help it today.
Dr. G: "Oh, you're upset."
Pathetic Infertile: "I'm sorry."
Why the hell was I apologizing for being upset?
Background Nurse: "It's okay, we understand."
Do you really?
Dr. G. was trying to be sweet, but he finally got a clue and left. I called DH in the car sobbing and he felt so bad.
Oddly enough, once I got to work I felt better. I think I felt relief. I have been through an emotional wringer at every stinking appointment. Not once could I leave one feeling satisfied with my progress. I have had to stim longer than most people I know at very high doses and I was feeling overwhelmed last night. I felt like I just couldn't go on. So I used work as a distraction and I thought about coming home and drinking (a lot of) wine in front of a fire and not having to think about IF if I didn't want to.
Then I looked at my tests results online. . .
My E2 level rose to 800
My P4 level rose from .5 to .8
I thought for sure when I saw the rise in progesterone that this cycle was a done deal. About an hour later Nurse B. calls and tells me to take the same dosage of meds and to come in Wednesday morning.
What the fuck?
I am assuming that my rise in E2 is the only thing that is keeping me in the game and the rise in P4 must not be enough to warrant a cancellation yet. I hope the ganirelix does it's job and prevents the lead one from ovulating. I hope that the other ones continue to grow ALL TOGETHER.
Honestly though, I've lost all confidence in my ovaries. I've lost almost all hope for this cycle. This is too hard. If I were going to be cancelled again, I would have preferred it be on my second stim check like before. The farther you go the harder it is. Not to mention the amount of money I've spent on meds to stim for 12 or 13 days.
I will go through the motions Wednesday, but I will try to have zero expectations.
I am numb.
I am drained.
I am frustrated.
I am tired.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
IVF #2 is not going very well.
Today's check revealed these results:
Left (lazy) Ovary: 16
Right (really trying) Ovary: 15, 12, 9, 9
It looks like only two or three are really in the running at this point. One came out of nowhere today. That was interesting. If they would just all grow AT THE SAME TIME I would not be as concerned. It seems like every time I go in for a stim check, my chances dwindle. I'm worried what tomorrow will bring. It looks like (for the time being) we have avoided a dominant follicle, but, hey, with me anything can happen.
I have decided to treat this cycle as a very expensive experiment. Unless something drastic happens, DH and I plan to go to retrieval with whatever we have to work with. I need to find some things out about the quality of my eggs: Are they mature? Can they fertilize? If this had been my first attempt, I'm sure Dr. G would have encouraged me to cancel and try again hoping for better results next time. He admitted that I had a poor response, but this is probably the best I can do. I somewhat agree with him. I will not throw in the towel if this doesn't work, but I do believe that we shouldn't let this chance pass by.
I'm disappointed, but it's not over til it's over and I am not a quitter. I am, however, a realist. I know the odds are stacked against us. I am still going to give it all I've got. I just hope and pray it is enough.
Friday, December 5, 2008
No, seriously, where did they go?
I had seven just the other day. Today I'm down to four. I don't like this pattern.
All four are about the same size (9 or 10 ish).
My estrogen rose nicely considering I only have four ( 290).
No dominant follicle (yet?).
I am still in it.
They. . . take. . . forever. . . to. . . grow. . . (Cha-ching! There goes another $1000 on meds)
I can no longer blame my poor response on the lupron.
Everyone at the RE's office was getting news to trigger with a plentiful amount of eggs and I felt like a big loser.
I have decided to focus on the pros. I am surprisingly okay with these results. Of course I am disappointed, and I feel like my odds of actually getting pregnant this time are a long shot, but do you remember when I said I would be okay with 4 or 5 and that I just wanted a chance? Looks like I got my wish.
Thank you God for a chance.
Following in the footsteps of everyone who names their embryos, I'm going to name my follies in hopes of inspiring them and keeping them around. I shall call them the Fantastic Four.
(To a fertile person I must sound like I've lost my mind).
Okay, what is it with me and small worlds?
Oddly, I have always felt very alone at my RE's office, even though I am surrounded by people I have so much in common with. No one usually talks to each other. Online, I have this whole supportive community of "strangers," but in real life, I don't have much of a desire to share my story with these people. Weird.
Today was different. I found an old friend. A sorority sister from college. We were in the same pledge class, so we shared a lot of experiences. It took us a moment to place each other (I haven't seen her in almost 10 years). Then she just gave me the biggest hug and we sat and talked while we waited for the lab to open. This is her first round of IVF. She already has a nine year old. She got married three years ago and is experiencing male IF. I didn't get her details but it sounds like she's right on track and will have her retrieval Sunday. I'm sure I'll see her then, at my next stim check. We exchanged numbers and she wanted me to call her and let her know how things are going with me.
It made my morning a little easier.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Last night DH brought me home a brownie that a lady in his office made. It was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. It was moist and chocolaty and had a peanut butter cup in the middle of it. If there's one thing I love it's chocolate and peanut butter. I had just finished my injection for the evening and I was treating myself to this little piece of heaven when DH said, "That's from the woman at work who never had any kids and is also infertile." I know he meant not a thing by this statement. We talk about IF all the time. Why should it bother me now? Blame it on the meds, but I burst into tears. All I kept thinking was how unfair it was that a woman who is such a good cook doesn't have a child of her own to bake for. Totally irrational, I know, but I couldn't help it. I cried and cried for how unfair this world is. I felt better after. I haven't had a breakdown yet this cycle and I think I just needed to get it all out. Poor DH felt really bad. Then this morning on my way to work, I was listening to some stupid song on the radio and lost it again.
I wish I could blame it on the hormones, but I'm worried that my estrogen hasn't been rising enough. I don't feel like a lot is going on down there. (Most of my "cycle sistas" have moved much faster than me.) I've felt a little bloated and tender in the ovaries, but I haven't had any wet quality cervical fluid (sorry if this is TMI- I think you can handle it). Does anyone else see this as a symptom of rising estrogen during an IVF cycle?
I'm just really worried because tomorrow's appt. is when it was all over for me last time. I am so afraid of what will happen. I know I'll brush myself off and go back for more, but I will be so frustrated and disappointed. How am I ever supposed to get a baby if I can't produce enough mature eggs? I don't want to be stuck at square one.
Here I go getting ahead of myself. I need to calm down. There's nothing I can do about it. I will feel so much better if I can continue past tomorrow. I might have a chance then.
I want a chance.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
(You can't tell from my crappy pic, but there is a chick wearing glasses)*************************************************************
I knew Dr. G moved out here last spring from Ohio with his family. This summer during my first try, I found out he was looking for a house in the city I teach in, the same neighborhood no doubt. So at the beginning of the school year I looked at the class rosters of the fifth graders to see if his last name showed up on any lists. I couldn't find it. I assumed he got a house somewhere else. I assumed wrong!
At today's appt. he asked me what time I needed to be in the office. I reminded him I was a teacher. One thing led to another and it turns out his daughter does go to my school (I don't know how I missed the name). You should have seen the look on his face. It was pretty funny. It was like he instantly melded his two worlds of work and family. Good I say, every little personal thing he remembers about me the better. I might get some extra care. And if he doesn't make me a baby, then I know his daughters teacher, and I'm going to make sure she fails every subject! I hope the thought crossed his mind. I just upped the ante. He probably really wants to get rid of me know.
What a small world.