Tuesday, December 18, 2007

waiting for results

The results of all of the testing should be in in another 2 weeks. Once everything has been looked at, we'll have another phone consult with Dr Surrey to discuss how to proceed. At minimum it'd be another IVF/ICSI/AH. We might be looking at donor eggs or gestational surrogacy also. Everything is on the table at this point.

Monday, December 10, 2007

not your usual test

I think the SAT was easier. (definitely easier emotionally!!!)

It was a LONG day. It took us an hour and forty minutes to get to the clinic this morning. It was stop and go traffic for about an hour of that. That wasn't the best way to start off the morning.

Also, the blood draw didn't happen until later in the morning... D's mind festered, worrying about it a bit too long. The nurses were really good with him, tho. He only passed out twice. I was a bit surprised, but I guess we should have done that part first thing, to put him out of the misery rather than dwelling on it for a couple of hours.

Other than that, it seemed to go pretty well. We did a LOT. The only telling result was an ultrasound on me that showed that I had very constricted blood flow to the uterus. That could be a Problem. Other tests included cystic fibrosis, genetic karyotyping (on me), antibody testing on both of us, and a hysteroscopy (camera) to check for fibroids or endometriosis. That came out normal, everything looked fine inside.

Moving forward, the dr suggested doing a new kind of testing on the embryos, but the results take 6 weeks to come back. That would mean doing a retrieval and a transfer on two different cycles, 2 months apart. I think that testing is called CGH (or something like that, you might want to try a google search on that).

One of the other checks they did was for the # of follicles they could possibly get on a medicated cycle. I only had 7-9, which is low, but he said that might still work if they come back w/ normal chromosomes. With the testing done above, they'd know the gender of each embryo before it was even put back in. Interesting, no?

When they do that testing, they freeze everything, do the test, then thaw them when the results come back. Their thaw rate is 98%, which is amazing. ORM's thaw rate was around 50%.

I think that's it. I'm exhausted.

on a jet plane

This is just a quick check in post to let everyone know we're officially in Colorado. Oh, and it's officially FIVE degrees here. I don't think I was expecting that.

Testing begins bright and early at 8am. I'm not sure when we get any results, maybe some tomorrow, some might take days or weeks to come back.

wish us luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

on holidays...

Not much has been going on around here. Really! D has been out of town for business a lot, which means a lot of things get put on hold.

Some other things have changed this year, too... I had to cancel both of my holiday parties which would traditionally take place next weekend. Why? Because we're going to Denver for the Testing. Ahhh, yet another event marred by infertility.

This time of year is also bittersweet for us. It was this time 2 years ago that I had my first miscarriage. Oh, the innocence! Way back then I thought a BFP actually meant I'd have a baby 8 months later. We had wrapped gifts for all of the grandparents-to-be and everything. Taking those gifts out from under the tree was one of the hardest things I've done in a long time.

Christmas is another one of those child-centric holidays (Easter, 4th of July, Halloween) that just leaves me at a loss. So many of the 'traditional' events are geared towards kids. By not having any in our family, we just don't have a lot to 'do' around the holiday. Yes, we go to Church, but no Christmas pagents, easter egg hunts, and you can just forget about the pictures w/ Santa or the easter bunny.

Everything can be summed up in our Christmas card this year. It is going to feature a picture of the dogs.
*sigh*
The Dogs...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Things I am thankful for:
- my husband D, with all of his annoying optimism in regards to IF.
- D for putting up with all of the pets (and barking...and litter boxes)
- Our families for their care and concern. They don't always 'get it', but they're concerned and helpful in every way possible.
- my little ratties for the snort-snorts, kisses, and general admiration. Sometimes a gal just needs it.
- medical science for providing the technology that makes it even thinkable for us to have children.
- good insurance
- a flexible PT job
- heat, air conditioning, and a roof over my head each and every night.
- my friends for listening and comiserating

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

less than 3 weeks away!

The flights are booked, car rented, dogs taken care of, cats taken care of...

We're going to Denver!

The nurse sent us the itinerary for the Day. We are seriously booked from 8am to 5pm for the entire day!
Tests, blood draws, samples, Xrays, sonographs, counselling session, Dr. consults... almost one stop infertility shopping.
(can I have a discount please?) Coupon code anyone?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One step forward

December 10, 2007

That's the date of my (our) day-of-testing at the new Clinic in Colorado.

Very exciting.

Must...book...airfare...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CCRM update!

This morning we had our CCRM phone consult w/ Dr Surrey. It went well. He had lots of ideas of what could be going wrong, and how to test / look for the problems. He also suggested a couple of different protocols to try if we cycle again. (still on the fence about that) Regardless, he said he wanted some tests done to see if we could narrow down the problems w/ my eggs (genetic abnormalities? poor quality? low ovarian reserve?). He didn't think D was an issue b/c the early m/c problems are usually egg related. SO, I need to wait and talk to one of the nurses in the morning to see when we could schedule the next step. That means I'd be going out to Denver either the 1st or last week of December or the 3rd week of January for testing.
He also recommended the Clomid challenge test, I'd be interested to see how I handle that, too...

I've never been to Colorado... it should be fun*

*as much fun as one can have when being poked and prodded...

Anywho, the Dr. was chock full of 'next steps', we just need some testing and then make a decision.
Could there be hope in Colorado?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Infertility Holiday Cheer

This is a *REAL* email I got yesterday... I just had to post it (identifying details have been omitted), because it was just too funny.
***********
Dear Annie,
 
*XYZ fertility* is determined to help you in your journey to have a family, and wants to assist you in the best way possible. We know the process can be exhausting, both financially and emotionally. That is why, financially, we would like to offer you a 10% discount from our customary fees, starting November 15th through December 15th.
*snip* 

With kindest regards,
The Staff of XYZ Fertility

***********

I wonder what you get with 'inventory reduction' or 'buy one get one' specials?

Friday, November 9, 2007

The cost of Infertility: twelve and a half fight back

This my first foray into blogtivism, compliments of Bri over at unwellness. Organized by Mel at Stirrup Queens. Infertility effects 12.5% of the TTC population. Beyond that, the stats get a little fuzzy. Most treatments are not covered under insurance policies because it is not deemed a "medical condition". Leaving many out in the cold, with 2nd mortgages, penniless, and with empty arms hoping for a miracle that will bring them a baby of their own.

The costs of infertility treatments vary by clinic, region, and state. There is no mandated coverage in Ohio, where I live. We do have insurance* that does cover some of our expenses. *We pay ALOT for insurance, over $700 a month through dh's company, which is self insured. That's $8400 a year for our premiums alone. For that cost, they should cover something!
All prescriptions have been covered. We just have a copay that varies based on the type of medication. My last IVF cycle totaled $14000 for the meds ONLY. We paid $500 (two $250 copays, because I needed refills!)
$8200 per IVF cycle. Insurance covered only monitoring- $1100. not ER and ET, and no lab fees (ICSI, AH)
Oh, and we did that twice in 2007.
$8800 for drugs for my first IVF cycle, we paid $250 copay.
$300 for a 2nd opinion (next week!) at another clinic. IVF there runs $20,000.

This year alone, our total for medical expenses above and beyond the $8400 insurance premium comes to $17,700. I'm sure I'm forgetting to include some things in that amount. Like the 2x weekly accupuncture for the 2nd IVF cycle. That was $650.
Or the mileage and copays for all of the dr. appts and blood draws. $500, easily. That brings the amount to $18,850.


There is A LOT of money in the infertility 'business'. Donor eggs and sperm are costly, and mostly unregulated with regards to donor compensation. We are looking at some other options right now. All are expensive. Adopt from Russia= $30,000. Donor Egg IVF= $30,000. Adopt domestically=$20,000. Regular IVF at Big Clinic= $20,000.

There are no guarantees with anything. There is no 'cure'. There is no solution. And there is no mandated infertility coverage. Something has to change.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What I'm Reading

I've been reading The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis this week.

It's interesting.

Have any of you have any experience with her methods? Has anyone gone on one of the 'retreats'?

Just curious to see what the word is on it.

It's not like it could be any more unsuccessful than IVF...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

halloween
This year's costumes were very fitting for their personalities:
Hannah was a lobster.
Hayley was a chicken.

Thankfully there is no more halloween candy in my house!

Monday, October 29, 2007

the waiting game

Tick tock, tick tock. We're just waiting for the Next Big Appointment. Isn't that how it always goes? This one is with a new Dr at a new clinic, with nice new eyes looking at our files. Speaking of... I had requested a copy of my file be sent to me when I requested it to be sent to the new doc. I took some Time and read through every report, ever lab result, every everything. Some highlights: "very nice couple", "severe male factor", "suggest donor sperm" (that one was a new one to me), "patient requested no meds" (referring to my going cold turkey for the last ER-- everyone thought I was nuts).
I kind of felt strange reading all of it. Like it's a teacher recommendation for college where they have to sign over the seal and send it in... so you can't open it and see what your recommendors said about you!

Anywho, on the non- IF front (does that exsist, really?) I've decided to do a little 'moving on'. That includes painting and hanging drapes in the two empty 'guest' rooms upstairs. Not leaving them empty for you-know-what. Ok, so I kind of cheated and am painting one of the rooms an acceptable nursery color, but still! It's a grown-up color, too. I just to happen to be able to think of three different nursery sets that would go well with it. Like no-one else has ever planned like that? Whatever!

For the holidays, I have a lot of prep work to do. The painting mentioned above, and general de-cluttering. I also have to baby-proof, which terrifies me to no end. We have a little guest joining us for Thanksgiving. The first child to ever spend the night in our house. Strange.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Some statistics

These links are to the most recent data on clinic success rates for 2005. When I say to someone that such and such clinic has a 35% success rate, this is where those numbers come from. It is also important to note how many cycles a clinic does in a year. If they only do 10 cycles a year and have a 70% success rate, that's pretty good. If a clinic has the same success rate but does over 200 cycles a year, that's great becuase it means they can repeat the success over and over, with a (usually) varied patient pool.

Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine(where the consult is in Nov.), Ohio Reproductive Medicine (where we did the last 2 IVF cycles- also note it's the only game in town.)

Most everyone tries Clomid first, with good reason! Statistics show that 50% of women who ovulate on Clomid will get pregnant within three months.

IUIs are a logical next step. The overall success rate seems to be between 15-20 percent per cycle. One would think doing 5 IUIs would = success, but obviously it doesn't always work that way.

IVF stats vary from clinic to clinic. Overall the nationwide success rate is about 50%. So doing 2 IVFs would = success, right? That's what we thought.

Clearly we're in the minority here, statistically speaking. Since there is very little we can control with this whole process, picking a clinic is VERY important. That's why I chose one of the best in the country for the 2nd opinion. A 70% pregnancy rate (and similar live birth rate), is huge. It offers hope. Lots and lots of oooey goooey sparkly hope.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

OUR infertility 101

OUR infertility 101

This post chronicles what we've done up until now to have a baby. Please email (or call) if you have any further questions, or want more details. There are always more details!

(please click on the links for more information about that particular term)

After my first miscarriage in December 2005, I talked to my ob/gyn about perhaps starting Clomid. I had thought that I might have low progesterone, and Clomid is supposed to help that. Before starting Clomid, we did bloodwork for 3 months/cycles to see if I did indeed have low progesterone, and if I was ovulating at all. My Dr. gave me the prescription to start Clomid, but they didn't do any monitoring. Fearing high order mutiples, I started going to the RE.
My RE wanted a bunch of tests done first. Bloodwork and an HSG to see if my tubes were open and if there were any uterine abnormalities. All clear. With the clomid, they did do the monitoring to see how many eggs I had, then I got a trigger shot of HCGt to aid ovulation.
We did that for 3 cycles.
It didn't work.

The next step was to try the clomid with an IUI. We did that for one cycle.
It didn't work.

Since Clomid is a peculiar drug, most doctors only recommend being on it 4-6 cycles, but since it hadn't produced great results, our RE recommended moving on to Injectibles.

We did one cycle of injectibles. 150iu of Follistim with another IUI, which got me/us 4 eggs.
It didn't work.

Then we decided to do more extensive testing on D. That's when we got the first really bad news. The genetic testing came back fine. It was the morphology that was the deal breaker. Only 2% normal, using the WHO guidelines. Motility and count were also bad, but not serious. The RE said it would be a waste of our time and money to continue w/ the IUIs or Clomid, and he suggested going directly to IVF w/ ICSI.

Oh, and then I got pregnant... but that only lasted a week. Highest beta was 580.

I started the meds for the IVF cycle in December for the February cycle. I did the long lupron protocol that time. That got us awful results w/ only 4 mature eggs. Only 2 of those eggs even fertilized, so they put them back 48 hours after the retrieval.
It didn't work.

Then we took some Time Off. I said I was only doing IVF one more time...

IVF #2 started in June. Let me just say that this was a very rollercoaster cycle! We did the microdose lupron flare protocol this time. was on the meds for a particularly long time-- 16 days. Read this for more info on poor ovarian response. So, onto the cycle details; The first ultrasound is supposed to show your antral follicle count. That number is basically how many eggs you have to work with during that cycle. I had NONE. The second ultrasound is after 5 days of the meds. I only had TWO follicles growing. By the time u/s 3 came around, 5 days later, I fully expected the cycle to get cancelled, because by all measures it should have been. Magically I had 10 follicles then, and we kept on going. Better results, as far as quantity goes, but the egg quality was similarly bad. The embryologist suggested doing assisted hatching because of the dark zonas on my eggs. That means the shells are hard and once an embryo starts to grow, it can get stuck in the shell b/c it can't 'hatch' out of the thick shell. Read this for more info on poor ovarian response. But because of that, we had more to play with and 3 were decent. We transferred 3 embryos 72 hours after retrieval and were given a 1 in 6 chance of triplets.
It didn't work.

So here we are... trying to figure out what to do next.

We have a consult with one of the best clinics in the country next month--Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Looky here! An update!

In the past month, we've been a bit *busy*. We're down to 5 dogs in the house right now since my mom adopted one. Then there was Jubilee!... then I got a nasty sinus infection and pink eye to boot. We had company for a week and a half, and went to 2 weddings.

As D said... he's been too busy to 'have fun', per the counsellor's suggestion back in August.

I finally picked up the phone and made an appointment with CCRM for a consult. Thankfully we don't have to fly out to Denver for the appt, it's a conference call. If we do proceed with them, I'll have to fly out for a bunch of testing.
Right now I'm collecting medical records to send out there. And get to cajole D into getting another blood draw to find out his blood type. That might take some Time. ;-)

I am working on another post, for some of my friends who think we're being a little drastic. I should post that soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What it's like

Ok, here is another 'cheater post', but this really is a good article. Kate is a fellow ff'er and this article is very true to life.

Longing for a baby at any cost

On the update front, we're still Taking Time Off. I'm thinking about getting some second opinions. Clinics in New York City, Denver, and San Deigo are in the running. Wherever we cycle next, it will NOT be local, and it will (obviously) not be cheap.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A public service announcement

This article comes from Resolve. It's worth a read.

============

Infertility Etiquette
By Vita Alligood


Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. Most infertility treatments involve using hormones, which alter the user's moods. (That statement is like calling a lion a cat-my husband would tell you that the side effect is insanity!) The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Infertility treatments are expensive, and most insurance companies do not cover the costs. So, in addition to the pain of not conceiving a baby each month, the couple pays out anywhere from $300 to five figures, depending upon the treatment used.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

They will eventually conceive a baby.
They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.


Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

There are many reasons why a couple would choose not to pursue this option. Here are a few of them.
IVF is Expensive with Low Odds
One cycle of IVF is very expensive. With all of the hype in the news, many people assume that IVF is a sure thing when, in fact, the odds of success for each cycle are low. Most couples cannot afford to try for one month, much less for multiple times. Considering that it also costs a significant amount of money to adopt a baby, many couples opt for the "sure thing" rather then risking their money on much lower odds.

IVF is Physically Taxing
Undergoing IVF treatments is very rigorous. The woman must inject shots into her thigh daily to cause her ovaries to superovulate. The drugs used are very taxing on the woman, and they can cause her to be become extremely emotional.

IVF Raises Ethical Issues
Ironically, couples who undergo IVF to become parents may have to selectively abort one or more fetuses if multiple eggs are fertilized. Many couples cannot bring themselves to abort a baby when they have worked so hard to become parents. If the couple chooses not to selectively abort, they run the risk of multiple births.

Don't Offer Unsolicited Opinions If They Are Trying IVF
On the flip side of the coin, don't offer unsolicited advice to your friends who do choose to try IVF. For many couples, IVF is the only way they will ever give birth to a baby. This is a huge decision for them to make, for all of the reasons I outlined above.

If the couple has resolved any ethical issues, don't muddy the waters. IVF is a gray area in many ethical circles, and many of our moral leaders don't yet know how to answer the ethical questions that have arisen from this new technology. If the couple has resolved these issues already, you only make it harder by raising the ethical questions again. Respect their decision, and offer your support. If you can't offer your support due to ethical differences of opinion, then say nothing.

A couple who chooses the IVF route has a hard, expensive road ahead, and they need your support more than ever. The hormones are no cakewalk, and the financial cost is enormous. Your friend would not be going this route if there were an easier way, and the fact that she is willing to endure so much is further proof of how much she truly wants to parent a child. The hormones will make her more emotional, so offer her your support and keep your questions to yourself.

Don't Play Doctor
Once your infertile friends are under a doctor's care, the doctor will run them through numerous tests to determine why they aren't able to conceive. There a numerous reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive. Here are a few of them:

Blocked fallopian tubes
Cysts
Endometriosis
Low hormone levels
Low "normal form" sperm count
Low progesterone level
Low sperm count
Low sperm motility
Thin uterine walls

Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an "expert" on the subject. Let your friends work with their doctor to diagnose and treat the problem. Your friends probably already know more about the causes and solutions of infertility than you will ever know.

You may feel like you are being helpful by reading up on infertility, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the subject. The problem comes when you try to "play doctor" with your friends. They already have a doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating the problem. They need to work with and trust their doctor to treat the problem. You only complicate the issue when you throw out other ideas that you have read about. The doctor knows more about the causes and solutions; let your friends work with their doctor to solve the problem.

Don't Be Crude
It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day
With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's OK... no wait, it's NOT OK

I thought I was OK with my resignation that pregnancy happens to everyone else but me. I had almost convinced myself that that was ok.
Then my neighbors across the street announced they're pregnant. With TWINS. Ugh.
We go out to a lovely adult dinner without friends' kids, and I made the Very Bad Choice to sit between 2 people w/ kids close in age. Funny thing, I had nothing to contribute to the conversation on potty training, preschool, NickJr TV, dora, etc., so I just sat there. I usually don't finish eating before everyone else, but what else was there to do?
Now another friend thinks she might be pg. With #3. Just because she missed ONE Pill. How in the world can it be that easy for everyone else?

Everyone but me.

So, I have a wishful to do list to file in the "someday" category.
1. buy diapers
2. complain about a sleepless night w/ baby
3. brag about what cute thing my kid did last week
4. save money for the kid's college fund. Apparently said child has to be born before you can open one of those savings accts!
5. be caught off guard with a pregnancy
6. plan a kid's birthday party.
7. hear someone call me mommy
8. plan day around nap times

In reality my to do list is quite different:
1. pick up dog from vet tomorrow
2. check on mortgage rates for rental property
3. coordinate dog transport
4. buy birthday present for nephew
5. vacuum basement
6. paint guest bathroom
7. reseed front yard
8. go out for sushi with (non kid having) friends
9. walk dogs... often and frequently
10. go to the grocery store

And so it goes in my world. I feel completely left out. Where was that bus that I missed? Did it leave 10 years ago? 5 years ago, or what? Having children seems like a huge members only club, no guest day passes allowed. I'm sorry, but being the "cool aunt" just doesn't cut it. So I don't even try. I think "aunt" is one of those bad 4 letter words, really.

Enough ranting for one evening. I think the coast is clear at the grocery store (gotta avoid those moms and babies at the store during the mid-day).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Well then!

Apparently I haven't had much to say. Taking time off from TTC (with medical intervention) will kind of do that to ya. I think we've decided on what to persue next, but we're not at the point of sharing it with 'the world' yet. Hopefully we'll be taking that step early next year. In the meantime we need to accumulate obscene amounts of money for it. Which shouldn't really surprise anyone familiar with ART. It's *all* obscenely expensive once you get involved with IVF and the like. It might as well be monopoly money!

I had a bit of a p/g blip on the radar this cycle. AF was 4-5 days late. Yeah. I ran the statistics on FF, which all pointed to me being preggo. But of course when I POAS, there was only one line. And then the obvious showed up. Duh.

In the spirit of persuing Other Interests, I do dog rescue. Rat Terrier rescue to be specific. This month we're getting 2 more fosters, and are transporting 2 others to their foster homes. 3 of them came from a puppy mill bust in PA. Puppy mills are such an awful thing, it just makes me sick how horrible some people can be.

The long weekend found us rather busy! I (as usual) had to work on Saturday, Sunday I had to go to 2 cookouts, and on Monday we finally painted the catbox room in the basement. Hopefully (hint) my FIL will work on the exterior wall framing the next time he's in town. Not to mention scrubbing and bleaching the catboxes outside. It's quite a process since we have 5 litter boxes!

I'll try to update more. I'm such a hippocrite b/c I read everyone else's blogs almost daily, and here I go weeks without updating mine. Bad blogger. Bad.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The follow-up

The follow-up appointment was wholly unproductive. I don't have any kind of resolution, reason it didn't work, excuses... nothing! After much hem and haw-ing the RE did say that if we were to do another cycle, that we wouldn't do an ET, instead freeze everything and do a transfer on a seperate cycle. There seems to be 2 issues that could be causing this: 1. implantation issues due to the medication of these IVF cycles, and/or 2. egg quality. Doing a FET on another cycle could circumvent any lining / implantation issues. On the latter, he said he'd talk to the embryologist about the egg q uality thing and get back to us on that. Uh, ok...

There is no clear cut reason to point to for why this last cycle didn't work. There could be many things. There could be 1 thing, there's no way to tell. Similarly frustrating is that there is also no clear path for what to do next. We've been asked a lot "what are you doing next?". When I answer "I have no idea", I'm really not being evasive, I simply don't know!

There are options. Thanks to the marvels of modern science. Egg donors and embryo donors would both involve me carrying a pregnancy to term. We don't know if my body can do that. (tho it's really good at making fat cells!) Adoption, both international and domestic, are also options. There are a lot more unknowns, as far as timing goes, with any of this. It's complicated. To throw another hitch in things, I would really like to have children that are (biologically) related to each other.
Clearly there are alot of things on the table. It will take Time to Work Things Out.

I still have no idea what is next.

Monday, August 13, 2007

1 weekend, 1200 miles

Phew! We're back from some much needed time away. It was actually really busy, but a change in scenery was nice. First stop was eastern Maryland for a business conference for D. Visited some friends, had some blender drinks, and learned that the state of Delaware doesn't even bother signing most of their streets and intersections. That slight little detail rendered our g**gle directions completely useless!!!
Then it was on to the greater DC area where we stayed with my good friend R from college. They generously hosted us for Sat and Sun.. It was nice seeing everyone and catching up!
We made fabulous time (7 hours), and even had time to mow the yard and do some laundry. Oh, and update the blog, of course!
Follow up appt. w/ the RE is on Wednesday. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What kind of chocolate are you?

You are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

getting away

This weekend D and I are going away. Ok, it's for business. Ok, it's just to MD for a couple of days, and then to DC to visit friends (1 of whom is 20w pg w/ TWINS... ugh.). It will still be nice to have a change of scenery. The hotel has an infinity pool, and a bar which I'm assuming serves blender drinks. I can't think of another time I would actually like a blender drink, but now is as good of time as any. And I can! Now, I don't plan to get plastered (sorry folks), just a little sun and fun to take my mind off Things will be most welcome.

It will be nice. Very Nice Indeed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Beta is in

I got the call this morning. The blood test was negative. 0.

I'm not sure about the 'moving on' thing... it might take awhile. A long while.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

a BAD day

So, ya'll know I work PT... Thankfully today was a work day. I was hoping it could be a good distraction from the obvious.
That flew out the door at about 9 o'clock this morning when I was frantically running around the house trying to find my paperwork for my blood draw for my BETA. It was nowhere to be found... 9:15... 9:30, nothing. 9:45 still nothing. The cutoff for STAT orders at Labcorp is 10am, but I have to be at work at 10am and it's now 9:50 and I have no paperwork. Ok, fine. I call the RE and leave a frantic voicemail (which they of course don't get until 10:30...too late) and head to work.
It's a bad day already.
So, I get out of the car, carry my things into the store. Things= 1 24oz plastic cup of crystal lite w/ gladwrap on it to prevent spillage, purse, power bar for breakfast, and a box of tissues b/c my allergies have been acting up. Somehow I walk in the door and my cup goes FLYING, hits the floor, and proceeds to spew all over the floor, some boxes, everywhere.
I lost it.
Long story short, the paperwork did appear (at the other store, I have no idea how), the RE faxed new paperwork to me, and I went to get the blood drawn at lunch. So now I won't find out the Beta # until tomorrow morning.
ARGH.

The day did get mildly better after 10:30am, but could it really get any worse? Really?

Oh! When I got home this afternoon and got the mail, there was a nice bill from the lab for the assisted hatching. Niiiice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Game Over

Today is CD1. There's no ambiguity today.
Oh, and a BFN on a FRER, too.

Beta is still tomorrow. Like we all don't already know the obvious.

I'd like to talk them out of the repeat beta on Friday. Unlikely, tho.

2 more sleeps

Until the beta. I have my suspicions. The stark snow white peesticks are a hint. So is the spotting. So is the complete lack of any other kind of symptom... of ANY variety.

But I still have to do the PIO shots, and I still have to wait.

And wait...

and wait for the worst.

How does one 'move on' after this? After the loss of any hope of a biological child of your own? Loss of the child/ren we don't have. After ALL of this. There's still nothing. It's just so exhausting.

(btw, if you haven't dealt with IF personally, I am not particularly keen on hearing your advice at the moment)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

nothing

It's still early. Today is still only 11dpo. Which might explain why the peesticks only have one line on them.

Or it could be negative.

But just for the sake of conversation, let's say it's just simply too early. Right. Exactly. That's it. Mmm hmmm.
So tomorrow is 12dpo, it could be + then. With my past two pregnancies I didn't get a BFP until 13dpo. But I've also heard that you get earlier BFPs with multiples. And there are 3 little ones in there, right? Right! Exactly! I'm a bit conflicted on how I feel about testing early. The snow white - is crushing, so why test? Because it COULD BE POSITIVE. That's why. It could be.
There's that damn hope again.

I don't think I'll test tomorrow.

In other news, my progesterone (pregnancy supporting hormone) level came back very low. They like to see it above 15 on an ovulatory cycle, over 20 on an IVF cycle. Mine was 14. So now my PIO shot dosage is doubled to 1cc each night. Fun.

I'm nervous about the beta on Wednesday. I'm afraid it's Game Over. I think a - beta right off the bat is better than a + beta that doubles, lingers, then drops... or even worse, seeing a heartbeat, then nothing. They're all degrees of awfulness. I am very much aware that a + beta doesn't mean I'm out of the woods yet. This entire process is one long step after another (with shots inbetween each step, for good measure, of course), and at any point you could be told it's over.

I've heard that some people go to the hospital and come home with a baby 8 months after doing this. I just have a hard time believing that that could be us.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

killing time

This is because there's only so much I can do talking about waiting... and waiting... and waiting some more...

So here's a Meme, my friend M and I love these. They're good for killing time, even if it's only 10 minutes.
----------------------------
Ok..here's an All Play for everyone who wants to participate, either on your own blog or here in the comments. And please participate, it's *SOMETHING TO DO*!

Just cut 'n paste the list and then answer each question with only ONE word. I've done it below:

1. Where is your cell phone? somewhere
2. Relationship? married
3. Your hair? red
4. Work? yup
5. Your sister? none
6. Your favorite thing? kitties
7. Your dream last night? short
8. Your favorite drink? coke
9. Your dream car? paid
10. The room you’re in? man
11. Your shoes? off
12. Your fears? looming
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? done
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? D
15. What are you not good at? time
16. Muffin? blueberry
17. One of your wish list items? baby
18. Where you grow up? ohio
19. Last thing you did? ate
20. What are you wearing? cotton
21. What aren’t you wearing? prada
22. Your pet? shedding
23. Your computer? MacBook
24. Your life? untimely
25. Your mood? impatient
26. Missing? baby
27. What are you thinking about right now? duh!
28. Your car? uncreative
29. Your kitchen? nice
30. Your summer? uneventful
31. Your favorite color? most
32. Last time you laughed? awhile
33. Last time you cried? hmmm
34. School? done!
35. Love? him

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DeLurk! Take my Poll ! ---------------->

I know I have some new readers out there (Hi Lori, nice-nurse-Jan, Dad, among others) so I'd like to take a moment to harass you all to take my poll over on the right side of my blog. It's just for fun, I promise!

BETA is 1 week from tomorrow and not a moment too soon... sometimes it would be nice to work FT, more doing and less thinking. :-)

But then again, this whole possibility of multiples has thrown a huge loop in my much planned plans. Two (or three?) names, two (or three!) nursery sets, middle names, car seats, high chairs... everything! And here I had almost had my coordinating stroller and Vera Bradley diaper bag pattern picked out. *sigh* Back to square one until otherwise notified.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Time Stands Still

This 2ww couldn't possibly go any slower. The bedrest (couch rest) was SLOW... and the time today has been going just as slow. Though it is markedly nicer being able to go outside, walk dogs, and get out of the house.

Tick tock, tick tock.

D made me promise not to test until Sunday b/c we have plans on Saturday night and if it's a BFN on Saturday he doesn't want the whole weekend to be 'ruined'. We'll see... ;-)

Does anyone have any 2ww symptom stories to tell for me to obsess about?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Odds

We were really pleased to arrive at ORM this morning and find out that we not only had embryos to choose from, but that we had SIX! Ok, so the last one was a grade 4 and lagging behind a little, BUT STILL...
Today's embryo tally:
3 8 celled grade 2 embryos
1 6 celled grade 2
1 6 celled grade 3
1 4 celled grade 4

Of course you're wondering how many we transferred. Details, details!
We put back the 3 8 celled grade 2 embryos. Per Dr. Williams suggestion. He said he was on the fence between 2 and 3, but since we had had a failed cycle before, he'd lean towards 3. So there you go.
Then he added that there was a 1 in 6 chance of triplets. Hmmm... Complication....

We'll just hope for one nice sticky bean and see what happens. Oh! When the RE was putting the embryos in, one of the little buggers didn't want to come out of the catheter, so then he had to do the whole process again. Mildly annoying, but when I'm in stirrups, I'm not exactly going anywhere, so who am I to complain?

Coming up: progesterone bloodwork on 7/25 and then the much anticipated BETAs on 8/1 and 8/3.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Now featuring AH!

This morning's report was still relatively good:
1 2 celled grade 1 embryo
2 2 celled grade 2 embryos
1 6 celled grade 2 embryo
1 4 celled grade 4 embryo

One didn't divide, but could still catch up.

The embryologist did recommend doing Assisted Hatching because of the thick zonas on some of the eggs. If it'll help the cause, go right ahead! There is a small increased chance of identical twins with AH, but we're talking 1% here. I'm NOT worried.

We're still on for a 3 day transfer tomorrow morning at 9:25am.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fert Report!

The numbers are definitely better than last time.
12 eggs retrieved
10 mature
10 ICSI'd
6 fertilized

We're doing a 3 day transfer on Saturday July 21st and they'll call again tomorrow morning with a report of how the embryos are developing.

I did ask if she had any observations about the egg quality since that was definitely an issue last time. She said that there were 2 distinct groups of eggs- quality wise, poor and moderate. The poor group had very dark zonas (you all can google that one) but overall she said they looked like the eggs of "a much older woman". With that said, she said some from each group DID fertilize. We'll know more tomorrow.

Please keep us in your thoughts/prayers, we're hoping for some good embryos to transfer on Saturday... and perhaps even some left to freeze? Wow, look at that optimism!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ER Report!

The retrieval went really well this morning. The whole 'surgery' took about 15 minutes, and it was only painful-painful for about 20 seconds of that. The rest was a bit crampy w/ two jabs (think shots) when they went for each ovary.

The grand total number of eggs collected: ELEVEN !!!!!

Things are looking up.

The embryologist will call in the morning with the fert report and when the ET will be. Probably sometime this weekend tho.

Thanks for checking in on me. I'm planning on spending the rest of the day on the sofa with my little dogs and cats.

Monday, July 16, 2007

maybe, maybe not

I might be triggering tonight. I might not... I am still waiting for the phone call from nice-nurse-Jan with the instructions. Just in case, I ordered more drugs to be overnighted since tonight is the last of the current supply.

I promise I'll update when I have something more constructive to say!!!

******* UPDATE*********
Triggering tonight w/ 10000 units of HCG. ER is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10:20am. We need to be there by 9am. Fun fun!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

wash, rinse, reorder, repeat

We're still in a holding pattern. The eggs are growing. STILL. Next appt is Monday AM, and the meds will need to be reordered AGAIN. The 1st reorder will run out on Monday AM.
L ovary still has the cyst and 2 egglets. The R side has "lots". That was Dr S's exact word. Really.
ER on Wednesday at the earliest. Ugh.

Friday, July 13, 2007

You gotta see it

to believe all the drugs I've been using during this cycle! Oh, and as I said in the previous post, I ran OUT. Another shipment is en route.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

a snail's pace

Well, everything's still cooking in there. SLOWLY, but surely. The u/s this morning showed 2 maybe 3/4 on the L, and my lovely POS cyst is bigger at almost 2cm. On the R we have a serious group of grapes. I'm voting 8 or 10 on that side. They were all in the 15-17mm range. For a 'normal' IVFer that would be cause for a trigger shot. Lucky me gets to stim for a couple more days b/c so many of mine were immature the last go around.

Next appt is Saturday am., and hopefully I can trigger on Sat for a Monday ER.

There has to be an end in sight, these egglets can't ook in there forever, right?

Oh! My E2 is a respectable 987 (something like that, I think). I need to post my meds pic, so the next statement will seem more impressive. I will run out of meds today! More are en route from the pharmacy compliments of overnight shipping.

The sheer quantity required by my body to actually do *anything* is rather impressive. Not in a good way!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where'd that come from?

Hope... out of left field... (same place those mysterious 8 follicles came from!).

I've got it.

I realized it last night when I was looking on BabyStyle for crazy overpriced trendy baby gear.

It better not get crushed again.

I have hope.

Monday, July 9, 2007

miracles happen

Well, I stand corrected. Apparently follicles can just grow out of nowhere. I had 10, yes TEN wonderful little follies this morning. I haven't heard back from the nurses on what's next, or what my E2 # is.
*update*
E2 is rising steadily at 480ish. Next appointment is Thursday AM. I'm assuming the follicles can't just disappear at this point, right? I think the ER will be on Saturday morning. Let's just focus on that. After the ER I'll start the obsessing about 2, 3 or 5day transfer.
Keep your fingers crossed for GOOD egglets this time!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

nervous

Well, I'm nervous about tomorrow's appointment. I'm afraid I'll still only have 2 or 3 follicles. Really, how could 8 more follicles just show up out of nowhere? I just don't see it happening.

What is happening is the accupuncture. I actually fell asleep during today's session. I was pretty darn relaxed afterwards. How little needles and some magnets can do that, I have no idea.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

too soon? maybe.

Today was the first u/s of this cycle to monitor follicle growth. The results were not good in my humble Dr. G*ogle educated opinion. The cyst on the L was still there, but a little smaller. No other follies were seen on the L ovary. The R ovary only had 2 11-12mm follicles. Estrogen level was good at 118.

Last cycle at this point I had 10 follicles so things aren't looking all that promising. The super nice nurse said it was too soon to jump to conclusions and things could still take off. (mm hmmm.. yeah... ok....)

My next appt is Monday at 8am.

Could this cycle actually be cancelled? That would be a new twist.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

a quickie update

U/s this morning was unsurprising. 1 cyst 11mm, but interestingly enough, they can't push the cycle back a week b/c of the change in protocol! So, I get to start the stims tomorrow and my next appointment is next Thursday to see how everything is growing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cycle update... now featuring needles!

I talked to the nurse this morning, and we're going to count today as CD1. That means I get to start the lupron tomorrow *and* get up for a 7:30 baseline u/s on Saturday morning!!! Aren't you all jealous?

This evening I had my first accupuncture appointment, which wasn't as weird as I thought it would be. It took an hour and a half, but I'd say half that time was taken up by a thorough question and answer session. Then the needles. I'll spare ya the details other than it did NOT hurt. At all. It wasn't as relaxing as a massage, but perhaps when I get more comfortable with it, it will be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some things ignore my scheduling

Like AF... who I think showed up today. Don't ask for details unless you want the gory actual details. (FF people are exempt, you know who you are!) I called the RE to report CD1, so I'll confirm my suspicions with the nurse when I talk to them tomorrow.

It's a good thing my drugs arrived yesterday!!! If you recall my last photo of the med haul, I have more this time. Seriously!
The new pic is coming soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A glimpse into our world

Please take a moment to wathch this video. It rings SO true for the millions of infertile couples (and singles) like me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqfGqOx2iDQ

Friday, June 22, 2007

another one bites the dust

Dear Miss Cindy over at Cindy's Place has officially made her announcement. They both deserve this so very much, so go send your congrats her way!

She gives me hope that everything *can* work out.

I'll find out for sure by the end of July. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock...

Monday, June 18, 2007

onemoredrug

Tomorrow I get to start the prometrium. It's another step towards IVF, and helps to underscore the good times here at hormones-R-us. :-)
AF should arrive 10ish days later, then I start the shots. I am NOT looking forward to the shots again, especially the PIO shots with their MoFo huge needles.
I'm a little more jaded this time around since I know what to expect. I know what's coming (another BFN) yet feel compelled to go through the process nonetheless.
Every now and then I have twinges of hope. I was at H*me Dep*t this afternoon and thought maybe a nice beige would look good for a nursery. Hell-o? Nursery?!?! That would mean a child would be entering the house! Now, I didn't actually buy the said paint, but I thought about it. For a nanosecond.

Hope is fleeting, but it's still there.

I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than crushed to smithereens (yet again)...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming...

Yes, IVF #2 is still on. I've well... been a bit busy! Since Memorial Day weekend, I've been in the following states:
Ohio
Pennsylvania
New York
Massachusetts
West Virginia
Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina

All part of various road trips. The 1st trip was for my 10 year college reunion. The 2nd for my In-Law's surprise 40th anniversary party. It's been a long couple of weeks, and it's really nice to be home with D and the various cats and dogs.

This cycle is half way through-- I'm currently taking Estrace and antibiotics. Prometrium starts next week, and Lupron soon after. The RE is projecting the ER and ET to be in mid-July. *shrug*

I should be getting the meds in the mail tomorrow. That reminds me I need to clean out my crisper drawers in the fridge to make room. I'm getting more drugs this time b/c we're upping the dosage and stimming longer. FUN.

Since there can possibly be a positive outcome to these things, go over and congratulate Cindy on her BFP *and* nice beta!!!
YAY CINDY!!!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

2nd time is a charm, right?

Since the last IVF cycle, I've been taking a *break*. Break from blogging, break from TTC, and a break from obsessively lingering on FF. But of course, all good things must come to an end, so here I am back again.

Today is CD2, and it's the cycle before my IVF cycle. I get to start the meds tomorrow. No BCPs for me, just estrace, and then in about 2 weeks I get to start the lupron shots again. Est. ER and ET dates are mid-July.

In the mean time, since nothing exciting is going on here. Go cheer my friend Cindy on. She's gearing up for her 5day transfer and 2ww. Go embies go!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Consult

RE update: The meeting went OK. I don't have the hope like I did w/ the first cycle. Maybe I'm cynical and jaded now... *shrug*.
Things the RE said he'd like to do different:
1. lupron: this drug shuts down the ovaries and prevents/controls production of LH (luteinizing hormone) he'd lower the dose to not shut my ovaries down completely, doing this can allow the ovaries to produce more eggs during stim phase.
2. higher dose of menopur- this drug stimulates egg production. Upping the dose hopefully will give us more eggs.
3. stim longer- if the eggs cook longer before triggering / retrieval, they could be more mature.

He did not suggest another med combo, just a higher dosage of the ones I was on before.

I want a 2nd opinion. Here's where it gets complicated. Now I have to find another clinic. The one i go to is the ONLY one in Columbus. Do I look at NYC? Chicago? Any way you look at it would require travel. I could do a phone consult, but what if Dr. in NYC has a better plan of attack- how in the world would I fenagle (sp?) a cycle in NYC?

I was hoping for the mtg to give me some hope. I'm seriously thinking another whole cycle is a waste of time and money. When I asked if doing some injectible IUI cycles would be a waste of time, he said no, not necessarily, just that IVF gives you better odds. Well, duh. I have 6 injects/IUI cycles covered 100% on insurance. And it's a hell of a lot easier of a cycle to deal with.

Why not use that $$$ towards adoption and do the IUI cycles instead? I'm just not convinced that the IVF is going to do anything, and it SUCKED.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Mow

Today I had to do the first mow of the season. We're talking grass here, as in my lawn. That green stuff between driveways and sidewalks here in suburbia. It's happily growing way too quickly and is a lovely shade of green. I had to mow because it was starting to bend because of the height. That and because it was touching Hannah's belly because of her short little chihuahua legs! (Hannah's our blind rat terrier / chi mix dog)

In other news, our follow-up / pre-cycle consult appointment with Dr Schmidt is on Thursday. I wonder what he's going to say?

Megan and Sacha over at BabyCakes had a little boy yesterday. Go give them some congrats!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good bye Liesie's fishey

Today is a sad day in my house. Liesie's fishey, appropriately named "fishey", went to his final resting place this morning. Well, wherever the city sewer ends up, that is. Fishey hadn't been looking too good for a couple of days. Not swimming around, fins looking a little ragged, and he wouldn't eat his little fishey pellets. The End Is Near. I found Fishey lying on the bottom of the tank on his side, not moving this morning. It's Time To Go.

Fishey belonged to Liesie. Who's Liesie you might ask? Liesie is my oldest cat who just turned TEN last week. Fishey and his brother Other Fishey were a Christmas present to Liesie in 2002. She loves water, and my mom had goldfish and she loved watching the tank. So Liesie got goldfish for christmas. 2 25 cent feeder goldfish provided YEARS of endless entertainment for Liese. She'd sit on the counter in front of the tank and watch them. Thwap, thwap, thwap. Her tail would swat the counter, swishing back and forth. Sometimes she'd want to get right up to them at "fish eye level" and sit in the sink to watch them.

Rest in Peace little Fishey. Liesie loved you so much. God bless.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

spring has sprung

The weather was GORGEOUS today, and I did a lot of yardwork. It's great to get things cleaned up outside and see the spring bulbs bloom. In the spirit of Spring and turning over a new leaf, our follow-up consult with the RE is on April 5. I'm thinking of doing the next / LAST IVF cycle in July, which would mean starting the meds in June/ end of May.

In the meantime, I am trying to come up with a backup plan. When it doesn't work. And more money is down the drain, more time has passed and we are still childless. This brings me to adoption. D is not so keen on the idea yet.

It might seem a bit drastic of a step, since no one has ever said we CAN'T get p/g and carry a baby to term on our own, it's just the liklihood of that happening is very low. I don't want to be 40 and childless. I'd prefer to not be 35 and childless. Heck, I'm not too happy with being 32 and childless, but you get my drift... That means we would at least have one child (adopted) and then if we were blessed with a biological child, then we would have two. Insta-family.

Any thoughts on this prospect, oh blog readers?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

on being boring...

I would apologize for not updating my blog sooner, but well, I'm not sorry. You see, I've been *trying* to take a step back from the computer. To not check FF 20 times a day, not blog-stalk my fellow bloggers. To not calculate the due dates if I got pg on X, Y and Z dates. I think I might donate the maternity clothes I've accumulated w/ the last two pregnancies. Hope, while short lasted, tends to make me shop. Ok, on Ebay. For really good prices. Surely there are some women who are in need of new-with-tags maternity wear who are more fortunate than I in "other" ways.

On a different note, today I joined W*ight W*tchers. I would like to lose about 20lbs. I don't have more to say about that, it is what it is.

As of this writing, I'm thinking of July for doing another cycle. That would mean starting the meds in June, then July for the ER and ET, then another 10 days or so before knowing if it worked. Then I'm done. DONE. The drugs are so hard on your (my) system, not to mention the let down when my body fails me yet again. It's something I have no control over, that ticks me off.

I don't know what's after the July IVF... other than NOT another IVF ! ! !

I'll try to be better about posting. Having a working computer helps.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

technical difficulties

While this could apply to several aspects of my life recently, today we're talking about my 'puter.

This is the 4th time in 2 years that the power source on my laptop has gone kaput. It was my last straw. Battery died, power cord #1 died, power cord #2 died, now the laptop outlet itself decided to break. I'm DONE. So, compliments of the State of Ohio Bureau of Taxation I'm the proud new owner of a very sleek black MacBook. D calls it a "macincrap", but whatever. The power cord gets 100 bonus points right off the bat because it is attached magnetically versus relying solely on the little prongy things. I haven't owned a Mac in a good 12 years, so this should be interesting.

I at least need to get some kind of power to the dead one to get all my stuff off of it. What a pain.

Whew! Who knew I had it in me to not talk about IF related things on my blog? That's refreshing!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

3dpBFN

Translation for those of you in the non-ttc world: today is 3 Days Past (my) Big Fat Negative (pregnancy test). Today I am ok. I'm fine with taking some time off. I really don't have much to say about what's next. Well, other than this month is a month 'off' and I have the month to think things over.

I'm gearing up for going to the gym w/ D on Monday. We can be idiot newbies together. It should be interesting.

Friday, March 2, 2007

The day after

Well, I am strangely relieved today. No more drugs. No more shots. No more waiting to find out anything. I can do whatever I want. Heck, I could even *gasp* have a Drink.

I did join a gym today. Coincedentally, D joined too. He just doesn't know it yet. :-)

Now is the time to tackle some house projects, and make more of an effort to spend more time with our child-free friends.

Spring is around the corner, the cats are all in sunspots in the great room, and my windows need cleaned. It's almost time to do some gardening. That'll keep me occupied, that's for sure.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Game Over

Well, it's official. I'm not pregnant. The blood test (aka 'beta') was negative this morning. I could have told you that as early as Sunday, but there's this damn thing called hope.
I have to go back for another beta tomorrow just to confirm that it's negative and not a lab error or something. (yeah right) The ONLY upside at this point is that I get to stop the huge shots nightly and actually carry a laundry basket downstairs. Lovely.

So, what's next? We're currently taking donations (monetary, not egg or sperm (well, not yet!))for another cycle. I think I would like to try another one, with perhaps a different med protocol. Perhaps get a 2nd opinion or try another clinic? I don't know. At minimum we can't cycle again until May.

If a 2nd IVF/ICSI cycle fails, I have absolutely no idea what we'd do. Gestational surrogate? Egg donor? Adopt? No clue. There are "options", none of them particularly good and all quite costly.

The action plan for TODAY is to join a gym and weight watchers.

Well, maybe I'll do that tomorrow. ;-)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Still Waiting...

Nothing new here. Still waiting. Still waiting.

The weekend was stressful for a variety of reasons, and surprisingly work wasn't one of them!
It's tough dealing with this waiting game (and this entire process) when most of my friends already have little ones. I guess it's hard to remember those pre-kid days when you have someone screaming "mommy, mommy" at you 20 zillion times a day. :)

Sometimes the silence at home is deafening.

On the upside, a friend and I are having a girl's-spa-evening on Thursday. Regardless of my beta results, it'll be nice to get out and do some fun girly stuff.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The bloat

Ok people. If I had said before that these meds are messing with my head, NOW they're messing with my body. I am so incredibly bloated today I swear I look 4 months preggo already. Seriously. Now if that's not an evil mind game, I don't know what is.

My new resolution is a) to enjoy a pregnancy if I am indeed pregnant, or b) join a gym and Weight Watchers upon getting a negative beta.

What in the world did women do in the (prehistoric) days before spandex, modal, elastic and lycra? Wear mu-mus? Togas?

Friday, February 23, 2007

The minivan

As some of you might know, we own a minivan. We don't have kids. This usually brings on the questions of "What in the world are you doing with a minivan?" "When are you having kids?" and "Where are the soccer stickers?". I do have to confess tho, we love the van.
It's a 2006 Honda Odyssey EX.
Here is my top 10 list of reason to own a minivan if you don't have kids.
10. can haul lots of stuff from Home Dep*t.
9. including sheets of drywall... flat.
8. landscaping? Need trees? No problem!
7. great for visiting relatives, no need to take 2 cars.
6. it's a comfortable 'road unit' for long road trips.
5. great for hauling dogs on vacation.
4. makes trips to those warehouse clubs easier.
3. easy to travel with D's friends on their 'man weekend' trip. I don't know many vehicles that can comfortably seat 5 men over 6'.
2. instant 'stupid points' for driving mistakes like turning R from the L turn lane (not that I've ever done that locally...)
1. because we *might* have kids. If we do, it'll be perfect.

(ahhh, that eternal optimism. It'll get ya every time.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

News Just In: P4 update

I got The Call with my progesterone results from this morning. It's an absolutely decent 34.9.

Why it's not 80 I have no idea? The nurse seemed to think that was ok, and said that they liked to see anything over a 15. Ok.

Now we get to sit back, "relax" and wait for next Thursday's beta, which couldn't possibly come a moment too soon.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The drugs are messing with my head.

Seriously. I've spent the whole day tired. Like hard to keep my eyes open tired. A nap sounded luxurious around 2pm. I secretly willed people not to come into the store so I wouldn't have to help them. Ugh. I'm not exactly complaining, just trying to give everyone the full picture. So in the spirit of that, I've been wearing lots of layers b/c the highbeams are on! ROTFL. If you have to ask, I'm not explaining. I think everything thusfar is from the PIO shots.

Speaking of, they're getting worse. Turns out my butt does not like repeated shots in the same vicinity. Fancy that! Tomorrow is my 7dpER progesterone blood draw. I'll post the numbers then. As a reminder, over 10 indicates ovulation, and on a medicated cycle they want something crazy high, preferably over 20. Hell, I'm doing these shots, it BETTER be a nice-n-high number!

Monday, February 19, 2007

PUPO

Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!!!

I'm trying to go by that mantra until the beta on 3/2. My mom asked this morning if I have any morning sickness yet (clearly she doesn't know the details about these things). That answer would be no. It was nice to get out of the house this afternoon, if only to Lo*es for supplies. D and his dad are building a room in our basement for the cat boxes (we have six, yeah, I know.) w/ special ventiliation and such. Very exciting! Not quite a nursery, but I'll take what I can get at this point. It's a nice distraction.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

PIO: the naked truth

That would be Progesterone In Oil for the uninitiated. It's an evil necessity after an ET in an IVF cycle. The needle is disturbingly large. Almost as disturbing as how far it can go in my butt (upper /outer buttock/hip area, to be specific). I have to do the PIO shots each evening for the next 12 weeks. Ugh. Well, honestly they aren't that bad. I was expecting the worst. You should hear what people say about these bad boys over on that site we all love to hate!

Other than the PIO being surprisingly uneventful, things here have been pretty dull. It's day 2 of bedrest, and I just got done watching Mean Girls w/ Lind*ey L*han. Makes me glad I didn't go to public school, that's for sure!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Embryo Transfer update!

I'll cut to the chase and give the report: today we transferred our 2 embryos. 1 4 cell grade A and 1 2 cell grade B.

I asked the embryologist how things went-- because aren't we all curious about the gory details of my eggs and the embryos? Yeah, I thought so. So, as I was saying... Of the 4 eggs that were mature, 2 were 'abnormal'. She said that they don't as a rule grade eggs, but she had observed that mine were, compared to others 'poor to fair'. I had suspected that *something* was screwy on my end, but this just confirms my thoughts.

The technical side of all of this really is fascinating. It's when I think of the reality of it that I get nervous. Saying things like: "Today we picked up our kids." or what I told my mom " We brought your grandchildren home today." (lol) The possibility of what is at the end of this road is both an unknown and new territory. I know what it's like to be disappointed / devastated / crushed at the BFN (big fat negative, in reference to a negative pregnancy test) at the end of a long cycle. I know what it's like to still keep trying. I know what it's like to come home everyday to a quiet house.

I don't know what it's like to look into little eyes and see yourself. I don't know what it's like to feel the promise of new life inside me, kicking. I don't know anything about the sleepless nights or smelly diapers.

Sometimes the known world is more comfortable, even if it's a bit painful and breaks our hearts.

Maybe this will work, but I'm really trying not to get too caught up in the world of possibility. (easier said than done, and you should see my bookmarks!)

Day 1 of bedrest... so far so good.

Friday, February 16, 2007

News Just In: Fert. Report

I got a call this morning from the lab with the fertilization report. (It's more fun to say "fert report".)
7 eggs retrieved
4 mature
2 able to be fertilized with ICSI.

Ugh.

They are putting those 2 back tomorrow at 7:30am.

Then we WAIT FOR TWO WEEKS.

I'm not particularly optimistic at the moment, but it does only take one, and we have two. *shrug*.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

ER (egg retrieval)

Other than it taking us an hour and 20 minutes to get to the RE's office, everything went very smoothly this morning. The usual commute time is 20 minutes. Yeah. Not. Fun.

They rushed us right in in fear that my eggs might have released already. Thankfully they were still there, but only 7 were retrieved. Some of the follicles were empty.

It was not as bad as I had thought. Only mild discomfort, a little crampy, and rather quick. Now, the aftermath is a bit different. I tend to not react well to anesthetics. I've been nauseus all day and only puked in the car on the way home. Fear not, I came prepared with several 'puke bags' just in case.

I am still crampy and nauseus, and my mouth feels like I have a really bad hangover (cotton mouth). I might go take a nap now.

Next report will be tomorrow when they call to give us the fertilization report and tell us whether we'll have a 3 or 5 day transfer. I'd imagine a 3day because there are only 7 eggs, but we'll see.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The last of the shots

This morning was my last of the little shots. The evening of the retrieval I get to start the 'big guns' AKA the progesterone in oil (PIO) shots. Usually someone else gives them to you, but we all know I'm not that lucky. And even if I were so lucky to not have a husband who might pass out at the sight of a needle, I'm not sure if I'd want him poking my butt with a big needle. :-)

Monday, February 12, 2007

yup... got eggs!

The nurse didn't say what my estrogen (E2) level was... but I get to trigger tomorrow at 10pm for a THURSDAY 2/15 retrieval! I'm trying not to think about the actual procedure. Like I actually have a choice about it at this point. It's just a little blip in the grand scheme to have a little baby of our very own. I continue the meds tonight and tomorrow am, and that's the last shot until the trigger, then I get a day off. One whole day shot free! Like vacation... or winning the lottery... but different.
I'm getting excited. I'm getting nervous. I'm getting bloated and gassy, too. But you didn't need to know that, now did you?

Mon am, got eggs?

This morning I had 10 egglets, and they all looked good. Most were in the 15mm range. I get to wait for the afternoon call with further instructions. The RE mentioned triggering tomorrow with a Thursday retrieval, but we'll see what they say this afternoon. I'll keep everyone posted of course.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

still growing

Saturday's appt went fine. I have 8 follicles growing. On Sat they were in the 13mm range which is right on target. I'm a little worried that there are 'only' 8 (I'm greedy, more is better. Especially in this situation!) but everyone has said that that was fine. Next appt is Monday am.

Tonight my inlaws got here (my doting angels) 2 days in advance because of the looming winter storm. Right now the weather guys say we could get up to 12" of snow. WOW! We'll see.
Hopefully we aren't caught right in the middle of it trying to make the retrieval appt.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I'm growing egglets

I have a nice quarter sized bruise compliments of myself. Well, I wasn't paying attention when doing the shot(s) last night and hit a vein. Woops.

Today I got a bit pinned on the sofa by an orange cat and a couple little dogs. This is of note becuase the cat was punching on my tummy and it felt distinctly different. Apparently I'm growing some eggs and thus the discomfort. Well other than having a 12lb cat on my tummy, but that's not as unusual as you might think!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

lookin' good

The appt this morning was a quickie. The u/s showed 8-10 little follicles growing nicely in the 10mm range. Great news though- the cyst didn't show up AT ALL on the scan! I have no idea how that happened, but hey, as long as everything looks good, I'm not one to complain. My bloodwork came back well also- E2 is at 323. Perfect.
All meds are to stay the same and they want me back Sat am for another u/s.

The message on my machine this afternoon said a projected Egg Retrieval (ER) could be as early as Tuesday 2/14. Happy Valentines Day. Then of course there's the whole 3 day versus 5 day transfer decision to be made. We'll know more when we see how many fertilize, etc.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

fun with needles

My first experience with mixing all of the meds was, um, interesting. I wasn't coherent enough to do everything this morning, so I took the bag of meds to work with me this morning. (yes, I work on saturdays) I had to mix 4 vials of men*pur and br*velle together, then give the shot. It burned like a mofo!!!!! It was a good thing that we were slow today. Perhaps because noone wanted to go out in the -10 weather. Brrr!
My first ultrasound (u/s) is on Wednesday, so we have to wait until then to find out if the drugs are working and I'm growing lots of egglets.
Joy.

Friday, February 2, 2007

All systems are a go!

Even though the cyst is still there, I have been ok'd to proceed with the cycle! The cyst has shrunk to 24mm (down from 29), and my estradiol is looking good, too.
This means I get to start the bravell* and menop*r on Saturday. I am *almost* looking forward to giving myself 3 shots a day. I'm sure it'll be a piece of cake in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I hate getting up early

I cannot express to you how much I am dreading the sleepless nights or the possibility of having a 'morning person' as a child. *ugh*.

Tomorrow I have my second baseline ultrasound appt... and bloodwork fun with the labcorp office near the RE's office. at 8am. Now, for 'normal' people this wouldn't be a bid deal at all. Well, it's a big deal for me since I don't have to be at work until 10am. Getting up 2.5 hours earlier than usual is not how I prefer to start out my day.

If the cyst is gone, I get to start the stims on Saturday. The below picture is of my current drug collection that is taking up the bottom two crisper drawers in my fridge. It's impressive!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

New Year's resolution

So, ok, it's January 29th and I'm just getting around to this. One of my resolutions was to start my own blog to 'document' everything I'm going through this year. Mostly this is going to be an infertility blog, but I'm sure there'll be a healthy dose of cat and dog fur thrown in for some 'added interest'.

I'll start out with the lastest update on our pending IVF cycle. Last Friday was my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork appointment. There were 19 people in front of me at the labcorp place, so I went over to the RE appt. first, hoping the line would be shorter afterwards. At my ultrasound (u/s) the RE found a nice lovely 28mm CYST on my left ovary. Apparently the lupron didn't shut everything down as it should have. They're hoping the cyst goes away on its own in a week. The follow-up appointment is on 2/1/07. My estradiol number was 34, which is good. Anything under 50 is considered good. That means there's a better chance of the cyst disappearing on its own. If it does, then GAME ON. I get to start stims (bravelle and menopur) on 2/3. If the cyst does not go away, then GAME OFF. Cycle is cancelled, and I have no idea what is next.

Welcome to my life!