Monday, June 30, 2008

First Beta Down at Least One More to Go

I had my first beta this morning. My blood was drawn at 7:00a.m. and then I headed off to work. By the time I got there I felt sick to my stomach. And no, it wasn't morning sickness sick to my stomach, it was when are they going to call and give me the actual number sickness. It's amazing how even seeing nine positive hpt's doesn't mean a thing. A nurse called around 11:30a.m. and told me that I was pregnant. My beta was 98. I think that's a good, respectable number. She congratulated me and for maybe two seconds I was just happy, not worried or anxious or stressed, just happy to be pregnant. But, then she had to go and ruin it by saying that I need to come back Thursday for a second beta because the number today doesn't mean anything unless it doubles within 48 to 72 hours. I knew that but I wanted to put off worrying about it a little longer.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Here are my two beautiful embryos making their internet debut:

Which of these do you think implanted...........or did both of them? I'm dying to find out.

And, here is QT announcing to the world that he is going to be a big brother:

I bought that shirt for him over a year ago, back in the days when I figured I would get pregnant within a few months. I can remember being annoyed that the store didn't have any smaller than a 2T. When I put it on him this morning it just fit. I guess the store knew better than I did.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, can you say obsessive?

Friday, June 27, 2008

To reward my loyal blog readers (all two of you)

First, I was wrong about the First Response Gold test not being a digital test. It is, indeed, digital. It gives you a nice "+Yes" or a not so nice "-No." How do I know? Well, I read the box better this morning WHEN I WAS USING THE TEST. I'm happy to announce that I got the nice +Yes response.

Oh.My.God. I think that I am really pregnant.

Did you hear me???? Pregnant!!!!

Although I am over the moon happy nothing is really official until my beta on Monday. I know the odds of the trigger shot still being in my system 13 days later is slim to none but the thought that it could be lingers in the back of my mind. And, the lady who posted on Fertility Friend that hers stuck with her for 18 days really isn't helping that worry to go away. 18 days? She must have a freakish metabolism. Wouldn't you agree?

By the way, the reward is that you are the first to know. Very exciting for you, I know. So, if you see the husband you are under strict orders not to tell him. I want to test at least one more time before I tell him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I got the look

You know that look from the Walgreen's clerk when you are buying pregnancy tests? Well, I got it big time tonight. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was because I was buying three boxes of them. I'm pretty sure that the 17 year-old behind the counter was wondering why in the world it would take six tests to figure out that you are pregnant. Ideally, it would only take one, but very little is ideal in the world of infertility and trying to conceive.

Here's what $50 will buy you:

2 Answer regular old school one line not pregnant, two lines pregnant tests;
2 First Response Gold tests that test for two hormone variants that occur in early pregnancy and although not a digital test the screen actually comes back saying either pregnant or not pregnant, or maybe it just says yes or no or maybe it's positive or you just wasted tons of money on an ivf that didn't work-sucker;
and last but not least,
2 Walgreen's digital tests.

Doesn't that First Response Gold sound fancy? It sure should be for $18.99!

Now the question becomes when to start using this stock pile of tests?????

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Only an idiot would test at what is 9dpo.

I am an idiot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Three Little Birds

Rough day at work today. That's just something I don't need on top of the stress of an ivf cycle.

This morning I applied three estrogen patches to my stomach. By the time I got to work I wasn't feeling so great. I'm tired, exhausted really, and am having digestion issues. I'm assuming all of this is a result of the progesterone and now the added estrogen. If I'm pregnant that's fine, I can deal with whatever comes my way but if I'm not..........well, I don't want to go there.

Do you believe in signs? Sometimes I do. On Thursday when we got the news that the transfer would be that day I was really worried. We dropped QT off at my parent's house and got in the car to drive to the clinic and Bob Marley's Three Little Birds was playing on the radio. We turned it on just in time to hear "everything gonna be alright." I took it as a sign and it made me feel better. On Saturday I had a great lunch with some women who are also have trouble conceiving, although everyone but me was having trouble trying to conceive their first. During lunch we were discussing infertility and low and behold Three Little Birds came on. I couldn't help but take that as a sign. So, I'm going to try and break out of this funk I'm in right now and just keep that reggae beat in my head and the knowledge that everything is really going to be alright.

I did another test this morning and stark white negative. I'm still not totally trusting the cheapie tests but I think the trigger may really be gone. Today is nine days past so that would make sense.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What a Blast

The clinic called yesterday to say that our little six cell embryo had grown into a blastocyst and is now in deep freeze. I'm happy that we have one little frozen blast but at the same time I know they like there to be more than just one to do a frozen transfer. The odds of them just thawing out correctly isn't the best but then to only transfer one, I don't even want to know what the odds are of that working.

What makes me feel good though is that I'm thinking if the one they felt was the "worst" of the three made it to blast then there's no reason why the two that were transferred haven't done the exact same thing.

Today is 8 days past my trigger and I did a test this morning to see if the trigger was gone. I used a cheap test that I bought off the Internet and depending on how I looked at it I could or could not see a line. So, I'm going to assume that the trigger is still there and will try again tomorrow morning with a better test. I know that I could just save my money and the tests and wait for the results of my beta, just one week from tomorrow, but come on, that is so not going to happen!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This 2ww is different

Today is only the first day after the transfer and I'm already constantly wondering if I will get pregnant. I look at the picture of my embryos and wonder if they will implant and what kind of people they could become. That's when it hit me, this 2ww is different from any other I've ever had. In every past cycle I had no way of knowing if my egg had fertilized. After so many failed cycles I really began to wonder out of how many of those had an egg even fertilized. Was our problem one of the sperm not getting where they needed to be, one in which the sperm couldn't penetrate or fertilize the eggs, or was it an implantation issue?

This time around I know 100% for sure that there are two embryos in there. Now my wondering turns to are they still developing and will they implant. Oh please let them implant.

Transfer Complete

I was lying there enjoying my acupuncture treatment when I could hear the husband's voice out in the waiting room. Instantly I knew what that meant, the clinic had called and wanted us to come in today for the transfer. Now, I had really been hoping that our 5 little guys would thrive and we'd be able to do a 5 day transfer but I quickly got over that disappoint and just began worrying that we wouldn't even have any to transfer. It was a long hour and a half drive down to Illinois. When we arrived and they took me back for the ultrasound to make sure my bladder was full enough I was relieved. Clearly they wouldn't need to check anything unless there was indeed something to transfer. For the second time I had been told to drink 36oz. of water and then was told by the ultrasound tech that my bladder was too full. Do you have any idea how hard it is to empty your bladder just a bit when you feel as though it's about to burst? I was sent across the hall and told to empty only one cups worth and then return. I was worried that once started I wouldn't be able to stop but I managed and was more comfortable for it. The tech was happy with the results as well. Soon the doctor came in and he explained that one of our five eggs had arrested. Another was football shaped which although they don't know what it means they assume it isn't good and won't develop normally. That left us with three: one six cell, grade 3 embryo, one seven cell, grade 3 embryo and one 8 cell, grade 4 embryo (grade 4 being the best). He recommended that we transfer the 8 and the 7 cell and we agreed. After signing something saying we understand that we could have twins, triplets, quads or worse, the procedure was underway.

All in all it was pretty quick and painless. When they were down we were given a picture of the two embryos we had transferred. As I looked at it all I could think is that this is how QT looked at just 3 days past conception. How is it possible that he was ever that small? How is it possible that eight little cells that can't even be seen by the naked eye can develop into a living, breathing human being? Shocking.

So, now I'm officially in the 2ww and I still haven't come up with a plan to get me through it without going insane from worry and wonder.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Countdown 7, 6, 5

I got the call yesterday, about two hours after I expected them to call, that of the seven eggs, six were mature and that then five of those fertilized. It's hard to not want all of them to have fertilized but now is the time to focus on the five that did. I've been trying to send good vibes to them, asking them to continue to develop normally, but as it often is with children, you're just not sure they're paying any attention to you.

Tomorrow morning I have acupuncture and will again be anxiously awaiting a call from the clinic. When I see their phone number on the caller id my heart leaps into my throat and despite having been waiting and waiting for the call I'm suddenly scared to answer. Tomorrow they will call to tell me if we're doing a 3 day or a 5 day transfer. I'm praying that all five embies are still going strong tomorrow and that the transfer can be pushed to Saturday when we'll better be able to pick the best two.

Now, on to the thing that I think most scares people when it comes to IVF, the progesterone in oil shot. I've opted to not even try and give these to myself and have passed that job to the husband. So are so good. I can feel the poke when the needle goes in and then I don't feel anything else until he starts injecting the oil. It's a weird feeling, but not a painful one so that is good. One shot a day is better than the six I was doing. Six shots a day, however, was easier than the schedule I'm trying to keep up with now. Right now I'm taking 4 Tetracycline pills a day, 1 Medrol pill each night, 1 baby aspirin each night as well as eating 1/4 of a pineapple each day along with 8oz of pomegranate juice and some extra protein because I heard doing these things may help with implantation.

Here's my burning question of the day - how much bed rest, modified bed rest, light activity do I really need after the transfer? I'm pretty sure that the last time I got pregnant there was zero rest after my son was conceived so I'm questioning the notion that I would need multiple days of couch time (not that with the right movies and dvr'ed t.v. shows that couldn't be tons of fun). My RE advises bed rest the day of the transfer and then light activity from then on. The husband was shocked to learn that meant no sex. Yea, I "forgot" to tell him that when I outlined everything IVF entailed. Anyway, back to the question, if the transfer is in morning does that mean I can't go out to dinner that night? I want to do what's right but there doesn't seem to be any consensus as to what really is right. I'll save the hair coloring question for another day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lucy Number Seven

The egg retrieval went well. They retrieved seven eggs, which the RE said was average for my age. We decided to ICSI them until four "took" and then if there were any eggs left we would try to fertilize those naturally. I'm anxious for the phone call tomorrow that will tell us the results.

I'm at home and feel as though I could head into work. Apparently, super narcotics don't have that great of an effect on me. Sure, I was out to the world during the procedure, but I woke up right after they had finished and was totally awake and alert. The nurses were all impressed with my ability to converse and at one point I heard them discussing how they wished all patients were like me. Awww, how nice of them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cervical Flip Flop

The RE called yesterday to say that he thought my eggs needed one more day and that he was concerned about the position of my left ovary. He wanted me to come back for another ultrasound this morning and the plan was to double team me, have one person do the scan and another press all over my stomach to get things where they need to be. There was a brief sentence about how if it couldn't be moved then those eggs would not be able to be retrieved. How can you not worry with news like that? I'm a worrier by nature so I'm apt to worry about just about everything but these seemed especially worthy. I tried to talk myself out of worrying by repeating "my left ovary is moving down" over and over and over again.

This morning I returned to the clinic for the scan. The Russian tech yielded the wand and one of the super nice nurses pressed a little bit. Then, upon seeing everything she asked the tech if she could take over. She exerted some real force in pressing the wand and I actually felt real pain. I had no pain during my hsg, any of my iui's, the hysteroscopy, and heck, I barely had any pain during childbirth, so the intensity of this pain shocked me. I guess it doesn't help that my ovaries are the size of oranges. The pain was worth it though as the nurse kept jabbing me and looking at the screen and saying "this is accessible, all I had to do was flip the cervix." Why flipping my cervix would change the position of my ovary I have no idea and I don't really care so long as it works.

So, for the big news, my egg retrieval is scheduled for Monday morning at 7:30am. The next time my cervix gets flipped I'll be blissfully under heavy sedation.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Missing - One Type A Personality

Please let me know if you find my lost type A personality. Normally I am very much the control freak. When we decided to try and have a child I was all about charting, green tea, mucinex, cbefm, etc. After having my son we decided to start trying again right away. Six months later I was worried and because of my age started seeking treatment. I researched, kept charting, used the cbefm, added in some opks, began clomid. I went to an RE and then switched to another and finally to yet another, always looking for a place more responsive with better success rates. I questioned the docs and nurses about every aspect of my treatment. I googled relentlessly. Then, something changed, I started this IVF cycle. Don't get me wrong, I still google things here and there but today, as with all my other follie checks, I didn't even ask the tech to write down how many I had and what size they are. I've never asked what my E2 level is and find it oddly comforting to NOT know what it is. People say that ignorance is bliss and I think that I'm beginning to agree! Knowing every last detail just gives me more things to worry about and why worry about something I can't change? This is a whole new feeling for me.

If you haven't reached the ignorance is bliss state yet listen to some Van Morrison and perhaps that will help change the tide. Not that Van promotes ignorance, but some of his songs are very much about letting go and letting God. I highly recommend The Mystery and Whenever God Shines His Light. What could be more mysterious than how babies are made?

Oh, and because I haven't completely abandoned my desire for knowledge, I did at least ask the nurse how things looked and she responded with "it looks as though you have a couple of mature follicles." At the same time she told me to order more Luveris, enough to get me through Tuesday morning. I sure hope I'm not still stimming come Tuesday! Right now I'm waiting for them to call and let me know what the next step is.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Double Take

Let me start with thank God more follicles were seen this morning. I felt better the minute I saw my ovaries on the screen and all those wonderful little black circles.

Now, on to the double take. I had my blood drawn and then was just waiting for an ultrasound room to be free. A nurse ushered me into the room, gave the standard "undress from the waist down" and told me that Tina would be in soon. I racked my brain trying to remember if Tina was the tech with the thick Russian accent. Please no, please no, please no. In walks Tina and she is definitely not the thick Russian accent tech. She allows me to look at the screen while she does the scan and I can see black circles appearing and, as she twists and pushes the wand, more and more appear. I let out a huge sigh of relief because without even having to ask I can see that there are more than four just on the left. The right shows four or more as well. A comment is made about the space in between my left ovary and the vagina where the retrieval needle needs to go and I begin to worry again that the left ovary will be inaccessible. Tina says that a nurse will just have to sit on my stomach during the retrieval. Okay, I'm fine with that. She finishes, places the pretty pictures in my chart, turns and says "oh wait, stay right there, don't move, I have to go ask a question." Panic! It's hard to panic and not move. My mind is overflowing with questions of what's wrong. She returns to say that the RE had specifically requested that the scan be done on the 3d ultrasound so that they can better see the misplaced ovary. She offers to sneak me down the hall into the other room only using the paper drape to cover myself but I decline and say that putting on my pants seems like the better option. The second scan is very brief and I don't get to see the screen but I'm okay with that as I don't want anything to ruin what I saw during the first one. If there are fewer then I just don't want to know about it. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

They gave me the final IVF checklist/instruction sheet today and told me to keep it with me at all times because when they call I will need to fill in the blanks and follow the directions to a tee. That made me think that the retrieval is coming up but I'm still thinking that it won't be until Sunday at the earliest. Those follies need some more cooking time. I will hear from the clinic this afternoon and they will give me further directions. If they tell me to order more Gonal-f I'm going to scream.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Fab Four????

I had my second follie check yesterday morning and was nervous but kept telling myself that even if only half of the original 18 were still growing strong I'd be in a good position come retrieval time. They drew my blood and then I waited for the ultrasound tech hoping like heck that it would be Cathy and not the woman with the thick Russian accent. Of course it was the woman with the thick Russian accent. She did some pressing on my stomach to try and move the left ovary but didn't seem to be having much success. Then she asked if anyone else had tried to move it. Like who? Me? The husband? I just said no, that the other tech hadn't pushed at all. This got me to worrying that she doesn't think it is movable and if they can't move it then they can't get the eggs from it. Ugh. So, she tells me to sit up and I ask how everything looked and she said "good" and then left. I was kind of hoping for more detail than just "good" so I asked the nurse who was checking me out how things looked. She was a bit more descriptive, telling me that four of the follicles are where they like them to be (over 10mm) but that the rest were lagging behind. I was stunned and then the shock turned to panic. How could only four be growing? I asked her if she thought some of the others would catch up and she looked and then said "nope, these are the four dominant ones and none of the others have gotten bigger since your last check so they probably won't get any bigger now." What a blow. Then, to add insult to injury, she commented on how my estrogen level needed to go up as well. I told her I'd get working on that and see them all Wednesday. The drive back was filled with doubts, anxiety and desperate attempts to keep a positive attitude. Later in the day the office called to say that I should stay on the same stim schedule, same dosages, and that I should order MORE Gonal-f. This sent me into another panic because as of right now I have enough Gonal-f to get me through a nuclear holocaust and yet somehow my RE thinks I'll need to stim for even longer than that.

Tonight I have acupuncture (because six needle jabs a day just isn't enough). Hopefully those little needles will find a way to make my slow follicles get up off the couch and kick their butts into gear. Tomorrow morning will be an early one and all I can say is that if I'm going to get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to go have my follies checked then they damn well had better cooperate and be abundant and of decent size.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Out Damn Spot

The Tide to Go pen should be re-named the Tide to Go Stink You Up pen. The thing smells horrible! In my attempt to be healthy and have a good IVF cycle I went out and bought a bunch of those fancy juice drinks that claim to have super antioxidants in them. They are super expensive but I figured what the heck, when you're doing a procedure that is over $15,000 what is spending $15 on some juice? Anyway, on my way to the doctor's this morning I opened one up and took a sip. Next I looked down at my sweater and sure enough, HUGE purple stain. I had an old bottle of water in the car so I opened that and started pouring it onto the stain but when you're driving 60 miles an hour it's hard to just hit the stain target so instead there was water flying everywhere. Lucky for me the drive is over an hour long or I would have been getting out of the car looking like I had wet my pants. Needless to say, the water was almost useless and so upon my arrival at my office I used the Tide to Go pen and now I totally smell, and not in a good way. Would it be too much to ask that they add some pleasant smelling fragrance to the pen to perhaps lift your spirits since you are doomed to spend the rest of the day walking around with a big stain on your shirt. Isn't that punishment enough without having a stench attached to it?

In better, brighter news, I have 18 follicles! There are 11 on the right and 7 on the left. The nurse was hesitant to give me a number and kept repeating that there's no way to know how many will get big enough to potentially contain a mature egg but I'm just relieved that there's more follicles than I had during my antral follicle count. I only did my Lupron injection this morning and am now waiting for the office to call me with further directions. I'm assuming he'll keep me on the same dosages but I am assume a lot of things and end up being wrong. Just in case he does though, I called and ordered more Gonal-f a/k/a liquid gold since it is just as expensive and more Luveris. I also was explicitly clear on needing syringes and needles to go with the Luveris. Hopefully all of it will arrive tomorrow so that I don't have to drive down to the bad part of town hoping to score some needles off a heroin junkie.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You've Got Mail


I've seen You've Got Mail at least 25 times and yet here I sit watching it yet again. I chuckle at watching them sign into their AOL accounts, with dial up where you can hear the dinging modem. That movie was made just ten years ago and look how far we've come since then. Ahhh, it takes me back to the good old days of chat rooms, hourly charges for being online, and actually being excited when you heard "you've got mail" because it was a time before spam.

I had acupuncture after work today. It's so nice to go somewhere and just be able to relax in quiet for half an hour or so. It helps too that the acupuncturist is so nice. She's easy to talk to, funny and very understanding.

Between work and the appointment I found time to stop at the grocery to get a big piece of chocolate cake. Ugh. I also bought about five different antioxidant drinks to the tune of $15. Being healthy can be expensive! I've read that eating protein and taking antioxidants can help with egg production and that the antioxidants can also help with implantation so I figured I'd give it a try. What's $15 when you're doing something that costs over $15,000?

It's going to be an early morning tomorrow. My follie check is at 7:30 a.m. and the office is over an hour away so I'll need to leave around 6:00 a.m. to allow for traffic. With that said, I should be going to sleep.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Poking at you poking at you

Remember that Snickers commercial "round about noon when your hungers poking at you, poking at you?" No? I guess that goes to show two things: 1.) I watch way too much t.v. and 2.) I've eaten too many Snickers in my day.

These days it's not my hunger that's poking at me poking at me, it's me poking needles into myself. Six a day to be exact. The Lupron with it's super skinny insulin needle is the easiest, or perhaps tied with the Gonal-f pen which gets props for letting you just dial your dosage. I hate, I repeat, hate the Luveris. You have to mix sterile water with the powder medicine and then switch needles and for some reason those needles don't seem to go in as easily. When I look at my stomach I can see bunches of little red spots and even some small bruises. I shudder to think what the trigger and progesterone shots will be like.

QT is leaving on Friday to go stay with his grandparents for an entire week. Oh my gosh how I will miss him. He's been doing this thing lately that I call running huggies. You ask him for a hug and he'll come running over to you with his arms stretched out and just crash into you in this big little guy hug. It's so sweet it just makes me want to hug him and never let him go. Under normal circumstances I'm not sure that I would agree to have him gone for a week but the husband and I thought that going through an egg retrieval would be easier without having a toddler at home to take care of and entertain. Also, we haven't told our families about our choice to do ivf, and if we hadn't sent QT to his grandparents they would have come here next week. I would just prefer to not have visitors. So, he's leaving this Friday morning and coming back next Saturday. I'm hoping that the retrieval will be Friday.

Speaking of watching too much t.v., I believe that Top Chef is on tonight. Woohoo!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Injection, injection, what's your function?

I did my first of many Lupron injections yesterday. I was a little hesitant to stick myself but decided that I would be a huge baby if I chickened out. Given the size of the needle, which is so thin, I only hesitated a minute or so and then jabbed it into my abdomen. I barely felt it go in and I wouldn't say it hurt, although pushing the plunger down just feels strange. I guess in all my years I never thought that I'd be injecting myself with drugs. I've never even smoked pot for heaven's sake and now all of a sudden, here I am, a Lupron junky.

My ultrasound got changed to Friday morning so that I will have been on the stim meds for three full days. I'm anxious but trying to stay positive.

I've had a dull headache all day which I am attributing to the Lupron. Normally the only headaches I get are migraines, which thankfully this is not, but it's still annoying.