Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Trigger

New Years Eve... and I'm over here looking at the clock waiting to trigger. Crazy!!

:)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Consult #1

Today was a busy day on the Vagina Tour (lol). I went in for a follie scan with my current RE for our IUI (scheduled for Thursday), then back home to pick up DH and get on our way to Consult #1.

In a nutshell: Consult #1 was awesome!!!

Right off the bat, I was super impressed by how personable Dr. P is. It didn't take long for me to mention that I'm a marathoner (I love throwing that out there! Even if I can't run a marathon right now, it still feels so good to call myself a marathoner!), and he told us that he's a triathlete! Instant points to his street cred!! Obviously, there's more to all of this than that, but I feel understood by this doctor. When it comes to being an endurance junkie, it really takes one to know one.

After spending some time discussing our history, it was clear that he really did read our sizable file before the meeting. Even better yet, he actually had a few ideas on how he would approach our next IVF cycle differently if we were to cycle with him. I really, really liked how genuine and sincere he was while explaining everything to us. As a teacher, I appreciate his presentation style very much and thought he was highly effective (ugh, fellow teachers may eye roll with me on that one!). The best thing, in my opinion, was how adamant he was about "leaving no stone unturned" for our next IVF cycle. I couldn't agree more! TURN ALL THE STONES!!!

Here are the big points that he brought up:
  1. Morphology/ICSI - This doctor seemed to be far more concerned about our borderline morphology than our current doctor. He explained that the previous standards indicated anything lower than 14% was abnormal. Recently, this has been changed to anything lower than 5% is abnormal. Our first SA was 4% and the second was 6%. For this reason, he would do ICSI for all mature eggs retrieved. 
  2. Immunology Testing - A few of my fellow Dreamers and Bumpies have done this, so it was familiar to me. Basically, it's a blood test to see if I have NK cells that could possibly be attacking embryos in my uterus. If the test comes out positive, then I could take intralipids, an infusion, prior to ET to make NK cells a nonissue. Dr. P said that he was borderline about prescribing this, but the fact that I have endometriosis is what pushed him to recommend this option.
  3. Lupron Protocol - Dr. P explained his reasoning for why this might be a beneficial protocol for us over the Antagonist Protocol (which is what we've tried the past two times). It all made sense. But simply put: it's a different approach, and perhaps we would do better with it.
  4. Lining - Another topic that was far more concerning to Dr. P than our current doctor. I told him how my lining was always a source of stress for me throughout my cycles, and he asked how thick I usually measured. My current doctor considers 6 to be borderline, whereas Dr. P considers 8 to be borderline. When I told him that I had fluid in my lining at the beginning of IVF#1, he said that was extremely concerning to him. The good news is that there are ways to help the situation (like taking Viagra! And doing a FET rather than a fresh ET).
  5. CGH (Embryo Testing) - this is similar to PGD, but instead of just testing a few of the chromosomes, this screens all of the chromosomes. In order to do this, we would need more than two embryos to make it to Day 3 to justify the large expense (that is likely not covered by insurance).
How do I feel about all the above? I feel hopeful. I can't describe how valuable that is to me! I am very much looking forward to Consult #2 which is just a few days away!

IUI 4.1 Follie Scan #3

CD12, 9 nights of Follistim behind me (50iu each night except for last night... 16.667iu... for the full story, click here). Here's what this morning's follie scan showed:

Lining: 7.8
Right: 17, 16, 14, 11 (smaller follies were present, but not recorded)
Left: (small follies were present, but not recorded)
E2: 281 (it actually went down from Sunday's 340)
Instructions: 75iu Follistim tonight (I have to open the cartridge after all!), TI tonight or tomorrow, Ovidrel (trigger) tomorrow night between 9-10:00pm

IUI 4.1 is on like Donkey Kong! We are scheduled for 9:30am on Thursday, January 2, 2014 (whoa! New Year!). It's actually kinda funny the way that we are straddling the new year with this IUI. I will be triggering in literally the last few hours of 2013, and then go in for the IUI on the second day of 2014.

It does stink that the IUI is scheduled for the first day back to work after our long winter break. It's a good thing that I have an excellent relationship with my principal. I already told her and the vice principal that we are doing fertility treatments, so this appointment will come as no surprise. I count myself very, very lucky that I have their understanding and full support (my principal literally said to me, "Family comes first. Right now, your career has to come second to that. If there is anything I can do to make this less stressful for you, please just let me know.").

Even with everything above looking so perfect and wonderful... I know it's not. At a glance, it looks like we have a great shot this cycle. But if you've been around this blog for more than a few posts, then you know that this IUI is a long shot. We are 100% expecting for this to result in a BFN, just like every other cycle that has come before it. But even knowing the odds... we have to do something. As much as I hope and pray that this will result in our miracle... and as much as it's going to crush me when I get my period... I am trying to keep a realistic expectation of all this. But it doesn't hurt to hope. And pray. And cross fingers. Even a 1% chance is better than no chance.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Open a new vial for 8.33iu??

I always feel spaztastic whenever I have to call the RE hotline (which now has occurred twice). I knew I would have to open up a new cartridge of Follistim soon (it's a 300iu vial, but the pharmacist routinely overfills the vials). I did my injection for tonight, 25iu, and fell short by literally one click on the Follistim pen. The last thing I want to do is open a new vial and then go in for monitoring tomorrow just for them to tell me that I'm all done stimming. What a waste for literally a few drops!! So I called the hotline. The RE on call told me that she thought it would be ok to skip the remaining dose (8.333333iu). Whew! I may need to open it tomorrow if I need more, but at least this way it gives the doctor a chance to see if it is really necessary.

Honestly, with 8 follicles... I'm worried that I'm going to get canceled. And either way, ovulation is going to hurt like crazy. I'm so frustrated with my ovaries.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

IUI 4.1 Follie Scan #2

CD10, 7 nights of Follistim (50iu each), and this is what happens:

Lining: 6.0
Right: 13, 12, 12, 10, 10
Left: 10, 10, 11
E2: 340 (I like this slow rise in spite of the amount of follies)
Instructions: 50iu tonight, 25iu tomorrow, monitoring Monday

I am not looking forward to the ovulation pains. I also feel that we are quickly approaching my breaking point. I feel defeated and broken. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

IUI 4.1 Follie Scan #1

CD8, today was a double header on the Vagina Tour. I had monitoring this morning then my annual with my OBGyn. After five nights of Follistim (50iu each), here are my stats:

Lining: 5.9
Right: 11, 11, 9, 7
Left: 10, 10
E2: 206 (rising nicely from two days ago, 96)
Instructions: 50iu Follistim for the next two nights, return for monitoring on Saturday

Today's appointment was especially awkward. The waiting room was packed because all of the satellite offices are closed this week (due to the holidays). There were three couples there with their child... ::side eye:: and literally all seats in the waiting room were taken. Dr. R did my ultrasound. Usually they give you enough time to empty your bladder & disrobe from the waist down before they come in. The doctor usually knocks and asks if you're ready. Well, I guess Dr. R was in a rush today, because after I had used the bathroom, I was kicking off my shoes and she burst into the room. I stared at her like a deer in headlights. She left the room and waited for me to get set. 

Then I went to my OBGyn appointment. Ugh, jump on the scale... Fine, but I'm taking my boots off first. I liked their scale a lot more than my RE's. And the nurse even took two pounds off for clothing. Blood pressure was normal. Time to get prepped in the exam room. I was prepared for "waist down" but nope, everything off but socks. I forgot about that part. Dr. K came in the room (after I had plenty of time to study the pregnancy poster). She asked me to fill her in on our TTC efforts. Depressing. Pity eyes galore. She wished me luck and said she hoped that I'd be coming in before my next annual appointment with good news.

How do I feel about all of this? My emotions are so mixed and intense... I can't even handle it right now. Christmas was hard. I am excited to get to the New Year... I am so sad about 2013. I had high hopes... 13 is one of my favorite numbers... I was sure it would be our lucky year. But no. 2013 goes down in the personal history books as the worst year to date. I hope, wish, and pray every day that 2014 will bring our miracle.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Power of Empathy

One of my fellow Dreamers and Bumpies shared this video... LOVE IT!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Over it.

Another FB pregnancy announcement. This one really hit me hard. Could it be the fact that they just got married a few months ago? Could it be that they're so young? Or could it simply be that I really will be the last one to get pregnant around here... if I ever become pregnant.

For the first time, I am having serious thoughts that it may not be in the cards for us. If we become pregnant... it will be a true miracle.

Why is this happening? What is so wrong about my genetic code that it needs to stop with me? Why is this so hard? Will there come a day when I can look back on all of this and say 'thank god it was all just a bad dream'?

I'm so very sick of all this. I actually feel sick to my stomach.... I have no idea how this is going to turn out. And that scares the shit out of me.

IUI 4.1 Baseline Scan

Today is CD2, so I went in this morning for my baseline scan. The "Vagina Tour" is off to quite a start... over the course of the next month, I will have at least five different doctors all up in my hooha (baseline & monitoring at my current clinic, OB annual exam on 12/26, Consult 1 of 3 on 12/30, Consult 2 of 3 on 1/2, and Consult 3 of 3 on 1/14). It's like a freaking parade around here. Where are the damn horses?!!? Someone strike up the band o_O

Walking into the appointment, I already felt grumpy and fearful. I still feel action around my ovaries, so I was bracing myself for my doctor to tell me that it was cyst city and our cycle would be canceled. The receptionist was very friendly, but she's the new girl... I miss B!!!

Then Nurse R called me back. She looked at my chart and seemed confused that I was there for an IUI cycle. Then I rolled up my sleeve, and she started with the chit chat. Nurse R: "We're looking forward to the holiday break so much." Me: "Yeah, we could all use a break." Nurse R: "I know. I'm potty training a 3 year old, so my life is hell right now." ::cricket.... cricket....::

I could not believe my ears! How insensitive and rude to bitch about the challenges of parenting to an infertility patient the second before jabbing my arm with a needle for a blood draw!!! Seriously?! WTF. I'm sure parenting is hard. Parents have the right to complain about it. But not to an IFer especially in the RE lab!!! THROAT PUNCH THROAT PUNCH THROAT PUNCH

Thankfully, my fellow Dreamers cheered me up. I vented it out, and then they made me laugh with jokes about jumping the nurse in the parking lot with assorted turds and cat piss (LOL!!! The Jersey crew is a tough but lovable crowd!), lots and lots of stickers (you gotta love the FB stickers! Chickin, you're gonna be shocked when you see what JayTee & I did while you were working! LOL), and so many hugs. I don't know what I'd do without the Dreamers. They keep me sane(ish) :D

Dr. J found a few small cysts during my ultrasound. I wasn't surprised. He said that he would need to take a look at my blood results to make sure it was ok to start. As long as I don't get a phone call from him this afternoon, then I'm going to start tomorrow night with 50iu Follistim. I'll go in for monitoring on Christmas Eve Day.

Ok, fine, so I made it to work, and once I started teaching, I was distracted and enjoying the music lesson. Then at 10:30, I went down to the gym to help my colleagues with the Holiday Sing Along. All of the adorable kids from pre-K up to 4th grade were buzzing with excitement while Ken played carols on the piano as they entered the gym. And that's when I noticed all of the babies. The Prego Posse strikes again. Apparently, today was bring your baby to work day. They were all there with their babies... so I did my part with the 3rd graders (they played Frosty the Snowman on their recorders! They did great!), and then snuck out. I have been hiding in my classroom with the lights off ever since.

I got a call from the pharmacy to let me know my order is ready to pick up. I was originally planning to pick it up this afternoon on my way home from work, but seeing how it's not my day, I could get canceled, and I won't need the meds until tomorrow night, I have decided to pick them up tomorrow instead. I wish I could go home and snuggle with my doggies on the couch for the rest of the day, but I have a gig tonight. I am not looking forward to the traffic... and I need to either buy another pair of black pants or do laundry before I leave the house tonight (I'm so damn lazy, I'm going to buy a new pair!).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

CD1

I woke up this morning to spotting, and by the time I got to work CD1 was officially declared. As much as it stinks to get a period, I am thankful to be moving on. I am scheduled for a baseline scan tomorrow morning, and will be picking up my meds tomorrow afternoon. As long as everything looks good, then I'll start Follistim either tomorrow night or Saturday. Here we go with our IUI 4.1 cycle.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dreaming

People ask me throughout my day, "How're you doing?" I've never been a big fan of small talk or just shooting the breeze, but lately... it's been pissing me off. I know they are trying to be polite, and fill any awkward silences with conversation. But I'm getting sick of the stock replies: "I'm good. How are things with you?" and "Hanging in there. Can't wait until break." I am lying through my teeth, I feel like such a fraud.

Sometimes I want to scream out the truth, "I'm miserable! I'm infertile and even with the most aggressive forms of medical intervention, I'm still not pregnant after 21 months of actively trying. My heart has been broken so many times in the past several months that I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible to glue it back together. Other than that, things are swell. How are you and your ninety billion kids??" Yeah.... only in my dreams would I ever respond that way.

Speaking of dreams, I had my first ever pregnancy dream last night. It was a very strange dream. John and I were at the hospital for some reason (maybe to visit a friend?) and we spontaneously decided to get an ultrasound. And guess what... the nurse found a baby in there, heart beating away. We left to go find our friends and were talking about it in the elevator. I asked John, "Do you remember what the heart rate was?" And he replied, "I don't know... was there a heartbeat yet?" We giggled and reveled at the thought that we were pregnant.

Then I woke up. UGH. No fair, no fair, no fair. I want to go back to my dream.

Have you ever had the thought that maybe all of this is just a very, very bad dream? This can't be real, this isn't actually happening. Soon, I'm going to wake up and say, "Oh, thank God, it was just a dream!" Sigh. Wishful thinking.

On a more technical note, I finished two out of three new patient packets. The second one was an epic novel. Gees, it's a lot of paper. Then I called my favorite nurse to straighten out the meds order for our upcoming IUI cycle. I'm praying for a miracle. Yup, still praying for a miracle. Who knows... I'm sure stranger things have happened.

Now it's just a waiting game for AF to make her inevitable appearance. I really wish she'd get on with it so we can put this whole terrible cycle behind us. The daily cramping is getting old. I have been cramping literally every day since my ER. Thanks a lot for the painful reminder that my ovaries fucking suck. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sad Face

I am trying so hard to put on my happy face... I am doing a pretty terrible job of it. I looked a wreck all weekend because we had nowhere to be. The snow storm caused us to cancel all our plans. So no makeup, shower, or hair styling resulted in a very rough looking Cici. Fortunately, my husband loves me and didn't say a word about how hideous I surely looked (though this morning when I woke up, my hair looked like a mad scientist all frizzy and puffy. I joked that this was how I would wear my hair to work, and we both laughed. It was absolutely ridiculous!).

I'm trying my best to move on with my life and just get through the work day. I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror... even with a fresh shower, hair styled, and makeup on my face, I still look so, so sad. My resting face looks like I've been crying nonstop (which I have been crying a lot). Sigh.

It is so difficult to be this devastated and miserable when everyone around me is buzzing with holiday cheer. I ordinarily love the holidays, and this year I find myself wishing they'd just be over already.

I canceled my annual gingerbread house party because literally one person could attend. I thought about just having fun decorating gingerbread houses with just me and Cath, but the timing was bad. I scheduled it for Friday the 13th thinking I'd be halfway through my 2ww... needing a distraction... In reality, we had our WTF appointment that day. I was not in the holiday spirit after hearing about how my eggs suck. Besides, as much as I love spending time with Cath, I just couldn't deal with it on that particular day. She was in the loop with our first IVF cycle and I learned the hard way that it was a mistake to tell her. She is sincere, but nosey, and doesn't know how to take a hint. I told her very directly that I didn't want to discuss my fertility issues with her anymore back in October. She has still broached the subject a few times after that (asked me if I was ok when I clearly wasn't... I lied and told her things were fine). I knew that there was no chance of putting a happy face on after my WTF, so I canceled.

Christmas shopping? Yeah, I haven't even started. Ordinarily this level of procrastination would cause me to have a mental breakdown, but I'm so sad about our TTC efforts... I don't have any energy left to stress out about gifts. To tell the truth, we don't have many people to shop for... just our parents and the family kids. I don't know how I'm going to get through shopping for the six children on our list... two being babies. I think I'll drag Johnny along with me. I want to get them all a nice gift (I love them so, so much) but I know I can't brave those stores alone.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

WTF Appointment

It is hard to come up with the words for this post. I have been sitting here staring at the blank screen for about ten minutes now, and I don't really know how to get started... I don't want to be making posts like this!!! I should be posting right now about how much the 2ww is driving me crazy, and how I hate progesterone, and how I hope there are a few sticky ninjas in there, and how I am trying to make it until beta without testing... I should be PUPO right now, not digesting the words of my doctor from our WTF appointment. I hate this...

John & I went in for our appointment yesterday. My favorite receptionist and financial person told me last week that she was leaving the clinic to pursue another career. When she told me that she was leaving, we figured that I wouldn't be seeing her again because I wouldn't have to come into the office after my transfer until after her last day had passed. I thought that I would make an extra trip so I could drop off a card and a small gift for her. Well, instead we came in on her last day for our WTF appointment. I handed her a little gift when we got there, and then asked her about my records. When I scheduled the appointment earlier in the week, I requested a copy of my records. Later on, I found out from some other bumpies that I would have to specifically ask for John's records and both embryology reports, otherwise they likely wouldn't include them. So I asked her to include all of those, and she told me that she already had everything ready to go. I was shocked. At minimum, I thought it would be two weeks to put everything together, but I walked out yesterday with a very thick envelope full of our records.

The doctor called us back, and it was time to start. I had braced myself to hear him say some difficult things. He got started right away by telling us that he sees three options for us:
  1. IVF with PGD - he actually said that although this was an option for us, that it wasn't one that he recommended. Since it seems that we are working with an egg quality issue, and the past two IVFs showed such terrible results (the second actually being worse than the first), that this option didn't seem to be worth the expense in his opinion. He said that it is possible that our embryos simply do not like being outside of my body, and that the lab environment is too unnatural for them. Seeing that the past two IVFs produced 11 embryos, and only two of them made it to the point where we could have even considered PGD... I don't see how this could work.
  2. IUI with Injects - this was the option that he suggested the most strongly for us. He said that he does believe that I can become pregnant, and that the past two IVFs have proven that fertilization is not an issue for us. With IUI, fertilization would likely happen inside my body, and it is possible that our 'golden egg' would come along. Especially if our embryos don't like being in the lab, this way would be better because they would stay inside my body. We also didn't completely rule out the IUI+inject route before moving onto IVF. We did three clomid+IUI cycles, we did an inject cycle (got downgraded to TI because I over responded... in retrospect, we should have gone forward with the five mature follies), but we haven't yet tried IUI+injects.
  3. Donor Eggs - he actually was reluctant to say this option, and I was the one who pulled it out of him. (He said we had three options, but only listed the two before he seemed ready to move on... so I asked) He also said that he thought we had a lot of room with our other options before we needed to discuss this. I am absolutely not ready to entertain the thought, so we moved on pretty quickly.
Along the way, John and I asked a lot of questions... what did he think of autoimmune testing? Testing for clotting factors? Coculture? Is it possible that I had too much medicine? That I triggered too early or too late? Maybe my body rejected the HGH? Test the sperm for DNA fragmentation? Are there any further tests for egg quality?? Supplements?? Anything???

Doc's opinion was that IUI+injects was the way to go, and he even recommended that we go get a second opinion before trying IVF again. He is a good doctor. I wish so much that this would have worked by now...

As we walked out, he shook our hands... it felt like we were all saying good bye. My two favorite nurses were there, and Susan asked me how it went. I told her he recommended going back to IUI... she gave me the most sincere, empathetic look... I had to turn away before I cried. The receptionist handed me our gigantic file, and gave me her email address. We said goodbye and walked out... 

It is beyond me why I am still getting worked up thinking about it. In general, I hate goodbyes, but this one really, really hurts. I know deep down, we never expected to be at this point. We thought this was going to work. I am still so, so heartbroken. 

So, the plan for now is that we are going to do an IUI+injects cycle with Dr. J while we wait for our other appointments. We have consults scheduled with three other REs to get a second, third, and fourth opinion. We do not feel comfortable moving forward with another IVF cycle unless there is a rock solid plan and a decent amount of hope. The consults are scheduled for December 30th, January 2nd, and January 14th. I am working on filling out the new patient forms for those three appointments. And I'll be scanning and emailing our extremely large file to all three of them when I get the chance at work on Monday. In the meantime, I'm officially waiting for AF so we can go onto our next cycle.

I cannot believe this is happening.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thankful

The night before ET was canceled... I lit a candle for each of our ninja embryos.
If you look closely at the upper left picture, there are five glass angels in our tree <3
The instant I was fully aware this morning upon waking up, I started crying.
John held me for a while before he had to go to work.
Thankfully, my district canceled school today because of the snow.
The dogs kept me good company as we snuggled in bed.
"Seriously, mommy, when are you going to let us out of here??"
My dogs amuse me and can make me laugh even when I am heartbroken.
What a surprise!! I had to throw my bathrobe on to answer the door.
The delivery man must've thought I was nuts,
because as soon as I realized that it was a gift for me I started crying.
I am so touched by this gesture... I am beyond thankful for the wonderful people in my life <3


Monday, December 9, 2013

Over.

I was watching the clock, waiting for the seconds to tick by so I could call embryology this morning. I was instructed to call at 8:30am for a report and instructions, so naturally my plan was to dial in at precisely 8:27am.

I did not get that chance. At 8:20am, my phone rang and the caller ID said it was my clinic..... Ok... Maybe the lab is calling me instead? I picked it up and the voice on the other line was my doctor..... My head flashed back to a few months ago when Dr. J told me that if I get a call from him after ER, I should sit down because it is not good news.

The tone in his voice as he said hello said it all. I couldn't keep my voice from sounding instantly strained as I squeaked out one word: "Hi."

He delivered the news quickly and honestly, like tearing off a bandaid. He told me that none of our embryos had grown past two cells, and that there was nothing to transfer.

The tears instantly started flowing as I processed his words. He instructed me to stop all my medications, in a few days I would get a period, the doctor and embryology team would have their meeting to discuss my case tonight, and that I could come in to discuss this further anytime after today.

I controlled my sobbing long enough to ask him what happened... Begged him to tell me exactly what happened to my five embryos. He went through it with me... 14 eggs retrieved, 9 mature, 5 fertilized, 2 made it to the cleavage stage and stopped growing, 3 didn't even get that far.

How is this possible? What is the cause of this? Through my tears I asked him these impossible questions. The doctor said that he suspected egg quality, though he wanted to take the time to talk to the embryologist before coming to that conclusion.

We said goodbye. Commence the ugliest cry imaginable. I called John. He was teaching Symphonic Band, but he picked up. He couldn't understand a word I said for at least the first three minutes because I was bawling, gasping, sobbing. Finally I managed to tell him that our embryos were dead and that we were not doing a transfer. Which lead to more sobbing, gasping, hyperventilating. My dogs were gathered around me wondering what was going on... Coda barking, Mocha trying to lick my face.

What do you do after your heart is broken? Again?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Signs...

I went to church this morning and I prayed extra hard. I listed my blessings... I am thankful for so much. I was forthcoming with what I want (you don't have to think hard about that one!!). I asked God to be clear. Send me a sign. If there is something that I still need to learn or do before we can get to the next level... just tell me. We'll see how that goes.

The days between ER and ET are the most difficult, excruciating days. I am doing everything in my power to fight off the negative chatter in my mind. I'm trying to keep myself from thinking the worst... It is very, very challenging.

I was actually doing a decent job of keeping myself together. I spent the whole day on the couch yesterday. I was so uncomfortable... yuck. Today, thankfully, I feel better. I went to church, met with a few girlfriends for manicures and lunch (LOVE YOU, JERSEY DREAMERS!!), picked up some groceries, and had a nice, long chat with a dear friend. I was doing great!

And then I opened my email and saw this...

The email I got tonight.... And the pineapple whose core will be consumed! STICKY NINJAS!!
Yeah, that pretty much unglued me. Thank god for the beautiful and lovely Jersey Dreamers. They listened to me cry... Why is God doing this to me? What did I do that was so wrong? What am I supposed to learn from this so that I can just get to the next level???

I wish that I hadn't read this email tonight... during this very frail time when I'm just hoping that my embryos are still alive. I wish that she would have told me a week ago. Or a week later. But I have no control over when people announce their happy news.

Maybe that's what I am supposed to be learning from this... that things are tough right now, but life goes on. Even though I am stuck, the rest of the world is moving on. Maybe God is testing me to show me how strong I really am.

Whatever the case may be, I am putting this out there. It has been vented. And now, I'm walking away from it. I am going to go do my Circle+Bloom, and move on. I need to focus on my embryos, my transfer, my family.

::breathe in:: ... ::breathe out::

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day One Fert Report

14 eggs retrieved
9 mature
1 did not fertilize (will be discarded)
3 fertilized abnormally (will be discarded)
5 fertilized normally

I had a hard time curbing my emotions while I was on the phone with the embryologist. I actually burst out, "FIVE?! That's it?!?!" I am just so surprised that this quickly we can go down from 14 to five. I knew there would be a decline, but I was hoping for more embryos than the last time!!! (Last time, we had 10 retrieved, 6 mature, 6 fertilized)

The embryologist then proceeded to tell me that I should call the lab at 8:30am on Monday morning to find out if I would have a 3- or 5-day transfer. Just like the last time, they will look at the embryos on Day 3. If there are more than two embryos growing normally, then they may push us to a 5dt. If there are two or less, then we'll go for the 3dt. 

I am preparing myself mentally for a 3dt. I feel sick. I feel like we are headed for the same exact outcome as the last time... The only way this could possibly get worse is if we have nothing to transfer on day 3. Heaven help me........

I asked some questions about egg quality and sperm quality. It is too early to determine embryo quality. The embryologist said that there was nothing to indicate that there was poor egg or sperm quality. The sperm count was 110 million with a 64% motility. Ok, fine. 

So now we wait. Again. And hope. And pray. And distract ourselves. I wish I could be placed in a medically induced coma for the next two days. 

I don't know what else to do, but to keep marching on. So... I'm going to go distract myself. I pray that my five little ninjas are kicking ass in their petri dishes right now. Grow, embies!!!! Grow!!!!!!!!!!

Egg Retrieval

This was in the locker at the clinic where I stored my stuff during ER. 
So, yesterday was my egg retrieval. I had a page full of pre-op instructions to follow including no perfumes or scented products, wash my hair the night before, no mascara or make up, wear warm socks, take two Pepcids and a Visaril the night before and one of each in the morning, no food or drink after midnight, etc.

We arrived at the clinic at 8:30 and were taken back to the locker room within ten minutes. I got dressed for surgery and then we were seated in the pre-op/recovery room. The nurse went over all of the pre-op forms with us. I got a fancy looking hair net and a thermometer sticker on my forehead. John assured me that it was a good look. I chewed up two Tums, and the nurse took my baseline vitals. Then the IV. Ouch. I hate that part. It never felt comfortable to me, and I couldn't wait for them to take it out. I spoke to the anesthesiologist and then after a quick trip to the bathroom, they walked me into the OR.

Immediately after walking in, there were three or four people pulling at me, placing me in the right spot, putting the oxygen tubes up my nose. In less than a minute, the room got futz and then I was out.

I woke up in the recovery room and felt extremely groggy. One of the nurses walked by and I was fighting to keep my eyes open. I wanted to know how many eggs we got!!! She told me we got 14 eggs. I was so happy to hear this!! John came back to sit with me, and the doctor came back to talk to us before she had to do the next ER.

My recovery was going pretty well at first. The nurse say me up little by little. Then I got some crackers and ginger ale. About three crackers in, I started to feel a bit nauseous. The nurse came over and noticed that I looked pale. She laid me back down and drew some blood so she could check my hemoglobin. Those numbers were a tad low, but that was to be expected after ER. She checked them again later so she could compare, and those numbers were fine. She gave me a shot in my arm to help my heart rate which was low. Then I had sudden, intense pain on my left ovary. It hurt so much, there were tears in my eyes. She rushed to get the doctor who did a trans abdominal ultrasound. I tried to focus on my breathing because I knew I was starting to panic and hyperventilate. Thankfully, the ultrasound checked out ok and there wasn't any excessive fluid around my ovaries. The nurse came in to give me a shot in my hip of some sort of pain medication (Demarall?). The pain of the needle was a welcomed distraction from the pain in my ovary. Ten minutes later, the medicine kicked in and I felt a lot better. I had to lay in recovery for a while longer because the nurse was afraid that the pain medicine would cause me to get sick. I felt nauseous for a while, but we eventually were able to get me home and in bed. I had a puke bag ready to go in the car, but thankfully didn't need it.

The doctor sent me home with Percocet to manage the pain. I took two doses (at 2:45 and 6:45). That stuff knocked me out. The nurse called me within 30 minutes of arriving at home just to check on me.

John did a good job of taking care of me the rest of the day and night. He got me yummy chicken noodle soup from Benny's kitchen. And Gatorade. Lots of Gatorade! For dinner, I was able to have potato skins pizza from Chimney Rock. Yummmmm!!

I knocked out pretty instantly after taking the second Percocet. And then had the most horrifying dreams. I dreamt that Coda was out in the yard, nowhere to be seen, and then three bears came running through. I never saw him again. I called and called for him to come back, but I knew deep down that he was either hopelessly lost or that the bear got him. Then the next day, Mocha and I were outside and the bears were back on the other side of the fence. Mocha somehow jumped the fence and onto the bear's back. I screamed after her and tried to scare the other bears away. It seemed like Mocha was out for revenge, but she was outnumbered and they were so much bigger than her... I woke up before the other bears retaliated.

I am so nervous about my fert report from the embryologist. I have been dreading this moment for weeks. Any minute now... I hope and pray that things go differently this time. In the meantime, I am holding my breath waiting for the phone to ring.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Trigger

I took my trigger shot last night at 9:30pm. That means tomorrow is the big day :D Well... one of the big days :) I will have my egg retrieval at 9:30am.

I am feeling so bloated, full, uncomfortable, achy, gross... and I'm thrilled about it because I have lots of follies in there :) I am hoping and praying that at least one of them will be my sticky baby.

The Bandaid of the Day is Beaker :) I am taking my last shot of the Tev Tropin tonight. I am not planning on a bandaid for that shot though. It's such a quick and easy shot, and I have very specific pre-op instructions (no scented products of any kind, no food or drink after midnight, etc, etc).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #4

CD11, 9 doses of stims including 4,000iu of Follistim, 18 vials of Menopur, 240iu of Tev Tropin, and 4 doses of Cetrotide. Today's follie scan showed the following:

Lining: 8.1 (HOLY SHIT!!! I'm so excited about this!!)
Left: 19, 18, 17, 15, 14, 14, 13
Right: 18, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 14, 14, 14, 13
E2: 2,247
LH: less than 1
P: 1.3

Dr. J was happy to see all those follies and said that things look good. He asked me how my left side was feeling. Apparently, my left ovary is laying long. Well, that explains why I've been feeling like this! My left side has never been this active, and I feel a constant pinch in my back along with pressure on my bowel. I feel like I have to poo all the time, but I don't. I've been drinking lots of water, so the bathroom trips have been plentiful.

I will get a call later to let me know what time I will be triggering. Egg retrieval will be on Friday.

Whenever I think about Saturday, the day after ER... the first fertility report... I get really uneasy. I'm trying not to think about it because when I do, the negative thoughts come flooding in. I want to stay as positive as possible for as long as possible. Circle+Bloom has been helping to keep me on track.

And, finally, the BANDAID UPDATE!! First, let me just tell you that I had to shoot up in the bathroom at work during the 5th & 6th Grade Concert. It was not fun dragging my bloated and grumpy ass back to the auditorium. I had to set up the stage (lifting lots of chairs, stands, percussion equipment, and electronic equipment... don't tell on me!), conduct the Concert Band through their two pieces and direct the Jazz Band through their selection, bring them off stage to put down their instruments, and then when they went to sing with the Chorus... that's when I snuck off. The superintendent was at the concert... he never comes to our concerts! But for some reason he was there last night. I was so nervous that someone would come looking for me. Anyway, I got through my shots as quickly as possible, and luckily no one seemed to notice my absence. I used the bandaid of the day to cover my Cetrotide shot which bled again. And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... drum roll please.... The Bandaid of the Day is........ Fozzie the Bear!! Woohoo! Or should I say, Wakka wakka wakka!!

********************************************
UPDATE!!! I am triggering tonight at 9:30pm, returning to the lab for blood work and pre-op instructions tomorrow, and ER is on Friday at 9:30am!!! I am to finish the Tev Tropin (40iu tonight and about 20iu tomorrow). AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! I'm so excited!!!! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #3

CD10, 8 nights of stims behind me, 2,825iu of Follistim, 16 vials of Menopur, 200iu of Tev Tropin, 3 doses of Cetrotide. Today's follie scan:

Lining: 7.54
Left: 16, 15, 18, 15, 13, 11
Right: 15, 14, 13, 10, 11, 10, 11, 12, 10
E2: 1,564
LH: less than 1
P: 1.2

I am over-the-moon-happy with the above!! I was completely expecting my 8 follies to be there, but didn't think there'd be any more. Now I have 15 measurable follicles!! And my lining!!! My lining!!!!! I can't believe my lining :D 

I am waiting for the call from my doctor with instructions. My favorite nurse was there this morning. She is awesome, and I love it when she does my appointments. She is very gentle with the blood draw, and when she does my scan she is very verbal. She was explaining everything, showing me all of my gorgeous follies on the screen, making sure I had enough medicine... I'm going to call the pharmacy to order more Follistim, because it seems that I will be stimming for a few days more before the trigger. Good, good, good!! Plump up those follies!! I hope some of the smaller ones will catch up :)

And now the bandaid update :) I fully admit that the use of bandaids for these shots is mostly unnecessary. They are essentially stickers, but they make me smile whenever I see them. Even though I'm up to three shots a night, I've only been putting one bandaid on just for the fun of it. So after my first shot, I opened the wrapping to find Miss Piggy's eyes glittering and gleaming :) My last shot of the night (Cetrotide) made me bleed, so I actually needed a second bandaid. So now Kermit the Frog is on my belly too. It's so adorable. They are making googley eyes across my belly button ;)

************************************
UPDATE: My doctor just called. I will continue with the same dose tonight and return for more monitoring tomorrow. He is estimating ER for Friday, but said that we'll get a better idea after tomorrow. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #2

CD8, 1,275iu of Follistim, 12 vials of Menopur, 120iu of Tev Tropin and a dose of Cetrotide over the past six nights. Whew!! Today's follie scan showed the following:

Lining: 5.9
Right: 11, 12, 11, 13
Left: 11, 11, 14, 11
E2: 649
LH: less than 1
P: 0.7

I will update later with my blood work results (E2, LH & HCG were measured). Dr. D did my scan today, so he gave me my instructions on the spot. Same doses for the next two nights (275iu Follistim + 2 vials Menopur, 40iu Tev Tropin, and a dose of Cetrotide). I will return for more monitoring on Tuesday.

I am feeling good. Bloated and full. Spirits are up. Maybe not as high as a few days ago, but still up.

*********************************

Updated: I was scratching my head to figure out tonight's bandaid. Then Laur figured it out :)

At first I thought Fozzie the Bear, but that wasn't right...

It's this guy! The Chef!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #1

CD6, four nights of stims behind me, 800iu of Follistim, 8 vials of Menopur, and 40iu of Tev Tropin.

Endometrium Lining: 5.0
Left Follicles: 8, 9, 10, 9, 4
Right Follicles: 10, 9, 9, 9, 7
Estradiol: 280
LH: 1

Tonight, I'll continue with the same doses from the past four nights (200iu Follistim + 2 vials Menopur and 40iu Tev Tropin). Tomorrow night, I'll increase the Follistim to 275iu and add a dose of Cetrotide (275iu Follistim + 2 vials Menopur, 40iu Tev Tropin, Cetrotide = three shots!). I return to the lab for more monitoring on Sunday morning.

I feel good about all of this! I can't believe the feelings of fullness are already ramping up. And my ultrasound this morning HURT when she was measuring my left side. My left side is usually very quiet, so this is the most action it has ever seen. Maybe that's where all the good eggs have been hiding :D

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Merrily We Stim Along

Today is CD4, and I am in full swing with the meds. Tonight will be the third night of the following mixture:

  • 200iu Follistim
  • 2 vials Menopur
  • 1/2cc Saline
Tomorrow night, which is Thanksgiving, I will do another dose of the above and add another shot: 40iu Tev Tropin (human growth hormone). It should be interesting bringing my little "science lab" along with me to my sister's house for Thanksgiving. I was able to discretely explain what was going on, and she has graciously saved me some fridge space :)

This part right now is the easy part. Mixing up the meds and jabbing myself with needles is feeling surprisingly routine and normal. I've been making it as fun as possible. Each night when I lay out my meds, I also pick out a fun bandaid (I got a pack of The Muppets... the two old guys are currently heckling my belly button, lol), I take out my chocolate (Dove's Dark Chocolate!), and I get a bead to add to my shots bracelet. When it's time to start mixing, I turn on my special playlist and rock out to the music:
  1. Roar by Katy Perry
  2. The Climb by Miley Cyrus (don't judge)
  3. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
  4. Firework by Katy Perry
  5. Home by Phil Phillips
I am truly enjoying this stage of the process. Like I said, this is the easy part. The part that I am dreading most is waiting for phone calls (or lack thereof) from the embryologist... but I've been doing my Circle + Bloom every day, and I really think it is helping to keep me focused and calm. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Baseline Appointment

I woke up this morning feeling excited, hopeful, and genuinely positive about this cycle. I've been listening to the Circle + Bloom IVF program every day, and it has really been helping me to focus my otherwise chatty mind.

The appointment itself was a little more stressful than I had anticipated. They had to take my height, weight and blood pressure... routine stuff that ordinarily doesn't bother me. But lately, I've been feeling self conscious about my weight and body image. One of the many perks of being a marathon runner is that you burn lots of calories. At the rate I used to burn it up, I would be able to indulge in lots of guilt-free ice cream and goodies without thinking about it. Now that I'm not running like that, I try to be more mindful of my nutrition. But things are definitely not as strong and tight as they used to be. I kept justifying it as bloat from the meds, but it has been very upsetting to me that I don't fit in most of the pants in my closet anymore. Well, getting on the scale today was not very fun... I have gained almost 10 pounds since March. I joked with the nurse that I was wearing heavy boots and a big sweater...

Then I sat down to have my blood pressure taken. My BP has always been well within the normal range. I was so surprised when the nurse said that she was going to take it again because the second number was a little borderline. They like to see it under 90, but the first reading was 86. The second reading came in at 91!! I laughed it off and said it must have been because I didn't like my weight today.

Then I had my blood drawn. Ouch!! I mean, it wasn't that bad, but it definitely pinched a lot more than usual today. I went across the hall for my ultrasound. The doctor said everything looked good and we are ready to start with stims tonight :)

I sat down with Nurse C to go over my schedule and learn how to mix the new medication (Tev Tropin... human growth hormone). Wowee! Doc is starting those doses higher, just like he said he would! I'm starting with 2 vials of Menopur and 200iu of Follistim for four nights. On the fourth night, which happens to be Thanksgiving, I will add 40iu of Tev Tropin. Then I'll return to the office on Friday for monitoring.

HERE WE GO!!!

************************************************

UPDATED: The first shot is done! Is it weird that I actually had fun mixing it? The shot wasn't too bad either.
On the menu for tonight: 200iu Follistim + 2 vials Menopur + 1/2cc Saline
I know the bandaid is a little overkill, but, hey, I'm trying to have fun with it :)
My OCD took over this morning and I made my own calendar :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sound the Trumpet!

CD1 is here!!!

I am so, completely excited right now :D I'll go in for my baseline tomorrow (blood work and ultrasound) and start injections tomorrow night!

Please, please, PLEASE let this be the start of the cycle when I become pregnant. Please, please, pleasepleaseplease.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Letter to AF

Dear Aunt Flo,

I have already made it abundantly clear from a young age that I do not like you. You're messy and painful. And your schedule of arrival is always inconvenient. It was rather mean of you to show up first thing in the morning of my fifth year wedding anniversary. And the cramps that you come with that literally reduce me to the fetal position on the floor? Yeah, I don't like those.

I am expecting your arrival any minute now. Even though I have prayed that you wouldn't come on this  particular day, I am sure you will be along any moment just to spite me. Thanks in advance for the massive inconvenience of having to deal with a whining husband. He's going to be a real joy when I wake him up bright and early tomorrow morning so we can leave the hotel and drive two hours to get to my baseline appointment.

Now hear this: after your visit this month, you are no longer welcome for a long, long time. Go on vacation. Go bother somebody else. But you had better leave me and my uterus alone. Enjoy your stay while it lasts. After this, I'm kicking you to the curb. Peace the eff out, bitch.

Sincerely,
Cici

Friday, November 22, 2013

Just Waiting (as usual!)

CD30, 10 or 11dpo (I think 11 because of O pains, but FF says 10. Whatever!)...

I'm still on the Estrace which is producing quite a lovely little headache at times. Fortunately, it's not so bad and it went away after being awake for a few hours this morning.

I'm just waiting for my period... I have been hoping that it wouldn't come on Saturday. That would result in a lot of whining on the part of DH ::eye roll:: We are going to a wedding on Saturday and staying at the hotel. If AF shows up on Saturday, then we'll have to leave the hotel at butt o'clock in the morning to make it to my CD2 baseline appointment.

My PMS cramps have picked up, and I'm thinking that AF will be here either late tonight or tomorrow. Probably tomorrow just because I'm sure the universe wants to bring my headache back with DH's whining ;)

It's crazy to think that in a few days, I'll be jabbing myself with needles again. Honestly, that's the easy part. And is it a little messed up that I'm strangely looking forward to playing with the needles? I'm sure it is! Haha!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Harry is Here!!

PROUD AUNT ALERT!! 

Harrison Dominic was born into the world on Wednesday, November 20th at 8:18am. He weighs 9lb and 8oz and is 22-1/4 inches long.

John & I went to visit my brother & SIL in the hospital, and I enjoyed every second of snuggling my cutie-pie nephew. Hospital pictures taken on a cell phone do no justice to the beauty of a newborn baby. He is so cute... and soft... and squishy... and delicious!! I wish I could go back and see him right now, but alas, there is this thing called work.

I am in love with my brand new nephew!

Harry is here! And he's a big baby! 9lb 8oz and 22-1/4 inches long!

Uncle Johnny will make an excellent father someday (hopefully soon!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Proud Auntie :)

I got a text from my brother last night announcing that he and my SIL were heading to the hospital. SIL will be induced in just over an hour from now, and hopefully my nephew will arrive safe and sound very shortly! 

I am thrilled to become an aunt again. I love all of my awesome nephews and nieces (even the "step-step-niece" who isn't technically my niece, but I consider her to be one). They are all blessings and they fill our family's lives with joy.

When you are dealing with infertility, however, joyous events like this are a little tainted. It's not that I don't feel happy for my brothers and sisters as they build their families. It's just that it is a reminder for me about how sad I feel that we are still waiting for our blessing.

I cannot believe that SIL has gone through an entire pregnancy already. I still remember the day that my brother announced the news at Easter dinner... I was so blindsided. I did my best to act happy in the initial moments as the news hit me in the face. I even managed to feign a smile and squeak out a "Congratulations!!" Then as the conversation moved away from my pathetic reaction, I quietly excused myself to "go to the bathroom." In reality, I grabbed my wine and went straight for the front porch. I couldn't keep the tears from spilling out, and I didn't want my family to see.

I guess my acting skills just stink, because it wasn't even thirty seconds before my brother was out on the porch with me. Ugh... now the tears were gushing out, and I had an audience... and worst yet, my brother was on the receiving end. I didn't want to cry to him because I didn't want to take away from his happy moment. But he left me no choice because he followed me out there. 

God bless him, he tried to make me feel better and smooth things over. And he really seemed to be understanding, and didn't seem to be upset at my reaction. This all happened about two weeks before we were scheduled to do our diagnostic cycle with the RE. To say that I was emotionally frail would be an understatement.

My brother tried his best, but then put his foot in his mouth when he said that I was "overreacting to the situation." It came out wrong, it wasn't what he meant, but it sent me into hysterical sobbing. I think he was trying to comfort me and tell me that everything would eventually be ok... but put into those words, I couldn't handle hearing any more.

Now here we are, nine months later... and the baby will be born any time now. I can't believe that we are still not pregnant... we don't even have the possibility of a "happy and healthy nine months" before we can say that we are finally parents. 

It makes me so sad... I know that some way, somehow, it will happen. But when?? Will they be genetically related to me and my husband? Will we have to pursue some other way? 

In spite of the above emotions, I was doing an amazing job of making it through my day. I had a great lesson with the Concert Band at work, and I was texting my brother to offer help and ask for updates. I was genuinely happy, and somehow at peace with the situation. Then I saw this...

This is the first thing that popped up in my News Feed.
I don't know why it surprised me so much!!
::stab to the heart:: I want to be part of the club too!!! I want to be a mother... I want to make my parents proud and produce a grandchild... I want my children to be close in age with their cousins... I just want my babies RIGHT NOW!!!! :(

I'm taking a deep breath and moving on with my day. In about three minutes, I'll have five eager flute students bursting through the door anxiously awaiting their lesson with Mrs. Z. I have to push all of this aside and find my inner warrior.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Up and Down

In case you didn't notice, we're still strapped in tight on the infertility roller coaster. Up and down we go. Every time it seems like we get lower and lower. Pretty soon, I might become a permanent resident of hell if we keep going at this rate!

Fortunately, today is an 'up' day. I woke up to a good, solid post-O temp this morning. I'm going in tomorrow morning to get blood work done and confirm O. I'll likely start estrogen priming by the end of the week. And I get to go pick up my 'Party in a Bag' from the pharmacy this weekend. It feels like we are going somewhere again :)

I am doing my best to be positive and hopeful about IVF#2, but it is really challenging to have that attitude. After what happened with IVF#1, I feel nervous and afraid that we might get the same results. If we do, the end of the road for a biological child gets a lot closer. I am praying that IVF#1 was just a horrible fluke... that it was just a bad batch of eggs... that this next batch will be better. I have to keep reminding myself that the doctors learned a lot from IVF#1, and the adjustments to the meds might be exactly what we need to finally get pregnant.

Speaking of meds, I was looking over the order my doctor sent into the pharmacy. Holy cow!! He ordered three vials of Follistim (900iu!!!)... Twenty vials of Menopur... Five doses of Cetrotide... 15 doses of HGH.... That's a whole lotta meds!! But you know what? Pump me up! I will do anything to make this happen! (Remind me that I said that when I start boo-hooing about all the side effects!)

<3 <3 <3

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mystery O

I had my practice transfer and saline sono last Friday. The doctor wanted to run those tests again because they had to use a different catheter than planned for IVF#1's ET, and he wanted to double check that there wasn't any scarring in my ute. After repeating both procedures he said, "The problem is not here." The practice transfer went as perfectly as a practice transfer could go. And there was no scarring in my uterus. Which means another count against my egg quality as the real problem.... :(

BUT!!! My lining measured in at 8.5 which is the highest it has ever been! ::happy dance:: I guess the witch doctory and wizardry worked. I will continue to consume Brazil nuts and pomegranate juice. I have also made the decision to completely cut out alcohol and caffeine indefinitely.

I was so, completely certain that I had ovulated last week on Wednesday. It made perfect sense. It was CD14, my skin was breaking out like crazy, my CM was consistent with the theory, and my temp was pre-O on Wednesday morning and rose to my post-O range on Thursday. I was concerned that this would short change the plan to do estrogen priming. I told my doctor, and he ran my progesterone on Friday and had me come back in today to confirm O.

Then on Saturday... my temp dropped back down. And it stayed down on Sunday and Monday. UGH!!! I got a call from the weekend doctor on Saturday to tell me that my progesterone did not indicate that I had ovulated yet. UGGGHHH!!!! I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like a TTC newbie all over again. NONE OF THIS IS MAKING ANY SENSE!!! (It never does, lol)

I went back in for another progesterone draw this morning and spoke to the head nurse. I was starting to get concerned that maybe I was going to have an anovulatory cycle. This was stressing me out because the last day to get in for the last cycle of the year is November 20th. I figured that I'd get my period before then (with or without O), so my main concern was that an anovulatory cycle would sabotage our plans to do the estrogen priming. 

I know. I'm completely babbling. And psyching myself out. At this point, however, it was too late. My thoughts were consumed by all this nonsense for too long, there was no turning back.

All that to say that I just got a call from my doctor. My progesterone levels are rising (comparing Friday's to today's). He said that I either had just ovulated or am ovulating right now. I'm putting my money on ovulating right now considering my temp was still low this morning. I will go back in on Thursday for another progesterone draw to confirm O and then hopefully start estrogen priming.

::big breath::

I swear, if my temp is low again tomorrow morning, I'm going to throw a hissy fit. o_O

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Searching for Hope

I'm still having a hard time shaking off the depression that set in after our WTF appointment yesterday. For the most part, I completely expected everything the doctor said to us, but it was so hard to hear the words come out of his mouth. He said that he was surprised at the lack of egg quality... that he didn't expect egg quality to be our issue... he thought that since we were "working with the eggs of a 31 year old, he didn't expect them to look like the eggs of a 41 year old. Especially when none of our initial tests indicated that there might be an egg quality issue." 

After getting our Day 3 Fertility Report, I knew that was our problem... Initially, I was thrilled to learn the day after ER that we had 10 eggs retrieved, 6 mature, 6 fertilized... but by day three, only two stood out in the 'normal range' and even they were poor quality. The remaining four were 'growing slowly' and stopped growing all together by day 5. We have no way to know for certain, but it is likely that the two we transferred also stopped growing shortly after... it's so deeply upsetting...

We decided that we don't want to waste any time, and we'll get back in there for IVF#2 at the first opportunity. We are going to use the same protocol (Follistim, Menopur, Cetrotide) and increase the doses. In addition, we'll do estrogen priming and HGH (a steroid to give egg quality a boost). This will all begin after O is confirmed from this current natural cycle, which should be any day now. 

I'm trying to focus on the positive and find at least a small ray of hope right now... I'm struggling to see the light, and feel like I'm trapped and being smothered by the darkness. I know I will get back up again, but for now, I feel like I just got the news of my BFN all over again... only this time worse... because what if this new protocol doesn't do the trick? My friends and support systems have been telling me not to focus on that until I have to... but I feel like we're getting dangerously close to that point where we have to figure out what is next. It makes me feel sick...

Monday, November 4, 2013

WTF Appointment

We had our WTF appointment this afternoon. I was completely expecting to hear everything the doctor said to us, but it still shook me to the core.

We will be starting IVF#2 as soon as ovulation from this cycle is confirmed. The protocol will mostly stay the same with a few tweaks. We will be using a higher dose of the Follistim & Menopur. We will also do Estrogen Priming (to start one week before my period). And we will also be adding a steroid to the mix, Human Growth Hormone, to help boost egg quality.

This should make for an interesting Thanksgiving weekend. I have already written off the holiday season... it's going to be tainted with the stress of infertility no matter how you look at it. I guess there is some hope for Christmas. But if this cycle goes anything like the last one... I don't see how anything could be merry for a long while.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Picking Up the Pieces

I am broken. Shattered. Every single piece of me; body, mind, heart, and soul is scattered in a million little pieces.

Every day is a battle. At times, it seems like I don't have the energy to fight back. It feels like I am laying down, and letting the universe kick the shit out of me.

Fortunately, those stretches of time are getting shorter. A week ago... I was down and out for the count. I was so heartbroken... I can honestly say that I had no hope. None whatsoever.

But today... I'm still broken. I'm still in a million separate pieces. But I'm picking them up one by one, and trying to put them back together the way they belong.

Even on the days when I felt no hope, I have still been taking my PNVs. I have really come to resent those two pill bottles. First of all, why are they called ONE-a-day PNVs if I have to take TWO pills? What a hoax. But more importantly, every time I twist the bottles open and take them out, I think, "What's the point?" But something deep down inside convinces me to swallow them down every day.

Today when I was taking my PNVs, I realized something: even on my darkest days, I still have hope. Even on the days when I thought I had no hope, I had hope. I didn't even know it, but how else would I have swallowed down my PNVs in the face of BFN after BFN?

I am broken, but I am not hopeless. And for now, that's ok.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wake-up Call

Did you ever have one of those moments when things happen and you get the sense that God is speaking directly to you? I'm not usually vocal at all about my religion, and I don't mean to get all "God Squad" on you here, but this morning I got a wake-up call from God himself ;)

Yesterday was a bad day... I was feeling so sad and low... I could hardly get myself moving. Those feelings rolled right over into this morning. I woke up feeling like the weight of the world was pushing me down and keeping me pinned to my bed. My body felt tense and heavy, my mind felt groggy, and my spirit felt broken and exhausted. I couldn't move if I tried, and even John noticed that I was struggling. He turned the lights on to try and wake me up, and I snapped at him to turn them off and leave me alone. I'm not the type of person who can just roll out of bed in the morning and walk out the door; I need time to go through my morning routine (shower, breakfast, hair & make-up, walk the dogs). The clock was ticking down and I didn't care that I wouldn't have enough time to do it all.

After John reluctantly left for work, I picked up my phone to look at my Facebook newsfeed. Among the usual filigree that you'd find on your newsfeed, there were two posts that caught my eye immediately:
  1. New York Road Runners (NYRR)'s Post:
    "NYRR has been a significant part of my life for the past year. I began to work on my 9+1 credits early this January, with steady races scheduled up until about June. I found out this summer that I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer... that limited my ability to run for some time. After the dust settled a bit... I realized that I still had to complete my credits to qualify for next year's Marathon. What better way to say 'I kicked cancer's butt' than by running the New York City Marathon the following year? This will be a tough completion to the 9+1, but I feel like pulling through will mean so much more to me this time around than if I did not have these obstacles. Thanks for the inspiration! And I can't WAIT to run the Marathon next year!" - Lauren J.
  2. Twinkie's Post on IDOB:
    "After yet another 'ghost line' this morning on a wondfo, I was convinced that these must be evaps. I dipped a FRER [to] confirm my suspicions and a second line popped up right away! I think I got my BFP this morning! I can't believe it, I am still in shock. It's light, but no squinting necessary..."
I don't know if I can fully describe how these two posts made me feel, but I'm going to try. Here I am, feeling sorry for myself, feeling shattered, broken, and hopeless, and there is Lauren J telling her story of hope and triumph. She's fighting hard to kick cancer's ass. She has been dealt a hand far sucky-er (suckier? Just go with it) than mine, yet she's not laying down and admitting defeat. She WILL run the NYC Marathon next year. And I WILL run the NYC Marathon again in the future. 

Then there's Twinkie... Girl, I know you're probably reading this, so I'll try to keep from getting too mushy. But in all honesty, Twinkie, you are my hero lately! I've been stalking your blog ever since you started it, and had been keeping up with you on IDOB and TB long before that. For those of you who are unfamiliar with her story, here's the cliff notes version: Twinkie recently went through IVF#1. Everything was going fine until right before her transfer... none of her embryos made it to transfer. She did not let this keep her down. She got right back in there for IVF#2. You ever hear that cliche "It only takes one" ?? Well, that's true in this case. Twinkie had literally one embryo make it to transfer and none of the rest made it to freeze. And that's the one that took and is showing that glorious little pink line today!! Twinkie, I'm SO HAPPY for you! You gave me hope when I really thought I was tapped out... seeing your post today literally brought me to tears (tears of joy, hope and inspiration). I am praying that your beta goes well!!

So there you have it. God did speak to me this morning. He made it possible for those two posts to be there right when I needed to see them the most. He made it possible for Lauren J and Twinkie to have a miracle today. It was like he reached through my cell phone screen himself and said, "Cici... get yer ass outta bed. You are a warrior. Miracles happen everyday, and yours is coming soon." 

And you know what? Miracles do happen everyday. Today, mine is that I got out of bed and made it to work (somehow early... I don't know how!!). 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

This is getting ridiculous

Ugh. It's one of those sleepless nights. This is so frustrating!!!! I am tired. Exhausted. But I can't shut my brain down to be able to sleep. I hate this. Isn't it enough that IF takes away stability, happiness, marathons, and pretty much the joy from every possible situation? Does it have to rob us of our sleep too?? Ugh.

I just put in for a sick day for tomorrow. I can't see myself falling asleep any time soon, and the alarm is set to go off in three hours. I feel so guilty about missing my 5th graders for their lessons tomorrow. And it makes me cringe to know that we haven't even been in session for two months yet and I've already been out for 3.5 days (now 4.5) thanks to IF appointments. Ugh.

I am going to step away from the blog and try to sleep. First, I am turning the alarm off. I'm sure John will wake me and say, "Don't you have to get up for work?!" That'll probably be the second I finally get myself to sleep.

I hate this.

I feel so angry. And sad.

I can't explain why I feel the way I do. One minute, I'm fine. The next, a wave of sadness and anger washes over me and I don't know what brought it on. Will this ever get better?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Get Up Again



I don't know why, but I woke up today with a whole new attitude. I was talking to a friend last night about how sad I have been feeling, and let out all of the negative, bad, horrible thoughts that have been haunting me all week. By the end of the conversation, I had an epiphany.

When is it that we learn the most? When things go perfectly and we get what we want on our first try? No, of course not. We learn the most when we make mistakes. Failure is an opportunity for growth.

Well, all of the cycles that we have gone through on our TTC journey leading up to this last one have always gone so perfectly. That is, up until the negative results. Things seemed to be going so well, yet nothing was happening for us. I started to feel like we were "fixing" a problem that wasn't a problem around June.

Then this cycle comes along and turns out to be a colossal flop. It was looking so perfect up until our day three fertility report... Of our six embryos, two were in the normal range with seven cells, one of which with quite a bit of fragmentation. We transferred those, and the remaining four were growing slowly and behind the mark already. They didn't make it to freeze. We still have yet to find out if they grew anymore and just weren't good enough quality, or if they arrested on their own. From that point, I was worried. What if the two embryos that we transferred did the same thing? Well, it seems that they probably did considering we did not get pregnant.

As heartbreaking as this has been... at least now we know what the hell has been going on all this time. I am willing to bet that we've achieved fertilization most of the time that we have been trying... but our embryos just haven't been good enough to make it.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that I am starting to look at this awful failure of a cycle as a learning opportunity. I hope that now my doctor can see exactly what needs to be done to get me good and knocked up the next time around. I cannot wait for our WTF appointment on November 4th. I am hoping that my doctor will tell us that we are not a hopeless case and then tell us exactly how he plans to get us to our goal.

In the meantime, I'm getting back up again. To say I was knocked on my ass this past week is the understatement of the century. I didn't know that there were lows that low. I can't stay there for long. It'll do me in. So I'm getting up. I'm moving on. And I'm fighting back. FUIF!!!!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I am Fighting a Battle

...and getting my ass kicked! It sounds sad, but for some reason, right now I'm not sad. It helps to look at it that way. I'm fighting. That means that I'm not just laying there taking the beating. Yes, I'm getting my ass kicked at the moment, but I'm still fighting.

My Garmin is also fighting right now. A few of my friends on Facebook made some suggestions on how to do a reset... nothing worked. One friend said that her husband's watch did the same thing and it was done-zo. They got a new watch. But for some reason this morning, I decided to plug it in just one more time. I just looked at it a few hours later... it's actually showing the correct time and that it is 86% charged! Does that mean that Garmy is coming back to me?!?

I feel that my period is on the way. I panicked this morning at work because I couldn't find any tampons. Luckily, I found two in the side zipper which I never use. Whew. It didn't matter though, because I don't have my period yet.

Fertility Friend thinks I'm pregnant. Asshole. It has stopped predicting CD1 and is showing up to CD34 through the end of October.

I had an observation today, and I thought it was pretty rough. My vice principal was very impressed with it though. I don't understand... I feel like I'm a horrible teacher, but by everyone else's standards I'm doing a great job. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

I'm going back today for another therapy session. Last night's was good, though short. It's impossible to catch a total stranger up on the happenings of an entire life in just an hour. When talking about this past cycle, I said, "It didn't work. It failed." He said, "I like the sound of 'it didn't work' a lot better than 'it failed.'" To which I replied, "But it's true. It did fail. And it could be worse, I could say 'they all died' instead." He laughed at that and said I was right. He has a good sense of humor. It's a good thing because I need to find some humor in my life right now. Everything has been so sad.

Ok, so maybe if Garmy can make a comeback, so can I. He's almost all the way charged up and still showing the correct time. Maybe when I unplug him he will work all on his own. Maybe I just need to plug in and get recharged for a while. Who knows!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Garmin is Dead

How appropriate. My Garmin watch won't turn on. Won't take a charge. I think its heart is broken because it was cast to the side.

I'm going for a short, light, easy run today with or without my Garmin. I haven't run since October 2nd. That last run was three miles with Amanda. She filled me in about her vacation to Vegas and the status of our runner friends from Team Bacon. I filled her in on the plans for the cycle. She has been waiting in the wings for my NYC Marathon bib. I'll have to call her to make plans to go to the expo with her that weekend. I have to go to show my ID to get the bib. And then I'll hand it over to her. And I'll probably cry.

I made an appointment with a therapist for this evening. I was talking to him on the phone when scheduling the appointment, and he asked why I was seeking therapy. I could hardly make it through a sentence without crying. I am welling up even just typing this. I am sure I will spend the entire session in tears.

Well, I was able to jiggle my Garmen so that now the screen has changed while it is connected to the charger. It's still not doing what it is supposed to do. But at least it is doing something.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BFN

I had my beta this morning, and even though I knew in my heart that it was negative, it still hurt like hell when the doctor told me over the phone that the pregnancy test was negative. 

The doctors will have a meeting on Monday night to discuss all of the new and failed IVF cases. Our case will be discussed and analyzed step by step to figure out why it failed. We will then meet with our doctor next week to discuss the results.

In the meantime, I am to stop taking Estrace & progesterone (thank god), and in a few days I will have a period.

Before this cycle, I decided that I would give my NYC Marathon spot to a friend if this failed. I hoped that it wouldn't come to this... but it seems that it has. I don't want to give away my spot. I want to keep it and run the race next year. But I know that's not a good plan. The real hope is that I will become pregnant and then I'll be in no shape to run a marathon on November 2, 2014. Dammmmmmit. I even got onto the upper level of the Verrazano Bridge this time. 

The doctor said that I can start running again. But I feel things happening in my ovaries, and I'm afraid to go right now. I will probably wait a day or two and see how I feel. Even when I do go for a run again, it's not like I can go out for a long time. I'm going to have to start from square one and build up from nothing. I am not looking forward to that process. Being demoted to beginner status, when I have 10 marathons under my belt... a PR of 3:42:54. That's an average of 8:30 minutes per mile... I don't even know if I could run one mile at that pace right now.


I never knew about my strengths until I became a runner. And then infertility took them all away. Bitch. I will get them back. I will be stronger and faster after all of this. I will feel invincible again. Like I am flying. But today... today, I grieve. I grieve the loss of two dreams in one day. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why do I keep torturing myself?

I know it is over. This morning's BFN was no different from the others. Yet I am still planning to test again tomorrow morning before my beta. Why? I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

A fellow bumpie posted this link which I've seen a bunch of times: http://www.nyufertilitycenter.org/ivf/embryo_transfer ...and then there goes the hope again. What is the matter with me? A FRER would have picked up on it by now. I know this.

What I want to know is when will I be cleared to go running again? I'm going insane over here. I freaking sneezed this morning and had a jolting muscle spasm in my diaphragm. My core is really that weak that I can't sneeze without hurting myself? I'm sick of feeling like my body is weak. It is starting to convince my mind of the same thing.

Part of me wants to say, screw it, and lace up for a run. But the other part of me knows better. If I can't sneeze without feeling it in my ovaries, then it's probably not a good idea to go bouncing along.

This is torture. I just want it to be Tuesday afternoon already so I can get my call with the results from my beta. I need to hear the concrete news so I can stop torturing myself and just move on.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I Feel Like It Is Over

9dp3dt, BFN on a FRER. I think it is over. Waiting for beta on Tuesday to confirm.

So I guess after that, we'll have a WTF meeting. The problem is not John. His SA has always been top notch. Fertilization is not it... all six mature eggs fertilized. Egg quality... my thin lining... it's me. I am the problem.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scared...

I have been told by many that hopefully it is too early, but this morning's BFN shook me. It feels all too familiar... the end of a cycle where the same disappointing result is just around the corner. I don't know if I can bear another heartbreak.

Somehow I have restored my hope for tomorrow and am going to test again in the morning. John will not approve. He asked me to just wait for the beta. Does he have any idea how impossible of a request that was?!?

I'm not asking for much here (yes I am), just a little line. It can be faint, but let it be there.

If it is not there tomorrow... is it still "too soon?" It'll be harder to find hope after that.

This is torture. TORTURE. I just wish we could get to the conclusion right now, whatever it is. At this point, it is or it isn't. A few more days won't change the fact. But it might just do me in waiting around to find out!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wish Stitch

Stitching complete! Just needs a wash, iron, mount & frame.
Does this mean my wish will finally come true?

Feeling Better

I tell ya, progesterone is an evil bitch! My mood just keeps ebbing and flowing, but at least at this particular moment it is up :)

I went in for blood work this morning. This was to check and make sure my progesterone and Estrace doses are what they need to be. No call means the dose is good, and just continue on. So far, no call (I am not-so-secretly hoping to get a call to tell me to do less progesterone!!).

I tested out my trigger this morning. First of all, testing with FMU is really cruel on the eyes. I am pretty sure that line is gone, though there might have been the faintest trace of a line. Like I said, it's hard to focus the eyes at 5:30am!

When to test next? I'm thinking of waiting until Sunday which would be 9dp3dt. I am scared to test again...

Thinking about the what ifs are really depressing. We have no frosties, so if this is a bust then we're going to have to do this all over again. And then why, why oh why, didn't our embies do well?? I'm already very disappointed that we only got two hopefully good embryos... And then I read that the more fragmentation there is, the lower the success rate for that little embryo to attach... one of our two transferred had quite a bit of fragmentation.

The 2WW for an IVF cycle is exponentially more excruciating than any other type of 2WW. There is nothing to do at this point, but wait... and worry... and try to distract my mind. Ugh.

At least this time, with the amount of hormones I'm on, I can count on actually making it to my beta. That's never happened before. Stupid AF always cutting things short.

I am rambling. There's nothing else to do! GAH! This is torture!!

At least my mood is good at the moment. I'll take it!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pissy Mood and a Pee Stick

I am in the pissiest mood. And I don't even know why!!! Damn you, progesterone. 

I tested out my trigger this morning. Squinter, so I guess I'll test it out again tomorrow.

The first time I've ever seen a squinter. Trigger's still in my system. 
Yeah, I'm still pissy as all hell. Hmmph. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When to Pee on Things?

Today I spent the whole day convincing myself that I was experiencing implantation cramping. I am. I refuse to believe otherwise. My two embryos have to still be alive....

So tomorrow, if I remember I will test out my trigger. Then how soon is too soon to start testing for real? John doesn't want me to test at all.... Not happening!!! Maybe Saturday?