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.



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.


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!!


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.