Thursday, December 29, 2011

The absurd things that melt my heart

"Don't stab our baby in the face."

Yep, that made me swoon.

Would you like some background? Of course you would!

My nighttime routine is asinine. It makes me dread going to sleep.

Right now, it consists of:

  1. Topping off my glass of ice water
  2. Taking out my contacts
  3. Brushing my teeth
  4. Washing my face
  5. Popping in a progesterone supp
  6. Putting on a panty-liner
  7. Getting my Lovenox syringe & alcohol swab out and setting them beside the bed
  8. Plugging the charger into my cell phone
  9. Getting my Boo-Boo Buddy out of the freezer and setting it on my bedside table
  10. Adjusting and turning on my heating pad
  11. Once in bed, applying Boo-Boo Buddy to whichever side of my stomach I'm going to be jabbing
  12. Playing Words with Friends while I wait for my stomach to numb
  13. Once numb, cleaning the area with the alcohol pad
  14. Fanning the area dry
  15. Opening the Lovenox syringe, removing the lid
  16. Squeezing together a fold of fat to jab
  17. Hoping that it doesn't hurt 
  18. If the jab seems like it will hurt, choosing another numbed spot
  19. Sloooowwwwly inserting the Lovenox, as to prevent stinging. If it starts to sting, I stop and wait
  20. Dispose of syringe and garbage
  21. Reapply Boo-Boo Buddy to prevent any bleeding or bruising
  22. Getting a prenatal vitamin out of the blister pack and taking it
  23. Taking two fish oil softgels
  24. Getting out one each of Estradiol and Dexamethasone, and taking them
  25. Taking one last drink of water to wash away the "ugh" of pill taking
  26. Throw Boo-Boo Buddy on the floor and hope Kelsey doesn't eat it (I can't put it on my nightstand after all! It's cold and wet!)
  27. Read my Kindle for 5 minutes until I realize I'm too sleepy to read
  28. Take off my glasses, turn off the light
  29. Sleep
Well, last night, as I was getting ready to start step #16, Buster pops his head in the bedroom to say goodnight to me. He sees me getting ready to jab myself, and says:

"Don't stab our baby in the face."

Buster doesn't really talk too much about the baby. I know he's really excited and happy, but he's not a very emotional guy. And honestly, I'm not sure how much this has really sunk in with him yet.

So him bringing up the baby and being worried about me hurting the little bugger made me happy.

I know that sounds really bizarre. What can I say? I'm hormonal and pregnant. I'm really surprised I didn't cry!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

8 week ultrasound

I have lots of catching up to do, I know! Our Vegas trip, our new house, the holidays...

But today all I have time for is an update on our ultrasound appointment yesterday. It was a pretty quick appointment, but that doesn't mean that all kinds of great stuff wasn't packed into that short time!

Maurice was not my ultrasound tech this time. Instead, it was a sweet young woman. She talked more than Maurice had, and explained some things to me.

Right away I noticed that out little baby had grown considerably since last week! Baby was almost shaped like a baby. Last week it was more like a blur.

The heartbeat was also noticeably different this week. Last week, it was muffled and kind of static-y sounding. This week, it was loud and clear. Like a drum. It was such a beautiful sound.

157 bpm this week, versus 130 last week. I take that as a good sign!

(click to make bigger!)

I have a 9 week ultrasound scheduled for Monday. After that one, I should be released from my clinic in NYC.

This still doesn't feel real.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The first ultrasound; or the most amazing experience of my life

As you, my faithful readers, know oh so well, I've had a million ultrasounds. Follicle checks, CD3 ultrasounds, even that rare ultrasound after the IUI to see the sperm placement. Many of these ultrasounds were unpleasant, either due to a gut full of follicles making the presence of a wand unbearable, or because of the complete stupidity of the doctor-in-training controlling said wand.

All of those now cease to exist in my mind.

There is no longer any room in my brain for those lackluster ultrasounds.

Buster and I arrive at my appointment on time. This is the office that force me to coin the phrase "preggo parade" because, well, every woman in the waiting room is noticeably pregnant. And back when I was going frequently due to my LEEP procedure, it was pure hell. And that's an understatement.

Well, I still had some weird, residual baby-bump envy, but it was nothing like it used to be. I'm just excited to someday have a bump!

I went back first for the medical history/weight/blood pressure portion of my appointment. The nurse asked if I had been drinking lots of water for my ultrasound. Um, no! No one told me I needed to do that! She told me not to worry and brought me a tall glass of ice water. Lovely!

The nurse (who was my age or a few years younger) was incredibly sweet, and I told her that we had been trying for over 4 years. She asked if we did IVF around here, and I explained to her that although we had gone to the one RE in town for quite awhile, I left unsatisfied and unhappy. I told her that we were accepted into a clinical trial in NYC, and that the cost of treatment was free. She seemed more interested than in just a writing-it-on-my-chart kind of way.

After a few more minutes, she came clean that she had been to my same RE for a year, and left unhappy. She is looking in to IVF, but the cost is just so overwhelming. I spent a good 15 minutes talking up my clinic and the clinical trial. I gave her my email address in case she had any questions.

I hope she goes for it. It was honestly the best thing that ever happened to Buster and I, and I would love to help other women battling infertility to achieve their dreams.

But back to the appointment. After the extensive medical history portion, I head back out to the waiting room to wait for the u/s tech to call us back. And after 15 minutes, he does.

And he looks just like Belle's father (Maurice) from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Identical. Not quite what I pictured for the u/s tech, but ok!

As we head back to the fancy new ultrasound room, I realize that I'm acutely aware of my lack of apparent emotion. I expected to be a big bundle of nerves and worry. I wasn't. But I also wasn't overly excited either, because I just wasn't sure what this scan would show. I was just there.

We head into the room with Maurice. It's a huge room. The u/s machine and table is facing the wall. There is a small loveseat beside the table. On the wall we are facing is a huge flat screen TV.

I didn't know what to do. I expected to be having a vaginal ultrasound. I mean, I'm just barely 7 weeks along. Admittedly, I did not research at what stage they can do the ultrasound on the belly (no idea what this is called, by the way).

I am just standing there, looking at Maurice. Buster has taken a seat on the loveseat. Maurice finally turns around and tells me to hop up on the table. He tells me to lie back, lift up my shirt and unbutton my pants and fold them down a bit. Well aren't you forward, you little scatterbrained inventor, you?!

I reach for Buster's hand as Maurice squirts that warm gel on my stomach (get your head out of the gutter!). I glance over at Buster out of the corner of my eye, and he's trying not to laugh. I am too, but probably not for the same reason as Buster. If I laugh, I'm pretty sure I'm going to pee.

Maurice starts looking for baby. I anxiously watch the screen. Remember how I was feeling a lack of emotion walking into the room? All of the sudden I'm flooded with panic and fear. I see my giant bladder. Then, I see my uterus. With something in it!

He zooms in and centers my uterus on the screen. Then he zooms in again and does some measurements. I'm still not even sure what I'm seeing. I know there's something there, but the only thing that is really catching my eye is a big round empty thing, and I don't think that can be good news!

Maurice doesn't speak during this time. He's concentrating, and I let him. He does another zoom-in, and I see the fluttering of what I can now assume is my baby's heart.

Tears start streaming down my face.

Our baby has a heart, and it's beating!

Maurice pauses the shot, then pushes some button and the sound of our baby's heartbeat fills the room.

Amazing.

I try stealing a glance over at Buster. I think his eyes are watery, but I didn't look at him too long. It was very difficult taking my eyes off of that screen for a split-second!

But Buster is squeezing my hand, and I know that means he is happy and excited.

Maurice tells me that I am measuring 6w5d, which is a couple days shy of where I had myself. He mentions that it's perfectly normal to have a little variance. We finish up, and Maurice hands me some photos of our little peanut.

Baby's second photo!

It was an amazing experience. And it's one that I never really pictured myself having. Buster and I are on top of the world.

___________________________

We moved this past weekend. It was an exhausting couple of days. I'd rather never move again. And we are trying to get ready for Vegas as well. We leave tomorrow morning, and we have so much to do before then. I'm so ready for a few days of relaxation. And I am more than ready to deliver Christmas to a family that deserves it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some updates, and Beta #4 results

I apologize for being MIA. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this December is the busiest one on record for Buster and I!

This past Monday, I had my fourth beta. This was 24dp6dt, or 6w1d. In order to fall within the normal doubling time of 72-96 hours for hcg > 1200, my beta needed to be a minimum of 5500.

Well, it was 11,517! That's a doubling time of 55ish hours, which I'm thrilled about! My E2 was 468 and my progesterone was >20, and my clinic was very happy with all of my numbers.

My first ultrasound is scheduled for this Monday, the 19th. My clinic also wants me to go in for two more ultrasounds on the following weeks. So, I will have an ultrasound at 7 weeks, 8 weeks and 9 weeks. I can't wait to see my baby!

In other updates, I have been absolutely swamped at work. It definitely makes my days fly by, but it's also giving me cause to worry a bit. I will be happy to finalize a couple of the projects and get them out of my life!

We leave for Las Vegas on Wednesday, and we are beyond excited! Plans have changed a bit, and Buster and I are the only people going! I'm completely fine with this, and am really looking forward to spending time with baby Jasmine's family!


Also, we've moved a couple things into our new place, but plan to do the bulk this weekend. Our poor undecorated Christmas tree has been living alone in the new house for almost a week now! I'm ready to get over there and decorate. Wish I could snap my fingers and all the moving and unpacking would be done...

I will update on Monday after our appointment! I hope to have wonderful news to share.

4 days until our first ultrasound!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Busy December (in all ways but one)

When I first typed the title to this blog post, I typed, "Busty December!". Apparently my mind is in the gutter.

I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with my 24-day dry spell... Yes, it's been that long since we have done "it". Poor Buster. And poor me!

In my defense (ha) we weren't "allowed" to after the embryo transfer. And since then, I've been a) worried that it would mess something up, and b) distracted beyond measure. I'm sure someday we may be intimate again...

______________________

In other news, Buster and I closed on our first home last weekend. It's a pretty small house (1,500ish SF), but it's bigger than the apartment we currently live in! It's not somewhere I'd like to live forever, but it's definitely a start!

Buster and my FIL have been painting over there every day since the closing. We are hoping to start moving stuff in this weekend. This will definitely keep us busy!

______________________

As if buying a house and moving before Christmas isn't enough to do... Buster and I leave for Las Vegas in two weeks!

And this is a pretty amazing story. 

As many of you who have been reading my blog for at least a couple months are well aware, I have a friend whose 6-month-old daughter was in desperate need of a heart transplant. Baby Jasmine was diagnosed with Dialated Cardiomyopathy, and was admitted to Loma Linda University Children's Hospital back in August. While her family lives in Las Vegas, Jasmine and her mother, Naycee, stayed in California for 92 days awaiting a new heart.

On November 28, 2011, Jasmine received that heart. And she is positively flourishing. 

It's only been a week and a half, but the doctors are shocked and impressed with her progress. She continues to amaze everyone. Jasmine is an inspiration. And so beautiful!

Jasmine post-surgery, looking healthier by the minute!
Back before Jasmine received her precious gift, I was posting her story a lot on my Facebook page. The more people I could get to "like" her page, the more supporters she had, and the more likely it would be for her story to get out.

A friend of mine saw my posting on Facebook. She actually works at the corporate office of my company (I'm a contractor, so I work on-site at the government lab). She brought Jasmine's story to the attention of the upper management and owner of the company we both work for. And here is where it gets pretty amazing.

My company decided to "sponsor" Jasmine's family for the holidays. They typically adopt a local family and provide Christmas for the family. And when I say "providing Christmas", they go ALL OUT. Jasmine's story touched them, and they decided that regardless of where the family is located, they could stand to not have to worry about affording Christmas. And that Jasmine's older brother and sister (15 and 8) shouldn't have to have a meager Christmas.

Obviously I was beyond thrilled with this development. I excitedly relayed the news to Naycee, and she was just shocked that people she didn't know could be so compassionate. 

A couple days later, my friend at the corporate office called me again. The point of this phone call was to inform me that the owner of my company wanted to hand-deliver the gifts to Jasmine's family. And she wanted Buster and I to accompany her.

I instantly started crying. What an amazing offer. Not only will I get to participate in bringing so much joy to a family, but I get to meet my friend Naycee in person! She has been such a wonderful friend to me, supporting me through all of my hard times. And I like to think I've done the same for her. And finally, we will get to meet.

When I called Buster to tell him the news of this generous offer, he cried. Our airfare and hotel room (at a BIG casino on the strip!) are covered. I will also be getting paid my normal wages, since the trip takes place during the week. We are also going to see a couple basketball games, as our home team is in a tournament there during this time.

We come home on Christmas Eve. I could not be MORE excited for this trip.

______________________

And one final update. I have another beta scheduled for Monday the 12th. I have also scheduled my first ultrasound! It is on Monday the 19th. I will be 7wk1d pregnant. We'll be leaving for Vegas on the 21st. 

This is shaping up to be the best Christmas ever.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beta #3: 17dp6dt, or 5 weeks 1 day

My beta from today is:

1574!

A doubling time of 46.26 hours. That's increased since last beta, but I'm ok with that, as it's still within normal range (last beta doubling time was 29ish hours).

My progesterone is greater than 20, and my E2 is 451. My clinic seemed pleased with those numbers.

As am I!

My clinic wants me to go back in for a FOURTH beta in a week from today. Just when I thought I was done with blood work...

I was hoping they would let me schedule my first ultrasound appointment, but alas, nothing of that sort was said in the message. I have since sent an email asking if I can schedule this appointment. Hopefully they will humor me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Full-circle: "Just Relax!"

Just Relax.

That's all I want to do.

During all my years of TTC, I scoffed at the advice to "Just Relax". Never once did I seriously consider relaxing. You fight for what you want, after all, right? And fight I did. Tooth and nail.

After so many years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds of stressing, worrying, trying, researching, and fighting, I think that's all I know how to do.

And I don't want to anymore. I don't want to stress. I don't want to research. I don't want to worry.

I want to enjoy my incredibly new pregnancy. My first pregnancy, ever. I want to take comfort in the fact that my test line is beating the control line. That I'm still peeing more frequently than before. That I am still having little bouts of nausea. That I'm not spotting, nor having any AF-like symptoms.

But the truth is I'm worried sick.

And I know I shouldn't be. Or maybe I should be. Who knows?

It's quite the conundrum, honestly. I know how I want be feeling and acting, but I can't force myself to get there. I can't let go of my fears and worries and doubts.

Because of all of my past disappointment in this realm, I'm expecting something to go wrong.

Am I an awful person because of that?

Will it get easier to accept that this is happening to me?

My third beta is on Monday. I'm on pins and needles, and already wishing away my weekend.

Monday, November 28, 2011

2nd beta results!

I finally got my results!

127

That's a doubling time of 29.95 hours. Buster and I are so thrilled!!

I go back in for another beta in a week from today. If all goes well at that appointment, my first ultrasound will be 3 weeks from today.

Thank you all for your support. The IF blogging community is amazing. <3

10dp6dt: waiting for beta #2

I went in for blood work this morning at 8:00 a.m. Hoping to hear from my clinic in the next two hours.

On a medication note, I stopped taking baby aspirin and have started Lovenox. Um, ouch. Lovenox SUCKS. So badly. I was expecting something similar to that of a Follistim injection. Wow, I'm naive.

My first attempt at jabbing the needle into my stomach didn't work. I wasn't applying enough pressure for a thicker needle than I was used to. So the actual injection hurt, the medication burned, and then it bled. And was sore for 10 minutes after.

Thankfully, I have gotten some helpful tips on how to make it more tolerable. Hopefully tonight it goes better.

From what I understand, I will be taking it for at least the first 12 weeks. I hope to learn more when I hear from my clinic today.

Symptom check:
Today is CD29, which is typically CD1 for me. No spotting or anything!

I'm still having bouts of nausea, and still have to pee more frequently. Last night I had a couple light cramps that were close to AF cramps, but not quite as severe. It worried me a bit, but my sticks were even darker today, so I feel better!

I also noticed myself getting tired out more quickly. I ran a bunch of errands yesterday morning, and by the time 10:30 a.m. hit, I was ready to curl up on the couch.

Insomnia has started to kick in a bit. Yesterday morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. Last night I got really intermittent sleep, and was up practically every hour.



Pee stick check:
Still loving my sticks! This morning's was beautifully dark. I think I'm about done POAS!


My FRERs:

And the Answers:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

9dp6dt

Things are going well!

This weekend can't go by fast enough. I am so excited to find out my beta results tomorrow. I have a good feeling that they have increased as they should!

And this "good feeling" I have is mainly based off of the progression of my pee sticks. And throw in a couple symptoms. I'm a happy camper.

Thank you all for your encouraging words and well wishes in my previous blog posts, but especially my beta results one. I can't adequately explain how much my blogging experience has helped me to just survive this whole roller coaster, and your comments have helped me through some really bad times.

Just know that you are immensely appreciated.


Symptom check:
Today is CD28. My typical pre-AF symptoms are notoriously absent. The most conspicuous, as I've mentioned previously, is no sore boobs. Not sore at all. I still find it fascinating, so I apologize that I keep on about it.

I'm still having little bouts of nausea here and there. My increased need to pee is still going strong as well.

I had a touch of insomnia this morning. I woke up at 5 a.m. and could not go back to sleep for the life of me. Not sure if that's just a fluke or if it's some kind of symptom, but it's probably worth mentioning.


Pee stick check:
They continue to darken up!

Here is a photo, taken yesterday, of my FRER progression up that point:


And a photo of this morning's FMU test, along with the FMU tests from the previous couple days:


And finally, the digi:



1 day until repeat Beta!

Friday, November 25, 2011

7dp6dt Beta Results!

"I have good news! Congratulations, you are pregnant."

Those words were spoken to me. To ME! I never thought I would hear them.

She did have to add, however, that my beta is a bit on the low side. It is 24.5. My progesterone and estradiol are both looking good. She really didn't seem overly concerned that it was a bit low, but I think she was obligated to mention it.

My clinic had initially wanted to see my number over 25. Hopefully 24.5 is close enough to be viable!

Even though I am 7dp6dt, which should translate to 13dpo, I feel as if I'm more 12dpo. The reasoning for this is because my embryo was on pace with a 5-day embryo (it wasn't hatching). So maybe he/she is just a little lazy?

Also, my tests have just started getting noticeably darker.

I got back in on Monday for a repeat beta. I will continue to pee on sticks this weekend, and I hope they get darker and darker. That will really help to ease my mind during this 3-day wait.

The nurse told me to take it easy this weekend. No heavy lifting, no sex, no baths/jacuzzis.

7dp6dt: Beta Day

After a loooong Thanksgiving day (Buster and I attend two back-to-back meals...), I got home and POAS. I was working with about a 2-hour hold while drinking water. My sticks were not impressive, and even lighter than previous sticks.

This worried me. I went to bed thinking negatively. Yeah, yeah...I know! But I couldn't help it!

I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with my newly-acquired urgency to pee. No POAS at this time, although I did POAS when I got up at 6:30 a.m., and the sticks were darker!

I headed in to my local clinic for my blood draw. Due to the "holiday" today, there was a strange nurse there. After she drew my blood and was attaching the label to the vial of blood, the medical technician came in to collect my paperwork and vial. He glanced at the paperwork, and said to the nurse, "They are requesting beta hCG as well."

She had only marked Progesterone and Estradiol!!! I could have hugged the med tech at this point. Could you imagine if they didn't do hCG??? I would be just beside myself.

The med tech seemed to be in a rush to get out of the office, which makes me hopeful that he'll process my blood work ASAP and fax the results to Alderaan. I hope to hear from Alderaan by noon EST, but who knows! Could be as late as 3 p.m.


Symptom check:
Other than my need to get up to pee in the middle of the night, I haven't really had any other symptoms of note. One symptom that is conspicuously absent is sore boobs. I am CD26, and as I normally have 28/29 day cycles, by this cycle day my boobs are normally quite tender and sore. But they are feeling fine right about now, which is odd. But I'll take any odd things at this point!

Pee stick check:
They are getting darker!

FRERs, FMU
Equate from last night and this morning
$ tree tests from the past 3 FMUs

And finally, the prettiest ones yet... SMU with an Answer and a FRER:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

6dp6dt: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey day, friends!

My beta is tomorrow morning. My clinic wants it to be over 25.

Let's get right to it...


Symptom check:
I woke up at 4 a.m. to pee, again. It's not a matter of me being too anxious to POAS, it's the fact that my bladder is so full that it hurts and I cannot honestly hold it. Third day in a row.

This morning I've also had some bouts of dizziness/light-headedness.

And (TMI), a good bit of creamy CM. And not the CM from progesterone supps... something different.


Pee stick check:
I have finally accepted the fact that my FMU sucks! This morning I used FMU and then POAS again with SMU. It's amazing the difference!

Here are some photos, for your viewing pleasure!

My last 4 FRERs:


Comparison photo of my two darkest sticks (yesterday PM and today SMU):


And finally, my weak FMU sticks, a comparison:


1 day until Beta!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5dp6dt: part two

I'm exhausted after an evening of cooking. Every Thanksgiving Eve, my sister and I head to my parent's house and cook all night with my mom. It's fun, but can also be stressful. Three strong-willed women in a smallish kitchen... well, you get the idea.

Before I went out there though, I POAS. And, well... it appears to be darker than this morning's test.

I gaped at the test for a few solid minutes. Mouth open and everything. I called Buster in the room and asked him to examine the tests. He confirmed what I had seen.


I know, it's not that much darker. It may not even appear darker in this photograph, but it is definitely *slightly* darker in person.

I am so anxious for tomorrow morning to get here.

Thanksgiving is the new Christmas.

5dp6dt: part one

Tuesday night is dart night. Buster is in a dart league, and on a team with his cousin, his brother, my brother and my father. Needless to say, they have a good time on Tuesday nights.

Which means I have a bad time (yes, like that time I had to clean up projectile vomit). My issue is that I am the lightest sleeper in the history of the world, and when Buster comes in trashed at whatever time of night, I am instantly awake.

Last night was no different. I'm not sure what time he came home, or what time he came to bed. But I do know that by the time he passed out, I was wide awake.

Also, I think he was having some episodes of sleep apnea. I'm not sure if it was alcohol-induced or what, but I've never heard him do anything like it before. I kept shaking him to get him breathing normally again, but after 5 minutes the breaths would shorten and eventually give way to some odd gurgling/choking sound. It was alarming.

Finally, it stopped. I'm not sure if he rolled over or changed position, but something fixed it.

At this point, I was awake and had to pee. BADLY. I was not going to get back to sleep without peeing. At 3:30 a.m.

I am still really hopeful that this urgency to pee is a good sign. I've never had this happen before. My luck, I'm just getting old and my bladder is weakening. Depends, here I come.

But I did look up the side effects for Dexamethasone, Prometrium, and Estrace, and none of them list frequent urination.

Symptom check:
Since this post is being written so early in the day, the only symptom I've had is the increased urgency to pee, which wakes me in the night.

I'm hoping some other symptoms crop up later today, but I'm not holding my breath.


Pee stick check:
What else is a girl to do at 3:30 a.m. other than pee on a stick?

The 88 cent Walmart test is no longer showing a line. The $ tree test is very faint, as is the FRER.

I am so ready for darker tests.


5dp6dt FMU FRERs

$ tree tests from the past several of days.
_______________

I joined a November FET group, and there are three other women who had FETs on the same day as me. Two of them got positive tests yesterday, and they are even darker today.

I can't help feeling like I'm on my way out. I know it's early. I know this. But, those women are getting lines. Shouldn't my lines be getting darker at this point?

Despair is creeping in, but I'm really trying to push it away.

I will POAS again this evening. Hopefully the line will be darker.

2 days until Beta!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

4dp6dt

Another day (practically) down. I am so anxious for Black Friday, and for nothing to do with shopping! I'm not even upset that I am working that day. I can't think of anything other than 8:00 a.m. on Friday = Beta.

I also want to mention here again that on transfer day, 4 days ago, I received an hCG booster shot. I finally got the dosage confirmed by my clinic. It was 600 units of hCG.

Trigger shots I've received in the past have been 10,000 units, and have lasted in my system for 8-12 days.

Given the above data, I feel pretty confident that by tomorrow morning the booster shot should be gone.

So, I guess tomorrow, there will be one of three things happening:
  1. I will get stark white BFNs, and I will know the booster is long gone. I will try not to despair, and hope that a line comes back.
  2. My lines will be darker, which will indicate that my body is starting to produce its own hCG.
  3. My tests may look exactly the same. And I won't know shit.
Symptom check:
I woke up at 4:30 a.m. unable to go back to sleep without emptying my bladder. I NEVER have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. NEVER. So, this is odd.

Tonight I'm having some realllllly slight AF-like cramps. Not even cramps. Like pangs. This just started about 30 minutes ago, and I'm liking it.

Especially after having zero symptoms all day. I had pretty much given up earlier today. Funny how a couple little twinges is enough to give you your hope back!

Pee stick check:
I have peed on sticks twice today!

This morning, my $ tree and 88 cent Walmart test were lighter than yesterday's.

At lunch, I went out and purchased 2 boxes of 3-pack FRERs, and a box of EPT digis. So, for PM pee, I used a FRER, a $ tree, and an 88 cent test.

The PM Walmart test showed nothing. The PM $ tree test is lighter than this morning's. The FRER is beautiful, lol.

$ Tree tests. 600 unit hCG booster shot on day of transfer seems to be practically gone.


PM FRER

Obviously I'm really hoping the FRER tomorrow morning is darker...

3 days until Beta!

Monday, November 21, 2011

3dp6dt and Happy ICLW!

Welcome ICLW'ers! For a quick recap of my babymaking history, check out my TTC Timeline page. But for a short summary, I am in the midst of my 1WW following a FET. Today is 3dp6dt, and we transferred one expanded blastocyst which had assisted hatching performed on it.

I sheduled my beta for Friday. Black Friday. Not a real pleasant sounding day for a beta, but whatever! Doctor's orders...

Symptom check:
Not much. Ok, last night I did have a little bit of a queasy feeling in my stomach, but that's it. And like I've mentioned in previous posts, I realize there is really no way to discern the cause of my symptoms (whether super early pregnancy, or because of the medication I'm on). I still want to list my symptoms, in case they may help someone else later, or help me later.

Here is a lack of usual symptom: my boobs are not sore at all. Typically by this time in a cycle, they start to get a bit sensitive. So far, I have none of that. Hmmm.

I still have the increased hunger, but I have now found that it is a side effect from the Dexamethasone, so forget that!

The increased urgency to pee is still around. I woke up at 2am and 4am reallllly wanting to pee, but held it until 6am. That was tough.

**Ok, I am editing this post to add that I'm feeling quite light headed this afternoon. I haven't taken any of my meds for the day yet, so I can't really blame them at this point. I'm just feeling a bit... off. 


Pee stick check:
Well, today's $ store test appears lighter than yesterday's. And just to add (more) confusion to this whole mess, today's Walmart test appears to be darker than yesterday's. Here are the pics, taken within the time limit. I'm posting yesterday's below them, for comparison's sake.




4 days until Beta!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2dp6dt

It has been about 52 hours since our expanded blastocyst was transferred to my uterus.

One thing I wanted to mention, as it had been awhile since I brought it up, is that Assisted Hatching was performed on this embryo. That makes me even more hopeful that he/she will decide to stick around!

Symptom check:
Well, nothing that I can definitely attribute to implantation or pregnancy at this point. I realize how hard (or impossible) it is to discern pregnancy symptoms from hormone-medication-symptoms at this point, but I thought I would go ahead and list any symptoms. That way I can look back at this later and perhaps learn something.

  • Last night I had some twinges happening. They were slight, but there. Was this dinner saying hello again, or something more?
  • The past two days I have been quite hungry. Like stomach-growling hungry. Maybe from the meds? Not sure.
  • Increased need to pee. Again, not sure if this is from meds or what. I usually have no issue with holding my bladder overnight, but last night I woke up at 2am reallllly wanting to pee. I held it so I could POAS with FMU, like a true soldier. My bladder woke me up again at 6:30 a.m. and that time I gave in.
 _______________

So, I've never had an hCG shot in the ass before. All hCG trigger shots I've done have been subcutaneous. And 10,000 units of hCG. Well, the only information I received regarding the booster shot was that it was 0.6 mL, and I'm not sure that's an easy conversion. I don't know the concentration of hCG, so it's really hard to say.

But, I'm rambling. My point is that as I've never had a booster shot, let alone in the ass. I was surprised when it didn't really show up the following day on my pee sticks. I can expect a nice, dark line from Ovidrel, and this booster shot really has thrown me for a loop.

Today's pee sticks are darker than yesterday's. I'm assuming the shot in my ass needed a bit more time to travel to my blood stream...?? I know that it's too early for my body to start producing hCG yet, so that really is the only explanation I can come up with.

Here is a comparison pic of yesterday's test versus today's. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!


 _______________

4 1/2 days until beta!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

FET #1

My first ever IVF transfer was a success!

Our day started off with us enjoying our continental breakfast at Holiday Inn Express. It is just ok, as most free breakfasts are, but I'll take saving some money when I can! After checkout, we took the train from New Jersey in to the city, and then a subway to the clinic (aka Alderaan). It was a beautiful, brisk, sunny day in New York City. Perfect day for becoming pregnant!

We arrived at Alderaan 30 minutes early. This was by sheer accident, as you can never really predict the timeliness of public transportation. Especially that pesky train from NJ to Penn Station, which always seems to be going slower than normal for one reason or another!

After a little stint in the waiting room, I finally got called back. I had to sign a few papers, and then I got to see a photo of my baby! Here is his/her first photo:

He/she looks just like me! My expanded blastocyst baby.
After I changed into my sweet, pink gown, amazingly sexy blue hairnet and matching blue booties, I headed into the procedure room (looking as if I was ready to hit up the red carpet!!).

Alderaan has some fancy equipment. Especially versus my local, sad-excuse-for-an RE's office. The table that you get up on has some crazy leg stirrups! Not the kind you pop your feet into... you have to lift your legs up and put your thighs (right above the knee) into them. The table sits low, so you feel even more exposed than ever.

Once I was in the VJJ-exposure contraption, the embryologist came over to me and introduced himself (totally my ideal situation for meeting people, especially men, for the first time! "I'm Kara, and this is my vagina! Nice to meet you!"). He then told me that he feels like this will work because my embryos is a good-looking one! I know he really has no way of knowing if this will work, but I'll take those positive thoughts, thank you!

The doctor came in then, and told me what to expect. The embryologist moved to his corner station where his microscope was set up. On the wall in front of me, there is a flat screen monitor. I was able to see what the embryologist was doing at his station. I saw him squeeze the pipette that housed my embryo into a dish. He then zoomed in on the little tiny embryo, and I got to see a close-up on the screen. It was magical.

He then used another pipette or syringe to gather the embryo back up, and then handed it over to the doctor. By that time, there was already a speculum all up in me, and the doctor had "cleaned out the area." He had used an u/s wand to get a look at my uterus. Once he had the syringe with the embryo in it, he popped it (yes, scientific terminology here!) through the catheter and into my ute! Voila!

The doc then handed the syringe back to the embryologist, and I watched him expel the remaining fluid into the dish. He then said, "All clear!" Apparently my embryo made it out of the syringe! Success!

After the procedure, I headed to the recover room. I relaxed, meditated, and thought plenty of positive thoughts while sitting in a comfy recliner with my feet up. After about 40 minutes, the nurse came by to give me instructions, paperwork, and the photo of my baby. She also had a syringe with her.

The syringe was an hCG booster shot. I was totally not expecting this! My plans for testing and not having to worry about a trigger shot were foiled! But, I'm quite glad I got the booster shot. I've heard positive things about it, and it can't hurt, right?

So, the nurse shot me in the ass with hCG, I gathered up my belongings and headed out. After changed, I went out to the waiting room and showed Buster the photo of our baby. He looked like a proud papa!

After a 7 hour journey, we made it home last night. It was an exhausting and exhilarating day!

Even though I got the hCG booster shot, I am still going to continue on with my plan of POAS every day. This morning was no exception.

I peed on a Dollar Store test, as well as one of those new 88 cent tests from Walmart. The hCG booster shot I received was 0.6 ml, which I think is equal to 6,000 units, but I'm not certain. This morning, I got a faint line on the Dollar Store test, and nada on the Walmart test. I was quite surprised at this. Regardless, I will be monitoring these tests daily.

My beta is scheduled for Friday the 25th.

My pee sticks for your viewing pleasure (to clarify: 1 day past transfer & hCG trigger. The line on the $ tree test is the booster shot!):

Dollar Store test with a faint line, 1 day past transfer & hCG booster shot.

Walmart 88 cent test with nada, 1 day past transfer & hCG booster shot.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FET Tomorrow!

My embryo transfer is tomorrow!

I am frantic today, trying to finish out my work day and remember what I need to pack...

We are leaving for NYC tonight, and will return home tomorrow after the transfer. It's a 6-hour drive, so tomorrow will be a loooong day (but incredibly worth it!).

I am taking my good headphones and my iPod so I can listen to my IVF Meditation track on the way home. Something about that English woman's voice is ridiculously calming.

Hope to update you all tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hormoney Granger and the Goblet of Prometrium

Thank you, hormone supplements. I love crying at the drop of a hat. Who doesn't?

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Goblet of Fire
Copyright PopCultureGeek.com
Yesterday, on my way to babysit (yes, I've picked up a second "job" in order to help pay for travel and treament! And for practice!), a song came on that reduced me to tears. The lyrics practically reached out and slapped me, they hit so close to home.

Hey Henry, can you hear me?
Let me see those eyes
This distance between us
Can seem a mountain size

Buster and I have known for years that our first choice for a boy's name is Henry. We agreed on it almost instantly, and in my mind I have pictured what my little Henry will look like.He is practically a real person to me.

(How crazy do I sound right now??)

So, hearing those lyrics obviously made me think of my future son. Of me singing that stanza to him someday. Or how applicable it is now, as there is a great distance between me and my frozen babies (one of which has to be a Henry, right?).

I debated on whether or not to explain this amazing coinicidence to my husband. You know as well as I that most men just don't get it. But, I have no one else I feel comfortable enough to explain this to (other than you all, of course!), so I attempted to relay the story and amazingness to him.

I got, "Hmm, I don't know what to say. I'm not a girl, babe. I don't know what it's like to have a bunch of hormones coursing through my body, and I just can't relate like you to that. But I love you very much!"

Cue more tears.

Sigh.

He did redeem himself by messaging me on Facebook minutes after this conversation to tell me how much he loves me, and to call me Hormoney Granger. So, thank you to Buster for my new nickname! Or the name of my future infertility-themed Harry Potter ripoff movie.

You would watch it, right??

________________________

And for your listening pleasure, The Decemberists with a live version of "Rise to Me":

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meds, hope, and laughter

I had another round of blood work this morning. My clinic called and said that it is looking as though my transfer will be this Friday the 18th. I am to start Estrace (estradiol) and Prometrium (progesterone) suppositories tonight. I started Dexamethasone (steroid) yesterday. And I am to continue on with my baby aspirin.

___________

Hope, or lack thereof, is a constant theme in an infertile's life.

I have written a handful (or more) of posts centered around hope.

And this is yet another.

I have found myself a bit troubled recently. Everyone around me seems to be really excited for my upcoming embryo transfer. More excited than me.

I can't seem to get overly excited. I think I'm just trying to stay grounded. To protect myself.

After explaining that to a friend, she said, "Look at it this way: either way you will be devastated if it doesn't work, so why not be positive and hopeful?"

Touché!

So, I'm going to allow myself to get excited. Why the hell not, right?

___________

In other IVF-related news, I am planning to laugh a lot this weekend.

Many of you may have seen this story which describes a study in which laughter increased the chances of pregnancy for IVF patients.

It's only one study, so who knows the legitimacy of the claim.

But... hey, it can't hurt, right?

My new favorite obsession is The Big Bang Theory. Not sure why it took me years to finally watch this show. Well, actually, I do know. I was put off by Darlene and David (from Roseanne) being on a show together. That's been done! I didn't want to see it again.

Well, the skeptic in me has been shown the light. This show is hilarious. I love all of the video game references and just general nerdiness of the show.

Rarely do network TV comedies reduce me to fits of laughter. And I have HBO to thank for that (RIP Flight of the Conchords).

The Big Bang Theory has broken the trend, thankfully.

So today I purchased the first three seasons on DVD. I plan to laugh my ass off this weekend.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Infertile women of merit; or my reaction to a reaction

Infertility hurts. I realize that this is not a news flash, but I'm putting out there that I know how much it hurts. How it completely and utterly rips you apart. Emotionally. Physically. It's damaging not only to your mental health, but to the relationships you hold most dear.

Like many infertiles, I cringe when I hear a pregnancy announcement. I rant and rave when that announcement is by a crackhead, a teenager, or someone who doesn't want a baby. Pregnancy announcements have left me in tears, they have left me angry, they have left me speechless.

When Michelle Duggar became pregnant with #19, my bitterness caused me to say some inappropriate things. After all, she already had 18 babies. I just want one. The Gods of Fertility are cruel, and I did not appreciate their sense of humor.

Fast-forward 18 months, and this time around I feel quite differently about the Duggar's latest pregnancy announcement for #20.

Have I matured as an infertile? Perhaps.

But more than that, I think I've really accepted my place in this world, as an infertile. 18 months ago, I thought that maybe I was just unlucky. I wasn't ready to label myself "infertile" quite yet. Today, however, I am not ashamed to say I'm infertile. Because, well, I am. This is me and my life, and I am doing my best to deal with it. Doing my best to come out in one piece on the other side. Baby in arms.

And because I have fully accepted my role as infertile, I hate to see other infertiles dragging our reputation and character through the mud. Yes, we all have bitterness, anger, and hurt due to the lot we've been dealt. Pregnancy announcements of any sort sting.

But resorting to juvenile name-calling and mud-slinging is beneath us, ladies. We are still women of merit, after all.

Don't let infertility turn you into someone you don't want to be; someone you wouldn't want your future children to emulate.

Here are some screenshots of my inspiration for this post. These are all posted on the 999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility Facebook page's comment about Michelle Duggar:


And a few of the responses that have irritated me:




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Well, I still hate my former RE

This morning I had a monitoring appointment. In case you are new to my blog, or have forgotten, I go to my former RE's office for monitoring. He is the only RE in town, and even though I have to pay for the appointments, it's cheaper than flying or driving to NYC.

Recently my appointments have been going well. Little to no awkwardness and quick (minus the initial monitoring appointment, that is...). Just the way I like them!

Today, while waiting pantsless on the table for my doctor to enter the room, I had a daydream. I envisioned myself happily writing a thank-you note to my former RE's office, after I had given birth to my baby. In this note, I would thank them for their support during my IVF cycle at another clinic. I would mention that I know it was an atypical situation, but that I appreciate them working with me and helping to make my dreams come true. I would include a photo or birth announcement of my baby, and maybe they could add it to their wall of babies.

I always seem to jinx myself.

In walks my former RE, and the new doctor-in-training for the month. My lining was at 7-point-something, and I had a follicle on the left side. As they swung the dildo wand from left to right ovary, pain forced me to wince.

I never have pain during an ultrasound. Even with tons of follicles. Weird. I attributed it to my slightly-full bladder, but who knows if that really had anything to do with it.

I have a couple cysts leftover from last cycle. Perhaps that's where the pain came from? I'm not sure, but my former RE called them corpus luteum cysts.There was also a follicle on my right ovary, along with the cysts.

After the wanding, I got dressed and met my former RE and the doctor-in-training in the consultation room next door.

I sit patiently and nod my head as he goes over the details of last cycle and this cycle, noting important dates and/or information. When he was done, he said (with a hint of snarkiness), "Well, I guess they will do what they will do with this then." ("They" being Alderaan)

Hmm, ok. He's said things like that before, and I just try to let them come in one ear and out the other. I realize maybe he's a bit offended that I'm not doing IVF with him, but come on. Can he really blame me for taking advantage of free IVF treatment? We aren't all earning doctor's wages.

Since this consultation part was so short, I thought I would ask him a question. I'm entitled to ask him a question, right? I mean, I do pay real money for these monitoring appointments. It's not like he is monitoring me out of the kindness of his heart.

"In your IVF cycles with patients, do cysts like these prove problematic? Could it delay transfer?" I asked.

Insert foot into mouth, apparently.

After a brief scathing look, he abruptly says, "Well they do things differently. I can't even begin to tell you how they will proceed."

Oh, thanks for that, jerk off. That's not what I asked! I asked how you would handle the whole cyst thing. I didn't ask you to play clairvoyant here!

I stood up and stormed out in a huff, biting my tongue.

I wanted to say, "Oh, did that question irritate you? Sorry for that, but I do PAY you for these visits. You are still my doctor, are you not? Or at least a doctor that sees me. I apologize if my assuming that you might answer ONE question for me has unleashed all of your apparent pain and agony from me choosing to do IVF at a clinic where I will get $15,000+ of treatments for free. Asshole."

But, I didn't say any of that. The reason being that I might very well need to visit that horrid man once more prior to my frozen embryo transfer.

_________________


On a positive note, thank you all for your comments on yesterday's blog post! I really appreciate the book suggestions, as well as the quitting smoking suggestions! I will keep you posted on both fronts.

One book I read recently that I forgot to mention in yesterday's post is Dead Until Dark, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Ugh, bleh and meh!

I decided to give it a shot because I enjoy the show True Blood, which is based off of this book series. Unfortunately, this was just too Sookie-fied. She annoys me in the show, and reading a book written like she talks is horrifying. I got through it, but there were several instances of me rolling my eyes, and lots of complaining to Buster (poor guy!).

_________________

I think I am going to start doing a weekly TV Roundup post. I know several of you watch the shows I do, and a weekly TV post may facilitate some interesting conversation on these shows. I hope to start this soon!

_________________

And finally, please keep little Jasmine Elise Townsend in your thoughts. Last night's update from Naycee (Jasmine's mother) was:

"Jasmine is struggling still with this infection in her lungs and I am very scared. They are telling me that they are afraid that she is running out of time and I just feel so helpless. Lord God please have mercy and grace on my family and bring her a new heart. I need her and would give anything to see her smile again."

Please feel free to drop by her Facebook page or blog to show some support to her family. I know they could use it right now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

miscellany; and how time is at a standstill

The majority of you reading this know how arduous the waiting can be when you are in the midst of TTC. So, I will spare you from having to read lengthy paragraphs about how tortured I am currently.

 Just know that the time between egg retrieval (ER) and frozen embryo transfer (FET) is an eternity.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning for an ultrasound and blood work. My clinic will call me later in the afternoon to tell me the plan. Hopefully in ten days I will be heading to Alderaan for my first FET!

_______

So, Buster and I have had a deal made for years. Since the summer of 2007, to be exact.

When we first started getting to know one another, we sent lots of emails back and forth. At that time, I was doing graphic design for the local newspaper, and Buster was working midnight shift at a local research facility. Because our schedules conflicted, we relied heavily on email correspondence instead of phone calls.

In one of those early emails to me, Buster mentioned that he really hoped I would make him quit smoking. He loved the fact that I didn't smoke (I think his ex-gf must have?), and was hopeful that I would somehow use my womanly wiles to get him to give it up.

Unfortunately, my womanly wiles failed me (curse you, womanly wiles!), and almost 5 years later, he has that same pack-a-day habit.

But we made a deal sometime in the summer of 2007. You see, this is when we knew we would be together forever. Only a few months into our relationship, we were both certain that we belonged together. And the talk of future babies was one of our favorite topics (squeeeee, right?).

We made a deal that when I get pregnant, he will quit smoking.

Well, here we are, ten or so days away from me being pregnant. At least temporarily (well, I guess it's temporary either way... 9 months or way less, depending). And he knows what this means.

I think I am dreading this as much as him. He hasn't really talked about how he's dreading it. He has just acknowledged the fact that he is going to quit.

But me, I'm scared shitless. He has been smoking a pack-a-day since he was 14. He is 29.

Have you been around someone who is in desperate need of a cigarette? I have. Grumpy sounds pleasant compared to the nicotine-starved beast Buster can turn into, sans cigarette.

I really hope he can quit, though. Obviously his health is ridiculously important to me. My grandfather died from lung cancer, and I don't want that to be Buster's fate.

And we would save quite a bit of money ($1,875+) per year if he would quit.

And I wouldn't have to worry any longer if my clothes or hair or the inside of my car smelled like a stale cigarette.

I will be sure to keep you posted on his progress!

_______

I have been meaning to blog about the books I've recently read, and about the TV shows I'm currently watching, but I never get around to it. Today, however, I've decided to give you the lowdown on my current status regarding...

Books

I have mentioned this before, but will again in case you missed it: I'm a complete and utter lunatic when it comes to choosing a book to read. It is very difficult for me to take a leap and read a book.

First, I don't want to be disappointed. I only want to read good books. I realize I'm asking a lot here, but I don't care. I am so afraid of wasting my time on a bad book. So instead of trying lots of books out, I wait and wait and wait until I get the courage to try one. That "courage" usually comes after reading countless reviews online, and sometimes polling my friends.

Second, I want books in a series. I don't want to mess around with stand-alone books. I need to really get to know the characters, the world, everything. I want to fully immerse myself in this world. This is why I am so enamored by fantasy books.

After I finished A Dance with Dragons (the fifth book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin), I was desperate for a new read. After some research, I purchased Gardens of the Moon, the first book in The Malazan Book of the Fallen series (a TEN book series!) by Steven Erikson.

Disappointed is an understatement in trying to describe my thoughts on the book. The writing style is odd, and I couldn't even get past the first chapter. Nothing there to hold my interest. And I don't think it helped Erikson's case that I was reading his book directly after reading all five in the series by GRRM.

Needless to say, my quest (I might as well use fantasy language, right?) for a new series continued.

Enter The Hunger Games. This isn't quite in the same vein as the fantasy I had been reading, but I opted to give it a shot based on stellar reviews from Amazon members and from friends. And it was part of a three-book series. And it was incredible.

I really enjoyed this series. I have two small complaints: 1) the books were too short! I prefer 1200 page tomes, and 2) I felt that the third book seemed rushed in parts. But overall, I would definitely recommend this series. And now I am excited for the movie that comes out next year!

So once again, I find myself in search of another series to read. While browsing on Amazon this weekend, I found a 99¢ fantasy book with pretty good reviews. I am about three chapters in to Taming Fire, the first (and only as of yet) in The Dragonprince Trilogy, by Aaron Pogue.

For 99¢, I'm quite pleased with the value of this book. It's enjoyable so far, and the character description is lovely. Hopefully Pogue is consistent, and the rest of this book is as good as the first three chapters.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tricks, treats, and the end of a haunting.

If the witch would have arrived last year on Halloween, you would have found me curled up in a ball, sobbing hysterically. Or just moping around depressed, muttering to myself. And truth be told, last Halloween my temperature dropped significantly (yes, I was still BBTing) and I knew the witch was bound to show.


And she did, two days later. Here's an excerpt from my blog post on November 2, 2010:


Well, I'm finding my mood getting increasingly bitter and depressed. I'm doing everything right, and my body just will not cooperate. I'm honestly not sure how many more CD1s I can face. It gets so exhausting standing up after being knocked down month after month. I know, it's only standing up, how hard can it be? And honestly (as many of you know), really fucking hard.

Depressing, right?

This year, I have a hard time remembering who that girl is. I know, I know. I'm not pregnant. But I have a lot of hope, and that is something that had really been missing from my life this time last year. Shit, who am I kidding? It's something that was missing for a steady period of about 10 months.

Maybe a hopeless 10 months doesn't sound that bad to you, but it was hell for me. I operate best when I have something to look forward to. It could be something small, but as long as it's there, I'm ok. 10 months of shitstorm and only a black abyss where hope used to be is a hard 10 months.

I digress.

This Halloween I was ecstatic at the witch's arrival. Not only does this mean I am that much closer to my embryo transfer, but who doesn't love a bit of irony?

I had blood work and an ultrasound done this morning. A bit ago I received the call from Alderaan stating that everything appears as it should, and we are on track for transfer in a couple of weeks! It's looking like a November 17 transfer. I will know if I'm pregnant or not by Thanksgiving.

________________

In other news, some of you may (most of you may not) remember the abandonment I felt when my former OBGYN mysteriously up and left her practice. I even had nightmares about it! I'm weird, I know.

The worst part of the whole thing is that I had no idea where she went or what happened to her! Googling her name online revealed that several other of her former patients were left wondering the exact same thing as myself.

Fast-forward a little over a year...

I heard a radio commercial announcing the grand opening of her own practice! I was flooded with such relief, and that feeling of peace that comes when you solve a mystery that has eluded you for some time.

Now, I just need to hurry up and get pregnant so I can visit her at the new practice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 7 Embryo Report: The Final Update

After waiting ALL DAY, I finally got my update at 4:25 p.m.

If you recall, yesterday we had 2 embryos make it to blast and get frozen.

Today's report, out of the 4 remaining embryos, 2 more made it to blastocyst!!

WE HAVE 4 SNOWBABIES!!

I am so incredibly happy. I know this is no guarantee of anything, but this will give us 4 FETs. I can't ask for much more!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 6 Embryo Report

I called the clinic at 11:00 a.m. on the dot this morning. The embryologist who answered informed me that she did not have my updated chart yet.

"Hopefully this means they are busy with cryopreservation."

Yes, hopefully!

She told me to call back at 2. Longest three hours ever!

I called back at 1:57 p.m. No answer.

AHHHH!

I tried several more times over the next 20 minutes, and finally the embryologist answered.

Day 6 Embryo Report:
  • 2 embryos made it to expanded blastocyst this morning, and were frozen. The embryologist said that these two pretty much skipped over blastocyst phase and headed straight into expanded blastocyst. One is graded B and the other B/C.
  • Of the 4 remaining, 3 are cavitating and one is compacting. The compacting embryo and one of the cavitating embryos did not show any growth from yesterday. However, two of the cavitating embryos did in fact show some growth. They will culture these until tomorrow morning, and hope to get another blast or two.
Overall I feel really pleased with this report! I HAVE TWO SNOWBABIES!!

Would I have liked to have more blastocysts by today? Well, sure. But I'm so thankful to have two, and there is always that chance I could get another one by tomorrow.

Thank you so much for your support! It is so appreciated.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 5 Embryo Report

It's funny, this whole waiting for an update thing.

After yesterday's report, I felt so much more relaxed! That lasted all evening, and right up until this morning. Then, starting at 7:30 a.m., all I could think about were my embryos. And how noon could not get here fast enough. At 11:45 a.m., I started getting a bit panicky.

I called at noon, on the dot. No answer. Argh!

I called back at 12:04 p.m. An embryologist picked up. Phew.

So, without further adieu, here is my...

Day 5 Embryo Report:
3 embryos are cavitating
2 embryos are morulas
1 embryo is compacting

And 4 embryos (5-cell, 4-cell, and two 2-cells) were thrown out due to no growth.

Basically, I have 6 embryos that are just knocking on the blastocyst door. The compacting one is practically there already.

I'm hoping that as today progresses, some of those 6 will go ahead and "go blast" for me. I'm hopeful that I may have a couple snowbabies when I call for tomorrow's update.

The embryologist mentioned that all 6 are within normal range for Day 5.

I am just elated! I think this is great news, and I can now allow myself to relax. For 16 hours.

Come 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, the panic will once again set in, and I will be a wreck until I hear from the embryologist.

_________________

Thanks for the comments yesterday regarding the posting of my embryo reports! I'm glad they may help or interest some of you going through the same thing!

_________________

I have finally (mostly) finished the blog/website for Jasmine's Hopeful Heart. Stop by and take a look, or follow if you are feeling frisky!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Embryo Report: Day 3 and Day 4

I'm not even sure if anyone cares to read this info, but I figure it might help people in the future who obsessively google looking for reassurance. Like me.

Day 3 Embryo Report:
2 embryos @ 8-cell
1 embryo @ 6-cell
4 embryos @ 4-cell
3 embryos @ 2-cell

The 2-cell embryos did not grow from Day 2 to Day 3. All of the embryos are graded B or C, which is average.

After this report, I became a bit worried. I obsessively googled, which only increased my anxiety. Several of my embryos are lagging behind, which scared me. I even had a nightmare last night, in which all of my embryos died. It was awful.

Today could not come fast enough.

Day 4 Embryo Report
All 10 embryos are still in culture, which means they are still growing! Great news!

2 embryos are compacted
1 embryo @ 8-cell
2 embryos @ 7-cell
2 embryos @ 5-cell
1 embryo @ 4-cell
2 embryos @ 2-cell

The two compacted embies are right on track! This elates me. The 8-cell and two 7-cell embryos are one day behind. They will culture the embryos for 7 days total, so I'm ok with them being a day behind. As long as they make it to blast, who cares, right??

The two 5-cell and one 4-cell embies are two days behind. The embryologist told me that they can sometimes lay dormant for a day, and then start progressing normally. I hope this is the case with these ones, and they catch up by Day 7.

The two 2-cell embryos... well, I'm giving up on them. They must have grown slightly from yesterday, but not enough to gain a whole cell. I'm assuming they are a lost cause at this point.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this report. We have 2 that are looking great, and 3 that are looking quite good. I would be more than happy with 5 snowbabies!

I will be calling again tomorrow, and will update you all on the report. We might have some blasts by tomorrow...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 2 Embryo Report!

It took every ounce of my strength to wait until 11:00 am to call the embryologist at Alderaan today.

Surprisingly, an embryologist answered the phone. I was expecting to have to leave a message.

Egg #11, who was immature when retrieved, never did mature. It had to be tossed. I expected this, and am ok with it.

All ten of our embryos are still in culture (which means they are still growing)! They are graded B & C, which is apparently average.

We have the following:

3 embryos @ 4-cell
2 embryos @ 3-cell
5 embryos @ 2-cell

I asked the embryologist if she thought that most of them would make it to day 5, and she said yes, considering they are all within normal range for day 2.

I can't wait for tomorrow's report!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

4 1/2 + (11-1) = cloud 9

Hi friends!

I'm sorry to have left you hanging for so long. It is impossibly difficult for me to type up a blog post on my phone. I was lucky enough to get to a computer for the last post, but that didn't happen again.

Buster and I had a wonderful 4 1/2 days in the city. We did some touristy things, such as hit up the American Museum of Natural History and Ellis Island. We also visited many wonderful restaurants. And shopped. Pretty much all you could hope to do in NYC!

View of lower Manhattan from the Statue of Liberty ferry ride.

My appointments were progressing quite well! Each day, the nurses and study coordinator seemed pleased with my progress and response. At one point, the study coordinator informed me that I'm only the second mini IVF clinical trial patient he's seen with so many follies!

Two days prior to egg retrieval, I had 14 follies. I was incredibly pleased with this, but still nervous about the actual retrieval. What if none of the follicles contained viable eggs?

I think the worrying and questions stems from my "unexplained" infertility. Since we don't really know what's wrong, I fear the worst in every scenario.


Because I had so many follicles, they recommended I do general anesthesia, instead of the typical local anesthesia that most mini IVF patients undergo. We had to pay $500 for it, but I think it was a worthwhile investment.

They got 11 eggs at the egg retrieval! ELEVEN!

I was (and still am) super excited about that number! On the paperwork they give us when we join the study, they anticipate 3-5 eggs, so yeah... I'm feeling pretty good!

And even better... I got a call from the embryologist today. Out of the 11 eggs retrieved, 10 were mature. All 10 were injected with Buster's sperm (ICSI), and all 10 fertilized!

I know that this in no way indicates that all 10 will be around on Day 5, but I'm just over the moon. I was so nervous that none would fertilize, or that all of my eggs would die. So many ridiculous scenarios run through your head during this IVF process.

So, for the next step...

They will let our little babies grow for 5 to 7 days. The ones that make it to blastocyst phase will be frozen. Then, on CD19 of next cycle, I will have my FET, where they will transfer one embryo.

The reason they do not do a fresh transfer with the mini IVF is because of all the Clomid I had to take. Since it has adverse affects on uterine lining, they like to play it safe and just wait until next cycle.

I can't wait for November.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

the city sleeps

It's a gray Sunday morning here in New York, New York. The city is quiet (at least in this neighborhood!). And it's nice.

The hustle and bustle of the city is taking a toll on Buster and I. We aren't used to it, and it can easily put us in a foul mood. 

Yesterday, we visited the American Museum of Natural History. 

It was great! We saw a show at their planetarium, and really, we could have left after that and I would have been happy. I had only been to a planetarium once in my life, and it was when I was a small child. I barely remember it, but I know I loved it.

This one was no different. It was wonderful. 

The museum itself was quite crowded. TONS of strollers, threatening to run us over at any second. Lots of bobbing and weaving on our parts, trying to avoid crashing into people, or being crashed into.

After the museum, we headed back to our NYC home, which is in Gramercy Park. Both subway trains we had to take to get "home" were so jammed! I've never seen one that packed, and they are usually quite filled during the week with people going to work and whatnot. 

It really gives claustrophobic new meaning.

But anyway...

How 'bout the good stuff?

Friday I had an appointment at the clinic. I had 5 to 9 follies sized 11-14. They are incredibly pleased with my response! My estrogen was 1100 something. Friday night, I did my last shot of Follistim. I am continuing with the Clomid until further notice.

I go back in today for another appointment. I can tell my follies have grown. A lot. My lower abdomen is aching. Tender to the touch. But, it's worth it!

They are estimating my egg retrieval to be on Tuesday. 

I'm pretty disappointed with my packing for this trip. I really need some stretchy pants. Jeans are painful at this point! I guess I'll *have* to do some shopping while here in NYC... bummer! ;)

I will update more soon!
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