Monday, September 21, 2009

It's over

So yeah, negative beta today.

I waited forever to get my call and was flipping out. I knew what the result was, but needed to KNOW, ya know? Sigh.

I had one meeting today - one - from 2:30 to 3:30. I usually get called well before 1 with a beta, and by 2pm I was still sitting there, at my desk, waiting for the stinking phone to ring.

I was starving, my blood sugar was crashing, and I couldn't leave my desk in case I missed the call. I finally had to email a colleague and ask him to heat up my lunch for me so I could eat. At my desk.

He finally replied, helped me out, and I could then stuff the roast chicken and potatoes into my gullet. At which point the person I was meeting with showed up - 15 minutes early.

She wandered off to chat with someone else while I continued to suck back the protein. Finally the phone rang at about 2:25 and I got the news I knew was coming, but dreaded anyway.

Negative. Follow up/review appointment booked for October 5.


There's so much going through my head right now, but I don't have the strength to put it all out on to the page today. Maybe sometime soon.

Thanks to all for following along and for the good wishes on the way. It's much appreciated.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From hope to this

The two week wait sucks. No matter how you slice it, two weeks is a long time. Especially when you've been used to getting your information on a daily basis - all of the sudden you get to transfer and you're cast adrift with no appointments, no phone calls, no nothing for two.whole.weeks.

Well, unless you're me. Then you get your progesterone tested seven days post transfer, but still. Even a week's a long time.

That first week is something like sweet bliss. You actually revel in being able to sleep in that little bit longer because there are no appointments. You don't jump like a crazy person every time the phone rings because you're not waiting for those daily results. And you float along on a bubble of hope that this time, yes this time, things might just work.

You are safe and secure in that bubble because you can't test during that time - it's really too early, and any result you get is likely still the trigger shot. So you bobble along, dreaming of baby showers and what the nursery will look smile at other pregnant women, thinking you'll soon be joining the ranks of the swollen bellied, and everything is just plain good.

Then week two hits.

All of the sudden, it's okay to think about testing. You madly scan all the posts you can find on every message board you've become a member of, looking for stories of who peed when and got what result. And as the days go by and you realize that you're past the point of where so many others got their BFP if they got one at all, you start to panic.

It is this panic that lead me to pee on a stick last night. And this morning. And it's the results of those tests - both negative - that have sent me on an emotional downward spiral today.

Everyone keeps telling me it's still early. That there's still lots of time. That I'm not out, that there's still a chance. And yes, they're technically correct. But I can't get the feeling that if it had worked something would have shown up by now out of my head.

I think of all the symptoms I had the one time I actually was pregnant. The food aversion, the intense sleepiness, the round ligament pain. I haven't had any of it - ANY - this time around. People will again tell me that no two pregnancies are the same and you won't necessarily have the same symptoms. But even one would be reassuring - and I have none.

And I noticed today my boobs don't hurt anymore. Given how sore they've been in the past, that can't be a good thing. It just can't.

With my last pregnancy, my First Response test picked up my hCG when it was only 7. Seven! Yes, they're super sensitive, which only reaffirms my thoughts that if something was actually happening, it would show up. It just would.

And it hasn't.

I'm so sad, I just can't stop crying. I'm sitting at my desk at work and I'm a mess. My boss has been great - keeping people out and just giving me my space, but I can't stop. I feel like I'm in a fishbowl and everyone who passes by looks inside to see what's going on because my door is closed. That never happens around here, so people feel the need to look. And so I get all of these sad looks and platitudes - all very well meant, this I know for sure - and I just want to crawl into a hole and shut out the world.

And to add insult to injury, I'm surrounded by pregnant women. I work in the same building as Mt Sinai's OB/GYN department, so there are bellies everywhere. I had two of them in my elevator coming up to work today. I had to bite the inside of my cheeks to keep from bawling on the spot. I barely made it to the safety of my office before the tears started flowing. And I just can't get them to stop, an hour and a half later.

I have no idea why I even allowed myself to hope that this time might have been it. Shouldn't I know better by now? Hasn't almost five years of negatives and tears taught me nothing? Deep down I've always felt like I'm destined to be that person that things just never work out for. And it's increasingly looking like I was right.

Don't get me wrong - I'll be the first to admit that my behaviour has been idiotic should, for whatever reason, things turn out more positively in the end. But from where I sit, I just can't see it happening.

I have no idea where to go or what to do after this if Monday's beta is indeed negative. We're out of options. Out of money. At the end of the road. We have two embryos left from our earlier cycle, but there the bottom of that cycle's barrel, and we know that our embryos don't thaw well - or take, for that matter. So unless we win the lottery, we may very well be at the end of this long and sad journey.

And that breaks my heart. Just when I thought it couldn't break anymore.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Home sweet home

Both for me, and our adorable, in-fantastic-shape embies.

That's right, as of about 10:20 this morning, three, count em three, embryos found their way home to my uterus where they belong.

It was kind of bittersweet to have to do a day three transfer, but the relief of just having them back in the habitat they desire was immense. I don't think I would have been able to function waiting to see if they made it to day five, so I sucked it up, accepted it, and embraced the new plan.

Transfer time was scheduled for 10am so by 8:20, we were on the road. We'd done the progesterone shot and put in the estrace, I put on my comfy pants, and we were off. Since I was able to eat this time and didn't want my blood sugar to peak or crash, we stopped at McD's and I had an egg mcmuffin. Not too many carbs and lots of protein - just what I needed. And a decaf coffee and bottle of water, to try to get that bladder of mine full. The joy of transfer day - the only real pain is from having a full freakin bladder!

The ride in was delightfully uneventful, so we were there 20 minutes ahead of time. Found a spot in a cheap lot, and were sitting in the chairs at LifeQuest by 9:20.

Eventually I was called in and we did the whole double gown thing. I slapped on my pink socks and in we went.

The ultrasound tech did a check to ensure my bladder was full enough (I was worried it wasn't!) and it was actually OVER full. I can't really feel too much of anything other than general fullness down there anyway - still sore from retrieval and the resulting gas that just hasn't gone away. So the u/s tech has me slip out of the room, pee a cup's worth of liquid, and we were back.

Dr. H finally joined us and said it was a good news day. All three were still going strong, all grade two, and two were 7 cell while the other was 8. Exactly what we wanted them to be by this time. We asked if we should be transferring three and his response was absolutely yes, but if we didn't want to we could come back on day 5 and wait to see what we had then.

Needless to say, we jumped at the chance to do three today.

He later told us that it's exceedingly rare for triplets to result from three transferred on day three (lots of threes there) so not to be too worried. Hubs breathed a small sigh of relief. Small. But we went with it.

The rest of transfer was pretty uneventful. The actual transfer itself was quick and thankfully they managed to find the 'sweet spot' relatively quickly, so that was a bonus. Previous transfers hadn't gone so well - we were in there forever, my legs got twisted into weird positions, and I ended up with mega leg cramps. This time - nothing. Simple. Easy peasy.

After transfer Dr. H told us that he's really quite hopeful that these embryos will result in a real pregnancy. I don't remember him saying that after our frozen cycle, but do remember something to that effect after our first fresh. Back then, he was right - it did take, but alas, it was either not viable on its own or the progesterone issue made it so. So I'm hoping that this time, he's right again.

We talked about it all coming down to whether or not my body wanted to accept the little guys and actually hold on to a pregnancy. I reminded him that even though the last one wasn't viable it was a tenacious bastard because it held on for so long, so hopefully we've got another batch of fighters this round - just better quality fighters. Fingers crossed.

You already know I'm kinda superstitious, so part of our post retrieval plan has always included going for a fry up after transfer. I read somewhere that it helps with implantation...hahahaha...I'll do whatever it takes! So Hubs and I headed to Denny's and I had my scrambled eggs, etc. I won't eat again for the rest of the day!

We finally stumbled back home around noon and I've been lazing around ever since. Still feeling crampy and bloated, so today's been all about watching movies and taking it easy. I even had an hour long nap not too long ago. I figure I don't have to worry about messing up my sleep schedule tonight since I'm off for the rest of this week. The progesterone has always knocked me out, so I'm expecting this round to be no different.

So there you have it! Now it's all over but the waiting. I'm in for a progesterone test in a week, then the beta the week after. I know I'll be testing mid next week - can't wait for beta, no way! - but until then, I'm going to enjoy the possibilities that currently, finally, exist and revel in the lack of waiting-for-daily-phone-call stress that is now my life. That was killer!

Now to over analyze ever twinge, cramp, symptom!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still hangin' on...

Got our call today and it seems our three embryos are thus far hanging on for dear life.

At this point they're supposed to be 3-4 cells and that's exactly what two of them are. One is five cells or more - so a bit advanced. I'm thinking that's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a bit advanced. As long as it doesn't continue to grow at some weird rate, we should be okay.

So now, instead of waiting for a day five transfer as we've done in the past, we're doing a day three. None of us want to take any chances that by day five, nothing will remain, so day three it is!

Transfer is at 10am tomorrow, so we need to be there by 9:30. They'll do a quick ultrasound to ensure my bladder is full enough - the joy of transfer is that you need a full bladder - then we'll be off to the races.

The only wild card at this point is how many we'll end up transferring. Hubs had always said he'd never do three, but given everything else, if three is what's recommend, that's what we'll do.

Guess only time will tell.

In the meantime, we're currently in a bit of a scramble. Generally speaking, the clinic gives you antibiotics to take on the day before transfer. Four pink pills to ensure all is well in the uterus before you actually make the transfer.

Well, we picked our stuff up on Friday and were told the antibiotics were in the bag. Guess what? No antibiotics. Fuck! So now I'm spending my afternoon chasing down the clinic, trying to get them to call a prescription into my local Shoppers so I can actually get the danged drugs in my system before tomorrow rolls around.


Other than that, I'm in a much better head space today than I was yesterday. Still hurting a bit from the ER - the gas pressure alone is insane! - but I'm a bit more hopeful. And I'm not sleeping all day. Figure those are all good signs.

Except for the gas, that is.

UPDATE: got the antibiotics! Emailed Dr. H, he copied my fab nurse, and she called it in for me on her day off. Then the pharmacy called me to say they were ready, and Hubs picked them up. They are currently in my belly. Crisis averted. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

And then there were three

Seven eggs retrieved, seven eggs mature.

And only three fertilized.

Once again, I'm crushed.

I've spent the entire day in disbelief, either bawling my face off or sleeping. I can't get enough sleep. I haven't even left the house today. I did manage to shower and have three real meals so no need to call out the interventionists just yet, but still. Not a good day.

When the nurse called, I just couldn't believe the news. I went from being delighted that seven actually were mature, then my spirits plummeted as soon as I heard that only three managed to fertilize.

What the hell is wrong with me? We did ICSI for pete's sake - why won't my damned eggs fertilize? Not like we ever had a snowball's chance in conceiving on our own before, but I know that's totally outside the realm of the possible now, when more than 50% of the mature eggs simply won't fertilize even when FORCED. Just insane to me.

I've had a very woe is me day. I'm holding on to the hope that those three are strong and will make it another day. And I will beg for a day three transfer - the thought of waiting until day five with only three on the go fills me with abject dread. Let's just hope the doctor feels the same way.

And if by some rare chance we actually have all three left on transfer day, it looks like we'll put all three back in. Had you asked me if this would ever happen, even a week ago, I would have laughed. Hubs is so scared of multiples that the thought of putting three back in on a fresh cycle gave him palpitations.

That was all in the past. Circumstances certainly do change. And if that's what they suggest and we actually still have three on the go, three it will be.

I'm just so sad and scared of what might happen. This is our last chance. Period. This is it. And now, the thought of having nothing left to transfer makes me want to vomit. Seriously. I just can't believe that we're walking this insanely fine line between possibility and failure. 'Cause there are no other chances after this.

I'm so scared that no one will ever call me mom. I'm furious that some families can have 19 kids at the drop of a hat, and we can't even seem to have one. And while I'm by no means counting us out yet, I'm just so scared that a child free life is what the future may hold for me.

Here's hoping that tomorrow we find out all three are holding on for dear life and that Monday, Labour Day, they'll be back where they have the best chance of succeeding to thrive.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lucky number 7?

Yes, egg retrieval was today. Fun.

So where do we start? Got up at 5am, finally got yesterday's blog posted, and hit the road around 6. Managed to find street parking in front of the clinic, and made it up to the 18th floor in time for our 7am check in.

Where we, of course, waited 20 minutes for anything to happen.

Finally they called my name and the real fun began. Got into the gowns, put on my cute socks and in came the nurse to put in my IV.

Backing up for a minute, let me tell you about last year, when we did our last retrieval. I was greeted by a nurse who was new to the clinic, and tried to do my IV. Long story short, she butchered my arm, blew my vein, then pushed insanely hard on said blown vein to 'prevent bruising'. It hurt like a mofo and my blood pressure was through the roof by the time we finally got the IV in.

Well, you can imagine my delight when that same nurse tried to come at me with the IV again. Argh.

I figured alas, she's been here for at least a year now, doing nothing but this - so she has to be better at it now.

Yeah, not so much.

She was flicking my veins and tried a crazy one on the side that, again, hurt like a mofo. Finally, she decided to go get someone else, and soon we were off and running.

Hubs was able to come in then, gown up, and we were off.

Up onto the table I went. The blood pressure cuff and pulse ox went on, the doctor came in, and the drugs went into the IV. And things got a little blurry after that.

As they're draining the follicles, the nurse called out something - like drip, dripping, stop - while the embryologist on the other side of a little window counted the eggs as they come through. Last time, they counted to 15. I was delighted. This time I heard them say three...then stop. For a while.

Then I heard 'four, five, seven so far'.

And Dr. H stopped.

I was relieved to hear so far, but then I realized that he was done. I asked if there were only seven, and he repeated, so far.

I closed my eyes and hoped beyond hope that there were more.

Then I heard it - seven eggs total.

And I started bawling. From 17 follicles, to 7 eggs. Quite a drop from the 15 of last time. But as I keep telling myself, last time didn't work.

Dr H came up to me and said we got five good ones from the left, and two from the right - that for some reason it didn't give us much this time. He figures we'll have enough to get two for transfer, but likely will have nothing to freeze.

I just kept crying.

Right after that they got me up and we shuffled me back to my little cubby space. I just sat in the chair and cried, while Hubs kept trying to tell me it would all be okay.

Eventually they came back, told us Hubs' sample was okay, took out my IV, and sent us back down to the 11th floor for our instructions. I tried to hold it together.

Back at Hannam, we went in to chat with nurse Jenn. She handed us the progesterone in oil which I start tomorrow, and reiterated that we'll get our first phone call saying how many were mature and how many fertilized tomorrow. I told her we got seven and that I started bawling on the table - and she said she knew, Dr. H had told her. But she reiterated that the estrogen supports the follicles we got so that should bode well for having the max be mature.

Hubs and I hopped in the car and headed home, hitting McDonalds and just making the breakfast deadline. I updated Facebook and some message boards I frequent, then passed out on the couch. I finally got up around 5pm and told Hubs I was hungry so he made a super yummy dinner and we watched a very bad movie. But there was ice cream, so all was not lost.

And now, I'm spent. Totally spent. Emotionally, physically, financially spent. I've been up super early every day for the past seven days. Tomorrow will be my first chance to sleep in in what feels like forever. And I can't wait.

I'm still pretty sore from the whole process. Again, I'd forgotten just how much it can actually hurt. Thankfully there's Tylenol, and hopefully sleep will work its magic and I'll be on the road back to no pain shortly.

But for now, I'm off to bed. I know it's early, but I figure it'll take me a while to even get upstairs, so might as well get a start on it now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Very superstitious

Writing's on the wall...

Man I love that song.

But it describes me to a t these days.

As you likely well know, today (I would have published this yesterday but my computer was acting up) is retrieval. E2 went up to 5886 yesterday which is good. So we're on for 8am this morning.

So now the rituals begin. I may have mentioned before that my nails are currently painted La Paz-itvely hot, because it (kinda) has the word positive in it. They ask you to take your nail polish off for the pulse ox machine, so I've removed only the polish on my left index finger. I need all the positive I can get! Sorry for the crappy pic - the flash totally changed the colour so I had to go without...

But those aren't the only nails in play. I got a gift cert for a mani/pedi for my birthday so on my actual birthday, I went to get them done. I decided to break my own rules and go for one of those design things on my toes - because I saw one that reminded me of a multitude of follicles, and I was thinking good thoughts right on down to my toes.

I hate feet, but have included a photo for your viewing (dis)pleasure. And yes, I'll never be a great photographer - but you at least get the idea. And I spared you the rest of the foot.

And finally, the attire.

Not that it really matters, 'cause you're gowned up and that's about it. I did buy a new pair of comfy drawstring pants to wear to and from retrieval. And, of course, I bought new socks.

In some IVF circles, retrieval and transfer socks are all the rage. They're the only thing you really bring in with you as they don't want you walking barefoot down the hall, so they suggest you bring socks.

I found mine a few weeks ago at the Oshawa Centre, of all places. A blue and yellow pair with wee chicks on them (I thought this was particularly appropriate for egg retrieval - eggs hatching chicks and all) and a light and dark pink polka dot pair for transfer, the polka dots representing the embryos.

Blue for boy, pink for girl. I'm cheese like that.

I figure I have all my bases covered.

So that's all my luck stuff. Now all I have to do is turn myself over to science for the remainder of the process.

Wish me luck. And good science.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Trigger happy

So here we are, day 12, after 8pm, and we're triggered.

That's right, I took my last shot of the cycle, the holy grail of the stim cycle, less than two hours ago. It's all up to 10,000 units of hCG now.

My E2 was only 3995 today but we decided to trigger anyway. Dr. H told me that 50% of eggs measuring greater than 1.5 will be mature, so he's hoping that judging by my follicles we'll have 8 or 9 mature eggs. So I'm holding on to that right now.

No more stims, no more orgalutron, nothing. Wow. And thank goodness - had he wanted me to stim again tonight, it would have cost us another $500!

I'm working compressed days right now because I'm so uncomfortable. Work's been really understanding which is very helpful - like I could deal with any more stress right now!

As soon as I got off the train this aft Hubs and I did a quick jaunt to Addition Elle so I could buy some comfy new stretchy pants for retrieval day - everything now is feeling a bit tight - then we ran into Chapters to pick up some books to read while I'm off. Final stop was Shoppers to get my estrace prescription and the enema....oh yes, you read that right, the enema....and then we were home.

Turns out my left ovary is high and I'm dealing with one of the delightful side effect of all the meds - gas - (hells to the yeah, this shit is glamourous), so an enema it is. They want to ensure they get a clear view of everything, so good times. We had to do this last time too and oh boy, it felt like everything else was a cake walk compared to this! Hopefully we've learned some lessons from last year - 'cause it's not as easy as it looks on the box.

So back to the clinic tomorrow morning for bloodwork to make sure my E2 hasn't done something weird overnight, but we're really hoping that the lack of orgalutran and the addition of ovidrel will help it finally spike a bit.

That would be nice. It's way overdue!

After the blood it's off to work for another short day to wrap everything up, then I'm finished all that until the 14th.

Tonight I'm delighted to be able to head to bed before my 10:30 drug time. As soon as Glee is over, I'm done with this day. My wonderful bed awaits.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another non-stellar day

Yep, here we are again with an E2 jump of only 700. Bringing us to a whopping 3300 on day 11 of stims.


Seriously...what the fuck.

I was sure it was going to make a good jump today. My follies keep growing at a good rate - I've now got 17 between 1.0 and 2.0 - and my lining went from .7 to 1.0. I really thought my lining jump was the key. It takes estrogen to help plump up that lining in the beginning, right? Surely my E2 had to make a nice jump?


So here I am, stimming again, when in normal land I'd be getting ready for retrieval tomorrow morning instead. Blech. Now, I have no idea if we'll even make it to flippin retrieval.

I've done some poking around to see what other E2 levels women have had at this stage of the game (leading up to trigger) and haven't really come up with much. I've seen one case where a gal I know from a message board triggered at 2600 and is now pregnant with triplets, but that was as close as I could find to my case.

I'm totally paranoid of getting to retrieval and ending up with few or worse, no, good eggs. I can't even imagine anything that would suck more than that after all we've been through to get here. But I just can't see how my eggies could be mature with so little estrogen support. It just doesn't compute.

Sure, the E2 will increase after trigger, that's part of the hCG package. But as always I will fear - is it enough?

Not a banner day, overall. But I'm still hoping that things might peak tomorrow like crazy. I figure it's weird of me to think it might happen after this many days of expectation and disappointment, but here we are. I have to hold on to something.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Running out of room

My ovaries are starting to take up too much space in my body. And I have a lot of space.

Again, I forgot what this phase of stims feels like. How much pressure and pain you feel. The bloating. The gas! Oh the gas. Really? Did they have to throw that in the mix?

I now have 15 follicles between 1.0 and 1.8. My E2 was 2600 today - so it went up a bit, but I was prepared. I started the orgalutran yesterday and had it again this morning, and the E2 crashes the day after you add the org into the mix. So again, I'm crossing everything crossable (including my ovaries, at least that's how it feels) that tomorrow is the day my E2 finally decides to take a spike.

I asked today if we were in any danger of cancellation and was told that as long as it keeps going up and doesn't decrease or plateau tomorrow, we should be okay. So again, I'm running with that.

More stims tonight and tomorrow night, and if all goes according to this plan, retrieval would be Friday.

I really really really want to finish stimming tomorrow because otherwise, we have to buy more Gonal F, and that'll be killer. We can swing the org and the menopur etc, but more Gonal F would be a pain because of the way it's sold. Will I stim for an extra day, or two? Should I buy the 300 pen or the 450 (I'm on 225 a day)? I hate this part.

I'll be at the clinic every day this week, so am moving to shorter work days. I just am too uncomfortable to be there all day. And the fatigue! So this is a happy medium - finishing each day at 1:45pm so I can catch the 2:13 train to be home for just after 3. Then straight to the couch.

I feel like I'm being uber whiney and janey complainy lately, but ugh. It's just not a nice overall feeling knowing exactly where in my body my ovaries are.

Of course I'm delighted to even have this chance again, so no more complaining. For today. It's almost time to take my shots and go to bed anyway. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'll take what I can get

The seemingly never ending estrogen saga continues.

Better results today - from 1389 yesterday to 2154 today. So that's a good thing. I'm holding on to that, playing the glass half full girl. Doing my best to not stress it and to just ride it out.

The clinic was a zoo this morning! I set my alarm for 10 minutes later this morning than yesterday (because in my world, ten minutes most certainly does count) and managed to get there right at 7am when they opened. Too bad the ultrasound and blood technicians weren't so punctual! U/S lady arrived at 7:15 and blood tech lady 7:25. And the waiting room was full to capacity of none too happy people. Boo-urns.

Had one of the more painful ultrasounds of my infertility career today too. She was poking and prodding and twisting like nobody's business! I was wincing and trying to not freak out at her until she finally realized that she was hurting me. She told me in a very matter of fact tone that she was sorry she had to push so hard, but that my left ovary is very high and if we want good pictures, that's what had to happen.

Okay. Breathe through the pain. We want good pictures, yes we surely do.

Too bad I still feel like that cooter cam rod is still pressing in on me, almost 12 hours later. And we get to repeat the fun again tomorrow!

Oh yeah, tomorrow. Can't believe the weekend is gone already. This whole 5 or 6 hours of sleep thing doesn't work well for me. I take my drugs at 10:30 each night and boy, was that decision a mistake! I thought it would work well, since I had a few after work things last week and was sure that I'd be home by 10:30, so chose that time. Nowadays, I would kill to be in bed well before 10:30 rolls around! Ah, the choices we make.

So now I'm home, tired as one can be, with a pain in my ovaries from the rod of doom and sore feet and shoulders from walking the Ex for a few hours today.

Is it 10:30 yet?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Whut the..

So yeah, that whole me taking cues from the clinic thing? It's still there, but harder than ever to hold on to after today.

E2? 1389. Barely went up by 300 units. Whut the whut? Sigh. It was 3327 at this time last cycle. That's a huge difference.

The people on the weekend (nurses, blood techs, ultrasound techs) are all different, so it's a whole new ball game. They don't know your chart, your veins, your ovaries like the during-the-week people do. But alas, they still convey their messages and today's nurse told me that sometimes this happens and people just shoot up quickly as they go.


So many disappointments along this road, why should I believe that things will be any different this time?

What makes this super hard was that this, of all things, was one element that I wasn't really concerned about. Progesterone? Sure. Being oversuppressed? Yep, worried about that too. But the progesterone we know how to fix and thanks to the baseline, we knew we weren't oversuppressed. I never dreamed I wouldn't respond in the same way as last cycle.

And here we are, on this slow but steady climb. I just don't have a clue as to whether or not we'll get to our final destination or not. It scares the crap outta me.

On the positive side, I did have some follicle growth today and it looks like those numbers closely mirror what I had last cycle. I can't find the little piece of paper that I wrote my numbers on - not smart! Guess I can get them tomorrow and just update all at once.

I just keep telling myself that tomorrow might be the day that everything spikes - that tomorrow I'll get the news and numbers I want and will breathe a deep and long (if temporary) sigh of relief.

I even went back to my superstitions of cycles past - I re-did my nails in OPI's La Paz-itively Hot. It's a fab bright pink but most importantly, it has the word positive in it. Kinda. Maybe if I can't always be positive, at least my nails will be.

So now it's off to the clinic again tomorrow morning. Yet again my alarm will go off at 5:30, I'll slip into the shower in my semi- conscious state, clean myself, slap on some clothes, and head on down the highway.

Let's just hope Timmy's actually has some decaf ready this time. No, I can't wait five minutes for it while I'm sitting in the drive thru. I gots places to be. A date with a needle and some stirrups.

Please let tomorrow be better.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Taking my cues from the clinic

The one thing I realized today is how much from last cycle I'd totally forgotten.

Yes, it's been a year, almost to the day, since we started our last fresh cycle. And now that we're right back into the swing of things, it's all coming back to me.

All the anxiety of waiting for blood work results. All the second guessing every number that's given to you. All the fear that things aren't where they 're supposed to be, that you're steps away from being cancelled.

I think my brain shut it all out and buried it deep, deep down.

And now it's back, with a vengeance.

Since yesterday's not so stellar E2 results, I've been in quite the funk. Knowing I had to wait until at least 1pm today to know where we stood was pretty much excruciating. I bawled my face off before finally drifting off to sleep last night. Poor Hubs had no idea of what to do or say, I was that despondent.

Stoopid hormones sure as hell don't help.

So back in early this morning for more blood work and ultrasound. We've got some follicle growth, but still not at the same level as last cycle. And that E2? Only 1063. It increased, which is of course important, but last cycle at this time it was over 2300.


I mentioned this to my nurse when she called and she told me to stop comparing things to last cycle, 'cause hey - that one didn't work.

Excellent point, I suppose.

I flat out asked her if they were worried and she said no, that the E2 was increasing as were the follicles and they're growing at a consistent rate, all of which is positive. That it's still early and there's lots of time to go still. That it's quality and not quantity that counts.

Since I've been through a cancelled cycle before and KNOW what it's like for them to be worried, I think I'm finally ready to take my cues from them.

And so today, I'm trying to chill out, recover from the stress of yesterday, and just hope that tomorrow, things look infinitely better.

Can't wait to get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning! And Sunday too! Lucky, lucky me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gettin' dicey

Have I mentioned how much of a freaking anxiety roller coaster this entire process is? 'Cause ya, it really sucks. Going in every day, holding your breath while they do the ultrasound, hoping there's lots to measure, then waiting, waiting, waiting to get that phone call with the blood work results.

Well, I just got today's call, and I'm not happy.

My E2 today is 737. In my last cycle on day 6, it was 1236. That's a pretty significant difference.

I realize it can pop up at any time, but I'm starting to feel really nervous. I'm remembering what it felt like to have a cycle cancelled (my E2 on my cancelled cycle day 6 was 616), and I really truly can't handle that right now.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself and deep down I'm hoping that all will be fine at tomorrow's update, that I will have caught up somehow, but my happy, secure blanket of tracking along with last cycle has been ripped away from me.

And I liked my blanket.

I need that blanket.

My LH is still fine so no need to start the orgalutran today. Anything that saves me $116 a day can't be a bad thing. But still...I'm so worried. So very, very worried.

So once again, have I mentioned lately that I hate this process?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The first stim check in

It's amazing how much you can forget in a year.


I couldn't remember for the life of me what to expect this morning. Thank goodness I kept a spreadsheet for each IVF to track progress and see what's what!

So blindly in to the clinic I trundled this morning for my day 4 check up. Blood work, ultrasound, chat with the nurse. Rinse, lather, and repeat on days 6, 8 and so on.

Blood work? Check. Too bad I have a massive bruise now in the crook of my arm. I look like a druggie. Pfft - good thing they can't see my belly. It's way worse.

Ultrasound? Check. I love my u/s technician. I usually get the same one all the time - yep, the pregnant one. But I'll forgive her - she had to go through ART to get pregnant as well, so I can deal. It was pretty quick this morning which of course scared the crap outta me. Quick means not much to measure which means not much happening which means not enough meds.

In my twisted world, anyway.

I had to laugh when she said she could do my u/s with her eyes closed, that's how well she knows my insides now. In another universe I'd think that was creepy as hell. But in the here and now, I think it's awesome.

Chat with the nurse? Denied. She wasn't there. So I got my results straight from Dr. H instead! That was certainly a nice surprise.

In a nutshell, he said that everything looked perfect for where we should be right now, nice and quiet. I instantly felt my stress over not enough to measure melt away. He said we'd need to wait for the blood work and that we hope things are moving as they should. I crossed my fingers, said thanks, and left the office.

Just got my call and the numbers seem to be good. Estrogen's at 550 so that's a start, and there's no change to my meds so they must be satisfied. I'll take my cues from them - seems logical to me. And my estrogen's a wee bit higher than it was on my last cycle day 4, so that's always good news to me.

Bottom line - slow and steady wins the race. So far, so good. And now we wait for day 6.

Needle days one through three

So yes, I started stabbing myself Saturday night. Apologies for the absence, but it's been a busy few days. The weekend saw me celebrating my 36th birthday (yes, pretty much all weekend long - I'm spoiled like that) then yesterday I had the most debilitating headache all day I could barely put a sentence together.

Coming off caffeine sucks. Especially when you can't take Advil. Boo.

All in all, the shots are going well. Gonal F I'm very used to, so that was a no brainer. Anything in a pen is super easy to work with anyway. The menopur, on the other hand, gave me a bit of trouble on Saturday night as I tried to mix it, hopped up on sushi and cake.

For whatever reason, the needle wouldn't draw back the diluent properly. Just wouldn't. Tried over and over again until finally we made it work. Hubs had left the house at this point to drive his niece home, so it was me, my SIL and a good friend trying to figure all this crap out. Good times.

As I said, we finally got it working, and my first jabs were only two minutes late. Not too shabby.

But yes, the Menopur burns like a mofo.

That's right, I said it.

And that needle isn't short, either.

Never a dull moment.

Sunday's shots were much easier to mix and took a lot less time, thankfully. But I still felt the full burn.

Yesterday I returned to work after my busy but fun filled weekend and tried to get back into the grind. My large decaf two milk one and a half sweetener just didn't cut it, and I spent the remainder of the day both hunting down Tylenol from my office mates (finally found some) and subsequently trying to recover from said headache. A wee nap on the train home seemed to help a bit - as did a half caf latte from Starbucks. I figured a bit of caffeine won't kill me at this point, and in fact will make me feel better. So I went with it.

Last night Hubs and I went to my sister's place to babysit her kids while she and her hubby went out for dinner and to a movie to celebrate their anniversary. Yet again, it was both wonderful and heartbreaking for me to witness just how good Hubs is with kids. They totally love him and fall for his goofiness all the time. How I so desperately want to be able to see him interact that way with a child of our own...sigh...

We finally got home just after 10pm. Just enough time for a quick email check then it was off to bed. Had to catch the early train to the clinic in the morning, and bed was singing its siren song.

It was good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And it was good

Quick post today, but wanted to give the important update.

All is well! Better antral follicle count this time - 12 on the right, 15 on the left. Estrogen 259, LH 2 and progesterone 3.4. Estrogen's a bit over what it should be but I always 'ride high' after coming off birth control, so no one was too worried.

Came home early from work today to go to the doctor - I have an ear infection. Awesome. Why not add antibiotics to the drug cocktail? Sigh. Oh well, hopefully I'll be feeling better soon now that they're on board.

Picked up my drugs, left a few hundred dollars behind, and now everything's set and ready to go for tomorrow night.

Think of me around 10:30 pm tomorrow - my very first Menopur shot. I've heard it's delightful. Can't flipping wait for the burning and the anticipated toonie sized welt.

But hey, it all means progress, so welt me up!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tomorrow is B Day...dun dun duuuuuuunnn

Yep, B Day. That's not short for birthday - nope, that's Sunday, not tomorrow.

No, B Day is baseline day. The make or break day for all fresh IVF cycles.

That oh so important ultrasound and blood work that tells all. Says yay or nay to next steps.

I have PCOS so I have lots and lots of follicles. I'm hoping that they don't number more than 40 for my antral follicle count, 'cause then they might be a bit reticent to start. Last cycle my AFC was 38. Yeah. So here's hoping we at least stick with that or less.

I'm not necessarily worried about any cysts because I've been on the danged Marvelon for two months now and that generally gets rid of any pesky buggers. And I think my estrogen level should be just fine.

But I haven't gotten good ole AF yet since my last bcp on Saturday, and that, too, gives me a bit of cause for concern. Hopefully my lining isn't too thick and everything's still okay to go.

So yeah, just one more hurdle, but an important one, all things considered. It's make or break time! Here's hoping it's all make and no break.

In other good news of the day, I managed to squeeze a further $300 worth of drug coverage out of my benefits plan. I have a $9,000 lifetime max that is now fully maxed for this lifetime. I thought I had about $20 worth of room but nope! $300! So that was a nice surprise for the day. Especially since adding the Menopur added another big chunk of change to the overall cost of the cycle.

So I'll take my $300 good days whenever and wherever I can find them!

But for now I'm exhausted. Ears are still bugging me - think I'll finally suck it up and see a doctor tomorrow - and I need to get up super early to catch the train in for the baseline.

At least I'm tired. Fatigue will hopefully trump anxiety tonight and get me the sweet sleep I need.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Will that be debit or credit?

Paid our cycle fees today. Yep, that's good fun. Here, take this chunk of plastic and just charge it. Watch that debt load increase instead of decrease.


One of the things that really burns my cookies about infertility is the cost. And I'm not talking about physical, emotional, mental or other costs. While they do certainly exist, they're bills that are much much easier to pay than the financial one we're saddled with.

My fertility drug coverage expired with our last cycle. That's right - a $9,000 lifetime max, gone.


Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted.

So now, everything, with the exception of estrace, is out of pocket.

And these pockets are looking mighty empty these days.

Adding Menopur to the mix really shook things up. All of the sudden, we needed to come up with an additional $750 - and that's if I only stim for 10 days and the doc doesn't want to increase my dosage at any time. I have no flippin clue what we'll do if we need to add more of the expensive stuff at the end - but at this stage of the game we're just going for it. We'll figure out how to make it work somehow.


I think I really took my coverage for granted with past cycles. I needed the meds? I went to Shoppers and picked them up. Who cared how much it cost? It was covered. Now, I have no coverage and all the extra stress that comes with trying to find the cash to pay for it all. Just what we IVF gals need - more stress!

Double sigh.

But for now I can rest knowing the cycle fee is paid, the consents are signed, the Gonal F's in my fridge, and I now know how to mix Menopur (which is very onerous and cumbersome - can't wait!). Another wild and exciting Monday, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It is finished!


Ding dong, the Marvelon is done! I couldn't be more excited. Truly.

Tonight at bedtime (which is coming soon, thankfully) will be the first time in a very long, overdue time that I haven't had to pop that little white pill into my quite unwilling mouth.

It is good. It is very, very good.

I'm looking forward to getting back to feeling like me. To not sweating like a mofo at night. To having a better night's sleep.

Then again - what if I don't snap out of it? At least I had the Marvelon to blame if I was feeling particularly bitchy/crusty/emotional. Now - I have no crutch!


Maybe this was all ill planned.

Nah. I couldn't imagine life on these bad boys full time. I truly don't know how other women do it. Well, I guess they don't react to it like I do, that's how they do it. I'm just thankful that I don't have to experiment with guess this month's new Marvelon side effect any longer.

Now it's on to the good stuff - the stims!

Generally I'm fine with that stuff, so bring it on, I say!

I'm in the clinic again tomorrow to pay them all kinds of money, hand in our signed consents, and ask my last few questions before we officially get rolling.

Then, it's all about waiting for that elusive day 1. Fingers crossed that it comes as planned in the next few days. I'm back for blood work and ultrasound on Friday morning, and if all goes well there, Saturday is go time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Hey, look at me! It's almost bedtime, and no Marvelon!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Scratching the surface

Yep, that's what this morning was all about. Roughing up the surface of my uterus.

Nothing says 'yay, it's Friday morning!' like a speculum and a wire brush.

This was my third endometrial biopsy, and, fortunately, the best of the bunch.

The first was eons ago to check the quality of my lining. My doctor had to go back in twice and pinch out a section of the lining to send it for pathology. Twice. With pinchers. It hurt like a mofo. I puked afterwards, and ended up heading home for the day.

So you can imagine my delight when they said they wanted me to do it again for my FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle. Apparently the new thinking is that by roughing up the surface of the uterine lining, you cause inflammation which means more blood heads to the uterus.

This is a good thing.

And by scraping it up, you create an uneven surface that is supposedly more receptive to catching and holding onto the embryo once it's dumped there.

This, too, is a good thing.

Yeah, time number two they didn't have to take anything out - they just wanted to rumble with it a bit. And rumble they did. Sweet jeebus, it was like a white hot poker had been carefully threaded through my cervix. The pain was thankfully short lived - but intense as all get out. Five minutes later I was fine, and I went about my day.

And now, as we prepare for IVF#3, here we are again at the endometrial biopsy. Wasn't looking forward to it, but wasn't dreading it either. Just one more uncomfortable procedure to be done with along this path they call in vitro.

Well, guess the third time really is the charm, because it didn't hurt this time!


Didn't hurt.

The worst part was inserting and removing the speculum. Can I just say, I really hate that part? They can't and therefore won't use any kind of lube, and so if you're already rather dry down there, it's like sticking your tongue on a metal pole in the dead of winter. Skin sticks.

And that's some rather tender skin, yo!


But it was done before I knew it and I barely felt a thing. Big relief. Big. Huge!

So now tonight I take my second to last Marvelon and look forward to sleeping in.

Keep it rough in there, will ya? Embie don't want no soft place to land!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sooooo tired!

Yep, I'm going to complain again for a bit.

Blame the Marvelon...I know I do. Stupid stuff.


I've been knocked off my feet by this silly drug. I know I've already railed about all the ways it has affected me, but man, I think I forgot fatigue!

I just can't seem to get enough sleep. I fall asleep fast, I stay asleep, but I wake up in the morning just exhausted and drag my carcass through the day, ready to pass out at any moment. I can't make it either to or from work on the GO train without napping. Even with really good reading material!

Sure, thanks to the drugs and the hormones I wake up drenched, having soaked the sheets overnight. It's gross. Really gross. But by and large I get the sleep I need.

But hey, there are only three more nights of the stupid stuff, so surely I can hang on long enough to survive this.

Can't WAIT to get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to set up our garage sale. Whose idea was this anyway? Certainly not mine. Oh well, right now I think of money in terms of how much Menopur it will buy us, so hopefully we rake in some dough at the sale. Every $75 is another day's supply!!! Fun. So fun.

So yeah, there's my little snippy update for the day. Have to be up tomorrow to catch the early train thanks to an early meeting, then same on Friday 'cause I have that delightful endometrial biopsy at 8am. What a way to start the day!

But for now it's off to bed for this cranky pants. I definitely need as much sleep as I can possibly muster.

I promise I'm not always this snarky, really. In just over three days, I'll be able to prove it to you!

I hope... :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Marvelon, how I hate thee.

Let me count the ways.

I am so sick and tired of being on this stupid birth control pill. I hate it - and it hates me.

Big time.

It hates me by flooding the skin on my face and decolletage with nice bright red acne.

It hates me by making me a raving lunatic with snapping jaws and crustiness galore.

It hates me by flipping my stomach and making me want to puke through most of the work day.

It hates me by messing with my sense of balance - one second I'm fine, the next I'm dizzy as a mofo. And it takes a long time to recover.

It hates me by combining with these weather systems to take a bass drum to my head. I'm popping Advil like it's candy.

And it hates me by turning me into a giant mushball while Hubs and I are watching Intervention. Seriously - the insanely alcoholic chick actually makes it through rehab and reclaims her life, and I just.start.bawling. Huge tears. Just so happy for those kids to have their mom back.

Sob, sob, sob.

And the entire time, through all of this, I KNOW it's unreasonable. I KNOW it's not me, it's the stoopid flipping drug. But I have to take the danged thing to get this whole IVF train out of the station.

I'm counting the days until I'm done.

Six more pills.


Including tonight.

Only a few hours from now, and I'll be down to five.

Can we just fast forward to Saturday night, circa 11:30pm?

That would make me very happy. Marvelon be damned!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ah, a day at the spaaahhhhh

What a great day today will be. First, slept in nice and late which to me, is really what Sundays are for. Just hanging around now listening to the soothing strains of the background music of The Weather Network (don't ask - Hubs likes his Weather Network) and deciding what I want for breakfast.

Then in a few hours, my sister in law and I will pack our bags, hop in the car, and head downtown to Elmwood. Forget Disney - Elmwood is truly one of the happiest places on earth.

When my FET failed in March, my fantastic friends got together and purchased me a sizable gift card to Elmwood. They're amazing, it was so kind of them. And I'm so happy to finally be able to use it!

I've had the card burning a hole into my wallet for months, always trying to figure out when to take the best advantage of it. With all the other IUI's and cycling we've been doing, I found that my options were cut seriously short...I was in the 2ww and shouldn't be in the warm water of their hot tub, etc - and who wants to go there and miss out on that! Not me.

So I finally decided that there was no better time than just before my next IVF to head down, enjoy their hot tub, salt water pool, yummy teas and fluffy robes. Oh yeah - and the massage. Can't wait!

The timing it interesting, though. It's been exactly nine months since I was last at Elmwood...I also went for a massage, facial and lunch courtesy of same sister and law that's coming with me today on November 9. I was pregnant at the time from IVF number two but knew it was not going to end well. 12 hours after my massage my miscarriage started. So it's kind of a weird association with the place. I'm looking forward to replacing that memory, those thoughts, with new ones today.

Hopefully we'll be able to avoid the crazy thunderstorms they're forecasting (thanks, Weather Network) and will get home before they start. Then I can be all de-stressed and safely snuggled into my couch (and my husband) to watch Big Brother and True Blood. Who knew I'd ever look forward to Sundays?

Off to forage for breakfast now. And less than a week of Evilon to go!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A comment about comments

Eeps! Trouble in comment land. Apparently the blog template was cutting off those silly words that you have to add in to authenticate your comments, so people weren't able to leave any. Bummer!

I've since fixed the problem by removing that step, so hopefully there will be no further issues.

Thanks to my fellow blogger for pointing it out!

We now return to our daily scheduled programming.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A post about nothing

Today's post, a la Seinfeld, is really about nothing. It was a day, and now it is over.

I did get to see my friend's new baby and she's adorable - all pink and cute and sweet - so that was lovely.

But the rest of the day was true full moon fashion - crazy people, screaming and crying fits, you name it. And no, neither Hubs nor I were involved in the crying. I might have done a wee bit of the screaming - but at least it wasn't at him.

So now I will head upstairs, take my Evilon pill which will bring me one day closer to no more Evilon, and bid adieu to this craptastic day.

Here's hoping things improve tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ever notice...

...just how many visibly pregnant women there are out there?


Don't know if today was just an abnormality or what, but boy oh boy, I'm surrounded!

Doesn't help that I work in a building with a massive OB/GYN practice. Bellies everywhere. Strollers on the elevator every second trip.

In some ways it's helped de-sensitize me to the entire thing. But on bad days, it's like the universe is hauling off to give me a good swift kick to the ovaries.

Not cool.

Thankfully today is not a bad day because I totally could have had a breakdown if it was. Everywhere I turned, mine eyes immediately found a baby bump. Finally on my way home I just gave in to my book and refused to look up.

Of course it wasn't to end there. A friend (another gal with fertility issues) and I went to the new Kitchen Stuff Plus store near us and boom - first thing we see, a very pregnant woman. In a bright orange shirt, no less. How were we NOT supposed to see her? Hahahaha.

Funny how strangers do it, but not friends - thank goodness! I have three close friends who are pregnant right now and I have absolutely no issues whatsoever seeing them, talking to them, nothing. So happy for all of them. And we're going to visit another friend's week old newborn tomorrow - can't wait!

Friends yes - strangers no.

Sounds like words to live by across the board!

Have I mentioned how happy I am that there are only 11 more days of Marvelon? Hate the stuff. Makes me cranky. ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

A quickie

Forgot to mention this in other posts.

I'd love to link to other blogs but always hesitate to just do so out of the blue without permission due to the subject matter. If you'd like to be on my blog list I'd love to have you - feel free to email me ( or leave a comment with your addy. :)

And while we're on the topic, comments in general are always welcome.

I allowed myself to wonder...

Hubs and I both had today off for the Civic holiday weekend and since it was nice and we had no plans, we decided to take some time for ourselves, find a beach somewhere, and try to suck all the summer out of the weekend that we could.

A little googling later and we were off to Musselman's Lake, just north of Stouffville. We found a resort type place that had a beach you could buy day passes for, so off we trundled.

Seeing as we Ontarians are only now actually experiencing the heat you'd expect from summer, the place was freakin packed.

And kids - there were kids everywhere.

Now, on the vast majority of days, I'm actually quite okay with seeing little kids running around. Today was thankfully no exception, and I enjoyed kicking back on my blanket with my book and my Coke Zero, occasionally pulling my head away to laugh at the little guy who, at 2, was destined to become the next Casanova.

I also giggled out loud with the 8 month old that was being dipped in and out of the surprisingly chilly lake water. She was totally loving it.

Hubs and I chatted briefly with her mother and father as they happened to be standing in close proximity to us. As we spoke, I couldn't help but notice how much the little girl resembled bits and pieces of each parent - amazing what you can discern in a very short period of time.

Which of course, got my brain to wondering. If this IVF finally works, what will our child look like? Will s/he have Hubs' red hair, my blue eyes, his lips and my nose? Will s/he be a raging extrovert like me, or more introspective and private like my husband? Will s/he be able to sing like me? Love video games like their father?


I rarely let my brain wander in this direction - it's just too dangerous, ya know? If I don't think about it, I can't remember it when I get yet another BFN or something else goes wrong. And there's protection there. And some days, protection is key.

I'm kinda glad today wasn't one of them.

So bring on the red haired, blue eyed baby, will ya?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

If only I didn't feel the need...

I've always known that I wanted to have children. It was never a question for me, just something I knew I wanted, viscerally, with every fibre of my being.

I find that every once in a while along this infertility journey, I envision my life going forward as permanently child free and I think, all things considered, it ain't all bad. We can sleep in when we want to, childcare is generally moot to us (with the exception of Hubs' daughter when she's with us), we can go away at a moment's notice should we want to, and we're left with more money in our pockets - IVF costs etc notwithstanding.

Which of course makes me question how badly I really want a child of our own, if I'm somehow able to wrap my brain around this as a potentially positive scenario going forward.

But a step back to evaluate the situation tells me that reacting this way is simply my mind's defense mechanisms kicking in. My brain trying to tell my heart that if it never happens for us, we'll be okay, and there will still be good things to look forward to in our child free lives.

This afternoon Hubs and I were at a family bbq held in honour of my cousin and her fiance. They're getting married in Vegas a month from tomorrow, and this was their informal shower.

My cousin and I are relatively close. We're surprisingly similar human beings in the smallest and weirdest of ways. We're less than a month apart in age and while we didn't get to spend too much time together as children, as adults we have a great relationship and she's just plain good people.

Where we differ, however, is on our opinion on children. I want them, she doesn't.

I've known this for years, but Hubs asked the general question this afternoon and heard her response for the first time. And as she outlined her (and her finance's) reasoning for staying child free, I found myself feeling deeply envious of her position.

She doesn't want children. Plain and simple. While I can't relate to her thoughts on the matter, I can, of course, respect them. And be totally jealous that she's able to get what she wants as far as children are concerned.

Sometimes I wish Hubs and I felt this way, that we'd chosen to be child free as opposed to being forced into it by nature. But alas, here we are, ready to try again, hoping that this time will finally be our chance to get what we want.

Either way, I'm happy for both of them, and hope they have a wonderful wedding. We're unfortunately not able to attend for multiple reasons, the main ones being the fact that Hubs is in school full time and can't take the time off, we need the money for IVF, and, oh yeah...their wedding day could very well be our retrieval day.

Cousin and I both think that's kinda cool.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Turing over the soil - an introduction

It's almost ironic that I've chosen a gardening theme for this, my IVF blog. I love flowers, but I hate the act of gardening. Just doesn't do it for me. Guess my uterus happens to feel the same way.

Since this is my first post for this blog, I thought it might be a good idea to give a little bit of background on who I am, what we're dealing with, and what we've already been through to get to this point. I've you're a reader of mine other blog or know me from elsewhere, please bear with me...this is likely quite familiar stuff to you.

In a nutshell, here's the detes. I'm 35 years old, and will turn 36 on my second day of stims for this next cycle. I'm married to a wonderful man that makes me happy in every way I never thought possible. On June 10th, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary. On June 11, we mourned on what would have been the due date for the little one we miscarried after our second IVF. That made for an interesting few days.

Hubsie and I have been together for almost five years, and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to have a child (I've stopped saying children - one single child would be more than enough) with him. He's already a father and a wonderful one at that. His daughter turned 12 last weekend, and watching him with her has done nothing to quell my visceral need to procreate with this man.

I've always had out of whack cycles, and since I was about 14, were you to ask me what my greatest fear was, I'd have replied that I was scared I'd never be able to have children.

How prophetic.

Knowing my issues and knowing that Hubs and I were going to be in it for the long haul, we pulled the proverbial goalie a very short time after we started dating. As a result, we've been trying to conceive for almost five years.

I have PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, and I don't ovulate. Period. Plain and simple. Hard to conceive when you don't pump out any eggs.

We started off at Mt Sinai hospital's fertility clinic 'cause it was super close to work and they were supposed to be great. Well, after many cancelled cycles due to cysts, three failed IUI's (including one that I would never have gone ahead with had I been told what my estrogen levels were) and too many soul crushing encounters with staff, I decided a change had to be made. I got a copy of my chart and hightailed it over to Hannam Fertility Clinic, where I've been blissfully happy ever since.

Once at Hannam, everything changed. They listened. Worked with us. I could actually reach a nurse if I had questions. And for the first time in a long time, we were hopeful that we might actually have success.

We'd planned one more IUI but after a long conversation decided to move towards IVF. All of the sudden we were moving money around like we had it, going to education sessions, learning about new injections, and I spent an inordinate amount of time with my feet in stirrups.

That was last July.

We started off with the long protocol, and Lupron was not my friend. I was oversuppressed, and my estrogen never made it over 2000, even after 9 days of stims (I was the one who pushed to keep going). That, as they say, was the end of that.

August saw me start the birth control pill so we could try cycling again. No Lupron this time - antagonist cycle for us all the way. Stims started around August 30, retrieval was September 18 and transfer was September 23. We ended up with 15 eggs retrieved, 14 were mature, 10 fertilized with ICSI and by day 5 seven remained. We transferred two, froze the other five, and crossed everything crossable.

Seven days after transfer I couldn't take it anymore. I did a home pregnancy test and sure enough, that elusive, though faint, second line showed up. I was over the moon.

The next morning I started spotting. Just a bit of brown, but it was there. At a friend's urging, I contacted the clinic. They had me come over for bloodwork right away, and sure enough, my progesterone was only eight. It should have been well over 50, but nope. Not me. Not only was I not absorbing the synthetic progesterone they gave me, but I wasn't producing any of my own either. I was in trouble.

They did a beta at the same time and it was 7. Sigh. Just 7. Pregnant, but not. We switched to progesterone in oil injections - fun! - and things looked like they were improving. My progesterone shot up to 74 the next day, and my beta started doubling, slowly but surely.

The first ultrasound rolled around and not good, not good at all. Bean measuring behind, and although there was a heartbeat, it wasn't strong enough. Come back in a week.

Week later, no growth at all, but the heartbeat increased. At this point there was no doubt it was going to end, but it was all a matter of when. And waiting. Because as long as there's a heartbeat of any kind, no one will do a D&C. If we wanted this to be over with, I'd have to go to an abortion clinic.

Needless to say, I chose to wait. I'm vehemently pro choice, but I could not have walked in there and surrounded myself with women who were terminating pregnancies by choice when I was desperate to hold on to mine.

Another week went by, and just before I was to head in for my weekly ultrasound, my body took care of things on its own. I ended up in hospital, but tried to find some small comfort in the fact that my body could figure out what needed to be done.

I went home, rested, cried, and two days later had to go back to work.

That was November of last year, and we decided to take the rest of the winter off to recuperate, chill, and mourn.

Enter 2009. With five kidsicles on ice, a FET (frozen embryo transfer) was the next logical step for us. After much discussion, we elected to go with three embryos to increase our already reduced chances. I was so hopeful, so optimistic, which is somewhat unusual for me. I'm really a hope for the best, prepare for the worst kinda gal, but as far as the FET was concerned I was sure it was going to work. Three embies, PIO (progesterone in oil) shots right from the beginning - the stage was surely set for us this time.

But alas, 'twas once again not to be.

The FET failed, and I had a very difficult time wrapping my brain around yet another failure, despite the fact that failure was pretty much all I'd ever known. You'd think we'd be used to it by now...but nope.


Not so much.

What we wanted more than anything was the ability to do another fresh cycle but had a hard time figuring out how it could possibly be in the cards. While we tried to figure it out, we tried one cycle on our own with femara, then did two more IUI's, both with femara, 'cause hey - you never know, right?

Well yeah, we knew. And they didn't work either.

So here we are. Almost five years, five failed IUI's, once cancelled IVF, one successful IVF that ended in miscarriage, and one failed FET. Thousands of dollars in drugs, procedures and pregnancy tests, and gallons of tears all shed as we've pursued our dream.

The dream which has yet to come true.

This blog is to help me as we head into and through IVF number three. I'm both super hopeful and mega paranoid. I think that this time, it has to work. All of the big questions seem to have been answers, so this should be it. Should.

'Cause if it's not, it might be the end of the road for us. There's only so much money - and we're already well past what was 'reasonable'. And there's only so much I can mentally take before I have to tell myself enough is enough.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm hoping that day never comes.

Please, please, please let this work.

Thanks for joining us on our journey. May this finally be the time that all of our efforts finally bear fruit.

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