Friday, August 31, 2012

The One with the Poem

I saw this a while ago and tucked it away for a day when I'd like to share it.

Today is that day.

Thoughts on Becoming a Mother

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better. 

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. 
I have longed and waited. 
I have cried and prayed. 
I have endured and planned over and over again. 

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams. 
I will notice everything about my child. 
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.  I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life. 

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream.  My dream will be crying for me. 

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. 

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love. 

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain. 

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body.  I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall. 

I have prevailed. 
I have succeeded. 
I have won. 

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort.  I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs. 

I listen. 

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.  I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard.  I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes. 

I have learned to appreciate life. 

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

~Author Unknown~

Today is beta day.  I won't be sharing the results on here for a while so we can process whatever the result is.  Prayers are unbelievably appreciated.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The One with the Wednesday Ramblings

So I think I'm going to start a new weekly post that will just be random thoughts/ideas/ramblings about things that are going on with us and may or may not have anything to do with IF.  We'll see how it goes and hopefully it will become a regular post.

  • I started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I'm only a few chapters in and I'm definitely already hooked.  It's got suspense, wit, and some really interesting psychological observations.  I definitely recommend checking it out.

Original image from here.
  • We had some people over this past weekend and I tried out some new recipes from Pinterest I had been looking forward to experimenting with.  Want to know what I made?  Okay, good, because I'm sharing anyway.
    • I made this Loaded Baked Potato Salad.  Let me start out by saying that I loathe potato salad.  I find it completely disgusting.  That being said, this particular form of potato salad intrigued me and it's now my new go-to cookout recipe.  I ended up changing a few things.  I used a little more sour cream and mayo because it was too dry after it sat for a while.  I also added a little celery salt instead of regular salt.  It was a big hit!
    • I decided we needed a second salad and did this Roasted Garlic Pasta Salad.  I pretty much followed the recipe, but would change a few things for next time.  It made a ton of salad, so I would definitely cut the recipe in half next time.  I refused to "roast" garlic in the microwave, so I spent the extra time doing it in the oven.  I think it could have used a little more ricotta.  I did put it some garlic powder because the garlic taste wasn't strong enough for me (but I put garlic in everything, so if that's not your thing, leave it out).
    This was the only thing I remembered to snap a quick picture of before it got gobbled up!

    • One last one.  I whipped up this Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. was fabulous!  Horrible for you, but fabulous!  Learned a few things on this one too.  Do not buy the sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  It made this yummy dip way too greasy, even for greasy-loving Hubs.  There is a ton of cheese in this dip, so you can definitely cut some out.  Also doesn't need as much cream cheese and mayo.  Next time, I'll probably use less of both.
  • Can we talk about my obsession with Pinterest?  I mean, I know this is not news for anyone, but I could spend hours finding new recipes, projects, and clothes.  There's a pretty good chance I won't make, do, or buy most of the things I pin, but a girl can dream right?  Although I really am going to do this iPhone cuteness because it appears to just include printing and cutting which even I can handle at this point.
  • I have managed to drag myself out of my funk from a few days ago.  I'm not being Negative Nancy or Positive Patsy.  I'm somewhere in between the two...we'll call her Realistic Reba.  This could really go either way and I have realized there's not a damn thing I can do about it.  I'm (im)patiently waiting for beta day and praying like crazy that we get good news.  If not, we will be okay and figure out what the next step is.  It is beyond my control at this point and even my type-A personality has realized it.
  • This is what a full IVF calendar looks like.  And this only goes through last Saturday and doesn't even include this past week.
Remember when it looked like this?  Feels like ages ago.
  • School starts next week.  Where the hell did summer go?!  My classroom is pretty much ready to go, but I'm going to head there for a little bit later this morning to sharpen some pencils and check my class list again...there will inevitably be a new kid or two that will cause me to have to re-alphabatize everything.  Grrrr!
  • While I am mourning the loss of summer, my fall freak flag is just about ready to fly.  
    • There's a good chance my next nail color will be this...
Original image from here.
    • I am craving candy corn like crazy (despite my hatred for Halloween...more on that at some point in the future).  This Candy Corn Bark will be making an appearance in our house very soon.
    • Oh and how could I forget about my favorite Starbucks winter drink?! But I refuse to pay their exorbitant prices for what amounts to a lot of water with some flavor thrown in, so I was ecstatic when I found this recipe on Pinterest (again with the Pinterest addiction).  It's for Caramel Apple Cider in the crock pot.  Sign me up!
    • And we all know that fall is followed immediately by the start of the Christmas obsession.  I skip right over Halloween and Thanksgiving (aka the disgusting stuffing holiday) and move right to the ornaments and pine tree smell.  Can.not.wait.
Original image from here.

Original image from here.

And one last one that is way too true...
Original image from here.

Off to sweat in my classroom for a bit.  

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The One with the Negativeness

I won't lie.  

The last few days have been tough.

I am constantly doubting the success of this cycle.  I am already planning ahead for when we can do this again. I am a complete basket case of emotions (Hubs and I got into a fight the other day about parking and frozen yogurt.  Yes, I am probably losing my mind).  And we still have several days before the beta.  If I make it with my sanity intact, it's going to be a freakin miracle!

IVF is a complete mind fuck.  You do these unbelievable things to your body to prepare it to shoot out eggs like a flippin hen.  You cross your fingers that somehow the strong swimmers decide to play Parcheesi* with said eggs.  You entrust your future children to someone in a lab for the first few days of their lives.  You have more fun stuff shoved up your hoo-hah to put those babies back in your body where you pray like crazy they will stick to your hopefully thick lining. And then you wait.  And you wait some more.  All the while you take awesome drugs that give you every pregnancy symptom known to man.  Because it's hard enough to convince yourself not to get your hopes up without cramps, fatigue, bloating, and sore boobs.  Mind fuck.

And to top that all off, I opened the coupons on Sunday and found this...

Because my urge to pee on a stick wasn't already driving me over the edge.  Now you want to entice me with your money saving endeavors, ClearBlue Easy.

Then I went to Target today...

And found my embryos in the dollar section.

Anywho, I'm nuts.  My hormones are in overdrive.  And I almost burst into tears at the zoo because the not-a-day-over-21-years-old chick near the bears had two kids calling her mommy.

Hoping for more a more positive post tomorrow.

*The Parcheesi reference is a shout out to a certain cousin of mine who used to claim she was playing this particular game with the neighbor on all those late night booty call visits when we were in college.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The One with the Frobaby

I talked to the lab this morning to find out if any of our embryos made it to freeze.  After proving my identity in Mission: Impossible fashion, I finally got one of the embryologists on the phone.  She told me that we had one embryo that made it to freeze.  The rest didn't meet the guidelines and didn't develop enough to be viable for freezing.

One frobaby out of seven possible embryos.

I let this news wash over me today.  It was a good thing I was nannying and had the littles to distract me today ("She stole my car!"  "He pointed at me!"  "It's not fair!"  Wah, wah, wah!) because it was definitely a tough pill to swallow.  I mean, if Thing 1 and Thing 2 decide not to chill in my ute for the foreseeable future, we only have one frobaby for a transfer at a later time.  Part of me feels completely selfish for even thinking this.  We got three great embryos out of this whole stabby-needle, hormone-raging process.  Some women don't even get one.  The other part of me is high on Endometrin and wants to scream "It's not fair" at the top of my lungs.  I am attempting to find a balance between these two alter egos.  I am also finding that some depressing music and a few tears helped during the car ride home today.  And homemade pizza.  That can solve even the most difficult of situations.

I was texting back and forth with my mom today about the frobaby and she brought up a point I had never fully considered.

More on this point after some rambling background info.

While she was here last weekend and asking me eleventy jillion questions about all this, we were talking about the frobabies.  She didn't realize that they were embryos that got frozen; she thought it was just the eggs.  In typical ex-nun fashion (yeah she used to be a nun...whoooole other post going on there), she asked what happened to the ones we don't use.  I explained how we agreed that they would be donated for research purposes and while she absolutely supports that concept, my uber-Catholic mother was also concerned about the life that embryo represents.  I absolutely get her.  I feel that way too.  However, I also know the reality of the situation and realize that other women can benefit from what I can't use.  I don't like to think about my babies having research done on them.  It's one of those not always talked about IVF conundrums that goes with the territory.

Back to the point of this long winded story.

She told me this morning when I relayed the one frobaby information that she believes that somehow God has "spared" me the decision of what to do about 6 living embryos.  I never really thought about it in that context.  There are parts of me that believe the whole "everything happens for a reason" stuff; other parts of me call bullshit and say it's not worth the paper it's printed on.  But, for whatever reason, this idea of God helping out with this process and these decisions gave me some peace.  Don't get me wrong, I know my embryos that didn't make it to freeze may also be used for research, but those are the little ones that didn't keep dividing or were fragmented or would have never been able to implant.  Doesn't mean I don't grieve for them not making it.  But, it does mean that I appreciate what my mother told me today.  God certainly has a hand in all of this.  For what it's worth, I don't think God's plan is for me to be infertile and for my embryos to not survive.  I just think he's got some kind of plan for me.  I don't know what the hell it is most of the time, but I need to believe he does.

Sorry if that got too preachy for you.  Just the things swirling in my head right now.

Alright, I'm done with the babbling tonight.  It will be time for a vag pill soon and they make me sleepy.  Plus there is a DVRed episode of "Dance Moms" that is calling my name.  Don't you dare judge me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The One with Things That Make Me Happy

So, I'm in this dreaded 2ww and I may be definitely am getting antsy already.  I'm 2dp3dt (2 days past 3-day transfer) and I've got many more days until we find out if Thing 1 and/or Thing 2 decided to take up residence in my uterus.  I'm nannying this week, which helps to fill the days, but I'm still spending way more time than is normal thinking about my uterus, embryos, and vag pills.  Although the vag pill thinking is not my fault.  I'm reminded of those on a regular basis.  Like every time I pee.  Or move.

But, I digress.

I decided to make a post about the little things that are making me happy right now**.  I find it necessary to remind myself of these things every once in a while as a way to remember that there are an amazing amount of fabulous things in my life.  IF doesn't have to be the big, ugly, evil, dark, bitchy cloud over it all!

Without further ado and with pictures...

1.  I organized our junk drawer over the weekend.  It still has junk it, but at least it looks pretty.

2. A friend and co-worker dropped off these beautiful flowers last week after my retrieval.  They are gorgeous and I love looking at them.  Plus, she brought her adorable son over to visit as well and I just want to smush him because's he so darn cute!

3. Loving my new aviators I picked up at Kohls.  As my best friend said, "They were made for your midget-sized face!"

4.  This stuff works miracles.  I am covered in mosquito bites from being out with the kids this week.  I think there is a sign on my back that says, "Mosquitos near and far, please come taste my blood.  It's apparently delicious."  This makes the yucky itchiness feel so much better!

5.  Starbucks Unsweetened Passion Iced Tea Lemonade.  Delish.  And makeable at home.  Which is good because Starbucks wants me to pay ridiculous amounts of money for the yumminess.

6.  Our view.  Days go by without me appreciating this and I need to remember how lucky we are to look at this every day.  Those chairs and that fire pit are calling my name this weekend.

7.  I almost threw this plant away yesterday, but one more little bloom decided to make an appearance.  Guess I need to remember that just because something appears dead and barren doesn't mean it always is.

8.  While we are on the plant theme, my basil is rocking out this summer.  I am going to have to cut it for the 4th time since early June.  Way to go me!  (Side note, I typically kill all plants that try to live at my house).

9.  This candle from here is one of the last things I am clutching onto from summer.  While part of me is ready to fly my fall flag with all its pumpkin-spiced, apple crisp, sweater glory, the other part is loving the long and lazy summer days filled with smell of the island.

10.  This song.  Dave Barnes is amazing.  We danced to one of his songs at our wedding.  I'm getting ahead of myself, but I can absolutely imagine playing this song when we get our take home baby.  It's beautiful and I love it.

**It should be added that my amazing Hubs, dog, family, and friends make me unbelievably happy every day and I am beyond lucky to have them. 

So, there you have it.  Random pictures of things that may or may not make you happy, but are helping me chug through each day over here.

More on some new recipes I'm planning on trying soon in the next post.

As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The One with Thing 1 and Thing 2

I am officially PUPO - Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!

Hubs decided to take the day out of work and come for the transfer, so we headed out this morning.  I had to go in with a full bladder to allow them to get the best ultrasound picture of my uterus.  Man, was I uncomfortable!  We sat in the waiting room for a little while and I was having trouble sitting still because I had to pee so badly.  The nurse finally came out to get us and told me I could go and pee a little if it would make me feel better.  Uh, you don't have to tell me twice!

I got undressed from the waist down and got up on the comfy table.  Dr. Bow Tie was the one doing the retrievals and transfers today, so Hubs finally got to meet him.  Hubs had a bunch of questions for him, one of which being about mixing up embryos and making sure we were getting our babies and not someone else's!  Dr. Bow Tie talked to us about what would happen during the transfer and also talked about the decision to transfer one or two embryos.  He said one of the worst parts of his job is causing multiples because of the risks involved.  Twins are the "least" risky in the world of multiples, but still pose significantly more risks than a singleton birth.  That being said, he told us that we obviously have a greater chance of getting pregnant if we transfer two embryos.

Hubs and I had talked about whether to transfer one or two over the last couple of days.  He is worried about the risks, costs, and complications that can come with twins.  I have those same feelings, but was leaning toward transferring two embies because of the increased chance of pregnancy.  I think Dr. Bow Tie helped make the decision for us when he said that, of the embryos that we did not transfer, none of them may make it to freeze.  He wasn't speaking about our case specifically, but rather referring to the strict criteria for choosing which embryos to freeze.  They will only freeze embryos that are pretty close to perfect to increase the chance of them surviving the thaw later.  When Hubs and I heard this and thought about the reality of having to go through this whole process from the beginning again, we both knew we wanted to transfer two embies.

So, Thing 1 and Thing 2 (as they will be referred to from here on out) were officially transferred into my uterus this morning.

Here's to hoping our little ones don't end up with blue hair!

The embryologist picked the two best embies, each of which were 8-cells at this point (the perfect number according the Dr. Bow Tie).  Using the abdominal ultrasound picture as a guide (which jammed on my bladder perfectly!), Dr. Bow Tie inserted a small catheter that was loaded with Thing 1 and Thing 2 through my cervix and into my uterus.  He told us we may see a small "flash" on the screen when the embies were transferred.  I absolutely saw that flash and two little perfect dots on the screen.  It was one of the most amazing things to witness.

I had to rest for 15 minutes before they would let me go home (after having one of the most amazing peeing experiences of my life, of course!) and Hubs and I just sat in the room and marveled at the fact that I was now PUPO.  The embryologist gave us a little plastic disk that was the top of the dish our two embies were in before they were placed in the catheter.  Something else to add to our memory box!

There's me all freshly PUPO and holding the top of our embryos' former home.

I have to call the lab on Thursday to find out if any of our embryos made it to freeze.  Today, I am resting on the couch, enjoying spending some time with Hubs and hoping to make Thing 1 and Thing 2 comfortable enough that they will want to hang out for 9 months.

We greatly appreciate everyone's thoughts, prayers, cards, texts, emails, flowers, treats, meals, and good wishes.  We are so lucky to have amazing family and friends and could not be more grateful for the support during this time.

I will be posting during the 2ww (two week wait) about thoughts/feelings/random things.  I already have a date for my beta blood test that will determine if I am pregnant or not.  We will be keeping the news, good or bad, to ourselves for a while after we get it.  I'm sure we will need time to process everything.

For now, I leave you with yet another "Friends" clip.  My best friend offered to sing this to Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They are already quite loved.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The One with the Update

Just a quick update about how our embies are doing today.  I talked to the IVF lab a few minutes ago and all 9 embies are continuing to develop very nicely.  After fertilization, the cells start to divide.  On day 2 (today), they like to see the embies between 2 and 4 cells each.  She told me we have 4 embies that are 2-cells, 3 embies that are 3-cells, and 2 embies that are 4-cells.  All of the embryos are of very good quality.  That is great news for our little ones!

She let me know that we are going to do a transfer tomorrow (Monday) morning at 8:45 am.  This is a 3-day transfer.  Sometimes, they stretch this out to a 5-day transfer to watch for more dividing, but a 3-day transfer is more common.  Hubs is going to go back to work tomorrow, so my mom is going to come with me for the transfer.  So, I  return to the center tomorrow morning with a full bladder and have one or two little ones (we decide tomorrow) put back inside my ute where it (they) will hopefully take up residence for the next 9 months.

We could use all the sticky prayers and vibes you can offer!  I'll do another update tomorrow after I am officially transferred.

P.S. TMI alert: These vag pills are terrible.  I am buying stock in Always panty liners and I feel gross!  Just a little nugget of info for your Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The One with All the Details

This post will give all the nitty gritty details of the egg retrieval on Friday, along with the latest on our little embryos.

Hubs and I left our house around 6:30 on Friday morning and took the short drive to our RE's office.  

Can you feel my excitement about needles in my vag?

We checked in and were directed upstairs to the floor where the retrieval would take place.  After a few minutes, the nurse came out to get me.  I said good bye to Hubs, wished him good luck with his dance with the cup, and headed off to be violated with needles.  

The nurses had me change into the oh-so-glamourous hospital gown and got me a warm blanket while I waited for the doctors.  I met the RE who was doing the retrieval and the anesthesiologist.  The nurse asked me a bunch of questions and the anesthesiologist got me outfitted with an IV (finding a vein was once again an issue).  I walked into the operating room and got up on the table.  The anesthesiologist told me he was going to add the sleepy medicine to my IV and that it didn't take long to work.  I remember the ceiling looked like it was moving and the next thing I know, I woke up in the recovery room.  Apparently, he wasn't lying about the meds working quickly!

The awesome nurses were there when I woke up and told me to just rest for a little while.  I think I fell back to sleep for a bit and when I woke back up, I felt pretty groggy but in very little pain.  The nurses checked on me and got me some water and crackers.  I asked about how many eggs were retrieved and they told me 13.  I was happy with that number considering we had 10 measurable follies at the last monitoring appointment.

As I was sitting and relaxing for a bit, Hubs walked into the recovery room.  I wasn't expecting to see him until I went back out the waiting room and the nurses said they brought him in because there were no other patients on the floor and they thought I would like to see him.  Hubs filled me in on how his part of the baby making process had gone.  He complained to the nurses that the DVD player in his room o' fun wasn't working.  Good thing he had his phone with him for his viewing pleasure!  Needles in the vag vs. porn on the phone...totally a fair division for this process!

The nurses had me use the bathroom and I got dressed after they took out my IV.  They also called the lab to check and make sure we had enough swimmers in Hubs' sample (he was worried about this).  The lab was very happy with the sample and told us that they were going to ICSI the eggs that afternoon.  ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) allows the embryologist to inject a single sperm into the egg allowing for the greatest chance of fertilization.  We were told to expect a phone call on Saturday with an update.  I didn't take any pain meds after the surgery so the nurses said I could take Tylenol at home if I needed it.

Hubs and I headed home and I spent the entire day on the couch.  I watched movies, napped, and sent out a bunch of emails and text messages about how things had gone.  I kept myself hydrated with lots of water and G2.

Check out my stylish hospital bracelet.  Hubs and I had matching ones.  We decided to keep them to start a baby book if this crazy process works!

I woke up from a nap definitely needing the Tylenol and it helped with the cramping.  I really can't complain too much about the discomfort considering what some women go through after their retrieval.  

This morning (Saturday), Max was up bright and early and Hubs got up to play with him.  I got out of bed to take my first Endometrin pill.  This is a progesterone supplement that helps my body to get ready for the transfer and maintain a pregnancy.  I have begun referring to this as the "vag pill."  It is a suppository and has to be inserted 3 times a day at 8-hour intervals.  Add it to the list of super fun IVF meds!  I'm feeling much better today and have just a little cramping.

Around 9ish this morning, I got a call from the IVF lab.  The embryologist told me that of the 13 eggs that were retrieved, 11 were mature.  They ICSI'd those 11 and 9 fertilized normally.  The two that didn't fertilize normally may still develop overnight, but we just have to wait and see.  So, at this point, we are working with 9 embies.  We may end up with less than that once all is said and done, but we are thrilled with that number at this point.  The lab will call again on Sunday and let me know how our embies are doing and when we can expect to do a transfer (either Monday or Wednesday).

So, now we wait and pray and hope that everything continues to move forward.  I am taking this all one day at a time and I feel really good about everything right now.

Back to the couch for more lounging.  Continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The One with the Baker's Dozen

This is going to be a quick post and I will elaborate tomorrow or Sunday, but we had our egg retrieval this morning.  Things went really well, I don't remember a thing, and they got 13 eggs!

I came home in very little pain and immediately asked Hubs to make me a bagel because I was so hungry.  I rested on the couch for a while and then headed into the bedroom for a 3 hour nap.

I woke up with some discomfort so I took some Tylenol and have just been hanging around the house with Hubs, my mom, and Max today.

We will get a call from the lab tomorrow letting us know how many eggs were fertilized and how they are doing.

Thanks for all the well wishes!  We appreciate them all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The One with the Trigger

Yes, ladies and gentlemen (or all three people that read my blog), I triggered tonight at 7:30 pm.  Let me back you up to my appointment this morning.

I went in for my eleventy jillionth monitoring appointment this morning and had blood work and an ultrasound done.  Blood work was stabby and difficult as usual so I won't bore you with that.

Ultrasound went really well and the nurse was super nice this morning.  She got the vag cam all ready to go and did her thing.  She found 5 mature follies on the left and 5 mature follies on the right.  'Bout time lefty caught up!  Both of the lead follicles (which are the largest ones) are at almost 20mm.  The other four on each side are between 16 and 19mm.  She told me there are still multiple on each side that are smaller than 12mm, but they may mature a little more before the retrieval.  Vag cam nurse said there was a good chance I would trigger tonight but that Dr. Bow Tie may make me do one more day of stims.

I went about my business with the littles today and spent some time at school this morning getting my classroom ready.  We went out to lunch and as we were pulling out of the parking lot, my nurse called with my plan.  "You are going to trigger tonight" were the greatest words she could have said ("You are pregnant" will sound even better though!).

She gave me all of my instructions:
1. Do the Ovidrel trigger shot at 7:30pm tonight.  Ovidrel is an hCG shot that will cause my follicles to release the mature eggs for retrieval.
2. Stop all other meds.
3. Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before the retrieval.
4. Make sure Hubs is ready to put his guys to work on the morning of the retrieval.
5. Come in Friday morning at 7am for the retrieval.

I am so super excited that this was finally happening!

Fast forward to this evening and I was ready to go.

The magic shot that will make my follies spit out their eggs (it's probably much more technical than that!)

Yea! I'm super excited about my last needle for a good long while!

I made Hubs take a video of the shot and everything, but it won't upload.  I apologize that you won't get to see extreme stomach chub meet stabby needle.  I know you were really looking forward to it.  If I can figure it out, I'll upload it later.

I'm off to rest and relax because I know starting tomorrow I'm going to get pretty uncomfortable.  I'll update on how I'm feeling tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The One with the Whining

The title of this post is your official warning.  This will be a post filled with complaining.  Stop now if you don't want to listen to me bitch.

I went back for my 85th monitoring appointment this morning.  My veins are so mad at me that I'm pretty sure they are on strike.  My vag has been probed so many times with the cam that she is awfully pissed there hasn't been an offer of a dinner date.  Or even a movie.

The ultrasound was up first today.  There has been some small progress with the ove's.  There are now 3 measurable follies on the left and 4 measurable follies on the right.  She said there were multiple ones on the left that were less than 12mm and 6 on the right that were less than 12mm.  I have been chatting with them lately telling them to get their asses in gear.  The numbers of follies is great; it's the size that needs to improve.

Whoever said size didn't matter was lying.

Vein assault was next.  I had the joy of being stuck twice this morning.  The first vein she tried has officially said FU to the lovely phlebotomists at my center.  It is closed for business.  She found another one toward the top of my arm and did a little digging to get the butterfly needle deep enough to pierce it.  The digging was awesome I tell you.

  The proof is in the bandages.  Just another war wound to add to the list.

I am nannying this week and next.  The family I work for is fantastic and I am so lucky to be able to share with them what is happening.  They are so understanding and have been so flexible with me needing time off in the near future for the retrieval and transfer.  Look, that whole paragraph was positive and didn't include one whine!

To counter that Pollyanna paragraph, I'm going to tell you what is happening in the side effects department.  There is really only one new joy to add to the list, but it's a doozie.  

So, here goes.

I am extremely aware of my ovaries.  I don't just mean that I think about them way more than is normal for any sane person.  I mean I can feel them growing.  Starting last night, I have been having these strange feelings in my lower abdomen.  I described it to my mother tonight as such, "It feels like period cramps, combined with needing to poop, combined with eating too much and drinking a ton of beer.  It's a full feeling."  It's not painful, just uncomfortable.  I know it's going to get worse too.  Clearly none of this compares to the pain of childbirth, which I am paying thousands of dollars to experience some day, so I really shouldn't bitch and moan too much over here.  But I am.  And will most likely continue to.  You're over it.

I heard back from the nurse this afternoon while I was at Barnes and Noble with the kiddos.  My super nice nurse said to keep stabbing myself with the same meds and set me up with another monitoring appointment for Wednesday morning.  Which means retrieval will not be until Friday at the earliest.  I totally forgot to ask her what my E2 level was as I was trying to wrangle three kids under 7 away from the plethora of toys at Barnes and Noble (isn't this supposed to be a book store?!).  So, more waiting.  I really do appreciate the fact that I am doing this crazy stuff during the summer while I'm not teaching because I don't know how people with jobs do this.  This IVF shit is a full time job.

I leave you with the proof of my vein assault and funny image that pretty much sums up this awesome IVF journey.

Bruise #129.  My body hates me and the general public thinks I'm being domestically assaulted.

Stolen from here

Hubs promised me froyo after my Follistim shot.  I'm off to require him make good on that promise.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The One with Yemen

My ovaries are still the laziest creatures on Earth.

I went in for my monitoring appointment this morning and while there have been some small changes, I am still considerably behind schedule.  Hubs came with me to the appointment and got a lesson in vag cam 101 while he was there.

Stabbing episode #486 was up first and when the phlebotomist saw my arm she gasped out loud.  Gee, thanks that makes me feel a ton better about how my arm is looking!  I asked her to look for a vein on the left arm since my right was so angry and she tried her hardest to find something over there.  With no luck, she asked about going over to the right.  Obviously, I didn't have a choice so I let her poke around over there for a bit.  She finally found one to the side of the monster bruise and did a little digging around before she got a vein.  In my next life, I am asking God for veins fit for a heroin addict.  I don't think it's an unreasonable request.

Hubs (who had to leave the room during the blood work because of his needle-phobia) and I went across the hall to take a look at my follies.  The tech was super nice and explained everything she was doing to Hubs as she went.  This time, she gave me a paper to record my follie size.  They only measure ones that are more than 12mm in size.  On the left, I didn't have any that were measurable at this point, but I had 7 that she could see.  This is up from the 4 on Wednesday.  On the right, she found 3 that were measurable.  One was at 16, one was at 14, and one was at 12.  Then there were 6 that weren't measurable yet.  A small improvement from Wednesday, but not the numbers I want to see on day 9 of stims.  She told me to try not to stress out about it and that I'd get a phone call later today with the update to my plan.

I am starting to get so frustrated and impatient here.  I allowed myself a small cry while Hubs put some gas in his monstrosity of a truck and had a few moments of woe is me.  This IF stuff sucks big fat balls.  Everything is so wait-and-see and there are days when I honestly feel like we are never going to get a take home baby.  It's so incredibly hard to stay positive when your body is fighting you every step of the way.  From the beginning, there has always been a part of me that wondered if there was something else wrong with me that was causing us not to get pregnant and that the doctors had missed.  Even with all the testing we went through, I still had this small voice in my head (she sounds like Janice from "Friends" btw) telling me, "Oh.  My.  God.  How do you know that something else isn't wrong?  Did they really check for everything?"  I usually tell Janice to get on a plane and go to 15 Yemen Road, Yemen (go watch this episode of "Friends" if you haven't seen it), but there are days when she and her annoying voice creep in.  Today is definitely one of those days.

This video can't be embedded on the blog, but it will take you to the YouTube clip and it's the best on I could find.

Several hours have gone by since I started this post and I heard back from the nurse.  All of my meds are going to stay the same and I am going back in on Monday for blood work and an ultrasound.  My E2 level was up to 393 which is good news (it was at 90 on Wednesday).  The nurse seems to think we are still on track for a Wednesday or Thursday retrieval.  The e2 level gave me a little more hope, but I am still having a Janice day.  As one of my friends told me it's better to freak out now before the little buggers are in there.  I'm going to embrace the "blah" day and know tomorrow will be a new and more positive day.

Hubs and I are going to watch a movie.  Maybe it takes place in Yemen...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The One with the Lazy Ovaries

Hi, my name is Jessica and I have lazy ovaries.  

(Here's your part)...

::Hi, Jessica::

Yesterday was my second monitoring appointment on day 6 of stims.  I went in for blood work and an ultrasound.  My date with the vampire was first and she asked if I wanted her to use the left arm since the right was already bruised.  Well maybe if you guys hadn't bruised me in the first place it wouldn't be an issue.  But I was nice and told her there's usually more luck in the right, so stab away she did.  Didn't hurt too much at that point and I headed down the hall for my ultrasound.  

As I stripped off my underwear, all I could think was, "Please let them be growing.  Please let something be happening with these ovaries."  Vag cam made an appearance, got lubed and condomed up, and the black and white blurry images appeared on the screen.  The tech was super sweet and told me my lining looked decent, but that it had some thickening to do.  She spotted 4 follicles on the left and 5 follicles on the right, but all of them were not measurable.  Damn it, this can't be good, I thought. Got myself cleaned up and the tech told me to expect a phone call that afternoon with my plan.

I interrupt this lazy ovary story with a quick recap of my trip to Almost-in-New-York-and-Vermont-at-the-same-time, Massachusetts on Tuesday.  I mentioned that I would be administering meds on the trip and I can now say that I have stabbed myself at...

...wait for it...

...McDonalds.  In the bathroom.  

I must say, McDonalds in random MA town, your bathroom was quite lovely.

I laughed at the absurdity of the situation most of the time I was prepping and giving myself the shot.  Only with infertility does this shit happen.  I had to laugh or I may have cried.

But, I digress.  Back to the stupid lazy ovaries.

My nurse called as I was pulling into the driveway yesterday afternoon after a morning at school (balls hot and so depressing yet again).  She told me that my meds were going to stay the same and that I just appeared to be a slow responder, but that I was responding.  She gave me the same info about the number of follies that the tech had told me about in the morning.  She also told me the lining of my uterus was at 6mm.  They want to see it to be at least 7mm.  I asked about my E2 level.  On Monday, it was 49 and yesterday it was at 90.  Still too low, but at least it had increased with the change in Follistim.  They like to see the E2 over 100 and closer to 150 at this point.  Again, lazy ovaries, lazy estrogen, lazy me!

I asked the nurse about our retrieval date.  At this point, I knew we'd be pushed back but I wanted to know if she had any idea when it would be now.  She told me they would know a lot more after my next appointment, but that she didn't expect the retrieval to happen before next Thursday the 16th.  That date actually works better because of Hubs' work schedule, but it's just one more delay.  I asked the nurse if I should be concerned at this point and she was very reassuring.  She told me I'm just a slow responder and that there are follicles there.  They are just being lazy and need a little more encouragement to get going.  She did make me feel better, but there is still a huge part of me that is petrified we will get canceled.  I honestly don't know if I can handle that.  This has been such a long journey and if we can't even get to the retrieval and transfer, I am going to feel like such a failure.  But, I trust Dr. Bow Tie and I know he knows what he's doing, so I put my ovaries and my future baby in his hands.  Now we wait.

My next appointment for blood work and an ultrasound is Saturday.  Hopefully, there will be some nice growth by then.  I started talking to them yesterday.  "Please little follies, grow nice and big so one of you can hold the special egg that will be our baby.  I need you to do your part and I promise to do mine."  Yeah, I'm probably going crazy, but I'll try anything at this point.

Oh, remember that vampire from the beginning of this post?  Well she nicked a vein when she stabbed me and I developed this awesome addition to the war wounds.

The blood from the vein pooled in my forearm.  Hurts like crazy.

My right arm looks like I've been in a battle.

Needless to say, we will be using my left arm on Saturday.

I'm home today waiting for a refill of the Follistim to be delivered.  I needed to get more once my dose got increased.  I'll be continuing to read Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton while I wait for UPS.  She writes an amazing blog that I have been following for a while.  I have wanted to read this book since it came out this winter, but I hadn't gotten around to it.  When I saw it in the library yesterday, I was super happy to bring it home and start it.  I made it about 3 sentences in before the tears came.  I know the story through her blog, but her hopes and fears about motherhood and the unexpected diagnosis of her daughter with Down syndrome tugs at my heart right now.  These damn hormone meds don't help my stability either!

Think follie growth and smaller bruises for me, please.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The One with the Monitoring

I had my first monitoring appointment this morning.  It only involved blood work today, which was quick and almost painless.  Dr. Bow Tie was checking my estradiol (E2) level, which is a form of estrogen.  That level rises as my follicles grow and produce eggs.  The blood sucker guy took a while to get a vein, as I sat with the tourniquet tied around my arm on tightness level 300 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Eventually, he stuck me, got his vial and I was on my way.

If you look closely, you can see the remnants of the death grip the tourniquet had on my arm.

As if getting stabbed with a needle wasn't torture enough for me this morning, I decided to take a swing by school to do some work in my classroom.  I lasted about an hour and a half before I was sweating bullets and cursing the fact that I was even in there when I still have so much some time left in the summer.  I did manage to rearrange some furniture and unpack a few boxes of supplies that had been delivered.  I also got all my welcome letters to my students organized and those will go in the mail tomorrow.  I'm trying to will more days of summer.  Maybe if I wish hard enough for it I can make it happen.  

Fast forward a few hours, a lunch, and a nice afternoon spent reading outside later, and I got a phone call from the nurse at Dr. Bow Tie's office.  She told me that my E2 level wasn't as high as they'd like to see it at this point so my dose of Follistim was going to be increased.  I fully expected this to happen as Dr. Bow Tie said he was starting me on a low dose to see how I would respond.  So, she told me to keep the Lupron dose the same and to increase the Follistim to 225 iu starting tonight.  She set up a monitoring appointment for me on Wednesday to do an ultrasound and blood work.  Hopefully, the oves will be in full production by then and I'll be able to see some action on the screen.

I'm headed up to a conference in Some Town Super Far Away, Massachusetts tomorrow and will be gone all day.  More traveling with meds.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes shooting myself up with meds on the Mass Pike.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The One with the Mother of All Bruises

As I write this, I have been "stimming" for two days.  That means I have started my stimulation medication to make my ovaries produce somewhere close to seventy bajillion eggs so that they can get sucked out of me and go frolic with Hubs' sperm.

On Friday morning, I cut my Lupron does in half down to 5 iu.  The leprechauns have happily departed and my head feels back to normal.  I did my first Follistim injection on Friday night.  Follistim is a different setup than the Lupron.  It involves a cartridge full of medicine that gets put inside a "pen" and injected through an attached needle.  Little more complicated to administer.  It also has to be refrigerated which can cause the medicine to hurt more going in if you don't follow the directions and let it get to room temperature first.  What idiot wouldn't follow the directions though?!  ::hangs head in shame::

Follistim comes in this super stylish case.  I may accessorize my next outfit with it.

Pen with the medicine cartridge underneath and the needles at the bottom.  Looks innocent enough, right?  I mean how much hurt can something that looks like a Bic pen cause?

Close-up of the pen without the cap.  And more importantly, without the needle.

So the needle gets attached and the medicine gets "dialed" up.  That means I use the yellow turny dial on the top to dial up to 175 iu of the medicine.  And then I stab inject myself.

I didn't exactly follow the whole let it get to room temp direction and it definitely hurt going in.  And it also hurt after it went it.  And it also caused quite a bit of blood when the needle came out.  And it also brought about the nastiest bruise yet.

I give you...the mother of all bruises.

I also had my first traveling with meds experience yesterday.  My cousin and her boyfriend were having a party in Connecticut and Hubs and I took the two hour drive to go see them.  Because I have to administer the Follistim at the same time every night, it had to come with us.  I packed the Follistim purse in a cooler with ice packs, along with my baby sharps container and the dip I was bringing to the party. 

Hello, thanks for having us.  Here is the dip I made.  Oh don't mind the needles.  It's all part of the roller coaster.

(Side note:  This dip was amaze-balls.  Highly recommend you make it and then maybe just eat it with a spoon.  Like now.)

This time, I set a reminder on my phone so I took the medicine out about fifteen minutes before I was ready to shoot myself up.  This helped a lot with the pain.  Snuck off to the bathroom with my cooler of drugs and needles and put my ove's to work.

I go in tomorrow morning for my first monitoring blood work appointment.  Fingers crossed that everything looks good.

I leave you with a picture of Hubs in his new shirt.

Pretty much sums it up right there.

Enjoy your Sunday!