Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ways in Which I am Like a Hippo

1. The bloat. Oh, the bloat. After I was all sunshine and rainbows about the paracentesis and how I felt so much better, I literally ate my words. It is back, it is bigger and it hurts. They measured my "girth" and weight today, both of which are up, and my ovary is palpable and ginormous. Have you noticed if you rearrange the letters of "OHSS" you get "HOSS"? No accident. I look about 5 months pregnant and am hiding my belly which looks quite pregnant, under puffer vests and large sweat shirts, but I am not that big to begin with so it is painfully obvious. If it were not for low-rise jeans, I'd be in my maternity ones. The doctors told me today that since my beta has gone up again to 862, and the pregnancy seems healthy, we have at least a few more weeks of OHSS fun before it starts to get better.

2. I am hungry. Like a hungry, hungry hippo. Generally speaking, I have a huge sweet tooth and love all things cookies, candy and baked goods. For about the last week, all I want is SALT. I have been eating delicious dill pickle/cheese/mustard sandwiches at least once a day, with Pringles smooshed in the middle. I am disgusted with myself. I tried to eat a cookie today, and almost threw up. What is happening to me? I don't know, but I need a salt lick, STAT.

3. I am cranky. If someone even gazes in the general direction of my midsection, their head might be torn off. I hate to hide my tummy, but know how huge I look. I don't want one of my neighbors thinking I am 7 months along, because, honestly, we've lost a lot of babies. We are not ready to share (except with the Internets, apparently). It is so frustrating to be in pain, unable to parent as I usually do, and basically told that there is nothing we can do. I like solvable medical problems, and this has no solution... except time and (gag) Gatorade.

4. I am thirsty. (Seems like hippos are thirsty, always hanging out in water.) I am on a liquid restriction, which helps to avoid too much fluid in the cavity, so I am limited to 4 glasses of Gatorade per day. YUM. All I want is a steamed non-fat milk with vanilla or a diet orange soda. But nooooo.

5. I complain a lot. Okay, I don't know if hippos complain, but I sure did in this blog. FORGIVE ME! Am VERY grateful to be pregnant today, and hoping the baby stays for nine months!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Beta and the Bloat

Quick update: I had my paracentesis done today and I look and feel SO much better. The doctor was able to get over a liter and Even if I had to do that every week, it would be totally worth it for the relief factor- and now I don't look 7 months pregnant.

On the beta front, it QUADRUPLED to 320!! And I would've been pleased with 160. The doctor said when they go up that quickly, twins are a possibility. I am repeating in again on Tuesday, but for now, the news is very good. We are cautiously optimistic that we have at least one growing baby in there. Keep growing, baby!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Show and Tell: Blessings (child mentioned)

Inspired by this post over at IVF Girl, for Show and Tell, I'd like to count my blessings. Research tells us gratitude improves our health and state of mind, and since I do my fair share of whining, it is time for some stock-taking of blessings.

1. My daughter, A. Her giant spirit in her almost three year-old body inspires so much joy in so many. She is kind, bright and truly loving of others. I want a sibling for her so deeply, but will always be eternally grateful to carried and raised her. The way she smells, smiles, laughs.

2. My husband, who is so understanding and supportive of the girls in his life. We lean on him so much!

3. My moms. I am so lucky to have the most kind and compassionate mother, and my husband's mom is AWESOME. She flies up here from many states away to help at the drop of a hat.

4. I am pregnant. As I've been laid up with nasty OHSS, I am increasingly worried about the pregnancy after our miscarriages. I am scared the beta won't double, the baby won't be healthy, but am clinging to hope, and taking so much strength from the optimism of all you wonderful bloggy girls.

5. The Internet and my DVR during the bed-resting stint. Blogs and Grey's Anatomy. What else do I need?

6. Stretchy pants. OHSS belly without stretchy pants would be a disaster. Worse, I'd be naked from the waist down.

7. Dill pickles. No, that isn't a pregnancy thing, I just love them. My daughter asks for them for breakfast.

8. My friends, IRL and here. I can't imagine how we'd have gone through our miscarriages and treatments (and now, pregnancy worries) without the friends who comment, email, stop by with tulips and generally cheer us on. I am so blessed to have you.

9. Mel and the Stirrup Queens gang for allowing me to find a place here.

10. Another chance. Please grow baby. GROW.

I am overwhelmed by the comments and kind words left on my blog the last few days. You gals have no idea how much strength I draw from your words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Go check out what the rest of the class is showing today!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beta is in...

And I am PREGNANT!!!!!!

I was seen again this morning for the worsening OHSS and they did my Beta HCG three days early, at 7dp5dt. It was 80.5! She said that is great and they'd like to see it between 50-80 if the test was three days from now, so it is a strong number since I tested early.

I will be going back on Sunday to ensure it doubles and possibly also having a paracentesis in which they drain the fluid that is pooling in my abdomen out. Supposedly, this helps ease pain and can temporarily make me feel better. I can barely button my pants, sleep, or take a deep breath, but who f-ing cares? I AM PREGNANT!

I am so grateful. Grateful beyond words.* I am so grateful to our family and friends, IRL who have watched A, helped at the house and supported this process. I am also so happy to have you, my Internet friends, who are a constant source of reassurance and comfort. Thank you.

Off to go elevate my legs and pretend that the OHSS belly is in fact a baby belly... it kind of is now!

*Okay, a little scared. After so many losses, it is hard to only be excited... but that is what I mostly am. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jon and Kate plus 8 (plus my ovaries)

Okay, I have never seen this show until the OHSS-imposed bed resting. I had heard about it and was somehow able to avoid getting sucked into it. Last night, I found myself in a JaKP8 frenzy, I watched four episodes and recorded more for later. It is like some kind of crazy train wreck, that I can't click away from. Unlike most people, all I could think about the entire time was how she managed to have a healthy sextuplet pregnancy and, "Did some crazy quack doctor transfer six embryos or what?" but after some Googling, I discovered she did IUIs with injectables. According to my doctor, they don't do that as much because of the risk of higher order multiples, like their sextuplets. What do you guys think of the show?

I did find out that Kate had OHSS with the sextuplets and and had to be hospitalized, which is familiar territory to me. It made me like her more. Speaking of the OHSS... here is the update:

My blood work was normal. Yay for avoiding kidney failure! Also, I am bigger... ginormous. It looks like someone put a basketball under my too-big shirt. Thank God that flowy, loose shirts are fashionable, because I am hiding my girth under one every day. Secondly, I have to be monitored every other day, so back to see Wanda tomorrow. They hinted that they might do my beta a couple days early, though. HOLY HELL. I am so nervous- is 7dp5dt too early by blood? I don't know, but I am sort of dealing with the OHSS by trying to think that maybe I am pregnant, so if they tell me tomorrow that I am not, all kinds of breaking down will commence.

Thanks to everyone for the cheers and encouragement. I am hoping to either start deflating, or get good news... or both.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Return of OHSS

Well, after the long week with OHSS, it was starting to look and feel better by Monday. Then, on Tuesday, I woke up all inflated like the Goodyear blimp and today is worse. I called the nurses to let them know, as instructed, and they talked to me for a while about the symptoms, before deciding I needed to be seen.

I rolled myself into the office (I am quite roly-poly) and had a visit from Wanda and some blood work. They also measured my abdominal GIRTH. It is girth all right.

Here are the take-aways:

1. It is worse. My ovaries are touching in the middle, which sounds cute, but hurts like a mother. They don't want me to lift anything (like my child) as they are concerned about ovarian torsion. That can cause the loss of an ovary.

2. There is a good amount of free fluid in my "third space" or peritoneal cavity which is not a good thing.

3. They keep telling me that I am likely pregnant (YAYY!) since the symptoms are worse and exacerbated by pregnancy... but no, they won't do a blood test yet. Stop asking.

4. If it gets worse, they will drain my abdomen. That is about as much fun as it sounds.

5. I am awaiting blood work to check for liver/kidney function.

6. I am now "moderate" and will probably require more monitoring (read: Wanda visits, and extra driving).

So all in all, I am pretty frustrated that it is getting worse and we can't do anything besides manage my symptoms. Pain? Percocet or Tylenol. Nausea? Anti-nausea meds. You look like a hoss? Deal. I am secretly happy that this could indicate pregnancy and am oh so hopeful that I will have good news soon. Oh, the things we do to have babies.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Wanna be Sedated

Okay, here we are, 3dp5dt (or, three days past a five day embryo transfer) and I am already freaking out. I am so worried (see Wemberly posts) that it did not work. I am finding myself with all this nervous energy, but I am supposed to rest a lot to help with the OHSS. I could seriously reorganize the whole house with these nerves! The other side of the nervousness is the snappy, intolerant attitude I have about almost everything.

I can't stop combing blogs for symptoms, success stories, and really, someone should take my laptop away. Or at least turn off the damn Wi-Fi. I have already emailed my favorite nurse asking if cramping was normal and if the OHSS going away meant I am not pregnant. She was very soothing, reminding me that cramps are quite normal, and the OHSS can come and go, or simply go, even if I am pregnant. She said she'd wondered if she'd hear from me today as she'd grown "accustomed" to my daily emails full of questions. I HEART her and must bake her cookies immediately. See what I mean about the nervous energy?

This about summarizes my attitude for today (and possibly until 8 am on Monday the 30th). You know the Ramones?

"Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated
Just get me to the airport put me on a plane
Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
I can't control my fingers I can't control my brain
Oh no no no no no"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meet my Alters

Does anyone watch "United States of Tara" on Showtime?* It is a fictional show about a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (or DID). It is funny and heart-wrenching all at once. She is a middle-aged mom played by Toni Collette, who just happens to have other "Alters" or personalities that help her cope with an unknown past trauma. They range from Alice, the perfect 50's housewife, to Buck, the Vietnam vet with a drinking problem. Her alters are all different sides of her, and come out without her control or knowledge.

Here's the scoop: infertility is making me get Alters.** I am firmly in my two week wait, two days after the five day transfer of two blastocysts. Or, for you crazy Infertiles: in the 2WW, 2dp5dt. Wow, that is a mouthful. Anyway, the whole process is really getting to me. I can't go out for a run, have a glass of wine, even take my daughter to the park to distract myself and reconnect with the rest of the world. I am finding myself feeling a bit off, maybe a bit crazy.

Allow me to introduce my Alters:

1. OHSS Alter: She is bloated, sore and nauseous. She is hoping the symptoms go away, but also hoping they don't because that could be a good sign of pregnancy! She likes to wear loose shirts to hide her massive girth and has no appetite.

2. Wemberly (The worrying fictional mouse)***: Brief glimpse into Wemberly's head, "Are the embryos okay? Should we have just transferred one? What if I don't get pregnant? Why do I have cramps? What if they are twins and they are premature? Or get HELLP? What if I have an incompetent cervix and we don't know it yet?"

3. Suzy Sunshine: She is nothing but smiles, and is sure she'll get pregnant. With those embryos, and all the confidence of the doctors, embryologist that we'll get a BFP, why wouldn't we?

Okay, so there you go. You've met my Alters. I tend to spend about 85% of the day as Wemberly, truth be told. I know it is neurotic, but now I am worried about unhealthy twin pregnancy at the same time as not getting pregnant! Someone, please knock me out until Beta on March 28th. For everyone's sake.

*I have nothing to do but read blogs and watch TV while on bed rest.
**No, not really. I am kidding... and not insensitive to mental health.
***Major credit to this post at Just Another Infertile which opened my eyes to my Wemberly-ness.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Welcome, IComLeavWe-ers!

This is my first ICLW since I started blogging and met all you wonderful and strong women. I am beyond excited that it happened to fall on my bed-rest-after-transfer days so I can be an extra good commenter (and because, DAMN, I am bored!).

Quick Rundown:

I am a stay at home mom to a preschooler. She was a snap to conceive, carry, deliver.
Since then, many miscarriages have ensued. Failed IUI's. I've also had to have my fallopian tubes removed which leaves us with the grand prize of IVF as our only option.
Began IVF #1 (after being delayed 3 times), responded well, and had my five day transfer of the above pictured cutest embryos ever. :) I am biased a bit. I also have super-duper fun OHSS and look 6 months pregnant.

I am a worry-wort and tend to ruminate, over-think and obsess. Obsession of the day: I want my OHSS to go away because I look and feel awful... but if it goes away, is that a bad sign on the pregnancy front?

If anyone has had OHSS please share your experience here! Happy ICLW Week! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!

I had my transfer today! After all the worry over my mild OHSS and the possible cancellation of the transfer, I was evaluated by my doctor today who said since the fluid pocket in my abdomen was not larger, and I had not gained weight, he was comfortable proceeding with my transfer. I almost jumped off the table to hug him! He did remind me that pregnancy can exacerbate OHSS, but I have a pretty mild case.

I asked how the embryos were and he laughed, and said, "Awesome." There were two beautiful blastocysts, Grade A, that were ready to be transferred and four to freeze. A few more are in extended culture, trying to make it to freeze. He gave a bit of an attempt to get us to do a single embryo transfer, which we had considered, but with all the losses, we felt that we wanted to maximize our chance for success this cycle.

Then the embryologist came in and said, "These are perfect. I don't often hand out Grade A's, but I could swap out the pictures of these for the ones on the wall!" Then she asked me how we felt about twins, and said she figures our chance of twins around 70%. Holy. Crap. She went on to say that she would bet money that I would get pregnant... a good sign, right? We got to see their darling pictures, and watch as they pulled them from the lab into the catheter. They were sort of sticking together- she said they were holding hands. I thought they just did not want to be separated. I had acupuncture before and after, which was so relaxing and grounding.

So I am home now, resting on the couch (bed rest for 48 hours) and making myself a little crazy wondering if we should've only transferred one. If we had transferred one, I'd probably be worried that we should've transferred two! This is how I am and it might make my husband crazy. I am not worried about the insanity that is raising twins, it is that I am worried about them not being healthy. People do like to remind me that twin pregnancies are harder (of course!) but I just hope they will snuggle in and be healthy inside of me for eight or nine long months.

I will post a picture of the cutest Blasts EVER once someone brings me my camera. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I've Got the OHSS Blues

GAWD! The Bloat has been sticking around and this morning I nearly passed out and was having lots of abdominal pain. I called my favorite MA ever and she said it was best to be seen. So I dragged (actually, my husband dragged) my bloated and cranky self to an abdominal and vaginal ultrasound (as an added bonus) as well as weight monitoring and "girth" measurement.

This Dr. T is not one I usually see, and she was very blunt. She said immediately, "You right ovary is hyper stimulated, no doubt, and your left one is normal." I did a little cheer for Lazy Lefty! Surprisingly, I actually had very little fluid on my abdomen, had lost weight since my retrieval and now they were going to check blood work for electrolyte levels, kidney and liver function and reassess tomorrow morning, 30 minutes before my transfer. I am on bed rest until then and ordered to drink a small amount and only to thirst. Are they trying to drive me insane until the last possible second this cycle? Perhaps.

In case you aren't familiar with OHSS, it is when fluid leaks from the empty follicles in the ovary after retrieval, and causes fluid build up in the abdomen. A severe case can cause it to build around the heart and lungs and requires hospitalization. Unfortunately, pregnancy (and the HCG it produces) exacerbates the condition and makes recovery of mild, moderate or severe OHSS take longer. That explains why they don't want to do transfer if the case is worse than mild or if the blood is unbalanced- the HCG from a developing embryo after implantation can make a person seriously ill.

That did not stop me from pressing for a statistic or chance that my transfer would be tomorrow. She said 80% that I will get my embabies to come home. If the fluid is worse, or the ovary is larger, they will cancel and we will be forced to freeze our beautiful blastocysts and wait until I am well. Which she said could be a couple weeks or a month.

(Child mentioned here)
I am feeling so incredibly guilty as a mother. My little A is having such a hard time watching me be sick and on strict bed rest. Her behavior is erratic and cranky, and I know she wants mommy to get up and play with her, take her to the park or work on an art project. This is where the voice kicks in, "If you were happy with one child, she wouldn't have to go through this and you would not be sick." I can't help but feel selfish for wanting to grow my family since it is taking a toll on us all.

I am NOT going to google "OHSS and cancellation rates" although I really want to and am trying so hard to be positive. I hope with every ounce of hope I have that our babies can come home to me... I have been waiting so long. This journey takes so much out of a girl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sorry for the comment issue, changed back to old design

Lesson learned, be careful when trying to update your blogger template. I download a new template from a design website and it looked great but comments didn't work. Sorry :(

The Worry Begins

I am an anxious person. To anyone who knows me, this statement would draw a hearty snort and a "No, really?" I tend to obsess, over think and worry about things endlessly. After I read this post over at Just Another Infertility Blog, I thought, "Yes! I am Wemberly, too!" I worry about absolutely everything... and now the worry that this long, painful process of IVF won't work.

I know I should be all rainbows and sunshine since our first IVF cycle is going well, but the facts are over the last year, I have been the worst case scenario. I had three pregnancy losses, one after seeing our little daughter's heartbeat, and had my fallopian tubes removed. They told me at that ultrasound that very few pregnancies are lost after seeing a heartbeat twice, and I shouldn't worry. When I went back the next week, with a bad feeling in my heart, the ultrasound tech became very quiet and turned the screen away from me. I remember her saying, so clearly, "The baby is quiet now, honey. There is no heartbeat." I am not sure what it is about the possibility of a healthy pregnancy that causes me to relive these losses, but they feel very close by, looking over my shoulder, reminding me not to get too optimistic. We've spent lots of tears, time and dollars getting to this point, and I have this frightening feeling: This Is It. IVF is our only chance, and it still might not bring us a baby.

I had a nightmare last night was that I got a negative beta test, and was hysterically crying. I went to my RE's office and begged someone to let me start stims that same day. They blew me off, saying I had to wait a month at least, and they left me there, sobbing, desperate for some hope. I woke up feeling that loss could be right around the corner, could be coming in a couple weeks. That is a unique part of IVF: you put something alive, and growing inside of your womb. If it doesn't become a pregnancy, it isn't just, "We did not get pregnant this month." It is a loss in its own way.

I am going to acupuncture this afternoon with the most amazing, kind and relaxing woman. I am hoping it will help relax my body, get me ready for the embabies to come home (and maybe help with The Bloat). I know that being at peace would be a good way to be, but the pained voices that have been let down, hurt and lost in the past are making it so hard to be purely hopeful. But hope is there. And I want it to win.

*Thanks to my husband for making my blog look so spiffy and new! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

...Our Embryos

The fertilization update is in: we are going to have a Day 5 transfer on Friday the 20th! Our embryos have exceeded our wildest dreams- we still have 17 growing away in the lab, although some may not make it to blastocyst.

I asked the nurse about grading them, and she said they don't really do it until Blast day since ours are all doing so well. I knew that since some people have 3 day transfers, they might check on them tomorrow, but she said, "We won't look at them again until Friday. We do NOT want to disturb them!" I loved this- it made me feel like the Embabies were hanging out in a luxurious hotel, ordering room service and sleeping in Heavenly Beds. I hope they don't get too terribly comfortable as Mommy wants them to come home soon!

I also talked to the acupuncturist at the clinic and I am set to do a session before and after transfer. Then we will meet with the embryologist and discuss the quality of embryos and how many he recommends we transfer, but ultimately, it is our decision.

I am laying around still- I am so beyond bloated and sore. I called my nurse and she said, "With how many we got out of you, of course you are sore!" which didn't make me feel like it is going away anytime soon. I also seem to have caught a lovely stomach bug, so I have all kinds of good things going on in my abdominal area! Oh well, it is hard on the body, being a hen. Cluck.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Fertilization Report is in


Of the 22 retrieved, ALL of them were mature!

17 fertilized normally and are doing well. We will know tomorrow if we have Day 3 or Day 5 transfer, but a Day 5 seems most likely at this point. Of course, we could lose some of our embryos, but at this point, it should not be too many.

Grateful is the word of the day. I am moved to tears- we have a chance at having a healthy baby and I could not be more grateful. Thank you to everyone who is cheering me on! I read your comments every day and take so much strength from them.

Wishing you a wonderful day...I am walking (or laying on the couch, all bloated) on air!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Show and Tell: I've got 22 of these!

Still woozy after retrieval, but had to show and tell the class that we had 22 eggs retrieved! Now I am just really crampy and sore but so grateful! I hope we've got some mature eggs in that batch ready to grow into healthy embroys! Fertilization report tomorrow. I am not sure what to expect to hear, but I am hoping that it is good news.

See what the rest of the class is up to over at Stirrup Queens.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Retrieval is Sunday Morning!

We will have retrieval at 8:45 am on Sunday morning, which means HCG to trigger at 8:45 pm, sharp. I am so excited, and terrified, and thrilled, and worried. Ahh, the conflicting emotions of infertility.

My favorite MA who is so responsive and answers my neurotic questions called me with HCG instructions and said, "Tell your husband to do it like shooting a dart. He is not doing you any favors by being slow and gentle in this case!" I am sure he's going to love that! Pretend your wife's bum is a dart board!

Well, with all of the encouragement to lazy lefty, she has caught up a bit with several larger follicles which they are hopeful contain mature eggs. Righty continues to be a huge show-off with about a dozen follicles over 18 mm which is great! My lining was about 12 mm and looks "nice".

E2 is "great" at 3306- pretty high! I am also ridiculously bloated, and am awaiting "pregnant?" looks. I reported the gigantic-ness of my tummy and they said now I have to start watching for OHSS. The key is to watch for a weight gain of 2 pounds per day for more than 2 days, and to measure your abdominal "girth". Yes, they say girth. She said to only drink Propel or Gatorade, and only when thirsty.

I am sure the weekend tonight and tomorrow will be full of nerves and worries, but I am trying to be hopeful and positive- that we'll get lots of healthy and mature eggs who will grow into strong embryos! Thanks to everyone for their support!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lazy Lefty- Day 7 Stats

Had my Day 7 ultrasound this morning. Righty is going strong! About 18 follicles, all measuring mature! Unfortunately, Lefty is slacking. About 11 follicles, but most are small-ish. A couple are mature, but not many. Waiting on E2 and dose changes.

I am really bummed by this news! I should be grateful to have so many on the right side, but I am feeling like we have less "chances" since Lefty is under performing. It also is making me wonder, is something wrong with that ovary? The doctor doing my u/s said, "Sometimes that ovary gets less blood flow, but that might just be this cycle." That began the freak out: what if I have to do this again? What if there aren't enough and we have to do another fresh cycle?

I know so many people have done more than one cycle, and you are my heroes. Since I am tubeless, and this is our only option, I am sort of in it until it works, but I hope with all my heart it will be this time.

God, hormones make me even more of a worry wort!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Zzzzz.... I Miss Coffee

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a LARGE Americano with cream. Mmmmmm. I am from and have always lived in Seattle, you know; home of Starbucks and Tully's? I also was a barista for many years, feeding the addiction. I usually start my mornings by going to our local coffee shop for a nice pick-me-up, but since I am in the midst of an expensive and painful IVF cycle, I figure, why not give it my best shot and quit the coffee and the heroin? Just kidding on the heroin. Making sure you were paying attention. ;)

So after yesterday's appointment, I am realizing why I am so tired (aside from the coffee withdrawals)... my ovaries are sucking all of my energy out! They are pulling it from everywhere: my legs (stairs seem bigger) but mostly my brain. I truly should not be driving or signing medical decisions without a cat nap first. It takes a lot of work to make nearly 30 follicles, I am guessing. My E2 came back at 1424, so yeah, I seem to be a good responder.

Anyway, I am going to go fall asleep on the couch now... update tomorrow after ultrasound. Thanks so much to everyone for the encouragement!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 5 Stats

Thanks to everyone who is cheering me on, encouraging and making me laugh! For those of you who understand IVF speak, here we go.

Day 5 of Antagonist protocol

11 Follicles on left ovary, average 8 mm.
18 (!!) on right ovary, average 11 mm!

Lining, 9.6 mm and waiting for E2 blood work.

They told me to start Cetrotide immediately so I don't ovulate, and to wait on my stim dose. It sounds like everything is going just how they want, and that I will probably have my retrieval earlier than thought- maybe Sunday or Monday. I also have to go in Thursday and Friday for monitoring and possibly tomorrow.

I can't believe how fast this is happening... I am so thankful to be responding well, and so hopeful that this will work for us!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Searching for Symptoms...

So today is Day 4 of stims and I am not feeling many side effects. I had a pretty bad headache yesterday, and am a teensy bit edgy, but other than that, I feel like a million bucks. This should be good news*, but being the overly analytical person I am, I can't help but wonder, (Carrie Bradshaw style): Why aren't I a raving, bloated hormonal mess?

I am going in for my first round of blood work and ultrasound tomorrow morning, and I am a little worried that my Follistim and Menopur are damaged goods and not stimulating the ovaries! I keep asking DH, "I did inject all of it, right?" The bruises on my stomach and empty vials should tell me, but really, I just need to be sure. I expected to be really bloated and hormonal now, and I am not.

I might have to kidnap a sonographer and get an ultrasound machine for my living room. Any voices of reason out there? Has anyone else had a similar situation while stimming?

*Lately, I seem to have a hard time believing good news until it is proven to me. Enter live-in ultrasound machine.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Eyes are Up Here

Back in those young, carefree going out days, I recall (barely) the habit of men to not look at a woman in the face, but in the, um, chest. Not only do you feel like someone is not listening to you when their gaze strays lower, but it can be a bit offensive. I would occasionally say, before walking away, "My eyes are actually up HERE."

I am finding myself thinking this again. Not to interested men, in fact it is mostly women of child bearing age. Why would they want to check out my rack, you ask? No, no no. They are checking out my abdomen. For a baby bump. They are desperately searching for signs of pregnancy instead of just asking. 'Cause that would be rude! But staring at someone's not-swollen-with-baby-stomach is not.

Maybe I should print a shirt: "Not Pregnant Yet" or even "Still Barren". Thoughts? Are you ever assaulted with veiled questions ("Are you drinking? What about eating sushi?) by nosy Fertiles?

Show and Tell

This view is one of the reasons I love living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I hiked up the back of Tiger Mountain, in the Cascade Foothills last weekend. I was trying to get as much intensive exercise as I could before I started stimulation drugs last night and was told to take it easy. *As a side note, she told me it was possible that a fallopian tube could get twisted if I strained myself too much during stimulation. To this, I laughed hysterically and said, "Remember! No tubes in there- who knew that would be a good thing?" She found a reason to get off the phone quickly.*

Anyway, I was thinking, while hiking up this damned steep mountain, that it was just a little farther, around the next bend, behind the trees. It was making me crazy, not being able to see the point we we headed to, but just having to trust that it was there... and it was. It was breathtakingly beautiful- a cloudy, Seattle day that always feels like home to me. As we panted and caught our breath, looking out, I was struck that Infertility is a lot like hiking.

I promise not to get too cheesy here, and I know the whole thing can easily be compared to a race, but what struck me on this particular day, was that when you hike up a mountain you have no idea where you are going... you might have a map, but the trees and elevation make it so that your destination is hidden for most of the journey.

This is how I feel lately, on our seemingly never ending quest for another child. After the miscarriages, tubal surgery and multiple delays, I am finally starting off on the IVF adventure. I feel terrified to look ahead too far and lose my place, or worse, my nerve. The thoughts of getting canceled, this not working, miscarrying again are staggering and I am working very hard to remain positive. At this point, one foot in front of the other seems to be the way to go. While hiking Tiger, I kept asking DH, "How much further?" and he would tell me, "I don't know, but we're getting closer." That about sums up this journey to hold a baby again. I don't know how far away it is, but we are getting closer. And when we finally make it, the view will be worth the pain and effort a thousand times over.

Go see what everyone else at Stirrup Queen's Show and Tell is up to- and leave them a comment! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Please Go to Your Zen Place

Tonight is the night that I have been waiting for since November. No, I am not talking about Prom; stimulation drugs begin! I am so happy to have finally passed the suppression check (E2 below 20 and no functional cysts) and be ready to go. They told me that it is "amazing" that my E2 went from 608-20 in a few short weeks. Hey, what can I say? I wish I could take credit, and assume that all the obscenities that I directed to the cyst helped, but really it was probably the birth control.

I am finding a few unexpected emotions today. I thought I'd be on top of the world, and I AM so happy to start, but I am also realizing that THIS IS IT. This is our cycle, one we hope is perfect and productive, and it starts TONIGHT. I am looking at my calendar of Wanda Visits (ultrasounds) and blood work, shot schedules, instructions and feeling a bit overwhelmed. Even though I understand it all, and could recite the "10 Step IVF Process" in my sleep, I have come to a decision. I am going to take this one day at a time. Do I sound Zen-ed out yet? I am trying to be mindful of today, focus on what is happening in my body now, and trust that tomorrow will take care of itself. OM... or something.

So today, I will start my stim drugs... I might have to watch the videos again to make sure I am mixing one up right, but I think the pen would be hard to screw up. Also, according to this fun little tool, I am 3 days pregnant. And that is enough for today.

How do you deal with the process? A day at a time, or are you a big picture gal?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And... They're Off!

Know anyone starting stims on Friday? Sure you do...me!

After three delays and one canceled cycle, mostly due to a monster cyst and broken fallopian tubes, my uterus and ovaries are ready to commence the stimulation. WOOT! My last antral follicle count was 30, which is great, they tell me, and my lining looks good. Last night I took my last Evil Pill (birth control) and start injecting myself on Friday. Tentative retrieval date is the 17th, transfer the 22nd if we make it to blast. I am so grateful for the chance to make a baby... I am grateful beyond words.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Suppression Check Numero 4

Oh, the waiting. All of us infertiles spend a good amount of time waiting. Especially going through IF treatments, it is not just the waiting to ovulate and the waiting to pee on a stick. It is waiting for blood work, protocols, and my personal favorite: calls back from the nurse. I love my nurse, don't get me wrong. She has a wonderful amount of patience and indulges my wild "what if?" questions with short answers.

However, she seems to take a lot of time off. Occasionally, I email her, which we are encouraged to do, and don't hear back. So then, maybe two hours later, I will call, and get her out of office voice mail greeting. I have been out of the workforce for a while, but what happened to auto-reply-out-of-office messages? Jeez! Now I have missed the "we'll call you back today" cut off time of 3:30... by four minutes.

Today, I wanted to find out if I could to my suppression check tomorrow instead of Wednesday, because I. Am. Losing. It. I can't bear the waiting to find out if I am delayed (again) or canceled (again) because my E2 is up or there is no cyst resolution. I am interpreting each little twinge in my abdominal area (Cyst is BIGGER) or bloating (Obviously, my E2 is climbing) as bad signs. I am desperate to start- I was supposed to start months ago, but lots of road blocks came up, and I am finding it increasingly difficult to be patient. Last night I opened my email to find a pregnancy announcement from a distant friend, letting me know that her second was on the way. I didn't cry... but then I was laying in bed with my husband, reading and the character in my book announced she was pregnant with their third child. I completely lost it and started yelling, "I am tired of being PATIENT!!" He sort of looked at me sideways, acknowledged that I had been patient, but I am sure he was thinking, "she is upset over a fictional character's fictional pregnancy? My wife is going batty!"

Clearly, I need to get a grip, but other than that, what do you ladies do to pass the time and to make the waiting a bit smoother? So far I am thinking:

1. Go running
2. Go shopping
3. Take a Valium
4. Chain myself to my RE's door until they do an ultrasound