Monday, November 29, 2010

I've decided

I'm pregnant until told otherwise.

Now, I understand it's not like actually being pregnant. But in a way, because I know those little embies were alive and growing, I prefer to think of them snuggling in and continuing to grow. Unless my period comes, I choose to believe those embryos are still thriving inside of me.

Maybe I will be devastated on December 10, but I am choosing to be positive today. And while this is so not my M.O., I'm trying something different for once!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sacrifice

Let me preface this blog post by saying all this sacrifice is worth it. It's definitely all worth it if I end up with a viable pregnancy. It will also be worth it even if this doesn't work out. At least we tried wholeheartedly and gave it every chance we could.

Now on to the actual point of this blog - the sacrifices that I am making. First things first: I gave up running. Running has been a large part of my life for years now and I do miss it, a LOT. My RE said that my ovaries would tell me when I needed to stop. My ovaries never said anything, but my body sure told me. The week I started stims, I got sick and then spent the rest of my cycle fighting various ailments. I haven't ran since early November, and I can't even express how jealous I was of all the turkey trot participants!

Next I sacrificed my freedom. I am very lucky in that I feel fine. Again, I attribute that to not having many follicles. I might have felt something if I had 10+ but I didn't, and feeling great is the upside of not having anything to freeze. But because I feel fine, I am going a little stir crazy. I have been in this house for three days now and I still have two more to go. I feel like I could go out and run 5 miles easy, but I lay here just trying to give my little embyos their best chance. Sometimes I wish I was exhausted, so I would be happy just sleeping all day. I'm keeping occupied though, so don't worry about that.

Those are the big ones. Of course I gave up booze, caffeine, sushi, claritin, etc. But that's all par for the course, right?

I can't wait until bedrest is over and I can go out into the world again. And while I would love to get out for a run, I am hoping it won't be for a minimum of 12 weeks from now, and that my next drunken sushi night filed with sake bombs is a minimum of 9 months from now!

And, last, while IVF isn't the easiest thing to endure, I am so lucky to have baby pictures even before being pregnant! I hope I have a chance to show them what they looked like before going into mommie's belly!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My adorable little embies


I already love them so much.

Little embyos, please nestle in tight because you need me as much as need you! This has been the best Thanksgiving in a long time, and I an looking forward to an amazing Christmas gift! Xoxo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankgiving

Today I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a good husband who is now gainfully employed. I have amazing friends who has supported me more times than they might realize. I am getting ready to eat an amazing diner tonight. And I have two growing little embryos that will be nestling into my uterus in a little more than 24 hours.

This Thankgiving is my most hopeful since we started trying for a family almost three years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Egg Retrieval and Fert Report

All went well! I'm actually shocked at how good I feel. I'm attributing all of this to only having three mature follicles, which means that my ovaries never reached grapefruit size. While I am still disappointed I will have nothing to freeze, I feel lucky to have gotten this chance, and so far so good.

We got to the surgery center early (better early than late, right?) and I filled out paperwork while my husband gave his sperm sample. Then they brought me back for prep. I had to get undressed, and was able to go to the bathroom. I had to take out ALL my body jewelry after all (my belly looks weird without a little diamond in it!) and put on some cute (not) booties, a hair net and a hospital gown that was open in the back. I didn't even get to tie it, because they were going to use it only as a cover. They took my arms out, attached the blood pressure cuff, gave me an IV and let my husband in to hang out with me while I waited for my RE and the anesthesiologist.

After three different people asked me my name and birthdate, and a few other questions, my RE was ready for me, so I kissed my husband, and got wheeled into the surgery room. It was crazy - there were like 10 people in there! The anesthesiologist gave me something that made me feel warm and fuzzy, and my RE showed me my follies on the u/s before they put me under. The anesthesiologist told me the drug would hurt a little, and it totally did. The last thing I remember is the pain of that drug in my arm, creeping up from my hand, and hearing my heart rate increase on the heartbeat monitor (because it hurt!).

The next thing I knew was laying down in recovery. My catheter was out, and I was loopy. I asked if I could pee like three times, and kept asking the nurse what her name was, over and over. I couldn't retain a thing. She finally told me it was George. LOL It was Marilyn by the way. I finally remembered. They did eventually let me pee, and barely anything came out - guess they put a catheter in during surgery and I was just irritated. Bummer.

My RE came to talk to me, and he said they were able to get three eggs, which is all I really expected. I guess they flushed the other follicles and there was nothing in them. My SIL drove me home, and sat with me for a few hours. She also made me mac and cheese. YUM. We watched TV while I guzzled Gatorade like it was going out of style. They gave me drugs for nausea and pain, but in all honesty, I feel great and have been fine since the procedure. Later that day, my RE called to tell me all three eggs were mature and ICSI was performed on all three.

Today, I still feel great. Not really any pain at all. Maybe a little bloating? But I was bloated before, so how can I tell? hahaha I started more antibiotics, medrol, progesterone, and baby aspirin today. my RE called this morning and gave me my Fertilization Report: Out of the three eggs, two fertilized normally and are growing. They will call me with an appointment time for Friday's embryo transfer. I have faith, but I'm also saying a little prayer that both these beautiful little embryos grow big and strong between now and Friday.

In the meantime, I am enjoying a couple days of freedom. I was able to cook a little for Thanksgiving prep today, and should be able to enjoy Thanksgiving with no issues. Then, depending on my appointment time, I might even try to get out for Black Friday. Old Navy is open at Midnight! And Target opens at 4:00 am. WTF, right? I know I would rather stay up until Midnight than get up at 4:00 am. Just saying. And as soon as those little embies are transferred, I'm stuck laying flat on my back for five days.

Anyway, if you have any extra spare thoughts, prayers and/or vibes, my little embryos can use them. This is our time and I really want this to work for us. I've paid my dues and I'm ready. In the meantime,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Good Luck Charms

Panda and St. Gerard handkerchief. I have to thank my bitches for these. xoxo and ( o Y o )! Both of these will accompany me to ER and ET.


 My veins are also protesting. Don't worry little veins - we're getting close!



Positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts, positive thoughts

Trigger Day!

This morning my follies were 26, 21, and 19. I am still hoping there is a fourth one in there that they missed today but will see on Tuesday. I go in tomorrow for blood and a pre-op, and then schedule the ER on Tuesday!!!

Eeeek!

Last Sunday as I was waiting for my bloodwork, I started talking to a woman who was also doing the study. Today we were there together again. We seem to be on the same schedule, and started talking about results. We seem to both have 3-4 follicles, but instead of being disappointed, she just went with it. She didn't do any research about IVF, she just went with the flow. That was probably a good thing for her, and I really would like to adopt her zen outlook on the whole thing.

Then I look at our differences - she already has one child, she's going through secondary infertility. In addition, she's already decided not to freeze any embryos, so whatever is left over wouldn't be used anyway. Those two differences make a world of difference. If I already had one child, would I even be doing this study? Not sure. I do know that in my mind, the potential FET's were my security blanket. As in, if this first round ended up not getting me pregnant, it wasn't the end of the world, I could still try again. Now I have to convince myself that not having snowbabies isn't the end of the world either. Not an easy task.

I'm still hoping that my follies are few but mighty.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

IVF 101

I'm not even sure I am qualified to teach this course, but it was requested from one of my non-IF besties and I thought it might help some of the less experienced.

So, IVF is In-Vitro Fertilization, which means they put the sperm and the egg together outside of the body, and then implant a growing embryo (or several) back into the woman's uterus.

There are different protocols, but I am going to talk about mine: Antagonist. On day three of my period, I started stims, which means I started injecting the drug that stimulated my ovaries to produce eggs. Most women only produce one egg a month, sometimes two, so we use the drugs to stimulate more. Hopefully a lot more, but I will get to that later.

After four days on stims, I started taking an inhibitory drug, Ganirelix, which is designed to keep my body from ovulating on it's own, as well as slow the growth of my largest follicles (the space in my ovary where the eggs are created) and allow the smaller ones to catch up. Ideally, every follicle growing evenly. Starting on day five of stims, I had daily ultrasounds to measure my growing follicles as well as my uterine lining in order to assure a lining thick enough to support implantation.

After 7 days of stims, the Reproductive Endocrinologist started checking my Estrogen levels (E2), mostly to see how my eggs are maturing. Some RE's rely on follicle size, and others on E2 levels, but I think most keep an eye on both and make a determination from there. I don't think there is an ideal number, because everyone is different, but there will come a day when the doc says "This is it!" and instructs you to trigger.

The Trigger is an injection of HCG (human chorionic gonadoptropin) which helps mature your eggs further and will cause you to ovulate. If I were doing IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), I would be timing my insemination to coincide with my ovulation. However, with IVF, they will actually go in surgically to remove my eggs.

Approximately 36 hours after I inject the trigger, I will go into surgery under anesthesia. This is called Egg retrieval (ER). The RE will use an ultrasound guided needle to aspirate the eggs out of the follicles. This should only take about 20 minutes at most. Simultaneously, my husband will be making a donation because as soon as those eggs come out, they go to the embryologist.

The embryologist will look at the eggs and determine how many of the retrieved eggs are mature. They will perform ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) on the mature eggs, and then wait to see how many are successfully fertilized using this method. I should know all of this later that day or at the latest the next day.

Now starts the waiting game. I will be transferring the two best embryos on day 3 after ER. This is the Embryo Transfer, or ET. Some RE's wait for a five day transfer, but the study I am participating in requires two embryos transferred on day three.

There is always the chance that only some of the eggs retrieved will be mature. It's also possible that a few eggs won't fertilize, and that some stop growing before transfer can occur. Depending on how many embryos you have, you may have the option to grow them to blastocyst and then freeze them for a future FET (frozen embryo transfer).

A huge amount of eggs isn't really a good thing because it puts you at risk for OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) which can be serious and put you in the hospital. It can also impact your egg quality. Of course, having too few isn't ideal either. These cycles aren't easy on your body, and are very expensive, so if you come out with too few follies, that isn't really a good thing either. I'm pretty upset that I only have four even remotely mature follies - for me to have anything worth freezing, I would need all four of them to be mature, fertilize and grow. So now I am just hoping I have two good ones make it to transfer.

If my little embryos make it to day three, I will go in for my ET. They will perform assisted hatching which means they will remove a small part of the zona pellucida, hopefully assisting the embryo to break out and attach to the uterine wall. At this point, I will be on strict bedrest for five full days. While not all RE's feel this is necessary, it's a precaution mine takes.

18 days after ER, I will go in for my pregnancy test, and see if all the daily injections, blood draws and dates with the ultrasound machine was worth it. I hope I covered everything, and maybe gave a good intro to anyone confused or looking to learn about the IVF process. If you have any questions, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them!

OUCH (Otherwise Known as Day 9 of Stims)


They look worse in person, believe it or not. I hope this is all worth it. I guess in the end, no matter what happens, it was worth it to try.




So I got the call - no trigger tonight. I am happy for two reasons: 1) I only had one follie over 20, and 2) if I triggered tonight, I would have ET on Thanksgiving which would keep me home. Today we measured four follies on my right ovary (21, 19, 17, 15) and one on my left (14). Basically, the left ovary is done. So I have, at best, four follies to work with. The chance of me being able to freeze anything is now out the window, so my free study FET's are too. I can only hope that this one shot we have will work. Please tell me my lack of follies means my egg quality will be great!

I am such a pessimistic person normally - this hope I had been sporting the last few months was totally out of character. I'm trying to hold on to it, visualizing my eggs maturing, fertilizing, cleaving and implanting. Maybe if I visualize twins, I might at least get one?

One more day, RE appt with u/s and bloodwork again tomorrow. We'll go from there.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 8 of Stims

I have to admit, I am pretty disappointed. I think at best I only have 6 follies, and most don't seem even close to maturing. Yesterday's appt had me with three on the right (19,16,14) and two on the left (12,12). Today's appt had me with four on the right (20,17,14,12) and one on the left (12). I'm hoping he just missed the second lefty today. My lining is good, 12.5. I am just hoping that at least two of these eggies will be rockstars and that this single round of IVF will be successful, because at this point, I am not so sure I will have anything to freeze.

Today I am off of the study meds (whatever they were) and continuing on with Follistim and my Ganirelix. Should have some E2 results later, and of course another appt tomorrow. I also got my prescriptions for Medrol & Tetracycline, and then it was suggested I get baby aspirin (to help with implantation) and a probiotic (to keep me from getting a yeast infection since this is the third bout of antibiotics in two weeks). Good times!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Side Door


This post os so terribly overdue, it's not even funny. Last summer we met up with friends to check out the Side Door, the new hip gastropub underneath the Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar.




We started with cocktails, as a night out should. I got a pretty yummy Pimm's cup.


The we shared some gorgonzola fries - DELISH.


One of the chefs was our friend's sister, and she sent over the avocado mash with pita chips and black salt. Good but not my favorite thing.


Great thing about the Side Door - beer flights and wine tasters!


They also had a Charcuterie station. I truly loved how they paired every item with a condiment to accent the flavor. For the salami, they had a lavender mustard, and for one of the cheeses they had an amazing honey. So good. I could go there and order just that!


I love wine.

These were amazing - super chili fries. Beef fat fries with a prime rib chili.  ::drool::



And the salmon club, which was also good.

Lemon creme brulee with sugar cookies.

And this was the most amazing dessert ever - Black Bottom Irish Whiskey Pudding. Not too sweet, enough of a boozy bite to be adult, and just all around creamy goodness. It made me happy.
The Side Door is good. I'm so going back. Although, I have to say the Duck Fat Fries at the Crow Bar are actually more yummy. ::drooling again::

Day 5 of Stims

Today started out bright and early because I had a 6:30 am Doctor's Appt! This is so I don't have to take too much time off from work It was also REALLY early. I was hoping my husband might want to come along, but he decided to sleep instead, so I made tomorrow's appt at 7:30 am. I don't think he missed much anyway, you know? Stuff is happening, but not much yet.

Had my date with the dildocam, and things are progressing. I'm trying to not get worried about anything and let the RE do his job. I had three follies on the right (14, 12, 9), and at least two on the left (9 ish). He had a hard time finding my left ovary, and when he found it, he didn't look super hard. I'm no expert, but I figure it's just too early to get worked up over the follies, especially since I start the Ganirellix today, so that might even things out some and maybe allow more to grow, because in my mind, 5 follies might be better then 30, but it's not the number I had hoped for. I would love to see 10-15, but it's out of my control. My doc always says I'm perfect, but I think he says that to all the girls. He did give me a high five today after the u/s. LOL By the way, lining was at 10 which seems good.

I also had blood drawn. Have I mentioned how humongous that needle is? I'm not sure if it's because my stim needle is so little, or because I have been poked in the arm 8 times in four weeks (4 times in 6 days), but that shit hurts now.

Like I said before, today I start the Ganirellix injection in addition to my daily stim injection. I still can't remember how big the needle is... The package says 27.5 compared to the 33 that I inject my stims with. Just slightly bigger, hopefully not so much bigger I have a freak out. Especially since I need to give myself my shots and then immediately go into a meeting. My meeting actually starts when I need to be shooting myself up, which was poor planning, but whatevs. It is what it is.

So, now I should be a much better blog updater, albeit a little one-track-minded, since I am now at the RE every single day from here on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 4 of Stims

So, no side effects yet. I don't really feel anything. That might be because my sinus infection last week turned into a lymph node infection by the weekend, and I have been in serious pain since Friday night which has distracted my body. I started my second round of antibiotics today (after getting clearance from two doctors) so hopefully I will find some relief soon.

So, I have to say the injections aren't that hard. The needle is TEENY. In fact, it's so small I almost died when I saw the blood draw needle yesterday - it looked so big in comparison. I start Ganirellix tomorrow for suppression, which could be just in time since I have started producing a river of EWCM. I hope the Ganirellix needle is also small. Two a day injections from now on. :o/ Speaking of EWCM, I have NEVER had that much EWCM. Funny, I guess now I know what that's like. LOL

So other than the unrelated lymph node pain, I have felt nothing. The injections don't sting at all, and I feel nothing going on in my body. My husband thinks I am overly emotional, but FFS, my lymph node HURTS. So bad it makes me cry sometimes. I stand by the pain rather than the hormones, tyvm.

Tomorrow I go in for an u/s and bloodwork, and then I am at the RE every day through trigger. I don't know if I get a day off between trigger and ER though. I guess we wait and see.

Friday, November 12, 2010

First IVF Appt

Baseline u/s - Lining measured 5, right ovary had 5 follies, left had 4, largest measured 6. Dr. Werlin admired my socks (hot pink with white reindeer).

I got my blood pressure and pulse taken, gave a urine sample, 6 vials of blood and was weighed. Then I was put into the clinical trial computer program, and got a patient number which corresponded to my pack of meds. Nurse gave me my first two shots - one specifically for her to give and the other from my take home stash. One of them was drugs and the other was placebo. The question is, did I get the study drug today and will be injecting myself with sterile water over the next week? Or did I get Follistim today and will be doing what so many other regular full paying IVF patients get? I have a feeling I already know (even though I'm not supposed to), because doesn't Follistim sting like a bitch? That's what I have heard at least.

Anyway, I also got my Ganirellix (another injection, starting Tuesday). I go in Sunday morning to donate more blood to the cause (Haha) and then Tuesday for an u/s and more bloodwork.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And here we go!!!

CD1 was yesterday, so today was CD2 bloodwork:

FSH: 10
E2: 52
LH: 5

And I am good to go. I have my first appointment, with a humongous blood draw, first injection and possibly a baseline u/s? Not sure. But my IVF cycle has started!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo

This is the year. I was realizing that my 101 things have been neglected, so here we go. I have no idea what I am going to write about. I don't know if it's going to be funny or sad, but my guess is it will be a mix of both, since that's what my life is. A comedy of errors and misfortunes! So, in case you want to follow my progress (or lack thereof) and maybe even befriend me, here is my NaNoWriMo Profile.

Happy Writing!