Friday, July 29, 2011

How many?

Just one.

I am thrilled. I am just thankful to be pregnant. Yes, a part of me was hoping for twins, just because this is most likely our last chance for 100% biological children. Two and done, right? I would have been happy with triplets too, even if I would also be terrified! But I am thrilled with one. One is more than I expected, one is all I truly asked for. I don't have to worry about the complications that come with multiples, I am less "high risk" so I have more choices. I can afford to buy the beautiful, slightly more expensive and slightly larger crib we were looking at, instead of choosing smaller, cheaper versions that would fit in the nursery with 1-2 mates. I have more choices when it comes to delivery. I can breastfeed without having to do it in tandem. I don't have to buy the big ass car that would fit multiple carseats in addition to dogs and cargo. The list goes on.

But I am also sad for all the embryos I lost. The ones that ceased to thrive in my womb. Even though they aren't miscarriages because they never implanted, they were alive and now they are not. Five embryos transferred, and only one survived. I am so thankful and happy for the one that made it.

And there are still the other family building options that were going to be on the table if this IVF failed: Embryo adoption, donor egg, and the adoption of a child. Those will still be available, and I will love my next child just as much, no matter how they arrived in my arms.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beta #3

After poking me several times (I was a little dehydrated and my veins are now lodging protests) we finally got some blood for beta 3. I was more relaxed about this one, but when my RE's normal callback time came and went, I started to get more anxious. Finally at about 12:30 my nurse called. I guess I'm far enough along that he is delegating to my nurse. Fine with me!

HCG: 1126 (doubling time of 40 hours)
Progesterone: 42.8

Baby is still growing!

I am thrilled beyond thrilled. This whole experience is still so surreal! First ultrasound is scheduled for Friday. I'm excited to see how many are in there!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How did I get so lucky?

First, the nitty gritty:

HCG: 491
Progesterone: 33.5

I'm really pregnant. This is really happening. I can't even tell you how insanely happy and blessed I feel.

And yet I still think of my infertile sisters and brothers, still struggling. Why am I seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and they aren't? I don't know. I also don't know why pregnancy comes so easy for some, and so hard for others, and I definitely fall in to the latter category. I'm no less deserving that the woman who got her BFP the first cycle she tried, and I'm no more deserving that the couple still waiting for their bfp after multiple IUI's and/or IVF's. I'm also no more deserving than those who choose not to pursue ART, because that is such a personal decision, fueled by money and beliefs.

Am I feeling some survivor's guilt? Maybe a little, but I also have to remember that I've worked for this. Over three years of TTC, this was my 43rd cycle. My husband and I have been through two RE's, an HSG, an SHG, two urologists, multiple SA's, an unsuccessful varicocele surgery, countless blood tests and ultrasounds, three bottles of PNV's, a crapload of wheatgrass, acupuncture, 3 IVF's, 12 eggs, 5 embies, 2 transfers, and 42 bfn's. I could also go into everything I gave up - dairy, multiple running races, four (and counting) TNT Coaching seasons, two planned vacations, my fear of needles, my modesty, and the ability to make plans more than a day or two in advance.

Was it all worth it? FUCK YEAH! Would I have done another cycle is this one didn't work? No, mentally, I had already moved on.

I feel so fortunate that my body and embryos decided to do what they are supposed to, when it counted the most. While we were so fortunate to get insurance to cover IVF, it was still in the range of $1500-2500 per cycle which was hard for us. By no means was it anywhere near the normal cost for an IVF cycle. And thank goodness for that, because when we were told over two years ago that our only chance to get pregnant was IVF with ICSI, there was no way we could afford one cycle, much less the three we ended up doing. Maybe my eggs would have been better back then, but there's no way to know.

Anyway, I've paid my dues, and I'm hoping I will serve as a beacon of HOPE for those still struggling, going into their nth assisted cycle. My heart is still with all of you in the trenches, and I hope I get to congratulate you very, very soon. xoxoxo

Thursday, July 21, 2011

OMG - I'm Pregnant!

I'm freaking out, crying, laughing, etc.

HCG was 116. Progesterone was a little low, so I'm up to 1 cc 2x a day

OMG this is actually happening!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dreaming of Peeing

I'm terrified to pee. Well, actually, I'm terrified to pee on a stick. Last night, I dreamt I peed on two different sticks, and in my dream, I was pregnant. Now that I am awake, I'm terrified again.

I have had countless symptoms over the last 5 days or so, but I think most of them can be attributed to my progesterone shots or an overactive imagination. Or something that's psychosomatic. Short periods of nausea, random headaches, and overwhelming feeling of exhaustion (I'm sleeping 10 hours a night for fuck's sake, and desperately want naps too), hot flashes, salt and vinegar cravings (although those may be normal for me), body aches, etc. I feel like I have the flu without actually being sick. PIO is the devil.

Part of me can't actually comprehend a bfp. In the 3+ years we have been trying, I've never even so much as had a chemical pregnancy. I've never even seen an evaporation line. I keep telling myself that with three embryos on board, we have a really good shot at this happening, but all I have ever seen is stark white pee sticks. Emotionally I can't handle scrutinizing it for that second line, squinting my eyes to try and force a faint shadow to appear.

The last time we actually transferred embryos, the 2 week wait really got under my skin. I thought I saw spotting, which I knew was probably the Crinone, and thought my positive pee stick would ease my mind until my Beta, which was still four days away. Not so much. I plunged into a pit of despair so deep that nothing could pull me out. I cried for the four days leading up to the official news, bfn. Back then, I was desperate because I didn't think we could afford any more cycles, and my body didn't produce anything for a future FET. Now I'm desperate because even though we could potentially afford more cycles, there really isn't any reason for them, as my ovaries are shutting down. Life is an ironic bitch sometimes.

I'm hoping that I won't see that pit again, but just in case I will, I think I deserve a few more days of blissful ignorance.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Breeders Vs Infertiles: A Bitter Altercation

First of all, I want to say thanks to all my readers and commentators. Sometimes I don't realize how many people I have touched. I may come off as a bitter bitch most of the time, but it does make me feel better to hear that I have touched other people's lives in a positive way.

But this post is about the bitter side. Which is kinda funny, because half the time my "bitterness" is really just my dark sense of humor. Since sarcastic and/or humorous fonts have yet to be invented, I find I am misunderstood on a regular basis.

But I digress. It seemed like the clash of the titans (Infertiles vs. Breeders) started with a certain Twitter follower. I normally get two kinds of followers (aside from spam): people who follow me to get a follow back (businesses, marketers, etc.) and people who have something in common with me (usually Infertiles, sometimes endurance sports athletes, liberals, etc.). This week, smack dab in the middle of bedrest, I get a follower who is a self-described "anti-feminist" and a self-proclaimed "breeder" who also specifies that she has 9 kids and one on the way. Please note: if you have your 10th child on the way, the term "breeder" is redundant.

I took offense. Her tweets were protected, so I couldn't see the type of things she posts, I only had her Twitter profile, and guess what - I was OFFENDED. Believe it or not, I was mostly offended by her calling herself an anti-feminist! Being the liberal, wanna-be vagina warrior that I am, I find that kind of self-loathing abhorrent. But then there was the "breeder" part, which is a slap in the face to someone in my current position. So I bitched about it on Twitter, which is my Al Gore given right, for fuck's sake. I couldn't see any reason why this woman would want to follow me, unless it was to either hurt me or try to convert me, and neither is welcome. I have nothing in common with a conservative breeder, and that's what got me in trouble.

Someone was offended by that comment, apparently in addition to other comments I have made. She said I was rude to pregnant women and mothers. She said she couldn't stand to read my rude and condescending tweets any longer and was going to unfollow me. I love how she told me! Gotta love someone who makes a point to try and hurt you. All because I was offended and announced it. That, of course, became Twitter drama, which was actually pretty damn funny. What wasn't funny is that this particular person suffered from infertility and underwent IVF's herself. What? She lived through it and doesn't get my feelings? That, I have a hard time comprehending.

So let me set the record straight. I don't hate mothers just because they have kids and I don't. Believe it or not, many of my friends are mothers. Some of them are mothers after infertility, and some of them didn't have any trouble at all. Just because I make jokes about "stoopid fertiles" and condemn a few mothers' self-absorbed actions does not make me anti-fertile. For a Fertile to get pissed at me for this is kinda like a suburban soccer mom being offended by a homeless person scoffing at her Mercedes. First World Problems, bitches.

For the record, I am bitter at the Universe and people who shit on the gifts they are given. People who are lucky enough to have a child, but smoke/drink/do drugs during pregnancy, harm or neglect their child. That's bullshit. I am also bitter at fertile people who don't have empathy for infertiles. I don't think it's so hard to imagine what it would be like, at least a little. To be fair, I also don't have respect for people who lack empathy for the poor, the homeless, or the hungry. Basically, fertile or rich, you aren't very far from the other side, so have some compassion.

Therefore, I don't plan on changing my outlook, my sense of humor or the way I Tweet. If you are that insecure, I can't help you, but you are entitled to your feelings, just like I am entitled to mine. Let's just not make a big deal about the unfollow - do it quietly, like it's meant to be.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And then there were three!

The original title of this post was going to be "And then there was one" but my phone rang this morning. My first thought was "fuck, that's it, Austin Powers has stopped dividing, it's over."

I reluctantly answered the phone, and was greeted by a particularly happy sounding RE. He then informed me that we were still on for transfer that morning, and we had three.

Wait, what? Three? What?

I think after all the bad news he has had to give me over the last 7 months, he was thrilled to finally have some good news to share!

I immediately burst into tears, but unlike the tears I have been plagued with over the last four days, these were happy, ecstatic tears. We were going to have a fighting chance!

Looks like those two injected ended up growing. They must have missed the double nuclei stage, so they thought they didn't fertilize correctly, but I am so glad that 1. I decided to transfer ADP anyway and 2. That they didn't toss those pups right away!

Transfer was smooth, he said that they are looking for anything from 4 cells and up, and we have a 5 cell, a 7 cell and an 11 cell (Austin Powers, the rock star) now on board.

Operation relax and hope is in full swing. :)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Good News and Bad News

Being the pessimist I am, I normally want the bad news first.

My one little mature egg fertilized abnormally.

And the good news? Two of the other four matured overnight and were ICSI'd today. That means I have another 24 hours to wait. I guess waiting is better than the alternative.

I was watching a movie last night, "Love and Other Drugs." Hopefully this isn't too big a spoiler for you, but the heroine has Parkinson's. It got me thinking, about infertility and fertility and a Twitter comment I made the other night.

We were at our town's 4th of July celebration, waiting for the fireworks, and it felt like half the town was knocked up. Fuck man, I drink the water too! What gives? And my comment on Twitter was based on the obviousness of pregnancy, how it's such a slap in the face. If my heart's desire was a horse, I wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at them that everyone else had a horse when I couldn't. If all I wanted was to have my wedding on the beach, it wouldn't be completely obvious that they were able to have what I wanted. These are trivial things, and that almost makes it worse. It makes me feel sometimes like the universe is teasing me. I know that's silly, but it seems so unfair.

But I have found the silver lining. You see, unlike many diseases, such as Parkinson's, we don't wear a blazing red "IF" on our chests. We can pretend outwardly that we didn't want kids, or we had them and they grew up, or they're at Grandma's right now. In some ways, that doesn't help our cause, because being invisible is pretty much why we are ignored and forgotten in the first place. But for a private person like me, having my infertility not outwardly obvious is welcomed.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if Infertility was like Parkinson's, I would get a lot more looks of pity, and that wouldn't be kosher with me. So, my thoughts go out to those people afflicted with anything that is outwardly obvious and has to suffer through other people's bullshit because of it.

Except pregnant women. ;)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Insert Clever Post Title Here

So, ER seemed to go well. I barely remember anything, go a nice buzz going before they even injected the sleepytime meds, so I barely felt the burn. When I woke up, my husband was already there and told me they got five eggs. FIVE! And my husband said they were all good ones. I knew I should wait for the embryology report before I got too excited.

Doc called about 4:30 this afternoon. Husband picked up the phone and Doc wanted to talk to me. News could have been better. Out of the five, only one was mature enough to ICSI. Two were MI and we are hoping they progress overnight. The other two were less mature, I'm guessing GV even though he didn't say exactly.

He made a point of telling me that I did everything I was supposed to, and we stimmed for 13 days, yada yada yada. That I couldn't have done anything to make things different. I want to believe him, but I wonder about my diet, my weight, my everything. I could have done more. Would it have made a difference? I don't know. Whatever happens, I am transferring everything we get. I want off this rollercoaster.

I'm just waiting for the phone call tomorrow. We'll go from there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Twas the Night Before Egg Retrieval

And I'm crampy and bloated, although it doesn't really matter, because to those eggs I am devoted.

Hahaha Not sure why I felt the need to write a poem. It just felt right. I am crampy and bloated. I also think I hit a vein with my trigger, but didn't think about it until the syringe had blood in it. I always pull back on the plunger to make sure, but of course forgot last night. And that spot hurts. But they checked my blood and all must be well, because they didn't call me to tell me there was an issue. That spot hurts really bad right now, so my guess is I blew that vein and it ended up in my fat anyway. Right? RIGHT?

So, the surgery center is nothing if not thorough. They told me yesterday, and this morning, and then called me three times. Yes, I know to be there by 8:45 am. Yes, I know I can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight. Yes, not even water. Which totally sucks ass because it's like Africa hot out here. I'm already thirsty and I still have three hours to suck down the agua.

So, I'm tired of looking at numbers, comparing cycles, etc. Whatever is done, is done. I am kinda excited that I feel so crappy right now, but whatever the outcome, this is it. I am also taking time away from work to let the monkeys burrow in nice and good. No stress, no exertion, no nothing. Just relaxing and thinking good thoughts. Today, I also sent back the authorization to thaw Austin Danger Powers. I'm praying that he makes it, along with his brothers and sisters that are still in my ovaries right now. I want this to work, more than anything. Come on follies!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 12 of stims? Maybe? And random thoughts on infertility

Lining: 12
R: 19, 17, 17, 15, 12, 11
L: 8 or smaller, so nothing

Doc is pretty confident that we'll trigger tomorrow, ER Wednesday. We're close, and I can really only hope for three eggs at most this time. I have people asking about what's next, and my answer is "nothing."

I guess that's not really true, as silly as I am, I will probably still track my periods and hope for a miracle, but as I've said a hundred times, no more treatment. Sometimes the person asking had a sad, puzzled look and it makes me reconsider what this means to my life. I am giving up, and I am okay with that.

I guess because I am okay with it, I know that this is the right decision. Will I be sad? Of course, but a part of me will be relieved. Hopefully, I won't wallow. Actually, hopefully Austin Danger Powers will latch on and not let go. But I know I'm going to be okay.

Can I go off on a tangent about that too? I was having a conversation about special needs children and the other person said "special people have special kids" and it got me thinking, is that why I'm infertile? I've always prided myself on being a strong person. Am I infertile because I can handle it? Are the clueless fertiles only fertile because they can't handle the alternative? I don't know, but it makes me feel a little better, if not a little superior. ;)

So universe, if you're listening, I can't handle another bfn. You might know I'm lying, but let's just pretend this one time. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What day is it today? I lost count

So, I think today is day 12 of stims. I don't even want to count any more! Today we were on the better ultrasound machine, but I think it might also measure smaller? These follie scans are not an exact science as I am realizing. Today my lining measured 10, my right had 17, 15, 14, 12, 11 and my left had two 7's. Doc thinks that we will have a Wednesday retrieval, which means a Monday trigger. I don't know if my follies will be ready.

Sometimes I wonder how much bad stuff my doc isn't telling me, like if my E2 levels indicate those little follicles aren't going to catch up at all. I guess what I should be hoping for now is that we get at least one good embie from this and Austin Danger Powers (as my husband is affectionately calling him) survives and thrives his thaw.

Today is also a weird day for me. I'm 38 now, pushing 40. I have to deal with SIL being pregnant with #2. And my grandma wrote new a letter with my birthday card telling me all about my little cousin being pregnant with #2 as well. Unfortunately for her offspring, this particular cousin got knocked up the first time with her 30 something drug dealer boyfriend. Did I mention she was barely 18 when that happened. She had her daughter taken away from her too, because she was too loaded to feed her. Of course, now they say she's clean, got married to the previously mentioned boyfriend, and is pregnant with their second.

I don't know why the universe has such a sick sense of humor. Sometimes I'm sad for me. Sometimes I'm sad for others. Sometimes I'm angry at the world. Other times I'm angry at myself. Sometimes I'm angry at my husband. Sometimes I'm just angry.

I'm still as hopeful as can be expected. I haven't heard from my the RE, so the plan is the same: 450 gonal-f, 150 menopur, ganirelix, back in the am.

Friday, July 1, 2011

IVF 3.0, Birthday Follie Check, Day 11 of stims

Gotta love the 80's!

Lining: 10.5
Right: 16, 16, 14, 12, 11
Left: 10, 9

I am wondering what happened to the 14 that was on the left a couple days ago, but at the same time, I'm not sure we really found the lefty since we had more difficulty than normal (hard to top the normal difficulty we have!) locating my left ovary. I might need to drink some prune juice to get things moving in my bowels, opening up my gut a little bit! That might be more information than you need to know, but whatever.

So, interestingly enough, RE is increasing my stims tonight as well. Happy birthday to me? He always told me 450 IU's of stims was all that ovaries could take. Well, tonight we are moving up to 600 IU's: 450 of Gonal-f AND my normal 150 Menopur. Crazy, right? I thought I was going to start the Ganirelix tonight, but they didn't say anything about that on my voice mail. I called and left a message for my nurse, just to be 100% sure. I wonder if he is being even more agressive than normal since he knows this is my absolute last shot. I hope I have enough meds! Having to pay another copay isn't the end of the world, but I only have enough to get me through Tuesday based on 300 IU's a night. :S He thinks I'm going to be fine, but I like being sure, and these long weekends with no potential shipments screw with my preparedness. Shit. Now that I am thinking about it, since I am increasing my dosage by 50%, I only have stims to get through Sunday night, and if my follies grow 1-2 mm a night, I need at least 2-3 more days. He wasn't concerned this morning, but now I am.

If it comes to that (which hopefully it won't), I hope they can let me borrow some.

On a side note, I was hoping that the staff at my RE's would have wished me a happy birthday. Guess they don't look at the DOB on the charts or have any sort of notification. Bummer.