Monday, December 31, 2007
The bed was on the expensive side and the sheets and pillows and comforter added up, too. So, I guess you could say that I am a mite bit sensitive to keeping this bed in good condition.
This leads me to this morning's rude awakening.
Although I need to back up a minute. First off, yes, we do let our cat and two dogs sleep with us. I know, I know, everything that you read about dog obedience really cautions you against letting animals share your bed. But there is just nothing like a furry little body to warm up against and I love having them there. Our dogs are also alone during the day a lot when we are at work, so it seems almost cruel to keep them away at night, too.
Our little dog, Jack, is nine years old. He is a terrier mix, of the Jack Russell Terrier family - or Jack Russell Terrorist as a friend of ours calls him. Jack is. . . well, Jack is special. We got him from the humane society and the guy told me not to get him. The guy said that he would be a problem dog and he has lived up to his reputation. He is too smart for his own good, can get himself out of any crate, even injuring himself in the process. He soils the carpet if he is left home alone and consequently, he and Rocky have to stay in the garage while we are away from home (but don't worry, true to our dog-loving nature, the garage is heating and my husband built special pet beds for them). On the other hand, he is fiercely loyal, loves us to no end, and is wonderful with children. I call him my shadow, because he follows me everywhere and cannot bear to be away from us.
For the past 18 months, Jack has started developing back problems. He will be fine for months and then have an "episode." During an "episode," he is in extreme pain and can barely move. It is really sad. We have taken him to the vet several times, spent several hundreds of dollars on special x-rays, medications, blood tests, etc. All to no avail. During an "episode," we treat him with prednisone and a muscle relaxant, and wait for the symptoms to pass. It usually takes a couple of days and then he is fine again.
This last episode started the week before Christmas. I noticed he was acting funny again, with his tail tucked between his legs and seeming restless, unable to find a comfortable spot. I gave him a half of prednisone as a precaution. That night, he started making these funny noises in bed. . . right before he peed all over me! Of course, he soaked through the comforter, sheets, but luckily, it didn't get to the mattress because he soaked me.
I took him to the vet the next day. He had an exam and a urine culture which was negative. The urinating thing is a new symptom to the episodes, so we were concerned about a potential urinary tract infection. The vet decided that it was "behavioral" and almost $100 later, we were on our way.
Over the past week, his pain has gotten worse. We have increased the prednisone and muscle relaxant dosages. It seems that we can control the pain, but that it isn't getting much better. We called the vet, but they are out of ideas. Their only recommendation is a referral to a specialist who can do a MRI on him to look for nerve damage - for the bargain price of $1300. If they fine something (That's a really big if as the last x-ray only showed that he had pain in his lower back of no known origin. Really helpful, thanks.) then the surgery to fix him could range from $4000 - 6000! And the recovery and prognosis for a dog of his age is not good, around 50% will recover to lead a "normal" life.
So, now we are looking at a minimum of $1300 and probably more. So, we decided to see if we could get Jack over this latest "episode" with the medication and lots of TLC.
It seemed like he was getting better yesterday. And then, at 6:00 this morning, I heard that familiar funny noise, followed by feeling the warm wetness of Jack peeing all over our bed. . . our brand new bed. Luckily, we had purchased the waterproof mattress cover and it did its job, but I am now knee deep in laundry, including a trip to the dry cleaner to clean our new comforter.
I love my animals. They are like children to me. They comfort me when I am sad, their wagging tails make my day. Jack has been my "baby" for seven years. I can't just let him be sick and not try to find the answer.
But I also don't believe in prolonging an animal's suffering. He is not suffering right now, he is still eating, drinking, and peeing (obviously). But when he shakes and cries from the pain, I feel like a monster for hesitating on getting the MRI. But that's a lot of money. Money we can definitely use for other things.
Each time Jack recovers from an "episode," I breathe a sigh of relief, so glad that we don't have to make a tough choice. I don't know how much longer we will be getting that reprieve.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Sing, it girls, because. . . I Gotta New Attitude!
This won't last long, I am sure, but I am determined to make it last until my ultrasound on Tuesday, January 8. Here's the deal: pregnancy is a miracle. It is something that many people take for granted, but all of us that have dealt with infertility and/or pregnancy loss never will. I have worked hard and gone through a lot to be here. At times, I have sacrificed my health, my time, my comfort, my sanity, my marriage, my friendships, and pretty much my entire existence to make this happen.
And I am not enjoying it. Well, I wasn't, anyway. I kept glooming and dooming and googling my way through it.
But no more. I cannot change what will happen. God has already determined the fate of this pregnancy. I hope that this time is the miracle that we have been praying for, but if it's not, then I want to - scratch that - I DESERVE TO enjoy every single minute of it. I don't want regrets.
I am sure that I will falter in this new attitude, but I am going to give it my best try. I know I can count on you to help me!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
My mom called for an update and I called her back because I knew that she would worry if I didn't. She tries really hard, but she also seems to know how to push my buttons better than anyone. My mom is a "fertile," complete with a surprise baby that was born when I was 14 - that she seriously contemplated aborting. She loves to tell the story about how she went to the doctor for her first OB appointment and cried and cried because she was pregnant. Then she heard the lady in the next room, crying and crying because she wasn't. For some reason, she thinks that story is comforting to me, but all it really does is make me realize how much she just cannot understand.
My mom has also made no secret of the fact that she did not want children. She was perfectly happy with her life with my dad before I was born. They were not planning on children. I was an accident. Then, because they didn't want me to be an only child, they decided to have my sister and got pregnant the first month that they tried. My little brother was their second accident. I come from fertile stock. Too bad I seem to be the black sheep.
After my brother was born, my mother had pretty significant post-partum depression. This was exacerbated by the fact that my little brother was born with something called Poland's Syndrome. He was born in April and I clearly remember on Mother's Day buying her some of her favorite things to cheer her up. She listlessly poked through the gift bag and then shoved it aside. I was hurt and she said, "There is nothing in this bag that I want."
Now she almost seems to delight in reminding me of this. Last Christmas, after we had lost Gummy Bear, I told her that I didn't want presents and she said, "Now you understand how I felt when [insert story here]."
I know that she really is trying to help, but for some reason, every time I get off the phone with her, I seem to be even more upset. And then I end up feeling bad, so I call her back to apologize. . . and the circle repeats.
I am still not entirely sure what to do about the beta tomorrow. I was completely for it last night, but now I am rethinking it. To plagiarize blatantly from Geohde, there is really no number that will make me feel better. Sure, I guess if it more than doubled, I would feel better. . . for about thirty seconds. Then, I would start being scared again. If it didn't quite double, I would be in hysterics again. I don't think that being so upset is good for me right now. I have managed to calm myself down from yesterday and am trying to think positively. After all, there really isn't much that I can do about it, either way. The best thing that I can do is to take care of myself and send all of my love to the little one(s) that I can.
This is the minefield of early pregnancy after loss/infertility. It isn't an easy road and there are sure to be many bumps ahead. I am grateful for your love and support.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The number for today is 1903, which if you go from Wednesday's number is a doubling time of only 57.18 hours. Not great.
However, if you are a silver lining type of gal, which I am now desperately trying to be, the IVF coordinator figured the doubling off of the original beta of 242 from last Sunday. That doubling time (242 to 1903) is 40.33 hours. Better.
The coordinator said that there is no reason to do another beta unless I would like to. Our 6 week, 2 day ultrasound is on January 8, so if we don't do a beta, I have to wait for NINE days to next get some sort of hint as to how this pregnancy is progressing.
I am torn. Part of me wants to know if the numbers start dropping so that I can prepare myself. As I have said in previous posts, however, there is no preparation.
This is what I get for starting to get optimistic. But a girl can dream, right?
If you have room in your thoughts and prayers for these little ones, I would really appreciate it.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
My beta was 1130 today. 1130.
At the risk of bragging, that's a doubling time of 34.63 hours. 750 would have made my RE's office happy. 1130.
Christmas Miracles just keep on coming!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
This morning, we got up early because in order to get the results back today, we had to have the blood draw by 9:00 AM. Getting the blood draw itself with quick and painless. I tried to sweet talk my way into having the results back quickly, but they were pretty backed up and just promised us that we would hear by 3:00 PM.
After the blood was drawn was when I started to get nervous. I mean, I knew that there would be HCG in my system. But I wasn't sure how much. I just wanted the number to be over 100. At least then we would feel comfortably sure that one embryo had implanted. However, I was willing to take 75, since a friend of mine is 14 weeks pregnant with twins, and that was her first beta.
To distract ourselves from the waiting, my husband and I went and had breakfast. We then went and bought our Christmas present to each other - a king sized mattress! We are currently sleeping on a queen sized mattress that I bought right after I graduated from college. It was brand new and I think that I spent around $500 for it, so not the highest quality, although it hasn't been that bad.
We decided to really upgrade this time around went with the super-plush pillow top, with suspension cables instead of coils - it sounds like a soft bridge instead of a mattress. I truly cannot wait to take a good nap in the baby when it gets delivered next Friday.
After the mattress purchase, we went to the Shane Company. We were looking at new diamonds for my wedding ring. We were kind of just killing time, though, because we aren't really in the market for a new diamond. It was in the Shane Company, with a full carat loose diamond in a beautiful setting, that my phone rang. I flipped that diamond off so quickly that it startled the sales girl. We had already told her that we were waiting for an important call, but my haste to grab it seemed to surprise her.
I quickly excused myself and walked over the the entrance of the store to have a smidgen of privacy (but we were in a jewelry store two days before Christmas). The nurse, Roberta, identified herself and I didn't mince words, "Please give me a good number, Roberta."
Then Roberta said, "Well, can I wish you a Merry Christmas, first?"
I wanted to say, "NO, just give me the beta!" But of course, I didn't want to be rude. So I said, "Yes, please."
Roberta replied, "Well, Merry Christmas! I bring tidings of great joy. Your beta is. . . (she paused for what I swear was two years). . . 242!"
Merry Christmas, indeed! Of course, I started crying. 242.
She instructed me to stay on my medications and we wished each other Happy Holidays. I went back to where my husband was standing with the still-startled-looking saleswoman and gave him a big hug and a kiss.
Of course, now we wait for the recheck for doubling, which we can't do until Wednesday. In the meantime, however, we have plans to celebrate this good news and enjoy our Christmas.
There are no guarantees that this number will bring us a baby or babies. I associate pregnancy with loss and sadness, so there is a small part of me that is hesitant, keeping me from getting attached. But most of me knows that no matter what happens, I want to treasure each and every moment. I can only pray that this is it.
Thank you again to everyone for your support and love. I cannot tell you how much it means to me.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Yes, miracles do happen. This is another Christmas Miracle and it's happening to me.
I wouldn't ever say that I was. . . the word that shall not be spoken. . . before the beta. But the pee sticks are ridiculously dark and getting darker. The one that I took last night is almost as dark as the control line at 7 dp 5 dt (12 DPO).
I know how difficult it can be to read about a "p" announcement, especially depending on where you are in your own search for that elusive state. Please know that I appreciate all of your support and sticky vibes so very much more than I can ever say.
Also, I am so scared. Excited, yes, of course. Over-the-moon thrilled? We'll have to wait on that for a bit. You see, "the word that shall not be spoken" has never ended happily for us. It has always ended with rivers of tears and shattered dreams. Please, please, please let this Christmas Miracle be what we have been waiting and praying for for so very long.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
But first: yesterday sucked.
I am not sure why. I pretty much woke up grumpy and stayed that way for the rest of the day. I know that progesterone and I are not a good mix, so that probably had something to do with it. I also am doing those darned Vivelle "dots," and I remember this general teed-off-at-the-world-for-no-apparent-reason feeling from my Lupron days (they seem so long ago, somehow). Also, as I posted, I didn't feel an inkling of pregnant. I know, it's so early, but I was hoping for a light to shine down on my belling and the word pregnant to float above my abdomen. Or something subtle like that.
I spent my day wrapping Christmas gifts and putting up the last of my Christmas decorations. I had everything pretty much done a few weeks ago, except one key feature: my nativity scene. I just love it, it is from the Willow Tree collection (the little figurines that look as if they are carved from wood). My grandmother gave me the first piece the Christmas before she died and my parents and siblings have given me the rest of the pieces over several birthdays. Just putting it up each year makes me so happy and each piece has special meaning attached to the person who gave it to me. Last year when we were putting away the bin with the nativity pieces in it, somehow, it got put in with the outdoor decorations. So this year, I couldn't find it and I was devastated. I kept picturing accidentally throwing it out with the mass amount of things that we donated at the end of the season. My husband finally got around to putting some outdoor lights this weekend and ta-da! There it was.
So, I lovingly put up each piece and made it look just right. I admired it for a moment and then went to make dinner. My husband came home about an hour later and started playing with our dogs and. . . "somehow" the ball he threw landed on my nativity and broke two of the pieces - one of which had been the gift from my grandmother.
I lost it. I don't mean I cried. I don't mean I yelled. I don't mean I threw things. I managed to do all three at once, while turning what my husband described as "a violent shade of purple." I told him to get in the car and not come back until he had replacement pieces for the broken figurines. He used crazy glue to put them back together and you honestly can't tell, but I was still angry at him for the rest of the night.
Earlier in the day, I had a fight with my mom on the phone. It started innocently enough, she asked about baby names and I told her what we were thinking about and she started laughing at our choice of a middle name (which, incidentally, is my husband's dead father's middle name - Patrick). She didn't just giggle or snuffle out a quick guffaw, either, it was a hyenna laugh that kept going and going. I started to cry, she kind of sort of apologized, and then brought it up five minutes later by saying, "You're not really going to name my grandson Patrick [Last Name Here]."
Once again, I lost it.
Yeah, yesterday wasn't pretty. But I am in a better mood today. Getting used to the progesterone? Maybe, but I doubt it. Getting used to the Vivelle dots. Unlikely, but sure. Seeing all the lovely comments you guys left me yesterday while I wallowed in my misery. That made me feel all warm and tingly inside. But something else is cheering me up today. . .
My husband says that I smell.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I don't believe in keeping you in suspense for no reason. I did get my blood taken today, but I got it taken too late to get the results before tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I will get them early in the day and will then update as soon as I can.
That being said. . .
I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas. Our Christmas was quiet and very nice. Since we were engaged, my husband and I alternate holidays with the in-laws. It keeps things fair and leaves no room for argument. Short of a death in the family, we don't change the schedule.
This Christmas was a holiday with my parents and siblings. I really love my mother-in-law and husband's family (really, I mean it!), but there is nothing like being home at Christmas with my family. All of the things taht I associate with the holidays are at my parents' house. I am sure that my husband feels the same way, but even so, I am always glad when it is a Christmas with "my" side of the family. We got some neat presents, ate a ton of amazing food, and spent an enjoyable couple of days really just lounging around.
Even so, I found this Christmas to be lacking in something that I can't quite identify. First off, I hope this doesn't come off sounding like a complaint. I am so grateful that we had that positive beta two days before Christmas. That's one the hardest things about losing so many pregnancies. I have absolutely no belief that this will end in a healthy baby or babies. I check every two seconds for spotting. Every cramp, twinge, or small ache is a sign of impending miscarriage. Instead of being happy, we are "cautiously" optimistic. When my sister gave us a present for "the baby," I felt my gut clench. I thought about how we have a basket of toys, blankets, etc., in our bedroom at home, given to or purchased by us for other babies that we have had to say goodbye to.
I hate the reserve that I feel for this pregnancy. How many times have I written others, saying to savor each moment, no matter how fleeting? I suppose it's only natural, but I hate it. And the worst thing is that it won't work. If this pregnancy were to fail, then I will be devastated, so it's not as if I am really protecting myself.
Ugh. This has turned into such a negative post. I really didn't mean it to be that way. I feel truly blessed by how well things have gone so far and there is really no reason not to believe that they will continue to go well. But I am just so scared. And I want this to work so much that I can't even let myself enjoy what has been happening so far. I don't want to be like this.
It's little wonder that I took a second HPT this morning.
And it's a BFP. No tilting this way and that. No bright lights. No climbing around the furniture in my house to "get a better look." Big Fat Positive. Of course, I let my husband take a peak. He is getting as bad as me and wanted to compare the line from yesterday. We disagreed on our final take (I thought it was slightly darker, but he thinks it's the same). That's okay, though, because it's only been 12 freakin' hours. As any good POAS-aholic knows, it takes 48 hours to double, so what am I expecting.
I am 6 dp 5 dt at 14 days past trigger. I don't think this is trigger. I am not crazy enough to say that I might be. . .uh, you know. . . or anything, but I am very hopeful. Cautiously optimistic.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that we are definitely getting the beta on Sunday now. Definitely.
For those of you that have been following my blog in previous cycles, you already know my dirty little secret. For those of you who are just joining the fun, allow me to be brutally honest. There are people who are POAS-aholics and then there are people that take it to a new and probably unhealthy level. Then there is me. I have been known to go through upwards of five pee sticks a day.
Yeah, I know. I am sick. I wish they had meetings. I need to go.
When we first embarked on this IVF cycle, my husband made me promise that I would not test before the beta. After much discussion, I agreed.
However, my husband has since reversed his decision, especially after he picked up the scent of a possible pregnancy. It was with his blessing that I bought a two-pack of FRER this afternoon. What I found funny about taking this test was that it had a lot of mixed emotions behind it. Usually, I pee with glee, but this time, my hands were shaking as I did the deed.
The one benefit of my obsession and multiple triggered cycles is this: I HAVE NEVER HAD TRIGGER IN MY SYSTEM PAST TWELVE DAYS. Usually, by the tenth day, the lines are those ghosty lines that play tricks with you and come and go with a few BFNs thrown in. I have gotten a few extremely faint lines on 12 DPTrigger, but never have I had a trigger shot in my system on 13 DPTrigger.
This is important because as of 4:45 PM today, 13 DPTrigger: I got two lines. And the second line is NOT faint, it is strong and steady. So dark, in fact, that my husband even said, "Wow. That's a good one.
Reasons why I am beginning to have real hope that this worked:
1) I smell.
2) Faint AF-like cramps off and on all day.
3) BFP at 13 DPTrigger and 5 dp 5 dt (two blasts)
Of course, it could still be trigger. But that second line is awfully dark. And my hopes are getting awfully high.
My dates are all screwed up on blogger. I cannot figure this out, but I think it has something to do with my computer.
3dp5dt and I am in a bad mood.
Why, you ask? Well, because I have had NOT. ONE. CRAMP. Nothing, nada, zilch. I would think that I would feel some sort of implantation cramping. And not a thing.
I know, I know. It's early. I should be more positive. But why do I have this awful feeling that this didn't work?
I blame progesterone.
I have really been enjoying my resting phase, which was made even more incredible by our wonderful neighbors and good friends. We have been amazed by the outpouring of support, from the lovely comments on here (which I am printing as keepsakes), to calls and e-mails from friends and family, to the "catered" dinners which keep appearing like magic.
Our good friends who live next door have just gone above and beyond. It started on Friday night when they brought over pot roast, mashed potatoes, and a beautiful snowman cake that she had made and iced herself. Then, they brought dinner again last night, chicken, rice, and a huge heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie with "Happy Baby Day" in chocolate icing. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better (or tastier), they arrived with homemade crepes and french toast for breakfast this morning. I don't think that we can ever repay them for their hard work and kindness.
Even if this doesn't work, I will always treasure the kindness and love that has surrounded us. I will be disappointed, of course, but I will know how truly blessed we are to have people care of us as much as they do.
We have also been further blessed by a call from Dr. M's office yesterday. Three more blastocysts are frozen now, for a total of five. That means enough for TWO more FETs, should this not work. The miracles just keep coming.
Now, the question remains: When do we have our first beta?
As the clinic is closed on the 24th, they have agreed to let us come in early on the 23rd (just a week from today!) to have our first beta. Of course, I was thrilled, but my husband is not so eager. He is concerned that if we found out that it was a negative, it would ruin Christmas. He asked if we could come in on the 26th for our first beta instead, and they said that it was up to us. I understand his reasoning. Last Christmas, the loss of Gummy Bear made Christmas really sad. He doesn't want to have two bad Christmases in a row. However, I just keep thinking how wonderful Christmas would be if it was positive. And if it's negative, I don't want to keep fooling myself (or doing anymore unnecessary injections).
So, we are at cross purposes. Ultimately, he has left the decision up to me. Bah. I hate that. What do you all think?
Friday, December 14, 2007
The day was a bit hectic at first. I didn't sleep very well last night, a combination of nerves and excitement, I suppose. I was wide awake at 5 AM and decided that I might as well just get going. As I am not planning on going back to work until after the New Year, I had a lot to take care of workwise. I also wanted to do a final "once over" on the house, just in case we get any visitors over the weekend. I dusted, mopped, and ran the vac. Finally, at 11, I jumped in the shower and quickly got ready to go.
I took my valium at 11:45 and started drinking my water. I had been warned by many of my friends not to drink as much as they suggest. I drank an entire bottle by the time we left the house and finished another bottle on the way there. On our way, the IVF coordinator called to tell us the final fertilization report: two perfect blasts reading for transfer, two blasts already frozen, and three blasts still in culture for a possible freeze tomorrow. We were thrilled!
We were brought to the transfer room at exactly 1 PM. The valium was really starting to kick in at that point and I was glad to lay down on the exam table. The embryologist came in and updated us on the quality of the blastocysts. She used the words gorgeous to describe our little ones. She went into pretty great detail about implantation and all that. My husband asked "When is she officially PREGNANT?" I thought that she would say wait for the beta, but she replied that we have two really viable blasts going in, so she would consider me pregnant as of fifteen minutes from then.
Dr. M came in with J, the ultrasound tech. I had bought some really soft and cute socks just for the transfer. They even had little fur cuffs on them. My husband made fun of them, but both ladies had a fit and wanted to know where I got them. We then talked a little about when to do the beta (I'll post more on this later).
Things went pretty fast after that. I was put into the stirrups and J spread the warm goo on my belly to do the external ultrasound. They checked my bladder and were a little disappointed that it wasn't more full, but were still able to visualize the uterus. They showed us the embryos on a screen on the wall, just sitting in their culture dish. Dr. M put in the catheter, which didn't hurt, but felt like a pap smear. Then, she threaded the catheter through and said, "I'm ready."
The screen on the wall showed the catheter picking up our embryos. As she was working on that, I asked Dr. M if I should be worried if I spotted at all later on today. She looked at me strangely and said, "What are you planning on doing?"
I thought she meant was I planning on being really active, so I responded, "Not much, pretty much just heading home and to bed."
She was still looking at me so strangely, so I started to further explain. "It's just that when you have had miscarriages, any blood is really scary and. . ." I trailed off as she started laughing.
She thought I had asked her if I could go to a spa! It was definitely a funny moment!
At this point, the embryologist came back in with the blastocysts and she transferred them in. I felt a small bit of pressure from that part, but no pain. We could see a little "puff" of liquid go into the uterus and that was it. She withdrew the catheter and they checked to make sure that it was clear of the blastocysts.
Dr. M said that it went as smoothly as it could, patted me on the knee and told me to come back for my beta as soon as we had decided which day we want the news.
The tech and the embryologist stayed longer, instructing us on what is normal to expect as far as cramping (from the catheter, the progesterone, and possibly implantation), spotting (even red is normal after transfer), and liquid coming out from down there (leftover stuff they used to clean up my girly bits). They also said that there were no hard and fast rules for how easy to take things, but to treat myself as if I am pregnant, and to "listen to our hearts." They did recommend doing nothing but resting the rest of today and tomorrow morning. They wished us luck and then it was just my husband and me.
We then stayed put for another fifteen minutes, I used the bathroom, and we were out of there.
It is amazing, so amazing. If I didn't have those pictures of the blastocysts, I might not even believe that it happened.
Thank you for your prayers and good wishes. They are so appreciated. Now, we just have to wait. And wait. And wait.
I already posted mine to my sidebar. Head on over and add yours to the list!
Fake, but still beautiful
Well guarded by the two "ferocious" furbabies - Jack and Rocky
A TON of pig ornaments - I collected pigs when I was a child
Takes about two hours to put up and decorate
Now, show me yours!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I am eager to get the transfer done with, so I am happy for the move up. Now that he has managed to shift things around, it's all okay, but for awhile there, I was lining up another ride to the transfer, tearfully thinking that my husband wouldn't be able to make it. They allow the husbands in the room for the transfer and I had all of these images of us being in there together, and then it seemed like it wouldn't happen. But it did, so I am moving forward.
Secondly, the spotting has gone and when I let the IVF coordinator know what was going on, she said exactly what you lovely ladies told me. Residual spotting. She said that sometimes, a scab forms and then when it comes off, that is what a big spot could be from. That's one of them any reasons why I love you fellow IFers so much - you are so smart!
Everything still looked good with our embryos today. As of 11 AM, we had no further arrests. Let's hope that is still the case tomorrow.
I am nervous, but almost like I used to get before Christmas as a child. Not nervous so much as just really excited and filled with anticipation. I am not going into this expecting it work, but I am hoping and praying so much that it does.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Of course, this happens AFTER 5:00 and my clinic is closed. I could call the oncall doc, but I don't want to be a freak. So, I will reveal my freakiness to you.
I have some brown spotting. It's enough to wear a pad, though not enough to soak one. Three days past egg retrieval and one day into the progesterone shots. Is this normal? Or am I destined to flush those poor embryos out before they even have a chance?
The insanity is creeping in.
Just got the call.
Day Five Transfer - Friday at 3 PM.
Of the 12 embryos:
2 poor quality
4 others 4- 9 cell of moderate quality
5 8 cell embryos of excellent quality
I was actually a little disappointed about only having five excellents, but the coordinator said that I can count 9/12 as being "potentially" transferrable. She said that some of the 4 can be of excellent quality by Friday.
Five is enough, but I am worried about more of them arresting.
Fingers crossed and lots of prayers that we still have five by Friday.
And I knew why he was saying that. I was just a little surprised that it said it to me, that he even thought about it. Of course, today is December 12, which has always been a bit of a momentous day for my husband. Today is his deceased father's birthday. December 12 always makes him a little sad.
Last year, December 12 gave us another reason to be sad. It was the day that I had my D&C with Gummy Bear. It was just the most awful day, for too many reasons.
So, I agree with him. I haven't heard from Dr. M's office yet, but we should know soon. I am really, truly going to be okay with it if we are doing transfer today. Because I think it is a really good sign that such a sad day could have something really wonderful happen on it. I am a big believer that there are no coincidences in life and there is a reason for everything.
To my sweet angel, Gummy Bear: Mommy and Daddy miss you so much. There is an empty spot in my heart and in my arms that only you can fill. No matter how many babies I might have, you will always hold that special place within me.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We won't know until tomorrow morning whether we are making it to Day 3 or 5 for transfer. I am trying to be ready for either, and some of the reading that I have done says that it's inconclusive which transfer is best. Obviously, it's good to get to blast stage, but then some argue that the womb is the ideal environment and that some embryos that wouldn't have lived in the petri dish can survive in the womb. Of course, my womb hasn't exactly been the safest of places for little embryos lately, so I am happiest if they chill another couple of days under the watchful eye of the embryologist.
I administered my first Lovenox injection last night. Those little prefilled syringes are great, except for the fact that it seems like a lot of CCs for subcutaneous injection. It seemed like I just kept pushing and pushing on that syringe. Luckily, there was no bruising when I woke up this morning. PIO shots start tonight. . . my husband is excited that his "job" is back.
I am back to work today, although I am still "staining" pink and have a little tenderness. I am going to take it easy, but there is a lot to wrap up with before I take my time off. I will be glad when I am officially on vacation!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sorry for the brevity of yesterday's post. I was pretty sore and definitely groggy and drugged. I spent most of the day sleeping or half-watching cheesy Lifetime Christmas movies. Oh, and eating. I was pretty thirsty and hungry. Per the discharge instructions, I drank a huge bottle of gatorade and several bottles of water. My husband is not much of a cook, so I also ate a lot of frozen pizza, mini corn dogs, and tater tots. Not the best diet, especially when a person has gained a few pounds from three plus weeks of fertility meds, but it tasted pretty darn good.
The spotting has slowed to pink staining, although I notice that if I am more active, I get more spots. I took today off from work as I wasn't sure how I would feel. I definitely am better than yesterday, but I am still pretty sore and even a bit "hung over" feeling from the medications. I think me and my ovaries deserve another day of rest.
Of course, I am on pins and needles waiting for the fertilization report. I will post back when I know anything, since they also feel that they can tell me a Wednesday or Friday transfer depending on the results. Let's keep fingers crossed for some beautiful embryos and a five day (Friday) transfer.
Also, my new favorite nurse told us that we should celebrate the fertility report with a glass of wine. I was a little startled, seeing as they make a big deal about no alcohol from the time you start Lupron. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I am really looking foward to a nice glass of my favorite wine tonight. Hopefully, it will be the last wine that I have for a long time (9 months, plus breastfeeding). Hoping, hoping, hoping.
Have a good day!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I have a lot to do today, but I am not feeling so hot and having trouble motivating myself to get started. Here's a fun little distraction.
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Bags are much easier, but I do enjoy the wrapping. Back when I actually had time in my life (or made time for it), I used to handmake all of my bows. This year, I got the deluxe bow collection from Costco.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial, but I am allergic to the real thing. I would much prefer the real thing. I use all sorts of scented pine candles and such to make up for it.
3. When do you put up the tree? Usually Thanksgiving weekend.
4. When do you take the tree down? January 1.
5. Do you like egg nog? I don't like plain egg nog, but I adore egg nog lattes! I call them "Christmas in a Cup."
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My Barbie Dream House. My mom and dad put it together the night before and hung Christmas lights on it. I still believed in Santa then, so they didn't even get the credit until way later - but maybe the joy on our faces (my sister got one, too) was all they needed.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes and I adore it. It is part of the collection of figurines that look like they were carved out of wood. The best thing is that I have received it as gifts from my family for several occasions, so each piece has a memory.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My brother-in-law. He truly has everything and his birthday is Christmas Eve, so we have to get double presents for him.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My mother-in-law. She loves anything and we have similar tastes as far as perfume, jewelry, etc. She says I am her easiest to buy for, too.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I really should be better about Christmas cards. I usually send out just a few.
11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm, I really like gifts, so it's hard to say. We did get a plate of cookies from some neighbors last year that had cat hair all over them. That's pretty gross, but it's the thought that counts, right?
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? My husband and I love Christmas movies, so it's hard to pick just one! National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is probably my all-time fave, though.
13. Do you still feel the magic? I do and I love this time of year.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I am ashamed to admit this, but yes.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Again, hard to pick. I love food. I guess I'd have to say fudge! I have the best recipe!
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.
17. Favorite Christmas song? "Where Are You Christmas?"
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I would rather stay home, but we alternate holidays between the families and always end up away. I am hoping to change that when we finally have child(ren).
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes, but I have to use the Rudolph song to do it. "You know Dasher and Dancer and Donner and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and Prancer and Vixen. . . but do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all. . . Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer!"
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We used to do one present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas morning. That's what I'd like to do when we have our kids. We don't do stockings until the very end. Sometimes, my mom would even save them until the next day.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I do love both giving and receiving presents, but I hate when it gets too commercialized. I do try to remember what this season is for.
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I collected pigs as a child, so 90% of our ornaments are pigs.
23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I like the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but I actually don't think people do that much anymore. My mom makes prime rib now and my mother in law does lasagna.
24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Um? Really? Christmas Eve will be our beta. All I want is a nice, big number. Anything over 100. Course, what I really want is for it to double, then double again, then turn into a real live baby (or two) that I get to take home from the hospital in September of next year. Am I asking for too much?
Consider yourself tagged and pass this along!
Friday, December 7, 2007
The next hurdle to get over, of course, is my dear husband giving me the trigger shot tonight at 8:45. Wish us luck on that, since he can hardly bear to be in the same room when I give myself the injections. No matter what, we will get it done, but I just hope it is as painless as possible.
So excited and nervous, all at once! This is getting so real!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The transvaginal cam didn't hurt as much going in today, but definitely felt a lot of pain when she was trying to get a good look at my ovaries and count those pesky follicles. I have one follicle at 16 mm and the rest are between 9 and 15 mm. I am a little worried about some of those laggers, but she said that the grouping in size is just fine. I guess I should learn to trust the experts. I really don't know what a "good" retrieval amount is. Most of my friends that have had successful pregnancies have upwards of 15 follicles, but one of my girlfriends that is about 7 weeks along only had 7 retrieved. Then again, she had a good fertilization rate and all five that fertilized made it to Day 5. I know it isn't necessarily the quantity, but rather the quality, but I also know that this is a numbers game. I am hoping to put some good numbers on the board.
I still don't know my estradiol numbers, but based on what she saw today, everything looks good and in order for a Sunday or Monday retrieval. It's getting scary exciting that it is so close.
Work is crazy and it seems I have been working harder this week and longer hours that usual. Of course, I am trying to get everything cleared up before transfer, which leaves me a little more than week (plus taking weekends and retrieval day into consideration, I really feel up against the clock). After transfer, I am going to take vacation that will have me out of work through the end of the year. I think that it will be good for me to do nothing but veg. In the meantime, however, I am lugging these huge ovaries around and it is tiring and slightly uncomfortable. I am definitely exhausted.
I am also trying to get ready for Christmas before transfer as well. I have almost all of our gifts purchased, but no wrapping done. I also have to ship some gifts, and those really need to get out ASAP.
Must be the hormones - I am feeling stressed!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I also feel just. . . unwell. Kind of like I have a low level flu. I woke up this morning, still tired despite my 8 hours plus of sleep last night. I have a headache and although I don't really feel nauseous, I feel kind of "off" in the tummy department.
I really am not complaining - well, that's not the point of this post, anyway. Rather, I like to record my feelings and symptoms for two reasons. First off, even though I am trying to be optimistic, I know the simple reality is that this might not work. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that it won't - at least not the first time. I have seen way too many of my good friends get a few negative cycles before their positive. So, I just know that I can't count on success the first time - or, really, at all. If I have to do this again, I would really like a reference point of how it felt this time, for no other reason than some reassurance, a comparison point. The second reason, as I have mentioned before, is that I Google search for people's IVF experiences and I wish there were more details. I think a lot of people don't want to be seen as whining and complaining. I don't want to be seen that way, either, but I would rather be honest and help someone else out there know the real deal.
The bonus of all of this honesty is that I have gotten some really good tips in the comments section on how to handle some of these side effects and injections. That has really made it worth looking like a wimp. Thanks for hanging with me. Things are about to get interesting.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I had my estradiol blood draw first. The person who drew my blood is great at the needle stick - I don't even feel it! I complimented him on his poking prowess and asked for some advice with the needles. He said the key is to go fast and "jab" it in, rather than go slowly, Also, he said to wait until the medication dries off the tip, especially with the more caustic drugs, like Menopur. He said that I could ice it, but that can make the blood clot faster and therefore, more bruising. The nurse also looked at my stomach and was surprised that I didn't have more bruising after almost three weeks of shots. She said that I looked "like a pro," and that one or two bruises are nothing to be concerned with.
The first surprise of the day was how much it hurt when I had the transvaginal ultrasound. I was actually worried because it hurt so much, but she said it is completely normal, especially with what we found in my ovaries. The left ovary has 11 follicles, with a size range from 8.9 to 13.3 mm. The right ovary has 9 follicles, with a size range of 8.3 to 12.2 mm. She thinks that all 20 will mature in time for retrieval. I haven't heard back with estradiol numbers, but she doesn't anticipate a problem with the follicle amount and size.
The second surprise of today is that given where I am for follicle count and size, Dr. M believes that retrieval could possibly be as early as Sunday - two days ahead of schedule. I really have fingers crossed for that, for two reasons: First, a few less days of stims. Secondly, I would have my beta on Christmas Eve. How wonderful would that be? Unless of course, it was a negative, but we aren't even going to examine that possibility right now. One stick at a time!
Dr. M didn't declare me "perfect," this time, but she said that everything looked "just fine." The IVF coordinator said that the size ranges looked "great." Another good day, keep 'em coming!
The third surprise was our discussion revolving around how many embryos to transfer. I had kind of planned that we would decide when we got to Day 5. If we had one good embryo that was already hatching, then I was thinking that we would transfer just one. My thought is that multiples increases the risk of pregnancy loss, which is our problem to begin with. I thought Dr. M was on the same page, but I was wrong.
Dr. M pretty much said that she would only recommend transferring two. She feels that with our history, she wouldn't do anything less. I guess it's just getting my head around the real and true possibility of twins. I love children and we want two, I guess I just love the baby phase so much, that I am sad it will be over so soon. Also, my friends with twins say that the really just "survive" the first year, rather than enjoy it. After all we have taken to get here, I just really want to be able to enjoy that newborn/infant stage. But I also know that if I see two heartbeats, I will fall in love and the extra work won't matter.
So, a few surprises, but all good.
I was definitely uncomfortable in the ovary region last night. It has gone from twinges and tweaks to more of a pulling sensation on the right side and an ache on the left and these dull cramps that kind of feel like AF is on her way (she had better not be). I had to drag out the ol' heating pad and crank that baby up. It actually didn't help much and I finally just went to bed early. This morning, I feel better, although I am starting to notice a bit of a bloat. I also find myself to be way more emotional. I am always a bit of a softie, but when I went to pick out an "anniversary" card for my husband, I ended up crying over the selection and unable to pick just one that expressed my feelings for him. It was actually kind of funny and I am glad that no one else chose to go down that aisle during my little outburst.
I have my first ultrasound check today to see how my ovaries are responding to the medications. PLEASE let this be another day of perfect. I can definitely feel something going on down there, now let's just hope it is the right amount of something.
Monday, December 3, 2007
23 eggs retrieved! Dr. M believes that we will get at least 13 mature eggs from the collection.
I have been having what I would call heavy spotting since the retrieval. Bright red blood with even a couple of small clots in it. Is this normal? Obviously, freaking out just a bit. I don't want all that nice, lush lining that I have been developing to go away!
And yet. . .
I am nervous. I have convinced myself that I already ovulated. I know, I know, that's silly. I think that I am just trying to prepare myself for disappointment, just in case.
See, it was a year ago today that I floated into my OB's office, visions of a baby by this Christmas dancing in my head. At 11 weeks pregnant, we were gearing up to tell the world about our little Gummy Bear. I wasn't prepared for that still little baby on the screen. I let my guard down and my heart still hasn't recovered fully.
It is obviously much different and harder to lose a baby than it is to have an IVF cycle cancelled. However, I have been holding on to the hope of this cycle to ease the despair of yet another holiday without a baby, wondering if we will ever be parents.
So, I am nervous, but I am preparing myself for the worst. Just in case. Because I really don't know how much more my heart can handle.
I have felt the stirrings of my ovaries a little. It started last night with a little cramping from the left ovary and this morning, my right ovary was complaining a little. It's not painful, just. . . twingy. I actually felt more of a response from the Femera, but then again, it's only Day 3 of the injectibles, so I am not going to get too cocky.
Since my follicle count last week showed a few more that she was expecting based on last month's count, she backed my Follistim down and has me coming in for my first blood draw and ultrasound tomorrow morning. If this all continues on schedule (not that I am counting on that, mind you), then I could be having egg retrieval in a WEEK. That is just plain crazy! It seems as if this has gone by so slowly and quickly all at once. It seems like only yesterday that I was crying about my Halloween BFN, then all at once deciding on IVF, and now, here we are.
My husband and I went out for lunch and Christmas shopping yesterday. It was a nice day and we seem to be back on the same page. I think we just needed to refocus on each other for a bit and things are better. Thank goodness! I can't handle all of these hormones AND a cranky husband. Also, today marks the day eight years ago when we went out on our first date. Before we were married, we used to celebrate this day with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Now that we have a wedding anniversary, this day doesn't get as much focus as it used to. I think I still might get him a card and maybe something small. I am so grateful for him and the fact that despite all we have been through, we still have a strong marriage (except on days when the Lupron Monster comes for a visit).
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last night, I asked him to watch me mix the medications and then be in the bathroom with me when I injected the medication. He didn't want to watch, but agreed to stand close. The Menopur really burned again last night and I bled again from the Follistim. He actually watched the second injection (after I cried a little over the first) and said that it looked really painful. I told him that the stick itself isn't bad, but the burning of the Menopur really gets me. It just seems a little unnatural putting all of this stuff into my body. I couldn't feel the Lupron going in, can't feel the Follistim, so it's easy to pretend I am just sticking an empty needle into myself. But when it feels as if I am injecting hot lava into my stomach, well, there is no pretending that it it isn't there. I better get used to this before the PIO shots - I know from everyone that those are awful.
Thank you for the lovely comments and support. This is tough and when I search on my favorite Dr. Google, I can't find too many personal stories about what it is like to go through IVF. Part of my reason for this blog was to help others feel less alone, so I am going to be very honest and detaileda about my reactions to the medications and feelings regarding this process. Now, I know I am just one crazy infertile and that my experiences are just mine, but at least someone else out there might stumble across this and think, "Wow, and I thought I was bad."
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Well, I think I might have remained relatively unscathed by the Lupron, but I don't think I am going to be so lucky with this next phase. I am already not dealing too well with what I am pretty sure are the effects of the onslaught of hormones.
I gave myself the injections of Menopure and Follistim last night. I consider myself "a pro" with the sub cu needles by now, having made myself bleed only a small drop just once. So, imagine my surprise when after the Follistim, I had a bit of a bleed. It wasn't a lot of blood, but you know how your perception of a lot of blood changes when it is coming out of your own stomach. I figured that it was a blip, but then the same thing happened when I injected the Menopure, which also burned a lot when it was going in. It didn't really hurt, but it was definitely not as easy as the Lupron has been. I also have two nice sized bruises to show for it this morning.
I woke up today and the only way to describe me is. . . weepy. I have been crying on and off all morning. I am not sure if it is all in my head or really the drugs kicking in, but everything is making me feel sad.
My husband and I also haven't been getting along very well lately. Whereas I really didn't feel that different on the Lupron, he said that I have been short and impatient with him for the past few weeks. I feel as if he really isn't involving himself in this process the way that I wish he would. I have reviewed our dates and protocols countless times with him, and yet he still doesn't have them straight. He called me from work yesterday to ask (for the FIFTH time) what days he needs to ask off for egg retrieval and transfer. I told him that both are in flux right now, but that he needs to ask for the 11th off for sure and then we will see about transfer. He doesn't like to watch me inject the medications, doesn't got to the appointments, doesn't really do much to involve himself. I know that there isn't much he can do right now, but I don't even feel as if he is emotionally available right now.
This morning, I tried to talk to him about the distance I feel between us right now and we ended up fighting. He thinks that I am making a mountain of a molehill, that I am not receptive to any nice things that he does do for me. He accused me of being self-centered and oversensitive. And I ended up crying.
Sometimes, I don't even know if it's the drugs, or just the emotions around all of this. I told my husband today, I am mostly just scared. Scared I will mess up the protocol, scared we will not get to egg retrieval, scared of egg retrieval itself, scared that none of our eggs with fertilize, scared of OHSS, scared that our embryos will die before they can be transferred, scared of the decisions with freezing our embryos, scared of where to put our embryos if we should both die, scared that we will get pregnant, scared that we won't, scared that the betas won't double, scared that we won't see a heartbeat, scared we will have twins, scared that we will miscarry, scared that I will have to give birth.
I am scared. And possibly going crazy. Time for my Lupron.
In the dark and gloomy world that is infertility, "perfect" is rare. "Perfect" is something others get to experience. In a recent appointment, I was told my right ovary was "perfect," but then my left ovary proved to be cooking up a nice, big egg in spite of the birth control pills.
At today's suppression check, everything was "perfect."
The only possible concern is that my baseline follicle count went up quite a bit and so we have to back off the Follistim amount, but that isn't anything to worry about.
I just got the Estradiol numbers - 24.6! They want you under 50, so that is "perfect," too.
I start the Follistim and Menopure tonight and back the Lupron down to a half dose. I go back in on Tuesday for my first blood draw and stim check. The tentative egg retrieval is 12/11 - barely a week and a half away!
I love "perfect."
Four jobs I have held in my life
I worked at an insurance company and did cold calling for auto, home, & life insurance - AND I ACTUALLY LIKED IT
I was a barista manager (and made pretty good tips, too!)
I worked for Campbell Soup as a sales manager - heard a few Mmmm-Mmmm Good jokes
I was a new student orientation advisor at my college and introduced incoming freshmen to the campus - probably one of my favorite jobs of all time
Four movies I have watched more than once
Gosh, I love to watch movies more than once. Here are just four of them:
"While You Were Sleeping" - and I have a BIG crush on Bill Pullman
"American President" - just think it's too cute
"American History X" - I also have a strange crush on Edward Norton
"Lady and the Tramp" - again, the cute factor
Four places I have vacationed
Mexico (four times)
Vancouver Island (Canada)
Four of my favorite foods
Mexican (I love cheese enchiladas or chicken fajitas best)
Pretty much anything dessert
My mom's homemade chicken stew with dumplings
Four places I would rather be
With my husband and furbabies
Taking a nice, hot bath
Taking a nap
Aventura Spa Palace in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
Four hobbies I engage in regularly
Walking/playing with the furkids
Cooking (and eating the results!)
Okay, now I tag FOUR people:
Go forth and multiply!
PS: Suppression check tomorrow at 11 AM.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
You see, I take the statistical bullet in other random areas of health, too. Remember how I said a couple of posts ago that I was thankful for my health? Well, that's because I have had some really random things happen to me healthwise. I think we have all had our weird health things, but I do seem to get some of the more random. Obviously, this whole infertility thing has been a bit odd. But there have been other times, too.
When my husband and I first met, I was diagnosed with a rare bladder condition in which the walls of my bladder basically had ulcers. It was a very painful condition, which required several medical procedures, a strict diet, and daily medication. Unfortunately, I also ended up experiencing kidney reflux as a result of this condition, which meant that I had several kidney infections over the course of our early relationship. Luckily, I was able to get the condition in check and with some slight diet modification consider myself "cured" of that.
Three years ago, I had some chest pains and shortness of breath. I let it go for a few weeks, but it seemed to be getting worse. Of course, Dr. Google returned all sorts of prognostications, including heart attacks, anxiety, and pneumonia. I didn't have a cough or fever, so I ruled out pneumonia, and actually figured it probably was anxiety. An chest x-ray revealed that it was pneumonia - or Walking Pneumonia, actually - but it was actually pretty serious. Despite several courses of antibiotics, the pneumonia wouldn't budge and the x-rays got cloudier. My symptoms kept getting worse and because my immune system was already compromised, I was a target for any and all illnesses. I was a pretty sick puppy. It took about six months, but when summer came, I ended up getting "better" until the fall, when it came back, and this time with a vengeance. I ended up in the hospital because my oxygen saturation was so low and had to have a lung biopsy and sinus puncture, where they discovered that I actually had a fungal infection, which is why the antibiotics didn't work and why it seemed to clear up during the summer. Once I was put on a course of anti-fungal medications, I was fine.
I tend to rely heavily on Dr. Google in times of medical need. Whenever I have a health-related question, the good Dr. seems to provide a bevy of beautiful answers. I do tend to self-diagnose based on what answers come back. It's not like I think "hmmm, I have Disease XYZ," and then google that disease and then miraculously have the symptoms. No, I have the symptoms, which puzzle me, and then I Google them and the diagnosis comes to me.
So, is this hypochondria? Of course, I Googled hypochondria and this is the first definition that popped up (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Hypochondria (or hypochondriasis, sometimes referred to as health anxiety/health phobia) refers to an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness. Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured him/her that his/her concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, the concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease. Many people suffering from this disorder focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue. The DSM-IV-TR defines this disorder, “Hypochondriasis,” as a somatoform disorder and it is thought to plague about 1-5% of the general population. Hypochondria is often characterized by fears that minor bodily symptoms may indicate a serious illness, constant self-examination and self-diagnosis, and a preoccupation with one's body. Many individuals with hypochondriasis express doubt and disbelief in the doctors' diagnosis, and report that doctors’ reassurance about an absence of a serious medical condition is unconvincing, or un-lasting. Many hypochondriacs require constant reassurance, either from doctors, family, or friends, and the disorder can become a disabling torment for the individual with hypochondriasis, as well as his or her family and friends. Some hypochondriacal individuals are completely avoidant of any reminder of illness, whereas others are frequent visitors of doctors’ offices. Other hypochondriacs will never speak about their terror, convinced that their fear of having a serious illness will not be taken seriously by those in whom they confide.
Hmmm. Some of this does refer to me, but I think that most of it does not. For example, if a doctor told me that I do not suffer from an illness, I would believe them and move on. I would not say that I am disabled by my avid interest in Dr. Google and am definitely not disabled by it. I am a frequent visitor to my infertility doctor, but I haven't seen any other doctor since March for my annual physical. Before that, I hadn't seen my primary care doctor since the previous March for my annual physical. I definitely don't avoid doctors, nor do I go excessively.
But do I protesteth too much?
Here is a new term to me, also courtesy of Wikipedia:
Cyberchondria is a colloquial term for hypochondria in individuals who have researched medical conditions on the internet. The media and the internet often contribute to hypochondria, as articles, TV shows and advertisements regarding serious illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis (some of the common diseases hypochondriacs think they have) often portray these diseases as being random, obscure and somewhat inevitable. Inaccurate portrayal of risk and the identification of non-specific symptoms as signs of serious illness contribute to exacerbating the hypochondriac’s fear that they actually have that illness.
Uh-oh. I definitely do research things on the internet. Huh. Could my husband have been half-right?
I still don't think so. I still believe that a hypochondriac is someone that does not have anything wrong with them and believes they are sick regardless. Sometimes, I actually do have things wrong with me and I happen to like to educate myself on what could possibly be wrong. When I am feeling healthy, I don't stalk the internet, looking for diseases that could befall me.
Is denial the first sign?
Hmmm. If I knew how to do a poll, I would make one.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I love snow and living in Seattle means that I just don't get enough of it! We have about an inch gracing our front lawn right now. I know that really isn't SNOW for most of you, but we take what precious little we can get in this Pacific Northwest climate of ours. I am just glad that the "storm" is supposed to be over long before Friday, as traffic really piles up in the presence of even so much as a flake. People just don't know how to drive in snow around here, and it could make getting to my suppression check a little dicey.
Everything is still going well with the shots. I have only one small complaint. I really would love a glass of wine.
I am not a drinker. I had my first drink on my 21st birthday and never really got into drinking. I don't care much for hard liquor and am most definitively a light weight. One glass of a good wine is something that I can savor all night. But there is something about a glass of wine that I just miss. I have tried the alcohol free versions - they taste like pee water. I have tried sparkling ciders - much better, but still not the same. I drink my caffeine free rootbeer and cranberry juice out of wine glasses to create the feel, but there is no replacing the taste of a fruity reisling or a rich cabernet. There is also the fact that the minute I cannot have something, I want it, and I want it bad.
But it is all a small price to pay for the chance to have a baby. So, picture me, toasting you, with a wine glass filled with a beautiful vintage 2% milk.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
A combination of work being absolutely NUTS, the holidays, and now, some computer issues have combined to make me less than attentive to the blogasphere.
This week is also going to be a bit crazy, but I will try to be better about checking in on my dear friends, as well as updating those of you actually interested in the inner workings of a crazy infertile.
I actually did write a Thanksgiving entry, with some things that I am thankful for. Then, the aforementioned computer issues stepped in, and I have been without a computer since. However, thanks to my genius husband, those issues have (hopefully) been resolved!
In that entry, I listed the following as Things I Am Thankful For:
1) My husband & family - including my angels and my furbabies
2) My friends - both "real life" and blogger
3) My health (generally good, other than this whole IF debacle)
4) My nice, warm house to stay cozy in
5) MY HEALTH INSURANCE
6) Everything seems to be clicking away for this IVF cycle
And, indeed, everything does seem to be going well with this suppression business. Giving myself shots has actually become easy. I have only given myself one tiny bruise and it's not really even worth mentioning. I have had a few bouts of nausea, but nothing to be concerned about.
I did have a mini-meltdown in Lowe's last night, which my husband attributed to "the drugs," but I think it was more the fact that we were looking at Christmas decorations and there was a whole display of "Baby's First" items. I get sad when I see those things, as I really thought that we would have a baby by this Christmas. We also lost Gummy Bear in early December, so the holiday buzz is really bringing back some memories and emotions. Either way, I ended up crying at the store because my husband didn't want the same scent of candles that I did and he also didn't want the light up snowman that I thought would be perfect for the front yard. We ended up getting the scents that I wanted and passing on the snowman (if you saw how overstuffed our garage and house already are, you would understand why).
Today, I set up our Christmas tree and all of our other decorations. I am really trying hard to get in the spirit of the holidays this year. I am very glad to be going through the IVF procedures right now, as I think they give me the hope that I desperately need. If we weren't doing anything proactive AND didn't have a baby. . . well, I think BAH HUMBUG would become my favorite expression.
Suppression check is this Friday.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I have been a little nauseous today, however. I honestly don't know if this is related to the Lupron, because not too many people talk about that side effect. I haven't had any of the infamous headaches yet, but I am sure I am not out of the woods!
I actually wanted to vent about something other than infertility! Shocking, I know, since I am pretty much an "All Infertility Channel: 24/7."
Awhile back, my sister got engaged. I posted that while I was happy for her, her wedding was a bit of a sore spot with my family, since no one was being invited. She and my mom don't get along very well, and she thought it was just easier to leave family out altogether. A combination of her future inlaws being pretty hurt as well as several people telling her that they thought it was "weird" that no family was being invited, caused her to change her mind.
Last Thursday, she invited a group of select people (family and close friends) through a group e-mail. To say the least, the e-mail was worded poorly. Here are some exerpts:
On Oct. 24, 2008 we plan on having a sunset wedding bare-foot on the beach. This is the place where my inner bridzilla comes out. I am asking for all guest come dressed in sunset colors, oranges, reds, blues... you get the idea. I am asking for J, and T, if you plan to attend to be my bridesmaids. Ladies I am asking that you wear "sunset pink" as I call it. After I hear from you I will give you more details.
First off, this is where her inner bridezilla comes out? Secondly, you will notice that I am not listed as a potential bridesmaid. J is her soon-to-be-sister-in-law who, to my knowledge, has never even met my sister.
Following Oct 24, our wedding night we are asking for people to respect our honeymoon time. Wonderful friends of ours have given us a week in their timeshare in Maui. We know how large this island is, but we would like to ask you, if you plan to stay longer, to avoid this island. There are many other islands to choose from, and we need our time and space for romance and being a newly wed couple. We do hope that you understand.
Understand? Understand that you are kicking us off the island as soon as you are married?
I am pretty hurt about a lot of this. She was my maid of honor and I can't even have a spot in a "sunset pink" dress?
Is it the Lupron, girls, or is my sister a candidate for "Bridezilla of the Year?"
Monday, November 19, 2007
No side effects from the injection, not even any bruising at the site. Let's hope that this continues.
One of my very good friends called me today with her beta results. She only had one embryo transferred, because she does not want twins. At 9 days past 5 day transfer, her beta is a perfect 146. She will have her doubling check on Tuesday, so fingers crossed.
It was weird to not blog for so long, especially since I was battling some pretty significant anxiety over a combination of fear of ovulation and trouble getting my medications ordered. It was a bit of a nightmare trying to coordinate all of the faxing and phone calls in between 7 AM to 7 PM meetings. The hotel was also IN the Dallas Ft. Worth airport, so the reception was minimal on my cell phone. I originally ordered my meds through Schrafts, but they neglected to mention that my insurance carrier would not reimburse through them. I almost fell over when they called with my total. I then called my local pharmacy, and they could not fill all of the medications, but they could at least get the Lupron filled. Then, I managed to get IVPcare to fill the order, but since Rite Aid had already filled the Lupron, they assumed that they were filling all of it and almost didn't complete the order. Luckily, they called and left a message and I was able to correct the mistake with less than five minutes to spare.
Writing about it doesn't seem so bad now, but I was pretty anxious about the whole thing at the time. Hopefully, that will be what will happen when our baby is finally here - all of this won't seem so bad.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I seriously cannot believe that almost a week has gone by since my last post. I was in Dallas for a work meeting and my internet connection was pretty poor (a wireless card). Now that I am back, I will try to do a better job of updating.
But here is the big news: We are a go.
That's right, I went in for the ultrasound check yesterday morning and all looks "perfect" according to Dr. M. Even more incredible, she has become a lot more friendly in the past few weeks and even gave me a big hug. My husband and I were pretty happy that all is a "go" for now. I know this is only the first in a set of many hurdles, but a good day in Infertility World is a rarity, so we have learned to really celebrate when we have one.
Today, I finally faced the box that arrived on Friday - the BIG BOX OF MEDICATIONS. It is all a little overwhelming, but friends that have travelled this path before me suggest taking it one day at a time. For that reason, I put all of the meds except the Lupron, in a cupboard that I hardly ever open. I will pull them out when I need them, but for now, a box of Lupron, needles, and my sharps container is all that I need.
It really takes a little gutspa to stick yourself with a needle. I learned that tonight. I had self-administered HCG before, but for some reason, this seemed more momentous. Well, at least the needles are small and the injection relatively painless. It was still a little weird, but I survived. I have heard that the side effects from Lupron aren't too bad for the first few days, but definitely is a cumulative effect.
As I jabbed myself with the first of MANY needles, I wondered how I had gotten to this point. I took pictures of the collection of medications because I thought they might make a good first page in a pregancy journal. Here's hoping to many pages in that journal.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Not a whole lot.
We won't know if the double dose of high estrogen BCPs worked until Saturday's ultrasound. I had to go ahead and order my meds, since I would stary Lupron on Sunday if all is a go.
I don't know if I ovulated or not. I really can't tell anymore. I definitely had some EWCM through the weekend and some mild cramping on Saturday. Let's just keep fingers crossed that the lil' egg stayed put.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Today is Friday, November 9, the day of The Great Blog Cross-Pollination.
How exciting! Today's Mystery Guest Writer is someone that I am very flattered to have blogging in my space. She is one of the first blog pals that I had the pleasure of meeting and I follow her blog like a little puppy. When I saw that we had been "matched," I was thrilled. I won't say anymore for fear of giving away her identity, but Mrs. X is a phenomenal writer and an amazing woman. Now, don't cheat - see if you can guess the identity of today's writer and then. . . click on the link below to see if you are right!
Without further ado. . .
Baby, it's cold outside.
Autumn is officially here. The weather is brisk, and while I can't yet
see the white clouds of breath when I exhale, I can smell it in the
air. You know, the smell reminiscent of burning wood. The smell right
before it starts to snow. It's then that I know fall is upon us. And
winter is just a hop, skip and jump away.
I remember in May when we got our BFP, and how I couldn't wait for it
to turn cold because then I would know it wouldn't be long. It
wouldn't be long until we had a baby in our arms. We would be busily
preparing for our impending arrival - finishing up the nursery and
buying last minute items we didn't get from our shower. I'd probably
be in my nesting phase, obsessing over cleanliness and orderliness. I
envisioned laying by the fireplace, drinking hot cocoa and decorating
our tree. This time I'd be the one adorned - with a huge belly. But,
instead, the cold weather is a painful reminder of what anniversary is
looming in the not-so-far-off distance. Time seemed to drag on for so
long, but now it seems to have sprinted forward all of sudden. Instead
of stressing about the arrival of a bundle of joy, we are stressing
about fertility treatment and debating taking a break.
At dinner last night, DH casually asked me how I would feel about
taking a break after this cycle if, or more like when, it is a BFN.
This means 2 things: (a) he's thought about it and (b) he thought it
was a good idea or otherwise he wouldn't have suggested it. I told him
that I would prefer to cycle in December and then, if no BFP, take a
break for a few months beginning in the new year. He seemed okay with
this plan - until we made it home and into the bedroom. His body had
other ideas. He had problems...well...getting it up. This has never
happened before. In the four years of us being intimate and two years
of us TTC, he has never once had an issue with performing on cue. I
doubt it is a physical problem, as we haven't had sex in over a week,
being that AF was here. He's usually pumped by that point. He finally
got it up long enough to finish but it left me wondering what the deal
was. Was this a culmination of two years of doin' it (and doin' it
well) on cue? Or was it because he really didn't want me?
I didn't mention anything about it until today. I asked him if he was
okay and what he thought the problem was last night. He thought it
could be his new asthma medication. But he also said he is tired (aka
The Truth). He thinks we are focusing too much on TTC and we've
dedicated two years of our lives to this. He thinks we need a new
focus. He thinks I'm obsessing.
I admit I don't quite know how to draw the line between trying and
"obsessing". I think the line is pretty blurry, if you ask me. If
someone is diagnosed with diabetes and uses injections to normalize
their body, participates in a diabetes walk, donates money to diabetes
research and spends time with a support group, is that obsessing? I
think of it as activism and doing something good for the community
while working through your illness. Why is infertility any different?
I do spend a lot of time on my blog and other outlets for IF. I have a
few support groups and I participate in events for IF when I can on my
free time. What is so obsessive about that? Is it the BBT charting? Is
it the time I spend on my blog? Is it taking meds and having doctor
appointments? If these things aren't stressing me out most days, why
is it obsessing? I guess I don't know how to try to conceive without
"obsessing". How can you not obsess when you have to take pills and
get shots just to do what your body should do naturally? How can your
life not at least partially revolve around your cycle? It is the
nature of the beast. Or at least that is what I've been conditioned to
I told him I wasn't going to force him to do anything he didn't want
to do. If he wants to take a break before the new year, we can. I told
him I've already finished up the Clomid this cycle so we should try to
salvage what we can this month. Then, we'll discuss what to do going
forward. I really want a chance at a Christmas BFP. I highly doubt it
will happen unmedicated. If we don't get those two lines, I'll be
ready for a good 3-month break. January through March - trying again
in the spring. Not that we'll avoid. We just won't have meds or shots
or timed BD. We will just try to get "us" back. I'm not opposed to
taking a break. I'm just not quite ready yet.
But I don't want to fight. I don't have the energy in me anymore.
There was a time I would have thrown a hissy fit and cried and pleaded
until I got my way. But not anymore. I don't want to have marital
problems on top of this. I'm trying to listen to his needs and give
him time. I just hope that he can reciprocate those feelings and we
can find a compromise.
And I can't help but wonder - if we are starting to have issues in bed
now - will this continue even if we do take a break? Will it be worse
when we go back to trying because we will have been lazy for so long?
Or worse yet - will he decided he enjoyed the break so much that he
doesn't want to go back to TTC in April? I wonder if IUI would be a
better option for us next year. He would still have to perform on cue
- but only once or twice as opposed to 7 days in a row. Of course,
that kind of convenience doesn't come without a cost. For the bargain
basement price of $600 a pop. I just don't know. I'm scared of what
the future holds for us. I'm hoping for a miracle.
Any guesses? Leave them in the comment section so that the world can see your brilliance. Then, check out this link to see if you were right (and if you are really bored, that is where you will find my blog entry for today). Thanks for playing and thanks to Geohde for being our Queen Bee and creating such a Blogging Buzz!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I am cycle day 5 of my suppression cycle. Like the good, compliant patient that I am, I had my Day 2 bloodwork and started my birth control pills.
I went in today and Dr. M proclaimed my 3.4 FSH and 30 Estradol levels "perfect." However, when she went in with the dildo cam to get a baseline follicle count. . . we went from picture perfect to "uh oh." Apparently, one of the magic tricks that my body can do is ovulate even when on birth control. This actually makes some sense, since our first pregnancy happened when I was on the pill. My husband thought I had just missed a pill or something, but after seven years, I was pretty dependable. At least my guilt from that is assuaged.
The problem is, of course, that I have to have a suppression cycle. We have now increased my bcp to 2 times a day (Crazy Town, here I come) in the hopes that my lead follicle "will shrivel up and die" (that is a quote from Dr. M).
They actually had me take the second pill right then and there. No messing around. Dr. M did manage to tell me that less than 4% of women will continue to ovulate in the presence of birth control, so once again, I have taken the statistical bullet. Lovely.
If this follicle doesn't shrivel up and die, then we will have to move forward to January. We will know at next Saturday's ultrasound.
Well, at least it's never boring being a statistical freak of nature.