Monday, December 31, 2007

Rude Awakening

So we got our new king sized mattress delivered last Friday and I love it. It definitely needs some breaking in, but it's so nice to stretch out. Between my husband, me, and the three furbabies, a queen sized bed was just too small.

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

I Gotta New Attitude!

Yep, that's right.

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

To Be(ta) or Not to Be(ta)

First off, thank you to those that posted comments yesterday. I was really in a sad/bad mood the rest of the day and your thoughts helped me to cheer up a bit. The phone rang several times with people calling to check on us. I didn't have the emotional strength to talk to anyone. See, the thing is, that I know I am overreacting. My RE doesn't seem to be concerned. Dr. Google even sends back positive answers to my desperate quests for knowledge. I still just feel sad, and sad that I even have to feel sad, then mad at myself for feeling sad.

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

Mixed Results

Well, today's beta didn't go as well as I had been hoping.

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.

But still.

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

Drumroll, Please. . .

Well, in seems in spite of my enormous reserve and negative thinking, something continues to chug away in my nether regions.

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

Tidings of Great Joy

We had a wonderful weekend with my in-laws with lots of good food and some nice presents. Everyone in the family knows that we are just finishing an IVF cycle, but we decided not to tell them about the ever-darkening pee sticks. We told them that we would have an update for them today after we heard from the clinic.

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

Christmas Miracles

Miracles do happen. This, I know for sure. Check out THIS Christmas Miracle that happened just yesterday to one of our fellow IFers. It brings tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms.

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

Progesterone + Vivelle Dots = Crazy Katie

This post has some interesting news in it, I promise.

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

Holiday Ramblings

Wednesday, December 26, 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.

Thursday, December 20, 2007 - Pay No Attention to the Blogger Dates

Thursday, December 20, 2007

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.

Trigger Happy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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.

Warning: Moody Poster Ahead

Monday, December 17, 2007

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.

Incredibly Blessed & A Decision To Make

Sunday, December 16, 2007

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

Transfer Complete

Well, it's done. What has been medically possible to make and keep me pregnant has been done. I am relieved and so happy to have the little ones "home" with us.

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.

Holiday Fun With Blogger

Alison is doing a fun project!

I already posted mine to my sidebar. Head on over and add yours to the list!
Tree Specs
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

T'Was The Night Before Transfer. . .

First things first: transfer was moved to 1 PM. This isn't a big deal for me, because I am taking the morning to work from home and then the afternoon off. For my husband, however, it is a huge deal. He was recently promoted and it's tough for him to take time off, especially Fridays when it seems as if all the last minute things start coming in. It was already problematic for him to get off by noon to make it to the 3 PM transfer time. So, he wasn't too happy when I called with the change of plans.

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

Is This Normal

Calling all IVFers.

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.

Numbers Game

Deep breath.

Just got the call.

Day Five Transfer - Friday at 3 PM.

Of the 12 embryos:

1 arrested
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.

Another Anniversary

Yesterday, my husband called me from work to see how I was feeling. He asked about Day 3 vs. Day 5 embryos and I told him what I knew. He was quiet for a minute and then said, "If it's better for them to go to Friday, then I hope that's what happens. But if it doesn't matter, then I think it would be really cool if it happened tomorrow."

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

Back to the Shots

Waiting for our little embryos to come "home" is a long wait. Plus, I don't like the fact that each day, we lose some as they "arrest." What a cute word for die. I woke up this morning and wondered how many of our little guys are still with us. It's sad to think of them in a cold, lonely lab somewhere, although I know that they don't know the difference. I think these hormones are still screwing with me!

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

The Day After

Update: Of the 23 eggs retrieved, 14 were mature. Of the 14 mature eggs, 12 fertilized! We have 12 embryos. Now, on to the next phase, which is hoping that they stick around 'til day 3 and then, do we even dare to dream of a day 5 blast transfer?!?! We get our next update on Wednesday (day 3) morning by 10 AM. If we are a go for transfer that day, then we are on for 1 PM. If not, then we are on for Friday morning! Keep those prayers coming and fingers crossed!!!!!

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

Christmas Tag

Well, the trigger actually went pretty well. I am almost concerned with how much my husband seemed to enjoy stabbing that needle in my arse. However, I won't complain because I didn't feel a thing. I have a little ache in that muscle today, but he honestly did a better job than the nurses at our clinic. I told him that he was definitely nominated for the job of daily PIOs. He is strangely excited!

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.

Christmas Tag

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

Retrieval SUNDAY!!!!!

I am pretty gosh darned excited that we will be going in for our egg retrieval bright and early (7:15 am) Sunday morning! Dr. M says that she think that we will get 13 mature follicles and says that is a good number. She feels our quality of eggs will be higher than if we had more. She also said it is healthier for my body to have fewer eggs, with the biggest bonus obviously being less of a chance for OHSS. My estradiol is 2762, so I get the full dose of HCG trigger at 10,000 IUs.

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

Chugging Along

Well, another appointment that went well. It is starting to almost scare me that things are moving along so quickly. I am just not used to repeated good news in the IF world. I am grateful for it, don't get me wrong, I guess I am just waiting for the bad news and am pleasantly surprised when I seemed to have dodged the bullet.

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

Oh, My Achin' Ovaries

Well, it is clearly not just in my head. My ovaries hurt. What a weird thing to say. I mean, my ovaries have been with me from day one and "active" since I was 14. Until this last June when I started Femara, I had never taken much notice of them. Femara definitely made them ache, but this is different. It isn't so much that it is painful, per se, although it definitely isn't comfy. It is more that it is such a strange feeling. I can kind of feel everything getting moved around in there and it feels so weird.

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

Not Perfect, But I'll Take It!

Today's appointment went well and was actually pretty exciting. There were three surprises that I wasn't expecting.

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.

The First Poke Is The Deepest

Well, I really got myself good last night. I am not sure what I did, but my Menopur shot hurt like a son of a you know what. Usually, the poke itself doesn't hurt, just the meds going in. Last night, the poke hurt and then of course, the meds felt like fire going into me. I started bruising about five seconds after the needle was out, so I know I did something wrong. The only thing I can figure is that I had some medication on the needle tip from checking the flow and that there was more than usual. Burned, burned, burned. I had to take a minute before I could attempt to inject the Follistim, but luckily, that went in nicely. I just finished my first cartridge!

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

Retrieval Results

I am pretty tired and kind of drugged, so I am going to make this a quick post.

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!

Eve of Retrieval

It is after 11 PM and we have to be at the clinic at 7:15 tomorrow morning. Since it's a weekend, we won't have any traffic to worry about, but we still don't want to chance being late. So, our alarm clock is set for 5:30 AM. I really should get some sleep.

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.

It Gets Easier

Last night's shots were much easier. I am not sure what (if anything) I did differently, but the Menopur barely burned and I had no bleeding from either injection. Compared to the first two rounds, it was a breeze. I figure I will just get this down and then it will be time to move to the PIO!

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

Watch This

After not speaking to each other nearly all morning, hubby gave me a big hug and that was pretty much the end of our fight. We don't take the "easy route" out of fights too often - usually, I don't let him off the hook that easily, and we have to "discuss" everything. But I wasn't up for any more fighting or discussing yesterday, so we let it go at the hug.

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."