Friday, March 30, 2012


That's how many of the frozen embryos we transferred implanted. I had the formality of my beta today to tell me what I already knew. The nurse said, "Hey, you never know" when I told her I knew it was negative. When she left the room W also said that is also the slogan for the lottery.
 I started testing the day before we left for vacation and nothing ever appeared. I used Wondfo and bought 3 FRER tests. I only used one of those at 7dp5dt and that's when I knew it was over. The consolation prize? An amazing vacation in Mexico. We ate, drank, swam, relaxed, read, ziplined, snokeled, rappelled, sunned ourselves, and enjoyed each other and the surroundings. I think every 2ww should end either with a positive pregnancy test or a relaxing vacation. Add that to my bill!

Our resort was amazing and adults only so I didn't have any great (or not so great) families to watch and feel jealous about. No cute babies or screaming children, so it was pretty great. I read 2 1/2 of the 3 Hunger Games books and can't wait to see the movie. 

At my appointment this morning I asked about another IVF cycle. We can start as soon as AF shows by taking BCP's. Oh joy! They gave me a free pack of pills and told me to call on CD 1. We discussed the Lupron and Antagonist protocols and the NP gave me a few good reasons why the Antagonist wouldn't be a good idea. 

First, my estradiol levels peaked at 7672 last cycle. Since I wasn't on any antagonist we were able to pull that out of the "back pocket" to make my levels drops way down. Also, they retrieved 28 eggs. With no suppression the NP said my response could be scary, especially with polycystic ovaries. We will switch from Menopur to Luveris this cycle and use a much lower dose. She said I may stim for more days but hopefully we will keep my estradiol levels a bit lower and more under control. 

How do I feel about doing it again? Eh, whatever it takes, right? I'm not excited to go through the egg retrieval process again, but it will be ok. I don't think waiting or taking any time off helps me. In fact, it just reminds me of the negative experience with all the waiting with RE #1. 

BTW, we transferred all 4 of our frozen embryos. I'm not sure what their grades were, how many cells survived, etc. We decided to thaw all 4 thinking they wouldn't all make it. I wanted to transfer 3 this time but when we were told all 4 survived, my RE and I agreed to put them all back. Part of the decision making process is that with the package deal we bought in order to move on to another fresh cycle you have to use up all of the frozen ones first. I wanted to transfer 3, so it didn't make sense to keep just one frozen. I'm pretty bummed that none of my 4 blastocysts implanted. I guess it wasn't the right time or the right embryos. That's all I can really say about it. No use feeling badly. 

Onward and upward. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5DP5DT and Hanging in There

I haven't updated since the morning of my transfer. The transfer itself went fine. Dr. K (aka Dr. Gere) did it this time rather than Dr. Greene. Dr. K is my actual doctor, but this was only the second time I've seen him in this process. He didn't really want to tell me the grades of the embryos when I asked and gave me a speech (about 2 feet away from my face) about how it doesn't really matter. He is a very touchy-feely, oozing with positivity kind of guy. He said how he has seen both good and bad embryos turn out to be perfectly healthy babies. All of the embryos we chose to thaw survived so we transfered them. 

Dr. K just went about his business and didn't really explain the process as he was doing it. He didn't tell me when he was going to put the embryos in and I noticed more cramping this time. It could have been the lack of knowing what was going on, or the technique, but it was pretty minor cramping. He wished us luck and left the room. 

I went to acupuncture after and took a nice nap. I followed up two days later with another session to "help with implantation." 

The first few days I made the joke that I didn't have a uterus, that way I wouldn't be able to tell what was going on. I didn't over think it much and continued on. After my post about symptoms being B.S I kept repeating that to myself. At this point I'm pretty close to insane. 

Tomorrow morning bright and early we leave for vacation. I am so excited to get out of town and relax for 6 days. I'm also excited for a week off from work. I will be bringing some HPT's with me since the waiting last time almost killed me. The anticipation and anxiety just weren't worth it. And, this time I will have my beta 2 days later since I am out of town. I won't be posting over vacation so I guess I will just leave you in suspense for the next week. 

If it works, that will be awesome and amazing. I'm not holding my breath since the embryos really didn't look as good as last time. They were much more bloby and I'm sure they weren't as high of a grade. I know the grade doesn't mean everything, but they were also frozen. I'm trying to convince myself that if they made it to day 5 and then survived freezing and thawing, they must be somewhat strong. 

If this is a bust we have 2 more fresh IVF cycles already paid for. I'm hoping we don't have to do that, but at this point it's not as overwhelming and intimidating. I have almost all of the meds necessary and know mostly what to expect. 

Wish me luck. If not, I will drink some delicious frozen beverages, I promise. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Transfer Day (FET #2 from IVF #2)

So, today is the day. I was going to work in the morning but decided against that to limit my stress. I didn't want to be rushing to make it to the appointment. Instead, we slept in a little bit and have been relaxing and moving at a nice slow pace. 

I'm feeling really good and positive. I can't believe how quickly this day came. It's definitely a change from my first clinic. My first frozen transfer accompanied 6 months of waiting from the time the embryos were frozen. Granted there were some issues that needed to be sorted out, but that was torture. The anticipation made things much more stressful. So did paying for a single cycle and having everything riding on that single transfer.  

This time I had a little over 2 weeks of waiting from my period after my chemical pregnancy. I feel much better and there isn't as much anticipation and nervousness involved. I know if this doesn't work (which it will) that we have 2 fresh IVF cycles already paid for.  
The transfer itself is no big deal. What I'm most nervous about is what we are going to have to transfer. Only for a second did I let the fear creep in that there would be nothing to transfer. I immediately pushed those thoughts out. 

I thought I lost my Valium but finally found it wedged in W's Kindle case. I'm pretty excited for that part. I think I'll do acupuncture after as well. Not that I need the Valium to relax during acupuncture, but the combo is pretty amazing. 

Here's hoping we have some great embryos to transfer and that they find things in my ute to their liking!  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Symptoms are a Bunch of Bull

I haven't even started my 2WW, yet I could be convinced I was pregnant if I didn't otherwise know. After my last two transfers I was on symptoms watch during this period. What have I learned by doing this? That you can have all of the classic early pregnancy symptoms and not be pregnant. In fact, I think I had more "symptoms" the cycle I didn't get implantation than the one I did. And currently, I have a ton of "symptoms" despite having zero chance of being pregnant. 

Let's recap:
Transfer #1 (T1)- frozen transfer of 4 day 3 embryos. I didn't get implantation.
Transfer #2 (T2)- fresh transfer of 2 day 5 embryos. I had implantation that resulted in a chemical pregnancy. 
Currently (C)- Awaiting a transfer on Monday of day 5/6 embryos (not sure how many yet)

Currently I am on estrogen (orally 3x's/day) and progesterone (vaginally 2x's/day). 

I looked online at common early pregnancy symptoms so let's see:

Cramping: C-Yup. I've noticed this more since starting the progesterone on Friday. No embryos in there to implant yet, but still a symptom I'm currently experiencing. Also present with T1 and T2.

Breast tenderness: C-Not yet but I'm sure in the next few days. Again, progesterone related. This always appears within a few days of starting progesterone. Big time both with T1 and T2. 

Fatigue: C-Nope. When I did PIO (T1) and my progesterone levels were really high I was the most tired of any cycle. Not with T2. 

Nausea: C-Nope. Again, after T1 was when I had this symptom the most. Not after T2. 

Bloating: All cycles. Thanks hormones!

Constipation or Diarrhea: C-Nope. This was BAD after T2 and not present after T1. 

Headaches: C-Yes. None in the past few days but when I first started estrogen (first week or so) I had a headache pretty much every day. After T1 and T2 I had headaches. Headaches generally accompany rising or falling hormones for me. Both times my pregnancies didn't work out I had headaches for about a week straight leading up to the bad news. 

Backache: C-No, but lots after T2. I also had a lot of backaches the week before my period started after T2. 

Spotting: None ever.

Increased basal body temperature: I don't keep track. I did when I was first TTC, but it was a real pain and seemed too inconsistent. Not for me. 

Darker areolas: Never

Vaginal Discharge: Does crinone discharge count? Hard to tell when you are on vaginal suppositories. 

Mood swings: Ummmm.... all the time?

Frequent Trips to the bathroom: C-Yes. Last night I got up 3 times to pee. I did drink a bit of wine last night, but since starting the Crinone I have definitely noticed this. Didn't have this after T1 but did with 2. 

Heightened sense of smell: All cycles. 

Food Aversions: C-No. Didn't after T1 but did a little after T2 (dark meat of chicken). 

Increased thirst: Not really something I've ever noticed. 

So what can be learned from this long-winded post? That "symptoms" are a result of the hormones that I take, not an actual pregnancy. I've decided in the past few days leading up to transfer #3 that I don't believe in symptoms. Maybe if I were a normal fertile trying to get pregnant they would mean something. But, I take a ton of hormones that mimic all of the same symptoms. For this transfer I'm not going to be on symptom watch because symptoms are a bunch of bull.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Today was my appointment at the clinic. All week I was thinking it was Thursday and then woke up today and realized I wasn't going to make it to a meeting for work. I felt badly canceling the morning of the meeting, but oh well. It was going to drawn out and I wasn't going to get paid for it. 

I did an evaluation with my boss this morning and the mom cried when we told her the results. I hate it when the parents cry, it's so hard.

I met W on the way to the appointment so we could ride together. We got there and the office was empty. It's amazing the difference between 7 AM and 1 PM. They called me back to the procedure side of the clinic. I asked if I was going to get an ultrasound as I entered the room and saw a bed in an upright position with wandy close by. The nurse said I was going to get one and I realized it was going to be at the same time as the I.V. Fun! She had me undress from the waist down and put on a hospital gown. Then they gave me a heated blanket. 

The nurse went over the information, had me sign consents and got me all set up. She stuck something on my forehead, a blood pressure cuff on my arm, and a pulse oximeter on my finger. I've realized the combination of colors in the gown and heated blanket just don't look good on me. They're not my best colors. The nurse put in the IV and took blood before starting the intralipids. The intralipids came in a little bag and were white like milk. Finally I asked her what she put on my forehead. I guess it was a thermometer, but by that point I was really looking good. When they brought W in he practically laughed at me. 

The intralipids took about 1 1/2-2 hours total. It was pretty boring but the nurse came in often to check my vitals and see how I was doing. W and I watched some of The Office with the Netflix app on my phone, but that got old. Midway through I had to pee so I got to bring the IV with me and that was exciting. Well, as exciting as it got.  

The NP came in to do the ultrasound. Everything looked good and my lining was 10.8. She asked when I wanted to do the FET and we decided on Monday. She then asked how many we wanted to thaw. Since 1 is good quality and 3 are fair, it is a tough decision. Part of the package deal we bought says that you have to use all frozen embryos before moving on to another fresh cycle. We haven't completely decided the number yet, but we gave them a tentative number. I start progesterone tomorrow and stay on everything else. The transfer is scheduled for 10:45 on Monday and I'm starting to get excited. Time is really dragging between being excited for the FET and vacation. 

I asked about flying with Lovenox and had to get a note so that they won't give me any problems in the airport traveling with it on my carry-on. I'm not sure if I need to bring a sharps bin or not, but we have time to figure that out. Anyone ever travel with syringes? 

The told me the intralipids last for 28 days. If I get pregnant I will repeat it in 4 weeks. The information they gave me was pretty vague and said it's totally experimental. I guess the only thing I have to lose is my time and $55.00. Let's hope it makes a difference.

Here is the handout they gave me:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Will it Make a Difference?

I got my newest batch of meds in the mail today. More Lovenox and the intralipids. My next appointment is Wednesday to check my lining and to administer the intralipids. I did Lovenox with my last cycle but it was for OHSS. I guess with the risk of OHSS being so high, the risk of blood clots was also high. It was preventative, but I stayed on it until I got the bad news. The intralipids are new to me. It was something that was recommended to me by my clinic and I figured it might help. Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom regarding intralipids?

I'm not sure how I feel about this cycle. I don't want to get my hopes up too high and then be disappointed. I've been there before. I also know that frozen transfers are less successful. 

I'm having a hard time remembering to take my second estrogen pill of the day. I finally asked Siri to remind me to take it so that I am a little more consistent. Let's hope it helps. 

The weather has been beautiful and unseasonably warm. I know 60 degrees may not sound too warm to you, but it sure as heck is around here. On Sunday we spent quite a few hours outside gardening. We have daffodils, irises, hyacinth, and some unknown bulbs (maybe Crocus) littered around the yard. We decided to dig them all up in order to put them in one place. 
Trip #1:Hyacinth and Daffodils
Trip #2: Irises and mystery bulbs
I also had purchased some tulips from the local drugstore when I went to pick up some prescription. They were super cheap ($1.50 for each box), and I figured I didn't have much to lose. We also planted these in the same area. 
All I know is that my legs and back are incredibly sore today from all of the digging and squatting. You should have seen me plop down on the floor for the first time today, it was pretty amusing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Money, Money, Money

So we haven't filed our taxes yet. We seem to slack on it and then hustle to get it done last minute. This year's hold-up has been my lack of getting our medical expenses together. So, tonight I sat down and finally finished it while W was working on dinner (fun Saturday night, I know!) 

And the total for 2011? Drumroll please..........12,827.19. This is with great insurance and co-pays. The major expenses were IVF (not covered by insurance) with 3.5 rounds paid for, W's sperm wash with the IUI's (1000) since his insurance is different and didn't cover it, and drugs. I recently got the bill for the other half of the unpaid IVF from our first failed cycle, so that is a fun expense we have to look forward to. Nothing like paying for something that didn't work 6 months later! I have been doing a better job of saving receipts for this year all in one place and the envelope is bursting already. It's only March. 
I know this isn't that much money compared to what others spend. But imagine what we could have done if we hadn't spent it on fertility treatments? Judging by my bank statements I probably would have spent it at Marshalls, Dunkin Donuts, or Wegmans.

Estrogen sucks. I'm irritable and my sense of smell is out of control. Everyone's breath smells horrible. W is being a trooper with me, but I feel badly for being so moody. We had a super busy and productive day today. I got a new bathing suit for vacation and my back wiper on my car finally fixed. Trying on bathing suits after stuffing yourself with thai food for lunch is not recommended. Oh yeah, we also got tickets to go see Aziz Ansari in April. I'm pretty excited for it. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fighting the Good Fight

The Hysterosonogram is done. It wasn't fun and it was worse than I remembered. But it's done and I'm happy for that. First I was taken to the room where they do the dye test. At my old clinic this was something they did while I was knocked out for a lap surgery so I have zero recollection. It also was done at the hospital. My new clinic has the machine right there. I guess they also do the hysterosonogram test in that room. They took my blood and had me undress from the waist down and lie on the table. The nurse then told me she was going to put in the speculum and catheter. I'm not sure if she is missing a vagina or what, but she didn't seem to have the angle right. It took her a few painful tries but she finally got it in. The painful speculum experience was new. Uncomfortable? Sure. But headed in the wrong direction and painful? New. She then inserted the catheter which was accompanied with a little cramping but nothing bad. And then she left the room to get the doc.

Laying on a bed with a catheter in you all alone and waiting for someone is fun. It was Dr. Greene again (the RE who did my retrieval and transfer) and he apologized for how things worked out previously. What was different this time around is they also inserted a balloon with the catheter. He coached me on deep yoga breathing prior to starting and then told me to start breathing deep. As soon as he inflated the thing the cramping was pretty bad. He had the nurse snap some still photos and then it was done. 

He told me everything looked great. No polyps, no fibroids, and no possible explanation for the chemical. He had me lie there for another 5 minutes and then the nurse came back and I got dressed. I remembered at that time I wanted to ask him about progesterone (IM vs suppositories). He was happy to talk to me and gave me a detailed explanation that I accept. I don't remember all of the small points and I'm not sure you don't really care that much. Short and simple, for women under 35 studies show that the suppositories are more successful and effective. They lead to much higher progesterone levels in the uterus when endometrial biopsies are performed, regardless of what the blood levels indicate. Also, using the suppositories can help to determine when the placenta has taken over and when the suppositories can be stopped since the levels start to climb by quite a bit. I was satisfied. He then patted/rubbed my back, apologized for our chemical pregnancy, and told me to "Keep fighting the good fight." I've never really thought of it as a good fight, but I'll sure keep fighting.

I thought my period was done but today's fun adventure in infertility land brought it back out. It's mostly just spotting at this point, but annoying that it's back.

I found out today that one of the families I work with is pregnant. They didn't tell me, but told the special education teacher. They already have 2 boys and are both 24 years old. I guess she is concerned it is twins since her levels are high. The worst part? She is 6 weeks pregnant (one week earlier than what I could have been). Now I get to watch her announce her pregnancy early, complain about it, and proceeding to have a baby before me. Sure, pregnancy is common in my job. I work with young children so their parents are popping out more like it's going out of style. I can think of two other families where the mom is pregnant right now. It doesn't normally bother me, but the timing of this stings a bit. 

Also on Facebook I have a friend who posted a positive digital test the same week I got mine. To have the confidence to post a positive test on Facebook when you first get it is insane to me. She posted today complaining about morning sickness and then again later saying her first ultrasound is next week. I just can't fathom this confidence and nonchalance towards pregnancy. I'm insanely jealous of these two people who are going to have successful pregnancies and bring home babies in October. 

The past two days haven't been the greatest. The reality of still trudging through infertility waters has hit a little harder. I'm so ready to be through it all and to move on. To get pregnant and stay pregnant. To have a baby and not worry about taking an insane amount of meds, monitoring appointments, blood work, uncomfortable procedures, and jealousy. Until I get there though, I will continue to "fight the good fight." 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Back Up and Ready for More Punches

Remember those punching bag inflatable things from when you were a kid? The bottom was filled with sand and the rest with air. I remember getting one for Easter one year. I think it was a bunny and I remember feeling bad hitting it too hard. I'm sure you can figure where I'm going with this. That punching bag that quickly pops back up? Yeah, that's what I feel like.

I've recently taken some harder hits than I threw as a kid. But, I'm back up and ready for some more abuse. I'm just hoping I don't pop anytime soon.

Today was an insanely long day. My appointment was at 7:30 and after I had to drop off paperwork at my boss' house. From there I saw 8 kids for therapy. There was a meeting thrown in there as well and a cancellation I wasn't informed of, so I still drove all the way to the daycare. I came home and took a nice nap on the couch.

My appointment was fine today. They drew blood and checked all of my levels: progesterone (0.6), estrogen (<20), LH (.47), TSH (2.45) FSH (4.1), and HCG (4.1). I asked about polyps and that being a possible factor in a chemical pregnancy. The NP said she didn't see any on ultrasound. I then informed her that I had them in the past and that they were only visible with the hysterosonogram. She asked if that was something I was interested in repeating and I said it was. 

I was given the all clear to start estrogen today since my HCG level was low enough. I am supposed to take it 3x's/day. With my last frozen transfer I took it once a day and remember it made me pretty nauseous. I hope it is better this time around. I also start back up on baby aspirin and dexamethasone. It was a nice 4 days off. 

I have another appointment this Thursday to recheck my HCG levels and to do the hysterosonogram. I am hoping I don't have any polyps, but I need to do this for my own peace of mind. I have another appointment for the following Wednesday where they will check my lining and I will do intralipids. It is an IV and takes about an hour and a half. W is requesting the afternoon off from work so he can be there to keep me company. From there, as long as everything looks good we can schedule the transfer. The NP today a possible day could be the 19th. Looks like I will be spending some of my 2WW in Mexico. Yes please!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Was it Just a Dream?

Being pregnant this time around doesn't even really feel like it happened. It was so short lived and not full of much excitement or joy. I asked W today if it ever even really happened. 

AF showed early this morning after a week of pretty bad lower back pain and cramping. This had started prior to stopping my meds but I brushed it off. I don't usually get back pain with my periods so this has been super unpleasant. Today wasn't the most fun. I broke out the heating pad and snuggled with that for a bit on the couch. Lots of heavy bleeding and clots paired with cramps and lower back pain...good times. I was surprised by how quickly AF showed though (3 days after stopping my meds). 

I have an appointment tomorrow for a repeat beta and they said if I had started bleeding they could also do an ultrasound. Love those dates with "wandy" while AF is visiting.  

The past few days have been ok. I was honestly more upset when my beta didn't double than I have been after finding out about the chemical pregnancy. Sure, another miscarriage sucks, but I guess I was prepared somewhat for that fate. 

We have had lots of good distractions and delicious eating. Friday night we went out to dinner and saw The Lorax in 3-D. I really liked it and had a great time. Saturday afternoon we went to the Syracuse basketball game and then to my in-laws for dinner. Today we just hung out mostly due to AF. I'm amazed at my ability to smile and laugh so soon after such as crappy few weeks.

Here are some of the delicious things I have enjoyed the past few days:
Sushi and wine

MMMM.. coffee. 
bagel with lox

Greek pasta salad. See those delicious hunks of feta?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not Good

Today was my first ultrasound. From the title of this post, I'm sure you can tell it didn't go well. I was shaking like crazy and my pulse was super high. They first drew blood and then we started the ultrasound. W was there, holding my hand watching along with me. 

 I knew what we were looking for. After a few seconds, the technician turned the screen more towards herself. She looked and looked, and didn't find anything. There was a small spot that she said could be a gestational sac, but it was really small. We talked about dates, and then she agreed there should at least be a larger gestational sac as well as a fetal pole. None of those things were present. 

She said she couldn't say for sure what was going on and that we had to wait for my HCG results. If my levels continued to rise I would have to return for another scan. There was still a chance for an ectopic pregnancy as well. 

 We talked about whether I had frozen embryos and agreed that things weren't looking good based on the fact that I was supposed to be 6w1d. 

W's face dropped and as he walked out he looked so sad. I felt awful. We sat in the car and said nothing for a while. It definitely wasn't the way we wanted things to go today. 

We went out for breakfast and talked about everything. I had a call from the clinic while we were there and I listened to the voicemail. On the message she said my HCG levels had dropped and for me to call her back. I was honestly glad we weren't going to be stuck in more beta hell and have to repeat the ultrasound. 

I called back and talked to the NP. She said my HCG levels had dropped to 16.8 and to stop all of my meds. She said I should get a period within 1-2 weeks, but perhaps sooner. I have to go back monday to get my HCG levels checked again. I asked about a RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss) panel, but since this pregnancy is considered chemical, she didn't think insurance would cover the cost. She welcomed me to call the financial advisor to find out. She then said we could treat the next cycle as if I do have RPL issues. We will use Lovenox and probably add IV intralipids. Apparently these help to suppress the immune system. 

We then talked about a FET. I guess I can go ahead the next cycle, but with our vacation (last week of March), I'm not sure how the timing will work out. She said once I get my period and my HCG is negative, I could start estrogen. 

 I can't say I'm extremely surprised. When my initial levels were low and didn't double Dr. Google did not give me promising news. Apparently only about 15% of pregnancies that don't double in a timely fashion turn out OK. Big surprise I fall into the 85%. 

Bring on the hot baths, wine, and sushi.