Sunday, September 30, 2012

IVF #4 CD 4- Baby Snuggles

I'm feeling a bit better today with the dexamethasone side effects. I think I need to stay away from coffee and I will probably fare much better. It's okay because I've wanted is less lately anyway.

 It was rainy all day today so we didn't do a whole lot. We went out for lunch and then stopped and saw our friend's new baby. Little D turned a week old yesterday and was absolutely precious. Baby snuggles can cure any rainy day blues.

My first monitoring appointment is tomorrow. I'm hoping we see some good little follicles. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

IVF #4 CD 3- Yuck

A dahlia from my flower bed
Things are well underway with IVF #4. Tonight marks injection #3. The shots are going well. The dexamethasone isn't. It's making me feel like crap. My stomach is upset and I feel nauseous. If I don't do anything and just sit around I feel fine. I've also had some not so great side effects in the bathroom. Good times! I'm hoping my body will adjust soon and I'll feel better. 

Speaking on the dexamethasone, my clinic refused to call in the script. They said since it wasn't the normal dosage they prescribe (.75 mg instead of .25) that they didn't want to do it. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but the NP is really being a pain. She was willing to call in Ganirelix which I have never used with them, but not a stronger dose of a med I have used with them. Oh well, I'm trying not to let them bother me. I was super agitated about it yesterday though. 

I'm feeling crazy moody and bitchy. It's been a while since I've been on meds and I'm hoping I will get used to it soon. Poor W has to put up with me! He's a trooper about it though. 

As far as what I'm feeling physically, at this point I'm just feeling cramps from my period. Not much action in the ovaries yet, but thats not surprising at all since it's so early. I won't get much of an idea as to what is going on until my first monitoring appointment Monday. 

This morning we stopped at an estate sale down the road. I got these really neat silver bowls with pretty colors on the inside and we got a pretty sweet bright yellow salad spinner. There were some side tables we debated for our bedroom but decided one was just too beat up. It was a beautiful house and made me kinda miss house hunting. I love looking at homes, especially ones located right on the lake. 

This afternoon we ran some errands and I felt horrible in the store. We made it home and rather than me helping W plant our new fall plantings I sat on the stairs and kept him company. I was good at instructing though.

Also, here is the progress with my quilt. I added a bit more after I took this pic, but it's a good sample. I think it looks pretty good so far. Don't mind the mess of a bookshelf in the background.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I work with little kids that are walking cesspools for germs. I have 19 children on my caseload right now and I think about 80-85% of them have some kind of cold or another. 

I douse myself in hand sanitizer each time I get back in my car. Heck, I should buy stock in Purell I use it so much. 

Today I start dexamethasone. Each time I've taken it I've noticed I either get sick or get something else. I think it was last time that a giant wart popped up on one of my toes within the first week of taking it. Another time I got a really bad stomach bug. 

So, wish me luck in not getting sick. If it's only a cold I guess it's not that bad. I better start bulking up on my Vitamin C and make sure I get enough sleep. That one is a big tougher with early morning appointments. 

AF showed up this morning and tonight is my first night of stims. I always laugh in the beginning when I am looking forward to starting something that I know in the end isn't that much fun. Oh well, it's good to be back up and going. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm Going to be an Aunt to....

A little boy!! That's right, my sister has a teeny-tiny penis growing inside her right now. I had boy feelings all morning about it and then missed 2 calls from her while I was in a therapy session. Since she didn't leave a message I figured I was probably right. She actually is pretty excited and sounded happy. He is going to be one crazy little guy, but I can't wait to meet him! February is a long way away...
Good thing it's a boy too because when I quickly laid a few pieces of the quilt together it had boy written all over it. I picked green and blue because I know my sister likes blue but doesn't like orange or yellow. I made lots more progress today on it. 

W said the fact that they are having a boy immediately gave him hope that we will get our little one soon. He wasn't sure why, but he suddenly got a dose of confidence about everything tonight. Maybe it's because my sister and I both like the same girl name. Maybe because it means we may still get to use the name. 

I got my list of meds for this cycle and there are no big surprises. I will be on dexamethasone which I haven't used in a while. My clinic stopped prescribing it to patients. The dose is also higher than I previously used. I'm a little nervous about starting at a higher dose for the Gonal-F than previously, but I will trust their judgement. High estrogen has always been my problem so we will so how that all goes. I guess if we are using Lupron and freezing everything that is less of a worry. 

I have all the Menopur I need and think I can buy a Gonal-F pen off of a friend for cheaper than at the pharmacy. It's still definitely not cheap though : ( I need to refill the dexamethasone and get another dose or two of Ganirelix and then I should be all set. 

It was pretty cool here today. It wasn't a nice fall cool where you can wear a few layers and be comfortable. Instead, it was a much colder version where I felt like I needed to be sipping hot coffee all day. Our house was pretty chilly tonight and the hubs was strongly resisting turning on the heat. I guess we should probably take the A.C unit out of the bedroom window first.  

Change of Plans

I received my calendar on Friday to see a few changes. Rather than starting stims on Monday, Thursday is going to be the day. It's no big change to me, although it may have resulted in a double dose of bcp's since I had skipped the night before. I am officially done with bcp's now. Maybe I will start to feel normal again. 

The weekend was nice and relaxing. Friday afternoon I started working on my quilt since I finished my day early. I got a lot done and am now struggling with triangular pieces. The squares were easy! I went to dinner with a friend that night. We ate at the new mexican restaurant La Cantina Laredo in the mall and it wasn't very good. From there we headed over to the Melting Pot and had chocolate fondue for dessert. That was definitely delicious! Then we got pedicures and headed home. It was nice to see T since I missed dinner with the girls this week. Her belly has really popped out and her little guy is cooking away!

 On Saturday morning we got up early and headed into Syracuse to walk for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). On the way, we picked up my boss and we met up with another co-worker there. I went to a high school with a girl whose father was diagnosed with ALS. My boss also knows the family because he lives in the same town very close to them. We did the walk 2 years ago and were glad to participate again. Tom is the name of the guy we were walking for. It was a bit sad to see him because he is definitely losing some function (physical and cognitive). I can't imagine having a loved one being diagnosed with ALS. It's a slow and sad way to die. The weather was really crappy and the entire walk was in the pouring rain. From there we headed home and hung out on the couch for pretty much the rest of the day.  

 On Sunday we were much more productive and cleaned up around the house, did some laundry, organized my toy space above the garage, and W did some landscaping while I did more quilting. The quilt is really coming along and I'm excited for how it will look all together. I had some sewing machine malfunctions last night and had to call it quits once I finally figured something out. 

My sister finds out what she is having today at her anatomy scan. She really wants a girl and I think she will start crying if it's a boy. I'm excited to hear the news, but I know there will be mixed emotions with it all. I can't believe she is already to that point in her pregnancy. She really wanted me to come to the appointment, but I didn't think I could do it. It's a far drive and would have meant a day off of work in addition to the emotional aspect of it all. 

I'm feeling really torn and up in the air about everything. We almost always have a plan B for if plan A fails, but right now I don't know where we will go from this next cycle. I still have some unanswered questions and I'm not sure where to turn with them. We did have a plan B before we received this matching information. I'm pretty lost and not sure where to turn from here. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Back in Gear

I went for my baseline on Wednesday. I spoke with the nurse at Dr. Br.averman's office (Sandra) and she gave me a schedule. The plan? Start stims on Monday and then my first monitoring appointment will be Thursday. Is this really happening again??? AAHHHH

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New and Confusing Information

Yesterday was my follow-up with Dr. Br.averman. Of course the office was running behind so we waited for over an hour past our appointment before they called. 

At first Dr. B said everything was essentially normal. But I could hear him flipping through pages and pages of paperwork. Then he got to the HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matching portion of the testing.

Here is information I found on HLA matching from Dr. B's website in order to explain it and be more clear:

"A fundamental part of HLA function is the presence of MHC molecules on all cells in the body. While there must be great similarity between these HLA genes with the donor and recipient during a transplant, this does not hold true when considering an embryo. There are reasons an embryo must have significant differences than the mother in order for a pregnancy to be successful and not result in miscarriage. Evolution has resulted in significant variation in the shape and sizes of MHC molecules (It is the MHC molecules that pick up virus and bacteria and present it to the immune system for eradication). The variation of the MCH molecules prevents a virus or bacteria from mutating and then evading the immune system in every person they infect, preventing an entire population form getting wiped out during an outbreak. Nature has a reason therefore to try and reject an embryo in couples with similar HLA genes as this would eliminate the ability to diversify.

Other HLA molecules on the embryo's surface, however, play an important role in beginning the process of immune tolerance. One theory is that a difference between the HLA genes of the mother and the embryo is important as it draws the immune system to the site of implantation due to the detection of something foreign. From here, the embryo begins to interact with the maternal immune system to turn off its attacking aspects and use it to its own advantage. Advantages include mild inflammation that can assist with implantation as well as the production of antibodies to protect the fetus."

 So, apparently W and I have a lot of matches. He said anything over 5 was considered significant. We have 6 that we know of for now. The test wasn't complete and the DQ Alpha portion of it was missing. This means there are another possible 2 matches that we will find out about once we complete the testing.

The HLA system is located on chromosome 6. As Dr. B said, this is the chromosome that "polices the immune system". If things are too similar, then the immune system attacks the embryo. He thought this was a possible reason for the way things have turned out in the past.

He also said that I had a PAI 1 4G gene mutation which is consistent with PCOS. I also have 1 copy of Factor V and 1 copy of MTHFR. All of these create a cumulative effect relating to blood clotting. He said this can be easily remedied with the use of Lovenox.

As far as the HLA matching goes, I guess his plan of action is to use Neupogen. This is a drug that is administered as a shot like anything else in a IVF cycle. The way that it works is it puts the immune system to rest in order to shield the embryo from the immune system. It's a drug commonly used during chemotherapy and is experimental for use in IVF cycles. Dr. B said he's had a lot of success using it for this type of problem. 

He said we don't need IVF and that IUI's would be an option. For now we will do IVF since we already have a cycle paid for. In the future, we could have him manage the immune portion and do IUI's. They are covered by my insurance so it's definitely something to consider if need be. It's that whole missing a tube thing that deters me. 

We talked about this upcoming IVF cycle. At first I could tell he didn't want to manage it due to the logistics. He was trying to back out of it but I put more pressure on him and he said he would keep to his word. I know its complicated and difficult, but I can't keep doing the same exact thing that my clinic has me doing. It's not working!

We talked about a the protocol again and meds. We will start on Gonal-F at a higher dose and then step it down shortly after. The reason to do this is that the higher dose recruits more eggs to begin with and then once they start growing they don't need as high of a dose. We may or may not add LH depending on my levels and his preference was Menopur over Luveris. After a few days we will add in Ganirelix and will trigger with Lupron. The plan for now is to freeze all embryos. It is likely my estrogen will get super high again and it's not a favorable environment for embryos. Also, the hormone management is extremely difficult with a Lupron trigger and I guess it would be easier to wait. I'm not thrilled about this option, but it's OK. I'm happy to try something different. 

So the plan for now is I need to get doctor's orders to my current office to get a sono before coming off birth control pills. I'm waiting for them to send this over so I can schedule my appointment. Then I will get a scan. As long as everything looks good I will stop bcp's and we will start this cycle. I should get a protocol written out from Dr. B and get assigned to a nurse soon.

So the biggest question is, how am I feeling about all of this information? I'm SO HAPPY I trusted my gut and pursued another opinion. I'm glad I found Dr. B and that we went through with all of the immune testing. I definitely had my doubts about whether it would all be worth it. I now 100% believe it was! Just doing what CNY told me "keep trying, it's a numbers game" was not going to work for me. There is something bigger going on. 

I'm kinda sad to find out to the hubs and I are apparently just too compatible. At least we know that if we ever need an organ transplant we don't need to go far. I'm hopeful for changes and armed with a whole bunch of new knowledge, ready to move forward and get this show on the road! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Few More Days

The days are dragging by as we get closer to our appointment. 38 birth control pills down the hatch and hopefully only 3 more to go. Our appointment is Monday at 1:00 over the phone. I'm nervous but looking forward to learning everything there is to learn about how we got to this point. W is planning to take a long lunch so we will be together for the call. 

There are so many possible scenarios it doesn't even pay to try to imagine them all. 

It's been a long past 2 weeks, but it should be a short weekend. We have dinner with my parents tonight and then my work party on Sunday. 

I've gone back to crossing days off on the calendar. I hadn't done that in a while, but always find myself doing it when I'm looking forward to something. At least I feel somewhat accomplished each morning as I X off another day.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I Will Wait

This is the title of one of the newest Mumford and Sons songs. I have been listening to it a lot and find it fitting these days. They played it when we saw them in August and I loved it then. Check it out, buy it on iTunes and then listen to it constantly like me. At least that's my recommendation.

The week after we got back from vacation (last week) I completed the final portion of the blood work. Re.prosource told me the doctor's office would have the results in about a week.

So this week I called Dr. Br.averman's office to schedule my follow-up appointment. At first they offered me the end of October, but I told them that wouldn't work. The best they were able to offer was September 17th (a week from this coming Monday). At the time it seemed really far away and I was pretty bummed out. They did add me to the cancellation list so I'm somewhat hopeful it will work out. Otherwise, its really not that far away. 

I've been taking the pill for about 30 days now. It makes me moody and eats up my patience. I feel like I'm in the starting blocks of a race just waiting for the gun to be shot off. 

I'm a little worried something will show up that takes time to remediate or that there will be some other kind of problem. In total, it was 32 tubes of blood for the tests. I'll be upset if there's something wrong but probably also upset if there isn't. I don't think there's such a thing as winning at this point. 

It's hard not to feel like something else is going on. We've transferred 14 embryos at 5 different times and only gotten 2 chemical pregnancies. Most of these embryos were considered good quality. 

So, for now I Will Wait for my appointment and the results. Can the next week please disappear??

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Way Life Should Be

This is the state slogan for Maine, and I highly agree. W and I spent 9 days away from home on our vacation. It was amazingly beautiful and relaxing and I highly recommend anyone vacation in Maine.

We left on a Friday and stayed the night in New Hampshire with my Aunt and Uncle. We don't get to see them very often so it was nice. My cousins were there as well and one was leaving for college. It was pretty amazing to see him driving off to college when I remember him being "nakey-boy" one Thanksgiving. They took us out to dinner and we spent some nice time with them. 

On Satuday morning we hopped in the car and headed for Camden, Maine. My grandmother lives there so we headed to her condo for 3 nights. During our time in Camden we:

Went to the harbor and checked out the old schooners:

Went up Mount Battie to take in the grand views:

Went to the lobster pound and had the most delicious lunch:

Took a sunset ride on an old schooner:

And indulged in lots of delicious seafood:

In addition, we walked around town, shopped, ate amazing seafood, relaxed, and spent time with my grandmother. It was a really nice little coastal town and a great start to our trip. 

From Camden we hopped back in the car and headed south to Freeport. On the way we stopped in a town called Wiscasset at a place called Red's Eat's for the best lobster roll ever. We stood in line for about an hour but it was definitely worth it!
I'm standing on the corner in black... getting closer
Each lobster roll had more than 1 whole lobster in it and was just served with butter.
We stayed at a campground near Freeport. The site was really nice and the campground was relatively quiet, but the ground was HARD. We had a chipmunk friend "Chippy" who ate a lot of Jiffy Pop to amuse us. Here is our campsite:
We also visited a nearby state park:
And did a lot of shopping at the outlet's in Freeport. We visited the L.L Bean headquarters:
W has a lot of learning to do!

From Freeport, we headed south again to Ogunquit. This was my favorite part of the trip and I could have spent the entire week there. The beach was amazing and the town was super cute. They even had trolly's so you didn't have to drive anywhere. I highly recommend it!
lots of salt water taffy

busy Ogunquit beach

area called Perkins Cove

puniest lighthouse ever

I love the beach!
On our trip home we stopped at a lighthouse called Cape Neddick. Having just read a book that had some themes of a lighthouse it was much more interesting. There were people taking wedding photos up above us. 

All in all, an amazing trip. It was so nice to not be cycling at all and not have that to worry about. We kept the infertility talk to a minimum and tried to live life in the moment more. Sorry for the picture overload, but a trip is best summed up by the amazing pictures that were a result of it.