Monday, January 28, 2013

I Guess the Lab Really Does Make a Difference

My embryo transfer was Saturday at 2:00 PM in Man.hattan. I had tried to work Friday but felt overwhelmingly nauseous. I made it through one therapy session and sat in the driveway at the next house as I tried to determine if I could work more. In the end, I cancelled the session and headed home. 

We left for NYC around 6:00 Friday evening and didn't realize there was a bit of a storm moving through. We live in an area that gets lots of lake effect snow and just figured there was snow locally. It's really no big deal because we are used to it. When I pulled up the radar and it showed something over almost the entire northeast, we knew it was going to be a long drive. No more driving off the road for us. We stopped for some food on the way and arrived in Queens around midnight. 

We slept in and took our time in the morning. I woke up and felt nauseous and not all that great again. We headed into Man.hattan around 12, thinking we would stop for lunch first. 

The traffic was so bad getting into the city it didn't look good to go to the restaurant recommended by my friend. We instead headed towards our cheap parking garage a few blocks from the office. When we got there we found no attendant on duty. At that point, it was around 1:00 and we were supposed to be there by 1:30. W ended up dropping me off a block or two from the office and told me to get something to eat and that we would meet there. I found a place to get some soup and chowed down as fast as I could. My appetite still wasn't 100% but I knew I needed to get some food into me. 

I got to the office at 1:30, took my Valium, and drank water as I waited. It was pretty busy in the waiting room and my phone died almost immediately, so I was pretty bored. W showed up at about 1:45 still chewing something that reeked like onions. He was finishing a falafel sandwich and ended up moving across the room due to the onion smell. I felt bad but just couldn't handle the smell. Not the best choice, but oh well. 

They called me back to get changed around 1:30. The three bed recovery room had someone in the middle bed and there was someone in the procedure room. The RE came in and told me I looked nervous. I told him that I was just bored. W wasn't allowed back at that point so I sat and waited alone. 

After a little while a woman came escorted out from the procedure room. She had obviously just had a retrieval and looked super out of it. As she got into the far bed I heard her start to cry. I'm learning that a lot of people cry after retrieval. 

 A staff member came out and talked to me and asked me who was next. I told him I had no idea and so he decided to take me in. 

When I entered the procedure room there were three big screens up on the wall in front of me. They told me the furthest screen to the left was the live feed from the lab. On that screen they were separating eggs out from follicle cells around it from the woman who had just had her eggs retrieved. It was absolutely amazing to watch. I was so mesmerized that I didn't even see W come into the room. 

At that point they told me what I would see on the other screens. The left screen continued to be the live feed from the lab, the middle screen was the ultrasound, and the screen to the right would have a picture of our embryos, magnified something like 600x's. They clicked through some files on the right screen and scrolled through a bunch of embryo pictures. The screen stopped on two amazing looking blasts, but I wanted to wait before I got too excited that they were ours. 

Then the embryologist Carlos came in and talked to us. He had pictures of all of our embryos and explained what stage each one was at and how it looked. He showed us the picture of the ones that were also up on the screen and said those were the best two that we would transfer. They were grade A and both hatching from their shells. As he put it, "They are ready for college." Then he told us there were a few others that were also hatching and would be frozen that day. There were 2 others that would likely be frozen the next day and one that was late to fertilize also looked really great and would likely be frozen 2 days later. It sounded like we would have around 5 to freeze but I haven't yet gotten the exact number. At this point, it's really not that important.  

I continued to stare in amazement at our hatching blasts and waited for them to get ready. They had me scoot down the bed and the live feed from the lab showed all of our tiny little embryos in a dish. I watched them get the two we were going to transfer into the catheter and then Carlos came out of the lab with the catheter. I watched the middle ultrasound screen as two little dots appeared in my uterus. Carlos remarked that the placement was "perfect" and then the live feed showed them as they checked the catheter to be sure it was clear. 

They wheeled in another bed and helped me transfer to that one. They then wheeled me out to the recovery room. When I got into the recovery room with W I once again heard that woman in the far bed as she cried and complained she was in a lot of pain. W and I tried to block it all out and laugh and be as positive as possible. The woman in the middle bed went into the procedure room for her transfer as W and I enjoyed my Valium. We both think I'm pretty funny on it. We laughed and probably annoyed everyone else in the room. We just felt so positive and great about everything.  

The staff members came out and had us sign some consents and gave us a picture of our little blasts. Eventually they said I could go to the bathroom. I waited for a bit in the waiting room for W to get the car. I walked out onto the streets on Manhattan and immediately felt super out of it. Nothing like bustling Manhattan to make you feel the Valium. 

W picked me up right in front of the building and we headed towards the recommended restaurant for take-out. We got some of the most delicious spring rolls and pork dumplings, and then got on the road. I slept some on the way home and tried to stay as relaxed as possible. 

We got home Saturday night around 9 and slept in on Sunday. Yesterday we went to a movie and otherwise just relaxed. Today I worked my first full day in a long time and was super exhausted when I came home. I am on 2 cc's of Progesterone in oil daily and have felt really tired as a result. Today I had to get blood work done to check my estradiol and progesterone levels, but didn't hear anything from Dr. B's office about it, so I'm going to guess they are fine. 

The transfer experience really was amazing. The blasts we transferred are the best looking we have ever gotten. To be honest, now I am just terrified it won't work. I am trying to stay as positive as possible, but it's hard when all you've experienced is disappointment. Beta is one week from today but I don't think I will hold off on testing this time. I do better when I am more prepared for the results. Either way, I have learned that the lab really does make a difference and that you get what you pay for. I'm so incredibly grateful to have been able to transfer such amazing blasts. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good News!

I emailed Dr. Br.averman to get the update today on things. He responded very quickly with some great news. He first said that with the use of In Vitro Maturation (IVM) they were able to mature and fertilize two more eggs. This brought us up to 10 fertilized eggs out of the 12 that were retrieved. 

Of the 8 that fertilized, 5 were at 4 cells and graded A. 2 others were 4 cells and graded B, and then there was 1 that was 3 celled and graded D. The one that was graded D he said they were going to perform embryo plasty on tomorrow. I'm not exactly sure what this is, but I think it is defragmentation. The definition of the word plasty is: to repair, restore, or replace. I'm guessing they are going to alter it in some way to try to help the quality. 

The other 2 eggs that had fertilized were at the 2PN (two pro-nucleate) stage and he said he would have their grades tomorrow. 

Dr. B said based on this information we would do a 5 day transfer on Saturday. He told me to email him again tomorrow for more information. 

I'm still not feeling great. I was able to work a half day today before I became super uncomfortable and headed home to the couch. It's not easy to work sitting on the floor with little ones when your abdomen is uncomfortable. I think I did a bit too much bending and reaching and needed some time to rest. I napped for a few hours and woke up feeling better. I'm hoping I can work a full day tomorrow. 

I'm so happy to hear the news that more eggs fertilized and that we have a good handful of embryos growing away. Hoping for more great news tomorrow.

On another note, Amber from Old Lady and No Baby got the devastating news today that her little one "Bob" no longer had a heartbeat today. Please stop by her blog and send her some love during this tough time. My heart is breaking for her. No one deserves to go through something like that, especially without the love and support of others. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Retrieval Keeps Things Interesting

My retrieval was scheduled for yesterday (Monday) at 1:30 P.M. I've never had a retrieval that late in the day, so I figured I would be very hungry and thirsty leading up to it. The cutoff for food and drink was midnight Sunday night. 

On Sunday afternoon we headed to Queens to stay at an empty apartment owned by our friends. They are in the process of selling it but are waiting to close. We arrived around 9:00 and found the place easily. The apartment was really nice and spacious, but quite empty. Apart from the bed there wasn't much else. Unfortunately, we weren't able to pick up on any wireless networks so watched Net.flix from W's i.Phone. Not the biggest screen ever, but it worked. 

We slept in Monday morning and took our time as we showered and got ready. We left the apartment around 11:00 to head into Manhattan where the retrieval would take place. We found a cheap parking garage nearby and left our car for a few hours. 

From there we had over an hour to kill so decided to walk around some. I do not recommend walking around Manhattan around lunch time when you haven't eaten in twelve hours and are super hungry. I have to say though that the good and bad smells would waver from one step to the next, and one block to the next. There were certainly tons of restaurants to admire as we walked. There was even a guy who stood outside a place and offered free hot soup samples. Soup is my absolute favorite so it was a bit torturous to walk past and not take a delicious sample. 

We went into a few stores and made a few small purchases to kill the time. We then headed to the clinic with plenty of time to spare.  The staff was not overly communicative about anything. There was another couple there scheduled to go before me and the husband was not being cooperative. He refused to sign any consents without things being thoroughly explained to him. He also came to the front desk to complain that it was 1:05 and his wife's procedure time was supposed to be 1:00. I'm not sure if it was their first time or what, but they were making things much more difficult than they needed to be. 

Dr. Br.averman has a contract with this office. They only perform procedures and don't actually treat any patients. I would not see Dr. B during this procedure. 

I got changed and waited in the smallest recovery room ever. As I changed the other woman was taken into the procedure room. The recovery room I waited in contained three beds with a curtain between each one. They had me wait in the bed closest to the wall with the procedure room on the other side of that wall. There was a sliding door between the rooms.

As I waited a nurse came in and told me W had gone to give his sample. At one point the RE came in to explain the procedure and risks to me. He asked me if I had any questions and I asked about what kind of anesthesia would be used. For my last retrieval there was a shortage of Pro.pofol and I was in a lot of pain and remembered most of the procedure. Luckily the RE said they had Pro.pofol and joked I had done my last retrieval in Mexico. 

After what seemed like a little while the sliding door opened and I heard hysterical crying. I guess the woman who went before me did not wake up in a good place. They wheeled a bed from the recovery room into the procedure room and I heard them giving her instructions to transfer into that bed. The whole time she was hysterical and I heard it all. I'm not going to lie, this definitely made my heart start to beat a bit faster. 

After they wheeled her into the recovery room and had her cry in the bed next to me they told me it was my turn. I walked into the adjacent room and was immediately asked by the nurse if it was my first retrieval. When I told her it wasn't she was relieved because she didn't want the other patient to freak me out. 

The next bit was a complete whirlwind. The RE came in and instructed me to scoot down the bed while lots of other people moved around the room. I guessed who the anesthesiologist was and finally asked. He started the IV and asked me literally three questions, two of which were the same. It wasn't exactly the confidence I desired. Next things I knew I looked up to see am empty syringe in the anesthesiologists hand and heard him say, "things are underway." I felt a slight burning in my throat and was asleep quickly. 

I woke up and the nurses asked me to walk back to the recovery room. I was super lightheaded and felt  lots of cramps. They had me lie in the same bed I was in previously and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep a little more. 

I guess they had other plans for me. They continued to bother me as I just wanted to be left alone to nap. The one nurse offered me a drink and I had zero interest in it. The anesthesiologist and RE came in numerous times. They put a blood pressure cuff on each of my arms. The anesthesiologist at one point lifted my legs and held them in the air for a few minutes. He kept straightening my arm for the IV and asked me to lie on my back rather than my side. They asked me if I was in pain to which I replied yes. They gave me something for the pain but it didn't really help. Most of this time was mostly a blur. 

Eventually I realized they were concerned about my blood pressure. When they asked me what my systolic pressure typically ran I said around 120-130. I then asked what it was. They replied that it was in the 70's! 

I remember seeing W as he hung back a bit and that I felt really cold. The RE came back (apparently he had left) and grabbed my hand to talk to me. I told him his hand was really cold. He decided he wanted to do an ultrasound since my blood pressure was so low and I was in pain. 

They wheeled me back into the room and did a trans-abdominal ultrasound. There wasn't any fluid there so they just continued to pump fluids into me through my IV and brought me back into the recovery room. 

Slowly my blood pressure came back up. The RE said he didn't want us to leave that night and told us it would be best to stay another night. He gave W his cell phone number, his secretary's number, and the hospital info for the one he had rights to. He said he thought I would be fine but it was just good to have that info and keep and eye on things. He said my blood pressure likely got so low due to the fact that I was so dehydrated. I guess that's what happens when you can't have anything to eat or drink for 13 hours. 

Once things were under control and I was more conscious I asked about how many eggs we got. The nurses disappeared for a few minutes and came back to give me some seriously disappointing news. 

They retrieved twelve eggs, only twelve. I know I had at least twenty follicles and felt a bit blindsided by this information. I started to ask questions and they brought in the embryologist. She explained that many of the follicles did not contain eggs. I was completely heartbroken. I am used to egg counts in the high teens or twenties and I knew we had a LOT of follicles. 

I know a lot of people would be thrilled with that many eggs but I was just caught off guard. I really had expected a much higher number. 

I had been instructed by Dr. B's office to take a HCG booster shot of 1,500 IU's after retrieval. I was completely confused about how to do this, so called his office to speak to a nurse. She talked me through it and then I asked about the empty follicles. She said she would ask Dr. B and put me on hold. 

Then Dr. B got on the phone and asked me what was up. I told him what I was told and how disappointed I was. He listened and replied with true concern and compassion. He said no one really knows why empty follicles occur but they likely aren't really empty. The eggs instead stick to the wall of the follicle and then the egg does not come free easily. He said likely it was an egg quality issue with those eggs but that it said nothing about the eggs that were retrieved. He told me it was way too early to get disappointed and that anything over 10 eggs was still good.  He said it could have been the stimulation protocol but there was no way to know that at the time. I honestly felt on the verge of tears. I was glad I was able to talk to Dr. B, and he seemed so positive, but I still felt pretty low. 

W tried to reassure me that we still got a bunch of eggs and that the embryologist said the eggs we got looked really great. 

We left around 4:30 and headed to get some food. My friend had recommended a mac & cheese restaurant so we ate there. As we sat and ate I wanted to cry multiple times. Between the blood pressure fiasco and empty follicles I was feeling really low. W continued to try to reassure me, but I just needed to process everything. From there we headed to a frozen yogurt place a few blocks away and I treated myself to as many delicious toppings as appealed to me. 

We headed back to the apartment in Queens and I napped for a bit in bed. After an hour or two I woke up and wanted to get some fresh air and go for a walk. I was a little hungry so we decided to look for a place to eat. We stopped at some kind of South American restaurant and had some delicious homemade soup. W and I both joked after we left that being in that restaurant was like being in another country. I was convinced I wanted to take the train into Manhattan to see a late night movie, but W was a little more guarded. He didn't think it was a good idea and I realized he was probably right when the cramping returned. 

We went back and watched a little more Net.flix on the i.Phone before we fell asleep. We did my PIO shot and I slapped some estrogen patches on my stomach. I still felt pretty sore and had a lot of cramps. 

I dreamt last night that I was looking for a place to hide and bawl my eyes out. I didn't want W to be there, so found some place and curled up in a chair with one of my dogs. I'm sure it reflects the disappointment I felt. 

I woke up this morning and felt much better. My stomach seemed to have gone done in size and I had gotten up a few times in the night to pee out some of the fluid they pumped me full of. 

We walked to get some breakfast and had another foreign country-like experience. After, we got back in the car ready to head home and I felt SO bloated and full. I reclined for most of the ride and things were quite uneventful as we drove. 

Around 3:00 I emailed Dr. B to get the fertilization report. He responded in literally two minutes to tell me of the twelve eggs retrieved 8 were mature. They performed ICSI on all 8 and... ALL EIGHT FERTILIZED!! This really helped to perk me up a lot.  Our first IVF we had a 55% fertilization rate, #2 we had 80%, #3 we had 61%, and #4 we had 68%. 100% really is great! I asked about In-Virto Maturation and he said they would try with the other 3 eggs. 

So, as much as I was disappointed by the number of eggs retrieved and overwhelmed by the whole blood pressure thing, I was happy to hear about the fertilization. 

We got home this evening around 5:00 and my MiL brought our dogs home to us and joined us for dinner. I still feel pretty full and uncomfortable and am sure I have at least a little OHSS, but I am okay. I'm going to try to work tomorrow but will see how I feel when I get up/as the day progresses. I really need to make some money and work since I have taken off so much time lately. 

I joked to W that I've had two near death experiences (sliding off the road in the snow and really low blood pressure after retrieval) already this cycle. Hopefully everything else will be smooth sailing from this point forward.

My transfer is still scheduled for Saturday at this point and we will head down Friday night and possibility stay the weekend in the city now that we have our own apartment to stay in. 

Tomorrow I will hear again how things are progressing and hopefully it will be more good news. Things have definitely been crazy this time, but I know it will all be worth it if we end up pregnant. Either way, there nothing else we can do but hold on and try to enjoy the ride. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We Like to Keep Things Interesting

After my monitoring appointment last Wednesday I heard from the nurses at Dr. Br.averman's office and they said they wanted to see me in Wood.bury Friday for more monitoring. I had expected that and was somewhat happy to not have to work another day last week. On Thursday I was super uncomfortable as I sat in toddler sized chairs. They were not my friend. 

When I called Dr. B's office Thursday around noon to book my Friday appointment the latest option they had was 11 AM. An appointment that early and that far away (5 hours) meant we were in for an early morning.

We packed enough stuff as we expected Dr. B would want to see me Saturday and then we would stay until retrieval. We dropped the dogs off with my MiL on Thursday night and headed home to bed.

We woke up around 5:00 A.M and aimed to leave around 5:30. It had snowed about an inch the night before but we decided to take W's little Ho.nda as it is better on gas and we try to keep the miles off of my Sub.aru. We made it about five minutes down the road when I questioned our car choice. W said it would be fine and that he didn't want to go back to switch the cars.

As W drove I was a bit nervous about his speed. At times he is overly confident when he drives in the snow. 

Fifteen minutes later he lost control of the car. He slipped and turned in one directed and then corrected to slide in the opposite direction. We were headed off the road at about 50 MPH with my side first. 

We came to a stop in a snowy field and took a minute or two or collect ourselves. W realized he could probably drive the car out of the field and successfully did so fairly easily. 

I can't believe how lucky we got that the place we went off the road had no telephone poles, fence posts, animals, big ditches, etc. We were so incredibly lucky to be able to continue on our travels, slightly shaken, but fine otherwise. 

W then drove slowly on the snowy roads. We reached the highway and from that point on the roads were fine. About an hour later I had started to doze off and I heard W say, "Oh, shit!" for the second time that morning. He ended up getting pulled over and got a speeding ticket. All of these things happened before seven thirty. 

From that point on the trip was mostly uneventful. When we hit the George Washington Bridge 2 out of the 4 lanes were closed and we ended up sitting in traffic for about 45 minutes. All in all, we were only about 10 minutes late for our appointment. 

The appointment was fine. When Dr. B came in he said (as I suspected) that we would wait another day to trigger. The follicles weren't quite as large as he would have liked to see them. I know the tech measured twenty follicles on my left ovary and fifteen on the right of all varying sizes. It was be interesting to see how many eggs we end up with. 

Dr. Br.averman told me we would talk the day after retrieval for the fertilization report and then again the next day. By then (day 3) we should have a good idea about quality based on cell division and fragmentation. 

He said he didn't need to see me Saturday so we headed home. We sat in a bunch of traffic but made it home by about 9:15 last night. 

Retrival is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 in Manhattan. I'm a bit nervous about never meeting the RE who will do the retrieval and not knowing any of the nurses. A retrieval in Manhattan will definitely be a new experience too. I'm also a bit nervous about OHSS, as always. We are going to trigger again with Lupron but will also add in an HCG booster shot the day of retrieval. 

A 1:30 PM retrieval means a 3 AM trigger shot tonight. What fun!

I haven't been feeling great the past few days. I tend to get super nauseous close to retrieval and am super uncomfortable. I'm full, nauseous, and have a very small appetite. I'm trying to do my best but feel pretty crappy overall. 

My good friend T who conceived with IVF after 5 years of trying had her baby last night. We actually had plans to hang out with them today and I got a text last night that they were being admitted to the hospital. 

We went to the hospital to hang out for a few hours this evening and got to meet her little guy. He's so ridiculously cute and precious and both T and her hubby B seemed so happy. It really seems like it's all worth it in the end. 

So... trigger tonight and retrieval Monday. I'm so ready to get these eggs out! 

We are headed down to the city tomorrow to stay at T and B's apartment in Queens. If I never have to look at another Menopur box again I will be so happy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Shower and Progress

My sister's baby shower is over and I'm so glad! I pretty much said good-bye to my weekend as it was entirely centered around the shower. It was a stressful weekend that I'm glad to have behind me. 

On Friday night my friend H surprised me with a text saying she made me a banner for the shower. I had ordered one off of, but the seller backed out at the last minute saying it wouldn't be ready in time to ship. I didn't read the listing all that well, so it was partially my fault as well. So, Saturday morning we swung by my friend's house and picked up the banner. She did a really awesome job with it and I got to play with her French bulldog puppy. I wish I took a better picture of the banner but it was hard with the window behind it. 

W and I headed out to Al.bany on Saturday morning in separate cars. Since my mom was not feeling very well psychologically and emotionally, she hitched a ride with me. I got to listen to her talk my ear off for the three hour drive out, lucky me! Saturday was spent driving, chopping and cooking food, decorating the house, and shopping for the things my mom failed to get. It was super stressful and I felt like I didn't stop all day.

Sunday morning we had to run back over to the house to drop off drinks and do some last minute preparing. The shower started at 1:00 and people showed up early! I guess I always show up at least ten minutes late to parties, but not these ladies. We rushed to get everything finished and the party was underway.
Punch bunch and mimosa bowl
My sister's mother in law loves her jell-o molds!
Cocoa cone favors. K's friend made the favors and my friend H helped me make the tags. 
The quilt I made her to match the nursery

My mom wasn't helpful at all during the shower and with preparation, and it almost just made things more difficult. She was supposed to be in charge of the drinks but did nothing other that give us money for them. Mid-way through the party everyone starting freaking out about coffee so I had to leave and go buy some.

My Mom has been diagnosed as bi-polar. She gets into "moods" where she is really bad and it just happened that this weekend she was in one of her moods. She, my step-father, and brother are all going to Costa Rica in a week to stay for a sabbatical semester for my step-dad's work. My mom is totally freaked out about it. Originally, she was going to come home for the birth of her grandson, but now she is thinking she won't be able to travel by herself. It looks like I am going to have to help more when K has the baby. I'm pretty sure I convinced her this weekend to let me be in the room for the birth. I want to be there to help and support her, but also to witness the birth of my little nephew. 

My sister K got a ton of really great presents and survived the shower. Her in-law's family and friends are super intense. It was really nice to spend time with her this weekend and on Sunday night, as just the two of us sat on the couch talking, I got to feel little kicks from my nephew. K doesn't really like anyone touching her belly so it was nice that she was inviting me to do it. I hadn't seen her since Thanksgiving and it was really nice to spend some time together. I really wish we lived closer. 

My sister was very grateful for everything W and I did for the shower and repeatedly thanked us. She hung the banner in the baby's room and loves the quilt so much. I'm really glad I didn't give her any sneak peaks while I was making it. 

Friday, January 11, 2013


After work this afternoon I had to pick up more fabric to complete my nephew's quilt since my sister's baby shower this weekend. W said he would come with me since it's about 20 minutes away and he offered to drive. On the way back the sun was setting and I noticed a rainbow. In my excitement I made W pull over the car and realized it was a full double rainbow. We crossed the street and I pulled up my panoramic app of my phone to take some pictures. I think it came out pretty awesome. 

It helped to remind me that no matter how stressed I feel at times, life is still beautiful and amazing. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I started stimulation on Sunday night and had my first monitoring appointment on Wednesday. I'm doing my monitoring locally but will be headed down to Long Island on Monday.

When I checked in at the front desk another woman was also checking in. I looked up to see Dr. K (RE and owner of the clinic) as he was saying hi to the other woman. I was so thrown by seeing him I didn't respond at all. That's just an indication of how frequently I see him around the office. I usually only see him at retrieval and transfer. The nurses serve as the buffer between patients and the RE and there's even minimal contact there. I guess that's what happens when your clinic does close to 3000 cycles a year. 

 I decided not to request any specific NP, but got stuck with Mrs. Bitch-Face anyway. I was so glad W came with me because as she had her back to us and was complaining or being ridiculous, W was making faces. it was good that I was able to smile about it rather than get pissed off. She obviously just doesn't like it when she's not able to make the decisions. 

The scan was fine and there were lots of tiny little follicles. I later got an email from the nurse Sandra at Dr. B's saying they were changing my protocol, completely taking me off Gonal-F. The plan switched me from 150 Gonal-F and 75 Menopur each night to just Menopur 225 nightly. 

As a result  of my being slightly concerned,  I emailed both the nurse and Dr. B to ask the reason for the switch. Dr. B quickly responded saying "It was due to the low LH levels that respond better to pure Menopur cycles." I then asked him the importance of LH during an IVF cycle and what the levels should ideally be and he said, "We like to see it over 2 and it is a necessary building block for estrogen production and follicular growth. We see this commonly when there is some resistance to FSH only stimulation."

I know at my last appointment with Dr. B the nurse mentioned something about resistance to Gonal-F. I didn't understand it at that point but I guess it makes more sense now. I wonder if it's from taking it so much, similar to antibiotic resistance. 

It gives me so much more confidence to have contact with my doctor. Regardless of how busy he is, he takes the time to respond to my questions. The nurse has also been much better about responding to my questions and emails. Last night Dr. B responded at 11:15, long past the point that I was in bed.    Things definitely feel different this time around, but only time will tell if there is a true difference. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pregnant Infertiles

I got together last night with my group of friends that met all at yoga for fertility almost a year ago. It's interesting to think about what different places we were all in a year ago as we sat at the dinner table. We joked about treatments and other things related to being infertile. Things can really change in a year. 

 Last night I was the only one at the table not pregnant. And it stung. 

T (#1) is about two weeks from her due date. She and her husband tried for about five years, did a few IUI's unsuccessfully, and then got pregnant their first IVF. She's hilarious and super fun to be around, but she also has a ginormous belly. 

N and her husband tried for around three years before going to get a semen analysis. The analysis showed zero sperm. Her husband's urologist put him on HCG and Clomid and told them to return in 90 days to re-check to see if he was producing any sperm. On the morning that they were headed in to get the results, N took a pregnancy test that came back positive. She's due in March and has definitely popped since I last saw her. She's much more quiet than T (#1) and a very sweet lady. 

T (#2) and her husband have been trying for about three years. Her husband is deeply religious and was  very resistant to treatments until she got some hormone results that made it apparent they were going to have a hard time conceiving on their own. She also has endometriosis. T just did her first IVF where they retrieved four eggs. She's almost six weeks pregnant with twins. Last night she said her husband was refusing to return to the IVF clinic this week to hear the babies heartbeats. He said he doesn't like the place and doesn't ever want to go back. I can't imagine feeling that way if I had success the first treatment I ever did there. I just don't get some people. 

All the talk of babies, pregnancies, when to tell, weight gain, etc. made dinner a bit hard. The reason we planned on dinner was so that I could get some Menopur back from T (#2) that I gave her for her IVF cycle and she never used. Sure, there were times when we didn't talk about pregnancies and we laughed (a lot), but I still had that thought in the back of my head that I was the only non-pregnant girl at the table. I love them all and am so happy they are all pregnant, I'm just sad I'm not there yet. 

The girl that wasn't there from our little group was was H. H and her husband signed up for a six cycle rebate program at our local clinic probably about a year and a half ago and she's a little past half way through the cycles. She said she would be done if it wasn't for that money back thing at the end. She's totally over doing cycles and doesn't even really want to talk about it anymore. H lost triplet girls at nineteen weeks right around Christmas last year. She's done multiple rounds of IVF, had a few chemical pregnancies, and is still an incredibly strong person at the end of it. I think she was probably smart enough to decline dinner last night, although I really wish she had been there. H has been getting together with the group less often and we all worry she is going to fall out of contact. I used the baby shower as an excuse to get together with her crafty self this past weekend to help me make tags for the favors. It was really nice to spend time with her and talk about things. I'm glad to still have someone else who can relate to where I currently am and to the concept of failed IVF cycles. 

Things will change. T (#1) will be having her baby soon and that will make for one fewer pregnant bellies at the dinner table. Although I love her stories about trying to have sex while super pregnant and accidently leaving skid marks on the exam table and the Gyno, I'm ready to not be the only non-pregnant person. I love babies and they don't bother me in the least. Pregnant bellies, on the other hand, are a harder pill for me to swallow. 

All in all, I know it would have been much harder to get to this point without T (#1), N, T (#2), and H. Whether they are pregnant or not, I know we are all cheering for each other and want to see everyone succeed. I'm so grateful to have them in my life, even if it is hard at times. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beyond Frustrated (Rant)

Today was not a great day. Going back to work after lots of time off is never easy. With how busy I am right now it's been particularly hard. There are some days where I go home and wonder if I really want kids. They are exhausting and can really drain all of your patience quickly. I hear it's different with your own kids and I really hope that's true. 

I'm also in the process of planning/hosting my sister's baby shower. She's always said her MiL was crazy, but now I fully believe it. We are doing the shower at her in-law's house and her MiL had only offered to do the cake. I assumed that's all she wanted to do and didn't feel comfortable asking her to do much more. I guess she was complaining that she wasn't feeling involved so I sent her an email. I then found out that my very friendly and nice email made her even more upset. In the end we got it all smoothed out, but it required an hour and a half conversation on the phone. Sometimes I just don't understand why adults can't act their age. I'm not really interested in making things more complicated and difficult than they already are going to be. This isn't the easiest thing for me to do to begin with. 

The biggest thing that has been bothering me this week is the nurse at Dr. B's. When I was in the office last Friday she told me she would send me a calendar that afternoon. By Monday I still hadn't received it. When I called Monday to pay my balance I asked the receptionist about it. Later that day I finally received the calendar. With the calendar was a message asking me to inventory my meds and then let her know what I would be needing. Tuesday morning I responded with my list of meds and also had a list of pertinent questions. When I still hadn't gotten any kind of reply this morning I emailed her again. I again told her my list of meds, asked her to call the others into the pharmacy, and asked my questions. I got zero reply today. I'm willing to be patient and I don't always expect an immediate response, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable in feeling annoyed by it all. We are paying a lot of money and I expect a reply in a somewhat timely fashion. I'm relying on her to call in my meds in order to start this cycle and I'm supposed to start on Monday. I plan to call the office tomorrow morning and am considering asking to be assigned to the nurse I had last cycle. She was much more responsive. I don't want to feel like I have to do someone's job for them. I shouldn't have to try so hard to get some answers to my questions and my prescriptions called in. 

I was hungry this afternoon when I was out running errands. I decided I would buy some pickles to eat since they looked delicious. When I got into the car I really wanted one so opened up the jar. It then spilled everywhere, so now my car smells like dill pickles, yummy!

Sorry for all the bitching, I just needed to get it all out. Okay, I think I'm done. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in Review

2012 is over and I can't say I'm sad to see it go. I did this same format to remember 2011 and in 2010 I recapped the year slightly different. 2012 was not an easy year for us, but there were some really great times as well. We traveled to Mexico and Maine and made some great changes to our house.

1. What did you do in 2012 you never did before?
Visited Mexico

Did a big remodeling project on the house

Saw Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds live...finally!
Went to hot yoga classes
Starting quilting

Visited the beach in Maine

Joined a book club and made a bunch of great new friends with a group of woman also dealing with infertility
Attended an orientation session for an adoption agency and starting talking about adoption as a possibility for building our family

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I think I did pretty well with the resolutions I made last year.
I tried to:
 Be better to my husband and not take my stress out on him-Success!
Continue to practice yoga and meditation-Success! I did more than expected and branched to do more vinyasa and hot yoga.
No take other people's pregnancies personal- Yeah, I'm still working on that one.
Smile more-I tried but am not sure how successful I was. I definitely smile a lot at work because I work with young children. Otherwise, I would probably make them cry. 
Be more present day to day-I could probably carry this goal over to next year as I'm not great about living in the moment. It's so hard when you're constantly looking towards the future. 
Exercise regularly and consistently- Not the biggest success, that's why I made it a goal to work on. 
Plan more meals and eat out less- We were definitely better about this one. We go through phases where we don't feel like planning meals, but usually we are good. 

For 2013:
Help my husband more in the kitchen. He does 99% of the cooking and dishes so I want to try to be more helpful in that way. 
Continue to practice yoga and meditation.
Not take other people's pregnancies personal (let's try that one again.)
Be a great Aunt to my little nephew Ben who is due in February.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year. My sister is due in February.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
W's grandmother passed away in October, but I wasn't very close to her. 

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Better treatment from one of my bosses at work, more openness about our struggles to friends and family.

7. What dates from 2012 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
January 2012- IVF #2 at new clinic and first chemical pregnancy
April- Vacation to Mexico
May 2012- IVF #3 and chemical pregnancy #2
June 8th- Three years at my current job
7/31- First meeting with Dr. Br.averman
August- Finding out my sister was pregnant and an amazing vacation to Maine
October 10- Our third wedding anniversary
December- Trip to NYC

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Continuing on this journey despite all of our setbacks
Strengthening my marriage

9. What was your biggest failure?
More failed fertility treatments, not focusing enough on work with everything else going on

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
There was some concern regarding my thyroid at the beginning of the year but it ended up being nothing. I got a pretty nasty stomach bug right after retrieval for one of my IVF cycles, and OHSS twice (not severe). All in all, everything was pretty minor though.  

11. What was the best thing you bought?
iPad, all the items for our remodeled bathroom (especially radiant heat), new leather sectional , the materials for a raised flower bed

12. Where did most of your money go?
Fertility treatments, house projects, vacation, student loans, mortgage, co-pays and medications

13. What did you get really excited about?
Two vacations (one to Mexico and one to Maine), our newly remodeled bathroom, completing my first quilt. 

14. What songs will always remind you of 2011?
Anything off the Babel album by Mumford and Sons, Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People, Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, Mercy by Dave Matthews Band, Money by David Grey, I Won't Give up by Jason Mraz, and Miracle by Matisyahu

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or Sadder: Unfortunately, I think a little bit sadder. This year was really tough for us. 
Thinner or Fatter: Probably about the same, maybe a tiny bit fatter although I'm trying to change that.
Richer or poorer: Richer. This was our first full year as DINK's. 

16. What do you wish you'd done more of:
Loving myself regardless of everything else, exercising consistently, relaxing and living life in the moment, focusing on my job even during the tough times. 

17. What do you wish you had done less of:
Worrying, stressing over things that were out of my control. 

18. How did you spend Christmas?
We went to my in-law's house for Christmas Eve and my mom, step dad, and brother were there. Our friends with their daughter were there as well. On Christmas morning we went to my mom and step dad's for breakfast, later had my in-laws over to exchange gifts and admire our new couch, and then we had Christmas dinner at W's aunt's house. 

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Intervention (until they took it off Netflix), Grey's Anatomy, Weeds, Dirty Jobs, The Office (old episodes), Parks and Recreation

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Light Between Oceans
The Language of Flowers
The Time Keeper
The Help
The Hunger Games

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Anything off of the Mumford and Sons album Babel

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
The Lorax, The Hunger Games, Argo, Happy

23. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Went out for a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant with W and then rented a scary movie and cuddled up on the couch to watch it. I turned 29, my last year in my 20's! We had dinner the next night at my parent's house with my in-laws. W split an iPad with me for my birthday. 

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Loving myself more regardless of everything going on, and having more success with fertility treatments. 

25. What kept you sane?
My husband and the friends I met through yoga. 

26. Tell us valuable life lessons you learned in 2011:
The tough times help me to better appreciate the good times.
 Regardless of what is going on I still need to be professional and give my job the priority it deserves. I'm able to teach myself something and be really successful at it.
I can support my sister in her pregnancy even though I wish it was me. 

Looking back on 2012, it was a really hard year for us. We had two early miscarriages, multiple failed cycles, and I had some tough times with work. I love the idea of a new year and a fresh start. I hope everyone had a great New Year's!