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Out of our hands

21 Jul

As we were walking down the hallway of Labor & Delivery this morning on our way to our embryo transfer, our nurse/ultrasound tech casually asked us if we’ve thought about where we want to deliver. Ha! Can you believe that? This is the same lady who told me I should wear my Wonder Woman socks when I deliver. But I was tickled (I seriously love this lady). She really thinks I’m destined to have a kid one day. “No, we’re just focusing on getting pregnant right now.”

Everything went pretty much perfectly today. Our RE happened to be the RE on call this weekend which I was grateful for. We did have some trepidation going in on the one vs. two question. After I posted yesterday, I started thinking and Googling and realizing how pretty much all signs (age, embryo quality, embryo quantity, type of transfer [fresh], insurance coverage, etc.) point to a SET. DH is all about the SET. Everything about the idea of twins just freaks him out.

We decided to bring this up with our RE. I was considering it but not really completely decided, and I wanted to leave some room in my decision for whatever input our RE had. Well, he very strongly suggested two for one simple reason: higher success rates.Given how well everything has gone this cycle, he put our chances of success at 50-60%. That drops, he said, by 15%, if we switch to one. The embryologist came in with a reel of embryo pictures about a mile long and showed us which one they’d be transferring, if we did one. #10. Lucky #10. DH happened to be wearing a soccer jersey today with #10 on it. He was thrilled; this was kismet.

Well, who would we be transferring if we did two? Still lucky #10 (a huge, beautiful blast btw) and also, lucky #7 (also beautiful). He said if we transferred these two today, we’d have five more to freeze today, and possibly a few more tomorrow, if some caught up. I was torn. I do really trust my RE and his success rates speak for themselves. He told us about how many successful twin pregnancies he’s seen through and how for someone my age, they’ve had very, very good outcomes. Plus, he pointed out, then we could be done.

I have to admit, this idea kind of appealed to me. Many years ago, I dreamed of having a gaggle of children. Many, many children. A brood. Infertility has taken that away. One would be amazing now. Two would be incredible. And knowing what we likely have to go through each time we want just a chance to conceive, I realized that I wouldn’t mind being done. Free of the agony of TTC, of REs and IVF and needles and procedures and medications and stirrups and waiting rooms. IVF has been a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be (doesn’t help that my ovaries over-respond to medication) and if I don’t have to do it again? I’m okay with that.

So, he left us alone to decide and I wished more than anything that we didn’t have to make a game time decision. That we had had more conversations the two of us, and together with him. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault though and there we were. After much back and forth, we finally agreed to the two. I felt we were more likely to not get pregnant at all, or get a singleton. And I really, really want to succeed. And if it’s twins? We’ll freak out, we’ll be scared, but then we’ll embrace the incredible blessing and do everything in our power to make it work.

(ETA: We also don’t know what our specific fertility problem is. Everything went so great this cycle and yet, something is clearly wrong. With everything else looking so good, most likely, it’s a genetic thing with our embryos. So what if #10 has a problem but #7 doesn’t? This is where an unexplained diagnosis can work both for and against you, but to me, it was an argument FOR two embryos.)

So two it was. My favorite nurse immediately came back in and put us at ease. She told us how sometimes having two in there makes it more likely that one will implant. I had heard this before though I’m not sure where. Some kind of communication occurs between the two embryos that makes them want to implant more, almost like a competition.

The procedure itself, though not at all comfortable, was bearable. I didn’t do the best job of making sure my bladder was very full but it wasn’t a big deal, I guess they could see well enough. A few clicks of the speculum, swabs of cotton, and a catheter in my cervix later and he was in! We watched as a little swoosh of liquid went in, then had a short wait while the embryologist made sure they were both definitely out of the catheter (they were). And just like that, #s 10 and 7 reported for duty in my uterus and our wait began.

As everything was removed, both my RE and the nurse marveled at how perfectly the placement had gone. I asked the nurse if anything I could do would move the embryos from their places and she gave me this amazing analogy: it’s like inserting a pea into a peanut butter sandwich. Even if you drop the sandwich, the pea won’t really move. Oddly enough, that made perfect sense!

So for now, we’re done. Out of our hands now, my RE said as he left. The nurse gave me a hug. On we went to grab a quick breakfast (Bagel World!) and get some acupuncture. I’m kind of excited to get back to my regular routine next week and not have to go into the clinic ever other day. Beta is a week from Tuesday.

Hopefully one of these peas sticks!

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To everyone joining for ICLW, welcome! As you can see, we just had our first ET for IVF #1. We had a great cycle and DH and I are really excited to see how it turns out. In the meantime, help distract me while I wait! If you’re still interested in learning more about me, that info can be found here. Thanks for dropping by!

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Teabag Tidbit no. 2

25 Jun

You must know that you can swim

through every tide

and change of time.

That was the wisdom on my teabag today and I thought it worth sharing. I’ve written about how infertility has made me stronger, more comfortable facing my fears and more confident that I can overcome some of the hardest obstacles imaginable. All of these things have made me more and more secure in who I am and what’s yet to come.

My friends and family have all been amazing as we’ve embarked on this journey. My parents remembered when I would be starting Lupron and made a point to reach out to me with words of encouragement and well wishes. It meant a lot. And yesterday on our weekly call we talked about everything that’s to come with IVF in great detail. It means the world to me that I can be this open with them as they support me through all of this. I really have a set of amazing parents for whom I couldn’t be more grateful and whom I hope to emulate one day!

Then one of my best friends send us a little good luck card that arrived over the weekend. It means so much that these people are taking note of my important days and going out of their way to be there for us. As I suspected when I made a goal of drawing in my support network in advance of the cycle, even though most of them can’t relate to what I’m going through, they still can be there for me. And they are. And I’m grateful.

In other news, I’m getting nervous about how everything will work out with taking time off from work. I want to take one sick day each on my retrieval day and my transfer day, then at least 1-2 days of working from home after that. My office has said they will support whatever I need but it’s still going to be potentially a week that I’m out of the office, depending on how the procedures fall, how fertilization goes, etc. The weird thing is, I’m less concerned about my actual work getting done, more just concerned about how it will “look” that I am out for so long. Though my superiors are aware of the situation, everyone else doesn’t know. That is intentional because there are a lot of young people at my office and I don’t really want it getting out to that whole group.

To my IVF friends out there, how much time did you take off from work around your retrieval and transfer?

Lupron, Day 2

22 Jun

Lupron Day Two

Don’t feel much yet, symptom-wise. Actually, I’m kind of in a fantastic mood! The weekend is nigh and my workload was pretty low today. Felt some uterine twinges yesterday and had some copious CM. I know Lupron can initially cause a “flare” in LH and FSH (thanks Dr. Google!) so I’m guessing that was the cause. I know that the symptoms can build up the longer you’re on the Lupron though, so I’m not rejoicing just yet.

We’re doing things differently, injection-wise, this time around. Namely, I’m having DH inject me. The main reason there is because I want to feel like a team, like we are doing this together. While I CAN easily give myself the injections (doesn’t bother me too terribly), I would rather feel his involvement in the process. Plus, he is a very exact and precise when it comes to medical stuff. You should see the way he wrapped our pup’s paw when she cut it in the woods one time. With completely different schooling, he could have been a doctor. He does tend to pass out in hospitals though.So… maybe not. 🙂

When I originally got my timeline for this cycle (starting Lupron on June 21st, baseline work up on July 5th), I was worried that I wouldn’t ovulate before starting Lupron, and that therefore my entire cycle would be delayed, I wouldn’t have my period by July 5th, I’d have to be on Lupron for longer, etc. This was coming off of a 50-day cycle though, so it’s understandable. Luckily, I think my body magically cooperated and I did manage to ovulate right before (either CD 16 or CD 20, really not sure which but my s/w thinks 16), so hopefully things will happen as scheduled.

In non-IVF news, we’re meeting up with some friends tonight for Ethiopian food! It’s one of my favorite favorites and I just can’t wait to dive into a nice big plate of injera, tibs, lentils, green beans and the rest. My MIL, though not Ethiopian herself, lived there for many years and makes it the best. She always adds in a green salad (not typical at Ethiopian restaurants) and homemade soft cheese (also, not usually seen at restaurants), which I just love. But a few years ago we finally found a great Ethiopian restaurant in the greater Boston area that meets DH’s standards. Most of the people there are actually Ethiopian, so you know it’s good.

How about you guys? Any weekend plans?

ICLWers, welcome once again! If anyone out there is cycling with me, I’d love to know!

And so it begins!

21 Jun

Well, I just took my first shot of Lupron! 10 units for the next two weeks, then into the office for my baseline. If all looks well, we’ll be onto our stimming with Gonal-f, then eventually our hCG shot of Pregnyl (little box by the blue bottle (blue bottle not part of IVF protocol :))). So, our IVF cycle has officially begun! Here’s the obligatory shot of all the meds, needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, etc. Not pictured: Crinone. Though we have that as well.

I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all of this. The orange capped needles are for the Lupron, which is in that little bottle next to the Pregnyl. It’s such a tiny vial of the stuff, I don’t know how it will last me for the next four weeks (I will stay on Lupron through stimming). But then there are those big needles that they say are for intramuscular injections. I don’t know how to do those (they scare me!) or even what they are for. I assumed the Pregnyl, but when I called my RE’s office, they say Pregnyl was supposed to be subcutaneous as well? They told me to bring in everything I was confused about to my baseline and we’d figure it out from there. Maybe the pharmacy sent them to me in error.

So how am I feeling? Excited. Hopeful. A bit scared. Confident. Strong. I’ve started letting myself believe I may be pregnant before the summer’s out. May be. May not be. But this is the best chance we’ve had in years and I’m so ready for it. Many factors are on our side and we have a lot to be thankful for. I’m determined now to be positive and happy and approach it all with the best attitude I can muster.

I’ve been a little remiss in blogging lately as I’ve been busy preparing for this cycle. I’ve been focusing on healthy habits. Healthy eating and drinking. Vitamins. Acupuncture. Circle + Bloom. Opening up to people. It’s all really helped me get to the good place I’m in now. I did manage to contract an ear infection from swimming (boo!) but it hasn’t been too bad and I’m now on some antibiotics for it, which my RE’s office assured me were safe to take during suppression. I’ll be in closer touch now that we’re rolling to document my journey. I hope you’ll all stay with me!

To everyone visiting from June’s ICLW – welcome, welcome, welcome! So happy to have you here. Please feel free to read more about me here and get the quick run down on our TTC history here.

A hard conversation

27 May

I’ve been a bad IF blogger lately. All week I was away in New York for business. Not the best week to sign up for ICLW, I know! I’m so bad.  I completely forgot when I signed up. Sigh.

In other lame news, AF is still MIA. I’m so frustrated with her! I was supposed to be starting Lupron soon. As it stands now, even if she comes tomorrow, I’m still 21 days away from even that. And my guess? She’s not coming tomorrow. We’re out of state now for the long weekend but I’m going to insist on bloodwork and possibly an ultrasound as soon as I get back. Bloodwork to see WTF is going on and if we can jumpstart AF. Ultrasound because I’ve had these off and on nagging pangs in my right ovary and I want to make sure there’s not some monster cyst setting up camp there.

Other than that, my mind has been wandering toward adoption a lot lately. I just feel drawn to it, and up until this morning, I couldn’t really explain why. But then, lying in the guest room in my parent’s house this morning, DH and I engaged in one of the hardest conversations we’ve had yet since dealing with IF. I’m not sure why, but I rolled over this morning and just kind of blurted out, “I want to adopt.”

He waited a painfully long time before finally whispering back, “Right now?” Turns out, he isn’t so sure he wants to adopt at all, and he certainly doesn’t want to until we’ve exhausted IVF. Which is a perfectly fine feeling to have, and I had an inkling that he felt this way for sure, but this time it was harder to hear. It set me off crying and, after a lot of back and forth, finally I realized why.

I have very little faith that IVF will result in a take home baby for us. I’ve been wrestling with this on a semi-conscious level ever since I found out that was our next option. I want so desperately to be positive. I look at all those couples much older than me who struggle to conceive and struggle with miscarriage for a long time before IVF finally helps them. But I just have this hunch that whatever is causing us to have so much trouble conceiving and whatever is causing us to have so much trouble keeping pregnancies, is connected. It seems to me we’re just too young to not be having something more serious going on. Something genetic or perhaps something in the way our stuff combines, or doesn’t combine, is effed up.

And so, if IVF isn’t going to work, I have to know that there’s a Plan B (or I guess at this point, it’s really a Plan C, or a Plan F, depending on your definition of plans). I have to have my baby and I no longer care where she comes from (in my mind, she’s a she for some reason?). I don’t care what she looks like, what color her skin is, what shape her eyes are or what texture her hair is. I don’t care if she looks absolutely nothing like me. I just need someone to hand me a little person and say, this perfect child right here is YOURS to love and to raise.

One area where DH and I really differ is, he hasn’t let go of that desire to see his own genetic material furthered in another human being. And if he can have biological children, he sees no need to adopt. I don’t want to keep turning adoption into this “last resort” because if we do end up permanently vacationing at said last resort? I don’t want it to feel that way. And I’m scared of how long it takes and scared of not even beginning the process until after cycle upon failed IVF cycle (could mean at least another year of failure and waiting before even starting what I’ve heard takes at least two years). Unlike him, I’d be happy to have a blended family of both biological and adopted children. I can’t see any reason why not to pursue both paths simultaneously. Bottom line? I want my family. I’m sick of waiting. I want my family.

But we differ. And I guess that’s okay. I mean, it has to be. The way the conversation ended, I told him that I needed him to at least tell me that adoption is not off the table for the future, and he promised as much. He also asked me to try to be more positive about IVF and I told him I would try.

So here we are. We are here.

 

May’s IComLeavWe Welcome!

21 May

Hello! If you’ve found your way to my little corner of the IF blogoverse thanks to Stirrup Queen’s May IComLeavWe, I’d like to say welcome and invite you to learn a little more About Me and check out my Timeline to get the scoop on our TTC journey.

I’ve only been blogging about infertility for about a month and a half now, but it feels like so much longer! When I started this blog we were going into our second IUI cycle. That cycle ended up being cancelled, ironically one month ago today on the first day of April IComLeavWe, due to overstimulation and the risk of multiples. I was pretty devastated as everything had been going so well otherwise. So, we decided to go “rogue” and have sex on our own, even though my RE encouraged us not to.

That was a total waste of time because my five pretty follicles ended up painfully bursting on their own, causing me two days of bleeding. My RE said it was because I didn’t trigger that the eggs never released on their own. His recommendation for us was to move forward with IVF. Since I respond so well to the drugs, IUI is a risky process for us. IVF is much more controlled and he believes, will be much more successful.

So since then I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting some more for AF to arrive. She still hasn’t. I’m on CD40. ISN’T THIS THE MOST EXCITING BLOG, EVER!? At first I welcomed the wait as a chance to relax a little before launching into IVF, and to get in a little better shape, but now I’m done waiting and I just want to start already! We’ve been approved for three IVF cycles with our insurance (we’re incredibly, hugely fortunate in this regard). Our meds have been ordered but the prescription stands waiting to be filled at the fertility pharmacy until AF comes since Lupron has a short shelf life.

So that’s my story right now! I’ve got a busy week of work travel ahead of me and then we’re heading home for the long weekend, but once I get back, if AF hasn’t arrived I’ll call my RE’s to get some bloodwork drawn and get started. Oh, and in case you were wondering (I know I was), no I’m not pregnant. Checked that. Nope. No such luck.

Anyways, I hope you’ll stick around as we enter this first IVF cycle and follow along with our journey. I’m glad you’re here!

Rogue

23 Apr

So. Yesterday we received the news that our second IUI cycle would have to be cancelled, due to excellent ovarian response. Yep. You read that right. Mama made one too many eggs. Thanks to everyone who stopped by from ICLW to commiserate. It’s been, well, a disappointing weekend to say the least.

Here’s the struggle: I’m not sure I agree with my doctor’s decision. Now. Did I go to medical school? No. Have I been practicing reproductive endocrinology for decades? Negative. But, I can have my feelings on the matter, and my feelings are based on the following:

1. After our first IUI (we went straight to injectable IUI with our RE), when we had a chemical pregnancy, we sat down with Dr. B for our WTF appointment afterwards, where he sat with my full records and charts and information in front of us and literally told me he was going to stimulate me harder to get more eggs because he believes there may be something genetically wrong with my eggs. He distinctly said, next time I’ll let you go longer and won’t be as afraid of the risk of multiples… because of the aforementioned suspected egg issue.

2. I can totally see how there could be an egg issue. With all our basic tests coming back normal, plus the two miscarriages, plus the 2+ years of rampant unprotected sex with no luck, well. It’s not illogical. And if there is an egg issue, I can also totally see his original reasoning why we’d want to try more eggs to get a better chance of finding a diamond in the rough. After all these years of trying unsuccessfully, what are the chances? I mean really, what are the chances of multiple multiples? It seems very, very low to me.

3. When he made the call, he was on a break from a conference in Arizona. I know this because at one point he mentioned my age, then he asked me if that was in fact my age. When I confirmed it was, he said, wow, that’s amazing, I’m at a conference in Arizona and I don’t have any of your charts in front of me and I remembered that. Okay so, he made this call without any of my charts in front of him. Granted, the nurse could have told him the basics when she called. Or she could have said we have a 20-something year old female with five mature eggs. What do you want to do?

4. Doctors always want to cover their asses. Amiright? Maybe, at least in part, this is something they have to say.

Okay, so all of this is to say… we’re going rogue. Don’t judge us but we’re continuing to try. DH changed his mind. I didn’t trigger or anything (that really felt like playing with fire), but we’re giving those pretty round follicles, however many of them do release on their own (I doubt it will be all of them, maybe only one or two), a fighting chance. I couldn’t not. How could you take an IF-er, dangle everything she’s been dying for right in front of her and ask her to resist it? It’s truly cruel to even ask.

So, that’s happening. I feel so bad saying it “out loud.” I’m not the type to go against authority figures. But like all of you, I really, really want to be a mother.