Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blueberries

"Baby's brain -- both hemispheres! -- is growing fast, generating about 100 new cells every minute. Arms and legs are emerging as joints start to form, and a permanent set of kidneys (baby's third!) is now in place. "

More bloodwork results from yesterday: Estradiol=2150 (so even though I dropped a patch, my E2 still increased!). I get to decrease 1 more patch beginning on Sunday (1-4-09). That'll leave me with 2 patches and 1 Estrace tablet. Maybe I'll be off estrogen entirely in 3 weeks? Hope so. Progesterone=38.47, which while is still great, they wouldn't decrease PIO. So, that leaves me with 1cc PIO every other day and Prometrium supps three times a day. Maybe next Tuesday's b/w will look better and I can decrease some Progesterone again. I can't wait to be DONE with PIO. What a PITA (I know, stupid joke).

Hope everyone has a swingin' New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hormone updates...

I didn't post these the other day as I didn't want to take away my big news, but we had other good news as well on Friday. My E2 came back pretty high at 2026. Big improvement from the last measurement (199). They let me decrease down 1 Vivelle patch. Therefore, on Saturday I only had to put on 3 patches-yippee! Also, my P4 came back pretty high as well at 55.7, so I was able to choose either to decrease PIO to every other day or take 1 Prometrium out of the mix. Umm...my butt could really use a break so that was an easy choice! I skipped my first dose on Saturday night. It felt so good! Both levels getting re-checked tomorrow morning, so hoping all has gone well with my decreases.

To answer a couple of your questions, up until just a few days ago, I really haven't had many symptoms other than extreme fatigue. Lately, I've had some lovely heartburn and indigestion issues to deal with along with an increased appetite. I can eat and then be hungry again in an hour. Hope that one is really short lived, otherwise I'm gonna gain a lot of weight.

A quick due date explanation: my singleton gestational due date is Aug. 16, 2009. My twin due date by average gestation is July 26, 2009. Hope that clears up any confusion.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Here's looking at you, kids"





"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow." My favorite line from The Wizard of Oz and I thought it was quite fitting for today. Steve and I are just thrilled! We can't believe that this really worked! Their heartbeats were both strong and both are measuring right on schedule. Twin A is measuring 6w4d and Twin B is measuring 6w6d. Yippee!! Our new twin due date will be July 26th.

I'll finish off with some more Wizard of Oz...as our favorite wizard (Dr. Schoolcraft) gets all of the credit...

"Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sweet Peas

"Growing like crazy, baby is starting to sprout eyes, ears, nose, cheeks and chin. Those little hands and feet- still webbed like paddles- might wiggle by week's end, the heart is beating (almost twice as fast as yours!), and blood is starting to circulate."

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Picture tag...

This was our engagement announcement pic. We went to a local arboretum to shoot some photos on a very hot July evening. I remember feeling so bad for poor Steve in a button down shirt on a 90 plus degree day. But, he looks good no matter what the temp outside. :-) This one was taken next to a pond, hence the cattails in the lower right-hand corner. Also, I told him to wear a nice blue dress shirt. He wore a shirt that's got his initials on the pocket-"SEW". So, every time I look at our engagement photos, I chuckle.

The object of the picture tag is to:
1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer

2) Select the 4th picture in the folder

3) Explain the picture

4) Tag 4 people to do the same. NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc!)

Except, I'm not tagging any particular blogs this time. If you're interested in participating and follow my blog, consider yourself tagged!

P.S. In other bizarre pregnacy behavior, Steve encouraged me to POAS tonight just to be sure I was still pregnant. Being that I'm equally crazy and quite impatient waiting for this u/s to get here, I obliged. Good news, it turned up very dark immediately. Bad news, we are insane. Oh well, still pregnant.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Appleseeds

"Your embryo (looking kind of like a tadpole) is starting to form major organs (heart, kidney, liver, stomach) and systems (nervous, circulatory, digestive). Baby's presence in your uterus triggers production of hCG (the hormone detected by pregnancy tests)... which triggers production of other hormones like estrogen and progesterone... which trigger all those great symptoms you've probably been noticing!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

100th post!

Wow, there were a lot of times I didn't think this blog would make it to 100 posts, but we did it! I'm pretty sure that if it weren't for my supportive blogger friends, I would've let it go a long time ago. But, as I've said many times, you all are the best!

One thing I've been thinking a lot about for a while: changing the title of my blog. I really like it, but apparently so do other people! There is actually a message board with the same title! So, I'm mulling over some new title names. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I may even put up a poll in a few days with some ideas.

The current poll is pretty much over: landslide opinion-72% of you think we are having twins. There is a tie for triplets and singletons at 12% (triplets were winning until my post below when I mentioned thinking we were only having one). Then the funny one was for the quads and only 6 (2%) of you selected that as your guess. Thanks for participating in the poll!

Counting the days down until next Friday's ultrasound. Steve and I need some patience, but we really have none. Hopefully, the holidays will make our wait fly by...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Estrogen and Progesterone updates

I had hormone bloodwork on Monday. Estrogen had dropped to 199. They want it to be > 300. So, I've added Estrace to my arsenal of meds. I have to take one pill at bedtime. And, I get to remain on my 4 patches of estrogen as well. I was hoping it would be >1000 so I could start weaning, but that doesn't look likely for a while now.

Progesterone looked good at 40.5 and they just want it to be >20. So, at least that was good news. It was 51 at my first beta, but my nurse said it wasn't unusual to have some hormone fluctuations. But, no med decreases, so I'm still on 1cc PIO and 3 Prometrium/day.

I'd be very surprised if we are having more than one baby. Between my lower E2 and P4 levels and the fact that I'm having almost no symptoms other than fatigue, it just seems like we are having one. We are very blessed regardless of the baby quantity in my uterus!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged! My friend, Emily, tagged me a few days ago and I thought I would participate with her. So, below are 7 random facts you have been wanting to learn about me (lol).

Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

1. I have one younger brother. He has the same name as my husband (Stephen) and they both spell it the same way. Difference: bro is a staunch "Stephen" and hates being called "Steve" whereas hubby has always gone by nickname "Steve." Thank goodness for their differences!!

2. Since I graduated from college in May 1998 (yikes-10 years ago), I have lived at 8 different addresses. 4 of them were here in Lexington and the other 4 were in Naples/Ft. Myers, Florida. If things go as we hope and our property value improves with the new hospital being built across the street, then we will be moving once again if our home sells.

3. Steve and I share a love for football. We are just finishing up our playoffs this week for fantasty football. I made it to the final playoff championship game before losing to the guy with the best team in our league. No shame in seconds for me, even though I'm a very competitive person. Steve and I enjoy spending Sunday afternoons at Buffalo Wild Wings so that we can watch all games in action simultaneously. We could get the NFL Sunday ticket, but prefer our "Sunday date" at BW3s....

4. My best friend, Stephanie, and I have known each other since elementary school. We have many similarities, but also some differences, yet we always seem to agree on the things that matter most. She was the first person to cry when I told her I was pregnant! I'll never forget that! Love you Steph!

5. I love ice cream. I remember growing up and not wanting to eat my birthday cake at all; I only wanted the ice cream. Pretty much don't care what flavor and I really like it when I'm at a nice restaurant and the chef whips up some unique flavors. Yummy!!

6. Steve and I watch "Days of Our Lives" every night, which has to be the worst soap opera out there. But we still watch it. It's one of only 3 shows we watch together. The others are "The Office" and "Dirty Sexy Money."

7. For the final random/weird fact: I auditioned for the ABC show, "The Bachelor" several years ago. I didn't actually want to be on that show, I wanted to be on "The Bachelorette." I figured there would be no way that I would be interested in just one guy as I am very picky, so that's why I thought the Bachelorette would be better suited for me as I could probably find a great guy among 25 bachelors. I never went on the show.

Ok, I know you were intrigued! Prepare to be intrigued 7 more times, by visiting the blogs below! Now, I tag:

1. Christi @ Our Journey
2. Meg @ Lawyers Do Not Eat Their Young
3. Brenda @ No Regrets
4. Jen @ Maybe If You Just Relax
5. Annie @ onemoreweek
6. Stephanie @ A Product of Feminism and The Gilford Family
7. Karen @ A Day in the Life of Karen

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Poppyseeds

I got this image and description from the Bump (aka, the Nest). They have these all throughout the pregnancy. I'm going to try to include them in my blog for interested readers.

"In week 3, sperm meets egg, and voila: conception! Your little zygote sets off on a six-day trek through your fallopian tubes, dividing and redividing into identical cells as it travels to your uterus.

In week 4, now safe in your womb, the ball of cells (blastocyst) splits in two, becoming the embryo and the placenta. The amniotic sac and fluid are forming around baby, and will act as a cushion for the next eight months."

However, tomorrow will already be week 5, so I'll get to post a new picture soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

IVF # 3 Play-by-Play

I've been looking at ways to try to organize my blog and make things look a little nicer. So, I've decided to get rid of the IVF#3 tracker on the side. But, the information is very important to me, so I'm gonna keep it all in a blog post format. Here is our information:

7/26 - BCPs start
7/30 - CD3 b/w: E2=46, FSH=14.3, LH=6.4, AMH=4.2
8/1 - Diagnosed with PCOS; Began Metformin XR 1000mg
8/5 - TSH=3.87; Diagnosed with Mild Hypothroidism; Began Synthroid 50mcg
8/11 - Began Lupron + Dexamethasone
8/15 - BCPs finished
8/20 - Suppression check - E2=16, TSH=1.012; Synthroid decreased to 25mcg
8/21 - Stims begin 75IU Gonal-F and 75IU Menopur
8/23 - Travel to Denver
8/24 - Stim check #1 - E2=121
8/26 - Stim check #2 - E2=295
8/28 - Stim check #3 - E2=611
8/29 - Stim check #4 - E2=1092
8/30 - Stim check #5 - E2=2042
8/31 - Stim check #6 - E2=1884; Extra Menopur 75IU in pm
9/1 - Stim check #7 - E2=2298; Extra Menopur 75IU in pm
9/2 - Stim check #8 - E2=3276; Trigger shot
9/4 - 14 Eggs Retrieved
9/5 - 10 mature eggs and 10 fertilized embryos
9/7 - 8/10 embryos within normal ranges (6-10 cells) at Day 3; 1 at 5 cells and 1 at 12 cells
9/9 - 4 blastocysts frozen and biopsied and sent off for Microarray testing
9/10 - 2 more blastocysts frozen and biopsied and sent off for Microarray testing
10/20 - Start BCPs for FET
10/24 - Microarray test results in: 3 embryos available for transfer (2 normals and 1 no result)
10/27 - Lupron begins for FET
10/31 - BCPs finished
11/5 - Begin Vivelle patches every other day
11/11 - Estrogen b/w = 60
11/21 - Lining check=14.2mm and E2 level=516
11/23 - Begin Endometrin; also taking Erythromycin and Medrol for 4 nights; Stop Lupron
11/25 - Progesterone b/w = 12.8; TSH = 1.227
11/28 - FET-2 boys transferred; E2 = 697 and P4 = 3.7 (switched to PIO)
12/3 - First ever BFP on HPTs!!!!
12/7 - Beta #1 = 393!!!!; P4 = 51
12/9 - Beta #2 = 1187!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beta #2: 1187

We are thrilled it doubled! Actually, it tripled! My nurse counseled me on twins when she gave me the second beta number. She also asked if Steve and I were ready to be twin parents. I guess the best answer was "yes." I asked her if it could still be one. Reply was "yes." I then asked the question that's been on my mind since Sunday-what about splitting blasts? She replied "yep, we've seen it happen." So, there's no real way we'll know until our u/s and that will be on 12/26. I want to know your thoughts, so I'm putting up a little poll for you all to guess how many we're gonna see at our u/s! We will be blessed with whatever God grants us.

And while I really like my cartoon, I'm deleting it as I've officially given up the POAS obsession. I was 9/9 and it was fun, but now I'm on to the beta obsession!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

393!!!!!!!!!

Beta #1 is back at 393!!! Woohoo! It really worked! I'm really pregnant! I'm so freakin' excited! My progesterone level isn't back yet, but they've put me on 3 Prometrium a day along with the 1cc PIO every night. I'm so freakin' excited!

Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I'm in awe of you girls. You never fail to amaze me with all of your support. I love you all!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I think our moment has finally arrived: BFP!!!!!





That's right-I'm testing pregnant! Steve and I are just beside ourselves with joy. I can't stop POAS. I love doing it. I bought 8 tests thinking I'd have to test a few times before one came up positive, but after five tests, I'm 5/5!!!

I actually did the first test on Wednesday night which was 5dp5dt. I decided to test that evening because: 1) I had decided it would be the only day I could see a negative and not be upset at all as it would probably be too soon to see a positive and 2) I had an encounter earlier in the day with some kalamata olives. I don't particularly like them, however, they were in a pasta salad I ate on Wed. I couldn't get enough of them! I probably had 20! So, knowing my previous indifference towards them, it prompted me to test. At first when I saw the test I thought, hmm...two lines must be a negative on this brand (lol). I grabbed the instructions and sure enough-positive. Faint, but positive.

Tested 3 more times yesterday and all were positive!! I had some heavy cramping to help convince myself that it was real. Also, I'm very tired. I closed my eyes sitting in an office yesterday and am pretty sure I nodded off. First time in 9 years! I went to bed early last night and slept for a long time! Feeling better this morning. Tested yet again this morning and this time the digital popped up "Pregnant." I vowed to never test on a digital until I was for sure it would say "pregnant", mainly because I just couldn't bear to see "not pregnant" show up. One line is much easier to handle than those mean words.

Oh, and I had more kalamata olives for dinner last night. Can't get enough of that salty flavor. Yummy. :-) So, yep, I think I'm pregnant. CCRM and Dr. Schoolcraft get all of the credit. They are the best. They lived up to every expectation (and more) that we had. Their lab is the reason we had blasts make it for genetic testing and I'm just so thankful that we chose them. No regrets!

I can't wait for Sunday morning to roll around for my beta!!! Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I'll never be able to express enough just how much they were all appreciated!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pregnant or Not Pregnant: That is the Question

Forget Shakespeare and his "to be or not to be"; am I pregnant or not? The answer of course is I have no idea. I have symptoms, but I've had symptoms before. Some of it could be real, some of it is probably in my head. Ah, the roller coaster of infertility emotions never go away. The good news is that I don't have to wait as long this time to find out if it worked. The bad news is I don't know what the verdict will be yet.

So what do I have?
1. tender breasts - the fertiles out there are jumping up and down screaming: "pregnant"; the rest of us know that ugly progesterone gives me this side effect regardless of a pregnancy or not
2. looking tired - I don't feel any more tired than usual, however one of my customers told me yesterday that I didn't look like myself and that I appeared fatigued. Not sure that counts, but I'm documenting anyway...
3. twinges/flutters/cramping - I've felt these since the transfer. Could be real or could be in my head. Who knows.
4. nausea - now this one is strange. As we were flying back from Denver, I felt really sick. I've never thrown up on a flight, however, I looked to be sure the barf bag was in the seat pocket in front of me. It was, didn't use it, but weird. Could also be my mind playing tricks on me...
5. food issues - I can usually stop eating and try to appear somewhat sophisticated when having dinner with customers. However, I couldn't stop eating last night. I think it was the best food I've ever eaten. I ate everything. Including the creme brulee (which I'm very picky about as most restaurants can't ever get right). I ate every bite of it and the waiter noticed laughing and said he could bring me another. That made me feel piggish, but I wonder if I would've said yes if I were dining alone...(No, Definitely No)
6. constipation - this has been the worst. I struggle anyway with it since I'm an over the top Type A freak. However, this was really bad yesterday. Thank goodness relief finally came, but this prompted me to start googling the ole early pregnancy symptoms.
7. ass aches - lol. Just throwing that in so that everyone know my PIO injections are truly a pain in my ass (ouch)...but, I hope I get to continue them for several more weeks to come. :-)
8. frequent urination - not fair really here since I've still got my bladder infection. Although the infection is getting much better since I started on the Keflex.
9. bloated - I feel this a lot though...
10. the "glow" - I'll end with this one as it's all Steve. He checks my face daily for the pregnancy glow. He says it's there. I say it's the estrogen. Random people have been telling me this for a few weeks now, so that's all I can think that's different about me. But, he still likes to check for "his sign."

That's all I can think of right now. So to sum it all up, I have no answers nor will I until this weekend. I've just got to muster up some patience until then.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Transfer Story

Our transfer went well yesterday and here are the specifics. We got there at 11:30am-- transfer scheduled for 1:45pm. I had to do a blood draw upon arrival to check my P4 (progesterone) and E2 (estradiol) levels. My levels came back last night and while my E2 was great at 697, my P4 was low at 3.7 (they want it to be 6). So, I am switching to PIO beginning this morning. Totally fine with me as I've had a really hard time with the supps. I had to go to the ER on Thanksgiving night due to having an acute bladder infection with lots of blood in my urine. I'm now on Keflex for the infection and am doing better, but needless to say, I'm glad to not be taking the supps anymore which I've felt horrible with since beginning them last Sunday. So, bring on the PIO lumpy butt (lol)!

We had acupuncture pre and post transfer. And I also got 10mg of Valium, so needless to say I was pretty relaxed when my transfer time finally rolled around. Thank goodness for sweet people-my ultrasonographer looked at my bladder and told me it was REALLY full and that I could go to the bathroom prior to the transfer. I don't remember feeling more "relieved" in my life. Between the bladder infection and drinking water to try to get my bladder full for the transfer, I was miserable.

Dr. Surrey then came in our room and informed us that both of our embryos survived the thaw at 100% and that both were already growing and hatching out of their shells after being thawed. Yeah! Then John (the embryologist) wheeled in a little incubator, just like you'd see in any hospital nursery, with our little embabies staying warm inside. I have to tell you that I'm a person who rarely cries, but I teared up at that sight. He also had a 20" monitor atop the incubator where he showed us their first pictures. I did cry then. They were just beautiful. We didn't take pictures for fear of the flash going off and disturbing them. John said that the little incision in the placental cells where they were biopsied for the genetic testing was the area they were now exploding out of and growing like crazy! Then, Dr. Surrey placed them inside my uterus. Transfer was complete.

We then spoke to John about the genetic testing results and we did find out the sexes-both were BOYS! So for now, I have 2 boys hopefully growing inside me. This is the furthest we've ever made it-5 day transfer with genetically normal blasts. I am in awe of them. Needless to say, we are so, so hopeful that this will be our turn. I am continuing my bedrest today, but all I can think about is our boys. Steve has named them Dallas (after his beloved boys-the Cowboys) and Denver (our new favorite place on the planet). So for now, that's what we're calling them I guess (lol).

Thanks again to each and every one of you for your amazing support. My beta is in a little over a week. I have a lot of anxiety already about it, so just know that I'll post something when I feel able to do so. For now, I want to focus on enjoying every moment of being pregnant with them.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We arrived safely in Denver

We arrived on-time around 11am this morning in Denver. It is COLD, but it will be warming up over the next few days. The good news: we found somewhere that was open serving Thanksgiving dinner. The food was yummy and definitely hit the spot! Thanks Christi for the recommendation. For all current/future CCRM patients, it was Mimi's Cafe located off Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree. They also have a great looking breakfast menu!

We have to be at CCRM tomorrow around 11:30am. We have to sign consent forms, get my E2 and P4 b/w drawn, and I'm also doing acupuncture pre-transfer. We don't know which doc yet will be doing the transfer (I forgot to ask yesterday), but our transfer will take place at 1:45pm. Then, I'll be doing acupuncture post-transfer as well. Throwing in every chance possible for success here, so I didn't pass on the acupuncture.

We are both so excited! Hope all of you had great turkey days!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Does my ticker really say 2 days???

And just like that, the time has finally arrived for our embabies to return home. I had my final bloodwork draw yesterday and my progesterone looked great at 12.8 (CCRM wants it above 6). I can't wait for our FET! So far, so good!

To answer a few of your questions: we are transferring our 2 normal embryos and plan on keeping our no result embie frozen. Hopefully, we will get pg this go around and maybe have a future pregnancy chance waiting for us with that little embie in the future. We are still waiting for CCRM to give us our transfer time and our assigned physician (Dr. Schoolcraft is not doing it, so that leaves one of the other docs).

And, the biggest question was the one I posed to you guys on my poll regarding finding out the embabies sex at the time of transfer. I think it's so funny that the results were split almost 50/50. So, we've decided to find out the sexes on Friday. I was originally against it mainly because I was afraid that if this didn't work out for us that I'd just be devastated even further by knowing that our 2 boys or 2 girls or boy/girl didn't implant. But, Steve kept pointing out that we'd be crushed either way, so why not just find out now? So, I let him win this one. He was really hoping more of you had voted "yes" to further support him, but he won just the same. Marriage is all about compromise, right?

I'm busy getting last minute stuff completed today. Hope all of you have a fantastic Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for your overwhelming support and reassurance. :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Buh-Bye Lupron, Hello Endometrin

That's right: today is my last shot of Lupron! Woo freakin' hoo!!! I had a good check-up yesterday with local RE. My uterine lining looked really good at 14.2mm (CCRM wants it >8 and <18) and my Estrogen was at 516 (needs to be >300). Sounds like my uterus is ready to accept some embabies! In 6 days!!

I begin the lovely Endometrin progesterone suppositories tomorrow at a 3 times per day regimen. If we get pregnant, then I get to continue them for a long time along with my fun estrogen patches. BTW, I gotta say thanks for the tips and laughs on the patch removal effort. From vodka to WD-40, I learned and laughed a lot. :-) I did purchase Johnson's baby oil to assist in the effort. It did help and I've combined it with the rubbing alcohol and soap regimen. Seems to be working.

I also begin the Medrol and Erthromycin tomorrow as well to prepare for the FET. My friend and I were laughing the other day about all of the meds we take--we could easily be mistaken for 80 year olds with all of these meds! But, hopefully they will be worth it at the end of this!

I'm trying to spend this weekend doing productive things like cleaning out the garage as I know I'll be put on lifting restrictions next Friday. I still haven't figured out how to do my job and not lift over 5 lbs, but I'm working on it. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!

I've been okay with the estrogen patches up until this morning. OMG. They really hurt when I have to take them off. A lot. I've been trying some tips like using alcohol to loosen them up while ripping them off. That still doesn't help much. Any other advice is greatly appreciated ladies!

I find it kinda laughable that I can give myself several shots a day from little needles to really freakin' big needles and not complain about them. I also haven't had problems with progesterone supps. in the past. So, why am I so tripped up with a topical patch? Who the heck knows.

I did advance up to 4 patches today. Nothing else to report until Friday.

On a side note, I really liked my ticker with the turkey. However, I just couldn't stand it being inaccurate anymore. I could not get it to give the exact date of my FET, so I had to replace it. No fun turkey, but it's a ticker that works properly. Okay, finished with OCD behavior for the evening.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two weeks til Denver!

I had a blood draw earlier this week and my estradiol level was 60. Yay-they wanted it to be over 50. So, looks like we are on track. I've moved on to the 2 patches every other day part of the FET regimen. Doing okay with the change thus far...

Today is exactly 2 weeks from Thanksgiving and when we leave for Denver. Yippee! I'm excited and scared at the same time.

Finally, I'm adding a poll regarding our ability to find out the sex of the embryos. Because we did micro-array genetic testing, we are able to know the sexes of our transferred embryos as soon as the FET is complete. Steve and I are not able to come to an agreement on what we want to know at the time of transfer. So I would like to know what you girls would do if you were in this situation. Would you find out the sexes at transfer if they were your embryos?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hope

I vacillate from feeling hopeful to feeling scared. Hope is important and without it I know I could have never made it this far. I would describe myself as a tenacious, strong-willed individual who sets a goal and attempts to achieve it no matter how many times I may have to try to get there.

Everyone knows how much I want this. I'm an extrovert. It's been really, really hard not to talk about my quest for baby. All of our family and friends know, and after almost 2 years, lots of my customers know as well. Everyone knows. So what's the problem? Everyone knows. There will be no hiding if this IVF cycle fails. I don't want to think about failure. I really, really don't.

So, I'll keep thinking hopeful thoughts. The best news I've had all weekend? My dear friend, Christi, tested positive this weekend and got a fantastic first beta today. I could not be happier for her. We've become very close over the last year (wow, how time flies!). This was her IVF#3 and she had decided to to go to CCRM. After learning more about CCRM, I was thrilled she was taking a chance and cycling in Denver. She has been one month ahead of me since her first consult in May. I can't think of a more hopeful story than hers today. Obviously, her success is just that: her success. But, it gives me just a little more hope that miracles do happen. Maybe, hopefully, one can happen for us?

"There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow." Orison Marden

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Estrogen patches: Check.

I began my patches yesterday. So far, so good. Didn't fall off after my spinning class this morning or even my shower thereafter. Hope they all work this well.

Still doing the Lupron shots. I think I can officially say that I'm over Lupron. I think I've had enough. We need to go our separate ways. Our relationship just isn't working for me anymore. Seriously, my two months of no shots was really nice. I can endure the Lupron for a couple more weeks. I have to say that I truly have a real empathy for diabetic patients who have to endure daily insulin shots. Even though the needles are little, it's still a daily shot and therefore still sucks, in my opinion.

Think that's about it. My first estrogen blood draw is next Tuesday. I'm slowly getting around to catching up on some blog reading. Hope everyone is doing okay!

P.S. Those of you who selected Barack Obama as our next POTUS on my blog poll were correct. What a historic moment for all Americans. And on a much smaller (but important) level, the Colorado Amendment 48 did not pass! Therefore, embryos have not been granted "personhood" status, which ultimately lets the couple, rather than the government, decide what to do with their embryos.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Guess who showed?

LOL. Yep-AF arrived and so we are officially on track for our upcoming transfer. Weird thing is that she showed exactly today, when she was supposed to. That rarely happens for me. Oh well, I'll take it!

Got all my meds ordered. There was A LOT of extra stuff apparently I needed! Anyway, getting lots more Vivelle patches, Endometrin, Erythromycin, and Lupron syringes in the mail later this week. One would think that I would've had enough based on that ridiculous pic I posted of my IVF meds when they arrived back in August, but I guess not. I'm also hoping that I have to order lots more after a positive beta in December. :-)

So, I start with the estrogen patches on Wednesday and continue them every other day for a week. I've never experienced a patch before. I thought about going on Ortho Evra a few years ago, but decided to stick with my tried and true (BCPs). I always envisioned it falling off and then the "oh crap" happening. What a laugh remembering the long ago days when I thought I was actually fertile. My, oh my, how things change...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Finished with BCPs and I added a poll...

That sure was a fast BCP stint! I took my last BCP last night! Woohoo! Hope the rest of my cycle milestones continue to fly by so quickly. Next up: AF needs to arrive in the next couple of days...

I'm adding a poll on over to the right hand side of the blog. I've always seen polls on other people's blogs, but I just never got around to adding one to my blog. Of course, I'll add one about our cycle in the near future, but in the spirit of the upcoming election, why not add a political poll. Will it rival Rasmussen or Zogby? Who knows, but we'll see on Wednesday morning.

Finally, I also added a live feed below to see where all of my blogger friends are chatting with me from. Thanks for commenting on my blog, ladies. I appreciate all the support!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I BIG PUFFY heart you!


The following wonderful, supportive, strong, inspirational, caring gals recently honored me with the "I Heart Your Blog Award": Emily from No Expectations Except a Baby, Jill from Maybe Baby, and Megan from Lawyers Do Not Eat Their Young. Thank you so much ladies! I heart all of you as well and certainly heart your fabulous blogs.

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Next to me
2. Where is your significant other? Downstairs
3. Your hair color? Blond
4. Your mother? Selfless
5. Your father? Sweet
6. Your favorite thing? Vacation
7. Your dream last night? Weird
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. The room you're in? Bedroom
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Moved
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Mommy
15. One of your wish list items? Children
16. Where you grew up? Kentucky
17. The last thing you did? Read
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your T.V.? Off
20. Your pet? Sonny
21. Your computer? Laptop
22. Your mood? Anxious
23. Missing someone? Grandmother
24. Your car? Chrysler
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? Macy's
27. Your Summer? OK
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Awhile

Now, I'd like to pass this award to 7 bloggers who excite me when they publish a new entry:

Our Journey

Maybe If You Just Relax

Planet Davila

Journey For Baby Reilly

Our Story: A Blog About Infertility, IVF, and Adoption

No Regrets

Conception Deception

There are so many others....but these all stand out for me. All are in different stages of our journey towards motherhood. But all are similar-I admire and their strength and determination. Thanks for your continued examples of persistence, hope, support and love.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Lupron shot-done!

I began Lupron shots last night for our upcoming transfer. Strangely enough, I was looking forward to my old friend Lupron returning. This actually signals to me that we're finally off and running. I didn't feel that way when I began my BCPs on 10/20. So, FET-here we come!

And Denver-here we come! I finally got our flights, hotel, and rental car all booked for our Thanksgiving adventure. We are getting in early (~11am) on Thanksgiving Day so that we can get settled in. Well, that's only partly true. Steve felt we really needed to be there before football games got underway, particularly the Cowboys game. So, looks like he got his wish. We've been wondering about where we'll have our Thanksgiving feast. Who knows what will be open? Chinese? I did the Chinese Christmas dinner alone several years ago when I was nurse and had to work the Christmas holidays. I couldn't go home to my family, and friends and boyfriend had all gone home to their respective families. I remember crying about it having to eat at Hunan's Chinese Restaurant. And then I went to work and felt a little better when I had some work colleagues around to commiserate with...

Okay, back to Denver. Because flights were so expensive to leave on Sunday following Thanksgiving, we decided to stay until Monday morning instead. We get back home in the early afternoon, so shouldn't be too bad. And so I guess I'll just have to spend one more day on bedrest at our favorite little Summerfield Suites hotel, watching NFL games all day. Hadn't thought about the little plus of football Sunday until after we'd made the decision to stay, but that certainly makes things better.

Finally, I got a great deal the last time we were in Denver for a rental car and I also got another one this go around. Because it was pretty cheap, we got one of those little SUVs that had 4 wheel drive capabilities. It's Denver and it's likely we'll see snow out there during our visit.

So between the Lupron and getting everything booked, we are finally rolling with our FET!

Friday, October 24, 2008

And the verdict is...

Well, 6 weeks and 2 days later, we finally have results! We have 2 normals and 1 no result available for transfer. The other 3 were abnormal. Steve was hoping for 2, but of course I wanted all 6 to be normal. Oh well, as the song goes "You Can't Always Get What You Want", and so it is with me...but I'm happy to have some to transfer.

The normal ones were the 5AA and one of our 2/3 grade embryos. The nurse said that having the highest graded blast (5AA) come back normal was kinda unusual as she said in her experience, a lot of times the highest graded ones come back abnormal, so I guess that's good? Who knows...The no result was the 3BC, which was my worst graded embryo. My abnormals were the 3BB (my next best blast) and the other two 2/3 embryos.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the nurse to fax me my test results due to the sex of the embryos being listed. I told her she could white it out and send it to me, but she said we'd just have to wait until after our transfer was completed to see the entire report. I still plan on asking my regular nurse when she returns to the office on Monday. I am a persistent person, so I won't give up that easily. So for all of your encouraging comments to me over the week to call and speak to someone or email someone, don't worry-I did. I'm sure I bugged all of the nurses at CCRM!

The nurse did give me a little more info about the 3 abnormals embryos. One was called "chaotic", which I thought was a very fitting embryo for Steve and me (lol). She said something like the chromosomes were scattered in irregular patterns. Weird. Another embryo had a chromosomal defect on #18, which was an extra chromosome that could lead to Edwards syndrome (similar to Downs Syndrome). The final embryo had a extra chromosomes on #9 and #13, which can lead to Patau syndrome (similar to Edwards) and mosaicism. So, that's all we know on the 3 abnormals.

My hope is that in our previous cycles, we were just transferring the wrong embryos, even though they may have looked good under the microscope. Gosh-we hope so!

The nurse said our options would be to transfer the 2 normals or 1 normal and the 1 NR, and keep the remaining embie frozen. But, 2 would be the transfer number, so we'll have to make a decision. I do hope to speak to Dr. Sch more about all of this next week on his opinions on which ones to transfer...

Thank you all so much for the support you've given me. I truly appreciate you all! Please keep sending us good thoughts, good vibes, prayers, well wishes, etc. We'll need all of them for our FET on Nov. 28!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Going out of my mind

Nothing. I know everyone keeps asking and wondering, yet I know nothing. This sucks! Where are my results??

I do have an FET date: Nov. 28 (Day after Thanksgiving). I'm glad that we were able to keep up the "Holidays at CCRM" theme. If you guys recall, we spent July 4th out there for our 1 day work-up. Then, we were in Denver over Labor Day for our egg retrieval. So, looks like we'll continue with the tradition over Thanksgiving for our FET. Provided we have normals to transfer. Seriously, where are our results??????????

I'm been having nightmares every night for almost a week. They're crazy. I'm crazy. One was a nightmare about having my test results in front of me. I read each line: "Abnormal. Abnormal. Abnormal. Abnormal. Abnormal. Abnormal." No normals out of six. Pretty scary. I was crying and somehow woke up.

Another nightmare: I was told I have an inoperable brain tumor. Great. Someone from my past helped me get in a clinical study and I had all of these stupid needles, probes, electrodes, etc. all over the base of my brain near my cerebellum. The hope was for a miracle to occur and the tumor could somehow shrink and disappear. Okay. Woke up.

Then last night my nightmare was the old "back in school" dream. Remember those? "Teacher asks for homework and you have nothing to turn in" kind of dreams? Well, this one was a little more elaborate: it was science project fair time. I had 3 different stations set up, each receiving different grades. I can't remember what was on my poster boards, but I think they were adequate enough, even though I hadn't prepared as much as I would've liked. Anyway, grades for each project: 96, 86, 70. 70-wtf? I started arguing with my teacher over my grade, determined to get it up to an A or at least B. I've never gotten a 70 on anything in my life! So for me, that was pure horror! See-NIGHTMARES SUCK!

So, please pray/cross fingers/cross toes/send a word up to whomever: I want my results TODAY. It's been 6 weeks as of today. I'm going out of my mind waiting! Please help preserve whatever sanity I might still have. Thanks everyone!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend visitor

No, not anyone fun or interesting, just ole AF. She arrived without surprise this morning. Why without surprise? Well, first off this marks our 21st cycle of TTC. Nothing is a surprise after this long. Football analogy: If the Chicago Bears pass the ball off to Matt Forte for 20 consecutive times for him to run down the field, then news flash to this week's opposing defense-they'll give it to him for another time to make it 21 in a row. No surprise. Secondly, we did actually try (as always) to have a hail mary BFP. Obviously did not work, as most hail mary football attempts don't work either. In fact, they usually end up in an interception. And finally, AF arrived today because it's Saturday and it would've been too easy to arrive on a week day when I actually could've spoken to a nurse, been excited, and worked on my calendar. Now, I'll wait until Monday. Still no flippin' word on the test results. I'm done with being patient. Never was a strength of mine anyway. 5 weeks and 3 freakin' days...

Looked at a lot of flights, but not booking anything until results are back. Of course Thanksgiving flights are outrageous. I could wait until the next week when they are much cheaper, but I'm over waiting. Really, really over waiting. And, we don't have to burn more vacation time if we go out over Thanksgiving. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

5 weeks, but who's counting??

Me! I'm counting! Each and every day!

I called CCRM again today. When I first was told the 4-6 week waiting time frame, I decided I would try to be patient (at least until 4 weeks were up). Of course, 4 weeks came and went last Wednesday and I broke down and made the call. One week later here I am, so I made another call. Here's the skinny:

While my new cycle hasn't begun yet, I got one of the nurses to go ahead and order my BCPs for pick-up in the next few days. Also, I convinced her to give me some potential dates for our transfer. They let us ultimately choose the date, but she started with some dates the week of Thanksgiving-just as I had originally hoped! WOOHOO! So, we get to choose a day during Thanksgiving week or the following first week of December. Needless to say, I'll be searching the internet for flights the rest of this evening. That will probably be the ultimate deciding factor on which date we'll choose.

After writing all of the above, I realize how optimistic this all sounds. We haven't even gotten our Micro-array results back yet. I have no idea if we'll even have 1 genetically normal to transfer. But, I really, really hope so...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A little update from CCRM

Well, today marks 4 weeks since our embies were biopsed and sent off for testing. I decided to call CCRM to check-in. The nurse told me that testing results were taking around 6 weeks at this point. Gosh-I hope we get our results soon! This is the longest wait I've ever had. I went back and thought about the longest I've ever waited for results of any kind to come back. I think this one wins out over: 1) Nursing Board test results (about a month), 2) A.C.T. results in high school (I think it too was about a month) and 3) Contest wins at work (varies, but again about a month after a contest end date). So, this really is the longest I've ever waited for any results EVER. I'm trying to be patient. I really am...

Some other news from CCRM-I asked nurse if I could go ahead and begin drugs with my next period (coming soon to a theater near me in about 10-14 days). I was worried she would say no and that I would have to wait until my results were back before starting BCPs, but I was happily surprised: she said I could start them and they can control my cycle accordingly with BCPs until the results come in. YAY! YAY! I feel more reassured and not as on edge now about when AF arrives.

Everyone uninterested in my answer to the below opinion-seeking post: please stop reading here and save yourself from a boring embryo politics rant!

First of all, you guys always amaze me at your ability to so eloquently describe your raw honest feelings on such a painful, personal topic. Thank you for your all your comments-very appreciated. I wanted to see what your thoughts and feelings were without the bias of my comments. I'm one of those people who believes there are always two sides to every story. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, I respect your thoughts and opinions on the topic.

So, what are my thoughts? I wouldn't have posted the article if it hadn't struck a nerve with me. I'm scared. I'm scared that politics (which I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE) are now entering my bedroom, or petri dish as the case is with us. If the government can tell us what we have to do with our unborn children, then what's next? I'll tell you: overturning Roe vs. Wade. Most of you have probably figured out from previous posts that I'm a registered Republican. But what you don't know is that I have some strong opinions that fall into line with the Democratic party. The one I'm discussing is Pro-Choice. I've always been Pro-Choice. It doesn't mean that I would have chosen abortion if I'd ever been pregnant previously, but I never had to address it personally. I don't think I could've or would've in that position, but I don't think you can ever really know unless you've been faced with making that decision. We all have our life stories and I believe that someone's decision should be just that: their decision. Not the government's decision. Why am I discussing abortion? Because I believe it will be the next to go if these types of legislations are actually passed in several states.

I believe that frozen embryos are future potential children. I also believe that the 4 embryos we've previously transferred were potential children as well and have mourned their loss similarly to someone who has suffered a miscarriage. So, of course, I consider my embryos to be life. But, I don't believe they are yet children and therefore not of personhood status.

I'm frightened of the ramifications to us "infertiles" should some of these state and federal bills pass. I believe that for those lucky enough to have frozen embryos remaining after successful cycles, the couple should be ones to decide what happens to them. If they feel their family is complete, then the couple should be allowed to decide if they should be discarded, donated to research, or donated for adoption to another couple. Again, I'm Pro-Choice. The government should have no say, in my opinion, on what happens to those embryos. Where the government could help is making embryo donations to research (ie, stem cell research) a real viable option at a federal level. I believe that stem cells can quite possibly hold the key to potentially treating several diseases. If the couple doesn't feel right with discarding them, yet can't embrace the idea of having their genetic child being raised by someone else, then research truly is a happy medium. I do believe that those embryos can maybe save a life (or many lives).

We live in challenging times and these are all tough discussions and decisions. Thanks for listening to my opinions. And as usual on political-type discussions on my blog, please respect my opinions. It is my blog. If you have strongly opposing beliefs, please address your opinion on your own blog and don't attack me. On a side note, this is why I run from political discussions in general. Rarely can two opposing sides leave a political discussion feeling the same about one another as when they first entered into the discussion. Better left unsaid, or be prepared to feel distant from that person.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seeking your opinions

I want to hear your opinions on the following article:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-he-embryos6-2008oct06,0,7185026.story

There are other articles embedded within this one, so check them out as well.

I won't give my opinion just yet because I want to hear what you guys think first. I didn't want to slant the comments by giving my opinions. So be open and let me know your thoughts! I'll post mine soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

New look

I decided to change things up a bit with a new look to my blog. Not sure that I'll stick with this one for long, but it's something different for now.

I've been trying to catch back up on my blog reading. I've certainly not been on here very much lately. Hope everything is going well with each and every one of you!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anniversary

Today is our anniversary. We celebrated last night by going to dinner at a local restaurant that we hadn't checked out before. The food was pretty good, but the atmosphere was interesting to say the least. We didn't know it was a gay bar. We were the only straight couple in the restaurant for the whole evening. On our anniversary. LOL

The best part and the real reason we decided to have dinner there? The restaurant actually has karaoke on Monday nights. So, we sang a few tunes without shame, although we are pretty bad singers. We couldn't begin to top the showtunes being bellowed out by the crowd like "Life is a Cabaret" and "Lady Marmalade" (I swear this is the truth!). But Steve and I always have fun and love music, so we gave it a shot anyway. Our picks? Steve chose the tough "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. This is a great song, but Steve discovered quickly that it would've been better to have actually known the lyrics. Poor guy. But, he hung in there and finished the song, so I was proud of him. Then I chose "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette. I love this song; it sooo rocks and for some reason I thought this particular crowd might enjoy it. Problem? I found that the song was best sung by an angry, bitter, wounded-hearted person. Probably not the best choice for an anniversary tune. But, my reasoning skills were a little bit altered due to the (2) fabulous martinis I enjoyed. Finally, we ended the night on the well-known duet "Summer Lovin" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. How'd we do on that one? Not bad as judged by the claps in the audience at the end. Of course, maybe they thought if they were nice to us, that we'd stop their pain. Either way, it worked. They got rid of the annoying straight couple and we went home and were happy with having had a great night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy times!

Brief updates: Mexico was great fun! Mainly just lots of rest, relaxation, and margaritas. Steve and I are the worst photo people in the world, so I may eventually get around to posting some pics on the blog. I gotta say, I'm pretty old fashioned. As cool as digital cameras are, we never print the pictures out or ever really seem to quite enjoy them as much. Opening a new set of photos that were just developed was such a fun sense of anticipation, remember? Now, it's just all there on the screen and ours never seem to make it off the computer screen. Okay, back to the regularly scheduled program...

I also went away for a girl trip last weekend. We went to a spa over in Asheville, NC. It was absolutely fabulous and complete relaxation. There were 6 of us and we just had a blast! Girl trips rock!

Most of all, I've been incredibly busy with work. I've got all kinds of "fire drills" to deal with right now. So, lots of time being focused away from the infertility stuff right now.

Tomorrow marks our 2 week mark of waiting on the genetic test results. I fluctuate between being hopeful that we'll have several come back normal to having only 1 come back normal to having nothing come back normal. Honestly, I don't want to think about it at all. The only thing that is for certain is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it until the results come back. So, I'm clearly trying to keep busy with other things right now...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sorry for the delay--we have 2 more blasts for testing!

Yikes! We had 2 more to grow to blastocysts on Day 6, so that brings our total up to 6 that were shipped off for genetic testing. We are thrilled to say the least! I will add more specifics on their grading, etc. when I get a chance. CCRM called me on Wednesday evening with the news, but we'd already arrived here in Cabo and I didn't ask as many questions as I would've liked. I've sent an email asking for the specific details, but just haven't heard back yet.

I added a little ticker to help track our wait for the results to come back. I'm planning on 6 weeks, but will be happy with anything sooner than that. We are hopeful that we'll have some genetic normals in the group to transfer back to their original home (ie, my uterus) around the Thanksgiving time frame!

Thanks to each of you for all your love and support. We appreciate it so very much! And, we are having lots of fun here in Mexico! I've been catching up on my margaritas...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We have blastocysts!!!!

For the first time ever, we have blastocysts! For those unfamiliar (my family and friends constantly remind me that they don't have a PhD in infertility-lol), a blastocyst forms when an embryo reaches the 5-6 day development stage. It has ~ 100 cells (give or take) and is distributed in two areas: an outer embryo lining (which will later form the placenta), and an inner mass (which will later become the fetus). During a natural cycle (for you lucky gals), the embryo develops into the blastocyst stage as it is leaving the fallopian tubes and entering the uterus. An embryo needs to have entered into the blastocyst stage once it arrives in the uterus in order for proper implantation to occur.

CCRM called with our Day 5 report and we have 4 blasts that were frozen (vitrified) and biopsed today! We are so happy! Our greatest fear throughout this whole cycle was not having any embryos to thrive beyond Day 3. We never could get anything to make it to blast at our old clinic, and we had a total of 25 embies to work with there during IVF #1 and #2. So at CCRM, we now have 40% of the fertilized embies that have made it to blast! Woohoo!

The embryologist said that they are watching all of the others as well and would let us know a final blastocyst count tomorrow. Not to sound greedy, but we would love to have more make it. It would just give us a greater chance of having more normals to choose from at transfer time. But make no mistake, we are thrilled to have any blasts! Please pray for some of them to be normal! Also, please send lots of positive vibes to our embies in Denver! After tomorrow, the blastocysts' biopsied cells will be headed to the genetic testing lab in New Jersey to see which ones are genetically normal. Then begins the long 4-6 week wait for the results to come back!

The biopsed cells are actually taken from the future placental cells (ie, outer lining of the embryo), not from the inner mass (potential fetus) as occurs in other types of genetic testing. And, all 23 chromosomes are then able to be tested, unlike only 9 chromosomes with other types of genetic testing. Wow. As I've written all of this, I realize it sounds very scientific, so probably boring to lots of people. Therefore, I think this is a good stopping point. :-)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 3 Embryo Update

I got the call late yesterday from CCRM on our Day 3 embryo update: of the 10 fertilized embryos, we had 8 in the normal range of 6-10 cells on Day 3. They are as follows: 4 at 8 cells, 2 at 9 cells, and 2 at 10 cells. We had 2 out of normal range: 1 at 5 cells and 1 at 12 cells. Our next updates will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For those of you who have been asking why we left Denver and if we are flying back, etc: we are doing genetic testing on the embryos, so we were allowed to leave right after retrieval. We hope to have Day 5/6 blastocysts to biopsy and send off for testing. The current turn-around time for Micro-Array testing is about 4-6 weeks. We also signed consents for CGH testing, but it looks like that one may be getting backed up with several biopsies being sent off for that test last week. Micro-Array and CGH give the same info, they just use different technologies to arrive at that info.

Thanks so much for all your kind words and thoughts. You guys are the best!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brief embryo update and football (I know, weird combo)...

We flew home on Friday, so I didn't get to post the CCRM info: of the 14 eggs retrieved, we had 10 mature and all 10 fertilized. I'm happy about 100% fertilization of mature eggs since we've never had that with our past 2 IVF's. I'm hopeful that this is one of many good things we'll hear from CCRM! We are supposed to get our Day 3 embryo update later today from CCRM. Fingers crossed!!!

Business as usual back at home Saturday: we went to UK's (that's University of Kentucky Wildcats for those not familiar with the abbreviation) football game. It was fun to tailgate with our friends and kick off another home season of SEC football! Steve and I are huge fans and love our team through the good years and the bad years. It's obviously lots more fun in the good years. We are coming off our 2nd Bowl win in a row season. This isn't much for lots of teams out there, but we are proud of them just the same, especially considering we play in the toughest conference in all of college football. Bold statement I know, but it's not even close to being up for negotiations with fans from other conferences. :-)

Finally, today officially begins the hype of the NFL season (even though there was a Thursday night game already). If you couldn't tell from the above paragraph, I LOVE FOOTBALL. And, I've finally broken into the "boy's game": I've been permitted to join the illustrious Fantasy Football league! My brother (Stephen) who I don't recall having the opportunity to mention before but love him dearly, is involved in and runs 5 or 6 Fantasy leagues. Yes, he is single. How could he fit dating into his busy "fantasy" world? He started a league last year of folks that were kinda Fantasy rookies. I didn't get an invitation, although Steve did. So, I was happy to have been selected as "Fantasy worthy" for the 2008-09 season. We had the draft at our house on Aug. 22nd, which happened to be the night before I left for Colorado. Needless to say, it was a busy time for me! But, it was a lot of fun and today kicks off a season full of fun and hype. Plus, being in the same league with Steve adds a little competitive element to our home life. And most importantly, it helps ease the anxiety I'm having over the status of our embryos...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

14 eggs

That's how many eggs that were retrieved today! I'm feeling pretty crampy right now, so I'm gonna lay down. I'll add more details a little bit later, but wanted to say thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. :-) Off to find my heating pad now...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The long and winding road: trigger tonight

I know that I haven't done a good job at updating the blog, but I really didn't think you'd want to see stim check posts #5, 6, 7, and 8...But, our day has finally come and we are triggering tonight at 11pm for an egg retrieval at 10am on Thursday. My estrogen was up to 3276 today.

Steve and I have been all over the place as to how we feel about this cycle. We finally had an appt. this afternoon with Dr. Schoolcraft and discussed all of our concerns with him. He feels that my cycle has gone well overall and that it's been slow and steady, just as he had wanted. I never thought my body was capable of stimming for 12.5 days, but apparently it is. He hopes that this will translate into better quality embies. Let's hope so! He still predicts around 15 (or more) for retrieval and hopefully a good number still for maturity and fertilization. I pray he is right! I'm overly concerned about the number this go around as we want some to make it to blastocyst so that we can have something to biopsy and send off for genetic testing!

I have to go in for labs tomorrow morning, but then we are free to enjoy the day with no set times to take a particular shot. Yippee for that! We bumped up to 4 shots a day on Sunday, so I'm really done with my thighs, hips, and abs looking like pincushions. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to get into a swimsuit soon, but we do have our trip to Cabo coming up on Sept. 10. I don't want to freak out my work colleagues too much!

We are headed up to Boulder tomorrow and hope to check it out along with Estes Park. Steve really wants to go there, so I hope I'm not too uncomfortable from the trigger shot and am able to still have a good time. In other news, the weather has completely changed overnight here in Colorado. Fall apparently arrived today and the high was only around 65 (it was around 90 yesterday). Steve loves the cool weather. Me? I'm a warm weather girl all the way. And, we packed summer attire, so we are ill-equipped for fall weather. Oh well, just a few more days...

Steve and I ate dinner at P.F. Chang's (thank you Emily!) tonight. We don't normally look at the fortune cookies, but for some reason did tonight. Steve's read: "You do not have to know where you are going to be headed in the right direction." Mine said: "Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood." And our lucky numbers were all different except for one number: "4". Retrieval on 9/4??? Well, if any of it is a sign, we'll take it!

I'll update on Thursday following the ER to let everyone know how it went and how many were retrieved, etc. Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

This one is dedicated to my Mom...

I've wanted to dedicate a special post in this blog to my Mom for a while. Her name is Janet and I am the luckiest person on Earth to have her for my mother. You might be wondering why...

My Mom is the most selfless individual I've ever known. There is nothing that she won't do for me, my brother, or Steve. She devotes her time and attention to us anytime we need her. Anytime. She came to Denver with me last Saturday, despite the death of someone she was close to occurring the day before we left. She made it back in time for the funeral, but she still decided to make sure that I wasn't too lonely out here. That's just the kind of stuff she does.

She serves as our interior decorator. She has great taste and is one of those people who has a great eye for things. I just don't have that. She also helps us clean (yuck). My cleaning lady of 7 years quit on me in July. Mom came up a few weekends ago and helped us clean the house from top to bottom, which took the whole weekend. She motivates us to do what we really don't want to do (but know we need to do).
When she got back into town from Denver, she picked up Sonny and Cher and took them to her house (about an hour away from us). She takes Sonny everywhere and he thinks she is the best Nana ever...well, it does help that she takes him to get ice cream cones for late evening desserts. :-) And poor Cher, we've never been away from her this long and she is having to adjust to life with Mom's cats (actually Mom's cats are the ones to feel sorry for as it is their house and they really hate Sonny as he antagonizes them). But, Cher doesn't do well when she is away from Sonny. She cries for him at night, which while sounding sweet, is actually a PITA because she wakes you up and she is walking around looking for her best friend. They are the sweetest dog and cat combo I've ever seen, though. They give each other baths all of the time. I also frequently find them sleeping with their paws on top of each other. It's really odd to see a huge golden retriever and a little kitty behave like this, but it's true. :-)

I digress...I give my Mom credit for inspiring me to never give up. Never think that anything is impossible. I applied this as a child to being a good student, and then later to working hard to get college paid for with grants and scholarships. She taught me that in order to get something in life, you have to work hard for it. Honestly, I'm glad my parents didn't have money to send me to college, because it only made me study harder and work harder and appreciate my education even more. Then, through all the big adult decisions from moving to Florida for a couple of years, to changing jobs, to buying a house, etc. she has always been behind me every step of the way. My wedding was the best example: it was her wedding! I think it was probably one of the happiest times in her life. She planned a good majority of my wedding. I couldn't devote much time to it b/c I had a lot going on with selling my house, quitting one job, starting my current job, going away for training for 2 weeks, moving, etc. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that we only had a 5 month engagement b/c I wanted a September wedding! I thought it would be beautiful weather, but unfortunately it rained. But, our wedding was beautiful and I thought I'd throw a pic of our wedding on here at the beginning of the post.

Finally, through all of this infertility, she has supported both of us without question. She helps me to hang in there when I'm having rough days. And, as you all I know, I do have really tough days from time to time. I know someday I'll be a mother someway, somehow. I only hope that I can try to emulate my mother with my kids. I just can't imagine a better mother in the world than her...I love you Mom.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Stim check #4

I feel better, but it's been a really long day...

First off, we meet with the genetic counselor. We were so impressed with how intellegent she was (Masters in Genetics-so no wonder!) about everything and learned a lot. She had already looked over our case and suggested Micro-Array to us (loved the personalized care she showed). She said b/c we've never had an embie make it to blast and since this was a major concern for us, that she felt it would be a better choice for us than CGH. Micro-Array can be done on Day 1, 3, or 5 embryos. Obviously, Day 5 is preferable, however we're leaving it up to the embryologists to make the call on Day 3. If they look good, we'll continue to grow them out to Day 5, but if they have doubts, then we've also consented to a Day 3 biopsy. She told me that both CGH and Micro-Array were taking 6 weeks for results to come back. I thought Micro-Array took longer these days, but that's no longer the case according to her. We also signed consents for CGH as well, since that is what Dr. Sch had originally told me about and if we had Day 5 blasts, we could make the call at that point on which testing to go with. Our #1 concern over all of this is not having a good retrieval this cycle and having nothing to work with. She said she was surprised at my lack of progress so far as well, but that it was still really early. She said I could decide as late as the day after retrieval to do genetic testing. Of course, we want to do it if we have enough available.

We spoke at length with our IVF nurse about our concerns as well. She was so nice. She said she understood and that we were paying a lot of money and should feel happy with our care. She told me Dr. Gustofson would call me later today. Steve asked for another u/s and b/w today, even though they told us I didn't need a stim check originally today. She got her favorite (and apparently Dr. Sch's as well since she has worked with him since the beginning) ultrasonographer to do today's u/s. Apparently there is definitely a variance from one ultrasonographer to the next on what they measure, etc. We are showing slow, but consistent growth. I've now got 2 at 17mm, 2 at 16mm and several others hanging in there. E2=1092 today.

Dr. G told me that he feels like we are progressing at a consistent pace. He did say that he predicted we would forego the 17mms in order to get the majority of the follies at retrieval. He said that he predicted to get 15 eggs, but possibly more based on my high AFC. I feel good about that. He predicts that my E2 at trigger will be 3500-4000. He also is predicting either Tues or Wed retrieval.

One last note, I wanted to send a huge thanks to my friend Emily ("No Expectations Except a Baby"). When we checked into our hotel today (switched to our scheduled hotel now that the DNC is over), I received a huge box from her. It was a "CCRM Care Package" filled with all sorts of goodies from snacks to magazines, a book, a restaurant gift card, to Burt's Bee's lip balm! We are in awe of such a thoughtful gift! Steve was like a child (aren't all men), already eating the Goldfish Crackers before I had un-packed the box! Thank you so much Em. We really appreciate your kindness and incredible support. :-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stim check #3 and a big thank you!

I wanted to give a quick update: After 7.5 days of stims, my estrogen=611 (LH=0.8 and PG=0.2). I have several follies on the right ovary and the left ovary has the bigger follies (17, 15) plus a bunch of smaller ones. No med changes. I'm going to try speak to a doctor tomorrow (Dr. Schoolcraft is out of town for the holiday weekend) as I don't feel I'm progressing as I should be. I have a high AFC (25-30), so I think I should have many more (and larger) follies than they are counting on the u/s. Also, they have such a lack of uniformity in size, which is again different from IVF#1 and #2. I wonder if the dexamethasone is oversuppressing me and also wonder if I'm on enough stims...potential ER next Tuesday.

I'm just scared to death. I talked to one of my friends yesterday about how with IVF#1, I never thought for a second that we would fail. I assumed we would get pg (ha!). With IVF#2, I never felt confident that we would succeed and assumed failure for most of the time following my transfer. With this one, I just don't know. On one hand, I want to put complete trust and faith into the hands of CCRM and their magical lab and embryologists. But on the other hand, I have experience with this crap. And, I'm a person who likes to take control of a situation that appears to be going awry. Crap.

Now, my big thank you to each and every one of my blogger friends. I am utterly surprised every time I write a post that anyone ever even reads it, much less responds to me with such incredible kindness and support. I originally started a blog in order to jot my thoughts down (ie, journal) and planned to have a nice little journey from IF to pregnancy to baby. While that may still come true at some point in the future, the here and now is important too. So, I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for all the kind words and support you have shown me over the past several months. The kindness of complete strangers is at times one of the greatest gifts anyone can ever receive, so from the bottom of my heart, I thank you very, very much.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stim check #2 update

My estrogen was 295 today (LH<0.4 and Prog<0.2), so no med changes. On my u/s, my lining has thickened to 8mm. On the left ovary, I have 4 follies measuring: 14, 13, and (2) 11mm as well as 4 smaller follies around 8mm. On the right ovary, I have 6 follies measuring: 13, 12, 11, and (3) 10mm as well as 4 smaller follies around 8mm or so. I was told to come back on Thursday for another stim check.

We were going in regardless on Thursday for my pre-IVF physical, Steve's back-up sample freeze in case there is a problem on the day of retrieval, and our meeting with one of the genetic counselors at CCRM. A very busy morning, indeed!

Had a blast with my Mom. I'm gonna post about that later. I had to take her to the airport early this morning, so I've been kinda lonely today. But, Steve arrives tomorrow night, so my alone time will be short-lived. Yeah!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We are in Denver and stim check #1 update...

My Mom and I arrived last night into Denver. Everything went well with our travel. I did get stopped by security for my bag o' drugs. I immediately told the officer that I had needles, medicine, etc in the bag. Curiously enough, they were only interested in my ice packs at the bottom of the cooler. Hmmm....kinda worries me about national security, but oh well.

You guys know that the Democratic National Convention is being held this week in Denver. Lucky us. I booked the hotel where CCRM had rooms blocked, and while the suite is big and spacious, the hotel location kinda stinks. We are located right next to a control tower and the small Centennial airport. It's been really busy today with all the Democrats arriving on their private jets. They do have them you know, regardless of what they lead you to believe. And the funny thing is EVERYONE asks us if we are here for the DNC. I should lie. It would be sooo much easier. Instead, I stutter around and come up with some lame "visiting friends" story. I mean, I have spoken to several of the nurses and staff at CCRM friends, so that sorta works, right? I can't even easily lie and say "Yes, we are here for the DNC." Mom says it may be easier for us to say "Yes we are here for the DNC. We are the protesters. " LOL.

Disclaimer: This is my blog and these are my opinions and I realize they may differ from others, but I appreciate your respecting them.

Stim check #1: My u/s went well: I've got 10-11 follicles on the right ovary and I've got 8-9 follicles on the left ovary all measuring around 6-8mm. I'm glad that they are all around the same size, but worried that they should be a little bigger. Of course, I am on such small doses of stims that I was wondering if I'd have anything to show on the u/s, so I'm overall happy with the results. My uterine lining was good around 6mm.

The nurse called with my b/w results this afternoon: E2-121, Prog-<0.2 and LH=1. Nurse said all looked good and to continue on the Gonal-F 75 and Menopur 75 for the next day and a half. No appt. necessary tomorrow and I'll return on Tuesday morning for my next stim check appt. My previous IVFs were very different initial stim checks: IVF#1 E2-727 after 4 days of stims (but that cycle was a disaster, thank you very much Dr. Awadouchedag) and IVF#2 E2-223 after 4 days of stims (much better). I'm worried I should be closer to IVF#2s estrogen level. I know. I'm crazy. Trust the man. Stop obsessing. So that's it. Next update on Tuesday...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Green light: We are headed to Denver!!

Yahoo! Thank goodness! I'm so thrilled. Had my suppression check this morning at local RE office. My u/s looked great with roughly 16 antral follies, all at very small sizes. My lining was thin at 3.3mm--which is right on track. I really liked the nurse who did my u/s today. She was sooo nice, as was the rest of the office. I'm so glad to be forever done with Cincy!!

I got the call later about my labwork and I just can't believe it! My E2=16 (this is the lowest I can ever remember my estrogen being at a suppression check, which I hope means that my ovaries are ready to start getting cranked up)! My Progesterone=0.67 (CCRM wants it less than 1). But drumroll please.....TSH=1.012!!!!!!!! So in just a short amount of time, my thyroid listened to my compliance pleas and is totally in shape! CCRM ideally wants a level to be between 0.3-3.0, so mine is great! I will be dropping my dose from 50mcg to 25mcg of Synthroid as I don't want to have my level drop too low (per my Internal Medicine docs approval). That's it. Nothing else to do but start stims.

So, tomorrow morning I will be taking Menopur and then I'll take Gonal-F in the evening (along with the Lupron). While I'm not thrilled at the idea of taking 3 shots a day, it'll hopefully pay off with a great cycle. Please pray that this is the one for us!! Someone was telling me that Dr. Sch sounds like he is a wizard at all things related to infertility. I hope so!

"We're off to see the Wizard
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Music and Infertility

I've got a bad case of insomnia right now. And, I can't get some songs out of my head. Does that ever happen to you? So, you know the old saying that if you can't sleep, then try to write down what's keeping you awake? Well, this is my attempt at just that....

There was a random question on the MSN board a few months ago about putting the stages/categories of IVF to various song titles. I love music, so naturally, I loved thinking of some of those titles. Since this is my blog, I'm changing some things to adapt to overall infertility. Let me give this a try...

The early days: "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin
Clomid: "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley or Patsy Cline
IUIs: "Come As You Are" by Nirvana
Break Cycle attempts: "Hail Mary" by Tupac
AF: "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks

Now on to IVF:
Gearing up: "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake (this one is for repeat offenders such as myself)
On BCPs: "Just Like A Pill" by Pink
On Lupron: "(Feeling) Hot, Hot, Hot" by Arrow (I was blessed with night sweats earlier--I think that's what woke me up in the first place)
FET cycle: "Don't You Forget About Me" by Simple Minds
Stimming: "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar
Trigger Day: "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye (one needs Marvin's help here, 'cause nothing is sexy about timed intercourse)
Pre-op: "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd
ER: "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes
Fertilization Reports: "Come Together" by The Beatles
ET: "(Hey Now You're An) Allstar (Get Your Game On, Go Play)" by Smash Mouth
2ww (or with genetic testing 4-6 week wait): "The Waiting Is The Hardest Part" by Tom Petty
On Progesterone: "Everybody Plays The Fool" by The Manhattans
HPT +/- Limbo Hell: "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
BFNs: "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton
BFPs: "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses
On a Break/Cancelled cycle: "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones

The one song that can fit into every category: "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

I can't think of any other categories. Can you? Any song titles you have come up with? This has been fun for me!!

I will pay for this insomnia later today. Oh well, at least it's Friday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Needles, and syringes, and drugs! Oh, my!

Thought I'd start off with the obligatory IVF meds pic. I received a gigantic box with all my meds for IVF#3 last week. Looks like a lot of fun, right? I went back and checked out my pic for IVF#1. What a difference a couple of failed cycles make! Can't wait to try to fly with all of these meds...

I began my Lupron injections on Monday. So far, so good. I also started dexamethasone along with the Lupron. So, hopefully, I'll be adequately suppressed at my upcoming u/s and b/w check on Aug. 20. I received good news from the local RE's office yesterday--they can run stat TSH levels, so that gives Synthroid a couple of extra days to kick my thyroid back in to shape so that my cycle can continue as planned. I'm crossing fingers that it will be okay, however, if it's not, then I will just postpone everything for another month or so.

So, these are the easy days: only 1 shot. When stims start, I move to 3 shots per day! That's why there are so many syringes in the photo. I've got some mixing to do with the Menopur.

I've heard so many positive stories lately from CCRM IVFers. It truly sounds like a miracle place for girls that have had previous failures. I hope I can be lucky too and that the third time will be the charm for us.