Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beginning my usual "Last Supper" rituals...

Only the rituals are worse this time. I gave up alcohol completely on Feb. 9th. Yes, I remember the date clearly and no, that doesn't mean I have a problem. Or at least I don't think I do (that's another discussion entirely anyway). I always give up alcohol and usually ease up on the caffeine during all months that I have extra hope (medication months and procedure months). However, I feel like the stakes have been raised with IVF.

So, being that this might be the last true week that I can eat whatever I want, I've been loading up on sushi. I can't stop thinking about it and can't seem to get enough it. I think I could eat it everyday until my ET. Maybe I will...Also, there's some feta and goat cheeses in the fridge. I'm scrabbling to think of recipes and ideas to incorporate these soft cheeses into our meals. I've cut down to one Diet Coke a day. I don't drink coffee on a regular basis. So, I think the caffeine is in reasonable amounts. I will try to stop the Diet Coke entirely, although, I think that will be the hardest!!

Other non-food related rituals I plan on trying to squeeze in prior to my ER: massage (Steve and I have a couples massage gift certificate I'm dying to use), and manicure/pedicure (I'm not giving these up--I only like my nails to look good for big events--lol). Prior to my ET, I want to get the following completed: highlights in hair and change the cat's litter box (maybe for the last time until I have the baby--Steve is sooo not looking forward to it). I'm probably not remembering other must-dos.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stimulation Check Update

So, my RE appt. went well today. I saw Dr. Scheiber again. My u/s looked awesome: Uterine Lining=7.4(lining gets thicker as ovulation approaches); Right ovary=5 follicles ~9-10mm; Left ovary=4 follies ~11mm and 3 follies ~8mm. All good!!

However, I am worried about my b/w. My E2=727!! and LH=1.5. A good rule of thumb on the E2 is about 150-200 for each mature follie/egg. The alarming range is 3000-3500. This places a patient at risk for OHSS. That would totally stink. I hope mine don't continue to grow at this pace!! I've emailed Dr. Awadalla to see what his thoughts are on my E2 levels. I'm probably being a little neurotic again. Oh well...

This is Day 5 of stims for me (just gave myself 5th dose of Gonal-F). They lowered my dose to 187.5 (from 225) for the next 3 nights based on 12 follies on u/s this morning. They also decreased my Lupron to 5units and this was my last Lupron shot!! YEAH!! Next appt. is Thursday morning for another u/s and b/w.

I think I could open up a small pharmacy!

I thought I'd post a photo of my meds that arrived recently via FedEx. It kinda looks like I'm a drug addict. LOL! I never thought I'd ever shoot up anything, but things change when you want to have a baby and can't quite seem to pull it off on your own. The shots really aren't that bad.

The Lupron is given in my thigh and really doesn't hurt much, although I have some nice bruises to show off right now. The Gonal-F is given in the abdominal area. That's not too awful either. Steve is so happy that he doesn't have to inject them for me. I feel better doing it on my own: 1) I'm in control of my own pain; 2) Steve's description of "just throw it in like a dart" kinda scared me (although true to some degree); and 3) hello, I am a nurse--why totally waste all of my training even if I no longer take care of patients??

Sunday, February 24, 2008

An Article from RESOLVE's website

Infertility Myths and Facts

Myth: Infertility is a women's problem.
Fact: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

Everyone seems to get pregnant at the drop of a hat.
Fact: More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. When you seek support, you will find that you are not alone. Join a support group, or talking with others who are struggling to build a family, so that you won't feel isolated.

Myth: It's all in your head! Why don't you relax or take a vacation. Then you'll get pregnant!
Fact: Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system. While relaxing may help you with your overall quality of life, the stress and deep emotions you feel are the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Improved medical techniques have made it easier to diagnose infertility problems.

Myth: Don't worry so much -- it just takes time. You'll get pregnant if you're just patient.
Fact: Infertility is a medical problem that may be treated. At least 50% of those who complete an infertility evaluation will respond to treatment with a successful pregnancy. Some infertility problems respond with higher or lower success rates. Those who do not seek help have a "spontaneous cure rate" of about 5% after a year of infertility.

Myth: If you adopt a baby you'll get pregnant!
Fact: This is one of the most painful myths for couples to hear. First it suggests that adoption is only a means to an end, not an happy and successful end in itself. Second, it is simply not true. Studies reveal that the rate for achieving pregnancy after adopting is the same as for those who do not adopt.

Myth: Why don't you just forget it and adopt? After all, there are so many babies out there who need homes!
Fact: For many, adoption is a happy resolution to infertility. However, most people explore medical treatment for infertility prior to considering adoption. In addition, traditional adoption options have changed, and adoption can be more costly and time-consuming than expected. It is, however, still possible to adopt the healthy baby of your dreams. There are also many older children and children with special needs available for adoption.

Myth: Maybe you two are doing something wrong!
Fact: Infertility is a medical condition, not a sexual disorder.

Myth: My partner might leave me because of our infertility.
Fact: The majority of couples do survive the infertility crisis, learning in the process new ways of relating to each other, which deepens their relationship in years to follow.

Myth: Perhaps this is God's way of telling you that you two aren't meant to be parents!
Fact: It is particularly difficult to hear this when you are struggling with infertility. You know what loving parents you would be, and it is painful to have to explain to others that you have a medical problem.

Myth: Infertility is nature's way of controlling population.
Fact: Zero population growth is a goal pursued in a time of world overpopulation, but it still allows for couples to replace themselves with two children. Individuals or couples can certainly elect the option to be childfree or to raise a single child. Infertility, for those who desire children, denies them the opportunity to choose.

Myth: I shouldn't take a month off from infertility treatment for any reason... I just know that this next month will be THE one!
Fact: It is important periodically to reassess your treatment and your parenting goal. Continuity in treatment is important, but sometimes a break can provide needed rest and renewal for the next steps.

Myth: I'll be labeled a 'trouble maker' if I ask too many questions.
Fact: The physician/patient team is important. You need to be informed about what treatments are available. What is right for one couple may not be right for another, either physically, financially, or emotionally. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor.
A second opinion can be helpful. If needed, discuss this option with your physician.

Myth: I know I'll never be able to stop treatment until I have a pregnancy.
Fact: Pregnancy is not the only pathway to parenthood. You may begin to think more about parenthood than about pregnancy. You may long for your life to get back to normal. You may consider childfree living or begin to think of other ways to build a family.

Myth: I've lost interest in my job, hobbies, and my friends because of infertility. No one understands! My life will never be the same!
Fact: Infertility is a life crisis -- it has a rippling effect on all areas of your life. It is normal to feel a sense of failure that can affect your self-esteem and self-image. You will move through this crisis. It is a process, and it may mean letting go of initial dreams. Throughout this process, stay informed about the wide range of options and connect with others facing similar experiences.

I thought I would share this information to better understand infertility. I also have an article with a link on the side of my blog that you can click on to learn more. Thanks for all of your support as we go through this difficult time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm suppressed...

YEAH! All those suppression worries are now over! Thank you ovary gods! My appt. went well today. I had an u/s and b/w. Dr. Scheiber (who is not my usual RE) did the u/s today. He said that everything looked great. Lots of antral follies and my ovaries looked calm and shut down/suppressed thanks to the Lupron.

Later today, the b/w came back and my E2=43 and LH=1.4. The nurse said that they like for the E2 to be between 20-30, so Dr. S recommended that I continue with the Lupron until my follie check. But, most importantly, I get to begin my stims tonight! YEAH! I'm taking Gonal-F 225IU at night for the next 4 days. I go in on Monday for my follie check to see how everything is progressing. I'm so happy to begin my stims! It's becoming so much more real that this is really going to happen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Worried about suppression check tomorrow

I just get so frustrated with all of this sometimes! The worry, the waiting, the juggling of my schedule, vacations up in the air. All of it!

So tonight, I'm mainly worried about my suppression check tomorrow morning. I want everything to go well. I need everything to go well. I worry about my sanity if something is awry at tomorrow's check. Anyway, I hope my estrogen levels are sufficiently low and my ovaries and lining look good on u/s.

My prayer to my ovaries: Please be suppressed!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Well, it's official: I'm a blogger!

Welcome to my blog!! I've decided to chronicle our journey in TTC (trying to conceive) and the world of infertility (IF). I've looked at so many others blogs and thought that I'd never want to invest that much amount of time into my computer. Then, I really thought about it and decided I already spent a lot of time on my computer thanks to being addicted to my Nest TTC message boards. If I'm smart enough, I'll put an abbreviations/acronym lingo on this blog so that others reading it can figure out what the heck I'm trying to say sometimes! There is a whole secret underworld full of terminology us "nesties" like to use, so I don't want anyone to be left out of the conversations.

Steve (DH) and I have been working at this for over a year now (13 cycles to be exact). We are currently working on in vitro fertilization(IVF) #1. I take daily shots of Lupron, which is a drug that suppresses my ovaries and natural hormone production. This is usually the first step in IVF. I have an appt. on Thursday for an ultrasound (u/s) and blood work (b/w) to make sure my estrogen (E2) levels are low enough to begin stimulation drugs. Those drugs will cause me to produce multiple eggs which is the goal in IVF so that lots can be retrieved and hopefully fertilized.

Lots of people ask the question about multiple babies with IVF: the risk is about 20% with our IVF protocol as I will likely only have 2 embryos transfered back to my uterus. Very little likelihood of any multiples other than twins since we are being carefully monitored. Steve would like to have twins. I think he likes the "two and done" mentality. I wouldn't mind them either. I always remember my Grandmother telling me about how easy it was to have twins. Feed one, just feed another. Change one diaper, just change another, etc. However, we will take whatever the good Lord blesses us with. Wish us luck and sticky baby dust.