Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Biopsy Results

Well, my biopsy showed that I do have the beta 3 integrin receptors. Yeah! I did NOT want to have to take Depot Lupron for a few months. So, if my uterus does have the "sticky glue" required for implantation to occur, then why haven't our perfect little 8 and 10 cell embies stuck? I don't know, but we get to rule out another possibility as to what our underlying problem is with these results...

I'm waiting for CD3 b/w to come back either tomorrow or Thursday. If it shows PCOS, then maybe we can change our "unexplained" diagnosis and have our answer. If I don't have PCOS, that only leaves two possible explanations that I can think of right now: chromosomal/genetically defective embies or just bad luck at a bad lab with a bad doctor. Clearly, I prefer it to be our previous RE experiences as our ultimate problem. :-)

Stay tuned for CD3 b/w.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is the universe mocking me or is my luck changing?

Okay. Had to blog about this experience. Yesterday was my CD3, so I headed over to the hospital that had agreed to draw my blood. As I pulled into the hospital, I thought "Hmmm, there are a lot of cars here for a Saturday..." That's when I saw the big sign: "Expecting Great Things" which just so happens to be the premier annual event for expectant mothers at the hospital. It should be noted that this hospital is the best maternity hospital in the city (which is also where my OB/GYN is affiliated, so maybe that could be a good thing in the future). But back to the present: prego bellies everywhere, little kids running around (greedy fertiles), lots of DHs (apparently there was an "American Dadiator" diaper changing contest and grill giveaways), big white tents, and so much more. I parked on the opposite side of the hospital as far away from the festivities as one could possibly get. Thanks universe.

As if that part wasn't bad enough, Part 2: I went up to the clinical lab to get blood drawn. Everything was going great--it seemed I was the only person at all in the hospital getting labs drawn. Made friends with phlebotomist. Sat down in lobby to wait for blood to clot, then have new phlebotomist friend spin it down in the centrifuge machine, give it back to me, and then I would be on my way. But, all of a sudden, the door opens and in walks a lady and her adorable 3 year old daughter. She was so darn cute. Red hair, curls dangling, cute clothes, etc. She immediately came over to me while her Mom was checking in. Our convo pretty much went as follows:

Child: "What's in your box?"
Me: "I've got ice in my cooler." Blood had to be iced immediately after being centrifuged.
Child: "Can I see?"
Me: "Sure." Open up cooler and show her ice packs.
Child: "Why are you here?"

Me: "I had some blood drawn."
Child: "Are you sick?"
Me: "No."
Child: "What's wrong with you?
Me: "I'm just having some tests run."
Child: "Okay. Do you have kids?"
Me: "No." Uncomfortably, I start looking around for the Mother.
Child: "Do you like kids?"
Me: "Yes. Very, very much. I'd like to have a little girl like you some day."
Child: "Then, why don't you have kids?" Mother finally arrives to sit next to us.
Me: "I'm trying to have a child. It isn't easy for me. That's why I'm here. On a Saturday. When everyone else is outside celebrating their pregnancies."
Mother: "Oh honey, come here and leave the nice lady alone. I'm so sorry. I have a friend who had trouble conceiving. It was really hard on her. She saw a fertility specialist and now has a little one. Have you seen one yet?"
Me: "Yes, for almost the entire last year. That's why I'm here. My new doctor is very thorough and requires labs to be drawn and sent only to his lab for testing."
Mother: "Oh, where is your new doctor?"
Me: "Denver."
Mother: "Do you live here?"
Me: "Yes."
Mother: "Wow. That's so far away. There is a doctor in Cincy that is supposed to be very good. I think his name is Awadalla. Have you heard of him?"
Me: I was just getting ready to reply with Awadouchebag sucks and then...
Phlebotomist: "Mrs. Waltrip, you're all ready to go."

So, of all the days of the week for my CD3 to fall, it was a Saturday. No one else would draw my stupid blood except for this hospital. This date happened to coincide with the only maternity event at this hospital ALL YEAR. Then, I get to play 20 questions with a 3 year old and later her mother. Which brings me to one of the two following conclusions: 1) the universe hates me and loves mocking me more than anything or 2) with the maternity event being held at the hospital where I would deliver if I could ever get pg on the same day that I had to show up for CD3 b/w, and then I get to answer questions from a 3 year old and her mother in order to bear my soul and make me feel like a complete failure, equals a change in my luck. Who knows? I'd like to think positively that it's my luck changing...

Friday, July 25, 2008

I've been a blogging slacker!!!!

For those of you following my blog, so sorry for no updates for a while. I have had some things going on, so I'll get everyone up to speed....

I'll start off with the fun, personal stuff. I went on a fun "girls trip" to Charleston with my Mom, Aunt, and Cousin last week. Here is our picture (Left to Right-Cousin, Aunt, Mom, and me). It was so nice to get away. My cousin is beginning her sophomore year in college, and I'm just so proud of her. She is such a great person and getting to hang out with her as an adult is a lot of fun. And, I think it's worth mentioning that we call my Mom and Aunt "Lucy and Ethel." They are such a hilarious twosome! I'm just so grateful to have such a great family. I love you all soooo much!

I've been busy with work as usual...waiting to see final sales numbers for the 2nd quarter. I am close to winning a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico Sept. 10-14. I won't know until next week. But, if all goes as planned I should be doing my ER around Sept 1st, so it will be a happy time regardless if I win the trip! Yeah!!

My favorite part of the this week? My baby (Sonny) came back from doggie boot camp yesterday. He is a changed boy!!! He had some behavior problems (jumping on people to show them love) and I think we are on our way to getting him under control. He is such a great dog. He just wants to please us, as all Golden Retrievers do. Anyway, I missed him sooooo much, so it's good to have him back home!!

Okay, now on to infertility. Man, no matter how long this goes on, I still despise the word "infertility". Anyway, I was able to check the beta 3 integrin endometrial biopsy test off the CCRM laundry list earlier this week. The biopsy wasn't too bad, but then again, I've got a high pain tolerance. Nothing seems to phase me anymore. I'm a complete robot when it comes to stirrups. Seriously. My OB/GYN commented that she was amazed at how I was able to do the procedure without taking pain meds. She is so sweet to me. She entered the room and told me that she was sorry, but my beta was negative (had to do a pg test before doing the biopsy). It didn't even occur to me that I could be pregnant. Really. Kinda funny, well in a sad kinda funny way. So, I sent the specimen off to the lab and will hopefully have the results in a few more days.

AF arrived yesterday, so I officially kick off IVF#3 tomorrow when I get to start taking BCPs. I also have to get Day 3 labwork drawn tomorrow morning to send in to CCRM. Sounds simple, but I've literally been working on it for several hours the last few days. Quest Diagnostics (in our region of the country) won't draw blood unless they get to actually run the tests themselves. The blood cannot leave their laboratory, so that ruled them out. And, LabCorp is not open on Saturdays in my area. Also, I did NOT want to return to my old RE office, which is an hour and a half away. So, I eventually got a local hospital to allow me to go in for a lab draw and take the blood back home with me to put in our freezer until Monday when it can be shipped to CCRM. Thank goodness! Why does everything have to be such a process??? I feel so worn out with this stuff! I hope it goes smoothly tomorrow...

Hope all of you are doing well! I'll be getting caught back up on your blogs soon!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

CCRM Update

Well, we haven't gotten many of our tests back just yet, but I'll share some results.

Rachel, our nurse, called yesterday and told me that my AMH=4.2. Anything above 1.5 is considered good, so yay!! Also, everything with the sperm looks good except for morphology. We've had a problem with this before, but since we are doing ICSI, I'm not sure it matters all that much.

Dr. Schoolcraft called me today and discussed his thoughts with me as well. He's not yet ready to say for sure if I have PCOS. Will wait for FSH/LH Day 3 results. He wasn't surprised at my high AMH and AFCs as he figured both would be high based on my previous high egg retrieval numbers. Essentially: I respond to stims VERY well. So, when I asked him what the heck he thinks is wrong with me, he responded that he wants to see what our chromosome b/w analysis looks like when they come back in a couple of weeks. Also, he just reverted back to his lab being so much better and that he's pretty sure I'm going to have better/more embies at CCRM. I hope he is right. Otherwise, our chance for a biological child would be slim to none. And, we don't have a back-up plan in place right now. So, I'm putting all of my eggs into the proverbial basket at this attempt at CCRM.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One Day Work-Up Appt. at CCRM

Well, I think it went pretty well overall. I'll start with a picture. CCRM was a large building that was solely occupied by the group. As you walk into the 2 story entryway, there is a waterfall behind where we are standing. It was so impressive! Unfortunately, our camera died, (and of course the back-up battery was at home) so this was the only pic we have to post. We will take many more photos of the gorgeous Rocky Mountains on our next trip out there. We stayed until Saturday. But, it feels good to be home today. :-)

But on to what everyone wants to hear about: the appt! Below are the steps we took throughout the long day of testing...

1) We met with the Business Office/Financial area first. Nothing like getting the bad news out on the table immediately. We did go ahead and give them a $1000 refundable deposit so that we could get started ASAP following Dr. Schoolcraft's approval. That's only a drop in the ~$25,000 bucket this cycle will probably end up costing us. I sooo hope there is a baby at the end of this...

2) Steve did "his business." They did use some of my blood (drawn later in the day) to test for anti-sperm antibodies. Seems reasonable...

3) We met with one of our nurses. CCRM assigns a primary and a secondary nurse to each patient. She was so knowledgeable. Yay! We grilled her for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only about 2 hours...

4) My favorite part: the baseline u/s and doppler flow studies. We had a sonographer perform the procedure. She asked me "Have you ever had a vaginal u/s?" I said "Yes, many times" but what I really wanted to scream was "I've had so many u/s tours through my vagina that I'm thinking about charging admission." But seriously, I've gotta hand it to this lady--she was better than any physician I've ever had to do a vag u/s. She saw something interesting immediately on the screen: a big bladder. And I had just emptied it literally one minute before the procedure. Completely (or at least so I thought). She said "Wow. You may want to get that checked out." Great. Now I need to add a urologist to my list of doctors? Aetna hates me this year. Anyway, the rest of the exam looked good: no scars, fibroids, cysts, etc. Also, I had great blood flow to my ovaries = no need to have acupuncture. Thank goodness! I hated those stupid needles in my ears...But, she did find something alarming at the end of the u/s. In order to get my AFC, she began counting on the right ovary first. She got up to 18 (on just the right side) and said "You've got A LOT of follicles, has anyone ever mentioned PCOS?" I wasn't totally taken off guard as Dr. Schoolcraft did mention it OVER THE PHONE. But I'm pissed! If someone can read a chart and mention his thoughts over the phone, don't you think that the doctors at IRH could've noticed it on the numerous baseline u/s I've had since last October? Dr. Awadouchebag (as Steve refers to him and now I've come to call him as well) blows. The left ovary only had around 12-13, so all in all, I had an AFC over 30. So, that's good that it's high, but bad that I might have PCOS.

5) We both had tons of b/w drawn. Normal labwork, screenings for genetic disorders and communicable diseases, the aforementioned anti-sperm antibody screening, and list goes on. I gotta admit that I was glad that Steve was able to slightly share in some of my pain by getting stuck. All in all, I had 8 vials of blood drawn and he had 3 vials. We are so impressed with their attention to every detail. I love CCRM.

6) I had a hysteroscopy next performed by Dr. Minjarez (due to some late scheduling changes). I was glad to have her as I was really worried about PCOS following the u/s (and PCOS is one of her "special interests"). She was very nice, funny, etc. The test went well and ended with my favorite line from REs: "Your uterus looks beautiful." Dr. M did say that while I didn't have any cysts on the hysteroscopy, that I may still have the syndrome. We won't know until my Day 3 b/w comes back. The conclusive diagnostic test for PCOS is an abnormal LH/FSH ratio, which is normally 1:1. With PCOS, it's common to have a low or normal FSH, an elevated LH, which can mean a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. So, we have to wait on this one. Dr. Schoolcraft will decide at that time whether or not I need to be started on Metformin.

7) We were supposed to end with the FLC (CCRM's lab) Consent Review with signing lots more forms, but we were tired and I think they may have been tired of us as well, so we just went home with the promise to read over the info and finish up when we return next time.

So, when will the next time be? If all goes as planned, we may be cycling at the end of August. The only problem? The Democratic National Convention is in Denver during Aug. 25-28. Lovely. So, I'm not sure how that will factor into everything. That was the only bad week all summer at CCRM, so I'm not surprised that it would fall to be my time to come out for my stims and ER. I guess I could be a little happy if I were a Dem and try to go to the convention, but alas, I'm a Republican...Why couldn't Denver be the site of the Republican Convention??

Things to do beforehand:
1) Get endometrial biopsy 9-11 dpo on this current cycle.
2) Get Day 3 b/w drawn and sent to CCRM on the beginning of the next cycle.
3) Wait.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Come Fly With Me

Steve and I just arrived in Denver. We are sitting at a local Starbucks, wishing we could have caffeine :-(, and trying to find out directions to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. It's huge with all of the shopping places we would ever want to check out...

Ummm...in more important news, we have our appt. tomorrow! Woohoo! We will be seeing Dr. Surrey as Dr. Schoolcraft is OOT for the holiday weekend. Our heads are spinning with all of the questions we need to ask, etc. I'll update the blog following the appt. I know I've been REALLY bad lately about blogging, but we have been busy...

We went on vacation to Hilton Head with Steve's family. My first visit to HH--what a relaxing place! We stayed at a house in Sea Pines, rode bikes and basically hung out at the beach all week. While I'm very partial to the West Coast of Florida due to having lived in Naples for a couple of years, I certainly thought HH was a great place. We would love to go back in the future.

To quickly wrap things up (I'll write more later): I wanted to recognize my dear friend Christi from "Our Journey." She has selected me as a recipient of the Pink Rose Award--what a sweetie!! Christi and I met on TTTC. We cycled together during my1st (her 2nd) IVF in Feb/Mar. We began really chatting once both our cycles failed. She is such a great help to me going through this troubling time. I am so grateful for our friendship. We have talked about meeting up later irl when we have kids at Disney-ha! She's cycling with Dr. Sch at CCRM as well (she's about a month ahead of me). So, we've gotten even closer since all this begin. Love you girl!!

I'm going to award this to 3 AWESOME LADIES!!
1) Jen (Maybe if you just relax)- Jen always makes me laugh, no matter what kind of crappy moment I might be having. She has "relaxed" and is pregnant! So happy for her! I look forward to laughing more about her pg journey, which no doubt will be filled with lots of laughter!
2) Meg (Lawyers Do Not Eat Their Young) - Meg is a great gal from Buffalo who also has a great sense of humor. I always love reading her blog (although I apologize for being absent lately). I'm rooting for you to achieve a sticky BFP soon!
3) Wendy (Our Story: A Blof About Infertility) - Wendy just recently failed her 2nd IVF cycle. Words can't describe what pain I know she is going through, but just know I think of you often and am always here for you if you need a friend. You will be a mother, just hang in there!
4) I have an honorary rose to give to Emily (No Expectations Except a Baby). Christi has already been tagged for the award on her blog, but I did want to recognize you too. :-)
Here's how to pass it on:
1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post: http://smartone.typepad.com/smartone/2008/05/pink-is-my-favo.html. You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.
2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.
3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.
4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.
5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.
6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else.