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.