Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Has the Fat Lady Sung?

Bright red blood at 10am this morning....definitely more than just spotting. More cramping...AF is on her way I just know it. How could this happen? Beta was "perfect" yesterday. I thought you couldn't get your period while you're on progesterone?

My head says this is all over but my heart still wants to believe. I will go in for a beta test tomorrow as usual but history says that my head usually wins out.

Living in Slow Motion

About 30 more hours till we find out if we're still in the game here.  I have so many feelings occuring all at once it's really difficult to concentrate at work.

Last night, E and I decided to celebrate a little with a dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants.  I didn't feel like cooking and we didn't go out to eat all weekend so we decided a Monday evening out was in order.  We of course couldn't talk about anything but what was going on in my nether regions. We both confessed how scary this was and how worried we are that this won't work out. 

E has a much better perspective on all this than I do.  Maybe it's because he doesn't have to analyze every single spot, twinge, cramp, etc. like I do.  He is hopeful, but cautious...I can see how happy he is on the inside though.  He is excited that this is the furtherest we've gotten and that IVF may indeed work for us.  He reassures me that no matter what we'll get through this.  He is exactly what I need.

I had a teeny bit of brown spotting last night when we got home from dinner. E again reassured me that this was totally normal.  Thankfully I haven't had any more spotting this morning -but cramping on and off.  And no more sore boobs. I loved the sore boobs! They were a great reminder of what was going on in my body.

I'm having a hard time sleeping and I think these next few days are going to be some of the more difficult we've had to endure.  I know the chances of miscarriage are increased with IVF, then I think they're even increased with women with endometriosis too.  I just want so badly for this to be the end of our journey and I'm doing my best to hang in there.

Monday, January 30, 2012


That's beta #1 at 14dp5dt.  It's a very good number...now I have to go back on Wednesday to make sure it doubles.

I've never gotten this far before so why am I not jumping for joy?  I am a little happy I guess, but not as happy as I thought I'd be. I'm more scared and worried than ever though.  This rollercoaster has taught me that just when you let your guard down, put on a smile and let go of the safety bar - WHAM! It hits you with a drop you never could have expected.

I guess I am just wating to be disapointed and hurt again.  I certainly didn't think this cycle would work so maybe I'm just waiting to be proven right.  I have no idea...it feels so strange. This is everything I have been hoping for and yet I can't seem to be excited about it.  Our happy ending still has so many question marks to it and I feel sad that I think I'm bringing E down.  He's elated and I just wish I was too.

Here are just a few of the thoughts that are screaming through my head at any given second:

OMG and I ready to be a mom?
Will I be a good mom?
What if this is ectopic, I end up in the hospital and I lose a tube?
What if we get to 8 weeks and there's no hearbeat?
Can I finally start changing the office into a baby's room?
What if I'm too strict like my dad was?
What if my beta doesn't double, how will I pick myself back up?
I wonder if this will help/hurt my endo?
How soon will be try for number 2?

Yeah, I know - all sorts of weird weird stuff going around in my head. 

About to Throw Up

Today is beta day.  I went in for bloodwork about a hour ago, and now I have to wait...

I caved on Friday night and tested...it was faintly positive. I had never seen one before so I had E come in to inspect. He saw something too. 

I tested 2x on Saturday morning, 2x on Sunday morning and 2x this morning...all positive. I am 14dp5dt or 19 days past ovulation.  I am so nervous though this is going to be a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage, an ectopic...you name it.  This morning's Answer test seemed less strong than yesterday, but those tests I swear are the worst.  My breasts were really sore on Friday and Saturday...Sunday and today not so much. The presence of symptoms is making me crazy, the absence of symptoms is making me even more crazy.

I'll write more about this whole experience later, but I wanted to update you.  I just can't believe that we'll get our happy ending. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Resolve is Weakening

I had promised myself I would wait to test until beta day.  When I found out that beta day was going to be delayed a day because my clinic, the largest in the nation mind you, doesn't do betas on the weekend, I just about flipped. I am going to have to wait ONE MORE DAY!?!?

So I rationalized with myself that I would allow a HPT on Sunday the 30th because that's when my true beta should be done.  There would be a lessened chance of error on that day.  Well I've got essentially 2 more days until Sunday and I'm dying over here...just dying.

I am convinced we're out this cycle and I just need to know so I can move on.  I feel stalled....the uncertainty is killing me when I know in my heart that this didn't work. I need biological confirmation.  I'm starting to feel crampy...the same symptoms I had for a week before my last failed fresh IVF.  The cramps didn't come on at the same time and they're not quite as bad, but cramps all the same.  Absolutely no other symptoms. 

I'm so sure this didn't work that I'm starting to wonder if I should test tomorrow morning. We have plans to babysit my cousin's kids on Saturday night - probably not the best idea but my cousin and her husband are wonderful people and they don't get a date night very often I couldn't turn them down. Plus we love love their kids.

If I test and I know it's negative, it might make babysitting harder. If I test and out of some miracle it's positive, will I be able to trust the results?  I know what I need to do in my head, but my heart wants to test so badly.  Going to ask E what he wants to do...I may have news tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mind, body and spirit

It's extremely difficult to keep all these things at their peak during the trying to conceive journey.  It's exhausting to remember all your meds, shots, vitamins, no lifiting anything over 25 lbs.  Exhausting to endure excruciating periods, BFN after BFN after BFN, pregnancy announcements, silly comments from strangers and the many other hurtful things that only infertiles can explain. 

I've always focused my energy on keeping my body in the best baby-friendly condition.  My faith has wained but in the last few months, I've decided to take better care of the mind portion.  E and I joined a support group and I see a therapist regularly.  It really wasn't until my younger sister announced her pregnancy in August that I really jumped into the therapy idea.  The first session was a little weird and awkward but each session, I learned more about my feelings, I discovered some coping strategies and gained important perspective on some of my actions. 

I always had a slightly negative opinion about people who needed therapy.  Being a strong and independent woman, I never thought I'd be the type to need it.  To put it lightly, I have learned otherwise.  No matter the individual, we all go through hard times and sometimes you just need guidance on how to deal with situations you've never faced. We don't have all the answers - especially in infertility when the level of effort does not proportionally equal the results.

I am lucky to have found an excellent therapist who specializes in infertility and to attend a great support group.  The girls in the group got together Saturday for lunch - our first non-sanctioned gathering.  I thought it might be a little awkward, but we all had such a great time.  We went for pizza at a casual restaurant and just talked about whatever - infertility, vacations, doctors, treatments, and weekend plans.  We have old, we have young, we have African American women, Indian women, stay at home wives and career women.  Infertility doesn't discriminate it seems.  I am so grateful for their encouragement, advice and words of wisdom.  They often make me feel like I can get through this terrible journey and of course let me know that I'm not alone.

If you have a friend who's going through infertility, let her vent, get angry, laugh, cry - whatever she needs. She just needs you not to judge or offer trite solutions.   This journey affects us all differently and for those of you in the middle of it, I would encourage you to find some sort of support whether it's through a group or a proffessional.  I can't tell you how much it has helped.

So once a month or so we go to group and once a week I go to therapy...hoping I won't need these for very much longer but if I do...I do and that's that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


So much is going on right now - work has been nuts, adoption, infertility - just lots to think about and not enough time to write about it all. 

I have counseling tonight which means I'll get home a little early so I hope to have some time to write about what's been going on. 

Seven more days till beta day...and six more days till I take a HPT.  I am really doing well with the waiting this time around, likely because I feel absolutely nothing and have no hope this worked.  Ok, off to get analyzed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And so it begins

Yesterday afternoon we had an initial meeting with our adoption agency who will be conducting our home study.  I had thought this first meeting would be 1 of the 3 meetings required for the home study but it wasn't.  Basically we spent an entire hour and 20 mins signing initial paperwork and going over the many many documents we will need to submit.

There's fingerprints, background checks, in-depth financial records and budgeting, personal references, letters to employers and references from our pastor.  It's incredibly overwhelming that's for certain but I'm thrilled we're moving forward with the adoption plan.

In our state, home studies are good for 3 years and if something significant changes, you only have to do an update which is much less involved and a little less expensive.  This is great because I have always thought adoption would be for us even if we did end up having biological children.  We have adopted children in our family and we can't imagine life without them.  E's brother and his wife adopted internationally a number of years ago.  My niece is the most beautiful child and she adds to much to our family. 

We made an appointment for our first true home study meeting for next Thursday. I was definitely surprised as to how quickly they moved. I thought it would be another 2-3 weeks before we met again, but nope...next Thursday it is.  I think it scared E a little that the meeting was going to happen so quickly.  I know he's on board with adoption, but I think it made him a little nervous to be moving ahead so quickly knowing that there's still a slim chance I could be pregnant. 

This afternoon, a few of the gals from my infertility support group are headed to lunch. I've been looking forward to it since the email went around asking if anyone was interested.  I think they'll be about 9 of us at lunch.  Sometimes, most times in fact - it's just nice to be around people who really "get it." I don't have to pretend, they all understand what it's like to live in the hell of uncertainty. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Make a New Plan, Stan

So besides reading fertility blogs, one of my favorite infertile pastimes is future cycle planning.  I will sit and analyze all the upcoming options, timing, outcomes until I'm blue in the face. I draw up spreadsheets, decision trees, timelines all in the name of making sense out of the uncertainty that lies ahead.

I'm only 3 days into my 2WW for this FET and I've already drawn up the decision tree moving forward should this cycle fail.  At this point, I'm really expecting it to. I mean, I had 19 eggs...19 freaking eggs retrieved and only 3 fertilized! Now those 3 did grow into 5-day blasts, but still - that's terrible odds.

As it stands...we have some options come beta day.  Friday is our first meeting with an adoption agency.  We've already submitted our paperwork and previously attended the info session so this is our first homestudy meeting.  I'm very excited and nervous about it.  We've been seriously considering adoption for the past 3 months now and we're ready to begin paperwork to be homestudy approved.  We are just ready to become parents.

We are currently in a Shared Risk program at our clinic but will not go forward with another fresh cycle until I've been tested for immune issues.  I have stage 4 endometriosis and don't feel its prudent to go for another round of IVF before knowing if there could be other issues at play.  I am pretty sure my current RE, RE #3, will not be on board with the testing so I've already taken the liberty of seeing an RE in the area who is a "believer."  Immune issues are very controversial in the infertility world so I had to seek out a specialist who understands the issues and the treatments.  We met with her last month and she definitely thinks I could be a candidate for immune issues and has agreed to test us if it comes to that.

Let's play the "IF" game, shall we?  If  this cycle fails, I will get tested for immune issues before deciding on any further treatment.  If I'm negative for immune issues, we'll likely go for one more (and our last) try at a fresh IVF cycle with a different protocol.  We will still continue with the homestudy paperwork.  If we are positive for immune issues, we have some choices.  I wouldn't do another round of IVF with my current RE knowing I have immune issues because he won't treat them during the cycle.  It would be a waste. So we either switch clinics and try another round with the immune-issue-friendly RE #4 or drop the treatments and concentrate solely on adoption for now.

We'd get our 20K back from the current clinic but we would need to decide if it's worth risking our adoption money on another IVF treatment.  The treatment for immune issues is quite expensive and then you add the actual IVF treatment itself and well, we'd need to save up for the remainder of the year if that IVF failed and we had to pursue adoption more aggressively.

If I haven't confused you totally, you can see that we have some options to work with.  I'm constantly playing the "what if" game in my head every day and all I really want is for this FET to be it so I can stop playing these silly games. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2dp 5dt

So for any of you who can't read IVF code, I'm 2 days past my transfer of a 5-day embryo. 

Monday went pretty much as planned. I had an accupuncture session scheduled for right before transfer. That was actually great to have just an hour before the procedure. I think it helped to calm me down.  My usual accupuncturist wasn't working on Sunday so she referred me to another practice in the same building as my RE so logistically it was wonderful too.  The whole morning prior to acupuncture though my stomach was in knots.  I kept thinking we were going to get the call that neither of my 2 embryos survived the thaw.  I was checking my phone like a crazy woman but thankfully, that call never came.

The clinic was packed that morning - boy they must be making money hand over fist!  We were called back into the transfer room right on time.  I had a different RE than mine because this is a large practice and they rotate which doctors perform retrievals and transfers.  So when he came it, he told me they had to thaw both embryos.  The one was only 40% expanded and wouldn't grow any further.  The second was 90-95% expanded and was looking good.  I was definitely nervous and scared but tried to look on the bright side, at least we had something to transfer.  Afterwards, I wished we had transfered both.  I know the RE said it wasn't going to grow any further but I didn't like the idea of my embryo being "discarded."  I would have rather it go right back into me and that would be the end.  Things happened pretty fast and we made a quick choice. It wouldn't have changed any success/failure rates with this cycle but I think I would've felt better.

So while the doc was in my lady parts, he says "Ok here we are. It looks like you have a little fibroid there and there's the catheter...." Wait, what?!?! I have fibroids now? I was shocked, confused and scared again.  I have tons of crap going on in there and now we're adding fibroids to the list.  So I mustered up all my strength to ask "What, wait about a fibroid? I've never had that before."  The doc goes back over to look and says that he thinks it could be a cyst instead but it's not inside the uterus and won't compromise the success rates.  I was a little relieved...and then noted that yes I have 2 cycts on my ovaries - to which the nurse replied, she thought it was a cyst too.  MY GOD people.  Give me a heart attack.

The whole procedure took less than 5 minutes but it's extremely emotional.  I thought that we'd get another shot at bat with an FET if this one didn't work, but we won't so that was a tough pill to swallow.  I'll post later on the plan of attack, but for now I'm PUPO but not optimistic.

The doc gave us a 38% pregnancy rate.... so there's a 62% failure rate. I wouldn't take those odds in Vegas so I'm assuming this is all a bust.  My beta test is scheduled for 1/30 - which is a day longer than usual.  I guess my clinic doesn't do betas on the weekends - WTF the biggest fertility clinic in the Nation and they don't do these on the weekend - I was so pissed!  I had resigned myself to waiting to test until beta day and now I've got to wait a day longer. I don't think I can bear the news on a weekday, so we'll likely test on the 29th...when my beta should truly be.

I feel totally fine, totally myself except for the pit of despair in my stomach.  I didn't start cramping until about 7 days past transfer last time so I'm preparing myself for impending pain.  Wow, so upbeat today!

I'll be back later to let you know our plans if this is a no-go.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ya Gotta Have Faith

This entire journey has really put my faith to the test.  I grew up a practicing Catholic, even attended Catholic grammar school, high school and college.  Church on Sundays was a must in my home as were prayers before meals.

The first year of our trying to conceive journey, I attended Mass, well - religiously.  I was there every Sunday. I wore a St. Gerard medal my cousin had given me and I believed that God would soon bless us with a child if I prayed long and hard enough.  For those of you who don't know, St. Gerard is the patron Saint of mothers and those who hope to be mothers.  I used to carry his prayer card in my purse.

During that first year, E (the husband) would joke that I intended to nag God to death in the hopes we'd get pregnant. Hey, I thought, whatever works!

When the months became a year, and the year became yearS, I started to loose faith a bit.  But I still hung on to that notion that when you're at your worst, God is right there with you every step of the way.  Problem was, I really couldn't feel it at all.

In those first few months of treatment, I wore my medal to every IUI and appointment. I'd recite my prayers before every procedure and surgery. I'd make "deals" with God stating that only if he'd let this be a positive pregnancy test, I'd never miss another Sunday Mass.

Now that our journey has reached the 2.5 year mark and the involvement of IVF...I feel completely lost, detached, hypocritical, angry and down right pissed.  The Catholic church does not believe in using IUIs or IVF to achieve pregnancy as it (in their eyes) does not treat human life and reproduction with the respect it deserves.  I will not go into that whole debate here but I will say, it has been very difficult for me to accept that this type of procedure is likely what it will take for me to achieve what I want most in this world - to expand my family.

I am not quite sure why the IUIs didn't bother me as much but I think it has to do with the fact that at least the sperm and egg were meeting in my body and life would begin there. So I needed a little help with getting the sperm in there...I still did not see this as a huge problem with my faith.  I do feel like I'm a hypocritical Catholic by engaging in IVF procedures and it took a lot for me to go forward in that arena.

Also, I haven't been able to attend Mass in the last 6 months without crying.  I look around at all the happy families and the children and I am reminded every second with what God has not blessed us with.  It hurts too much to be in His house and have that reminder staring me right in the face as they're turned backwards in their pew making adorable little faces at me.

Christmas was especially heart-wrenching.  We had already planned ahead and decline an invitation from my Aunt to join them and my cousins for Christmas Eve Mass downtown.  I wanted to go to the church near our house as I just love the choir so much and I knew there'd be tears. I didn't want to have to explain to anyone why I was crying.

So E and I got dressed in our Christmas Eve best, headed off to Mass early to get a seat and plunked down in the pew. The choir was already singing carols which put me in good spirits.  Then as I sat there not 5 whole minutes longer did the tears started to well up.

This was Christmas, we're celebrating the birth of a child.  How fun is that for an infertile, right?  I had no children to celebrate, no pregnancy to look forward to.  Our first IVF had failed 2 weeks prior.  Here I was singing about how wonderful it was that a child has been born and I F*ing can't get pregnant. Have never been pregnant.

It was just too much to handle - the emotions, my struggles with our choice in treatment vs. my faith teachings.  I asked E if he'd be mad if we left...he said absolutely not.  So we did, we left.  Just grabbed our coats and high-tailed it outta that church.  This was the first time I'd ever missed Christmas Mass in my entire life.  It felt odd but much better than the pain and hurt I felt sitting in that pew. 

We left, headed home, tried to cheer ourselves up with gifts and champagne. It didn't quite work but then soon it was time to go to my Aunt's house for dinner, so I had reapply the makeup that had dripped from my eyes and put on a happy face.  We managed to have a nice night in the end though.

I still struggle with my faith and the people we know who are aware of our situation are praying for us.  But I honestly have to say, that I'll leave it to them.  I pray for other things now...nothing fertility related. It's just not working so I've changed my tune now when on rare occasion I do pray.  Others say to me, pray on it....and I tell them I'll have to leave it to them.  I think they are a little taken aback by my response but I'm telling the truth. He ain't listening to me, so maybe he'll listen to others. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And We're Back On Again

I always liken this infertility experience to the scariest, most expensive rollercoaster ride I've ever been on.  Lining looked great today...new transfer date is scheduled for Monday.  I was thrilled when the nurse had Mr. Wandy in me for about 5 secs and my RE said, oh wow, great lining. I almost passed out from sheer relief. 

So now I start my progesterone suppositories tomorrow morning.  I asked for the suppositories because I've heard so many horror stories of the progesterone in oil shots.  Plus, I'm really tired of needles so I figured I could handle these much better. Yes, they're incredibly messy but not having to get another shot in the a$$ is worth it. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Lining Check

So I had my lining check on Friday morning.  No big deal...I've never had any issues with my lining before so I didn't think too much about it.  That was until the nurse told me my lining was at 4.3! It's supposed to be at 8 at this point.  I was devestated and I cried for the better part of the day.  My husband wasn't there with me and I was suddenly very upset about this as well. Hormones, hormones - how I love thee.

They had me add estrace to my regimen which has been fun.  I've taken it orally before, but they want me to put it...you know, down there.  And that's not the most interesting part.  Oh no - I have to make sure I wear a panty liner everyday because those little estrace pills are turquoise and well, you get the picture if you're in this game.  It's just very odd to see this strange new color down there. 

My transfer date has been postponed indefinitely until after I go in for another lining check tomorrow morning.

I honestly don't really have any hope that we'll be able to go forward with this cycle.  I went out and bought some royal jelly because someone somewhere told me it might help.  After having forgotten my morning doese of estrace this morning, I'm very very much worried now.  I'll update tomorrow morning, but things are not looking up - what else is new?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who's Got it Worse?

Last night was support group night which always makes me feel a little better.  My husband and I belong to a support group for infertile couples.  We meet once a month to share about our experiences - with family, doctors, friends, our spouses, etc.  I really like going because it makes me feel normal, like I'm not the only one going through this and the crazy thoughts that are swimming in my head are normal for people going through this traumatic time like we are.  I highly reccommend a support group for all those other infertiles out there. The first meeting can be tough to go to, but you'll be so glad you went.  Sometimes I go alone, sometimes my husband comes along too. It's just nice to be around others who "get it."

The thing is, that there are 3 couples (including me and my husband) who will have found out if our treatment for this cycle has worked before our next meeting. It's not really a rule, but generally discouraged that those who become pregnant should refrain from attending. Frankly, they'd probably want to. We can be a brutal group.  Well when we all left last night - we all said to eachother, "I hope I never have to see you back here again!" 

I meant it so much for myself but also for them as well - I think maybe I might even want success for them a little more than I want it for myself. The thing about suffering like this, is there's always someone who's had it a little worse or a little longer than you.  I know my husband and I can make it through this. Adoption is a very real option that's on the table right now and we're prepared to go full speed ahead if these treatments don't work.  Also, I'm relatively young in the fertility years so I feel I have time on my side to build a family in other ways - though hubby is 11 years older than I so he feels some pressure I know. 

In listening to these 2 particular couples' stories over the past 6-7 months, they've been through more treatment cycles than we have, spent more money and it seems endured more loss.  Not to downplay what I've been through at all because 2.5 years of trying is long enough, but I want them to be happy because they deserve it.  They are all good people who will love a child so much and will become excellent parents. The really crappy thing about all of this is that infertility certainly isn't fair, it touches many of us who don't deserve it...and there's nothing we can do to change that fact.  There's no line that says, "stand here, and when you've reached rock bottom, you'll get your baby."

I am just hoping and praying that February's support group is minus 3 couples.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beginning in the middle

So quickly, I'll let you know I'm in the middle of FET #1 right now.  I have my lining check on Friday and my transfer is scheduled for January 11th.  We've got two 5-day blasts frozen from IVF #1 in Novemeber.  The plan is to transfer 1 next week. I'm terrified, hopeless, hopeful, frustrated, exhausted and worried. This infertility rollercoaster I've been on for 2.5 years has screwed with every single aspect of my life and I'm really really ready to get off.  Anyone else?

I'm here...here I am

I've contemplating starting a blog since I began my fertility - oh wait - infertility journey.  I was always a journal writier as a teen and I suppose this blog may just be my new outlet. I realize this isn't as private but I think it's the connections I've felt through reading other infertility blogs that has drawn me here.  Maybe it's the new year, or maybe because today is my 3 year wedding anniversary.  Not sure yet how this will all turn out, but I'm here - with so many of you - living in the waiting room.