Saturday, November 12, 2011

21 Week Check in

Here is a quick update on me this week. I can't believe I'm 21 weeks!!

Weight gain/loss: Still down a few pounds last I checked. I feel like I’m getting huge though!
Maternity clothes? Absolutely! Pants anyway. I tried to wear my other pants and I had to unbutton them an hour into my work day.
Stretch marks? Still not 100% sure. A couple of red marks on my belly but I’m sure if they are from too-tight pants or if they are early stretch marks
Sleep? Not bad! Zantac helps so much and the extra hour with the time change was heavenly.
Best moment of the week? I feel the babies!! I was able to confirm it with the Doppler. I thought I was feeling them and we had the Doppler on and I felt the kick and heard the movement at the same time.
Food Cravings: Milk and ice cream. I wonder if I need more calcium?
Belly button in or out? Still in
Movement: Now that I know I am feeling them, I feel them all the time! It’s amazing and creepy all at the same time. LOL
What I miss: I’ve had a few nights where I really wanted a drink, but overall I’m doing alright.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Anatomy Scan was Today

And the babies looked great!!! Scrappy was in a great position so the tech started getting measurements right away. No abnormalities (aside from a single umbilical artery on Scrappy, which can be totally incidental). 2 little hearts, 2 little brains, 4 little kidneys, everything on both babies was where it should be and looked totally normal. Scrappy is small, measuring about 2 weeks behind, but that could be from the single umbilical artery and me not being able to eat much in the past few weeks.

And the sexes are......

Girls!!! We are team Pink all the way. Two little girls! I am so excited and ready to move forward with this pregnancy without constantly worrying about major genetic issues.

Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers. I truly believe that they helped with the wonderful results we got today. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The high highs and the low lows

I'm pretty sure in the past 4 months, this pregnancy has resulted in as many tears as the 2 1/2 years we spent trying to conceive. Don't get me wrong, a lot of those tears have been happy, but it has certainly been a roller coaster. From the moment I saw the flickering of those two little heartbeats on the ultrasound screen, I have felt some of the happiest and some of the scariest feelings in my life.

One thing I have absolutely loved about being pregnant is how much stronger I feel things, particularly in relation to the babies. I hear a song on the radio that makes me think of the babies and I will cry, no matter where I am and what is so awesome about being pregnant is that I don't care that I'm crying. I have no shame. I have pulled up to the Starbucks drive thru with tears running down my cheeks from a song on the radio and I'm not embarrassed.

The flip side to that is when we get bad news or I feel that the pregnancy is threatened, the emotions I feel are amplified beyond my imagination. I have had several bleeding scares during my pregnancy. The first was around 8 weeks. I was at the point where I was feeling pretty confident about things. I hadn't had any spotting or cramping in the first month of pregnancy and I was really starting to get smug about how well things were going. Then I went to the bathroom and there was blood. I was so scared and in total shock. Being forced to face the fact that this pregnancy can end at any time without warning was the worst feeling. I cried and hugged Tim and prayed that everything would be OK. An ultrasound the following morning showed both babies where they were supposed to be with strong heart beats.

More recently, I received some not-so-good news from my MFM (maternal-fetal medicine doctor). I had a first trimester screen done at 13 weeks and the results were not normal (my bloodwork was lost and we didn't get the results until 16 weeks!). My bloodwork showed a 1:46 chance of either trisomy 18 or 13. I was devastated and I cried big ugly tears when we got home. Tim and I spent the next 2 days in a state of shock, fear and depression. We talked about the 'what ifs' at the same time trying to squash the horrible sadness and fear that kept creeping up.

Follow up bloodwork showed a dramatic reduciton in the risk of trisomy 18, unfortunately, there is no way to gather more information about trisomy 13 without doing an amniocentesis and Tim and I decided that the risks of the amnio outweighed the benefits of knowing the results. After speaking with my OB, we feel that although there is a chance we may have a child with a genetic issue, it is still unlikely, and if our anatomy scan does not show any major abnormalities, we can feel fairly confident that things will be alright.

Tomorrow afternoon is my anatomy scan. I am so excited to see the babies, but at the same time, I am so incredibly scared about what they might find. I don't know how I will handle it if one of the babies is sick. I would give anything to be a blissfully ignorant teenager right now. I'm sure that 16 year old girls who get pregnant don't spend a lot of time fretting over the possibility of genetic abnormalities in their babies.

Any thoughts and prayers you can spare for the scan tomorrow would be appreciated. I will update as soon as I can.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

18 week update

Here are some stats on my progress:

Weight gain/loss: Amazingly none so far, I go between a 2 pound loss and maintain since my BFP. Food is starting to stay down better though, so I'm sure it will become an issue soon

Maternity clothes? Sometimes. I have a few pairs of mat jeans that I wear sometimes, but my regular jeans still fit. I don't think I have any mat. tops.

Stretch marks? Aside from the ones I already had?? I think I see one starting across my belly.

Sleep? OK. I have been battling reflux for several weeks now and that has kept me up, but I started taking Zantac 2 days ago and it seems so much better now!

Best moment this week? We have a little doppler so we can listen to the babies at home. I had the probe on and Tim came over and tapped on my tummy, a second later, Scooby tapped back. It was pretty awesome :)

Food cravings: Carbs, mainly bagels. Frozen coffee drinks, which I can't have nearly as often as I would like.

Sex: The u/s tech made a guess at 16 weeks, but I'm reserving an 'official' announcement until our 20 week scan.

Belly button in or out? In, but OMG it's getting shallower! So weird!

Movement? Maybe? I think I can feel Scooby sometimes, but not Scrappy. Scrappy is smaller with an anterior placenta so I bet it will be awhile.

What I miss? Unlimited caffeine. Not puking. LOL

What I'm looking forward to: Anatomy scan in 2 weeks. I can't wait to see them again!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Highlights of First Trimester

I have been a horrible blogger and I promise to be better in the coming weeks/months. First, let me fill you in on the highlights of the past few months. I am 18 weeks 2 days pregnant today, so we have some ground to cover.

My pregnancy started out like any other IVF pregnancy, with Beta Hell. Beta Hell consists of multiple blood draws over the course of several weeks. The RE likes to look at HCG levels to ensure that the numbers are rising properly. It is expected that the beta HCG level will double every 48 to 72 hours. My betas did OK, but weren't stellar. They typically doubled every 50-70 hours. On one hand, it was really nice to see the numbers go up and know that SOMETHING was happening, but waiting for the phone call with the latest numbers was BRUTAL! I did betas about every 72 hours from week 4 to week 6. Once my levels were over 1000, my RE scheduled my first ultrasound which happened at 7 weeks exactly.

Tim came with me to the first u/s and we were both so nervous and excited. Dr. Cof came in and explained what we should expect. He said that there were 2 things that he wanted to confirm at this time. First, he expected that the baby would have a heartbeat, second, he needed to confirm that the baby was in the uterus. If both of these things were confirmed, the risk of miscarriage dropped from about 30% to about 5%. I braced myself for the u/s, so scared of what we might find, but so hopeful for our little one.

Dr. Cof inserted the u/s probe and I quickly identified my uterus. Almost just as quickly, I saw a little blob with a quick flicker that I knew was our baby. I immediately burst into tears. Dr. Cof said 'I see a baby with a heartbeat' and I said, through gasping sobs, 'I know! I see it too!!!' Tim did not know what to do. He doesn't have experience looking at ultrasound images, so he had no idea what was going on and when he heard me sobbing, he immediately thought the worst. Once Dr. Cof pointed out our LO, he was in love. I continued to cry through most of the scan. Dr. Cof scanned around before measuring our little 'Shortround' and after a moment he said 'I see a second sac and I think there might be something in there'. My heart stopped - Oh my God, twins!? I didn't know what to think. I was so happy and so scared all at once. I couldn't believe that both embryos took, but I could see that this little one was smaller and didn't look quite the same as the first.

After a few moments of watching this little sac/blob we were all convinced that there was a little flicker in there too. We had 2 babies, with 2 heart beats! Dr. Cof did his measurements and showed that Baby A (who we have since dubbed 'Scooby') was measuring exactly on track and Baby B ('Scrappy' of course) was measuring several days behind. The doctor informed us that it was a 50/50 chance that Scrappy would not be there at our next scan.

I spent the following weeks on a cloud. All I could think was 'I am pregnant, OMG, I am ACTUALLY pregnant!' I started telling people our good news pretty quickly after that u/s, but I kept the news of twins mostly to myself and our immediate family. Knowing that it was a 50/50 chance that Scrappy was going to make it, I didn't want to have to un-tell a lot of people if the worst happened.

Fast forward to week 9. I have graduated and I am going in for my first OB appointment. The doctor came in and went straight to the ultrasound (again internal). I don't think that Tim or I took a breath in the first moments, we were so scared about what we might find. After taking a quick peek at Scooby, the doctor turned her attention to where Scrappy should be. In a moment we knew, Scrappy was a fighter! There was little Scrappy on the screen, still smaller, but definitely growing with an obvious heartbeat at the same pace as his/her sibling. I couldn't believe it!

As the weeks have gone on, we have had a lot of ultrasounds. Initially we were going in almost every week to make sure that little Scrappy was growing. Every week, we have been amazed at both babies' progress. About a week after we first saw Scooby move, we saw Scrappy move. Now they both seem to be doing great and we are getting scans every 4 weeks now (along with cervical ultrasounds every 2 weeks). We came out with the news about our double blessing around 13 weeks. Here I am 18 weeks and I still can't believe it. I am pregnant. I am going to have 2 babies. I am so happy (and scared, I'm not gonna lie!). I am doing my best to enjoy every minute because I know that it is going to go by so fast.

Without further ado, here's a picture of little Scooby and Scrappy from around 10 weeks. Scrappy is longways on the left and the top of Scooby's head and little hands are on the right. I am so in love!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preparing for Parenthood

So I think the dogs are trying to prepare us for parenthood. I should start by saying that all of the dogs are in our bedroom, but they each have their own kennel 'room' that they are expected to be in at nigh and whenever we aren't home.

Last night at 3 am, Flash started whimpering. Just a quiet little whimper, but it almost seemed like a scared noise so both Tim and I wondered if he was having a bad dream or something. We said soothing stuff to him and he quieted down for a minute, but then he started up again. Tim got up and took him outside and he peed and went back into his room, but then started crying again. So I turned the light on and low and behold, he had thrown up in his room. Tim cleaned it (thank God!) and tried to put Flash back, but he wouldn't lay down. So Tim let Flash into the bed (I was not happy about this, but what can I do?). So after about 5 minutes Flash finally lays down, but I can feel him moving and so I turn a light on and sure enough, he's eating the blanket (and that was why I didn't want him out of his room!). So we put him away and he settles in and goes to sleep.

Meanwhile, Brew is snoring away so we have no worries there, but Cricket is licking incessantly on her feet and bed. We both tried telling her to stop, but she won't. The late night disturbance has upset her and I know it isn't over. About an hour later, I hear the horrible sound of Cricket making herself throw up. She does this occasionally. I don't know what her deal is. She rarely actually produces anything, but she will make that horrible retching noise and it sounds like she just puked up a gallon of something. So of course we get up and Tim lets her come into bed with us (again, I'm not happy). But she did let us sleep for the next couple of hours which was good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Pregnant :)

In the days following my ET, I began taking HPTs daily to watch my trigger shot disappear and hopefully see a real BFP. We went to visit my parents a little over a week after the ET and I brought my tests with me. By Saturday, the line was faint and by Sunday, the line was gone. I was a mess. I tried to keep a happy face knowing that I was only 10dpo and it was really too early to expect a BFP, but more than anything, I was convinced that the IVF hadn't worked.

I tested again Monday morning and still nothing. Well....maybe a little something. I stared at that test for a good 20 minutes trying to convince myself that the line was there, but it was too faint to call. I tested again on Tuesday and sure enough, there was a very faint, but clear line. I couldn't believe it. I stood in the bathroom staring at that stick in awe. I finally headed back to our bedroom and climbed into bed. Tim woke up and asked me if everything was ok and I said 'well, I think I'm pregnant, but other than that....' His response was a very subdued, half-awake 'yaaaay' followed very quickly by a very awake, 'Wait, what?!' And I told him that the line was back. In the days that followed that very faint line got darker and darker until I finally began to realize that I am, in fact, pregnant.

My first beta confirmed this with a level of 113. I was in disbelief. I still am a lot of the time. I am pregnant.

Monday, August 22, 2011


There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that I have been given me this insight,
this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that I am led to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.
I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life. Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

-Author Unknown

Sunday, August 14, 2011

IVF Part 2

After my ER, I was sore and a bit tired so Tim took me home to rest. Unfortunately, I had some work that I needed to get done that afternoon so I only rested for a few hours and then I headed to the lab. Tim insisted on driving me and he stayed with me while I set up for an experiment the next day. After a couple hours, I'd had enough and we headed back home.

The following morning I got the first of several phone calls from the doctor in the lab. He called to let me know that ALL 5 eggs fertilized! We had 5 little babies growing! I was over the moon. After only getting 5 eggs to start, it was wonderful to see that we had 5 little embryos. The decision was to do a 3 day transfer which would be on a Sunday.

Between the ER and the embryo transfer (ET), I focused on drinking my Gatorade to prevent too much fluid retention and drinking 1/5 of a pineapple (including the core) every night as a smoothie. This is supposed to help with implantation.

On the day of the ET, I was instructed to drink 20 oz of water 1 hour prior to my appointment. Honestly, I was more upset about this than the thought of having someone stick a very large needle through my vagina. My bladder is small and my uterus and ovaries are swollen and sore so having a full bladder after the ER was even more painful than the average full-bladder discomfort. I decided to cheat a little and I only drank 18 oz of water before we left for the transfer. It wasn't much, but it felt like a victory to me.

We get to the clinic a few minutes before our scheduled ET time to find the door locked without any sign of people. My bladder and I were not happy. I was already feeling the urge to pee and the fact that this most likely meant there would be a delay served to escalate my urgency. But we waited anyway and the doors were finally unlocked about 10 minutes after our scheduled appointment.

Come to find out, we were not the first people on the schedule so we had to wait even longer while I struggled to contain my bladder. We were taken back to a room (another one with a little window to the lab) where I got undressed and waited for the doctor. The nurse came in several times to tell me that he would be a little while and she could see the discomfort on my face. She asked if I thought I could pee just a little to help with the pressure. At first I wasn't sure I could do it, but after another 5 minutes, I thought I might die if I had to sit there any longer and I went for it. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I managed to pee only about 2 ounces and keep the rest in. Not an easy feat!

The doctor eventually came in and told us how the embryos looked. On the day of the transfer, we had only 4 remaining embryos, one didn't make it. Of those 4, one was the highest grade (1/5), 2 were 2nd highest (2/5), and one was just OK (3/5). He recommended that we transfer 2 embryos to maximize our chances of success without having too much of a risk of high order multiples. We agreed.

The doctor from the lab came in with our embryos in a catheter and asked me to verify my identity and my decision to transfer 2 embryos.

The embryo transfer was similar to an IUI with one big catch. It is done with an ultrasound on the outside looking in at the uterus and pushing on a very full bladder. It hurt. A LOT. I cried and let me tell you, I haven't cried for any other procedure I have had in over 2 1/2 years of TTC and IF treatments. It is crazy to think that the transfer hurt more than the retrieval. It was quick once he was able to find my cervix, but it hurt. And then I started cramping while dealing with a super-full bladder. THEN, the doctor tells me that I need to lay there for 10 minutes before I can get up and pee. This induced further tears while I laid, curled up in a ball and Tim stroked my hair. Tim played a few songs on the iPod to try and make me feel better and it really helped to pass the time. Once I could pee, I felt a bit better and we were out the door as quickly as I could hobble.

For the next 2 days, I was on bed rest. This meant that I could only get up to go to the bathroom and the rest of my time was spent on the couch. I spent those days watching the entire Harry Potter series and playing on the computer. It's funny, at first I thought it would be nice to chill out on the couch and watch movies all weekend, but something changes when you are told you HAVE to stay on the couch. Suddenly, you realize that the last place you want to be is on the couch.

By the second afternoon I really wanted to get up and do something. It took a little convincing, but I eventually got Tim to let me make a pie. I had some graham crackers and some sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix and I thought that would be nice and simple. Yeah....not so much. LOL

I made the crust just fine and then used the directions on the box to make the pie filling, but being the culinary genius that I am, I decided to get fancy and add mint extract to the filling. Oh yeah, and I couldn't be bothered to measure the mint. I just poured a little bit in. Oops. In the end, I made a chocolate toothpaste pie that was completely inedible. It was clear at that moment that I needed to go back to the couch.

At this point, there is nothing left to do, but wait. Beta was scheduled for 2 weeks from the date of the retrieval.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So this is how babies are made...The IVF process part 1

After finding out that I had a good number of mature follicles, I prepared for the egg retrieval (ER). This meant that EXACTLY 36 hours before the ER, I had to get a trigger shot. The morning of the retrieval, my RE had kindly prescribed me a Xanax pill to help with nerves. I took the pill and we headed to the clinic. We started at the lab where Tim would be providing his...ahem...genetic contribution. I had to go with him and show my ID, sign a bunch of paperwork and verify that he was the man I wanted to father my child. It's already getting romantic right??

I left Tim at the lab and headed next door to the clinic where I got checked in and waited. Tim joined me in the waiting room and we were taken back to our room. Now, many women are heavily sedated or anesthetized for the ER, but my clinic generally doesn't do that. Instead, I was given an intramuscular injection of dilauded and some sort of atropine analog. These medications did NOTHING. The doctor told me I would be pretty loopy, but I wasn't even mildly sedated. I was scared and wide awake, but at the same time, I was very excited to be getting what I THOUGHT was the worst part of the whole process over with.'s not the worst part, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The nurses kept checking on me and eventually realized that I wasn't going to get any more sedated than I was so they told the doctor to come in and get started. The room was a pretty standard exam room. There was the bed, an ultrasound machine, a couple of chairs, a stool with wheels and a counter with a sink. In addition though, there is a little door in the wall that leads to the lab next door. This door is designed to pass the fluid retrieved over to the lab so they can go on their very own egg hunt. Oddly enough, this door is at the south end of the bed which means that there were probably a dozen or so people who had a bird's eye view of my nether region while the doctor retrieved my eggs. A few years ago, this would have really bothered me, but now, meh...

So the RE comes in and the ER commences. For those who don't want to know what the ER entails, skip ahead a paragraph. The RE placed a speculum and cleaned the inside of my vagina with a few different things. He then injected lidocaine (or something similar) into the wall of my vagina in order to make the BIG needle less painful. The speculum was removed and the RE waited a few minutes to let the lidocaine kick in. A transvaginal ultrasound was used to look at my ovaries and locate the fluid filled follicles that house the precious eggs. Unfortunately, as the RE suspected, only my right ovary could be retrieved. The left was just not in a good position. The retrieval is done by a large needle attached to the ultrasound probe. The doctor identifies a good location for retrieval, sticks the needle through the vaginal wall into my pelvic cavity and a little vacuum provides suction to aspirate the follicle contents. I'm not gonna lie, the needle didn't feel good, but it really wasn't as bad as I had built it up in my mind to be. And it was kind of neat being able to watch the follicles get poked and shrink down under the machine's suction.

After the retrieval was over, I had to lay around and rest for awhile and nurses came in and checked on me. We were waiting to hear how many eggs we had and I was very scared about what that number would be considering that we left an entire ovary full of follicles. The RE came in and gave us the news, they had retrieved 5 eggs. I was devastated. Five? FIVE!? After all of that, they only got 5?! Obviously we don't want to have 5+ kids but eggs do not equal babies. Generally not all eggs fertilize and even if they do, they don't all make it to transfer.

I tried to be positive, but the fear that we wouldn't have any embryos to transfer was overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thunderfollies are goooooo!!!

I have another update and it's more good news! My follies are ready for harvesting. At my appointment today, the doc informed me that my estrogen was almost 700 on Saturday and today, I have 6 follicles that are over 18mm (they like to see at least 3 over 18 before the trigger). There are also another half dozen or so that are between 15 and 18 so those might be ready soon too. The plan is to trigger tonight and ER is on Thursday. I'll have an update on Thursday with how many are retrieved and on Friday we will get the fert report.
I am so excited and so scared right now. This is actually going to happen! Eeek!!!

Please let there be some eggs in those follies and let them be mature and fertilize! :crosses fingers:

Monday, June 27, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough....

I begin to doubt myself.

Over the past 2 1/2 years that we have been trying to conceive, I have gone through a number of self-deprecating emotions. First, I thought I was too fat to have a baby. Then, I thought that if I couldn't get pregnant naturally, it was nature's way of saying I shouldn't be a parent. Most recently, I have begun blaming my faith, or lack thereof, for my infertility. I have noticed for the past year or so that the people in my life who have gotten pregnant seem to be those who believe in a higher power, particularly those who are members of an organized religion.

I'm not going to say that I don't believe in a higher power. I really do think that there is more to life then the time we spend breathing, but I am not a fan of organized religion and I don't spend a lot of time contemplating the mystery of an afterlife. Unfortunately, with this lack of religion, comes a lack of faith. I don't have faith that everything will work out and I don't have the comfort that everything happens for a reason. I can never say "I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." Not because I have never prayed for a child, because even the non-believer in me has thrown my hands up in desperation and asked God for a child, but because I still have that doubt.

I frequently feel like infertility is my punishment for not having faith. I was baptised and I spent enough time in church to think, if there is a God, I'm on his radar and He is pissed that I turned my back on Him. That probably sounds really dumb, but these are the thoughts that creep in when I think about the things that Tim and I have been through.

I don't know why I felt the need to write this. It's just something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I respect people who have faith and there is a big part of me that is jealous of them for having that comfort, that belief, that there is a higher power and He is on their side. It seems like a greedy reason to go back to religion though and I will never be comfortable with man speaking the word of God.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IVF Update

I had a monitoring appointment on Saturday morning and the news was good for the most part. Although the doctor does not feel that my left ovary can be retrieved, I have at least 10 f0llies cooking on the right side and they are all growing at a similar rate. The doctor is very optimistic that I will have plenty of follicles and that things are right on track. I am still hoping that they will be able to get the left, but it's nice to know that even if they can't we should still have at least a few eggs.

I go back on Tuesday for what will hopefully be my last monitoring appointment. At this point the retrieval will likely be Thursday or Friday. Eek!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I think I feel something!

I woke up this morning, rolled out of bed, grabbed my meds and did my shots. I feel like I have a routine down pretty well, but unfortunately, my stomach is already really bruised on one side which limits where I can do the injections. With 3 injections a day (1 lupron and 2 stim shots) it is getting harder and harder to find vacant real estate (even with my fat belly!).

About an hour after I did my shot this morning I really started to feel something going on in my ovaries. Stronger on the left, but also on the right... Could it be? Is it possible? Are my ovaries actually RESPONDING to the 450 units a day of follicle stimulation drugs?! Time will tell.

I have my first monitoring appointment on Wednesday morning. I'll be sure to keep you posted :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Please forgive me for I have slacked.

It has been 6 weeks since my last blog post.

I have been super busy at work which is one of the reasons I haven't updated. I also haven't had much to say. I've been on birth control pills waiting for the time to start stims for IVF. Well, I'm now done with birth control!! I started lupron injections last week and I'll start stims next week (assuming my baseline goes well).

For those who are unfamiliar with the process of in vitro fertilisation, I'll give a breakdown. I'm new to this too, so I'm going to keep it simple.

There are multiple different medication protocols all designed to get the ovaries to make lots of follicles that are all at the same level of maturity.
Most protocols start with birth control, lupron or both. This is designed to shut your system down in the reproductive department. The doctors don't want your ovaries making any decisions on their own. Once the ovaries are shut down, they are ready for stimulation. The drugs for stimulation are the same as the ones I have used in previous cycles, but the doses are higher. The hope is to stim for about 7-10 days and get lots of mature follicles. After stims, comes the egg retrieval (ER). A drug is given to 'loosen up' the follicles and get them ready for the retrieval. The retrieval is done at the REs office. Basically, an ultrasound is used to guide a needle through the vaginal wall into the abdominal cavity. The needle is directed at the individual eggs and they are aspirated out. Once the eggs have all been retrieved sperm is added and the waiting game begins.

Not all eggs will be mature and even mature eggs won't necessarily fertilize. Once it is known how many of the eggs fertilized, decisions regarding how long the now embryos will wait in culture before being put back in the uterus or frozen. Generally embryo transfer (ET) is done at either 3 days or 5 days. The doctor will help guide the decision of how long to wait and how many embryos to transfer. For us, we will transfer 2 embryos at the most. If we have great quality embryos to choose from and we are able to go out to 5 days, we will likely just transfer 1, but it's too soon to be sure. (at this point, I am just hoping that we have something to transfer!)

The transfer procedure is very similar to an IUI. Instead of sperm being placed directly in the uterus, an embryo or embryos will be placed directly in the uterus. After that it's another waiting game. Just like before, there's a 2ww before testing for pregnancy.

Phew! Just typing it out has me tired!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Letter to my Sisters

AmberZ posted this in her blog ( I wanted to share it with all of you:

I did not write this, and can not find the author info. If you know who did, please let me know so I can give them credit.

A Letter to my Sisters:

Infertility is like a party- a big, year or two or three or more long party that no one really wants to go to. In fact, it is a pretty lousy party, not much fun at all. But by the time you get the invitation, you are already there. Perhaps it is your doctor that gives you the invitation, or a specialist, or perhaps just plain old time that gives you the nudge that this is one party you won't be missing.

So we all show up at this party kicking and screaming. But since this party is held in our honor, we wipe our tears and look around the room. We see our mothers, our aunts, our sisters, and the lady down the street. The check-out lady is there, and so is the attorney, the school principal, and the taxi driver's wife. When we see them at first we are surprised- "I didn't know you were invited too" we say. But when we start to talk with them and learn their stories we know instantly we are sisters, and that their grief is our own, and that we aren't quite so alone.

This party is filled with sisters. My mother and perhaps yours too, was at this party once. So were many friends of mine. I am always humbled by seeing how many sisters I have here. Even as sisters leave, new ones come to take their place. I spent a long time there before it was my turn to leave. You too will leave this party someday.

There are parting gifts at this party, but most of us are so glad to leave when our time is up that we just throw them in our purse and forget they are there. Then one day, while we are looking for something else, we dig out a little box. Oh yes, our gift. We were looking for what to say to a sick friend, or perhaps how to handle some adversity that came our way and we found this little box in the bottom of our bag. We open it slowly, and there inside we find it. Endurance. Strength. Compassion. We were strong, and once walked through the fire she has made us stronger still. We have endured what would have once broken our hearts, devastated us, and come through with a strength that will not easily be silenced. And compassion. Our hearts have grown and now we can, without judgment, embrace each other in ways we couldn't before. We know the true meaning of kindness, and the value of compassion. We see humanity, for all it's sadness and all it's emptiness, and we can't do anything but wrap our arms around her in a warm, full embrace. We understand each other's sorrow, and we share our strength.

And so my Sister, stay strong. I understand how hard some days are, and I know how deeply you want this to end. Please know that it will, and that you do have the strength to endure this. You will. You will move forward because you desire this more than anything in your life. You will conceive, or you will adopt, or you will foster children. You will someday leave this place, this party in your honor, but you will remain a Sister forever.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confused and sad

I still had a faint positive this morning and after realizing that my booster trigger was only 2,500 units, not 5,000 units, it's pretty clear that I was actually pregnant. It may have been short lived, but there was a little one there, but it wasn't meant to be. I am so incredibly sad and I know that I shouldn't be, but I am. The reality is, it's good news. I was actually able to get pregnant for the first time in over 2 years of trying, something worked. It's just the weirdest feeling to think that I might have actually been pregnant, even if it was for only a few days.

I am supposed to go in for a beta on Thursday just to make sure that everything is ok. I suspect that they are still concerned about ectopic pregnancy, but they aren't telling me that. I am sure it will be negative, but it will be a good thing to do just to know for sure that it is over.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Foolishly Clinging to False Hope

Well, it looks like our 3rd and final round of injectables/IUI is coming to an end. I had a progesterone level done on Monday last week which was 8 dpIUI. It came back pathetically low (1.5) which means that in all likelihood, I didn't even ovulate this cycle. BUT, I foolishly clung to the hope that it was a lab error or some other equally unlikely explanation that could mean I'm still in the 2ww.

Per my RE's advice, I took a booster HCG injection on Monday. This was 5,000IU of HCG which would help 'keep my progesterone up' LOL-um, yeah---because it's so high! Anyway, I did it, still clinging to that hope. In an embarrassing display of optimism, I began 'testing out my trigger' starting on Wednesday night.

For those who have never had the pleasure of injecting yourself with drugs designed to force ovulation, I'll give you the down-low. The injection given before IUI is called a 'trigger' shot, because it is supposed to trigger the ovulation of mature follicles the same way that LH (leutenizing hormone) does in the unmedicated cycles of 'fortunate' women. Instead of LH, the injection given is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is the same hormone that home pregnancy tests detect. The trigger shot results in false-positives on HPTs. A general rule of thumb for how long the trigger will cause false positives is, 1,000 IU/day so since my initial shot was 10,000 IU, it should have been gone 10 days following the injection. Since there is variation between individuals, I test out my trigger shots and I have learned that with the 10,000 IU shot, the tests go from positive to negative around 7or 8 days post trigger and the 5,000 IU booster is gone by 6 days post trigger.

Generally, the tests fade from a nice positive (easy to see, no squinting or holding it up to the light--not necessarily as dark as the control) to a faint positive that is difficult to see. Well, the tests that I took from Wed to Saturday morning (5 dpt) were all equally dark, there was little to no evidence that the positive was fading. So of course, I got hopeful and thought that if the test was still nice and positive on Sunday, I would get really excited.

Unfortunately, when I took the test this morning, the line was much less obvious than it had been before. Again, being foolishly hopeful, I still thought that I had a chance. I mean, hey, the trigger is usually gone by now and it's not, that is worth getting excited over, right? Well, then I started cramping and spotting and crying....

I hate this so much. I hate that I have to go through this month after month and I REALLY hate that I let myself get hopeful only to have that hope crushed. Here's a picture of the tests I've taken so far. (yup, I pulled the ones from Wed-Fri out of the garbage to obsess-yet another symptom of foolish optimism)

It looks like we'll be moving onto IVF. Of course there is still that part of me that clings to hope...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


There are 11 definitions for the word 'bitter' on Not one of them describes me, yet so many people throw this term around whenever they have a negative interaction with someone who is struggling with infertility.

bit·ter /ˈbɪtər/ [bit-er] adjective, -er, -est, noun, verb, adverb
1. having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
2. producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
3. hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
4. causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill.
5. characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
6. hard to admit or accept: a bitter lesson.
7. resentful or cynical: bitter words. –noun
8. that which is bitter; bitterness: Learn to take the bitter with the sweet.
9. British . a very dry ale having a strong taste of hops.
–verb (used with object)
10. to make bitter: herbs employed to bitter vermouth.
11. extremely; very; exceedingly: a bitter cold night.

When I look at these 11 definitions, I am trying to find the one that people are likely referring to when they say that someone is a 'bitter infertile'. Used in that context, it is an adjective which leaves me with 7 possible options. I am guessing that they are referring to definition #7 "resentful or cynical". So, I looked up those words to see if I could find a bit more clarity. Of course 'resentful' just means full of resentment, which wasn't very helpful. I had to look up resentment for further information. Resentment is defined as 'the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.' Have I ever felt resentment? Yes, I am certain that everyone has, not just women suffering from infertility. Do I feel that I am 'full' of resentment? No. So lets move on to cynical.

cyn·i·cal   /ˈsɪnɪkəl/ [sin-i-kuhl]
1. like or characteristic of a cynic; distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.
2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

Well, since the word 'bitter' is in #3, I will think a moment about that one. Am I ever distrustful or pessimistic? Sure, but isn't everyone at times? I've been thinking about this 'bitter' label for a long time now and I honestly don't think that would define myself as 'bitter'. Do I have moments where I feel resentment and cynicism? Sure, but those moments don't define me. They are not my way of life.
The reality is, when people call a women who is suffering with infertility 'bitter' they are perpetuating a stereotype. They are making a sweeping generalization about who a person is based on a single trait. This, to me, is the same as being a racist or a classist. It is ignorant and belittling and there is not a single positive thing that can come of it. I know that this post won't change the views of those who use this word, because let's face it, those people don't care about me and don't read my blog, but it felt good for me to write it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why my husband is awesome

You know, I just don't give Tim enough credit most of the time. He is an amazing and wonderful man and I feel so fortunate to be in his life. When I sit down and try to think of all of the things that make Tim amazing, there are so many things that I think about and some that I just can't put into words. As a start:

  • He is sensitive, he cares about me and our furbabies. He cuddles on all of us and talks in baby talk to the puppies.

  • He gets me. When I am having a bad day or upset about something, he senses it-I don't even have to say anything, he just knows and he also knows when to hug me and not say anything or just leave me alone.

  • Tim is one of the smartest people I know and he is an amazing teacher. He is passionate about so many things, particularly aviation and photography.

  • He isn't afraid to be goofy, especially around his niece and nephews.

  • Related to that, Tim loves kids. He is so cute around babies, all sweet and nervous and then when they are able to walk around and talk, he is so comfortable with them. He is going to be an amazing father.

And then there are a few funny things about Tim, that make him who he is and make me laugh.

  • Tim really likes to build things, but he almost never completes a task without hurting himself and/or swearing. He will invariably hit his thumb with a hammer or drop something on his toe. I can't help but stifle a giggle while he's hopping up and down on one foot.

  • Tim will always be a pilot, even though we can't afford to have him fly as often as he would like. Whenever a plane flies overhead, he looks up. I think that when he looks up, he is putting himself in the cockpit, imagining what the pilots are doing and seeing.

  • Just like a pilot, Tim is always strives to be on time--it doesn't matter what it is; a lunch, a class or even a party. This may not seem that funny, but he made me laugh on Sunday when he had to produce a sample for the IUI. We needed to leave at 7 am and I tried to minimize the pressure by telling him that it's no big deal and that we can leave a little late if we need to. Well, sure enough 7:00 on the dot, he walks into the kitchen ready to leave. I couldn't help but laugh and say that he is such a pilot that even his sperm strive to have an on time arrival.

Tim is just amazing, for these things and so many others that make him who he is. The past 2 years have been tough on both of us emotionally, but he has been a constant support. We have truly been in this together from the start and in the end, no matter what happens, being together is the most important thing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Adventures in Insemination

Well, IUI #4 is done. This is the final IUI before moving onto IVF. In honor of this monumental occasion, I thought I would share a little bit about insemination adventures.

Tim always comes with me for the insemination and after they put the sperm in, I'm supposed to lay still for 5-15 minutes (depending on the doctor, they all tell me something different). We decided after the 1st one that we needed some 'mood music' to a. help pass the time and b. encourage the little swimmers. Here is a list of the songs that have been played on the insemination station:

  • "Derezzed" from Tron Legacy

  • "Danger Zone" from Top Gun

  • "Just Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble

  • "If I Didn't Have You" by Randy Travis (our song)

  • "Heart of Life" by John Mayer

  • "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey

  • "The Picard Song" by I don't know---it's some goofy song on youtube

I wonder if you could guess which songs I picked and which ones Tim picked???

I hate going to the RE on the weekends because the weekend receptionist sucks. She is slow to get people checked in, she has absolutely no personality and she has overcharged me on more than one occasion. Today, she was in classic form and we waited for about 45 minutes before she finally put us in a room. Dr. Cof wasn't available today so I got a different RE (not Dr. Lynch-thank GOD). He was very friendly, competent and the IUI didn't hurt much at all. After he finished, he told me to lay there for 10 minutes and then we could leave. Well, we started playing music and encouraging the swimmers to head for the tubes. We reached the 10 minute mark in the middle of "Don't stop Believing" by Journey and I figured we would wait an extra minute and let the song play through. Apparently the bitchy moronic receptionist had different ideas. She barged in with barely a knock asking if it had been 5 minutes yet. I told her that the doctor recommended that we stay put for 10 minutes. She informed me that I needed to get dressed and leave.

I wanted to smack her. Seriously!? I mean give me a freaking break. This clinic has 13 or so exam rooms so I know that they weren't short on real estate for other patients. Not to mention that she is not a doctor and it is not her place to tell me what to do. I don't care if she got her online degree in being a shitty receptionist at Devry, telling me to get up and leave is not ok. So of course, I took my sweet-ass time getting dressed. With how much IUIs cost, I think I've earned 20 minutes in an exam room if I want it.

So now we wait! Wish us luck :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Ovaries Hate Me

I figured I should post an update since I'm 2 weeks into my cycle. Unfortunately, my ovaries are not responding as well as last cycle. This time last cycle, I had 2 mature follicles and 3 follicles that were close to mature. I triggered on CD13 and did my IUI on CD15. Well, I'm on CD14 this cycle and I don't have any mature follicles. My estrogen has pretty much flat lined and I am feeling completely frustrated. I have an appointment with my RE tomorrow morning to talk about IVF, but I am so scared to even think about taking the next step. I hope that he can lessen my fears a bit so that we can move forward, because I have all but given up hope on this cycle.

I thought I would share a collage that I made to illustrate some of my IF experiences. Pretty much all of the images came from Google searches, so thank you to those who posted pics for me to use. :) One pic was taken by Tim, it's the one in the bottom right corner. Thank you honey!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here We Go, Again

Got the all clear at the RE's office yesterday. I have a couple of small cysts (under 20 mm) but Dr. Cof didn't seem too concerned. I did my first shot for this cycle yesterday and I go back on Wednesday for my first monitoring appointment. I'm not nearly as stressed about the injections as I was the first month. When I first started I would count down the minutes until 8:30 pm when I did my shot. Now, I have to set an alarm to keep myself from forgetting. I get all of my vials mixed and injected really quickly now and I often try and race the commercials on TV. It's amazing how something that was once so scary has become so normal.

So, here we go again, time to pull the handle...Come on Jackpot!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Addicted to Trying

So CD1 was yesterday. Last cycle is officially over and it ended with tears and heartbreaking sadness. Tim and I spent a long time talking on the morning of CD1 about our decision to take a break cycle and in the end, we just couldn't do it. We don't want to give up, even for a month, and the timing for a break really wasn't right for us. So I go in tomorrow for an u/s. I am so scared that they are going to find a cyst that knocks us out for a month, but all I can do right now is hope for the best.

I honestly believe that TTC with IF is like playing a slot machine in Vegas. You put your money in and then you pull the handle. You stare at the spinning wheels hoping and praying that this time you'll see the bars. This time, you'll see two lines - jackpot. When the wheels stop spinning and it's clear that you got a cherry, a lemon and a bell, you want to just give up, maybe go to another machine or cut your losses entirely and go lay by the pool. BUT there is that part of you that thinks what if the next pull is the winner? How would I feel if I walked away? Would I wonder what would have happened if I pulled that handle one more time?

Only, it's even worse with IF because what you are hoping to gain, the jackpot, is so much more valuable than money. You aren't putting in money, hoping to get more money back, you are giving of yourself, hoping to gain something that can't be quantified. It is priceless. It is life. It is family, your family.

So here we are, about to pull the handle again. Praying for the jackpot.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BFN and Spotting

No good news, just bad news. I tested yesterday and today (10 and 11dpo). Both were BFNs. I spotted a little yesterday which had me clinging to hope that it was implantation, but I'm still spotting today. I think AF will be here very soon.

I am sad beyond measure and feeling very defeated. Tim and I will be taking at least a month off to recover from this roller coaster ride, but we are not ready to give up completely yet. I'll post more when I have the energy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Woot woot!

I got my 7dpo progesterone level back and it's 32.4! This is very good news and I am trying hard not to read too much into it. It's hard though. I know that progesterone levels only tell you how well you ovulated, they don't tell you if you're pregnant, but I am still so hopeful. I feel like we finally have a chance at getting pregnant. After so many months, we have a chance!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Angry Ovaries

The past week has been pretty miserable on the IF treatment front. About 3 hours after my IUI on Friday last week, I started having really horrible cramps. Take your breath away, bring tears to your eyes kind of cramps. I thought that maybe it was just from the IUI and so I powered through with Tylenol and deep breathing. Sat and Sun I felt sick to my stomach and had a very full feeling in my lower abdomen. Monday morning, I woke up to extreme pain in my lower abdomen. Now, I'm not going to say that I have a 'high tolerance to pain' BUT I am sure that I have at least an average tolerance. I give myself injections, I get blood drawn often, I tolerate the IUIs, which aren't I think that I can handle an average amount of pain. The pain that I woke up with was probably a 9 or 10 on the pain scale. I was doubled-over in tears and trying not to throw up. It only lasted about 30 to 45 minutes, but then it continued at maybe a 7 for several more hours. As soon as the REs office was open, I called and left a message. I couldn't believe that this kind of pain was normal and I needed some reassurance.
The nurse at the REs office called me back and said 'Your ovaries are angry right now'. Apparently, my ovaries have become sentient beings which are seeking revenge for the thousands of units of follicle stimulating hormone that they have been stimulated with. I'm not sure exactly what they're doing in there, but it freaking hurts! She also said that I likely have some degree of hyperstimulation which is why I have the full feeling.
I had a similar episode of pain on Tuesday, but Wed and today have been fine. I am really hoping that the pain is gone for good. I still have a full feeling and if I try to stretch out, I get sharp pain. I really hope that everything is ok in there and it will be worth it in the end.
I have my progesterone check tomorrow and I am nervous that I will be disappointed. I always think it's going to be higher than it ends up being. I'm also supposed to booster the trigger shot, but given the pain that I've had, I may hold off. I think I'll let the progesterone level determine that.
Sorry for the wall of text. I haven't been updating much and then there is a bunch to say at once. I'll update with the progesterone as soon as I can. <3

Monday, March 7, 2011

Funny thing happened at the RE's office...

I'm sorry that I haven't updated in a bit. Things have been crazy and I honestly expected to still be stimming like I was last cycle. But I'm not!! I triggered on Wed last week and did an IUI on Friday. I can't believe that I only had to stim for 11 days this cycle and I responded a lot better this time. In fact, I responded to the point where I have mild OHSS and I am in a fair amount of pain :( It sucks, but I am drinking my Gatorade and hoping for the best.

I did have a couple of interesting/funny things happen at my appointments that I have been meaning to share.

The practice I go to has 4 REs. Over the past year I have had all of them for at least one appointment. The REs do all of the monitoring and IUIs, so if my regular doc is out, I get whoever is available. I love my doctor, we'll call him Dr. Cof, because he always says 'come on follicles!'. There are 2 other male doctors who I like ok. They are pleasant enough. And then there is Dr. Lynch (I'll explain why I call her that in a moment).

Dr. Lynch may be bipolar, I'm not really sure. The first time I had her, she was really nice. She was doing my IUI and she introduced herself with confidence, explained that she had loads of experience and would take good care of me. Then she spent a good 10 minutes trying to get the speculum in my hoo-ha and apologizing for having such a hard time. The next time I had her for a monitoring appointment, she was a total b*tch. I don't know who shit in her Cheerios, but I assure you it wasn't me. She was short with Tim and snarky with me and I just wanted to get out of that exam room as quickly as possible.

This cycle, my RE was out of town for the first 9 or 10 days so I had to have Dr. Lynch do my monitoring. Now the odd thing about Dr. Lynch is that she doesn't look under the paper drape when she goes to put in the u/s probe. She just kind of jabs it in there and hopes that it ends up in the right place. I had a monitoring appointment on a Tuesday and she managed to blindly get the probe in with only minor difficulty. This particular brand of difficulty, I might add, generally results in some painful urination in the days to follow. I went back in 3 days later dreading my appointment with Dr. Lynch. Which Dr. Lynch would we get? Would she be nice, confident Dr. Lynch or would she be snarky b*tch Dr. Lynch?? Fortunately, we got the nice Dr. Lynch, UNFORTUNATELY, we got the blind, Dr. Lynch who has no grasp on female anatomy. So here I am, feet in stirrups, waiting for the dreaded dildo-cam. Dr. Lynch blindly jabs the probe in the general vicinity of my nether region only to land squarely on my perineum. Ok, I came here for an ultrasound, not to get my salad tossed lady, WTF are you doing? I tried to scoot my butt down to help guide her in the right direction, but NO, she keeps jabbing me and getting dangerously close to an opening which is clearly marked as exit only. I put my hand up and told her that she wasn't even close to the target. Her response "I didn't have any trouble doing this on Tuesday" UMMM OK? I'm pretty sure that my anatomy has not changed drastically in the last 3 days so don't look at me like your ineptitude is my fault. Shockingly, once she actually looked under the drape, she found her target pretty quickly.
So, for those of you who haven't caught on to why I call her Dr. Lynch, rent the movie Knocked Up, watch the scene where Jane Lynch plays an OB/Gyn-all will be clear. (I tried to find a clip for you, but no such luck)

At the risk of droning on too long,I'll share one more funny story from this cycle. Dr. Cof was back in time for my IUI (thank GOD). He is a funny, kinda dorky guy who is really personable and talks all the time while he's doing stuff which I love. Tim comes with me to all of my appointments and this one was no exception. We were waiting in the room when Dr. Cof came in and confirmed that the 'sample' that was going to be making a long trip down a warm path was indeed Tim's. Then Dr. Cof asked Tim if he could move the lamp that was next to my bed down towards my feet so that he could see. I made a comment like 'I'm thinking you might need that' and he said 'we call that war-zone medicine when we try to do procedures without proper lighting'.... I couldn't resist, it just came out... I said 'Down in the trenches huh?' Dr. Cof turned bright red and held his hands up, laughed loudly and said 'Let the record show, you took it THERE I didn't' LOL I<3 Dr. Cof! LOL

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Moving on

So last cycle was a bust. AF showed up on Thursday and I have been miserable and crampy ever since.
I got to have yet another new experience in the wonderful world of infertility. My RE doesn't do baseline appointments on oral meds but he does them on injectable cycles, so I got to go in and get an ultrasound on CD1. That was not fun at all. I got the all-clear, meds arrived this morning and we are ready to start injects tonight.
Here we go again...

Friday, February 11, 2011

More reasons to fear the ocean

So after my post last week about St. Kitts, I got to thinking about some other experiences that might explain my fear of the ocean. (like I need more, right?) One experience sticks out in my mind...

Picture it, Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, 1984. I was born in Louisiana and I was about 6 years old in 1984. My parents had a sailboat and we would go out in the lake as much as possible when I was growing up. I loved being on the water. I would often fall asleep to the rocking of the waves and it was so relaxing to be out there with no motor, just the wind in the sails and the sun on your face. Speaking of sun, you can imagine Louisiana in the summer gets pretty hot and muggy and my older brother and I would get cranky if we didn't have a way to cool off. So, to combat our overheated crank, my parents would put life jackets on us, tie ropes to our waist and let us swim in the lake behind the drifting boat. The jib was probably left up so the boat would move a bit, but we were tied on, so no worries right??
Well, for those who don't know, there are sharks in Lake Pontchartrain. I shit you not. Sharks. And don't go telling me that it's fresh water, because it's not pure freshwater, it's brackish water, meaning kinda salty...enough salt that a giant bull shark to live in. And it's not actually a lake, it's an estuary, meaning directly connects to the a giant shark can get to it.
My dad told us that there might be sharks in the water and that if we saw one we should swim calmly back to the boat. Since we were like 6 and 9 years old, we blindly trusted our parents and knew that they would never put us in harms way. Unfortunately, my Aunt Carol who was 16 in 1984 was visiting us from Ohio and she didn't have the same blind trust we did.
One day, we all went out sailing and of course, it got hot. I didn't swim for long, I just got in, cooled off and got out. My brother and Aunt Carol swam for awhile longer than me and Carol was clearly having an internal struggle. She was trying to decide between death by shark and death by heatstroke. She must have decided that shark would be quicker and maybe less likely so she stayed out with my brother in the water for awhile.
Suddenly, Carol turns white as a ghost and starts screaming Shark!! SHARK SHARK SHARK!!!!!! My dad looks scared and pulls on the ropes holding Carol and my brother, because really, when you think about it, two kids tied to the back of a boat in shark infested waters isn't really swimming, IT'S TROLLING!
Carol is flailing wildly in the water while my parents look around for the shark. While Carol loses her shit, my brother begins to very slowly and cautiously swim back to the boat. Not a moment of panic on his face, just concentration on being inconspicuous and likely hoping that the shark will be more attracted to the helpless flailing of my aunt.
After reeling Carol in, it became apparent that there was no shark. The string from her life jacket brushed against her leg and she perceived this as a shark swim-by.

After that, I was reluctant to get back in Lake Pontchartrain. That fear even carried over to Lake Erie when we moved to Ohio. I mean really, I was 8 at that point and no one was going to tell me that the lake in Louisiana had sharks but somehow the lake in Ohio didn't. Who would believe that? I really thought my dad was lying to keep me from being scared.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My blog title

Hoping for a Chance.
When I decided to start this blog, I wanted to be all creative and witty, but the reality is, I'm not really either of those things. Well, I'm occasionally witty and some might even say quick-witted, but not really creative AT ALL. I can't draw I can't write fiction and when I dream, it tends to be about stuff I've seen or done. I don't pull things out of thin air. So, I needed a title for my blog, a real attention-grabber that would pique the reader's interest and lure them into reading about my boring life. Unfortunately, I'm just not creative enough to come up with something original. So I went with words that I felt described my TTC situation at the time.
Hoping for a Chance.
When I think about our journey and what Tim and I have been trying to achieve for the past 2+ years, hoping for a chance really does sum it up. Of course I want to get pregnant, carry to term, have a blissfully pain-free labor and give birth to the most amazing child ever born who will go on to end world hunger and cure the common cold (cause I'll have already cured cancer, of course), but really, my number one objective is the Chance. I want the Chance to get pregnant. The rest are things that cannot be guaranteed by anyone (particularly the pain-free labor). I really just want the same Chance as anyone else. I want to ovulate, put sperm in the same zip code as egg and let the magic happen.
I really don't think that I'm asking for very much. I want the same chance that 7 out of 8 couples manage to have for free. And I'm willing to pay for that chance, endure painful procedures for that chance and even remove sex from baby-making for that chance, I really don't think that's too much to ask.

So what brought up this depressing post? My 7dpo progesterone level was drawn yesterday and it's only 7.5. Generally doctors want to see the 7dpo progesterone at 10 or even 15 or more on medicated cycles to verify that a normal ovulation has occurred. This is not good news. There is a distinct possibility that I didn't ovulate this month or that I ovulated an immature follicle that likely cannot be fertilized. My Chance at pregnancy this month is now significantly below-average. After all of the injections and cost and monitoring, I am still just hoping for that chance to come.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I've been IUIed

I had my IUI on Wednesday and now we are just waiting it out. Nothing really exciting to report about it, the whole procedure seemed to go pretty well. It hurt, but that's normal and I was pretty crampy the rest of the day, but I'm feeling better today. Now we wait...

In the mean time, I'll honor Magnolia's request and elaborate on my shark encounter story.

Picture it, St. Kitts 2001....

I just moved to the island to study veterinary medicine. I don't know anyone and in an attempt to help all of the new students bond, we are taken on a big catamaran to go snorkeling in Shitten Bay. I shit you not, the place was called Shitten Bay. Ok, I know some people still doubt so I'll add a map just to prove it to you. Look on the far southeastern tip of the island. Yup...Shitten Bay, told you so!
Ok so now that we all can picture it, I'll continue.
I had met a couple of people while on the boat and we chatted about school and being excited to go snorkeling. We all decided that we would be buddies in the ocean and explore the fishes and stuff together. When we got to the bay, everyone lined up to get off the boat and I was at the back of the line. My new BFFs told me that they would meet me out there and I figured 'cool, no biggie, I'm going to get into the ocean by myself'.....
So I get my fins and mask on and slowly ease into the water and start swimming out. I am immediately struck by how deep the water is and how barren the bottom is. There was no coral, there were no rocks, it was probably 50 feet deep and it was open water. So I start swimming in the direction of other snorkelers, but everyone was probably 100 yards or so ahead of me and still swimming away, most likely in hopes of finding some sign of sea life. After about 1 or 2 minutes of hard kicking towards the distant shore, I see something large and triangular straight ahead. Now, I don't know a lot about sharks, but I knew that what I was looking at was a LARGE shark and it didn't have any 'tips' so it wasn't a reef shark. It was bigger than me and it was coming right at me. In my infinite wisdom, I had an instant moment of bravery and I thought that if I swam directly at this large carnivorous creature it would get scared and swim away. My legs kicked hard maybe 2 times and then, my fight response turned to a flight response and I quickly turned around and began swimming like a bat out of Hell toward the catamaran. I had a fleeting thought about the other snorkelers, particularly my new BFFs who I was sure would be eaten on their journey back to the boat. After all, I had a head start and I could surely out swim a shark, right???
While swimming with all of my strength and prowess to the boat, my snorkel managed to take on water, I suspect that this is from the awkward, non-Phelps-like freestyle stroke that I was putting forth, and I began to choke. Fortunately I was only a few strokes from the boat and I quickly got out of the water. I then heard the conch shell that the tour group had to signal for everyone to return to the boat. Once everyone was back on, we motored to a new location to snorkel.
Apparently, we were not brought to Shitten Bay as originally promised, we were taken to some other bay that is part of the Narrows which is a passageway for sharks between St. Kitts and Nevis. The cruise director had apologized for the inconvenience and took us to Shitten Bay, where everyone got out and snorkeled and had a wonderful experience. Everyone, except me. I was too freaked out. I stayed on the boat and slammed back a couple of rum punches while watching for signs of my top predator friend.
It's weird. I should be less scared since nothing bad really happened. The whole experience should leave me feeling even safer since really, the shark could have eaten me, but didn't. Instead I am paralyzed with fear by the ocean now. Maybe if I really had a buddy with me I would be ok. The whole being alone thing really amplified my fear and feeling like I experienced it by myself made it seem worse too.
Sadly, I went another 10 months in St. Kitts and never went into the ocean deeper than my knees.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I've been given a Stylish Blogger award by Jenni and MBC! Thank you so much ladies! This blog started as an outlet for my TTC frustrations and I am glad to know that others enjoy reading it.
This award has several rules. I have to:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award up to 15 recently discovered bloggers.
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them about the award!

Hmmm 7 whole things just about me??? I'm really not that interesting, but here goes:
1. I am a veterinarian specializing in anatomic veterinary pathology.
2. I lived in St. Kitts, which is an island in the Caribbean, for a year studying veterinary medicine. I didn't know anyone when I moved out there. It was incredibly scary and exciting at the same time.
3. I am a horrible car passenger. I am always scared in the car, especially if I'm not driving. Tim has permanent nail marks in his leg from my death-grip.
4. I love the water, but I had a close encounter with a shark 10 years ago and I haven't been in the ocean since.
5. Snooze is my best friend. I hit snooze for at least 30 minutes every morning. Fortunately, I am a lighter sleeper than Tim so all of the alarming doesn't wake him up.
6. I wear jeans almost every day. I used to buy skirts and dresses thinking that I would wear them, but I never do so I have just given up.
7. I have my mom's eyes and her smile. I miss her every day, but I am glad that I have a few of her traits that I can look at in the mirror.

I would like to share this award with the following Bloggers (in no particular order):
No Day But Today by Lovey
PCOS: Pretty Crappy Ovary Syndrome By Anasara
Can I blog now? By Mye
Lanigan's Lens Blog By Tim
Wifey's My Daily Adventrues

Thank you again for this award, it really means a lot to me :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Just relax" strikes again

I had yet another monitoring appointment this morning (it was good news today, I'll add it to the bottom of this post). My appointments always start with the lab next door where I get my estrogen drawn. I see the same few people every time I'm in there and I'm a tough stick so they remember me. One of the ladies, lets call her Jodi, is usually fairly talkative and I've had her at least 4 times this cycle. Today, Jodi asked me how things were going and I told her ok, but so far I'm not responding to the meds and my doctor may be getting ready to give up hope. She proceeds to tell me that I need to 'relax' and 'don't stress' because if I'm stressed I won't get pregnant. Seriously??! I expect this crap from the uneducated public, but not from a trained 'medical professional'. I told her that I think that saying any stress causes infertility is crap, but I do agree that out of control stress can lead to problems with health and possibly fertility. She went on to tell me that studies have shown ANY stress can cause it which is why she tells all of the women who come in to relax. After that, I bit my tongue. I mean, this lady has a needle and she's going to poke me soon, I can't very well tell her that I think she's full of crap.
THEN, the continues to tell me that she has had 3 miscarriages. Apparently, Jodi has an insufficient cervix and she would get pregnant and make it to 13+ weeks before her body could no longer hold the baby. I can't even imagine the kind of pain and frustration and FEAR that would come with repeat losses like that. I told her how sorry I was and she told me that she did eventually go on to have 2 healthy daughters with the help of her doctor's treatments and strict orders. Now this is where I practically bled from biting my tongue. I wanted so badly to say 'so you had a problem, got treatment and were able to have healthy children, how is that different from me? Did anyone tell you to just relax and you would stop miscarrying?' I kept my mouth shut. It would be a very insensitive thing to say and I thought I should be the better person.

For those out there reading my blog who are not having trouble conceiving, PLEASE never tell a woman who is having trouble or dealing with infertility issues to 'just relax' or 'don't stress'. Just tell her that you hope for the best or that you will be praying for her. That is really all she wants and needs to hear.

Update on my cycle: I have follicles going!! I had 2 that have broken the 11 mm mark. One is 15 mm and the other is 13 mm. Yippee! I have to go back on Monday for another recheck and hopefully those follies will be at a trigger stage by then. Wish me luck! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011


I went to my first acupuncture appointment and I had no idea what to expect. The doctor told me when I made the appointment that he wouldn't be doing any treatment today, just taking an extensive history.
Well, when I got in there, he asked which issue was most important right now, my back pain or infertility. OMG, it was like freaking Sophie's choice, do I want the pain to go away or do I want to get pregnant? I sat there for several minutes looking appalled and trying to decide. Ultimately, I went with the back pain. I have been having muscle spasms and numbness in my left leg for a week now and the pain is excruciating. I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to get that fixed up so that WHEN I get pregnant, I will be able to carry a baby.
I have to say, the treatment was not pleasant. I was on my stomach on this hard table and let me just say I'm well endowed :blush: This meant that I had to hold up my weight with my hands so that my boobs didn't get completely squashed. He pushed around on my leg and butt to locate my sciatic nerve and then started putting needles in. It hurt. Not the worst pain in my life, but it hurt. He also put needles up by my right shoulder because I keep having spasms there too. That didn't hurt as much, it actually tickled because he was near my side which is really sensitive. He also put a couple needles in the back of my knees.
After poking me with a bunch of needles (I have no idea how many, maybe 12 or so?) he selected a few to 'stimulate'. That made me flinch and it was irritating and tickled all at the same time. He left me to marinade for awhile. I could not relax. My boobs hurt too much and my arms were tired from pushing myself off of the table.
After maybe 20 minutes, he came in and pulled the needles out. He told me that the infertility treatment would be nothing like this and that it is much more relaxing. I hope that he's right.
I am supposed to go for treatments twice a week for my back and we can't start the IF treatments until my back gets better. I think I will bring a pillow next time so that I can lift my boobs off of the table. Apparently he normally does these for women on their side, but since I have left lower and right upper back pain, he can't.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I had another monitoring appointment today. Since the last one, we have added a vial of Menopur which brings my drugs up to 3 vials Bravelle and 1 vial Menopur every night. It's only been a few days so I wasn't expecting any miraculous follicle growth, but I was hoping for maybe 1 or 2 follicles that measured over 12 mm.

Yeah...not so much. I had a bunch of little tiny follicles and maybe one or 2 that were over 10, but just barely. So I'm basically exactly where I have been for the past almost 3 weeks. The RE wants me to add metformin back to my regimen now 1000 mg/day. I am hopeful that it will help. If nothing else, I'll lose a bit of weight since it makes me so sick to my stomach.

When we first started talking to the RE about doing injectable medications he proclaimed "I can get a rock to ovulate with FSH drugs". I asked him today what the deal was and reminded him that he said that. His response "well, right now it looks like you are in that OTHER 2%" This took me back to our first meeting where he went through the 'stats' of each drug/therapy option. He said that he could get 70% of women to ovulate with clomid (not me) and 98% of women to ovulate with injectable drugs. So far, I'm falling into that 2% of women who don't respond to injects.

For your viewing pleasure, I made a little drawing of the difference between my ovaries and a rock. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let the healing begin!

I finally made an appointment for acupuncture! I have been saying that I would do it for several weeks, but I hadn't made the appointment. I blame it on the acupuncturists lack of reception staff. I made the leap last week and called, but I got voicemail and I HATE leaving messages. I rarely, if ever, leave phone messages. I figure that people will see that I called on their caller ID and call me back. It's like ordering pizza. I hate calling and ordering pizza. It's too much pressure. They answer the phone and say 'go ahead with your order' and in that moment, I forget why I called. I sit there, struck silent by the pressure of remembering that we wanted a large pepperoni with thick crust.

Fortunately, when it comes to pizza, I can place the order online now. I swear, I am so non-confrontational, that I pretty much only interact with people when e-mail, text and online ordering fail to get the job done.

Anyway, I sucked it up and left a message this morning. The doctor called me right back and was very nice and reassuring. I have an appointment on Friday. I won't have any 'treatments' that day, it will just be an extensive history-taking appointment. I am really looking forward to getting the ball rolling though.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall

I had another monitoring appointment today. There was no progress on Thursday so my RE upped my Bravelle dosage to 225 iu. Today, not only did I not have any progress, I have officially started to back-slide. I have fewer follicles and my estrogen went from 119 on Friday to 49 today. So basically, I am back where I started over 2 1/2 weeks ago.
When I think about how many times I've been poked since starting this cycle...
FSH injections: 20
Blood draws: 6 BUT those 6 blood draws required more than 12 needle sticks.
It really is enough to make me want to give up. I feel hopeless and frustrated. According to my RE, it is possible that I have hypothalamic dysfunction in addition to the PCOS which means that I am deficient in FSH and LH. So, they are adding another drug to my regimen. This drug, Menopur, has both FSH and LH and they are hoping that it will kick things into high gear.

With everything that I have been through physically and everything that Tim and I have gone through emotionally, it is easy to want to give up. It is easy to lose sight of why we are doing it and think that maybe we don't want it that badly, but then I close my eyes and think about our future and what I see in our future is a family that is more than just the two of us. I see our child and all the love that we will share and hope that we will have for his/her future. I know exactly why we are doing this and I am not ready to give up, neither is Tim, and that's one of the many reasons why I love him so much.

"Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people"
— Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cycle Update

Warning: long boring update and vent to follow

I had my 4th monitoring appointment today and it sucked. It started with my 4th estrogen blood draw in 2 weeks. I don't know how or why, but I must have the worst veins ever. It took 3 pokes to get my blood. And what I don't get is the phlebotomist always tries to blame me for this. "I don't think you drank enough water..." Seriously?? I am not some dehydrated victim of a plane crash in the Sahara, a slight variation in my hydration status should not effect my circulating blood volume to the point where a blood draw is impossible.
Next I went to the RE's office for an ultrasound. After disrobing and hopping up on the table, a woman who I have only met once before walks in. She is one of the other REs and I really don't like her. Apparently my doc had the day off today. Tim was with me and she was very abrupt with both of us, even looking at him and saying 'hey, get the lights?' very nice. She has no bedside manner and she did a very brief scan of my ovaries. She didn't measure my uterine lining (which my RE always does) and she only looked at each ovary for a moment and declared that my follicles weren't doing much. She removed the probe and said 'go ahead and get dressed, then come out' OK--so there was no question that I wasn't going to get dressed before leaving and in all of my other visits, my RE would tell me what the tentative plan was and then say goodbye before walking out. Her telling me to get dressed and come out coupled with the shitty response of my ovaries made me think that she might want me to speak with her after I was dressed. Tim thought the same thing, so we tentatively left the exam room and looked around for the doc. She was in a little office that we pass on the way to the exit and when I saw her I asked 'do we need to go back to the waiting room or are we done?' She looked at me like I was the biggest moron on the planet and told me to go home that someone would be in touch. Very nice, lady. Really. You have been the cherry on my morning.

I got a call from my regular RE's nurse this afternoon and she told me that my estrogen level has gone up from 63 to 111 and my doc wants to keep me on the same dosage of follistim until my next monitoring appointment on Thursday. Here's hoping that my ovaries get the hint and start the follicle selection process. I would really like to have a dominant follicle when I go in on Thursday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Fun (False) Facts

Alright, so I wanted to share some fun facts, but AMAZINGLY, I found some false facts on the interwebs. I couldn't sleep knowing that this misinformation is out there for anyone to read so I just had to set the record straight on a few things.
  1. The elephant is the only animal with 4 knees. -- ok, I have to dispel this one. I found this on a 'fun facts' website and it is completely untrue. Elephants have 2 knees just like all terrestrial mammals. I'm not sure who thinks this and why, but I would be interested to find out.
  2. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit. -- I don't really think of most fish as being 'pregnant' since they lay eggs which are not fertilized until they leave the body. I'm calling bullshit on this fact.
  3. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. --yet another untrue goldfish myth. Why are people fixated on goldfish? Goldfish have a longer memory than 3 seconds. They can be trained to swim through short mazes for food and they remember where and when food will be presented from day to day. Myth Busted!
  4. Dart boards are made of horsehair. -- um not the ones I've used. I consulted Google on this (of course that's where I found all of these 'facts' too so I'm sure it's TOTALLY accurate) from what I read, most dartboards are not made of horsehair or any hair for that matter they are made of sisal, wood or wound paper. -- and for those who, like me, have no idea what sisal is, it's fiber from an agave plant.
  5. A dragonfly has a lifespan of 24 hours. -- Sure, if you swat it or if a frog eats it 2 days after it transforms! In reality, many dragonflies live a lot longer than that. First, they have multiple life stages, their aquatic stages (larva, nymph) can last months or even years. Once they become adults with wings, they may live weeks to even a few months.

I'll be on the lookout for more false facts to dispel for next week.

Update on me: I had my 3rd monitoring appointment today. It only took one stick to get blood this time which made me happy :) Follicles are still being crappy, but I had at least one up to 12 mm so that's good. I'm continuing on 100 IU daily through the weekend and I go in Monday for my next recheck. Come on Follicles!!

change in update: My REs nurse just called and my stupid estrogen has actually gone down since Tuesday. I think I'm the only one with ovaries shitty enough to make less estrogen following a dosage increase. I'm upping the follistim to 150 iu and going back Monday. My ovaries suck.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meatball Massacre

Last night's dinner was a total disaster! I got a new cookbook for slowcookers and I was so excited. It's from Rival and it was written for my particular slowcooker which had me really hopeful that it would have some great recipes that would work in our Crockpot. After searching through the book, I found a recipe for meatball sandwiches that seemed perfect. It was just meatballs (made with ground beef, egg and breadcrumb) covered in a 1lb 10oz jar of pasta sauce. The instructions said to cook for 8-10 hrs on low. I put everything in the pot, set it on low for 9 hours and went to work.

Tim and I met at the gym after work and I asked him how the meatballs were doing and if the house smelled good. He told me that the house smelled really good, he hadn't lifted the lid on the meat but he was really excited for dinner. I walked into the house just ahead of him, took the lid off the Crockpot and said "So, how about pizza?"

This is what the horrible mess looked like after I tried to stir it up a bit. The sauce had completely dried out and the tops of the meatballs were all black and dry. I was suspicious when I started the meal since the sauce barely covered the meatballs, but I thought 'hey, the cookbook wouldn't steer me wrong, would it?' Yeah...
On a positive note, the pizza was delicious!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sappy Song Saturday

Saturday 1/8/2011 is brought to you by the song "Seasons of Love" from RENT. If you need a reminder, check it out here: As year two of TTC has come to a close for Tim and I, this song has been stuck in my head a lot.

How did you measure the past year?
in Cycle Days
in Blood draws
in Injects
in Ultrasounds

in Follies
in OPKs
in BFNs
and tears?

Update: Today was our first monitoring appointment after 4 days of 50 IU Follistim. I have 3 follicles and they are each ~8 mm. I will be increasing my dose to 75 IU and returning for another u/s and blood draw on Tuesday. Here's hoping the follies keep growing strong and that the next phlebotomist can get my blood on the first try.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fun Facts

Hello! I thought I would share some fun facts with you to help your Friday move along a bit faster.
  1. Flea's can jump 130 times higher than their own height. In human terms this is equal to a 6ft. person jumping 780 ft. into the air.
  2. There are no poisonous snakes in Maine. - I have to add that my dad told my step-mom, who has a horrible fear of snakes, that there are no poisonous snakes in Ohio, this is not true. There are actually 3 venomous snakes in Ohio; the copperhead, the timber rattlesnake and the eastern massauga, just don't tell my step-mom :)
  3. In ancient Rome, when a man testified in court, he would swear on his testicles - I wonder what happened if they found out he was lying??
  4. The only letter not appearing in the periodic table is 'J'.
  5. Coffee drinkers have more sex than non-coffee drinkers. They also enjoy it more. - Who determined this, and how? I drink coffee, but Tim doesn't. How can I be having more sex than he is? Hmmm.
  6. 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan (Wendy) are the only two Disney cartoon features with both parents that are present and don't die throughout the movie. - Let me know if you can think of another! I tried and can't, but it seems too crazy to be true.
  7. Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously - Who tried this?
  8. Ben and Jerry's send the waste from making ice cream to local pig farmers to use as feed. Pigs love the stuff, except for one flavor: Mint Oreo.
  9. A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
  10. The average bra size today is 36C. Ten years ago it was 34B.

I go in for my first monitoring appointment tomorrow morning. Come on follicles!