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!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crazy Night!

Last night ended up being a crazy night for us. We have been working with the head of the breed rescue for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in our city for a couple of weeks to try and adopt a puppy. Not just any puppy, Flash Gordon, super puppy extraordinaire! He is a blenheim colored Cavie and he's 6 months old. He was a puppy mill puppy that had a heart murmur so the breeder did not want him and could not sell him. The rescue eventually got him and with help from the veterinary cardiologists at Ohio State, diagnosed him with 2 congenital issues, patent ductus arteriosus and pulmonic stensosis. He had both heart issues treated last week and is doing wonderfully. Since he has to get cleared by cardiology to get neutered, we have been waiting to find out when we would get to take him home. Well, last night was our 'site visit' and the person from the rescue, who happens to be a veterinarian at OSU as well, came over with Flash. Our 2 other dogs and our cat got to meet him and they all had very different reactions.

Brewster began drooling uncontrollably and gave me the stink eye for allowing another dog to cross our threshold.

Cricket play bowed, growled and ran around like a complete idiot with Flash to the point that she was completely exhausted.

Patra kitty sat very still while Flash inspected her and then went up into her perch where she could look down on the little bugger with bitter disdain.

As the site visit came to a close, it became clear that Flash would not be going back to the rescue, but staying with us. We were both thrilled and completely unprepared to have the little guy so as soon as the visit was over, we scooped Flash up, hopped in the car, and headed to the pet store to get a bowl, a leash, and a kennel for our newest addition.

Even with all of the puppy excitement, in the back of my mind was the impending first injection that was to come. As soon as we got back from the pet store, I went on youtube to watch the instructional video for follistim injection one more time

As soon as it was over, I mustered up my courage, grabbed my supplies and headed to the bathroom for some injection privacy. Amazingly, it wasn't a big deal at all. Plucking my eyebrows is more painful than the needle and I got through it in one try. Just as I put the needle in, Tim shouted "I love you" up the stairs and through the bathroom door. I pushed the plunger, counted to five, pulled out the needle and shouted "I love you, too!"

Here's hoping that this new protocol does the trick and here's to the newest little member of our family, Flash Gordon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here we go...

Ok, I admit it, I'm a crappy blogger. I never feel like I have important stuff to say so I don't update like I should
I have a milestone today so it seemed like a good time to get things going again. Last cycle was a bust/waste. I had one follicle that just wouldn't grow much and we finally triggered around CD26 but didn't waste $ on an IUI since it was such a crappy follie. Fortunately, it must have ovulated because 2 weeks later, AF showed signaling the start of a new cycle and a new protocol.
We are doing injectables! I am on CD3 today and I will be doing the first injection tonight. The plan thus far is to start with 50 IU Follistim once a day and go in for my first ultrasound and bloodwork on Saturday morning to see how things are going. I am freaked out more by the multiple blood draws than the daily injections because, as you may have read in previous entries, my veins suck and I really only have one good place for getting blood. I have to have faith in the professionals that they will be kind to my vein so that it can be poked every couple of days.
I'm wondering if I should invest in some maternity pants now, that panel in the front might be just the thing to deal with all of the bruises and tenderness from the injections in my belly. I guess I'll give it a few days and see how it goes.
Wish me luck! I promise to update more often and keep up with the fun stuff too :)