Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another goodbye - December 4th, 2011

Tonight we said goodbye to our sweet little birdie Icarus.  He was a wild European Starling whose nest was destroyed outside our home 4.5 years ago.  He was absolutely defenseless - eyes still closed and no feathers on him, just a slight tuft of down.  We took time off of work to feed him every 20 minutes or so for the first few days, and thankfully feedings quickly spaced out to every few hours, allowing me to just rush home on my lunch hour to feed him.  He had about a 50/50 chance of making it through those first few weeks.  Yeah, he definitely made it.  He quickly 'imprinted' with humans, cats, and dogs meaning that he thought we were all his buddies.  Had we released him back into the wild when he was capable of flying and foraging for food (though he'd never been taught), he would have quickly been killed by a cat or dog that thought he was a snack or toy. So, we bought a huge indoor flight cage and kept him as a pet (he is one of two breeds of wild bird that are legal to keep as pets in our state).  He learned to say about 20 phrases over the years, which we and all of our friends and family found amazing.  Some favorites?  He would say "Good morning Icarus." and "I'll get you some fresh water." He loved to say "Hi!" and one time there were several birds at the feeder that we kept right outside the window next to his cage.  The window was open and he said "HI!" to the birds and they all flew off in fear.  It was so cute and sad too, because he just had no idea how to make other birdie friends.  Another favorite?  After we moved a year and a half ago, his new location was next to the back door where we let the dogs out.  So, he quickly learned to say, "Come on, come on!" to the dogs to get them to come back inside.  Amazingly, he never learned to say any swear words or 'shut up' or anything like that - only positive things.  He was an awesome little bird, and he was very loved.  He was so happy too - he just chattered up a storm all the time and flew around happily in his cage and dinged his bells all the time.  I would say "ding ding" and he would fly or hop over to his bells and ring them.  So adorable.  We will always remember that sweet little guy and how much amazement and happiness he brought into our lives over the years.  Goodbye sweet Icarus - you will be very missed darling bird.

Monday, November 28, 2011

In-laws and sick child - November 28th, 2011

Whew!  Last week was a whirlwind of cleaning, planning meals, and more cleaning!  My in-laws came on Friday morning and we had a second Thanksgiving dinner (first one was at my parents' house on Thursday).  I made a couple of dishes for Thursday, but had to make the whole meal for Friday.  I took all sorts of shortcuts, but it still wore me out!  I have also been on the cusp of getting sick for a few weeks now, and it finally caught up with me on Saturday.  Of course, it also caught up to RoBet the same day and her fever spiked to 103.  =(  Poor kiddo.  We ended up taking her to a children's urgent care facility in the next suburb over.  The trip took us 3 hours and was horrible with lots of screaming and crying and generally unhappiness from the kiddo.  By the time we got home, all of the pharmacies here were closed too, so she didn't get her first dose of antibiotics until Sunday morning.  Saturday night sucked.  She woke up every hour and was awake for 30 - 60 minutes each time.  Ugh.  So, it's been a crazy few days 'round here.  We're both starting to feel better now though, but I need to take the rest of her nap time to get some rest myself!  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Update - a little late - November 21st, 2011

Sorry for the delayed update!  I had my appointment with my RE on Friday afternoon, and what we saw was exactly what the rational side of me expected.  One little bean, just in the right place, just the right size, with a heart beating away.  Yay!  Oh and the heart rate (HR)?  Remember that info I provided back for RoBet?  Probably not . . . so here it is.  A HR of of less than 140 generally indicates a boy.  Over 150 is generally a girl.  Ours was 140 - 150.  Ha!  Figures!  =)  Not that it really means much this early on, but still, that was hilarious to be there again!  So now I have been released to my OB - no more RE appointments - yay!  I called my OB's office today to make the appointment.  Of course, I couldn't even talk to someone to schedule an appointment - oh no, that would make my life too easy.  I left a message at 1:30 and did not receive a call back.  *sigh*  Dealing with medical offices is a royal pain in the ass. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Disappearance of symptoms - November 15th, 2011

Hmm.  My symptoms seems to have disappeared over these past few days.  I really thought my nausea was reaching a crescendo and puke-fest was inevitably around the corner.  And then . . . nothing these last two days.  I'm a little nervous, but I do know that pregnancy symptoms come and go all the time and that no two pregnancies are exactly alike.  I am very eager to get to Friday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not much to report - November 12th, 2011

I'm still here.  I've been feeling nauseous and tired most of the last week, but nothing 'spectacular'.  heh.  RoBet has been on and off crankypants this week again.  I think she's been feeling a little under the weather and has been teething something fierce.  Hopefully it passes soon, because I suspect I'm about to get a while lot worse in the near future.  We went to library storytime this past week again, as I suspect I will be absent from all out-of-the-house activities soon for awhile.  Not much else to report.  The ultrasound is next Friday, so I should have a good update then!  Have a great weekend (and week)!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ugh, thieves suck! - November 5th, 2011

I was getting ready to head out to the store to pick up a few items this morning, and wanted to quickly balance the checkbook before going.  I hopped online and checked our financials and saw that the credit card, which was supposed to be auto-paid yesterday, didn't get pulled out.  It sometimes takes a couple of days to show on the bank site, so I just wanted to verify it on the credit card site.  I went out to the CC site, and sure enough, it posted yesterday.  I quickly looked through the charges, since I was there, and saw two that didn't sound familiar to me from the past few days.  I asked hubby if he charged them, and he didn't recall it.  I figured it was some Christmas gifts that we had ordered and didn't remember, but wanted to dig a little further.  I googled the company name and it was a dating website.  Hmmm.  I was pretty darn sure that neither hubby nor I would be joining dating websites nor be stupid enough if we did to charge it to our joint credit card.  It was also interesting that the first charge was for $1 and the second for the full subscription price of $50.  I called my credit card company, and filed a dispute against the charges.  I asked them how likely it would be for this to be an accident and not something more sinister.  They said that it is incredibly common for thieves to charge a 'trial amount' of $1 on thousands and thousands of card numbers until they find one that works.  Once the charge goes through, their spending spree begins.  They then went through the list of 'pending charges' with me that included a third charge to the same company and another 'trial charge' to an online music purchasing website.  Great.  I closed the cards and have a new set on the way that are supposed to arrive on Monday.  We have about 10 different auto-pay accounts on the card and a dozen more that have the card saved to use.  *sigh*  It's going to be a lot of work to set up the new cards when they arrive and a pain to get the stolen charges cleared up, but it could have been a LOT worse.  I know it could have been terrible.  If I hadn't just hopped on the site for a quick check, I could have easily gone another week before looking at it, and by then they could have charged thousands of dollars worth of crap and the headaches would have been huge.  This is minor in comparison to what others experience as well, but it really scares the crap out of me.  I'm so happy I caught it early enough to not make my life a pain in the butt for the next several weeks/months. 

In pregnancy news, there isn't much news.  Just light cramping, slightly sore boobs, and on and off exhaustion.  Occasionally I've not felt 'well' in the tummy, but no more sickness just yet (thankfully!).  Oh, I finally got the progesterone results back from over a week ago!  They were down to 19.something from 32.something.  I was worried about that, but the nurse said that the numbers bounce all around and as long as it is over 15 consistently, we're just fine.  I asked if we should re-check it to be sure, and she said no, that is not necessary.  Plus, she said the placenta is taking over more and more as the pregnancy progresses and the progesterone becomes less and less important for a successful pregnancy.  We're not there yet, but that will be coming soon.

Tonight we are going to my parents' house to celebrate my sister's birthday.  I have to make some puppy chow (also known as muddy buddies) per a request from my sister.  I should go get on that, seeing as we will be leaving here in a couple of hours.  Hope everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My little monster - October 31st, 2011

So here is my little monster for Halloween.  Isn't she just the cutest little monster?  And when she walks, she looks quite a bit like 'Boo' from Monsters Inc.  I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween!

Beta #4 Results - October 31st, 2011

Sorry for the delay!  Yesterday was very busy with trick-or-treaters and my kiddo has been a BEAR today!  Tantrums are only 1 minute apart and last 10 - 20 minutes apiece!  Ack! 

In good news my beta came back quickly yesterday.  On Friday it was 395, so if doubling every 48 hours continued, it would have been around 1200.  As it turns out, it was 1819 - it really took off!  Hooray!  So then the nurse wanted to schedule the ultrasound.  I was expecting it for this week, next Monday at the latest.  She asked me how I felt about the 18th!  I was shocked for it to be so far away!  She said that since everything looks good with this pregnancy and they have no concerns at this time, there is no reason to have an earlier ultrasound.  We'll be able to see more as I'll be nearly 8 weeks by that time, but man that is so far away!  So I guess it's good that there is no concern at this time - but I wanna' see my kidney bean! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Beta #3 Results - October 28th, 2011

I had beta #3 drawn this morning, and already got the results back!  My RE's nurse really is awesome.  Today it was 395, which is fantastic!  That means it was just a little higher increase than doubling in 48 hours.  Woohoo!  I do have to go back again on Monday though (boooo).  And once it gets over 1100, they will schedule the ultrasound.  If all goes right, it will be around 1200 on Monday.  I thought they would wait until I was 6 weeks along to do the first ultrasound, because then they would have a higher probability to see the heartbeat.  So I'm not sure when they will schedule the ultrasound for - if it's the next day or a week out or what once it reaches that 1100 mark.  Because last time was so filled with uncertainty and fear of miscarriage and then ectopic, everything was just a whirlwind to me.  This time it feels much calmer, much more scheduled than last time.  At least it has since Wednesday.  Heh.  I am feeling so much more confident now though - I am no longer overcome by fear of losing this pregnancy.  I feel quite confident at this point that sometime around the first week of July, we will be meeting one healthy little baby (c'mon boy!).  This IVF process sure hasn't been what I expected it to be and it didn't feel like I expected it to feel, but we are on our way to the end goal.  And that feels pretty darn good.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beta #2 - October 27th, 2011

Beta #2 came back much better than I expected.  185!  I was so worried it wouldn't go up at all, and it nearly doubled in 48 hours!  So, this little bugger is sticking in there so far!  Woohoo!  I do have to go back for one more round of bloodwork tomorrow - repeat quantitative beta and progesterone.  So I'm feeling much more confident now.  I can't wait to get past this phase and to the part where we see the little bugger on he ultrasound and then later feel her/him moving around.  First comes more exhausting and puking though.  heh.  I'll take it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beta results and onset of symptoms - October 25th, 2011

Teh interwebz ate my post!  I posted this morning, but I don't see it here now.  Hrumph.  And there isn't even a draft of it.  Phooey.  I'll recap what I had written.

Beta came in at 96.5.  That is pregnant, and not terrible, but not great.  With RoBet it was 233 at this same point (14 DPO).  233 was very high for a singleton though, so 100 isn't bad for just one bun in the oven.  What bugs me is that I got such an early BFP, that my levels should be higher now.  Some of you may want to tune out now - it's about to get technical.  The sensitivity of the tests that I used (Clearblue Easy Digital and Wondfos (also known as Amazon cheapies) is 25 (units aren't really important for this discussion).  Beta levels are supposed to double every two days.  So, if we assume that my level of hcG was 25 on Thursday, it can be assumed that a double was 50 on Saturday and 100 on Monday.  Since my level was slightly under 100, it HAD to be at 25 on Thursday for everything to be OK and doubling appropriately.  But what are the chances of it being exactly that and being picked up on the test?  Wouldn't it make more sense that it was 35 or 50?  If so, I am clearly not doubling my levels every 48 hours.  *sigh*  End result?  I absolutely hate this part of the process.  My levels did not double with RoBet (for reasons I can speculate on at another time), and it caused me no end of fear and stress.  If my level that they draw tomorrow (I'll get the results back Thursday) doesn't double, I'm going to ask that they just not do any more betas for a few days at least, hopefully for a week.  I just don't want to keep doing this every 2 - 3 days for two weeks like last time.  I don't want to over analyze each number and what it could mean.  I don't want to expect to miscarry - if it happens, there is nothing that will stop it, even if I know it's coming.  So, let it just happen then if that is what is going to be.  I don't want to worry that it might be coming for weeks on end.  Let me just be happy being pregnant, and if it happens, so be it.  For now though, I can still be optimistic, because I'm having symptoms!  Yay for feeling like shit!  Yesterday I was so exhausted that I took a nap during the day and went to bed early.  That is unusual for me - I prefer to be awake and doing things for as much time as possible.  I try to get 7 -8 hours of sleep a night, but that's usually enough.  Not yesterday!  And then, RoBet woke me up crying again last night (she's teething again) and I had to cut my time that I sat and rocked her short, because man I had to puke!  And I did.  Lots.  At midnight.  So, exhaustion and morning sickness are here.  Last time they waited until about 8 weeks to set in, so this is a bit on the early side!  But, hopefully they won't last as long this time, assuming the pregnancy is viable.  OK, that's the short version of my earlier post.  Off to bed for me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Well - October 21st, 2011

My in-laws are coming to visit this weekend, so I was doing some cleanup yesterday after I put RoBet to bed.  My husband has been working second shift all this week, so I was on my own last night.  Having all of your evenings alone tends to make one a bit stir-crazy and do things they might not otherwise do.  So, around 8:00, I decided I needed to pee on a stick.  I took the test and after about 2 minutes, looked over and didn't see a second line.  I went about organizing some stuff and got some laundry out of the dryer and looked again.  I saw what I thought was a very faint second line.  Very faint, but there.  For sure there.  I took some pictures and tweaked them and really felt that second line was there, so I wanted to follow up with a digital test, which is pretty sensitive and says "pregnant" or "not pregnant", so it's a pretty sure thing.  But, I had dumped my concentrated urine out of the dixie cup, so I had to wait until I had to pee again.  And drinking lots of water to make yourself have to pee is no good, because then it will be diluted and might not produce the same result on the test at this low level of hcG in there.  So, I waited.  Finally about 9:45 or so I was able to work up enough to test again.  And the digital test flashes a little hour glass while it works.  It was working, and working, and working.  I swear, I started at it for like 3 full minutes before leaving the bathroom and folding some laundry.  I came back in and the damn thing was still working!  Arg!  So I impatiently folded some more laundry (I'll tell you, impatiently folded laundry looks and awful lot like patiently folded laundry).  After about 8 minutes total, I came back in and finally it popped up - "pregnant".  Well.  So much for not feeling pregnant.  You just never know, I guess.  So, I am now 11 days pregnant.  heh.  My due date is July 5th, 2012 - perfect for a little 'firecracker'.  This whole thing just feels surreal, it really does.  I cannot believe I have a little sac of cells burrowed into my uterus right now and growing.  I look at my daughter and try to remember what it felt like when she was just a little sac of cells burrowing in.  It feels like so long ago, even though it was just over 2 years ago.  I'm going to be a mother of 2, and that just kicks ass.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I sure don't feel pregnant - October 20th, 2011

So I sure don't feel pregnant.  I feel like I remember 'feeling pregnant' by this point the first time around.  I'm probably just psyching myself out, but I am just feeling like this didn't work.  I will be testing tomorrow morning.  That will be 7 days past 5 day transfer (7dp5dt) or the equivalent of 12 days past ovulation (12dpo).  I testing with RoBet at 11dpo and got a negative, then tested again at 13dpo and got a positive.  So, tomorrow is right between those and should hopefully give me a big fat positive result.  I hope.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Progesterone Results - October 18th, 2011

My nurse gave me a call this morning with my progesterone level results.  They want it to be over 15, and it is 32.6, so we are good to go with that this month.  We will continue the progesterone in oil shots at the same level for now.  If we do wind up being pregnant, this will continue until December 8th.  Fun.  My butt sure is sore on both sides at this point, so it will be a long few months of soreness, but it's worth it if it works out.  For now, we just keep waiting and hoping for the best.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A little blue - October 17th, 2011

I'm a little blue today (as are my embies that remain).  All 8 were going strong as of Saturday, so we had high expectations for how many would be able to be frozen.  Of the 7 that we did not transfer, only 3 made it to freezing.  We lost the grade 3, which we expected, but then also 2 of the grade 2s and one of the grade 1s.  It is the loss of the grade 1 that hits me especially hard, because if one of the perfect embryos wasn't strong enough to make it to be frozen, how likely is it that the single one that is inside me will make it to become a baby?  I am seriously doubting my decision to put back only 1 embryo, and maybe I'd even go so far as to say I am regretting it.  I'm trying to stay hopeful, but I am a worrier by nature, and am very worried right now.  I had my blood drawn to check my progesterone level today, so I should know what that comes back at tomorrow morning.  Hopefully it is nice and high.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm PUPO! October 15th, 2011

So as of shortly before 10:00 today, I am pregnant until proven otherwise (PUPO).  It was another challenging experience at the RE's office.  My RE was still not in today, so I had the same doc that I've had for the last few appointments do the transfer.  We arrived at 8:55, as we were told to be there by 9:05 and our transfer time was to be 9:20.  So as 9:05 came and went, we were getting anxious.  I had chugged 20 ounces of water between 8:25 - 8:30 so that I had a nice full bladder for the procedure.  They do an on-the-tummy ultrasound for the transfer, and the full bladder helps them see the uterus better.  Needless to say, the urge to urinate was very strong by 9:20.  We were finally called back to the room at 9:25 - 20 minutes after we were expected to be called back and given the report on our embryos.  We then proceeded to wait another 15 minutes, and by then, I was getting really upset.  I needed to pee very badly, and I expected my embryos would be in me at 9:20 exactly.  These things are usually a science right down to the minute, so waiting was very unexpected.  The doc finally came in and gave us our report on our embryos.  Hubby and I had a very lengthy discussion last night over sushi about what we would do in all sorts of scenarios.  When that report was put in front of me, all my planning went out the window and I was just stammering and uncertain.  Here's how it broke out:

  • 1 grade 1 blastocyst
  • 1 grade 1 early blastocyst
  • 1 grade 2 early blastocyst
  • 1 grade 1 morula
  • 3 grade 2 morulas
  • 1 grade 3 morula

What I did not expect was that so many of them would still be morulas instead of blastocysts and that all 8 would still be growing and dividing.  I had thought about putting back the top embryo and the bottom embryo.  In fact, as of going to bed last night, that is what we had planned to do.  The doc said he would recommend putting back the top 1 or 2 embryos, either decision would be fine.  So what did we decide?  Well, picturing my pregnancy, delivery, and the future of our family, I picture just one at a time.  I picture having one baby to add to our family in 9 months.  I also picture not doing this process again, so sacrificing the extra 12% chance of success was difficult to do, but in the end, we opted to transfer our one top-of-the-line blastocyst.  We hope most if not all of the others make it to be frozen (well, they will not freeze the grade 3, so that one is a loss), but we really have all of our eggs in one basket.  Err, all of our eggs in one egg I guess.  So now we wait.  I have my progesterone level checked on Monday to ensure that the progesterone in oil shots that I am receiving are doing the trick.  If not, they will probably up my dosage.  That would not be fun.  These shots hurt!  And, if I am pregnant, they will continue until December 8th.  Lovely.  heh.  OK, well, that's my update for now.  Now I lay on the couch and rest for the next 2 days so that perfect little emby can settle in.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Transfer tomorrow, sushi tonight! October 14th, 2011

Transfer is tomorrow at 9:20 AM!  Eek!  It feels like this week has been so long, but now it's almost go time!  To celebrate, we bought a Groupon to a restaurant in a nearby suburb that we used to frequent for some great sushi.  If all goes well, I won't be able to have it again for nearly 2 years (can't have it while breastfeeding either), so we're going to live it up!  We still don't know if we'll be doing 1 or 2 embryos - it really all depends on the state of our little embies in the morning.  I'll update you all tomorrow sometime with the results - then it's just 9 days wait until we know if it worked!  Seems short now, but it will feel loooooong when we're in it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Updated Fertilization Report (Day 3) - October 13th, 2011

Sorry for the delay in informing you of what has been going on!  These past few days have been Codeine-induced blur!  So, first the update.  As of this morning, here is the day-3 update:
1 10-cell grade 2
3 8-cell grade 1
2 8-cell grade 2
1 7-cell grade 3
1 6-cell grade 2

If you count those up, you will see that all 8 are still growing and dividing!  That is amazing!  Based on the reports yesterday and today, we have decided to do a day-5 transfer, which will be Saturday.  We still don't know how many we are going to transfer, as they certainly won't all make it to be frozen.  On day 5, the embryos become known as blastocysts and the grading scale changes.  The criteria for freezing are more rigorous than the non-blast transfer criteria.  So, right now I'm leaning toward transferring one top-quality embryo and one low-quality embryo that probably won't make it to freezing.  I'm not sure if that is what is going to happen or not, but that is how I am leaning today. We really won't be able to make the call until we are at their office on Saturday with the final report.  What a nail biter!

Another update, is that Tuesday night I woke up in a ton of pain - like a 9 on the 10-point scale.  I woke up Hubby and he called Dr RE's pager, but couldn't get in touch with him for awhile, so we decided to head to the hospital.  While we waited for my Mom to come over (it was midnight!) to be here in case RoBet woke up, Dr RE called back.  He said do NOT go to the ER, as they would take one look at my ovaries and put us through tons of very expensive and unnecessary testing.  Instead, he wanted us to come to his office at 8AM Wednesday morning.  To get through the night, he OKed the use of a heating pad (which is off limits otherwise) and to take 2 of my Tylenol-3s, which have codeine in them on top of the one I had taken at bedtime.  As it turns out, it was just the size of my ovaries causing the pain.  Normally, an ovary is the size, roughly, of a golf ball.  During stimulation, they become the size of grapefruits.  After follicle aspiration, they collapse back down to almost normal size.  Then, the follicles fill back up with fluid and actually grow larger than they were during stimulation!  I didn't know they grew even LARGER!  Well, my ovaries were bigger than the size of grapefruits - up to the size of small cantaloupes!  And because of the strange location of my left ovary, and the suddenness of the swelling, it really moved other stuff around inside causing the intense and sudden pain.  Several T-3s and much bedrest later, I am on my way to feeling better now.  Thankfully it was not OHSS or an infection, and all is getting better now.  

Tomorrow I will be getting a call from my nurse to set up the time for our transfer on Saturday and to give me the details of everything I need to know about transfer day.  My embie(s) are almost home - I cannot wait to be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise)! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fertilization Report - October 11th, 2011

The fertilization report was called to me this morning.  Apparently the count of 10 eggs was not just the mature ones, but all eggs retrieved.  =(  There were 2 immature eggs, leaving 8 mature ones that they could try to fertilize.  Fertilization rates are normally around 70%, and slightly less with ICSI.  ICSI is where they inject a single sperm into each egg and is done in case of male infertility, such as ours.  So, with 8 eggs, we could expect 5 or maybe 6 to fertilize.  The bit of good news is that we had 100% fertilization, meaning we have 8 fertilized eggs, or 1-cell embryos as of this morning. 

What happens next?
Our nurse had said she expected us to do a day-3 transfer because of the low number of eggs we retrieved yesterday and the expectation that only 5 or so would fertilize, and that several would arrest in their development between fertilization and transfer.  However, the embryologist that called me this morning advised that we would probably be a go for a day-5 transfer since they all fertilized.  Only time will tell how many make it, and thus what day we do the transfer and how many we transfer.  We will be getting a call each morning for the next several days to let us know how many embryos are still dividing and viable.  I'll keep you posted, dear readers. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Egg Retrieval, More details - October 10th, 2011

We drove RoBet down to a suburb nearby where our reproductive clinic is, to my sister's house.  My mom had been caring for my sister's two girls while she and her husband were on a short getaway this weekend.  Since we had to report no later than 8:45 this morning, we left plenty of time to get to this suburb and then into the city to the clinic.  We arrived at 7:45 and got to see both of our nieces before they headed off to school, which was nice.  At 8:00, I took a Xanex to get me 'relaxed'.  Then at 8:10 we said goodbye to RoBet and headed to the clinic.  We arrived there around 8:25.  Hubby and I had to first report to the office next door and fill out some paperwork.  I then left and he stayed to make his 'deposit'.  This same office is where the embryos are cultured and stored, and frozen if we make it that far.  But I get ahead of myself.  I went next door to my clinic and signed in.  It was 8:30.  As I sat in the waiting room, at least a dozen other clients (couples and singles) came in and were called back.  Hubby joined me at about 8:50.  We waited and waited as the entire waiting room filled and emptied.  I was getting more and more worried the longer we waited - why were all of these other people going back and we weren't?  Were they there for other purposes, or is something wrong?!  Finally, at 9:15, half an hour after I was instructed to be there, we were called back.  We were taken to a recovery room and told that our room wasn't ready yet.  Peachy.  The nurse came in with a dose of some medication and I was told to drop my pants so she could inject me in the hip.  Joy.  She said it was a narcotic that would help me get through the procedure.  Well, I was less unhappy about it then.  After that, I was instructed to empty my bladder and clean my external lady bits with 3 wipes.  I went in and did as I was told, but struggled to open the third medicated wipe.  I don't know why it didn't want to open, but it really just didn't.  I had to use my teeth to tear into it.  Finally, with that task complete, I went back into the adjoining recovery room and sat.  And waited.  About 10 minutes later, our room was ready.  We went in, and I undressed from the waist down.  And we waited.  At 10:05, the doctor finally came in.  I asked if I should feel loopy or something, because I was fully alert, and was told that the drug would kick in later and I would forget what was happening.  The doc had me sit back and inserted various items to clean out my vaginal canal and cervix.  It wasn't that bad.  Then he injected a local anesthetic to numb the vagina.  That hurt quite a bit.  I thought that was going to be the worst part.  I was very, very wrong.  I help Hubby's hand and turned to watch the monitor.  Doc put in the ultrasound wand, and then tried to move one of the stirrups that my foot was in to make more room.  The stirrup would not move.  I lifted my foot in the air, with the other foot in the stirrup and the wand sticking out of my hoo-ha.  He struggled for a minute, then asked the nurse to do it.  She struggled with it for a few minutes mumbling about where it should fit, but it wasn't going over there.  Hubby really wanted to jump in and help - he is an engineer after all - so finally they let him, and he had it fixed in about 30 seconds.  My leg was getting very tired.  After all that was over, I was feeling slightly amused and hopeful.  That ended very quickly.  Doc said, "Now, I've never had this done, but I hear it feels like pressure, then a pinch, then more pressure."  OK, I thought, I can do that.  Sure.  Instead, what it felt like was a jab, stick, and holy hell that hurts and burns and good lord, why?  Why, why, why?  He began to aspirate each follicle, and I figured I could take my mind off of it a bit by watching and counting how many he emptied.  That worked for the first 10 follicles (all on the right side).  He then said he had 4 more to aspirate on that side.  I was no longer watching.  I was gripping my Hubby's hands like my life depended on it, and desperately wishing that I would just pass out.  I would have given just about anything to pass out at that moment.  And it just kept going on and on and on.  All in all, I think this part of the procedure took about 10 - 12 minutes.  It was the most horrible 10 - 12 minutes of my life.  Seriously, I was gripping my husband's hands harder than I did during labor.  I was whimpering and crying on the table.  I was whispering, "No, make it stop, help" in between soft sobs and whines.  It was simply awful.  And it went on and on.  My left ovary gave at least 6 follicles, maybe a couple more.  After it was done, doc and nurse tried talking to me.  I don't really remember what they said, but I just didn't care.  I remember thinking that if I could talk, I would tell them to fuck off.  They, of course, didn't deserve that, but it was all I could think of in that moment.  Maybe it was good that I couldn't talk.  I'm not sure how long I laid on that table whimpering and sobbing softly after they left.  I nearly threw up several times and was given medicine to keep the nausea at bay.  I was given little sips of water to help with the dry mouth caused by the pointless narcotic that did nothing.  I was in excessive amounts of pain for several hours after the procedure.  I'm still in quite a bit of pain, but it is manageable now.  In all, they aspirated at least 20 follicles.  When the nurse came back, she said we got 10 eggs.  It is normal to have a couple of follicles not hold eggs, but for half or more to not hold eggs is very strange.  I don't yet know why this happened to me.  My guess is that it has to do with how quickly the follicles jumped in growth, but I am certainly not qualified to make that judgement at this time.  I will have to have a talk with my doctor in a few days to try and understand why this happened to me.  Meanwhile, I await my fertilization report tomorrow morning.  What we hear tomorrow will tell us whether we do a 3-day transfer or a 5-day transfer.  We were certain, until after the procedure, that we would be doing a 5-day transfer of 1 embryo.  We had so many mature follicles, how could we not have enough embryos to do that?  Now, we are nervous that we won't have enough to even make it to a day 5 transfer, and that means we will not know the quality of the embryos we transfer.  So, I am just in a bad way today.  I am depressed and expecting the worst now.  This process just sucks all the way around.

Egg retrieval - October 10th, 2011

What a rough day. The egg retrieval (ER) did not go well today. I will post more details later, but it was horribly painful and I was way too alert. I was whimpering and crying as it went on and on. They aspirated 20 follicles, but only got 10 eggs. I'm not even sure if those were all mature eggs, or if they will take those out of the count before the fertilization report tomorrow. :( I am very bummed today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wish me luck tomorrow - October 9th, 2011

Egg retrieval (ER) is tomorrow morning.  The retrieval is at 10:00, but we have to be there by 8:45.  We have to do some crazy maneuvers to get RoBet to my Mom, who will be at my sister's house in the morning, since we cannot bring RoBet to the ER.  That means that we have to leave here around 7:00 instead of 8:00.  Meh.  Oh well, we'll live.  I'm super nervous about the procedure tomorrow.  I am really not looking forward to being awake while they puncture the walls of my vagina to extract the eggs.  That sounds really not fun.  Hopefully I can distract myself by watching the follicles deflate on the screen.  Maybe I'll be 'high' enough to tell the lab technician to be sure to pick the boy sperm.  You know, the ones with penises.  heh.  OK all, wish me luck and I'll update tomorrow with the total egg count!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good results - October 8th, 2011

I got some good results at my checkup today.  My follicles went from 11 - 14mm to 17.5 - 26mm!  They doc was looking for at least 3 to be 18mmand we have 16 ranging from 17.5 - 26mm!  He was pretty surprised that so many grew so fast - he even called the biggest ones 'monsters'.  haha!  So, we will take the trigger shot tonight (which is the same as the trigger shots that we did for our IUIs) and the egg retrieval (ER) will be Monday morning.  I cannot believe how fast the stimulation phase went! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some good news - October 5th, 2011

This morning's appointment went well.  The blood draw was uneventful.  I had to wait a bit longer for the ultrasound than before, but it still wasn't too long.  When the doc came in to peek at what was going on, he found that my uterine lining was a 7 already.  It needs to be at least a 6 at transfer - and that is still at least a week away, so that's great!  He then looked at my left ovary and saw 4 follicles right away.  The ovary was being difficult to get into view, as always, so he though there were more but didn't feel a need to push around to view it better.  They both measured in the 13 mm range.  Then he looked at the right ovary, and it was full of all sorts of follicles, all of a similar size.  They were between 11 and 14 mm, and he did a quick count of 7, again without probing or moving the wand around.  So, we have a minimum of 11 good sized follicles, all growing at a nice rate.  The doc wants at least 3 follicles of size 18 or larger for trigger (HCg trigger shot) and they grow at an average of 2 mm per day, so there is a good chance that we will be given the order to trigger on Saturday after our appointment putting our egg retrieval at Monday.  That is nearly a week ahead of schedule!  I guess we're making up time that we lost in suppression.  haha!  I then got the call about my E2 levels this afternoon.  They were at 733, which is great for where we are in the process!  So we will continue with what we've been doing until Saturday, and from there we'll probably be able to know the rest of the schedule.  Exciting! 

Off topic - Maggie - October 4th, 2011

One of our sweet dogs, Maggie, died Monday night.  She was 9 and was my husband's first dog of his own.  He got her when we'd been dating for about 6 months and she and I fought and fought over those first few years.  Heh.  She was a Scottish terrier, and they are all about being at the head of the 'pack', so she wanted to make sure I knew my place.  She let me know that she was above me by ripping up my expensive fancy bras when I slept over, chewing my CDs, books, DVDs, just about anything she could get her teeth on.  She proceeded to cost us thousands in damages on my husband's first house from tearing up carpet, chewing drywall, chewing wood steps and baseboards, and peeing all over the place, forcing us to replace all of the carpet in every room.  But I wouldn't have traded her for anything.  Around age 3, she calmed down and was the best dog anyone could ask for.  She was loyal, loving, and had that 'sixth sense' some pets do about when to cuddle with us, when we were hurt or sad, etc.  She was so much fun and loved to play - she would run after toys and give them the 'death shake' when she caught them.  She was so tolerant of RoBet even though she is a rough-and-tumble toddler.  Maggie would run after us when we'd be pushing RoBet in her Cozy Coupe car and RoBet would laugh and laugh.  I have so many good memories of Maggie, and I already miss her so much.  It's strange how in a house with a toddler and 8 pets, the loss of just one can make it feel so empty.  Feeding time is the worst time.  Maggie loved feeding time.  I would get so mad at her because she'd stick her giant schnoze in and try to (often successfully) steal some of the other dogs' food.  I would bop her on the nose with the scoop and she would love it because it left a dog-food powder on there that she would lick off.  I wish so much that she was still here to steal their food.  I wish she was here so I could give her extra food.  I'd make her whatever she wanted if she could be here for just one more day.  It's hard in a house with so many 'people' around, because you never feel like you've given each of them enough attention and love.  I just hope she knew how much she was loved, and that her death wasn't terribly painful. 

It caught us fairly off guard.  About a month ago, she had suddenly become severely lethargic and turned away from food and water.  She wouldn't move, eat, or drink.  I called the vet and got her in on an emergency appointment that same day.  The docs found that she was anemic, but the physical exam showed nothing.  Further bloodwork showed nothing out of the ordinary other than the anemia - no cancer or anything.  So, we had 2 bottles of pills to give her.  She was eating a little that night, and like normal the next day.  Within a couple of days, she was moving around almost like before, though a bit slower and less lively to be sure.  We helped her up and down stairs a bit for the next few weeks, but she seemed much better.  We figured she probably was getting some arthritis due to old age, so we ordered some glucosamine online.  It didn't make it in time.  Monday night, again very suddenly, she took a rapid turn for the worst.  Just before 7:00 PM, she pooped on the floor right next to RoBet and I as we were playing.  Hubby cleaned the poop and I took Maggie upstairs.  Hubby took her out, and I didn't think much more of it as I watched RoBet.  Hubby called down that she was laying outside and not moving, which is exactly what she had done for me a month before.  I told him that, and went online trying to do some more research.  He called me upstairs, and I saw Maggie trying to walk across the floor, but stumble and fall down, panting and gasping.  Hubby ran down to get the vet's number.  It was about 7:05.  After a few calls back and forth to the vet and waiting about 15 minutes, we knew it was bad.  Maggie was nearly catatonic.  We took turns petting, hugging, and kissing her and trying to sooth her.  RoBet picked up on our anxiety and was screaming and crying.  I put her to bed, and I called the vet back, tired of waiting for their return call.  They said the on-call vet was on his way in, and we should bring her in.  Hubby did so, but we knew it was the end.  I kissed her one more time, and he took her off.  She stopped breathing a few times on the way in.  Her heart nearly stopped when she arrived.  The nurse massaged it to bring her back, but that didn't help.  The doc gave medicines to restart her heart, but they didn't work.  By 8:15, Hubby was home without Maggie.  In an hour and 15 minutes, it was all over, just that fast.  She was only 9.  The doctor thinks it was probably an enlarged heart and lungs that resulted in a heart attack.  She had had a perfect annual checkup in June.  No issues.  Lively, healthy, full of energy and spirit. 

Maggie is gone, and the rest of us are left to go on without our 'pack leader'.  I could go on even longer about how sad we are, but I guess I've vented enough.  Next post will be back on topic, I promise.  Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  Goodbye Maggie.  We love you and miss you more than you will ever know.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Woot! We are a go for stims - September 30th, 2011

Wow!  I can hardly believe it!  We are a go for stims!  Our doc wanted the E2 below 80, other clinics go with below 60 or even sometimes below 40.  Last week I was 158 and today I was 44!!!  So we are almost as low as the lowest clinic looks for!  So, starting tomorrow, we drop the Lupron to 5 ccs and use 2 vials of Bravelle morning and night.  Next appointment is next Wednesday morning.  Woohoo - off we go!

On pins and needles - September 30th, 2011

I went for another blood draw this morning and am waiting to hear the results.  I am just on pins and needles!  The outcome of this blood draw could mean that we get to move on to stims tomorrow, or that the past 9 weeks have been a waste and the cycle will be cancelled.  It is also possible that they will continue to try and suppress me even if my E2 is still up.  I don't know what way it will go, but I have a feeling of foreboding.  I have this awful sense that it is not low enough and the cycle will be cancelled.  I will know in the next 4 hours.  For now, all I can do is keep waiting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just waiting . . . again - September 27th, 2011

So I haven't posted in the last few days because, well, there's just nothing to post.  Still on the Lupron.  Still feel like crap.  Still POed about being delayed.  Still feeling sorry for myself.  Oh, I guess there is something new.  My period started, so I feel like even worse shit than before.  yay.  I'm going to go crawl back into my hole again now.  Maybe I'll have some good news at the end of the week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Craptastic - September 23rd, 2011

What a craptastic day.  I went out this morning in the pouring rain and made the journey to my RE's office.  I got there early - I was told the lab opened early for the IVF patients to get their bloodwork done in the morning at 7:45.  Because the traffic between here and there is very unpredictable, I left early to be sure to get there on time.  I arrived at 7:20 and prepared to read my book in the parking lot while I waited for the office to open.  I saw a lady coming out of the office and wondered if they might be open already.  So I watched two other people pull up and walk in within about 3 minutes.  I figured 'what the heck' and got out and dashed through the rain to get inside.  Sure enough, there was a sign indicating for IVF patients to sign in on a clipboard.  I signed in and sat down and within 2 minutes was called back.  Great!  So I went back to have my blood drawn.  The nurse was very nice and stuck the needle in, missed, moved it in and out under the skin a few times with no luck and then started rolling it around and finally hit the vein.  So that sucked and had me breaking out in the sweats.  But it was over quickly, and I headed off a few doors down to have my baseline ultrasound (u/s) done.  This is done to check that the ovaries are quiet and that everything is ready to be stimmed.  So a new doc comes in that I haven't met before.  I forget his name already, so let's just call him Dr. ouch-that-hurts-and-you-have-terrible-bedside-manner-and-didn't-even-feign-sympathy.  Err, how about Dr. O for short?  So Doc O puts the ultrasound wand in and looks to the right side.  Ovary pops up and there are a few dark spots on it, but I guess that's OK, because he said it looks nice and quiet.  Then he comes back to center and asks if my period (AF) has started.  I said no, and he said it looks like I have a thin lining of about 6 and some fluid in there, so the lining is breaking down and I should expect a light AF.  OK, I was actually expecting one to start earlier this week, so no problem there.  Now he went looking for my left ovary.  Now, ol' leftie is the one that has given us fits before, so I warned him that she is sometimes hard to find.  He starts poking around, and the wand is being pressed harder and harder into my vaginal canal.  The cramping is getting more and more intense and painful as he does this.  I'm watching the screen and thinking "please show yourself now" as he pokes and presses on my belly and stretches the wand around and I think "Oh crap, this is going to put me into shock again, isn't it?" because that's what usually happens to me with this much pain in my lady parts.  Actually, that would have been nice, because I could have blissfully distanced from what was going on if that had happened.  But it didn't.  Instead, I was right there, feeling it all.  He has no luck finding her where he thought she'd be, so he pushes the wand up really high into my body.  This moves the cramping from low to high, no less awful.  Just like if a clamp is smashing your arm just below the elbow and then moves to smash your wrist, it still hurts like hell and doesn't really offer any relief.  In any case, I can no longer keep my eyes open or keep quiet at this point, so I start moaning with the pain and push my head back with my eyes clamped shut.  Mind you, I did not moan in pain when I was in labor for 37 hours with RoBet.  That should give you an idea of how much this sucked.  Finally he says, OK, caught a glimpse of it, and it is quiet too.  I'm not sure if he really did or not, but after about 5 minutes of that pain, I no longer cared.  I lay on the table panting and sweating for a minute and he says, "you can sit up anytime" like he's irritated that I'm not sitting up to address him yet.  I finally am able to sit up, and he says that the nurse will meet me in the hallway.  The meeting with the nurse was quick - just that they'd call me with the results of my blood work at what I thought was 12:30, and if all looks good, we'd be on to starting our stims tomorrow.  Yay - finally stim time!  She asked if I had any other questions, and I told her that I did not, so I left to come home.  I got about halfway home, and the highway became a parking lot because of accidents caused by the rain.  I still got home much earlier than I had anticipated, which was great.  Let's fast forward to 2:00.  Still no call from the nurse.  This was making me very nervous, so I called their office.  As I began to leave a message, my caller ID beeped in, and it was my nurse.  I clarified the time with her, and she said that the lab sends them the patient results at 12:30, but that the doctor has to review the results and then she has to call everyone, so I should expect a call back between 1:00 and 5:00 in the future.  OK, no problem.  However, there was a problem.  My estrogen levels (which I believe are called E2 levels) were supposed to be below 80.  They were 158.  What does that mean?  That means that it is not, in fact, stim time.  =(  I have to continue on the Lupron - the medicine that is making me feel like total crap - for another week and then drive all the way back there for a blood draw in a week to see if we can start stims a week from tomorrow.  I am so sad.  I know it's only a week delay, but this month has really felt like an eternity already.  Another week of more of the same feels like a horrible sentence that I don't feel up to.  So, I'm feeling very down in the dumps this afternoon.  I hope my sweet girlie wakes up soon from her nap, and that she is in a very good mood, because I need a happy little girl to make me feel better.

Updated to add one more bitch.  I am running out of the horrible medicine, and this delay means that I had to order another vial to make it through the extra week.  I called the pharmacy to get a refill, spoke the Rx number twice and punched it in on the phone twice with the stupid system unable to understand it for some reason.  I was transferred to a rep, which mean I sat on hold for 10 minutes.  Spoke to that person, who transferred me to another department, who transferred me to another department before I could finally order the f-ing vial of Lupron.  Like I needed to spend 30 minutes screwing around with the pharmacy in addition to everything else today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Milestone: Last BCP - September 17th, 2011

Today I took my last birth control pill (BCP).  We're off to the races a week from now with stims starting next Saturday!  Meanwhile, I continue my Lupron injections at the same dosage. 

Also, today was our 6th anniversary.  6 years ago at this time, I was having the time of my life at a wedding that went perfectly, and we were surrounded by the very best friends two people could ever hope for.  Our lives have changed tremendously, but we have so much to be thankful for.  I wouldn't trade this life for any other.

Friday, September 16, 2011

And a picture too - September 16th, 2011

Here's a recent picture of my sweet little RoBet.  She is so awesome!

Big girl update - September 16th, 2011

So in all of the excitement with the IVF, I hardly ever report on my current cutie!  She is getting so big so quickly!  Yesterday, she went pee-pee in the potty three times!  Whenever we go, we have been setting her on the potty, but with pants and diaper on.  The day before yesterday, just before her evening bath, Daddy set her on the potty while he ran the bathwater.  When she stood up, there was pee in the potty!  So, I put her on 4 times yesterday, and out of 4 attempts, she went pee 3 times!  Already!  At 15 months old!  I hope this continues - I would love to have her potty trained early and not use diapers as long.  That would be better for the environment and better for our wallets!  No luck so far today, but I've only offered once.  She has been drinking fluids though, so maybe now is a good time to try again.  I think we'll go try that now . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meds, meds, and more meds - September 13th, 2011

This process uses quite a lot of meds.  Here are a couple of pictures.  The first is of all of the meds and med 'supplements':
This one is of just the needles I will be using over the next month:
And if this works out, there will be several more vials of progesterone in oil and daily needles for it.  Good times, good times.  I sure hope this results in a baby, dangit! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Houston, we have injections - September 10th, 2011

So today I gave myself my first injection of many to come.  I think I did pretty darn well.  The injections of this medication are to be given in the mornings for the next 4 weeks.  So I had the option of getting up at 5:15 to have my husband give them to me, or I could suck it up and give them to myself later in the morning.  Since they are subcutaneous injections, they are much easier than the hCG injections that we've had to do for the IUIs (and that we will have to do for the IVF too).  Those are intramuscular (IM), so they have a different target area for the injection and they hurt more.  In any case, today's medication is called Lupron.  It is used to make sure that my body doesn't ovulate before my doctors want me to.  That's why I will be on it for the next 4 weeks - that is how long I have until they are ready to retrieve the eggs.  *sigh*  That is such a long way away!  In the meantime, I continue taking birth control pills for one more week while doing the Lupron injections.  Then, the week after next, I will be giving myself the Lupron injections without the BCPs.  After that, it's stim time!  I will be taking 2 vials of stims, twice a day.  Luckily, we can mix the stim medication, which is in powder form, with just one vial of sterile liquid, meaning that I only have to give myself 1 shot of it twice per day, plus the Lupron.  That means that I will be giving myself a total of 3 shots per day starting 2 weeks from now.  Fun.  Thankfully, they are all subcutaneous.  The injections that are IM are the hCG shot, which hubby will give to me 36 hours before the time my egg retrieval is scheduled for.  Then the progesterone in oil shots (POI) which from what I understand, suck quite a lot, are IM as well.  I will be on them for 2 weeks for certain, and if I am pregnant, for 6 - 8 weeks after that for a total of 8 - 10 weeks.  Joy.  But, we have a lot of sub-Q shots to get through first.  And today was the first.  One down, approximately 66 to go.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

So many fears - August 27th, 2011

So I've been a bit of an emotional wreck today. I'm filled with so many fears, many of them conflicting with one another. I'm scared that this procedure won't work. I'm scared that it will. I'm scared of the procedure itself. I'm scared of all of the injections. I'm scared of the egg retrieval. I'm scared of going through it all and having no high quality embryos to transfer. I'm scared of having too many good embryos and not knowing what to do with them. I'm scared to transfer only 1 and have it not work. I'm scared to transfer 2 and have them both stick. I'm scared of how emotional the meds are going to make me. I'm scared of being pregnant with twins. I'm scared of raising twins and a toddler. I'm scared of going bankrupt trying this process multiple times and it still not working. I'm scared to be a mother of 2. I'm scared to forever be a mother of only 1. I'm scared that RoBet will have a hard time accepting the new baby. I'm scared that she won't transfer to her new room with a bed well before the baby comes. I know there are many other things I'm scared of right now that I'm forgetting to write. I just hope I'm brave and strong enough to make it through this without driving myself mad. I know many have, so I'm sure I can too. I just don't feel very strong right now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

And so it begins - August 26th, 2011

This time it is definitely going to happen - no lucking out at the 11th hour for us this time around. Today is cycle day 1 (CD1). We have our antibiotics and birth control pills in hand and have been directed to begin taking them on Sunday of this week. We've paid our deposit, had our IVF therapy session (mandated by our doc for all IVF patients), pre-authorized the procedure and medications with our insurance, taken all sorts of blood tests and lady-bits tests, and now the time is finally here. We have officially started our first IVF-ICSI cycle. What lies ahead, you may ask. Well, you bet'cha I'm gonna' tell ya'.

Next week (8/28 - 9/3): Expect a call from our insurance company confirming that the RE's office has contacted them and that everything is set up from their perspective. Expect a call from our prescription insurance for the same purpose. Expect a call from Dr. RE's nurse to set up our protocol meeting, where we will discuss what medications I will be taking, how many injections there will be each day, when and how to do them, and all sorts of other details. This appointment should occur either next week or early the following week on either Tuesday or Wednesday of each week. Immediately after that appointment, we will have 'injections class' where we will learn about where to place each of the medications, the best methods for doing the injections as painlessly as possible, and all sorts of other needle-related fun that I am unaware of at this point.

Week of 9/4 - 9/10: Continue birth control pills. Begin Lupron at the end of the week (injection).

Week of 9/11 - 9/17: Continue BCPs & Lupron injections.

Week of 9/18 - 9/24: Stop BCPs but continue Lupron injections. Expect period this week due to stopping the BCPs. 9/23 will be my baseline lab (b/w) and ultrasound (u/s) where they will check to ensure that my ovaries are nice and quiet and see how many follicles are ready to start growing. Begin stims (1 or 2 different injections) on 9/24.

Week of 9/25 - 10/1: Continue with smaller dose of Lupron and stim, stim, stim those follicles! 9/28 another lap and u/s appointment. 9/30 begins the window of possible egg retrieval (ER), but most likely will be a week or so later. 10/1 will be another b/w and u/s appointment.

Week of 10/2 - 10/8: Expect ER this week. Appointments will be every day or every other day for b/w and u/s this week, depending on how my body responds. Injections will be adjusted with every appointment to ensure good growth, but try to not overstimulate me (will talk about possible repercussions of over-stimulation later).

Week of 10/9 - 10/15: Expect ET early this week, if it wasn't late in the prior week.

Then the beta (blood test to check if pregnant) will be 2 weeks from ER. This will likely be around the 23rd of October or so, if I had to guess. So that's pretty much my life for the next 2 months. It's going to be a wild ride.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nothin' much to report - August 22nd, 2011

Sorry I've been so quiet. I haven't had much to report lately. My sonohistogram (SHG) came out a-OK, just like we thought it would. I was a little sad that we didn't do IUI this month because when the doc was scanning my bits during the SHG, he quickly peeked at the ovaries and I briefly saw 4 good looking follicles in there that were wasted. =( Today I called my RE's nurse to get the counts on hubby's sample that he provided to be frozen before the process (a mandatory step just in case there are zero sperm available on 'go day'). The count was 1.6 million before the wash. That is the count we had after the wash that resulted in RoBet, and it was an abysmal post-wash count. Of those, 18% were motile. That means, had we done IUI, we would have had around 280,000 for the procedure. So, I no longer feel quite as sad about not doing the IUI this month - there was just no chance for it to work anyway. So I'm just waiting for cycle day 1 to come so that we can get started on the antibiotics and birth control pills. It feels so exciting and yet so far away right now! The process takes about 8 weeks, and in infertility time, that is a looooong time to wait! I am cautiously optimistic. I will feel better once we get started I think. I just hate not moving forward. I do not do well being inactive in moving toward my goals. We will be soon though, and if it's anything like my pregnancy and RoBet's first year, it will pass by all too quickly and I'll be left wondering where the heck the time went!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just another day - August 9th, 2011

So I wouldn't say that I have this stay at home mom thing down yet, but I'm getting there. I think I'm working too hard though. haha! I am working very hard when RoBet naps, and when she is content with her toys too. I am mostly sorting, organizing, and generally getting the house up to a higher standard of organization for now. Luckily, I haven't had to do any 'standard' cleaning yet, meaning that all of my energy could be spent on 1. catching up on undone chores (like half a dozen extra loads of laundry) and 2. special projects (thanks Mom for making that happen!). I have begun to clean out the two desks in our loft. We are going to condense down to the one smaller desk and get rid of the bulky old computer desk. It's one of those $99 sauder wood contraptions that really isn't meant to be moved at all without falling apart. Amazingly it has made the journey from my first apartment after college to my husband's first house, our second beautiful house that we left last year, and to our current home. I'm ready to say goodbye though without mourning it. Hopefully someone on Freecycle is interested in coming to get it and help my husband get it out of the loft. I plan for that to be gone by the end of this week. Then I will begin removing all of the books from the bookshelves in the large guest bedroom. Once the shelves are empty, we will move them into the loft. They won't all fit, and I'm not sure how they will look there at all. Time will tell, but this is really the best solution for our 'library'. There's actually a little nook in the banisters where we plan on putting a recliner from the guest room too. The second recliner and rocking chair will no longer have a home soon though. Again, hopefully Freecycle can help with that. I figure that the book and shelf moving will take me at least through next week, probably even the week after that. Once that is done, I will have to clean out the closet in that guest room. The small guest room closet is already crammed with bins of baby clothes, extra blankets, pillows, sheets, and our empty luggage. So, I'm not sure where the extra baby stuff and my scrapbooking stuff will go. Again, time will tell. heh. Once all of this is done, we will begin shopping for 'big girl' furniture of RoBet. *sniff* It tears me up just thinking about it. But we want her to be transitioned to a bed by the time that baby #2 comes along, so we've got to get the room ready! I don't know what my next project will be once this is done, but I think it will take me long enough to complete that I will think of something new by the time it becomes an issue. Hopefully I'll be pregnant by then, and my next project will be growing a kiddo!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How quickly things change - August 2nd, 2011

So things have changed drastically since I last posted a little over 2 weeks ago.

1. I am no longer employed. I have become a full-time stay at home mom. It doesn't really feel real just yet. I've only been doing this job for 2 days and it is exhausting, but fulfilling, work.

2. IUI #2(5) was a BFN, which was totally expected.

3. We had our IVF consultation today. The expectation was that we were doing IUI #3(6) this cycle and next cycle we would begin IVF. However, Dr. RE told us today that we need to do another test this time for the IVF since I have carried a pregnancy. They want to check my uterus to make sure it is still in good shape and that I have no cysts. Apparently it is common for the uterus to change permanently following a successful pregnancy and delivery. The problem with this is the timing. I will be on vacation the rest of this week and Dr. RE is on vacation all next week, and he wants to do the test himself. I would be having the next IUI somewhere in the second half of next week, and the test cannot be performed after the IUI because if there was an embryo or an early pregnancy, the solution used in the test would wash it away. So, we had to decide whether to do IUI #3 and put of IVF for another month, or to skip IUI #3 to keep the IVF cycle on track. The IVF timing would mean that we start meds for suppression around the beginning of September, with stimulation beginning in October, and an egg retrieval around the middle of October. That cycle would end around the end of October. That is 3 months from now, and that is the absolute soonest we can get there. If we tack on another month for the IUI and the test, that means the end of November. We talked it over, and although it's hard to make the call, we've decided to pass on IUI #3. It was hard to do, since that was our magic number the first time in ttc, but the odds are even lower this time. We are at a .5% chance of success with our numbers where they are now. With IVF-ICSI, we are at a 44 - 56% chance of success, depending on if we transfer 1 or 2 embryos. I'll talk about those details more later, as it is getting late and we leave on vacation early in the morning. So, we are out for this cycle, with a chance for success of a natural cycle somewhere around 0.001%. That makes me very sad, and I am very nervous about IVF. It is scary to think about the process and how invasive it is, but it is our best shot at getting a sibling for RoBet and a second sweet baby for us. So, that's the plan. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ultrasound results - July 14th, 2011

Today was my follicle ultrasound for IUI #2 (5). DH was able to come to the appointment with me as he had taken the day off of work for another appointment. His physical blood draw showed that his blood sugar was a bit off, so they had him do a 2-hour test, which is very similar to the 1-hour test that I had to do when pregnant to check for gestational diabetes. We should hear the results today. Hopefully everything came back within the normal range - fingers crossed!

Dr. Shortstick ended up doing my ultrasound this time, and will be preforming the IUI for us as well as Dr. RE is on vacation. Hopefully he's doing something fun! I told Dr. Shortstick that I didn't mind her as a stand-in as she did the IUI that lead to RoBet! In any case, she was able to see the right ovary easy-peasy as usual. And inside was one nice big follicle at 20.7. There was another one next to it, but she didn't measure it for some reason. It was shaped weird (kind of rectangular), so maybe her experience tells her that those kind are empty and have no egg inside. In any case, she went on a hunt for that elusive left ovary next. And boy was it hiding! She had to poke and prod and push to find it, but she did! And inside was a second beautiful follicle at 18.1! So, we have 2 good follicles with eggs this time - hooray! And my lining was good at 9.7 - remember that the goal is 8 - 10, with 10 being perfect! So, I am much happier with my body this time around. I guess it just needed another month of recuperation from breastfeeding to get things right! Now we wait and see what DH's counts are like. We're hoping for 44 million - that's reasonable, right? =) OK, I'll settle for anything over 1.5 post-wash, but if it's over 2 million, I'm probably going to have my hopes pretty high up for this cycle.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ultrasound is tomorrow - July 13th, 2011

So my follicle ultrasound is tomorrow afternoon. I don't feel much "cooking" in there this month. I'm only expecting 1 good one again this time. It is so difficult to be optimistic - I just feel like I'm going through the motions at this point without much emotional investment. I know we're trying to conceive, but it's almost like I just don't expect it to happen for a long time at this point. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood these days.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Peep - July 11th, 2011

Well, I tried to peep back on the 8th, but I have found that blogger and iPad do not get along. Apparently the box for typing my actual blog message isn't taken as a text box on iPad. So, sorry for the delay in making a peep!

I had a great week last week - both my husband and I had the week off of work, and we did a lot of fun things! We saw Grammy and Papa on Friday and Saturday before the holiday, then on Monday the 4th we went to the local parade. It was RoBet's first parade, and she loved it! I would share pictures, but we forgot to take the camera, so I don't have any. =\ Then on Tuesday, we went to the local zoo, which is a fantastic zoo. We all enjoyed that. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, my husband and I worked hard to clean out our basement, which has been a disaster since we moved when I was 8 months pregnant. That is now cleared out, and much stuff has been moved to the garage and is awaiting a garage sale (not sure when that will happen, but it will at some point before winter). On Friday I stayed home with Robet and Hubby went out shooting for awhile. Saturday found us at the local science museum, and that was a blast! RoBet loves the little kids area - especially the water table! She was soaked! Then yesterday we had friends over to play games, eat lunch, and prepare for an upcoming D&D campaign. What a great week!

Now back to reality. I have 3 weeks left of work, and LOTS of things to get done in that time. It's going to be a push to the finish, that's for sure! My follicle ultrasound is coming up this Thursday. Today is CD8, so that will be CD12. Eep! That means the IUI will likely be either Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. The first week of the cycle really does go by pretty quickly!

I hope everyone had a great holiday week!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Testing Early Can Suck - June 30 - July 2

I could not help myself and started testing early. That is very easy to do when you can get a package of dip strip tests online at about $10 for 40 tests. I tested on Wednesday night - 8 days past IUI (DPIUI) and got a very faint positive result. I was over the moon - I couldn't believe it had worked on the first try! Holy schmoly! But as it was so very faint, I decided not to post anything until the next day when I could confirm that it was getting darker. So, I tested again Thursday night and didn't think I saw a line at all. =( I wasn't sure if it was real or just a fluke, so I waited until this morning (Saturday) to test again, figuring I would get a much darker second line if there was one to be had. Alas, there was not. I am 12DPIUI today, and not even a hint of a second line. I am fairly certain I am out this cycle at this point. I didn't think we'd be lucky enough for it to work with the numbers we had this cycle, but I must admit that with the strong progesterone number and that faint second line, for a day I was convinced that it had. Back to square 1 - AF should arrive within a couple of days.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Progesterone Results - June 19th, 2011

I got a call from Dr. RE's nurse this morning with the results of my progesterone test from yesterday. Anything over a 10 is good. I've been having a short luteal phase since I stopped breastfeeding my daughter. What that means is that the period of time after ovulation before my period starts is too short. The 'normal' is 14 days from ovulation to the beginning of menstruation. Anything shorter than 12 days is borderline, and anything 10 days or less is too short and indicates a defect. My luteal phase has been under 10 days since RoBet was born.

Now, the cause of a short luteal phase is generally low progesterone. So, I figured that since my progesterone hoovered around 10 (8.8 & 11) before RoBet, it was probably in the 6 - 7 range now. The cycle that I was pregnant with RoBet, it was 28.5, so really through the roof! So again, I was expecting something quite low this time. Instead, it was a 15.6. Now, that's not through the roof, but compared with what I was expecting, I'm a bit surprised at how high it is. I was trying not to get too hopeful this cycle, I really wasn't. But that number is pretty good, so I have to say I am more optimistic now than I was a couple of days ago. I'm planning to begin testing on Friday morning. I may give in and start tomorrow though, just in case I had an early implantation and might see the result sooner. =) Ah, hopeful feels good. I just hope I'm not too crushed when I see that BFN tomorrow. lol!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Official - June 28, 2011

Well, as of today, I am "out", so I can share here. I will be leaving my career to become a stay at home mom for awhile! I have been going back and forth on this decision since I found out that I was pregnant with RoBet, so it is high time to make it happen. I enjoy the people I work with, and my job is a pretty good fit for me too, but I just don't get enough time for all that I want to do with my daughter and in my home. I love to cook, but I am so pooped by the end of the day that I rarely do more than throw something in the microwave or pick up take-out. I love to garden, but it is all overgrown and stuff is going to seed because I never have the time to go out and tend to it (or use the veggies I would pick since I don't cook much!). I will get to take RoBet to the zoo, teach her to swim at the pool this summer, take her to reading time at the library, and so much more now that my days will be for her. I am so excited to start this new chapter of my life. And the icing on the cake is that my Mom and Dad will soon be here in the same suburb with us, so they can share in as much of RoBet's life as they want! Grammy plans to come to the zoo with us, and hopefully will join the pool with us too, as she always enjoyed being poolside with us growing up. I am so very optimistic about the months and years to come. It will be quite a large adjustment, and we will certainly have to sacrifice the "buy anything we want whenever we want" mentality, but it will be worth it. For my hubby, who will probably read this at some point, remember these benefits:
1. Healthier meals, no more "what fast food do you want tonight?" all the time.
2. No more doing laundry except on rare occasions.
3. The bulk of the shopping will be planned out and done without you having to go.
4. Happy wife and daughter!

Still no update on the IUI. Just in the two week wait now. I do get my progesterone checked this afternoon. Results will be in tomorrow. I had it checked 4 times the first time around in TTC. It was something like 9, 11, and 14 when I was not pregnant, but it was 28.5 the cycle that I was pregnant. So, thought it is not an indicator of pregnancy, it can be taken as a 'symptom' of pregnancy to have a significantly higher than normal level. I'll update as soon as I know!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

IUI #1 (or 4) - June 21, 2011

The day started with me rushing my husband's 'sample' down to the clinic to have it washed (recall that this is the process of removing the less than ideal sperm and all of the other components of the semen, leaving only the good sperm). I arrived there about 10 minutes before they opened, so I had to wait in the car with the jar tucked in between my legs to keep it warm. While I waited, 3 other cars pulled up with anxious looking men and women in them. I suppose I looked much the same to them. Then a man walked up to the door and unlocked it and went inside. This was about 3 minutes before the posted open time of 7:30. So, I got out and walked up to the door, only to find that he had locked it behind himself. *sigh* I went back to my car and continued to wait, this time tucking the sample jar in my armpit to give my legs a break. Three minutes later, the same man walked to the door from inside and unlocked it, so I jumped out of my car and went inside.

I approached the desk and said, "I have this sample to drop off for an IUI." The man was very friendly and said, "OK, sure. Just write your husband's name, your name, and his SSN on the side of the jar." Uhhhhhh . . . well, he had told me I didn't need anything other than to give them his name, so I didn't have his SSN with me. So I asked, "Can I just use my SSN?" To which he explained that doing so would result in his records permanently being under my SSN instead of his, which can be a problem if there are irregularities with the sample. I told him that yes, I fully expected irregularities with the sample, based on his problems from our first go-round a few years before. He then realized that my husband would already be in the system, and was able to find him by his name. Whew! Next he says, "OK, here is his SSN - write it on the jar please. Then just let me see your photo ID." Uhhhhhh . . . again, didn't know I needed anything, so my purse was in my car. I had to run out and get it, running past about 4 other people who were waiting in line while all of this transpired. *sigh* Finally we got everything sorted out and I was allowed to leave. I ran to the Panera Bread restaurant up the street to get some coffee and breakfast while I waited for 9:00 to roll around, which is when the procedure was to take place.


I had my first IUI of trying to conceive (ttc) #2 Tuesday. That's IUI #4 total - I guess I'm an old pro at this by now. The counts weren't exactly what I'd hoped for, but they're not too bad. The pre-wash count was very bad at 4.2 million. Remember that a 'normal' count is 40 million+ and anything under 20 million+ is considered very low. Post wash though was a bit of good news. Under our old patterns, a count of 4.2 would have led to a post-wash count of 400,000 or less. Today it led to 2 million! That means that 50% of his total count was usable! Yay! We conceived RoBet with 1.8 post-wash, so, I am allowing myself a bit of hope.

The procedure itself wasn't bad at all this time. It's the first time my actual doctor did the procedure, always before it was another doc at the clinic. This time, Dr. RE came in and showed me his smiling face. He's always so happy - I really like his demeanor. He is a bit of a geek, which makes me feel so much more at home with him. He's not cold and stern like Dr. Shortstick. So as I scooched down on the table and put my feet in those oh-so-wonderful stirrups to 'present myself' for the insemination, he started making chit-chat. We had discussed my husband's counts, so apparently sperm was the topic of choice for him at that point. He began by saying, "Do you remember that doctor that, about 8 years ago, was inseminating all those women with his sperm?" I replied, "Ummhmm, I do recall that story, yes." He proceeded to go on discussing the details of the situation with that doctor at length, and as he was threading the catheter through my cervix, he declared, "Oh, but don't worry! I had a vasectomy!" All I could do was to laugh. That was really TMI, Dr. RE, but how hilarious that in that moment you realized that the topic could be taken as a bit unsettling! ha!

The procedure itself was as I remembered it - uncomfortable but not horrible. The rest of the day, however, was a bit more on the painful side rather than the uncomfortable side. The cramping was very intense for awhile, causing me to have to take a brief break from the meeting that I was running to allow the waves of pain to subside a bit. That was embarrassing as I couldn't explain why I needed that minute to just sit. Then for the rest of the day, it felt as though I had a bowling ball sitting in my uterus. Every step I took felt like that ball was wiggling around inside of me and hurt so much. But I made it through the day and even managed to care for my daughter, cook and clean up, and tidy up the house in preparation for the cleaning lady to come all by myself, as my husband was working late hours.

All in all, the process felt all too familiar. I not only remember the anxiety that infertility produces, I am living it all over again. Before my ultrasound, I had felt so much more at ease and in control, and now I feel just as helpless as I did two years ago. I know that RoBet is young and we have time, but I am ready to be pregnant now. I am ready to add to my family today, why must I be in such limbo? And for how long? So I must try to cling to the hope that this worked for us last time, even if it was a lightening strike, lightening can strike in the same place twice. I just hope it does for us.

IUI in half an hour! June 21, 2011

I'm at the Panera Bread up the street having breakfast. I dropped off the 'sample' at 7:30 and my IUI is at 9:00. I am really hoping for some great numbers - that will make me feel so much better if they are good! I would like 10 million+ pre-wash and 2 million+ post-wash. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ultrasound is today! - June 17, 2011

I'm really hoping for 3 good follicles of a size that we'll do the trigger shot tonight or tomorrow with the IUI Sunday or Monday! I'll post updates later today of what they find.

Update: They only found 1 follicle, and it wasn't even ready yet. =( Boo! My 'good vibes' bubble just popped. Unless my husband's levels have dramatically improved, I'm not feeling hopeful for this cycle after all. Meh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The waaaiting is the hardest part - June 15, 2011

I don't really have much to report about myself these days. I'm just waiting and looking forward to my ultrasound on Friday to see how many follicles have matured. I've been feeling lots of 'activity' these past couple of days, so I suspect there are a few on each side. We shall see. Meanwhile, I've been pretty emotional these last few days. I've been tearing up randomly. For instance, I was sitting in a meeting this morning, just listening, nothing frustrating or anything, and I got misty eyed. It kind of drives me nuts because I'm an emotional person anyway, so I don't need any help getting emotional, thank you very much.

Now, on to good news! A friend of mine who has been trying to conceive for something like 8 years now has told me that she is 12.5 weeks pregnant! Hoooooorayyyy! It has been a long struggle for her, and I am so glad that she now knows that she will be a mommy, and that it will be soon. So let's all give out a cheer for her - yaaaay!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Last day of Clomid - June 12, 2011

Today was my last day of Clomid for this cycle. 5 days at 100 mg, and none of the nasty side effects that I had last time! Yay! Well, I did get some headaches, but that is so minor compared to the hot flashes, emotional spells, headaches, and nausea from last time. My ultrasound is scheduled for Friday morning. Hopefully they will find 2 - 3 good sized follicles and a nice thick lining for the embryo to nestle into. Depending on what they find, the IUI will be scheduled for either Sunday or Monday morning of next week - eeek! It's just so exciting for it to be coming up so soon again. And this time it feels so different. I don't have all of the sorrow and loneliness that I felt the first time through these procedures. I feel hopeful, and confident that even if the IUIs do not work, we will still be pregnant by the end of the year. And that's OK. Even though that is 6 months away, it really doesn't feel that long. Sure, I would prefer to be pregnant sooner, but if that isn't what happens, I feel perfectly fine with that. I feel more of a sense of longing for all of the wonderful friends I have made over these past few years who are still waiting for their take-home baby. I just cannot stomach the heartache and loss that so many wonderful women (and men) go through, cycle after cycle. I feel so aware of it now, now that I know what I have learned from Rosalena in this past year. I wish there was something that I could do to help them fill their arms with the child they are dreaming of. Or even if there was a way to lessen their pain as they wait and experience disappointment after disappointment. I guess I'm just rambling now, sorry. Well, on to another week filled with promise and hope.

RoBet's First Birthday Pictures!

See! I promised I'd put some up, and here they are!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Treatment Begins Anew - June 8, 2011

As it turns out, Dr RE agreed with our plan. He still thinks we have a very low chance of success with the IUI treatment, but it worked before, so *shrug*. Rather than ordering a new semen analysis, the doc suggested we just find out with the first treatment. The cost is pretty much the same to do the analysis as the treatment, so again, *shrug*.

In any case, today is cycle day 3 (CD3), so I have a blood draw to test my FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone - make sure I'm not menopausal early) and then I start the Clomid! The doc has me on 100 mg again this time, like I was on in cycles 2 & 3 last time. It's kind of exciting, but I remember all of the nasty side effects. As if it's not already hot enough, hot flash city, here I come! And the headaches - bleh. But then I think of my awesome daughter and realize just how worth it all of this is. No amount of discomfort can dissuade me from working toward another awesome little munchkin. I need to get better at blogging from home, as that is where my camera and pictures are. I promise to get better, soon, since additional upcoming changes in my life will soon allow me more time for these things! More on that to come . . . for now - wish me luck with the test and the hormones!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Journey Continues - May 2011

It has been one year since my perfect little peanut entered the world. My experiences in motherhood have been nothing short of amazing. I have found that I am a better person now than I have ever been (if I do say so myself). I have a deep well of patience with my daughter than I ever thought possible. I *love* being a mom.

For this reason, as well as a few other, less important reasons, we are continuing on to the next leg of our unexpected journey. On May 31, almost exactly 2 years after we saw him the first time, we have a consultation with Dr. RE to form a game plan for treatments to conceive again. We actually began 'trying' at 9 months postpartum, but we expected very little from trying on our own due to our past experiences. I've been tracking/charting my cycles, and they're still erratic, but hopefully going to become more regular quickly. I breastfed until RoBet was 9 months old, so it is perfectly normal for my cycles to still be erratic, so no additional worries there.

What we think will be the go-forward plan is 3 cycles of IUI with Clomid again, like last time. Our chances for success were so small, but it still worked! If we can be that lucky once, it just might happen again. So, we're willing to give it a shot again this time, provided that nothing has gotten worse with either of us since 2 years ago. We assume that Dr. RE will order a slew of tests again to ensure that everything is as it was. We have to get a Cycle Day 3 FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) test done for our insurance coverage to ensure that I have not entered menopause early, in which case they will not cover treatments. This was not a problem before, so I have no concerns that it will be now. I think we'll also do a progesterone test to make sure I have adequate levels to sustain a pregnancy, should one occur. Lastly, I hope he will order a semen analysis for my husband to make sure that his levels haven't deteriorated further. Assuming that those all go well (along with any other tests he may order that I haven't assumed already), we'll jump right in with the IUI next month!

It is the strangest feeling, this 'baby fever' as it is sometimes called. Before RoBet, I wanted to be pregnant and have children, yes. However, the feeling I have now is so intense, so emotionally based, so raw. I cannot explain the difference adequately. It's funny, because I really did not like being pregnant at all, and now I long for it intensely. So, here's hoping that this method of treatment works for us again and we are pregnant in the next 3 - 4 months! Wish us luck!