Friday, June 29, 2012

Positively Positive (8dp5dt, beta #1)

I'm amazed to say it, but I think we may actually be pregnant, my dears. Actually, positively, pregnant.

For now at least.

Our beta came back at 80. At 8dp5dt, or 13dpo.

Above the singleton average, below the twin average. This gives us two possibilities:

a) We have a high-strung, overachieving singleton brewing, like its father.

b) We have majorly procrastinating twins, like their mother. (not a twin, just perpetually late)

We shall see what we see when we see it, huh? At this point, I could care less (truthfully) as long as it/they are healthy and drama-free. The rest of our timeline includes beta #2 on Sunday (10dp5dt), beta #3 on Thursday (14dp5dt), and if we are stupendously lucky enough to make it that far, our first ultrasound at 5w6d two weeks from today (7/13, Friday the 13th). I am a fan of 13's, being born on one, so it's all good. I mean, if it's still all good then.

Always trust a woman that birthed triplets... Emily asked me if my pee smelled funny, as that was her earliest pregnancy symptom. Low and behold, mine smells like I've had coffee or asparagus. Neither of which have crossed these lips in a few weeks. Go figure!

No more darkening on the pee sticks which is driving me crazayzy, but I'll try not to obsess toooo much. Part of me is convinced our beta is already going down because why could this possibly actually work for us? I keep trying not to go there, but it is so hard not to after so much disappointment. I'll try harder. I promise.
I need to learn to not pee on my hand while collecting in a cup.

Knocked up. I'm still shaking my head in amazement. And gratitude.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review- What Alice Forgot (& still ktfu)

Still pregnant until proven otherwise!

The FRERs are definitely getting darker, but it seems like the cheapest have stayed the same for a bit. Hmmm.  The beta is in the morning, so we'll see what we see!
I am still in shock that MY PEE did this
I am a smidge worried I may be developing a late onset ohss, but it could just be normal blood and eating too much bribery food (add red velvet cupcakes and Ben and Jerry's new flavor peanut butter world to the list of embie-staying powers!) I should weigh myself in the am.



I was selected to be a part of another BlogHer book club! This time we read "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty. It tells the tale of a 39-year old divorced mother of three  who takes a nasty spill at the gym, only to wake up thinking she was still 29, pregnant with her first, and blissfully in love with her husband. It is mostly told from Alice's perspective, but also artfully weaves in letters written by her sister and stand-in grandmother to add perspective.

Honestly, this was not really the best book to read during an IVF two week wait. The storyline involving Alice's sister is centered around  numerous IVF failures and repeated baby loss. This made the first half of the book (and much of the second) very difficult and emotional to read. The author  clearly had insight into the IF world- she truly captures the chaeracters emotions, reactions, and others reactions to her absolutely perfectly. Too perfectly, almost, so it stung. Great idea to read while hopped up on IVF meds yourself, right?

The second half really did rescue the novel. Alice's growth was amazing, and really made you wonder which version of herself she was better off living- the jaded divorce with everything under her strict control, or the carefree and careless twenty-something who admittedly had some growing up to do.

I am torn on whether to recommend this one. It is, overall, a great book. Even if it took me a while to get hooked. But if you have some hefty IF and baby loss triggers? Maybe not. I wouldn't put yourself through that.

This was a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Suspense (6dp5dt)

I let the suspense kill me. There's a lot of suspense when you do four embryo transfers!!

Shortly after I wrote my last post, I could NOT take it any more. I had held off drinking/peeing for four hours in the afternoon, and I POAS.

Nothing. But whatever, it was 4dp5dt, and really, the pee was pretty dilute. So whatever.

So I held it for another few hours with no drinking.

And peed again. And I *thought* that just maybe maybe maybe, there was a second line. But I didn't get excited. And I didn't tell DH about the ridiculousness.

Now that the seal had been broken, I peed again Tuesday morning, at 5dp5dt. I took a shower to distract myself from the stick, got out, and lost my shit.


For now, I'm pregnant. (gah! i'm crying typing those words!)

One of these guys decided to stick around.
In. Love.

I peed again in the afternoon, I peed again this morning, and I added a FRER to the mix. I do have to say, those wondofo tests are amazeballs- way darker than the FRERs, though I've heard that from others too.
I am in shock that those are from MY pee.

When Dr Boy got home that night, I had a gift bag sitting on the dining room table. I told him it was a belated birthday gift I had forgotten to give him. Inside, there was a onesie I bought (with bestie N) from the college bookstore in town. He didn't really get it, and was like "counting your chickens?" So then I pulled these cupcakes out of the fridge.
"Positive"-ly Delicious
To which he said "Are we positive??????????" And I lost it and started bawling and showed him the sticks.

Happy, happy day.

I guess fourth time really was a charm :)

(and then today i became "that" patient and asked to move my beta up to fri instead of sat. and they said yes!)

(and i just added a  bfp label to the blog that made me cry again)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Consumed (4dp5dt)

It's all I can think about.

This whole cycle, I have been incredibly one-minded, with IVF Redux consuming practically every waking thought and action. I have managed to get by at work, but have spent a great deal of time thinking and analyzing and twittering and obsessing over this cycle. It's supposed to be the one that works. The one that went well. The one that had so many of the good things happen during. The one with the embryo with practically outstretched arms reaching towards my lining. I've set pretty darned high standards in my mind, and now I'm terrified.

Let's recap how it all looked, m'kay?
- We had appropriately rising estrogen levels
- We didn't flip-flop on medication doses
- We had plenty of 17mm+ follies at trigger
- Our e2 only coasted for one day and didn't have a landslide at the end
- We fertilized 17 out of the 18 mature eggs, out of the 21 retrieved
- On transfer day, a blast was clawing its way out of its shell with another close behind
- On transfer day, only one of the 17 embryos had stopped growing
- I'm bribing the embies with sprinkle cupcakes, snickerdoodles, and a brownie

All of these are great things. And I'm not going to lie- I think it worked. I woke up to lots of broad uterine crampies 1dp5dt, and they lasted most of the day. I've had them on and off since. The rest of the "symptoms" I can blame on the progesterone and estrace tabs- sore boobs, heartburn, slight nausea when I eat too quickly. Other symptoms I can blame on going back to work- tiredness. And the dream I had Saturday night that I woke up to use the restroom at 3am at 3dp5dt and got a vivid BFP is par for the course- I have one of those dreams pretty much every transfer cycle. Still though, I just *feel* like it did.

Which means I'm setting myself up for a collossal fall of this pedestal if I'm wrong. I'm hoping and wishing and visualizing that I'm not, but still. I absolutely could be. I am overcome with the urge to test, because it could very well be positive at 9dpo. But it could also very well be a true negative, and it could very well be a false negative.

And so I'm also overcome with the fear of testing, as I don't know if I want to let go of this feeling yet. The feeling that it worked. That *I* worked. That I can, and am supposed to feel a child grow inside me.

Five days until the beta. *Maybe* two more mornings I'll be able to stop myself from peeing.

I don't want to feel like an idiot for thinking I'm pregnant, but I don't want to stop feeling it either. Sigh.


And on a lighter (ok maybe not *really* lighter) note, rest in peace Lonesome George, the last of your kind. Many of us in this community know what it feels like to be unsuccessful at reproductive attempts, so we feel for you and your lost genetic line. I'm glad I got to meet (ok take a photo of with a really zoomed in lens) you before you left us.
We'll miss you, the last Pinta Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Thursday, June 21, 2012

4th Time's a Charm (0dp5dt)

Throughout this cycle I kept asking myself, "How does one get excited for their fourth embryo transfer?" I may have asked you guys that too. It's the same theme I've struggled with this whole month- that overriding theme of building hope and excitement while guarding yourself against failure and grief.

I can honestly say that today? Building excitement was no problem. No problem whatsoever. We hadn't heard anything about our embryos since Tuesday, and weren't really sure what to expect. On Tuesday (day 3), we found out that all 17 were still cleaving, all were 8-11 celled, and all grade 1. Holy octomom, we had HOPE. But then again, we had a great day 3 fert report last time, so that knocked me back a little too. Hope, but not TOO much hope.

I did my pre-transfer acupuncture, took my valium, and promptly got drunk. I mean hey, I accidentally took 10mg instead of 5mg, sue me. It was awesome :)

We were quickly led back into the transfer room and brought a picture of the two embryos selected for transfer. As soon as we saw the picture, all the excitement that had been questioned for the last few weeks exploded my heart and I started crying. (shocker, me? crying?)
Meet Turtle and Penguin! (and my widow's peak)
We had a grade 1AA hugely hatching blast. In fact, the embryologist said "Hurry up and get that thing in there!" The second blast was also grade 1AA, and had just just started hatching too! Double score! We very briefly discussed whether we would transfer one or two, but decided on both based on our history of failure. And that it's probably not good to freeze something that's already started to hatch.
Transfer PDLAMBLATI* from In Due Time
I laid down and we got all prepped, saw the awesome flash of embryonic medium whooshing into my cute ute, and checked that the catheter was empty. Everything went off perfectly, a textbook transfer.

Some resting, post-transfer acupuncture, and earning karma points by calling in a small brush fire in the median in our town (on a very dry windy day), then more resting at home completed our day. I have since bribed the embie with delicious chicken quesadillas, pineapple, and a cuppy cake. I will stop at nothing to get at least one of these guys to stick around.
Funfetti FTW!
Here's hoping that finally, truly, fourth time is a charm. Beta is a week from Saturday at 9dp5dt.

*PDLAMBLATI- Please don't look at my business, look at THESE instead!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mmmm... Crow... (fert report)

So remember that whiny girl who was complaining on Saturday about how she only retrieved 21 eggs? Because, hey! 21 is way less than 36. Even though those 36 got her diddly squat? Yeah, her.

She's eating a healthy serving of crow right now.

We found out that out of those 21 egg-tastic ovum, 18 were mature.

Of the 18 mature, 17 fertilized.

Yeah, baby :)

Last time, of the 36 retrieved, 22 were mature, and 18 fertilized. So we're pretty much on the same damn track. Just with better bang for our buck.

I knew my whining was premature, but I just couldn't help it. I'll blame it on the hormones and anesthesia haze.

I'm recovering quite well, I must say. I am much more mobile than last time, and don't feel the need to physically hold my stomach to my body hunched over every time I get up. I was even (barely) able to sleep on my stomach the night of retrieval... not bad! I am, however, bleeding still, though I guess that's to be expected when they have to poke your lady bits FOUR TIMES to get to one ornery ovary. Not so much blood that I *need* to wear a liner, but enough that I know it's still fresh. And pink/red. (thank you baby aspirin)

The only annoying part is that it took nearly 48-hours and four colace pills for my post-op-poop. Which was frickin' glorious, I tell you. I'm down 1.5 pounds from transfer morning, which is a great sign too- fingers crossed that I escaped the dreaded OHSS!

Our check with the clinic today revealed that all 17 are still cleaving, though I don't have details on how many cells everyone has (which drives me bonkers). We'll get another report tomorrow. It's almost certainly going to be a day 5 transfer on Thursday.

Hope. I just... might... have it...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Retrieval Complete

21 eggs.

Righty was "textbook, picture perfect."

Lefty was an underperforming difficult beeyatch. Much fewer eggs were retrieved from her than we expected, and they were much harder fought.

Ungrateful J is a wee disspapointed, since we got so many less than last time, but I'm hoping beyond hope that they're all much better quality. And don't pull an "all it takes is one" because we want three kids. (though not all at once, Emily!)

But overall, happy. Maturity and fertilization report tomorrow. Thanks for all the well wishes- they've been wonderful!!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Trigger Happy (stim day 11)

Thank frickin' god!
PDLAMBLATI* kitteh's
At our ultrasound yesterday morning, we found that the majority of our follies had grown to about 16-18mm. I had gotten pretty darned uncomfortable, and was DREADING the possibility of waiting another day to trigger. Dr S hadn't decided for certain what to do solely based on the oves, and wanted to wait to see what our e2 was doing. His theory was that things were getting pretty darned cramped, and that while the eggs inside the follicles were continuing to mature, the follies were simply running out of room to grow. The PCOS convention going on in my belly was at capacity, and little more could be done.
My e2 came back at 2670, just slightly lower than the day before, and we were given the green light to trigger that night. While I'm *slightly* nervous that it started to drop, it's nowhere near the plummet we experienced last time, and seems on par with his explanation of limited room for expansion. Triggering seemed the right way to go at this point, and definitely improved my mood :)

We triggered in the same restaurant bathroom that we did with IVF #1, which we were amused by. I stayed home from work today, and am so glad I did. I ended up running two quick errands, and could barely walk to/from the car. I can only imagine how awful it would have felt to sit at a desk all day.

My mom drove up today to stay with us through transfer, helping out and keeping the dogs and cats entertained and us fed while I recover from retrieval. So, so, so thankful she's here!

I'm not super nervous going into retrieval anymore. Still slightly, but not as much as I was before. I guess we're at a point where it is what it is. We have done absolutely everything we can to get to this point in as good of shape as possible, and it's just up to chance for fertilization and egg growth. And awesome embryologists. But yeah, our part? Nearly done.

In less than twelve hours, I'll be back home napping off the anesthesia...
"You have shamed me by removing my fur"
(Hannah got a haircut yesterday. We switched over to her summer 'do just in time, as the forecast for the weekend is going to rise into the low 100's this weekend)

* PDLAMBLATI- Please don't look at my business look at these instead

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yes I would like cheese with that (stim day 10)

I really hate complaining (who am i kidding i love complaining and i'm good at it), but hot damn I'm uncomfortable. It really started setting in yesterday, and combined with a wanding this morning, I'm positively done. I'm mentally done stimming, done waiting, done hoping it all goes well. Done taking 12 doses* of meds each day, done being sore and sedentary and out of energy. Done not being able to poo, not being able to pee without taking breaks for my oves to re-adjust, done done done.
Whiny Mc Whinerson

But whatever. Based on the u/s and b/w, we should be triggering tomorrow. I can make it until Saturday. Somehow.
Follies, follies galore!
My oves are large and in charge, with tons of good sized follies on each. They're generally 14-16mm right now, and giving me an e2 of 2682. We like these numbers. We like them a lot. We're going to squeeze in another visit with Mr Wanderful tomorrow, and hopefully will trigger tomorrow night. I'm not wholly convinced the trigger is going to happen, but Dr S seems to think that a) they're going to grow like weeds overnight, and b) there isn't a whole lot of ovarian real estate for them to get much over 18-19mm anyways since there are so damn many. I get that. And I can get behind that plan :)
Clickity Click Click

They tested my progesterone today too, to make sure nothing was popping off on its own. It came back at 0.9, which was a good indicator that the ganirelix was doing its job at keeping everyone in place. Funny enough, the ganirelix also gave me a large itchy red welt this am, so I think I shall fire it after tomorrow. Hopefully.
PDLAMBLATI**- more oldies but goodies!
(come on, a girl can only find so many fun socks!)

Wish us luck tomorrow... I can only take this for so much longer!!!

* am: synthroid, C0Q10, follistim, ganirelix
   eve: menopur
   pm: prenatal, extra folic acid, fish oil, melatonin, metformin, baby aspirin, C0Q10

** PDLAMBLATI- please don't look at my business look at these instead

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back on track (stim day 9)

I'm almost afraid to say it for fear of jinxing it, but we're finally at a place where we feel comfortable with our progress! After Saturday's e2 came back so low for the number of follies we had growing, my mind definitely went to the dark place of "all the follies are empty my eggs are crap why even bother and whythehell are we starting ganirelix already." It was not a fun place to be.

Instead of dwelling, we did lots of fun things this weekend. Like this:
Nom Nom 6-Year Anniversary Dinner
And this:
See Wicked. It's amazing.
Unfortunately, distraction technique number 1 backfired, and kept Dr Boy in the bathroom for about 50% of distraction technique number 2. Oooops. So I mostly sat in our awesome seats solo while he was in and out of the back of the theater. Yeah, feeling really guilty about that. Not that I *forced* him to eat the medium rare steak... but still....

Sunday was more relaxed, and involved a lot of this:
Why read when  you can love me?
I may or may not have read that entire book in one day. I plead the fifth.

Distraction technique number 4 was dinner with friends. And froyo. Which, incidentally, makes everything better.
Oldy but goody PDLAMBLATI

Our appt went well Monday morning, so huge sigh of relief. We still have tons of follies growing, generally between 11-13mm. My lining is a plump 10mm, ready and waiting. My e2 came back at 1137, which is finally in the range of what makes sense to me. The Fear is finally gone, and I have hope that this may actually turn out alright.
Click Click
We're guessing at a Saturday retrieval now, though Sunday is a contender still as well. Based on everything, we're still holding our 150u follistim and 2 vial menopur dose since it seems to be doing the job perfectly. We have pretty much EXACTLY the right amount of medication left for a Sat retrieval, so I'm hoping for that. Also? The oves are getting cranky. They yelled at me all day for letting them get poked at with Senor Wanderful, and then screamed later when well, yeah. That. Guess we're done for a while :) I've also noticed the crankies creeping in- I've had a very, very short fuse since the weekend, and I'm blaming it on the meds. I actually even annoy myself with it.

So. Yeah. Hope. Funny thing, eh?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Getting Better-ish (Stim day 6)

Indeed, Menopur. Indeed.
That's one of the caps you, well, flip off the menopur bottles before mixing the powder and saline. My mature hormone-addled brain could NOT. STOP. LAUGHING. when I saw his written on it. I blame it on the, well, menopur :)

We had our stim day 6 visit today, and had way better results at the ultrasound. We're moving along, with nice clusters of follies on both ovaries. Each measured around 9-10mm, with around 17 on righty and 15+ on lefty. Dr S is kind and didn't poke around too much to get to my annoyingly high and painful to wand left ovary, especially this early when a general idea is good enough.
I forgot socks this morning... ooops!
We had a case of the dreaded "bare-feet-in-stirrups." Ick.
The e2 results that came back later in the afternoon were still a bit disappointing, though. We're only up to 311 today. Which, as you recall, is still 1/3 of what it was two stim days EARLIER in the cycle last time. I'm getting worried that we're growing lots of empty follies, that my true PCOSey nature is coming out. I am not super thrilled by this, but I guess we'll just keep chugging along and count on it all turning out ok.

Based on all of that, we're going to still hold the dose of 150u Follistim in the am, and 2 vials of Menopur in the pm. We were also incredibly lucky enough to have the lovely hyper-stimmed EndoJourney give us some of her leftover follistim and menopur, as another retrieval will NOT be in the cards for her after a case of extremely severe OHSS. I had a couple of other incredible women offer as well, and am continually amazed by the support and generosity of this community. Dr Boy and I are truly so, so lucky to be a part of it. I know we all say it, but we truly couldn't get through it all without all of you.

Oh, and we're starting the Galirelix tomorrow, too. Dr S said he's actually seen someone prematurely ovulate with follies as low as 12mm, so yeah. Do NOT want that to be us.

It looks like retrieval will be pushed back to Saturday or Sunday, but we'll see how it goes next week. Whatever we have to do.

Next check is on Monday. Good. Times.
PDLAMBLATI from Thursday's appt...
When Pigs Fly!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Ovaries Suck. (Stim Day 4)

I know we've established this fact on many, many occasions, but I still need to put this out there- my oves suck big fatties. It's just today, when they were supposed to put on a good show for me and Dance! Dance my pretties, dance! they didn't.

We had our first ultrasound today for the Redux, and didn't see much. Lots of littles, with the biggest around 7mm max. Honestly, Dr S didn't even measure them and continued calling them "antral" follies. But fine, it's only stim day 4, I can handle that. We didn't even have an ultrasound until day 6 last time, so I didn't have anything to compare to.

Then my e2 results came back- a big, fat, whopping 62. Last time on stim day 4? We were 892.

Now before you get your panties all in a bunch and tell me that every cycle is different, I KNOW that. I know not to expect the same results, because clearly we don't WANT the same results. Last cycle didn't exactly work out the way we had hoped, so different is good.

It just seems (to me at least) that this is a bit *too* different to be good.

Dr S believes that the near-six months of birth control and FET's suppressed me more than we thought, and it's taking a little longer to get going. He doesn't believe that this will do anything other than delay retrieval by a day or two. Suck-tastic!

We were conservative with ordering meds since we cut doses so quickly last time, so now I need to order a ton more. We're going slowly so we don't end up with too much, but still. I had some incredibly generous donations from Lauren at Not Just An Army Wife and Jamie aka The Womb Warrior, which cut our medication bill WAY down. Thank goodness, because that part is going to get much more expensive than we had bargained for. And I'm cheap so this makes me angry.

Sigh. We're holding doses and re-checking on Saturday (rather than upping the dose and yo-yo-ing around with super high e2's that will probably come anyways).

Click Me! Click Me!

For you IVF vets out there- what were your e2 results on day 4 of stims? And how many days did you end up stimming for?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Infertility Bitch

My Bestie N made me this. Sums it up perfectly!

She really is a big fatty bitchface.

In other exciting news, so is Aunt Flow. Apparently she is embarrassed by the fact that she only has 4mm to shed, so has been forcing uterine cramping since yesterday like it is going out of style. Hopefully, like I say every time, it indeed WILL be going out of style for the next 9-12 months, give or take. Hopefully.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The redux begins... ish...

PDLAMBLATI* from my SIL- red hot ovaries!

Dr Boy and I went in this morning for our baseline ultrasound for Round Two this morning. I have been all over the map as far as emotions go this week and last, as the weight of this next cycle has really begun to settle in. I keep writing posts in my head, but honestly, I'm tired of being whiny, depressed, and just don't want to post things that I know will make other people hurt. It's been pretty hard to manage the jealousy, and Why Not Me? feelings lately. Really hard. I'm having a big case of Fertile-Infertile Jealousy, and I feel like a complete bitch-face for even thinking it. I mean, the goal is to get pregnant, right? So what if "all it took" was one round? Who cares if you retrieved one egg? It should work. Period. There is no such thing as "infertile enough," or deserving an embryo into sticking. I don't think people should have to go through a set amount of heartbreak before they are successful, so why am I unable to keep my brain from thinking such awful things?

We were just unlucky.

Three times.

So now that you all think I'm a spiteful c-word, our appointment went well this morning. Antral follicles were numerous, at least 20 on each side. (thank you pcos) I still haven't hit CD1, but am expecting to do so tomorrow. Dr S thinks it'll be a pretty lame period, as my BCP suppressed lining is only a whopping 4mm right now. No complaints here.

The only change was to delay starting stims until Monday. I'm not entirely sure why, but I believe the thought is that we're going to hit retrieval a bit faster than last time, and they want to stick as close to the June 15th estimate as possible. We decided to go with the "all in" approach discussed at the WTF appointment. Basically, we are trying to avoid at all costs the eleventh hour estrogen drop off that we experienced with IVF 1. While we were given every assurance that it wasn't the cause of our failures, we'd still like to NOT have it happen again. To do so, we're going to refrain from dropping off quite so much on the stim meds as we progress, allowing my e2 to get high, and keep our fingers crossed that OHSS stays away. If I do develop a moderate or severe case, we'll do a freeze all. Clearly THIS is not preferable either, but we'll take it as it goes and hope beyond hope we squeak out ok.

Anal-retentive chart, to be updated through the cycle
We'll see what happens. I'm finding it hard to find hope this time. We had SO MANY things go right last cycle, so many things that pointed to near-certain success along the way, and even 8 frozen embies! After transferring 6 (between the fresh and frozen cycles) and discarding 4 that failed to thaw, it's hard to muster up hope.

But we'll get there. Because it HAS to work sometime, right? Maybe the fourth transfer's the charm. Maybe.

*PDLAMBLATI: Please don't look at my biznass look at these instead.