Saturday, March 28, 2009

Because I’m special, DAMN IT!!

I’m home.

Sorry I haven’t updated. I’ve been very tired, and, frankly, sad. I’ll explain the sad part, but let me update chronologically.

Insanely early morning flight on Wednesday. Dropped my bags at the hotel and took a cab to the clinic. Short wait, then the u/s tech checked my bladder and said it wasn’t full enough. (I just had to pee when I got off the plane.) Chugged a LOT of water. Definitely full enough, but then the RE was delayed with a hysteroscopy. The tech handed me a small cup and said I could pee just that much. Damn, it’s hard to stop once you start peeing when your bladder is painfully full. Still waiting, so the u/s tech checked me again. “Oh, you’re very full!” Duh! Handed me another cup and said I could fill it 1 ½ times. OY!

Then the RE was ready. Last time we transferred 3 lovely day 2 embryos and I did not get pregnant. This time we decided on 4. They all survived the thaw with all cells intact. Although, honestly, I really don’t think one of them counts, as it was only 1 cell. We transferred a 5 cell, two 4 cell, and the little 1 cell. Then I lay on the table in bladder agony until I could get up to pee. I swear, it felt like I peed for 5 minutes straight. I know it wasn’t really that long, but it sure felt like it.

Why am I feeling sad? At my urging, the RE checked my progesterone levels. Let me preface this by saying that before I started cycling I did a lot of research on the effectiveness of vaginal versus intramuscular progesterone (PIO). Here are a few research articles: one, two, three. My NY RE is adamant about vaginal progesterone being as effective as PIO. When I consulted another top NY RE before cycling and asked him about the research, he agreed with it, but said he prefers PIO because there was a problem several years ago with one brand of vaginal progesterone. So, I felt fairly confident about not needing to stick myself in the ass with a long, large gauge needle. The day of my FET last month I had my levels checked as well, since I had read about the exceptions who do not absorb it well vaginally. It was a bit low, so the RE told me to add more. Progesterone supplements are very important for a FET since there is no corpus luteum (empty egg follicle) producing progesterone. At the time I was using four 200mg capsules up the hooha a day. She had me add an additional three 100mg prometrium pills per day. Also up the hooha. So I was poking progesterone up there SEVEN times a day. We figured that would be enough.

Anyway, as I said, at my request, we checked my levels on Wednesday before I left the clinic. As the last time, I was shoving a lot of progesterone where the sun don’t shine. Shortly after I got back to my hotel I got a call from the RE. My levels sucked. I was so exhausted at this point, but I got in a cab and went back to the clinic for a vial of PIO and some big scary needles. Even though there was no reason to think I wouldn’t absorb vaginal progesterone well, I’m feeling guilt and sadness for the 3 beautiful embies that were transferred last month.

Although I have every reason to be hopeful about this cycle, I’m feeling the failure of the last cycle all over again.

Any tips from self PIOers? A friend used em1a cream. Any thoughts on that? So far I have found it easiest to inject while sitting. Easier to twist around and keep the syringe steady. I have also added 1ovenox (blood thinner) injections this cycle as a precaution, since I have a heterozygous MTHFR gene mutation. This single mutation is generally not thought to cause thrombophilia, but we are being proactive. But because of the 1ovenox, I am much more apt to bruise badly from the big PIO needles. The last couple of nights I used a warm compress on my butt (used the little hotel room coffee maker to heat up water, then poured it over a washcloth), but I think that contributed to the BIG bruise (about 3”x1”) I have on one side. And that’s the side I have to inject again tonight. Damn. I was thinking about trying an ice pack this time. Suggestions please.

So there you have it. Good times.

Let the 2WW insanity begin!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick update.

Sorry I haven't reported in. I've been VERY tired. Flew up VERY early the morning of transfer, and hardly slept the night before. Transfer was actually Wednesday. The thaw and transfer went well. Today I got together with another cool blogger, Decemberbaby, who I met on the last trip. I still need to catch up on my sleep. Switched rooms today after being woken up by a screaming fight in the next room at 4am. The front desk said they were not checking out, so they gave me a new room.

Will update with more details soon. Thank you all for your good thoughts and prayers. xoxo!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mel’s Show and Tell — A Cautionary Tale

Coming late to Show and Tell this week. This week I have a “Tell.”

“Advanced Reproductive Age”

“Advanced Maternal Age”

That’s the diagnosis for us older women. I’ve even heard the term Geriatric Maternal Age! YIKES! I knew as I was getting older that it could be harder to conceive, but I really didn’t know the cold, hard facts until my first RE visit. No gynecologist ever warned me. I knew once I hit 35 that the chances of genetic abnormalities increased, but I still thought I had a good chance of getting pregnant. Maybe I’d need some clomid or something.

I have a cousin who was anovulatory who got pregnant her second month on clomid. A friend in her late 30s got pregnant on her second IVF, but she’s a DES daughter, so I didn’t think her situation applied to me. Another friend tried some DIUIs as a single woman in her late 30s that didn’t work. But she had irregular cycles and told me that her hormone levels were very bad. (I didn’t know about FSH and all that stuff at the time.) My cycles were like clockwork. I’d never gotten pregnant, but I’d been so careful when I was younger. As I got older, I was less careful. I figured I was just missing the “window.” I spent most of my 30s and early 40s working freelance and had no insurance. I would just pay out of pocket for my annual pap and the occasional dr’s visit.

Then at 44 I was hired by the company I’d been freelancing for. I made my first RE appointment. I was stunned to hear the dr tell me, without any testing yet, that at my age, we needed to go straight to IVF. He said that when a woman is in her 20s, 90% of her eggs are genetically normal. At 44, at least 90% of my eggs are genetically abnormal. I was told that even with IVF, at the maximum dose of medication, I had a less than 5% chance getting pregnant and bringing home a baby. That if I did manage to get pregnant, the miscarriage rate at my age is 50%. Cold. Hard. Facts.

Then I started the testing process and found I had a polyp in my uterine lining that was certain to prevent implantation. It was right past my cervix. Two drs looking at my HSG films said I basically had a homegrown IUD. So whatever fertility I’d had the previous years was screwed by this damn growth. The last few years of OPKs and baby dancing were a waste of money and pee.

The polyp was removed, and after SIX cancelled IVF cycles, I managed to get to retrieval and transfer. I had one lone embryo. My RE said my chances of success on that cycle were about 1%. As you know, I was not in that 1%. But getting that far has made it easier to move on.

Why am I sharing this? I know most of you are aware of these facts, but if I can save one woman the heartache I’ve endured, it’s worth sharing. I was inspired to share this by a woman I met in the waiting room last Friday while waiting for my lining check. Usually people make an effort not to interact in the waiting room, but I’m chatty, and it’s so damn boring. Everyone sitting there is going through something difficult. Why shouldn’t we connect? So, I’m talking to this woman, she’s 37 and going through her first IVF. As we talked more, it turns out she’s not really feeling ready for motherhood yet, but she has great insurance coverage, so she is planning to freeze all her embryos for future use. I WAS SO DAMN IMPRESSED! Proactive fertility treatment! Awesome!

It’s so easy to live in denial and just hope that everything will work as it should when the time is right. Biology doesn’t wait for us. Brava to this woman for taking action. She wasn’t doing this fearlessly. She has a fear of needles and sometimes faints at blood draws. And she was really scared about the retrieval. BUT SHE WAS DOING IT ANYWAY! Again, BRAVA!!!

So that’s my cautionary tale. Don’t forget to see what the rest of the class is showing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Send In The Clowns????

Came across this link on a message board. Had to share. Bwahahahaha!!! But wait, what if you’re clown phobic? Technically known as Coulrophobia. Now I’m not phobic, but my father surprised me by showing up at my 5th birthday party in a clown costume. I didn’t recognize him and was freaked out by this 6’ tall clown towering over me. Doubt that would be good for implantation!

Now, for cycling and traveling news. Final lining check was this morning. One of my favorite REs was not scheduled to do monitoring this morning, but popped over to do my ultrasound. Sweet! Her exact words were, “Your lining is beautiful!” It measured 12.5mm this morning. Let’s hope this was the LAST empty uterus ultrasound. I’ll start progesterone on Sunday.

Travel plans — OY! Had a mini meltdown on Wednesday after pinpointing the date with the Canadian RE and then checking airfares. (Hormonal much?) My original plan was to fly up after work on Tuesday for the transfer Wednesday morning. Well, let’s just say the airfare for that was INSANE! About 3 times what I paid last month. I emailed the RE about the logistics of taking an early morning flight Wednesday morning and going straight to the clinic from the airport. This will still be almost twice what I paid last month, but what can I do. She thought that would be fine and was very reassuring. So, please think good flying weather thoughts for me early Wednesday morning! (BTW, I saved a few dollars on my tickets by choosing in advance not to check luggage, so please no big gifties to the hotel, or it will cost me $50 to check a bag on the way home!)

Got the same hotel as last time bidding on Price1ine. A little more than last time, but only about $4 a night more. Still a fantastic bargain. And I know the lay of the land there now. I know what’s good on the room service menu and what’s not. I know where the closest convenience store is, so I can stock up on soft drinks and munchies without paying mini bar prices.

Feeling sad that I may not get to see Angrycanrn this trip. She’s currently out of town dealing with her ailing father in law. He’s damn lucky she’s willing to help him, considering how he’s treated her and the kids! I’m hoping things are resolved soon, so she’ll be home in time, but if not, I know she’ll be there in spirit.

I will have you all with me in spirit! And of course I will have my computer with me to keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Looking good!

I know you were all waiting for an update yesterday, but I didn't hear from the Canadian RE until today. Went in to the local clinic yesterday (CD8). Lining measured 8mm, one follie at 11mm. Found out today that the blood work was fine. I will go in for a final lining check on Friday. Assuming all is good, I will start progesterone Sunday and the transfer will be next Wednesday! I'm really hoping Angrycanrn can be there for the transfer this time. Time to start checking airfares!

BTW, to be filed under "People Are Stupid," went to a physical therapist for the first time Monday for my foot. I explained that I didn't want to have him use a topical anti-inflammatory because of the upcoming FET. So he tells me that he and his (30 year old!) wife were trying to conceive for quite a while (I didn't ask how long, 'cause I didn't want to hear the stupid response), and that she got pregnant as soon as she gave up coffee. Ummm, yeah, right.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Up The Hill Backwards

Sometimes it’s just one line of a song that strikes a chord. I’ve been ripping my old CDs, and this one line of Bowie’s jumped out at me. Up the hill backwards. Yeah, that’s as good a description as any.

Been meaning to update and respond to a couple of questions. So strange not to be injecting ANYTHING this time. Doesn’t really feel like I’m cycling. Just taking my estrogen. To answer Calliope’s question, I am taking 4mg orally 3x a day. The dose will probably stay the same. Normally I would just go in for a lining check after 10 days on estrogen, but since I need to request the time off from work and make travel arrangements, I will go in tomorrow, after 6 days, to see where things are. It feels surreal that the transfer should be sometime early next week.

Mo asked if it felt good to be back in the process. Ummm, yes and no. Flushing away the remains of my fluffy, triple stripe lining made me sad. Certainly starting again right away feels better than waiting. WAITING IS THE WORST!!! But, as I said, it doesn’t really feel like I’m doing anything. Maybe tomorrow’s monitoring appointment will help. Once I can request the days off and make flight and hotel reservations, I might feel more in the swing of this cycle.

Mostly, I’ve just been feeling down. My back hurts. I pulled something in my upper back rolling over in bed Saturday morning. How lame is that? My foot is really hurting. Anyone have any suggestions for relieving planter fasciitis without anti-inflammatories?

Anyway, to end things on a more upbeat note, and in keeping with the 80s music theme. I’m trying to make this my theme song.

One way or another I'm gonna find ya
I'm gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha

One day, maybe next week ...

What's your theme song these days?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Must add this nut to my blogroll!

I will definitely be writing a real post soon. I want to answer the questions from commenters on my last post. But I just had to share this link. OMFG!!!! Cecily at Uppercase Woman linked to it today. I just can't stop laughing! All I have to do is think about this post and I crack up. So, if you need a laugh (and who doesn't) go read this post by The Blogess.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Maybe This Time

Frozen Embryo Transfer, take two.

CD2 today. Went in to local clinic for blood work and ultrasound. All clear to begin. Start taking estrogen pills today. Normally with this type of cycle I would go in again for a lining check after 10 days on estrogen, but since I will need to make travel plans and ask for time off from work, I will go in after 6 or 7 days to see how things are progressing, and hopefully we will be able to firm up the transfer date.

Again, I'm sorry I've been a lousy commenter. Please bear with me. I'm reading and thinking of you all.


Check out this interesting article about how some things are actually easier for single moms. Cool!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Officially Not Pregnant — It's Gonna Take a Village (*edited with extra info added*)

No surprise. Actually yesterday wasn't as bad a day as it could have been. But I did wind up with a migraine, sleeping away a good chunk of the day. So no energy to post. Did you read the comments on my last post? So many people who want to actively help me get pregnant. It will happen. Sometimes embies just don't stick. I'm just going to have faith that that's what happened this time. My lining looked fabulous, I had an SHG before this cycle, so I know my uterus looks like a hospitable place for a good, long stay, I've had extra blood work done to check for any immune or clotting issues. There appears to be no reason I can't get pregnant and stay pregnant.

Regarding Angrycanrn's incredibly generous offer to help me do an egg donor cycle, I'm not physically or emotionally there yet. Emotionally, I'm really attached to these possible little redheads. While I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that she wants me to have the best odds possible, I have a hard time believing that there isn't a healthy baby in this proven batch of embryos created with a fertile 23 year old's eggs. Out of 10 embies, I believe there will be a baby. I believe I will be mommy to J and E's little sib. (Please let him or her have E's temperment!! Angrycanrn will have to explain that!) (*ETA* Even though the assholes in MI froze them randomly, their SART stats are very good for donor egg FETs. Also, even though they didn't stick, that the thaw on these last 3 went well is also a good sign.) Physically, I think I have lupron PTSD. I was talking to someone the other day who described it as feeling like having the flu. That's pretty accurate. And the migraines were awful. Full blown, scary aura and all. I'm having a hard time just thinking about shooting up lupron again. I start feeling anxious at the thought. So we are going to try a non-lupron FET protocol this time.

I haven't gotten the full info from the RE yet (maybe some of you who've done this kind of cycle could share? Cali?), but I'll go in on day 2 to my local clinic and then start high doses of estrogen. I'm assuming I'll need a bit more monitoring with this protocol than with the suppression protocol. The RE said we could add an antagon (i.e., ganre1ix) if it looked like I was going to ovulate too soon. Does anyone know, do the high doses of E2 generally prevent early ovulation. With this kind of cycle, I probably will have to wait until pretty much the last minute to buy the plane tickets and request the time off from work, but if it means I can avoid lupron, that's fine. I have heard that some clinics are getting higher FET success rates with this protocol.

OH, MY!! Did you read the response to my last post from Tessa??? It's obvious why I love her and her daughters so much. And her daughter's offer!!!! WOW! I read this when I got up yesterday to go in for what I knew would be a negative beta. I started crying when I read this. Thank you so much, sweetie. That you would think to be so generous says everything about your heart! And I'm pleased that I could indirectly give Tessa a moment of sweetness with her teenager. I hear sweet moments can be few and far between with teenagers. Ah, all part of the package, along with poopy diapers and projectile vomiting.

A pair of awesome women. Tessa and her daughter.
Aren't they and Claire a great excuse to visit Europe?

Sorry I haven't been a good commenter lately. Hopefully, I'll have amazing energy when hopped up on just lots of estrogen. Hmmm, some personal toys might get a good workout. (Note to self: AA and AAA)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Family of Choice — Love Trumps Blood

I know I’m not the only one with a screwy family. Many are way worse than mine, but still, it can be difficult. Which is why “family of choice” becomes so important.

I’ve mentioned one of my oldest friends (we met the first day of high school, in homeroom) who, after having her son in October, when the NICU nurse asked who I was, said I was her sister. And meant it.

Angrycanrn and I are building an extended family type of relationship for our children. Her faith in my parenting abilities means the world to me. Boy, does she want to see me knocked up! She truly feels like a long lost sister. If she needed me, I would drop everything and fly up to be there for her and her children.

One of the things I’m finding painful about the failure of this cycle is the irrational feeling that I’ve let her down. I know that’s crazy. I just wound up on the wrong side of the odds this time. I kind of felt the same way after my cycle with my own eggs and Donor Daddy’s sperm. Calling him to tell him I wasn’t pregnant was so hard. He’s family, too.

A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my friend Tessa. (Not her real name, but a short version of her user name from the IVF message boards where we met.) Tessa is an American married to a Dutch man and living in the Netherlands. Let’s just say the way the Dutch handle IVF is negligent. They barely did any testing or monitoring. They basically just said, “This is the dose we give women your age.” I think she was nearly 40 when she started her cycle. She wound up with severe OHSS. She really should have been hospitalized, but given the treatment she’d already received, maybe it’s better she wasn’t. She got much better medical advice from the women on the message boards than from her doctors. Her baby girl is truly a miracle.

But I’m rambling, back to the topic at hand. Tessa first became pregnant as an unmarried 19 year old. Her family disowned her and completely rejected the daughter she had then. She was a young, frightened girl, with a complicated pregnancy, and then a preemie with lots of issues. But she managed. Her family NEVER rose to the occasion. She met her husband when in her late 30s and moved (along with her grown daughter) to Europe to be with him. We met in person when I was there on vacation last Spring. We felt an immediate kinship. Back to the phone call of a few weeks ago. Tessa asked me if I would consider being their daughter’s guardian if anything were to happen to both her and her husband. (Her husband’s family members are too old to take on a child.) Again, what incredible faith in my (unproven) mothering abilities. They are both healthy, and I don’t anticipate needing to take her, but of course I would. I love little Claire. I would raise her as if she were my own. All the while telling her stories of her kooky, big hearted mom.

I feel at a loss for what to say to wrap this up, but I’ll try. As hard as the failure of this cycle is, I am still so lucky. My heart is full with all this love. I’m a single woman with a rockin’ family of choice! Not to mention a whole bunch of internet friends who have been there for me every step of the way. Hang on everyone. The ride’s not over!

Delicious Claire napping in the hat Aunt Dora bought for her from the UTERUS Brigade's Etsy shop. Hand knitted by Rachel at Henry Street.

Thursday Pee Report (Resenting Progesterone)

To all those who have been remaining hopeful, I thank you, but you are all delusional! 13dp2dt and not even a tiny hint of a line. My urine is hCG free. If I got a positive beta tomorrow it would not be good news. There's just no way at this point that this cycle will produce a viable pregnancy. Right now I just want to get the word that I can stop shoving progesterone up the vag. Part of me want to just stop, but I'll wait until tomorrow. I'm really getting annoyed every time I do it.

Thanks again for all the bloggy love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Pee Report (I don't think there's a chance in Hell.)

First Response says NO. I think the cheapies I have are the same anyway. I bought them on ebay and the seller said they were generic FR. They look exactly the same, like they were manufactured in the same factory. But I went to the drugstore and bought the box anyway. They were on sale for $14.99 (box of 2 tests). Maybe I'll pick up another box for the next cycle. I'm still sticking the progesterone up the hooha and taking the estrace, and will wait for Friday to go in for the beta. I'd skip it, but at least that is covered by insurance. I think I'm going to take the day off as a personal day, so I can go back home and hide under the covers until I get call saying stop meds.

Sucks! I'm so cranky and depressed, I'm not functioning well at work.

Going across the street for my coffee and I think I need some morning chocolate.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Pee Report (A little too soon to book plane tickets, but ...)

I have never seen a positive pregnancy test. NEVER! Sucks. 11dp2dt should show something.

Today's test was a cheapie. Going to buy some First Responses today, but from what I understand the cheapies are just as sensitive.

Emailed the RE last night. She wants me to wait until Friday for the beta. Now my fear is beta hell. (For those not in the know, that means a low number on the pregnancy blood test that usually indicates a non-viable pregnancy, like an ectopic (embryo implants in fallopian tube) or an early miscarriage.) She said I can start right away on day 2 if the beta is negative. I'm thinking about trying a natural cycle this time, as I was so miserable on lupron. I need to do some research about just how precise the timing needs to be, since I'm coming from out of town. It also makes me nervous because of my age. Ovulating early during a naturally timed FET will screw it up, and at my age, my ovaries are unreliable.

Thanks again everyone for all the support.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Pee Report :-(

Zip. 10dp2dt. I know I'm not out of the game yet, but hope is receding. I want to hide under the covers.

Thanks for all the support and lovely comments.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No line (yet).

Hopefully just too early. Maybe it means it's a singleton taking his/her time snuggling in.

I did have a major gagging episode yesterday. Opened an old jar of hair gel I hadn't used in a while and the smell was so vile and overpowering. Didn't throw up, but almost. Hoping it's a good sign.

Thanks for all the good thoughts.