Friday, February 29, 2008

It's a Bust

No change in my lining. The tech even had trouble measuring because it is so thin. So much for our natural cycle. My body, the traitor. Just waiting for the nurse to call this afternoon with the recommendation from the doctor, but we all know the answer. The real question is what he will recommend going forward.

No matter how hard I try to prepare myself for these let downs, I still can't control my emotions. I didn't go into the office because I couldn't stop the tears. So now I'm at my parent's house, hanging out with my mom and trying to think of some way to distract myself from all of this.

At least it is sunny and warm outside.

Unlike my dark, barren uterus.

Today's Tune had to be a Cure song.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Absolutely Devoid of Creativity to Think of a Title

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I don't feel like quite so much of a freak knowing that the tears during therapy are probably normal and good.

I don't have much optimism for our appointment tomorrow, but I guess you never know. I thought about posting a poll to have people guess lining thickness, but I just found the idea too depressing.

Today's tune is a throwback to my ska-loving high school / college days. If you want to visit yesterday's tune, you can click on the right arrow, just like a real ipod, to skip to the next song.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

Can you tell I'm getting anxious?

I'm looking forward to a little distraction. Tomorrow night is our first official HOA meeting for our neighborhood and rumor has it there are bound to be some fireworks. I'm a little nervous about meeting some the neighbors we haven't met yet and answering the inevitable kid questions. B and I have already agreed to just be upfront with people. I'll let you now how that goes.

We had our second appointment with Sage tonight. We talked about many things, but she also walked us through a guided meditation exercise meant to help me relax and even out my moods (close your eyes, relax each body part starting with toes and moving up the body, clear mind, visualize yourself in a peaceful, calm, safe place, etc.). Two things took me by surprise. First, B managed to get through the whole thing without bursting out laughing (which is what I truly expected him to do).

Second, I was surprised to find tears streaming down my face when we got to the visualization part. Apparently, I can't find a safe place in my mind because my defective body will follow me anywhere. I panicked. Spent the rest of the time trying to picture myself on the beach in Hawaii sipping a Mai Tai and reading a book, but the tears just kept on coming. Don't know what it is about Sage and the tears. Two sessions and I've pretty much spent the whole hour each time crying through the discussion.

Having trouble falling asleep tonight, so I've been playing around a bit and added a mini pod to my blog. The first tune is one I haven't heard in a really long time. A couple of days ago I woke up in the middle of a dream and remembered nothing except for this song. It stuck with me for days-such a great happy song.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Verdict is...No Verdict

I go back for another ultrasound on Friday. My estrogen level did go up a bit to 55, so the doc thinks that the dominant follicle I have is signaling estrogen production and, as it grows and produces more, there is still a chance my lining will shape up. I guess we'll find out. Friday will be cycle day 17.

Money for Nothing (and no chicks)

As I expected, my lining didn't grow much. They didn't give me a number, but I think I saw a 3 something on the screen. Pathetic. I do have one follicle that has grown since last week and appears to be on its way to a dominant follicle. It must not be too big yet as they didn't tell me the measurement for that either. Blood flow was normal again (2.0 and 2.2), so I'm definitely a convert on not worrying about my chocolate intake.

One of two things will happen now. Either the doc will want to add something (estrogen or vi.agra?) to try to get my lining to thicken up, or he'll want to cancel this cycle and start over. I think part of that depends on where my estrogen level comes back at today. If it has gone up since last week, the nurse's guess was that we would try adding some estrogen (or something) to help the lining. If it hasn't gone up, her guess was that we would start over.

I don't know what starting over means at this point. I have a feeling the recommendation would be to go back to a medicated FET with all the bells and whistles because apparently my lining does even worse on its own. It's just so frustrating. I have a sneaking suspicion that all the drugs (fertility related) I've taken over the past year and a half have really done a number on my body because I know my natural lining measurements (when getting all my tests done and during my first unmedicated IUI) were just fine. Stupid drugs.

To make matters more fun, all of my tests expire this month which means if we don't transfer this cycle, we have to redo all the initial blood work (for the third time) before starting again. This means shelling out even more money for nothing assuming all test results come back normal, just as they did the first 2 times. It all seems like such a waste.

Our next meeting with Sage is tomorrow. Good timing, especially if we get bad news this afternoon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Freezer Buns-A Working Title

I'm having a mild panic attack about something kind of stupid. The night that I decided to start writing this blog, I was in a particularly anxious state of mind. After a freeze all dashed our hopes for our first IVF cycle, my first FET had been cancelled and I was facing the thought of a D&C. It was pretty late at night and I couldn't get my mind to stop racing. I couldn't sleep and the words were just dying to commit themselves to "paper." I was in no position to think up a name for my blog and settled on Freezer Buns only after numerous other ideas proved to be taken by other bloggers.

I didn't really think too much about the blog name and I didn't allow myself to think too far ahead about what the next couple of months would hold. I was living in the moment, the pain of that particular moment. It was clouding my vision. I honestly thought that the D&C would do the trick and our second attempt at FET would lead us to the pot of gold at the end of the long, horrible, exhausting rainbow. I thought we'd thaw some of our freezer buns, it would result in our first child (or two) and then we'd have plenty left to go back to when it was time to grow our family again. Sounds like a great plan, huh?

I'm now on the brink of another FET (I hope) and our RE is recommending we thaw all 14 freezer buns. I know this is a somewhat irrational fear because I have nothing to base it on, but I'm afraid that none of the 14 will make it to blast and we will have no freezer buns left. They will be thawed, but left out to die and never make it back into the oven. Not only would we have to go back to another fresh IVF cycle (and the first was not a pleasant experience for me), but I think at that point, we'd have pretty good evidence that our problem has something to do with egg quality. While it would be great to get rid of the banner of "unexplained" infertility, egg quality is not something I'm ready to deal with. It brings up all kinds of questions that I'm not ready to seek answers to yet.

And what would I do about this blog? Would I need to rename it? Would I keep the name in honor of our 18 freezer buns that would now represent our dashed hopes and dreams? Would I keep the name in the hopes that we would soon have new freezer buns waiting to pop into the oven? Wouldn't fresh buns be better?

I know this is premature and I shouldn't be worrying about this right now. But I shouldn't be in this position at all. I shouldn't be wondering if this will ever work. I shouldn't require medical intervention to conceive a child. I shouldn't be so obsessive about something I can't control. I shouldn't.

Let's Go

Back to work tomorrow after a lovely weekend. We relaxed, shopped, went out to dinner and drove home to laundry and other domestic chores today.

I did receive a call from the nurse Friday afternoon requesting that I return on Tuesday morning for another ultrasound to check progress. It appears I'm going to ovulate late this month. Hopefully that's what all of this means. I really hope it doesn't mean my body's all screwed up and isn't ovulating anymore on its own.

It's a funny thing when you are quite regular on your own and they can't find anything wrong with you. Then they put you on all of these drugs for IUI's, IVF's and FET's and all of the sudden you have no idea what your body will do on its own anymore. It appears confused. I just hope my natural cycle kicks in here. Come on ovaries...and endometrial lining...let's go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ultrasound Update

Let's just say that my clinic must not do too many natural FET cycles. There was quite a bit of confusion around my ultrasound this morning. It is too exhausting to go into all the details, but if I didn't know enough to ask the right questions, I would have NO idea what was going on today. I would have walked out of there without knowing if I had any follicles, what my lining looked like, what the blood flow was measuring at-basically, if I still even had a uterus and ovaries.

Here's what I do know. My lining only measured at 2.3. While this is very thin, I also do not have a dominant follicle yet, which means I am not close to ovulating. The nurse didn't seem to know enough to tell me whether the lining is a concern this early on. Regardless, projected surge by February 26th and transfer by March 3rd is most likely not going to happen.

My blood flow measurements were fine (1.3 and 2.6) which I find interesting because I've gone back to eating chocolate. I know there isn't as much caffeine in chocolate as there is in coffee, tea or soda, but it is still something I was told to avoid at all costs. Since completely giving up caffeine during the last cycle didn't help at all, I said screw it. If I need to I'll go back to the electro-acupuncture, but it is not worth it to deprive myself of something I love that doesn't seem to be having an effect on the blood flow anyway.

They also drew blood, which I wasn't expecting, so I really don't know what they are checking for. Things were very disorganized this morning.

So now I wait for a call from the nurse after she has checked in with the doc this afternoon. I expect they'll tell me the results of whatever blood work they did and then give me instructions. Given that I don't have a dominant follicle yet, I'm really just expecting them to tell me to come back in for another ultrasound in a couple of days.

We'll see.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


We're heading up the hill tomorrow for the weekend. It was a last minute decision and it immediately made my day 100% better today. No skiing this time, just hanging out with the dogs and my parents. Maybe a little shopping, a nice dinner, some walks for the dogs, and staring out the window. Maybe I'll read a little.

Not sure if we'll have internet access over the weekend. Last time we were able to get on someone's unprotected wireless network, but I'm not going to bank on that again. I'll try to pop in tomorrow and post about my ultrasound before we head up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sage Advice and Hickies

It has been 3 days since my last post, which I think is a record for me. I've gotten in the habit of posting every day or maybe missing just one day here or there. We had our first appointment with the therapist yesterday and my head has just been spinning ever since. I didn't really feel like posting last night and I am trying to force myself to take short breaks away from IF related activities off and on (per the therapist's advice). This doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging or reading all of my fav blogs. It just means that I need to force myself to stay away for a night here and there. It is going to be difficult for me-yes, I'm addicted.

Don't get me wrong, the therapist did not at all discourage me from blogging. In fact, she encouraged it. It's just that we talked about balance and the fact that my life has had no balance for quite some time now because I've been consumed with treatments. Even if it is only for an hour at a time, it would be healthy if I could go for short periods of time without even thinking about this stuff. The therapist (okay, I really need to giver her a name-let's call her Sage), Sage, seems to think that my thoughts are in my control and I can avoid thinking about things if I force myself not to. Definitely easier said than done. One of her other suggestions was for B and I to plan to do some fun non-IF related activities that we normally don't do. Something fun. Taking the dogs for a walk, going hiking, going to a museum. Something that will help us focus on something other than IF while we are together.

Other than that, we talked about the difference between men and women and how we process things (women are the talkers, men are the fixers) and how we could try to communicate in a different way that would make us both feel better. I think Sage is on the right track with us and we've agreed to go see her once a week until we get through this next cycle-pass or fail. We'll see what happens then.

On a separate note, I need to explain myself a little. Nancy noted in her ColoBlogger post that I was really quiet at our meet up on Saturday and that I didn't take my scarf off the whole time. I know it probably comes as a shock after reading my blog, but I actually can be quite shy when in larger groups (more than 3 people) that I haven't met before. I tend to sit back and absorb until I get comfortable, but once I'm comfortable, watch out--it all comes flying out and you won't be able to shut me up! I've always been this way. I can remember as a little kid when we'd go to my grandparents' house with all the cousins how I would be really shy and hide behind my mom's legs. After awhile (an hour?) I would venture out and become a normal kid.

Saturday was a little strange for me because I feel like I know all of the ColoBlogger ladies so well. I know intimate details that some of them would never tell their best friends. And yet, meeting in person still brought out all that initial shyness in me. I'm also really conscious in group situations about letting other speak and trying not to interrupt. And honestly, part of my quietness on Saturday was fascination. Fascination that a group of women who are just meeting for the first time can be so open, laugh, provide support so quickly-just like that. And the time just flew by.

As for the scarf, well a lady never tells....

No, really. I was freezing all morning and I'm not much of a coffee or tea drinker, so the scarf truly was just keeping me warm. I do this all the time at work during the winter because my office is always freezing in the mornings. Now I'm wondering if people are walking around at work thinking my neck is covered in hickies. Ooops.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

To Tell or Not To Tell?

There's an issue I struggle with on a daily basis and I'm wondering how the rest of you ladies handle this. How much information do you tell your employer about your situation or treatments? How do you balance work with your treatments and the emotions that go along with it?

While I have a very laid back, understanding boss, he is a man. He does have a wife and 3 kids and it does help a bit that it took them a number of years to conceive their first. He endured the rage of a woman and disappointing cycle after cycle for those years, but never had to endure the gamut of emotions that comes along with treatments. I often struggle with how much information to give him on what is going on in my life. I know that there are definitely things he would be uncomfortable with-he doesn't want the gory details and that is just fine by me.

Since September, I've had trouble focusing on work when I'm at work. I have to force myself to get through tasks throughout the day and at times I get very angry when asked to do things. There are times where I have to hold myself back to keep from blowing up at him. Sometimes it is in response to a decision he has made that I think is not the right one. I would do it differently or the decision is going to make my life more difficult or stressful. A lot of times, these decisions are political in nature (office politics) and I just don't always trust that he is navigating the mine field in a manner to get us both out alive (and he would be SO insulted if he were reading this).

I'd like to think that the normal me would take these challenges in stride. She would calmly try to reason with him and then go with the flow if he decided not to take her advice. Or, she would start looking for another job. Something where she felt she had a voice. That is one of the most frustrating things about my job, I'm often asked for my opinion or encouraged to voice my opinion, but it seems like no one really listens. Either that or I'm so off base on my opinions that only an idiot would take my advice (personally, I don't think that is the case). They let me voice my opinion and then they turn around and take the opposite course of action.

But the current me (the one undergoing treatments) can't do anything calmly. She rants and raves (at least in her head). She fumes and turns around and heads back to her own office to shut her door and steam in private. She wonders why she is so ANGRY over something like this. She recognizes the ANGER for what it is (something completely unrelated to work), but still can't swallow it and make it go away. She has dreams of telling off people at work. She snaps at her husband over insignificant issues at home. She yells at the dogs and then bursts into tears. She has no idea how to control the mood swings.

I often think that if we would just win the lottery I could quit my job and focus on treatments. Logically, I know this is a dangerous thought and I would drive myself batty focusing on treatments 24/7. I also think about finding a different job that is less demanding, more of a job than a career. But I'm sure I would get just as frustrated and it just isn't in my nature to just slide by at a job and not try to climb the ladder. It is that ambition that makes this hard for me. I know that having a family is more important to me than my career. But when you've worked so hard to get where you are, how do you just sit back and coast by letting others surpass you?

I had a conversation with my boss last week about what I've been thinking. I told him that I've been having trouble focusing at work and it is something I would like to address with the therapist we are going to see. The therapist's hours are 9:30-4:30, which means that I have to leave work in the middle of the day to attend a session. I felt it was best to be honest with my boss about where I was going. I figured if he notices my lack of focus, at least he will know that I'm aware of the issue and I'm doing something proactive to deal with it. I constantly feel guilty for coming in late or leaving early for doctor's appointments and monitoring. I always try to schedule appointments so that I miss as little work as possible, but it is difficult. He was very supportive (as I knew he would be) and he said he thought therapy was a great idea.

I am grateful that my boss is understanding, but I can't help but think about how this must slowly be seeping into his daily decisions. Good projects that he would normally give to me to run will go to someone else, or he'll do it himself, because in the back of his mind he knows it isn't my top focus at the moment. I'm struggling to come to terms with this, because I think it is inevitable.

At times I think about looking for a new job, but the flexibility I have and the maternity benefits at my current job make it difficult to leave. Although sometimes it seems silly to stay somewhere for the maternity benefits when it could take years (if ever) until I'm able to take advantage of those benefits.

Sorry for the jumbled mess of thoughts tonight. My head is all over the place.

If you work while cycling, how do you handle that balance and how much do you tell your employer?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

ColoBloggers Rule!

Today was quite the amazing day. It was the first meeting of the ColoBloggers. We met at a cafe, ate, drank coffee and tea, laughed, and wiped away a few tears here and there. It's a funny thing meeting people in person for the first time when you know such intimate details of their lives. You feel like you've known them for years. They are your best friends, your sisters. It is amazing how this stuff bonds us so quickly. I was fascinated the whole time connecting faces to these stories. It was so cool to connect a blogging/emailing "voice" with a real voice in person.

I am so grateful to Lori for getting us organized. She is just as amazing in person as she is on her blogs. Her adoption stories had us all tearing up. Nancy is just as chatty and hilarious in person as she is on her blog. I love how open she is about everything. Spicy Sister joined us after blogging for only a week and I can't wait to hear more of her journey. Meg was so open and real--I can totally see her as a counselor!

And our non-blogging friends Heidi and K (not using your full name in case you are worried about some of our mutual friends reading this) were there. It was the first time I had met Heidi after meeting on a message board and emailing for some months. She is just as up beat in person as in her emails (I hope she rubs off on me...). K shared some very difficult experiences with us and I'm so happy she was able to come.

I was sorry Jen didn't make it, but we all understood and we hope she's doing okay.

We also missed a couple of other ladies for various reasons. All in all, the ColoBloggers are some of the most supportive, open women I've ever met and I'm looking forward to many more of these get togethers.

I also met my friend Rhonda for lunch today. Although she isn't going through IF, she is very supportive and sympathetic. Rhonda and I first met at work in 1998. I had just started she was spending her days out at a client and coming back into the office in the evenings. One of the guys at worked commented to me that I was going to like Rhonda because she wore silver rings just like me. I thought it was a silly comment at the time, but he was right and we've had an awesome friendship ever since. Rhonda commented earlier this week that based on Nancy's comments here, she thought Nancy might wear silver rings too. It was the first thing I confirmed when I met her this morning!

Rhonda-because you asked, here is a picture of just how big those PIO needles are. I don't know if this does it justice, but until I can show you in person, this will have to suffice. I've used my Black.berry as a frame of reference-something I figured you'd be familiar with. The one on the left is used to draw the oil into the syringe. The one on the right is used to inject (the needles twist off the syringes). They are 22g 1 1/2 inch needles. Enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Au Naturale

We've gotten the go ahead from Dr. S to move forward with this cycle. Our nurse sent us a copy of a sample schedule and it is possible we could get to transfer as early as March 2nd. Of course, I have absolutely no idea what my body will do this cycle. The first step is to go in a week from today for an ultrasound so they can check for a dominant follicle. Assuming there is one, the size will give us some idea of how close I am to ovulating. I'm hoping that they'll be able to tell something about my lining at that point as well, but it may be too early.

If they see a dominant follicle, we will begin watching for LH surge. I can either do this with home OPK's (ovulation predictor kits) or I can go in for daily blood draws. I used OPK's in the past along with my CBEFM and they always SEEMED to work, but how do I know for sure? We were never successful with timed intercourse or with IUI's, so I just don't know for sure. This makes me lean towards daily blood draws. Except that driving to my clinic every day is somewhat inconvenient during the week because it is in almost the opposite direction of my work and will either require me to get up quite a bit earlier in the morning or show up to work late. Factor in the fact that it's winter and a couple inches of snow could make this even more inconvenient. I'm just not sure at this point which option will cause less stress. What would you do?

My comment the other day about a shot-free cycle was not completely true because they do like to do a trigger shot for natural cycles. Once we detect a surge, we will do an HCG trigger shot to ensure ovulation (even if I'm ovulating on my own). I think this is meant to ensure that my body will start producing progesterone on its own. The day after trigger I would go in for a blood draw to check progesterone level and the day after that begin progesterone and estrogen support. The schedule shows a standard "natural" FET protocol of using 2 Viv.elle patches in addition to 3 progesterone suppositories a day. I'm a little confused because Dr. S didn't mention anything about estrogen support.

Assuming we detect LH surge on February 26th (which is a complete guess at this point), my schedule would look like this:

February 26th: Trigger shot
February 27th: Blood draw (progesterone level)
February 28th: Begin progesterone and estrogen support
February 29th: Begin Tetra.cycline & Med.rol; Blood draw (estrogen and progesterone level)
March 2nd: Transfer; Blood draw (estrogen and progesterone level)
March 2nd & 3rd: Bed rest

Of course the above schedule will move depending on when I surge.

The nurse said she still needed to talk to Dr. S about timing for when they would thaw the embryos. And Dr. S is recommending we thaw ALL 14 of them to grow the to blasts. They said they have no reason to believe a lot of them won't survive to the blast stage, but I don't know. The only one we've had a chance to try that with didn't make it, so I don't have a lot of confidence.

Overall, I'm a little excited because we are already moving into another cycle already. But I'm a bit apprehensive about all the variables that could go wrong. I'm trying to keep my expectations low for this cycle and expect my cycle to be all screwy, my lining to be anorexic, to miss ovulation, etc. I guess I am going into this expecting to get cancelled and if we do make it to transfer, it will be icing on the cake. I'm not sure anymore what the right attitude is to have towards cycling. I'm tired of being disappointed. So I'm going to tell my old friend Hope to go hide in the closet for awhile and not show her face. I know she's there, but I don't want to look at her.

How do you balance hope with managing your expectations?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Where to start? First of all, thanks to everyone for your kind comments, emails, voicemails, and text messages. I cried hearing/reading every single one of them. This process really is gut wrenching and B and I are lucky to have so much support both from our family and friends and from this online community.

Sunday was devastating. I took Monday to grieve and stayed home from work by myself. B had to go to work and he took the dogs to daycare, so I had the house to myself which is rare. I sat in the front living room (which I never do) on the couch in the sun for most of the day reading, crying, staring out the window. I went back to work on Tuesday and actually had a decent day. I was able to distract myself with work for minutes at a time which was nice.

And then Jen got some truly horrible news and it was all I could think about. At least it kept my thoughts off myself for awhile. If you have a minute, please stop over and grieve with her.

Today was a different story for me. I had trouble focusing. I got frustrated easily, angry easily and teared up at the drop of a hat. One thing that is making this week more difficult than it need be is that a project has come up that is requiring me to work much more closely with one of the pregnant ladies in our department. In the 2+ years we've worked in the same department, we've never really worked together. All of the sudden, I have to delegate to her, review her work, rely on her to get tasks done. I have to check in with her frequently, answer her questions. This is no reflection whatsoever on her personally or professionally, but she is possibly the last person I want constant interaction with this week. Such is life I guess. And I'm starting to realize that the grieving process for this will take awhile. Even if I feel great one day, I might feel completely horrible and down again the next.

Off and on over the past two years I've thought about going to therapy to talk to someone about what we are going through. I kept putting it off thinking the next cycle would be it and all our problems would go away. This time I'm biting the bullet and moving forward with it. At the very least I need someone to convince me that I'm not crazy and obsessive (even though I am). Our clinic has a counselor on staff and we have an appointment set for next Tuesday. I don't know if we'll go just the one time, or if it will become more of a regular thing, but I'm ready to give it a try and luckily, so is B. I know he's not looking forward to it (not that I am either), but he is willing to do this for me and that means the world and makes it so much easier. I likely won't write too much here about our session Tuesday or going forward if we stick with it simply because it just feels too private. But I will let everyone know if I think it is beneficial.

Okay, now to the looking forward. We're getting back in the game-immediately if we can. AF showed up today, so I'm officially on cycle day 1 and I'm waiting to hear back from Dr. S to see if he's okay with us moving forward this cycle or if we need to wait a month or so. Dr. S did call me on Monday to check in and see how we were doing. He apologized and was pretty sympathetic. He said he isn't sure whether my lining was the problem or if there was something wrong with the embryos.

One way to get a better idea of the quality of the embryos next time is to let them grow out longer to the blast stage (5-6 day embryos instead of 2-3 day). The standard FET protocol at our clinic for embryos frozen at the 2pn stage (the day after retrieval), is to transfer them the day after thaw. I'm not sure, but I think that would make them day 2 embryos. At that stage, you can't tell too much about quality which has a huge effect on whether or not they will result in a viable pregnancy. In a fresh cycle at our clinic, the transfer would either happen three days after retrieval, or five days after retrieval at the blast stage. The standard protocol is to try to get them to blast for a 5 day transfer and 3 day transfers only happen if the embryos maybe aren't doing so well or if the embryologist thinks the embryos would do better in their natural environment (in the uterus). Whether to transfer sooner or later is still somewhat controversial, but our clinic generally believes in trying for day 5 transfers instead of day 3 transfers.

The scary thing about trying to grow embryos to blast after a thaw is that they would want to start with as many as possible and, therefore, would thaw all 14 of our totsicles at one time. Assuming most of them survive the thaw, I would expect many of them to not make it to the blast stage and would hope that at least 2 did make it. But they could all stop growing prior to that and the transfer would be cancelled. Then we would be back to square one having to start over with another fresh cycle (stim and retrieval included along with risk of another bout with OHSS-hopefully avoiding the emergency room). However, if this gives them the best shot at picking the two best embryos, maybe it's worth it to risk all of them. If we ended up with more blasts than we were willing to transfer, they could refreeze the rest. So this is a decision we will have to make in the near future.

Dr. S was receptive to trying a natural FET this go round. He agreed that it is possible that my body just doesn't like the extra hormones and it is possible my lining might do better on its own, although we don't know until we try. There are risks to doing a natural cycle-mainly that I could ovulate through and would have to cancel the transfer. What is sounding really attractive about going this route though is that I wouldn't have to take the Lu.pron shots or the estrogen patches/suppositories AT ALL. And rather than doing the PIO shots, if we made it to transfer, we would just supplement my natural progesterone production with progesterone suppositories. That's right ladies and gents, a shot-free cycle!

I have to go into this natural FET knowing full well that there is a chance it could get cancelled either because I've ovulated unexpectedly or because my lining didn't cooperate. And regardless of how prepared I am for that possibility, I'm sure I will be just as upset if it doesn't work out. But since this whole process is one huge scientific experiment anyway, I figure it can't hurt to try something new if Dr. S supports it. Yes, I'm feeling rational today.

So now we just wait for word on whether we can try a natural FET this cycle, or if we need to wait. We then have to decide if we want to go the standard thaw/transfer route, or if we want them to thaw all 14 embryos and grow them to blast before transfer. I also still need to decide whether I want to continue with regular acupuncture or with the electro-acupuncture. Dr. S was pretty indifferent about this. A lot of decisions to make in the next couple of weeks. Feel free to spew advice (or assvice) in the comment section here if you have any thoughts on any of these alternatives.

I'm a little behind on my blog reading, so I don't want you all to think I've forgotten about you. I'll catch up this weekend if I don't get a chance during the week. And for the ColoBloggers, I'll see most of you on Saturday. This meet up is coming at a great time-I could use some advice and company.

Back to the World of the Living

Just a quick note to let everyone know I'm doing okay. I did go back to work yesterday and it helped to keep my mind off of things for a bit. I'll write more this evening with an update on my conversation with the doctor on Monday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's Over

I woke up this morning to a tiny streak of red on the toilet paper and immediately felt an impending sense of doom that I couldn't shake. I rolled over for the PIO shot thinking this could be the last one for awhile. But that one streak was it, the rest of the morning was uneventful 'down there' so of course a little hope remained. We got to the clinic around 8:30, got blood drawn pretty quickly and then sat down with one of the nurses. I showed her the results of the patches where they were removed from my lower back yesterday: angry, puffy, splotchy, red skin under where each patch had been. She agreed that was not normal and suggested rubbing My.lanta or something similar on my skin prior to applying the next patches (tomorrow).

We left the clinic to grab some breakfast at a cafe and the nurse called me to let me know she had spoken with the doc on call about the patches. If I was pregnant today, they would switch me to another brand to see if it would help. We then wandered around a local furniture store to kill some time while waiting for the mall to open. And so ends the better half of my day.

We got the call earlier than expected and happened to be walking out of the mall. I've never been punched in the gut, but I imagine this is what it feels like. A mall parking lot is not the best place to get this kind of bad news-lots of people with kids, strollers, babies walking in and out of the mall. Salt in the wound.

I feel so fragile right now, like I could at any moment break into a thousand tiny pieces.

The only other time I can remember feeling this way is when my first dog, Pippen passed away. She the first pet that was all my own, she was my best friend, there through the good and the bad, through different boyfriends and apartments, always there wanting nothing but to curl up next to me on the couch. She had pancreatic cancer and the vet came to our house to put her down. I held her in my arms while the vet injected the lethal dose of poison. I felt her go limp, I felt her heart stop beating, and I sat there quietly with tears streaming down my face. The vet was crying, B was crying. The minute the vet left with her body, B and I held each other and sobbed together. And the house felt empty.

But there are differences between this grief and what I felt when Pippen died. At least I could take comfort in the fact that she was no longer suffering. I pictured her in a doggy heaven of uber-green grass chasing after squirrels. Lying in the sunshine for hours on end. There was no rain or snow, no cold weather in this doggy heaven. I knew she was happier and we had done the right thing. My embryos didn't have a chance to grow into anything that could even be seen by the naked eye. Where did they go? Did they just disintegrate into my body and absorb into the tissue, or leak out with the goop of the suppositories? Regardless of how small and insignificant those embryos may have been, the pain and grief is just as real. Just as deep and raw.

The other difference this time is that this feels like my loss-not our loss. Instead of holding each other and sobbing, B was the one holding me while I sobbed. No tears on his end, just trying to pick up the pieces. I think it's difficult for a guy to get attached to embryos like us women do. We try to nurture our bodies and are constantly aware that they are inside of us and hopefully latching on and growing. We endure all of the poking and prodding, the endless violations of privacy, the ugliness of the side effects, the constant reminders of what we don't have and are working so hard to achieve. Every bit of our mind, body and soul is invested in this process. And that is part of what makes this so hard. I know B feels bad, but I can't help but feel like I'm going through this alone. This is my problem, my defective body, my guilt, and my broken heart.

None of this makes sense. The fact that we can't get pregnant on our own. The fact that the IUI's didn't work. The OHSS, the crappy lining for FET #1, and now this. I wonder if maybe we don't have enough faith in G-d. Maybe this is payback for the crap I did as a teenager, the crap I did in college and my early twenties. For not being nice enough to other people. For not volunteering and contributing to a cause. Maybe I'm not fit to be a mother. Maybe I should have forced B to start trying earlier even though he wasn't ready to be a dad. Maybe those embryos never stood a shot with my anorexic lining and I should have let the doctor postpone the transfer. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I know in my head that none of this is true. This isn't my fault. I did everything I could. It's just the shit luck of the draw. My heart feels differently. I know I will eventually pick myself up and start all over. And the shit part of this process is that no matter what we've been through up to this point, we are starting over, from square one. There's not really such a thing as a lesson learned with IVF. Your body can react differently to the drugs every time you take them. There's no way to go back and pinpoint what we could have done better, what would have made the difference. And to top things off, there's no such thing as a second opinion when you're supposedly already seeing the best.

When we got home I removed the 4 patches from my belly one by one. I thought how appropriate the number 4 was. As I removed the patches one at a time, I thought of each of our lost embryos. The one that didn't survive the thaw, the one that didn't survive back to freeze, and the two that didn't survive my body. My fucked up, traitor of a body.

I will survive this. I just don't know how I'm supposed to go to work tomorrow and pretend everything is fine. That nothing happened. That my world hasn't just been shattered to pieces.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

1 Day to Beta-Plan B

I am trying to prepare myself for a negative. I know some people would say I should be thinking nothing but positive thoughts, what you receive is the energy you put out into the universe, blah, blah, blah. I just want to have plan B (well, we're really on around plan Q by now) in place in case. Something to focus on if this cycle ends up like every other cycle so far-in the trash. And I am thinking about this now so that I won't have to tomorrow. Tomorrow will be for grieving if that's what the universe has in store.

So here's my plan. For the next FET, I'm thinking of asking Dr. S if it makes sense to try a natural cycle. No Lu.pron suppression, which would mean the actual transfer date would depend on when I naturally ovulate. This protocol has some risk to it because if you miss ovulation (about 10% chance according to Dr. S) the transfer is cancelled because they don't know when you started producing progesterone on your own and, therefore, don't know when to do the transfer. It also makes it more difficult to schedule the transfer date (and give work notice to take a couple of days off for bed rest).

This would also mean going back to using ovulation predictor kits ("OPK") and dusting off my Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor ("CBEFM"). This would feel a bit like taking steps backward because these are the tools we used for timed intercourse before getting into ART. But, it would mean no Lu.pron which is definitely a positive.

My reasoning for wanting to try a natural cycle is to see what my lining does naturally on its own. If this FET fails, I will blame it completely on my lining. My retarded, anorexic, uncooperative lining (of course, I reserve the right to take back all of this name calling should this FET turn out successful). Back in the day before we saw an RE and I was going through testing with my OB, I had a great lining, cycle after cycle, until we introduced Clo.mid into the mix. It just seems that my lining doesn't like artificial hormones and medications. I must have a hippie lining-all natural, all organic, all the time.

Dr. S doesn't actually believe my lining can get thicker than an 8 on its own because this is the thickest measurement in my chart. I tried to tell him during FET #1 (which was cancelled) that I had documentation of thicker linings in cycles past where I was unmedicated. He scoffed at this idea because those measurements were done by my OB's office. He doesn't trust any measurements or tests performed by anyone other than his own U/S or lab technicians. While this is incredibly arrogant and self-important of him, it is also a trait that I think is good to have in an RE. I want my RE to have full confidence in his staff and to believe their training is the best. But with my experience a couple of weeks ago, I'm not so convinced the measurements by his U/S technicians are all that accurate either.

Anyway, I would be curious to see what actually happens with my lining when left to its own devices. The thing is, there are different protocols that go along with natural FET's that span all ends of the spectrum. From absolutely no hormones or medications, to everything except the Lu.pron (still doing the estrogen patches, PIO, baby aspiring, etc.). So again, there would be more decisions to make that likely requires yet another regroup appointment with Dr. S. I hate those regroup appointments. The inevitable "no, we don't know what happened." They never know.

So now you know what's going through my head today. Of course I'm still hoping that none of the above will come into play (at least not for another year or so) and I can move forward blissfully ignorant of natural FET cycles because my fully medicated FET cycle did the trick.

Friday, February 8, 2008

2 Days to Beta-Nada (Updated)

Not much to say from here lately. The long wait continues. My right posterior hurts worse from the PIO shot this morning than usual. Not sure why. It was difficult to sit in my office chair all day today and walking was difficult too. These damn shots better be worth it.

I think it's weird that almost 50 people have voted in my poll and the yes's are now winning. I doubt 50 people even read this blog, so I have a sneaking suspicion some of you are voting over and over again. No fair. Regardless, I have no plans to POAS. I figure if I can avoid the grocery store and drug store until Sunday I can avoid temptation, or at least delay defeat.


Since Rhonda asked. The peace lily is doing fine. The one flower did splendid for awhile and I snipped it off at its peak so that it wouldn't shrivel away to nothing. The plant is now back to normal, but holds a quiet new magic for me. I will now always think that there may be another glorious flower just waiting to pop up out of nowhere after a couple of years when I least expect it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

4 Days to Beta-Life at a Snail's Pace

Time is absolutely crawling. Longest week. Ever.

For some reason, I felt much more busy and productive at home on bed rest than I do at work this week. While on bed rest one hour just melted into the next and there was no schedule other than morning shots and evening suppositories. At work, everything is scheduled. The clock rules everything and it just ticks by every so slowly.

It's not that things aren't busy at work. They are. In fact I should probably be working longer hours than I am and I should probably have more of a sense of urgency around certain projects right now. But I don't. I just don't care right now.

I feel like life is moving in slow motion and that it just stops at Sunday. Sunday is either a dead end or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There is nothing beyond Sunday. I can't think past Sunday. Work moves on without me. Meetings for next week get added to my calendar, deadlines approach, people discuss next week, next month, this summer, etc. But none of it exists for me right now.

This is not the best way to live your professional life. I don't think my work product is suffering for it, but I certainly am not getting through things as fast as I normally would. While it obviously bothers me enough to write about it here, it isn't bothering me nearly as much as I would have expected. I guess there's only room in my head for one obsession and nothing else.

In case you are all wondering, I have pretty much decided not to POAS. At all. I'm just to scared to do it. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind. And I reserve the right to test at home and (shhh) not tell anyone (including all of you in blogland). Heh.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

5 Days to Beta-Update

Where to start. Around 6:30pm last night, I realized the nurse hadn't returned my voicemail so I called the on-call nurse to at least ask about the Viv.elle patches. I've always had problems getting the patches off and they always leave some redness and residual adhesive behind. But lately the redness has been getting worse and started to itch. Bad. The on-call nurse told me to try topical Ben.adryl or some hydrocortisone cream and I told her I has some other questions if one of the nurses could call me back during normal business hours. She said she would send an email to my assigned nurse to call me.

I got antsy this morning and ended up sending my assigned nurse an email (I just recently got her email address when she sent me the list of acupuncturists) with all of my questions. Although she didn't reply until 4pm, she answered all of my questions and it was a much more effective way of communicating. I didn't have to worry about my cell phone ringing during a meeting or missing a phone call. Here were my questions and her answers:

1. Viv.elle patches. Is there anyway to avoid the itchy red weltiness or is there anything else I can do to make it go away faster?

This is a common complaint with these patches and as long as the red welts don't start spreading outside the outline of where the patch was, that it isn't anything to worry about and can't be avoided. Continue using the Ben.adryl or hydrocortisone cream.

2. PIO. Any tips you can give me to make these a little less painful (not the shot itself, but the soreness afterward)?

Nope. Again, a very common complaint, but not much you can do about it. (I guess I'm just being a baby on this one)

3. Does Dr. S ever recommend using progesterone in ethyl oleate (which I hear is thinner than the PIO in sesame oil and therefore easier and less painful to administer)?

I've never seen any patients use this.

4. Did our lone embryo make it back to freeze?

It made it to blast, but was poor quality that they did not think would survive a thaw so it was discarded.

5. Why doesn't the clinic do another progesterone level check in between transfer and beta like some clinics do?

We don't do it because we check the level on the day of transfer and adjust at that point if necessary. We then check with the first preg. test and adjust again if pregnant and if the level needs to be adjusted. If you want to, we can do an extra check for you this week.

Not exactly the answers I wanted to any of the questions. But at least they are answers. The Ben.adryl is helping the itch a bit. I'm debating whether or not I want them to do another progesterone check this week. It might make me feel better, but it is just another blood draw that they don't really feel is necessary (which means it isn't part of the shared risk program and I would pay out of pocket). Plus, getting to their offices during the middle of the week before going in to work is always a pain. It is hard enough to get my PIO shot in every morning and I've been getting to work later and later.

Not that I've been that productive at work this week. My mind has obviously been elsewhere and I've been a little flaky. When I got home from work today I went upstairs to change into happy pants and a sweatshirt. As I was walking back downstairs, I looked down and realized I was holding a bra in my hands. No need to bring it downstairs. Really. The hamper is upstairs, my dresser is upstairs...I must be a danger on the road these days.

I think it is sad that our lone embryo didn't make it back into the freezer, but I know we still have 14 others waiting for us to thaw. Definitely could be worse. I still cringed when I read the word "discarded."

Monday, February 4, 2008

6 Days to Beta-Torn

If you haven't noticed, the POAS poll is neck and neck (and at the moment is tied) between the yes's and no's. Funny thing is, it reflects exactly how I feel. I desperately want to POAS and see those two lines, no matter how faint the second line might be. Even if it is too early or if it really is negative, I still want to POAS just so I would KNOW (even though I know it wouldn't necessarily be accurate).

And I equally desperately want to wait until beta on Sunday. I don't want to see the stark whiteness of the strip (for the thousandth time). I don't want to lose any hope. I want to hang onto this feeling of "maybe I'm pregnant!" forever because this is the closest we've ever come (as far as I know). I'm hating the PIO shots and what gets me through them is believing it isn't all for nothing. If I were to POAS and see a negative, it could crush that belief.

So you see, I am torn. For those of you who voted, please comment and let me know your vote and why you chose to vote that way. I need to see all viewpoints of this. Even if it is just gives me something to think about for the next 6 days!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

7 Days To Beta-The Lone Embryo

We have not yet received a call from the lab to let us know whether the 3rd embryo made it back to freeze. I'm expecting a call today and I will call them if I haven't heard from them by tomorrow. I know we have 14 others still on ice, so I won't be devastated if this one embryo doesn't make it to freeze. However, I feel like it might give me some clue as to what is (or isn't) happening inside my uterus right now.

Here's my thinking. If this lone embryo developed into a blast and was growing enough to make it to freeze, that means the two they transferred should be doing the same inside me. Assuming my lining was sufficient (eh, not sure about that one), they should be burrowing in nicely by now. I know that each embryo is different, but these were from the same fresh cycle, went through the same freeze process at the same time, and went through the same thaw process at the same time as the lone embryo. Might be flawed logic on my part, but that's what I'm thinking.

If however, the embryo didn't make it to blast, I will stick with the theory that they transferred the best 2 out of the 3 and that what happened with the lone embryo has no bearing on what the other 2 are doing inside me. See, nothing but positivity oozing out of my pores today. Or maybe that's the oil from the PIO shots.

I initially thought it was a good sign that the lab hasn't called yet because if the lone embryo had already arrested (stopped growing), they would have called to let me know it didn't make it to freeze. However, I think it is more likely that they would wait to even check on it until the day they would refreeze it (today?). So if it had arrested, they wouldn't even know until they went to freeze it.

This is driving me crazy.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Because of Mel's comment on my last post, I found myself running to the pantry to double check the ingredients of a Peanut Butter Cookie bar. (I tried to just link this to my previous post, but can't get the "insert link" function to work at the moment).

Here they are:

Lun.aPro (which is trademarked and consists of: Soy rice crisp [Soy protein isolate, organic rice flour], organic toasted oats, organic roasted soybeans, organic soy flour, organic flaxmeal), organic brown rice syrup, organic coating (organic evaporated cane juice, organic palm kernel oil, organic soy flour, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla), organic peanut butter, inulin (chicory extract), vegetable glycerin, natural flavors, organic roasted peanuts, peanut flour, sea salt.

Nothing even remotely resembling chocolate. I had no idea these things were so filled with organic ingredients. After reading this list, I can't believe I like these things!

8 Days To Beta-The Luna Bar Conversation

This last week was a bit of a blur. The progesterone has made me quite tired, so I've been prone to napping off and on. On Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday, B was downstairs with the dogs and I was upstairs in bed. Our main communication was by cell phone. My mom was upstairs with me for most of the time and would go home in the evenings. B even slept downstairs with the dogs to give me space to rest. At one point during this two day period, I asked B to get me some peanut butter cookie luna bars because they are the only ones I like that don't have chocolate. My mom advised we should make sure we check the ingredients to be sure.

On Wednesday after my mom went home, B and I were on the phone and he mentioned that he got the luna bars. He said that my mom was downstairs with him when he got back from the store and asked him if he had checked the ingredients. He said, yes he had, and there was no chocolate. For some reason, my mom wanted to check for herself and asked if she could see the box. B obviously thought this was strange, but obliged anyway and let her look at the ingredients to put her mind at ease. As B was telling me this story, we were laughing at how much of a "mom" my mom can be.

On Thursday morning, I headed over to my parents house because our cleaning service was coming to our house that day (after a month of no visits due to the dogs kennel cough incident). I settled myself onto their couch and opened up a luna bar to eat for breakfast with my banana. My mom walked by and innocently said "did you check the ingredients?" I looked at her incredulously and said "are you seriously asking me that question?!" She was confused by my reaction and so I asked her about the conversation she had with B the night before about checking the ingredients ("didn't you and B just talk about this last night and after he checked the ingredients and told you it was fine, you STILL felt the need to check for yourself?"). She looked at me like I was crazy and said she had absolutely no recollection of that conversation. I couldn't believe my ears. I explained to her that B wouldn't LIE about something like this, so the conversation MUST have occurred and why didn't she remember it? My dad witnessed this strange interaction and I think all three of us thought my mom was losing her mind.

Thursday night when B got home from work I started to tell him the story "my mom doesn't remember the luna bar conversation you had with her and you wouldn't believe that she asked me about the ingredients of the luna bars AGAIN!" He looked at me like I was nuts.

Let me back up for a minute here. Back when I first met B, I sometimes had trouble telling when he was joking about something. He could pretty much convince me that the sky was green and the grass was blue without cracking a smile. I would fall for it, like the gullible person I can sometimes be. As I got to know him better and was able to see through this a bit, he had more trouble keeping a straight face when trying to convince me of something.

After looking at me like I was nuts, he started to laugh a bit and I thought "he's joking! I'm not going crazy. The conversation did happen, my mom doesn't remember it, but B does and he's trying to make me feel crazy! He's messing with my head!" I spent the next 10 minutes trying to get him to fess up before he finally convinced me that the conversation between him and my mom about the luna bar ingredients NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED. It was all in my head. It must have been a dream.

You know how sometimes you remember some incident or conversation that seems real, but you think maybe it was a dream? Well this time, I had absolutely NO CLUE that I had dreamed this conversation with B (about his alleged conversation with my mom). I was convinced it had happened. It wasn't even a question.

This one really threw me for a loop.

Friday, February 1, 2008

9 Days To Beta

Three days into the 2ww (which is actually 12 days for us instead of 14) and all I can focus on is shifting from side to side to ease off my tender tush every once in awhile. For some reason, each PIO shot has gotten progressively worse. We've been warming the oil, warming the syringe while the oil is in it, heating my tush before and after and the tissue still seems to be hardening more each day. I'm not getting actual lumps, which makes me think the oil is dissipating, but for some reason I can feel the oil being injected more acutely each day. I try really hard not to make any noises while B is injecting because I don't want to make him feel bad, but sometimes it is hard. This morning he pulled the needle out slightly crooked and I let out a not so quiet little "ooof!" He said "sorry, we got a bleeder." Yeah, I felt that one coming.

Someone tell me that this gets easier over time and to stop being a baby. Or something.

I saw with my mom yesterday. She tried to talk me out of it given the topic, but since I was prepared for the pregnancy-related theme, I was fine with it. I didn't want to miss out on the one movie lately that looked really good. And it was really good. Funny, quirky, touching with really good casting. It may have been a different experience for me if our cycle had been cancelled, if I had just gotten a BFN or if I was just in a different place. But I'm in a place of hope right now and so I could empathize with the character on the screen without connecting it to my situation at all. I'm such a grown up.

Since we were at the theater at 2pm on a Thursday, the other patrons were mostly old ladies. Sorry, senior citizens. As we were leaving the theater the common theme I heard from these women was "boy, things sure are different these days," and "I guess anything is acceptable nowadays," and "that wasn't acceptable in our day." I don't necessarily think the situation portrayed in the movie is commonplace (the parents' reaction to their teen's pregnancy and how they quickly accept the situation, the "easy" adoption, etc.). However, I think it's great we are living in a time where the topic in general is acceptable to portray in a movie in a humorous, but touching manner. I would be very curious to hear/read the reaction of our fellow adoption bloggers.