Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good Stuff

On the eve of the big news, I'm trying to think of things to look forward to--regardless of the result:

1. No more shots! (after tomorrow AM)
2. Road trip with MM this weekend
3. I can make Christmas plans (my EDD will be the first week in Jan)
4. I know I can survive an IVF cycle
5. I have a husband who loves me
6. I have friends and family who support me

I can't believe we'll have our answer in less than 24 hours. Depending on how things go I may not get to post before we leave for our trip, but I have a good feeling. I really think it worked.

Monday, April 28, 2008


We're in the final hours of the wait. This is the worst part. Uncertainty. I had my first quant Hcg today, but won't know anything until after the second one on on Wednesday.

I've been feeling quiet and private lately (hence the lack of posts). I hope to have great news to report soon. Until then, the wait continues and I do what I can to distract myself and hold on to hope.

Addendum: I know I'm just asking for twins with that big 2, but the first countdown graphic I posted (that actually counted down) just ended up staying at 0--which is much more depressing, so I went with 2. Besides, we do have just 2 more days to wait.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pregnant until proven otherwise

The 3 days post-transfer have flown by. I'm feeling great, body and spirit. MM and the rest of my support system here have done a great job taking care of me. The shots are starting to wear on me a bit, but I'll do them for nine months if it means we get to be parents.

I'm posting a picture of the embryos or "the twins" as my brother refers to them. I hope at least one has found my womb to be an inviting space to stay for the next nine months or so. I've been thinking about them a lot, floating around in there, hopefully stuck by now. It's crazy that this is how we all started out, just a few cells.

I've decided the best way for me to get through the next two weeks is to assume I am pregnant until a quant Hcg tells me otherwise. Three days down, eleven to go.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Embryos are in!

We did it! Transfer day was great (as far as I can tell). We got to the office just as my acupuncturist was arriving. MM was more nervous last night and this morning than I was. I've actually been remarkably calm all week. I really feel like this is going to work. This is huge coming from me, consistently the more pessimistic one throughout the whole process. Anyway, Laurel gave me a treatment before we met with the Doc to go over the embryologist report. The fertilization rate was a little low (7/12). She thought some of the eggs were probably a little immature. Here's what happened to the 7 that fertilized:

One Grade I that had started compacting (still not sure what that means, but it's a good thing)
One 8 celled Grade II
One 6 celled Grade II
Two 5 celled Grade II
One 4 celled Grade II
One 4 celled grade III

She gave us pictures of the top two performers (the Grade I and the 8 celled Grade II) which she then proceeded to transfer into my uterus. Then Laurel returned for a post-transfer treatment. Pretty amazing. We're freezing the others in case this doesn't work.

As far as I can tell we couldn't have asked for much better. Now the waiting begins! I'm trying to plan some nice treats for myself over the next two weeks. I really hope this calm, positive attitude holds out a little longer. It's nice not to be so anxious. I'll try to post a pic of the little embryos that are not inside of me later. I can't believe we really did it. Big stuff.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One or Two

Apparently my doctor doesn't believe in fertilization reports. It just produces "anxiety" and/or "false hope" since it's common for embryos to arrest between days two and three. So I'm left to wait until Thursday with no other info about my little embryos.

All I can think about is how many we'll transfer. One or two. I know my doctor will give me a recommendation, but she's understandably biased since her reputation depends on her success rates and twins would be a much bigger deal for me than they would be to her. I know we'll have to make the decision in a short and emotionally charged time, so I'm trying to get all the info I can. I really want this to work, but I also want a normal singleton pregnancy. I know we would make adjustments and handle it if we had twins, but the risks of carrying them and the increased cost (not to mention extra work) really scares me.

I'm a little more open to the idea of transferring two after my blind date of sorts. A friend of a friend is pregnant with twins from her third IVF. It was nice to talk to someone in person who has been through this. I had never met her or even seen a picture. Luckily she was the only pregnant woman in the cafe. We had a great chat. She said after the pain and expense of 3 IVFs she's glad she's completing her family all at once. I'm still not convinced, but we could end up with twins even if we transfer one. Maybe I need to stop worrying about it so much.

Otherwise, her main pieces of advice were to pamper myself during the 2ww, not to spend too much time alone, and to plan a getaway the weekend after we find out. Whether we're ecstatic or devastated it will be nice to have something to look forward to.

I'm requesting any and all advice r/t the one or two question, so feel free to leave a comment.

I can't believe the transfer is tomorrow!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Retrieval Report

First of all, I hate being NPO. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight last night until after my 12:30 PM egg retrieval today (which really meant 2PM). I kept thinking about food, almost reaching for it before I would catch myself. Last night I dreamed that I forgot about the rule and had a huge breakfast so they had to cancel the whole thing. The anesthesiologist was nice and at least let me have clear liquids until 6:30 this morning. I actually set my alarm so I could wake up and drink water. Strange but true.

MM went into work this morning, then came home in time to pick me up for the big day. Everyone at the office was great. The anesthesiologist was very chatty and matronly, probably in her early 60's. I was asking my doctor some questions about where they were going to put the eggs when I started feeling the effects of the propofol. It's such a strange feeling when you're going under. No matter how much you want to hear the answer, or make a smart remark, you're on your way out and there's nothing you can do about it. The next thing I knew I was asking, "Am I supposed to be awake?" and crying. That's what I do post-anesthesia--I cry. It has nothing to do with pain or the emotional nature of the procedure. It's happened before with much less sentimental procedures. I just cry. Luckily I was aware enough to realize what was going on and laugh at myself through the tears. When I was finally coherent enough to speak I asked about the egg count. They retrieved 12! A whole dozen! I was very excited and relieved. The semen specimen looked great as well, so the embryologist said there was no need for ICSI. BTW, the picture at right is a diagram of how the egg retrieval is done. In case you needed a visual.

MM came in to sit with me in my "recovery" while the cute old anesthesiologist went on and on about her sister who went into counseling after she retired from her first career and her son who has some psych issues and her daughter who trains horses. Funny lady. I was a little crampy right at first, but have felt fine ever since. I'm glad that part is over and will anxiously await the embryology report. We're scheduled for the embryo transfer on Thursday. It's so weird to think that right now we could have little 2 celled embryos in a lab. Crazy. I really hope this works.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trigger Happy

That's right, it's almost trigger time! Everything looked great on ultrasound today. I still had 12 follicles that look ready to go, so we're scheduled for retrieval at 12:30PM on Monday. Since the trigger injection has to be given exactly 36 hours before retrieval, I get to wake MM up at 12:30 AM to give me the shot.

He's been so great about everything--even the weight gain. I've intentionally gained 5-6 lbs in the past 3 weeks (still trying to boost my BMI a bit). It doesn't sound like much, but I think it all went to my rear. I went to a memorial service for a friend's mom today and had to try on 4 outfits before I found something that fit--and even that was questionable. I keep trying to avoid buying new clothes in the hopes that I'll be getting into maternity clothes, but if that doesn't happen pretty soon I'm going to have to break down and at least buy some new pants.

I'm getting really excited about everything. I can't believe the retrieval is 36 hours away! Thanks again for all the support. It really does help to know there are so many friends and fellow travelers of the infertility path thinking about us.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Huevos Jueves

Nena lovingly termed today "Huevos Jueves". We made a spinach and chicken chorizo scramble for dinner last night with 12 eggs for good luck. I was a little nervous because I haven't felt anything going on down there. I know some women feel a little abdominal pain or bloating, but I haven't felt a thing.

I have a friend at work who started an IVF cycle, but was a "poor responder" and didn't make it to retrieval. So this felt like a big first test. I was so nervous I couldn't sit still in the waiting room. I kept getting up to get a drink, to look at the books & magazines, anything not to sit still. They came and took my blood for the estradiol level, then escorted me to the room with the ultrasound machine that would tell us if all these hormones and shots were doing any good.

She looked at the lining first--8mm, then the right ovary--6 follicles 11-15 mm each, then the left--8 follicles 11-15 mm. Considering my low antral follicle count and elevated FSH, this is a pretty good response.

I was relieved, but not as excited as I thought I would be. I am painfully aware that this is just the first in a series of small steps that may or may not end in a healthy pregnancy and birth. It is nice to get some good news though. So we'll celebrate the small successes along the way too. The next step is an ultrasound and blood test on Saturday.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I realize this may seem premature to some. Honestly though, what woman hasn't thought about labor and delivery? Fertile or not.

If you haven't heard of it, The Business of Being Born is a documentary about birth in the US. I highly recommend it. I watched it with a girlfriend who delivered last August. She had a pretty standard hospital birth, (Pitocin, Epidural, etc.) even though that's not really what she wanted. The film really resonated with her.

I know I'm going all high intervention to conceive, but I still want a natural, low intervention birth. All interventions have their place, and I'm open to using the technology we have if and when it really does help, I just don't want to use it blindly or when it's not really needed.

Anyway, check out the movie, let me know what you think. It's available for "instant viewing" on Netflix.

In other news, my estradiol was 85 today. I'm not sure what that really means, but my doctor didn't change my meds, so I guess that's within the expected range. The next blood test/ultrasound is Thursday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Let the Stim Begin

Ovaries looked good on ultrasound today. No cysts or anything weird, so tonight we start pumping up my follicles with FSH.

MM was hesitant about the injections at first. The image of having to stick me with a needle to get me pregnant just didn't sit well with him, but he's pretty much over it now.

So far I haven't experienced any side effects from the Lupron. I'm actually feeling more emotionally stable than I have in months, something the whole house is happy about.

I've also noticed my internal monologue around casual encounters with mom's and babies has changed recently. When I see them out for a walk I think, "That's going to be me soon," instead of, "Why can't that be me." I think it's a healthy change. I just hope all this optimism and hope doesn't come crashing down on me if this IVF cycle doesn't work.