Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The plan is set...

We had our consultation with Dr. Peters at SIRM today and it went really well. I loved him, and Garry said what he says about all Doctors "He's a quack, they just tell you what you want to hear." Thanks hun, that helps a ton. But he agreed that Dr. P had the plan that we felt most comfortable and excited about, so we are going to make the three hour journey (one way) to their office to do our last IVF. I thought it was kinda funny how Dr. P explained things to Garry. He used lots of car analogies and even drew pictures on a dry erase board. Hilarious. Garry was half asleep most the time any way since our appointment time was when he is normally waking up.

But none of that is probably what you are all interested in. You want the details, the new plan. Here are the highlights:

- Dr. P does suspect that I have a Diminished Ovarian Reserve, but he doesn't want to officially label me DOR until we run some more tests.

- I got a script for Day 3 testing, I haven't gotten FSH tested in about two years. At least not that I know of, it is possible Dr. F tested it when ever I came in for my baseline appointments and just never told me the results, or put them in the severely anemic copy of my file. AF should be showing anytime this week so I will get that taken care of ASAP.

- We have an appointment in a month to go to the main office for all of the immune testing, something like 29 tests in total. We will also do the mock transfer, SA, and all the businessy stuff that day in the office. I am very curious to see what all this testing brings back. Dr. F ran 4 tests that were kinda immune related, but nothing coming even close to what Dr. P is planning to do.

- Depending on how the blood work all comes back we will likely do either Lovenox, Intralipids or both with the next cycle. This is going to sound weird, but I hope something comes back wacky so we can do at least the Intralipids. I want to be doing something radically different for the first two failed IVFs.

- He wants to up my stim doses to their max level which was 725 (or 750, I forget which one) at SIRM. Last time I was on a total of 525 Gonal F and 75 Menopur. He might mess with the ratio of Gonal F and Menopur a little also.

- He wants to stim me for 9-10 days as opposed to the 7-8 days I have done on the first two cycles. He hopes this will help me get more mature eggs, even if it means sacrificing a couple because they get over baked.

- We will do ICSI.

- We will do CGH (a genetic test that will tell us if the embryos are able to turn into a successful pregnancy) on all the embryos we produce, and do a 5dt of the normal blasts we get (he said he was ok with transferring two, but hesitant about 3 (if I even get that many)).

I also forgot to ask him a bunch of questions, so I am going to see if I can find an email address that I can send the rest of the questions to. Most importantly for me was about DHEA, I want to know whether or not he recommends it, I have been taking it twice a day for the past three months.

Right now we are hoping we will be able to cycle in December or January. I decided I want to start the New Year knowing what 2012 will bring us. Either we will spend the year planning for a baby being born, or spending it getting ready to start the adoption process. I can honestly say I am excited about both journeys. I would be overjoyed to be pregnant, but I will also be super excited about starting the official adoption process. Either path will lead us to the family we are meant to have.

I was also excited to hear that Dr. P is not as strict with the weight restrictions. Their weight limit for IVF is 350, which I am now well below. But that doesn't mean I am going to slack off on trying to lose more weight. I still want to lose as much is safe before the final attempt. I know being a more healthy weight can only help, so why not do everything I can to give this cycle the best chance possible.

So here we go again. This week we are officially trying again. Oy Vey.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Progress, and yet not...

The last two months since my last post have been both totally uneventful and insanely busy. First things first: we still don't really know what our next step is. We met with one of the REs from Shady Grove. I really liked her, she had some new ideas; mostly putting me on a higher dose of some meds and adding Lovenox (a low dose blood thinner) to my protocol. But since I am allergic to Lupron there is not a whole we can do differently. She would absolutely 100% do ICSI on all our eggs, which I liked since we had the whole drama with the ICSI at our last clinic. She said she wouldn't suggest a Lap for me, which I was disappointed to hear since I feel like it would provide some answers. I would have to repeat all the testing including another HSG. Going with her for the last IVF is a definite possibility, but we are waiting until we meet with the RE from SIRM to make a decision. That appointment is two weeks away, and I am very anxious to get it over with, I am tired of not actively cycling.

In adoption news: Garry has decided he is on board with adoption if the 3rd IVF doesn't work! He did a complete about face on this. Three months ago he was 100% against adoption. Then we started talking about using my sister as a gestational carrier and he realized we would technically have to adopt the baby from her. I think that is partially what did it for him. Even if the baby was 100% genetically ours we would have to adopt it legally. He doesn't really care about being genetically linked, he was just freaked by the legal stuff and explaining it to potential children. We also went to an informational session at an agency and getting answers to all our questions, plus hearing other people had the same concerns, helped ease his mind. I must admit it is a big weight off my shoulders to know that when my body fails us for the 3rd IVF we still have options. We most likely are still 2-3 years away from getting placed with a baby, but the wait will be worth it in the end.

Unfortunately I have not been doing great on the weight front. I have gained about twenty pounds back from the original 70 I lost. I know being 50 down is still a huge accomplishment, but I am once again above a BMI of 40. I know I need to get back on track to increase my odds, but it is hard believing the weight will make a difference now. I lost 20% of my body weight last time and yet our IVFs still failed. When the doctors tell me now that even a 10% drop will help I want to laugh in their faces and then throat punch them. But I have plans to get back on track next week. There is no point in starting now because the annual cupcake competition I enter is this weekend, so I will be eating copious amounts of cupcakes.

On the work front, I got a promotion! I will finally be working a Monday-Friday job with semi-normal hours. Best of all I love the new position and it excites/challenges me everyday. It will be a while before I am on my new schedule because we have to train my replacement, but hopefully by the end of November I will be able to have a little more free time with family and friends.

Lastly, we have a new addition to the family: a new puppy! After the debacle with Penny last year we didn't think we would ever try and get another puppy as long as Wallace was around. But we got a text three weeks ago from a family member and they knew someone with a puppy they could no longer care for, could we take her? We decided to give it a shot and if all else failed we could find her a better home. It turns out her and Wallace get along great (as long as we keep food out of the equation). She is a 5 month old boxer puppy that we named Winnie. She is incredibly sweet and totally fearless. She goes after 120 pound Wallace like he is a toy poodle.

Her is a picture of the new puppy and one of the whole motley crew. Winnie with the ball wm

Three in One wm

Thanks for checking in, I will update again after our consult with SIRM and when we decide what we are going to do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's been a while...

I honestly just haven't had much to talk about recently. We are still on hold as far as our last IVF goes. I had my WTF a few weeks ago with Dr. F, and we will definitely not be going back to cycle with him. He absolutely does not want to do a laparoscopy on me to check for endo. I don't want to attempt the last IVF without doing one (there are conflicting theories on whether or not endometriosis affects the outcome of IVF). Also he would basically not change anything for a 3rd IVf from the 2nd, and I am just not willing to redo a cycle that failed.

So we are going ahead with a consult with Shady Grove. They are quite a hike from us, but we are willing to put the mileage on our cars if it means we get the care we want. I am also going to make an appointment with SIRM in Philly at some point to see if they have anything different to say about our situation.

At this point I am honestly not sure my body will ever be able to get pregnant. I think there is more wrong with my immune system than we know, and I think it is making my body reject the embryos. We had talked about possibly using my sister's eggs before IVF #2, but now I think that is pointless. I believe my body would reject embryos made from her eggs as much as it did mine. We are talking about using my sister as a gestational carrier now. It obviously isn't my first choice on how I wanted to bring our children into the world, but it is better than nothing. And I think Garry will eventually come around to the surrogate option sooner than he would come around to adoption. If we decide to go this route we would do it with the 3rd IVF. That way our egg retrieval would still be covered under insurance and we would just have to pay for her testing and the embryo transfer out of pocket.

But right now Garry is still weirded out by the idea of our children being born to any other woman than myself. In his head who ever gives birth to the baby is the Mom. I tried to tell him that is like saying whoever releases the sperm is the Dad, but we all know that isn't always how it works. Sometimes I get very frustrated with how narrow minded he is about all things adoption and surrogate related. In the end, I don't care how our family gets made, but he does so we have to go by his time table. Hopefully we will be starting therapy soon to try and work all of this out.

Now if you made it through all of that I have a little reward for you. I started work on my newest (and biggest) tattoo yesterday. It is going to be beautiful, only about a 1/3 of it is done so far, but here is a pic for you all to admire:

New Tattoo 4
It is a cover up of my first tattoo. If you look closely you can see the outline of the old tattoo under the shamrock. She will put a couple more coats of color over it, and eventually you'll never be able to tell there was once a little black heart there. In the new heart we are going to put my family crest, and it will be metallic colors with shading to make it look antique. I can't wait to finish it, but it will take about two more sittings.

That is it for now. Nest up will probably be the report for our consult with Shady Grove. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Adoption Info Session...

I was so excited to go to this information session with a local adoption agency, and honestly I was a little disappointed. It is an adoption agency that specializes in foster-to-adopt. This is the kind of adoption we are leaning towards, mostly because we don't have thousands upon thousands of dollars sitting around to use for domestic infant adoption. I am OK with the knowledge that we may never parent a newborn baby. It is something I am sad about, but not something I dwell on too much. I just want to be a Mom and how I get there or what age our child comes to us at is not all that important to me.

I knew going into this meeting that the parameters we have set up in our minds were going to make for a pretty long wait, and I was right. We would be looking to foster children between infant and 5 years old. We have several reasons for that age range, the biggest being that we are not sure we could handle adjusting a child to a new family and a new school at the same time. We would want at least a year to bond with the child before we had to deal with the whole school thing. We would also be open to sibling groups of 2 children under the age of 5. We are open to children with mild autism, ADD/ADHD, and some drug dependencies from the birth mother. Now, the one that will make our wait really long can be a controversial topic. Right now we are only open to Caucasian children. Again there are lots of reason for this. The two biggest ones are: 1) there is zero diversity in either of our families. Zero. And on both sides there are some prejudices in our extended family members. It is not something either of us are proud of, but it is reality and we can't change the way our cousins/grandparents think. Neither of us would want to bring a child into a family where it would be possible for them to hear negative comments directed towards them or their race, no matter how small that chance could be. 2) Raising children of a different race involves a whole set of skills we aren't sure we have right now. Maybe some day, but for our first child, when we have no experience with the foster care system, we think the best way to go is the way we are most familiar with.

When we talked about this with the woman we met with she was very negative. It was almost like she was guilting us for knowing what we can and can not handle. I am sorry, but we know we can not handle a teenager right now. Especially a teenager that has been through half the things a typical foster-child has been through. Honestly sometimes the idea of a 5 year old that has been taken away from it's family scares the crap out of me. I understand that foster care professionals are probably pretty jaded towards people like us. We come in wanting to adopt a young, white, basically healthy child when they have so many children looking for homes that are the exact opposite. It must be incredibly frustrating.

But the way this woman talked to us was upsetting. She kept referring to domestic infant adoption as "buying a baby." As in "if you want a baby you will have to go buy one." I haven't even really started the adoption journey and I know that is horrible language to use. Also she kept cussing. She wasn't dropping f-bombs or anything, but she did toss around a couple other choice words like it was nothing. Don't get me wrong, I can cuss like a sailor too, but there is a time and place for language like that. And a first meeting with a potential client is not one of them.

With all that said, I am not discouraged, and I actually think Garry walked away from the meeting feeling a little bit better about the adoption option. He still isn't there yet, but he is considering it more now. I told him that the ball is in his court, by the start of our next cycle I want him to be able to definitively say "yes I am OK with adoption" or "no, I am not OK with it, if this doesn't work we will live child free." I can't go into our last IVF not knowing where we go after that. I will drive myself crazy.

Next up is our cycle wrap up meeting with Dr. F on Monday the 11th. We will most likely not be cycling with him again, but there are still lots of things I want to discuss with him, and I do still value his opinion, even if I no longer think he can help us.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not this time...

Tomorrow morning I will make the 45 minute trek out to my RE's office for a 5 minute appointment to get my blood drawn for a completely pointless test. I am not pregnant. I know this. 3 First Response Tests have confirmed this. But I can't officially close the books on IVF #2 until that little vial of blood gets filled and analyzed.

This hurts. A lot. More than I thought it would. I tried to talk myself into not being optimistic this cycle. I knew the odds were just as good for failure as they were for success. But still my hopes were raised, and once again I have to deal with the crash.

One of the down sides of having everyone in my life know about our struggles is that I have to tell everyone when another cycle doesn't work. Having to make the same email, text, phone call over and over just drives it home even more. And I have to listen as they tell me it will be OK, maybe it is too early, the next one will work, etc. I know everyone means well, but they don't know my reality. My reality is that I have one more shot at becoming pregnant, and then we are done. If we use my sister's eggs for our next cycle then I have already lost my chance of having a child that is half me, half Garry. Sure I will still be in the genetic mix, but losing that chance of the perfect mix of myself and the man I love in one perfect little wiggly package is a loss that two years ago I couldn't even imagine.

Honestly, right now, the idea of cycling ever again is enough to bring tears to my eyes. Even with my sister's eggs. I am not sure I can handle having the hope that I can never quite suppress ripped away again. If I had to make the decision right now, I would want to start the adoption process without ever doing a third IVF. I know that adoption provides a set of problems, heartaches, and frustrations all it's own, but at least there wouldn't be the stress to my body. I wouldn't be injecting myself with drugs that give me headaches, acne, mood swings, and bruises dotting my stomach, legs and butt. I would be able to make phone calls, fill out paper work, actively work towards this goal of parenthood while still feeling like myself, not a Zombified version of me. But I can't make that decision on my own. My other half has to be part of it. And I know he wants to do our last IVF. He wants to explore every option to have a child that is at least partially biologically ours before we seriously start the adoption journey. If we start the adoption journey. He still isn't 100% sold on the idea.

But even with the extreme heartbreak I am feeling today, I know there is still work to be done. Getting that work done is what is keeping me going right now. I have to settle up my accounts with my current RE because we will most likely not be cycling with him again, as much as I like the guy. And we will be getting a sizable refund from him. I am making appointments with a larger clinic to get our options for a final IVF cycle. I have gained about 10-15 pounds back over the past 4 months, I need to get back to work on losing that weight, and I want to get under 250 before we cycle again. That is about 40 pounds and six months away.

I also made an appointment with a local adoption agency to get some information. Thankfully Garry is OK with going in for a simple information gathering session. If we go the adoption route our house will need a lot of work done to it before we start a home study, so I will slowly be checking things off that list as well.

Garry and I will also be going to counseling starting in a few weeks. We need to talk through both of our feelings about adoption. I won't lie, I am hoping I can sway him to my way of thinking, that adoption can be just as beautiful as giving birth. I am hoping therapy will help him to see that any child could be our child, not just one genetically linked to us. I also need to talk through my depression over the knowledge that I may never care for a newborn. If we do adoption we will go the foster-to-adopt route because of finances (we don't have $30k+ to spend on domestic infant or international adoption). That means that we will more than likely parent a child starting between the ages of 1 and 5. I am basically OK with this, but I will admit I am sad that I may never get to experience the cuddly newborn stage when they aren't running away from us.

No matter what route we eventually choose, no big decisions will be made for the next4-6 months. I need a break, physically and emotionally. We will re-evaluate in November and see what we want to do then. We probably won't do our 3rd and final IVF till January. In the meantime I will get healthy again, and Garry and I will continue to focus on being happy with only us, just in case we end up living child-free.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Half Way There

Only five more days till I go in for the blood pregnancy test. I have been shockingly calm this whole time. I think it is partly because I have my expectations appropriately tempered. I was so sure I would be pregnant with the first one that I got kinda wacky towards the end. But this time I know there is a good chance this didn't work, and I am handling that pretty well.

I have literally zero symptoms. I'm not even getting many side effects from the Progesterone injections. I am just tired, which I expected. My plan is to test tomorrow morning, just to get it out of my system. I will be 6 days post 5 day transfer, so it will still be a little early to get an accurate result, but I need to do it at least once before we go on mini-vaca so it doesn't haunt me all week. Then I will test the morning of my beta so I can be prepared either way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

The transfer went great yesterday. We put two blasts back. My clinic grades blasts on a scale from A-D; A is the worst quality and D is the best. My RE said 'D' and 'C' graded embryos have the same pregnancy rates. We had one Grade C and one Grade A. He also said it is possible for the grade A to turn into a better quality blast in a few hours, so not to count it out of the equation. I go back for the pregnancy test on July 1st, but I will most likely start testing a few days before then. Here are my little embies which I am refering to as Thing 1 and Thing 2:
Thing 1: Grade C Blast
Blast 1

Thing 2: Grade A Blast
Blast 2

Our other two embryos stopped growing at 4 and 6 cells so we don't have anything to freeze, but we are ok with that since we have the two best at home with me.

In other news: I can't wait until Monday when I get to finally clue Garry in on our mini-vaca to Atlantic City. We so need this time alone together away from worrying about work and cycling and family. I can't wait, and he will be so excited when he finds out where we are going.

Monday, June 20, 2011


As of Sunday evening we have four embryos growing! I am shocked and so excited that we have so many going. It makes me feel a little better about the embryologist's decision, but I still think I should have been included in the decision making process, and I am going to have a talk with the RE tomorrow before the transfer.

So last night we had our original two embryos going strong at 8 cells and very little fragmentation, and two others that fertilized late and were at 5 and 4 cells. I can't wait to go in bright and early tomorrow and see how my little clumps of cells are doing. Hopefully at least two will be at the blastocyst stage for transfer. Then I will be on bed rest for tomorrow and just taking it easy on Wednesday.

Wish me luck, and commence all sticky vibes please!

Friday, June 17, 2011

So so confused...

I hope this makes sense to everyone, because I am so confused right now I am not sure I can even put everything going through my head into writing.

First the good news: I have two embryos that are growing strong. The embryologist checked them twice today and the last time she checked they were both at 2 cells which is great for Day 1. She is also still watching two eggs for signs of fertilization. Apparently they were immature at the retrieval yesterday and they may have matured overnight and fertilized, but I won't know if they turned into embryos until she calls back Sunday night with an update. The transfer will be Tuesday, 5 days post retrieval.

Now the confusing part. I was under the impression we were doing ICSI again this cycle, that is what Dr. F and I talked about at my WTF, and he never mentioned the possibility that we wouldn't do ICSI (for those who have forgotten ICSI is when they take a single sperm and inject it directly into a single egg). Apparently the embryologist did not ICSI my eggs. Not one. She simply placed the eggs in a dish with the sperm sample and let them fertilize naturally. I don't totally understand why she did this.

Here is what she told me (paraphrasing): Last time she ICSIed one egg and it did not fertilize. Two of the immature eggs (which can not be ICSIed) were left to mature and fertilize normally, one of those fertilized abnormally and one normally. The one that fertilized normally was the one we transferred. So since the fert rate was better when she let the eggs fertilize normally on IVF #1, she decided that should be the route we take this time.

The thing I am having trouble with is this: You can't know off of one egg not fertilizing with ICSI that all of my eggs won't fertilize with ICSI. That could have been a bad egg. I could understand if she had ICSIed half and left half to fertilize normally. But she decided to just let all the eggs try to fertilize on their own. Now we have two embryos growing, and two eggs that we don't know if they fertilized or not. I can't help but feel like if she had done ICSI we might have more embryos now. I even asked her if she could have tried doing rescue ICSI on them (ICSIing the eggs that did not fertilize by the next day). She said she considered it, but ended up not doing the rescue ICSI because if she had done it on an egg that had already been fertilized by a sperm, and wasn't showing signs of fertilization yet, then that embryo would have been essentially destroyed (two sperm can't fertilize a single egg and turn into a healthy embryo).

The thing I am having the hardest time with (and the thing that is making me want to cry every time I think about it) is this: we will never know. It is possible if she had ICSIed every egg we would have ten embryos right now. It is possible we would have zero. If she did half and half we might have a couple more, or we could have the same results. We'll just never know, and if this cycle doesn't work I will also think that had she done it differently it would have turned out differently. That thought is going to keep me awake for the next two weeks.

Now I am honestly not sure I can trust my RE's embryologist. At the very least I feel like the possibility of not doing ICSI should have been brought up at some point before the retrieval so we could all make the decision together. Now I feel like this whole process is even more out of my hands than it already was. I feel like they went behind my back. I just want to cry.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quick Update...

I am currently resting up at my Mom and Dad's house, and being very well taken care thank you very much. The retrieval went great, they got 10 eggs! I could not be happier! I never thought we would get that many. When I let my mind wander a little and be optimistic I would think about getting 7 eggs, never ten. I am ecstatic, and truth be known, so so hopeful. I have all the excitement that was missing for this whole cycle rushing back today. This could actually work... Wow saying that is very scary.

So now I just wait (and try not to bite my nails down to the quick) for the call tomorrow from the embryologist telling me how many embryos we have. I am trying to keep my expectations realistic despite today's amazing out come. I will be over joyed with two great quality embryos to transfer. More than that will just be icing on the cake.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Follicle Check #2

I was pleasantly surprised at my second follie check. The u/s tech measured 12 total follicles, some of them will be too small to matter, but i will take it after I thought we would only have 5 after the first u/s. I have 7 on the right ovary all between 12mm and 17mm, and 5 on the left ovary between 10mm and 15mm. I really wish the lady that does the checks would tell me the measurements of each follicle, but she doesn't and when I ask she always makes an excuse. Oh well.

I did my last injection of Gonal F this morning, and just in the nick of time because it was the last does in the pen and I have no more refills left. Altogether this cycle I took 4200 iu Gonal F, wowza! I do my 20,000iu trigger shot tonight at 10pm, and the retrieval will be Thursday morning at 9:30am. I am finally starting to get excited, all of a sudden I have some actual hope. I am trying to temper it will a healthy dose of reality, but for right now I want to feel optimistic and happy that things seem to be going a little better than the last cycle.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baking Therapy

I love baking. This is no secret. But the times I love baking most are when I am feeling lowest. Today was one of those days. I feel like my body has betrayed me, despite doing everything right. Despite doing all the injections religiously, my body still decides not to do what I want it to. And I hate it for betraying me.

But on the days when nothing seems like it will ever be ok, I bake. I find it comforting that I can put butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and chocolate into a bowl and have it come out of the oven twenty minutes later as a perfect pan of brownies. I love that without fail you can always find someone willing to devour those brownies. I love seeing that something I am good at brings the people in my life a little bit of sweetness and happiness. It makes me feel better about my crappy reproductive system. I may never be able to make a baby, but damn it I can make Cookie Dough Brownies, and Cake Batter Blondies.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I hate my ovaries...

I am about half way through stimming for IVF #2. I know I haven't been writing much about the cycle this time around. I think that is because I am just so 'blah' about the whole thing. I have no excitement, and very little hope, which translates to me not having much to say about the whole thing. But I will try and eek out a half decent post here.

I thought that the massive increase in my Gonal F dosage would equal way more follicles this time around. Not so much. I have been on 525 iu Gonal F (300 in the morning, 225 in the evening) and 75 iu Menopur a day for five days now. When I went in for my first follicle check this morning I had 5 measurable follicles growing; 4 on the right and 1 little 10mm follicle on the left. Let's do a little time warp back to the first follicle check from IVF #1:

"My right ovary has 6 follies between 10-13mm and few that were too small to count yet. The left was being a little bitchy and wouldn't come out from behind my bowels. The ultrasound lady said she thinks she saw four on there, but she could only measure two. So I am counting that as 8 definite with 2 maybes."

That's right, despite doubling the dose of Gonal F I have less follicles in contention this time then IVF#1. To say I am disappointed is a gross understatement.

I hate to admit it but on the drive home for the appointment I actually started thinking about what we could do differently for our next (and last) IVF. I am just going through the motions at this point. I am trying very hard to stay some what optimistic and upbeat, but in truth I am just over it. I know logically that there is still time for the smaller follicles to catch up, and that it is possible that all five of those follicles could have fabulous eggs and make 5 rock star embryos, but I'm not counting on it.

The plan for the weekend is the same as the past week. 300iu Gonal F in the morning, 225iu Gonal F and 75iu Menopur in the evening. I will add in Cetrotide tomorrow evening to prevent the eggs from ovulating on their own. I go back on Monday for another ultrasound. My nurse seems to think I will be triggering that night, but I am not so sure. We shall see...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's a little bit funny...

While I was doing my second injection of the day yesterday it occurred to me how funny the position I find myself in right now really is. And not only because at the time I was wedged in a tiny bathroom stall with all my meds lined up on the toilet paper dispenser. It is funny because five years ago I was terrified to even take a pill.

I lived a mostly chemical free life up until I got diagnosed with Crohn's. Not out of a sense of morality or "my body is a temple" or anything like that. Purely out of fear. I have never done recreational drugs because I have always been afraid of getting caught, or doing something dumb while stoned. I can count the number of times I have truly gotten drunk (not just tipsy off a few classes of wine) on one hand, mostly because I hate throwing up and equate drinking too much with puking. I have hated taking pills since I was a kid, my mom would have to mix them in with my applesauce when I was sick. Even as adult I would avoid pills unless it was absolutely necessary. Garry used to laugh at me when we first started living together because it was a ten minute process for me to take a medium sized pill. First I had to stare it down for five minutes, then it would take four minutes for me to swallow it without gagging.

Then I got diagnosed with Crohn's and had to drink a bunch of nasty radioactive drinks for different tests. Now swallowing a pill doesn't seem so bad. When I think about my reluctance to swallow pills all those years ago it makes me laugh now. I can do a subQ injection in two minutes flat from mixing to throwing away the needle. I have a feeling if I needed to do an IM injection I would be able to, but I haven't yet.

I realize it is trivial, but that change seems so incredible to me. In five years I have gone from being scared of all medications, medically necessary or recreational, to taking five pills and two injections a day. And I am happy to do it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Deja Vu

Good ole' Aunt Flow arrived today. Tomorrow I will go in for my baseline bloodwork and ultrasound. IVF #2. I really never thought I would be here. I am in this very weird state of calm right now. I am not excited for this cycle, but I am not dreading it either. Mostly I just feel "Oh, this again, ok."

I am not very hopeful, though I do have my moments of optimism. Yesterday I caught myself daydreaming on the treadmill about what it would be like to see a heartbeat on an ultrasound. And a few days again while Garry and I were in Target i caught myself looking at hooded towels that looked like a penguin. Garry caught me and we mooned over how cute it would be for our eventual babies. But those moments are few and far between.

I am curious about how the new med dosage will effect me though. I will be on 525 iu Gonal F and 75 iu Menopur to start out with. That is a lot of hormones. I am hoping I won't be a giant raging bitch, and maybe if we are lucky I will produce a few more mature eggs this time around. We shall see. Here we go again...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to Make $3 Fondant

It is no secret that I hate store bought fondant. It tastes horrible and is way too expensive. But, nothing compares to fondant to get those smooth, expensive looking cakes and cupcakes. So I was forced to occasionally buy the Wilton fondant from Michael's even though I hate it.

Until I found a recipe for Marshmallow Fondant. It is wonderful, tastes like a marshmallow, insanely easy and cheap to make, easy to work with (once you get the hang of it), and for covering a cake it looks just as good as the manufactured stuff. The only area it lacks sometimes is molding figurines. Marshmallow fondant tends to be softer than store bought fondant, and it doesn't dry as quickly either. But it can still work. For instance I made the pumpkins on the cupcakes in this post with fondant and it worked just fine. Anything much more complicated and you are asking for trouble though.

While I was making my fondant for a little boy's birthday cupcakes I decided to set up my tripod and camera and do a little tutorial on how to make marshmallow fondant. Enjoy!

What you need:
A big bag of mini-marshmallows
1 pound powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp(s) water or flavoring

What you need to do:

First, pour the bag of marshmallows into a microwave proof bowl along with a tablespoon of water or flavoring:
Marshmallows WM

Microwave the marshmallows in short increments for 15-30 seconds, stirring between each interval. Continue until the marshmallows are almost entirely melted, continue stirring until they are melted entirely.

Next, pour half of the powdered sugar into the bowl with the melted marshmallows...

Add Sugar WM

and stir until the mixture begins to thicken.
Stir the sugar WM

Once the mixture has thickened a bit grease the counter top and your hands with Crisco and dump the mixture onto the counter. (You will have wonderfully soft hands after all this)
Dumping the Fondant WM

Knead the marshmallow/sugar mixture while adding more powdered sugar...
Knead the Fondant 1 WM

Once the mixture is thick enough that you can pull it apart with out the fondant breaking form it into a ball and cover it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or until you need it. Fondant will last about a week in the fridge if you double wrap.
Finished Fondant WM

If you want to color the fondant only use gel food colorings (I have never used the powder ones, but I hear they work too). Color the fondant after it has set in the fridge and before you roll it out and decorate with it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I seem to be thinking about disappearing a lot lately, and not just because I am baking magician themed cupcakes for a little boy's birthday party this week. There are days when I just want to grab Garry and our dogs and disappear to some island. Completely isolate ourselves from everything and everyone we know. To try and just be happy with the two of us, no possibility of fertility treatments or false hopes. Just us doing what we do best, chilling out together.

There are days that I want to block every pregnant couple, new parent, old parent on my facebook. Just make them all disappear. Because there are days that their happiness feels like salt in my wounds. Thankfully those days are still few and far between. Most days I can talk to my pregnant friends about morning sickness and nurseries and be genuinely happy for them, and not even that sad for me. But some days seeing a pregnancy announcement on Facebook makes me want to curl into a ball and disappear.

There are days I can feel parts of myself disappearing. I have always been a fairly optimistic person, I always believed things would work out eventually. I don't always believe that any more. I have always thought if I did things right and worked hard, tried to be a good person that things would work out. But now I know that isn't always the case. It may not matter that I waited till I found the love of my life to get married and have a kid. It doesn't matter that I work hard at my job and do more work then I am actually paid for. It doesn't matter that I have tried to be kind to people even when they didn't really treat me the same way. The odds are still going to be in favor of me not having a child, not getting my dream job or even promoted, and I am never going to make everyone like me. It just isn't how it works. I feel sad thinking about my optimism seeping out of me. I never wanted to be someone who looked on the darker side of things, but that is what is slowly happening.

I know I am lucky to have found a man that I love and who loves me so completely. And most the time I do feel lucky just to be with him at all. But the closer we get to IVF #2 the more terrified I become that it will fail and a little bit more of me, our relationship, my hope will disappear.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gearing Up

Things have been very quite around my world lately. I admittedly gained some weight back in the past two months. It was so easy going from eating perfectly healthy every day to eating like crap again. Turns out it is a lot harder to go back to eating really healthy again. For the past week I have been trying to get it back under control, and working out everyday. but it doesn't seem to be making a huge difference, which is frustrating.

But regardless I am still under my IVF weight, and things are lining up for starting IVF #2 in June. We are ordering the meds and waiting for the calendar from my IVF nurse to see what we are looking at as far as timing goes. I am excited to get started again. Mother's Day was hard for me, and it seems like everyone around me is giving birth or announcing their newest pregnancy. I am beyond ready for it to be me.

I am also very excited because I have a little surprise lined up for Garry at the end of June. I won't go into much detail because I don't want him to find out, but it is something we really need, and it will be a good way to either celebrate IVF #2 working or drown our sorrows if it doesn't work. I'll clue you all in when I clue him in. We are also going to get our portraits taken by a friend who is also a wonderful photographer. I have always hated our engagement photos, so these will take their place. It is all part of my plan to concentrate not just on trying to have a baby, but also to make sure that no matter what we are as tight a couple as we have always been.

It may be slow around here until IVF #2 actually gets going because I have a lot of work responsibilities coming up, and I have several photography projects of my own coming up as well. Enjoy the Spring people!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just Relax...

It is National Infertility Awareness Week. If you are one of my Facebook friends you already know that, and have been reminded about three times a day with all my posts. Now it is time to sit down and write my official NIAW blog challenge post. The blog challenge this year is to bust an infertility myth. I decided to write about the myth that annoys me the most: Just relax and you will get pregnant.

Oh, how I wish that were true. I would love nothing more than to go on a vacation have a few Margaritas (on the rocks, with salt on the rim) go back to our hotel room, get our groove on and nine months later pop out our little souvenir. Unfortunately that isn't how it works for us, and for a lot of people just like Garry and I. For us it takes a lot of hard work, pain, and sadness.

I think a lot of people in our lives just assumed we were over reacting when we started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist. They thought we were jumping the gun and were just impatient to have it happen. They didn't know we had been trying to get pregnant every other day for a whole year. So I would explain about the charting, the temperature taking, the inspecting of cervical mucus, the lack of any menstrual cycle for half of that year. Then they immediately decided that my uterus was just too tense. We needed to relax... take a vacation... get drunk... have you tried having sex in the back of your car? It works for teenagers!

Once you have heard these things from every close family member, friend, and coworker you start to feel ashamed and hurt. These people that you rely on for support and kindness every other day of the year now choose the hardest time in your life to give you the worst advice possible. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's four years ago no one was telling me to just relax. They all encouraged me to get more testing, try different medications. But when I tell them I can't get pregnant they insinuate it is because we are doing something wrong, we are thinking too much about it.

That isn't how it works, especially when you have gotten to the point that you are seeing an RE. Once you start doing things like Clomid, IUI, and IVF a lot of the process is taken out of your hands. Your entire reproductive system is being controlled by outside sources. Your doctor determines when you ovulate, the timing for insemination, they determine where your hormone levels should be and control them through various injections, suppositories, and patches. All you really do at that point is show up for the appointments and take the medications.

The truth is I relaxed a lot when we started seeing a fertility specialist. Finally we were getting some help, we had some hope again after a year of disappointment. An yet, a year and a half after our first IUI we still have no baby, no baby bump either. After our first IVF failed my Mom called and apologized for ever saying we needed to just relax. She realized now that we actually had something that was physically keeping us from getting pregnant. She also saw a story on Good Morning America that told of a study showing relaxation had no impact on the out come of A.R.T. It took a failed IVF and the morning news team to make her realize that this wasn't in our heads.

This is why we need more awareness. We need people to know that infertility is not a state of mind, it is a disease. If you want to learn more about infertility and the impact it has on couples and families here are two places to educate yourself and

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scary Stuff...

My body has decided to revolt this week. Maybe it is fed up with all the torture I inflicted on it in March, maybe it heard me talking about starting the injections again. Maybe it just hates me, who knows? But so far this week I have had one night of insane stomach upset and nausea, random vaginal bleeding that I thought was my period but turned out not to be, yesterday I found out I have a UTI (not uncommon for me, I tend to get them a lot) and I have some skin virus that is making me break out it these ugly little dry patchy rashes. Apparently the skin virus will go away on it's own, but not before it gets a little worse and makes me look like I have leprosy.

The kicker is today I have blood in my poo. This is a side of Crohn's I have never experienced before. My Crohn's symptoms usually come in the form of extreme diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. So when I went to the bathroom this morning and noticed lots of blood in my stool (clinical word for poo) I started freaking a little. I went to see my fabulous GI, Dr. W (the only doctor I like more than my RE is my GI). He thinks it is just internal hemorrhoids, which aren't a big deal. I have to go get some fun suppositories from the pharmacy tomorrow and that should take care of it. But if it gets worse or doesn't go away by next Tuesday then we will have to do a Colonoscopy. Fun.

I wish I could just have a normal healthy body for once.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sorry for the look...

I am in the middle of revamping the blog a little. So if the design and layout look weird for a few days I apologize, but it should look pretty damn cool when I am done.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What The F*ck

In the infertility world "What The F*ck (WTF)" refers to the consult with your RE after a failed cycle. I had mine today, and I am really really happy with the outcome.

I am one of those patients that most doctors get annoyed with. I research everything (Dr. Google is my BFF). I make lists of questions and I will sit there and go through every single question until I am satisfied I understand the answer and the reasoning behind the doctor's answer. One of the many reasons I love Dr. F is that not only does he put up with my questions, he encourages patients to do research on the Internet. So, instead of just sitting here with one long run on paragraph about the appointment I am just going to list my questions here and give his answers. Then at the end of the post I will tell you all what the plan is from here. So if you don't care about my questions just scroll to the bottom.

- In your experience at this office, do more people get pregnant on the second time? Or are my chances decreasing as we go? the pregnancy rates for IVF #1 and IVF #2 are pretty equal. The fairly straight forward cases tend to get PG off the first IVF, the cases where we find something during the coarse of the cycle that we didn't know about (like we did with me) have increased odds for #2 to work after a few adjustments. But if IVF# 2 doesn't work odds do start going down with every cycle.

- Lining: How has my lining been in the past, what should it be? Have I ever had the triple stripe? How can I improve my lining? (never knew the stats on my uterine lining always just heard "it looks good") Dr. F actually went and got my u/s pics to look at instead of just looking at his notes. Lining was great with IVF #1. They like to see it above 6mm, mine was 12.5mm, and the three stripes were clearly visible. He said we couldn't have asked for a better lining.

- Was I on BCP too long? Could I have been over-suppressed? Dr. F is in the school of thought that BCP does not do a lot to suppress your ovaries, it just syncs you up with other patients to streamline things (different REs have different opinions on this). However I will only be on BCP for 3 weeks before the next cycle which makes me feel a little better since I was on it for 7 weeks the first time around.

- Can we test my AMH? At this point AMH would only be useful if I was trying to decide between using my own eggs and using donor eggs. Since I know I want to use my own eggs for IVF #2 it is a non-issue. My FSH has always been fine, and he suspects my AMH would be as well.

- Would taking DHEA be beneficial for me since I seem to have some egg quality issues? Dr. F does not buy into the DHEA hype. He says that there are conflicting studies and information about DHEA and he prefers to err on the side of better safe then sorry, so we won't be using it for now.

- After my response during IVF#1 is my diagnosis the same? Do you think I have a diminished ovarian reserve or just egg quality issues? It is possible I have a slightly diminished reserve, but he wouldn't put the label on me yet. He thinks I am a "weird responder" My follicles grow great, but 50% of them were empty, and even though the follicles were the size they want them to be for ER, 75% of my eggs were immature. He thinks we need to have a big burst of FSH right at the beginning of stims, then step down as needed. He also believes my eggs are good quality, but we need to get more mature eggs to be sure. He plans on letting my follicles grow a little bigger than he normally would to try and get more mature eggs.

- Will the protocol be the EXACT same? What will you change? Higher doses? We are going with MUCH higher doses next time. The first IVF I was on 225iu of Gonal F and 75 iu Menopur, which was appropriate for the response they saw on u/s and in blood work. Knowing now that I produce a lot of empty follicles he wants to put me on 525iu Gonal F from day 1 and then step down as the cycle progresses.

- Given my horrible response should we consider the Estrogen Priming Protocol? How does the EPP work exactly? No, he does not want me on the EPP. He said EPP is for women who have issues with their lining development and who have trouble with their estrogen levels. On both accounts I am good, and increased estrogen when it is not needed can actually impede follicle growth so he thinks it would be a bad idea for me.

- Are there other methods of stimming that could help me get more eggs of better quality (ie step down vs constant)? Yes, we will be doing the step down method of stimming.

- I was on 10,000 iu HCG for my trigger, I have read that obese women should be on double the dose. Would this be an option for me? He said it could be possible that increasing the HCG trigger shot would help mature my eggs more so we will be doing 20,000 iu HCG next time.

- Do you think the fertilization rate was a egg quality issue or could there also be a sperm quality issue. Would a SCSA/DFI be use? He said my fert rate wasn't as horrible as I thought it was. This is kinda interesting actually. I only had 1 mature egg, they performed ICSI on that egg and it fertilized abnormally (had 3 pronuclei instead of the normal 2). I had 3 immature eggs. When they retrieve immature eggs they can not ICSI them because it requires stripping cells off the egg that could help it mature the rest of the way. So instead they left the immature eggs alone and put the sperm in the dish with them. Our embryo came from one of those immature eggs that matured and fertilized without help. He said there is no indication that Garry's sperm has any quality issues, and it would be a waste of money at this point to do the tests.

- Considering I am already diagnosed with one auto-immune disease (Crohn’s) would it be smart to test for other immune problems such as Reproductive Immuno-Phenotype, Anti-Thyroid antibodies, Thrombophilia, and Repeated Loss Testing (NKa etc.)? He said it is possible I have more immune issues and we are running all of the tests I listed plus some more that he added. I should have the results back in 2 weeks from those tests.

- What do you think the odds are of getting pregnant with my own eggs? He said he doesn't like putting odds on cycles, but he thinks I have a good chance of my response being better this time around, which will in turn increase my odds that it works.

- Would my sister be a good egg donor? How would that work with my insurance? What would she need to have done as far as testing to become a donor? We didn't talk too much about the possibility of using my sister as a donor, but he said that from the basic information I gave him about her it sounds like she would be a good donor for me. If IVF #2 doesn't work we will get all the testing needed for my sister to be my egg donor and then make a decision from there.

The Plan: I am taking all of April off from any drugs other than my vitamins. As soon as my next cycle starts I will call and they will have me start the Pill on CD 7. In the beginning of June sometime we will do the baseline US and blood work and I will start on 525 iu Gonal F and 75 iu Menopur. Normally you trigger when your lead follicle reaches 18mm. That was the size my follicles were at trigger, yet only 1 was mature, so this time we will wait until my follicles reach 20-21 mm to trigger in the hopes that we will get more mature eggs. The trigger dose will be doubled to 20,000iu HCG. He wants to do everything we can to push it to a 5 day trigger this time around. We both agreed that if I have 2 good embryos growing we will put both of them back, but neither of us are comfortable with 3 embryos at this point.

I am also thinking about getting a consult with a Reproductive Immunologist. Unfortunately the only one near me is almost 4 hours away, so I am hoping to get a phone consult with him sometime in the next month. Hopefully running some tests with him will shed some light on whether or not I have more issues than we currently know about. I have no faith in my immune system at this point (thanks Crohn's).

I am excited to get things rolling again, but but also terrified that I am setting myself up for another failure. But I trust my RE and really believe he is doing everything he can to get me knocked up, and at this point that is all I can ask for.

In other news: I made a decision about the Facebook coming out issue. We have decided to come out on Facebook (well I will come out, Garry doesn't want the people he works with to know yet because he barely knows most of them). However, I am not going to take the blog to Facebook. I don't want everyone in my life to know exactly when we are doing everything as far as treatments go. And since I don't want to cut down on the details or number of posts on here, I am just going to do a very generic outing. Maybe if I get pregnant I will eventually post this on Facebook because I do think it would be helpful to others going through all this, but that is down the road.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Going Public...

I am thinking about coming out of the infertility closet. It isn't a huge secret, and I am sure there are lots of people that have their suspicions. After all, I used to talk non-stop about how many kids Garry and I would have and when we would have them. Ahhh the optimism I had pre-infertility. So I am sure there are some people that have put two and two together and saw that it added up to zero kids.

But recently I have started thinking that it is a waste of energy to try and keep it secret at all. This journey is such a huge part of my life, and outside of my family and a few close friends, I pretty much pretend like it doesn't exist. So I am debating whether or not I should take this blog public, as in Facebook public. I am contemplating posting the blog on Facebook as part of National Infertility Awareness Week (4/24-30). Last year there were a few ladies that had status updates everyday of NIAW and I so wished I was brave enough to do that.

The end of this part of the journey seems to be looming closer and closer. Baby or not, we will be done with treatments in 2011. Either one of the next two IVFs will work, or we will be living child-free until we come to an agreement about adoption. If that happens no one in my life will really know. They will all think we just don't want kids. For some reason that thought just rubs me the wrong way. I want people to know that we longed for children, suffered for them, and may never have them. I don't know why I feel so strongly about this right now, but I do. Obviously I have to discuss it with Garry first. After all we share 75% of the same friends on Facebook.

This was all to say that there may be some changes coming to the blog in the next few weeks. I will have to go through and clean up the blog a little, maybe take some of the more graphic stuff out. I would also really like to organize it better, I would love to have a tool bar at the top that has all the different posts categorized into Infertility, Baking, and Crohn's posts so it is easier to navigate. But given my very poor web skills that probably won't happen.

Feel free to chime in on whether or not you think I should go public with our journey. I always love getting advice and opinions on here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moving On....

In the Infertility community there is a divide between women who are pro-pee on a stick and those anti-pee on a stick. I fall firmly into the pro column. I understand the the anti chicks, because honestly seeing those 5 negative pee sticks sucked the big one. But it helps me get past it a little faster.

I started testing way too early at 7dp3dt and when I saw the first negative HPT I just told myself it was too early and held on to the hope. When I saw the single line on Monday I thought "Wow that sucks, but it could still be early" and I cried a little because of the fear of another negative. The next day when it was still stark white I knew that it was done, but I still held a little nugget of hope for Wednesday. Then after the last pee stick yielded yet another BFN I had my complete melt down. We are talking sobbing, getting angry at Garry for no reason, not wanting to move despair. I need that time to be completely and totally depressed over the situation we find ourselves in. By the time I got the call from my nurse on Thursday I was in steely determination mode.

Now almost a week after that first HPT and two weeks after the failed transfer I have accepted it and I am moving on. It sucks, and I still get a little choked up ocasionally, but now it is all about What next. I am researching like a mad woman so I will be armed with information and questions when I go talk to the RE in a week and a half. I don't believe in doing what your doctor says without question. Not after the Summer of Crohn's. I learned then that if you don't fight for your health, no one will. I research every single drug I go on, and every single procedure that a doctor suggests. My fertility is no different.

So in the next week I will be compiling a list of things I am interested in trying as far as medications, timing, protocols etc. And I will bring every one of them up with Dr. F. And if I don't like his answers I will go some where else. I love Dr. F and his office, but this is my family we are talking about. And I plan on acting like a spoiled toddler, not resting until I get my way.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Official...

I waited till I got the official results back from my RE to post, but I am writing this the day before I go in for my beta. It is over. It didn't work. I am not pregnant. I am heartbroken. There is no accurate way to describe how sad I am right now. How do you mourn something you never really had? I feel broken and empty, and it feels like it will always be this way.

I feel bad for Garry too. He has no clue what to do or say to make me feel better. Probably because there is no way to make me feel better. He keeps saying it will work next time and we still have two more shots at IVF. But it isn't that easy, right now all I see when I think about our next cycle is more disappointment and pain. I don't think I will ever get the optimism I had for this cycle back. I have heard stories of women doing 6 or 7 IVFs before they got their take home baby.

I keep trying to imagine our lives without children. And as much as I love Garry with everything I have, the thought of the two of us puttering around our house alone with our dogs for the rest of our lives makes me want to curl up in bed and sleep for as long as is possible. No kids waking us up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to go open presents, no first trips to the beach, no reading books before bedtime. Just the two of us watching TV and going to the movies every date night for the rest of our lives. I know eventually I could be happy and not feel like we are missing out, but right now I don't even want to try and imagine how it will feel.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Progesterone In Oil is the Devil

Overdramatic? Maybe. But true. First of all the side effects of PIO exactly mimick the early symptoms of pregnancy. So while you are trying to find hope in everything your body does it could all just be PIO tricking you. I have been on the injections for 9 days now and I am exhausted. I can't remember ever being this tired before. Not even before I got diagnosed with Crohn's and couldn't sleep through the night because of all the pain I was in. I slept 8 hours last night and yet right now I feel like I could sleep another 8 and still feel tired. It is noon and I am honestly thinking about taking a nap before work.

Every single muscle in my body aches. It feels like I worked out a little too hard and now everything is protesting. The worst is without a doubt my boobs. Just putting on a bra is pure torture. And those are just a couple of the side effects I am feeling. There is also the crabbiness, the headaches, and the slight nausea. All side effects of PIO, all symtpoms of being pregnant. It is a serious mind f*ck.

One week until my pregnancy test. I can make it till then, and this will all be worth it if it comes out the way I want it to. Ok, nap time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4dp3dt and some pictures...

I am four days post three day tansfer, and The Champ is all I can think about. Literally every move I make I get paranoid that it was the wrong move and I am going to accidentally dislodge the little guy. Completely irrational? Yup. Can I help it? Nope.

I have also been analyzing everything my body is doing. I have the usual boob soreness that comes with the Progesteron In Oil injections, so I am not putting too much weight on that. The thing that is making me stop and go hmmmm is my stomach. I haven't been nauseous exactly, but I have had weird food aversions. Normally every morning I have a protein shake, this morning I couldn't even finish half of it because I wanted to yak. I have also been having very vivid dreams, and I remember them in perfect detail. And usually they involve zombies. Both of these things could mean absolutely nothing, but I can't help but wonder if they might mean something. I will be testing at home before my Beta test on April 1st, but I won't be sharing the results here until I get to tell my family and close friends so they don't find out from my blog.

This week I got really bored while taking it easy around the house, so I decided to set up a little photography project. I fished all of my needles out of my sharps container and did a little photo shoot with my IVF meds. Here is what I came up with:

IVF Meds New WM-6

IVF Meds New WM-7

IVF Meds New WM-1

IVF Meds New WM-3

IVF Meds New WM-8

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Champ

The Champ 2

That is our little Champ. I can't stop staring at the picture. I even made it the background on my phone.

I am over analyzing everything I do right now. Just walking to the bathroom terrifies me. But I have to say I am really excited, and for right now at least I have no doubt that this is going to work. I look at that little blob and I see our future kiddo. This is dangerous territory.

This whole cycle was horrid. From the very start when I thought the IVF wasn't going to be covered by insurance right down to only getting 1 embryo and landing in the hospital. But I think about The Champ being ahead in development and hopefully snuggling in right now and I am nothing but conifdant that this is all going to work. That terrifies me. I have been confidant with every cycle that it was going to work, and we all know how those turned out. But now we are at a place that we have never been before. There is an actual embryo inside me. Not just the potential for sperm and egg to meet, but the beginnings of baby. How cool is that?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Champ is home

I am posting this from my phone because I am currently on bed rest at my parents' house, so I will keep it short. We transferred our lone embryo this morning. He is still fighting it out and exceeding expectations. On day 3 an embryo is supposed to be 8 cells. Our little Champ was 10 cells with no fragmentation. The RE gave it a grade 1 which is the best grade he gives. He said that if we were only going to only have 1 embryo this is the one to have. They also decided to do assisted hatching on the embryo, this means they make a little hole in the out shell of the embryo, this helps it to implant. So now I wait a week and a half to go in and test to see if this worked. I also got a pic of the Champ so iwll try to post it in the next few days.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It Only Takes One

That is is the sentence I am chanting under my breath all day. I got the update from the RE this morning. I have one little embie growing strong. He said even though we only have one it is perfect. On day 2 embryos are supposed to be 4 cells, mine is 6 cells and has almost no fragmentation (for more info on embryo development here is a link). I am very happy that my little embie is growing strong and hanging in like a champ. I am over being sad about only having one. This is going to be the one.

So we go in tomorrow morning for a 3 day transfer. Hopefully tomorrow The Champ will be at least 8 cells and still have very little fragmentation. I will be taking the entire weekend off from work to be on bed rest. My RE only requires 24 hours of bed rest, but I want to give The Champ a fighting chance so I plan on staying in bed for two full days and then really taking it easy for at least a week.

I am very excited to see a picture of my Champ tomorrow, and i am going to try and get pic to share here. Wish me luck and please continue to send growing vibes to our little fighter!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well This Sucks

Nothing turned out the way I thought it would. Let's start with the retrieval.

Everything with the actual retrieval went pretty smoothly. When I got to the office and was signing all the paperwork the girl in the curtain next to me was getting her report on how many eggs they retrieved and i was very jealous because she got 19. But I tried to brush it off and concentrate on my retrieval. They took me back to the room and started hooking me up to the IV and monitors. I always find it amazing how fast the drugs work to put you under. One minute I remember the anesthesiologist telling me to take a deep breath and then I am waking up in the recovery room. The bad news: they got 4 eggs. I was really disappointed. I was hoping all 7 of my follies would have something in them. The RE even tried to get something for some of my smaller follies, but no luck.

I felt pretty good after the retrieval. Even stopped and got donuts on the way home. Then about two hours after we got home I noticed the pain on my right side (where most the follies were)was getting worse. I went upstairs to go to the bathroom and the pain started becoming unbearable. I called for Garry and he called the RE's office. They called in a script for Tylenol 3, but in the time Garry left to get it and got back the pain tripled and I was on the ground begging for him to make it stop. So we went to the Emergency Room. Long story short, I developed a blood clot by my right ovary. Not really sure why I got it or what it means, but they said it should dissolve on it's own. They kept me over night to keep an eye on my blood work to make sure I wasn't bleeding someplace they couldn't see, but everything looked ok this morning and they sent me home.

Now for the really bad news. I got my fertilization report and things aren't good. Of the 4 eggs retrieved only 3 were mature. We did ICSI (they inject a single sperm into each egg) on those three. 1 fertilized normally. 1 fertilized abnormally and they had to discard it. One they aren't sure if it fertilized. i guess there is a small window of time to see if the egg fertilized and the embryologist isn't sure if the point has already passed or if the egg just didn't fertilize. She is going to watch it until tomorrow to see if something develops. So as of right now we have one fertilized egg. And as the embryologist was so kind to point out, there is no guarantee it will continue to develop.

I am heart broken and very angry with my body right now. I worked so hard to get to this point, and I feel like I am being punished. Everyone always says "it only takes one" but right now I have no faith that one will make it long enough to be transferred back to my body. I have even less faith that my body would be able to do anything right even if it does make it to transfer. So now I just wait to hear back from the RE tomorrow on what we are doing.

I am off to take more Tylenol 3 and a very long nap.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's go time...

So I had my second, and it turns out final, follie check today. I won't lie, I was a little disappointed today. As you will recall I had 8 solid follicles with 2 more that could have been something on Friday. Today I have 7 solid follicles and the other three stopped growing altogether. I was really hoping that I would have over ten follicles today. But my stupid left ovary has failed me once again. All three of the follies that puttered out were on the left side, there is only one half decent follie on leftie.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy I have any follies in there at all, because I know there is no guarantee. But I went into this thinking I would be a pretty decent responder, so I am a little disappointed to find that I am not as decent as I thought I would be.

This doesn't mean that this cycle won't work though. And I am trying my best to stay up beat and optimistic. I have heard lots of stories of women who have retrieved under 5 eggs and still gotten pregnant and gone on to have beautiful babies, and I absolutely believe that could happen to us as well.

So tonight is go night. The 7 follicles that are left are ready to go. I trigger at exactly 10:30pm this evening and go in at 10am Wednesday morning for the retrieval. I am very nervous and excited to get this part of the process underway.

The good news is that the raging case of diarrhea I had over the weekend seems to be resolving itself. I am not sure if my stomach problems the last couple days are meds related, Crohn's related, or just a bug that I picked up. Whatever it was though, it sucked! Although I did lose 5 pounds over the past three days so that is a bonus. That makes my official weight loss 68 pounds and 9 BMI points. Not too shabby.

Ok, the next update will be post Egg Retrieval. Everyone send as many Egg-cellent Egg vibes my way as you can muster up! Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2011

First Follie Check

Everything is looking pretty good in there so far. My right ovary has 6 follies between 10-13mm and few that were too small to count yet. The left was being a little bitchy and wouldn't come out from behind my bowels. The ultrasound lady said she thinks she saw four on there, but she could only measure two. So I am counting that as 8 definites with 2 maybes.

I am sticking to the same doses of my meds for the weekend: 225iu Gonal F, 75iu Menopur, 1 baby aspirin. We are also adding in the Ganirelex tonight which prevents you from ovulating before the doctor is ready. I go back in on Monday for another ultrasound and more blood work. The ultrasound tech said if she had to guess she would say we would be ready for trigger on Monday and retrieval on Wednesday. I am really hoping that is how it turns out!

It symptoms news: I am feeling insanely tired all. the. time. I am really not sure it is because of the hormones, or the fact that I have only been getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night, or because I have been running all over the place all week and it is just catching up with me.

I am also feeling my ovaries more and more. I have also started to notice a little bit of bloat in the tummy area. I haven't been too emotional yet, just a little more teary eyed than normal. I have also lost my appetite entirely. I am nauseous just about all the time, when I try to eat something it goes away, but after a couple bites it comes back only worse. At this rate I will lose even more weight despite trying to just maintain weight for my cycle.

That is it for now, see ya Monday after my 2nd follie check.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Hello Ovaries

Just a quick little post this time.

I have done three nights of stims and I am starting to be very aware of my ovaries. They don't hurt yet, but they feel a little heavy and tingly. I am dying to know what is going on in there. My first follie check is tomorrow morning. Hopefully I have lots and lots of follies growing in there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Since the weight loss I have been slightly obsessed with checking out my body. I am very embarrassed to admit this, but it is true. Mind it is only in clothes that I do this, I still run from mirrors when naked. I have a theory that you can tell the difference between a fat person's house and a skinny person's house without ever seeing them. Just count the number of mirrors in their house. Less mirrors = most likely a plus sized person lives there, more mirrors = a hot skinny person lives there. I have three mirrors in my house; one is on the inside of a closet door that is almost always shut, one is in the bathroom and you can only see from the neck up, and one is on an antique dresser we use as a bar and so is mostly obscured my bottles of booze.

Anywho, when I am fully dressed any shiny surface I pass by I have to glance at my bod as I walk by. I don't know if it because I am still a little in disbelief that I was able to drop over 60 pounds, or just that I think I look damn good in clothes right now.

Today I wore a shirt to work that I haven't fit into since before I started dating my husband. I loved this shirt, it was my going out shirt when I first got home from college. I am convinced I look better in it now than I did when I was 24. The obsession with checking myself out has reached a high today wearing this shirt. And I have gotten about 6 compliments on it, and on how good I am looking after dropping the pounds. It feels nice. I am used to getting compliments on my hair color (which changes a lot) but people don't usually comment on my clothes or body.

I suppose I should enjoy it while I can. I am sure eventually the infamous IVF bloat will settle in soon and I won't be admiring my reflection for much longer. And hopefully after that I will start getting a bump and then I will obsessed with my body for a whole other reason. But I just feel so silly for always looking at myself, it is not like I anywhere close to being skinny, or even average, I am still firmly plus-sized. Just a slightly more streamlined plus-size now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baseline and I already messed up my meds...

So first things first, my baseline went well today. All my bloodwork came back normal so I got to start stims tonight (more on that later). I also had an ultrasound to count the number of resting follicles in my ovaries (antral follicle count). This is how the doctor determines the dose of drugs to start you out on, and it is also a good indicator of how many eggs may mature and make it for retrieval. I was a little disappointed in my antral follicle count. I was hoping for 10-15 but I only had 8 total, 4 on each ovary. I know that doesn't mean this won't work or that we won't get plenty of eggs. I was just hoping for a stronger number right off the bat.

So as for my stims, I am starting out on 225iu of Gonal F, 75 iu of Menopur and one baby aspirin a night. And yes, I did indeed mess up my first Menopur injection. The deal with Menopur is you have to draw up a solution and mix it with the powdered drug and then draw that back up to inject it. For some reason the first time I tried all this there was a huge ass air bubble in the syringe. When I tried to get it out a good amount of the drug squirted out too. Oopsie. Garry thought it would be ok, but I didn't want to risk it so I just tossed the first attempt and mixed another one, this time everything worked out perfectly, and I got both injections done with no other problems.

Now I go back on Wednesday for more bloodwork and then Friday I go back for yet more bloodwork and my first follicle check.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's Get This Party Started!

That's right, it is time to get things started. Today is cycle day 1 of my very first (and hopefully only) IVF. After a lot of biting my nails Aunt Flow showed up, and only a day late (she loves to keep me in suspense). Tomorrow morning will be my baseline blood work and antral follicle count (a count of how many resting follicles are in the ovary before starting stims). I am ubber excited. I have been reading up on antral follicle counts and what they could mean to the outcome of an IVF cycle so that I will know what is going on tomorrow at the ultrasound (why hello dildo cam, I have totally missed you... no really... ok maybe not). I will update with all the details from the baseline appointment as soon as I get back home.

So just to catch everyone up in case you have missed something, let's take a trip down memory lane and look back at what brought us to this place:
1 year trying on our own.
7 rounds of Clomid, three with IUI.
1 round of Gonal F and back to back IUIs.
58 pounds lost since April 2010 (65 since January).
About 30 hours on the phone talking to (wanting to scream at) insurance people.
More tears than I can count, one complete emotional break down in my Human Resources lady's office.