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...