Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kinda pregnant

Our little embryos are growing, not in me, but in a petri dish at the clinic.

Doesn't that make me "kinda pregnant?"

Dr. Wonderful called today and told me all our little ones are growing nicely. We only have a slim chance that we'll do a 3-day transfer. Tomorrow is day 3, so we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm still super bloated. I didn't feel like eating at all today. I just sipped my Gatorade. I did call the nurse, and she said a heating pad is okay, especially if it helps, but just as long as it's not too hot. I haven't gained any crazy weight, but I'm very uncomfortable. Seems like my whole digestive system has slowed down to a stand-still. Let's go over the drugs I'm taking right now:

- Medrol or methylprednisolone to lower the swelling, take until tomorrow
- Doxyccline a.m. and p.m. for another 4 days - this is what must be messing up my digestion
- Estrace - estradriol a.m. and p.m.
- Progesteron in oil - this shot isn't as bad as the Foll.istim/Meno.pur combo
- Asprin 81 mgs / prenatal vitamins

Uggh. It's hard to keep track and make sure I take everything.


Friday, October 30, 2009

And then there were...

Fertilization report.

Just got off the phone with Dr. Wonderful. Here's what he said:

"I have some good news for you. Of the 24 eggs retrieved, 16 were mature. This is perfectly normal, as some of your follicles were smaller. We had enough of Mr. Jem's sperm to fertilize all 16 eggs and freeze the rest of the biopsy material.

"About 2/3 of the eggs were expected to be fertilized. 9 of yours were fertilized."

Then he continued, "We're planning on a 5-day transfer next Tuesday, but I'll take a look at how they are progressing tomorrow and we'll do a 3-day transfer on Sunday, if necessary."


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Egg & Sperm Retrieval

Our day started early... 4:45 a.m. we were up.

Mr. Jem tried a fresh sample. No go. Who does well under pressure like that?

Anyways, we were at the clinic before 6:00 a.m. At 6:30 all Mr. Jem's paperwork was done and the had Mr. Jem walk, in his gown, cap, and socks. Unfortunately, Mr. Jem has "vagal syndrome" and passed out half way to the operating room. Luckily, the OR nurse and caught him and helped him to the ground. Oh, what is "Vagal syndrome"? It's a physiological response to the IV (or other needles). Mr. Jem gets pale, clammy, sweaty. This is the first time he passed out.

Anyways, they wheeled him into the OR. Over an hour later, they wheeled him out. Right as they were preparing me for ER (egg retrieval).

Poor guy, they urologist had to cut into both scro.tum, took 6 samples. Not a lot of sperm. Hopefully enough to fertilize my eggs.

Okay, on to my procedure.

They put in the IV (sans problem) and I was able to walk over to the OR and get up onto the high table without problem. The anesthesiologist was goofy. His first words to me where, "I'll be your bartender today." Whatever it was they gave me was amazing because after climbing on the table, I don't remember a thing until I work up an hour (?) later.

Dr. (re-)Wonderful stuck his head in the curtain saying, "Good news. I was able to get 24 eggs."

24 is a beautiful number. The woman in the bed next to me (who I never saw) woke up not long after me had 8. Not to belittle her 8, but boy was I proud of my 24. Fricking 24!

I (think I) remember Dr. Wonderful saying that they think they got enough sperm to fertilize all my eggs. At around 3 p.m. I called and left a message with my IVF coordinator asking, but got no call-back. I hope no news is good news.

My aunt and uncle came to pick us up at 10 a.m. at the clinic and brought us home, made us a wonderful lunch, lounged in our back yard in the sun while both of us slept and then made us dinner. I love, love, love my family. I'm forever grateful to them for their love and support.

I've been laying on the couch, with a heating pad on my belly (best investment EVER). I've been drinking gatorade to prevent OHSS and my belly is still very, very full. I have to eat small meals, because I get full very fast. No nausea or queasiness. I'm feeling mild cramping.

Mr. Jem is also near me, a bag of frozen peas cooling down his guys. We have our first progesterone in oil injection scheduled for later this evening. Vico.din is standing by in case his pain increases.

Sharkey, one of our wonderful cats, is on my legs, purring away. Fluffy is curled up on my chest.

I'm feeling very, very fortunately. I'm so glad we passed this huge milestone. Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love and support.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ER eve

"Twas the night before retrieval
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Why? 5:45 a.m. pre-op prep for the spouse."

Yes, we are both going under the knife tomorrow.
Mr. Jem at 6:30 a.m. and me at 8:30 a.m.

In today's donation, they did find sperm (yay!!) The found 7 very healthy swimmers in the small small part of the total sample that they examined. We only need enough sperm to fertilize the 20 eggs they foresee harvesting tomorrow. All the same, Mr. Jem chose to have the biopsy tomorrow to find more just in case the little swimmers don't make it over night.

The hardest thing about this process has been having to make snap decisions that have such consequence. Quick, select a donor and have donor sperm shipped to the clinic! Quick, decide: biopsy or not? Dr. Wonderful had the gall to be inpatient with us this afternoon. As if I could care about the scheduling of his staff. Everything feels so rushed and last minute.

I just wish we had seen the urologist months ago, but Dr. (now-not-so-)Wonderful said in our initial visit, "You don't have to go to a urologist. IVF with ICSI is your only way of getting pregnant." This was back when the sperm count was a low 500,000. That's why we were so shocked last Friday to be told, "We found zero sperm." I have to let the resentment towards Dr. W go, as he'll be performing my surgery tomorrow. Nice Dr. Wonderful. I love you Dr. Wonderful! (Do I sound convincing?)

I really take my hat off to Mr. Jem for being so courageous. He chose to have surgery because he wants to do everything humanly possible to have this work, with both our DNA. It's totally what I want, too. I used to think, donor sperm? No problem. I'm still cool with donor sperm, but only as a last option, if there's no way to have Mr. Jem's guys. Mr Jem said, "If I don't do the biopsy, and there's no sperm tomorrow, I would kick myself for not doing everything I could."

He is my hero.


Reading over my post, I realized I barely mentioned my own feelings about egg retrieval tomorrow. I have stuffed back my feelings. When we started this process I was super scared, even resentful of Mr. Jem that I had to go through all these procedures, take all these drugs and all he has to do is romance a cup.

I still have moments of resentment, especially this afternoon when I felt so bloated and even a bit faint (yes, I talked to my nurse and I'm hydrating with electrolytes). For the most part I am very grateful for Mr. Jem, and his love and support.

I do have moments of total fear and "I don't wanna!"

Right now I wanna go watch an episode of Entourage.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hi-ho, Trigger, Away!

As of 8:30 p.m. (Pacific) I am officially triggered, officially ovulating!

Yippy-kay-yay, mother-fraker!!!

In exactly 36 hours we'll be harvesting those eggs. BTW, here is my first sonogram of my right ovary!

Beautiful, isn't it? Look at those gorgeous follicles. A face only a mother could love.


I'm still feeling so many contradictory emotions, and it's not just due to the elevated estrogen! Right now I feel elated, hopeful. And then I think of Mr Jem's seaman (ha!) analysis tomorrow, and I'm full of dread. If it doesn't go well, he'll visit the urologist tomorrow afternoon to prep for surgery on Egg Retrieval on Thursday. If they don't find sperm, then we'll have to go with donor sperm. Mr. Jem was involved with the selection, but after looking at a bunch of profiles he said, "You pick, I can't take this anymore." This was when he was told that we had a 98% chance of getting sperm from a biopsy. We'll know for sure our chances tomorrow.

So many ups and downs in this process.

Trigger day (I think)

I had my last u/s this morning - sans Mr. Jem - and the lady said I look ready to trigger.

Ovary report:
Right: 16 follicles ranging from 12 to 21 mm
Left: 14 follicles from 11 to 24 (!) mm

I'm very, very full and feel ready to pop!

My E2 was 3887 yesterday, so I cry at the littlest thing.

Waiting for a call from my IVF coordinator to give us the official go-ahead to trigger tonight. If it's a go, then we'll do retrieval on Thursday.


On Mr. Jem's side, he's schedule to give a sample tomorrow, our last chance to get a dozen or so decent (not good, just alive!!) sperm the "fun" way.

Plan B is to to have a urologist lined up to go in surgically to get sperm on the day of retrieval.

Plan C (Z, really) is using the donor sperm we ordered yesterday. Wow, it was surreal to be going online and checking out donor profiles. Close to $900 (gasp!) and 24 hours later we have our very own vial of donor sperm waiting for us at the clinic. I hope we don't have to use them.

Last night Mr. Jem and I both had acupuncture. Dr. Needles didn't hold back with Mr. Jem's treatment. The funny thing was that Dr. Needles put needles on Mr. Jem's nostrils. According to Chinese medicine the nose represents the pe.nis and the nostrils are the scro.tum. I kid you not. I couldn't make that up.

Mr. Jem is a total trooper!

All hinges on tomorrow's donation. Please send your positive thoughts our way. We need any help we can get!

Anyone else been in this 11th hour situation? Waiting for sperm?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giggles on the u/s table

Giggles? More like uncontrollable laughter. Today's U/S was a comedy of errors.

Mr. Jem came to today's appointment. After having my blood drawn, we were sitting in the waiting room. The door opens and a woman I've never seen before calls, "Jem?"

Mr. Jem and I stand up and follow her into the u/s room. She leaves and I get undressed from the waist down, as instructed. I'm in position when she comes back into the room and I'm explaining to Mr. Jem that my follicles should be pretty big.

She looks puzzled and says, "The follicles should be small. Let's have a look." She inserts the dildo-cam.

I look even more puzzled. "Uh, no. This is day 8 of stims for us."

Her reply, "Your chart says this is is your baseline."

Me: "Nope. Not at all."

Her: "Hmm. Something's wrong. You're 'Jen' right?"

Me: "Nope. Jem" (Jem is not my real name and she had said a name that is one letter off from my mine)

Her: "Oh, that explains it. Your names sound similar. I did call Jen. Let me go get your chart."

Mr. Jem then offered to go get our chart, but she said no, she had to go. She then turned to Mr. Jem. "Can you hold this?" referring to the dildo-cam. The instrument still inserted into my va-JJ.

So there I was on the table, with Mr. Jem standing between my legs, holding on to the non-business end of the vaginal sonogram.

Then he starts with the jokes.

"Speak into the microphone." and "Who's your daddy?"

I start laughing uncontrollably. The ultrasonographer come back in and I'm laughing, howling with tears streaming. The u/s has unlocked itself so it looks like Mr. Jem is scanning me and the images is jumping up and down as I'm laughing so hard.

The tech takes the u/s wand back just as another nurse pokes her head in the room to double check the chart mix up. "It sounds like you are having way too much fun in here," she comments.

The rest of the visit was uneventful. My 20 follies are growing perfectly. Getting nice and big, all above 10 mm, and most of them around 12-14 mm. Next u/s scheduled for tomorrow. I'll post E2 and Progesterone numbers later...

As you can tell, Mr. Jem and I have processed the suckitude of the news from yesterday. We still don't like it, but we are dealing. And laughing together. That's what I love about him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Worse to Worser

This is a big steaming pile of dog doo. It represents how I feel right now. Total Carp.

Mr. Jem's SA produced 3 non-moving sperm. The sample was looked at by two lab staff, including the director.

Our options:

1) Go forward with ER on Wed, and hope that Mr. Jem's day-of sample will be plentiful. Back-up: Order donor sperm

2) Go forward with ER on Wed, and hope that Mr. Jem's day-of sample will be plentiful. Back-up: Freeze eggs. Chance of getting PG cut in half.

3) Go forward with ER on Wed, have Mr. Jem give a sample the day before and hope that Mr. Jem's sample will be plentiful. Back-up: take biopsy from testicle to find sperm the day of.

This sucks. Why??????????????????????????????????????? (me shaking my fist and swearing at the heavens!)

We'll go with option 3, with more donor sperm as more backup. Total suckitude.

In the meantime, I'm a ball of hormones. My estrogen is so high that I must be emitting crazy pheromones. Strange men are hitting on me on the street, in the elevator. My belly feels like I'm pregnant with a litter of puppies. I have 19 little guys growing in me.

I just want this to go smoothly and it's not. Thus, I'm back to that steaming pile. Yuck.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good measurements...

Went for u/s this morning... here are my newest stats:

Right ovary: 11 follicles: 6-14 mm, majority around 11 mm.
Left ovary: 8 follies: 8-14 mm

Estradriol: up to 1,490

Adding Ganirelix at 10:00 p.m. tonight. Fun!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad news

Just got a call from Dr. Wonderful. Mr. Jem's donation this morning contained NO sperm. Zero. Zilch. Nada. We were planning on freezing it as backup for the fresh sample day of ER, which will be next Wed or Thur.

He'll try again on Friday.

It's like a kick to the gut.

Sorry I don't have a better post to welcome those visiting from IComLeavWe.

To learn about how we got here, check out this post, my first post.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

E2 level report

Just got a call from the clinic. My Estradiol is at 570. All systems go.

I'm to keep taking the same level of Folli.stim (225IU) and Meno.pur (75IU)

Still floating on air...

Grow, follies, Grow!

Okay, Interwebanauts, here are the result of this morning's ultrasound on this 5th day of Folli.stim & Meno.pur injections:

- Right ovary: 11 follicles, ranging from 5 to 11 mm (3 are at 10 or above)
- Left: 8 follies, ranging from 6 to 9 mm

The u/s lady was excited said they looked very good. Next u/s scheduled for this Thurs.

I feel like a million bucks! My smile is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big inside!

I just pray that Mr. Jem is producing wonderful sperm to go along with my eggs. He gives his first donation tomorrow, which will be frozen just in case his fresh sample doesn't work on ER day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

1st shot: let the magic begin!

Last night Mr. Jem and I mixed magical potions. We twisted the special pen, click, click, click until the perfect numbers showed on the dial. We broke seals, then carefully measured fluid and added it to powder before sucking the whole mixture into a vial. Screwing the right needle on, we were ready to go!

After a brief icing of that special place just south of my belly button, I averted my eyes and Mr. Jem plunged the needle into my fat (I'm glad to have gained a little weight lately). I could hear him counting, "One, two, three... five! I'm so sorry!" and out came the needle. The deed was done.

It wasn't that bad. Actually, having my blood drawn earlier in the week hurt more. I was mostly scared. In fact, right before the injection I was just about to tell Mr. Jem, "Forget about it! Let's just NOT do this..." but I know I am courageous and could do it.

I'm actually looking forward to tonight's injection. All this seems like sacred ritual to call down a baby to us! If I thought it would help to paint a pentagram on the floor and light black candles, I would! (not really, but you know what I mean!!)

Last night my injection "cherry" was popped. It's merciful to be starting with Folli.stim and Meno.pur rather than Progesterone in oil, isn't it?

How was your first injection experience?


Friday, October 16, 2009

They're heeeeeeeere!!

The FedEx guy just delivered a box full of meds! I snapped this picture and rushed the Folli.stim and Ovi.drel to the fridge.

I was so nervous that the meds wouldn't come and afraid that we'd have to delay, again!

This morning Mr. Jem and I attended our IVF course. There was an awkward moment when I looked over at a couple sitting in the waiting room and it was our mortgage broker with her husband. Mutually awkward, at least

Haven't decided if Mr. Jem or I will be be giving the Folli.stim and Meno.pur injections... Tonight Mr. Jem has Poker Night, and I have pizza and Wii girls night. We're going to do our injections early, tonight only. Our IVF coordinator said it was OK for one time.

I'm really, really excited. I slept so badly last night. I had a huge stress headache, like a band of molten lava across my temples. It didn't help that work has been really stressful. One of my colleagues took over two weeks off and I've been covering for him. He'll be back on Monday. I just need, want to lower my stress level. I think I'll be better once we ice down my belly, mix the drugs and inject!!

Wow, this is really happening!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Award

Thanks to Pie for this award. I'm not usually big on these, but if it helps us know each other little better, I'm game!

Here's the deal:


1. You Can Only Use One Word!
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers
3. Alert them that you have given them this award!
4. Have Fun!

The Fun Part

1. Where is your cell phone? on my desk
2. Your hair? Brown
3. Your mother? supportive
4. Your father? stoned
5. Your favorite food? avocados
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Cranberry juice
8. Your dream/goal? Own voice-over business
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Knitting
11. Your fear? Heights
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? tall
15. Muffins? pumpkin
16. Wish list item? baby
17. Where did you grow up? Oregon
18. Last thing you did? Ate
19. What are you wearing? work (office) clothes
20. Your TV? multiple
21. Your pets? 2 big black cats
22. Friends? in the dark about our IF
23. Your life? amazing
24. Your mood? motivated
25. Missing someone? Mr. Jem - haven't spent enough time with him all week
26. Vehicle? civic
27. Something you’re not wearing? watch
28. Your favorite store? Ann Taylor Loft
29. Your favorite color? violet
30. When was the last time you laughed? this morning
31. Last time you cried? yesterday (damn insurance companies)
32. Your best friend? Mr. Jem
33. One place that I go to over and over? Trader Joe's
34. One person who emails me regularly? Poppet
35. Favorite place to eat? home

I nominate the following blogs for this award:
I Cant' Whistle
Bridgewater Soccer Mom's view of the world
Sass and Alex
Knocked Up Knocked Down
Bottoms On and Off the Table

Meds ordered

After much hijinx and hilarity (not) my meds are finally ordered and due to arrive tomorrow.


What an ordeal. I won't bore you with details, but know that it involved incompetent customer service people, lost faxed prescriptions, wrong mail-order pharmacies who don't accept my insurance, frustrating conversations with the Rx insurance company, and dyslexia. Only the dyslexia was on me. I think it was because my head was going to explode from all the bureaucracy.

But all is well that ends well.

Mr. Jem and I have our injection class tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and start injections (Folli.stim & Meno.pur) tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Positive Negatives

Dr. Wonderful called today and all Mr. Jem's genetic testing results for crazy, scary genetic diseases were negative.

We didn't test for polycystic kidney disease, as it would take too long and Mr. Jem doesn't have it. We did test for the full panel of Jewish dissent (intentional incorrect spelling) diseases.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Baseline ultrasound, take 2 & PICSI

This morning I had my baseline u/s, two weeks after my first one. We are definitely "go" this time 'round. I order my meds tomorrow, so they arrive on Wednesday. Friday we have our injection class, as we start stims that day.

Whooo hooo!

We got an interesting call from our clinic asking if we want to be part of a study called "PICSI" - it's for couples doing IVF with ICSI. It's a new technique that helps them select the best sperm for ICSI that will result in increased pregnancy rates.

The cat just jumped on me... I'll post more on PICSI later...

Friday, October 2, 2009

The wrong kind of 2WW

I should be starting stimming today. Instead, my two week wait will mean getting back on the Pill for 10 days and start start stimming in two weeks, on Oct 16. In the meantime, we're still discussing doing the genetic testing.

I'm disappointed not to be starting IVF (for real) and having to put it off. And I'm also a bit relieved to wait two weeks. I have a lot going on - charity golf event on Oct 11 that I have been working on (the charity part) for months.

Plus, I'm scared the IVF won't work. If we haven't started yet, we haven't failed yet. Of course, the inverse is true, too. We haven't gotten pregnant, either. I'm pretty darn scared of both - scared of a failed IVF AND scared of actually getting knocked up.

Ambivalent. But still moving forward.

Question for you all: What do you have mixed feelings about?


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Genetic Testing

Mr. Jem and I had a long chat with Jean (not her real name), the genetics counsellor yesterday as Mr. Jem has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in his family. His father, paternal uncle, and grandfather all had it. His father is currently on dialysis because of it. Obviously this is something we DON'T want to pass on to our child-to-be.

The good news is that Mr. Jem does NOT have any cysts, and at age 46, if he was going to get them, he would have already. Mr. Jem has seen two separate doctors over the past three years, and had two u/s that showed no cysts. None. I'm sure there are some of you out there who know what a happy thing that is.

PKD is not a disease that skips generations, so the likelihood of Mr. Jem being a carrier of the gene is almost zero. Testing takes 8-12 weeks for results, yes, you read that right, eight to TWELVE! Clearly, we don't want to put off IVF for 2 to 3 months. Not happening. If we thought there was the smallest chance of passing on the disease we would, of course, but Jean agreed with us.

The other thing we discussed with Jean was testing for diseases for people of Jewish ancestry. Luckily this only takes two weeks to get the results.

Dr. Wonderful wants to put me back on BCPs and push back starting stims until Oct 16 (instead of tomorrow, Oct 2). I suppose I can live with this.

Mr. Jem doesn't want to do any of the test. If we weren't going through ART, this wouldn't have spoken to a genetics counsellor. I'm scared as it is that I'll have a baby with chromosome issues, which is much more of a possibility than PKD or Tay-Sachs disease.

Arghh. What to do? Dr. W wants us to test. Mr. Jem doesn't.

Yet another reason that IF sux!