Sunday, November 29, 2009

I *heart* blogs

OMG, I just about died laughing at the account in this blog from the Bloggess.

Go, now and read! Much needed belly laugh, nay all out shrieking laughter!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chomping at the bit

Today is CD 13. I am chomping at the bit to get started with our next IF endeavor. This holiday weekend really brought home my longing for motherhood. I was on the couch and I could imagine a baby in my arms. I imagined what it would be like to be bringing a baby to Thanksgivings festivities. It made me feel warm inside. Creating these images in my head made things more real for me.

Yes, I have been able to sleep in, go to the gym when I want, make love with Mr. Jem without worrying about the children hearing. I don't care. I feel there is something missing in my life. I want to share the world with a little being. I want to experience the world through their eyes.

Yes, I'm totally ready to be a mom. Can I change the name of my blog to "Willing Womb"?

So, yes, I'm chomping at the bit. Bring on the next step towards parenthood!

Speaking of which, Monday we have our WTF appointment with Dr. Used-to-be-Wonderful and I need your advice.

Here's a recap of our IVF:

Antagonist protocol: 10 days of BCP followed by 225mg Foll.istim + 75mg Meno.pur
31+ follicles stimulated (ugh)
24 eggs harvested
16 eggs fertilized, 9 developed
2 embryos transferred (3 AA + 2 BB) on Day 5
Mild to medium overstimulation
3 embryos frozen (5 BB + 4 BB + ?) on Day 6
9dp5dt: Beta = 8 (boo hoo) = chemical pregnancy.

We had beautiful, excellent quality embryos transferred. We both did acupuncture, ate healthy food (except being overstimulated I was living off Gator.ade and Ritz crackers).

Why didn't it work? What lessons should we take away from our semi-failed IVF?

What questions should we ask?


Friday, November 27, 2009


I cooked up a storm yesterday and brought it over to my wonderful Auntie's house. She and her husband were the ones who picked Mr. Jem and I up from the clinic the day of ER and Mr. Jem's biopsy, when both of us were recovering. My aunt S, my mother's sister, is the most dear person to me on the planet. She never had a child, despite trying to adopt after marrying T in her early 40s. She knows the heart-break we are going through. I love her to death. I'm so grateful to have her in my life.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch. My grandma was there. She's 94, almost 95, with dementia. She's such a sweety. When I come to visit she lights up. No one on this planet loves me like she does. I'm her only grandchild. Again, I'm so grateful to have her in my life.

I fell asleep really early yesterday and woke up at midnight, unable to sleep until 4:30 a.m. Slept in and then went to the gym. I've been going regularly the last week, and my muscles are super sore after months of babying them. It feels good to be physical.

Speaking of grateful, I'm so happy to have all of YOU, interwebenauts, in my life. Thanks for all the support, thanks for sharing your stories, your troubles, your joys.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Too many BFN's

We IF'ers accept odds just better than Las Vegas. We invest our hearts, our minds, and our $$ in procedures that have a 50/50 chance of succeeding. We hope and pray that we are "one of the lucky ones" who gets a BFP and that the BFP will stick around for 9 months. I don't mean to sound hopeless, because I'm not. I have a lot of hope riding on the 3 frosties waiting for me in the lab. I can hear the croupier in the sky saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets. Step right up and pick a color: Red or black? Place your bets."
So much hope, so much heart-break. The ups and downs. The maybes. The hormones. How do we do it? What if we succeed? When will we stop waiting for the other shoe to drop? Ever?

At diagnosis: disbelief. What? Why can't this be easy? Procedures explained: Hope, curiosity, apprehension.

Action. Body uncomfortable, mind in anguish: will this work?

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Hope?

Waiting. Waiting Waiting. Cautious optimism sneaks, as does certainty that it can't possibly work.

Negative beta = Disappointment. Soul-crushing disappointment. Slow recovery. (Un)explainable tears. Hormones still raging. Raging.

Slowly more smiles. More hope. More hope? Nope. Yes. Maybe.

Where are you on the roller-coaster?


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Welcome ICLW'ers!

This is my second month posting for ICLW.

Today is cyle day 8 after a failed IVF, our first IVF. Well, not exactly failed, even though we got a BFN, because we have 3 embies on ice. I took the BFN pretty hard and am just starting to heal. We have our WTF appointment with "Dr. not-so-Wonderful" on Nov 30th. I'm sure we'll be proceeding with FET as soon as possible. My clinic has very good success rates with FET, equal to what they do with fresh.

I'm actually looking forward to FET. I was definitely over-stimulated during IVF, which made me very uncomfortable physically. I hope to be in a better place for the FET.

The most important thing that I learned with my BFN? That I'm not so ambivalent about becoming a mom. I was so heart-broken. It was clear to me that I really, really, really, really want to be a mom.

It's not like I didn't already know that. How could we IF'ers go through what we go through without REALLY wanting a child.

I guess my heart really opened up with the BFN and I was able to feel my wanting in a way I couldn't before.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

BFN: One week later (Updated)

This morning I had my second beta at the clinic. I had a 7:00 a.m. appointment to draw blood. I guess they want to make sure that nothing hormonal is still happening.

At 6:45 a.m. it was clear that I wasn't going to make it and had to reschedule to be down there (20 minutes from home) at 7:35. I had flown back home from Texas the night before and was dead tired. But it was more than that.

We ended up getting there at 7:55 a.m. It was like my feet were made of lead.

I cried the whole drive down to the clinic. Mr. Jem asked, "What's wrong? I thought you were doing so much better."

"I was!" I answered. "But driving down here has re-opened the wound!"

I had a very busy time in Texas, long days working on a meeting. I didn't have time to feel anything. Now, back in the car, all the feeling rushed back. Good thing I didn't wear mascara today!

I guess this mourning period takes longer than I thought. We've been TTC since Jan 2007, so I guess I should cut myself a little slack and not expect to just "be better" on command.

How long has it taken for you to recover from a BFN (if ever)?

Update: Results of HCG #2: back to normal

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm in Dallas for work, busy, busy with details for a "very important meeting" - only it all doesn't feel that important compared to what Mr. Jem and I have been through the last couple of weeks.

Auntie Flo decided to visit yesterday, a gushing end to our first IVF cycle. Closure. End to my "denial" stage of mourning.

Emotionally I'm doing much better. Only feel like crying once or twice a day. I'm actually feeling a little hopeful for our FET.

Thanks again to all my IF sisters and brothers out there in the bog-o-sphere. Your support and kind words meant the world to me. It is all still painful, but so, so good to know that we are not alone in this process.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

BFN: the aftermath

“It’s okay. We always have our three beautiful frozen embryos. It’s okay,” Mr. Jem said when hearing the news, trying to make me feel better.

“No, it’s NOT okay.” I respond with passion. “It’s distinctly not okay. Today it has to be okay for it not to be okay. Right now it just sucks. Period.”

This is/was our first IVF cycle. I kept secretly hoping we’d be the lucky few that made it on the first try. It was bad enough going though two years of TTC before this. I had NO idea of the pain of a negative beta. I follow and comment on a lot of other blogs and have read other people’s anguish at a negative beta. I felt sympathy and compassion but nothing prepared me for how I would feel today. Nothing. I can’t believe I actually told myself, that I said to Mr. Jem, “I won’t be devastated if it’s negative.” Ha! Big, fucking ha!

All week I didn’t think I was pregnant. Of course, this doesn’t make the sorrow any less. Boy, do I wish it did. Instead, all I want to do is curl up in a little ball and cry. Drown my sorrow in a BFN diet. Let me tell you about it.

After hearing the news I went to McDonald’s and ordered a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and chocolate milkshake. Much to my chagrin I cried all the way to McDonalds. I placed my order, sunglasses on to hide my bloodshot eyes. Then I cried my way back to the office.

Back at my desk and wolfed the fast food down, barely tasted anything.

I then chugged half a coke in the kitchenette. “So there! I’m drinking caffeine! Ha! So there, fertility gods! I defy you! I drink caffeine! And I’m going to drink a butt-load of wine on Saturday night when I go out with my friend to a free dinner event at Chez Panisse, one of the best restaurants in America. Take that!”

I tried to stay at work, but I had to leave because I couldn’t stop crying. I tried to hide it, to avoid others. No luck. At one point one of my closest colleagues asked, “Jem, are you okay? Are you mad at me?”

I mumbled, “Of course I’m not mad. I’ll be okay. I’m not feeling well and am going home.” Zero eye contact. Not exactly the swift, low impact exit I wanted to make.

Shit. Am I going to have explain? What can I say? “I got some bad news.” Lie and say, “I had a really bad headache”? Fuck. I don’t want to talk to people about this. During the whole IVF cycle I simply explained that I was having “female issues” while making vague gestures in the vicinity of my tummy. I work with all men and this was enough. I don’t want to be the subject of office gossip, or discussion, no matter how well-meaning.

OMG, I just looked down and there are strings of snot on my sweater ask I’m typing this. I’ve been crying THAT hard and wiping my nose with a napkin I stole on my way down to my train. I’m on my back to my little suburb, to curl up on the couch with my sweet kitties Sharkey and Fluffy and of course with Mr. Jem. Maybe I’ll be up to watching something light and humorous on TV to get me out of this funk, but right now I’m just being sad.

Sad, but also mad, angry as all get-out and with more sad under that.


Dr. Wonderful just called. My HCG is 8. That's way too low.

Game over.

Insert more tokens to continue playing.

I can't be at work, as I'm a bag full of tears. Couldn't bear people's questions. "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

Here's where the ear-muffs go on for those sensitive to swearing.

Shit, fuck, motherfucker. This sucks beyond anything I've ever experienced.


Beta day: waiting

Thought I saw some spotting first thing this morning, but nothing more.

Blood drawn for HCG test at 7:00 a.m.

Waiting. Phone call from center expected around 1 p.m.

Ready for either outcome. No energy to write more. Holding it all in.

I'll update when I have news.


Update: No, I have not POAS. Too chicken. Couldn't take a false positive.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

7dp5dt: Thank you

Thank you to all the wonderful readers in the blog-o-sphere who have reached out to me with words of encouragement. I am feeling much more hopeful. Yesterday one of my colleague's wife came by the office with their 3-month-old baby girl. As I held her in my arms, sweet baby scent in my nostrils, I felt filled with hope. I could be a mom. I want to be a mom. Yes, it will be complicated (I'm the primary bread-winner). Mr. Jem and I can do this.

It also helped that I had a great night of sleep after a great acupuncture treatment. I was scolded by Dr. Needles for eating so much crappy food. Today I had homemade steel-cut oatmeal for breakies, then soup and whole wheat pasta for lunch and an apple for snack. I'll throw something healthful together tonight.

Thursday beta will tell all. Mr. Jem reminded me last night that we did everything humanly possible to make this work. If it doesn't we have 2 (or 3?) frozen embies waiting for us. If a FET doesn't work, we have more spe.rm from Mr. Jem's biopsy.

Filled with hope, I am.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Boobies tender this morning - Yay!

Sense of gloom and foreboding about NOT being PG - Boo!

Beta on Thursday. So I'm so, so glad to be back at work and back to the office - great distraction.

Where's the hope I felt at the beginning of this process?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

5dp5dt: Nada

Nothing to report. No longer suffering from any OHSS symptoms. Breast less tender, too. Convinced I'm not pregnant.


Tomorrow I go back to work.

Again, convinced I'm not pregnant.

Five minutes later, still convinced I'm not pregnant.


Friday, November 6, 2009

3dp5dt: Happy / Paranoid

After chugging Gator.ade and eating super salty foods, my OHSS has calmed way down. My weight is still 4 lbs over where I was a week ago, but I think it's from all the calories I'm consuming and the fact that I'm burning almost no calories as I'm relaxing.

That's the happy part.

Here's the paranoid part: My OHSS has calmed down. Does that mean I'm not pregnant and I don't have the KU hormones?

I did have acupuncture yesterday and she said she put in needles to help eliminate the extra water. Mr. Jem and I are doing Moxa to help the blood flow into my uterus.

Have to remember to keep breathing.

Deep breath.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

To Transfer or Not to Transfer?

There I was, prone on the table, legs in the fancy under-the-knee stirrups (standard in Europe, by the way, and much more comfortable).

"So, you can chose to transfer or we can freeze them and we'll wait until your next cycle." said Dr. Alternate (Dr. Wonderful was out that day).

This was Tuesday, November 3.

I've been suffering from heavy bloating, nausea, shortness of breath since BEFORE egg retrieval and Monday it had been so bad that I called up the clinic in tears.

"I'm so miserable! Help!"

Dr. Wonderful called me back. "I think you are have mild to medium overian hyper stimulation. There's nothing we can do. Keep drinking Gator.ade and eating salty foods - 110 g of sodium or more. Let's keep monitoring you and see if we need to freeze the embryos tomorrow or transfer."

Uh, okay.

So, here I was on Tuesday, with a choice to make: Transfer these two beautiful blasts or not.

What to do?

After grilling Dr. Alternative about how I compare to other patients who are overstimulated, she said, "I think you'll be fine. If the OHSS continues, we can treat it and it won't interfere with you getting or staying pregnant."

Well, that settled it! ONWARD WITH THE TRANSFER!!

Dr. Alternative had a bit of trouble getting the catheter in place, which was a bit painful to match, but once it was in position, the rest was easy.

Oh, and I did acupuncture before and after transfer, as it's supposed to help with the overall success rate.

I've spent the last two days away from the computer, not checking email, not reading other people's blogs, just concentrating on relaxing. Total bed rest.

My goodness, you can't say that Mr. Jem and I haven't done everything possible to make this happen. From decided to do IVF, genetic testing, the acupuncture, changes in diet, meditation, yoga, all the damn shots, all the tears, the testicular biopsy to mine for sperm, treating the OHSS symptoms (I HATE Gator.ade and V8), then bed rest and tons of positive thoughts sent to the region just north of my pelvic bone.

All for those two little blobs of potential life.


Dr. Wonderful called yesterday to tell us that they froze two embryos: 5 BB and 4 BB. When I pushed to know the classification of those transfered the day before: 3 AA and 2 BB. He said all four were excellent. But what does that mean?

Can someone point me to a good source of info on classifation of embryos?

Monday, November 2, 2009


I asked Mr. Jem to re-draw the circles on my hips for my PIO shots and this is what he did.


God, I love him!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 3 report

Dr. Wonderful called this morning.

"More good news, Jem. Of your 9 embryos, 5 are excellent, 1 very good, 2 fair/good, 1 poor.

"This means we won't do the transfer today, but will do it on Tuesday. I feel very optimistic about having two great blasts to transfer on Tuesday, but we'll just see how it goes. We'll freeze the rest on Day 6."

I asked him the actual classification of the embryos and he blew me off, which was a little annoying. "All you need to know is that 5 are excellent, excellent."

OK. I guess.

In any case, we are very, very happy with this news.


Other good news, I lost a little of my water weight today. I still super bloated. I feel more mentally "with it" today, which is good, as I've been in a bit of a hormonal fog. I'm even planning to take a quick walk around my little neighborhood this morning. Yesterday I was supposed to drive into San Francisco to have an abdominal massage, but Dr. Wonderful ixnay'ed that, as I'm so bloated. Plus, it would have been a total hassle with the Bay Bridge closed. I was happy to spend the day relaxing and watching TV and cuddling with Mr. Jem and the cats.

Mr. Jem is still in pain. He's been icing the family jewels since Thursday. Poor guy. It was clearly worth it for him to go through the biopsy, given his low sperm count.

Definitely worth it. It's still a bit surreal. Our babies are growing in a petri dish just 15 minutes drive from our house. Tuesday they will be in my body. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. I've been avoiding thinking about it because I can't stand the thought of losing them, of this whole process not working.

When I was a child, an only child, my mother used to tell me about how she had a dream that I was calling down from heaven, telling her to go off birth control so I could come down to be part of her family. As much as I've meditated, prayed, talked about wanting a child, as an IF'er, I'm afraid to ask too much from the heavens, afraid to hope too much, afraid to have my heart broken. I'm also afraid I don't want this enough, as absurd as that sounds. Why haven't I had that dream? Does that mean it's not destined to happen to me? Of course, my grandma had my mom when she was 28, my mom had me when SHE was 28. I was single at 28.

How much does, "just because mom/grandma had this experience" count? My brain says, "not at all" because of the male factor IF. My heart cries out, "Everything! You're not going to have a child!" There's even a tiny part of me that blames Mr. Jem and his crappy sperm and crappy genes. Even though I had a bad taste in my mouth about using donor sperm if there was any chance we could use Mr. Jem's swimmers.

And then 5 minutes later I'm filled with hope and disbelief that this could be really happening. That pumping my body with hormones and cutting Mr. Jem in 6 different places - He's walking like a cow-boy! It's too cute - could really result in a little baby.

So many conflicting, painful, joyous, feelings.