Monday, December 28, 2009

Maxed out...

I've reached my max with the family visits.

Loved the visit, loved seeing you. Thank you so much for the presents, for the food, for the love.

Okay, folks, you can leave now.

I need a nap.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mock transfer

Today's mock transfer with Dr. W went well. No problems at all getting the catheter in there. Apparently my cervix has one little spot that is tricky to maneuver through. He got it mapped out and we're good to go!

I just hope and pray that Dr. W will be doing the transfer, which is currently projected to be on or around January 7.


Meds arrived today. Kinda annoyed because the IVF coordinator promised a calendar outlining exactly when I take everything, but has yet to send it.

Here's what was in the box:
- Methyl.prednisolone - anti-inflammatory and so my body does not reject the embies
- Doxy.cycline - antibiotic to take before and day of transfer
- Progesterone in both forms - in oil and suppository. Double the fun.
- Syringes with needles of various sizes: 18 gauge to suck the progesterone in oil into the syringe and 22 gauge, mercifully with a smaller needle for the actual injection. Neither Mr. Jem or I are looking forward to the injections

Right now I'm taking 2 mg of estrogen orally three times a day. As my period is slowing down, I get to shove one of the estrogen pills up my lady-parts starting this evening. Super fun! Dr. W assures me this really get the uterine lining to do it's thing. Have to get it to 8 mm or is it cm? What's with the metric systems, anyway? It's too confusing to go back and forth between inches and cm.

Okay, rant over.

I'm feeling very hopeful for this FET.


P.S. I've been totally craving caffeine lately. I broke down and had a decaf latte the other day. I made it full fat. Apparently full fat dairy is the way to go for fertility.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Apology to Fertiles

This goes out to any (fertile) friends who read this post who may have been offended by my Christmas card rant.

My excuse: I was very premenstrual and pissed off by my lack of kids in my life.

The truth: I'd love to send out cards with pics of my progeny. Period. I'm a jealous bitch. So sue me!

More truth: Those of us suffering from infertility are super sensitive. We're like that super PC female friend in college that didn't like to be referred to as a Freshman and always corrected other people when they called the elite single-sex institution we attended a "girls school" ("It's a women's college!"). Just be aware that we're going through a total sh*t time of this. Think eggshells, folk. Eggshells. Sorry. It's just the way it is.

Last word: I love you all, whether you have children or not. Keep the cards coming. I truly didn't mean to offend anyone.


P.S. I do stand by my wish that you all would actually sign cards. But who am I to complain. I didn't send out cards this year. Maybe I'll send New Years cards, like they do in France. Love that tradition.

Monday, December 21, 2009

FET CD1 & Welcome IComLeavWe!

After a 35-day cycle (thank you, IVF), today is officially the first day of our FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle.

For you IComLeavWe'er, welcome. Here's a quick update of our IF journey.

After TTC for a couple of years, Mr. Jem was finally ready to really try. Low sperm count sent us straight to the RE and to IVF as our only option. In November Mr. Jem and I went through our first IVF. We suffered through hyperstimulation on my part and a testicular biopsy for him. Even tho we're suffering (appropriate word) from male factor infertility, but my body or my eggs weren't quite up to snuff, because the cycle ended with a chemical pregnancy.

We have 2 excellent, and 1 okay embryo on ice that we are planning to have transferred in the beginning of January. We were hoping to be able to do it the week between Christmas and New Years, but alas, I'll need to take time off work.

Mr. Jem and I have been talking a lot, helping me through the fact that I haven't felt especially "hopeful" about this cycle. I think it's me trying to protect myself from the pain of another negative outcome. Now that the cycle is starting, I'm actually very hopeful and feeling extremely positive.

I hope all you have a wonderful Christmas, or whatever you celebrate. I personally ate waaaaayyy too many latkes for Channukah. I'm hitting the gym today!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The inevitable

Started spotting this afternoon. Yippee! FET, here we come!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Beta results

Since I'm doing multiple posts today...

Just got a call from our IVF nurse. The beta came back negative.

Now just waiting for my period to start so we can officially start our FET cycle. Only thing I can do is make a list:

To do:
- Start Period
- Start Est.race pills on day 2
- Reschedule appointment for mock transfer to map out lady-bits again
- Get scanned to determine lining thickness
- If thick enough, start progesterone shots (PIO)
- 6th day of PIO, transfer frozen embryos
- Pray.

Thanks again to everyone for their support. I've sworn off HPTs. Forever. Beta only for me going forward.

I'm not devastated by this BFN like last month. I'm glad to know. Not knowing was hell.


Rather than doing yet another update to the last post, thought I'd start fresh.

Went to my 10:30 a.m. appointment at the clinic. There I was, legs up in the stirrups, when this woman comes in who I've never met before. "Where's Dr. W?" I asked.

"Your mock transfer was moved onto my schedule." She answered.

Oh, okay.

I then explain about the craziness with the HPT. Her response, "Do you want to do an HCG test? I don't want to go in there with a catheter if there's something going on." (Her exact words).

I look at Mr. Jem, shrug and say, "Um I guess." Now, the probability of us getting PG without IVF is very, very low, as Mr. Jem's sperm count was 8 last time. Not 8 million. Eight. Period.

All the same, I got dressed and went to draw blood. I should know early this afternoon. If it's negative, we'll reschedule the topography session (mapping how to get the catheter comfortably up me) for next week.

Had a "very interesting" chat with our IVF nurse. After looking at the calendar, we wouldn't be doing the FET the week of Dec 28th after all. The absolute earliest it would be is Jan 4. Looks like all that deliberation we did (read this post) was for naught. The good news is that Dr. W is available that week to do the transfer. But who's to say who will actually show up. These clinics run to best serve their own schedules, never mind what WE want.

In any case, fingers crossed for the beta results. I hate to hope too much... I do feel much better after having taken the beta.

Oh, and one more thing:
Cost of the two types of HPTs: $32.60
Cost of the beta at the clinic: $55 minus what's covered by my insurance = $1.78
Peace of mind: priceless.
If only I could add: "BFP: priceless."



First ever HPT - confused and need help

Today is cyle day 32. My cycle is normally 30 days, on the dot. On day 30 I had a bunch of my pre-period symptoms: headache, grouchiness, craving chocolate, emotional out-bursts. Today I feel great. Still no period.

I have an appointment with Dr. W this morning for another mock transfer in preparation for our FET. Gotta map out my cervix, as Dr. Alternative had a hard time getting the embies up there during the fresh cycle. In fact, it hurt. Like a pap smear with the dentist from Little_Shop_of_Horrors.

Anyhoo. I realize this this my first cycle post IVF, but 32 is long for me.

So I bought my First HPT this morning, right when the pharmacy opened. Luckily, the's were on sale.


Not pregnant. But...

There is the faintest vertical line across the big fat horizontal line. Is this the famous evaporation line? If I were PG, at 2 days past the day I expected my period, wouldn't the vertical line be stronger?

I've called my IVF coordinator to ask her what to do.

I'm feeling super anxious right now.


Update:Peed on the 2nd test. Same very, very faint line. Jumping in my car right now to get a better test. Thanks for the suggestions. OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG...

Update #2: Bought the F.irst R.esponse digital. The little clock is flashing...

Update #3: No. Definitely negative. Oh well. It was a fun ride... Where's my period, then?

Update #4: I hate IF, I hate my body, I hate Mr. Jem's crap sperm. I just want to cry. When I left the pharmacy the last time, I turned down the offer for a bag. As I turned to leave, the lady at the register said, "Don't forget the receipt." I replied, "Why? Can I return the test if it doesn't give me the response I want?"

Ughh. Again, I hate this.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Less snarky about holiday cards (or am I?)

Okay, I was a bit snarky in my last post about my friends sending Christmas pics of their kids. I actually like seeing the pictures. I do think it's strange that holiday pics are mostly just of the kids, like these children live alone and are the ones who actually sent the cards. I can just imagine whole suburbs with no adults, just kids going to school on their own, running errands, paying mortgages. Look, they are queuing up at the post office to buy stamps. Aren't they cute?

The other thing that bothers me is there is typically no note, not even a signature. It's like the card says, "We have kids and that's all that matters. Aren't they cute?"

Okay, maybe I'm projecting terribly, but that's the way it comes across. Of course these are dear people with very busy schedules and it's a miracle they got the pictures made and could even find a stamp for the cards, what with soccer practice, ballet, flute and all the kid birthday parties they attend. You know, the ones you read about on FB?

Okay, enough said...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas cards of doom

They're arriving... the holiday cards with nothing in them but pictures of my friends' smiling children.

Darn them!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Parties


There were a ton of kids at the holiday parties I went to this weekend. It was surprisingly easy, tho. I felt relaxed and happy around them. Slightly jealous, yes. Wondered if the parents would notice if I took one of the little ones home with me..


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friend's baby bump

Tuesday night we celebrated my friend's birthday at a restaurant. My friend L is 4 or 5 months pregnant. There's the post that describes how she announced here pregnancy.

What was sad was that she didn't want to show her baby bump or talk about her pregnancy. Every time the subject came up she would look down at her lap as she answered the question. And then change the subject.

She's 41 and it was an "oops" pregnancy with a man she's been on again off again with.

How unfair is this situation. L sat on the other side of the table, clearly tired, uncomfortable (physically and emotionally). Mr. Jem and I sat at the other side of the table. She clearly didn't want to be pregnant. I would give my right eye to be (not literally).

If I had been in her shoes (or better yet, me and PG), I would be beaming with joy. I'd be one of those obnoxious PG women who let friends (only) touch their bellies. I'd be showing off the baby bump with cute maternity wear (never mind that I look like I have a tiny baby bump with my IVF fat).

None of our local friends know we did IVF or that we're preparing for our FET. We plan on keeping it that way until we can announce some happy news.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Decision made

In anticipation of my cycle starting next week and going forward with the transfer of our three frozen blasts, Mr. Jem and I decided to do the FET the week of Dec 28, even tho Dr. W will be on vacation and Dr. Alternative will (probably) be the one doing it.

Reasons for doing this:
1) FET less of a hassle than a fresh cycle, as I won't be stimulated. Boy was I hyper-stimulated last time... yuck.
2) I'll already be on vacation and won't have to take additional days off.
3) Won't have to explain to my boss AGAIN about needing time off for female issues
4) We've already reached our medical deductible for the year.
5) Dr. W will do another mock transfer next week to map out my lady-bizness
6) Dr. Alternative will have Dr. W's notes, plus as she's already been up in there, she should now have a better idea of my who-ha and it should be less painful this time (see reason 1)
7) Dr. W reassured us that all the doctors at the clinic have the same success rate.

There. Decision made. Boy does it feel good to make a decision. It's not the ideal situation, but it should work. One question we asked was, "Are we doing everything possible to make sure we have a positive outcome?" There is no medical reason why Dr. Alternative shouldn't do this procedure.

Now, if it doesn't work, then I'm sure we'll blame ourselves, "We should have waited for Dr. W!" But who knows at this point. It's only the transfer, not the retrieval!

Have any of you had decisions like this that you either regretted or not afterwards?

Wish us luck!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Urology Report

Mr. Jem went to see "Dr. Johnson" on Thursday and we got the results of his blood tests. Mr. Jem’s testosterone level is very low and his FSH is very high. His brain is telling his testicles to produce sperm, but the “factory” has shut down. Actually, the right testicle has shut down production and the left one is on partial strike. Thus the low, low, low, low sperm count.

Dr. Johnson prescribed testosterone gel.

The good new: the Rx should help Mr. Jem’s testosterone level, increase his libido (yay!), his energy level, and core muscle mass.

The bad news: He’ll need to apply the gel every day for the rest of his life. It will not do anything to increase his sperm count.

The other good news: We still have the 3 embryos and a bunch of tissue from Mr. Jem’s testicular biopsy.

We still haven't made a decision on which doctor to use or when to have our FET. More discussion needed.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WTF Appointment

Monday we met with Dr. "Could-be-Wonderful-again-if-FET-works." Okay, I'll just call him Dr. W from now on.

He don't know why the fresh cycle failed. Everything was excellent: egg count, embryo quality, everything.

When asked what he would do differently, Dr. W stood by his agressive use of meds to stimulate me. He said we might not have had any embryos to freeze if we didn't go all out with the stims.

He even explained the poor fertilization rate: it was due to the fact that they used sperm from Mr. Jem's testicular biopsy, sperm that is less "mature" by nature.

He was encouraged by the fact that the beta was 8, even if we didn't get a pregnancy. At least something stuck, for at least a little while. A very good sign.

Conclusion: He felt we had an excellent chance with the three icies waiting for us. FET is much less expensive (~$3K instead of $13K) and less meds and less intrusive. It sounds like a walk in the park next to a fresh cycle of IVF.

We will start our next cycle, which should begin around Dec 15. The only snag: (and you knew there HAD to be a snag) Dr. W will be on vacation the week between Christmas and New Years, exactly when the ET will happen AND when I have (forced) time off work. Darn. Drat. Turds.

If we want HIM to perform the transfer, we can extend the cycle (just keep taking estrogene and hold off the progesterone shots) and wait until the beginning of January. But do I want to take MORE time off work? Not really. Do I want another doctor to perform the transfer? Not really. The first one was torturous (read my account here).

What should we do?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!