Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Mr Jem and I spent the day decluttering Casa Jem - we shredded old documents, put up pictures we have been meaning to put up for months, and we changed pictures around. The house feels peaceful, clean, new. New. Looking forward to the new year - 2011, here we come!
~ Jem

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

SA #3 + a find

Mr. Jem delivered his third SA yesterday. No news from the clinic. 

But we have a back-up plan: we remembered that we have frozen specimens from the previous IVF attempts. We can officially go forward with this cycle! What a relief to know we have options! Mr. Jem will continue to give samples.

~Jem

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Holiday Baby pic

Tis the season for receiving a ton of holiday cards with pictures of other people's kids (thanks! rub it in!)

So I thought I'd share a baby picture of someone I love very much, ME!


Ain't I cute?

~Jem (ICLW #5)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome DecemberICWL

Zero,zilch,nada,nada,nothing,rein,niet,none. Bagel, donut.

Those are the results of Mr. Jem's third SA in less than a week. This is a huge disappointment after all we've been through. Not only do we have this sever male factor infertility to deal with, but also have repetative loss two biochemical pregnancies from the first IVF (fresh plus 1 FET). Then we had a BFN with no frosties south he second IVF in June. We changed clinics and I've been recently diagnosed with autoimmune issues, including NK (natural killer cells) which can be treated, but uggggh the cost and the hassle...

Those of you who have followed this blog know that 2010 was a super crappy year! Lost my grandma and our dear cat Fluffy. We're hoping that 2011 brings much more happiness. And for you all, too.

Tomorrow, I'll post some neat baby pics - of ME (since I don't have any pics if my own offspring).

Glad you all stopped by.

-Jem

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Dad...

Mr. Jem went for his third SA (3rd in one week) today. The first one had 5 sperm, zero motile, the second had 7 sperm, but at least they were moving (still not good enough). The amazing thing is Mr. Jem is not discouraged. He keeps asking, "When is the ER? How much time do I have?" I reply, "It will be around January 15." He replies, "Oh, good, that's enough time." I love that man so much. He's so courageous, so positive, so loving. He'll be such an amazing dad. It makes me cry to type these words. It's so damn unfair.

I ran across this post about being a dad: Dad's Don't Leave. (Go ahead and give it a read and then come back here. I'll wait...)

The blog post made me cry. I cried because my own dad was there when my mom left me behind to "find herself." Cried because for years my own dad was only a Disney.dad, and then later after I grew up he was so self-absorbed (only calling to ask for $$) that he wasn't a real dad. It's only been in the last couple of years, since he had a life-threatening illness and surgery that he's actually been able to be present in our relationship. Now he has a new life companion and is happy. That makes me happy.

I cried for Mr. Jem while reading that blog, too. Cried because he'll be such a wonderful dad. Cried for the army of great men out there who have been robbed from the opportunity of being dads because of IF. I cried for all of your wonderful men who silently stand by as we go through uncomfortable and invasive medical procedures. They help stick us with sharp needles. They go perform intimate acts in sterile rooms. They agree to testicular biopsies, take hormones, do acupuncture (yes, Mr. Jem did acupuncture!), and take Chinese herbs. They do this without complaint (okay, maybe a little complaining).

They are the quiet heroes in this.

I love you, Mr. Jem and all you Mr. Jems out there!

~Jem

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Caffeine habits - results from the quiz

Type of beverage you drink:

Coffee                                               18    39%
Decaf coffee                                      9    20%
Black tea                                            5    11%
Decaf black tea                                   0    0%
Green tea                                            0    0%
Decaf green tea                                   1    2%
Soda (coke, etc.)                                2    4%
Diet Soda                                           6    13%
Water only                                          5    11%
N/A                                                   0    0%


What's your attitude towards caffeine?
 

Don't miss it                                          8    17%
Can't live without it                               11    24%
Indifferent                                             11    24%
Have learned to live without it            16    35%

When do you drink caffeinated drinks?

Never                                                        14    30%
One cup per day                                        25    54%
Always                                                        5    11%
Just not during the 2WW                             2      4%           

Your Comments

I gave up all caffeine (including chocolate, decaf) about a year ago, when I had to give it up for an IVF cycle.  CCRM does not want any caffeine in your system for a stim cycle or FET, as they think it can interfere with uterine blood flow.  So I just went cold-turkey ( I was a black tea and diet soda drinker, 2-3 per day), had headaches for 2-3 days, then was over it.  Never went back.  I now drink chamomile tea and water.  I also had mild IBS, and giving up caffeine and artificial sweeteners has really helped that too. 

What an interesting quiz! I'm a weirdo because I never got hooked on coffee and so I'm annoyingly perky when all my friends are craving their first cup in the morning.

I will happily go back to caffeine one of these days...

I usually have one diet soda with caffeine a day.  Sometimes, like on the weekends, I'll have tea with my lunch or dinner and a diet soda.  I've been at this for too long to worry about not drinking caffeine in my 2ww.  Just my opinion and I'm not judging anyone because I know that caffeine is bad for unborn babies and if I ever actually GET pregnant, I will be decaff the whole way.

I kicked the habit a year ago as I was getting ready to do my first IVF cycle. My acupuncturist said it made my pulse super wiry (she could tell I had 1 cup in the AM later in the evening). It was tough at first, but now I drink 1 decaf cup a day (usually a soy latte) so I feel like I still get my kick, even though it's just a placebo.
I also drink diet pop too. I have cut back since doing all the IVF stuff but when cutting it out didn't prove to be any help, I figured it probably doesn't really matter. You've heard the same song and I dance I have, people get pregnant smoking crack, shooting heroine, snorting coke, etc., a little caffeine in the 2ww most definitely isn't going to hurt anything. If you're not getting pregnant, it's more than likely NOT caffeine's fault. Peace out.

I saw an accupuncturist the month before our IVF consult.  He told me to stop drinking it.  I did and it sucked.  I miss it.  I did however go to two appointments and then found myself pregant after 18 cycles of nothing.  So who knows.  I am leaning more towards luck, but I know I am going back for more accupuncture when I deliver.

I have cut out coffee entirely but still drink one cup of black tea about 4 times a week.

I usually just drink diet soda with caffeine and with out all the time until my second week of the two week wait.  Then I cut it out. I miss having flavor in my drink and the bubbles.

I went without all through our cycle, and when the OB ok'd a cup a day, I was thrilled.  Today my neurologist vetoed caffeine altogether, and I am soooo sad :( 

I went off caffeine more than 8 years ago, due to Panic Attacks.  Caffeine causes my heart rate to increase and get all wonky, so I don't really miss it. =)  The only form of caffeine that I voluntarily ingest is CHOCOLATE (can't live without it)!  Other than that, I'm a red tea (naturally decaffeinated) fanatic.  It's the best.

I sleep very poorly and cannot drink any caffeine after about noon or I won't sleep that night. I don't even eat chocolate after lunch time!

I love all kinds of teas. I gave tea up during both my IVF attempts. Waste of time...probably won't next time.

I only drink decaf coffee on the weekends, when I can have it with my raw, organic milk. Otherwise, during the week I drink herbal tea. (I know, sounds really granola, doesn't it?)  About 6 years ago, I weaned myself off caffeine and never looked back!

Quit during ivf and fet cycles....

Where's the espresso choice?

"I tend to give up caffeine completely when TTC...it's too hard to vacillate back and forth between caf and decaf...I really like the taste and I don't miss the kick too much.
I've read IVF docs' reports saying that caffeine is more detrimental to IVF success than is alcohol...so it's just not worth the risk. I've also read (think it was from Dr. KK) that caffeine can reverse blood flow in the spiral arteries of the uterus...not sure if true, but apparently a skilled U/S tech can tell if you're drinking loaded coffee.

I soooo miss caffeine but found that my little one is way to sensitive too it.

I usually drink herbal tea or water, but sometimes I drink green tea (caffeinated).  I do love a good Turkish coffee or espresso sometimes, though, after a good dinner :). 

Very cool to see a poll in a blog! I will have to see if I can do this in wordpress on mine! :-)" (From Jem: I did this quiz on Google.docs)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crappy.Spunk

Mr. Jem had his first SA in ages yesterday. Clinic just called with the results:

No sperm. Zero. Zip

Urgggh.

He told me he had a really hard time producing yesterday. Hopefully the next sample will be better. Or else it's testicular biopsy (again), which Mr. Jem definitely doesn't want.

~Jem

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caffeine?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I wanna be a MI.LF!

The following scene played out in the kitchenette at work.

Her: Oh, Jem, you look nice today.
Me: Thanks. I'm going to the company holiday party after work and wanted to dress up.
Her: Oh, I won't be making it. 
Me: Going home to the baby?
Her: Yay. Enjoy the freedom!
Me: Enjoy the baby.

I'm not making this up. This woman has no idea of our struggle to conceive. She was jealous of me being able to go to the dumb corporate event. I would trade anything to be in her shoes, going home to a baby.

Then I noticed how slim she is. She gave birth mere months ago? How does she do it? Is it a fertile only thing? Made me realize I may never be a MI.LF. I'll be too old (Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get my point.

Oh, and here is my updated calendar:
  • Hum.ira injection 12/15, 12/29
  • Last pill 12/31
  • Estradiol & ultrasound @ Z clinic1/2
  • Start micro dose injections 1/3
  • Start fsh injections 1/5
  • Intralipid infusion 1/6
  • Estradiol, prolatin, NK, TH & ultrasound @ Z clinic 1/11
  • Estimated retrieval 1/15-1/18 
  • Estimated transfer 1/18-23
~Jem

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dates?

Still haven't heard back from the Z clinic if we can do 28 days of BCP instead of 21. I sure hope so. Today I'm scheduled for my first Hu.mira shot - not sure how to proceed.

For those of you out there wondering about the whole 3-day or 5-day transfer, which is best, check out this post.

Nothing else to report except I'm getting my hair trimmed today (exciting, no?).

~Jem

Monday, December 6, 2010

For Emily + Antral follicle count + Plan w/ Dates!

For Emily
The first part of this post is for Emily, who commented on my last post. Emily is embarking on her first IVF. I didn't see that you had a blog, so I thought I'd answer your questions directly in my blog. Oh, and I'm touched you read my whole blog. It's been quite a year.

First off, Emily, don't be scared or freaked out by IVF. It will be okay. Yes, it's a big deal. Yes, the injections are intimidating at first, but you do get used to them. It can be daunting to receive a big box of drugs and needles. The nurses will teach you what to do. You will also rely on your husband/SO like you have never done before. Yes, it is surgery and all of it IS major. 


You can do this. It does help to know that there are a ton of us out here for you who understand and have been through it all. Oh, and if you insist on being freaked out, that's okay, too. You read my blog. I have had moments of pure terror. Perfectly normal.

Regarding clinics. The quality of the clinics in the SF Bay area are all good. Just because the clinic I used before didn't get us a baby, doesn't mean it isn't a great clinic with lots of BFPs. I would go back to them to do a donor egg cycle, if it came to that. I really like the people there and the doctors are great. Write to me at ambivalent.womb @ gmail. com and I'll tell you where I went. Just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for you.

We ARE putting our "last chance IVF" in the hands of Dr. Z. We finally met him on Saturday for my antral follicle count and really liked how he does all his own U/S and really took time with us without feeling rushed. He answered our questions. Mr. Jem wanted to know why he estimated only a 20% chance of us getting pregnant. he explained that from 38 to "not yet 40" women have around a 40% chance and it drops to 20% for women who are between 40 and "not yet 43." He also exuded confidence that we will be "treating aggressively" my Natural Killer Cells and other auto-immune issues.

Antral follicle count
I know you are all dying to know, right? 8 follies on the right and 7 on the left. I think he was expecting more and changed his initial guess at my protocol from Long Lup.ron to Micro dose Lu.pron protocol. I've already started BCP (oh, the irony) and the antibiotics. Mr. Jem will be making a deposit (to be analyzed and frozen) this coming Sunday.

Plan with dates
Here's the proposed calendar - we may do 28 days on BCP instead of 21 so we can have a bit of a vacation first over the holidays.
  • Start Ci.pro both partners 12/5
  • Back up semen sample @ the clinic 12/12
  • Hum.ira 12/7, 12/21
  • Birth control pills 12/4-12/24 (or 12/28 pushing the rest of the dates back by 1 week)
  • Estradiol & ultrasound @ ZFC 12/26
  • Start micro dose injections 12/27
  • Start fsh injections 12/29
  • Intralipid infusion @ the clinic 12/30
  • Estradiol, Prolactin, NK, TH & ultrasound @ the clinic 1/4
  • Estimated retrieval 1/8-11
  • Estimated transfer 1/11-16 
We have a plan, ladies and gentlemen! A real plan!
~Jem

Friday, December 3, 2010

Falling apart?

The acupuncture yesterday helped only temporarily. I've been a raging beotch with Mr Jem for the past three days. This morning, after apologizing for him for the 15th time, I got up, went to work and only when I got to work did I realize that I forgot both deodorant and to put on my makeup. What? Why would I forget to do that? 

I feel like my world is slipping. This "prepping for IVF" has my head spinning.
Okay, I have to get back to work and actually GET SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED, dammit!

~Jem

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CD1: take 3 (fer shizzle) - Updated

She's here!!!!!!! AF is here! The game is on!

Had a stressful crap day yesterday. The tension of waiting for AF was too much can you say PMS? Got home and my hum.ira rx was waiting for me. Only it needed to be refrigerated - I freaked out bcs Mr Jem should have seen the sticker on the box. I opened it up, and it was barely cold. Freak out. It should have been delivered yesterday, but he didn't hear the delivery guy knock. I'm afraid the cold chain was compromised. What to do?

Going to set my scan appointment today. Excited! Do I go back to acupuncture? it might help with my stress level. Oh, speaking of which, I bought and downloaded the Cirle and Bloom IVF meditation series. Like it, but still feel totally stressed.

-Jem

Update: Freedom.Pharmacy is reshipping my order, no questions asked (yay!). I went and had acupuncture, plus an abdominal massage. Feel like 100 bucks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

CD1: take 2

Okay, I thought yesterday would be CD1, but I was wrong. Just rusty spotting. Today looks the same. I've already made my antral follicle count appointment with Z Clinic for tomorrow... Might need to reschedule unless AF shows up. Pronto. I'm surprised it's not here already. Monday I had my typical PMS headache and moodiness. (No, I'm not PG, physically impossible!!!!)

Went to my local Resolve meeting yesterday. It was a little hard to be around so many people who are struggling with IF. Three of the six people there were embarking on donor egg cycles after 4 or 5 IVFs . One had lost her fetus at 21 weeks to a fluky infection. The other was contemplating living child-free. Egad. And then there was me, embarking on IVF #3, trying to stay hopeful. Gulp.

So, I need your positive thoughts - for this cycle, for AF to come in earnest now. 

Thank you all for your warm welcome back. I will be blogging and commenting much more now that I'm cycling.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CD1: IVF#3 here we come!!!!!!!

Okay, gang, it's officially Cycle Day One. Here we go, IVF#3. You ready? I am!! 

Let me grab my checklist:
  • BCP? Check!(oh, the irony never ceases to amaze me)
  • Hum.ira prescription? Being delivered today, so: check! 
  • All I need to do is call the Z Clinic to set up my baseline ultrasound / antral follicle count for day 2 or 3.
  • I'll have the uncomfortable conversation this weekend with my parents to remind them they promised to help us financially with this OOP cycle (my insurance has a lifetime maximum for fertility treatment). Mr. Jem's parents have already pledged $$ towards the grandchild fund.
 Yes, we are really doing this.

~Jem

Monday, November 22, 2010

November IComLeavWe

Welcome new readers!

So glad you stopped by my little blog. I missed ICLW last month, so I'm very glad to be back on board!

A little about me: 40 yo, just about to embark on IVF #3 with a new doctor and a new clinic. IVF#2 was a total bust - BFN and no frozen embies. IVF#1 was more hopeful: chemical pregnancy from the fresh cycle and something similar for the frozen. I had great embies the first IVF and am looking to get even more for #3. Plus, I'm going to get extra treatment for my recently diagnosed immunological and other issues (Natural Killer cells, MTHFR genetic mutation) - all this was enlightening, given our original diagnosis was male factor only. I'm spending this cycle psyching myself up for the upcoming IVF.

Here's my November IComLeavWe question:

What's your favorite (helpful or not) fertility advice you've gotten. 

Mine? I've cut out or limited almost all gluten, sugar, dairy and sugar in preparation for my next IVF. I've lost 10 lbs and feel great! 

What about you?

~Jem

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Need a laugh?

Read this blog.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

~Jem

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moving forward

After the shock of hearing that we only have a 20% chance of getting pregnant last week, I mourned. I guess this is the first time that I considered the fact that we may not have a biological child.

Thank you for the encouraging words. I can't tell you how much it means to me to receive your kind words and to give me a reality check. Yes, you are right. Most couples only have a 20% chance of conceiving any given month (granted, they don't pay $20K for the privilege).

So, we have decided to move forward with IVF #3. Give it a go, 100%. I'm willing to do this. We'll be starting in December.

Only other hurtle to jump: genetic counseling #2 (mandated by Dr. Z).

~Jem

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

20%

I was just informed by my doctor that my chance of having a successful pregnancy, given my age (40-42) is 20%. We'll be paying close to $20K for a 20% chance of getting pregnant, "if we treat the immunological factors that we have identified as they may well have caused a problem with implantation in your previous transfers."

Dear G-d in heaven.

Think I'll go check out some adoption blogs for inspiration...

~Jem

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Waiting 'til Dec to cyle

Small part of me wants to start now, the other wants to wait. Actually, the majority wants NOT to do it all, thinks it's terribly unfair and wants its mommy.

Sigh.

Hate FB?

Infertile? Hate Face.book? You must read this post. Hilarious!

Still haven't called Dr. Z's clinic to make my day 3 u/s appointment to get IVF #3 going. Am I just chicken? Or is waiting until Dec better?

Why am I torturing myself like this?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

CD 1: starting a new IVF? or waiting another month?

I'm baaaaaack!

CD 1 strikes again and, as promised, I'm back. This time armed with more information.

Working with a new RE, Dr. Z, across the bay from where I live. He believes in doing lots of testing. The results are in:

I tested positive for MTHFR gene mutation A1298C - yes, the dreaded F*th*rf*ck*r gene mutation!!!!  Dr. Z. prescribed baby.asparin (81 mg) and Fol.gard to help with absorption of Folic acid.

He does special immunological testing. Results are also in:
Positive for NK - Natural Killer cells and TH1 / TH2 intracellular cytokine. He will put me on Fem.ara (after I have a TB test done) and do intralipid injections at transfer.

Needless to say, I'm going out of my frickin' mind.

Part of me is relieved to know WHY our perfect embryos didn't take for IVF #1 along with the FET. The other part just wants to crawl under a rock and cry like a baby ---- Why me???!!!!!!! Why is this happening? Why can't this be easy?

I know I'm not alone in receiving this diagnosis. I'd love to hear your stories (especially your happy endings) and get advice. 

I don't feel especially ready to start this cycle. I'm not getting any younger tho. Do I just jump right in? Or do I wait a cycle to "digest" all this?

Jem


Saturday, October 9, 2010

On leave of absence

I won't be cycling until November. I just wanted to let you all know I'm taking a break from blogging until then. I need to put my energy into losing weight, getting healthy, focusing on my work and my IRL life!

I tried reading blogs and they just made me cry... the struggle and people's bad news is just bringing me down right now. I want to stay positive. I feel so much compassion and love for you all and want to be able to be there for you.

Do know that I value this community and am looking forward to coming back soon.

~Jem

Monday, October 4, 2010

And the Nobel Prize goes to...

"The Nobel prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded this year to Robert G. Edwards, an English biologist who with a physician colleague, Patrick Steptoe, developed the in vitro fertilization procedure for treating human infertility. "

Read more of this article (Thanks to Poppet for pointing it out to me).

***
Sorry I haven't posted in donkey's years. I've been busy, concentrating on my non-IF life like work (so I can afford our next out-of-pocket IVF cycle), my marriage (so I don't end up a divorced mother!), my health (so I'm a healthy mom who lives a long time and is HOT), and my friendships (which have been neglected).

Speaking of which, I better get back to work... Know that I'm thinking of you all and reading when I can.

~Jem

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome ICWL!

It's that time of month again... No, not THAT. ICLW, silly!

Here are things you might not know about me (non-IF related):

1) I was born in London, England, to American parents. My mom was working at the American School and my dad was in publishing (or avoiding the draft, as it was the late 60s).

2) I was conceived in Tetouan, northern Morocco while my parents were on vacation the summer of '69.


3) I lived in Geneva, Switzerland for 6 years after college. I worked for the United Nations, doing humanitarian aid work for former Yugoslavia during the war there. I speak proficient French. I miss speaking French everyday. I don't miss being a foreigner, tho. I love being home and close to my family.


What other non-IF things do you want to know about me?

~Jem

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vacation recap (edited to remove pic of me)

Our vacation was supposed to be a cruise to Alaska. But Fluffy got sick and died and our vacation $$ went to the vet instead.

As a result, we decided to drive up to Oregon (where my parents live).

First stop: Crater Lake

 

Then we drove up to Bend, to a log cabin we rented on the Deschutes River.


This is the view in the other direction...


We took the canoes out on the river, played golf at Sun.river...


...and as I mentioned in an earlier post, went fly-fishing.


Yes, that's me fishing. 

We also went on walks in gorgeous settings. This is the Metolius River on the way to Corvallis, where my parents live. 

Alaska, eat your heart out!

 At my parents, we ate great food from my parents garden...


I sang songs with my dad, as he played guitar. We had a blast harmonizing and improvising folk tunes and Beatles.classics.
On the drive back down to California, we stopped in Eugene.OR and visited my old high school.

And then we rushed home because we missed our lovely home and our cat Sharky.

 















Home Sweet Home!


~Jem


Monday, September 13, 2010

To henna or not to henna????

I want to henna my hair, but am worried it's not good to do, like dying your hair while pregnant.

Anyone have advice? To henna or not to henna?

Realistically, I won't be cycling until the beginning of October.

Thoughts?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2nd Opinion: Dr. Z

Saturday, Mr. Jem and I had a phone consult with Dr. Z.

First the good news: he said I had good ovarian reserve and Mr. Jem should have enough sperm to NOT have to do another biopsy.
Mr. Jem: start taking Fertility Blend for Men again (he did before our first IVF). And go back on clom.id to up sperm production.

Me: Dr. Z wanted to do a different protocol. Instead of antagonist, which is best patients with low reserves, he would have us do IVF with ICSI using a Long Lup.ron protocol, to control hyper-stimulation. He also wants me to do some additional testing before we start our cycle (for killer cells, etc.) The other thing he wants to do is PGS on the embryos, so we transfer only viable embryos. At age 40, he said an embryo only typically has a 1 in 5 chance of being normal, so he wants to test ours, before transfer.

What's next? A chat with the nurse coordinator and then a financial person (our next cycle will be out of pocket). 

So, are we going to go forward? You betcha! My mom reminded me that I swore I was "done" after the last cycle, but this feels different. It's not the "same ole" and, despite the fact that we may never know why we can (or can't) get PG, I'm ready to move forward. Dr. Z has a great clinic, a top-notch lab, and responsive admin staff. Let's just hope they can get us a BABY!!

Jem

P.S. Here's a teaser for my next post on our vacation - a picture of Mr. Jem fly-fishing in Central Oregon, with a little help from my step-dad. Yes, that's a fish in Mr. Jem's left hand.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Home Again + CD1

Back after a wonderful trip to Oregon (I'll post stories and pictures later). It's good to be home. I have a couple more days off to just relax and catch up with things around the house. Nice.

Oh, and it's CD1, after a 28-day cycle. Fresh start. At least we have our 2nd opinion call with Dr. Z on Saturday to look forward to.

~Jem

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Goin' Fishin'

Literally. Heading off for a week up in Oregon to see the 'rents and relax.

I can't imagine being able to post until I'm back, so all the best to you all while I'm away!
 
~Jem

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's your major malfunction?

Still no O.

It's CD 21 and I'm still showing Hi Fertility. I suppose I could be NOT ovulating this month, but that hasn't happened before.

Okay, the only thing I can think is that my O monitor or pee sticks malfunctioned. I suppose it could be user error and I peed incorrectly - under or over saturated the stick. 

Who knows? Who cares? 

What I do know is that we did the sexy thing on Aug 22, but with no follow up, because I don't know if or when I ovulated! How frustrating is that?

Has this happened to any other normally ovulating IF'er out there?

~Jem

Monday, August 30, 2010

CD20 - O No


"O, where art thou?"

~Jem

Sunday, August 29, 2010

CD 19 - Where's O?

Yup, the monitor is still saying "high fertility" but not "O" yet. This is day 7 of high. I'm used to "O" at day 16. If she comes tomorrow, that will make it a 34 day cycle.

Having a great weekend. Went to the Eat Real Festival yesterday. For those of you in the SF Bay Area - you must go! Great food! It's still going today. Here's the website.

~Jem

Friday, August 27, 2010

Painting the Town Sober

Last night was fun. Super fun. Now I realize that the majority of the "hangovers" I've had in the past have more to do with sleep-deprivation than from alcohol. Okay, that's exaggerating, but you get the point. I'm tired today, but from being out late.

The guys totally bought the "I'm on antibiotic" ploy. Of course, one said, "I always ignore those warnings." Another said, "I limit myself to 2 drinks when I'm on antibiotics." But that was the extent of it. Instead, I got to watch them get all silly and drunk without the filter of me doing it too.

We started out at the home of one of my work-mates, B. He has a fabulous flat in the Castro neighborhood of SF. It's all Victorian and decorated beautifully. I met his cat, Coco, who is adorable and so much tinier than our Sharkey (who weighs 18 lbs). They drank bourbon, very good bourbon. We all snacked on artisan sliced meats, cheese, and hummus. We gave B, the colleague who is leaving our group, a beautiful framed picture of  the team and a silly kung-fu hamster that makes silly noises to replace one that wore out years ago. I've worked with B for over 9 years. That's a long time. That's also why I couldn't blow off the outing.

Around 8 p.m. we trekked down to this restaurant for dinner. Totally yummy. Then off this hip bar to rub shoulders with twenty-something hipsters and laugh uproariously and act silly some more.

Only bummer was splitting up the bill equally when I didn't have any part of the bottle of wine or an expensive entree at dinner. I chalk that up to the price of the outing. Like paying for entertainment.

I was home around 11:45 p.m. Not too late or too bad. Mr. Jem was funny when I got home. First thing he asked me was, "Did you drink?" I said, "No, plus you asked me not to and I said I wouldn't" and then laid a big smackeroo on him to prove the point.

On the TTC* front, it's CD 17 and no O. Tomorrow?

~Jem

*I hate the word "try" so "TTC" or "Trying To Conceive" will become "TTC" or just plain "C" or "Conception"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help! Peer pressure - Updated

I'm going out with my colleagues after work tonight. Let's just say that drinking will be involved. It will be the focus.

I don't want to drink. I'm just about to O and I want my body to be healthy and alcohol-free.

I don't want to tell my colleagues the real reason why. They are all guys and I don't want them in my bizness.

What should I tell them? Say I'm taking a medication that doesn't mix with alcohol? (I don't have to say that it's a pre-natal vitamin!) Say I'm on a diet? On a cleanse?

HELP!!!!

Update: Note that I have gone out drinking with this crew before. There are only 4 of us going out for a night on the town. I think I'm going with the meds argument, but would still appreciate advice!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Belated Blogoversary, Blog!

What? How did I miss this important Anniversary? August 13 of 2009 I wrote my first post. Oh, how hopeful and innocent I was!

All I knew is that I wanted to become a mom and that Mr. Jem didn't have enough swimmers to make it happen. This was before genetic testing, acupuncture, more SA, first injections, hyperstimulation, TESE, ER (twice), FET, MTX (twice), and on and on (and on and on...).

It's been quite a year! Thanks for all the support, for wiping my tears, for giving me hugs, and for sharing laughs with me along the way.

I hope a year from now I will have a child in my arms.

~Jem

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy ICLW!

In transition... that's where I am right now... best describes our situation after 2 failed IVF (+ 1 FET). After the last IVF I swore I wouldn't do it again, but we will give it one more go with a new doc and clinic. I haven't given up hope (okay, I gave it up and then took it back in my heart!!).

If you are new to my blog, my story is in the long list to the right. In brief, I'm 40, we're MFI, but my age is a factor, too. I picked the name of this blog because there are some days that I REALLY want a baby, a child. I know I'll be a great mom. Other days, I get discouraged and get all "sour grapes" around this and think, "I can't have a baby? Didn't want one, anyway!!" Boo-hoo, poor me!

That said, I do want a baby, a child. I know it won't be all roses and I still want/need to have a bigger family. Bigger than just Mr. Jem, Sharkey (our fur-baby) and me.

~Jem

Friday, August 20, 2010

WTF Appt #3

We met with Dr. W yesterday. It went well, in that I didn't cry, even when he started the conversation asking about Fluffy.

Why didn't our last IVF work? Why did we get less eggs and embryos? Why didn't the good embryos transferred stick? He didn't really know. 

Only conclusion: Old eggs. He didn't recommend doing PGD or any other testing.

Here are the options he presented:
  1. Donor IUI, with Clo.mid "kick" - could do this next cycle. 5-10% chance of getting PG. Cost: $600-$700
  2. IVF: Antogonist (again) with a slighter higher Folli.stim dose than last time (225IU). 35% chance of success, 40% with donor sperm.
  3. Donor Egg IVF: Higher cost ($25K), 60-65% chance of a baby with donor egg + Mr. Jem's sperm; 75% chance with donor egg and donor sperm. My reaction? With donor egg and sperm, shouldn't we "just adopt?" He pointed out that with adoption, you don't always know if the mother is taking good care of herself (not drinking, doing drugs), and that at least I'd have control over the pregnancy part of the equation. Hmm...
So, what to do? What was his recommendation? Dr. W didn't think there is one clear option. I don't want to "waste" time with a long series of IUIs, given my age (40).

We are definitely looking at getting a second opinion. I've already reached out to Dr. Zou.ves in Foster.City, CA. I'll let you all know what he says. Two other recommendations from a trusted source: CCRM (of course) and Dr. Jefferey.Fisch in Las.Vegas.

I'm starting to get mentally ready to cycle again. We will be traveling in September (to Oregon to see my parents and to MA to visit Mr. Jem's parents), so we'll need to cycle in late September, early October.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WTF Appointment tomorrow

We are going to see Dr. W tomorrow (instead of next week). Kind of excited to get this over with. Both Mr. Jem and I are NOT excited about going back to the clinic and are considering going elsewhere for future ART procedures.

In cycle news, it's CD8 and my "O" monitor had me POAS this morning. It's sad but I just sent and Out.look calendar invite to Mr. Jem for CD14 so it would be on his calendar at home so I don't get the "I don't know when you ovulate!" argument this month. Sigh. Who would have thought I'd be sending a meeting request to my husband to do the deed. Pathetic!

On a happier note, I joined up with a local Resolve group in the SF East Bay. Five of us from the group got together last Saturday and a had a hypno.therapist come do a guided meditation/relaxation exercise. She specializes in fertility. The idea is to eliminate the stress in your life to increase your chance of conceiving! Boy did I feel relaxed and good afterwards. I definitely recommend it. 

~Jem

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's amazing

Been a bit down in the dumps (wha? Really??!!). The weather her in NorCal has been gloomy and cold (50 degrees, grey skies, windy).

This afternoon the sun came out.

And I listened to this song.


It IS amazing!

~Jem

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CD1 - She's heeeeeere!!!

Oh, yeah, AF is here. With a vengeance. I want to curl up in a ball under my covers all day kinda vengeance.

No real surprise. Just glad I didn't POAS, as that would have been a waste of money.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

~Jem

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CD31 - symptoms

Nausea, headache, irritability... Hmmmm. I wonder what it means!? 

Squeeze the tatas... no tenderness.

Conclusion: regular pre-AF symptoms. Only question is, "When will she arrive?"

Monday, August 9, 2010

CD 30 - No news

Has it really been a whole week since I posted? Time flies when you are actually working (gasp!) rather than posting. I also re-discovered Twit.ter, so I've been a bit consumed with exploring that whole world. I now get what all the fuss is about. It's very cool. I do have one IRL friend who twe.ets WAY too much. I know that I don't need to let the whole world know where I am at all moments. Not judging, but Geeeze!

On the IF front, no news. It's CD 30, and I think I O'd around day 18. that means I have a couple of days more to wait for CD1. I'm 100% sure that this cycle is a no-go. I have no symptoms, except my regular pre-menstrual crap: irritability, and wanting to eat everything in front of me. B00bies NOT sore. Before IVF, my cycles were regular, 30 days on the dot. Since. Not. Is that normal?

Oh, I did reschedule our WTF appointment. Dr. W is on vacation this week, busy all next week. So, the appointment is for Thur August 26. Hope our other cat doesn't get sick like last time.

Okay, I better get back to work now...

~Jem

Monday, August 2, 2010

CD23

Okay, I had one beer at the game (see last post). No problem there. It's after the game, that I may have over-done it. Ended up sharing bottles (3, I think) of wine with 3 other colleagues on the roof of the building where VP lives (right by the ballpark). And eating soft cheese, too!

Granted, this is so early in the process, that I'm sure I didn't do any harm. What with all the crack-whores who get knocked up, you'd think it wasn't a factor, at least for implantation! Who knows, tho. Mr. Jem's sperm.count is so low (25K) that it may not matter.

We didn't make it to the WTF appointment we were supposed to have the other week, because we had to take Fluffy to the vet. Right then. I finally feel like I could face the smiling Dr. W (not smiling in a good way, more like an insincere "I need to smile at them when I'm tell them complete crap and give them the impression I can help them get pregnant." smile). 

While at the clinic I'm going to ask for my file when we go so we can look for a second opinion. 

We'd love RE recommendations in the San Francisco bay area... if you don't want to post doctor or clinic names in the comments section, feel free to email me at ambivalent dot womb at gmail dot com (but with "." where I wrote out dot).

~Jem

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Licking my wounds

Just a quick update to let you all know that I'm doing okay, haven't thrown myself off the Golden.Gate bridge or anything dramatic. Still sad about Fluffy, of course.

Today is CD 19. Been using the Clear.Blue.Easy "O" predictor machiney-thing this month and it said my high fertility period started CD 14 and peak time was CD 17 & 18. Mr. Jem and I did the obligatory BD (baby dance) on CD 15 & 18. Not much hope that it will work with his low sperm count, but you never know.

Other than that, been concentrating on work, which is good. Our whole team is going together to a baseball game today at noon. Should be fun.

The question is: should I have a beer, or not?

~Jem

Monday, July 26, 2010

In memory of our sweet Fluffy

On Wednesday, it was clear that Fluffy wasn't feeling well - he was lethargic, but he was scheduled for his annual checkup for Thursday afternoon and figured he could wait. 

Thursday morning we were heading out to our WTF appointment at 9:00 a.m. and Fluffy wouldn't even lift his little head off the floor. The choice was clear. We needed to reschedule our WTF appointment (#3) at the fertility clinic and take Fluffy to the vet, immediately. 

Unfortunately, the local vet's office was totally busy and couldn't see him right away. This was NOT good enough, so we got back in the car and drove over to the emergency vet hospital where we took Sharkey when he was hurt a couple of years ago. They could see Fluffy right away asked that we leave him with them while they draw blood and determine the best course of treatment.

Within hours, we got a phone call from the vet. Fluffy's numbers were off the chart, showing kidney failure (read here for more on this disease). We had them flush his system with IV fluids and retest the next day. We came to visit him at the hospital and he was still very sluggish, but gave Mr. Jem a kiss and purred like crazy when he saw us. He seemed improved and actually got up to to greet us, but he was far from his old, healthy self.

Friday his numbers were only slightly better, but still horrible. The worst part was that he was vomiting. Blood. And not eating. When we visited, it was clear that Fluffy was gone. Instead was a cat that was suffering. His personality was gone, the spark of life was gone. He couldn't lift his head anymore. He was clearly suffering.

The choice was clear, we had to say goodbye.
It was the most terrible day for both me and Mr. Jem. He's never had pets before, or been faced with such a terrible decision. Deciding to put Fluffy to sleep (horrible euphemism, as he isn't sleeping, dammit, he's GONE), was the hardest thing we've ever had to do as a couple.

We love you, Fluffy. You will be missed. There is a hole in our hearts.

Thank you for all your support and loving comments over the past few days. They have meant the world to us.

~Jem

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fluffy's sick (updated)

We had to take our dear cat Fluffy to the vet this morning. He was lethargic and moving slowly. Blood and urine analysis showed that his kidneys are failing. He is still in the hospital on an IV and having an ultrasound to see if he has cancer. His prognosis is NOT good. I've been crying all day. One more damn thing going wrong in my life.

I love you, Fluffy! Come home to us, soon!

Update: The vet just called. Fluffy's blood work is even worse than he thought. Fluffy is probably going to heaven soon. We're continuing the IV until tomorrow to see if his kidney function improves, but it's not hopeful. If he comes home, it's just for a little while and then we'll need to put him to sleep.


Oh, g-d. This sucks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July ICLW

Welcome, dear readers!

I'm Jem. Recently turned 40. Recently went through a second IVF that resulted in a BFN (big fat negative). The first IVF resulted in a chemical pregnancy from the fresh cycle and a sorta-ectopic pregnancy from the frozen cycle.

Tomorrow we have our WTF (what the eff) appointment with our RE (reproductive endocrinologist). Wondering if our options will change, now that we've had some epic fails under our belts. We may not just be dealing with male-factor infertility, as I've not been able to stay pregnant - egg quality issues, perchance?

Emotionally I've been vacillating between hope for whatever is next and numb depression at our situation. I am tracking my cycle this month - not taking my temps (I suck at that), but using the Clear.Blue Easy monitor to see when I ovulate. I'm currently on Day 11 of my cycle. I've never had a problem ovulating in the past, but who knows what all these IVF drugs have done to my system.

Usually I like to ask you all questions, but this time I want YOU  to ask me questions. What else do you want to know about me? 

~Jem

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

IVF in the news

It's crazy how much IVF is in the news these days, and it's not just celebrities having twins (yes, you, Cel.ine!).

This article is about IVF Associated With Increased Risk for Childhood Cancer - luckily the risk is low.

This article claims there is a way to predict the success of IVF... Really? Sounds too good to be true...

This one is not directly related to IF, but a super-fertile woman with uterus didelphys (she has two uteruses) who is pregnant with two babies conceived and due at different times.

Amazing what Goo.gle News can dig up in an afternoon...

Thursday is our WTF appointment with Dr. W. Any suggestions on questions to ask? I'm so emotionally tired of all this IF BS that my mind is blank... other than, "What went wrong? What are our options? Donor sperm? Donor eggs? Are there additional tests we should run?"

Ideas, oh wise bloggers?

~Jem

Monday, July 19, 2010

I have a secret, too

Others have posted this article from Self Magazine on their blogs. For those of you who read this blog and are lucky enough to be able to conceive and carry a baby easily, it will give you an insight into infertility and the huge emotional toll it takes.

Part of me wishes I was more open about our struggles with our IRL friends / colleagues at work. One of the few local friends I have told is just not that interested in talking about it, maybe it makes her uncomfortable, maybe she's just so self-absorbed that it doesn't even occur to her to ask how I am feeling. We decided not to tell most of our friends, because we didn't want the pitying glances or the "So, how are you?" veiled questions that really mean, "So, did it work? Are you pregnant?"

Luckily I  do have the support of our close families AND my college girlfriends. AND all my bloggy friends! Love you!

~Jem

Friday, July 16, 2010

Healing

Not much to report today. Still feel like I'm under water, moving very slowly. Didn't help that a big chunk of one of my back teeth crumbled on Wednesday afternoon. Had to go in to the dentist Thursday morning and got my first crown. They make it sound all royal and everything. The truth is it hurts. 

I feel like I turned 40 and my body is falling apart. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my arms just fell off, or if I started losing my hair, or if I suddenly developed some weird skin disease. It's been one of those years. 

(I am knocking on wood that NONE of those things happen).

We have Mr. Jem's dear (fun) cousins visiting - they just moved to Arizona from New York. We went to the Giants vs. Met.s baseball game last night.. I am at work today and Mr. Jem will take them to wine tasting in Napa during the day today, and then we'll meet back at the house for a BBQ.  I plan on having a glass or two (or three)...

Tomorrow Golden Gate.Park and then dinner in North.Beach and then a show - Beach.Blanket.Babylon. Sunday will be Mr. Jem's softball game, then brunch, and then we'll take them to the airport.

Very full lineup. Should be fun. If I can keep my eyes open. All I want to do is sleep...zzzzzz...

~Jem

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm a mom...

Yes, folks, I'm a mom. They just haven't given me my baby yet! 

Small distinction, but one I came to at my therapist on Monday afternoon. Yes, I went back to see my therapist, who I have been seeing since 2000. I haven't seen her too often in the past year, just a couple of times when I need a "tune up" and to "recalibrate" my thinking. She has helped me tremendously over the years.

So, back to this earth-shattering conclusion. I realized I was more upset by my BFN than I had suspected earlier, mostly because of this fact that I feel like I AM a mom, dammit, and someone has stolen my baby from me. IF, specifically. 

I keep asking myself, "WHY!!!!" (sound familiar?) and my old, preconceived notions are no longer right. I used to think I didn't deserve to be a mother because I has so many issues with my own mom (abandonment, neglect, etc. at an early age). Wrong. I am not my mother and I would NEVER abandon my baby to run off to "find myself" (that's code for run off with another man), and I'd definitely never put him/her on a Grey.hound bus to see a divorced parent.

Then I realized my mental block about motherhood had to do with the fact that I thought bringing a baby into the world would mean the end of my marriage. "Babies break up marriages." was the thinking that I unburied from my subconscious. This was a myth I deeply believed because it was what I experienced as a kid. Again, NOT my current experience. My marriage with Mr. Jem is stronger than that. In fact, a baby would be a blessing and something we BOTH want very strongly. We both want to show this incredible world to a little person. We both have so much love and nurturing to give.

Most recently I uncovered the fact that in my head I felt "I don't have enough money and can't "afford" a baby." What? Where did that come from? Perhaps because I grew up with a mother who had a negative relationship with money and was always panicking about it. My reality is that I hold a wonderful, well-paying job that I love. Mr. Jem is starting up his own business and I have supported him through grad school and then a couple of jobs that left him stressed and very unhappy. He is struggling with the business and it is hard. That said, it doesn't mean we can't "afford" a baby. It will just be trickier. He may need to stay home with the baby, which is not the model that I would prefer, but it is what it is.

So, now that I figured out I am a Mom I am supremely depressed. How could IF be doing this to us? Why the hell can't I get and stay pregnant? I'm not just sad, I'm effing mad. Mad, mad, mad.

This is so damn unfair I could spit. We've all ranted and raved on this subject and I'm sure all thought the same thing... crack whores can get knocked up, why not ME?!! Blah, blah, bah. 

Anyways, that's where I am.

~Jem

Monday, July 12, 2010

Urp...

The weekend was full of much indulgence, including a mani/pedi, a hot tub, sushi, frozen yogurt, more pizza and more coffee. I do have to say by then end of the day on Saturday I felt pretty lousy physically. Too much crap food.

This morning I'm back to eating sensibly and will even head to the gym at lunch (gasp!). I'm looking forward to working up a sweat! I'm ready to lose some weight and start feeling good! Anyone else out there ready to join me?

Hope you all are doing well out there. Emotionally I'm still very fragile. Actually, I'm fine 80% of the time, but If I start thinking or talking about our BFN, I get all teary. Perfectly normal, if you as me.

~Jem

Friday, July 9, 2010

The FU IF diet (updated)

After crying for an hour straight after receiving the news of our BFN, I started implementing my plan for the FU IF diet.
  • I began with a hot dog for lunch yesterday.
  • I had a glass of red wine at 4:00 p.m. (on an empty stomach). It tasted AMAZING.
  • Followed by another glass with dinner - pepperoni pizza (acupuncturist had me on no pork and low carb, thus no pasta and pizza).
  • I had chocolate for dessert, first time in months.
  • Then a little fun in the bedroom - Thank you, Big O. It does help as a mood lifter.
  • This morning: bagel (see above), medium-sized latte (Low fat and full caff of course), cream cheese (I had cut way back on dairy), egg quiche (and I had also cut out eggs). Then a cream cheese danish.
  • Lunch: I will have some sort of sliced meats, preferably processed with nitrates.
  • Dinner: Sushi (raw fish), and sake. Then candy and popcorn at the movie theatre. Planning on going at the time I would (should) have had my PIO shot.
Take that, IF!

This is how I cope. I hope I don't feel too sick with all this crap.
Eventually (in the next day or so), I will go back to a "eat healthy food" diet so I can lose the extra 20 lbs (Thanks to two IVFs and a FET). In the meantime, I will do what I want to.

I'm back in the office and I don't feel like crying. That's good, right?

Thank you to all of you for the outpouring of sympathy. You all get it. I appreciate it.

WTF appointment scheduled for July 22. Should have been our first OB scan. FML. (oh, no, the tears are starting...)

~Jem

Update: Urpppp. Now I feel jittery and a little sick...