Thursday, February 25, 2010

Outrageous Fertile comment of the month (updated)

Yesterday, office birthday bash. I'm cutting the cake. A woman, who I thought was my friend, is giving me hard time about how I'm cutting the cake. I rib her back until this comment:

Her: "You don't know how to cut cake, you don't have any kids."

Me: Really?

Inside I'm thinking, "Thanks for rubbing it in, be-atch. I told you we are working on it. Thank you soooooooooo much!"


Other fertility horror story: I seem to have roped myself into hosting a friend's baby shower on Saturday. The woman who was supposed to host has the flu and bad. Last weekend I casually volunteered to host if she didn't feel better in time. Unfortunately, she's not feeling better. That will learn me for being nice.

What have I done?!!!!!!! I must be insane!!!!!!!!!

BTW, anyone have any good baby shower games that aren't too inane or demeaning? I really, really need your help here!



Thanks for all the excellent ideas. My first instinct was "no games, but I think I will include some sort of game because it's a group of women who gather regularly to play games (Bananagrams, Boggle, Scrabble, etc.). I really like the ideas from Classy Chaos that lis suggested. Who doesn't like Mad Libs?!

I also think it will be good for me to have some sort of activity I can concentrate on that won't have me fixating on this woman's baby bump.

Only one of my friends IRL who will be there know about our TTC and ART. I'd like to keep it that way.

Good news: My HCG is down to 28 and I've been given the green light to drink 2 weeks after my MTX injection, which will be Saturday! I've never had Bourbon Slush, but it sounds divine. I haven't met a bottle of Bourbon I haven't like - big fan of the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lowering Betas

I realized I never posted my Saturday beta... but that's understandable as we had Grandma's memorial on Saturday and I was busy with family all weekend.

HCG was down to 61. I have one more beta on Thursday morning. Hopefully it will be back to zero. Started spotting today. My goodness, the end is actually here. Can you believe it? I had my first beta on January 16, over a month ago.

Yesterday I cried like a baby... uh, no, that's the wrong image. I'd LOVE a crying baby around. I cried. Period. Cried for my lost embies, lost opportunities. Cried for my grandma, cried for myself - I will miss her so much. I saw her every week. I would have dinner with her and her dear friend, Rose, a 104-y-o woman in a wheel chair. I cried because I was afraid my mom wouldn't come down to visit me anymore (she came often to see her mother). I cried and cried.

No surprise when the spotting came early this morning. I was so pre-menstrual last night. Actually, I spent the past month in a state of premenstrual cramping and moodiness. Waiting for my beta to go down. Waiting. And waiting. Yes, it's a relief it's over, a relief and sucky. I actually went online to one of those beta tracking sites to check if Dr. W was right and the PG wasn't viable (it wasn't; Dr. W was right).

The memorial for grandma was beautiful. Started with a clarinetist from the SF Symphony playing Bach. Then my aunt did a slide show of pictures and narrative of my grandma's life, from her father's flight from czarist Russia to Argentina, his attempt to walk to America from South America, how he met Great-grandma... to grandma's birth in NYC, her marriages, the birth of my mother and aunt, move to California, jobs, divorce, political activism, friends, music (she played piano), grandchildren. Then people got up to speak about her. The entire room was filled with laughter and love for this 96-year-old woman who was so happy, filled with life and vitality. Yes, her light was fading at the end, before her fall. But she was so much fun. Until last year, she regularly beat me at Scrab.ble. She loved doing crossword puzzles with Mr. Jem, who she loved (and teased) like a grandchild. It makes me smile to type these words.

You all are now updated on my life. I have been quiet lately, reading lots of blogs, commenting when I could. I'm true to my blog name - ambivalent feelings about all the BFP announcements online. I'm genuinely happy for the women who have been through so much and are finally seeing results. AND it makes me sad, jealous, cranky, like a total beatch for being jealous. Such is life.

Thank you all for all the support and kind words. I am truly appreciative(no ambivalence there).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beta results (updated)

Nurse just called. HCG is down to 102!!! It's bittersweet. Happy to see it down finally. Unhappy to be happy about a falling beta.


Update: Northern lights: I wish I could have a Pastis. With shot of doom I'm not allowed alcohol for 2-3 weeks. Talk about adding insult to injury! I'll just have to eat some French food and think of our time in Paris! Hey, "we'll always have Paris" won't we?

Beta #11 (or is it 12?)

Still waiting for the clinic to call me back with the result of this morning's beta. If it doesn't go down, I'm not sure what I'll do. This is just ridiculous! Okay, I'm working myself up over nothing. I don't know what the results are yet. Of course, it was 4 weeks ago that I got my first beta. Time flies, huh? (note sarcasm!)

I'll update later.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Metho.trexate #2

After waiting for 30 minutes to be called back to the u/s room, I had my Metho.trexate shot #2 administered. Damn, those shots hurt. I'll never complain about PIO again - okay, maybe I will.

I had to wait in the room for 15 minutes after the injections (yes, there are two, one in each cheek) to make sure I was okay. I just lay on the table and cried. Cried because I should be carrying a regular, healthy fetus by now, not getting ANOTHER shot of toxic medication meant to stop embryonic tissue from growing. It's so counter-intuitive, so wrong!

I WANT a baby to grow in me.

Clearly my body wants to be pregnant and is holding on. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not my baby, that my baby will come.

I had to tell my boss what was going on, as I missed half a day of work on Friday. He was just relieved that there was nothing life-threatening going on with me, plus, he made me smile as we were leaving the conference room where we were talking - he said, "Jem, I'm so excited for you!" It made me remember the hope and longing I do have to become a mother. Hope I've had to push and cram into a small part of my heart as I'm dealing with this pregnancy that was not meant to be.

What did annoy me was that he went on a bit about how basically I need to take a break from treatment because we're starting the really busy time of the year at work - I am in the training department of a very large company and we are preparing for our annual sales conference, preparing 12 hours of training for our sales force. I know I need to have my head in the game and all, but didn't need to hear it from him.

Needless to say, Mr. Jem and I had already decided to wait a while until we start treatment again. First to see if we can get Mr. Jem's sperm count up and see if we can conceive "naturally" and second, so we can both concentrate on work for a while.

So, now I'm just taking it easy, taking care of Mr. Jem who has the flu. Hoping I don't feel sick from the Metho.trexate (diarrhea, headache, stomach cramps, dizziness, and nausea - fun!).

Other than all that crap, as well as mourning my grandma's passing, I'm actually doing fine. I've decided to wear my hear curly these days - It's fun to play with maximizing my natural curls, rather than straightening them everyday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Miracle ectopic pregnancy becomes twins! (Updated)

Okay, not exactly.

Seems my pregnancy isn't ectopic. Today I had an u/s and Dr. W saw a spot that looks like a tiny sac, so it seems my pregnancy was in the ute, but so slow growing to not be normal.

(The animal part of my brain cried out, "you killed my baby, Dr. W!" even thought I know the embryo couldn't be normal as it doubling time was a week, rather than 48 hours.)

Still waiting for the results of my HCG. Hopefully the number will finally be coming down.

As I left, and needed to pay, the woman at the desk said, "Oh, you're having twins?!"

"I beg your pardon?!!" was my response.

"Dr. W marked 'U/S with 2 sacs' ...

I just started laughing. "Um, no. We thought it was ectopic, but he did see one tiny empty sac today."

Great! My pregnancy went from ectopic to a multiple in the blink of an eye! If only it was that easy!


Update: HCG is 294. Have to have a CBC done tonight and go back to the clinic tomorrow for a nurse to re-administer the Metho.trexate. Oh joy (not so much).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

R.I.P. Grandma

Grandma passed at 12:30 a.m. early this morning. My aunt was with her when she died. Earlier that evening a group of friends of my aunts came to her hospital room and sang to her. They do this often to help people pass. I'm sorry I missed this, as I was told it was a moving moment.

I am so sad that she's gone, but also happy that she didn't linger in pain.

Thanks again to you all for your support.


P.S. My apologies for not being a good commenter lately. I haven't even read any blogs lately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Next beta = what?

HCG plateaued at 338. Ugghh. I have to go back into the clinic on Friday for another u/s and possibly shot of doom (?). Gotta love the ectopic.


Grandma's liver is failing. I feel so bad because I am down in SoCal for work and can't be there. I know it's okay, but I feel terrible.

I arrived here yesterday (Sunday) and spent the day with my college roommate. We had lunch by the beach, a walk on the strand. Then mani/pedis (first in MONTHS!). I called it "Operation" because I felt so much better by the end of the day.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grandma Report 2

Grandma is resting comfortably. There's nothing medical to be done now, except to make her comfortable. That's code for lots of morph.ine.

She smiled at me briefly on Thursday when I came in the room, but has been unconscious since. Her breathing has become labored. My mom flew down from Oregon so the whole family is gathered around her to say goodbye.

I had an hour yesterday alone with her while others were running errands. It was wonderful to just hold her hand and tell her how much I love her and to thank her for being the source of so much love, support, good humor, intellectual curiosity.

(I can't believe two post with no mention of IF - it's a relief not to be navel-gazing and contemplating my bareness, but to celebrating the wonderful life of a 96-y-o woman, being there for her and for my family!)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grandma Report

My wonderful grandma is doing worse. They are not talking about surgery for her fractured hip, but hospice. This makes me very, very sad. Okay, she's 96, but I want her to live! Yes, she's had a great life. Many of my most happy childhood memories are from when I would visit her each summer. She would spoil me (relative term, we were dirt poor, so she bought me new school clothes) and love me up!

I know I keep anonymous, but here's a picture of me and Grandma last year at her 95 birthday party.

Please pray for her, that she find peace (oops, I typed peach the first time!).

Please also take a moment to think about/call/thank the women in your life who bring/brought you joy.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Next Beta...

Results are in: 358 - coming down (finally!)

Take that, ectopic pregnancy!

Next beta scheduled for Saturday. Hopefully we'll have it come WAY down.


Other news: my 96-year-old grandma fell yesterday and fractured her clavicle and her hip. She's in tremendous pain. Please send good, healing thoughts her way.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Jem's business

This post is all about Mr. Jem and his man-business.

Two years ago when we started TTC Mr. Jem had his first SA. The doctor's first question when the results came in where, "Has Mr. Jem had any chemotherapy?" The answer was "No, why?" His response: "Because there are virtually no sperm in the sample."

Yes, dear readers, the results were that bad. 100 thousand swimmers. Too little to check morphology. Bad, especially as 25 million are the minimum amount to be considered normal.

Mr. Jem was in a sucky job and tho we had "pulled the goalie" he wasn't really in a good place to even talk about having a baby until Summer 2009. He retested. 600K.

The Diagnisis: Male Factor Infertility. The treatment: IVF with ICSI.

We had been doing acupuncture as soon as we decided to do IVF. The acupuncture clinic didn't really take his low count very seriously. They had him on special vitamins, Chinese herbs and only did acupuncture right before the SA. They (and our RE, Dr. W) said: "It only takes one sperm." Well, actually, it takes more than that!

The week before ER, his SA came back with zero sperm.

***Sounds of tires screeching to a halt***

Because of this, he had a testicular biopsy the day of retrieval to get sperm for the IVF with ICSI. After cutting into both sacs they were able to extract enough to fertilize my eggs AND freeze some for next time, if necessary. The silver lining from all this is that Mr. Jem found a urologist he really trusts.

Since the IVF, the urologist, who I call Dr. Johnson, did blood work on Mr. Jem. Mr. Jem had low testosterone. His FSH was normal. The way Dr. J. described it was, "The brain is sending the signal to the factory, but the factory isn't making any sperm."

In December Mr. Jem's Free Testosterone was 35, well below normal. Dr. Johnson put him on After 4 weeks, Mr. Jem's level rose to 75, within normal. Dr. Johnson switched him over to for two reasons: 1) to produce more better sperm so we can see if we can get PG naturally (we are MFI, after all, and if we can avoid another IVF cycle, that would be WONDERFUL) and 2) there's a generic equivalent to (unlike with so it costs $35 instead of $200 per month.

There are also other medical benefits of a normal testosterone level: it protects bone density, protects against heart disease, can help him lose weight and gain muscle mass, as well as raise his libido (always good!). Mr. Jem's sex drive has always been lower than mine, which has been the source of a lot of conflict over the 11 years that we have been together.

So, with the addition of and more testosterone, I hope Mr. Jem's energy, libido and sperm count climb.

I just wish that Dr. W had told us to see the Urologist BEFORE we started IVF. He didn't. He said, "Don't bother." I disagree and urge all of you who are MFI to make sure you check out all the options. Oh, and freeze sperm when you get the chance, rather than relying on getting a good sample the week before retrieval. If I could spare anyone the heartache and worry of that, I will have done my job here.

I'd love to hear anyone else's (or DH's) experience trying to increase sperm count. What did you/he take? How did it work?


Monday, February 1, 2010

Beta #7

HCG = 384, still going up. Ugghh. Dr. W says it's too early for it to be coming down. It should come down by Wednesday, so I'll have another beta on Wednesday. Fun!

Tomorrow: I will post an update on Mr. Jem and our working on treating his MFI.

Again, thanks for all the support. I'm feeling okay, not great, but okay.