Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No frosties


Dr. W just called with the news. None of the 4 other embryos made it to day 6 for freezing. Everything is banking on these three inside of me right now. There will be no FET from this cycle. Double f*ck.

Stick and grow and be healthy! At least one of you!!

I'm going to go cry now. F*ck this whole IF thing.


Monday, June 28, 2010


Here's proof that I'm taking it easy for the second day running, as the doctor ordered. That's Sharky and my right foot! Mr. Jem did an amazing job yesterday taking care of me. He even cooked dinner last night (gasp!). He grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and defrosted that wonderful TJ's frozen brown rice. Very healthy food for our babies! 

Thank you, Mr. Jem!

I'm reading lots of blogs and so grateful for all the support and love of this community.

Thank you Bloggy Community!

~Jem (feeling very grateful)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 3 Transfer - Welcome home babies!

Here they are, the three embryos transferred this morning - Day 3. The bottom two are 8 cell, grade 2 and 3 respectively (1 = best; 5 = worse). The top one is a six cell with some fragmentation. The doctor said the other 4 are "lagging" so they will continue to be cared for by the lab and hopefully we'll have something to freeze.

I did acupuncture before and after the transfer. Once the acupuncturist placed the needles and turned down the lights and left me alone I started sobbing. Crying for my dear grandmother who died in February - I was wearing her sweater. I cried for my aunt who never had children and gave up after adoption fell through. I cried for the two perfect embies transferred first and then their three frozen brothers/sisters transferred afterwards. I cried and cried. I cried for my frustration at wanting to be a mother and not being able to easily, without going through so much. I lay there with my eyes shut and I realized three things:
  1. My deep commitment to becoming a mother.
  2. If you don't bink when crying with your eyes closed while lying on your back your top lids actually fill up with tears.
  3. Ears are perfectly situated to catch said tears.
That made me giggle and I stopped crying. I am generally an optimistic person, and this IF stuff has really knocked me around. Mr. Jem and I were both surprised and a bit worried by the Day 3 transfer. I know that I had "perfect" embies last time I didn't get a baby, so that it my less good embies doesn't mean I won't have a baby... but still. I am worried.

I need some encouragement and happy stories about success 3-day transfers.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Help! Need your advice

I have a sheet of paper that shows what medication I need to take. I just realized I didn't take my morning dose of Estr.ace. Sh*t. It took it immediately at 9:00 p.m. I did notice some slight spotting (mostly in the form of cervical mucus) earlier today. I will take the evening dose when I go to bed. 

Did I totally Eff up? (yes)

Should I shove one up the va-jj for good measure?

I don't want to call the clinic or the on-call doc with such a dumb question...

Thoughts? Need your help, guys!!!


Fertilization Report - IVF #2 (updated)

Got the call from the clinic - here's the fertilization report: 

Of the 14 eggs retrieved, 9 were mature and were fertilized with ICSI. As a result, we have 7 embryos doing their thing! 

We're tentatively scheduled for a 3-day transfer on Sunday, with a good chance of going for the 5-day on Tuesday. We'll see on Sunday how many make it and how they are doing.

Oh, and please, dear readers, believe me when I say that I was very happy with the 14 eggs retrieved. Yes, it's a lot less than last time, but I'm not hyper-stimulated like last time AND we got fresh swimmer rather than biopsied ones this time. Getting any results is a blessing. Last time we had 24 eggs, but only 16 were mature; 9 were fertilized and we ended up with 5 blasts to transfer. Again, it's quality, not quantity that matters!

Doing ICLW this month has really brought home how I'm definitely in the "veteran" camp now doing a second IVF. I am so much less nervous, so much more zen this time around. Thankfully. 

As always, I'm so thankful for all of you, for your comments and support. 


Thursday, June 24, 2010


We were at the clinic at 5:45 a.m. this morning and by 6:30 I was under. When I woke, Dr. W said we had 14 eggs and enough fresh sample (from yesterday AND today) from Mr. Jem to fertilize them. I needed some extra pain medication, which made recovery time a little longer, but that's fine with me... was home by 8:30 a.m. and back in bed. I slept until 1:30 p.m., had a light lunch (home-made soup - recipe to follow) and chicken. Then back to sleep, Fluffy curled up by my feet. Bliss.

For IVF #1 we had 24 eggs. This time we got 14. I'm hoping for quality over quantity ("It only takes one" blah, blah, blah).

Thanks for all the words of encouragement.

Still a bit spacey, so I'll sign off. I'll report in tomorrow when we get the fertilization report.


Basic Veggie soup
1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (I used 2 small fresh onions)
4 cloves pressed garlic 
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 bundle kale (or chard or 1/4 head cabbage), chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped (optional) or you could add a can of beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1/2 tsp thyme or herbes de Provence
6 cups chicken broth (I used Organic, free range)
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until nearly translucent. Add the garlic, but don't let the garlic brown and saute another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the chopped veggies, sauteing for another minute or two. Add the thyme and salt and pepper while sauteing. Add broth.

Continue to simmer in the pot until the veggies are tender or transfer to a crock-pot, and cook on low 7-9 hours or 4-6 hours on low (timing may differ, depending on your crock pot).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today I'm working from home (really I am!), except for the hour I went to the local Star.bucks (I had fruit juice) so Mr. Jem could have some privacy to do "his thing" and then make a deposit at the clinic for tomorrow's ER. Yes, it's weird that he's doing this the day before ER, but we're just following doctor's orders. Mr. Jem performed like a trooper! 
Yesterday's monitoring results:
  • Right Follicles: 17, 14, 15, 19, 19, 13, 18, 16,17, and 20 mm respectively
  • Left Follicles:  10, 20, 13, 17, 11, 12, 14
  • E2 = 2,937
  • P = 1.56
Our sonographer was so confident that we would trigger that night that she pledged, "If you don't trigger tonight, I'll eat my Dans.kos!" Luckily she didn't have to!

I feel very "full" and am glad to be home, working where I can be comfortable. I'm making a big pot of veggie soup, made with fresh veggies bought yesterday at the local farmers' market. Yum!

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, so after trigger, and drying my eyes, we went to a local restaurant to "celebrate" our love (sans alcohol, bien sur!)! 7 happy years of marriage and things are only getting better!

Mr. Jem, I love you!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trigger Melt-down

I stood there, tears streaming down my face, vial of HCG in one hand and my phone in the other.

I was supposed to trigger at 6:30 p.m. and it was 6:34 and I was freaking out. Mr. Jem had been late picking me up at the train station - I stood there seething the whole time I waited, "He doesn't care about having a baby." (wrong - there was traffic). Now we were home and I was in a complete panic and having a melt-down.

"Sorry to call you after hours, Dr. On-Call." I sobbed into the phone, "This shot is different from last time. With Ovi.dril I knew what to do. This is pure HCG and the package says, "intermuscular only" and I don't know what to do". She calmly said, "Don't worry. You can shoot it into your tummy, no problem." Whew!

By 6:36 we had done the injection. No time to ice. But that's okay. It's not Meno.pur (evil) and doesn't sting.

I'm still a bit stressed, hate being all blamey with Mr. Jem. Isn't making a baby fun? (sarcasm)
So, we triggered. It's done. ER will be at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. No shots tomorrow (yippee!) 

I don't have any more energy to type... going to crawl into a little ball and I don't know what. Or maybe I'll read other blogs to distract me...


Monday, June 21, 2010

Trigger pushed back...

A nurse from my clinic just called. I'm not triggering tonight. Will go in for more monitoring in tomorrow morning.

Estradriol = 2,411
Progesterone = 0.980

I was feeling comfortable all weekend, but being back at my desk at work, sitting in my office chair all day, I'm suddenly very uncomfortable and can feel my abdomen and the swollen follies.

I'm a bit pissed disappointed not to be triggering tonight. I want to move forward with this already!!!!

More progress (updated) + June ICLW

Things are looking good:
  • Right Ovary: 10 follies: 16, 11, 10, 12, 11, 15, 12, 10, 8, 12
  • Left Ovary: 5 follies: 16, 8, 10, 14, 12
  • Lining: 8.7 mm (over the 8mm mark! Yippee!)

Waiting for the phone call to tell me if we trigger tonight or tomorrow.

I have continued to eat pretty low carb, which has helped with the bloated feeling.

I'm very, very excited.


For you ICLW'ers - welcome to my blog!

Hi, I'm Jem, a (just) 40-year-old, eager to add to our family. We're smack in the middle of IVF #2, with ER scheduled for either this Wed or Thur. We are MFI, so even though it's Mr. Jem's swimmers that have ruled out us getting knocked up "naturally" I must have something to do with our lack of a viable pregnancy because our first fresh IVF ended in a chemical pregnancy and the second in an ectopic (or something).

Despite those two negative outcomes, we are very positive and full of hope for IVF #2. This cycle is WAY easier, as I know what to expect AND we have swimmers on ice so Mr. Jem won't have to have a testicular biopsy this time (he was a total trooper!!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Progessing nicely

Yesterday's monitoring appointment was uneventful. 15 follies, biggest is just 16 mm, so I don't go back until Monday morning. E2 = 1,413. Lining: 7.9 mm.

It was a kid-filled weekend:

Mr. Jem had the boys over for Poker at our house on Friday night. I went out to dinner with a friend to one of those salad bar places, where you can get soup, pizza and dessert. Seems all the families in my town had the same idea. Lots and lots of kids there. Nice as there isn't too many babies/kids in my circle of friends.

Saturday night we had dinner at our neighbors' house. They have 4-year-old and a 10 month-old. Mr. Jem played soccer in the back yard with the older boy while I held the baby. It was pure bliss. THIS is why we are going through the hassle of IVF. It made me so happy to see Mr. Jem kicking the ball back and forth. He'll be such a great dad. And the baby felt so natural in my arms. Any doubts I had about babies (they have scared me in the past) melted away.

My sense of well-being persists. Hope is still in the house.


Friday, June 18, 2010


I am feeling sooooooo good today, almost giddy. I wonder what the reason is? Could it be the joy of having my parents come visit - I love spending time with my mom, just cooking with her is one of those "happiness is..." moments.

Yesterday we added the Gono.relix shot. No problem. Despite the Meno.pur (evil) burn, I like doing the shots because I'm actually "Doing Something!" I'm sure many of you can totally relate.

At the clinic we discussed the fact that we're not doing Ovi.drel shot for a trigger this time. Instead we are doing a purer form of HCG. I like this, even if it means mixing the drugs instead of the pre-made syringe.

I'm "working from home" today, which means doing emails mixed with a walk with my parents, a conference call, then lunch, then more emails. You know the drill.

The folks just left. They borrowed my car and are driving up to Anderson Valley for my uncle's memorial service (I'll tell that horrible story another post). It's 4 hours each way and I opted out for a couple of reasons. 1) I have a monitoring appointment tomorrow and 2) I don't want to be in a car for 8 hours tomorrow. My ovaries are getting that warm feeling and I'm starting to feel "full" down there. Plus, I'm not that close to that aunt and uncle and my folks will "represent" the family just fine.

Oh, and 3) my neighbors, who have become friends (we go out to dinner with them, etc.) are moving and another neighbor is hosting a small BBQ for them at 5 p.m. We really want to be there. (Does that make me a bad person?)

So, back to this feeling giddy. I think it might be *HOPE* (gasp! What? Dare we HOPE that this cycle works? Could we?) Yes, boys and girls, hope is in the hizzy!

Welcome back, Hope!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Right on track

Dr. W just called. This cycle is going great and I'm responding wonderfully to the stims.

Here are the results of my second monitoring appointment this morning:
Right ovary: 10 follicles; sizes: 7-14
Left ovary: 5 follies (plus a couple more small ones); sizes: 7-13


I'm to start the Gona.relix tonight. Fun! Gotta give those smaller follies time to catch up with the big ones. Dr. W. said my ER will be either next Wed or Thur. He's 50/50 on which it will be. Next monitoring on Saturday.

My optimism continues. Looking forward to my parents' visit today.

I'm also super busy at work and really enjoying it. I met with the hiring manager of that job I'm interested in. I think I will appy... but I LOVE my current job in training - much more "sexy" than this new job in Marketing... or maybe I'm just very comfortable in my current role.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The past few days I've done an amazingly good job at eating well - lots of fresh fruits and veggies, cut back on the bread after I totally binged on Friday and Saturday when I baked bread and I felt terrible afterwards. My acupuncturist recommend I also cut out dairy, especially cheese. As a result I feel less bloated and more energetic, which is good. Luckily the farmers markets in the San Francisco Bay Area are overflowing with bounty - so much wonderful fresh, tasty foods. Yesterday I bought a pound of English Peas. I shared half with my aunt and ate the other half on the train home. Yum!

Update on "down there:" Today is Day 6 of stims and I'm starting to really feel my ovaries. It's hard to explain, but I do. The sensation is like when you make cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Right now it's like when the berries start to expand and get warm. Sometimes they tickle. Any of you out there had similar experiences?

My spirits continue to be good and my enthusiasm for this cycle grows. Tomorrow I have more monitoring and my pre-surgery consult (can’t wait to learn who will be doing my ER), as well as acupuncture. Also, my parents are coming into town tomorrow and I've already made a reservation at a really amazing restaurant, Camino, in Oakland, CA – I am soooo looking forward to it. The chef used to work at Chez.Panisse. Unfortunately, Mr. Jem isn't going to join us as it will be game 7 of the N.B.A. finals and he already told me he'll be home yelling at in front of the TV, rooting for the Celt.ics.

Okay, better get back to work. This darn job gets in the way of my blogging... pays the mortgage, though!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010


All is well. They're not concerned about my lining. Looking forward to Thursday!

I'm getting excited about this cycle! My new nurse S was so enthusiastic about our first monitoring results that it kinda rubbed off on me. So glad we changed nurses.


1st Monitoring appt.

After 4 days of stims - 225 IU of Folli.stim + 75 IU of Meno.pur (evil) - had my first monitoring appointment. Lining is still thin (3.81 mm), but that's to be expected as I just stopped bleeding and it's early on.

Follie count: 17!
  • Left side: 7, ranging from 6 to 8 mm
  • Right side: 10 from 5-12 mm
Had blood drawn, too, but won't know my e2 count until they call me in the afternoon.

I've been going to acupuncture twice a week - Monday and Thursdays. Last night I also had an abdominal massage, which was pretty intense. They want to make sure I'm getting as much blood circulating into my lady-parts as possible.

My spirits are really good. I've decided to "just relax" with this cycle and see what happens. Last time I actually stressed myself out trying to actively relax - I had the guided meditation CD that I listened to. I would do body scans, yoga, visualization, etc, etc. It got to be TOO MUCH! This time I know what's going to happen medically (although I was surprised about how much the Men.o.pur (evil) stung the first time). I'm taking the "chill" approach. We'll see how long that lasts!!

My next monitoring is on Thursday. Egg Retrieval is still tentatively scheduled for Wed the 23rd. (So soon!).


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another step towards parenthood

Friday night, 10:00 p.m. injection time.

Carefully loaded Foll.istim pen, put on needle, clicked to 225, injected Meno.pur vile vial (ha! great typo) with Follistim and swished gently. Carefully measured 1 cc of diluent solution into a new syringe and injected that into the Meno.pur vial. More gentle swishing. Then suck the combined Folli.stim/Men.opur mixture back into the syringe. Change to smaller needle.

Ice and then clean injection site with the alcohol swab. Mr. Jem then gave me the injection (after gently tapping out the air bubbles) and after I balked and giggled nervously.

Stung like a m*ther-f*cker. I think it's the Meno.pur that stings. Luckily 5 min. later the sting is gone and I'm left with a deep sense of satisfaction.

NOW, we're officially doing this thing (again for the 2nd time).


Friday, June 11, 2010


IF really turns the world upside-down. First the irony of starting the cycle taking birth control pills. Today, I'm celebrating because I'm bleeding! I start my stims tonight and Nurse S and I were a bit concerned because I hadn't started bleeding yet. As I had my HSG on Monday and had been injected with dye, I wanted to make sure to get all that out before starting stims.

We'll be injecting around 9:00 or 9:30 p.m. tonight! Wish us luck! I'm feeling lucky! Lucky and positive.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Unconditional love

In August of 2009 I started this blog with my very first post

This has been an amazing venue for me to vent my feelings, both the positive and the negative, for me to pour my heart out, to celebrate accomplishments and to grieve. The beauty is that this wasn't happening in a vacuum, but among people who understand.

165 posts later I'm embarking on my second IVF. I can safely say that I couldn't have made it so far without the support and love of all the people in the IF blogosphere, this great community informally headed up by our beloved Lollipop Goldstein at Stirrup Queens.

The comments, the love, the support has sustained me. And I'm not just talking about your comments here, but the fact that I could read about your stories, hear about your victories, learn about your sorrows. That I could provide the encouragement, the support, the shoulder to cry on has meant the world to me.

That said, it can be overwhelming. That's where I was yesterday when I was thinking about how hard it can be to see PG women, to read about the BFP. Then I read Adventures in Baby Waiting's post today which I suspect was in response to my blog yesterday. Here's how she closed the post:
"I am making a promise:
I am going to support every blogger on the side of my blog until they complete their dream-whether that be a pregnancy, adoption or another way of life that suits them. Whatever the dream, I want to support it. If you would like your name added to the side of my blog let me know, I am happy to do so."

Here's part of my comment on her blog:

"I too want to support everyone out there in this amazing community, no matter what - PG, adoption, living child-free. It still makes reading about and commenting on PG difficult, and that's what I was trying to express in my blog. I was "girding my loins" to prepare for this cycle.

I will keep supporting you and appreciate all the support you have given me. Thank you for being my friend."

The love is definitely unconditional! It is that unconditional love that makes this community so strong. I stand strong with you all! Unconditionally loving you and being loved.

Job Opportunity

I just stumbled upon a job opportunity that I'm very interested in pursuing within my current company. It has its pluses and minuses, but it would mean more money and a bonus, which I'm not eligible for at my current pay grade. 

Of course, I'm hesitating to apply because I'm just starting IVF #2 and "might be pregnant" soon. My current job is pretty easy after so many years doing it. I have flexible hours and can work from home when I need to.

If I wasn't dealing with IF, this would not be an issue. Yet another sacrifice to the alter that is IF.

So, should I apply for this new, high pressure job? Would I regret NOT applying? What to do?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting ready to stim...

I stopped drinking coffee before the start of this cycle - followed by a hellish week of headaches. Since then I've been drinking black tea only. Now I decided no caffeine and have switched to decaf tea. I have such a whopper of a headache. I just want to crawl into bed and die. I do want to clear out the caffeine before I get started with stimming on Friday.

Mentally I've also been getting ready. I've noticed that I've not been able to read certain blogs lately, mostly IF'ers who have gotten knocked up. Love you guys, but, except for a couple of PG blogs, I can't read about pregnancy symptoms or sleepless nights right now. Or about baby showers. I just feel super protective. I hope to be able to read them again soon. I'm also having trouble reading about recent loss. It's like I am naturally gravitating towards blogs / women who are starting an IVF cycle now, like me. My mind can't absorb the joy or the pain of other bloggers' BFP's or BFNs.

How about you? What type of blogs are you reading and does it correspond to where you are in this process?


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HSG = that bad

Yesterday's HSG was worse than I expected, but mercifully fast. 

First of all, they had to use a smaller speculum (really?) after trying a regular one, but after that was shoved up there, my cervix numbed, then the real fun began as the inflexible catheter was rammed in and the dye injected. It was extremely uncomfortable. Okay, it hurt. For about 2 minutes. Luckily, the dye went through my fallopian tubes with no trouble and dumped out the other side. 

All clear!

And then it was over and the offending catheter and speculum were removed and all was good with the world again.

I did take the Val.ium, which helped, as did the acupuncture treatment before then. Mr. Jem droves us home and took a nap. There was some bleeding after, and blue dye. Luckily it's all a blurry memory at this point and Dr. W called to tell me we were all good to go with my stims on Friday. Oh, joy!

Oh, and my baseline sonogram went well, too. I had that in the morning. All was quiet down there.


Friday, June 4, 2010

A is for Anxiety

V is for the _Valium_ that Dr. W just OK'd and that I will take before my HSG on Monday, to deal with the anxiety. Thanks to all of you who posted your HSG stories. I will be sure to post mine!

Other big progress today:

1) I ordered my meds for this cycle through _Freedom_Fertility_Pharmacy. They were super nice on the phone. Out of pocket costs: $1,220.54 for my 30% co-pay.

2) Talked to the billing woman at the clinic today. We have a $10K lifetime max for infertility with my insurance, which will max out half-way through the cycle. Our out of pocket will be $377.82 towards the co-pay on what's covered, then $3,640 for the ICSI, and the embryo transfer with ultrasound. We knew this day would come, but still!

So, if my math is correct, our out-of-pocket is shaping up to be: $5,238.36, plus I'm sure we'll have extra amounts for Mr. Jem's Levo_quin, the _Valium, betas, etc.

3) I gave my boss a calendar showing which days I'll be in the office, when I expect to be in late, when I'll be on PTO (Paid Time off) and when I'll be working from home. He was glad to have that information and was sympathetic without giving any more assvice - he ended the conversation with a simple, "Good luck, Jem!"

This is feeling more and more real.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Test results

Here's where a negative is a good thing! Everything came back normal, except my cholesterol, which is high. Iron is good, FSH = 7.8 (anything below 10 is good, meaning ovarian reserve is still OK). The Recurrent Pregnancy Panel tests are normal, too. We are still waiting for the Karyotype results which should arrive June 11 or so.

I'm a little worried about my HSG next week - Here's a link to an explanation of what it is, for those who are curious.. Considering how much my embryo transfers hurt... anyone care to share their HSG stories?


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back at work

Re: IF - nothing to report. Taking BCPs until Sunday.

It's weird to be back in my cube, on the 22nd floor of a skyscraper, downtown San Francisco. I do have a lovely view of the bay from my cube.

All I want to do is go home an take a nap.