Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Cheated...and Cheaters Never Prosper

Last night I took a pregnancy test that had been sitting in my cabinet for a while. I knew that you should usually test in the morning, and that the test might be old, but I did it anyway so that I could prepare myself for this morning. As I was waiting for the stick to turn colors, I yelled at it: "I know what you're going to say, so just say it." It was negative.

So this morning, when I went to get my blood drawn, I was not overly excited. I was sure that my lack of symptoms, coupled with the negative HPT, would spell failure. I left feeling tired and cranky.

An hour later, my favorite nurse called me back.
"Hey Ashlee, how are you?"

"I'm okay. How are you doing?"

"Good, thanks. Now, I hear that you took a HPT last night and it came out negative?"

"Yeah, I did."

"Well, you need to buy a new pregnancy test, because it was wrong. You are pregnant."

I am pregnant. My HcG was 101, and anything over 5 is considered "pregnant". It's not high enough to be twins (probably), but it's a very strong number for one tiny little baby.

I am not going to be "cautiously optimistic". I am going to be overjoyed. I am goig to revel in every aspect, every minute, of the next nine months until I'm holding my first child in my arms. This is the day we've been waiting three years for, and we deserve it.

Here's hoping that everyone else who had a June IVF is going to get the same result. Horray for March babies!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

5 Days Past...

Well, it's day 5 of my 1.5ww, and there's not much new to report.

My belly has finally gone back to almost-normal, which is nice. I've also been having a little bit of cramping over the last two days, and I don't know what to think about that. Good sign? Bad sign? Hard to tell. I really wish I could have a definitive sign either way...

You know what else is hard to tell? What kind of care I'm getting at my RE. I've noticed that some women get bloodwork done after their retrieval...I didn't. Is that bad? I have no idea what my hormones where doing the day after my little embryos were taken. I was put on Doxycyclne and Methylpred for a few days after, then started progesterone suppositories and an estradol patch...but no bloodwork. Is this wrong?

I am by nature not a very detail-oriented person. I tend to just go with the flow and trust the people around me to do what is right. But should I have been under more supervision over this last week? How did my RE know that the transfer would be a success even if she's not monitoring my hormone levels? Does it matter? Do I have a penchant for asking questions when it's really too late to matter?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Chillin'

I don't feel a thing. No cramps, no nothin'. I guess that's good, right? I don't exactly want to be cramping and uncomfortable while I'm sitting on the couch eating bon-bons. Okay, I'm not really eating bon-bons...more like a steady diet of protiens (yay for eggs!), V8, and Gatorade.

It's so frustrating not to have an immediate sign! I wish there were a little light that turned on, a feeling you get, or a change in something that could tell me if this worked or not. The more I hear, however, the more I realize that my test, on June 30th, will likely be the first confirmation that I have that this all worked out. Some women get sick after a few days, some don't feel any symptoms until their fourth week!

Sigh. Why are we all different? Why couldn't bodies be the same? Oh yeah, because then I woudln't need IVF in the first place.

Thank goodness for Netflix.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So Many Things...

Yesterday was the transfer!

On Sunday, we had 8 little fellas who looked "very good" for a day-5 transfer, according to the embryologist, which sounded good to me. With this in mind, I thought we'd have a few to freeze. But yesterday when we went in, we had two to put in and only one to freeze. One?! I started with 25 eggs and only one will be left to freeze? I wish she hadn't told me that, because my mood instantly changed. I have given up trying to explain how my mind works when I'm on several different kinds of hormones, but I can tell you that I would have been much happier if she would have said at least two or three.

In any case, we had an A/B+ embryo and a B+/A to put in yesterday, and I've been hanging out on the couch ever since. I've had NO cramping, which I guess is good news, just still pretty bloated from the retrieval.

I hope everything is going well down there, but it's so hard to imagine this working. What is with my mood? I should be overjoyed that everything went well and optimistic about the two little embryos in my belly right now! Sigh. I blame it on the drugs. Evil drugs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2 Days After Retrieval

Almost forgot to do my patch yesterday (Vivelle), but stuck it on in the nick of time. And today I was lucky enough to start my progesterone suppositories. Oh, joy!

But the real good news is that 17 of my little buddies made it 'till today, and 7 of them are strong enough to go for a day 5 transfer! Hooray! I don't know why I don't do a lot of research about each step of the way...sometimes I think that I obsess over every detail if I know it, so I just leave it to my RE. I do, however, know that a blast transfer (when the embryos have made it to the blastocyst stage) could possibly give me a better chance at concieving..and not having quadruplets. I guess the jury is still out on this, but the stats seem good, so I'm going with it.

I've also been dealing with my large belly, and V8 juice and Gatorade seem to be doing great. NO SODA...made that mistake yesterday. Oops - giant belly. Watermelon-sized.

Hope everyone else is having a good weekend...I'll be taking a few days of from appointments (yay, no drive!) and head up to Denver again on Tuesday. Keeping those fingers crossed!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Eggs are A-Mazing!

Out of my 25 harvested eggs, 19 of them fertilized!

My embryologist said that that was "fantastic", so I am overjoyed.

They tentatively set me up for a Sunday transfer, but it's probably going to be on Tuesday. It just depends on how many of those little darlings (they'd like 6+) decide to be spectacular and make it to a 5-day transfer. Come on, little guys, go!

I feel great today. Just a little sore in the ovaries, but very bloated. I feel like I am already walking like a pregnant woman (waddle, waddle) and have the belly to match. I'll just pretend that I'm practicing.

We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whoa, What a Day

Twenty-five eggs! I am so happy!!! The toughest stage is over with - the dreaded retrieval.

Here's how it all went down:

We woke up at 3:30 a.m. to leave for Denver at 4:00, and we got to the hospital right on time. (I usually go to a satellite office for my visits - this was the first time I'd been to the "real" offices.) I was nervous but very excited.

We waited for a few minutes before we (mom and husband were with me) were led into the pre-op room, where I changed into a fashionable gown and socks. I met all of the folks who would be helping me that day, probably about 10 of them, and then we got down to business. I got an IV, said goodby to mom and hubby, and then was wheeled into the op room. I remember lying on the table, putting my feet in the cradles, having someone put oxygen in my nose, and my anesthesiologist telling me she'd given me some "happy juice".

A doctor came in and asked "why I was there" (everyone asked that, just to make sure), and because I'd already answered it four times, I decided to say "for liposuction" just to see if I could get a laugh. As I drifted off into La La Land, I heard someone say, "Enjoy your liposuction." And that was it.

I woke up in a gourney where my mom and husband were sitting beside me. The nurse said that I had woken up a half-hour earlier, but I wanted to sleep. (Could that be the early wake-up call?) I jumped over to regular bed and started sipping ginger ale. I felt great. I couldn't stop saying how happy I was, and before I knew it there was a box of Kleenex on my lap, but I didnt' know how it got there. The nurse went over all the post-retrieval procedures, and I thought I was pretty coherent. I vaguely remember asking my mom to take a photo of my husband and I while I was still in my hospital gear, and in the picture I look like I had been bawling. Mom says that's why the Kleenex was there. Could've fooled me.

As I was leaving, I remember saying something to the effect of, "No offence, but I don't want to be here for that again." And the nurse said, "If you do, you should bring us some of those deviled eggs." Dear heavens, what had I been babbling about?  If you follow Nikus at Nikus' Road, you will know that she brought deviled eggs to her retrieval appointment, and I guess I was feeling guilty for not bringing anything to mine. (It was in a big hospital with doctors I'd never met before, though.) Seriously, what else did I talk about that I don't remember? I wish I had filmed the whole thing - I bet I was hilarious.

The two-hour ride home was easy, though I had one brief episode of extreme nausea. Then I put my head down and slept the rest of the way. I took a Tylenol when I got home because it did hurt a little and I was still a bit nauseous. I ate some chicken soup (of course) and drank a Sprite - common sickie practice.

Now, 11 hours after the procedure, I feel sore but so happy. I have 25 little embryos being presided over by a very nice embryologist. Tomorrow we find out who got fertilized and who didn't make the cut.

So happy. So positive. So thankful for all the texts and support I got throughout the day. And thankful for Tylenol, too. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Day Has Come


I am excited to wake up at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and get this show on the road! Okay, I'm not so excited about the 4:00 wake-up call, but I am excited to take the second-to-last final step in the process of (hopefully) becoming a parent!

My mom is here, my husband has the day off, and I have given all the shots I need to give. All the pieces are in place, and I'm ready to make this happen.

It's amazing how some things seem easy until you try them, and others seem daunting only until you give them a try. Infertility is riddled will both kinds of situations. IVF? Way harder and more time-intensive than I thought. The trigger shot? A breeze. Barely felt the little guy go in.  Let's hope tomorrow's adventure proves to be of the latter nature.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The other night, I woke up in a panic thinking that there was a shot that I had been forgetting to take for the last few days...a mystery "fourth" drug that didn't really exist. It took me a few minutes to reassure myself that it was all a dream and I've been doing everything right. I think it's safe to say that the last few weeks have been overwhelming. I've had so many questions and have been so thankful for my friends, friends of friends, cousins, and blog buddies who are right there with me in this situation. (How do you all remember to ask the right questions in your appointments? I just come home and read your posts in order to know what's going on with my own IVF.)

But the end is near. I'm preparing for my Pregnyl (trigger) shot tonight at 7:30. Luckily, I have a husband who (I think) tends to relish the mixing / poking / needle process a little too much. Maybe he should have been a doctor? He's going to give me the shot tonight. No more Follistim, Menopur, or Luprolide! Yay!

Then it's smooth sailing on Wednesday and a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call on Thursday morning to drive to Denver for the retrieval.

Thank you all for your finger-crossing and prayers - it's worked so far, let's keep it up! I am so excited...and thinking only positive thoughts.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I have a date with destiny!

Or at least with a big needle and some fat follicles.

Everything went well today. My doc said that my lining was "pretty" (ooh la la), my follicles were growing nicely, and we're on track for a Thursday morning retrieval!

Hooray! For a while there, I wasn't sure if we were going to make it to this point, but my follies made up for lost time and are growing like champs. I'm excited to go to my last appointment tomorrow to monitor any last-minute growth, and then it's on to the big day...then the even bigger day on Saturday or Sunday. (Or somewhere-abouts.)

It's nice to have the thumbs-up after all this trouble. My belly is getting a little tired of being stabbed. I'm not complaining, mind you, just making an observation.

Friday, June 10, 2011

So far, so good...

Another checkup today, and everything seems to be going well. I still have plenty of eggs in both ovaries, but I'm hoping that they get nice and big before next week. (Lots of little ones at 8, lead follicle at about 12. I think - it's hard to concentrate when you are having an intimate experience with an ultrasound wand.)

Drugs? Check.
Sore ovaries? Check, check.
Feeling of hope and optimism. Check!

This feels more "real" now that my body is physically responding to all the drugs. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'll check back in with a report on Monday...please pray for nice, big, healthy follicles for me!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crisis Averted!

As procrastinators almost always find out...everything can be fixed with some effort and a credit card. (That's what late fees and rush deliveries are for.) I drove up to the City to get my "sample" dose of Follistim this morning, whew. Now I have enough to last me until tomorrow, when the new batch of drugs (to the tune of $730) will arrive at my doorstep. How can something so little be so expensive? (With the exception of diamonds.)

I can feel my ovaries twisting and pinching, which is a good sign, I think. I can feel them getting "heavier", too. It's never felt so good to start feeling bad! Not to mention I haven't been able to get to sleep until around 1:30 a.m. I even accidentally slept in until 8:00 this morning and almost missed my morning walk with my buddy! Shame on me...but I honestly couldn't go to bed!

Tomorrow is another ultra-sound / bloodwork appointment, so we'll se how this all plays out. I hope for nice, growing follicles...and plenty of them!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Up and Down

Well, I had another appointment today...and the news was good. (Man, this is an emotional roller-coaster ride.) I had 11 follicles on the right and 7 (or so) on the left. Not bad, huh? They're all a little smaller than they'd like to see at this stage (thanks to my low-dose handicap the first two days), but my Dr. thinks that we can make up that time and just push back the retrieval a few days. Whew.

Don't get too comfortable. There's still time for another glitch. (This one is my fault.) Because my Dr. unexpectedly doubled my Follistim and added three more days of medication, I suddenly realized that I was woefully low on drugs. I mentioned this to my Dr. today at my appointment, but because it was so late in the afternoon when I finally got the call for my dosage, my drugs cannot be delivered until Friday. Yeah, I don't have enough Follistim for tomorrow night.

What to do? Well, let's just hope that they have a little bit to spare tomorrow. I'll call them early in the a.m. and ask if I can pick some up. Let's not even talk about the extra $400 that this is going to cost...

 Am I the only one who has really bad subtraction, procrastination, and foresight issues? Please say no.

I took today's picture at a waterfall surrounded by graffiti. I was simultaneously appalled by the intrusion of paint on the rocks, and yet awed by the juxtaposition of bright colors and falling water. Here is my "everything relates to infertility" moral to this story: Though the human hand cannot always improve upon what nature creates, sometimes humans can work in tandem with nature to create something tryly wonderful. (Like little IVF babies.) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thanks for Agreeing With Me

That's right - my body is rediculous! So after the 200 IUs of Follistim last night, my body decided that, whoa, that's a lot of dang hormone. My estrogen level went up "nicely" - as my nurse stated. (Notice, not my doctor, she might never be that encouraging.)

So, another blood draw / ultrasound tomorrow, and I'll get to see how those follicles are coming along. Hopefully there will be many and they will be getting bigger. Please...

...let this work out. Because the drugs are making me crazy.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement! I heart you guys!

Monday, June 6, 2011

2nd Checkup and Already a Hiccup

I was hoping against hope that everything would go perfectly for this IVF...but here we go.

Today was my second blood draw appointment since starting the drugs for this cycle, and it did not go well. My fourth IUI (back in November '10) was ultimately canceled due to hyper-stimulation. It seems that I responded far too well to the Follistim. So, of course, this time they started me on only 75 IUs each evening. Well, that didn't work out.

My estrogen levels were so low that my doctor asked if I'd even been taking the shots at all. Really? Would you like to see my bruised belly?! It was a frustrating moment, to say the least. My doctor made sure to say that she, "didn't know why I wasn't responding" to the drugs. Well, I don't know either. I thought  that's why you had the Ph.D., not me. Sigh. I guess I was asking for too much. Can this cycle be salvaged? I'll be giving myself 200 IUs of Follistim tonight and will let you know tomorrow.

Gotta go - 3 different alarms tell me it's 8:00...time to shoot up.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Difference

I have had to hear, at different times over the last three years, that many of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances are pregnant. It almost always irks me because I am jealous and insanely frustrated. I think that's understandable. I don't ask them to understand my feelings, I just don't have to respond.

Here's my golden rule: If you want me to care about your pregnancy, you have to care about me not being pregnant.

That is to say: if you haven't contacted, talked to, or given a shit about me in the last year, it isn't necessarily polite to call me up out of the blue (or email me) to let me know that you're pregnant. (Especially with your second child.) This is especially true if you know that I have been struggling with infertility for the last three years.

But if you've shared in my pain over these tortuous times, I will gladly share in your joy during this one.

I got an email the other day from a woman I haven't really talked to much over the last few years. I haven't even seen her for I don't know how long. I don’t' really know what's going on in her life, I've never been to her house, and I couldn't even tell you where she works at the moment. In fact, it's the only email I've gotten from her in the last three years.  I doubt she knows very much about me past what I post on Facebook. (I might know more about her, but I've blocked her along with all my other pregnant or were-pregnant friends.) Why did she send me this? I'm sure I'd find out through the grapevine that she was pregnant…just like she would find out through the grapevine if I had died a tragic death from inhaling flames from the torch I was using while performing my new circus act. Because she wouldn't know if I was doing any of those things - she doesn't check in / care about me in the least! It annoyed me to the point of tears. She doesn't even care enough about me to consider my feelings about an impersonal email rubbing in my infertility.

But when good friends, who have supported and loved me through this difficulty, become pregnant...that's a different story. My friends out in California are also pregnant, and my friend (who is going to be a daddy for the first time) told me through a Facebook chat conversation. You'd think that that was an equally impersonal way to let me know, but here's the difference: It's not the only chat we've had in the last 365 days. We chat now and again all the time. They have been good friends over the years. They have always come to visit when they are near. We go out to dinner with them if we can, and they always listen sympathetically when I talk about what's been happening. (Even if they don't offer to tackle a dad so I can steal his baby while the mom isn't looking. That still being a good friend; I forgive them.) So when I hear that they are having a baby, I am still jealous, but I'm willing to overlook it because they care about me, and I (in turn) care about them, too!

This whole thing saddens me a little, because there are people to whom I should be close and buy little baby presents for…that I don't. I haven't even sent a card to my sister, who had her 2nd baby in February. She never calls me to see how I am, so why should I call her? And I frankly don't mind if she doesn't care about what's going on with me, but I surely don't want to be bothered (or guilted into) paying special attention to her, either. I know it sounds crass, selfish, and mean, but I simply don't care anymore. I have a lot on my plate, and I'm going to do whatever I can to get through it intact. I don't need anyone else (since I've never had anyone but my husband and my mom to help me) to lean on. I can do this on my own. And if anyone wants to be happy for me in the end, they can, but I won't expect it. I won't need anyone else's happiness when I finally get my baby - I will have all the happiness I need.

With that said: Thank you to those of you who have left comments for me or followed me, even through my long silences. It means so much to know that I'm not alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, I appreciate your comeraderie. You're awesome.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Holey Moley!

Actually, this post should be titled "Holey Ashlee", because I have more punctures than...well, there just is no comparison. (I tried thinking of several analogies, but they were all pretty lame.)

I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm just making an observation. I have a bruised belly.

It's not that it hurts very much. It's not even that hard to remember what to do. I will admit, however, that it is a little daunting to mix the Menopur in it's crazy little vials with the special funky caps, but I'm sure I'll get over that soon. But that's really the worst of it. Even the needles seem smaller now that I've done this for a while. (Not looking forward to that big one at the end though - the stim shot.)

I just want this to work. When it does, it will be worth all the effort. I just have to tell myself that this is the price I have to pay for my babie(s). And when I think about it like that, it seems paltry, insignificant, and simple. I would stab myself 10 times a day to have a baby in nine months. Twenty even! If positivity were a drug, I'd be taking it regularly...along with several other expensive and strang-sounding pills and liquids.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Second Big Appointment - Check!

I went in today for my second big appointment of the IVF procedure. Today was the baseline evaluation, where they checked my hormone levels, uterine lining, and ovaries. I was very nervous, because it seems like there are so many things that can go wrong…even this early in the game. But my fears were unfounded, and everything looked good. My FSH level was down to 1.4, and My Estradiol level was down to 20. (In case I haven't mentioned it - my doctor said that I have a hyperthyroid issue, which is why I'm taking Levothyroxine on top of everything else.) I am glad that all systems are go for this IVF. I am just crossing my fingers for the next two weeks to go by without a hitch. I am anxious but excited about the retrieval and transfer…but it seems like so much has to happen - so many injections, pills, and check-ups - before then. And to think that some women do this all naturally…those lucky ducks.

Thanks to those of you who are stopping by my other blog - Casual and Clueless - I appreciate it! I hope that it is a little diversion from the "fun" that is infertility. I know it is for me! And we all need a little diversion now and then.