Archive for March, 2006

Cheers!

March 24, 2006

My last pre-trip update:

So, I had my CD 3 bloodwork today (even though it’s CD 2), no matter. My FSH is 5.3. Everything looks fine to start IVF again (except for maybe my mental health).

I also had an appointment with my family doc this morning about the ongoing high blood pressure which was 130/90 today. He’s OK with watching it rather than treating it, which suits me. I am taking enough drugs! He thinks it’s stress related (really?) and figures we can wait it out until the stress is resolved one way or another.

I also discussed Zo*loft with my family doctor (as advised by my RE). I took the prescription along home and I will give it some serious consideration. I’ve always hated the idea of taking any psych med. (No offense to anyone, just my personal hang-up.) But, I am inclined towards taking something at this point. Because, all this anxiety can’t do much towards promoting pregnancy, and both my docs promise that Zo*loft is 100% safe at a low dose.

So, maybe it’s worth a try. I’ll wait until we return from vacation to decide. Maybe this break and some sun and fun will cure my funk. If the funk returns when I return home, then I have something I can take for it if I choose. I am tired of feeling so sad and anxious all the time, so maybe one more drug would be worth the benefits.

On a more trivial note, I treated my self to some funky sandals today. They’re called Keen. They are SUPER comfy. They are not very glam, but they feel so good on my feet.

So, as of Sunday you will find me here. Funky sandals on my propped up feet here! Judging by the number of comments and doubling those that are cycling, I should have a nice buzz on all week. 🙂

Cheers!

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CD 1 . . . and I’m off and running.

March 23, 2006

Well, she made a late and reluctant arrival, but she’s here and that’s all that counts. So, I am officailly in for IVF #2. (Not that there’s not time for, a) me to chicken out, b) things to go to hell for no reason at all!) It is nice though, to have a CD 1, otherwise known as AF, without having a crying breakdown about it.

I start Lupron on April 10th. Then we’re off and running again.

Other than that, I have nothing exciting to report on. So, I’ll spare my readership any more ramble. I’m off to frantically launder and pack whichever of my summer clothes still fit.

I will drink a Margarita for each and every one of you. (Two for those of you currently cycling!) I will do this out of duty of course, not self indulgence!

Cheers!

My Cheeks are Burning Red

March 22, 2006

Not with embarrassment either, well on second thought, I am a bit embarrassed, but it’s the other cheeks that are burning red. My ass cheeks to be exact. I have cherry red ass cheeks.

Why you ask?

They are sunburned. And I haven’t even left for Florida yet. I have been getting a head start with an electric tan. I started off wearing undies while tanning to avoid this very predicament. Then, not wanting Casper white ass cheeks either, I went for a seamless tan for another few sessions. (No redness from those sessions). So, why now, all of a sudden, I got one whopper of a sunburn on my ass cheeks only, is a mystery to me. A rather painful mystery, I might add.

Woe is me.

Now where I was hoping to see some red, there is none. AF is still MIA, though she’s sent her forerunner, spot. Does that count? I hate calling the RE with this crap. I need to be back on BCP by Monday at the latest and RE said that shedding the lining fully twice before another IVF would be ideal (this would be the second “shedding”). I figure if she shows by tomorrow, I am still good, after that, I’m not sure what to do.

Other than that, I am at work trying to stay busy enough to make these last three work days go by. Pre-vacation employees are not the most productive, I would guess, if I am any indication.

For lunch today, I had Chinese take-out. I was greedy and grabbed two fortune cookies and still nothing good to report. That whole title/theme of my blog has gone by the wayside. I had that really great fortune at the start of the year when I started this blog. Then IVF#1 went to hell and so did the subsequent fortune cookies. So I have not posted many fortunes since. I had planned to make it an ongoing post title/theme.

Here are today’s two dud fortunes, so you see what I mean. They don’t even sound much better if you add “in bed.”

*Never judge a work of art by it’s defects.

*Many people will be drawn to you for your wisdom and insights.

Damn, where is she?

March 21, 2006

AF is MIA. Why is it that she is only ever late when we want her???? I have read this on so many other people’s posts. She is notoriously late when her timely arrival is crucial for things to fall into place. I stayed on BCP all last month exactly for this reason. And still she is a no show.

Well, she’d better get here quick. I will NOT have her messing up my vacation plans and more importantly, delaying IVF#2! If I am going to do this IVF thing again, it better be now before I loose my nerve.

Anyone have her at their house and want to send her packing? We’d actually welcome her. (Maybe that’s the problem, our welcoming attitude spoils the fun for her!)

So, I wasn’t imagining things!

March 21, 2006

Subject line of my “complaint”:

Re: [#426120] My blog shows up as a bare bones page, with no background, the links for posts are there but don’t actually work, etc.

Their response:

Hi there,
Thanks for notifying us of this issue. Due to a temporary problem with our servers, many users are having intermittent problems publishing and viewing their blogs. Please rest assured that we are working hard to resolve this issue and prevent this kind of thing from happening again. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope to have the problem resolved soon.

For further details and updates on this outage, please check our status page here:
http://status.blogger.com/

Your continued patience is much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Blogger Support

And here I thought I was imagining things!

So many questions

March 17, 2006

My RE is back in my good graces. He took a full hour with us today and answered every last one of my tedious questions. Too bad some of them have no answers, no matter how smart my RE is. On a sad note, the reason he forgot to call me back, follow up, etc., is that his mother died the week of my BFN. So, while his loss does not erase our loss, it sure makes his forgetfulness understandable and forgivable. I sure am glad I was diplomatic in my complaint! (I left bitchy beagle at home in her crate.)

We have decided to go ahead with IVF #2, in May, as planned. I mention this, because it was not quite as much a given in my mind as I tended to make it sound. I was not really sure until today. So much of me just wants to say enough is enough already. I know many have been through more than me, way more even, but we all have a threshold for enough is enough and mine is close at hand.

We will not change much in terms of my IVF protocol. Last cycle was actually quite good despite the fact that it failed. And this, according to the RE, is a good thing.

Lot’s of my questions were answered (all really, it’s just that some are unanswerable . . . like why did three good blasts not implant themselves in a perfectly healthy uterus with a perfectly good lining, etc.)

But to summarize our visit:

  • my eggs are good, especially for my age, my FSH remains good, and I respond quite well to a relatively low dose of drugs. (Too well, in a way). The trick with me is to maximize the stimm cycle without going into OHSS. I am on about as low a dose as possible of Menopur/Follistim and I still had 16 eggs at retrieval. So, these are all good signs that I am a young 37/38 year old at least in terms of fertility. RE would like to push for more eggs this time without going into OHSS, so the doses will be “tweaked a bit.”
  • C.’s morphology remains poor and the antibodies are really quite bad (79% of sperm are covered in them) but with ICSI all we need is enough sperm to inject one into each egg retrieved and we have plenty more than that. We do not however have a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming an urban legend couple who got pg on an IVF break, or after adopting. So that was a long winded way of saying we have a dismal SA in terms of nature, but a pretty good one for IVF/ICSI.
  • So, the choice really comes down to money and sanity. The cost of IVF will deplete us if we don’t get lucky soon . . . and the toll that the stress and drugs have on my mind and body is more of a “price” than we are willing to “pay” for more than a reasonable number of tries. C. and I think that for us “reasonable” means one more try with IVF/ICSI then we will consider either adoption or DI IUI. We are both leaning towards DI over adoption but there is a lot to consider.
  • The most encouraging things that came of this meeting where that I am not too old, yet. That eases some of the urgency for me. RE even said he’d be OK with us taking a break if that helped me. (I think waiting will make me even more mental . . . but it’s good to know I could take the time if I wanted to.) RE also said that he thinks we have a good chance of “taking home a baby” with IVF. He can’t promise anything, but he would “be the first one to tell us to give up and explore other avenues if he felt we were wasting our money.” He has told patients that he recommends they stop trying and I trust him in that regard. He also brought up the issue of getting a second opinion. He would support us in that if we choose. He said it never hurts to get another point of view.
  • Lastly, C. and I both feel good about the back-up plan. It also puts a light at the end of the tunnel . . . this doesn’t feel like and endless hamster wheel of pain anymore.

So the plan is: IVF/ ICSI in May . . . then DI IUI up to three tries, then adoption. One way or another we will get to the land of parenthood and by putting a limit to all this trying we will ensure that we have enough resources left to actually do adoption if that is the way we ending up creating our family. That is a huge relief to me. My biggest fear was that in all this trying, we’d go broke and then not be able to adopt once we finally decided that that was our choice after all. My biggest fear is to end up childless with no more options. As long as there are options there is hope.

This is all written in pencil and up for revision at any time. The DI IUI is the biggest variable. RE even suggested going back to IUI with C.’s sperm, but they can’t penetrate an egg under IVF conditions, so that seems like a waste of money to us. What good is it if IUI is cheaper than IVF if it has such a negligible chance of working in our case??

So, that’s our news. I cannot say that I, for one, am excited to do this again. But I no longer feel completely without hope either. I will keep up my self-care strategies (aerobics, margaritas, massage, etc.) and I will soak up as much sun and love as I can during my week away with C. We both need the love and the sun. And, once a little happiness has been injected back into our lives, we will tackle IVF#2 one day at a time. That is all we can do.

Thanks for reading!!

Thoughts, suggestions, etc. on the donor conception questions (2 posts ago) would be very much appreciated. Blogger has been acting up the past few days. Not able to access my own blog . . . then my post went into draft instead of posting, etc. Look back over that one if you get a chance and if you have any insights on the topic of DC . . . please share your thoughts!

A Wax and a Polish

March 17, 2006

No, this is not a post about my car.

I spent 90 minutes and way too much money at the salon today getting Florida sunshine ready . . . the dreaded wax torture and the more enjoyable polish treatment (pedicure). I am good to go. If only they had spa services to perk up your mood. Oh yes, massage . . . that’s tomorrow. I figured I’d need it after the RE appointment which I expect will cause me distress . . . I am such an optimist! Not! Optimism is C.’s job. I am the designated realist.

Not much else to report . . . I made it to the gym today as well . . . more lunges and squats, step aerobics, crunches. I’m doing pretty well. Not an ounce of weight loss . . . but less squishy over all. That has to be good for something. I’d be happier if the scale reflected my hard work, though.

Have a good evening everyone . . . wish me luck tomorrow. I hope I am not a b*tch to my RE. I am rather ticked off at the world and since I paid him the ten grand to NOT get me pg, he may feel the vibes are directed at him. They are not . . . but I do plan to voice my opinion about the two “complaints” in my previous post.

About a lot of Nothing and a little bit of Everything

March 15, 2006

***Written Wednesday, ended up as a draft instead of being posted somehow.***

Watching the clouds go by . . . it’s very windy today. There are these huge puffy clouds, and they are drifting past my office window like giant parade balloons. I don’t know why, but they’re making me think about time passing. It just seems to be floating past too and I am just an observer in my own life, waiting, waiting, waiting . . . waiting.

I haven’t posted in a while because this is an IF blog and I don’t have much to say about IF right now. Nothing new anyway. I still hate it, it still makes me angry how unfair it all is, and I still want a baby so much that my mind and body ache.

I’m also tired of being such a downer. Poor C. called on his lunch break to say hi . . . it started off well but then he asked me how I was . . . and well . . . I told him. He was nice about it but I could here the restlessness on the other end of the line. I apologized (again) that he is stuck living with such an unhappy person right now. He says he understands . . . but does he really? There is no way to truly know. He copes so differently (better, I’d say) and he just does not know what to do when he can’t fix what’s broke. (He can fix most things).

Friday we have our long awaited follow-up post failed IVF appointment. I have my list of questions at the ready, as well as my list of complaints.

The complaint list is the shorter of the two:

  • 4 weeks is too long to wait for an IVF post mortem
  • my RE promised to call me back 3 weeks ago and didn’t.

The questions list is longer:

  • WTF is MFTHR? Could I have it?
  • egg quality (the embryologist said I had “nice” eggs but the RE keeps questioning maternal age/egg quality despite a perfect FSH for an old gal)
  • sperm quality (they told us the IVF sample was the worst yet)
  • I read somewhere that the antisperm antibody problem reduces chances of pregnancy even if ICSI achieves fertilization and embryos appear to be OK at transfer . . . so what does this actually mean?
  • Oh, and I want smarty pants RE to acknowledge that I was right about needing ICSI!
  • embryos were just short of blast stage on day 6, how bad is that really?
  • should we consider assisted hatching?
  • my lining got thinner as the stimm days dragged on . . . but was it too thin?
  • I’ve never had an endometrial biopsy, should I?
  • Someone on day of ET made a comment about “difficult anatomy” referring to mine and the passing of the catheter: what did they mean? (I do know I am retroverted, but was told that is not a problem??)
  • Would it make sense to recheck any labs at this point like insulin or thyroid. Why have three (serious) weeks at the gym not netted a single ounce of weight loss?)

There are more questions, I am sure, but this is what I scribbled down three weeks ago.

I am hoping that the appointment will wake up my inner obsessive infertile. I’d like her to get excited about trying again . . . or at least pissed off about something . . . the apathy is killing me.

Next up we have AF due over the weekend. Neither here not there since I’ve been on the pill for this past cycle. But AF and this next pack of pills will mark the start of the BCP for suppression. That, in a very minor way, will actually be the start of IVF #2

So, I have come this far into typing this rambling post when I realize what’s really on my mind. I’ve been reluctant to discuss this here. Like if I say it out loud, or put it into words . . . it might get even scarier. I am also the type who is reluctant to make waves and this might. Or might not.

The topic of IVF alternatives has been discussed at my house lately. We want to build a family, and it does not have to be genetic, and I am not sure I can take much more of this ART stuff, especially if the sperm issues are as serious as we believe them to be. Our counselor (ms. SW, a therapist specializing in infertility issues) had a good point: the RE is in the business of giving hope in the bio conception department. We have been thinking, kind of seriously, about donor conception, DI to be exact. When we first brought it up, the RE kind of reacted to that as if it were a “last resort” and we shouldn’t be thinking about that yet, but we wonder if maybe it’s just another option to consider. C. is open to it, I am open to it and we have the counselor’s psychological profile blessing on it. So, basically, everyone but the RE is in favor of going this route since I am not in very good physical or mental condition to tackle IVF again. (At least not again, and again, and again!) I am pretty sure I can tackle IVF at least once more, it’s the failing part that kills me. So if ms. SW feels it’s a good fit for us and C. is so willing, and I’m OK too . . . then why throw another ten grand out the window along with my remaining sanity?

I am almost all for it . . . except for the nagging doubts about cutting C. out of the genetic equation too soon because I am turning mental. There is also the money aspect. We are not upwardly mobile earners. We are very middle class. C. delivers packages in a brown uniform and I am a nurse (not currently, but same wage range). So, I’m not crying “poor” but that combination is not a typical IVF affording scenario. To add to the fun, C. tried his hand at real estate for the first two years of our marriage, earning . . . well, less than the average welfare recipient, he did work hard though, just not his thing. Anyway, we can do it, we can afford it, there is always a way . . . but does it make sense for us? I keep thinking about how that money could go towards our child(ren) getting the masters degree that my parents would have never sprung for (they did not spring for the bachelors degree either, I worked three jobs to get through college instead). Bit I digress . . . So . . . what to do??

I think I am leaning towards one more go at IVF then trying DI, either with or without meds. It is just so space age. But it’s also kind of like half an adoption without quite as much fallout. No birth mom changing her mind, no cultural differences to explain to curious but ignorant strangers. No guarantees either . . . no way to know if would actually work. Working through the adoption scenario is really what led us to consider DI. We are both willing to love a child, any child, regardless of genetics. No doubts there. But as opposed to adoption, with DI we can experience pregnancy, birth, and an infant from day one of life . . . we can control prenatal care and early infancy care . . . and for me (possibly most selfish reason of all) . . . sperm donors don’t come looking for their long lost offspring very often. It happens, but it is not the same as adoption. With sperm donation, no one gave away a baby . . . they gave away gametes. They did not carry and nurture a living being for 9 months. They, well . . . they . . . well . . . you know.

This will need to be thought through . . . and talked through . . . and thought through some more. But part of me wonders why it is so very taboo?? It is a very simple** and logical solution to MF infertility if you take away the emotions. Emotions cannot be removed of course, but logic is not all bad. I am just so amazed that I married a man so sure of himself and his place in the world that this does not really phase him much at all . . . whatever it takes to build a family (that is both moral and legal of course!!) is OK with him. I think I would miss his genetics in the child more than he would. But as far as physical traits go . . . you can look for a pretty good match. I don’t mean to over simplify donor conceptions, but I wish they were more mainstream, less taboo. They look to me to be amazing options for creating life, for creating family.

Any one out there been down this road?? I know several of you are on the DE road and I am guessing that while it is different and much more complicated, it is also similar in many ways. How did you come to the decision, what was your thought process, what ws hardest thing to come to terms with, etc . . . any insights welcome.

**Not meant in in any way to minimize the struggle of MFI or the value of the male genetic input . . . it is such a personal choice. It’s just that we’re tired of struggling and we’re running out of time and our desire to have a child to raise is greater than our need to pass on either of our genes. That is not to say that we would not prefer to pass on our genes, but if I’ve learned anything from infertility it’s that we can’t always have what we want. Sometimes, some things, but not always or all thing.

Hypochondria

March 10, 2006

OK, I haven’t felt like such a hypochondriac since I trained to be a nurse! There is something about studying all those diseases, signs and symptoms, that makes you start feeling ill! (You know, kind of like how you start to itch when someone tells a story about a flea infestation in their house while pet sitting!)

Well, I am not sure what to think. The “logical” part of my mind (if it still exists, the logical part that is, not my mind as a whole) says that I am simply and understandably depressed and this will pass in time. The worry part of my mind (which has taken over as the dominant force) is coming up with all sorts of explanations from cancer to thyroid disorder to depression that is more serious than I want to admit to just about anything else you can imagine.

I am tired all the time. My mind is so sluggish and distracted. My body needs to be forced into action, but it can function at a pretty good level of energy for short periods (i.e., I can do a fairly vigorous aerobics class but I don’t “feel” energetic doing it, if that makes sense). I could also very easily come home and take a nap instead. The temptation to skip a workout has to be fought off every day. I’ve done this fitness thing for two weeks, religiously, which I know is both a great achievement and also a drop in the bucket in terms of seeing results.

I am also withdrawing socially to some extent. Again, this could be depression or it could be a very sane coping mechanism to avoid the assvice that abounds in the fertile world.

Since “mojo” and “lost grooves” have been such hot topics lately . . . I will add my confession here. I have lost mine too. Not completely, but it’s not what it was. I am usually the one who has to keep it alive in our house, so if I waver . . . well . . . it gets rather quiet around here! I cry afterwards fairly often and while C. is very good about that wired reaction, it freaks me out and I think that is my current biggest turnoff. It is not like I am sad all the way through and then I cry, I can be very into it and quite “happy” and then these involuntary tears and sobs just show up after O. (The “other” O!) I am afraid of the emotional release, the tears . . . so I avoid the trigger . . . sex. I miss feeling good about feeling good. I also feel a bit hopeless about sex in general I guess, since it doesn’t “work” for us like it should in terms of biology, lot’s of loving = no baby. I hope we’ll be able to renew our spark during our Florida escape.

So back to the hypochondria . . . should I go to my family doc and get some basic blood work-up or something?? (Something other than an E2 or a P3?? Like maybe a CBC or a thyroid level?) I am pretty sure they will find normal results for everything except what I already know: a somewhat raised B/P and some weight gain. My family doc is very pro-antidepressants. He’s tried to peddle them to me before. I even tried them for a while but the side effects were not worth the “results” to me. Plus, I am VERY paranoid about taking drugs, especially that kind of drug, during a pregnancy which is my ultimate goal.

So . . . what does all that add up to? Am I physically sick? Depressed? Or just impatient for the pain of a failed cycle to pass and impatient for the effects of all my sweat at the gym to start showing for something?

. . . Or am I just a hypochondriac? The last week of March can’t get here soon enough . . . I need a Margarita NOW!!

Taking a break from Wistful

March 8, 2006

I’m still here . . . nothing much to report over the past week or so.

I do want to say THANKS to each of you who left comments . . . for all the kind words and support . . . every bit of it is APPRECIATED.

I am getting a reprieve from “All Sadness All the Time”. (My life as a bad cable channel!)

C. and I are going on vacation! The hell with credit card bills and bank accounts . . . we need a break from all this crap. In two weeks and three days . . . we are heading to Key West for a week of scuba diving and relaxation!! Margaritaville here we come . . .

In other news:

We visited our newest niece this past weekend. God that was hard! We talked about how we would feel and we considered waiting, but we didn’t think it would have been any easier if we waited a week or two or three. She is cute as a button as all babies are. I have a sweet picture of myself holding her. Sometimes I look at it and ache, other times I look at it and feel hopeful for the future. (I almost posted it here but then was unsure what the etiquettte of that would be. Baby photos aren’t always a happy thing in IF circles.)

We have a follow-up with Dr. P on Friday the 17th to discuss the failed IVF cycle, our “options, ” next steps, etc. The first thing on my list will be to tell him that one month is too long to make people wait to have some kind of explanation after a failed cycle. He did call me (as I posted previously) to check on me, but I was in the middle of an IF therapy session and he offered to call again later but he never did. Had I know that, I would have cut the other appointment short and taken my chance to quiz him when I had it, to get some answers!)

Other than that my life (right now) consists of making it through the days as well as I can and sticking strictly to my new fitness plan until my body and my mind feel alive again. The exercise, the sunny vacation, and the arrival of spring soon to follow will get me through. I am determined!

The “plan” is still to do IVF again in May . . . but we are looking at alternatives ranging from adoption, embryo adoption, ds . . . anything . . . we can only afford so much IVF and I can only endure so much of this . . . so we need to look ahead “just in case.”

So, for fear of sounding like a 12 stepper: One day at a time, I will fake it until I make it! (A dear friend of mine is a diehard 12 stepper . . . so I know the jargon!)

Wishing you a sunny day wherever you are: geographically, emotionally, etc.

I am finding my way back, rather slowly, but I am getting there.