Friday, December 29, 2006

7w - happy to be sick

I've never been so excited to be sick before. Last night I was worthless when I got home from work - overcome by a mix of exhaustion & queasy stomach & overall yuck feeling. Even this morning I'm feeling it again. So I'm taking all of that as a good sign that Fish is still alive & growing. Positive thoughts, right?

And my stomach is feeling extremely bloated. Maybe from my poor food choices? Too much sodium? It's actually ridiculous - even my fat jeans are tight in the waist. And my ute feels like it's up to something right now - not really crampy but something is going on in there.

In other news we're getting ready for the bowl game tomorrow - we'll be hosting a nice little crowd. For some strange reason I'm excited to be social. Excited to have people over to our house. Even though we're still not telling anyone and I'm sure I'll be tired, I'm still feeling ready to rejoin the world!

Off to research creative non-alcoholic drinks!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

6w6d - limbo land

What is there to say. I guess I'm in speechless limbo land because I don't quite feel PG yet and there really isn't much to do except to wait between appointments.

So our next u/s will be on Jan 3rd - hopefully we'll see a bean & heartbeat then(7w5d). And if that goes well my first OB appt is the following Monday.

I'm still a little anxious because my initial beta was low (indicator of possible m/c - even later) and at that 1st u/s they had a difficult time measuring embryo at first & when they finally did it was ~4d behind. I'm going with late implanter in my mind for now. Which makes sense because most of my frozen embryos didn't go to blast until day 6. But it all still makes me nervous.

Fortunately I've been feeling some symptoms - definitely reassuring:
- very very tired - 10-12 hours of sleep per day
- greasy skin & hair - gross
- sorta queasy stomach / heartburn and last night was the first time I felt truly hang-head-over-sink nauseous
- sore boobs, but not quite as huge as before
- weird feeling in my ute - I'm optimistically visualizing that it's getting bigger for Fish
- my work pants are getting tight - but I really attribute that to all of the recent holiday food plus stress eating over a couple years of IF

And so we wait.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I called the nurse line at my ob/gyn's office to figure out next steps (I seriously doubt they would have ever called me with results). I talked to super super nice nurse so I think I'm going to go back there again - at least to get things started.

Based on doped-up doc's (DUD) report, they are fairly convinced there is no ectopic so no worries there. I also doubt it as well so I'm not going to push it. So next u/s will be with DUD sometime during my 7th week (1st week in January). Hopefully Fish keeps growing and develops a heartbeat by then.

And then my initial ob appt will be on Jan 8th with the certified nurse midwife - who is so so nice & sweet. She does my annual appts and I still like her. BUT I'm starting to shop around for a new practice anyway.

And they did get my beta # back as well -- still doubling appropriately:

14dpo = 11dp3dt = 43 (E2=275 , P4=45)
18dpo = 15dp3dt = 550 (E2=807, P4=56) doubling time=26hrs
21dpo = 18dp3dt = 2128 (E2=942, P4=62) doubling time=37hrs
26dpo = 23dp3dt = 12368 doubling time = 47hrs

Latest beta graph is looking good. PHEW!!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

5w5d - 1st u/s

OK - that was a freaky afternoon.

DH and I went to see my ob/gyn for our 1st u/s. The ultrasound woman used to work at an IVF center - cool. Sees a sac right away - only one - cool. She says that the u/s machine doesn't measure below 5w so she can't get a measurement. Interesting because I'm theoretically 5w5d. And then she checks out my tubes & ovaries just to make sure everything looks OK. Tubes OK. Ovaries OK. Oh wait - there is something near the ovary that isn't attached, but she can't quite see what it is. 5 minutes later of pressing on my sensitive cervix (ouch!) she still isn't sure what it is. Could be ectopic but without better machine it's hard to say. And the entire time she wouldn't move the display over for me to see - so I didn't get to see anything. Grrrr. She did give eventually us a copy of pic after I asked for it - twice. DH thinks that it looks like a smiling fish. So it's now called Fish.

So I get dressed and we go to talk to the ob/gyn. First she has to go on & on about why it's so horrible that they HAD to do the u/s and my RE didn't do it. I tried to explain that he was up in NYC and this was much easier for us and she said - well they should have kept you up there until they released you. Huh? This was from the woman who did my initial IF workup 2 years ago - thought I'd get some compassion. None. Sounded like she was trying to CYA. Why did you ever agree to do it then? Then she says that she wants a followup u/s with another doctor (a specialist?) and some bloodwork (another hcg) to see "just what they've got on their hands" because they have nooooo idea. Bitch - ask me anything you want to know. Better yet, don't do me any favors - I'll find someone else. But I was very nice (DH was surprised at how nice I was) and went along with all of it. For now.

Then the nurse was trying to draw my blood. My veins still look beat up so she kept wanting to see the other one. Trust me - I've been stuck many many time and I know that this one is way better. And then the other nurse & u/s tech (remember - who used to work at an IVF center) were asking me about my LMP. I should have simply said 11/10 - end of discussion - but I forgot to bring my calendar with me and couldn't remember off the top of my head so I did some calculating out loud. Bad move. They both were 110% convinced that LMP was 14 days prior to transfer - which is fine that they get it wrong - but they had such a bitchy attitude about it and how there was no possible way that I was right about it. Listen, bitches, I've been living & breathing IVF for the past 12 months - cut me a break. At least be nice about it and show a little respect - try not to be rude to me in my face. At least wait until my back is turned.

Anyway, so the other doctor with the better u/s machine was going to be able to squeeze us in that day. Cool. So we go over there (right next door) and wait around until they have a slot open. Very nice u/s machine - flat panel on the wall too. Cool. Eventually he comes in and introduces himself. Both DH and I think he was stoned. Majorly stoned. He checked out Fish with his fancy equipment - very cool! - and measured him at ~5w1-2d. Which is pretty close - maybe because my initial beta was low he's just a late bloomer? Zoomed in and saw a very clear sac & yolk sac. Cool! Then he's done. But.....what about that questionable thing? Oh - I'm sure it was just a cyst - maybe your corpus luteum - because you need that to support the initial part of PG. Ummmm....but I thought my CL gets zapped when my follicles were aspirated (and why I need the PITA PIO shots?). So you're not going to check? Are you feeling any pain?, but isn't that why we are over here? WTF? And I guess no nice pic from your fancy machine? Guess you have to hurry back for another bong hit?

So we just ran out of that building. And seriously doubt that I'll go back there again. We might try my old RE or even that overly expensive RE. And I'm definitely finding a new ob/gyn. My very patient & understanding DH even thought she was a major bitch and that we should switch.

So I guess I'll call my NYC RE tomorrow and give him the news. And since it's hard for me to blog without any visuals, here is a pic of Fish.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

22dp3dt - preparing for 1st u/s

I've had a lot of the same feelings as Lola on being on "the other side" of infertility. Disbelief. Guilt.

The good news is that I did stop POAS a few days ago - it started to seem excessive - even to me. I'm sure you'll be glad to not see any more HPTs on here. :)

But on the other hand the next month or two still seem so tentative - there is so much going on right now with the embryo (or should be) that makes this whole experience even more than a miracle that it has been so far. Given that there are so many things that can go wrong I'm trying to keep expectations low. And like Lola, taking things one day at a time.

I'm even going to make a mental cushion just to prepare myself for tomorrow's ultrasound (5w5d - to look for a sac & confirm no ectopic). If for whatever reason things don't work out, I am still be thrilled that we got this far. We have finally seen that elusive second line ("we seek him here - we seek him there - that damn elusive...second line"). It has given so much more hope to future cycles.

So my plan B looks a lot like the one that I did before POAS. I'd probably want to be more aggressive about cycling again - probably FET in NYC - soon to reap the benefits of recently removed endo.

I wonder what it is like for fertile people after a BFP - is it pure joy?

Friday, December 15, 2006

18dp3dt - beta #3

Just got results back from beta #3 - such a relief.

14dpo = 11dp3dt = 43 (E2=275 , P4=45)
18dpo = 15dp3dt = 550 (E2=807, P4=56); doubling time=26hrs
21dpo = 18dp3dt = 2128 (E2=942, P4=62); doubling time=37hrs

overall doubling rate is 29hrs

Each step that we take seems to be so monumental. Next step is ultrasound to check for a sac on Wednesday (5w5d). And then another one in 7w to check for heartbeat. And I can't even begin to think beyond that.

My cold is finally getting a little better - I decided that it wasn't worth it to take any meds at this point since it's so early so I've been working with saline nasal spray & menthol drops & LOTS of tea. Oh and a super spicy bloody mary (virgin of course) at lunch one day was so so nice (thanks M!).

And a pretty graph for the betas:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

16dp3dt - Happy Holidays!

We were thinking about sending out a photo holiday card this year - what do you think? should I add in a newsletter in the voice of the embryos? or put a little "I heart NY" t-shirt on them? ;)


Just to keep things simple we're going to go to my ob/gyn for the ultrasound rather than finding another RE. Unfortunately they only do ultrasounds on Wednesdays (LOL!) so that got pushed off until next week - theoretically I will be 5w5d so I'm keeping my expectations low - "is it in the ute?"

Hourly Daily HPT Update:
This morning's internet cheapie looked about the same as yesterday - hopefully there still is some action in there!


Just heard back from my medical endo. and he wants to up my dose of Levoxyl because my TSH is creeping up. It was 2.3 on Monday and was 0.8 just before we started cycling. I have been feeling a little wacky lately (too hot / too cold) so that might be why. And I've heard being on Estradiol might also affect the thryoid as well.

And my next beta is on Friday.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

15dp3dt - beta #2 today + update!

I asked my doctor and he's letting do my next beta today instead of waiting until Friday - phew! I'm not going to hassle the lab company though so I won't be surprised if my results don't get up to NYC until after business hours. So I might not hear until tomorrow.

But I'm feeling much better because my HPTs have been getting much darker. Here are my last three internet cheapies:

11dp3dt - can you even see it anymore?
14dp3dt - finally a nice line
15dp3dt - even darker than yesterday (!)


So I interpret (wishfully) that my hCG is rising. And I'm hoping that today's bloodwork will show that it's doubling nicely. Since my 14dpo beta was 43, I'm hoping that today's bloodwork (18dpo) comes back ~200. I know that the doubling time can take up to 72 hours - putting the low end around 125? It's too early to do math. I'll have to plug it into to calculate later. But I'd love a nice big increase.

To help support this thing called hope, I'm going to rationalize the late dark HPT lines and the relatively low 14dpo beta as a late implanter. Most of my frozen embryos didn't become blasts until day-6 - so maybe they're just a bunch of slow pokes. Fashionably late?


Beta was 550 (E2=807; P4=56) so doubling time was only 26.11 hours!!!!! Holy cow!!

And because I have endo they want me to do an early u/s (on Friday!) to confirm that it's not an ectopic. So hopefully we'll see a little black hole in my ute on Friday!!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

12dp3dt - thank you

Thank you to everyone for all of your kind thoughts & words. I can't imagine going through all of this without your understanding and advice. And I apologize for being so self-absorbed lately - I'm hoping to get back to some kind of normalcy this week.

On a sadder note, my heart goes out to Lisa - there is absolutely nothing about IF that is fair.

And best wishes to Lola and Mr. & Mrs. Blue Sky with all of their upcoming adventures. Hope that Smarshy has some good news this coming week as well.

Today I'm feeling better about all of this. I had a nice clear line on the FRER test in the morning - definitely reassuring because I could even see it in a dimly-lit room. I'll try a digital tomorrow - my levels should hopefully be high enough tomorrow for those. And I did notice on my old FRER tests that I thought were negative that they did dry with a light line. So maybe there was a line there this whole time that I missed earlier (even though I know you shouldn't read them after 10 min).

I'm feeling congested and exhausted - but happy.

Friday, December 08, 2006

11dp3dt - bloodwork results

It took a few phone calls but the local lab did finally send up the bloodwork before my RE's office shut down today. Phew.

Got the call from the RE literally the second I dropped my pants to POAS -- LOL! I don't seem to have my pants on for most of our important conversations so I guess it shouldn't be that weird. It's extra funny to me because he made a joke to me at my lap that after all of my cycles I shouldn't be modest about dropping my pants in front of anyone. So it just made me laugh.

So the results are (for 11dp3dt / 14dpo):
hCG = 43
E2 = 275
P4 = 45

And the plan is to continue with PIO & E2 patches; next beta is in a week, but I might need to call to ask for an earlier one because I'm still concerned with the faint HPTs (and negative FRERs) and fairly low #s (according to Dr. Google - I didn't think to ask about it on the phone).

I'm partially relieved and partially anxious. Ack!

11dp3dt - not real

This just doesn't seem real - at all. My result lines are still very faint - even as of this morning which is my theoretical "first day of expected period". Maybe this was just a test to see if something could implant - and it did. That alone is very reassuring - I was starting to wonder if my ute was a pit of despair that no embryo could survive for more than a few hours. But at least one has survived for this long - which alone seems like great progress.

I am still in shock about the whole thing and don't really know how to react. I thought that if I ever saw another line I'd be jumping up & down with happiness. But I just don't know how to feel or react. I'm not quite happy. I feel like a fraud - like someone is going to realize that it's all just a big joke and turn me in. I guess I've turned into a pro at IVF/IF and I'm really really good at that. I have no clue where to begin if this is happening. I've been avoiding most things related to this for a long time.

Anyway the sketchy, scary lab down here "forgot" to process in my 2nd luteal bloodwork on Wednesday - nice. It just sat in a bin until yesterday when they realized they never sent it over to the lab. Guess that STAT means forget about it. So we'll see if & when the nurses up in NYC get the bloodwork today. I'll try to stay on top of it, but I'm guessing it won't be very early even if everyone does their job.

In the hope that this is real I made an appt with my endocrinologist for next week to check my TSH and also ordered more PIO/needles/syringes - which I could use for a future cycle if I end up not needing it now.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

10dp3dt - thank you CVS

DH went out last night to get another brand because I don't 100% trust the internet cheapies and FRER hasn't shown me what I want to see yet. So generic CVS brand is now my friend - it showed a vertical line within a couple of minutes (PHEW!) and I think it's dark enough to see in a photograph now.

So now we just need to get a decent # at our beta tomorrow and maybe it will seem real? Does it ever?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

9dp3dt - continuing to POAS

Last night I got another faint positive from an internet cheapie and a FRER, but this morning the FRER was negative. I've gotten two more positives on the ICs though which were still very light. Probably will try another FRER this evening and buy some other brands tomorrow if the ICs continue to look positive. I have a digital but won't waste it until I'm sure my levels are higher.

I'm just in shock right now. Doesn't feel real - at all. A nice dark line would be reassuring. Along with a beta on Friday to back it up. And then we'll have a whole new set of hurdles to overcome - which would be nice because I'm getting tired of all of this IF business.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

8dp3dt - my stomach is flipflopping...

...because I can't tell if this is an evaporation line or not...and I've been staring at it for the past 20 minutes trying to figure out if I'm imagining it or if it's grey (not pink)?

Are you f'ing with me, Mr. Internet Cheapie HPT? I've never ever seen a second line before so that would not be very nice.

evaporation line?

I feel dizzy and nauseous.

My acupuncturist also said she felt a strong rolling pulse, which only confirmed my stomach ache last time around, but maybe it does mean something this time?

8dp3dt - plan B

For me I *need* to have a plan B in place before I POAS. It gives me something to focus on and not feel that the world is coming to an end when I see that bright white space staring back at me.

So if this cycle doesn't work out, I am:
1) taking Friday/Saturday off from the world to grieve; drink a bottle or two of nice red wine; maybe share some with DH
2) drinking heavily with friends at the Redskins game on Sunday
3) drinking heavily at the cookie exchange on Monday - hosted by an IVFer with twins
4) doing a detox program with my acupuncturist (sauna, etc.)
5) really *really* getting back in shape - no really!
6) planning out a nice ski trip out West this winter (Utah is our fav - or should we try somewhere new?)
7) planning out our Greece trip (rent villa with DH's family)

and once we can think about IF again:
8) discussing treatment options for endometriosis with my RE - should I do Lupron Depot for a few months? Am I missing the Beta 3 Integrin protein needed for implantation?
9) weighing doing another fresh (#4) vs. FET cycle. My eggs aren't getting any younger.
10) throwing away all of the old needles & IVF supplies that I don't need anymore - I still have every needle that I've ever injected sitting in a collection of sharps containers in our IVF closet (w/mini-fridge and everything!).

Monday, December 04, 2006

7dp3dt - still here

I'm still feeling pretty numb about this whole experience. Went in today for my first luteal bloodwork. I went to a national lab place to get it done. MUCH cheaper than the overpriced RE that I used for the early monitoring visits. But I find this place to be very uncomfortable. Especially when I have to wait in a crowded waiting room for an hour next to a smelly old man. Yuck.

Anyway if I had more energy about all of this I would be on the phone checking to see if the lab actually sent the results up to NYC. I'd give it a 50/50 chance that it happens today. But I don't have the energy so I'll just hope that they get it.

I'm thinking about POAS on Wednesday or Thursday. But this time around I'm way more scared about a BFN so we'll see. Do I really need to find out if it works?

In the mean time I'm going to try to do some Christmas shopping and come up with a "plan B" - which is like a mental cushion for me. Something to land on in case it doesn't work out so I don't crumble to pieces as I hit the floor.

Anyway, I'm really not feeling negative about the cycle. And then again I'm not feeling positive. Just there. Moments of hope & despair, but mostly it's just a lot of nothing. And I'm not complaining about that!

Friday, December 01, 2006

4dp3dt - (un)comfortably numb

Today I was overcome by a feeling of numbness. My eyes are glazed over and I'm just counting down the minutes until I can slip out of work to go home.

Yesterday I started a list of reasons why I should be really excited about this cycle. We made some big changes that will hopefully result in a BFP next Friday. Today this list doesn't seem to matter at all to me. In the end it feels like it's all about luck. You can do everything right and still end up with a BFN. Everything can go wrong and end up with a BFP. So I guess the only question that remains is - are we going to be lucky this time?

Anyway, here is my list of changes we've made for this cycle - not in any particular order:
- endo removed via lap in early November
- endometrial biopsy (study showing that this can help with implantation)
- great IVF program & wonderful RE
- great lab/embryologist
- careful monitoring & adjustments to meds
- new protocol (no Lup.ron; step down approach for stims)
- trigger earlier
- E2 did not drop before ER
- embyros in co-culture
- TSH down near 1 on Lev.oxyl
- longer-term course of acupuncture (since summer)
- acupuncture before transfer (1/2 German protocol)
- TCM herbs for a couple of months prior to stimming
- Med.rol to help with implantation
- omega-3 fish oils
- antioxidants (CoQ10, grape seed extract, Vitamin C)
- E2 patches during luteal phase
- DH on antibiotics
- DH on proceptin (antioxidants)
- embryos looked beautiful - never seen that before
- 4 embryos survived to blast & looked good enough to freeze (at a very picky lab)

this is followed by a dose of reality:
- stress of cycling out of town
- stress of being stuck in Times Square (of all places!) around ET
- even if everything looks "perfect" many, many women don't get PG
- didn't eat as well as I could have - major stress eater
- drank wine a couple times during stims; sucka for red wine
- not in great shape right now - poor circulation? too much E2 from fat cells?
- getting older - are my eggs any good?

So maybe there were too many things floating around my head and something short-circuited up there...but there is a definite stillness. And it's eery.