October 30, 2009

And we’re off…like a herd of turtles.

Posted in Infertility tagged , , at 1:40 pm by lifebytheday

We had our second consultation with the RE last night, and everything was largely as I expected.

  • Hormone levels – normal, with the exception of elevated testosterone (typical for PCOS)
  • S’s counts – normal
  • Clotting tests – normal (no reason why I experienced bleeding after last ER)
  • MRI – normal (no brain tumor, phew)
  • Genetic tests – normal

So what’s next?  Here’s what we discussed:

  • He’d like me to start back with Metformin (extended release, 2 tabs/1000 mgs, at night), although my insulin levels look normal, to make sure that nothing having to do with my sugars is affecting my ability to ovulate
  • I need to do 4-8 weeks of BCPs (probably around 6 weeks), to regain a more normal hormone balance and suppress my inflated LH levels.  I’ll be starting these as soon as they receive insurance approval for this cycle.
  • We will be using Lupron again (luteal Lupron) as part of my protocol.  I pushed him on this, and he said that this is absolutely needed in my case, to suppress my ovaries and prevent OHSS.
  • We will not be using Follistim as the second part of the protocol, but instead will be using a combination of two drugs, likely Gonal-F and Repronex.  He’s going to make the decision on that once he’s had a chance to more closely study how I responded to the Follistim (why he didn’t do that before this appt, I don’t know).
  • We will definitely be doing ISCI this time (because of the low fertilization rates previously), and potentially assisted hatching as well.
  • We will make a game time decision as to whether we’ll be transferring on day two, three, or five.  If the embryo quality and fertilization is better this time (which hopefully it will be!), we should have more embryos to choose from, in which case we’ll probably push out to day five.  The way he explained it to me is that if there are five or six very good embryos, they have no way of knowing on day three which one(s) will be the best, so they let them continue to grow and self-select.  If there are only one or two, then they’d transfer them earlier because the womb is a better incubator than the petri dish.  The one concern I had (that if we waited to day 5 that we couldn’t freeze the extra) is unfounded – they freeze all embies on day 5.
  • He is open to the idea of transferring two embryos, depending on the quality of the embies.  Again, if we have several perfect embies to choose from, we may put in one and freeze the rest.  But if there are two or more B-quality embies, I’m going to push for transferring two.
  • The antagonist protocol is not appropriate for me, and he seemed kind of annoyed when I asked him about it.  In fact, whenever I brought up something that I had researched or heard about, he seemed annoyed.  Like he didn’t want me doing my own armchair diagnosis – which I respect – but at least give me credit for doing my research and EXPLAIN to me why those things will or will not work!!  His personality still kind of rubs me the wrong way – despite being very nice, there’s just something about him that bugs me – but S likes him, and he’s a very good judge of character.  Plus, he’s just here to get me pregnant, not to take me out to dinner, right??  😉

So, right now we’re looking at a transfer probably mid- to end of January.  Pro – gives me a chance to get back on track with my diet and exercise and really enjoy the holidays.  Con – more WAITING, ugh!!  The only thing that’s left to do is a DNA/fragmentation test of S’s boys, since we’ll be bypassing nature’s self-selection with the ISCI.  This test isn’t covered by insurance, but our RE thinks it’s important to double check.  Apparently a capsule of liquid nitrogen arrives on our doorstep, with instructions for collection and shipping back.  The whole process sounds hysterical and I’ve already warned S that I’d be taking pictures…of the apparatus, not the “event,” don’t worry!   😉

 

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October 29, 2009

Ready, set…go! (If he knows what’s good for him!)

Posted in Infertility tagged , at 9:50 am by lifebytheday

This afternoon I have my second consultation with the new RE.  After a long month of blood tests, ultrasounds, and an MRI thrown in for good measure, I am so READY to move forward.  The last time we met, my RE said that he couldn’t make any recommendations until he knew more, and very politely (and without my realizing) steamrolled over any questions I might have had.  He is very thoughtful, but kind of intense, and I’m still trying to figure out how to interact with him.  He reminded me that I have had some very serious issues and that I shouldn’t want to do another round of IVF unless he can convince me that’s the right next step.  Now, I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think there are many other options open to a (healthy, 20-something) woman who does not ovulate. 😉

So needless to say, I am extremely interested to hear what he has to say today.  I’m anxious – not worried, just ready – to know the results of my MRI and the blood clotting tests.  Besides those tests, everything else was a repeat and I can pretty much guarantee what he’ll find there.  I also want to make sure that I ask all the right questions, and actually get answers for everything that I need! 

Here are my Q’s:

  • Protocol – I’ve been doing what I think is called a “long Lupron” protocol (BCPs, Lupron, Follistim) and always overrespond.  Questions – Should we consider the “antagonist” protocol?  What does that entail?
  • Fertilization – We’ve never had more than one embryo to work with, despite 18-19 eggs harvested.  Should we consider ISCI?
  • Retrieval – What are we going to do to ensure that I don’t have bleeding this time?
  • Transfer –
    • With both of my previous cycles we’ve done 3-day transfers.  Should we consider 5-day?  Pros/cons?
    • If we end up with multiple embryos to work with this time, can we consider transferring two?  Does it depend on the embryo quality?  I’m pretty sure I know the pros and cons, but confirm.

To all you IF veterans, is there anything I’m missing???

October 28, 2009

Blogs, friends, and awards

Posted in Blog, Friends, Infertility tagged at 10:35 am by lifebytheday

I’ve been meaning to write this post for two weeks…thanking Kari over at Baby Steps for sharing these blog awards with me, and passing them on to my wonderful blogging friends!!  Kari has been a great blogosphere find – she also suffers from PCOS, but has been through SO much on top of that.  We’re all saying prayers that this treatment will be her last.

The first award is called the Kreativ Blogger:

Here are the rules for this award:
1.Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2.Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3.Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4.Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5.Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6.Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7.Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

My 7 things:

1. I was a cheerleader in HS, and (not so) secretly want to be a coach for the team in my town.
2. I LOVE romance novels, esp. historical ones.
3. I’d like to write a book someday (preferably a romance novel, see #3 ;-)).
4. I would love to be a SAHW, but I’d want to take classes and go shopping and hang out at the spa all day, so not only would I not be making any money, but I’d be spending it hand over fist! 😉
5. I have champagne taste, but a beer budget.
6. I love looking at the fabric books at S’ shop.  I have tons of ideas and would love to do interior decorating someday.
7. I love to cook, but barely get the chance to anymore.  If S had to wait for me to get home to start dinner every night, he’d DIE of hunger. 😛

And now, the award recipients!!  These are the people who inspire me, encourage me, and make me laugh.  A huge shout out (and HUG) to all my blogging sisters!

1. Confessions of a Married Couple
2. I am Stacey
3. (In)fertile Myrtle
4. To Be Determined
5. Eat, Drink, Breathe, Sweat
6. This is Why I Date
7. Growing More than Vegetables

Kari also gave me a second award – THANK YOU!! – called “All we need is a little LOVE!”  I love Kari for her honesty and strength in spite of some major challenges.

This blog is about sisters uniting together and giving others some love because life is hard and who couldn’t use a little love? The rules for this award is simple.  I LOVE YOU=8 letters which gives you 8 rules 🙂

Here are the rules:
1-Thank the person who nominated you for this award and write a little bit about why you love them.
2-Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3-Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4-Nominate no more than 17 people (why 17?) who you love or you think could use some love.
5-Write one word (you can only use a word once) about what you love about their blog.
6-You cannot nominate someone who has already been nominated-the love has to spread to all.
7-Post links to the 17 blogs you nominate.
8-Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

Here we go!

1. Confessions of a Married Couple – reality
2. I am Stacey – friendly
3. (In)fertile Myrtle – honest
4. To Be Determined – strength
5. Eat, Drink, Breathe, Sweat – motivation
6. This is Why I Date – Bridget 😉
7. Growing More than Vegetables – growing
8. Big Mama – laughs
9. The Pioneer Woman – family
10. Infertility Instability – farm-life
11. Bottoms Off and On The Table – determination
12. Romancing the Stone – support
13. Still Waiting For My Sunshine – newbie 😉
14. The Clanahan Fam – faith
15. Preheated Oven: Where is My Bun? – twins!

October 26, 2009

It still hurts…

Posted in Infertility tagged , , at 11:00 am by lifebytheday

You would think that after dealing with infertility for so long, I would have gotten used to hearing pregnancy news from other people and that I would/could/should be happy for them…but it only seems to be getting worse.  Even with my fellow bloggers – people whom I’ve never met, most of whom have also gone through IF and treatments of one kind or another – it still hurts to read their pregnancy announcements.  I actually end up not reading their blogs for a while, until the pain subsides, and I can be happy and supportive once again.  My blogroll is even divided into IF and PAIF (pregnant after infertility) blogs, and I find myself not adding new blogs if I find them in their 2WW (two week wait, pregnant until proven otherwise). 

It is both easier and more difficult with people I know in real life.  If it’s a good friend, then I know them well enough to be truly happy for them, despite my personal pain.  With acquaintances, I can be a bit more snarky.  But I still find myself unnaturally drawn to pregnant people.  I stalk friends on Faceboo.k, paying close attention to any “congratulations” on the newsfeeds, and torturing myself by stalking people about to give birth.  (P.S. folks, do NOT post things about being dilated or effaced or doctors stripping membranes on your FB page – NO ONE wants to read that.)

I’ve posted this before, but I even have this twisted deserve-o-meter in my head, where I judge whether people deserve to be pregnant/have a baby.

Un-married?  NO

First time trying?  NO

Oops baby?  NO

I even have a hard time with people successful with their first IVF treatment!  I know, I’m sick/twisted/mean…fill in the blank.  And I’m sorry if any of these things apply to you…this is not a personal attack, just my attempt at catharsis and honesty.  I know that there are hordes of IF people out there who feel the same way…I just want you to know you’re not alone. 

It’s weird and strange and sad that this is starting to bother me so much.  I still love to see babies (although again, there’s a pinch), but it’s the pregnant bellies that kill me.  I’m the first person to give up my seat on a train for a pregnant woman, and I’m that person surreptitiously (or not so much) staring at their belly across the restaurant/store/etc.  I’ve heard from some people that these thoughts don’t just go away, even after you are pregnant, but I hope that they ease up.  Feeling like a jealous, miserable, bitch SUCKS!!

October 22, 2009

You are what you eat

Posted in Infertility, Life at 9:42 am by lifebytheday

A year ago, I had my first appointment with my acupuncturist/nutritionist/ herbalist and started what would become the most intense diet change of my life.  NO SUGAR!  Oh, and also no diary, no gluten, no soy, no artificial ingredients of any kind, extra eggs, nuts, and red meat.  (There was a specific reason for each change, which unfortunately I don’t remember – but essentially it was the “Fertility Diet” with some tweaks specific to PCOS.)  I really didn’t mind most of the changes, but the no sugar thing was a HUGE adjustment.  Think about it!  Even for people that aren’t sugar-aholics like I was…that means black coffee/tea, no juice or soda, no baked goods, pretty much no pre-packaged snacks of any kind!  I know a lot of people who would have done changes this major in stages, but I’m more of a cold turkey kind of girl. 😉

So I followed that diet pretty religiously for about 9 months – three months without cheating at all (except for dark chocolate and red wine, which was allowed ;-)), and another six months only making allowances on weekends and for parties.  I felt great – lost ten pounds – and could definitely tell when I cheated by my body’s reaction.  After doing this for such a long time (and still not seeing a regular period to show for all of my hard work), I got tired of denying myself and my willpower sort of fizzled.  The past few months I’ve been living it up – eating cheese, sugar, drinking more wine than I’d care to admit…and I feel pretty disgusting.  I still look pretty much the same, besides those ten pounds I’ve gained back, but my digestive system (sorry, TMI) has gone to hell.  I hate to admit that I might have to give up my sugar love FOREVER, but something has got to change. 

I go back to the RE a week from today, and hopefully he’ll have a plan and tell me we can start prepping for IVF #3, so I think I need to spend the next week getting my diet back on track.  Maybe I need to put a food tracking widget on my blog so that I’m embarassed enough to follow the rules. 😉  Except I’m not starting until tomorrow – one more binge-fest tonight, Mexican style!

October 15, 2009

Non-post…

Posted in Family, Life at 1:54 pm by lifebytheday

I had blogging ideas all lined up for the next few days, and then…life happened.  My little bro is having some trouble in his first semester of college, so we’re all trying to rally around to help him.  Any post that I would write today would sound snarky and depressed, so I’m taking a rain check.  I’ll be back soon, hopefully with my good humor intact!

October 14, 2009

Letting go

Posted in Infertility, Life, Marriage tagged at 10:34 am by lifebytheday

One of the biggest challenges for me in my adult life has been letting go…and I’m definitely still learning.  I am a super perfectionist, and since I don’t expect other people to be as anal as I am, I often find myself doing more than is really needed.  I recently joked with my parents that Anal 1 (Mom) + Anal 2 (Dad) = Anal x 10 (me!).  As I’ve grown into my adult self however, I’ve definitely become a bit more laid back.  A large part of that is due to S, who is NOT an anal procrastinating perfectionist.  😉  He’s very particular about his work (and certain other things, when they matter), but in general, he just does his best and then lets the rest go.  Since marrying S, I’ve learned to let go of my notion of a perfect house.  I’ve realized that some nights, it’s more important to have an early night with my husband than it is to leave the kitchen clean and the dishes done.

Bailey (and now Killian) has also provided me with a great lesson in letting go.  Since Bailey was a puppy, she has gone to work with S (one of the perks of owning your own business).  At first, it was because she wasn’t potty trained and couldn’t last all day, but it became a great way for her to be socialized with other people and animals, and she has now become the “shop dog.”  S is much more laid-back than I am, but I had to trust that he would make sure she was fed, watered, taken out, and safe from the wide variety of tools and other things spread around the shop.  There have been a few mishaps (S has on occasion been spotted running down the street after Bailey, who’s running down the street after some kids on bikes 😉 ), but obviously, Bailey is healthy and happy and I owe that, in large part, to S.  People say that dogs give couples a chance to develop a sense of responsibility before having kids, but for us, Bailey gave us a chance to develop our sense of shared responsibility.  I don’t feel like I have to do everything, which is a big accomplishment for me.

There is one aspect of my life, however, where I haven’t been able to let go.  Our inability to have a baby has forced me to be very “in control” of the entire IF process, as you all know.  Deep down, I know that I should “let go, and let God,” that everything happens for a reason, and at the time it is meant to happen – but it is SO hard to actually LIVE by those principles.  I know that God meant for me to be a mother, I just hope that his plan includes biological children!  And if not, I hope he gives me the strength to move forward with his alternate plan.  I truly believe that once I am able to 100% let go and put myself and our future children into his hands, that it will happen…I just hope I can do that sooner rather than later!

October 10, 2009

Breaking up is hard to do-oooooo

Posted in Acupuncture, Alternative therapies, Infertility tagged at 12:00 pm by lifebytheday

Several weeks ago, I finally sent off an email that I had been dreading for a long time, telling my acupuncturist/herbalist that we would be moving forward with IVF #3, and effectively dashing both of our dreams that we could use TCM (chinese medicine) to get me pregnant “naturally.”  I know that it was ridiculous for me to care as much as I did, but I really felt like I was breaking up with him.  Even though I had planned to continue acupuncture during IVF, I knew that this would essentially say to him that I knew his way wasn’t working, and I felt bad.  We also had grown closer (I thought!) than a standard client/practicioner relationship because I had been regularly babysitting for his son and bartering our services.  Add that to the fact that he really stands by his practice and Eastern medicine in general, and doesn’t seem to believe in (or agree with) IVF, and I was a bit worried about being judged.  

After over a week of radio silence, I finally got a response.  Here are some of my favorite (insert sarcasm here) parts:

  • In response to my comment that I’d be seeing the chief (doctor) at one of the best teaching hospitals in the state:
    Does he wear a big headress with feathers and do you smoke a ceremonial long pipe in his teepee?
  • In response to my saying that I feel good about moving forward, but hope that he’s not disappointed in me:
    Sure, it is your choice…I just want you to be strong enough to carry the pregnancy.

And more of the same…essentially what I thought was a very condescending and not at all supportive response.  After asking him to clarify what he meant by not being strong enough (to which his answer was concerning uterine lining and hormone levels – not related to any specific problems I’ve had, just the things that are important to a successful pregnancy, and also, clearly all things that the doctors would also be monitoring!), I basically said that I thought we should take a break.  After lots of awkward back and forth where I had to explain what parts of his email I thought were condescending (!), I finally got the response I had been looking for, which was a simple “I sincerely wish you guys the best – you so deserve to have a family.  Please do keep me posted.”

At this point, I still feel a bit sad that things had to end this way, but I’m proud of myself for standing up to him.  He deals with clients with serious and sensitive health issues on a regular basis, and I felt like he needed to know how he was coming across to others and that I needed to stand up for those who might not be able to stand up for themselves!

October 9, 2009

Home stretch

Posted in Remodeling tagged , at 1:31 pm by lifebytheday

Sorry friends, didn’t mean to make you wait allllll week for a new post!  I had good intentions to post IF/bathroom/IF/bathroom posts on a regular basis…but then I actually had to help with the bathroom this week, which meant that I was too tired to get up and into work on time most days this week, which then meant that I didn’t have time to do my blogging at work!  Anyways, moving on. 😉

SO much has happened with the bathroom this week…besides the fact that we finally moved back home after three weeks at my parents’ house!!
– The walls and ceiling have been plastered and sanded
– The last of the tile has been installed
– The linen closets (2 of them!!) have been purchased, built, and installed
– The window blind and shower curtain have been hung
– The TOILET has been re-installed
– The paint has been chosen and purchased
– The towel hooks, toilet paper rod, vanity hardware, new toilet seat, and overhead light/fan fixture have all been chosen and purchased (notice how I’m emphasizing “chosen”?  That’s the rough part with yours truly…)
– The tub has been christened…wait, what?  Oops, sorry…TMI 😉

The plan for the weekend is to finish grouting the last batch of tile, prime and paint the walls, ceiling, and trim, screw the vanity and linen closets into permanent position, and then wait for the granite countertop to be measured and installed early next week!  Then all that will be left to do is install the sink faucet and vanity hardware, hang the towel hooks and toilet paper rod, and accessorize!!  😉

Here’s a picture to tide you all over as we enter the home stretch…

bathroom with vanity

October 5, 2009

A tribute to my purse partner

Posted in Infertility, Marriage at 9:50 am by lifebytheday

I found a great article on Boston.com this morning when I signed on to do my daily news and blogs review – “Will he hold your purse?” http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/10/04/will_he_hold_your_purse/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed4.  The article caught my eye for its timeliness – since my wonderful husband did a stint as purse holder on Saturday night.  Actually, not only did he hold my purse, but he came to join us out after working in the bathroom all day, got lost and spent an hour driving around Boston, and then accompanied us to a drag queen dinner show. 😛  Some of my best friends turn 30 on Tuesday, so we organized a “high class” bar crawl.  Although, I’m not sure if drag queens equal high class, but oh well, lol!  I’m trying to enjoy my last few “drinkable” outings, and hoping that I won’t be able to drink very soon. 😉

So back to the article.  It talks about how it’s more important to pick a partner based on how they handle the tough times, than on specific at-the-moment interests.  My favorite quote – “When you’re a single woman picturing the guy of your dreams, what matters a heck of lot more than how he handles a kayak is how he handles things when you’re sick.”

For those of you that don’t know us personally, S and I don’t always see eye to eye. 😉  We are very different, but are both pretty stubborn and passionate (which makes for some doozies of fights), but one thing I know is that he will always be there for me, through anything.  After shedding a few tears reading this article – yes, sitting in my cube at 8am – I thought I’d share some of my favorite S taking care of me stories. 

  • When S and I were first dating, I went to visit him in Ireland and came down with a terrible ear infection.  He brought me back early from our romantic weekend away, took me to the doctor for meds, and then didn’t kill me after I blamed my penicillin allergic reaction on him not cleaning the tub well enough.
  • A year or so later, when I was living in Ireland, I got another (double) ear infection.  (Ireland and I don’t really get along – I always get sick when we go back to visit, lol.)  After waking up to me sobbing and rocking back on the floor, he called us a cab and took me to the emergency room, where they gave me some pain killers and I promptly passed out on a stretcher in the hallway.  All I remember from that night is him asking the doctor if he could have more of that medicine to bring home. LOL!
  • After we had moved back to the States, there was one particular night where we went out to a mini high school reunion.  After getting me back to my parents’ house, a bit worse for the wear, he managed to pick the lock to my father’s office (where I had locked myself in and then passed out), got me showered, changed and put to bed, and then cleaned up the vomit from various spots along the way.  I mean, if that doesn’t say love, what does? 😉
  • More recently, and a bit more seriously, is how S has handled our infertility treatments.  I don’t even think I can pinpoint one particular instance, but through every step of the way, he has been there for me with just the right mix of humor and compassion.  Whether it is signing our IVF consent forms (deciding what we’d do with frozen embryos if one or the other of us died, disappeared or divorced), bringing me food and treats and taking care of the laundry while I’m on bed rest after an embryo transfer, or sitting in the ER and holding my hand while I get a blood transfusion, S always knows (even when I don’t) whether I need a hug, or a joke, or a kick in the pants.

This is what I wish for all of you – to find the person that, while not perfect, is perfect for you.  Here’s a personal ad you can use, quoted from the purse article. 😉 
WANTED: A partner for richer or poorer and for better or worse and absolutely, positively in sickness and in health. A partner for fishing and French food and beach walks and kayak trips, but also for phone calls from physicians with biopsy results. A guy who knows that while much of marriage is a 50-50 give-and-take, sometimes it’s more like 80-20, and that’s OK, even when the 80-20 phase goes on and on. 

Thank you S, for everything.  I love you.

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