Saturday, July 31, 2010

back to the grind

So, I'm back from vacation and it's sad. You see I live in the Midwest and that means that I live for the summer! I can't get enough of being outside, lazing around, and being with friends and family. Sadly my job and my upcoming IVF cycle time off needs don't quite understand how much I need time off when it is nice outside! Seriously, how did it get to be August already??? I literally felt like I was white knuckling this past week trying to hold on to every moment for dear life. It was just a fantastic time of boating, family, nephews, and time together. And I got to cook nearly all of the meals and I truly just LOVE to cook!! It was a fantastic time and now I'm back to the reality of it all....

Which means that I am on day four of lup.ron! I will likely be on 10 units for the next three to seven days. Then I will go in for my baseline ultrasound and start stims shortly after that. All this means that we are only weeks away from another egg retrieval and transfer. I cannot believe we are already past three months of trying on our own, two medicated IUIs, and back at IVF. It seems like MBL just went in for varicocele surgery yesterday. I am thankful that this time we are doing IVF in the summer. Doing it in bleak, dreary December right around the holidays just did not jive with me. It ended up being semi-awkward and the lack of sunshine did nothing for my spirits. This time I'm hoping I can do my bedrest with sun streaming through the windows! Seriously, can you tell that I am a summer person??

I guess what I want most right now is for AF to start within the next week and for everything to look good at our baseline. It seems like last time everything started downhill after our baseline and I'm just hoping lup.ron is more of a friend to me this time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

a hiatus from the every day

So, right now I am sitting at a lake house about 3 hours north of where we live. I am enjoying the breeze off the lake and the lovely view. I am also enjoying time away from our house and the every day responsibilities that arise at home.

I am not enjoying the bloat I already feel, even though I am not currently on any medications. This past week I broke down and bought a pair of maternity jeans. The first pair I got, I did not like and in MBL's words, "They pushed my butt down and made it look weird." They are in a pile to be returned to the store. Then I went to one of my all time favorite stores, Tar.get, and they came through for me! A fantastic pair of jeans that do not make my butt look weird and are the perfect length (which is hard to find since I am 5'3"). I worse them last night when I was feeling fat and they are comfy!! I bought them because the stims make me bloat and I full intend on needing them after our next IVF. I am feeling quite positive about our upcoming cycle and I am anxious to get the show on the road. Only 3 more days until I start lup.ron.

On another note, I have been spotting since my hystero.scopy and although I got my positive OPK Tuesday night, my temperature has still not shown that I have ovulated. I'm wondering if I should be worried, or if I should just go with the flow. I just don't want to have to be on lupr.on for 3 weeks again before I am able to start stims. So, let's hope that everything goes just as it should!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

a gamut of feelings

On Tuesday I left directly from working a 10 hour shift to drive to Chicago, which is a three hour trip from our house. My parents live in that area, which is fortunate because it will allow us to save on expenses (hotel and food) when we have to travel down there for our cycle. Plus, I grew up in the area so the familiarity is nice to have.

My appointment was on Wednesday morning bright and early. I drank my water (30 plus ounces) and made my way to the office. I was not uncomfortable bladder wise until they had me place my legs up in stirrups and, well, the "breeze" increased my urge to empty it. Thankfully, I was able to hold it and nobody got peed on. The hyster.oscopy was different from what I expected. I did not realize they would be forcing water up my ute and the cramping was definitely uncomfortable. It was interesting to actually see the inside of my uterus--they had a video screen just for me! The doc nearly gave me an anxiety attack when he told me that I may have a septum. After having both a lap and about a million ultrasounds, I would hope that if I had one, someone else would have said something. Thankfully they immediately did an ultrasound while the water was still in there and everything looks normal. Woot! My antral follicle count was exactly the same as last time--26--I had 11 on the left and 15 on the right. My righty is usually the star performer anyways, so I was not surprised with those results. They did not tell me what my lining was, but it must have been fine. When we met with the nurse I asked if they had the results of my AMH test and it was slightly below normal, 0.9, I then proceeded to nearly have another panic attack. GAH! The nurse said that it is still a new test, so they have no guarantees on what the results mean, so I shouldn't worry. She also said my FSH (6.4) and antral count (26) do not match the AMH results, so it may not mean anything for me that it is slightly low (normal is 1.0 and above). The doctor, however, could deny our application for the shared risk program based on my number. It was all I could think about until I got the chance to speak with MBL on the phone. He put me at ease. The nurse call me less than three hours later to tell me that the doctor isn't worried about my AMH and that as long as my nicotine screen comes back negative (never ever smoked, so it should), we are officially allowed to pay our doctor $16,000. WOO HOO! You wouldn't think the idea of spending that kind of money would make me so happy, but it does :).

I start lup.ron on the 28th. I didn't get a true positive OPK until Tuesday night...which was good because MBL and I had unprotected "relations" Thursday night and if it had been positive on Saturday we would have risked something happening, which for only the second time in 19 months, we do not want to happen. My med order is on its way and there are needles in our house again!! I. am. geeked.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a brief intro

Hi there to all here from ICLW! I just thought I'd give a brief intro on our journey and then I'll be back tomorrow for a more in depth post on what is going on with us at this moment.

My husband (referred to here as MBL) and I have been trying (thus far, unsuccessfully) for 19 months. We have been through 3 clomid only cycles, 4 clomid plus trigger shot and IUI cycles, one IVF cycle, and one clomid plus IUI cycle. The closest we have come to a pregnancy was on our last IUI when I got positive home tests for three days and then a very low beta. We headed from that straight into our current cycle where we are set to begin lu.pron next Wednesday. We will be doing IVF again, but this time in a shared risk program where if we don't get pregnant after 3 fresh cycles (and any frozen cycles we produce), we will get an 80% refund. We are seeing a new RE for our next IVF in Chicago, which is about 3 hours away from where we live. So our cycle will involve a lot of foreign territory as we try to navigate monitoring out of state.

I am praying that this IVF brings us our BFP and a take home baby.

Thanks for stopping by, and, happy ICLW!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It seems we may be on our way!

So, I am a lucky duck in the sense that I have quite regular cycles. I nearly always have a 29-31 day cycle, with most of them being right around 30 days. If I don't ovulate until cycle day 17 usually my luteal phase will compensate and only last 13 days. If I ovulate on day 15, I usually end up with a 15 day luteal phase. My body is neato like that. Well, for our new clinic the nurse told me to use OPKs cycle days 8-10 before 10am in the morning and she informed me that she preferred I use the brand because of how easy they are to read and to call them when I got "the smiley face". Well, I decided against that as I'd rather spend my money on pee sticks of another kind, especially since I have roughly 50 internet OPKs that have ALWAYS shown me a positive before I ovulate. I had no intentions of peeing on my OPKs this early, but for some reason this morning I decided that I would go ahead and take an OPK. I glanced at it before I dashed out the door to work, about 10 minutes after taking it, and it was far darker than I've ever seen it at cycle day 9. I didn't really have the time to examine it, so after I got to work, I called MBL and asked him to send me pictures of the test. He did and it turns out my eyes were not playing tricks on me, the test line was clearly visible. I was bummed that I didn't bring another one with me to work! MBL decided to come have dinner with me and so he brought me one and the second was darker than the first! Could I really be gearing up to get a positive OPK on cycle day 10? This would mean that I would start lupron 8 days from tomorrow (on our vacation) and then begin stims the week of August 9th. Could we really be on our way?? AH! This is all so exciting and scary and promising! I guess I'll know more tomorrow. But, yay, I'm glad we'll be on our way sooner than I thought!

p.s. I totally peed on my hand. twice. You'd think it was my first time POAS (or peeing in a cup)! Sick. Also, I guess this explains why my oves (ovaries) have felt kind of crampy the last few days.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I did it and then I did it AGAIN!

No, I'm not talking about babydancing! I'm talking about running. I have been putting it off, even though I had five days off in a row this week. The truth is I was afraid to get back out there again. In my prime I could run 5-7 miles without stopping and I was so afraid that after 10 months of hardly running (thank you, Clo.mid and other super-ovulation drugs) I would have to go back to the pace I kept in my early days...running sloooowly for 2 minutes, catching my runaway breath for two minutes and then back to the slow running, repeating for 2-3 miles. Well, as it turns out, I am not *that* out of shape. Yesterday was my first day back in the running sadle and I ran the first mile without stopping! YAY! Considering I am carrying around about 8 extra pounds (mostly on my backside--thanks, again, Clo.mid/fertility drugs), I considered that a grand success! I ran 3 miles with my cutie patootie beagle. I was up early this morning running various errands with MBL before he went to work and so I had plenty of energy to go for a run before it got too hot. So, beagle and I did 3 more miles! Another success! It just felt like with each step I took that I was reclaiming my life back from infertility. It has taken so much from me and I felt defiant as I finished those three miles (twice!). So, take that infertility!

On another note, is it odd that I am excited for my hysteroscopy next week? I am just so geeked to have two more things crossed off my shared risk to do list--lining check and normal uterine cavity. I should also be able to find out my AMH level at the appointment. I think my mom will be going with me since MBL can't get off of work and she is excited to be a part of it too! With this shared risk program it just feels like our dream of a pregnancy and taking home a baby are within our grasp!! Bring on the needles (again)!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

still sinking feeling

So, today I'm mindlessly checking and I notice a post on a friend's page from one of MBL's coworkers. This post mentions aversions to food and an ultrasound. Then it registers, "Holy crap, this coworker's wife is pregnant!" And then I immediately feel my stomach drop out of my body. Yes, this is a typical reaction to a pregnancy announcement for me, but what really upset me about this one? In November when MBL and I were going through our first IVF we were over at a friend's house and this coworker and his wife were there. When someone said something about them having kids her response was this, "Ick, babies!" The first word was actually more like a noise than an actual word, but she responded with pure disgust to the idea of having children and now she gets to be pregnant before me??? Seriously??? Gah!!

In other news, MBL is (was?) having cold feet about our shared risk decision. It makes sense because it is a huge financial decision and it is scary, but it will be a very temporary setback in our life and what is money without a family with whom to share it? I think he's feeling more settled about it now. But, reaching his understanding involved a minor meltdown on my part and a bit of frustration on his. Good thing I read the above post after we had settled things, otherwise the meltdown may have been more dramatic.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Here we go!!

**Side note: the title of this post reminds of me of playing Mario on Nin.tendo**

Because I am doing a long lupron cycle for our IVF, we are actually already on our way! I was able to speak with the nurse at our new clinic yesterday and got the run down of what our plan is. There are a few tests that they require I do through their clinic because of the shared risk program and that included bloodwork. I thought I was going to have to drive there to get it done, but then they told me I could ship it! And then I realized that my parents live 45 minutes away from the clinic, so my dad hand delivered my blood to the clinic this morning--what a nice guy!! And, I was quite impressed that they were in the office on a Sunday! Anyways, they were able to get three of the blood tests done today-LH, FSH, and estradiol-and they all look good (4.7, 6.4, and 33 respectively). They had to send out my blood for AMH testing and I will get those results when I go in for my hysteroscopy on the 21st. There are still four more tests I have to pass: lining check on cycle day 13 (must be at least 8mm), the hysteroscopy, AMH level, and antral follicle count. Then they need to review our first IVF cycle embryology report and fertilization report, and then we will be officially approved to hand them over more than what I make in a year. I am not really worried that I will fail any of these tests as I have had a lap and an HSG done in the last year and never once did the doc find anything abnormal in my ute. My lining has always been fine, even on Clo.mid. And my last antral count was 26. The only way we could be declined is if my AMH comes back abnormal or the doctor things our last cycle went so poorly that it's not worth repeating. When we spoke with him in February he said he would be more than happy to do shared risk with us (I think he heard "24 years old, male factor" and immediately went "cha-ching" in his head). So, I'm planning on it.

What does this mean? In approximately 3 weeks I will begin lu.pron---yay injections?! Then 10-14 days after that I'll start stims with every other day ultrasounds and blood work. About 8-12 days after starting stims we'll have the egg retrieval and 3-5 days after that we'll have the egg transfer. Depending on when our transfer ends up being, we will likely find out around labor day whether or not our first attempt (at the new clinic) was successful. By the way, what is up with us always finding out news around a holiday?? We got our last IVF BFN on New Year's Eve and we got our first BFP (brief as it was) on July 4th. Now we will know around Labor Day about our next IVF. Hopefully we'll have reason to celebrate that day with something non-alcoholic!!

So, here we go!!! (again)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

surprisingly unfazed

So, they ran my blood again to get an HCG number at it came back at 5 at 12dpo. At first I thought, "Betas have to start somewhere, right?" Then we went back for another test at 14dpo and it was at the same level. When I spoke with the nurse from our clinic all she said is anything under 10 is considered negative by the lab. I asked her why I would have anything over 2 in my system if I hadn't taken a trigger shot and why would my temps be so high if nothing had happened? She asked if I was on progesterone (I'm not) and then said that it's possible something happened and to call them in a week if I hadn't gotten AF. Well, this morning my temp went down and I just *feel* AF coming. I think I'm relieved. Rather than continuing to wait and see I feel like I now have my answer. My theory as to what happened? I think that this was a chemical pregnancy. Most tests were darkest on Sunday, so I'm guessing that's when my HCG was highest. All were lighter, except for the Answer, on Monday when I had my blood draw. It's nice to know that my egg can actually meet DH's sperm even if it didn't result in a pregnancy. It's a relief. In our 18 months of TTC I have never had anything higher than a 2 on my beta test and I have never gotten a positive home test, so it was nice to see it could (sort of) happen.

The good news? I feel totally at peace with our next steps. We have decided to go forward with the shared risk program at our new clinic. It will involve a few more trips to the clinic and $6,000 more dollars, but it guarantees a take home baby or an 80% refund. One cycle at our new clinic would cost right around $10,000 and the shared risk costs $16,000 and allows for 3 fresh cycles and as many frozen cycles as it takes to get a take home baby. If something happens to the baby during the pregnancy at any point, we get to do another cycle at little cost to us (just the meds). It's a piece of mind that I feel will be invaluable. We may end up getting pregnant on the first cycle and will have then spent $6,0000 more than we would have on one cycle, but at this point, we need the security of added cycles if we need them and the guarantee of a baby in our arms. I now see our infertility journey as something I will overcome. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to get pregnant after 3 more fresh IVF cycles, so I truly believe that I will get to experience pregnancy, birth, and motherhood in the next year or so. And one of the best parts for me is that the likelihood of me not being a mom by my 26th birthday (October 2011) is slim. I think I am excited to go down this route and to finally be taking big steps towards our dream of being parents.

Monday, July 5, 2010

and then the unthinkable happened

So, I'm going to say this right off the bat so that you all are prepared...I am a crazy person. No, I don't have a mental illness that can be diagnosed by the DSM IV, but if infertility has done anything to me it has turned me into an unpredictable mess and sometimes I am an unpredictable crazy mess. You should all send some sympathy to MBL for putting up with me!

So, I decided to start "testing" on Saturday-10dpo. I bought a bunch of internet cheapies and I figured I could just start with those and if I saw something then I had ONE FRER. I tested Saturday morning and thought it was a BFN, threw it in the cupboard and forgot about it. Saturday night the crazy in me caused me to pee on another internet cheapie and after about three minutes there was a a definite line on the pregnant side. So, I pulled out the one from that morning and it too had a shadow of a line on the pregnant side. I thought, huh, that's odd. I've peed on these a bajillion times and never had this happen. I've actually peed on them, saw the BFN, stared at it upside down and sideways, thrown it away, pulled it out two days later, and have NEVER seen a line on the pregnant side (even after literally days). So, I not so patiently waited until Sunday morning and took the FRER. Light positive and my internet cheapie from that morning also showed a pink line. So, I went to the grocery store on my way to work and picked up three different brands (Answer, FRER, and I peed on an Answer, an internet cheapie, and a at lunch. All showed lines. I thought, "Holy crap, I might actually be preg!" I peed on a FRER and another internet cheapie when I got home (again, crazy here) and, again, lines!!! So, I tried to hold it together, but my mind was racing with the possibilities. We went to my in-laws for lunch/dinner and I kept my cool and managed not to spill the beans to MBL. When we got home and before we went to fireworks, I told him that there was a possibility I might be preggo and he said, "I thought so, you were being really weird." So much for surprise. I peed on another internet cheapie before I went to bed last night and the line was thick and pink and clearly visible, but somehow that didn't put my infertile mind at ease.

To make a long story shorter, I tested again today and all internet cheapies were positive and my Answer Early still had a thin, light pink line. So, then, because I only got 3 hours of sleep last night (that's what happens when you think you have a positive after 1 year and 6 months!), I decided that I *must* know today what my bloodwork says. After calling all my doctors and the hospital lab, we called the emergency line at my primary care and told her that while it was not a true emergency, it sure felt like one to us. So, she put in an order for a qualitative HCG test. I wanted a quantitative, but whatev, I thought, she'll still be able to see the number. She called MBL less than two hours later and told her it was negative and that she did not know what my number was because the qualitative test just gives a yes or no. Thirty minutes and a fit of crying at work later, I decided to google positive home test, negative blood test and it turns out depending on the sensitivity of the qualitative test, my home test could be more sensitive and accurate. So, I called the lab (because I was feeling brazen) and asked the kid who answered and he informed me that their sensitivity for that test was 25. So, if my blood has 24iu or less of HCG, it would give me a negative result...even if there is HCG present. AGH!!! So, now I have to wait and cross my fingers and pray that tomorrow my HCG shows that there is some level of it in my system.

I should note that I have never had a positive test in my life, except when there was a trigger shot in my system and I did not take a trigger shot this month. I should also note that my BBT has been the highest it has ever been. Do I dare hope? Bloggy friends if you could cross your fingers, say a prayer, or send good thoughts my way for a positive QUANTITATIVE test tomorrow, I would appreciate it.

p.s. all this drama is exhausting!