"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

26 October 2010


This is one of my favorite expressions, mostly because of B. Basically anything that comes out of his mouth that sounds remotely familiar or witty is from the Simpsons. Well, he does have a lot of wit of his own too, but the Simpsons are a huge part.  One of the many reasons he makes me smile and keeps me somewhat sane in all of this.

Anyways, Meh is just a perfect expression, for many reasons. It can be used in so many situations. Its the verbal equivalent of a shoulder shrug. Here's urban dictionary's take on it.

Most importantly right now, it describes how I'm feeling during this 2ww. Meh. 

Meh Meh Meh Meh Meh! (said really fast) (I guess there's a bit of anger behind that one too)

I'm sure some of you might be wondering how I'm feeling. Today I'm 5dp3dt (5 days past 3 day transfer). I have no real updates on symptoms. I know this doesn't mean anything, but I still feel a small sense of impending doom.

My beta is next week... Tuesday... Meh.

23 October 2010

2 Roses and Thank You

On the day after my retrieval, this past Tuesday, as I was sitting in my parent's office working from afar, my mom came home with these 2 roses for me. They were still a bit small that day, but started to open and blossom as the days went on. That morning, I had learned we only had 3 fertilized eggs sitting in the lab and I thought to myself, man, I wish she would have gotten 3 so I could focus on them as a representation of my embryos. But maybe, somehow,  subconsciously, whatever possessed her to buy these 2 roses, she knew that we would have these 2 surprise 4-cell fighters that are hopefully blossoming in me.

Today, I arrived back home in my own house after spending the last 2 weeks with my family in the city and burbs of Chicago. It was an amazing 2 weeks. I reflect on the quality time  I spent with my family, especially these last few days. My parents were so involved in the drama of the last few days that I truly think they have a whole new perspective on this journey and I know it brought us closer and gave them a glimpse of what B and I have been going through these last 3.5 years.

This morning, I even shared the art project, Yad Shniyah, with them before I left and I think it really helped them truly understand how the quest for a child is SO deeply personal and affects not only the couple or person who is going through it, but also many other people in their lives.

This also made me treasure how much support and love B and I have recieved throughout this journey and specifically in these last few crazy days. So I wanted to thank you ALL (fellow bloggers, family, friends, coworkers, lurkers... ) from the bottom of my heart for helping us find strength and giving us comfort. The journey is far from over, but for now, there is at least a moment of peace, before the end of the two week wait nears.

Much love to you all!

21 October 2010

The Last 24 Hours of My Life - SIMPLY NUTS!

I"ll try to recap the ups and downs of the last 24 hours

Wednesday, October 19th
1pm - Phone call from the clinic saying my embryos suck and didn't start dividing. Probably not going to be any transfer tomorrow. Call back early in the morning tomorrow, just in case (yeah right... pipe dream)

(work remotely try to keep my mind occupied)

2pm - Call B to tell him there's no need for him to come down to Chicago tonight for the transfer tomorrow  because its highly unlikely it will happen

(work remotely try to keep my mind occupied)
3pm - Cry to my mom. Why the hell does this have to happen? Are my eggs really that sucky? Do I have to face the music and try a different route (adoption, donor eggs ?)

(work remotely try to keep my mind occupied)

4pm - Get on the train to head downtown Chicago to meet my sister L, her husband (my BIL) and my dad for dinner before my dad and I go to the Blackhawks game. Sit in the train, looking at all of the passing towns, feeling isolated, alone, desperate but also in denial... No way are my eggs old. No way do they suck. There MUST be some explanation for this.
5pm - Sit down to dinner with L, BIL, Dad and a big margarita. Get a bit hug from L and try to not seem too down at dinner. Want to chug margaritas, but hold back on just one, because there WILL be beer at the Blackhawks game.
8pm - Blackhawks game starts. Big beer in hand, I try to focus on the game and not the tears that keep welling up in my eyes. Dad gives me some sad, comforting looks, and also tries to divert conversation to more fun things, like hockey (of which I know nothing, but try to understand). Wonder if I'll ever had my own child to do things like this with. Very dramatic. We make it through the game with only a few tears shed. They won, by the way.
11pm - Get back in the 'hoe (my dad's old Tahoe, that's still running, with almost 300K miles on it... He REALLY likes to drive his cars into the ground) and we crawl back to the burbs from the city due to the bureaucracy that is  the IL DOT. 4 lanes, down to 1 lane. Wednesday night. Took us 1.5 hours to get 30 miles. NUTS! This is one certain reason I don't live in the Chicago area.
Thursday, October 21st
1am - Fall asleep
7am - Alarm goes off. Call the clinic, like a good girl, get no answer, leave a message to call me back.
8am - Call clinic again, still no answer in the lab.Call the receptionist and tell her the situation. Get put on hold. She comes back to say the embryologists are all in procedures and will call me back.
9am - Wait
10am -  Based on the lack of hope I was given yesterday, I assume there's no transfer and I start packing, crying with my parents, thanking them for the last few weeks of their hospitality, love, comfort and for supporting me as we go through this.  Put the dog, the big ass suitcase, and all the extra crap I carry with myself into the car and head to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a pumpkin donut. Mmmmm! I'm already starting to dream of the foods and drinks I'm going to indulge in because I'm not pregnant this month. Pizza, bottles of wine, good beer.... ah... comfort.
10:30am - Half hour west of my home town, a half hour in the opposite direction of the clinic, crying in my coffee and donut, driving and noticed I missed a call from the clinic. So I call the clinic back and they say, "Why aren't you here for your transfer?" and I say, "Because no one called me back after I tried to find out if magically my fertilized eggs started to cleave a day late." and they say, "Well, you definitely will be having a transfer today, so how soon can you get here?" and I finish with, "Hope to be there in under 2 hours".
10:40am - Call  B and tell him the craziness of what is going on. Tell him I have no real information on how many or what quality my embryos are and he can just stay put in Madison and get rested (He's suffering from the flu right now or some yucky stomach bug). Call my Dad to have him meet me at an off ramp about half way to take the dog out of the car and the lasagna that my mom made for me to take back home to B. Quickly do the 'drop off' and get back on the highway for a 40min drive to the clinic.
12pm - Arrive at the clinic, pop the Valium (thank god for that! I surely needed something to help me relax after the  morning I had. Oh, and btw, for those of you who aren't in the know, they typically give this to you at transfer as a muscle relaxer to help minimize your uterus from contracting when the transfer the embryos back in)
12:15pm - Get into the hospital gown. Talk with the doctor on staff at the time. Tells me we have 2 beautiful 4-cell embryos.They are a little behind in development, but they are developing, so there's hope! Cry a few tears. Walk into the transfer room. Feet up in stirrups and you  know the drill (or you don't and that's fine too).
12:30pm - Get back into the car to drive to my P's. Call B and tell him we're PUPO ("Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise") and for him to just relax and not worry about being here and get some rest and try to keep some food in his belly and I'll be home Saturday morning to take care of him.
2pm - Stop at the Indian restaurant to get takeout buffet. It's been our tradition on our last 3 transfer days to go straight to the Indian buffet. This was my compromise.
3pm - Stomach full, lay on couch and start this blog entry hoping to get a little nap in.
So that about sums it up. Its been a whirlwind tour. My roller coaster ride took a hairpin turn and then went back up. I'm just still in shock and can't really believe how this even happened, but I can't dwell on it. I can just sit here, rest, relax, dream of my babies in my belly and hope to god that they decide to hang out for a while. And if there is someone out there pulling all of these strings, thank him/her for this second chance.
But p.s. I am going to miss that bottle of wine I was planning on chugging tonight ;-)

20 October 2010

Over Before It Began

Yesterday we had 3 fertlized eggs. Today they were supposed to divide into 2 cells or even 4 cells.
Today we have none. They didn't divide. They stopped.

No embryos = No transfer = Not pregnant...once again.

I'm numb, angry, pissed, frustrated, confused, broken hearted...
They are still going to make me call into the lab tomorrow to see if maybe, by miraculous chance, they begin to divide... yeah... right.

The only thing positive I can come up with is the following: At least I didn't have to pay for this, well, other than time off work, gas and emotional pain and suffering.


Waiting IS the Hardest Part

Today, the waiting is killing me. It really IS the hardest part. That Tom petty song comes to mind. Along with the Simpson's episode where Homer is waiting for a gun. You know the one, right?

I'm waiting for a phone call from the clinic today to tell me if those 3 little embryos that were growing yesterday are still growing today and if they are, what time we will have our embryo transfer tomorrow. What if they aren't growing? What if my eggs really do suck. What if we don't get this chance?

I know, deep down in my soul that B and I will survive. We were ok before this IVF cycle and we will be ok after it, regardless of its outcome. And today, as I walked my dog this morning in the crisp fall air before sitting down to my computer at work, I felt my cloud of sadness from the past few days less than stellar results, lift just a little...It also could be the anesthesia finally wearing off ;-)

So I sit here and wait some more and focus all of my good energy on those 3 embryos and hope beyond hope that they make it back to me. I'll post something as soon as I know.

19 October 2010

An Early Phone Call...

... is never a good sign.

The nurse called and I could hear it in her voice: of the 7 eggs we retrieved yesterday, only 3 were mature. Luckily all 3 fertlilzed, but for the next 2 days I have to hope and pray that they make it to Thursday. Please let Thursday get here quickly with all of those eggs left growing!

I really do hate IVF today. I hate infertility and I hate that we're are here again. The waiting, the reporting, the lack of control. I'm finding myself in a negative sprial of despair. I hate despair.

18 October 2010



7 eggs

I'm not quite sure what to think of that right now.

I know a lot of things that could be said about this:
"Quantity over Quality"
"You only need one"
"Think positive thoughts for those eggs and hope they fertilize"
"I know a woman had way less eggs and she got pregnant"

But honestly it is a letdown. I had 18 eggs with my first IVF and 16 with my second. Granted I'm not pregnant, so that doesn't mean crap. And I was taking more meds for those cycles. (Because this cycle is a clinical trial, the protocol was fixed and so they couldn't give me more meds). But somehow I feel like this is a small defeat. I feel like its a realization that my body is older than I thought it was, reproductively. And that's a bit of an ego blow... a smack in the face... like, come on Kathleen... time's runnign out, so you'd better figure this out or give up.

Tonight I will try my hardest to get my negativity out of my mind and wake up looking forward to the next steps, knowing that I've done the best I can.

Whatever it is that you believe, please please pray/send good thoughts/energy to those eggs and sperm for a good fertilization report tomorrow!

Strangest Place I've Ever....

... given myself a shot in the belly....

(Oh, you thought that I was going to give you some deep dark intimate secrete of my life before IF, when I actually had sex for fun... sorry, not today)

... so back to the story. The strangest place I've ever given myself a shot in the belly is the following:

Lyric Opera of Chicago
Upper Balcony 1
Aisle 5
Row G
Seat 21
During the last song of the 3rd Act of Carmen
October 16th, 2010 at 10:40pm

The usher wouldn't let me leave in the middle of the show and come back in, and I really didn't want to miss the last half hour after investing 3 hours of time in this beautiful piece. So, my friend with me, who is a nurse AND an fellow 'sub fertile' said, "Hell, its dark, no one will notice, just do it here"... and so, at exactly 10:40pm, I lifted my shirt just slightly to expose an inch of my belly, uncapped the shot and bam... trigger triggered. Piece of cake.

Can anyone top THAT shot story?

16 October 2010

Trigger Day

Its here. Its trigger day...

I went into the clinic to get my last of the daily blood draws and ultrasounds. If you recall, I'm participating in a phase IV clinical trial for a new IVF med. Because the study is sponsored by a drug company, I am a lucky recipient of a FREE, all expenses paid IVF cycle. And with this, I become their lab rat.

Since last Sunday, I've been into the clinic every day to get an ultrasound of my ovaries which counts the number and size of the follicles that hopefully each will contain a mature egg at retrieval. I've also become a human pin cushion as they take blood daily to measure how my hormone levels are changing and to find the optimal time to pull the trigger.

Aside: For those of you who don't know, the trigger is a shot that tells all the follicles growing to mature and get ready to ovulate. This is needed because you are taking 2 other shots in the prior days. 1 shot to grow more eggs than the usual one and another shot to stop your body from ovulating until all of the eggs get to a similar size. Then about 36 hours after the trigger shot, just before all of those eggs would ovulate on their own (yikes, THAT would hurt!), the egg retrieval process happens. So, there's some crucial timing involved in these next few days.  

And today's the optimal day. I have about 10 big follicles growing on my ovaries with a few smaller ones behind. And all of my hormone levels look to be in the right ranges. So tonight, I take one last shot in my already slightly bruised belly and throw my hands up to the fates.

My egg retrieval will be Monday and then we wait for the somewhat nerve-wrecking updates... number of mature eggs retrieved, number that fertilized, number of embryos still growing on 1 day later, 2 days later.... and then on 3 days later, we'll transfer 2 of the best looking embryos back into me and hope at least one chooses to stick around for 38 more weeks. And then after that, hopefully we have a few good embryos still left growing in the lab 5 days later and they can freeze them for a subsequent cycle.

This is a very strange time in an IVF cycle for me. I feel odd. I feel like a freak. I feel like I'm walking around the world with the knowledge that my body is going through a strange, harvesting process, like I'm an alien experiment and everyone is watching. But no one would know if they looked at me. Anyone understand this feeling? Its almost like the feeling in that dream where you are at school or work w/o a shirt, or pants, or some crucial article of clothing on and everyone is staring at you, but you still have to go through you day. You know the one, right?

But there's no waking up of this dream into a world where I have all the right clothes on... into a world where I have a baby in the usual, have sex, miss your period and celebrate kind of way. And so I have to stay asleep in this awkward dream, and hope that when I do wake up, I still get that bundle of join in the end....

So send me some good egg maturing thoughts and I'll see ya on the flip side of the retrieval.

ps... My sister drove me to the clinic this morning and we joked in the car about maturing eggs... picture this... all of those eggs in my ovaries, partying it up, moving around, because they think they are 'so mature'... 'woo hoo!!! we're old enough to party now!" ... maybe that's why it gets so friggin uncomfortable in there over the next few days

12 October 2010

Family Affair

I love having all of my family around me for this cycle. Its what I'm going to focus on to get me through the anxiety and fear of IVF. Its also amazingly convenient that a few of them live a few blocks away from the clinic that I have to go to every morning to get my blood drawn and ultrasounds taken.

So here's many of the ways that my wonderful family is helping me through this:

First, I stayed with my parents in the burbs during the first few days of the cycle when I didn't have to be at the clinic every day. There my mom took me with her to the gym on her guest pass. She did a load of my laundry. We went to visit my grandma who I haven't seen in a while. And I also got to sleep in a very comfy new bed and had some quiet time to myself.

Now that I have to be at the clinic every day here on out until retrieval, I will be in the city with my sisters and brother. Each of them is contributing in their own way. My brother is letting me use his extra parking space so I don't have to pay a butt load of $$ every day in the city. My sister is letting me camp out at her apartment during the day so I can work remotely in a peaceful environment with an amazing view of the Sears Tower, across the street from a grocery store with a fantastic salad bar I can go to for lunch, and across from a chocolate factory (YES!!!) that gives me yummy smells every time I walk out the door. My other sister is letting me sleep at her place when she's away on a trip so I have a quiet place to call home base and lay my head.

Then, the day before retrieval, I'll move back to my parents place in the burbs so that B and the pup can come down and stay with me. Also, I will be able to rest in a space I know to be comforting after the procedure. I will stay there until after the transfer (assuming we make it to transfer... as you know, nothing is guaranteed in IVF) and then head back to my usual life up north for the remainder of the wait.

While this all may sound very complicated to you, its so nice to be able to live the city life for a few days and spend some good every day time with my family. No frills, no expectations, just living a daily life. I like that. Its comforting, warming ... and I hope, dear baby, that you can see, how much this family wants you to be here, how much they are willing to do to help you enter our lives... as fast as you can.

p.s - For those of you who understand cycle speak: after 4 days of stims (300u follistim, antagonist protocol) I definitely have a good number of eggs growing! I've got about 4 or so on each ovary that are measuring at  12mm-ish and then another 3-4 visible ones on each. So, hoping for maybe a good 12 eggs to make it out of retrieval! I don't get estradiol updates until later in the process, so I have no clue how they really are doing, but keep those fingers crossed. Today I started ganirelix and will be going in for b/w and u/s every day here on out. I really like this protocol better than the agonist (or long lupron) suppression one. It seems easier on my body and more in tune with my cycle rather than forcing something something. Hopefully the difference in protocol will do the trick. Oh, and all that other stuff I'm doing (metformin, yoga, acupuncture, diet changes, supplements, extra B-vitamins..... the list... its large!)

For those of you who want to learn what all of these protocols are, I found a good visual to help. Happy reading!

07 October 2010

Game On!

I was going to write about how hectic and unplanned this day was, and how I was missing the remainder of the seminar I was in that I had been anxious about but was actually enjoying and felt really bad about missing. I was going to focus on all of the things that didn't go how I thought they would go today...

But instead, I'm going to focus on the following:

What I learned today:
I learned that I am officially in the free IVF study! I learned that my blood work came back stellar and that I get to start stims.... TOMORROW!!!

What I did well today:
I used the tools that I learned in the seminar to help get my mind out of the usual spiral I go down in my head when I feel like I'm letting people down and worry about what people will think when I didn't do something I was supposed to do. With the help of a new friend, I focused on what I'm excited about and what a great opportunity I have with this cycle.

3 Things I'm grateful for today:
1) B...for bearing with my emotions, freak outs, crying spats and hysterical laughter. And also for what he will bear in the upcoming months. He is my rock
2) Zoe (my pooch)... for being a constant companion, mood lifter, and sympathiser
3) That I have this chance at an IVF cycle, free of charge, another chance to be a step closer to being pregnant.

How am I going to be the best IVF patient this time around:
I am going to acknowledge that I need to be selfish through this and take time for myself and B so we can go through this as mindful as possible. I'm not going to freak out about all of the details that I can not control. I am going to trust that my body will do the absolute best that it can and that no matter what happens, we will survive through this, and find something to be happy about.


On another note, as I mentioned above, I was not hating the seminar that I was so freaked out about. There was not any more parenting talk than a normal day at the office, so I was able to handle it. And... it turns out the instructor had secondary infertility and was never able to conceive a second child. She shared this with me because I approached her before the class to tell her my background and fear after reading the parenting book for homework. She eased my fears and thanked me for being so open.

And I thought to myself, how crazy is that, huh? Serendipitous? The universe sure sends you things that you need at just the right time.

01 October 2010

Calm Before the Storm

In about a weeks time (give or take), I will be on my way to Chicago for my baseline appointment (for those of you not in the IVF-know, its a blood test and ultrasound to make sure you body is at its ideal state to start the "stims" which help to grow many eggs). And if things go well, I will be starting my belly shots the following day.

As I've alluded to in a previous post, I'm not really feeling much of anything about my upcoming cycle. I think this is the case for two reasons. 1) I'm not paying for it. This makes a world of difference becuase while there's a lot riding on this cycle, there's not $15K riding on this cycle. So that feels good. And 2) I'm excited to spend a few weeks downtown Chicago with my family. It feels more like I'm getting ready for a vacation.

I think its good that I'm not freaking out yet.  And I'm happy that I'm feeling calm.

But I'm worried that this is the calm before the storm. The calm before the ups and downs of blood draws and ultrasounds, checking to see how many follicles are growing. The calm before the egg retrieval, provided I make it to retrieval. The calm before the fertilization report. The calm before the transfer (Well, the transfer really is a calm, ... thank YOU Valium!). And of course the calm before the storm of the two week wait.

B and I decided not to do this to ourselves again after our 3rd transfer failed. We didn't want to go through the pain and hurt and shattered hope. Through having to explain to our friends and family that once again, it didn't work. And yet, here we are again...

I just hope that I can maintain some of this calm as I watch myself go through the next month of shots, appointments, updates... and hope.

So last night, I did what any good girl would do before an impending storm.... MARTINIs!!!