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

09 April 2011

Blog Closed

If it wasn't altogether clear in my prior post, this blog is now closed to new posts (except for this one... ;-) )

I have moved to a new blog. If you would like to join me over in my new home, please email me at: asfastasmybabycan@gmail.com and let me know. I will invite you.

19 March 2011

Apology & Going Incognito

I've been struggling lately with infertility, emotionally. Two years into this, I somewhat had a good handle on it. I was able to put it in perspective and keep it in a place in my life that didn't invade everything else.

But four years have passed and it seems that my anger and sadness are seeping out into other places,  unintended, and as this journey wears on, I'm having a harder and harder time reeling it in. It should be the other way, right? I should be able to just accept the fact that we haven't been able to conceive with grace and dignity and in fact, get better with age, as any one does with a finite loss...

But guess what, the loss of infertility is NOT finite.

There is always one next step or one more month, or one last try, or one other option, and because of this, it is so hard to ever really 'give up' and finally just DEAL with the loss and try to move on. Its hard to just be at peace and take the rest of the world moving on in stride. Some have this talent. Clearly...I don't.

(Meditate more, my mind says, Do more yoga, my mind nudges.... then maybe, just maybe you'll be able to accept this...)

But let me share this with all of you out there in my bloggy world. And maybe I should have shared this sooner, or maybe I should not have assumed that you understood my intent for this blog...

You see, I've treated this blog as MY personal space to journal the raw, honest and emotional gut reactions to my life as an 'infertile'.  I have assumed that it is a safe and OK place to do just that, to be true to the anger and disappointment inside my head, before reason and compassion take back over and I return to the normal caring person that I truly am.

And here's where I maybe have made a mistake. Most people don't share their journal with those they know in real life. And probably for good reason. Because it lets them in to a side that they don't normally see, even though we all know that each one of us have this side. People assume intentions when they read, just like getting into an argument via something written in a email. The intent might not have been there, but because you aren't there to defend or help the reader interpret what you meant to say, miscommunication and hurt can ensue. 

But my intentions were pure and good. Honest. I really wanted to use this as a space to get the thoughts out of my head and also to have an avenue for my family and friends to peak into how our journey was going with out having to ask us all the time. 

The trouble with blogging is such... The more people you let into your "blogosphere" that know you IRL (In Real Life), the harder it is to be brutally honest and share the true reactions you have to life as you struggle to build your family. 

I desired to share this perspective with all of you.  I wanted you to understand me and how this has changed me, in both the ugly and pretty ways. But I didn't want to force it on you. So this blog was an easy way to to accomplish just that. Its a place that I can spill what I need to spill and feel better after getting it out on paper. Its a place to bring awareness to the internal struggles caused by infertility. 

So here are the points I want to clarify:
  1. I'm truly sorry if I did offend anyone by comments I made here, especially about people that exist IRL. I never intended for this to be mean-spirited. It is really just my point in time gut reaction to things as they float in and out of my life.  
  2. I need and deserve the freedom to say whatever I want to say in my blog because in the end, this blog is about me and my journey and finding support for the torment that infertility puts us through. I'm not saying my life is worse than anyone else struggling with something. We all have our own demons. I'm just saying that this blog is a big piece of my therapy for this demon that I carry. It helps me get my emotions out so I can live as peacefully in real life as I can while awaiting our child.
  3. I had also hoped that this blog would be a way to communicate with my friends and family in real life without them having to ask me if they didn't want to. But I see where that fails now. It fails because I should have open verbal communication with them instead of having them read this and make assumptions.  I've always expressed that you can ask me whatever you want, when you want. I'm pretty much an open book. And if I'm not in the mood to answer, I'll tell you that nicely. 
I've been mulling this over for a few days and came to the conclusion that I either take this blog to a private place or make sure that I don't put my blunt emotions here that can potentially be taken incorrectly. But if I do the latter, then I don't get to use this as a place for my inner thoughts and heal them, which was the primary purpose of this blog. 

So I've decided to go private. I will be changing my url and blog name to something else and not sharing it with people IRL. I'll be going incognito in a sense.  I need to be able to express myself freely and not worry if my inner thoughts are offensive to others. I AM a compassionate and loving person. I hope that you can see this. But here, I am simply sharing the truth and ugliness of this journey. 

For those of you that I have hurt with my words, I am deeply sorry. I hope that you can see that my words were not meant in malice, but just simply a point-in-time reaction.

For those in the ALI community, you will hopefully be able to find me on ICLW coming up soon. Just look near the end of the list. I'll also post on Lost & Found. Additionally, you can email me at asfastasmybabycan@gmail.com and let me know who you are or leave a comment on this post and I will share this new url with you. I do hope you find me at my new blog my wonderful ALI friends. I love you all and need you to help me through this as I hopefully help you too.

15 March 2011

Not So Happy Blogger

Spring is just beginning to peak its warming head around the corner. I welcome it, but it also marks the passage of time and yet another season without success. I can almost transport myself back to the fall when I had oodles of hope that our next steps would bring us some happy news this past winter.

I'm struggling to peel away the defeat from this long-time battle and find joy in my current life.  I'm struggling to get excited about our final transfer, our final try at our genetics. I feel like I'm just going to go through the motions... BCPs... lupron... estrogen... progesterone, transfer... wait, wait, freak out, wait, false hope... BFN.

And then some hard decisions ensue.

I wish I could be a happier blogger lately, but I only really feel inspired to write when I'm feeling down. I should let you all know however, that since I'm not writing all that often, that I'm really doing ok. In my daily life, moment to moment, I'm ok. Its just that as these emotions well up inside me and they need to come out.

By the way, I took my first BCP last Sunday. Our FET should be sometime at the end of April... here we go again.

11 March 2011

A Quick Thank You

Thank you all so very much for supporting and comforting and commiserating with me... It means more than I could ever express

A special thanks to the person who sent me flowers at my office. I don't know who you are, but they surely brightened my day and my office. :-)

09 March 2011

Facebook Does it Again

No matter how hard you try, no matter how good of a handle you think you have on the pain and the unfairness of infertility, no matter how good you have been at ignoring the fact that you have a BIG GAPING HOLE in your heart that can only be filled by holding your baby in your arms and knowing this journey is over, things still come along to knock you off your feet.

(Granted, I haven't been trying very hard or been very good at handling the pain or ignoring it lately...)

Once again, facebook caused me to trip and fall over and land flat on my face today. Stupid facebook...

I just found out a person in my life, who isn't married and is lacking financial stability is expecting a 'new addition' due in September....

All I can say is... Unfairness... you have the upper hand... And I hate you for it.

03 March 2011


We decided to take a month off before we start BCPs for our FET (Assuming we do an FET... more to come on that...). I thought this month off would be good to emotionally heal and map out our path (still haven't done that... a few weeks to go I guess).  I also thought I was being a good sister. My brother is getting married in December, out of town, and if we did the FET right away and not taken this month off, AND for some miracle it worked, we would have been due right around the time of his wedding.... Even thought there's a part of me that doesn't want to worry about anyone ELSE's time frame regarding our potential baby, I would have never forgiven myself if it worked and I would have missed his wedding... So mostly the month off is for timing.

Of course, with a month off infertility treatments, and the knowledge that all of our parts technically work, when one is hoping for a baby, and has been trying for 4 years, one expects to try naturally in these times, no? And that's what I expected. I made sure I knew the optimal time as determined by temperature charting and body 'clues' and proceeded to inform B of our 'date nights'.

The first, second and third optimal days came and went... no lovin' ensued... I just couldn't get there.. and now I'm simply angry.

I'm so angry at this crap. I'm so angry at how it invades my every thought and my emotion. And I'm pissed at how it's affected my sex life with B.  I feel sad, I feel like a failure to him, but this month, I just couldn't do it... I feel robbed of a sense of wonder, intimacy and naivete that so many couples have when trying to have a baby and I feel robbed of the spontaneity of having sex with your partner when you WANT to and not when you HAVE to. I know that many people experience this on their infertility journeys. But I want to express here to those who don't have to go through this how much it affects so many different aspects of your life. And you simply feel broken.... in so many ways.

So screw you infertility! Screw you for invading the intimacy with B. Screw you for making me feel guilty and like a failure in more than one way. And SCREW you for making me waste a egg.

02 March 2011

Anyone near Minneapolis going to this???

Exploring Paths of Hope: 27th Annual Infertility and Adoption Family Building Conference

Saturday, March 12, 2011
7:30AM - 5:00PM
Golden Valley, MN

If you are going, let me know! B and I are considering attending. It would be great to meet some of you in person.

26 February 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come

I started a new page, entitled "Nursery Design" as a place to collect ideas for my future baby's room. My intent is to use it as a space to place pictures of ideas and links to design web sites that I find. I did this for my wedding in paper form, a book of cut outs from magazines of dresses, hair, makeup... And thought, why shouldn't I start doing this for my baby room? Just because I'm not a mom yet, doesn't mean that I can't look, right? And maybe those moments of dreaming will be just another message to my future child of how much we want them with us. So, forthcoming... Nursery Design Page... stay tuned.

21 February 2011

Ode to Progesterone

Happy ICLW again! For those of you new to my blog, please see the tab above: Our Journey. Thanks for stopping by.


And now my Ode:

Oh how I miss you, lovely Progesterone

I miss my thick hair
I miss my clear, smooth skin
I miss non-interrupted sleep
I miss my calm, peaceful demeanor

Oh how I miss you, lovely Progesterone

Won't you come back to stay?
(At least for 9 months???)


There must really be something to that 'pregnant glow', huh? As my body comes down from the meds from my last failed IVF cycle, I see my normal hormone glitches taking over. My hair feels less full, my skin is more oily, I'm breaking out like a teenager and I'm edgier than hell. These are all signs to me that my natural body rhythms just aren't quite right.

I was talking with my RE about it at my WTF appointment last friday (yes, I still need to fess up about that.... in due time, my pretties) and telling her how much I love being on Progesterone, how calm and healthy I feel. And she tells me that likely my stress hormones are dominating (YA THINK???) and its causing excess androgens, leading to the skin imbalances, among others...Progesterone combats that. Progesterone is just fantastic really, it helps reduce inflammation in the body! It actually is necessary for implantation to allow for the embryo to implant into the uterine lining and not have the immune system get pissed off and kick it out. Its one of amazing little reactions that happen in our bodies when one gets pregnant, or so I'm told.

Anyways, enough of the science lesson. For now, I'm just wishing that my body was still happily puffed up from the progesterone, anxious about our next steps, and aching to feel a baby growing inside me...

20 February 2011

70s Flashback - Party Busses and Protests

For the last few days, save for a WTF appointment with my RE last Friday (more on that in coming post), I've focused on everything but infertility... and it's been good...not great, but good.

Since last Thursday, I've been supporting my teacher husband, B, in a fight for his working rights. Our state is currently "ground-zero for labor" (per an MSNBC news show host). Now, I don't want to get into a political debate here on my blog, but I do want to say how inspiring it has been to see people come voice their opinion and show support of a topic near and dear to their hearts. We've spent the last 3 days going downtown to be in the capitol building, chanting, waving signs, rallying, and PEACEFULLY (unlike some other news channel's reports) protesting the governor's proposed legislation. It has made me feel more alive than I've felt in a while. The energy that comes from being in a group of people, estimated at 35,000,  is very rejuvenation and also puts this infertility trouble in perspective. Yes, it sucks ass that we can't get pregnant. And yes, it sucks ass that we have to spend a ton of money on methods to try to have a child, but we are fortunate that we can even begin to think about paying for these things. Some of the people down at the capitol yesterday are fearing that they won't be able to pay their mortgage if the governor's budget bill passes. We are fortunate and I am SO thankful for that.

Also, last night, we spent the evening bar hopping via a school bus with a large group of our friends to celebrate a 40th birthday.  Getting out with them and laughing and talking and catching up, reaffirms to me that my friends, even though they are all parents and we aren't, still like us and find value in our friendships. I forget this often. I feel like because we don't have kids, we are missing a huge chunk of our lives that we can't relate to them on.  And to some extent, that's true. But there are other things in their lives and ours that we have in common and we can still laugh and joke and encourage and support... These evenings give me the strength and energy I need to continue on our path to parenthood and not give in to the desire to crawl into a hole and isolate myself or sell everything and go into the peace corps or something life changing like that...

So a few things have been helping me recoup and gather the energy and strength I need to move on to our final FET with our 3 embryos and beyond that if necessary. Because more than anything, I want a family with B and I want to wake up on a weekend morning and play with my kids. And I want to be awoken at 1am and 4am to feed my hungry newborn. And I want to see them grow into a their own unique self and learn to make choices and make mistakes. And I want to show them how they too can fight for their own rights and develop friendships that give them strength and help them when they need a lift.

So thank you, dear friends, for helping me through this journey, even though you may not know that your did.

12 February 2011



That's me... nothing but a big failure...

4 fresh transfers and 1 frozen transfer, of mostly beautiful embryos. We've tried day 5, day 3 and day 2 (age of the embryos)... And all of those transfers have resulting in only 3 chemical pregnancies. (Yes, this last one, was indeed another chemical pregnancy, says my RE)

Over the last 36 hours or so, after receiving the news that my beta was only a 1.0, I have felt very panicky. We're at the end of the line here with our genetics. We've agreed to be done spending 10s of thousands of dollars per year on this basically doing the same thing while still not having any more clear of a path. We still don't have a solid reason.

By that I mean, no one can really agree on why RIF occurs. Or maybe what I mean is that there are too many unproven explanations for RIF. Or MAYBE what I REALLY mean is that the medical community has no "for certain" diagnostic tests and resulting methods of overcoming possible abnormalities in those tests to solve the RIF issue. Come on medical community... GET IT TOGETHER!!!

Aside: This is precisely why infertility needs to be voiced more so that funding can occur to solve these issues, and those of us without insurance coverage can hope to someday have help in paying for this madness.

So where does this leave us? With 3 possible explanations:
  1. Poor Egg Quality - My eggs are poor quality, chromosomally abnormal, and therefore our embryos stop developing after a few days in-utero because the pregnancy is not viable. 
    • Factors supporting this:
      • IVF #3 showed "spongy and grainy eggs" which I guess are a sign of poor quality
      • IVF #2 embryos kind of 'pooped' out around day 5
      • Premature Lutenization in 3 of my 4 IVF stim cycles is correlated with poorer egg quality
    • Treatment: 
      • Donor Eggs or Embryo Adoption or Adoption
  2. Immune System Malfunction - My eggs are fine but my body won't let the little embryos implant for too long. The process starts, but my immune system is messed up just enough that it attacks the implanting embryo and says, "Stop trying to burrow in!" 
    • Factors supporting this: 
      • Mild endometriosis found in my laparoscopy last year, which is correlated with implantation failure in some literature
      • The immune testing I had done showed that I have some borderline signs of this potential issue. (High NK cells, CD56+, APAs.... I touched on this a bit in this post)
      • The feverish feeling I got during my 2ww of the first 3 transfers, before I started taking the prednisone during the 2ww.
      • Treatment:
        • Use some fairly non proven and potentially unsafe infusions in the blood during our FET that aim to suppress the immune system more so than what I've already been doing with the steroids (I used prednisone with my last two transfers)
        • Use a proven gestational surrogate to transfer our embryos to instead of me and hope that at least one sticks in there.
      • Both 1& 2
        • Treatment:
          • Bang head into wall and hope that when I come to, there's a baby in my lap.

        The reason that I lay this out there is that I really need some help in deciding our next steps. I just don't know what to do. We have 3 beautiful grade A day 2 embryos in the freezer and I want to make sure that when I look back on this all, I can say that I left no stone unturned AND we weren't stupid in throwing away this last chance at our genetics. I'm open to everything right now. Really... I just want this to end. I'm tired and weary of this journey and I want to get on with my life. Do we transfer all 3 back to me? Do we find a gestational surrogate? Do we try both? If this doesn't work, is donor eggs the right step? Or am I kidding myself into thinking my body can hold a pregnancy?

        Any advice is appreciated.

        10 February 2011

        Feeling Foolish

        For the past few days, I really went there. I truly did. I felt symptoms that I've NEVER felt before and I warned myself not to go there... but I did. I went there. I had my due date figured out, I had my finances finally on the mend. I had our basement finished and the baby room fixed up. Oh and I figured we could even afford a spring break celebratory trip to Mexico....

        So my symptoms were as such (and sorry for the TMI)
        • For the last 8 days, I've had a bloody nose whenever I blew it (ie rhinitis, a common early pregnancy symptom)
        • For the last 5 days, I've been constantly dizzy and craving oranges, which I normally dislike
        • For the last 4 nights, I've woken up at about 2am and haven't been able to really get back to sleep
        • Over the course of the last week, I've had small period type cramps on and off, which I never have, unless I have my period.
        • And of course there was the big boobs... well, big for me ;-)  (Thank YOU progesterone)
        For you infertiles out there, DON'T even tell me that you wouldn't go there too, right?

        And yes, I even said in my last post that I knew in my heart of hearts that it didn't work. But after a few days of these symptoms, I truly thought, maybe... just maybe... this is finally all coming together for B and me. And maybe, just maybe we'd be pregnant and have our little baby and even have some in the freezer for our second child and we would finally be free of this amazingly huge financial burden that is infertility...

        But once again, infertility has taken the upper hand and made me feel like a foolish ass for hoping that this could really be our end in sight. 

        My beta today was a whopping 1.0...

        ONE. POINT. OH

        (they would like it over 50, at least)

        I mean, really? Really???? FUCK. I thought even if it wasn't a viable pregnancy, maybe we'd have a beta that was higher, like 10, or 20 or something, with all of those symptoms that I was feeling. I can't even call that a chemical pregnancy! But no... not even a sign that something was trying to happen other than the signs in my body, and now the signs that I feel like were all in my head. Even more, now that I've had those symptoms, I can't even imagine what it might feel like if I really ever DO get pregnant with our frozen cycle or if we choose to use donor eggs. I'll be a worried anxious mess about any symptoms that I have and not be able to relax until my baby is in my hands.

        Foolish... That about explains how I feel today.

        P.S.... for those of you who know me in real life, I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about this just yet... so while I treasure your interest and need support, the best way to support me right now is just a little space on this topic.  Thanks :-)

        07 February 2011

        2ww Writers Block

        I've been struggling to write any posts during this 2ww. I think its because I'm trying to detach myself from this process even though I know if I have a negative outcome, it will still hurt. During the 2ww, I'm pretty much a mess. Internally, I'm up and down emotionally. Externally, I may seem stoic or pensive or happy.  Sometimes a twinge here or there gives me a little glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, this could finally be our time, but deep down, I really don't think this worked. I still have a few days to wait until my blood test, so I will dutifully take my progesterone, like a good little IVF patient, and hope that I'm one of those lucky women who get pregnant w/o really feeling anything...  In my heart of hearts I feel that we'll be thawing those 2 little frosties for one last attempt with my genetics....

        For now, my quietness is simply a sign that I'm trying to focus on anything but infertility for the next few days, even though my mind can think of nothing else...

        01 February 2011

        Anger in the 2ww

        I'm angry.

        I'm angry that after 4 years of trying to have a baby, we still don't have one.

        I"m angry that everyone else is pregnant and I'm not.

        I'm angry that I still feel alone, even though I have this blog, and a support group and fantastic friends.

        I'm angry at myself for not 'just adopting' (said with LOTS of sarcasm) because at least if I started the adoption process a few years ago, we might eventually be guaranteed a baby (see what I said there... might.... still not a 100% guarantee).

        I'm angry at the true unfairness of infertility. Its just.. not... fucking.. fair!

        I want to kick and scream and break things today and I want this all to finally, finally be over with. I want to move on with my life and live outside of the infertility world for a while. I miss that world. What's it like? Hm.... I can't seem to remember...

        I'm angry that I'm not over being angry. Haven't I figured out how to live with this already?

        This is what the 'two week wait' does to me. It makes me angry.

        At least I get to go home and hopefully have a snow day tomorrow. My snow day plans will include but not be limited to the following: naps, food, book reading, more naps, shoveling, more food, a sip or two of B's stout that goes perfect with any snow day, and an adventurous dog walk or two.

        30 January 2011


        (I'm stealing the title of this blog from another crafty blogger... )

        Recently I was the recipient of the above awards from 3 fellow bloggers. Thanks Ladies!
        Here are the rules for accepting the awards:
        1. Thank and link back to the person/people who gave you the award - Done
        2. Share 7 things about yourself - See below
        3. Award 15 other bloggers - See below
        4. Contact those bloggers to tell them about the award - Done
        7 things about myself that you might now know:
        1. I learned to snowboard when I was in college and I LOVE it! I now live in the Midwest and the "ski hills" as they like to call them here just plain suck. Hopefully someday I'll be able to spend at least one week a year skiing in the Rockies, where only TRUE mountains live.
        2. I just read "Skinny Bitch" and I think its going to push me over to the vegan column. This really isn't a book about being skinny, but more about really actually THINKING about what you put in your body. We have become sooooo oblivious to understanding where our food actually comes from.
        3. My favorite job EVER was a bartender in a blues bar in college. Its such a blast being behind a bar in a packed place with fantastic music playing. The energy will keep you going for days.
        4. Speaking of music, I want to take up piano and/or flute lessons again. I used to play piano and flute but dropped them when I entered high school.
        5. The two foods I can't STAND, to the point of wanting to vomit if they get close to my house are bananas and yogurt. I don't remember the last time I've had a banana and I don't think I've even tried yogurt because that smell makes my stomach lurch... excuse me while I go puke in my mouth a bit.
        6. If I could do it all over again, I'd be a dancer, a backup dancer for Madonna or something amazingly fun like that. I danced in college (no, not THAT kind...) and found a way to express myself and felt SO amazingly comfortable in my own body. Now my body is just blobby and bloated from IVF. BOOOO and I have a wonderful hubby who doesn't like to dance... ever.
        7. My dog is so cute that I want to squeeze her too hard and pop her head of. I hope I don't do that when I have kids... LOL!
        Hope you found something out about me that you didn't know!

        Now, the 15 10 bloggers that I get to award... hmmm... I think a few of them have already been awarded, so my list isn't 15 as I just can't keep up and follow tons and tons of blogs, but I'll do my best (and ps... not all are infertility blogs):

        A Little Blog about the Big Infertility
        Adventures in Infertility Land
        Cooking with Gas
        Infertility Unexplained
        More Room in My Heart
        Waiting for a Baby Bump
        Infertility Musings
        Roccie Road
        Stork Stalking
        The Infertile Farmer

        Happy Award-ing!

        29 January 2011

        3 in the Freezer

        We went to the clinic yesterday to check on our 6 embryos and decide whether or not to transfer this month or freeze all due to my higher progesterone number on day of trigger. The night before, B and I had made our decisions based on scenarios of how many we have left. 6 was easy - transfer 2, freeze 4. 4 was easy - freeze all. But 5 was a little less so... transfer none? 1? or 2?

        B actually wasn't there yet because his work schedule is such that he can't just leave work at any given time. He's a teacher and finding a sub for just an hour or two of his classes is difficult at his school. He said if we did transfer, he wouldn't be able to be there until just at the time of transfer. They had ME arrive an hour before.

        So I went into the prep room with the hospital bed, gown and warm blanket and waited to talk with my RE before I got undressed. She came in with a big smile: 5! and 4 of which were grade A ( yes, they grade them like beef). But then we sat there together in the room trying to think of the best plan.

        You see, nothing is really clear cut in this infertility world. Even last night as I looked up studies on pubmed there's conflicting information about serum progesterone levels on day of trigger. Some studies say it predicts lower pregnancy rates and therefore the best course of action is to freeze all and do an FET, others, not so much. But what really helped me to make my decision was not the numbers, but the visual look of my uterine lining.

        A little science lesson: Before ovulation and before the uterus is exposed to progesterone, the uterine lining should look something like this (not mine, just a good pic on the in internet):

        You can see there, what they call the 'triple stripe. Its the part where the thin white line is surrounded by some darker grey area and the a different white outline of the uterine lining. That's the area that gets shed every month when a woman gets her period. This is what we want the uterus to look like on the day of ovulation (or retrieval in and IVF cycle).

        Once the uterus has been exposed to higher levels of progesterone, which in a natural cycle occurs right after ovulation and in an IVF cycle occurs on the day of retrieval when we start progesterone supplements, the lining starts to look more homogeneous, ie, no distinct triple stripe pattern.

        My RE said that even though my progesterone numbers were a higher than they would like, she checked the pattern of my lining on the day of retrieval and it still looked 'triple striped.'

        As she and I sat in the prep room yesterday trying to make our decision, I went back to these following facts: My body still "looked" receptive and on IVF #1,  I did actually get pregnant, albeit a chemical pregnancy, even though my progesterone was high then too.  As I said in my last post, science is fantastic for helping us make a good decision, but sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and roll the dice.  And with that, we made the decision to freeze the 3 best looking embryos and transfer the remaining 2.  It just felt like the right thing to do.

        So here I am, saying hello to the 'two week wait' again.

        Now, how do I get through these next few weeks with some sanity???

        27 January 2011

        We Have Embabies!

        Quick update. I'll post more later, but just wanted to give you and update

        14 eggs ==> 8 mature ==> 6 fertilized

        WE HAVE EMBABIES!!!!!!!!!! OH JOY!!! OH JOY!!!

        Oh, and they aren't 'grainy and spongy' like the RE said at the clinic where I participated in the clinical trial. Screw you Chicago clinic!!! Poo on you for your mean spirited comments about  my eggs. Poo!! My eggs ROCK! :-)

        (That felt good! This IVF cycle was worth it just for the simple fact that this batch of eggs aren't grainy and spongy)

        So here's the deal. We're going in tomorrow and if all 6 are still looking good, we're going to transfer 2 and freeze 4. While I believe wholeheartedly in science and statistics, they should only be used as very good guidelines rather than dogma. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. And my gut is telling me that if we have enough, let's transfer 2 tomorrow. Even though my progesterone is high and my clinic has never had a pregnancy with a progesterone as high as mine on trigger day, I feel like we have enough embryos today to give it a go. And I have to go w/ my gut on this one.

        So we may or  may not transfer tomorrow. But for now, we have some embabies! Hooray!!!

        26 January 2011

        Retrieval Update

        Just a quick update after my retrieval. I'm back at home, just woke up from a groggy post-propofol (drug used for conscious sedation for Egg Retrieval) nap and am feeling a bit more at peace. My deepest fears didn't come true today. We did actually get some eggs... 14 in fact! So I'm cautiously optimistic.

        Now the brutal 24 hours of waiting to hear if any were mature and fertilized comes. Hoping for a few good ones.

        Thank you all for helping to hold me up these past few days. It means the world to me.  Its been an emotionally messy ride, but I have been able to find some calmness for now (or at least the propofol is still having a mild effect.. LOL!)

        I'll post more tomorrow about the fertilization report and our next steps.

        25 January 2011

        Fear Eats

        Fear is eating away at my sanity today...

        I hardly slept last night. I feel edgy and anxious today. I'm so worried that when I come out of my la-la land haze tomorrow after the egg retrieval, my sweet RE is going to look at me with her sad eyes and say all of my eggs are crap... that they are spongy and grainy and they just disintegrated upon removal... and with that our last chance will be over and done with. I'm also fearful that the trigger shot that I took at 10:30 last night did nothing and none of my eggs will mature and all of this money and time and emotion will be wasted.

        Fear sucks.

        I wish I was a naive first time IVFer right now, without all of the medical knowledge I have, without 3 failed IVF cycles under my belt, with out gun-shy ovaries after IVF#3 debacle.

        I think this just confirms why most infertility vets don't typically go through this many IVF cycle. With each one, knowledge of what can go wrong increases and worry takes hold.

        Yes, I'm doing my meditations and I'm at work trying to keep my mind occupied, but one can't just get rid of the deep seated feelings they have that impending doom is coming. Its innate in me. I've been through just about 4 years of failed cycles, and with each new hope, some other new news comes that takes the hope away.

        I'm sorry if this is coming off as total debbie-downer (love that phrase!) but Its just how I'm feeling right now and I need to get it out of my system. I think I'll start to focus on a big fat martini that I plan to have on Friday night.. or maybe 10.

        24 January 2011

        Deep Freeze

        Its been brutally cold here lately. Much of the last few days have been spent in single digit temps and the evenings are even worse. I think the weather is trying to tell me something...

        I went to my monitoring appointment yesterday morning and before we took any blood levels, my RE said she wanted to cry! She was so happy with my ovaries progress.They looked awesome on the ultrasound screen. Both look something like this:

        That's a picture of one ovary with multiple eggs growing, one in each of the follicles (Thank you Advanced Fertility Centers of Chicago for the picture)You can't see the eggs, but you can see about 10 or so follicles. I've got about 16 total between both ovaries. Its a good number for my age.

        The problem is the quality of each egg in there. Basically my hormones aren't balanced quite right (as shown by a high progesterone reading before ovulation and too low of an estrogen number for the amount of follicles in there). Progesterone should be under 1.5 and mine is at 3.2 and I won't even begin to describe the Estrogen.. but lets just say its not stellar. We're not sure if this happens in a natural cycle or if it happens just when I'm on this many IVF drugs. Regardless of why it happens, the fact that it happens puts me in a group of women who typically have lower pregnancy rates... UGH...

        And again, this isn't new information, as it happened with IVF #1 and #2, but its just one of those imperfections in one's body that really pisses ya off, ya know? I have such a hard time when I don't do something right. Its definitely one of my personality flaws. I need reassurance and I need to do things right and if I don't do them right, I tend to want to re-do it until we get it as perfect as possible. And then I need more reassurance that I've finally done it right and perfect. But I know with IVF that we just don't have the money or the time to keep pissing away dollars on end to find the perfect egg. AND sometimes I just need to accept my imperfections and focus on the good and what I already do well.

        So it looks like the best way through this mess of a hormone parade is to go ahead with retrieval and then do a 'freeze-all' where they take any of the fertilized embryos on day 1 and freeze them. Then we do a frozen embryo transfer next month when they can control my hormone levels better, as I alluded to in my last post.

        And after a few days of thinking about this, I'm ok with it. No, we won't get to transfer fresh embryos and yes, our chances decline a bit because of that, but if my uterus isn't in a receptive place, then what's the use of wasting perfectly good embryos on a hostile place, right? And this IS DEFINITELY our last IVF cycle. I'm done with this process. I'm over it. NO MORE. I've done my best, and even without perfection, I have to accept that this is the best we could do...

        Therefore, I think choices should be made to increase our odds, and thus my potential embryos will be put in the "deep freeze" for a month whilee we get my hormone levels right with out trying to grow a crap ton of eggs. I sure hope that we have enough in there to work with this time.

        After doing one last night of stims yesterday, I went to the RE today for one final ultrasound and bloodwork and we're ready to go. Trigger tonight at 10:30pm which puts me at a retrieval on Wednesday morning. Hoping for at least a few good quality eggs in there. COME ON UNIVERSE! THIS IS MY LAST ONE!! Please give me something to work with.

        21 January 2011

        I Thought I Told You to Stop Thinking!

        (A quick aside before I get to my blog post: HAPPY ICLW! I can't believe how quickly these months are passing. Welcome to new readers. You'll see a few tabs at the top of my blog to learn a bit about me. I'm so glad you're here :-) )

        In my last post, I decided to stop thinking and just do.

        Easier said than done.

        I had my monitoring appointment yesterday, after 6 days of stims. This are going well from the follicle side. I have about 12 measurable follicles and a few more unmeasurable ones. However, as soon as I saw those girls on the ultrasound monitor, I could see that things weren't ideal. Some of the follicles were a bit bigger than we had expected them to be at this point, which means that potentially my progesterone might start to increase before we wanted it to. The size of the follicles doesn't necessarily determine this, but my history does.

        You see, with IVF #1& 2, I had premature lutenization.  A big scary word that manifests in progesterone rising too soon before retrieval of the eggs. To boil it down to lay-mans terms, when progesterone starts to increase too soon in one's cycle, it causes the uterine lining to be less receptive to the embryo and decreases pregnancy rates. It's potentially also a precursor to ovarian failure. I've found conflicting viewpoints on this topic. It seems that some RE's concern themselves with progesterone levels as an IVF cycler nears trigger and retrieval, and others don't. My RE's have actually written and published articles on it, and so, yes, they do concern themselves.

        So I have to go back in on Sunday for a check on the growth of the follicles and my progesterone and estrogen levels. Based on those, we will either trigger that day for a retrieval on Tuesday or stim for a day or two more.

        One of the ways to overcome this uterine receptivity issue is to do what's called a 'freeze-all'... so we'll get the eggs out of me, fertilize them with B's swimmers and then freeze all of the embryos and wait to transfer them until the next cycle where we can line up my progesterone levels accordingly. This is easy to do in a frozen cycle since I'm taking a drug to stop me from growing any follicles/eggs, and therefore no progesterone production that we can't control.

        So that's an easy fix...but now I'm just a mess in my head. I wish there was a clear cut answer as to what to do and I so wish that for once my progesterone would just stay put. But I know that I can't control that, so I'm going to have to try to control my busy head. I'm waking up in the morning swirling with thoughts of what ifs and should haves.  Man, I wish this was easier. I wish that my ovaries just sucked and didn't produce any eggs.  I probably would have given up on my body by now and have moved on to another option and be either happily pregnant with a donor embryo or be working towards adoption. Instead, the fact that I have a lot of eggs makes me continue down this path of my own genetics, searching for a needle in a haystack. UGH!!!

        So now all I can do is think.... what if we stim too long and my egg quality sucks. What if my progesterone is too high on Sunday at my next monitoring appointment and we miss the chance to transfer a fresh embryo? Our success rate automatically decreases. What if we don't have any good quality eggs to freeze if we can't transfer fresh? Why does my body do this? Should we be monitoring every day? EEEEEk!!!!!!!! My head is spinning and I need to stop!

        Breathe in
        Breathe out
        Breath in
        Breathe out

        Anyone out there encounter this issue and have success??? Please tell me so?

        17 January 2011

        Stop Thinking, Just Do

        And so the daily shots begin
        And my belly begins to bruise
        And I attend my ultrasounds and blood draws
        And I'm wondering if I'm eating and drinking the right things
        And I'm worrying if work is stressing me out and ruining my egg quality
        And I'm feeling high and hopeful because my RE is so excited about my progress
        And I'm feeling low and scared because, hey, this hasn't worked YET, so why should it now?
        Dear Baby... will you please please decide to finally join us? I really really want this to be the last time.

        After 3 days of shots, my ovaries are responding well. Thank you, thank you, oh young ovaries! You surprise me after my last cycle and prognosis of 'sucky eggs'... So really, what IS wrong with me???  Why has this not worked yet? We've spent 4 years with really no, true answer...

        My RE came in this morning to my monitoring appointment with a chipper look on her face saying, "I'm SO glad we decided to do this! Sometimes you just have stop thinking about it and go for it." And I agreed. I'm going to stop thinking about this and just do it.

        Next peak at the ovaries is on Thursday. I'll keep ya posted.

        P.S. - For those of you in my "Why Shot my Stork" group, all I have to say is: Thanks to my unicorn band-aids, Joan will be attending all of my appointments with me this time...

        15 January 2011

        All In

        First things first... my baseline ultrasound went really well! Thanks SOOO much for the prayers and good thoughts. They worked! My antral follicle count was around 20, just like with my first two IVF cycles back in 2009. So it's a go! We're "all in" as they say in Texas Hold 'em (even though I have no clue how to play that game). Last night I started my shots. I'm taking 375u gonal-f and 75u menopur. Then in about a week, we'll add the cetrotide to prevent ovulation until we're ready to trigger. And with that, I've once again entered the sisterhood of the bruised bellies.

        I marvel at the human body. Infertility has made me absolutely amazed with it. It makes me wish I had gone into the medical field.  Anywho, my point... With IVF#3, at my baseline ultrasound, I had just about 7 antral follicles. And I was thinking, man, my body sucks. I'm old. And just yesterday I was back on a high thinking that I'm a teenager again! (well, not quite.. but let's say late 20s).  Is the antral count that variable, from month to month? Or is it simply that with IVF #3 I was not on birth control pills first. My RE thinks that when you are on BCPs, it gives your body a chance to get a few more  follicles into the antral stage, all lined up and ready to go. So I guess I'm proving her theory right. Also, I checked back to IVF #1 & 2, and sure enough, about 20+ antral follicles. Go figure. Well, if nothing else, we should have a larger crop of eggs to work with this time.

        Oh, also, my RE asked me how I felt about being aggressive. Her words were, "Are you ok with feeling kind of bloaty?"... So I guess we're pulling out the big guns this time. EEP!  "All in"... That's our motto this time.

        On a different note, it seems that where the emotional rollercoaster of this fertility journey is concerned, apparently I'm on a very different one than B.

        B and I went out to dinner on Thursday night. As we sat at the bar, me sipping my last big glass of wine for a while, hopefully 9 months, B expressed how excited he was about our upcoming IVF cycle and how he just knows that it's going to work. Now I've suspected that he's felt this way for a while based on a few little comments he's made and the shine in his eye when we talk about it, but I'm not sure I really understood how hopeful and excited he is until that dinner.

        It almost reminds me of how I felt when we started our first IVF cycle, almost 2 years ago. But what I realized is that I just can't get there. I can't get all giddy and excited and "up" about this being it, the final step. Its just too hard. This isn't to say that I'm not hopeful. In fact, I was the one that wanted to do this with my body, one... last... time...  B was somewhat ready to move on to a different route. I was the one who convinced him that I needed closure with my body before we move on.

        And yet here I sit, somewhat numb (albeit a bit more excited now that I have 20 antrals instead of 7...), and he's the giddy one. Strange.

        But maybe not. Maybe its just is a good example of how no two people can experience an event (or journey in this case) in the exact same manner. I really want to control his emotions and have him not hurt if this doesn't work, but I can't. I have to let him walk through this the way he needs to, not the way I need him to.

        And so, as our roller coasters are starting off on the path of IVF once again, it looks like B's car is already higher than mine... I wonder if I'll catch up.

        13 January 2011

        Think Antral Thoughts

        I have a few posts stirring in my head and hope to spend this upcoming weekend with NO PLANS (whee!!!) getting a few written out.

        In the meantime, just wanted to update you all that yesterday was my last day on those evil BCPs (birth control pills for those of you who don't know the lingo. One day, I promise I'll get a glossary page up). I go in tomorrow morning for my baseline ultrasound and blood work. If all goes well, I could be sticking myself in the belly with multiple shots tomorrow night. Yippee!!! (that's a little serious and a lot sarcastic)

        Also, if you believe in the power of prayer or group thought, please send some my ovaries' way so that they show a nice big crop of antral follicles in tomorrow's ultrasound. Come on ovaries! Remember, this is our last shot... so let's make it a good one.

        04 January 2011

        Two Utterances

        UGH!- 95 (a bit exaggerated) pregnant bellies passed my sight at lunch today

        OUCH! - just ordered most of my meds for my next cycle $$$

        What's In a Dream?

        B and I woke up Monday morning both from a tossy and turny night of restless sleep... and some strange-ass dreams. Maybe because we were anxious about going back to work after a week and  half off, or maybe because we are now super close to starting shots for IVF #4...  January 1, AF showed and thus the BCPs start. (Ps... I hate BCPs worse than I do Lupron... Hopefully I'm not too much of a monster).

        So here's what I awoke from that morning.

        I arrived in Abu Dhabi and was heading to my hotel room. Not really sure why I was there. In order to get to the hotel room, I had to climb some steep ladder-like stairs and fit through a small half doorway of a clay type building. At the doorway was a little old lady wrapped in some head scarves welcoming me. I'm not sure if I found her scary or sweet.

        Somehow I fit through the doorway and entered the hotel room. It was a really large space with a middle common room and a kitchenette with a window looking outside. Around this space were about 5 or so bedrooms. I was faced with choosing which bed I would be staying in. I was also waiting for my sister to arrive, so I wanted to find a bed for her. Also there were a few old college roommates.

        I was struggling to make a decision on which room/bed to take. Each room was a bit wrong for me and I couldn't figure out where my sister would sleep too. As the dream progressed, the large room kept filling up with more people, most of which seemed like they were getting ready for some kind of party, to be thrown there in the room. And they were claiming their own bed spaces. And I started to get really anxious. Where was I going to sleep? Where was I going to find a quiet space of my own? And I didn't want there to be a party! I just wanted some rest and peace.

        So I decided to take a bed in the room that was set up for kids. In the room, there were 2 little blond headed children, 1 boy and 1 girl, although I can't seem to remember their faces. There were smaller beds for them and they were each playing in the room at the time. There were also a few adult sized beds and I was trying to ask them if it would be ok if I slept in the room with them. The little girl seemed excited but I don't really remember what the boy had to say about it. I started to feel a  sense of calm coming on because I found a quiet place that I was going to be able to sleep and I was exicted to lay down next to this sweet little girl and hear her sleep later that evening...

        And then the dream fades out and I'm not sure what else happened... and I woke up  and asked B if he had strange dreames and told him that 'my head is f-ed up!"

        He proceeded to tell me about a snippit of his strange dream, where there were beer bottles, but they were also representing kids, and he had to choose which ones to pick...  I don't even know where to begin with that one, or do I? :-)

        So yesterday, I was chatting with M about my dream for a bit and we agreed there was some crazy symbolism going on there... M's also on her own fertility journey. Go visit her! Her blog rocks. Oh, she's also a therapist, so I like to pick her brain now and then. Anyways, our conversation prompted me to look some things up in an online dream dictionary. Here's some of the interesting things I found:
        • stairs - To dream you are walking up a flight of stairs, indicates you are achieving a higher level of understanding. You are making progress in your spiritual, emotional or material journey.
        • door - To dream you are entering through a door signifies new opportunities that are presented before you. You are intereing into a new stage in your life and moving from one level of consciousness to another. If the door opens to the inside, it denotes your desire for inner exploration and self-discovery.
        • bed- To dream you are searching for a bed suggests you are looking for domestic security/happiness
        • children - There's just way too much out there on seeing children in a dream that I don't even know where to begin, so I think the best is just to state the obvious... I WANT CHILDREN! AND I WANT THEM NOW! They also seem to represent the fact that I need to take time off to cater to  MY inner child, which I obviously don't do enough of.
        • hotel - To see a hotel in your dream signifies a new state of mind or a shift in personal identity. You are undergoing some sort of transition and need to move away from your old habits and old way of thinking. You need to temporarily escape your daily life.
        As for Abu Dhabi, I think that was in my dream because a friend of my sisters is spending time over there for a month. I have no real other reason why that would pop into  my head. The mind really is a strange place, huh?

        So, what do ya think? Any good dream analyzers out there?

        01 January 2011

        Up in Flames

        We may have found ourselves a new ritual to ring in the New Year. As I said in my last entry, B and I decided to spend the last few days of 2010 at my parents' cabin. We hiked, read books, napped, drank some yummy beer and mostly detached from the real world for a few days.  We intended to do some cross country skiing too, but the snow melted. I wish the weather would figure out what it wants to do with itself. I really do love winter and would prefer there be snow on the ground if its going to be so cold. Somehow it makes the cold more tolerable.

        Anyways, we had a brilliant idea, albeit not original, to write down the things we wanted to let go of from 2010.

        And then we made a beautiful fire in the fireplace and tossed the list into the flames. With that, we hope to put the anxiety, depression, jealousy, fear and dissapointments of 2010 to rest. We said good-bye to the following information searching and efforts towards our baby:
        • exploratory laparoscopy
        • 10+ vials of blood taken to test for various blood and immune disorders
        • drives to and from Chicago in the same day to participate in an IVF clincal trial
        • a failed IVF clinical trial, not only failed, but horrendus day of transfer
        • nasty nasty chinese herbal tea, boiled, strained, choked down
        • another SHG
        • acupuncture with two different acupuncturists
        • an amazing amount of supplements
        And hopefully we said good by to our last year of being without a child....

        (oh, and yes, I finally downloaded the hipstamatic app for my iphone) 

        Thank you B for helping me through 2010. It wasn't an easy one, but you made it as easy as it could be. I love you with all of my heart and I hope and pray that 2011 brings us our baby, because I don't want to repeat another year like the last few.