Monday, March 31, 2008

You know what'd be nice?

It'd be really nice to not be scared stiff. It'd be really nice not to have to wait for hours after every clinic session to know if the numbers go up or down. It'd be really nice to just be able to return to the days of innocence lost, to live in the happy ignorance of those women who have had no problems getting pregnant, and no reason to think they will have any difficulty staying pregnant.

Alas, it's not to be. Today is technically 4w6d. We lost the last one at 5w3d, so I'm going to be a basket case at least until Friday. That's goal #1... hang on to this beyond 5w3d. Goal #2 is to hold on until the hCG number is high enough for an early u/s. Goal #3 is to make it to T2.

Impeding easy progress to these goals? First of all, blood work. Dragging myself into a clinic that seems to be increasingly overrun with small children to have a blood tech poke and prod at me for 10 or 15 minutes trying to find a vein (at all... one that won't collapse is then the second challenge)... heading in to work... trying to focus while I wait. And wait. And wait. And wait until my phone rings with a "private number"... then trying to ask the questions I want/need to ask knowing full well that my entire side of the conversation can be heard by anyone nearby (there's no semblance of privacy here). Then waiting to repeat it all over again 2 days later, hopefully.

Next impediment... well, the numbers starting out so darn low. I know, I know... it's not the number, it's the doubling that matters. And that seems to be off to a rip-roaring start. Seems to be. But I can't help remember last time, when the numbers tripled, tripled, then merely doubled, and then dropped.

A nice little memory wipe... that's what I need. Restore those happy days of yore when I believed that nothing in the world was easier than procreating.

Bah... I think it's going to be one of those weeks. You know the ones... when you try so hard to focus on the positive, but the more you try to focus on the positive, the more the negative seems to obscure it? Forgive my ramblings... I just need to let it out. It's a frustration thing.

You know what else sucks? Knowing that so many friends who've travelled this road before and with me will be caused pain by this sticking. Sure... they might be happy for me. Hell, I've had so many people tell me I "deserve" this to work (I'm no more deserving than anyone else, and a heck of a lot less 'deserving' than some)... people I didn't even know knew my story. Anyway, they might be happy for me, but there's a tarnish on the glow... I know it stings at the very least. And yes, it might grow to be hope because it shows that it can work... but that'll be a ways down the road. I know this, 'cuz I've been there. I've felt the sting... and then felt horrible for being stung by the success of another woman on this road.

I don't want to cause that kind of conflict and pain in anyone else.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A little bit more...

Today's beta number was much better.... 29. More than triple Friday's... that's a doubling rate of 28.4 hours.

For anyone who might be reading and has no idea what I'm talking about... the quantitative blood pregnancy test is a beta hCG test (beta, for short)... they test to see how much hCG is present. For a viable pregnancy (not miscarrying and not ectopic), they look for this number to roughly double every 48-72 hours.

So... officially, we're pregnant! 4w5d. But... we're gonna be cautious with this. Last time the numbers tripled for the first few betas, then doubled, then dropped and I miscarried at 5w3d. And the numbers are starting lower this time than they did then, too.

And just to confuse things, most of my 'symptoms' have gone, apart from being tired and feeling constantly either hungry, gassy, or queasy (my tummy's not happy... but I'll take it!)

Next beta is on Tuesday, and they'll probably have me in every couple of days until the number's high enough for them to think they might see something on an u/s (should be around 6.5 weeks, give or take)... or until the number goes backwards.

Keeping everything crossed!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A little bit pregnant?

Remember the days when you lived in happy ignorance and believed there was no such thing as "a little bit pregnant"? Oh to live in those days again.

Went for my beta yesterday morning. Having decided as soon as I woke up that there was no way in hell I was going to be remotely productive at work, I called in sick. Lucked out in that they were able to find a vein in my hand pretty quickly for once (as usual, no luck in my arm). In and out of the clinic in about 15 minutes... not, however a short enough time to avoid all the pictures of happy babies... nor, indeed all the babies and toddlers who were there. Le Sigh.

Anyway... nerve wracking day until 2:00 when the phone rang. Aw, who am I kidding... the phone didn't end the nerve wracking-ness of the day. Why not? Because the number was 9.

Here's the breakdown. Less than 5 is negative. 10 or above is positive. Anything in between is that no-man's-land of "a little bit pregnant". So yet again I get past beta day without any definitive answers (last time the number was 18 on beta day #1). So I get to go back again tomorrow (Sunday) for another beta and hope against hope that the number goes up instead of down (which is the direction the nurse's voice says I should expect).

I'm seriously bummed right now. I have no idea how I'm going to get through tomorrow... especially if the result is negative.

Keep your fingers crossed for me? Please?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One more day... just one more day...

Yup... tomorrow's Beta Day. Should be entertaining when I go in tomorrow morning. They have a hard time finding my veins on the best of days, and if anything, this damn Fragmin has made them even harder to find.

Anybody know what they try if they can't find one in either arm or hand? Because usualy they have to resort to a hand for me, and I'm not entirely sure that's going to work tomorrow... so I need to dress appropriately ;)

I have to say... most of me is pretty sure it's going to be bad news tomorrow. I say most of me, because there's a tiny little voice in my head that's listening to DH who is equally sure it'll be good news... and another tiny little voice in my head is pointing out that although I can choose to write off most of what I'm going through to the meds, the increased sesitivity to scents and the associated increase from queasy to nauseous doesn't really fit.

So, in a nutshell... who knows? Le Sigh.

On the plus side... after 13 Fragmin injections, I've managed to get away with only 5 bruises on my tummy, and one unexplained bruise elsewhere (I probably hit something and didn't notice at the time). I think that's a pretty good record!

Focus on the positive, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Amazing the things we'll share with relative strangers...

Yup... I was just re-reading some previous posts. I remember being a very shy and reserved person. Heck, for most things I still am. What is it about infertility treatments that takes everything associated with them outside the realm of normal personality restraints and makes us want to share every tiny little detail? Is it the habit of dropping our drawers whenever we see a white coat... like Pavlovian training... we see the coat, we strip from the waist down? Is it a desperation to understand everything we're being put through and hopefully find someone else out there in the ether who knows what we're talking about? Is it a desenitization to such details as cervical mucous, nipple and breast tenderness, ovarian and uterine position, "cooter cams", etc.?

And why the hell am I wondering this? Oh wait... that's right... because I've given this URL to a few people who might not particularly want to know all those tiny little details. To them I say this... don't read any more... just take me out, but me a Second Cup white hot chocolate, and ask me what's going on. I'm much better and censoring myself when I'm actually talking instead of typing ;) Plus, this blog I started primarily for me... because I don't journal well... because I needed an outlet that I could use in those moments when I can't exactly pull out a notebook and start scribbling madly.

like now. It's Tuesday. I've got my beta on Friday. I've spent a week and a half telling myself that all the insanity is just "side effects" of all the varied meds I'm on (estrogen, progesterone, blood thinners, steroids... ). And I just about manage to convince myself, but then I get a new one that I just can't chalk up to it... but then the Mood Swing Express pulls in again and I swing from that vague hope to an absolute certainty that it didn't work this time... and what are we going to do now, because we did everything we should to have it work this time... the embies even looked better than either of the previous 2 transfers and one of those worked (ended badly, but worked)... and then I wonder should I just POAS and then I'd know... except that I wouldn't. Remember last time... + beta, but no + HPT until 5 days later... HPTs just aren't as sensitive, and they're yes/no... there's no grey area... there's no "well, it's over 10, but under 50, so it's positive but low, try again in 2 days and we'll see where the numbers go".

Gah... I wish it was Friday afternoon already so I'd know one way or the other. This waiting is driving me crazy.

In other news, I haven't had a good solid night's sleep since Tuesday of last week, so I'm a wee bit cranky... and tired... and queasy... and tired... and did I mention tired... and wobbly... and klutzy... and tired... and queasy... and tired.... and I'm repeating myself, aren't I?

Le Sigh.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blah. 10dp3dt

I have no idea what's going on with me. None. No clue.

- haven't slept through the night in about a week
- tired all the time (but that might be a side effect of the first point)
- waves of heat while I try to sleep (but that might be a combination of things... like the cats... or the duvet... or the blast furnace that is my husband... or the meds... or...)
- low grade queasiness almost constantly (but again, that might be the lack of sleep)
- some days when I just can't get enough to drink... and others when I find it challenging to choke down 2L over the course of the day
- definite hankerings... but for things that are bad for me that I've been trying to cut down or out of the intake (like Coca-Cola and chocolate)... and definite "Umm... no thanks" items, but I wouldn't go so far as to call any of those "aversions"
- gassy. Let's just leave it at that. But that could just as easily be a product of the Progesterone injections
- the Mood Swing Express has definitely put our house on it's "frequent service" list. But again, that could be a feature of the lack of sleep
- klutzy beyond belief, and wobbly (I wouldn't go so far as to say "dizzy spells", but definitely moments when the world seems to take a tilt)... but again, that whole sleep thing.
- my nose is going nuts. I'm sneezing all over the place (but don't have a cold or other allergy symptoms)... and I keep smelling things DH can't (although I'm not entirely convinced I'm not having scent hallucinations, either)

DH is convinced that all these things add up to me being pregnant. But I'm just not feeling all that "positive". For one, and I'll admit it's silly, but my boobs just don't hurt. My boobs always hurt in the 2ww... and last time we got a positive my nipples were extremely sensitive and painful... not so much right now (and, in the spirit of doing all things insane, I keep checking *laugh*).

Gah! Why can't it be Friday already????

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Are you sure humans don't hibernate???

Good gawd I'm tired. No, "tired" doesn't even really cover it. I'm exhausted. Dead on my feet. Wiped out.

I was kind of tired before, but once about noon yesterday hit I was just crushed under a wave of exhaustion. Could barely keep my eyes open at my desk... didn't relish the thought of walking to the GO Station to find my way home because it meant moving. And moving was NOT something I wanted to do. To much energy required to move. I managed to hang in there until 9:00 last night before surrendering to the exhaustion and heading to bed. But do you think I could get to sleep? No. Of course not. And when I finaly DID get to sleep, do you think I could STAY asleep. Nope. Not a chance. My personal favourite was when my bladder woke me up a mere hour before the alarm was set to go off. And then the cats followed me into the bathroom to tell me (loudly) how happy they were I was finally up. Not very helpful for my plan of making the trip in a sleepy haze of not-really-fully-awakeness so I could still get most of that last hour asleep. So when the alarm finally went off I would quite happily have rolled over and gone back to sleep... for at least the next week... possibly a few months. Le Sigh.

And now, of course, I feel like crap, and I can't tell if it's "side effects of the meds" or being freakin' exhausted that's making me want to hurl, fall over, or drop stuff. Oh yeah... we can add those three things to my list... 'cuz I want to hurl (not seriously run-to-the-bathroom-don't-get-in-my-way hurl, but that feeling in the back of your throat that any second now you might get to revisit breakfast a little bit), if I close my eyes or turn my head too fast I want to fall over, and I'm dropping stuff left, right, and centre. Good Times!

In other news... got the call from the clinic yesterday with the update on our remaining embie. On Transfer Day they had said that they'd freeze 6, but there was a 7th that was growing slowly and they wanted to give it a few more days to see if it reached blast before freezing it. It didn't make it. So... while we didn't really expect it would, and 6 is a better number in terms of 2-embie transfers, and 6 is still an awesome number to have on-ice (3 times what we had last time!), I'm a little sad. Another of our kids didn't make it. :(

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

d5p3dt - I spoke too soon...

.. about not bruising from the Fragmin. Silly me forgot that yesterday was my first day wearing regular pants AND sitting in a regular chair all day... silly me also forgot that said regular pants (or jeans, or the belt I wear with my work pants) create certain abdominal pressure points... silly me also forgot that these pressure points line up with my preferred local for these injections... just below the belly button all the way across. Le Sigh. So... I am now the proud owner of one large-ish and one small very black bruises.

In other fun... I apparently nicked a blood vessle when jabbing myself for my progesterone shot last night and illustrated that yes, the blood thinners are actually working. I said to DH as I lifted the alcohol swap after about 10 seconds of post-injection pressure "looks like I've got a gusher"... and sure enough, he slapped a band-aid on (we often do that if it's an active bleeder just to save my sanity... and my clothes) and it was soaked through in about 3 seconds. Yup... when I said gusher... I meant gusher. So he sprinted for a tissue which I held over the band-aid and I lay down on my tummy on the bed while he sorted out finding a bigger bain-aid. Of course, after about 90 seconds of additional pressure and lying down, by the time he had the old band-aid off and the new one un-wrapped it had stopped bleeding. I do, however, expect a pretty bruise there, too.

And tonight he's not home, so I get to do my own progesterone injection. Luckily it's on my right side tonight and I'm right-handed, so it should be easy enough (all things considered).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

4dp3dt – that’s 4 days post 3-day transfer for the uninitiated

So… 4 days down… 10 days to go! Good grief that sounds like a long time. Le Sigh.

So. Good things:

  • I seem to be holding my own with the meds. DH is helping with the PIO (still just pushing the plunger and I do the rest, but that’s all I need right now).
  • Not bruising much (so far, 2 very small bruises from the Fragmin injections… both on the same side, oddly enough).

    Not so wonderful things:
  • the Fragmin injection seems to have a mild “shock” effect on my system. Meaning after I “shoot up” with the blood thinner, I have to sit down and have something to eat. Not a huge deal, but something to keep an eye on.
  • The progesterone “side effects” have started. At least, I’m choosing to tell myself it’s the meds, for the sake of my sanity. For the next 2 weeks, everything is a side-effect of the progesterone *laugh* So far we’ve got: gassiness, increased appetite, increased thirst, fatigue, sore nips and peeing every freakin’ hour. I expect increased scent sensitivity will kick in any day now, followed by nausea/queasiness and possibly food aversions. I had those even in December when we got the BFN (Big Fat Negative, again, for the uninitiated).

    Such fun!

    A big huge “shout out” to all my friends in the 2ww, or staring down the barrel of the IVF gun in the next little while. Especially big hugs heading out to ‘M’ on the West Coast, ‘cuz right now I just want to wrap her up in a big huge hug and try to make it all better…. Hon, we’ve been there, if you ever need to talk, you know where to find me and I’m more than happy to listen.

    That’s enough obsession for one day, I think… I’m trying to pretend the next 10 days aren’t really happening, so if I’m sporadic, that’s why *laugh*

    Take care, all!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Transfer complete!

Ok... I should have updated yesterday afternoon, but I was both too excited and too tired.. so I'm updating now instead.

Our transfer was scheduled for 11:30 yesterday, but didn't end up happening until shortly after 1:00... on the plus side, I got to go to the washroom many times in that extra 90 minutes, and it meant we were the last procedure of the day and I could "recover" on the table instead of having to move back to our ultra-luxurious cubby hole *laugh* What that means, for those who might be reading and don't know, is that for the 15-20 minutes post-transfer when I was supposed to rest and let things settle before finally going pee I was able to stay lying down instead of standing up to get back to my chair and then sitting for the time. Let me tell you, it's much easier to hold it for that extra time when gravity's not working against you! So DH and I stayed in the dimly lit OR and chatted :)

Yes... DH managed to brave the OR this time, and I'm so glad he did! Because our embies this time looked so gorgeous... so much better than the previous transfers... much rounder and more complex looking :) Even the lab techs chimed in telling us they looked beautiful :) Lots of positivity in the OR yesterday... which was a nice change from before when it was really only Dr. D's restrained positivity. Yesterday we had positive vibes coming at us from the lab techs, the u/s tech, 2 nurses, and Dr. L!! It actually helped a lot with my outlook on this whole thing... I actually have hope now (although that's a bit of a double-edged sword, because if it doesn't end up working I'll be even worse)

We were given the option of transferring 2 or 3. I'm not really all that keen on the notion of a 'selective reduction', though, and I'd have to agree to that in order for them to transfer 3, so I said 2. Of the 9 they reported on Wednesday, 8 of them grew like gangbusters ("excellent excellent embryos" says Dr. L ), and one of them was a little slow. So we transferred 2, froze 6, and that last one will stay in the lab for another day or two to see if it reaches blast. If it does, it'll join its siblings in the nitrogen tank... if it doesn't, we've still got a few more chances on ice and are miles ahead of where we were after the last retrieval. Personally, knowing that our FET transferred a 6-cell and an 8-cell, I think the first time they should have let the remaining 2 grow to blast before freezing and possibly saved us the money, but that's just me being pessimistic in hindsight. *shrug*

And, although we discovered that there aren't any options they're willing to give us for the castor oil progesterone transit medium (there are other options, but they want to avoid seed-based oils in case there's an allergic reaction, apparently), DH has stepped up and in spite of the fact that needles make him light-headed, is giving me a helping hand for my progesterone injections (I'm still doing the Fragmin ones on my own)! Well, he heard the nurse bascially tell me that the only other option was to come to the clinic every day, and that's not really feasible. So now I jab myself, and he pushes the plunger, and I remove the needle, because really it's not the injection so much as the fact that I can't get enough pressure on the plunger at that angle with such a stubbornly thick oil (even when I heat it... it's crazy!). He's a super-star!

He's very cute... he had to work today, but he wants me to stay in bed, so he packed me a lunch and put the cats on "guard duty"... they have to keep an eye on me and take care of me. And since they're both very vocal and prone to yelling at us when they're mad, it might just work *laugh*

Two irritations from yesterday:

1 - although Dr. L had my chart in front of him and could glean from it my age, he apparently missed his own notes indicating that yes, we've done this before, and it ended in an early miscarriage, so I had to share that info with the room in general. Ok for me, but DH is still pretty raw on the subject :(

2 - while I was getting into my gown with the curtain closed on our cubby, one of the "new" nurses came in to chat with the other "new" nurse (they're both early to mid 20's), and in spite of the big sign on the wall saying that "patients are recovering behind the curtains" (read: there are fertility patients in these cubbies... if the curtain is closed, assume the room is occupied), she started off with "my gawd, if you thought cancer patients were high maintenance, they've got nothing on fertility patients" (or words to that effect). She stopped mid tirade, so obviously her friend had kicked her and motioned to our cubby. At the time DH and I were laughing, but in retrospect it pisses me off. Especially when she followed up with an attempt to backpedal that basically said she meant that fertility patients ask too many questions. WTF???? It's a highly emotionally charged diagnosis and a pretty invasive testing and treatment process... damn freakin' skippy I'm gonna ask questions and be as "high maintenance" as I damn well please to make sure I understand what I'm taking and putting myself and my husband through and why. Gah! I'm debating saying something to the head nurse about it... that kind of insensitivity, lack of tact and discretion, and lack of compassion really has no place in a fertility clinic setting... especially not in the IVF suite! But should I report her?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ouch... enough of this crap...

Ok... so last night was progesterone injection #2. As I described it to DH last night, Castor Oil (as a delivery medium) has roughly the consistancy of warm-ish honey. Meaning it doesn't flow so much as ooze. This makes it a little difficult to depress the plunger in the syringe. This makes it damn near impossible for someone like me... because DH can't deal with the sight of needles and I'm consequently stuck giving them to myself. The Lupron was no problem (it goes in the gut)... the stims were no problem (so far, I'm able to twist far enough to inject things into my own butt).... I expect the Fragmin will be easy peasy (again... gut shots)... and while the progesterone in seasme oil was a bit of a pain the last 2 times, it was doable. Castor oil just isn't. I can't do it and not end up jiggling the damn needle in my butt... which of course results in pretty red stuff leaking from the injection site as soon as I remove the needle.

Not cool.

I like my blood... I'm very attached to it. Just ask the blood techs who can never find a vein *laugh* I don't like it flowing from injection sites.

So... I think tomorrow when I'm getting instruction on my Fragmin, I'm going to ask if they have any other alternatives to Sesame other than Castor oil... maybe grapeseed? Grapeseed would be good... it's nice and thin....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

UPDATE! We have the initial report...

Ok... before I spill the beans... let me flash back to our first round of IVF. Back in October '07 the stats were thus:
retrieved: 15
mature: 8
fertilized: 4
which gave us roughly 27% of the eggies they harvested to pin our hopes to. That's a lot to ask of such a small creature!

So this time the numbers are:
retrieved: 15 (again)
ICSI'd: 10 (I knew some of them would be too small, and after my last u/s was only expecting there to be 10 retrieved!)
fertilized: drum roll please.... 9!!!!!

That's 60% of what they retrieved... and 90% of what I expected! :) I'm positively giddy right now! Those numbers are WAY better than last time (I'm not sure if it's the doc, the meds, or the supplements DH has been taking... but at this point, I don't really care!)

They'll call tomorrow and let me know what time the transfer will be scheduled for *happy dance* Hopefully they all grade out nicely :)

2 p.m. is really far too late for breakfast….

Well… the retrieval’s done! Finally!!

Here’s an idea how our Tuesday played out after my last post.

I woke DH up at about 7:30 because my mother was kind enough to drive us and was picking us up at 9:15. He ate… I looked longingly at his bagel. I told my stomach to shut up. This was something that happened frequently on Tuesday… me telling my stomach to shut up.

Mom picked us up and we headed off downtown. DH and I were supposed to be in the IVF suite for 10:45, but we got there at 10:30. We were shown into a room with a door (instead of the curtained cubicles we’ve been in before) and I changed into my gowns and checked out the new heated massage recliner they just bought a whole slew of (good to see that my fees are being put to good use *laugh* Although… it was a very comfortable chair after the retrieval was finally done).

DH went off to party with his little cup and the nurse came in to give me my IV. Luckily, she didn’t have too much difficulty finding a vein… unfortunately it still hurts, and I expect to have a bruise to match the one from Saturday’s blood draw. Oh well… at least my hands will match. Oddly appropriate to have wounded hands coming up to Easter, I suppose *laugh* (I’m going straight to hell for that one, I’m sure ;) )

Anyway… they finally brought me into the OR (thank goodness, I was mere seconds away from pouncing on the plate of nibbles that was waiting for me)… got me up on the ‘table’ and hooked me up to the oxygen meter and blood pressure. Took my blood pressure 3 times before the nurse saw numbers she was happy with (I have a bit of the “white coat syndrome”… I don’t trust doctors, so medical situations tend to make me a wee bit stressed). They gave me the first dose of the loopy juice. I think it was a different cocktail this time than last time… I felt sleepy pretty quickly, but was coming back around when they gave me dose #2. Of course, I was wide awake at 12:15 when the doc still wasn’t there yet. Le Sigh. So… when he showed up, they knocked me down pretty hard. I have no idea how much I got this time, but I’m pretty darn sure it was more than last time. I only remember snippets of the retrieval.

I remember 3 nurses, the doc, and the u/s tech clustered around me and thinking “Damn, it’s a good thing DH decided not to be in the OR for this… there’s nowhere for him!”

I remember a few stabs of pain

I remember looking at the screen at one point to see the eggs and seeing a wash of red. And then another. And then it cleared.

And I remember hearing “there were 2 in that one!”

Once they were done, I was helped out to our recovery room and plunked in the wonder-chair… hot water bottle clutched to my belly… covered in a blanket… chair turned on. I think I dozed for a bit, but I’m not 100% sure (see previous comment about how much loopy juice I got this time!). Finally felt up to having some food… 8 saltines, 2 “bear paw” cookies, and a Del Monte fruit punch pouch later I was feeling almost human again. So my IV and I went for a trip to the washroom to “try to pee”. Success! So they unhooked my IV (1.5 L of fluids after they started it… I guess I was “thirsty” *laugh*) and sent me on my merry way.

Our final count was 15… so either I had a few ‘doubles’, or some were hiding at my last u/s on Sunday, because there sure weren’t 15 then! *laugh*

I felt bad for the folks who were sitting waiting for their own procedures… we didn’t get out of there until 2:00, so even if I spent an hour in recovery things were already stacked up pretty far behind me :(

I was feeling pretty battered inside, and was moving very carefully. Thank goodness I came prepared for spotting, too (pure fluke I had a pad in my purse), because that wash of red was still making its way out. Blah.

We stopped at Wendy’s on the way home… Mmmm… grilled chicken sandwhich… breakfast of champions. But really, 2:00 p.m. is too late for breakfast.

I fell asleep in the car again about half-way home, and I was looking more corpse-like than usual by the time I made my way upstairs at 3:00 to crawl into bed for 3 hours sleep (give or take). Had an early night, too… and this morning I’m feeling almost “normal” again.

Now I wait for the clinic to call and tell me how many fertilized and other such fun.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

retrieval in a few LONG hours....

So... my clock tells me it's 6:48 a.m. I'm up. I'm showered. I'm contemplating what to wear that'll be most comfortable and yet still weather appropriate (something tells me just going in my robe might be frowned upon *laugh*)... and I'm freakin' STARVING!

Why is it that on the average day I could probably manage 'til about 11:00 without breakfast with no issues, but as soon as I know I'm not ALLOWED to eat I'm famished? And, of course, I woke up this morning feeling parched and I'm not allowed to drink anything, either (not even water). Le Sigh.

So... today is retrieval day. DH is still asleep (I figure he has to deal with seeing me unable to move under my own power... the least I can do is let him get a little more sleep to help him cope *laugh*). The cats are shunning me (that's nothing new... they don't expect me to be here... and I'm not in bed)... I expect they'll think all their birthdays came at once later today when they have full access to a sleeping person in bed in the middle of the day, though. Silly kittens. Because, yep... that's my plan... ignore the rumbling and gurgling in my tummy... go get punctured a lot by a giant-assed needle... get hopped up on loopy juice (oh wait... that happens before the giant needle)... scarf some "free" snacks (yeah... "free"... 'cuz I'm not paying an arm and 3 legs for this whole IVF thing. Yeesh!)... stumble to the car... stumble from the car... crawl back into bed and sleep for 3 or 4 hours :) And then drive myself mental waiting for the phone call tomorrow telling me how many eggies they got and how many fertilized. I see tomorrow and Thursday at work being almost as productive as yesterday was... I was just a wee bit distracted. Ah well. I'm taking me an extra long weekend, so hopefully my brain will be a bit more focused next week *laugh*

6:56.... 8 minutes closer to the 10:45 retrieval....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Retrieval set!

Here we go… tomorrow is retrieval day!

But first, let me tell you about my weekend….

Saturday – Got up at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. to be out of the house by 6:30 to be at the clinic close to 7:00 in the snow … only to realize when I got there at 7:25 that the weekend hours don’t start ‘til 8:00. Blah.

Being unfamiliar with the process when the doc wants to do the u/s, but knowing that the u/s sign-in chart is what the gals on the desk use to pull patient files, I signed up there (noting that the doc was going to do the u/s), then signed the doc’s list, then signed up for bloodwork. So an u/s tech calls my name… and the proceeds to bitch at me because I shouldn’t have signed up on her list because that’s just for the u/s techs. Nice. I go back over to the blood waiting area and my book.

Blood tech comes in early (yay), and calls my name, since I’m first on the list. I go in and tell him that if he can’t find a vein in my arm, he needs to use the smallest syringe he’s got because I have really small veins and the butterfly won’t work (because it hadn’t worked the 3 times prior to Saturday). Does he believe me? No. He INSISTS on using the butterfly. Let’s just say that I still had a lump on the back of my hand 12 hours later and now have a bruise the size of a $2 coin. Joy. And the pain! OMG, I’ve never had that much pain from a blood draw before, and that includes the times they’ve had to dig to find a vein or double-punctured.

Go over to the u/s waiting area and get put in a room for the doc. All good. He seems really happy about the follies he’s seeing, but mentions that he thinks my left ovary was “on strike”. Sure enough, there’s between 7 & 10 follies on the right ovary (I could see the nice cluster), but only 3 small-ish ones on the left. All follies on Saturday measured between 1.3 (left side) – 2.3, with the majority being 2.0 – 2.3 cm. Got my morning shot and my take-home package for my evening shot and was told to be back Sunday morning. I was out of there by 8:10!

Joy… did I mention we were expected to get pounded by yet another winter storm on Saturday? Yup. And it was well under way on my way home (heck, it was well underway on my way TO the clinic, but it took a bit of a break while I was there, which I thought was nice of it *laugh*).

Then home… an hour of snow shoveling at about 11 a.m. during another lull… by the time the storm was over we’d gotten about another 30 cm where we are… plus blow-in. DH shoveled 4 times, plus my 1, just to keep it tamed.

Sunday… back at the clinic. Early again, because I allowed myself more time than needed to get there. Good thing I did, too… while most of the main streets had been plowed at some point, none of them had been salted, so driving was a mix of polished ice and 2 inch snowy-slush. My car went dancing on the way home… it was quite entertaining. But anyway… got to the clinic early, signed the requisite lists (not the u/s list this time so I wouldn’t get yelled at). Started off my day with the blood tech being late. Then I had to tell him off about the fiasco of Saturday. He asked if I wanted to wait for his co-worker, so I said, no… but that if he couldn’t find a vein in my arm that he was going to use the smallest needled syringe he had and that was that. So, of course, he found a vein in my arm *laugh* First time in weeks that’s happened! Doesn’t help the massive bruise on my hand that I can’t hide, but that’s life.

Had my u/s and was told that things were “really cooking”. Apparently most of the follies from Saturday had grown another 3 – 4 mm over 24 hours! So… retrieval was set for Tuesday March 11th. Which makes transfer Friday March 14th!

Got my morning shot… the last stim injection of the cycle! Got my hCG and instructions to trigger… at 12:30 Sunday night (technically this morning)… and to do my final Lupron dose at the same time. Great! Of course, we get up at 5:00 a.m. for work, so I’m functioning (barely) on about 4 hours of sleep today, but I get to be needle free today! Yesterday we started our Doxycycline (1 pill each twice daily for 3 days). I’m still doing the baby-Aspirin and Prednisone (which I finally learned is supposed to help with implantation). I got my Progesterone in Oil (Castor this time, since most people apparently develop a mild allergy to the Sesame after a couple of cycles… which explains a lot about the itching with our FET cycle). Also got all our consent forms to sign. And instructions on when to start the Estrace etc. Retrieval is set for 10:45 tomorrow morning.

I also got Fragmin to inject… but no instructions… so I’ve got a call in to the clinic on that one. It’s an anti-coagulant/anti-thrombosis med… same family as Heparin. So now I’m wondering why. I mean, I know I tested positive for some antibody or other, but when I asked Dr. D about clotting issues a few months ago she said that wasn’t a problem. Being put on this drug would suggest otherwise, I think. Guess we’ll find out.

Not sure when I’ll update again… it might be after the retrieval… it might not be until after the transfer. I expect I’ll be going mental between the 14th and the 28th, though… something about an IVF 2ww just seems so much nuttier.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stim Day 7 - we're getting closer!

Another trip to the clinic this morning. Another blood draw. Another day where I end up with two punctured hands because they can't find a vein in either arm and the first attempt collapsed as soon as the needle was in. I'm getting really tired of this. The nurses (who don't do the blood draw at our clinic) are horrified by it, too. Me, I could just do without the pain to start the day and the track marks I can't hide. If they're having this much trouble finding a vein now, what the hell are they going to do for my IV at the retrieval???? I think that might just be a question to raise with the nurse on Saturday if I get the double-stick again.

Another u/s... always entertaining, but even more so when they can't find the ovaries and have to push on the abdomen with their fist. Joy. Both sides. Such fun!

But... the doc says everything's looking really good. He says 10 - 15 follies (although I think he might not be counting all of them... see later statement on size). He's reduced my Bravelle, but increased my Repronex for the next 2 days (Yay... that SHOULD mean less stinging). He wants to see me back on Saturday morning... and he wants to do the u/s himself so he can estimate when the retrieval will be! Already! He also said that I was responding much better to this protocol than the last one. Good to know, although I'm not sure I'll be able to put myself through this a third time if it doesn't work this time.

So I was chatting with the nurse who was re-stocking my meds... the list the u/s tech wrote looks like about 20 follies, but they ranged in size from 0.6 (pretty small) to 1.8 (at day 7 of stims! Last time the biggest I had was just over 2, and that was after 2 full weeks!). She also guessed that retrieval might be Tuesday! That's less than a week away! Of course, we won't really know until Saturday... too bad my other half has to work on Saturday and won't get that news first-hand. We also have to figure out how to get him whatever days off are needed without telling his boss what it's for (discretion is a foreign concept to him, sadly).

So... here we are... I can't believe next week is retrieval time again already!

Monday, March 3, 2008

IVF Cycle Day 4 (“real” cycle day 6)

Ok, so the title may be confusing… so I’ll clear that up first. The paperwork I got from the clinic said to count the first day of stims as IVF Cycle Day 1. AF (or a vague facsimile) showed up two days before I started stims. So, IVF Cycle Day 4, “real” cycle day 6. Thankfully, AF didn’t stick around long, so today wasn’t as unpleasant for all concerned as it might have been (getting a wand shoved up there is unpleasant enough without putting blood in the mix).

So… went for blood work. As was the case last time, they couldn’t find a vein in either elbow, so they went for the back of the hand. Also as was the case last time, they tried one hand with the butterfly thingy, and as was the cast last time, it didn’t work. At all. Not one drop collected. So on to the other hand. So much fun wandering around after the fact with a wad of cotton taped to the back of each hand… especially when everyone else in the place has theirs in the crook of their elbow, covered by their sleeves. Le Sigh.

On to the u/s. I hate the tech who did mine today. She butchers names on a regular basis, she can’t be heard, and she’s rough. Blah. But, eventually it was over and I got to wait for the doc. Today’s student on-site was a nursing student. It was hilarious to hear the head nurse tell her how to read the charts and what all they entailed. “And this one with the yellow page… this will really blow your mind!” This from a woman rapidly approaching retirement…. Too funny.

Went in to see the doc… he seemed really happy with my ‘progress’… after 3 days of stims (on clinic days I give myself my Lupron at home, but they give me my stims at the clinic), I have 10 follicles developing nicely (13 according to the nurse who gave me my shot later, though). I was told to drink 1L of Gatorade per day, and increase my salt and protein intake. That was a little surprising, but hey, if it gets me knocked up, I’ll do my darndest to make it happen! The Gatorade and protein probably won’t be a problem (I like Gatorade… and I’m a carnivore)… the salt might be a challenge.

Off I went to see a nurse, to get jabbed, and get my next batch of meds. Dosages are staying the same (Bravelle 225 iu and Repronex 75 iu morning and evening). Nice to know I’m not the only one complaining of the Bravelle stinging way more than anything else I’ve had the joy of injecting (Gonal-F, Lupron, Progesterone in oil… or the Repronex that went with the Gonal… hence the deduction that it was the Bravelle stinging like a mo-fo).

Now we wait and see how things are going when I’m back at the clinic Thursday morning! Not sure how it’ll go, but I do know that the first thing I’m gonna do is tell the blood tech that if she can’t find a vein in my arm, to jump straight to the smallest needled syringe they have! ;)