Friday, March 22, 2013

Vegas! And a cycle calendar!

We've been back from Vegas for a few days, and I'm so ready to go back.  I don't necessarily want to spend more money - or even drink more alcohol - but oh, do I miss that 80 degree weather!!

We had SO MUCH FUN.  Like so much, it made me all warm and cozy on the inside by our last day there.  (I'm sure the copious amounts of whiskey I drank had nothing to do with that).  The only cranky times were first thing in the morning before we had our coffees.

We arrived on Friday, and I was faced with one major concern.  There is a two hour time difference between Vegas and home.  Our dinner reservations were at 8pm, which was like 10pm here.  I had no idea how I was going to stay awake for dinner and after!  10pm is pretty much the latest I go to bed on many nights.  So once we watched the end of a basketball game upon arrival, I headed up to our room for a nap.  My goal was to stay up until at least midnight Vegas time (spoiler alert:  I did!).

The nap was a great idea and then I dressed in my new black dress and awesome leopard print high heels.  T wore a dapper linen jacket and we were off for our dinner at Picasso.  This was our awesome menu:

The foie gras was my absolute favorite course, and definitely in my top 5 of all time favorite eats.  T has the snapper for his main protein (I had the lamb), and he thought it was even better than the foie gras.  We both were blown away by the wine paired with the is a spicy white wine from Rioja, Spain.  I'm sure if any of you are wine aficionados, your head tilted a bit at the reference to a "spicy" white.  It was definitely a unique taste and we ordered some bottles when we got home!

We sat outside on the terrace which is right on the Bellagio lake and saw the fountain show several times throughout dinner.  It was definitely magical!

On Saturday night, we wanted an early meal before our 7:30 show (Cirque du Soleil's "O", which was awesome as well), so just sat at the bar at Comme Ça and had this lovely feast (can you tell I was obsessed with food while we were there?):

All this was only $30 during happy hour!  For oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster!
Our time chatting with the bartender set us up for the coolest part of our trip.  We were trying to figure out where to go for a drink after the show.  A place with great cocktails, not a club, and we could hear each other speak.  The bartender got his cell phone and quietly gave us the phone number of a "secret" speakeasy in downtown Vegas.  It only holds 12-15 people, so we were supposed to text the number to see if we could get in.  They would then direct us to what ended up being a very unassuming door inside another bar.  I actually had read about this place during my research prior to the trip ( , but it is new enough that no one was yet was giving up the contact details.  I imagine it will be readily available soon, but I never in a million years thought we would be lucky enough to have them randomly fall into our lap!  I think perhaps there are a couple numbers you can use, with one being the more "private", cool people number?  Who knows!

We were able to get in around 10:15 that night, and it was totally perfect.  The bar itself sat about 5-people, then there a couple tables nearby.  The whole room was smaller than our master bedroom.  And NO SMOKING, great music at a reasonable level, and phenomenal drinks.  No wine, beer, or flavored vodkas at this place -- just good old fashioned drinks with a modern twist. 

We rounded out our day Sunday at Emeril's Stadium at the Palazzo to watch the Big Ten Finals and the tourney selection show.  For being an Emeril place, the food was just meh, but the setup is pretty cool!  Big TVs, with loungy chairs to put your feet up with a beer.  Nice!

Unfortunately, good things must come to an end (and livers must be protected), so we headed home to jump into IVF #3.

I'm still on my BCP and testosterone gel.  After about a week, I'll add testosterone patches.  No Lupron this time (this is considered an antagonist cycle - all medical mumbo jumbo).  I'll start the stimulation drugs the week of April 8th, and then have the retrieval the week after. 

I'll admit.  I am tired.  Somewhat fed up.  Just ready to be DONE.  I really really hope this is it for us.  I'm not sure yet what we'll do if it is not.  It is so hard to give up now that we know we can, but I know we may have to get to that point eventually.  I just hope this cycle works and takes that decision away from us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Frustrations (but a new start!)

Let's start with the new start...our next cycle starts today!  Yay!  I begin my birth control pill today, along with this testosterone gel that I rub on my upper arm.  I should get my calendar in the next few days with the specifics on retrieval week and transfer week.  I can't decide if I'm optimistic or not.  It's certainly a whole new world to know that success is possible.  But it's the devil in disguise as well -- it will make failure all the more painful.  But I want to think that this one will stick.

Now, the frustrations.  Blerg.

Number One:  Our results came back today from the tissue analysis.  "Normal Female".  Now before you get all excited, know this result is essentially synonymous with "Error".  The potential results were abnormal (male or female), normal male, or the frustrating "Error".  Normal female is not an actual option, because the doctors cannot be certain that the mother's (my) cells didn't taint the sample.  So ultimately we know nothing about why the baby didn't survive, and we do not know the sex of the child.

Number Two:  T and I needed to sign up for our health benefits last year before we even knew if our transfer would be cancelled or not (it was ultimately cancelled).  We went through several scenarios that included doing a frozen, another IVF cycle, having a child, etc, to figure out what benefits were best for us.  We finally decided to do a high-deductible health plan, purely because it would max our tax-advantage savings in the HSA.  We knew we could use the HSA to help pay for the frozen cycle. 

The offset to getting an HSA is to set your deductible fairly high.  Then the HSA should help pay the deductible.  Unfortunately, we did not plan to have an expensive medical procedure early in the year that should be covered by insurance AFTER the deductible is paid.  So the entire D&C, which is in excess of $3,000, is out of pocket for us.  That is really a drop in the bucket considering the other costs of our infertility, but is still a huge blow given that the procedure was not a joyful one anyway.

Number 3:  Have you noticed that the ads on the internet are more linked than ever to your past browsing history?  For example, you look at a fantastic pair of yellow pumps at Zappos, which is not in your budget whatsoever.  You then go to an entirely unrelated website, and those pumps will follow you.  Taunting you.  Buy me, the ad says.  You know you want to.

Well, that also works with cribs.  Baby room furniture.  Nursery bedding.  Baby supplies.  I go to today to read some articles for work, and the specific Land of Nod bedding I liked is staring me down.  I know it is a simple deletion of your cookies that would solve this issue, but you don't always remember to do that.  There should be a box you check to avoid ads no longer necessary due to loss.  You think someone could put two and two together in that case.

But let's put that behind us, and concentrate on the new start.  Which kicks off with our Vegas trip this weekend.  Hope you have a nice long weekend too!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A recipe. For lemons.

It looks like a cold weekend, and then finally we are turning towards the spring with 50s all the way through the end of the forecast.  (Although come one week from now, my Las Vegas forecast is 80s.  LOVE!!!).

Before my last cycle, I discovered something about myself that I never knew.

I REALLY like whiskey.  Especially good whiskey.  (Duh).  I just pour an ever so small amount in a glass, and I can sip on it all night, warming my insides.  T is equally excited to discover this important factoid about himself as well.  So he has gone out to buy the makings for whiskey sours, but I still want one last winter warm toddy drink for what is ideally the last winter weekend.

So, my recipe for the lemons life has recently given us?

Whiskey Hot Toddy
1 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz sugar syrup
1 slice lemon
1 clove
4 oz hot water

Yes, yes, and more yes.

Have a great weekend :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Nothing's changed; Everything's changed

We had our post-op meeting with our RE yesterday.  First questions from him were of course related to the d&c.  How I did, how I was feeling, etc.  I'm lucky that physically the d&c was easy.  The nurses felt bad poking me with IVs and taking loads of blood, but I'm an old pro at that now.  Then, of course, I'm just knocked out and wake up not even really knowing what happened.  I had very little bleeding post-procedure, and very minimal cramping.  It barely even happened.

Obviously, emotionally is another story, but we're doing okay.  The baby was always conceptual anyway...all I saw were some pink lines and some numbers written on a page showing my blood results.  So the loss feels similarly surreal.  In the long run, that may be harder as I don't have anything truly physical to cling to, but at this point it makes the recovery a little smoother.

And, as T pointed out, we can get pregnant.  Which means we, of course, have to try again.  Which sounds exhausting.  With IVF #2, we had some drugs left over from IVF #1, so it seemed not as bad.  With FET #1, we had an embryo left over, so that was great!  This time, we're starting completely from scratch.  We are in the same exact place before this all even started.  Except now we have this glimmer of hope that something could indeed happen this time. 

So, in reality, everything has changed.  Even our protocol will be different.  I am going to take testosterone and T is going to take more folic acid (among other things for both of us).  I think they are preparing us for the big change --- they are going to suggest T carries the baby instead of me.  Which will be freaking awesome, and we can get a book and movie deal to pay off all of our previous tries.  So keep your fingers crossed for that; I know I will :)

We head to Las Vegas for a little getaway (two weeks from today!!).  We are eating at Picasso one night, which I think about every day because I'm so excited.  The food is supposed to be amazing, it is right on the water in front of Bellagio, and you are surrounded by actual Picassos on the wall.  Plus we pair wine with each course, and God knows I'm taking every advantage of being able to drink right now.

Then I'm just waiting for my next cycle to start.  At that point, I start the birth control pills again, as well as this testosterone gel that I'll rub on my arm.  Totally weird, right?  Assuming my period comes at a fairly normal time (normal is 4-6 weeks after d&c), we should be aiming for late April for it all to go down.  T's and my anniversary is on April 29th (we were married the same day as the royals.  We planned it first), so this could either result in an amazing present, or we may need to celebrate our anniversary on an entirely different day for all subsequent years.  Time will tell....

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