Tuesday, April 30, 2013


T and I have been married two years as of yesterday!

It really doesn't seem like it should be that short.  My dad said it feels more like ten (and clarified he meant that as a compliment).  We've been together five years overall, and even that seems short.  I guess we like to try to live lifetimes in just a few years.

We started trying for a baby before we got married (shhh, don't tell anyone).  At the time it seemed so risky...what if I was pregnant at the wedding?  Gasp?!  Now I can laugh at even thinking that.  And starting earlier meant we realized earlier that we needed extra "help", so ultimately it was a good decision.

T gave me his present early -- a massage from Aria while we were in Vegas.  It was so overpriced, but definitely a necessity at that time, just a few weeks after our loss.  In turn, I found someone on etsy who prints verses or lyrics on to copper pieces.  I had him print a line from one of T's and my favorite songs:

"and I have to speculate that God himself did make us into corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay"

The copper piece is the size of a credit card, so T can take it with him wherever he goes.  Which obviously you will, honey?  Right? :)

Then we had some other potentially good news yesterday as well.  A positive on a pregnancy test.  The downside from here is something that only those experienced with pee on a stick mania may understand:

We actually may have had a positive Sunday night (5dp5dt).  It was so ridiculously light, not visible in a picture, and I could only see it if I wasn't wearing glasses or contacts (I'm so near-sighted, I get mega vision for things 2 inches away).  But it at least gave us some hope.  Then we took the test again on Monday morning (6dp5dt).  Again very light, but at least slightly more visible.  As in, I could kind of see it with regular vision.  Took a digital test as well, and it said "Not Pregnant".  Not a huge surprise, as we know those digital tests are not as sensitive as the pink line ones (we use FRERs).  Last night, still 6dp5dt, I took another pink line test at the restaurant where we were having our anniversary dinner after work.  Again, the line is super light, BUT you can see it without squinting.  We're starting to get a little more excited.

Fast forward to this morning (7dp5dt).  I took both a FRER and a digital test.  FRER still has a super light pink line on it, but I don't think it is much darker than yesterday.  The digital is still negative.  For comparison sake, we got a positive on a digital last cycle only 8 hours after our first FRER positive.

So, therefore, I'm worried.  I'm in testing limbo.  This is why you should NOT test early (I know!).  We obviously are pregnant, which is huge.  And a happy day.  But what if isn't progressing?  What if we are just headed for a very early miscarriage/chemical pregnancy?  I probably wouldn't even worry that much if I didn't have last cycle to compare to -- and look how that one turned out anyway!

So there is some insight into the madness that is my racing thoughts today.  Only time will tell how it turns out, but at least we got through the starting gate.  I am pregnant!  For now!

Edit:  (I seem to have to do that a lot lately).  I just got the positive on the digital.  My heart is racing slightly less now.  I still need lots and lots and lots of prayers.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Go faster, go faster!  Time is moving sooooo sloooooowwwwlllllly right now.   I want it to be beta day (which I've decided will go fabulously).  I want it to be ultrasound day (where we'll see two lovely heartbeats.  It's the truth).  I want it to be the day my bellybutton pops.  I want it to be the day our little Jedis are born.  I want it to be the day they first walk.  I want it so badly.

But that's not today.  Today is three days past my five-day transfer, and nada is happening.  I felt nauseous after leaving a team lunch yesterday, and T swears that is a sign of implantation (because he read it somewhere at some point on the interwebs, so it must be true).  I have a burning pinching feeling in my lower abdomen off and on.  In reality, though, this is all overanalyzing - what I do best! - and hopefulness, because we simply can't know anything this early.

Instead of Jedis, I'll concentrate on what should be a wonderful weekend.  Spring is FINALLY here.  And per usual, we'll probably scootch right into summer after about 5 days of spring.  We are grilling tonight, which is my favorite. I've learned that I love so many things grilled once we finally got a real grill at our new house.  Peaches? YUM!!  Cabbage?  Yes, please.  This is the year we will try a pizza. 

Our stepdaughter may have a sleepover tomorrow night as well, so there is a possibility we'll have 3 preteens giggling in our basement all night.  That's birth control right there.  Babies don't grow up to teenagers, do they?  I may have changed  my mind on all this.... :)

T's and my two-year anniversary is on Monday.  I sure hope we look back on that day next year with complete joy as our Jedis are spitting up all over us and screaming.  That sounds just wonderful.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

May the Force be with us

Meet Luke and Leia!!

Of course, I'm overanalyzing, and I don't think these blastocysts look as good as Artie and Herkie from our first round (I can't really compare to the frozen transfer, since those were still thawing).  But, of course, that first round was a big fat failure, so different is good, right?

Unfortunately, no other embryos survived, so we don't have any frozen.  I guess that means that we are destined to have twins with this round.  (Don't mind me, that's just my optimism peeking through).

So, again, we wait.  And wait.  And hope for a second pink line.  And wait.  And wait.  And hope for a heartbeat.  (There's my optimism again assuming it's not the end of the road at the wait for the pink line!)

In the meantime, bed rest sucks.  I'm so bored.  I'm watching this pretty horrible movie right now called What's Your Number.  Despite the proliferation of random actors I love in this movie (Eliza Coupe, anyone?!?!), it's just bad.  Must find something better.

One benefit of being on bed rest is having T taking over the cooking.  For some background, I LOVE to cook.  I love to try new things, and experiment with new ingredients.  In general, making dinner is my favorite time of the day.  T helps when I ask and we drink wine and talk about our day.  Then he always cleans up.  It's a match made in heaven.  However, I never said I was a good cook.  I burn things, set off smoke detectors, throw stuff out for a sandwich instead. It is sure fun trying, though.

That being said, I love when T takes over, especially when it is recipes that I specifically request.  He rocked it yesterday -- made some baked salmon with a pea, pancetta, shallot orzo on the side.  It was deliciously good and I can't wait for leftover orzo for lunch today.  Maybe bed rest isn't so bad after all :)

Oh, I so want this to be our time.  Please let it be our time.  Jedi knights seem to have that way about them.

Edit:  Chris Evans is now in his underwear in the movie.  That's not so bad!  :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's just so hard

(If you are coming from ICLW, check out yesterday's post for a welcome and update on our status)

What is hard you may ask?  Our infertility struggle?  Our loss?  The endless amount of gray and rain in the weather, only apparently leaving for a few short hours today?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Although today is not about those.  Today is about something much more serious.

T and I simply can NOT master the no-look, from the side high five.

It is heartbreaking really.  The ability to connect our hands in such a no-blink, right on the money, hit it where it counts kind of way should be natural to us.  I mean, I do think we are soul mates.  Definitely able to read each other's minds and finish each other's sentences.

So why can't we high five like this?!?!?!

I don't think you understand how devastating this failure is.  We have been practicing for literally years.  We have had the misguided self-confidence to even attempt the high five in front of people, and miss each other by miles.  Due to our height difference, T is naturally too high and I am too low.  So we each try to correct and miss the other way.  One of us is too far forward and the other too far back.

Like our other struggles in life, we will persevere.  We will keep our eye on the prize, and we WILL at least make some contact with our hands at some point.  But unfortunately, that day has not come yet, and I'm just not sure I can handle the wait any longer.

Someday.  Someday.

Edit to add:  T's sister came over tonight and read the blog.  After she stopped laughing hysterically, we demonstrated our ineptitude to her.  Still failing.  Damn.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A few things

First off, tomorrow marks the beginning of National Infertility Awareness week.  The ultimate intent of infertility awareness week is to promote open discussion of infertility.  There are are so many people struggling through this process that keep the issue very private.  And while we have not chosen that route, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to deal with this without any external support.  Sadly, some people are ashamed of their infertility.  My acupuncturist that runs a peer group asked permission to give my name to another patient of hers; a girl who has committed to facing her infertility with only her husband, and she is too embarrassed to tell anyone else.  While I don't think that everyone necessarily needs to be widely open, it is so important to have a foundation of support beyond the people directly struggling.

So what can you do?  Ultimately just be sensitive and cognizant that fertility issues are so much more widespread than you'd expect.  When someone quietly notes that it has taken a long time to have a child, that is not the time to explain how you get pregnant when your husband just looks at you from across a room.  Infertility affects 1 in 8 people, so it is likely that you know someone, other than me, that hurts from the inability to naturally reproduce.  Also, realize that the different processes folks use to help (e.g. IUI and IVF) are done in a responsible manner 99% of the time.  Octomom and Kate+8 give the whole process such a bad name, and no reputable doctor would ever get their patient in these types of situations.  You may still be anti-IVF for other religious or moral reasons - and are absolutely welcome to that opinion - but just be sure that it is an educated opinion not based on out-of-control media.

Second, if you are here from ICLW, welcome!  For those tilting their head in confusion, ICLW is a monthly process to connect women (and men!) that blog online.  Generally about infertility, but also life in general.  I've never participated before, but it seemed appropriate given the week is meant to bring additional awareness to all people struggling.  The lowdown on us can be seen in our Infertility Timeline and About Us sections.

Which gets me to us!  Exciting times around here, as we found out that we have 5 embryos hanging out in petri dishes, ideally dividing and growing like good embies should.  We like to deal in thirds (first IVF: 2 embryos from 6 eggs, 2nd IVF:  3 embryos from 9 eggs, and this IVF:  5 embryos from 15 eggs).  I'm a little disappointed, but I got over it pretty quickly.  Our issue before was that several eggs were immature.  However, this time 14 out of our 15 eggs were mature; unfortunately our fertilization rate was pretty low.  I guess we can never win them all.

But ultimately, I never wanted more embryos than we "needed", so I'm thinking 5 is perfect!  Barring any unexpected issues, we should be able to transfer two on Tuesday AND freeze some as well.  We've generally had great growing rates, so let's not make that a change for this cycle.

Gah, the next couple weeks will be torture again.  While the two weeks from positive beta to ultrasound were horrendous last time (and obviously didn't come to a good conclusion), I'm certainly hoping I get to experience that again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Holy eggs!

Retrieval went fantastically and they were able to get 15 eggs!!  Holy crap!  We won't know until tomorrow how many of those were mature and how many were ultimately able to be fertilized, but what a way to start!

Especially when I found this article:  http://news.health.com/2011/05/11/number-of-eggs-retrieved-helps-predict-ivf-success-study/  which says that 15 eggs shows the best chance of a successful pregnancy.  Bring it on, I say!

Next steps:  get our fertilization report tomorrow.  Transfer 2 embryos on Tuesday.  Freeze any remaining embryos -- hopefully for a sibling since this WILL be our successful cycle, I've decided.  So we'll add to that list of next steps:  become preggo with a very healthy child (or two!).

I do hope that we end of having just enough embryos to have the family for which we've prayed so long.  We've never obviously had to entertain the thought of "extra" embryos before.  Most likely, we won't this time either, but the idea does need to be considered.  Our options are to donate them to another family in need (usually anonymously), donate specifically to someone, or "simply" destroy them.

The latter will never be an option for us.  And despite popular anti-IVF press, it doesn't appear to the be a true option for most people going through IVF.  People who have tried this hard to have a family have an utmost appreciation for human life and the miracle that each of those embryos is.  Potentially having a child out there raised by someone else is an odd thought though.  So I'm guessing if this process decides we're having 7 children, we'll just have to go that route!

I'm still pretty uncomfortable from having my 15 eggies removed.  I'm going back to work tomorrow, but luckily it appears to be a pretty laid-back day.  I'm gross and bloated and supposed to eat a lot of salty food to help with my fluid retention.  My risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) should be mitigated by using Lupon triggers vs hcg triggers.  (That's a whole science lesson on its own, but basically the hcg takes longer to dissipate in the system and can make you sick for longer).  My guess is I'll be feeling pretty fabulouso by Saturday or Sunday.

I'll report back tomorrow when we know the fertilization report.  In the meantime, have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trigger Day - Again!

I had what I thought would be my last ultrasound and blood work before retrieval on Monday morning (day 8).  On both the prior cycles, we had several dominant large follicles, so they wanted to go ahead and trigger for a Wednesday retreival.  But this time we only have one larger one, and several smaller ones that are still growing.

So rather than trigger Monday, we continued our stimulation and ganirelix shots that night, and went in again this morning for another ultrasound.  Got the call this afternoon that we are good to go for a Thursday retreival!

We are triggering with Lupron instead of hcg.  That means nothing to most people (and doesn't mean much to us yet), but I have to take one shot at exactly 8pm tonight and another at exactly 8am tomorrow.  We then do the retrieval first thing Thursday morning at 8am.

My progesterone has stayed where it needed as well, so assuming that we have some embryos, we should be fine to transfer next Tuesday. 

I told T that I'm finally ready to be excited.  It's taken awhile, and I seem to have gone a little crazy with home remodeling projects in order to take my mind of this process.  But I'm ready to put the IVF hat back on and unabashedly hope and pray for some good news this time. 

My mom was here last weekend and helped a bit with the naming of our embryos.  I'm not ready to give up those names yet (let's at least wait for the embies to come to fruition), but let's just say they are a bro and a sis that are beloved by all.  And are propped by a great force :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stimulation Update

I've been horrible at keeping this blog up to date this round, I know.  Here is the catchup:

I'm on day 9 of the cycle, and day 7 of stimulation.  So far, it looks like I'm going a little lower and slower than the prior cycles, with more follicles to show for it.  In both the prior cycles, we stimmed for 7 days and triggered on the 8th day (with retrieval two days later).  By our Sunday checkup (today, day 7), the tech both times would say they were almost positive that we would trigger the following day.  But today, she wasn't so sure.  It's still feasible, but our follies are growing so nicely and evenly that they may let it go another day.  I don't want to get our hopes up, but it seems we may have some more cooking in there than prior cycles.

My feet were getting a little itchy last night, but I could decide if it was just allergy spring weather, or my progesterone was starting to creep up.  If it is the latter, then we'll end up having to cancel this transfer like last time and wait for the frozen transfer.  Again, I'll be disappointed given the extension in timing, but I do know that frozen transfers work!  We'll know by tomorrow evening what we're dealing with.

No matter what, should be a big week, we just don't know if retrieval will be Wednesday or Thursday.

It is another dreary rainy day here, so T and I have already chopped up some veggies and browned some lamb to make irish stew in the slow cooker.  We threw some parsnips in there, which I really haven't cooked with before, so we'll see if we are fans.   Then I am going to try my hand at preserving lemons, so I have on hand to make a Moroccan chicken in a few weeks.  I'm a little nervous about that, but figure it's worth a shot. Ultimately we plan to be pretty lazy the rest of the day while dinner simmers on its own.  Not a bad way to end the week at all.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Just hanging out...turning into a guy

I wrapped up my testosterone gel a couple days ago, and have "graduated" to the testosterone patch.  I wear it for exactly 11 hours a day, for 5 days (through Sunday).  At this point, I don't think I have a beard, or worse, a penis, but I guess time will tell.

We actually made a tough decision to not purchase our meds from our local pharmacy this round.  For the first IVF, we looked around a little and decided to pay a little extra (I think it worked out to be about $200-300) to stay local.  The other options would be online.  We thought it was nice to see an actual person for questions -- and as my fellow local IVFers know -- the pharmacist is the epitome of hilarity.  I swear that she could totally get her own reality show dealing with us poor infertiles.  She may also be slightly bipolar, but I always left the pharmacy knowing exactly what was going on.  We also like supporting local business, and the pharmacy in town that has gotten into the infertility gig is a family-owned place near downtown.  We just felt good about it.

But based on some chatter on some of my forums, I did decide to review the online pricing vs the local shop this time -- and we would save over $1,000 by going online.  Given that we know so much more about what we are doing now, that was a no-brainer.  So sorry lovely town pharmacy; we are at the point that $1,000 means the world to us!

We had our baseline ultrasound yesterday to make sure I was properly suppressed from the birth control and ready for simulations.  I had 5-10 follicles ready to grow on one ovary, but less than 5 on the other.  If we can get good growth and maturity from those follicles, we'll be fine and dandy, even if they are on the low side to start.

For full disclosure, I'm still struggling with the "unfairness" of it all, for lack of a better term.  I alternate between bouts of sadness, anger and bitterness.  The fact that Link and Zelda joined Artie and Herkie in being gone forever continues to weighh on me, and it holds me back from being truly excited about another chance.  I really do think this will get better once we start stimulating next week, but it obviously will never be the same.  I'm a little more jaded now. 

I'm frustrated that the miscarriage (that is one of the few times I've actually written that word in relation to what happened) has taken away my ability to be truly happy even if we do get a positive pregnancy test this round.  It more just becomes a box to check -- obviously we need to get pregnant to stay  pregnant.  Not getting to that point would be devastating.  But surpassing it won't be unadulterated joy.  Rather a shift in anxiety to the next step.  I'm sad that I won't be able to shock my parents again with such good news without there being an undercurrent of worry.  I tear up when I walk past the empty room, save for one new glider, across from our master bedroom.  It was full of boxes and junk just a few months ago, and sometimes I wish we never cleaned it out upon learning we were "successful".  I am simultaneously estatic and miserable when I receive the continual birth announcements the past few weeks.

I know everything will be okay, somehow, in the long run.  I know that these now 825 days of trying for something that comes so simply to others will be a drop in the bucket at some point.  I am still a happy, optimistic person -- in love with my husband, ridiculously thankful for my family and friends, and extremely blessed in so many aspects of life.  But, for now, today, I'm still sad.  I think it would be abnormal if I wasn't.   I just know that "tomorrow" will be better.
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