Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tick tock

It's currently 5dp3dt (or it will officially be at around 12:45PM since that's about the time my transfer was).

Waiting, the most fun part of IVF! I read this blog post at Team Baby last week and it really hit home because I feel the same way. When you're stimming you're getting feedback every day, you kind of know what's happening in your body and stuff is happening. Once the transfer happens there's basically nothing else that can be done and you don't know what the hell is happening in your uterus, it's total lack of control. 

Everyone asks how I'm feeling and physically I feel fine, pretty much normal, but emotionally I'm a crazy person. My behind is awfully sore from the PIO shots and one side has gotten lumpy. I had the progesterone and estrogen check on Monday; my progesterone was 92.5 and my estrogen was 2320. Symptom-wise there's pretty much nothing happening that can't be attributed to the progesterone/estrogen. I have had cramping the last two mornings right when I wake up but that could be attributed to nervousness/anxiety/all that guacamole I ate. 

I'm probably going to be POAS before my beta because I would just prefer to know in the privacy of my own bathroom that it failed or it didn't. There's something about a nurse telling me it's negative that sets me off into uncontrollable sobbing. In my opinion it's better to have an ugly cry in my house than out and about in the world. I have not yet informed Doug of my plan but I'm pretty sure he knows after Monday I'll starting peeing on every home pregnancy test I can find. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Transfer, IVF 3.0

Our transfer was Friday, 11-11-11, which some people think might mean good luck but at this point I'm wary of anything that might be considered good luck. Since we didn't have to be at acupuncture until 10AM we went out for breakfast. After breakfast I went to acupuncture for 45 minutes before we headed to the surgery center. Friday the surgery center was completely packed, the nurses were pretty apologetic, they had a lot of procedures that day. Once they brought me back we had to share the waiting area with a two other couples waiting for transfer as well as a woman who appeared to have just had some type of eye lift done and another woman who was behind a curtain and had abdominal drains in, ick. Dr. Downer came in and I have to say that maybe we just caught him on a bad day last year because he was 100% better this time. I wouldn't say he was warm but his bedside manner drastically improved and he was pleasant. I suppose I shouldn't call him Dr. Downer anymore. 

We transferred (1) 9-cell, grade 2; (1) 8-cell grade 2 and (1) 7-cell grade 3, they all had some fragmenting but I'm not sure to what degree. The grade 3 was the Doug embryo and the other two were the embryos with donor sperm. The nurse who was with us during the transfer was SO nice and sweet. When the embryologist brought the embryos in Doug got to look at them through the microscope which was pretty cool since he hasn't gotten to do that before. The transfer took no time and I had zero cramping, which was pretty remarkable. They wheeled me out to recovery and had me lie down for 30 minutes before I got to get up. Right after we left the surgery center we headed back to Dr. Needles office for another round of acupuncture and then we went home. Bless Doug's heart he waited on me hand and foot all weekend. I watched a lot of television, played on the internet and knit. I didn't shower until Sunday, after my 48 hours was up, and I was so ready, I felt grimy and greasy by then. 

I did get the call from the lab this morning that the remaining three embryos didn't make it. Two of them arrested after day 3 and one made it to blastocyst (day 5) but it was poor quality and didn't have enough cells to freeze. Granted, I imagined we wouldn't have any make it to freeze because we never have, but it still upsets me because what does that say about my egg quality and the quality of the embryos we put back?
I'm going to acupuncture today and I'll continue going twice a week until the beta, which is Thanksgiving week. This will either be the best Thanksgiving ever or the worst.

Here are our embryos, I think the one in the lower left hand corner looks the best (to my untrained eye at least).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Little reminders of optimism

Transfer is at Noon today. I have to be at acupuncture at 10AM, then the surgery center at 11AM to take a valium and fill up my bladder (more funtimes!) Despite my plan of sleeping in this morning I woke up at 6:14AM. I'm trying hard not to freak out but I hope all the embryos survived overnight and the grade 1's are still grade 1's and I hope the transfer goes well (Dr. Downer is doing it, ugh) and I hope and pray this is the cycle that finally works. Because in reality this is our last chance with either one of our genes, after this we won't be using my eggs/Doug's sperm anymore. It's sobering to think about and even more irritating to me that reproductively-speaking I'm young and women ten years older than me are getting pregnant with their own eggs. Doug believes everything happens for a reason and I tend to believe him but it's hard.

For happier thoughts these are some little reminders of optimism floating around our house this week:
 
The fortune from my cookie a few weeks back

My self-written message on the chalkboard in our kitchen





Flowers brought to me Monday by my very sweet and thoughtful friend

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Embryo Update, IVF 3.0

Well the good news is they all made it through the night, the bad news is that the two fertilized with Doug's sperm are not doing so great. Our clinic uses a grading scale of 1-4, 1 being the best, 4 being the worst. The two with Doug's sperm are a 2 cell, grade 3 and a 4 cell, grade 4. The four with donor sperm are a 7 cell, grade 1; a 4 cell, grade 1, a 4 cell grade 2 and a 5 cell, grade 3. To compare last year we transferred three 8 cell, grade 2 embryos. I don't think we've ever had grade 1 embryos before so if those two make it until tomorrow that will be really good. I don't have a transfer time yet because apparently there are a lot of transfers tomorrow so I'm waiting for a call back. 

I'm trying super hard to be optimistic but I have to say I'm a little dissapointed we didn't have more eggs/embryos to work with. Last cycle we had 9 embryos make it to day 3 (granted the ones that weren't transferred didn't make it to day 5 but still). My poor little ovaries. I know we are lucky to have what we have though and hopefully one of those embryos will implant. 

I'll go to acupuncture tomorrow morning before the transfer and then right after transfer, hopefully that will help my stress. Plus Doug and I have tickets to David Sedaris tonight and he never fails to make me laugh.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fertilization Report, IVF 3.0

They called! I was on the verge of going nuts waiting. Embryologist called, he is new to our practice so this was the first time I had spoken to him. Anyway, out of the 10 eggs retrieved, 8 were mature and the other 2 were too immature. Out of those 8 we had them fertilize 2 with Doug's frozen sperm (we know that the chances of those surviving and implanting are almost zilch but we have to try). Anyway, the 2 fertilized with Doug's sperm (via ICSI) both fertilized normally. The remaining 6 were fertilized (also with ICSI) using donor sperm, out of those 4 eggs fertilized normally (surprising but I tend to believe its because of my crappy eggs not crappy sperm). So as of right this minute we have 6 fertilized zygotes. Tomorrow the lab will call us again and give us an update on cell division, etc. Last time we had two arrest overnight between days 1-2 so that could have again. We're just hoping and praying for at least three good quality, 8-celled embryos to transfer on Friday.

In other news, I have developed an awful headache and either my face is flushed or I have a fever. Off to locate a thermometer.

Retrieval, IVF 3.0

I talked to Dr. Needles on Monday morning and told him the retrieval was set for Tuesday at 7:15AM so he had me come in for a session yesterday morning at 6AM, bless his heart. I had such a nervous stomach yesterday, not so much concerned about the procedure but more about how many eggs, etc. Acupuncture helped alleviate some of the nervousness but once we got to the surgery center it came back.

Our surgery center experience was good, it's the same one we've been to the other two times so I already have medical records there and everything. The IV placement wasn't as bad as it's been in the past and my RE, whom I like a lot, Dr. Groucho (he looks like a taller version of Groucho Marx, minus the cigar) did the retrieval, which I was really happy about but that means that Dr. Downer will probably be doing my transfer (as long as we have embryos to transfer).  The anesthesiologist knew my boss which was nice and I had the same surgical nurse as I did last year. The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist taking off my glasses and saying "I'm going to give you something to relax" and then I was out. I woke up in recovery, a tiny bit dizzy and hooked up to the heart monitor and blood pressure machine.The nurse gave me some ginger ale and once I said I could go to the bathroom she unhooked me and let me go (as with most every type of surgical procedure you have to pee before you leave). Luckily I had no problems there and she took out my IV, let me get dressed, and wheeled me out. I was slightly horrified to find a lead (from the heart monitor) under my boob as I was getting dressed. I was more mortified that someone had seen my boobs than that I had had a team of people in my lady parts.

I really wanted a hamburger after we left but it was 10:15AM and no place was open for that yet so I got Doug to bring me an egg sandwich from Panera. I spent the rest of the day laying around, knitting and watching tv (A Baby Story of course, because clearly I am a masochist). I was pretty sore yesterday, walking, sneezing, going to the bathroom, were all painful but today I feel pretty good, still a little sore though. I started taking estradiol vaginally yesterday, plus prednisone, and doxycycline. The PIO shots start tonight, fun!

Of course the million dollar question is how many eggs they got. The magic number is 10, however we don't know how many were mature and how many fertilized. The embryologist is supposed to call this morning to give us the details. I am on complete and total freakout mode until I hear from him. I really, really, really hope they were all mature and they all fertilized, but past experience has shown that doesn't happen. Update to come....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ovary Update #4, IVF 3.0

It appears I'm ready, had my ultrasound this morning and I have 5 good sized follies on the left and 5 on the right. My lining is 10.6 too. I'm triggering tonight and the retrieval will be Tuesday morning. Of course  I'm fretting about how many eggs they'll get and if they'll fertilize, etc. Also I don't know if Dr. Downer or my RE will be doing the retrieval. I guess it doesn't really matter since I'll be out of it and I'd rather my RE do my transfer since I'll be awake for that. Provided everything goes well and the eggs fertilize and we have embryos to transfer I'll have a 3 day transfer on Friday, which will probably irritate my bosses but they'll live. 

I'm taking all good thoughts, prayers, vibes, etc. Please, please, please let it work this time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ovary Update #3, IVF 3.0

This morning I had a chatty ultrasound tech, who talked about things other than my ovaries, but I asked the nurse who called this afternoon and I have 9 follicles over 10mm right now, 5 on the right and 4 on the left. I didn't hear my lining number but I don't think I have to worry about that particular thing. I'm doing 450 Bravelle tonight and tomorrow night, plus the oral meds and then I get a Ganirelix injection Saturday morning and Sunday morning and go back for another ultrasound Sunday morning at 9AM. The nurse said I was still looking good. Fingers crossed...

Physically I'm started to feel like I have a really full abdomen and a tiny bit of shortness of breath. But I don't mind, if it means more mature eggs I'll be happy to deal with it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ovary Update #2, IVF 3.0

Elbow to elbow in the waiting room this morning. There was almost no place to sit and yet again people who feel it's necessary to bring their children to the fertility clinic. I got there at 7:33AM and didn't get my ultrasound until 8:25AM. I read half of my book while I waited.

Lining is 8.5, three follicles on the right and four on the left. The nurse said I was right where I should be but I can't help but be disappointed there aren't more follicles. I'm taking so much Bravelle, plus the letrozole, DHEA and dexamethasone, my poor ovaries are being pushed really hard.

I got a little upset yesterday, mainly because of a few minor work irritants but I still went home and cried at lunch. So much frustration and sadness, we would give anything for this cycle to work.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ovary Update #1, IVF 3.0

So they aren't doing blood-draws to check my estrogen. I assume because last year my estrogen was low but they still got eleven eggs so I guess they're relying solely on the ultrasounds? After three days of meds I have five follicles on the left ovary and five on the right ovary. Based on what the nurse said there are three larger ones and two smaller ones. My lining is 6.5 right now too. I'm currently taking 450 IU of Bravelle every night, plus DHEA, Leztrozole, Dexamethasone, Doxycycline and a prenatal. My only side effects seem to be sleepiness, yesterday morning at church I could barely keep my eyes awake.

I bought the Circle + Bloom set for IUI/IVF and I've been listening to it every night. It's similar to the meditation course I took last year, although this is more relaxation than chakras. I'm seeing Dr. Needles twice a week, Mondays and Fridays and I have to say I look forward to it. It's very relaxing and it forces me to clear my head. 

I also need to say how very lucky I am to have people to check in on me (you know who you are!) It means so much to me to have so many people rooting for us.

Here's to hoping for several mature, high quality eggs and embryos.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fear of the unknown

If you asked me what I was afraid of there would be a lengthy list: death, flying, clowns, ovarian cancer (I have no family history of this but it still scares me), zombie apocalypse, etc. I'm pretty sure my fears are inherited from my dear, sweet grandmother who is what you might call a 'worry wart'. Anyway, if I was going to generally describe my fears it would be 'fear of the unknown', 'fear of things I cannot control'. Guess what IVF entails? The unknown, things I cannot control. As my start day looms this week I can't help but feel scared to death. I'm afraid of all the steps that stand between us and getting a positive beta and then between that and actually birthing a baby (which I am not scared of at all). I'm afraid of not stimming well, not having enough eggs, eggs not fertilizing, embryos not growing, not having any embryos make it to transfer, not getting a positive beta or if I do get a positive beta I'm scared it'll be low again and thus give me another chemical pregnancy. It's overwhelming when you begin to think about all the steps involved. I'm also scared of what another negative will me for me. We have poured all of our resources (i.e. all our monies) into this cycle and after this there won't be anything else to spend on treatments for awhile. It will not mean we'll be done, but it will mean we'll be on a very extended break to try to save enough money to do something else again. And then there's the 'something else' part. Donor eggs? Donor embryos? More IUI's with donor sperm? I'm so sick of waiting and spending money and if this cycle is a bust I'll be back to that again. Will another failed cycle send me spiraling into depression? It's all unknown and it all scares me, but I need to buck up and push through, I can do this, we can do this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nerves set in & remembering

Nine days until my baseline ultrasound. Medicine ships Monday. Going to acupuncture twice a week now. Trying to remain calm, cool, and collective and not think about how much we have riding on this cycle (which is, um, everything). 

I should learn to stay off IVF message boards but I don't. I guess I'm looking for reassurance, for stories of other people who've had success with multiple IVF cycles.I have to hope and pray that this cycle will be different, that the acupuncture will help turn the tide of failure. This week my RE clinic is at the ASRM Annual Meeting, presenting research about the success of their partnership with my acupuncturist (Dr. Needles*). I'm desperately crossing my fingers that acupuncture will make the difference this time. If this cycle is a failure I'm not sure what we'll do, I don't where we'll go from here, probably back to more waiting and saving since we've scrapped everything we have into this cycle. Or maybe we'll both quit our jobs and move away.

Saturday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I knew about it mainly because of the other IF blogs I read. It probably isn't as personally significant to me as it is to others, mainly because when I got that super low beta there was an immediate black cloud hanging over me, I was not 100% convinced that the pregnancy was going to stick around. It still feels weird to call it a pregnancy, I feel a little like a fraud, like I really wasn't actually pregnant. It never got bigger than a poppyseed and never had a heartbeat, but for the ten or so days I was technically pregnant, I loved that scrappy embryo with everything I had. The bleeding I woke up to that Friday morning wasn't as physically painful as it was emotionally painful, it was the black cloud exploding, a punch to the gut, a heart cracking into a thousand pieces. There are many, many, many women with stories a hundred times more heartbreaking than mine. Women who have endured multiple miscarriages and sweet babies born still, these are the stories hurt my heart too. I hope that those who have lost so much will one day be able to recover but never forget.

*obviously not his real name

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IVF 3.0

So in about 18 days I'll start stims for IVF 3.0 Right now I'm in the BCP stage, so every night before bed I take a BCP, DHEA (my poor skin), fish oil and a pre-natal. I'm hungry a lot more, sleepy and my face is breaking out. I'm going to acupuncture once a week but once I start stims I'll probably amp that up to twice a week. I'm not sure how I feel about this cycle, probably similar to what I felt last year, one-half "yes this is totally going to work, it's finally my turn, we will have a baby this time" and one-half "we are insane, we are wasting $15,000, this is not going to work, we are screwed." We both feel like we have to try; at least if we try and we fail again we can't say we didn't give it our best shot. I'm not really talking about it with my friends/family because I don't want to set everyone up for disappointment again. Well, that and I just don't want to be a downer. I had considered not blogging about it but blogging about it helps me get out all the things I want to say but might not say to anyone but my husband.

I had my annual exam a few weeks ago and the labs came back fine. I do have to go get a chlamydia test because my OB/GYN didn't do one and I guess the FDA requires it now for IVF. Fun times. Also my meds are running us $4200 this time, about $1200 more than we had budgeted for. Ugh. The only upside is that I'm using my frequent flier miles card to pay for them which gives me one ff mile for every dollar I spend so I may not get pregnant but at least I'll be able to fly somewhere. Speaking of flying, I usually go to Seattle the first week of December to visit our friends and I kept being wishy-washy about it this year because I couldn't decide if wanted to buy the ticket if there was a chance this cycle might work, blah, blah, blah. Yesterday I bit the bullet and redeemed some of my ff miles and got my ticket. I leave December 7, which is about two weeks post-beta. So if it is a BFN then I told my husband I was going to Seattle and might not come back. However, if by some miracle it's a BFP I'll still go but I guess I won't be able to down Ambien or Xanax to suppress my flying fears.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More unfairness

This is so awful and disgusting. She can get pregnant but she kills her babies? W T F.

Tennessee woman smothered her newborn twins, police say

You can FedEx anything & other musings

Today I'm tracking our vial of donor sperm on FedEx's website. The precious cargo has arrived in my city but has not yet arrived at the RE's lab. Currently it is "On FedEx vehicle for delivery". We picked a new donor, with identity-release, meaning that if we have a child, at age 18 that child will be able to contact the donor. This has become important for us, for any donor-conceived child of ours to know his or her genetic parent(s). Maybe they'll want to know or maybe they won't, be we want to make sure that the option is there.

A close relative of mine recently made the remark: "Do you think God meant for you to not have children?" I was a little stunned at first but quickly recovered by saying that no I didn't, because I assume that God has given doctors, nurses, scientists, embryologists, etc., the knowledge and the skill to help couples achieve pregnancy. There's a lot of other things I was thinking at this time too but I most of them aren't fit to type out. Most people in our lives that know about our infertility have been super supportive so hearing this comment from a relative kind of blew my mind. I wonder if I should send this person a link to Infertility Etiquette?

Life continues to go on right now, we're just doing a lot of waiting, which I hate more than anything. It can seem that, at times, the whole rest of the world is moving forward at a dizzying pace and we're still here, waiting, seven years later. I'm trying so, so, so hard to lose the jealously, sadness and bitterness I'm carrying. I know it's not healthy but some days those feelings seep out in places and situations I don't even mean for them to. Although, as I say that I also have to say that I feel more positive about IVF #3. I was at acupuncture the other week and while I was lying there I just kept visualizing a nice, highly graded, non-fragmented embryo implanting and growing. Maybe I've just officially gone over the deep end but I keep thinking "It's got to work, third time's a charm. It will work." My daydreams about IVF cycles have morphed into daydreams about nursery decorating. However, despite the positively, there's still the very distinct possibility this cycle will not work either and we will have to make some difficult decisions. For now though, I'll keep daydreaming.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking care of myself

While we wait (again) I'm trying to be better to my body. There are some things that I'm willing to do and other things I am not (like give up the one latte/dose of caffeine I have per day). I have started seeing Dr. Needles (the acupuncturist) again. I'm going once a week and I am not drinking the herbal crap 'tea'. I still enjoy acupuncture and I feel like it helps my stress level tremendously.

I have also started yoga again. It's been over a year and a half since I was regularly practicing. I'm taking a class at a local studio and it's a restorative/deep relaxation class so it's me and about four other women (and one guy). I'm the only person in the class without some type of injury/physical limitation. I just wanted to take a less strenuous class, which is how I ended up there. It's kind of silly sometimes because I can do the poses without the supportive props but I remind myself I'm trying to be gentle to my body.

I've started vitamins/supplements again. I'm taking a prenatal, Vitamin D, fish oil and CoQ10. I'm not doing the DHEA yet because it gives me headaches and acne, even in small doses. Last year at my annual exam my OB/GYN noted that in my bloodwork that my Vitamin D levels were lower than normal so I hope the supplement helps. I go back on the 13th for my annual exam so maybe there will be some improvement.

The overall goal I'm working towards is less stress, less negativity, less jealously and bitterness, more hope. It's always hard, especially in the midst of friends who are expecting/just had babies. I went to Target yesterday for some random things and when I walked past the baby aisle I lingered for a minute, it smells overwhelmingly like baby (clean baby, not baby-with-poopy-diaper). Sometimes instead of suppressing the daydreams about us as parents, I let them bounce around in my head and entertain the thoughts of Doug rocking a baby that is all ours. Not a niece or a nephew or a friend's baby, just 100% ours. It's a sweet daydream.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AMH result is...

1.4, as of August 8th, 2011. Previously, as in May 2010, it was 1.2. I have to say I'm relieved it didn't drop dramatically as I had feared. Thank God for small favors.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Will wonders ever cease

Got some results from Monday. Antral follicle count was 15, still respectable. Estrogen was 40, AMH is not back yet, probably a week until its back. The oddest thing was my FSH was 6.2, which is the lowest it's ever been. Down from 9.21 in May 2010. Very weird. Although it doesn't change much I guess because you're only as good as your highest number, a whopping 12.3.

I'll be very interested to see what my AMH comes back at.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blood type = crappy eggs?

I think I saw this mentioned before last year but it looks like the study was actually published. I'm O positive.

Blood type linked to earlier decline in fertility

Monday, August 8, 2011

Return to the RE's office

Before we get our hopes up about attempting IVF #3, I need to go get all my bloodwork checked out since it's been over a year since everything was last checked. This morning I made the all-too-familiar pilgrimage to the RE's office. The nurse was nice but tight lipped about my AFC count so I don't know if that was normal or not. I know I saw some but I don't know how many. I did get a "beautiful uterus" comment, thank goodness it's working well at least. They took four vials of blood (queue the queasy feeling) and are running my FSH, AMH, E2, progesterone, etc., etc. I won't get the results for at least a week, if not longer, but until then I'll live in a constant state of anxiety, positive that my FSH has jumped and my AMH has fallen down to the level of hopelessness. I've done a little more research on donor eggs. I'm not sure if our clinic has a donor pool or what, so if we wanted to use a egg donor we might have to go elsewhere. I shudder to think about how much a donor egg cycle would cost though.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hitting the pause button

There has not been much to report around here in our reproductive life. The biggest bit of news is that we're putting the whole homestudy/donor embryo path on pause right now. We got the second packet of homestudy questionnaires and financial information requests and we even got an appointment at the NEDC. But then the tiny bit of waffling we had been doing got stronger and we both felt like we couldn't move forward just yet. It's a hard thing to say goodbye to your biology, to the dreams you had of a child that might resemble you or someone in your family. So we're holding on to our paperwork and waiting it out. We will most likely do IVF a third time before moving on the donor embryos. This time we'll know that statistically a third IVF cycle is not likely to work and we will most likely be spending $13,000 + without any return but at least we're kind of okay with that. At least we know we will have given our own DNA the best chance we could and after that it's alright to let go. I've had a lot of people (friends, my boss) tell me we should look at going to another clinic. That's been weighing on my mind heavily too. However when it comes down to it, doing an IVF cycle here, at a clinic 5 minutes from my office and 10 minutes from my home, is already hard - what would it be like flying to Denver or Las Vegas or even driving 5 hours to St. Louis? Plus we know the drill here, we know the staff, the surgery center, the doctors and they know us. I really like my RE, sure I haven't gotten pregnant yet but I don't blame the doctor. He's good, the practice is good, their SART numbers are good and frankly I don't want to start all over again somewhere else. We've been seeing this RE for almost seven years and my file is like an encyclopedia, I don't want to drag it elsewhere. Besides, if my eggs are bad, they're bad. We can try different protocols and medicines and supplements but going elsewhere isn't going to improve my egg quality, just like it isn't going to make Doug not sterile anymore.

I have to say that I never thought we'd be here all these years later. There are days when it feel hopeless, when everyone seems to be able to get pregnant without blinking an eye, when people are so clueless about the things they say and do, when the daydream of me being pregnant feels like it's going to stay just a daydream. But I have to snap out of it and realize how incredibly lucky we are, lucky to have each other, lucky that Doug survived cancer, lucky that we have options that others never had. We will get through this, we will be parents.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We are selfish and greedy./Are we selfish and greedy?

The internet is a blessing and a curse. As we come to grips with the realities of not being able to have our own genetic child(ren) I find myself looking for some type of reassurance about adoption, donor conception, etc. I have not found it. Instead I've found a plethora of blogs written by adult adoptees, firstmothers/birthmothers and donor-conceived adults that decry adoption and donor conception. Essentially, for me, reading the stories of some* of these bloggers has given me the impression me that no matter how much love, support and openness there is a child will never fully recover from not being raised by his or her genetic parents. One blogger wrote something along the lines of 'using donor sperm/eggs/embryos is using selfishness and greed to become a mother'. The blogs of many adult adoptees and firstmothers/birthmothers are similar in tone. The jest I get from them is that an adoptee can never recover from the pain of being adopted and a firstmother/birthmother can never recover from the loss and heartache experienced with choosing adoption.  Based on their opinions the options that we as an infertile couple have are a) live child free; b) foster/adopt older children in the system already; c) financially support pregnant women so that they can keep their children. That's it. "Sorry your bodies don't work any more but it's not our problem." "Have a dream of parenthood? That's just wrong and selfish on your part." It seems we're screwed not matter what. I know that adoption is not rainbows and sunshine, that it's the gain of the adoptive family is the loss of the first family. I also know that the current state of adoption is not the best/most ethical system either. I just thought that in spite of these things there was still happiness and love to be found for all parties involved - the child, the first family and the adoptive family

*I'd like to say not every blog I found on these subjects felt this way but what I personally found was a overwhelming majority of those with negative experiences vs. those with positive experiences. I have found some bloggers that share personal stories that are, while still difficult, more positive about adoption/donor conception.

Does wanting to be a parent make me selfish? I guess so. I suppose if I was a more altruistic person I (we) would apply to adopt through the state foster care system. Or offer our financial support to low-income pregnant women/couples. So yes, I am a selfish, greedy person. I want to be a mother, my husband wants to be a father and I'd like to be able to experience pregnancy. In all our discussions about adoption or using donor sperm/eggs/embryos we've never once thought about hiding the truth from any potential children. We want them to know their origins, the story of how they came to be. I will say that reading the stories of donor conceived adults has made me realize how important it is use to know the identity of any donors we choose. (We had already known we would have an open adoption if adoption was the route we took). I suppose in a way it's lucky the DIUI in January didn't work since it was an anonymous donor. 

As we continue to prepare for the opportunity to use donor embryos I hope and pray that if we are lucky enough to get pregnant and have a child via donor embryos, we'll be able to have a good relationship with the donor couple. Reading the NEDC blog gives me hope for that type of scenario. I know that having a child that is not genetically ours will be difficult, not so much for us, but for that child, as he/she grows into adulthood. I can only hope that the answers, the understanding, the support we give will help he/she understand why we made the decisions that we did, selfish and greedy or not. It is scary because embryo donation is still so new and the social and emotional ramifications will not be known for years. We can only try to make the very best decisions we can with the information we have. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Waffling

We just can't make a firm decision. 

I'll begin by saying we are still going through the homestudy process right now. We were on vacation for eleven days and during that time got an email from the agency saying they had received everyone's recommendation letters except the one from Doug's boss. So Doug has sent him an email asking for the rec letter to be sent in ASAP. The agency email also asked if we were getting together homestudy packet, which confused me because we hadn't gotten any agency packet since the application packet. So I'm currently awaiting a response back from the agency. 

While we were on vacation we visited our friends and their twin baby girls, as well as my cousin and her husband and their baby boy. It was really great to visit all of them and see their little ones, but visiting them also brought to surface sadness on the part of both Doug and me. Neither one of us can't help but think about what our babies, 50% me, 50% him, would look like. It also brings to question should we really give up on our own DNA when we aren't 'out' of it yet? What if the 3rd IVF is the one that works? It doesn't help that I'm always out there in the IF blog world and see that women older than me are getting pregnant with their own eggs. I feel like we're insane for even considering it again. $13,000 (that we don't have yet) for another chance at having a 65-70% failure rate. Why can't we just be at total peace about moving on? I think when your (me) several months removed from any treatments it's much easier to 'forget' how you (me) felt when the treatments fail. My head knows that it's probably futile to continue IVF/IUI treatments with our own DNA but my heart thinks otherwise.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Needing a fix

I feel a little like an addict, I *need* to be shooting myself full of hormones and making morning visits to the RE's office. I read other people's blogs that are doing something, IUI/IVF and I'm not doing anything except waiting and it makes me a little crazy. Several times recently I've thought about us doing IVF again with our eggs/sperm but then I think about it and think about how crappy I'd feel if we wasted $13,000 + again and the feeling passes. I *know* the chances are better for us using donor embryos or donor eggs/sperm but the waiting is so frustrating.

On the homestudy front we went and got fingerprinted a few weekends ago, oddly at a gun range. The technician had trouble getting mine to work on the electronic fingerprinting machine so I may have to go back. Several of our references have sent in their letters, my brother, my boss and my best friend. I think we still have a few more out but they should be getting them in soon. We're hoping to get an appointment at the NEDC by the fall at least, their wait times are pretty long but hopefully once we get an appointment we won't have to wait too long for a transfer date (if nothing goes wrong). Until then I'm reading blogs of those couples who have gone through embryo adoption/donation, especially those who went through the NEDC, so I can get a better handle on the process. One of the bigger decisions we'll have to make is whether or not to use anonymous embryos or use embryos from a couple that we will 'know' (similar to open adoption). I'm leaning towards the idea of 'known' embryos, just because I want any children we might have to have the opportunity to know their genetic parents and siblings later on down the road. These are such big decisions to make and there's so little to go on because donor embryos are still such a new thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Where we stand

We are beginning the home-study process. We are currently undecided about domestic adoption. We thought we were on board but more reading/research has us unsure about the long-term aspects of domestic infant adoption. We are however still interested in donor embryos and we will need a home-study for that. We found a local agency to do it and just mailed off the initial paperwork/application to them last week. There was a fair amount of paper chasing just for the initial application so I shudder to think what the actual home-study entails. 

So we're pretty much back to waiting it out again. It's still hard because I know a lot of people with new babies and others who are expecting. Occasionally a wave of sadness will hit me if I think too much about last October, about where I should have been by now in terms of pregnancy, if it had lasted. Overall though I'm happy and excited for the immediate future. The summer, our trips, holidays, etc. I know that eventually our story will have a happy ending, it just may take a while longer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I was inundated with it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, even Saturday Night Live. This year it was even more bitter than in years past because I should have been pregnant. But I wasn't and I'm not. For me this year it was just another painful reminder of failure, of what I'm not, of what we're not. And to add insult to injury it was CD1.

We went to church and I had several people wish me 'Happy Mother's Day', not their fault, we haven't been going long enough for anyone to know us or our situation. We came home and called our mothers and then went to Lowe's to buy soil for the garden. We spent the rest of the afternoon working in the yard. Later in the afternoon my phone rang and it was my friend/neighbor (two streets back) Sarah. She had something for me and want to drop by. She came over and brought me some presents and a card and even hugged me despite the fact I smelled like dirt and sweat. I can't tell you how much it meant to me for her to do that. Besides being a thoughtful and kind friend, she's also an awesome gardener, quilter, knitter and generally great person. Her visit totally brightened up my otherwise gray day.

Sarah you're the best <3

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Myth Busting

It's National Infertility Awareness Week and RESOLVE has this 'bust an infertility myth' thing going on and I thought I'd share some busted myths. 

Myth: Something you did caused your infertility (you are too fit, too fat, ate the wrong food, had a STD, etc.) 
Uh, no. I don't smoke, I've never used illegal drugs, I might have an alcoholic beverage once a month and I've never had sexually transmitted disease. My eggs are just crappy and the doctor has no explanation for why. My husband's infertility was caused by cancer, again not something he could control. 

Myth: People think IVF always works. Everyone who uses it is successful and has a baby. 
Wrong again. I've been through IVF twice. I have no babies. I'd also like to point out I underwent IVF #1 at age 24/25 and IVF #2 at age 29. Most women under age 35 have a 41% of a successful outcome with a single IVF cycle. Unfortunately, I was in the 59% of women under age 35% who did not have success. 

Myth: If you can't get pregnant, you can "just adopt." It's easy, quick, and inexpensive. 
Seriously? Who thinks this is true? Adoption is a difficult and emotional process for both the adoptive couple and the birth parents. The length of time for domestic adoptions from start to finish can be 12-24 months. Adoption is not inexpensive at all, domestic infant adoption can cost anywhere from $25,000-$30,000.

There are more submissions from more eloquent bloggers than I on RESOLVE's website.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An unintersting update

Nothing interesting happening right now. We've put another IUI off indefinitely, it's just too expensive without much chance of success. It makes more sense to save for something more expensive but with a higher success rate. I also broke it off with Dr. Needles Saturday. I really enjoy acupuncture (in spite of the dirt tea) and I 100% believe it's helped me and I would recommend  it to anyone However, we aren't cycling right now and in order to save money to cycle again at some point I had to break it off. We just can't save for more treatment while continuing to pay $135 per week for treatment and tea (especially such crappy tea). He did wish me luck and I told him I would probably come back to some point, I'm just not sure when.

I've read two of the three adoption books we bought and Doug (slow reader that he is) is  halfway through one of them. I've liked all of them so far, most everything I've read makes sense to me, there haven't been any big surprises. I enjoyed the stories about ordinary people who adopted. I feel like we aren't the 'perfect couple' that people might choose to parent their baby and so it gives me hope that somebody might choose us one day, even without the white picket fence.

I went to church yesterday, Doug was out of town so he didn't come with obviously. It's the same church we went to briefly several years ago but didn't join.They seem to be a pretty progressive group but with a  fairly traditional service, which I like. I did see one of my professors from last semester there (awkward) but he didn't see me. Towards the end of the service one of the pastors read anonymous prayers members had written on scraps of paper. One of the prayers was "I pray for a baby for our house." My heart sunk a little for someone else then, someone else who is going through this shitty, shitty situation too. 

We're still muddling through, thinking a lot and trying to make decisions. Sometimes it feels like this whole thing is like pushing an anvil uphill. Every.single.thing. is complicated and requires phone calls and consults and a lot of money. I wonder if we'll ever be able to take a deep breath and relax? There has to be an end to the madness eventually. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First-world-problems & tangible hope

This last cycle has been more difficult for me than in the past. Maybe it's because I'm mad at myself for entertaining the possibility that something miraculous could happen and it would work. Maybe it's because we're edging closer and closer to the reality that we will not be biological parents. Maybe it's because we have spent $6,000  in IF treatments since the beginning of this year (let alone last year) and we have nothing to show for it expect an empty savings account. Whatever the reason it's been hard - then I read this post at Funny Little Pollywogs and I gave myself a kick in the arse. I don't 'know' Lacie but I have been blog-stalking her lately and her statement about having a broken heart but having so much more rang true for me. I *do* have a broken heart and we are dealing with a crap situation but we are also incredibly lucky. We have good jobs, we have housing, food, supportive family and friends. There is so much sadness and misery in the world right now and I need to be thankful for the things I have. That doesn't make me any less heart-broken but it does put things into perspective. Now on to the tangible hope part.

Besides blogging about infertility, I'm also a knitter. On my other blog I write about baking and knitting and other stuff. I learned how to knit during a particularly icy Saturday afternoon five years ago. Since I started knitting I have happily made things for other people and their babies. People I was related to, people I was friends with and sometimes people I didn't know. Every time I knit another little hat I would also wonder when it would be time to knit for my own baby. Time passed and I still had not needed to knit for my own little one. At the beginning of this year I decided that now it was time to knit for us, for our future baby, because we will have one, however he or she comes into our lives. 

So I've been knitting for us. Since the first of January I have knit these little things. Two hats (huge pom pom courtesy of my friend Sarah), a vest, a sweater, an owlie snuggle sack with matching hat and right now on my needles is another sweater. I have caught myself picking these little knit things up and thinking about the time when there will actually be a baby to wear them. Every day brings us closer, even though we don't know when or how.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Keeping my head above water

Still here. We're planning on dIUI #2 (overall IUI #5) in April. We're also making some moves towards other options, nothing concrete yet, just preliminary stuff. I'm feeling a little better, although the last few weekends I have barely wanted to leave the house. It's much easier to be at home where I'm insulated from the outside world. I'm still seeing the acupuncturist, although since we aren't cycling I'm down to one session per week instead of three and I haven't been very good about drinking all of my tea every day. Oops.

I bought several adoption books for us to read, The Adoption Decision, The Family of Adoption, and Parenting Your Adopted Child. There doesn't seem to be a book (that I can find yet) written about embryo adoption/donation, so I'm of looking for a book on third-party reproduction to see if some of that can apply. 

I have come to a realization that if embryo adoption/donation does not work, I would like to go the egg donor route at some point so that I could have the opportunity to be pregnant. That's a really important thing to me and I realize that we may end up adopting domestically first and then maybe in a few years doing donor-egg. I have been perusing adoption agencies too and have found a couple of good contenders. They're located out-of-state but their philosophies fit better with our lifestyle and beliefs.

All and all we're both hanging in there. We're planning a massive road trip across the country for early-June and we're getting really exciting about that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Indecision

I feel like we're treading water right now. We thought we had a plan but the more we mull over our 'plan' the less sure we are of it. Do we really want to spend another $13,000 + on IVF 3.0 which does not guarantee that we'll be parents? Do we do another IUI? Do we move on? We're both tired of shelling out money and not getting any closer to our goal. I've had a really hard time these last few days, I'm just so mad. I'm probably on the verge of being depressed. Monday all I wanted to do was stay at home, knit and watch Criminal Minds. I realize this is not healthy. Yesterday I ate cereal for lunch and dinner and I skipped knitting night. I have never missed knitting night when I was in town, in fact the only times I've missed have been when I'm out of town.

I'm tired of having infertility hanging over our heads, we want to move on to something that will make us parents. I'm still not sure what we're going to do exactly. I'm so jealous of people who just magically wake up one day and 'know' what they're supposed to do. People who feel led to adopt or do whatever it is that will put them on  the path to parenthood. This whole situation just sucks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

CD1 - confirmation of failure

I'm feeling a combination of hopelessness and rage. Mostly rage. You would think every negative cycle would get easier. It doesn't. I will be better tomorrow but today I'm just f-ing pissed off.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CD21 - waiting, per usual

Nothing new to report here. I was kind of crampy yesterday which lead me to believe it's a sign of the impending doom of CD1. As of right now I don't think we'll cycle next month, which makes a little depressed even though it makes sense not to. I turn 30 next month and I won't be a mother or even on my way to being a mother.There are a lot of things I thought I would have accomplished by this age but I haven't.

It's been a tough few weeks for this infertile on FB. Lots of babies, pregnancies, etc. I'm very happy for these friends and family, but it's hard not to be a tiny bit sad about my own lack of reproduction. I've also felt really upset about Doug not having the opportunity to be a biological father. I know, I know, biology isn't everything - but with his father dying so early and his own battle with cancer it would just be an amazing gift for him . He's going to be an excellent father no matter the genetics of any future child. Of course I say that with the increasingly real possibility that I may not be a biological mother either. This is when I get the maddest and the saddest, when I think very hard about those things. We've done what we were 'supposed' to and yet here we are, six years and tens of thousands of dollars later and no baby. 

Sometimes I worry I've let this struggle turn me into a bitter person.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I hate everything

Well, actually I don't hate everything but today I hate a lot of things. My bosses gave me this new project to work on and it suuuuucks. They want it done a certain way but don't understand there are limits to what I can do. I'm on spring break this week from school but I still have homework and I have an 18-page research paper draft due the first class day back. This weekend we cleaned a little bit and we both realized we really need to hire someone to do a deep clean. We just don't have the time or energy for it. I'm so busy through the week that when Friday afternoon comes around I just want to hole up in the house until Monday. Usually I have a vegetable garden but so far I still haven't cleaned up last year's garden or even bought seeds. I feel overwhelmed with the things I have to do and the things I need to do. 

I (we) also can't really come to good decision on where to go next on this long and never-ending road to parenthood. I change my mind every day or some days every hour. I thought we'd cycle again in March/April but the more I think about it the more I believe my body needs a month in-between injectable cycles, especially considering the left ovary situation this month. Then I don't know if we should do another injectable IUI cycle or just save our pennies for IVF #3. There are just no simple or good answers. We've considered getting a second opinion like maybe at CCRM but holy heck it's expensive - even just for the initial testing, that we've already had done at our current clinic. Plus we'd have to pay to travel there on top of the more expensive IVF cycle fees. If we had an unlimited supply of money we'd just go straight to IVF #3. However, considering we don't have Celine Dion's IVF budget we can't do that. There are so many other things we'd like to use our money for, house repairs/upgrades, travel, etc. but instead we're using it to do what it costs other people nothing to do. Hate.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You know you're infertile when...

You have to Google "fertilization and conception" for a diagram because you can't remember how it's supposed to work without the involvement of a reproductive endocrinologist, an embryologist and a team of healthcare professionals. Someone needs a refresher in Sex-Ed.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

IUI #4

Got to clinic at 9AM, waited f o r e v e r. We had to wait so long Doug had to leave for a meeting. Eventually they came out and said the vial the lab thawed only had a count of 4.3 million and did we want to thaw another vial to add to it? I said yes please and had to wait again while they thawed the second vial out. Finally I got called back and the total count was 9.something million and the motility was around 38%, all on the low side. Anyway, normal IUI, a little cramping and then it was done. I laid down for a few minutes before jetting off to the acupuncturist.

He only did my front side, he put needles in my arms, legs and forehead. He also covered my abdomen, apparently I'm supposed to keep that area warm. It was relaxing, except for the person in the next room that had a wall-shaking cough. Ick. 

I know I'm supposed to be thinking positive and all but I'm not feeling this cycle. With the left ovary crapping out on me and the super low counts I'm not holding on to much hope. Ugh.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Follicle check #3: Trigger happy

I was late to the clinic this morning because I stopped and got a latte. In my defense they've been kept me waiting for 20 minutes or more lately. Quick and easy blood draw and quick and easy ultrasound. The nurse (not my normal one) asked "Do you have a left ovary?" Bwahaha. I said yes I did but it seemed to be sitting this cycle out. My lining is 9+ and there are three follicle on my right ovary. One 21mm, one 17mm and one 15mm. Trigger shot is tonight and IUI is Wednesday at 9AM. I hope that 21mm hangs in there until Wednesday.

Doug and I celebrated our 7th anniversary yesterday, I can't believe it's been that long. We've been 'together' for 10 years this coming September. Our first RE appointment anniversary is this November, it will 7 years too. My chart is starting to resemble a novel. I saw it the other day and almost laughed, it's so thick.

I can tell that something in Doug is changing, he's always wanted kids and he's always been 100% on board with everything we've done but I think he's finally getting that yearning feeling I've had since the beginning. He's made comments lately about when we have a kid and what it'll be like. 

Acupuncture is still going well, this week's tea is gag-worthy. It tastes like rotting mushrooms, dirt and spearmint licorice - but not in a good way.  He has put a couple of needles in my arm that made me flinch. It's not painful I just 'feel' it more than the others. 

Life is busy but I've managed to put together a routine of sorts during the week. After I get out the shower I brew up the tea, finish getting ready and then divvy the tea up into two jars and one mug. Then if I have a follicle check I head to the clinic. The jars get taken with me to work and I drink them at 9:30 and 1:30. My acu appointments are at 10:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so once I come back from them I don't leave work again until 5:00. At 5:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays I run off to class and I'm on campus until 8:35. Then I drag myself home, eat a bowl of Cheerios, spend a little bit of time with my husband, choke down my last cup of tea, get my Bravelle shot and go to bed. I'm tired but not overwhelmingly so. I've kind of developed the attitude of "quit stressing, it'll either get done or it won't". I'm not saving the world over here so I think it's okay for me to take it easy. My English class is non-stressful, writing comes easily to me. Macroeconomics and math however, ick. Those subjects I need to try a little harder in. 

I know it's bad to not think positively and all, but I'm already thinking about the next cycle. I'm hoping we can just do a less aggressive protocol with maybe Femara and a few doses of Bravelle mixed in there. Although based on the current results with all the Bravelle I'm taking now that may not be the best idea.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little lazy ovary

I had my first follicle check this morning. I got there at 7:30, along with half of Memphis apparently, because I didn't get out of there until 8:50. My lining is at 8mm right now and on my right ovary I have two larger follicles and several smaller ones. My left ovary is lazy, there's not really any growth over there but the nurse said she saw a lot of little follicles. I have about four more days of drugs so maybe the left ovary with kick it in gear and get something growing. 

My only discomfort this cycle is the burning the Bravelle causes going in, holy crap it stings. I can't figure out why it does that but it hurts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The green-eyed monster

A few months ago I had a conversation with my boss, who knows about our IF troubles and is also super-caring and understanding. Anyway, we were talking about all the people at work/in my life who are pregnant and he asked me "Are you jealous?" and before I could answer he said "No, I guess you aren't really a jealous person are you." I thought about it and I said "No, not really, I mean maybe a tiny bit but not typically." Now I fully admit to having pangs of jealously about the ease with which some people are able to get pregnant but I feel like that's normal given my situation. Over the weekend I was blog-surfing and read the blog of someone I went to high school with. I wouldn't say we were friends, but we were always nice to each other. Well she's expecting her second child and she seems to be due right around the time I believe I would have been, had IVF 2.0 not ended in a chemical pregnancy. For some reason this struck me and made me jealous. Jealous because it seems so unfair that she gets to have this white-picket fence existence. Don't get me wrong, I don't want her life, I just wish it didn't have to be so hard for me.

I also read the blogs of people I don't know but who are pregnant, some of them posting light-hearted complaints about the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy. But all I could think about was how I wish I had those problems. What I would give to have morning-sickness, heartburn, swollen ankles or stretch marks. I would gladly take all of those symptoms and more if it meant I'd get to be a mother.

In the end I always go to back to the eternal question -"why isn't it our turn yet?" Haven't we waited long enough? Haven't we suffered and sacrificed enough?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Groundhog Day

Yeah, it's not Groundhog Day but it feels like it. It's actually Cycle Day 3. This morning I made my return to the clinic for bloodwork and ultrasound and to give them all of my money. We had a balance of $340 from last cycle, can't really explain that because we paid them every time I stepped foot in the door. I think it has something to do with out shitty insurance/deductible, which I don't get because we're paying out of pocket anyway. So within seconds of getting there this morning I had to empty my wallet to the tune of $1000 - and that's not the last of it.

Sweet phlebotomist was there and despite her best efforts she had to stick me twice. There was yet another woman with her toddler in the waiting area. This makes me batty. We're in an infertility clinic people, leave your babies at home please. My ultrasound was fine, although at first the nurse thought I was on day 10 or something and was confused as to why there was no growth. Then I told her I was just day 3 and hadn't had any drugs yet. She counted 17 antral follicles, yay for that. 

I start Bravelle tonight, 225U until Wednesday when I go back for follicle check and bloodwork. My guesstimate is that the IUI will be on March 1, a Tuesday like last time. Acupuncture is still going well, this week's 'tea' mix is tolerable, I'm able to get it down without gagging so that's good. I'm trying to go into this cycle with a healthy dose of optimism and reality.

Monday, February 14, 2011

WWYD

Friday night on Dateline, there was a story about a couple, that through human error at their RE's lab, were given the wrong embryos during transfer and the wife became pregnant with another couple's embryo. I can't begin to think about how hard that would be to deal with, on either side. I will say that I wouldn't even have to think about carrying someone else's baby for them. Knowing how hard infertility/IVF/FET is, I can honestly say I could never terminate another couple's embryo. Doug and I watched this together and both agreed we would have done the same thing. I wonder if my fellow IF'ers feel the same, would you do it? I know it would be immensely difficult but I couldn't imagine not doing it you know?

This whole situation was made more difficult because the mother who was carrying the baby had had complications with her prior pregnancies, as well as miscarriages before, so they were concerned she could miscarry again or have her health and the baby's health compromised.  It was heart-wrenching story all around. In the end the baby was born healthy but the mother who carried the baby was advised not to get pregnant again. The couple who carried the baby also tried to use a surrogate for their remaining embryos but the surrogate had a miscarriage and subsequent attempts didn't work. They wrote their full-story in a book, found here

I know that this probably makes me a horrible, terrible person, but it was really hard for me to connect with them because they had three biological children (granted two were from IF treatments) that the wife was able to carry herself. I know that they felt thankful for that and all, but that made me jealous. Not only did they have three children already, but they had embryos left to freeze and the wife was at least 10 years older than me. At twenty-four and twenty-nine I never had leftover embryos make it to freezing. Ugh, I can't believe my eggs are that bad. Like I said I know this makes me a horrible, terrible person but I can't even get one biological child. 

This story also made me think about a post I read over at The Fertility Lab Insider awhile back about about how one day embryos might have barcodes. Interesting. I have to say that despite all the other worries I have during an IVF cycle, getting the wrong embryos is not one. I guess I've always trusted our embryologist and lab, or I've just been more concerned about eggs being fertilized and how many embryos make it to Day 3.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to make a cup of revolting tea

1. Bag of flora and fauna from Dr. Acupuncturist

2. Put bag in pot, add 6 cups of water
3. Cook for 30 minutes until it smells horrifying in your kitchen
4. Drain tea
5. Choke down cup of sewage water, alternating it with orange juice to help get the putrid taste of 'tea' out of your mouth.
Bon appetite

Monday, February 7, 2011

The club I can't get into

I'm seventy-two days away from turning thirty, which seems completely impossible. Some days I feel like I'm still in high school. But I'm not, I'm an adult who has been working full-time since I was 19. I have a mortgage, I pay taxes, I'm closing in on seven years of marriage, I go grocery shopping, I have health insurance, I donate to charity, I'm responsible. Yet, when I'm around my friends/families with children I feel like a child myself. I don't feel like an adult, I feel younger, the way I used to feel when I was a teenager and babysat for my aunt and uncle. Being a parent seems like a special club - a club that keeps turning me away at the door. We had dinner Friday night with my family, including my sister-in-law who is a considerable amount younger than I am but she's a mother. Being around her makes me feel impossibly immature because I'm not a mother. I don't know if Doug feels the same way with his friends but I feel like I'm getting the "you wouldn't know because you're not a mother" vibe sometimes. Or perhaps I'm paranoid, that's more likely.

There is so much frustration sometimes because we've done everything we're supposed to, we go engaged, we got married, we bought a house, we've stayed gainfully employed - yet starting our own family continues to elude us. Sometimes I wonder if we should have done things backwards, would our luck have been different then? Sigh. 

I had my third acupuncture session today. I'm definitely feeling more relaxed - except when I have to choke down that godawful 'tea'. I don't know if the feeling is just in my head or what but as long as its useful I don't care. I'm currently waiting on CD1 to start, I'll probably order my meds this week, we'll be using Bravelle again. Oddly, I don't feel too much stress about the impending cycle - which is good - I think.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My love affair with needles continues

Monday I bit the bullet and made an appointment with the acupuncturist my RE's clinic works with. I figured it couldn't hurt. Yesterday was my first appointment. The acu-Dr.'s office is new, bright and modern. He is the entire staff though so he's running around a lot. He's a very nice Chinese man, a little hard to understand but I mostly got everything he said. He took my pulse and looked at my tongue and told me my qi is very low and I think he said I have problems with my spleen, kidneys and liver. He also asked very um, 'detailed' questions about my cycle - questions no one, including my OB/GYN or RE have ever asked - but I assume it's important information for him. Anyway, I had thought I'd just have a consultation at first and then go back for the needles but after the pulse/tongue exam he told me to take my clothes off and lay face down. (not while he was in the room mind you) I was totally cool with that except I had not anticipated being in my underwear so soon, otherwise I would shaved my legs beforehand! I really should know better, practically every doctor I see these days required me to remove my clothes. 

I laid down on the table in my skives and he wiped certain areas off with alcohol and then did the needle thing, which was super quick and not painful at all. He put a few at the base of my neck, some on my arms, my back, my legs, one on each wrist and one on each ankle. Then he pulled this heat lamp over on me and left me there for around 15 minutes. It was relaxing but I had a hard time getting my face/head in a comfortable position. He came back, removed the needles and then I turned over and he put more needles in, one in between my eyes, one on each arm, a lot in my abdominal region (I guess that's my trouble area), a couple in my legs and another set on my ankles. I got the heat lamp treatment for another 15 minutes and then he came and took out the needles and I got to get dressed. 

He gave me a plastic bag full of small white paper bags filled with a mixture I'm supposed to brew for tea. He told me it was going to taste bad but I should just hold my nose and drink it. I can only describe the 'tea' in these bags as sticks and berries with other miscellaneous flora and fauna. I steeped my first batch last night and y'all it is the nastiest tasting liquid I have ever put in my mouth. It smells like rancid mushrooms and dirt. It's the color of the Mississippi River and I was barely able to get a cup down. I'm supposed to drink it three times a day! This morning I tried to drink a cup and I got most of it down and then...(Kenan if you're reading this divert your eyes!)
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the last few tablespoons came right back up, ewww. My gag reflex for this stuff is not strong enough. It's soooo disgusting. I tried it with a straw and I don't know if it made it better or worse. Blech. I go back for more needle poking on Saturday morning. The acu-Dr. said treatment would be a long-term thing and once I get pregnant I'd see him for three more months or until he felt comfortable. In comparison to the other IF-related expenses the acu sessions are pretty reasonable and relaxing so I think I'll try it.  Although at the this point if someone told me to wear a chicken suit and dance down the interstate and I'd get pregnant I would probably do it.