Monday, January 31, 2011

Round and round and back again

I'm emotionally exhausted and we aren't even cycling this month. Last Tuesday my grandmother, who I'm very close to, ended up in the ICU with a ruptured, abscessed appendix and blood clots in her lungs, very serious. I spent most of last week teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown because I was so worried about her. On Friday they moved her into a regular room but she's not out of the woods yet, they can't take out her appendix until the blood clots are gone so she'll be the hospital until that happens. 

The reality of losing her before she sees me as mother made my heart hurt. That possibility resulted in me wanting to skip anymore IUI's and go straight to the end-of-the-road IVF cycle. This also resulted in several long, emotional conversations with my dear husband, who despite my manic episodes, has managed not to runaway yet. Eventually, after a few days we comprised and came back to the same plan we made before, with a few small changes. It's very important for him for us to use the sperm he has stored, even though it was stored post-radiation and the success rates are very low. I understand that and am on board with this. Miracles can happen right? So for our next IUI cycle we'll use two of stored vials (the counts are so low they have to use two vials for one IUI). After that we'll have three vials left, the worst we'll save for IVF/ICSI - when we plan to fertilize half the eggs with donor and the half with what we have stored. The tentative plan going forward is to use up what we have stored with IUI's and then consider another donor IUI before IVF. I did make him swear to me we'd do another IVF cycle before the end of the year - even if we have to sell our kidneys to fund it (not really). 

Also a big thank you to Krissi over at Stress Free Infertility for featuring me last week, I really needed a virtual hug and that made my day!

On a musical note, I bought the Ok Go album from last year recently and the song "This Too Shall Pass" grabbed my attention. I remember this video was super popular but I never paid attention to the lyrics until now.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I'm angry a lot. Angry at my body for not producing good quality eggs despite the fact that I've been trying to get knocked up since I was 24. Angry at the urologist/oncologist who never told Doug he should bank sperm before radiation. Angry at people who can get pregnant at the drop of a hat but don't fully appreciate it. Angry at people who have children but abuse them or don't take care of them. Angry at the insurance company for not covering any of these treatments. Angry at people who say "why don't you just adopt?" Angry that in order to adopt we'll have to jump through a thousand hoops and have someone else decide if we're good enough to be parents or not. Angry at God. Angry at myself for being angry. That's a lot of anger to carry around.

When I find myself feeling especially angry and get the urge to have an ugly cry, I do (provided I'm not out in public). Sometimes you just have to have an ugly cry, you need to get it all out - it's therapeutic.  But after the ugly cry I pick myself back up and repeat the mantra "I do not know how or when our child will arrive but I know that one day we will be parents." Because in this world of infertility, of cycle days, of shots and follicles and big, fat negatives, this is the only truth I know. Thinking about it gives me a teensy bit of solace. I also remember how much love and support I have from my friends and family. It's really hard to stay angry when you know how many people care about you. People who care about you so much that they learn IF terminology and cry with you and wish so hard for you. Even people I don't know are hoping and praying extra hard for us. How can you stay angry when you have that? Eventually the anger turns into gratitude for what we have and how much people care about us. So yes, there's still flashes of anger and sadness but I'm trying so, so, so hard to be grateful and hopeful.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Son of ....

Argh. I started spotting Thursday night and then full-fledged bleeding/cramping Friday morning. This was a full eight days before AF normally starts and only ten days post-IUI. I called the clinic and let them know we'd be sitting this next cycle out. Nurse called me back and said that the early AF could be attributed to the fact that my lining was so thick, which is good for implantation, but if nothing implanted the lining probably just shed sooner. Hmmph. I really thought this might be it because of the symptoms/feelings I was having. Stupid uterus. Stupid old eggs.

We'll sit next cycle out to try to recover financially from the $3,000 we just dropped on this cycle. Hopefully, provided nothing ridiculous happens, we'll cycle again at the end of February.

F*cking infertility.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello IComLeaveWe folks!

I've been scanning blogs from the Stirrup Queens blogroll for at least a year so I'm glad I finally gave myself a kick in the pants and joined the blogroll and decided to participate in ICLW this month.So if you found your way here from the ICLW list, welcome! 

Here's the abridged version of why I'm an IF blogger:

My husband had testicular cancer in the mid '90's, no one told him about banking sperm until after radiation when the cancer returned. So by the time he banked sperm it was radiated. Not good. Fast forward to 2005, we're married, we start seeing the RE. Husband is confirmed sterile so we only have the radiated, banked sperm to use. First IUI with Clomid is a fail, we save our pennies for an IVF cycle. March/April 2006 we do our first IVF cycle with ICSI and AH and we also find out my FSH is crazy high for a 24 year old. Great. IVF is a fail so we take a break. August 2007 we do IUI with Follistim, another big fat fail and my FSH is 12.3. WTF. We take another really long break and travel, buy a house and do fun things. Now it's May 2010, RE says "where have you been??!!?" and "I think you have a good shot at IVF success if you want to try again." So we do. FSH is slightly lower, AMH is good and AFC is also good. By fall 2010 we have the funds for IVF again, start BCP in September, get call from RE and embryologist that maybe we should consider donor sperm, as they can't find evidence of a pregnancy from radiated sperm. Okay we can do that, not our first option but we knew it was a possibility. Pick a donor, start drugs, yadda, yadda. Much better response than first IVF cycle, 10 mature eggs retrieved, 9 fertilized, 3 great looking embryos are transferred. BFP, um kinda. Beta is 22, pregnancy doomed. Beta rises to 123 and then one week later I start bleeding, miscarriage confirmed. Wallow and cry a lot for about six weeks . RE suggests we could have success with IUI with donor or IVF again but also talks to us about embryo adoption. We decide on an IUI with injectables/trigger and donor sperm, which was done on 01/11/11 (lucky day?) and now we're coming in on the end of the 2WW. Our next plan, which is subject to constant change, is another IUI with injectables/donor before a third and final IVF cycle. After that we're discussing embryo adoption/domestic adoption. We want to parents one day - regardless of how that happens.

Beyond IF, I have an awesome group of friends I love to hang out with, I bake like a crazy person, I have a knitting obsession, I work as an Executive Assistant, I'm desperately trying to find a way for us to move to the Pacific Northwest and if that wasn't enough I'm going to school part-time to finish my degree in Non-Profit Development and Administration. My non-IF blog about every day life and baking/knitting is here.

So that's that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It could mean something or more likely, nothing

- Face has decided it hates me. Breakout 'clusters' on face, neck and chest. 
- Crampy 
- Odd nausea feelings, not full-on but enough for me to stay near a trashcan. (possibly a side effect of the ham & turkey croissant I ate at the UC on campus last night because I was desperate)
- A few other bodily things I dare not mention because even though this is a blog about infertility and infertility procedures, there are some things that are just TMI. However, these same kinds of things occurred during IVF 2WW. But that doesn't exactly instill confidence in me.

These are most likely symptoms caused by leftover HCG from the trigger shot. 

Back to waiting, waiting, waiting...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Over-analyzing & gambling

One of the magic awful parts of the dreaded 2WW is the part in which you over-analyze every belch, gas bubble, stomach rumble, etc. "I have a weird pang in my side - OMG am I ovulating!?" "I'm particularly belch-y today - is that a sign of implantation!?" Infertility makes you do crazy things, one of which is to became a certifiable loon and pay more attention to your body than you every thought was possible. During the IVF 2WW I found myself starting at my body in the mirror trying to decide if the veins on my chest were more visible. This is insanity, I admit it, but I did it anyway. I think it's just one of those things you know isn't useful but you do it anyway. Kind of like the weird yoga position.

I never thought of myself as a gambler. We live near a conclave of casinos and we've been a couple of times over the years but I'm always creeped out by them - too dark and smokey. Doug made me put some coins in a slot machine once just so I could say I'd gambled but that's pretty much it. But I've recently come to the realization that I am a gambler. Every time we do a treatment we're gambling. We just gambled $3,000 + on this IUI cycle with pretty poor odds. For the IVF cycle we gambled even more money, albeit with better odds, but still lost. IF treatments kind of bring about a 'high' if you will, while yes there is always a slim chance of success, odds are kind of against us given our particular brand of infertility. The 2WW is especially terrible, because you are over-analyzing every tiny thing you're body does you trick yourself into believing this could be 'it'; only to be devastated later. Veterans like myself try hard not to be pessimistic all the time, but when treatment after treatment fails and the only thing you're left with is a shrinking bank balance, it's difficult to be optomistic.

Today I had a physical with a regular doctor - the first time in forever. Mostly the only type of doctors I see are those that are keenly interested in my lady parts. But I'm getting life insurance and they like to check you out to make sure a health time-bomb isn't ticking away inside. I went to a doctor at a new, large family clinic in my neighborhood. The doctor was nice, but not really warm and fuzzy. I did mention that I was undergoing fertility treatments and there could be residual HCG in my blood/urine from the trigger shot last week. She made a note of it and then while she examined my ears mentioned that she too went through IVF and it was "very emotionally draining." Then she said my blood pressure was good, I should loose some weight and they would do an EKG since I'm concerned about my family history of heart disease in the women on my father's side of the family. The nurse came in and did my EKG, which took no time at all and then I was left to get dressed while the doctor looked at my results. Eventually the nurse reappeared and said the EKG was great and they would call with my bloodwork results. So at least the rest of my body doesn't appear to be 'broken'.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now we wait

dIUI #1 is complete. We got to the clinic around 7:30AM yesterday morning and then waited for the sample to thaw, which took about an hour. We've done this before so it wasn't too unfamiliar for us. The donor counts (post-wash) were 44 million with 50% motility, which seemed low to me but the lab said it was "perfect". It took maybe five minutes and then the nurse had me lay down for fifteen minutes before we could leave. We spent that time cracking jokes and Doug kept finding objects in the room he could utilize in his woodshop (rolling stool, high powered gooseneck lamp). When we went home I situated myself in the Viparita Karani yoga pose until my back hurt. Then I just took to the bed doing the Maude Lebowski. Will any of this help? Probably not, but it made me feel like I was doing something. I asked about taking progesterone but the nurse said I didn't have to, which surprised me because the last IUI we did I was on progesterone during the 2WW. Ah well, I'm not a medical professional. At least not being on progesterone if I 'feel' any symptoms I'll know they're real and not induced by meds. Again I find myself trying to be optimistic but the realities of IUI working after IVF are pretty slim. But we shall see.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Follicle Report #3

How infertiles spend their weekend mornings: going to the clinic for bloodwork and ultrasound. I got to the clinic at 8:30 this morning, and was there for nearly an hour. Luckily there isn't too many people cycling right now so it was pretty quiet. My lining is at 10.5, thankfully I don't seem to have any lining issues. I have one 19mm follie on my left side and one 18mm and one 17mm on my right side. The nurse called and we're triggering tonight and the IUI will be Tuesday morning. Memphis is supposed to get snow/ice tonight and tomorrow so I hope that doesn't impact us too badly. I'm feeling a little better, still tired but not as bad as I felt earlier in the week. I think we'll probably put off IVF #3 until April/May. Classes start back next week and I feel like my body needs time to recuperate, plus it's just too hard to go to school and do IVF stuff.

I'm planning on taking Tuesday off, in the past when we've done IUI's I've just gone back to work, etc. This time I'm just going home and relaxing. And possibly hanging out in this yoga pose for awhile.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Follicle Report #1

I've been shooting up since Thursday night (or rather Doug has been shooting me up). 225IU per night and all I had this morning was one 13mm follicle on my left side and two smaller ones (not sure of exact size) on my right size. I was kind of bummed about this considering how much medications I've been taking. I guess I have to consider that I'm taking half the dosage I did for IVF. and the goal isn't to have as many eggs as possible. My instructions are to continue the 225IU for the next three nights and go back in Friday morning for more bloodwork/ultrasound. My best guess would be IUI Sunday but obviously I won't know for sure until Friday.

I don't feel nearly as bloat-y as I did with the IVF stimming. I have some pressure but nothing very uncomfortable. I have had a headache nearly every day since Friday and I'm sleepier than I have been but that's all for side-effects right now. 

We ordered our new donor Monday. Donor #6955 is a chemistry graduate student at Harvard and according to the lab staff he looks just like Mark Ruffalo. Ironic, considering he was just in a movie were he played a sperm donor.

Off to give my ovaries a pep talk.