Wednesday, November 15, 2006

First U/S: Results

:)

We saw and heard the heartbeat: 134 bpm. Happy Embryo is measuring at 7w2d (a bit of an overachiever, since I am exactly 7 weeks today. But I'm not complaining). Everything looks really good. Dr. Swami isn't releasing me to the care of my OB just yet -- not because he has any concerns, just that he wants to see this through as far as he can. Also, IF something goes wrong, I'd rather Swami handle my care instead of my OB/Gyn. As much a I really like my OB, and although I've been with him for over a year and he's performed one of my surgeries, it seems more appropriate to keep Swami involved if it goes tits up. I guess I'm not ready to transition either!

So, tonite, after class gets out, I am treating myself to a shopping trip at Gap Maternity for a pair of those jeans that don't look like maternity pants but have the promise of being a heck of a lot more comfortable than anything I currently own.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Closing it down

Hi all,

I am closing down my blog on Sunday. There are a few reasons for this, primarily because I don't have time for much blogging right now. Another reason is that I really don't feel comfortable being out and about in the IF blogging world. I think I'm too sensitive for this type of anonymous relationship with people that I don't know.

I read a comment posted on another reader's blog that stated those of us IF's with postive betas make it sound so simple. I really really really resent this remark.. this way of thinking that is so counter to what I expected from other infertiles. It was sort of an eye opener. I truly believe that everyone has an energy that they transmit. In reading this comment, I felt for the first time a negative energy when I was expecting something positive. I mean, I really felt it and it doesn't feel good. So, I'm retreating a bit because I don't think that my life needs to be an open read for people with this kind of mean and negative energy.

So, here's my last bit of openness.. my timeline with IF, or how fucking simple it has been for me over the last 3 years:

09/03: Two trips to the emergency room experiencing god awful pain. During the first trip, I think I have appendicitis. After a variety of intrusive, painful and embarasssing procedures, I am told they cannot rule out appendicitis because my appendix is not viewable due to the very large endometrioma blocking the view. In the second visit, I am there because I am convinced the endometrioma has ruptured. More blinding pain, intravenous narcotics.

10/03: Laparotomy (as in the full abdominal surgery that left me with a six inch scar above my pubic bone) to remove the endometrioma that is the size of a baseball. I spend three days in the hospital. My bloodpressure falls to scary levels. I have an echocardiogram that reveals MVP. I spend six plus weeks recovering. Initially, I cannot get out of bed on my own, shower alone, or even put on my underwear without Mr. Ax's help. I use a pillow against my stomach everytime I have to use the bathroom.

08/05: Diagnosed with another endometrioma and likely other bits of endo attached to internal organs. In between diagnosis and surgery, I make another trip to the ER. Only this time, I am pulled off the highway in an ambulance. The very hot and dreamy ambulance guys think I have a kidney stone. I think the cyst has burst. In the hospital I am given IV meds, the most powerful painkillers they have. I find out that the cysts--- there are actually two, one on each ovary, are still intact. What I have is a bad case of gas. Yes. Gas.

09/05: Laparoscopy to remove endometriomas and more endo on various internal organs. Some ovarian tissue is lost, but we are still hopeful that we will get pregnant if only we time intercourse with those ovulation predictor kits.

I pee on those sticks for months.

06/06: Failed round of clomid with an IUI. My ovaries didn't really respond to clomid. I am diagnosed wiht Premature ovarian failure with an FSH of 14. My RE asks if we're interested in donor eggs. Instead, we opt for one and only one round of IVF. But before we get started, I have another surgery!

08/06: Laparoscopy to remove more endometriomas, scar tissue, adhesions. I lose more than 1/2 of my ovaries. My right side is literally a sliver of ovarian tissue. The left is a little less than half. RE tells me that if we weren't TTC, he would have removed my ovaries, at least my right during this surgery. Instead, he left as much as he could hoping the tissue will have something redeeming left.

09/06: Prep for IVF with the second round of BCP I've taken in my entire life.

10/06: Start IVF injections. I am a slow responder. One of the RE's in the practice starts talking to us about canceling the cycle. He thinks that IVF is our own possibility for getting pregnant and that my tubes are probably not working right (as in grabbing the egg after ovulation) because of the scar tissue on the tubes. We think this is a good possibility, too. But we ignore him and continue on. We are devastated for a few days following our appt with him.
My regular RE wants to keep going. He just wants one good egg. I really wanted four, but in the end, we only got one mature egg out of about 8 follicles. I cry.

I'm sure you can imagine the emotional shit through all of this. Let's take a minute and look at the financial stuff. Every time I have a surgery, we hit our out of pocket maximum for the year with our insurance. So, while this means that they start paying 100% for everything afterwards, it also means that we have to pay, about $2500 a year for my medical stuff. So, at this point we have spent close to $7500 just to have my ovaries removed, cleaned up, and prepared to get the ONE good egg that has gotten us this far pregnant.

The $7500 does not include prescriptions (I have a mini-pharmacy of meds) and it does not include the thousands we had to cough up in cash for our one round of IVF (our insurance has a little bit of IVF coverage, enough for about 1/2 of one cycle).

This post is starting to head toward the direction of being the one where I do NOT talk about survivor's guilt (where you feel bad that you got pregnant while your IF friends are still struggling). I don't feel guilty. I do wish success for everyone that has to experience the pain and loss of infertility. I wish no one had to experience it because it sucks. But I do not feel guilty that I am currently 5w2d pregnant. In fact, I am enjoying every single day that I get to be pregnant with this embryo. It may not last the full 9 months, but everyday of it will be focused on happiness and gratitude rather than worry and guilt.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

4w3d

Beta results are in = it's positive! I am currently 4w3d.

We're thrilled, but cautious. Our first u/s is scheduled for 11/15 with our RE. We're not telling many people (incl. Mr Ax's parents) just those that have been there for us during this process and know what's going on. So, if I know you IRL, please don't mention our news to anyone just yet. Thank you, everyone for every call, comment, email and good thought you've sent our way. It really means a lot to us. I sincerely mean it when I say that I have felt every good vibe you lovely people have sent out for us.

I am sorta stunned that it worked at all. It's pretty crazy to get pregnant in your first round of IVF with the retrieval of only 2 eggs (one mature, one not) with one that fertilized and actually made it to transfer.

Thursday. I did not POAS afterall - sort of. I intended to, infact, went to grab a HPT from under the sink, pulled the last wrapper from the box and um.. it was empty! Can you imagine how LONG that empty wrapper in a box has been taking up space under my bathroom sink? Months.. probably 5 months. I did have one last Clear B.lue Ea.sy digital OPK test so I peed on that and was quite pleased to see the little digital smiley face indicating I had ovulated. I've heard that these also detect HCG and It was nice to see that smiley face be definitive for once.

For my IF friends who care about beta numbers:

1st beta, 10dp3dt: 74
2nd beta, 13dp3dt: 444!

Love and hugs to you all!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rollercoaster

Thanks to not-so-fertile girl, I now know how to add links to my sidebar! yeah! Now, i just need to figure out how to create links in my posts.

Despite my small html-ing triumph, I'm feeling a bit down. I took four, count them FOUR luxurious hours off from my life and parked myself on the couch this evening when I returned home from the museum. It's not as though there isn't plenty to do. I'm fond of lists:

- IRB (institutional review board) certification that needs completion
- paper due in the next week
- study group meeting in addition to classes tomorrow and Thursday
- plus all of the reading for tomorrow and Thursday
- two fifteen minute interviews that need to be conducted and transcribed before next week.

I have a lot to do, but can't seem to be bothered to do any of it. I just want to know if I'm fucking pregnant (lovely way to refer to the miracle of life, no?).

It is tempting to POAS, but know that it's kind of meaningless for me because of the HCG shots and most likely I will see two pink lines that only mean that the hormone is still floating around in my system. Hmm. is it insane of me to POAS just to see what two pink lines look like? I mean, just for the experience? Even if I know that it doesn't necessarily mean it's so? I could even manage pulling together one of those hallmark moments and present Mr. Ax with the two-pink lines and a onesie or something, just to see what it would be like if it were actually pregnant, and surprised by it all, and certain that everything was going to be just great.

And now I'm silently sobbing feel pretty sorry for myself. Pathetic really.

I am really sick of feeling pregnant without knowing if I am. It's a bit cruel to physically feel this way when it's only meds. Ever the optimistic, I just realized the one pregnancy symptom I am NOT experiencing ... constipation. And it is pleasing to know that my body can do one thing right, even if it's crappy.

Oh jesus. I just made myself laugh.

"So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for yoooouuuu!"

Still in my 2ww, and first beta is today. Mum left yesterday and we got crafty with Halloween and Turkey day decorations while she was here. I even got a bit ahead of myself and bought a few items for Christmas decorating. By the end of the weekend, I was all crafted out -- but we went back to the craft stores to see if there was anything else that would inspire us. There wasn't.

I am really sick of the PIO shots. My cheeks are black and blue. Even more annoying are the pregnancy symptoms (heartburn, tender breasts, sleepiness, food aversions, cravings, CM, tightness in abdomen). Of course, my mum is absolutely certain that I am pregnant because of my symptoms. I have tried and tried and tried explaining to her that the 3 HCG shots I've had post-transfer plus the daily PIO injections into my arse will cause symptoms that mimic pregnancy. She remembers in that little instant, but soon forgets when I complain of heartburn two hours later. Argh.. Goodness, I love her.. but it can be super frustrating. I am glad she came out, tho -- we had a good weekend together.

Mr. Ax leaves tomorrow morning for the Bay Area and returns Thursday nite (just in time for our 2nd beta on Friday). I have to find a neighbor with whom I'm comfortable revealing a pasty cheek and a bit of crack to give me the shot Thursday morning. Have I mentioned that we've only known these folks since everyone (including us) moved in over the summer? Nothing like getting right up in my crack to forge a friendship. Lovely.

Still haven't figured out how to link cyclesistas on my blog. Blogger rots. If you're reading this and you know how to link to something in blogger, please let me know.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bored outta my freakin' gourd

Holy. freakin.' mother. of. all things delicious and good. I AM BORED. No amount of Bourdieu and his habitus is sufficient for keeping me entertained. I can feel my arse widening with every hour that passes. My cheeks are falling asleep and when I shift the dang PIO shot marks kinda aches. And since my buttocks are sporting marks on both cheeks, well, you can imagine.

One of my classmates thinks that I'm lucky cos I have time to read the interesting books that I want to read instead of just the assigned pdf's. Good god, there is only so much anthropological theory a girl can digest in a day. Har har.. even I naively thought that I could get through a couple of them between Saturday and this Wednesday. And worst, worst of all, today, we are discussing my research area and I won't be there to dazzle, amaze and annoy my advisor/prof and classmates with my highly opinionated and heavily researched tidbits.

No, no... but I will be able to tell you all what is happening wiht Mimi and Shawn. Cos, that's thre real important shit. Not, like I thought before going gungho with IVF, my graduate degree and um, future or anything.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Transfer - Complete!

Yesterday was transfer day and it went very well. We had one gorgeous, 8-cell, non-fragmented embryo that happily slid via catheter into my uterus. The docs were very ubeat, "couldn't have been better!" "Perfect transfer!" "Gorgeous uterus!" I feel pretty upbeat about it, too.

We really like our clinic (although not that one nurse in particular all that much). I feel fortunate to say this after reading so many IF blogs where some of these docs are full on quacks. We know we're in good hands.

When our embryologist told us he had performed assisted hatching on our one-and-only-yet-perfect-embryo, we were rather alarmed. We didn't know they were going to do this, and I'd not heard that much about it. Apparently, they do everything within their power to give the embryo the best chance of hatching - and he didn't kill it in the process, so um.. bonus? Unlike most other fertility practices, ours will not call us with the results from our progressive HCG Beta tests. There are a series of blood draws that I have between now and 10/27. As we get closer to 10/27, the beta numbers will give us an idea of whether this embryo is going to stick around. Usually, RE's will tell you this first number, but ours wants us to wait until the pregnancy test on 10/27. I'm ok with that. I'd rather not freak out about our betas and google the numbers and guess out of my ass if it all means that I'm indeed, still pregnant. I can wait. Ms. Impatient can practice patience. In the meantime, I am supposed to play like I am pregnant (well, I guess I am pregnant.. there's an embryo dividing and growing inside of me, it's just not necessarily implanted itself into my uterus - yet).

I'm on bedrest for the next five days. Mom is coming out on Wednesday, Mr. Ax is going out of town for a sailing trip on Thursday (eMBA related). I'm a bad bed rester. Seriously, it's effin' boring. I paid to have the whole house cleaned on Friday --- what decadence! I can seriously get used to someone cleaning my house. I resisted the urge to sort of jump in and help out (am I a sicko or what?) Except now, there's nothing to clean and I know that is the point, but I'm effin' bored, not supposed to be cleaning, there's nothing to clean anyway, but I can't stop myself from inspecting the cabinetry and wondering if I ought to break out the cleaner/polish to spiff em up a bit. Maybe it's time to give myself a manicure/tear up my cuticles.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Retrieval Day

I haven't bothered posting these past few days because they've been up and down and all over the place. Our frequent trips to Dr. Swami's office to monitor follicle growth were tiring. We weren't sure if we would get to a retrieval, but lo and behold, we had one today.

Retrievals are performed under general anesthesia (at least at Swami's. I've read that some women are semi-conscious, but not me.. snoring and twitching away. Mr. Ax was there, and claims I did not do anything embarassing or weird. I didn't even fart. Yeah!). I'm too lazy to describe the rest of the procedure, but basically, the Dr. goes through your vajajay to retrieve the "eggs" using an assortment of devices and techniques.

Sadly, out of the 6 follicles that required 14 days of stims to grow, only 2 eggs were retrieved. Hmph. We might not get any embryos and won't know until Thursday if either of them fertilized. There's no reason to believe they won't fertilize, but there's always the possibility. There's also the possibility that they DO fertilize, but are not good enough for transferring. We won't know how good they are until Friday.

The real joker of the day, tho.. was our IVF Nurse.. the same one that I wrote about earlier ("Oh, let me give you a hug!"). In response to my weeping and utter disappointment that we only retrieved two eggs, she responded, "it's in the hands of a higher-power. We can only control so much." Mr. Ax and I just looked at her and didn't say anything -- seriously. I'm sitting in the recovery room, wondering WhyTF my BP is suddenly 136/70, and this dumb bitch decides to invoke God's Plan as an explanation for my infertility. She walked out of the room to retrieve something and when she returned, immediately apologized for her dumbass comment. But her apology was more along the lines of suggesting that we might not believe in God.

I can't stand her. And yes, she did give me a fucking hug as we got into the car.

Our transfer (if we have one) is scheduled for Saturday. My mom is coming out next Wednesday (if we have a transfer), since Mr. Ax has a biz trip planned for later in the week. I'm glad that she's coming out.. except today, I feel like I want to be left alone. I really wanted to get 4 eggs out of this.