Disappearing for now

I definitely still read here frequently, but just don’t have the energy or time to post much these days. Work continues to suck, and I don’t want to complain forever on here. I have it better than most, other than no schedule flexibility.

I think the biggest reason why I feel like I don’t have much to say anymore is that in late August, hubby and I finally came to the decision to stop storing our embryos. We are both experiencing some physical lows, and are trying to get back on the better nutrition and exercise wagon. Neither of us could fathom how we’d cope with a second child, or even with the process of getting there. As much as I think C would love having a sibling, happy healthy parents are more important right now in our mind.

We had to take C with us to the office to sign the papers since both of us needed to be there at the same time, and pointed out her birth announcement on the wall to her. She actually smiled and said “baby C!”. Ha. Of the options given to us, we chose to release the embryos for anonymous adoption. So hopefully they will give somebody else a chance to grow their family.

She’s back

36 days after my daughter turned a year old, Aunt Flo has arrived for a long overdue visit. Makes sense, given we’re down to 3-4 nursing sessions a day at most and I stopped pumping. I thought I had a period around 7 weeks postpartum, but after several days of light bleeding then, there was no sign of a period again.

Until now… and frankly, I’m not sure what to think or feel. As time goes on, the thought of going through who knows how many thaw and transfer cycles, or miraculously becoming pregnant the old-fashioned way… it’s terrifying. Which means I need to seriously think about long-term contraception now. Too much to consider right now!

Reblog: “My Infertility Story: Questions You Should Ask in Life Decision-Making | Eye For Elegance”

I was about to go to bed last night when a friend’s Facebook post caught my eye. I had no idea she was struggling also, and I applaud her bravery in being so open about her struggles. Sometimes I wonder how I can be so open with some friends, but but hold back with everybody else. Perhaps if my parents had shown more acceptance of infertility treatments, but who knows… Maybe I’ll tell them one day what it took to conceive C.

http://eyeforelegance.com/2015/09/14/my-infertility-ivf-story-questions-you-should-ask-in-life-decision-making/

7dp5dt and it’s unofficial!!

Up until last night, I was feeling NO symptoms whatsoever, which I thought was strange considering all the progesterone I’m on. I normally get some sore boobs, nausea, bloating as part of my PMS, so was expecting at least one of those things. Then last night, I had to get up TWICE to pee. I’ve become used to getting up once since starting the injections, but definitely not twice. So when I realized at 5:30am it had been 4 hours since I last went to the bathroom, I figured why not, break out the Wondfo… 5 minutes later, I had my first squinter!! Which of course doesn’t photograph well, or appear obvious to my hubby, who I told by hanging a special onesie on his towel while he was working out in our garage this morning (we’re both known for our pull-up capabilities in our usual workouts). His expected response – a casual “Nice!” and “let’s wait and see for the blood test”. Sigh… men! I messaged my sister with a solarized-effect picture to make the line appear more obvious, and she gave me a much more enthusiastic response 🙂 As did my endocrinologist, who promptly added a T3 to the TSH lab that I’m getting drawn on Thursday. I was tempted to ask for a beta, but decided just to wait until the Saturday draw for it.

Of course, when I came home, I couldn’t resist the urge to POAS again, if only to see if I could get a more obvious line on a FRER that my hubby couldn’t miss. I got my wish 🙂 But yes, if you know me in real life, please keep this on the down-low – we’re planning to tell our parents after the first ultrasound, which should be in 2-3 weeks. Fingers crossed that these baby/ies stick!!

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The rationing of pee sticks on 6dp5dt

Contents of the test basket in my bathroom cabinet yesterday:

  • 1 Clearblue Digital Ovulation test
  • 1 Wondfo pregnancy test
  • 3 First Response Early Result pregnancy tests

Any guesses as to the contents after this morning? I’ll get to that at the end of this post, but first, some background…

Once upon a time, long before I had an inkling we would have trouble getting pregnant, I wasted many a hard-earned dollar on the Tesla of pregnancy tests – the holy FRER. I cringe to think of the money I wasted, even when purchased for cheaper on Amazon. After those first naive months, I switched over to the most popular internet cheapie – the Wondfo. I mean come on – 20 tests for the same price as a box of 3 FRER’s? No-brainer, right? And I used those guys sparingly – I still had a few laying around after over a year, since once I started BBT charting, I accepted the futility of testing before the end of my usual luteal phase. But then the end of my last 2ww on Clomid approached, and I realized my hopeful test date would be falling while traveling internationally – and damn it if I didn’t want to be absolutely certain of a result – positive or negative! So I ordered that box of 3 FRER’s, and took the tests with me abroad, to remain unused once my period slowly but unfailingly made its appearance.

With ovulation tests, I traveled in the opposite direction. I started with the Wondfo, and it worked reliably for me, until my first cycle on Clomid, when I didn’t get a positive test until the day after I seemed to ovulate based on ultrasound, symptoms, and temperature dip. Then I started to mistrust it, when I really should have blamed the Clomid – Wondfo hadn’t failed me in predicting ovulation for over a year until that point. I begrudgingly bought what the NP recommended in the first place, the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test – a whopping $1.80 a test! And guess what – I found they were consistent with the Wondfo. Anyways, I used those suckers sparingly, and ended up with a few extra when we started IVF, so I used a couple to test out my HCG trigger last week. Because yes, it’s not going to be as sensitive as a pregnancy test, but since HCG and LH are almost identical, OPKs can pick up on HCG in your urine.

So if you had an OPK, a Wondfo HCG test, and 3 FRER’s, what would you do if you suddenly woke up at 4am on 6dp5dt, unable to get back to sleep because you needed to pee? The smart answer would have been to just pee and go back to sleep, but you guessed it – I grabbed that last Clearblue Ovulation test and peed on it, knowing that if it was negative I wouldn’t be heartbroken. And no, I wasn’t greeted with a smiley face, but at least I was able to get back to sleep peacefully until my alarm went off.

If this happens again tomorrow morning, I feel like I could sacrifice the Wondfo, but if it’s negative, I don’t know that I could use the 3 FRER’s in the following days, Tune in tomorrow for more POAS adventures, and start placing your bets on on whether I succumb to buying HPTs at Dollar Tree, which is oh so conveniently located halfway between my home and office!

5dp5dt and keeping myself occupied

After staying low-key the past couple weekends, I’m pretty wiped after this one. I still attended the walk I’d fundraised for yesterday to show support for my patient’s family, but didn’t walk, per my RE’s and acupuncturist’s very strong recommendations against it. My friend met up with me there and we ate breakfast together. This same friend dealt with infertility over a decade ago, and ultimately she and her husband divorced after several unsuccessful rounds of IVF. It was great to talk with somebody who’s gone through all this, who understood all the crazy emotions I’m feeling right now during this seemingly endless 2ww.

Afterwards, I indulged in a sample sale of yoga clothes, and scored some great deals! Funny story while I was there – I’d found a top that seemed like it would fit me, though I couldn’t find a size tag anywhere. I showed it to an employee who said it was a small – something told me she was off and I decided to try it on regardless (I’m a solid medium now with workout clothes). Lo and behold, it fit quite well, and had adjustable shirring in front so you could make it shorter or longer. As I pulled off the tank and looked at it again, I noticed printing on the inside neckline “Beyond … the bump”. It was a maternity top! I almost freaked out, but decided what the heck, pregnant or not, it fit nicely and was super comfortable, and even better I bought it for 80% off! I’ll take it as another good omen 🙂

In the evening, we went on a double date with a friends to an outdoor concert. These friends have some idea of what we’re dealing with, but being younger, unmarried, and nowhere near ready to have kids, didn’t know any specifics. During intermission, the girl asked me how things were going, and I explained IVF and where we were at in the process. She was definitely confused and asked if I was pregnant or not then. I responded until proven otherwise.

Today I attended a bridal shower at one of those places were you pick a ceramic piece and paint it before they glaze and fire it for you to pick up later. Most everybody else picked plates and bowls, while I went for a small owl. Did I secretly hope this would be the first decor piece for a future nursery? Of course, but I do have a thing for owls anyways. I’m excited to see how it turns out. It was fun to catch up with the others there, and definitely helped the day go by faster.

As much as I can’t believe I’m back to a full work week tomorrow, it should be good to keep my mind off of things. 6 days until beta!

Negativity sneaking in. UGH!

This is the first day this cycle where I’ve let the negativity creep in. I don’t know if it was the crazy number of newborn visits I had, and seeing the tired but happy faces of new mom’s, alternating with all the other mom’s being in their 3rd trimester. One of those mom’s is actually a friend of ours, and we’ve talked with them about our difficulties because at one point, they went to an RE also when they’d been struggling to conceive their second child for over 6 months. Her FSH was high. Of course, at their first RE visit, they had her pee in a cup, and lo and behold, the pregnancy test came back positive! Oh – they never told us this, I only found out from our mutual friend when it was pretty apparent she was pregnant at a wedding we attended. 😦 She and her husband were both at the visit today, and though we talked at length about when she was due and how they were doing, and they KNOW we’re in the middle of an IVF cycle because I had them change the appointment day when I knew I’d likely be out for egg retrieval, they didn’t say a word or ask anything about how I was doing. They are really good friends of ours, and it bothered me that they just avoided the topic. I know it’s uncomfortable, but damn it, they were on the brink of it themselves!

Then I found out a colleague is pregnant and due in February, from a cutesy Facebook photo of course. She just got married a year ago. It’s so ridiculous, I thought I was past all these stupid feelings, but on top of everything else today, and the really aggravating irritation from the vaginal progesterone – ARRRRGGGHHHHH!! The RE says he’ll switch me from this formulation to Endometrin to see if I tolerate it better, but there’s no point in ordering it now until I see what that beta looks like.

Blast-babies have checked in!

After a full-moon-crazy clinic yesterday, I was happy to come home and celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival quietly with the hubby with some moon cakes. What better way to prepare for transfer? Of course, I woke up 2 hours before I needed to and couldn’t get back to sleep.

My acupuncturist had warned me about long wait times for transfers at my RE’s office. Despite a crazy busy morning where they had 2 egg retrievals before my transfer, I was whisked back for my pre-transfer acupuncture treatment right on time, and thank goodness I’d popped the Valium just before we got there. The RE followed soon after, saying they would be transferring the 2 best blastocysts, and had 4 left to freeze! He said the remaining 16 embryos showed fragmenting and are not viable. More on that later… The transfer itself went very smoothly, starting off with a vaginal wash. They then used a trans-abdominal ultrasound probe to visualize my uterus as the catheter went in. Once again, I’m amazed at how little I feel with these procedures in the hands of a true expert! Once he was satisfied with catheter placement, he called the embryologist in, who gave him the vial containing our 2 blast-babies, and in they went! The acupuncturist returned to give me another treatment, and I passed out for probably another half hour while my hubby sat close by, busying himself on his laptop.

Finally, the embryologist came in to show us pictures and explain the numbers. At 24 hours after retrieval, 20 out of 23 eggs had fertilized, 5 by ICSI and the remainder by regular IVF – impressive considering sperm morphology was our issue, but counts have always been great so I guess there were enough in the sample that managed to do their thing. By later that day, 2 more had actually fertilized though I don’t think those made it very far. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t disappointed by so many not being viable, explaining that for a woman 35-37 years old, they expect 30% of the embryos to make it to the 5-day blastocyst stage. So at 6 out of 20 (or 22 if you count the late fertilizers), we were right on track. I forgot to ask what the breakdown was of ICSI vs. IVF in our 6 keepers, but honestly it doesn’t matter to me at this point. I just want at least one of these guys to make themselves at home for the next 37 weeks!

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Blast-babies starting to hatch!

It was also really interesting to compare to the pictures of the 4 less highly-graded but still good blasts that will be frozen, as well as the 16 that didn’t make it. I’m happy he gave us pictures of all of them to keep.

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4 blastocysts to be put on ice 

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16 non-viable embryos – mostly fragmented, looks like one didn’t start dividing

Isn’t science amazing?? I don’t know how I’m going to survive until my beta 11 days away! That’s 2 days after I anticipated 😦 I do have a few FRER tests at home, so we’ll see if I have the guts to test next week. I’ve already made sure the HCG trigger is out of my system with the last of the ovulation tests I had (might as well put them to some use). I’m also supposed to re-test my thyroid next week, so am debating whether it’s worth asking the endocrinologist to add a beta to that, you know, in case I need to bump up my levothyroxine dose 🙂 I’m now 6 hours through my 36 hours of bedrest, and trying not to go crazy from boredom. Books and TV just aren’t appealing to me right now – I’m thinking a nap may be in order! I’ve also been restricted from exercise for 10 days, though I think yin yoga should be OK. Need that and meditation to keep me going through the rest of this 2ww!

Circle + Bloom

I discovered Circle + Bloom a while back, thanks to posts from several ladies here on WordPress. However, I held off on purchasing any programs for a while, relying on their free fertility relaxation program several nights a week as I prepared to go to sleep. I enjoyed it more than others I’d heard or found on Amazon, so when the time came for the big guns of IVF, I decided it was time to purchase their IVF/IUI Mind-Body Program. I really like that they have specific meditations for the days of the cycle, though it is a little confusing to calculate what day you should listen to during an IVF cycle. In any case, I’ve been listening every night since I started birth control over a month ago, and it’s really helped to put my mind at ease for the whole process. I hope to utilize their pregnancy and delivery programs in the future – they have quite a variety of programs, not all fertility-related. They don’t advertise and instead rely mainly on word of mouth, thus they have a customer referral program in place. In case any of you out there are interested, here is my referral link for 15% off your purchase. I plan to donate any proceeds to Resolve. Hope you find it as helpful as I have so far!

Up and down

I’m learning to listen to my body as it adjusts post-retrieval, and doing everything I can to feel the best possible before transfer. Last night, I went to a rooftop yoga session by the ocean. It was very refreshing to do an easy flow outdoors, and the teacher gave me good modifications when I told her what I was going through – basically similar modifications to somebody who’s pregnant. I felt good afterwards, and decided to go to bed without taking Tylenol. I don’t think I’ll make that mistake tonight, because at 3:30am, I awoke to the worst abdominal cramps I’d had in a while, accompanied by nausea. I actually retched a few times but nothing came up. I was very bloated, and in the end, curled up in a fetal position with 3 of the fur-kids tucking themselves in around me – bless their little hearts. I finally drifted off after an hour or so, based on the sleep app on my phone.

Thankfully I woke up feeling better, but not fantastic. Good timing for my acupuncture appointment, which did help. My acupuncturist also encouraged me to drink cabbage juice, a natural diuretic, alternating with the Gatorade/Propel. Basically, you take a whole head of cabbage, chop up coarsely, place in spaghetti pot with water twice as high as the cabbage, and boil the heck out of it for 45 minutes. Drain the water into pitchers/jars (I have a packed fridge shelf now), and continue to drink every day until done. Hoping this and the Cabergoline do the trick for me.

So the rest of the weekend I need to just drink my concoctions, take Miralax and glycerin suppository, continue all the meds, and do as little as possible. Other than meditation class tomorrow, that’s it as far as plans. I need to make more beef bone broth tomorrow, but should be able to put it in the slow cooker, and let hubby keep an eye on it.