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. ūüė¶¬†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 ūüė¶ 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 ūüôā 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!

1-day fertilization report – overwhelmed! :)

I received a message from the embryologist while I was at work this morning. He reported that 20 out of the 23 eggs retrieved successfully fertilized!! I wish I had more information than that on whether it was all by ICSI, maturity, etc., but at this point I’m too happy with that amazing fertilization rate to really care ūüôā Now we wait through the weekend to see how they look Monday!

I’m also pleased to report that my hubby has now given me 2 shots of Progesterone successfully! I didn’t even feel the needle going in thanks to diligent icing, and heat afterwards does seem to help. I’m a little sore in the first spot, probably because it’s right next to where I gave myself Novarel on Tuesday, but not bad at all compared to what I anticipated. I twitched a little just before he pushed the needle in the first time, so he was a little hesitant, but having me lay¬†down this morning seemed to help. He says it’s super easy so long as I mark the spot for him with a Sharpie, so we’ll just continue to do that.

I got through work OK today despite clinic being shorthanded both at the front desk and back office. Definitely bloated but felt better than yesterday. I just really need more help with going to the bathroom, heh. Lined up Miralax and glycerin suppositories for now, since I can use them until the transfer. Good thing I have gloves at home. Fun times tonight also with the first progesterone suppository going in ūüėõ

Retrieval success :)

I went to bed early, but woke up at 4am and couldn’t fall back asleep after hearing the cats break into the pantry and drag out their food bag. Hubby woke up at 6am, and after producing his sample, we drove the 5 minutes(!) to the office – so nice driving on empty roads! Arrived at 6:45am on the dot, only to find the door locked of course. The nurse arrived almost 10 minutes later, and they whisked me back to change into my gown. I was of course allowed to wear my socks ūüôā

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The anesthesiologist was very sweet, and made small talk with me as he set everything up. The IV went in no problem, though my BP was the highest I’ve ever seen at 140s/90s. Even with all my calming measures, it gave me away. I had nothing to worry about, since I sedated very easily. The next thing I knew, the nurse was calling my name in recovery, and brought hubby over to me. The RE came by and told us he retrieved 23 eggs!! Oh my word… Much more than any of us¬†anticipated I think. He said I am at risk for OHSS, so prescribed me Cabergoline (Dostinex) to take for 8 days.¬†I’m pounding Gatorade now, and my acupuncturist also recommended boiling down cabbage and drinking the juice since it’s a natural diuretic. I’ll see her Saturday, so she’ll do what she can to help treat¬†any symptoms as well. I’ve taken some Tylenol to try and prevent any pain, and have a prescription for Tylenol with codeine if I need it – hopefully not, but we’ll see how a full day at work tomorrow feels!

He didn’t say anything about a fertilization report tomorrow, so if I don’t hear from them by lunch, I’ll call to see about an update. We are definitely planning for transfer on Tuesday, but won’t have a set time until Monday when the embryologist takes a look to see how¬†far along the embryos look.¬†I really hope it’ll be¬†morning so the hubby can be there, but my massage therapist has volunteered to¬†accompany me if he can’t. My¬†acupuncturist will also be there to treat me.

All in all, I’m overjoyed to clear this hurdle. Onto some quality time with the couch, catching up on the DVR, and reading the rest of today ūüôā

Day 12 of stims update – schedule is set!

I was waiting to post until I hopefully had my estradiol level back, but I’m sure the RE will respond to my neurotic email tonight, haha. I arrived at his office at 8am sharp, and of course the door was locked. 10 minutes later, the receptionist arrived to find myself and 3 others waiting. I was the first one called back, so he was in very quickly to do the ultrasound – I have a 12.9 mm lining, and 17 follicles pretty evenly split between sides! They ranged from 12mm to 25mm, with only 3 measuring less than 18mm. So he gave me the green light to inject with Novarel 10,000 IU¬†at 7:30pm tonight, and thankfully I didn’t have to worry about buying another bottle of Menopur since I’m done with all stims at this point! We are set for egg retrieval at 6:45am Thursday, and he said it was OK for hubby to produce his sample at home since we live so close. I assume he’d prefer to do that, though at that hour, who knows… My nurse managed to cancel out all my patients for Thursday and next Tuesday, when I should¬†have blastocyst transfer (fingers crossed). Hubby is good to work from home Thursday, and go in late on Tuesday. Here’s how the rest of the cycle is looking:

cal

¬†As for how I’m feeling, I definitely feel very heavy and full in my lower belly –¬†it makes bending over for long periods of time uncomfortable, so catching up on the mountain of laundry was a little tougher than I expected this past long weekend, but I made some good progress. I did set aside all my clothes that are too small now, in hopes of wearing again in the future, but my closet is more than half empty now.¬†My appetite is decreased too, mainly because eating a lot at once makes me feel more uncomfortable in there. I’ve managed to go to a few yoga classes in the last few days, and felt pretty good other than some modifications when I felt too much pressure on my back or belly. As far as I can tell, I’m not any moodier than usual (I guess I should ask the hubby, HA!). Compared to Clomid, I feel better overall, even though my ovaries are definitely more enlarged. I am a little nervous about giving myself Novarel in the butt¬†in a couple hours since the hubby won’t be home from work yet. But I just gotta suck it up and I’m sure it’ll be fine. Time to review tips¬†from the Stirrup Queens! ūüôā

Green light!

My RE’s office called and left a message that my estradiol was good and gave me the green light to start with the stims as planned tomorrow. This was of course not nearly enough information for me, so I emailed him asking for the level, and he replied back “11”. YAY! Nice and suppressed, I should be primed for ovarian stimulation. I was hoping today would be without a headache but as I sit here typing, I can feel the ache starting to creep up the back of my head. Let’s hope some inverting helps that – I’m taking my last aerial class tonight (snuck it in since the stims start tomorrow).

Oh, and this may make me a huge nerd, but who cares¬†because I know I am one – check out¬†how I’m transporting my Menopur and supplies to work:

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My supply box of Menopur vials, Q-caps, syringes, and needles

Holy Lupron headache!

What the… I thought I was in the clear with avoiding the Lupron headache, but nope, after the 9th dose yesterday morning, I got a horrible right-sided occipital headache while having a crappy afternoon at work. Went to sleep hoping it was due to stress, and woke up feeling better, but by noon today, I had a dull ache at both¬†temples that worsened¬†despite taking acetaminophen. Boo… Going to try a cooling patch on my forehead tonight when I go to bed, but unfortunately that would probably not go over well at work.

My ovaries and lining looked nice and quiet, and ready for action this afternoon. Had my blood drawn for an estradiol level, but won’t get it back until tomorrow. Hopefully it’s nice and low, so we can proceed as planned. On Friday, in addition to the morning Lupron, I’m to start Gonal-f 187 IU in the morning and Menopur 225 IU (3 bottles) in the evening. I’ll also start an oral steroid (Medrol 8 mg a day). Sadly, this means 3 daily injections,¬†and I understand that¬†Menopur stings like a #%&*.¬†In order to try and keep my injection time the same every day, I plan to bring the Menopur to work in case I’m stuck late or running errands before heading home. This way I don’t have to worry about what to do at our concert on Saturday – I can just take it before we go.

My next appointment is in a week, and it’ll be the first time we see how exactly I’m responding. Right now, the RE is planning for September 3 for my egg retrieval. Too bad my work scheduler just took me out of clinic on September 2 :/ Emailed her to see what she wants to do. I don’t want to have her drop me in, then risk having to come back out if I respond more quickly than expected.

Thank goodness for the beef broth I made a few weeks ago! For once I actually cooked myself a tasty, nutritious dinner. I used Trader Joe’s mirepoix, white beans, and kale to make a quick minestrone soup. Added a little salt to taste, and it was done in less then 15 minutes! Just forgot to add tomatoes, but will be sure to do so the next time. May also try adding quinoa if I’m feeling up to it. I love quinoa, but haven’t yet mastered how to cook it.

I survived

I survived the socially busy weekend, but am now dreading the next one – why is August so crazy? I made it 2 hours through the baby shower, though I did have to run to the bathroom about 20 minutes in to wash my face after a small cry. There were just. so. many. pregnant. women!! Seeing my friend – not a problem, I expected that. I just wasn’t¬†expecting 1/4 of the guests to also be pregnant, and when my other friend remarked on it, I couldn’t help but tear up. I focused on eating the rest of my time there, then took off as they started playing games. Ugh, no thank you.

I’m now mentally preparing myself for the week ahead – it’s the last push for physical season at work, I have to get blood drawn tomorrow to check on my thyroid, which has been recovering from Clomid wackiness a few months ago. I’m waiting on my period to show up, since it’s been over 48 hours since my last birth control pill.¬†Then I have the baseline ultrasound and blood draw Wednesday, and hopefully starting the stim injections right after that. I am so ready to get this show on the road!

And good riddance!

I took my last dose of birth control this evening, and am so happy that’s done with! It zapped me of my libido and my appetite, even while giving me 3 extra pounds. Just hoping it hasn’t been the reason for avoiding Lupron headaches so far.

I also took my last aerial class for a while, and sold my home apparatus to a classmate who will put it to much better use than I’ve been able to the past year. I’ll still be taking SUP classes but taking it easy with more yoga, along with regular yoga classes too.

It’s a crazy busy weekend ahead, between lunch plans with a friend, a big birthday party, and a baby shower. Yes, I’m planning on attending a baby shower, even after bailing on one just 4 months ago. This friend knows all about our struggles, and told me she completely understood if I didn’t go.¬† But her baby will be my patient, and I’m so excited to meet the little one! I know that I can leave early if things are getting to me, but I really want to be there for her.