Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Things have been pretty hectic the last few weeks. Since we have been a slave to the fertility schedule for the last 10 months and have not been able to take many trips, we immediately began forming plans. After we had our WTF appointment, we had a better idea of what our holidays would look like. Then Greg looked at his work schedule to see what would fit. We worked through many different scenarios, and settled on one that has us going from one end of the country to the other over the next several weeks. We will start our travels in Hawaii followed by trips to both respective families on the west coast and east coast. Plus, we will also get some time around the house to work on some projects. I am super excited about seeing family and friends, but also getting some rest and relaxation at the beach. Warm weather and the holidays seem like a weird combination, but I can work though that easily.

Somehow, I have been able to get all of the holiday decorating, gift buying, present wrapping and mailing and card sending done in a matter of about a week. I have also worked on a huge organization project around the house that I completed tonight, and gotten us ready for our 3 trips. I have managed to get more done in the last week than I have all year. It feels good to be busy and it is making things go faster. Soon it will be 2010! I am ready for 2009 to be in the past.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Frozen Versus Fresh

After a series of clunkers throughout high school and college, I bought my first new car shortly after moving to Seattle. I felt settled in my first real job, and thought it was time to make a big purchase. I traded in the feeling hope that the car would crank and the hassle of public transportation, for a 1999 Saturn SL1. The day I made the last payment, I celebrated my accomplishment with friends. It was not the prettiest car, or the fanciest car, but it got me where I needed to go when I needed to get there and I loved it. After about 9 years of car ownership, I began to brag about what a good practical car I had. Then it happened. . I started having problems with it. It started one spring morning on my way to work. My trusted car almost conked out on me during rush hour traffic on a major highway. I luckily made it off an exit and to a gas station. At this point Greg and I were married and I had a better job with more money, so we decided it was time for a new one. I remember the day we traded it in for a prettier, fancier and more sensible car the salesman looked at me and said, “I am sure you are really excited to get rid of this thing.” I was not and I wanted to punch him when he said that to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the butt warmers in my current car, but I loved my Saturn and the achievement, security and independence it represented.

I want to say out loud that I am proud of how my body has braved the last 10 months. After almost 3 weeks being hormone free, I am feeling pretty good. I amazed at how much energy I have and how good I feel. I am hoping that I am not jinxing my body like I did my car when I bragged about how good it has been to me because I am going to need it to help me through for a bit longer.

Greg and I have spent some time discussing frozen (FET Frozen Embryo Transfer) versus fresh. Two of our embryos made it freeze on the 6th day. We asked Dr. NiceGuy his opinion on frozen vs. fresh, hoping that he would just tell us what to do. We told him our dilemma and he understood and he said he would support us either way, but ultimately the decision was ours.

This is the dilemma: I am 36, and if best case scenario the frozen cycle ends in a singleton pregnancy, I will be pushing 38 trying to have a second child. Fertility starts to take another nose dive around then. I know I am getting ahead of myself, but I have always imagined at least two children. Maybe because I am the second child, I feel pretty strongly about it. We have very good reasons for wanting two. The main one being that Greg is an only child, and there will be no other children this child’s age on his side of the family. Secondly, I do have two wonderful nephews that are 6 and 4, but they live 3,000 miles away. We will be older parents, and will not be around forever. We want to make sure that this child has a support system. Lastly, I cannot imagine what it would be like to not have a sibling. I lean on Ninny (my sister) so much and I cannot imagine what it would be like to not have her support. She gets me like no one else does because we literally came from the same place. We were hoping that the frozen would be for a sibling. I know we are jumping ahead of ourselves and should concentrate on one at a time, but I feel strongly about having two children.

Ultimately, we decided to move forward with a FET in late January early February. We came to this conclusion for many reasons. First, who knows how the FET will turn out. We could be heading for another fresh anyway. Secondly, my body needs a break. Now, that I have come out of my hormone cloud I truly realize what I have put myself through. While I will still have to do Lupron, estrogen patches and PIO, we will not be stimulating my ovaries and doing a minor surgical procedure. I think it will be much easier on me, and hopefully making a better environment. Thirdly, we have a great group of friends with kids that they will be close in age to our child. I know Ninny and I will work hard to make sure that the cousins not only know each other, but they are there for each other. Who knows what technology will be like in the future for them to be able to communicate regularly and be a support system from long distance. I know e-mail, FB, skype and texting have made it so easy for me to be away from my family, imagine what will be possible for them. Also, Greg and I are healthy and this will give us even more incentive to stay that way. Lastly, who knows what will happen in the future. Maybe the next one will not be as hard as I think or maybe we will adopt the second. I am pushing this too hard to fit in a pretty little box. I need to back off, and let things happen as they should. As I have learned the hard way I cannot control this and the more I try the more pressure I am putting on myself. That cannot be helping things. So basically, the decision is keep moving forward, but to let things happen as they will.

In the meantime, I am going to work on the one thing I can control. I am going to be as good as I can to my body, so that it will be good to me and hopefully a visitor in the near future.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Celebration!!!! I love potty humor!! Every time anyone mentions the word fart, I immediately transform until an 8 year old boy laughing hysterically. Besides an occasional smell that has gone too far or too often, there is nothing funnier in my book. It goes behind flatulence. I love watching Dr. Oz and Oprah discussing appropriate poop. It is just funny they are on TV talking about s*&. I religiously check each BM to make sure it is the size and consistency (by look only!) that it should be. If it is not, I immediately report it first thing to my acupuncturist to help things along. I also report my progress on the BM front to Greg and friends whenever I see them. It always comes up in some form or fashion. Most people know that at a certain time every morning, I am in the bathroom like clockwork and if not then something is wrong. Surprisingly, I do still have friends. Evidently, pretty good ones since they put up and go along with my constant updates on how things are progressing. Luckily, Greg finds this trait endearing.

When I started the IVF cycle, I thought the worst part was going to be the stims, the shots, the constant juggling of schedules and the minor surgery. However, that was not the worst part. The worst part as imagined was that it came out with a BFN! My parting gift for receiving a BFN was the worst period of my life including cramps that required leftover vicodin and SEVERE uncomfortable constipation. That is right I have been living off of fiber rich foods and Fiber One bars for two weeks. Luckily, Costco sells Fiber One bars in bulk. After things got moving a long for a while with some help, I decided to back off and let things take their course. This would be why I am celebrating today. That’s right; I had my first bowel movement without help in two weeks!!! WooHooo!!!! It is the little things in life that get me by. I apologize for the TMI, but had to brag! I warned you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WTF? Still Don't Have a Clue.

Yesterday we met with Dr. NiceGuy for our WTF appointment. I have learned many things about the fertility clinic since becoming a patient there 10 months ago. Examples would be the following: blood drawn before 12 gets results back the same day, the front desk receptionist likes grande mocha in the morning, the majority of the medical assistants are clueless and I just have to keep pressing them to get what I want and the lab and the clinic bill separately. However, the most important thing I have learned is that IVF means you get face time with the doctor, and when IVF does not work you get to spend an hour and half with the doctor telling you how sorry he is. I felt like we were pushing him out the door instead of the reverse.

Overall, the appointment went well. His basic thought was that I stimmed well, the retrieval went well, the fertilization went well and the transfer went well. He thought my eggs looked good, uterine lining looked good and Greg’s sperm was good. (then WTF?) The only slightly abnormal thing was that from Day 3 to Day 5 typically about 50% of the embryos survive. We had 36% of our embryos survive. Although this was lower than expected, he felt that the 4 embryos we had looked very good. He felt that the thing we learned from this is that we can do this. He felt like it is a matter of time for us and we should try again.

In many ways it feels good to hear that there is no reason why this cannot work, if we just keep trying. Hopefully the numbers will fall in our favor at some point. In other ways, we wish we knew what we were up against, so that we could face our challenges and make decisions accordingly. Then we remember that this way there is hope that with time, patience and a crapload of money this will work at some point.

So, what is next? Since it has been 10 months since I had my HsG, he wants to do a Saline Infusion Sonogram to check my uterus out again. We have to decide if we want to do another fresh or frozen cycle. (I will write more on this later.) There are pros and cons for both. Depending on what we decide I may go on BCPs (birth control pills) with my next period or wait until my January cycle to continue. Regardless, I am excited to have a break from medicine regimes, appointment scheduling, ovulation tracking and reproductive researching. I am hoping to actually write a few blog posts that do not involve what is going on in lower half of my body. I am excited to have a few drinks, eat some raw fish, enjoy the holidays and look forward to a new year!

Monday, November 30, 2009


While I am a bit late on the Thanksgiving post, we are still in the season of thanks and giving so I am still going to tell the world why I am thankful. Below are my highlights:

Thanksgiving holiday – I always love Thanksgiving! It is time to come together with family and friends to share stories, eat a delicious meal and reconnect. Instead of being about presents and materialistic things, it is about being thankful and enjoying the day with people. (Luckily, we have family that is without drama for the most part, so it is enjoyable.) This year I am even more thankful for Thanksgiving for a completely different reason. This year it turned my focus from what I didn’t have to what I do. Instead of thinking about the baby that I don’t have, I could focus my attention on what I do have. The timing could not have been better.

Body - I want to officially thank my body for putting up with my shenanigans and moving forward like a trooper. Over the years, I have fed it horrible food, put it through the ringer in marathons and half marathons, and I will not even mention the abuse it endured in my twenties. Over the years, I have worked to be kinder in these regards, but still have my moments. This year alone, I have pumped it full of hormones, poked and prodded it repeatedly, yet it still shows up and does what it is supposed to do. It heals; it recovers and sticks with me.

Insurance – I am truly lucky to have insurance that has covered all our fertility expenses thus far.

Support Network - Many family and friends have been so supportive and wonderful during this hard time. I know it can be awkward when a friend or family member faces a disappointment, but many have stepped up and been there to listen and simply say they are sorry.

Husband - I do not know what I would do without Greg. Sometimes it is scary to be so dependent on someone, but he makes it so easy. He has listened to me cry, complain, and does what he can to help despite his own disappointment. He helps me to plan what is next. He encourages me to press on and heal. He can drive me crazy at times and I can do the same to him, but I know he is there and always will be. I am truly thankful to be married to such a good man.

Tomorrow we will have our WTF appointment. Looking forward to hearing what Dr. Nice Guy thinks happened. I will update after we have more information

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Below Average Athlete

Many people have heard me say that I am a below average athlete just trying to be average. I love working out and pushing my body. I love being outside especially on a cold, rainy windy Seattle day exercising. It makes me feel like I did something for myself and I didn’t let the weather or anything else stop me. I have decided that I really don’t like gyms, but like being outside to workout. It brings me back to glorious days of spending all day outside running, biking, swimming, kicking or throwing a ball and hanging out with my friends as a child. However, I do face many challenges as an athlete. Remember I said I am a BELOW average one. My challenges are as follows:

Horrible genes: Both of my parents are not athletic in the least bit, and would be the first to admit it. My mother has no coordination. She has sprained her ankle several times, broken wrists and even managed to break both of her feet at the same time. My father has the nickname Jet because while playing softball with his friends in college, he hit a homerun yet only made it to second base. He has no speed whatsoever. My dilemma is clear here. The only things I have going for me are endurance, strength and a desire to keep doing it.

Lungs: I was born 7 weeks premature 36 years ago. Lungs are one of the last things to develop. Also, I grew up with two smokers. In this day and age, it is amazing to think that parents would smoke with the windows rolled up in the car with their children as passengers. (Especially my parents, who love both my sister and I to pieces and would never intentionally hurt us.) Common sense would say that is a bad idea, but this was 30 years ago and things were different. Admittedly, my parents did not have the best role models with this. Three out of four of my grandparents also smoked, and did the same things to them. To prove that smoking is bad for you, the three smoking grandparents died much sooner than the one that did not. The good news is that neither of my parents smoke now. I don’t hold it against them, as I have said before s*#t happens.

The Twins: Yes, I have rather large breasts. . . DD. I have to be really careful with those things or I might poke an eye out. Exercising with large boobs can hurt. It is not comfortable, but after many years of trial and error I have learned that the right sports bra or bras can make all the difference. I don’t just wear one, but two. The bottom layer bra provides the most support. I usually go to the running store and ask them for the biggest, most supportive and best bra they have. Then I put a regular sports bra over that usually from Target. I MUST have two sports bras!!!! When I see other large breasted women running with them flying all around about to knock them out, I want yell out, “I don’t know you but you really need two maybe three sports bras, and for god sakes do not wear just a plain old bra to run. It does not work; you are going to injure yourself or someone else." That is my advice from a Below Average Athlete.

While I face these challenges, I still do it because I love the endorphins and it is my version of Prozac. Just like a crack head, I am addicted to the high that accompanies working out. It makes me feel good and eases my nerves.

After a month and half of concentrating on IVF and not being able to work out, I got out for the first time yesterday to run. I only ran 2 miles, but it was worth it! Immediately, I was aware of my challenges again. I started very slow and my lungs burned as I took in the crisp air. I could feel the tightness around my chest as my bras held me in place and my lungs worked hard. I relied on my strength and endurance to get past the burn and keep going. As I ran along the lake, it lightly misted and the cold air made me feel alive again. I wasn’t worried about ovarian torsion, raising my body temperature or whether or not I would catch a cold from running in the rain. I wasn’t thinking about the number of follicles, the quality of the embryos or the reason why it didn’t work. All I was thinking about was pushing through and using my body to make me feel good again.

It turns out that I am not only a Below Average Athlete, but also a Below Average Procreator. I am not totally aware of my challenges, so it makes them harder to overcome. However, I know I have the endurance and strength to get through them and keep pushing forward. Hopefully, after consulting with the doctors, we will learn more and try again. But not before we take a break for me to get my body back and heal emotionally. GHuman and I have spent the weekend talking, planning and supporting each other. It has been a hard weekend, but I am thankful for having the best husband in the world by my side

Friday, November 20, 2009


Big Fat Negative! Negative and Oprah quits! That sucks! Sucky day! I know I said I wouldn't post today, but I lied. I will write more over the weekend. I have already set up our What the F*#k Happened appoinment to figure out what is next. I am sad, but at least I know how to do this part. More to come later. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Test Day Tomorow

In my lifetime I have taken hundreds of tests, ran or walked marathons and half marathons and had several important deadlines that I have had to meet. All of them, I worked hard and sometimes months to prepare. Some were successful and some not. Usually, if they were not I could usually find the reason why I wasn’t successful. Tomorrow will be another test. The first blood test I have ever taken to test for pregnancy. Like all new experiences and pressure deadlines, I am nervous about it. However, I can say with confidence that I have done absolutely everything I can do to make this successful. We have administered the drugs according to the protocol. We have gone to doctors appointments as instructed. I have seen massage therapist, psychologists, and acupuncturists. My reproductive system shutdown and started back up beautifully for stimulation to go well. The egg retrieval and embryo transfer went as planned. I have prayed, meditated, listened to inspirational fertility cds, and done yoga specific for my fertility. I have read a million infertility blogs (I need an intervention!!!). Greg and I have grown stronger, learned more about each other and perfected our arguing technique to prepare for a child. Greg has prepared budgets and made plans to make sure our child will have a roof over its head and an education. My family members have helped to distract me and love me through this. My friends have supported me the better than I could have asked. In other words, we all have worked hard, and now we see the results of the preparation.

Tomorrow will be our first Beta or blood test. Again it will be about the numbers. If I am pregnant, there will be a number to indicate the amount of HcG hormone in my system. If it is good, then I will take another blood test two days later. If it doubles, it confirms the pregnancy. We would then take a third beta two days after that. If doubles again, they will schedule an ultrasound a week later with the RE. If all goes well with all of those, we would then graduate to a regular OB/GYN. If it all continues to go well, there will be more waiting and testing of our patience, but I am willing to do it. If not, we will begin to discuss our next steps.

I and we have done all we can do, and I am prepared for either outcome. At this point it is out of our hands, and what will be will be. If I want to get religious about it on you, it is in God’s hands. (I guess I just did.) Greg and I will be waiting until he gets home from work to listen to the results message together from the RE’s office. So there will probably not be a post tomorrow with results. Reality is that some of you will find out by reading it. I hate that, but I accepted when I decided to blog and invite you to read that it might be that way. If it is good news we can all celebrate for the moment that we got through that test, if it is bad news I ask that you give us a few days. However, we will want to hear from you. We all know the right thing to do and say if it goes well. Call, e-mail or whatever you want to do. However, some helpful hints for reactions if it doesn’t are the following: “MFer! What the hell happened!, That sucks! , What is next?”. We might need a day or two, but we will want to hear from you. E-mail would probably be best in that case. Even though, I am hoping for the best but you can’t blame for preparing for the worst too because frankly right now, I just don’t know. Again, I ask for prayers and good vibes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ute Cam

About 10 years ago, my Mother called me to tell me that my second cousin’s wife had just had a baby girl. I responded with I didn’t even know she was pregnant. She said weird thing is neither did she nor did my cousin’s wife. Yes, it was one of those freaky stories you hear about where a woman does not even know she is pregnant and goes to the emergency room with severe stomach pains and pops out a kid. Now, I have plenty of redneck family members who couldn’t find their way out of the trailer park to find a job, but could somehow end up pregnant. I also have many friends from high school that I am just waiting for a baby announcement on Facebook where they didn’t know they were knocked up. However, this woman is smart educated person who had already delivered 2 babies. I guess all I can say is that s*&t happens to the best of us, and I can’t explain it.

Which leads me to answer some questions some of you may be wondering about me, for example: How are you feeling? Are having any “symptoms”? I feel good. How about you? Physically, I have never felt better. I am really excited to not be sitting around the house and getting back into my normal routine. No, I am not having any “symptoms” yet and if I were I would probably ignore them for several reasons. First, I have had “symptoms” before and no baby. Two, I am hopped up on so many hormones right now that cause the same exact “symptoms” that there is no way to tell the difference. We are down to 1 progesterone in oil (PIO) shot a day and estrogen patches, but I still have lots of hormones going on. Last, many people don’t get “symptoms” until much later. That is why many people go out and get shitfaced drunk, smoke massive amounts of cigarettes and do drugs before they even know there is a bun in the oven. Let’s face it they just put those suckers back in me 5 days ago. They are hopefully getting themselves organized and arranged nicely for their extended visit. I will cut them some slack on giving me symptoms just yet. I am more than willing to wait on my “symptoms”, as long as they eventually make their appearance.

Am I going to pee on a stick (POAS) before my blood test on Friday to find out if I am pregnant? The answer is no. There are many many many people on the infertility blogs that do this. They have perfectly timed when the HcG shot ( a shot they given right before the egg retrieval to complete the egg maturation process. If one is doing an IUI, it is the shot they give to trigger ovulation. It is also the hormone that pregnancy tests and blood test pick up on to tell if someone is pregnant.) is out of their system and begin taking pregnancy tests several times a day until their blood test. The positive aspect of this approach is that it gives a heads up as to how the blood test will turn out. However, there are a few reasons I am adamant about not taking one. First, those damn things have never given me the answer I wanted up to this point (except for that one time . . . that is a different story altogether. Thank you, Lord), so why would I think they would start now. Secondly, because of the HcG shot can give you false positives and that is the last thing I want right now. I know I can find out online when it is a good time to test, but I am still not going to do it.

My husband has what we affectionately call the ass cam in his car. When he puts the car in reverse his GPS screen shows what is behind him, so that he doesn’t have to strain his poor little neck to back out. While I wish there was a ute cam in my uterus, showing what is going on with the little ones, it just hasn’t happened yet. However, the doctor also just gave me a picture of hopefully my future child/children with a 100 cells, so give it some time somebody will make one. It would be nice to peak in and see what they are up to and to try and convince them to stay if they wanted to jump ship, but for now I am going to have to wait until Friday to see if they are there. I guess the bottom line is that even though, I saw on an ultrasound screen the exact moment that I may or may not have gotten pregnant, I am not different than anyone else on knowing if I am pregnant or not until the fat lady sings. I am hoping that fat lady is me from a big ole baby in my belly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Honor Roll

When the Embryologist came in yesterday to give us a picture of our 2 beautiful Grade A Embryos, I suddenly felt I needed a bumper sticker for the back of my car that said my embryos made the honor roll at Insert Fertility Clinic Name. We also found out this morning that we had two more that made it to freeze. With all the ups and downs of the last 9 months, I went into this first IVF cycle with cautious optimism and have been pleasantly surprised through process. We are happy, proud and appreciative to get this far.

The embryo transfer for the most part went pretty well. I went to acupuncture right before and got nice and relaxed. Once I was finished, I had to rush home to drink 32 ounces of water, take 2 valium and meet Greg. When we got to the clinic we had to wait 30 minutes before they came to get us, which left lots of time for those 32 ounces of water to accumulate in my bladder and want to exit. So, they checked my bladder on the ultrasound right off and decided that I need to let some of it go. They told me to fill up two and half cups. Let’s just say it is hard to do, but it worked out and I did feel better afterwards. The entire transfer took about 30 to 40 minutes, and we were out the door. We celebrated afterwards with Beechers Mac and Cheese, Brussels sprouts and shared cupcakes. At least we had the green vegetable to balance it out a bit.

My Mom, who has been here for the last week and half providing moral support and helping me with stuff around the house, is leaving tomorrow. I will be sad to see her go. No one takes better care of you then your Mom and she has been perfect. Physically, I feel much better. I turned a corner Monday night and really feel good right now. I know a lot of that is because my Mom has watched the Tudors with me for 3 days, did my laundry, cooked and cleaned and did anything else I needed her to do. She has been great.

So, now the WAIT begins. . .

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Ovaries Hate Me and I Don't Blame Them

I feel like everything from my bellybutton to my thighs hates me right now and I really don't blame them. I have been poking and proding them since October 11th and they have had enough. I am crampy and it hurts to lay on my side, which sucks because I sleep on my side. When talking to the doctor about my discomfort he said it was normal and that they follicles themselves were a little bit larger than a marble and with an average of 8 on each side both my ovaries were the size of an orange. However, I am happy as a clam and will do whatever I can to help them to heal because they have done good work. I am pampering them with heating pads and stool softners (I like potty talk, get over it). Out of the 17 eggs retrieved, 14 were mature, 12 allowed the sperm in and fertilized and on Day 3 we have 11 continuing to do well. 8 of the 11 are 8 cell, which is the as good as it gets and 3 are between 5 and 7 cells, which is not too shabby at all. Greg and I are excited! We are going on to a Day 5 blastocyst transfer with assisted hatching, which is good.* Although we know that we will probably loose at least half of the embryos by Day 5, we feel good that we will have a better chance by doing it this way.

I have gotten a bit supersitious and spiritual with all of this. Like a teenage girl, I make a wish at every opporunity that comes my way. The following would be examples: when the clock hits 4:44, 5:55 or 12:34 or anyother similar combination, I kiss my necklace clasp when it is in the front and make a wish as I turn it around to the back of my neck, I made sure to set my intention for the month on the night of the full moon. I also made a promise to God that I would read the bible for a whole month once a day from September 29 to October 29. I am still trying to do it, but it doesn't always work out. We have also been going to church. While these things may or may not effect the outcome, I will continue to do them, and hope it doesn't turn out the same way that the wish I made in 8th grade about that boy I liked did. I also appreciate all the prayers and good vibes from family and friends. I could not do it without you and please keep them coming. I will return the favor for you anytime I can, and always find a way to work you in on my daily prayers. We still have a very long road to go and this will not be over until there is a baby in arms, but for today I feel hopeful. I am going to lean on hopeful to help get me through the hard parts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who's Coming to the Party?

I don't know about the rest of the world, but I always get a bit nervous right after I send out invitations to a party I am hosting. There is a split second where I feel everyone on the eVite is going to reject it and everyone responding to it will see that I am a looser. I know it is stupid, but I always feel that way regardless.

Today we had 17 eggs say they are up for a party. However, tomorrow we find out how many are really up for a good time. Everything went well, I felt like it was a well-oiled machine from the time we walked in the door.

- Changed into my cute party dress - hospital gown and booties and a cute new hat
- Nurse came in to give us a rundown of what is going to happen
- Anthesiologist came in to do a little talk and make sure we are on the same page
- Drugs administered - One thing I remember right before I went to sleep is that they turned on some music. It was possibly the worst song you could imagine, "She Like The Wind". Yes, the horrible song Patrick Swazye sang on the Dirty Dancing albumn. I hope my eggs forgive me for not only having them sucked out of my ovaries by a large needle, but also the horrible background music that accompanied the experience. Already they have been traumatized.
- Wake up and they give me juice and crackers, more instructions, progesterone shot training and a quick trip to the bathroom.
- We are on our way home.

All in all not a bad experience, and we were out the door in 2 hours. Dr. NiceGuy was super nice today and came back to make sure I was OK after the procedure and tell us how excited he was.

Tomorrow the nurse will call us and let us know how many fertilized. I am nervous because this is the part where we could find out why things aren't working. We get to see how Greg's sperm reacts to my eggs, they are able to actually look at my eggs and understand more about their quality. Or things could go really well, so I am not all doom and gloom just cautious. I am nervous, but trying to not think about it too much. Luckily, Mom is here and she is talking my ear off (bless her heart). She is doing a great job of taking care of me though and for that I am greatful.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quality Versus Quantity

I have a degree in Child and Family Development. I remember when I chose this major I had absolutely no idea what I would do for a career. However, I felt with confidence that I would use it in my own life. After all, at some point I would get married and have children, right? It is a bit ironic (don’t you think, yes I do Alanis Morisett) that I in fact I did not even begin to use this degree until I married Greg two years ago at the age of 34.

Instead I spent some time utilizing my unofficial major, which was Greek Life. Yes, I was in a sorority and I will admit it. My entire family makes fun of me for this, so feel free to do so as well. It was useful experience for me, and I give it credit for the people and opportunities it has brought me in my life. Although, I worked in Human Resources as a career, I spent a large amount of my spare time after college as an Advisor for the sorority. As a result, I have participated in many Recruitments (the new word for Rush) to add women to the organization both as a collegian and as an advisor. One of my pet peeves during Recruitment was hearing members say that Recruitment is about quality not quantity. I get that we wanted to invite good people to join, but the phrase “quality versus quantity” always annoyed me. Who defines what a “quality” person is? I guess I have always felt that we all have different likes and dislikes and what I may like in one person, someone else may not like. As I have mentioned before, life is a numbers game and the more opportunities I have to get to know people the more there is a possibility that I will find someone that has the qualities I like. Therefore, the more the merrier.

So, today we went in for our final ultrasound before the egg retrieval and I found my numbers theory challenged. We got great news! I have 18 follicles that they counted. There are at least three over the magic 18mm number at 19, 19, and 20. We have about 3 more at 17, and 12 that are between 11 and 16mm, which have some good potential. My uterine lining is at 14, which is fantastic. I believe anything over 8 is good and we want a nice and cushy lining for the embryos to snuggle into after transfer. We are set for 8AM retrieval on Thursday. The numbers look good; however, if they are not good quality it does not matter how many they retrieve. So, I am willing to throw my theory out the window and adjust my prayers for good quality and healthy embryos. Because in the end, we want a happy and healthy baby not a bunch of numbers.

So, with that being said, I am severely bloated and uncomfortable. The only way I can describe it is that I can actually feel my ovaries anytime I move. Sometimes I get worried, when I sit down, bend over or cough that I might hear a pop pop pop of them bursting. I know it cannot happen, but I admit it goes through my head to be careful with those suckers. The good news is that my clothes fit and it is not as bad as I thought it would be. I never ever thought I would say this, but I am looking forward to the ultrasound sound wand with a 12 inch needle attached being up my whoo-ha (TMI, sorry) for a little relief. I hope and pray in the end it will be worth it, and I will get to utilize more of that degree finally. Please send good thoughts, prayers, vibes or whatever ever it is that you send my way Thursday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hello, Estrogen My Old Friend

I have a longer posting in my head, but haven’t quite gotten all of it together. However, I want to give an update. We started going in for monitoring appointments on Tuesday, and they seem to be going OK. I am continuing to have about 14-16 follicles. We are seeing growth of about 1 to 2 mm per day, which is on track. Right now my largest is at 14.4 mm and the smallest is about 6.6mm. Once we get at least two follicles to 18mm, we will be ready to give the final hcG shot to do the egg retrieval. They are projecting a Wednesday retrieval. Because it is the weekend I saw a different doctor this morning, and I don’t like her as much as my doctor. She is knowledgeable and nice enough, but she didn’t have the same compassion and empathy as Dr. NiceGuy. I was a bit worried because I had expected to be a bit further along today, and her answer was you are very average and should be OK, and then smoothed it over by telling me that in medicine average is good. I guess . . Hopefully, my average ovaries produce average follicles that will be put with average sperm and become an average embryo that will be implanted into my average uterus and become an average baby. I guess. . .

On another note, my old crazy friend, Estrogen, has come back and I am a bit on the edgy side. My estrogen level one week ago was 33. Now it is over 1100. In other words don't f*** with me right now. It has been a bit of a rough day, but Greg and I have come to a truce and he is being great. Some neighbors had us over for dinner, and it was great to get away and my mind off things for a bit. Now, we are back home enjoying handing out candy to the trick or treaters. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I have had several different jobs in my lifetime and the one I enjoyed the least was Telemarketer. This was a pretty easy job to get when I was in college, and my roommate was making good money with it at the time (She’s a talker, and I still love her today for it.). Besides developing a thick skin, it was my first lesson in the numbers game. I cannot remember exactly how it goes, but for every 100 calls you make, 80 will hang up or tell you to go to hell, 20 will actually listen and 1 will result in a sale. I am not sure if that is exactly correct, but hopefully the point is clear. I learned that more I put myself out there, the more I had a chance of getting what I wanted, which at the time was to pay my rent and sorority dues.

Since then, I have applied this theory to other aspects of my life. When I moved to Seattle, I learned that the more times I put myself out there joining clubs, going to events and going out to new places the more people I would meet that could lead to more friends. I also, have used this when looking for jobs. The more companies I talked to the more I learned about what would work for me, thus find a good match for them and me. I met my husband online (I am not ashamed admit it.). I found the more men I talked to and dated, the more I narrowed down my tastes and preferences. I made it a rule to always be talking to a minimum of 5 guys at all times with at least one date or more a week. This resulted in my meeting the nicest, most compassionate and supportive man ever, and gladly accepting his marriage proposal a year later.

So, I find myself obsessing about the number of follicles I have ready and waiting to become mature by the nice and expensive drugs I am pumping through my body. Right now, it is a lucky number 16. (Brief fertility lesson – We are born with a certain number of follicles that turn into eggs that we are ever going to have. At the beginning of each cycle, the follicles that were scheduled for that month come up to the plate. These were the follicles that have been scheduled for October of 2009 ever since I was born. So, this cohort, which I believe is the term, are the 16 follicles that I am referring.) I have heard of some women having 30+ at this stage in the game. However, I think there is a point where having too many is not good with all the miracle grow drugs they give you. My number is perfectly acceptable; however, according my rules the more the better. I need to be happy with what I have right now, and try and distract myself. Therefore instead of looking at how many follicles I have, I am going to count how many pokes I have had (dirty), to get to this point. By pokes, I mean how many needles have I endured to date on my quest to have a child. Below are my calculations to date:

Blood draws: 16
Acupuncture: 162
Injections: 33
Total: 211

Now those are some numbers! That is what I am talking about! I hope everyone had a great weekend not obsessing about your numbers!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Think I Might Have Been His First Too . . .

I think I might have been his first too. . . We went in yesterday morning for the suppression check and Dr. NiceGuy brought a resident in for the ultrasound. He looked more like someone that I needed to sit down and explain the birds and bees, then an expert on my whoo-ha and ovaries (it is still a strange experience for me to have doctors even look my age, much less like someone I may have babysat ). After we exchanged introductions and pleasantries, Dr. NiceGuy and Dr. YoungGuy began preparing the magic wand with a condom (for my protection) and some lube. Dr YoungGuy did an excellent job. He had a bit of a hard time locating my ovaries. However, with all the medicine, poking and prodding over the last year, my ovaries have been hiding the last few months. They are feeling a bit violated and wish everyone would leave them alone. This too has happened with the most skilled nurses and ultrasound technicians in the office before, so I will cut Dr. YoungGuy some slack. With some coaching from Dr. NiceGuy, the ovaries were found and there were no cysts, which is great news. It looked like there were about 16 resting follicles between the two ovaries. They always seem a little vague on this number, so it could be more or less, but I am going to go with 16. After consulting Google, it looks like this is normal for someone my age. It is not a stellar number like a woman in her twenties, but not something to be disappointed about either. The bloodwork to check my estrogen level came back showing that my reproductive system has in fact shut down, so we cut back on the Lup.ron to about a ¼ of what it has been (we continue with the Lup.ron so that my body does not ovulate on its own) and we started stimulation shots tonight. They also drew blood to make sure that I now have the antibody for the chicken pox and we will not get those test results back until Monday. All in all, I am excited with the news

From my previous experience with IUIs, I know that this stage can be a bit nerve racking. Not only is my body being pumped up with hormones, but it is now game time. Starting on Tuesday, we will go in every other day or everyday until the egg retrieval. We will be going in to monitor the follcles to see how they are growing. Once we get enough that are over 18mm they will do the egg retrieval. I am not sure of the number they will want over 18, so I need to research that. It is the time where I usually begin to start obsessing about how things are progressing. Since my follicles have stalled out before I worry whether or not they are growing and this time I am going to worry about how many too. Besides taking my shots, going to acupuncture and trying to relax, there is not much I can do about it. I am going to do whatever I can to get my mind off of it though. The plan this week is to try and go swimming twice, do yoga every day, walk most days, volunteer 3 days, read my trashy romance novel, work on my blog, regular house maintenance and finish organizing our office for my Mom’s visit. If anyone has any ideas of things to help take my mind off of it, I am open. I am also collecting movies to watch. Suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My First

The first time I needed to find a doctor on my own, I called my Mom for advice. She suggested that I find a female doctor. Her theory was that a male doctor could never understand my body as well as a female. I have always used this as a rule when looking for a medical provider. I have a female dentist, female dermatologist, female therapist, female internist and female obgyn. When I originally called our Fertility Clinic, I was excited to be able to see a female RE. She left the practice in July and to be honest, I didn’t think she was the best doctor ever, so I was not completely disappointed. She recommended that I continue my care with Dr. NiceGuy in the same practice. . . a male. I eagerly accepted because he has an excellent reputation and has helped a few of our other friends achieve pregnancy after some long battles with infertility.

However, on the eve of my first ultrasound with the magic wand by Dr. NiceGuy, I am a bit nervous. Now, I am wishing I had broken myself in with at least a male dermatologist. I know it is completely silly and stupid to be nervous about a male doctor giving me an exam versus a female, but it seems a little weird. He is a kind, knowledgeable doctor with an excellent manner that immediately puts me at ease. I guess the good part is it is taking my mind off the fact that if all looks good tomorrow, we will be officially starting this. Tomorrow we sign on the dotted line that we are going to go through with this, we agree that they can take eggs out of me and sperm from Greg and unite them in a petri dish (romantic), that we will pay for it if the insurance doesn’t, and that we will pay a storage fee for any extra frozen embryos (God willing). It is kind of a big deal. It is exciting, but very scary at the same time. It could be the best thing we have ever done or it could extremely disappointing. So, in retrospect the whole male doctor looking up my hoo-ha is not that big of a deal. Plus, I know I will be in good hands, literally I guess. On that note, I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not Feelin' It

I live in Seattle . . . yes, it rains . . . it rains a lot and for the most part it does not bother me. I am originally from the Southeast, and I spend a fair amount of energy defending my decision to move to a dark, gloomy place on the other side of the country. The truth is I like the rain. I like that it makes the landscape lush and green all year long. I love waking up to hear rain drops on the roof and rolling over to cuddle up with Greg. I love the way the rain combines with the city lights to make the sky a beautiful orange and purple color at night. I love coming home, walking in our house from braving the rain, and feeling a rush of warm air making me feel safe and secure. I am not saying it is not annoying at times, but that it is tolerable and there are parts of it that I enjoy.

Fall is here now and we are starting to feel the real Seattle again after several months of warm sunshine. Last Friday was one of those typical Seattle days. I made sure to wear my good rain jacket and a sturdy pair of shoes to protect myself from the weather, as I hurried out the door to meet friends. I spent the afternoon with some girlfriends getting a massage and going out for tapas for happy hour. It was nice and relaxing and just what I needed to help ease my nerves and not think about the whole IVF process. While we were talking, one of my friends asked if I was OK that I seemed a bit subdued. I told her the truth the Lu.pron that I am taking right now to shut down my reproductive system is making me feel really flat. I am not happy. I am not sad. I don't feel either way. I then changed the subject because I just did not feel like talking about it at the moment. They gracefully dropped it because they have been wonderful to listen when I need it and to back away when I would rather not go there.

However, I began thinking about it more on the way home driving in the hard rain storm. I began to think, is it really the Lup.ron or is it this process that is making me flat? Whenever I have taken the Myers – Brigg test, I am always borderline introvert/extrovert. Sometimes it comes back as an introvert other times an extrovert. I do feel like this process has made me go inward more than I normally am. I am still reaching out to people for support, but I am really working at it. Honestly, I want to be alone most of the time, but I know that would not be good. I am really trying not to do that, but it is hard sometimes not to go into my shell. I do think some of it is all the medicine going in and out of my body; however, I think a lot of it is just the disappointment and anxiousness that goes along with all of this is staring to wear on me a bit. This is not what I thought IVF would be like. I thought that I would be an emotional grumpy mess. Of course, there is still time once they pump me full of estrogen. I could be begging for this empty feeling inside of a week.

As I continued to drive in the rain pondering these thoughts, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. “Babylon” by David Gray reminds me so much of my journey in rainy Seattle. The first year and half here were hard trying to find my first “real” job and making new friends. I thought it was never going to happen, but I finally found a job I loved and with it many great friends. The song was popular around the time that I started to really get my groove here. It reminds me that I went through something hard, but turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s lyrics also remind me that I need to feel this and to remember it. I want to feel this and remember it, so that when my child one day is keeping me awake or talking back to me or just generally driving me nuts, I can remember what it was like to want them so badly that I did whatever I had to do to get them here. Once I reached the house the song ended and I gathered my things to go inside. I made a point of not lifting my hood to protect my head, but instead chose to let myself feel the now misting cool rain. It felt good, as anxiously opened the door to see Greg waiting for me to arrive.

“If you want it
Come and get it
Crying out loud
The love that I was
Giving you was
Never in doubt
Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now”

David Gray

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Schedule

I want to give everyone an idea of what I will be going through for the next month or so. I realize that not everyone reading this blog is familiar with the ins and outs of IVF, so here is my brief amature explanation. The process starts with Birth Control pills and a drug called Lu.pron to shut my reproductive system down. Shutting it downs sounds counterintuitive; however, it helps to get more mature follicles and manipulate the cycle to prevent less complications. If everything shuts down nicely, they will turn me back on high with stimulation drugs to make follicles grow. I will continue on the Lu.pron to make sure that I do not ovulate on my own. We will go in for daily ultrasounds to watch my follicles get to maturity. Once things look good, we will do the egg retreival. Basically, I will be given the Michael Jackson drug (my doctor's words, I swear), and with an ultraound as a guide they will retrieve eggs. The embryologist will inject Greg's sperm directly into them, then put them in the freezer to grow for a few days. After a few days, they will check up on them to see how they are growing. Depending on how they grow and what happens, we could either transfer them back on Day 3 or Day 5. That was not as brief as I would have liked, but hopefuly you get the idea.

Below is a list of what my IVF schedule looks like right now:

9/2 – Met with doctor to discuss IVF option
9/16 – Start period
9/17 – Start Birth Control Pills (BCP) , Day 3 tests. FSH – tests ovarian reserve 4.43 (anything over 10 is bad), Estradiol (E2 or checking estrogen level) – 40 decent, but not great, Thyroid – looks good. Prolactin – Looks good. Test for communicable diseases for GHuman and me.
9/22 – Turns out I never had the chicken pox. Go get chicken pox vaccine to be done 30 days before retrieval. It can be dangerous to get chicken pox when you are pregnant.
10/11 – Start Lu.pron – Drug that works to shut down my natural reproductive system.
10/17 – Stop BCPs
10/22 – Suppression check to make sure my system has shut down, ultrasound to see how many follicles might be there and blood draw for estradiol
10/23 – If everything looks good at suppression checks, things are shut down and I have no cysts we will start stimulation drugs (crank her back up) to help resting follicles to grow. I will take 300 ius of Gonal.F and Menoupau.r
10/28 – Start Daily checks to see what follicles are up to, and once they are mature (18mm) then they will do the retrival.
11/3 – Estimated date of egg retrieval. Sperm is injected into egg via a procedure called ICSI
11/6 – If it is a Day 3 Transfer – They check on surviving embryos. If there are two that stand out over the rest, then they will go ahead and put them back in me. If there are more than two that look outstanding and perfect, they will wait until Day 5 to transfer. Statistically, half of the embryos are lost between Day 3 and 5, and they want to get the very best ones to transfer.
11/8 – If it is a Day 5 Transfer
11/18 – Beta – Blood draw to see if I am pregnant

This is what this look like today pending any changes. There are many things that could happen to delay us, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. One day at a time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Little History

Even at the age of 36, my mother has the ability to embarrass me like no other. She reads the books I am reading to learn more about me, calls my phone without leaving messages at least once a day, tells stories about me to complete strangers and constantly comments on my Facebook postings (even though I have asked her to refrain). As much as she gets on my nerves, I know in the bottom of my heart it is because she loves me and for that I am truly lucky. She can be a bit over the top in her expressions of love, but I have come to realize it is not a bad thing. Not really. The upside is that no matter how down I feel I know I can call my Mom and she is there to tell me how fantastic I am just for being her daughter. She works hard at being a good Mom and as one of her daughters I can say she is successful and has provided me great memories.

One of my favorite memories of my Mother was the time she spent with my sister, Ninny (my name for her, as well as, for the purposes of this blog), and me singing when we were young. We sang in the car everyday on the 30 minute drive to work/school in the morning and 30 minutes on the way home in the afternoon 5 days a week. We had duets where she sang certain parts of the song and cued us when it was our turn. However, my favorite time of the week would be when she would get out her guitar and sing to us. The songs consisted of mainly The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and Peter, Paul and Mary songs. The song “Too Much of Nothing” by Peter, Paul and Mary was a song that always made the song list for our mini shows and we sang along happily with her. This song has been on my mind a lot lately for various reasons. My husband, Greg, and I decided about 2 years ago that I would quit my job, we would travel the world and when we were finished a year later I would hopefully be knocked and carrying our child. It was a fabulous plan that worked up until the getting knocked up part. It seems like that is taking a bit longer than we expected and as a result, I am doing “Too Much of Nothing” these days.

I am being a bit hard on myself though, for the last year and half I have been volunteering several days a week working with at risk children, researching graduate school programs and taking a few classes online to get myself ready. I also have had the wonderful opportunity to hang out with some great friends and play with their fabulous children. Last, we have been doing fertility treatments for the 8 months and that keeps me busier than you would imagine. So, I am doing something. This month we are starting our first IVF cycle and there is a lot to do get ready and keep track of all that needs to be done to be successful. Hopefully, this blog will also occupy some time while keeping family and friends up to date with what we are doing. Below is our infertility journey so far, to catch you up:

8/07 – Married 
12/07 – Quit my job and began traveling
5/08 – Last month of birth control, but not officially trying. We had to make sure I did not get malaria after a trip to Africa, so we used condoms in the meantime. Condoms suck when you are married. . . just so you know. Otherwise, I highly reccomende them.
8/08 – Officially started trying to have a baby
12/08 – Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and start charting cycles and using a Fertility Monitor to pinpoint ovulation.
2/ 09 – Seek advice from Reproductive Endocrinologist (I am no spring chicken)
Lots of test on Greg and me - Sperm Analysis is good. HSG - a test where they shoot dye up your hoo-ha to see if there are any obstructions. Everything looks good. Lots of lab tests and everything looks good.
3/09 – Since we are no spring chicken we started Letrazole/Femera
4/09 - Letrazole/Femera plus and IUI #1(Intrauterine Insemination aka turkey baster with sperm inserted into my uterus = romantic)
5/09 - Attempted an IUI while doing ultrasounds to track follicle growth. Follicles stalled out meaning they did not get big enough to have a successful result. IUI canceled.
6/09 – IUI #2 with injectables and femara (lots of estrogen given to me as a shot in the abdomen or thigh to help follicles to grow) Follicles get to maturirty.
7/09 – IUI#3 with injectables and femera
8/09 – IUI#4 2 day back to back with injectables and femara
9/09 – IUIs are not working, we decided to move on to IVF. Started birth control pills to begin IVF (InVitro Fertilization – sperm and egg meet in a petri dish)
Full IVF schedule in another post

Besides a few slow growing follicles in May, we do not have a clear reason why this is not happening. However, we have faith that we will be parents with some patience and prayers one day. When it does happen, I am sure that I will love them so much that I will embarrass them on a daily basis. Until then, I am going to enjoy my time doing Too Much of Nothing.

“Too much of nothin' can make a man feel ill at ease
One man's temper might rise, while the other man's temper might freeze.
In the days of long confessions, we can not mock a soul
When there's too much of nothin', no one has control.”

Peter, Paul and Mary