My life as a pincushion and other adventures in infertility

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Me and My Pillow

I've been a terrible blogger. I'm sorry. The truth of the matter is ... I've been spending a lot of time with my pillow. Turns out, it takes a lot of energy (and spaghetti and meatballs -- one of my cravings) to grow a baby.

I am officially 17.5 weeks (but whose counting ...) and the baby bump is out there for the world to see. Luckily, the urge to puke has been left behind (but not before a very public incident in the cosmetics aisle of CVS. My apologies to the few unlucky customers that fell victim and to the carpet). But for the most part, aside from wanting to sleep morning, noon and night, things are rolling along.

The Negotiation

So a final decision has been made and we will be asking the ultrasound guru to reveal the sex. I have never been a patient person, and I think its unlikely the trait will kick in now. So, waiting another 20 weeks is beyond my capacity. My husband, on the other hand, couldn't be more patient and would love to wait until the finish line. Since this pregnancy hasn't made him puke, I got 51 percent of the vote and gave a promise that if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again, we can go the old-fashioned route and wait to find out on the birth day then.

And although I feel guilty writing it ... I do have a preference. I'm really hoping the stork wrapped up our package in pink.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Beautiful Sac and Yolk Sac Right Where It's Supposed To Be ...

*Sigh* It's been a long 24 hours.

I started bleeding last night. (Having gone through an ectopic/miscarriage before, the site of blood sent me into full panic mode). So we called CCRM and paged the doc on call, which was Schoolcraft (my first contact with him). My husband was trying to describe the situation and Schoolie cut him off and requested to chat with me. Too funny. So, I explained there was some blood and some cramping. He told me it was probably okay, but told me to head in and get an ultrasound and hcg first thing this morning.

Although not a morning girl at all, I pulled it together at the crack. At this point, the blood was now just traces of brown. Schoolie called early, while I was getting my blood draw, to see how I was. Have to say, I was impressed by that. He was very excited about the brown color. Brown = good, we were told.

Then, my old RE saw me personally for the ultrasound. (I was so, so thankful of his willingness to see me and do the ultrasound personally rather than having to have the experience with a tech I didn't know.) And ... then, the amazing part happened. We saw the sac and yolk sac. A beautiful site. Just one, but a beautiful one. My old RE was hugged several times after this discovery. One of those hugs was from by my husband while the man was holding the ultrasound dildo. It was quite a site.
My hcg came back at 10,000 (up from 3,900 three days ago ... so also a good sign).

Feet Up
I was told to go home and put the feet up. So here I am, feet up and afraid to move. This afternoon, I had a bit more blood (at least old looking blood rather than fresh blood), which the nurse said might happen. Apparently, from the ultrasound they believe they could see where I was bleeding from and it sounds like it was a maybe tear in the uterus rather than a sensitive cervix. (Yikes ... don't like the sound of it at all. A sensitive cervix sounds so much better.) But, I think the bean and I are going to be just fine. I have a feeling. My husband keeps on telling me this is our time, and I've decided to believe it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And the Betas Are In ...

It turns out I am no better waiting for my betas than I was during the two-week wait. I'm pretty sure I am supposed to be learning a lesson in patience here ... but I'm not sure it's sticking!

So, beta number two (11DP5DT)has come in at 309!!!!! It more than tripled from my first beta (9DP5DT), which was at 92.8. *Sigh* I'm really knocked up. (OK ... even that little comment is enough to start me crying. The emotions have definitely not been what you would call on solid ground. Welcome to hormones.)

Surprisingly, I have already been nauseated on and off for a few days. On the first night I felt it, I questioned whether I had food poisoning. Sorry neighborhood burger joint. I wrongly accused you! It was all the work of the the bean(s).

The Birthday Present

I also received the orders for our first ultrasound to see the heartbeat today. And it turns out, it will be on May 5th, which just happens to be my 38th birthday. This is going to be the best birthday of my life. (Don't worry Mom, my the Alice in Wonderland Birthday party when I was 5 still comes in a close second.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Heart CCRM!

There are two lines!!!!!!

The husband and I have starred at that stick it in 10 different lights, left it on the counter run back to it, checked it 110 times ... and although faint, every time we see a beautiful double line.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not the Buddha

So, can I just say I am terrible ... and I do mean terrible ... at the two-week wait. The Valium from transfer day has definitely worn off! I already want to POAS (which is ridiculous because I am only 3 days post transfer ... ) and yet that might not stop me.

I was so Buddha there for 24 hours post transfer (which probably had a lot to do with the Valium), and was feeling so relieved because of the 100 percent cell survival on the frosties and the hatching!! We've never hatched before. On a side note for those of you doing the Microarray at CCRM, you will likely hatch, too. John the embryologist explained that the small hole from the biopsy provides an opening, much like assisted hatching.

So ... when do you think is the earliest I can POAS. 5DPT? And for those of you that have already gotten your BFPs, did you have implantation bleeding? (No sign of that so far ...) I am driving myself nuts. I want these babies so badly ...

I'm taking it very easy and just waiting. Too things I have never reached pro status at. A few twitches and twinges here and there, but nothing major to report.

If you are out there and know the secret to the TWW, please, please, please take me out of misery and share.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mr. Team IVF has a few things to say

Greetings to all the boarders:

First the very, very good news: Mrs. TeamIVF is the new recipient of two hatching blastos. More on that later since she's still napping and the cat keeping her feet warm looks like he doesn't want to be disturbed. Mrs. Team, however, gave me full permission to post for her. Of course, the temptation to say all sorts of snarky things immediately goes out the window when I remember that Mrs. Team's estrogen is somewhere in the Everest range. But then I also remember that moi, Monsieur Team, has had his work completed a long, long time ago.

Enough about me since it's really all about Mrs. Team and all the Mrs. Team comrades out there. From the 22-gauge butt shots (does that make me a gun enthusiast?) to the various other medicines (that you girls know what I'm talking about) required for this super long process, even more reasons why we Mr. Teams are damn lucky to have you.

More about Mrs. Team's new hatchlings: they looked like little ying-yangs on the screen before going into their new home. Mrs. Team isn't a big sweet-and-sour fan, so maybe this will solve that little issue the next time we order Chinese food. Then, after the RE dropped them off, the embryopro told us that there was no cell loss from the thaw and, yes, hatching was a good thing. (Full disclosure: I asked the last question; those of you who know Mrs. Team undoubtedly know she knows much more than her Mr., but I do try.)

I'm sure Mrs. Team will write more later when the valium wears off. She was never given it in our other IVF tours, and she's not crampy at all. Makes me wonder if that would help my next marathon...

With all luck and prayer, more good news to come!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Little Lining That Could

So, I'm in Colorado and I had a follow-up ultrasound at CCRM on Sat. My lining is finally behaving and plumped up from a 7.1 to 8.5!!!! We finally hit and passed the magic number. I ended up crying when the verdict was in. And then laughing at myself for crying over my uterine lining.(The ultrasonographer told me many a girl had broke down over the same thing.)

Come Friday, two of our frostie 5-day-olds will be transferred. I honestly can't wait. It has taken almost a year to complete this last IVF cycle (with microarray testing and canceled cycles over a thin lining in the mix). Now we are finally at the finish line and I couldn't be more ready. The Bunny heard me. All I want for Easter is two eggs in my basket, and it looks like that is exactly what I am going to get!

P.S. I am wildly jealous of all those who got to eat chocolate bunnies today. Next Easter, I'm taking down my share X 10 to make up for my currently chocolate-less life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Oh Why Won't My Lining Cooperate?

So, I am estrogened up. And when I say estrogened up, I mean it. My counts are currently over 5,000. My lining ... not so much. The first ultrasound showed a 7.1mm. Better than last time, but no where near the 12mm that it got to during the stim cycle.

What the heck? The more frightening part is when I asked my nurse what the alternatives are, she pretty much said they are using all the big guns on me. There aren't other super lining drugs out there to try out that we haven't tried.

Our Plan

So, I hit a slump last night. As you can imagine with my estrogen levels, the emotions weren't exactly steady to start with. Today, feeling a bit better.

We've decided to head to Denver for the next ultrasound on Sat. They just have better equipment and the techs seem to do a much more detailed job. So, there you have it. I'm going in to ultrasound 2 with mad hope. What else can a girl do?

Mr and Mrs IVF and the Hope They Give Me

The plan from Doc S is to rescan on Sat, with the hope that the lining has beefed up a bit, but as long as it hasn't shrunk at all, they want to move forward with the transfer. I have mixed feelings, because it took so very much to get our frozen family and I don't want to transfer unless it is optimal conditions. That said, it doesn't look like there is any known way to get me to those optimal conditions.

The story of Mr. IVF (who has since become Mr. Inbetween and is a second trimester father of twins) gives me hope. Mr and Mrs. IVF found themselves in the same exact situation. They transferred two post-micro-array blasts at CCRM with a 7mm lining and -- VOILA -- it all worked out.

The bonus of traveling to Denver is I get to have Easter with my Ps in Boulder. I like that bonus. I will be feed well and taken care of. Yep. I like that bonus a lot.

On a side note, any one else have estrogen that high? I am a LOT of woman right now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 1: Let The Games Begin

So, Day 1 finally arrived earlier this week and I've been getting estrogened up for our FET at CCRM ever since. And when I say estrogened up, I do mean estrogened up. Estrace 3 X a day, Del Estrogen shots in the arse 2 X a week and patches. Let the games begin. Frozen family -- I'm coming for you!

All I Want for Easter ...
Our tenative transfer date is April 7th, which I love, because it means I will be at my parents house in Colorado for Easter ... which I haven"t been in years. My mother has already dusted off my basket, which is also the basket she used as a little girl, and the one I hope my child will use next year. And I know what I am asking the Easter Bunny for ... yep ... two eggs in my basket, please!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Uterine Lining

So, we are in a holding pattern. Many pills, patches and acupuncture appointments later, my lining went from 7mm to 6mm. Um ... hello uterus ... that is NOT what I told you to do. It appears there are some communication issues between my uterus and I.

My nurse at CCRM told me that sometimes they see the lining begin to compact in a cycle. Basically, it is the body's way of saying, "it ain't happening this time." So ... it is disappointing to say the least, but we are trying to stay chin up. We still have four great quality 5-day-olds out there. We'll just have to learn patience before we get to bring them home. Patience has always been a tough one for me.

The next attempt probably won't be until April or May, since they want all the meds in my body now to completely flush out first. Spring is a beautiful time of year in Colorado, so we'll put that in the plus column. Next time through, we will use injectable estrogen along with the pills and patches and see if that does the trick. Since I haven't had this problem historically, they think it will. They will take the birth control pills and Lupron out of the equation.

What to Do While Waiting

I have an easy answer. Run away to Paris. This is my reaction to stress. Some people eat ... I choose to eat in a foreign country. I think I have officially convinced the hubby that we should book up. Perhaps the next time I post, I'll be eating a croissant!

To the Other IVFers Out There

If you are reading this, you are probably an IVFer like me. Just a shout out to the community boards on Fertility Community. They are an incredible place to vent, smile, chat and learn from all the other strong women experiencing the same thing. If you are headed to CCRM, there is a "CCRM Girls" group and lost of wisdom within in. I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Estrace and the Crabby Dragon

So ... we've hit a bump in the road. My lining came in at a slim 6.5mm last week. It needs to be at least 8mm for the transfer. This is the first time I've had a lining issue (go figure). So, a few more potions have been thrown in the mix. Meet Estrace. The little blue pill that, very unfortunately, doesn't get swallowed. That's right. It's a vaginal pill. Who knew such a thing even existed?

In addition to its unpleasant delivery system, it's pure estrogen. So the side effect ... it turns you into a crabby dragon. Of course the hope is, it turns this crabby dragon into a one with a 8mm uterine lining! And if it does, I will take back all bad things I have said about it.

We will remeasure this Friday and hopefully then be given the green light to hop on a plane and head out to CCRM to meet our frostie 5-day olds. My fingers are crossed that at this point next week, we'll know the day of our FET.

Friday, January 15, 2010

One Egg or Two?

One egg or two ... that is the question being mulled at over here. Originally, if two was an option we weren't even thinking of stopping to pass go or collect our $200 -- we were going for it. It gives us a higher chance of making it to barefoot and pregnant. But the idea of bed rest and possible complications has definitely given us pause. I'm asthmatic ... so that adds to the concerns. On the other hand, going through two separate pregnancies has its risks as well ... and I would be yet one year older for the second time through. (I've heard being pregnant doesn't get any easier with age.)

So ... leaning toward two. Any one else out there in this situation? Or any asthmatics who have carried twins?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sober, Decaffeinated and Hormonal

Sober, decaffeinated and hormonal. It's another day in the day of the life of an IVFer.

I started estrogen patches last night. Any other takers out there? So far, so good, although I am a little worried about finding real estate to stick them on when it goes up to four patches at a time combined with shots.

And I am going to admit it. Although I have given up my coffee and given it up for good (in the short-term, anyway, and hopefully for the next 9.5 months), I miss it. I was very close with my good friend caffeine. Breaking up is so hard to do.

The next few weeks involve the winning combination of more Lupron, more estrogen and baby aspirin. All of this is in preparation for our egg transfer on Jan. 28th. The countdown has begun. We will be headed back to CCRM soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Four Good Eggs

I have named this blog Team IVF, not because I am hoping for an IVF Super Bowl or World Series, but because it is quite literally taking a team to get me pregnant: a team of doctors and nurses, and also a team of friends and family to hold my hand on the tough days and celebrate with me every small step that gets us closer to becoming parents.


I can say with all certainty that I never saw the very long road of infertility and IVF ahead of me. But it is exactly where my husband and I have found ourselves. The unexpectedness also came with frustration. I'm Italian. I should be fertile, damn it!

I've decided to blog because others have ... and it has helped me. If you have found yourself needing a helping hand from science in order procreate and stumble upon this blog, I hope knowing there are others out there helps.

The Diagnosis

Unexplained infertility. On paper, we look good.

Now 37, but have been trying with my hubby for 3 years.

The Tally

  • 7 IUIs. All negative, except for 1 ectopic.
  • 2 IVFs. 2 big, fat negatives. And can I say, not at all as fun as trying the old fashioned way.
  • Currently in the midst of IVF #3 at CCRM.

For this cycle, we went to the big guns. At CCRM, we decided to have CCS testing to make sure all 23 pairs of chromosomes are present. It's part of a clinical trial; up to this point, most pre-implantation testing has been done with FISH, a process that only tests for 9 sets of chromosomes. So far, the trial has created impressive results. Most participants are women older than 35 with multiple failed IVFs. Pregnancy rates using blasts that have come back genetically sound have been around 78 percent. Amazing!!

Four Good Eggs

The egg retrieval for this round happened back in October. I was a hen house carrying around 20 eggs. 18 were mature, 15 fertilized, 7 made it to blast (nearly quadruple the number we made at previous IVFs at a different clinic). All 7 were sent away for genetic testing. Statistically, around half usually come back normal. We got four! We are transferring two at the end of this month.