Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some thoughts on eggs

Ironic that I am writing this at breakfast time and thinking, "hmmmm,  eggs and bacon sound good today", but I am thinking about other eggs.  My legacy eggs, the ones that leave that stamp on the world long after I have gone to Heaven, the ones that are raising so many questions and causing me sleepless nights and anxiety that sends me to a dark and scary place where I end up alone, childless, and wallowing in self-pity.  Let me first clarify that the only one who is taking issue with my eggs at this point is me, Sunshine, not a doctor, not the statistics, JUST ME (with the hand placement and the pop of Jack McFarland on Will & Grace).

Pierce and I went to the RE for another ultrasound last Tuesday in hopes of starting IUI #2 and found out that since my egg production was so successful (HA) first time around that I am now left with about 5 cysts on my ovaries.  Cysts=break cycle ie. no treatment.  Yes, I know miracles happen, and I know of several Nestie babies who are the product of break cycles but I wasn't prepared to be sent home to try on our own yet again.  Faced with yet another month of waiting, Pierce asked about moving on to IVF.  I was still processing the "just try to have intercourse on days 10,12, and 14" comment when he put it out there.  I was glad he did: I didn't have the courage yet.  

We were told we could set up the consult.  The nurse did some quick math and said that we could be looking at egg retrieval the end of March or beginning of April. :::head still spinning::: She then said, "The good news is that based on your egg production this last cycle, they should be able to get a lot of really great eggs from you."  Then the question that I had not yet considered, much less said out loud, came flying out of my mouth, "Just because I made a lot of eggs doesn't necessarily mean that they are good, right?"  This nurse is one of those super optimistic, glass half full types, and I wonder if my RE has seen her in action.  He has never been one to get my hopes up, and although frustrating, I do think he's pretty awesome.  She quickly checked my chart and referred to my estrogen level during the cycle, citing it as some evidence that most likely my eggs were fine.  I also know that my FSH is 6.8, which I know is great for someone my age, but I think that only means I have a lot of eggs in my reserve.  I don't know if it has any indication as to quality.

We left the office with orders to go forth, have sex, and report back upon next period.  I have been tossing around the IVF consult for about 5 days now.  Most of the time I am ready to set up the appointment, but something keeps stopping me.  Crippling fear.  IVF is pretty much the last resort.  If that doesn't work, then I may be forced to face never having a biological child.  I don't have the luxury of multiple IVF cycles due to our insurance not covering such unimportant, non-life threatening issues as infertility.  It's kind of a one shot deal, $15 grand on the infertility craps table and no free cocktails.  One of my nestie buddies did a fresh IVF cycle last fall, and when they retrieved her eggs they did PGD testing and determined that not one of the eggs would lead to a viable pregnancy.  My heart broke for her.  She has since then regrouped and is undergoing IVF with donor eggs.  In a matter of weeks she should know if all her perseverance has paid off.  I pray for her often.  And then I wonder if I am next.

For those of you don't know me IRL, my quest for a biological child is not unlike most others'. However, there is one thing that makes my story unique.  A need to carry on a bloodline of a man who wasn't given much of a chance, my daddy.  My parents met in high school and married right out of college.  This concept boggles my mind as I know so few are emotionally prepared to make that kind of commitment at that age.  But I have always known that God did this for a reason.  My dad would die very young, at the age of 32.  My parents became pregnant shortly after they got married, and that pregnancy resulted in miscarriage #1.  I am not sure if there were others before me, but I have often thought about my big brother, Jeff,  who didn't make it.  Mom was pregnant again when my father passed away, but that baby went to live with big brother and our father.  I was my parents' miracle, the little fetus that could make it to the outside world, and the only real evidence that my father spent time on this planet. 

This is why we have to find that one good egg.  I still feel that it is in there, but it may take IVF to find it.  I think that I am ready to make that call.  One of my nestie buddies sent me an awesome quote that has really helped get me through the last week.  I will end with the words of FDR, "When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Thanks, Imizgala, that's what I intend to do.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I didn't expect this so soon or AT ALL

IUI #1 is a bust.  I can't believe I am writing this.  I know I am not the first, and I am sad to say, will not be the last.  This is so incredibly hard for me, and even when faced with spotting yesterday I could still find some hope.  No October baby or September twins for us.  God, this sucks.  Stupid period showed up this afternoon, and of course I was at work, putting on my game face.

Pierce is so incredibly wonderful through all of this even though I know he is hurting too.  I had to tell my mom and grandma tonight, and they were both very sweet about it.  My mom cried, and that broke my heart.  She has so little going on in her life, and I know she has been waiting for months for me to announce that she is going to be a grandma.  My grandmother is kind but always  the businesswoman.  She asked how much we were out after this first run, and I told her a couple thousand.  I told her we were considering asking about going straight to IVF instead of doing more IUIs.  I told her that I was checking into the Capital One fertility loans and was looking at $300-$500 per month payments for a $15,000 loan over 7 years.  She told me she didn't want us to take out any loans and she would help.  I guess that's better than making her cry.  The woman is healthy as a horse, and I really hope we have the opportunity for a four generation photo before she's gone.

So let's see...back to my confusion...what have I learned in this process....
I have learned that it seems like my body works just fine on most counts for an old lady.  I always have to throw in the "old" thing because I am constantly reminded at the doctor that I am advanced maternal age.  But my FSH is 6.8 and anything under 10 is considered good.  I made eggs like a crazy person under the influence of Follistim to the point that one nurse commented, "Lots of women would kill to have this cycle".  Great.   So what gives?  Pierce's sperm rock for an old dude.  The RE deemed his sample totally normal.  39 million, for heaven's sake, it only takes one, right?  So how do 6 chicks and 39 million guys show up at the same party, yet no one hooks up?  In my single days, there were far less guys out and about and I always found someone interesting to at least have a drink with.  I mean, REALLY!  But in all seriousness, I don't know how I can optimistically go through the exact same process again and expect different results.  Isn't that the definition of insanity?

When we met with the RE for the first time back in May, he told us the game plan was 3 IUIs then move on to IVF.  Pierce's urologist suggested the same course of action.  I don't know if the plan can change or not.  I would think that if I am the one with the money (OK if Grams is the one with the money) then I should have some say in this deal.  Other than simply wanting a child or two sooner rather than later, I still remain skeptical about continuing to ask for time off from work for treatments.  Folks are losing their jobs every minute, and I am terrified of becoming one of them.  I do think I have some sort of understanding with my boss since she has experience in this area, but our relationship is too new and I don't feel the trust.  I know there is never a good time to be going through infertility, but right now seems to be one of the very worst.

The waiting is torture

11dpiui.  Yesterday there was a tad (barely measurable) of pink spotting, but then it was gone.  Of course it nearly sent me in to tears at work as I was assuming the inevitable end of cycle 16. However, I know from so many long nights reading the Nest boards that this could be a good sign, and I shouldn't give up hope.  I am totally conflicted right now as to what kind of hope to give myself.  On one hand, I want to remain positive, but on the other, I am too scared to be let down again.  It is even worse now that there are financial implications to add to the already raw emotional ones.

Dear God, Please remember Pierce and I and do what you feel is right for our future family.  We know we have little control over these things and only you can bless us with a child.  Please give us patience as we wait for your answer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One more needle

We went to the RE to have my progesterone level checked yesterday.  When the nurse asked which arm I wanted her to take the blood from, I responded by rolling up my left sleeve and suggested she put it right in the middle of last week's bruise.  I bruise easily, and it is really annoying!  She put a hot pink bandaid on my arm and told me that they would only call if there was a reason to be concerned.  If my progesterone was low I would be put on suppositories.  I have heard so many fun things about this, but not nearly as many horror stories as I have heard about PIO shots.  
I dreaded the phantom call.  
It never came. 
Dodged the bullet. 
6 days to Beta.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

3dpiui Let's see how much I remember....

Well, we went for follie check #2 last Monday, and the little monsters were getting huge and seemed to be multiplying.  My left ovary was still dominant with the largest follies measuring 16.0,16.0,15.0,14.0,14.0 and the right had two large-ish ones measuring 12.0 and 11.5.  Everyone started freaking out that I had too many.  All I could think was, "oh, crap. They're going to cancel this cycle."  Everything had been going too smoothly.  I felt doomed.  One of the nurses took blood to check my estrogen level and said she would call later in the day with how much Follistim to use that night.  We were to be back Tuesday morning with Ovidrel trigger in hand.

Tuesday I assumed the position in the stirrups.  My lining was continuing to grow and was at a very healthy 16.5mm.  Next we checked the follies again, and of course, there was another big one!  It seems the ones on the right had caught up to the left, so we were looking at 6 mature follies now.  The nurses continued to look freaked out, so of course, I started to panic.  We went to a consultation room where were given the multiples talk again and asked our views on selective reduction.  I know they have to do this.  I understand that, but I am still skeptical about my ability to get knocked up at all at this point.  Of course we will do what is best to keep me healthy and bring healthy babies into this world.  I know I am not a cat and not built to deliver a litter.  It's a scary thought, and when faced with six eggs I can't help but have a visual of Licorice, the cat given to me by my high school boyfriend, lying in my papasan chair with her 4 babies nursing.

Needless to say, we cleared the hurdle.  The nurse said that if I was 25, then they would cancel the cycle.  But since I am 39 (oh, the horrors!) we are going for it.  She drew blood again to check my estrogen, which was 2319, and took me to the next room to give me my trigger shot. Having my trigger shot in the morning meant that Pierce did not get to administer it, but I'll admit, I felt nothing.  It also meant that we were on for the IUI the next day.  UGH!  Now I needed a plan to get out of work.

I spent a good amount of my time at work that day trying to figure out what to tell my boss.  I was on vacation starting Thursday, but I needed it to start on Wednesday.  I knew I couldn't just call in sick because, being a boss myself, I know that calling in sick the day before vacation makes you a "loser".  I haven't worked for my boss very long and given the current business environment, I would have to find a way to not look like a flake.  In the interest of keeping my job, I decided to come clean.  I still think it is so unfair that infertiles often do not have the same privacy in their ttc journeys as the fertile world who don't have to divulge anything to their bosses until end of first tri, or at least until their morning sickness becomes too difficult to hide.  Anywho, my boss was busy all day.  Tracking this woman down became a total nightmare, and of course, the longer it took the more nervous I became.  I finally got her about half an hour before it was time to leave.  She assumed the worst when I was closing the door behind me.  I told her I needed Wednesday off, and she asked if I was alright.  Then I blurted out, "I'm going through fertility treatments!", and the tears started running down my face.  She was quick to let me know that she had a bit of experience in that area, and she understood.  I felt so much better and a bit retarded for crying....blame in on the six eggs and mass quantities of hormones.  Thankfully, it went better than expected, and I was able to go into the procedure knowing that I didn't have to make up some crazy story to be there.  I am a terrible liar.

Wednesday morning, Pierce got up for work a 3AM and I continued to sleep fitfully.  I called him at 8 to find out if he had scoped out a location to "do the deed".  He was scheduled to deliver his sample at 8:45 for the wash.  He responded that he had things under control, so I let it go, not wanting to make him nervous.  I got a text from him after 9 stating that he had made the drop and was headed back to work.  Sounds good to me.  There are just some things I don't want to know in detail.

Pierce picked up his newly clean and pretty swimmers and met me at the elevator in the hospital around 10:30.  He was concerned that his motility percentage was not very good.  I took a look at the paperwork and thought the same thing.  I said, "Well we can't do anything about it now, and it only takes one."  He agreed, but I could tell he felt bad about it.

Once in the RE's office, everything went very fast.  Pierce handed over his sample.  I stripped from the waist down, and once again assumed the position.  My RE came in with my favorite nurse, and I had to sign a piece of paper stating that Pierce was the right guy and his stuff was what I wanted them to send in.  This totally cracks me up.  I know it's a liability thing, but can you imagine the scandal?  The rest goes pretty much like having a pap.  My RE tells me to put my feet together, wishes us the best of luck, and starts to head out the door.  Pierce stops him to ask about the questionable percentage.  He looks at the paperwork and says, "No this is a totally normal sample.  You're good." and gives us a thumbs up.  Turns out that number was a number, not a percentage, and that number meant that I had just been inseminated with 39 million of Pierce's best men!  Six eggs, 39,000,000 sperm.  Seems like good odds that somebody's gonna hook up.  I laid on the table, holding his hand, feeling majorly relieved.

All that's left to do is wait.  UGH!!  The 2WW stinks!  The one thing I have always liked about the 2WW is letting myself believe I am pregnant.  I don't know.  I could be.  But when that stupid period shows up, it sure does hurt even more when I have allowed myself to dream.  I am hopeful this time.  This is something we have never tried, and it seems like our odds are good.  If they weren't good, then why all the multiples fuss?  We have been through too much for this not to work,  and I feel guilty even typing that, knowing that so many other ladies have been through so much more.  It's up to God now.  We have done our part.  I will continue to pray for our BFP, one or two healthy babies, and a happy ending to this ttc journey.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i will explain more later!

Just a quick update to let everyone know that our IUI was yesterday.  I will give a complete update as soon as I can.  I am on the couch and feeling awful!  I think I have a mild case of OHSS. Unless it gets worse, there isn't much that can be done other than to wait it out.  So much for vacation!  It certainly would be much worse to try to work feeling like this, and I honestly don't know what I could wear that would cover the bloat!  Blech!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

6 Days in and all is well....

Well, I never thought I would say this, but these shots don't completely suck.  We have a system where I put a big ice pack on the appropriate spot on my belly while Pierce prepares the Follistim pen.  When he's good to go, I am completely numb and it's a piece of cake.  I hope he ends up giving me my Ovidrel trigger since we have this system.  The nurse at the RE office said that it's possible that I will get it there, but sans ice, I fear I will be a complete mess.  I hope to know more about how this will all play out tomorrow.  I have also been very pleased with my lack of side effects from the meds.  This morning I woke up feeling bloated, but there have been no crying spells (except for during the Barbara Walters' Patrick Swayze interview, but really didn't everyone?), no head spinning, no pea soup propelling...I have been just me with a few little pricks in my tummy.

Saturday we had our first follie check.  I had 2 dominant follicles at 10.8 and 10.7, and the next two largest were 8.5 and 7.8.  I am sure there were others, but my doc only wants 4 good ones to avoid high order multiples.  I have forced myself not to think about that predicament too much as I am more consumed with it working at all, much less working too well.  My RE was very pleased with how my body was responding to the meds, and I left his office feeling very proud of my 39 year-old, over-achieving ovaries!

Follie check #2, aka date #3 with dildo cam, is tomorrow morning at 8.  I am a bit anxious because I have a feeling that since I am on the fast track that this IUI is coming up end of this week.  If for any reason my eggs have deviated from said course, then I have a whole other set of neuroses about running out of meds.  So far we have shot up 875 iu's, and we only have 325 left.  I have asked for time off from work this week starting Thursday until Tuesday of next week.  Way back in December (like a lifetime ago in retail standards), I tried to plan out my cycle so I could be home with my feet up after this procedure.  Thanks to being incredibly regular, it looks like my plan will work.  But, of course, I am still more than a little apprehensive about believing I could be that fortunate.

On a completely different note, I would like to thank everyone who has visited and commented on this little blog project of mine.  It is only about a month old, but I sense it will continue to be my safe place for some time to come.  I started this as a place to vent and record my feelings without being a burden to those who may be tired of listening to my trials and tribulations; however, I have found comfort in knowing that someone out there is still listening voluntarily. So again I say a million thank you's for making me feel less alone in this world of uncertainty.  If any of you have blogs and would like to attach them in your comments, I would love to get to know you all better as well.  To my real life friends who read this, thank you for sticking by me. I can't say all have been so brave.  xoxo

Monday, January 5, 2009

Infertility Cure

Tonight as I was watching "The Bachelor", on a commercial it was suggested that I tune in at 10 to find out what might cure my infertility.  I'm in...I know they are talking to me personally, after all, who else needs this information?  I waited the extra hour for my miracle cure, only to hear a news story about obese women having weight reduction surgery and getting knocked up almost immediately.  Their miracle, not mine.  I am a bit chubby, would be much happier 10-15 pounds lighter (thank you, Mrs. Thyroid), but I am not obese.  Not even in the danger zone on the BMI chart.  Teased again.....

Then I began to think about all of the things we have done/changed in the last year in the name of baby.  The number of supplements I ingest daily is enough to make the GNC guy's head spin. Even worse is the way I have to plan to take them to maximize their potential.  Here's a typical day in my tummy:

6:00 am - Synthroid .125 - must wait an hour after taking before eating anything
7:00  Green tea for breakfast- less caffeine than coffee and proven to help produce fertile cervical fluid
8:00 5 Wheat Grass pills to increase energy and improve egg quality, known to decrease FSH even though mine is already very good

Nothing crazy during the work day.  Healthy lunch with lots of fruit, veggies and yogurt.  Drink 3 liters of water, which leads to lots of peeing and usually green from all of the wheat grass.

7:00 pm - Home again.  Make herbal tea.  No green tea at night as it prevents the absorption of folic acid.  It is now time for Vitamin D3, spirulina, kelp, fish oil, evening primrose oil, and prenatal vitamins.  Down all this with another light and healthy meal.  Take blood pressure meds before turning in, and we are done for the day.

Lather, rinse, repeat....

After our RE appointment tomorrow, I assume we will add the injections to the nightly routine. I am thinking somewhere between prenatals and blood pressure but definitely close to the passing out point.  Pierce doesn't want to be awake when my head starts spinning around and the pea soup starts flying.  I am so looking forward to it.

The theme of this rambling is, "We Have Tried Anything and Everything" that been suggested. I resent when morons imply that we are doing something wrong.  Yes, we know how to have sex. In fact, we are pretty damn good at it.  It's just the babymaking that needs some help.  But it is not for a lack of trying.

I have:
*taken my basal body temperature for 15 cycles, charted my cervical fluid, and cervix position (don't ask!) for the same amount of time
*used uber-expensive lube that is supposedly "sperm friendly" to try to facilitate the swimmers' journey
*laid in bed with my legs in the air for 15-20 minutes or until all of the blood rushed to my head
*peed on hundreds of sticks to pinpoint my exact ovulation date and time the act more accurately
*peed on at least 10 sticks in hopes that "This was our lucky month!"
*had a painful HSG to check that my tubes were clear
*had my first date with the dildo-cam to check out the follicles on my ovaries
*had more vials of blood drawn than I could ever count
*had outpatient surgery to remove polyps
*eaten pineapple and drank pomegranate juice after ovulation to help with implantation

I know I am forgetting numerous other unusual behaviors we have exhibited in the pursuit of baby, but I think you get the idea.  We are willing to do just about anything to get this cat a playmate.  One year plus of trying does not mean we are clueless.  It simply means that we are struggling and holding on to any shred of hope we can find.  That's why I jump when the news is reporting the infertility cure.  Too good to be true, of course.  So now it's bed time: TV off, bp meds down, feet in air.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I am seriously scared...

I promised my mom I would make her a grandma this year.  What if it doesn't happen?