Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A potential diagnosis? OHSS

After stumbling across a message board poster complaining of OHSS, I decided to Google it.

Mild to moderate OHSS

With mild to moderate ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, symptoms can include:
  • Mild to moderate abdominal pain that may come and go
  • Abdominal bloating or increased waist size
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tenderness in the area of your ovaries
Some women who use injectable fertility drugs get a mild form of OHSS, which goes away after about a week. If pregnancy occurs, however, symptoms of OHSS may worsen and last several days to weeks.
Well now, that all sounds extremely familiar. 
I called my RE's office with my concern and listed my symptoms and they want to see me tomorrow. 
If this is what I have, I'd say it's of the "mild to moderate" variety so it would likely go away in a few more days.
And that brings me to this; will my doctor not want me to use injectables again? If you get it once, is it likely to happen again in every cycle that you use injectables? As my Aunt said to me on text, "burn that bridge when you come to it".
I have never hoped for a stomach bug so much before.
Any ladies who have had experience with this is encouraged to comment. 

Better... but still sick

I hate this. The "icky" feeling started on Sunday and by 3AM Monday morning I was full fledged D/V.

This lasted throughout Monday so I skipped work. Tuesday I was feeling a tiny bit better so tried to go in to the office. My husband and I carpool since he works two minutes away. He dropped me off at 8AM and at 10AM I asked him to come take me home.

Today, I'm back at work and still feeling pretty rough.

I don't know for sure what this is other than a stomach bug. I truly believe all these meds are compromising my immune system.

And, I worry. If sperm did meet egg, what are the chances of it surviving this illness?
My best guess is, not very high.

I'm tired and I'm frustrated. And, I need a break.

My son needs me and I haven't been there for him the way I should be. I blame the medications. As mentioned, they make me tired, grumpy and emotional. I've been going through the motions of being a mom and it's not good enough.

For about a week (or maybe longer) my 4 year old has been putting me to bed! I go to bed and he snuggles with me, waits for me to fall asleep, then heads back downstairs to hang out with my husband until it's his bedtime.

I feel like a break for a month or two will put me right, again.

And I can also take that time to think more about the IUI/IVF debate I have going on in my head, too.

Just feeling out of sorts, I guess.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Post IUI round-up

As mentioned before, Friday morning I had an ultrasound and blood work done to see where the follies stood.

I had one mature follie and I had a positive OPK that morning and all we needed was the blood work to confirm it was time to trigger. 

At 3:30PM Friday the trigger was done at work and this is the first IUI done less than 36 hours after the trigger. In fact, it was done about 20 hours after the trigger. The doctor told me this was fine because I was on my way to ovulating on my own, anyway. Ovulation has never been an issue for me, I ovulate on my own every month.

While I had a positive OPK on Friday the Fertility monitor didn't show a "peak" reading until Saturday morning. This made me feel very good about the timing.

James provided excellent numbers again. I forgot to ask for a copy of the SA but I do remember that it was a high count post-wash and motility was excellent. 

Sunday I was still seeing a bit of EWCM so I think, maybe, I might have ovulated Sunday. If so, I much prefer the timing of this IUI even thought it was very different than other cycles. If I'm right about that, then it's possible there would have been enough time for a second egg to mature and release. 

Yesterday I was really not feeling well and around 3AM this morning I woke up very sick. Oh great, another stomach bug of some sort.

This, of course, has me doom & gloom thinking that if I have some kind of virus, my body is going to work extra hard to fight that instead of concerning itself with my cause of implanting a fertilized egg. 

My doctor gave me the paperwork to get my HCG Beta done on Thursday 8/7 but I made the appointment on Friday 8/8 instead because that's our fifth wedding anniversary. I feel like that's just good juju.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Four leaf clover winner

Congrats to Rebecca from Life of an Army Wife for winning the four leaf clover.

Please email me at JessicaCHoward at gmail dot com with your address and I'll get it in the mail this week.

I hope it brings you all the luck you need!

Thanks to everyone who wrote comments on all my posts this week. It's been informative and extremely supportive.

I think I'll do another giveaway next month.

___________________________________________

Not really in the mood to write about my IUI yesterday but it went fine, nothing out of the ordinary.

I'm sure I'll write more in a day or two.

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 to 3 to 1 (or, Fukity, fuk, fuk!) Now with afternoon update!

Today's appointment did NOT go as planned!

To recap, last Saturday I had 7 potential follies. All under 10 and I was hoping for no more than 3.
Blood work:
Estrogen 81
LH 4.7

On Tuesday I returned and there were 3 growing pretty nicely at 12mm, 11mm, 11mm.
Blood work:
Estrogen 233
LH 5.2

Yesterday morning I got a "high" reading on my fertility monitor and OPK. Things are looking good, then!

That brings us to today.
OPK = Peak
FM = High

Hmm... 

Ultrasound this morning now shows 16mm, 11mm & 12mm.
So, one barely grew the other didn't grow at all and the last is on it's way to being mature. 
That would indicate the fertility monitor was the more accurate and that's good to know.
(Blood work pending)

I told my RE about the OPK this morning so she said we'll see what the blood work shows but I am scheduled for an IUI tomorrow late morning unless blood work suggests it's too early.

My frustration is with the two follicles that didn't grow much/at all. WTF?! I got the same result on Clomid at 1/2 the cost and no needles!

I voiced my frustration to the doctor and she said injectibles are a numbers game the first time. You don't want to go too high and run a risk of ten mature follicles and having to cancel the IUI. Now we know how I respond to 100iu and if we don't have success this month, we'll up it a tiny bit next month.

Okay, fair enough. But, I feel like last month was my "next month" moment. I don't know if that makes sense but I'm sick of saying "next month". Next month is the one where we'll change this and this and then it will work! Eureka, the secret formula!

I'm whining, I know. I'm paying way less for Gonal-f that most women and for that I'm grateful. I'm not paying for the IUI at all and I have to remember to thank my lucky stars for James' new job that is providing us with all this. 

So, please ladies, be aware that I understand how my whining might sound to many of you who are struggling and have the financial burden as well.

But hey, the bright side... no risk of multiples this month!

PS - Please don't forget to comment on my previous post to win the four leaf clover!

UPDATE:
Doctor called close to 3PM
Estrogen 549
LH 31.8

So yeah, I'm surging.
I'm at work and my very brave co-worker (and friend) watched the video with me and then gave me the trigger shot. Seriously, I owe her because she did a great job.

That Estrogen number would indicate that only one follie will release an egg. Still a little disappointed about that so let's hope it's a good one!

IUI at 11:30AM tomorrow. Here we go!

Monday, July 21, 2014

ICLW Giveaway!

Last month during ICLW Megan at Climbing the Pomegranate Tree did a lucky stirrup socks giveaway and I won (Thanks again, Megan!).

Now, I am going to pay her generosity forward and give away a four leaf clover.


The back of the packaging says:
One leaf is for Hope
A second for Faith
The third leaf is for Love
And a fourth for Luck

To win, all you need to do is write a comment on this post. I'll choose a winner on July 27th.

Good luck!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7 little eggs - Oh, hello right ovary!

So my early appointment went well, if not even a tiny bit scary.

First, my right ovary was visible (hoorah!) and held 3 follies and my left ovary showed 4. So, I respond really well to Gonal-F.

They were all under 10mm which is expected since I've only been doing injections for five days. I started to panic because the nurse told me if I had more than 2 mature follicles we'd have to cancel.
Today my doctor said since I'm 39 he'd proceed with 4.

I was relieved and yet petrified. Hold on... 4?!?! But, but... wouldn't we run a risk of twins?
He said "Yes, but we did tell you that's the risk with injectibles."

Okay, very true. And that's why we tried 4 cycles with Clomid before going down this path.
Anyone who knows me is aware that twins is my second biggest fear with fertility treatments.

I know.

I know!

Two babies will be better than no babies (first biggest fear). But, I did ask James to have a chat with his "fellas" on IUI day. You know, just to say "Hey guys, if one of you gets to an egg first, the rest of you should just back off. Deal?"

Now my other fear is having to cancel the cycle. 7 follicles under 10 doesn't mean all will mature by trigger time; my hope is no more than 3.

Tuesday morning I return for another ultrasound and we should know from there what day to trigger and IUI.

I'm feeling pretty excited about this cycle because things seem to be progressing so well.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Right Ovary: MIA - Last seen in April

Monday I had my baseline ultrasound to start this cycle of IUI.

Once again, my right ovary was nowhere to be found. This is frustrating because that can impede a successful IVF cycle should we need to go that route. If they can't see the ovary, they can't remove eggs. I've read other women who have had this problem and no eggs could be retrieved from the unseen ovary.

Alright well, that's a problem for the future, right? Right now we're not in an IVF cycle, so that is a bridge I don't need to stress about crossing. 

I started gonal-f on Monday and I have to say, easy peasy. I can stick that needle in my stomach all day long. 
You know why?
Because, I don't feel a damn thing. 

Two c-sections has left my stomach numb from the belly button to about the c-section scar (same deal for a friend who has also had two c-sections - no feeling there at all).

I'm now wishing I could take ALL shots in my belly. In fact, I intend to ask my doctor if the trigger shot must be done in the bottom. My guess is, yes, it has to be. But, it doesn't hurt to ask. 

Also, when (not if) I do get pregnant, I'll have to take a Lovenox shot every single day and I'm hoping that is done in the same area. 

So, Saturday I'll be going in for another ultrasound to see how the follicles are coming along and I hope my right ovary makes an appearance.

The nurse did mention that OHSS is a concern at my age with Gonal-f and if there are more than two mature follicles, the cycle will be cancelled due to the risk of multiples. 

Next week, for ICLW, I'll be paying it forward by giving away a lucky gift to a commenter. 
So, watch this space!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stupid, stupid crystal ball

Well, I'm not pregnant.

I got the call at 4:20 which meant I had to sweat it out all day. Turns out the lab had a computer meltdown and couldn't send the results to the RE.

I will admit, I had a little cry for about 30 seconds. Then I picked myself back up because that's just what I do. I'm an eternal optimist and I know our baby is coming.

We may be forced to wait out a cycle which at first made me upset, too. Now that I've had time to think about it, I'm okay. It will all work out, I know this.

My sweet and wonderful husband bought me this:


It's a rose quartz fertility bracelet. I love it and it's one more thing to add to the TTC artillery (added bonus, so pretty!). 

So, it wasn't a great day. 
But, that's okay. This is what I will have comforting me tonight:


Thanks to everyone who followed me through the journey this month. I have a ton of new readers and everyone has been so supportive. 

Despite a disappointment, I still get to feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Also, I want to thank Megan of Climbing the Pomegranate Tree for the lucky socks. 
I fully intend to pay it forward. 



Let's ask the crystal ball, shall we?

Or, the crystal ball app at least.

Crystal ball, am I pregnant?


Okay then...
Crystal ball, am I pregnant?

Maybe not completely scientific but anyway, the blood has been drawn and now I wait.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

10DP IUI

Because, that's how I measure time now, days past IUI.

Tuesday at 7:45AM I get my blood drawn for the HCG Beta (pregnancy test). I have to wait for the lab to send the results to my RE who will then call me. I am hoping that, since my appointment is so early, I'll know by lunch. I don't want to be wondering all day long.

My gut feeling?
I'm not pregnant. I think my main reason for saying that is because I've had very PMS type cramping.
Cramps started on the right side for a couple days, then the left side for a couple days, and today, right in the middle. These cramps in the middle are the ones I'm very familiar with.  I always, always, always get those right before my period.

Of course, the role of progesterone in PMS really has be wondering. I've done research but can't really find any answers.

I take progesterone suppositories which is meant to trick your body into thinking your pregnant so as to not get your period prematurely which can stop a fertilized egg from implanting.

So, shouldn't that, in turn, stop PMS completely?

If my pregnancy test is negative on Thursday, I'll stop progesterone and a couple days later my period will come because my body will get the message there is no pregnancy. That makes my PMS signs rather confusing.

I still don't know for sure what we'll do next cycle but, I'm pretty sure it will be one more IUI and then we'll move on to IVF.

Between now and Thursday, I'm happily accepting crossed fingers for a good result Thursday.


One last thing - I'm going all "fan girl" today to say that Stephanie from the "Does this baby make me look fat" youtube blog asked me for my blog address so she can follow my journey.
OMG so exciting!!

Her blog is brilliant and you'd be doing yourself an enormous favor to head over there and watch her videos.
You will laugh like you've never laughed before. I'm posting a link to my favorite video because I am a user of the "magic goo".




Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yesterday was wonderful, tomorrow will be terrible

Yesterday for the 4th of July my family came over to our house for cooking out and laughter.

It was great because my cousin, Fiona, is home from College. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful day and ended it by watching Trump Golf Course fireworks from my front yard.

(Side note: Ryan is petrified of fireworks. So much so, that, he woke up this morning asking if they were over.)

All-in-all a wonderful day. I was happy even knowing what was looming.

Tomorrow, ugh.
Tomorrow we should be celebrating Nathan's 2nd birthday. But, instead, we'll mourn his death. His beautiful little life slipped away while I was sleeping without me ever knowing a thing about it.

I'll remember the very painful c-section I had to endure to give birth to a baby I would never, not once, hear cry.

This is the little brother Ryan has been asking for lately. Not Nathan specifically, he was too young to understand, but he wants a brother. One, I try to tell him he once had but, really, what good does that do? But, we do tell him we're trying very, very hard.

Last year on July 5th, I was at work and I couldn't make it through the day knowing what was coming. I ended up leaving early because I couldn't handle the well intentioned (and very loving) words from my friends at work. I love them and they love me and they wanted me to know they remembered. That's the greatest honor of my sons life that I could ask for. Acknowledgment.

This July 5th though, today, I decided would be different. I woke up and gave Ryan the choice of bouncy castles or Chuck E. Cheese.
His response was "bouncy castle, then Chuck E. Cheese, then beach".
Since beach was never on the table and we don't even live near one, we spent the morning at the bouncy castle place.

Ryan had a great time and it made me happy to see him having a great time. Today I feel more content than I did last year. I guess time does heal, at least a little.

I think, maybe tomorrow, we'll take Ryan to Chuck E. Cheese. It makes no sense to honor Nathan by sitting around moping.

A few tears are flowing so I'll sign off now.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Am I really just riding the "kiddie coaster"?

Forgive me for the moping nature of the post to follow, I'm having some pretty bad cramping today so, feeling sorry for myself.
Today I was talking to a friend who just underwent her first IVF. She tried 2 or 3 IUI's with no success.
I regularly read about 20 IF blogs and I have yet to come across someone who has gotten pregnant with an IUI. 
While I'm an excellent candidate for IUI to work, I feel like I'm just riding the kiddie coaster with IUI and need to get on the IVF super scary coaster. It's like "Oh how cute, she still thinks IUI can work. I remember when I was that naive".
I'm 39 and I don't have a ton of time on my side.
My insurance pays for 6 IUI's and 4 IVF's. I've used one of my IUI's so far with this insurance (did 2 IUI's self paid before we got my husbands insurance). 
I don't know if after this cycle, I should try more IUI's or move onto IVF.
My IUI's so far have been Clomid/Trigger. I have Gonal-F in preparation for my next cycle so I almost certainly will try to do one more IUI with that before considering IVF.
While I think on these options, does anyone have any successful IUI stories to share? If you don't mind sharing your age and a little of your situation, that  might help too.
Ooooowww, cramps. :(

And for some laughs (gotta find them where you can when dealing with IF). If you are trying to conceive, you must watch this series of videos. I haven't laughed so hard in.... well a very long time.


If you want to laugh so hard you cry, watch the entire series. You won't regret it.
Enjoy!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Third times a charm, right?

Happy IUI day to me!

I have some catching up to do before we get to that.

As I've mentioned before, the World Cup is on and USA has provided me with plenty of happy distractions.

So much so that I thought my appointment with the RE was last Thursday, however, it was supposed to be last Friday. Since I was there and they are wonderful, they fit me in.

I was expecting to be told there were no mature follicles and it was too early, come back Saturday or Sunday. However, he did see mature follicles! He said I was ready and to trigger than night and we'd do a Saturday IUI.

Well now, what a surprise! I was really worried that it would be happening early next week and I'd have to miss USA vs Belgium. That concern was put to rest.

I went home happy but once there, got to thinking. I've shown zero signs of being close to ovulating. No positive OPK's, no EWCM and only one high reading on my monitor. I got a bit down because I worried it was too early.

I put my concerns aside and we did the trigger at 11PM Thursday night. It took my husband 3 attempts at the HCG shot - ouch!! But to his credit, this was the first time it didn't go perfectly and I'm not walking around wounded, so all is well.

We arrive this morning at 9AM for James to give his contribution.

I have an interesting side note regarding that:

He's been taking FertilAid & Motility Boost and the last two IUI's yielded 32 million sperm after wash and 50 million sperm after wash.
He ran out about two weeks ago and forgot to tell me so this IUI was going to be a true test to the power of those two products.

His numbers this IUI were still excellent but you can definitely notice a decline. We got 19 million sperm after wash this time.

19 million is not at all concerning and still nearly double the amount recommended. Is it because those two products do actually work or was this a one off? Hard to tell but I'm buying a new supply today.

After James did his part we grabbed a bite of breakfast and took Ryan to PetSmart to look at the fish, kitties etc.

My appointment wasn't until 11AM but I wanted to get back earlier because I wanted to take some ibuprofen and also I decided to use ConceivePlus before the procedure.

We walked in at about 10:35 and the receptionist told me she was just picking up the phone to call me, they were ready for me. That was quick!

I quickly went to the bathroom and used the ConceivePlus and was ready to roll.

You might remember how my last IUI in April was technically very difficult for the doctor. He had a hell of a time getting to my cervix. The on call RE this weekend was not my doctor so I warned her that I'm a difficult case. She did an examination and determined that yes, I am a tricky case. My cervix is pointing up. After some maneuvering she got the catheter in and we were ready to roll.

Once done, they set the timer and I laid back thinking. I thought about the sperm digging into an egg and I thought about my family and friends at the hospital welcoming our new baby.

I saw James trying to give the baby to Ryan to hold and Ryan saying "No, I don't like it!" (trust me, that's almost certainly how it will go down).
I saw my cousin Fiona and her parents holding the new baby just like they did with Ryan.

Then I pictured my friends there with us. I saw Elly making me laugh, Jen being practical as always arriving with a gift basket she collected items for at work and I saw Felicia crying happy tears.

The ten minutes flew by and it was time go home. I went straight to the sofa to lay down. Not because I'm told to but because it makes me feel better to do it.

And now I am officially in the TWW. Blood test to follow on 7/10 - cross your fingers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A lucky grape

At work today I had a bag of grapes and shared them with two co-workers.
One of the ladies (one I don't know very well) ended up with what can only be described as a mutant grape, it was like a conjoined triplet grape.

She showed it to the other co-worker (with whom I am very friendly and knows my infertility struggles very well) and she decided it was a lucky grape and it should be given to me.

I took this lucky grape back to my desk and ate my lunch, deciding the lucky grape had to be saved for very last.
I have to say, it was horrible. It tasted extremely sour and I nearly spit it out. However, it's a lucky grape and I stuck it out to the final bitter swallow (the rest of the bunch were fine).

Here's hoping it was worth the effort!

In other news, I had a pity party for a while today. Sitting in a meeting I looked over and noticed that another co-worker I haven't seen in a while had a noticeable baby bump.
She has a daughter younger than my son and is now well on her way to her second. 

Of course this brought out the worst voices in my head - "everyone but me" and "why the hell can't I be walking around with a baby bump" and of course the very pitiful "it's not fair".

Then, as fate would have it, I saw this on facebook:
Well then. 
It's true. I'm hardly alone in this struggle and so far, haven't even had to endure the worst it has to offer. 

I think I was pretty damn strong when we lost Nathan - I held it together better than most women could (after a complicated c-section to boot). If I can keep my chin up and stay strong after the loss of a beloved son, I can damn well do it while waiting for our next baby.

Infertility, 
You're my bitch and I own you.
Jessica

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My first ICLW

ICLW = International Comment Leaving Weak.
It's designed to encourage people to not just read blogs, but to comment also.
To read more about it and the blogs participating (including mine), click here.


The more I read other infertility blogs, the more is scares me but also makes me feel incredibly grateful.
For one, I have a live and healthy son. No matter what my fertility gets me in the future, Ryan is here.

Also, I've just recently jumped on this infertility train. So many women have been on it for years and even worse, many have nothing but heartache to show for it.

But that's also the scary part. I have so much hope that a simple IUI will work for us and we'll go on to have the baby we want. But, many of these women are way past IUI stage and have had multiple failed IVF's, too.

I know in my head that it might not work for me. I know that maybe at some point we'll have to consider IVF, too. And even then, it might not work. But my heart is just not ready to accept that we won't have success very, very soon.

You can spend thousands on these treatments and have nothing to show for it other than debt or a depleted savings.

To the women who have been at this for years, I am rooting so hard for you. It's my hope to start reading success stories this month.

And I hope to be posting my own success story, too.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Doing a happy dance!

Very quick update - insurance pays for my Gonal-F! So, instead of paying $800+, I pay $35!

Again, it's too late to make a difference for this cycle, but I filled the order anyway to use next month.

It would be nice to not have to use it but I want it ready in case we don't have success this month.

I might post more later...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A minor disappointment

After a significant wait today we got in to see our RE and he agreed that the Gonal-F (gonadtropin) was a good next step.

Except that today is CD 4 and I'd have to get the Gonal-F and start it today. Since I didn't leave the office until nearly 4PM and then had to run James back to work, there was no chance of getting the medication today from the fertility pharmacy. 

So, this month is another Clomid/trigger shot IUI cycle. 
It worked last time (even if the end result wasn't a baby) so I'm okay to have to go this route. 

The other potential hiccup is the cost of the Gonal-F. My doctor suggests 900 IU and if I have to pay OOP, it's over $800. Ouch!

I'm waiting to hear back from the fertility pharmacy if my Rx insurance covers any of it. Some women seem to have it covered by their insurance and others are paying OOP. 

If my insurance covers it, we'll definitely do the Gonal-F next cycle. If not, we'll have to think about that long and hard. 

But you know, let's hope we don't have to worry about what we'll do next month and end up with a positive result THIS month!

Keep sending those good vibes to me, please!

And also... GO USA!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sorry for the hiatus

It's been a pretty long time since I posted and I'm sorry for that.

There are three reasons for my long absence.
1. I have become obsessed with other infertility blogs
2. World Cup (Go USA!)
3. I have nothing to report

Since the miscarriage in April we haven't done any treatments.

We were hoping the hiatus would only be for a month while we transitioned to James' health insurance and if we had managed to get it done even one day sooner, we would have been ready to go in May.

The insurance was worth the total hassle involved.

We had to sign up with his new insurance and then drop mine (which was a nightmare process). Then I had to call the infertility hotline and sign up with the program. Once that was done I had to get in touch with my RE's office to have them send over needed documents to the infertility department to get started.

The person my RE's office spoke with told them that IVF wasn't covered (I knew it was) so that was several phone calls back and forth between my RE and the insurance, the RE and me & me and the insurance company.

Finally we got everything documented and we're all on the same page. I get 6 IUI's of any kind and 4 IVF's.  This alone is amazing but there is many more added benefits. They even cover PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) which was very surprising to my RE. They have never seen that covered before. Score!

Of course, I'm hoping it won't come to IVF and I really doubt it will. Tomorrow we have our first appointment since the miscarriage with the RE and I'm genuinely looking forward to it.

I'm ready to move past the simple Clomid/trigger shot IUI and move on to Gonadotropin/trigger shot IUI.
This has a slightly higher success rate but also a slightly higher risk of multiples.
It will require more monitoring throughout the cycle but at least the office is just a couple miles from my office so it won't be a big deal.

I restocked my cabinet with fertility monitor test sticks and OPK's (turns out these are much cheaper on walmart.com than on amazon.com) so I'm ready to go!

I like to use the fertility monitor and OPK's even when doing IUI's so I know we're definitely timing everything correctly.

So I would expect to be inseminated in about two weeks.

We've been asking Ryan if he wants a brother or a sister. His answer changes daily but I think he'll be happy with either.

Ryan's going to be a big brother. You can take that to the bank.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

The first thing I'd like to do is acknowledge the ladies who have carried their babies throughout a long pregnancy, felt them kick, bonded with their unborn babies and then lost them before they were born or even soon after birth.

I believe if you love your baby and you still honor them even when they're gone, you're a mother.

Happy Mothers Day to you all.


This past week was just about one of the greatest weeks I've had in a very long time.

It all started Monday with Ryan's 4th birthday. I left work early and attended a class birthday party for him at school then I took him to the bouncy castles at Monkey Joe's.  After that we met James at Chuck E. Cheese and played games for a couple hours.

Wednesday was my birthday and my wonderful colleagues decorated my cube which looked amazing. They also gave me flowers and cupcakes. I felt so special!

Then on Thursday, my husband gave me news that made me feel like it was my birthday all over again... His new insurance covers 6 IUI's, 6 "next level" (we need to confirm what that means exactly) and 4 IVF's! That's 16 treatments!

I am entirely confident that we'll have our baby next year. There is no doubt it my mind.

On Friday James and Ryan visited me at work and brought me flowers (and a kit-kat but Ryan decided he better go ahead and keep that for himself).

My dad, step-mom and aunt visited on Saturday and we had a very nice BBQ outside until the rain started pouring down on our heads. We had to quickly pack everything up and move it inside. None the less, the party continued and it was a lovely afternoon with family.

As for last month, the miscarriage passed pretty quickly and without too much pain. I feel like I was very lucky for it to have happened with relative ease.

This month we didn't do any treatment while we were confirming insurance coverage. We did try on our own but I know that with my wonky cervix, there is no hope of success the "traditional"way.

I did ovulate pretty quickly after the miscarriage so my hopes are high that we'll have success very soon.

I look forward to posting again once we start our next round of treatments!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The "BFP" that wasn't meant to be

It's been quite a while since I've written and there are several reasons for this.

First is my in-laws are in town for James' birthday and that has kept me busy. Before that, I was busy at work trying to get a lot done before I went on vacation.

And also, there was only uncertainty to write about. That's not very exciting.

So I'll sum up what's been going on.

The last IUI worked. By that I mean, sperm met egg and I'm technically pregnant.

However, my HCG Beta started off very low and never really increased. My doctor increased progesterone to four times a day (from 3) in hopes of making it stick but three blood tests later told us this wasn't going to grow into our baby.

So I've stopped all medication and am now waiting for nature to take its course. The medical term is chemical pregnancy (miscarriage) but understand that, at only 5 weeks along, it's a zygote with no heartbeat or anything resembling a baby.

So you're probably wondering how I'm feeling about this, right?

The truth is I'm disappointed but by no means devastated and I'm not feeling any sense of loss. I know many women mourn a chemical pregnancy very deeply.

I think for me, after losing Nathan, this is something I can easily handle.

And I can take positives from it; the sperm met the egg! That's a HUGE step for us. We have every reason to believe that we can have a successful pregnancy.

In the mean time we're having a wonderful vacation with my Mother-in-law, Father-in-law and Sister-in-law. They all helped us with some much needed yard work and even put together Ryan's new bike. It's been very nice to relax and not be at work!

As always, I will miss them when they go. We do get to see James' parents every year but his sister much less frequently. I'm hoping that will change, I love having her around.

I'll update again when I have something to say. We haven't decided on doing another IUI this month, I know the doctor really wants us to but we'll see. There are many factors to consider so you'll know when I know. :)

Have a great weekend friends!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy IUI Day!

I've been very quiet here on the blog front.

It was a busy week at work and I've just been feeling tired a lot lately. Not sure what that's about but Spring is in the air and I fully expect to be back in top form shortly.

We're off soon to the fertility clinic for our second IUI round.

We're not sure how well I responded this time because my right ovary was playing hide-and-seek. However, my left ovary did show one mature follicle that was ready to go so on Thursday night, I did the trigger shot.

Speaking of the trigger shot... Last time you might recall, James practically had to chase me around the house with the needle. Finally when I settled down and let him do it, I didn't feel a thing. Easy peasy.

So you'd think that this time I was calm, cool & collected, right?
No.

One again he had to chase me around the house saying "remember last time you didn't feel a thing!".
Finally I stopped and allowed him to do it. Once again, I didn't feel the shot but this time I am feeling a little sore in the area.

So here we are getting ready to drive to Annandale for IUI Round 2.

We didn't do anything different this cycle however, I feel like the timing is better this time around.

Last month I was scheduled for an ultrasound on a Friday but on Thursday morning I got a "peak" reading on my monitor. So I called my doctor and he had me come in that day to do the ultrasound, sure enough, three mature follicles. So I did the shot that night. I'm convinced by the time we did the IUI on Saturday, I had already ovulated. They didn't do another ultrasound before the IUI so there is no way to know for sure but all signs pointed towards what I suspect - ovulation happened the day before. This matters because the egg doesn't have a long life span at all, roughly 12 hours.

This time, my appointment was scheduled for Thursday and that morning I only had a "high" reading on my monitor and all day Friday I had fertile signs indicating I had not ovulated yet.

Long story short, I feel much more confident in the timing this cycle.

I'm off now and will write another update after the IUI.

Fingers crossed (again)!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clomid Day 1 v.2

I saw the RE today and he did a quick ultrasound to ensure the Clomid didn't cause any cysts. I got the 'all clear' so we decided the plan this cycle will be the exact same as last cycle.

I picked up the Clomid prescription today and have already taken the first two tabs.

Next Thursday I'll return for the baseline ultrasound which is where he will look to see how many mature follicles there are and then decide when to do the trigger shot.
(Hopefully James won't have to chase me around the house to administer the trigger shot this time!)

Let's do this!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big. Fat. Negative.

As suspected, the IUI didn't work.

I had a virus run rampant through my body Friday night through Saturday morning and I spent that time with my head in the toilet. Fun!

I spent the rest of yesterday sleeping, giving my body time to rest and recover.

We'll give IUI another shot but need to talk to my RE this week for any suggestions on what he thinks we can do differently and to ask if we should wait a month given that I'm recovering from a nasty virus.

We'll see what's next and I'll update when I know.

Thanks again to everyone who has given us support, it's meant the world to us!

I'm convinced we'll get that baby!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A 'no update' update

I'm 9 days past the IUI and, unfortunately, showing signs of PMS.

You're safe in assuming I'm grumpy about it because A) PMS makes you grumpy and B) PMS means the IUI didn't work.

Well... damn.

Silver lining?

James has been offered a position at Booz Allen Hamilton (most recently of Edward Snowden fame) and we're told his benefits include fertility treatments.

I want to see this with my own eyes before getting too excited but, he was told about it by a female colleague.

At least this means the next treatment won't be completely out-of-pocket (hopefully).

We should have the details in the next couple weeks when he completes the new employee orientation.

In the mean time it was a very busy week at work and I kept myself busy cleaning this weekend. So there hasn't been too much time to dwell over it all.

When I know our next step, I'll update again.

Thanks for hanging in there with me everyone.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Some reassuring statistics

I came across this today which was incredibly reassuring about our chances.

Q: How high a sperm count is needed for IUI? 

A: A count above one million washed appears necessary for success, with a significant reduction in pregnancy rates when the inseminated count is lower than 5-10 million (in other words, in most cases one should consider 5 million a lower limit for success, 10 million for cost-effective). Higher success rates are with washed counts over 20-30 million, while increasing counts over 50 million did not appear to offer advantage. 

So, at 31million, James was able to provide the highest amount proven needed and anything more than that wouldn't have increased our odds.

I think I better step away now from reading clinical studies. At this point, we've done the absolute best we can. I caught that I was going to ovulate earlier than expected thus moved up the IUI. There were 3 mature eggs and James certainly provided the best we could have hoped for.

My friends have been doing their part by praying and thinking good thoughts for us. Even my Aunt Maggie got in on the action yesterday and told me to hold my phone to my belly as she sent a series of texts (directed mainly to the sperm)!

Come on Mother Nature, let's do this!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

31.68 million reasons to be hopeful!

We showed up right at 8AM and soon after James gave his "specimen". We were told to come back at 10AM for the insemination.

We took Ryan to PetSmart to look at the fish and kitties for a while then made our way back to the clinic.

It's a Saturday and we were the only ones there so I was called back pretty much right away.

James' numbers were phenomenal! They confirmed what I had been told which is they like to see about 5million sperm after the wash. James had 31.68 million after the wash and the motility and progression were fantastic - hoorah!!

The insemination part was quick and easy. Afterwards they left me with a timer that would go off in ten minutes. I was to lie there quietly and wait for the timer.

She asked if I'd like a magazine and I said no, I intended to "visualize". And, that's exactly what I did.

I laid there with my eyes closed imagining those 31 million sperm navigating their way to one of my three eggs and breaking through. Then I visualized that growing into an embryo and all the way up to a baby then being born. I pictured Ryan playing with his little sibling.

Then the timer went off and I got up. I couldn't help but picturing all those sperm then going "woooah" and falling down all the length they had already swam. While that's not actually the case, it was amusing to picture!

Now, you might think that with 31 million sperm and three eggs, our odds would be excellent.
The truth is, the odds are incredibly low.

However, I insist of being positive and thinking positive until the day I get a + result on a home pregnancy test.

What's next?
I'm scheduled for a blood draw on 3/20 to determine pregnancy. Until then I go about life as usual and try not to obsess.

The hardest part about the TWW (two week wait) is not falling into the trap of "symptom spotting". So many women trying to conceive do this far too much and I've seen & heard many disappointed women who were so sure they were pregnant because they were tired/hungry/nauseas/sore etc and end up disappointed because they read far too much into these symptoms.

One last note:
Again, I'd like to thank everyone for being so supportive. It feels good to be able to talk about this journey and not keep it secret as if infertility is something to be ashamed of.

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Not one, not two, but three!

You'll remember from yesterday that the plan was for me to return tomorrow (Friday) for an ultrasound to check that the one little egg follicle has progressed and that would most likely determine that we'd need to do the trigger shot on Friday night and do a Sunday insemination.

You may also remember that the doctor did not see my right ovary at all and found the one follicle on the left ovary.

This morning I took OPK and Fertility monitor tests and they both showed "peak" fertility.

So naturally, I panicked.

I was sure that meant that our timetable would be too late and we were probably already too late to catch this cycle and we'd have to abandon and try again next month.

I called the doctor right at 8AM and told them the test results from the morning.

The nurse spoke with the doctor and he said I needed to come in today for another ultrasound.

I spent the day convinced that I'd be told we're abandoning this month and I was coming to terms with it.

The ultrasound surprised us all. The RE today was only able to see my right ovary but saw two mature eggs (20mm and 25mm)!

So between yesterday and today I went from one decently growing follicle to having three. This is great news!

But, it does bring the timetable forward so it was good I went in today.

Tonight at 10PM I will take the trigger shot and Saturday at 8AM we go in for the IUI process.

I can't even express how excited I am!

Now I need all my friends & family (framily!) to cross your fingers and send us all the positive vibes you can spare that one of these eggs will fertilize and become our third baby.

Send some babydust my way, please!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quick update

After five days of Clomid the ultrasound today showed 1 good follicle (15mm) in my left ovary.

I was super ecstatic to see it! 

On Friday I will have another ultrasound to see if it's reached 19mm and if so, I'll do the trigger shot Friday evening and return Sunday morning for the insemination. 

Today the CBE Fertility Monitor gave a "high" reading which matches with the ultrasound so it confirms that it's working properly. 

I just can't say how happy I am to see that follicle and I'm treasuring it like it was an embryo. I'm talking to it and telling it how much we all want it to grow and become our baby.

Call me crazy but I am determined to be positive!

Will update on Friday after the next ultrasound.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clomid Day 2

Our trip to the RE went well, nothing unexpected.

I started Clomid yesterday and the doctor suggested I take it at night before bed to lessen the effects. 
Fortunately, Clomid is only for five days but I have heard that it can make you very emotional. 

Next Wednesday we go back for another ultrasound to see the effect the Clomid has had. At that point they'll tell me when to do the trigger shot.

Speaking of trigger shots...
I know I said in my last post I wasn't going to be doing that but I misunderstood the terminology.

One of the options we were offered was Gonadotropin which is a series of 8-10 shots. This would be instead of Clomid. Either way, you still do a trigger shot to make ovulation happen.

I thought by choosing not to do that option, I was declining the trigger shot completely. I'm glad to know that's not the case.

If we don't have success this first time, we may try to Gonadotropin as it does have a better success rate. But, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I'm still going to use my CBE Monitor and OPK's this cycle knowing that the reading could be thrown off by the Clomid. 

Of course, the idea of the trigger shot is nothing short of petrifying. I got the kit in the mail yesterday I looked through the contents. Talk about intimidating! 

Take a look at this picture and you'll see what I'm in for...
Gulp!