Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bring It

Today is CD6 and I started temping again this morning. I really don't want to. It feels really depressing to start that up again. I've suspected that it was pointless for a long time and I believe that even more now. I'm also going to get out the OPKs in a few days. I doubt that even the most perfect timing would make me feel hopeful, but I know that cycles can go crazy after an IVF cycle and I think the temping and OPKs will help me avoid that. As a bonus, I lost my good thermometer so I'm using and older, shittier one that takes about ten minutes to register a temperature.

I'm still having good days and bad. The weekend was great because my parents came to visit us. It was so nice to see them and spend time with them and I didn't cry at all. Yesterday when they left, the crying and overwhelming sadness came back. It was a mixture of being sad to have them leave and also just feeling like - well this is it, it's really over and now we just have to get on with our lives.

We've been really worried about the getting on with our lives bit because we have no idea where our lives are going right now. We don't know when Seth will graduate or when/if/where he will get a job. That makes it really hard to plan for the future. We didn't think we could afford to do another IVF cycle until we had more information. We have the money in savings to pay for a cycle or two OOP, but if we did that we wouldn't really have a decent cushion in case Seth didn't get a job right after graduation. That's scary and I think it would be irresponsible to blow through our savings without the income to back it up.

Luckily, we have the most amazing parents and they have all offered to help us out financially if we decide to cycle again. With their help, we will probably be able to cycle again in April or May. Of course, that depends on whether or not my body goes crazy, on what Dr. M has to say at our WTF (What the Fuck, or if you're more polite than me - Why the Fail?) appointment, and also on whether or not we want to miss a lot of family events because of treatment. My niece's first birthday is in May and two cousins are getting married right after that. I know my niece will have no idea if I'm there or not and my cousins won't really care either (we're not close), but I don't know if I want to miss out on spending time with my family for something that might not even work. If IVF was a guarantee, there would be no question. But I'm wondering if it will feel even worse to have a second failed cycle knowing that I missed out on a bunch of chances to be happy and have fun.

I guess there's no point in worrying about it until we see what happens to me and hear what the doctor has to say. It's hard to just pick up the pieces and try again when you feel so sure that the pieces were broken from the very beginning. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't daydreamed about a break cycle BFP. Who knows? Maybe it is possible. Maybe pretending that it could happen will make it easier to keep trying.

I originally titled this post "Just Keep Swimming", but when I searched for a cute little picture I found ^that guy instead. That's more "me" and I already feel better (apparently I'm still suffering from sudden mood swings). Failed cycles suck. Temping sucks. Paying OOP fucking sucks. But I will get through this shit.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't Give Up

Yesterday was a good day.

During my class, a man came in and asked if he could make an announcement about donating blood. They were all set up with a bus outside, but participation was really low. It's been awhile since I donated blood. Usually I'm ineligible because of where I travel, but it's been six months since I went to Central America. I know that my blood type is in high demand, so I thought - why not? I'm not pregnant and I'm a champion with needles so why don't I go make the most of it?

I wasn't sure if I would be allowed to do it since I've been so recently pumped up on so many meds, but I couldn't find any nurses to talk to. The only person near the bus was the man who came in to make an announcement so I sucked it up and went to talk to him.

I told him that I'd had a medical procedure recently - in vitro fertilization - and I wasn't sure if I was eligible to donate. I wondered if I needed to explain what IVF was, but he just said that the only issue was whether or not I was pregnant. When I told him no, he sighed and I could tell that he knew exactly what my 'no' meant. Sure enough, he said that he and his wife went through IVF three times before they had their son. He asked me how many cycles I'd done and when I told him it was our first try he just said "Don't give up". It wasn't in that douchey 'Relax - it happened for me/my sister's best friend's neighbor's daughter, so it will happen for you too' kind of way. It was just really, really kind and encouraging. He understood exactly what I was going through and it felt so good to hear that at such an unexpected time from such an unexpected place.

When I went to bed last night, I realized that I was feeling good. I am starting to feel like myself again. I know that it's going to take time and I'm still going to have bad days mixed in with the good ones, but I can feel the lump in my throat and the pit in my stomach getting smaller.

Today is CD1. I feel relieved. Now it's just another step in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

IVF #1 = BFN

Yesterday was beta day. Nurse Jacki called around 4 PM to tell me that it was negative. It wasn't a surprise - the HPTs were negative at 8dp5dt and again at 10dp5dt. I knew it was over before I walked into the office yesterday morning, but it still hurt. Well, hurt doesn't really cover it.

I'm heartbroken. I'm sad for the little embaby that didn't make it. Maybe it had my eyes and Seth's smile. We'll never get to find out.

I'm scared. Terrified. I always sort of thought that IVF would be the last resort for us. Even though I knew going into it that the odds were not in our favor, I hoped that it would work. But it didn't and now I don't know what to do. Before you move on to IVF, you keep it in the back of your mind - if all else fails, we can try IVF. Well what happens when IVF fails? Even if we had endless amounts of money, how many cycles do you try before you accept that it's not going to happen? I know that I'm not ready to give up now, not even close, but I'm so afraid of all of the choices that we'll have to make again. I'm afraid that moving forward means we're just one step closer to the point of giving up.

I feel so helpless. I feel like everything is out of my control. Did I do anything wrong? Could I have done something differently? What can I do better next time? Is there something wrong with me? When will body go back to "normal"? And then there's the rest of our lives - when will Seth graduate? Will he get a job? Where will we be in six months? Can we afford another cycle? Where should we do it? When? I have no idea how to answer any of these questions.

I've been telling everyone that I'm fine. Partly because I think that's what they want to hear and partly because that's what I want to believe. I know that I will be fine, but I'm not fine now. I don't know what to do. Do I just pretend the last six weeks never happened? How do I forget the hope that I felt? How do I get over the fear and disappointment so that I can be hopeful enough to move forward?

For now, I'm just going to try focusing on what I've said all along. Someday we will have a baby. I don't know how or when it will happen, but it will. And when I have that baby in my arms I will be so grateful for the path and all of the choices and all of the disappointments that brought us to that baby.

Friday, February 14, 2014


BFN on an HPT this morning.

It wasn't really a surprise. I've had really bad cramps and headaches for a few days which is exactly how I feel before my period starts. I know lots of people say that they felt like they were getting their period for a BFP...but I just didn't feel like it was true for me. I had a really hard time hoping that the same feeling I've had for the past 20 failed cycles would lead to a different outcome this time. What's that people say about insanity? Infertility Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, at least I'm not insane yet.

I'm sad. I'm heartbroken for the little embryo that didn't make it and for the other 8 that we already lost. I'm terrified. I have no idea what we'll do next or when we can do it. I just feel really helpless.

Monday, I'll go in for the official beta test and hopefully we can schedule our WTF appointment sometime soon. I sort of don't even want to go to that because I'm pretty sure we're going to be financially benched indefinitely, but I guess it's good to hear what they think anyway.

Thank you so much for all of the support throughout this cycle (and the many before it). I don't think I would have gotten through it without all of you!

Monday, February 10, 2014


After we found out about our lack of frosties, we decided that we wanted to test out the trigger so that we could take an HPT before beta day. I guess it makes us feel like we have a little bit of control back. At least this way, we can test over the weekend and process the news, good or bad, in private before we have to go to the clinic and to work next Monday.

On Saturday we went to Dollar Tree. I've never had a problem buying HPTs or tampons or things like that, but I wasn't excited about walking into the Dollar Tree to buy a butt load of tests. At this point, I feel a little ashamed or embarrassed to buy them. As if people are laughing at me or pitying me because I don't really need them. Or maybe I'm just pitying myself. I've also heard stories of cashiers making comments and I didn't think I could handle that. I told Seth that 35 people have already seen my vagina this month and I could handle this, but he turned the car off and followed me in anyway. I thought that was really sweet. Like he didn't want me to stand there alone.

The store was packed of course. As if they were having a sale and everything in the store isn't always one dollar every other day. And the cashier did say 'good luck', by the way, but she said it as we walked away so I managed to contain my rage at what I'm sure she thought was a very kind thing to say.

Both yesterday and today, the test was stark white at the recommended 2-3 minute read time. I thought 3dp5dt was kind of early for the trigger to be totally gone so I checked it an hour later and there was a faint but obvious line. Today I watched it longer and the line does show up right around the 'do not read after 10 minute' mark. I'll probably keep testing until I'm sure nothing shows up before 10 minutes.

Hopefully this week goes by quickly!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

And then there was one.

This morning we received the news that none of our 8 remaining embryos made it to freeze. No frosties for us.

Seth and I are pretty crushed. We knew that the odds weren't in our favor (they aren't in anyone's favor) but we couldn't help but hope for the best. It was really tough to hear the report. We started asking ourselves all sorts of questions - why not? What went wrong? Is there something wrong with us? Does this mean my eggs are bad? Does this mean that the one we transferred didn't make it past day 6 either?

I don't think there are any answers to these questions. It just happened. It was just bad luck (or really, just not good luck).

Of course we're not giving up though. As far as we know, we still have one. For the next 10 days we just need to keep hoping and praying that our one little guy is still fighting and holding on.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This morning was our ET. I am officially PUPO - Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. I've also heard Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise and I think I like the sound of that better. It seems more optimistic.

We arrived at the clinic around 9:30 and went straight back to the prep room. Both Seth and I changed into our fancy outfits and then the nurse came and took my vitals. After this, she gave us the report of our remaining embryos. We had 12 retrieved and 9 fertilized (the other 3 were discarded). Of those 9, all 9 are still growing today! However, most of them (the 8 that we didn't transfer) don't look like they'll make it to freeze. I had trouble following her explanation but it seems like most of them are far behind where they should be on Day 5. There were three early blastocysts that look like they have the potential to be frozen. We won't find out about those until until Day 7 or 8.

Then she showed us the little embryo that was chosen for our transfer. She said it was a beautiful embryo and that the embryologist and physician were really happy with it so they were definitely recommending that we just transfer that one embryo. The nurse said that it was a grade 3BB blast. I thought that sounded kind of crappy, but in their system 3 is good. 3 means it's an expanded blast (4 would be the best for a hatching blast). The letters have to do with the amount of cells present and how tightly packed they are and B is average/decent. I got all teary when she handed us the picture.

And here it is - hopefully the first of many, many pictures of our little one:

Next I took some Valium and filled out a bunch of paperwork while I filled my bladder. Valium is awesome. Filling your bladder sucks. I have a really sensitive bladder, possibly because it had been covered with endo tissue, so that was like torture for me. They even let me pee once before taking us into the OR but the doctor could still see that I was in a lot of discomfort so they sent me back out of the OR to go again. And my bladder was still plenty full when they did the transfer.

The Valium really helps relax things down there because this wasn't as uncomfortable or painful as a pap or the mock transfer. It happened really quickly and the doctor showed us the little bright white spot in my uterus which showed where the embryo (in the fluid) was deposited. We got a picture of that too. And I got teary again.

Now we wait. And we wait and we wait. The first beta is scheduled for Monday, February 17th. That's 11dp5dt! That seems like a long time. I don't think I'm going to test early because I didn't test out my trigger and I've never had a trigger before so I don't know what to expect. Oh well. Hopefully it will be worth the wait. While we were waiting to go in for the transfer, one of my favorite songs came on - Mumford and Sons I Will Wait. I'm going to look at that as a good sign.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day 3 Report

The nurse from the embryology lab called this morning with great news - everything still looks good so we're aiming for a Day 5 transfer on Thursday. Yay! We were so relieved to hear that we still have some strong little embryos.

I asked the nurse if she could give me any details, but she said that she didn't have that information. The only thing she hears from the embryologist is whether or not we can wait until day 5. She did say that in order to be considered for a Day 5 transfer, you need to have least 5 grade 1-2 embryos (6-8 cells). That sounds great to me.

Look - it's our little Petries! (This is what they look like in my head.)
This afternoon, I need to call to see what time I'm scheduled for transfer on Thursday. After that, it's just another ~40-48 hours of waiting and praying and hoping for the best.

In other news, I started the progesterone supplement (Crinone gel) yesterday. So far so good with that one. I've only used two so far, but I haven't noticed anything weird or uncomfortable yet. On Thursday I'll add in the estrogen pills as well. At least I'm finished with the injections!

IVF #1 Progress Report
Status: 3 days past retrieval, 2 days until transfer!
Embryos: 5-9 grade 1-2 (6-8 cells)
Lupron: Done!
Stims: Done!
Other Meds: Crinone gel
Side Effects: Probably TMI to share...but it's a real pain in the ass

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blissfully Ignorant

We won't get another call about our embabies until tomorrow morning. I have no idea what's happening or how they're doing. I think that's kind of a good thing though. As far as I know, we still have 9 little embryos. For today, I can pretend that they're all dividing beautifully and growing strong. I know that that's probably not true, but acknowledging or dwelling on that truth isn't going to make it any more or less likely to happen. I am worried about them, but I'm not feeling crazy with anxiety. When I think about them, I just say a quick prayer and go about my business.

Tomorrow, the panic will set it. Luckily my first class isn't until late morning so whether I'm going in for a Day 3 transfer or not, I don't need to be up until 7 AM. I'm going to try to sleep as late as possible to minimize the amount of time I have to sit starting at the phone.

Hopefully, this is what our embryos are doing right now:

On Day 3, they like to see embryos with 6 to 10 cells. If we have a good number of "superior quality" embryos, they will push us back to a Day 5 transfer. If things aren't going so well, we'll go in tomorrow to hopefully transfer our strongest little embryo. Best not to think about the other possibilities for now.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Egg Retrieval and 1st Fert Report

Yesterday was egg retrieval day! It went pretty well. We got to the clinic around 9 AM. After we double-checked all of our instructions for the embryologist, Seth was sent to the collection room and I was taken back to the pre-op area. I got to change into a fancy gown and then they got the IV ready. That was easily the worst part. I don't remember it hurting so much for my lap surgery. I think they did it in my hand that time, but this one was in my arm. I'm pretty sure they used the horse needle too.

Anyway - the whole pre-op process only took about twenty minutes. They were super efficient. The anesthesiologist came to talk to me and then I was wheeled back into the operating room. I was really nervous at first because Seth didn't make it back in time to see me before I went in. That didn't last long because they started pumping something through the IV which was amazing. All of the stress from the past two weeks disappeared and I told the doctor that I wished I could have that every night before bed. Next, they pumped in something that made my arm burn. I was told to scoot down to the edge of the table and the next thing I knew, I was back in the pre-op room telling the doctor about my ethnic background (he asked about my last name). I came around pretty quickly which was nice and they put Zofran in the IV so I didn't get sick. The cramping was pretty severe, but the Vicodin helped much more than it did when I took it after my lap.

While I was lounging in bed waiting for the drugs to wear off more fully, the nurse came back to tell us that everything went really well and that the doctor was able to retrieve 12 eggs! 12! I must have asked Seth five times in five minutes - wait, how many? I knew that they might not all be mature and then they might not fertilize, but 12 sounded a lot better than 5. I was so relieved.

The next 24 hours weren't horrible. I was able to half-sleep for another three or four hours and then I needed to have some buffalo chicken for dinner so we took the boys for a ride to get drive-thru wings and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies (hell fucking yes). I took a Tylonel 3 and had a nice almost dreamless sleep.

This morning the panic set in. What if none of the eggs were mature? What if they didn't fertilize? What if my eggs are just shit and they tell me I'll never have biological children? I walked around with the phones in my hand from the time I got out of bed until the phone rang a little before noon.

A lovely nurse named Carol asked how I was and I said 'nervous'. She told me not to worry, that our report was excellent! The doctor retrieved 12 eggs and the embryologist placed them all in the petri dish for conventional fertilization. 9 of those eggs fertilized normally. She said that we currently have 9 embryos growing well! I couldn't believe it. That was so much better than I was expecting after talking to the nurses on trigger day. I am so, so happy and relieved.

We'll get another call between 8:30-9:00 on Tuesday telling us whether we need to come in for a day 3 transfer or if things are looking great and we can wait until Thursday. How do people get through the next 24 hours? I'm already so nervous thinking about those 9 little embabies and praying that they're growing and staying strong. That's all I can do. Hope and pray.