28 May 2009
I had another blood test today. For me, just as important as the last one. Charleen told me that my level should go up by at least half. 1495 - what happened to up by half?! My levels are so high that I graduate to the upstairs office. Bye bye Charlene, TJ and I was both miss you terribly!!
26 May 2009
They think it's twins!!
So much has happened since my last post, and much of it was held back because I don't think I could have handled posting about another failure. So I'm going to do my best to now sum up the last cycle.
So I finally ovulated on April 24. Excitement of all excitement! Even my nurse was excited when she called to tell me the good news. So that night I started my drug trial of Ganirelix Acetate. In my past cycles and attempts, I had a lot of problems with uneven growth of my follicles. I'd have a couple of gigantic ones and then some iddy biddies which is not good for the process. So the idea here was that Ganirelix would replace the Lupron that did NOTHING for me (other than make me mad as a hatter), and it would also be used after the stimulation begins to keep the follicles under control. So my ganirelix starts and after 5 days on it I get my period - let the stimulation begin. So normal "Day 1" process, I call to report my period to the doctor, because really, doesn't everyone want to know?! They set my appointment up for the next day. I'm assured that the Ganirelix really did its job because they cannot find my left ovary. I was assured that this was good, but to me, since I'm already missing some important parts, I was a tad nervous. After this appointment I was unstructured to begin my stimulation. Since it's a drug trial, not only are all my drugs free, I have to use the specific ones they want me to use. So for this go-around I used Follistim, replacing my Gonal-F. Side note: Follistim was cool since it came with a great carrying pouch; I preferred the ease of the Gonal-F being all pre-loaded. Since it held more, pushing down my dose was much easier that the 5000 clicks it took Follistim to put out my dose.
On May 1st, I also start my low dose HcG. So I've got two shots in my belly a day, it's great! =) Monday, May 4th is the big day. The day I learn how my follicles are looking, and for the first time every, I'M TEXT BOOK! I've been in this process since before Thanksgiving last year and this is the first time I'm text book! It was a good day. All my follicles are the same size and there are a bunch of them. Things are going so well I don't have my next appointment till Wednesday - a big change from my going to the office 5 out of 7 days for my last cycle. Wednesday’s appointment also when shockingly well, they didn't want to see me till Friday - amazing! After that appointment I was instructed to start my Ganirelix again.
Something you have to understand about all these drugs, they are time sensitive. So when you take something, it usually has to be at the same time every day. Well, when I got the call to start my Ganirelix, I had to take the drug immediately, except that I was in
in Philly (apparently the ghetto) getting my hair cut. So what did I do? I shot up in the bathroom. Yes, nothing makes you feel like you're doing something illegal than sneaking off to a tiny bathroom to shoot up your meds, but I digress. Hunting Park
Now by Friday's appointment things started to get a little hairy. Not medically, but calendar wise. You see, since everything was going to great there was a chance that my retrieval would be on Sunday, Mother's day. Now, in theory, that would be great. TL is home from work, and so is anyone else that could watch TJ while I get put out for them to do some egg pickin'. Except that I had like a million and one things planned for Sunday! I'm not saying that I wouldn't have cancelled all my plans and been happy to do so, but one of my million things planned for that day was brunch with my mother-in-law. You may be thinking, what's the big deal; well this cycle was a secret. No one knew when/if anything was going on, because if it didn't work again we did not want to go through the heart breaking procedure of not only ourselves having to deal with that it didn't work, but telling everyone it didn't. So what outrageous lie was I going to tell her and everyone else I was eating with to get out of it?!?
Of course, true to my usual style, I made a mountain out of a mole hill before I needed to. Friday's appoint when great, they actually dialed back my Follistim dose - another first! My retrieval was set for Monday.
I was instructed to take 1/2 cc of HcG at 8 pm on Saturday night. The dosage was less than I took last time, so in order to make sure my body absorbed it, they played a very cruel joke on me. I had to take a pregnancy test at 7am and it was supposed to come back positive. Are you kidding me?! I haven't seen a positive pregnancy test since Oct 2004, and you want me to do what?! To ease my freak out I was informed that I could purchase my pregnancy test at the dollar store. Yes, Ladies and gentlemen, you can buy pregnancy tests at the dollar store! Do you have any idea how much money that fact could have saved me over the last two years?! So I sent TL to buy me a pregnancy test at the dollar store, and sure enough found one. Sunday morning I wake up at 6:55am and blindly stumble into the bathroom to pee. Before I sit down, thankfully, it was before I sat down; I opened the dollar store pregnancy test. Have I mentioned that I was not a big fan of chemistry in HS? Apparently, the $7-8 price tag most pregnancy tests have, stems from the amazing technology of peeing on the stick. You see, the dollar store version came with a dropper. What?! It's almost 7, what the hell am I supposed to do with that?! I read the directions and I'm instructed to pee in a cup, and use the dropper to extract some of said pee. I am then supposed to drop 3 drops of pee into the little circle on the test. God help me! So I follow the instructions and wait. Well I don't actually wait. I've seen tons of negative pregnancy tests, you can watch the pee spread through the test and once the "test" line turns and nothing else has turned, you're not pregnant. And low and behold I wasn't pregnant. Oh shit! What the hell does that mean?! At this point I'm thinking the dollar store pregnancy test is faulty - because, hello, it came from the dollar store. So I retrieve the "good" pregnancy test that I have been saving to take when I knew I was pregnant. That one has the pee on stick technology and yet another negative. I taught my son a whole lot of bad words that morning. The paperwork said that I was supposed to call the office and leave a message as to my result. If the test came back negative, they would call me back and have me in to the office. I was supposed to leave for the zoo for my big behind the scenes preview at 8:30 and I have to leave there at 11:15 to hopefully not me too late for my 11:30 brunch. I have and hour and a half and I'm not wasting it by waiting for a phone call. I call and leave my message, but rather than waiting for my call back I just head to the office. I head right upstairs to where I usually have my blood tested and the door is locked - well isn't this just ducky! I go downstairs and the weekend nurse, whom I don't really know well, sees me right away and asks what's wrong. There are so many things going through my head at this point - How could a cycle that had gone PERFECTLY not end in a transfer?! I tell her the test was negative, between tears, and she sits me down so she can make some phone calls. She soon hears back from a doctor who informs us that I need to take another pee test and have my blood drawn. Then there were going to just give me more HcG and the transfer would still be Monday, whew! So I pee for the extremely nice nurse and she sets up my test - the EXACT same one that TL bought at the dollar store, btw! While we're waiting for the result she starts to wrap my arm so she can draw blood. She's about to stick the needle in when she leans over to look at the pregnancy test, "It's positive." WHAT?! What do you mean it's positive!?!? I immediately call TL and tell him to dig through the bathroom garbage for my tests. Sure enough the fancy pee on kind was positive, albeit with a very faint pink line, and the dollar store one, if you looked at it in the right light, was also positive. Fourteen of the gray hairs on the left side of my head are from that morning.
My sister-in-law was kind enough to sleep over Sunday night, to stay with TJ for my procedure Monday morning. We get to the office by 7, TL with his donation, and the retrieval is started at 8. Everything goes well and I get to spend the napping. We had decided to attempt to fertilize 3, just like last time.
Tuesday they call bright and early to tell me that 2 of the 3 fertilized and of the other eggs, which the number escape me, 4 were frozen. They monitor them for a couple of days, one was 4 cells by Wednesday the other 2, and my transfer was set for Thursday at 9:30. My Mom came down Wednesday night to watch TJ- and take him to zoo school, but that's a WHOLE nother story. TL and I got there at 9:15 and I had drank most of my liter of water by that point. (Could someone please invent an ultrasound where you don't have to have a full bladder, please!!!) The doctor didn't think I had enough of a full bladder and my transfer was a little delayed so I could chug, fun, let me tell you!
Not that this whole process isn't awesomely, technologically advanced, but they really flaunt it during the transfer. This time, TL and I could to watch the whole thing on this huge flat panel over my head. First the embryologist shows up the dish with our name in huge letters and then she pans down to our babies!! Our actual babies! Yes, I have the picture. Then we were shown the catheter suck up the babies. On the ultrasound, we could see the catheter and where the deposit was made. Then just to check that everything worked as planned, we are again directed to the flat screen to watch them flush the catheter so we know the babies were transferred. All in all, very cool.
This transfer felt very different from my first. I had no cramping and barely any discharge at all, I was hopeful, but I still have to wait until the Monday after Memorial Day to find out. Let the time drag on...
I’m very close to the wonderful nurse that walked me though this entire process. And over my time with the office I had learned that when it was bad news and doctor would call and when it was good news you'd get a nurse. I knew that when I got my phone call that Tuesday afternoon all I would have to hear is the voice to know if I was pregnant or not. My nurse, Charlene, didn't even get through saying all of my name before I started crying. It was her so I must be pregnant, I was really pregnant!!
Normal HcG levels for a woman in the point of pregnancy that I was are anything over 50. I was at 684. What?! Wait is that ectopic high? "No." Twins? Charlene proceeds to tell me that she could pussy foot around and tell me that they need to wait for the ultra sound, but yes, twins! My god!
01 May 2009
The other day my son asked me, "Mommy, when I was with the angels before I was born, was I dead?"
Months ago he wanted to know where he was before he was born. Since it's not something I can really wrap my head around, I told him that the angels were watching him until his Daddy and I were ready to take care of him.
I also recently had a relative pass away, and we've never been the type of parents to dumb things down for the boy, and he's not really the kind of kid that will take the dumbed down version anyway. So when my Aunt passed away - I hope when I'm 96 I have all my faculties till the end! - we explained him that she had died and it was time for her to go to be with Jesus. He had a ton of questions and we talked about it a lot.
So getting back to the other day, I explained to him again that they were only watching him until it was time for him to come to us. Then he asked, "But what if you never had me?" Holding back tears, I responded, "...I would have done anything to have you!"
...and that's when I realized that IVF was just my method of "anything" to get the rest of my babies from the angels. It's amazing the things your little one can make appear so clearly.
15 April 2009
So February 12, I started the drug from hell, Lupron. I've been on this before, the doctors actually said it went through me like water and didn't do what it was supposed to do. However, since I was doing a cryo-cycle they said the drug was supposed to serve a different purpose. I was on the drug till around the 13th of March. That's a whole month on the worse drug I've ever been on. Why, you ask? Well the worst part of it is that you don't realize how bad you are while you're on it. I felt like I was losing my mind. I was so moody and sad and I couldn't stand to be around anyone. But since the doctors said that the drug had no effect on me I never really put two and two together. It wasn't until a week off the drug that I started feeling better, and happier that I realized that it was the drug making me loopy.
So why the hell drug? On March 9th they were going to defrost my frozen eggs and fertilize them using ICIS. However, my appointment on the 2nd didn't go well, so they pushed everything back a week. (Just once I'd love to be on the schedule they put me on to start!) So, March 16th they defrosted 3 of my eggs and tried to fertilize them with ICIS. I've only had two attempted fertilizations before and I didn't sleep a wink the night my babies were being created; That night, I slept fine. You see, the embryologist had called me earlier that day and told me that upon defrosting those first three eggs that he saw that they, "didn't look good." He asked my permission to defrosting the other 2 eggs and try and ICIS them all. I hesitatingly told him no, that we would continue as per our plan; defrost 3, try to fertilize them and if 1 or less fertilized, try again with the other two. Whatever fertilized they would transfer to me, so we were a little leery to try and fertilize five and possibly have to transfer five; hence our plan. My hopes were not hight.
Well, all our planning was for naught. The first three didn't fertilize and when they defrosted the other 2 the didn't survive so the didn't even bother to ICIS them. A month of not being myself for nothing.
So here I am, waiting to start cycle, what are we up to, 1 complete and 2 almosts, so 2.1? The good news is that this time I'm taking part in a drug trial, so part of my cost, for all the drugs, will be deferred. But, as usual I'm not "typical". I was supposed to start my new drug on March 10 to start the next cycle, but here I sit, waiting to ovulate. The excitement of it all, right? Seriously, just once, can't I be normal?!? My doctor claims that all the drugs I've been on have really wrecked my cycle, and that there is no reason for me to worry. Easy for them to say, right? TJ will be 4 this July and I have the clock tick tick ticking away in my head. My brother and I are 5 years apart, and I've always thought that we could have been closer it we were closer in age. Not that we aren't close, but we were never in school together, and when he got interesting I went away to college. UGH! I just don't want my little boy to be 10 with a baby in the house!
Well I guess I'll let you all know when I ovulate, and maybe later this week I'll post about something happier, like all the cool stuff I've made later.
11 February 2009
It's late and I really shouldn't be doing this right now. But I really needed to get something off my chest. When people think of IVF now, this is what they are going to think of.
I have reached the point now where I am OK with doing IVF. I was a result of fertility drug. Never once have I every questioned whether or not I should be here. My Mother did what she needed to do, albeit not as drastic as what I'm having to do, but still necessary. For this women to cause other people to now look at me differently because of my choice, makes me sick. Before, people were just uninformed by what was entailed in the process. Now they are still uninformed, but they have this wacko's story to back-up their own misconceptions.
I start the drugs tomorrow to begin my second IVF cycle. We are using my own frozen oocytes this time, so the process will be a little easier on me, but we have less of a chance of it working. I'm trying to take it one day at a time, but stories like this are making it almost impossible.
30 January 2009
26 January 2009
22 January 2009
Eh, the waiting game sucks, lets play Hungry Hungry Hippos.
My transfer was last Wednesday and I don't get to take my office pregnancy until this Monday, so needless to say, anything I can do to keep my brain busy is a blessing. Ever since I became a Mom I've been making things. There's a cute Winnie the Pooh rug outside my son's room that I started years earlier, but I didn't finish until shortly after he was born, I guess you could say I had some free time on my hands. It's evolved some since then. I think since I don't work anymore my making things is my own way to contribute to the family in a way that's just for them. I've made both my husband and son cross stitch Christmas stockings and have been in the process of making a tree skirt since last year that I'm hoping will be done by next Christmas. I've also been making my family's Halloween costumes since we moved to Pa.
With my new search for things too keep my brain busy, I've been on blogger.com a bunch thanks to all my blog feeds being here. I got to read all that Threadbanger.com and BurdaStyle.com had to offer. Those two fantastic website have led me to crafty bloggers by the tons. [Not to ignore my two great friends whos blogs I also get to read, but we're talking about crafting here =) ] So I've been led to some great blogs like, Just Tutes, The Purl Bee, purse-onality, Kender Crafts, and Cotton Monster News. All of these sites have really got my juicing flowing! So although I've been making stuff for awhile, it's time to start blogging about it. I've already blogged a little bit about the only Christmas presents I sewed this year. I'm happy to report that not only did they fit the girls pretty good, but they loved them!
So with the Winter strongly with us, I've been pushing fleece to the max! I don't know if you've ever tried to buy gloves or mittens for a three year old, but it's virtually impossible to find ones that actually fit. So thanks to Just Tutes I made my son some awesome mittens, that I can actually get on him and he likes to wear! But I just couldn't stop there. For sometime I now I've been making my son monsters.
There really is no better toy than one that comes from your own sewing matching. Well, he loves them so much it got me thinking, how about Monster mittens? So on BurdaStyle I found a pattern for mittens, and me being me, I had to make test mittens first. And as a semi first, I made them for me.
Good thing too, since they boys were a pain since they were so much smaller. Unfortunately, the pictures don't do them any justice, and they look a little ragged at this point since my son has been enjoying wearing them so much, but he's constantly getting compliments on them, and if there's one thing my son likes, it having a reason to talk to people.
I should never have made myself the cammo mittens, because I started a, "what can I make for myself next?" kick.
Christmas three years ago, I made my husband and two of his brothers, fleece pj pants. Then I edited the pattern a little and made myself awesome Trix flannel pj pants. So I knew the pattern was usable for me, and with the Eagles game coming up, I knocked these out in an evening.
Too bad the Eagles lost, but we won't talk about that.
And lastly, well most recent I guess, I found this great tutorial for glittens. I luckily found some cool fleece at Jo-Ann's, and my new glittens were born.
I did things a little different than she did. I made my thumb slits in the side seams so there would be more seam allowance to sew the thumbs back on with, and I handstiched my top piece to the bottom piece rather can cutting a slit in the mitten. I also haven't really decided on my closure for keeping the top up, but I'm sure it'll come to me one of the days I'm wearing them.
Oh, I almost forgot. I added a new monster to my son's posse! I can't go making so much for myself without giving a little love to the boy.
Well I hope you enjoyed looking at all the stuff I've been making to keep myself busy as heck. There's more to come, I promise! =)
13 January 2009
So yesterday was my retrieval day and it went really well. They were able to get 13 eggs from me!!! We got to the office at 7, with me packing Tom's contribution inside my coat - gotta keep it warm. The whole thing is such a surreal experience - Thomas coming into existence didn't involve nearly as many people. We barely had to wait at all before I was brought into the suite where the retrieval was being done. They asked me the usual pre-surgery questions and I finally got to meet head of the Lab - a very nice man - who walked me through the process again and we firmed up exactly how many eggs we would try and fertilize, 3. Then the anesthesiologist came in. Now we were trying to be as grown up as possible, but as soon as he left I mouthed to Tom, "Hans Moleman." We both almost completely lost it. I guess Tom and I were among the more talkative people that go through this process. The nurse kept going on about how nuts we are, and all we were doing was talking about names. Of course Tom's favorites are names like, Donovan, Brian, Quintin Michael, Joselio, picking up a theme? Then it was one more bathroom trip for me, I got to kiss Tom goodbye, and off to the room with the fancy stir-ups. This was my 6th surgery where I needed to be put out and every time they do it they make you count down or up or something, I got nothing. All of a sudden I saw this opaque white stuff go into my IV, and moments later I utter, "I guess I'm going out now, huh?" Next thing I knew I was waking up and it was all over. The nurse was surprise by how well I was doing after I woke up, but honestly after they told me they got 13 eggs I could have jogged home.
Later in the afternoon they called to tell me, of the three eggs they didn't try to fertilize, how many were mature and they were going to freeze. Turns out 5 of them were mature and are being frozen. This number actually made me a little nervous since we were told that none of the little ones might be good which is why we did three to try and fertilize - but all we could do now was wait and see. I don't think I slept at all last night. I had the most vivid dreams of all the possible outcomes of the ones they were trying to fertilize. We knew it took about 14 hours for fertilization to take place and they would call us before 8am this morning to tell us how many of the three fertilized. 7:45 this morning the phone rang and I think I gave myself whiplash getting up to answer it. Two of our eggs fertilized!!!!
Now there are only a couple of more things to pray for - one, that the two eggs that fertilized continue to divide and grow properly and that at least one of them implants after tomorrow mornings transfer. Then the waiting game really starts. I'm pumped up with so many pregnancy hormones at the moment, I can't take my pregnancy test until 2 weeks after the transfer. I feel a very clean house and a lot of sewing being done over the next two weeks to make time fly.
I keep reminding myself, God never gives a cross to bear larger than we can carry.
10 January 2009
So it seems that try 1.1 was a semi-success and Monday morning is my retrieval! What a long road it was to get her though. I mentioned in an earlier post, what I went through for attempt number 1. Well, now it's January 2009, and as promised, we've started again.
Late in December, I had my first appointment and they checked to make sure that all the cysts were gone so we could start again with a clean slate. Thankfully, everything was all clear and I got my instructions to stop the pill in a few days and come in for my first of many sets of blood work and ultrasound. January 2 they took my baseline blood and ultrasound and the next day I finally started the stimulation phase. I should probably take a step back here and explain the new method they were trying since my body didn't react to Lupron at all the way it was supposed to. Usually they shut everything down with Lupron, then start your stimulation and then they do the retrieval. However, in my case, they started the stimulation first. During stimulation you get the wonderful pleasure of spending every day or every other day, going to the doctor to have blood work and ultrasound done. So, after my second day of two injections a day, Low dose HCG in the morning, and Gonal-F in the evening, I go for my first check-up. Low and behold, the drugs are working! I was so afraid that something was horribly wrong with me, and none of these hormone altering drugs were going to have any effect on me. About those wonderful drugs - I have never felt worse in my entire life, then I did the first 24 hours on those drugs. Here I was worrying about the menopausal effects that the Lupron would have Those were NOTHING compared to thee hell of the HCG and Gonal F. Also, I was supposed to behave as if I was pregnant. That meant none of the drugs I usually take, especially my migraine medicine, Imitrex. Well the problem with that is that one of the main side effects of both those medicines is migraines and by 5 o'clock the first day on them, I had one of the worse migraines of my life! I tried all my old drug-free migraine remedies and none of them worked. Crying hysterically in a hot shower, I finally broke down and gave myself an imitriex injection. The doctor had said that I would "do what you have to do" and honestly I would not have survived the last week without my imitrex. I couldn't, in good conscience, torture one child with his mom strapped to the sofa, trying to make another one. Thankfully, as the week when on I did feel much better, headache wise anyway. I feel like someone strapped a spare tire to my belly, but that's what yoga pants were made for.
So, I go in for my first check-up and the drugs are working, but already, one of the follicles in my right ovary had pulled ahead of the pack. My nurse said we'd watch it, but worse case, we wouldn't be able to use that ovary. I had my next appointment on Wednesday, and that's when things started to head down hill. During Wednesday's ultra sound, the big follicle in the right was bigger and now there was a pack leader in the left one too. After checking my blood work and checking with the doctor they decided to keep me day-to-day but to add in my new "lupron" called ganarelix. (for you playing at home, we're now up to three injections a day) And, to add insult to injury, I now have to go to the doctor every morning. Have you ever tried to wake up a thee year-old at 7 for 4 days in a row to go to the doctor with you? It's not pretty. Thursday's appointment Tom decides to come with me, since we're no longer in the routine check-ups that we thought we'd be having at this point. Usually, I only see a nurse in these check-ups, but Thursday my doctor walked in, so I knew I was in trouble. After looking at the day's ultra sounds, we discussed our options. Since I had a giant follicle in each ovary I could stop and start all over again, which would then mean we'd have to pay again for some of the process, which, by no stretch of the imagination would be cheap, or we could continue with the possibility of only retrieving 2 eggs. We collectively decided to continue since we have no intention of freezing any embryos and all the eggs that we get to fertilize will be transferred. But, we're still playing it day-to-day. If the big guys get too big, we won't be able to use them either, because they would be over mature. By Thursday night my husband and I are both a disaster. This whole process has been so trying on us both, which has made us irritable and moody and not a whole lot of fun for our angel of a little boy to have to deal with. Thankfully, by Friday things were looking up. During Friday's ultrasound, our doctor said, "I amend yesterday's number, I think we'll be able to get at least 6." The big ones weren't any bigger and the little ones were starting to catch up! Go Ganarerlix!! We now, tentatively, had a retrieval day of Monday! Here's where my side of the story will differ from my husbands. I had a different nurse and doctor this morning then I have had all week. This is a doctor whom I have a little history with and it's not good. Compared to the AMAZING doctors in my practice, she is mediocre. Her bedside manner is harsh and she doesn't seem to care that having to be at an infertility doctor is one of the worst places people want to have to be, but I digress. In talking with my Mom about today's events I do feel a little better about the whole thing, but basically the doctor I saw today said that she thinks we're only going to be able to get three. So which is it, I ask? I'm trying not to freak out until after the retrieval, but she told me some other upsetting news. They will not be able to tell if an egg is mature until after they try to fertilize it. But we were only planning on trying to fertilize 2, which could very easily mean that there could be no embryos to transfer.
Today left me feeling less than excited that this whole ordeal is ever going to work. Hopefully, they get three good eggs from me, hopefully, 2 of those eggs fertilize, hopefully 1 of those eggs implants in me and we get a healthy little baby. The math teacher in me is rolling the numbers around in my head, and they don't feel good. I can only hope that a few months from now, when I'm nice a pregnant and eating ice cream for breakfast, that I'll laugh about how I was freaking out about my odds, as I'm carrying twins....is that too much to hope for?