Thursday, February 28, 2008

Phase One

So, a few days ago, I started "phase one"...I started lupron injections. Actually I guess "phase one" probably started about a month ago w/bcp. Anyway, the only side effect I am noticing right now is hot flashes...not fun, but not the worst thing that could happen. I will have a "supression check" on Wednesday, March 5 to make sure "all is calm" inside. This is done by ultrasound and a blood draw. If all is good, I start stim injections Thursday. This will mean I will be doing 3 injections a day. Starting in the morning with Repronex, given intermuscularly (IM) in the hip (aka butt). Then, around 7pm, is the Lupron injection, given subcutaneously (sub-q) in the upper thigh, rounding it all out with a Gonal-f injection, also sub-q, in the belly. This will continue until my follicles are ready, or "ripe". Then I will have one more IM injection to release the follicles (ovulate). 36 hours later, I will go in for my egg retrieval, aka the best 20 minute nap around! Oh yeah, and I forgot, in the midst of all this, I will be traveling to Denver on the 10th! My mom is going with me Monday thru Friday. Ryan will arrive Saturday morning. While we are there, there will be lots of ultrasounds and blood draws, plus acupuncture and a meeting with a genetic counselor to discuss PGS (Preimplatation Genetic Screening) options. I know this time is going to fly by. Then we will be in "phase two" which will be Depot Lupron injections to hopefully correct my lining issue. During this time, genetic testing will be done on our embryos. After all that is done, it will be back to Denver for our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). What a whirlwind!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Box 'o Drugs

My big "Box 'o Drugs" came today. Actually it was supposed to be here by 10:30 arrived at about 4:30 pm. I was under "house arrest" waiting for it since it requires a signature. That made my morning know the kind of day that you just know the minute you get in the shower, the delivery man will be at your door! So I had to do it all in stages...brush my teeth, wash my face...check for delivery truck...try to make hair look somewhat presentable for the day, aka, back comb a nice "poof" for a "stylish ponytail"...check for delivery truck...jump in shower for a quick scrub and rinse (no time for a shave today)...check for delivery truck. Of course this is all happening after I waited until after 10:30 when it should have been here (as it has been every other time). By now lunch time is approaching and my plans for the day keep getting pushed back. I called FedEx and she tried to tell me that all thier flights on the East coast were held up due to weather, but I am looking right at the tracking online that says it was on a truck for delivery at 6:30 this morning. After calling her on the lie, she said, "oh...that's right...what you are saying is correct...let me try to make a call and call you back." Of course, no call back. SOOOO anyhoo...they are here is a picture of what my future holds in the next few weeks...ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The parenthood marathon

I was thinking today...often we (my bbc friends) say that infertilitly and IVF is such a roller coaster. I think it might actually be more like a marathon...not a race, but a marathon. You start out, often with others you may or may not know are in the same marathon, at the sound of the shotgun. You are all running along. For some runners, the marathon is beautiful, smooth and straight. For others, you may run into some hurdles. Some women stride over the hurdles gracefully, while others sometimes fall and skin thier knees. They get up and with luck they get over the hurdle and finish thier marathon. For some, they get over the hurdle to be faced with yet another one...and another one. Some people, and I include myself in this catagory, just can't seem to get over that first hurdle. Many of your friends have crossed over the finish line and are enjoying the fruits of thier labor. Most of them have not forgotten about you and that first hurdle. I imagine it pains them to not be able to help you over the hurdle. Some may even offer to jump that hurdle for you if you need them too and even a select few offer to run the whole marathon for you. You start to think, "maybe I should forget about this hurdle for a while." Maybe if you train more (diet and exercise) or seek out herbal remedies maybe you will be able to jump higher and clear the hurdle. You try everything in your power to get over that hurdle just to be knocked down by it over and over. You get so exhausted and tired of having scraped knees. Sometimes you think, "there must be another marathon for me. One that will allow me to cross the finish line."...even if that marathon takes you in a different direction. Sometimes you see some of the same familiar runners attempting this marathon for the second or third time...all while you are still trying to get over that one darn hurdle! Your friends and loved ones are often on the sidelines with all the positive energy in the world, cheering you on and offering support when you get knocked down. They all wish your marathon was without hurdles and you could just run right over the finish line.

Well, I am planning on making it over that darn hurdle and enjoying the fruits of my labor in early 2009. I understand that my new "trainer" is the best around! :D

Fasten your seat we go!!

Well, I guess we aren't "going" quite yet, but I did book my reservations for Denver. I leave on March 10th and my mom is coming with me. Ryan will be in Washington D.C. for work and will meet up with me in Denver on the15th or 16th. My mom will leave to come back home on the 14th. I may have to figure out how to give myself an intermuscular (ouch!) shot!! I don't even want to go there right now! I will be in Denver until approximately March 21. We are going for our egg retrieval. I will be closely monitored with bloodwork and ultrasounds until they say I am "ripe" and ready for retrieval. I am excited to go, not only for the obvious reasons of gettin' this party started, but also my bff lives in Colorado Springs. My mom has never been to Colorado either. So, inspite of the twice daily injections and the "surgery" to get the eggs, I actually think this will be a fun "trip"!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can I get some water?!?!

I have been feeling a little "pity-party-ish" lately. It seems as though every time I turn around, someone else is pregnant. I have always handled this fairly well in the past...maybe I'm hormonal right now. Actually, I seem to use this excuse a lot lately! haha! It is just so frustrating...I almost hate to answer my phone sometimes because I feel like it is news that someone else is pregnant. Some people I know as acquaintances, some people a little more, and some people are very close to me. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for them. I would never ever wish infertility on anyone...well, maybe Britney Spears, but not even her, really! Another thing, I suppose I am glad people don't try to "protect" me and keep thier pregnancies (or those of others) from me. I am a strong may sting a bit sometimes, but I'd rather people are upfront with me than to find out down the road from someone else.

I had a doctor's appointment today. Just a yearly exam. The nurse who was checking me in and getting all my information was ticking me off!! Something came up about IVF and she asked if I have any children now. I said no and she just gave that smile...those of you who have ever dealt with infertility know the smile I speak of. Then there were two other times she brought it up when she was doing something on the computer and would say, "oh, no children" but didn't say anything else when filling in other information. I wanted to kick her in the head...

Which reminds me...I kind of miss Ally McBeal. Did anyone else watch this show?! Often I wish I had "Ally moments". You know when someone says or does something and you picture yourself ripping off thier heads and rolling them down a hallway or something as equally unbelievable...then you snap yourself back into the here and now. I find it very cathartic sometimes!

Anyway, enough of my babbling for today. I just wish that I could scream out sometimes when I hear news of someone else's impending bundles of joy, "WHEN IS IT MY TURN?!?!" Maybe I should just start going around to thier houses and drinking thier water!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We're Off To See The Wizard...

The Wizard...that is one thing I have heard people call Dr. Schoolcraft. Instead of playing the part of the cowardly lion, tin man or scarecrow, we just went out in hopes of finding a way to make our family I guess you could call us the tin man since we were in search of our heart. We had our "one-day workup" of tests on Monday, October 29, 2007. This was a day full of tests on both of us. Blood tests, ultrasounds, ummm, Ryan's "test", my hysteroscopy and consultation after consultation (nurse, doctor, financial, etc). They even sent me home with requisitions to have more tests done. In Denver, everything was either as it should be or the diagnosis' we already knew about (PCOS and morphology). The last test I had to have done was an integrin (or uterine) biopsy. And yes, it was about as comfortable as it sounds. I have endured a lot over the course of the last 3 years...this test was by far the worst. I hope to never have to revisit that. It did, however, finally give us some answers. We found that my uterus lacks the beta-3 integrins required to make implantation of an embryo possible. The best part is that it can be treated. I will have to get injections (2 injections 30 days apart) of a drug called "depot-lupron". This drug will put my body into a "medically induced, reversable menopause". Sounds like fun, huh?! After I stop the drug, my lining will come back and should have the integrins. Hopefully, this is the answer to our prayers.

Some people have asked us when will we feel like enough is enough. I don't really know how to answer that. I guess it will be enough when we have our baby (or babies) to hold. What we do know is this...we will be parents, one way or another. Whatever we have to do to get there, we are gonna do it.

Jumpin' on the bandwagon

So, I thought I'd try this blogging thing out...I mean everybody's doin' it, right?! Don't worry, mom, I won't jump off a bridge! haha!

A little about me. I am 34 and on a quest to be a mother. That is it in a nutshell. Our journey (that'd be me and my husband, Ryan) to become parents started out in January of 2005. Our thoughts at the time were if it happened right away, we would be ok, but if it took a while, you know, like 6 months or so, that would be ok too. Well, those six months came and went. The biggest problem was that I was not "regular"...I mean that I didn't have a visit from "Aunt Flo" during those 6 months. I went to my Ob/Gyn and they weren't too concerned. They said that with some people, it takes time to get the birth control pill out of thier system. After another 5 months, and still no visit from AF, I went back to the doctor. We decided that I should go on Clomid. This drug would make me ovulate. There was a small chance of twins being on this drug. Ryan and I were a little frightened about that at first, but decided to do it anyway (no pun intended). So, I took Clomid for 4 months. The worst side effects were the headaches and the night sweats. But I could handle it if it meant getting pregnant. After this didn't work, my Ob/Gyn suggested I seek the help of a Reproductive Endocrinologist, or RE for short. We went to a seminar of a local RE that we had heard good things about. We "signed on" right away. This was March of 2006.

After our initial consultation with this doctor, we discovered our best bet of having a baby would be In-Vitro Fertilization, or IVF. We were shocked! Never in my dreams of becoming a mother did I ever see them starting thier lives in a test tube! I was diagnosed with having PCOS and Ryan had low morphology, meaning if I did ovulate, his "swimmers" could get there fast (and lots of them) but only a small percentage of them would "know what to do" once they got there. So, after our pity party, we got going.

Our first IVF started in June of 2006. It consisted of about 15 days of twice daily shots sub-cutaniously (sub-q) or in the belly or upper thigh. Did I mention my paralyzing fear of needles yet?! But again, what ever it took to have a baby, I'd find a way to do it. I also decided to up my chances and do acupuncture (gasp!). With this cycle, I got 13 eggs, 12 fertilized. After my egg retrieval, I developed Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS. I looked as though I was 5 months pregnant because of all the fluid in my abdomen. The pain was excrutiating. I told Ryan, "this better work, because I can't do this again." After a couple "emergency" trips to the doctors and lots of vicodin, we came upon our transfer day. We transferred two 5 day blastocysts. I was feeling a little better at this time so we decided to go ahead with the transfer rather than freeze everything and transfer at a later date. Unfortunately, I did not get pregnant. We were devastated and confused. How could it have not worked?! They put 2 embryos directly into my uterus!!

In October 2006, we decided to give our 5 frozen embryos a chance. When it came time for this transfer, we were told that 4 survived "the thaw" but they did not look good at all. We transferred all 4, but the end result was the same, bfn (big fat negative).

Then we hesitantly went into another fresh cycle in December of 2006. I was scared to death about OHSS again. I was monitored very closely and was lucky to not hyperstim again. With this cycle, we got 12 eggs, 11 fertilized. Again, we transferred two 4 day morulas that were "beautiful". Our hearts broke once again when it was another bfn and we had nothing "left over" to freeze. After this, I was focused on getting my body healthy again since all the hormones and shots take a major toll on your body, not to mention mind. I started seeing an herbalist. I took tons of herbs, changed my diet and felt great! So.....

We decided to go for it again in May of 2007. I once again did acupuncture. I, surprisingly enough, LOVE acupuncture now! This cycle went beautifully. They got 28 eggs out of me this time! We transferred two 5 day blasts graded 5AA, "textbook quality". We felt so good about this cycle, so much was different already! However, once again, we were blown away with yet another bfn. I seriously thought the nurse was joking when she called with the results.

After all the heartache, Ryan and I decided it was time to go in a different direction. Our doctor wouldn't run additional tests. His answer for us was to use a surrogate. We were not ready for that since we didn't have any answers to all of our "whys". So, we made an aggressive decision...we were going to Denver to see the #1 fertility specialist in the world...Dr. William Schoolcraft.