It's unusual…

..what started out as an IVF journey and ended up being about life

And with no further delay… September 29, 2008

Filed under: IVF — gertyrae @ 10:11 pm
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We are onto a fresh IVF cycle!

Starting birth control pills tomorrow (I love how I take birth control to help me get pregnant) and going back on 10/17 for blood and sono and then it’s on to injectables. I can’t wait to receive my GIANT box of meds! Woohoo.

Dr. K was very sweet today and said he was willing to do another cycle as long as we followed the exact same protocol as last September with more monitoring. So, we are good to go. This will be my last fresh cycle, so if it don’t work I don’t have children. There is such a finality to all of this and yet I am comfortable with it. It gives me a sense of direction.

My mother won’t be happy, she wants me to adopt but of course none of us has the money to adopt. IF I did, I’d have done pre-genetic testing or donor egg.

So, wish me luck cuz here we go.

Off to the races...

Off to the races...

 

Rough Week September 27, 2008

Filed under: IVF,Life — gertyrae @ 1:48 am
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Yup, it’s been a tough week!
Of course I’ve already mentioned Rogan’s birth on Monday. Then, on Monday night at my monthly book club meeting, my wisdom tooth breaks in half. Fun times!
So, I wake up Tuesday and the first thing I do is Pee(on a stick) in order to get my first official BFN (big fat negative). Gee, what did I really expect. Well, now I know I can get the tooth worked on…yippeekiyahmuthafucka!!!
So, I spend the morning calling every oral surgeon and his brother in order to get an appointment to have said tooth removed. Finally get a 3:30 appointment and off I go.
The pulling is relatively easy…amazingly enough. Now, it’s home to rest again jiggity jig.
Wake up Wednesday morning with the worst (TMI COMING UP) diarrhea. Wow, could this get any better! Sickness continues all day…I’m assuming reaction to the novacaine…until a friend calls me to tell me she has salmonella poisoning from the food she ate on Monday night (with me)! Guess it’s not a reaction to the novacaine after all. 😦
Luckily for me, I wake up on Thursday feeling semi-normal and it’s off to work I go.
Friday is official beta day….negatory! As if I didn’t know. And when my RE calls me with the info, I am almost consoling him. I actually feel bad for this man. He wants me to get pregnant in the worst way and it is soooooooooooo not happening. We’ve gone through 20 embryo’s in three months including two morula’s, one 10 cell grade 1 and one 8 cell grade 1, you would think one of them would have worked.
I swear, I wish I had the money for donor egg, cuz I would so do it at this point. I know it’s all me and if we had one decent egg I would get pregnant. Then of course, I’d just have to stay pregnant for nine months.
Anyway, as I’m consoling the lovely Dr. K – he tells me that he’d like to see me and discuss our next move. I inform him that I made an appointment to see him a month ago and I will be there Monday afternoon to talk about our options. I wouldn’t say he sounded happy, I think he might have like more time to prepare himself for the onslaught of me. But, he’ll deal with it.
So, I have the upcoming weekend to discuss with hubby what we should do – which will be stim or don’t stim basically. Or do we just decide to call it quits. I’m not sure I’m ready to call it quits and yet I’m not sure that I’m ready to stim again. And it’s not like I have a lot of time, considering the fact that I’ll be 43 in two weeks. Eggs are already another year older than the last batch, not a positive thing that’s for sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get ten grand to fall from the sky?
On the upside, I decided to enter a couple of my jarred goods into a Country Fair competition…how’s that for the penultimate dorky thing to do?! 🙂 But, I figure it will take my mind off the current state of my affairs. I’m also going to get down and dirty with working out and losing weight – I need to drop a good 30 pounds. I’m sure that doesn’t help my fertility case at all. Mostly, I figure it will help me to focus on other things besides fertility (or lack thereof) for a bit.
I’m going to assume next week will be better than this past one was….I’m not sure it could get worse, but who knows.
Oh, yeah…it was Misty’s birthday on Thursday! She’s four years old and still as cute as ever!!! And she just loves when I make her wear things….
Misty's birthday!

Misty

 

6 months today September 22, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — gertyrae @ 12:36 pm
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It’s been 6 months since Rogan was born/died today. Sometimes I can’t believe that the time has passed so quickly and sometimes it seems like it was a lifetime ago. Part of me still can’t believe we lost our baby boy. He was so perfect and beautiful and it overwhelms me that I don’t have him to hold in my arms.

I used to spend a lot of time thinking – on this date he would be such and such age or doing such and such thing. Now I think I’ve become more detached from it and just feel a little sad that we didn’t get to be with him. I don’t really measure the time like I used to. I know my husband thinks about all the things he would have done with him and now won’t get to do.

I always wonder if there was a way we could have caught on to the cervical issue sooner, but my doctor swears not. Of course, I’ll never know if he’s just saying that to protect me or if it’s true.

My family gave us a bench with the most wonderful saying on it…

Sometimes I go back there and sit to think about life, death and what our purpose here is….If I ever get the answer I’ll be sure to post it.

 

And for all those mothers out there who have experienced a pregnancy loss, I found this poem to be truly meaningful to me….

My Mom Is A Survivor

My Mom is a survivor, or so I’ve heard it said.
But I hear her crying at night when all others are in bed.
I watch her lay awake at night and go to hold her hand.
She doesn’t know I’m with her to help her understand.
But like the sands on the beach that never wash away…
I watch over my surviving mom, who thinks of me each day.
She wears a smile for others…a smile of disguise.
But through Heaven’s door I see tears flowing from her eyes.
My mom tries to cope with death to keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her knows it is her way to survive.
As I watch over my surviving mom…through Heaven’s open door.
I try to tell her that angels protect me forever more.
But I know that doesn’t help her or ease the burden she bears.
So if you get a chance, go visit her…And show her that you care.
For no matter what she says…no matter what she feels.
My surviving mom has a broken heart that time won’t ever heal~!
This poem was written by Kaye Des’Ormeaux

 

Meltdown #1 September 21, 2008

Filed under: IVF — gertyrae @ 9:15 pm
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Yup…had my first major meltdown today. I just don’t think this worked. And I don’t know what to do. I’m scared, nervous, upset – you name it.

Went to Mass this morning and started crying almost right away. Kept asking God to give me a sign as to what I should do. And what does He give me? An impromptu children’s chorus….:(

What am I supposed to do with that? I don’t even know. Does this mean I should keep trying? Do I really take the chance of stimming and hyperstimming again? I still don’t know the answer. I only know I came home and my darling husband asked me if I was okay, and that just set me off again. I know part of it is all the meds, but I just don’t know what to do. I’m going to be 43 in two weeks…is it really worth it for me to keep doing this?

Then I meet up with my friend at the park to walk the dogs and her beautiful baby girl is so happy to see me. And she’s so pretty and happy and I wonder why am I not allowed to have this. What did I do that was so bad that I get to spend four friggin years trying to get pregnant, only to lose my son at five months. And now I get to try all over again. I just don’t understand it. I have tried to stay positive most of the time, but every so often it catches up to me and I can’t do it anymore. I just want to break down and cry all over again. And my poor husband doesn’t know what to do for me. I know he feels helpless and there really is nothing he can do. I just wish there were a way to make this end – one way or the other.

Maybe I should call it quits and accept that we aren’t going to have a child. Maybe I should just be happy with my husband and my animals. Why is it that I just don’t feel that it’s enough. Other people would be happy to have a good life like I do….I should be thankful and instead I am looking for more. It’s just too difficult sometimes. Today is definitely NOT a good day.

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll wake up with a clearer mind about the whole thing.

 

Six days and counting September 19, 2008

Filed under: IVF — gertyrae @ 2:12 pm
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Since the transfer was last Saturday, I have resigned myself to the fact that it’s either done or not done. There is either a baby beginning to grow or I’m going to have to make “the big decision”. Which is pretty much already made…but I do have some misgivings.

I have been feeling some cramping – sharp ones every so often. But other than that, nothing much to speak of. This doesn’t really surprise me and I need to learn to get over the checking for symptoms nonsense. Just can’t seem to, though. It’s like I know better, but am still so hopeful that things might be different this time. I really, truly want to believe I am pregnant.

And, in order to keep myself busy this last week I have – gone to the aforementioned baseball game, attended a “lipstick and popcorn party” at a friends house and gone to dinner with a bunch of friends. This is all on top of working each day and walking my beast in the mornings. Although, today she got duped since I didn’t have time to do a full park session and she just got a quickie around the block. My Mother-In-Law bought us a beautiful patio set for my birthday gift so I think I will be enjoying that over the weekend. The weather has changed and it’s perfect firepit weather…chilly and crisp. 🙂

The signs, signals and onset of OHSS

As an additional bonus, I noticed that there are a few searches for “When does OHSS start”. Since that seems to be the only thing that links to my page, I figured I would explain what happened to me and maybe help someone who thinks they are experiencing OHSS.

I felt fine up to retrieval. I was a little bit bloated, but nothing too bad. Mostly just discomfort. I was still working full days and really not experiencing any pain. At my last sonogram, there were too many follicles for them to count and the PA told me to try and take it easy. Retrieval went fine, they got 49 eggs which is an astronomical amount of eggs and I was told to take it easy and wait for the call regarding fertilization. My doctor asked how I had been feeling and I told him the truth “Crampy but not in pain.” My transfer was three days later and I was still feeling the same. Maybe a little more bloated, but nothing to speak of. At the transfer, I was again asked how I was feeling with the same response. The day after the transfer was a whole different story. Mind you, this is now five days after the HCG shot (which is apparently the catalyst to OHSS) and I was wiped out. I wasn’t really in pain, I just had no energy to speak of. I called the RE’s office and they told me to take it easy and if I wasn’t feeling better to come in the next morning. The next day was a little better, went to the RE’s anyway just to be sure and by the time I was done there, I didn’t even want to drive home. I drove to my mother’s house as she was closer and laid on the couch all day. The RE had given me a prescription for Heparin at that point as they were worried about blood clots. By 6 p.m. I was starting to feel nauseous and dizzy. I tried to fight it while going back and forth on the phone with my RE, but by 10 p.m. I was actually delirious and couldn’t even make any sense. So, for the record – full OHSS had set in by six days after trigger, five days after retrieval and two days after transfer. My husband drove me to the hospital and the rest is history. Apparently, as the abdomen fills with water (from the empty follicles taking in water) the fluids begin to push the diaphragm, lungs and stomach out of the way…which leads to the incredible sickness.
Once the fluid is drained either naturally or via withdrawal, the relief is incredible.

So, that’s the OHSS story. I certainly hope that I can help someone identify the symptoms early on so they don’t have to go through what I did.

And on to continue the 2WW….:|

 

Progesterone Sucks… September 16, 2008

Filed under: Infertility,Life — gertyrae @ 8:09 pm
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Not only am I ridiculously emotional now, but I have to stick these suppositories up my hoo-haa with my finger. Nothing more attractive than that disgusting white gook….oh and popping 12 pills a day.

But onto bigger and better things. It’s now four days past transfer and I couldn’t possibly overanalyze myself anymore. You would think I would be used to this by now. Every cramp, twinge and pain is an “Oh, maybe this is it!” moment. I amaze even myself. Twelve transfers and I’m hoping this is it….I really have to break myself of this habit. I didn’t think a person could continue to be this hopeful after all this time. My resilience is pretty amazing.

I’m trying to distract myself here and there…went to Arthur Ave. in the Bronx over the weekend for some Italian specialties, attended a few parties over the weekend (no drinking of course). Monday, I came home, walked the dog and read for a while and today I’m off to a Yankee game. Let me establish that I am not a Yankee fan, my husband is. And since they are tearing down the stadium I thought it only fair to give him a chance to see his boys one last time.  We shall be sitting in the bleachers to get full view of the “bleacher creatures”, so that should be entertaining. There will be no bleachers in the new stadium, so it’s the end of an era. Of course, with me being a Mets fan, my husband is loving the fact that they are tanking again. It makes him feel better about the fact that the Yanks won’t be in the playoffs at all. Soon, it will be onto the football battles between us. Hopefully, the two week wait will pass quickly – NOT! But I’m trying.

No symptoms as of yet – really. Just some cramping and discomfort. But there really wouldn’t be. Implantation won’t occur until now – I can only pray one of them has made it this far and is doing it’s burrowing thing. I truly wish there were a way to speed this part of the process up.

My dog is now groaning cuz she wants attention, I guess I’ll have to go and feed the aminals….and then it’s off to the races.

Be back soon – LET’S GO METS!!!!!!!!

 

Transfer done…. September 14, 2008

Filed under: IVF — gertyrae @ 12:10 pm
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Well, we had the transfer done yesterday. Six embies – 1 – 10 cell grade 2, 2 -9 cell grade 2, 1 – 8 cell grade 1 and 2 – 8 cell grade 2/3. Not that any of it means anything since I’ve had Morulas (the stage before blastocyst and after embryo) transferred and not gotten PG….so it really means nothing.

I know people who have gotten low grade or fragmented embies transferred and gotten PG so I don’t think all the cell nonsense really means anything, but whatever.

Hopefully this will be our baby...

Hopefully this will be our baby...

 

When the transfer was over, the nurse asked me if I wanted to keep my medical wristband…I thought that was so odd since this is number 12 and I’m honestly not expecting much. I really want it, but not expecting. We declined on the wristband and went on our way. I’m hoping that the fact that my hubby came along for the transfer might make a difference. He’s never been at a transfer before, so that might be our edge this time……..talk about grasping at straws.

Anyway, we went out to breakfast after, then went to his grandmothers to help out a little ( I did some deadheading and cleaning out of the garden beds), took a short nap, went to a birthday party and sat around and ate…then came home and crashed.

For the life of me, I will never know why I am sooooooooo tired after transfers. I feel exhausted all day. I’m not sure if it’s the stress or what, but I was so sleepy. I went to bed at 11 and crashed….it’s amazing cuz I don’t normally sleep much at all.

Today I’m going to take it fairly easy….do some laundry and go to my mom’s for my brother’s birthday….and that’s about it.

I’m feeling a little crampy, but that’s normal. Yesterday, I had some strong cramps and so far today it’s just a little here and there. So crampy and tired are the symptoms one day after transfer. Obviously nothing has happened yet….if it does happen, it will be in the next few days – God willing.

Speaking of God…I’m off to Church shortly. I stopped going for months after we lost Rogan, but started going back recently. Mostly because I miss it. I find something calming about Church and I’m not sure what it is. But it seems to work. I have to admit, though, that I haven’t been stellar about attending every week. Going today will make it three times in two months, but I guess that’s better than not going at all.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll keep myself updated in the next few days….hopefully, this works……

 

Check In Tomorrow morning… September 10, 2008

Filed under: Infertility,IVF — gertyrae @ 2:23 am
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My baby girl....

My baby girl....

Well, tomorrow I go in to have my blood levels and lining checked for the transfer. For those of you who don’t know the process, a hormone replacement frozen transfer goes sort of like this:

On Cycle Day 2 you go in for blood and sono – blood to check your FSH levels and make sure you aren’t pregnant – hahahahah!/sono to check that your lining has thinned out.

Then, after they get the results from the blood back  you get a call telling you to start your Estrace pills twice a day. Generally, you take 2 2mg pills a day for 7 days (up till CD9) and then on CD10 you start to take 3 pills a day. Plus the prenatal vitamin and Folate if necessary.

Then you go back to the office for more blood and sono. Now they are checking to make sure the estrogen levels are where they should be and that your lining is thick enough. Usually they are looking for somewhere around 8-10mm.  This is what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

If everything looks good, they set you up for your frozen transfer. At this point there are all kinds of variations in the treatment. My RE starts off with progesterone injections 2 nights before transfer. The first night is 1/2 cc and the second night is 1cc.  Continuing with the estrace and starting doxycycline and medrol. Go in for transfer and then do another 1cc of progesterone. Starting the next day, it’s progesterone suppositories, medrol, doxy and estrace. Take the medrol and doxy until they run out and progesterone and estrace until beta.

The dreaded 2WW and then beta day.

The reason for this blog is because I’m really stressing about this frozen cycle so I’m hoping the blog will have a calming effect. Good luck with that right?!

So, tomorrow I go in for blood and sono and (since I’ve done this 11 times now) I’m guessing the transfer will be on Friday. Barring any freaky things happening…which in my case isn’t that freaky anymore.

And now, it’s off to bed to spend some quality time with my significant other before all the nasty stuff starts. 🙂

 

I’m back…it was a really long walk. September 8, 2008

Filed under: Infertility,IVF,Pregnancy — gertyrae @ 1:28 pm
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Okay, so I left off on the transfer after OHSS. Went back for the beta on Valentine’s day and it was negative, which was actually a good thing.

I had 49 eggs retrieved, 36 of which fertilized and are embryos…we transferred 3, so I have 33 frosty babies.  I proceed to do frozen transfers in February (4), March (5), April (6), May (6), June (6) and July (4) and we lost two in the thaw process. Not one pregnancy, not even a chemical.

So I go for a second, third and fourth opinion. All the RE’s seem to agree with my RE’s protocol. They all think it’s unusual for me to have gotten 36 embies and not one pregnancy – but I’m starting to get used to this by now. One RE suggests that I have a D&C and Hysteroscopy to check out my uterus and clear the scar tissue off my cervix. I go back to my RE with the idea and he decides it’s not a terrible idea, but doesn’t think he’s going to find anything.  We do the D&C in August, find nothing and in September start another IVF cycle.

Thankfully, this time there is no hyper stimulation and there are 55 eggs retrieved. 36 of which fertilize and become embryo’s. We transfer six and still no pregnancy. So, we set up for another frozen cycle. I have my transfer of six embryos on November 6 and on November 21, I find out I am PG with a beta of 735! This is amazing news…I am thrilled to death. The best Christmas EVER!!!

I proceed to have an amazingly easy and wonderful pregnancy. I feel great. A little nauseau here and there but nothing to serious. I do have a couple of bleeding incidents but am told to stay on pelvic bedrest. In early February, I have a serious bleeding incident. Lot’s of bright red blood and heavy. Rush to the Dr. and he finds nothing. He sends me to a peri-natalogist and they can’t find anything on the sonogram or anything. All looks completely normal and it’s chalked up to a broken blood vessel. I have my Level II on March 7th and we find out it’s a boy. We decide to name him Rogan Daniel and are thrilled.

On March 15th I am at a St. Patty’s party with my husband and some friends. I go to the bathroom and feel strange pressure. I call my Drs. emergency number and am told to go to Labor and Delivery. DH and I rush off to the hospital and they take me in right away. I am immediately hooked up to a sonogram machine and everything looks great. Rogan is moving around, heartbeat is fine, plenty of amniotic fluid. Then they do an internal – my bag of water has broken through my cervix and is pretty compromised. I am immediately put on an 45 degree angle upside down, catheterized and told I will have to remain like this until I give birth. Which is hopefully in about 8 weeks minimum. My Dr. arrives at the hospital and tells us, after an examination, that he doesn’t think I’m going to make it through the night. He expects me to go into labor within the next few hours. But I don’t….Rogan and I hang in there…and in there…and in there. Everything is going fine. My Dr. is amazed (and of course tells me how unusual this all is) and we start to talk about steroids and possibilities. Then, exactly one week after my admission to the hospital, the unthinkable happens…..my water breaks. Now, it’s bad. We are worried about infection, early labor, etc. , etc. Within four hours of my water breaking, my temperature starts to spike…I have an infection and labor must be induced. At 9:30 p.m. on March 22, 2008 I gave birth to Rogan. He took a breath and his heart beat for a few moments and then he passed. We were devastated and didn’t think we could go on.

Well, time heals most wounds and we started to get better and decided to try again. I still had 20 embryos left so why not. I set up with my RE for a frozen cycle and we begin. I have six embryo’s transferred in June and on the weekend of July 4th, I decide to POAS and get a BFP!!! It’s a friggin miracle!!! I’m pregnant already…I go in for my beta on July 7th and am ecstatic….until the RE calls to tell me my beta is 49. Positive, but I know that it’s not a good sign. I took a HPT three days ago and got a positive – beta should be more than 49 by now. I go back a week later for a follow-up beta. Comes back at 69. So, I go back again at the end of the week – 79. Obviously, we are dealing with a chemical. So, three days later and another beta of 64 and I’m told to go off all my meds and come back when I get my period for another beta – which is 54. Okay, come back in three days for another beta – 27. Do you think this is unusual….are you starting to see a pattern? Go back in three days for another beta and we finally, finally, finally get a negative.

On to transfer number eleven. Obviously, by this time I am on a first name basis with nurses, doctors, PA’s, you name it. I can practically call in the meds myself. We do the transfer and against my better judgement, I POAS again and get a faint positive the day before beta. Why I do this to myself is beyond me, but what the hey? Anyway…go in for beta the next day and it’s 6.7 – – – are you friggin kidding me?! Not a negative, so stay on the meds.

Thankfully, I go back on Monday (only three days of waiting) to find that it’s negative now.

Which brings us to this week….my twelfth transfer coming up. And my last FET with my frosties. I can’t begin to say how much I have invested in this transfer. How badly I want this one to work. How frightened I am to have to think about doing another IVF cycle. And how worried I, my husband and my Dr. are about OHSS.

So, I decided to start this blog to help alleviate some of the stress. And maybe help me get through this transfer. And hopefully, there will be great news at the end of this. We shall see…I shall keep updating although I’m sure no-one is reading except me.