Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm a bad blogger... but I have news!


On Friday, I went in for my Beta at 8:30am. They called me at noon to give me the news... 308!

Now, I expected to be over the moon excited. But I was hesitant. And unwilling to jump up and down with exhilaration. Because it's still so early. And I hadn't had my "check the doubling" beta yet, which meant it could all be a farse!

My husband had trouble understanding why I didn't sound more excited. At first he thought the nurse said something when she called to make me all downtrodden.

I just could NOT let myself get too excited. What if I got the call on Monday after my 2nd beta, and my numbers fell. Or raised just a tad. It would hurt worse if I let myself REALLY believe.

The miscarriage from last spring is coming back to rear it's ugly head. My husband doesn't remember it that well because he was in the hospital and sicker than sick himself... so I went through it mostly alone. Not his fault, but he missed out on the sadness and worry and wondering about what was happening inside my body.

So, I hesitated. Paused my happiness until I knew more.

Today, I went in for my second beta. Afterward, we went out for breakfast at the same place we went after the egg retrieval, after the ET, and where I got takeout after my first beta (since hubby wasn't with me that time). Because I'm a paranoid freak and have convinced myself that these things matter even though my brain knows better ... I also wore the same (clean, I've been doing lots of laundry) sweat pants and sweatshirt... just in case.


2nd beta = 1470!

So now I'm happy.

Still cautious. And worried. And wanting March 9th to get here FAST so that I can see the baby (or babies) on the ultrasound and really be sure they're ok.

I wish I could just toss away all my fears and just enjoy these moments. I'm cautious by nature, but after all our trying, it just seems too good to be true.

We did celebrate on Friday by going to dinner and seeing King Speech (great movie!), which was fun. And then on Sunday we took advantage of the President's day sales and finally bought a couch for our basement. Getting the house in order for at home entertainment. :)

Thank you for all your good thoughts and well wishes. They mean so much to me, and please know I think of you often, and read up on your blogs as often as I can.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nutty Nutty Coconutty

First - thank you so much for the blog award nominations! :) I will write more about this a tad later, but I really appreciate you thinking about me.

On the 2WW front, I'm going a bit nuts. Obsessing about blue veins on my chest & every little twinge and cramp. Examining my breasts weight and feel with zeal, and asking my husband to tell me whether my boobs look bigger, or if he can see the blue veins I'm seeing. And, oh by the way, were they there before? Don't think so, but I never really paid attention, so I really have no freaking idea.

I'm still working on thinking very positively, but I have many flashes of fear that on Friday the news will not be what I want. I squash them and push them down, but keep a teeny bit to brace myself... just in case.

In other news, I took a step toward being a better and more adult person this week. I asked my sister G how her pregnancy is going. And didn't cry. Didn't freak out. Neither she nor anyone in my family have mentioned it to me since I was home visiting for New Years, and everyone has been great about calling to see how I'm doing. I think it's easier to think of her pregnancy while I have the hope that this cycle will work for us. I'm trying not to think about how hard it will be if things don't work out. So... they just have to work out for us, right?

I'm working from home on Friday to make sure I'm in a safe place when I get the phone call withe the results from our pregnancy test.

I'm also avoiding peeing on a stick with a vengence. Part of me wants to go ahead and try, but the bigger part of my brain knows that it will open the flood gates to more obsessing ... and make the next few days an even stronger roller coaster. So, we wait. And wait.

And to top it all off, I feel like I've gained 20 pounds, but I don't need the stress of the scale, so I'm avoiding it too. I think I see a theme here. Avoidance.

But ... today I reset my goals on my iPhone "lose it" app to what I think is my current weight, with maintaining as my goal... just so I can make sure I don't balloon up and gain a ton of weight before the baby or babies needs it. I have plenty of extra fat stores as is... so I'm not in danger of starving any child in my womb. And I won't be super strict. If I go over be a few calories so be it - I just feel the need to be a tad more in control, and a tad more careful about the crapfest eating my last week and a half has been. I also want to be sure I'm giving my body the best quality calories - fruits, veggies, grains, lean protein... and less chocolate and crap.

Wish I could go back home and crawl under the covers today. Work is crazy, and at least keeps my busy ... but I'd really rather be sleeping, nuzzled under the cozy covers with a good book.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

They're in... wait wait wait

On Saturday, we awoke in the dark to a drizzly day, and headed into the office for our transfer at 7:00am.

When we arrived, we still did not know anything other than that four had fertilized. Nothing about how things had been developing. Nothing. Was a bit nervewracking.

Nurse Heather had VC change into scrubs, and me into a gown - both of us with booties and poofy little shower cap looking things. Still no word on the embies.

Next we went into the transfer room, and they opened this little window into the lab, and asked for my paperwork to let us know the status.

Since Thursday, they'd said, "No news is good news" so I was hoping they were true to their word. And, for the most part, it was. When they finally passed the paperwork to the doc...

One didn't divide. Of the others, we had a 4-cell, 7-cell, and 8-cell. Not too bad. They even gave us a picture.

The 7 and 8 cell look pretty good (8 on the bottom left, 7 on top). We didn't think to ask about what grade they were until after everything was said and done, and by that time the nurse didn't have the paperwork anymore. VC thinks he saw numbers on the chart: the 8-cell as grade 1, the 7-cell as grade 2, and the 4-cell as grade 4 ... but wasn't sure. The nurse remenbered hte 4-cell as grade 4, but didn't remember the rest.

We decided to put all three in, after the doc said he was confident we would not end up with triplets. Once they got the loaded catheter from the lab, the transfer went forward kind of anti-climacticly.

They did a sonogram from outside my stomach to get a picture of my uterus & "partially-full" bladder, and then the transfer part went really fast. After it was over, I laid there a bit elevated for about a half hour while VC and I chatted, giggled, looked up at the sky painted ceiling, and listened to music on his iPhone. I had to make him stop making me laugh because my bladder felt like it was about to burst! Eventually the nurse came back and allowed me to relieve that pressure. :)

Then, we went out for pancakes (just like egg retrieval day), rented a bunch of videos, and went home where I promptly fell asleep until 3:00pm.

By the way, I'm a total dork - I washed the clothes I wore on Wednesday so that I could wear them again. And we went to the same breakfast place. All because I'm getting all superstitious like, and wanted things to go as well on Saturday as they'd gone on Wednesday.

I have so much hope that things are going to turn out well. So does VC. Things went much better than I expected after we heard I had so few eggs. And have continued to go smoothly since.

Part of me wonders if God had a hand in this - the "only enough embryos for this one transfer thing" - helping alleviate me from any worry over left over embryos. And helping my parents feel really good about their decision to support us doing IVF.

I still have considerable fear that even though the 8-cell looks great, and the 7-cell pretty good, that they won't take. That in two weeks, on February 18th, we'll be disappointed.

And now we wait. And wait. And wait.

At least I've been exhausted since the transfer - maybe if I sleep the two weeks away it will go faster...

But... practicing the art of positive thinking. And positive hoping. And letting myself dream... just a little. Or maybe a lot.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Work is CRAZY today, so just a quick note ... 4 of the 5 fertilized! Transfer will be tomorrow, waiting to hear back from the office on timing, etc.

Now's hoping most of the 4 are developing well...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is 5 the magic number?

All in all, I feel good about the way things went today. My RE got 5 eggs - 4 good and mature, and 1 small. So, the small one is our bonus.

I thought they would put me completely under anesthesia for the procedure, but they didn't. I took my valium at 6:15 this AM, arrived at the RE lab at 6:45, and was all gowned up with my booties on by 7:00.

Crazily enough, the most painful part was them putting in my IV. I'm not sure what medication they gave me during the procedure, but I was still kind of lucid... not totally aware, but still able to shift back into my rolly bed after the procedure was all over.

I sighed in relief when they said they got 5, because my biggest concern going into this AM was empty follicles / getting less than 4 to work with. So... I'm putting a check mark in the positive column.

After we were done, we went out for a bite to eat and I treated myself to two specialty pancakes & well done bacon at one of our favorite breakfast places. One carrot cake pancake, and one banana crunch pancake - yummy! Then, VC took me home while I texted an update to my family. He put on my favorite movie to watch when I'm home sick (You've got Mail), and I promptly fell asleep before the opening scene finished playing.

Now we wait to see what fertilizes, and what we have to work with for transfer. Whenever I have some quiet time, I silently pray Hail Mary's and ask for whatever I need fertilized to fertilize. I know all 5 probably won't, and all I want is enough. Enough to have a baby.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quality vs. Quantity

Things are never simple. Or straightforward. Ever.

I'm going in for egg retrieval on Wednesday.

But I only have 4 mature follicles.

They look "beautiful" and well developed. And my lining looks good.

But there are only four.

Nurse Heather said she'd rather have 4 great ones rather than 20 mediocre ones.

The doc said we're "on the cusp" for moving forward or cancelling. But also said he wouldn't be willing to move forward if he didn't feel like we had a good chance of having embryos to transfer. And he thinks (with no guarantees) that we'll have something to transfer.

But I wanted more. I hoped for more. I prayed over and over again for more. For certainty, and the chance to have some embryos to freeze. And I don't want "something" to transfer ... I want GREAT quality embryos to transfer.

I'm excited to be moving forward. But terrified that we're in essence flipping a coin for our 50/50 chance at having a baby ... for the low low price of $10K. And without the safety net of a less expensive frozen cycle.

More Rediculousness Rx

Thursday AM, the day after Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy told me their pharmacy was out of network, and that I my Rx for Ganirelix was not covered (after 3 days of back and forth on my coverage)...

...wait for it...

...Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy called me to let me know my Doc called in a new Rx, and they've verified my coverage.

I am covered? Really? Seriously?

Apparently (even though they are a MAIL ORDER pharmacy), you can be covered by their Pennsylvania office, but NOT by their Texas office.

Total rediculousness. I told them as much.

An hour after they called the Centritide showed up from CVS Specialty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pharmacy suckage

No one has Ganirelix. It's on back order until mid-March.

Well, no one except Walgreens specialty pharmacy (i.e. Schrafts), which it turns out is supposedly not covered by my insurance.

SUNDAY: I went to my local pharmacy. Answer=can't get it until March due to manufacturing back order.

MONDAY: When I went in for my baseline scan, asked the doctor for an alternative medicine, but it turns out Schrafts has Ganirelix, so they fax my Rx there and we give them all our informtion.

After 3 days of back and forth with Schrafts and their insurance people, I realized I NEVER want to deal with them again. Day 1: My insurance was declined because Schrafts recorded my birthdate wrong. Day 2: Supposedly, my insurance company "couldn't find me." BUT, by the way, they COULD find my husband. I'm on the same plan. Day 3 (today): I demanded they call back the insurance company that very moment while I waited on the line, the story became "declined due to being out of network".

HOWEVER... my insurance company (Caremark) told me last night and again today that I should be covered at this pharmacy. For this particular drug. Can't Walgreens and Caremark play nicer with each other? This is rediculous!

So... they tell me for specialty I have to go to CVS specialty pharmacy, and so after losing an hour to arguing with Schrafts, I call CVS Specialty.

"Do you have Ganirelix?" I ask.
"Yes" they say.
"Am I covered by my insurance wtih you?"
"Yes" they say.

So... I ask my doctor to fax the Rx to them. I even mentioned to CVS that Ganirelix was on back order, and they assured me they had it in stock.

When I called back at 4:00, what do I hear? "We verified your insurance, but Ganirelix is on back order so we can't get it to you."

So... I called my doctor AGAIN, this time asking for an alternative to Ganirelix. Centritide. The one where you have to mix the powder and liquid that looks all intimidating. Crap. BUT, at least it's on it's way, and I can continue my cycle uninterupted.

But still - what a crappy day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Onward to IVF!

My period started on Saturday, so today is the third day of my cycle, aka the beginning of IVF, aka blood drawing/baseline scan/first Follistim injection day.

We've chosen 9pm as injection time, and VC just did my first one. A little pinch, but not bad at all.

I'm a little nervous, but surprisingly calm.

I decided today that I'm giving up worrying. My new mantra is, "Worrying won't change anything. What do I have the ability to do right now?" I did this for Lent last year, and it was surprisingly helpful. I felt calmer, and more sane, and didn't let all the little crazy work issues get to me nearly as much. Or the personal ones.

So here I am, not worrying. Not worrying about the outcome of the IVF - because all I can do is follow the doctor's orders and keep a positive attitude and take care of myself.

Things at work are crazy. And I mean CRAZY. People are freaking out about lots of things, and try to make it my issue because I'm the messenger. BUT, I'm not letting myself get all freaked out and worried. I can't change what the data tells us. All I can do is give them the best advice I have on how to optimize their plans.

Their craziness will not become my craziness. I will not work 24/7. Not saying I won't work long hours a little, because I can't completely get out of that - but I will have personal time, I will get enough sleep, and I will put myself and this IVF and my husband as the priority right now.

So now that I've talked all big and confidently, given myself the pep talk I need, onward and upward. Day 2 of IVF, here I come.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back and starting the hard stuff, or maybe the hard stuff is behind me...

Thanks to those who checked in on me. For months after VC got sick, I just couldn't bring myself to post.

It took him 3 and a half months to fully recover, with fevers all along the way which severely affected his sperm count... so needless to say our subsequent IUIs were challenging to get through. We took a few months off, and then did two more cycles in October & November. Things had improved somewhat, but still no dice.

It was so hard that I didn't want to focus on it. Didn't want to write about it. Didn't want to read about it. Just wanted to make it through VC being sick and the disappointment / anger at God for stealing away the hope for having a baby.

So now... the hard stuff. IVF. But maybe (hopefully) compared to the last year, it won't be so hard. Maybe it will be joyous. And happy. And start my 36th year off on a wonderful note. This is what I'm trying to focus on. I'm trying to be relaxed. And positive. And hopeful.

My period is set to come any day now. Which means we will likely start in the next week. I'm a little freaked out. A little excited. A lot nervous.

We were supposed to start with my last cycle, but the tricky thing came on day 21 while I was in Florida. I think the extra month has been a good thing - I feel like we'll start on a more relaxed note rather than rushing back into town just in time to start injecting myself with fun drugs.

I told my sisters about the IVF while we were down visiting for the holidays, but struggled telling my mom & dad.

My family is Catholic, and my parents are very devout in their own casual, personal way (not in a preachy in your face way). On one hand, I know they will love me and support me through everything. But on the other... I know I could not handle it if they expressed any disapproval at all.

So I avoided the subject... because I know the United States Council of Bishops has issued position papers against IVF due to the rights of the unborn and the only "blessed" way to conceive being as a result of actual intercourse between a man and a woman. I've made my peace with it and feel like it will work for us if God wants it to. I also feel that although their heart is in the right place, the bishops don't know what it's like to struggle with infertility, and they don't know how much love it takes to conceive a child with the type of barriers we've faced.

So... because I knew the Catholic position on the issue, I couldn't bring myself to broach it with them... but somewhere in the back of my brain, I realized how my family works and figured out how to tell them without telling them.
  • I tell my sisters.
  • One of them figures out that I want to tell my mom, but can't, so they tell her for me.
  • My mom tells my dad and they have time to mull things over and work through it without me being involved.
  • My mom approaches me to let me know she knows, and that she and my dad support me.
  • Which is exacly what she did on New Years Day.

So, they support us. They support us trying IVF. And they want me to call and talk to them about it. To quote her, "This baby will be conceived out of love, and that's what matters." She even apologized for not asking me about the infertility stuff more proactively.

The hard part about being home is that I found out one of my sisters is pregnant. This same sister and I started trying in the same month, and her son is now 16 months old. She's on #2.

I wanted so bad to support her, and to be happy for her. Instead, when she came to tell me I spat out, almost in an accusing way, "you're pregnant aren't you?" Not my shining moment. It took me a few days, but I eventually told her I was happy for her, and managed to remain tear-free during our brief conversation.

I know she found it really hard to tell me, and wants me to be pregnant more than anything. But it still hurts. And it feels selfish, but a part of me thinks her getting pregnant means that if I do it will mean less. That sounds stupid typing it out... and it's probably fuled by jealously more than anything.

So here we are. I've blocked my mornings on my Outlook calendar for the next month and a half so that I can drop everything and run to the doctor as needed. My manager knows about the IVF and is supportive. And I'm trying to remain calm.

I hope your journey is progressing in the way you hope. Thinking about all of you struggling with infertility tonight, and thankful you're here supporting the others of us who struggle.