Friday, May 30, 2008

More self-improvement needed

One of the things I've learned from infertility is not to weigh in so blithely with what I "would" do if I were in a situation I've never been in (or even one that I have been in, but where there were a variety of possible actions to take, even those vastly different from my own). I count that as a plus of infertility -- taking me down at least a tad on the know-it-all scale.

I've also made specific tactical adjustments, such as never asking someone when they're planning to start having kids or trying to figure out if someone is knocked up. I didn't ever really do the latter, anyway -- I always find it annoying when people (almost always women) are all eagle-eyed at parties, trying to figure out who's not drinking and then gossiping with others about it. I mean, maybe we notice some nondrinking or a slight belly pooch, but if the woman is pregnant, she'll tell us when she's ready.

But I've realized there are a couple of things I need to change. First, I tend to assume that anyone who has had one child can easily have another (unless I happen to know that the first required lots of ART). Second, I also assume that nothing bad ever happens to proven fertiles -- no miscarriages, no blighted ovums, no genetic issues, nothing -- even though I know fertile people who have had all of these things.

I bring this up for two reasons. One, a friend of mine is about to have her second child, and this made me remember that I very nearly asked her a year ago when she was going to have #2, not knowing she'd just had a miscarriage. So, like, I would have easily asked her this, even though I'd never do the equivalent with someone who didn't have any kids yet. By chance, I didn't ask, and then a mutual friend mentioned the miscarriage.

Second, the fertile friend I was complaining about a few posts ago just found out that she had a blighted ovum. She said she'd felt something was off -- like she had almost no symptoms -- and then she had the 9w ultrasound, which found the blighted ovum. If she'd been infertile, of course, they'd have found it earlier (small perk). She seems very at peace with it, but it did make me feel like a jerk who is accumulating bad karma. I felt slightly less like a jerk when she said that in a way I was lucky to have done IVF, because I wouldn't have any blighted ovums or chromosomal issues. And I was all, like, "IVFers still get all that crap, too, homes. Insult to injury, etc."

In happy news, though, we are going to a baby shower this weekend for some pals (hello, pals!) who have won the Infertilympics and are 37 weeks along with a very-hard-earned baby. Like, really hard-earned. This will be the most welcomed baby of all time. Wahoo!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ever forget your own birthday?

Yesterday was my birthday (36), and, boy, was it a non-event. I worked my ass off all day and didn't eat lunch. Local pal MSF did bring me some delicious takeout from our favorite restaurant for dinner.

We put in an offer on a place in San Francisco in our old neighborhood, Potrero Hill. I don't think we'll get it because the asking price was at the very top of our range and the realtor thought it would go over. Still, stay tuned. It's big (1900 sqft) for that area and price range and was mostly redone in 2006. It's on a kind of busy street and at the edge of the residential part of the Hill (i.e., the other three corners of the intersection it's on are commercial). Here's a photo my brother took of it.

I do not feel pregnant AT ALL. I keep thinking something has gone wrong. I have POAS a few more times, but of course my hCG levels have been high enough that HPTs would keep coming up +++ for a while even if I had had a miscarriage or something. I'm not saying I want to be flat-out sick with HG like last time (which started at 5w4d -- ie, today). Maybe a few waves of nausea and the occasional puke from about 7-11 weeks. That would be fine.

For you HGers out there, I am taking proactive measures as recommended by the fabulous gals on the HER boards. I'm taking 25mg B6 three times a day and half a tab of Unisom at night. I have a stash of old Zofran at the ready and an ability to get a prescription filled immediately if needed. (Relatedly, I also still have Colace ready to go to in order to ease the side effects of Zofran -- essential.)

Updated: Well, there is no way we are getting that house. We accepted the counter-offer, but the other bidders accepted the counter-offer AND are paying in all cash (!) (ie, they don't require a mortgage loan at all) AND waived the right to an inspection. Fuck that!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Beta #2

The results are in. Beta #2 was 636. They needed it to be at least 448, so this looks good. While the beta is on the high-ish side for a singleton (according to the oracle, Betabase), the doubling time is right on the median for this range: 37.84 hours. That all sounds good to me.

Next stop: ultrasound on 6/9. I felt queasy yesterday (but a different kind of queasy than last time -- this one was more of the needing-to-eat-constantly kind of queasy vs. the food-equals-feces kind of queasy of fall '06), but I feel fine today. Well, not totally fine, since a certain one-year-old decided to indulge in a few screaming episodes last night, during which I ran out of options and just played with him from 11pm to midnight. Anyway, I'm glad to feel okay today since I would have been extra-bummed to get HG at 4w2d.

I have felt some waves of something going on in my entire abdominal region, and sometimes I feel woozy when I bend over or stand up. Also, I am feeling extremely emotional, but that could just be because my life is on the stressful side these days and I'm about to move away from a place I like a lot. But I got all teary thinking about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor, which I might do normally, but, really, I am on the verge of losing it at any news, good or bad, and at any gesture in my direction, either compliments or slights.

Other than that, not much to report, except that I feel incredibly, incredibly lucky.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beta #1

Thank you all for your very kind words of support on the post below. I love the Internet.

Beta #1 (15dpo) came in at 264, which they described as a "nice level." My progesterone was at 56. I find it very odd that my progesterone was somehow only at 18 the last time around -- maybe I absorb the ethyl oleate version better? Betabase is down right now, which is maddening but probably good for my productivity at the office.

Beta #2 on Weds. morning. Ultrasound (assuming we get that far) will be on 6/9.

If I start feeling sick, I can call them and demand Zofran at any time. I'm assuming I will start to feel sick at some point next week, so I'm cranking out a huge amount of work this week. I need to get through about 6/10 here at work, but then I can take it a bit easier for the rest of the summer.

Yay, little blastocyst!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

One way to lose that IVF bloat

So my mother, who is visiting, came down with this gastrointestinal bug on Friday that put her totally out of commission. I'd heard of a few other people around town with this, too, so it must be sweeping the area.

Yesterday, the day we were going to have's first birthday party, both my husband and I came down with it, me worse than him. We had to cancel the party. My husband had recovered by about 7pm, but it took me until this morning. I guess it's just a matter of time until gets it. It was a very painful stomach bug -- like where your tummy and intestines actually hurt -- and I don't want my little fellow to have to go through that.

Because of my puking, I was worried about keeping down the es.trace. I wondered how big of a problem this would be, and this is what finally forced me to POAS. And, lo and behold, the second line came up. It seemed a bit faint for me for 8dp5dt, but it's a little darker this morning. Holy crap!

Beta is tomorrow. I know lots of people on the Internets lately (in buddy groups and blogs) who seem to be getting strong, early HPT BFPs and then to have low-ish or nondoubling betas, so I am very cautious. Also, I have a sharp pain on my right ovary for some reason.

But: whoa!
Updated to include photo of HPTs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A trip down memory lane

I've never been so afraid to POAS before. Let's recap:

- Natural cycles 1-20 or so: By paying attention to my body during the luteal phase for the first time and wasting dozens of hours (possibly days) reading early-pregnancy-symptom posts on the Internets, I consistently convinced myself that I was pregnant, and thus peed on sticks with increasing desperation/sadness from about 9dpo onward. If I had taken the money spent on HPTs and invested it in Warre.n Buff.ett's Hatha.way, where each share currently runs about $120,000 (or what I have probably spent on HPTs - what a racket!), I would be wintering in Fiji by now. Oh, sure, you could claim I ought to have learned and not continued to indulge my hopeless fantasies of pregnancy, but I guess I was just the O.bama of POAS back then.

- IVF#1: We had transferred one CRAP blastocyst, so I knew it was going to be BFN, and I just POAS to get it over with. Out of habit, I may have tested more than once, but I really didn't have any hope that round -- I'd lost it all the moment we showed up for ET and were told the sorry results of our embryo culture. And, you see, I already had years of desperately things like "late implantation BFP 18dpo" behind me, and I therefore managed to put away the pee sticks after some reasonable point.

- IVF#2: I'm not sure why/how, but on this cycle I convinced myself that my two 3-day embryos had implanted, and I imagined numerous "symptoms," such as bigger b00bs, noticeable veins in b00bs, cramps, and a hard lower abdomen. I figured out later that the reason I had felt a hard lower abdomen was that I had been clenching my abdominal muscles at the time. What a moron. Anyway, because I was so "symptomatic," I peed on LOTS of sticks. And when I say LOTS, I mean a number higher than 10, possibly higher than 20. For a failed cycle, that gets expensive and really just adds (self-inflicted) insult to injury.

- FET#1: I decided to POAS a couple of days before my official test just to get the bad news over with. Back then, my clinic had you bring in a cup of your own pee (always fun to drive around with), and they'd basically put in their own stick (or, actually stick-equivalent, since I think it was round or diamond-shaped or something) to see if it came up positive, and only then would they deign to draw blood. Now everyone gets a real beta, it seems, which makes me feel like I can fit in much better with people who go to other clinics. Anyway, I really had NO expectations that it had worked, and I almost hyperventilated when I saw the double lines for the first time in my life. (As an aside, I had toyed with the idea of peeing after trigger in a fresh cycle just to see what the double lines looked like, but I decided that I wasn't quite there yet. I'd seen double lines on OPKs, so I embraced that as my lame substitute.)

Which brings us to where we sit now: in the dark. I don't think this FET worked, maybe because despite the fact that I tried to replicate everything about the successful cycle, I had given away my Anji CD to a fellow IVFer and forgotten about that until it was too late to order another one, and I therefore failed to listen to it this time, and perhaps my failure to visualize my lining growing and my blastocyst implanting has caused everything to go FUBAR internally (I am, after all, fully capable of anxiously turning my intestines to jelly or preventing myself from sleeping even though I'm really, really tired. I also feel empathetic nausea when someone describes to me his/her own nausea, and sometimes if someone (usually my husband) tells me he/she just took a dump, it makes me need to take one, too. TMI - live with it!). But I am also kind of looking for symptoms, in spite of myself, and occasionally I think I've found one, and then it goes away. Or it turns out to be something like the hard abdomen. And I am also very aware of the fact that it's really that makes most of the early symptoms happen, and we IVF gals are shooting that shit up daily in high doses.

So I guess that's why I'm afraid to POAS -- because I have that feeling of hope/desperation again. Even though I shouldn't. I mean, I have my boy now, and I also have a fresh cycle with my beloved clinic scheduled for next month if needed. A kid and a plan -- really good stuff for infertiles. If I never have another kid, I would still feel enormously lucky every remaining day of my life. (Uh, but that doesn't mean I don't still feel SEETHING jealousy/rage when a friend of mine gets pregnant easily; boy, do I. A fertile friend of mine is now pregnant with #2 seven months after #1's debut. On purpose, at least. But why the rush? I almost felt it was a personal affront to me and her other close friend who's had several miscarriages in trying for #2. Fertile friend, who knows I'm cycling around now, keeps saying it'll be fun to be pregnant together. I feel as if that will anger the capricious fertility gods and jinx everything. But I digress.) I guess I just got attached to that beautiful blastocyst, and I want it still to be there. Or something.

Armchair psychological/psychiatric analyses welcome. And thank you very much for your advice and support already.

PS: I did purchase a bunch (9) of HPTs yesterday at CVS, and acquisition is a necessary step towards POAS, of course. I'd thought I had some in stock, but when I checked I realized that OF COURSE I had peed on every stick in the house when I'd finally seen the double lines.

PPS: After I first posted this, I remembered that I DREAMED about POASing last night. I dreamed that it took place at the clinic and involved an 8x11" piece of paper, which then said something like "hopefully positive." I was so happy. Then I woke up and was happy for about five seconds before realizing it was a dream. Those sorts of dreams are my least favorite. I almost prefer the ones where something really bad is happening -- like that I accidentally killed someone or got a really unflattering haircut -- and then you get to feel sweet relief upon awakening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy birthday and progesterone dreams is one year old today! He is feeling much better after being on antibiotics for his eye discharge and ear infection for a few days. His babysitter brought him this amazing scrapbook of his first year. I teared up because I'm a mess of (artificial) hormones these days.

Speaking of artificial hormones, I have been having insane progesterone dreams lately - I'd forgotten about them. I am feeling no symptoms and am afraid to POAS, though I want to do so before my beta on Monday. I'm in a buddy group on a message board online (yep, I still do that shit) for people who did FETs around the same time, and a woman who did hers the same day as mine POAS this morning and got a BFP. Last time, I did an HPT 6dp5dt, which would be tomorrow. I doubt I'll do it.

I think I would have preferred to test on Friday or Saturday since my husband will be here, but we're hosting parties both of those days, and I don't feel like wallowing in self-pity while hosting. Then again, maybe I should POAS so that I can booze it up if I get a BFN. Actually, that won't really work - it wouldn't be appropriate to get totally bombed at either of these events, since one is a graduation reception and one is's first birthday party. Sigh.

And I don't really want to POAS on Sunday, since my parents will still be in town, and I haven't filled them in on the current cycle. But maybe I'll do it on Sunday anyway since my husband will be in town. Or maybe Monday morning before the blood test. Anyway, stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wow, I am definitely going crazy.

Yesterday, when I was taking the bus home, I got kind of excited as we approached my house because I wanted to see it had sold yet. And today I checked my own blog for an update. Apparently, I no longer think that I am an agent in my own existence.

Still no symptoms to report. Feeling pessimistic. I just want that excellent blast to have implanted its excellent self in my presumably excellent lining.

My little boy turns one tomorrow. Wow! Here's a recent photo (note that he was illegally already facing forwards since that position was much easier to execute in the rental car.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

20th anniversary party

The 20th anniversary party for the IVF clinic was very enjoyable. I found myself tearing up while one of the doctors - who's been there since the beginning - talked about infertility and all of the milestones they've reached at the clinic (such as pioneering elective single embryo transfers).

Here's some coverage of it - interestingly, there is a companion piece in which the reporter who covered the party reveals that she was one of the first IVF babies born in the state. I will be interested (and probably maddened) to see what comments get posted on this story and in other local stories.

As far as the blastocyst-on-board goes, I am experiencing zero symptoms. I feel like my normal self, albeit a very tired version of my normal self since developed conjunctivitis and possibly an ear infection yesterday and was up off and on all night. I haven't been able to scan in my blastocyst photo, but it looks something like this (image swiped from here). I'm a little afraid that I overdid it on Saturday, what with the IVF party and taking the dog for a walk and hosting a dinner party, but, of course, fertile people would do all of that plus drink a gallon of malt liquor, go skateboarding, and put in a few hours on the third shift at a uranium-enrichment facility.

Friday, May 09, 2008

One aboard

I now have one excellent blastocyst floating around inside of me for the time being. Out of the 7 thawed, there was one excellent blast, which is all I wanted to transfer anyway. There was another fair blast and a good morula, and everything else was rated as poor. All except for the excellent blastocyst were discarded. The transfer itself went well, relatively speaking. The new digs for the clinic are quite deluxe, too.

I ran into a colleague there. Ha! She didn't have her husband with her, so I think this must mean she had an IUI. They make you bring an escort if you do any procedures that involve drugs.

Tomorrow, they are having a big 20th anniversary open house, and the nurse said they are expecting more than 1,100 people. We're planning to attend.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Like a one-legged man at an ass-kicking convention, I've been so busy that I haven't had a second to think -- really think -- about my FET. Then my Outl.ook calendar popped up with a reminder that it's tomorrow (like I'd forget -- well, maybe I would, actually), and I just thought: HOLY SHIT. Fortunately, I have a lot left to do today, tonight, and tomorrow morning, so I can't really agonize the way I like to.

But HOLY SHIT! (assuming there's something to transfer, etc.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I just got the call with the thaw report - all seven embryos survived the thaw; now let's just hope they're successfully growing to day five. My transfer on Friday will be at 11:15, but we have to be there at 10:45. That means that if my husband's redeye is late to Chicago, he'll miss the first connection here, which means he will not land until 10 or so. Let's hope he makes the connection!

Monday, May 05, 2008


For some reason, the word 'thaw' never comes to my mind first when I'm thinking about the FET process; instead, I think 'unfreeze.' And for some reason, I can't stop myself from thinking it or, sometimes, saying it. Weird.

Anyway, I think my little embryos, frozen in the pronuclear stage at day one, are being THAWED today. Cross your fingers for their little embryo selves make it through and start growing like gangbusters. And keep those fingers crossed that at least one of them is a breathtakingly beautiful blastocyst on Friday.

Our weekend in Chicago was fun, and, worn out from our visit to IK.EA on the way home yesterday, slept for three hours in the car. He occasionally squawked or moved so I knew he was still alive and didn't have to pull over to check. My husband gave me my first PIO shot yesterday, and I successfully gave myself the second one this morning. I keep forgetting whether I've taken my Es.trace, so then I take another one, which means there have been some days where I've probably taken four instead of three. Let's hope this doesn't matter.

Friday, May 02, 2008

T minus one week (fingers crossed)

I had my ultrasound and pre-op appointment this morning.

Lining: 8mm and on target.
Antral follicles: 25 (not sure why they track this in an FET, but I do like to know)
Cysts: 1, but it isn't big enough to worry about (allegedly) and should go away with my increased es.trogen intake.

My PIO shots start Sunday. I say that as if they will just start on their own. Hardly!

I also reserved a spot next month among the fresh cyclers in case this one doesn't work out. If it doesn't work out, though, I might still cancel the fresh, but I thought I should go ahead and have that as an option before we move. Also, as I've mentioned, I do love that twilight anesthesia they give you at ER.

Today, and I are driving to Chicago to meet up with my husband, see some friends, and, on the way home, go to IK.EA. Good times!