Cycle Day 1…again

Here we are again…Cycle day 1. Our Beta dropped back down on Monday. I haven’t been in a place to write about it, or think about it until now. Actually, I’m not sure I am in a good place to talk about it even now. We knew last Friday that the odds were not in our favor to keep this pregnancy. While our numbers did rise, they did not double. Hubby held out hope over the weekend that we had a little fighter on our hands who was just a little slow to start. Anyone who knew our situation would say that there was still hope and that miracles happen. I could not let myself go there. I couldn’t get my hopes up again only to be crushed again 3 days later. I knew it was over. I did most of my crying after that Friday phone call. I spent the weekend relaxing and actively trying not to think about what was happening inside of me. I reminded myself that it was over- I was not pregnant. I couldn’t let myself go down the same path I went down in September. I was crying every time I was alone…in my classroom, driving home, in the shower and when Hubby left for work my anxiety was out of control. I couldn’t do that again. I know that this might happen again. If I shut down every time, it is not helping my body get ready for a baby and will make the coming months exponentially stressful. Am I sad? Very much so. The picture of our embryo is still on the fridge. I mourn the loss of what might have been. I mourn the hope that we had at the start of this cycle, that will not be matched in the future. I miss the nausea and stretching that I was feeling. I am sad but I am moving forward.
The spotting started yesterday afternoon. By the time I woke up this morning I was having pretty serious cramps and my Aunt Flo was here in full force. For a day one, it is probably the heaviest period I have ever had. For this reason, I am so happy that today is also a snow day! The first one of the year! I am happy to stay home with my Tylenol and heating pad. I plan to spend the rest of my day experimenting with gluten free recipes…yes, I am desperate enough to give it a shot. I am not really sure if I will end up doing the entire gluten free avenue or just carb free. All I know is that I have to do something to make me feel in control of my infertility. Something is obviously not working. I can’t go through the next cycle thinking that it was something I could control that was keeping me from staying pregnant. That being said, goodbye carbs and hello real food. I am trying to view this as a challenge to make healthy meals taste better. Last night was eggplant parm without the breading and baked instead of fried. That was a win. Tonight I am making chicken nachos—on baby peppers instead of chips. Tomorrow night will be spaghetti squash with ground beef and homemade tomato sauce. I have never jumped on the spaghetti squash in place of pasta bandwagon but since pasta is on my list of foods I will miss most, I have to give it a shot.
So where do we go from here? For more blood work of course. Due to the storm today, I will go in tomorrow morning and hope that my HCG levels are below 10. If this is the case, I will start estrogen patches tomorrow and we will have our FET on February 25. If the numbers have not dropped enough I will go back on Monday and hope that they have in the extra 2 days. While I am glad to be onto our second IVF cycle, I am worried about what the problem could be. Were these 2 early losses merely luck of the draw? They implant then fizzle. Were these 2 just not quite perfect? Or is there a bigger problem? Is it my hormone levels? That we can probably fix. My biggest worry is that the problem lies within my eggs. What if whatever problem we had with the first two will carry on through all of my eggs? I have read that the increased level of testosterone in women with PCOS can damage egg quality. Unfortunately, genetic testing runs between 2,000 and 8,000 and we wouldn’t consider it for our already frozen embryos. That means that we have at least 2 more cycles that we will just have to pray, then wait and see. My nurse doesn’t seem overly worried about our first IVF loss. I will have to try to take their optimistic point of view. I honestly can say that I couldn’t have imagined the pain of multiple losses before I knew about my infertility. I also could never imagined the strength that I would find throughout this journey. This mindset that, no matter how much heartache we are faced with, I am willing to keep going, to risk that hurt again. And isn’t that the epitome of being a mother.

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Trigger Night!

Tonight is the night! We are finally able to trigger! That lines us up with a Wednesday retrieval and Monday transfer. I am ready to have some relief to the fullness and occasional pain that has been increasing by the day! I am praying that OHSS will not be an issue for me at that we can do a fresh transfer next Monday. I am like a kid awaiting Christmas Day! I want to know how many they get, how many are mature, how many fertilize and how they grow. I want to know each and every thing I can about these future Little Cs that I have watched grow over the past 10 days and have grown attached to.
After doubling my Menopur dose from Wednesday through Sunday, my follicles had quite a growth spurt. When I last went in on Friday, we were looking at 11’s and 12s mostly.

Here are today’s results:
Right: 18.5, 18.5, 16, 15.5, 15, 14.5, 14, 14, 11, 11 and many under 10

 
Left: 20, 19, 17.5, 17, 16.5, 13.5,13, 13 and 10 small ones

 
My right ovary really picked up the pace this weekend!
That makes 18 total follicles that are mature and ready to be plucked!
My lining is layered and full…ready for one of those Littles to implant and get cozy for the next 9 months.

Here is the plan. We will Trigger tonight at 9:00. Then I am finally shot free! We have to be in the Surgery Center Wednesday morning at 8:00AM. I am going to be constantly double checking that. I have a fear of writing information down wrong. Was is surgery at 8 and be there at 7? Then I remember that it is 36 hours after Trigger- that would be a 9AM retrieval. I might just call to triple check. I really can’t fully explain how excited I am for this to finally happen! I am also ready to be able to sleep on my stomach, bend over and not constantly feel like I have to pee…until I have the exact same symptoms due to pregnancy. That I will be more than happy to deal with. But this week, I am ready. Please keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and that we are able to transfer one perfect Little on Monday.

Follicle check #2

Yesterday was my second ultrasound to check on my follicle growth. I was nervous for two reasons; the first being that I was feeling better that morning. Still uncomfortable, but not as much as days prior. That made me wonder if all 26 had suddenly disappeared somehow. I told myself that was crazy, but the thought remained. The second reason was my slow rising estrogen level. If you remember from my visit on Wednesday, they wanted to give it a bump and doubled my Menopur dosage. The nurse had told me that I would probably go back to my regular dose after the two days. Even though she also said not to worry about it, I, of course, was worried.
It did not help matters that I had a meltdown on Thursday night. I think it started when I felt frustration from hubby. I don’t know if it was in my head, or if he was actually rolling his eyes and had a shorter temper than usual. I do know that I felt like he was annoyed all night-with me, with the pharmacy we have set up on the kitchen table, with having to do yet another injection. Then he rushed the mixing process, got annoyed that I told his to slow down and be careful, then stabbed the needle through his finger. And I do mean through…I saw it go in and then come right out the tip of his finger. It was gross. I told him to slow down! But I didn’t say that when he pulled it out and catered to his now bleeding and sore finger. So that started things off really well.
After my injection, I just couldn’t keep the tears in. I was just tired. Tired of 3 weeks of injections and no end date. Tired of trying to find coverage at work so that I could come in 45 minutes late. Tired of worrying that this wouldn’t work, and hoping so hard that it will. Tired of living with the uncertainty of if our future has children in it. I was just tired. And it all came out. Then I went to bed and things always get better when I do that. For once I finally slept the whole night through and that never happens. I must have really needed the rest.
Friday morning I was second in line for my blood draw and got to the RE upstairs 15 minutes before they opened got to be first to sign in. I waited, got annoyed at the giggling couple in the corner, and wondered what we were going to see on the ultrasound. A nurse I did not know ushered me in. I guess when you start IVF you get the IVF nurses, so I only know the one that I met and liked on Monday. This one was fast talking and I wasn’t a fan right off the bat. As usual, I hopped up, half naked on the table and waited. The wand wasn’t as uncomfortable as it was on Wednesday- probably because I was finally able to go to the bathroom! Yay!
My lining had gone from a 7ish to 9mm layered lining.
Right (13.5, 12.5, 12.5, 11)
The other 7 that we saw on Wednesday are hovering around 9 or 10 that could still make it.
Left (11, 12.5, 12.5, 12.5)
She stopped measuring individuals after that and said that I had 11 mature on the left.

I am not sure if this included the 4 she did list or not.
So as of yesterday, I have between 15 and 19 mature follicles.
The nurse was ready to walk out the door when I asked her to write those numbers down for me. Normally the nurse will stay and talk to you for a few minutes about how you feel and what comes next. She did say that she would call me later with my blood results and was out the door. Amy, my ultrasound tech said she thought I would be back in on Sunday with a Tuesday/Wednesday retrieval. And with that, I was on my way to work.
The blood-work call came later, when the nurse left me a message that they are going to keep me on the double Menopur dose (good thing I ordered more) and have me come in on Monday morning. She also says that the doctor is guessing a Wednesday or Thursday retrieval. So my levels must not be where they want them yet. Super, more days of injections. The positive to a Thursday retrieval would be a potential 6 day weekend. I have been trying to make it through school despite being uncomfortable so that I can take the day of and the day after retrieval off. That would be Thursday and Friday. Monday is a holiday and Tuesday would be my transfer. Hey, if I could get a mini vacation out of this, and be able to stay home to recover longer, I am game.
So that is where we’re at. I feel like I have a tight band around my abdomen and if I have to bend over, I feel like I have to bend over 2 water balloons. I get tired around lunchtime and a headache in the evening. Thank goodness it’s the weekend so that I can take it easier than I have been all week. I will also continue to enjoy my princess treatment from Hubby… It definitely helps me to remain stress free when he takes over the cooking and cleaning for me! The foot rubs don’t hurt either!

First Glimpse at the 26 Follies

Today was my first monitoring appointment with ultrasound. I am happy to report that Monday’s side effects have not happened again so far. That was a brutal day and I was nervous that the entire cycle would consist of severe nausea, dizziness and hot flashes. Since Monday I have gotten occasional shooting pains, mainly on the left- though the right has thrown some in there as well. I have been tired enough to take a nap when I get home from work and still sleep the whole night. I am even still tired in the morning after all that sleep! Starting last night, and increasing today, I have felt the fullness increasing. My abdomen feels heavy and I can tell that in the next few days, movements are going to be jarring my poor expanded ovaries. Certain movements, especially leaning into something, bending over, or lifting grocery bags has been uncomfortable. The constipation has kicked in and I am just plain old uncomfortable! I am pushing my way through the workweek, keeping in mind that I may need a day off if these symptoms continue to increase, or if I want 2 days off for the surgery. I just keep pushing through it.
Now onto the good stuff…
I was up again at 5:30 and into the lab when it opened at 7:00. I loved the girl I got today- I didn’t feel a thing! I was then second in line for my ultrasound. I must say that the ultrasound was super uncomfortable today, especially when she was examining my left ovary. Queue the wincing and slight moan.
Here is where my body is at after 5 nights of stims:
My lining was already layering and was 6-7mm. That was a good start!
Right:
11 total follicles.
2 @ 9mm and the rest under 8
Left:
15 total follicles! No wonder the left side hurt!
2@ 11mm,
1@ 10mm and the rest at or under 9mm
That would be 26 total follicles. I am pretty darn happy with that number! I am a little bit scared of how uncomfortable this is going to get and my risk of OHSS.
The nurse guesstimated a retrieval day of next Tuesday or Wednesday. I was instructed to go out and get some stool softener and fiber. Fun stuff… I really can’t wait for it to kick in…no, seriously, I Can Not Wait! Then I was off to work and waiting for my blood results.
I listened to the nurse’s voicemail after my kids had vacated my classroom. Not exactly what I had been hoping for. My estrogen, while rising is going up pretty slowly. I have been instructed to double the Menopur for the next 2 nights. That will be 2 vials along with the 5 units of Lurpon and the 150 Gonal F. She said that it was no reason to worry and that I just needed a bump. Despite it not being a big deal, I have been ordered back in on Friday instead of Saturday. Oh well. I guess it just means less time for me to worry about my estrogen levels. You know that is all I will be able to think about for the next 2 days and I always go to worse case scenario. I am going to have to keep that in check to decrease the dreaded stress. I will also continue to enjoy the “princess treatment” that my husband is perfecting! We are on night 3 of his famous meatloaf! It is a good deal!

Baseline and Hormonal Emotions

New years

My period finally decided to show up yesterday. I wasted no time calling in my day one to hopefully get this IVF show on the road. They gave me the option of waiting for the weekend to do all of the baseline business. No thank you! I get that the wand up the hoo ha may not be the most comfortable thing ever during this time of the month, but when is it comfortable? So I set my alarm for 6:45 on a vacation day. That was probably worse than the wand…and the needle stick. I drove into the city in the fog, cursing the traffic and stop lights every 10 feet. I am not looking forward to making that drive a few times a week for the next 10-12 days.

First stop: The lab for bloodwork

The needle wielding guy stuck me in the side of the elbow. Ouch. Not cool guy! I had plenty of beautifully blue veins in the center of my arm. It was one of those situations that I got there and got right in, and by the time I walked out 10 minutes later, the waiting room was packed. I love when this happens! Like at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through. You pull right up for your coffee and feel giddy when you drive back out past the mile long line of cars sipping away. It was that feeling. Way to start the day with a win!

Second stop: RE’s office for ultrasound

Up three floors I went, signed in and was told to have a seat but not to get comfortable. And I didn’t. I got called in maybe 3 minutes later. I used the bathroom to make sure I did all I could to avoid a totally gross and awkward visit with the wand. Actually, I was more concerned with the lovely lady controlling the want. Luckily I am having a lighter period. They certainly didn’t help matters by making me wait for what felt like forever, sans pants. I’m sure it was only 5 minutes, but good grief I was at serious risk of a leakage issue! My tech Amy and nurse finally came in and we got the show on the road. I have been worried every step of the way that things would not go smoothly. This worry grew after my period delayed our cycle a few days. I was sure that my ovaries were full of cysts or didn’t shut down on the Lupron. The wand was doing is magic, lots of pressure, perfect 2mm lining, then it got quiet. That always worries me. She finally confirmed that both ovaries look perfectly quiet. As long as my estradiol levels come back the way they expect them to, we get the green light. As with all things fertility related…I must wait for the call.

Third stop: STARBUCKS!

After coffee and grocery shopping, I finally made it home, made breakfast, changed out of my jeans and into my vacation uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt and cozied up downstairs. Finishing our basement was the best idea ever! The call finally came in that my levels looked good and that we will start stims tomorrow. I will go back on Monday morning, bright and early before going back to work for blood work. So that’s that.

Now onto the side effects of Lupron, mixed with PMS. I am a hormonal wreck. All I want is to stay home, I cry when my husband goes to work at night, have anxiety going to bed alone, I cry at TV shows ( I am hooked on Parenthood), books and passing thoughts. All I want is to hold onto him. I could hug him all day. I need the contact and the comfort to quiet the hormones.

This is also the first year that Hubby hasn’t been able to get New Years Eve off. I will ring in 2016 alone, no kiss, no toast. And guess what- I keep crying about that too. It is sad to me that we won’t ring in 2016 together, the year that we could get pregnant…have a baby…that feels important to me. I am sure that a kiss and toast at midnight won’t change the course of the next year- so I am hoping that he will be able to call for that shift to the new year. The hormones definitely make it seem ten times worse than it should, but hey- I feel what I feel. And now I am crying again. I guess I should try to get into the mindset that it is just another night. He will leave at 11, I will get ready for bed, climb in and watch the ball drop- then I will go to sleep and wake up when he gets home. So that’s how my night will go.

Even though the sky is blue and the snow is melting a bit, I am going to start a fire, curl up on the couch, and binge watch Parenthood until Hubby wakes up. We will order Chinese food, because that’s what we do on New Years Eve. We will make early mimosas and toast this year out a bit early.

The first day of 2016 will start the growth of our follicles, our future eggs, embryos and babies. That’s a heck of a way to start a year. Within the next 2 weeks, I will have surgery, get reports on our embryos and hopefully be PUPO. We are starting what I hope, and truly believe will be our best year.

Happy New Year!

Christmas injection fiasco and cycle delay

Another Christmas is over and it was a pretty good one. Hopefully it was also the last one without a little bambino. Christmas Eve brought some stress as we spend it with Hubby’s mom’s family. They were on the “let’s break them up” campaign when his mom decided she didn’t like me. We still don’t really understand that one, but it was pretty severe and lasted over a year. So he really can’t blame me for having anxiety every Christmas Eve over another marathon party of nobody talking to me. This was also the first time we would have to give an injection away from home. The only people who know about our IVF journey are his brother and sister in law. We have never discussed our fertility issues with his mom….if we had I am sure half the world would know, and it would somehow be my fault. Anyways, I wanted a plan of how we were going to pull this off without someone questioning us. Hubby took the “it won’t be a big deal, we will just slip into a bedroom” approach. Might I mention how hard it is to sneak into a bedroom that is visible from the living room, which is filled will about a million family members… family members that would have no problem calling you out publicly on your sneaky ways!
Well, 8:30 rolled around and I gave him the “it’s time” look. His job was simple…get the ice, meet me in the bedroom. When this began sounding like a 007 mission, I have no idea. Hubby went to the freezer but did he get ice, which would have been easily hidden and explained? Nope! He got a big bag of frozen potatoes. What happened next was just our luck. He turned around with that frozen bag of potatoes right into his mother. Why?!!? Of course what came next was a cross examination like you would see in a police station interview room. “why do you have potatoes?” “I was hungry so I wanted to heat them up”. Oh Hubby—why potatoes??? With an endless counter of food to his right, this answer was suspicious and stupid and she wasn’t buying it. This is what happens when you wing it! Sigh…. I had to step in and say “ He has to give me an injection”. What is she going to say to that? As I hoped, she had no real response to my statement and we went on our way to stab me in the stomach in the back bedroom. I didn’t ice long enough, it hurt, I bruised, Merry Christmas Eve. It was also the first time I had side effects from the Lupron. It took the form of a massive headache and crashing of my hormones. I spent the last hour of the party in a miserable mood and almost begged Hubby to leave. Actually, I am pretty sure I made my desire to go pretty obvious, but because I said we could stay till 11 earlier in the night, the shift in my mental and emotional state did not compete with his desire to play Taboo.

I stewed for a good hour over that. Could he not see I was suffering? I held it together until we got to the end of the driveway where I totally fell apart into a sobbing mess.

Christmas Day and the day after were better for me. I got to see my nephew open his gifts on both days, got to feel what it would be like to have a baby in our house, got some great gifts, a new lens for my camera, cookbooks, a favorite movie and ate some pretty fantastic food. Shots and all, it was a pretty good 5th Christmas with the husband!

With the holidays over I am in full on IVF mode. My body, however has other plans. My nurse predicted my Lupron period to start around the 26th. Well, it is the 28th, while I have cramps and PMS I am not even spotting. We didn’t discuss this possibility during our conference call. Do I still start stims tomorrow? So I called the office. When my nurse called back, she said that we are not in a time crunch, so it is okay. She said that people can even miss their Lupron period because it can be extremely light. I have been examining closely, so I know I did not miss it. I also never have light periods, so I doubt that will be the case for me. Our new plan…wait. I hate waiting. We are giving my body until Thursday to start bleeding. If it begins tomorrow, I will go in on Wednesday for my baselines. If not, I am scheduled for Thursday morning to see what the deal is. I am willing my body to just start bleeding for the love of all that is holy! So either way, we will not be starting stims tomorrow as was the plan. More Lupron injections for me. In a way, I am okay with the delay, since we are supposed to finally get a taste of winter here in MA—a good old snow/freezing rain/rain combination tomorrow. I am fine with not driving in that! I will just have to cozy up with Hubby and start a fire.

As for these Lupron shots, for the most part they have been pretty painless if I ice. The frozen potato night hurt and bruised, and tonight was pretty painful, maybe because it was closer to my bellybutton than normal? The way this cycle is going, I may need to refill the prescription to make it to the end. I just hope that if I go in on Thursday, having had no period, that there is not a bigger issue that would alter this cycle. I am ready to get this show on the road! We are hoping that 2016 is a big year for our family!!

Lupron Day 1

Last night was the start of our first IVF cycle. Sunday was our annual Christmas at Hubby’s dad’s house. I was fighting a disgusting cold, which definitely put a cloud over my day. I started feeling it on Friday and by Saturday night I was trying to sleep sitting up just to breathe better. By Sunday, I was running on little sleep, with a sore throat, foggy head and I had tons of baking to do. I was up at 6 and by the time Hubby got home at 9 I had already made 3 batches of cookies and was on my way to cookie variety number 2. By the time we got to the party I was exhausted. This is the side of his family that I love, it feels like home to me. His step mom has always been supportive and kind to me, his Dad is quirky- my brother in law is just like my Hubby (they are both cops) and really act more like children when they are together—and his wife, who is going through the whole TTC thing as well. His 92 year old grandparents who only speak Portuguese were there with us as well. With all of my grandparents gone, I have pretty much just taken them as my own. I can’t understand most of what they say, but can feel their love despite that. I really am lucky to have married into this family.

Despite the official start to our holiday festivities, I was feeling emotional. That night will hopefully be our last night of “normal”. By normal I mean a family of 2, not expecting, not parents. Just us. Hopefully, from this point forward we are in IVF mode, then pregnancy mode, then baby mode and parenthood. This could have been the last weekend on no baby life. That is both exciting and petrifying. I have been reflecting on that and trying to put it into words for hubby. We have officially started on a road that gives us fantastic odds of taking home a little love. So with that thought in my mind, we cracked open the Lupron, iced up the stomach and gave the first of many many shots. It wasn’t too bad. I felt the pinch more than I normally do with the Novarel, but Hubby is getting to be a pro- so there has been no swelling or bruising. That will make this much easier to give shots in the same location for weeks. I am expecting a period this weekend and a baseline appointment next Monday or Tuesday.

With only 1 full day of school left(why they wouldn’t give us a half day is beyond me), I am in desperate need of this vacation! I can’t wait to see my nephew- who has his first 2 teeth and is crawling since last I saw him! I love Christmas morning with the Hubs, and the German Christmas that I host the day after Christmas for my Dad’s side (and another helping of my nephew!!). I am looking forward to naps and reading and feeling those ovaries start to fill us with follicles! Okay, I know that won’t be comfortable- but I am still looking forward to it! I don’t want to rush my break, even though I feel like Christmas for me will really be my retrieval and transfer days!

I am counting on my Lupron shots to be the same- not the highlight of my day, but not horrible for the next few days, so if there are no updates until our next change, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!