Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blame the Hormones

I've sworn to myself through this whole thing that never, ever would I complain about anything "pregnancy related" if God would ever just grant me the opportunity to experience it. And, I'm sticking to that. I can tell you that if morning sickness is every my reality, I will vomit with a smile. Likewise, I will gladly gain weight, sport a pregnancy nose and swollen ankles and hands...all with a gracious laugh. Promise.

However, I didn't expect the anxiety I'm feeling right now because for the first time ever, it feels like there is so much to lose.

I remember when I was a kid, I absolutely couldn't wait until the day my parents trusted me to stay home alone. I imagined that I would be in charge of my two younger sisters, I would eat whatever I wanted, and watch anything I wanted on TV.

But when it finally happened, after the elation wore off, I felt a strange sense of fear. Creaks in the floor were just a little bit louder, and the dark was just a little bit darker. It was actually a little scary.

And, at the risk of sounding like a whinebox, I'm feeling pretty home alone right now. I am elated that we are pregnant. It's beyond thrilling to say to myself, "I'm 5 weeks pregnant on Saturday."

But there are no affirmations right now - no blood test results or ultrasounds, and I'm scared to death of what is (or isn't) going on in there. Yes, I've actually considered buying a few pregnancy tests just to convince myself that this is actually happening.

Enter yet another 2 week wait. Our first ultrasound is 2 weeks from tomorrow: April 10. The thought of an ultrasound that actually involves a baby instead of a follicle counts and and endometriomas is thrilling.

I know, I need to get a grip. Do you think I can blame the hormones?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's a.....


I came home yesterday after working the most intense half day of my life to balloons, beautiful flowers and L. walking around the corner saying words I've longed to hear for 2 1/2 years:

"Congratulations, Babe, you're pregnant!"

The magic number: HCG=857

I am over the moon, thrilled beyond belief and scared to death, all at the same time.

But, mostly, I'm over the moon.

By the way, hearing that your pregnant from your beloved spouse: Priceless.

It's a memory a pee stick just can't possibly grant.

To all of you who have supported us, prayed for us and cheered us on, thank you. This cycle was truly a miracle, and I am completely convinced of the power of prayer and love.

You are all amazing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Introducing Another IVF "Friend"....

After a great visit with my shrink yesterday afternoon, I walked out into the sunshine actually believing it was okay to feel hopeful about this cycle. She helped me understand that we'll be disappointed (okay, devastated) if this doesn't work, but there's nothing wrong with feeling some hope right now.

Essentially, it's going to suck either way if it's a negative.

After my appointment, I went to have coffee with an old friend I haven't seen in many months. I initiated this time with her because we will be moving in a few months, and I wanted to reconnect with her. She's a bit on the intense side, but I thought it would be a good diversion. She's one half of a couple with no kids, so I knew there would be no baby talk.

Well, I thought I knew.

We talked work for about 30 minutes, from which she launched into a discussion about her recent IVF cycle: "If you ever need a fertility specialist, I know a really good one. We just went through an IVF cycle. By the way, I'm 9 weeks pregnant."

She suggested the specialist in the same tone one would recommend a dentist or a hairstylist.

I was astounded and couldn't help but stammer that we just gone through the same thing. It seemed like the natural thing to do given the circumstances - I mean, I don't typically have coffee with someone for the first time in months only to hear that they just underwent IVF.

Big Mistake.

Her response: "Well, if it doesn't work, I know this great specialist..."

The remainder of the conversation was me listening to her complain about her pregnancy symptoms and how awful being pregnant is - "I'm soooo tired of being sick, and all I want to do is eat. This is just awful."

Needless to say, after a few minutes, I thought of somewhere else I needed to be and abruptly ended this fiasco.

I am realizing that IVF has many faces, and amazingly, simply going through it doesn't mean that you have an ounce of empathy or compassion. I have now encountered two women who have ridden the IVF roller coaster, and I couldn't feel farther apart from either of them in terms of their emotional response to this experience.

Today, I'm moving on from this horrific coffee date. Frankly, a few more months of separation from this friend (if not a permanent arrangement) might definitely be in order.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Side Effects & Diversions

Current side effects of the 2 week wait:

1. Crazy Butt Pain. These progesterone shots are killer. It's not the shot itself, but the aftermath. Yesterday, I felt like a little old lady who needed help just to roll off the couch. In some weird, sadomasachistic way, I actually like these shots because they make me feel like I'm still doing something to keep those little cells viable. Maybe I just got addicted to giving myself shots every night - it sometimes feels like something is missing these days....

2. Cramps. I get nervous when I get them and nervous when I don't. I've read that they're normal and don't mean anything one way or the other, but that sure is hard to buy right now. Yes, I'm still avoiding Dr. Google - he'll be more of an issue next week, if I know me.

3. Anxiety. I'm dealing this by doing nice things for myself. I got a pedicure this afternoon and on the advice of a good friend, purchased a copy of Twilight this afternoon.

Here's to focusing on bloodthirsty vampires instead of dividing embryos.
Thanks, A.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Return to Real Life

I returned to real life today, and I made it through the day. I'm definitely not on my A-game at work, but I'm doing my best. There were several moments when I became so engrossed in work drama today that I realized afterward I hadn't questioned whether our embryos were still dividing in nearly ten minutes.

The highlight of my day was the welcome back I got from my staff - one of them approached me this morning: "Leslie, we're so glad you're back. I'm just going to tell you on the downlow that people have been talking about where you've been...some people thought that you've been out sick because you're pregnant."

UGH!!! Insert forced laugh here and change subject. Quickly.

Thanks to everyone for all your great comments and support yesterday.

Also of note, I was really moved by Cassandra's post today about Affirmations and thought that you might want to check it out, along with all the comments. Very encouraging. And, by the way, she just got a surprise BFP. Stop by and congratulate her and enjoy a very uplifting post.

One more day down....

P.S. Photo today is what I'm praying is happening in my uterus about now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Is Crazy....

The Embryo High has evaporated.

I wasn't exactly expecting all this: the IVF Two-Week Wait is a new animal to me. Frankly, I didn't realize how emotionally difficult this was going to be.

In fact, I invested so much time and energy getting to this point that I never thought about what comes after. After all of the drama and Divine Intervention of the last few days, I feel like I've entered a desert of some kind - there's nothing for miles and miles and miles.

I am preoccupied with the fact that with Divine Assistance, we created life, and it was subsequently placed in my uterus. I am overwhelmed with this crazy emotional attachment to it, along with a sickening fear about whether or not it's still there.

I know I need to stay positive, keep hopeful, keep the faith.

I just never in a million years realized how hard this was going to be. I can't even fathom how I'm going to feel the night before that pregnancy test.

The IVF 2 week wait is the CROWN JEWEL of all 2 week waits. It doesn't get any more intense than this, at least not in my humble infertility experience.

Pales. In. Comparison.

Words of wisdom from those of you who have been through this would really be welcomed.

Really welcomed.

Praying. Praying. Praying.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Transfer Day

For anyone out there who is contemplating the pros and cons of IVF, making it to Transfer Day definitely goes in the priceless column. Regardless of the outcome of this whole experience, seeing your little embryos for the first time is a moving achievement in the IF journey.

The clinic staff did an amazing job of making this a very special experience for us, giving us pictures and the petri dish our embryos were growing in. (By the way, I want to post these pictures but am still trying to figure that out).

We were able to see the embryos magnified thousands of times on a television screen as they pulled them up through the catheter.

We put back two embryos - a 7 cell and an 8 cell. Dr. A. said that things looked good - and that the embryos actually looked like they had developed further by the time of transfer (which was later than scheduled originally yesterday).
No word on the other embryos other than they are still growing. We'll find out later as to whether or not they'll make it to freeze.

Today, I'm on bedrest and trying to take it easy. I'm watching my favorite shows and praying at regular intervals that this is going to work.

It's a leap of faith, I know. I feel so much better knowing that we were able to get this far, and I'm just focusing on that right now. I'm trying not to focus too much on the risk we have taken and the fear of failure.

Right now, I'm just enjoying my embryo high.

Thanks again to everyone for your unfailing support and prayers throughout this crazy cycle. You make the experience so much more easy to live through.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Have Embryos!!!

Today we are celebrating that this is the absolute closest we've come!! After almost 2 1/2 years and absolutely NO positive pregnancy tests, we have embryos!!!

No matter what happens with this process, I have a renewed hope that I have never experienced before.

The report:

All 9 of our fertilized eggs have divided. The lab says they like to see them at 2-4 cell at this point.

2 are at 4 cell.

1 is a 3 cell.

6 are at 2 cell

One of the 2 cells has a little more fragmentation than they would like.

Transfer is a 3-day - and is scheduled for tomorrow at 2:15.

Please continue to pray for us as we move forward. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to move further into this process with the knowledge that we have what it takes to make these little marvels, which is a tremendous relief to me - no matter what the outcome (Make sure you remind me of that in the 2 week wait - ha ha).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fertilization Report

The call finally came around 10 this morning.

Of the 15, 11 were mature, and 9 fertilized. They'll call tomorrow with another update.

We are ecstatic and so blessed this morning.

Update tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009


As I came out of my retrieval haze this morning, the first word I heard L. say was, "15". I absolutely couldn't believe it and apparently retorted, "No, that can't be right. They must mean 1.5."

After this, I asked the nurse for a glass of Pinot Grigio.

They retrieved 15 eggs today. I don't know if my ovaries went into overdrive these last couple of days or what, but I am still shaking my head in disbelief at this number.

Fertilization report will be around 9 a.m. tomorrow. The lab met with us before we left and explained everything they'll be doing with our eggs and sperm today. This is an amazing process, and I am awe-struck by everything they're doing to help us.

We had a fantastic experience with the nursing staff as well - we were the only retrieval this morning so they were able to give us lots of attention, which was very reassuring.

This has been a thrilling day, and I'm trying to stay focused on my faith here. Everything will work out just as it is supposed to, and that's exactly what I'm praying for.

This is uncharted territory for me, however, and I find myself worrying about what's going on in that lab tonight.

This is such an amazing odyssey to share with L., and I feel so close to him right now. Last night when we arrived at our hotel, he gave me a letter he had written about how much he loved my strength through this process and an "IVF present" - a necklace I was admiring the other day.

God has blessed me with an amazing husband.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and sending us so much support.

Looks like we're moving on to the next IVF Funhouse room tomorrow.

It's going to be a long night.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ovarian Update

We're headed to retrieval.

The Nurse said that things have developed really well over the last 2 days, and that my ovaries seem to be "getting the message".

Final Count: 4 maturing follicles, 2 hopefuls

E2=2125 (promising!)

Trigger: Wednesday night

Appointment with shrink: Thursday

Retrieval: Friday

I am so relieved that we're finally going through with this.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me through phone calls, texts, comments, and e-mails these last few days. Your support has been uplifting and much appreciated. I sincerely believe your prayers made all the difference.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


If I had one wish today (aside from the obvious cuddly, beautiful infant), it would be that, just once, infertility could be a tiny bit clearer, less murky and generally more cut and dry.

Basically, I'm clamoring to get the hell out of this Funhouse.

Ultrasound results: 6 follicles - 16.5, 13, 12, 11.5, 9.5 and 9.5.


My favorite nurse actually came in on a Sunday just to talk things over with us, which brought tears to my eyes (and, no, it's not just the massive amounts of estrogen flowing through my body).

She said that in no way do any of my test results indicate perimenopause. However, this low follicle count likely means that we are always going to have less to work with in an IVF cycle as it is similar to what we had last cycle on the Lupron (long) protocol. Gulp.

In other words, we're probably never going to skip down the hall after an ultrasound basking in the glow of multitudes of follies. Not going to happen. These are the ovaries I have, and like it or not, this is what they're putting out.

So, it's a matter of rolling the dice - do we want to take the leap of faith with 4 follicles (which might be the best case scenario, given that the 9.5ers probably will not catch up in time)?

We are torn.

On one hand, we know that it takes one egg, one sperm to make an embryo. And, one embryo is all we need.

On the other hand, L. is a medical professional, and we realize that the statitstics aren't good here.

But, let's face it, things probably aren't going to get better in subsequent cycles.

The Plan: In a classic sequence of events I will have to recount later, we began Cetrotide today in an attempt to save the Big Girl (the 16.5er). Continue Menopur and Gonal-F.

Sunday night: Pray.

Monday - Pray. Pray. Pray.

Next ultrasound: Tuesday morning and Pray.

Tuesday afternoon: Deliberation/Decision Time.

Damn, IF really sucks.