First Fertilization Report

Ok, this might be a bit of hyperbole, but I couldn’t help myself. Here’s the reason: I have SIX! SIX! SIX! embryos going on. There’s a possible seventh, but it’s on the B team and wasn’t at 2P this morning (it was at 1P). You never know. It could catch up. Of the 13 eggs, 8 were mature. (Eight is the number my doctor guessed at my last ultrasound.) My acupuncturist was hoping for a 70% fertilization rate, so I figure 6 of 8 is a solid 75%. Not bad. Not bad at all. We did opt for ICSI seeing as my previous retrieval resulted in immature eggs, and we needed to check egg quality. Guess my eggs aren’t so bad after all. I’m so proud of them. And my ovaries. They’ve really done a stellar job these last few weeks.

Transfer is schedule for Thursday, but things could change once the embryologist peeks at the embryos again on Thursday morning. Here’s hoping my team of six have fun in the lab and keep doing an exceptional job.

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Egg report

Well, I am home, feeling good, and breathing a slight sigh of relief. They retrieved 13 eggs. Holy shit! I actually started to cry when the nurse told me. 13! 13! One more time: 13! This is ten more than IVF #1. Of course, we know nothing of the quality, but I have to believe that working with a larger number will only help our efforts to become parents. Let’s hope.

As is typical, we’ll get a fertilization report early tomorrow morning. For now, I am going to nap on the couch, snuggle with my husband, and otherwise relax.

Thanks for all the support. I felt it this morning.

dfb

Grapes In My Belly

My final pre-retrieval ultrasound went well. My lining has been glorious. My ovaries have been working hard. My blood work is on target. I now know all of the nurses at the clinic … and there are many. I’ve also seen my acupuncturist four times this week. I now have his cell phone number. It’s funny how IVF will bring strangers into your family as they all hope, we all hope, that our efforts will result in a baby.

So here are the gritty details: the doctor is hoping for eight eggs. There’s a chance it could be ten, but eight would be fabulous. Last time around I had four follicles and one was empty, so that gave us three eggs. Not good. This time we have way more follicles. It’s just that only 8-10 will be ready. There are some stragglers who won’t make it. (Did you know a ready-to-go follicle is the size of a grape?) I know that we have done everything we can to make this successful. My body is rested, a little heavier (ugh), a little more hormonally balanced. I have been at ease with everything in the process and am ready for what comes next. But, right now I am currently waffling back and forth between feeling great about how much better this cycle has been and feeling awful as we move out of the honeymoon phase and into the waiting phase of this process. I even bagged out of a BBQ today so I could stay home and watch RomComs all afternoon. I know I’m also remembering the last IVF and what happened after retrieval. I don’t want to focus on that, but it’s hard to forget such an intense emotional experience. So my goal for the next few days is to use that experience to drive me forward. To help me keep things in perspective. To remind me that life is good, and will be good.

I have my dorky meditation CD ready to go. I’ve got great books on my Kindle. Tickets to a ballgame tomorrow. Some dinner with friends. Plenty of small things to keep me busy.

Trigger comes at 8 P.M. It’s go time.

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Being Tested

I am a teacher and I am well aware of what a test means. It’s meant to assess my skills, my knowledge, my ability to move forward with what I’ve learned. Of course, with all tests come anxiety and uneasiness. No matter the student. No matter the preparation. Everyone dreads tests. I still remember the bio test I failed junior year of high school. And the motorcycle test I failed while trying to get a new license. But as a teacher, I do believe we have lots to learn from tests. If we are open-minded and willing to embrace where we went wrong, research shows we can move forward not only more quickly but also with great success. So it is with this mindset that I am moving through this IVF. I am on a different protocol. I am going to acupuncture like it’s my job. I am just more at ease with it all. But … there’s always a but …

Sometimes I feel like I am just being tested. Not for my ability to follow directions or shoot medication into my stomach or relax. I am being tested as a human. As a woman. Does anyone else feel like this?

When my mother first had her stroke when I was 23, life as I knew it (within my family) changed. The mother I had up until that point died and I was gifted another similar yet very different mother. Don’t get me wrong, we still had adventures and lots of good fun together, but physically and mentally my mom wasn’t the same. Her left side was paralyzed. She couldn’t work. She required near round the clock care. At the ripe old age of 23, I felt like I was handed a shit deal for I didn’t want a new mom. I liked my old one. But my mother always said, it happens for a reason. I learned to be a good caretaker. I learned patience. I learned to keep things in perspective. I learned that saying I love you at every opportunity is the only way to operate.

When my mother died 3 1/2 years ago, I felt like I was being tested again, but her death tested me in new and different ways. I was 32, married, settled into a job, just thinking about starting my own family. Her death tested my resolve. My ability to move forward in the face of tragedy. I realized that little matters outside of your loved ones. And I realized that nothing short of the death of a dear loved one hurts as bad as losing your mom.

Rightfully so, I feel I have been tested enough. There are times when I think that my mom died before I went through IVF so I would always think … it’s not as bad as when my mom died. But then I also think that going through IVF without your mom just sucks. It’s a whole other kind of test because I am striving to be the one thing I no longer have.

So what’s the come of all this testing? A fellow IVF survivor said it will make me a better mother. It will teach me patience. It will teach me to see the larger picture. And while I agree with her in terms of motherhood, I really think it comes down to one simple thing: I can do anything. Now, I don’t mean to say I’ll be in the Olympics in a few weeks or running for president in the fall, but throw me a challenge, ask me to rise to an occasion, test my ability to persevere, and I will. With a strong body, mind and spirit, I will.

Ultrasound #2 showed eleven follicles growing. There is a leader and two stragglers, but I am responding better than the last time. Phew. I head back on Friday for ultrasound #3, and the doc thinks retrieval will be on Sunday. I will be on stims some two days longer than last time, so let’s hope that helps my wee little eggs ripen up.

**A small, additional note: I re-read my older posts and realized that in my first IVF cycle I only had FOUR follicles in the works. Holy shitballs! I’ve got more than double. I would shout out loud right now, but Hubs is napping on the couch.

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The danger zone

Do any of you remember that song from Top Gun? It was a brilliant Kenny Loggins song called Danger Zone. Check it out and you'll know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I'm in the zone. Not in a bad way, but whenever you have a container like the one above (that's my lovely sharps container with a little photo editing for effect) you have to ask yourself, what the hell is going on? I have a container full of biohazardous material in my house. Men in white suits are going to tent my house and take crazy readings a la E.T. I should be wearing gloves and a mask, for sure. But no. This is just the life of a needle addicted infertile trying to jack up her system and get pregnant.

My baseline ultrasound went swimmingly. Nice! I've been on daily Lupron and Follistim for two days now. I can hear my ovaries working overtime. And they are. I am no Follistim lightweight. I need shitloads of the stuff to make my vintage ovaries produce. And produce they will. They must. My acupuncturist reminded me: it is not the quantity rather the quality. Of course, but more than four eggs would be nice. Really nice. The best part of this entire cycle has been the lack of ass shots. Last cycle everything went into my high haunch/hip area. Not this time. All shots are in my new layer of stomach fat thanks to my lack of running or any real cardio in six months. At least that weight is good for something, right. But sub-cutaneous shots are a dream. My hubby feels a little left out, so I let him draw up the meds and help me push the Follistim trigger. It's too cute.

Other than these exciting and hazardous events, life is peachy. It's summer. My dog is adorable. My hubby is a champ. And I'm going to get pregnant.

Next doctor's visit is on Sunday. Will check on my hardworking ovaries and adjust meds as needed. Fun times.

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BFP!

A BFP of sorts. But one so exciting I had to share. And if you look closely at the doctored image above you’ll notice there are a few too many lines. Today we took our dog to the vet and the ultrasound showed that she’s with puppies … six of them. At least someone in the house can get pregnant. =-) She had a little love affair weekend four weeks ago and in five weeks we’ll be welcoming six, or maybe more, pups. We have the ultrasound print-out on our fridge, the first of its kind in our household. Let’s hope she brings a little pregnancy magic to our second IVF cycle. Funny thing is, I head in for my baseline ultrasound tomorrow and then I start my meds at night.

Thank goodness for dogs!

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My last supper

This was it. Except mine was reheated leftovers from the night before. I had visions of my last pre-IVF meal being a hot dog with pop chips. It came to me in yoga class. The salt, the deliciousness of a good all-beef hot dog. The guiltless pleasure of pop chips. But when I got home and realized we had leftovers, I decided to dive into those instead. I hate throwing away food. And to go with my tasty reheats: two glorious classes of wine. I had previously promised myself that after a dinner party last Saturday night I would cease drinking alcohol. But then we had an amazing meal on Tuesday, and a crisp white wine was in order. So with the hubby away at guys night chomping on steak and kicking it with some high class bottles of wine, I decided to partake a bit myself. Not the best combination, reheated chinese and merlot, but it was delicious.

I lied in my previous post. Sorry. I actually inject the cetrotide today. Then I have to wait for CD1 at which time I call the doc and head in for my baseline ultrasound. Then the big meds begin. I feel both at ease and emotional about this second try. I now know that there are two outcomes: pregnancy and no-pregnancy. The first time around I expected only one. I know the routine of the meds, the sting of the needle in my ass cheek, the acne that will burst forth onto my face with the strength of ten hormonal adolescents, the weird satisfaction I get from injecting a tiny needle into my belly because it reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am. But then there are the emotions, the unknowns, the moments of grey and waiting and hoping and forward thinking. Those are the things that will drive me into the ground. But at least I know that’s coming.

So, after a fabulous last supper and an amazing last pre-IVF day (which included a 3-run walk-off home run at the baseball game I went to), I’ve decided I’m going to swing away. For you non-basebal lovers, this means I am going to step up to the plate and not worry about where I’m going to hit the ball. I’m not going to bunt. I’m not going to question. I’m going to drive the ball as far as I can and with everything I have. I have taken six months off of running, I have thrown myself into yoga and meditation, I have been drinking my mud martini twice a day (chinese herbs), going to acupuncture, visualizing myself giving birth, seeing Hubby as a father, thinking all the right things. And now, I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to swing away and come up pregnant. There, I said it.

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