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    Puppet theatre

    October 20th, 2010

    So when G and S2 are old enough to ask where babies come from, do you think it will be too much to break out these plush toys?

    And to be accurate to their specific conception story, a petri dish too:

    How to make a baby: A photographic journey

    March 16th, 2010


    Maybe a(nother) baby

    March 16th, 2010

    Sep 4, 10:30am

    S and I want another baby. I never thought I’d get to say that out loud, yet here we are.

    I feel guilty for saying so. Guilty because we already have one amazing kid: something other families want so badly. We were that family once. To families dealing with secondary infertility, I remember thinking “You already have a child. Be thankful, and at peace if it doesn’t happen again.” And now I’m in those shoes. I am thankful. I will be at peace (I think) if it doesn’t work out, but at the same time, I feel guilty. Guilty for perhaps wanting too much… being greedy.

    Yet here we are. I called our clinic this morning. I wanted an intro to the process we would have to undergo, so a nurse will call me back. I’m anxious. My mind is racing. I’m trembling. Trembling because this is now becoming more real. Trembling because maybe, just maybe, it would work. Trembling because it might not. I didn’t expect to feel this way. We’ve been talking about this for awhile. I’ve been thinking about it since the day G was born. Yet, I never expected to feel. To feel… this.

    We have 3 embryos left. Hopefully one of those will be our baby. If not, we’re prepared to do another fresh round of IVF. If that doesn’t work, we’ll use any frosties that might come out of that cycle. If we go through all of those and still don’t manage to get pregnant, we’ll stop there. I’m at peace with that decision.

    So now we wait for the first call.

    Sep 4, 4:00pm

    The call came. It was short, but it was enough.

    We talked about the process. When we’re ready, I’ll go in for a baseline ultrasound on CD1. A week later I’ll go in for a second. I’ll be told when to trigger, and then the transfer will be 5 days later. At minimum I’ll need a trigger injection, the progesterone and antibiotics during the cycle. That is if my body cooperates and I get a period. If it doesn’t, I’ll need to be medicated. I was pretty regular prior to G, and I see no reason why I wouldn’t be now.

    We discussed the process of thawing. S and I are both pretty determined to only implant ONE at a time. I needed to know if thawing one embryo at a time, meant that if it didn’t survive the process we’d have to wait a whole cycle to thaw the next. We don’t. I also wanted to know if we’d have to thaw multiple at a time. This will depend on how they’re frozen. There are 2 in one straw, and the last in another. I remember hearing the embryologist tell me that 2 made it to freeze quality quickly, and the last did as well, but a day later. That would explain the separation. Right now I’m thankful for it. Depending on which is the strongest candidate they’ll thaw that straw. I don’t know the success rates of re-freezing if it comes to that. I guess that’s something to ask next.

    The nurse asked about my periods. I was almost embarrassed to tell her I didn’t know because I had an IUD. I wonder how many of their patients come in with that one? “We can’t get pregnant on our own, but didn’t want to risk it, so yeah…” I asked when I should schedule an appointment with the OB to have it removed. She didn’t know, so she’s having this be a topic of discussion in our follow-up call w/ Dr. B.

    She asked about G (he’s in my file as the clinic needs to follow up on live births). She asked if I was still nursing. As I told her that we’re in the process of weaning, she informed me that we’d cycle a month after I was done weaning. This certainly puts an interesting twist to the nursing plan, and possibly in our time line. I don’t know if it’s a medication in the milk precaution, or them being worried about supply. I doubt it’s the latter.

    I find it mildly interesting that it was almost 2 years ago that we had our first RE appointment. It was almost exactly 2 years ago that I called to schedule that appointment. It wasn’t intentional for it to work out this way, just our timing I guess.

    So here we are. The first step of many. I now wait for the next call.

    Sep 9, 11:00am

    Well, and here we are. We got a call today from the clinic to wrap up the previous discussion. S, the nurse who did our injection training was on the other line. I always liked her! She was so excited for us when we “graduated” from the office that she gave me a hug. She remembered us too which is remarkably sweet. She opened the call asking about G. I promised her that when we go in next time I’d bring her pictures.

    Speaking of that, I loosely have an appointment in November. I say loosely because I’m waiting on my next period. Since the IUD (and perhaps BF in small part) I don’t really have periods. I spot once and that’s about it. So now we’re waiting for the next time that will happen. I seem to be getting the AF sprinkle every 2 months or so, and since it happened last week, I figure in about two months time (or November) I’ll be on the look-out. We’ll then schedule an appointment between cycle day 6 and cycle day 11. I’ll then get another saline hysterosonogram. I’m not thrilled over this prospect, but they need to ensure that I haven’t had any uterine scarring.

    In terms of the IUD, the REs office will remove it at the same time as the hysterosonogram. Although we did agree that if by the end of November I don’t get a period on my own, I’ll contact my OB and have her remove it. Then wait for AF to visit.

    I will need to fully wean G. As lactation keeps Prolactin levels high, Prolactin can suppress ovulation. To have a “natural” FET the RE needs to be able to predict ovulation in order to time the transfer. So, I’ll keep nursing mornings and evenings until the IUD is removed. After that all the milk in the freezer will replace me until it’s done. Thus far I have about a month’s worth of milk and the stash is growing daily.

    If I am able to ovulate on my own, we’ll proceed with a “natural” FET. Natural for Stanford’s intents and purposes means that they won’t medicate me to grow follicles. I will be medicated to induce ovulation, via the trigger shot, and then to progesterone. If I can’t ovulate, they will most likely put me either on an oral or injectible med for the first part as well. So in effect, it could be as much as the IVF cycle, without the retrieval process.

    So that’s it. I’m feeling pretty calm about things at this point. Perhaps because there’s a plan. Perhaps because November feels so far away. Only time will tell.

    Oct 2, Am I crazy?!?!

    Well, calm only lasted so long. The more planning that went into this process the more “real” our next child was becoming to me, and honestly it scared me. I started thinking about being pregnant while G was figuring out how to walk; what we would have to do to his room; how I would be away from him during my stay in the hospital giving birth. Would it all be fair to him? Then I started thinking about the logistics of two kids: the cost of daycare, managing two schedules, disrupting the normalcy we have just come to expect… and it all scared me. I’ve come to like our routine. It’s taken us a year to get here, and turning all of our lives upside down to accommodate a fourth person sounded exhausting. Also we have a 3 bedroom home. While perfect for 2 kids, where would our family stay when they come visit? I like having the extra room for them to stay in, and while room-sharing for kids is a fine option, I don’t see how it will work with an infant who wakes up every 2 hours and a toddler.

    Then there was the “irrational” fear: that of love. Please don’t laugh at me, when I say this, but I was genuinely concerned about not being able to “generate” enough love to share between my two children.
    I have never loved anyone the way I do G!
    I love my parents and I love my sister. I love my husband. Each of these loves if different: familial love vs. romantic love. I’ve never had to expand my familial love (except for when my sister was born, but I was too young to acknowledge love at that time), and my romantic love has always transferred. I’ve never been IN love with more than 1 person, at a time, romantically before. All I’m getting at is that I’ve never had to “share” love, or had to “make more room” for love. So if I had another child, how would that work? I love G SO much, that I couldn’t possibly imagine growing my heart to make room for more of how I feel about him. It was so inconceivable to me, that the only way it would make sense was if I grew to love G less, so that I would have room in my heart for his brother or sister. And this made me sad: it was so unfair to G, and so selfish of me. Like I said — it was irrational.

    But now I’m feeling good. I had a really good talk with one of my friends and she helped me put some things into perspective. I’ve come to realize that much like never being fully ready for your first child, you can’t really be fully ready for your second. We’ve done well with G so far, and we figured things out. We’ll figure things out and make it work with a second little one as well. None of the things I was concerned about were related to age separation between G and his sibling, so they were obstacles we would face whether G was 2 at the time the baby would arrive, or 15!

    So back to full steam ahead. Let’s just hope the fear monster doesn’t creep up again.

    Oct 21, Well She came early!!!

    My period (or “my relatives” as S likes to call them) came early. Since I had the IUD inserted, and probably on account of still nursing, I seem to get my period about every 2-2.5 months. When I talked to the RE’s office I used this as calculation as to when to plan to get this whole show on the road. The plan was November. Well, it’s end of October, and with her early arrival it kind of throws my careful planning out-of-whack. The UID removal is tied to nursing, and supply, and I’m not ready to fully stop-stop yet. Especially with being in the middle of flu season, I’d like to keep going as long as I can with our morning/evening nursing routine.

    So I decided to not do anything this cycle. I’m still going to wait for a cycle in November. If it comes then I’ll schedule the HSG and have my IUD removed by Stanford as planned (plan A). If not, then I’ll contact Dr. M and have her remove it early Dec, then wait out the next cycle (plan B). Today’s AF visit wasn’t the end of the world, but it makes Plan A just a lot less likely, so it’s looking like we’re looking more at Plan B.

    Nov 16, Plan A it is

    I was wrong. Although I got a period earlier than anticipated in October, I also got another just this past Saturday. A 25 day cycle is pretty unusual for me, but hey — someone out there has something in mind for me. I called Stanford and scheduled the sonohysterogram. It’s on Thursday. This Thursday! They’ll also remove the IUD too.

    S is staying home with me to go with me to the appointment. I love that he wants to be there and was already planning on it. Just a good reminder that we’re doing this together.

    We’ve also been joking around the IUD removal. As S put it, how many receptionists get the call at an infertility clinic where a patient asks for an IUD to be removed? We’re just waiting for someone to come up to us and say: “Excuse me, Ma’am, but I think we know why you haven’t been able to get pregnant!” Sigh… yeah…

    Anyway. Thursday.

    Nov 19, 11:00am

    Well, I am now IUD free and one sonohysterogram complete.

    Aside from the fact that my RE ran an hour late for the appointment, it went well. She took out the IUD first, but warned that the problem with combining both procedures on the same day could make the SHG see things that aren’t really there. For example, stirring up the uterine lining from the IUD passing through might leave artifacts behind, making it appear like I had a polyp. Honestly, I kind of wish they had brought this up before, because I had no quarrels going to my OB to remove the IUD, then waiting for the SHG. But as we were already there, we just went on ahead anyway.

    The IUD removal was pretty easy. I was expecting it to be as uncomfortable as getting it put in. Honestly, while waiting I was looking around for the numbing injection they had given me at insertion. I didn’t see it anywhere, so I was 1) panicking a tad; 2) bracing for a world of discomfort going med-free. Thankfully, neither was warranted.

    The SHG also went smoothly. The balloon inflation was not fun, but hey, it’s over. Stanford is a teaching hospital, so during the procedure Dr. B was there with an intern (and also a nurse). She was explaining each step of the way. Normally, I’m all for this, because I find the process incredibly interesting, but to be honest, this was one procedure I didn’t need to hear the blow by blow on. When you know something is going to hurt, you just want it over with. Not anticipate it with every sentence. However, I’m all for educating the up-and-coming docs, so it’s something I’m willing to deal with.

    Unfortunately, there was an artifact Dr. B wasn’t able to clear on the ultrasound. She doesn’t think it’s a polyp and suspects it was something the IUD stirred up. She suggested to just let it be, and we’ll keep an eye on it. If we see it again come monitoring for the transfer, we’ll make some decisions at that time.

    Now… speaking of transfer, while everything looks good and we’re ready to go, our travel schedules might conflict with the general timing. We’re not interested in doing the transfer in December, so we’ll need to wait for my January cycle. If all got according to schedule, that cycle should start around Jan 9. However, if I go early, we might need to wait it out ’till Feb to start. I’ll need monitoring starting a few days after my period, and as S and I will be in Australia in early Jan, it might not work out. We’ll see.

    The FET will be a natural cycle. I will only be taking Progesterone. While going in for regular ultrasounds (to monitor my lining and follicle formation), I will also be doing daily ovulation predictor tests starting around cycle day 11. When I ovulate I call it in. If I don’t, they’ll trigger me with Ovidrel. The transfer will happen a few days after that.

    I did ask them about my lining. Given that my lining the first time around was far from optimal, I asked what we could do. Taking Etrace is an option, but we’ll see how things are forming on their own. I’m really going to give pomegranate juice my all this time around. The anti-oxidents in pomegranates assists with uterine lining build-up. I’m also even considering acupuncture. If my lining sucks though, we’ll can the cycle and try again.

    Arg, I feel like there are so many “if X happens/doesn’t happen, we’ll wait for the next cycle”. I’m impatient — this is a known fact, but also the uncertainty and inability to control this all is also maddening.

    So here is where we wait some more. See you back in January!

    Dec. 18, So, am I pregnant or not?

    I am frustrated. It’s as simply as I can put it.

    My period is late by a week. I’m tired. I have no appetite. Brushing my teeth makes me gag. All of these things I’ve felt before… when I was pregnant with G. Honestly, the chances of this are so, so slim. While, yes, I have engaged in acts that could (in normal people) produce a child, the timing was not during a period of my cycle where fertilization could have possibly occurred. Also, my hopes for us being pregnant on our own are pretty low.

    Yet, here I am, a week past-due, questioning everything about my body. And I’m questioning it because for the second pregnancy test in a row (a few days apart mind you), I’ve seen a big fat minus sign.

    After the IUD was removed my flow increased for a few days, and I continued spotting for what felt like weeks. I read up online and this didn’t appear to be an unusual occurrence. Yet, I still expected AF to arrive around the 12th of this month, with ovulation towards the end of November. Perhaps the spotting somehow kept messing with my hormones and pushed everything back? If that is true, then it’s quite possible I ovulated right around the time S and I were making like bunnies. If that is true, then my AF isn’t late, yet, but there’s still a chance I could be pregnant.

    I finally gave up and I called my OB and asked her to send in an order for a blood draw. As always, the people at the office rock. I did get asked though if pregnancy would be… how did she put it??? Desirable? While unexpected, heck yeah, it’s desirable!!! I got my blood sucked after work. I won’t get the results until Monday. By then I hope to either have AF or a congratulatory call. If it’s negative? Well, then I just don’t know what to do.

    Oh and for the record? Seeing a big fat negative on a pee stick? Yeah, still stings!

    Dec. 19, Nope, not pregnant

    AF came this morning. Thanks for mocking me Mother Nature.

    Jan. 15, Here we go

    S and I had an appointment for my baseline ultrasound this morning. We are officially doing this. My cycle started yesterday, so here we go.

    We both needed to be present to sign some paperwork today. We legally needed to sign off that it was OK by both of us to do this procedure. I guess some partners have been surprised in the past by their significant other going on ahead with an FET without their knowledge. The second form was to permit the clinic to do assisted hatching on the embryo.

    We also had to make a choice how many & which embryo to transfer. As we really do not wish to risk a multiples pregnancy, we want to transfer one. We agreed that we would thaw out the single embie in one of the straws first and try with that one. I was a little concerned about this, since it was frozen a day later than the other two since it was lagging a bit behind. However, it turns out that it’s a better grade (6day blast, AA) than the other two embies (5day blasts, both BA). So as it turns out we’re starting off with our best bet. If it doesn’t survive the thaw, they will thaw out the other two and ask us what we want to do. We could try re-freezing, but there are no statistics on re-freezing rates, or for that matter re-thawing and doing and FET that way. This brings up a whole question on why they freeze multiple embryos together for me, but that’s a whole separate matter. Ultimately S and I are going into this thinking that this may be our only shot at an FET procedure, after which we’ll end up doing another fresh IVF cycle if that’s what we decide to do.

    I had two primary questions for Dr. B today. 1) Lining. 2) Shortening leuteal phase.

    My lining was 2.3 today. Nothing I can/should worry about at this stage, but when we were trying for G it was on the low side, and I didn’t want to have a repeat performance of me crying in my car on the way to work because my lining didn’t look favorable. She said that following pregnancy she’s seen patient’s lining “do the right thing”, and while my lining wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t horrible either… and well… gave us G. So we agreed to watch it, un-medicated for this cycle. If it didn’t look good, we’ll wait out the next cycle and medicate.

    The other thing I’ve noticed over my last 3 cycles is that my periods seem to come sooner than in the past. My cycles are now every 24-26 days, whereas before they were pretty much 28 on the dot. I don’t think my ovulation has changed (although since I haven’t been charting I have no way to prove this), which means my LH period is down 2-4 days.  However, Progesterone is what they would give me anyway, and it’s already part of the protocol, so no additional changes needed.

    So yep. Next ultrasound is on January 25th. I need to start peeing on a ovulation predictor kit stick every day starting next week. When I get close to ovulation, I trigger, and 7 days later we put an embie in my belly… and hope it sticks.

    So here we go!

    Jan. 23, Meds, more meds

    Meds arrived this morning. Box is a lot smaller than last time. Now I have a trigger shot chilling in my fridge and a few boxes of Endometrium waiting on me.

    Jan. 25th, Oh lining, where art thou?

    I had my first monitoring appointment this morning. I have one follicle on Rightie measuring at 14.5mm and about 4 or so under 10mm. Leftie also has a couple under 10mm.

    Lining’s, however, not looking great. SURPRISE!!! It’s CD12 and my lining is at 5.7mm. While low, Dr. B does feel that it has a bit more of a chance to grow and she’s seen lining respond. What is concerning her though is the lack of the triple striping.

    So I have another apt on Wed. If it’s not looking good, we cancel and try again later.

    I really didn’t do anything to help this along. I could have taken POM pills, and changed my diet, but I didn’t. Partly because I just wanted to see what my body would do naturally. Mostly because I forgot to. I guess I will be chowing down on some spinach salad and POM pills tonight and tomorrow. I don’t know what difference it will make in time for Wed, but I guess we’ll gee. Funny, I was thinking my lining was OK and I wanted to make it great, not that I wanted to go from marginal to passable.

    I suppose the irony to this, is that I’ve been feeling really pessimistic about this cycle. I don’t know why. Almost as if from day 1 of AF I just knew this wasn’t our time. With G I was just SO SURE that I would work. This time was just the complete opposite. I don’t know if it’s premonition, or just self-preservation. In a way the idea of this cycle being canceled makes me feel OK. It’s almost as I’m given another chance to start over, and feel optimistic. Or that I’m given a chance to fight for this. I will do the POM pills. I’ll even have a spinach salad with lunch today…

    Jan. 27, Well what do you know?

    Well what do you know? My body decided to kick it into gear. My lining today measured at 8.4mm — a very respectable 8.4mm. Best chances are between 8 and 13mm, so I’m fully in the range of normal (albeit on the low end). More importantly, I have a triple stripe, which Dr. B says contributes to higher pregnancy success rates.

    This means that our FET cycle is on. I’m feeling optimistic and hopeful. In a way I feel like Mon was a good kick in the rear to get excited about everything.

    My trigger shot will be tonight at 9pm. The transfer next Wed at 10:40am, and my pregnancy test on Feb 12th. I’d love a BFP for a birthday gift 🙂

    Onto more waiting.

    Feb. 3, I’m housing an embryo

    We had the FET today.

    It went well. Actually, I take that back — it could’ve been more perfect! I’m feeling optimistic and happy, which is a nice start contrast from this morning’s nervous, stressed and pessimistic beginning.

    I was really nervous that when we arrived we would find out that none of the embryos survived thaw. Or that the single embie didn’t and they had to move on to the second straw. That this would be our only chance to do this before having to do a full round of IVF again. Or stop trying.

    BUT… We got GREAT news!

    Our singleton embie survived the thaw. The clinic considers thaw successful if more than 50% of the cells survived. In this little guy 90% of the cells survived, so quality looks really good. Better still, no hatching was required. It had started hatching on it’s own.

    The procedure went smoothly overall. Yes, it’s still a bit strange to have someone muck around in my private bits, but I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort… other than the having to pee really, really bad part. For this procedure you need to arrive with a full bladder. I drink water quite frequently, thank you very much, so this is not a problem for me. What is a problem is being told that the procedure would be at 10:40 and needing to have a full bladder for that, and then have the doctor be delayed 20 minutes. Grrr! I was starting to do the pee pee dance in the waiting room. Luckily they told me I could go a little bit, and I did. I felt better, until the nurse put the ultrasound on my stomach and I swore I was going to bust out. I got excused to go to the bathroom a second time, and interestingly enough by the time the doc came in my bladder had gotten full again. I’ll tell you — peeing never feels as good as when you can go after not being allowed to awhile.

    The good thing is that this wait is only going to be one week. Well, Ok, a little more than 1 week. Next Friday. Spares me some insanity.

    Here’s hoping that this little guy will be G’s little brother or sister:

    Feb. 6, That’s not bubbles, buddy!

    G was playing in our bathroom today, and as I was holding him in my arms he pointed at my laid out “equipment” for my Progesterone meds. He then proceeded to shout out “Bubble! Bubble! Bubble”, while I was looking bewildered. Then it hit me! As my Endometrin is takes as a suppository (too much info for ya?), the applicator does kind of look like a bubble wand.

    Yeah, kid — really NOT a bubble maker!

    In other news, I’ve been feeling a bit queezy lately, and yesterday super tired to boot. I’ve been testy and really short tempered. I’d like to think pregnancy hormones, but I think all of the above are just side-effects of the progesterone meds. Damn side effects! While it IS possible that I could be pregnant already (hey, implantation happens between day 9-11 and I’m on day 11), I thought it would be unusual to feel things this early. I’m still optimistic for next Friday, but I’m also trying to be honest in thinking this is just the meds.

    Feb. 12, Didn’t take. BFN!

    In a way I knew it and I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling: I’m not angry, I’m not sad, yet I’m upset.

    I don’t think this is my fault. Not right now anyway. Maybe tomorrow I’ll blame myself. For not thinking positively enough. For not drinking the POM juice, or eating the pineapple. Perhaps of not wanting it enough.

    These past few days I’ve been having dreams about this cycle. In them all, I was not pregnant. It doesn’t make the news just now any better.

    The part that is cruel though, is that for the past week I’ve felt pregnant. I’ve been nauseous, and tired, gagging when I brush my teeth and super sensitive to smell. Moody to boot. I knew that it was probably the progesterone side effects, but I was hoping that maybe… just maybe… It should seriously be unacceptable for infertility medication to mimic pregnancy symptoms as it’s side-effects.

    I know S telling me was really difficult on him. At least I had the pleasure of dealing with my reactions in the privacy of my own home. We have some talking to do tonight to figure out what’s next.

    Feb. 13, Empty

    I feel empty. Numb. With unexpected moments of tears of loss.

    I know what we went through is no-where close to what parents that suffer through a miscarriage feel, but sometimes, when I’m emotional I feel as if we had. I truly felt pregnant for the past week. I had gotten so comfortable thinking that my discomfort was my body carrying a baby, and it was taken away from me.

    I still ask myself why this didn’t work. The embryo was great quality, it was 7 days along, my lining was in good range. Why didn’t it work?

    We will try again. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it to be on the next cycle, but we’ll see. I asked S if we can play it by ear. On CD1 if I feel “ready” and optimistic we will try. If not, we’ll wait until a CD1 when I do feel ready. I will call the clinic again on CD1 to see what the protocol is for us now, but if this is not the cycle for us, I’ll let them know too. I’m worried that if I am feeling ready, I also have to go to Dallas next week, and that might get in the way of any blood-work/scans on CD3. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now — I just gotta sit tight and wait it out.

    Feb. 24th, Peak?

    This is only the fourth day my fertility monitor has asked me to pee on a stick. It’s Cd11. And it’s a peak. Two days of lows, yesterday a high, and today? Peak. Say what? Normally I ovulate on CD14, so now I’m early.

    Good thing I had my appointment w/ Dr. B today. She confirmed that, indeed, I had an LH surge. My left ovary has the lead follicle at 18mm with 5 more less than 10mm. My right ovary has 8 follicles measuring less than 10mm. No cysts. She referred to my lining as “good” with a “nice tripple line”, measuring at 7.4mm. While under the preferred 8mm thickness for transfer, I still have some time to grow, but it’s the tripple line she’s most interested in.

    I had to trigger as soon as we got home from the appointment, which was scary because my meds hadn’t arrived yet. Good thing I gave Aetna hell yesterday. When we got home, my Aetna package was waiting for me at the front-door. We injected my stomach and called it a day. Transfer is next Tuesday.

    Mar. 3rd. FET #2

    We had our transfer today. It was a very quick visit, to be honest, surprisingly so. They ran on time, for a change, which was great, and as soon as I was undressed the embryologist came in to give us a report of what had happened with our thaw.

    She said that of the two thawed embies one looked really good. 100% survival rate and starting to re-expand. S and I both said “Wow!” The second, on the other hand only survived at 50%, which is the cut-off rate for it to be transferred. As she knew we only wanted to transfer one, and refreeze, she asked us what we wanted to do. I said, that I didn’t want to re-freeze. My reasoning was that at a 50% survival rate, freezing and thawing again would damage it further likely making it unusable. She agreed. While she went to get us a picture, S I had a quick chat and decided we would like to donate the embryo for scientific research. She organized for us to meet with the research co-ordinator after our transfer, and we sent off our 50% embie to be used for stem-cell research. Personally, if nothing else happens on this cycle, I’ll be happy that we did this. 4 years ago I listened to a radio program that really impressed on me the importance of use of stem-lines in research, and how difficult obtaining those stem-cell lines were. I wanted, then, to donate for this cause. Well, today I got my chance. I knew that I (personally) was never going to find a cure for cancer, or other illnesses that shorten the lives of good people. But this was my contribution and I’m proud of it. I feel good.

    The transfer itself went smoothly. No hiccups. No notable comments.

    We just wait until our next pregnancy test on the 11th. Only 9 days away.

    Mar. 3rd, Can I pee out my baby?

    Yes, yes, I realize just how ridiculous this sounds, but every time I go to the bathroom I get paranoid that I’m gonna drop the kid off at the pool :-/

    Mar. 8th, 21st of Nov

    Today I am pregnant. This may change tomorrow, but today I am pregnant.

    While it hasn’t yet been a full week since my transfer, and my beta test isn’t scheduled until Thu, my body has been feeling strange. Cramps. But general lack of symptoms strange. My cycle with G I felt nothing (other than cramps). My last, failed cycle I felt nauseous, and moody, and tired. All the symptoms of pregnancy, and yet it was negative. Now, I’m back to feeling nothing but menstrual cramps, which meant either great news, or Aunt Flo was fixing for a visit. Gotta love this, right?

    I might not have had a 2 week wait like most people, but let me tell you, the shortened time is no less maddening.

    S and I had a talk about how we wanted to find out this time. We’ve been “good” patients and waited until beta to get the news. No pee sticks. S has had to give me positive news, and negative news, so at this stage, it was up to him to decide. We agreed to pee on a stick the day of the test. However, this made me have questions: 1) would the trigger be out by that point; 2) would 9dp6dt (that’s 9 days post 6 day transfer for all you people lucky enough not to know what it means) be enough time for a home pregnancy test to pick up the results. To answer these questions, I turned to the collective knowledge that is my SAIF (success after infertility) online forum. I learned that 1) yes, the trigger on average clears within 10 days; and 2) yes, provided I don’t use a digital test, I should be able to tell. I even got linked to a previous forum post on how early people saw results. Some had as early as 7 days post ovulation.

    Then came the fun part. I had to pee and since I had a pregnancy test on hand I decided “What the hell, let’s just give it a try!” so I did. While I waited for the hour glass to clear, I kept telling myself “It will be negative. It’s too soon for anything else. But even if it’s negative, it doesn’t mean it really is until the blood test confirms it”.
    But it wasn’t negative.
    It said “Pregnant”. I double checked. The “Not” was clearly gone.

    I ran to the office where S was on a call for work and threw the test at the desk.
    I was shaking.
    He looked at it, muted his phone, stood up and hugged me. All while I yelled “It could be wrong! It could be wrong! It could still be the trigger! It could be wrong!”

    So here I am. Today I am pregnant.
    I called the clinic and asked them if I can come in for my blood test early. I refer to this as the “real test”. Yes, I was reminded that for 5/6 people the pee-stick is a real test, but until the blood-sucking lady (or guy) sings, it won’t be confirmed for me. I’ll go in for the beta tomorrow, since even if I were to do the test today I won’t get the results until then tomorrow anyway. But you better believe I’ll be peeing on another stick again in the morning.

    This morning already feels like just a blur. Like this didn’t happen.

    All, I know is that on Nov 21st I want to welcome our child to our family, and I hope… I pray… that we will have the chance to.

    Mar. 9th, Still pregnant

    Or at least that’s what the second pee stick said this morning. Now just waiting on the lab results to get called in.

    I also have my annual review today, so between waiting on the results and that meeting, my stomach is doing flips.

    Come on, phone call!

    Mar. 9th, It IS true

    I am in fact pregnant. My results today are:
    b-HCG: 66.5
    P4: 27.7

    I will be going back for a second draw on Thu. In a way it’s kind of good. By the end of this week I’ll have both beta tests completed, rather than waiting over a week-end.

    I’m excited, but it feels so surreal.

    Mar. 10th, Aaaaan-nd of course the neurosis is back too. Joy!

    As it turns out, being pregnant a second time is not any more relaxing than the first time. You see, I woke up this morning in panic that my beta wouldn’t double tomorrow. Mind you, this is less than 24 hours of getting news that should keep me on cloud 9 awhile.

    I’m trying my best to keep my mind off bad thoughts, but I can just see it now:

    – until tomorrow, panic that beta won’t double

    – b/w tomorrow and the 6th week u/s, panic that it’s ectopic, or otherwise won’t make it to 6w

    – b/w the 6th week u/s and the 8th week u/s, panic there won’t be a heart-beat

    – b/w 8th week u/s & first OB visit, worry about m/s

    – b/w first visit & NT scan, worry that there’s something genetically wrong

    – continue worrying until big u/s that something is wrong

    This “should” be fun. Why am I not having a good time?

    Mar. 11th, Beta #2

    I can’t believe how soon I got called with my blood results today. By 11:30 the clinic called to let me know that my b-hCG levels were 228. They almost quadrupled in 48 hours. Things are going well thus far. My first u/s is scheduled on 3/31. Can’t wait to meet our kid for the first time.

    I’m 3w4d today.

    Mar. 15th, Nausea is comforting

    I don’t feel 100%, and it’s great!!! Right now it’s the only reassurance I have. It’s going to be a hard two weeks to come, but I have nausea, fatigue and pregnancy brain (of yeah, it’s hit already) to keep me company.

    Infertility is not a morning radio show topic!

    September 28th, 2009

    Normally on my drive to/from work I listen to NPR. I don’t have time to watch the news/read the paper in the morning, so NPR is my source of world news. Unfortunately, they were still in their pledge drive (I already pledged thank you very much) so I was forced to channel surf.

    Much to my dismay a local radio station decided to pick the story of the Callahan/Savage mistaken embryo transfer as their morning topic. For those unfamiliar with the story, the Savage family, after going through IVF became pregnant, only to discover that the embryo that grew belonged to another family. They decided to continue with the pregnancy and give the child to it’s biological parents when born. While I find the story is happy, sad, and inspirational all at the same time, I don’t find it suitable for a morning talk show topic where the radio hosts gets to simply ask “What do you think about that?” and waits for listeners to call in. Oh I wanted to turn off the radio so bad (and I did for a second), until train-wreck-itus got the better of me and I had to turn it back on.

    I don’t find it suitable because of the comments like “I don’t understand why they didn’t just adopt?” make me yell at my radio in anger, which in turn makes me look like a madman… and I don’t like looking like I’m crazy. Why is it that only couples who struggle with fertility should be asked to naturally look into adoption? I find adoption to be a wonderful thing. Yes, there are many children around the world in need of a loving home. I would consider being that loving home. But why is it that adoption is not the first suggestion for any couple who expresses an interest in having children? Yes, there are some families that discuss adoption without ever trying on their own. I admire them, but they are far and few in between. Fess up, how often have you asked this question “Have you thought about having kids?” Now tell me, how often did you also follow up with “Oh, will you adopt?” as soon as they say they would welcome kids? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Why should the desire for a biological child be viewed as selfish for some, while acceptable for others? I accept that medical assistance isn’t the right choice for everyone, but I just don’t understand the double standard or the simple “just adopt” suggestions. (As a side note, there’s nothing simple about adoption such that you can “just” adopt.)

    It wasn’t just the comment that made the show unsuitable. It was the lack of conversation around it, and lack of information about the topic overall. There was no education or public outreach on this subject, just call ins. Granted I didn’t catch the whole show, but I doubt anyone mentioned the statistics around infertility, or rarity of clinic screw-ups. It’s easy to point out the bad stuff. How about how many amazing children are brought into the world through the miracle of science? Not so many stories on that one because it lacks the drama people want. So instead, we get “why not just adopt” comments.

    Second (not heard on the show, but worth mentioning), suggestions that intervention in infertility is not God’s plan also take me aback. Now granted, I am far from being a biblical scholar, but did not Abraham and Sarah long for a child for many, many years before they were blessed with Isaac? Did God say “Just adopt?” No! He gave them a child.
    John the Baptist was also the son of a family who had given up hope of ever having a child. It wasn’t until God sent an angel to Zachariah (his father) promising a son. Why is it, then, in the old books angel assistance in conception is OK, but today that of an RE is not? I would argue that God is keeping up with the times and has simply turned his angels into REs. You know the story of the guy in the flood waiting on God to help him? He turns down a boat and a helicopter claiming God will save him. Then when he drowns, God exclaimed that he sent him the boat and the helicopter, what more could he do? In my mind, it’s the same concept with RE’s. This is just my viewpoint. It’s not a reflection on any religious text being wrong or right, just my perspective of something that should be considered when claiming that reproductive endocrinology is not God’s work.

    So yeah. I had my fill of said radio show comments, their horrible blooper call, and shook my head a lot in disappointment.

    So happy the NPR pledge period is finally done.

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

    November 9th, 2008

    You remember the first infertility clinic that we worked with? The one that had the brilliant business practice of separating their doctors and lab into two separate entities so that clients would have to pay out of pocket for all the procedures? The one that told us we should seek care elsewhere if we didn’t like how they ran their business. The one that caused perhaps the biggest argument in S and mines relationship?

    Well they’re back!

    They’ve apparently decided that they haven’t tormented us enough and they sent us a bill.

    That’s right, they billed our insurance company for our two Dr. visits and my preliminary tests, and since the insurance company only pays a negotiated (with them) rate, they’ve decided to bill us the difference… A FULL YEAR LATER!!! For $349.

    I’m pissed! A negotiated rate is negotiated for a reason, not so you can bill your patients what you believe you should be paid. If our insurance company only paid a percentage, and we were liable for the remainder that would be one thing, but this is not.

    I refuse to pay it! Moreover I am so mad, I can’t even bring myself up to deal with them. S will be placing that call come Monday. Since their CFO called us to apologize for how we were treated, he’ll be talking directly to her. He’ll also be calling our contact at Aetna.

    It’s just ridiculous.

    Signs of life

    December 26th, 2007

    There are only two times in my life that I’ve cried for being happy. Uncontrollably cried mind you:
    – The first was when S proposed
    – The second was when S gave me this (after getting a call from the lab):

    The Best Gift Ever!

    (It’s a little stocking ornament with a picture frame of our embies.)

    I looked at him and said “What does this mean?” and he responded “The test was positive. You’re pregnant!”


    Beta level on Friday was 61.7
    Progesterone level is > 40

    Today my beta level is at 671.

    It looks like a healthy pregnancy!!! With those numbers it’s even possible I’m baking two little monkeys in there!

    In a way this is just so surreal. It’s hard to explain how you can want something so badly and when it finally happens feel like you’re just dreaming. When I got engaged to S at least I had a ring to pinch me into reality. Now, other than the rare queasy spell I have no reminder that this is really real.

    So I came home and had to do a Home Pregnancy Test: not to prove the clinic, but I wanted to see two lines for a change — after a year of single lines and nothing but, it’s nice to see that these pee sticks actually do work for me ;p
    Here’s proof!

    It does work!

    My first ultrasound will be the week of January 8th. I can’t wait to see it, and my mom’s already asking for pictures of her grand-kids ;p

    Is it beta day yet?

    December 20th, 2007

    I swear each day of waiting becomes harder and harder!

    Ever heard of the green-eyed (a.k.a. jealously) monster? Well, I am now officially bunking with the “doubt” monster. He’s moved in and made himself very comfortable!
    I realize it’s an ongoing trend for me though, from reading all my previous journals here: I start off really positive and then the closer that the “day of answers” comes, the more and more doubtful I become. Of course, all turns out well in the end, but me and “Doubty” sure have a fun relationship.

    I had a mini-meltdown yesterday. I woke up to my 6am alarm and in continuing with my ritual I stuck a thermometer in my mouth. I wanted to chart during this process: mostly because I was curious to see what the meds really do to you. My temperature had dropped! For those who know the charting process, you know that when your temperature starts to drop towards the end of your cycle, it’s typically a sure sign that Aunt Flow is on the way. My heart got sad. THEN I started to feel some cramping. Now, I’ve felt cramps ever since my retrieval, but these were “different” cramps… “familiar” cramps. I had no pregnancy tests at home, so in my brilliant mind-state, I thought, “Hey, let’s take an ovulation test!” HCG in pregnancy is sometimes picked up on ovulation tests: after all they should be measuring the same chemical, right? Well? Nothing — test was negative. So now I had a lowered temp, what felt like menstrual cramps and no detectable HCG levels. I had doubt!

    Katie (who is my cycle buddy) came to rescue me off my ledge, which I am very appreciative of! She scolded me for still temping and told me that none of the other signs meant anything I should be worried about. The progesterone I’m taking could be the cause for many of the misconstrued symptoms. After I got home I hid away my thermometer. I WILL NOT chart until the blood test!

    I’m also continuing to talk to the two embies. I’m starting to make a list of reasons why they want to be born into this world.
    – Watching tree leaves change colors in fall
    – The smell of cold air
    – The feel of the first snow of the season
    – Hearing a favorite song play on the radio
    – Family
    – Friends
    – Kitty purrs and soft fur
    – Watching birds fly
    – Chocolate
    – All sorts of different yummy foods
    – The twinkle of Christmas lights
    – Christmas songs
    – Going to the beach
    – Sunny days with puffy white clouds

    Wanna join me?

    We have frozen embabies!

    December 17th, 2007

    On the way to work today I got a call from the cryo lab. This was good because just the other day we were wondering what the status on our remaining 3 embies was. I thought that no call probably meant that they didn’t make it to (or through) freezing 🙁

    Well… I was wrong! On the call, the nurse said that all 3 of our remaining embryos made it to the blastocyst stage and all 3 were frozen. Apparently they froze 2 first, because 2 only were ready, and then the last one caught up as well! I was so excited to hear this, I completely forgot to ask what the quality of those remaining embryos was. Oh well, I’ll try to remember during our next appointment.

    More than anything else I’m hoping that this is a good indication that if these embies made it to blasts in a Petri dish, the two that they transferred in would also make it to that stage.

    It’s also good to have that back-up. I would have done the injections again, but it’s good to know that there could also be a plan B.

    This lab will be our very specialized baby-sitter for awhile ;p

    Oh… and have I mentioned waiting is hard?

    Must… Stop… Over… analyzing…

    December 14th, 2007

    My last two days have gone like this:
    – I feel cramps. Am I pregnant?
    – I feel queasy. Am I pregnant?
    – I’m tired and ready for sleep. Am I pregnant?

    I know it’s early – there’s no way any of the above could mean anything, but I am so over-sensitive to everything my body does, I feel that sneezing must be some sort of sign. Not going to the local drug store and buying a pack of 100 pregnancy tests to use each time something tingles is taking FAR more willpower than I thought it would.

    I have a feeling that where the process ‘till now has moved quickly this next part is going to drag on for-eeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-v-errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Embryo transfer: Check!

    December 12th, 2007

    I think I slept the worst last night than I had in a long time. I fell asleep past 1am, woke up right at 6am and had dreams about spiders that made me wave my hands around my head. I freaked out poor Neko (our kitty) who was cuddled up next to me.

    I was just as nervous, if not worse, about the day 3 report than the first day call. At this stage there are 3 ways this call can go:

    1. “Sorry, none of them made it”,
    2. “Yep, we’ve got just enough, come in today”, or
    3. “Your embryos are rock stars and really like partying out in our Petri dish. Come get them on day 5!”

    Obviously the last call is the best, but I wanted anything except call #1.

    …BUT the report was good. This morning at 8am all 5 embryos were still around and kicking. 2 made it to the 8 cell stage, 2 to the 5 cell stage, and 1 to the 6 cell stage. We were to report to transfer at 11:00am. As Hubs and I were getting dressed we thought, “How do you only get 5 cells?” Well it turns out that although cells continue to divide, not all do it at the exact same time. Apparently, embryo cells, much like the humans they could develop into, like to move at their own developmental pace.

    The protocol for an embryo transfer involves drinking tons of water an hour before the procedure and showing up with a full bladder. The full bladder is important because it straightens the cervix to make the guiding the catheter (where the embryos are) easier. Yep, nothing feels better than a nurse pressing down on your belly to verify if it’s full enough when you’re ready to spring a leak 🙂
    I also took some Diazepam. This is an optional step, but I decided to take for no other reason then I was a nervous wreck sitting around in the waiting room and ready to hurl.

    Once my bladder was confirmed to be sufficiently plump, our Doctor came in to review the results and go over our final decision on how many embryos to put in. Turns out our little 6 cell guy, also turned into an 8 cell embryo in the span of 3 hours. I’m excited! Hopefully the remaining ones will keep growing and we’ll have something to freeze.
    Also of the two that were already 8 cells, one had started to compact. This is actually a good thing because it shows that it’s going for the next stage of development.

    By the time our Doc was telling us all this, I was sufficiently loopy on my meds. It’s kinda like hearing interesting news when you’re just at the right amount of buzzed.

    We agreed to transfer two embryos back. We chose the two that were at the 8 cell stage in the morning. I’ve always wanted twins, so the possibility of both developing is actually exciting to me. Also, given the lining of my uterus and the early stage of transfer they doctor also suggested two.

    So here are the ones we put back. This picture is of OUR embryos.

    Our embies

    If we’re lucky, some day I’ll be showing-off a baby book to my kids’ Date and going “And here s/he is only at 8 cells big!” Then I’ll show all the nude sitting on the potty pics 🙂

    The catheter going in was really painless. I was expecting another balloon inflation, but luckily there was none of that. It was also wonderful that Hubs was in the room with me the whole time. He held my hand.

    Here is when we wait… again. It won’t be until late December that we find out if we’re pregnant or not. I have purged myself of all home pregnancy tests so that I’m not temped to pee on a stick daily. Also Hubs and I have agreed that when the clinic takes my blood tests they’ll call HIM with the results. I’ve decided that this way if the news is bad there’s no one else I’d rather hear it from than him (and also get a chance to sob in the privacy of my own home rather than work). However if the news is good, then he gets to experience a “first” for a change.

    So that’s where we are. Oh, the new chant is now “Implant! Implant!”

    Oh, before I forget: I heard the cutest thing from my nephew this week. I don’t know what how much he knows or what he’s overheard so far, but at he busts out with “Aunt Ava laid 8 eggs the other day!”. Yeah, I wonder what image he had in HIS head 🙂 From the mouths of babes….. but it’s adorabe!!! I love it!!!