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    Anybody in there? Hellooooooo

    December 30th, 2007

    I’ve always thought that from the moment I would find out that I’m pregnant my toilet and I would become best friends. I have a very weak stomach; my mother had morning sickness set off by a sniff of anything, so I just expected that I would be bonding with the toilet gods for a good long while of my pregnancy.

    ….But nothing

    I have no nausea.

    I have no sore boobs.

    I have no lower back pain.

    I am not uncontrollably hungry.

    I have no cravings.

    I WANT TO FEEL PREGNANT!!!! I want those little munchkins (or munchkin if just the one) in there to let me know I’m really pregnant!
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually quite thrilled I’m not yacking left and right, but a little sign for Mommy will go a long way here. Hint, Hint!!!

    I am napping during the day though. Does that count?
    I don’t know that I’m turning into a pregnant woman to be sure, but at the very least I’m turning into my cat. I wake up, I cuddle with my husband, I have breakfast, and by 10:30-11:00am, I’m feeling tired and ready for a nap. This is after a 10 hour night’s sleep mind you.
    I woke up this afternoon after an hour nap to Neko (our cat) giving me that “suspicious cat” stare. I think he’s worried I’m stealing his job.

    Oh, and I’ve noticed now that there’s no way I can convince myself to eat anything I don’t feel like, or to eat when I don’t feel like. I don’t gag or anything, but I get an immediate aversion to whatever is in front of me that my body isn’t interested in.

    … Maybe I overlook those two symptoms because they’re not constantly there.

    … Maybe I’m ignoring anything going on right now until my ultrasound so I don’t get my hopes up :-/

    S has been reading tons about pregnancy though, both singleton and multiple pregnancies. He’s been awesome! He’s urging me to eat more and drink more water.

    Did you know that you’re supposed to drink 4L of water a day minimum for a multiple pregnancy? That’s 8 16-oz glasses of water! I can barely drink 1L, and even with that I go to the bathroom to pee all the time.

    …at least I’m allowed to eat crackers in bed though. Tee hee!

    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!!!

    And then there were 5

    December 9th, 2007

    The fertilization report is in! The phone rang this morning, ironically right at the moment that Hubs went to use the rest room. Believe me, this was one call I DIDN’T want to take. I was so worried I couldn’t handle the news if they were bad.

    So here is where we stand: out of the 8 eggs, only 7 were mature. Initially we had planned to ICSI half and let the rest meet sperm and do what eggs and sperm do. However, because of the low mature count they ICSI’ed all 7. Of those, 5 fertilized. 5/7 isn’t bad! I was expecting 50% fertilization rate (out of the 8), so it’s 1 better overall. Did you keep up with my math there? ;p

    Here’s what our embryos look like today!

    With these numbers, we’re looking like a day 3 transfer. We’re hoping that at least 4 will survive to Tuesday, but we also want good quality so that they’ll stick. We won’t know how many make it or what their quality will be until Tuesday. Until then we have some more discussions to have: like if the quality isn’t fantastic how many we want to put back in. Before all this I thought at most I’d want to put in two, but given how unpredictable this process has been thus far, everything I expected has turned out differently.

    11 follicles, 8 eggs, and 24 hours of waiting

    December 8th, 2007

    This morning was one of the most stressful days so far. I woke up with so many questions: Did I ovulate by accident too early? What if all my follicles are duds and there’s no eggs in there? If there are 0, is there anything I could have done over this last month that would have changed that?
    I also woke up with the worst cramps I’d had thus far. Not awful, but not great. They also got worse as the procedure got closer.

    We showed up to find the parking lot empty and the office lobby empty. It was 7:30am: exactly when they told us to be there. Umn… Ok. So we sit, and we wait. At this point my husband proceeds to the bathroom to work on his…. contribution 🙂 Now this sample you can either work on in the clinic, or gather up at home, provided that you can deliver it within 45 minutes. He decided to do it in the clinic. Now… the clinic doesn’t have a fancy room with low lighting, a cozy couch and posters of hot models up there. It has clinical tile, fluorescent lighting and for good measure a few Playboys: yep, we frequently refer to it as “the bathroom”, complete with stalls and all.
    Now… for those of you that haven’t had to provide “a sample” for clinical use, it comes with instructions. The instructions have fun statements like “please clean your hands and wash your penis”. As Hubs is telling me this I go, “So what did you do?” He says “Well, I couldn’t just walk up to the sink and dribble all over the place, so I suck it in the toilet and flushed!” Yep, my jaw just like yours dropped and my eyes bulged out. Then he started laughing and I realized this was one of his jokes.

    Now while my man considering hygiene in the fancy sample room (and lamenting the article to photo ratio of Playboy), I was escorted to one of the consultation rooms to go over the rest of the paperwork. Then I had to slip into one of the sexy gowns that tied in the back. Over the next 30 minutes I listened to the nurses prep for the procedure, until my anesthesiologist came in to put in my IV. He was pretty good — no popped veins, which I’m infamous for. It’s funny how the moment your IV goes in your body immediately starts to feel a wave of cold. Apparently, that’s the saline.
    The next part went pretty quickly. I was escorted to the surgical room and lied down on the table. At this point my body began to shiver uncontrollably. The room was cold, but I don’t know why all of a sudden I felt THAT cold. They kept putting heated blankets on me, and with each blanket I could hear my heart rate slow down (hearing the beeping in the background and all). As I looked up I saw a dragon fly mobile (kinda like the ones they put on babies’ cribs) hanging from the ceiling. It also had glow in the dark stars and cut outs of fairies. I was thinking to myself “Nestie dust” fairies (Nest.com reference here). As I sat there pondering this they turned off the lights. I don’t remember anything after that.

    I woke up about 10. I was thinking “Woot! My ovaries don’t hurt anymore. But dang my uterus is sore”
    Of course it is! They just took a needle and stuck me with it a few times on the inside. It feels like getting an immunization: you’re sore at the site for a bit afterwards.

    So here’s how the procedure works: the needle is guided by an ultrasound and is connected to a glass tube. As it punctures each follicle it extracts the fluid within and the egg. Once the tube is filled up they take it to the lab, which pours out the contents in a Petri dish and starts counting.

    I had 8 eggs! Now if you remember at my last ultrasound I had 9 mature follicles and a few stragglers. It is only 8 eggs, which isn’t a lot, but given the fact that I was preparing myself for 6 a few days ago, those two additional ones felt like a gift. Since there were so few, they’ll probably ICSI them all. I just hope they’re all mature enough to work.

    So now we wait. Tomorrow between 8am and 9am they’ll call us with the fertilization report. These next 24 hours will be hard. At this point it is all out of our hands and there is literally NOTHING we can do. After the fertilization report we wait another 2 days, hoping the embryos survive to transfer.

    And the chant now continues: “Fertilize, fertilize!”

    Is the Clock moving Backwards – this is a long wait

    December 8th, 2007

    Today is the day. Now is the time.

    I’m sitting in the waiting area of the doc’s office while Wifey is probably knocked out on the table. Each time a door opens I quickly look up expecting to see a nurse coming towards me with info – my logical mind says “good news” but my emotional mind fears that it’s “bad news”.

    Wifey gave me a task to do while waiting, create my holiday card list of names and addresses – as mind numbing as that is, I still can’t even focus on it. So hands jump to keyboard (you didn’t think I would arrive for a three hour wait without a laptop did you?) for the therapeutic release of a blog post.

    News Flash – I just heard our RE’s voice in the hallway. She was just checking on any waiting patients before she “went to retrieval”. An hour after our check-in at the clinic and it sounds like the doc is heading to Retrieval. That’s a good sign – things are on schedule.

    Back to earlier thoughts. I thought after the shots ended we would coast into the retrieval appointment. It was at that point that my mind fought off the negative thoughts – had I been giving the shots correctly, were we too flexible in the timing of the shots, did I really give 5 IU last night or was that 10 IU. I could also tell that Wifey was more uncomfortable – the noticeable cringe on her face when the cramps shot through her were more frequent, the stiff look when we hit a bump on the road. It made me appreciate the sacrifice she was going through for US.

    As much as it seems like a selfish reason, I’m glad I gave all the shots and attended most of the doc visits because I feel a part of this process. Otherwise I think I may feel more like an ingredient in a recipe – “Please produce a sample. Now wait here.”

    The clock ticks away. The procedure is probably starting now. In an hour, we’ll be on our way home. Then we’ll have the challenge of replacing any negative thoughts with hopeful ones while we wait for the fertilization report tomorrow morning.

    The last shot

    December 7th, 2007

    Today was our last day of injections! We ended the evening with the trigger shot. Much like the name suggests this injection triggers ovulation. In two days, or 35 hours to be exact, I will be knocked out in a surgical room while our RE harvests my eggs.

    My last ultrasound was also today. I have 9 follicles that the doctor is pleased with (16mm +): 1 straggler (~14mm), and two little munchkin ones (at about 8mm). I really wanted there to be more. I’ve even given my body little pep-talks. It’s actually more like a chant that I’ve been running in my head “grow eggies, grow!” And they’ve been growing: just not enough for the little ones to catch up.

    I heard two statements at the appointment today that shot me through the heart:

    1. In general, not all mature follicles have eggs inside: only about 2/3’s do. So here I’m thinking “Great, now our odds are even worse!”.
    2. My uterine lining is on the thin side, which blows: thin lining equals lower chances of implantation. There are no supplements or drugs I can take at this point to improve that.

    It just frustrates me that these two elements are so out of my control. I can will my eyes to blink and my fingers to type, but I can’t will my ovaries to evenly grow more than 10 follicles.

    However, in good news, did I mention that tonight’s trigger shot was my last shot? In even BETTER news, it was subcutaneous!!! When we showed up at the trigger injection training last night I saw the nurse put on the big 1.5 inch needle on the syringe. I asked her if it was possible to trade in our 1.5” for a 1” as I heard they shorter ones hurt less. She looked at me perplexed and said: “this is just the mixing needle, the injection needle looks like this” and pointed to a short 0.5” one. “It’s subcutaneous”, she says. At that point I blurted out “I love you!” Ok, if you’re sitting back there thinking “What’s the big deal?” let me explain: trigger shots, typically using the drug HCG are intramuscular. Big needle goes in your bum and hurts… a lot. Our clinic’s protocol, however, is to use a different drug, Novarel, which is administered subcutaneously with a short needle in the fat of your belly. I know that belly shots sound yucky, but believe needle fearing me: they are a piece of cake.

    Our egg retrieval is scheduled for Saturday morning. I’ll fill you guys in when the anesthesia wears off. Meanwhile, please chant with me “Grow eggies, grow!” and throw in a “Fertilize, fertilize!” chorus line for good measure. More on that Saturday!