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I just got the call and my beta was negative. While I was very well aware of this, it was still nice just to have the official confirmation. I have been feeling crampy for a past few days, so it will be nice to let my body do what is wants to, which is shed all remnants of this cycle away.

Today is my second anniversary of marriage with Mark and while getting these results today should probably make me feel sad, I actually feel a sense of renewal. We’re beginning a new year of our life together and beginning another phase in expanding our family. It feels almost like starting over with a clean slate, which is very much needed and appreciated.

It’s strange to think that our entire marriage has been spent trying to have a baby. I know that no one plans on being infertile, but I never would have imagined myself in this position on our wedding day. Hell, I wouldn’t have even imagined us here one year ago. But it is what it is. We are where we are. And we have no choice but to accept our situation and try to make the best of things.

So tonight we are using a very generous gift certificate that a friend gave us as a wedding present two years ago and we’re going out for a fancy dinner. We’re not “fancy dinner” kind of people by any stretch of the mind, so it will be fun to play grown up and enjoy ourselves and all that we have. While the past two years have been one kind of hell after another, it really makes me appreciate the many good things that we have in our lives, and I fully intend to celebrate those things tonight.

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As a relatively new blogger, I have a situation that I’m not quite sure how to handle. So I’m asking all of you blogging experts out there what you would do in my position.

It’s been my experience that most people who decide to leave comments are those who can sympathize with my personal situation, and if they can’t, and still want to comment, they just say something simple and comforting like “thinking of you” or “hugs.”

A week and a half ago I received a comment in response to The Return to Dr. Ass Clown that caught me completely off guard. The commenter basically pointed out how much of what I was complaining about was routine as far as infertility timelines is concerned and how she didn’t think that Dr. Ass Clown was “out to get me,” essentially trying to prove my feelings as unjustified.

I did not approve said comment because it pissed me off. It seems to me that most women who blog about infertility do so as an outlet for the complex and varied range of emotions that they are dealing with. They do so knowing that most of their audience has struggled with the same things as them and that they can relate. They do so knowing that people who comment are their blogs will do so with support and empathy. They do so feeling that it is a safe place where they can say what’s on their minds without feeling attacked.

This commenter (who was a first time commenter to my blog and also appears to not be a blogger herself) just showed up, gave her opinion on how my emotions were invalid, and knocked the corn dog right out of my hand. I guess I felt like those who read and are a part of the infertility blogging community would have more tact than that. My mom was always reminding us as kids “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and that was all I could think of as I read this comment.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this particular comment. It has been sitting in my “pending” folder since it was received, and it annoys me every time I log in and see it sitting there. Part of me feels like I should just delete it and be done with it, thus eliminating some daily stress of seeing it there all the time, but on the other hand it seems wrong to delete it just like that. Should I e-mail the commenter and let her know that the tone and content of her comment could have been better and that she should be more sympathetic if she chooses to comment on my blog in the future? Do I just post the comment anyway?

What do you do when you get comments that rub you the wrong way?

I’m not going to lie, the one thing I was afraid of most in the entire IVF process was not the emotional aspect of things, not the surgery that is egg retrieval, not the possibility of failure. No, the thing I was afraid of most was the PIO shots. It was the freaking huge needle that was destined for my butt. Seriously, the mere thought of it made me sweat with fear.

As it turns out, PIO is just like everyone says…it’s not as bad as you’d think it is. After the huge debacle that was my first PIO shot, things have been a breeze. I’ve got a system down and it works for me. The shots themselves are not painful and I really haven’t gotten any of the lumps, knots or welts that many women suffer from. I still have minor issues working myself up to actually sticking that mammoth needle in my butt, but it’s short lived.

By far the worst part of PIO for me is having to continue taking the shot every night even after a negative test and knowing that I’m not pregnant. Yes, I tested yesterday and there wasn’t even a hint of a line…not even an evap to tease me into thinking I’m actually pregnant. Nope…just a plain old negative test, just like all of the others that I’ve seen before. So here I am injecting a hormone into myself every night in an attempt to maintain a pregnancy that isn’t even there.

How insane is that? Really. It’s ridiculous.

So I have three more days of PIO shots until my beta, when I will no longer have to continue this charade.

My clinic requires a break cycle in between failed cycles (ugh, I can’t believe we failed!), so we’ll start BCP’s again sometime in February and get to the fun part of a new cycle in March. In the meantime, we’re taking a cruise in February and you can bet that I will be taking full advantage of all of the sugar, dairy and alcohol that I can get my hands on that week.

As disappointed as I feel like I should be, I actually feel ok. Which is slightly disturbing. What the hell is wrong with me? Seriously.

Well here I sit at 7dp5dt and I’m feeling discouraged. It seems as though every woman who does IVF with hormone support in the TWW complains of crazy symptoms that could be attributed to either the hormones or pregnancy. I fully anticipated feeling those same symptoms and wondering if they were pregnancy related, or just the hormones, but I’m disappointed to say that so far I’ve really not felt much of anything at all. I really, really thought that the cycle I got pregnant it would be very obvious to me and I would be beleaguered with all of those symptoms that I’ve never had, but so desperately wish for. So since I had all of these grand plans of obvious symptoms that have thus far not occurred, it makes me feel like this cycle did not work.

Then I remind myself that there are plenty of women who did not have any symptoms at all and are in fact pregnant. Several women in my online support community have told me how they were absolutely certain that they were not pregnant due to lack of symptoms and were completely shocked when their betas came back positive. I really, really hope that I can report back in a few days that I am one of them. I am doing my best to think positively about everything and I know that no matter what happens, everything will be OK.

On a more positive note, one of the women in my real life support group just got a positive beta from her FET cycle on Friday! I am so very, very happy for her and hope to join her on “the other side” soon. Another woman in our group had her beta today too, and I am eagerly anticipating her results also. I’m hoping for a quick string of three BFP’s so we can all enjoy being pregnant together.

My beta is scheduled for the 29th, though I am strongly considering testing either tomorrow or on Christmas. Tomorrow will be 14 days past retrieval, which should be plenty of time to get a BFP if I am pregnant, right? Here’s hoping I see two pretty pink lines soon enough.

Our beautiful Babies

Here are the beautiful embryos that we transferred on Tuesday. Please note that I have no idea what a good blast and a good morula are supposed to look like, and though my RE did not provide us with any kind of grades for them, he told me that they looked “great.” I feel good about that and though it’s entirely possible that he was blowing sunshine up my ass, I’d like to continue to believe that they are great. So, if you’re knowledgeable about what quality embryos are supposed to look like and mine happen to be not be as beautiful as I think they are, PLEASE don’t say anything! I’m quite content just muddling along thinking that we have two really great chances to be pregnant this cycle.

So far the PIO shots have been going well. My first one was kind of a debacle and I’m still not convinced that I did it right. It bled like crazy and left a huge purple and red bruise that is still lingering 6 days later. I’m not quite sure how one small pin prick can leave a bruise about an inch in diameter, with random fingers of color shooting out from the hub of the bruise, but I somehow managed it. I think I may have been doing it too far to the center of my back, versus on the side by my hip. I’ve since switched over to my left side right by my hip and that seems to be going better for me. I sit on my hot pad after I do the shot until I go to bed and then sleep on the hot pad all night long too, and that seems to keep the muscle soreness to a minimum. I think that the oil is starting to accumulate over there on the left side since I’ve done the last 5 shots on that side, so maybe it’s time to switch over to the right side and give the left a rest for a bit.

Oh, and I wanted to follow up on this post about my support group. For the first time since the original “do we have too many pregnant women in our group?” e-mail, we finally had more than four women at our meeting last night. We discussed all of our options as a group and decided that the only choices we really had were to stay with the original group of women regardless of where they are in the whole process, or to split the group based on personal situation and “graduate” women over to a new group once they get pregnant or have a baby. The problem with the second option is that we are a pretty small group to begin with (I would say the most we’ve ever had at one meeting was 8 people), and so splitting by status would leave us with a bunch of really small group (one mommy, two preggos and ~5 still trying) and it’s not really a support group if you’re the only one in it, is it?

Because of this, we decided that we really like our group as it is and don’t want to split it out into multiple groups. We enjoy each other’s company and have grown close to each other since we started meeting nearly a year ago and want to stay together all as one. So the plan is to close the group to new members, and stay together as we are right now. The compromise to be made then, is to realize that the dynamic of the group is undoubtedly going to change as more and more of us become pregnant. This is not to say that it’s not going to be focused on infertility anymore, but just to recognize that we are now more a group of friends coming together to discuss our common bond and how we are dealing with things. This is a relief for me personally, since I really enjoy these women and look forward to meeting with them every two weeks. I love how we all have different perspectives on the same things and that we all bring something different to the table. I have learned so much from these women and am so thankful to have them as a part of my life. They are truly my friends and for that I am so grateful.

All in all, life is good and I feel very optimistic.

We arrived at the clinic this morning to find out that two of our three embryos were still growing. One blast and one morula and we were thrilled. I was completely nervous about what we may or may not have since we had not heard anything from the clinic since Friday. I couldn’t sleep at all last night and kept having dreams that once we got to the clinic, they told us we had no living embryos. Anyway, the RE said that they were both a great quality and gave us a 60% success rate. So in they went and then we got to fight yet another snowstorm for four hours back home. I’m now on bedrest for the rest of the day and am debating whether I will go to work tomorrow or not.

The big news to come out of our transfer is that the RE was able to give us some more information regarding why only three of my 19 eggs became embryos. As it turns out, I was completely wrong. He said that most of the eggs were actually mature, but they were of a poor quality. Of course this helps to explain why my FSH is elevated, but yet I’ve always had too ovarian volume and good response to stims. High FSH means either low ovarian reserve or poor quality eggs. I guess now we know which I have.

Clearly we are so hoping that this cycle works for us, but if for some reason it doesn’t, I will definitely be looking into DHEA in hopes that it can improve my egg quality.

Does anyone have any info/resources on DHEA and egg quality?

Lastly, thank you all for your kind thoughts and support lately. I really appreciate it!

Only one more day until transfer! I have not heard anything yet from the clinic, which I’ve found surprisingly nice. Yup, I’m a huge control freak and one would have assumed that the lack of daily updates would have me upset, yet I’ve found the opposite to be true. It has been such a relief to not have to think about how everything is going and really allowed me to just enjoy my weekend as a whole, which was really nice. So since I haven’t heard anything from the clinic since Friday, I’m operating on the assumption that “no news is good news” or else they would have called me in for a three day transfer yesterday, right?

It struck me for the first time on Saturday the enormity of the situation. We have potential babies sitting in a lab in Iowa right now. They’re part me and part Mark…something that we created together, little tiny pieces of us. As far as we know, it’s the closest that we’ve ever been to being pregnant, and what a gift that is. Hopefully those babies will be inside of me for the next 9 months and will become a part of our lives in the outside world.

I am filled with so much hope right now.

How do we go from having 19 all the way down to only three only a day later? I didn’t get a chance to ask any questions when I received the phone call since I’m at work with absolutely zero privacy, but we have only three embryos that they are watching. My guess is that a bunch were immature and therefore not candidates for ICSI and I guess that means the rest did not fertilize properly. What does that even mean anyway? How can a sperm and an egg not fertilize properly? Does that mean that there was a chromosomal issue? Any input on these questions would be so appreciated.

So now it’s a matter of focusing all of our energy on our three embryos and willing them to grow nice and strong. Strangely, the clinic is still shooting for a 5 day transfer, though that could change at any time depending on what the embryos are doing.

It’s strange because while I had my suspicions that we wouldn’t have a whole lot of embryos, I found myself completely unprepared for this news today. It’s an absolutely ridiculous roller coaster ride of emotions (to use the dreaded infertility analogy) to go from being elated that you have 19 eggs when you only had 9 before, to only three embryos, all in less than a 24 hour period.

Ahh, the emotional ups and downs of infertility. Nothing really compares, does it?

Yup, NINETEEN! That’s how many eggs they were able to retrieve today. My jaw dropped open when the nurse came into the recovery area and told us that they were able to get 19. Here I was fretting that I had already ovulated, yet they were able to retrieve 19 eggs from my “slow starter” ovaries. What a huge relief.

Of course I’m not naive enough to believe that all of those will be mature…in fact I would be so incredibly happy if only half of them are mature. Actually, even less than half would make me happy. I really just want to have a chance.

The range of emotions that I have gone through in the past week and a half are beyond anything I could have imagined, and to finally have made it through retrieval is such a relief for me. I suppose now the real fun starts, huh? Waiting for the fertilization report tomorrow and every day following that. Then the dreaded two week wait. Fortunately for me it’s the holidays and we have lots of activities and shopping to do, so hopefully it will pass by quickly.

Thanks again for everyone’s support lately. It really means so much to me. I have some funny/weird/scary stories to share about today, but I’ve got to run off to my acupunture appointment to hopefully relieve this bloating now. I’ll try to get around to posting those this weekend.

For some crazy reason I am terrified that I have ovulated already and that today’s retreival will be all for naught. I’ve been trying to ignore this fear for the past day when it first crept into my mind, but it isn’t getting any easier. My CF which was once copius and beautiful seems to be drying up and I feel much less “full” than I did yesterday.

It made me insanely nervous to only take one shot of the Garnirelix, but I know absolutely nothing about this drug and am certain that my health care providers know what they’re doing and they they have prescribed me the correct meds and at the correct times. It still doesn’t help with this nagging feeling though.

I’m sure everthing will be just fine, but I am so freaking nervous about the outcome, it’s not even funny. Retreival is in one hour and 45 minutes. God I hope it goes well.


Well, as it turns out, I’m going to have my retrieval on Thursday and I could not be any more excited and happy about it! We had our last u/s on Monday morning. I couldn’t see the monitor so I’m not sure what exactly they measure and how big they were, but Mark seems to think they measured at least 9 follicles again and the nurse told me that that I definitely made some good progress and she was anticipating retrieval on Thursday. She told me I would need to take a shot of Cetrotide that night to make sure that the follicles didn’t ovulate before retrieval.

She also said we would need to be seen one more time on Tuesday morning, which was a definite bummer for us. We live four hours away from our clinic, and by the time we were done with our u/s, it was already 9 in the morning. It would make no sense to even think about going home since we would need to be back to the clinic the next morning. We just resigned ourselves to the fact that we would need to take another day of PTO in order to get one more monitoring appointment in. Of course we weren’t too happy about having to stay until Tuesday anyway since Wisconsin was due to get dumped on (6 to 10 inches of snow) on Monday night into Tuesday afternoon. This would mean a crappy drive home from the clinic and no one wants that. But it was what it was and there was nothing we could do about it.

We went back to our hotel, and Pricelined ourselves another $40 hotel stay for Monday night. Having nothing else to do, we loaded up our GPS and decided to get some Iowa geocaching in. We took off west of the city and found a whole slew of caches, some really fun and creative and others not so much. At 3:30 I had to call it quits since my right ovary was getting REALLY uncomfortable while walking. We got back into the car and I decided to call the pharmacy to make sure that my prescription for the Cetrotide had been called in and would be ready in time. I picked up my phone and noticed that there was one missed call, and it was from the clinic and it was from 1:30pm. I immediately freaked out thinking that something was wrong and that we would be cancelled again somehow. I put the voicemail on speaker so that Mark could listen along with me.

It was my nurse and she said that they found a way that I wouldn’t need to come back in for monitoring on Tuesday. Holy cow! This was completely unexpected! I was instructed to take my Cetrotide that night along with my last dose of Follistim and then trigger on Tuesday. So now it’s 3:30 and we know that there is a huge winter storm coming our way, obviously the goal was to get the heck out of there as soon as possible to try to beat as much of the storm as we could.

We flew back to the hotel, grabbed our stuff and then went to the pharmacy to pick up my meds. On the way I called and they said they were out of Cetrotide, but they would give me something else that worked the exact same way. I got to the pharmacy, was given my Ganirelix (they were out of Cetrotide) and off we went! We managed to make it about ¾ of the way home before things started to get dicey. The last hour and a half of the trip was kind of stressful and sketchy due to the snow and ice, but we ended up making it home safe and sound.

So tonight I take my trigger shot and then on Thursday we have our retrieval. It is so crazy to me to even begin to think about that. Getting to retrieval just seemed like mission impossible to me for so long, especially with my slow starts and lower follicle counts. It feels like a dream that we’re actually going to get to do this and I am still terrified that I’m going to get a call saying that everything is off. I honestly cannot believe that we’ve made it this far. I am so thankful for everything that has gone right up until this point and so hopeful that everything will continue to go well.

I was on pins and needles all afternoon on Friday just waiting for the call to tell us that we’d be cancelled. The call never came and we’re still in the game!

Since I messed up my lupron they decided to stop the lupron altogether and use Cetrotide instead. What I didn’t know was that I would need to be monitored more closely because of that since they don’t want to start the Cetrotide until the largest follicle is 14mm. So we eneded up coming down to Iowa this morning instead of tomorrow like we had planned. The u/s this morning showed good progress with four follicles on the left and five on the right, all around 11mm to 12mm. There appeared to be other follicles as well, but those weren’t measured. I go back in tomorrow morning for more monitoring and will likely start my Cetrotide tomorrow night. I’m guessing that since the follicles are so small still that we probably won’t have retrieval until Friday, but I guess anything could happen.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words over the past couple of days. They really helped me to get through all of the crap that’s been going on.

I will update more tomorrow.

So yeah, not the best title, but it speaks for itself. Here’s what my life’s been like the past few days:

· Baseline went well on Friday
· I promptly started taking the wrong dosage of my microdose lupron first thing on Saturday
· I didn’t realize that I was taking the wrong dose until Sunday evening, 3 doses later
· I freaked out and didn’t want to call the clinic to tell them for fear of being cancelled
· Mark made me call the clinic
· We were able to change up my protocol by eliminating the lupron altogether and we’ll add Cetrotide later
· Breathe big sigh of relief that we were not cancelled
· Figure out that someone has fraudulently charged $200 in porn to my credit card
· Go for first monitoring appointment this morning at which the nurse only finds two follicles on my left ovary
· Right ovary is missing in action, somehow
· Get a call from my gynecologist saying that my pap a couple of weeks ago came back with abnormal cells
· They want me to go in for a colposcopy to check out the abnormal cells
· Ride home from Iowa takes a stressful and tense 5 hours and 45 minutes instead of the usual four due to a nice snowfall
· After returning to work, find out that Mark is not getting the job that he was the perfect candidate for and would have been a great promotion (and financial relief in paying off our IVF debt)

Anyway, it seems like anything that can go wrong has in the past few days. I’m hoping for a great response on Friday to make up for all of the crappiness that has gone on lately.

I know that I have been nominated for a couple of awards (thank you!) within the past couple of weeks and I need to return some comments also. I will try to get to those real soon, but things are kind of hectic now, so please try to bear with me.

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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