You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

Five is all we have, once again. Over the past six months I’ve had 53 eggs sucked out of me, and only 13 of them made it to the next day. That’s not even a 25% fertilization rate. Typical rates are 60%-70%. I’m not even at HALF of what’s typical.

What is wrong with my body? Honestly. I’ve done everything right. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on acupuncture, changed my entire diet and am otherwise a healthy young woman. I’ve never smoked or done drugs and didn’t wait too long to try to have kids. I can’t possibly fathom what I could have done to have made this go any better. Why is my body betraying me like this?

I tried really hard to not set myself up for disappointment, but my reaction to this news clearly shows that I failed at that. I knew that based on the past two cycles that we probably wouldn’t get a whole bunch of embryos, but I still hoped that the five months of DHEA that I’ve been doing along with my diet modifications would have made a slight difference. Apparently not. It was all just a big waste of time, effort and money.

And I know that anything can happen, but right now I’m just not in that frame of mind, so please don’t tell me that things could still work out. I’m well aware of that and know that crazier things have happened, but for right now I just want to mope and complain and whine. This is the same crappy, disappointing news that I’ve gotten every other time and I’m just so sick of it. For once I just wanted it to be good news. GOOD good news. News that brings a smile to my face instead of tears to my eyes.

Don’t I deserve better than this?

I’m so looking forward to this being over and done with so that we can move on. I’m so over all of this and ready to move on.

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We got 16 eggs today, which is a number I’m completely happy with. Of course 16 eggs today means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. What matters is tomorrow’s phone call, telling us how many fertilized and are growing. This is without a doubt my least favorite part of all of this and I’m absolutely dreading the call. My stomach starts turning even thinking about it.

But it is whatever it is and only time will tell. I hate waiting.

This morning I took my last stim shot ever. I will never again give myself a shot to stimulate my ovaries to make loads of eggs. It’s a strange feeling since IVF has pretty much been my life over the past year. Now we’re at the end of that road, and it’s been interesting for me to look back over the past year and see exactly where we came from and where we’ve been since.

About a year ago we started having serious discussions regarding next steps should our final IUI’s not be successful. I was surprised how quickly Mark was willing to jump on the IVF bandwagon, in fact, he was the one who convinced me that we should do it. I was hemming and hawing over the costs and how we couldn’t afford it and he’s the one who said “Screw it, let’s just do it. It’s only money and we can always make more. Having a family is more important.” His steadfast commitment to the process made it all that much easier for me to say yes to the whole thing. Had he not felt so passionately about going forward with IVF, I’m not sure where we would be now.

To be certain, I never expected us to be where we are now. There are so many women out there who can honestly say that they knew they would have issues trying to conceive, but I’m not one of them. Not once did I ever envision us having problems as I’ve always had regular cycles and I’m still “young.” Even after we started seeing an RE, I really thought it was just a matter of time before we were successful. A bit too optimistic perhaps, but I felt like if we kept trying, eventually it would be our turn. Surely IUI would be as far as we would have to go down the ART road. Maybe in my subconscious I knew it wouldn’t work for us because even as I was certain we would get pregnant from IUI, I was still busy researching IVF, just in case.

When our last IUI wasn’t successful, the transition to IVF was surprisingly easy, given the huge emotional, physical, time and financial commitment that IVF actually is. Mentally I was completely prepared for IVF and to be honest, the physical aspects of IVF have been so much less intensive for me than I ever thought they would be.

So it wasn’t until last week that I realized what a big deal IVF actually is. I was fantasizing about how great it would be to get to tell people if I’m fortunate enough to become pregnant from this cycle. I’m sure that some people will ask if the pregnancy was planned. It’s my initial reaction to want to tell people everything that we had to go through, if for nothing else than to be a resource for someone else who may be going through the same thing. I imagined myself saying “yes, this pregnancy is the result of two and a half years of trying with three rounds of IVF” and as soon as I imagined saying those words, the enormity of everything that we’ve been through hit me.

I think I’ve become so entrenched in the world of infertility and ART that IVF has somehow become normal and unremarkable to me. I talk about IVF as if it’s no big deal, because for the most part it is no big deal to me. It’s my current normal. It’s what we have to deal with in an attempt to get what we want. And I’ve managed to make that so OK inside my head that I don’t even realize what a HUGE deal it actually is. THREE IVF cycles. That’s what we’ll have been through by the time this is all over and done with. And I know that there are loads of women out there who go through so much more and our history is nothing in comparison to many others, but it’s still so very much more than I ever thought we’d have to deal with. And it IS a big deal, no matter what I’ve convinced myself over time. We’ve somehow managed to make it through without too much damage to our marriage and overall well-being and for that I’m very thankful.

As I rode my bike to work this morning with every single bump in the road making me acutely aware of the swollen condition of my ovaries, I realized that this is indeed the end of an era for us. No matter the outcome of this cycle, we are definitely closing a very specific chapter in our lives. It’s been quite a ride for us, with lots of heartache, bad news and pain, but at the same time filled with so many good memories and bonding between us. I have no idea how this chapter will close, but I have great hope for our future regardless. You could even say I’m optimistically hopeful.

Today’s appointment showed that I have a couple of follicles around 17-17.5mm, and my clinic looks for 18mm before scheduling trigger. I told my nurse that I’d really like to hold out for one more day because last time my follicles were around the same size and we triggered anyway. That resulted in 18 retrieved and only 8 mature. I’m hoping that the extra day of stims will make all of the difference. So one more Follistim shot and then I trigger tomorrow night. Retrieval will be Thursday and transfer next Tuesday. Please oh please let this one be the one.

We had our second monitoring appointment today and everything continues to look good. Particularly exciting to me is that my largest follicle is now over 14mm, so I begin my Cetrotide shots tonight. I know, not something that excites most people, but the past two cycles I haven’t started my Cetrotide until Monday night, so this time we’re a day ahead of schedule. At this point, after having two cycles that were pretty much identical in schedule and outcome, any bit of a difference is appreciated. We go back tomorrow for another scan and hopefully can return home tomorrow with retrieval scheduled for later next week.

We are enjoying our time away from home and managed to score a hotel room on the 31st floor of a downtown hotel for super cheap. We’re loving the location and wandering around enjoying the city. It’s a great way to relax and keep everything very mellow. All in all, everything’s going well and I’m feeling optimistic again.

So as I’ve previously documented, my acupuncturist wants me on a very strict diet. If she had her way, I’d eat nothing more than organic fruits, veggies and meats, but I’m a cheese eating carboholic sugar freak, so that just ain’t happening. But I decided to compromise with her and give up certain things, namely dairy and sugar, which she thought were the two most important things to eliminate. Sugar because the body spends so much time and energy to process it (plus some other stuff that didn’t really make sense to me, so I don’t remember it). Dairy because it can create a mucous lining on your endometrium that makes implantation difficult (and she believes that dairy is harmful in general).

As I mentioned before, giving up dairy was not something that I thought I could do and remain a vegetarian, so I threw 16 years of vegetarianism out the window and became a full fledged carnivore. Strangely enough, I believe that it’s a lot easier to be a vegetarian than a non-dairy consumer. There is cheese in EVERYTHING it seems, and while it’s usually pretty easy to have cheese removed from food, it takes away a lot of the enjoyment of certain dishes. Burgers, for example, are nothing without a slice of pepper jack or cheddar laid nicely on top. I’m trying to make it work by adding things like bacon or onions, but it’s still not the same. I crave nachos (and had to watch my husband devour two orders of them at the Brewers/Cardinals games this weekend), pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches. I just want to eat cheese in general. Cut me off a nice big hunk of Colby and I’ll be a happy camper. I’m making do with rice milk, so I can still have things like cereal or recipes with milk in them, but I really do miss my cheese. Sigh.

Then there’s the sugar. I have a sweet tooth. A big one. I REALLY like sugar. Like a lot. They say that the first week without sugar is the worst and once you get past that week, it’s not so bad. And I can agree with that statement, it’s really not that bad. But I still do miss sugar. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies, candy…it all makes my mouth water. And for all the shit that I’m going through and putting my body through, it’d really be nice to have some dessert as a small pick me up. I’ve managed to find a sugar free honey sweetened pumpkin muffin recipe that I find to be quite good. They taste like pumpkin bars without the cream cheese frosting (which I never liked anyway), so those are a nice way to add a little “sugar” to my day. I also found a lemon cake recipe that is passable as dessert. But I miss my chocolate. A lot.

I’d heard that they make grain sweetened chocolate chips, so the other day I went on a mission to find them. I found myself at Whole Foods, hoping that I could find some there, and they had them! I opened up the bag when I got home and they taste almost exactly like the real thing! YAY! I also bought some cocoa powder which I can use to make chocolate cakes or cookies and I also found some already ready dessert…ICE CREAM! OK, so it’s not really cream, but it’s delicious! It’s called Coconut Bliss and as you could probably guess from the name, it’s made from coconut milk. There’s no sugar in the flavor I picked (chocolate hazelnut fudge), but you would never know if from eating it. Yum, yum, yum. This stuff ain’t cheap…$5.99 for a pint, but it is well worth it for some chocolate ice cream.

So although it stinks to have to give up a lot of my favorite foods during a time when I want them most, I’m slowly finding ways to get by with substitutions. When I asked my acupuncturist how long she wanted me to follow the no dairy, no sugar diet, she said “through the first trimester at least,” so here’s hoping I get to suffer through another 11 weeks of this!

We had our first stim check this morning and everything looked good. The follicles that she measured were all around 8-10mm, and the nurse said that this was the best I’ve ever looked on day 5 of stims. She said that we didn’t even have to worry about being cancelled, which was kind of funny because, strangely enough, the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. After being cancelled during our first cycle, it was all I could think about at my Friday checks for the past two cycles, but I never even considered it today untill she said something.

So for right now everything looks good and we should be on target for a retrieval late next week. It feels so good to not worry about anything and I’m trying to just go with the flow this time around. So far so good!

Welcome to all those who are stopping by for ICLM! To save you all the hassle of trying to figure out who I am and what my history is, I’ve typed up this spiffy little summary! My husband and I are in our early thirties and we’ve been trying to get pregnant since December of 2006. So far the only potential issue we have found is that I have an elevated FSH, but we knew that age is supposed to trump FSH, so we thought we’d have no problem conceiving. Five Femara with IUI cycles and two RE’s later, we decided to pull out the big guns and move to IVF.

Our first IVF cycle was a long lupron protocol, but the lupron over suppressed me and I was cancelled after four days of stims. The second cycle was supposed to be a micro dose lupron cycle, but I completely messed up my lupron doses and so we converted that cycle to a Cetrotide (antagonist) cycle instead. Retrieval yielded 19 eggs, but only three fertilized with ICSI and we had one blast and one morula to transfer on day five. The RE felt that we just got a “junky batch of eggs.”

The third cycle was a Cetrotide cycle from the start and yielded 18 eggs, but only 8 were mature at retrieval. Of those, five fertilized with ICSI and we were once again left with one blast and one morula on day five. Our RE stated that this batch was of much better quality than the last, but the cycle was still not successful.

We’ve just begun our fourth and final cycle. This is it for us…the end of the road as far as trying to conceive a child that is biologically part of both of us. I don’t hold out much hope that this cycle could end any differently than either of the two previous ones; it’s hard for me to even fathom that it could. But on the plus side, I’ve not given up hope that we will be parents one day. We have other alternatives that we are investigating (more on that to come) and know that someday our baby will find us.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you’ll stick around and ride out this cycle with me!

Let me start by saying that I’d consider myself to be an experienced Repronex user. My first experience with Repronex was quite painful, but I thought I’d figured it all out after that. Turns out I was wrong. Check out the damage I managed to inflict on myself tonight.

P1000380

See that little pooch sticking out of my belly? Yup…that’s Repronex. It’s just sitting there. Doing nothing. Nothing other than making my belly stick out. Lovely.

P1000389

These shots were taken about a minute after I finished the injection…you can see a beautiful bruise already developing. So it turns out that I can’t even manage to inject myself without leaving a black and blue knot sticking out of my stomach. It feels like a rock and though it’s painless right now, I’m not convinced that’s how it’s going to feel tomorrow. Here’s hoping that this is just a fluke and not indicative of how the rest of the cycle will go.

Welcome to IVF version 3.5…enjoy your stay.

UPDATE: Just had to share the shiner I’ve developed overnight…isn’t it a beauty? Ah the things we’ll do for a baby.P1000393

So you may or may not have heard about how Manny Ramirez was busted for using a substance banned by major league baseball. My husband sent me a link to an article that was very vague, to say the least, regarding the whole situation. The short version is that he was taking a drug (which was not a steroid) for a “personal health issue” which his doctor thought would not fall under the MLB’s banned substances policy. Ok, fine. Shit happens, you take some meds and in the end you find out that it wasn’t something you should have been taking. Interesting as far as baseball is concerned. Not to interesting to my life in general.

So last night while we were out with a big group of friends at BW3’s, I asked my husband if there was any news on what drug he had actually taken. To my surprise, he turned to me and in a quiet voice says “I guess it was a FERTILITY drug.” (Side note here, if turning to your wife and lowering your voice to say “fertility drug” doesn’t arouse suspicion from a bunch of people who don’t know that you’re dealing with infertility, I don’t know what would. Fortunately everyone else appeared to be otherwise occupied, so hopefully it went unnoticed.) Anyway, I let it drop at that, because I have no control over my mouth and would have probably started demonstrating my vast knowledge of fertility drugs if I had pursued the topic any further.

On our way home, I questioned him further on the topic, and he said that Manny had been using Clomid. Interesting. First time I’d ever heard of a man using Clomid, but whatever. In the back of my mind, I kept wondering what in the world Clomid could do to enhance athletic performance, so I Googled Manny Ramirez this morning to get further details.

Turns out that it wasn’t Clomid, it was HCG. And as any good infertile knows, HCG is the hormone that our bodies will produce when we finally get pregnant. So now I’m stumped. Why in the world would a MAN want to inject himself with the PREGNANCY HORMONE? Time to consult Dr. Google once again. Dr. Google (and in turn, my good friend Wikipedia) explains that when you take anabolic steroids your body shuts down its own production of testosterone and that HCG injections can restore testosterone production and yadda, yadda, yadda.

OK, so the science behind it all makes sense when you think about it, but the fact of the matter is that he’s using a substance derived from the URINE OF PREGNANT WOMEN to make him more manly. Funny? I think so.

Oh, and did I mention that when my pharmacy shipped my big box of meds for our upcoming cycle she mentioned that she had to send me two Ovidrels instead of one Novarel because there’s a NATIONWIDE SHORTAGE of Novarel?

So come on Manny. Let’s leave the HCG to those who really need it.

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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