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It seems that at some point nearly every infertility-turned-pregnancy blog that I’ve ever read has a reflective post about how different things are this year versus last year at the same time. Generally speaking, I try to avoid blogging about subjects that have been written about by the vast majority of the infertility blogosphere because most bloggers are simply better writers than I am and can more eloquently put into words the emotions that are so common in this community. Having said that, this is one subject that I simply cannot pass up; not because I think I can write about it better than or even as well anyone else, but because I feel the need to put it all down for myself.

Two and a half weeks ago, our company had our annual holiday party and as much as I tried to, there was no avoiding the comparisons between this year and last. Last year I had just had my first retrieval for IVF the day before the party, and the day of the party I learned that we only had 3 embryos from the 19 eggs they had retrieved. I was still shocked and grieving from the terrible results of the fertilization report and was not really in any mood to party. On top of it all, I had to figure out how to do my very first intramuscular shot just prior to the party. I distinctly remember my husband anxiously pacing, not because of the looming progesterone shot, but because he was ready to go to the party and didn’t want to be late. Meanwhile I stood in the bathroom sweaty, nervous and absolutely terrified of shoving that huge needle into my backside. The resulting gushing blood, fantastic bruise and crazy sore leg muscle that got only worse as the night went on and had me hobbling around like a gimp at the end of the night let me know that I most definitely did not execute the injection properly. It would have been the perfect time to throw back a few drinks and really enjoy myself, but instead I was one of a select few sober people, hoping and wishing that in two short weeks it would all be worth it.

As the days passed I paid close attention to my body, desperately wishing that it would send some sign that one of our two little embryos was making itself comfortable inside of me. The sign never came and I knew in my heart that it didn’t work and the negative pregnancy test on Christmas Eve confirmed it. Despite the disappointment of not being pregnant, I was able to enjoy my holiday and was actually quite thankful for the distraction that all of the family gatherings provided. It wasn’t until all of the holiday festivities were over that I told my husband the bad news, and that’s when the gravity of the situation finally hit me. Seeing him so disappointed was much harder than seeing that negative test, more difficult than I could have imagined. Knowing I was not pregnant meant I could eat of all of the goodies that I had been avoiding and drink alcohol again, which I took full advantage of on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I drowned our sorrows in naughty food and lots of alcohol and had a fantastically fabulous party with all of our friends. The new year was certain to bring more happiness than 2008.

And I ended up being right; this year did bring more happiness to us than last year did. I took us half of the year to get what we wanted, and that first half of the year was extremely difficult on many levels, but we are finally right where we wanted to be.

This year, as I was preparing for our company’s holiday party, the part that nearly made us late was not determining where to thrust an enormous needle, it was trying to find a dress that sufficiently covered my rapidly expanding baby belly. This year I didn’t have wine, not because it could interfere with implantation, but because I’m actually pregnant and there is a little person growing inside of me. This year I danced because I wasn’t in pain from having a needle poked through my vaginal walls and into my ovaries and no sore leg from a botched attempt at an injection. This year I fielded a seemingly endless line of questions about how I was feeling and if I was excited and when I was due. This year my big belly and I were complemented more than once as being “too cute.” This year I marveled at the little girl squirming around inside of me as I watched my husband and friends enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

This year at Christmas there was no need to try to smile through the disappointment of a failed IVF cycle. This year I was able to give my husband a present from our daughter he was able to give me a gift for her. This year we received presents for our daughter at both Christmas and at a surprise baby shower at one of the family Christmas celebrations. This year various family members sat with me with their hands on my belly and felt our baby kicking, punching and wriggling about inside of me. This year nearly all of our farewells ended with “good luck with the baby and we can’t wait to meet her!” This year we daydreamed of next year, when we will celebrate our first Christmas with our little girl.

What a difference a year makes. I truly hope that the same holds true for the upcoming year, for all of us.


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I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve only taken 2 belly pictures of myself this pregnancy. I can’t really pinpoint why we haven’t done it, and I’m beginning to feel like it’s going to be something that I really regret not doing, especially if this ends up being my only pregnancy. Obviously I see myself in the mirror several times a day, and I’m usually pretty surprised by how big I’m getting, but I guess I always felt like I was kind of on the smaller side of normal. People generally seem surprised when I tell them how far along I am, or when I’m due, saying that I look much smaller than they’d expect. In fact, just the other night at book club a woman asked me and another friend who is due about 7 weeks after me which one of us was due first, and without waiting for an answer said “I’m guessing you” and nodded in my friend’s direction. To be fair, she’s having her second baby, and she’s super tiny to begin with, so her belly is more noticeable on her smaller frame, but I would have never thought that I looked “less pregnant” than her.

So it came as a shock to me when my dad posted photos of our local family Christmas celebration on Facebook the other day and I saw just how big I actually am. I am really, truly, definitely, unmistakably pregnant. I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. But it’s really something that I still can’t wrap my mind completely around. It’s something that people around me just accept for what it is, but for me, it seems like I’m constantly having reality checks and no matter how many times I get the same result (yup, I’m still pregnant) I still can’t quite believe it. I always wanted to believe that I would be pregnant eventually, but I’m not sure that I ever actually truly felt it would happen for us. I did my best to convince myself that it would happen, you know, the power of positive thinking, but it just seemed like such a long shot. Something for other people to experience, not me.

And in some ways, I think my inability to functionally come to terms with the fact that this is reality has made the entire thing more meaningful for me. Every time I feel her kick or change positions, every time I glimpse myself in a reflective surface, every time I have a contraction I feel a sense of excitement like I did when I saw two pink lines on my pregnancy test. I am simultaneously reminded of and surprised by how lucky I am and for that I will be eternally grateful.

My closest friend from my support group is THAT girl. You know, the one who had some absolutely odd defying thing happen to her and people talk about her anecdotally like “My best friend’s, husband’s, sister’s cousin…” Yes, I know her.

I met Jill about a year and a half ago at my first support group meeting. She had been trying to get pregnant for a little over two years at that point and there was absolutely no explanation for why they weren’t succeeding. Her willingness to honestly and openly share her feelings about what she was going through and her ability to see the humor in something that, by definition, was anything BUT funny drew me in. While I love all of the girls in my support group, she was the one I was rooting for the most, she was the one I most wanted to see succeed. I could envision her as just the best mom that any child could ever want, and the thought of her not having that opportunity broke my heart.

As the group floundered through last summer, trying desperate last ditch attempts at IUI, or special diets or herbs, Jill and I were preparing for our first IVF cycles in October. October came and went, my IVF was cancelled due to poor response and I was devastated. Part of what helped me through the disappointment of my cancelled cycle was being able to follow along with Jill’s cycle and be a cheerleader for her. Her cycle went great, and though she ended up with a positive beta, it was low and didn’t double properly; she had a chemical pregnancy. While she was heartbroken at the outcome, she picked up the pieces and was looking forward to cycling again soon. She was part of a shared risk program and was happy to have two more fresh tries left.

As she and I were getting ready for our second attempts at IVF, we found out that another woman in our group would be trying her first IVF cycle at the same time. It was so exciting to have the support of real life people during that time and knowing that we could potentially be pregnant together and have kids right around the same age was fun to daydream about. Right before Jill was going to start her cycle, she got a call from her clinic telling her that her cycle would be a frozen one, not fresh, since she had one embryo frozen from her previous attempt and her shared risk contract required her to use her frozen embryos before doing another fresh cycle. She was beyond depressed about the news, thinking that her one little embryo couldn’t possibly have a chance and it would just be a waste of time and money. We did our best to cheer her up and give her hope for her one embryo and we all went through our two week waits together cheering each other on along the way. Though things didn’t work out for me or the other woman, we were ecstatic to find out that Jill’s one little embryo did indeed take and she was pregnant with a nice high beta.

Everything appeared to be going well and Jill’s first ultrasound showed her baby with a healthy heartbeat and her doctor told her that her chance of miscarriage dropped from 20% to 8%. She was feeling confident about things and was therefore absolutely shocked to find at the next ultrasound that her baby’s heart had stopped beating. She went through a horrible miscarriage and eventual D&C in the ER and came out of the whole situation as just a shell of Jill that I had known before. I felt absolutely awful in that I didn’t know what to do for her or how to support her best. I did the only thing that I could think of and reminded her of all of the really great things that she had in her life and what a fantastic partner her husband was through everything. She decided to focus on those things and scheduled a vacation for her and her husband in Mexico.

Meanwhile, she was having her betas checked with her OB to make sure that her HCG levels were dropping appropriately and also met with her RE to discuss the next steps. Her RE wanted to do an SHG to make sure that nothing was left in her uterus and then move forward with another IVF cycle, which Jill agreed to. Surprisingly, the SHG showed a polyp that hadn’t been seen previously, and the RE felt that it would be best to remove the polyp before going forward with the next IVF cycle. The hysteroscopy was scheduled for a Friday and on Thursday Jill had another check to make sure that her beta was still dropping from the miscarriage.

Amazingly, miraculously, her beta, which had been below 50 for a couple of weeks came back at nearly 600. The “polyp” that they found during the SHG was, in all likelihood, her baby implanting itself in her uterus. She and her husband had sex just once since the miscarriage, on Valentine’s day, no less, and now she was pregnant. Completely naturally.

In the early morning hours on Sunday, my friend Jill, who had been pregnant 3 times in less than 6 months and suffered through more heartache than any woman should ever have to endure, finally saw her deepest desires come true. She gave birth to her beautiful, healthy son. Her Facebook status says that she is in love with her little miracle, and I know that nothing could be more true. My heart could not be any happier for her right now.

Beyond my sheer joy for Jill and her family, her story gives me hope for all of the women who are struggling with infertility. We hear about women who conceive in the most unlikely scenarios, after years and years of trying. We want to believe that maybe, just maybe, one day we will be one of those women. While the women who get pregnant in such improbable ways are few and far between, they are out there. I know one of them. And that in itself gives me hope.

I just got a phone call from my RE. When I saw the number come up on my phone, I began to panic, just a carryover from all of the times when a phone call from that area code only meant one thing…bad news. It took me a moment to realize that the clinic couldn’t possibly be calling with bad news as they are no longer involved in my care and have no idea how things are progressing. I couldn’t quite figure out why they would be calling, so I picked up the phone with no expectations.

It was my RE, which shocked me. I had guessed that it would be my nurse, so when I heard a man’s voice, it caught me off guard. He introduced himself and asked how I was doing. I told him everything was going well and he asked how far along we were. I told him 20 weeks and he was very happy that everything was going well.

I kept waiting for him to get to the point of his call, and he finally did. A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I were in town to go to a concert. We bought some cookies and a thank you card and dropped them off at the office, just to show how appreciative we are of all that they did for us. Our IVF experience did not go anything like I had anticipated, and having the unwavering support of our clinic behind us really made a difference for us. I wrote all of that in the thank you card, and dropped the card and cookies off with the receptionist (along with two large OJ containers full of needles).

So my RE was calling to say thank you for the cookies and card, congratulate us on our baby girl, and wish us luck with everything to come. I thought it was such a great gesture. I don’t know how many RE’s would take the time to do that, especially ones that aren’t even in the same state as their patients. It was such a nice end to a long and arduous process and I couldn’t have asked for more. It made my day.

As is usual, all my worry was for naught…well so far, at least. Baby is measuring right on target, heart rate has dropped down to 155 bpm, just as it should and the NT measurement was 1.6, which is within normal range. So far so good. My clinic operates on a “no news is good news” policy, which I absolutely detest, by the way, so if we hear nothing by the middle of the week, we can assume that the risks are minimal.

Today we got to see our baby moving around and even putting its hand to its face which we assumed was the baby sucking its thumb. Next up? Good question. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I don’t have any appointments set up. I’m not sure how that happened, but I should probably call and set something up, huh?

Holy crap. In what has undoubtedly been the longest and most stressful day of any history I can remember, I am pleased to announce that I am amazingly and unbelievably still pregnant.

The agonizing wait had me convinced that the numbers weren’t rising appropriately and no one wanted to share the bad news with me.

My husband just got home and shared with me that my beta today was 588, which, when I whip out my handy dandy calculator, happens to be EXACTLY four times what it was on Friday. What can I say, I’ve always been a perfectionist.

The stress of the exceptionally long wait today has left me utterly exhuasted and completely drained. I’ll update with more details later.

Thanks again for all of your kind comments and cheers, they mean so much.

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.

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.


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.

On Saturday I celebrated my 30th birthday. I was surprised by how not upset I was over the whole thing. Not the turning thirty part…I’m not one of those women who is consumed by those milestone birthdays. No, to me age is nothing but a number. The part I expected to be upset about was how I had 100% planned and counted on being pregnant. It’s no secret that I’ve really been into the positive thinking thing lately, and I had really convinced myself that I would definitely be celebrating the beginning of my fourth decade as a pregnant woman. Hell, I even had a sticky note on my monitor at work that said “IWBP Oct 17th,” which of course was the acronym for “I will be pregnant October 17th,” which likely would have been the day of my beta, should things have gone according to plan.

Well, I didn’t ovulate during my cancelled IVF cycle, so needless to say there was no physical way for me to be pregnant on Oct 17th, nor for my birthday on Oct 18th, for that matter. And in the week leading up to my birthday, I really thought that this was going to be a serious issue for me. I kept imaging how miserable I would be to watch yet another year go by without children as a part of my life. Thinking about how I’ve lived 30 years now and have no family to show of it. I was wondering if I would have a baby of my own or at the very least be knocked up by the time I turned 31, or if this upcoming year would also slip by without that desperately desired pregnancy.

But the truth of it is that my entire birthday weekend was one of the best weekends that I’ve had in a really long time. Yes, the rather liberal amounts of alcohol consumed may have aided in all of the fun, but I’d like to think that it was so much more than just booze induced enjoyment. In all honesty, I didn’t think much about babies, pregnancies, infertility or IVF at all this weekend. Instead, I was focused on enjoying the things that I do have, and the things that bring me the most joy in life right now. I spent hours upon hours with my friends. I enjoyed the great weather outside with my husband and dogs. I picked up a new hobby this weekend which will definitely bring me lots of fun in the future. I dined with my parents and was grateful for all of the love and support that they have given me throughout the first 30 years of my life.

No, I may not have what I originally planned for my birthday this year, but I found that what I did have was more than enough to fill me with joy and hope for the future. Here’s hoping that my 31st will be just a sweet as this one was.

T minus 15 minutes until my first Lupron shot. I’m so excited, it’s ridiculous! Really, no one should be this excited to give themselves injections.

But I can’t help it! We’re really doing this!!!

 

I just called the pharmacy to order my meds and holy crap, I’m so freaking excited! I don’t know what it is about actually ordering the meds that is so thrilling to me, but I can hardly contain myself right now! Maybe it’s just because actually ordering the meds means that this is really real and it’s really going to happen. Our IVF cycle has seemed so far away for so long now that I kind of felt like it was never going to get here and therefore kept my excitement to a minimum.

Anyway, the pharmacy that my office uses is one of those old school pharmacies with a lunch counter and a soda fountain amongst all of the regular pharmacy items. A quick Google search brings up nothing about the drug aspect of the pharmacy, only rave reviews about the ice cream and soda fountain. Since we are from out of state, they are shipping my meds to me so there’s no real reason to visit the pharmacy, but I’m very intrigued now and we might have to make a stop during one of our visits just to check it out!

The pharmacist was very nice and told me that he’ll include with the shipment his business card with his cell phone number on it so that if I need anything after hours I can reach him. How cool is that? The nurse who did our IVF class told us that the pharmacy is just great to work with and always goes the extra mile to make sure that their patients are well cared for. She said that they’ve even had situations in the past where patients were in an emergency situation and needed extra meds or whatever and the pharmacy provided them to the patient and then checked with the clinic later. Because of the distance factor I obviously wouldn’t be able to take advantage of that if the situation were to come up, but it’s so nice to know that the pharmacist would be there to answer my emergency questions if I had any.

I asked the pharmacist what meds the clinic had called in for me and he stated that amongst the suppressing meds, stimulating meds and antibiotics, two trigger shots were included. Curious, I asked if it was Ovidrel and he said yes. He said that two Ovidrel shots are the equivalent of one shot of Novarel, which is the more commonly used intramuscular trigger shot. I was relieved to hear that they had called in Ovidrel for me since I’m still pretty freaked out about doing the IM shots. Doing the Ovidrel means that I won’t have to worry about somehow messing up the IM trigger shot and endangering my ovulation and therefore egg retrieval. Sweet relief. I’ll deal with my IM injection fears another day!

So for now we’re actually rolling along, popping birth control pills and baby aspirin every night. We’ll start our antibiotics in a week and a half, and the Lupron shortly thereafter. Because Mark will be out of town the fourth week of September when we really should be having our egg retrieval, I’m going to stay on the Lupron an extra week to eliminate the conflict. That means that we’ll be pushing everything back a week and makes the entire cycle a bit longer as well, but it means less stress in trying to work around the work commitment, so we’re ok with it.

I’ve printed off a copy of my calendar and keep it in the bathroom. Every night after I take my pills, I make a big black X on the day with my super fat Sharpie marker. It makes me feel like we’re making progress and that we’re one day closer to what we desire so badly and that feels good.

Yesterday I went to my third ever Reiki session with Lisa. When we sat down, she asked me how I had been doing and I told her that we’ve decided to move on to IVF and will be starting that at the end of this month. I also told her that I’ve been feeling so much less stress and pressure lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I feel like IVF is going to work for us, or if I’m just over my obsession, but whatever it is, I feel good. So she said let’s get started and see what comes up.

She started by putting her hands over my eyes and normally within a minute she takes her hands off and we talk about something. The first session she said “You’re all in your head, aren’t you?” and the second session she said “Tell me how you’re feeling about moving on to IVF.” This time, she had her hands there for a good 5 minutes and didn’t say a word. Finally she moved on to my head and she said “You REALLY are feeling so much more calm.” I agreed and said that I felt so much less stressed about everything. I mentioned how we had told my parents about our upcoming IVF cycle, actually our fertility struggles in general, and how they had offered to watch our dogs and go to appointments with us and everything. I said how it was nice to know that we had their support. By this point she had moved her hands over to my chest and she immediately said “So tell me what it is about telling your parents that has left you with a heavy heart?” Shock. That’s all I could come up with was shock. I started giggling because I immediately knew what she was picking up on, but I was so shocked on the inside. While telling my parents did not go at all how I had envisioned it going, I certainly didn’t feel bad, sad or hurt about the way it went. Or did I?

So I explained to Lisa what had happened, and mentioned that I was surprised by what she had picked up on because I didn’t even know that I felt anything other than impartial about the subject. She said that there was definitely a blockage in my heart about this subject and we needed to fix it. Lisa sensed that the “little girl” part of me felt like she was hurting and that she wanted recognition from her mom. Like when you were little and fell and skinned your knee, you wanted mommy to pick you up, take you inside, clean you up and make you feel better. I didn’t get that from my mom when we told her about the IVF and the little girl inside of me wanted that recognition of her pain and struggles, but it never came. So Lisa had me envision a younger version of me and had me tell young me that it was OK. That mommy didn’t even realize that we were struggling with infertility and didn’t know how to react. Mommy didn’t mean to be hurtful in the way she responded, she just didn’t know how to respond in any other way. And as hokey as it sounds, it worked. Though I can’t honestly say that I felt hurt by it, I did find myself replaying the whole discussion with my parents over in my head once or twice a day, so it was probably weighing on me. Since my Reiki session, I haven’t thought about it at all (until I started to write this post, that is).

After that, most of the rest of the session was devoted to getting myself into a “good place” for the start of our IVF cycle. She had me ask my mind, body and spirit to clear any blocks that might be in the way of our success and then to give thanks for all of the work that my mind, body and spirit have done so far. At the end of the session, I felt good and ready to start on our IVF cycle in a couple of weeks.

In other IVF news, we got our home equity loan squared away so we’ll have the money ready to go when we need it. Our plan is to put the whole shebang onto 3 or 4 credit cards (gotta get our points!!), then pay those off immediately with the home equity loan. Then we will likely use some of those balance transfer checks that we get in the mail all of the time to transfer the money from our 7.45% interest home equity loan onto “no interest until September of ‘09” credit cards. I think that we’ll definitely be able to handle things financially and hope to have the debt paid off in three years or less.

We also got a rough estimate of our IVF calendar yesterday. I was concerned about the timing of everything since Mark was supposed to go to Vegas for work the week of September 21st and I also though that was going to be the week of my retrival. As it turns out, my estimates were off by a week and I won’t go for retrieval until the week of the 28th, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s crazy how having that calendar right there in front of me makes me realize how real this really is. Two weeks from now I should be popping my daily birth control pill and we couldn’t be more excited! How crazy is that?

So last summer we got some new across the street neighbors and the woman just happened to be pregnant. Of course it was a lot of fun for me to see her out and about in the neighborhood all cute and pregnant. We aren’t really good friends with them, so we didn’t have to hang out with them too much, but we would chat with them frequently. The minimal exposure to her pregnancy suited me just fine and she gave birth to their son in November.

Today their blog popped up on my blog reader as having a new post, so I went to check it out. There was an adorable picture of their 8 month old son and at the very bottom, the news that she is pregnant yet again.

Holy crap. I’ve presumably been lapped in the big game of trying to conceive. Obviously I have no idea how long it took them to conceive their son, but I’m guessing that since she was able to get pregnant only 8 months postpartum that it didn’t take them too long to get pregnant with the first.

So yeah. That feels just great. Fortunately, I have my own good news to share. We’ve been accedpted into the shared risk program and I’ve already had my sonohysterogram, so we’ll be starting our IVF cycle with the start my next cycle! We are really happy to have everything figured out and ready to go.

Oh yeah, since I never did a follow up post, here is how everything went down. On Monday I called the financial services lady once again trying to get a hold of here and of course, no dice. I was freaking out, second guessing our decision to go to this clinic because we couldn’t get anyone to call us back. Finally Mark called and for some reason she decided to respond to his message. Long story short, her mother was very ill the week prior and she was out of the office all week. She kept thinking that she was going to back each day, but wasn’t able to return to work until Monday. So when Mark finally got her on the phone, she apologized for the lack of communication, explained the circumstances and managed to arrange our IVF education class for us on Thursday as well.

In the end, everything worked out great and we were able to knock out both the SHG and class at the same time. We had a good time in Iowa and are feeling really good about our upcoming IVF cycle! Now I just have to find the patience to wait it out!

1. Since it’s a special night for your and your husband, make sure that you take a test before you go out. If it’s somehow miraculously positive, you want to be able to celebrate, right?

2. When that second pink line miraculously shows up, faint, but definitely there, prepare a special way to tell your husband that after 18 months and 5 IUI’s, you’ve finally done it!

3. When your husband comes home from work, tell him in that special way and share a brief moment of sheer happiness.

4. When your husband asks how you know, you pull that test out of your pocket to show him those two beautiful pink lines, only to realize that the 2nd pink line has faded away to nearly nothing.

5. Assure husband that you know way more about pregnancy tests than he does, and a line is a line, therefore you’re pregnant! Besides, the pee you used to test with was REALLY diluted and most women get darker lines in the morning. Tomorrow morning’s test will undoubtedly be very obviously positive.

6. Be sure to chat about how great it is that you finally got pregnant the cycle before you were going to move on to IVF and discuss all of the ways that you can spend the money you were planning to put towards IVF.

7. Continue to celebrate and discuss all of the fun things that you happily won’t get to do now that you’re pregnant, like take cruises, go to amusement parks, etc.

8. If your husband is still a bit hesitant to let himself get excited about this pregnancy because of the “barely there” second line, just remind him that no matter what happens, for this moment, you are pregnant.

9. The next morning take a test using some super concentrated pee. When the line shows up even fainter than yesterday’s (or maybe it’s not there at all, you’ve just convinced yourself that it has to be there since you ARE pregnant, after all), chalk it up to the fact that some women get better results in the afternoons instead of the mornings.

10. Run to the store at lunch to get more tests so that you can see those two beautiful lines when you test again after work.

11. When only one line shows up after work, find someway to tell your husband that you must have been wrong somehow.

12. Realize how absolutely foolish you were to jump the gun and the pain that you have caused your husband and yourself. Promise yourself that you will never, ever get so caught up in two faint lines again.

So that’s my Monday evening and Tuesday in a nutshell. Why the second pink line? I have no idea. It’s definitely not an evap because the line came up within a minute or two and it’s definitely pink, just faded very much from how it originally looked. It could be a chemical, I suppose. If not a chemical, then I have no explanation.

I feel absolutely horrible for getting Mark all worked up only to have it taken away today. When I saw that second pink line come up yesterday, the feeling was unbelievable and I couldn’t believe how narrowly we’d escaped having to do IVF. But more than anything, I was looking forward to sharing my excitement with my husband. He was so excited and happy for us, despite the fact that he wasn’t completely sure if it was real or not. What hurts me the most is knowing the hurt I created for him. I cried today. Not for myself, but for the confusion, disappointment, and pain I created for him. I’ve learned my lesson and will not say anything in the future unless the test is blaringly positive or if a digital test says pregnant.

So I’m back into research mode since we will be moving on to IVF next. There are lots of small things that we need answers to in order to select where we will be doing our IVF cycles and it seems that answers are difficult to come by sometimes. But we will keep plugging away and know that someday we’ll get ours too.

 

Yesterday I fell in love. Not with another man, but with Reiki and Divine Coding. This is funny and strange to me because Reiki is not something that I really even believe in or understand. Just telling Mark about my session makes me feel embarrassed and silly because it sounds so hokey and ridiculous, but it really does work wonders for me.

While my Reiki lady Lisa is doing the Reiki, she uses her Devine Coding skills (which I’m even more skeptical about than the Reiki itself) to intuit how I’m feeling and what’s going on with me. It’s absolutely amazing what she is able to glean from placing her hands on my face for just a few moments. She uses whatever vibes she’s getting from me to guide our session and to talk through things.

This second session was very different from our first session. At our first session, after she determined that I was “all inside my head” and told me that I needed to find a creative outlet, the rest of the session was just Reiki and quiet time, no more talking.

Yesterday’s session was much more like a mini therapy session. We did so much more talking than we did last time and tried to come up with ways to cope. The first thing that we worked on was the fact that I need to not be mad or upset with my body, regardless of how betrayed or upset I am by it. She made an analogy about how if I were to go to my place of work and I knew that everyone there didn’t like me and thought I was doing a crappy job, would I want to go to work and do a good job? The answer is no, of course not. That’s how I need to view my ovaries and reproductive system. If I’m feeling negative towards my body and my ovaries, of course they won’t respond in the way I want them to. Instead of projecting animosity towards them, I need to give them love.

So she had me imagine sifts or screens beginning at my feet and sifting all the way up through my body and up to the top of my head that would filter out any negative feelings towards my body. Then she had me imagine tossing those screens full of negative gunk into a bonfire so that all of the negative energy burned up and then she had me replace the empty spaces where the negativity was with love. I felt so much lighter after the screens had sifted all of the negative energy away and then when I replaced those empty spaces with love I felt a tingling swirling sensation, which was really cool. Again, it sounds silly, I know, but it really works for me.

The second thing that we worked on is that I need to focus on the here and now. Instead of getting myself all worked up about IVF right now, I need to focus on this cycle. There is a potential that we may not even need IVF and I really need to focus my energy on this cycle right now, and send good positive thoughts towards what we’re dealing with at this moment. This struck a chord with me because I mentioned in my last post that I’m pretty much dismissing this cycle and already looking towards IVF. So I will renew my focus and try to work as hard as I can to stay positive about this cycle and where we are now and not stress about the possibilities of what might happen in the future.

Throughout all of this, I found it very interesting that while I was laying there, my mind kept wandering back to two specific trips that I taken when I was younger. One was a trip to DC in the summer after 8th grade and the second one was a three week trip to Europe in the summer after my sophomore year. While I thoroughly enjoyed both of these trips, I don’t often think about them, so I wondered if there was some significance. I mentioned these images to Lisa and she kind of helped me to discern what importance they might have for me and why I would keep conjuring them up.

Ultimately, I think that these images were coming to me because these were journeys that I went on that I really had no part in planning. I’ve been on lots of trips since those two trips, but I’ve been the coordinator and planner extraordinaire for said trips. These two particular trips were different in that I paid my money, went on the trip and enjoyed myself. Someone else did all of the planning, research, and coordinating for me…all I had to do was show up. I’m sure that this is some way of my subconscious telling me that I need to just go with the flow a bit more and trust in my care providers so that I can enjoy my life as it is now without all of the worry of this other, very different, journey that I’m on.

Anyway, that’s the recap of my Reiki session for this month…definitely worth the money and time investment. I took my last 5 Femara pills last night, and I’m sending lots of love and appreciation to those ovaries of mine so we’ll see what it all adds up to on Monday when I go for my ultrasound.

This weekend we went up north to spend time with Mark’s family. His mom is retiring from teaching 5th grade this year, and the school district threw a party to honor all of the retirees. The drive to his parents’ house is approximately four hours long, so we had plenty of time to talk and what did we talk about? Baby names, of course.

We’ve had baby name discussions before. In fact, before we were even married, we’d already picked out our future daughter’s name, Atlanta Terra. Mark thought it would be super cool to have a daughter named Atlanta AND have her initials be ATL. Then he read Freakonomics, which said something about how people with “non-conventional” names face uphill battles in regards to getting accepted to college and in the job market (or something to that extent). I think that soured his feelings about the name, and over time, my fondness for it has diminished as well.

So we’ve brought up names randomly in the past when we heard one that sounded good, but we haven’t really had any formal discussion as of late. I think that is mostly because we are both tired of dealing with infertility and just don’t want to let ourselves get too wrapped up in the fantasy of actually getting to name a child.

Anyway, I’m not sure how the whole discussion started, but before I knew it, we were in the midst of a two hour round of the name game, suggesting names to each other back and forth. It was fun and funny and it was nice to be able to allow ourselves to think about actually having a baby again. It’s been so long since we’ve even acknowledged that we could get pregnant someday that it was kind of a relief of sorts.

And here are Mark’s definite choices if we were to end up with boy/girl twins: Emmy and Oscar, like the awards, with middle names of Pebbles and Bam Bam respectively. As you can tell, the conversation was less than serious at times. It was a nice break from the seriousness and stress and pressure of trying to conceive.

On a completely unrelated note, I caved when I was at the store the other day and bought a three pack of pregnancy tests. I was getting some contact lens solution one aisle over, and when I walked by the HPT’s, I just quickly grabbed a pack and kept on walking. I know I shouldn’t have done it…if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if there are HPT’s in the house, I WILL pee on them. It doesn’t matter if it’s too early or if I still have the Ovidrel trigger in my system, I’ll still pee on them.

But I don’t have a plan in mind as to when I will start peeing on them this time around. Ideally it would be best to wait until the 29th which would be two weeks after ovulation, but I’m fairly certain that I won’t be able to hold out that long. Right now I’m shooting for the 27th, and it shouldn’t be too difficult since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend and we will be pretty busy and distracted most of the time. Of course a little part of me wishes that I would have peed on one a few days ago so that I could have finally seen a test with two lines, even if the two lines were due to the trigger lingering in my system still. Today is ten days past trigger, so it has probably already passed through my system and wouldn’t show up on a test.

Anyway, I’m still living life day by day. The meditation CD is working wonders for me in regards to getting a good night’s sleep, so I will definitely continue using that. I’m still trying to find a good time to try out my yoga DVD…I’m hoping I can find a block of time this weekend while Mark’s at the park with the dogs to try it out without distraction. Oh, and I’ve scheduled another Reiki appointment for June 5th, so if this cycle is a bust, at least I have that already scheduled as an additional comfort and stress reliever. So all in all, things are good right now. Let’s hope this trend continues!

A week or so ago I asked my acupuncturist if she thought that my body was ready to be pregnant. A couple of the women in my support group have been told that it will take them 3-6 months or 6-12 months before their bodies are ready to carry a baby, so I wanted to know what she thought of my situation. She was quick to remind me that those are just impressions, and that any woman could become pregnant at anytime. Yes, yes, I understand all of that, what I want to know is whether my body is ready or not. She mentioned that my strong stomach pulse could be problematic for me, I believe was an indication that my adrenals were overworked, or something to that effect. She said it was a sign that I was “burning the candle at both ends.”This struck me as odd, and I was surprised by it. I’ve been trying really hard to keep myself stress free lately, hoping that it will have a positive effect on my body. As such, I’ve only been doing what I want to do and in fact, feel like I’ve gotten quite lazy because of it, so the fact that she got the impression that I’m overextending myself really shocked me. She suggested that I see another practitioner there named Lisa who does Reiki. She said that Reiki can really help you to let go of things that are bringing you down and help you to re-center yourself to focus on the important things.

My mom was really into Reiki a few years ago and so I let her do a few sessions on me. Though I felt pretty open minded about it, I felt as though I never really got much out of it. I could feel heat where she had her hands, but other than that, I usually just fell asleep. Because of this, I was a little hesitant to sign up to give away $60 just for a nap. As the days went by, and I felt more and more stressed over where my cycle was going (or not going, as it were), I realized that money was just money and that I owed it to myself to give this a shot. I’m already spending nearly $1,000 each cycle, so another $60 certainly wouldn’t hurt, and if it might help, then it was worth it to try it.

I arrived at the appointment and she explained that she uses not only Reiki, but also something called Devine Coding. My acu had mentioned this to me before, so I had a chance to research it a little bit before I went in. Reiki is basically about using universal energy to re-tune the body, and Devine Coding uses angelic power and energy as well. Yes, it’s all a little hokey, but I’m desperate and willing to try anything. She went over my brief intake questionnaire and noted that I’ve been having a lot of left shoulder pain lately.

We began the session with some music and diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing). Then she began doing the Reiki on me. After about five minutes, she says to me “You’re all in your head, aren’t you?” Wow. Yes, I really am. I was amazed that she was able to deduce that just from feeling my energy.

She asked if I had any “creative” outlets; anything that I can “lose” myself in and lose complete track of time. The sad truth is that other than infertility research on the internet, no, I really don’t. I could sit on the computer reading about various infertility subjects from the second I get home from work up until the minute I went to bed and be completely engrossed in it. But that’s not relaxing. That’s not an outlet. And it’s certainly not healthy.

So she suggested that I find something that I can use as an outlet. It could be yoga, running, painting, reading, swimming; anything that I can do that will get me “out of my own head.” This makes sense. And it’s something that I’ve TRIED to do, but I think I just wasn’t ready to commit to it, and that’s why it didn’t work for me.

After she discussed finding an outlet, she continued on with the Reiki. She had me think of a relaxing color (I chose green) and had me envision green energy flowing from her hands into my head. With every breath in and every breath out, the green energy was filling in the cells of my body and the spaces around the cells, resulting in complete relaxation.

That was pretty much the extent of the session. She would move from my head to my shoulders and all the way down to my feel all the while telling me to relax and envision the green energy flowing into me. Then she worked back up and spent what seemed like a lot of time on my stomach area.

The next thing I knew, she was telling me that we were done. She said that she could feel that I let go of a lot of things and she thought that it was a very productive session. She said she could tell that I was very, very relaxed and had let my mind go. I thought that I might have fallen asleep, but she was pretty insistent that she thought that I was just in a highly meditative state. In either case, it was definitely an interesting experience. I left assigned with the homework of finding myself an “creative” outlet or two, and trying to let go of things that are holding me back.

While I was walking up to the desk to pay for my session, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I felt a little bit better mentally, but I still wasn’t convinced that it was all that I thought it would be. My shoulder still hurt even though I knew that the Reiki was supposed to help with that. On my drive home though, things started to click into place.

I realized that I felt lighter, like a giant weight had been lifted off of me. I realized that instead of thinking about how this session will hopefully lead to a BFP in the end, like I do after all of my acu sessions, I was only thinking about how great I felt. It sounds so clichéd and I feel ridiculous even saying it, but it was like I was a whole new me. A new, refreshed, ready to meet the world me. And it feels great! There were absolutely no tears on cycle day one, and more importantly, no sadness about it either. As crazy as it sounds, I’m actually looking forward to this next cycle, instead of dreading it.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve realized that TTC is no longer at the forefront of my mind every second of the day. I don’t know how it works, but I do know that Reiki worked for me. Whatever it is that I was able to let go of, has made such a drastic change in me. Instead of fear, sadness, anxiety and depression, I just feel relaxed and at peace with where we are and what we’re going through. The change is just phenomenal.

Additionally, I realized the morning after my session, that my shoulder wasn’t bothering me at all anymore. All this time I’ve attributed my shoulder pain to a bike that doesn’t fit me well. Now I wonder if it wasn’t just a bunch of built up stress all along.

And there’s one more major physical change that just blows my mind. That really strong stomach pulse? It is nearly non-existent now.

I ordered a yoga DVD and a meditation CD to help me to relax and I’m signing up to use a pottery studio over the summer. I will also be going in for Reiki once a month during my “off” week from acupuncture. My focus will be on trying to keep my mind relaxed, enjoy my life and focus on all of the good things that I already have instead of dwelling on the things that I don’t have. I am looking forward to each and every new day now instead of dreading them.

I am now a firm believer in the powers of Reiki.

 

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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