Monday, November 29, 2010

Making the perfect baby

Doctor on egg donation

"if you asked me how to create the perfect baby, if that was legal, I'd say take a 22 year old's eggs and put them into a 40 year old's body.  It's the perfect combination of nature and nurture."

Friday, July 9, 2010

IVF #2 Stim Day 10

In a surprise new twist, my right ovary woke up and produced a follicle.  It's only one, but I'm rejoicing over it since that's the ovary I had surgery on years ago and throughout my fertility treatments, it has never produced a single one. I hope this one is magic.

My retrieval is scheduled for this coming Sunday.  I have 3 follicles measuring 17, 17 and 15.  It's not much but considering I only had 1 measuring 12mm on Tuesday, I'm thrilled. I thought I was surely going to be cancelled.  Imagine my surprise when I went for my third ultrasound yesterday and they said I had 3, including that magic one on the right?

I've had 3 acupuncture sessions so far this cycle.  The first one was on day 3 when I started injections, the second one was on Tuesday after I was told I only had 1 follicle and the 3rd one was last night.  I've been trying to do some visualization exercises where I'm picturing my ovaries filled with follicles, all measuring exactly 16mm.  And considering they went from 16, 15, 12 to 17, 17, 15 in one day, I think it is working.  The mind is so powerful.  Wow.  Remember last month when I had that one follicle which grew from 16 to 24 in 2 days?  That is what I was afraid was going to happen with the one measuring 16 yesterday.  I just knew I'd come back in and they'd tell me that the 12 was only a 13 but the 16 was now a 20.  The message here, use your minds, people.  We are powerful in ways we don't fully understand.  Take advantage of it. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

IVF Cycle 2, 1st monitoring ultrasound

Alternate title: Why I hate my clinic more every day

I've mentioned this before but I hate the fact that some ultrasound techs will turn the screen where you can see it and even read off the measurements of the follicles to you and some won't. Most won't. I know that's their job and all but I think it's utter bullshit. I'm not asking for an interpretation of the results, just to see what they're seeing. But today because I got one of the tight-lipped ones, I was forced to have to interpret myself, based on how they were moving the wand around and how many clicks I heard.

I think there may have been one. One! Which sucks ass!

I drove home depressed and sat around the rest of the morning waiting for their call only to find that they'd called my cell phone, which I didn't have near me (I hardly ever touch that thing on the weekends, especially when I'm home) and didn't hear. They left a message: "I have some instructions for you. Continue with the same dose of Bravelle and Menopur and we will see you back here Tuesday morning for an ultrasound. I'll repeat that, continue with the same dose of Bravelle and Menopur and we will see you back here Tuesday morning for an ultrasound. Thank you bye." What? But how many follicles? What about the Estrogen level? Even though I knew I wouldn't be able to reach anybody, I called the answering service which what you get no matter what number you call at that clinic on the weekends, and left a message saying I needed to speak to the nurse who just left a message. Of course, no call back. Agony.

I absolutely hate that the clinic phones are locked down like that. It is impossible to ever speak to a clinical person when you call. And on the weekend? Forget it. They flat out tell you they don't even check voicemail on the weekend. With my raging hormones, I feel like beating the shit out of somebody. I don't want to wait until Tuesday to get my bad news! The next time I speak to them, I plan to tell them to put a big ass note on my chart so that they always relay four things in addition to the instructions: the measurement of the lining, number and measurement of follicles on the right, number and measurement of follicles on the left and estrogen level. I don't even know why I need to tell them to do that. It ought to be standard operating procedure!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

IVF Cycle 2, Stim day 4

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been two months since my last post. After my 1st IVF cycle failed, I wasn't crumpled in the corner crying or anything, but I felt like I needed a month to get myself back on track. I tend to get really fixated on things so in the month leading up to the cycle and then the cycle itself, I really immersed myself in doctors and medicine and infertility blogs. When it was over I really needed to step away from all of it. Far away. It felt like a thick layer slime I couldn't wash off. So even though my doctor wanted me to go right into a new cycle, I told her I needed a month off. And in that month I kind of forgot we were trying to have a baby. I didn't take my temperature, and I barely kept up with the blogs I was reading. I felt free.

When I started my period that next month I called the clinic to let them know, then made plans to go in for my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork. I'll be honest, I didn't want to do it. I'd moved on to other fixations in my month off and was busy planting gardens and trying to finish up a writing class. I could easily have rationalized needing another month off. But I went in for the ultrasound, anyway, and by noon that day I was deep in the trenches of the frustration and the angst of IVF, again. I think it was a combination of my not wanting to do it in the first place, and the rushing to get to the early appointment and then into work to finish an important project by a deadline that did it. Then when I called the pharmacy to get my meds, I learned that I have a $10,000 lifetime max on infertility meds which I would reach only a few days into the cycle. So, I needed to come up with about 5 grand in a couple of hours. I was already on cycle day 3 because my clinic was closed the day before for Memorial Day when I should have been planning all this. I threw in the towel and immediately went to a very bad place. The place you go when you know it's time to come to terms with never having children. It was bad.

There are so many things I swore I'd never do when I started this journey. I won't put us into financial ruin for this. I won't resent women with babies. I won't let infertility define me. Yet here I sit with my giant box of meds, part of it paid for with borrowed money, some of it free from my clinic and the rest from a kind and generous new friend who is pregnant from a successful IVF cycle. I never thought I'd be one of those women who would need to take charity meds dropped off by pushy pharmaceutical reps, yet here I am injecting myself twice a day with samples usually reserved for cancer patients having emergency IVF before chemo. It is a mix of intense emotion, bad and good. Appreciation, embarrassment, dread, hope.

Tomorrow I go for my first monitoring ultrasound. I'm trying to stay busy. I'm trying to stay fixated on gardening so I don't get stuck floundering around the pain I feel in my ovaries today. It ain't easy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Planning for 2nd IVF Cycle

I spoke to my doctor yesterday. She said my embryos were a B+ and a B-. Whatever that means. I always get the feeling my clinic is trying to skate by this type of data without really giving it proper attention. I mean I realize not everybody wants to know this level of detail, but I'm an information hog. I want to know everything, about everything!

She wants to keep me on the same medication for the next cycle and just increase the dosages.

follistim 300 twice a day
menopur 75 twice a day

I'm a little surprised that they are not changing the meds at all. And I got the impression that they only have one other protocol for "young patients." That is is a down-regulation protocol. She said that she felt my response to the meds was appropriate for my age. And when I asked why no BC pills and a change of meds she said "well, large randomized studies have shown that none of that really makes a difference, anyway." Uhhh, thanks! "But of course we don't know how it will effect you on an individual basis." Yeah, thanks. I'm not ready to start clinic hopping, but I'm annoyed.

I did get one piece of good news. Apparently my 25% copay on the infertility medication is only up to $2,500. After that it's 100%. I'm nearly at $2,500 already! But that means I need to do as much of this stuff as I can this year. Still, I'm trying to tell myself that, even if I have to wait a month to start (due to scheduling), I will not get all worked up over it. I'll just use that month to lose some of the weight I've gained. I was already overweight before all this mess started. Now I'm just miserable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



First IVF cycle, the end.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What Embryo Transfer Was Like

We transferred both embryos this morning. One was 6 cells and the other was 7. They gave me a cute little "best wishes" card with a photo of each one inside. There was no fragmentation but he said they were a little "asymmetrical" which reduces the chance of implantation. My pregnancy test is Monday April 26th.

At my clinic, the transfer was done in the same area as the retrieval. I had to shout my name to the embryologist again and I also had to sign for them. The doctor goes "this is just like Fed Ex. You've gotta sign for your embryos."

I was tilted slightly backward, the speculum placed, cervix cleaned with water and a cotton swab, then he did the trial run. I guess the trial run consists of opening the cervix and placing the same type of catheter inside that will be used for the transfer. After that, he just kept saying, "you are going to have a very easy transfer." Once he was done with the trial run, which only took about a minute, he asked the embryologist for the embryos. It took less than 5 minutes. Then he gave the catheter back to the embryologist to verify that the embryos were no longer there. After the transfer, I stayed there in the slightly upside down position for about 20 minutes.

I had acupuncture before my transfer today. Afterwards, I came home, at a salad and some chocolate pudding and took a 3 hour nap.

If you've got a success story about getting pregnant from crappy embryos, I sure need to hear it.