Tuesday, March 31, 2009
In case anyone's curious about the play-by-play, here goes:
We got to the clinic super-early (8:15 for a 9:30 transfer) -- so early, in fact, that the doctor called me on my cell phone with an embryo update when I was sitting in the waiting room! She told us that we had two superstar blasts, and then another 2 or 3 that we will likely be able to freeze either later today or tomorrow. She recommended we transfer 2 -- I relayed that to the Mr. and then headed off to acupuncture to think on it for a bit.
Acupuncture was fun today -- I had a different acupuncturist who'd worked for the San Francisco 49ers for a while, so we chatted about that. I got needles in different places -- on top of my head for the first time, which she called an "implantation crown." I chilled with the needles for about 30 minutes, said a few prayers, and decided that my gut was telling me to go with 2.
I debated whether or not I needed a Va.lium after acupuncture, and decided that my bladder discomfort alone was probably reason enough, so down the hatch it went. I floated on back to the waiting room, sat and snuggled with the Mr. for a bit, and then we headed back to the transfer room.
The tech took a quick look at the sonogram, and told me that I could go pee for 5 seconds if I wanted to. No need to ask me twice! I shuffled out and did my thing, went back and got told that I could pee even more. Apparently my 58 or so ounces were doing what they were supposed to do.
Finally, we got down to business. The doctor (a new one) came in and went over a few more details, and gave us a picture of our beautiful blasts. One was huge (I'd post a picture if I wasn't flat on my back), and the other was not far behind. We made the final call to do both.
By this time, the Va.lium had kicked in and I was feeling like a million bucks. Never have my feet so easily gone into stirrups, and I swear the speculum was not at all unpleasant. A miracle. The doctor swabbed me out with some cold stuff, which totally tickled (I told you the Val.ium was good), and gave the catheter a quick test. What happened next was the coolest thing ever -- the embryologist came in, confirmed who we were, and left while the doctor put in the catheter for real. You could see the little tube going in on the ultrasound. The embryologist came back with the blasts, handed them to the doctor, and then we watched them wend their merry little way down the tube and pop out into my ute. So frickin' cool.
The Dr. said it went "perfectly," and they all left me to lie on the table for a few minutes. The Mr. and I totally had a moment -- I cried, I laughed, he teared up. It was one of the most special things we've experienced together.
I went back for another round of needles, and conked out with a big smile on my face.
So now we wait. And wait. Beta is next Thursday the 9th at 7:00 a.m. I hope there are enough movies at Blockbuster to get me through. I'm sure I'll be blogging all about them here.
Monday, March 30, 2009
In other news, the Mr. shot me in the butt with PIO when we were at our friends' house last night. It was pretty comical. I think I'm almost going to miss these exciting shooting up situations.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
All 7 of our embies are still cooking! We've got 4 8-cell Grade 1 embryos (our clinic grades on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the best), 1 6-cell Grade 1, 1 5-cell Grade 2, and 1 4-cell Grade 2. We're headed for a Day 5 transfer on Tuesday, and hopefully (please please please!) will have a couple to freeze.
After we got the news, the Mr. and I went for a long walk around the reservoir and tried to figure out whether we want to put back 1 or 2 on Tuesday. I think it's probably going to have to be a game-time decision.
Crazy days.....but we both feel incredibly blessed.
1. I farted on the reproductive massage guy. Thanks, constipating PIO shots and subsequent excessive fiber intake.
2. I started awake during the acupunk and lunged for my ringing phone (could it be the clinic?), shooting two needles out of my belly and across the room. It wasn't the clinic.
3. A marching band kept walking back and forth down the street under my session room window. Seriously. WTF?
Needless to say, it pained me a little more than usual to fork over my $255 at the end of the session.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Not that this came as any surprise. The swelling and bloat potential of infertility treatment have been well-documented. As has the sweet, sweet irony of appearing knocked up when NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. So I went into the stims phase of IVF prepared.
Prepared to SHOP.
In case my shopping adventures can be of any help to those on the brink or in the midst of bloat-dom, I hereby present my five favorite (and mostly newly acquired) articles of clothing for the Pregnant-Looking Woman Who Isn't Pregnant (PLWWIP).
#5 -- The Flowy Dress
It's a good thing that the last week has been sunny and warm in Northern California, because I have worn these two dresses all week. The beauty of them (other than the obvious coverage capabilities) is that they can be mixed and matched almost infinitely. My boss, a major clotheshorse, even complimented me on my outfits this week.
Bonus on the J.Crew dress -- it's convertible and can be a dress or skirt or shirt or really anything you want it to be (except a baby).
#4 -- Scarf, Scarf Baby
Scarves -- they're not just for Hollywood waifs! They are also for us PLWWIPs. What else can cover both enlarged ta-tas and engorged abdomen for under 20 bucks? My favorites have actually been from Target.
Is there anything Target can't do, particularly if you avoid the baby department?
#3 -- The New Cardigan
What do you call these newfangled garments, that are part-cardigan, part-shrug? I don't know. I call them the New Cardigan, and I love them dearly. They work particularly well with a scarf, particularly if your arms aren't making you happy (as mine certainly are not). My two favorites came from a Banana Republic outlet, but they're everywhere. The best ones for our purposes have sort of a widening cowl that drapes inwards at the stomach -- I can't for the life of me find a picture that depicts this, but if you want to come over and take a tour of my closet I'd be happy to show you.
#2 -- The Mom Jeans
OK, I'm a little embarrassed about this. And I SWEAR I'm not wearing these because I really really really want to be a mom (although I do). I was at Ross (Dress for Less!) a couple of weeks ago and found these beauts -- jeans with a magic hidden panel that sucks in both your tum-tum and the dreaded muffin top. And you can't even tell they're mom jeans when you're fully outfitted -- although you might not ever be able to escape the shame.
#1 -- The Yummie Tummie
I know I've sung its praises before, but I really can't gush over this contraption enough. I've got both the tank and boyfriend tank in the long version, and I just feel like the hottest infertile on the block when I'm wearing them. They are expensive ($62 for the basic model), but I'm not even a little bit sorry I bought them.
Of course, I haven't gotten my credit card bill yet.
So, there's my list. I'm sure there are many, many other fantastic clothes for us PLWWIPs. Please share if you've discovered any!
Friday, March 27, 2009
I know I probably shouldn't, but I think I'm going to treat myself to a nice glass of wine tonight (or, let's face it, this afternoon since I'm working from home today). Probably this.
I hope it goes well with broccoli.
(On a side note, I am really constantly amazed at the medical things that I've previously feared and have more or less overcome. Vag.inal ultrasound? Check. IV? Check. Injections? Check. Blood draws? Check. It's not that I really love any of these activities, but I feel sort of proud of myself that they're no big deal in a physical sense anymore. IVF makes grizzled medical veterans of us all!)
On the fertilization front, we got great news this morning -- 7 of our 8 fertilized!! The doctor us very optimistic that we'll make it to day 5, but in my excitement I forgot to ask what the basis was for this determination. I think it's too early for them to be grading the embies, right?
We won't hear anything else until Sunday -- either a report and time for Tuesday, or (if things aren't looking so hot) a time for a day 3 transfer that day. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with myself until then -- I don't think I've had to wait this long for any results yet -- but am just trying to think good thoughts for our little potential babes. I don't generally think of myself as an overly emotional person (the Mr. may disagree, especially after these last few weeks), but I pretty much love them already.
And now, to bring things back to my usual sarcastic and superficial level, I'm off to pee for the 10th time this morning. Thanks, Gatorade.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So. We arrived at 8:15 and immediately got whisked away to the operating suite. Apparently they had 5 retrievals scheduled this morning, so things were hopping. We were led to a pre-op "room" (really just a bed with a curtain around it, flanked by two other beds with curtains around them). I got a sexy gown, set of booties and hair cap, and was told to get undressed and lie down on the bed. They got me this comfy warm blanket that kind of rocked.
We got some instructions from the nurse, and chatted a bit about what would be happening. I didn't expect to be nervous today, but I guess the whole environment was a little more antiseptic and hospital-y than I was expecting, and that kind of threw me for a loop. Just as I was starting to get a little jittery, they wheeled out someone from the OR who was basically freaking out. Crying, moaning in pain, saying all kinds of crazy anesthesia stuff. I was trying not to pay attention, but then I heard her say something just heartbreaking: "It's just that I've never been pregnant before."
Oof. At this point the Mr. started talking baseball to me.
The nurse came back and put in my IV. Not super-fun, but not too bad. The doctor came in to explain the procedure (does he not think I read IF blogs obsessively?), and then we were left alone again for a bit. They wheeled out another patient -- this was one of the couples who were in our IVF class a couple of weeks ago -- and she said through the curtain: "Good luck guys -- I loooooove you." We've met them once.
At this point, I made a mental note to just try and keep my mouth shut after the procedure. :)
Then the anethesiologist came in and we immediately determined that we both went to Cornell (the Mr. was wearing a hat). Things were looking up! She talked a bit about the drugs, and mentioned that I wouldn't be under that deeply so might wake up during the procedure -- WTF? -- but that she'd be there to ease me back under. Great!
Then we got left alone for another few minutes. I started thinking about how we were going to be making embryos and started to tear up a little bit. The Mr. kissed me with his horrible coffee breath, and then we were off to the OR.
I walked in, got on the table, they strapped me down and put a mask on my face, and then skjhfakjhfahzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...................
I did have a dream that I pulled my blackberry out from under the table and e-mailed the Mr. about the procedure, which just goes to show you what a crackberry workaholic addict I am, but whatever. I woke up in the same pre-op "room", and felt great. I also didn't talk. The Mr. came back from his duties of the day, we hung out for a bit, I drank some Gatorade, they tattoed my ass for the PIO shots tonight, we heard we got 8 eggs and would get a call in the morning, and that was it.
I still feel pretty great -- a little cramping and spotting, and a little grogginess, but that's it. I'm going to hang out today, work from home tomorrow, and just try to stay calm and collected until we figure out what's going on with the embies.
Now I'm off to watch my shiny new "Twilight" DVD. Mmmm, vampires.
Thanks for all of the kind notes this week -- it made me a little teary-eyed this morning to think of all the good thoughts coming our way.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Anyway, today has been full of fun work hijinks. My boss is in town from the East Coast (of course -- had to be this week), and we're going to dinner tonight. She knows I'm having some sort of "procedure" tomorrow, but the whole thing is a little awkward. Also awkward has been telling my team that I'll be out -- I think I'm usually a pretty cool boss, but I feel like I'm pulling the whole "personal life is none of your business" card. I'm probably not coming across that way, but you know how when you're going through something you assume that everyone notices every little thing, even though they have their own lives and haven't given it a second thought? That's me today.
And finally, my ta-tas are totally out of control. As much as I'd love to be pregnant in two weeks, I'm a little terrified about what that might mean for my poor, sore, already DD-sized girls. At least they're balanced out by my fleshy bruisy tummy.
Is this what they mean by hourglass figure?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Probably the best news I've had today is that tomorrow will be both wand and needle-free! Whatever will I do with myself?
Anyhoo, the acupuncture doctor tells us that the Mr. is supposed to eat lots of lamb this week before he gives his, um, specimen. Why? I don't know. I made a batch of lamb meatballs on Sunday (yum!) and we're planning on grilling up some lamb chops tonight. I'd actually never cooked lamb before this week, and I'm not entirely sure what I think. I always feel a little queasy about lamb -- it tastes good and all, but I can't ever seem to get this Simpsons episode out of my mind. ("Liiisssa, I thought you loooooved me. Looooved me!")
Monday, March 23, 2009
So, another morning with the wand. Lead follie is at 22, but there are a bunch clustered at 14 and 15, so I think they're going to wait for those at the possible expense of the big one.
The most entertaining part of the morning was that the Mr. decided that he wanted to come in for the ultrasound (since apparently I've made the whole process sound so alluring and fun). First of all, I'm not sure he'd ever seen a table with stirrups before, which elicited a gasp. Gasp number two came when the tech did the double-gel-and-con.dom routine over the wand. I lost track of the gasps after that, but he was all blushing and sheepish when it was over. I don't think he'll be joining me tomorrow. What a wuss -- it wasn't even that bad today.
I'm totally getting flowers tonight, though. Or at least the dishwasher emptied. You've got to work it when you can!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I'm really starting to feel it today -- really bloaty and sore. I did a stupid thing yesterday and went to the gym. I've pretty much been feeling like ass since then.
Lesson learned -- I am spending the rest of today horizontal with Nate, David and Claire.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
My story in a nut shell: I'm 33, have been happily married to my husband for 5 years, the last 2.5 of which have been a little less happy as we've struggled with trying to get pregnant. We're currently going through our first IVF cycle, which seemed the best course of action given our male factor issues. I have a high-stress job, which I've mostly avoided talking about here and which makes all of the appointment-juggling a bit challenging. But most of the time, I feel very blessed to be able to be doing something to make our most fervent wish a reality.
Other things you'll see on this blog -- talk of food, shopping, wine (at least for a little while longer) and the occasional American Idol episode. It can't be all-IVF all the time!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Ah, Benihana. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
fruity drink in a Buddha
always guaranteed to throw you into a sodium coma
I think you can get the picture. I am an unabashed lover of all things Benihana.
And I can't wait until 8:00!
The good news: we could. And it looks like we've got 3 on the left and 5-7 on the right. I'll know more once they call with the bloodwork, but at least we didn't get cancelled this morning.
Oh, and the tech told me that I can expect some cramping today, since they were so, um, thorough in their examination. Awesome! Thank God for Tylenol.
UPDATE: E2 level is 723. Dr. thinks there are probably more follies we can't see because of my uniquely placed parts. Retrieval could be Thursday or Friday.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
What did I score? My favorite bra, in 3 different colors, for $15 at Nordstrom Rack. So I bought all 3, of course. And a couple in bigger sizes, since the girls appear to be responding to the stims even if my ovaries are not. (I swear, any life event is accompanied by my bo.obs getting bigger. I think they are growing right now because I am talking about them.)
I feel better now.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I'm trying to stay even-keeled about this -- I've only done 4 days of stims, it's early and they can still play with my doses, and the E2 seems to indicate that my right ovary is doing SOMETHING. Plus, I feel very different on Day 4 than I did on Day 2, which gives me hope that things will get cooking even more before Day 6.
I guess most of all, I feel like a big wuss getting all worked up about today's appointment -- I mean, this is nothing compared to how the two-week wait (if I'm lucky enough to get there) is going to feel.
I think I need to, as the Mr. would say, "sack up."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
On a lighter note, has anyone else noticed just how many side effects (or, as the brochures like to call them, "adverse events") the packaging on all of the meds lists? They've got it all covered, from the short term (hot flashes) to the long term (ovarian cancer). Honestly, I'd be willing to believe that I could wake up with a second head tomorrow. And I love all of the stickers on the prescription bottles: eat with food, don't chew, may cause dizziness, do not operate heavy machinery, don't dispense to other patients, etc. It's kind of awesome.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Probably my favorite TV series ever. Definitely my favorite series finale ever. It's nice to have 63 hours of distraction on tap for the next few weeks. Although who am I kidding, I'll probably be done before we get to retrieval.
(Thinking good thoughts here for Carrie, who had her retrieval this morning. Hope all went well!)
Friday, March 13, 2009
But I digress.
I can feel my mood lifting as I type because I know I'm just a few short hours away from our Friday night (particularly during Lent) tradition:
YAY SUSHI! Of course, our order usually ends up looking more like this:
.....causing the waitress to inevitably comment about "what good eaters" we are or something vaguely derogatory like that. But we kind of deserve it.
I love our Friday sushi ritual. We always go to the same little place in the strip mall next to Safeway -- it doesn't look like much but the food is so tasty and fresh and it's not quite as highway-robbery-ish as the more scene-y sushi places in town. I know we're going to have to adapt the ritual soon enough -- mmm, avocado maki -- but I'm planning to enjoy it tonight. And I might even have a beer. So crazy!
Anyone out there with their own Friday night (or any other night) food tradition? Dish about it (har har) in the comments.
And happy Friday!
Since today is Friday the 13th, a day usually associated with superstition, the possibility of negative events, and bad horror movies, I've been ruminating a bit about magical thinking. Specifically, I've been thinking about the significance of dates and numbers, and how I've been always been prone to seeing meaning around things happening on a particular day, at a particular time, etc. This tendency of mine has increased since we started trying to make a baby -- it seems like every cycle I've found a reason why this will (or won't) be The One. And every cycle when it doesn't work out, I'm crushed -- not that I wouldn't be anyway, but this just seems to add another layer.
And this cycle is no different -- we started BCP on Valentine's Day, and could find out that we're pregnant on Easter Sunday. How could I not obsess over that? Because wouldn't it be JUST SO PERFECT if we could tell our little bebe that he/she was "conceived" on Valentine's Day (I know, not technically true, but it makes a really good story, dammit!), and then every Easter we can remember how great it was to find out we were pregnant, blah blah blah? Aaargh! I know that every minute I spend thinking about it is another extra hour/day/month I'm going to feel shitty about a negative result.
And yet, I can't help myself. I really WANT to think positively about this cycle, too see connections, to sense significance. I yearn to be a "normal" trying-to-get-pregnant person -- I have no idea what that actually is, but in my convoluted little brain I imagine it being a little like the giddiness of falling in love. But the second I start to feel just a teeny bit hopeful I'm terrified, like an architect who designs a building without a 13th floor, that I'm jinxing myself.
And THEN, I wonder if by posting it all on my blog, I've somehow reversed the jinx.
Maybe the Lu.pron is giving me the crazy even more than I thought.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I think I'm going to have to up the ante next week -- maybe on the train on the way home from work? On the treadmill? On a videoconference? The possibilities are endless.
I did have this crazy moment of panic -- what if, after all this, it turns out I have no ovaries and they're just noticing now? Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants. Or abdomen. When someone tells you that they're "an expert at finding ovaries" and then can't find yours, you start to wonder. But they found 'em.
So I start stims on Saturday. I suspect they will have NO problem finding the not-so-little buggers next time.
(Thanks for all of the kind words in the comments! It makes it so much easier knowing that there are women out there facing the same crazy hurdles.)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
But the last couple of days? Other than the adrenaline rush of shooting up in the single-stall bathroom of an L.A. hotspot, nada. So of course I'm panicked that things aren't working as they should. Maybe it's because I'm off the pills and just on the injections? Maybe I've just gotten used to feeling a little off? I just don't know.
Maybe it's because my ovaries CANNOT BE SUPPRESSED. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Cold storage bag and ice pack? Check.
Note from the doctor for the TSA? Check.
High likelihood that I'm going to have to shoot up in the bathroom at a work dinner tomorrow night? Check.
And who said business travel wasn't fun?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
And then he brought me these:
I'm such an a-hole. But an a-hole with good taste in men, apparently.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I am speaking of the Yummie Tummie. Specifically, the long black tank. Yes, it was expensive, but I set aside a few bucks before the beginning of this process to buy a few grapefruit-ovary-disguising items. I am wearing it right now with a sweater I haven't been able to wear in months, because it was a little too tight and I was a little embarassed by the visible bulge on my backside. I have been feeling so bloated and chunky and blah since starting the infertility diagnostic process (part of this I blame on Clomid, but most of it I blame on emotional eating), and while I'm not saying I look 20 pounds lighter or anything, I do feel kinda hot.
Maybe it's the Lu.pron. But I think I might order another color today.....
All in all, though, it was pretty anticlimactic. The only weird part was after I stuck the needle in -- I didn't really quite know what to do with myself. No pain, though, and no side effects other than a mild headache which I've had all week.
I did hint to the Mr., as we were watching Tatiana Del Toro's predictably dramatic exit from American Idol, that that could be me in a few days. He's pretty fired up.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
And incidentally, how the hell can these people tell what they're looking at? She was pointing out my intestines, and I was all like "I'll have to take your word for it."
Now get the camera out of my hoo-hoo.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
*My clinic's actually pretty great. But I think I've already used up all of my high maintenance patient points on this little issue.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Now, everyone has a different definition of being good to themselves. Sadly, some of the things I really enjoy (see booze post below) and which would normally be a treat will be off-limits. Also, it feels risky in this brave new economy to be spending money on ANYTHING frivolous, but I still think it's going to be important to my mental well-being to indulge from time to time. With that in mind, I'm planning to do at least a little of each of these things over the next few weeks:
--Get massages (they're not just for reproductive organs anymore!)
--Buy a few nice, roomy pieces of clothing to hide my soon-to-be-grapefruit-sized ovaries
--Carve out time for some low-key exercise (lots of walking, I imagine)
--Put together a movie renting and watching strategy for my days post retrieval and transfer
--Snuggle with my kittehs
(I also have in the back of my mind that I'd like to plan a short, relaxing getaway if the results of this whole science experiment are not positive. But I'm trying to keep that thought in the very very back of my mind.)
For anyone out there going through similar stuff, what are you doing to keep yourself as close to your happy place as possible?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I can't tell you how many times over the last two years one of the following things have either come out of my mouth or gone through my mind:
"Maybe this is the last time I'll have my period for a year!" (yeah, right)
"Maybe this is the last time we'll go on vacation without worrying about our kids!"
"Maybe this is the last time we'll go to Disneyland without having to ride Dumbo!"
"Maybe this is the last Christmas/Easter/Halloween/St. Patrick's Day/Flag Day that it will be just the two of us!"
"Maybe this is the last time I'll be eating sushi/soft cheese/deli meat/paint chips for a loooong time!"
And perhaps my personal favorite:
"Maybe we should open that second bottle of Pinot, since I may not be able to drink for much longer!"
Let's just say we've been through a lot of bottles of Pinot. I know, I know, the doctor suggested I cut down, but how can I help it when THIS MIGHT BE THE LAST BOTTLE EVER?!?!?
So, while we didn't exactly binge this weekend, let's just say that with Lu.pr.on shots beginning later this week, I did not pass up any opportunities to enjoy my beloved fruit of the vine to its fullest extent. Will I swear it off completely during this process? Probably not. But it won't be the same. Oh, the injustice of it all!
But as any infertile will tell you, I'd give up all of the Pinot in the world (and, OK, all of the sushi, rollercoasters, and kid-free vacations) for a little peanut.
The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter. I tried acupuncture for the first time and was immediately hooked. First of all, there's something strangely seductive about the fact that I know NOTHING about how Chinese medicine works -- after all of the doctor visits of the last two years, and all of the endless research, and all of the questions I've thrown at all of the doctors and nurses I've encountered, it's nice to kind of just let it all go. Secondly, the treatments are just so effing relaxing that I don't particularly care how they work. The needles burn a little teeny bit going in, and then I am off to my happy floaty place. If all these treatments do is provide me with 30 minutes of floaty sanctuary every week during this process, they are worth every penny.
Yesterday, before my fourth treatment, I experienced the wonder of a "reproductive organ massage". While this definitely does not sound like something one should be able to pay for with one's flexible spending account, and definitely was not as interesting as my husband THOUGHT it was going to be, it was both weird and wonderful. I get "regular" massages pretty frequently, so have pretty much seen (felt?) it all, but this was totally different. I have never had my, um, midsection massaged quite so thoroughly. And the scalp and neck massage (not sure how this fits into the "reproductive organ" theme, but see previous paragraph about knowing nothing and not minding one bit) -- I almost slipped the guy a couple of twenties to keep on going. And then, the needles after that.....heaven. Floaty heaven.
All I can say is: with all this attention, my ovaries and ute had better step up! In the meantime, I'm going to keep getting needled and loving it.