Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Ahhh, such pleasure in the simple things.  I am so happy to get home to my little house, my dog and my yard and my bed!  I took a 2 hour nap and it's probably the best sleep I've had in 2 weeks.  I can't believe I was gone for 2 weeks.  I feel like I was away at summer camp.  I won badges in giving myself injections, growing follicles and embryos, avoiding OHSS and keeping my sanity intact.  Yay!  All of my clothes reek of the Hampton.  I glad I couldn't really smell that musty hotel smell while I was staying there.

 I am thrilled to be done with those awful injections.  The cetrotide was a bitch.  I had a really hard time getting the air bubbles out of the syringe.  The needle is a bad design.

Well, my birthday is Tuesday.  I will be 35.  The age in which theoretically, fertility takes a nosedive. Maybe I have outsmarted my biological clock.  Our embryos will be always be 34.  When I am 40, it may be more possible for me to have a healthy baby than, say, a normal fertile at 40.
The best birthday present for my 35th year will be lots of healthy embryos resting peacefully on ice at CCRM.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 3 Embryo report

We got the call right before we lost cell phone reception and all 15 embryos are still going strong!  So relieved! They are 6-10 cells and very little fragmentation.  I should hear on Monday how many they were able to freeze.
I know I won't completely relax until Monday, but this report is so reassuring.
It just makes me wonder why we couldn't achieve pregnancy on our own.  We did do ICSI on all of them, so maybe fertilization was an issue. . .
Thank you everyone for your supportive comments during this extremely emotionally and physically challenging time.  It's really helped to get such positive feedback from women who have been through it.

We had a great trip up in the mtns today.  I saw a coyote, elk, and a marmot!

Tick tock tick tock

It feels like an eternity waiting for the Day 3 embryo report.  I had a terrible dream last night about my embryos that I won't even go into.  It's funny that when I signed up for IVF, I thought, finally I will now have control over my fertility, but it's definitely not the case! I had no control over my rising estrogen levels, no control over my follicles growing, or the embryos dividing.   I feel sorta sad about leaving them in Colorado, but I know it's for the best and we will be back very soon.  I was just so hoping to be knocked up this month.
This is our last day in Colorado, so we are headed up to Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park again and we are going to drive all the way up over the Park on Trail Ridge Road. Get above treeline which should be beautiful.
I am feeling back to normal, if I could just have a bowel movement.  I ate two bowls of raisin bran this morning, so hopefully that will move things along!
No signs of OHSS - the only leaky capillaries I have are in my nose - I am having issues with nosebleeds, probably due to the dry climate.  Last injection of cetrotide today - whoohoo!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fertilization Report!

We got word this morning that 18 out of 24 eggs were mature and 15 out of 18 eggs fertilized!  I know it's too early in the game to count my chickens, but I am so happy that we have this many embryos to grow.  We will get a Day 3 report on Friday.
I had an u/s (nonvag thank goodness) this morning to see if any fluid was accumulating in my 3rd space and it looks like I am in the clear.  I need to drink about 100 oz of fuid a day, so I am going to be a peeing machine!  I got up 3x last night to pee.  I am feeling pretty good today actually, sleeping better with the dexamethasone in my system.
We talked to our nurse this morning and she says I should take 1 month off before FET, so that puts us back out here in October!  Just in time to hopefully see the fall color in the mountains.
Feels so good to be feelin' good again!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Retrieval Over!

Retrieval went smoothly and they got 24 eggs!  I am so excited and relieved that this part is over.  My estradiol went back up to over 7000, so I am glad we are freezing.  Dr. G did my retrieval, so I was glad to see him this morning.  I have no memory of even being wheeled out to to OR.  I did get nauseous and had to yack out the car door at a stop light, but other that that and I feel ok.  Should know something tomorrow morning about the fertilization report.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Freeze All"

So, I got word today that Dr. G. recommends "freeze all" embryos and come back for FET in order to avoid OHSS.   I have to say I was a little disappointed, but I don't want to end up sick.  My sister in law's wedding is in 2 weeks, so I need to be healthy.  Honestly, I think my mind and my body needs a break from all this.

I have to continue the dostinex and also start cetrotide tomorrow after the retrieval.  More and more drugs into my body.  I hope there are not too many side effects.  I felt very nauseous today around lunch.  I don't know if that is from the HCG shot or the dostinex.  I don't have much of an appetite at all.  

My retrieval isn't until 11 am tomorrow, so I imagine I am going to so thirsty!  I am not going to go all out on the salty foods tonight.  We'll start that tomorrow after the retrieval.  Hopefully I will tolerate the anesthesia ok.

Today we went up to Rocky Mountain National Park and it was really nice.  My husband brought his fly rod and I just hung out on the bank of a creek and rested.  I wish I had been up for a hike, but I didn't want to push it.   We'll have to do that next time we come out, which will not be too long!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trigger at Midnight!

Thanks for all the supportive comments on how to combat OHSS.  My estrogen went down enough to trigger tonight, though it is still up in the air if they will do a fresh transfer or not.  Dr. G will make a recommendation early this week.  The nurse I talked to gave me a lot of good info and clarified the situation for me.  I'm ok with a FET if we have to go that route- looks like it works well for alot of women (Manni!).
The reason I am at risk for OHSS is that my Day 3 labwork looked like I would not be a good responder.  My FSH was a little elevated, my AMH was borderline and my antral follicle count was only 10.  So they started me off with too much stimulation hormones.  Now I have 2 900 unit cartridges of Follistim left over, what is that, like $1000?  One of the cartridges got punctured and only 37 cc's were used.  What a waste!

They got me taking Dostinex to combat OHSS.  I was pleasantly surprised that my insurance covered it. The nurse said it might make me nauseous.  Ugh!  I am ready to be off all these meds.

So, we ended up calling a nurse who does home visits to administer the injection.   My husband did not feel comfortable giving me a shot in my hip and I am kind of relieved that he does not have to do it.  He has never given a shot in his life.   He needs to get hands on training before he practices on me.  Having a nurse come to me is an extra expense, but will give us peace of mind and probably a less painful IM injection experience.
Today was just another beautiful day in sunny Colorado.  After my morning u/s and labwork, I did a very small hike in Lone Tree that looked out onto the front range.  Went down to the REI in downtown Denver and watched people tubing down the Platte River.  Been to Whole Foods 3 times today.  One in Highlands Ranch (for breakfast), one on Hampden Blvd (for midafternoon snack) and then one in Cherry Creek just for the hell of it.  Maybe tomorrow would be a good day for just driving into the mountains.  We'll have to see how my ovaries feel about that.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Possible OHSS - Coasting

My E2 jumped up to over 6000 today.  The nursed called me and told me to come to the clinic and pick up Ganirelix, an injectible med, that will hopefully lower my estrogen levels.  She told me to stop everything except the Ganrelix and the dexamethasone. 
 I feel fine and have no bloating, but I guess my body is just super sensitive to the stimulation meds.  I was hoping to trigger, but don't think I can due to the high estradiol levels.  The nurse reassured me that this was very common and everything was going to be ok, but I am still worried.  There was another couple out in lobby waiting for the nurse to bring them the same medication, so that made me feel a little better.  I've been an emotional basketcase this afternoon with all these hormones raging.  I feel so vulnerable, overly sensitive and irritable.  I pray that these E2 levels go down, so I can trigger and get on the other side of this IVF process.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Estrogen Levels

My estrogen levels are way up there (3400) and I have only been stimming for 7 days.  The nurses say it's high, but not worrying them too much, but I wonder if they are just saying this so I won't stress.   I have a follicle on my right that is already 18.5  and then I have a bunch that are smaller on the left. . I wonder if they gave me too high of doses in the beginning.  Since it is my first IVF cycle, I don't have anything to compare it to.  I feel fine and I am not that bloated yet.  I just hope that we can do the retrieval.  If we have to come out here again for FET, I am fine with that. 
I went down to 37.5 units of Follistim and 37.5 of Menopur.  It will be interesting to see what my E2 does tomorrow.  
I need to go Circle and Bloom before bed!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Update on CD6

Just got a call from my nurse and my dosages are being dialed way down.  75 units of Follistim and 75 of menopur.  She said my estradiol was high, so they want to try to bring me down, so my follies (14 of them) can grow steadily and slower.  Fine by me.  I can tell that my ovaries are working hard.  I wanted to go hiking today, but I could feel pressure in my lower abdomen region, so I opted for strolling up the Boulder Creek Path (it was raging with all the snowmelt they had this year) and renting a cruiser bike.  I have a feeling that this will be my last "active" day in Colorado.  There are so many pregnant ladies in Colorado and cute little babies and toddlers everywhere!  Since I have been doing IVF, I don't feel as jealous and bereft when I see pregnant women.  I feel like my turn is coming soon!
I am signed up for a massage tomorrow after my morning appts.  Then I go pick up my sweet loving husband at the Denver Airport at 3:30 pm.  I'm ready for him to get out here!  This is the best time to be out in Colorado.  It's hot, but it ain't nothing compared to Mississippi.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Made it to Denver!

Whew!  That was a haul from Mississippi!  The air feels so good out here.  When I unpacked my clothes from my suitcase, they were damp from all the humidity down south!
 I had my first U/S - labwork appt.  My follies are growing, maybe a little too well.  They want me to decrease follistim from 300 to 150.   I don't have huge numbers, but respectable 9 on the right and 5 on the left.  They are keeping me at 150 units of menopur.   I have no clue what my hormones numbers were.  I am off tomorrow, so I have to glorious day to myself.  A good friend of mine has a 1 month old baby girl, so I am planning on hanging out with her and her little one tomorrow.
I am staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites in the Tech Center.  It is very comfortable and clean.  The only issue I ran into was the rental car.  I opted for the insurance on the rental and cost $50/d (more than the rental cost itself).  Turns out my credit card will cover any collision, so I had to drive all the way back to Hertz location at the airport to get the insurance off.  It was a pain, but will save me a bundle.
I have been so tired today due to the altitude - hoping I will be acclimated in a day or two.  Just trying to stay headache free.  So I am going to take it real easy.  It's kind of nice being by myself and being quiet.  I am on vacation!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And It's Off to the Races!

First stim injection of Menopur this morning.  I had a little trouble getting the diluent out of the vial, but finally got the hang of it.  It stung a little bit more than the lupron, but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.

Little inspiration reading for today:

Stop trying so hard to make it happen.  Stop doing so much, if doing so much is wearing you out or not achieving the desired results.  Stop thinking so much and so hard about it.  Stop worrying so about it.

We can take positive action to help things happen. We can do our part.  But many of us do much more than our part.  We overstep the boundaries of doing our part into controlling and coercing.

Do your part in relaxed, peaceful harmony.  Then let it go.  Just let it go.  Force yourself to let it go if necessary.  "Act as if."  Put as much energy into letting go as you have into trying to control.  You'll get much better results. It may not happen.  It may not happen the way we wanted it to and hoped it would.  But our controlling wouldn't have made it happen either.

Learn to let things happen because that's what they'll do anyway.  And while we are waiting to see what happens, we'll be happier and so will those around us.

Excerpted from "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Green Light

Suppression check done and I am ready to start stimming on Saturday!  However, I had the most horrific morning.  Had a headache last night and went to bad early with an ice-pack.  My head still hurt when I woke up this morning, had to get R to drive me to Memphis.   I started getting nauseous and ended up vomiting at a gas station.  My appt was a complete blur.  I did have about 12 follies on the left and about 8 on right ovary and no cysts, so hopefully that is a good number to start with.  R called the acupuncturist and he fit me in at 9:30.  I managed to make it through the session, but vomited again right after the session.  And again the 1.5 hr car ride home.  My poor husband!  Finally made it home to my bed and called CCRM nurse and she said that I could take phenergan to knock me out ad stop the n/v, since I am not in a real sensitive time in the IVF cycle.  Thank god for that!
 Usually I take imitrex when I feel a bad headache coming on, but since it is a potent vasoconstrictor, Dr. G wants me to avoid it.  Once I get to the n/v state of a migraine, the imitrex does not really do that much.  So  I am going to have to be so so extra careful to avoid headache triggers when I get to Colorado.  One of them is altitude.  But I did read that dexamethasone treats altitude sickness, so maybe it will help with that.  Did any of you find that the stimulation hormones gave you headaches?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Naptime for ovaries (and me)

I started feeling like I am going to start my period and I am spotting a tiny bit, so I am actually relieved for a change that my period is coming on, so I will be ready for my suppression check on Thursday in Memphis at my old fertility clinic.  I'm hoping it won't be too weird since I chose not to pursue IVF through them.  My old RE did leave to go do animal research, so I have somewhat of an excuse.  I am so tired today and my head kinda hurts.  It is 100 degrees outside and nothing is moving. I am laying on my cool couch and thinking about streaming a movie.  I have not seen any good movies lately.
I am so ready to get to the Stim stage of IVF.  I just feel like I'm not doing much right now.   The reason this cycle is so drawn out is that the lab was closed at the beginning of July to be cleaned or otherwise, I would probably have already been done with retrieval.
I've pretty much got the hang of Lupron injections.  I need to figure out how to use this follistim pen.  And the menopur comes in ampules, so I need to see how to mix that.  Everthing will be going in my belly, except for the lovely trigger shot.  And I don't exactly have a whole lot of cushioning on my belly, so I hope I will be able to rotate the sites enough.  So, here's hoping my ovaries are sound asleep and my hormones are chilled out.  We'll see in a couple of days!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strange Dreams

Last night I started the Dexamethasone and I woke up at 5 am having this bizarre, but beautiful dream that I was swimming in a cool clear aqua blue ocean and had to swim way out where I met 2 whales, a male and female, and I had to lay my hand on their foreheads which was supposed to bring peace to the world and to me.  It was such an awesome dream that I had a hard time going back to sleep.
Does anyone else have super strange dreams while taking in all these hormones?
I hope dreaming about the whales is a good sign - I have a friend who is really in to animal dreaming, so I will have to ask her what this means!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

1st day of Lupron

I did my first Lupron injection today!  Yay – baby steps towards IVF.   It really wasn’t bad at all. 
I had a snafu with a bridesmaid dress today.  First it was shipped to Tampa, FL then the Bella Bridesmaid girl called and changed the shipping address to Oxford, Nebraska when I live in Oxford, MS.  It was supposed to get here today. And now it won’t be until a week from now. WTF?  
I have to order another bridesmaid dress for a December wedding and it is basically the same dress just a little bit different style and color.  Hopefully, I will be pregnant in December, but who the hell knows.  I don’t know if I should order a couple of sizes up and just take it in if I am not.  
So, yep, these dresses are stressing me out!
I guess if these dresses are my biggest problem today, then life ain't so bad.
I finished reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  It was slow at first and picked up in the last 100 pages.  The characters were a little flat and annoying to me.  I think it would be a good book to either check out of the library or wait for paperback.  I did not think the author was particularly sympathetic to women who have fertility issues.  The author is 48 and childless, so I don’t know if it was something she struggled with herself or if she just decided to devote herself to her writing.  She has written 5 novels and I have heard that writing a book is not unlike birthing a child.
So my whole family sans me and my husband are on the beach in Destin, Florida right now.  We elected not to go this year because I will be “vacationing” in Colorado for 3 weeks.  Still I miss the beach and hanging out with my family.   
Yesterday I went to Memphis and it was nice to take a fertility unrelated trip up there for a change. I got my hair-did and got to pick up a few things at Whole Foods.  The first thing the stylist asked me was “do you have kids?”  I told her that we were working on that.  She has a sis-in-law who did IVF twice and it did not work and then she got pregnant naturally.  Don’t you love those stories?!   
I hope everyone is doing well out there in the blogosphere. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This past week. . .

I just got my meds in yesterday and I cannot believe what I have gotten myself into.  I don't start lupron injections until this next Wednesday.  The birth control pill is already making me moody and irritable, so can't imagine what I am going to be like in a few weeks!

We decided not to go anywhere for the Fourth, so I've been cleaning my house, shortening newly-installed blinds and touching up the paint on our new interior doors.  And I baked a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I have also been combing through blogs trying to find successful IVF stories at CCRM.  I still can't decide if blogging is good for me or not.  Because when I see an IVF that doesn't work, it makes me worry.

I went to a book reading by Ann Patchett for her new book State of Wonder.  It is about a group of scientists that travel down to the Amazon in do research a new fertililty drug.  It is total fiction, but I think it will be an interesting read.  I'll let you know if it is any good.

One other thing happened this past week.  I got attacked by chiggers.  For those of you who are not from the South, they are tiny red bugs that bite you and leave you itching for weeks!  The acute state is over, but I will have to be more careful about venturing in the woods around here.  I have 35 of these bites all over my torso and bikini line.   I look like I have the chicken pox.

And I'll just post one more picture of my furbaby - she is so sweet and quite the opportunist!