Saturday, September 29, 2012

All Better... and Hopeful?

So yesterday I woke up and was 90% better. Still a tiny backache but absolutely no cramps. Today is Saturday (10 dpo 8dpt) and I feel fine. It was probably nothing, or gas and an unrelated sore back, but of course I have wild hopes that it was implantation cramping.

We're off to the mountains this weekend to meet my parents, so hopefully that will be a good distraction. We come home Monday night, Tuesday I have a busy day at work, and Wednesday is test day! I am excited yet dreading it at the same time... Oh well, off to enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Yesterday, around noon, I started having very mild cramping. Last night, it got worse. Not terrible, but bad enough that I would have taken painkillers if I weren't too worried not to. Also, sometime overnight, my back started to ache pretty badly. Today at work, the cramps mostly subsided, but the back ache got pretty bad. I sat at my desk with a heating pad for most of the day.

This evening, the back is feeling better, but now the cramps are occasionally happening again. I was terrified last night that this all means my period is coming. It would be really sad to get a negative next Wednesday, but I will be totally devastated if I don't even make it to next Wednesday. If I get my period early and all my chances are lost due to my damn luteal phase defect, I will be so upset. Last time, last cycle, the progesterone was perfect. I had like a 16 or 17 day luteal phase. I am only on 8dpo 6dpt, so this better not be my period. It's possible the cramps are gas (though I don't think so) and the back ache... just unrelated? Or could the cramping be a good sign, perhaps?

I don't know, but I'm pretty upset and anxious. Last time, I had no symptoms, so there was nothing to hyper-analyze.

I hope I wake up tomorrow and feel totally fine. We will see.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Update During the 2WW

I'm not sure why I stopped writing two weeks ago. This blog has been so helpful in expressing my hopes and fears and frustrations during my fertility troubles. This cycle was really hard, much harder than the first one, so that might be some of it. I've also been busier than usual, both at work and socially. Finally, having K to talk to has made venting on the blog not as necessary this time around. We have a little email chain going around for five of us in the RESOLVE group, and having people to give me this support has been so invaluable.

To update: when I last wrote, I'd gone to the Thursday appointment and had a low number of follicles, and a very low estrogen of 120. My first cycle, to compare, it was 362 on that day. They upped my dose and told me to come back Sunday. I went, and still only had a sad four follicles of large enough size. That explains why  my estrogen had been so low the whole time. In my first cycle, I had 8-10 playing ball, and this time I had 4-5. Part of it is that the first cycle I had 11 antral follicles to start with, and this time I had only 8. So I had fewer to start with, and they grew more slowly, I don't know why.

I was crying after Sunday's ultrasound, after I'd been told to come back again the next day and to see my actual doctor, who would make the final call on cancelling the cycle or going forward with triggering. In the middle of crying, I suddenly see B's eyes roll back in his head and he slumps, slowly, to the ground. I began to scream and cry, thinking that with my luck, he surely was dead. It was horrible! He hit a table that hit a wall, plus I was screeching, so the door to the exam room bursts open and two more doctors rush in. So we've got me, hyperventiling and pants-less on the table, a fellow and a resident in the room, a doctor and a fellow rushing in, and poor B passed out on the floor. Well, of course he was okay. He came to, and they wheeled him out on a stretcher, deciding that he'd just had a vasovagal response and he wasn't going to die! We were kept there for another 2 hours or so, monitoring his vitals, but he was feeling better and we eventually got to go home.

What an ordeal.

So, we go back on Monday, and Dr. F is ribbing him a bit, giving him a "special chair" to sit on during my ultrasound. By then we could all laugh about it. One more crazy adventure in this fertility mess. Anyway, Dr. F did what I had always thought he'd do: let us trigger that night, since I had 4 decently sized follucles. My estrogen was in the 400s on Sunday, and had risen to 679 on Monday. So, we triggered Monday night.

I didn't get sick at all on Wednesday morning, unlike the first time around. I don't know if it's because I had less estrogen in me, or if the first time it was a lot of nerves that caused it. In any case, I was okay, and retrieval last Wednesday (September 19th) went fine. Dr. F was very careful, he told B, and managed to get all 4 mature follicles.

I got the call on Thursday morning that of the 4, only 2 had fertilized. This was lower than we had hoped. So we trooped back in, depressed and sad, on Friday for transfer. No sense in waiting for a three day transfer when we only had two embryos anyway. However, we got words of hope when we arrived. Dr. F and the embryologist- mostly the embryologist- explained that last time I'd had 3 cell embryos, and this time I had a 4 cell and a 6 cell. Much better!

Also, there was something different during this transfer. Maybe because it was Dr. F and not unpersonable, cold Dr. M, who did it last time. But this time... instead of being as scared, and being wary of pain from the catheter (which I never had), B and I actually watched the monitor screen. Dr. F encouraged us too. He explained each thing that was happening, and we saw the catheter slowly deposit the embryos into my uterus. B and I both teared up. Something felt so special this time. It felt really like our possible babies on that screen we were watching. I cried, and cried even more afterwards, as the embryologist told us we had such strong embryos, especially the 6 cell one on a day 2 transfer. She and Dr. F both held my hands, and wished me the best luck they could. The last thing she said to me, as I tried not to all-out bawl, was: "This is your time." Even typing this now, I feel tears coming. I know they did the best they could, and it's just up to luck and chance now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Not good

Just sent this to my support group friends, and didn't see a need to write anything new for this blog. I think this about sums it up:

As you all know, my day 4 estrogen was only 42. Last cycle, it was 99, and the clinic wants to see it 150 or above. 

We upped my dose from 225 to 375 units of Follistim. That comes to... oh, $350 a night, not including any other drug. Fun.

Well I went in today for another check at 7:30 am and they JUST called back, and I'm still only at 120 estrogen. Not good. I knew it wasn't good when they hadn't called me all day.

They don't want me to come back till Sunday, when we will check again and decide whether to cancel the cycle or not. I only have 8 antral follicles and last time I had 11 at this time. Things are looking pretty bad. Meanwhile, I get to spend another $1000 on the Follistim. I wonder if I lose one of my Attain "tries" even if this is cancelled?

The whole thing totally sucks and there is nothing I can do. Sunday seems a long way off. Happy weekend to me. 

I have nothing positive to say. That's my update. My body hates me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 5: Not a Good Day

Yesterday I got bad news. At 3:45 pm, the nurse FINALLY called me back with my blood work (probably though  not definitely because I sent a worried email to her right before that). Since I started on 225 IU of Follistim, instead of 175 like last cycle, I assumed my estrogen would be higher than 99, which is what it was last time. They like to see it 150 or above.

Well, it wasn't higher. In fact, despite my higher dosage, it was pathetically lower. Only 44. 44! How could that be??? I almost cried on the phone with the nurse, but she was short with me and not helpful. I went to K's house and it was good to see her and to go to the RESOLVE support group, but I was distressed all night long. I cried and yelled at B several times on the phone (he was still out of town; he came home very late last night/early this morning).

After a much interrupted night of sleep, due to B coming in at 5 am, the cat's usual nonsense, and my inability to fall back asleep due to nerves, I couldn't take it anymore at 1 pm and finally emailed Dr. F. He reassured me by writing: "Thank you for your message.  I am sorry that the test result yesterday upset you so.  Yes, it was a bit lower than expected, based on your pattern of response not so long ago, but certainly there also are fluctuations and variations from cycle to cycle.  Please understand that the whole purpose of the day 4 estrogen level is to afford us an early opportunity to intervene and adjust where necessary to optimize your overall response to stimulation.  Needless to say, I will look forward to seeing what your visit reveals tomorrow, but I honestly believe that the likelihood of recommending a cycle cancellation tomorrow is very small.  I fully expect your estrogen level to rise significantly and will be quite surprised if it does not. 
I hope that this information is helpful to you.  I look forward to seeing the outcome of your visit tomorrow." [my emphasis added]

So I calmed down after that. I just keep repeating to myself, "the likelihood of recommending a cycle cancellation tomorrow is very small." That has to be my mantra if I am going to get any sleep tonight and not have a total stomach ache when I get up in the morning. Luckily, my appointment is at 7:30 am, so I don't have long to wait.

In other news, K's beta doubled! She is really pregnant! I am so happy and relieved for her. This IVF thing really does work for some people....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Round 2, Day 4, Down in the Dumps

I've had three nights of the stims so far. My belly is sore. Much more than last time, or maybe I just don't remember it. Worse, I'm not doing very well. I'm much more emotional and depressed and hopeless than last cycle. I guess last time I was super hopeful and nervous, and the adrenaline kept me going. This time, after one failure, I am slogging through it, not feeling motivated and buoyed by hope. Just depressed and bitter and angry and sad.

It doesn't help that B has been in California since Friday morning. I've been alone since then, and staying busy with friends, but it's not the same kind of support. I am thrilled that K is pregnant, and we're emailing still, and even went for a walk on Sunday, but her pregnancy has made me more despondent about my own failure last time, and worried that if I don't have success this time, I won't have the support that I've had from her going through this the same time as me.

I did my day 4 bloodwork this morning and I'm waiting somewhat anxiously for them to call back. Hopefully the higher dose of Follistim to start will have made a difference and I'll have some more eggs this time. But it's really the ICSI that we need to work. That was really our problem last time (or so we think).

I'm just so weepy all the time. I read a magazine, I watch a movie, and I'm bawling all over myself. I'm having trouble sleeping because I can't turn my brain off from running in the same negative circles. I'm getting more upset about other things that wouldn't bother me quite as much. I think it's a mixture of emotions I'd be having anyway on a second IVF, plus the hormone swings from all the drugs. I have to remember that I am on a higher dose this time, and two weeks of Lupron at this point as well.

So, waiting on bloodwork, support group tonight, then B gets home very late. I'm glad he'll be back to be with me for the second half of the stims, and I hope that this cycle is the one for us. I don't know how I will get out of bed from now on if it is not. I really don't.

See? I'm hopeless and melodramatic. I realize it, but I feel unmotivated to try to be any different. Blegh.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Night of Stims (Round Two)

I woke up this morning to amazing news. K is pregnant! She is my good friend that I met through RESOLVE, and I've been talking to her and hanging out together throughout her entire cycle. I have been hoping and hoping things would work out for her, and they did! Sometimes it is hard to believe that IVF works for anyone, with all the months I've met women struggling with infertility, but K had success her very first try. I am slightly jealous, but more just totally happy and overjoyed for her and her husband. It's so wonderful for someone to have good news for once. Yay for her!

She is totally convinced it's a good omen for me, and last weekend while visiting B's friends in Brooklyn, Stacey was sure that being pooped on by a bird (!) and being around all the preggers people in her neighborhood would somehow wear off on me. Hm! I don't know about that, but I'll take what I can get.

Tonight was the first night of stims. I don't know if I will be on here as much as in last cycle. I feel less hopeful, but then again, K's positive today has sparked something in me again. I definitely feel less nervous, since I've done all this before and there aren't any surprises or fears that I had my first cycle. I will just do what I'm supposed to do, and hope and pray that it works. And if not, well, I have one more fresh cycle at least. Sigh.

The whole thing is very tiring. Fertility really does consume so much time and energy. The last month of taking a break has been a relief, though I am ready and grateful to be starting the process again. Here's to a successful second round!