Tuesday, December 11, 2012

quick breakdown...

As we approached ER I was warned that due to my E2 and the number of follies they were counting, there was a good chance I would be looking at a freeze all scenario.  Knowing how serious OH.SS can be I was more than ok with that plan.  Doc decided to use the Lu.pron trigger to help prevent h.yper stim.  After three shots over a 36 hour period, we checked in for ER on Saturday the 1st.

The quick breakdown...
40 retreived
30 mature
23 fertilized with ICS.I
23 frozen at 2pn stage

Freezing at such an early stage is different than what most dr's do, but I'm willing to give it a try... especially seeing the difference his changes in protocol made this cycle.  Freezing at that stage will allow a thaw and then growth period similar to doing a fresh transfer.

I am thrilled with the outcome thus far and am thankful that we did freeze all.  Last week was tough.  I was very uncomfortable, crampy, bloated, in pain, etc, etc.  This week I am feeling much better even with the remaining bloatage.

Once AF shows (hopefully sometime this week), we will move forward with our FET.  There has been so much change this time around and a lot of doc's ideas are different than what I was expecting.  I'm learning to roll with it and trust that his outside thinking is just what we need.  It's difficult not to be excited and hopeful.  I know I should be those things, but the fear of more heartbreak is just as powerful.

"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.  You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown..."  Denis Waitley

Monday, November 26, 2012

jumping right in...

I guess I'm overdue for some updating around here...  I'm not feeling very witty today, so I'll just give the basics.

After two months on Cl.omid, Joel's numbers got better in some areas and unchanged or worse in others.  Of course we would have liked to see a big improvement, but I'm glad that we gave it a try.

After considering those numbers and taking into account my uncooperative levels, we decided that IVF #2 was the way to go.  We are going away in January and I knew that we would be cutting it close.  After a round of Pr.overa, AF still took her sweet time showing up and it was looking like ET would be days before we left. 

IVF #1, my E2 was all over the place.  Rocketing up early then crashing.  IMO, this effected the quality and quantity we retrieved.  FET #1 my E2 wouldn't rise.  I was up to four patches a day as well as Est.race before we finally got it to a good enough place for transfer.  And if you remember from our most recent attempt at a cycle, my E2 was being a bitch yet again. 

A bunch of different ideas were tossed around for this round but nothing would be 100% decided protocol wise until baseline.  When I got my callback after b/w and u/s that day, I was notified that we were jumping right it. No bcp's, this show was starting.  Antag.onist is the name of the game this time around. 

Today will be night eight of 150 Bra.velle.  Saturday I started 75 Me.nopur with .25 Cet.rotide in the am.  This morning's u/s looked good.  Lining is at a 9 and I have measurable follies on each side (and a ton more that looking to catch up).  Waiting on today's callback with the latest instructions.

So, here's hoping that this Christmas we get the greatest gift of all.

As I wish and dream and pray every day, and look for some kind of sign that this will all work out, I came across this quote which seems very fitting:

“Wish on everything. Pink cars are good, especially old ones. And stars of course, first stars and shooting stars. Planes will do if they are the first light in the sky and look like stars. Wish in tunnels, holding your breath and lifting your feet off the ground. Birthday candles. Baby teeth...”  Francesca Lia Block

Monday, August 13, 2012

outside the box...

On Friday, my E2 decided it would start to rise... on Saturday it had given up again.  Enter a new prescription for my old friend Prov.era and this cycle is down for the count.

Honestly, I'm not really upset.  I look at this cycle as a nice groundwork for this Dr to see how my body repsonds. We are back in the game after what I thought was the end so anything that happens from this point is ok in my book.

I'm really looking forward to working with this doc.  I've described him as a bit of a mad scientist.  He is willing to look at things from an outside the box perspective.  Where so many doctors seem to look at a diagnosis and automatically slip patients into a designated protocol, he is looking at us and how we respond and what our testing looks like... looking at the actual numbers and not lumping us into a particular pile just because we should fall into a certain category.

Putting Joel on Cl.omid is big in my book.  Everyone else said, "nah it's not worth it."  He says, "why not... it's not going to hurt to try."

As for me... my body has never seemed to cooperate.  I never seem to respond like I should to meds and he is trying to find the why.  What else can we try in conjunction with the standard meds to get me to respond in a way that can help us reach our goal.  I love that he isn't slapping a label on me and is looking outside the textbook answers.

Why aren't more doctors looking at the whys?  From fellow IFers and from all the offices we have visited it seems like a lot of places offer up the Cl.omid, Fe.mara, Injects, IVF assembly line.  If one doesn't work after a couple of cycles you move to the next.  It's like here's your b/w and u/s, you didn't repsond like we wanted you to... proceed to the next stop on the IF train.  You have PCOS?... Proceed to Gate 4... DOR?... Gate 7 please...   

I'm not by any means saying all doctors are like this, but enough of them are out there that I feel like it makes IF even harder for us as patients.  We truly need to advocate for ourselves to get real answers.  "Bad luck", is not answer.  Self advocation though, is a post for another day.

"The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them..."  William Bragg

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

whirlwind...

In June, we celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary.  It also marked a turning point for our family plans.  Here's the condensed version of the past two months...

While out celebrating, Joel asked what I thought about giving it a go one more time.  I'm sure the look on my face was priceless.  Just when I was letting go, he was taking the reigns from me.  We talked about everything like we hadn't in a long time and decided that it couldn't hurt to weigh our options with the docs.  Even if we didn't end up cycling, at least we would have that final peace of mind.

Less than two weeks later, I took a pregnancy test on a whim.  It was positive.  Less than a week after that, it was over.  The details of it all are pointless, we'll call it what it was... another chemical.

Moving on... I knew that the doctor I wanted to meet with usually has a pretty good wait list so I was shocked when the receptionist told me I had impeccable timing.  She had just got off the phone with a cancellation... could we come in the next afternoon?  I jumped on it.

The 3+ hour appointment that was a result of that phone call was awesome.  It was the first time it really felt right.  The dr's attitude, his ideas, his thoughts on our past cycles... everything seemed to fit.  Even Joel, who doesn't usually say much, was very involved in the discussions.  We had came for just a consult, but when doc said let's get started, Joel and I looked at each other - agreed - and went off to begin testing.

After fourteen vials of blood drawn between us, an ultrasound for me, and a SA for him... we were back to talk about a plan.  At last count, Joel's SA had shown only about 80K motile.  This latest test showed 1mill.  We have no idea how the hell that happened but we'll take it.  There are no guarantees, but doc wanted to try Cl.omid for Joel to see if there would be any continued improvement.

Given the increase on this test, we were given the option to try an IUI now.  While the count is still low, doc felt it was enough of an improvement  to give us that choice.  If not, we wait a couple of months for the meds to have a chance on Joel and then reevaluate after the repeat SA.  No improvement - back to IVF... Improvement - IUI.

After a discussion of procudure options and costs, we decided to give the IUI a shot.  It certainly can't hurt to try.  I began 2.5mg of Letro.zole the next day.  My body, of course, didn't respond.  Dosage was upped to 5mg and I finally have some action.  I'm waiting for today's bloodwork to see what's next.

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but I'm feeling good.  Trying to take it all moment by moment and embrace that even if this doesn't work, at least we tried...

"When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead.  No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress.  We cannot take more than one step at a time..."  Orison Swett Marden

Friday, April 27, 2012

one day at a time...

When you meet the guy you are going to marry when you are just 17, you have your whole life ahead of you.  You are carrying your childhood dreams into this relationship and as the relationship grows, your dreams reshape around you.  When you will get married, where you will live, how many kids you will have, which "real" job are you going to take...  You are wide-eyed and excited even knowing that there will be bumps in the road and that things won't always go as planned.

Anticipating those bumps did not prepare me for the infertility card.

Thirteen years as a couple later and approaching the four year mark of trying, I still can't fully wrap my head around it.  The "no kids" discussion is had more often than the "let's try again" discussion.  It is a discussion that breaks my heart.  And yet, I know that it is probably my reality. 

Recently I said it out loud for the first time... One of those annoying people who just really doesn't know when to end a conversation was pestering me about when we were going to have kids (you know, because it's totally any of their business).  After skirting around the issue for a bit I finally just said it... "We aren't having kids."  And of course this person just couldn't let it go and continued with the ole, "You wait and see."  I replied, "No... we can't have kids."

There is something to be said about saying things out loud.  You can think it, you can write it, you can dream about it... but it just doesn't feel real until you say it out loud.

It is real now and I'm trying to figure out where to go from here.  Maybe we'll change our minds and give it another go.  Maybe we'll be that couple who it randomly just happens to out of no where (I'm not holding my breath).  Maybe... there's just so many maybe's and what if's and possibilities out there.

It's hard to explain to people who haven't been down this road.  To explain infertility as so much more than just not being able to have children.  Infertility changes who you are whether you want it to or not.  It can (and will) break you into a million pieces.  But when you finally piece yourself back together, you find parts of yourself that you forgot existed.  You shape a new life for yourself and pray that this time you will find the peace you have been searching for.

One day at a time.  That's all anyone can really do right?...

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us..." Joseph Campbell

p.s. To those who asked if they could share my previous post, please share away.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

infertility is...

Hushed conversations, secret struggles, gross misconceptions, ignorence.

The reality is much more than that.  The reality is a group of people who fight a battle everyday for a glimpse of what seems to come so easily to everyone else.  People who face heartbreak and fear and loss and unanswerable questions every single day.  People who question every choice they make.  People who wonder what they did to deserve this.  People who willingly subject their bodies to tests and treatments and probes and medications... with no guarantee of their happily ever after.

Infertility is...
Getting excited when needles/syringes/medications arrive in the mail:



Having your veins look like this on a good day:

Covering your stomach in patches that leave you bloated and your tummy covered in a residue that fights you to the death to come off:

Carting your cryopreserved potential future children between clincs:

Watching while two beautiful embryos are transferred into you:

Waiting years to see this:

...Only to be told four days later that your dream doesn't get to stay.

It's multiple injections daily that leave you with bumps and bruises in places that are not convenient to have bumps and bruises. 

It's eyes so swollen from crying that you lie with ice packs in hopes of being presentable to the outside world.

It's being stripped of your privacy.

It's laughing at yourself for thinking that maybe, just maybe this is the month.

It's watching "it" happen for everyone else.

It's hoping you'll be "that couple" who was told it wouldn't happen but got knocked up once they stopped trying/went on vacation/stopped stressing/did thisthatortheother thing.

It's is also finding a strength in yourself that you never knew existed.

It's finding new meaning in words like patience... hope... faith...

It's discovering a new path.

It's learning that even in the darkest of days, you will be ok.

Infertility is someone you know... your daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend...

Infertility is me...

"Perhaps strength doesn't reside in having never been broken, but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places..." Unknown

Friday, April 20, 2012

a year...

It's hard to write when you don't really know what direction you are heading in.  I wouldn't say I'm lost, it's more like I'm wandering.

It hit me last week that it was exactly a year ago that we last cycled.  A year.  In one breath I feel like we have given up... in the next I still contemplate what's next.  I've been holding onto thoughts and feelings with no clear picture of how to release them.  There are some things that you just can't put into words, and other things that are simply just hard to let go of.

With National Infertility Awareness Week rapidly approaching, I thought I would take some time to sort out some of my thoughts on here.  Maybe try to make sense of how I feel.  Maybe just take some time to clear my head. 

I also signed up for IComLeavWe (which I haven't done in forever) so that I could take a glimpse into the challenges that others are facing and to remind myself that I'm not alone in this struggle.  It will also get me writing again which I've been wanting to do, but keep putting off.

So here goes nothing... this upcoming week will be me moving on (or at least not standing still any longer).

"My mama always said you've got to put the past behind you before you move on..." Forest Gump