Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change of Plans

As previously noted, I love my RE. So, when he told me yesterday (yes, I had a 20-minute conversation w/my RE on a Saturday) that he wasn't completely happy with how our IVF cycle was developing and didn't want to go forward with it, DH and I whole-heartedly agreed with him. Although we are still within protocol, meaning we meet all the parameters for retrieval, our RE doesn't like the lead follicle situation. Cetrotide did help a bit, but didn't solve what he saw as a problem.

New plan: in an attempt to "salvage" (his word, not mine) the cycle, we're converting it to an IUI cycle. Trigger tonight, IUI on Tuesday. It's funny because we don't have a CLUE about IUIs -- we skipped right through those b/c of our male factor issues -- so any advice from old hands at the IUI process is welcome.

We know the odds on this IUI cycle are not good at all, but we trust our RE's advice. We want to have the best shot at our second IVF cycle, and if he's not happy, we're not happy!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Staying the course -- Stim Day #5

Today's appointment confirmed why I LOVE my RE. I was in the clinic around an hour-and-a-half, about 45 minutes of which I spent sitting in my RE's office talking about my cycle and life in general. That just doesn't happen when doctors are having to play the billing game -- perhaps an argument for concierge medical care? I digress.

He liked my lining (.6), and estrogen level (796 after just four days of stims -- booyah), but wasn't too keen on the development of a "lead follicle" (measuing 1.3). The concern is that, although I remain within protocol numbers, the lead follicle will signal its superiority and all the other little follicles will give up the fight - not what we want to happen. So, I start an antagonist drug tonight and go back on Saturday morning for another round of ultrasound/bloodwork. Our RE did emphasize that if he's not completely happy with how everything looks, he's calling off this cycle. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy? He really has our best interest at heart, and wants us to have the best shot possible at becoming parents. We are so blessed. Sigh.

Anybody else dealt with the lead follicle issue??

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


With our new protocol, we went straight from BCPs into stim shots. Funny thing is, nobody told AF she was off duty. In case you're curious, stims + cramps = not a lot of fun. So anyway, I've been harassing my IVF coordinator with questions (Are you really sure this is okay? I really don't understand how I'm going to have enough lining in 10 or so days to sustain a pregnancy? Are you REALLY sure this is okay???) for a couple of days, and today she booked me for a session with our RE after the previously-scheduled ultrasound and bloodwork to discuss the plan.

As much as I want this cycle to go forward, I want it to work so, so much more. I'll let you know what we hear. For now, off to do stim #4.

Happy ICLW!

Monday, January 19, 2009

More on acupuncture

Seems some of you are interested in hearing more about the acupuncture appointment -- for those veterans among the crowd, feel superior in your knowledge and enjoy the ride.

This particular facility is, as I think lots probably are, located in the "funky" part of town. My trusty Garmin led me to a nondescript, low-slung office building. Nothing on the door but the numbers. I made my way in, rang the gong doorbell (seriously), and was ushered in to meet with one of the most gracious, welcoming women I've ever had the opportunity to meet. We chatted and went through my (very thorough) paperwork, and then we made our way back to the treatment room. It reminded me more of a doctor's office than a spa, which was good with me. She showed me that the needles were single-use and sterile (for some reason, it hadn't entered my brain that they wouldn't be, but still a comfort to see), and then we got started. I took off my shoes, but that was it - needles went the top of my head, hands, feet, and tummy (just pulled up my shirt for those). A few of the needles stung going in, but others I didn't even feel. She then turned on some heaters and soothing music, turned off the lights, and left me be for about a half an hour. After my time was up, she pulled the needles out, and I only had a pinprick of blood from one of the ones on my feet. That was it! It was totally non-violent.

I'll have to say, it was waaay outside my comfort zone, but I left feeling more relaxed than I've been in a long time. Even if it didn't have proven benefits re blood flow, the relaxation benefits alone would put it on my list of things to-do. Hope this helps!

Addendum: nope, no insurance coverage. But it wasn't painfully expensive, which was a welcome relief, as well!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure . . . .

That was my lead-in to telling my eye doctor that we were doing IVF -- I didn't think he really needed to know, but it felt a bit strange responding "allergy meds" when the tech asked me what kind of medications I was taking. Anywho, he was glad to have the information, especially since my eyes have gotten significantly worse this year -- a change he chalks up to, you guessed it, the IVF meds. Who knew?! Goes to show that all health care providers (even eye doctors, apparently) need to be in the circle of IVF trust.

And here you thought I was going to tell you how accupuncture went. Okay, okay, I will.




For those who've asked, yes, it's Dr. Ivey. She's just great! I'm already looking forward to next week's appointment.

Yesterday's testing went well. I'm "sufficiently suppressed," so we're clear to start stims tomorrow night. Bring it on.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jumping the Shark on the Baby Journey

I'm no Fonzie, but what tomorrow has in store is something that borders on the absurd for this main-line-believer-in-all-things-Western-medicine-girl: acupuncture. Save the comments -- I KNOW that it increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, increases rates of pregnancy, decreases stress, etc. etc. ad nauseum. I FEEL like our path has veered on over to the absurd, and we'll soon have a beloved character return from the dead or there will be an unnaturally-aged toddler in our house or something. Sigh. The motto is, whatever works. The things we do, no?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New do, new calendar, new site

New do: Thanks for all the commentary -- my highlights look great, and I now feel prepared to get pregnant (because that's all it takes is ME feeling prepared, ha ha. The best-laid plans and whatnot.).

New calendar: We got our calendar in the mail this week, and I talked through it with my IVF coordinator yesterday. The plan is an antagonistic protocol, which for me means BCPs until next week, NO LUPRON (I'm doing a happy non-migraine dance over here!!!), stims (375 Follistim and 75 Menopur) next Sunday, retrieval a week to 10 days later, transfer 5 days after that, and we'll know the score before Valentine's Day (I say that not to be dramatic, but to give you an easy marker to remember -- it's how we're pacing it!).

It is a FAST protocol, and also a PAID FOR round b/c we qualified for the shared risk program at our clinic, meaning we paid for 2 cycles up front, and if we don't have a baby (not just get pregnant) this round, we get 60% of the money back (which basically pays for cycle #3). All good things, I think.

New site: I don't think I'm alone in the whole "you're pregnant and I'm not" brain divide that kicks in from time-to-time. Jealousy can be a very unwelcome partner on this journey. As excited as I am for my IRL friends (very few of whom have had any struggles getting pregnant) when they announce their pregnancies, I will admit to a few nasty twinges in my first reaction. Sure, I get over it, but I really wish I didn't go through it in the first place. That's not me, and I hate it. Anyway, the site is the story of 2 sisters, one fertile and the other struggling with IF, and how they learned to love and grow together. It's one I will be digging deeply into over the weekend, and hope to find some inspiration in their words. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To foil, or not to foil -- that is the question

I learned the hard way that I couldn't have my highlights touched up during my 2ww -- my IVF coordinator shot that one down. Seemed like a good plan to me, oh well. So, now I really do need to have these highlights dealt with before we get geared back up. I assume it's okay right now, since all I'm on are BCPs? What in the world could it hurt? Easier to ask forgiveness than permission?

Share your wisdom, por favor.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I suppose

Even the Pope, who has declared that IVF violates human dignity. Read more here.

I'm not Catholic, so I don't have to pay any attention to this nasty rhetoric . . . but still. Am I the only one who thinks lumping IVF in with the creation of human-animal hybrids might be a bit of an overreach? Is this reaching the world with the truth? Eye on the ball, people.

Love one another. Always.

Close Encounters of the Clinic Kind

Every 3rd or 4th time we're in our clinic, we see someone we know from the "outside." These close encounters can begin as early in our visit as stepping onto the elevator -- since our clinic is the entire 5th floor of the medical building, when someone hits "5," it's almost like they've slipped you some sort of a secret handshake. Sometimes we exchange knowing smiles, sometimes we pretend not to have noticed them, even as we walk a few steps behind them down the hall to the clinic. Crowded elevators are helpful for the latter approach.

Then there's walking into the clinic and seeing someone you know. We've found at this point, it depends on: (a) how well you know the people; (b) the context in which you know them, and , (c) what day of the week it is.

For example, we saw a girl DH knew from high school who I also know from various social and civic organizations on a Sunday morning. Now, nobody is there on a Sunday morning for a consult or an initial visit. Sunday mornings are reserved for IUIs, IVF cycle blood monitoring, Beta tests, etc. Sunday mornings are for warriors. We sat and chatted with her while we both waited for our procedures, and felt we had found a compatriot in this struggle. It was a nice encounter, and we've emailed a few times since.

On the flip side, we saw the wife of a former co-worker of DH's in the clinic lobby on a random Tuesday morning. Tuesdays are the Statue of Liberty of clinic days. Tuesdays welcome everyone. Despite the higher stakes on the weekend visits, somehow they seem more intentional; on weekdays, the clinic is just filled with nervous people. Most of them have no clue what's going on, and their husbands are obviously weirded out by the whole scene. I prefer the weekends. Anyway, this "wife of a former co-worker" obviously didn't want us to see her, so she sort of did the "head-down-duck-into-the-lab" move that I'm guilty of doing myself from time to time. Those encounters are just weird.

Then there's what I call the "unavoidable hall bump." This has only happened to me once, but it made an impression. On my last visit, I was walking down the hall to check-out, and a girl I knew from college (not a friend, more of an acquaintance) was coming towards me down the hall to the exam rooms. It was face-to-face, head-on encounter. It also caught us both by surprise, and what I like to call "normal social conventions" took over. We both kept moving, but did the bright-eyed, full smile, "oh my gosh good to see you" thing. Very strange, given the circumstances. It was a quintessential clinic encounter.

I've found I have a different attitude towards these clinic encounters this time around. I don't mind seeing people in the clinic as much as in the past. We've done all the tests, we know the drills. All the staff know us. We know how many days are involved with which stage, and what a good Beta count would be. Hopefully we'll be able to encourage some folks along the way, too.

In a strange way, it's comforting to do this again. Kind of like Sunday visits are more calming than Tuesday visits. I'll take comfort where I can get it in this process. Grace and peace to all of you this weekend.