Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em

We are leaving early in the morning for a quick 3-day trip to Las Vegas. I don't gamble, I don't like 100+ temperatures, and we are sharing a condo with another couple (read: no privacy for injections in my hindregions, etc.). I am grumpy today. Can you tell? On the bright side, we have reservations at a bunch of kickass restaurants, and I DO appreciate being distracted when I am antsy. Being around normal human beings who don't know about using needles and catheters to make a baby will quiet the urge for me to A) think/talk/worry about it constantly and B) obsessively pee on small objects and stare at them like a dope for 2 minutes trying to WILL a second line to emerge. Because the latter, in particular, might seem odd to our fertile friends. Otherwise, it'd be golden showers on every absorbent stick in sight.

T minus 4 days until the final word on Cycle Numero Uno. Meh.


Vice and Virtue

If patience is indeed a virtue, then I lack much as a human being in character. I am squirming over the continued wait until next Monday. I have the next cycle all planned out and the list of suitable mean-time distractions made (de-wallpaper and paint master bath, clean basement, start going to the gym again and work out like a maniac to lose 10-20 lbs) AND I simultaneously have names picked out and have rehearsed how I will give my husband the news after the beta results are phoned in. This is, like, the worst reality show ever. Wouldn't even be on Bravo.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Bueller? Bueller?

Semi-random question for any ladies who have completed an IVF cycle (or are post-transfer already): do your prog shots cause skin reactions at all? Mine are leaving small bruises (no alarms, no surprises) but are also causing some decent sized welts that are a little red and warm to touch. It takes 24 hours for the reaction to occur, suggesting delayed type hypersensitivity (local immune reaction). They get marginally better within a day or so. The nurse suggested that I have the prog-in-oil compound switched to olive oil, until I informed her that it IS in olive oil (I guess some other oils tend to cause site reactions). She assured me that the skin reaction in no way impairs the efficacy of the hormone and is just an inconvenience to me (as if the rest of IVF is like a vacation). Any thoughts, experience, suggestions (I know some of you are nurses.....)?


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Waiting is the Hardest Part: Part 2

So, the embryologist gives us around a 25% chance of pregnancy with this one. He and the RE reminded me several times that they are "not God" (thanks, I got confused for a minute) and both think we should just "hope for the best" (again, thanks, since I'm not sure what else there is to do). I am in like with the idea of "pregnant until proven otherwise." At least I can play house with my embryo for a week or so until we find out. A week from next Monday is the beta test - I'm grateful the wait will not be long. I am resolved to NOT test at home, so as not to burst any bubbles prematurely.

I asked only once before going into the OR for the transfer - how soon could we start a new cycle? They would want to take a month off, so not until the end of August. Fair enough. It would give me time to heal my track marks, bruises, and welts in time for new ones.

Here's hoping that won't be necessary...Baby B is cooking in the oven now, just need that little souffle to keep rising...


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waiting is the Hardest Part: Part 1

One more day....I am hoping like hell that I hear NOTHING from my RE today, since I was told they would only call if growth ceased on my lonely little embryo. I am opening up the betting pool for how many times per hour I will check my cell phone call log to make sure I didn't miss a message. Even though it will remain sitting right next to me all day. I might be crazy. I am tempted to take my diazepam right NOW.

On the upside of things, my husband nailed the first prog-in-oil shot last night. A little ice to numb my arse, and then a hella long needle jab...and PRESTO!, it went in like buttah. He was piss-in-his-pants nervous about stabbing me with a needle big enough to qualify as a small knife, but he pulled it off without a hitch. I gave lots of positive reinforcement for his job well done. I mean, it works for my dog, so....anyway, yay for the little victories! (And I swear I could probably give myself the injection; it doesn't seem like such a hard angle to maneuver. I kind of like that KB has to get involved with this step, though, since it's one part of the process we can do together. I mean, considering the conception of our embryo took place in different rooms and while I was under sedation....a little needle jab between lovers seems downright romantic.)

Now, back to and wait, dither and stew....

8PM Update: No phone call today. This either means 1) they checked on Single Embryo and saw 2-4 cells merrily dividing, or 2) they did not check today and will do so tomorrow morning with the full range of outcomes still on the table. I want 8 beautiful cells and I want a transfer! Serenity NOW!

8AM Next Day Update: S/he is a possibly going to be a late bloomer, at only 4 cells this morning (~60-some-odd hr post-ICSI) but the RE seems to think it's worth a shot. Nothing screams confidence like "I've seen it work before." I will reserve judgment for the picture of our 4-celled wunderkind we get to see at 10:30AM. Not feeling confident, just slightly less disappointed. A long-shot is better than no shot, right?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One is the Loneliest Number

Seven oocytes yielded three mature eggs. And three mature eggs, after ICSI, resulted in one fertilized embryo. S/he has to hang on until Thursday for a day 3 single embryo transfer. I am on a moment to moment swing from feeling hopeful to feeling certainly doomed. I don't want this first IVF cycle to turn out like a first pancake.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Here Goes...

We're on like Donkey Kong for retrieval tomorrow morning. Next week is going to be a very long week.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Freudian Slip

When putting an IVF appointment in my iPhone calender, the auto-spelling function helpfully replaced "IVF" with "OCD." Hmmm. Interesting association.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Growing Pains

Bloated? Check. Tired? Check. Eggs growing at a good clip? Check. It still seems like there aren't too many huddling in there, but 8+ measurable between 10-15 mm (and a handful more apparently not worth the good doctor's time) seems sufficient. We are on track for retrieval Monday or Tuesday next week. The stimming is going better than I had horrifically imagined (I pictured me, a rotund beached whale in elastic waistbanded pants, flailing around on the floor bellyaching about my vajayjay paining, but alas, this has not come to pass). A couple more monitoring appointments and then we set the stage for Act 2: The In Vitro-ing.

In the immediate future, this just leaves me to confront The Surgery. Ick. I am counting on that big bottle o'darvocet to get me through since I am no champion when it comes to visceral pain. Good thing I'm trying to get myself into a condition that ends in labor and delivery, eh?

In just over a week, all of this will be over and The Wait begins. Sheist.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Parental Discretion is Advised

Two things interrupted my otherwise normal day of pills, injections, bleeding, ultrasounds, and squeezing in some work around that hot mess.

Numero Uno: In the very crowded clinic early this morning - chock full of grumpy-looking, anxious, and just generally exhausted women and their dutiful partners - one woman, sitting across from me, was all smiles. She and her partner waved around her ultrasound photos and started making excited phone calls; obviously her treatment worked, good for her, blah, blah, blah. I am happy for her, really. But I am more interested in the fact that a dozen or so infertile women (including me), many of whom still are not pregnant and have never been (including me), were watching this in subdued horror. Ugh. Discretion, you former infertile, and apparently insensitive, woman. Discretion. As in, you are not at home or in the company of friends and family (whom I'm sure wish you only the best, and deep down, so do I); rather, you are in the waiting room of an infertility clinic. Where infertile people are. Respect.

Numero Dos: I (think I) don't have a ton of follicles and they don't seem super impressive, so we are upping doses. I don't even know what's "normal" at what "stage" since it varies from patient to patient, clinic to clinic, doctor to doctor, etc. I guess dose adjustments are probably common, right? I suppose I was hoping to be told I had the best, most robust, shiniest and most sparkling follicles after 3 days of stimulation, in numbers the likes of which they've never seen... Not so much. I basically have no real sense for whether this is going well or not, other than it hasn't been cancelled. I could certainly ask many more questions at appointments, or call the nurses, but I am fighting a super-human-strength control freak tendency that would unleash a torrent of questions, suggestions, Dr. Google research, primary literature, meta-analyses, etc. I am guessing my endocrine class in college doesn't qualify me to make medical decisions in this scenario, so I am electing to butt out and leave it to the pros. I don't bother tracking my lab values and such since I don't expect that my physician would change anything based on my amateur objection or curiosity. This massive restraint may be slowly killing me.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Big Guns

Time for mega stimulation to begin. I earned a delightful bonus today: I learned my thyroid is as lazy as our gametes (well, one of ours) and I am now on levothyroxine in addition to my three stabbings per night. I am on a precise and full daily schedule of meds, since the thyroid Rx can't be taken with vitamins. This means 1 pill in the morning, 2 pills at night (vitamin and DHA), and 3 shots of heavy-duty hormonal heroin at night. My kitchen seriously resembles a dispensary. Or a crack den. I hid the bag o'needles from the cleaning lady today for fear she would think me a Suburban with a Terrible Secret.

Three shots turned out not to be three times as bad as one, and there have been no immediate side effects from anything. This might (hey fate, com'ere, I wanna tempt you) not be so bad. It occurred to me today that I am within ~2 weeks of making a maybe-baby. Oh, hope, you are a thing with wings. We are going to Vegas the week after the transfer to keep me from peeing on sticks or otherwise worrying (there will be breakthrough worrying, and they probably sell OTC pregnancy tests in vending machines in the chapels). Maybe we can find a bookie willing to hedge an over/under bet on our odds of success. If we transfer 2 embryos, what outcome constitutes covering the spread? We are then possibly going to rent a cabin in northern Michigan with friends the weekend after, around the time of the beta test. I'm not sure if that weekend will be a great idea or a rough go, but I suppose it will depend on the outcome. The friends we are staying with have a baby. Lucky for him, he's cute as pie.

Crossing my fingers for no sucky side effects. Big bucks, no whammies....


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hard Day's Night

My least favorite side effect (whether direct or indirect) thus far? Hands down: insomnia. It may be caused by body aches, or may be primary, but what it does for sure is suck. Last night provided the first good night's sleep I've had in a while. I hopped on the treadmill just a couple of hours before I went to bed, which may account for that. I'm not superstitious, but I am a creature of habit and a scientist, so I am going to try and replicate this result tonight.

The acupuncture appointment today may factor in, too. The hilarity of the fact that all of my treatments and nearly every sub-component therein consists of needles being jabbed into my body cracks me up.

Next up: three days until SuperStim 2009 begins. The door prize at this grand event? Not one, not two, but three needles each day! Hooray! Honestly, wouldn't it be great if you could just be put into an IVF coma for the entire cycle and wake up when it's time to check the beta?


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

J and K Plus Ape

KB says firmly, no, no Wolverine babies. We have to call the RE pronto, since we are going to have humanzees. It was on PBS, so it's real, people. Interspecies love is theoretically fruitful when the genetics are nearly 100% sympatico.

FYI, since I know you are dying to know this, they are also known as manpanzees and chumans.

I know it's unconventional, but why not push the boundaries of science while we're here? It'll be the coolest thing since the liger.

Youtube has irrefutable proof:

I guess the name Oliver is taken.


From a Land Down Under

KB sent this to me. Is he trying to get at something? Here's what I took away from it: I should have daily relations with an Australian to get pregnant. Is Wolverine busy in a couple of weeks?

Study: More Sex May Help Damaged Sperm


Think Inside the Box

Incidentally, this is what $3200 looks like.


Pants on Fire

The dry run of Rx-stabbing in the clinic (Day 9, Visit 2) was absolutely painless. I braced myself for the agony of a shot in the belly, but none came. What a relief! The practice prog-oil shot in the rear was a little less enjoyable, but still not bad. Then the Rx showed up and I had to administer the first at home. Liars! What sort of magic faux needle did they have me practice with? The real needle hurt, the injection stung for a half hour, and I seethed quietly that this is NOT going to be remotely painless even during the "easy parts" of the cycle. How much more will the prog-oil shot hurt, then?

What is the ratio of:
(no pain / faux arse pain) = (y real pain / x arse pain)?

Solving for "x," we get:
x = (faux / 0) y = I am not amused.

This is gonna be awesome. Ugh.