Saturday, August 31, 2013


Not wanting to go into details at the moment, but I'll just say it is not looking good, and it is pretty safe to assume that this cycle did not work.  I'm putting that here to hopefully avoid too many people asking me about it, cause I'd kind of rather just think about/talk about other things.  I have a lot of thoughts and emotions around where I'm going next, but I'm not really ready to share them.  Instead I'll share a list of things that are nice, and make me happy, right now, at this very moment:

  • A surprise box of Jones Chips arriving this morning from my dad, which while it may not sound like much, is actually very much
  • I have a new nephew - just a couple of days old.  Babies are bittersweet for me, but of course I love him so much already, and I can't wait to meet him and my new niece soon (welcome to the family Garrett and Blake)
  • Three day weekend full of time with my husband and just the right amount of time with friends
  • Getting a chicken coop built today
  • Breakfast in bed from the best husband ever
  • Resilience

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Halfway Through Waiting

I realize that I didn't mention that I test next Tuesday, and I've had a few people ask me, so I just wanted to share that information.  Ian and I may or may not test at home before then, as a home pregnancy test result should be quite valid on Saturday.  I may or may not post results here immediately, depending on what results are and how I am feeling.  If I get good results, I may want to wait for actual beta numbers from the blood test before posting.  I may want to speak to my family first.  If I get bad results, I may feel like mourning alone for a minute.  I may feel like mourning with a small number of people.

It's one of a million ways I feel torn in two directions by the emotions of this process.  On one hand, I love so much how many people reach out and ask and check in and send thoughts and love.  It is really nice.  Please keep doing that!  :) On the other hand, it is hard sometimes to feel like I owe news to so many people and like so many people are let down by the news when it is bad.  So, if you poke me and I don't answer, know that I still appreciate the poke!  It just might not be the time or way I want to share news, (which I may or may not have yet to share), at that moment.  Your "sending good thoughts today!" is appreciated even if I already found out 2 days earlier that it is bad news.  I just might not be ready to reply to it.

So, all that said, check back here on Tuesday.  If there's nothing posted here yet, it probably means I'm not quite ready to share.  If there is, well, then you'll know!  And thanks for all the love.  I'm sort of continually amazed that so many people give a shit at all.  It's truly a gift - the friends and family in my life.  I appreciate you all.

(For those who wonder, I have no idea if it has worked - although at this point it already either has or hasn't.  I have no real symptoms to speak of.  Have had a cold for days, but nothing otherwise beyond the norm.  That's good news for me not having a ton of shit to constantly overanalyze and google all day long!)

About Me - an Infertility Timeline

There's this thing I look for on every Infertility blog I visit and it is always the first thing I want to see, before I dig into the meat of the blog.  It tells me everything I need to know to prepare myself.  It isn't something my family and friends will care so much about, but I can imagine I'm not the only infertile person cruising around the Internet who has this habit and who needs to know, before committing to reading, where this person is on her journey and how, in that very particular moment, I'm going to feel about it.  So, what a shame, I realized recently, that I don't have such a thing on my blog.

Funny thing is, it used to be that if I saw a list on a blog that looks anything like mine below, I would run run away because it seemed too sad and didn't provide the hope I was looking for.  Now, if this is what I see, I feel like I've found a kindred spirit.  When I see anything near this length, but with a nice BFP at the end, that's the best!  Thees days that's the hope I'm looking for.

Anyhow, I'll continue to keep this updated, and it is linked on the sidebar over there to your right.


TTC since 06/10
Diagnosis: Unexplained Infertility

03/12 - IUI #1 - BFN
04/12 - IUI #2 - BFN
05/12 - IUI #3 - BFN
06/12 - IUI #4 - BFN
10/12 - IVF #1 (3dt) - BFN
12/12 - FET #1 (3dt) - BFN
03/13 - FET #2 (5dt) - BFN
08/13 - IVF #2 (3dt) - BFN
12/13 - FET #3 (3dt) - BFP  (Beta #1 - 15dpo, 12dp3dt - 150, Beta #2 - 18dpo, 15dp3dt - 665, Ultrasound at 6w2d measured 5mm and heartrate of 120
Ultrasound at 7w1d measured 9.5mm heartrate of 119
Ultrasound at 8w2d no heartbeat.
MUA at 8w3d.
7/14 - IVF #3 (5dt - two fresh, one frozen) - BFN
11/14 - FET #4 (3 blastocysts - all chromosomally normal) - BFP (Beta #1 - 18dpo, 13dp5dt - 983, Beta #2 - 20dpo, 15dp5dt - 2160.
Ultrasounds at 6w3d, 7w3d and 8w3d all showing normal heartrates on 3 embryos, one of which is about a week behind in size.  Reduction 1/21/15.
Lillian and Matilda born 7/17/15 at 36 weeks 6 days. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Bros

The transfer went very well!  We found that all 12 embryos had survived until day 3, and we had 6 that Dr. Tran considered excellent (based on number of cells, uniformity of cells, and fragmentation).  This is in comparison to 1 or 2 in our last cycle that were of similar quality.  The other 6 vary from slightly less amazing down to not very good looking, and although I saw all the numbers, it was too much to take in and I just don't remember (I also might've been a little valium drunk at the time).

So, we transferred the best 3 and in my uterus they now reside, hopefully settling in!  Well, hopefully they aren't *all* settling in, but 1 or 2 are welcome to settle in!

Here they are!  Henceforth referred to as "the triplets," "the bros," or maybe, just for my dad, "Huey, Duey and Louie."

I am feeling cautiously hopeful.  I was thinking about it, and there are quite a few things that have changed since the last cycle, that I'm hoping will increase our odds.

  1. Medicine Protocal - we switched up my meds hoping for higher quality eggs, and it seems like we got 'em.
  2. Hysteroscopy - I had that hysteroscopy, which I had almost forgotten about until looking back on the blog.  I don't know that it helped anything, but we did remove a tiny polyp and a tiny septum so can't hurt.
  3. Biopsy -  Had the delightful endometrial biopsy aka tickle that can help. 
  4. Number of embryos transferred - We transferred three embryos instead of two.
Keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me.

In the meantime, I just had a second post published on Kveller (literally they published it as I was working on this post).  This is a post that I am advertising less far and wide because it is, as Ian put it, a little grim.  I wrote it awhile ago, and there were many weeks (months even?) between when I wrote it and when it was posted on Kveller.  It is "A Letter to all the Pregnant Women in my Life", which I'm not 100% sure about any of the actual pregnant women in my life reading (or any women who might soon become pregnant).  Part of me is dying for you to all understand and still love me, and part of me is afraid that those two things are not actually both possible.  Alongside that dichotomy is the fear of making anyone that I care about feel bad or sad in any way.  That is so not my goal, now or ever.

So, all I can say is that it is up to you.  It is not rainbows and flowers.  It is pretty raw and full of things that you might not want to know about me, especially at this time in your lives.  So, I sort of leave it up to you to decide if you want to choose a little bit of completely understandable, acceptable and fair ignorance, or full knowledge.  As I say at the beginning of the post, "It's not you, it's me."  Hell, maybe I'm making it sound worse than it is.  Fear fear kick in the rear.

If you want to read it, here you go.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transfer Time

I've posted to Twitter and Facebook about how things went on Saturday, but haven't actually taken the time to write here.  So, it went, actually, very well.  We expected to get fewer eggs than last time, based on what we saw on the ultrasounds, and we were aiming for quality this time, more than quantity, in the protocol we used.   Lo and behold, though, we actually got more eggs!  A grand total of 20!  (Last time it was 16.)  Hopefully the quality is also better, but that is yet to be determined.  

Man, I really love anesthesia.  I remember laying down on the table thing, and Dr. Tran asked me my name, birthdate and why I was there and I said, "Sharon, 12/20/75, egg retrieval" and I remember thinking, "Should I have said my last name?"  My arm started burning like hell, and I asked if that was normal (where the IV was) and next thing I knew I was sort of waking up in a whole different place.  As someone who has a hard time falling asleep and sleeping well through the night, this kind of sleep just feels soooo good!  I slept pretty much most of the day at home on the couch, too.  Awesome.  I mean, I was in a lot of pain, but the sleep was awesome.

So, anyhow, on Sunday I got the call with the fertilization report and transfer time while I was in the bubble bath (where I have terrible reception), so that was delightful.  Of the 20 eggs, 14 were mature, and 12 of them fertilized, so as of Sunday we had 12 embryos.  Again, as a comparison, in our last cycle we had 10 embryos.

My transfer is today at 2pm and we will find out at that point how they are doing - if they all made it to day 3 - what the quality is - which ones we are transferring today.  The plan was to transfer three, and I hope that's still the case.

There are pros and cons to all these embryos.  The obvious pro is that this isn't our very last try.  We will most likely have embryos left to freeze today, enough for some frozen transferring.  It's less scary going into this knowing that.  On the other hand, I'm tired.  And more tries sounds tiring.  And expensive.  I also don't want to put off moving forward with other options for another year of frozen cycles and be in this exact same place for that much longer if none of them work.  Ian and I have agreed that after this fresh transfer, if it fails, we will talk more seriously about moving forward with the adoption process simultaneous to any future frozen embryo transfer cycles we may go for.  That makes me feel a bit more win/win about it (in a very non-win so far situation).

So, that's that.  I'll let you know how it goes today.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this random blog post I found, because this person has the total same Infertility pet peeve that I do.  If you've ever called the thing that I am doing today "implanting the embryo" instead of "transferring the embryo", this is about that.

Yeah, I don’t really have a good excuse for my sensitivity, but I think it has something to do with the idea that whether an embryo actually adheres to the uterine wall and grows is such a hit or miss proposition—really something of a miracle. The word “transplant” makes it sound like something that is pretty routine …something within the control of the doctor. There are still some of the blessedly fertile (and ignorant) who believe that IVF is a guaranteed cure for infertility. You make embryos, the doctor implants them, and voilĂ —nine months later you have a baby. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And just so this isn't all wordy word words, here is a picture of my cat, Bella, supervising the writing of this very post.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Retrieving Eggs

I've reached the point in this cycle, after 8 days of stims, where I am rather uncomfortable.  Like your stomach after a giant Thanksgiving dinner, except in the ovaries, and not going away in an hour (leaving plenty of room to fit pie).  So, that.  I am taking the day off work tomorrow just because it's been hard for me to get comfortable just sitting at my desk and moving around when I need to.

I am also exceptionally tired.  In addition to all the reasons one might normally be tired due to an insane increase in hormones and a busy life, I have had 3 appointments this week in San Francisco in the 7am hour (Mon, Wed and Thurs).  This means a 5am alarm going off, a blood draw and ultrasound, then a full work day.  Since my injections are at 10pm, I haven't been able to go to bed especially early to make up for this.  Last night I really could barely keep me eyes open to make it to 10, and in fact didn't.  I napped between 9 and 10, did my shots drowsily, then went to bed.

So, tonight I trigger (an extra large dose of Folistim, as well as my dose of HCG) at 8:15pm for egg retrieval on Saturday morning at 8:15am.  I have to be there 45 minutes early for prep, and will likely be there for at least a couple hours.  The egg retrieval is the bit that is basically a surgery.  I will be not awake.

I will find out how many eggs they got as soon as I wake up.  Then they call the next day and tell us how many fertilized and what time our transfer will be.  The transfer will be sometime on Tuesday.  At that time we'll find out how many made it to day 3 and how they are doing.   So, that's the plan as it stands.

In other eggy news, we got baby chicks!  They are adorable, and they actually grow and change noticeably day to day.  I decided that they are the ultimate fertility symbol and thus can only be good luck.  And in a couple of months they will give me delicious delicious eggs.

  (We got them on Saturday, this was taken on like Monday, and they are already SO much bigger and have SO many more feathers!  They are currently working on sprouting tiny tail feathers.  Adorable!

Also, my friend Amy made a comic that has me in it!  Comic Sharon is quite depressing, I have decided, but she's allowed to be.  Guess which one I am ;) and then go read the rest of it, cause this is just the first bit and it is very very good and not all of the people are as depressing as I am.

That's all for now.  Does anyone care to see my calendar that tells you when things happen, which is mostly just when I have to take what medicine over the next weeks?  If you do, let me know and I'll post it.  If no one does, I won't bother...

Laters.  My lasagna is ready.

Edit: At least Carla wants it, so here it is!  The crazy IVF timetable!  If you need help interpreting it into English, just lemme know.

Monday, August 5, 2013

All Aboard

Here we go again - about to hop on the train as it leaves the station.  Tomorrow is my baseline appointment.  This is the appointment where they'll check that everything looks good to go before I start my stims for this final (I make no promises, but I really think I mean it) egg retrieval.

This is also the appointment where we must pay for the full cost of this IVF cycle.  For those who wonder really really how much it costs to go through a full IVF cycle, I'll lay it out for you.

On Tuesday we'll be paying, out of pocket:

  • $11,906 - this covers the full IVF (ICSI, Assisted Hatching, Fresh Transfer, Ultrasounds etc) and is with a self-pay discount
  • $763 -  anesthesia 

For this cycle we have already paid, out of pocket:

  • $3164.52 - for my meds
  • $7.93 - for Ian's meds
  • We saved just under $900 because of leftover meds from a previous cycle. We could end up spending more if we need refills on anything.

This does not include the costs of any of the testing we did between last cycle and this.  This also does not include the cost for freezing any leftover embryos.  Of course if this cycle does not succeed, and we do have leftover embryos, each of those following transfers will cost $3099 as well as the cost of medications.  We won't even talk about how much more we'll have to come up with if none of this works and we start looking at adoption.  I'll save that for when/if we get there!

This is why my answer is now always a sad, "no" when you ask me if I have any vacations or travel planned.  (A slight lie, as we are planning to go to Australia to visit Ian's family this winter - we haven't been since July, 2010.)

In the meantime, I haven't gotten results back from my biopsy yet.  I know it can take a couple of weeks, and it is just two weeks today. I've done some research in the meantime on the benefits of the biopsy beyond potentially gathering some information.  Dr. Tran had mentioned that this procedure can sometimes help just itself by causing some cell regeneration in a some way that leads to higher rates of implantation in patients who have had repeated failures.  I didn't dig too deeply, but did find some anecdotal evidence that made me feel like I'm glad I did it, in spite of the pain.  I definitely want to walk away from this cycle, success or failure, feeling like I did everything I could.

The worst thing, though, is that I keep seeing it (and hearing it) referred to as "tickling" the lining.  It sounds so gross to me, and also FUCK YOU THAT DID NOT TICKLE.  Every time I see that term I want to vomit all over the place.  I've also seen it called "scratching" which is slightly more accurate, but still NO.  It is a horrific painful suctioning.  Don't sugar coat this shit.  I've had so many things inside of my vagina and uterus in the last year and a half and my bullshit radar is turned on high.  Calling it a tickle does not make it a tickle, guess what.

Anyhow.  I'll keep you posted as I move through this cycle.  All aboard!