Saturday, July 30, 2011

Good news!

We went in for the ultrasound scan of my ovaries this morning after 8 days of stimulating. I was so nervous that I could barely sleep last night because I was so worried that I had been on these meds and that my body wasn't reacting as powerfully as they wanted it. I was nervous, nervous, nervous!!

The scan went really well, they want to see the follicles (sacks that hold eggs in ovaries) to be at 18 mm to be considered ready for retrieval. I had a 3-4 that were at about 15-16 mm all ready and then I had 12-13 remaining at about 11-14 mm. They tend to grow 1-2 mm a day on the medicine depending on the dosage so we may only have a few more days of this before we are ready for the retrieval. THANK GOD! I go back on Monday for another scan and blood draw to check the hormone levels and there is a good chance that we may get the green light to do the HCG shot which would signal us to do the retrieval!

I feel like a hugely puffed up balloon and today I saw why, my ovaries are huge on the screen. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to see them on the screen because I never have fully understood what I see on the screen. The follicle sacks were very clear on the screen and man alive were my ovaries huge.

It means that all of this has been working and that makes me happy that this has been working the way they want it to. It means we are on track for the retrieval to take place this week and hopefully have the transfer either at the beginning of the weekend or the beginning of the following week. It's exciting and nerve-wrecking all at the same time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A test of faith to a large degree

After taking the new medicines for 3 days now and feeling the effects of the stimulation drugs, I am convinced that this is a test of faith. Faith in the process, faith in my doctors, faith in myself to handle all of this, faith in my relationship with Aaron to survive all of this, and faith in general.

The first 2 go hand-in-hand - faith in the process and my doctors. I have to trust my doctors know what they are doing by recommending these medicines in this order on these days of the stimulation. I have to trust in the fact that they have had success in the past with people who have a similar medical history as I do and are only going to do as much as they need to in order to get us where we need to be. I have to tell myself that several times a day.

Faith in my relationship with Aaron is simple. I know there is very little doubt that we can survive this, we have gone through other challenges and come out the other side stronger than ever. We just need to remind ourselves over and over that we have done other things and we love each other. This is bringing us closer to our dream that we have shared since the beginning of our relationship.

My faith in general has been shaken to the core with the infertility aspect of my life. I have never considered myself necessarily religious, but I have become much more spiritual throughout it. I have to remind myself that things happen for a reason and there is a bigger plan at work that is beyond my control. Yes, it would be nice for things to happen when I believe they should, however that is not in fact the case.

Finally, the most difficult one is faith in myself. There are moments in the day nearly everyday that test my ability to think I can handle these medications. It is tough when your body has a mind of its own without giving you a heads-up to the length of time they are going to stay and how intense they are going to be. I worry that I will not be strong enough and will allow the temporary pain to overrun my thoughts and consume me. I worry that my body won't respond well to the medicines and I will suffer from even more serious effects. And, more importantly, I worry that my body will fail me when we get to the retrieval and I will not have any eggs that will survive to even try to be our babies. It's a scary way to feel and I have to focus on how I have been through terrible and painful (physically and emotionally) in my life and have been able to come out the other side stronger than ever. I have to remind myself daily how I have done that and be strong.

Friday, July 22, 2011

We have the go ahead from the RE - IVF time!

I went to the RE yesterday morning to have an ultrasound and a hormone check blood draw. We were checking to see if the medicine I have been on for the last 2 weeks has been working the way we need it to in order to start the stimulation part of IVF. It was nerve-wrecking time to wait for the results because if it didn't go well, we could be looking at pushing things back a week or two. Having to wait longer is so freaking scary at this point since it has been so long since we started and we want to be parents.

I received the great news yesterday afternoon - my hormone levels were right where they wanted them to be and the ultrasound showed many follicles just waiting to be stimulated! This means it's time to start the stimulation medicine today to hopefully have many of the follicle grow to where we need them in order to use them in the IVF retrieval.

Tonight starts the upping of the injections and the lowering of my activity level to keep from doing more damage than good. I have been stocking up on the things I can do from the couch or that are more just laid back to help keep from doing more damage. All of that starts today!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A email from my uncle that made things so much easier to deal with

I wrote on Facebook on Father's Day last month about the 2 men in my life who took the place of the man who chose not to be in my life as a father - my 2 uncles. This is what I wrote:
happy Father's Day to all the men who were "fathers" in my life (uncles, brothers, & moms who had to be both), all those who are fathers (friends and family), those no longer here (my father-in-law I never met who passed away on Father's Day 10 years ago but know through the family), & the man who will be the father to my children someday (Aaron)
Here is the email I received from one of them and it changed my whole day. I am very lucky to have him in my life for more reasons than I am sure they do not even know:


I was getting ready to post a message to Facebook yesterday  (now that I am more willing to use the social networking stuff….)

And I realized that I had failed to respond to your Facebook photo/post on Father’s Day – and, for that, I apologize

That you would post for all the world to see (or at least all the Facebook folks) – that you consider me to have played a fatherly role is very humbling and gratifying

I should have replied immediately and on the Facebook site –for everyone to see how honored I was that you should consider me to have fulfilled an important role in your life.

I know that growing up with an absentee father was difficult for you – and formed some parts of the you that you became – in many ways. 

One of my favorite memories is of helping you learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels – there were some anxious, frustrating moments, an argument or two, and maybe a small scrape – but you were determined – and succeeded -   as you have in so many things through the years.

I wish you hadn’t had to grow up so quickly and take on many responsibilities that you got at an early age – but (as all the “cool” kids say) it is what it is/was -  and you became all the better for it in the long run.  (at least that is a good way to look back on it all now).   
Although I was always away when you were growing up – either at college or on an Army assignment somewhere -  I tried to make the most of the short interaction times I had with you during holidays or other visits to the Chicago area   (and your brothers and sister and cousins no matter the then-current state of family dynamics) .

We share more than a birth month and the fact of being the youngest born child - 

I see many similarities -  a career devoted to serving others,  a willingness to venture out on your own at a young age, a love of learning, a bit of a temper, a smidgen of stubborn-ness,  and an strong independence.

I think I have told you before – and if not – another failure on my part

The day of your Master’s graduation – when I saw you enter the auditorium and take your seat – I was overwhelmed with pride – I literally could feel my heart rate rise and chest swell with pride.

Pride -  For all that you have overcome in your lifetime -  illnesses, familial situations, relationships, academic demands, external demands on your time, financial needs (and getting jobs to pay for what you needed and wanted)

Pride  - For all that you have become -  a wonderful person, a great wife, a outstanding teacher, a mentor and friend to many.

Uncle Bill

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trouble sleeping again


I am barely sleeping at night right now, it's not so much fun. I have been tired as hell and not able to sleep for the past few nights without knowing why.

Now I do, I investigated some of the side effects of the Lupron and here is what I found: hot flashes (flushing), increased sweating, night sweats, tiredness, headache, upset stomach, breast changes, acne, joint/muscle aches, and trouble sleeping. 

Apparently, the first 2 weeks you are on these you can have an increase in hormones before they begin to decrease and these symptoms are at their worst. Well, that is right smack dab where I am right now. 



I like sleep and this struggling to sleep is tough on me. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot Flashes & St. Louis weather = new look

Well I am on one week of the injections and I have to say that the only thing I really don't like is the hot flashes! They are intense. Not to mention that it's July in St. Louis which is in the mid to upper 90s with humidity and heat indexes up into the triple digits. So you can see my issue.


1. Buy more powerful fans to have on me at night when they seem to be the worst

2. Cut my hair to help my head not be so heavy and hot!



I have had it this length before, actually when I met Aaron 4 years ago it was about this length. I like it, it's quick and easy - not to mention that I have options on the style more. The only thing I think I am going to miss is the being able to pull it all back into a ponytail but there are options to choose from.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I hate today - fender bender and undue stress

Today started off with great intentions, I was going shopping and going to have lunch with a friend.

On the other hand, the reality of the day is that it was a pile of shit.

I was in a fender bender in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. It wasn't serious and no one was injured. But what a pain in the ass it turned out to be. It was just an accident - we both backed into each other out of our parking spaces. Both of our tail lights were cracked and broken off, we each had some cracks and dents in our bumpers. Since it was on private property and the cop said it looked like we had just backed into each other, neither of us was ticketed for fault.

The rest of the day was filled with back-and-forth's to my insurance agent's office and the auto body shop to get an estimate. The damage is about $1200 to my car. I have to wait for the official police report about things - she was a terrible person to get into a fender bender with. She was yelling and acting like a fool, trying to convince the cop to give me a ticket and blaming me for everything. Grow up! It was an accident, not a tragic situation. Inconvenient, yes - the end of all things, nope.

I don't need this stress right now, dealing with insurance companies and the auto body shops to get it all taken care of on top of the injections for IVF and prepping for it all. UGH. Not at all what I need right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

3 days of injections and doing okay

Well I have 3 days of injections under my belt and I am feeling somewhat better about the whole thing.

The first day was really nerve-wrecking, I started and stopped about 3 times before I finally had the nerve to do it and get it over with. I was surprised with how much force it took to put the needle through the skin.

The second one was easier and so was the third. I am hoping by the time we are up to 3 shots a day, it will be almost second nature to me to have to give myself the shots.

My issue: side effects. I get some soreness at the injection site that lasts a little while, I feel a little bloated in my abdomen, and hot flashes have started. I was reading online about the side effects and apparently this is pretty common due to the concentration of the medicine going into the body. My problem with this is that is in the upper 90s this week in my area and just dealing with the air temp is hard let alone the hot flashes at the same time.

I still get nervous as hell as soon as I am going to inject myself and have to take a deep breath every time.

It will all be worth it in the end...if I just keep telling myself this over and over it may get much easier to deal with all the injections time after time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Information Overload

We just got home from orientation - while I am glad in some respects for clarifications that they gave us, I am still nervous as hell about starting to give myself injections tomorrow. They showed us how to do it all but I think until I actually do it, I am not going to feel better about anything. I am kind of a person who learns by doing.

New things we learned today:

1. Progesterone injections that start the day of the egg retrieval will last not only through the positive pregnancy test, but for 8-10 weeks into the pregnancy as well. (This makes Aaron kind of nervous because he is going to have to help me with this one and he is afraid of hurting me or doing it wrong).

2. My ovaries will begin the whole process as the size of a walnut, but by the time we do the egg retrieval, they will each be the size of a tennis ball. (YIKES!)

3. When we start stimulation (potentially 7/22), we have to keep my activity level low - this prevents me from jarring my ovaries and causing pain/damage to myself. This means I will be lying VERY low from that point on and will need lots of entertainment that involves me doing only a small amount of activity.

4. At one point, I will be on 3 injectable meds, antibiotics, plus my prenatal vitamin and metformin.

5. The most eggs we will have transferred during the transfer is 2 - the number of eggs is depending on your age, since I am under 35 recommendations are not to do more than 2 to lighten the chance at multiples (my specialist does not want multiples to be the goal).

6. My specialist's office prefers quality of the eggs over the quantity of eggs.

7. I am in the high risk for multiples category: I am less than 38 years old, have not had any failed IVF cycles, I have a normal uterine cavity, and I have not had endometriosis. This means that I have more than 33% chance of having twins (that's considered a high risk and that statistic is based on my specialist's office statistics from 2002-2009 as a whole). We are all right with this because that would mean we would not have to do this again because we only want 2 kids.

8. I have the option of donating my eggs to someone who could use them after we have had a successful pregnancy (we haven't discussed this at great length yet, but it is definitely something to consider, if we can help out another couple who is struggling, then I am pretty sure we will strongly consider doing this.)

9. The IVF process has the same % chance for miscarriage as a regular pregnancy, there is no difference in terms of chances for miscarriage.

10. The statistics for my specialist's office for a "fresh" (meaning we will use the embryos immediately) and "frozen" (embryos that are fertilized, but are not being used right away so they are cryogenically frozen to be thawed at a later date. ie. IVF didn't take the first time without having to re-do all the injections) fresh = 56% worked and frozen = 46% worked. That is an amazing statistic.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Orientation is tomorrow

Tomorrow we have orientation and I am not sure what to think yet.

I am sure they are going to go through everything step by step to make sure we get it all and are comfortable before starting injections. I start on Friday and I am scared to death. I am so afraid that I am going to mess it up and it won't work.

Paranoia? Probably. We will see what happens after tomorrow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nerves, Nerves, Nerves

Well I am nervous.

Things I am nervous about:

1. Giving myself injections and doing it wrong
2. Side effects that are going to make me gain lots of weight
3. Fear of infection from the retrieval
4. That it will not work and we will have to do it again

I know that many parts of all my nerves are normal and part of the whole process. I have spoken to people who have done it before and they say that all of these feelings are not out of the ordinary.

Things I know:

-I have a great amount of support of people who will help me with anything I need during this time
-I have amazing doctors and nurses who answer all of my questions even when I feel as though they are not rational questions
-I have survived worse than this and can do it, nerves and all.

It's astonishing to me that people do all of this while working full-time, I am on summer vacation and can barely handle the amount of stuff that is involved with the whole process.

I love everyone who tells me stories of how IVF has worked for someone they know because they are trying to help me feel better and less scared of the process. Here's the thing about that though: those stories just make me sad because we are not one of them...yet.

I think about how long we have been doing this - since November of 2009 and all of the things that have changed during the time we have been trying. It's amazing to me that people who got pregnant when we tried are about to celebrate their child's 1st birthday, I am thrilled for them and so happy to celebrate with them. What I don't want to tell them is how it can make me a little sad, not in any way to take away from their joy and the joy I have for them and their child. But in a way because if we had been one of those couples fortunate enough to pregnant right away, how it would be our child's birthday that we would be celebrating.

I know that is selfish for me to think that, but I can't help it. I adore my friends and their wonderful children, I enjoy being parts of their lives. But at the same time, it's impossible for me to think about why this has happened to us and how we weren't one of those couples and the reasons why. I may never know those answers and could easily drive myself crazy trying to figure them out.

Can't wait for the nerves to go away and for us to be started in this process.