June 29, 2006

Positive News for My Friend

Her first beta, at 12dp3dt, is 450!!! I couldn't find any charts after a quick Google search, but I found a site where women posted their betas, and 450 seemed to be pretty high compared with the other 12dp3dt betas I saw, so I'm thinking she may have two in there. I hope so - she'd be thrilled with that.

Thank you all again for your feedback and well wishes for her. They meant a lot, to her and to me.

I'm a few days behind on posting on blogs, so I apologize. I'm going to try to do that tonight if I can. In addition to already being short-staffed at work, another person is out this week with a family emergency, so I'm spinning plates like mad right now for myself and two other people. And trying to help an ill canine furbaby recover from an unpleasant bout of what appears to be gastroenteritis. Our carpet is not a pleasant site!


June 26, 2006

14 Days and Counting...

Well, as you can tell from my brief note below, Saturday's cyst check ultrasound went well. I know that traveling out of state for it sounds extreme, but I'm glad I went. I've consulted with my doctor on the phone, in person in his office and via e-mail, but this is the first time he has examined me.

He pointed out a few interesting things, all of them good.

First off, apparently I have a normal, anteverted uterus. This surprised me, because two other REs who have done ultrasounds on me have told me I have a slightly retroverted uterus. One made that determination before my first pregnancy, and the other said it about a year after that pregnancy. However, I Googled "retroverted uterus" and found this diagram, and my uterus was definitely in the anteverted position on Saturday. I wonder if a uterus can change positions over time? I forgot to ask.

The second surprising proclamation was that my ovaries don't look like classic PCOS ovaries. They have several follicles on the surface, which is typical of PCOS, but they also have several follicles in the middle of the ovaries, which apparently is not typical of PCOS.

The past three years have made me tired. Evidence of that fact: I, the one with a never-ending stream of questions, didn't even ask if that means I may not have PCOS. I didn't bring up my FSH/LH ratios, either. Whether or not he thinks I have PCOS, it doesn't change our decision to cycle. And I just didn't have the energy to get into a discussion about it.

The third bit of good news is that my ovarian reserve appears to still be good. I know I'm still considered relatively young (32 next month) in terms of this process, but since it's been almost two years since our last IUI cycle, I was a bit nervous about it. It turned out I had 17 follicles on one side and 23 on the other. Doc expects that I'll have a similar number, give or take a few, at the baseline ultrasound. Hopefully I'll have quality as well as quantity, since quantity doesn't matter if none of them look good...

After the appointment, I went to the beach for a few hours. I walked along the surf until I got to a quiet place, away from the densely populated area of sand where you could hear families playing together and children shouting as they romped in the sand. I spread out a towel, read a book, listened to the sound of the waves crashing ashore, and prayed. It was a perfect, relaxing afternoon.

Then I called my husband and uttered words no one, least of all me, ever expected to hear from my mouth: "I can't wait to start the shots! I wish it could be today." It's a bizarre feeling when you're looking forward to jamming needles into your body day in and day out.

14 days to the first shot and counting...

Update on my friend: THANK YOU to all of you who have replied to the post on behalf of my friend who is in her 2ww. I've been forwarding your responses to her, and they have really helped encourage her. Things were still the same in terms of her symptoms when I talked with her on Friday. She and I weren't able to connect over the weekend, but I'm hoping to reach her today for another update. Her first beta is on Thursday, and she will get the results of it that afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

June 25, 2006

Ultrasound Went Great

I have a post all written, but I won't get a chance to type it in until late tonight, so I just wanted to let those of you who are checking in know. I'll be back ASAP...

June 22, 2006

Need Feedback for a Friend

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a friend of mine who is currently in the midst of her first IVF cycle. I’m looking for some feedback on her behalf, so if you have any thoughts, please post them here.

The situation is: She had retrieval on June 14 and transferred two 3-day embryos (one her RE said was “very good” and the other was “good”) on June 17. On June 20, she had very light spotting, bright red and just for that day. She also started having mild cramping around that time. The spotting stopped after that one day, but the cramping has continued off and on. Her first beta is scheduled for next Thursday, June 29, and she’s feeling discouraged, thinking that the cramping in particular means that the cycle didn’t work.

My thought is that the spotting could very well be implantation spotting, and I think the fact that it stopped is a good sign. The spotting happened and the cramping began just 3dp3dt, so I also tend to think that that is too early for the cramping to be a bad sign. But of course, I am by no means an expert on any of this.

So, what do all of you think? I will forward your thoughts to her.

June 21, 2006

Seeing Silver

Have you ever seen the “I Love Lucy” episode that involves Lucy and Ethel working on a candy factory’s conveyer belt line? You know, the one in which they frantically try to wrap the pieces of candy that go gliding by until they just can’t keep up anymore and then begin to stuff the chocolate pieces into their mouths and hats to keep others from seeing what’s happening?

Well, that’s me. Except instead of chocolates zooming past, it’s silver hairs cropping up on my head at an alarmingly frequent pace.

My mom had a lot of silver hair by the time she was 30, so much so that she took to wearing a wig at that young age. But just because that happened to her doesn’t mean it’ll happen to me, I reasoned.

I’ve been living in denial.

I first noticed an occasional silver hair about a year ago. I told myself it must be the result of stress, and I proceeded to simply snip them out. But during the past month or two, they’ve started appearing much more frequently, and they’re throughout my head, not just in one spot any more.

They’re not a soft gray, either. They’re a bright silver that stands out against my dark hair, and they have a strange, coarse texture. I refuse to color my hair because that would mean acknowledging reality. So, instead, I keep frantically cutting, trying not to clip any other hairs because I have very thin hair and can’t afford to lose any that I don’t absolutely have to.

The end result? Short, silver hairs that, because of their odd texture, stick up and look a lot like little TV antennae poking through my hair.

I’m not even 32 yet, people. So much for aging gracefully…

June 17, 2006

Hurting and Hoping

Right off the bat, I’ll warn you that this post isn’t going to win any awards for eloquence. I’m having a difficult time putting my feelings into words, so bear with me.

Infertility is a process of highs and lows, emotions that can go from one extreme to the other in, literally, the flicker of a heartbeat. Sometimes, the highs and lows, the hope and sadness, is so intricately intertwined that it’s impossible to tease them out into separate emotions.

That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now – an odd combination of hope and sadness, with something that vaguely resembles peace or acceptance thrown in for good measure.

This week, I’ve been growing more excited about our upcoming first IVF cycle. We’re cycling out of state, and a week from today, I’m popping over to our clinic for the day to do a cyst check ultrasound. I have plane tickets, a car rental reservation, and a plan to spend a blissful few hours reading on the beach after the appointment.

At the same time, my excitement is tempered by sadness. Sadness and heartbreak for Sube, who received devastating news this week. Sadness and anxiety for a non-blogosphere friend of mine who is six months younger than me and doing her first IVF. (She has truly lived the IF roller coaster this week, finding out one ovary was hiding and may not be able to have its eggs retrieved, finding out the ovary was accessible during retrieval after all, finding out all of her eggs from both ovaries looked dark, finding out only four fertilized and she was probably going to be canceled because all four looked dark and granular, finding out those four miraculously cleared up in color and granulation and are all growing appropriately.)

Sadness for all of us who have to go through this, who have to endure the heartache and the pain and the pills and the shots and the procedures and blow after blow.

But while I’d never wish the pain of infertility on any of you, I’m thankful for all of you. For being their, for supporting me and each other, for reaching out and sharing yourselves. I continue to be amazed by this incredible community of women. And I just wanted to let you know that.

June 10, 2006


I don’t know if it’s the birth control pills, or if it’s that I’m just mad at the universe that we have to do IVF (as if it’s fair that anyone else has to), or if it’s that I’m still really annoyed by a co-worker and a snot at the ob/gyn’s office, both of whom managed to tick me off within a couple hours of each other yesterday afternoon.

Whatever it is, my resulting witchy mood is not pretty. And, it looks like it may be here to stay.

R said something to me this morning. I can’t even remember what he said at this point, but he was making a joke. He has a great sense of humor, and he’s usually terrific at making me laugh. But this morning, he didn’t sense my mood quickly enough, and I was having none of it.

As I walked away, I said, “You DON’T want to go there.”

Thinking I was kidding, he continued on.

I whirled around. “Unless you want to spend the next two months living at your parents’ house, You. Will. KNOCK. IT. OFF.”

I think his mouth may have fallen open in shock, but he high-tailed it back into the other room so fast that it’s hard to say for sure.

I’ll save the “snot at the ob/gyn’s office” story for a time when I can manage to write about it without using vulgar language. But if this is me on birth control pills, imagine how much fun I’m going to be once I really get going on all the drugs for this cycle.

Don’t worry. That pounding sound you hear isn’t someone trying to break into your house. It’s just R, frantically banging on his parents' front door.

June 09, 2006

And So It Begins…

…with a single, little, yellow pill.

I started birth control pills on Wednesday. That officially marks the beginning of our first IVF cycle. I was scared at first, after starting the pills, but now I’m getting more excited.

Part of me is still struggling to understand this, to understand how we are able to conceive on our own, yet still need as drastic a treatment as IVF. I know, I know, IVF can improve egg quality, create a better uterine lining, etc. I’ll get there. Well, maybe not ever to “understanding,” but at least to “acceptance.” It’ll just take a little more time.

Updates on other stuff:

Given the birth control pills, obviously Monday’s test was negative. I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think I was even really disappointed. For a little while, my stomach kind of felt like it does when you reach the pinnacle of a roller coaster and then begin plunging toward the ground at 75 mph. You know, that “What on earth am I thinking??!?” feeling. But that has (mostly) given way to excitement now.

Good news on the death threats front - there haven’t been any more threatening voice mails from the mystery caller. I’m chalking it up to a prank from someone with a sick, twisted mind.

And, I’ve vowed not to call the bomb squad when my next batch-o’-drugs arrives.

June 04, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

R and I went out of town this weekend. The idea was to get away from it all, and I was determined that by the time we returned from 48 hours of relaxation, I’d be in a place where I’m ready to tackle the IVF cycle in July.

The plan worked out well – for the first 24 hours. We had rented a cabin in the woods that included a large game room. We played pool. (I managed to nail one pretty impressive shot in particular, then promptly proceeded to lob the cue ball completely off the table on my next shot, which is much more reflective of my typical pool-playing abilities.) We played darts, watched movies, read, just chilled out in general.

And then, R got food poisoning.

He began to feel sick at about 10 p.m. yesterday. Very, very sick. Unfortunately, the signs started setting in about 15 minutes after I’d taken a sleeping pill. I don’t take them on a regular basis, but since I haven’t been sleeping particularly well lately, I figured this weekend was a good chance to catch up on a couple solid nights of rest.

I was still awake the first time he got sick, so I did what I could to take care of him by helping him back to the bed after he finished throwing up and getting a cool washcloth for his forehead. We thought it was just something that didn’t agree with his stomach and that after throwing up, he’d start to feel better.

So I climbed back into bed beside him and fell asleep. Until 7 o’clock this morning. Without waking up at all. Or noticing that poor R spent half of the night sleeping on the bathroom floor next to the toilet because he was too ill to get up and come back to bed.

I felt like a horrible wife when I finally did get up this morning and realized that he probably has a pretty bad case of food poisoning. His doctor called in a couple of prescriptions to the nearest pharmacy, and we picked them up and then started for home early. Lately around here, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. But at least food poisoning, yucky as it is (I’ve had it twice), will pass soon.

Even though this weekend did not end the way we had envisioned, it did help me relax a bit. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I do think I am finally ready for the IVF cycle. I continue to take the progesterone, and I continue to bleed. I took another test on Friday, and again, no surprise that it was negative. I’ll take one more suppository tonight and then do one final test tomorrow.

Que sara, sara.

June 01, 2006

The Lovenox 'Bomb'

The bleeding continues, and I continue to be unsure what it means.

Since we did see a questionable, very faint line on a FRED with a beta of 5, I decided to do a little experiment this morning and use the other test from that box. This time, it was a definitive single line – not even anything remotely questionable appeared where the second line would be. We weren’t surprised or disappointed though.

Later this morning, it looked like CD1 might be officially on its way, so I called the clinic to find out when I need to start taking the birth control pills. The nurse coordinator thought the suppositories might be irritating my cervix and causing the bleeding, or that an embryo might have tried to implant without success. She suggested continuing to take a test every couple of days until either a line shows up or CD1 clearly arrives. Of course, after I spoke with her, the bleeding stopped for a while.

In one of life’s little ironies, a box with a 30-day supply of Lovenox was waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home tonight. The clinic had requested authorization for it from my insurance company back when I was planning to cycle in April. Since we postponed, I told the drug company to hold off on mailing me anything until I contacted them.

I have no idea why it arrived today of all days. It came in a discreet brown box with no name on the return address and a label that said “URGENT!” and then, on the next line, “DO NOT OPEN!” Um, okay, so I’m just supposed to urgently look at it?

Instead, I almost called the police to come blow it up.

Yes, I realize that does sound like a wee bit of an overreaction, even for someone under the influence of hormones. But this morning, when I checked my cell phone as I was walking out the door, I had a voice mail from an unidentified caller. Being the paranoid cautious person I am, I won’t go into all the details of the call, but suffice it to say the caller had an impressive command of obscenities and painted a picture of rather creative physical threats.

I truly wasn’t overly concerned, but since it was my work phone, on my way into the office I decided to stop by the security department and let them know about it. Since I had actually received a few calls (although only the one threatening voice mail) from the caller, the security officer I spoke to decided to record the message onto a tape. He seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, so I just went on my merry way to my office.

About two seconds after I plopped into my chair, my cell phone rang. I answered it, and without preamble or an identifying hello, our director of security barked, “What are you doing answering your phone?!” The funny thing was, it had been a while since I last spoke to him, so I didn’t recognize his voice. And because I didn’t recognize his voice, I didn’t believe him when he told me who he was. It took a full 60 seconds before I was convinced. Fortunately, he has a sense of humor.

He also had a list of security precautions he ordered me to take at work, at home and anywhere in between. Then he mentioned a couple of threats in the message that I hadn’t been able to make out in listening to it. Thanks, I already had a pretty clear idea of how the person feels about me, so I didn’t really need any additional pictures painted for me.

On my way home, I was in cautious alert mode. When I saw the discreet little box with no sender’s name that had been overnight shipped, knowing that neither R nor I had ordered anything yesterday, I transitioned right through cautious alert directly into alarmed and suspicious mode.

I wouldn’t let R call the phone number on the box, for fear that doing so would possibly trigger a bomb inside of it. Any suggestions of opening it or even simply picking it up resulted in controlled but mildly hysterical shrieking. Then I got the brilliant idea to Google the return address on the package.

Thank God I didn’t have to spend this evening trying to explain to a police bomb squad why they just blew up a package containing $800 worth of perfectly good drugs.