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Surrogacy Blogs:
Part of a Miracle
Bump Fairy
Our Surrogacy Adventure

Working on it:
Mad Hatter
Chick N Chicken
Ambivalent Womb
Stirrup Queen's List of Blogs
Delinquent Eggs
Life and Love in the Petrie Dish
Life in the Infertile Lane
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Barren
Everyone Else But Me
It Takes a Village
Stella Part 2
Music Maker Momma

On other paths:
Fertile Soul
MLO Knitting
Out, damned egg! Out I say!
Holding Pattern
Hummingbird Chronicles
Velvet Cage

Adventures in Baby Making
Barren Albion
Barren Mare
Dead Bug
Due Dates
Fertility Shmertility
Fumbling Towards Eggstacy
Great Good Fortune
Healing Arts
Hopeful Mother
I Can't Whistle
IF & the City
It Only Takes One Egg
Waiting for Baby Orange
Jenny From the Infertility Block
She's Back!: Manana Banana
Smarshy Boy
Stella and/or Ben
Tinkering with the Works
Twisted Ovaries
Wishing For One

Other Good Reads:
Dr. Licciardi's Infertility Blog

Mc Gill Reproductive Centre - Montreal
Georgia Reproductive Specialists
Jinemed Hospital - Turkey

Cooper Center - NJ
Conceptions - Colorado
Red Rock Fertility - Dr. Eva Littman
Pacific Fertility Center
Zouves Fertility Center"
Nova IVF

IVF Meds - UK
Free Garage Sale
Flying Pharmacy (IVIg)

Blastocyst Grading Criteria
How much hCG is Left After Trigger?
POAS Ratings
More POAS Ratings
The Beta Base

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Insane Whittier Real Estate Agents

I am a bit enraged today. I'm always a bit on edge, but today takes the cake.

I got a call last night from my neighbor CM. She's never called me before, so when I saw her name on my caller ID I paused and wondered, "What's up?" So it seems that CM spied a man, not once, but twice stealing every flyer out of my box in front of my mom's house.

And get this. He was from Century 21.

How she knows this, I do not know. Maybe he had the trademark silly yellow jacket on, or a characteristic name tag, or a magnetic sign on his car door. But she said he was from Century 21, and get this. There are two other houses on our street for sale by agents at this particular Century 21 office.

Coincidence? I think not.

I would love to bust this imbecile from doing this again but I'm 340 miles away. Stealing is a misdemeanor...and a real estate related misdemeanor, filed with the local sherriff's department, and forwarded to the DRE, is enough to have his license yanked permanently.


Steal my flyers? Lose your license.

It's that easy.

It's easy enough to find the office website for every listing in the neighborhood, find their agent rosters, and get my neighbor CM to identify the culprit. Fucker who did this doesn't realize who he dicked with. I worked for two search engines. I can find ANYTHING. ANYONE. And then there is always the Way Back Machine for when someone is actually trying to hide.

I will find him.

So we're off to the Boulder Creek Art & Wine Festival, also known as the Junk & Drunk Festival. There's lots going on over in that sector today...something called the Maifest at a Tyrolean Pub/Restaurant that sounds enticing. I've always wanted to count pretzels an see how many beer steins I could hold. I mean, why not?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Are The Tides Turning At Last?

I had a call today from Great Good Fortune, who has done two LITs in Nogales and was willing to share her experience with me. There is nothing like talking to someone that's "been there". I feel a lot calmer about going now. The only bummer about this whole thing is that it's so damned expensive to fly right now...and the fact that we have to do this at all. That is the worst part.

But on a happier note...I've seen four of our fabulous infertiles come up with postive betas this week. This is exciting stuff considering that we just came of out of what felt like a desert of bad news.

I hope that it continues on. I would love to move more and more of my infertile companions downwards along the sidebar of my blog.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I'm a real estate broker by day and I'm currently trying to sell my mom's house in Whittier (Los Angeles) from the Bay Area, which is about 340 miles south of us.

I can't be there to hold open hold open houses each weekend...so I've got an agent down there that is doing open houses for me in exchange for all of the buyer leads that come in on my signs and advertising. IT's a damned good deal for her. The only reason agents do open houses in the first place is to get buyer leads. You thought they did it to sell your house? Nope. They don't. Serious buyers find your home online or thru their agents and they already know about you. It's the lookiloos that show up at open houses. They're "warm leads". Not quite ready to buy, but maybe they will one day. But a lead is a lead is a lead...and they're quite coveted. So my giving her my leads in exchange for holding my house open is quite generous on my part.

So I left two lockboxes with keys so agents can let themselves in. One is electronic, one is a combination lock box. So my agent calls yesterday and says that neither key opens up the front door. I'm blown away. I opened the frigging door myself with the key. I had her check each key in each box. Each key in each door. Nothing worked. I panicked and thought, "Fuck, I''m going to have to fly to LA last minute, as in tomorrow morning, and fix this crap!" But after I calmed down I figured hiring a locksmith was much more economical, and less stressful.

So this morning I hired a locksmith in Whittier to pop the front security door and cut two new keys to the front door. I just don't get it. When I get down there if I find out that this agent was fucking with me just so she could say, "See how hard it is to sell this house remotely? You really should just let me list it for you", I will kick her in the ass so fast she won't know what happened.

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have agreed to let her sit my house open if I'm now thinking I can't trust her but I am a bit paranoid in that respect though. I have a very hard time trusting people I do business with upfront and I have to force myself to just go to just "go with the flow". I usually tend to think that most people have an agenda. That there is no altruism. There is always something to be had for people at the end, even if it's a good feeling inside. I got into an argument with a professor over this one once and he dropped my grade from an A to a B in a graduate level seminar for arguing this point with him. But wow am I digressing.

So the door is fixed, but now I have to worry if dimwit agent can figure out to put one of the new keys from the combo box into the electronic box. She might not be able to figure it out. Honest Injun.

Before I get too far into my real estate nightmares, let's get back to infertility, which is why we're all here anyways. Oui?

So yesterday I went to see Dr. Persian over near Stanford. He was recommended to me by Dr. Moustache as someone who would be willing to cut out my fibroid if Dr. G would not do it for me. While I'm in the waiting room, Dr. G's nurse (Dr. G is my OB/Gyn), Nurse L, calls and says that Dr. G and Dr. Moustache are going to have a phone call tomorrow (which is now today) and chat about the merits of taking out my fibroid. Dr. G thinks it's way too small, in an area where it won't cause problems of ANY kind. Dr. Moustache thinks taking it out might be a key in why we're not getting implantation. So Dr. G has conceded and said to Nurse L, "If he is adamant about me taking it out I will take it out." But no one bothered to tell her that we're also considering taking out my Fallopian tubes, which is another argument in itself and one that I'm sure she'll gripe about yet again.

The phone call finished, I was whisked into a nice exam room and told to get into one of those crunchy paper exam gowns. I waited for quite some time and a young woman came in and introduced herself as Dr. R, a fellow of Dr. Persian. Dr. R was really really sweet, very young (kind of unsettling how young she looked), and looked very much like Penelope Cruz. I liked her immediately. She did my U/S, said my fibroid had grown to 3.4cm X 3.4cm. It was 2.9cm x 3.2 just 30 days ago, so it's still on the move, growing rapidly. She found a second fibroid in the posterior area of my uterus. So now I've got two.

While she drove the dildocam, she smiled and said, "Wow, you've got nice plump ovaries! Not at all like I usually see in women your age. Women your age usually have tiny little ovaries, sometimes I can't even find them! And look, you've got a couple of follicles on this one!" She was so positive and upbeat that her comments gave me a hopeful feeling that I really did have a lot more time on my side that I had previously thought.

I showed her an odd growth that I had noticed growing in my nether region. I thought it might be an ingrown hair. She immediately said, "Hey, I can take that out for you right now. Right here. You want to do it?" I was like, "Well, sure. Why not?" So she very casually started pulling out gauze pads, betadine, a punch, sterile scissors, lidocaine, and a syringe. Lidocaine in one's labia is one of the most frigging painful experiences one can have. You thought heparin hurt sistah? You haven't felt burning til you've had this shot. Ouch. Luckily it kicked in fast and she was done in less than two minutes. She said, "Cool! Look at this!" and handed me a vial. Floating in it were a chunk of tissue with a bunch of strange black things at the bottom. She said, "I'm not sure what it is, it's not an ingrown hair. It looks like a blood vessel got clogged and died. But the pathologist will check it out and let us know if it's anything more serious. Good thing we did this now because if it's something serious, we can take out a wider margin during your surgery."

Yes, if you are cutting into my labia again, I will certainly require general anesthesia to get through it. A clogged blood vessel? That makes me think that maybe all those tests saying I've got a clotting disorder are probably right on target.

It took some while for her to get the bleeding to stop. I felt a couple of trickles of blood make their way all the way to the table. I shuddered to think if I would have any scarring from this. She said, "You might see some black stuff on the wound when you get home. It's just what we use to stop the bleeding. If it starts bleeding when you are home and it doesn't stop, CALL US." Okay, now I was getting more concerned. But it was a tiny punch into the skin. Not like I'd bleed out from it.

She stuck around for a bit discussing the merits of removing the fibroid, my blocked tubes, and also scar tissue, adhesions, and any endometriosis that they might find. She said that if I truly realized that the only way I could get pregnant was via IVF, that I should realize that taking out my Fallopian tubes would only be beneficial to me. Dr. R explained that there are all sorts of components in diseased follicular fluid that can tamper with implantation (cytokines and other substances). She said this with such empathy that I could see and feel that she really knew how depressing this idea was to me. We left it at that, and I knew at that point that I would agree to have my tubes removed. There was just no point of keeping them because keeping them was merely to keep the dream alive that I was fertile. And I'm not. Even if I do have big, plump ovaries. With that she said that I should dress and then I'd be taken to talk with Dr. Persian in his office over the findings.

I waited in his office for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time. He would walk by, pause in the door as if he was going to come in, and then he'd be distracted by something and he'd be gone again. This went on for about 15 minutes. Finally he came in and sat down. In a very soft and slow voice he asked me, "Why do you think you are here and what do you think I can do for you?" It was an odd question. Didn't he review my chart? But I think it was more of a way for him to start a conversation about my issues. He had a very pleasant and calm manner. He asked how I felt about having my tubes removed. I told him that it was like giving up a dream of becoming pregnant on my own. Even if it was an unrealistic dream, one that I'd never meet, that the fact of removing them utterly destroyed that dream. I furthered by saying I realized that they might have to go. I'd like him to take a look and to see if they were repairable before removing them. He replied that of course he'd try to fix them, but if they looked at all diseased that he would remove them. He said that the tiniest bit of fluid leaking from the could be detrimental to IVF success.

That sounded reasonable to me.

He led me out to the entry where I met with Dr. R once more, paid my bill, and then I was off.

My surgery is scheduled for June 20th at Stanford, June 9th if a particular cancellation comes through. I'm nervous about having this quiet, aged Persian doctor operate on me, but he is quite famous for the work he has done, so I have to try to trust that he is capable and will try to do the best job on me that he can.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Two Anniversaries

Today is the 24th...and since J and I met on July 24th, 2000, we celebrate the 24th of each month as our luna-versary. It's not yet our six year anniversary, but today is our 70th luna-versary. Kind of an auspicious, round number being that it's a factor of 10. :-) Yeah, so it's corney, but I'm still smitten. I think he is, too, since he actually remembers each month. He actually wished me a, "Happy Anniversary Sweetie!", last night as he came to bed at 1:00AM. I had forgotten, but only temporarily as my Outlook would have reminded me in the morning. But he hadn't forgotten. That put a smile on my face, and a warm feeling in my heart, as I drifted off to sleep.

This is also the anniverary of my 100th post. I never thought I'd write so much when I first got started back in December of last year. Not that I've had anything incredibly important to say. This blog is for me more of a journal about this hell called IVF. It's a way for me to look back to see where I've been. Writing it down makes it real when I've forgotten just what we've been through. It's still too fresh to forget anything...much too new. But one day I'm sure my memory will be foggy on the subject and I'll have this to reflect upon.

I know that some of the infertile bloggers I've had the joy of meeting are amazingly eloquent writers. They're witty, entertaining, and often incredibly moving. I apologize that my blog isn't so entertaining. I simply don't have the energy to do that sort of writing anymore. I did back in college when I was forced to crank out 20 page papers nearly overnight. My writing back then was for an audience that I was forced to entertain and swoon in hopes of "getting an 'A'". No more.

So in totally rare form, I'm enjoying a glass of Spanish red tonight. Probably my last for quite a while...

We chatted with Dr. Moustache today. It was our "You've had a failed cycle so, here, chat with the doctor" or some such chat that is conducted on the phone. Not in person. He's a busy man, you see.

He went over my test results and said that he would not, chose not to, comment on many of the tests that I did via DB's office. There wasn't much of an explanation as to why. I think he may have been peeved that I ordered the tests myself, but I also think he's doing a CYA (cover your ass) routine in that he doesn't want to be sued if I do LIT and then come down with hepatitis or something.

He did say that my OB's nurse wasn't speaking the truth to me when she said that he employer, Dr. G, and Dr. Moustache spoke to each other about my fibroid. I am not sure why Dr. G's nurse was so adament that Dr. Moustache and Dr. G had conferred over my 3cm fibroid, but it simply didnt' happen. Dr. Moustache said that most doctors would probably think it a bit excessive to remove a 3cm fibroid and that if she polled 10 of her colleagues, that she would probably muster support quite easily that I should leave it alone. He further clarified that normally myomas are not removed until they hit 5cm.

But I argued, "If it was 1cm last October, and today is it 3cm, it has effectively more than tripled in volume in about six months. It's growing fast. If it needs to be 5cm, at this rate we would just sit back and wait 4 months to do the surgery to remove it because in that time it WILL be 5cm." He agreed and gave me the name of a surgeon that he described as "one of the best endoscopic surgeons in the country."

I'm sure that Dr. G would be a bit peeved that I'm going around her to get this taken care of, but Dr. Moustache thinks that the fibroid is large enough that it could explain why my uterus is tipped backwards. He also said that he's seen seemingly innocent looking fibroids removed in otherwise infertile women, and then suddenly they've gotten pregnant. I honestly don't think a fibroid is going to be the key to our problems. Hell, I have blocked tubes. It CAN'T be the key...but it's just one more thing in the list of possible issues that I want to make sure is cleared up before that FET.

So tomorrow I drive to Palo Alto to meet with Dr. N to get my fibroid analyzed and make an appointment to get it removed. He's not doing surgery next week, so I'm guessing it'll be the week afterwards. If you make a circle with your fingers that is 3cm in diameter, that is pretty damned large if you think of it. I can't even imagine waiting until it grew to 5cm. Egad.

Looking foward...this will be my fourth procedure in the last year including my egg retrievals. My body is likely going to revolt at some point and say, "Enough!"

I also called Rosalind Franklin University today. They still have not yet run my DQ-alpha or my x-DNA/Histone panels. The former will be done on Friday, and the latter tomorrow. I anticipate the results will be faxed on Friday or Monday. Of course I'll harrass them to fax them on Friday. I don't know what the significance is of the x-DNA/Histone Panel, but if the DQ-alpha comes back with J and I matching on our HLAs, then I may have to find a donor for my LIT when we get to Nogales. That is a bit scary to me...injecting the leukocytes of some strange person into my body. This is where LIT gets scary. It's one thing to put part of J into my body, his white blood cells. I know him. I trust him. But even though some random man has gone through all of the same tests that I've gone through, I don't know that he didn't go and bed a crack whore with AIDs last week and that the virus just isn't showing up on an ELISA test just yet. Like he would tell any of us if he did? Right.

So I will be kind of sitting on pins and needles until that test comes in and we know where we sit with things. It should be in on Friday, and then we'll know what our LIT experience will be like. But one thing is certain. My LADs are so freakingly low it they are likely the reason for our failures. I have such a hard time having faith that injecting J's WBC's into my arm will be the cure all that will put a baby in my arms. But it worked for TW, so I have hope. Just a shred.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is there light at the end of this hell?

My tests form DB's came in today with the exception of the DQ-alpha, which will take another week. Everything came back normal with one exception.

My LAD (leukocyte antibody detection) came in at 3%.

It should be 30%.

The rundown:
C said 3% is considered "very low" and explained that my body is killing off the embryos before they have a chance to implant...or...it's killing them off right after implantation. My body isn't making any blocking antibodies to protect the embryos from my immune system.

The treatment:
A trip to Nogales Mexico for LIT (leukocyte immunization therapy). This means they will take 10 to 12 vials of J's blood, spin it down a few times to isolate just the leukocytes, which will then be injected into my body. A vaccination against J, if you will.

And now for my personal reaction to this?

Bloody hell!!

Why didn't Dr. Moustache test me for this? I really don't get it. How did I get these tests done? Honestly....I actualy stole off with a labslip of my own, filled it out myself, and took it to DB's where they did the blood tests for me. Then I told Dr. Moustache that I wanted these tests done and would have the results forwarded to him. He was agreeable at this point and didn't question how I got them done. If I hadn't done this, how many more IVFs would we have gone through until we gave up?

I have been petrified to do the FET. I knew if they put those last six embryos into me they would die. This confirms it. Talk about gut feelings being right on target. I've also felt pretty sure I had symptoms of being pregnant each time, uterine cramping, swollen breasts, but they were very very fleeting.

I've cried and screamed all day. I am angry. I feel so let down. I've lost 12 potential beings to carelessness. And in there was probably one or two that would have made it if only we knew. My heart is aching over this. I feel we've been pushed to near financial jeopardy by a medical system and, in our case, a physician that just doesn't do everything that he can in his patients' best interest.

In my typical, "Screw this shit, I'll fix it myself!" attitude, I've already called Mexico, researched airfare, hotels, and figured I'll probably have to doctor up our labwork if we want to do our first LIT treatment on June 2nd.

There is a shred of light in my head that says, "We've found it". The problem to our infertility woes, that is. I just hope this is the last one.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Towards Points North

After four nights and five days of LaLa Land, we're finally on our way home, by way of Solvang & Buelton for the night. The last 5 days have been so incredibly busy that I was able to push the failed IVF cycle to the back of my mind for a while. But that was fleeting, temporary. We weren't 80 miles into our trip home, I was just getting settled into our drive to Solvang, when I started thinking about how totally fucked it is that I might not ever be a mother. My life has been unsettled. I've changed careers like some women change shoes (well, save for Holding Pattern, who owns fewer shoes than anyone I know). Having a baby was something I always figured was a sure thing and it would happen when I was ready.

So much for sure things.

The drive started off very quiet. Neither of us were talking much. Mom's hard of hearing and her powers of observation are lacking and she didn't even notice the tears on my face from Calabasas to Santa Barbara. Probably for the best, as there's nothing she can do to console me. I really miss J. I can't wait to get home to him.

We're holed up in the Days Inn in Buelton, which is right across the street from the Green Soup establishment. I resisted ingesting the stuff this time. My mom's bowl was frothy. It literally had bubbles floating on top, so much so that it looked like someone put soap into it. I just couldn't go there. I had a mediocre salad. Yawn. There's so much good food in this area. Why did we have to do the Pea Soup Place? Why?

Before arriving in Solvang Mom tried her best to get me to take her to the Indian casino that is up in these parts...we circled around the casino in the car. It looked way too big. Their parking structure was bigger than the casino itself. It was just too daunting. I couldn't even imagine trying to find parking and then having to figure out how to find the door. And then all of the noise from the slot machines, people smoking, the blue haired ladies in front of the slot machines with their cocktails. I circled the casino and told mom, "Maybe the senior center will take you here..I just can't do it. Sorry." And off to Solvang we drove.

So it's homeward bound tomorrow with planned stops to watch the elephant seals (if they're out), and then Esalen, Nepenthe, and Carmel. If the rain persists, though, we'll take 101 thru Paso Robles, and skip the windy, curving roads of Highway 1. 101 is such a boring drive, but not as bad as the 5.

Tomorrow J and I are going out for dinner and then off to Kiva to sit in a private tub and stare at the stars. It's about the most relaxing thing I can think of doing, save for a massage...and it will be so nice to get some private time with J.

I'm off to read and catch up on everyone's blogs. I hope to stumble onto some good news. Somewhere. Please.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pushing Property in LaLa Land

The drive to LA was long and tedious as usual, about 360 miles in all, but somehow it seems to feel shorter each time we drive it. I had a migraine when we started the drive, one of those headaches that normally lasts two or more days. I forgot to take pain pills with me. When we arrived, one of the fist things I had to do was to get my real estate sign up on the yard. The signpost is metal and requires the use of a sledgehammer to pound it into the ground. Despite soaking the ground first, and the use of a piece of wood to protect the metal, each strike on that metal somehow bored into my brain. There was so much to do last night, in preparation for today's broker tour, that I worked til 12:30AM and then dropped into bed exhausted.

This morning wasn't any easier. I was up , drill in hand, by 7:15AM. I had three does to bore out, first with the drill, and then with a coping saw. Then there were plants to pot for the front door, real estate signs to clean and set up. And then I also had to make the house appear as though no one was living there. I think I jumped into the shower at 8:50 and was dressed, amazingly, but 9:00.

That is how my day started.

Days like this I swear that I feel like Annette Benning in American Beauty when she said, "I will sell this house! I will sell this house!" That's sort of the attitude I've had to take with this task. I mean, whose balls do I have to tongue to sell this house?

So today I discovered that the broker tour isn't a huge event, like it is in the Bay Area. I think I had 10 or so brokers and agents come through the door, a handful of regular folk, and a few neighbors stopped by to chat. The comments were mostly good. Very good in fact. Big relief after all of the work that we'd done on the house.

It's a bit scary selling a house so far away from home, but the agents here have been, for the most part, warm and inviting and have actually offered to sit my house open (of course hoping to snag a buyer or two in the process). I've never experienced such willingness to assist in the Bay Area, where the real estate business is very cut-throat. I'm sure it is here, too, as someone did steal my real estate sign here a few months ago, but I still can't be sure that it was an agent, and not one of the silly neighbor kids.

So for today, except for moments when a few of the neighbors stopped by with their children, I have been able to keep my mind at bay over our failed IVF cycle. I have an appointment with my Gyn next Tuesday to talk about removing my fibroid, and then my follow up with Dr. Moustache is the next day. My blood tests from DB's should be in by then with the exception of the DQ-alpha, which can take a few weeks to run. We are hoping, anxiously, that this myriad of tests that we just ran will shed some light onto why I'm just not getting to implantation.

See, and you thought I was going to get through this post without talking about infertility. ;-)

I am not going to have much time to check in on you guys until I get back home, but I hope that there is nothing but good news to read on Monday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Siamese on the Horizon. Maybe Two?

Blogger ate my first post today. I had typed quite a bit how J and I had stayed up way too late last night, then got up way early to go to DB's for a bunch of immune testing...but honestly, I am too beat to recount the entire story. I now know why PropYourHips left and went to typepad. Who can blame her?

Spent the day packing things for LA. This trip was so last minute that I'm sure to have forgotten something important. The most important things in a real estate transfaction are usually documents, but I'll have my laptop so I should be safe.

The Siamese Cat Rescue folks called me tonight and did a half hour interview with me. They said my references were great, and so we passed the first stage. Tonight was stage 2. We chatted for a while, she asked me a stream of preset questions. The things she asked me were totally reasonable questions...and really well done. At the end she said that we had her vote. So t looks like we passed this stage and now we await the vote of the entire board of directors. Serious stuff for cat adoption, no? At least they're not asking us to do fingerprints and a serious home interview like with HoldingPattern. ;-) But if they approve us we'll be in!

J wants a pair of kittens because he wants to enjoy them being frisky and all of the bonding that goes on with them...I am pretty much okay with kittens, they're cute, playful, who doesn't like kittens? But there is something to be said for a mature cat that just wants to "hang" with you. Ya know? Mature kitties have gotten though, for the most part, their desire to shred every piece of furniture in the house, and climb the blinds at 3AM in then get stuck and howl for mom to come and save them. Regular kittens do stuff like this. But Siamese kittens are like cats on crack. They are totally hyper from the day they're hatched.

My last Siamese, Popoki, or Kiki for short, was a gorgeous blue point "applehead". Meaning, she wasn't one of those freakish Siamese with the very angular heads that look like upside down triangles. Applehead Siamese are the old, true line of the Siamese and they're stocky, robust cats....not at all the frail, skinny Siamese that's popular today.

So once we are approved we'll be on the lookout for two female "applehead" Siamese kittens. They're sure to be terrors, and I know it'll be a huge job to get them to not shred the furniture...but they are so worth it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Day After

I successfully spent the entire day absorbed in my work, trying as best I could to not dwell on what happened yesterday, or more accurately, what DIDN'T happen. I am pretty much cried out to that point where my eyes felt heavy and sticky, the only solution is to just sleep through it all.

I think I am still in shock. I'm nearly sure I am, for I ignored what would have felt so good...sleeping...and instead of sleeping, I threw myself into putting my mother's house on the market. I started at 9:00AM and it's now 2:00AM, and I just finished the final touches on the faxes which have to be sent a mere six hours from now. Selling her house is closure on our lives in LA. It's a rather big deal for her since she moved into the house in 1953.

So I threated that I was going to LA if this cycle didn't work. There was something about wanting to lay in the sun and soak in rays. And as promised, I am leaving for LA on Wednesday...I have a Broker Tour on Thursday, Open Houses on Saturday and maybe Sunday, and will be back on Sunday, or maybe Monday. Mom wants to take Highway 1, passing through Big Sur, but that's a drive that needs to be started early in the day to appreciate...which means maybe leaving on Monday if we hold the house open on Sunday. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to this trip, but I think Millie's advise about just getting away and keeping my kind off of things is right on target. (But then again, her advice has always been awesome. :-)

You who visited and offered kind words and support...thank you...you'll never know how much that means to me. Especially because all of you have been here, on the receiving end of this shitty beast called infertility. It breaks you down, kicks you. It is unforgiving and unfair. I cried last night about the wretched crack whores and their myriad of babies...and the utter unfairness of it all.

But on a brigher note, I know I'm going to get to see a bunch of you at the picnic on June 4th, and I am so looking forward to being with people "who can relate".


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Drinks, Anyone?

I've had wonderful uterine cramps for two days, so bad, that I told my friend JS, "There is so much going on in my uterine area that I will be blown away if we're not pregnant."

Blown away, I am.

Beta: <1.0

Not pregnant.

Kind Nurse C said that I am welcome to come back in two days and do another beta "If you'd like to". That would be on 12DP3DT. Like, let's be totally serious. Is there really any chance in hell that a beta less than 1.0 on 10DP3DT would "come around"? Do they say things like this to torture us? Give us a shred of hope where there is none? But let's entertain this just for a second. How late can implantation BE? I'm at 10DP3DT right now, and we're already at the far end of the spectrum, or so I would think so.

If there is a chance in hell, please tell me.

I feel like an idiot for even asking this question.

And to make it even more confusing, she says to me,

"You need to stop the heparin, the parlodel, the PIO, and the suppositories. If you want, you can do the second beta here or you can do a HPT at home."

Me: But a HPT is only sensitive to 25mIU HCG.

She: Oh, some of them are more sensitive than that.

Me: No, that's as sensitive as they get. So if I stay home, but the most sensitive HPT, it would still show negative even if my beta did miraculously go UP. I mean, betas double, 1 would turn into 2 or 3. Not 25, which is what a HPT would need in order to pick it up.

She: Silence.

I don't think she was getting how utterly inconsistent what she was saying was. Okay, I really think a lot of nurses rock, but really...they hand out RN licenses with only introductory chemistry required in this state. Not exactly rocket science.

And to boot, if there WAS a chance in hell of my beta turning around, why the fuck would I even consider stopping my PIO or heparin? I mean, those sweet chemicals are designed to keep my embryos alive.

So, her advice: "Cut off their lifeline, but if you think you might be pregnant, go ahead and come back in two days (or do a HPT)."

Egad. As sweet as she is, I'm not sure what the hell is going on in the lovely head of hers.

So after this conversation, and after JS had left me as consoled as I could be, I dialed up J on his cell with the news. He was working a sound gig in Marina today and wasn't able to be here for the depressed event. He was more shocked than I. I cried as I explained Nurse C's insane dialogue with me and what I saw might be some of the things we'd want to do before the FET.

Ever the optimists, we immediately started looking for "what on earth went wrong". There's so much. Really, there is. So many tests that Dr. Moustache could have done but he just didn't see them as necessary. J said that since we've blown nearly $13,000 on this cycle that there really is no harm in continuing PIO until the second beta RECONFIRMS (ahem) that we're not pregnant. I would tend to agree that it's not over til it's over but, ladies, aren't we just playing in the realm of fantasy and dreams at this point? Someone please tell me if I should be taxi-ing over to the Black Watch Pub for a round of pint sized kamikazes.

We had six beautiful, grade 1 embryos. Why didn't they implant? What the hell is so toxic with my uterus that nothing can grow there?

Where do we go from here....?

We are optimistic, but we are drained as well. Emotionally. Financially. Physically. We're wondering, at this point, if we shouldn't follow, no, RUN, in Statia's footsteps and take our embryos to Dr. Next. I am feeling extreme guilt at this moment for having such incredibly fucked up tubes and immune issues. I feel guilty for spending so much of our money trying to have a child that we could have spent a couple of SUMMERS in the south of France. How does one get over this guilt? J has been an angel to entertain my incessant yearning to be a mother. But at what cost? J said he could live a childless life, but honestly, I haven't made that peace with myself just yet. I've always seen myself, sometime, somewhere, with a child of my own flesh and blood. It's always been a distant "something I'll get around to doing....sometime."

When do we say, "Enough is enough"? I don't know where my limit is. I'm pushing 42 and my time is short and I'm utterly depressed that I had blinders on my whole life, thinking motherhood would be something I'd do on my terms. "When I'm ready."

What was I thinking?

Answer: I wasn't. Thinking, that is.

We're beaten down, but we're not dead, yet. Even if we feel like it. I think we're both so shocked that this failed that rather than give up, we still have hope. I am so sad that Dr. Beer has died. I think that man is, was, our hope. And he's gone. Dr. Moustache is one of the only doctors in the area that even comes close to following his protocol, and he falls way short of really following it.

And Dr. Beer's office isn't taking new patients until the replacement doctor shows up sometime at the end of the summer.

How are we supposed to wait that long to START our in-depth immunological testing and treatment? And I already know that Dr. Moustache will put up a fight to do the in depth testing. He'll tell me to see Dr. T, whom I have a deep disdain for after he charged me over $200US for a friggin' consult.

So we're making our own list of things to explore before our FET. Most of it hinges on completing Dr. Beer's immunological testing and, maybe, even Dr. Toth's, but I don't know how we're going to get the tests ordered, or interpreted, in the absence of Dr. Beer and with Dr. Moustache hostile to me asking for them in the first place.

I'm all cried out for the time being. It's hot and although drinking sounds good on the surface, I tend to get further depressed when I drink, as J pointed out. He's right. Drinking when I'm down, just takes me further into despair.

I don't know what heals this sort of pain. I just don't.


Beta Day

Last night before going to bed, I read over at Thalia's that the brave girl POAS and got a BFP. This is the first good news I've read in a great while and I was so excited. This morning I checked in and read that she's started to bleed. I pray that it's only implantation bleeding and that all will be well. Please go on over there and give the girl some much needed support.

Today is Mother's Day here in the States, and it's my beta day.

I am nervous as all hell.

So off to shower and dress...and then a 50 mile drive to the clinic. I could have done the test closer to home, but since I am still classfied as "infertile/non pregnant", the test wouldn't be covered by insurance and would cost something on the order of $300US.

J is working today and so my closest friend, JS, has offered to drive me to the clinic. What a godsend that is. I haven't driven since my retrieval as our cars are all manual transmissions (except mom's camry, of course). But it's a lovely drive on a highway that meanders through hills, the bay on one side, and a mountain range on the other. It's what one might call a meditative drive, so I'll zen myself into a state of blissful betawaves and I'll be home before I know it.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

The 2WW becomes the 24hW

Stuffed to the hilt on Chinese Five Spice Chicken and Seafood Delight in Garlic Sauce, we waddled through the Borders in Los Gatos, trying to find last minute Mother's Day cards for our respective mothers. J was successful, but I was not. My mother only reads cheap paperback romance novels and I seriously wouldn't know which one to buy or not. None of the more interesting books on Mother-Daughter relationships would have captured her attention for more than a nanosecond. So perhaps I'll take her to lunch or dinner instead. I feel like a terrible daughter...but I think that is about all I can muster up at this late hour.

If it weren't for my horribly aching ovaries, I would have declared my attempts at not thinking about my nether regions a succcess. But I failed and so I am off to bed.

Bills are paid. By some strange miracle, PG&E actually owes me $125 so we didn't have a gas/electric bill this month. I'll take that as an omen of more good things to come.

Cramps actually picked up a bit ago, along with a racing heart, and just an overall feeling of weirdness and uneasiness...but in typical fashion, they're gone again.

Heading out for Chinese to distract me further.

Dr. Moustache's office emailed to verifiy that I willl have my results tomorrow. On Mother's Day of all blessed days. Some friends and family have commented on this coincidence with, "Oh, your test is on Mother's Day. You'll definitely get pregnant then!" Talk about pressure to perform.

Tomorrow will either be the first Mother's day gift I'll ever receive, or it'll be a constant reminder of my failure.

Let's hope for the former. (Knock on wood, spit, throw salt, and make signs against the evil eye).

We hit Whole Foods for Omegas, Ace Hardware for chain and ceiling hooks, and Trader Joe's for vegan cookies and bananas dipped in chocolate.

I would have shopped longer but mom, at 89, is a madwoman behind the wheel and I could not take a moment more of her driving. I think my life flashed before me a few times. It is, also, amazingly difficult to get in and out of a Toyota Camry when your stomach is bloated from heparin injections, and you've insisted on cramming yourself into your slim fitting jeans. I had them halfway zipped down, very tacky, but no matter, it just didn't work.

There is something to be said for the ease at which one can enter and exit from a Landrover Discovery. It's like sitting in a nice lazy boy chair. I may have to tell J that we're taking ours off of the market.

The 2WW has evolved into the 24hW...and the butterflies in my stomach have evolved into creatures the size of flying saucers.

Maybe I'll go and pay bills?

That's guaranteed to get my mind off of my uterus.


Friday, May 12, 2006

8DP3DT: Luteal Day 12

J's mom, DC, who lives in Sonora, came to stay with us last night on her way to Monterey, where she plans on spending a few days with a couple of her girlfriends. I'd hoped that she would have stayed longer than one night with us, but she promised that she'd stay longer on her next trip out.

DC is a certified massage therapist, and she has practiced for the last 20 or so years. But she decided, recently, to give it up, and so yesterday she brought us her massage table. It's an older table, but it's fairly lightweight and easy to break down and move. It has an older vinylish cover on it, kind of a baby barf color, that I think I'll replace with an offwhite or sky blue color in a similar fabric. A project for another day though. She folded it out in our bedroom, showing me how it "goes together". Simple enough. I can do this. I'm not sure what we're going to do with in the meanwhile but, hell, we now have a massage table.

DC gave me a nice & relaxing massage, a brief one and only on my front side as I didn't think that I could bear laying on my stomach for a long period of time. I'm just too bloated. Honestly, I could pass for someone in her second trimester right now. I know that it's a consequence of the heparin shots, and maybe some lingering fluid retention from the ER.

One thing I noticed yesterday is that, at some point, my cramps really backed off. This distressed me. I actually found a bit of solace in those cramps because it made me think that SOMETHING was going on in my uterine region. My first paranoid thought was that the massage might have been a bad idea. My acupuncturist said there are plenty of acupressure points one has to try to be aware of, and to avoid, while pregnant. Because of this, I told DC to just give me a very light massage, nothing even close to deep tissue for me yesterday. There were a few moves that gave me cause for concern, but I might be carrying her grandchild, so I'm sure she was careful. But of course, because my cramps kind of backed off yesterday, I looked at the timestamp correlation between the two events and immediately started to conclude that the "massage caused that" to happen. I know that's just paranoid fantasy and I tried earnestly to push that thought away.

Late last night, about 3:30AM, the moon was so full and bright that it shone into our bedroom patio like a spotlight. We have very sheer white tab curtains that hang in our bedroom, so the morning sun, and now the moon, really lets in. I guess we have not before noticed how bright the moonlight could be in our bedroom because the last time we had a full moon we were likely still in our 40 day onslaught of rain. We've only been here since January, so we've mostly experienced cold weather and rain here.

But the moonbeams were shining in through a separation in the curtains, and directly into my face. It was a bit surreal. Sleep would be impossible until the moon moved below the edge of the patio cover. So I laid there, unable to sleep, obsessing about my lack of cramps, wondering to where they had gone. At some point I drifted back to sleep.

This morning the cramps were there for just a second and then they vanished once again. I mentioned to J's mom that this was really distressing me and she said that maybe implantation cramps are fleeting in that they literally only hurt during implantation and once that process is over, there is no more pain until the next process begins.

She has a point.

Now you see why I am a bit bummed that she only spent a single night with us. She is fairly level headed and can wade through any situation and find some logic. And comfort.

I think I will peruse FertileThoughts.com and see if I can get some of the fertile ladies there to substantiate this. But my guess is that DC is right on target. She often is.

So much for my attempts at not obsessing. :-)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

IVIg: The New Botox?
Progesterone: The New Viagra?

All I know is that ever since I did IVIg last Wednesday, my skin has looked great. I've arisen to rosy cheeks each and every day. And get this: my eyelids even looked taut enough yesterday so as to temporarily dissuade me from upper eyelid blepharoplasty.

Strange, but true. I did a double-take in the bedroom mirror yesterday afternoon. I felt like shit, bloated and bruised from the heparin, but hell my skin looked rather good!

The first day after IVIg, I felt rather warm, overheating even, so I discounted the rosy cheek thing. But it's persisted long enough that I've started to wonder. But at $2015 a pop for the IVIg drip, I don't think that ladies will be running out to get this in droves.

TMI Warning

In my first IVF cycle, Dr. Moustache distinctly told me, "No sex, or orgasms!"

A cruel joke has been played on me by the RE. I am convinced that progesterone works like viagra. In both of my IVF cycles, as I get towards completing a week of the PIO, I start to get, well, rather RANDY.

Okay, I feel rather weird, and a bit extroverted, telling the world that progesterone seems to make me horny, but, there you have it. I'm sure someone else out there has had this experience. Please do pipe in and share. I would get some solace knowing that I'm not the only progesterone perv out there.

So, the NO SEX order has been handed down by Dr. Moustache. But I did ask my fav nurse, Nurse A, at Dr. Moustache's, "What happens if I, well, have a dream and the EARTH SHAKES while I'm asleep? It happened last cycle, you know. It actually woke me up. What then?" I wondered, "Do the embryos all dislodge and die?"

The nurse was rather amused, laughed a bit, and said it was probably okay but I fear the directness of my question might have unnerved her enough to not give me an entirely honest answer. Funny that we can talk about the stringy crotch snot that emanates from our respective nether regions, but when it comes to orgasm, everyone gets queasy.

So yesterday I became a bit concerned because it seems the progesterone is starting to work its magic. Little I can do if I've served up a dream with Christopher Noth. I'll be helpless.

Oh, and the cramps reappeared last night. Just when I started to think, "Damn, I guess they've all been in my head", they came back. They were there this morning when I woke up, through my morning PIO and bathroom routine, and they're still there now. I swear, it's either the evilness of the Progesterone, once again, making my uterus think that it's pregnant, or maybe, just maybe, something is going on down there.

We're focused on the latter. :-)


6DP3DT: Luteal Day 10

Things are Piling Up
I am supposed to have lunch with an old friend today, but I'm not quite sure I am ready to go out and mingle in the fertile world just yet. They're so naively optimistic that I would rather sit home and channel surf then endure the unknowing comments. I shirk from this interaction. I appreciate their upbeatness, but it's hard to counter the voices in my head that keep spewing out statistics to each cliche they spew out:
"You just need to relax!"
"Maybe you need to drink some wine?"
"Maybe you two just need to take a vacation?"
"Don't worry, it'll happen in time!"
"Maybe you should adopt...everyone seems to get pregnant after adopting!"
"You put how many embryos in? What if all of them grow!!!???"
"Don't worry. It'll happen when the time is right."
"Are you SURE you really want children?" (This one kills me. We've spent $25,000 trying to have a baby. YES, we are SURE we want a baby for chrissake!)
"Why don't you just get a cat instead?" (This came forth out of the mouth of my biological mother. Now you know why she gave me up for adoption?)

Each time I meet with someone and happen to mention our fertility ordeal I obtain yet a new unsettling comment to add to the list. They can't possibly know how our hopes were chopped up in little pieces in the first IVF cycle. We were naive then. We thought, no hoped, that first cycle would work. I guess we all go there, though, don't we? Julianna echoed this sentiment perfectly on her blog when she said, paraphrasing, "Everyone thinks they'll get pregnant on their first try."

I've also a tentative meeting, sometime today, with a lender friend who is going to teach me how to do loan processing, a means of filling in the dead time between house sales, but that, too, seems a bit much right now. He is more sympathetic to the cause...he seems to have a heartfelt viewpoint on the situation and takes care to not make comments that offend. But I still feel like invisible ropes have me chained to my computer chair and, when not there, to my sofa.

And although I have been laying low for six days, you think I would have kept up on things business wise. I have a home office. I should be able to get things done rather effectively. But no. I've got bills to pay, insurance issues to deal with, and I haven't touched any of it in the last week. I have been reckless.

My desk has a stack of EOBs from Health Net that are rather curious. A lady by the name of Julie Field is a patient over at Rosalind Franklin University, the lab that Dr. B uses for his tests. So Julie's lab bills and other things have been forwarded to Health Net using my subscriber ID number. I cancelled Health Net as of March 1st, but RFU continues to submit bills to Health Net on her behalf. I keep calling RFU about this, sending them faxes with copies of the EOBs, trying to help resolve this situation...but the EOBs keep showing up. The poor girl must be wondering why none of her bills are being paid. I'm sure she is near to freaking out by now.

And that's not the only weirdness. A doctor or provider by the name of Mher Babajanyan, of Diagnostic Service Group in San Jose, is now billing my insurance for $1900 worth of radiology work. Who this man is, or his company, I have no clue. But I am starting to feel that I'm being subjected to some bizarre form of health insurance identity theft. Imagine if you will, that you're a person that needs some tests to be done, or a procedure, and that you don't have any insurance. You don't care if you have a long relationship with the provider. You just need a test, a prescription, a quick fix, and you're off and running. But you're lacking insurance. No matter. Just run off and steal someone else's health insurance information and get the work done? Doctor's often don't bother to ask for identification. It's an easy scam. I only wonder if that is part of what is going on with my insurance.

On the 2WW side of things...there are still no overwhelming symptoms of impending pregnancy other than a mild cramp here and there and I wonder if that is all in my head at this point? My friend JM said that she didn't really have any signs at all with her first one until about 14 or 15 days and then it was some nausea that hit her right after she got the pregnancy test results in. She wonders, like me, if it was more mental than anything due to its timely appearance after the phone call.

Coloratura said she didn't have any symptoms at all for the first FOUR WEEKS.

One can go mad reading the posts on the boards of women touting their oh-so-obvious signs of pregnancy...and then looking at oneself and concluding, I can't possibly be pregnant because I'm clearly lacking, sign A, sign B, and sign X..."

So I am going to try to stop obsessing and just go with the process as much as I can. I don't feel that I'm stressing, but I do tend to be oblivious to my own stress at times. I don't think it's there, but I think I've lived such a stressful life that when it eases up just the tiniest bit, I suddenly feel "stress free", but in reality it's still there.

Not obsessing doesn't mean that I'm going to stop laying low and taking it easy...but it does mean that I'm going to try analyzing the hell out of every twinge.

We'll see how far I get.

I'd really love to see some serious spotting right about now.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

5DP3DT: Luteal Day 9

Statistically speaking, implantation should have happened sometime in the last day or so. I'm not sure what the 1st SD is for the data I posted a few days ago, but I realize that "they say" that it can happen as far out as 10 or 12 days. But what "they say" isn't really backed up by solid data, for which I had a great admiration and love (I did two senior theses in data analysis in college...just for the fun of it. Now you see whereof the madness derives?).

Luteal day 8 has arrived, and my cramps have come and gone, and then meekly returned and then left again. No spotting, no uterine tugging, no sore nipples, no nothing. I attempt to keep my hopes up and remember that my own mother had no signs of me until I started to kick wildly about three months or so along the way. I started kicking very very early, she alleges, and never let up once I got started. So if I am to be like my mom, perhaps there will be no sign of my little one(s) arrival until they, too, start to get tired of their cramped surroundings.

I'm tired of being a couch potato...but each time I feel a little twinge in the vicinity of my uterus, a voice in my head says to move slowly...take it easy...just a few more days. My acupuncturist said for me to move slowly, no jumping, no fast movements, to lay down often. In her words, "You are older! You need to really take it easy right now for the baby!" I listen to her. My butt has left a near permanent impression on the couch. The pair of ottomans are pushed up against the couch, and covered with an ultra thick blanket, so as to form a huge makeshift bed in front of the fireplace and TV.

And that is where I am headed.


Monday, May 08, 2006

4DP3DT: Luteal Day 8

abc7news.com: Technique Guarantees Embryo Implantation


A doctor in Beverly Hills is apparantly and successfully implanting embryos directly into the uterine lining of women and getting them knocked up at astonishing rates.

Too good to be true?

Well yes, actually. Modern Millie just pointed out that his 2003 CDC stats are "abyssmal" to say the least (this is a year after he presented this technique at ASRM), and that a 50% rise in his rates means, well, nothing. Weird that he's getting so much press about this.

And I was just about ready to board SWA from SJC to LAX with a big metal cannister full of frozen embies.

The device he uses is patented. Bastard. I guess this means Dr. Moustache won't be doing this anytime soon because we know he's a cheapskate. (Have you SEEN the shitty old VCR in his semen collection room?) But this technology in the hands of someone with stats that are decent could be mind blowing. Hopefully he sells the patent, or it's just easy enough to do with a hysteroscope or similar device.

On the uterine front...mild cramping here and there. It might just be the progesterone still. We're hopeful, but I'm slightly pessimistic and J's pissed off at me for it. I'm trying to visualize and be as positive as I can...really I am.

It's hard. I keep looking for "the next thing".

Sunday is like forever away.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

3DP3DT: Luteal Day 7

Warning: Graphic Post
Implantation can happen anytime from today to day 12...so I'm just waiting, on pins and needles for something, anything, to happen.

I've been having cramping on and off since yesterday, but it is likely just the progesterone making its presense known. But I ignore this simple possibility and, instead, imagine that my little embies are boring their way into my uterus, little trophoblast feelers sticking into the lining, draining my blood like little vampires.

I'm still riding the couch for the most part. I put a poll on Fertile Thoughts in the pregnancy section to see what women did after their transfer, if they indeed got pregnant, and an overwhelming number of women said that they stayed put and didn't do anything for days on end. Dr. Moustache may say that there's no data to show that staying still helps, but my informal poll shows that most respondants that got pregnant stayed put and rode the couch for days on end. So I'm going with what I've found. I'm feeling totally lazy, but I want those little guys to have every tiny little advantage that I can give them.

The worst part of this 2WW is that I'm scared to death to fart or crap. Everytime I go to the bathroom I shudder to think that they've possibly slid out with the waxy progestrone pussy pop stuff. My spotting is gone...I told Dr. Moustache that seeing it made me worry that the embies would somehow slide out with it. He reassured me that it wasn't coming form the uterus, but from the 18G or so needles that they used for the ER procedure. He kindly gave me a sterile rinsing out on the table in the OR (in front of J no less), transferred the embies, and then confirmed that the cathetar was totally clean, no uterine lining residue on it. I haven't seen a smidge of spotting since then so I guess he was right. I'm glad he gave me the rinse because I would surely be freaking out if I was seeing bits and pieces of tissue at the point in the game.

I think I should have nabbed some of those valiums they were handing out in the OR on ET day.

Back to the couch for me. There's a Jane Fonda special on this morning and Barbarella has already started. Classic!!


Saturday, May 06, 2006

2DP3DT: Luteal Day 6

Click to see a higher rez pic of the embies from IVF#2J finally scanned the pics of the embies at work yesterday. There are four 8 celled, one 9 celled, and one 10 celled embryos. The top two are 8's, the next 2 are, left to right, a 9 and an 8, and the bottom two are, left to right again, an 8 and a 10 celled embie. I don't know how they can tell after about 7. But my favorite one is the upper left. It looks a bit like a flower.

Last night J didn't get home from a gig in Salinas til nearly 1:30AM or 2:00AM, and didn't get to bed until 3:30AM (surfing the internet til the wee hours of the morning as usual). I woke him at 8:30AM to do my PIO shot. He groggily rolled over and stuck my left hip like an expert and then went right back to bed. How he has learned to accomodate this infertility regimine into his life. J, mind you, who near to faints at the sight of blood, who can't watch a phlebotomist stick him in his own arm, now is able to stick ME in the hip without being fully awake or without contact lenses in. I have to say I am totally in awe at his transformation.

So we're at two full days past transfer. According to Advanced Fertility in Chicago implantation should be right around the corner:

When does implantation actually occur in IVF or normal cycles? (We're not focusing on the "window" anymore, but on when real implantation does occur)

A very good study of implantation was published in 1992 by Bergh & Navot.

They studied 33 pregnancies from ovum donation or frozen-thawed cycles with serial HCG levels on the mothers to find the time of "first embryonic signal". The HCG assay used can detect very low levels.

Average first detection was at an embryonic age of 7.1 +/- 0.28 days (range 6.6-7.4 days).

This correlates with the studies of Hertig and Rock in the 1950's (hysterectomy studies) that showed the day of implantation to be day 6.

They did not find any evidence to support the concept of an embryonic diapause in humans.
So according to the above excerpt, the earliest we could expect this festive event to kick off would be tomorrow,(Sunday) and the far edge should be later Monday afternoon. Dr. Moustache thought it likely that I had a very early implantation failure last time due to my HCG not being "0" at beta #1, so maybe my little guys try to implant earlier rather than later? The studies mentioned above might be a bit more interesting if they had looked at implantation rates against variability of cell numbers of blastocysts and morulas. Obviously a 10+ cell blast is going to implant sooner than a 5 cell blast.

Don't cha just love data?

Interestingly enough, and maybe it's the power of suggestion, that whole body-mind thing, but I've got some cramping going on today. It comes and goes, but doesn't really mimic the posts I've seen of precisely placed pain right above the pube bone. But of course I'm totally focused on this and am laying low for a few more days. It's still day 5, so a bit early for me to freak out.

But that won't stop me.


Friday, May 05, 2006


We knew we had 14 embryos a few days ago, but it wasn't until transfer day, yesterday, that we knew how many made it.

All 14 were viable, but 2 were likely stuck at the 3 cell state. 12 were left and they were split 6 grade 1, 6 grade 2. Last time we had one grade 1 embie so this was a huge increase in good embryos for us. After a few minutes of discussion with Dr. Moustache, we agreed to transfer the 6 best, and freeze the other 6. The 3 celled embies would be watched for a few more days and if they caught up they'd be frozen as well.

Here's the results:

Breakdown of my embryos on day 3

In the OR, Dr. Moustache showed us the photo of the embies that were being put back in. One of the 9 celled ones had been reclassified as a grade 1, so it was being put in. So we put in four 8 celled, one 9 celled, and one 10+ celled embryos.

As I was being wheeled out, Dr. Moustache said our embies were "beautiful" this time and was really amazed at how the number and quality had changed from the time previous. With 12 to choose from, it now made me regret that we hadn't done PGD. How were we to know which ones were good or bad? There was no way of telling. He asked me, "What did you do differently this time?" I mentioned my wild drug mixing, my omegas, and that I stopped taking vitex/chasteberry and EPO. I could have told him more but they were wheeling me away, and beside, the valium was still in effect and all I really wanted to do was first pee like a racehorse then sleep a bit.

But back to how to choose the embies....PGD would have cost us $3500. A price that we freaked out over. But a FET and freezing would cost basically the same, maybe more due to the drugs that I would need. In retrospect, I would have done the PGD at this point just so that we would be able to make a educated decision this time around. As it stands, we might have picked 6 good ones, but maybe not. Our good eggs might be in that second batch of grade 2 embryos, but we're going to lose a few to freezing/thawing, and hopefully our good ones aren't lose. Again, I really think that with this many embies, PGD really was the way to go.

So yesterday I stayed in bed for 24 hours, as per the doctor's orders. It was hard to do. My body ached from lack of movement, the room got muggy and warm yesterday and I dozed off and woke up a bit too warm. I panicked that I cooked the embryos. My temperature read 98.7. A bit higher than normal for me, but the progesterone also makes one run a bit higher. I also woke up at 3:30AM sweating a bit. I tossed off the covers and had J open up the slider. It probably dropped to the high 50's in the bedroom, but god it felt good.

This morning I noticed that my temp runs warmer if I stay in bed, 98.7 to 98.8 but drops to my normal 97.7 once I get out of bed and go elsewhere in the house. So I'm going to stay out of the toasty bedroom in fear of cooking my little guys. I only hope, no pray, that they're all okay, that the small change in my temp didn't do them in. Part of my erratic temp is likely also due, in part, to the IVIg that I did on Wednesday...but I'm only guessing. Anyone else feel overheated after transfer???

I know I'm panicking over every little thing though. It's hard to sit for a moment without thinking about them. I just can't help myself.

They also confirmed. Beta #1 is scheduled, ironically, for Mother's Day. That scares the beejesus out of me.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Transfer Day

J is still sleeping, twisted all over the mattress, oblivious that I'm already up and feeling nervous. Showers, tea, and two shots are all that stand between us and the highway to the IVF clinic.

I'm still spotting from the retrival, which makes me nervous. Little bits of brownish tissue. I'm not sure if it's coming from the needle entry points from the ER, or from the uterus itself. I pray it's the former. I will ask Dr. Moustache for something to keep it at bay if it's uterine. I know it will otherwise worry me to go to the bathroom as I'll imagine my embies being wiped away with each trip. I'll also be afraid to cough, to sneeze.

Thank you to everyone that's sent in good wishes for today. I won't feel so alone in that OR knowing you guys are thinking of us. I'll try to post something later on before my 24 hours of mandated bedrest.


Day Before Day 3 Transfer: IVIg

Got up ultra early and jetted over to Dr. Beer's office. It sounds strange saying "Dr. Beer's office" now that he's gone. They were wonderful and squeezed me into the last place with absolutely no notice at all. One of my online friends, TS, whom I never met in real life up to this point, was there bright and early and it was great to finally meet her.

I had to pay $2015 upfront for the IVIg. They wouldn't let me swap the Gammaguard that I had on order from Columbia for their Gammunex, thereby saving me $400. That sucked, but the fact that they squeezed me in last minute was so appreciated that I sucked it up and said nothing further on the matter.

My NKs were only at 16.9, but the second dilution it dropped to in the 9's, which signifies that if IgG was added to my blood the level of NKs dropped to 9 something. Last time I did a NK test it was at 15 and it barely budged when the IgG was added. This time my blood seems more responsive to the addition of IgG, so hopefully it wasn't done for nothing. 16.9 isn't a high NK number by any means, but Dr. Moustache has anyone at 15.0 or above to an IVIg. So infuse I did.

The IV nurse was amazing with her skill of placing a needle into someone that hadn't eaten breakfast, or drinken much fluid at 8 in the morning. I basically had no veins to speak of. She hooked me up to a 10gram bottle of Gammunex, and then a second, and me and my 3 companions settled in for a 3 and a half hour infusion.

The worst side effects for me was that my left arm, that one that had the needle in it felt so cold, chilled to the bone, and the right one was nice and toasty. The left side ached nearly the entire time, but it was bearable. I massaged the lower part of the arm during the infusion and it helped to relieve the pain. My friend, TS, was there on her second infusion and she said that she got a headache from her first one that lasted four days. Four days. That is an eternity when you have a migraine. So the IV nurse gave her a needle full of benadryl into her drip line and she eventually slouched down into her chair and nodded off towards the end.

I didn't know that you're supposed to bring loads of fluids with you to an infusion, and that you should also bring extra strength tylenol, but since I was on restricted fluids today, I was lucky that I had the insight to bring my measley 0.5 liter bottle of gatorade. I worried that it might not be enough to get me through the session.

My other two companions were a young German gal, who also nodded off, and a nice woman of 43, a patent attorney for the gaming industry, who was attempting her first ever IVF with Stanford. It was an interesting mix of company, and they made the trip enjoyable. As enjoyable as it can be when hooked up to a IV for the entire morning.

So tomorrow is our big day. We have our consult with Dr. Moustache at 10:00AM and the transfer is slated for 11:00AM. The nurse that called me to give me the time said that it is going to be a busy day there in the OR, to slate about 3 hours total for everything, but that I'd be the first transfer of the day. (I guess he does all the retrivals first, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30, and then the transfers begin at 11AM. At least that is the pattern I've noticed). I've got my bag of pineapple ready to go (for the bromelain...supposed to help with implantation) and my bottle of propel. I'm not sure what else I can do or take at this point to help things along. Maybe I could direct the Feng Shui of the recovery room from my bed or something?

We have no idea how many of the embies have made it to this point but I'm hoping at least 10 made it. Even if we get 10 good ones, I don't know how many I'd put back in. I know I'm going to be a basket case tomorrow.

Hopefully they're handing out valium in the waiting room tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Interlude From my Fertilization Rate Joy

A member of the Yahoo Immunology board emailed me today and said that yesterday morning, Dr. Alan Beer, Reproductive Immunologist, passed away.

It's a sad day in the infertility world to see a man such as he leave this world.

Here's the post for those of you that aren't members of the immunology board:

It with deepest and heaviest heart that I pass along this update to the group: Dr Beer passed away Monday morning, suddenly and unexpectedly. Dr Beer simply did not show up for his California clinic as he usually does. Only after the the next of kin were first notified, could the public announcement officially be made.

Chris wanted to reassure everyone that despite this devastating blow, "The program will go on". Patient prescriptions will be filled by Dr Trobough (who works next door to Dr Beer) with Chris' guidance until a replacement doctor is organized (and this is in the works).

So please no worries. Prescriptions etc will be filled for current patients as needed. In the interim, while the program goes through this transitionary
time, the clinic will not be taking any new patients. But this will change once a permanent doctor is established.

To avoid being inundated with phone calls, the staff requests that patients please do not phone to pass along condolences. All of us feel common sadness this includes the staff, who are also feeling the grief (many who have been working for Dr Beer for a decade) Please restrict phone calls to immediate medical issues to keep the
office functioning in the best way it can.

Funeral service announcements are still pending. I am on close communication with Chris, and will post all updates here at Yahoo as they come in.

Ofcourse we all mourn this great loss deeply. Dr Beer gave his "all" to his patients like no other. He answered thousands of email every day of the year, at a speed unmatched by anyone, nights, weekends and holidays. He saved babies and gave life and hope and an arm to cry on He fought for truth, endured years of controversy and will always be remembered for the powerful pioneer that he was..

We all cry great tears for him.. I know I do, as a thousand others who feel the great loss of this genious of a man.

Dr Beer, we will miss you.

Nobody can ever replace you...ever.

Forever missed ..We love you so much.

Jane and Chris


Two Days To Transfer: Fertilization Report In

Good News, Bad News
The call just came in from Dr. Moustache's office. It's a mixed bag, the news. I prefer bad news first so here goes.

My NK Assay came back and I've had a flare. The 1:50 dilution value is at 16.6 so an IgG infusion (IVIg) is in order (anything over 15 warrnts IVIg according to Dr.Moustache, and I think Dr. Beer, who isn't my doctor, recommmends IVIg when it's over 10.0) . My insurance pays 60%, which means we'll have to come up with 40% of $2200, or $880. Ouch. I've hardly worked this year so it's yet another check out of my savings. I can only hope that once I've met my deductible they'll pay 100%. I haven't checked into this yet but it's on my list. It might also behoove me to send in every single receipt that I have from Dr. Moustache's office in order to get my yearly "cash out of pocket" up there so that they'll be more likely to cover these infusions.

Okay. Good news time. Good news after bad news is kind of like a yummy dessert after a wretched meal. It leaves a nice feeling in ones mouth and compensates for the crap that preceded it.

Here goes.

Of the 15 eggs retreived yesterday 14 of them were mature.

All fertilized.

100% fertilization rate.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

I am just trying to comprehend the idea that we have 14 embryos. They still have to get to Thursday, our transfer day, but already I'm counting my chickens. Got to stop that. It's bad joujou.

But that doesn't stop me from imagining that we might be able to transfer 5 or 6 the first time, and freeze the rest for a future FET. See, I'm counting embies that might not make it to Thursday....I've got to stop this insane line on thinking.

I would never, in a million, gazillion, years even think I would have enough eggs for a FET, not at 41, but if enough of our embies make it to Thursday, it just might be possible.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Retrieval Day

Retrieval was scheduled for 9:30AM, but we needed to arrive by 8:30AM. This meant getting on the freeway by 7:00AM in order to beat the traffic, and getting up at 6:00AM so that I could shower, make J a latte, pack my gear, and go. Amazing how much time we needed to allot in order to get there on time...and to also ease my worried mind about arriving late.

So....here's the skinny on the egg situation:

15 eggs were retrieved

5 from the right (6 follicles previously found here)
10 from the left (9 follicles previously found here)

So somehow the left ovary was hiding a follicle because they got an extra egg there, and the right side had one follicle that didn't give anything up. Or maybe he simply miscounted the number of follicles on the right side? He is usually very conservative in his counts so it's likely a follicle being tight with its egg.

Needless to say, we are blown away. Utterly blown away.

I was praying for 10. "Give me 10 and I'll be happy because it will mean I might, just might, get 5 embryos." Also, this morning I was telling one of Dr. Moustache's nurses that I was concerned because this time I wasn't "as uncomfortable as my last cycle at this point."

"Really, I don't think I'm hurting enough. I know this sounds weird to hope for more pain, but heck, shouldn't I be reeling in pain from all of those follicles? Last time I had less follicles and it hurt more."
Did my follicles not mature? Did I botch the HCG shot?

But 15. Fifteen? I'm 41 years old. I have an elevated FSH. How on earth did my body make 15 eggs? I am stunned, happy beyond belief, and grateful, not yet beyond words as I can't stop talking about how relieved I am. I just hope that most of them are mature, chromosomally and structurally fine, and that they all take to being fertilized.

We do not yet have any information as to how many of these guys are mature. I inquired about whether it was possible to freeze the immature ones for future IVM. No. They've already been subjected to a massive dose of hormones over the last week or so and they didn't do anything. So they wouldn't be responsive in the lab under IVM conditions. Drats. Dr. Moustache said they let them rest for a few hours before doing ICSI on them and then in the morning they'll call us and give us the scoop on the number of mature eggs, and how many fertilized.

And yes, despite chatting with him for a while on the merits of the CDC data, and whether we should do "rescue ICSI" (him: "You can nearly count the number of live births with rescue ICSI on one hand"), we wound up again agreeing to do ICSI. Sigh. I'm looking for an edge. Any edge to give us a couple percentage points more chance.

So today is a day of relief for us. But in saying that, I know it's a short-lived relief, as I'm already worrying about egg maturity and fertilization rates. And right around the corner, I can nearly see them already, are my worries on implantation and betas. If we are so lucky as to get a positive beta, I know I'll then be angsting over heartbeats, number of embryos, and chorionic villus testing.

Time to make an appointment for acupuncture and have them stick a few extra needles in my head as a preemptive measure against worry and stress.


My Diagnosis

My Infertility History

My Usual Protocol for Diet, Herbs, & Supplements

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