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Surrogacy Blogs:
Part of a Miracle
Bump Fairy
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Working on it:
Mad Hatter
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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
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Out, damned egg! Out I say!
Holding Pattern
Hummingbird Chronicles
Velvet Cage

Adventures in Baby Making
Barren Albion
Barren Mare
Dead Bug
Due Dates
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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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Note About my Cycle Numbers

I know my cycle numbers are confusing. I may fix this one day. But for now, here's the scoop:

I did 2 fresh IVFs and 1 frozen with Dr. Moustache (I'm calling these IVF#1-#2 - there was a FET in there though but I guess I am not really calling this anything. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly - I'll have to go back and check).

I then cycled with Dr. Pompy. They had me on lupron for a month or more. Holy fuck. You can only imagine my mood. This was the decline of my relationship with my boyfriend. We had near yelling matches in front of the receptionist when it came time to pay our bill which was 50:50. I went from 11 or 12 follicles down to 7. I freaked and canceled myself about two days before retrieval. (I count this as IVF #3 as it was hell enough).

I then cycled with Dr. Generous - one cycled canceled (#4 due to cysts) and then we did a full cycle (#5) that resulted in a measely 3 embryos, one of which looked like a football. It was my most miserable cycle ever. The boyfriend and I fought all through this cycle. When it was done, we were done. I couldn't stay with someone that had been so terrible to me while I went through what were the most terrible days of my life.

Then I gave up on IVF completely. The emotional strain was too much. The financial strain was killing me. My relationship with my boyfriend was over. I said unless I was hired at a company that paid for IVF that I'd never try again.

So I went on with life. I went back to work as a contractor and was wistful that my work compadres had insurance and I did not. They didn't need it either. They came to work pregnant and rubbed their bellies casually. It hurt. One girl actually said out loud one day, "Everyone I know who did IVF has twins." What? Helllllooooooo? Where are MY twins goddammit???

Two gigs later, I landed a FT job at a swanky software company but they didn't have IVF coverage. No matter. I'd given up. I was 43. It was done.

The end of October I saw that in the open enrollment forms they were adding on IVF coverage. My 44th birthday, weeks away, I decided, "WTF!? How can I NOT try if someone is giving me another chance?"

I went to see Dr. Italian, the most recent doc, and he said "no". So I'm off to see the esteemed clinic at the university in parts north. What to call this place? I need an alias. I'll think of one. But the doctor I'm slated to see on Monday shall be known as Dr. Red.

So here I am. 44 years old. Onto clinic #5 and what I am calling IVF cycle #6. It's really IVF #4 but the cycles that didn't work got so close to retrieval and I went through so much fucking hell that I am not going to casually dismiss them.

They sucked. They get their own number.

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Fired by Dr. Italian

Dr. Italian called two days ago to let me know that he'd put my case to the clinic's medical review committee. They voted 5 to 1 (against) letting me cycle. He called while I was at Kinko's furiously copying medical records to send to the next clinic. Yeah, I pretty much figured they weren't going to take me.

He said he felt I had about a 1% chance of taking home a baby.

9+ antrals. FSH = 15. E2 in the low 30's. And I have a 1% chance?

I know that my FSH will come down with a few more syringes of Humira. It works like a charm for me. And it'll stay down for months.

Millie's right. It's not about my FSH anymore - it's about my age. At 44 most will have given up on me. I may be crazy, but I'm heading north to the city to the folks that aren't scared of FSH. At least I think they're not. I only wonder how many times they'll let me cycle before they, like Dr. Moustache, cut me off as well?

I seriously do not believe for a second that FSH alone tells the whole story. FSH is an indicator, yes, to how the ovaries are responding, but what makes FSH vary? What makes the ovaries respond differently?

Dr. Hungarian, in NYC, felt that infection could definitely cause ovaries to malfunction. There's data to back this up. Dr. B, felt that our immune systems attacking the ovaries could do the same. Humira is known for calming the immune system and allowing the ovaries to return to normal. If you could see my FSH values a few months after a few shots of this elixer you'd know I was speaking the truth.

I also know that endometriomas and other maladies of the female gonads can also impede their ability to function property. Think about it. Cover the ovaries with blood filled cysts, or reduce their blood supply, and how would any ovary respond? Well? Or poorly? It's only obvious. One doesn't need 4 years of medical school, and 6 years internships to realize this.

Cure any of these problems, and the FSH is likely to return to levels that are normal for our ages. Age is clearly a problem, but it's not the only one.

I wish these damned doctors would remember this.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

CD2: More Fun With Mr. Needle

CD2 is upon me at last. I got a lab slip from Dr. Italian's nurse last night. It has the typical FSH/E2 but all ofthe general STD stuff they test for and since I have the bonus factor of being over 40, they added in a shitload of other blood tests for which I had to fast. Ugh.

They said I should go to LabCorp as that's where my best insurance bet will be. So I went to their site and looked for one in the Santa Cruz area. Score. One was open on Saturdays until 12PM. I headed down about 10:30AM starved from my fast. LabCorp lied. Well, their website lied. They were sold to Stanford and Saturdays were no longer available. Shit. Where to go? I slipped into the Chiro's office next door and begged their advice. They said to go to "Doctors on Duty", "just 'round the corner."

OK. I found that easy enough but they wanted a $60 fee for drawing my blood, PLUS I had to actually SEE their physician for god knows who what. What's more? They couldn't do all the tests I needed. I pleaded them to point me in the direction of yet a 3rd place. They said to head down Soquel to Dominican Hospital and that they definitely were contracted with LabCorp AND had a lab that would see me.

I headed off, following their directions, and never found the hospital. By now my blood sugar was nose diving and I was in near full migraine mode. I saw a Sutter Urgent Care and pulled over immediately. Turns out they did indeed have a lab and were happy to help me. Whew. 20 minutes later, after they'd put in the the huge list of codes for my draw...they finally called me back.

When I was finally out of there I was so relieved to finally have my tests done but then I thought, in a panic, I wonder if fasting, no food or drink for 14 hours, would fuck up my FSH/E2 tests. My thinking was: if my blood is has less volume because of the fast, then won't my levels of FSH be falsely high? So I hemmed and hawed most of the day over whether I should redo my tests tomorrow, on CD3. It would have been nice to have done a 2nd test, but my reason for doing FSH and CD2 rather then CD3 was that I want that number to be lower if possible.

My last FSH was something wretched like 17 or 17.5. If this one that I took today is elevated then I'm going to be screwed. Dr. Italian won't likely let me cycle if I'm above 12 or a bit more. He CAN, however, submit my case to their internal medical review committee to see if they'd consent to let me cycle.


So maybe I should have gone to the Hoity Toity College IVF clinic for a consult. There's a doc there who is fine with high FSH levels - but their overall stats, even for younger women, is rather sucky.

Dr. Pompy would make me do a FSH "jump through the hoops" test...so that's out, too, I think.

What to do?

Along another note, I got a call on Thursday that a set of 3 embryos were ready for me if I wanted them. I received the packet on them that same day. There are only 3 embryos, the quality is mid grade, and the biological mother listed both Alzheimers and Parkinsons in her medical history. Her descenents didn't seem to live too long either. One the father's side, he didn't list much in the way of medical history. A red flag. Both were short. So, I'm passing on them. I'd rather go for a larger cluster of embryos. 3 isn't much. The mom was 32 at retrieval...sort of midrange.

Hmmm....lots to think about and things will be moving rather fast from here out.

So I started my BCPs today...and will wait to hear on my FSH values. Should get them by Tuesday at the latest since Monday is a holiday.

Stay tuned for more fun with high FSH.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

My day with Dr. Italian

Day 2 of my UTI. As of 9pm last night it seemed to be on the retreat. Thank god for Cipro. So now I'm nervous that taking this humira is really going to fuck me up. But how the hell else do I get my FSH down? How? I just cut out caffeine, alcohol, sugar...and I'm off to WF's to get fish oils tonight. I have two weeks to try to make a dent. I doubt I'll make it but, hell, you never know. I can get in two shots before the next CD3 FSH and maybe it will help. I'm also doing Cipro and Dr. Hungarian was convinced that infections would make ovaries work harder and require more FSH to get things a'movin'.

Oh crap. If I've blown my chance the second I get IVF insurance I'll just freak.

So this morning I'm laying in bed with the new man...and his 4 year old crawls into bed with us and promptly starts sneezing and says, "I'm feeling a bit sniffly today." Fuck. From UTI to pneumonia in a few days? Seriously folks, I'm not over reacting here. Last December I tested positive for pneumonia after coming off of humira, so it CAN and DOES happen. So I grabbed a roll of TP for his nose and tried to keep the green stuff off of his pillowcases best I could.

So today was my big day at the new clinic. It totally blew my mind that the fees for today would be a freakin' COPAY! $25. I am so used to being raked over the coals from each RE. All day long I found myself freaking out because I wasn't sure how I was going to afford all these payments...and then I'd reel myself in with, "But it's covered!!!! Stop it already!" I'm not sure how long it will take for it to sink in that I have insurance at last.

So the clinic isn't impressive when you walk in the door. It's a bit shabby actually. But it's a satellite office so I'm sure the main place is much more impressive. My initial impressions: upbeat, a bit on the conservative side, realistic. He has a funny habit of talking fast and not looking at people in the eye...I'm not sure if that bothers me or if he's just quirky.

So the meeting went as such: vitals, meeting 1, u/s, meeting 2.

Vitals: OK, so I weighted with my clothes on. I'm 8 pounds heavy from my top shape in NYC over the summer. Ugh. BP is normal, slightly low as usual.

Meeting 1: He said I had a 5% chance of taking home a baby and asked if I was prepared for that bit of realism. Yeah, of course I am. We chatted for at least an hour. I had to reign myself in from asking him his thoughts on every single piece of IF research.

U/S: Dr. Italian fires up the dildo-cam and goes for the ovary on the right. He looks rather surprised and tells the nurse that there are 5, yes five, follicles on the right. One of them (or in addition to the 5, I'm not sure) is forming a cyst. He moves the cam to the left and tells me, "If you thought the right side was good, you should see the left!" Four follicles plus 2 small cysts. 9+ follicles on CD12. I can't tell you how pleased all of this makes me. I also realize that today being CD12 means that on CD2 or CD3 we might have found even a few more as it's hard for the U/S to "see" all the follicles once the cysts start to form.

Meeting 2: Dr. Italian explains that, at my age, he would have expected a single follicle on one ovary and basically nothing on the other side. He does a lot of smiling and fills out a lab slip for me to test my FSH/E2 on my next CD3. He's a bit optimistic. He said he doesn't think my FSH will be much higher than it was in my last IVF (it was somewhere between 7 and 10.5, heck if I can remember anymore). All I know is that if you've been following these posts...I have my doubts. He said he'd only let me cycle if it comes back lower than 12.



Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New UTI

Shoot up humira on day 1. Get a UTI the very next day.

God this is nasty stuff.

Happy new year everyone. (Seriously!)

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