Friday, May 31, 2013

Forever the infertile.

That sums up how I feel today.

I feel branded. Stuck. Lost. Sad.

Defeated.

I feel like everyone around me is living their lives. Maybe not perfect lives. Everyone has there issues, there troubles. Before infertility, I had my own struggles. What I've never had before infertility, was this all-consuming heartache. A disease that occupies my mind from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep at night, and then unfortunately, even during those "at sleep" hours as well, I'm haunted by what I cannot achieve or ultimately have of my own.

I see myself more and more over the past few weeks, months withdrawing from my friends that have never had to face the world of infertility. That don't know what the pain is like to want something so simple as a child, that comes without a second thought to so many, but doesn't seem to be meant for me. This is what my life has become.

We are most likely not doing IVF this cycle.

My ultrasound today only showed 3 follicles. Only 2 mature. So their belief is that only 1-2 would be retrieved. So the question is, how hard do I even try to push for a retrieval with 1-2 potential eggs?

The nurse called me this afternoon and told me that my RE was recommending that we convert to an IUI. I requested a call from the doctor and I just spoke with him. I asked him if he felt that I could do better if we tried again? I also asked his opinion on retrieving the 2, and then freezing them (if they fertilized and made it) and then doing another fresh cycle in order to accumulate more eggs before doing the transfer.

He was open to that, as long as I understood the risks that I may have none at all once it's all said and done. He also can't say for sure if I would have a better response because we honestly don't know for sure which lab was incorrect. The fact still remains that two labs were wildly different for baseline.

This morning when my thought was that there were 3, I had planned to still push for the retrieval. Now, I'm just not sure what makes the most sense.

Every step of my treatment since last summer has been a mess. From the lack of testing with my first RE, to delayed cycles and lab errors. I'm frustrated. I'm over it. I don't know how to continue pushing forward, but at the same time, I can't imagine quitting.

Maybe all of this is a sign, I gave it a whirl here close to home. Is it truly the time to pack it all up and head to CCRM? At least there won't be lab issues.

We leave tomorrow morning to go to Chicago. We have an appointment with my actual clinic so that they can assess me themselves. They are anxious to run my blood work at their lab and see which it more correlates to. I'm anxious for those results as well. We will then decide whether we'll do the IUI and find out if it will be on Sunday or Monday.

I need a little strength today. I need a little courage to keep going. I need some hope.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I have to laugh...or I'll cry.

I'll start with, my IVF is still on thus far. So rest easy before reading on.

I started my stims on Saturday. Injections have been fine. I'm not weird about needles in the least and have no problems stabbing myself in the belly. Is this weird? 

I was nervous going into my ultrasound today. Not sure if I was responding. Trying to have realistic expectation with how many follicles I will have considering my DOR. 

I had four. So not great. But hey, some nonetheless. I only need one. 

Right Ovary

15.7, 11.3, 10.7

Left Ovary 

8.2

So I knew this as I was leaving the clinic where I'm monitored. Just needed to wait for my lab results to be sent to MY clinic so they could call me with instructions. 

Now let me back up a bit. Last week when I had my cycle day 3 baseline where my levels were elevated and the decision was made that I should have the labs repeated on cycle day 5...we also decided that I should go to a hospital lab that same morning so we could rule out any lab discrepancies. I was never told on Saturday which lab results were the good ones or if they were off, I was starting, I didn't care, I guess. 

Today, I was informed that it was the hospital labs that were the good ones. My doctor went with those because they were inline with what a baseline should be. My e2 at the clinic where I'm monitored were 198 on Saturday (55 at the hospital lab) and my p4 was 2.8 (.4 at the hospital lab). Huge difference. Well today, my e2 was 891 and my p4 was 2.75. They believe the estradiol is too high for where I am currently. They also believe that the p4 is too elevated to be accurate. So obviously there is an issue with the fertility clinic lab.

So this makes me wonder...could my labs been normal all these months?!?!?! 

So what does this mean?! 

Well, it means I'm continuing with my current dosage of Gonal-F. I'm done with the Saizen. I'm adding in the Menopur and the Ganerelix. I go back to weird, screwy clinic for labs and ultrasound on Friday morning. My clinic just "knows" that my labs will be elevated. 

Then...no matter what...I am in Chicago Saturday and Sunday. My doctor wants me there in person to finish this out!! YAY! I could NOT agree more! 

So, just another crazy bump in what I have to consider a pretty crazy ride thus far. 

What is going to be thrown at me next?! Bring it. I'm ready. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ya'll ready for this???

Yesterday morning I was up at 6 am. That's right, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend started at the ass crack of dawn where I went to not one, but TWO different labs for blood draws to rule out any errors with the labs. I also had another ultrasound done.

We then drove a couple hours south to see my step-dad and his family. I have only seen him a few times over the past few years and I know how important it was to my mother that I continue my relationship with him. So maybe I got a little karma payback yesterday from someone very special because she was extra happy that her two most favorite people in the world, were together.

So first I should give an update on what I knew our options were going to be depending on the outcome of the labs. After speaking with my doctor on Thursday, he had been most concerned about the elevated progesterone levels even more than the elevated estradiol. The plan was, if my hormones were still not in normal range, I would do three days of Ganirelix to try and keep my body shut down so that we could retest on Tuesday, hoping for good levels to proceed. If that still didn't work, we would need to discuss going back onto birth control or estrogen, or something for another cycle.

Lets recap:

Thursday labs - Estradiol - 171, ideally should be less than 100 and Progesterone - 2.7, should be less than 1.

What I did not expect as a viable option for me, was that the levels would actually come down enough to start stimming. However, the phone call I received yesterday afternoon informed me that my Estradiol was 55 and my Progesterone was .4!!!!!

"Your doctor wants you to start stims TODAY!"

HOLY SHIT! I seriously thought she had called the wrong patient.

I officially started my Gonal-f, Saizen and Dexamethasone last night!! The Saizen is only taken for 5 days, I will go in on Wednesday to see how I'm doing, at that point, we'll add in the Menopur.

I won't lie, I'm a little nervous about the rocky start. We started stims on cycle day 5 instead of cycle day 2 or 3, which is the norm. I also have a cold/sinus infection. So as usual, my body likes to throw challenges my way, but I am VERY happy that I'm at least finally getting a chance to do SOMETHING. It's been 7 whole months since my last attempt at any fertility treatment and it feels like years.

I don't know how this will all pan out for me, but the opportunity to try, to take a chance and see how I respond gives me hope.

Thank you all SO much for your comments recently. To hear words like brave and strong in a time where I feel my least strong, really touched my heart. You all mean so much to me. Thank you.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Same old story

Not starting stims tonight.

What sucked was I really was hopeful. Even after the ultrasound this morning. It showed 9 resting follicles. For DOR, I was extremely happy with that. She still could see the cyst, but it appeared to be much smaller. For their clinic she said that size wouldn't concern them. So I was happy.

All that I needed to go right was the blood tests...

Estradiol - 171
Progesterone - 2.7

Way to elevated to start. So apparently that little cyst is still throwing out some major estrogen. I go back on Saturday to repeat, but I just can't see how my levels could possibly come down enough to be able to still start this cycle.

I'm absolutely devastated.

Guess the one good thing out of today was my FSH level came back at 6.25. I was shocked by that. Seemed like so many things were in line for this cycle to happen but for some reasons my hormones are really out of whack.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

IVF...will it or won't it?

Happen that is. Cause we're about to find out.

Today is cycle day 1. Finally, moment of truth will be on Thursday, when I go in for my baseline ultrasound and blood work. We'll finally know if we get a real chance at IVF this summer. If it doesn't happen this month, it won't happen until August, as come rain or shine, vacation is scheduled and I doubt I'll be doing IVF in Anguilla.

I've been fairly confident about the cysts this past week. I don't know why, but I feel like they are gone. My ovary hasn't been sore like it was last cycle. I'm hoping that I'm right. 

What has me a little freaked is that they plan on checking my FSH. That hasn't been checked since December (15.5) and January (18.4). I think I like being blissfully unaware of any increasing levels. Sure, it could have gone down, but lets be honest, we all know we're only as good as our worst number. So I'd rather just stick with the 18.4 and not let it go any higher. 

I hope that my FSH result (if it is higher) doesn't result in a cancellation of the IVF cycle. I would be devastated by that. I've read that it doesn't really have any impact on any given month whether your FSH is high or low, again, it's based on your worst number, so I hope that's true and that my doctor feels the same. 

For now, I can only sit back and try and relax and know it's really out of my hands. Nothing I can do will change any of the results in 36 hours. 

So Thursday = D-Day. 

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A temporary back-up plan

I'm getting so nervous, excited, anxious and scared about my baseline next week. Are there cysts? Are my hormones regulated? Can I finally begin?

Then, begins a whole new level of worries. Will I respond? Will I have enough follicles to go forward with the egg retrieval? Will they fertilize? Will I have embryos to freeze? Will this all result in a successful pregnancy? 

The chances of that successful pregnancy are only 10 percent. TEN out of 100. Yet, here I am, hoping that I can be one of the lucky ones. 

With all of the costs that we're incurring on fertility and thinking about how much costs could continue to add up...it's so hard to think about spending money on anything frivolous. However, it's been a long tough year. 

How many times have you toasted on New Year's Eve with your husband, saying to hell with the year prior, this new year, is OUR year. Then the next year, you're saying the same thing all over again. With every passing month in the world of infertility, the reality gets harder and harder. My hope may not shine as brightly as it once did, but it's still there. I do still believe that I'll be a mother. I don't know when, or how, or if we'll be living in a card board box by the time it happens, and if that's the case, by god, I'll make that the best little card board box home you have EVER seen. 

In the meantime, we can't keep going through this month after month with the continued disappointment without still living our life somewhat. 

So, I'm so happy to say that for our 2 year anniversary, my 36th birthday, our 12 year (dating) anniversary and unfortunately, our 2 year anniversary at TTC we will be here...


So no matter what this IVF cycle brings, whether it's celebrating or drowning our sorrows, I will be doing it in Anguilla. Can't much beat that.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lessons from Mom

Mother's Day is a double edged sword for me. It's a reminder that I am not and may never be a mother. It's also a reminder that my own mother is gone.

My mom was an amazing woman.

She was quirky, intelligent, quick witted, compassionate and above all else, she loved her daughter.

My mother was an extreme liberal and she would debate for hours over politics and religion. Probably one of the main reasons I'm so passive when it comes to these topics. She was proud to be considered a tree-hugger, granola or dirty hippy.

She loved music and loved to sing. From the Beatles, to Peter, Paul & Mary, to Harry Chapin and Iris Dement, just to name a few. From as far back as I can remember she sang to me, while gently rubbing or tickling my arms and back or playing with my hair to put me to sleep. I might mention that she did this every time I saw her until she died. My poor husband has since inherited the nightly ritual. (minus the singing part) She sang Return to Pooh Corner, Puff the Magic Dragon and Where Have All the Flowers Gone...those songs are now on my iPod and when I want to feel close to her, I listen to them.

My mom was also an artist. She loved drawing and painting. She owned a framing business and worked with all the local artists in the St. Louis area.

Her friends told me so many times after she died how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. I loved hearing this. What maybe she didn't know because I never told her was how proud I was of her. 

She faced her cancer with such bravery and grace that I am still above all else proud of her. I'm honored to say that she was and always will be, my mom. I was most definitely the lucky one to have her in my life.

I wish she hadn't been taken so quickly. There were so many things that I wanted to say to her and didn't. I will always have those regrets.

I will always long to have her to talk to, as we did every day on my way home from work. She would have been my biggest supporter through the past 2 years. She would have researched, pushed, cheered and cried the hardest.

My mother taught me so many things and I hope one day I'm giving the gift of passing on these lessons to my own child. Here are a few...

Be strong
Be kind
Be independent
Be HAPPY
Smile
Hold your head up high, not matter what
Know your own worth
Carry yourself well
Love yourself, only then you can truly know how to love someone else
Be your own advocate, if you don't, who will?
Educate yourself
Pick your battles wisely
Stand up for what you believe
Travel the world
Relax
Have patience 
Laugh lines are the best kind of wrinkles, they show how well you've lived
Grow old gracefully
Die with dignity 
"A lady always knows when to go"

I AM the woman I am today because of my mother. Had it not been for her, I would not have the strength or the character to have gotten through my infertility struggles. 

When she was happy, she used to quote one of her favorite movies, Little Big Man. "My Heart Soars Like a Hawk" 

I hope that one day I do find that kind of complete happiness. 

(Picture taken during Chemo treatment, 5 months before she died)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All the stuff in between

Wow. I can't believe that my last post was over 9 days ago. Maybe I took my little break a little to seriously. I haven't necessarily been out living it up. I've actually been pretty chill these past 2 weeks.

I think I left off probably headed to some mexican restaurant to enjoy a much needed margarita...

I did that.


This is a Fire & Ice margarita with jalapeƱo infused tequila, hibiscus, basil, habanero reduction and a tres chiles ice ball. It was as delicious as it sounds.

Then I decided why stop there...so I went to another mexican restaurant.


How can you possibly beat chips and guacamole with a margarita in a mason jar. You really can't.

Then...we moved on to Sunday Funday Bloody Mary's.


These are my specialty...so yes, I made this one.

Following my weekend of cocktails, we decided to jump back on the health wagon and started juicing.


I can say that we've had some hits and some misses. This one, was a hit.

Then I decided to start adding molasses to my apple cider vinegar water. (Still determined to do whatever necessary to get rid of my pesky cyst.


This was just god awful. I don't recommend it. The water turns the color of poop water and I gagged the entire time I drank it. I did however, manage to choke down a whole bottle. Once.

Husband has been trying to perfect the art of deviled eggs. This attempt was rather successful. 


If you're wondering, those are dill pickles and sirracha sauce. YUM.

All of this triggered the need to get my mini-garden going. Please note, I live in a condo and my "garden" lives on my balcony. 


Mint (for Mojitos)
JalapeƱos
Basil
Cilantro


Tomatoes


Green Peppers for our cats because they are fat and are on diets and yes, they eat green peppers. 

All of this manual labor sparked the need for a overdose of bubbles in my bath.


Note my tiny toes trying to creep into the picture.

Okay and I found this piece of art that should I ever get to the point of a nursery and for now, we'll just hope that time is coming, I will be recreating this...


because I really, truly do love this.

Then I received a package in the mail from a dear friend with this sweet note attached.


Cysts begone indeed. 


And this!! She sent me her fertility yoga discs which I immediately started this morning because....


last night I got THIS! Which means...MY CYCLE IS BACK TO NORMAL because today is cycle day 14 and appears to be O day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So today is a sunny, happy day which equals a summer dress to celebrate. 

Don't mind the (see I told you she was fat) cat.