Thursday, June 27, 2013

Finally...some excitement

We are home!! So sorry for my short ramble from the flight the other night. I was on the plane and had the slowest wifi that was making it hard to post. I never even proofed it, so it probably made zero sense.  Regardless...moving on. I also can't believe it's taken me so long to update. So many of you have emailed and checked in on me and I really appreciated it. Work has had me crazy busy this week.

We got into Denver late Monday night. I slept awful even being as tired as I was. I had way to much running through my head. Tuesday morning, I was so nervous, and let me tell you, my tummy does NOT like being nervous.

Our first appointment of the day was with the doctor. We really liked him. We've heard so many good things about Dr. Schoolcraft and Dr. Surrey, and I often wondered about not choosing one of them, but I have to say I really, really liked Dr. Gustofson. He's so gentle and kind and I believe that's what I needed right now. Not to mention anyone that can perform a hysteroscopy and I barely feel quite good in my opinion!

We talked a lot about my failed IVF and my DOR. We already know where I stand on my chances with my eggs. We don't feel like at this point we've given up on our eggs, but really, my eggs have given up on me. We're actually in a really good place about donor eggs and after our conversation with Dr. G, we're really excited. I haven't been able to say that in a really long time.

T had "his" appointment. Which well, went well. They were really happy with his motility and counts. So all good there, though I knew we would be. He's always been in the normal/good range.

We signed all of our consent forms and then met with the donor nurse. She was awesome. She met with us for close to an hour and a half. She went over every detail and every step of the donor cycle. I didn't feel rushed and she answered all my questions.

We then met with the business office (the super fun part) and paid the deposit for our cycle. I also got the nice little surprise that they were submitting all the ODWU costs through my insurance which covers all diagnostics. LOVED that. So we spent much less than we anticipated. Since I've met my deductible, we should have any out of pocket costs other than T's testing which was minimal compared to mine.

After lunch, we did our blood work...loved how thrilled Trevor looked, so I couldn't help this one...

and then met with the psychologist. This was our least favorite appointment of the day. Not because we are against telling our child how they came into the world. We just felt she was very biased about her opinions on how to handle the conversations with the child. This is something that we've discussed very little and had decided that we were speak to a therapist and read lots of books after we were successful with the cycle to figure out the best direction for us. We had not made a decision. Only the decision to not tell our family and friends that we were doing donor eggs until that decision was made. It was very odd to have a therapist telling us her opinion and what she thought we should do and how we should do it. T was not a fan of her, but at the end of the day, knew we didn't have to see her again.

Our last appointment of the day was the hysteroscopy. I was very nervous because I've only had this done under anesthesia and have heard some stories about how much it hurts. As I said earlier, I barely felt it.

So the funny stories from the day...because if you know my husband and I, you'll know we really try to have fun and laugh...even through the struggles we've had, still seems like we're able make that happen.

The two "moments" came while I was in stirrups waiting for the doctor to come in and perform the hysteroscopy. First, I was wearing little slip on shoes. I will mention I have a SUPER sensitive nose and had this awful feeling that my feet were stinky from the shoes I was wearing all day and my feet were going to be in the doctors face! After hemming and hawing over this for a good 5 minutes, I hopped off the table (paper cover and all) and bathed my feet in the Purell on the counter. T was really hoping that they would walk in while I was doing this. They didn't. Luckily, while doing the procedure he didn't mention my stinky feet OR the fact that they smelled like rubbing alcohol.

Probably in the midst of the stinky feet fiasco, my husband decided to tell me about his visit to the "man room" earlier. He was quite impressed with the room compared to some he's been to in the past. The funny part was when he questioned why there is always a "puppy pad" on the chair in those rooms? He can't figure out how logistically any man, can sit down, do their thing, and still aim into a cup. He simply thinks it can't happen.

The doctor did walk in while I was laughing, out loud. The doctor then told Trevor he could stay in the chair he was in (with a full view of my hysteroscopy) or move by me. He simply said "I'm good, I've seen all this". Nice.

We made it to the airport 3 hours before our flight. After abstaining the week prior, we both splurged on a couple glasses of wine (complete with reading material) before the late flight out. Well deserved I believe.

So the plan.

We will be doing a mock cycle with my next period which should arrive in a couple weeks. I'm currently cycle day 14. They'll use Vivelle patches, Estrace and then Endometrium to see my lining get in a nice cushy place. I will also be doing the Beta-3 Integrin biopsy test to ensure I have what it takes for an embryo to implant. If I don't, we'll do two months of Depot Lupron. We should know by early August where we stand. Once all things are a go, we can choose our donor. We are going to go with CCRM's database. They will already be screened and approved and it won't add those additional agency fees or travel costs. All of the eggs from the cycle will be mine for the fresh transfer and for future use.

My hope is our cycle will be in the early to late fall. I'm actually really happy about all of this. We have a good chance, finally.

We're leaving very early tomorrow morning to see my baby sister get married. Should be a great weekend of celebration (and yes, maybe a tad too much wine).

And if anyone is counting like I am...8 more days till I'm on a beach and can finally relax!

Much love everyone!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Moment of truth time

I've taken a little mental break this past week. I've not been as active on threads and I've even gotten behind on some of my blogs. I've tried to catch up the past 30 minutes as we fly somewhere over Kansas. 

We should be in Denver around 9:30 this evening. We'll be there for 21 hours. I feel like CCRM has such a reputation and so many people put their heart and soul (and bank account) on the line as a last resort. I certainly hope it's worth it for us. 

I do even know what I want them to tell me. Do I want them to say, "just kidding, we totally think you have a shot at your eggs!" or at this point, do I just really want to hear that I can be successful with donor eggs. 

I've had such a fear this past week that I'm going to hear that I need to give up. That it's not going to happen and I need to ready myself for a child-free life. I turn 36 in two weeks. I will officially have been trying to conceive for two solid years. 

As we were boarding our flight today (Southwest--free for all boarding), a man and his daughter approached us and said that she would be flying for the first time alone. She's 13 (almost 14--because at that age, it's cooler to round up than round down, just wait youngster) and all I could think to as we sat in our seats, ready to take off, was that her father saw my husband and I and thought, they look like the kind of people that I can ask to watch out for my daughter...sit with her, help her with her bags. It may be silly, but at the same time, it was a nice feeling. I also hope one day that I have a teenage daughter to sit and chat to like this little girl. She's a cutie pie. 

My trip to Santa Monica was great. I was super busy and loved staying on the beach and being able to walk to my office every day. I look forward to going out there more often as our office takes off at that location. It's a nice getaway from reality. 

This weekend my sister is getting married. She's 10 years younger than me and it's hard to believe. 

Can you tell? I'm trying hard to hope for tomorrow, but think of anything but infertility...

Okay, CCRM, here goes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's such a simple word, but can carry so much weight. How many times have you asked yourself, "why"?

Why can't I get pregnant when everyone else around me seems to be doing a dandy job of it without so much of a hint of struggle?

Why is everyone else's life moving on with happy memories and joy and we can't seem to move past the hell on earth that is infertility?

Why when we're prepared to do IVF and spend our life savings on whatever treatments available, is it still not an option?

Why when you realize that your best option most likely is the use of another woman's egg and start to come to terms with that, something else knocks you down?

Why has my life seemed to be filled with so much loss since such an early age? (Trust me, that's a whole other blog's worth)

Why does it seem I am not destined to be a mother even though I have felt in my heart for so long, that I was meant for that role.

So many questions today. So few answers.

I had asked my RE a few weeks ago if he would mind if I did a follow up estradiol and progesterone check on cycle day 3. Just for informational purposes since I'm not doing any sort of treatment right now. After two consecutive months of having elevated levels, I wanted to know if it was a fluke, or if this was an ongoing thing. My RE had said it was extremely rare for it to be ongoing, but said it was not unreasonable to test.

Cycle day 1 was Friday. Only 9 days after my egg retrieval. My shortest luteal phase ever. I was so concerned about my CCRM one day work up, but luckily, I'll still fall in the window of cycle day 5-13. Just barely. I'll be there on cycle day 12, one week from today.

I went in on Monday to my gynecologists office for blood work. I wanted to go to them because of all the lab confusion I had at the previous clinic I was being monitored. The results were not good.

Estradiol - 160
Progesterone - 3.5

So this now makes three months with elevated numbers. My progesterone basically looks like I ovulated throughout my entire cycle.

I just heard from my RE. He's as confused as I am because this is such an unusual situation. He doesn't want to mess with my hormones and they can return to normal on their own. He mentioned higher doses of birth control pill, Lupron or a few days of Ganirelix to try and stabilize the hormones if they don't regulate on their own.

The kicker...he would not want to proceed with a cycle of donor eggs without getting this hormonal imbalance corrected.

So what if it can't be corrected? What then?

I'm curious of what CCRM will say about all of this next week. After hearing from the doctor that I'm scheduled to see and being informed that my chances of a pregnancy with my own eggs, even with them, being less than 5% at this point, we had officially changed our ODWU to a donor egg consult. It was crystal clear that is the direction we should be going...but now?

I feel broken today. My body has let me down in so many ways. I'm on the verge of giving up, but then wonder, what will my life be like then? Will I feel a constant emptiness or will I finally move on one day? It's so hard to imagine either scenario.

I arrived in California today and I can't even seem to enjoy it. I thought a few days from home would take me away from the heartache. I should have known's unfortunately with me always.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflection on 2 years

This post isn't about what you least for the most part. 

Today I reflect on my marriage. Which regardless of our infertility, has been pure happiness for me. We waited a long time to finally get married and when we finally did, it was perfect. Every. Last. Detail.

It was on the smaller side, less than 75 our our close friends and family. Many of them traveled from all over the country to be a part of our day in a small town in North Carolina where I grew up. We had a backyard "pig pickin" on my dad's farm for our rehearsal dinner, that many would consider a disaster. Complete with sideways rain under our tent, a giant pig carcass on a grill, 50+ people crammed in my dad's house because of said "sideways rain" and a great little bluegrass band stuck behind the living room furniture, continuing to play on. There was nothing but smiles and good times regardless and I still get compliments today on our wedding weekend, especially that rehearsal dinner!

After 10 years of dating, I finally got it all and was so excited to start our lives together.

We've obviously gone through many struggles these past few years. A miscarriage. The devastating diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve. And now the realization that our journey may be taking us one step further, to donor eggs. Some have asked if our marriage has been strained recently.

It has not.

We've gone through every step of this as a unit. Together. It's made us stronger. We laugh together. We cry together. We get angry together...but never at each other, only at fate that has dealt us this very unfair hand. We pray that we were given these challenges because we are strong enough to get through them and come out even better.

So Happy Anniversary, love. Thank you for being my best friend.

This picture pretty much sums up how happy I was that day...

The only thing that I am sad about that he's in New York and we aren't together. But look at what arrived for me this morning!!!

Looking forward to our official celebration when he gets home on Friday! 

As far as where we are going from here...we have a plan...kind of. We're just not quite convinced it's the right plan yet. We contacted CCRM and had them add the donor consultation to our ODWU on June 25. We've booked flights. We've booked a rental car and hotel. 

For some reason we aren't convinced though. If we are doing donor eggs, is CCRM the right place? Could we have results just as good going somewhere closer and less expensive. Hopefully we get some clarity on this soon. Right now, we're just feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to go or what to do. 

The next few weeks will be very busy for us. With T in NYC this week...I'm going to Santa Monica to work from our office there all next week. While I hate being away from him for so long, I'm looking forward to a change of scenery. He also believes working next to the ocean will do my soul some good. Let's hope. 

The following week is CCRM (I think--I reserve the right to change my mind on this at anytime) and then flying to North Carolina for my sister's wedding all in the same week. Taking on a bit much?? Probably. 

However, the week after that, we leave for Anguilla. 

We'll be reliving the days of our honeymoon...and look how well that turned out!! 

That's in 23 days, because, yes, I'm most definitely counting.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When your heart breaks

You put it back together again. You nurture it and you wait for it to heal.

There are a lot of words that could describe the last few days for me:


I've often said that I knew my chances were slim. The numbers don't lie, and I know that when it comes to eggs, I just don't have many. I always knew that my first IVF would give me a lot of information that I would need in this journey to continue on...or not.

My hormone levels never seemed to really get under control. High progesterone during the follicular phase. High estradiol. Fluid in the uterus. All things that make for an unhappy place for an embryo.

Red flag.

I knew that I wouldn't respond well...but I had fiercely hoped that I would get 5-6 eggs. I got 2.

Red flag.

I never thought that even if we went forward with only two eggs, that neither would even make it to the point of attempting fertilization. That was a blow for me. It was also a surprise to my doctor.

Red flag.

We have always said we would do potentially 2-3 IVF's before moving on to other options. Whether that be donor eggs or adoption or child-free. However, I've also said that I only wanted to take things as far as it was reasonable and realistic. That I would always look at each cycle and make the smartest determination on how to proceed forward.

Currently we are scheduled for our ODWU at CCRM on June 25th (for now). I made this appointment a week or so ago. Knowing when I would start my next cycle (ish) and wanting to have that out of the way should the IVF not produce a pregnancy, we were planning on doing a cycle with them.

However, we did learn a lot from this IVF. Even though I have only done one. Even though, there is a chance that I could have a better response or better eggs next time. It is not expected. The odds are not good that I will ever produce more than 3-5 eggs. I also have a huge quality concern now that I did not have previously. So what do we do?

We can go to CCRM, we can spend $30k on a last chance shot in the dark.


We can move on to donor eggs and have a great chance at finally having a baby.

Isn't that what I really want?

What I have to come to terms with is this baby won't have my eyes or my mom's laugh or my feet that are mirror images of my mother's. Is that so important? Would it be so important if my mother were alive and telling me that this baby would be mine no matter what? Would it be so important if my mother had other children? If I didn't know that without a biological child, my mother would die with me? Is it just the loss of my mother and now my biological child that is creating this feeling of a double dose of agony?

These are all questions that run through my head. Then I think about all the years that T and I talked about kids, who they would look like? Would they have my eyes? His dimples?

Are any of these things really important?

In my head they aren't. In my heart...I'm getting there. It's a tug-of-war and I know that's the grief of losing the biological connection to my child and the hope of carrying OUR child regardless of that DNA link.

I have reached out to my therapist to meet with her next week. I have also started looking into different donor egg agencies and several clinics. I have 3 options really...

A clinic in Indianapolis - 55% success rates (the best in the city)
A clinic in Chicago - 80% success rates (phone consult on July 2)
CCRM - 76% success rates (June 25th ODWU)

There is then the question of agency vs. clinic donors. The price is HUGELY different. However, so is the pool to choose from. I'm trying to get information from threads and boards of other women that have gone through the donor egg process to make an informed decision on this.

Will CCRM push me to try one more time? I doubt push is the right word, at the end of the day, no doctor is going to tell me I have a good chance with my own eggs. At my phone consult Dr. G gave me 15-20% chance of pregnancy with them. Will that change and be even less with the information from this first cycle? Will CCRM be able to wave a magic wand and get a better response AND quality egg?

I don't think anyone can tell me I have to go with my heart. And it's telling me no. Or is it the grief telling me that? Maybe the next few weeks, that will become more clear.

Lastly...while one of the words I described earlier was "lonely". I have felt lonely. When I speak to my family, who knows very little of our infertility. Our friends (at least most of them) that continue to know nothing of what it's like to struggle for what's so natural for them. Work...because I have to put on a happy face just to get through the day. However...there is a place that I have felt anything but lonely and that's here.

I have felt the amazing amount of support and love that has come from all over to show me how much you care. I have felt that in every comment and in every note or email. You have brought tears to my eyes and love to my heart.

For that, I will be forever grateful.

Much love~


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just like that...our hopes are gone.

I don't have it in me for a long post. So this will be quick. I'll post more in the next few days after I'm able to wrap my head around all of this and put it to words.

One egg degenerated in culture and could not be used and the other failed to mature fully and could not be fertilized. So basically neither even made it to the point of attempting fertilization.

I didn't have high hopes, I mean my chances were shit, but this was worst case. So there is a lot to think about...

And then there were two...

The retrieval went well today. I'm not in any pain, just a little sleepy from the "double martini" the anesthesiologist said he was going to give me.

Unfortunately, out of three follicles, only two had eggs inside. Obviously, three is better than two, but two is better than one or none!! I'll get the fertilization report tomorrow, and hopefully at least one is healthy and can be frozen (or transferred if that's the only option).

They planned on draining the fluid from my uterus, but apparently it had resolved itself since Sunday as there was no more fluid. So that's great! They would check again prior to transfer, to make sure, they could always drain it then if it reappears.

Sorry for the quick update, but I'm thinking I'm in need of another nap before dinner.

Thanks for all the comment love and well wishes these past few days!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The tough decisions

I'm a very indecisive person. Many of you have probably gathered that from my constant worry over whether I should or shouldn't go to CCRM vs. FCI. I have at times, sent myself into a tailspin over where to go to dinner. So please, know that the anxiety that comes over me trying to decide how to proceed with something as important as this is extremely overwhelming for me.

We traveled to Chicago yesterday. It was so nice to be at my doctor's facility. It's so strange considering this was only the second time I've stepped foot in their facility. The first being my consultation. It was a quick visit. We did the ultrasound and blood work and were sent on our way until the results were ready. We spent the morning walking around Chicago, taking in an art fair, having lunch and doing a bit of shopping.

We got the call mid afternoon. We were told that the 3rd follie, was still rather small at 13mm. My lining was 4.9mm, my e2 was 1277 and my p4 was 3.7. I also had fluid in my uterus. So we had two options.

Option 1

Trigger Saturday night and come in Monday morning for an IUI, where they would also drain the fluid from my uterus.

Option 2

Come in again on Sunday for another ultrasound and blood work to see where things are and make our decision .

In my opinion, an IUI with such dismal lining and elevated p4 would be pointless. Even should we choose to cancel the IVF, I did not believe I would regret not doing the IUI. So we chose to stim one more night and return to the clinic on Sunday.

The one nice thing about being out of town was how much I love the restaurants in Chicago. We had an amazing date night. We went out for sushi just a few blocks from the hotel and then went to a cute little coffee bar for dessert. We discussed a lot of things. We talked about the chances of me ever having  a better response. There something I can't seem to wrap my mind around...because we know that my AMH is less than FSH has been close to 20 on multiple occasions, and that's how far I go before moving on to donor eggs. The truth is...I want a child. I want a home. I want us to have a comfortable life. My point of moving on, may come quicker than someone with better odds. It may be coming sooner rather than later. I'm not sure I have it in me to continue to drain all the funds we have on something that has such a small chance of happening when we can move on and have a child by other means (which will also cost a considerable amount of money).

By this morning, I told my husband that I needed to just cancel this cycle. I couldn't move forward with 1-2 follicles and I wasn't going to waste money on even an IUI. We decided we would just go to CCRM, try once and move on from there if it didn't work.

Then we went for my ultrasound, comfortable with our decision, even though it was very emotional for me and of course...#3 had rallied. It was almost 15mm this morning. The doctor on call met with us and was recommended we move forward with our retrieval. The other sizes were 20 and 23mm. Well hell.

We discussed with her the fact that our lining had increased to 6mm, however, I still had fluid in my uterus. We would have to aspirate the fluid at the time of retrieval. The ultimate goal would be to retrieve the three. Hope with all that I have, that they fertilize and make it to freeze. To transfer at a later date when my uterus is in a better state, more welcoming to embryos. If they do not look like they would make it freeze, we would just have to do a Hail Mary transfer on day 3 and hope for the best. Apparently the elevated p4 does decrease my chances of success by half.

She did not believe I would ever be able to have more than 3-5 eggs at any given IVF cycle. We decided to go for it. So for now, I'm putting all of my hope and faith into 3 little follicles. This is a long shot in the dark...but for now, it's all we have.

I trigger tonight. Retrieval on Tuesday.