Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Blessed Uterus

Sorry for the suspense, but it's been a busy week! Here's what happened:

I have no willpower. I finally convinced my husband a couple of days after the transfer that it really was in our best interests for me to start peeing on a stick, even though it was waaaay to early. Good or bad, I told him we would avoid a lot of stress and anxiety waiting until 12/26 for our beta.

So, the first day (and I think it was a mere 8 DPO, or something like that), I could have sworn I saw a very, very faint blue line on the test. My husband thought it too, but both of us refused to acknowledge that the line constituted a pregnancy. (I've heard that a line is a line, but when you have to put it up close to your eyes and tilt it to see even a shadow of a line, you begin to think you are just willing it there).

Over the next few days, it did seem to get darker and darker, but I still wasn't convinced I was actually seeing anything, and neither was my husband. Finally, on the fourth day, I saw an appreciable blue line! Unfortunately, my husband wasn't buying it. We actually got into an argument -- I told him I couldn't believe he was being so ambivalent about a positive pregnancy test! I made him go out and get a digital test for the following day.

The next morning, I got a "pregnant" on the digital in a very short amount of time. I woke him up at 5:00 a.m. to come look at the stick. Half asleep, he did a very cartoon-like double take when he looked at the test -- and promptly began to cry. We just stood there, in the bathroom, hugging each other. It was a very emotional moment.

The bad news is that I seem to have developed a rather painful post operative infection. I thought it was a UTI, and my RE put me on antibiotics pending the test results, but when they came back negative and I was still in constant pain, they made me come in for an emergency appointment. They checked everything and couldn't find a thing (no accumulating fluid in my abdomen, no enlarged ovaries, no acute pain on palpation, etc.). My white count was a little high, so they started me on new antibiotics (which they assured me were completely safe). I'm glad they couldn't find anything acutely wrong (OHSS, ectopic, etc.), but I wish I knew what was causing this pain. It's making me a little nervous.

In any case, I'm ecstatic and my beta is on 12/26 -- I will hopefully have more info then!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The full story later, but for now...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Drumroll, Please...

Ok, so I've recently found an online buddy group for women who have my same IVF cycle. I have to admit that I have somewhat neglected my blog in favor of posting there -- not that anyone there reads my blog, or vice-versa, but I hate having to post the same thing twice...

In any case, here's the update: I eventually reached the point where I was able to do the abdominal shots myself! I am so proud of myself -- and it made the shots easier as well (it gave me more control of the push). My retrieval went without incident this past Friday, although the post-retrieval pain was a lot more than I had anticipated. I ended up with 9 eggs from 10 follicles. Of those 9 eggs, 6 were mature enough to be fertilized.

On Saturday, we received a call from the embryologist, who told us that of the original 6, only 4 had actually fertilized. He basically said if we wanted to transfer all 4, we had to let him know right then and there, and the transfer needed to take place on Sunday instead of Monday! This was kind of a curve ball for my husband and I -- we had only anticipated transferring 2, the transfer was going to take place on Monday, and now we were basically being told there was this transfer 4 option, but we had to decide now and we had relatively no information upon which to make our decision! The embryologist spoke very broken English and was having a lot of trouble explaining things to us. I hung up the phone in tears.

After I calmed down a bit (and I realize that some of this was attributable to the hormones), we left a message for our RE. The nurse called us back and explained things to us a little more clearly. Then the RE and the embryologist called us back via conference call and answered the rest of our questions, which is great, but is probably what they should have done in the first place. What we ultimately decided to do was wait until Sunday -- if all four made it to Sunday, we would plan on having the transfer on Monday as planned. If we still had all four, we would transfer two and freeze two. If we had three or less, we would simply transfer what we had left. If all four did not make it until Sunday, we would plan on going in on Sunday afternoon to transfer what was left. It didn't make sense to us to just freeze one, so we might as well go for it...

Well, we were on pins and needles on Sunday morning when the phone rang. We were told by the RE that we had 3 good embryos -- a 4-cell, a 3-cell and a 2-cell. The fourth embryo had failed to divide. He basically said to have a light breakfast and head on over for the transfer of the remaining three that afternoon for a 2-day transfer! The rest of the morning was spent making phone calls, doing some quick pajama shopping, and making last minute preparations for a week of bedrest.

When we arrived at the clinic, we were surprised and pleased to learn that all of the embryos had divided again -- we now had an 8-cell and 2 4-cells! We also learned that they were all grade 1 and 2 (our RE grades them from 1-4 based on quality, with 1 being the best, 4 being the worst). We were originally disappointed that we only had 3 embryos left, but I guess it's quality, not quantity!

The transfer also went without incident, and right now I'm actually looking forward to a week of bedrest. It's so hard to remain cautiously optimistic (emphasis on "cautiously") when I have so much hope...!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Shots All Around!

"I'm on my way home from work."

"OK. I just have a few last minute things to take care of at the office. I will meet you at home at 5:30. We can change out of our work clothes and then do shots."

Anyone walking by my office during this exchange would probably have thought my husband and I were getting ready for a Friday night on the town. A couple of shots of Patron, then we're off to dance the night away! Sadly, not that dancing the night away has ever been our lifestyle, but the shots we're speaking of are more of the take-a-deep-breath-and-close-your-eyes-and-hope-you-don't-feel-the-pinch-kind.

I haven't posted for a while, so please forgive me if this turns into a long and rambling summary of the past couple of weeks. We started the Lupron shots as planned right before the Thanksgiving holiday. Not pleasant, but tolerable, especially once I numb the area with ice. (Seriously folks, if I have the time, I'm preparing to author a composition entitled "Ode to Ice -- I Could Not Have Done It Without You.") I began the letrozole the night before my family arrived for the holiday. That's when the crazy vivid dreams and searing headaches started. Now that I'm off the letrozole, I no longer have the dreams, but the headaches remain...

We started the stims (Menopur and Gonal-F) last Wednesday. I was determined to give myself the shots, since they are in the stomach and I knew I would have to adjust the "push," depending on how the medicine burned. My husband got the Gonal-F pen all ready, and I just stood there for about 20 minutes, poised and ready to go, but I just couldn't do it! I had tears of frustration in my eyes when I finally handed the pen over to him.

Then came the Menopur, which my husband had to mix. I'm sure it didn't help to have me looking over his shoulder, criticizing his technique every step of the way. The sterile solution was leaking out all over the mixing needle, and I suggested that he start over from the beginning. Not wanting to waste any (very expensive) medication, he followed my advice (mistake no. 1), and replaced the mixing needle with the injection needle.

Upon noticing the HUGE air bubble in the needle, I refused to let my husband inject me. After trying multiple times to remove the air bubble by injecting and redrawing the medication from the vial, he shooed me away, saying something about not being able to concentrate with me leaning over his shoulder, leaving me to my own devices (which consisted of Googling keywords "injection air bubble embolism death").

After watching several Internet videos demonstrating the injections, my husband realized he had accidentally used 1.5 cc of sterile solution instead of 1 cc. In a panic, he telephoned the on-call nurse (which we probably should have done from the getgo). She talked him through it, and we were able to complete the evening's injections. Unfortunately, as a result of repeatedly redrawing the medication to remove the air bubble, he ended up injecting me with a REALLY dull needle. I guess you live and you learn.

We finally have the injections down, but I'm still a wimp when it comes to needles. The only thing more unpleasant than the shots are the side effects from the medication. I've been walking around for the past four days in what feels like an unrelenting hangover. Between the headaches and the fatigue, I just want to take a really long nap.

I had my monitoring appointment yesterday, after my first 3 days of stims. I have seven measurable follicles, consisting of one 12, four 10s, a 9 and an 8. My RE didn't care about the side effects I was experiencing from the medication, only whether or not I was experiencing abdominal discomfort. Since I'm not having any, they increased my dosage of Gonal-F (one of the more expensive medications). I'm still on track for a December 7 egg retrieval.

Finally, I checked my horoscope this morning. I'm hoping by putting a link to her site here, Susan Miller won't be too upset that I quoted from her forecast. It was just too fantastical to not share:

It's like she wrote this specifically for me! I normally don't believe in all this, but I need all the help I can get. How remarkable would it be if this came true???