Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bright side

Always, the silver-lining girl, I thought I'd share some positives from the past 24 hours:

-  When i cry a lot, it makes my eyelids puffy (like they stick out at least 1/4 inch) and it makes my eyeliner go on beautifully and look really cool - I honestly wish I could make it look like that every day
-  I got to eat lots of great food (specifically Buffalo Blasts, fried mac and cheese, pasta carbonara and white chocolate macadamia cheesecake) 100% guilt-free
-  Cheesecake Factory has FRESCA!  (could not have made me any happier)
-  I had a diet coke today!!!  (yet to have a diet mountain dew yet...maybe tomorrow??)
-  I've been reminded (not that I really needed it) that I have some of the BEST FRIENDS in the whole world who love me and Russ and hurt almost as much as we do at times like these
-  When tears come to my eyes, it makes my contacts crystal clear and the world looks awesome
-  Tammi got me the cutest bear ever!!!
-  Russ is continuing to spoil me by taking me to the mall today to eat (always a plus) and see the Michael Jackson movie
-  I got to spend some quality time with my kids (students) today without being distracted by my drama - they always make me feel good

Another great thing is that I now know that how I feel during a cycle has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the outcome of the cycle.  I was convinced I was pregnant and I'm not, so that means that when i don't feel I am, I could be.  For the next cycle, I can be more relaxed because analyzing every feeling is futile.

On the dark side, I've been crying a lot and was not sure that I could make it through the day.  Did not cry at work, thank goodness.  Just some slight welling up (clear contacts!) but not a full-blown cry.  I'm not a good slight-crier.  I usually either go all out or barely anything at all and I'm the queen of the ugly cry and it takes about an hour for me to look back to normal (except the eyelids which remain puffy for many hours).  So I'm thankful that I wasn't sent over the edge at work.  I would have had to leave.  Got in the car and it was full blown within about 3 minutes.  It's hormones.  And the most disappointing news ever.

Don't worry - this will not turn into a pity party for me every day.  I'll be back to preparing for cycle 5 soon.  Just give me a few days, OK?  My precious friends have agreed to go with me to drink pitchers and pitchers of sangria on Saturday and for that I am thankful.  That will be the official end of the pity party and I will be moving on.  I sure hope.

HUGE THANKS to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  I sure hope that shit is cumulative because God knows I've racked up some points over the past year.  May it all move into a successful cycle 5.  It's so nice to feel loved.  I sure am lucky.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


So I obviously have no intuition whatsoever. 

Bad news.

Dr. Browne herself called and i swear she felt worse that we do.  She said she thought the cycle went great and has no explanation for why it didn't work.  I already had an appointment scheduled in a few weeks for a follow up and we're going to go straight into another cycle.  The good thing is that she called a little before 1:00 so don't have to wait all day!  That is a blessing.  Russ had to call my mom to tell her.  I just would hate it if I cried on the phone and then she's at work and getting all upset.  I'll call her later. 

It definitely is harder since I thought things were going so well.  All I know is THIS SUCKS. 

And so we're off to Cheesecake Factory where we will over-order, take most of it home and keeping eating all evening.  Ah...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tomorrow is it

So tomorrow is the big day.  I'll go for my test in the morning at 6:45 am and then leave work around noon to come and be with Russ to get the call.  The call can come anytime between 12:30/1:00 and 4:00.  Quite a range, I know.  If it's bad news, they'll call and say "I'm sorry your test was negative".  If it's good news, I'm not sure what they say.  Cycle 3, the call sounded like this "Your HCG level is 15 which is a positive result, but a number so low, it's usually not a successful pregnancy."  So, what I wonder is if it's a real-deal positive result, do they say "You're pregnant" or do they just tell you the HCG level and say "It's a positive result and we want to keep monitoring it, come back in 2 days"  All i know is that I want my HCG to be through the roof!  Over 200!!  OK, so over 25 would be fantastic.  But the higher the better.  Seriously I did some research and if it's not over 100, it's not very good, though some say levels after IVF can be lower.

Since it's the day before, the madness is starting.  I have myself convinced that there's nothing there.  The next 24 hours will be tough.  I prepare myself for the worst and now I really believe it to be true.  How can I be so convinced one way and then change so fast?  I keep thinking there should be a major sign and I have none.  But that's what everyone says and many of them end up pregnant.  Stay positive!!!  But it's so hard.  I'm very prepared for my pity party.  Ask me in a hour and I'll be back to believing something is there. Ugh.

So I think we decided that if it's a no-go, we'll go directly into another cycle.  It makes sense insurance-wise.  Waiting until 2010 would mean we pay more out of pocket.  Doing it now means we'd only have to pay for some meds, but nothing for the procedures.  I know I need to do one thing at a time, but it helps to have a plan.

OK, so all that anxiety that I didn't have for the past 2 weeks?  It's all coming out now!  Oh man.  It's like knowing there's a really good chance you could have won the lottery but you just have to wait to find out.  Yoga really helped, though, and I'm back to feeling like maybe there's a little guy in there.  Who knows!!  Can't wait for tomorrow.  I'm a little worried because I've never gotten bad news and then had to go to work the next day.  Hopefully Wednesday will be OK if it is bad.  So many people care - and my big mouth tells everyone - so it's hard to tell people when they look at you with those expectant eyes.  Most people will get a text either way tomorrow afternoon.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

I wonder if I am...

Here's the thing...either I'm pregnant or I'm not.  It's already determined at this point, so really I am now just playing a waiting game.  Now the praying can continue for things like a healthy pregnancy that sustains.  But whether or not they're in there is a done deal.  That knowledge makes the waiting much more difficult.  I'm sure I could "accidentally" show up tomorrow for my blood test and they'll do it.  But I'll wait.  Til Tuesday.  ("...voices carrr-rrryyy!")   As much as I'm thinking about it, I'm not really that anxious (definitely depends on your definition of anxious, though, I guess).  What I mean by that is that in the past, I've had such extreme feelings of anxiety (for like the whole 2 weeks!) that it was truly painful.  This time, I'm starting to get that excited "waiting in line for a roller coaster" feeling, but not too much.  What I feel is very peaceful.  Because I've convinced myself I'm pregnant.  Hmm...I wonder if I am.  Wouldn't it be nice?

Russ and I went for a walk today out on the bike path that I love so much (and that I haven't been on since the snake incident in June).  I was saying that some day we'll have our kids and look back on this time and just sort of forget what a pain all of this was.  It already feels like it hasn't been so bad.  I know it might sound crazy, but what will ever be more important than this?  Nothing.  So fighting a little bit is totally worth it and i can't really complain, especially if we end up with some kids.  It would be a real shame if we went through all this and still had no kids.  By the way, it's come to my attention that some people are unaware of the financial situation surrounding all of this IVF stuff.  Don't worry about us- we'll be just fine.  So far insurance has covered the vast majority of everything.  For all 4 cycles, we've spent maybe $4,000 or $5,000 total.  Not a big deal considering that if we had been paying cash, it would have been at least $100,000 by now.  We are blessed. 

2 more days....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Living in Fantasy Land...

I feel pregnant.  I believe it to be twins.  There's at least one girl.

Living in Fantasy Land is fun.

I really do feel good about everything though.  I wish I could remember how I felt during cycle 1.  I remember thinking that I was prepared for the worst news and then being floored by the sadness of the news.  It's weird how you can't predict certain things.

Only 3 days left...and I can tell they will be long.  I can tell I'm starting to psych myself into thinking I'm not.  The mind plays crazy tricks.  I have my pity party all set.  We'll go to Cheesecake Factory and order one of everything Tuesday night if it's bad news.  Hey, it's all I got.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My positive attitude is weening...

So I'm not using the baby board this time...I just couldn't look at that thing anymore.  What's the baby board?  Well, it's a vision board that Oprah told me to do.  OK, she didn't tell me, she told the whole world to create a board with everything you want on it and it will come to you.  I don't do everything Oprah tells me (OK, us) to do, but I come pretty close.  It's from the Secret - you know the thing that says if you put out lots of rich, money-having energy, you'll get rich?  Anyway, I created the board before cycle 2.  It has pictures of mixed babies (or light-skinned ones) - the theme is twins, a boy and girl.  It has the baby names on it and pictures of a stroller I like.  I got the CUTEST baby booties and bibs and little caps.  I used to like and focus on it when I was getting my shots and then it would just sit there in the living room...  It's out of sight right now and I don't miss it.  i figure I visualized enough.  at one point last cycle, I truly wanted to throw the damn thing off the balcony.  I felt it was mocking me.  So now it sits in the corner facing the wall.

I feel the same, but my positive attitude is weening.  How could I possibly know what's happening in there?   This doubtful thing is obviously a defense mechanism designed to prepare me for the worst next week.  Did I mention that if we do get bad news, we're going to have a one-night super pity party full of everything bad I could possibly eat?  That's the only comfort I can think of.  Sad, huh?

Was up again last night at exactly 2 AM.  Ugh.  That makes me think it's a bad sign too.  Everything is not a sign!!  I need to learn that.  But why the no sleep?  I wake up and all i do is analyze every little feeling.  The "presence" i was feeling in my belly?  I think it was just gas.  But then I learned that progesterone causes gas.  This is the only cycle where I've had bad gas SO I say it's because I have extra progesterone - the one I take 3 times a day with the cooch pill and the stuff my body is making because I'm pregnant!  So i get all happy but then a minute later I'm convinced there's nothing in there.  Considering this, i am still significantly less anxious than other cycles still so that's great. 

6 more days...we're two-thirds of the way through.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I know?

There could be people growing inside my body.  Think about that.  While beautifully miraculous, does anyone else find that a little weird?  This whole process is very strange.

Every cycle, I always say "If I were pregnant, I think I would know."  In cycle 3 I was convinced from the beginning that it didn't work.  My pregnant friend (hey Shel!) would tell me that if she didn't know that she was pregnant, she wouldn't "know" she was pregnant.  That was comforting at the time because it made me feel like maybe I wouldn't know if I was.  But here's the thing.  According to whatever it is inside me that tells me these things, I feel like I know.  I feel like there's babies in there.  I realize that saying this out loud could "jinx" it, but come on - if I'm not jinxed already, who is?  I also realize that this conclusion sets me up for potentially devastating news next week.  But how bad could it be, really?  Been there, done that.  I can handle it.

Speaking of bad news next week, I've come up with a plan.  If it's a no-go, I'm going to have a one evening pity party for myself (as opposed to the 5-week long ones I usually have which result in 8-10 pound weight gains).  I will go wherever I want and eat everything I want.  Right now I'm thinking Outback where I will get one of everything and have as much or as little as i like and take nothing to go since the next day I will get right back on track.  Did I mention that I lost 2.6 pounds last week?  While laying around the house eating EVERYTHING is sight?  I seriously think the scale was broken, but who's complaining? 

I came up with this plan because last cycle it was really great (well, relatively great) because we got the bad news on the road to North Carolina to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  Yes, the news came on the exact day.  I saw this as a great sign.  Wrong.  Anyway. Farrah called, gave us the bad news, and I cried for about 15 seconds before realizing that we missed our exit and the distraction kept me from boo-hooing at all.  And then to be able to go away for the weekend really helped a lot.  OK, so at this time of year that's not possible so eating bad food is the only thing I can think of.  And to be honest, I probably won't feel like eating that night, so we'll see.  Incidentally if it's good news, I have no idea what we'll good cause the babies need good food I suppose. 

Have I mentioned that it's 2:20 AM?  Yes, I can't sleep at all.  So much for the hormones inducing the best sleep ever.  Didn't do Zumba by the way.  I just felt like it was too risky.  Yoga was making me nervous enough with all the stretching and bending and twisting and pulling. 

OK, I'm off to the couch where I will find something on the border of interesting and boring to lull me to sleep.  8 more days...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No freeze pops

So no frozen embryos this time.  They don't say it, but logic tells me that there must be something wrong with my eggs.  Bad eggs are causing poor embryos which cannot be frozen.  Now I know exactly what they would tell me:  "The good embryos were put back in you"  OK.  Fine.  But if my embryos were so great, then I think one other could make it to the stage where they would be freezable.  Now it's true that embryos need to of super excellent quality in order to freeze (like way better than even the ones that they choose to put back) and of course I would prefer those super excellent ones to be in me.  I just can't help but thinking that with all these bad cycles and no freezable embryos there must be something wrong.  More than just my tubes clearly. 

But it doesn't matter does it??  No.  Because I have 3 babies in my belly ready to go!  Or so we hope.

I am maintaining a very positive attitude.  The crazies have started a little but not so bad.  The crazies consist of me feeling absolutely sure that I'm pregnant one minute and then 30 seconds later I'm convinced that I'll never have a baby ever.  But it hasn't been happening too often, so I think that's really good.  I have a theory that if there are babies growing in me, I would be naturally be ecstatically happy all the time since baby love would be flowing through me (it's a very scientific theory as you can see).  Well I have been in a really happy mood so that's good right??  (Sure, Trace, it has nothing to do with the high levels of estrogen you're currently experiencing...)

Tomorrow is yoga and Zumba class.  I've decided to do both, but "take it easy" at's instructions were to engage in "light aerobic activity" but nothing high impact.  I can't run (darn!) and no jumping or bouncing or fast up and downs and no abs exercises (and I had all those crunches planned too...).  But I can totally handle Zumba I think.  I just won't jump or bounce. 

9 more days............

Friday, October 16, 2009

Am I peeing on myself?

WARNING:  Sorry for the gross details here.  You may now choose to close this post and check in on me tomorrow or the next day.

I got out of bed this morning and my cooch pill discharge was DRIPPING DOWN MY LEG!!!  Honestly I thought, "Am I peeing on myself??"  Normally this is something that I feel I recognize easily, but perhaps in this case I was missing something?  I get to the bathroom and it looks like a stream of milk flowing down my leg.  WTF?  I don't understand.  I had underwear on with a pantyliner.  I don't understand.  And what's with the liquid anyway?  What's going on up there?  It's such a mystery to me.  From past cycles, I can recall that things could get pretty liquidy, but to actually flow out?  Whoa.  This one might be too gross for even me.  I guess I need tighter underwear?  Ew.

In other related news, my left boob feels like it's on fire a little.  Just a little but I don't like it.  And I have been really crampy all day.  Good?  Bad?  Who knows!

Tomorrow we will visit the National Cathedral and light a candle.  And then eat really, really yummy pizza!

That's all I have today.  I think we can all agree it's enough.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crazy is coming

If I could stop thinking for a little bit it would be okay but I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking.  For instance, today i spent more time than i had researching exactly how the implantation process works.  Do I really need all that information?  What i found is that there is almost nothing I can do to help or hurt the process.  That's strangely comforting.  So after finding out this information, do i stop obsessing?  No, of course not.  All I think about all day is the unknown possibilities that lie ahead in a million different ways. 

If I'm pregnant, I'll give birth at 36.  Not terrible, but old enough.  It means that I'll be well into my 50s when the kid(s) graduate from high school.  Maybe I'll know grandchildren, but maybe not.  Why am i thinking this right now?  Because I'm losing my mind.  It's like I can almost see it going.  While I feel I'm living on the right side of crazy today, i know that I'll go to the dark side soon.  This is most commonly characterized by rapid shifts in thinking about whether or not I'm pregnant and that about-to-get-on-a-roller-coaster feeling whenever the pregnancy test day is pondered.  I have 12 days left.  That doesn't seem so bad. 

Just a little time out of la-la land to discuss the fact that today I could actually feel the cooch pill discharge oozing out...EW.  Made me all slimy-assed.  Hot, isn't it?  MmmHmm...

Off to meditate in hopes of clearing my mind.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Could we be more blessed?

OK, so bed rest sounds like fun until you have to do it.  It's really hard to just sit there when you feel fine ( and I'm the laziest person EVER who can easily spend a weekend lying around on the couch).  Not like when you're sick and don't feel like doing anything...  But I actually got up today and took a shower (Hallelujah!) and went and got my nails done.  I'm all light-headed from sleeping so much.  Work tomorrow, but it'll already be Thursday so the week will be over in a blink.

I still feel nothing.  That's normal.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and disclose that I think I'm pretty self-intuitive.  Last time I knew I wasn't pregnant.  The time before, I felt like I was and then about 5 days before the test I had this terrible feeling come over and I knew it was over.  And I'm not saying that for a fact I knew, but in fact one had implanted, began to grow a placenta and then stopped growing.  I kinda think I was in tune to that.  Being intuitive sucks because I feel I can trust my instinct and if my instinct is negative, then I tend to beat myself up.  If my instinct is positive, then I get my hopes up.  At this point, I can tell you that they're in there doing their thing.  That's all I know.  What's my prediction?  I don't know why I have a strong feeling this is going to work.  That, by the way, has nothing to do with the intuitive thing (at least I don't think), it's just how I feel.  I get in touch with my intuition this weekend and feel more solid one way or another - that should f things up in my mind pretty nicely.

I'm going to take a moment to document for myself some things that I have been thinking while my mind is in a normal state (in other words the hormones haven't hit me hard yet).  I would like to refer back to these things if we get bad news on the 27th and/or when I go insane over the next 2 weeks.  Here I go:

1.  My life is fabulous with or without kids.  Would a baby (or two or three) greatly enhance things?  Yes.  Is it a crime of nature that Russ Johnson doesn't get to be a dad?  Absolutely.  But let's face it - I have a good life and you will never find me crying about "why me" where this stuff is concerned. 

PAUSE  Can I just tell you that in the past 5 minutes I got up off this chair and walked over to the couch to read a text message 3 different times?  It wasn't until the last time that it occurred to me to bring my phone over to the computer so that I wouldn't have to keep getting up.  I am a problem solver.

2.  Adoption is not only a great option, but one that does great things in the world.  Let's get off the "you're kids would be soooooooo cute" thing and get down to reality.  I could name 10 kids that I would adopt right now and they aren't even cute little babies.  They are, in some cases, obnoxious teenagers and still know that I could be their parent and love them forever.  Put a baby in my arms and tell me it's ours?  Forget about it!  I'll melt and be just as excited as anything that could come squeezing out my cooch.  (and let's not forget that nothing would have to squeeze out of there and there must be some comfort in that?)

3.  Whatever happens, it's not my fault.  Carrying that 3 pound bag of apples around Shoppers today did not cause the babies to not implant.

4.  I strongly believe (and i know this is annoying to some) that there is a reason for all this.  I have no clue what it could be, but someday I'll figure it out.  My hypothesis is that infertility is teaching to let go of control.  It's working by the way.  But I sort of feel like, "OK, learned give me my baby".  I don't know what else it could be, but I do know that logic has nothing to do with it. 

5.  We will have kids some day - just ask the psychics

6.  This not working is in complete spite of about a zillion people's prayers and good wishes.  Could we be more blessed with wonderful people in our corner?  I feel guilty sometimes that others need prayers too and we're hogging them all.  Life is good.

That's all for now...I'm crampy and know it means nothing.  Just put my mid-day coochie pill in and that's probably it...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I live in the bliss of hope...

So Russ specifically told me that he doesn't want me sitting on this "hard chair" for too long today (the chair at the computer desk).  My 24 hours were up about 2 hours ago and I'm going insane staying in bed all day.  For the next 2-3 days I'm supposed to engage in "light activity" only...that means I'm not leaving the house til tomorrow and then it'll only be to get my nails done maybe.  Then back to work Thursday.  I'm being extra cautious because since they put the babies back (excuse my use of the term "babies" when discussing the embryos - I know that may sound creepy, but it's what we call them, so whatever) yesterday it's only day 4 today and they can't physiologically implant until tomorrow or Thursday so I feel like I need the extra bed rest days to give them a good shot.

So far so good...I mean I feel NOTHING so it's not like there's anything to monitor.  The meds they have me on make me crampy and my boobs hurt so that gets disregarded as possibly pregnancy symptoms...and I know that I couldn't possibly be pregnancy yet anyway.  The implantation process takes 10 days.  Maybe by Saturday or Sunday I'll have some bleeding - that would be a great sign.  As the embryo burrows itself into my lining it can bleed a little.  The irony is that the cooch pills they have me taking (progesterone suppositories) can cause bleeding.  So, really, there is no way to tell.  I have the test on the 27th.  Two looooonnnng weeks. 

The great side effect so far?  SLEEP!!!  I'm on progesterone and estrogen and both make me sleep like a baby!  I've literally been sleeping 10 hours a night and then napping throughout the day.  LOVE that.  Especially since my sleep has been sketchy over the past few months. 

I'm eating enough to sustain a family of four.  I'm just soo hungry!  And, again, I cannot blame any pregnancy on that.  Hormones maybe.  Last week i gained .2 at WW.  This week will be worse i fear.  Ugh.

In case you haven't picked up on it, I'm still in the "oh my!  I could be getting pregnant right now!  Isn't that divine?" stage of IVF.  By the weekend, I'll be over-analyzing every single thing I feel in an attempt to determine whether or not I have babies in me.  It is exhausting and will cause me to sound like an insane person.  Just a warning.  But for now, I live in the bliss of hope that maybe this is it. 

OK, back to bed.  Ugh.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And we're off!

And they're in!  Three grade 1 embryos were transferred to my uterus this afternoon.  The procedure is very simple, though today it was more uncomfortable than ever - just a little more cramping when the catheter went in.  And who did the procedure???  Our very own Dr. Browne!  I was SO EXCITED when we learned this.  I had this fantasy that she requested to be there to do it once she saw we were on the list for the transfer that day.  Reality is that it was her day to be doing transfers...

OK, so you have to go with a "moderately full" bladder so that they can use the ultrasound to get a good look at the uterus to know where to place the little guys.  Since this was my 4th try, i know my bladder and know that I don't have to start drinking my water until 15 minutes before the procedure - come, people who know me, you know I can fill my bladder up in 5 minutes, right?  Easily.  So i get there 30 minutes before the procedure and want to pee one more time before i start gulping the water down.  I go to visit the restroom and the lady behind the desk stopped me!  She said i wasn't allowed!  i thought about becoming outraged - I kept saying "Um, this is my 4th time and I know my bladder" and she made the point that they might take me early.  In the end it was no big deal but it was just weird to not be able to pee when I wanted to, ya know.

OK, so then you go in there and they go over the embryo quality and the final decision about transferring 3 is made.  Then they push really hard like they're digging for something on your lower abdomen with the ultrasound, she inserted the speculum and then the catheter and then the lab lady came out with "3 for Johnson".  They push them in and that's it!

I'm supposed to be in bed right now, but I had to get this written and my laptop is acting funky.  Russ is yelling at me...gotta go. 

Prayers Prayers Prayers that these little guys stick!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Transfer tomorrow???

Day 2 results:
We still have 7 little guys growing strong. 
We only need one.
Or two little babies.
So then why am I disappointed that there are only 7? 
7 is good.
Again, we only need ONE.

The nurse said that 7 are "cleaving" (that just means growing and dividing) and that we're scheduled for the transfer for tomorrow.  It's supposed to be at 12:45 and we need to be in Rockville at 12:15 with a "moderately full" bladder.  That's a always a tough one to control.  The first time i drank soooo much water on the way there, I was practically crying when I got into the room.  They allowed me to do a "10-second release" which was not easy but it helped.  By the time we got to the next cycle, I drank some water 10 minutes before and was good to go.  Still, I get all nervous (me? nervous?) about making sure I have the right amount of water.  And then after the procedure (takes only 10 minutes or so) I hate it because I want to get up right away because I have to pee so bad. 

Anyway, it supposed to be tomorrow but since it's scheduled so late, it gives them time to decide that we'll wait til Wednesday.  I prefer to wait til Wednesday.  By then the embryos become blastocycsts and the ones that make it to that stage have a better chance of working out since they can tell who is strongest more easily (straight up survival of the fittest).  If they do it tomorrow, it's still good though, so no worries.  I just hate that I can't really make plans or anything.  Luckily it's Columbus Day and I'm off anyway...Russ isn't though.

So now I sit and I contemplate things that are out of my control.  The doctors want me pregnant really badly too.  They know what they're doing.  If they want to put the little guys in me tomorrow, it's for a good reason.  There is really nothing for me to worry about.  While I'm not a fan of the phrase "it is what it is", in this case, it really applies.  Whatever they decide, they decide.  And I can't do anything but trust that they know what they're doing.  So why the anxiety?  Because I'm Tracey Butler-Johnson, nice to meet you...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

15 fertilized, 8 growing strong

So the call came at 11:30 but they called the house phone so I missed it!  Ugh.. I left my cell as the main number and Russ's cell as the back up. I don't get it, but anyway, i got the message at about 12:30.  Now they're saying they got 16 eggs (She says "As you know, there were 16 eggs" and I'm like, no I didn't know...).  Only 15 were mature and all 15 fertilized.  8 of them are at the 2 cell stage and the others can catch up tonight.  Tomorrow's report will be more telling.

So today I start doing the progesterone inserts.  My first cycle we had to the shots every night and they were the big 'ol fat shots that were a huge pain (more figuratively than literally) but now they have the inserts that you stick up your cooch 3 times a day and you're ready to go.  OK, so the panties get a little gross (holy pantyliners!  I go through a few a day) but it's better than the shots.  I also start taking estrogen pills.  All this to ensure that the little guys grow in me.

We're about to leave for the National Shrine where we will light candles.  I'm so touched by every one's good thoughts.  I put that we got 15 eggs on my Facebook status and people I barely talk to wished us well and are sending prayers.  We're really fortunate. 

Woo hoo!!! 15 eggs!

Woo hoo!!!  15 eggs!  That's a record for us and we are thrilled!  It's amazing that they got so many considering they were only seeing 10 eggs on the ultrasound.  No wonder I was feeling so crazy those last two days - my follicles were working overtime!  The nurse came in to tell us there were 15 and I did an Elaine and yelled "GET OUT!!!"  and then the doctor comes in (Dr. Stillman, had never met him) and tells me the same news and the nurses thought it was funny that I said "Dude, you were really working in there, huh?"  The nurse high-fived me because i called him "dude".  I guess they have to get their fun where they can find it...

OK, so here's my theory:  One of those eggs is our baby.  I realize that it is not a profound theory or anything but it's the one I have come up with.  Seriously, I'm just putting it out there - we are getting a baby this time.  I know I could be eating these words in 18 days (pregnancy test should be on the 27th) but this time i just feel it.  Like there's no doubt, my only question is how many we'll get.  And don't worry, people, I'll be OK if it doesn't work out.  I don't feel like all my "eggs are in one basket"  (pun intended or not?  Not sure here...) because we now know that we have another cycle coming just in case.  It's just that I feel absolute about this.  At least right now.  Tomorrow they could call and tell me none of them fertilized or they were all poor quality.  They won't though.  With the exception of the first cycle where 12 of 14 fertilized, we've always had 100% fertilization.  I wonder if it's happened yet.  My guess is it has by now (it's 2 am).  The babies are growing!!!

So tomorrow we're going to the National Shrine Basilica of the something?  It's the the big-ass Catholic church in DC.  (No is big I believe)  I need to light some candles and pray.  Pray, you question?  YES.  I do pray.  Even though I'm not 100% on board with a religion, I am a Catholic girl at heart and regardless of who or what I'm praying to, I do pray.  A lot.  And the comfort that I get from being in a warm, colorful (albeit UPTIGHT) Catholic church is very helpful to me at times like these.  I was going to go the National Cathedral (Episcopal I think??) but as beautiful as it is, it's so cold.  All stone and no color.  Maybe we'll go there next week after they transfer the little guys back to me.

Lastly, considering that they stuck 15 needles through my uterus and into my ovaries (did I not explain that part??) I feel really great!  A little crampy but the anesthesia (Propofol...just like MJ, I told you!!!) didn't bother me at all - like not at all.  I barely napped when we got home and have been energetic.  I mean I was asleep earlier and now I'm just up cause I'm up.  In the past I've been knocked out for like 8 hours after. 

Alright, so the next step is that they're calling me tomorrow with a report about the little guys.  They'll tell me how many of the 15 were mature at retrieval (therefore ready to go!) and how many fertilized naturally.  Ours have always fertilized naturally, but if they see that it's not going well, they can take one of his sperm and inject it straight into the egg (called ICSI).  Again, we've never had to do that but if they do it's not a big deal.  As Tammi keeps telling me about this cycle, "different is better" because if this cycle is exactly like the others, it will turn out babyless.

OK, back to bed.  St. Elmo's Fire is on...ahhhh...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Let the magic happen!

No shots yesterday...unless you count the whopper he game me at 3am.  It was a good day.  To prepare for the egg retrieval today, I had to take antibiotics last night.  And what adds insult to emotional-about-to-burst-ovaries injury?  DIARHEA of course!!!  Yeah, the drugs make me sick.  Happened last time too.  Hopefully it's over by now.  I think I'm dehydrated.

So we'll leave for Rockville (in Maryland about 30-40 minutes away) at 12:30.  That gives me 4 hours.  I can't eat past 9am so instead of writing this, I should be eating...  We'll collect his stuff at 12-ish...that's always very romantic.  Not.  I just hope they get all 10 eggs and maybe find some others that were hiding.  Cycle 1 they told me I had 12 and got 14 out, so I thought that was the norm.  Wrong.  Cycle 2 they told me 12 and we got 12.  Cycle 3 I had 10 and they got 8.  So now I have 10 and am hoping for 45.  Just kidding.  The truth is the ones that will get me pregnant are the big fat ones that pop right up on the ultrasound.  And I only need that one good one.  But two others that look outstanding would be good too. Please? We're hoping for twins.  Is that selfish?  I mean we're praying for any baby, be it one, two, or three.  But if we could script it, it would be twins, a boy and a girl.  Of course I stopped thinking we could script it years ago.

And so we're off (well not NOW, but in a few hours) and I just hope they get what we need.  And then my eggs and his sperm will have an exciting evening ahead of them.  Let the magic happen!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's 2:13 AM...I have to trigger at 3.  I have butterflies the size of pancakes in my stomach...I wish they were pancakes.  Mmm...pancakes....

Why so nervous?  Because a 2.5 inch needle needs to be injected into my "upper, outer buttocks" in a little while.  And the needles ain't skinny.  It's a 27.5 gauge.  That's thicker than a pencil led (OK, maybe not WAY thicker, but thicker).  I've had this shot or one just like it 26 times throughout this process.  With any luck this will be the last one.  At about 2:30, I'll prepare the shot which involves mixing the water solution stuff with the powder (and to think I failed chemistry!) and then I'll go meditate in the bedroom for 15 minutes with an ice pack on the injection site.  Then Russ cleans the area and waits for me to give the go ahead at which point he'll inject and then lift the plunger to be sure we didn't hit a vein and then dispense the HCG which will make me ovulate, even though natural ovulation doesn't actually occur because they surgically remove the eggs.  Because of that I don't get why we do this part, but it's really important that it happens 36 hours before the egg retrieval.  They'll take mine at 3pm on Friday.  That's LATE.  I can't eat past 9 or drink past 11.  I'm not going to work.  We'll collect Russ's "sample" around noon (I'll spare you details of that but only out of respect for him - I'm happy to share!) and then head up to Rockville where we have to arrive by 1:30.  They'll take his stuff and "wash it" which I guess means make sure only the good ones have at my eggs.  Then they put an IV into me and I go into a little room where I quickly fall asleep a la Michael Jackson (no disrespect but I'm pretty sure the meds they use to put me out is the stuff that did him in) and in 15 minutes I'm out and done.  Easy peasy. 

So let me explain to you how I feel at this moment.  LIKE I"M GOING TO EXPLODE.  My left ovary has 6 follicles in over 2 centimeters each, some over 2.5!  Think for a moment about how freaking BIG that is.

Go on.  Add it all up and think about how my walnut-sized ovary is handling that much.

My right one has 4 that are all 1.8 cm.  On top of the feeling like a balloon, there is also cramping.  It's not the worst in the world, but not good either.  I actually feel like I haven't had it this bad before.  And the ta-ta's?  They're sore.  And I'm nauseous.  If it weren't IMPOSSIBLE I'd say I'm pregnant, but I know that's not true.  And that's one of the hardest parts of all this.  All the drugs and the process makes you feel like you're pregnant (especially later when they put the little guys in me) and you go 2 weeks wondering and wondering...

OK, sorry to cut you short, but I'm on a time-table here.  Gotta prepare the shot and go RELAX.  Oh and then after try to go back to sleep yeah right... 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Calamari, here I come!

Posting a lot, I know, but a lot is happening.  Went to Shady Grove this morning...I think they knew they screwed up because they ushered me in and took me ahead of others and I liked it!  Then the Dr was all apologetic and told me that it wasn't the nurses fault (sorry for the bad vibes I sent you, Brenda!) but that the doctor (not mine but another one) looked at my stuff and decided one more day was best.  HE didn't note though that triggering should be postponed.  I think HE is the guy in charge of the whole place up in Rockville.  While I am thankful that he is trying to do what it takes to get me pregnant, I could have done without those 10 hours last night/this morning...

So now I'll go out to the car and find a message on my cell saying that I'll trigger and then by 6 pm I should hear about what time I do the shot.  So I'll be out of work Friday and then a lot of next week..probably Wed - Fri to give them lots of time to implant.

It's really really really hard to eat well under the stress I have right now.  And yet I know that it is eating well and exercising that is helping this cycle be successful.  Ugh.  Whatever...I'm still off to Carabbas to meet Shel in MD.  Calamari here i come!  =)

OH and the most fabulous thing???  I found spellcheck again!!!  Woo hoo!  That gives me comfort.  It also makes me weird.

We all make mistakes right?


The nurse who called me yesterday to tell me that we were triggering last night was WRONG!  She didn't read all of the notes and gave me the wrong instructions.  In big picture perspective, it's no big deal.  I was surprised that we were triggering last night anyway.  However, I had become quite excited about it - it would have meant my shortest cycle ever which is a good thing not just because I get it over with but it signals that the eggs are robust (like Wishbone salad dressing!) and that's a good thing.  So I call the answering service last night at almost 9.  Very professional and easy.  Made me wish I had called at 7:30 when I started to become anxious about it all.  Me?  Anxious?  So they call me back and the nurse was soooo nice and felt really bad.  She didn't say "heads are gonna roll for this one" but that was the tone she used.  Oh, did I mention that I had already put all my other meds away?  Yes, for once I cleaned the table and took all the old needles and seperated them from the old meds and got the new meds in their own box, etc... I was quite organized.  Until I had to disrupt it all to open 2 new boxes!!!  At which point I had my first meltdown of this cycle.  I know it's really not a big deal.  But when you think you're done with shots and visits to the doctor and blood draws and ultrasounds and you find out that you have another day, it's quite mood altering.  So I sobbed.  Poor Russ.  He tried to comfort me and all I could say was "You're choking me" because his heavy-ass arm was around my neck as he tried to hug me.  Serioulsy his arm weighs like 20 pounds.  It's scary.  He's buff you know =)  Anyway, I boo-hooed for like 20 minutes and got it all out.  If it weren't for the circumstances I think I could say that I really enjoy crying.  It's so cleansing.  Obviously it sucks though because it means something has happened that you wish were different (though not always in my crazy world).  You may think that I overreacted, but I assure I did not.  Changing the trigger night means rearranging all my plans.  For instance I had my clothes ready for this morning but had to change it because the shirt I was going to wear would not allow me to get blood drawn without taking off.  What a pain right?  I'm teaching in classrooms this morning and now it means that I'll be really late after being assured that I would be there on time.  Sucks.  I'm meeting my friend in Maryland for dinner and now while we're eating I'll be totally distracted because I'll be waiting to hear when my trigger is.  And did I mention that I got NO SLEEP last night??  I just took an Excedrin - the headache medicine, ya know?  It has the wonderful caffeine in it and I need some.  Such a no-no I know, but I NEED it this morning.  And there's no babies in me yet.  I totally realize that I could have recived a way-worse phone call yesterday that said "We see soemthing in your blood we don't like, come in for more tests"  (cancer) and I should be happy that my doctors are vigilant in makingsure that they don't take these eggs before their time.  I would just really love to kick the ass of that nurse who f-ed up though.  We all make mistakes right?  Mmmhmm...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trigger Time!

We're triggering tonight!!! 
OK, let me explain...
Went to Shady Grove this morning and was told that my left ovary was full of 6 fat follicles ready to go.  My right ovary was being pokey so they weren't sure if they would trigger tonight or tomorrow night.  Triggering means that they tell us when they will do the egg retrieval and then we do a shot of HCG exactly 36 hours before.  Since we're triggering tonight it means that they'lldo the retrieval on Thursday.  That means that I'm done with monitoring appointments at Shady Grove and we're done with almost all my shots!!!  I'll do one more Ganirelix tonight and then, of course, the trigger shot.  That shot is an intermuscular shot with a 2.5 inch fat needle in my butt.'s rough but honestly, I don't feel a thing.  We ice it before and it's totally fine.
Here's the problem.  They haven't called yet with my trigger time!!  It's 7:30 PM and I still have no clue!!  They do specificaly say that they'll call "tonight" so I'm not too worried yet but seeing as how this is my 4th time around, you'd think I'd remember that they call late, right?  I don't recall this.  I decided that if they don't call by 9 I'll call the doctor on-call.  What else can I do, right?
I'm starting to get nervous those damn butterflies in my tummy which I haven't had at all so far.  I've been so super relaxed.  I need to meditate but how can I when I'm literally staring at my phone.  I keep thinking that they don't have my number, even though they have called my on my cell everyday!  They clearly have the number.  Ugh.
So tomorrow I won't have any shots or anything, jsut taking an antibiotic tomorrow night to make sure I don't get an infection Thursday with the retrieval. 
This means that they'll put the embryos back on Sunday )(day 3) or the blastocysts back on Tuesday (day 5)or Wednesday day 6) (embryos become blastocysts on day 5).
OK, I need to relax. 
Oh, did I mention the fabulous news??  Insurance has approved another cycle after this one (maybe I mentioned that before?) but now I officially have enough meds left over for a whole new cycle!!  So this one is so not the last - although we're getting our babies so hopefully it is right? =)

OK, I will attempt to relax now.
Sorry this post is so eratic.
Times like this I miss spellcheck even mor ebecause I'm writing so carelessly.  Sorry about that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Monkey Baby

So yesterday was a good day.  My levels are really good and I have some big, fat follicles in there.  There are 12 total, but not all are measurable yet.  At the rate we're going, we should trigger ovulation by Wednesday.  This is waaaayyy faster than any of my other cycles and I'm looking at it as a good sign.  I go back tomorrow for more bloodwork and ultrasound.  And we're up to 3 shots at night and 1 in the morning.  My belly looks like a polka dot shirt...all purple and red little dots everywhere.  I feel REALLY positive about this cycle.  I already feel connected to my eggs and they aren't even embryos yet.  I hope that this is a good sign...last cycle I felt nothing.  The spring one (where we had implantation but then the embryo stopped developing) I felt this way but not until the egg retrieval.  I'm telling you, there are babies on the way!!!!

There's a show on TLC tonight called "My Monkey Baby" and the info says "The Johnsons decide to raise a monkey as their child".  It's good to know there are options out there just in case.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Normally this stuff doesn't hurt quite so bad, but MAN it sucked today.
Had my 2nd appointment for bloodwork and ultrasound...My follicles are looking good - growing as expected. 

For those new to the IVF experience, let me detail the process..well, MY process anyway.  It's a little different for everyone.
You go in for initial bloodwork and ultrasound on day 3 of your period.  This is to get a base line of levels and to find out of you have any follicles in your ovaries (it's an internal ultrasound - fun fun fun).  Then they call you to let you know that you need to start your injections.  I take two shots at night and one in the morning.  The Gonal-F makes my follicles grow nice and big.  The eggs are inside the follicles and the follicles get bigger and bigger thanks to the drugs.  In most normal women, there is one follicle that develops and grows and the eggs eventually pops out - that's ovulation.  In me they give me drugs so that lots of follicles develop giving us the best shot at having one that works.  So I take Gonal-F at night and in the morning.  Also at night I take Menapur.  That makes sure that I don't ovulate on my own.

So you go back to the doctor after 3 days and they check again (that's what I did today).  After that you go every other day and then eventually every day.  They keep checking the levels and follicles to be sure that you're taking the right dosage of meds.  Once the follicles get to be at least 18 mm (um, that's huge and I usually have 10-12 of them and feel like I'm will explode) they trigger ovualtion and exactly 36 hours later i go in to get the eggs retrieved.  You'll hear more about that fact let me save the details for then - keep you in suspense!!

OK, so my point is they hurt me today and it sucked.  Ugh.  Plus I have to get 2 more shots later tonight.  I don't mean to be a cry baby but I am.  I think I'm having a mini-pitty-party for myself.  Hmm, could I possibly be moody as hell?  This first surge of hormones is tough.  Oh, wait!  I didn't fully explain why the blood draw hurts so bad.  See when you keep getting blood drawn, the veins start to collapse and scar.  Since this is my 4th attempt and I get my blood drawn approximately 10 times per cycle, my veins are a mess!  And I have all this scar tissue that they have to get through in order to reach my blood.  As a result, it kills!  Just a little bonus, as if being left childless isn't bad enough right?

I feel like such a complainer.  Maybe I have earned the right to complain?