Did I Mention I Don’t Want Triplets?!

The latest blast report continues to have good news. They are growing just like they are supposed to and all 9 are dividing and multiplying. 7 are rated Grade A and 2 are rated Grade B+. The breakdown also reminds me of my report cards from school. Weird.

Knowing the genes that make them up, I am certain the two “B+” blasts are getting teased mercilessly by the 7 “A” blasts. We are very pleased so far, but we are still cautious about getting too excited.

Dr. Uterus and Dr. Freak Out are apparently in agreement that our best shot at a pregnancy is to transfer three blasts, rather than the two that Sweetie and I have discussed. I hadn’t talked with Dr. Uterus yet about how many blasts I wanted to transfer, but I had mentioned to his nurse that we were looking for two since WE DON’T FREAKIN’ WANT TRIPLETS. She mentioned this to him and he is still of the opinion that our best shot is with 3. This is consistent with the average number of blasts that he has transferred before in my age group according to the CDC reports.

Sweetie and I discussed it and are very hesitant not to follow their advice. The assumption has always been that if you transfer three, all three will implant and poof, we have triplets. The reality is that statistically, it’s not a sure bet that even one will implant let alone three. So, we are willing to accept the risk of triplets in order to get a viable pregnancy.

I also need to stop turning to Dr. Google. Curiousity killed the cat and it sure as hell makes IVF a lot harder when you read all kinds of random studies about what does and does not make for a successful cycle.

For now, I’m going to focus on being really relaxed tomorrow since I read in an actual book (Dr. Silber’s boringly-titled tome How to Get Pregnant) that women who were ├╝ber-relaxed during the transfer had a much higher rate of pregnancy. Dr. Uterus also mentioned this, so it must be fact! Right?

Doin’ the Old Lady Shuffle

Image: smileygeekgirl
I am doing the Old Lady Shuffle today. That is the hunched over, put one foot in front of the other shuffle due to extremely sensitive body parts and still (unfortunately) lingering ‘airs’. I’m counting down the minutes for the work day to end so that I can pop a Vicodin and curl up on the couch. I have been putting the heating pad to good use, though, having it firmly strapped to my mid-section to dull the ache during the day. Thankfully my job does not require me to move around a lot, so I’ve been able to sit around and play on the computer (isn’t that what I do every day?)

In better news, we got the Fert Report: 9 eggs out of 12 fertilized! 8 out of 9 fertilized using ICSI and 1 out of 3 fertilized au naturale (well as natural as you can get in a petri dish). I am really happy since it means 75% of the eggs fertilized. We’ll get more info tomorrow on which ones are growing and we should have a tentative discussion on how many will get transferred. We’re looking at a transfer on Friday. Hopefully I will be feeling much better by then.

I’ve also told everyone and their mother from Dr. Uterus to his nurse to the nurses at the IVF lab that I do not want the blastshots. Dr. Uterus declared that I was his first patient to make this request (that’s me, always the trailblazer) but he will respect my wishes. I have no problem with them keeping them in the file but as I explained earlier, I would be too tempted to lob onto them as our future children and suffer the consequences should the cycle fail.

Otherwise, it is embarrassingly quiet on the Mrs. X front. Till tomorrow!

Things That Come in a Dozen

Here is a random listing of things that come in denominations or measurements of 12: one cycle in Chinese astrology, golf balls, roses, the Dirty Dozen, the rumored length of John Holmes’ “member”, hot dogs, and, the number of Mrs. X’s eggs retrieved today!!

That’s right, ladies, 12 beautiful eggs. I am very happy with the number and apparantly Dr. Freak Out could find nothing initially wrong with them. According to Dr. Uterus’ nurse, if the eggs initially appear immature or otherwise ‘oeuf’, she makes “noises”. There were no noises. That of course, doesn’t mean that we are going to have 12 beautifully fertilized eggs, but it is a good start.

The retrieval itself was pretty uneventful for me. Although, tell me, Schatzi, how do you do this without pain medication!? Unfortunately, my recovery has been a little … bumpier than I would have liked. Bumpy how? I have terrible, awful, horrible, excruciating … gas. The kind of gas that doesn’t come out unless you walk around. As Sweetie so eloquently put it, “You’re just going to have to fart and belch your way out of this one.” It’s so bad that I have a hard time taking a deep breath. It totally sucks.

Tomorrow we get the fertilization report. Sweetie spoke with Dr. Freak Out while I was in la la land and she told him that they had decided to do 75% ICSI and 25% natural. So, 9 eggs will be fertilized with ICSI and 3 will be left to their own devices. I wonder if they will pipe in some Barry White, lower the lights, leave some wine to move things along?

It’s going to be hard not to focus and fret about how many will fertilize, but I know that it won’t help matters at all. It it is literally out of my hands, my body and my ovaries at this point.

Thanks also to Shinejil, Lori, Peesticks, Jellybelly, jill_986, and Schatzi for your wonderful words of encouragement!

(Lori- I reformated the post and managed to lose your comment. Sorry!)

In Black and White

(image: FSSE-INFO) Today’s event was that Sweetie and I met up at the IVF lab to sign le paperwork for the retrieval tomorrow. I had copies of all of the forms ahead of time, but didn’t bother to read them until last night. I was pretty familiar with the doom and gloom in them (if your children turn out to be freaks, you can’t sue us) since it was similar to the papers that we had to sign at Dr. Uterus’ office, but it was still sobering to read it all.

Last night, Sweetie and I went through the multiple choice maze of options for any embryos that we manage to get to freeze in the event of an unpleasant contingency. What do we do with the embryos if I die? If he dies? If we both die? If we get divorced? If I have a hysterectomy? We had choices like disposal in an ethical manner (I don’t even want to contemplate what that actually entails), continue to store, or donate to an infertile couple. It was a no-brainer if either one of us died (the other would get them). If we both died, we directed that they be donated to an infertile couple. But, if we got divorced, we elected to have them disposed of – I would have a very hard time knowing that my child could be out there without me (or their siblings) knowing it. The hysterectomy scenario would result in continue to freeze the embryos, on the assumption that we would want to use a gestational surrogate, assuming we didn’t have the brood that we wanted.

I was just struck by how weird it is to be discussing the fate of your potential future embryos while you’re making dinner. Most people will never even have to think of that scenario much less fill out of page of multiple choices as to what to do in various depressing situations. Another uniquely infertility experience.

Sweetie, apparently, was very freaked out by the consent forms for the egg retrieval and IVF because of all of the terrible things that could happen which were enumerated in exacting detail. He is apparently quite worried about genetic abnormalities and was still slightly convinced that Dr. Freak Out had it right that our prior miscarriage was his fault. I disabused him of that notion by explaining that Turner’s is caused during the meiosis stage, or when the cells start to divide, not at the moment of conception and not in the wonky sperm.

We also talked about the statistics that show that IVF births have no substantial increase in genetic defects than the normal population. I reminded him that we could have a genetic problem even if we got pregnant without ART. And, we had already discussed with Dr. Uterus the issue of whether ICSI caused greater numbers of birth defects. Personally, I suspect that the higher numbers of genetic problems resulting from ICSI can be correlated to the fact that the procedure is used for men who have severe morphology problems and incredibly wonky sperm to begin with. Sweetie is not one of those men.

I did ask him if he didn’t want to continue and he immediately responded “Nooooo! I want to continue!” I was glad that we talked about his concerns since it seems that a lot of time we discuss my concerns rather than his.

I also took my four antibiotics this evening and promptly felt like I was going to barf, hurl. ralph, and whatever other adjective you want to use for vomit (which I always thought was an ugly word). I think Zithromax should now have this label because it is exactly how I felt:

Mr. Yuck indeed. I am feeling much better now. Especially after I stopped watching Celebrity Rehab with B-, C- and D-listers barfing everywhere and generally moaning as they detox.

I don’t know how coherent I will be tomorrow so all of you lovely ladies who still continue to read this saga may have to wait until Wednesday for an update. Till then, so long, farewell.

"The Cake is Baked"

So sayeth Dr. Uterus. He was still on his hyperbole kick, this time declaring that my ovaries were quite possibly the most beautiful of all of 2007 and 2008. For a man who sees a lot of eggs, that was very nice to hear.

We are scheduled for a retrieval on Tuesday. Now the only thing standing between me and mature eggs is the HCG injection:

I wasn’t that worried about it until I saw the needle that I’m supposed to use (me: “is that the mixing needle?” Nurse: “no, that’s the mixing needle. This is the needle you inject. All 1.5 inches”) and when they told me the cautionary tale of the Woman Who Didn’t Follow Instructions. This woman had 10 follicles, but 0 eggs retrieved. Why? Because she decided that the intramuscular needle was “too big” and used the subcutaneous needle instead. Since the HCG didn’t get absorbed, it could not trigger the eggs to mature. Since the eggs didn’t mature, none could be retrieved. Ouch.

I always follow their instructions (yay OCD), but I didn’t realize until I heard this tale just how critical the HCG trigger is. I got so paranoid about it and where to inject that they ended up drawing a giant target on my ass for me to use when the time comes. I’ve also called my neighbor who is in the medical profession and has done multiple IVF cycles to see if she is willing to help since Sweetie just about passed out at the notion of sticking me with a needle (so I guess that would be a no on helping me with the progesterone injections, huh?).

I have resigned myself to the fact that my ass is a giant pincushion and this shot is going to H-U-R-T.

Update: the shot did indeed H-U-R-T and we had some trouble getting all of the medicine into the syringe, but I managed to take it only 5 minutes late. Hopefully that 5 minutes won’t make much of a difference.

The State of My Ovaries and Other News

In keeping with the January plethora of State of the State, Union, City, etc addresses, it is only appropriate that I give an update on all things having to do with Mrs.X.

Concerned Citizens of the Blogosphere, you have asked (well, actually not) how my formerly sleepy ovaries are doing on the nuke ’em method of egg production. Good news from Dr. Uterus: he has declared my ovaries to be ‘beautiful’, ‘gorgeous’ and humming along on their journey of egg production. My estrogen is apparently doing quite well and was also called ‘gorgeous’.

I would not be exaggerating to say that he has a thing for hyperbole.

For my part, I feel as if I have swallowed a balloon that has lodged itself in my midsection and moves everytime I try to sit comfortably. Instead of the pinging and twinging earlier this week, we have moved into dull ache territory. And, I learned the obvious lesson the other night that intercourse (as Dr. Uterus put it) is not advisable. Ouch and ouch. But, Sweetie is now on conservation measures in anticipation of providing a specimen early next week, so I don’t feel too bad completely turning him away.

I go back in for another scan tomorrow, Sunday.
I finished Wuthering Heights and I have to say, I wasn’t that impressed. Sorry, Emily dear, but I think Charlotte was the better writer. I haven’t read Agnes Grey yet to see if Anne trumps either of you.

Sweetie now wants to get the Laurence Olivier version of the movie on DVD. I’m having trouble picturing him as a brooding Heathcliff.

Next on the reading list is Villette and The Boleyn Inheritance (I love trashy fiction!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I found the quilt pattern that I want to use for my friend’s baby quilt. I sent a picture to her and she is thrilled. I’m going to use some wonderful vintage children’s fabrics. Hopefully, it will turn out as beautifully as I am picturing seeing as how it is my first quilt and all.

She also absolved me of any guilt about not being able to handle details about her pregnancy. I am so grateful and happy that she is willing to forgive me this one thing. She is a truly wonderful friend.
I got a new iPod but I’m still trying to figure out how to switch the library from my work computer to my home computer. I am searching for the elusive “iPod control” folder and so far have been disappointed. Damn you search dog!
Sweetie and I are meeting friends for a movie date tonight. On the marquee: Rambo. I’m in it just to see if Sylvester Stallone is using a walker yet.
Well, as you can plainly see, Concerned Citizens of the Blogosphere, Mrs. X is doing pretty well. She has shown much economy in her prudence, wisdom in her interactions and bloating in her ovaries (not to mention snark in her general direction). Go about your business knowing that Mrs. X, for one, has things well in hand.

Good night and Dog Bless.

A Wand By Any Other Name….

I have a wonderful (or terrible, depending upon who you ask) habit of naming things. I got it from my parents who gave names to all of the neighbors that weren’t their real names (and weren’t necessarily nice names). They realized that this probably wasn’t a good idea when we ran into said neighbors at the doctor’s office and I, being the mischevious little 6-year old that I was, called them by the name that my parents used. Much embarassment (for my parents) ensued. Ah, youth.

This habit has followed me through my adult life and Sweetie practices it as well (as do many of my fellow IFers). Obviously, infertility treatments are a gold mine for people like me so that you can think up fabulous names for things that have otherwise very boring names. One particular item whose name has always bothered me is the transvaginal transducer that is used during follicle scans. Not only is it a mouthful, but frankly, it doesn’t begin to give people an idea of what it really is.

Personally, I call it the ‘Condom Wand’ because, it is a wand and they put a little condom on it everytime. Kind of boring, but it stuck.

Ms. Heathen over at Reproductively Challenged gave it the deliciously wonderful name of ‘Dildo Cam’ which I swear makes me giggle everytime I hear it.

Yet another name, provided by Dr. Uterus gleaned from another patient, was the “Penis that Sees All”.

I know that my girls who have had the unfortunate circumstance to become intimately acquainted with this particular piece of equipment have also given it wonderful, if somewhat irreverent names. So, what do you call it?

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Bigmouth Strikes Again

I was reminded yesterday of the lyrics to that seminal Smith’s song, “Bigmouth Strikes Again” off of their album, The Queen is Dead. They came to me as I was having a phone call with the embryologist going over Sweetie’s SA results.

Bigmouth oh ho ho ho ah la/ Big mouth, oh ho la la/ Bigmouth strikes again/ And I’ve got no right to take my place/With the human race

What, you ask could she have said that would earn these lyrics in particular? This woman put me through the wringer.

We have lots of information about Sweetie’s counts from our six IUIs with Dr. Uterus, but the embryologist, Dr. Freak Out, had to have her own to review. So, Sweetie went to her office and “produced” the specimen. (He also reported that her “collection room” wasn’t as nice as that of Dr. Uterus, which I call the Spooge Closet, but he was happy to have some new, er, literature.)

She called me with the results and prefaced them with a question as to whether Sweetie has been sick recently. Apparently, his motility was down from his prior IUI counts and it was in her “poor” range. As we were talking, she became convinced that something must be up since his motility was down (although the volume and viability were both in the normal range) from his prior counts. She warmed to her topic of poor motility and began to talk about the troubles of low motility while throwing ICSI around (which we were going to do at 50% of the fertilizations with anyway) and then prefacing that it also depended upon how many eggs I produced. Essentially, she spouted gloom and doom.

She also asked about our previous history and I told her of the one pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage. We had a karyotype performed and determined that there was a chromosomal abnormality, specifically a monosomy or Turner’s Syndrome. Dr. Uterus assured us that this was a random occurrence and it was just a luck of the draw. There was nothing that either Sweetie or I contributed that caused it. Dr. Freak Out, on the other hand, started musing as to how strange it was that the one sperm that managed to fertilize the egg was able to produce a monosomy.

As if that wasn’t enough, then she starts going on about how she has seen a correlation in her experience between low motility and abnormalities in resulting babies. Finally, she reminded me that since I had tubal surgery (mind you over a year ago), my chance of an ectopic increased. Thanks. So, to recap: according to Dr. Freak Out, my husband has abnormal sperm, we are doomed if he gets me pregnant again and we might as well just turn to donor sperm. That’s essentially what we got out of the conversation.

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt/Now I know how Joan of Arc felt/As the flames rose to her roman nose/And her walkman started to melt

Not surprisingly, I called Sweetie as soon as I hung up with Dr. Freak Out and he freaked out. We had a tense conversation about what it means and how to go forward. He even asked if I wanted to cancel the cycle, to which I said no. The second call I made was to Dr. Uterus’ office to see if he knew what this crackpot was talking about. I didn’t end up talking with Dr. Uterus until today and I learned some very important facts.

1) Dr. Freak Out is not a medical doctor. She has a PhD, hence the doctor but she is certainly not a doctor who can dispense advice and genetic counseling. She was way out of line.

2) Sweetie’s sperm are very likely just fine and Turner’s is not caused by a pre-existing chromosomal abnormality in the sperm. It happens when the cells start to divide.

3) His motility is also not something to worry about, even if it was lower than his prior numbers.

Dr. Uterus is going to have a chat with Dr. Freak Out and remind her that this is not the kind of thing that you discuss with IVF patients. But, the freak out did give Sweetie and I a chance to discuss what we are comfortable with in terms of donor gametes. At this point, I told him, I am still very invested in having my own pregnancy, so I would go for donor sperm before adoption. He was ok with that.

Luckily, it looks as if we don’t have to have that conversation again. And, hopefully, Dr. Freak Out has learned a valuable lesson on filtering.

Dear John*

*Name has been changed to protect the insensitive.

Dear John, Friend from Grad School:

I got your mass email yesterday announcing your new email and wanted to let you know that you are flirting dangerously with being on my Shit List. In case you have forgotten, I will outline your previous sins that have gotten you to this point:

1) You emailed me that your harpie wife was expecting on the exact day that I found out that my baby had died and I had been carrying a dead fetus around for a week. I responded with my congratulations and didn’t mention any of my incredible sadness. You never responded.

2) You included me on the mass email with pictures of the new baby when the harpie wife delivered and again, I said the right things and congratulated you. You never responded.

3) You emailed me again to tell me of the new baby and sent more pictures because you couldn’t remember if you had emailed me before. I guess you didn’t remember that I congratulated you before. This time you deigned to ask how we were doing.

4) I responded again with congratulations (because that’s what friends do) and agreed that your baby was the cutest thing on the planet. I also told you of our struggle with infertility and the miscarriage in April. You Never. Wrote. Back. Not one lousy word. A simple “I’m sorry” would have sufficed to let me know that you are at least interested after asking how we were.

5) Now you have sent me a new email address assuming that I want to keep in touch with you. I have no reason to keep in touch. You have obviously just left this one hanging and it will take a lot of groveling for you to get back into my good graces.

So, that’s where we stand. Assuming you don’t send any more emails blithley ignorning what I shared with you, you will not be banished to having your email blocked. One more “I have the cutest baby on the block” email without any acknowledgment that we had a loss and you will officially be out of my life.


Mrs. X

ps- the addition of the information in the email that you are changing emails so that it will sync with your Blackberry landed you squarely in the tool column. Just thought you should know that.