Bonne Chance

One of the things I really like about my clinic is that they only give you instruction sheets for as far as you have gotten.  So, your stims sheet will only go to retrieval.  Your retrieval sheet with only go to transfer. And, your transfer sheet, will go to beta, the end of the line.  It really helps to compartmentalize the process and not get you ahead of yourself.  And, there are so many instructions on each sheet, it would be three pages easy if they gave them to you all at once.

Today I got the post-transfer sheet complete with the date of beta day*. 

scene'sAnd I got embryos.  Oh, did I get embryos. Four to be exact.

Yes, you read that right. We went from three to four – although, if you want to be nit-picky, we went from two to four, two being how many we transferred last time. 

After my acupuncture session, I headed over with the full, but not really uncomfortably so, bladder to the prep area where Mr. X was waiting.  The embryologist came out and spoke with us about how many contenders were left standing.  Of the 7 from Sunday, three had arrested (as had the four cell, but we weren’t really expecting a robust future there).  We had three beauties left and a nice looking fourth that while not at the level of its three counterparts, was still better put back than left to the freezer, which it probably wouldn’t have made it into.

Dr. Salsa and the embryologist both agreed that given our history, it was not that aggressive to transfer all four and see what sticks.  It also means that we had none left to freeze, but for some reason, that doesn’t bother me.  I think alot of that is because I specifically asked the embryologist if I should be concerned about the quality of the embryos that we were going to transfer since there were no others that made it and he said no. 

So, four it was. No bladder drama either this time, which was a real nice change from last time.  And, I wore the wonderful earrings that my friend made for me. On the left side, it said “Bonne” and on the right it said “Chance”, good luck, which some how sounds so much more encouraging in French.

Bonne chance, little four. 

image: scene’s

*I must disappoint those of you who want to know the date.  I share all kinds of things here, but that is just one thing I cannot bring myself to divulge.

Lucky 7

Do you want to know the lengths I went to this morning to be prepared to receive the call from the embryologist while still being able to complete my morning gardening?

I put the cordless phone in my sports bra so that I could be hands free and still do my thing.  And, darned if it didn’t fit nicely!  I am sure any passing neighbor would have been greatly amused to see me wheeling out the wheelbarrow with my mulch with a white cordless phone sticking provacatively out of the top of my blue sports bra.  I always like to give a good show.

In the end, it didn’t matter because it reached that hour with no phone call that I either had to take G for his walk or he would do without since it is So. Freaking. Hot.  The boy has a fur coat, and anything past about 10am is just brutal for him.

So, I entrusted the phone with Mr. X who was still lounging in bed and warned him that he was required to answer the phone on pain of death.  I departed with the pooch, fully aware and not a little bit relieved that the embryologist would likely call while I was gone.  And he did.

Today’s fert report: of the 10 contendas that we had on Friday, 7 are 6-10 celled and there is a straggler 4 cell little guy that he’s watching. This means that two contendas have been voted off the island.  But, 7 are still going strong with one bringing up the rear.  For now, we are focusing on our lucky 7.  We are still in the game and that is good.    

Transfer (5d) is on Tuesday.  We have been having some discussions amongst ourselves that we want 3 embryos transferred.  Last time we had 2 transferred with zilch result.  I brought it up with Dr. Salsa and the embryologist at my WTF meeting after March’s IVF failure.  At the time, they made rather non-commital noises, but didn’t rule it out completely either.    

Regardless of how many are transferred on Tuesday, that’s when the hardest part begins: The Wait.

So far…

So good.

Of the 14 ladies they retrieved yesterday, 11 were mature and of those 10 fertilized normally (thank you ICSI!). 

For today, we have 10 contenders.  I am very, very happy with those results.

We hear from the embryologist again on Sunday with the status of our little guys or gals. Hopefully, they  will continue to grow – grow damn you, grow!

I am so thankful that we have had such a good result so far.  It makes me want to hug kittens and puppies and tickle babies.  I’m so happy I’m almost tempted to start using exclamation points.  Oh, the horror.

Aspirations, Part II

Oh, my peeps. You make me smile with your good wishes and thoughts.  And, for this grouchy infertile, that is saying alot.

But, enough about you.  Inquiring minds want to know.  What was the haul?

Leo Reynolds

Yep, 14 eggs.  A new Mrs. X record. 

Hopefully, there will be lots of mature little buggers in that lot that are begging to be fertilized with the best and the brightest troops that Mr. X could muster.  The embyrologist will call tomorrow with the fert report. 

In the mean time, I will be happy that so far, we’re doing pretty darn good.

image: Leo Reynolds

Aspirations, Part I

We are officially in the countdown to retrieval.  Hopefully, tomorrow morning at 9am will find me drugged into bliss.  As the song goes, if it’s wrong to love those anaesthesia drugs so much, I don’t want to be right.

I have to admit that I am more than ready to deliver the harvest.  The girls have been barking for over a week now and they remind me of their outrage at their current condition everytime I sit, stand, walk, lie down – essentially do anything.  But, I remind them, nicely since they are hormonal, that this is for such a good cause and their discomfort (and mine) is temporary. Hopefully, they will see the bigger picture here and do the right thing. 

The theme this go round has been more mature eggs.  Last time I had 11 eggs retrieved, but only 7 were mature, of which 5 fertilized.  I am very fortunate that I can produce those kinds of numbers with my eggs, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed. IVF is a game of attrition, so the higher the number you start with, the better chances you have to have lots to work with.  Lots of mature eggs, no whammies!

I’m making no predictions as to the numbers for tomorrow.  I never kept count while Dr. Salsa was doing the wanding thing – not even for the three days in a row!  I have learned that I just take the number and latch onto it, so best not to get a number to begin with.  And, hey, I have a surprise to look forward to tomorrow. 

Now, all I have to worry about is what book I will take with me to enjoy while I wait for the show to get on the road – thick tome that I will certainly not finish, or mindless fiction?  Decisions, decisions.

I’ll try to update tomorrow because I know that all of you will be waiting with baited breath to hear about how many eggs I managed to give up.

Looks Like I Picked a Bad Day to Quit Drinking…

Caffeine, that is.

I’ve had the mother of all headaches from about 1pm onwards and I haven’t helped it by brooding over an incident at this morning’s monitoring appointment.

The monitoring itself was fine.  Nice number of contenders, same dosage and a follow up visit with the dildo cam on Friday.

No, what bothered me was what I saw when I got in the room. 

7am to 9am is cycle monitoring time and they see a slew of patients.  I understand that the clean up between patients can be hasty. What I don’t understand, though, is how you don’t clear the image from the ultrasound screen from the prior patient. 

Especially when it is me who is going in for the next appointment.

The person they saw in there before me was pregnant, 7w3d to be exact.  How did I know this without having met her?  The ultrasound screen hadn’t been cleared after she had left and there on the screen was the telltale baby blob. And, just in case you had someone who couldn’t quite make it all out, the tech had helpfully written above it the words “Hi Mom and Dad!” Un-freaking-believable.  And, this is not the first time this has happened at his office, either. The last time this happened, there was no picture.  No ridiculous anthropomorphic utterings from the baby written on the screen. 

What’s amazing is that I wasn’t bothered that she was pregnant or that I had to see the picture of her blob. What bothered me was that they were able to write that message from their baby assuming that seven or so months from now, they will meet that baby, and they were able to do that without a hint of worry or foreboding.  I lost the ability to do that with my first miscarriage (after hearing the heartbeat. Twice.).  So now, I grieve not only the loss of my two babies, but I also grieve the loss of that innocence, that surety that now that there is a bun in the oven, it’s smooth sailing from here on out.  I wanted to bang my head on the wall (or the screen). 

When Dr. Salsa came in, I nicely asked that they make sure that the ultrasound screen is clear before I go in to the room. 

Unfortunately, that’s not going to erase the rest of it.

Rage. Rinse. Repeat.

Recently, I developed a new, rather alarming reaction to seeing couples who appear to be in the same age range as Mr. X and I, one of whom is carrying the tell-tale ubiquitous baby tote while the other brings up the rear with the large stroller/carrier contraption:

Abject rage.

I Like

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit of an overreaction.  I mean really, rage? Aren’t there things that are really more rage-worthy than seeing some former frat boy carrying a car seat like its a bucket of water?  Absolutely, but I see more than just some guy and a baby.  I see where I am supposed to be and I am not.  Enter rage.

Part of the problem is that we see so many of them on a typical trip to a restaurant or a market.  We must live in the fertile crescent of the United States, because it’s like no aisle at Lowe’s is free from the strollerati.   So, rather than seethe silently or begin avoiding just about every public place, I decided to get down to the bottom of why I felt so effing pissed off.

I should mention that it’s not hormonal.  My hormonal rages are usually directed at thoroughly useless, baseless and stupid shit that is not even worthy mentioning here (“Bitch, did you not see that stop sign?!”).  And, I haven’t been on the drugs long enough to elicit such a response. 

No, it’s a complex rage made up of several different emotions.  It’s anger that we have been treading water for four years waiting to move on to the next phase of our life and it’s to the point that we’re beginning to wonder if we are going to take that next step.  It’s fear that we might not have a conventional life and our rhyme might just end at “then comes marriage”.   Most of all, it’s being reminded again of what we have tried to achieve and failed to do, repeatedly.  It’s feeling like we are being held back, asked to repeat a grade, over and over again while our same-age peers move on to the next appointed step.  We’ve got the marriage, where’s the goddamn baby carriage? 

And, damn it all to hell, it still freaking hurts. 

So, yeah, when I see some girl who is my age with the husband and the infant carrier, I get pissed.  Pissed that we are in the situation we are, pissed that I’m still upset about it, pissed that I don’t think I can share my feelings on the subject with Mr. X, and generally pissed that I’m letting a couple of strangers piss me off.

It’s a pisser.

image: I Like

Antagonize Me

Dr. Salsa has decided to switch things up a bit with this latest go round.  Instead of the down regulation protocol, I am doing an antagonist protocol.

My feelings on the matter? Go ahead, antagonize me. If it knocks me up for good, I don’t care what you do.

One man's perspectiveIt’s also nice to have a little change up in the IVF routine. 

That means no Lupron.  Mr. X was genuinely sad about this.  Really. He loved that I was on a drug that shared its name with the Latin root for wolf.  He loved to call it the werewolf drug and ask if I was going to start howling at the moon when I was on it. I think he also loved it because I was immune to any side effects from it.  I am perfectly fine to cut out that particular step.  Mr. X will take a while to get over it, though.

But, it also means double the fun on drugs.  Follistim and Menopur, together!  Who knew that such alchemy was possible.  I’ve tried each separately and had a banging good time, so who knows what the two together will do. Wonder drug twins, activate!

And, there’s a new kid on the block: Ganirelix.  There’s always room for another exotic drug in my neighborhood!

Dr. Salsa also is apparently renovating the surgery area of his office. I found this out when I showed up for my baseline appointment today and was greeted with the calming sounds of earthy music on the sound system that was quickly drowned out by the not-so-soothing sounds of banging, hammering and general mayhem.  I decided not to worry about whether this would be finished by the time of Big! Important! Things! happening.   But, it was a little nerve wracking to have hard things stuck in delicate places and then hear the whirring of a drill in your general vicinity.

Am I excited yet? Nope and I don’t care to be, frankly.  As far as I’m concerned, nothing in my life has changed except for about 1 minute a day, I will be playing chemist and then doctor.  Then, it’s back to the real, non-infertile world.

And away we go…

image: one man’s perspective

Calendar Girl

Yesterday, I sat down at my desk and turned the page in my monthly calendar to start June.  I love turning the page to see the clean pages that haven’t had drinks spilled on them or scribblings filling up the days. 

This June, however, has grown a page: my IVF calendar. I stuck it in the folds of June so that I wouldn’t lose it but I also wouldn’t constantly be reminded in May of what was coming up.

June is now upon us and the IVF calendar is looking hopeful that it won’t have to be stuck in the dark for 30 more days.  It’s been saying to me, “Time to gear up for IVF! Aren’t you excited?! I’m excited! I even say, ‘Think positive!’ Isn’t that awesome!?”

I’m saying to it, “Chill, buddy. Keep your caps on for a little while longer.  You don’t even begin until next week so why don’t you just go hang out with the other important documents in my filing cabinet where you can continue to stay clean and dry?”

Truth be told, I’ve reached that point in my infertility treatment journey that the beginning of a new IVF is neither exciting nor terrifying. It just is.  I try not to think about the enormity of the entire thing, but compartmentalize it into the various sections: suppression, stimulation, retrieval and beyond.  It’s like eating a steak – you start at one end and bite by bite you make a dent.  I also take it like recovery – one day at a time.  If I start thinking down the road, the thoughts snowball into a giant ball of expectations that starts to chase me like Indiana Jones after he steals the gold idol.  Unlike him, I tend to get flattened most everytime.  I finally learned to turn off the thoughts of After This IVF and channel them into more immediate, and usually frivolous pursuits, such as contemplating what I am going to wear the next day.  It’s more a manfiestation of my need to plan (which is code for need to be a control freak) than a desire to really day dream about this time maybe it actually working.  I’d much rather expend that time and effort into something that I can control and still makes me happy. 

For now, the birth control pills are still winding down, the medicine is chilling like a fine wine in the fridge and I’ve set my baseline appointment for some not too soon, but not to far away date. And, for now, I’m very content to know that neither tomorrow nor even the next day will see me taking out that IVF calendar.  Sorry, buddy. You are going to have to be in the dark a little while longer.