Saturday, March 29, 2008

IVF #1 Cancelled

It’s not exactly unexpected, but disappointing none the less. My first attempt at IVF was canceled this morning. I’ve responded horribly to the medication. Again there wasn’t much to see, there was one decent sized follicle on my right and another on my left. One of those had “echoes” and the Dr. doing rounds in the office this morning said it probably wouldn’t contain an egg. So I really only have one follicle to speak of.

I’m frustrated because I’ve had better responses with Femara. I thought Follistim would be stronger or do more for me. I guess ovarian discomfort doesn’t correlate with ovarian production. If it did, I wouldn’t have only one freakin’ follicle. Gaahhhh!

As the nurse kindly pointed out, now they know more about how my body responds. I guess that’s a good thing.

I tried to pump her for information, you know, the where do we go from here sort of stuff. Unfortunately, she couldn’t really answer that for me, although she confirmed that I probably will go in for a second FINAL IVF CONSULT with Dr. B.

The nurse said she’d call me this afternoon with the results of my labs (as if it matters anymore) and I guess instructions. I have the option to convert this to an IUI but I’m not even optimistic about that. What’s the point of wasting more money and medication on one egg?

I know that sounds horrible, but I’ve already done 6 IUI’s with nothing to show for it. I don’t expect this to be any different. I just want to move on to the big IVF now that I’ve proven that mini-stim doesn’t work for me.

I’m going to go crawl back into bed with M, and give him the news. I feel bad telling him because he’ll be disappointed, he was so optimistic. I feel like I let him down, again.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Slow Start

I’m a little disappointed. I was hoping for a definitive scan this morning, either good news or bad news. It was just blah. The nurse had a hard time finding follicles…not a good sign in my book. She was able to track down one decent size follicle on my right and maybe another small one. The left was no better, nothing substantial, just the hint of two, maybe three small follicles. My nurse called in a back-up nurse just to double check, but she didn’t have any more luck.

Apparently I’m a slow starter. The nurse told me not to give up, that things could really take off in the next few days. I really hope she’s right. I was hoping for at least five follicles to make their presence known, so maybe next time they’ll cooperate.

On the bright side, my lining is looking cushy, which supposedly means my estrogen level should be good. The back-up nurse said my E2 should be near 300, so at least I know what they want to see.

Maybe I'm being too negative, but I want to be prepared for a cancellation, or the possibility of converting to an IUI.

I’ll update this afternoon when I get my results from this morning.

Okay, I'm thinking I’m off to a really slow start. My E2 today is 155, not quite the 300 they mentioned this morning. Add that to my sad follicle count and I’m not feeling very optimistic. I have another blood draw and scan early Saturday morning.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Low E2?

I had my first blood work of the cycle today. My results are just so, so.

My E2 is an underwhelming 37.1. I don’t know if that’s really bad or not, but I do know it’s low. I have to up my Follistim to 150 for the next few days until my next blood test/ultrasound on Thursday. I was hoping for Wednesday, but I guess I’ll have to be patient. Gah!

I’m a little fearful that I’m going to be canceled for poor response. I suppose I’m feeling a little pessimistic after today’s results, I was hoping for great numbers out of the gate.

I’m hoping that if I’m going to be canceled, I’ll find out on Thursday. I don’t want to waste any more drugs than necessary if it’s all going to be a bust.

If anyone has any insight about day 3-4 E2 numbers, fill me in. I couldn’t find much on what it should be, except that higher numbers, like 80-100 seemed to be the norm. I realize that lower numbers probably should be expected, as I’m not trying to stimulate a large number of follicles, but still. Could this cycle turn around or is it doomed?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

First Injection

Yesterday was cd 1 and I did my first injection. I should revise that, M gave me my first injection. Not only did he administer, but he mixed the drugs as well. I am so glad I have him, he’s so good at the stuff I’m chicken-shit about.

When I’m nervous, all rational thought seems to leave my mind, so I would have been a mess trying to make sure I didn’t miss a step. The shot itself wasn’t too bad, but like everyone else has mentioned, the Follistim stings going in, and for a while after. I haven’t the courage to try taking the injection in the belly, we’ve always stuck to the outer thigh (excuse the pun). Maybe after a few nights, my legs won’t appreciate anymore and we’ll change sites.

I’m having some side effects, but I don’t know exactly to what. The strange thing is I began feeling really tired/exhausted when I stopped taking the BCP last week. I don’t know why, maybe the sudden change in hormones? But it hasn’t gone away and I think it’s getting worse. I took a nap last night before dinner, slept a good 9+ hours last night and then took another nap this afternoon.

I’m not enjoying this lack of energy, it’s not allowing me to get things done that I’d like. I have a carrot cake to make for tomorrow but I can’t seem to get my butt off the couch. I’m not going to worry about it too much though, I just want to take care of myself, so if my body needs rest, I’m going to give it rest.

I know it’s early, but I wish I was getting scanned on Monday, not just b/w. I’d like an antral follicle count just to have an idea of how things might turn out. But alas, they don’t have any plans for me until around Wednesday.

Not much else to chat about, so have a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I was at the grocery store last night and happened upon a copy of People, the one with J. Lo on the cover, perfectly coifed holding her perfect boy-girl twins. I had heard earlier in the day that she is claiming that she did not use any treatments to get pregnant with them! So I just had to pick up a copy of the magazine and see for myself. This is what I found.

People: Can you set the record straight about how challenging it was to conceive?

Jennifer: Sure. It was natural. We didn’t do in vitro, which I know was reported. Everybody assumed that because we had twins. I wanted to have a baby, but I’ve always said exactly what I said all those years they asked us since we’ve been married: “Well, when are you guys gonna have some kids?” “When it happens naturally, I guess!” And that’s when it happened. It was a surprise to us.

People: Were you ever worried it might not happen?

Jennifer: You start getting older, you think to yourself, maybe (having kids) is just not meant for me. I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I knew that I could. Deep down, I really wanted it badly.

Marc: It never even entered my mind that it would never happen.

Jennifer: (turning to Marc) Really? Even after one year, two years, three years…You know, you start thinking to yourself, “Well, maybe…”

Marc: No! When you think about it, you only have a small amount of time each month when you can. So you try and you have 12 shots a year.

Does anyone believe what Jennifer Lopez is claiming? Seriously!? Okay, I know it’s possible, but at her age, 38 and after three years of marriage, is she really trying to say she didn’t see an RE?

We’re talking about a highly successful women who is used to making things happen. She has major resources at her disposal and she didn’t seek help after say, two years? Really? Not even a little Clomid or an IUI or two?

The other thing that gets me, is that she claims to know that “nothing (is) wrong with me.” Say what? Is she saything that tried naturally for three years at the age of 35 without a care in the world? Yet she “wanted it badly”. How many women out there are so confident that there is nothing wrong after trying for three years that they're willing to wait patiently for that door to close? I don’t buy it!

There’s a little more suspicious banter in the magazine interview…

People: So how did you find out you were expecting?

Jennifer: I was in Portugal, performing and dancing my a—off…

Marc: We were on the phone, and I said “Baby, I have a sense!”

Jennifer: I said, “You think I am?” because it had been so long. When I came back, I took a test. I couldn’t believe it! I was like, “Can we get another test, please?”

Again, What? Does anyone have a husband just spontaneously call them to tell them they're probably pregnant? Okay, I guess it could happen, but Marc's the one that suspected, after a natural cycle, not Jennifer? That story just screams IVF to me. I know my husband isn't all that tuned into my cycle unless we're doing something like IUI, and even then...

But what do I know? I suppose it’s none of our (my) business how she comes by her beautiful babies. But, it would be nice to have a little more honesty about treatment from celebrities. I wish more women were out there explaining how difficult it can be, why it’s important to seek treatment, that it’s not something to be embarrassed about. It would probably do a world of good for the general public to be exposed to IF now and again. It would probably make my life easier when talking to others about treatment if they had something to reference.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guinea Pig?

Did I say I was doing the big IVF? What I meant to say is we’re doing the mini-stim just for fun.

Let me explain. Today was the FINAL IVF CONSULT, which I find a little funny. Why is it refered to as final at the start of IVF? I certainly hope it’s not the last time Dr. B discusses our IVF options with us. Wishful thinking on the Clinic's part?

Anyway, M and I were in the exam room when Dr. B and the IVF nurse came in for the mock transfer. He said “we’re doing mini-stim, right?” Well, I was a little surprised and said "uh, no, you recommended the big IVF as the not-fucking-around-anymore solution." Okay, I didn’t say that exactly, but almost. I then proceeded to remind him of our previous discussions via his nurse and e-mail. I think he remembered me then, or at least he pretended to.

After much thoughtfulness on his part, Dr. B reversed his previous decisions and decided right there on the spot that age is more important than high FSH, so mini-stim is indeed a good idea. His reasoning is, since I’ve never had any experience with injectibles, I might do just fine with a low dose.

Yes, I too am impressed with the years of medical school and research it took to come up with this plan of action. A bold move.

We discussed and agonized for about 10 minutes between the four of us. I know how M feels (less $ makes him happy), and Dr. B made a fairly compelling argument about my age and more opportunities yada-yada-yada. So mini-stim it is. Clearly this is a big ol’ experiment with moi starring as the guinea pig.

Regardless of which IVF road we go down, it will be a big experiment, so the less painful, less expensive version won today. Did we make the right choice? Gah! I have no idea.

Plan B is…If I don’t respond well to the stims, my cycle will be canceled and I will only be out some medication (what’s a few thousand dollars?!). Dr. B will then have a good idea of how my body responds to the drugs and will hopefully be better equipped to treat me if a big IVF is required. At least that's what he said.

Part of me feels like I was tricked into changing my mind, after all, I had already come to terms with needing the big IVF and thought the benefits of extra embryos (if I was lucky) to freeze was worth it. On the other hand, not using gallons of injectibles is enticing, not to mention the smaller price tag.

In case you’re curious, here’s my protocol for now:

No more BCP’s, I only had about four days left, so I get to stop a little early. Yayyy

Friday I start 75 IU’s of Follistim and 75 IU’s of Menopur once a day. They get mixed together so I only have one injection. Also, M and I both start antibiotics and I take a low dose aspirin daily.

Monday I have blood work. After that, I’ll just have to wait and see, but there’s not much more to it than that, at least for now.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Much Better!

Ahhhh, I’m hoping it’s not short lived, but I’m feeling much, much better. I no longer want to harm others. Maybe M can attempt to give me a hug without the fear of bodily harm.

I’ve been going back and forth between excitement and trepidation about the upcoming IVF. This might actually work. Of course I try to temper those thoughts with the knowledge that it most likely won’t. Okay, I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have to tell myself that there’s a big chance that this is going to bomb, you know, so I won’t be crushed when it doesn’t. (Who am I kidding!!?)

But what if it doesn’t bomb?

Then I start freaking at the thought of how a baby will change our lives. The thing is, when we were just having sex it was so much easier to pretend that having a baby is no big deal. People do it all the time, right? (Yeah, yeah, I know!) It would just happen and life would go on and we would be happy!

But now that we’re about to spend big bucks and I’m going to stab myself with sharp little needles, there’s no “letting it happen” involved. It’s very calculated which means I have to really, really want this.*

Which of course leads me to think… do I really, really want this?! Do I want to go to this much effort and discomfort? We have a nice life right now. We can do whatever we want whenever we want (within reason). Sometimes I think it would be fun to live like this forever. But I also know we would be sad if we didn’t have a family together.

I feel like I’m standing in line to ride a roller coaster. The longer I wait, the scarier it becomes. If I could just get this ride over with, I would probably be glad I got on. But right now, it seems like the craziest thing a person could do…in more ways than one.

So of course the answer is yes, I do want a family, but it’s just scary to think so long and hard about it.

Did I mention I don’t do roller coasters?

*For some reason, the 6 IUI's didn't seem like a big deal, it was just extra help. There wasn't all that much money and drugs involved and we were still having sex! Is it just me, or did that sound kind of dirty?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Am Such A Bitch!

If you’re wondering, I’ve been missing mostly because I’ve felt like a raving lunatic for the last week or so. I fully blame the BCP’s for the hormonal imbalance. I often have some trouble adjusting to the pill, but these have been especially difficult. So I’ve been using avoidance as the safest way of protecting those around me!

Thanks Barb for checking in on me. Sorry I haven’t been very good at e-mails lately.

The short list of complaints includes the always fabulous sensation of needing to cry, general annoyance at everyone in my immediate vicinity, nausea, tiredness, headache, and a general feeling of malaise. Good times. I think some of the symptoms are compounded by seasonal allergies, it’s spring here in Orlando.

My biggest concern is, if I’m such a mess on the BCP, what’s the Lupron etc. going to do to my body? I feel like I should lock myself away as it is. Poor M.

I suppose I don't have to wait too long. My final IVF consult is next Tuesday morning and I expect I’ll start Lupron or whatever soon after. I only have a week and a half left in my BCP, thank goodness.

I’ve still been checking in on other blogs, even if I’m not commenting.

And just because I can, I’m going to bitch about how much it sucks to have an uber fertile SIL.

My only SIL (the one I really don’t like) is having a Christening for her THIRD baby in five years. And yes, you are correct in assuming that I am bitter. Well I just got finished buying gifts to send up and it put me in a foul mood. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but it just sucks to be reminded that she is good at having babies and I’m not.

Fortunately, we are not flying to NY to attend, because there is no way I could put on a happy face in my hormonal condition. But of course we couldn’t get off that easily. We were given a very hard time about not attending by M’s dad. He just couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea that we are busy (actually M is really busy with work, me not so much) and cannot take time out of OUR lives to attend another one of his daughters events (this will be the first time we’re not there). Did I mention this is the same sister that didn’t come to M’s college graduation or our wedding?

One day at lunch he repeatedly asked me why we weren’t attending the Christening. It ended up becoming a big argument with M coming to my rescue and telling him that it’s none of his business and that we already gave a good reason. I wasn’t about to tell him about the upcoming IVF cycle and that I didn’t want the extra stress of a visit to one of my least favorite people to see her new baby as well as his cousins new baby.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Acupuncture Anyone?

To acupuncture or not to acupuncture, that is the question.

I first started acupuncture mostly because it offered another option we hadn't tried and a bit of hope. I think M was counting on this low cost (by comparison) treatment fixing me right up so we could forget all about IVF.

My acupuncturist, D was nice enough and told me how he had helped lots of other women become pregnant and that everything would be okay. He has all the qualifications the state of FL requires (and FL has some of the strictest requirements in the U.S.).

I filled out the ridiculously long patient history form and described in detail my period. Clots, color and all. I think he knows more about my period than my gyn-y or RE! I began frequent treatments at first, nearly every day, then just twice a week.

D’s goal was to regulate my period, than he said everything else would fall into place. The thing is, I have fairly regular cycles, 25 days-28 days. But whatever. He didn’t like that my periods only lasts 2-3 days not a full 5 so he set about changing that.

Well, five months and about $2000 later, my cycle had not budged and my bleeding was basically the same. If there was any improvement, it was miniscule. D would ask for a full report each cycle and proclaim that I was improving. Um, how? The way I see it, it's an all or nothing scenario. Either you get pregnant or you don't, so I wasn't all that impressed.

Not to mention that I absolutely did not enjoy being poked with little needles, those suckers hurt if they hit a nerve and that happened about every other visit. I don't know if that's normal!?

If you’ve been following along, you’ve read all about my high FSH drama. I dropped out of acupuncture (not that I needed much of an excuse) at this time. I explained to D what I’d just found out and he encouraged me to seek treatment with western medicine. No reassurance was given that he could help correct this problem or that maybe acupuncture was responsible in some roundabout way for my most recent fertility road bump.

I spoke with my mom about the situation and she in turn spoke with a friend that is way into acupuncture and eastern medicine. This friend is a strong believer and has had much success treating his own MS with this sort of thing. He believes that it is possible to affect FSH both positively and negatively with acupuncture.

I spoke with D again and told him about this theory and he totally dismissed it. I don’t know who’s right, but I’m not planning on doing acupuncture with D anymore. I just can’t risk that he’s causing more harm than good, especially from someone who doesn’t show confidence in his own treatment.

I’ve tried to do as much research on acupuncture as the good Dr. Google allows. I’ve read everything from acupuncture is a sham to it seriously helps with IVF. My (former) acupuncturist also gave me a book called Acupuncture and IVF. This book claims that it can improve IVF’s success by as much as 40-60%. Now that’s something I’d love to buy into, but I’m a skeptic.

So, here is my question, should I pursue acupuncture with someone else for my upcoming IVF cycle?