HISTORY

Treatments
BABY #1- 6 Clomid cycles, 2 IUIs with Femara, 1 IVF with 3 embryos transferred, 2 more IUIs with Femara & Follistim, and finally 1 IUI with Follistim.
BABY #2 - 2 Follistim cycles and natural conception

Timing
Decided to start a family May 2005. After testing & un-related delays, began first treatment cycle Oct 2005. First pregnancy confirmed Sept 2007. Second pregnancy confirmed Mar 2011.

For other IF couples
If you want to skip back to our infertility adventures, please see the history on the right hand margin. There you can find our journey from 2005 through 2007.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Bloggers & Blog readers! I've been MIA for the last two weeks as I had taken my computer down to redo our office & to setup the nursery! I've got updates to make here, so I'll get to that later this week (I'll be backdating some of the entries as that helps me keep track of when things happened). I hope everyone had a great Christmas & is enjoying the last of 2007 today!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

19 week ultrasound

Thanks to the research study I'm participating in, I'd already found out the sex (boy if you are just joining us) at 16 weeks. So the doc & I agreed that it made sense to wait a little longer before having another ultrasound, so we pushed it out to the end of my 19th week (today is 19w4d).

My mom & I have been hard at work this week (I've been off all this week & do not go back until Jan 2!!! I love my annual two weeks off) so she tagged along today. I work at home so I had a home office, and my husband had his computer in the room next to my office. But his room is going to be the nursery, so we had to figure out how to combine the two rooms. My old huge desk had to come out & we had to go thru all my stuff & reduce the clutter. We also repainted the room (no better time than when you already have it emptied out) and put together some new furniture. I have been exhausted! But I am glad we got it done and that we did this during my 2nd trimester. I know I did not have near the energy needed to this during the 1st trimester and I assume I won't as the 3rd sneaks up on me either.

Anyway, the ultrasound was quick as usual & everything lookd good. I did have the tech confirm the gender for us (before I buy a bunch of blue paint next week). I haven't scanned in the pics yet (our cat has currently taken up residence on top of my scanner & is sound asleep) but they really weren't that exciting anyway. There is one cute one where all you see is a foot, but the rest are hard to tell what is what. I'll post a few later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

18 week checkup

For my readers that don't live in the south, I have to say you missed out today. It was a gorgeous day here in central NC and a record-setter too. We hit 81° here in the Triangle, which is the all time record high for December. I went to my checkup today in flip-flops & a tshirt with the windows rolled down in my car! It's been enjoyable!

My checkup was not too exciting. I had some bloodwork done (finger-stick & regular blood draw -ugh). They found my iron is still too low (10.7) so I have to take supplements. I'm still showing at just 4lbs over my pre-preggo weight which the doctor says is 'textbook' weight-gain. So that's good, I had thought it seemed low. Though no u/s, the doc did listen to Jaxon's heartbeat (159) once he found it. Apparently BabyJ would not hold still. The doc seemed pretty entertained by it (but I'm the one getting jabbed in the belly). He said that there was no doubt the baby is doing well since he was so active. I really liked this doc, but since they have about 8 or so docs, not sure how often I'll see him.

Now for the fun part - I think I finally felt him move! It's kinda hard to be sure though. They had left me for a long time in the exam room waiting for the doc. So I took advantage of a few minutes of quiet to just relax. While I was sitting there, with my eyes shut, I felt something. It was very slight, and felt like a muscle twitch. So then I concentrated and felt it again though I still was doubtful about it being the baby. I guess after all the jabbing with the doppler thingy, Jax was up & about. When I got home I could feel that same twitch quite frequently, enough to know it is at least not a normal non-pregnant feeling. It was kind of exciting. Jack was so funny, when I told him, he tried to feel it (not quite to that point yet!) and made funny faces while doing so. It'll be fun when he can feel it too!

Belly Shot



My belly around 16 weeks

Saturday, December 01, 2007

So much stuff...

Jack & I spent some time today finishing up our baby registries. Man, there is so much stuff and so many decisions! I'd already registered for all the cutsie stuff at Target like clothes and blankets. But we needed to make some decisions together, like car seats & strollers, the more practical stuff.

At Target, Jack was able to pull down all the strollers (that are up too high to really tell anything about them). So we played with them & I'm so glad we did. Some were hard to fold up, some hard to unfold, some too heavy, etc. Jack was very patient and actually had a lot of input as to what he thought was good or bad about each one. The other aisles we went through pretty quick & got just about everything we needed.

After lunch, we went on to Babies 'R' Us to see what other options we had. There the strollers were down low and they had someone there in the section that knew all about each one. That's where we found the stroller we really liked (super easy & fast to fold up), though of course it's about fifty bucks more than the most expensive one at Target. Ugh. And that's just the stroller portion of our day! There are so many decisions that we got tired of trying to compare. On the other items we just said that one looks good - scan it. LOL.


So for you other preggos that haven't registered yet, here's my comparison of these two stores.

TARGET - Easy to do both online & instore. Good if you are independent and don't need much help. The scanner is user friendly with a colored touchscreen & updates automatically. If you go this route, my suggestion is to start your registry online. Then when you go to the store, all you have to do is print out a barcode from the kiosk (make sure you remember your password as you have to enter it) and then get a scanner from the customer service desk. Easy & fast! Know that most of the items you register for in store are not available online and vice versa. (I found bedding I really love online and it's not in the store).

BABIES R US - Still pretty easy, but more time consuming. Don't try to do this when you have limited time. Very good if you are a new mom and need directions. (Jack thought we should have gone here first). You'll sit down at a desk and talk to a registry lady who knows all about the registry & baby stuff. She'll take you through a whole booklet before ever handing you a scanner. The booklet is good though & they have checklists so you don't miss anything (this helped Jack understand what all we would need). The scanner is the old fashioned kind, no fancy touchscreen. Again I had started mine online and it seemed to save quite a bit of time. We did have to wait again at the registry desk while they did something to the registry after we were done. I guess it's not automatically updated. But the updates were there online by the time I got home. Also, if you need furniture, Babies R Us has tons of it and it's all out on display.

Overall, I'd say they are both good. We have fewer items on the Babies R Us registry just because I'd already registered for most stuff at Target. But Babies R Us obviously has more choices in the store. (Though they only have my bedding online just like Target - doh). Another thing I like about Target is that there simply are more of them so it's a little more convenient.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who's right?

The poll here closed yesterday with 63% guessing BOY and 36% guessing GIRL. (Okay you math majors may have noticed thats only 99%. It's really 63.6% and 36.4%, this site rounds to whole numbers). Looks like this is a case where the majority is right!

Yesterday the ultrasound confirmed that we are having a baby boy! Just as we had hoped (or as Jack says, as he KNEW all along). When we got home, I hopped straight onto the computer and took all the baby girl stuff off our Target registry. (Yea I got excited early so I registered for a bunch of stuff, both boy & girl related). Those of you who know us IRL can find our registry by searching on my given name, not my nickname. We already had a boy name picked out, so baby will be named Jaxon Paul.

Now onto the fun part, pictures! The first one here is one of my favorites. You can clearly see his head & face. That's his foot right up in front of his nose! And the second pic here shows that he is indeed a boy :) For the rest of the us pics, see me on Flickr. There's another one I like where all you see is his legs streched out kicking me plus a few others.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's the day!

In just a few hours, Jack & I have our appt at UNC Specialty Women's Center for our ultrasound as part of the research study. And, oh by the way, they expect to be able to tell us the sex of the baby!! **Fingers crossed** that our little one cooperates so that there is no doubt :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Shopping

Who out there is done with all their holiday shopping? Not me! I've gotten a head start this year (compared to normal) but still have a bit to do. I'm trying to take advantage of 'Cyber Monday' (kinda like Black Friday but online). For those of you preggers out there, I got an email today with a discount code I thought I'd pass along. 2 chix is having a holiday sale. Enter code 'letitshow2007' at checkout and get 25% off (good thru 11/29). They have cute tees! That's who made my 'knocked up' tee :)

Two days til find out baby's sex!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to me


Jack got me the cutest maternity tee for my birthday. Since we don't find out the sex until after my birthday, he got the generic one in yellow. But it's really cute. The little baby on the shirt is down low so it is on the belly. Very funny. Of course, just like my other cute tee, it comes in 'one size fits most'. So I had to scrunch it up a bit to get the baby in the right place, lol. But as my belly gets bigger, it'll be closer to the right spot. And it's super comfy too, nice bonus. He did a great job picking this one out!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Christmas music

I just heard my first Christmas music of the 'season' while I was put on hold by the vet's office. Only took until 39 days before Christmas. I used to have this rule, that I couldn't/wouldn't deal with anything Christmas-related before my birthday. (I was born on Thanksgiving day). My husband's birthday is close to mine, only 10 days later, and he shares the sentiment. Of course, now that I'm older, I've realized that's just impossible. There are parties & vacations to plan/attend, arrangements to make with family, gifts to buy (yes I started my shopping this week), and even marketing to your customers if you sell products (as I do as a Creative Memories Consultant).

I'm glad my baby is not being born near a major holiday! Well, it will be near Mother's Day, but I've yet to hear a song about Mother's Day in March or April :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knocked up & now everyone knows it

Up until now, I had not shared our pregnancy news at work. Well, I told the bosses a few weeks ago, but have not generally announced it. I don't really know why I wanted to wait so long (nearly 15 weeks now) but I did. Since I work at home, I could wait as long as I wanted. I had decided to tell after Thanksgiving once we found out the sex. Of course, plans change sometimes..


Then our team decided to have a potluck lunch at work this Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving and I didn't want to miss out. Since my belly is poking out a bit, I figured I either had to tell or not go to the luncheon. Plus a couple people already found out from Facebook, lol. So to announce it, I picked out a fun tee shirt (see it here) and decided to go. No one has seen me in a few months, so I thought it would be more obvious.

Wrong. I walked into the room where all the food was, wearing my funny tee, and no one said anything. My boss who knew, laughed & my close friend who walked in with me was smiling. But no response. So I figure they're all looking at the food, give it a few minutes. It really wasn't sinking in, so finally after about an hour, my boss said 'everybody look at Mickie's shirt'. Still, 1/2 of them didn't get it (oh you like that movie 'Knocked Up'?). Come on people. Really not the response I expected. But once they got it, everyone was congratulating me. I did have one girl still ask me a couple hours later - so does the shirt have anything to do with the movie? Ugh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What happens at 14 weeks

Welcome to the second trimester! This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb. Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him - a process he'll keep up until birth. He can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch him sucking his thumb. In other news: Your baby's stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches, about the size of a lemon, and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces.

courtesy of babycenter

new poll

While reading a friends preggo blog, I realized blogger now has a new poll option. So I stole her poll idea - guess if you think our baby is a boy or a girl! I've got the poll setup to close on 11/27 at 4PM (that's when we are scheduled to have our ultrasound to find out!). So get your vote in now and we'll find out soon!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Most photographed fetus ever


Our little one had his/her 4th ultrasound photos taken today! And he's only 12 1/2 weeks old (Jack says it's good practice cuz I'll be taking pics everyday once the kid is born - lol, probably true).

So backing up a little bit, we got the call with results from Duke Perinatal as we pulled into the doctors parking lot. I normally would have written down every number she gave, but was just not possible as I was trying to listen to the nurse & give Jack driving directions at the same time. But, the good news is that our risk of any of the diseases they tested for is actually reduced (lower than the general risk for my age). So we decided not to pursue the repeat screening in 2nd trimester.

This OB office has patients bring in their pee in a cup instead of doing it there in the office. And my first experience with this was not good. I did my business and put the cup in the little bag they gave us. And the cup went straight thru the bottom of the bag and landed on the bathroom floor. Lovely. So I grabbed my stapler (ok this is at like 6AM you know and I am NOT a morning person) and stapled the bag shut. Now my pee cup is staying in the bag & I'm back to bed for a few minutes. About the time we got in the car, I realized not only is the bag busted, but now the cup is leaking. (We were in Jack's car, not mine.. haha). Of course.. this is when I realized staples (instead of maybe.. oh I don't know - tape?) was a bad idea. So I manage to get the cup & bag to the office without too much of a mess & grabbed some tissues & hand sanitizer there in the waiting room. Hopefully the cup/bag they gave me for the next visit will be a little more sturdy.

I have this tendency to be either too early or too late for just about everything. Dr visits are no exception. So even with Jack driving, stopping by the courthouse so Jack could get some lawyerly work done, and grabbing breakfast-to-go at a little shop near the courthouse, we were still over 30 minutes early. And of course, the ultrasound tech was running behind with all the other ladies needing an u/s. It is always fun to see the baby even though I just saw him last week & not much of anything had changed. The pics that were printed out for us were not the best. He/she had gotten into an odd position by the time the tech took pics for us. Everything looked good so she sent us on our way. We had about a 5 second visit with a nurse practioner b/c the OB was busy. Not much to report there. So we're all doing well & anxiously waiting til we find out the sex!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bad Papaya

I learned an interesting fact today. IBM has a program where a nurse will check in with you for certain issues (I've used this in the past for previous surgeries & procedures) and they provide guidance and some education. The nurse called me today and most everything she went over was all stuff I'd heard before. But then she mentioned to avoid papaya. Since I'd been trying to eat lots of fruits & veggies, I was surprised to hear this. But apparently, papaya can possibly trigger uterine contractions and lead to miscarriage. Luckily it's not one of the fruits I'd added to my diet.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is it a Boy or a Girl?

Jack & I just scheduled our 16 week FREE ultrasound through the UNC research study for November 27th. This is the one where we hope to find out the sex! Well, the ultrasound is really for their research study, but the main point of it for us is to find out, assuming he/she cooperates. What a great birthday present for both of us!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Screening


On Friday morning, I went to a specialist for some additional screening that Jack & I had opted to do. This screening checked for Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 & 13. It was a two-part test, first an ultrasound & then some bw. The ultrasound was amazing! The tech checked out quite a few basic things like heart, bladder, structure, etc and doing so showed me so much of our baby. After a few mins, he/she started moving around a lot. I was amazed to see such obvious movement and such clear features (legs, arms, face, etc). The development in the last 4 weeks is just wild. (As you can see if you compare this ultrasound with the last one we had!). In the photos, she focused on the baby's head so some of them are closeups of his head. She was measuring a small spot on the back of his head as part of the screening and that portion came back normal. The second part was a blood test (finger prick - yuck) and I have to wait to hear back on that portion.

I also went over to Rex Hospital after my appointment in order to sign some docs to join a UNC research study on preeclampsia. While I was there, she took several vials of blood for the study, measured my belly, and asked a bunch of questions for the study. All I have to do is allow them access to my medical records, have them join me at a few appts, and take a few pills (either a combo vitamin or a placebo, I don't know which I have) each day. In exchange, we'll get paid up to $300 and get a free ultrasound at 16 weeks (where they should be able to tell us the sex of the baby!!!). The nurse is trying to setup the appt for the week after Thanksgiving so we may know before Jack's birthday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No Space

Hi Friends and Family!

I know many of you are excited to start giving us baby stuff. Though we appreciate all gifts, right now we do not have the space to store much baby stuff and are not planning to start work on the nursery until after the new year. As our birthdays are approaching, I thought I'd give a few ideas of other items we'd like as we prepare for our little one. In order to make room for a nursery, we have to re-do our office space which we plan to begin in December. By Christmas, we should have a little more space for baby stuff!

Gift ideas & wish lists:
- Gift cards (prefer Staples, Lowes or Target)
- Maternity clothes (tops XS-S, pants/dresses 2)
- FLOR.com tiles: House Pet in Parrot or Canary
- Target wish list under Mickie, Jack or Baby Shipley (list can be viewed online or at store kiosks)
- Boxedup wish list - http://www.boxedup.com/mickie (has variety of items from different stores)

I'll update the wish lists wtih more baby/nursery stuff as we get closer. Plus then we'll have a baby registry. Thanks for understanding!!!!

BTW - New pics of the baby will be up this weekend on the blog!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mustang Sally



One of the most common questions I've gotten since announcing my pregnancy is 'so are you going to get rid of the mustang?'.

H*LL NO!! First off, I adore my car. I wish I still had my first mustang ('67 coupe) and plan to keep this one ('05 GT coupe) for as long as I can. Hopefully it'll still be around when our kids are my age! My husband would probably say I'm obsessed with my car (I do have two Mustang tshirts) but I just think it's a great looking and fun car to drive.

Second, it really doesn't make any sense to get rid of it. Though we still have quite awhile to go before it's paid off, there are not a lot of options I could get that would be better financially. Especially once you take into account selling this one, paying off what I owe, and starting over with a new loan on a used car. If anyone gets a 'new' car anytime soon, it'll be Jack. His is almost paid off.

Third, my car came with the LATCH system installed (required in all cars built after 2002). LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) is a system that lets you install car seats without seat belts. I didn't really know anything about it until I got pregnant, but knew that my car had it. So point being, the car is designed to hold a car seat. Granted, it won't be the most convenient since I have to move the seat up to reach the back, but I'll get used to it. I did see a woman the other day driving a mustang just like mine with two car seats in the back and an older child in the front seat. So it can be done!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Belly Rubs

Last weekend, I had my first 'belly rub' by a non-family member. Luckily it was someone I know but it was still kinda odd. I think I'm going to be one of those women that says 'hands off' when strangers reach for my belly. I remember watching random people rub one of my girlfriends belly when she was pregnant and she just put up with it. I don't think I'll mind it from family & close friends, but anyone else is going to hear about it. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maternity clothes

In the last week or so, I've started having trouble fitting into my normal clothes. So I've had to start shopping around for maternity clothes. It seems early to me (10 weeks today) but it's already necessary.

So I stopped by Motherhood Maternity while I was at the mall one day. I'd been referred there for this thing called a belly belt which is actually pretty cool. If you've ever seen the 'expand a collar' thingy they make for men's dress shirts, it's a similar concept for womens pants. It has two belt pieces (2 sizes). The small one is used by itself and has a button on one side & a button hole on the other. The 'belt' itself is elastic. So you button it into your pants and it expands them a little (you just zip them up as far as you can). It's not super cute, so it's worn with a longer shirt to hide it. The larger one is the same, but includes a fabric sleeve you slide over the belt & then tuck in your pants (because you'll have your pants unzipped all the way & we don't want our undies showing). It's really very useful for this in-between time! I've used it in my jeans already. The buttons are already coming loose, but that's easy enough to fix.

While I was there picking up the belly belt, I thought I'd try on some clothes since they were having a clearance sale. The sales lady suggested since I am still early in my pregnancy, that I use their pillow to see how the clothes would fit later on. Supposedly this pillow, that you strap around your waist, adds three months to your belly. I tried it, but couldn't take it seriously. I looked ridiculous (it really didn't sit right.. there's no way I'll be shaped like that. I might as well have stuffed my own pillow under my clothes). Add in the fact that even their smallest clothes were huge on me & I looked like a kid playing dress up. I tried several different options, but everything was too big. The sales lady had told me that I'd use my pre-pregnancy size, but that just was not true at that store.

I did end up picking up a couple of items at Target. They had smaller sizes (though still made for Amazon women, I'll have to have it all hemmed up shorter). I got a pair of jeans that have a semi-normal waistband with just a little elastic on the sides. I can't quite wear the actual maternity waisted items yet. Plus I chose a few cotton tees that I can wear now. I know one thing - finding maternity clothes that fit me is not going to be easy!

Monday, October 08, 2007

First Trimester Screening

Jack & I decided to go for the extra first trimester screening. This is not required for low-risk patients, but we decided we wanted to know. Since it's just screening, if they come back positive, then we would go for the actual diagnostic tests (like CVS or amniocentesis). The nurse called today with my appointment date (this is done at a different facility, not by my doctor) which is 10/26 at Duke Perinatal. They will be doing a special ultrasound & a blood test and apparently it is not typically covered by insurance. But, they have a detection rate of 97% for Trisomy 18 and 90% for Down Syndrome. Testing in the second trimester does not have as high rates of detection.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

First OB appointment

Yesterday Jack & I went to our first OB appointment. They had told us to allow two hours.. but it seemed to take longer than that.

First we met with a nurse and went through all the basics, tons of questions about our previous medical history, mostly mine of course, but a little bit from Jack too. Then she provided us with a ton of information such as all the various screening tests, what medicines are okay to take, what will happen at normal appts, etc. Of course she checked my urine, blood pressure & weight (I'm still at my pre-pregnancy weight, but a good 5-8lbs over my pre-fertility-treatment weight. But I already look like I'm pregnant so I guess it's all from bloating).

Then we moved over to another office to meet with the doctor. He reviewed some of the medical chart plus went over some of the same testing stuff again. The discussion with him went fairly quick and then it was off to another room.

The last room was for the exam and ultrasound. He did a basic GYN exam (pap & all) and then the ultrasound. At first when we talked in his office, I thought he was not going to do one since I'd had one at 6 weeks at the fertility clinic. But then he said 'lets do one anyway and check it out'. The baby looked fine. Jack was amazed at how much the baby had grown in 2 weeks. And the heartbeat looked nice & strong.. a lot more obvious than the tiny blip on the screen 2 weeks ago. The CRL (crown rump length - a measurement of the fetus) was 20.9mm which is normal. He did find a cyst on my ovary though. It seemed big to me (measured at 52x40mm) but the doctor said there was nothing to be concerned about, just we'd keep an eye on it. So he'll do another u/s at our next regular appt (in 4 weeks) just to check it out. If nothing else, it's a way for us to get to see the baby an extra time :)

After all that, they took some blood to run a bunch of initial tests. The nurse called me back with the results this afternoon. She talked so fast that I didn't get to write it all down, but basically all the ones that I didn't write down were all normal. They did test me for toxoplasmosis since we have a cat (I especially requested it but they do usually offer this if you say you have a cat). I was hoping I'd show up immune, but I did not. So, Jack is stuck with litterbox duty (I can't complain!) for awhile. I also did not show any current infection which is also very good. From what I've read, cats apparently get the disease mainly by eating rodents (yuck) and since my kitty is stuck inside.. he's only gotten ahold of one mouse that I know of (one that made it into the house a few years back). The other blood test that was of particular interest was my hemoglobin. I was at 11.8 g/100 ml and apparently at 11.3 this doc requires iron supplements. Taking a supplement doesn't sound too tough, but this one can cause upset stomach which is not something I need to add to right now. She said to just be careful to make sure I'm eating iron-rich foods since I was fairly low on iron.

We have a ton of paperwork to read through, a few lists (foods, medicines,etc that are okay & warning signs to call the doc immediately), some ads, a magazine and a urine sample cup. Didn't see that coming? Actually I did know about that from my therapist who happened to have used the same practice. They have you pee in a cup at home & bring it in with you for your appointment. (I guess to save time?).

They scheudule regular appts every 4 weeks until the 26wk mark, then every 2 weeks until 36wk and then every week from there on. So we go back on November 1st.

Monday, September 24, 2007

OB here we come

The fertility clinic is turning us over to the OB. We have our first appt. on Oct 3rd and are looking forward to it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Week 6

I thought it would be fun (since I no longer have fertility treatments to update everyone on) - to provide some general education on the development of our baby. You can learn as I do. So here are some links to read about WEEK 6 of a pregnancy.

Week 6 from KidsHealth for parents

Pictures & short summary of Week 6 from Pregnancy.org

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tiny little heartbeat


Jack & I were surprised to see our tiny little baby's teeny little heartbeat so early! It was barely a flicker on the screen, but it was clear (once she explained where to look!). Our baby is only about 5mm big right now. In the picture there are two little X marks, those are the measurement marks for the embyro. The surrounding black blob is the gestational sac.

Now that we know there is only one baby, we were given a due date of 5/11 (the day after our 5th wedding anniversary, LOL). I'm 6 weeks and 2 days along today. So this is it, we are officially done with the fertility clinic! We now switch over to a regular OBGYN and everything from here on out will progress like a regular pregnancy! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nothing new...

Today I'm 5wks & 3 days preggo! Nothing new to report really but I didn't want to abandon my blog too long. I've been pretty tired, but otherwise symptoms are minimal thus far. I have been going back & forth between no appetite & starving though.. which has been fun. I probably won't have any updates again until after the ultrasound on Tuesday.

Friday, September 07, 2007

tick tock

4 weeks & 4 days pregnant. Only 248 days to go (LOL). I've added a ticker to my page that will count off the days, weeks & months. I'll update the ticker as I know more (exact due date, twins or not, sex of baby, etc) but I thought it was fun to put it up now. I had used this a few times in the early stages of TTC, but it got old to see that thing expire every month.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Parents become Grandparents

Today & tonight we told all the parents that they will be grandparents finally :) I've got a few more calls to make tomorrow to extended family & friends but for the most part have told everyone. So, now I'm posting up all the blogs I'd been holding off on for the last few days...

Huge Beta

I called the clinic as soon as they opened this morning and was able to get an appt before 10AM thankfully. I was dying to find out what my beta levels were and get our pregnancy confirmed by the doc! I showed up early but thankfully they never make me wait, even if I'm early. They called me right back and took my blood. She said since this was the first test, they would do both hcg (what I keep referring to as the beta) and progesterone. Progesterone is a necessary hormone during pregnancy, esp in the early stages to maintain the pregnancy (thus why I was prescribed prog. suppositories as part of fertility treatment).

So finally Dr Meyer called me back and confirmed that I am indeed pregnant. Yay!! He said my beta was 1100 (my reaction was 'woah, really?!'). That's a pretty high number which I knew from my internet obsessions. Here's a beta chart that you can look at to get a general idea (look at day 16, today is 16 days past ovulation for me). Notice there are two charts, one shows values for single pregnancies (one baby) and the other is for multiple pregnancies (twins or more). As you will see from the chart, 1100 is high even on the multiples chart.

Dr Meyer said that beta is high enough that it may be TWINS!! (as I was just alluding to) but that it's too early to tell. I don't even have to go back for a second beta as expected since it was so high. He said my progesterone looked good (I didn't ask the exact number). So I'll finish up the progesterone I have (just a few more days) but then do not need to refill it. He also confirmed my expectation that I no longer need Avandia or Glucophage (for my PCOS) while pregnant. So other than prenatal vitamins, I am going to be drug-free for the first time in two years! I setup an appt for two weeks from now (9/18) for our first ultrasound where we'll hopefully learn more.

Now off to tell our families...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Two Pink Lines


I'm Pregnant!!! This morning we did our home test and it was positive! The second pink line was very very faint at first & I almost threw it away thinking it was negative again. Once I noticed, I called Jack out of bed to look at it. As we pulled out the directions to compare, the line got a little darker. Yay! After two years of treatment, IUI (with superovulation) worked!

Of course I sat right down & figured out a due date online! May 12th if there is one baby. (Remember I had 4 follicles, so we're at risk for multiples). Of course it's a holiday weekend, so I have to wait until Tues to call the doc & get a beta test to confirm it.

We are SOO EXCITED! I'm dying to tell everyone I know, but Jack is being the rational one. He's convinced me that I need to wait until Dr. Meyer confirms it before I tell the whole world. So keep us in your prayers that everything continues to progress well!

Friday, August 31, 2007

PCOS Awareness Auction

Tomorrow morning at 9AM Central, the bidding opens on the 2007 PCOS Awareness Auction. Proceeds will benefit the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association. The acution will run until Sept. 28.

Visit the auction

Anyway



Anyway
Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren (BMI)

You can spend your whole life buildin'
Somethin' from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

(Chorus)
God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love 'em anyway

(Repeat Chorus)

You can pour your soul out singin'
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway

I sing
I dream
I love anyway

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Video Parade

Almost there.. just a few more days til HPT...

Here a lady gives herself antagon. These are easy b/c they are prefilled & in a nice glass syringe. But the meds sting. And I just noticed she didn't push the air out first. You're supposed to hold it up and push out the air bubbles. This one comes with a giant airbubble at the top and it's easy in this glass syringe to accidently push it too far. I've squirted a little of the medicine out before when I did it too fast. I've taken this in both IUI & IVF cycles. This cycle I took this the two nights before trigger shot.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Friends Fertility Test

oh the joys of fertility testing

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shooting up

Here's a chic giving herself a Follistim injection using a Follistim pen. This is the drug I used in both IUI & IVF. I never could hold the pen the way she is (which is how they taught us to). Just seemed too much like a jabbing motion, I hold the pen closer to the needle. I love how excited she is at the end that she did it. Superquick.



Ok so I really want to show two videos today. But this lady in the second one has a pretty foul mouth on her so I'm only going to link to it, instead of embeding, and it's up to you if you want to watch it or not. The reason I like it though is because she gets herself all 'siked out'. I've done this so many times! Over the last year I've taken dozens of these little shots, but every now & then you freak yourself out. Karla shoots up!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dr. Lovely

The only funny thing about this video is that this chic's name is really Dr. Lovely. But it's a good, quick overview of IUI (about a minute).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eat more ice cream

alright this just makes me laugh.. way to go UNC, that's a stellar story

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Video Parade

A quick one ... and totally random

Monday, August 20, 2007

Video Parade

To entertain myself (and hopefully a few of you out there in WWW land) through this two week wait, I'm going to start a video parade. I'll be featuring some videos here that are either informational, funny, or just caught my eye over the next two weeks. I may even throw in a few pictures if I can't find a video I like. I was going to call this 'video of the day' but can't promise I'll remember every day. Just a warning, there aren't that many humorous infertility videos out there. I'll do the best I can but may go 'offtopic' now & then to lighten up the mood.

To start us off, I picked a cute, though somewhat bitter animation. It runs about 4 minutes. This one started me on my infertility video kick awhile back, but I never posted it here. In case you don't know/remember, RE is Reproductive Endocrinologist (basically the fertility doc).

So here's 'My Aunt Jane knows more than my RE' by Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters

Sunday, August 19, 2007

IUI #5

DH & I got up bright & early (5AM for a 6:30 appt) for our IUI this morning. We were the first patients to arrive at the clinic, the doors to the building were even still locked when we first got there. Everything went really smooth, other than the doc couldn't find my cervix at first. But there was no pain or discomfort at all which is unusual. I've had some cramping this afternoon though. But that's it, this is always the anticlimactic part. Now we wait. Again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Multiple Risk

My scan today showed still 4 follies that were mature. On my right ovary, had some big ones, I think the two were between 18-20mm, the large one may have even been bigger. I've already forgotten the exact measurements. The left had smaller ones, one larger than the other. RE thought the smallest one of the left was a 'maybe' on whether it had a mature egg or not.

Because of all those follicles, my RE & I had a nice little chat about the risk of multiples that he had mentioned on Wednesday. He wanted me to be aware that I'd likely have to go for 'reduction' if I got pregnant with trips or quads. So we discussed the possibilities and there was a way to reduce the risk. Instead of doing an IUI, we could finish the cycle by trying at home. If this had been only my 2nd or 3rd try, he would have strongly recommended that option. However, being my 5th IUI and already having done IVF once, he left it up to us. DH & I decided to stick with IUI as it has the best chance of a pregnancy. Even though trying at home limits the risk of multiples, it also reduces the chances of a pregnancy at all. Right now we just want the best chances we can get, and can worry about multiples & reduction if we get there. You know, cross that bridge when we come to it. He didn't bother taking my e2 as it would not change either option. If this doesn't work, it will be the last IUI. RE said IVF would be the next step. That was another deciding factor but not a surprise.

So with all that in mind, we scheduled an IUI for Sunday. (Going to have to get up at the crack of dawn! Our appts are at 6:30 & 7:30 in Raleigh). So I'll take my trigger shot tonight at 6 which will have me ready for Sunday morning. Really the timing worked out well. I'm co-hosting a bridal shower tomorrow and need to shop tonight. So I'm glad we don't have the IUI until Sunday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

4 Follies

My RE said I was close to ready. He found four follicles that were almost the right size. My right ovary had a 15mm & 13mm, the left had two 10s. So, he's upped my follistim to 75IUs (from 50) and added a shot of antagon (ganirelix acetate) tonight & tomorrow night. Then return on Friday for another scan with expectation that IUI will be Sunday. Of course he did say I'm at risk for multiples due to the number of follicles. But I'm not too concerned about that right now, since my body has not been in a hurry for just a single.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Big box of meds

It's odd getting a big box of medicine delivered to the door (yes I just ordered yesterday after my appt, but these specialist pharmacies understand the urgency & schedules of IUI/IVF). And it was over a 100 degrees today again so I'm glad I was here to bring it in right away. (Most of mine has to be refrigerated). They pack it pretty good with icepacks & special bags, but at these temps it's better not to take the chance.

Up through today, I'd been using leftover meds from IVF (besides a few Rxs I had to fill here & there). But when RE said to up the dose, I knew I didn't have enough left to get through this round. I had to order more from the IVF pharmacy and man is it expensive. After insurance, it was still $200. I was glad to see when I opened it that it was way more than I'd need for this one cycle. So that helped a little with the 'sticker shock'. It's more than enough to get me through at least one more cycle if need be. (Hopefully not necessary though!). I was disappointed I didn't get a sharps container like with my last shipment. Mine is full, so next time I'll have to remember to ask them about that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Here we go again... (aka IUI #5)

Yep it's already time for another go. Thats one thing with infertility, you barely get time to let the last negative test (hpt or beta) sink in before it's time to move on (unless it's IVF, they make you wait after that).

This morning, after my scan, Dr Meyer suggested we change my protocol for this cycle. So, no more Femara. Instead, I'll start the Follistim earlier (day 3 instead of 7) and up the dose. Taking 75IUs tonight and then 50 until I go back next Wed (15th). I had been taking only 37.5IUs. This is a more agreesive schedule, but not too much. After 2 previous cycles with the same doses, he didn't think it made any sense to try another without making changes. He said I could try another if I wanted to, but I'm in agreement we shouldn't keep trying the exact same thing over & over.

Monday, August 06, 2007

BFN

My pregnancy test this morning was negative.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lady Saw - No less Than A Woman 'Infertility'

Pomegranates

Pomegranates, a longstanding symbol of fertility, serve as a strong analogy to those suffering through infertility. Though each pomegranate skin is unique in colour and texture, the seeds inside are remarkably similar from fruit to fruit. Though our diagnosis is unique—endometriosis, low sperm count, luteal phase defect, or causes unknown—the emotions, those seeds on the inside, are the same from person to person. Infertility creates frustration, anger, depression, guilt, and loneliness. Compounding these emotions is the shame that drives people suffering from infertility to retreat into silence.

In addition, the seeds represent the multitude of ways one can build their family: natural conception, treatments, adoption, third-party reproduction, or even choosing to live child-free.

The pomegranate thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through A.R.T., families created through adoption, or couples trying to conceive during infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility.Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware.

Join us in starting this conversation about infertility by purchasing this pomegranate-coloured thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Walmart or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others.
-----------------------------------------------------
Above statement comes from Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters (link on side bar). I've been wearing my infertility thread for a couple weeks now.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

aches & pains

I've noticed some extra little aches & pains lately. Of course, women going through infertility are constantly wondering what this or that little twinge might mean. But the last few days have been more than usual. I realized tonight that I've only had this particular type of pain (bloating, gas & some other discomfort) was after IVF. I don't know if that is a good thing or not. I think I had a mild case of hyperstimulation then, so maybe thats what this is (though this is more of an irritation where at IVF it was downright painful). Or maybe its nothing. Of course, OHSS clears up if you do not get pregnant, and stays longer if you do (in general)... so maybe it's a good sign. Or possibly I'm just an obsessive chic as us IFers tend to be .. I just can't tell anymore.

Monday, July 30, 2007

It was too good to be true

I knew it was too good to be true. My lovely drug, Avandia, is going through all sorts of hoopla. I wasn't worrying about it since the risks seemed minimal & unrelated to me. But after a warning message from my insurance company when I went to refill, I figured I'd finally better ask my doctor. Of course, I just left a message for the nurses who talked to the doctor. They called back & said he wants to switch me to glucophage.

OH NO! WOE IS ME!

I really do not want to go back on glucophage. I was always sick on it. Even though I was supposed to gradually step up the dose, I never could make it to the final dose. This was one of my top two complaints that led to switching doctors. So I'm going to give it a shot.. and keep one eye on the Avandia news (see here). At least Dr. Meyer is giving me a lower dose, so maybe it won't hit me as hard. But I'm not excited by any means. He wants to see me back in three weeks to checkup and see how I'm doing on it. (Of course if I'm preggo I'll be back sooner for more monitoring).

Countdown: 7 days to HPT

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ouch... my ovaries!

This afternoon I was chatting with my MIL on the phone and we got to talking about my latest cycle news. I mentioned that I was having minor pains, just twinges really. I said 'my ovaries hurt' and she laughed. Not at my pain, but at what I had said. She really thought that was funny, and to be fair, it is a pretty unusual thing to hear someone say.

For you boys out there who don't know, women aren't usually aware of their ovaries.. kinda like your liver or a kidney. It's just an organ that you know is in there doing its job (or in my case quietly not doing it's job) and unless something specifically goes wrong, you're oblivious to it. But sometimes in fertility treatments, the ovaries become enlarged (overstimulated) and they can be downright painful. They call that OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation). Of course, OHSS is more likely in patients with PCOS (lucky me).

It's possible that I might have a very mild case of OHSS, but even if not, my ovaries are making sure that I don't forget about them over the last few days. They've been just tender enough to make me take notice and occasionally led me to feel like lying down (more comfortable). Before IVF, I honestly could not point out the exact location of my ovaries. I knew roughly where they should be, but had never had any feeling in that area. That certainly changed this year starting with IVF. But if it means these guys (ok maybe I should call them gals) are working, then I'm all for it. No pain no gain right?

Countdown: 10 days to hpt

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Creativity lacking

I've been reading a lot of other fertility related blogs lately and I've noticed one thing. My posts are boring. No really, my posts are lacking the creative aspect so common in the best of blogs (esp in my post titles). On top of that, my writing skills could use some work. I'm not talking about basic grammar or spelling. I mean, I am a well educated, college grad with better than average communication skills. But not quite up to par in the 'newspaper article' style writing that most blogs emulate. I'm sure my little brother, aka the literary genius of the family, could give me a few pointers there.

Of course I have excuses. That's one thing about me, I've always got an excuse! I blame this particular issue on being lazy pretty much. And sometimes on being tired, grouchy, moody and just otherwise all hormonal (Ok so some of that is just me naturally, but I've got the IF excuse in that department!) or just plain procrastinating so that I end up trying to punch out a quick post before bedtime.

That being said, I really started this blog for my close family & friends.. not for the general populous. I'm not out to entertain or educate. Ok well maybe a little bit on the educate side. But I never really thought anyone outside my close circle would see this. I recently learned that's not true. I've had visitors from as far as Dubai & Sydney. Plus I've started passing around the link to this blog to more and more people as I grow more & more comfortable talking about IF and our particular experiences.

If you want to read about IF from much more talented and quirky women (and maybe a man or two), check out my blogroll (aptly named 'other adventurers' - I felt I had to spruce up my blog widgets a bit after all my reading - peer pressure, ain't it grand?).

So to get to the point, be aware that sometimes, I just want to document what happened that day. And that might be a bit boring. Sometimes its more for me than anyone else. It's been convienent to have this handy dandy log of our whole journey that I can access from anywhere.

Oh .. and the countdown is still on. 11 days to HPT

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2ww

Two weeks sometimes can seem like forever. That's certainly the case when you are in the dreaded 'two week wait (2ww)' of infertitity treatments. I cannot believe it's only been two DAYS! To pass the time, I thought I'd share a funny shot of myself with my cousin who's about two. (This post is all about the number two. Do you feel like you're watching Sesame Street?). I'm laughing because he would burst into laughter as soon as the flash went off and then put the serious face back on. Of course it's not all fun & games. By the end of our lunch, I was wearing more applesauce than I ate since he decided that he could try to eat my applesauce with his fork. He's not quite skilled enough for that yet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

IUI #4 today

This morning we went in for our 4th try at IUI. Everything looked good and the IUI went pretty easily (less discomfort this time). Not much more to say about it .. now we start the two week wait.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

IUI on Monday

My IUI is scheduled for Monday morning. I was not expecting it to be so soon. I went in this morning for my Day 10 ultrasound and they said everything was looking good and that my follicles were at the right size & number. I had guess-timated that it would have been the later half of the week. So I take my HcG trigger shot (Ovidrel) tonight at six and that should make me ovulate just in time for IUI on Monday. My uterine lining was a bit thin, so I do have to start taking estrogen (estradiol) three times a day. With my old doctor, I was given an estring when the lining was thin, but either way the point is that I needed more estrogen. I don't know which works better, but the estring was easier. I'm not used to taking pills 3x a day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When are you going to have kids?

Since the day I got married, random people have asked me when I'm going to have kids. I'm sure most of you have experienced that at some point in your marriage (or maybe even as early as your engagement). If so, you'll probably get a kick out of this Newsweek article, Stop setting alarms on my biological clock. And for those of you that are still not ready, maybe your in-laws, nosy neighbor or slightly too enthusiastic 'new mommy' friend may benefit from reading this article! Though I will say there's a fine line between not being ready and waiting too long but each of us has to make that decision for ourselves.

What's in a name?

Amy. Alex. Apple. There are so many names for parents to shuffle through when they are about to have a child.

Last night, at my sorority alumnae dinner club, the conversation turned to babies as it inevitably does for girls our age that are married, engaged and/or pregnant. Neither of my two pregnant sisters that were at dinner have chosen a baby name yet, or even narrowed it down. I couldn't help but think about how we've already 'named' our first born boy and are pretty close on girls names. I don't know if this is normal for those going through infertility.. but last year, when I was obsessing about my infertility and treatments, I had taken to writing down all the possible baby names (including first & middle combinations) that I would possible want to name a child (or twins or triplets... always keeping in mind the possibility of multiples with fertility drugs). My favorites were discussed now & then with my husband, but most were just for my own entertainment and distraction.

As I was driving home from dinner, it struck me as kinda funny that I'd gone through all that months & months ago. Long before either of these two sisters were pregnant. I've barely even thought of it since then, because in my mind it's almost a done deal. I just need to get pregnant and find out if it's a boy or girl. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Subscribe via email

You can now subscribe to receive updates from my blog via email. Just put your email address in the box at the top of the page and click subscribe. (You will have to confirm your subscription). Then every time a new post is added, you will receive an email. (Well not immediately, but within about a day).

Tears and Hope

Apparently this is a week for infertility-related webstuff to be passed along to me. I'd like to share this website tearsandhope.com. Click on the video that says Empty Arms. It's very pretty with the sound, but if you can't listen to it (maybe reading this while at work).. the point is still made without the sound. The couple that put this page together did a great job of combining written word, song & pictures to explain to others how infertility can feel.

Monday, July 16, 2007




Kellie Coffey I Would Die For That Lyrics

Jenny was my best friend
Went away one summer
Came back with a secret
She just couldn't keep
A child inside her
Was just too much for her
So she cried herself to sleep

And she made a decision
Some find hard to accept
Too young to know that one day
She might live to regret

But I would die for that
Just to have one chance
To hold in my hands
All that she had
I would die
For that

And I've been given so much
A husband that I love
So why do I feel incomplete
With every test and checkup
Told not to give up
He wonders if it's him
And i wonder if it's me

But all I want is a family
Like everyone else I see
And I won't understand it
If it's not meant to be

Cause I would die for that
Just to have one chance
To hold in my hands
All that they have
I would die for that

And I want to know what it's like
To bring a dream to life
For that kind of love
What I'd give up
I would die
For that

Sometimes it's hard to conceive
When all that I've got
And all I've acheived
What I want most of all
Before my time is gone
is to hear the words
I love you Mom

Friday, July 13, 2007

IUI cycle #4

My cysts from last IUI (May) have cleared up so I've got the green light for another IUI cycle. Today is day 2 and my baseline scan looked good this morning. The medication on this cycle will be just like in May. I'll take Femara for 5 days (start tomorrow & finish on Wed). Then I'll start Follistim injections on Wed night and keep that up until doc says stop. I'll have another scan next Sat (7/21). Each cycle can vary a bit, but last time I had my IUI on day 16. So I expect IUI to be around 7/27.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Reproductive Immunology

Today a friend in the UK (whom I "met" via fertility message boards), posted a link to an article in a UK newspaper about a treatment she is starting. I wanted to pass this article along, because I plan to pursue immune testing as a possibility if we have to resort to IVF again.

Dr. Beer was a pioneer in the field of Reproductive Immunology and I talked a little about his book (Is your Body Baby Friendly?) in a previous post. His book is very new, actually published after I started my fertility journey. This was one of the first books on IVF that I found to provide real explanations for couples who continue to have infertility & IVF failures. (You should see all the post-it notes & highlighting in my copy). Most of the patients who go to Dr. Beer's facility (Dr Beer has passed away but the center he founded still provides these treatments) have usually already had 3 or more IVF failures or miscarriages. The article explains in fairly simple terms what the theories & treatments are to prevent another failure so I won't try to explain it myself. I hope to have the testing done before we make another IVF attempt (if IUI does not work within the next two tries, then we will have to move on to IVF again). Unfortunately, Dr. Beers ideas are not accepted by the entire medical community.. so I do not know how feasible it will be. But in my opinion, it would be better to have the tests done than keep trying if something is wrong. Even if all the tests come back all negative, at least you know that is not the cause of your failed attempts. One of the biggest frustrations with infertility is not knowing (at least for me anyway).

The woman in this article wrote about an 8 page introduction in Dr. Beer's book..
Daily Mail - My body tried to kill my baby

I also listed a few quotes from the book.

"Pregnancy risk assessment is advocated in many areas of medicine. We must now add 'immune risk assessment' to find the unfortunate people who end up spending a fortune in money, time and emotion, and get nothing in return. I strongly believe that we can identify these couples even before a first IVF failure."

"Unfortunately, if you mention these ideas to your doctor you must still be prepared for them to laugh at you and not take you seriously. Yet these same doctors would take autoimmunity seriously if it affected your thyroid gland, insulin-producing cells and joints. It's only infertility and recurrent losses that they consider have no biological causes outside of those that can be treated with fertility drugs."

"Studies have reported that many couples consider infertility to be at least as, or more stressful than divorce or the death of a loved one, with up to half of infertile women feeling depressed and anxious" (I've also heard it compared to the stress of dealing with cancer).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Tatooine

May the force be with you.

I'm not really going to write about Star Wars on my fertilty blog, but thought Tatooine was a good title for this entry. Tatooine is the home planet of Anakin & Luke Skywalker (and Princess Leia) and I've always thought it was a funny name for a planet. You'd think everyone on the planet would be covered in tattoos. (Yes I'm a dork, and I'm ok with that).

Which brings me to my subject, my new tattoo. Yep, for those of you that didn't know, I got a tattoo. I've had a lot of people ask me why. Why now (at 28 years old)? Why that? Why there? (Esp. family) I don't promise to answer all of those questions now (maybe not ever), but I will talk about it a little.

It is my first & only. It's a small tattoo but readily visible. It's about an inch wide decorative eternity symbol in all black. (And I'm going to go back to get it touched up a little). I got it on June 16th at Monkey Ink in Garner and Jack went with me. Yes, it hurt, but not that bad. After all the needles & pain with IUI/IVF, this was not a big deal plus it only took about 2 minutes.

Some may think that both the timing & the design are random. But they'd be wrong. I've wanted a tattoo for many years but various things stopped me (money, design, not wanting it to show in my wedding dress one day, etc). I saw this design several months ago and thought it would make a good tattoo so I kept it in mind. The cysts that I had on my ovaries made this month a good time (can't get a tattoo while you are pregnant or think you are). The more I thought about the design, the more I thought the symbol could mean a lot to me. (Plus it looks cool). I'm not going to go into what it means to me, but I will say it's related to where I am in my life and in my illness (yes infertility is an illness). So it very much is not random.

I don't expect everyone to understand, approve, or like it. And that's ok. I got the tattoo for me. And I put it on my wrist because that is where I liked it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

HPT negative

What a week... it's been one thing after another! My hard drive at work crashed while I was supposed to be doing my job plus being a backup for someone else, had tons of family events all week including a graduation to attend and another negative home preg. test. Yesterday was 14 days after IUI so I had taken a test first thing in the morning. RN said to stop taking the progesterone and that would allow me to start a cycle.

Before the day was out, I started another cycle. Unfortunately, when I got to the doctor today, he found a few large cysts. They are nothing to worry about, just remnants from the IUI cycle. Actually, with PCOS, I have cysts all the time, but these were particularly large (he measured them .. but I wasn't paying attention to what size they were). The problem is that with these large cysts, he would be unable to monitor me through another cycle as there would be no way to tell if I was developing mature follicles or still just had the cysts.

So we have to take a month off again. You'd think I'd be happy for a break.. with all we've been doing, it doesn't seem like we've had many breaks. But in the last 6 months, we've only had the two cycles of medicine, one IVF and one IUI. So I really am not thrilled with yet another delay. But, it is what it is. Of course, just like my previous two doctors, he said that it's still possible to get pregnant while off the medicine. But, it is not very likely. So, again this blog will be quiet for a few weeks.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

IUI today

I was surprised that the nurse did my IUI this morning. My other clinic did not do that. But it seemed to go well. She said everything looked good and then gave me a progesterone suppository Rx to start this weekend (always fun). So now we start the two week wait.

Monday, May 21, 2007

IUI will be Thursday

Yep, my IUI has been scheduled for Thursday. (Well technically I've got to call back tomorrow to actually schedule the time, but it's planned for Thursday).

My scan this morning looked good with a few follicles that were almost the right size. RE did want me back for another scan tomorrow to check on those follicles but before the day was out that plan changed. You really have to learn to be flexible when it comes to fertility treatment. Apparently after getting my e2 result (260) the doc didn't need to see me back. They made me laugh though, they said I could still come in for a scan if I wanted to. Hmm.. come in and pay 25% of roughly $200-300 when doc doesn't think its necessary. Nah, I don't think so.

So now the plan is to take another dose of FSH tonight, then take hCG shot tomorrow night. Then IUI on Thursday.

Friday, May 18, 2007

IUI progressing nicely

I'm on day 10 of my cycle today (IUI try #3) and had an US & e2. The US looked good, I had a couple of 12-13mm follicles and the others were smaller. RE is trying to get just one or two to develop ahead of the others (this would limit my chances of high order multiples. With IUI, we don't want to see as many follicles as we did in IVF). The nurse just called me back with the e2 results. My estradiol was 55.9 which shocked me. In IVF, my level was never anywhere near that low, but that is a good thing! So they want me to continue on the low dose of follistim (37.5) through Sunday night. My next appt is Monday morning.

Friday, May 11, 2007

IUI #3 finally getting started

Once I returned from Minnesota, I started taking prometrium to force a cycle to start. Today is day 3 and I had a baseline US (doc said everything looked good). So tonight I start the IUI meds. Plan is to take Femara (letrozole) on CD 3, 5, 6 & 7. Then I'll take 37.5 IUs of Follistim (same drug from my IVF cycle) on CD 7, 8 & 9. Then back next Fri for another US.

Friday, March 30, 2007

my new doc

Carolina Conceptions is a new clinic in our area that I mentioned in an earlier post. Before I even left my apppointment, I'd pretty much made up my mind that Dr. Meyer was my new doctor and that I was not going back to see Dr. Toma! It is in Raleigh so it's a slightly longer drive but well worth it. The facility is brand new (still have all sorts of construction in the building and the parking lots not even finished) but the drs have plenty of experience.

After just a short wait, the nurse ushered me back into Dr. Meyers office (brownie points for him already being in the room instead of sending me to a empty room to wait more). Dr. Meyer is a very pleasant person and is happy to work with you on a treatment plan. Since I didn't have my medical records from NCCRM (see previous post for that rant), I had typed up all my IUI & IVF results (thankfully I had all that info here on my blog). That info plus the treatment chart (that was my 'treatment bible' through IVF) was enough information for him to determine what steps to take next.

I was thrilled when he said that he thought I could get pregnant without doing IVF. There's about a zillion reasons why that made me happy, but primarily money, time & pain in that order. So he wanted to try something he called sequential therapy IUI. Basically it's just a combo of the type of IUI that I did before, plus the same injectable fertility drug I took during IVF.

He also said I do not have to take metformin (glucophage) anymore! This was the best news I could have gotten. I had been complaining since Sept. about the awful side effects of this drug but my old RE basically said 'get used to it'. Dr. Meyer said we could try Avandia instead and that it had little side effects.

So the waiting game begins... wait for a period to start. He actually said I could take prometrium (that I have left over from IVF.. thats one really great thing about this doc, he's trying to maximize the leftover drugs that I've already paid for!). The prometrium will start my cycle but I'm waiting until I get back from an upcoming business trip (to Minnesota) to make sure that we have no conflicts with the travel.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

fun & sun.. sort of

I'm off to Miami!! It's a business trip, but I don't mind this one. We have to be at the first session at 4PM on Sunday, so I'm flying in early to spend some time at the beach before my classes start. I've got all day Saturday & Sunday to enjoy myself and take a break! Then a few days of classes and then back on home. Even the classes will be a bit of a break from the usual work routine. I've not been to Miami before so if you have suggestions of places to go, things to see.. send me a comment.

Friday, March 23, 2007

it shouldnt be so hard

Get a copy of your medical records before your appointment.

Sounds easy right? Wrong! Now I'm not a novice at medical run-around, but this is just ridiculous.

After our less than thrilling appointment with our RE on Monday, DH & I debated various options. Since I'm the one enduring the daily hardships during treatment, DH is pretty much leaving the final say to me. So, I decided that we needed a second opinion. I already had an RE in mind since I've done plenty of research on the topic since our initial IVF education back in December. Dr. Meyer is in Raleigh at a new clinic that just opened last year (yea I know, it's new.. are they good enough, can we trust them... I'm not going into all that right now, maybe another post, you can read all about their clinic & make that call for yourselves. I will say the co-founders used to be directors of both the Duke & UNC IVF programs). I was thrilled to find that Carolina Conceptions could get me in to see Dr. Meyer in less than a week!

Okay so that all seems good so far. Here's where it got frustrating. I need to take my medical records to CC in order for the RE to give a second opinion. So I call NCCRM yesterday trying to get the process started (only 3 days after the appt that led to our decision to try another clinic). Finally today I get instructions on how to get my records. First I need to fill out a release form. Done. Then, NCCRM contracts out their copy service to a company that comes only once a week (Wednesdays of course, so the day before I called). So I have to wait until next Wed. Oh and by the way, then you call the contracted company on Friday to find out when you can get the copies. So that would put us at 7 business days later & still no copies. Then, you finally get the copies the next week around Wednesday. So I called the contract company hoping I could get some sort of expedited service (and expecting an extra fee, thats okay). Nope, they don't have anything like that and they wouldn't even commit to the Wed date that the dr office gave me. So I made the initial request on 3/22, and by sometime around maybe possibly 4/4, I might have my records for a doctor appt that is on 3/30.

And what really gets me - my file is sitting in a filing cabinet right now. No one is using it. And they have a copier.. I've seen it. I'd even make the copies myself & still pay the copy fee.. I just want the information they are holding hostage.

Monday, March 19, 2007

IVF consult

DH & I showed up at the dr for our 4PM appt. 45 mins later we finally got to see the RE. Then he rushed me with all my questions. He kept checking his cell phone & once said 'you about done with all those questions?'. UGH... what a jerk. We were only in there maybe 10-15 minutes tops.

Most of my questions were shrugged off, indicating that there is nothing we could have done different & there are no other tests we should do to look for any other problems. Just try again. He said that I stimulated like their 21-yr old egg donors (I guess that was supposed to make me feel better?). Of course stimming that way did us no good since my levels went too high (as you know already if you've been following along on this blog). The only explanation he would give as to the failure of this cycle was the possibility that 'coasting' (no ovulation induction meds) for so long prior to retrieval and/or that I had not been taking my full dose of glucophage could have reduced the quality of the eggs. I have several issues with this statement. First, we had no idea until today that there had been anything wrong with the eggs. All he could tell us was that we had 'slow embryonic development' (though even that confuses me since 2 got to blastocyst stage on day 5 which is typical.. did they start slow & then catch up?). Second & third, I had informed the nurses of my difficulty in taking the glucophage as it made me sick & he never tested me for insulin resistance (not all PCOS patients are insulin resistant & only need glucophage if insulin resistant).

For the next try, he had only a few changes to make. Take birth control longer (20-25 days instead of the 15 or so I did last time). He is also going to start me off with FSH of 100 (started at 150 last time) and Lupron of 5 (10 b4) and just try again. He also said to make sure to take the full dose, at least during the stim phase if I can't manage it the rest of the time. (Glucophage gives me GI issues at full dose, or even at smaller doses sometimes).

So, just try again. Now that he's seen how my body reacts, he says he knows what doses to use next time. What if these doses are not enough? Plus, the problem with that mentality is that we only have one more try that our insurance will cover. And we don't have $10-15k to pay for another try ourselves. So I'm very interested in doing all we can to increase our chance of success at this try. I'm not in a hurry to do it right away.. if time is what we need to be better prepared then fine by us.
Go ahead and take your best shot,
Let 'er rip, give it all you've got,
I'm laid out on the floor,
but I've been here before,
I may stumble, yeah I might fall,
Only human aren't we all?
I might lose my way, but hear me when i say,
I will stand back up,
You'll know just the moment when ive have enough,
Sometimes im afraid, and i dont feel that tough,
But I'll stand back up,

-Sugarland

Thursday, March 15, 2007

lots of questions

Man is my RE in for a surprise on Monday! Usually when I see him, I listen to everything that he has to say but I don't really have many (if any) questions. Now that I've had some time to think about the previous IVF cycle, plus read all these books lately... I've got a nice list of questions. I'm up to about 25 questions so far on my list!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Life ain't always Beautiful

Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggle makes you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has it's own way of takin' it sweet time

No,life aint always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life aint always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride

Life aint always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin' all these lonely miles

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life dont work that way

But the struggles makes me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has it's own way of takin' its sweet time

No, life aint always beautiful
But I know I'll be fine
Hey, life aint always beautiful
But its a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride

Artist/Band: Gary Allan
Lyrics for Song: Life Ain't Always Beautiful
Lyrics for Album: Tough All Over

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?

This week I received my Amazon order with several IVF books. I'll review them here as I read them. But I wanted to make a note on this book now.

Is Your Body Baby-Friendly? By Alan Beer

I was surprised at the size of this book. It is nearly 500 pages! Skimming through it, I found that nearly 1/2 of the book consists of notes. The notes provide supporting documentation for the many statements through the first half of the book. Most of us non-medical types will have no interest in referring back to that section. From the few other parts I've skimmed so far, I see that this is not going to be an easy read. Though many of the medical terms are explained as simply as possible, it is still rather in-depth and highly technical.

For any of my friends concerned about miscarriage or IVF failure, you can borrow this book. If I had skimmed the book at a bookstore/library, I would not have purchased one for myself.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm Alright

So maybe I'm a little ragged around the edges
And I've been keeping a little more to myself these days but

I'm alright
Shot down but I'm still standing
I'm alright
A little banged up from the fall
But I'm alright
Still shaky from the landing
I'm alright, after all

You know it's really not that bad
No matter how bad it might feel
Cause there ain't nothing time won't fix
This ain't nothing that some time won't heal
So maybe I've been walking a little wounded
I move a little bit slower not but that's okay 'cause...

I'm alright
Shot down but I'm still standing
I'm alright
A little banged up from the fall
But I'm alright
Still shaky from the landing
I'm alright, after all


I'm Alright lyrics by TERRI CLARK(Angelo/Larry Gottlies/Kim Richey)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

more books

Below are a couple other books I've ordered but know very little about. These were not recommended to me, I found them on Amazon while searching. I purchased these based on the summary & reviews on Amazon. Hopefully these will prove as helpful as the others have been.

1 of: The Couple's Guide to In Vitro Fertilization: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Your Chances of Success [Paperback] By: Liza Charlesworth (Author)


1 of: Infertility Survival Handbook [Paperback] By: Elizabeth Swire-Falker (Author)

infertility books

warning - long post
----
I've started reading a lot on infertility though recently I've been focusing on the emotional/mental side. Intially most of my personal research was online (faster, easier, free!) though I've read a few books too. I'm pretty much through all the basics of fertility treatments, so I've skipped to the more in-depth IVF books. For anyone going through fertility issues or close to someone going through it.. I recommend the following books. I have also ordered a few others. I'll update later once I've read those. (These link to Amazon just b/c I copied the titles from there to speed up writing).

1 - Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar's Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing... By: Alice D. Domar, Alice Lesch Kelly
This one was recommended to me by my therapist. I started seeing her b/c infertility is one of her specialties and around last fall I started having a harder time dealing with my feelings about this process. She recommended this book in one of our first sessions. I skipped around a lot as I read this.. depending on where we were in our cycles. There are a lot of coping skills that are mind/body techniques (google mind body medicine if you want to learn more) plus it shares a lot of stories from other women. I suggest reading sections as they apply to you (I think it would be very stressful and upsetting to read the chapter "When Miracles Don't Happen:Coping when Treatment Fails" in the midst of treatment. But I flipped straight to that chapter the day after finding out our IVF cycle did not work). I also have found this book to be the kind of book that you want to reread, specifically if you are having trouble in certain areas. The chapter titles are very helpful in directing you to sections you need most. The day I got the book, I skipped ahead to 2 chapters.. first "Coping When Everyone But You Has a Baby" and then "Infertility and your Career". At that time, those were the two areas I was struggling with most. I definitely recommend this one regardless of where you are in your fertility struggles. It is not IVF specific.

2 - Nurturing Yourself Through IVF: Improve Your Experience, Maximize Your Odds of Success [Paperback] By: Lynn Daley (Author)
I found this one on Amazon as I searched for books that were more focused on IVF. Many of the other books I had found were too basic. IVF is one of the more advanced infertility treatments and as such, it can be more difficult to deal with both the physical & emotional aspects. I wasn't sure what to expect from this one but was pleased with it. Don't be disappointed when you see it, as I was initially, it is very short but worthwhile. Daley expands on (and references frequently) Domar's concepts from Conquering Infertility. Though this one does focus on IVF, I would say most of the advice can be used at any stage of infertility. I wish I'd found this one just before starting IVF instead of after one full cycle. In this case, the author is neither a doctor or psychologist, but just a regular person who went through IVF several times. She talks a lot about both her own experiences and those of other women she met along the way. Not everything in the book will apply to all people (I found I did not relate one iota to the section on superstition, but apparently some women do become superstitious during this process) but you should find that the majority of it is very helpful. She focuses on putting yourself first, 'editing your world' (such as avoiding baby showers if they make you uncomfortable), and the mind-body connection. This is again one that is good to read once, but more useful to reread & reference as needed. She also references lots of other resources along the way.

3 - Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?: Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage & IVF Failure - Explained and Treated [Paperback] By: Alan E. Beer (Author)

I found out about this book from my online friends, specifically from the leader of a bulletin board that I frequent. [Sidebar: I've read lots of other message boards in the past but found they became an obsession, not only for me, but for the other women. When I was going through the last 3 or 4 rounds of Clomid, I joined a board focusing on Clomid. Though I thought having other women in the same boat to talk to would be helpful (and it usually is), this was not! These women posted to the board at least daily, but often more than that. During a Clomid cycle, you must take medicine for several days (for me it was days 3-7) and then you 'try' at home during a certain timeframe. Then you wait. And wait. If you are reading and posting daily, you will go crazy during a Clomid cycle. Though you can never truly forget about trying to conceive, I found during Clomid I had to distract myself. Reading & responding to those posts so frequently actually made me feel worse instead of better. Point of the story is that online message/bulletin boards are useful, but find one that is helpful for you, if you feel worse after visiting your board, then maybe you should move on.] Anyway, the leader of this board has had several (about 5 I think) failed IVF cycles and is a few years younger than me (this is not the norm with the women I meet.. usually they are older than me). She has reached a point where they cannot figure out why IVF will not work. She's going to a specialist in IVF failures now and one of his colleagues, Alan Beer, wrote this book and was founder of Alan E Beer Center of Reproductive Immunology and Genetics. She caught my attention when she mentioned a family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis as my DF was diagnosed with RA in his early forties. I've not received this one yet (should be here any day now) and I'm anxiously awaiting it. Beer focuses on the 5 types of immune system responses that can cause reproductive failure (including IVF failure & miscarriage). This link was also mentioned in "Nurturing Yourself Through IVF" (previous review). I'm hoping to get through this one before our next consult with the RE. At the very least, I will be asking him about this type of testing. I don't want to go another IVF cycle without at least testing for this immune problem in case it could help us with treatment.

moving on..

We've made an appt. with the RE to see what our next steps will be. When we had our first consult with Dr Toma, we came up with a treatment plan that included 2 IUI cycles, 2 'fresh' IVF cycles and then 2 'frozen' IVF cycles (sometimes called FET). Since we've done 2 IUIs, and 1 IVF, we expect to give IVF another try. Unless there is some medical reason why he changes his recommendation. So, we meet with him on 3/19.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

BFN

BFN - Big Fat Negative. I'm not pregnant.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

last acupuncture

I had my last IVF related acupuncture appt today. This was to help with implantation. So we've done about everything we can do to make sure this first IVF round works! Funny thing was this time he put a needle right between by eyebrows, that was a little odd.

I'll post my beta results Saturday evening. I'm going to find out the results right as I leave for a girlfriends wedding shower, so I won't post right away.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

dreams & waiting

I'm sitting in the doctors office, waiting to find out how many babies we have. It's so exciting I think to myself, but where is that doctor? Finally he comes in, grabs his stethoscope and places it on my belly. We're waiting, and waiting, and waiting while he's moving it around. Finally he says, yep, I hear two heartbeats! What? Two, really!? That's wonderful!

Slowly I realize that's not how that's done. They don't use a stethoscope! What kind of doctor is this? And where is all the equipment and the nurse? Then I hear a dog's whine & a cat's meow. I'm lying in my own bed & the animals are ready for their breakfast. It was all just a dream.

This is the hardest part! Just waiting to find out if everything worked & we have a baby (or two or three) in my belly. The good news is that the shots have gotten to be super easy. Jack's nearly a professional now & it only takes a few minutes from prep to completion. So all I need to do is figure out how to make this week move faster...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

more medicines

Today I had more bw done & found my progesterone level is 33. I'm guessing that's not where they wanted it b/c they added Prometrium (another form of progesterone, though this one is not in a shot) to my already confusing medicine schedule. This one they've got me using 3x/day. Though at least I'm not wasting any of my money, I had been wondering when that big bottle of Prometrium would be used or if I should not have gotten it. (The way the IVF meds work, you have all of the meds delivered at the beginning of the cycle. So you open this giant box full of medicines, applicators, syringes, needles and then you wonder what the heck you got yourself into!)

They want me back for bw next Sat 3/3. This is the one we've been working towards. They are going to check my progesterone level again, but more importantly they are going to do my first beta! They'll do three betas and that'll let us know if we are pregnant!