Thursday, November 30, 2006

Feeling better

Thanks for all of your good wishes! I am slowly feeling better. Almost all of the nausea is gone and I've been able to eat solid food. Right now I'm just working on staying hydrated and getting rid of some of the bloat. I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow afternoon to see how I'm doing.

I wanted to finally post a picture of our little embryos.

I've looked at the picture countless times and it still amazes me. All of my fingers are crossed. My beta is scheduled for 12/11, but there's no way I'll be able to not test before then. I hope this works!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Things were going so well with us during this IVF cycle. I felt like everything that I wanted to happen (good fertilization, 5 day transfer, good quality embryos) actually happened. I noticed that I wasn't feeling well on Monday before the transfer, but I thought it was nerves combined with the side effects of the PIO shots. By Monday night, I couldn't keep anything down and my stomach started to swell like a balloon. We went to the emergency room where I was hooked up to an IV and given anti-nausea medication while we waited for a sonogram. My doctor is associated with the hospital and it was he that gave me the news - I was experiencing severe OHSS and he was admitting me to the hospital.

I can't even explain how suddenly this came on. I was still sore and a bit bloated after the retrieval, but it wasn't getting any worse. I thought the pain was lasting so long because of the number of follicles I had. Then came the nausea, pain, and vomiting. I weighed myself before all of this happened and when they weighed me last night at the hospital I had gained 10 pounds. I was up another 2 this morning. They watched me all day and gave me constant IV hydration while monitoring my output. I also had to take blood thinners because whatever numbers they were looking at were very off. I was happily released this evening and feel a lot better. I'm still incredibly bloated but most of the nausea is gone. My doctor wants to see me back on Friday.

I was so happy with my doctor. Even though he works for the hospital where I was staying, his office is in another building. He came to check on me multiple times even when the doctor on call had already seen me. He reassured me that this isn't going to cause my cycle to fail, but he did warn me that if I get pregnant I will likely experience this again. It was nice to see a familiar face and to hear from my own doctor who knew exactly what was going on.

So for now I have to rest and drink a lot of liquids. I hope to eat some solid food tonight. I'm pretty humbled by this whole experience, though - it reminded me not to take anything for granted. I'm hoping that the little embryos decide to stick it out despite the rough start.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Transfer complete

Just a quick note before B kicks me off the computer to enforce the doctor's bedrest policy. Our transfer was today at 12:00. We transferred two beautiful blasts, one already hatching. Of the 9 that fertilized, 8 made it to day 5...that means we were able to freeze six. Our doctor said we're in a great place and have excellent chances.

I hope to post the picture they gave us as soon as my bedrest is over. For now, I think I need the rest. I'm still pretty sore and bloated from the retrieval. And I'm not letting the picture out of my sight. :)

Thanks as always for your good thoughts!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We received a call yesterday afternoon. It was the same nurse and she had that same edge to her voice as she did in the message. But the news was happy - she said our embryos look "excellent" and they are almost certain our transfer will be on Monday. We had to stay "on call" this morning until the embryologist and doctor reviewed their growth on day 3. I just got the call...our transfer will be Monday. The nurse didn't know what time yet because they're still figuring out the schedule, but she wanted to call me because she knew how much I needed to know. That made me so happy.

Thanks again for all of the good wishes - my family is here from California and I don't have as much time to post as I would like, but I hope to keep updating as we go.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


We got a call from the clinic...9 of our eggs fertilized. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the phone in time and they had to leave a message. The nurse said that 9 fertilized but she couldn't say much else. I really, really hope that this means that she didn't want to leave a detailed message on what could be a public machine. I've listened to the message several times and I think it sounds positive...I mean, how much can they tell me one day after retrieval other than that we have fertilization? I tried to call back even though the message said they were closing early for Thanksgiving. Do you think they would be annoyed if I called the emergency line for more information? :)

She said to call back tomorrow at 11 for instructions regarding Saturday and the transfer. I hope that they will set us up with an appointment on Saturday that they cancel in favor of a 5 day transfer on Monday. I feel like I'm asking too much and not being appreciative enough, but I don't have to explain how much I want this to work. I know that this is the one place I'm completely understood.

Thanks again to everyone for their good wishes. They mean more to me than I can say. I'm very sore and bloated, but still hanging in there. I'll try and post another update tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So far, so good

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me good thoughts and used their wishes on me. It's amazing how wonderful this community has been.

Everything went smoothly today. The medicine kicked in very fast and I woke up with the doctor telling me they had retrieved 15 eggs. I'm not sure how many follicles there were or if all of those eggs were mature because I was too woozy to ask. I did learn that they asked B to produce another sample while I was under. The lab tech told him some men are asked to produce three. I'm trying not to worry about that...they also froze a sample before this process started so there's always a backup. I mean, all we need are 15 good sperm, right? We'll get the fertilization report tomorrow. If we get to transfer, it will be Saturday or (their preference) Monday.

So far I'm okay. We went right out to breakfast and I had delicious challah french toast and orange juice. Everyone thought it was funny that I wanted to go out as soon as they released me. It tasted so good. After I'd been home for a few hours the pain medication wore off. I'm walking like a 90 year old right now, but it's bearable. I've been drinking and monitoring my output. It hurts to use the bathroom, but I have had to go. I'm really hoping that all of your good wishes are the good luck charm I need to prove my doctor wrong!

I'm going to try and post an update tomorrow after we have our fertilization report.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fingers crossed

It's never a good sign when your doctor takes a look at the ultrasound screen and says, "Oh, boy."

That's what happened to me this morning. I expressed how nervous I am because every single doctor who has examined me has made some comment about my response. It makes me feel like a spectacle. This led to a discussion about OHSS. Back when we had our first IVF consult, he said that most patients have a mild version, but 1% have a more severe form. He's concerned about my chances. He told me what to look for and when to come in for medical attention. He also warned me that there's a chance my transfer will be cancelled, any embryos we have will be frozen, and we'll have a FET instead.

So right now I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to steer clear. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea of cancelling the transfer. I know that if that happens it will be for the best from a medical standpoint, but it will be hard emotionally. So much of this process involves worrying about unknowns.

I did take comfort in the last instruction on my list for the retrieval. "For your comfort, it is advised that you bring a warm pair of socks with you for the procedure." I've got that one covered!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Road cleared

Mel posted an entry today about a wishing stone. My MIL told me she's been doing the "come down estrogen dance" all day and hoping for good news. And right after I made my wish and read my MIL's email, the clinic called. My E2 has come down and I can take half the trigger shot tonight. My retrieval is scheduled for 9:30 on Wednesday.

I can't even explain how happy and relieved I am. I started to feel a little hopeful when I woke up this morning feeling clearheaded. Yesterday I felt like I feel when I take cold medicine - dizzy, tired, and blah. The doctor told me this morning that my E2 levels have been consistently going up which would explain why I started feeling bad Saturday night through yesterday. He said he's staying hopeful and that my follicles are "gorgeous". I hoped that he wasn't just saying that to make me feel better. I continue to feel better and now I can let go (a little) of the worry I was feeling. I am hoping that this is for real!

Tomorrow I have a 7:00 a.m. appointment (yawn!) for one last round of bloodwork and an ultrasound. They're going to give me all the information for Wednesday. I'm ready for these follicles to come out!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Everything was going as planned until yesterday afternoon. My retrieval was estimated for tomorrow or Tuesday. I was so excited! I couldn't wait to take the next step in this process. But then came the E2 levels took a jump and were too high to take the HCG shot. I was instructed to stop the stims and come back today for another check. This afternoon they let me know they are still too high and I have to go back tomorrow for another appointment.

It's hard not to let this get me down. Honestly, I feel like throwing myself down on the floor and having a tantrum. I've been through a lot to get to this point and it scares me to think my cycle could be cancelled. No one is using the "c" word yet, and it's better financially to cancel at this point than after retrieval, but I truly didn't realize how much I've invested emotionally in this process until now. On top of this, I really feel like crap - it hurts when I walk and I am exhausted. I've been to the clinic every morning since last Sunday for bloodwork and my arms have taken a beating. And there's the little voice in my head (the devil on my shoulder, maybe) that tells me all of this might have been for nothing. Except to illustrate how extremely sensitive I am to stims and to teach me a lesson about getting my hopes up.

So right now I'm just waiting. I'm not sure how much longer they're going to let me wait. The follicles they measured today were 20-22mm. My ovaries are so distended that they're "kissing" when you look at the ultrasound. I'm just trying to hope that the same sensitivity I show when it comes to stims will work the other way and let me be just as responsive in their absence. If that doesn't happen, I guess we're back at the beginning again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The finish line is in sight...

At today's appointment, the doctor greeted me with, "So you're the patient with all the eggs!" He said that my age has been a big benefit to me in this process. I know my clinic treats many older women, so I'm hoping that I'm just producing more eggs than they usually see and am not weird or something. He measured several follicles today that were 17-18mm. They like to see follicles at 20mm before retrieval, so we're getting closer. He estimates my retrieval will be Monday or maybe Tuesday. Right now they're working on balancing follicle growth with keeping my E2 at a good level. Going for bloodwork and ultrasounds every day isn't the most enjoyable thing in the world, but I'm glad they're making sure everything is okay.

As he was leaving the room, he did something very surprising - he gave me a hug. This was the first time I've ever met this doctor, though I've seen him around many times. His hugging me was completely unexpected but somehow just what I needed. So much of this process is scientific and was nice to be reminded that these doctors are real people who care about their patients.

This weekend I plan on taking it easy. Tomorrow I want to indulge myself a little with a trip to my favorite New York coffee place, Gimme. Then I want to go to the Union Square Greenmarket and stop at Max Brenner for some of the best hot chocolate ever. My favorite is the Italian dark chocolate - it's absolutely delicious. They take thick dark chocolate and blend it with vanilla's amazing!

I'm also playing the the layout of this blog...I like this brown scheme. I named my blog "Bitter Ground" to reflect my bitterness about IF and my love of coffee. We'll see how this new template goes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More of the same

Not too much has changed since my last entry. I've been at the clinic every morning since Sunday for bloodwork and a sonogram. I got to see my doctor yesterday and he said I'm doing very well. The doctor I saw today said I'm responding "extremely well" and said I have many, many follicles. She advised me to stay hydrated and get a lot of rest. I just received my daily call and they want me to cut my Foll*istim in half to 25 units and come back tomorrow morning for another check.

I'm feeling more or less okay. I've been very tired the last few days - when B comes home from the gym I'm asleep and I can't seem to make it past 10:00. Today I'm really feeling my ovaries for the first time when I walk. I feel kind of like a duck because I'm walking funny to avoid jostling them. Is it normal to feel this way after only six days of stims? I don't know, but I'm trying to take it easy.

I have to say how much I appreciate another person in my life - my sister. She calls me every day to see how I'm doing and just generally cheers me up. She also helped me deal with a stressful situation - my parents are coming from California for Thanksgiving and they'll likely be here during our transfer. My Mom wanted to stay home with me during my bedrest, something I didn't want. It's nothing against her, I just think I'm going to want to rest and relax. The only person I really want around if B. So my sister gently encouraged my parents to consider going out during the day and they agreed. We are only a very short train ride from NYC, so they should have plenty to do. Even though my sister has not had to deal with infertility, she's one of the few people that seems to really get what I'm feeling. She doesn't try to make it seem like she can ever really understand and never tells me what I'm feeling is wrong. Anyone dealing with IF knows how rare that can be.

I'll post again soon with another update - I'm sure it will be more of the same, but it's nice to record everything here so I don't forget. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lather, rinse and repeat

That's what came into my head when I received the phone call from the IVF nurse today. I went in yesterday for bloodwork and a sonogram. They called me and instructed me to reduce my Foll*istim from 150 to 50 units and come in today at 7:30 for more bloodwork and another sonogram. I just received today's call...same dose tonight and I'm back tomorrow morning at 8:30. I thought that I'd be monitored every other day, but I'd rather they err on the side of watching me too closely.

The wedding reception injection issue ended up not being an issue at all. The ceremony and reception were one hour apart in different locations. We ended up meeting at B's aunt's house (she lives about halfway between the two locations) before going to the reception because we were all starving. I was thus able to do the injections in their bathroom. So here's my little invention:

This is what I came up with to hold my Re*pronex syringe. I was worried that if I didn't protect it the plunger would get depressed in my purse. The Foll*istim pen case, where I was planning on storing the syringe, was too big to fit in my purse. We get lots of these BB&B coupons in the mail and they were perfect - it was like a little poster tube. I'll bet the people at BB&B never thought someone would use their coupon like this!

The Re*pronex injections continue to be painful. I tried sitting down last night while injecting (for some reason, I always stand when I do them) and I think that helped. I feel like I have a series of small bruises around my stomach area that make it hard for me to wear jeans. There aren't any welts, though. I've accepted that they're just going to hurt and I'm hanging in there.

I'd like to once again express my appreciation for my older SIL, the one who is currently pregnant. She asked me a lot of questions about how the IVF procedures are going and how I'm dealing with everything. I could tell that she was honestly interested and not just making small talk. It was so nice to have her bring it up and good to share. It made me feel more at ease asking her about how her pregnancy is going. I guess I just feel awkward - like I don't want her to think I'm trying to live through her, or that I'm just asking to be polite and not because I care. Let me stress that she has done nothing to make me feel this's really all about my own hangups. I felt like we built a little bridge of communication between the land of infertility and fertility. And talking about it just made it feel a little more normal.

And finally, here they are- my finished retrieval/transfer socks. I finished them last night. It was such an awesome feeling!

If any of you knit, the yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in "Crazy Woman". You don't have to knit to see how appropriate the name of this colorway is. :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Not too bad...

Last night was my first night of stims. I was told to do the injections between 6-10 so I started preparing at 6. It was a bit more complicated than it looked when the nurse showed me what to do, but I managed to figure it out. I decided to start with the Re*pronex because I've read that it hurts the most. It was also a larger needle and a bigger injection. I'm all about getting things out of the way. The needle didn't really hurt, but the medicine burned and the area around the site ached. I also had some bleeding when I took the needle out. The Foll*istim was a breeze. The needle was even smaller than the one I use for Lu*pron and the injection didn't hurt at all. I think that I'll start with the Foll*istim from now on so I can do both injections on the same side. I couldn't pinch the skin after the first injection because it hurt too much.

Can you believe that it took me half an hour from start to finish? At least tonight I'll have the medication mixed and ready and won't have to sit in the bathroom for half an hour. I have this vision of a small bathroom and a long line of people wondering what exactly is taking me so long. I thought about doing it in the car (the ceremony and reception are in two separate areas) but we're bringing B's grandma to the reception.

I hope to post tomorrow about how it went and the results of my monitoring appointment. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cleared for takeoff

Today was my appointment for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. The doctor who did the ultrasound is actually the head of the clinic. When we got the certified check to pay for IVF, it was made out to him. He was very nice and very peppy. He said everything looks "excellent." Then I learned about the wonders of reconstituting Re*pronex and how to use the Foll*istim pen. The nurse asked me, "Have you done this before? Because you seem very calm about it." That made me laugh. After the lesson was over, I went home to wait for their phone call.

Starting tomorrow I will reduce my Lu*pron to 5 units. I'll be adding 1 vial of Re*pronex and 150 units of Foll*istim each night between 6:00-10:00. B starts antibiotics Sunday and I have an 8:30 appointment Sunday morning to see how things are going. So much for sleeping in! We have a wedding to attend on Saturday and I can't wait to shoot up in the bathroom. I like to joke that if someone walks in on me I'll start quite the scandal in the family. :)

I'm feeling a lot better today. It seems like I have insomnia for a few days, just long enough to put me completely on edge. Then I get a good night of sleep and feel a lot better. I hope that reducing the Lu*pron will reduce the insomnia. It's really frustrating to be tired but not sleepy. I'm almost done with my second retrieval/transfer sock and hope to post pictures of them soon.

Another hurdle has been passed...I hope things keep going this smoothly.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A spectrum of emotions

I don't remember exactly when B gave me this little bear. I know we were maybe 6 months into TTC and it was once again CD1. I had a stressful day at work and classes that night. He picked me up from school and gave the bear to me "because I know you're sad and stressed and I love you." So now I have the bear right next to my alarm clock so I can see it every morning. I've certainly needed some sunshine the last few days.

The weekend and yesterday were really hard for me. On Sunday we had the unveiling of the headstone for my FIL. If you're not familiar with this, it's a Jewish custom that some time after the death of a loved one you get close friends and family back together for a small service where the headstone is officially presented. I can't believe that it's been almost a year since my FIL passed away. It was so unexpected and hard and unfair. He was an amazing person and we all miss him so much. And even though it makes me feel selfish for thinking about myself during the ceremony, it made me reflect on the last year. At the shiva last December, the cantor (a close friend of my FIL) actually came up to me, touched my stomach, and said, "Soon. You need to give the family something happy to look forward to." There was nothing I wanted more at that point than to do that. I had a 17 day luteal phase that cycle, the longest ever. I know it was because of stress and grief, but we didn't know yet about the MFI and I still had so much hope. As soon as the cantor (the same one) started singing on Sunday, it brought everything back.

We managed to make it through the ceremony. At the end, we all poured rosewater on the grave (a Sephardic/Middle Eastern custom...B's father's family is Iranian) to sweeten the earth and placed flowers. When I placed mine, I told him that I'm doing everything I can to have a baby and asked him for his blessing. I told him I'm doing my best to support B and his family as we grieve. I wish I could convey to everyone what a wonderful grandfather he would have been. All of the things that make B so amazing to me are a reflection of his parents. You know how we look at the pregnant drug addicted prostitute and rage that she can have a baby? I think about the horrible people out there right now alive and well and rage that my FIL is no longer with us. It's just so completely unfair.

I don't know if it was my sadness or because of my period arriving, but I started having hot and cold flashes that day. They left me tired and jumpy. After a horrible night of sleep I spent yesterday on edge. I was sad and angry and really annoyed at every little thing. After I was able to calm down, I realized part of why I was upset: I still haven't been able to get pregnant. We're going through an IVF cycle right now, and I still might not be pregnant when we're done. I've tried really hard to take this process one step at a time, but yesterday I was overwhelmed by the fear that this might not work. A year from now I might still be reflecting on all we've lost and everything we've been through and might still be childless. And that thought just infuriates me.

In the end, B helped me feel better. He talked to me, cooked me dinner, and did all kinds of cute things to show me he's worried about me. My next appointment is on Thursday. If all goes well, I'll start the stims that night. I'm trying to learn to balance this lurking fear with positive thinking and hope. When I do my meditation and focus on the "smiling ancestors" surrounding me, I can feel my FIL and other lost loved ones near me. I'm holding tight to that feeling. I hope it will help me get through this.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My new theory

First, thanks to everyone who left me comments after my last entry. I was pretty whiney, and your thoughts and good wishes made me feel a lot better!

So here's my latest theory. My last entry complained about the shots and the side effects of the Lu*pron. The last two days have been so much better! The needle has gone in easily like before with no pain. While I still feel like I have a dark fog in my head, my energy has increased and I actually got some good sleep last night. Blogging about my problem made it better!

With that in mind, I'd like to complain that my period is late. Isn't the irony delicious? Any other month I'd be praying for a late period. Now, we all know that the best way to get your period is to take a HPT. But there's no way that I am pregnant and I don't have any HPT's anyway. I know that Lu*pron can cause a delayed period. Hello, uterus? Can we hurry things up, please? There's no sense in delaying the inevitable. I already feel crampy and bloated. I'm ready for the next step here, I just need you to cooperate!

(I just had a thought...if blogging about the shots made them better, I hope that blogging about them being better doesn't make them worse!)

Here's hoping that CD1 comes soon.