Friday, January 31, 2014

The Devil Drug

I'm officially renaming Menopur "The Devil Drug".  I love how the instructions my clinic provides state "There could be mild stinging when injecting".  Mild my a$$.  It should tell you that it feels as if you are pumping fire directly into your stomach.  Seriously I can't believe I'm saying this but I think I'd rather do PIO shots over the Menopur any day.  Of course if it's actually working and doing what it's meant to then it's all totally worth it.  But that doesn't mean that it's not the still The Devil Drug.

So it's day 5 of stimming for me.  On Monday I'll go in for my ultrasound and see how things are progressing.  I'm hopeful for more follicles than we had last time since we are on a more aggressive protocol, but I think I'm mentally prepared to also have the same amount as before.  If it's less than our first cycle I'm sure there will be a total breakdown right on the table, but we won't think about that now.  As I feel worse and worse every day with the bloating and just being generally uncomfortable due to the drugs my emotional state seems to improve.  I am getting more hopeful and positive about this cycle and the possibility of it actually working.  I was so disappointed after our first round and I know due my diagnosis that I'll never be one of those girls who gets a million eggs.  But I'm hopeful that we can eek out a few more and have a couple more be mature and a couple more fertilize normally.  I've been focusing on having 2 quality embryos to transfer and hopeful to have 2 to freeze.  I would be unbelievably thankful for those kind of results and I"m hoping they are realistic.  Once again only time will tell.

Being a crazy type A control freak it's very hard for me not to look forward past this cycle if it doesn't work.  There are a couple of paths we are considering, all depending on the results of this "more aggressive" protocol.  We have discussed what I've learned about CCRM through the blog world.  It seems to be the general consensus that this is the best fertility clinic in the country.  I think if we were to try again we would look into going there.  However if our results are as poor as our first cycle I feel as if it could be time to look into donor eggs.  D was surprised that I was considering that.  And while it would be a very hard and I would definitely mourn the loss of having a biological connection to our child, I do think that I am the right type of person for that situation.  It's not for everyone but it definitely could be for me.

Obviously we can't make any decisions until we get through this cycle so I'm definitely trying to focus on where we are now and have positive successful thoughts.  And while there's a big part of me that's completely terrified, there's another part that is hopeful and has faith and is ready for whatever the next week brings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunshine Award!

I am so excited that Allison at Eggs Over Easy nominated me for the Sunshine Award!  This is my first blog award and it feels so good to become more and more involved in this great community of women.  Having people to relate to as I struggle through infertility has really been a saving grace.  It can be such a lonely battle and I truly feel like you girls have helped me keep my head above water.  So without further ado......

1.  How did you know your husband was "the one"?
My husband and I were friends for a couple years before we got together (we were both dating other people).  There was always something between us - a little spark.  When my (bad) relationship ended he was a really good friend to me and it grew from there.  He saw me through one of the lowest points in my life (up to that date) and didn't go running in the opposite direction :)  He's been there every step of the way for me ever since.

2.  How far (if at all) would you go/continue with fertility treatments?
This is a tough one.  We are currently on IVF fresh cycle #2.  My diagnosis is elevated FSH and after our first IVF cycle it's clear that I have both an egg quantity and quality issue.  We only had one embryo that continued to develop that we could transfer and none to freeze.  We have pumped up the drugs for this next cycle and I'm hopeful for better results.  If we don't have success then I think our next move would be to consider donor eggs.  I know we could keep trying with my eggs but how much time and money do you spend when for me, we know what the issue is, and could probably have a baby much quicker/easier if we went with donor eggs.  But I guess that's a bridge we'll cross if/when we come to it.  Right now I'm focusing all of my positivity and hope on this upcoming cycle.  (please God please!)

3.  What are you most looking forward to about being a mommy?
Rocking my baby to sleep.  I can not WAIT for those middle of the night cries where I can bring my child comfort and peace.  Where he or she is waiting for me to come, like I've been waiting for him/her.  

4.  What is your "happy place"?
This is so funny - because I talk about it all the time.  My happy place is snuggled on our couch with the fireplace going and my husband on one side of me and our dog on the other.  There are moments when we are sitting like this just watching TV and I get overcome with emotion because I love them both so much and I feel so lucky to have them.  

5.  What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who take life's gifts for granted.  (This is probably self explanatory considering that we struggle with infertility).  

6.  What are some of the best life lessons you have learned?

1.  You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice
2.  Life is not fair - but everyone has their own personal battles.  I don't think it's fair that we are struggling through infertility but at least we have each other.  No one's world is perfect and you might think if you had the choice you would choose someone else's struggle.  But you never truly know what's going on in someone's life unless you live it.  Then you might think twice.
3.  Things truly do happen for a reason.  Looking back 5 years ago everything I was going through at that time makes sense now.  And even though for the life of me I can not see the "reason" we are having to go through this I do have faith in God and trust in his plan.  Not to say that there aren't bad moments, because there definitely are.  But I know we are meant to be parents and there's a special child (or children) out there meant for us.  
4.  Sometimes we need to be hurt in order to grow.  We must lose in order to gain.  Sometimes, some lessons are learned best through pain.  
5.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow".  

7.  What is your biggest fear?
I've always said my biggest fear was not being able to have children.  Now that I'm living that fear I would say it's changed to losing my husband.  

8.  If money and time were not issues, what would your dream vacation look like?
I've never been to Europe and I would love to visit Italy.  Spend the days eating bread and pasta and drinking red wine :)  However our typical vacation consists of lying on a tropical beach so I'd have to tie in time for that as well.  That is my 2nd "happy place".  Can I go from Italy to Fiji??  Stay in one of those huts over the water?  Amazing.  

9.  What is your favorite thing about family?
Unconditional love.  Our family has been such a great support system for us through everything and their love never waivers even when we aren't at our best.  As we all know infertility can bring out the uglies (jealously, anger, fear, etc.) and through even my worst days our family has held me in their arms and loved me through it.  

10.  What is your favorite book?
This is nearly impossible for me.  I am an avid reader and I love books of all kinds from Hunger Games, to Nora Roberts romance novels, to Sci-Fi novels, to murder mysteries.  I have to say that Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Alborn has always been a favorite of mine.  And Charlotte's Web, even though I cry every time.  

Okay now for my nominees....

Stephanie at The Icing On Our Cake
Kasey at Stupid Broken Eggs
Mrs. Lost at Where Is That Bird
Jessah at Dreaming of Dimples
Amanda at Genuine Greavu

Ladies if you'd like to join in then great - if not that's just fine!  Below are my questions for you!

1.  What's your favorite funny story about your husband?
2.  What was your favorite moment from your wedding?
3.  What significant life lesson have you learned?
4.  What's your favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
5.  Who or what is your inspiration in life?
6.  What would be the first thing you did if you won the lotto?
7.  What's your go-to outfit?
8.  What's your biggest fear?
9.  Where would you go on vacation if money and time were no object?
10.  How far would you go/continue with infertility treatment?

Monday, January 27, 2014

F is for Follistim

Happy Monday Everyone!  This COLD Midwest Monday brings the start of my stim drugs for IVF #2.  This new cycle has included a switch from Lupron to Ganirelix,  Delestrogen IM shots every third day and last night I started estrogen suppositories.  Tonight we add in 600 units of Follistim to hopefully help my follicles start to grow. (Has anyone else ever been on this high of a dose of Follistim??)   For those of you who are familiar with Follistim you know that it's administered in a pen and that the cartridge holds 450 units.  Which means for tonight and tomorrow I'll have to stick myself twice to get the complete dose.  Yuck.  Then on Wednesday we throw in the Menopur to hopefully help the eggs growing in the follicles mature.

I'm feeling pretty peaceful about things right now.  I'm hopeful and optimistic but I don't feel as if I'm over-obsessing about the entire process.  Although I haven't been able to completely keep my "crazy" in check (I definitely used an IVF calculator to see when my due date would be if this cycle works) I am focusing on turning it all over to God.  With our first cycle we got 8 eggs, only 5 of which were mature, and only 1 that fertilized normally.  I'm REALLY hoping for some better results this time around.  I'm REALLY hoping that we have 2 good quality embryos to transfer and some to freeze.  I'm REALLY hoping that this cycle results in a viable pregnancy.  I'm REALLY hoping this is all God's will.  Only time will tell.

So here's to this week FLYING by.  I'm looking forward to Superbowl Sunday and time with my family this weekend celebrating my youngest nephews birthday.  I'm looking forward to lots of snuggle time on the couch with D and the puppy (my self proclaimed Happy Place).  And taking one day at a time.

Happy Monday friends.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Baby" Steps

I feel like I should give an update, but there's just not much going on right now.  This morning I started a new-to-me med called Ganirelix which is just another suppression med.  This one will see me all the way through trigger to (hopefully) keep me from ovulating too soon.  I got blood drawn yesterday and all of my levels came back right where they should be.  I'm now waiting to start my period, which will hopefully happen today or tomorrow and then we are cleared to start stimming on Monday.  Tomorrow we add in the E2V/Delestrogen shots (which are intramuscular - similar to the Progesterone - ouch!).  It's my understanding this is supposed to help with my lining and aid in implantation.

As we inch closer to "pulling out the big drugs" I am finding myself getting more focused and the hope is creeping back in.  While I still find myself thinking about what our next steps are if this cycle doesn't work, I'm also thinking about what if it does.  A lot of my blogger friends have gotten BFP in the past couple of months and it's so hopeful for me.  It's also a little bit scary because we all know the statistics and it can't work for everyone.  But I'm doing my best to stay positive and I really am hopeful for a better outcome this cycle.

I know from our first IVF that once you start stim drugs everything (at least for me) seems to go in fast forward.  It's so much better for me mentally to be actually DOING something daily to help make this dream a reality even if the action is just shooting myself up with numerous drugs and hormones.  Every day and every shot brings us one day closer.  Baby steps steps.

One of the girls I follow (who's blog I absolutely LOVE)  posted this amazing article yesterday.  As I was reading it I just kept thinking things like "YES!"  and "EXACTLY!"  It really was able to put my feelings about infertility into words - I couldn't have said it better myself.  I wanted to share for not only my friends fighting infertility but those who aren't to give a better perspective of this painful battle.

The Disgrace of Infertility

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Second Time Around

It's funny how different this cycle is now that I've been through IVF once.  This morning I got up and went through my normal morning routine and it didn't hit me until I pulled into the parking lot at work that I didn't do my Lupron shot or take my prenatal and steroid.  I kind of freaked out because I know the Lupron is time sensitive.  I can't believe I just completely forgot.  Our house is currently on the market and we had a showing yesterday so I hid all my needles and drugs away in a cabinet and it just did not cross my mind.  Last cycle my entire world centered around IVF, injections, drugs, and obsessing over every daily step.  Granted I'm only a few days in to this cycle but it's already so different.  While IVF #2 is definitely the most important thing going on in our life at the moment, this time it's not the ONLY thing.  I think this is a good thing because I'm sure all of the obsessing can't be healthy.  Needless to say I called Nurse Jenny and she said it wasn't going to do any harm to mess it up one time and just take it as soon as I could.  So I hauled ass home to do the injection.  And now life goes on right?

I feel a little guilty almost like in order for this to work I HAVE to obsess over it and think about nothing else.  It's not that it's not important, I mean what's MORE important than having a child to us?  I think about it numerous times a day.  It's like I feel like if I'm not constantly worried and thinking about it almost like I don't deserve for it to succeed.  Infertility really does crazy things to your mind.

I'm looking forward to the long weekend (no work for me on Monday for Martin Luther King Day) and taking my last birth control pill on Sunday.  I have my baseline E2 blood draw and u/s on Wednesday the 22nd so hopefully everything will be low and resting quietly.

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Happy Pre Menopause Day!

Tomorrow I start my Lupron shots back up for IVF #2.  This is really the easiest part of the whole cycle.  The Lupron has to be taken in the AM and at the same time every morning, but it's a tiny needle and is easy to measure out the dosage.  I am planning on continuing to work out until I start STIMS on the 27th.  I am hoping that will help me feel better as I go through this.  My side effects from Lupron weren't terrible last time.  I did have some hot flashes and some trouble sleeping but overall it was very minor.  I go in for bloodwork on the 22nd which will be a week after we start the Lupron and then as long as everything is looking good on the 23rd I will switch to one of our new drugs the Ganirelix and we'll also begin to add in the E2V (estrogen) injections every three days.  I'm definitely going to have to pay close attention this cycle as we've got three additional meds and many more dosage changes than last time.  Hopefully it will be what it takes to get us a few more eggs to work with than last time.  

No other major news here.  I'm working hard internally to try and get my mind in a positive place for this cycle and I'm seeing some improvement.  Though I definitely don't have the blind hope that I did the first cycle I also have to believe that the doctors and expert wouldn't put me through this if they didn't think the increased protocol would yield results.  I also am working hard on turning all of my doubts and fears over to God and just finding peace that this is out of my control.  

One of the most comforting things anyone said to me after our BFN was that there's a baby out there for me and D and the first cycle just wasn't the right one.  We are (anxiously) waiting for that special child that's meant to be ours.  I really hope that he or she finds us in this next cycle.  We're here!  We're waiting!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

More Than You Can Bear

I'm not going to lie 2014 is NOT starting out to be a great year.  After suffering a BFN at the end of December my new year started with a drama filled New Year's Eve followed up with the loss of a close college friend much to young.  I have asked the question "Why" more times than I can count in the last couple of weeks.  Why didn't our embryo survive?  Why would God deny us of a baby?  Why would he take my friend from her children at such a young age?  While I'm not an overly religious person I do have what I've always thought of as deep faith.  I may not make it to church everyday but I've always felt comfortable with my relationship with God and strive to live a life that he would be proud of.  As we all know infertility is a huge test of faith.  The unfairness, the pain (both emotional and physically) and the uncertainly is a kind of torture that only those who have experienced it can really understand.  Lately, especially since our BFN, I've been struggling with my faith.  I'm angry that we've been cursed with this horrible circumstance.  I did EVERYTHING to ensure that our last IVF cycle would be a success and it wasn't.  None of it is in my control and I often find myself wondering what I did so wrong to deserve this and why it's happening to us.  We are good people.  We will be GREAT parents.  Why would God keep us from having a baby when there are so many born everyday that are unwanted, neglected, and taken for granted?

And then right when I was feeling like I had no one to turn to - especially not God as he obviously wasn't listening to me, I stumbled upon this article on Facebook.  This was exactly what I needed at that moment and I hope it will help others as they struggle through whatever battle they are facing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IVF Cycle 2 Calendar

Here we go again.......

So as I mentioned in one of my previous posts while preparing for our first IVF cycle I knew that regardless of the outcome my mind (and heart) would never be the same.  And I can honestly say that prediction was 100% true.  During our first cycle I was so happy and excited to get our calendar.  Looking forward to starting meds and practically giddy with the thought that in a few short weeks I would could be pregnant.  I had very different feelings today as I drove to my appointment for my cycle 2 calendar review.  My  heart still feels heavy with loss.  My hopes are defeated and my attitude feels almost as if "Why Bother".  Instead of feeling excited and optimistic I feel broken and hopeless.  Not a good start to a new cycle.

But when I walked through the doors to my clinic my emotions immediately lifted.  I was greeted by "my girls" - Nurse Jenny and my sweet Nurse Jo.  They were waiting for me to arrive and their excitement to get started on this next round was contagious.  Jenny took me back to her office and we sat down to review the new calendar.  For those of you who thought the first round was overwhelming I can tell you that was nothing.  We will continue with everything we did for the first protocol while increasing the dosage and then will also add in 2 more injectable meds along with estrogen suppositories.  Jenny went over the process for administering the new meds and we set up all my appointments for blood work and u/s's.  I start my suppression meds a week from today so ready or not we are starting again.

After Jenny got done being my Nurse she took her unpaid role as my therapist :)  We talked about the fear of this time not working and my heart break over Dr. H. 's diagnosis of me being a poor responder.  Jenny is sticking to the fact that it's too early to tell if I truly am a "poor responder"  She said that you can't make the diagnosis until after we try this more aggressive cycle.  She is hopeful that this is going to be exactly what we need to get the results we want - more eggs which leads to a better chance for good, quality embryos.  I can tell you one thing my shitty attitude isn't going to help anything so I'm going to do my best to leave it behind and try to find the positivity that I've always had about life.  I know it's still inside me, just buried underneath the pain and hurt.

So attached below is my new schedule.  The Ganirelix and the E2V intramuscular injections (ouch) are new this cycle along with the E2V suppositories.  I actually am starting stim a week earlier than I thought which I guess is a good thing.  Please, please, please let this be it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Moving Forward - WTF recap

Well we had our WTF appointment on Friday.  I needed a few days to absorb before I posted about it.  Let's start with the good news - we've been approved to move forward with Feb. cycle.  I'm very grateful for this and I mentioned that if we had to wait I felt that would bring on some major emotional issues for me.  However the appointment with Dr. H. was very hard to stomach.  Overall he provided us with a great deal of information.  He walked through the fertilization process with each of my 5 mature eggs and explained what happened with each of them.  He also gave us more information about my specific protocol as far as the meds and why he made the decisions he did.  He told us that I was on a L6 protocol.  The "L" means we are using Lupron as a suppression drug to keep my body from ovulating.  The number ranges from a 1 - 10.  He started me on a 6 because my elevated FSH level indicated there is a potential issue with my ovarian reserve.  He then provided us with 3 different options.  Basically we could do the same protocol again since it did yield results.  However he informed me that I'm what they call a "poor responder".  Basically they were expecting more eggs and obviously a higher percentage of fertilization than what we got.  So that signals that I most likely have both a quality AND quantity issue.  Ugh.

So the next option he offered was we increase my protocol to a L8.  So we'll add estrogen suppositories into the mix (as estrogen proves helpful with follicles/egg production in "poor responders") and one other fertility drug to hopefully help us get more eggs to better our chances.  The third option he brought up was donor eggs.  As I've spent hours obsessing, researching, and basically absorbing any information related to infertility I wasn't completely shocked by this suggestion.  Although that didn't make it any easier to hear.  I'm just not ready to accept that having a baby that is biologically both me and D is not an option.  Luckily out of the three options my doctor's recommendation was #2 - to try again but with a more aggressive protocol with more drugs.

So this is where we are.  I'm back on birth control and baby aspirin and we'll start with Lupron suppression on Jan. 15th.  That means we'll start Stim drugs on Feb. 3rd.  I've struggled a lot feeling pretty low this weekend.  With the news the doctor gave us it just made me feel like it's all hopeless.  I tried to comfort myself when we first got diagnosed that at least we knew what the issue was with me and it wasn't "unexplained".  But I've come to understand that none of us have it better or easier than anyone else.  We are all facing the same struggle and battle and honestly it just sucks.  So I had myself a pity party this weekend and now I"m forcing myself to shake off the negative and try to be positive.  I know that having a negative, hopeless attitude will not help my chances at all.  (Even though I'm still feeling pretty hopeless).  So I'm going to be grateful for another chance, for science and medicine, and for options.  I feel as if my faith is being put to the ultimate test.  I question why God would do this to us.  But I have to believe there's a bigger purpose and have faith in His plan.  I just pray that this next round is our time.  We are so ready.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Well today was my first day back to work after a 2 week break.  I did enjoy the down time but was ready to get back in to my routine.  Even more so I'm anxiously awaiting our WTF appointment with Dr. H. tomorrow.  I'm really hoping that he can answer our questions and concerns and has a good plan to help us move forward with better results.  I did start my period and they've got me back on birth control pills and baby aspirin to prepare for the next cycle.  So now we just have to see if Dr. H is on board with us trying again right away or if there's any tests or procedures he wants done before.  I'm really hoping he will just tweak my protocol and meds to hopefully help us produce MORE eggs to give us a better chance.  Nurse Jenny did tell me that I was on a lower end protocol so there is room to be more aggressive.  And now we know how my body responds to the meds so that information can only be helpful.  I'm also curious on if he'll be able to provide any insight on our low fertilization of the eggs.  D has already wondered out loud if it was the eggs, his sperm, or a combination of the two.  My clinic does ICSI (where they literally inject the sperm into the egg) which typically yields very high fertilization.  Not the case with us.

So we've got our list of questions and hopefully this time tomorrow will have a solid plan of what our next steps are.  I've been a mess of highs and lows since the negative Beta and am looking forward to being able to focus on what's next and let go of what went wrong.

On a plus note I heard a hopeful story this past week. One of my buddies from college got married to his beautiful wife about 5 years ago.  I am facebook friends with her and she posted the most beautiful 2013 year in review video on NYE.  It told the story of their adventures and accomplishments throughout the past year and as the video was drawing to a close it stated that behind the scenes they have been fighting a very difficult battle with infertility.  It included some quotes about infertility and some pictures of her meds, and procedures.  It then stated that just when they were about to give up hope 2013 wasn't done with them.  Next up came a picture of their embryo and the ultrasound from transfer.  It went on to announce that she is 20 weeks pregnant and they are expecting their little one in the spring of 2013.  Obviously I had no idea they were struggling through this and their video touched me so deeply.  It gave me a renewed since of hope that I'm trying desperately to hold on to.  She stated in her post that if the video helped even one other person who was going through this then it was worth the vulnerability.  I'm thankful for her bravery as it was exactly what I needed at this time.