Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marchin' for Babies

This is a picture of Miss Ava born at 32 weeks to one of my bestest girlfriends Stacey. I posted about her early arrival here. She spent 6+ weeks in the NICU & in the past 6 months has grown, thrived & turned into this cute little precious chunk-a-licious diva: I am so excited to be a part of this years March of Dimes-March for Babies walk. This cause is very important & very special to me. I have unfortunately had several girlfriends who delivered preemies & have experienced first hand the complications that can arise from being born too soon & the amazing efforts that are put forth to save these babies. Miss Ava is living proof of that!

I am proud to be a team member of the Woodland Ridge Racers which consists of girlfriends from my neighborhood - aka: the "game-night" girls. The walk will be held on May 1st in downtown KC & my personal goal is to raise $500. I'm hoping all of you who follow my blog can help make that happen.

I would love if the blog world would rally together & help out this very important cause. If you feel it right in your heart to donate, please follow the MOD link on the right. Every little bit helps & even small amounts add up to make a huge difference. All donations go directly to MOD and their research.

Help us make sure all babies are born healthy. Help us celebrate the little miracles that have made it & honor the ones who were lost.

Thank you - Heather :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We have frosties - and I don't mean these:We got the call this morning that they will be freezing 4 perfect-looking expanded blastocysts today so we will have future snowbabies on hold :) We are so excited & so very thankful to have been able to get this far in our journey! To know we have frosties is truly a blessing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Buh-Bye Bloat

It's amazing....

what a week off of stimulation meds will do for the bloat!

The photo on the top was right before my ER where my bloat was at it's worst - obviously! The photo on the bottome was this morning - the day of ET. Yay - looks like I got my tummy back! Unfortunately my "junk-in-the-trunk" hasn't gone anywhere?!

Consider the pic on the bottom my "pre-pregnancy" belly shot :)

ET done

This morning we arrived at the RE's clinic at 8am for our embryo transfer. I had drank my 24oz of water & took my Valium as instructed so I was feeling quite relaxed by the time they took us back to the transfer room. I got undressed, hopped on the table & then Dr. B & the NP proceeded to talk about my sox :) Yeah - that's right! I am sportin' the "lucky sox" & they loved them :) Hey, we need all the "luck" we can get at this point!

Next the embryologist joined in the party & we all went over the embryos we were transferring. We all agreed to transfer 2 blastocysts that were a "4AA grade quality" with no fragmentation & the RE said that is about as perfect quality as you can get for Day 5 so that made us feel real good. The embryologist showed us our embies that were magnified on a TV monitor & they truly looked perfect!
Then we discussed our remaining rockstar embies.

As of this morning, we have 7 that are doing well with another one not progressing as well. They will continue to let them develop until tomorrow & then decide how many qualify for freezing. I am praying the rest make it to Day 6!
The transfer itself was flawless & went really quick - took less than 2 minutes! It was also painless - but maybe that was the Valium & I didn't really care about pain? :) Once the embryologist verified the embies were no longer in the catheter, Dr. B removed everything & I laid on the table for about 20 minutes & then we were able to head home.

I ended up falling asleep on the ride home & I swear it was the best nap I have ever had! Me likey some Valium :) I have been spending my day laying in bed with the bulldogs & we are catching up on some DVR'd shows. I have a feeling this 2 days of bedrest is going to be a long one but will have been worth it in the end!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 4

This is a Day 4 embryo: (photo credit) And as of this morning, we still have 10 of them all looking perfect - rockstars I tell you!

It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about all that we have been through thus far & to have been blessed to get to this point & know we have 10 potential babies growing strong is truly a miracle!

At this stage, the embryo is now called a "compacting morula". There are about 10-30 cells that look as though they are all "melting together" & the cell borders are now becoming fuzzy as the embryo "compacts". This is the final stage prior to formation of a blastocyst which occurs by day 5.

On a side note - I have determined that Medrol is the DEVIL! Last night was my 2nd night taking this crazy stuff & it was awful. About 20 min after taking it, I laid in bed feeling like I was drugged & riding on a tilt-a-whirl. Not pleasant. Once I finally drifted off to sleep I awoke from a nightmare where someone was chasing me. I flew out of bed, desperately tried to find the door & felt like I was having a panic attack. It's like I was still stuck in my dream but was awake for it. Very weird.

I crawled back into bed & my heart felt like it was jumping out of my chest. I calmed myself down, managed to fall back asleep & then later I had another nightmare & the same events happened AGAIN! I got calmed down, went to the bathroom, crawled back into bed & noticed it was 4am & layed there for 2 hours trying to fall back asleep. I drifted back to sleep for another couple of hours & woke up with a horrible headache. The DEVIL I tell you! Ugh - & to think I have two more nights of this stuff :( I think I might try taking it a little earlier tonight.

So when I woke up I referred to Dr. Google for short-term use of Medrol & it's effects & this is what I found: Short-term effects of Medrol have included: mood changes ranging from mild euphoria & insomnia to nervousness, restlessness, mania, catatonia, depression, delusions, hallucinations, & violent behavior.

I have warned my husband.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 3 post ER

Wow - what a difference a day makes. I am almost feeling back to my ol' self again. I might just venture out of the house today & run a couple of errands!? A change of scenery might do me some good seeing how I haven't left the house since Wed?! I am still having some tenderness in my abdomen but the heating pad has been helping a great deal. Hoping I will be feeling good tomorrow because I have lots to do around the house before I am on 2 days of strict bed rest following the ET which is scheduled for 8am Monday.

The embryologist called again this morning with an update. We have one slow growing embie that probably isn't going to make it but she said the other 10 are all at the 10-cell stage which should be looking like this:Amazing that this little cluster of cells can grow & develop into a baby. Just blows my mind!

The first shot of PIO went well - thanks to my neighbor Julie. Don't know that Shane will want to do them anytime soon but between you & me, I am ok with that :) Lucky for me I work in the medical field & am surrounded by nurses - both at work & in the neighborhood. There are 3 nurses in our cul-de-sac alone so I think Shane is off the hook.

I restarted all my meds yesterday: prenatals, baby aspirin & folic acid as well as added a couple of new meds into the mix. The 1st one is Medrol which is supposed to help with pre-embryo implantation. I am supposed to take it at night for a total of 4 nights which makes no sense because it is a steroid & causes insomnia but that is what the directions say so I follow. It says it also causes increased hair growth so maybe I will start replacing all the hair I lost on the DHEA supplements? As long as it is on my head & not elsewhere :)

The 2nd one is Dostinex which is supposed to help prevent OHSS. I am to take it for 7 days & cross my fingers that symptoms of OHSS do not appear. I've been drinking my Gatorade & eating lots of protein & so far so good.

I will be SO glad when I am off all these meds & all I have to take are prenatal vitamins!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 2 post ER

The update this morning was all 11 embies are still growing strong so that was wonderful news to hear!

I did end up staying home from work today. Just not feeling 100% yet. Honestly, I feel like shit. I don't remember feeling this bad last time but the NP reminded me today that I had twice as many eggs removed than last time plus I had the problem with the pain meds in recovery so I will feel worse. It almost feels like I have the flu - no energy, achy, no appetite & my tummy feels like I have done 1000 sit-ups = super sore!

I am to start the PIO shots in the butt today. Was going to risk having the hubby do them this morning but when he asked "so I get the needle through the skin, then continue to push it all the way in & then push the medicine in?" I was like "awww hell no"! God bless him. My neighbor Julie is a labor/delivery nurse so I will wait until she gets home. That way she can show Shane the correct way to do it. Wish us both luck...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fertility Report #1

Got the call early this morning from the Embryologist & here are the stats:
-17 eggs retrieved
-14 eggs were mature & all ICSI'd
-11 fertilized

Overall I am really happy with the report thus far. I am praying that all 11 embies continue to grow/develop & that they all make it to day 5 & 6 so we can have some frosties!

I was finally able to keep some toast down last night so I took a pain pill & was able to sleep through the night. Awoke this morning & was still in some pain but it is FAR more tolerable than it was yesterday. At least the nausea has subsided! Am supposed to go back to work tomorrow but not sure if I am going to feel up to it!? Will see how I feel tonight.

I will give another report tomorrow when I hear back from the clinic...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ER today

Finally the day has arrived - time to retrieve the eggs! The pain in my abdomen was beginning to get really uncomfortable to walk so I was SO ready to get it over with. Lucky for Shane, we got to produce our sample at home & after we checked "the swimmers" into the lab we were taken to "same-day surgery" to get checked in there. There were 5 ER's on the board for the morning & we were #3 & Dr. B was running ahead of schedule so we didn't have to wait too long.

I was wheeled back into the OR around 9:30am & all went well with the ER. They ended up getting 17 eggs & we will know tomorrow how many were mature & were fertilized. When I got back into recovery I ended up getting really sick from the pain meds. IMO I think the nurse over-medicated me for my pain (she gave me 250mcg of Fentanyl total - normal dose is 25-50 mcg for an adult) & I ended up having to stay a little longer in recovery than expected. My tummy was already sore/cramping & so throwing up on top of it didn't feel too good :(

The ride home was a blur & once I crawled into bed I ended up getting sick again. I tried taking the oral pain meds with food two different times but wasn't able to keep it down so I have been real uncomfortable all day. I have been in bed all day sleeping on/off & am hoping I can eat something that will stay down so I can start to feel better :(

Will update tomorrow when I get the call from the embryologist...

Monday, March 21, 2011

2nd follie scan

Today I had my 2nd follicle scan & I now have 22 measurable follicles all around 15-19mm. My uterine lining was measuring at 10mm & my E2 was 1969 so that is all great news.

The plan is to trigger tonight at 10:30pm & egg retrieval is scheduled for Wed morning at 10am. Embryo transfer will be Monday morning.

Woo hoo - the eggs are done baking! Time to get this party started....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pity Party for One

I started this blog for 2 reasons: a) to journel my thoughts & frustrations on this IF journey b) to be a resource & help others who are dealing with IF. Up to this point I have been pretty honest - sometimes brutally honest & I haven't sugar-coated much so why would I start now? I am the kind of person that keeps it "real" & this post ain't no different.

I am on day 8 of stims & I feel like shit people. See, keeping it real & no sugar-coating it. I have run out of room on my tummy to inject & can't seem to dodge the bruises anymore:So I have moved on to my thigh which oh by the way - stings like a mother f'r! I can't seem to tolerate all 4 injections in the thigh so I will continue to do the Lupron/low dose HCG injections in the tummy - in between the bruises. Besides, it's the 2 stim injections that make me bruise so this is hopefully the worst my tummy will look like. Anyone care to play "connect-the-dots"???

And can we talk about bloat for a second? Bloating from stims is a bitch & it makes you bitchy & makes you look like a fat bitch:Yeah - that is my belly hanging over my elastic waist-band fat-girl pants. Believe it or not, it was pretty flat about 2 weeks ago (despite my little pooch). I have gained 7 lbs since I started all this & that my friends is definitely NOT hot! I can no longer fit into my jeans & my scrubs/work-out pants are my new BFF's. I can't do any exercising per the RE for fear of developing ovarian torsion so that makes a fat-girl feel real good.

My abdominal pain started Friday after my 1st follie scan & has continued to get worse. Today I am really uncomfortable & can only take Tylenol which doesn't help much. Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve & Excedrin are not allowed since they effect the uterine lining. Sitting, standing, walking, peeing, coughing, laughing - all painful. It feels like I have two weights hanging where my ovaries are & any movement pulls & tugs on those weights & causes pain. So for the last 2 days I have done nothing but sit/lay on the couch & watch basketball. Oh & be pampered by the hubby - which hasn't been too bad :)

Let's talk EWCM - I got TONS of it people. My E2 levels must be on a huge rise because I have had more EWCM in the last 2 days than I have ever had in my entire life. I guess this is a good thing.

And to top all this fun off, tonight I have to "get-together" with the hubby in order to have a "fresh" sample for the ER this week. Honestly the thought of this makes me cringe. I am hoping he can just take care of business without much assistance. How f'n romantic is that? That my friends is keeping it real.

So my 2nd scan is tomorrow morning. If the NP tells me I need to do one more night of stims I think I might just cry on the spot. I just don't know how much more stretching my ovaries can honestly take. I am also beginning to worry about OHSS. My RE warned me that they would have to watch me closely since they are being so aggressive. This doesn't occur until after the ER & can sometimes effect/cancel the embryo transfer so I am praying that my ovaries behave themselves. I bought a bunch of Gatorade, PB & chicken to eat afterwards in hopes of warding off the evil spirits of OHSS.

So that's it for now. I'm going to continue to sit my fat ass on the couch, keep track of my brackets & lounge around in my fat-girl pants all while keeping it real.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, March 18, 2011

1st follie scan - check

I have been on stims for 5 nights now & honestly I haven't felt any symptoms other than the awful bloat & the lovely bruising on my tummy. But this morning when I woke up my ovaries were making themselves known & I felt the "heaviness" feeling in my abdomen as I crawled out of bed. Finally I feel like I am "making some eggs" in there.

Today I had my 1st follie scan & I was extremely nervous going into my appointment. I was worried the pain in my abdomen might be a cyst(s) rather than plump, full ovaries & I was preparing myself to hear the words "we are going to have to cancel your cycle".

So imagine my surprise when I was getting my scan & the NP kept clicking & measuring & clicking some more & on my right ovary alone she measured 13 follies! Then she went to my left ovary & I was even more shocked when she discovered 8 more follies! That is a grand total of 21 follicles all measuring between 9-13mm. I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear that - no wonder I am starting to "feel" things down there! My uterine lining measured 7mm, my Estradiol came back at 654 & the NP said that was all really good & she is very pleased with everything thus far.

The plan is to keep all the med doses the same through Saturday night, then for Sunday night decrease Menopur & Gonal F to 150 iu & on Monday morning have one more follie scan & check labs. If that all looks ok then I will trigger Monday night with ER on Wed.

Finally we are making some progress...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Start Stims - check

Time to start making eggs.

I received my stimulation meds for the first week in the mail on Friday. The NP ordered them from 3 different pharmacies to get the best price on it all which was kind of a pain but worth saving some money! Luckily, everything arrived ok & on time.

So tonight I start stims & will be adding 3 more injections into the mix:

- 10 units low dose HCG

- 225 units Menopur

- 225 units Gonal F

Depending on my follicle scan/bloodwork this Friday, I will more than likely be placing a 2nd order for meds. Hoping it's not as expensive as this first round was!?

Let the "shooting up" begin...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Start Lupron - check

Today I start Lupron injections.

Not just one injection of Lupron but TWO injections per day - 12 hours apart. Have I told you how much I despise this drug? It is the devil & I am NOT looking forward to experiencing the side effects like last time. Oh & another plus? I will be taking Lupron along with all my stimulation meds. Last time they were done seperate from each other. Not only will I be doing 4 injections to my tummy everyday & feeling awful from the bloat & swollen ovaries but from what I remember last time on Lupron I will be also be battling a horrendous headache daily, experiencing hot flashes at any time of the day, night sweats, dizziness & be irritable as hell. Nice. I can hardly wait.

*Mental note: aplogize to the hubby & co-workers ahead of time.

For those of you who are interested, there are 3 different types of Lupron protocols for IVF:

1) The Classic Lupron Protocol
2) The Antagonist Protocol
3) The Microdose Flare Protocol

#3 is the protocol I am doing:


The microdose Lupron flare protocol is one of
the most potent IVF protocols available. It has helped many women with poor ovarian reserves to conceive, and in our opinion, is the last resort before donor egg IVF. The protocol takes advantage of a special property of Lupron. When used in tiny amounts, Lupron stimulates the release of natural FSH from the pituitary for several days before exerting its suppressive effect. During this 'flare' period, the ovaries are stimulated by natural FSH. The subsequent addition of high doses of FSH from medications gives the ovaries maximum stimulation.

Lupron, oh how I loathe you...but I sure hope you do your job!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Suppression check

So I went for my much anticipated suppression check this morning & all the way to my RE's office I couldn't help but worry what the US would show. I was praying to God all the way there asking that they a) don't find any cysts and b) let there please be some follicles in my ovaries. Cysts will get an IVF cycle cancelled as well as low numbers of follicles! I did the estrogen priming protocol for 8 weeks in hopes that I would produce a higher antral follicle count at this exact appointment & guess what? God answered & my prayers worked :)

Antral follicle count today was 8 on the Rt ovary & 9 on the Lt ovary for a grand total of 17 follicles! I was so excited! It is a great number to start with & for my age, the NP was extremely happy with that. That means there are potentially 17 follicles with eggs in them & with that many I should respond nicely to the stimulation meds. The NP also said not to be surprised if a few more pop up over the next week!

So after my US, I met with the hubby in the consult room to go over & sign all our consents. Next we went over our IVF calendar, all the meds, when & how to take them. After all that was done, Shane made his way over to the lab to do his SA & I made my way to the checkout desk to drain our savings for IVF #2. Ugh - I just can't believe how much money all this costs & for no guarantees. Being OOP sucks. Sickening, really.

SO without further ado, here is our IVF timeline:
3/11 - start micro-dose Lupron
3/13 - start stimulation meds
3/15 - lab draw (Estradiol check)
3/18 - 1st follie scan/lab draw
3/21 - 2nd follie scan/lab draw
3/23-25 - estimated ER
3/28-30 - estimated ET

So here we go! Let the fun begin....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tears and Hope

This is a heart-breaking but beautiful video that says it all & I wanted to share it with you. Be sure to turn up the volume:

Tears and Hope

All my best for those of you still waiting, still trying & still hanging on through the tears.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Ugh - today I got to experience the lovely annual PAP exam. Such a joy.

Just one more thing I can cross off the list of "things-to-do" before the IVF.

I was sitting there with the nurse, & after she took my vitals I look over & see her using a tool that measures one's BMI. Now I don't consider myself fat but I do know that I could afford to lose 10-15 lbs (thank you very much infertility hormones). So I was a bit bothered when I saw her calculate my BMI & it was 27. To top it off the tool had highlighted the word OVERWEIGHT in front of it :( Talk about a slap in the face. As if I already don't feel bad enough that IF has made me crazy & sensitive along with gaining 10 lbs in the last 2 months alone.

So after visiting with my GYN I have accepted the fact that I am overweight. According to her & this chart, I need to lose at least 15 lbs to be at a healthy BMI of 24. Question is how do I do that when we are about to start an IVF cycle? I am going to be taking tons more weight-gaining hormones & I can't do any extensive cardio this month due to my upcoming swollen ovaries so the only thing she said I could totally control was food.

So after going over some options with my Dr, I decided that tomorrow I am changing my diet & starting Weight Watchers. It's a healthier option & I did really well losing weight with WW a couple of years ago so I am hoping I can do that again. At least until we find out if this IVF cycle worked or not?!

I am going to be adding a weight loss ticker to the top of my blog so that I can be held accountable & be able to track my progress every week. So here's to losing some weight & gaining a baby :)