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Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Blogoversary to Me

My first blog post was one year ago today. Some highlights from my first post:

"My hope is that I will not have this blog very long. That doesn't jinx it does it?" Guess I jinxed it.

"My husband and I have bee TTC for 10 months. I'm 34 and he's 49." Depressing.

"...it's already taken longer than I'd hoped..." Um, yeah.

"Besides my husband no one else knows we're trying." I've told one person now, but I've started thinking I'm going to tell my parents, too.

"We still don't know if there is anything actually wrong with us." Still don't know. Ugh.

"Go for beta tomorrow..." Tomorrow I have my post-IVF WTF appointment.

Happy blogoversary to me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Of Two Minds

Are we closer than we've ever been? Or farther away? Are we getting the answers that will lead us to success? Or the answers that will shut down any hope we have left? Is this a labor of love? Or an exercise in futility? Should we keep fighting the good fight? Or throw in the towel?

I am more resolved than ever, and I have more doubts than ever.

I am ready to bankrupt myself, and I shudder to think of all the money we've already spent.

I am a woman possessed, and I am a woman afraid.

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before." ~Jacob A. Riis

"When the horse is dead, get off." ~Author Unknown

Monday, September 13, 2010


It was better getting the news from my husband than from a nurse.


It's b-day, ladies. No, not the birthday kind of b-day, the beta kind of b-day.

I've had my blood drawn and they will be calling my husband with the results. This is the first time we're doing it that way, and I'm hoping that it will soften the blow of what I know is the inevitable outcome of this cycle. I tested twice yesterday (13dpo) - nothing. So, yes, I am hoping for a miracle, but not expecting one.

Although the early testing started out kind of rough (the problem is at 10dpo if you're going to get a line at all, it's going to be light, so I was WAY over-scrutinizing that stupid test), I'm now glad that I did. If I hadn't, I would still be filled with hope right now, and that phone call would be such a crushing blow. But instead, I'm feeling mentally prepared. Although I will probably cry anyway.

The good news is that we DID get some answers this cycle. A lower than average percentage of my eggs fertilized, and my embryos were slow growers. Hopefully my RE will have some good suggestions on how to improve both of these things for our next cycle. I am also considering getting a 2nd opinion from another RE just to see if they have a different take on things before we sink more big money into a cycle.

Of course, before we do another cycle with my current RE, we're hoping to do that IVF study in Philly. So, currently my mind is hopeful for the future, which is where I want it to be. I already went through all the woe-is-me stuff over the weekend, so that's over with, and I now feel... optimistic? Maybe not. But hopeful, yes.

(Although there may be more woe-is-me to come after I get the call. It's funny how sometimes I'm surprised by the fact that I was secretly still holding on to so much hope when I thought I'd moved on from it. So stay tuned!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010

I know it's been 9 years, but I still want to recognize the significance of this day and take time out from my small concerns to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost. I was here in NYC on that day, and I will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the Results Are... Still Inconclusive

Same result this morning: a shadow that turns into a very thin blue line after the point when you're not supposed to read it anymore.

I am going to assume this means nothing.

Now I know the dangers of testing early.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confidence Evaporating

I have now become convinced that what I saw was an evaporation line. I've never seen ANY sort of line on a test before, so seeing the barest hint of a line this morning made quite an impression on me, but I've also never used this brand before. So, I did a little research and it turns out the blue dye tests are notorious for showing evap lines. Apparently, the thing to look for is color, and if the line you see is at all blue, it's positive, but if it looks like a shadow, then it is most likely not positive. What I saw was a shadow. Like I said, it just looked like I could see where the line would be if there had been a line. The picture below is NOT mine, but the brand of test I took looks similar to this one (the line I got was much MUCH fainter than in the picture below):

So at this point I am going to just assume it was negative, but if anyone has more experience with HPTs than me (I've never been much of a POASer), please let me know what you think.

So I Tested This Morning And...

Today is 7dp3dt or 10 dpo. I decided it was time to start testing, but felt pretty sure that I would get a negative today as it was still early. After 2 minutes, the test looked pretty negative, but then I thought I saw something, so I took it out of the bathroom and held it under my desk light. What I saw was this: If there had been a second line, I could see where that second line would be. It was like a hint of a shadow. My husband confirmed that he saw something, too. After 20 minutes, I could actually see a VERY thin sliver of a second line, but obviously you're not supposed to read it after 20 minutes. It is also still early enough that perhaps there is still hcg left over from the trigger, I suppose (I did not test out my trigger).

So, I'm hoping, of course, that tomorrow's test will be darker.

But I'm very afraid tomorrow's test will be either starkly negative, or, perhaps worse (for its inconclusiveness) exactly the same as today.

Can't stop thinking about it.






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hope, More Hope, and a Funny Story

Ah, the dangers of over confidence.

First, let me say that obviously I was being a little melodramatic in my last post. I have not lost hope. Well, not all hope. Maybe a little hope.

But I've thought about it and I think I've figured out what my problem is. Over confidence. It's getting one's hopes up (which as you may know I try not to do), but with more hubris.

You see, I had convinced myself that I would (of course!) make top notch embryos. What I fully expected was that we would tranfer 2 grade-A blasts on day 5 and then, 9 days later, have a starkly negative beta. And so we would still have no answers. Because I was getting used to not having any answers. That seemed to be the way OUR infertility worked: on paper we're perfect but in reality it's like pregnancy is some fairytale that only exists for other people. So, I came out of the retrieval thinking that I knew what was coming, that it was all following some pre-ordained path and I felt secure in my confidence that our embryos would be stellar but that we STILL wouldn't get pregnant.

So, really, this is GOOD news. We have an answer, or at least a partial answer. And I'm sure there are things that we can do to try to improve the situation. DH is finally taking his multi-vitamins every day, for example (why is it so hard to get men to take their vitamins, sheesh!). So, I haven't given up hope on this cycle and I haven't given up hope on us.

And thank you for all of your kind comments talking me off the ledge. They were what I needed to hear, and you guys are [sniff] awesome.

On to new news.

Speaking of not giving up hope, we had an appointment at a clinic in Philadelphia today to see about being part of an IVF study (free IVF!). If you haven't heard about this study, I recommend looking into it. Here is a link to a description of the study at clinicaltrials.gov. The study is being conducted at clinics in the following cities (this list is from the above web page, but is obviously not comprehensive since the Philadelphia site is not listed there):
  • Encino, California, United States, 91436
  • Irvine, California, United States, 92604
  • Miami, Florida, United States, 33176
  • Tampa, Florida, United States, 33617
  • Kailua, Hawaii, United States, 96734
  • Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60610
  • Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States, 60194
  • Waltham, Massachusetts, United States, 02451
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 89117
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, 28207
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, 45209
  • Memphis, Tennessee, United States, 38120
  • Bedford, Texas, United States, 76022
  • Webster, Texas, United States, 77598
The following criteria must be met in order to qualify:

Ages Eligible for Study: 35 Years to 42 Years
Genders Eligible for Study: Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No


Inclusion Criteria:
•Willing and able to provide written informed consent for trial P06029 as well as for the Frozen-Thawed Embryo Transfer (FTET) follow-up trial P06031, and for the pharmacogenetic analysis (if applicable).
•Female and >=35 to <=42 years of age with indication for COS and IVF/ICSI.
•Body weight ≥50.0 kg, BMI >=18.0 to <=32.0 kg/m2.
•Regular spontaneous menstrual cycle with variation not outside the 24-35 days.
•Ejaculatory sperm must be available (donated and/or cryopreserved sperm is allowed).
•Results of clinical laboratory tests, cervical smear, physical examination within normal limits or clinically acceptable to the investigator.
•Adhere to trial schedule.

Exclusion Criteria:
•A recent history of/or any current endocrine abnormality.
•A history of ovarian hyper-response or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
•A history of/or current polycystic ovary syndrome.
•More than 20 basal antral follicles <11 mm (both ovaries combined) in the early follicular phase.
•Less than 2 ovaries or any other ovarian abnormality.
•Unilateral or bilateral hydrosalpinx.
•Intrauterine fibroids ≥5 cm or any clinically relevant pathology, which could impair embryo implantation or pregnancy continuation.
•More than three unsuccessful COS cycles for IVF/ICSI since the last established ongoing pregnancy (if applicable).
•A history of non- or low ovarian response to FSH/hMG treatment.
•A history of recurrent miscarriage.
•FSH >15.0 IU/L or LH >12.0 IU/L during the early follicular phase.
•Positive for HIV or Hepatitis B.
•Contraindications for the use of gonadotropins or GnRH antagonists.
•A recent history of/or current epilepsy, thrombophilia, diabetes, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal, hepatic, renal or pulmonary or auto-immune disease requiring regular treatment.
•Smoking or recently stopped smoking (ie, within the last 3 months prior to signing informed consent).
•A recent history or presence of alcohol or drug abuse.
•The subject or the sperm donor has known gene defects, genetic abnormalities, or abnormal karyotyping, relevant for the current indication or for the health of the offspring.
•Prior or concomitant medications disallowed by protocol.

The study is pretty ho-hum: they are testing a new stimulation drug that is very similar to follistim/gonal-f but is long lasting so that for the first 5 days of stims you only have to do one injection. The drug is already approved in Europe.

We of course hope that we are going to get good news on Monday (beta day) and won't ever have to go back to the clinic in Philly. But, I'm, well, hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, as they say.

Finally, a funny story that I wanted to share a couple weeks ago when it happened but got distracted by, you know, life, and didn't get to it until now.

(This story is only funny in hindsight. At the time, well, I cried, people. I did.)

So the story starts with me leaving my husband's laundry in the backseat of our car. Thinking that I would just bring it in later, I went about my business. A couple hours go by and I go out to the store. As I walk past the car on my way home I notice that the driver's side door is slightly ajar. As I get closer I notice the door is unlocked, and I know I didn't leave it unlocked. I look into the back seat and my husband's laundry is missing. That's right, someone stole my husband's laundry! So, I notice that my neighbor is outside in front of his house, so I ask him if he saw anything. He tells me no and then proceeds to talk my ear off about who knows what and in the middle of this conversation I lean down to pet his dog and the dog bites my hand! I feel so embarrassed about it that I don't even look at my hand to see if I'm bleeding because I don't want my neighbor to feel bad, so now I'm standing there, worried about buying all new clothes for my husband, my hand throbbing, and then, the cherry on top: my neighbor asks me when we're going to have kids.


(my hand turned out to be fine, we went out and spent $300 the next day getting DH new clothes, and I told my neighbor "oh, I don't know, maybe someday.")

Friday, September 3, 2010

Losing Hope...

A quick update. Transfer was yesterday. For someone reason I had become convinced that our embryos would be top notch and OF COURSE we'd get to do a 5 day transfer. Nope. I was a little devastated. When we went in for the transfer we found out that we only had 4 embryos left out of the 6, and the embryologist called them "fair to good." He said that they liked to see 8 cell embryos on day 3 and we had one 6 cell and two 5 cell. He didn't even talk about the fourth embryo. He recommended transferring three, which we did.

He said that they generally see an 80% fertilization rate, but out of our 14 mature eggs, only 6 fertilized, and none of those embryos were very good quality. So, I guess maybe we're not unexplained anymore. Either my eggs suck, my husband's sperm sucks, or they just don't make good embryos together. Either way this doesn't look good. I know I'm being too defeatist right now, but I feel like this is pretty bad news.

I lost a lot of hope in this cycle yesterday. I lost a lot of hope in us every becoming parents yesterday.