Saturday, June 30, 2007

Creeping in ...

Hope is creeping in, creeping in. Today I feel stuff happening in those little ovaries. Little uncomfortable on the left, little twinge on the right. I keep hoping that I'm the tortoise and slow and steady will win the race. We'll see at US tomorrow.

There has been a lot of recent chats in the blogosphere about hope, choices and adoption (The Oneliner, Serenity). So I thought I'd share a little of my (sorry, our) journey on some of those topics. Not that we have made any final decisions, but with so many set backs we have talked a lot about a general game plan.

First you need to know a few things about our situation. ONE, we are poor -- okay not third world country poor, or even working poor, but in the realm of IF ... poor. After being blessed to have one child, I gave up being a veterinarian to stay home. The area we live in has a pretty low cost-of-living, so we could squeak by on my husbands resident's salary. I've been putting off some pretty substantial school loans to do this. So now, we have one year left in DH's training. Which brings us to number TWO, in one year we will be moving to LA for him to do an additional year of training, and where I will not be able to easily practice (licensing issues). Then THREE, we will move again to places unknown to settle down. All these things impact some of our decision making process.

Okay, moving on -- when my first IVF attempt failed I was crushed. As undiagnosed IF, I had convinced myself that if we could just get egg and sperm together in that dish, we'd be golden. Our IVF cycle had gone from bad to worse. Only 8 follicles, then only 5 eggs harvested, only 2 fertilized (one with ICSI). I was convinced my ovaries were kaput (DH has great swimmers). Immediately after the failure I didn't want to talk to my RE yet. Then when I tried to set up our follow-up appt. there were issues (he was away, we were away), so it took a whole month. In that time I aggressively investigated adoption.

Initially we were all for it. We both love children (duh, what a silly statement). We had always imagined our family as including several kids (I had always wanted 4 or 5. I am one of 6 -- catholic parents). I did a lot of reading about domestic vs. international and open adoptions. But we were very concerned about moving 2 times in the next 3 years and how this would complicate pursuing adoption. Then there were the costs to consider, and also how moving would affect those (needed to update home studies). From the information I gathered, we were easily looking at $20-30,000 for adoption internationally. And with domestic there can be unknown costs if you are working with a birth mother who needs financial support. We simply don't have those resources.

Without a big pool of cash to work from, it seemed we would have to consider other adoption roads - such as older children or those with disabilities. This was tough but simple at the same time. We both agreed we are not able to adopt a child with significant mental, physical or emotional disabilities. If it happened to us, we would be committed and work hard. But we just weren't willing to volunteer for that. That is a hard thing to admit and say about yourself. But we felt that IF had put us through the wringer, and at 35 we were too tired to offer ourselves up for more heartache. So, we also agreed that babies from drug addiction backgrounds etc, were not in our future either. The adoption options were getting smaller.

We talked about open adoptions too, and whether it would work for us. Since this is now the way many adoptions are set up today, it was an important issue. Again, we were quickly on the same page. (Its so nice to have your intellectual soul mate for a spouse) I felt that any parent who is selfless enough to place her child for adoption, deserves to know they are loved and safe. So we were both very willing to provide information, pictures, share letters. But we were both leery of meeting with the birth family on any regular basis.

Based on all these things, adoption started to seemed pretty daunting. I finally asked my DH the big questions ... "what do you want? is having J enough for you?" And I was surprised at the answer. He admitted that he too always imagined our family differently, but that if all we ever had was J, he'd be okay with that. I was so touched. Because I knew he was soothing my fears over his possible disappointment over no more of HIS biological children (since it seems the problem is likely me). He actually told me that our son was remarkable and that having gotten to see that was enough for him. But also that he wanted me to be happy and satisfied, so he would support any efforts I wanted to make. Amazing huh?

This beautiful outlook from him led me to look more into donor egg as an option. I want to see his sweet personality in our next child. I want to give that to him. I admit too, that I really want to be pregnant again. I want that connection, even if the egg is not my own. We've talked about this option too. But we know we can't financially afford it until all the moves are done and he is settled in a job with a significant income. That's tough. But I think this may be the right choice for us -- we'll see.

So, anyway. We finally talked to the RE about the first failed cycle, and found out that maybe it was so abysmal because it was ended too soon -- eggs too immature. Dr K didn't feel we had given it our best shot. He helped a little with financing so we could give it this last try. I'm a little worried since we had such a slow start. But hope is creeping in ...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tentative ovaries

So, my ovaries haven't completely left the building -- but I still fear they are packing their belongings and getting ready to vacate the premises. My E2 today was 344, so rising and more than doubled in 48hrs. The good news is that I finally have an US on Sunday with Dr K. Woo hoo! The bad news is I need more drugs. I ordered more today because of the weekend, but I'm worried I'll probably still need more.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement the last 2 days. Especially to Mel for convincing me my ovaries are too cultured for FL. And Leah for offering to compare protocols (I'm still going to take you up on that). And to Tam for stopping by and offering kind words. I'm amazed at you all for how you can support others while your own lives are crazy.

There are lots of ideas swirling through my head to talk about, but DH is actually home for the first night all week. Tucking J into bed and trying to pretend we are a married couple. Avert your eyes!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy yet?

You Are 28% Happy

You're not miserable, but you could stand to be a lot happier.
Focus on what's right in the world, and you'll be happier than you ever thought possible.

Found this site from Dianne/flutter's blog. Thought it appropriate after Mel's recent post about happiness. Bummer I scored so low.


In Cycle news ... it only gets better. Last night and this morning I started spotting. Minimal, but noticeable. The IVF nurse informs me that it is possible to have this happen while my estrogen is still low. So today is stim day 7 and I must still be low. My med increase was for this morning, so in theory I should be patient -- but boy is it hard. To top it off, my Dr K goes off IVF service on Saturday. I really wanted him in control of when to end my cycle. Armchair Monday morning quarterbacking revealed that my last cycle was ended prematurely by Dr S and that a fair number of the eggs were probably immature. So I really, really want Dr K to decide my meds (if things go on). He will be in the office for the beginning of July, but he is not on IVF service. I'm seriously contemplating insisting on a phone call where I pin him to the wall with my hysteria and make his swear on his mother's grave that he will monitor my results next week. Oh, and it gets even better -- I only have about a days worth of Menopur left, so I get to buy MORE meds. My financial picture keeps getting better and better.

Sorry this is gloomy. I really would like to be more witty and clever, but I'm just kinda too tired. Ate ice cream for dinner. I'm really pulling for that medical study that said ice cream is good for fertility (I read a discussion about it today on someone's IF blog but can't remember).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where did my ovaries go?

CD5 E2 not so great. Only 99. That puts me on the cusp of being a "poor responder." Not exactly what I've been striving for. They're upping my meds again, and another E2 on Friday. G-d, I hope this cycle doesn't get canceled. Does this mean its official? My ovaries have packed up and moved to Boca Raton? Menopause is just around the bend?

I don't care, its time for ice cream.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What am I waiting for?

WAIT -- Don't go anywhere!! Its still ME! I'm just still finding my voice, and format, for this blog. So don't be surprised if it changes now and then. Okay, now on with the post ...

I am overwhelmed. Since starting this blog and reading so many of yours, I am inundated with emotions. Over things that have happened and things that may (or may not) happen. I just feel such an urge to spew everything out to you all, since I feel only support and no judgment. Its amazing.

So where to start? Maybe a quick list about why the blog is "Waiting for ...?"

1. I am waiting to feel that my family is complete
2. I am waiting to feel that I am complete
3. I am waiting to feel what my calling and contribution to this world will be
4. I am waiting to know what to do about my career (will I ever go back to practicing veterinary medicine?*)
5. I am waiting for my short term (and long term) memory to function again
6. I am waiting for my sanity to return (hopefully it will bring happiness along with it)
7. I am waiting to know where in the country we will finally settle once my husband is done his training (will I like it?)
8. I am waiting to stop being afraid of the future
9. I am waiting to feel like a whole woman again
10. I am waiting ...

*I am sharing my profession because it is a vital part of how I identify myself (when I can), please be understanding that I can not practice medicine over the internet. But I'm always up for talking dog (cats too).


Cycle news: Not much exciting. Go for E2 tomorrow, then hopefully I'll be scheduled for US soon so I can know how many follies are developing. I'm dying here folks. Although I was glad to hear that my local IVF girlfriend did well and even had extras for the freezer. I'm hoping those good ju ju meds work for me too. I have to admit, I'm nervous now to be cycling so close to this friend. Now that I know things went so well for her, I'm worried they won't go so well for me. Ugh, go away ugly pessimism. It would be so wonderful for us both to be PG together and all that. But I'm freaking out a little that she will get PG or at least be able to do FET, and that my cycle will just bomb. I know that is silly since I truly want all that for her, and of course when I even mention these fears to DH he gets grumpy and insists that I HAVE TO BE POSITIVE. Its like he thinks that the power of positive thinking alone will conquer unexplained IF. "Ah yes, dear damsel in distress, have no fear for Prince Positive is here!"


In brighter news -- J did not drown in swim class, and the group was actually pretty small and the instructors quite good. Yeah! And while he was not exactly a star at his first soccer class, he did manage to finish the whole hour without any tears (just a little whining about being hot and hungry).

E2 tomorrow! I'm smiling, I'm feeling hopeful. Please don't whack me with your sword Prince Positive.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake (or PIE as it were)

Thanks to the Town Criers for giving us a reason to eat cake (or pie). Congratulations on your Blogoversary and for being an inspiration to us all. Being the rebel that I am, I had to eat pie rather than cake. Okay, really its because I went berry picking this week and had strawberries coming out my ears. So here is my MIL's wonderous strawberry pie. She used to run a strawberry and raspberry farm in Ontario, Canada.

But despite celebrating such a nice occasion, I'm feeling a bit nervous about my cycle now. Went for my first E2 after starting my miracle/good ju ju meds, and got the results today -- levels were a bit low. So they're bumping up my evening dose and I go back Wed. The spectacular nurse reassured me that Dr K isn't worried and that I've been slow to start in other cycles. But I still can't help worry some. Wish I was having US on Wed too, but no luck, just repeat E2.

Why is it that IF makes us so superstitious? I have NEVER been like that. Sometimes I feel more crazy than an NHL player in the Stanley Cup Finals (however, I refuse to grow a beard or wear the same underwear every cycle). But it seems everyone in the process gets hung up on omens and signs. Even the nurse who draws my blood said that maybe its a good sign that I feel so tired this cycle. It makes me crazy! I'm a scientist by training -- I KNOW there is no such thing. But we all do it. Will IF's hold over me never end?!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

And We're Off ...

So, my baseline was fine and I started 2x a day injections on Saturday. First E2 on Monday. Its hard to get too freaky until the first ultrasound. I'm not sure if its the meds or not, but I've been wiped out today, with intermittent mild headaches too. Otherwise, smooth sailing. Oh, except I almost forgot to do my evening meds last night! Isn't crazy how this whole thing can get so old hat that you forget? Of course, the fact that we are footing the entire bill for this go round is probably what helped me remember.

In other news, it seems my meds are blessed. Not like I sent them to the Pope, but at least endowed with good ju ju (that's luck or energy). Some of my meds I purchased from one of the clinic's former patients. She was older and had mild ovarian reserve problems, along with male factor too. The clinic only gave her a 10% and she was PG after her 2nd IVF. Another lady who was 42 (with unknown problems) bought some of her leftover meds and announced she was PG. Then, since this woman was offering a great deal on her most expensive meds, I told my local IF friend who is also doing her "last shot" IVF cycle. Well, today I heard she has 7 embryos to work with -- and hopefully all will develop well. So I'm hoping some of that good ju ju sticks with me.

Other brighter news ... we actually DID hire a sitter and went to the movies last night. Probably shouldn't have spent so much, but hey, we felt like real people.

Okay, too tired for more. Wish us luck -- tomorrow J has his first swim class WITHOUT a parent. Yes, that's right, just the teenage instructor to keep my baby from drowning.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Beginning of the End

So, tomorrow is my baseline US and E2. Da, da, da, daaa (that was the overture music, in case you couldn't quite hear it). Its funny, but I'm actually a little blase about it. I know how to get through the basics of the cycle, so its just like ... okay, do this then that. I don't think I'll get too crazy until the first real US.

DH has off this weekend. Of course being a resident that means he will still go in both mornings to round on patients, which could possible kill both mornings. But at least I'll have a little help with J and a chance to catch up on the laundry. Maybe we will even be able to eek out a little romance. Romance? Do I even know what that is anymore? Its bad enough what IF does to a couple and romance, but try adding in 80-100 hour work weeks and chronic fatigue for both of us. We're lucky if we even get a chance to talk about how we are paying for the IVF, let alone whisper sweet nothings anywhere. Sometimes I'm not sure what is screwing up our lives more, IF or residency. Hard to believe, huh? But residency life can be pretty crappy.

Ok, sorry, that last bit just slipped out. We've both worked a long time to get here, and its almost over, but sometimes it just gets to be a little bit much. And even though its his last year of residency, he's pursuing a fellowship (ie another year of being the whipping boy) -- so its painful that fiscal solvency is so far away. Mostly I'm just bitter because he is just starting his last year and his responsibilities have changed some and now he will be home even less, especially in the summer when there are lots of trauma cases.

When will we get to be grown ups? You know, ones with money, who hire babysitters and go out, or go on a real vacation (like one where you need to fly on an airplane and don't stay with friends or family)? Its hard to be this old and watch your peers have nice cars and go to the Bahamas (oh and have babies and still hire babysitters and go out). I know it was my choice to stay at home and that's a big part of why we are broke. And I know that it is worth it for J to have me at home. But some times I feel a little greedy and wish all the training was over and we could relax and afford to enjoy having me at home more. You know by me being able to join a gym, or get a pedicure, or buy fancy underwear!

Okay, this rant has worn me out. And distracted me from tomorrow, so that's good. I'll let you know if the baseline is a go. (thank g-d, no more BCPs, maybe not ever!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Its a Beautiful Day ...

I visited more blogs today. I can't believe how many of us our out there on the net. It was so comforting. I wish I had started this earlier. But some of you have been having some rough spots and it reminded me of many of mine. So for me today, I'm putting out only happy happy shine shine vibes.

Today was gorgeous. Sunny, 74, breezy and light. J and I went strawberry picking with our playgroup this morning and he was so excited! We've been apple and blueberry picking last summer, but he was hot to trot for today's activities. He was pretty good too, not too many yellow ones. It was nice to go do something active and carefree. I would have liked to spend a little more time with some of my friends who were there, but things have been a little strained between me and one of the moms (an entire lengthy other post! and definitely not a happy happy story). Suffice to say, my son and hers are having trouble getting along (what 4-year-olds don't?). But actually, I was really proud of J. When a possible incident was brewing between them, he just said ... "I'm going to go eat my grahram crackers" and walked away. Way to go little man! I was so proud! :) Finally he's listening to me?! I did that positive reinforcement thing and pulled him aside to tell him what a great job that was -- but of course when I told him "I want to talk to you" then he thought he was in trouble. Ooops, I guess I say that a lot. But on the car ride home he did blurt out of the blue -- "Mom, I just walked away."

And most of the day he was happy, even without a nap. God I wish more days were like that! We visited the neighbor's kids down the street. Then took strawberries to our elderly neighbors. They are over 80 and have adopted J as their grandson, as they have none. They are so sweet and we will miss them tons when we move next summer.

Tomorrow is another crazy day. J's last day of summer camp preschool, then a playdate, then shopping and haircuts. Wow, I'm tired already.


Okay, the "Amy needs" game ...

1) Amy needs to either wake up or start getting some extra will-power.
2) Amy is a vibrant woman with emotional and physical needs.
3) Amy needs to contact her phone service and have her number listed so her adoring public may contact her directly and quit bothering me.
4) Psycho Amy needs help so plz HEEELLLPP MMEE!!
5) Amy needs to get out the monkeysicle and do some tests on him and what not.
6) Amy needs some helping drinking apparently.
7) What Amy needs to bring to Saudi.
8) Amy needs your help!
9) Double Periods/Irregular Menstration, Amy Needs Help!!!

So there you have it. Apparently I am in seriously dangerous territory! And I didn't even know I was going abroad. And last time I was drunk I thought I got there all on my own. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy for a Negative

So, the patient was HIV negative. Yeah! So my husbands needle stick incident at work shouldn't mess up our impending IVF cycle. Or our lives.

We just got through 2 days of heat and humidity (with no AC) and little J is a bit off. I'm not sure if it was the heat or something else. Why is it you can't trust a 4-year-old when they tell you they are sick? Maybe because when you ask what's bothering them they tell you that their belly button is sore. Ugh.

We had thunderstorms and things are finally cooler. I'm tired. There are so many things I could talk about, but I'm just a bit worn out. Had my in-laws visiting the end of last week and now an old friend is coming to town for an interview for a few days. Revolving door at my house.

So more later. Tomorrow we go strawberry picking with friends. Hopefully sun and fun.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why, Why, Why, Why????

Okay, so I was thinking all day about what to write in my second post ever, and had bandied about several themes. Having finally acknowledged my need to vent all these thoughts and emotions from the last 2 years of TTC there were a plethora of options. And I've found so many of you (bloggers) that I wanted to talk about how closely I identify with you all and what a comfort it is that I am not alone.

But instead I just want to strangle my DH. You see, he is a surgeon in training (aka residency). This neccesitates working with both sharp objects and various individuals' blood. Perhaps you can recognize the infectious disease risk? So tonight, 6d prior to beginning meds for our last IVF, he calls to tell me he was the recipient of a stick today. I know it is not his fault and I'm supposed to be concerned about his (our) life and health. But right now I am just angry. This is not the first time in our IF journey that this was an issue. Just prior to starting with our RE he had an exposure (to top it off the hospital never arranged for the patient's HIV test so we had to spend 6 mos wondering -- we went ahead with treatment anyway). He says the patient from this exposure is low risk and will have a rapid HIV test tomorrow, but it is still frustrating.

I am such an evil wench. He clearly dreaded telling me. On the phone he just said we could talk when he got home. RED FLAG alert! So I pushed and he spilled. I'm sure he feels terrible. And I punished by simply remaining silent. When I take a deep breath I can admit that this will turn out to be no big deal. It is just disappointing to have any bumps in this road. Hopefully when he gets home later, I can smile and say "we'll deal with it". I think the only thing that would stop this bus would be an outright positive result from the patient.

Okay, moving on. I talked to my IVF nurse today, who I adore! Just a few double check questions to take care of, but it made it all seem so real. It is happening (needle stick be damned). While I am excited and want to do things like dream of twins, I'm also petrified of the crushing heartbreak that will come if it fails. Its so difficult to talk to my DH about these feelings. He is the most wonderful partner and loves me to pieces. But he struggles for words and always resorts to empty hope. "It still could happen, even without treatment. It only takes one good egg." (But where the hell is that egg?!) He just doesn't understand that in many ways I'm looking forward to no longer hoping. Of letting go of hope. Because with hope comes disappointment.

Ugh, that sounded depressing. Reading all your blogs lately has me on a roller coaster of emotions as I empathize with all you have gone through. I really do want to be hopeful. And see how many of you are or have succeeded (even against big odds) does make me glimmer a bit with something ... maybe it is hope?

Well, I think this gal needs some ice cream. Don't cha know that makes everything better?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Here we go again

Okay, so now that I am on the verge of the end of fertility treatment, I am finally starting a blog. Recently I started reading a variety of IF posts and blogs, and it has been really helpful. But I must say, I'm really nervous to be entering what (one way or another) will be our last IVF cycle. Especially to start sharing all the drama that will go along with that -- it might make it all the more real. But I've seen what a great network many of you seem to be to one another, so I think it is time to share.

My husband and I are 35 and dealing with unexplained secondary infertility. We have a wonderful boy who just turned 4 and, when he is not a terror, is a complete joy. It took nine months and one chemical pregnancy (I hate that term!) before we conceived J, and I was frantic that it would never happen. Infertility has always been a secret premonition for me since I was in my 20s. My husband and I married when we were 23, but both of us were pursuing professional degrees and held off starting a family. Like everyone with IF, I of course question that choice. But it would have been a nightmare to do both. Anyway, my mom was fertile mytrle (6 kids) and my sister had her 2 girls at over 33 -- so I had prayed I was okay. We had our son and I told myself the next one might take a little while, but would happen.

Well, after a year of trying ... nothing. We went directly to an RE, and he is great. Just to torment us, all our tests were normal. My husband and I are both medical professionals, so it was torture not to have a diagnosis. Diagnosis you can treat, unexplained you just fiddle around with. I did 7 months of Clomid and IUIs -- one extra since we missed an ovulation one cycle. Then I had to take some mental health leave, four months. By then I was chomping at the bit to get back in the game. We did our insurance covered 3 cycles of injectables with IUI. Nice follicles, great sperm counts -- no pregnancy. The only diagnostic test remaining was laparoscopy, but we decided that with no history of endometriosis we would pass. So it was time for IVF -- no insurance coverage for that.

I had been staying at home with our son, and opted not to go back to work when the fertility jaunt started. Well, that meant no money. We were lucky to get accepted for a NY state grant for one cycle of IVF where we paid a sliding scale amount based on our income. Then while waiting for the grant to come, I got pregnant -- non-treatment cycle (a curse of sorts since it echoed all those who insensitively tell you that you just need to relax). But my betas weren't doubling and it turned out to be a non-viable pregnancy or blighted ovum (I'm not a big fan of that term either). So after suffering through the Christmas holidays, I returned to the RE for a D&C. That was hard.

We finally did our IVF cycle and were devastated when 8 follicles only yielded 5 eggs, of which only 2 fertilized (one by ICSI). So they rushed them back into me and I suffered the 2ww. But I knew at 8 days post-transfer I wasn't pregnant, I just know my body after a stim cycle. And my beta confirmed -- no baby. Anyway, turns out my estrogen levels weren't rising much at the end of the cycle even though my follicles were growing. So my RE thinks the eggs weren't mature enough. Of course, I constantly worry that they are just old and crusty.

Now after all that background ... you can know that we are about to embark on our last hurrah of IVF. We scrounged some money and will live in further debt to give it one last try before my eggs shrivel up and blow away. We really can't afford this cycle, but couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't try. So on Saturday I start a new stimulation protocol and we cross our fingers. And toes.