An unconventional journey through assisted reproductive technology (and hopefully pregnancy and parenthood.)

About Me

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They say 30's are the new 20's. My wife and I have been together for over a decade now. We both work in the fast paced world of academia. Our state (and recently all others across the country) have finally allowed all marriage so we made that happen October 2014.

I'm a pretty big nerd, I'll be the first to admit. I love video games (yes, as a girl and yes, at my age). I have lots of other nerd hobbies and since I was unceremoniously banned from RuneScape, I've been playing Civilization and Skyrim. My real first nerd love is Magic the Gathering. 10,000 cards and growing, but that's an expensive hobby when you have two babies.

I have other grown-up interests too, especially reading. I like reading so much I have 3 Kindles and I also used to be a martial artist (one belt away from black belt. I'll finish someday.)

But now I've got twins and I have a feeling a lot of those hobbies are going to change.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Shot Done

Not much to say. The third shot hurt a bit. I think the nurse gave it a bit high on the ass. But all that's done now.

Here's the timeline we're looking at now. This shot will be effective until the end of January. Sometime between then and mid-March, I should expect a period. When I get it, I call and we schedule the biopsy to see if this worked. If I don't get a period by then, then I go back for an ultrasound to check the follicles and see what's going on and possibly start medication to jump-start my period and then schedule the biopsy. And then, whatever the results, we go forward from there.

It seems like I won't have much more news for a while. This process is such a frustrating waiting game. My plans until then are to enjoy the holidays and my vacation. Tomorrow is my last day of work for two weeks and I am so happy for that. I'm also going to keep up with the gym, which is going pretty well still. Still finding geocaches every day. And yeah, just stuff to keep positive during all this.

Happy holidays to everyone and here's to hoping for babby in 2013!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Down, One to Go

My ass hurts and I have a funny taste in my mouth. That can only mean one thing. Lupron day!

Getting the shot was a real pain in the ass this time. Lol.

No, seriously though. I requested my refill on the 9th. I get paid on the 10th so I wanted to make sure I had the money for it. and get it in plenty of time before the appointment today. Walgreens submitted the request to my insurance and my insurance sat it on it until the 15th before telling Walgreens that they can't fill it and I need to go through their specialty pharmacy. That's fine, but I wish they had told me that weeks ago. Or even last month when I got the first one. But they didn't. I guess they let Walgreens fill the first one as a 'courtesy'.

Walgreens calls me on the 15th and tells me that they can't fill it. I panicked because I needed it by today (the 20th). So I had to make a bunch of calls to get it rushed and it got delivered yesterday. It was very nerve wracking because I had to go today. There is no window of days for this shot like for the first one.

Well, on the plus side my cost was only $27 instead of $60 at Walgreens or $800+ without coverage. The nurse was surprised because I guess it's not a medication that insurances regularly cover.

The nurse also said that if I'm going to feel side effects, it should start with this shot. I could be feeling hot flashes or severe mood swings along with the taste in my mouth. The last one is on December 18. Should make for an interesting holiday season.

Oh hey, on an unrelated note, I've lost 15 pounds since joining the gym. I was thinking about that and if we do another transfer and it works, I'm going to gain it all back. Lol, but it would be worth it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Down, Two to Go

My apologies to anyone actually reading this thing still. I forgot to write this last week. It's been a busy couple of weeks.

I actually got my period last Friday, right before my school's Halloween carnival, and I went to the doctor Monday for the shot.

So, the way this thing worked was she took it and hit the purple plunger. That dropped the powder and saline together. Then she rolled it a bunch of times to mix it. Next she squeezed a handful of my left ass cheek and stuck it in.

Maybe it was because I was expecting it to hurt a lot, but I barely felt a thing. She didn't even give me a band-aid.  Later, though, was another story. It started aching, like how a tetanus shot hurts. And it hurt for a few days.

It's not bad now, though. I also got the weird taste in my mouth like the other Lupron, but thankfully that went away within a day or two.

Apparently I'll get another period in a couple of weeks, which I don't call them for. Instead I'll go in for the next shot November 20 and then the last one on December 18. And then another biopsy to see if this worked.

I really hope this works.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What is THIS monstrosity?

Lupron Depot 3.75MG kit.
This isn't your average subcutaneous Lupron injection. This is the Lupron that is supposed to treat my protein deficiency. I picked it up from Walgreens today. My insurance actually paid for it, minus the brand name co-payment. So instead of over $800, it was only $60. That is very nice because I'm going to need 3 of these.

I'll call on day 1 of my next period and then go in on day 3, 4, or 5. I have to take this thing to the doctor and they will administer it there. I doubt the doctor will actually do it. More likely one of the nurses, but you know what I mean. When I heard that I have to go to the doctor for this I was confused because my lady has given me countless injections. But once we saw this's probably better that they do it. I'm not even sure how it works.

It looks like the top is saline and under that is powder that will be mixed with the saline, but I can't figure out how. Plus, it looks like it's intramuscular, not subcutaneous. The needle looks fucking huge, anyway.

I'll do this for 3 months and then another biopsy, which I wrote about in my last post. So we'll be in 2013 before we get another attempt, if at all.

I'll let you know how bad this thing hurts :(

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Results Are In

The biopsy results actually turned out how we wanted! The protein necessary for implantation is missing from my uterus. I really thought it would be there and we would be screwed. But since it's missing, now we have an idea why this hasn't been working. And now we have something new to try.

Now I've got another weird medical dysfunction to add to my ridiculous medical history. It's almost laughable at this point. I can't make this shit up.

The doctor actually e-mailed my lady today, which was good because I can't get calls at work except at very specific times and I have no Internet access at work. That's a whole different story, though. Almost a month into the school year and since the construction still isn't done I have no network access. But don't even get me started on that.

I haven't been able to find out a lot about this missing protein on Google. And we don't get to talk to the doctor a lot. Probably even less now since she's getting ready to drop a baby of her own in a couple of weeks. I have no idea why I'm missing the protein. All I've read is that it's not common and it's usually connected to endometriosis. But from what the doctor did tell us and what I could find out, it is treatable and pretty successfully.

On day 3 of my next period I'll go in for a Lupron shot, but it's a different Lupron than I took before. I don't know the pharmacology and why it's different, but it is. We thought I'd be on Lupron for 90 days straight, but it's one shot a month for 3 months. And then we have to wait some more weeks after that to do another biopsy. If the gods be good, the protein will be present in the second biopsy and we would be able to go forward with another FET, hopefully with a better chance of being successful. If after 3 months the protein still isn't there, then we will go from there. One thing at a time.

I can't say I'm excited about having another biopsy, though. I guess since I had it in my mind that the protein would be there, this would be the end of our journey and I wouldn't have to go through that again. I guess it's a good thing I have to do it again, but I'm really not looking forward to that.

I guess things are looking up a little now. In some ways I think this is just as hard as if this would have been the end. We've spent a lot of time coming to terms with the possibility that it could have been the end and I was almost at acceptance, myself. The hope that we still might have a baby is positive, don't get me wrong. But it's going to be over 4 more months of all this. This is a very hard process but I am hopeful that we will be able to cope better than we could last year.

I feel like the tone of my blog has gotten very depressing. I'm going to try to write about happier things. I wouldn't want to read this if I didn't write it myself. Sorry.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Was Right.

The biopsy was just as painful as I imagined. Probably even more painful than I thought because everyone was telling me it wouldn't be that bad so I kind of got it in my head that it might not be. But it was.

I don't know where the nurse got this "it feels like someone is pulling on your ears from the inside" nonsense because I didn't feel shit in my ears. They put in the speculum, which oddly enough didn't bother me and it used to. Then they poked around my cervix for a while because they couldn't get it to dilate. She said it might be because I had a full bladder. I asked her if she wanted me to go to the bathroom because I actually did have to pee, but she said no.

Once they got that figured out they put in the catheter. It felt like they took Ned's greatsword from Game of Thrones, shoved it into my uterus, and then pulled. And just for teh lulz, they had to do it twice because the first time she didn't get any tissue, just blood. I have a decent tolerance for pain but after the first time I was tearing up. When they did it the second time, I was openly sobbing and there were a few moments I considered telling her to stop. It was that bad.

Eventually it was over and I talked to the doctor for a few minutes. I know I pay her, but I think she really does feel bad for us and everything we've gone through and I think she really wants this to work for us. Many other doctors would have given up on us, but she says she'll keep trying as long as we're willing. I don't know how long that will be, though.

She said we'd get the results in 7 to 10 days. If the protein is missing, which is what we're hoping, then we start 3 months of Lupron. If it's not missing, then we go forward from there. I'm not sure what she means by that, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weirdest Appointment Yet.

Since school started I've had to go to appointments before work. The doctor doesn't come in that early so the main nurse has been doing the ultrasounds. Since my lining suddenly stopped responding the doctor wanted to see me herself. I took a day off today and headed up there this afternoon. My lady was able to come this time too, so it was a real event.

I'd swear it hasn't been that long since we've seen the doctor herself, but then again maybe it has because she has a huge, pregnant belly now and she didn't before. Yeah, weird. I think I might have done a literal double take when she came in. I didn't know whether to ask her about it or pretend I knew. I went for option 3 and just didn't say anything about it. I know that just because she's a fertility doctor it doesn't mean she has fertility issues, but it was still very weird in my mind to see her pregnant. She did the ultrasound and I guess the pills-in-the-vagina and patch combination is working because the lining is thickening now. She gave us the green light to schedule the biopsy.

We did that with the nurse, who also told us the doctor is due October 15. So she has been pregnant for a while and we never noticed or knew. I still can't get over that. Also, if I didn't know better, I'd say the nurse had been drinking at lunch because she was really goofy today. She's usually pretty chill, but she was laughing and I couldn't understand some of what she was saying. I know it's Friday afternoon, but man. After seeing a surprise pregnant doctor and then an uber-giggly nurse, it was a very weird appointment.

Anyway, the biopsy is scheduled for next Friday the 14th. I am also supposed to do Crinone starting tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get to take advantage of my new insurance benefit. I'm getting a little tired of shoving things up my vagina. Huh, never thought I'd say that.

The nurse said the biopsy isn't that bad, but doctors also told me that my thyroid biopsy last year wouldn't be that bad, but that was the worst pain I've ever experienced so I think they say everything "isn't that bad". She said it feels like someone is pulling on your ears from the inside, whatever that means. I guess I'll find out next week. It's done with a catheter and a needle (I'm guessing about the needle, she didn't say) and it sounds pretty bad. But I'm still going to go to work in the afternoon because we have meetings every Friday afternoon that I really can't miss. We'll see how that goes.

I hate to end on a down note, but I'm finding it very hard to get excited or interested in all of this anymore. I'm tired of being disappointed and so I've found myself just not caring anymore. If it wasn't for the small chance that something could still work, I'd just say fuck it. But I do want to know what the biopsy results are so I guess I'm in this for a couple more weeks.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pills in the Vagina.

Yep. But before I get to that...

I saw the doctor yesterday but I was pretty wrapped up in the first week of school and another project I'm working on to post. But here you go, for anyone who still reads this thing.

I'm starting to get the feeling that the doctor is just kind of winging it here. I don't think she really knows what to make of my case anymore and so we're just going appointment by appointment. I had thought I'd have a set date for the biopsy, but I guess my uterus isn't where she wants it to be yet. That's where the pills in the vagina come in.

I've been taking estradiol three times a day now. By mouth. But now I get to stick them up my vagina three times a day instead. The nurse told me that there is better absorption when taken vaginally but I don't know because I'm having the same issue as the Crinone leaving a residue. And the pills are blue, so you can imagine what that looks like. I won't post pictures, lol.

The doctor wants me back on Tuesday and if everything in there looks good, she'll give me a new HCG prescription and we'll do a trigger shot. Then 8 to 11 days after that I'll have the biopsy. We think that's because that's about the window of time when an embryo would be trying to implant, so that would be the obvious time to check for an implantation protein.

If the protein is missing like we're hoping, we'll begin 3 months of Lupron, which is going to suck balls. After that we do another biopsy and ideally the protein would be there. Then we start all over for a new cycle and try another FET.

If the protein is there in first biopsy, well then I guess the doctor needs to think of something new or we need to start making some hard decisions.
Now, the nurse said the biopsy isn't that bad and I'd only need to take half a day off. This worries me because it makes me think I'm going to be awake for it. I want them to knock me the fuck out, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

So that's where we're at now with the fertility issues.

In other news, my health insurance has decided to go with a new prescription plan. We didn't used to pay for generics, but there is a co-pay now. That's whatever, but the exciting news is that they cover Crinone now. Well, it'll be exciting if we ever get to the FET stage again and need the Crinone. I paid over $300 for a box of 20 before (which lasted 10 days) and now I can get 45 a month for the $60 co-pay. Nice. On the other hand, we now have a co-pay for Lupron and it was free before. You win some, you lose some.

Lastly, and probably the most amusing news, I've joined a gym. If you know me IRL, you understand why this is funny, but for those of you who don't, to put it simply, I'm lazy. I lead a very sedentary lifestyle and I'm fine with this. But I realized that I've really let myself go over the past few years and I finally decided I want to do something about it. I went for my orientation today and man, it's worse than I thought. But I'm going to try to fix it as much as I can.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Upcoming Changes

I realize my updates have been far and few in between, but that's the nature of this process. it's a lot of waiting. My period, which was due around the 12th didn't come until the 19th. I called Monday and went for an ultrasound today. To be honest, I don't know what they're even looking for right now but they also checked my FSH and HCG this time in my blood also. I start estradiol tonight and I go back on the 31st.

I also am waiting to hear from the financial coordinator. I hope she calls me tomorrow. I just want to know what we're getting in for, what we have left from the package we paid for (if anything) and most of all I don't want any surprise charges.

Other than that, we've been keeping up with our geocaches and both of us are getting ready to start a new school year. Summer is coming to a close and it's time to go back to work. Now that my lady has graduated she'll be making more money, which is great. My union and district can't even agree on a contract so I have no idea what's going on but I still have a job. And kids are coming Monday.

Speaking of which, if you recall, my school has been undergoing construction. It was supposed to be done on August 18th. But it's not and it's not expected to be done until into September. It's big things that aren't done too, like the MPR and computer network. Typical, and I should have expected it, but it's still an extra stress I wasn't planning for.

To end on a happy note, I recently celebrated my 32rd birthday. A year older, maybe wiser. I don't know, but it was fun celebrating with my friends and family. I got a new laptop, which I desperately needed. My old one was about 7 years old, which is incredibly old for a laptop nowadays. It still had Windows Vista, for crap's sake!

So, if you're still hanging in with this blog, thanks. I can't promise I'll write more often, because it just depends on timing. But I will for sure update any time I go to the doctor, which right now is next Friday.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just Checking In

This post has nothing to do with infertility news as there won't be any for a couple more weeks. However, it never occurred to me that people might read this and might want to know what's going on anyway.

So, as you know we were in a pretty bad place after the last transfer. So bad we had to leave the state for a day. When we got back we went to our counselor to figure out what we should do and she had some suggestions for us. Mainly, we needed to find things we like to do to distract us from the grief for a while so it is not as intense. We didn't really have any ideas then, but when we left we found the answer.

Geocaching. If you've never heard of it, you should check it out. People hide things called caches all over the world and you use the GPS on your phone (or if you have a real GPS) and you find the caches. You get to sign the log and mark online that you found it. Some have cool prizes or even cash if you're the first to find something, but most of the time it's just about the thrill of finding them. And we've found some really cool and creative ones.

Some are simple Altoids cans like this.
This one is a magnetic bolt and when you screw the top off, the log is inside. It was magnetized to the back of a fire lane sign and it looked like it belonged there. If you weren't looking for it, you would never know it didn't belong there. This is one of our favorite finds so far.

Geocaching is perfect for us because we both like to find things. We both love maps, although I can't read a map for shit. Luckily my lady can so she navigates and I drive and crawl through the dirt and rocks when needed. We both love to collect and there are virtual badges for finding special caches and other milestones.  At first we didn't find anything, but once we learned some tricks of how the caches are hidden we started finding them left and right. It was just what we needed.

Besides that, we also love traveling so we are going on another trip next week. We got a really great room with a jacuzzi for 2 days really cheaply. We're going to enjoy some new scenery and find some geocaches in a new state. Indeed we are.

We've been reading a lot too. I finally got my lady to read Game of Thrones, mostly because my mom bought season 1 and we've been watching it too. I'm about halfway through the third book myself, but I've been so excited about geocaching that I haven't read too much lately myself.

And lastly, we are both in love with the Olympics and with Tivo there is almost always something taped or taping to watch.

So those are the things we have been doing to bring ourselves out of our grief. Not that the grief is gone. I still feel it. But I can deal with it now. When it's the only thing on your mind, that's impossible. And I'm actually enjoying life right now. I'm going to make the most of the rest of my summer.

I also had another thought that I'm going to throw out there. I know that my followers are few and a couple of you I know IRL, but most I don't. So if anyone is interested in adding me on Facebook or as a Geocache friend or on RuneScape, e-mail me and I'll give you my contact information.

Laters, baby.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The New Plan

Yesterday was day 1 again so when I called to report I got to talk to the nurse a little more and get some more information on what's going on.

If I am missing this protein like the doctor thinks, then there is treatment for it, which is good. We had thought there wasn't. So we're going ahead with the biopsy to find out and this has been added to the financial list on the side.

If the protein is missing, then the treatment is to go on Lupron and a couple other drugs for 3 months. Yep. 3 months of Lupron. At the beginning of a new school year. Fantastic. Then after the 3 months they check again and the protein should be present and we should be able to do a normal transfer. I say should before all of these because of course there are no guarantees in any of this, but that's the new plan.

If we do the biopsy and the protein is there and it's not the reason this hasn't been working or if after the 3 months of treatment the protein still isn't present, then I don't know.  The nurse seemed to think the doctor still had other things she could try. I don't know what, but I'm not the one that went to Duke and Stanford so it's not up to me to figure it out. We'll keep trying as long as there is any chance it could work.

What I really need is an ambitious doctor that wants to study me or something. Free research!

So now we're crossing our fingers that I have a rare protein deficiency. It's a new hope to hang on to. We have started processing the possibility that it just might not happen also and we have some plans for that road as well, so it's not the dark tunnel we were looking at before.

I don't see the doctor again until the beginning of August so I don't expect much updating until then. So everyone enjoy the rest of your summer!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Negative again.

This is probably a tl;dr, just so you know.

I woke up pretty early this morning to do the pee test. Just for funsies I did two. I got a 'not pregnant' from the EPT and a flat out 'no' from the First Response. So that pretty much sealed it in my mind. I went back to bed.

I hadn't planned to wake my girlfriend since it was really early, but she probably heard me get up anyway. After we cried for a while we decided to get out of town for the day. All summer we've been sitting around waiting for this pregnancy to play out. But since we didn't have to do that anymore, we decided to go on a road trip. We packed, fed the cats and were out the door before 7:00.

We stopped by my mom's house to drop off a house key, just in case. Then we got the tire pressure in my car checked. We got some food and snacks. And although I felt it was completely pointless, we went and got the blood test. The doctor was there, which was unusual. She had on her hairnet so she must have just done a procedure. She smiled and said she felt great about today. I didn't tell her about the pee tests so I just smiled and mumbled something. She said that my levels had actually increased from the first blood test to the second one so she was feeling confident. We hit the freeway right after that.

We had been on the road a couple of hours when the doctor called. I have Sync in my car, which has Bluetooth so I was not talking on the phone and driving. Anyway, she confirmed that it was negative and she sounded like she felt really bad. Probably not as bad as we felt, but it's nice to think she really might care. She said she thinks my uterus isn't working. I kind of thought she might be joking, but she totally wasn't. She suspects I might be missing a protein created by the uterus that, without it, implantation can't occur.

She wants me to have a biopsy to check for the protein. It's a whole process in itself. They have me tentatively scheduled for it in the beginning of September but I have to call with day 1 of my period again to finalize what we want to do. We also have to talk to the financial coordinator now because we're not sure if we're going to get any credit for the fresh attempt we didn't get and also to find out how much this biopsy is going to cost. It sounds like something my insurance might pay for, but I can never be sure of what they'll cover and what they won't.

Now, the thing is that if the protein IS there, then the doctor is really stumped as to why this isn't working and I have no idea where to go from there. I even tried praying this time! Seriously! Maybe I didn't do it right or maybe I prayed to the wrong deity or maybe it's all bullshit, which is what I suspect. But I am willing to try anything.

If the protein isn't there, well then it will be nice to have a reason for this madness but I don't know how this changes the process. The doctor did suggest switching vaginas again, but we can't afford to have my girlfriend miss a semester of work (she wouldn't get maternity leave). My cousin offered to be a surrogate, but she doesn't live in the same state so I don't think that would work logistically.

I did some research on this and it may be tied to endometriosis, but I don't think I have that. The doctor did say it's pretty rare, but that just makes it more likely for me to have it since I get all the weird conditions. It's not tied to my diet, though.

So that's where we are now. We're heartbroken, obviously. A couple of weeks ago our counselor asked us to think about what it would mean if it turns out that we can't have kids. Now that it's more of a possibility, we're going to have to start really dealing with that. That's going to be very rough and I don't know how we would ever get over that.

We have some thinking and decisions to make in the coming weeks so I guess my next update will be whatever our next plan is going to be. Thanks for all your kind words and thoughts.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Levels good

I never heard from the doctor about my bloodwork last Friday and they never uploaded the results to my account online, so I have no idea what the levels were. I know they're a very busy office, but this has happened more than once. I suppose if I was more assertive I would call, but I'm not.

I had blood drawn again today and they did call me this afternoon. She gave me the generic "everything looks good" but they still haven't uploaded the actual numbers online so I don't know what their idea of "good" is this time. Maybe it's better that I don't know the actual numbers because I tend to drive myself nuts trying to figure out what they mean. They didn't have me start the estradiol patches, so I guess my levels there must be better than last time. This also means that me waxing my stomach was purely aesthetic. Oh well.

The actual test is Monday. I think I've done a pretty good job of not getting my hopes up. I'm trying to be positive and do what I'm supposed to do without obsessing over what if's. It would be wonderful if this is finally it and we can finally move forward. And if it doesn't work, well we've been down that road too so we know where to go from there too.

I still plan to do the pee test before the blood test. I know it's not as accurate and it could still give me a false negative because it's before my period. But I'd like to have an idea anyway, especially if they don't call me right away with the blood test results. We bought a box of pregnancy tests at the grocery store last week. I grabbed a box and when I looked closer at it, I realized it's not the ones I like. Then I thought to myself, most people probably don't have a favorite brand of pregnancy test. But you go through a lot when you're trying to have a baby.

Just in case you're curious, my favorite is the digital EPT. They cost a lot more than the other ones, but this way it clearly tells me pregnant or not pregnant. No messing with plusses and minuses or one line versus two.

So, hopefully good news Monday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welp, there they are.

You  might have to double click to get a bigger picture, but what we're looking at here is two embryos in the red circle. One on top and one below. We went with a boy and a girl. I don't know which is which. I didn't even think to ask. Everyone kept telling us how gorgeous the embryos look. But I feel like they say that to everyone. I doubt they're going to tell you if they look like shit.

The picture is blurry because it was taken secretly after they left the room and with a phone. But if you look to the right of the embryos you can still see the catheter because they freeze the screen before they take it out. The dark part at the top is my bladder. This procedure has to be done with a full bladder and mine was at capacity. I have no idea what any of the numbers or stuff on the bottom mean.

The procedure went much like the first one, so you can read about that in the archive if you're interested. We did a little more research into the Ferrari IVF chamber and it turns out it might not be made by the car company. But I wonder why they use the same logo? Oh well.

They gave me a chocolate bar again, but this time it is milk chocolate so I'm actually eating it. The picture is sideways because I was laying on the floor when I took it and I can't figure out how to rotate pictures here. Anyway, it's pretty good. I've eaten half and the other half I plan to dip in peanut butter and eat it later. Maybe it didn't work last time because I didn't eat the chocolate bar. But come on! Nobody can eat 90% dark chocolate. It's gross.

So, like I said before I'm trying to keep it relaxed and positive.I've had a very enjoyable afternoon watching hilarious YouTube videos with my friend that took me to the appointment and my girlfriend when she got home from work. Then we went to a pre-4th of July bar-b-q, which was pretty amusing. I hope I made a lot of endorphins and the embryos are like yeah, this looks like a happy place to set up shop.

I'm not sure what we're doing for the 4th tomorrow. There's lots of fireworks shows around town, but my lady has to work the next day so I don't know if we want to be out that late.

The first blood test is on Friday. The only thing I'm really looking for is to have the progesterone level above 5. That's the lower limit for maintaining a pregnancy, meaning if it's lower and these did actually implant this time then I would be more likely to miscarry. And we certainly don't want that.

That's it for now, I guess. More Friday, I reckon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Next Transfer Tuesday

Saw the doctor yesterday. My uterine lining is about 9mm now so we're going ahead. The optimal conditions are when the lining is 8mm to 13mm and it's gong to get thicker before Tuesday so it should be good. My estradiol is on the high side, but I've been taking estradiol for about a week now so that's expected. My progesterone is a little low and that always worries me. I start the Crinone this weekend so that should bring it up. But it still worries me. Progesterone is the hormone that maintains a healthy pregnancy and so the doctor likes it to be high before the transfer so if it does implant, my body has a head start with it. It also makes a better baby environment also. My thyroid levels are perfect so everything should be ideal.

But it usually is and this hasn't worked yet, so I probably shouldn't even bother looking at these numbers and stuff, except that it does interest me in a way.

Now that it's getting closer I'm starting to get nervous. We're both pretty sure it probably won't work again. Of course we hope it will, but we're both preparing for the worst again. I don't know if that will make it any less painful. I hope we don't have to find out.

We're transferring two this time. A boy and a girl. We don't want to use both of the boys we have left. We had thought about using one of the boys and one of the untested ones to increase the chances of having a boy. But the nurse strongly suggested using the ones that have been tested because although the untested ones made it to the blastocyst stage, there is still a small chance that there might be problems with them that wouldn't emerge until later. Considering so many of my embryos had chromosomal abnormalities I'd say that's a reasonable suggestion. And I figure by now they want to get me pregnant as much as I do.

So that's all happening Tuesday. Although they said I don't particularly need anyone to go with me, I don't want to go by myself so my good friend is taking me. She's pretty amusing so she can definitely keep my mood light. I don't know if she will want to go in the procedure room with me, but if she does I'm going to have her take a picture of the screen after the transfer. They leave it up so you can look at it while you lie there and last time neither my girlfriend or I brought our phones in the room. Not that I could anyway because I'll be wearing a spa wrap.

So, I guess I'll post again Tuesday and hopefully with pictures this time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No More Lupron

Finally, I am done with that shit for this cycle. I cannot wait to get back to feeling normal once it completely leaves my body. It was pretty close with the Lupron this cycle. We almost ran out because my cycle is so long and I have to be on it for so long. When we thought we might run out I called in a refill but it turns out there is a national backorder on Lupron right now, like lots of other medications. Weird. But luckily we had enough and now I can let my bruises heal and start exfoliating my marks from when we used the non-hypoallergenic band-aids.

My lining today was just over 6mm, which is ok for this part of my cycle. I'm starting to increase my protein intake again and the prenatal vitamins I'm taking now have DHA, which the pharmacist told me was good. I think it's making my pee brighter yellow, though. Basically, I'm trying to make an ideal baby environment. The doctor today said something like "we're going to do it this time" and I appreciate her confidence, but I just can't share it anymore. All I can do is hope for the best and make sure I do everything I'm supposed to.

I think I can probably call myself one of her more difficult patients now.

I go back on Tuesday and I'm really hoping they will give us a date for the next transfer. I'm hoping it's after my girlfriend is done teaching for the summer so she can be there. I don't really feel weird going to appointments by myself. Actually, most people in the waiting room are usually by themselves. But for the actual procedure I'd like company. My mom would go, but I would feel weird with her there. The only other person I'd really feel comfortable being there is my cousin, but she lives in Denver so that's out.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see on the dates. They haven't even had me start the Crinone vagina cream, so I think we have a ways to go.

I was actually supposed to work on Tuesday. There is a crap-ton of professional development over the summer and they pay us $30 an hour, which is fucking sweet. Since I won't be getting summer school money this year, I signed up for as many hours as I could but I had to cancel from the workshop on Tuesday. Oh well. Gotta be flexible when you're in cycle.

Other than that, I'm trying to enjoy the pool as much as I can before the transfer because I won't be allowed to swim after that. I'm also trying to catch up on my reading. I finished all three Fifty Shades of Grey (I know, LOL) and now I'm working on Game of Thrones. And trying to stay as relaxed as I can. No stress, no anxiety. Just calm blue oceans. Calm blue oceans.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 1 (Tuesday)

After much waiting, my period finally arrived yesterday. I don't know what it means that it took so long this time. I happened to have an appointment with the doctor yesterday anyway. After doing the ultrasound and then checking the bloodwork, they had me start estradiol again and gave me another appointment for next Wednesday. That was actually the estimated transfer date, so obviously that's not happening. Depending on how my lining fills in this time and how quickly, I'd guess we're looking at the last week of June or first week of July for the transfer. I also have to continue Lupron until next Wednesday also and I was really hoping to get off of that shit sooner.

In other news, my summer vacation is going well so far. I haven't gotten bored yet so I'm still enjoying it. I've been hanging out with my mom and helping her watch my brother & new sister in law's dogs while they're on their honeymoon.

I went to the dentist and my teeth are pretty perfect. Except I have to start wearing a night guard again because I've been clenching my jaw again. I actually had TMJ surgery about 10 years ago. Totally wasn't worth it. My jaw is just as bad now as it was before the surgery, but most of the time it doesn't bother me. Or I've gotten used to it.

This last part kind of relates to the content of my blog. I've written how hard it's been for me to deal with the first transfer not working. I just haven't been able to bounce back from it like the IUI's before. So my lady and I decided to see a counselor. I'm not going to go into more details because it's not just my business that we talk about, but I wanted to mention it because that's another thing people should know if they're thinking about going through this process. You might want to go crazy at times and even if you have a lot of support from family and friends, they might not always be able to help you like a professional could. So don't be afraid to consider it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Random Ultrasound

Well, actually this was supposed to be my day 3 scan but I still haven't gotten my period. I'm finished with the birth control and it should have come Sunday/Monday. But still nothing today. Please, no jokes telling me to take a pregnancy test. It's not as funny as you think it is.

Anyway, the doctor had me come in to see what was going on. This happened before and I actually got my period during the ultrasound before, but not this time. They also took blood to check hormone levels. The doctor said to decrease the Lupron tonight, and I'm glad because that shit really messes me up. And I'm going back for another ultrasound next Tuesday.

So I'm guessing this is going to push back the estimated date of June 20 for the next transfer. It's not really an issue now, though. Today was my last day at work until August, so I have nothing but time. Last year I taught summer school for 5 weeks, but it wasn't in the budget this year. And I'm not really looking for work because I'm on 12 month salary. So I'm going to relax and de-stress myself as much as possible in the next few weeks.

Actually, to help with that my girlfriend and I are going to be seeing a counselor next week. We've both had a very hard time dealing with all this and her psychiatrist recommended this lady that deals with a lot of gay issues and she happens to be gay herself. Not that really matters, but the psychiatrist really thought she would be a good match for us. I'm kind of nervous. I've been in therapy many times before and I always have trouble with knowing what to say. I'm not a big talker. I'm much better at expressing myself in writing. But I'm going to give it a try.

As for the rest of my summer...

My brother is getting married tomorrow, so that should be fun. Except that it's outdoors and we live in a very, very hot climate. Also, my cousin's birthday is this Sunday. After that, my girlfriend is teaching summer school for the next 5 weeks so I'm going to need to amuse myself for a while. And then we'll have some time off together. We want to take a trip, but we're not sure where. A lot will depend on if a pregnancy actually happens this time.

That's it for now. Hopefully there will be more interesting news Tuesday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pre-Lupron Scan

So I've been taking birth control for a week or so now. Today they did an ultrasound to see what's going on down there before I start Lupron tomorrow. Everything looks whatever, so it starts again. I've been growing a pretty awesome power bush, but I did trim it up this morning. It looks pretty nice now, if I do say so myself.

I should get my period in a couple more weeks (another reason to trim the bush) and then I go for an ultrasound on day 3 of that cycle. Then we go through all the motions of ultrasounds to measure the lining, bloodwork, etc. They've given us an approximate FET date of June 20. If this one actually works, we'd be having the baby in early March.

Most of this cycle will be after the school year is over. I'm hoping that the significantly reduced stress will be a positive thing and maybe give me better chances this time. The nurse also confirmed with me today that we'll be transferring two this time, which should also increase the chances. Part of me isn't sure if we should use both of our boys that we have left or do one boy and one of the mystery embryos we haven't had tested yet. I figure that way, we have one boy left for sure if there is a next time. I don't know. It makes sense in my head. We have a while to think about that, though.

I was thinking about the timing today. We have a field trip tomorrow. The fifth graders compete against other schools in a track meet. It's a pretty big deal. Anyway, I was thinking about timing because this time last year we were doing the second IUI. I had a doctor's appointment on the day of the track meet and it was the biggest shit show finding a sub for that. It worked out in the end and that's not really the point of my flashback. The point is, that this has been almost two years of our lives (including all the planning and testing the year before that) with this business now. And time is ticking. I'm going to be 32 this year. 35 is generally the age where things start to get really tricky trying to conceive. As if things haven't been tricky enough already.

I still really haven't gotten over the first FET failing. I've never experienced disappointment like that before. I don't really know how to deal with it. I know time heals all wounds and all that crap, but I really don't have a lot of time here. And starting the Lupron tomorrow is going to make me an even bigger train wreck emotionally.

Something needs to start working out or I might really lose my mind :\

Monday, May 14, 2012

The doctor said we could start again right away if we want. I'm not sure if I do, but I'm going to anyway. I got my period Sunday so I called today and got a new flow sheet. I start birth control tomorrow and then Lupron again in a couple of weeks. My last day of work is June 7. Most of the ultrasounds and the next transfer is scheduled for after that, so I won't have to worry about subs, which is great.

Now, the IVF package we paid for was supposed to include 1 fresh transfer and 2 frozen. Since we didn't get to do the fresh we assumed that we would get 3 frozen instead. The doctor said they had never had that situation before so she didn't know, but it looks like we'll probably only get one more chance instead of two before we have to pay again. We're going to have to talk to the person in charge of financial stuff, though. The doctor doesn't really deal with that.

After everything we've gone through and already spent, $2,500 doesn't seem like much at all and we will come up with it if we have to. My mom said she would pay for one also if we needed it. We're both working this summer and summer money is pretty good. But it still burns.

I saw my endocrinologist last Thursday. I was really hoping that there would be a problem with my thyroid levels, but they were spot on perfect. So I don't have that to blame anymore. It just didn't work this time and the problem with all of this is that there is really no way to know why. So you're always left wondering what you did wrong. The doctor said the only thing we could do differently next time is to transfer two, so that's what we're going to do. We now face the possibility of having twins, which would be hard. But I'd absolutely rather have two babies than no babies.

I really tried to have a good weekend to take my mind away. My girlfriend graduated Saturday and we had a lot of fun at the ceremony and then dinner. Plus she finally got her birth certificate with her new last name in the mail! We had to get it from the state she was born in and we've been waiting for months, so that was exciting.We spent some time with my mom on Sunday and then spent some gift cards. It was nice.

So now it starts all over again. In case you couldn't tell, I'm having a very hard time dealing with all of this. Like much harder than I expected and much harder than the failed IUI attempts. I'm no picnic at home and at work I just feel like I want to snap on everyone all the time. That's not like me and I don't like it. I'm sure going back on Lupron is only going to make it worse if I don't figure out how to deal before then. And that's what I'm going to try to do in the next couple of weeks.

I don't expect this cycle will be much different than the last one and since you read all about that already, I probably won't bore you with posting about it again. I'll mostly be updating dates and important changes and stuff. So you may not see as many lengthy posts as before. But I'll be around.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Negative again this month. I'm not in any state to write more right now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just a brief update.

First hormone levels on Tuesday were good. Not great, but good. The results today were not so promising. The doctor says the levels are still good, but I feel like that's how I write on everyone's report card to have a good summer. It's just something they say. Not that they have any reason to lie, but I just feel it's following the same pattern as before. First levels good, then they drop. Granted, this time they didn't drop nearly as dramatically as they did before. But it still immediately makes my thinking negative now.

I have read that these levels aren't an indicator of pregnancy one way or another. They just help determine if a pregnancy would be successful. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, it's just what I've read. And I'm really in no position to be interpreting the numbers but I do anyway.

Well, like I said this is just brief. I almost didn't write this at all because it is making me sad to keep thinking about it, but it turns out people actually read this that might care. The final test is on Wednesday the 9th, so see you then.

Friday, April 27, 2012

FET Transfer #1

Well, hopefully there won't be a 2 and 3 but you never know...

I was not expecting the experience we had today. I was expecting something similar to the IUI procedures (you can read back on those if you want, I'm not going to bore you by writing about them again). It started off similar in that we checked in and got my wristband, but after that it was totally different.

They took us back to one of the recovery rooms and told me I had to put on the spa wrap and robe again. For a second I thought that maybe they had me schedule for the wrong procedure. There was also a hairnet and shoe covers for my girlfriend, which meant that she would get to go with me and she didn't before. So I figured I must be down for the right thing, but I had no idea what it was going to be.

I put on my wrap and robe and we both donned our hairnets and booties. Then we waited for a while, speculating about the rooms that the dudes have to give samples in. Then one of the nurses came in and had me sign some paperwork. She said they thawed one boy for us and it was gorgeous. She actually said gorgeous.

A few minutes later they led us into a new room. This room was crazy! There was so much machinery it was intimidating and a little scary. I sat down on the table, which was unusually low. There was an ultrasound machine next to it and a table with a bunch of tools like the good ol' speculum. Then there was this thing called an IVF chamber. It was a clear plastic box with armholes and a microscope inside. There were a bunch of dials and a temperature gauge. And strangely enough, it was made by the Ferrari car company. No shit. The logo was exactly the same.

I felt like one of my cats while I was looking around at all of this new stuff. You know how cats do that neck craning thing when something has their interest. There was a door open to the hall on the other side of the room that led to the embryology lab, but I couldn't see much in there.

The doctor cam in a few minutes later along with a couple of nurses and the embryologist. I laid back on the table and then I realized why it was so low. It started raising up, which was a weird feeling since it was unexpected. I assumed the position and she did the procedure. It was pretty uncomfortable, much more than I thought. For one thing, it took longer than I expected. Once they open you up, they clean the cervix and put the catheter in. Then the embryologist loads the embryo and  passes it to the doctor. I couldn't see any of that, though. They use an abdominal ultrasound to guide the catheter and when it's wherever the doctor wants it, it goes in. You can see it on the screen. It was bigger than I expected.

After that they lowered the table and stretched out this platform at the bottom so I could put my feet up. They had me lie there for about 10 minutes and then they let me get dressed. Finally I was allowed to pee. This has do be done with a full bladder because it's better for the ultrasound. This was also probably part of the reason it was so uncomfortable.

They gave my discharge instructions. I'm supposed to continue my current medication regime but I'm adding a low dose aspirin also, for some reason. I have two dates for bloodwork and then the pregnancy test on May 9. I'm supposed to be relaxing and taking it easy. No heavy lifting and such.

So until May 9 I probably won't have much to post except for a couple of the other myths I had typed. We'll see, though.

Monday, April 23, 2012

5 Days Until Transfer

The doctor is going ahead with the transfer. The doctor said this morning that this is like the longest cycle ever. I'm starting to worry now because of the low estradiol levels. I've got 2 of the patches on and the bloodwork says the levels are increasing, but I still worry because that's what I do.

They called to confirm today. They'll be thawing a boy for us. We decided to go with just one for this transfer. We really went back and forth debating whether to do one or two. In the end we decided on one because the success rates are not that much higher with two as opposed to one, at least from what I read. And now that I have doubt in my mind because of the hormone levels, if this cycle doesn't work we'll have used up only one of our boys instead of two.

My appointment is Friday at 10:00. I have to be there at 9:45 with a full bladder, which is no problem. I usually have a full bladder at any given point in the day. This procedure shouldn't be that much different from the IUI procedures. Speculum, catheter, etc. I've read that some doctors make you lie down for 30 minutes to an hour after an IVF transfer. The nurse didn't mention that today and I forgot to ask, but I'm taking the whole day so it doesn't matter anyway.

So that's it for now, until Friday anyway. This is a short post mostly because I've got to do a system restore on my computer tonight. It's a long story and I don't want to get into it here. This isn't a computer blog, after all. To make up for the shortness of this post, here is another of the myths that I was posting before. This one fits right in with today's post anyway. Enjoy and talk to you Friday!

IVF? So you're going to have like 5 babies at once?

Actually, this was a misconception we ourselves had before starting this process. And with all the publicity Octo-Mom got, it's no wonder that's what people think of now when they hear IVF. But the doctor that transferred the 12 embryos to Octo-Mom that led to the famous octuptlets lost his license because of that.

With IVF the standard procedure is to transfer no more than two embryos at once.Our doctor is so confident with her methods that she typically does only one embryo unless there have been problems in the past or if the couple wants twins.

The reality is that pregnancies that are triplets or higher are usually because of IUI, not IVF. With IUI, they ripen the eggs as much as they can and send them all down at once to meet the sperm. So depending on how many follicles you have, there can be a very high chance of multiples. I had 40 follicles at the IVF retrieval, could you imagine? Kate Gosselin had her twins and then the sextuplets with IUI, not IVF. And I couldn't even get one with IUI. Damn.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It takes a lot to really piss me off...

I pride myself on being a pretty calm person. I guess it's partly the teacher in me, I have a lot of patience. But it's also just in my nature. So it really does take a lot to get my dander up. But they managed to do that at Walgreens tonight.

Before I tell you about that, let me go  back to Tuesday.

As you know I had an ultrasound on Monday. I posted that my next appointment was Thursday but it was actually Wednesday. It was nothing exciting, which is why I didn't post about it. Things still look good. My uterine lining is "triple striped" which means that it is so thick that on the ultrasound it looks like the lining is touching. It looks like a big blob with three stripes, one on each side of the uterus and one in the middle where the lining is meeting. This is a very good thing.

I went back this morning and the lining is still good, but I've been off the Lupron for a few days and my estradiol levels haven't quite come back yet. The nurse said that the doctor might want me to start taking the estradiol pills vaginally. It didn't quite click when she told me but a minute later I was like wait, you want me to stick the pills up my cooter? She said maybe but she would call me with results later.

The last two ultrasounds have been done by the nurse so I could go earlier in the morning. She'll come in at 7:30 whereas the doctor comes in at 8:00. But since we're so close to the transfer the doctor wants to see me herself on Monday. And she prescribed an estradiol patch for me until next week. This is where we get to the point in the story where I get very pissed off.

The nurse called the prescription to Walgreens. We stopped on our way home. I might add that until this point it was a very nice day. I only had to work half a day because I took the afternoon off to see my girlfriend's professional paper defense. She did awesome and will be graduating in May. Pretty nice, huh? Plus we had stopped and got some Chipotle for dinner. Life was nice.

So yeah, we get to the Walgreens and the fucking pharmacist refused to fill the prescription! She was questioning the dose the doctor had prescribed and also she was questioning the number of refills, for some reason. At first I was annoyed. We tried explaining that we weren't using the patch in the traditional way and that it was for an IVF cycle but she couldn't wrap her head around that. She said she had to talk to someone from the office herself before she would fill it. That's when I got really upset.

Now, it was after 5:00 so they were closed. The pharmacist said she left them a voice mail, but this was not going to work. The doctor wanted me to start the patch tonight. So after we realized that they were not going to be helpful, we went home and I called the office's after-hours answering service. They were most helpful and within a half hour the office called the Walgreens and told them to fill the damn prescription the way it was called in earlier. Then they called me and told me I could go pick it up. And the girl from the office said the pharmacist was giving her attitude on the phone!

I don't know who this pharmacist thinks she is. I go to that pharmacy often and I didn't recognize her so hopefully she was just filling in for someone today. She had no business questioning the doctor's order to begin with. Let alone causing me all this stress I do not need this close to the transfer. Fucking bitch. I wonder if she was willing to reimburse us for this cycle if her arrogance prevented us from getting medication and the cycle was affected because of that.

I finally got my patches and stuck 2 between by abdomen and my pubes. The nurse said specifically not to put them on my nipples. And you know what? That's something I probably would do to be funny so it's good she mentioned that. Hopefully I don't have a reaction to the adhesive like I did the last bunch of band-aids.

Hopefully this will get the levels to where they need to be. It would be really disappointing if after all this, the cycle was canceled because of low estradiol. I guess this also means that the transfer isn't going to happen on the 23rd like we thought. It will probably be pushed later into the week, which is state testing at work. This is another problem I didn't want to deal with, but here it is anyway.

I guess until then I'll try to relax and have fun this weekend. Til Monday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yet another ultrasound

So I guess today is around day 9 or something like that. My lining is between 9 and 10 millimeters. Everything looks good and my bloodwork is good. The nurse called this afternoon and said to continue the protocol we've got and to go back Thursday. I think Thursday will probably be the last ultrasound before the transfer, which is scheduled for next Monday the 23rd and I hope it doesn't get delayed.

We're getting close now and I'm really getting antsy. Anxiety has always been my nemesis so I know i need to just calm the hell down so I can mentally prepare for this.

I've been working on the lack of protein in my diet. I got the whey powder from Amazon. I mixed it into chocolate milk and it is unflavored, as promised. However, it doesn't dissolve as well as was claimed. So it gave the milk a lumpy texture, but it still tasted like chocolate milk. I was able to drink it easily as long as I didn't look at it because it was pretty gross looking

My girlfriend suggested we get a Magic Bullet (the blender kind) so we went to Target and picked one up. It worked great. The powder was completely blended into the milk, no lumps at all. So it was worth it. Now I have a good protein source and a new blender that I'm sure I'll find other uses for anyway. Win-Win! It came with a recipe book, but we actually watched the infomercial on YouTube for the Magic Bullet to get some ideas. So far the only other thing I can think of to make is smoothies.

So I guess that's it until Thursday. Hopefully we'll have some more interesting news then. Oh, in case anyone noticed or is interested at all, I put my real name on the blog. I figure as long as I keep my last name off of it, my students won't likely find it. I like my name, but my last name is very unique and it would be pretty easy to identify me by that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 3 - Ultrasound

We got up bright and early for a trip to the fertility clinic. For those of you following my trouble getting subs, you'll be happy to know (and I was surprised) that I actually had one for this morning. So we took the long drive across town.

First was bloodwork and then the ultrasound. I'm very curious about the ultrasound machine. It fascinates me, even as many times as I've seen it now. And I always want to touch it, but I don't. Mostly because my girlfriend won't let me. There's no keyboard, but somehow it always has my name at the top of the screen. It's called a Sonic Touch but one time my girlfriend thought it said Sonic Ouch because the T was covered or something. Could you imagine, Sonic Ouch? Lol, I don't think a lot of people would want that in their vagina. There's a button on it with a snowflake. My girlfriend watched today and that's the button that freezes the screen for images. And it's a snowflake! Well, I think it's funny anyway.

We usually don't have much time to admire the Sonic Touch. The doctor came in and we got down to business. I always look at the screen but I still have no idea what the hell is going on there. It looks like gray blobs to me, except that I can recognize my ovaries and I can see my bladder if I have to make water, which I did today, so I could see it. My doctor can somehow tell how the uterine lining is progressing and a whole bunch of other things. She said everything looks great and we are on schedule.

They also said that we have to make a final decision next week about how many embryos to transfer. It's a dilemma. This IVF method uses usually just one, but the odds could be better if we transfer two. But then we might get twins, which we don't want. It's a tough choice. We're going to ask the doctor next week and defer to her judgment.

The nurse gave us some new instructions. Tonight is the last night at the high Lupron dose and I am happy because I've been getting some nasty headaches from that shit. Tomorrow we go down to the normal dose and start the estradiol.

Now that we're so close to the transfer, I face a new problem. I have been a vegetarian since I was about 13. And on top of that, I have a terrible diet. I knew I'd have to change my eating habits and I also knew protein would be a problem. I don't care for beans and I won't touch tofu or soy. I know. Some vegetarian I am. I had planned to eat chicken and fish for the pregnancy and I didn't think it would be a problem. I was actually looking forward to hot wings and stuff.

Well, it was a problem. Of course. I tried eating some chicken nuggets and my body literally would not let me swallow. I couldn't get it past my gag reflex. It wasn't the taste or texture, that was all fine. I literally just could not eat the chicken. And I don't know that any amount of trying is going to get the chicken past an almost 20 year mental block.

I could probably develop a taste for beans and I'm still going to give that a try, but I decided that a protein supplement is going to be best for me. I went to GNC (a nutrition store, if you've never heard of it) and talked to the guys there for a while. They gave me a couple of shakes and drinks to try. Well, not gave. I bought them. Anyway, I had one with dinner tonight, but it was gross. So I did some more research online and found an unflavored powder that has great reviews on Amazon. I ordered a pound and it should be here Thursday (yay Amazon Prime!)

I figure I can mix an unflavored powder into something I know I like. The Amazon reviews say that this powder dissolves well and really has no flavor. Most people mix it in milk and I can handle that if it really is unflavored. If this doesn't work, I don't know what I'm going to do. Vegetarians can have perfectly healthy pregnancies, but like I said, I don't have the typical vegetarian diet. So this has to work.

My next appointment is Monday morning, so I'll write more then.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 1 Again

Now things will finally start moving again. I'll call the doctor tomorrow and report and I imagine they will just keep me on the schedule to come in Tuesday. I went ahead and requested a sub for the morning instead of just trying to sneak in late, but I'm sure I won't get one and I'll just go to work right after the appointment anyway. But at least this way if something does happen and I can't get to work by 9:00, I'll be covered.

Until my appointment Tuesday, here is the answer to an age old question.

So, what do teachers do over spring break? Grade papers? Dust erasers?

Nah, we do regular vacation stuff.

We started off seeing the Hunger Games again with another friend. It was just as good the second time. Plus we sat in front of a lady who had the most amusing color commentary throughout the movie. Normally I hate it when people talk during movies, but this lady was hilarious. I'd go to every movie with her just to listen to her comments.

Although we've seen it several times, including when it was first in theaters back in 1997 (one of our first dates, actually), we went to the limited engagement of Titanic. And we saw it in IMAX 3D. Sometimes I feel like a sucker shelling out so much money for IMAX, but I really do enjoy movies so much more on the gigantic screen. And like I mentioned before, we really don't go out to movies very often anyway.

I've never cried at this movie. I'm not a big crier anyway, especially in theaters. But fucking Lupron. Shit messes with your head. And it got me. Right at the part where the musicians start playing the famous last song and then it shows the montage of all the people getting ready to die. The old couple in the bed. The mother reading to her children in bed. It got me. Dammit. This happened last month too when I was on Lupron for the initial egg retrieval. We watched the Ryan White story (kid with AIDS) and his dog got hit by a car. I'm sensitive to animal stuff normally, but with the Lupron, forget it. I lost it when he told the dog he would see him in heaven.

Oh, but it's not just movies that set me off on Lupron. Sometimes it's nothing at all. Last time we were just driving and I broke into hysterics. That would be scary normally, but it's especially weird because it's so unlike me. And one morning I left for work before my girlfriend did and I started to panic that her keys were in the trash. So I called her and made her reassure me that they were still on the counter.

I hate to imagine what actual pregnancy hormones are going to be like.

Anyway, back to vacation. This is actually the first spring break that we've had off together. My school district always makes spring break the week before Easter, so it's at a different time each year. The university where the missis teaches makes spring break based on a number of weeks into the semester. So ours breaks rarely coincide. Since this year it did, we wanted to do something really fun.

We love to travel, but we really didn't have the extra money to plan a trip this break. However, I did find a day trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon that was fairly inexpensive. I'd never been, but my girlfriend has always said how beautiful it is. We had to get up really early for the tour bus and it was a long, cold, exhausting day. But it was so worth it. If you've been there, then you know. And if not, you should check it out someday. I'm not even really into outdoors-nature stuff, but I can appreciate things like this.
I also learned that Utah is the beehive state and that their Wendy's have broccoli and cheese baked potatoes. Ours discontinued them years ago :(

We went to lunch with my mom on Friday. It's lemon month at a local buffet and I'm a sucker for lemon. On Saturday we had nothing planned so we put a bunch of movies in the Netflix instant queue. There's a whole category called sentimental dramas. It's like the Lifetime movie category. Some of them were real stinkers, but there were some gems in there too. It was great.

Lastly, my mom and aunt decided to make an Easter dinner this year. We don't have a religious family so Easter was really just a candy holiday for us when we were kids. But now that the family is older (I'm one of the youngest so that gives you an idea) it's more about family and I can appreciate that too. Although my mom is pretty excited about Santa coming back when we have a baby.

I did actually bring home a stack of papers to grade, but I never got to them. Other than that, I guess a teacher's spring break is pretty much like anyone else's vacation.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pre-Lupron Scan #2 - March 30

It's been a week since my last post mainly because there hasn't been much to report. But today I took the day off and we saw the doctor. Even though it's the Friday before spring break, I took the whole day because subs just aren't taking half day jobs. We're short subs anyway. We have about 3,000 subs in our system but on any given day there are upwards of 4,000 teachers out. I had one for today, though so I didn't feel bad about being gone like last time when they had to split my class.

Anyway, everything has healed up and calmed down inside me. My ovaries aren't leaking fluid anymore and everything looks normal. So we're cleared for the frozen embryo transfer (FET) at the end of April. They gave us a new flow sheet, so here's the new plan.

I continue birth control until April 4th. We start Lupron again tomorrow. This time it is twice the dose as last time. The nurse said that such a high dose is likely to bring on a headache after we do the injection. I'm not happy about this because I'm susceptible to headaches anyway and I don't like them. I know, who does? But they really make me miserable. As a matter of fact, I kind of have a headache right now. Damn. And all I can take is Tylenol which is not the best for headaches, in my opinion.

I have to call them to report day 1 of my period, which should be some time next week. Perfect. I'll be menstruating over my vacation week. Oh well. I'll go in again on day 3 to start ultrasounds again. And I'll start taking estriadol, which I'm going to assume has something to do with estrogen. Then on day 7 and 10 the medication will be adjusted.

All the while I'll be going in for bloodwork and ultrasounds to monitor my lining and other inside bits. They have me scheduled for 3 already at 8:30 in the morning and that might be a problem. I'm hoping they can do them earlier so I don't have to miss so much work. I'm supposed to be at work by 8:26 but the bell isn't until 9:00 so if I can do the ultrasounds at 8:00 instead, I can still get to work by the time the bell rings. I'm sure my office manager would rather me be late than have to deal with splitting my class because no sub picked up my job.

Besides the problem with getting subs, my students start taking state tests on the 24th so I need to be there and actually teach them something. I know I'll have to be out the whole day when we do the transfer on the 23rd but I'd really rather not take off so many other extra days if I can avoid it. I'll have to deal with that in a couple of weeks, though. Nothing I can do about it right now.

Well, enough insight to my work attendance problems. I'm sure it's only interesting to me.

We also asked how many embryos they plan to transfer. Since I've had problems conceiving with IUI I've been assuming they'll transfer two. But they said it will most likely be just one, unless we wanted twins, which we don't. Although there still is a chance that after the transfer, the blastocyst could still split into identical twins. But that's pretty unlikely since twins don't run in my family. Actually, there's none at all that I know of.

The doctor must be pretty confident with her methods that she would only transfer one. The more I read about it, the more I see that she uses some pretty aggressive methods. But hey, whatever gets results is fine with me at this point. I'm just glad to finally get things going again. The last couple of weeks just waiting have been hard. But now that we know the plan, I can sit back, enjoy my vacation and wait for my period again : /

Friday, March 23, 2012

Like millions of others, we'll be seeing The Hunger Games this weekend. We don't go to movies often, but when we do we like to see them in IMAX glory whenever possible. This is actually part of a birthday present for our bestie and should be fun. The missis and I need to do some fun things. We're both under a lot of stress lately. She's writing her professional paper for her Master's and I'm trying to get 25 fifth graders ready for the state assessments in math, reading and science. So we need to do little things like this whenever we can.

Anyway, next myth.

Turkey baster?

Oh. My. God. This has to be the most obnoxious question we get asked. And we get asked it a lot. Did we use a turkey baster? No. And there are so many reasons why that doesn't work that you would think people would have the common sense to know better and stop asking this ridiculous question. Everyone that asks it thinks it's so damn funny. And they usually ask it only half-joking. The other half of them really thinks that this is how it works. And it just rubs me the wrong way.

Can you fit this in YOUR vagina???
First, I would like to meet the man who can produce enough jizz in one sitting to full a turkey baster. It just doesn't happen. Also, have you ever really seen a turkey baster? They are far too long for a normal human vagina. Even if you did manage to fill a baster and somehow get it into your vagina, once you squeeze it to get the jizz out, when you let go it would suck back in unless you pulled it out right away. The whole scenario is just absurd.

Back when we were first considering having a baby, we actually thought we might do the insemination ourselves. We originally had it arranged for the sperm to be shipped to our house and I started tracking my basal temperature to try and figure out when I was ovulating. Yeah, we were serious.

We researched methods of self-insemination and even ordered a kit. It came with a needle-less syringe...NOT a turkey baster. We decided to go with a fertility doctor instead once we learned how complicated it is to inseminate yourself. The sperm comes frozen. Do I thaw it in the microwave or what? And it's such a tiny amount, like the size of a perfume sample cylinder. If we spill it, that's $800 lost.

Plus the timing is so critical. The window when you're fertile enough to get pregnant is only a couple of days. It's a wonder anyone gets pregnant at all, let alone by accident! We could be dropping $800 month after month after month with no results. We figured if we're going to invest that kind of money, we might as well go with a doctor and make sure it gets done right.

And considering all the complications we've had, I am convinced we made the right choice. I'm pretty sure this never would have worked if we tried to do it ourselves.

Monday, March 19, 2012

For those who are interested in the slightest, my weekend on RuneScape went very well. Here's how my levels turned out:

12 levels and over 3 million experience. Not bad. I'm most proud of the herblore. I made so many potions! I was hoping to get a summoning level too, but I didn't have enough charms saved. Time to start doing some more slayer, I guess. It's really close and so is strength, so I should get another combat level soon too. Not that anyone besides me really cares about my RuneScape stats :)

Other than that, I'm getting pretty antsy waiting all this time again. And I think it's starting to mess with my head. I start with the anxiety and worrying, even though logically I know there is absolutely nothing to worry about. It's maddening, I tell you. I'm not the best at waiting patiently, especially when there is nothing I can do to speed up the process.'s today's real post.

How did you pick a donor?

We get asked this quite often. We get a lot of people that ask why we didn't just ask some friend to be the donor. Well, if you knew any of our male friends you would see why that's not an option. Plus that could really complicate a friendship. And they may say they just want to be the donor, but what if later they decide they want to be a father after all?  It's too risky.

We decided on an anonymous donor. For one thing, sperm from an anonymous donor is cheaper. So although our child won't be able to find their biological father, they will be put on a sibling registry since the donor has other pregnancies before ours. I'm not sure how it works, but I imagine they let you know if there are possible siblings in your area so your child doesn't end up marrying their half-sibling someday.

When we researched how and where to buy sperm, we ended up at California Cryobank. You can search by pretty much anything you want. Hair color, eye color, ethnicity, religion, education and a whole lot more. We weren't really too picky about appearance but the one thing we wanted was someone who's educational background was math.

See, I'm a great reader and social studies was always my best subject. And writing...well, you read my blog, so you know. But oh man. It's not that I'm completely dumb. I do have the capacity to learn it (I did finally pass college algebra) but it is definitely not my cup of tea and it's never come easy for me. So if this child is going to have any mathematical ability, I know it would have to come from the donor because he won't get it from me. My whole family is the same way. Great readers, horrible at math. My girlfriend is very gifted mathematically so she'll be able to help him with his homework when he brings home math past 5th grade level.

We chose the specific donor mainly because of his personal essay. There is a question that asks why they want to become donors and a lot of the ones we read were about how they want to help someone start a family and other cheesy stuff like that but this guy said "Well, mainly for the money." I can appreciate that honesty. The last question was about if they had a message for us and he said "Determine the next three letters in this pattern: D T N T L ___ ___ ___." I couldn't figure it out myself, but my girlfriend realized it was the first letters of each word in the sentence, so it would be I T P. I love a smart ass, so that's what clinched him for me as our donor.

After the failed IUI attempts, the doctor did suggest we might consider a new donor. So we searched some more, but nobody was quite as perfect as that guy. There was one other that we seriously considered but his profile said he had curly hair. I have very curly hair and I didn't want to lay that double-whammy on the poor kid. We ordered his baby pictures to see how curly his hair was and the picture didn't look like what his profile described. I know most people change a lot from their baby pictures, but there was just something about him that we weren't feeling from the picture so we decided to stay with the original guy.

I hope we can be good enough parents for the baby that they won't feel the desire to find their biological father someday. They may always have some curiosity, but hopefully we can fill their life with what they need and they won't resent us someday for this choice. I'm sure they'll resent us for lots of things as children tend to do, but hopefully not this.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Me in RuneScape
If you play RuneScape, and I doubt that you do, then you know that this weekend is bonus xp weekend. So that's how I'll be spending my time this weekend. I'll be training farming, herblore, slayer, fletching and summoning.

But before I start with all that and completely lose touch with reality for the next 2 days, here is the first in my series of questions we get asked a lot and misconceptions we've come across.

Why don't you just adopt?

When people find out how much we've gone through, cost-wise and emotionally and everything else involved in the whole process, they naturally tend ask this question.

Well, it's complicated and with complicated things, the answer is also complicated. First and foremost, to put it simply, we want our own child. It's just something we both feel. We're aware of the many adoptable children that need good homes and God bless them. Me personally, I really want the experience of being pregnant too. I know I will probably look back on that and laugh.

There are legal reasons as well. In our state, domestic partnership is the most legal union we can have and it barely covers anything. Adoption is not included. Now, in our state there is nothing to specifically exclude gays from adopting, but we wouldn't be able to apply together. We could apply separately, but neither of us would qualify on our own. So it's really not an option for us anyway. Our only choice is to make our own.

After the baby is born we will be applying for a second-parent (sometimes known as a step-parent) adoption and my girlfriend will be just as much the legal guardian of the baby as myself.

And actually, the adoption process can be just as complicated and expensive as IVF. Our best friend's family adopted a little boy and then the paternal grandmother decided she wanted custody almost a year after the adoption. And she got it. Their family was naturally devastated and I couldn't imagine going through that myself.

Monday, March 12, 2012

We got our new medication shipment Friday. It was just Lupron and some antibiotics but I got this with the package:
I bet they do!
I thought it was funny. It's not like we have much a choice. There is no specialty pharmacy in our area so we have to go out-of-state for most of the medication, just like the sperm. That probably makes it sound like we live in the backwoods, but I swear we live in a major city that you would probably expect to have a sperm bank and a specialty pharmacy!

Today I saw my regular endocrinologist. I've had thyroid issues since I was in my teens. No real reason for it. Usually it's inherited, but there is nobody in my family that we know of that has thyroid issues. No big surprise though, considering weird things tend to happen to me. My thyroid blew up when I was about 15 and became very hyperactive. We couldn't control it with medication so I had radiation treatment and it has been hypoactive ever since. I'll have to take medication for it for the rest of my life.

Thyroid issues can cause major problems when trying to conceive. Your thyroid controls a lot of hormonal balances and other stuff so you really need to have it under control. When we were doing IUI mine was not under control 100%, but I was impatient and I thought we could get it under control during the process and it would be fine. There's no way to know if the three failed attempts were because of this, or something with chromosomes since we have that information now, or something else. But before I would even consider IVF I got it under control and the levels were stable for months before we started.

Actually, although I've had this problem for years I've only seen this endocrinologist for about a year. I had to switch a couple of times before because of changes in insurance and the last one I ended his services before our first IUI attempt. He told me that if I got pregnant I would have a miscarriage. And he said it that bluntly too. When I left I never went back and when I told my fertility doctor she said it was bullshit so I found a new endocrinologist. And I really like her, except her office is so far away! That's my own fault though because when I was mapquesting the office, I forgot to put in "west" with the street name so it looked like it was right down the street from where I live when in fact it's about half an hour away. It's actually right across the street from the fertility doctor. Well, they're both worth the drive.

Today the doctor said that although I'm still within the normal range, she wants to bring my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) down a little to make more ideal conditions for conception. It's better to be a little hyperactive than hyopactive. If the transfer in April works, I'll have to see her immediately and I'll have to see her every six weeks for medication adjustments. If not, I'll see her in May instead.

Since the next IVF news won't be until the end of this month, I have some posts planned with questions we get asked a lot and misconceptions that I thought were interesting. I'll try to put a couple up each week, starting this weekend. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Well, this blows.

I finally got in contact with our coordinator for the next transfer attempt. Seems the timeline is a little longer than I expected.

Yesterday I started birth control again. I'll take it for 3 weeks and then I see the doctor again on the 30th for another pre-Lupron scan. That's right. Lupron again. The Lupron is to prevent ovulation, but I don't see why that should matter since we're not retrieving any more eggs? I guess it's all for hormonal reasons and the doctor obviously knows more about this than I do. I'm just frustrated because I am very much a product of the Internet generation and I want things to happen immediately. Curse my super-effective ovaries and their 40 eggs that caused this delay.

These are not cute at all :(
After that I'll be on the Lupron again, but at a lower dose. Doesn't matter. That shot hurts like a bitch. And I think it is the one that gave me a funny taste in my mouth. But on the plus side, it's one of the few that my insurance actually pays for. Oh, and I had a skin reaction to all the cute band-aids we bought. My skin darkened in the shape of band-aids all over my stomach and legs. I don't have a latex allergy so I think it was to the adhesive. We've got to try and find hypo-allergenic band-aids before we do that again. So now my students will have cute band-aids.

I'm not sure how long we will have to do the Lupron but they gave me an estimate of April 23 for the transfer so we're looking at a January 2013 baby now. I'm glad it's not so close to Christmas, but on the same hand, I'm really bummed about the delay.

I know this sounds like I'm just bitching, and I am a bit. I guess the doctor doesn't get 70% success rates by being hasty, so I've got to learn to be patient.

This Friday is the end of the second grading period so I get to do report cards this weekend. So my next update won't be until next week. Until then, I leave you with this advice. If you have a Taco Bell in your area, you must get the new Doritos taco. And you must get the taco supreme with the sour cream and tomatoes. You will thank me later.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 1 (again) - March 4

Well, here we go again, I guess. Period started very suddenly on Sunday. It's about a week early by my estimation, but that's probably because of all of the medication. I'm glad because this means we can get started sooner. I called the doctor this morning but they haven't gotten back to me so I don't know when I'll be going in again. I assumed it would be tomorrow since that's day 3, but I don't have any injections to start so they might not need me on day 3. I'm not sure what the timeline for a frozen transfer is. I imagine I'll be going in sometime this week, but until then, I had already this filler post typed so I figure, why waste it? Enjoy.

Assisted Reproduction Technology Misconceptions:
A Critical Review of The Golden Girls

Sounds like a topic for a dissertation. Hell, maybe if that was what my dissertation was, I might have actually finished. Anyway, I fucking love The Golden Girls. I've loved it since I was a kid and between syndication on Lifetime and Hallmark channel, I must have seen every episode at least 20 times. I'm now waiting for Netflix to put it on instant streaming.

In season 5, Blanche's daughter comes for a visit and tells her mother she is planning to get impregnated by artificial insemination. The episode then depicted her path to motherhood.

Since we have been doing all this, this episode has really taken on new meaning for me. I find myself watching it with a different eye. It's still a great episode, but there are some problems with the information presented. I know, it's an entertainment show not an informative one. But I can't help but think that things like this are the reason why misconceptions persist. So I decided to evaluate the episode.

You can watch here. I tried to embed a YouTube video, but all videos with this episode have been removed. So I had to download it myself through...other means...and upload it directly to Blogger. Since this isn't exactly a high traffic blog, I figure it'll be safe for a while. I guess we'll find out.

"The Accurate Conception"
Season 5, Episode 3
Original air date: 10/14/1989

So, Rebecca lives in Atlanta but is visiting Blanche and the girls in Miami. And she announces that next Monday she is getting impregnated. Now, I'm working on the assumption that Rebecca is doing IUI and not IVF. I'm also assuming, even though the episode doesn't address it, that she has already done all the fertility testing and has been tracking her cycle for at least 2 months, so she knows she will be ovulating next Monday. It's a stretch, but OK, fine.

Rebecca says she is going to a sperm bank to get artificially inseminated. But she would have to go to a fertility clinic. A sperm bank doesn't do the insemination, at least according to what I found when I researched. They just provide the swimmers.

Now, the girls' reactions when Blanche tells them about it is hilarious and totally expected for 1989. Lol.

Blanche also is surprised that you have to buy sperm. She's probably be even more surprised to know how much it costs, too.

In the next scene, Rebecca comes in and announces that she has found a sperm bank nearby. She wants Blanche to go and see what kind of place it is. They all decide to go check it out. We had to go out-of-state for our sperm so we've never actually been to one. I don't know if they allow people to just drop in like that, especially if you have no intention of actually buying something.

In the next scene they arrive at the sperm bank. Oddly enough, the elevator opens right into the lobby.

When they meet with the doctor the scene cuts to the end of their conversation so we don't know what he told them the procedure was going to be. Blanche makes a classic comment about having a test tube baby. But the embryos are grown in a petri dish, not a test tube. They only use a tube when the eggs are extracted for IVF. And when we did IUI, we never once saw a single test tube.

In the final scene Blanche and her daughter make up and Blanche accepts what Rebecca is going to do. I assume she is going back to Atlanta and to her own sperm bank there. In later episodes it is revealed that she actually becomes pregnant and there is no mention that it took multiple attempts, so I guess we have to assume it worked the first time. Lucky her.

Things don't go this smoothly now in 2012 so I've got to figure in 1989 things didn't work out like this either. But hey, it's the Golden Girls.