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

About Me

My photo
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.

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.