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.

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.