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.

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.