Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

As you can tell, I have not been a good blogger lately.  I have a lot I want to update you on but have not had the energy to write... I hope I will get better about that in 2012.

Dresden at Creating Motherhood had a creative way of posting a year-end recap that I thought I would leverage.  It probably will not mean much to anyone who reads it but I got a lot out of doing this little exercise.

Take the first sentence of the first blog post of each month...  

January:  I know, I know, I've been MIA.

February:    I have so many interesting twists and turns to share this week... a series of short posts.

March:    I've got 8 eggs!!!

April:    This is a random thought that hit me on the acupuncture table today... which is odd because I rarely have negative thoughts in my state of relaxation.

May:    I went to my first Resolve meeting this week (for those lucky enough not to know, Resolve is an Infertility support/advocacy organization). 

June:     I told the nurse to go ahead and book the appointment with Dr. T, fully expecting it would be late June. 

July:  So there is yet another bump in the road on the way to my baby bump. 

August:  Just a quick update because I've been up since 4:30am ET and I'm going to try to get to bed by 9pm Mountain Time. 

September:    Did you see Giuliana & Bill last night? 

October:    Again, plagiarized word-for-word from Jen at This Is Personal. 

November:  I've been feeling like my blog has become a broken record (and just imagine that there are younger generations in the world who will never really understand this analogy).  

December:    My apologies for my delay in posting the results from my POM Charm Givea.way.  

Happy New Year my friends!  I hope that 2012 brings you everything your heart desires!!

Monday, December 12, 2011


*Pregnancy Discussed*

Today I had another ultrasound to see the baby.  I have been nervous for days about the scan.  The only thing that has been reassuring is that "morning sickness" kicked in at 7 weeks.  And then I threw up (for the second time) last night, so I was reassured that things must be progressing with baby - so I slept great (with incredible dreams).

At my 6w3d ultrasound I didn't see anything but a tiny blob.  I couldn't see (or hear) the heartbeat... I couldn't make anything out.  But the doctor saw what she needed to and that was enough for me.

Today's scan was amazing!  As soon as Wandy was in place, I saw the baby.  And it was a REAL baby!  And I immediately saw the heart beating.  And then I heard the heartbeat.  170bpm.  It wasn't moving around but its right arm was waiving.  I saw several angles including the back (spine developing) and side.  I honestly believe that the only ultrasound you can really make out is your own.  Or maybe because I saw it live on the screen, it's easier for me to make it out in the picture now.

Morning Sickness   I won't complain about it.  Tied in with the fatigue it makes me feel "off" most of the day.  But it is also reassuring.  On the days it's lighter, I tend to worry a little (hence, my good night of sleep after throwing up last night).  I also have a crappy appetite.  Nothing sounds appealing although I find myself wanting a burger fairly frequently.  But I also have a sweet tooth now, which is unusual for me.

My Refrigerator  It finally bit the dust.  It's been threatening since early this summer but it's been doing well the last month or two.  This weekend I realized that it is not nearly as cold as it needs to be.  I bought a thermometer and it was only 55 in the fridge (the freezer is fine).  I had the repair guy out today and he couldn't find anything wrong other than cleaning the coils.  That didn't do it - so I know I need to replace it (and had to throw just about everything out).  I went to Home Depot tonight and found one that I want that fits my awkward (limited) space.  It's more than I want to spend and can't be delivered until after Christmas.

I'm going to look a little more - since I'm going to see my family for Christmas, I can live without it until then but it makes my already difficult to please appetite even more difficult, as I can't keep milk, OJ, cheese, etc.  Cereal & OJ has been a staple...  oh well.

Hormones   My estrogen is good so I get to decrease my patches to 1 every other day (rather than 2).  My progesterone is fine but they are not decreasing anything just yet... still taking the 3x/day suppositories.

OB   My first OB appointment is tomorrow.  I don't know what to expect, so we'll see!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

And The Winner Is...

My apologies for my delay in posting the results from my POM Charm Givea.way.  Things have gotten away from me recently, but that's a post for another day.

Thank you to the two bloggers who reblogged my post to enter the Giveaw.ay!  I obviously have a bit to learn about running a blog contest because I had envisioned dozens of entries, meaning dozens of posts spreading the word about POM Charms. I am happy to have shared the POM Charms with our little community regardless.  I wear my POM Charm necklace frequently and always receive comments on it, which allows me to share the story behind it.

Without further ado, the WINNER is [insert drumroll]  Mama Time Bomb!!

Congratulations Mama Time Bomb!  I will notify you on your blog and let you know how to claim your prize.

Monday, November 28, 2011


***Pregnancy Discussed***

Today I am 6weeks 3days (6w3d).  I passed another milestone yet it doesn't seem real.  I had my first ultrasound this afternoon and I'm happy to report that there is ONE baby growing in my tummy and it has a heartbeat (doctor estimated it started beating in the last day or so, said it was about 115bpm)!!!

I was extremely relieved but I still don't really believe it.  Now that the babe has been visually confirmed, I need to work on accepting that I'm actually pregnant.  My symptoms are so mild, which I know I should be so thankful about, that I worry... while in my head I know that I'm doubly blessed to be pregnant AND have mild symptoms (other than the major gas incident of Thanksgiving... lesson learned... don't drink a whole bottle of sparkling ANYTHING while pregnant).

In the last year I've transferred 10 embryos over a total of three (fresh) ET's and finally one stuck around.  It's hard to believe we finally found my ONE GOOD EGG!

But I'll work on it.

As I continue to cheer on my infertile sisters... because if it can work for me...

Mom emailed this to me today.  So true.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beta #3

*pregnancy discussed*

It took nearly 11 hours to get the results of my bloodwork this morning!  I can't complain since I wasn't even supposed to have my HCG checked, the purpose of the draw was to check my estradiol and progesterone levels.  But every hour after 3pm I got a little more anxious.

Beta#3 is 2561.  I was hoping for something above 3300 so I was a little concerned with the number.  My nurse told me the number is good.  When I questioned her about doubling she assured me the number is good and that after a period of time the HCG doubling time slows.

I consulted Dr. and he confirmed that the number is good.  The doubling time is fine as long as it doubles within 72 hours (mine doubled in 52 hours).

My nurse told me that next week at my ultrasound that we should see a sac, fetal pole and heartbeat.  Oh, I hope and pray we do!

I continue in my cautiously happy state-of-mind.  I met up with some of the other local SMC girls this weekend and it was so nice to finally be able to be pregnant... moving beyond the long, difficult TTC stage.  It made it feel a little more real.

This morning at my blood draw, when no other patients were in the lab, I whispered to my phlebotomist who has drawn my blood dozens upon dozens of times "I'm finally pregnant".  She was so excited and started to tear up... which made me start to tear up.

My local IVF nurse walked by when I was in the RE office today.  She stopped, did a double take and said "I'm so excited for you".  And she really meant it!

I also got a call from my CC.RM doctor tonight (he said he was out last week).  He congratulated me on my success.

All of these moments add up and continue to make it a little more real for me.

Thanks to each of you who commented on my 11.11.11 post about my BFP!  I know that you are happy to see me reach this milestone... even as I'm trying to accept it as real.

And for my IF friends still in the trenches, you have my absolute support.  I have truly found a cause that I will continue to carry with me and support.  I will do my best to be respectful of the IF community as I move into the next stage of "pregnant after infertility".

Don't forget to take a minute to enter my first Giveaway for a POM Charm of your choice!  Help spread the word about this great symbol of strength, hope and support for the infertility community.  You don't have to be infertile to participate; my goal is to spread the word and each person who reblogs my post will be helping to spread the word!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

POM Charms (My First Giveaway!)

In the world of infertility, often (far too often) we feel isolated and alone.

Two women were recently discussing this problem and wondering out loud how someone might take a step to better unite the world of infertility?  They decided that the community needed a symbol, something that says I get it.  A symbol may allow another woman to feel less alone and possibly start a conversation.

Quickly, they got to work and came up with the perfect symbol.

By combining the Pomegranate, the fruit of fertility, and the Chinese symbol for strength, the Pomegranate Charm was born.

They developed a mission:

Uniting women and their friends & families
who have struggled with fertility issues by giving
them a symbol of
strength, hope, and support.        

And then they formed a non-profit benefiting two infertility related causes.  There is minimal overhead and all proceeds from the purchase of a charm, a bracelet, a necklace, a key chain, etc. go towards one of the following causes:

  1. Fertility Research
  2. Deserving women and couples needing financial assistance to receive medical treatment

The charms just became available for distribution less than a month ago.  They have already caught on quickly in the areas where they have been introduced with large orders from fertility clinics, acupuncturists and other fertility related specialists, and of course members of the infertility community as well.

The Giveaway!  A Pomegranate Charm of your choice.

Entry Rules:

  1. Reblog this full post, including entry rules (please be sure that the links do not break when you copy/paste to your blog)
  2. Leave a comment on my original post ( dated 11/20/11) along with the link to your post.
  3. On Sunday, December 4 I will draw a winner from all completed entries.

I will announce and contact the winner and ask them to pick out the POM Charm of their choice and I will have it shipped to them.

In the meantime, check out the website for more information.  Buy one for yourself, your spouse/partner and give one to a friend who you know is suffering with infertility.  Tell your infertility support groups about the POM Charms!

By writing this post and structuring this giveaway, I am trying to do my part to spread the word across my little corner of the IF world.  I was not asked or paid to write this post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'm a liar. It was a lie to protect myself in this cruel world of infertility.  It was a lie in my own best interest.  I hope those to whom I told the lie will understand and forgive me.  It's the first blatant lie I've told in the entire time I've been TTC.

I told many, who knew I was going to CC.RM for my last cycle, that I was not doing a transfer at this time.  Most patients of CC.RM opt for CCS (genetic) testing of the embryos which requires that they are frozen and a FET is done at a later time, after the results are complete.

But the truth is that because my ODWU AFC was so low (5) the chances that I'd have blasts to test was so low that I didn't sign up for the CCS testing (you have to sign up before the cycle starts)... and it's expensive!  And it's the same price regardless of the number of embryos you have to test!  My logic, as discussed with the doctor, was that I'd probably end up transferring however many embryos as I'm lucky enough to have available to transfer, and probably on Day 3 (CCS requires embryos make it to blast).  

When my cycle turned around and ended up being so good, I seriously regretted that I had not signed up for CCS testing.  I think I'm one of the very few who go to CC.RM and do not do the testing!

1 9-cell and 2 8-cell "perfect" embryos
On Day 3, the embryologist and Dr. Surry said I had 3 perfect embryos that were standing out (and three more that were just a step behind them) so he recommended that I go ahead with a fresh D3 transfer.  So on Halloween day, I had 1 9-cell and 2 8-cell "perfect" embryos transferred to my 11mm 3-stripe lining. I had marvelous acupuncture before & after the transfer, it was a really great transfer experience!

My Special Transfer Slippers!
On Wednesday, November 2 I was finally able to travel home after 15 days in Colorado.  The doctor tells his patients to use wheelchair/cart assistance at the airport.  THAT, my friends, was quite an experience for a healthy, independent - I can do it, I don't need help -  kind of person.  But, as much as I had to swallow my pride in the wheelchair/cart, I am glad I did it.  Denver is a huge airport!!  I also had to ask for help from random strangers on the plane to lift/remove my carry-on from overhead storage, as we're told not to lift more than 10lbs during the 2ww.  If it means a chance for success, I'll swallow my pride!!

Not even a week into the 2ww I felt my usual lower back period cramping.  I've been on so much progesterone and estrogen support that there was no way AF would actually show up before my beta.  I've had no symptoms, just the period cramps which really crushed me.  I was so crushed that I did not POAS AT ALL  and if you've been reading for any length of time you know I'm a POAS addict.

First, I didn't want to POAS until after work Thursday because I needed to be able to try to concentrate.  I collected my FMU on both Wednesday & Thursday but I didn't dip a stick.  I decided I needed to wait until after my blood draw and if I had a confirmed BFN on HPT I'd be sad a blubbering mess when I went in to my local RE for beta, so I would POAS AFTER my blood draw.  But that morning I decided that I made it this far without POAS, I could wait until after I got the results from the nurse.  I wanted to delay the crushing pain of another BFN (after such a great cycle) as long as possible...

My beta on Friday was 70!  I was truly stunned.  I was certain it was another BFN... that's all I know is BFN.  Did they mix up my blood with someone elses?  I spent the rest of the day in a haze.  I went to Target but ended up just wandering without purpose unable to focus for a minute on my list of things I needed to get.... except for a digital HPT!
11dp3dt - 11/11/11   Beta: 70
HPT taken AFTER Beta results provided
Saturday was full of cautious happiness.  I found myself smiling and fully interacting with people more than I have in quite a while.  It was the best day I've had in a long time!

Sunday I was a nervous wreck waiting on results from the 2nd Beta.  I was paralyzed, unable to leave the house, or do much more than sit on the couch. The second beta was at 13dp3dt was 201, just 9 points shy of tripling!  The nurse said no more betas are necessary. My first ultrasound is 11/28, I'll be 6w3d and should be able to see the heartbeat (God Willing).

I later dipped HPTs in the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday FMU collections that I kept by my toilet (collecting urine: desperate measures of a woman in the 2ww).  After looking at the results, I will tell you that I would have driven myself insane analyzing the faint lines on the cheap sticks... AND these are the sticks that are supposed to read HCG as low as 10ml.  Even the stick from my beta day was super faint.  I'm glad that I waited, for a change.

Today, I asked begged my nurse to add another HCG order for me next week.  I have to have my estradiol and progesterone checked on Monday anyway.  I told her that my sanity and ability to sleep were at risk!  She relented so I am having a third beta on the 21st!

So here I am... happy to report to my wonderful blog friends who have been such an amazing support through 10 ART cycles, that I'm a little bit pregnant!  I'm cautiously happy... which is much happier than I've been in far too long!!

I've got my CC.RM miracle and if everything goes just right, there will be a healthy baby in my arms come July 2012!!!

**For my IRL friends who are reading, it's SUPER-EARLY... mum's the word.  Thanks!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Broken Record - The Remix

I've been feeling like my blog has become a broken record (and just imagine that there are younger generations in the world who will never really understand this analogy).  It has turned in to a ongoing loop about [insert needle scratching across the record sound]:

  • Summary of upcoming protocol
  • Cycle is starting
  • Cycle updates
  • Egg Retrieval/Transfer updates
  • 2ww agony
  • Crushing BFN
  • WTF Appointment
  • Repeat
It's not what I imagined for my blog, it's not what I imagined for my life.  This is what led to my silence over the last few months.  

Now, I'm feeling ready to update you on recent happenings (it's a similar story in a different location).

After my regroup with Dr. Sur.ry at CC.RM, when I learned I had a 25% chance of success with my own eggs, I contacted the Donor Egg Coordinator at my local clinic and told her to move forward with matching me with a donor.  I felt ready to move on to something that would give me my best chance of success... 

But I still kept thinking about CC.RM.  An unofficial message board for CC.RM patients that I was part of had just had numerous BFP's within the span of a week, it was inspiring!  There were so many BFP's I couldn't keep track of everyone!  And so I realized that if I didn't do a cycle at CC.RM that I would always wonder what would have happened.

My cycle started on October 13, I started stimming on Day 2 (10/14).  My AFC was 8 (this is pretty good for me, right in my normal range).  On October 18, I flew to Denver to settle in to my new home-away-from-home.  I had daily labs & ultrasounds.  Initially, my follicles were not growing well.  The doctor (and nurse) were concerned, we all feared my cycle would end up cancelled.  Dr. Sur.ry tweaked my protocol and my ovaries woke up!

While I hated to be away from my dogs for so long, I really enjoyed being in Colorado!  There were a lot of women from the message board and a few I knew through blogs that were there during the same time I was.  Our hotel was like living in a dormitory for infertility!  We'd run into each other in the lobby or parking lots, we would have lunch or dinner together, and when we got stir-crazy we'd hang out in someone's room.  We talked and talked and talked!  We all had so much in common with our infertility struggles and desire for our families!

It was so nice to be able to connect with so many women going through the same struggles - IN PERSON!  I admire all of the women that I've "met" through this journey... the opportunity to meet in the flesh is simply a bonus!

My mom flew out and joined me toward the end of my stay.  We were able to explore the area together and she was there for my retrieval!  It was nice to have her with me.

I had my retrieval on 10/28 (it was a LONG cycle). 8 eggs were retrieved, 8 eggs were mature, 8 eggs fertilized!!!  For the first time in a long time, I was filled with HOPE!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Advocate Against Initiative 26

Again, plagiarized word-for-word from Jen at This Is Personal.  Thank you Jen!

Get your advocacy pants on, ladies! There’s yet another political issue out there that threatens to impact women’s access to critically needed medical care and assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.
There’s a proposed personhood amendment on the table in Mississippi right now that would put the lives of women at risk, limit access to standard forms of birth control, and will almost certainly make things harder for couples pursuing IVF. If the states begin to define personhood as starting at conception, IVF could be banned.
We, more than any other community, know the reality of IVF and the heart ache of losing embryos and pregnancies. We know that without IVF many of us would not be able to pursue the families we dream of and deserve. We also know the very real dangers of pregnancies that don’t go as planned. It’s imperative that we speak out against this bill.
Learn more about bill - Mississippians for Healthy Families
Initiative 26 could ban in-vitro fertilization.
Leading organizations in the field of in-vitro and other assisted reproductive technologies believe this will essentially ban their work to help families have children of their own.  Those organizations include the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and RESOLVE, a national infertility group.
Initiative 26 bans abortion without exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the mother.  
This extreme measure contains no exceptions, leaving women with medically complex pregnancies without access to life-saving treatment. For women with ectopic or molar pregnancies or unrelated illnesses like cancer, this initiative jeopardizes women’s lives.  Victims of rape or incest would be forced to carry the child of their abuser.
The word on the street is that if this initiative passes in MS, similar personhood initiatives will be proposed throughout the USA.
This is about us. We have to stop this.
If you live in MS or know someone who does, please share this information with them, and encourage them to speak out against this dangerous legislation. Even if you don’t live in MS, you can sign this petition, stating your opposition to the Intitiative.
This type of legislation goes way, way, way too far, and the consequences will be dramatic and terrifying if it’s passed. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

TurnAbout is Fair Play

A girl... especially a girl going through her own version of PTSD (as confirmed by my IF therapist), has a right to change her mind.  A million reasons are behind this change of mind/heart... but the therapist agrees that I'm thinking rationally, my plan is a good one and my responses are normal (I made my revised decision 2 days before my therapy appointment, the decision was mine after much careful thought, research, analysis and deliberation).

Perhaps I'll leave a season finale cliffhanger, just as Giuliana & Bill did on Monday night...  regardless, the road ahead is still a long one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Infertility Treatment Is Essential - Speak Up!

Shamelessly plagiarized straight from Jen at This Is Personal

Help and help the infertility community today by speaking up for government support of infertility treatments. is trying to get 7,300 signatures on this letter ASAP.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius is tasked with determining the Essential Health Benefits that will be used in the new health insurance exchanges in each state.  These newly determine Essential Health Benefits will take effect in January 2014.  
RIGHT NOW, the Secretary is determining what will be included as an Essential Health Benefit as we anticipate an announcement in the next few months.
Now is the time for Secretary Sebelius to hear from the infertility community and those that care about us.
Let’s raise our collective voices, thousands of them, and tell the Secretary we matter!  The goal is to have 7,300 people sign this petition, each one representing a thousand people in the US impacted by infertility.  
This is your chance to speak up and speak out and tell HHS that you matter, your health matters, your dream of a family matters, and that 7.3 million women and men diagnosed with infertility matter.
Seriously, do it RIGHT NOW! Click! Sign! Email your family! Have them sign! Post this on your blog!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Playing the Odds

I am not a gambler.  I've been to Vegas twice and gambled (lost) all of $101.00.   My first trip was for a bachelorette party in 2002, I gave myself $100 to play with.... and my second trip was for a wedding in 2008... I didn't gamble at all until I was at the airport with a friend ready to board the plane home, it was $1 slot machine.  And the rest of what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!!

I think I don't gamble for two reasons.... I'm not good at math.  Seriously, I think I have a learning disability when it comes to math because when I try to calculate numbers in my head it's like there is a physical block, calculating in my head is a huge effort.  Secondly, I don't understand/trust gambling.  My parents don't live far from an Indian Casino and my mom likes to go play the slots (which are all automated/digital).  Mom always walks out with winnings of $25 - $50.  When I go with her rarely I will lose $10 (that's all I allow myself to play on the 25 cent slots).

Where am I going with the gambling references???

I had my regroup with Dr. Sur.ry late today.  I've noticed that I've gotten anxious about this regroup this week.  Especially as I received updates on test results from my nurse.  I broke down a couple of weeks ago when she called with my AMH  (0.2).  It's not just low, it's extremely low.

Now that all of my test results are in...  while I have so much good going for me (FSH 9, good estrogen, LH & uterine blood flow, I have the Beta3 Integrin protein), I have a couple of big items that are not so good... AMH (anything under 1.5 is considered low) and my AFC (follicle count) during my CCRM ODWU was 5.

The doctor and I talked about a lot of things but my primary question after all of the facts & details was... what are my chances of success with a cycle at CCRM?  

Courtesy of Google Images
I've been considering this question all week.  I've been asking myself what my threshold would be for his response as I consider moving to donor eggs.  10% or lower... that's easy.  15%, still pretty easy.  I went up to about 30% in my thinking... while not really setting any formal limit overall.

So Dr. S said that their success rates with women my age are about 40%.  However when you factor in my AMH & AFC he would put my odds at 25%.

A 25% chance of success at one of the best clinics in the world.  Ouch (understatement).

While this is unwelcome news, it's not surprising news.  This week I really geared myself up for moving to donor eggs.  I joined PVED (Parents via Egg Donation) to help connect with others who have been through this decision, I made an appointment with my IF shrink who I've not seen since January.  I contacted the DE coordinator at my local clinic to inquire where I am on their wait list.  She can begin working to match me now, those in front of me on the list are not ready to move forward yet.

While I think that my decision is obvious... (put $15k on 25% odds vs $12 - $15k  on 75% odds?)  I'm still working through it.  I've had a lot of tears since my call with Dr. Su.rry.  I'm the kind of person who has to retreat and process.

I did text my mom with a summary of the stats (not ready to talk about it yet).  Her response set about another round of happy tears... she said: Thankfully in this day & time--donor eggs are available & you CAN still have a baby!! Any baby you have, you & all of us will love deeply & forever!

Note of consideration:  If we know each other IRL, please be considerate and keep my story to yourself.  I am still processing how I will approach parenting via DE.  While I know I will be open about DE with my child from a very early age, my biggest concern is the judgement (and sometimes cruelty) from others who don't understand.  Until I can develop my approach, I appreciate your discretion.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Did You See...???

Did you see Giuliana & Bill last night?  I didn't.  I was at my monthly Resolve meeting (we need to talk about Resolve at some point ladies.  If you're not engaged in your local Resolve chapter and you are struggling with IF, you are missing out -in my opinion.  And the Single ladies dealing with IF, give it a try.  I may be the only single woman at our meetings but I don't feel out of place at all.  We're all there for one common reason, we're all struggling with infertility and EVERYTHING that encompasses).  But I did just catch up on it on DVR (the show, Guiliana & Bill, keep up with my ADD writing style people).

***Spoiler Alert***

The last few minutes of the show have Giuliana talking to Bill about bringing an end to their "Year of Fun" and starting back on the path of trying to have a child.

Giuliana: I did find this place in Denver, Colorado which is literally like the best place in the world for IVF.  They have the highest success rates in the world.

Bill: If we're going to do this, I think we have to do it right.

The preview for next week's episode shows them in Colorado, I think, for their ODWU (looks like the psychologist meeting).

Now I have to tell my Mom, Sister and friends to start following the show!

Wow!  Giuliana & Bill at CCRM today, last night my Resolve meeting...  I think this might be a sign that my "break" from obsessing about infertility is ending???  Well, maybe it is... but I hope I can return from my break with a better balance and healthier habits (I'm still a work in process, but I have been -and still am- working on it).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I tossed and turned all night Thursday, barely sleeping at all.  Not sure if this was due to the bed at the hotel or anxiety about my CCCRM ODWU (One Day Work-up).  Thankfully, my energy stayed with me all day.

I tweeted updates all day, since there was down time between appointments.  And as my Twitter friends can attest, I even tweeted half the evening, having dinner at the bar of a restaurant by myself (excellent people watching).

7:30am  New Patient Orientation
The day started with a New Patient Orientation.  This was basically a review of the coveted Binder each couple is given at the start of the day (I know I'm single, but for ease of communication I'm going to use the word couple to reference the others going through their ODWU).  There were 5 couples having their ODWU on Friday.  They generally take 5 couples a day through the ODWU, Monday through Friday.  WOW!

8:30am  Fertility Labs of CO (FLC) Consent Review
FLC is a separate entity from CCRM although they are co-mingled as an operation. I spent about 10 minutes going over embryology related consent forms with the representative (I should have captured all of the names).  

It was a quick review for two reasons  1)  I've been through IVF before - so I understand the consents  2) I didn't have to debate disposition of embryo options with a partner, specifically the options that have to be specified for the event of a divorce.

10am  CCRM Business Office
This was a financial review of cycle related costs.  This also took about 10 minutes.  When you have been through IVF before you already understand the costs/breakdown, so it was just going over the specifics.

10:30  New Patient Consult (with your doctor)
First the nurse took my vitals then took me to a small consult room.  This was my first Face-to-Face with Dr. Surry.  He was running about 20 minutes late.

He's very nice, quite personable and, of course, SMART.  The consult seemed to be pretty quick and to-the-point (although we talked 20 - 30 minutes).  He said that he knows what protocol he wants to use for me, barring any changes based on the results from the testing we're doing, along with my ultrasound results.  I'll share more on all of this once things move along a little further.

Since Dr. Surry was late, I missed my 30 minute lunch break that was scheduled on my calendar.

11:30am  Psychologist - Donor Sperm Consult
CCRM requires a consult for anyone using donor sperm.  This meeting lasted about 35 minutes, as the psychologist realized that I understand what I'm getting into with Donor Sperm given I've been at this so long.

Thankfully, since my psychologist appointment was brief I had 20 minutes to grab lunch at their kiosk in the back lobby.  They have fresh salads, sandwiches, soda, water, juice, coffee, etc.  Of course, I'd been eying the cold Diet Coke all day but couldn't have it yet... not until after my ultrasound.

12:30pm  Baseline Ultrasound & Doppler
This was the coolest vaggie ultrasound I've ever experienced (and I've had a LOT of them).  This is probably a post in and of itself.

Overall, my uterus looks healthy.  She measured the length, width of both my uterus & ovaries.  They have a flat screen on the wall specifically for the patient to watch during the Wandy session.  She measured the lining (triple stripe) and all sorts of other things.  Then she turned on the doppler to measure the blood flow on the left & right side of the uterus.  I heard the "heartbeat"... of my uterus (bittersweet).  I did text my acupuncturist afterwards because the bloodflow in my uterus is perfect (if it's not, they require patients do acupuncture).  The ultrasound tech said that she's never had a patient who regularly does acupuncture have poor uterine bloodflow.  The only thing is... I have to keep it up (which I was planning to do) to make sure the bloodflow stays perfect!

She then went to count my follicles.  I had 3 on the right and 2 on the left.  A small number overall... that was the most disappointing part of the report.

You are asked to refrain from caffeine/chocolate for three days leading up to your ODWU because caffeine can skew the results of the uterine bloodflow measurement taken during the u/s.  So after my u/s, I went straight to the kiosk for my Diet Coke fix!

1pm  Primary IVF Nurse Consult
At this appointment I met my primary nurse, Tonie.   She's cute as a button and sweet as can be (and very sharp too).  We covered the remaining IVF consent forms and other administrative details, along with an overview of their CCS (Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening of embryos).  I don't mean to gloss over this, because this took an hour, but it was a lot of small details (i.e. next steps, instructions about local testing, etc).

2:15pm  Labs
They took 4 vials of blood for all sorts of testing.  Hint:  Drink LOTS of water leading up to your ODWU and through the day (altitude can dehydrate).  I had a ton of water for a few days leading up to this so my 4 vials were quick!

Another Hint:  Don't go to the bathroom right before your Labs, because they want a urine sample too.  Although I had been drinking a TON of water, I couldn't give a sufficient sample so I had to down more water and try again after my hysteroscopy.

3pm  Hysteroscopy with Dr. Surry
My last appointment of the day was a hysteroscopy.  The purpose of this was for a more thorough look at the uterus, different than the ultrasound provides.  The nurse had given me ibuprofen during our earlier meeting to prepare for the discomfort.

It starts with the speculum.  Then comes oxygen.  It stings a bit, but it's an overall, general sting, not terrible.  And it's quick.  Everything looked great.

Dr. Surry mentioned that based on my low follicle count, he would lean to probably doing a CCS-Polar Body Biopsy (PBB - this is when they test the egg after retrieval, before fertilization) and a Day 3 freeze, rather than trying to go to Day 5 for CCS- Blast.  This will show me if my eggs are chromosomal normal (rather than the embryos overall).

I'm comfortable with this approach because one of my biggest questions is whether I have 'normal' eggs.  This will help give me answers.

CCRM Lobby

Next Steps...
This cycle, 9 -11 days after a +LH surge (OPK) I'll have an endo biopsy which will be sent out to be tested for the presence of a Beta 3 Integin.  The lack of this protein in the uterine lining leads to implantation problems.  My local Resolve friend who is now 20 weeks along with twins was missing this protein.  She was treated prior to FET (with Lupron and I'm not sure what else) and had great success!

When my next cycle begins, I'll have Day 3 labs drawn and shipped to FLC (the CCRM lab) for testing there.

I also have to have some additional bloodwork testing run, probably by my primary care physician.  So I'll be managing my cycle and making appointments.

I did email with my local RE nurse today and asked her if I could have the endo biopsy and D3 bloodwork done there.  She said it was fine as long as I had written orders for the tests, which I do.  It was a little awkward to ask my local nurse/RE to help me with my CCRM orders, but I'm trying to stay open about this... since this will either lead to success or answers for me.

Tentative schedule... I would start estrogen priming after ovulation from my September cycle (expected cycle start 9/17).  The following cycle would start my stims.  After local monitoring, I'd go to Denver somewhere around CD6 for a week - 10 days for monitoring/retrieval.  A transfer would be, at best 8 - 10 weeks later. It's not a fast process, and I've accepted that.  It's a long process but it's my best shot!

Long post, I know... even though I really only gave the high level overview.  I really liked Dr. Surry.  The whole staff was really great, nice, friendly.  I REALLY liked the nurses I met!

As I mentioned, I tweeted most of the day on Friday.  It was a bitter sweet day in the Twitter IF community.  Cassie gave birth to her beautiful son Gabe.  Like Ellen2 heard her baby's heartbeat for the first time.  And Dipitie learned that her baby lost its heartbeat at 9 weeks.

Infertility is so unfair!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Just a quick update because I've been up since 4:30am ET and I'm going to try to get to bed by 9pm Mountain Time.

I'm in Colorado!

I got in this morning and after a quick check in at the hotel, along with a shoe change, I headed out to explore.  My exploration started with finding the CCRM office.  I found it!

CCRM - Lone Tree office

My appointment is tomorrow from 7:30am until around 4pm.  LONG appointment.  I will write about it once I get home this weekend.

After I found the office, I was starving...  it was now about 2pm ET, I had breakfast at 6:30am.  I drove around the area trying to figure out where I wanted to have lunch and found a nice shopping center with a Sweet Tomato's (yum).  There was a nail salon next door (one that I read about on a CCRM patient message board) and I was hoping to get a pedi today - so I did!  And then right next to that was a movie theatre.  I caught the 1:25 showing of One Day.  

I came back to my room after a quick stop at the grocery (there is a mini kitchen w/ a full fridge in the room).  I was going to do a yoga DVD but I couldn't figure out how to get the player to work with the TV.  Maintenance was supposed to come up but after 30 minutes, I decided I just wanted to get a shower and rest.  So that's what I'm doing.  

I've been reading and trying to comment a bit, but the break has been good for me.  I don't think the break is fully over, but I'll update everyone on how my visit goes and what comes next.  

I'd like to do personal call-outs to many of you, but I'd be up another hour putting it together... so I'll just do one.  Shannon, I've been following your updates on Finn closely and you have been constantly in my thoughts and prayers.  I'm glad you got to head home today and that the Bone Marrow results were negative!  You are so strong!  And Finn is such a trooper!  

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Other Side of IVF

I didn't want to miss an opportunity to share this article (and the video of the interview is good too) which appeared in the WSJ on Saturday.  Holly Finn, author of "The Baby Chase" (and a 42 year old SMC wannabe) talks about being on the other side of the IVF statistics, when IVF does not work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Detox Cycle

So the long-shot, hail Mary IUI (83 injections worth) was a bust.  While my beta date was not scheduled until next Tuesday, July 26 (why 16dpiui, I don't know), I started spotting Wednesday afternoon and AF arrived today (CD30).  Yes, I was supplementing with progesterone.  Actually, for whatever reason, it was prometrium  this cycle, rather than progesterone.

So this cycle is to be a detox from the super-hormones.  I estimate my next cycle will start around August 18... and I'll head to CC.RM between CD 5 - 11 of that cycle for their ODWU (one day work up, aka - a full day of testing).  At BEST, I would start stimming for my next IVF mid-September.  And since the PGD requires freezing my embryos and uterus preparation, I'll be lucky to have a FET by the end of the year.

Sadly, I'll turn 40 childless, not pregnant, single and overweight.  Not exactly how I envisioned hitting 40... but I can take control of the things I can control.

Since I have, in a sense, a break for the rest of the year (although I'm not getting any younger)... I'm formulating a plan to work on my health (fitness) and maybe get some resemblance of my life back.  The life I've put on hold for far too long.  I'm working on the plan and starting to take action.  I'll share more once I'm farther along.

You may not hear much from my blog for a little while.  I'm not gone, but I am on a break.  I appreciate all of your ongoing support.  I expect I'll continue reading but forgive me if I'm not commenting much.  I'm going to try to extract myself from the SMC, TTC, IF world as much as I can during this time.  My goal is to exchange my TTC/IF OCD for Health & Fitness OCD...  Until next time, I wish each of you the best!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Girls Weekend

My two oldest friends came to town on Thursday for our girls weekend, the one to celebrate our turning 40 this year.  It's the weekend we originally wanted to go somewhere tropical and luxurious but my infertility got in the way...  but they didn't make me feel like spending the weekend with me in was any less spectacular than it would have been in the Caribbean or Mexico.

The Backstory
These friends, you must understand, go back to in-utero.

RL was born 2 months before me.  When we were born our parents lived in the same neighborhood, our houses were just 1 house apart (her mom and my parents, to this day, still live in the same homes!).    We went to Montessori together but then went to different schools for elementary and high school.

UD moved in 1 house down on the other side of me when we were all 4 years old (she's an October baby). We all became the best of friends.  UD and I went to the same middle & high school.  We walked to/from the bus stop together every day.  RL's boyfriend used to drive us/pick us up for high school our Sophomore year (because he went to our school).

Funny story that both RL and UD had parrots at their house... my  house being in the middle heard the squawking from both sides!

UD & RL were roommates at the same college!  Today they still live in my hometown (they are definitely a driving reason for me to consider moving home).

We played barbies together. We went to RL's for MTV's debut (I wasn't allowed to have MTV).  We played tons of Atari tennis at RL's (my parents wouldn't buy me video games).  UD's family had HBO (are you kidding, we absolutely NEVER had HBO)!!!

Growing up in FL we were very clever about how to crack coconuts, although we realized how clever our parents were to send us outside to find a coconut with a screwdriver and a hammer... we were out of their hair all day.  We choreographed a dance to Prince's "When Doves Cry", which we reenacted this weekend, surprisingly (or sadly) accurately.

We founded the Huffy Kid Club, for the kids in the neighborhood who had Huffy bikes (that would just be RL and UD) and I was an exception even though I had a Schwinn.

Recent History
RL and UD don't see each other very often although they live a mile apart... busy lives, although they do see each other occasionally (RL actually lives around the corner from my sister). Whenever I make it to my hometown (maybe twice a year) we are sure to get together!

Three years ago we went to NYC together, finally, after talking about doing a trip together for years.  We saw a broadway show (Legally Blonde), shopped, got our palms read and took in the experience of the city together.

We've been talking about doing something to mark our 40th year together for years.  We talk about retiring in the same community (although since they have kids ranging from college age to elementary school age, I am trailing behind in being able to retire, after kids).

They are super supportive and sincerely sympathetic of what I'm going through trying to become a SMC overcoming infertility.  My heart was happy because there was no judgment or 'why don't you just...' statements.  They even understand my current weight gain is much due to the year of super-hormones.  

The Weekend
Courtesy of Google Images
Shortly after they landed we headed to a Zumba class, which was a riot!  We then went to the grocery store where they continued to showcase their new zumba moves up and down the aisles trying to embarrass me, they have always lived to embarrass me.

Friday, we had massages and facials scheduled at the spa.  We were welcome to go early, which we did, to use their gym and pool.  We even had lunch catered poolside.  The entire day was such a treat!

We went to see Bridesmaids later that evening.  If you have not seen it, you must!  It was absolutely hysterical!  I actually laughed until I screamed!!!

We tried to get our palms read but didn't have luck finding a 'reputable' astrologer in  We took it as a sign that we were not meant to have our palms read at this time (I'm not sure that's anything but a bad sign).

We shopped on Saturday and went out to dinner and then a local pub.

Each of us are experiencing significant, life-changing shit in our lives; each shit is different than the other.  Yet we talked and supported each other.  We talked and laughed and cried.

While spending the weekend with RL and UD makes me remember how blessed I am to have such amazing friends, when I left them at the airport, I choked back tears.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hope & Fear

I was in the waiting room at the RE today, waiting to be called back for my IUI and I realized I had (all too common) conflicting emotions... I felt hopeful.  I even wore my #hope t-shirt I bought during NIAW this year.

Feeling hopeful brought on an overwhelming sense of fear.  Fear of disappointment from another failure. All I know from all of my IUI's and IVF's is failure, disappointment and heartbreak.

Dr. K was on duty today, I've seen him a lot this cycle.  He basically said this is a perfect cycle, as long as at least one egg is a good egg.  I have my 5 or 6 eggs ovulating, 22 million sperm making their way to the eggs and a healthy triple stripe lining in my uterus.

When this cycle was converted to an IUI, I basically gave up hope for the cycle at that time.  I even went back on Diet Coke and have indulged in a few glasses of wine since IVF3 was cancelled, even though I continued to stim for IUI... because IUI's have failed me for 6 cycles already.

I do question whether stimming for so long (due to my lack of response coming off the BCPs) impacted the quality of my eggs for this attempt.  Time will tell.

But today, I felt it... I felt the hope... and the fear.

*Gwinne, you asked in your comments about the clinic allowing me to do an IUI based on the number of follies I had... with my history, it's not an issue; the more follies the better, hoping that ONE might be good enough.