Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CCRM One Day Work-up

So we arrived at CCRM at 7:15am to start our "spa treatments."
We started with our Dr. consult. We met with Dr. Gustofson because Dr. Surrey is on vacation this week. He was great. Very nice and very easy to talk to. We went over our history....and how much fun the last 3 1/2 years have been and he answered any questions we had.

Adam was very excited to find out that the occasional beer will not affect his swimmers quality and that I have been wrong all along.........which he proceeded to tell me in front of Dr. Gustofson. It's okay, he very rarely gets to be right, so I let him have his moment.

So next, we met our nurse, Dawn. We originally were supposed to have Rachel however we were assigned to Dawn and she's very nice. We really liked her a lot.

After we met with Dawn, we went for my "wanding." I had an ultrasound to measure my antral follicle count and doppler to measure the blood flow to my uterus....everything apparently looked "great." So that was good news.

After the wanding, Adam went to make his "deposit." Since we're sitting in the airport waiting to come home right now, he would like to write about his experience himself so I am now passing the computer over to him.......I repeat, Adam now has control of the keyboard....here he is......

Ok, this is Adam. I thought our readers might be asking themselves, "Gee, I wonder what happens in the deposit process?" Well, I won't go into the gory details, but it's pretty much what you would expect. A small, bland room with a chair, a sink, and a few amenities for assistance. It's like a prison cell, but with some excitement.

So, I only wanted to add a little info on this particular experience. Normally, it's a routine in-and-out, but this one was a little unique. First before I could provide my sample, I had to give them my credit card information. I know what you're thinking, but it was all legit. Second, without going into details, this place puts an emphasis on being cleanly. The other interesting item (and probably the best part) was CCRM provides a flat screen tv in the room for optimal viewing "pleasure" - awesome!

Back to Tiff....

Okay, I'm back. It's Tiff again.

So after Adam supplied his sample.....we went to the business office. Contrary to popular belief, Adam did not go into shock and need a paper bag when we were told how much this is going to cost us. He handled the news pretty well.....I think he was still happy about the "optimal viewing pleasure." I think they plan the day that way so the husbands are as happy as they possibly can be. We signed our consent forms and moved onto the lab to have some bloodwork done.

When we got back from lunch, I had to give a tour of my uterus via hysteroscopy. This did not go very well. My cervix is very difficult to insert a catheter into, so the Dr. ended up having to dialate my cervix......this was awful. Adam switched hands at one point because I think I squeezed his hand too hard from the pain. It was over in 10 minutes though so I survived. Everything looked great inside my uterus and the Dr. couldn't see any reason that a baby would not want to get cozy in there for 9 months.......they made me lie on the table for a few minutes afterwards to keep an eye on me and once we got the okay to leave, we were off to our nurse consult and genetic counseling session. Let's just say that my uterus will not be accepting any more tours for a while.....

The nurse consult was pretty standard and we went over our injections and everything. The genetics counseling was the most informative of the day. She basically explained the testing we are doing on our emrbyos in greater detail....and Adam and I both walked away feeling more knowledgable on the testing.

Overall, the day went well. We left CCRM with feelings of hope and excitement. Turns out this process will go on for the next 5 months. By the time I have my biopsy and get the results etc....we'll be back to Denver in late February / early March. Estimated retrieval will be on March 5th. Then by the time 6 weeks passes from testing our embryos etc. and we build up my lining over about 4-6 weeks....we're looking at the transfer being in early June. So hopefully in mid-June, we'll find out we're expecting our miracle...... or miracles!

The posts in the future will not be this long....promise. :)

Love you all!

Travel Day to Denver

I am breaking my posts up into 2 separate posts for each day we were in Denver. I HAVE to talk about Monday, December 29th first.....our "travel day." The trip honestly could not have started better....seriously.

So we were originally supposed to take a 10:15am flight, however the flight was overbooked. Since we weren't in any real hurry, we decided to volunteer to give up our seats. In return, we each received a $400 voucher for another flight! So basically our flights are pretty much paid for when we have to return in late February / early March for the retrieval. Cha ching! $800 saved! We also got a voucher for free lunch. :)

We figured we should take advantage of the opportunity while we're not the frazzled parents we saw trying to comfort their restless and bored children at the airport. You could not give us a big enough voucher to stay at the airport any longer than necessary once we are those parents. Of course, OUR children will never act out, scream, cry or have any tantrums.........and for all of you parents out there reading this and shaking your heads....let me have this hope, I'm infertile myrtle for crying out loud!

So, we get on the plane on a flight a few hours later and we find out we're on some sort of list which has been chosen to get a free upgrade for TV on our flight. So Adam and I got to enjoy some tv on our flight. So a little Judge Judy, People's Court and a nap later, and we arrived.

So I have to go back for a minute to when we were still waiting for our flight. Since we spent about 7 hours in the airport, we had a lot of time on our hands. I am currently reading the book "The Case for Christ" and you know how your mind wanders sometimes, so you have to re-read the page? So, that happened. I had just finished staring...not in a creepy way....totally a loving way....and maybe in a little "I want to steal your baby" way, at an adorable baby who looked like she could be ours. So I was thinking about how much I wanted a baby and had to re-read the page I was reading....anyway, I glanced down and read the first line referring to Jesus......"But who was he really? Who did he claim to be? And is there any credible evidence to back up his assertions? That's what we'll seek to determine as we board a flight to DENVER to conduct our first interview." How CRAZY is that? I am a HUGE believer in signs. Also, I was using this Pug bookmark that I LOVE to mark my pages. When I stood up to board, I left it on the seat and realized it once we were on the plane. I was so bummed because I frantically searched my pockets and purse to see if I had put in there and just didn't remember....but couldn't find it anywhere....and I searched everywhere. So we arrive in Denver, I put my hand in my pocket.....and there's my bookmark! I checked that same pocket on the airplane at least 3 times before. I think it was another sign that Adam and I have an angel watching over us......more to come on that, it will give you the chills.

Okay, so while we were on the plane, our flight attendant was seriously a wacko. She literally told the man behind us that he needed to put his bag all the way under his seat because she wouldn't want him to feel guilty if the man sitting next to him by the window "died trying to get off the plane in an emergency because his bag was blocking his forward progress." What is this football? We were a little slap happy at this point so we were cracking up. Oh and did I mention that there were about 5 babies on the plane and they basically surrounded us the entire flight? SURROUNDED...literally. Everywhere we turned there was a smiling or screaming baby staring at us.......mocking us.

Okay, so we get to Denver and get our rental car....a PT Cruiser....which we got 1/2 off! It was supposed to be $75 and they only charged us $38! So we were off cruisin in our PT Cruiser......here's the BEST part of the day....as if the day could get any better. We were pulling out of the Thrifty rental car lot and had to stop to turn in our form to the guy who checks for dents etc. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but not really the type who would just start talking to you. Well, he did....and the conversation went like this:

Angel Man to Adam & I: "So how long have you two been married?"

Adam: "Too long....ha ha" "We actually just celebrated our 5 year anniversary."

Angel: "You two have that look of love, the ones newlyweds have."

Adam and I: "Yes, we're very lucky."

Angel: "I don't know why, but I feel like 2009 is going to be a good year for you two. You're heading in a new direction and good things are going to happen for you. Happy New Year."

Adam and I: (I now have tears in my eyes) "Thank you SO much. You have no idea how much we needed to hear that. Happy New Year."

I mean who says that? When we pulled away, we could NOT believe that the guy at the Thrifty Rental Car Lot had said all of that to us. I repeat, the random guy working at Thrifty....who knew nothing about us, gave us something to talk about the whole way to our hotel. What an angel.

So we were driving to our hotel, Adam sobbing with emotion......okay, maybe it was me that was sobbing......Adam was just crying....okay, he had tears in his eyes....okay, neither of us were sobbing.......but we were definitely emotional. Anyway, in the 30 miles between the airport and the hotel, we passed through "Aurora, Colorado." We live in Aurora, IL! Weird!

Our hotel was in an awesome area. Imagine a dream shopping area and any restaurant you can imagine. That's where we were. Nordstrom, White Chocolate Grille, Pottery Barn, .....the list goes on and on. It was basically "upscale suburban heaven."

We had some dinner and saw "Yes Man" which was pretty good, but to be honest we were so tired, we really just wanted to crawl in bed and go to sleep.

We came back to the hotel and went to sleep....and I dreamt of the thrifty guy while Adam joyfully cried in his sleep remembering how much money he saved that day.....it was a magical day in every sense.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leaving for Denver!

We're leaving for Denver in the morning and we are so excited! I mean, as excited as you can be to get poked, prodded and give tours of your uterus all day anyway. My parents are wonderful and are taking us to the airport in the morning for our 10:15am flight. By the time we get there, pick up our rental car and drive to our hotel, we'll probably get there around 1:00pm mountain time. We've decided to make it a low key night with some dinner and a movie. We'll have plenty of time for sight seeing when we go back in late January / early February for a week. We're coming back Tuesday night so we can be back here for New Year's....not that we have any exciting plans. We'll see where the night takes us as far as excitement. Maybe a little guitar hero and Olive Garden. :) We had a few options for plans with friends, but decided not to plan anything since the 29th and 30th are going to be such exhausting days.

Christmas is really hard every year because for the last 3 years, we've been saying "maybe next year we'll have a baby for Christmas" and it obviously hasn't happened yet. We had a great time with both of our families together for the "Griswold" family Christmas though. Lots of Wii, dominos and of course, booze.

Anyway, we have our camera packed and ready to go to document the day....don't worry, we'll keep it clean. I'll post some pictures when I update the blog on Wednesday when we're officially back home.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Tiff & Adam

Friday, December 19, 2008

Colorado here we come

Adam and I officially booked our flight and hotel room for Denver!

We're leaving on Monday, December 29th on a 10:15am flight and will be flying home on the night of Tuesday, December 30th. I know what you're all thinking.....that's a LONG day on the 30th. A spa day (it's what I'm calling it....so go with it) and then traveling home in the same day and getting home around midnight.

We decided to make this a quick trip. We will save $ on hotel and food etc. this way. We have to go back in late January / early February for the retrieval etc. and will be there for 7-10 days, so we can have fun and do some sight-seeing then.

So, okay, you've all been warned that there will be some venting on this blog. It's time for a vent.

I was at work the other day and one of my staff came up to chit chat. This is a staff person I rarely see because she's in a different staffing region, so she wanted to catch up. Big mistake. This was our conversation:

Idiot: "So how long have you been married now?"

Me: "A little over 5 years"

Idiot: "Really? Why don't you have kids yet?"

Me: "Trust me, we've been working on it."

Idiot: "Well, how old are you?"

Me: "31"

Idiot: "You really need to get a move on with having kids, you're not getting any younger and it's only going to get harder and harder to have a baby."

Me: "We've actually been trying for over 3 years. It's been a really rough road with procedures and miscarriages etc. so we're actually looking into adoption."
(I didn't feel like our IVF was any of her business, and didn't feel like explaining it to her. What I really wanted to say to her is inappropriate for this blog....but you can pretty much guess)

IDIOT: "Why would you ever want to adopt? You shouldn't adopt, because there's nothing like feeling your own baby kick and carrying it for 9 months and then bringing it into this world."

Me: complete silence........just staring at her in disbelief that a person could actually be THIS dumb. I literally got up from the table and just walked away.

I mean, are you kidding me? This was one of those times that my morals and manners were truly put to the test.....you know the ones that say it's not polite to murder someone? ...or the ones where you shouldn't berate someone in a public place? Yeah, those manners. Does she think I wouldn't give anything to experience that? I've only gone through all of the injections, surgeries and procedures over the years because I think they're fun and I know how much Adam enjoys being and seeing me in pain....physically and emotionally. Everything we've been through had nothing to do with wanting to give birth to our own child though. Not at all. What an IDIOT!

To be honest, if Adam and I are told that having a biological child isn't going to happen for us......I'm okay with having a child who doesn't look this us or come from our genes. It's the experience of being pregnant (longer than 7 weeks) that I want the most. I actually want to throw up every day and have stretch marks! (I kind of have some anyway, but whatever....I guess it's what happens when you're 31 and your ovaries are already shriveling up, according to idiot anyway) Never in a million years did I ever imagine I would WANT those things....but I do!

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.

The moral of the story is, please, never ever ask someone who has been married for awhile why they don't have kids yet.

We have our big family Christmas Party tomorrow at my Mom and Dad's so I'm mentally preparing myself for the "poor you" face that I'm sure I'll get at least 5,000 times from relatives. The one that makes me tear up. I'll definitely be drinking heavily.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Tiff :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Overwhelming Support

I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support since starting this blog. Your support means the world! Feel free to post comments on the blog if you want to!

Well, my af (aunt flow.....you can figure out what it means) hasn't started yet, which is what we were hoping for. It could not start before tomorrow or our plans for December 30th would be ruined. Everything has to happen a certain way and on certain dates for the tests to work out. So we're already off to a good start with af being a little late....hmmm, my period is late? Maybe I'm pregnant! HA HA.....that's probably the funniest thing I've said all year! If I were pregnant right now.....then move over Jesus.....there's a new X-mas miracle in town! (Sorry God, please don't be mad....it's really the LAST thing we need right now)

So we will officially be booking our flights and hotel tomorrow for Denver. We had to wait until my af DIDN'T arrive today before we could book anything....because our appoointment wouldn't fall in that cycle day 5-13 window. Now we're good to go!

We've had a special request for "real-time" updates while we're in Denver on the 30th. Be careful what you ask for.... :)

Merry Christmas everyone!

T & A

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Day Work-up Schedule

Adam and I received our official schedule for our appointment on December 30th. It goes a little something like this:

7:30am - New Patient Consult with RE

8:00am - Nurse IVF Consultation - We will meet our nurse who is assigned to us. We know her name is Rachel and she will probably become our new best friend over the next 4 months.

9:00am - Baseline U/S and Doppler Blood Flow U/S: These will measure my antral follicle count (basically how many eggs I will produce on any given cycle with medication) They will also look for any cysts. The doppler will measure the blood flow to my uterus to make sure it's strong and healthy.

9:30am - Semen analysis: Adam will do his "thing" and I get to have blood drawn. Hmmm...seems a little unfair. Anyway, they are checking for abnormalities in his swimmers and checking my blood for an antibody that would be attacking his swimmers. This cracks me up....I can just see my antibody and his swimmers in "battle."

10:00am - Meet with the business office so they can bleed us dry and Adam can breathe in and out of a brown paper bag when they tell us how much this is costing us out of pocket. It's not pretty.

10:30am - Consent form signing. We basically sign everything from my anethesia consent for my retrieval ....to what happens to any frozen embryos we have left if one of us dies etc....really fun and enlightening stuff.

11:00am - Blood work in the lab. I believe 9 tubes from me and 3 from Adam. They are testing for communicable diseases and genetic screening. We've had these tests done numerous times before, but what's another blood test at this point...seriously.

11:30am - Break - We get to have lunch and take a break from the poking and prodding!

12:45pm - Hysteroscopy for me - This is where they basically put a camera inside my uterus to have a look around. I've had this before and everything looked "perfect." That damn "P" word. If everything is always so perfect than why hasn't a baby made it their home for 9 months?...whatever. Anyway, it's not a fun test because it causes major cramps, but I survived it before and will survive again.

1:00pm - Nurse consultation - She will go over our medications and review injection mixing and administering instructions. To be honest, I have this mastered, but it's apparently "required" so we'll go with it.

That's it! Sounds like a real "day at the spa" doesn't it? The funny thing is I can't wait! It will mean we are that much closer to trying again and if it works, our dream will come true and if it doesn't, we will have some answers and closure and will start our family through adoption.

When we get back, I'll have to have the dreaded integrin biopsy......which can apparently be pretty painful....but just like everything else, I'll get through it and hopefully be closer to making my dream of becoming a mother come true!

Thanks again for your support. It means the world.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Offical Travel Date to CCRM - Denver

I just got off the phone with CCRM and according to my cycle, we are scheduled for our one day work-up on Tuesday, December 30th. I was miscalculating earlier, thank goodness. So we will be flying to Denver on December 29th and either staying through New Year's or flying back on New Year's Eve. It's all going to depend on prices of flights. We are both on vacation during that time anyway so at least we don't have to take any time off work. The good news is that we'll be starting 2009 off with new hope and excitement. 2009 will be the year we become parents, through birth or adoption...it will be a good year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I should have mentioned in my previous post that we chose CCRM because they are the leading IVF center in the country. They are very cutting edge and perform several tests that most fertility centers do not perform yet. They have some of the highest success rates in the country, which is why if this doesn't work, we will know we explored every option and were definitely meant to adopt. :) We may even finally get an answer as to why we're not pregnant yet. Sometimes not knowing is the hardest part. We're very excited to see what CCRM has in store for us.

Phone Consultation with CCRM

Our phone consultation with Dr. Surrey at CCRM went great. Adam and I have been to several "consultations" with doctors over the years and this one was by far the most informative. He was so easy to talk to. He looked over our history and since all of our tests always come out "perfect" he is chalking our problems up to a chromosome problem with our embryos. He also wants to do a biopsy of my uterine lining to see if I am missing the "sticky" protein needed for an emrbyo to stick. He also wants to run a whole battery of other tests as well. So, Adam and I will be flying to Denver in the next couple of weeks. Here is the breakdown:

Fly out to Denver for a full work-up....including the following:

  • A Hysteroscopy which is basically looking inside my uterus...again...and I'm sure everything will be "perfect" as usual. I should probably warn him that if the word "perfect" is used to describe any of our test results, I'm allowed to punch him in the face.
  • Adam gets to supply a "sample" which he has become an expert at...I'm so proud...and they will do a test to see how many "abnormal" swimmers he has...basically the ones with 2 heads, 3 tails, swimming around like they're drunk......his tests have always been great in the past so this will be an interesting one. I guess they have a way of getting rid of the abnormal ones when it comes time to fertilize my eggs after the egg retrieval. This test will give them an idea of what to look for.
  • We both will have bloodwork done....big surprise. My veins are actually going through needle withdrawal since we've been on a break for a few months.
  • They want to test my ovarian age.
  • We will also meet with the financial office to discuss payment....I'll be sure to pack a brown paper bag for Adam since we will be paying out of pocket for several thousand dollars plus traveling to Denver 3 times.
  • I also have to have a biopsy of my uterine lining which Dr. Surrey described as a "30 second ouch." He also said I could have that done here in Chicago so I can't hold him accountable for the pain and can't yell at him. Gee, can't wait for that!
  • We fly home.
  • This visit has to take place sometime between days 5-13 of my cycle which will basically be between December 18th through December 26th. My body hates me....seriously, I don't think the timing could be worse. We'll figure something out.....

Once the test results all come back, we start my stims. I have no idea what my protocol will be yet though. If my biopsy shows I am missing the protein, I will be on lupron injections to develop it for up to 2 months. Lupron makes me crazy....seriously, crazy. Please pray I have the "sticky" protein....for everyone's sake, but especially Adam's. ...poor guy. I will be monitored here with the regular ultrasounds and daily bloodwork until it's getting close to trigger. We will fly out to Denver for the last few monitoring appointments and the egg retrieval. They will grow our embryos to day 5 and freeze all of them. They will be sent off to be genetically tested. This testing is different from PGD, as it tests all 23 chromosomes. Since PGD only tests 9 of the 23, this test is much more accurate in choosing healthy embryos that have the best chance to implant. Chromosome abnormalities are the leading cause of miscarriage and failure to implant. I should be the poster child for this test.

It will take 4 weeks to get the results back. While we are waiting for the test results, I will start my PIO injections and endometrin to build up my lining for the transfer. We will fly out to Denver again for the transfer....have 2 days of bedrest and fly home.

That's when the hardest part of the whole process begins, not the tests, not the injections and bloodwork, not the retrieval...it's the "two week wait" until the pregnancy test that's the hardest part everytime. We are always SO hopeful during all of this, but when you get a BFN (big fat negative) you feel more crushed than you could ever have imagined you could. The thing that's different about this time is it's our last try. We are to the point where we just want to be parents......if this doesn't work, we will be very excited to start the adoption process and we will know in our hearts, it's what we were meant to do.

So that's where we're at in a nutshell.....I will be updating my blog with more updates as we progress. This will be a 4 month process with all the test results we have to wait for. For those of you who have gone through this or who are going through this......you understand that we do a lot of waiting...waiting and more waiting. So that's where we are....we wait for my period to start and we fly to Denver. Thanks for joining us on this journey! Stay tuned!