Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Protocol Set by Dr. Surrey

Dr. Surrey called for a "wrap-up" consult last night to discuss all of our test results. I was at work, so instead of having everyone listen to my conversation about numbers, suggestions and whether or not Adam should be exercising on a bike because I was worried about potential "damage," I sat in my frozen car for the call instead. For the record, Adam IS allowed to exercise on the bike, for now. Win for him.

So Dr. Surrey was very happy with our test results and very happy to hear we had chosen to do the CGH testing on all of our embryos. This is where they test all 23 pairs of chromosomes to make sure they are "normal." He decided to put us on an antagon protocol. He decided against the long lupron cycle...thank God....because Lupron and my body hate each other. So this is what our protocol looks like so far:

Period is due February 18th which is CD1 (cycle day one)
CD2: Bloodwork and ultrasound (suppression check)
February 20th (CD3) : 1 menopur injection in AM and 1 Gonal-F injection in PM (this will continue every day until trigger shot and retrieval)
CD4: Same as above
CD5: Same as above
CD6: Bloodwork in am, plus ultrasound........depending on results, dosages for injections may change that night
CD7: (February 24th) Travel to Denver! (plus injections)
CD8: Stim Check (Bloodwork and u/s) .......injections with dosages based on stim check
from here on out, I will do my injections and have bloodwork and an ultrasound everyday and
depending on follicle development and bloodwork, I will be instructed to take my HCG "trigger" shot....egg retrieval will be 35 hours after trigger and we can come home.
My estimated egg retrieval is March 3rd, which is my Grandpa's birthday so hopefully that will bring some good luck to our embryos as they are created that day. :)

So that's it for now. We both have to take an antibiotic for 10 days starting tomorrow and wait for my period to start. Hopefully the witch will be on time.....I feel like it's the least she can do.

In other news, I almost clocked a girl at work yesterday who just found out she is pregnant with her 2nd child. She flat out said and I quote "I'm not excited, I didn't want to have any more kids...ever." This conversation prompted me to have a little convo with God on my way went like this....

"Uummmm.......excuse me God? I know you're a little busy up there running the world and everything, but do you think you could throw me a bone and stop putting ungrateful morons in my presence? Oh and a baby would be nice too........for me, not the crack addict down the street, or the person who has 12 kids they can't take care of, or even the Duggars who have 8 million kids, but maybe this time it could be our turn? That would be great. Thanks.....and oh ya."

Monday, January 26, 2009

CD3 Bloodwork Results

So I don't really have very many details because we have a follow-up phone "regroup" appointment tomorrow with Dr. Surrey, however I just spoke to Dawn, who gave me my results.
FSH: 6.3
E2 (estradiol): 72.9
LH: 5.3

So my fellow infertiles understand these numbers, but family and friends are probably saying, "Gee Tiff, great, but what does all of this mean?"

FSH is basically your Follicle Stimulating Hormone. It should be under 10 to be considered good and it basically measures your ovarian reserve. Women are born with all the eggs they're ever going to have. Think of the FSH as a gas pedal. The harder you push on the gas pedal, the faster the car goes. The higher your FSH level means it's needing more and more "gas" to create follicles and "recruit" your eggs from your reserve. So, you want your FSH to be lower. The closer you get to menopause, more and more "gas" is needed to create follicles and the harder your body has to work, which causes your FSH to get higher and higher. Hope that makes sense to you. So my FSH at 6.3 is really good.

E2 (estradiol): They like to see it between 25-75 on day 3 of your cycle. Mine was a little elevated at 72.9. Sometimes a higher E2 level can lower your FSH level....which masks an egg quality problem. Since my FSH level was so good to start with, they're not overly concerned about it at this point. Dr. Surrey will explain more tomorrow. My E2 level has always been high on CD3 though, so it might just be how my body operates.

LH (luteinizing hormone): Your LH level is the hormone that "surges" when your follicle is mature every month, which sends a signal to your brain to "ovulate." They just like it to be less than your FSH......which mine was, so that looks good too.

My IVF nurse, Dawn, is going to give Dr. Surrey all of my results today and he will decide on our protocol based on everything he's been given so far. He will tell me what my protocol will be tomorrow and we'll go from there.

So that's a lot of "fertility jargon" and probably like a foreign language to the non-infertiles....but that's our life right now......E2, FSH and LH have become common language in our home, sad but it's what we've been dealt and we're going with it.

I'll update some more tomorrow night after we talk to Dr. Surrey!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Biopsy Results are in.......

I have the sticky protein! Yea! I don't have to repeat the test and my uterus and cervix could not be more thrilled. So once again.....everything looks "great." Whatever......"great" can go suck it.

I'm SO sick of everything always looking "great" and yet, no baby. I'm feeling particulary bitter today. I would like to extend a "shout out" to infertility for making me such a bitter person. I used to be such a happy go lucky person. Now, I'm just bitter.....bitter and babyless.

I went to my new chiropractor last night for the first time. Wouldn't you know it, I walk in to his office to his wife and adorable baby girl at the reception desk. It's just one happy little family with their perfect baby girl and perfect little situation and their perfect little chiropractic practice.....whatever.

I actually really liked them though. He couldn't even adjust me without having the massage therapist work on my muscles first. They were too tense. He asked me what my stress level was and I told him a 7 for work and a 10 for our upcoming cycle. The massage therapy really helped and I'm going to be going there 1-2 times/ week through our cycle.

I really liked the massage therapist, although, there were a few times I would've knocked her out if I wasn't being massaged at the time. She told me she just got married and that she knew she would get pregnant on their first try so they were going to wait a few years. I've been there...never in a MILLION years did I think I would ever have a hard time getting pregnant. My Mom had to look at my Dad and bam.....pregnant. It's okay though, she can have her hope and naiveness. I'm over it. Can you feel the bitterness?

I shipped my frozen bloodwork out to Denver yesterday and called this morning to make sure they got it....which they did. Hopefully we'll have some results in the next few days.

Adam started his vitamins last night. I went to Walgreens yesterday to stock him up. He came home to several bottles of vitamins next to his sink. I asked him if he would like me to buy him one of those pill boxes that keeps everything organized by day...he declined, and told me he wasn't "80." Bitterness all around.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's get this baby-making party started

I never in a million years thought I would be this excited to announce that I got my period yesterday! WOO HOO! The witch showed up pissed off and with a vengeance.....but you know what? It's okay, she's actually welcome this time.

So, I go in tomorrow for my CD3 (cycle day 3) bloodwork and ultrasound, have it frozen and shipped off to Denver for analysis. Once we get the results of the bloodwork and my biopsy....pending everything is normal, we will start 10 days of antibiotics for both Adam and myself. We are still on track for traveling to Denver late February / early March for retrieval. I found a great condo online to rent while we're there for 10 days. It's in downtown Denver and the same price of a hotel room. The great thing is that we can do some grocery shopping and save some $ on food. Plus, I'm realizing how hard it is to stick to "healthy organic eating" when you're at a restaurant. I tentatively booked the place and we should be good to go!

In other good news, Adam's Sperm DNA Chromatin Assay test came back close to the excellent range, which is great news. The test basically measured the amount of DNA fragmented sperm he had in his swimmers. They are finding that more and more unexplained cases of infertility and recurrent miscarriage, such as ours, can sometimes be attributed to fragmented DNA in the sperm. It's hard to detect without this specific test though because sperm counts, motility and morphology can all seem good in a standard semen you have to dig deeper to look at DNA fragmentation.
They are putting him on a few extra vitamins though just to get them "geared up" and ready to go. I picture his swimmers in there listening to the "Rocky theme song" and flexing their muscles in the mirror......

So now we wait.......I will keep you posted as more results roll into town.

T & A

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I survived the biopsy!

My drug of choice today is valium......definitely relaxed me....but didn't do much for the pain though. Oh was better than nothing.

I survived!....not with flying colors....but I survived none the less. First of all, my old RE and FCI have been so wonderful through all of this. I also am so happy with CCRM. Because I have a history of painful procedures due to my cervix being very unwelcoming to catheters etc....they prescribed me a valium to take before the procedure. I wasn't going to ask for some and just suck it up, but FCI encouraged me to at least ask.....they obviously are very familiar with my pain in the ass cervix. I asked, and CCRM came through! FCI called this morning to make sure I had gotten something or they would prescribe me something too. So, I can take this one of two ways......nobody wants to deal with me complaining......or they all really care about I'm going with the latter of the two. :)

I was feeling pretty loopy when we got to the Dr.'s office. Adam, being the gentleman husband he is....tried to take advantage of me in my drug-induced state while we waited for the Dr. to come in. Really? I mean, .....really? When you're about to have a metal wire punctured through your cervix so a sample can be scraped from the inside of your uterus... I can't imagine anything worse, than getting fresh with the hubby. Shot down....poor guy. To be fair, he was trying to make me laugh and keep me relaxed......

That's when the fun began. My Dr. couldn't get the catheter in.....big shocker. (To no fault of her's just my stupid cervix) She had to stop to ask one of the nurses to help her and to bring her the "cervix dilater." Those 2 words haunt me like no other. I've had my cervix dilated way too many times and I was determined not to go through that again. The next time my cervix is dilated, there better be a baby coming through it. At this point, Adam made me laugh by mimicking the Dr. by saying "Um, can you bring in some of that pipe fitting know the giant metal rod." Anyway, I heard those 2 words "cervix dilater", held my breath and told her I was "fine." Since I was clenching my teeth, I'm sure she could tell I was lying. It was pretty obvious. I think she could sense I was starting to lose it, so instead of waiting for the nurse, she went for it, basically puncturing through my cervix....which for the record is definitely not less painful than dilating my cervix....but she got in....she scraped, sucked, punctured, cut...or whatever she did to get the sample. In reality who knows what she ACTUALLY did to my lining....but I'm explaining what it felt like and it was go with it. Sh was so nice and kept apologizing telling me it was almost over. Once it was over, Adam immediately, TRYING to make me feel better after he had just watched me in his own words "in excruciating pain" quickly reminded me that it was ONLY 30 seconds long once she got in...............and then after he saw the "are you kidding me / death look" I gave him, he quickly added "but I'm sure it seemed much longer to you." Gee, honey, ya think?

The truth is Adam is always there to hold my hand and get me through everything. I don't know what I would do without him. My friend's husband said the hardest part of childbirth is that it's so hard to watch your wife in pain when there is nothing you can do about it. The more I thought about it, the more it made me realize how many times Adam has had to watch me go through physical and emotional pain. 4 years of painful procedures and countless tears....only we don't have a baby to show for it. It also made me realize that he is so used to all of this that when we do go through childbirth....he'll be so immune to all of it, he'll just tell me to "suck it up." To which my reply would be a punch in the face.....ahhh, can you imagine the love in that hospital room that day? Seriously though, I'm a very lucky girl.

So back to the biopsy.....I survived and we should get the results in 1-2 weeks. Please say some prayers that I have the sticky protein, otherwise, I have to go through treatment to try to develop the protein and REPEAT the test in a few months to see if the treatment worked......I really don't want to have to repeat the pray for the protein!

So next steps are....wait for my period to arrive in the next few days, start an antibiotic (both of us), have bloodwork on day 3 of my cycle, frozen and shipped to Denver, have an ultrasound to make sure I don't have any cysts and wait.........

I'll update you in a few days!

Thanks for being here!

T & A

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Test Results & Health Kick-off

So our nurse, Dawn, called yesterday and gave us our test results. Sperm analysis was great, other than the morphology being a little on the low end, but it wasn't significant enough to matter. My uterus looked great from my hysteroscopy. It turns out I don't have any anti-bodies built up to Adam's swimmers, which is great. My vision of my anti-bodies and Adam's swimmers gearing up for battle was a funny thought though. My AMH level came back at 8.6 which apparently is excellent. They like it to be above 1, so I'm sittin pretty at 8.6. :) I guess my ovaries and eggs aren't as old and dicrepid as suspected. The communicable diease panel on each of us was negative of course......testing positive for chlamydia would be all we would need right now. ...can you imagine? After all of this blood work we've had over the years, at least we know we're relatively healthy. So we have that going for us....which is nice.

So once again, everything looks great. ....and I say that with as much sarcasm as I can muster. I'm having my biopsy next Thursday and will get the results about a week later. That should be an interesting one. The nurse did mention that Dr. Surrey is putting me on a antagonist cycle. She is putting a "schedule" together for me next week, so I will share that when I receive it.

On another note, I am so happy that other people with their own blogs etc. are reaching out to me and sharing their experiences. Infertility feels SO lonely sometimes and it's so nice to hear from people who truly understand what we're going through. I am also in awe of our friends and family who have reached out to us to help as well. We feel very loved and supported and can't thank everyone enough.

So today, Adam and I are kicking off our "optimal health" program. We had a great discussion this morning about our feelings towards all of this. We have both been in a state of depression the last few years. I feel exhausted all the time, I feel lazy and I feel sad. Infertility has taken over our lives and become a full-time job. We haven't been able to plan anything in advance for years, because we never know where we'll be in a cycle. We're hesitant to buy a bigger house, because every dime we save goes to infertility or maybe even eventually adoption. I feel like I live at the Dr.'s office for blood work, ultrasounds and I feel like a pin cushion. I feel like all of this is so unfair. Why do other people get to make love and create a child, while we have to pay thousands of dollars, go through hell, and more often than not, have nothing to show for all of it. It's exhausting. Adam is tired of watching me cry and go through procedure after procedure when there is nothing he can do to help. I created this blog so I could vent my true feelings and be honest about them. Please don't get me wrong, we know how lucky we are in our lives. We are in a strong and happy marriage, we have a nice home, 2 great jobs, 2 pugs who are the best fur-babies anyone could ask for, the best parents in the world, siblings we call our best friends, families who are so full of love, and friends who support, love and never give up on us. I am also fully aware that there are people fighting everyday for their lives with diseases that aren't fair either or losing family members and friends to a young age, which isn't fair either. Life isn't fair, and I'm aware of that....more now than ever, but I feel like I am pretty strong through all of this and need to vent and ask the question "why me?" every once in awhile. Okay, I'm done....and actually feel a lot better.

So now on to the "health" part of all of this. We have decided to start a new attitude going into this cycle. Niether of us has worked out in months and we have been eating like crap again. Starting today, we are going back to our "pre-holiday" organic healthy eating, regular workouts and we are going to look into supports groups. I need to learn to let go of stupid things that don't matter and to deal with stress. I need to learn how to cope with all of this, instead of just feeling bitter, sad and crying myself to sleep. I'm sure my mental, physical and emotional state right now are definitely not ideal for a pregnancy, and I want to change it. Adam is on board and is going to start taking his vitamins....that I normally have to literally watch him take or he won't take it, and he's going to start jogging again and eating better. Okay, here's the big news....I've decided to start trying a few healthier recipes.....yes, that means let's not get crazy or anything....I'm going to start off with a goal of making 2 dinners during the work week and a few on the weekends. I've been looking into some vegetarian recipes that look great and am headed to whole foods this afternoon to stock up. I love that store, and have shopped there semi-organic for a year now, but I am going there with a purpose now and know what I'm specifically looking for. I'll let you know how that goes. :)

So that's it for now.....sorry for kind of a "heavy" post but I really do feel much better. I really want this blog to be light-hearted and sarcastic instead of sad and heavy, but every once in awhile, I have to let it out.

Thanks again for being here!

T & A (It stands for Tiff and Adam....get your minds out of the gutters!:) )

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Biopsy Scheduled

So the dreaded integrin biopsy of my uterine lining has been scheduled for next Thursday, January 15th at 2:30pm. I am SO excited to get it over with I can't even tell you. I ordered the special kit and it arrived today. We basically had to order the kit, have the biopsy, go to Fedex and pick up a biohazard shipping container and ship our sample off to the company for testing. They will basically scrape some of my uterine lining to check for a "sticky" protein that helps an embryo stick and makes your uterine lining more receptive to your embryos. The only thing I'm allowed to take for pain is ibuprofin........I want to ask for valium since my cervix is such a pain in the butt and I really don't want them to have to dilate it again, but we'll see how far that goes. So Adam is doing some hand exercises to get ready for the squeezing again.....

For some exciting news, my best friend Kristi and her husband Jeff, welcomed their first baby into the world on Tuesday. They named her Addison and she is beautiful. We went to see her in the hospital last night. I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard. Not hard because I'm not happy for them, because they are going to be such great parents and are 2 of my favorite people in the world, but hard because it's sinking in that that experience may never happen for us. We may never get to give birth and see our baby and immediately try to figure out who she/he looks like, did she/he have my eyes or Adam's nose? We may never get to have friends come visit us in the hospital. I may never get to fill my friends in on my delivery experience.....and well, frankly, it just sucks.....

So I ovulated a few days ago, and it was one of the first times I didn't jump Adam's bones. I just kept thinking that with my luck, I would get pregnant and the biopsy would cause me to miscarry again.....Adam laughed at me when I told him, because it is pretty funny to think that the thought of conceiving naturally actually crossed my mind. We need to accept that all the romance of making a baby has been removed and we now require 8 doctors, nurses, a lab and an embryologist to get knocked up. So romantic.

So the next steps are to have the biopsy, wait for my period to start, have day 3 bloodwork frozen and shipped off to Denver and wait to see if everything looks good to start suppression.

I'll update more when our test results roll in from our one-day work-up. I'm just dying to see if I have the anti-body to Adam's know, the one that gears up for battle and attacks Adam's swimmers the second they enter my body? The thought still makes me crack up. :)