An American Horror Story

I can’t get warm. I live in Southern California,  and even though just about everywhere is colder than here, I can’t get warm.

I’ve spent the weekend waiting. Waiting to bleed, waiting to stop crying, waiting for something to feel normal or logical. I haven’t, started bleeding, I still cry easily though for shorter durations and thank god, usually in private. I’ve been waiting for the pregnancy symptoms to subside, they haven’t either. What has happened is that everything has begun to feel really surreal. Like it’s happening to someone else.

Saturday my husband spent the day with a client so I wandered around trying to do errands I wasn’t able to get to during the last few weeks when I’ve felt so ill, and tired. At some point I started to feel like I was so desperate and crazy that I couldn’t stand the idea of having a dead embryo inside me anymore. It was like some sort of surreal anxiety attack that just went on and on and felt bigger and bigger. I texted my acupuncturist on Saturday afternoon, to see if he could help me get the miscarriage started. He was shocked. He thought I was accusing him of hurting me. I wasn’t. I said “No, I want you to help me start bleeding”. He kept asking me over and over if it was true that there wasn’t any more hope, said there really wasn’t much he could do, got kind of annoyed with me that I haven’t seen him in 3 weeks (due to work, and just being overwhelmed with adjusting to being pregnant and the expectations my husband and family have of me) so I agreed to see him this afternoon. He says the best he can do is help calm me. I am not sure how well this appointment is going to go because I’m not sure anything except strong drugs will help calm me at this point.

I’ve dreamed about dead babies. The box the Dr gave me to collect a “sample” of the tissue has very graphic pictures of what is the right tissue to send and what is not the right tissue to send. Its like something about of a sick science experiment. It will need to be “collected” thoroughly washed, and placed into the sterile jar. A vial of the miscarriage blood must also be collected. once collected they are both to be wrapped in a “bio-hazard” bag, placed back into the box and sent to the lab. The box also says that while it can be used by a patient, it’s created specifically for the use of medial staff after conducting a d&c. No gloves come with it. So let me get this straight, I’m supposed to collect the sample from the toilet, wash it, identify it, and place it in a sterile jar? I’ve done a lot of things to become pregnant. I’ve gone through a lot but I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I am brave enough to do this.

I woke up from a nightmare about doing this last night drenched in sweat, heart racing and shaking at 1:30am last night. I didn’t go back to sleep for a long time.

There is only a 50% chance that I will miscarry naturally. On Friday if I still haven’t started then I am to call the Dr who will give some vaginal suppositories that should bring it on. There is a possibility that also wont work so the Friday after that if I still haven’t miscarried, then he will tell me to get a d&c from my own Ob. I honestly don’t know if I can wait another 3 weeks for this to be over.

Overwhelmingly, sharing my story on Facebook has been amazing. Except for a few comments like ” You know if you really want something it will happen, so you must not have wanted it enough” and a God is punishing you, I never really thought you were cut out to be a mother”.

Why is it that I can get 50 amazing, caring, supportive comments, and the 2 that aren’t just bring me to my knees?

So where am I now? I’m about to get ready to go to work, dizzy, light-headed, shaky, anxious and with tremendous back pain that started on Saturday. I’m about to step back into my life, feeling more disconnected then I’ve maybe ever felt, and wondering if this was my last chance at my own biological child.

I know I need to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and support, but please be patient with me, I am still in the thick of this and just putting on foot in front of the other is proving to be as much as I can do.

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Transfer #3

I realized something today. I wasn’t blogging yet, when I did my first transfer. I didn’t blog about my second transfer until after it failed, I’m not sure why really, the support would have been nice, but I didn’t. Today was FET #3. The miracle Molly gave me, a 6AA fully hatched blast. It was unfrozen, fully expanded and transferred without incident.

I was running late to my pre-transfer acupuncture appointment, and in my rush to get there, I got the first speeding ticket I’ve ever had in my life. Which I guess I can do to traffic school for, but whatever. Transfer went well, while I was in the recover, Molly came to talk to me a little said my uterine lining was great, no stripes, completely white which I guess is what they wanted to see. My P4 from yesterday is a little on the low side at 26.87, she said that a level of about 40 usually indicates a higher than average chance of pregnancy, hence the increase dosage of my PIO shots, and that my E2 was perfect.

I went to the post transfer acupuncture appointment and that went well too, I lay there just trying to keep my mind blank and focus on feeling the needles.

I just walked in the door about 20 minutes ago, so its been a long day for me.

The Beta is next Friday at 11am. Between now and then I hope to do a lot of meditating, catching up on some TV, doing homework for my classes, working on some projects I’m in the middle of, and generally taking things sort of easy. Not too much stress, not too much worry, just focusing on resting my godforsaken noisy mind.

The outcomes at this point are out of my hands. All I can do is wait, try not to be anxious and promise myself not to pee on any sticks. This time, I’m going to wait for the Beta, I’m going enjoy not knowing, and if I cry in front of the Dr so be it.

Snuggle in little bean, snuggle in tight and thrive in your new, less frosty environment.

Textbook

Here’s a first. I’m having a textbook cycle. I know right? I didn’t think Id ever have one again!

Ideally in a retrieval cycle, you want your lining to be about 14 on the day of your retrieval if you plan on doing a transfer after. I don’t know if I will be doing one, I’m leaving it to the Dr so probably not.

You want your E2 to be about 200 or higher for single a good quality egg, your LH not to be peaking, anything under about 20 is fine. P4 should be low, because a high P4 means you’ve ovulated. A high P4 is anything over about 1.8. As your E2 rises your FSH should decrease which is also happening to me.

Blood work again today, and ultrasound, Dr came in to check the size of the follicle which has gone from 15mm to 17 mm since yesterday. That’s another thing. Any follicle over about 20mm before retrieval, will likely be “post mature” or you know, unusable.

While doing the ultrasound, he said “that is really a beautiful follicle” patting me as he left the room. A beautiful follicle? Another first. I don’t know what that means, all I saw was a big round blob of dark grey, but it made me happy, and he said please wait for blood results before discussing retrieval.

Results: E2 194.4, LH 15.7, P4 .42.

Lupron trigger tonight, at 10:30pm, retrieval scheduled for Friday morning at 9:30.

Welcome back to the Circus!

Nothing Good

 

Wednesday afternoon I was out doing errands.  I was about 8 blocks from home, fully stopped at a stop light and was rear ended. This person tried to drive off but I got out of my car, stood where he was trying to turn, so he would have to run me over to get out and took a picture of his license plate. He finally pulled over. I went to exchange insurance information and low and behold he didn’t have any. In fact he didn’t even have a drivers license. So he gave me his Mexican drivers license. Which would have been super useful if I was in you know, Mexico.

The police don’t come to the scene of accidents unless someone is bleeding in CA anymore, so I actually had to schlep myself into the police station to make a report of the accident today. Waste of my time, anyone?

My lower back was in a really bad spasm by the time the evening rolled around. I had promised a friend to do some stuff with her the next day, and because of time limitations I did it. On Friday I went to the Acupuncturist/Chiro and he declared “uh your back and neck are really torque, in fact it looks really bad”.  Perfect

Consequently I spent half of today on the phone with the personal injury group of my insurance office, made 3 calls to the guy who rear ended mes insurance office, had an appointment to get my cars damage assessed, and having to make a formal statement to the police.

Our Doxie has spent the last 2 weeks at stepdaughter moms house (they like to spoil him) he’s put on 3 pounds and hurt his own back going up the stairs at their house on Thursday.  They didn’t take him to the vet and so when we got him back on Friday, he was dragging one leg around and couldn’t go up or down the stairs, and seemed to be in a lot of pain. Saturday morning we took him to the vet, who said he has a herniated disc. He is on pain pills, steroids, has a good appetite, but is sad and is now dragging both legs like he can’t feel either of them. We took him back to the vet today and he now only has a 50/50 chance of recovery and the surgery is 4500.00. Turns out the vet we took him to on Saturday didn’t give him a cortisone shot, and so the price of this surgery just make our vacation impossible. Did stepdaughter bio mom offer to help pay for this surgery? No. Did she apologize? No. Will that poor dog ever go to their house again? NO! So this poor animal will spend the next 3 days in at the hospital having spinal cord surgery.

I’m scheduled for an X-ray of my neck and back on Thursday. My day 10 monitoring appointment is tomorrow. What does all this mean for me? I’m not sure. I have no idea whats even happening this cycle so I’m just trying to go with it and hope for the best. But the anxiety, worry and stress have crept in.

Anyone stressed out just from reading this?

My Chiro told me that the places I experience pain in my back may shift over the next 2 weeks as one area overcompensate for another. Today, my neck on the right side is really really painful, as is my  mid, lower left back.

Am I ever going to have a time where I can actually focus on my attempts at getting pregnant without all these other things ruining my peace of mind and raising my stress level through the roof? Because it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to happen.

 

Phoenix

No. I didn’t run off to Phoenix, nothing personal to anyone who lives there, but I’m not a fan of the desert. If I am not near a body of water I get disoriented and wander around in circles like some kind of dehydrated nomad. Plus as I’ve said before, my natural color is somewhere in the range of “pale blue” so the desert doesn’t generally look good on me.

I went to see Dr Yelian this morning, was happily greeted by my favorite vampire, where my blood was drawn and she informed me that I was indeed scheduled for an ultrasound. To which I responded “Dammit!” because if my cycle is going to be canceled I should be exempt from having to take my pants off. Right? It’s in the rulebook. Oh that’s right, there is no rulebook.

The ultrasound tech did the ultrasound, “cold gel, I’m sorry its cold, please let me know if its gets too uncomfortable” Right ovary, no clear visualization. Because its Memorial day, and it apparently went away for the long weekend.

Left side… 1 follicle that at first appeared around 5.2 mm, then after looking around again and checking from another angle measured 9.8. She didn’t believe it so she called for Dr Y to verify it. I hung out pantsless for about 20 minutes before Dr Y came in, shook my hand, looked for himself, couldn’t find anything and said “Get K in here so she can show me this follicle.” She came in, showed him, he said “Yep that looks like a real follicle”. What? There are fake follicles?

E2 137, LH 15.3, P4 1.47

What does this mean? I’m not sure, to quote the Dr. “I was monitoring your levels from China, and this is a very strange cycle”  My P4 from Friday made it seem I had ovulated. Although, how an egg can be mature at 6mm is beyond me. Whatever. Yes this is still a strange cycle. I now having something called a Luteal Phase Follicle. Which means a new, maturing follicle of good size AFTER I’ve already ovulated. Wait, are you still confused? Me too. I will do another post later about Luteal Phase follicles, just bear with me here.

They left, I put my clothes back on and put the paper sheet in the trash and was told to wait to be called by the nurse. Dr. Y was insanely busy so I didn’t really get a chance to speak to him but he said I would be given meds to take home, and when my blood work came back they would call me with a plan.

296.00 for 2 shots later, I left with 2 big doses of Menopur, in the clinics signature pink bag, and a lot of questions.

We had Dim Sum with my husbands mother, and sister, and her husband. His mother told me I was not eating enough, but that I’m too fat, and that my face is too thin, so keep losing weight, but not in my face. Hard to please much? Shes 89. My understanding is that women over the age of 60 can say and do anything they want, to anyone they want, when ever they want. So we have that to look forward to.

Here’s the treatment plan, 1, 150ml shot of Menopur tonight at 8pm along with Clomid. Continue Clomid daily, another 150ml shot of Menopur on Wednesday night and I see the Dr on Thursday.

Do I know what happens after that? No. What do I think? I have no clue. Am I hopeful? I don’t know. But it feels better to be DOING something than to be contemplating my navel and berating my ovaries.

People ask me all the time, “Why do you call it the Fertility Circus?” This cycle is a perfect example of why. Plus it sounds way better than the Fertility Roller-coaster, or Fertility Merry go Round.

Why did I call this post Phoenix? Because apparently like that mythical bird, this cycle has risen from the ashes.

Loco

Rather than start this post with the qualifier that it’s a downer I’m just going to post a funny picture.

No. Its not my picture, or my dog but the hairy eyeball is something I’ve given out pretty frequently lately. I like that little dogs crazy eyes.

I’ve been wrestling with where I go from here (as though I am in control, see what I did there?) There is nothing to be decided really, but I feel the need to create a plan or a strategy. Because planning things I have no control over is super useful.

I can’t seem to stop myself from trying to create a strategy, and running through all the possible scenarios. If x happens then the result will be y, if y happens then z will be the outcome. I have control issues. Sue me. Maybe I am a drama queen but every bad cycle discourages me a little, and chips away at whatever faith/hope/trust I have in my own bodies ability to make good eggs and my belief in my ability to get pregnant. I keep reminding myself to “Have faith in your journey” When all I really want to do is yell WTF? Not just the letters either.

“Maybe I should take a break?” because of my AMH, I am afraid to.

I’ve been “unpleasant” to be around since Friday, and by unpleasant, I mean scary. I cry easily. I’m overly emotional, I’m short-tempered and I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping past 4 or 5 am no matter what time I went to bed. I don’t have a lot of patience with myself, I am sick of pouting, sick of myself. Sick of not feeling like myself. I’ve spent most of the weekend in my head. Talking to myself, and trying not to talk to my husband because I don’t trust myself not to say something critical or unkind.

My one real-life friend who knows about my IVF went to Costco the other day and called me asking me if I needed anything. My answer was “Yes please. Id like the ovaries of a 25 year old, a new life and an Asian baby. And some sour patch kids if they have any.” She lives in Canada so, you know, she didn’t buy me anything on my list.

I’ve worked in the yard a lot. Moving things around, replanting some trees and flowers, moving lawn furniture, washing it down, cleaning the low wall around my patio with a scrub brush, soap and hot water. Raking, lacing out trees, trimming hedges. Moving the statuary to better locations and fixing the fountain.

I do that when I am unhappy, I clean until everything is spotless, laundry, iron, put things away, purge closets, clean some more, wash everything down, polish furniture, sweep and mop floors, organize until there is nothing left to be organized. Except whatever is in my head. Which if I could fold like a load of laundry and put it away, I would. Consequently as I type this, you can eat off any surface in my house. Not that you’d want to. I’m just saying.

I will see the Dr this morning and have my hormone levels checked. I can’t say I’m nervous. I’m not, I’m numb. I don’t expect anything good to come out of this meeting. Chances are he will say “No more Clomid for you, only natural cycles”, which are a whole other can of worms. You can’t control ovulation with natural cycles, and I’ve had 3 of them where I ovulated the best, lead follicles early so, no bueno. Or… “were going to give you Birth Control Pills, or Estrogen”… or something else that is new, and scary and may over suppress my already defective ovaries.

After,  I have to go have Dim Sum with my In-Laws who love tolerate me. Why you might ask? Because my husband decided last night that today was a great day to drive up and see them. The insensitivity is strong in this one Luke. I know he means well, but he doesn’t get that I am about as stressed out as it is possible for one person to be, and frankly. I don’t want to see anyone. Crap, if I am truthful I don’t want to see myself right now.

The plus side of my cleaning frenzy is my little fountain is fixed, I have created a new seating area in the rear of my yard, and all my little Asian statuary looks fantastic.

The outcomes of the meeting wont be posted for a while after, but I will post it later tonight.

Here are some pictures of the work I’ve been doing in the backyard so it will hopefully counterbalance the negativity of this post. You can see each picture in more detail if you click on them.

Japanese Maple tree, with a tiny pagoda.

My fountain whose filter is no longer clogged with roots, or biodegradable ew.

Yes, that is a Buddhas head.

Foo Dog, it’s an antique and I’m not sure if I love it or hate it. Husband loves it, but the painted eyes creep me out.

If you look into the tree and see all those Moroccan stars, they each hold a candle and we light them when we have parties.

My avocado tree is shedding a lot of leaves now so even after all that work yesterday there are leaves in the yard making my perfection imperfect.

Story of my life.

Maybe Not Maybe

CD 8 monitoring update

I want to think of everything as a new cycle a new beginning. I don’t want to become cynical or bitter or someone who doesn’t hope. But to review, after last months cyst freak show, I was put on Provera. Which means from the start of that cycle to the start of this one was 16 days.

On day 3 I had 2 follicles right side was 8.2 and left side was 5.8. Today I had 2 follicles right side was 6.3 and left side was 6.6. My RE says that its very possible that the 8.2 follicle disappeared, and that a new follicle grew that is now 6.3. Or it shrunk. He doesn’t know. Of course neither do I.

So, the rest of the numbers are: E2 90.3, FSH24, LH9.1.

Dr Yelian asked that I monitor again on Friday, and that if there is a retrieval it will probably be Monday depending on Fridays results.

After consulting previous cycles my “normal” retrieval day is around day 11 or 12, and the one time I had it later the results were extremely poor, but I am told that a longer cycle is better and that this may still turn out to be a good cycle.

To explain how all this works, if the Clomid works and the follicle grows, FSH goes down inversely to the E2 which goes higher. A good cycle will be an FSH under 10, and an E2 over 120 or so. An FSH over 30 can inhibit the growth of the follicles so at that point es-trace or some other kind of estrogen medication can and often will be administered.

I did a LiveChat with my RE on Friday night. Only a few people showed up (much to my disappointment) but the questions were serious and educated. I’m not sure how he feels about it, but I recorded it in case anyone is interested in listening. I will post the link if I get some requests for it. The women that attended really liked it. Because this is my field of work, this lead to a discussion of how he could improve his site, what videos he needs to do, what kind of forums he needs and what are the best practices to keep him one step ahead of everyone else.

He and I had one of those heart to heart talks today, where I explained to him why I want to be a mother so much (for the first time), and why I cried so much at the beginning, and he told me he knew we had “glitches” but that he really thinks I’m a good person and will do everything in his power to help me get pregnant. Clearly we now have a better understanding of one another.

Can someone just wring me out so I stop with the bizarre weeping? Please?

While I’m a little worried about not having a retrieval this week, he gave me comfort in knowing that if I do have a retrieval it will probably be Monday when he’s back from China. Which is some comfort for me. He’s going to China to be a Keynote speaker at some event, traveling for literally a day and a half, to do a speech and then travel back in a total of 3 days. How committed is that?

Monday will be Memorial Day, when Banks, normal Drs offices, and other govt related businesses will be closed. Dedicated? I have to say, I like what he stands for, and I like his commitment and passion. I have to admit when he said he considered me a friend, I started to cry.

I’m blaming the Clomid. Not my sentimentality or the acknowledgement or the care. I’m blaming the drugs.

Because normally no one ever sees me cry.