Today

I went to my clinic to get a final blood draw, and ultrasound this morning to see what my levels are and what my Endometrium (lining) is. Dr Yelian did it himself.

Results: Endometrium 12.4, E2 185+, P4 26.87. My PIO dose has been increased to 1.5ccs. Ow! The transfer is tomorrow at 2:15pm. I will need to be there 30 minutes early, and I will be having acupuncture both before and after the transfer.

I stopped by the Temple today to light candles, meditate, pray, I asked a monk for a blessing, I asked for strength and grace, for this blessing to become a reality, and for happiness good health and harmony for my family. I also asked for forgiveness because I’m a tremendously flawed person. But I am becoming someone I like.

Then I went and got my hair done, because you know what? I don’t want to spend the next few weeks looking at my dark roots. I’m such a girl (I don’t know where this vanity comes from, I’m not even a big makeup wearing person). On the way home, I stopped Costco and bought a big fragrant pineapple, some milk, and some nuts.

You know what I didn’t do today? I didn’t hide me knickers at the ultrasound. In fact I took a picture to prove it.

I even wore hot pink ones just to give my otherwise boring underpants choices a pop of color. I’m starting a knicker revolution. Not really but my blue skirt and hot pink underwear made me laugh and Dr. came into the room before I could shove them out-of-the-way. So here you are. My knickers. It’s not the full shot but its them all the same. Also notice I was not tidy and didn’t fold anything. Its been about 100 degrees lately so knit skirt, t-shirt sandals, I’m golden.

Meditations tonight, some happy thoughts, my first butternut squash soup of the season. A nice peaceful, quiet, evening.

Thank you to everyone that responded to my earlier post, What ever happens is out of my hands now. But I will be praying my little Jinyu snuggles in tight.

Lastly, I’m going to post my IVF song. Don’t look at the video just listen to the music and lyrics. It’s by Ian Britt, an incredible artist and a friend. It’s what I’d say to my imaginary baby. (Shameless plug) You can buy Ian Britts amazing work on iTunes.

Wish me luck. Thank you so much!

The Shape of Us

 

And Were Off

CD2 Update

Is it really cycle day 2 if you started your Shark Week yesterday at noon and have an appointment for CD2 at 10:15am less than 24 hours later? These are the things that I ponder and wonder, “hmm does anyone else think about stuff like this?”

While Im asking these questions, Id also like to know why it is when I set my headphones down no matter how nicely I do it, they wind up a tangled knotted mess that takes me 5 minutes to untie. These are the important questions of the universe and Id like some answers!

E2 was <25. This has never happened to me before, Dr Yelian said its common though because it means that the follicles are not developed yet and so starting the meds means they have the chance of growing at the same time.

FSH was 17.2. Kind of on the high side but it fluctuates so I’m going to try not to worry too much. For now.

Right ovary, unable to view. Don’t ask me where it is, they have a map for it and everything but for all I know my stepdaughter packed it and took it to Hong Kong with her.

2 follicles on the left side both about 5mm.

Another month without having to mention the echoing emptiness of a Kardashian’s head. Thank God, or Buddha or whoever.

I got to meet Linda from Operation Baby C  in the office today while she was getting her second Beta. I waited for her, and of course it was good news, but its her news so I will let her share it. Love her, she’s sweet, pretty, funny and seems like someone I’d like to hang out with!

Clomid starts tomorrow yay. No. Not yay. There’s another word Id like to use but I promised my husband Id try really hard to stop swearing.

I’ve decided to do something a little different this month. Rather than struggle and fight for a normal cycle, I’m just going to embrace the crazy. I mean being mental actually kind of helps me in my life so rather than struggle against my anarchist hipster ovaries, I’m just going to try to roll with it. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Lets see how long that lasts.

Strange

CD20, Egg Retrieval #7

Today is my youngest brothers 42nd birthday. He has three kids, twin sons and a daughter all conceived naturally. His kids are amazing and beautiful, but he doesn’t speak to me so I don’t see them much. I miss his kids though, they are really special kids.

I’ve been awake since 4:30. I didn’t do my regular OCD superstitious routine before a retrieval because I don’t have a lot of faith in this months cycle. I’ve drunk a lot of water, but no pedicure, no shower last night, I will take one this morning. No visualizations for me this month. Maybe next time if things start ok. No food since Thursday in the afternoon I think. That’s going to piss off my acupuncturist. Sorry Dr P. I just haven’t been able to force anything down.

A lot of back and forth about if I wanted to let this cycle pass with no retrieval. What I choose was to have it. The reason is, if it’s a cyst, I want it out of me. I appreciate everyone’s hope so much. But the science shows that my LH has been elevated for too long. Which means that if the egg is aspirated and is still an egg, that it will be so degenerated it wont matter. If I don’t get it aspirated it may become a cyst. Where there are cysts, no good follicle or egg will ever grow.

This cycle was a long and strange one. It started as ideal, and quickly went downhill. Whatever is in there isn’t good. It’s too slow-growing, too much struggle to get my E2 higher, too much struggle to grow the follicle. P4 elevated for too long, LH elevated for too long. Even from Thursday’s monitoring my E2 was too low by over 100 points, and the follicle was barely large enough to aspirate as a mature egg.

To be clear, I dont cry over eggs or follicles. I cry over lost opportunities, that these cycles are stacking up behind me like firewood and not much good is coming from them.

I’ve listened to a lot of Bluegrass music which according to my husband is incredibly sad. Sadder than traditional Chinese music. Traditional Chinese music reminds me of Irish women keening at a funeral, so we’ve had lots of happy in our house lately. This particular CD makes me want to go running in complete darkness, the music is moody and haunting. Which is sort of funny really, because I hate running. I only run when chased.

I am impatient with myself to snap out of this dark mood, to move forward and stop thinking about what is past. In a little over 3 hours this will be over, and I will move on. I will focus on trying to stop looking back at these bad cycles and try to make an intention for ones coming.

Thanks to everyone that commented and said that they hoped for me. I appreciate it, its nice to know that even though I can’t hope for myself this month, someone is willing to step in and fill the breach. Thank you.

Circus School: Luteal Phase Follicle Edition

I am a Geek, a Nerd, a Dork. I want to know statistics, algorithms, percentages. I want to know whats happening to me, to understand the language.

Dr Yelian has commented on it before, saying that most patients don’t want to know, or don’t care, they just do what the Dr says. I say, this is something I am invested in being successful with so, I want to understand the language. That means breaking it down into terms the normal person can understand.

While I am sure many of you would disagree, I am the normal person in this scenario.

What is happening to me this month is an anomaly, because I get every weird scenario/cycle possible. So much for normal. Welcome to my life.

In the Mini-IVF community, the Luteal Phase Follicle is mythical. Everyone has heard of them, knows someone who had one, but no one really understands them, what they mean, why they happen or what their quality or outcomes are.

They occur, but not often and not usually with very good results. (this information is subject to change because Dr Yelian vehemently disagreed with me when I saw him on Monday but didn’t have time to go into specifics) I have asked him about these before, and he was ambivalent about them. Not sure if there was any real value to them, however he just returned from a conference in China and says he has some data that has changed his mind. I will be asking for that data the next time I sit down with him. Because I need to know things.

To review: I am doing Mini IVF, which is IVF with fewer medications, so you don’t get lots of eggs each cycle you may get 1 to 8 depending on your age, secondary fertility issues, autoimmune issues, and whether you have Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR), or Primary Ovarian Failure (POF) PCOS, Cysts or Endometriosis.  I have had as many as 5 and as few as 1. It varies from month to month.

I have diminished ovarian reserve, low AMH and I am of advanced maternal age.

Today, I am CD 17, have one follicle that Monday, before it was assaulted with Menopur and Clomid measured 9.8mm. Anything after CD 14 is considered to be “Luteal Phase” or post ovulation.

During an IVF cycle, the dr retrieves an egg right before the woman ovulates, while the mature follicle is still in the ovary. They want the follicle to be as mature as possible but don’t want it to have ruptured from the ovary. In a normal natural cycle (non medicated), this is the only egg that would be retrieved, and so you begin the 2ww wait for the next menstrual cycle and follicular phase to begin. However, sometimes there will be other follicles in the ovaries that may not have been mature enough to rupture at the time of ovulation, but are still viable. With monitoring and sometimes stimulation, the Dr is able to retrieve another mature follicle that has developed even after the patient has entered the Luteal Phase.

The statistics and data on the success rates of Luteal Phase Follicles is murky at best. Generally the egg quality is thought to be poorer by 10 to 20%. I know that there have been LPF pregnancies however again, the data is not easily found. If I could translate the Kato Ladies Clinic white papers and general information about it into English I could make a fortune. The Japanese don’t believe that American women want to know this information. So they see no need to translate these documents. Which harkens back to what Dr Yelian said about some patients not wanting to know.

I don’t understand that. As in, I can not wrap my head around the idea of not wanting to know. I want to know EVERYTHING. Not to second guess the Dr, but to be informed about whats happening to me, why, and if there is anything I can do to change it, stack the odds in my favor or improve my outcomes. Who the hell puts themselves through this without wanting to know?

Anyway. There is one scenario under which my chances might be improved this time. My cycles started getting bizarre in March. Why? I’m not sure, possibly over suppression, however it created a sync issue between my follicular stage and my menstrual cycle which I’ve been combating ever since.

Last cycle from start of my menses, through the aspiration of the cysts, the 10 days of Provera to the beginning of my next cycle was only 16 days. I don’t have confirmation on this yet but it would seem logical to me that while this is another abnormal cycle, the condition where a sync issue exists, would also show that while this may be a luteal phase follicle, it may also be a regular follicle that happens to have begun maturation later since the duration of my previous cycle was so short. By “regular follicle” I mean one of good quality.

This logic could also be a mechanism to encourage myself to move forward with it, and keep my head from exploding.

Maybe no one else really wants to know this information. Maybe I really am an anomaly. I find writing it down in words that make sense to me, helps me process through it. If its boring, I’m sorry. Maybe these school posts are really just for me.

Acupuncture today, Clomid with a big shot of Menopur tonight, and doing everything I can to keep my stress level down. Which means vegging out and trying not to think too much. There should be an off button. Seriously.

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.