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!

Underachiever

CD10 Monitoring
I’ve had this really uncomfortable pain that’s been radiating from my back to front on the left side. Last Friday I thought it was related to my  car accident, neck and back injury. Now a few days later, and after some exploratory poking around my stomach/uterus/left ovary area I realized that its my withered little almond-shaped ovary stretching to fit what feels like an angry little gnome. It’s weird how one little shift can cause my mid-back to spasm and me to feel like the hunchback of Orange County. I am very familiar with this pain, but not on my left side. Normally its on my right. My last retrieval was in early July, so its been more than 2 months since I had one. And since my left ovary is such a underachiever, it didn’t occur to me that it was “Excuse me, I’m trying to grow an egg in here” pain.

Lets see what the blood results and ultrasound show. My appointment its at 11am this morning.

Results:

1 follicle still on the left side, now 15mm, E2 180, up from 72, 4 days ago, which is perfect for retrieval. Generally you want an E2 of 200 or more for 1 follicle. P4 .31, LH 16.8. Follow up visit tomorrow, trigger either tomorrow or Thursday which would mean a retrieval on Friday or Saturday. I’m hoping Friday.

I have plans on Thursday morning with a friend for breakfast, which makes me incredibly happy,  I’ve been asked to give a cooking lesson for my other friends twins 8th birthday party for 14 little 8 year olds, and I have midterms coming for my classes. 2 of these things I’m really looking forward to. It’s amazing how much having something to look forward to can shift your perspective. My “pretty pink positive thoughts” plan is really working well.

I’m getting excited for Halloween! We get a million kids here and everyone in the neighborhood decks out their houses. I am trying to decide if I want to dress my dogs up like crayons, or the Travelocity gnome. (you might begin to notice a pattern. I like gnomes.) Don’t ask me why I don’t know.

Lets put it to a vote: Crayons or Gnomes?

What I do know is,  there’s a life lesson in the phrase “Never Roam Alone”

 

101

My last post was post number 100. I didn’t even notice.

I went to the RE today for CD7 monitoring, I have 1 follicle still on the left ovary that is 12.1. FSH is lower, *weird* E2 is about where it’s supposed to be.  It’s grown exactly 6mm in less than 5 days with a natural cycle. Which as of this morning is no longer natural. I’m on a new protocol this month, where instead of Clomid, I’ve been prescribed Tamoxifen. Which I am only familiar with as a cancer drug. Because my mother took it for 10 years, before being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. That scared me a little, however it seems my RE has discovered that it acts (stimulates) similarly to Clomid but doesn’t thin your Endometrium or cause your LH to surge unnaturally. I monitor again on day 12 (Tuesday) to see whats happening. I imagine, since I’ve done this 10 or 11 times before, that I will trigger, and get a retrieval at some point next week if all goes well with the new meds. In 10, 11, oh who the hell knows, how many retrievals, I’ve never had a dominate follicle come from my left side. Ever. I’ve gotten a follicle or 2 from it before but they always wind up being the immature ones.

My left ovary is all wallflower-ish and under achieving. Like me in High School. Kinda. It’s the one that’s most easily visible and isn’t in a weird place like my right one, but it’s generally kind of lazy. Who else has 1 lazy ovary? How do you get it to be less lazy? Tell it, “You’re grounded until you produce a follicle?” Seriously, is there anything anyone can do to wake the lazy one up? Throw ice water on it? Poke it? What causes one to be lazy? Is there a difference in the egg quality?

Its been a busy week. Remember how I took Chinese III (Mandarin) a few months ago? We this semester I decided since I’m at home alone a lot at night, to take Honors Economics and Honors Political Science and Chinese IV, for fun. Note to self: Stop making decisions while hopped up on fertility meds or in the middle of a depression after a failed FET. Most people would avoid making decisions during times like that. Not me. Bring on some school, and some homework, and some new pencils, and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR this is expensive! Yes. I am an idiot.

My new “plan” is actually going pretty well so far. I’m avoiding the people and the “friends” and the situations that don’t add something positive to my life or my day-to-day. Instead, I’m trying to focus on friendships and classes and activities like Yoga, that make me feel better about myself. I’m also trying to avoid added stress and while the classes “might* have been counter intuitive, I have to admit it does feel good to have my brain engaged in something intellectual. Add a little more exercise and I should have a good recipe for how to better manage the outside stressors in my life.

Since I had to get a scrip filled from the Dr, I stopped at Costco this morning after my appointment. Where I got the scrip filled and decided to bring home some flowers for no other reason than because I felt like it. Usually there has to be an occasion. But not today. Today I just want to be surrounded by pretty, happy, peace and serenity, and there doesn’t have to be a reason. Right?

Universe

CD13 Update.

As of yesterday, I have follicles. Unlike my last 2 visits, where my ovaries appeared to be hollow as a Kardashians head. I hate having to mention Kardashians in my posts. Seriously. Ovaries, I mean you. Do your jobs. Both of you!

Or my second ultrasound could have been an error which seems likely since otherwise my follicles are growing at a Herculean rate. If that’s not the case, well then I’ve got a 14mm follicle that wasn’t there 3 days ago, and a 5mm follicle that also wasn’t there 3 days ago.

E2 222, LH 6, P4.24 Continue Estrace add Prometrium, some other progesterone and a partridge in a pear tree. Don’t ask me whats next, I’m not sure. I am sure I like not having to take Clomid. I’m still a little overly emotional but its nice not to feel like a bloated moose for the first time in a long time. I do know that there will be no egg retrieval this month. Which again, I am OK with.
Its been an exhausting week. As in really upsetting, frustrating, and anxiety ridden. I had an X-ray yesterday for my back injury which is conclusively soft tissue except in the neck area which appears consistent with some type of whiplash. I also had both acupuncture and chiropractic yesterday, and an appointment with the RE.

We picked up the dog from the vet last night, after 2.5 hours of instructions on how to care for him and what we can and can’t expect in the next few weeks. Mostly that its going to be a long road back to him walking, playing, running or anything else using his hind legs and that he may never get his full mobility back. Not to mention peeing on his own, and you know… enjoying being a little buddy. But he’s resting comfortably and happy to be home.

I am declaring a moratorium on stress this week. Starting now. I will be avoiding it and everyone and everything that stresses me out. I just need the universe to co-operate with me for 5 minutes please.

Universe. Do Your. Job. Which is not to give me every single exception or to make me feel like a piled upon person with all my bad karma at one time. I do way more good things than bad things, so lets give this old girl a break this week, actually for the next few weeks if you don’t mind. Please. No really. Please? Otherwise I might actually seek out a Thundershirt for myself. Not my dog. I’ve spent a lot of time cursing the Universe this week, maybe that’s why its mad at me. If I stop calling it names maybe it will cut me some slack. Sorry about that Universe, but if I’m honest, you’ve been really hard to get a long with lately.

I need to change my mindset to something a little more low-key, positive peaceful and restful, starting tomorrow. Scratch that. Actually  starting Monday afternoon. Because Monday morning I have an interview with the NFL. Yes. The National Football League. Don’t ask. I have no clue why I am doing this.

I’m going to try to catch up on some sleep this weekend, do a few errands but nothing major, try to enjoy the weekend and my family and face each day as it comes knowing I’ve tried my hardest.

Early

In a little over 12 hours I will be on the table/weird chair thingy they do egg retrieval in my REs surgery for the 8th time. Legs, strapped down, Queen Victoria on display, highlighted by the Russian Interrogation lights, my legs shaved, feet pedicured and the uh..bushes well maintained.

Its been another bizarre cycle where my FSH spiked, I was taken off Clomid, put on Estrace and we seemed to be off to the races from there. Except this follicle has grown over 10 millimeters in 7 days. And my E2 has gone from 40 to 235 in 7 days.  Add to it that I feel like my right ovary is building some kind of hipster nightclub in there, my failed “just go with the crazy experiment” and it becomes another humbling month of “yes I am still a control freak, who is a complete nutcase and yes I probably owe you and the rest of the free world another apology.”

There really is no dignity in this process what so ever.

Because my LH was SO HIGH yesterday, I *again* have the sneaking suspicion that I will have ovulated this little alien early. I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s not going so well, and every little twinge, every little knock is stressing me out.

Why did my RE have go to Turkey of all places when he knows my ovaries are unreliable, irresponsible and probably have horrible taste in music? If he hadn’t id have had an emergency retrieval today most likely and wouldn’t be worried about ovulating early.

Last month I was so sure it was going to be a bust that I work makeup to the retrieval. then snuck my phone in with me, photographed myself pre-surgery, texted the pic to my friend who promptly texted me back, “You wore makeup to a retrieval? Have you lost your mind?” “To which I wrote back, “If the outcome is going to suck, I’m going to look good doing it”. Which is retrospect still makes no sense.

I have done the meditation, and now I think I will just chant. “There will be a good follicle in there, not an alien. There will be a good follicle in there not an alien.”

Probably meditating again would be wiser. Lets see how well I sleep tonight.

 

Asshat

CD12 Monitoring Appointment, Cycle 8

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning showering so I could go to acupuncture before this appointment. I showed up early with raspberry preserves for everyone, both at the acupuncture office and for my RE’s office.

Im sitting at the clinic using their computers to write this post. After 4 days off Clomid and on Estrace my numbers are better, I’m not sure they are good enough but there is definite improvement and this cycle may not be lost.

E2 149.8, FSH is 23.2, LH is 13.9. 1 follicle on the right side measuring 9.4.

The E2 is closer to where it should be, my FHS is more than 10 points lower so that’s a big improvement in 4 days, ideally though it’s not quite low enough, in my non professional, unmedically trained opinion. Because my FSH has been so high, my LH is also artificially elevated. So I’m waiting now. To see what happens next.

The plus side of this is for the first time since last Monday, I’m pretty calm. We also get to see my little Peanutgirl today so that’s a very happy thing. I’ve missed her a lot since she’s been in Hong Kong for the last 2 weeks. It feels like forever.

We will do some more work in the yard, Husband is building some kind of a fountain so I cant wait to see how that turns out. Our Neighborhood 4th of July block party is tonight. They have a fireworks show, a kids bike parade, a live band, dancing, face painting, pony rides the whole place comes out for it.

Good things. Things to look forward to and be thankful for.

Sorry I have been an asshat this week. Seriously. I’m sorry. My approach was abrasive.

Just spoke to the Dr. He says continue Estrace Monitor again on July 3rd.

My RE is going to some big IVF convention in Turkey for 3 days, and will be back on July 5th. He expects that if I get a retrieval it will be that day. When he was in China last month, I’m pretty sure my retrieval was also his first day back. I have no idea when this man sleeps. Seriously.

As an aside for everyone who comments on my controversy post, thank you for your input your opinions your thoughts support and even though I was abrasive in my approach, your kindness. I really enjoy being part of this community, even though it’s a club no one really wants to belong to. I’ve met some of the brightest most talented writers, kindest women and most genuine people even virtually than I ever expected.

I hope you all do something fun that’s NOT fertility related this weekend!

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.

Anarchists

CD 18 Monitoring appointment this morning.

E2 186, FSH 25, LH 17, P4 1.43

1 follicle measuring 15.8 left side.

Egg retrieval scheduled for Saturday morning at 9:45am

I don’t know what to think or say really.

This has been a really difficult cycle, for a lot of reasons. Some personal and some because my ovaries are anarchists who are defiant and refuse to coöperate or behave themselves in any kind of “normal” way. They are probably into Steam-punk or something equally hipster-ish that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. They just wander around giving me the finger and making obscene gestures at every turn. Just my luck to have hipster ovaries. They probably wear ironic mustaches and really tight skinny jeans.

I asked the Dr if I would ever have another normal cycle. His answer was, probably not. His answer was actually more complicated than that, but I’m tired and don’t have it in me to write about it and be witty today.

It doesn’t help much when it comes to coping with the fear, anxiety and uncertainty of this process. So I have that going for me.

Lupron shot tonight at 10:45, Ibuprofen tomorrow twice, to delay ovulation.

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.