Beta #2

Generally the second beta is given 48 hours after the first one. But since the  first beta was last Friday, and the clinic I go to is closed on Sundays, I was asked to come back 4 days after my first beta. Which was this morning; 181.5. I was told not to worry about it, but coming in 98.5 points lower than the Dr wanted to see? Yeah that’s concerning to me.

Since my positive pregnancy test, Ive come to realize something. It doesn’t all end with a positive and then fade to whatever baby color that represents the gender and you go on happily ever after. There is a critical path, milestones to be met, a third beta, the first ultrasound, the heartbeat, because of my age a battery of tests that will come in November and December should I make it that long.

Somewhere around the 16th week I can start to feel safe. Maybe. Which for me, means it will be 2013, before I can stop worrying.

16 weeks seems a long way away.

Which led me to thinking about children. In IVF, you worry throughout the process, you are anxious about your levels, you bodies response, your results, your ability to make follicles/eggs, their quality, if there are male factor infertility issues, you worry about Everything. You change your diet, you take supplements that make you to produce the most expensive urine in the world. You worry about the cost, the toll it takes on your relationship, the toll it takes on you as a person.

Where does it lead? It leads to the elusive (you will worry about that too) positive test, and a whole new slew of worries and anxiety. Assuming the outcome is a live birth, you will then worry about that child for the rest of your life. I guess the upside of all the disappointments and anxieties that go with IVF and infertility, is that it prepares you better than most for parenthood.

What does it mean? I means I’m going to walk through my worries and anxieties 1 step at a time. I’m going to try to not to predict the future, because it isn’t written yet, and I’m going to do everything I can to get enough rest, keep stress at bay, eat well, and have faith.

From here on out, I am stepping into the unknown. I will be grateful for every day I have with this miracle.

 

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.

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

 

Secret

How many of you are on Facebook? How many of you need more than the blogging community to vent, discuss, complain, cry, and have people who completely understand what you are going through to talk to, even if they are virtual strangers?

I have started an IVF Peer Support group on Facebook. It’s a “secret” group meaning no one but the people in the group ever see the posts, and it doesn’t show up in anyone’s feed unless they also belong to the group. I can guarantee your privacy.
Anyone who is dealing with infertility is welcome. From whatever stage you are in, you don’t have to be doing IVF, from first diagnosis, to starting Clomid or whatever, doing IUI‘s, IVF, anyone with autoimmune issues, anyone facing issues with fertility, including those of you that are now pregnant.

There is an embryologist in the group, and a nurse, so there are times that you can get your questions answered straight away. I will invite the RE from my clinic from time to time, to answer questions if there is anything that is really urgent and pressing.

The purpose is to get advice, share experiences and stories, give and get support, make friends, and have someone rooting for you, no matter what.

I’d like to open it to this community. If you’d like to join please contact me at jlko@att.net. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. If you are uncomfortable with it, I understand, but I hope you will at least consider it. Lastly I do not work for nor am I compensated by my clinic, I started the group because as its well documented here, I just don’t have enough support at home.

The group is small now only about 8 people, but I’m hoping it will grow. I just wanted to offer, because crappy as my day has been, I’m determined to find a silver lining. And this might be it.

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”

 

低调

Its been a tough week. Thank you to everyone who commented on my arrested post. I loved your willingness to be vulgar and awesome all at once! For some reason, the thought of women I’ve never met cursing on my behalf so I didn’t have to was really comforting. I’m not kidding. Thank you.

3 more days of Provera and Estrace, and a few days after that a new cycle will begin. The 9th one. I bought a new package this week. There will be 3 more attempts, at least. I never thought I’d be one of those women that goes through this month after month. I never thought I’d be someone who would be willing to do anything to have a child. But apparently I have become THAT person.

It’s just one more way my life is unrecognizable to me.

People ask me how I keep going. The truth is, I don’t know what else to do but keep trying to move forward. I try to focus on the future, and hope for the best. More and more I try to make my mind quiet, and with some practice maybe eventually, I will get good at it.  There are days though that I fail epically. I had at least 2.5 epic failure days this week. Including crying so much during acupuncture the Dr. put little wads of tissue in my ears so that the tears didn’t pool there. While useful I’m certain it wasn’t my best look. But then crying with my nose running and my eyes streaming red isn’t my best look either. I admit it. I’m a really ugly crier.

2.5 is  better than 7 but I’d like to do better.

Its hard, but I’m trying to get into the habit of allowing myself the grace to dream and hope. I can’t always see it and that scares me a lot. But if I focus and let my mind wander, I can see myself, and my completed family.

There it is again. Those words, hope, dreaming, and an implied faith. While all of this sounds suspiciously cheesy, I will take that over cynical, bitter and angry every day of the week. With every single fiber of who I am, I do not want to become that person.

I was that person for 2.5 days this week so I’d like to issue a blanket apology to everyone who saw me, drove near me, talked to me or had to interact with me in any way during that time.

Someone said something to me today that resonated with me.  低调.  The translation is something like “blessings arrive in tune”  like music, but what it really means is “low-key” as in good things happen when you’re not shouting the house down. It’s a Chinese proverb that I need a lot more practice with. A whole lot more.

I’m going to keep practicing, and continue trying to quiet the cacophony of noise, thoughts, anxieties and worries that are in my head. Someday, the silence is going to be peaceful and amazing.

Degenerated

I had this post written by 5am this morning about what it would be titled about what would have happened. It was done in my head. And truthfully on my WordPress account.Twice

Then something else happened. I had the retrieval and heard Molly say “it’s degenerated” where Dr looked at my left ovary to see if some miracle had happened and no. Left ovary is quiet, so I was hustled out of the surgery and into recovery, where Dr Yelian said Molly’s first look is that its degenerated, so we will take a second look but be prepared. Nurse Ching came in same thing said egg looks degenerated chances are it’s no good, rest and we will see you in a while.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken pics of me pre-surgery and sent them to 2 friends so they can see, it’s not a joke this is serious the procedures are scary as hell.

I decided not to wait for the 20 minutes to go by I went to the bathroom removed the gauze and went to get dressed.

I’d rather be with my husband to receive bad news than alone.

When we were taken in Dr Yelians office he said the egg was good, and it was a good retrieval. So now we wait. To see what happens.

I’m really happy in a lot of ways, that the egg made it out of the lutenization furnace alive, but I’m concerned again as to if it is realistically viable and if it will make it down the blastocyst cycle.

They couldn’t have done any better. Even Dr said he was worried about my LH level.

From here all I can do is wait.

Mandarin, Yoga & Acupuncture OH MY!

I’ve been taking Mandarin at the local Chinese school. In fact, last nights class was the first class of this quarter or whatever it is the kids call it now.

I’ve taken Mandarin classes before, in fact I took one at the local college but got really discouraged because it was a class of you know, college kids, who were all Chinese who were taking the class for an easy A and spent all their time trying to cheat off my paper. That’s right, I said it. Cheat off the white girls paper. The only non-Chinese in the class and they want to copy off me? I’m sorry, but am I the only one that sees the irony here? I’m still the only white person in the class, and the teacher seems to like seeing me squirm so she called on me a lot last night.

I’m still looking for a good yoga class. If anyone has any suggestions on what type or method of yoga would be good, I’d appreciate the feedback!

I went to acupuncture today, got pinned, adjusted and by adjusted I mean cracked, had some kind of electrodes hooked up to my left bun and right leg that is supposed to help relax the spasms. And a lecture about not eating enough. Thank god for him though, I’d look like the hunchback of Orange County without him.

Something happens to me after acupuncture, everything feels all loose and fuzzy, my eyes get heavy and I wind up with an overwhelming desire to take a nap. Only I don’t sleep well during the daytime. The problem isn’t falling asleep, it’s that I wake up with my cheek covered in drool, not sure where I am or what my name is. Then I can never sleep at night. Sometimes I cry during the sessions, for reasons not always clear to me. Which also leaves me feeling a little vulnerable and raw after.

My cycle is now so messed up from the freak show of last cycle, and the Provera I have no idea what cycle day I am on, or what I should be listening to for the Circle and Bloom Meditations. I have 5 more days of Provera, probably another 5 or 6 days before shark week starts again, and who knows if after such a short cycle there will be follicles. Just one, normal, not scary cycle where I have a few follicles that become eggs in the proper timeline is it really so much to ask for?  The crazy of the last few months has been wearing on me. Other than giving my ovaries a stern talking to, I’m not really sure what else I can do. Plus since when did they ever listen to me any way.

My mother was in the hospital last week, diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It’s what my father passed away from so I know that while she may not pass tomorrow or the next day, the clock is ticking and its time to resolve whatever issues I/we have with each other. There are also some spots on her liver and kidneys that the Dr.’s say she requires chemo for but she has refused treatment. We are planning a trip to see her in the next few weeks.

A lot changes in a week. I know I need to refocus, and deal with one thing at a time, but right now I’m not even sure where to begin. Except I promised Dr Paul, I’d begin with dinner. So I will start there. I am nothing if not a person of my word.

Home

I live in an old house. It was built in 1933. The style is called California Monterrey. A style created by an Architect from the East Coast who modified a style of homes he loves, a more colonial style, to incorporate the adobe that was so plentiful in Southern California.

It’s not perfect but this is what it looks like from the front elevation. The wrought iron is horrible. From a true architects/artisan point of view.

My husband is an architect. A rather well published and talented one. Who has built a lot of houses for famous people. A lot of sports figures, and some actors and Hollywood types. He has his own firm. He’s a very successful man. He collects historic architecture books, often owned by famous architects. Its his passion. His first love, the single thing he relates to more in this world than anything. Except his daughter. Who I’ve written about before and who is extraordinary in her own right.

Which sometimes leaves me wondering why it is he loves me.

Because I am of average intelligence, average looks, average everything. Why would an extraordinary person love me? I am not special, I don’t come from a good family or an ivy league education.

In a way, we are two peas in a pod because we don’t have the family bonds that so many take for granted. We have each other. And that’s it.

Through this journey he doesn’t have a lot of words to encourage me because he doesn’t really know how. But he gardens, plants things in the back yard that he thinks will make me see that he loves me. Azaleas, Camellias, a Japanese Cherry tree. Things that go with the Japanese Maples, the stephanotis, the hydrangeas and the gardenias. Even though growing them is hard because the heat of the southern California summer make it difficult. But he endeavors through it.

In Southern California it’s unusual to find a house of this age, or a lot that hasn’t been subdivided somehow. Lots of people have more land than we do, lots of people live in bigger houses and lots of people have bigger yards. And bigger wiener dogs. I adopted him because my stepdaughter loved his long back and short legs and his sad face. She didn’t realize it was all an act, because Ive never seen that face again and he’s never sorry for anything he does wrong, he just shows me his butt.

The avocado tree is over 100 years old. It fruits over 1000 pounds a year. Ask my RE, I’ve brought at least 150 pounds of avocados to his office over 2 visits, because I am not above shamelessly bribing the women that work there to remember and to be nice to me.

From these things a journey is made. It’s who I am, where I live, how I think. It’s what I believe, and hopefully it’s where the baby I wish so much for, will live with us. There is a room ready for him or her, a room  that I painted last summer, whose floors I re-finished, and whose windows you can’t see because the tree blocks it, shading it, during the hottest part of August in a house with no air conditioning.

It’s an old house, with a lot of things I’d still like to change, and where with patience and tenacity we are changing them. Updating them. Restoring them. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a home. And it’s where those who I love most live.